living on the beautiful Greek island of Corfu, on a shoestring of course!

living on the beautiful Greek island of Corfu, on a shoestring of course!

We have not posted for a while, but for a very important reason.  We are now living the dream, living on the beautiful Greek island of Corfu, on a shoestring of course, and we want to share it with you!

Because of the exorbitant cost of living in the UK, with the concept of ever being able to afford our own home completely out of our reach, and with everything from food to electricity costing the Earth, we finally decided that enough was enough and did the unthinkable!

We up sticks and move to the beautiful Greek island of Corfu, all on a shoestring of course!

We are now living very comfortably indeed in our own stone house, an old Venetian Wine store, with breathtaking views across the olive groves and the Ionian Sea.  We eat well, we live well, we are healthier and happier than we have been for years.  All this for a small percentage of what it costs to barely exist in the UK.  As an added bonus, we also enjoy a good bottle of organic wine whenever we want, and at no cost I may add!

Just imagine starting your day like us, waking up in the morning to the sunshine streaming in through the open windows of your own home, with no mortgage to pay.  With the birds singing their welcome to you each day, instead of in a dingy rented flat, facing another grinding day of traffic noise, stress and pollution.

Over the next few months we will share with you how we did it,  and something of our lives in this Mediterranean paradise.

To give you some idea of what kind of property is available, here is a picture of our house in Corfu, as we found it.

Our house in Corfu before renovation.

The Wine Cellar, Corfu

And for those who doubt they are capable of a DIY renovation, here is our finished kitchen, as a little taster of what is to come:

Our DIY Kitchen in our house in Corfu

Our DIY Kitchen.

Over the next few months we will show you how we made this kitchen, and the rest of the rooms in the house, from both new and recycled materials, and yes, you can do the same!

You too can have a life just like ours, and you can also do it on a shoestring, just like us.  All it takes is planning, a little preparation, some basic DIY skills, and most importantly, having the dream!

Look out for the whole series of posts showing you how you can also live the dream, on a shoestring!

Homemade Butter – Shoestringer style

Just had a present from Mr. Tesco, five 600ml packs of double cream for 26p per pack.

After giving it a wiz in the food processor we have turned it into six 8oz packs of extremely good quality butter, which is now in the freezer, 600 ml of thin cream for our coffee, and all for just £1.30.

If you cost this out at retail prices it will be:

6 X £1.45 for the butter =            £8.70

1 X £1.20 for the single cream = £1.20

Total                                                 £9.90

Cost                                                   £1.30

Saving                                              £8.60

Thanks Mr. Tesco!

Homemade Gin

Homemade Gin

WARNING – This recipe could change your life!

Here you are, the holidays are upon us and friends are due round for drinks. Hopefully you already have 25 litres of both Turbo Cider and home brewed Bitter in stock, but nothing palatable in the spirit line, so what do you do?

Make your own gin, of course!

Firstly forget the thoughts of illicit copper stills hidden well away from the prying eyes of the local Customs Inspector, as your making your own gin at home is perfectly legal, risk free and simple.

For the serious gin drinker the plethora of supermarket own brand gins are none starters as none can hold a candle to a well-crafted artisan gin, and the thought of finding something remotely like Hendricks at less than £27.00 per bottle, is just a dream.

Consequently, the only alternative for the more discerning budget conscious gin lover is to make your own

Gin is nothing more than spirit that has been infused with herbs and spices, which in the trade are called botanicals, and the process of infusion is itself extremely simple. Anyone with even an iota of culinary ability can produce a fairly high quality artisan gin for slightly more than that the drain cleaner like supermarket own brand gins.

With very little effort you can make a highly acceptable gin in a similar way to that used to make Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s Bathtub Gin costing an eye watering £34.95 a bottle!

Here’s the Shoestringer’s way to make 750ml of artisan gin.


1 750ml bottle of inexpensive supermarket own brand vodka
4 tbsp. juniper berries
3/4 tsp. coriander seed
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. fennel seed
3 green cardamom pods
2 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf, torn into pieces
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 5 cm strip of fresh lemon or lime peel
1 3 cm sprig fresh lavender


  1. Pour all the vodka into a lidded jar. (clip top or recycled jam or pickle jar)
  2. Infuse the juniper berries in the vodka for about eight hours.
  3. Add the remaining botanicals and let everything infuse for a further eight hours.
  4. Strain off the botanicals through a coffee filter and put the gin into a suitable bottle of your choice.

Please note that infused gin isn’t crystal clear as it takes a slight colour from the botanicals.

Presentation is everything, so to add to the effect on your guests try to find a flip top bottle reflecting gin’s Victorian heyday, labeled as quirkily as you like.

Don’t forget to tell your guests that it is an old family recipe.

For Tea Lovers Everywhere


A little something from Professor


Farmhouse Cider, Shoestringer Style!

Farmhouse Cider, Shoestringer Style!

If there is one homemade drink you should make, this is it. 

It is simple farmhouse cider, Shoestringer style.  It is simplicity itself to make, and even more fun to drink.  It is perfect for those with little or no brewing experience, and does not need a cider press.

The whole process takes about three weeks to being drinkable, and comes out just like West Country farmhouse cider at between 7º and 8º alcohol, for around 9p per pint!. 

Go on – bring out your inner Wurzel!!!!!!!!!

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So, you think you are hard up?

So, you think you are hard up?

In the “Good old days”, as those blinkered by nostalgia call them, most men worked while their wives stayed at home and looked after the children, cooked the meals and looked after the home.

This would be OK if the family had enough money coming in every week to live on, but in most working class families in the North of England, this was rarely the case.

Make no mistake here; we are talking about the levels of poverty portrayed on such TV dramas as “Ripper Street”. It was pure, raw, grinding poverty.

[Read more…]

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