Because I can’t think of what to write…

imageThe snow continues – eight inches of the horrible stuff this morning! Fortunately it’s not that deep generally but the wind has made it drift and thanks to the barrier formed by the rose border, it’s ended up settling on our garden path.

I should have been going to a friend’s lunch party today but, as heavy snow was forecast for today, she cancelled it yesterday morning which meant that I didn’t need to make the chocolate and lime cheesecake that I’d promised to take. This, in turn, meant that I didn’t need to go to the supermarket last night to buy the limes which I forgotten to get earlier in the week when I shopped for the other ingredients. I’d probably have popped into Asda as it’s the closest store, even though its not somewhere I shop regularly.

As I haven’t written a post for a week I thought that I should make the effort but subject matter eluded me. I decided to just make a start and see where it took me. Now I’ve mentioned Asda I think I’ll continue the shopping theme.

It’s rather unfashionable nowadays to say that one doesn’t like Aldi and every now and then when I feel pang of guilt for not trying to be more economical  I go to Aldi with the intention of doing my food shop there. I really do try to muster some enthusiasm but find it such a thoroughly dispiriting experience selecting items from cardboard boxes and negotiating the cabbage leaf-strewn floor that I invariable end up buying a couple items and quickly leave to resume shopping elsewhere. The aisles are narrow, the choice limited and the lighting harsh. The staff are conditioned to scan produce so quickly that customers are left with the choice of either throwing the whole lot into a bag with no thought of packing like with like, or dumping it all back into the trolley from whence it just came, to move three yards to another counter where it all comes out of the trolley again to be repacked.  And why do they insist on heaping the middle aisles with disparate odds and ends of dubious quality. From slippers to saucepans and bicycles to books, what a mish-mash. And as for the clothing – it looks like the church jumble sale after an hour’s rummaging. I’m not suggesting that there’s nothing there worth buying, I’m sure there is, but really, who has the time or inclination to plough through it all when they’ve come in to but something for tea? Most surprising of all is that several items that I regularly buy are priced are the same as, or in the case of the small eating apples I bought, more costly than in Tesco! As one might expect, those advertised comparison baskets are very carefully selected.

I expect there are nicer, tidier branches and I’m sure that Aldi sell perfectly nice lobster or champagne (or so various surveys tell me) but what I want is to be able to trust that the carrots I buy on Monday are still OK by Saturday. Unfortunately my (albeit infrequent) experience is that one needs to be very vigilant when choosing Aldi fruit and veg. The plain fat-free yogurt was good enough but I’m not prepared to endure another Aldi shopping trip just to save a few pence on yogurt.

Nearby we have Sainsburys which is a nice shop but there are too many items that I want to buy that it doesn’t stock, ditto Morrison. So most of my shopping is done in Tesco. Here I can get everything I want and our local branch is very spacious. I like space; I like Tesco.

From time to time, when I have enough of it (i.e. time),  I’ll drive further afield and do my shopping in Waitrose which is most definitely a favourite. Although more expensive, the quality is outstanding – similar to Marks & Spencer – and the fruit and veg last very well.  M&S is about to close my local store so we’ll have neither nearby. On holiday in the Lake District I shopped in Booths. Wow! You lucky Northerners.

If a large shop is required and I’m short on time I’ve occasionally ordered from Ocado and boy is it impressive! The delivery driver once texted to ask if he could come twenty minutes early, the quality of fresh food was superb with long ‘use-by’ dates and the packing was perfectly arranged like with like. The trouble is that I don’t want my shopping delivered reguarly. I’ve heard women say that they don’t like food shopping. I simply can’t identify with that because for me, choosing the food is the next best thing to eating it!



  1. When I was working full time I used to shop online, particularly for basics: loo paper, kitchen towels etc. I always prefer to select my own fruit, veg, meat. I also love a bargain! Although I always have a list, if I spot a special offer then I may go off-piste and decide to cook a meal around that! I’ve used Sainsbugs, Waitrose and Ocado. The quality of the latter two is always good. One of the greatest advantages of online shopping, for me, is when I’m abroad and I can do an order to coincide with my return. Fab! I have never been in an Aldi but I have been in Lidl…in France. We do use it fairly regularly over there but we don’t have one nearby in the UK. It’s always interesting to hear about other people’s shopping habits!


    • I love a bargain, and that’s one of the things you miss out on when shopping online. Potential bargains are also the reason that I don’t stick to a rigid plan when shopping.

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  2. I have shopped online, starting with Tesco and then Sainsbury, long before almost every supermarket (except Morrisons) did this. I’m talking pre-2000. But I found (and it might be better now) that the person doing my shopping wasn’t as careful as I would’ve been, and I received huge great bananas, what I call ‘cow’ carrots (you, know, those gigantic ones only fit for animal feed), and so forth. In an emergency, I would use online shopping again (from Waitrose, which I have tried out when they opened their store locally with the offer of a bottle of champagne if you spent over £50) but I do like to choose my food carefully. As with you, Eloise, the next best thing to eating it is choosing it! We are what we eat. But I know how to shop online and would in an emergency.

    As for Aldi, only been in their new store near us twice. Wasn’t keen! Much like Lidl, but not quite as good. As for Lidl, we used to shop there for almost all our things there, but gradually transferred to Waitrose for food, as you can’t beat the quality. We still use Lidl for cleaning products – dishwasher tabs, washing machine liquid, waste bags, foil, etc. And also their fresh salmon is rather good, plus their ground coffee which isn’t too strong, nor is it too weak.

    So we shop in the Alpha and Omega of shops, i.e. Waitrose and Lidl, one of the most expensive and one of the cheapest. I have yet to try Ocado. I might do that, just for fun!

    I would also add that the Torquay Lidl has nice wide aisles and isn’t noisy, one of my own bugbears. Our local Morrisons is VERY noisy, and I can’t stand noise. Hence we don’t shop there.
    Margaret P


    • The general complaint and concern over online food shopping is quality and I do know someone who regularly has hers delivered from Asda but doesn’t include fresh fruit or veg. I can only speak of Ocado as its the only one I have used, but I’ve found them faultless. Our local Morrisons is noisy too – perhaps that’s their USP!! We do have a local Lidl but I’ve only been in once and didn’t buy anything so I didn’t feel qualified to comment. It appears to be very much like Aldi and I’m sure (as with Aldi) that some of their offerings are absolutely fine but I’m happy to do the bulk of my shopping in Tesco and use Savers (chemist type shop but no prescriptions) for quite a lot of cleaning products. Mind you, I’ve been in some Tesco branches which are horrible! It’s about finding what suits us and I’m glad that we’re not all the same!


  3. I think you did very well for someone who couldn’t think of what to write! LOL. Aldi is just starting to show up on the west coast, here, in the US. But the nearest Aldi is located about 35 miles from me, in another city, and I am not driving 35 miles to do my groceries! What we do have are a chain of stores called Trader Joe’s, which is owned by Aldi.

    As for getting groceries delivered, a few of the big supermarkets are starting to offer that service, here. I am not sure if there is a delivery fee or if one has to order a certain amount in dollars to get free delivery. It might be something to look into, however, in anticipation of a future when I might not be able to drive myself to a grocery store.


    • 35 miles is way too far to go food shopping! I think it’s worth familiarising yourself with home delivery just in case you ever need it. Generally there is a charge which varies according to delivery time/day. There are often offers available and I’ve never paid for delivery yet. That said, I only use the service very occasionally.


  4. Just like yourself, I have tried, on several occasions, to get on board with shopping in Aldi, but something doesn’t quite work for me, probably most of the reasons you have mentioned.
    Asda is the nearest supermarket to me and I find it similar in price and quality to Tesco. For the special items, however, it has to be Booths. X


    • I thought Booths was fabulous. The quality, the lay out, the choice – all fantastic, though quite expensive but as we were on holiday we treated ourselves to quite a few tasty morsels!


  5. Honestly don’t start me on that rant!!! It’s the people who are either a bit younger than me or same age, who say they won’t shop for food online who annoy me the most. Because I do understand the 80+ might find it challenging to begin food shopping online. My view is you should learn to do this (like a lot of other things) 5 years before you need to do it. End of today’s rant 🙂


  6. Hello Eloise
    Yes, that snow is lovely to look at but a bit lethal to walk on when it’s that frozen lumpy stuff on pavements. There’s quite a lot of it around our block so haven’t been out yesterday and might give today a miss. If there’s more of this, either this year or next, I’ll get those crampon things you put on the sole of the boot, as at my age (yes, I am saying that!) it’s important not to go down with a wallop! My steps will be right down this week, but it’ll be all gone by tomorrow – hurrah!

    I haven’t shopped in Aldi but found Lidl was OK, including the veg. However, I get the bulk of my shopping delivered every time. Been doing that for over 15 years now and I can’t imagine doing a big shop now ever – why would I, when it’s so convenient. It’s from Sainsbury’s so I get their Taste Their Difference and organic and it’s all good quality. And I never ever get delivered stuff I don’t want which is what people worry about – there’s just the occasional substitution which is usually fine. But I do go to Waitrose for fish and a few other things when I’m there (about every 7-10 days) or I walk (not today) to our little parade of nearby shops which has a proper butchers for their meat. But everything else, comes delivered to my doorstep.

    I think the thing is you know how to do it. But I just don’t get people who say they won’t even think about online delivery – what happens when they can’t shop? And if they say my daughter will do it – I get very cross. I’ll stop there as I might just start a rant!!!!


    • Haha, I love your beginnings of a rant! It’s so important to retain independence in every way possible as one ages, and doing one’s own online shopping is one of those ways. We all get a bit ranty at times – like I did in my last post. I could have said SO much more anout the service in banks and shops!
      Although I enjoy food shopping, I do think it’s fun when the Ocado van comes. Even though I chose what to buy, it’s still like a little surprise when I unpack the bags, and I’ve always been impressed with the quality.

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