welcome to the cat hotel. there’s 1kg of coffee and 720 teabags available

Today’s post is introducing one of our secret weapons – the Shed!

When we moved into our current house, we were amazingly lucky – tonnes of space and storage. Well, actually, not that lucky, the old dear who lived here before us died mid-poo and bless her heart, hit her head off the loo on the way down – which was tragic, but also (whisper it) a smidge vexing as it caused a very slow leak and soaked the bathroom floor – what a way to go though, we call her Elvis. We live in a very ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ type of street, with pretentiously named houses such as ‘Willow Cottage’ and ‘Tena Towers’ (might be a fib, that one) lining the paths. So of course, we immediately endeared ourselves to them by changing the name of our house to something a little more graphic. Maha.


For the first year, we did nothing more than internal redecoration and completely ignored the tip-top shed down the side of the house, which, when we ventured inside, was chock-o-block with old tins of paint, Presto carrier bags, British Telecom bills, boxes and boxes of old papers, white dog poo etc. Once we cleaned that out, however, we had ourselves an empty shed just ready to be filled with the inevitable accoutrements you’d expect from two manly, burly men living together – perhaps petrol lawnmowers, barbecues, chainsaws and other various penis-replacements. Nah. Not us.

No, we fitted a magentic cat-flap, added a flower box, carpeted the inside, added water bowls and an automatic food-dispenser, spent £90 on a cat-tree and opened the ‘Cat Shed’ up to our cats, who were just at the stage of venturing out the house. We were worried that they’d get wet outside and mew sadly at our back doors. The stress was getting too much hence the Cat Shed. They loved it. Well, Bowser did, Sola is a snotty cow who still sleeps in the compost bin just so she can come in the house smelling of rotting grass and give us dirty looks.

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Bowser enjoying the cat hammock I fashioned from an old hanging basket frame and his cushion. Nice!

But how does this link to bloody Slimming World, I hear you sob. Well. Despite the Cat Shed being the main use, we decided to build a ‘store’. Now, I’m not one of those hoarders and I strongly feel there is little chance of me dying alone surrounded by soiled underwear, newspapers and empty Kitekat tins. But take a look at this:


This was, without doubt, one of the best things we’ve ever done – and it’s normally a lot more stocked than that. What you see here is a bank of all the things we use a lot of on a Slimming World diet. We buy big whenever there is a great offer on, and keep the shed stocked. It means we can always rustle up a meal even if we have ‘nothing in’ – because how easy is it to ring for a Chinese when all you have in the fridge is a limp lettuce and FROMAGE BLOODY FRAIS. So what do we keep in ‘bulk’?

  • Branston beans – I can’t do cheap beans, they taste like pebbles in bumwater to me. At the other end of the spectrum, Heinz beans have gotten to be so sweet. We buy slabs of beans from Costco for £7 for 24;
  • passata – a lot of SW recipes are tomato based, and we buy our passata from Aldi for 29p or so for the carton;
  • sugar free drinks, teas and coffee – so much cheaper at Costco, as long as you go for whatever is on offer;
  • tins of carrots, peas, butter beans, kidney beans, chickpeas – they’ll last forever, and are perfect for chucking into stews, shepherds pie, all that sort of nonsense, again always buy big when there is a deal on;
  • onions and potatoes – we used to buy the potatoes in the plastic bags from ASDA, but they’d invariably go green or sprout despite being in a closed cupboard. Now we buy a massive paper sack of them and keep them in the shed (cold, dark) and one £3 lasts a bloody month, and ditto onions;
  • that plastic container is full of things like ‘Pasta and Sauces’, noodles, instant mash – basically syn free cheats;
  • pasta and rice – all sorts of varieties, but again, it’ll last until the end of days.

I can look in my shed and make a superfree meal from whatever is in there, and it does stop us from ‘falling off the wagon’. If you’re going to have a lot of food in there and you don’t have cats mincing in and out, get a few mousetraps to stop them nibbling. Poor little buggers. Go for the humane ones at least!

So – the moral of all this blathering on. I mentioned in a post earlier in my blog about planning, and this plays into that big-time. By ensuring we can never go hungry, we don’t have a reason to cheat on the diet. And we’re lucky, because we have the space to do this, but it could be done on a smaller scale – maybe keep a few trays of veg and tins in a cupboard upstairs or something. That way, you’ll never need to ‘make do’. Plus, we save a lot of money doing this, because we’re not ‘on-the-spot’ buying all the time. Anyway. That’s enough from me.