Eating out would be prohibitively expensive for the next two months so I opted for a flat with a kitchen and I buy my own groceries. So far, I've visited two Sainsbury's, a small independent ethnic-y supermarket, and an organic grocery store in the Nottingham Area.
Here are some of my observations from the Sainsbury:
1. The selection of fresh veggies is not quite as extensive (no squashes!) and most of the stuff is prepackaged (a la Trader Joe's which after all is owned by the people who own Aldi). However, the produce is MUCH cheaper than I expected. I bought 4 small avocados for about $2 (£1.39). Though they are taking forever to ripen... I got some radishes for snacking, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, onions, lemons, plums (!), apples, clementines, greens, and mint, bell peppers, and cooked beetroots. I also saw celeriac root as large as a decent sized melon! Very cool.
2. Toiletries are ridiculous cheap as well. I bought a full size body wash for something like 10p (15 cents) and some decent tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner for just over 50p (75cents) each!
3. The cereal selection is much smaller, no waffle crisp here unfortunately (or my favorite Kashi Go Lean...) I opted for some generic rice krispies.
4. The dairy area is expanded. Whole milk is labeled 4%. Cream comes in yogurt tub-y containers and there is single cream (half-and-half), double cream, extra thick double cream, irish cream, etc.... So many types of butter (not in convenient "stick" form). Cheese, yogurt, everything. Not many brands I recognize (aside from the Activia stuff). I got some good Müller corner crunch yogurt which is really tasty. Though not as tasty as the Danone Stracciatella yogurt I had in Austria (which sadly they don't have here!).
5. Brits love chocolate bars, crisps (potato chips), and biscuits (cookies) and the area devoted to these things is really large and overwhelming. For week 1 I settled on some Chocolate Hob Nobs, mini Mars Bars (like more delicious Milky Way bars), Cadbury Fudge, Digestives, Wotsits, and Sour Cream and Chive (not onion!) Snack-a-Jacks. Yum.
6. Boy is there a lot of tea! I got me some PG Tips (which I find steeps too fast/strongly and I have to remove the bag immediately!) and some Jacksons Sencha Green Tea with Mint (which is reallllly good).
7. The cashiers SIT DOWN!! What a great idea!
8. My first trip to the grocery store -including groceries for the week, toiletries, tissues, detergent, pantry essentials like honey, salt, olive oil, pastas, and rice which should last me a good long time only cost me some £59 ($90). I found this really reasonable. My second trip only cost £19 ($29) and I haven't eaten out in Nottingham yet nor do I plan to eat out all week (until next weekend when cjr comes to visit!). In that sense, the UK is quite affordable (to live in) but probably not so much for visiting in a standard hotel and having to eat out all the time sense.
9. Please sent me suggestions on what to get on my next excursion out! I know I need to get some Quorn products soon. But tell me what your favorite biscuit, crisp, yogurt, etc... is I'm always looking for recommendations!