Productive Sunday

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been a lovely relaxing day where we can indulge in hobbies. I’m sewing ‘Yooosta-Bee’ bags out of fabric that used to be something else. They used to be jeans, curtains, pillow cases, clothing or duvet covers. Now, they’re repurposed into something more useful.

DB builds things out of wood that used to be pallets! We need another wood shed and he’ll keep dismantling pallets until we have enough free wood to make one. It’s not great wood but it’s fine for sheds.  

We need another wood shed as the wood is seasoning under tarps at the end of the garden and it is a bit scruffy. I’m sure other frugals can identify with this as our gardens are for work more than looking at.

If anyone’s interested and to help me work through a stash of thrifted fabric, I will have Yoosta-Bee bags for sale when I’ve made a few. Some are cheaper, some more than others due to size, how long they took to make or the fabric.  It’s great to be back at my sewing machine and to have a whole week of pottering about at home along with some DIY.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Freshening up a room on the cheap

Hello Dear Reader,

My back porch used to be a tiny back yard with an outside loo. It’s now a covered yard that doubles up as a utility room with an indoor loo that also houses the boiler. It has a bare concrete floor that I scrub with a brush, hot water and some bleach. We broke our frugal fast today by spending £20 out of our food budget on floor paint. I already have paint for the walls and woodwork. 

I’ll recoat the walls with two coats of exterior masonry paint and the floor with three coats of floor paint. It will be fresher and brighter for a small amount of money and I also think it’s essential to take care of our property. The windows will be polished and walls will be touched up where required. 

Oh, the fun we have. Otherwise, the frugal fast continues. Last night, I cooked GF sausages, homemade smoky potato wedges and beans. We had baked potatoes with tuna mayo for lunch and we have carbonara for supper tonight. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Five. Frugal things on a Friday 


Hello Dear Reader,

It’s beginnng to feel chilly and autumnal here. I love this time of year and the last of the colours of nature before everything beds down for the winter. I love soups, hot chocolate, thick socks, warm cardigans and hot water bottles. It’s all great! I love frost, crunchy grass under my Wellies and log fires. I’m not keen on the dark but I’m well stocked up with books and I read more in the winter.

It’s the start of the half term break and I’m going to keep my frugal fast going! Here’s the summing up of my week.

1. I’ve had twenty one days of buying nothing but food, a few toiletries such as soap and shampoo from Poundland and diesel for the car.

2. Laundry has been dried outside and in front of the wood stove.

3. Not used the gas central heating, just the wood stove and then only infrequently.

4. We’ve sold/decluttered on eBay and saved the money for a rainy day.

5. Thicker clothes, socks, warmer coats have come out of vacuum bags, lighter clothes have been stored away and the winter quilt has gone onto our bed. We’ll be warm on the cheap.

I’ll be here everyday and our week at home will see us undertaking some home maintenance, walks, catching up with friends and family and of course, time doing nothing with our feet up.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

If you read nothing else, read this. 


Hello Dear Reader,

I read this today. I’m proud of the UK’s history of welfare state and NHS. Everything we hold dear is under threat. Austerity in the U.K. Is making monsters out of the most vulnerable: the poor, the poorly paid, the disabled, the young, low paid families and the elderly. Whilst it’s under threat and can still be fought for we all need reminding of the misery of poverty with the lack of healthcare. Please take time to read; it’s harrowing and deeply affected me. Froogs xxxx

The article is from The New Statesman

UK 31 OCTOBER 2014“Hunger, filth, fear and death”: remembering life before the NHS

Harry Leslie Smith, a 91-year-old RAF veteran born into an impoverished mining family, recalls a Britain without a welfare state.


Over 90 years ago, I was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, to a working-class family. Poverty was as natural to us as great wealth and power were to the aristocracy of that age. Like his father and grandfather before him, my dad, Albert, eked out a meagre existence as a miner, working hundreds of feet below the surface, smashing the rock face with a pickaxe, searching for coal.
Hard work and poor wages didn’t turn my dad into a radical. They did, however, make him an idealist, because he believed that a fair wage, education, trade unions and universal suffrage were the means to a prosperous democracy. He endured brutal working conditions but they never hardened his spirit against his family or his comrades in the pits. Instead, the harsh grind of work made his soul as gentle as a beast of burden that toiled in desolate fields for the profit of others.
My mother, Lillian, however, was made of sterner stuff. She understood that brass, not love, made the world go round. So when a midwife with a love of gin and carbolic soap delivered me safely on a cold winter’s night in February 1923 into my mum’s exhausted arms, I was swaddled in her rough-and-ready love, which toughened my skin with a harsh affection. I was the first son but I had two elder sisters who had already skinned their knees and elbows in the mad fight to stay alive in the days before the social safety network. Later on, our family would include two half-brothers, after my mother was compelled to look for a more secure provider than my dad during the Great Depression.
By the time I was weaned from my mother’s breast, I had begun to learn the cruel lessons that the world inflicted on its poor. At the age of seven, my eldest sister, Marion, contracted tuberculosis, which was a common and deadly disease for those who lived hand to mouth in early-20th-century Britain. Her illness was directly spawned from our poverty, which forced us to live in a series of fetid slums.
Despite being a full-time worker, my dad was always one pay packet away from destitution. Several times, my family did midnight flits and moved from one decre­pit single-bedroom tenement to the next. Yet we never seemed to move far from the town’s tip, a giant wasteland stacked with rotting rubbish, which became a playground for preschool children.

At the beginning of my life, affordable health care was out of reach for much of the population. A doctor’s visit could cost the equivalent of half a week’s wages, so most people relied on good fortune rather than medical advice to see them safely through an illness. But luck and guile went only so far and many lives were snatched away before they had a chance to start. The wages of the ordinary worker were at a mere subsistence level and therefore medicine or simple rest was out of the question for many people.
Unfortunately for my sister, luck was also in short supply in our household. Because my parents could neither afford to see a consultant nor send my sister to a sanatorium, Marion’s TB spread and infected her spine, leaving her an invalid.
The 1926 General Strike, which began just as my sister started her slow and painful journey from life to death, was about more than wages to my dad and many others. It was called by the TUC in protest against mine owners who were using strong-arm tactics to force their workers to accept longer work hours for less take-home pay. At its start, it involved 1.7 million industrialised workers.

In essence, the strike was about the right of all people, regardless of their economic station, to live a dignified and meaningful life. My father joined it with enthusiasm, because he believed that all workers, from tram drivers to those who dug ore, deserved a living wage. But for my father the strike was also about the belief that he might be able to right the wrongs done to him and his family; if only he had more money in his pay packet, he might have been able to afford decent health care for all of us.
Unfortunately, the General Strike was crushed by the government, which first bullied TUC members to return to their work stations. Eight months later, it did the same to the miners whose communities had been beggared by being on the pickets for so long. My dad and his workmates had to accept wage cuts.
I remember my sister’s pain and anguish during her final weeks of life in October 1926. I’d play beside her in our parlour, which was as squalid as an animal pen, while she lay on a wicker landau, tied down by ropes to prevent her from falling to the ground while unattended. When Marion’s care became too much for my mother to endure, she was sent to our neighbourhood workhouse, which had been imprisoning the indigent since the days of Charles Dickens.
The workhouse where Marion died was a large, brick building less than a mile from our living quarters. Since it had been designed as a prison for the poor, it had few windows and had a high wall surrounding it. When my sister left our house and was transported there on a cart pulled by an old horse, my mum and dad told my other sister and me to wave goodbye, because Marion was going to a better place than here.

The workhouse was not used only as a prison for those who had been ruined by poverty; it also had a primitive infirmary attached to it, where the poor could receive limited medical attention. Perhaps the only compassion the place allowed my parents was permission to visit their daughter to calm her fears of death.
My sister died behind the thick, limestone walls at the age of ten, and perhaps the only compassion the place allowed my parents was permission to visit their daughter to calm her fears of death. As we didn’t have the money to give her a proper burial, Marion was thrown into a communal grave for those too poor to matter. Since then, the pauper’s pit has been replaced by a dual carriageway.
Some historians have called the decade of my birth “the Roaring Twenties” but for most it was a long death rattle. Wages were low, rents were high and there was little or no job protection as a result of a postwar recession that had gutted Britain’s industrial heartland. When the Great Depression struck Britain in the 1930s, it turned our cities and towns into a charnel house for the working class, because they had no economic reserves left to withstand prolonged joblessness and the ruling class believed that benefits led to fecklessness.

Even now, when I look back to those gaslight days of my boyhood and youth, all I can recollect is hunger, filth, fear and death. My mother called those terrible years for our family, our friends and our nation a time when “hard rain ate cold Yorkshire stone for its tea”.
I will never forget seeing as a teenager the faces of former soldiers who had been broken physically and mentally during the Great War and were living rough in the back alleys of Bradford. Their faces were haunted not by the brutality of the war but by the savagery of the peace. Nor will I forget as long as I shall live the screams that fell out of dosshouse windows from the dying and mentally ill, who were denied medicine and solace because they didn’t have the money to pay for medical services.

Like today, those tragedies were perpetuated by a coalition government preaching that the only cure for our economic troubles was a harsh austerity, which promised to right Britain’s finances through the sacrifice of its lowest-paid workers. When my dad got injured, the dole he received was ten shillings a week. My family, like millions of others, were reduced to beggary. In the 1930s, the government believed that private charities were more suitable for providing alms for those who had been ruined in the Great Depression.
Austerity in the 1930s was like a pogrom against Britain’s working class. It blighted so many lives through preventable ailments caused by malnutrition, as well as thwarting ordinary people’s aspirations for a decent life by denying them housing, full- time employment or a proper education.

As Britain’s and my family’s economic situation worsened in the 1930s, we upped sticks from Barnsley to Bradford in the hope that my father might find work. But there were too many adults out of work and jobs were scarce, so he never found full-time employment again. We lived in dosshouses. They were cheap, sad places filled with people broken financially and emotionally. Since we had no food, my mum had me indentured to a seedy off-licence located near our rooming house. At the age of seven, I became a barrow boy and delivered bottles of beer to the down-and-outs who populated our neighbourhood.
My family were nomads. We flitted from one dosshouse to the next, trying to keep ahead of the rent collector. We moved around the slums of Bradford and when we had outstayed our welcome there, we moved on to Sowerby Bridge, before ending up in Halifax. As I grew up, my schooling suffered; I had to work to keep my sister, my mum and half-brothers fed. At the age of ten, I was helping to deliver coal and by my teens, I started work as a grocer’s assistant. At 17, I had been promoted to store manager. However, at the age of 18, the Second World War intervened in whatever else I had planned for the rest of my life. I volunteered to join the RAF.
My politics was forged in the slums of Yorkshire but it was in the summer of 1945, at the age of 22, that I finally felt able to exorcise the misery of my early days. In that long ago July, I was a member of the RAF stationed in Hamburg; a city left ruined and derelict by war. I had been a member of the air force since 1941 but my war had been good, because I had walked away from it without needing so much as a plaster for a shaving nick. At its end, my unit had been seconded to be part of the occupational forces charged with rebuilding a German society gutted by Hitler and our bombs.

It was in the palm of that ravaged city that I voted in Britain’s first general election since the war began. As I stood to cast my ballot in the heat of that summer, I joked with my mates, smoked Player’s cigarettes and stopped to look out towards a shattered German skyline. I realised then that this election was momentous because it meant that a common person, like me, had a chance of changing his future.

So it seemed only natural and right that I voted for a political party that saw health care, housing and education as basic human rights for all of its citizens and not just the well-to-do. When I marked my X on the ballot paper, I voted for all those who had died, like my sister, in the workhouse; for men like my father who had been broken beyond repair by the Great Depression; and for women like my mum who had been tortured by grief over a child lost through unjust poverty. And I voted for myself and my right to a fair and decent life.
I voted for Labour and the creation of the welfare state and the NHS, free for all its users. And now, nearly 70 years later, I fear for the future of my grandchildren’s generation, because Britain’s social welfare state is being dismantled brick by brick.
My life didn’t really begin until the end of the Second World War. I fell in love with Friede, a German woman, whom I married and brought home to Halifax. My wife gave me emotional stability while the welfare state gave me economic stability. When I was demobbed, I didn’t have many prospects, except using my brawn over my brain. I took factory jobs while my wife and I studied at night school. But I am forever grateful for the foundation of the NHS, because it allowed my wife to receive first-rate treatment for the PTSD she acquired by having witnessed both the atrocities of the Nazis and the firebombing of Hamburg, which killed 50,000 people in three nights of intense RAF bombing in 1943.
My experiences of growing up in Britain before the NHS, when one’s health was determined by one’s wealth, and after 1948, when free health care was seen as a cornerstone for a healthy economy and democracy, convinced me that it was my duty to share my family experiences at this year’s Labour party conference. I agreed to speak about the NHS because I know there are few people left who can remember that brutal time before the welfare state, when life for many was short and cruel. I felt that I owed it to my sister Marion, whose life was cut short by extreme poverty and poor health care, along with all of those other victims of a society that protected the rich and condemned the poor to miserable lives. In many ways, making that speech freed me from the suffering of my youth. 
Harry Leslie Smith is the author of a memoir: “Harry’s Last Stand: How the World My Generation Built is Falling Down and What We Can Do to Save it” (Icon Books, £8.99) 

Harry Leslie Smith is a survivor of the Great Depression, a Second World War RAF veteran and an activist for the poor and for the preservation of social democracy. He has authored numerous books about Britain during the Great Depression, the Second World War, and post-war austerity. Join Harry on Twitter @Harryslaststand.

13 days of the frugal fast to go!


Hello Dear Reader,

I’m really digging in with the no spend month now! All the retailers that I’m signed up have great bargains and I’m walking away and just telling myself no.

So often, we hand over our email address or they have it any way as we’ve shopped online and we get sent all the details of the offers. Some of those offers can’t be found in shops. I shop with Yves Rocher occasionally and love the perfume. However, I rarely pay for perfume as I get it free as a give away if I’ve bought something else usually for far less than the cost of the perfume.

I get sent offers from the supermarket, from clothing companies and I take a look just because I’m nosey then walk away. Whether I’ve got the money or not, I choose not to buy unless I have a genuine need. The trouble is, for them but not me, that I don’t need much. But, as I’ve said before I’m only human and it doesn’t stop me from wanting and wishing that I could. Even though I can, I keep a tight hold of my wallet and sometime with a big sigh just tell myself that I don’t have permission to buy what ever it was I was hankering after. Today, it was my favourite perfume! But I’ll be fine and with what I have!

We shopped at the weekend to last us until the end of the month. The freezer and larder are well stocked and we have all we need to see us through half term. None of it is very exciting but with thirteen days to go, we’ve been through well over half of the frugal fast and we’re doing fine. We’re aiming for some free days out in half term with walks, visiting friends and family and visiting some Poldark locations.

We’ve discussed continuing this into November and this might be our first two month frugal fast. What do you think? If one month has become easy, should I aim for two months as a proper challenge?

Eighteen days down and thirteen to go and it really hasn’t been that hard.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx


When is the right time for change?



Hello Dear Reader,

Managing your finances correctly can seem somewhat of an art. With the cost of living on the rise and bills coming in from different angles, it can be tricky to keep your head above water – but if it’s all getting a bit much, when’s the right time for a change? Is there anything you can do to make your life easier?

Make a change if – your debt is spiralling out of control

 While there are many good reasons for taking out unsecured loans, using credit cards and borrowing money from other sources, it’s crucial to monitor your spending. If your debt begins to spiral out of control or you slip so far into the red that you’ll only be able to get back on track with serious intervention – a financial shakeup could be looming, but what are the next steps?

Well, firstly, it’s a good idea to speak with a financial advisor to find out where you should start. Experienced professionals will have all the contacts and information to help sort out even the most complex of issues and will point you in the right direction. There are, after all, many things you can do to make your life easier, such as consolidating your debt or switching with credit cards with a low interest rate. You may also decide to give yourself a monthly/weekly budget or make the most of money-saving apps to help track your incomings and outgoings daily.

Make a change if – you want to buy or let

Whether you want to buy or rent a property you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll probably need some kind of credit score. This is because mortgage lenders and landlords want to see how reliable you are at paying bills on time and so if you’ve never borrowed money in your life they won’t have anything to judge you on. Unfortunately, this might make it tricky to secure the house of your dreams, but with a little forward planning you can make the relevant financial changes.

Firstly, you’ll need to develop or improve your credit score. There are many ways to do this but you could start by applying for a low-interest rate loan – perhaps to clear your debt – and paying off instalments on time. This will show you’ve got financial control and are capable of sticking to a repayment schedule. Similarly, you could use a 0 per cent interest credit card for regular purchases, such as food or fuel and repay the desired amount on time.

Make a change if – you want to save for the future

Living from hand to mouth can make it incredibly hard to save, but if you feel you could make cutbacks and put the additional money into some kind of savings account – why not do so? In order to work out how much you can put by for a rainy day each month, start by assessing your incomings and outgoings. Decide where you can limit your spending and set yourself a realistic saving target.

Managing your finances is all about organisation and making changes when needed. Getting back on track might take time but it can be done with self-control and determination, so how about reviewing your financial situation and see how you can improve it?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs



This is a sponsored post however my opinions are my own and I never publish anything I don’t agree with.

Batch cooking in the slow cookers

Hello Dear Reader,

We had a trip to our local Asda today and I wanted to check out the prices. It’s not far away and it has a good gluten free section.

I bought frozen chicken breasts for £3.33 a kilo and frozen lamb chops for £4.50 for 800g but there were eight chops in there. So, £5.60 a kilo. 

I added celery, carrots, onions, tomato purée, chicken stock, rosemary, mug of red wine, salt and pepper and topped it up with another two mugs of water. 

I’ll cook that in the slow cooker for eight hours. The lamb casserole with sides will cost £1.50 per portion.

I then made a ragu with turkey mince, celery, onions, garlic, carrots, red wine, basil, salt and pepper. The turkey mince cost £3.25 for 800G with sides each portion will cost £1.

I don’t brown the meat, I just stir it all together and leave it cook for the day.

The lamb casserole will make two meals as will the ragu.

Slow cookers don’t cost much and don’t use much energy and they’re my easy way of cooking for the week.

I’ve also slow cooked pork shoulder steaks in a roasting dish with a lid with four pork steak, 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, one sliced onion, sliced mixed peppers which I buy frozen, tin of tomatoes and salt and pepper.

A heap of roasties to go with the pork that was £3.33 for 750g, with sides each meal will come to £1. 

Our menu this week will be ragu sauce on top of steamed vegetables twice, slow cooked pork, roast potatoes and veggies twice, lamb casserole twice. We’ll have a baked potato and coleslaw supper, sandwiches or salad for lunch and toast or an egg on toast for breakfast.

That’s dinner done for the week.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Ready to crumble? 


Hello Dear Reader,

I’m not perfect, I can endure anything for months and even years but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have days or days after day of wishing that things were different. Even so, I could crumble at any moment and just give in and periodically I do but then I get back to my focus. 

So, how do you do it? Teeth gritting? Digging in? 

In my case, it’s a target. Simply nothing more. I have a target I’m aiming for and work towards it. I’m currently saving for a ferry ticket, dogs annual jabs, house insurance  and a tax bill….not all due at once I may add. So, I’ll get back to not spending any money even though I’d like to do all sorts of things and buy lots too. 

You may have a target of your own, what ever it is, good luck. I’m sure you’ll get there.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

A third of the way there


Hello Dear Reader,

There are thirty one days in October and I’m a third of the way through my fiscal fast. This is the time of year when there are Christmas party invitations, thoughts of the midwinter holidays and the weather’s turning colder. It would be easy to buy a new coat and boots, look for new scarf and gloves or scarves and have a splurge at the beginning of the colder season. 

Instead, I’ll make do with what I have and pop any spare money into savings. I’m not going to be this penny pinching every month but having a whole month where I don’t spend any money is great for focusing my attitude to saving. 

So, how’s it going with anyone else who’s having a no spend month? Anyone else having a clear out and selling on eBay or at a car boot sale? Anyone eating out of the stores or freezer? Who else has their purse tightly shut for the month?

One third down, twenty days to go.

I’ve got this!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Early start and a coastal walk

Hello Dear Reader,

I managed to get everything straight by nine o click this morning. Everything ship shape in the house. Mind you, it’s only tiny and it doesn’t take long.

Everything washed up, put away, sink polished and shined, drawer full of vintage tea towels all ready for the week.

We spent the morning in Polperro. Before you condemn me, there is no free parking in Polperro and one privately owned car park and we paid £4 for three hours to park. The rest was just walking but I thought I’d share some lovely photos.

If you’ve got £1500! You can rent one of these tiny cottages for a week in the summer! Yep, it is expensive.

We got there quite early and for a while it was really quiet but it was busy by the time we left.

It was sunny and warm and we headed along the cliffs to Talland. It got hot then and when we reached a good vantage point we just sat a while and sun bathed.

We’re still in summer clothes in the warm day times and making the most of it whilst it lasts. We were home by lunchtime, had a salad, read a while and then I cooked supper and prepared lunches for the week.

It was lovely to get out for a walk and soak up some sun. It won’t last much longer I’m afraid.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx