Paint, rest, paint


Hello Dear Reader,

What a day! I was up early to catch the good weather and get some laundry on the line and then get on with sanding furniture and adding a couple more coats of paint. When I went out to check in the washing later, I noticed that the side wall of the house was wet even though the sun had dried out the other walls. We’d had a leak and had to remove some of the stud wall and get the leak fixed. Luckily, a friend/hero came to our rescue and fixed it. It’s now drying out with a dehumidifier which has set us back a day but it would have been a lot worse if I’d not de I to have done some washing.

We’ve met some lovely people in Huelgoat, including a couple who have rescued dogs from as far as Ireland, Spain and here in France. They give these ageing and unwanted dogs the loveliest life on a French smallholding. We went for a barbeque lunch in their beautiful garden. Lunch lasted the rest of the day and then we came home and put our feet up and this evening, we’ve had another few hours painting.

Tomorrow, we shall plod on with more renovations and head over to Emmaüs in Morlaix to look for an armoire in the afternoon. Like any charity shop shopping, we could be lucky but we may well come back empty handed. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

My packing is weirder than your packing!

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Hello Dear Reader,

If and when you go somewhere, you pack clean clothes, food, books, amusement, a coat, umbrella and maybe even sunblock. It’s way different for us. When you’re renovating a house on a tiny budget then the roof of my car feels as if it’s loaded like Buckaroo! On the roof of the car this time will be a room size rug we bought for £42 and an oil filled electric radiator we got cheap from freeads for £10 as we work towards every room having a rug and a radiator.

Inside the car will be paint as French paint is five times the price and it’s like painting with skimmed milk so we take at least two pots every time we go. There will also be sand paper, sugar soap, paint brushes and rollers as we move into the next stage of renovation of one of the rooms. Our aim is to get our bedroom finished in a few days, move the furniture and move in to it. I have furniture to paint whilst DB has the walls and door to finish as well as changing the British plugs to French plugs on some lamps we bought ages ago, again really cheaply, from TK Max with a gift voucher. We are still a way off hanging curtains and I don’t think we’ll get to the finished stage until next year. When you work to a budget and stick to it, you  have to be patient and work slowly.

Every time I go, I take something else I’ve found cheap, in a charity shop or totally free and donated or given away. I’m never going to buy new if I can get it ‘recycled as I can’t stand waste, hate the thought of good stuff going to landfill and want to make every pound do the work of a fiver! Yes, I’m tightfisted and proud of it! If I can do my bit to stop waste then I certainly will even if it means my packing is weirder than your packing.

In my defence, I’m not the only one. I really should take photographs of the weird things in the backs of cars, in trailers and on the roof embarking the ferry. I’ve seen trailers full of fruit trees in pots, sewerage systems, hot water tanks, wood stoves, garden fence and double glazed windows. I can also spot the renovators as we’re in our ‘holiday’ clothes of paint spattered jeans and with grout under our fingernails as we’ve worked right up to departure time and worked on the basis of ‘there’s a shower in my cabin and we’ve turned the water off in the house’. Obviously, there are people who might get someone else to do all the work, but they are in disguise are regular tourists.

I’ll keep you up to date with the renovations, the dog walks, the mini week long adventure and my little French village as it warms up in the bank holiday sunshine. We’re aiming to scout round for some second hand furniture to fill up some of the empty rooms and I’ll share some of our forays into charity shops and ‘le bon coin’ as we start making the house more homely.

Who knows, in time, it might be you renting it for one of your holidays.

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Until Saturday,

Love Froogs xxxx

Thrifty shopping and cooking

                         
Hello Dear Reader,
I get paid this week and that’s the time I stock up for the month or even two months. I also like to stock up the freezer with lunches that DB can just take, ready wrapped in foil and stick in his back pack. So, there’s nine pasties in the freezer and one inside DB
                       
There’s two quiches, each cut into six and eight portions respectively and a fruit cake in the tin, which keeps well for over the week.
I’ve stocked up on store cupboard items like tea, coffee and UHT milk, tinned fish and loo rolls. I also went to the local butchers and filled an entire drawer of the freezer with meat for the month.
I’m on holiday countdown now. We self cater and take everything we need with us. I’ll get together everything I need over the next few weeks. It might sound a bit stingy but the big treat for us is being away on holiday and we don’t want to spend more than we’ve budgeted for when we get there. We don’t buy new clothes, feed ourselves when we get there, take what we have and amuse ourselves with bike rides, walking, reading and if the weather’s any good, sitting on the beach. 
Today has been sunny enough that all the laundry was dried outside, the dogs have been walked, the windows have been wide open and the house has been aired. The cupboards and freezer have been stocked, the house has been cleaned and we’re well rested. 
Until tomorrow,
Love Froogs 

     

Planning for a frugal future

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Hello Dear Reader,

Take a look at yesterday’s post and you will see my giveaway of fabric so you can make your own quilt. I’m digging out lots of other goodies too that will be added to the giveaway over the week. Make sure you read the T&Cs and why not have a go and enter.


I thought I would share my frugal plans for the future.

We live in a cute cottage in Cornwall and in six years it will be all paid for. We plan to go away in the summer holiday and rent it out whilst we are away. Where will you live Froogs? Well, my plan is to have a caravan or motorhome and live in that and travel every summer with my rented house paying for my time away.

We took ourselves to a trade show today to do some research. We know little or nothing about caravans and even less about motorhomes. We have got lots of plans for our future and that’s what we’re working for. I know I would have to have a very small sewing machine! It’s just like ordinary life but in minature.

Here’s what we found out. You get a lot of caravan for your money and not a lot of motorhome for your money. Caravans depreciate really quickly but motorhomes keep their value for a lot longer than you’d think. 


We looked at and got in older motorhomes; some as much as twelve years old but with very low miles. Even as low as 8000 miles and ten years old. However, the living quarters were worse for wear. For a fraction of the price you can buy a caravan and you can buy a used one for around £5000 that would last a few years. 

We found out a lot about mobile home and caravan owners. They are a chatty friendly bunch who are happy to tell you about their travels. Also, they are a thrifty lot. They want a lot of holiday for their money and know the good value sites. They like to travel far and wide and see as much as possible on a tight budget.

That all sounds like us!

We now have another long term financial plan to save up for either a caravan or motor home. A caravan would require the car to have a tow hook and a driving course. We would also have to source storage and having it serviced every year. 

Living in a caravan whilst your home is rented is more popular than you would think in Cornwall. It’s so popular that caravan sites rent out pitches for the entire summer so the family or couple can carry on normal life such as going to school or work and they can service their home on ‘change over day’. 

Now, over to your Dear Reader. Is anyone out there a caravanner? Do you own a motor home? Do you go away with pets? Does anyone’s pets have a passport? What sort of caravan or motorhome do you have? Is it a thrifty and affordable way to travel and have holidays?

I’d love to hear your thought on this.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs 

This is the year of the staycation!


Hello Dear Reader,


Come here, no closer as I want to whisper all of this gently into your ear. I’m not going to shout or berate but just have a quiet word. You see, we’re not all the same. Everyone does not have a holiday every year. Some people are just getting by the best they can. Not every kid in every school goes away on holidays. Infact, a lot of them won’t get a meal every day; they won’t come out of their bedrooms and they won’t step out of the house. I was in my early years of teaching when I learnt not ask children about their holidays and to this day know it is not the norm for children and families to go away on holiday. That is for the few. So let’s get a few things straight, those of us who can not afford to go away on holiday are not in the minority, we are the same as many people.

As a parent and bringing up my children, if I had a month where every bill was paid, where everyone ate three meals a day and I could put money aside for school shoes and uniforms then I knew I was standing on the winner’s podium. Having no money at all meant that I could treat my children with the slightest thing. A walk on Plymouth Hoe and an ice cream was a huge occasion. Summer holidays were long but I went to great lengths to make sure we found ways and means of having a great time even with almost no money.

From Easter onwards, I would be checking the notice boards in the Central Library, as I didn’t have the internet, for notices about summer play schemes. I would walk next door to the museum and find out what they had to offer. Next, I would contact the Brownies and Boys Brigade and see what they had on offer. Our local church had a summer play club too and I would systematically find at least two days a week of affordable activities. The internet has made this so much easier. I did a search of summer activities and found page after page of local authorities offering play schemes in all areas of the UK. On average, they cost around £2 for each session and those varied from two hours to a whole morning or entire day. If you live in a city, check out your local football teams or rugby clubs as they will often run low cost sporting activities in the school holidays as will local sports centres. Check the library and museum and see what they have to offer. If you have a car and can visit family or friends then consider that a day out in itself. 

I also thought it was OK for my children to have days at home where they were bored to stupification. Life is not about being entertained everyday and we all have to get used to making ourselves happy and finding our own amusements. I would encourage them to read books they hadn’t already, to draw, paint, listen to music, help around the house with chores or just ride their bike around the park next to the house. It’s OK for kids to be bored sometimes and you as a parent do not need to feel guilty about that. I would also build in structured days a week where they and I would do something together. I would save throughout the year for a summer family bus ticket so I could take them out. I didn’t have a car then. I would take them on a day rider ticket and get on and off the bus on Dartmoor and let them play in the river (shallow and they didn’t drown!). I would take them to Cawsand and Whitsand on the bus and to the beach for the day. There was no money for treats, sweets or ice creams, just a bottle of squash and some sandwiches. They had to carry their own body boards and wore their wetsuits on the bus! We all treasure those moneyless beach days.

I used to plan walks that were only local to the park and we played tennis or basketball and the walk there, the play time and the walk back would fill a few hours. We would walk to Plymouth Hoe and around the foreshore. We would take some money (very little I may add) and go to charity shops and car boot sales and find ‘new’ games or toys. 

One dear reader was concerned that a family member could be called into work if an ’emergency’ arose. Remember this, we have employment legislation in the UK and you are legally entitled to a holiday. I would suggest that the family member didn’t answer the phone on holiday and that the family screened their calls. If I’m eating, or ‘settled’ for the evening and the phone rings then I ignore it. If something is urgent then someone will send a text and I will choose whether to respond to it or not. Home is our sanctuary and a holiday at home should be just as relaxing as going away. 

We are six weeks away from the summer holidays and there is plenty of time to plan some very low cost and free activities between now and then.Children have very busy social calendars so get in early and arrange a few sleep overs or play dates. Arrange to meet with other mums and children a day a week in each others’ garden and take in turns to organise an activity. Remember, not everyone goes away and holidays are for the few and not the majority. I grew up with no holidays, was never taken to the fair or an amusement park and my parents worked and we just stayed home and amused ourselves. Start planning now for a summer club or play scheme and if you’re quick, there might be some places left. Be aware of this and put your names down for next year and make sure you get on the mailing list as they will start advertising holiday clubs from January onwards. Also, like Christmas, school holidays happen at the same time, every single year. Start saving now for the holidays and try to put aside £5 a week per child for paid activities. If you have four children then annually you might like to save a figure of around £120 and you would need to put aside £3 a week for the long summer holiday. I know that’s more than I suggest for activities but having some extra could be for an ice cream after a walk or a treat of a trip to the cinema.

There, that wasn’t too bad was it? Remember, I sat quietly next to you and spoke gently into your ear. We are not all the same and we don’t all have holidays and most people are just managing to keep their heads above water. If you are afloat and paying the bills, then you too are on the winners’ podium.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx






Frugal Holidays?

Hello Dear Reader,

We are very lucky that we do not have to put our dogs into kennels when we go on holidays as we hire the service of dog sitters who have our dogs in their homes. For two weeks, their house becomes home from home for our dogs. However, to secure this service, we have have to book a year in advance. We have now committed ourselves to going away on holiday for the first two weeks of the summer holiday next year. There are a million advantages to being a teacher and the most important are being entrusted with other people’s children and being part of bringing them up. There is only one disadvantage and that is the fact that we can never get a cheap holiday. We pay a premium or we don’t go.

I do have hints and tips from travelling at peak times that can save folk money and we will use ourselves. My main hint is France. If you live in the South of the UK then France is on our doorstep. If you live in the South East then the cheapest and quickest crossing. You can save your Tesco vouchers for ferry crossings. Every £10 worth of Tesco vouchers will buy you £30 worth of ferry tickets and you can save your Tesco vouchers all year. P&O Ferries will allow you to pay up to £210 with Tesco vouchers. You can also book your ferries through Quidco and get a 7% cashback on Brittany Ferries and 10% back on P&O Ferries. You can also select cheaper times and days to cross. It is sometimes cheaper to go a day before and stay in a very cheap hotel or put up a two man tent and squeeze in and get to your accommodation the next day to get a much cheaper holiday.

Next. The French school don’t have a summer half term break. If you book the last week in May, you can get some good weather BUT don’t book through a British company as they will charge you more. By all means, look in the Eurocamp brochures or websites and then look for French owned campsites in the same area. They will be much, much cheaper!!!! More advice on campsites………….don’t be fooled or over awed by star rating. The amount of stars relate to the leisure facilities. You will pay more for water slides, cafes and shops. If you are happy with a clean chalet, log cabin or mobile home then 2* or 3* are adequate. I like a pool but I wouldn’t be bothered if there wasn’t one. Likewise, I don’t need a launderette and the local towns are full of them and they are much cheaper than those on the campsites.

If you do have to go in the peak season then as will all things, set a budget and stick to it. We have a year to save the money to go on holiday. It will be more expensive than the low season version we had last year but it will still be a relatively cheap holiday. We spend the bulk of our budget on accommodation and we rent a mobile home. We know what we will get and there will be no surprises. You might be surprised what you don’t get in a French mobile home: a kettle, bedding, oven, teapot, and the kitchen equipment is basic. We take what we need with us and completely cater for ourselves when we are there. We take food with us and just buy bread, fruit and salad when we get there. We don’t drink much and buy one three litre box of wine and usually bring it home half used. We also take all of the cleaning products, first aid kit and medicines……you never know what is going to sting or bite you and rich food can play havoc with your digestion! We take antihistamines, anti-inflammatory gel and tablets, migraine tablets, and imodium…..we can all over do the oysters! We take lots to do as well. We take a laptop and DVDs for snuggly nights in, lots of books and I take some craft to keep my busy. We also take our own bikes to save on hiring them…..the ferry company charges us another £15 or so to do that but again, it keep the costs down and we travel everywhere by bike when we get there.

Wherever you choose to go on holiday, if you choose………….take a look at airbnb.co.uk – independent hoteliers, B&Bs and accommodation providers advertise their rooms. I even found a B&B enroute to use as an example with accommodation for £43 per night for two people including breakfast. 

Now back to the old chestnut of holidays being more expensive in school holidays. When our children were young we didn’t take them out of school and consequently meant we couldn’t afford to take them anywhere on holiday. We used to take them camping (the trauma of which still haunts me that tents on the internet make me weepy with the miserable memories……………friggin’ unromantic too…………trying too hard to be quiet to not wake kids is more of a passion killer than big knickers and hairy legs!!) in Cornwall…………………I live here now and just go home every night, so NO I don’t camp! I digress, back to school holidays. The party line would be for me to say, I hope people can find a way of taking their children on a holiday and not miss school, personally I fully understand why families do it. Take a look at the article I found below and let me and the world know what you think.

Over to you, Would you take your children out of school for a cheaper holiday (classed on your child’s record as an unauthorised absence if you don’t get permission from the school) or would you go on a camping or caravan holiday to take them somewhere affordable. Also, feel free to have a rant and the disgusting mark up that holiday companies charge for holidays in the school breaks!!!


Up to 1.8m* families set to trade school days for cheaper holidays
Nearly a quarter of UK families with school age children have or are considering a holiday during school term and could save an average of £664.00 on their holiday spending
Up to 1.8 million* UK families with school age children have or are considering taking them out of school for some or all of their holiday leading to millions of missed school days for British youngsters. The new research, commissioned by Gocompare.com, also found that on average, parents willing to take their children on holiday in term time were happy for them to miss up to 6.3 days of teaching.
The research also found that 93% of parents willing to take their children out of school feel that travel companies and airlines unfairly push up prices during the school holiday periods and 65% say they simply can’t afford to take a holiday when schools are closed.
Brit families will spend an average of £1982.00 on their annual holiday but those families taking some or all of it during term time estimate that it knocks an average of £664.00 off of the cost of their holiday.
  • British families spend an average of £1982.00 on their annual holiday
  • Families taking some or all of their holiday during school term time estimate they save an average of £664.00
  • 75% of families taking their children out of school would take the whole holiday in term time to get a better deal
Of the British families which have already booked or are considering taking some or all of their holiday during school term time:
  • 65% say they can’t afford to have a holiday during the school holiday periods
  • 73% would be happy for their children to miss 5 or more school days
  • 23% would be happy for their children to miss 10 or more school days
  • 74% ask the school’s permission to take their children out of school
  • 70% take their children out of school anyway even if the school refuses permission
  • 39% have lied to the school about their children’s absence in order to have a holiday during term time
Just 14% of parents said they only have holidays with their children during school holiday periods. In the survey, 60% of parents who would take their children on holiday in term time said that their children’s school was sympathetic to requests for term time holidays. However, 70% said that they take their children out of school regardless of the school’s decision. More than a third (39%) have lied to the school about their child or children’s absence in order to have a holiday during term time.
Plans to ban term time holidays and impose automatic fines on parents who take their children on holiday during school time were floated by the Government in February 2012 but later dropped for fear of a backlash from cost conscious parents.
Jeremy Cryer, head of travel at Gocompare.com, commented: “It’s an unfortunate fact that the cost of holidays and flights increase substantially during school holiday periods. This leaves many parents with the difficult decision of whether to take their children out of school to take advantage of lower prices or to bite the bullet and pay the school holiday rates. With an average cost saving of over £600 it’s clear to see why many parents choose to take the saving over the schooling.
“Many parents would also argue that a child’s education should be more than just time spent in the classroom and that travel broadens a child’s horizons, gives them valuable family time and adds to their life experience. If it comes down to a choice between their children missing a few days of school or the family missing out on a holiday altogether, our research shows that millions of parents would choose to take the holiday.”

Until tomorrow,
Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxx

Holiday at home.

 Hello Dear Reader,


Yesterday’s blog disappeared so I’ve tried again. For a few years, whilst we were paying off debts and reducing our mortgage, we didn’t have any holidays at all. We had no weekends away, no days out, no meals in restaurants, no theatre trips, in fact, nothing at all until we were debt free. If you are not saving, not reducing your mortgage and not debt free, then you are spending money you don’t have. Over the last two years, we’ve had an off season holiday in Brittany and I’ve done so with savings. Each time I reduce my mortgage by ten thousand pounds, I save £100 a month in interest and it’s always the interest on any debt which keeps a debtor poor. Dearly Beloved will have another week off work in late July, when I will be on holiday. I will amuse myself at home for the rest of the summer break.



 In the week holiday we have together, we always make sure we have at least three day trips. We don’t use these as an excuse to splurge as we see our selves very blessed to have jobs and have time off at all. So, the treat is always the time, our own company and to be able to relax. We never go far and don’t use any more diesel than we would if we were at work and this is what we get up to when we holiday at home. Firstly, we treat the week as if we were going on holiday and get ready for it. We tell people we’ll be on holiday and not around much, so we have time to be alone. Just as in France, we get some nice food in, we’ll have wine with dinner and we might save films we’d saved on the freesat box to watch in the evenings. We’ll plan a barbeque together, just as we would if we were away. We also plan day trips to get out and about.



 We have two or three days out and about on our bikes and we’re investigating bike trails in Cornwall that we haven’t ridden yet. We’ll investigate walks and research car parking. There will be some we do regularly and some all day walks that we only have time for on holiday. We lived in Plymouth for thirteen years and love the Hoe, the Barbican and Devil’s Point and we’ll have a day down memory lane and treat our selves to an ice cream or a coffee (but never both on one day!) Remember, it’s the time that’s the treat.

We’ll plan for and visit a car boot sale and some charity shops in that week but, just as with any holiday, will have a set budget. It’s a week where I won’t spend in my sewing room or writing much, but give over to us. We’ll use sunny days to sit in our garden and read, just as we would if we were in France and we’ll have long leisurely lunches where we just sit and talk together. 



Holidays are wonderful as families get to focus time on each other and have fun together. This can be done at home, with day trips or at the very least with picnics in the garden. Drag the dining table and chairs outside and eat like Italians! Get out your best table clothes and plates and treat yourself. Make nicer meals where you have time to prepare, lay a table and wash up together. Be tourists in your own neighbourhood and discover history, walks and the environment around you. Holidays were always a hard earned treat, such as a work’s do to the seaside for the day and now people see them as some kind of God given right and entitlement. See them as a treat, as a luxury and rediscover appreciation in what you have around you and mostly spending time together.


Until tomorrow,


Love Froogs 

Travelling cheaply by ferry



Hello Dear Reader,


In response to the requests; here’s my froogy guide to how to travel by car ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff in Brittany. First of all there is the booking. You can book almost a year in advance, usually November the year before, for let’s say July the following year. You’ll need to book well in advance if you want a family sized cabin, because most cabins are only two berth. If you have no children and a stronger constitution than DB and I , you can just book a reclining seat each. That’s the cheapest option. If you travel by day, you don’t need to book a cabin or seat and that is by far the cheapest option. Google the name of the ferry company and go to their website for prices and time tables.


Food – We travel by night so don’t take any thing and usually just buy a cup of tea on the way out. We bought something to eat on the return and it was highly priced, but not the rip off it could be with a captive audience. In the day, families take big picnics as it would be unaffordable for a family of six or more to buy food in the cafes and bars on the ferry. We’ve done this ourselves.





Arrival – We choose to arrive really early, then we watch a film or read. We would rather wait for two hours in advance to be one of the first ones off the ferry when we arrive home in Plymouth. We live thirty minutes from the port and were home 7.15 this morning. On arrival, you will go into a queue and go through passport control, who will then give you a boarding pass, which you hang on the rear view mirror and keys for your cabin, which look like thick card credit cards which you insert in and out of the cabin door to get in.




Getting onto the ferry.- You will be marshalled onto the ferry by the staff in smart airport like attire. They will tell you which lane to drive in, which deck to drive to and where to park – ‘exactement!’ – You will be parked bumper to bumper and at peak times, there is no gap between one car and the next, so jump out quickly before another can jams you in.


The cabins – Your cabin can be found by checking your ticket in advance. The first number tells you which floor it is on and the other numbers tell you which cabin number. You can adjust the temperature of your cabin. It has two bunks, one of which you will need to pull down and there is a ladder to the top bunk. The beds will be all made up waiting for you. Towels and toiletries are provided inside the ensuite shower room.







 I’ll add more information tomorrow, I hope the short film helps – Please ignore the fire at the end……I was trying to take a photo.


 Love Froogs xxxxx

Froogs’ final thoughts on her frugal holiday

 Hello Dear Reader,


It’s incredibly windy here again. We watched, in awe, at the sailors in small racing boats and wind surfers airborne above the waves. Out of the wind has been incredibly warm and we’ve been out an about on our bikes again. 

 Now some people who’ve followed me on my tiny tour de Carnac, would not want to holiday like this. They would want meals in restaurants, room service, clean towels every day but that is not for me. We don’t eat out at home, we don’t go on mini breaks, we don’t stay in hotels and we don’t do ‘treats’. I set out to live a consciously simpler life, where I have and do less but appreciate more of what I do have.

 What I have had the most of this week, and I’ve relished it, is time. I’ve sat on the steps of my caravan and watched a blackbird feed her babies. I’ve laid on my back on the picnic table outside at dusk and watched the bats coming out of their roosts. I’ve pulled over at the side of the road to watch windsurfers. I’ve lingered for ages over coffee, lunch and supper. I’ve sat ever so quietly with my head on DB’s chest and just listened to his heart beat. Life has gone so very slowly this week and I’ve loved it. 

 I’ve cycled in the wind, rain, heat and sunshine but have taken each journey slowly and gazed at the beauty as I’ve gone by. I’ve got off my bike on more than one occasions to stick my nose into roses, mimosa and got down to ground level to identify flowers.

 I’ve walked on windswept and empty beaches, collecting shells and have conversed in clunky rusty French with an old gent who has made his living from oysters for all his life. I’ve shut my eyes and chewed and savoured on food that still had a pulse and the flavour embodied the sea itself. I’ve washed it down with wine so chilled that the condensation ran down my fingers.

 I’ve stood and stared and wondered.

 I’ve even managed a tiny chat with locals in the launderette – I was chuffed with that! My French improves by tiny steps each time I come here. I’m not worried if I make mistakes……someone will soon correct me!

 I’ve bought no souvenirs, no tourist tatt. I’ve spent eight euros in total on one box of rose wine. We ate out on the day we arrived (ten euros between us), ate freshly prepared oysters for eight euros each (£6.40) and we’ve cooked for ourselves for the rest of the time. 

 We’ve eaten really well and eaten steaks, oysters, scallops, squid, salad, fresh bread and fruit. We changed £150 into 181 euros and we’ll have enough left at the end of our trip to stock up on wine.

 Holidays should be rare, saved for, savoured and remembered. They should be special and longed for. They should be annual and once only per year………if they were frequent, then they wouldn’t be special. If we had weekends away, city breaks, restaurant outings nilly willy then what do you do for a treat? What do you look forward to if you do all those things any way? If you do all of those things, what makes a holiday special?

 I never went on holiday anywhere until I met Dearly Beloved, it was certainly something I never did with my parents and unfortunately couldn’t afford to so with my own children. I now reflect on how incredibly wealthy I am that I have a week away every year. I reflect on the luxurious food I’ve eaten, that I’ve been warm and dry when the weather wasn’t so good.

 I’ve reflected on my incredible loving relationship with DB and how lucky he and I are to have a week to ourselves. It’s amazing just to have hours of silence and just read together. I can cycle for miles, not discussing the route before hand, knowing he’s somewhere behind me.

 Our week’s holiday including the ferry, insurance, diesel, mobile home rent and spending money has been just under £1000. That is an enormous amount of money, that in all honesty should have gone to pay off another K of my mortgage capital. We had to save hard for this holiday and if we hadn’t been as careful as we had been, then we would not have been able to afford it at all.

 My souvenir of this holiday will be the blog pages I’ve written and the photographs we’ve taken. The greatest part of my week away will be those just before going to sleep conversations where we reminisce about our week in Carnac.

 It’s just been a proper old fashioned ‘rent a caravan by the seaside’ kind of holiday but I wouldn’t have it any other way………..other than having my son and daughter with me, but they’ve long grown out of going any where with mum.

 I’ve got a lot to thank DB for. Thanks for dismantling pallets so we saved money on kindling, thanks for chopping wood so we didn’t need to run any central heating, thanks for having the fire lit early so I could dry the washing on wet winter days, thanks for taking a flask and sandwiches to work every day, thanks for turning the lights out and taking short showers. Thanks for selling stuff on ebay so we had money for car tax and insurance. Thanks for being my very own money saving expert.

 I’ll end with some un-frugal food, but still cheaper than eating out. Arm and a leg Auray strawberries from the market, with egg custard. Big plate of salad with a goat’s cheese pizza.

Every year, I think this is the best holiday ever! Again, this is the best holiday ever. A holiday is important, it’s worth saving for and gives us something to look forward to. There are ways to have a cheap holiday: go in low season, self cater, enjoy the simple pleasures of bike riding and walking, take books to read, craft to do, card games, free wi-fi. You don’t need much when you enjoy what you have, and on any holiday, the most precious thing you have in abundance, is time. This week will top up my ‘lucky to have what I have pot’  for another year. Thanks for sharing it with me. 


a l’annee prochaine , merci  d’etre avec moi pendant me vacance  xxx


Love Froogs xxxx

Day Five of our Frugal Holiday – Shopping in France

 Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve given up totally on the stupid ipad and I’m back on my rusty lumpy ageing laptop and it’s doing a much better job! We needed to get out and about to buy a bit of food today and we cycled up into the old town and went to Lidl. All the canny elderly French people are in there! They know a bargain. For anyone going to France, it’s half the price of SuperU. If I had a larger car, I would stock up on all the goods I buy at home at everything was the same price as in the UK but a Euro costs 80p. Effectively, everything is 20% cheaper. We bought what we needed and then went to the local markets. I took photos of this stunning building. The Cultural Centre. It holds classes, the library and community events. It’s been been built in the last year, in the middle of an economic down turn and says a lot about civic pride or that the French spend money in the way that sent Greece down the tube?

 It’s a stunning building and I noticed children arriving on Saturday with musical instruments, obviously going to classes or clubs. I’m with the French on this one and think that civic amenities are vital for well being.

 Here’s the market, selling amongst the tourist crap, good local food. We paid a kidney and a few pints of blood for some local honey, strawberries and bread. We purposefully seek out Bretagne goods and pay more for them, to compensate for the fact that we bring most of what we need with us. It’s guilt shopping which we appeased for about ten euros.

 We parked the other side of the perfectly kept local cemetery and I had to stop and read the names of the children who lost their lives in WW1. Small people in my prayers xxx

 Here’s the bread, strawberries and honey. I even managed the French to ask for the bread to be sliced – bread is cheap and the two loaves were one euro and seventy cents. They honey was 4.5 euros but it’s local and the strawberries are from Auray, which is just up the road.

 Now onto the cheap food in Lidl – goats cheese pizza were one euro each, the salad 95c, creme caramel and creme aux oeufs were 1.29 each (£1ish) and Bretagne tomatoes were 1.35e and the bag of salad was 95c.

 Finally, you will have noticed that I have been sporting a floral headscarf, it’s really windy and it keeps my hair out of my eyes when I’m on my bike. I don’t advertise but if I like something, then I’ll tell you about it. It’s from a French company called Papa pique et Maman coud. Like Boden, but much cheaper – had a whiff of Kidston too! Look out for their shops in France. Scarf was not cheap!!! 7 euros! but it’ll get good use.

We keep getting heavy showers here – Il pleut de cords and some of our tented neighbours have given up but we’re snug and dry in our mobil home! We’ll go off in the car later and take ourselves to the headland, even if it’s raining, we’ll get out and about for a walk and some sea air.

Until later,

Love Froogs xxxx