Renovating in France on a budget 


Hello Dear Reader,

Today, I’ve given the bedroom walls two coats of white emulsion, sanded the skirting boards and given then two coats of eggshell. Scrubbed down the shower room walls and given them the first coat of paint. My thrifted side tables have had a third coat of paint too. We have painting to finish but it’s all just tidying from now onwards.

We want to get all the major jobs done by the end of the day tomorrow so we can get onto the fun easy parts. There’s snagging to do but a massive day of work has made such a difference. We’re also pleased that we’ve kept costs to an absolute minimum.

DB fitted the balustrade today that he’d previously painted. Everything needs a light sand and a final coat of paint. He has lights to fit, doors to hang and we have to move furniture around and tidy. We’ve got to keep going even though I’m fed up of renovations and just want to go out and visit about five places I’ve got on my list. Fortunately, none of them are going anywhere so I can save the for trips in the future. 

When I look at the photo above, I marvel at everything he’s done: cutthe hole in the floor, customised the stairs to fit, built the stairs, built the wall and built the balustrades. DB – you are a star! I am so proud of you xxx

It’s slow going but we are getting there.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Cheap renovation project in France 


Hello Dear Reader,

We’re cracking on with the renovations. It will be finished in a couple of days…….famous last words. I don’t enjoy this bit. It’s noisy, dirty and we get dirty and tired. We try and do as much as we can each day but don’t like to make noise into the evening as this is such a quiet village. I also like to clean thoroughly each evening so it’s not a mess to wake up to.

We take our time, have a lunch break and take the dogs out for plenty of walks. After lunch, we sat and read outside in the sunshine. 

This room will be a guest room for family and friends and it will be insulated and warm. I’ll go to the charity shops next week to buy furniture that I can upcycle. The weather has been cool today which is perfect DIY weather. I’ve no idea how much money we’ve saved by doing the work ourselves. It’s been great fun doing this together,I hold the board in place and DB secures it. I do the insulating. It doesn’t have to be neat as it’ll be covered by plaster board on either side. It’s another skill we’ve learnt out of money saving necessity.

Tonight, we’ll watch a movie, have a glass of wine and just enjoy the peace.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

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

Heaven on earth.

Liskeard has been in chaos today. It’s not helped when incompetent numpties decide to dig up all of the roads on the same day, in the middle of the school holidays when tourists venture into Liskeard to get a bit of shopping. Old Road, is being patched. West St is being patched and the Parade is getting a new water main. So that’s it! Liskeard is officially closed and those of us who live here can’t get out either! It’s a good job then that I actually live in Shangri-la!

We cut back a lot of dead shrubs at the weekend, which means Bobby Dazzler can see next door’s garden and he’s already tried to limbo his tiny frame under the fence. We’ve had to use what we have, a few bits of wire mesh and some floorboards to block his route to freedom. He’s not happy today as I put him on the lead in the garden and he can’t understand why he’s not free to snuffle in the borders as he normally does. Dearly Beloved has fortified the garden tonight and the dogs are free to wander in all they survey.
Everything is growing! Courgettes and Butternut Squash is thriving. I didn’t label them so I can’t tell which is which until/if they grow fruit.
Spuds and blooming with lovely purple flowers and looking promisingly productive………we may get spuds soon!
The currant bushes don’t promise us any fruit this year but they are bushy and beautiful.
The beans in a bag are shinning up their poles and the onions are filling their pots.
The strawberries are growing strawberries…………not that I needed to have bothered. The wild strawberries are all over my garden, the street, the hedges, the park and have spots of tiny red everywhere that I have walked today. Although red, they are not ripe yet.
The carrots are bushy and need thinning again!
The lupins and rhododendrons are just heavenly and I love the colour.
I’ve walked the dogs twice today, I sat in the garden and read and was happy to go no where but my own garden and I really live in heaven on earth.

Stoveside Pottering!

Here is my rhubarb crop! I cut it as new stems seem to want to grow. It’s not much but I only planted it this year. I made a crumble and we ate it with ice cream and it was delicious.
As it was a bank holiday I though we’d treat ourselves to ‘tea’. The cream was half price in the Co-op, the jam was on offer and I made the scones, which did not turn out as well as they normally do……..I didn’t get the oven hot enough before I put them in.
It was all finished off with a chocolate cake. It’s half term and I’m expecting visitors and they’ll be well treated when they get here. I never buy cake and I don’t like ‘shop cake’ which always seems so dry and full of chemicals. Baking is truly one of life’s most wonderful pleasures, so quick and the rewards and wonderful.

It’s been a quiet bank holiday. We’ve gardened and managed to make a dent in the weeding and we’ve caught up on the housework. Mostly we’ve done nothing……..sat on the deck………….watched the clouds………….drunk tea…………eaten chocolate cake………..it’s not a bad life.