Feed me I’m tired! 

Hello Dear Reader,

We’ve pushed ourselves hard today and set a deadline for getting this round of renovations complete. We had some pine trees down when we bought the house and the logs have sat in the garden for 18 months. I don’t want to burn them as the resin can damage a flue liner. However, stored for three years in the dry, they are fine and won’t damage a chimney. We offered the ‘green wood’ on Facebook and today, the loveliest couple came with a big van and took it all away. We helped them load their van and found out that they have lots of land where they season wood until they need it. They left us a nice bottle of wine, they have plenty of wood for a few years in the future and our garden is much tidier. It’s always great to meet new people.

As soon as they’d gone, we went back to painting. New plasterboard soaks up paint and it took for coats of paint to get an even finish. We bought Dulux over with us from the UK as French paint is so much more expensive. Tomorrow, I’ll buy some stain to paint the stairs to match the other woodwork in the house. 

We do bits and bobs then get out and about. I’ll do out and about tomorrow and I’m excited about going to Emmaus.

After loads of work, I needed good old fashioned comfort food and made Corned beef hash

To make this:

6 medium potatoes- chopped and boiled until just soft.

3 onions sliced and fried in two tbsp of oil until soft.

1 tin of corned beef, cut into cubes.

Add the cooked potatoes to the pan of fried onions.

Resist the urge to turn, allow it to catch and crash slightly.

Add the chopped corned beef and mix, pat down and continue to cook.

Don’t stir and allow it to crisp.

Cook the top half by placing the pan under a hot grill.

Serve with steamed veggies. Eat, put your feet us and have an early night before all the hard work starts again tomorrow.

We are getting there but soon we’ll have two fully renovated bedrooms, stairs and third floor hallway.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx


Wood heating in France

Hello Dear Reader,

We had our firewood delivered today and the farmer just tipped it by our garden gate which I knew he would. Next, we threw it log by log into our garden no of course it got warmer and warmer. I don’t mind any sort of weather except wind, no one likes that. I’ve a shed full of logs to shlep up the garden, up the steps, round the side, then the back of our house and into our shed where it needs stacking. 

We are surrounded by forests in Brittany and wood is the main source of heating in rural areas. It’s reasonably priced and we bought wood that was cut three years ago, dried and stored in an airy barn. It’s dry and ready to use. I bought over a tonne. 

I enjoy the whole process of heating with wood: it’s prepayment so I can be warm and dry our clothes and not worry about cost, it smells lovely, it’s great exercise and it’s carbon neutral. We had a lovely surprise when the neighbour’s visiting teenage grandchildren came out to help us throw the logs into the garden, how charming. 

It’ll take me a while to move it all over a few days as well as aching muscles but it’ll be worth it to have a well stocked wood shed. I’m off to limber up and then move some wood. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Keep warm and watch the pennies.

Hello Dear Reader,

This year, I had to make the choice between heating my house or having a holiday. I chose pain free warmth. I still have to watch the budget. As gas and electricity prices increased, I had to make larger monthly direct debit payments all year to put money aside for the cold winter months. This might seem like a big expense but my previously painful winters have taught me that I need to be warm.

I budget by having savings so I can afford to buy two tonnes of logs each winter. The logs and the winter gas bill would pay for my ferry to France but I can no longer cope with the joint pain that winter brings me so I’ll forsake a holiday for the sake of being pain free throughout the winter. Now, all that being said there are plenty of ways that I keep the house warm. To start, we made the most of virtually free home insulation and had the loft insulated and the cavity walls insulated which saves us a mass of money. Next, I use thermal linings in my curtains which create a triple glazing effect when they are closed.

Our wood burner chimney is central and internal so it actually heats four rooms of an eight room house. When we are about to go to bed, we fill the stove up with logs and put our clothes racks into the lounge (away from the fire for safety) and make the most of the cost of the logs. On weekdays, we don’t get home until six pm and have the fire lit until nine pm so we make the logs we have last. We also save on the heating bill by only having the central heating on from 5.50-6.30 so the house is just warm but not heated. At the weekends, we have the fire lit by four in the evening so we don’t run the central heating at all then.

On cold days, it’s certainly warming to come home to a hot meal and I make really good use of my slow cooker to ensure we always have something ready when we get in. Some times, I cook four meals and we have the same again on the following day which saves on energy costs. Some times, I’ll only have a small piece of meat and I’ll add that to soup the next day.

A staple here, all throughout the winter is soup. I love all kinds of smooth vegetable soup and chunky minestrone too. I’ll make a big pot to last us a few days and we’ll take some to work for lunch too.

I’m a big fan of scrappy quilting and every bed here has an extra layer of a home made quilt on it. Some, like this one are random and use the bits and bobs of fabric that I’m given. Those warm quilts mean we have no heat through out the night and none in the morning either. We get by.

We also use my home made quilts on the backs of chairs and the sofa so we have the insulation around us when we’re sat watching TV or reading. If just gives us another layer and keeps any draughts away from our backs.

Finally, and the obvious is that we wrap up really warmly in our house. I’m wearing two pairs of socks, and two jumpers and I always have on a base layer of a tee shirt or two under my clothes. I’m in my office and sitting in just the residual warmth and I’m not cold and if I get cold, I’ll go for a warm up in front of the fire.

I truly feel for anyone reading this who is feeling the cold in what seems like the longest winter I can remember! Share your ideas on heating? Would you freeze for a holiday? Are you cold just so you can pay the rent or mortgage? Who else is rationing the gas and electricity? Go on, let it out and have a good moan. I feel much better for having mine.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxx

Keeping warm cheaply

Hi everyone,

I’ve been working late over the last few days but managed to pop into Lidl to pick up some bargains. I bought a lovely pair of walking boots from a local charity shop this year and I’ll be out in all weathers so I look out for thick warm socks. They are not cheap! I also wear socks indoors, along with slippers as I can’t abide having cold feet. I picked up two pairs of thick fleecy socks in Lidl for £1.99. I bought the purple ones. I’ll also get some for my daughter as a present. Socks and undies are some of the few things that I buy new.

If you have a store close to you, you may be able to grab a few pairs but be quick as at these prices, they’ll be marching out the door!

Love, a cosy footed Froogs xx