Sunshine, sunbathing and snoozing 


Hello Dear Reader,

The sun came out this afternoon and we just sat and read in the garden. We have plenty to do but we’re just taking a couple of days off first. We went to the supermarket this morning to get what we needed and had to be judicious and well planned as food prices are really high and we’ll need to menu plan just as we normally do. Anything gluten free is hugely expensive so I’m going to eat carb free for a while.

The fluffies get hot easily so we always sit in the shade or make shade for them. I didn’t read much and fell asleep in the sun. 

I’m going to be busy tomorrow with pasties and cream teas at our place for friends. A bit of Cornwall in Huelgoat. I had to hunt for swedes which are essential for pasties and beef skirt is bavette steak and really expensive here but it’ll all be worth it when they’re made.

Here’s our lazy, easy supper of ham salad that we ate in the garden.


I tried to make gluten free scones but the flour I had was just cornflour so they were more cakes than scones. I’ve been told where I can buy gluten free flour nearby and I’ll get something me better flour tomorrow.


This was the flour I used today and I’ll use it up in cakes or brownies so I can be sociable and have something nice to offer with tea or coffee.

Until tomorrow 

Love Froogs xxxxx

Lazy day in Brittany 


Hello Dear Reader,

It’s day one and  at at home at one pm this afternoon,  I didn’t know which day it was. It’s been a very lazy day of dog walking, coffee drinking, a bit of gardening and unpacking and tidying. It’s so very quiet here, no roaring A38, no busy car park outside our front room, no cars parked by my  bedroom window just birds in the forests and not a lot else. 


The dogs have slept and slept and I’ve just pottered about. We’ve caught up with friends and a massive thanks to Simon and Suzie for cooking supper for us last light. They are wonderful dog rescuers with 19 dogs who live in rural doggy heaven along with rescued chickens, rabbits, donkeys and cats. It’s a very friendly menagerie with very good food.

Work starts tomorrow when we go off to Brico depot to buy wood, plasterboard for our next stud wall, then whilst DB builds, I’ll be painting. The sooner we get the work done, the sooner we can relax.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Huelgoat


Hello Dear Reader,

We arrived very late last night after a rough crossing and I  felt particularly sick. I’m better after a night’s sleep and dry toast cures everything.  Not going to do much today, watch the last day of the Tour de France and some slow and steady unpacking. Lunch is a cottage pie I brought with us and dinner tonight is courtesy of lovely friends who’ve invited us.

We’re aiming to get out walking tomorrow, rain or shine!

Today, is just about getting our breath back.

See you tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Save money on holiday medical costs 

                      

Hello Dear Reader,

We first went on holiday to France in 2005, we had phrase book French and I got mild food poisoning. No sympathy needed as I was campsite cooking and may not have chilled something well enough. We found out to our cost that you can’t get anything medically stronger than a herbal teabag anywhere but a pharmacy. Also, you can’t just walk in, pick up meds and walk out and when you’ve made yourself understood then you won’t get them cheap either.

Don’t get ‘caught out’ like I did. Now, we save money by taking a few basic medical supplies…..just in case. Most of these are off the shelf and really cheap, not to mention small and lightweight to pack and take with us.

We take: first aid kit, pain killers, sprain bandages, antacids, migraine pills, anti- diarrhoea tablets, antihistamines (pills and sting cream) in fact an array of Mede we could need. Most have two year use by dates and I have them at home. We pay for our prescriptions and none of the meds costs more than a couple of pounds a go. We get a lot of meds in Poundland.  Everything neatly fits into an old plastic lunch box. 

You can pare this down and take half packs or just two or three items that are most important to you. An old makeup bag would squeeze into the car glove compartment and be a great place to keep them when you’re on your French holiday. There’s nothing worse than getting poorly whilst on holiday but it’d be a comfort to know some meds are at hand. 

Over to you Dear Reader, who else takes a meds pack on holiday (if you keep one at home, of course…..you may not) and does it save you money?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Renting a cheap gite in France

gite holiday

Hello Dear Reader,

In 2015, when we were house hunting in France, we rented a gite for the first time and wondered why we’d never done so before. Previously, we’d camped (heck! that is not for me!), rented a mobile home on a French campsite for several years and rented a holiday apartment on the beach in Southern Brittany. I’d never thought of a gite, which is the French word for a rural rental property. We in fact, rented the gite above and utterly loved the experience.

When we rented a caravan, we loved the proximity to the beach but never really liked the noise even though the site we stayed on was much quieter in comparison to others we’d stayed on. When we rented the apartment, right on the beach it was great and much cheaper than caravan but the noise of the road wasn’t to our liking. If you ever rent a beach apartment, get one a few streets away from the beach so it’s quieter.

Back to the gite. If you know the area you want to visit then just use Google to search for a gite in that area. You will come up with a multitude of sites and with patience, you can find a good deal. If you are travelling at peak season, then you will pay a premium but off season, you will get a really good price. We paid 200 euros  for the autumn half term week and the weather was amazing and we really benefited from having a garden and quiet outdoor seating. You will also be able to communicate directly with the owners and many gites are British owned. We paid 250 euros for the Christmas week when we went back again, Christmas is usually more expensive

Here’s the link to my review of the gite we stayed in “Cheap Holiday review”

It’s a very competitive market and gite owners are more than happy to provide extra services and sometimes you can negotiate extra services at no extra cost. Some will charge extra for bedding and towels, cleaning services or a welcome basket. You can choose to have these or save money and take your own and leave it clean when you leave. However, you can try to negotiate renting, especially off-peak for a cheaper price or the above services in with the price. Personally, we took what we needed and saved out money.

Gites can be money saving because everything is in the house so you won’t need to take anything. The gite we rented had board games, a TV with French and British TV, shelves of DVDs, CDs to listen to music, book shelves where guests were encouraged to leave any books they’d read and jigsaws. In the rooms, there were baby gates, travel cots, high chair all folded in the corner so a family could just use them. In the shed was a washer and dryer and bikes that we could borrow. There were even garden games. A gite is often someone’s second home and they’re happy it can be used when they are not there and it’s far more homely than a basic holiday apartment.

They are great for an off season break and have good heating, usually a wood burner with access to logs (that a usually an extra cost but very reasonably priced in most of France) and gite owners even go to the trouble of decorating for Christmas and having the place warm when you arrive.

I can’t recommend it enough, it’s a really relaxing place for families and the gite we stayed in would sleep eight, or more as you pay for the gite and not how many people stay there. Ours had sofa beds, extra bedding available and could have hosted an entire family quite comfortably.

Here are some gite sites that you can investigate for yourself

https://www.gites-de-france.com/recherche/location-vacances-huelgoat-29081.html

Gites de France – Finistere

Gites in Brittany

This is not a sponsored post but I’d wish I’d rented a gite and I could have driven to the beach and got back to somewhere quiet and rural and had the best of both worlds. I learned what I liked in the end which was a bit of quiet.

I’ll be back with more holiday money saving thoughts tomorrow,

Until then

Love Froogs xxx

Save money on a self catering holiday

Hello Dear Reader,

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Huelgoat Market

 

I’ll be blogging about this all week. It’ll help me get ready for going away for the summer.

When we get on the ferry in the summer, the atmosphere is palpable. Families have saved all year and for most of the travellers, that two weeks is the only holiday the family will have. Many are laden with everything they need, from tents, boats, bikes and others have two suitcases full of clothes in the boot. Many families are travelling in convoy with extended family, siblings, all the children and three dogs. They may well be going to self catering accommodation in France, which can be found very reasonably if you do your research and find a good deal. Many gites will take pets which will save you hundreds of pounds in dog minding fees and they are family members and it’s great to go on holiday with them.

So, here’s five frugal things to do or take with you to save money on a self catering holiday.

 

Choose inland accommodation instead of coastal. This will save you a lot of money if you are travelling in a larger group. You will be able to find a cheap studio beach side apartment in the school holidays if you’re a couple or just a family with two children and no pets. If you want to go in a group, take your pets and have plenty of space then rent inland. An hour from the coast will be the cheapest.

 

Take food with you for the first couple of days. You might not have any idea where you are, where the supermarkets are, what time the cafes open or know when the shops do and don’t open. In our village, the shops open Sunday morning but some of them, along with the bank, are closed on Mondays. Take a cool box with easy to cook food: bacon, eggs, butter, bread, squash for the kids to drink, biscuits, snack, some crisps, a homemade quiche or cake wrapped in foil, so you’ve got something ready when you get there. Pack a couple of litres of UHT milk, teabags and coffee so, you can open the door and make yourselves a drink when you get there. If you’ve just driven miles, you’ll be glad of it.

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Take plenty to keep yourselves and the kids amused: books, games, jigsaws, cards, a laptop loaded with films will mean you can have ‘down time’ without having to add in the expense. You may not want to go out every day and you can buy most of the above in charity shops. I take a jigsaw every time, it’s daft to think as an adult but I find it relaxing on a warm evening to sit with this on a garden table as it’s light a warm until 10pm.

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Research where the cheaper supermarkets are such as Lidl or Netto. Simply search Lidl.fr, or Netto.fr and use the search to find them near you. They are the cheapest supermarkets in France and are especially good for fresh produce.

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French markets are not very cheap! They mainly sell the best of local produce, which is nice to buy but not if you’re on a budget. Supermarkets are cheaper and budget supermarkets even cheaper again. Also, don’t drastically change your shopping habits. I never see the point in having a self catering option and then eating out every day. You have the facilities so shop for a few days at a time and meal plan in just the same way.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more money saving ideas for self catering holidays in France. Now, if you always self cater with or without a passport and never leave your home country, here’s your chance to share those self catering ideas for holidays. What do you take with you so you don’t have to rush off and shop immediately? What do you do to save money on your holiday?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

 

Tips on how to make your money stretch the entire month

piggy bank

Hello Dear Reader,

Do you find yourself counting down the days (or maybe even hours!) until payday? Sometimes our pay packets can’t come soon enough, especially if we’re faced with paying for an emergency such as a broken down car, bill from out of the blue or home repair.

Indeed, that’s why many people panic and turn to payday loans. These are short-term financial products that carry a big interest rate and, therefore, if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into you could end up paying a lot back (see this guide for more details).

Ideally, you’d avoid the need to turn to such an expensive form of lending in the first place. If you can make your money stretch the whole month, you’ll avoid that pre-payday panic and the need to borrow at eye-wateringly high interest rates. But, how can you do this? Here are some top tips to take on board:

Have a spending audit

How much money do you spend every month on essentials such as your bills or groceries? Until you know this you’ll find it difficult to accurately plan out your finances. Go back through your last three bills and make a note of every regular expense you have. This should give you clarity in two ways: you’ll know how much money you have left over after all of the essentials are paid for and you’ll be able to note when all of your bills come out of your account.

Look to cut your regular spend

After you’ve done this, you should look to see if there are any ways to improve the way your finances look. Could you cut any of those bills by switching to another provider? Are there any subscriptions or memberships that you could axe completely? (As a nation we waste a lot on gym memberships). Any money you can save here will free up extra cash to boost your spending pot for the month.

 Split your cash into a weekly spending limit

Once that’s all done then it’s time to split your disposable income into four equal chunks. This should give you a weekly spending limit and help you to avoid blowing it all on shopping or meals out in the first week of the month. Clearly, life isn’t always as neat as that but if you over spend in the first week then you should adjust your weekly budget from there so that you know to rein things in for the rest of the month.

Create a rainy day fund

What if things go wrong? No matter what you plan, something can always come along and throw you off course. That’s why it pays to have a rainy day fund. Set aside a little pot of money that you can easily tap into – maybe in an easy-access savings account – and turn to this if an expense comes at you from out of the blue. Even a small amount could be extremely useful and lessen the blow. If you’ve ever got a little bit of your spending money left at the end of the month it makes sense to pop this in your rainy day fund so it will help to ensure your money stretches further in months when money is tighter.

Keep a calendar of big events

Some things really shouldn’t be a surprise to us. Birthdays of family and friends, for example, or wedding anniversaries happen on the same day each year yet how many times have you forgotten until it’s too late and then be left short of cash? Put these dates, along with that of Fathers Day and Mothers Day into a calendar along with any other key events that you need to be aware of, so that you can plan ahead.

Learn how to use your overdraft

Spending more money than you have in your current account can prove costly if you’re not careful. However, an agreed overdraft limit with a bank that has low fees and charges for this can ensure that your overdraft offers you something to dip into in an emergency. As long as you appreciate that an overdraft is a form of debt – and understand the cost involved – this could be a part of a sensible money management plan. This is best used for short term necessities and is not best when used repeatedly but can be very useful when used to your advantage.

Here’s just a few ideas from me, but feel free to add some more yourselves. I love hearing from you all.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx

Sponsored post – as usual, all my opinions are my own.

Saving money on hair care.

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a hair cut and DB and I went for hair cuts yesterday in our local salon. I used to get it professionally coloured every four weeks and I stopped that in July last year so I have a year’s growth. It’s odd that I felt compelled to colour it for so long  but then it’s odd what women feel socially compelled to do. Men still don’t dye their hair and just go grey.

On the TV you’ll see male and female presenters and she’ll have her hair dyed and he’ll happily be grey. My grey hair is not me ‘giving up dying it’, it’s me being me. Oh, and I’ll keep hold of the £416 a year I was paying to get it coloured as well as the £5 a time tip, adding another £65 (£481) to that. I’ll spend that money on something a lot more fun than keeping up appearances.

So dear female readers, I’m not being brave, radical, subversive as this is just my natural state. Humans age and some of them go grey, white or lose their hair and that’s ok. We don’t have to have the follicular appearance of youthful hair as we are good enough as we are.

You can imagine what I spent the money I saved on…………I sneaked in an extra trip to France mid-term at the end of May, beginning of June, bought an French armoire, some beautiful lamps for my bedroom, a room sized rug, some lovely wine and  entertained friends to a lovely supper. All with the money I saved.

So your hair, my hair, anyone’s hair/appearance/looks is their own and they can do as they please with it! We age and if anyone doesn’t like it, then they can spend a fortune and hours fight it. Me? I’m just going to own it!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx

 

Long term finances

             

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m a plodder, a slow burner, a long timer, a waiter, a watcher and I’m proud of it! I’m a dull saver who puts off purchasing something for years and years. I keep looking at my bathroom and kitchen and know it could do with replacing and know that both will do in the meantime. I go through my wardrobe and check clothes I’ve worn and worn and could replace but know they’ll do fine. 

You see, I play the long slow game. I know I can’t have all the free time and freedom that some people crave as my life right now is all about work and my career. You can have income or time but you can’t have both. Whilst you’re busy working, a big financial mistake is to pay for convenience: dry cleaning instead of gently laundering delicate clothes by hand, buying ready made food or take always instead of having home cooked food in the freezer, buying new clothes instead of bringing clothes out of storage and making a few alterations or making decisions based on convenience. 

The long slow game requires patience and means I have to be content with my lot for a long time. I have weeks and years of amusing myself, of being at home, of not spending any money, looking at the same household items and on the surface, to the untrained eye living a very simple life. The long term is all about being as financially secure as possible in an uncertain world. 

When I calculate savings, I know it’s going to take years to get to a level of security: without a mortgage, with a pension fund, with an investment property and to stop investing in any of those is fiscally irresponsible when I’m perfectly capable of earning and saving. Unchecked spending, falling off the financial band wagon or being impetuous will sabotage the long game. That’s why I’m a plodder. I stick at it resolutely and keep going. 

So whether you’re trying to pay off debt, save money, build an emergency savings fund, save for a car or house deposit just keep at it. Select a lower gear, slow down and take it easy as this is going to take time……a very long time. Be patient, don’t expect anything but instrinsic rewards of knowing you’re doing the right thing in the long run. 

Just keep going.

Now over to you. Are you a proud plodder who will get there in the end?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Feed bellies not bins

Hello Dear Reader,

British supermarkets always have what you want! The consequences of this is over stock and waste. Ever wonder why food is so expensive, that’ll be because they factor in that waste. Then, at the end of the day, food gets thrown away. Across the country The Real Junk Food Project gets that perfectly edible and safe food and cooks it for the community. In Liskeard, they run a pop up restaurant every week at the scout hut and in other pop areas around the south west. We haven’t made to any before as they are on week days. However, the first Sunday of every month, at The Bread and Roses community pub, Ebrington street, Plymouth, they have a pop up restaurant.

The pub is owned and run by the community and it’s very popular with families and we went for the first time.

There were vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options and everything was delicious.

You pay as you feel and give any donation you want. 

I had curry, sag aloo gobi, chicken dansa and carrot pakoras. It was utterly delicious, homemade and healthy. It was wonderful.

Here’s our lunches and drinks. 

We are everything and loved it.

Dessert was heavenly. Raw vegan cappuccino cheesecake, fruit tarts, chocolate tart, bread and butter pudding and strawberries. 

The vegan cheesecake had a coconut cream topped with cocoa and nuts. The base was made from energy bars probably on a short expiry date. Nothing wasted here.

Look at these these little fruit tarts.

Here’s our desserts. Weren’t we spoilt? 

Strawberries are wonderful at any time.

Well done to the Real Junk Food project for everything they do. Thanks to The Bread and Roses for hosting the event. There was a lovely family and community atmosphere and you can pay what ever you like. Look out for the Real Junk Food Project in your area, it saves waste, creates a real community buzz and feeds bellies, not bins!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx