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


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

He’s the king of frugal.

Hello Dear Reader,

My wonderful DB is a money saving marvel. He’s spent over an hour this evening retrieving what’s left from an old lathe and plaster wall. It’s bone dry wood and it’s been the integral part of an internal wall for over a hundred years. It’s going to the tip tomorrow so we’ve helped ourselves. Yes, it was offered to us.

It’s a funny way to spend his free time but that’s what he’s like. The log basket is always full, there’s always kindling, we’re never cold and he saves us a fortune. 

He also rescued cupboard doors and structural uprights too that he’s already sawn into logs and I’m burning some as I type.

The greatest thing we do to save money is stick to our principles together. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx 

The sun sets on another thrifty week

Hello Dear Reader,

One success and one fail. Totally failed on reaching 10,000 steps a day and I ate the right food in the right amounts for five out of the six days. Lost 3lbs, but first weeks are always good.

Moving swiftly onto the successes. We had wood delivered last Sunday and got it stacked away. That’s all the heating and laundry drying paid for right into next winter. We should start getting warmer weather soon. We’ve wrangled a few pallets from the industrial estate to chop down into kindling.

We had a few too many logs that are a bit big so we’ve bagged them up in readiness to take them to Huelgoat to keep us warm when we get there. We’ll also chop up some bags of kindling to take with us. It’s sounds like a petty saving but a bag of kindling can cost £3 and we’d get through £1 of kindling a day. That’ll add up!

As the sun goes down on another lovely week it’s been a no spend week other than fuel for the car and Lidl for basic top up shop and money has stayed in the bank!

We have to start packing this weekend as its two weeks before we go back to Huelgoat. I hope you’re there in spirit with me.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

Love Froogs xxxx

Welcome to Frugal Queen’s new home!


Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve moved. If you’ve found me without me giving you any clues then well done! Life in all it’s thriftiness/ish has continued. Hopefully, there won’t be the problems with commenting or who can read the comments that my previous format had issues with.

We’ve had the usual week of doing our very best to not spend any money! I capitulated and bought new work shoes. I could have carried on with the shoes I had but they were looking decidedly down at heel and I have a professional role and should look so too. Quite rightly so, nonetheless, I searched online with Clarks, found the shoes were half price(reduced to £22.50)  and had them sent free of charge to the local shop where I could try them on and then pay for them if I liked them. I did and now I look smart and professional again but for half the price.


More thriftiness throughout the week. We’re eating very simply. Lots of meals where I cook once and then we eat that for lunch for the next few days too. There was a lot of turkey cottage pie, carrots and broccoli this week but it kept us going. Some weeks, it’s soups, this week it was mince and mash. I don’t mind and it saved thinking about lunch for most of the week. I could tell you about how we don’t eat out, don’t eat takeaways, don’t eat ready made food but then you know that. I succumbed to a £2.25 pack of Sainsbury’s sushi of Friday as I needed a ‘lunch on the run’ as I had a lunch time opticians appointment. I’m studying a lot recently so bought some single vision lens glasses and bought some from their cheapest £25 including the lens as it’s not great to sit in front of a screen for hours with my vari-focals. Totting that little lot up this week…..£49.75 makes a hole in our savings but some things, with the exception of £2.25 on sushi, are needs must!


The sun came out today and didn’t it make a difference! My furry friends had another trip by car in their dog carriers. Very little moaning from them today and they settled really quickly. Normally, they have the back seat to themselves so they are doing well to be contained and in their little crates. We went to Hannafore beach at Looe which is enough of a drive for the dogs to have ‘crate training’ but a treat for them at the end as they love to get their paws in the sand.

We’re being proper tightwads this month as we’re saving for the wood burner in our Huelgoat home. I always install a wood burner where ever we go. It’s a massive initial investment but it soon pays for itself. It’s much cheaper to get the work done there than here as it’s so much more common to have one as the sole source of heating in your home. Ours here is a dinky 5KW stove but there it will be a 12KW monster to heat the whole house and will be the sole source of heating and clothes drying. The downstairs is open plan and the stair case is open tread so the heat will circulate. (Modern wood stoves have a double burn system so they’re virtually smoke free and not sending particles into the air. Wood is also carbon neutral and renewable.)

Here, we also need to pay for next years wood that gets delivered tomorrow and will see us through next winter. I always buy it a year in advance and stack it away what’s more, I always stock up when I’ve been paid as a form of security as I always feel better when the bills are paid and this is sort of our heating bill.

Not much else to report this week. Although it’s a delight to drive to work and back in the day light, see the daffodils in the gardens and hedgerows and there’s also a glimmer of blossom here and there.

So, from trying our best not to spend any money to me blowing money on work shoes, glasses and sushi……it’s been an expensive week. Note to self: must try harder next week!

I hope you leave a comment, even if just to say hello, tell us about your thrifty week or what you think of the new format.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx



Laying down a fine vintage

Hello Dear Reader,
It’s been a day of preparation. I’ve cooked for the week ahead of three pots of veggie stew for my lunch, bacon and cheese quiche, flapjacks for lunch boxes, beef casserole and a pork casserole. All very simple or dull as is your opinion but it’s cooked and in the fridge or freezer and ready to be eaten. 
The laundry is done and as it hasn’t stopped raining since October, it’s all dried in front of the wood stove. Which brings me to thinking of investing in wood. I was reading Sue’s blog over at Our new life in the country where she and her husband have plans to manage their own woodland to be sustainable for the future. More and more people are choosing to heat and cook with wood. If any of you have concerns about smoke and dust emissions most stoves are ‘smokeless’ with a double burn system where the wood burns and the wood gases burn as well. It means that the glass door doesn’t soot up and there’s barely any soot in the chimney when it’s swept.
We’ve bought wood in France……a lot of wood. It’s much cheaper there so we’ve bought five cubic metres of split beech and oak. It’ll be in our garden when we get there. We found our supplier through leboncoin which is a for sale website similar to freeads. Plenty of people make their entire living from wood and most homes there heat with wood as there’s no gas other than bottled gas. Below is one of the wood supplier’s sheds. Often, farmers do this as part of their job as they manage their own woodland. 

I’m talking wood again as we’ve had a big heart to heart about France. We had hoped to get loads done this year but we’ve had a reality check of our capabilities and personal strengths. DB is great at the essentials and I’m great at making a house a home. However, we are determined to work within a tight budget which means we have to be patient. The house is bought and paid for, it’s watertight and secure and we’ve got safe electrics. What we don’t have or want is a money pit. We’d had plans to build pathes (which actually means moving ten tonnes of sand and gravel by wheel barrow just to build the patio) build walls indoors and paint the house externally. All those things can wait.
Once we’d decided that, we felt a whole lot better, especially financially. It’ll give us time to save up again and do the work next year. 
And breathe……….
So, a good vintage? Like our wood that we’ve bought for the long term, the house is going to be a long term project. We could break into savings but I just don’t want us to be in an awkward financial position. 
And when we get there, we’ll be warm and toasty.
Until tomorrow,
Love Froogs xxxxxx

Keeping wood heating costs down

Hello Dear Reader,
Everone’s a winner! Our neighbour’s tree shadows our garden and neighbour’s gardens on either side as well. We asked our immediate neighbour if we could have his over grown plum tree cut down and if we could have the logs. He didn’t mind in the least. We have masses of logs and three times as many as you can see here, about half a log shed full.  Added he photo of all the logs this morning. The larger logs need to dry for a week, then I’ll split them. The smaller logs will dry without being split. The logs will be split and stored for next year, fruit wood is really great firewood that burns evenly and slowly. 
        M.           M 

Everyone is happy. We all have more light in our gardens, we have a pile of cheap fire wood. My log man came and took the tree down, cut it into logs and took away all the spindly branches which he put through the chipper for mulch. He charged us £90 for all his work. As we’ve got half a shed full of logs, everyone was happy for £45. My neighbour is happy because no one is complaining about his oversized tree, the other neighbours, including us have light in our gardens all day which makes such a difference. 
Thank you everyone for your good wishes for our house in Brittany. It’s currently a bit sad, scruffy, dusty and overgrown. It’ll take some time, effort, few trips to the ‘depot vente’ and lots of scrubbing but as it only cost 1/10th of what it would cost if it were in the UK, then we’re happy to put in the hard graft. You will be most welcome to pop in for coffee or to rent it very cheaply when we’re not there and you’ll be equally welcome to take your dog too, just as we will when we stay there. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxx