Thrifty, the everyday normal?


Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve been oh so frugal recently as I’ve had a lot to put money aside for. Tomorrow, I pick up my new glasses from Asda and yes, I did say Asda. Previously, I bought my glasses from spec savers but when I picked up my last pair and as they were incorrect again, I decided that I’d try elsewhere. Hopefully, they’ll be fine.

I’ve been busy having a deep clean of my ‘utility room’ which is actually the back porch with my laundry in it. I’ve cleaned the mouldy corners, the cobwebby corners and the grubby windows. It’s ready for a coat of paint and I’ll get it done on a dry evening. We sourced exterior paint as it’ll last longer. We do all we can to keep the cottage dry but the 100 year old walls seem to either soak up or retain moisture and the back porch isn’t heated so it gets grubby.

We’re still lighting our fire most evenings and we’re now burning plum tree wood from our neighbour’s tree that was cut down a couple of years ago. I’m still having to dry our laundry indoors now and then and even today, I had to rescue my laundry from the line today as the rain came down and wash finished in front of thestove. 

I broke my frugal fast today as I popped into a local charity shop when I returned from posting a letter and bought a lampshade for £1. Its adds a bit of cheap colour. The old shade will be recycled to France and be put to good use. I’m busy up cycling charity shop curtains into cushion covers that’ll also go with us on our next trip over in a couple of weeks. 

Like you, I upcycle, make do and mend, shop in charity shops and then recycle anything I can or donate on again. I keep an eye on every penny because this is normal, isn’t it?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Thrifty French life


Hello Dear Reader,

We’re still tidying up the back of the house. We had a great discussion with our neighbours on one side, who luckily for us are English teachers (they’re French) and are a bit less shy with us and told us all about the land at the back of our house. They’d been in touch with the mayor and notaire and the owner has long passed away and no inheritor can be found. This is common in France and land and property is just left unowned and houses just rot and fall down. Sometimes, the local council, called the commune, take over the property and then sell it. If you see a pile of stones and a hectare of land being renovated, it’s usually a British family who want a piece of France for about 15,000€. I ask repeatedly why the French don’t do this and just get the answer that they want new houses that are warm and cheap to run.

So, the immediate bit of land behind our house was so over grown that the willow branches were resting on our roof. We had them trimmed back by a local tree surgeon as soon as we bought the house in December 2015. We also had the trees cut down in the garden, then finally, at Easter last year, had the fir trees cut down at the end of the garden. We’ve long since stacked the wood messily in the front garden and finally got round to pulling the willow logs out of the undergrowth behind the house. We’re still cutting back the brambles so the wild flowers can pop up. In the spirit of thriftiness, we’re also collecting sacks of kindling and they’ll be stacked in wooden vegetables crates in the shed.

After lunch, we headed to the outside of Morlaix to the large charity shop called Emmaüs. We are great fans. They sell furniture, household items, bedding, clothing…..i could go on, you get the picture.

People get there early and the crowd are a bit enthusiastic when they open the doors. It’s only open Wednesday and Saturday and they get new donations all the time. The car park and the roadside outside was soon rammed with cars, vans and Brits with roof racks. It’s quite an experience shopping there. You find what you like, find a member of staff who marks it as sold, then you get a ticket. At the end you take your tickets to the pay booth and brace yourself. The man who takes your money: doesn’t like cards and doesn’t like it unless you have the right cash and will give you a complete telling off. Just accept, he’s like that and emmaüs give people the chance to work when no one else would employ them due to a whole loads of personal issues and just take people as you find them.

Glasses – were about 2€ for ten.

Essential escargot serving set. We really love butter and garlic cooked escargot. But we didn’t buy the set.

You cook them on the tray, hold them with springy clampy thingies and pull them out with the little forks. You may well crinkle your nose, I know I did, but we like them. Sadly, a snail eating kit wasn’t on the list! 

Nor were retro pots or coloured glass.

Nor were God, saints or voodoo! 

No tapestry ladies for me.

Oh my, if you like kitsch- you’d be in heaven.

We were sensible and spent our 50€ budget on some pieces of furniture, squished it in the back of the car and drove the thirty minutes home. 

Here’s what we bought. A small sideboard, a hall cupboard, a bedside table and a picture. 44€ in total. Eventually, they’ll it’ll be painted.

So, a thrifty fun day.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx