Our frugal life at Shoestring Cottage #5frugalthings

I haven’t blogged as much as usual this month. Life has been really busy. So what has been happening at Shoestring Cottage? We are still living a frugal life but having lots of fun too!

A short break

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Sea Palling

We finally had our two night stay in Norfolk. It was Mr S’s Christmas present from last year. We had to use it before it expired. We chose a place close to Hickling Broad called Dairy Barns, which was absolutely gorgeous. If you are ever in the county I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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It was immaculately renovated, completely spotless and in a lovely area. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful, greeting us with a pot of tea and two huge slices of cake. They also gave us lots of information about good walks around the Broads and places to visit.

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Going away isn’t frugal in itself, of course, but booking through buyagift.co.uk was a cheaper way to get this deal and for such a luxurious venue it was great value. We always try to balance our frugal life with plenty of treats. Living frugally most of the time helps us to pay for the things we enjoy doing.

The best place for tea

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One day on our trip away we went looking for a reasonably priced place to have lunch. We had a lovely walk around Hickling Broad so we were starving! We tried a pub nearby but it was heaving and we didn’t want to wait an hour just for a sandwich. It was also very expensive! Fortunately a helpful lady recommended the Prima Rosa Cafe in nearby Salhouse. It was an absolute gem!

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We had a very reasonably priced panini each and some tea. We didn’t have room for any cake, although they did look delicious. As well as being a vintage style tea room, Prima Rosa is a gift shop, specialising in crafts made by local artisans. It is absolutely jam-packed full of treasures. Every nook and cranny displays items for sale, even the loo!

We had a long chat with the lady who owns it, Judith, who told us it was her dream to create and run Prima Rosa. She and her husband completely gutted and renovated the shop three years ago and have been steadily building it up ever since. It was a labour of love that has really paid off. So worth a visit! What a lovely place.

 A frugal life – Up early for the boot sale

We got home on Friday night, then got straight onto preparing to do a boot sale the following day. I was fairly reluctant and didn’t have that much to sell, but my daughter persuaded me. So, we were up at 5.15 and off by 6 am.

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Darling daughter freezing her bits off at the boot sale

It wasn’t a great success in terms of selling. The weather was quite chilly first thing and there weren’t enough customers. However, we discovered a chap selling off all his barely worn and in some cases new designer clothes so we bought loads! I am washing and ironing the used stuff today and hope to list some of it on eBay tomorrow.

I was a bit shattered so the rest of my day wasn’t that productive. However, I did manage to make spaghetti cheese bake for tea, which is quick and easy. I will stick to this week’s frugal meal plan whatever.

Plums from our tree

We have a small Victoria plum tree in our front garden, which we planted a few years ago. It was a free one, when the council ran a scheme giving a way three trees or fruit bushes to whoever wanted them. I don’t think they would have the money to run this now but we took advantage of it for three years in a row.

Anyway, the plum tree is doing brilliantly this year. If it stops raining today, I will get out there to pick a few more. My daughter plans to make this plum and hazelnut cake, which looks delicious. They should also freeze well to make a decent crumble or two over the winter.

Paring down the shopping list

I always make a shopping list based on my meal plan, chucking in a few treats like some snacks and some wine maybe. This week I pared it down to the absolute minimum. If I am going to save more money for Christmas I need to cut back to the basics now. I could also do with reducing the vino as it is making me fat! I associate a glass of wine with a bag of crisps and if I do both too often my waistline suffers.

I have probably mentioned that all our spare pennies are going in the back door fund too. The patio doors are very old and draughty in the winter. Hopefully we can pin our chap down to doing it in the next few weeks. He works full time for a local firm fitting doors and windows but does extra in his own time. He was the cheapest of the three quotes we found and was recommended by a friend.

So this is our frugal life this week. We have had a really lovely, if tiring few days so I am glad it is a bank holiday weekend. Hopefully the weather will improve tomorrow as we plan to pack a picnic and head to the Countess of Warwick’s County Show. It is a great day out and we go most years.

What are you up to this weekend? How is your frugal life?

As ever, I am linking up with  Cass Emma  and Becky in this week’s Five Frugal Things I have done this Week linky.

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5 thoughts on “Our frugal life at Shoestring Cottage #5frugalthings

  1. Oh, Jane, the holiday place looks gorgeous, just my kind of place! A pity Norfolk is so far from Devon, it would take us days of B&B-ing along the way to get there as we set a limit of 100 miles a day now for driving (gone are the days when we did Torquay to Edinburgh, by car, in a day!)
    We are fortunate as we seldom consume alcohol. A bottle of gin lasts up to 9 months, we only have a G&T occasionally, and then we really enjoy it (mainly in the summer) but we have a bag of crisps that we share each week (that’s one bag to share) as the salt content helps prevent night cramps (this is a trick that a chap who was a swimming instructor told me). Yes, we need to cut down on salt intake, but as we don’t add salt to food, this is one way of ensuring that we have sufficient salt (as we don’t have processed food, apart from bacon about once a week, we’re not consuming a lot of food which has hidden salt in it, either.)
    But I do check the fridge, freezer and larder before I make my shopping list and only buy what we’re running out of, even if we mightn’t need to use it right away. Whatever you use from a store cupboard needs replacing, whether now or later.
    I hope it’s not wet for the County Show. It’s tipping it down here in Torbay right now (Sunday afternoon) … how does it know it’s a Bank Holiday weekend?
    Margaret P
    PS my blog is now working again, Jane.

  2. Your break sounds lovely and the cafe was gorgeous. We used to holiday in Norfolk years ago when our kids were young and Hickling was a favourite.

  3. hmmm….. this has not been a good frugal week, a lot of social expenses. But, like you and the odd holiday, I can be a bit social occasionally at cafes and birthday parties, because the rest of the time, I am so frugal. Two changes that I have made with food: buying milk powder on special, and using that instead of bottled; and reintroducing tofu back into my diet. My fool-proof recipe is to saute it in oil, and a sauce. It sort of caramelises. about 1 dessertspoon each of oil; soya sauce; honey; peanut butter, with some garlic or ginger if I have it. I have also gone back to getting bits and pieces plus fruit and vege from the cheaper asian shops. My other thing is: a friend brought me some astral cream from Britain, very cheap, and I intend to morph into using this for most of my skin care.

  4. Your break sounds delightful, Norfolk is such a beautiful place and when the weather is just right a boat jaunt on the broads is lovely. My friend who has loads of cherry tomatoes to give away turned up at my door with a large punnet full. I’ve made three large tomato and goats cheese flans they freeze quite well if you defrost in the fridge slowly, left out on the work top to defrost tends makes them a bit wet. We go to our little house in Normandie for a few weeks in September,always a joy to get away and practice our French, I find that when we are there I use the local markets for fresh fruit and vegetables, we live as cheaply as possible with just the occasional treat of wine and some cheese. We have no garden as such,a court yard which makes the garden fairly private, we festoon the walls with flowers which makes the house look pretty . Also hope to catch the last of the boot sales, always fun and unusual finds. I’ve had success with EBay this month and have put all the proceeds into the conservatory fund. Another couple of months should se us at target. It’s due to arrive mid October. Loved your blog, thank you for your inspiration.

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