Friday, 6 January 2017

Happy New Year and a week of pattern...


Happy to New Year to all of you. Thank you so much for  reading my blog and for all your lovely comments throughout the year. I so enjoy reading them and appreciate every single one.
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I've started a new page for books read in 2017.
I left 2016 still reading Alan Bennett's 'Keeping On, Keeping On' (a Christmas present from OH). I'm almost at the end of it now - 700 odd pages!

The total number of books read in 2016 was 98. When I worked, I used to read on average between 120 and 150 books a year. I don't really understand how, if I'm not working three days a week, I manage to read less now. Could I possibly be busier now than I was when I worked? I have been keeping a record of books I've read since 2007 but it still doesn't stop me occasionally buying a book I already have...

Day 1 - Pattern Challenge
Everything charity shopped except boots - DDB

I bought this patterned shirt in Save the Children a few weeks back. It's by Punt Roma. The jeans are from Next and were 99p in the Barnardo's sale in Ampthill last week. The cardigan is from the Red Cross shop.
The earrings are little pansies and I bought them from Save the Children for 25p. Bangles and watch charity shopped.  Necklace present from OH Christmas 2015.

I went for 7.5 mile walk on Monday. It was chilly but sunny and I thoroughly enjoyed my walk around and through Bedford. It was also an opportunity to break in a pair of trainers my daughter donated to me. When you're pounding pavements; trainers can be a better option than walking boots

Day 2 - Pattern Challenge
Bangles, necklace and velvet flower brooch; charity shopped.

Another purple day on Tuesday - it was freezing!
 Purple patterned tunic by Nomads, charity shopped. Leggings, on line retail.


Purple velvet cardigan; one of the very few purchases I've ever made at TK Maxx and my favourite. Boots, Christmas present from OH and earrings were also a present from him bought in a street market in Oxford.

I've got my crocheting mojo kick going again in 2017. I started by sorting out my wool stash. I had quite a few odds and ends of chunky knitting wool, so I made an infinity scarf on Sunday night and on Monday night a head/ear warmer. The rest of the wool got donated to a charity shop. I should have taken a photo of the infinity scarf but I've given it away and can't. There's a picture below of me wearing the ear warmer...

I'm going to start on a blanket in browns, creams and beiges as I seem to have accumulated quite a lot of these colours. I buy almost all my wool at charity shops so you don't get to decide the colours available! I'm going to donate this blanket and any others that I do to 'Knit for Peace' here. I got this idea from Mim of the lovely blog; 'Crinoline Robot' here.

I have no idea why, when I take selfies on my phone camera, they're always fuzzy as if they've been taken with gauze over the camera lens. Apparently, they used to do this with ageing actresses back in the day... when OH takes photos using the same camera phone they don't have the fuzzy effect.

Before I forget I must show you a close up of my floral boots bought not long before Christmas. I've only worn them once so far, but am looking forward to wearing them more frequently:


Aren't they fab!

Day 3 - Pattern Challenge

The orange splattered patterned trousers came from the Barnardo's  sale rail in Ampthill last week - 49p! Crochet cardigan bought from the same place a few weeks previously for 99p.


Orange top charity shopped but can't remember where from. Boots DDB - daughter donated boots!


Rings, beads, earrings and bangles all charity shopped.

I went for my induction at the Red Cross shop on Wednesday afternoon. I had a great time and the team were very pleasant and welcoming. I bought a jumper and some bed linen - both £1.99 - while I was there. It's a much busier shop than Save the Children and I know I'll suffer from what I always do on Mondays and Tuesdays when I do my volunteering, and that is an aching back from standing for so long; on Wednesday I was on my feet for three and a half hours.

Day 4 - Pattern Challenge
Earrings bought in one of those shops that sell everything...mousetraps, sink unblocker, mats, pots and pans, coffee jugs, earrings...

I bought this jumper from the Red Cross shop on Wednesday. It's by Kaliko and of course it was £1.99.


Shirt by Next, charity shopped, black cords, Red Cross shop £1.00. Boots, Next - Christmas 2013; present from my daughter. You can just see my new grey watch bought with Christmas money from my brothers.


Bangles; charity shopped.

When I went to do the food shopping on Thursday afternoon I popped into the Salvation Army charity shop which is next door to Lidl. I bought a lovely bright green necklace, 99p; which I hope to wear with Friday's outfit. On the way back from Sainsbury's I went to the Barnardo's in Great Denham. I picked the wrong time to go because: a) the sale was over b) they were having a reorganisation of the shop floor and had loads of donations piled everywhere making much of the shop inaccessible. Not being the sort who gives up easily I found a purple cushion for my bed for 99p; a beret - brand new with tags from New Look for 49p; a mini hair fascinator for 49p and an ornamental tin heart for 49p - total spend £2.47 + 99p in the Salvation Army = £3.46.

It was my middle grandson's 12th birthday on Thursday. He loved his presents from me and enjoyed his birthday cake - chocolate with milk and white chocolate shavings on the top - from Lidl. It was lovely and light and not too sickly. It would have been too much of a rush to make him a cake as the chocolate cake I usually make for birthday cakes is always better if eaten on the same day. Here he is at home posing with his cake...


Happy birthday, Isaiah!

Day 5 - Pattern Challenge
On Friday I went walking with the group for the first time since the 14th December. It was a 6 mile walk and although it was a very cold morning we soon warmed up. Luckily, it was mostly road walking so no muddy boots. As we finished up in the town centre, I had some errands to run in town and of course I looked in a couple of charity shops. With my new 'highly selective' charity shopping hat on, I bought a bracelet for 49p in the Wood Green Animal Shelter shop; a striped linen top from Tu for £1.00 in the 3:16 shop and two colourful table runners for £1.50 - total spend today £2.99.


Had my hair cut on Friday.
This is probably one of my most favourite patterned items of clothing.  Patterned tunic by Pussycat, London bought from Cats Protection League charity shop. Yellow jumper worn underneath; charity shopped. Green leggings; Sainsburys retail as were the brown boots.


All jewellery except watch; charity shopped. This is the 99p necklace bought on Thursday. Youngest grandson took the photos today and didn't quite get the concept of a head and shoulders shot...


So here's a dodgy selfie instead!

Next week is my final challenge - spots, checks and stripes...

Friday, 30 December 2016

A week of maxis...


We had a lovely Christmas. Why wouldn't we? Lots of nice food, drink and presents, but most of all family.
We always have fun at Christmas especially when we play charades after dinner. This year even the youngest grandson joined in - and loved playing it - he wasn't half bad either!


My daughter made a delicious salmon in pastry dish. She usually makes us a Beef Wellington but wanted to do something different this year. We also had turkey and all the trimmings. It was all very good.


Here we all are mid dinner. Some of us have finished; I've only just sat down. Just can't get everything on the table at the same time... OH is missing because he's putting his dinner in the microwave; he likes everything at nuclear temperature! Daughter is taking the photo. All three grandsons and two of my three brothers. My third brother in London was having a bachelor's 'open house' Christmas!

I got such lovely presents. A new Paperwhite kindle, new ankle boots, perfume and a Persephone book from my daughter. New long black boots; two 'Furrowed Middlebrow' books and 2 CDs from OH. Eldest grandson bought me another Persephone book and my brothers gave me money. Didn't I do well?

I drank Sherry, Prosecco, Canadian Club and Ginger Ale and sampled an Amaretto Sour ; courtesy of eldest grandson who mixes a mean cocktail - very moreish...


This is what I wore on Christmas Day. Dress from the Hospice shop in Kempston; waistcoat from Zara also charity shopped. Boots; Christmas present from OH.



All jewellery charity shopped.

Day 1 - Maxi Challenge


This is the skirt I bought in Barnardo's, Great Denham for £1.00.


Cardigan and boots charity shopped.


Green top Primarni; headscarf present from my friend in Cambridge.


All jewellery charity shopped.

By Tuesday I was going stir crazy. I hadn't been out of the house on Christmas Day or Boxing Day; only to drop middle grandson home so I took youngest grandson to Sainsbury's. One of the Great Uncles had given the youngest grandsons a bag of coins; when we changed it up in the coin machine it gave them £15.00 each to spend! Another Christmas present and Christmas is already over. Lucky kids!

Day 2 - Maxi Challenge



 I tried wearing a belt with this maxi.


Everything is charity shopped except the boots which are light brown with metal bits round the toe; a Christmas present from my daughter this year. The skirt is by Country Casuals; t shirt M&S 50p in a Donegal charity shop;  cable pattern cardigan; Red Cross shop probably, but really can't remember. Belt charity shopped about 10 years ago.


Necklace charity shopped in the Oxfam shop; Bedford. The earrings are 99p from e bay.

Day 3 - Maxi Challenge

On Wednesday OH and I went rummaging. I hoped the charity shops would all be open but I guessed some wouldn't reopen until after the New Year.  We went to Hitchin, Hertfordshire, a market town, and also to Ampthill; a small market town in Bedfordshire.

My goodness wasn't it cold! I woke up to frost everywhere and the water in the bird's' bowl had frozen. I feed the birds everyday. I'm even more vigilant during the cold weather months and always leave out drinking water. I really should have worn trousers! The temperature was -05 degrees when we set off for a rummage around the charity shops. It warmed up to 2 degrees and then dropped again by the time we got home. Out of seven charity shops in Hitchin only two were closed.

It's hard to put outerwear over maxi skirts. I'd planned to wear my brown leather jacket but it was too cold. I wish I still  had my brown corduroy maxi coat that I bought in 1970 from Bus Stop. It would have been perfect to wear over this skirt!


Jacket, River Island from Red Cross, £1.99; scarf, Save the Children; £1.00, beret; can't remember where.



I've had this navy jersey type M&S skirt for about 9 or 10 years. I used to have a bottle green one, too, but ruined it by getting it caught in the wheel of my bike when I used to ride my bike to work. I also have a similar black skirt, but from BHS. All were charity shopped.

Top by Canda - an old C & A brand; charity shopped in Save the Children, recently. Wool jacket by Gilbert; from Barnardo's, Great Denham. Boots - DDB (daughter donated boots).


All jewellery charity shopped.


About two weeks ago I bought yet another strand of orange beads for £1.00;  now I like to wear the three strands together!

In Hitchin, I bought 4 pairs of earrings for £3.50 in the Hospice shop and Cancer Research; three balls of wool at 50p each; also in the Hospice shop and an animal print top for £1.50 and a knitted angel boiled egg cosy for 30p - everyone needs a boiled egg cosy, don't you know!  In Age UK, I bought a ring for £1.99. In an antique/curio shop I bought some black beads for £1.50.  Total  spend in Hitchin, £10.29 . In Ampthill; the sale was still on at Barnardo's. In fact, they had reduced quite a lot of the stuff to 49p! I bought two double sized duvet sets with matching pillowcases, each for 49p. One set was brand new - it still had the stiffening product in it that they use in new bed linen. I also bought a pair of orange and black loose trousers for 49p; a pale grey Next top for 99p; a black Next jacket - never worn, 49p; a black and white striped blouse for 99p and a pair of bootcut jeans for 49p. Total spend here £4.45. Then I spent another £1.50 in the RSPCA on two books and a new make up bag. Total day's spend £16.24.


Go on - you know you want one!

Day 4 - Maxi Challenge

On Thursday I finally got out for a walk and did 6.3 miles. I hadn't walked for two weeks and was feeling both lazy and guilty. Once I started walking I was fine and realised how much I'd missed my regular walks. On Friday, there is a nine mile bus walk; I'm up for it but it is an earlyish start, and one of the things I enjoy about the holidays is there is no need to get up early. I'll just have to see how I feel on Friday morning...


This black Next corduroy skirt is about 5 or 6 years old and was charity shopped. The striped blouse by Peepers was bought in Wednesday's rummage at Barnardo's (99p) as was the light grey Next top (99p). Boots, old; Christmas present from my daughter. Middle grandson is on the sofa with his trusty laptop - hence the trailing flex.


All jewellery charity shopped.

I did the usual food shopping on Thursday and the bargain of the day was a £4.00 box of Christmas crackers for 40p in Sainsbury's! They're going up  in the loft ready for next year. Sainsbury's also had lots of packs of Christmas gift tags for 10p a packet, but we still have two large unopened packs of gift tags bought in the sales last year. I also bought  a reduced tin of shortbread biscuits (£1.50) and mince pies (40p) per packet.

Day 5 - Maxi challenge

Friday was such a miserable, cold and foggy day. I didn't go walking but am determined to go on Saturday afternoon as there is a 6.5 mile walk in Houghton Conquest which is about 6 miles outside of Bedford.

What I did do was to go to Bedford and spend my Christmas money. I'd already spent some of it on a fur coat on line. It's not my perfect coat; I am still looking for that one, but I needed a warm short coat. I have a Parka coat but that is a bit too casual sometimes. In Bedford I bought some perfume and soap in TK Maxx - I do love scented soap and prefer to use soap rather than shower gel. I also bought myself a new watch from New Look. Christmas money spent; I returned home to make soup and read one of my Christmas books.


In today's maxi and long cape I felt like a Victorian governess! The pure wool cape is from Ist Avenue bought for £1.99 in the Red Cross shop. Leather gloves charity shopped.


Maxi skirt; part of a cardigan suit charity shopped in Carrick on Shannon, Ireland. I've worn the matching cardigan separately, last seen here. Shirt and cardigan both from Red Cross shop. Boots, Christmas present from OH this year.


All jewellery charity shopped. The earrings were bought on Wednesday in Hitchin in the Cancer Research shop.

I'm glad the week of maxi's is finished; I can't wait to wear a pair of trousers.
So far with these challenges, I have worn a week each of; skirts, cardigans, shirts, dresses, trousers and maxis. I don't have enough maxi dresses to do a week of those so I think I might go for a week of stripes, spots and checks for next week. In fact, I've edited this to say that I'll do a week of patterns next week and the stripes, spots and checks for the week after.

 The challenges keep me thinking of different outfits to create and helps give little worn items a wear. That in turn, helps me assess whether or not, I want to keep it and if I don't means more space in my wardrobe. I have also got rid of several clothing items this week so I'm not feeling too guilty about those I've purchased.

What are you all doing for New Year's Eve? I've got both grandsons New Year's Eve so we'll see the New Year in with them. I'll see you all in 2017!


I'll leave you with a look at all my lovely Christmas book presents...


Friday, 23 December 2016

A week of tunics

On Sunday, with the help of the grandsons, we got the tree out and decorated it and the living room. It's beginning to feel more like Christmas now. I must start wrapping the Christmas presents, but it's a job I absolutely hate. If I could afford to I would hire one of those people who do everything for you (pick up your dry cleaning, take your dog for a walk etc) and delegate that job to him or her!

Monday was my last day at Save the Children. We celebrated with mince pies. 

I couldn't leave without buying anything; after all I have been one of their best customers! I bought a Jaeger jacket in a chequered pattern with metallic threads - I now possess 4 sparkly items of clothing. I also bought a deep blue floral shirt/blouse and a ring for 50p. Total spend £7.50.

Day 1 - Tunic challenge


Everything charity shopped except boots which are from Primark. I bought the exact same pair for 99p in The Children's Society, but they were a size 3 and too small so I went to Primark and bought a pair in size 4. This is the second year I've been wearing these boots and they are still intact...

 I suppose this top isn't strictly a tunic but I wanted to wear it today - it's such a cheerful colour. It's from Dunne's Stores and I bought it in a charity shop in Donegal in the summer. It was last seen here with white jeans and a black leather jacket. Jeans, Next; can't remember where. I am very fond of this jacket; a £1.00  bargain from a charity shop in Wellingborough. Earrings, bangles, watch and ring all charity shopped.

The strategically placed hand in the photos is to cover a curry spill that incurred while eating my dinner; I washed it out but had a small wet patch!

Day 2 - Tunic challenge


It was a very cold day on Tuesday. I had three layers on top but I still felt cold.
There was so much donated at the foodbank we scarcely had room to move. As fast as we packed away donations more people came to the warehouse with donations. The generosity of people is truly humbling.


This tunic is by Quetzal of London. I bought it in the Spring and never got the opportunity to wear it until today. I can't remember which charity shop I got it from but it was more than likely the Red Cross. Black top, Primarni; leggings M&S, and boots charity shopped in the Reuse Centre last winter.

It probably would have been better to wear black long boots with this outfit but I have really gone off my black boots. Both pairs have been delegated to the charity shop bag along with another jacket and the jeans I bought on Saturday in the Red Cross. They were so low slung they just about covered my pubic bone! I thought I had sussed out the cut of the waists on jeans but this pair had me fooled.  Another reason to try things on in charity shops. So far this week; 2 items in and 4 items out - yes!!!


All jewellery charity except the earrings which were a present from my friend in Cambridge.

When I got back from the food bank on Tuesday I wrapped all my presents and put them under the tree. Apart from the food shopping (and I've bought all the Christmas extras, already) I'm ready. In fact all I really want to do is put my feet up, drink sherry and eat mince pies...

Day 3 - Tunic Challenge

It was a cold and miserable day on Wednesday and I didn't feel like walking across muddy fields with my walking group. I decided to walk in the afternoon when the weather was supposed to improve. I actually had quite a nice lazy day; I got up, had breakfast; got ready and did the photos for the blog. OH is off now until after Christmas and it's lovely having him around; not least because he can take the photos when I'm still 'fresh',  and not after a day where I'm crumpled, make up smudged and probably have stains down my front!


I cannot for the life of me remember where I bought this tunic. It's by QED London and is made of warm material; I definitely bought it in a charity shop.


Brown leggings, M&S retail, and OTK boots on line retail. The little grey cardigan was bought at Save the Children for £2.50 and is also by M&S. It's very handy for slipping over things for a bit of extra warmth...


I searched through the blog to see when I last wore this tunic but couldn't find it anywhere but I did find where I bought these beads: £2.50 in Oxfam, Newport Pagnell. All jewellery is charity shopped.

In the afternoon OH and I went to browse round some of the slightly out of the way charity shops around Bedford. Of course I bought stuff (but not as much as OH!). A BNWT kimono in  white, green and cobalt blue - this was £1.99 in Barnardo's in Great Denham and a green maxi skirt for a £1.00. They had a very good £1.00 rail sale but I was very strict with myself. Then we went on to Keech Hospice in Kempston where I bought a rather nice black maxi skirt for £3.50; along with a couple of books. £10.09 spent in total today and I didn't even get a walk in!

Day 4 - Tunic challenge

Thursday was more hectic than I anticipated. I did the food shopping in the morning and was supposed to have lunch with my friend but we decided to meet after Christmas instead. That gave me a free afternoon but once again I needed to go to town. The day was virtually gone by the time I got back...


This tunic from Tu at Sainsburys and was bought in the Red Cross shop. As was the Country Casuals (CC) jacket. Navy blue M&S leggings, also charity shopped but can't remember where.


OTK boots on line retail.


Necklace present from my lovely cousin Linda in Kerry. Earrings, Sainsburys; bangles charity shopped.

On Friday I'm going to visit my son and then I have Saturday free to do the housework and to chill and get in the festive spirit. I have everyone coming to me for Christmas Day except for my older brother in London who is having an Open House Christmas for friends. My dream is to go out for Christmas dinner one year... but you have to book as far ahead as the summer and none of us are ever organised enough to do it!

Day 5 - Tunic Challenge



See what I mean about crumpled! I wore this to visit my son on Friday and after a day of sitting about, eating and drinking and laughing you can see it in my clothes!



Everything charity shopped except the boots which I treated myself to recently via online retail. I must take a better picture of them in my next post. I have wanted a pair of floral boots forever...the tunic is Tu at Sainsbury's and was bought recently in the 3:16. charity shop for £1.75. It's linen and therefore creases easily especially after eight hours wear...


All jewellery charity shopped except watch - Christmas present from daughter about 3 years ago. I bought the necklace last week in Stony Stratford for £1.00.

As far as charity shopping has gone this week; I bought 5 items and got rid of 4 - oh well; you win some, you lose some!

I hope everyone has a peaceful and lovely Christmas. I'll see you all on the other side...

xxx