Saturday, 21 January 2017

Not a New Year's Resolution


I have been getting on really well with my crochet blanket in browns, creams and beiges. I can get on with it if I'm watching TV and it will encourage me to watch more DVDs as I can crochet and watch a screen at the same time, but I can't crochet and read at the same time! I have DVDs I got for Christmas presents years ago that are still in their wrappers so I'm definitely going to make sure they get watched in 2017. It's not a New Year resolution though....


It was cold on Saturday but at least it was bright and sunny. I walked to Aldi and back again and into to town to pick up a parcel and walked 6.5 miles in total. If I manage to walk again on Sunday I'll have completed my thrice weekly walking plan for the first time this year. I want to try and do this this every week. It's not a New Year's resolution though just a plan I want to carry out...

On my walk I visited the Beds Garden Carers charity shop where they have a small clothing area upstairs. I bought 3 tops for 50p each; one is a white fitted shirt, another a brown and cream top - I lack brown tops  -and the last item was by Yasmin Le Bon and is a beautiful, white, embroidered sleeveless tunic. It's for my cousin Doirin in Ireland as I think she'll like it.


I bought this top the first time I ever visited the Bedford Guildhouse charity shop which was last year sometime; but I'd never got round to wearing it. It's by John Rocha and I liked the turquoise and yellow floral print. Jeans also charity shopped, as are the necklace and bangles. The earrings I bought in Topshop in 2002 and the watch was a 2012 Christmas present from daughter.


Boots from Lidl


Yellow cardigan online retail; 2015 Christmas present from OH.


Because this is a blog about (my) real life here's how I looked on Sunday. Same jeans as Saturday; no make up. T shirt charity shopped in Donegal 50 cents; cardigan M&S charity shopped; all jewellery charity shopped.

I suppose the New Year is a time for reflection on the old year gone out and I thought I'd share some of my thoughts with you about what I've learned since I started blogging. Please feel free to skip this part if you want...

Thoughts on Blogging in no particular order....

The blogging world of style/fashion/older style and fashion seems to be filled with incredibly kind, supportive and lovely bloggers most of whom have a terrific sense of humour.

I had no idea how time consuming blogging would be. Not only do you write and edit the blog, but there's the taking of photographs;  then the uploading of same. Then there's all those wonderful blogs to read and comment on. I doubt I could do this if I worked, so thank goodness I'm retired!

People like it when you respond to their comments on your blog.

Taking photographs wearing different outfits has taught me so much about what suits me; what works and what doesn't; what flatters and what doesn't. Sometimes I have a mental image of what an outfit will look like on - and it may look ok in the mirror - but a more objective perspective can be gained by looking at a photograph of me wearing it.

I've learned that my style and taste in clothes has changed as I've get older.  For example, I've learned to love orange and yellow; avoid mid calf length skirts/dresses and the importance of accessories.

 I've improved my layering skills and learned to try new things; OTK boots for example.

I spend too much money in the charity shops on clothes.

It's better to concentrate on quality rather quantity when charity shopping.

Invest in padded hangers. I buy them whenever I see them in charity shops at reasonable prices.

As I have  too many  a lot of clothes I've had to organise them so I can see what I have and therefore wear. I organise my clothes by type; blouses/shirts/tops together for example, then by colour. Occasionally, I find something I have no memory of buying and it's been in the wardrobe for ages hidden between things.

I button at least one button on shirts/blouses when I hang them up to prevent its fellow getting tangled up inside. This is particularly relevant as I have too much a lot  on my rails.

It doesn't matter how much storage space I have I will find clothes to fill it.

I usually plan next day's outfit just before I go to bed; although occasionally inspiration strikes sooner - see below. I hang everything up ready for the morning and sometimes I even get the ironing of the outfit done the same evening!

Sometimes an idea for an outfit pops into my mind, and as I can't rely on my memory I have now started to write them down. So far, I've managed to write down 9 outfit ideas since Saturday 14th January 2017; when I first thought to do this. This will be so useful on those occasions when I think "what the heck can I wear today"?


This is what I wore to the Red Cross shop on Monday. Everything is charity shopped except the boots which were bought with Christmas vouchers from Debenhams about three Christmases  ago.


Skirt; £1.00 rail Barnardo's Great Denham; scarf and lace top charity shopped; green cardigan by Benetton; charity shopped years ago.


Beads, bangles and watch; charity shopped. Earrings, Bedford market.

You may remember that I was trying to keep track of my spending in the charity shops and did it for the month of November. What I learned from this was that I spend far too much and I really want to cut down.

 I'm going to spend a weekend in Devon with my friend Hilary at the end of January and at Easter I'll be going to Ireland, so I have an incentive to save as much as I can for these two trips. My plan, therefore, is to a) spend only in the Red Cross charity shop or only on the £1.00 rails in any other charity shop; b) don't visit any charity shops on my free afternoons or for a day out - at least not till I get to Devon!

So today I put my plan into action (note it's not a New Year resolution). I bought a pair of green cords at the Red Cross shop for £1.00. I have a green pair already, but they're a little too short in the leg and have a miniscule hem so I can't let them down. It will be one pair of trousers in and one pair out. At the 3:16 shop which I pass on my way home I bought; a blue and white striped M &S shirt and an Old Navy blue and white pleated skirt for the summer. Both were a £1.00 each.


On Tuesday I was at the foodbank and went to town in the afternoon. On Wednesday, I walked with the group and we walked 6.5 miles from the village of Clophill to Haynes and back. After the walk we went for a meal to celebrate 20 years of Wednesday walking with the Ivel Valley Walkers. I've been walking for almost three years with this group.

This is what I changed into in the car after the walk. The top from New Look was one of the 50p tops I bought on Saturday in the Bedford Garden Carer's charity shop.


Long sleeved brown top F & F, charity shopped. Leggings; M & S, retail; boots Sainsbury's, retail.


All jewellery charity shopped.

On my way back from the meal I drove through Ampthill so I stopped off and had a look in Barnardo's. I was so proud of myself; I only spent £1.49 and bought a red pair of capri pants for the summer and a blue spotted top.

Photos by middle grandson
On Thursday I went out for lunch with my friend, Ann. We had a good catch up. It will be a year this Thursday since her husband had a stroke and she has been caring for him ever since. It was good for her to have a break from the house and usual routine.


Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped. Boots, leggings, tunic (M&S) and short sleeved cardigan.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; Sainsburys and watch bought with Christmas money from New Look.

Friday was busy. I took the children to school and the youngest grandson had an assembly which I stayed for. When that was over I went for a 6.5 mile walk. The weather was great; cold 2.5 degrees but very sunny and bright. When I came back I changed then went and did the food shopping (booooring). Picked up children from school then took youngest grandson and his dad home after 5. Then there was dinner to make and finally - chill time!


A selfie taken after the assembly - specially requested by grandson!


This is Friday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except boots from Lidl.


Knitted dress; Dorothy Perkins; probably the Red Cross; shirt unknown but charity shopped in the Red Cross. Wine coloured tights charity shopped somewhere...


All jewellery charity shopped except watch which was bought in New Look with Christmas money.

I went to see my son on Saturday and on Sunday I'm  hoping to go for a walk and recce my walk for the Ramblers.


Everything charity shopped except the OTK boots - on line retail and the watch, New Look and the necklace which was a Christmas present from one of my brothers about five years ago.


Skirt, M&S; top by Cavita bought in the Mercy in Action Charity shop in Olney last week. Jacket by Country Casuals and bought in the Red Cross for £1.99. Scarf; charity shopped.


Earrings and bangle charity shopped.

Friday, 13 January 2017

A week of spots, stripes and checks...


This could probably be called Day 6 of the pattern challenge! I wore this on Saturday.


Everything is charity shopped except the floral boots which were bought on line and the earrings; bought by OH in an Oxford street market.
The cardigan is by Next; the jeans by Laura Ashley and the top is by a Spanish company; I can't remember where I bought any of them but all have been bought since I started blogging in  November, 2015.

I do love these boots but the heel is a little higher than usual so I can't wear them for too long. I went out on Saturday afternoon to look for a chest of drawers for my spare bedroom and after a couple of hours my feet were killing me!

Necklace charity shopped in Donegal, I think.

I had a look around a couple of charity shops whilst looking for a chest of drawers and I bought a sleeveless green knitted top by Great Plains for £3.00 in Keech as it was green and will be useful to wear over shirts/blouses.  A checked man's shirt for £1.00. I also bought some more padded hangers for £1.00; a leather brooch for 25p; a chinese looking purse type thing which I've used to put all my crochet hooks in for 49p; and a couple of brandy glasses. Total spend £5.94.

I had both grandchildren on Saturday evening and on Sunday we went to visit my son.

Day 1 - Spots, stripes and checks challenge

 I wanted to try yellow with red - yes, I like it!
Everything is charity shopped except the boots - Christmas 2016 gift from OH.

Plaid skirt, Topshop; bought from Save the Children; jumper by Mc and Co and camisole; charity shopped but can't remember where. Tights: on line. All jewellery except watch charity shopped.

Day 2 - Spots, stripes and checks challenge

Youngest grandson took the photos so they're not as good as OHs. Spotted shirt; Phase Eight. Skirt M&S; jumper, unknown - all charity shopped.


Boots; Sainsburys. Christmas 2016 present from OH. All jewellery charity shopped, including the spotted bangle.


Watch, New Look bought with Christmas money.
I started at the Red Cross shop on Monday. It's very busy and there are more staff and volunteers. I think I'm going to really enjoy myself.  I bought a pair of claret coloured cord trousers as I gave my claret coloured leather and ponte knit leggings away. I got staff discount (20%) and they cost me 80p!

On Tuesday, I thought I'd be starting at the Guildhouse. I arrived at 1pm as agreed but only had an hour's induction as they have yet to send off for references. All being well I'll be starting on the 24th...

Day 3 - Spots, Checks and Stripes Challenge
It may not be immediately apparent but this green top is very finely striped. It's by Tu at Sainsbury's and bought in the 3:16 Charity shop for £1.00. Necklace bought in the Salvation Army for 99p last week while doing the Lidl shopping.

The cardigan is from Barnardo's in Ampthill and was 99p. Total cost of outfit £2.99!



Green cords £1.00 Red Cross shop. All jewellery charity shopped except watch. Boots - DDB.

Day 4 - Spots, Checks and Stripes Challenge
On Wednesday I went walking with the group. We walked in Biggleswade and did 6.5 miles. The wind was very cold and stung my cheeks; I wore a hat which kept me nice and warm. I put on a striped shirt with a black V neck jumper and black pleated skirt when I got home - and  forgot to get photos done - dohh! I'm blaming the crocheting; once I start I'm like a woman possessed and forget everything else!

So, as I missed yesterday's outfit post I've done two for the price of one - stripes and checks!
All jewellery charity shopped.
Linen striped shirt, crumpled as linen does, M & S, charity shopped, check cardigan (F & F at Tesco); charity shopped. Black jeans; Lidl.
Black boots; Christmas 2014 present from my daughter.

Day 5 - Spots, Stripes and Checks Challenge

I bought these earrings on Thursday on a rummage in the village of Olney. They're real silver and were £3.00 in Age Concern. The necklace was charity shopped as were the bangles. I also bought a rather nice ginger coloured top with lace insets at Mercy in Action in Olney. It was £4.50 which is a bit pricey for me but I liked it so much. I hope it looks good on.

I stopped at Barnardo's, Great Denham on the way home from Olney; I sort of wish I hadn't because I spent £6.99 on a beautiful grey linen coat. It will be lovely for the summer...


These cords were £1.00 from Red Cross shop on Monday. I bought them because I thought I had given away my similar coloured leather and ponte knit leggings - I hadn't - I found them in my cupboard where I'd recently decanted all my trousers...


It was really cold on Friday; hence the fur gilet from M & S; charity shopped in Donegal in the summer. We had snowfall but it was washed away by the rain. It felt too cold to go out for a walk so I'm hoping to go walking at the weekend instead. No grandchildren until Sunday night!

The checked shirt was bought last Saturday in Keech, Kempston for £1.00. It's by Red Herring. The boots were a Christmas 2016 present from my daughter. They have a gold trim at the toe and heel and were from New Look.

Not sure what the weekend has in store weather wise only that it's going to be cold. I've got my crocheting to get on with; I've started a new Persephone book 'The Godwits Fly' by Robin Hyde and the heating will be on so I don't care!

Wrap up warm wherever you are!

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...