Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Maxi challenge!


You'll be pleased to know that I found 2 more tunics to complete the challenge but the best news of all is - it's over!

Final Days 36 and 37 - Tunic challenge

All jewellery charity shopped.

This is a Zara tunic charity shopped a few years ago but can't remember where. Worn with a M&S long sleeved tee underneath from a 1.00 rail somewhere.  Brown leggings M&S retail.



Boots; present from daughter.

I wore this outfit on Wednesday after I set out to do the final recce for my bus walk on Friday. I did 3.5 miles; realised I wouldn't make it to Pavenham village in time to catch my bus back; which meant a two hour wait for the next one. What did I do? I was so lucky; when I got to Felmersham a bus was waiting at the bus stop and I hopped on it back to Bedford! As I was back early I went out for a quick rummage in the afternoon. The 3:16 charity shop was selling women's clothes at 1.00. I bought another tunic - I know, I know, but I did remove 1 out of the wardrobe for the charity shop bag when I got home...I also bought a yellow jumper and a summer dress which has been put away.

On Thursday, I did the food shopping and went for a swim in the afternoon. I managed 30 laps; it was a bit of a struggle after a two week gap and the pool was quite crowded. As much as I can I'll stick to swimming on Friday afternoons.


Everything charity shopped and all in brown today. Tunic by M&S; can't remember where; top underneath; 1.00 rail; thick ribbed leggings also 1.00 rail. Boots by H&M; 2.99 from the Children's Society. All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.


The leggings have been re donated. They kept wrinkling round my legs and wouldn't stay up. I gave my daughter the boots in the end. They were a size 3 (36) and although they fitted fine once on; I struggled to get my right foot in. She was very pleased with them; she usually gives me her cast off boots!


All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

I led my walk on Friday. The weather was cold but bight and sunny and there were 22 of us including me. Everyone said they had never seen so many on a bus walk. It was very muddy as we'd had heavy rain the night before but every single person said how much they enjoyed it. The walk started from Bedford Bus Station; where we caught the bus to Sharnbrook village; walked to Felmersham village; Radwell village; and finally onto Pavenham. It was 6.75 miles in total. I picked up the youngest grandson from school when I got back. The middle grandson was still sunning himself in Trinidad at this point; 30+ degrees over there and when it rained it was still hot!

This was Friday afternoon's outfit.


Skirt by M&S; 2.00 from Mercy in Action last week; cardigan by Joseph A charity shopped somewhere; pink top; Country Casuals; 1,00 rail. Woollen floral tights charity shopped as were the black Chelsea boots; from Oxfam I recall - 5.00.


All jewellery charity shopped.

I started the maxi  skirt and dress challenge on Saturday. What I've realised is that my winter maxi skirts are pretty dull as are most of my maxi dresses...
Maxi challenge - Day 1

I have 12 (Winter) maxi skirts in my wardrobes and 5 maxi dresses to wear for this challenge.

Everything charity shopped except the OTK boots; on line retail.


I went out early on Saturday morning and did a walk with my daughter of 6 miles. In the afternoon OH and I went back to Rushden; especially to look in the Sally Army as they were shut when we came here just after Christmas. Wearing a brown leather jacket from a Co. Dublin charity shop; charity shopped scarf and gloves.


I bought this skirt in the Mercy in Action shop back in the summer; it was 2.00 and is by M&S. The top is by M&Co and was also charity shopped, but can't remember where.


The Sally Army had some lovely things but nothing I wanted. I got lucky in the British Heart Foundation and found a long, red plaid kilt! I also then found on the 1.00 rail in the Cancer Research shop; a red Principles jumper with bell sleeves - a complete outfit for 3.99!  I'll feature the kilt; a genuine Scottish made one; in this maxi challenge. Update: the kilt was too large around the waist. It fastened with straps and buckles and I was worried it was not going to fit but it slipped straight down to my hips when I put it on. I've had to relegate it to the charity shop bag so I have only 11 skirts for the challenge instead of 12.


All jewellery charity shopped.

Sunday's OOTD
Clothes to do the housework in and cook the dinner!


All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.


Jumper by Tu, 50p rail; my Barnardo's. Trousers by Uniqlo; charity shopped somewhere..


Boots: online retail.

Maxi Challenge - Day 2


All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.


This is a top and matching skirt made of Alpaca wool. I bought it in the Cat's Protection League for 3.99 about two years ago and I wear it at least once each year. It's very warm. Shirt underneath by BooHoo; also charity shopped but can't remember where.


I always wear my tan suede OTK boots (online retail) with this outfit to brighten up the grey. This was Monday's outfit which I wore to volunteer at Barnardo's. Very busy putting donations out; we're having a 3 for 2 sale on women's clothing so need as much stuff on the shop floor as possible. I bought a green Seasalt jumper for 2.00...I also took two bags of donated items to the 3:16 charity shop after I finished volunteering. The clothes come in but they also go out!

Maxi Challenge - Day 3

 Tuesday was a horrible day. Cold, wet and very windy. I think it's down to Storm Brendan. I wish he'd go away...


Everything charity shopped. This jumper is the Seasalt one I bought for 2.00 in Barnardo's yesterday; the skirt is by Adini but I don't remember which charity shop I got it from. All jewellery is charity shopped.


I started out with a green pendant  on the end of the chain; but in the course of volunteering in the food bank I lost it. I hope it doesn't pop up in someone's parcel of food stuffs...when I got home I put a silver ball on the end of the chain. I've just thought looking at this photo, that I could have worn a brooch on the jumper, too. I have lots of brooches and don't wear them often enough.

The boots are by River Island and were bought from my Barnardo's for 4.00.

One of the nicest things about having my state pension as well as my work pension, is that I now have more disposable income than I've ever had before. I can now afford to; as I did on Tuesday, pay a professional to come in and clean my sofas. We won't be able to use them for 48 hours until the stain resistant coating is fully dried; but they do look like new and were in dire need of a good clean. I've done my best over the past few years using a spray on upholstery cleaner and attempting to tackle any stains with 'Elbow Grease' but a deep clean was needed. 

My next plan is to get someone in to clean my oven. It's a job I hate; it takes forever and my poor knees will protest for days afterwards. I'd rather pay someone else to do it for me and at least I'm supporting local businesses. On reflection, I could even afford to pay someone else to do my weekly cleaning for me but I just couldn't. Isn't it weird? In my mum's last few years she (finally) gave up smoking (although it killed her in the end). With the money she saved from not buying fags; she employed a weekly cleaner. She used to marvel how she, who was once a cleaner herself, could now afford to pay someone else to do her cleaning for her! Maybe I'll change my mind as I get older but for now OH and I share the housework equally. I have also paid to have my painting and decorating done by a professional house painter. This is another job that now needs doing; it's about 9 years since it was last done. I learned in my 50s that time is the most important thing after family; and I would far rather have the time to do the things I like doing and pay someone else to do the things I don't.

Maxi Challenge - Day 4
Everything charity shopped.

Jewellery and scarf charity shopped except earrings from Bedford market.

The group walk was in Milton Keynes and it rained and blew a hooley all night, so I thought I might go walking on my own. As it turned out I didn't have time! Middle grandson came back from Trinidad  on Wednesday, so I went to see him, his mum and little brother. I ran errands in town; including getting my eyebrows done. I then needed to go to B&M to see if they had any moth repellent. They didn't; I've tried Wilco, QD and now B&M so the next stop is to see if I can get anything on line. When our lavender is in bloom I put it in the wardrobes and drawers and I've used cedar wood balls as well; but I found a moth hole in my Fenn, Wright and Manson cape/coat so I know the moths are still busy...


Black and green maxi dress unknown label and can't remember which charity shop I got it from. White Next top underneath; 1.00 rail. River Island boots; my Barnardo's as above.


B&M is close to a Day Hospice charity shop and naturally I had to have a look. They had a sale on which I couldn't resist. I bought a green spotted top for 1.00; a H&M dress for 2.00 and a velvet beret for 1.00. Update; the H&M dress was too big around the hips and has been re-donated to the charity shop bag.


Maxi Challenge - Day 5


I think I bought this maxi dress in the Mercy in Action outlet shop for 2.00. I wore it with a long sleeved black tee underneath and a houndstooth checked cardigan; also charity shopped from the Red Cross. All jewellery charity shopped. I wore two odd earrings all day - completely oblivious that I was. I was trying two different ones on and got distracted I suppose!


On Thursday, I walked 6 miles in the morning after the chimney sweep had been; and did the food shopping when I got back. I also had to go to the doctor's to drop off a request for a repeat prescription; my doctor's surgery is in Kempston and naturally I had to pop into the Cat's Protection League didn't I? I bought a Brita water filter kit (jug and 6 capsules for the filter unit) in the 1.00 sale; a pair of suede gloves (pale brown) and a book.



On Friday I did the school run for one grandson; popped into town to return my library books and in the afternoon I went swimming and did my 30 laps. No maxi's today.


Everything charity shopped except the boots; online retail.
Trousers by Abercrombie and Fitch; 5.00 but can't remember where. The jumper  by Principles was from a 1.00 rail in Rushden bought on last Saturday's rummage.


All jewellery and head scarf charity shopped.


A lady in the swimming pool came up to me  in the changing rooms and admired by trousers and asked where I got them from! She was surprised to find I bought them in a charity shop and said she would start looking in them from now on! Yay! Another convert. I never hide where I got my clothes from when people ask me; why should I? I'm very proud to shop almost everything I own secondhand.

On Saturday I went out and recce'd the next walk I'll be leading in March. It was bright and sunny but cold and the wind was icy. I walked 8 miles in total and am looking forward to leading the walk. I just hope we have drier weather so some of the mud dries up.


My 'Seashell' blanket continues to grow. Another 30 rows and it's finished.


Do any of you listen to 'Book of the Week' on Radio 4? This past week it was a book called 'Why Women Read Fiction' by Helen Taylor. OH bought me a copy as a present. I took part in the research for the book by completing a questionnaire a few years ago. I'm referred to three times in the book! It's a very interesting and insightful look at why women read and I recommend it.

Maxi Challenge - Day 6


I've had this maxi dress by Items for many years now and I wore it to Barnardo's on Monday. The weather has turned very cold and we're having overnight frosts which means scraping the car windscreen in the mornings... I added my orange boiled/felted wool jacket for warmth and a scarf as the neckline on this dress is quite low for Winter!


I usually try and wear brighter footwear when I wear dark colours like black, so I put my tan suede OTK boots on with thick knitted black tights.


All jewellery charity shopped. I didn't wear any bangles on Monday as my daughter gave me her FitBit. I put it on after my shower on Monday morning, and by the time I finished my day at 5.45pm by driving my youngest grandson and his Dad home, I had achieved 10,000 steps! This was just in and around the house, backwards and forwards at the charity shop; collecting the grandsons from school which involves a little bit of walking to the playground from the car. I can't wait to see how many steps I do when I do actually do a walk as well or go to town to run errands!

Maxi Challenge - Day 7


On Tuesday I volunteered at the foodbank and this was what I wore. The tunic was bought in 1.00 sale at the 3:16 shop; the skirt was a 1.00 rail find somewhere. Boots; online retail and kimono; present from my daughter.


All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.


After the foodbank I went into town to pick up a parcel for my daughter. You may have heard if, you live in the UK, that Beales Department Stores have been taken into receivership. We have a Beales in town and the notice of administration was posted on the window; plus huge sale signs everywhere . I went in to see what there was but they had nothing I wanted or needed. It will be such a shame if they close as we have already lost our M&S and TopShop; are losing River Island in the next few months and our Debenhams is on borrowed time. It may seem like hypocrisy to decry these closures as they were places I rarely shopped in; certainly not for myself; but the closures will force even more people to shop online or visit the out of town retail park that I avoid like the plague. The last purchases I made in Beales (apart from a Christmas present for someone) was last Spring; when I bought my son new bedlinen. 

That's been what I've been up to for the past fortnight. I've read all my Christmas gift books and have a new one to start tonight. At the time of writing my Fitbit is saying 9,899 steps and I still have washing to hang up and dinner to cook so I'll easily achieve 10,000 today. I'm hoping to walk with my group on Friday and am looking forward to a day out with cousin Marian on Thursday and will tell you all about it on my next post. Until then, goodbye!

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Christmas and welcome 2020!


Happy New Year to you and let's hope 2020 is a good year for us all!
The tunic challenge continues; but I warn you there is a lot of black and white...

Day 15 - Tunic Challenge


Leggings by M&S; Christmas present from my daughter last year; boots; Primarni retail. Lace tunic and heart shirt both from my Barnardo's.


I wore this to volunteer on the Monday before Christmas. There had been another 1.00 sale at the weekend and the rails were looking very empty in places so my job was to restock them as fast as I could...


All jewellery charity shopped.

Day 16 - Tunic Challenge


All jewellery charity shopped.

The last of the unfortunately, unrecyclable wrapping paper waiting to go up into the loft. Next year, I'm reverting to brown paper and ribbon and may try Vix's block print idea - see HERE

I seem to have no feet in the above photo! Leggings; retail sale ages ago. Tunic by Capri and cardigan both charity shopped but can't remember where. It was an asymmetric tunic with an interesting raised pattern that reminded me of the pattern that gets left when you've removed ivy off a wall. It's a very tenacious plant is ivy, and holds on to the surface very tightly. I say 'was' with regard to the tunic, as after taking the photos, I managed to splash bleach all along the front. It was relegated to cleaning cloths...I seem to have lots of blue tunics, so I won't miss it.

Day 17 - Tunic Challenge


This was my Christmas Day 1.00 outfit! Trousers by M&S and tunic top by Wallis; both 50p from my Barnardo's 50p sale. I think this top could pass as a tunic, don't you? In fact, I've finally worked out what constitutes a tunic. It's a top that's too short to be a dress but a bit too long to be a top. In that case I have more dresses than I thought...

I wore these lovely charity shopped 80s late 90s style shoes with my Christmas Day outfit; but after about an hour I took them off and put my slippers on. I'm just not used to walking in heels...



Earrings and necklaces; previous gifts from my lovely OH.

This was Christmas Day in our house - there were 10 of us...

Everything on my table is charity shopped. The glasses, the table cloth the table mats, napkin rings and the jugs and trays. The dinner plates were also charity shopped and the dessert dishes; but not the cutlery or crackers. Both bought in sales.  The candle was a gift from my brother Julian; but it's sitting in a small Christmas wreath that I charity shopped. The white tablecloth, which is folded down to fit this borrowed table, was a present from Mauritius from my Mauritian next door neighbour. The Christmas table mats in the foreground were sent to me by my Aunty Mary (Marian's mum) in the late 1970s from the States. I had a matching table runner but over the years it got lost so I only have the four tablemats left...


We had a great day; ate plenty, drank lots and played games. We did Secret Santa which cut down on the buying and the cost. Despite this my daughter still bought me 3 books from my wishlist; OH bought me 1 book, some slippers, some lovely soaps and an Ancestry DNA kit; of which more later...my Secret Santa gift was cash from my brother Mark and will be spent in the charity shops. My friend Ann bought me a lovely silver cuff  and I got perfume and chocolates from other family member. My youngest grandson bought me a beautiful big ball of wool in different shades of blue and green. He chose the present himself!
And on Christmas Day I made this surprising discovery in the garden - how odd. I think it may have been woken up by the mild weather...


Boxing Day at Marian's

On Boxing Day; or St. Stephen's Day/Mummer's Day as it's called in Ireland; we went to London and to Cousin Marian's. We had a lovely evening. OH made a curry out of the left over turkey and I took my rice cooker with us and cooked it there.  Julian met us there. We drank fab cocktails made from sloe gin, prosecco and elderflower cordial; they were delicious and each one had a blackberry in it. I drank quite a few it must be said, but OH was the designated driver so that was all good! I don't know what the cocktails were called as my cousin's daughter, who found the recipe on the internet, couldn't remember the name either!

Day 18 - Tunic Challenge



On Friday, as we were given a very generous gift voucher by OH's daughters we decided to combine a rummage in Rushden with a trip to Rushden Lakes; which is a newish shopping centre and has the store we wanted. I wore a brown leather charity shopped jacket; 9 euros in a Co. Dublin charity shop; charity shopped jeans, scarf and gloves.


All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; Sainsbury's. They used to do such good jewellery but the last year or so I haven't been impressed at all and haven't bought any from there.


Tunic by Desigual: charity shopped somewhere and boots; online retail.


We weren't able to find anything in the store as it had a very small home section; we could have gone to another branch in Milton Keynes, but I cannot abide shopping in Milton Keynes, so thought I'd look online instead. To me Milton Keynes shopping centre is like one of the 9 circles of hell in Dante's 'Inferno'. The Rushden rummage yielded 2 brooches and 2 pairs of earrings plus a maxi dress. I was looking out for 'His Dark Materials' book trilogy by Philip Pullman; having recently watched and enjoyed the TV series; but I didn't find any.

Day 19 - Tunic Challenge


All jewellery charity shopped.
I've spent an entire week without any walking or swimming. The swimming pool has reverted to holiday hours so they only do lane swimming at silly o clock in the morning; and I just haven't fancied a walk in this weather. I need to get back into a regime next week...


Can't remember where I got the trousers by F&F from or the striped tunic; top by Oasis. All charity shopped; boots included.


Day 20 - Tunic Challenge



Everything charity shopped except boots; a present.



All jewellery charity shopped.

I wore this to volunteer on Monday. There was a new volunteer in who does our stuff for ebay; I'd not met him before. We were inundated with donations and I spent all morning restocking the rather depleted rails. Found some bits for OH as men's clothing was reduced to 50p....

The period between Christmas and New Year is one that I enjoy. It's usually quite a lazy time - no work/volunteering,  less traffic on the roads, daily lie-ins, out of the usual routine etc. I am glad, though, when things go back to normal! OH really enjoys these lazy days, too. He had to return to work on Thursday, so we thought we'd venture to Cambridge for a really good rummage on New Year's Eve Day. I still had Christmas money left to spend after all...

Day 21 - Tunic Challenge



All jewellery charity shopped except the silver cuff - Christmas present from my friend Ann. I did some food shopping on Monday and visited the Castle Road charity shops on my way back. I bought this necklace there for 1.00; a brooch for 1.00 and a lovely summer dress for 4.99. It's been put away in my summer drawer...


Back to Tuesday's rummage in Cambridge. Everything is charity shopped except the boots which are from Primarni. The leggings by M&S were from  my Barnardo's; the lace top by Next from a 1.00 rail and the tunic with lace roses on the front was, I think, charity shopped in Donegal town.


Before we left for Cambridge I went back to my GP where I had my BP checked again having been taking the medication for almost a month. My BP was as the nurse stated 'perfect'!  I still have to continue with the medication, unfortunately. We caught the Park and Ride bus once we got to Cambridge; I was able to use my bus pass once again. I got lucky and found all three volumes of 'His Dark Materials' trilogy - I was delighted.  I also bought a H&M sleeveless yellow top for 3.00;  for summer wear mostly; but I could top it with a cardigan or jacket and wear it now. We started our rummage in Burleigh Street which has 10 charity shops - 3 were closed. We then walked to Mill Road which has 7 - 3 were shut; and on the way back to catch the Park and Ride bus on Regent Street found another 2. I bought a couple more books and that was it. I still have another five pounds left to spend!

My annual read this year was 81 books. I have a pile of books on my table that are TBRs (to be reads); they include my Christmas gift books, three library books I picked up on Tuesday morning, plus the Philip Pullman trilogy. I'm also awaiting three books yet to be delivered. That's my January and February reading sorted then!

On Thursday I was at the food bank in the morning. Oh my goodness the donations have come  in thick and fast and we are stacked to the roof. We have a chocolate mountain! People came in a constant stream this morning bringing donations with them.

Tunic Challenge - Day 22 (only 13 left to go!)



All jewellery charity shopped.


Tunic bought in Ireland in 2014; trousers by Laura Ashley charity shopped somewhere. Black kimono; present from daughter a few years ago and boots online retail. That's a Christmas tree musical box (charity shopped) on the floor; it had fallen out of the bag of Christmas stuff that had gone back up to the loft...

In the afternoon I went out for 6.6 mile walk through the Bedford streets. I just have to show you
 this house which is near to my grandson's school:


They do it for charity every year but I do wonder how much their electricity bill is!
It felt good to be getting back into my usual routine; I've missed walking and swimming.

I went for a rummage on Friday afternoon and did all the town charity shops - all 12 of them! I was looking for a black top to wear to a funeral next week and found 2; one in Keech for 1.50 by Frank Saul and one in the Mercy in Action shop by Mint Velvet for 2.00. I also purchased a new tunic (I've got rid of 3 since I started the challenge) for 3.50 in the Cancer Research shop, a spotted skirt in Mercy in Action for 2.00 and a greenish blue top by Toast for 5.00 in Oxfam. The handle on the bag I was using gave way while I was out; I've stitched it several times and it was just about holding on with two safety pins...I found a nice replacement in the 3:16 charity shop for 3.50. This was Friday's outfit:

Tunic Challenge - Day 23


This denim tunic by Free People was bought in the 3:16 charity shop back in September for 5.00. It had a lace at the front but I took it out. The plaid trousers were also charity shopped but can't remember where. Boots; online retail.


I had a sort out of my clothes when I got home and put 8 items in the charity shop bag. 5 items in bought today and 8 out...


All jewellery charity shopped.

I recce'd my walk on Saturday and caught the bus back. It was  6.7 miles and wasn't as muddy as I feared. The weather was bright and dry. I stopped for a quick drink at Felmersham bridge and the water level was almost back to normal - not like the last time I took photos of our river - the River Great Ouse.



Tunic Challenge - Day 24



All jewellery charity shopped.


I took these photos when it was dark outside so the light quality is not very good. Tunic by Store 21 bought on Friday's rummage; black charity shopped jeans. Boots; online retail.


I went walking on Sunday and walked nearly 9 miles. I saw what I thought was an amazing sight; 2 green parakeets in trees near youngest grandson's school! Now, I have seen parakeets in Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Kew Gardens all in London; and I know they've spread out from London into Kent and possibly Surrey; but I didn't realise they had come this far north of London. I contacted the RSPB and left a message. I tried in vain to get a decent photo...I was so excited by the sighting it made my day!



Back to Barnardo's on Monday. Busy, busy, busy. We've stopped donations for a few days as we had nowhere left to put them!  I wore a warm dress by M&S; charity shopped somewhere. My new to me plaid jacket charity shopped recently in Olney; I think. Floral tights and scarf also charity shopped.


Boots; online retail.


All jewellery charity shopped.

Tunic Challenge - Days 25 - 35

I am heartily sick of the tunic challenge and need to finish it. Here are 11 more tunics I've worn in the recent past on the blog - all charity shopped of course.



I started out with 39 tunics. Got rid of 3; relegated 2 to jumpers; bought one new to me (see above). By my calculations that is 35; yet I still have one final tunic to wear! At least 4 of the above tunics are ones I'd wear in the summer rather than the winter but it's still a lot of tunics whatever way you look at it! Note to self; DO NOT BUY ANY MORE TUNICS.

My next challenge is maxi skirts and dresses. I'm enjoying these challenges because it's making me wear almost everything I own. I shall do a skirt and top challenge after that; by which time it will be Easter and I'll be off to Ireland!

See you on the other side...