Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Same old, same old...but some new charity shop finds.



I seem to have lost my blogging mojo just lately. My third year blogoversary was in November and I forgot to mention it.  I tend to have a quite routinised lifestyle and seem to talk about the same things all the time; charity shopping finds; walking, crocheting projects; excursions with family/ friends etc. I worry that I'm boring! 😢 The thing is I love reading about other people's everyday lives; it's the details I find so fascinating, so I can only hope that many of you are the same.

Our weather turned very cold in the third week of November. On Wednesday 21st the temperature dropped to 1.5 degrees and reached the giddy heights of 3.5 degrees later in the day! I hardly walked all that week. Just managed a 4 mile walk with my daughter on Friday before the school run.

It was a very good week for charity shopping, though.  This was last Saturday's outfit. We went to Emmaeus for a little rummage and I bought 3 bangles for 50p each, a flower brooch and a green necklace. They had quite a lot of wool which they don't usually have, but I was very restrained and didn't buy any! I also bought a winter coat BNWT by for 3.50 in the Wood Green Animal charity shop during the week as well. 


These were last week's purchases, too. Yellow kimono: 4.50 and Phase Eight wool dress 2.99 both from Great Denham, Barnardo's. I was checking the sale rail and spotted them, I find it hard to resist kimono type tops...


Boots bought a few years back from The Reuse Centre 2.40 and yellow shiny tights I've had for years and cannot remember where I got them from.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

It was my youngest brother's birthday so we went to Kettering on Saturday evening for a birthday meal celebration. We went to 'The Hare' in Loddington. When my mum was alive she loved to come here and it's also where we celebrated her 70th birthday; on that occasion she arrived in style in a white limousine accompanied by all her grandchildren!


Here we are waiting for our food to arrive.

I bought this jacket in the Cat's Protection charity shop a while ago for 3.50. Checked/gingham tunic charity shopped but grey leggings bought from Sainsbury's and boots online retail.
All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

On Monday I walked 8 miles along the river to Great Denham. It was a chilly day and a bit gloomy but I enjoyed my walk; I feel guilty if I don't go out walking at least three times during the week. 

On Tuesday I went to the food bank and in the afternoon I went to Rushden on Tuesday for a quick rummage. The Sally Army yielded a brooch; a necklace and a pair of summer trousers. I bought a grey Italian dress (see below) for 2.99 in the Cancer Research shop and a pair of earrings for 50p in The Heart Foundation. I like buying some summer items in the winter. I put them away after washing them and they're such a nice surprise when I swap my wardrobe over in the Spring.


I really like this kimono - it's yellow!


Black jeans 79p sale rail in Barnardo's; blue top by Gudrun Sjoden charity shopped in the same place  for 3.99. Boots bought in Oxfam. The yellow bangle is one of the three I bought at Emmaeus last Saturday.


All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

Because the weather had been pretty miserable I concentrated on my crocheting. I got to 72 squares and decided I had enough for a reasonable size blanket  as if I continued with the original plan of 144 squares I may not have had it finished until after Christmas - and it was for a Christmas present. So, after having played around with the squares I ended up with ten rows of seven squares. Then I had to crochet them together....


One of the best things about crocheting as far as I'm concerned is choosing the colours. With this project  there is one row of pinks, blues, purples, greens, grey and oranges and red and yellows, and one row of mixed colours drawn from the ones I've listed.


It might look a bit wavy but once the squares have been crocheted together using grey wool in single crochet  stitch and a border added, it will look both squarer and more finished.

 I'm already planning the next stash busting project which is a slightly different version of the same pattern; and this time I'm going to go for completely random colours! No colour scheme whatsoever just random colours. I'm quite excited by this as I always have a colour scheme in mind when crocheting but I'll use a toning colour to join the squares which will bring it all together - I hope!  I've  still got so much wool left to use up...

As I've been crocheting as much as I can I haven't got much reading done this month - only 5 books in November.  I read 9 in October. If only I could crochet and read at the same time I'd be laughing! I am catching up with 'Vanity Fair' on my laptop as I crochet so the brain is being stimulated. We've been watching 'Beck' on BBC 4; it just goes from strength to strength, I think.  There are 10 books in the original series and I've read them all;  of course they are now extending the story lines. We've watched 'Little Drummer Girl' on BBC 2. H'mmnn, she did all that for love? I don't think so - but of course I haven't read the book and screen writers do take liberties sometimes...


This is the grey Italian dress I bought for 2.99 in the Cancer Research in Rushden. Charity shopped, Monsoon cardigan from the Red Cross a couple of years ago for 1.99; orange tights from the Cat's Protection League and shoes from Primarni 5.00 in the sale.


All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.


I bought this tunic recently but can't remember where; it may have been the Willen Hospice shop  in Newport Pagnell and it's by Lily and Me. Cardigan 1.00 rail in the 3:16 charity shop and leggings 79p from Barnardo's. Boots on line retail.

We had a national food bank drive in partnership with Tesco last Thursday. I had a two hour stint in our largest branch of Tesco; giving out food bank shopping lists. Most people were happy to take a list and many people donated items. I'll find out when I'm next at the food bank how much was donated; it's usually several tonnes of food!

I also went to the hairdressers...

All jewellery charity shopped.

I walked for 8 miles on Friday; just around the area where my daughter lives.   There's quite a lot of concrete paths around where she lives; a combination of concreted farm/bridle tracks and an old RAF base. It had been very wet for days so I wanted to avoid fields.

At the weekend OH and I went for a rummage in Newport Pagnell. I picked up a leoprint soft jacket for 2.00 in the Hospice shop. We stopped at the Barnardo's in Great Denham on the way home and I bought from the sale rail: a spotted blouse/tunic for 79p; 2 pairs of leggings at 79p each; a skirt for 79p and a jumpsuit (in thin material so only for the summer) - also 79p and finally a multi-coloured necklace.  All for less than a fiver. Didn't I do well?


Cardigan bought from the Independent Charity Shop. Dress by Primarni retail. Boots present from daughter. Tights and scarf charity shopped.



All jewellery charity shopped, except earrings from Bedford Market about ten years ago.


There are some flowers that look just as good as they start to fade as when fresh; hydrangeas, for example. I don't know what these are but they're beginning to fade and I think they're lovely.


The Karina blanket is finished!


Joined with grey single crochet stitch and six rows of double crochet in the border. I might just join the next one with an 'invisible' join..

I'm very pleased with it.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Not a lot going on


Hello again and how are you? I've had a pretty quiet time with not too much going on. I've been busy with the crocheting as I'm trying to get the blanket, which I've called the Karina blanket, finished in time for Christmas as I'm going to give it to my eldest grandson's girlfriend.

I had a good week last week for walking. I walked on my own and recce'd my longer walk on Tuesday - just on 7 miles. Walked with the group on Wednesday; 8 miles from Great Denham to Bromham and back. Unfortunately, after the first hour it rained solidly! On Thursday, I walked with my friend Lynn from the food bank and we walked 8 miles; I slightly changed the route I want to take when I lead this longer walk for the Ramblers and this new route was better and just under 8 miles. Phew! Job done. Now I'll just keep walking the routes until I can do them blindfolded - and in reverse. That's the true test of knowing where you're going...

                                                        All jewellery charity shopped.


This was Tuesday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except the boots. Tunic from Primarni; 2.00 in The Childrens' Society last year; cardigan Tu; 1.00 rail Barnardo's. Leggings bought in Store 21 sale for 5.00 a few years back. Still haven't found any black leggings yet...


Scarf charity shopped recently.


 I lost my watch in the house somewhere (you can see the outline of it on my arm above!) and was lost without it. I have 7 watches, 4 of which were gifts and the other three from charity shops, but only one with a working battery! It costs between £4 and £5.00 to have batteries put in watches but I do need to get some put in urgently. I've tried putting in my own batteries in in the past using the batteries from the Poundshop, but they don't last...

This was Thursday's outfit:


All jewellery charity shopped

Jeans; John Rocha for M&S; Top; Next, Cardigan: Mystify all charity shopped.


Boots; Christmas present from daughter. I bought the alstromerias flowers from Lidl. They lasted for three weeks!

 Our expected visitors cancelled their visit to us for Saturday and are coming in December instead which meant I had a free Saturday. I had a lovely lie-in as I had stayed up till 3.45 am the night before to finish my library book; 'Lethal White' by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling author of the Harry Potter books. This book is the fourth  in the Cormoran Strike series and very good it was too. I ran some errands in town and then went for a rummage to Great Denham and the Cat's Protection League in Kempston.


Look what I found there!  I asked if they had any wool and the Manager said she had a bagful at the back and would I like to look. So I did, and then picking up vibes from her that she wished to be rid of the wool, I asked if she could do me a deal for the whole lot - all this wool for 8.00! I was so pleased. Of course the whole point of crocheting my current blanket is a stash busting project to reduce the amount of wool I already have -  and then I go and buy all this. But you can't look a gift horse in the mouth as my mum used to say...

Saturday's outfit.

These trousers were from the sale rail in Barnardos in St. Neots last weekend - 49p. The cardigan came from the Sally Army and was 5.00. It's an Italian label. The lace top came from a sale rail somewhere last year.


Beetle crushers charity shopped in Wellingborough about three or four years ago.


All jewellery charity shopped.


Outerwear. Hilary sent me the beautiful paisley scarf. Embroidered wool cardigan bought in the Donkey Sanctuary charity shop in Ballyboffey, Co. Donegal. It has sequins and beads sewn into the embroidery as well.


I went to my son's on Sunday. I wore my new maxi dress. I wish I had put my hands in my pockets so you can see them; they're not very obvious in these photos. Everything charity shopped except the boots - online retail.


Roman jacket; 1.00 rail in Age UK, Wellingborough about three or four years ago. Dress bought in St. Neot's two weekends ago for 5.49.


All jewellery charity shopped.

I was watching 'Only Connect' on Monday (BBC 4) and one of the clues on the 'Wall' part of the programme was about different types of pen. One of the four types of pen was the 'dip' pen which the presenter, Victoria Coren, had to explain to the participants! I used a dip pen at primary school when we did Italic handwriting. I don't know why we were taught Italic handwriting but we were and we used lined paper; dip pens, inkwells and ink. If you were lucky you got to be ink monitor. It's times like this when I feel my age... and when I see the age of Oscar or award winning actors and/or musicians and realise I'm old enough to be their mum... and when I remember having no other form of home heating except coal fires and paraffin heaters.

I took three of my watches to the watch battery van in town on Monday and got new batteries. Cost 13.50. Oh well, at least I have four watches that work now!


My daughter took this photo of me (on her camera phone) and youngest grandson losing his money in the arcade in Eastbourne where we went at half term.

The size of this photo has just reminded that a few weeks ago my photos on the blog began to shrink. I always select the X large size for my photo on Blogger but no matter what I did the photos came out smaller than they used to. I nearly always use my camera phone for photos and they used all to be the size of the one above - the one my daughter took - we have the same phone. Now despite using the same camera phone and selecting the same size; the photos are smaller. Does anyone know why? And if so, what can I do about it? I've tried checking settings etc but to no avail.


Pattern mixing and monochrome. Everything charity shopped. Trousers and lace top both from Next. Italian cardigan bought in the Salvation Army for 5.00 a week or so ago. Boots charity shopped in Oxfam, I think.


Scarf charity shopped; 1.00.


All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; Sainsbury's.

On Tuesday, I volunteered at the Food Bank as usual. There are now so many donations of food we are having trouble storing it all!

In the afternoon I combined some errands in town and a walk of 3.5 miles. One of the places I stopped at was the Reuse Centre.   The Reuse Centre has two premises; one is a charity shop which I pop into frequently and the other usually sells furniture only which I visit less frequently.  I visited this one on Tuesday and saw a queue of about 40 people; men, women and children queuing for -  food! This Reuse Centre now receives donations of perishable food from shops, cafes, restaurants and supermarkets and gives them to the needy. I saw a lot of bread, fresh fruit and vegetables. I was both shocked and horrified. I don't know why. I know there is a soup run on a Saturday afternoon in Bedford and homeless people in particular make use of it, but I think it was the sight of women queuing with children and buggies. It reminded me of news items where they feature disaster areas and people are queuing for aid. It is disgraceful that in the 21st century in a market town in the sixth biggest (richest?) economy in the world people have to queue for food because they can't afford to buy it. Why? Because of the number of people living in poverty, who are homeless or are the casualties of Universal Credit this charity now distributes perishable food to needy people on these premises.

I didn't walk with the group on Wednesday; I didn't want to get up so early. I did go walking on my own and walked my new route again. It was a bright, sunny day and cool, but lovely for walking. I walked just over 7 miles.


More monochrome and pattern matching. This was Thursday's outfit. I often stay in my walking gear on days when I walk...


All jewellery charity shopped.


Everything charity shopped. I bought the boots in Barnardo's in Great Denham earlier this year when it was too warm to wear them. They are very comfortable.

My daughter dislocated her shoulder playing netball and can't drive so I became a taxi service! It brings back memories of when my children were younger and I used to ferry them about to sports fixtures, friend's houses and when they got older parties and raves...


OH was just taking this photo when our weekend visitors arrived. Everything including jewellery charity shopped with the exception of the boots which were bought from Sainsburys as few years ago. The plaid skirt is pleated and was 49p from Barnardo's in Ampthill. Waistcoat by Zara but can't remember where I bought it or the green top.

I only went rummaging once last week. I took stuff to the charity shop in Great Denham and picked up two items from the sale rail at 79 p each; a sleeveless jumper and a pair of black jeans. Then when I was running errands on Tuesday I walked the long way home via the Children's Society shop where I picked up the navy blue coat  (see below) by 'The White Stuff; for 10.00.

Our friends L and B from Leeds spent the weekend with us. We had a lovely time and enjoyed showing them around our town and some of our lovely countryside. We ate  out on Friday evening and on Saturday we went for a walk along the River Great Ouse. Here we are on the newest bridge in town just setting out on our walk.


Everything charity shopped except boots - on line retail.

The weather has turned very cold here this week. Wherever you are stay warm!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Out and about in East Sussex

Hello again!


Since I last posted I've been to East Sussex; to Milton Keynes to watch my brother's solo gig and I had planned to go to Devon to see Hilary - but see update below. We've had one lot of weekend visitors (brothers) and expect two more sets pf visitors over the next two weekends. And of course our clocks have gone back by one hour so the mornings are a bit brighter but get it gets dark earlier which is horrible .

To backtrack a little to two weekends ago; OH and I visited the final car boot sale of the year in our local area. I did very well. I picked up a nice weekend holdall - eldest grandson borrowed mine to take back to London with him so I'll probably never see it again! I also picked up some earrings and small brooch for 60p (!) a rice cooker for 2.00; a denim waistcoat (below) and best of all brand new walking boots for 4.00. My current Berghaus 99p bargain boots from the Red Cross are becoming a bit detached from one side of the upper. It can probably be glued back but it's good to have two pairs of walking boots so one pair can dry out. A very successful haul.

I walked only twice in this week (must do better, Veronica) once on my own and once with the group. I've sorted out one of walks that I'm leading and I'm still working on the other. The group walk was from Pirton to Great Offley (7 miles) and was wonderful but I didn't take any photos; lots of hills were climbed so photos weren't on my mind...Pirton still has a maypole on its village green.



This is All Saint's Church in Milton Ernest which we will pass on my walk. It dates from the 11th century. 

I've been reading a book about villages in the UK and
 the importance of the church to the village and its inhabitants. As a walker who walks predominantly in the countryside it's always such a comfort to see a church or church spire in the distance because you know then you're never too far away from people  - especially good if you're lost!


This photo was taken en route to East Sussex by one of the grandsons at a service station on the M 20. Everything charity shopped except the navy blue boots and the waistcoat which came from the car boot sale and cost 1.00. The top came from 1.00 rail - it's by M&S and I have the same one in green and yellow. Skirt by Next.

I should have worn a more colourful scarf in my hair. All jewellery charity shopped.
My daughter, two youngest grandsons and I set off on Thursday morning to East Sussex for an over night stay. I wanted to visit Rye first then we stayed in a hotel in Eastbourne, 29 miles away.  There are lots of parts of the UK that I haven't seen and I want to put that right. Rye was lovely; full of quirky buildings. It's where the TV series 'Mapp and Lucia' (from the E.H.Benson books) was filmed. I probably only saw about half of what is there but although the grandsons were very good they get bored very quickly. I even managed to have a brief look in the two charity shops I saw but the prices were silly.

Rye is an English town near the coast in East Sussex. In the centre, cobbled lanes like Mermaid Street are lined with medieval, half-timbered houses. Those cobbles are hard to walk on in thin soled shoes! It is also one of the original Cinque port towns which were a historic series of coastal towns in Kent and Sussex. They were originally formed for military and trade purposes. The sea has now retreated two miles inland from Rye. (Information from Wikipedia).



The Mermaid Inn. No, we didn't go in for a pint!





This boy is very mischievous. He loves to photo bomb!


Such lovely buildings.



From my limited experience of English seaside towns, I think Eastbourne is typical of the larger ones. There's a pier...


Eastbourne Pier


The weather was a bit dodgy in the morning it kept on raining, so we spent time in the arcades losing money - at least the grandsons did! I love to see groynes at the beach especially the wooden ones.


 It brightened up by the afternoon. We spent a little while in the town itself. Lots of charity shops. I looked in a few. I bought a log basket in the Cancer Research shop; it was nice and narrow just what I've been looking for and at 4.99 not too pricey!


Soaking up some afternoon sun. It was bright but pretty chilly. We spent most of the afternoon on the beach and walking along the prom.


I love the roof on this building. It's very Islamic looking and made of beautiful turquoise tiles.


The sea front hotels and part of the promenade or boardwalk.

We returned Friday evening and on Saturday we went to watch my brother Julian's solo gig at 'The Stables' in Milton Keynes here. My other brothers came over for dinner first and after the gig Julian came back to stay; we had lots to catch up on!


Everything charity shopped except the boots which were a Christmas present from OH a few years ago. The leggings are my 79 p bargain from Barnardo's, the top is by TU from a 1.00 rail but I can't remember where I got the tunic or how much it was.
 Julian was on the small stage which seats about 40. There are tables and chairs and it's a quite intimate setting. He played a great range of songs including the story of how he came to be; his tribute to my mum: 'The Ballad of Kathy Flynn'. You can hear it here.There were tears in my eyes by the end of it. I've written previously about how my brother discovered us here and here.


All jewellery charity shopped.



The Stables is a really nice venue. I've been to quite a few gigs here: The Be Good Tanyas, Keb Mo, Acoustic Alchemy (OH is a jazz fan), Peter White, Steeleye Span (Julian is part of this band) Dennis Baptiste to name just some.



This is a not very good photo of Julian but you can see how small and intimate setting it was.


The Three Musketeers! Yes, that is Johnny Dankworth and yes he is poking my brother in the ear!



Black 1960s style homemade swing or duster coat. Bought at a car boot sale for 2.50. The lady who was selling had also made it and said she was so pleased I was buying it as she could tell I would love it. I do. You can't see it here because this is not a very good photo, but it's made of black patterned brocade; has nice big wide sleeves with a diamond button on each one and the coat is swooshy when you walk...

On Monday I was child minding as one grandson had a teacher training day. He came with me to the hairdressers and then he took these photos.



Everything charity shopped except spotty leggings; Lidl retail. Kimono bought in Donegal in 2017 and the tunic, too. It was a pretty chilly day on Monday. In fact we've been lighting our fire every evening since last Saturday and with the weather we've  been having I think that will continue...



All jewellery charity shopped.
On Tuesday I found out at the food bank we received 8 tonnes of Harvest food donations!  The warehouse was full to the ceiling. Fabulous people of Bedford - thank you.
That's a jigsaw on the hall table picked up for 75 p at the 3:16 charity shop for my friend Ann's husband who suffered a massive stroke a few years ago. He's become a whizz at jigsaws. This one is 1,000 pieces of Waterloo Station in 1848 and 1948. Should keep him out of mischief for a while!
Everything charity shopped except shoes Primarni sale 5.00. East dress; Oxfam 7.00, floral cardigan; Independent charity shop 3.00. Tights, Red Cross 50p.




All jewellery charity shopped. Necklace 1.00 Salvation Army in Rushden.

I walked with my group again on Wednesday. It started out as a cold day but within an hour or so we were taking our jackets off. There was a lot of climbing. We walked 7 miles in Ampthill, mostly through Ampthill Great Park and woods; once the hunting grounds of Henry VIII. Katherine of Aragon lived in Ampthill Castle for a number of years till she lost her head... 

More OOTDs



Something else I wore this past fortnight inspired by an outfit I saw on Pinterest. The scarf was a mistake - too bulky. I should have used a finer one. Everything charity shopped. Black jeans; Donegal, black boots; Barnardo's Great Denham, orange cardigan by Wallis; 2.00 same place. Jean shirt; Cambridge charity shop about three years ago. Scarf charity shopped and earrings from Sainsbury's. 



Ooh! Shiny leggings. I usually wear these under walking trousers in the winter and I think they'd better stay there! I need a pair of black leggings. Something I have on my charity shopping list. Everything charity shopped except the boots; online retail. Can't remember where I got the tunic from.

My trip to see Hilary in Devon was scuppered. Something went wrong with the car and by the time I had paid out for garage bills (big) I couldn't really afford to go to Devon. I was so disappointed and so was Hilary,but I'm planning to go in the New Year instead and it will give me something to look forward to. Bloody cars! they always go when you can least afford them to or when you are most relying on them.



Everything charity except boots online retail. Jeans; M&S, Top; Next. Cardigan charity shopped in a Golder's Green, London charity shop on my birthday two years ago. It's a man's cardigan and has a little logo on the right side.



Jewellery and scarf charity shopped. Earrings from Topshop bought in 2002 . I remember buying them so well; I had given a presentation with a colleague to the Women's Equality Unit in the House of Commons that day and we then went to look at Oxford Street shops.  I treated myself to these earrings. They had them in mustard as well and I've regretted not buying them ever since. Maybe one day I'll come across a pair in a charity shop!


I recce'd my short walk (4.5 miles)  on Friday. It was a bright sunny day but cold. OH asked me if I'd like to go rummaging with him on Saturday as I wasn't going to Devon - of course I said yes! So on Saturday OH and I went for a rummage to St. Neot's. As I'd paid out so much for the car and I don't need anything I set myself a strict budget of 5.00!



The poncho top was 49p in Barnardo's, Ampthill. Everything charity shopped except boots; on line retail. 



It wasn't too cold so the poncho was sufficient. 


Tunic by Anthology; can't remember where I bought it but I did pay 7.00 for it which is quite expensive for me. I thought the label said 'Anthropology' so snapped it up!  Having looked at the price of Anthology clothes on line 7.00 is a pretty fair price and I do love it. Red jeans; Laura Ashley; black shirt underneath; Primarni 1.00 rail.


Can you see the new log basket I bought in Eastbourne?

All jewellery charity shopped. Picked up beads in the week for 99p in the Sally Army. It's next to Lidl's; that's my excuse anyway!

It was a good rummage in St. Neot's.  How did I fare on my 5.00 maximum spend? I bought a ball of pink wool (50 p); two necklaces (99 p and 1.50 p) some earrings (50 p); a pair of palazzo pants from the 49 p rail and Gap shirt for one of the grandsons for 1.00. Total spend 4.99. Naturally as I had a strict budget I saw a beautifully draped maxi dress, but it was 5.49.  I rarely see these type of dresses in my size in charity shops, so I was a bit gutted; then OH kindly bought it for me. What a star he is! It's not a bright colour at all, a sort of browny shade, mushroom? Taupe? Fawn? But I can spice it up with a colourful jacket and accessories.



Sunburst on L - Starburst on R
My crocheting has been going well. I planned to make 12 x 12 rows  of squares for this blanket and so far have crocheted one row of 12 green squares. Then I realised that instead of crocheting the 'Starburst Flower' squares I was actually crocheting 'Sunburst Flower' squares.  I'd got my Sun and Star flowers mixed up! What's the difference? The Sunburst pattern uses 4 rows of treble clusters whereas the Starburst pattern uses 1 row of 'puff' stitch and 1 row of 'cluster' stitch as well as 2 rows of treble clusters. So, my dilemma is - do I keep my row of green squares in the Sunburst pattern and do the rest in Sunburst squares or do I abandon what I've done and do 12 rows of Starburst squares? Then there's the fact I've used up most of my green wool stash (which was the intention) and don't have enough left to make another 12 in Starburst...after some thought I've decided to keep the 12 green Sunburst squares and use one in each of the the 12 rows. After all they look pretty similar don't they?