Sunday, 17 June 2018

Summer outfits and summer walking

Badly in need of a haircut here...and it's a wonder I don't have square eyes as I've managed to watch four series of Downton Abbey and the finale since my last post! It's all over now.

Hello and I hope all is well in your world.
What have I been up to since my last post? I've been meaning to show you this for ages. I pass this on one of my walks. Angry birds as a bird scarer, it rotates constantly. I tried to get the video link to work but I couldn't. Blogger kept downloading an empty blue screen. It's a shame because I've also noticed that I no longer get Google notifications of comments on my blog - anyone else noticed that? I am also getting fewer comments; maybe people who follow me aren't getting notifications when I post. Let me know if you have noticed any changes, please. Bloody technology!


I led a walk for the Ramblers on Wednesday; there were 37 of us! Everyone found the bird scarer pretty funny. I've been doing a fair amount of walking as the weather has been good; warm, mostly dry and some sunshine.


Everything charity shopped except the trousers from the La Redoute sale a couple of years ago. The top was from the Mercy in Action shop for 2.00. The Gap sandals were 1.00 in Barnardo's and I've had the  Italian brown linen jacket forever. It came from Age UK and was 3.99. It is so useful in the summer; I'm wearing it again with another outfit below.


Necklace charity shopped in the 3:16 shop for 1.50. Earrings also charity shopped and scarf.

OH and I had a rummage at Emmaeus last Saturday. I bought 5 balls of wool at 50p a ball (and there I am making a granny square blanket to use up my stash of wool) a necklace and a bangle.


I got my haircut.
Shirt 1.49 from hospice shop on our Royston rummage a few weeks ago; jacket M&S; charity shopped in Kettering for 4.00. Trousers bought from Tu sale (Sainsbury's own label); sandals; Clarks retail bought in the sale and now in their 7th summer!


All jewellery charity shopped. The brooch is one of the first I ever bought and was 2.99 in the Heart Foundation shop. It maybe on upside down here...the earrings came from Oxfam in Dublin and  I bought the necklace when Hilary came to stay with me in early May at the 3:16 shop. Excuse the wet patch on my top; I 'd dripped something down myself and had to wipe it off with a wet cloth....


I've gone all metallic and shiny here. Trousers 1.00 rail; as was the top; jacket as before - I said it was useful... T strap animal print shoes 99p in Barnardo's. Total cost of outfit 7.00! 

All jewellery charity shopped.

The picture to the left is a poster of 'La Turandot' by Puccini. I bought it in Italy in 2013 and I've been looking for the right frame for it ever since. I finally found one in the Reuse centre for 1.50 last week. It's only taken me five years....


I bought this striped tunic in the Mercy in Action charity shop in town. It's an outlet shop for the organisation and things are pretty cheap; this striped top, which is by Warehouse, was 2.00. Jeans from the 1.00 rail in Barnardos, Ampthill and the long sleeved top is from Primarni. Sandals, Clarks retail as before.

Photos courtesy of youngest grandson

All jewellery charity shopped.

Black and White Trousers Outfit  - No. 6

Trousers by Tu bought in sale last year. Black lace top M&S charity shopped, I've had it for years; black shirt by Dunnes bought at an Irish jumble sale for 1.00 euro. Shoes; 2.99; Barnardo's.



Jewellery charity shopped. Necklace from Emmaeus; 1.50.

I did a lot of walking last week. On Monday I went for a 4 mile evening walk with the Ramblers. We passed this lovely thatched house with my favourite sort of garden - the classic English country garden. The photo doesn't do it justice at all; it was full of delphiniums,  wallflowers, foxgloves, holly hocks, roses, lavender and lots of flowers I don't know the names of.



This is how our garden is looking. We have strawberries at last and youngest grandson is the chief strawberry picker  - but it's a battle to pick them before the birds do.

I did a recce of my walk on Tuesday and on Wednesday led the actual walk; both days walking 6 miles. On Thursday I walked with a friend from the food bank and we walked over 8 miles. I don't know if it was walking four days in a row but I had a sore knee on Friday.


Here I've got 2 rows joined using JAYG...

I've finished crocheting my granny squares; in fact I miscounted and did 3 extra. I'm now fully immersed in joining the rows using the JAYG method -  helped enormously by You Tube videos by Crochet Cabana.com here. I found them very helpful.

Once I've completed this one I can start on my Willow pattern squares. I shall complete this next project in Ireland as I booked the ferry this week and there are only three weeks to go! I took a basket of wool with me to Ireland at Easter to start the Willow pattern squares but because I hadn't brought the right pattern with me I didn't do any crocheting for the two weeks I was there and the wool travelled back with me!


All jewellery charity shopped.


I'm not sure about this as a dress; I like the colours and got a compliment from another woman when I went into town wearing it. It's open from the thigh down though, so I think next time I wear it I'll leave it open and wear it as a long jacket over trousers. It was from the 1.00 rail in Ampthill, Barnardo's bought last year and not worn until now.


I have no memory at all of where I bought this African print skirt other than that it was from a charity shop about 2 years and was about a fiver. Top is by Next; also charity shopped; 1.00 rail Red Cross shop and the shoes were charity shopped in Ireland for 3.00 euros.


Why wear one necklace when you can wear three?

All jewellery charity shopped.

One day in the week I went for a rummage..


I bought this Kameez from the 1.00 rail in the 3:16 charity shop. All jewellery charity shopped.

 I bought both these items on the same day. The trousers are by Next and were 4.00 in the Day Hospice shop. I also bought a dress for 3.50 in Marie Curie.

I've done the usual school runs and volunteering this week. I've decided I don't want to continue at the library doing the shelving of books as it is very boring. There is no variety in the task and it's not the sort of place you can be very sociable in, so when I'm back from Ireland in September I might be looking for something else to do on a Tuesday afternoon...

I have enjoyed watching the complete series of Downton Abbey (oh the costumes!) and let me say it would have been cheaper to buy a second hand complete DVD box set than do it the way I did, with library reservation charges at 70p each item and 1.50 charge for each DVD  - the special (usually Christmas) episodes being stand alone and costing 1.50 as well. I wouldn't watch it again so at least I don't have a box set of DVDs to get rid of.

Having been immersed in historical drama for the past two weeks it has spurred me on to read some of the historical book series I have had for years in my collection  waiting to be read. The first is 'The Cazalet Chronicle' by Elizabeth Jane Howard, which follows a middle class family through decades of family life starting in 1937. There are five books in this series so I'll be taking some of them to Ireland with me. Then I intend to read 'The Balkan Trilogy' by Olivia Manning and finally; 'A Dance to the Music of Time' by Anthony Powell' a quartet of books each named for the four seasons. I believe all of these book series have been televised so I may want to follow them up when I'm back in September...

Anyway, I have my summer reading sorted and not only will I have achieved something I've wanted to do for ages I'll also have cleared some space on my book shelves - at last!

Monday, 4 June 2018

Birthdays and holidays

Gabbing as usual! Did I tell you that at our Ramblers Christmas Lunch all the tables had a title. Our table - full of women - was called 'The Chatterboxes'!

It was OH's birthday on Saturday 19th and we went for a rummage in Baldock and Royston in Hertfordshire.  Both are small market towns. I'd been before but OH hadn't. It was a glorious day. 

Everything charity shopped. The M & Co. tunic is a recent 1.00 rail purchase from the 3:18 charity shop. Next shirt.

 I bought these beads a few months back but the first time I tried to wear them the chain at the back broke. I crocheted a replacement in some purple wool and so far it's still holding the beads together!

All jewellery charity shopped.
Things are blooming in the garden!

I tried to hold back on clothes purchases; too many clothes already blah blah, but I just can't resist a reduced or 1.00 rail. I bought two tops on the reduced rail in Barnardo's in Royston (6 charity shops)  for 1.49 each. I bought a green wool tunic for winter wear for 2.99 in Age UK and an earring hanger for 1.99.  I've hung all my black earrings and some of the silver earrings on the new hanger. At last, I have some space on my main earring hanger and can see more clearly what earrings I have. I just need to find another one for the the other side now...


I also picked up these two brooches in Royston; the large bird brooch was 1.99 in the Wood Green Animal Shelter shop and the small pin, 99p in the Garden Hospice shop. The only thing I bought in Baldock (2 charity shops) was a pair of sunglasses to replace a pair I lost on a recent walk.


My brothers came over early on Saturday evening to watch the cup final. After that was over we went out for an Indian birthday meal. We had a lovely day and OH really enjoyed the whole thing. He also scored some great finds in the charity shops...


Baby brother and himself


Middle brother - something tickled his fancy here...

I invigilated at the University for two days. It's always an odd feeling to go back to where you once worked. I worked for this university for nearly 10 years and in the university sector as a whole from 1992; yet I don't miss it at all - and I enjoyed my job! I absolutely love being retired far more than I ever enjoyed working. Anyway, these were my outfits for those two days of work:


Everything charity shopped. The skirt was 1.50 from a charity shop in West Drayton; the yellow jacket was a Red Cross 1.99 find, I think. I cannot remember where the green top came from. The shoes were from a Donegal charity shop; 3 euros and the scarf bought this year in a charity shop for 1.00.


All jewellery charity shopped.

This necklace was 50p at a car boot sale years ago.

Black and white trousers outfit No. 4 - only 4 to go...


Again everything charity shopped except brogues from Primarni reduced to 5.00.



I bought the black and white kimono in Ireland somewhere; can't remember where, or where I got the black and white trousers which are by M & Co. The white lace tunic is from the Mercy in Action Charity shop and was 2.00.


All jewellery charity shopped. I think this necklace was one of the 1.50 bargains I found in
 the Sally Army in Rushden when Hilary was down on Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of the month.

Black and White trousers No. 5


This was taken outside the front door of our holiday cottage in Polyphant, Cornwall.  We set off on Saturday morning nice and early. My daughter had bought a bike rack and we put it on my car with three bikes on it - I would walk, (not to Cornwall of course!) as always. The journey there was a nightmare.  A three hour delay on the M5 meant that despite setting off at 10 am we didn't arrive until after 5 pm. We stopped twice at service stations for a break but the worst of it is is that where we were staying was only forty plus miles over the Devon border. Had we been further on in Cornwall we may not have got there until even later.


Everything charity shopped. This is the first kimono I ever bought and it's from Peacocks; the trousers are from F&F and yellow blouse from Dunne's Stores; charity shopped in Ireland.
I bought the white Mary Janes last winter in Oxfam in Bedford for 4.99.


A not very good selfie...earrings bought from an Irish artisan and the necklace is charity shopped.

It's been many years since I was last in Cornwall. I went three times in the 1970s. Once with soon to be husband (now ex); once with same husband and some friends, and again with husband for a job interview at a hospital near Bodmin. I often wondered how life might have turned out if I had lived in Cornwall but I know my ex husband would still be my ex! I've been to both Falmouth and Newquay in the last ten years with Hilary and her family for a day out. Where we stayed this time was 5 miles from Launceston in Trevosper Cottages here. Highly recommended as a place to stay. The owners lived on the premises and were so thoughtful and helpful. We arrived to a proper Cornish Cream Tea, set out on the table.

What did we do in Cornwall?


Biked the cycle trails in Cardinham Woods Nr. Bodmin. I walked, up and up and up......


Went to Summerleaze Beach in Bude twice and I swam in the tidal pool; played rounders on the beach, buried one grandson in the sand, played football, ate fish and chips and ice creams.


Our nearest beach was called Crackington Haven. It was a beautiful little place. Here the grandsons are chilling out.


We walked to the top of the huge cliff to the right!


This was the view from the top...

More ice creams were consumed here as well as proper Cornish pasties. More games were played on the beach, rockpools were explored, waves were jumped. We've agreed we all want to try body boarding next  time we're at the seaside again. The sea was not too cold but I was the only person who ventured in for a swim. As we were so close to the Devon border Hilary came to visit and on our second trip to Crackington Haven she came too.


Here she is building rock sculptures with the youngest grandson...

In the evenings we tried to go for bike rides around the local lanes and fields. The Cornish lanes reminded me very much of Ireland; full of flowers and bird song. There was a prolific pink wild flower growing everywhere which I forgot to take a photo of and look up. If anyone knows what it is I'd love to know.


Middle grandson biked up hill and down dale!

The other thing daughter and I did was binge watch 'Downton Abbey' on DVD. Neither of us had watched it before and we were both hooked. We made it to the penultimate episode of Series 2 at the cottage and daughter has been catching up on A****n P***e since we got back! I'm going to look for the series in the charity shops and I bet I'll find some.

And talking of charity shops; Hilary and I went to Bodmin and Wadebridge and had a good old rummage. I bought a spotted blouse by 'South' found on the only 1.00 rail in a charity shop in Bodmin; I also bought two necklaces, a pair of earrings, a ring and three books.

It was a lovely holiday and the return journey was the complete opposite to the outward one, thank goodness! But it's good to be home.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Catching Up and My Black and White Challenge

Necklace bought on Saturday rummage with Hilary at the 3:16 charity shop, 1.50. All jewellery is charity shopped.
My best friend Hilary came to stay with me at Bank Holiday weekend. And because it was a bank holiday she stayed an extra day which was wonderful. We spent Friday afternoon catching up. On Saturday we went for a rummage to Rushden and Kempston. Hilary loved the Sally Army shop in Rushden and declared it to be one of the best charity shops she had ever been to. I know Kelly of  'Mother of Reinvention' here would agree! I bought some necklaces and a pair of thick winter walking socks. An odd combination I grant you. In Kempston I bought a t shirt  (see below) and a pair of sandals. My charity shopping mojo had been revived!

On Sunday we went for a walk in the village of Sharnbrook; here we had walked up a little lane to see what was there and I took the opportunity to take a photo. I also took Hilary on my 'Bedford Blue Plaque Walk' on Monday. She had never seen so much of Bedford before and I've lived here for 37 years, now!

Hilary bought a couple of sunhats in Primarni - they were much needed it was a very hot weekend!
I was sad to say goodbye to Hilary but we're off to Cornwall in half term (daughter and I and two youngest grandchildren) and as Hilary doesn't live too far away in Devon she's going to come and stay for a few days.


This is the t shirt I bought for 1.99 in the Cat's Protection League. The jacket was bought retail a few years back in Beales sale - our local department store; the trousers were from the Guildhouse 3.50, and the shoes were retail.


All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were from Sainsbury's.


When Hilary went to Primarni on Saturday morning to pick up a few things I bought this lipstick there for 1.50. It's called 'Dark Pink' and is a lovely colour; a pinkish brown. Unfortunately, it doesn't last very long because it has a glossy finish; even though I blot and reapply several times. Glossy lipstick just does not stay on which is why I don't often wear it.


I'm suffering from Wisteria envy!
I took photos of the glorious flowering wisteria on my Blue Plaque Walk which I led for the group last Friday. We have wisteria on our back garden wall and it has crept up to the second storey of the house BUT after 5 years of growth we have only ever had one blossom!

I wish this wisteria was mine...
People enjoyed my Blue Plaque walk and several said that although they had lived in Bedford for years they had not noticed all the plaques I included in the walk...16 in total and 7 miles of walking.


On Saturday I went to see my son. It rained all day...


Everything is charity shopped except the bag - online retail. The shoes were bought in a charity shop in Ely; trousers were from the 1.00 rail in the British Red Cross shop; the tunic was from there at 1.99 as was the jacket.

I do miss that shop. When I was volunteering there just before it closed down last October; this lovely turquoise linen M&S jacket had been on the rail for weeks - at 1.99! I couldn't understand why no one had bought it. It wasn't for me because it was a size too small. One day I was feeling very sorry for the jacket and decided to try it on anyway and guess what - it fitted! The motto here is always try things on and pay little attention to sizing unless it's obviously really tiny or too big...


All jewellery charity shopped.

Now, here's a strange thing. I have 8 pairs of  black and white summer trousers in my wardrobe. How did that happen?   They're all different and one pair - a pair of palazzo pants I've had for years. I love black and white and there are obviously lots of black and white trousers around and so I've picked up pair after pair. As I have so many pairs I am setting myself a challenge to wear all 8 pairs over the next couple of weeks each outfit being completely different with the exception of the footwear. So, here's Number 1 of 8....


                                                                                                                                                                                 I wore this on Sunday. We went to our local car boot sale but it was cancelled. I must paint my toenails...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                    Everything charity shopped except the kimono which was a Christmas present. I can't remember where I got the zebra print trousers from.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                           More Wisteria envy. 
I passed this house in Biddenham village whilst out for a walk on Thursday. And I've also had to insert an image to avoid a huge gap and some weird stuff going on with my alignment....                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
I've been busy reading Jane Smiley's 'The Last 100 Years' trilogy which follows the fortunes of an American farming family for three generations and is essentially a history of the USA in the last 100 years. All three books in the trilogy are fat paperbacks, the last one had 703 pages. 

I've also been  watching the series on BBC 4 on Saturday nights 'Salamander; 'The Split' on BBC 1 on Tuesday nights; (I love Nicola Walker - such a good actress) and of course the new series of 'The Bridge' on BBC 2 on Friday nights. 

When I'm not reading or watching TV in the evenings. I am carrying on with the 8 row Granny crochet squares I should soon have enough to join all 49 together with the JAYG (join as you go) method in cream wool.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They're stacking up nicely. I block the squares using a method saw on Pinterest. Cheap kneeling pads and wooden skewers used for kebabs and in my case testing whether or not my cakes are cooked in the middle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         On Monday as it was such a beautiful day I decided to go for a long walk. I recced a new walk but it was 9.3 miles; a bit too long for the Wednesday Rambler walks, I think. Anyway, I really enjoyed it because I had tried to recce it before and took a wrong turning.

This time I used my OS map extensively and it worked. I felt such a sense of achievement. It felt so good to say; right after this by way I should come to a road - and I did! Or, once the footpath forks to left I should cross a stream  - and I did! On the other hand I forgot to bring my hat and got a bit sun burnt on my face; not good for the wrinkles at all.

This was what I  wore to volunteer on Tuesday at the Food Bank and library in the afternoon. Another beautiful sunny day.


Everything charity shopped. The skirt was from the Red Cross 1.99 and I think the yellow M&S linen jacket was, too. The shoes were bought in a Donegal charity shop for 3 euros. I've had the camisole for years and years.


All jewellery charity shopped.


I bought the earrings in Donegal - made by a local artisan; I like to support local artisans when I can.

 Black and white trousers outfit no 2.


Everything charity shopped. Coat 1.99; Red Cross. Tunic 99 cents; Dublin charity shop. Black shirt; 1 euro jumble sale in Ireland. Can't remember where I got the shoes, scarf or trousers from which are by H&M.


All jewellery charity shopped.



I've got a busy weekend ahead as it's OH's birthday on Saturday and we're off for a rummage in the day (definitely got my charity shopping mojo going...) and meeting up with the brothers in the evening for a birthday meal. Next week I am invigilating at the university where I used to work; I am hoping to go walking on Monday by myself and with the group on Wednesday and Friday. Next Saturday we set off for Cornwall, so there will be lots to tell you about in my next posts -  and there are 6 pairs of black and white trouser outfits to get in as well. I bet you can't wait!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend.
xxx