Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Birthday Celebrations and the End of the Skirt Challenge


I had errands to run in town on Wednesday and when I'd finished decided to walk to the Danish Camp along the river. I walked on one side of the river there and on the other side on the way back. It was a bleak, grey day and it rained on the way back; but I just put my hood up. I'd walked 8 miles by the time I got in!


Everything charity shopped. Boden cords and Oasis jumper from the 1.00 rail in my Barnardo's. The Nomads dress/tunic was also charity shopped but can't remember where. Grey boots online retail; they're getting very shabby so I'll be getting rid of them.


All jewellery charity shopped. I bought the necklace in a Co. Derry charity shop for 3 euros.



Thursday was busy. I went to Sharnbrook to pick up more coal, did the food shopping and put it away. I went swimming as I wanted to walk with the group on Friday. I went swimming about an hour later than I usually do and on a different day and had the middle lande completely to myself! It was wonderful. I may do this from now on as I don't have to do the school run on Thursday and once I've done the shopping the day is mine...I hope it wasn't a fluke!

Skirt Challenge - Day 10



I wanted to wear my Zara jacket (1.00 sale bargain - my Barnardo's) but Thursday was a cold, raw day and it just wasn't warm enough! Everything charity shopped except the jumper and boots; presents from my daughter. Skirt by Tu; shirt by M&S 1.00 rail in the 3:16 charity shop. I popped in there on Wednesday and spent a few pounds  in their 1.00 sale.


Tights charity shopped. This skirt doesn't fit well round my waist so it's been relegated to the charity shop bag.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Skirt Challenge - Day 11



More pattern mixing! Everything charity shopped. Skirt by M&S; spotted top by Mandolin; my Barnardo's and striped roll neck by John Lewis 1.00 rail also found in my Barnardo's.


Tights and all jewellery also charity shopped.


Boots - present from daughter.


I wore this outfit on Friday after I got back from our bus walk. We walked from Shefford to Clifton, onto Southill and back to Shefford. It was a really lovely day with bright sunshine and bright blue skies. The walk was just over 7 miles but as I had to walk to my car I did just under 8. There was an Age UK in Shefford and of course I had a look. I bought some Clark's summer shoes for 4.99; some striped summer trousers for 3.99 and a lovely book about car boot collectibles for 1.50.


Two beautifully coordinated walking companions; Jan and Lesley; who's in her 80s!  And some views over the Bedfordshire countryside.

On Saturday we did the housework as we were having everyone over for dinner on Sunday. I made several trips to town including one for wool. My Cup Cake blanket is not the stash busting project I'd hoped it would be! I just didn't have enough blue wool left to make a reasonable sized blanket. I had to  buy 5 more balls of wool in order to be able to complete it. I managed to get quite a bit of crocheting done on Saturday. I want to have it finished by the time we go to Ireland as I like to have a project to do while I'm there. I know what the next project will be; a Lazy Waves pattern in greens. I may have to find a couple more balls of green, too!


Everything charity shopped. Jeans by Zara 3.00; my Barnardo's; top by Next; can't remember. Jacket by M&S; 1.00 rail somewhere. Blue boots online retail.


All jewellery charity shopped except brooch; bought in Donegal gift shop. Headscarf was a present.

I went for a 6 mile walk on Sunday morning.

Skirt Challenge - Day 12



Everything charity shopped. I bought the Oasis top for 1.00 in my Barnardo's but cannot remember where anything else came from. The jacket is an old Next one.


All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; Beale sale - it's closing down...


That's the skirt challenge completed - thank goodness! At least I've worn them all and I did get rid of 9 out of the original 20, if you remember, although I've already replaced 1 of those with a 1.00 rail bargain from the 3:16 charity shop last week...

In the afternoon my brothers, Marian and Katherine, daughter and partner and grandsons came for dinner. OH made curry goat and curry chicken, daughter made cocktails - I had loads, and we played Charades and Articulate after dinner. I think I can say that everyone had a really great time! Although my birthday wasn't until the Monday I was allowed my birthday cake early:


I have to confess that I felt a bit yuck on the morning of my birthday. Too many cocktails, I think. I went to the charity shop as usual but finished a bit early as my daughter was taking me out for afternoon tea to a hotel in Stevenage.  I took some cakes in  to Barnardo's and was given a beautiful bunch of tulips by my manager and deputy manager; how sweet of them. The afternoon tea was lovely; and we had planned to go for a rummage to nearby Letchworth after but it was such a nasty, cold wet day we both wanted to go home instead.  So we did! I was given some wonderful birthday gifts. Quite a lot of money; a lavender candle and chocolates from youngest grandson;  eledest and middle grandsons gave me Amazon vouchers and an orchid; my son sent me flowers and chocolates and gave me money; my daughter gave me two books including the new Hilary Mantel book (yay!) and some new wrist straps for my Fitbit; my brothers gave me money; OH bought me a maxi skirt and is taking me away next weekend. My cousin gave me special tea bags; a beautiful cup and saucer and her daughter found, bid for, and won a Mary Quant headscarf for me! How lucky am I?


Shirt; 1.00 rail 3:16 charity shop; denim dress; retail (present). Boots online retail. You can't see the colour properly in these photos but the shirt is a beautiful blue colour.

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All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; Sainsbury's - old.





Birthday flowers from colleagues at Barnardo's.


Birthday bouquet and jug from my son.

I went to the food bank on Tuesday and after I'd finished I decided to recce the walk I'll be leading for my Ramblers group next Wednesday. I had a really busy week ahead what with being taken away for the weekend so this was the best chance I had. The weather was very weird on Tuesday. It was very warm; 16 degrees but very, very windy! I walked 8 miles and although it was muddy in places it wasn't as bad as I had expected.


I wore this on Tuesday. Everything charity shopped. Trousers from my Barnardo's; picked up on Monday for 3.00; tunic; can't remember. Jacket; 1.00 rail from Bedford Hospice shop. Blue boots from the Red Cross Shop.


All jewellery charity shopped.


I decided not to walk with my group on Wednesday as I had too much to do. I walked with my daughter and did 6 miles; another windy day but not too cold and it was dry at least. I wore this:

Kimono; my Barnardo's; shirt by Dunnes store charity shopped in Ireland; Next boyfriend fit jeans; my Barnardo's. Red boots online retail.


All jewellery charity shopped.


In the afternoon I went to Aldi for some bits and picked up more kindling. Then I went to Kempston to my doctors to collect a repeat prescription and took it to the chemist. I visited the Cat's Protection League whilst waiting for the prescription to be made up. I bought a blue floral crossbody bag and some smellies. Then it was back to Bedford to get my  eyebrows done and to run a few errands to a range of places including buying a birthday card for eldest grandson who is 25 on Sunday. In the evening I met up with my other best friend of 32 years, Ann, and we had a meal out and a catch up. We chose the wrong evening as Liverpool were playing and the pub was full of extremely noisy Liverpool fans! It was good to catch up and we both said we should do it more often but life gets in the way...

On Thursday morning I received a letter from my doctor's practice telling me they were closing. I've been with this practice for 39 years but it is closing down and we have all been reallocated to another practice. Luckily, the new practice is within walking distance for me whereas the old practice was a drive away.

On Friday OH and I set out for Stamford in Lincolnshire to spend the weekend as part of my birthday celebrations. We stayed at 'The Crown' in All Saints Place which was a wonderful place to stay. We had been to Stamford a couple of times before but had never stayed overnight.  Stamford is a town which has 17th and 18th-century stone buildings, older timber-framed buildings and five medieval parish churches. Stamford is a frequent filming location; including the 2004 version of 'Pride and Prejudice'; 'Middlemarch' and 'The Da Vinci Code'. In the age of the railway the Earl of Burleigh wouldn't allow the railway into Stamford so it was moved to Peterborough instead. That may be why the buildings in the town have remained so well preserved and it is one of the towns in the UK with the highest densities of listed buildings. We did a fair amount of rummaging and sightseeing taking in Oakham in Rutland the UK's smallest county; and Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire as well.

In the hotel room. Everything charity shopped except the boots.



All jewellery charity shopped.


Buildings in Stamford. The two top and bottom left were all in the street where the hotel was. The houses by the river are the backs of alms houses.
Views from Stamford; All Saints Brewery. The plaque was outside one of the buildings in the top right photo.

Another house and famous historical person on All Saint's Place.

Top left church in Melton Mowbray; top right church in Oakham; bottom left All Saints Church, Stamford and bottom right Browne's Hospital, Stamford.

Views from Oakham. Top left; a Norman Hall; thatched house top right and bottom left; bottom right OH outside the  Wheatsheaf pub!
Melton Mowbray luminaries and a frieze celebrating Melton Mowbray including the famous pork pie.


Charity shopped tops by Phase Eight and QED; skirt present from OH; by New Look. Boots online retail.



Scarf and jewellery charity shopped.

The rummaging was quite successful; I had birthday money to spend! I bought earrings and a ring for 5.00 each in Oxfam in Stamford. I bought 3 maxi skirts; one a summer one for 4.00; and the other two were 1.00 rail buys. I also bought a cotton navy jacket to replace my current one as the sleeves are too long, also from the 1.00 rail; a BHS checked jacket from 1.00 rail and a short sleeved cardigan, too. I bought some long red beads and 4 books so I did very well and was very pleased with my buys. It was a lovely relaxing weekend and I was almost sorry to return home on a wet and windy Sunday.


Everything charity shopped. Maxi skirt by M&S; top by Matalan; cardi by Fenn, Wright and Manson. Boots as above.


All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

This cardi is no more. It caught fire when I stretched up to the cupboard over the hob and I had to dunk it in the sink. No burns ensued but I did drop a baking tray full of hot oil on my (bare) foot earlier in the week! The superficial burn is healing and is at the itchy stage now...
I've finally had to acknowledge that it is most unlikely that we'll get to Ireland at Easter now; thanks to Covid 19. I worry about the mould that invades the caravan over the winter months; but just have to hope it doesn't worsen as we won't be there to clean it all away. Still, as long as we all stay as fit and well as we can that's the most important thing. I listen to the information about the virus and  will act on advice given by the government. My brother in London has friends who've had the virus and recovered. My grandson and his girlfriend both work in the hospitality sector and I don't know what they'll do for money if their places of work have to close.

I ventured into Sainsbury's on Tuesday as I took middle grandson's mum shopping. I wish I hadn't; the shelves were mostly empty. It was a shocking sight and it's so unnecessary. It's people being greedy and selfish; mostly. There's enough for everyone. I expect we'll see a type of rationing introduced and I for one think that's probably a good thing. I shall do my shopping as usual on Thursday and if they haven't got what I want I'll just have to go without it or improvise!  In Ireland my cousin told me that people are buying up deep freezes (her husband works for an electrical retail store) which they proceed to fill up...


This was Tuesday's outfit for the foodbank. We  spent the time making up hygiene bags for food bank users. It is unlikely the food bank will continue as the distribution centres are being closed - all part of trying to suppress Covid-19. I am happy to continue in the warehouse and have said so but the decision lies with the food bank organisers  and the local council as to what will happen in the near future.
 The Ramblers suspended all walking  and walking related activities today but I shall continue to walk on my own as per usual.


Everything charity shopped except the boots and jacket; jacket present from my daughter and the boots were donated by her.


Leggings by Joseph; my Barnardo's; tunic from the 1.00 rail and roll neck top, too.


All jewellery charity shopped.

We've entered a different world my friends. Let's hope we can survive it. I have a feeling that the blogosphere and blogging friends will become even more important to us.

Stay safe and keep your spirits up!





Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Half term week and the Skirt Challenge continued

This was me setting out for Devon on Friday. I didn't take any more photos - too busy chatting and rummaging! That's my 'posh' coat; imitation astrakhan from M&S; charity shopped in the RSPCA in Newport Pagnell for 25.00.

After the food bank on Tuesday I went for walk. I avoided the muddy fields and walked 6 miles just using concrete paths. I felt good when I'd finished and as I got home it began to rain - heavily. Good timing, Veronica!

I took my middle grandson to London on Wednesday as it was half term week. He wanted to go to Wembley Stadium - he's a great football fan so I booked tickets for a tour. I wasn't bored stiff either. We saw the changing rooms, the bit where the players are interviewed after the match and the media room where the managers are questioned by the press. There was also an exhibition about the history of Wembley Stadium. I remember it best in its old form with the twin towers. My friend's Dad took us to greyhound racing there back in about 1969 and I think we went to see women's hockey finals there when I was at school.


I wore this cape style coat by First Avenue made of 100% wool. I bought it in the Red Cross shop for 5.00 when I volunteered there some years back. It's a vintage cape coat; you can tell by the label; but because it's wool the neck bit can be bit itchy...


Grandson could have had any number of photos taken in the Stadium as it was part of the tour but he declined. He did let me take this photo of him though...


In the 'posh'  padded seats!



In the afternoon we took a Thames Clipper to Greenwich where we saw the Prime Meridian and the Cutty Sark. We then took a bus to King's X, had something to eat and went home. Grandson was so knackered by all the walking he fell asleep on my shoulder! It was a great day out but very cold and damp. I feel quite honoured that my 15 year old grandson wants to spend the day with me still!


(Old) County Hall from the Thames.

Outside the Maritime Museum in Greenwich


View from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park.

Thursday was a manically busy day. I took the car for its MOT at 9am; then walked to the hairdressers and back home again. I put a wash on then went to collect the car and did the food shopping. I also picked up a sack of kindling which I buy from a local charity rather than a big commercial store; it does entail a car ride but I was shopping in the area anyway. Then it was home to unpack the shopping and put it away; hang up the washing and off out again to fetch the youngest grandson. I took him to the cinema to see Dr. Dolittle and then onto Nando's for something to eat - this was all his choice. He doesn't like travelling very much so he didn't want to come to London with us on Wednesday. Plus it's nice to spend time with the grandsons individually as well as together. When he had gone home I still had the stove to clean out and dinner to cook. Needless to say I was pretty knackered after all that!

I wore this on Thursday. You've seen this jumper before - it's by Wallis; charity shopped from the 1.00 rail in a Stevenage charity shop. For some reason it looks orange in these photos but it is as red the plaid skirt by Topshop; also charity shopped. I added this little hand knitted waistcoat  (1.00 rail) for extra warmth and I wore my tan OTK boots.

Skirt Challenge - Day 6



All jewellery charity shopped.


On Friday I set off to spend the weekend with Hilary in sunny old Devon. It was wet and windy on the way there. We had a great catch up; went out for a curry and on Saturday morning went back to Teignmouth for a rummage. It was quite bright and sunny by the time we arrived there but very windy. The Teignmouth residents were up in arms about British Rail wishing to extend their route; this would entail losing 1.7 k of their beach. There were posters everywhere and petitions in every shop and they were planning a demonstration by making a human chain along 1.7 miles of beach that British Rail had their eye on.  I could only wish them the best of luck.


We were both quite successful with the rummaging. I found a pair of Seasalt wooden soled clog/shoes 7.99; a fab pair of gloves for 2.00; 2 bangles and 2 brooches; a small tray for my kitchen and a brightly decorated pull for the shower cord. Teignmouth only has 6 or 7 charity shops so we had a look round Hilary's local charity shops in Tiverton in the afternoon and the shower pull was the only thing I found there.


This was Sunday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except the boots. Tunic by Boden; striped top by Primarni; patterned jacket by Traifur found on the 1.00 rail in the DayCare Hospice shop. Jeans are by Next and were also charity shopped. I forgot to mention that on my manically busy day on Thursday I found the time to check the Daycare Hospice shop which is close to my hairdressers. They still had their 1.00 sale on and I bought this jacket; a  wine coloured jumper by Oasis; a shirt dress and a yellow big sleeved jumper.


All jewellery charity shopped.



Skirt Challenge - Day 7

I wore this to volunteer on Monday. There was only me and the manager and such a lot of donations...



All jewellery charity shopped. The necklace and earrings are both from my Barnardo's.


Everything charity shopped except the leggings; Bedford Market; and boots online retail. Skirt by East; jumper by Oasis; 1.00 rail from Bedford Daycare Hospice and jacket by River Island 50p from my Barnardo's.


It was so busy I was glad to get home and have a sit down!

I had come down with a cold the previous week and spent Sunday night and Monday night awake; coughing for hours. I decided not to go into the food bank on Tuesday because of this, and because of the cold in the warehouse and the desire not to spread my germs. I did go out for a dull but cold 6 mile walk. On Wednesday, I walked with my group for the first time in ages from the village of Turvey in a big loop. It was good to see the group again and catch up with a particular walking friend, Jan. The walk was extremely muddy and slippery -  and cold. I changed into this when I got back:


This shirt dress is by Papaya (Matalan) and was from the 1.00 rail in the Daycare Hospice shop. Jumper by Oasis from the same place. Fleece leggings from Bedford market. I think I would prefer to wear this as a shirt in future; especially as the very small buttons at the bottom kept popping open!


All jewellery charity shopped.

On Thursday, I did a 6 mile walk with my daughter to Bromham village and back. The river wasn't particularly high but my goodness it was an icy cold day; the wind chill factor made it so even though it was very sunny at times. I did the food shopping after that; and as my Barnardo's was having a 1.00 sale on all its men's and women's wear to make way for the summer wear roll out; I paid a visit - can't miss a bargain! I picked up a sparkly roll neck jumper by Tu; a black jacket by Zara with lovely sleeves and a pair of pair Zara patterned summer trousers; all at 1.00 each. This was Thursday's outfit:

Skirt Challenge - Day 8


Everything charity shopped. Skirt by Next; jumper by F&F 1.00 rail; Bedford Daycare Hospice last week; boots bought in Oxfam. The tights are a yellow colour with black embroidery also from a charity shop years ago. They don't look yellow in the photo. Look at how long the jumper's sleeves would be if I didn't turn back the cuffs  -  that's the problem with  having short arms...


The plastic bags contain the chair bed from the loft as youngest grandson and his mum stayed over.


All jewellery charity shopped.

When I started this skirt challenge I said I had 16 skirts (not including maxis). In fact, I found I have 20 in all. Now I find  'short' skirts the hardest things to wear and the least enjoyable, so I took a very critical look at my collection and jettisoned 8. I have 4 left to complete the challenge; a bit more space in the wardrobe and another couple of bags to go to the charity shop!

Friday was wet and cold.  I did the school run as per usual and I sorted out my skirts as above and dropped them off to the charity shop. I went for a swim in the afternoon and did my 30 laps. I couldn't go last week as it was half term and there is no daytime lane swimming only early morning lane swimming. I may start to do this as the days get longer and brighter and then I'd have the whole day free!

Friday's outfit


Everything charity shopped except the boots - present from my daughter.


All jewellery charity shopped.


The roll neck was from my Barnardo's in the 1.00 sale; I've had the leggings for years and the tunic by Swamp is also a few years old; but can't can't remember which charity shop it came from. You can't see it in any of the photos as my arm is obstructing them; but there are two big buttons on the r hand side  of the tunic at the front!

Saturday was the day of the previously postponed birthday meal in London for my brother. It was also the extra day in February - 'Leap Year'; where women can traditionally propose to men. Did you? Did they say yes?

Julian didn't make his birthday meal. He got back from a gig on  Saturday early evening and found he'd been burgled. Nothing was taken but his door completely smashed in and he had to wait for someone to come and make it secure. What a shame.


This was my outfit. M&S dress from my Barnardo's for 5.00; jacket by Zara 1.00 sale my Barnardo's; OTK boots; online retail. All jewellery charity shopped.


Just so you can see the lovely sleeves on the jacket. The dress has the same sleeves; but it is slightly too big for me although it's my usual size; it's too loose round the middle. M&S are usually consistent in their sizing so I am surprised.


I started a new blanket on Sunday to use up my blue wool stash. It's the 'Cupcake pattern' from Attic 24 HERE. She called it that as she used pastel cupcake colours for her blanket; but it's just 2 rows of trebles alternated with 2 rows of treble clusters. My youngest grandson bought a cake of wool for me at Christmas in shades of blue, so I'm incorporating that into this blanket.


This was Monday's outfit for volunteering at Barnardo's. Everything charity shopped except black top from Lidl. It's a top I wear under my walking gear as it's supposed to keep one warm but not sweaty. The wind has been icy the last few days.


Jacket; my Barnardo's 4.00. Red trousers; Laura Ashley, can't remember and red tunic by Adini; also can't remember. The boots are by Zara and were donated to me by my lovely daughter. They're a deep wine colour.


All jewellery charity shopped except earrings bought in Donegal town.

Skirt Challenge - Day 9


I wore this to the food bank on Tuesday. Everything charity shopped except OTK boots as above.


Skirt by French Connection; label less top and white shirt by Gap;1:00 rail somewhere.


All jewellery charity shopped.

I've been enjoying 'Hidden', 'Murder 24/7', 'The Great Pottery Throwdown' and 'Just One Look' on TV. I've read both my new Persephone books; particularly enjoying 'National Provincial' by Lettice Cooper. Who knew politics in the 1930s could be so fascinating? I'm currently reading 'The Taxi Driver's Daughter' by Julia Darling. It's my birthday next week and we've planned a birthday meal at home on Sunday. and invited the crew. The new Hilary Mantel book - (part 3 of a trilogy about Thomas Cromwell - advisor to Henry V111) is published on Thursday and I'm hoping to get a copy for my birthday. 

The skirt challenge will continue!