Things are different...

I'm now well and truly back to my 'normal' life and it prompted me to think about some differences that I noticed between here and Ireland and to tell you about some differences I am making in my life...
First, it gets darker later in Donegal. When I first arrived in early July it wasn't getting dark until 11pm; then 10pm and the week we left it was dark by 9pm. I notice it's dark here by 8pm.

This is known as a boreen in Ireland - a little narrow country road often with grass growing up the middle of it!
The second thing is the difference in the country side between here and Ireland. Of course, there are similarities, too. The fields in Ireland seem larger but I think this is due to the lack of hedgerows dividing the fields. I don't think Ireland was affected by the Enclosures Act of the eighteenth century in the same way as England was. Some fields in Ireland have dry stone walls as enclosures and some have wire fences but mostly there seems to be little in the way of hedgerows except those that abut the roads.

 And that brings me to the next difference. Whilst the hedgerows by the roads are in many cases very similar to those here; what is beautiful and different about the ones in Ireland is that frequently they are made up of Fuchsia bushes (see above and below). Also in Donegal, in August,  orange Monbretia/Crocosmia flowers are everywhere in the hedgerows, and I do mean everywhere.

Purple loosesrife
And then still on the subject of hedgerows; add in the Purple Loose strife that flowers everywhere too, and the hedgerows are an absolute riot of colour; fuchsia pink, bright orange and purple; like a 1960s psychedelic dress! Groovy hedges baby!

Interestingly, fuchsia originates from China and Monbretia from South Africa so I am assuming that these were originally garden plants that became wild and then rampant in Ireland.

There are many, many other wildflowers in the hedgerows and one of the things I did was to photograph them and try to identify them using a wildflower book. I did have a lot of time on my hands and I do like to learn new things. It's good for the ageing brain...

While I was in Ireland I did, of course, go charity shopping and in a variety of places. I went to Donegal town, Killybegs, Ballyboffy, Stranorlar, Sligo, Strabane, Derry, Castle Island and Tralee in  Co.Kerry. I was trying to be restrained as to what I bought as I have lots and lots of clothes already, but here's the list of what I bought while I was there:

A black linen Gudrun Sjoden coat for 6.00 euros. My best bargain!
Three tunics - 1 Anthropologie and 1 other seen in previous post and 1 pictured below
Two pairs of trousers - 1 of which I left in the caravan

3 pairs of shoes; I pink, 1 yellow and 1 patterned - the patterned ones were 1.00 euro in the St Vincent De Paul in Donegal town. The other two were 3.00 euros in the Killybegs charity shop.

1 plain black shirt -  Jumble sale 1.00 euro - I needed this!
I handbag - Jumble sale - 1.00 euro

1 green patterned dress - Animal charity shop in Donegal;  3.00 euros.

A silver matching dress and coat - £8.00 in St. Vincent De Paul, Strabane.

I night dress
1 pair of summer PJs
4 kimonos (Yes, I'm afraid I bought 4)
A couple of necklaces; 3 brooches at a car boot sale and a couple of bangles

I expect you're saying if that's how she shows restraint what does non restraint look like!!

This is was what I wore on Monday to the Red Cross.

The tunic is one of the two I bought in Ireland in a Donegal charity shop for 3.00 euros. The trousers and top underneath the tunic are charity shopped; trousers by Oasis and top by Primarni. Shoes from PJ shoes in Kempston now on their third year of wear...

Now the weather has turned cooler it was a good opportunity to wear the red sleeveless jacket that my cousin Linda bought me in April - from a charity shop of course!

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; present from grandson's mum and watch; Christmas present

When I began to unpack from my stay in Ireland, I was quite horrified at how many clothes I do have and here I was adding more with my purchases from Ireland. I did clear out quite a few items and as I transition my wardrobe over to more autumnal (read warmer) clothes; I will be clearing out more. But I am definitely going to reduce what I buy. I know I have said this several times before but I am determined this time. Another difference! I will no longer go to charity shops on a weekly basis as I have been doing although it doesn't help when you volunteer in two charity shops...I was very good on Monday and only bought one dress and it wasn't even for me! I shall go for a rummage about once a month with OH and will buy only what is an absolute bargain or what I absolutely love. Watch this space...

I will put what I would have spent in the charity shops towards more cultural things. I'm determined to make more use of my National railcard (one third off) and go to more exhibitions, museums and art galleries in London. I want to go to the theatre more often and I want to go to more live gigs. This week I  am making a start as I am going to a local exhibition of Edward Bawden's work; 'Bawden by the Sea' on Thursday.

Tuesday's outfit  worn to the Guild House - everything charity shopped.

I bought the cardigan at the Red Cross for £1.00. The gold pumps were 99p in Barnardo's in Great Denham. Can't remember where I got the tunic and trousers from.

All jewellery charity shop except earrings donated by my daughter and the watch.

This leads quite nicely into the volunteering developments or more accurately difference I mentioned in my previous post.

 I found out last week that the Red Cross shop in Bedford is to close; probably at the end of October when the lease is up. Once again the raised cost of rents is proving to be unaffordable; on top of that there have been problems with the premises for several years. Flooding, leaks, electrical issues and flooring problems; the repair bills have been huge. I shall have to move on. Only this time I've decided I won't look for a replacement charity shop but just continue with my other volunteering activities on a Tuesday and leave Mondays for the school run and after school care for my youngest grandson.  Then this Tuesday I found out that my colleague at the Guild House will be leaving at Christmas and I've decided I will as well. There isn't that much to do there; the shop  only opens on a Saturday and I do quite a lot of ironing when I'm there on alternate Tuesdays which I won't miss at all!

I've had two weeks of volunteering at our local library shelving books which I've enjoyed. I've also answered quite a few queries from the public which is very satisfying.  I shall stick with volunteering at the library every Tuesday afternoon and the food bank on alternate Tuesday mornings and spend the extra time I will have from not volunteering in the charity shops doing more reading, walking and crocheting.

I got a lot of crocheting done in Ireland.

There are 100 hexagons like this needing the tails sewn in, then they have to be sewn together and a border made.

I started and finished this V stitch blanket. Hilary helped me sew the tails in on this one.

I finished this Lazy Waves blanket but now I still have sew all the tails in...

This was my first 'Knit for Peace' blanket finished earlier this year.

The final difference is that I've decided to blog less often. I've been blogging for almost two years now. I love it and love reading your blogs, but oh my goodness it's time consuming! I am spending an awful lot of time on the laptop which means I read less than I like - I read 25 books when I was in Ireland. I also have to rely on OH to take photos and it's usually quite late in the day when that happens. The ideal time would be in the morning when I am dressed and made up but OH is usually long gone by then! Weekend photos will be fine and I may ask for a tripod for Christmas so I can take my own photos when I want. I am planning to post about twice a month rather than weekly. So after this post you won't hear from me for about a fortnight but I'll do my best to keep up with your blogs and comment when I can.


  1. Your trip to Ireland sounds like it did you the power of good, learning about the flora and fauna and topping up your wardrobe. that silver suit is stunning.
    Loving the crochet creations, too.
    Your plans sound very exciting, I bet the library volunteering is right up your street and beats ironing second hand clothing hands down! Culture over charity shopping, I agree. Must get back to NT visits now the festival season's over an the kids are back at school.
    I used to find that blogging took up a huge chunk of my time, too. I cut down on the number of blogs I followed and now only read ones that interest me. I felt a bit cruel abandoning people but at the end of the day, I was spending far too much time reading posts about stuff that didn't interest me. xxx

    1. Yes, you have to be cruel to be kind sometimes even if that is being kind to yourself!

  2. Well, that was the bombshell I didn't want to hear, I'll miss not reading you so often. Yes, blogging does suck up a lot of time but I feel I'll burst if I can't write!! But that's what happens with long holidays, you get the peace to decide how your life is faring so far and what tweaks you want to make.
    So, on to today's post. Wow, those hedgerows, brilliant colours! And interesting because crocosmia is a real weed in my garden but I just can't grow fuschia. So it's interesting they both thrive so beautifully together in Ireland.
    Love the drama in your outfits.
    I wish you luck and joy as you make each difference happen.
    Hugs, x.

    1. Thank you, Mary.

      I'll keep up with reading my favourite blogs though and commenting when I can and of course yours is included.


  3. What gorgeous hedgerows. I wonder of the hedgerows there were planted more for colour and less for food like here with all the crab apples, nut bushes and hawthorns. I love Crocosmia and have a lot of it in the garden at home. Your outfits are lovely and I am in awe of your crochet prowess. I love all the blankets and the hexagons are gorgeous. I will miss you blogging but life is for living and blogging does take a huge amount of time. Editing a lot of photos especially. Hope to see you out and about. Xx

    1. Thanks Kelly. OH loves the Crocosmia, too and revels in it when we go to Ireland.


  4. What superb bargains from Ireland, especially the silver dress/coat. Good plan to step back from the chazza volunteering (less temptation as well!)and have a change of scene at the library, it's good to mix things up every now and again. I'll miss your frequent posts but absolutely understand as an infrequent blogger myself. LOVE the crochet, I finished my blanket at the van too, now planning what to do next, once hand is healed. BTW if you get a tripod, make sure you get one of those remote gizmos as well...otherwise you have to keep running to and fro. xxx

    1. Thanks for that, Fi, I did wonder about the remote...

  5. Q: How do you make a hedgerow?
    A: Give it an oar.
    Sorry, had to.

    Well, your posts will be missed, but I can't say I blame you-when something feels like a chore it is time to cut back. Those crochet blankets are beautiful.

    I'll look forward to your less frequent posts all the more. Good luck staying out of the shops (I've been cutting back as well). You did find some great items in Ireland though.

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  7. Wow, those hedgerows are gorgeous! I love the photo of the "boreen" (I even love the word!), which is inviting your for a walk. You really were restrained in your charity shopping! After all, you were there for 2 whole months. If you find a way to keep away from the shops, I'd love to know it! Nothing wrong with a few changes now and then. I'm sure you're making the right decision, and volunteering at the library sound like a satisfying thing to do. I'll miss your weekly posts, but will look out all the more to your twice monthly ones. I know for a fact that keeping up with blogging can be full on, but while I'm still happy with what I'm doing, who know what I'll think about it next year? xxx

    1. Oh, you have made me feel better, Ann! Yes, I was there for two whole months and I bought much less than if I had been at home,,


  8. You seem to find such bargains I'm not surprised you can't help buying! I seem to be blogging once a month at the moment which is less than I would like but I simply haven't had the time, that will probably change once winter comes, we shall see.

    I was amazed at all the beautiful fuchsias growing wild in Cornwall I guess in the right conditions they just self seed.

    I can't decide which of your blankets I love the most, they are absolutely gorgeous.

    1. Thank you, Gisela!

      My friend, Hilary, lives in Devon and she says that the montbretia grows wild there in some parts.

  9. As you know, I'm a maximalist as well (I like lots of clothes! and I shop a lot), but I've found that as long as it's going out at the same rate as it's coming in, then it's a good balance. I love your patterned shoes, and that silver dress/jacket outfit. Va-va-voom!

    Blogging is a time-consuming thing, isn't it? It's been odd having such a long break for me (a whole week!), and while I've missed the regularity, it's been a bit of a relief. I try to be quick (not a lot of words, lol) and I don't take many pictures, and as long as I'm enjoying it, I'll keep doing it. I totally respect your wish to cut your time back, though! Good on you.

    1. Yes, I try to put out as well as bring in - but whatever way I look at it I have too much and I neither need nor want to have too much. Is there something to be said for a capsule wardrobe? No. Only joking!!!

  10. That silver dress and coat are lovely.

    You had a really productive time in Ireland! So much crocheting done. I agree with you, social media does get in the way of things. I get into work early each day, so that's my time for reading blogs, but other social media, Twitter especially, is a real time suck. It's important to focus on the important things. I will still read your less frequent posts :-)

    I had no idea the hedgerows in Ireland were so colourful. We have some nice ones here in the south-west, but no fuchsia ones.

    1. You know, Mim, I've never got into Twitter having deliberately avoided it whilst I was I was working; despite protestations of line manager...

      I just about cope with FB then along came blogging. I'd never be off my phone/laptop if I was on Twitter, too!!

      I think the fuchsia bushes maybe unique to Ireland.

  11. Looks like your time away allowed you to regain some focus on what is most important to you in life.

    Blogging takes up loads of time. There is no way around it. Like Vix, I've dropped loads of people I used to follow and honestly I am much happier about it now.

    Last year I tried to focus my energies on experiences rather than things and it worked out well. I travelled more and shopped less. The issue is that I run an Etsy store so my work is thrift shopping, it's impossible to get away from it completely.

    I hope you enjoy the new choices you are making and they free up some of your valuable time.

    PS Love those patterned shoes! Ha! I had to get that in there ; P


  12. So glad you are back, missed you, look forward to the blog even at 2 times a month. Lovely items you have bought.

    1. Thank you, Polly.

      I think I'll enjoy blogging more doing it only twice a month!

  13. Danm! Just lost a whole lot of chat to you Vronni just by pressing preview - don't you just hate that! Anyway, the jist of it all was to say well done with your life review and proposed changes. Blogging is much more time consuming that we knew at the start. Much as I love the contact and friends we make, I miss the chance to read and watch movies like I used to. You'll still have a great following as your posts are so interesting. Keep 'em coming! I love the silver dress and coat best of all and also am rather taken with the patterned shoes - you did well, as usual!

    Anna x

    1. Anna,

      I'm sure this has happened to you before - don't use the preview button! It's so frustrating when you lose your comment; thanks for bothering to leave another one!

      I think I'll enjoy blogging more as it will become less of a chore and more of a pleasurable thing I'll do twice a month. It also gives me time to stock pile photos to use for the blog...

  14. Vronni's back, big time! What a post, there's something for everyone in there, thanks for putting it together. You've been wearing some amazing outfits, you are so stylish and you put your stamp on an outfit. I love your headscarves. There's no doubt, green is your colour, you look stunning in all shades, my fave being your lime top, so fresh.
    Enjoy your fortnight, hugs, x.


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