Wednesday 27 December 2017

A tah dah moment!

No, I'm not the tah dah moment

This is:
 Yes, here it is finally completed - the famous trapezoid hexagon blanket!

Thanks to the Make&Do Crew for the pattern
Eldest grandson has requested a blanket too, but one 'without any holes', so now I've started his. It's called 'Circles in a Square' in black, red, yellow, grey and orange. The pattern is from 'Just Be Crafty.' I've started with the black and red and I'm 'blocking' them as I go. I use a cheap kneeling/gardening pad and barbecue skewers to block the squares. Blocking keeps the shape of the squares even.

Some OOTDs I've been wearing over the past fortnight

The necklace and earrings are not a set - bought in different places at different times.

Everything charity shopped except the boots from Sainsbury's

Something's tickled my fancy here!
Dress; Forever 21, charity shopped about 5 years ago can't remember where. Crochet cardigan (not made by me!) 99p in the Barnardo's in Ampthill. All jewellery charity shopped.

I wore this outfit when I went to see my son on last Saturday. Everything charity shopped except the boots: online retail.

This is especially for Polly!

I wore maxi dresses two days in a row last Friday and Saturday. This one was also bought a few years back but I can't remember where. The 'riot of colour' cardigan is the one I bought at the Guild House for 2.25 when I popped in to say goodbye. The label is French and literally translated it says "is this silk"? I think it may have silk in it because it creases easily...All jewellery charity shopped bar the earrings which I bought from e bay for 99p.

Here's a close up of my boots.  I do love them but haven't worn them very much; the heel is a bit high so I save them for days when I'm not running around everywhere. The massive calf (!) is wearing German label tights from the Cat's Protection League. 2.25 - same price as my cardigan!

On Saturday night it was the last of BBC4's 'Witnesses': A Frozen Death. I have been truly gripped by this French series but I'm still slightly baffled by the ending..I see we have a new series of 'Spiral' starting soon so I'm happy to know my Saturday night viewing is well and truly sorted for the next couple of months! Talking of TV I've also enjoyed 'Howard's End' (oh, the costumes!) I got a free Kindle download of the book, having not read it.

I didn't walk on Sunday as I had planned because it rained all day. Not heavy but constant and the sky was leaden; everywhere was grey and gloomy.

Everything charity shopped. Tunic by Nomads; trousers by Soon (Matalan); the cardigan has an Italian label and was from the 99p rail in Barnardo's, Great Denham; the boots were bought on a rummage some years ago; in Stevenage I seem to recall.

Scarf charity shopped and all jewellery charity shopped except earrings from e bay 99p.

Those are just some of  my scarves you can see; I have an IKEA scarf hanger which is full of scarves; a hatbox stuffed full of scarves and under the bed another wicker hamper full of pashmina scarves.

I finished my Christmas present shopping on Monday and popped into the 3:16 charity shop. I bought three more necklaces; one at 35p; one at 1.00; and one at 1.50. They seem to have lots of nice jewellery in lately. I also bought a denim dress, a pink long sleeved top and a walking fleece top; all from the 1.00 box!

It was lovely to wake up on Tuesday morning and realise I didn't have to be anywhere. I don't need to be at the Food Bank until 9th January. I was rushing around, having spent two hours wrapping presents in the morning, to get to the library on Tuesday afternoon then I realised it was the school holidays and I don't volunteer in the school holidays! This was last Tuesday's OOTD.

Apologies for slightly blurry photo - youngest grandson was slacking again..
This the 1.00 denim dress I bought at the 3:16 charity shop. It's an M&S one. I think it would look good open as a long waistcoat over trousers and top. The striped top is by Matalan and was also charity shopped as were the boots and scarf.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I had errands to run in town and on the way I spied this in our local barber. I just had to go in and take a photo:

Yes, it's Santa waiting for - a shave? A beard trim? A haircut?

Since Wednesday 20th December the weather has become much milder. I was more than warm enough in my leather jacket and scarf going into town to get my eyebrows done and pick something up. Everything is charity shopped. Brown leather jacket bought in Lucan, Co. Dublin charity shop for 9 euros at Easter 2016. Scarf from the Red Cross shop.

Two of my favourite fabrics - lace and velvet. Can't remember where I got any of these items but I remember the top was 4.99. I'm wearing pink brothel creepers/beetle crushers that were 2.50 in the 3:16 charity shop a few years ago. The trousers are too long for me so later I put a big stretchy belt round the middle to stop the bottoms getting wet when I went out...

The necklace was bought in a Donegal charity shop for 2 euros; all other jewellery charity shopped except earrings.

There's been a wonderful series of BBC4 called 'The Art of Mexico' and coincidentally I came across this on Pinterest a while ago and kept meaning to include it in a post. The chair is covered in Frida Kahlo material. How fabulous is that?

Everything charity shopped except the black kimono - a present from my daughter. I think I bought these trousers on our trip to Kettering 2.99; some weeks back...the brothel creepers/beetle crushers were bought on our first ever rummage to Wellingborough about two years ago.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Pink top 1.00 box 3:16 charity shop. Skirt by East 1.99; Red Cross, cardigan no label but 1.99 Red Cross. Boots; Sainsburys retail.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings which were donated by my daughter.

I should have gone to the hairdressers on Thursday the day of the Winter Solistice, but I got the sore throat/coughing bug that's going around and didn't feel up to it. I'll go after Christmas. Middle grandson has had the cough for a few weeks; eldest grandson has it. I had it and OH had it quite fact Christmas Day did not turn out as expected partly due to both OH and I being ill. I  don't know why I thought having a Bailey's and two very large Canadian Club and dry ginger ales before I had finished cooking the Christmas dinner, was a good idea. It was all a bit shambolic! I couldn't finish my dinner; threw up and had to lie down for half an hour! Then OH couldn't stay up any longer and went to bed in the middle of Doctor Who...I coughed all night and didn't sleep much. Despite all that we had fun but next year we're going out for dinner and I'll do an evening buffet. It will take organisation - you have book very early for Christmas Day but I will make it happen!

I had bought a new pair of trousers in Sainsbury's 50% off sale to wear on Christmas Day but with one thing and another didn't remember to take any photos.

Everything charity shopped. The cardigan came from the 1.00 rail in the Red Cross; I can't remember where the tunic came from I think the jeans were from the Red Cross 1.99. The boots definitely came from there, too.

Earrings were a Christmas present from OH.
Necklace charity shopped.

I took the youngest grandson to see Paddington 2 on Wednesday. We both really enjoyed it. Hugh Grant was great and very camp and a lot of other famous actors had cameo parts. Then I took middle grandson out to spend his Christmas and birthday money on a laptop. He's a teenager in the New Year. It only seems like five minutes since he came into our time does fly.

I wish you all a peaceful and joyous New Year and hope for better things for the world in 2018.

Thursday 14 December 2017

A blanket saga, more animals and some snow

Hello again!

As you know I've been making a hexagon crocheted blanket. I crocheted 100 hexagons and then sewed them together in rows of 10. And therein lies my mistake. I should know better - this is the third hexagon blanket I've made. When I  finished sewing the hexagons together I laid the blanket out on my bed and it was the most peculiar shape. Not squarish but trapezoid; I couldn't work it out at all. Then after a while I realised that I should have staggered each row as I sewed the rows together.  Not sew them in a straight line...never mind, I said to my self, I can unpick 5 from the top on alternate rows and add them to different alternate rows on the bottom. It took me hours and I do mean hours to unpick 5  hexagons and put them at the bottom and it still wasn't right. 

I had had enough of the hexagon blanket by then so I sewed a simple border in yellow and started sewing all the hundreds of ends in. OH has claimed the blanket for his car and I am furious with myself for making such a fundamental error in the first place! Still it will serve its purpose which is to keep someone warm and that's the most important thing.

We had a great time in Leeds. We didn't get there until it was starting to get dark so we didn't see as much of Leeds city centre as we would have liked. There were some fabulous buildings and next time we go we'll make sure we get there in daylight! We found only three charity shops and they were not very interesting. I didn't buy anything.

Here are some OOTD I've been wearing...

Necklace 1.50 in 3:16 charity shop. Earrings, new 3.50 in 'All Ears' Bedford. Scarf charity shopped.


Everything charity shopped except purple leggings - online retail. Knitted tunic; Dorothy Perkins, can't remember where; M&S blouse 99p rail, Barnardo's in Ampthill. Boots bought in the Reuse Centre for 2.99 a few years ago.

I wore this outfit last Sunday to travel back from Leeds. The matching skirt and top are Peruvian and made of a lovely soft, warm material. The outfit was a bargain at 2.99 from the Cat's Protection League because there was a grease spot on the skirt, but I got it out with stain remover! I bought the jacket by Roman from a £1.00 rail in Wellingborough, Age UK about 2 years ago and I wear it a lot. I'm wearing OTK boots underneath. I found the weekend weather quite mild after our freezing previous week.

All jewellery charity shopped. The earrings were 1.00 from 3:16 shop and the necklace too, 1.50. Bangles and ring also charity shopped.

Last Tuesday's outfit for volunteering...

Everything charity shopped except the boots - present from daughter.
Shirt, 1.00 rail Red Cross. Tunic; White Stuff, can't remember where or how much nor the jeans.

All jewellery (except earrings; brought back for me from Spain by the eldest grandson some years ago) and scarf charity shopped.

Tunic; Sainsbury's retail. Jeans, boots, scarf and shirt all charity shopped.

Necklace; 2.99 from Oxfam in Newport Pagnell a few years ago; earrings Sainsbury's retail. Bangles charity shopped.

As our weekend rummage was not very good I went to Newport Pagnell last Wednesday afternoon after going out for a short walk and doing some errands in town. I bought one top for 1.00 and one (below) from M&S for 1.50; a ring and two pairs of earrings all 1.00 each.

This is the coat I bought in a Devon charity shop last year for 3.50, I think it was. It had that funny musty smell. I had it dry cleaned in the end. I wore this outfit to do the food shopping on Thursday and got several compliments - both from other women! The patterned top was 1.00 in Newport Pagnell Keech Hospice shop.

I tried this jacket with it first; it's a Jaegar jacket and I got it from the 99p rail in Barnardo's. Great Denham.

On Thursday evening we went to see 'Young Marx' which was showing at the Bridge Theatre, London. The Bridge Theatre is: Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr’s intimate new South Bank theatre, where the focus will be on new writing, opens in riotous, melancholy style at home with Karl Marx 

Picture courtesy of the Guardian newspaper

Only we didn't go to London to see it. 
We used our complimentary tickets from the new Vue cinema in Bedford and watched a live screening of it. What a fabulous idea. Both OH and I enjoyed it so much. It was witty and funny and informative. There are a couple of Shakespeare plays coming in 2018 and a production of Lady Windermere's Fan; all of which I want to see. I checked the ticket prices for the Bridge theatre production of 'Young Marx' and the cheapest tickets were 15.00 and the most expensive 65.00!

On Friday I went walking with the Ramblers. We walked 7 miles from Carlton and across the fields to Turvey. We walked around Pict's Hill House where they have a collection of animals; reindeer, llamas, red deer and water buffalo.

A reindeer running

A llama and some young reindeer.

The person leading the walk had recce'd it a few days before and said that  one of the llamas was a bit frisky. It certainly was! We had to keep it at bay using walking poles and it still managed to jump up at the back of one of the walkers and almost knock him over...he was fine but a bit shook up.
The path we were walking on was a right of way so the owner of the llamas should have kept them under control.

The past few weeks have been very, very cold. I've had to keep the heating on all day and know my bill for this quarter will be big. We had our first snow on Sunday 10th. OH had to dig my car out of the car park as under the compacted snow was several inches of ice. Neither of the grandchildren's schools were opened on Monday by which time all the snow had turned to ice.

Someone in the flats at the bottom of my road is very artistic: can't work out what it is meant to be - a snow dog?  A snow bear? But it's very clever! It only melted on Wednesday.

Tuesday's volunteering OOTD

All jewellery charity shopped. I was wearing 3 green bangles but had taken them off by the time this photo was taken.

Everything charity shopped. Boots, 1.99; cord trousers and cardigan from the 1.00 rail, all from the Red Cross. Black and green jumper; 1.00 rail in Barnardo's, Ampthill.

On Wednesday, it was the Ramblers Christmas Walk followed by Christmas lunch. We walked from the village of Old Warden where this building, Shuttleworth House, with its 425 acres of parkland is located. Built in 1875 by the prominent Victorian architect Henry Clutton; it's also where the Shuttleworth Collection is housed and the Swiss Garden.

There is also a collection of animals! Alpacas, wallabies, goats and an emu were spotted on the walk. This is the third consecutive walk I've done where unusual animals have featured.

The Christmas lunch was lovely; we sang carols with the women singing certain verses, and men the other. A fellow walker played the keyboard to accompany us. It was all very enjoyable.

This is what I managed to change into for the lunch - in my car! I wore the headscarf with my walking gear to keep my ears warm and wore tights  under my walking trousers. I changed into my velvet trousers (M&S retail); removed my walking fleece and slipped on the charity shopped Next lace top, and topped it with this colourful kimono also charity shopped.

Boots; present from daughter

Scarf, bangle, beads charity shopped. Earrings; Sainsbury's.

On Thursday I paid my last visit to the Guild House to say goodbye to my colleague. I drew up a garment pricing guide for them to use to help with the pricing of donations to the charity shop. I also picked up a lovely silk mixture cardigan in a riot of lovely colour; 2.25, my one and only charity purchase this week. I've been too busy to look in any charity shops! I finished off my Christmas shopping in the afternoon.

Photo courtesy of youngest grandson - the quality is slipping - no dinner for you, young man!

Everything charity shopped except OTK boots; online retail. Skirt Mc & Co; Red Cross, 1.99. East top; 1.00 rail same place. Hobbs cardigan; charity shopped but can't remember where. Scarf 1.00 Whitechapel Road (London) stall.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I'm still sewing the ends in on that bloody blanket I should have it finished by this weekend   year.

I wish you all a happy Christmas or happy holiday and I'll be back again once all the festivities are over and done with...

Friday 1 December 2017

Some crafting, reorganisation and other bits and bobs

Hello everyone. I hope you are keeping warm in this freezing cold weather!

I had my hair cut last Monday. I did the school run and took the youngest grandson to football training after school. I also managed to get to Lidl's and Tesco and out for a 6 mile walk...

This was last Tuesday's outfit. M&S sweater dress; Red Cross shop - 1.99. Velvet loafers from Primarrni; 5.00 in the sale. The scarf is from Zara and was a 60th birthday present from my brother Julian.

Bangles charity shopped; the brooch is silver and I bought it from the 3:16 charity shop last week for 5.00. It has a raised pattern of flowers on it, but it's quite old and the pattern is wearing away. I like that. The earrings are from Sainsbury's and the ring, below, is one of the 50p bargains from the Salvation Army shop in Rushden.

I had a major sort out last Tuesday afternoon of my accessories. I have so many bangles that the 3 miniature cardboard suitcases where I keep them became too full and too heavy. I put all my bangles together in a wicker picnic basket Hilary gave me ages ago.  I cleared out two hat boxes and managed to put 6 of my hats in them. The last hat sits on Norma; a wig stand - decorated by my friend Natalie and she gave me the hat, too.

Meet Snooty Norma!
The last hatbox was big enough to put all my headscarves in (which previously lived in the picnic basket) and the scarves that belonged to my mum, as well. The 3 miniature suitcases now contain: all my purses in one; all my toiletries/make up bags in another and the third one contains hair accessories and sunglasses.  I had a 4th bangle box, which was a fake ostrich leather bag, that had previously contained toiletries bought at a car boot for 1.00.  I put all my brooches in it. I got rid of a wooden box where I used to keep all my silver earrings and moved them to the box that used to house my brooches...are you keeping up there at the back? 

Anyway, in brief all my jewellery is together in one place - on my chest of drawers and all my scarves, hats and hair accessories and sunglasses are together on top of my cupboard. Now, if only I could organise storage of my tights in one place. I have a small drawer full of tights and a small wicker basket underneath the bed with more. Ideally I'd like to have them in one place and organised so I can see all the colours at once...I can but dream!

Hilary made this lovely bolster for my bed.  I love the chintz pattern and the lace trim. Now I can read in bed in comfort! I have been reading in bed every evening and I have never been so comfortable. Tempted not to get up on a couple of really cold days and just stay in bed and read...


This was the start of putting together the hexagon blanket. 100 hexagons - not in equal numbers of colours. That's what you get when you buy your wool from charity shops! I did have to buy two extra balls of wool in Donegal in the summer as I hadn't brought enough with me. 
After planning them out I then pinned them together in rows of 10. I labelled each row and then I started sewing them together.

5 rows completed - only 5 left to do!

I must stop clashing with the curtains...

Everything is charity shopped. Kimono; H&M bought in Galway charity shop in the summer for 4 euros; boots BNWT from New Look in the Willen Hospice shop, Newport Pagnell for 6.00; top by Monsoon; RSPCA in Bedford for 4.00.  I can't remember where I got the trousers from.The kimono makes me look enormous but I love it; it's so swooshy!

I got up too late on Wednesday to go walking so I decided to get on with my hexagon blanket instead. It was a very windy day and I enjoyed staying in. Youngest grandson came for a visit and stayed for dinner - he took these photos. I always make the grandsons work for their dinner!

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Thursday I walked with Ramblers and we walked from Ridgemont to Woburn Safari Park just a short walk of 4.5 miles. There are several public footpaths through the park and you often get to see the animals without having to pay the 32.99 entrance fee!





This what I changed into.  I thought I only had one sweater dress but I'd forgotten about this green one. I think I bought it at the Red Cross for 1.99. The shirt is from there but from the 1.00 rail and is a 90s does 70s one with the very pointy collar. It was a really chilly day so warm clothing was required. I wore my yellow duffel as outerwear and was very snug as I did the food shopping in the afternoon.

All jewellery charity shopped including the second of my 50p rings from the Salvation Army in Rushden. Tights from John Lewis but charity shopped for 1.00. Boots - Christmas present from my daughter.

Scarf charity shopped. It started off around my neck on the walk but I quickly wrapped it round my head as my ears were cold and I left it on all day.

On Friday I walked with the group again - another bus walk but this time from Marston Moretaine and around the country park - 6 miles. This is the church in Marston Moretaine; unusual because the tower is detached from the rest apparently as a refuge from the Vikings!  It also has a medieval dooms day painting - see below. A dooms day painting is one where Christ is assigning souls to either heaven or hell.

It was a chilly but very bright day with no cold wind so ideal for walking.

Saturday was my youngest brother, Tony's, 60th birthday meal. It was held in Burton Latimer which is near Kettering and  attended by his four children and five grandchildren; one son in law; ex- partner and her husband, ex mother in law, one brother (Mark), sister and OH (me and himself); best friend, his wife and daughter. If you remember we went out in October for an early birthday meal with the birthday boy, my two other brothers and me and OH as Julian would be on tour in November.

I wore my turquoise blue charity shopped evening coat; jumpsuit from M&S - it has only one shoulder hence the lopsided look. Shoes; charity shopped 99p in Barnardo's in Ampthill.  One of the waitresses; a very young girl, asked me as we were leaving where I got my evening coat as she loved it! Of course I told her the truth.

The black plastic bag is full of charity shop donations which I'll drop off next week; probably in Kempston.

I picked up this bag in the week for 2.00 at the  Children's Society; I love the embroidery on it and I'm using it as my current handbag. It had a corded drawstring which I didn't like so I cut it off...

All jewellery charity shopped except turquoise ring which was a present.

And here's himself...

And here's the birthday boy - a great 'Only Fools and Horses' fan. For non UK readers that's a British comedy series from the 80s, I think it was.

Eldest grandson returned on Monday to stay with us until he finds some more affordable accommodation in London. Meanwhile he's commuting...

On Tuesday I was at the food bank in the morning and the library in the afternoon. I was outside a local Tesco's on Friday afternoon from 1 - 2 pm handing out lists of required items for the food bank to shoppers. People were so generous. By the time I left we had a total of 20 crates of food donated and there were still 3 hours to go.

This is what I wore on Tuesday. All clothes charity shopped. Skirt, Top Shop; can't remember which charity shop I got this from; denim shirt underneath charity shopped in Cambridge some years ago; jumper B&M, 1.00 rail Barnardo's in Ampthill. Boots: Sainsbury's retail.
All jewellery charity shopped.

I've been out walking twice this week; one a 7 .5 mile walk and another of 5 miles with my daughter. I took the bag of donations to a charity shop on Thursday and had a rummage around the charity shops in Kempston. I am very naughty, as this weekend OH and I are going to Leeds to stay with his best friend from his army days and we will certainly have a rummage while we're there. I'm also hoping we'll get out for a walk. The last time we were in Leeds we walked on Ilkley Moor.

I found a pair of dressy trousers from MC &Co; 3.50 in the Keech Hospice shop and a ring 1.25;  a skirt and matching top; 2.99  in the Cat's Protection League and in the Day Hospice shop I bought a brooch for 1.00, so I  think I was quite restrained.

Thursday's outerwear

I bought this 100% wool cape coat by 'First Avenue' in the good old British Red Cross shop for 1.99 last winter.  I do miss the shop for wonderful bargains! The brooch is the one I bought in the Day Hospice Shop for 1.00. Animal print gloves and scarf both charity shopped. We went for dinner at my daughter's on Thursday evening hence the unfamiliar background in the photos below.

Everything charity shopped except the OTK boots which were online retail and the brown leggings from M&S. Can't  remember where I got either the tunic or the waistcoat but the waistcoat was needed as it was bloody cold on Thursday!

Necklace bought in the 3:16 shop for 1.50 at the same time as the silver brooch in the first photos. Earrings from Sainsbury's. Brooch, bangles and ring charity shopped.

I know some of you escape from all the Christmas stuff by going away but I'm stuck here and have all the family on Christmas Day. I've started the dreaded shopping as I have bought a couple of Christmas presents online already but intend to do the bulk of it next week. Luckily, most of the family want hard cash!! How's your Christmas shaping up?

Very proud mummy.

  Hello and welcome!  No, I'm not pregnant but I do have a new 'baby'. More on that later. After a two week holiday and a long E...