Wednesday, 20 March 2019

A new family member! Birthdays!

You know the Chinese saying/curse 'May you live in interesting times'? Well, the week of my birthday was one of those. I posted my blog a few days earlier than usual because of the Sunshine Award nominations, and on the day I posted I received a call from my second cousin in Ireland to say he had something to discuss with me. He had signed up for Ancestry DNA some months ago and had found a close match in the UK: he'd received a response and was able to tell the matchee she had a first cousin (me!) living less than 50 miles away from her.

Please meet Marian and her daughter Katherine:

Marian is my maternal aunt's eldest child born in 1953, out of wedlock, and adopted (the same as my brother Julian) and therefore my first cousin. She and her daughter came to see me last Friday. It was an emotional  meeting but it was so lovely to meet them both. I was able to show Marian pictures of her biological mum and of her extended family in the UK, Ireland, Chicago, Florida and Honolulu; where we have first cousins.  Marian had no idea her mother was Irish. She was pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing. I'm not surprised; I couldn't begin to imagine how I would feel in a similar situation.
So now I have 'new' cousin and best of all she lives in London so I can visit her easily and vice versa.

Last Thursday's outfit: I had planned to go walking but the day was horrible so I just added a top and cardigan to these leggings which I keep for walking as they're thick and warm...

I look like I just got off my horse!
Everything charity shopped except boots; present from daughter.
Checked leggings 49p; Barnardo's, Great Denham as was the cardigan by Next: 3.99. Can't remember where I got the checked top from...

All jewellery charity shopped. Photo taken at the top of the stairs for a change!

So, last Saturday was my birthday. I had a brilliant day.

Neck scarf 50p 3:16 charity shop; bag by Dune present from my daughter; headscarf: Primarni. All jewellery charity shopped.
This was where we started from; Sir John Soane's Museum. It was a bit of a disappointment. I thought it would be a more domestic interior but Sir John was an avid collector (purloiner?) of classical antiquities. I'm not very keen on all that  classical statuary, heads, and very old paintings so we whizzed through and out again. I'm a philistine, I know...

Everything charity shopped except jacket; another present from my daughter, and leggings; M&S retail. The dress was from 1.00 rail at the 3:16 charity shop and although the material is light it was quite warm. I love this dress because of the spots and the draping. Boots by Next; charity shopped in Salvation Army, Rushden for 5.00.

We went for a drink in Lincoln Inn Fields:

Me and the daughter

I decided we should go to the British Museum as a) I'd never been and b) It was supposedly nearby.

We never found it! We passed this demonstration outside India House on Aldwych. Then we carried on walking and crossed Waterloo bridge:

The plan then was to walk to Tate Modern, but we were all cold and a bit footsore so we hopped on a tube and went to Camden where the restaurant was for my birthday meal. I went for a rummage around the charity shops on Camden High Street; daughter went retail shopping and OH and brother went to the pub! We were all very happy with our choices and then met up at the restaurant along with brother Julian and nephew.

From L to R: brother Julian, nephew Daniel, me and daughter; brother Tony. OH took the photo.

We had a wonderful boozy dinner at The Mango Room in Camden eating Caribbean cuisine which we all love. I had sea bream and it was delicious. I'd definitely go back there again! It was a really good birthday. I got some lovely presents; books and CDs from my wish list; tights; perfume; cash from two of my brothers; flowers from grandson; Julian bought me a beautiful candle; and check me out, I found  an Armani skirt (below) in a Camden charity shop, Mind, and my daughter bought it for me as part of my birthday present!  What a very lucky and blessed woman I am.

On Sunday we spent the day with my son.

I wore my new skirt to the charity shop where I volunteer on Monday.

Flowers were from my cousin, Marian. Everything charity shopped except boots; Matalan retail and tights; e bay.

Such a pretty skirt! Made of wool with embroidered flowers by Armani bought in Mind  in Camden on Saturday. Green homemade jacket; Red Cross shop a few years ago; it would have been 1.99. Can't remember where I got the green ruched top from.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings - donated by my daughter.

I have been visiting fewer charity shops since I started volunteering at Barnardo's. Last week I bought a few bits in Barnardo's on the Monday and went rummaging on Saturday in Camden where I bought a bangle for 1.50 and that was it! This week at Barnardo's I bought two summer tops for 3.00 each; and 2 scarves for 1.00 each. I will always look in the 3:16 shop every week  as I pass it on my way to town and I just never know what I'll find in there. Apart from nice clothes I've bought a lamp, several rugs and lots of household linen and bits and pieces from here over the years and lots of wonderful books. When my eldest grandson was small he always spent his pocket money on toys from here and I've bought both clothes and toys for all grandsons, too.

On Tuesday, I was at the food bank as usual and had errands to run in town even though it was lashing down and very windy. On my way back I popped into the 3:16 where they're doing a BOGOF (buy one get one free). I bought a pair of loose blue trousers and got for free a pair of Boden trousers that are loose and mid calf length. Now this is a length that I dislike on me and I'm still not sure about them, but I will wear them on the blog and see what you think. If I don't like them it won't matter; they were free and I can always re donate them!

This rather tiny church was just outside the town of Sandy set in a lovely cemetery.

On Wednesday I walked with the group having not walked at all with them the previous week. We walked 7 miles in Sandy around the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) sanctuary. It was an extremely windy day; the remnants of Storm Gareth were felt. Unfortunately, the strong wind gave me a really painful earache and jaw ache for the rest of the day...

On Thursday I did the usual food shopping, did more errands in town and cooked a big dinner for us all as it was eldest grandson's 24th birthday the next day. He's off to South Africa for a holiday with his girlfriend, so this was the only chance he had to come down. He's been to South Africa before and had an amazing time. He feels a real affinity with the place but that's not surprising as his grandfather  (my ex-husband) was South African.

I bought the skirt in Oxfam on the sale rail for 2.99 when in I was in West Hampstead  the week before. The top is also charity shopped about four or five years ago but I can't remember where. Cardigan charity shopped at the independent charity shop in town for 3.00. Tights charity shopped. Shoes; Primarni sale.
I seem to have bought quite a few skirts lately; I may have to do a challenge and wear  a different one every day for a week.

All jewellery charity shopped.

We forgot to take photos of the birthday meal and like a lot of men I know grandson is not keen on having his photo taken; but I did remember to take a picture of the cake the daughter made for her birthday boy!


Friday's outfit. It wasn't a very good day for walking so I decided 'd go and spend my birthday money instead! Everything charity shopped. Boots, 1.00 euro in a Donegal charity shop; they're children's which is why they were so cheap. I thought I'd left these in the caravan so was surprised to find them in the wardrobe when I put my brand new retail green canvas Mary Jane's away I bought with my birthday money from Sainsburys. The leggings which I usually keep for walking were 49p from Barnardo's reduced rail. The tunic I can't remember where I bought it and the striped top is another 1.00 find somewhere - I've had it for years.

I bought this necklace for 1.99 from the Sue Ryder charity shop. Earrings are daughter donated and all other jewellery is charity shopped.

I spent some more of my birthday money on some charity shopped jewellery and I also bought myself a Magnolia tree. I had one a couple of years ago and asked OH to plant it for me. He planted it at the allotment! We gave the allotment up  eventually as OH didn't have the time to keep it up and I don't like gardening and we forgot about the magnolia tree. Now I have another one and it's already planted and in my garden. I hope I have more success with this than I have with the Wisteria which has only given us a single bloom in the 5 years we've had it! I also bought myself a new coat (below) for 6.00 in the Cancer Research shop in town. I still have a little bit of birthday money left so I'll probably spend that at Barnardo's on Monday...

I went to see my cousin Marian on Saturday. We had a lovely day just chatting and drinking tea. I had planned to go for a bit of a rummage whilst I was there but the time just flew by! I didn't want to stay late as I dislike driving in the dark; I find the glare of oncoming headlights makes it difficult for me to see even though I have anti-glare coating on my glasses!

Saturday's outfit.
Everything is charity shopped except the boots which were daughter donated. The black cord trousers are by M&S and were on the 1.00 rail at the Red Cross. Yellow shirt bought  in a Donegal charity shop for 3.00 euros. Can't remember where I bought the yellow kimono jacket from and it was only last year...

All jewellery charity shopped and the scarf is one I bought from Barnardo's at Great Denham last week for 1.00.

This is my new coat. It's an Italian label and is trimmed with black and some silver chain. It also has hook and eye fastenings along the front if you want to wear it done up. I put an old coat in the charity shop bag that I've not worn very much at all . See, I'm trying my best with the 'one-in one-out' thing!

I'm slowly reading 'The Corner', by the writers of the TV series 'The Wire'. It's an ethnographic study of a corner of two streets in West Baltimore in the 1990s where a lot of stuff goes on. The focus is on one specific family and their activities and relationship with the corner and all the people who come to it. It's quite a harrowing read (drug use and misuse. violence, guns  etc) so I dip in and out of it; I highly recommend it. In between dipping in and out of this book I'm reading my way through my birthday books and enjoying them immensely.

On Monday I volunteered at Barnardo's.  On Tuesday I was at the food bank and in both places I was very busy. It is a very rare occasion I get to sit down at either place!

I used up the rest of the  birthday money I had on Tuesday afternoon whilst out looking for a white sheet to turn into a Roman toga for the youngest grandson; I finally visited a charity shop that is in the grounds of a hospice not far from where I live. A fellow walker had reminded me about it on last week's walk. I bought myself some yellow trousers; an animal print kimono; a necklace, a brooch; a pair of earrings and three books. It's a lovely shop held in a shed in their tranquil grounds and I'll be coming back again.  It is very spacious and the goods are displayed in a really attractive manner. It's called a boutique and that's certainly the vibe you get when you walk in. They had several lovely necklaces so I hope next time I go back at least one is still there waiting for me!

Tuesday's outfit. Everything charity shopped.

Blue kimono, can't remember. Blue tunic by Tu; 1.00 rail Barnardo's, Ampthill. Blue leggings same place and same rail; blue boots, Red Cross :1.99.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; daughter donated.

I'm off to London again this weekend - that's three weekends in a row. It's OH's mum's 95th birthday so there's a family party to celebrate. I'm wondering what to wear...


  1. Happy belated birthday wishes to you, long may the celebrations continue!
    I love seeing you and your lovely family together and how thrilling to add a couple of new members to the crew. There's certainly a family resemblance between yourself and Marian. How lucky you're within easy reach of one another.
    Love your Armani skirt and your fabulous Dune bag. Your day out sounded great fun, booze, charity shops and good food. Interesting to see that anti Modi demonstration, the Indians either love him or loathe him.
    The yellow outfit is my favourite, it's sensational and a gorgeous colour on you.
    Liking the sound of The Corner. I've never seen The Wire which is strange considering I love bleak crime drama and adore Idris Elba!
    Another London jaunt? I'm looking forward to seeing what you finally decide to wear.
    Have a fab weekend and enjoy this glorious weather! xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix!

      I've never seen 'The Wire' either and I love Idris Elba!

      We had a glorious day today and yesterday wasn't too bad either...

  2. Another belated Happy Birthday wish. You obviously had a wonderful time. What a fantastic experience it must be to meet a member of your close family that you hadn't known existed. It must have been quite emotional.
    My family are, alas, quite fragmented and I would so love to get together with them again before it is too late but I am not sure that would ever be possible.
    I understand your feelings aboutn driving in the dark. Since my cataract ops my night vision has become very poor. I get the so-called starburst effect with oncoming headlights which makes me quite a dangerous driver!

    1. Thank you, JayCee.

      I've so enjoyed meeting my cousin and saw her again this weekend, too!

  3. Happy Birthday for last week! How wonderful to meet a long lost cousin. Love the Armani skirt. XXX

  4. Happy birthday, hope you had a wonderful day, the skirt is fab 👍

  5. Hi some lovely outfits, I like the yellow and black kimono jacket, I hope you have more success with your Magnolia than I did, I have always loved them since reading a book called The Moorings Mystery as a child.We bought one. it had one leaf on it in the summer, which disappeared and it has remained just a stick ever since.

    1. Thank you, Polly. Oh, what a shame about your Magnolia tree! I just hope mine doesn't end up like that..

  6. Happy Birthday, Veronica! Didn't you have the most fabulous day? You were properly spoiled as well. That Armani skirt is gorgeous, what a find. That outfit, as well as the yellow one are my favourites. I'm loving your new coat as well. And, last but not least, how amazing that you've found a family member you didn't know existed. I cannot even begin to imagine how it must have been for Marian to finally get to know about her biological mother. That story, as well as the one of your brother Julian, really gave me goosebumps! xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann.

      It's been wonderful meeting my new cousin...

  7. It sounds like you had a lovely birthday. It must be strange having so many unknown relatives turn up - but it must be a relief for them to be able to find out more and to discover their lost family is someone as lovely as you.

    Grandson's birthday cake looks scrumptious. I hope you got a slice!

    1. Thank you, Mim, you are very kind. I did indeed have a slice of the cake and it was lovely but too rich for me only one slice...

  8. Hello Veronica, Happy Belated Birthday. I love the way your family (all ages) celebrates together. Welcoming a new cousin into your fold will be everyone's gift. Having access to London is another gift that keeps on giving.
    This week's outfits were so inspiring - choosing a favorite is an impossibility. Selecting an outfit for a 95th birthday party will be quite a joy! Thanks for generous blog sharing. Judy

  9. Happy Belated Birthday!
    I'm so happy for you being able to connect with your family members. It is lovely when the reunions turn out so well.

    I laughed at your OH planting the tree at the allotment! Men! You have to be very specific with them sometimes ;)

    Your new coat is very elegant looking. The Armani skirt is a fab find too!

    1. Thank you, Goody. I'm afraid I didn't laugh when OH told me where he planted it - the air was quite blue!

  10. Firstly, belated birthday greetings and it sounds like you had a good one, loved your birthday outfit too, such a pretty dress.
    Amazing story about your cousin. So much info for her to take in about the new family and how wonderful it must be for her to see pics of her mum.
    I did my DNA a couple of years ago and we bought a test for my bro’s 60th in January; I had a message this week telling me they’d found a match - him!
    I don’t drive at night anymore because of light refractive cataracts, so understand how you now plan journeys to avoid night time driving.
    Loved your Armani skirt, wow it’s amazing!
    Yes, please do that skirt challenge.
    Wishing you a great week, Mary x.

    1. Thank you, Mary,

      I need to get my eyes retested; I should have done it last year but will make an appointment, pronto!

      I may do the skirt challenge the week before I go to Ireland - watch this space!

  11. Happy birthday Vronni! It looked like such a lovely happy gathering with you all. And what a fab surprise to find some new relatives, and so nearby too. I wonder how many of us have hidden families like this? I bet it's much more common than we realise. My favourite outfit was the yellow top - I seem to have a real thing for yellow now it looks great with your red lippie too!

    1. Thank you, Anna

      Yes , I'm sure there must be more hidden families possibly one per family!

      I still have a half-brother to trace...

      Hope you have a great week.

  12. a very belated happy birthday from me!!
    how lovely to find some "new" family members! esp. the daughter looks like a younger version of you!
    chic outfits as always - but the checked one is a close fav and the yellow one is best!!
    caribbean dinner - yum! and an armani skirt - such a pretty thing!!
    happy weekend! xxxx

    1. Thank you so much!

      My new cousin is lovely and I'm so happy to have found her.

      Have a lovely week.

  13. Happy birthday, Vronnie! I love your polka dotted (spotted) grey dress and the Armani skirt is a dream! I always love to see your landscapes and backgrounds and hear about your escapades alongside of your outfits and purchases. I have to admit I am comforted by your shopping habit. I sometimes feel uncomfortable with my pursuit of thifted (charity shopped) clothing and goods as obviously I "need" nothing more than I already have. It's the adventure and the variety that I love, as I see clearly you do also. We recently went to Cancun and my husband had two pricey massages on the beach while I purchased nothing. My motto is, if you wouldn't buy it at home, don't buy it when you're out of the country. I've brought home, too many times, items from ethnic market stalls or beach peddlers, that end up looking ridiculous in real life. All that to say, I went out for a "rummage" (as you would say) or "browse" (as I would say) to some of my favorite shops when I got home and found some irresistible things. I told myself that I had earned a few shopping points as I'd resisted spendy things while on vacation and could use them at home. (???!!!)
    I'm happy to hear of your new cousin. You are indeed lucky and blessed to have the family and happy relationships you do. You are obviously a fun and loving person to be able to keep them so close. XO .

    1. Good to hear from you, Karen and thank you for lovely comments.

      Yes, I sometimes feel guilty about my charity shopping habit, but instead of spending my money on crap I am am donating to good causes. It's the thrill of what might be found that drives me on; but I have got much better at just looking around a charity shop and buying nothing!
      I am trying to buy only what I need or what I love or what I find irresistible - so good luck to both us!

      Hope you have a lovely week.

  14. Happy belated birthday! Looks like the day was fab! Getting together with family to celebrate is wonderful. You are lucky so many of them live close by.

    You really scored on that Armani skirt! Goes to show you never know what you'll find when thrifting.

    What a story about finding your cousin. Amazing really.

    I'm like you with night driving. My husband and I are saving up to get corrective eye surgery again.


  15. Thanks Suzanne!

    I must check out the surgery route - it never occurred to me...

    Have a great week.

  16. I'm glad to hear you had such a lovely birthday and have bought yourself some lovely things. How amazing to find your cousin living so close by!

  17. I'm really late on my commenting, anyway glad to read that you had a fabulous birthday with lovely people!. The story about how you found your 'new' cousin is really moving!
    Lots of lovely outifts!, and you look gorgeous in your kimonos and those fab necklaces, and your birthday attire is pretty comfy&cool (I have a weakness for monochromatic ensembles!). Love the Armani skirt and the teal one too, they're both amazing!. And your new coat looks fabulous!


Lost earrings, birthday and some sad news.

Hello!  This was me in my walking outfit on Wednesday; plus waterproof coat, scarf and gloves. It was both a wet and cold day.  I'd put ...