Sunday, 22 December 2019

Tunic challenge continued...

Hello to you all and may I wish you all the best for the festive season and above all a happy new year! I'm posting a little prematurely because I'll be too busy on Christmas Eve to post...

Day 4 - Tunic Challenge


What is it about getting older that makes the time go so fast? Before I knew it, it was Monday again and back to volunteering. This is what I wore. Everything is charity shopped. Jacket by Country Casuals; trousers by H&M; tunic by Indulgence.  Boots by River Island. All jewellery and headscarf charity shopped.
I like this tunic so it's a keeper.


 I spent the morning decoding the women's clothes except for coats, dresses and sportswear. We have a new policy for decoding now where we reduce everything to 50p unless it's higher end stuff and then it gets sent on to other shops or we redate it. The reason for reducing everything to 50p is because the companies that collect the unwanted clothes (rags) from charities have reduced the rates they pay for the rags per 10kg bag. The charities only received a very small amount per bag in the first place.  It makes sense to try and get 50p for something if it's going to end up being ragged anyway.


I did well and found a dressy pair of M&S trousers, a spotted top by Wallis (another spotted top to join my collection, aaargh...) and a floral print dress all for 50 p each. I also picked up another handbag...

After the food bank on Tuesday I ventured into town and finished my Christmas shopping. I'd dressed the Christmas Tree on Sunday but needed more baubles; I picked up a bag of baubles in the 3:16 charity shop for 1.00, so the tree was completed when I got home.


This is where we had our Rambler's  Christmas lunch on Wednesday. A 13th century Tithe barn; part of a hotel complex just outside the town called, unsurprisingly; 'The Barn's'. Tithe barns were used to store the rents or tithes in Europe during the medieval period. If you want to find out more about them see HERE.

We started with a 7.5 mile walk and then it was a quick change in the car to this:


I wore the scarf and earrings on the walk and wore leggings under my walking trousers. It was just a case of removing walking boots, socks, trousers and walking top and replacing it with this tunic and jacket, replacing my walking boots with OTK ones and adding some more jewellery.

Day 5 - Tunic Challenge


This tunic is long enough to count as a dress!  It's by Lily and Me and I love the fact it has pockets. It was charity shopped, but unless it was my Barnardo's I can't remember where it came from. The blue boiled wool jacket was from a 1.00 rail. Navy leggings; can't remember and the OTK boots were bought online about three years ago.


All jewellery charity shopped.


We were entertained by one of our group playing the violin and then we sang carols. I always enjoy the carol singing and there is competition between the men and women as the carols are divided up into separate sections to be sung. It's all great fun and the food was pretty good, too!

Day 6 - Tunic challenge

Took youngest grandson to Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge on Thursday for his follow up appointment.  All was well. I also went to Sharnbrook to buy more coal.  I didn't need to go out and vote as I voted by post. I was going to poll clerk but changed my mind when they wanted me to go to a polling station that was quite far from where I live. It is an exhausting day starting at 6.30 am in the morning and finishing between 10.30 - 11pm. Now, I've got my state pension I don't feel the need to earn extra cash. Aren't I lucky? Some women of my age are still having to work to make ends meet.

This was what I wore on this miserable wet, cold day.

I got the beret out!


Everything charity shopped except the boots bought online about 4 years ago. They have become a bit stained and shabby looking so I want to replace them with a new pair; I've tried for months to buy a red pair in the charity shops; but have had to give up.  I will have to look online as I couldn't bear to trundle around the January sales. This year I have done really well with not buying new (for myself). I will have bought two pairs of boots; a pair of shoes and a swimming costume in total.  (Update; my navy leggings got holes in them so I have had to order a new pair. They originally came from a charity shop and I've had good wear out of them).

Tunic by Next; 1.00 rail. Animal print top by Tu; 1.00 rail. Trousers by Laura Ashley; can't remember. All jewellery charity shopped. Beret from my Barnardo's.


I added a cardigan for warmth. This one is by Mantaray; 'Faithful and True.'  Honestly, what is it with the names of clothing brands and items of clothing? I have a maxi dress with this label as well.  I can't remember where I got this cardigan; probably the Red Cross.

Well, the least said about the election results the better. As a life long Socialist I voted Labour and wanted Labour to win. I will just say how devastated I was. I was so demotivated by it all on Friday  that I didn't bother go for a swim. Our town's result's were positive, thank goodness, but it was a close run thing...

Eldest grandson sent this to me in the wee small hours!

Day 7 - Tunic Challenge




All jewellery charity shopped. No eye make up as the plan was to go for a swim...


The tunic is by Next and I've had it for years; it was charity shopped as is everything I'm wearing.
The jeans and top were from 1.00 rails. The boots from my Barnardo's.


You'd think after the dress challenge I wouldn't be wearing any more dresses would you? You'd be wrong. This is the 50p dress by Tu I bought on Monday at my Barnardo's. I love the pattern and the colour but it's a size too big so I shall cut it up into headscarves...I did, but they were too short as I should have cut them across the dress rather than in strips down the front and back. Doh! They're being used as cleaning cloths now...



Cardigan by Laura Ashley: 1.00 rail somewhere. Boots; online retail. Tights; Cat's Protection League.



All jewellery charity shopped.

I got out for a short walk on Sunday of 4 miles and I wore this tunic:

Day 8 - Tunic Challenge



All jewellery charity shopped.


This is my 3.00 outfit! All items came from 1.00 rails; Top by Oasis underneath an M&S animal print tunic and Phase Eight glittery leggings.


I wore buff coloured boots in the end but these boots (online retail) were good for walking in.


On Sunday evening I decided to start a new crochet blanket; these are the colours I selected. I'm making the 'Seashell Blanket' pattern from Attic 24.  See HERE. It's quite similar to the Hydrangea Stripe blanket except there are rows of V stitch and the shells are made of 5 treble crochets not 3. I am guessing this won't make much sense if you are not a crocheter...I can get quite obsessed with a crochet project once I get going. It's very addictive and I find it very soothing to crochet and watch tv or listen to music. I  think I would love a day where I could crochet all day with out any interruptions but I might as well wish for the moon!

Day 9 - Tunic Challenge


It was back to Barnardo's on Monday where I spent the day tagging, hanging and putting new items on the rails on the shop floor. I found a jumper with large spots for 50p and new thermos flask for 1.00. That was all. I've been very good at not buying stuff or rummaging the last couple of weeks. I hope it lasts into the New Year!


This can double up as a dress but I'm wearing it here as a tunic. It's by French Connection and is a good few years old; I can't remember where I got it from. The purple cords are by Boden; from Barnardo's 50p rail a week or two back and the purple velvet cardigan is one of the few things I have ever bought (for myself) at TK Maxx. In fact, it was the first ever thing I bought from there and I've had for about 10 years now.


Boots present from daughter.


All jewellery and headscarf charity shopped.

Day 10 - Tunic Challenge



Back to the Food Bank today. Very, very busy. It's closed from the 24th and reopens on 2nd January. That's a Thursday and I usually do Tuesdays, but I'm going in to make up a special order. Food banks are organised into warehouses and distribution centres. Some combine both on the same premises; we are lucky enough to have a substantial sized warehouse on an industrial estate and our distribution centres are usually churches or community centres throughout Bedford and Kempston. The first thing I do on a Tuesday (I'm based in the warehouse) is make up the Sally Army order. This has about 15 crates filled with things like toiletries; household goods (plates, cutlery, pots and pans etc) household cleaning items; cat and dog food; baby items, nappies, toilet rolls, staff crate (tea and coffee etc); 24 hour bags, cold packs (for people with no means of warming food) and kettle packs (for people who don't have means of warming food other than a kettle). If you thought food banks only gave out food; they do far more than that.  They welcome donations of all the things I've listed and some food banks do clothes as well. I remember living on a very restricted income when my children were very young and although I could always manage to buy enough food and make it last until the next pay packet; it was needing things like shampoo; washing powder and washing up liquid etc that were challenges to my budget.


This tunic which could also double up as a dress is by Warehouse; can't remember where I got it from. Jeans are by Next and striped tee under tunic; 1.00 rails somewhere. The little knitted waistcoat was from a 1.00 rail in the Sally Army charity shop in town a few weeks ago. Can you see my cardigan hanging on the banister behind me? I wore that on top of everything else at the warehouse!


Brothel creepers/beetle crushers online retail. I started out wearing my red ones but the sole split and was coming away from the uppers so they had to be thrown away.


All jewellery and headscarf charity shopped.

Day 11 - Tunic Challenge

I was very lazy on Wednesday and didn't go walking at all. I wanted a lie in, so didn't get up in time for the group walk in Biggleswade and although I had planned to walk in the afternoon by myself; after a short rummage in Olney I came home and got on with my crochet blanket! The last time I tried to go Olney I was thwarted by road works and closed roads, so I was determined to get there before Christmas. I hadn't planned on buying anything but you know the best laid plans of mice and men and all that... I bought a rather nice tweedy type jacket in blue by Honour Milburn for 5.00 in Age Concern; plus I also found a cheeseparer for the eldest grandson; who had asked me to look out for one for him. In the Willen Hospice Shop, I bought some reduced Christmas crackers so was very pleased with those and the money goes to the charity rather than a supermarket or chain store. I wore this:


I was experimenting, so this is a view I rarely get to see! It was set on video (not intentionally I hasten to add) but I've not yet managed to successfully insert a video into my blog and I don't think this one works either...it lasted for all of 2 seconds so you've not missed much!


The blue velvet leggings are from M&S and were bought with a voucher the OH gave me last Christmas. I think it's the first wearing of them and they were surprisingly warm. The tunic is by Gudrun Sjoden; found in my Barnardo's for 2.99.


Inspired by Monica of 'Mrs Allnut' blog see HERE; who styled a new denim waistcoat in her latest post; I remembered I had a denim waistcoat and dug it out. It was charity shopped but can't remember where.


Headscarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

On Thursday I was off to the hairdressers and then off to London with my cousin and her daughter to see the Mary Quant exhibition at the V & A. My cousin's daughter had two (free) tickets to the exhibition and kindly offered them to us. The exhibition was fascinating and brought back such a lot of memories of being a teenager in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Photography wasn't allowed; but I managed to get one sneaky shot in before I was apprehended.... There was a choir performing Christmas carols on the upper storey, the Metropolitan Police Choir; who were pretty wonderful!



I won't show you what I wore as I wore a maxi skirt; and if I ever get through these bloody tunics I plan on making my next wardrobe challenge maxi skirts and dresses.
It was a lovely day despite the wet weather and in the evening we met up with a friend and went out for a meal at an Irish pub in Hendon.

Friday was the last school run of the year - hurray! I went for a swim in the afternoon and did another 30 laps. No walking this week so far; I hope to get some in at the weekend, but the rain needs to stop first!

Day 12  - Tunic Challenge



I'm very bored with the tunics now; but the good news is I think I miscounted the original number of tunics I had and now make it 33. I've also weeded out a couple I wasn't keen on so I think after today that only leaves 21 to go!
This one was charity shopped as was the yellow tee underneath. Purple leggings and grey boots online retail.


All jewellery charity shopped except earrings which were bought many years ago in Sainsbury's. Little make up as I was going swimming later.

I've done the first 15 rows using 15 different colours of my Seashell blanket. I'll keep repeating the rows in the same colour scheme until it's long enough. If nothing else I will have used up another 15 balls of wool from my stash!


It's an unusual blanket in that you can have it on any side - there's no wrong side and in fact I prefer the 'wrong' side (top) to the 'right' side....

On Saturday we did the big Christmas food shop and I had to go to town for a couple of errands after we'd finished. Walking plans were dropped as the rain came down again in the afternoon. It was a shame as the day previously had been bright and there was even a few sunshine bursts.

Day 13 - Tunic Challenge (20 left to go)



All jewellery charity shopped.


Tunic by M&S; 1.00 rail at Barnardo's; jeans by Next charity shopped somewhere; red boots online retail.


I added this cardigan for warmth; it has no label and I found it in the independent charity shop in town for 3.00 last year.

The rain stopped long enough for me to go for a walk on Sunday. I walked to Bromham and back (6.75 miles) and just look at how high the river is here and how fast it's flowing...


Day 14 - Tunic Challenge (19 left to go)


All jewellery charity shopped


Everything charity charity shopped. Cardigan and boots as before. Leggings from my Barnardo's; can't remember where the striped tunic came from.


That's it from me folks, thank you so much for reading and visiting my blog and I look forward to your company again in 2020!

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

The end of the dress challenge...thank goodness!



I'm definitely fed up with the wearing of dresses now; so here's a few more cheats in that I've already worn  these dresses on previous blog posts...

Day 17

This one has gone to be re-donated. I don't like it on me and its tight around the arms. Worn here with a kimono bought for 5.00 and checked leggings which also went to be re-donated - too thin.

Day 18


This dress is by Wallis and made of very thin material. I love the sleeves
 and the bright colours so this one's a keeper. Waistcoat by Next charity shopped; and black boots by Sainsbury's.

Day 19


This one is also made of very thin material. I bought it for 1.00 in the 3:16 charity shop and wore it on my birthday trip to London in March this year. I was frozen; even though I wore it with leggings (from M&S retail). Black ankle boots present from my daughter as was the leather biker jacket.

Day 20

Everything charity shopped but can only remember where the spotted blouse and cardi came from; a little town in Cornwall; when I went away in May half term last year; with my daughter and the two grandchildren. I can't remember the name of the little town we visited. The blouse is by South and was on the 1.00 rail...the cardigan is from my Barnardo's, I think. Grey boots online retail and all jewellery charity shopped.






On Wednesday, my youngest grandson came home from hospital; his implant was removed successfully.

My group were walking far away again (that's three weeks on the trot).  I just walked to Queen's Park, then along the river to Great Denham and Kempston then home. It was a 7 mile walk  in length and it stayed dry throughout although it was grey and dismal day; but there was a short burst of sunshine. while I was out.  I walked past this Gurdwara on  my way to get to the river...


On Thursday, I led my 5 mile amble and there were 6 of us. Another grey, dank day but it didn't rain and the walk was very pleasant. In the afternoon I went to see the grandson who was fine; only saying his jaw hurt after the operation. We played board games and card games all afternoon and his mum went off to do her shopping. He's delighted he has a week off school to recuperate! When I got home after this I changed into the above outfit and went and did my shopping.

I swam on Friday, the usual 30 lengths. It felt very good to be back in the water and at one point I had the whole section entirely to myself. It was bliss. I went to my Barnardo's to look at the 'Everything 99p' sale only to find it was 'Everything 1.00' sale. I bought a couple of items for the grandsons; a pair of purple cords for me; a summer top by Monsoon and a brown M&S jacket. I spent 5.00 in total.

Day 21

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Saturday, OH and I went for a rummage to Newport Pagnell. I went mad and bought a fake Astrakhan coat by M&S for 25.00 in the RSPCA charity shop. I fell for the sleeves and the fit of it. I have two warm winter coats; one of which makes me look like a box on legs, so that one is being re-donated and the new one will replace it.

 This was what I wore on Saturday which was very chilly day.


Dress by East; can't remember. Jacket  by Roman; 1.00 rail in Wellingborough about 6 years ago. Boots by Sainsbury's retail. The dress is made of wool ;  is fully lined and is very warm. It's a boring colour so I like to jazz it up with other colours. You can't see it in these photos but I wore it with bright orange tights. 


This was me ready for the off. Wool wraparound coat bought in the Cat's Protection League; scarves and gloves charity shopped also. I'd been to town in the morning to run some errands and picked up a little brooch with two birds on it for 1.00 in an animal charity shop. I pinned it straight to the coat.



I went for a walk with my daughter on Sunday morning of 5 miles and we saw a Barn Owl -  in bright daylight! I was so thrilled...
This is what I changed into. Cords from my Barnardo's; top from 1.00 rail somewhere - I don't like it on me, so it will be re-donated. Cardigan from the independent charity shop in town and the Bjorn clogs were found in the Cat's Protection League some weeks back. I wore them round the house and found them very comfortable.

All jewellery charity shopped.


Monday comes around before you know it. I wore this to volunteer on Monday.
All jewellery charity shopped and headscarf from Primarni.


Brown skirt by M&S: 1.00 rail somewhere, same with the pink top. Next jacket about 7 or 8 years old and originally charity shopped. Underneath I had thick woollen tights; it was -1 degree when I took the middle grandson to school on Monday morning and it took a long time to scrape all the ice off the car...


Boots; gift from daughter.

The 1.00 sale had gone extremely well and a lot of stock was cleared so we were busy reorganising and re-stocking the rails. I found myself another red beret - I'd left my other one in the caravan and it's definitely beret weather...

Day 22



All jewellery charity shopped and headscarf.


The foodbank was busy as always but there were lots of us in and I got away a bit earlier. Knitted dress by Phase Eight; can't remember where I got it from; probably the 1.00 rail in the Barnardo's in Ampthill. Leggings retail in Store 21 sale some years ago, boots from my Barnardo's and jacket from Barnardo's in Ampthill.


It wasn't so cold on Tuesday and there was quite a lot of sunshine. I went for a swim in the afternoon as I was leading the bus walk on Friday and wouldn't have time to fit a swim in.

In the evening we went to see my brother playing at The Stables. It was a lovely evening and we went backstage for a drink with Julian and some of the band members afterwards. I wore the trouser suit I found in Sandy, the coat I bought in Newport Pagnell from M&S and my wool, embroidered scarf bought in St. Neots earlier this year. OH took the photos using his phone camera; they're still not very good I'm afraid...


Everything charity shopped including the pink leather gloves.


All jewellery charity shopped.


I bought the shoes for 1 euro in the St. Vincent's charity shop in Donegal Town.

I recce'd the walk I'll be leading on Friday on Wednesday. It was a cold day but again bright and sunny. The sun had real warmth to it when I felt it on my face. The walk was 7.4 miles. When I got back I went into town to run some errands and then went to have a look at the Castle Road charity shops. I bought some deep red leggings by Joseph for 1.99 and a pair of boots from H&M for 2.99. I also picked up a pink cat brooch for 99p all from The Children's Society.


Everything charity shopped including jewellery and headscarf.


Cardigan by Next; from my Barnardo's; top by Liz Claiborne, 1.00 rail somewhere; trousers by F&F. Grey boots; online retail.


Ready, steady, go!!

In the evening we went to watch a live screening from the Garrick Theatre in London of Shakespeare's 'The  Winter's Tale'. It was simply wonderful. Kenneth Branagh was Leontes, Miranda Raison (from 'Spooks') as Hermione and Judi Dench as Paulina. The screening lasted almost three hours and I was captivated all the way through. There is no one like Shakespeare for laying bare the human condition in all its joys and sorrows. There are a few more live theatre screenings next year including; 'Cyrano De Bergerac' with James McEvoy in February; 'Welkin' with Maxine Peake in May and 'The Comedy of Errors' in May. I look forward to them all. It's so much cheaper and there's no travel to London involved watching theatre performances this way!

It was a red day on Thursday. Everything charity shopped.


Except the boots from Primarni. Can't remember where the top came from but the jeggings by Joseph; charity shopped in The Children's Society yesterday. The cardigan was from the Independent Charity shop in town.


The top is by Wallis and was a 1.00 rail bargain.


All jewellery charity shopped and the headscarf.

I did the food shopping in the morning and went to Ampthill in the afternoon for a rummage. I bought a book and an earring holder, both for 50p in the RSPCA. I saw nothing that grabbed my fancy...I was very disappointed in the Barnardo's in Ampthill. It looked such a mess and there was nothing on the rails of any interest; the 1.00 rail has now been relegated to a huge bin where I did  have a rummage, but it was all just tat. Disappointing.

I was pleased with this 50p earring holder, though! I put my 'fancy'
earrings on it.

I led my bus walk on Friday; missed one of the footpaths as I was chatting to someone (naughty me) so we came the long way round doing 8 miles in the end. There were 13 of us; I wasn't really expecting anyone to turn up as it was grey and miserable day. They're a hardy lot the Ramblers! It did rain a bit but only light drizzle and we rewarded ourselves with a stop in a local cafe at the end. I had Frangipane cake which was delicious. This cafe is only a couple of hundred yards from my house and the cakes are to die for. I go very rarely because it wouldn't be good for my waistline if I went more frequently!

I changed into this to do the school run:


Black and grey - very boring! All jewellery charity shopped.


Boots; online retail. Skirt by Hennes (pre H&M?) 1.00 rail British Heart Foundation; top by Oasis; 1.00 rail somewhere earlier this year; cardigan charity shop in Donegal. I like the neck on the top; it's not quite a polo neck it's shorter and I prefer this length to a polo neck on me as I have a short neck as well as short limbs...


Whilst sorting out something suitable to wear for the London Walk to see the lights and decorations on Saturday; I had a count of the tunics I possess. I counted 38 and this doesn't include some linen tunic/shirts I wear in the summer! It's safe to say I have over 40 in total. I thought I would set myself another challenge and attempt to wear all of them beginning this week. I won't to commit to wearing one everyday; but I'd like to wear them all over the next couple of months, as it's a good way to decide whether I want to keep all of them - nobody needs 40+ tunics! I will probably include a couple of cheats where I've worn a tunic on a blog post quite recently so here's 2 to get us going!

Days 1 & 2 Tunics



The London walk was very interesting and according to my step counter (I forgot to set my walking app) I walked the equivalent of 12 miles. I was extremely tired by the time I got home. This is what I wore:

Day 3 - Tunic



Jeans by Next; charity shopped. White shirt by Gap and floral tunic by Anthology both charity shopped but can't remember where. Grey boots online retail.



All jewellery charity shopped.

Our walk took us down Oxford Street, round and through Hyde Park to Pimlico, then Sloane Square, Chelsea where we stopped for lunch. Then to South Kensington back through Hyde Park to Marble Arch.

Top left; this was us gathering at Marble Arch. We walked down Oxford Street and through St. Christopher's Place where you can see the some of the decorations and giant Christmas tree. I spotted this lemon tree growing in a front garden somewhere in the West End. 
Skating at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington - top left and right. Bottom left; The Royal College of Organists; just beside the Albert Hall. Bottom right -'Winter Wonderland' seen from the other side of the Serpentine in Hyde Park. It's a huge funfair and there were queues of thousands waiting to get in!

Top left; a Regency crescent; top right and bottom left; home of Earl Russell (Duke of Bedford) Prime Minister. Middle right; home to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and bottom right home of Vita Sackville - West and her husband. I've not long finished a book about Vita, her mother, her daughter and her grand-daughter: 'A Houseful of Daughters' by Juliet Nicholson. I love the architecture in London; there is such a variety of styles and periods.

Day 23 - the final dress!



This is a charity shopped Seasalt dress bought in my Barnardo's for 2.00. It's called 'The Millpool Dress' for reasons that escape me entirely! What has a dress got to do with a millpool for Heaven's sake? Do they hope customers might be more inclined to buy a named dress?


Cranberry plaid tights, charity shopped; grey velvet brogues bought in the Primarni sale a few years back.


All jewellery and head scarf charity shopped.

That's all from me folks - see you in a fortnight!