Tuesday 18 February 2020

Stormy weather and a skirt challenge.

I was at the foodbank on Tuesday as usual. This is what I wore - plus gloves!

This is the H&M dress I bought as the original one was too large; it was, of course, charity shopped.  Navy short sleeved cardigan also charity shopped somewhere; I've had it for ages. Leggings; Joe Brown retail and boots online retail.

I spotted my first 'wild' crocus on my walk on Wednesday morning. I walked 6 miles; saw the curly haired pigs again and heard my first skylark of 2020! In fact the hedgerows were alive with the sound of birds; twittering, cheeping, chattering, chirping and of course, singing. I love it.

A wild crocus. People's gardens are full of them and snow drops but I like spotting them in the wild. There's a snowdrop walk next week with my group and I planned to go.

I volunteered on Wednesday afternoon as it was stocktaking; and wore this. This is a closer look at my jewellery - all charity shopped. I bought the turquoise and silver pendant on a torc from my Barnardo's a few months ago. Just before we closed on Wednesday, a lady brought in some donations and told me she had donated my pendant. She'd bought it on holiday in Cuba and believed it was made out of a silver spoon! She said it had a matching bracelet; but she kept that. It's not often you get to know the history of a donated item you've bought!

 This was the Acne Studio skirt I bought on last week's rummage to Sandy - it has pockets! The turquoise paisley top was bought from another charity shop in Stevenage on Saturday's rummage and the jacket was 1.00 rail buy from the 3:16 charity shop. The OTK boots were bought in my Barnardo's for 5.00. They were the ones where the heels fell off and I had them re-heeled...you might just spot my turquoise opaque tights in the photo below. They came from The Cat's Protection League.

I bought a lovely maxi dress from M&S from Barnardo's on Wednesday. It was just too pretty to not buy and I have a birthday meal i n London coming up so this was perfect. And it only cost 5.00!

I walked again on Thursday. I did the same walk as on Wednesday but reversed it; 6 miles and it was the most beautiful day. It had been very cold in the morning minus 1 degree; but the sun was shining. there was no wind at all and the sky was wonderfully blue. After the walk I went to do the food shopping.

All jewellery charity shopped; except the earrings from ebay and the scarf is also charity shopped.

I don't think I've worn this tunic/dress on the blog. I bought it in a charity shop, naturally, but I cannot remember where; possibly the Mercy in Action Outlet store where all clothing is 2.00. It doesn't have a label but it's warm and it's green! I wore it with this homemade vintage jacket which I bought in The Red Cross shop some years ago. It was very cheap about 3.99 I seem to recall.

The leggings are retail from Joe Brown. Talking of leggings I went to wear my brown (retail) M&S leggings the other day and found the moths had been at them. They've been relegated to walking leggings. I can't even just pop along to M&S and buy a replacement pair as our M&S closed last year. The nearest one is 12 miles away in Biggleswade and if I order online I'll have to pay a fee to have it delivered...

When I was at the charity shop on Wednesday afternoon I found a lovely Betty Barclay green maxi dress for 3.00. Reader, I bought it! I wore it  on Friday with the same jacket I wore yesterday and a charity shopped tee. All jewellery charity shopped.

I wore my green River Island boots; bought from my Barnardo's.

As well as being green the skirt has a sort of chequered pattern which you can just about make out in this photo. I didn't swim on Friday but went to the cinema with my daughter to see 'Little Women'. It was so good and I'm so pleased I went to see it; I usually don't bother to see the film if I read the book as it's usually inferior to the book.

I went for a long, 10 mile walk on Saturday. I combined three of the walks I've led in the past into one to see if I could create a new walk but at 10 miles it's too long. It was a lovely day; not cold, bright but a bit windy. I stopped and had a chat with a bloke driving a tractor. He said he was about to start drilling seed that should have been planted in October but the wet weather in the autumn had made the ground too soggy. He wasn't sure if the seeds would be ok and wouldn't know until three months time. I hope Storm Ciara; which hit us on Saturday evening, hasn't ruined his plans but I suspect it has.

This was my outfit for Barnardo's volunteering on Monday. Denim dress from my Barnardo's as was the striped tee. Leggings and boots as before.

All jewellery and head scarf charity shopped.


This was what I wore to the food bank on Tuesday. Jeans by Gerry Weber charity shopped in Donegal; floral top charity shopped in my Barnardo's. All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

Boots charity shopped from Oxfam.

For Christmas I had asked OH to buy me an Ancestry DNA kit. I have a half brother on my dad's side and have no  information about him except a rough idea of his birth year. I was hoping that by doing my DNA and making it public on Ancestry DNA; there was a chance I might find him. Anyway, I got my results on Tuesday and the ethnicity breakdown is fascinating. My ethnic origins are as follows:

52% Ireland and Scotland
23% England, Wales, Belgium, Channel Islands, Luxembourg
14% Malta
5% Italy (Sicily to be specific!)
5% France
1% Spain

And there I was thinking I came from a long line of Irish peasants!
The thing is that we probably all have really mixed ethnic origins because of migration patterns and trading routes in the past. I have no idea where the Maltese, French, Sicilian and Spanish bits have come from; but they do have something in common and that is Catholicism. Maybe a shared religion explains it? I don't know and probably never will. From certificates and family information I can go back as far as Great Great Grandparents on my mother's side; and to Great Grandparents on my father's; and there are no non Irish sounding names. No one married outside Ireland except my maternal Great Grandparents who married in Stockport, Cheshire and my maternal Grandparents who married in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The grandparents had met in Ireland but I don't know about the GG Parents. Both sets migrated temporarily to the UK and the USA in search of work.
I've been to France, Spain and Italy but now I really want to go to Malta and Sicily!

Went for a walk on Wednesday and did 6 miles.  It was just an urban walk as the fields would have been terribly muddy after Storm Ciara and all the rain but I spotted these little purple flowers; violets, I think growing alongside the road in a patch of grass.

Thursday's outfit. Shopping done, coal fetched from the Farm Shop in Sharnbrook and I cracked on with the Seashell blanket in the afternoon. I only had 4 rows left to do...

All jewellery charity shopped.

Jacket and tunic Daycare Hospice shops in Kempston and Bedford. Leggings (which have a fleece lining!) from Bedford market. Boots present from daughter.

Can you see the flower on the jacket? It's a brooch I picked up in a charity shop ages ago and it came  in useful when I singed this jacket on the gas cooker - it hides the damage.

Look what my Valentine bought me! A beautiful bouquet which I put in my Anthropologie jug charity shopped from my Barnardo's. There was also a box of chocolates but they were gone very quickly...

Skirt Challenge - Day 1

I did say I would do a skirt challenge next so I began it on Friday. I have 16 skirts to wear - mostly knee length as I'm not comfortable with mid calf skirts unless I wear long boots with them.

Jumper by Seasalt; charity shopped in my Barnardo's. Minimum make up as I was going swimming later on Friday.

Skirt by Dorothy Perkins; charity shopped somewhere. Boots; Sainsbury's retail. Cream cable knit tights charity shopped somewhere.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Skirt Challenge - Day 2

Skirt by Armani. Bought in the Mind Charity shop in Camden, London on my birthday last year by my daughter.

Yellow jumper; River Island and cardigan charity shopped. Boots; Sainsbury's. Pink tights charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

The weather at the weekend was very windy, cold and very wet. No walking at all took place but not only did I finish my blanket I managed to get the border done as well.

Without the border

With the border done; washed and drying over the banisters.

On Saturday evening we had booked to go to The Mango Room in Camden for brother Julian's birthday meal but Storm Dennis put paid to that. The trains were very disrupted and there were engineering works as well to contend with. We didn't want to make it to London and then get stranded. We sensibly decided to cancel and we'll do it in two weeks time. I was very disappointed as I was looking forward to wearing my new to me maxi dress...

On Sunday, we went to see my son in Suffolk. There was a lot of surface water and deep puddles on the roads; but our part of the country wasn't too badly affected. My heart goes out to the people in the UK who were affected by the weekend's storms and flooding.

 I wore this:

Dress by Oliver Bonas; Bedford Daycare Hospice 6.00. Red shirt by Primark; 1.00 rail somewhere. Boots; online retail.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Skirt Challenge - Day 3

This is one I wore more recently on the blog. It would have looked better with long boots, I think. I bought a pink cotton roll neck jumper for 50p from my Barnardo's last Monday to go with this skirt; but unfortunately I didn't check the size and it was far too big. I'll redonate it and keep looking for another pink top...

Back to Barnardo's on Monday for volunteering. Decoded the men's and added more clothes to the rails and tagged and put out out a range of clothing and bric a brac. Have you noticed I haven't been rummaging on any of my free days for the past two weeks? I'm just sticking to buying stuff from my Barnardo's on a Monday. I have next weekend away in Devon with Hilary, so I'll have a good old rummage then!!

This was Monday's outfit:

Everything charity shopped except boots - as before.

M&S cord trousers; old; yellow top 1.00 rail somewhere; kimono; my Barnardo's last year.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

Skirt Challenge - Day 5

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

Skirt by M&S; my Barnardo's 3.00; jumper by M&Co; 1.00 rail somewhere; jacket by M&S my Barnardo's 3.99.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped except earrings donated by my daughter. The beads are quite unusual as they're made of wicker.

Because it was half term there were only a few of us at the food bank and I made up the Sally Army crates. I've got a busy week ahead of me. I'm taking the middle grandson to London for a tour of Wembley Stadium  on Wednesday; and after that we plan to get a Thames Clipper to Greenwich and visit the Royal Observatory et al. On Thursday, I am at the hairdressers; having the car's MOT done; doing the food shopping and taking the youngest grandson to the cinema and out for something to eat. And to top it all on Friday I'm off to Devon to see my best friend of 54 years; Hilary! I'm so looking forward to catching up and having a good old rummage.

See you on the other side!

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Maxi challenge completed...and a cat picture!

No, I haven't got a cat but read on to see why I have a cat photo...

I wore this navy blue pleated maxi skirt outfit when I last went out for the day with Cousin Marian to see the Mary Quant exhibition (in December) so I'm including it in this maxi challenge. When I bought it in a charity shop somewhere I thought it was black but it's a very dark navy blue...

Maxi Challenge - Day 8

Maxi Challenge - Day 9

Everything charity shopped except the boots; online retail. Skirt; Phase Eight; top by Mint Velvet. All jewellery charity shopped. I went to the hairdressers before I met up with Marian and this was what I wore last Thursday to go and look at the Wallace Collection; which neither of us had ever seen before. We had a lovely day and it included tea and cake, of course! We're planning our next outing already...

The Wallace Collection is an art collection in London open to the public, housed at Hertford House in Manchester Square, the former townhouse of the Seymour family, Marquesses of Hertford. It has wonderful collections of furniture, paintings, ceramics, metalware and armoury. The style is mainly Rococo and definitely not to my taste. Everything is highly decorated; embellished and festooned with ornamental bits and bobs. I find it very overwhelming - too much detail - and I much prefer simpler and plainer styles. As for the art; I disliked most of it. There were a couple of Rembrandts that I was drawn to - both portraits; but the rest, based on Greek and Roman mythology; or dead animals with fruit or fish, no, thank you! I prefer modern art on the whole. I did like the Majolica though (bottom right)! I'm glad I've been and seen what was there. 
Fabulous shoes!
Look how ornamented the furniture is!
The scooter above was advertising a bespoke tailors that we passed on our way to visit the Persephone Bookshop in Bloomsbury; after we'd seen the Wallace collection. I treated to myself to a book; 'National Provincial' by Lettice Cooper. The photo of the umbrella shop established in 1830 in New Oxford Street, was an antidote to the glut of mostly clothing chains that dominate Oxford Street. And as I don't have a cat and therefore usually have no cat pictures to post; I borrowed Marian's! This is Fatty who has taken a shine to me. He is well named but doesn't look it in this photo. He has a brother called Thinny but he wouldn't stay long enough for a photo. Marian's had them since they were tiny.

Just to backtrack a little I went for a swim on Wednesday as I wanted to walk with my group on Friday. I did my requisite 30 laps. It's just as well I took the photos before I went because there was so much chlorine in the water. I complained to the reception staff on my way out; but not only were my eyes red and sore all day from the water; I also had itchy, gritty eyes and blurred vision. I am going to have to buy and wear goggles much as I don't want to.

Everything charity shopped. Cardigan by M&S; skirt by Red Herring; top by Next; boots by River Island. Footless green cable knit tights online retail.

Scarf and all jewellery charity  shopped.

My daughter went into hospital on Friday to have an operation on her shoulder. She has dislocated it four times in the past eighteen months and the operation should stop that happening. She will be out of action for three months (minimum); will need to wear a sling for at least the first month and will be handicapped having the use of only one arm/hand and the left one at that! This was what I wore on Friday to do the school run and do the food shopping. A walk was planned but abandoned as it was a horrible day. In the evening OH and I went so see 'David Copperfield' at the cinema which was wonderful. We both really enjoyed it.

Jumper by River Island, shirt by Charles Tyrwhitt, plaid trousers by H&M - all charity shopped. Boots online retail.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Saturday, I went to see my daughter and then did a 6 mile walk. What a miserable, cold, grey day it was. I can see why people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Luckily, I keep seeing signs of Spring - cherry blossom on trees, green shoots popping out of the ground promising daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops. I thought I got a glimpse of one of the parakeets as I drove out of my daughter's estate - a flash of green caught my eye...

Another thing that caught my eye on the walk were these pigs. They are a recent addition as I've walked this walk dozens of times and had never seen any pigs before. I also saw them a while ago and thought how totally covered  in mud they were; but today's closer  inspection revealed they're pigs with curly hair! You can just make out part of the mummy pig in front of the wire fence. on the extreme left. She had about 8 piglets in all one of which is face on. Beyond them is a field of not curly haired pigs. I've never seen pigs with curly hair before - have you? I believe these are Mangalica pigs which almost became extinct with less than 200 left by the 1990s. A rare breed indeed.

Everything charity shopped except the boots as above.
Jeans  by Gerry Weber; Donegal charity shop 3 euros. Tunic by Next and red striped top both from 1.00 rails.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I had my youngest grandson for the weekend to give the daughter a chance to recover from the immediate effects of the operation. I took him to basketball on Sunday morning and while he was playing I went for a walk. I managed 4.75 miles. I had a busy day on Sunday with the housework and cooking; the Fitbit said 22,000+ steps by the time I went to bed...

Maxi Challenge - Day 10

All jewellery charity shopped.

Everything charity shopped except the boots; Primarni.
Jacket by Concept; 1.00 rail at Barnardo's; skirt by R&S (?); 2.00 in Scope, Aylesbury. Brown striped top by Next; 1.00 rail 3:16 charity shop.

How miserable our weather has been. Rain for most of Monday. I was glad to be indoors at Barnardo's. There were so many donations we couldn't use our back (sorting) room. Instead, we dealt with the bags of donations that were in the shop and I focused on the bric a brac. I got rid of old stuff and put much of the donated stuff out. I bought myself a lovely wicker basket picnic set. It has 2 china cups, two china plates, 2 cutlery settings and a china container of toothpicks! When I got home I added my rather snazzy orange and white plastic picnic set including proper orange picnic cutlery. All I need now is picnic weather!

On Tuesday I was at the food bank as usual. My usual colleagues weren't in so I did the big Sally Army  order by myself. I wore this plus my big blue wool coat and some gloves as the warehouse was very chilly...

Maxi Challenge - Day 11

All jewellery charity shopped.

Everything charity shopped. Black corduroy maxi skirt by Next, I've had it for about 10 years; top by Toast; 5.00 in Oxfam a few weeks ago; jacket can't remember.  Barnardo's in Ampthill, possibly. Boots by River Island bought in my Barnardo's. (Sorry about the washing; it was too cold to hang it out!)

I spent the rest of the day helping my daughter run some errands in town; renewed my resident parking permit and bought more bird food. I had picked my daughter up and so had to drive her home. I went home and hung up my washing before fetching youngest grandson from after school club and dropping him to his Dad's.

Maxi Challenge - Day 12

 Skirt from Bedford market; top is by Oesta,Barcelona;  kimono, no label; both charity shopped but can't remember where. Red boots as above.

 Scarf by Ted Baker and charity shopped recently.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I went for a 4 mile walk with my daughter on Wednesday morning and after a cup of tea at her house, I set off to Sandy for a rummage. I was very pleased to find a black, wool maxi skirt by Acne Studio of Stockholm in the Sue Ryder shop. I paid 6.00 for it.  I checked out their website and their wool skirts retail from £200 - £500, so I reckon 6.00 was a bargain! I also bought a roll neck top (3.50) and a blue knitted beret (1.50)  in the Wood Green animal shop; in Barnardo's I bought an Indigo Moon red jacket for 3.00 and a couple of necklaces and a bracelet for 2.00.  A satisfying haul.

 Looking at what I have left to complete this maxi challenge; I've decided that 2 out of the remaining 3 maxi dresses won't be worn as they're too thin - even with leggings underneath! I can wear them when the weather gets warmer. The weather has turned cold here although today was lovely and sunny, too. Therefore, I have 1 dress and 2 skirts left to wear; 3 if I decide to wear the new skirt; I probably will as I like to wear my 'new to me' garments as soon after purchasing them as I can.

Maxi Challenge - Day 13

Everything charity shopped except boots; present from daughter,
jumper by Tu; 50p rail my Barnardos; skirt  by Simon Jefferies 2.00; car boot sale.

Leather jacket; Co. Dublin charity shop.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped. The beads broke whilst I was in Lidl doing the weekly shop; luckily I was able to mend them''[].

Before I went food shopping on Thursday; I went for a 5 mile walk along the river:

It was a surprisingly mild day but very gloomy. It drizzled at the start of my walk but it didn't last long. This is the view looking towards the town bridge with St. Paul's church in the background; taken from the Embankment.

I think these two birds were cormorants. I've never seen cormorants in trees before. On rocks out at sea, yes; on top of tall buildings, yes; in Bulgaria I saw cormorants on the sails of a windmill; but never on a tree!

Signs of Spring - cherry blossom!

A break from the maxis on Friday. I went for a 3 mile walk around the town; popped into the Castle Road charity shops on the way; then went for a swim and did my usual 30 laps. I wore my new swimming goggles for the first time and they did the job brilliantly. No sore, red eyes...

Do you remember I bought a H&M dress for 2.00 in the Mercy in Action charity in Bedford High Street? I had to re-donate it as it was too big around the hips. Well, guess what I found in the Mercy in Action, Castle Road shop? Yes, the exact same dress - at twice the original price I paid for it; but in a medium so it will fit me properly! I also bought some rings and a brooch.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Everything charity shopped.Top BNWT by F&F; bought on Wednesday's rummage to Sandy for 3.50. Jeans by M&S; and the kimono is the same one I wore with the denim maxi skirt in the week; but on the reverse side.

Boots; online as before.

Maxi Challenge - Day 14

Everything charity shopped. Skirt by M&S; vintage shirt bought from Red Cross shop 1.00 rail; Next jacket; can't remember. It's not surprising because I remember wearing this jacket to the interview for my last job - in 2004! I've had it for more than 15 years...boots also charity shopped somewhere.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Scarf; Primarni.

OH and I went for a rummage on Saturday to Stevenage and then onto Hitchin. We hadn't been to Stevenage for quite a while. There were only six charity shops but we both did really well. My best purchase was a black velvet vintage M&S blazer from the 1.00 rail in the Salvation Army. I also bought a pair of leggings for 2.50 with a ruffle down the front; an Izbel dress/tunic reduced to 1.50 and a turquoise paisley top for 3.75. I also picked up a ring, a brooch, a pair of earrings and two bangles.

Maxi Challenge - Day 15 - it's over!!

Cheated again! This was from November 2018. Maxi dress bought in a St. Neot's charity shop. Jacket 1.00 rail in a charity shop in Wellingborough. I'm wearing floral ankle boots bought online which have since been redonated. It wouldn't have been practical to wear this slightly too long dress to the charity shop or food bank on Monday or Tuesday but this is what I did wear on Monday:

All jewellery charity shopped and scarf.

I'm looking a bit grim here; I don't know why I was perfectly happy...

Frilled leggings (they're a bit weird I think; but hey ho) from River Island; 2.50, Izbel dress; 1.50; red boots online retail; cardi; can't remember but all previous items charity shopped in Stevenage on Saturday.

Another Stevenage charity shop find; black vintage velvet blazer by St. Michael (M&S) 1.00 rail; brooch 50p same shop.

Volunteered as usual on Monday; it's stocktaking week so I will be going in again on Wednesday afternoon to help out. I found a top on the 50p rail; a denim dress (finally) and a pair of blue Mary Janes - both for the summer or possibly the spring. I've spent quite a bit on rummages lately so I'm going to stop for a while unless I find an absolute bargain or something really fantastic...watch this space!

Weird weather...

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