Tuesday 8 December 2020

The blue dress challenge continued and the end of lockdown...

Day 2 - Blue Dress Challenge

I wore this to the food bank on Tuesday. 

Dress by Lily and Me; charity shopped but can't remember where. Boots online retail.

The food bank was busy. I spent the morning packing toiletries away and making up toiletry packs for singles/couples and making up family packs. We had been given a big donation of out of date floral bouquets from M&S; and as there were so many; we were allowed to take one each. As it happens, I  had picked up 2 M&S bouquets for 1.00 each on Saturday at a local charity that collects leftover food and out of date items from supermarkets; and allows people to donate 1.00 and take their pick. I had kept one of the bouquets for myself and took one to my daughter's. The one I got from the food bank I dropped round to Ann. She was very pleased with it. After I dropped the flowers off I went home and baked, for the first time ever, a Pecan Pie. I forgot to take a photo of it and I'm afraid it's all gone now. It was delicious even if I say so myself! In the afternoon I went to pick up a summer skirt from M&S that was advertised on our local buy and sell FB group for 3.00. It's in tiers of pink and orange and is the perfect summer maxi. Roll on Summer!

All jewellery charity shopped.

Two of the last roses from my garden.  Dawn had bought me a lovely bunch of Alstromerias the week before and this was the last remaining bloom.

Day 3 - Blue Dress Challenge
Dress by Tu, jacket by M&Co; both charity shopped. Boots online retail.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings - from good old Sainsbury's.

Dawn and I went to town on Wednesday as we had some errands to run. I needed a transparent lip liner. I used to buy the Body Shop one; but they discontinued it; so I switched to one by Rimmel. They had discontinued it as I discovered today; but luckily L'Oreal do one and I was able to buy it in Superdrug. I hope they don't discontinue this one! It's essential for me to use a transparent lip liner as it stops the lipstick bleeding/feathering into those tiny lines we develop around our mouths as we age. I haven't noticed men getting those lines though, have you? I also topped up on bird food items, bought some Jamaican Patties in Iceland and went to the Pound Shop for some batteries. Sometimes, my life is so exciting it wears me out! I made a butternut squash and sweet potato soup and cauliflower cheese for dinner. I try to have at least one or sometimes two vegetarian days per week; I aim for fish three times a week and try to eat meat only twice a week.

Day 4 - Blue Dress Challenge

This was Thursday's outfit worn to do the food shopping. Dress by H&M; charity shopped. It's a tunic really and I should have worn it over navy leggings but I gave my pretty new pair of navy blue leggings to Dawn; as they were too large for me and kept wrinkling like Nora Batty's tights! I ordered myself another pair from M&S as they are functional and essential  items in my wardrobe. Black suede boots charity shopped; kimono present from my daughter a few years ago.

 I went to Sainsbury's, Aldi and Lidl for the shopping and went back to the charity Bedford Garden Carers for more kindling.

All jewellery charity shopped

This was me just as I set out for a quick walk on Thursday afternoon.  Coat by Seasalt of Cornwall; charity shopped in Devon. It was chilly but sunny and ideal for walking. I walked 4 miles along the High Street along the Embankment and the river and back in a loop to my house. It was announced on Thursday afternoon that once the lockdown is over we will be in Tier 2 'High'. We were in Tier 1 before so this was a bit of a blow. I've found this lockdown quite boring and it's down to the weather - I can't get out for a walk when I want to unlike the last lockdown. Anyway, even though we are in this new tier the swimming pool was reopening so I booked a swim for next week - straight after my hairdressers appointment! Bad timing I know but the most important thing is my hair will have been trimmed....

Day 5 - Blue Dress Challenge

Friday was a horrible day. Cold, damp and foggy. I wasn't tempted to go out for a walk and apart from feeding the birds which I do every morning; and filling the coal bucket, I ventured no further than the garden all day. Still, I didn't waste the day. I finally completed my family tree and was able to cancel my Ancestry UK subscription saving me 10.99 per month!  When the shops reopen next week I can make photocopies and send them to my cousins in Ireland. I did a wash, cleaned out the fire, laid it and lit it; and cooked dinner - salmon with roast vegetables and sweet potato fries.

Everything charity shopped. Dress by Mudd and Water, jacket by River Island 50p rail; my Barnardo's. Boots charity shopped and tights, too.

All jewellery charity shopped.

That's the blue dress challenge completed. I really don't need 8 blue dresses so I gave Dawn two of them; and as one of the 6 is really a tunic that leaves me with 5 blue knee length dresses. And a bit more room in the wardrobe...oh no, I found another one lurking at the back of the wardrobe! Strictly speaking it's more a teal green/dark turquoise but see below...

Saturday was another cold,  miserable grey day. I went into to town to pick up a couple of things and didn't venture out for the rest of the day. This was Sunday's outfit; I felt in a turquoise/green mood. Everything charity shopped from my Barnardo's. Cardigan by F&F; trousers by Next; shirt by Chico's; boots are River Island.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings which were bought in Bedford market years ago.

The grandsons came for dinner on Sunday. I ventured out into a misty, moisty day and walked to Bromham village and back again a round trip of 6 miles. I also booked a second swimming  session for next week. I can't wait to get back into the water again! It doesn't matter what the weather's doing when you swim in an inside pool...

Monday was the last day of November. I managed to read 12 books this month. I have cleared quite a few spaces on my fiction bookshelves since we've had the lockdowns; and can't wait for the charity shops to open and start filling them. The last book I read had a small card in it from the person with whom I swapped back in 2013. I used to belong to an online book swapping group called 'Read it, Swap it' -  RISI for short. I'd read about it in The Guardian newspaper; and was a member for about four or five years; until the cost of postage made swapping unviable, when I could usually buy the book in a charity shop for a pound or even less. All those trips to the post office to post off my books are trips I do not miss!

Blue Dress Challenge - Day 6!
Blue or Turquoise?

 I can't remember exactly where I picked this dress up but it was quite recently; I seem to remember I may have bought it in Newport Pagnell Keech Hospice shop on their sale rale - it's by Warehouse.

Wearing it with black Marilyn jeans by M&S, charity shopped; boots shopped in Oxfam; top by Primarni. All jewellery charity shopped. This was Monday's outfit.

OH ordered some peat/turf from Scotland for the fuel burner and it arrived today. Even though we tried to eke it out; the three bags of turf my cousin cut from his own bog in Ireland and gave to us; was finished. The smell of turf always reminds of Ireland and my childhood holidays...

 I took Dawn to do some Christmas shopping on Monday afternoon (yes, I started mine, too) at our branch of The Range. I came back and made chicken soup with leftovers from Sunday's dinner and a rice pudding. Then using another recipe from Dawn; I made an Apricot Chili chutney. It was so simple. I used a small empty glass jar, filled it almost to the top with apricot jam, added dried chopped/flaked chillies and some white or even malt vinegar to taste, mixed it well and hey presto it was done! Years and years ago in fact, the last time Dawn stayed with me about 12 years ago (she's been abroad for 8 years so it's not as bad as it sounds) we both bought an extra large packet of dried chillies from an Asian shop that was closing down. I used the last of those chillies last week; when again in another tip from Dawn, I crushed them and sprinkled them on top of the flowerpots in the garden. They make a good squirrel deterrent, so my cyclamen, pansies and rhododendron plants have not been dug up by the squirrels and may even survive the winter! I had to buy some more dried chillies for the chutney though...

Everything charity shopped. Skirt by Per Una; shirt by Primarni and top has no label. This skirt does not quite reach my ankles and as I like my maxis to cover my ankles it will be re- donated.

Boots charity shopped in my Barnardo's.

All jewellery and head scarf charity shopped.

Tuesday was a brighter but very cold day. The temperature stayed at 7 degrees all day and the food bank warehouse was freezing. I forgot to bring my gloves and hands were numb all morning. The manager said how incredibly busy they were on Friday at one of our distribution centres; not only in terms of numbers but in terms of people at breaking point. The manager had noticed a big increase in people presenting with mental health issues; as well as an increase in the need for food parcels and other essential items. Sometimes it's hard to believe we live in the 6th largest economy in the world.

Wednesday finally saw the end of our lockdown. I drove Dawn back to London which took up most of the day; but on the way back popped into my Barnardo's for a long overdue rummage! I found a yellow cable knit jumper; a cross body bag (no phones will be nicked from this!) and a spotted top with a peplum. I'm volunteering at Barnardo's on Friday afternoon from 1 - 4 pm. 

Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped. Leather jacket; Dublin charity shop; beret with attached brooch; can't remember; trousers are by Rosso35; brown top by Minuet; and the vintage dagger collar shirt from Germany - by way of a charity shop.

All jewellery charity shopped.

The weather stayed in single digits all day but the sun tried to come out when we were on the motorway. It didn't succeed so it remained grey and dull as well as cold.

Thursday was a busy day. I went to the hairdressers at 9 am. My hairdresser gave me some home made green tomato chutney; it was delicious. I went swimming at 11 and managed, although it was a struggle after a four week gap, to do my 40 laps or 2k swim. Then it was off to do the food shopping. I had a 10.00 voucher on my Lidl card so I bought our Christmas tree. That's a job for me at the weekend! I also sorted out the grandchildren's Advent calendars. The middle grandson will be too old next year
 so this is his last year. I usually buy some sweets and put them in the odd numbered days and 50p pieces in the even numbered ones. Both the advent calendars were bought in charity shops; one has little drawers and the other has little houses that have to have their roofs lifted off to get at the goodies.

Thursdays outfit. Everything charity shopped. Top by Pepperberry; my Barnardo's; skirt from the sale rail at The Day Hospice Shop before the mini lockdown; boots from my Barnardo's.

All jewellery charity shopped, Cardigan from a Donegal charity shop. I always wear a thick cardigan indoors until the heating is on and I warm up!

On Friday I dragged myself to the swimming pool again. Yesterday's swim had tired me out and I didn't think I was up to swimming another 40 laps. But I did! I had just enough time to come home, shower and put my make up on before I set out for Barnardo's where I volunteered for four hours.

We were very busy! Our tombola is very popular; 1.00 per ticket and everyone's a winner. The deputy manager wrapped at least a hundred items for the tombola. Our Christmas gifts section is also very popular; and we've almost run out of gifts. We save donated items throughout the year for our Christmas gift section.

Appropriately enough I am dressed in head to toe Barnardo's bought clothing! Boots by River Island; trousers by M&s; jumper by George and shirt by Chicos. The jumper is a little big; but it was very warm and cosy; very much needed as it was cold and wet all day on Friday. I found some items for my youngest grandson at Barnardo's and I treated myself to a grey lace top, a pair of Pretty Polly grey cable knit tights and a whisk!

Saturday's outfit. Cape jacket by Fenn, Wright and Manson; from RSPCA in Newport Pagnell. Dress by Joe Brown can't remember which charity shop I got it from. Tights from Barnardo's yesterday and boot from Sainsbury's sale in the summer.

I had a lie in on Saturday morning then got up a put a wash on. After a late breakfast I set out for Sharnbrook to buy coal and kindling. It was a cold day but bright and no rain - hurrah! I also had to go to Sainsbury's as I didn't get there on Friday. I had wanted to go for a walk but in the end ran out of time. It's dark by 4 pm; and it cuts out the opportunities for a later walk. I was busy for most of the day as we put up our tree and decorations: and I even wrapped some presents to go under the tree.

All jewellery charity shopped.

As well as doing the tree and the decorations; I made a batch of flapjacks. I experimented and added dessicated coconut for a change; reducing the amount of oats by the amount of coconut added. They turned out very well and I shall take them onto the charity shop on Monday. OH doesn't like oats in any form! Next time I'm going to add mincemeat; I have three jars waiting to be used up. I have made a lovely mincemeat crumble cake in the past which would use up a jar; but as I've said before I end up eating all the cake as no one else seems to want any. OH says he'll eat some but rarely does; daughter doesn't eat dairy, son's not really into cakes; neither are the grandsons unless they involve chocolate!

I woke on Sunday to freezing fog. No walking but I did drive to Kettering to pick up; and then drop back my brothers who came for Sunday dinner. The fog was frightful; I was glad to get back home into the warmth; it was -2 degrees on Sunday evening.

To combat the murky gloominess I wore yellow with red boots. Everything charity shopped except the boots which were bought online. Trousers by M&S; top by Next and yellow jacket no label.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Monday, the weather was the same; cold, foggy and damp. I wore this outfit to the charity shop with the addition of a warm white cardigan. I bought the M&S top at Barnardo's last Wednesday; and the navy trousers are also old M&S ones. I wore thick tights underneath which was a mistake as they kept dragging the trousers down.

Boots online retail.

All jewellery charity shopped.

We have been blessing our fuel burner stove. It makes the evenings very cosy although the cleaning out of it everyday is a chore; but I'm very glad of it. I'm also very glad to have just about finished my Christmas shopping; and spent Monday afternoon wrapping presents up. I'm waiting on one more to arrive then it is all completed. I don't think I have ever been so organised for Christmas - and so early. Obviously the lock down had something to do with it...

I'll just leave you with Tuesday's outfit worn to the food bank and in anticipation of freezing conditions. Everything is charity shopped except boots online retail.. Jeans by M&S, striped polo by H&M and the jumper by Tokyo Laundry was bought in a charity shop for middle grandson who never wore it so I reclaimed it! I stayed on later at the food bank as we had a huge donation come in which I had to off load and weigh in. I went for a swim in the afternoon and did my 40 laps or 2k. I've booked again for Friday and my new plan is to swim twice a week and walk a minimum of twice a week. I hope I manage to stick to this plan!

Take an d stay safe everyone - it's such good news about the vaccines.


  1. love your yellow anti-fog outfit! perfect!
    and the oversize yellow sweater - very on trend btw! - the outfit with the shiny blue jacket and the one with the pink skirt........ i counted my blue dresses..... 3 - all cotton and packed away now - 4 if i count in the black watch tartan flanell one........ a lot for someone who is not very keen on (dark)blue. hm.
    i wonder that you buy the coal in small amounts - we always buy 4 tons in august as it is much cheaper. it is a full day of work though to get this in the shed - but it brings us over winter and safes money.
    i really hope the vaccines will sort out this nerve wracking pandemic. the non-essentiell shops and schools will stay closed from monday again here - the "lock-down light" has not worked.
    stay safe and warm - dear vronni! xxxxx

    1. Thank you, Beate!

      I'd love to be able to buy coal in bulk but we have nowhere to store it. Not enough space in our tiny garden or at the front of our house.

      The house I grew up in was an old Victorian house and we lived in the basement. We had coal delivered via a coal hole situated on the pavement. The coal was poured into a coal cellar below the pavement; which was just opposite our front door in the basement. That's what I need here!

      Sorry to hear about closures but hopefully you won't be too affected by it.

      Take care,

    2. no storage space... i understand. but what you tell about the coal cellar under the pavement sounds interesting - clever victorians!
      no "x-mas shopping" for us anyway - as long as we can buy food and care products we are fine :-D
      <3 xx

  2. I love the yellow outfit too, but my favourite is the polka dot wrap top - it's really good on you! I also love your red coat - such a luscious colour!

    I'm glad you're able to have family over - I haven't seen my mom in person in months. We've just had our current restrictions (masks in all indoor locations, no socializing at all, not at home or standing in a park, but all shops and restaurants are open) extended to Jan 8th. Christmas will be small this year. I'm working on wrapping presents to give to my mom, who is picking me up from a dentist appointment later this week.

    Stay warm, and be safe, Vronni! Rock on!

    1. Thank you, Sheila. Thay polka dot top has been in the shop for months and I took pity on it! I do love a polka dot though!

      We shouldn't be mixing socially indoors either; but the only people I have mixed indoors with since March are family members and shall continue to do so.

      The restrictions are so contradictory aren't they?

  3. You do look so good in blue-no wonder you keep buying blue dresses. That River Island jacket is just about the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. What a treasure.
    No peat to burn in stoves here, but locally people use dried out corn cobs as fuel. They're easy to store, and practically free.

    Most years I end up eating all the mincemeat too-but this year everyone seems to want it (probably because I only made one jar). We've done bar crumble and mini pies, but it is also so good just poured over ice cream.

    I hope the vaccines go well and life returns to normal for you soon. We're still a way off in the US.

    1. Yes, I was very pleased with the 50p River Island blazer! Thank you, Goody. I've got a recipe for mincemeat bars somewhere I'll have to dig it out!

      Take care

  4. I'm not surprised you keep buying blue dresses, it's a colour that really suits you. The M&Co jacket especially. I love the yellow outfit, what a ray of sunshine on a foggy day.
    You seem to be whipping up a storm in the kitchen, the chilli jam recipe is inspired.
    The startling realisation hit me this morning that it's Xmas day in just over a fortnight's time and I've done nothing about it - no change there then!
    Stay safe! xxxx

    1. Thank you, Vix!

      I wish I could forget about Christmas but on the positive side we are going to my daughter's this year - yippee and OH is a big kid about Xmas. He can't wait to put the decorations up and dress the tree....

      Take care,

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  6. I agree with Goody and Vix that blue is definitely your colour. Apart from the blue dresses, the Seasalt coat looks absolutely stunning on you! And you've certainly got the legs for those shorter dresses! As always, it was a joy to see your colourful daily outfits. Apart from that amazing River Island jacket, I'm really taken by the yellow outfit worn with the red boots, a ray of sunshine in the gloom! We can only have the one indoor guest, and a maximum of four outside, but we aren't too bothered about Christmas, as it's not really our thing anyway. I do understand other people's frustration and disappointment in that regard, though. That said, with all that's happened this year, I don't seem to be getting into any festive mood just yet! Stay safe, Vronni! xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann.

      I hope you feel in the festive mood before too long; I've just about started to feel it - it's wrapping presents that does it for me!

      Take acre

  7. Totally agree with previous comments that you look fabulous in your blue dresses, no wonder you have collected some of them. Love how you've styled your dresses with different interesting jackets and coats and fab accessories. The seasalt coat looks amazing, and lovely that you felt in a teal/green mood, these are fab colors!
    Love your yellow jumper (cosy!) and love your red cape jacket and cute scotties print dress. Always looking so stylish!
    Glad that swimming pool is open now and that you could go for some walks. Here we're supposed to be extra careful and avoid gatherings, but I suspect that most people are ignoring this. We've never been huge fans of christmas, but missing our families anyway.
    Wish you enjoy all the festive atmosphere and have fun!

    1. Thank you, Monica!

      I'm sorry you're missing your families and not able to get together, never mind next year will be different - I hope!

      Take care and stay safe

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  9. I see many wonderful styles! Love your jewelry!

  10. Oh my you are a coat shopper-what lovely finds across the board. I love how you are pairing and mix and matching items. I'm so envious of how you have been able to swim. No pools are available here, an dice is on all our lakes. I can walk in the snow thought with my boots.


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