Tuesday 28 December 2021

Getting Ready for Christmas

 That's the Festive Season almost over. Just New Year's Eve to see out.  We usually spend it in the company of Jools Holland and then it will be 2022! Where is the time going? It whizzes by so fast that another year has gone by before you know it...

When I left you last it was Wednesday and on Wednesday's I usually walk with my group. I didn't on this occasion; instead I spent the day at an appointment in West Drayton on the outskirts of London with my friend, Ann. When we had finished we went to Uxbridge afterwards - just down the road from West Drayton; for lunch and a quick look around a few charity shops. Neither of us bought anything!

I wore this pleated skirt by M&S; yellow top by Next (Street Jumble; 1.00); cardigan by Store 21 and black knee length boots; all charity shopped.. All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were bought in Donegal.

Thursday was a hectic day but it usually is. I went swimming in the morning and swam 44 laps (1.4 km). The whistle blew as I was on the 44th lap so there wasn't time to do anymore. After swimming it was off to the hairdressers and then home to get ready and do the food shopping visiting Sainsbury's and Lidl. Once the shopping was packed away I went to collect yet another parcel. By then it was time to clean out and lay the fire and make dinner for the grandsons and OH.  I also finally caught up with the washing. I was very pleased to sit down and put my feet up in the evening and start a new book. We watched the start of another 'Walter Presents' series called 'Partisan'.

This was Thursday's outfit:

Everything was charity shopped. The red cross body bag was a Vinted buy. The cardigan was bought in Barnardo's in the last few weeks; the trousers are by Zara and I've had them for ages. The red, black, white and fawn tunic by Laura Brook was an Irish charity shop find in 2014.

All jewellery charity shopped.

The past week had been very mild with temperatures reaching 13 degrees centigrade most days. It couldn't last; it was December after all! When I was out and about I didn't bother with a coat.

Friday was cold and foggy. It seemed that normal winter weather had resumed. It would of course be the day I'd decided to pot up my seeds! First, I had a trip into to town to collect a parcel from Superdrug and to buy the final 2 Christmas presents including the Secret Santa present for my brother. I bought cards to send the family in Ireland and posted them off. Then I spent a chilly couple of hours in the garden putting my collection of seeds into pots and into the mini greenhouse. Sadly, some of the seeds had started to rot but I had six robust Nasturtiums; Foxgloves; Hollyhocks; Salvia; Alliums; Fritillaries, Anemones and two other woodland type plant seeds to plant up and label. I shall be so delighted if even just one plant grows as I've never grown anything from seed before...

I wore this outfit on Friday. Everything charity shopped except the grey velvet brogues bought from Primarni in a sale about 3 years ago. Cropped wide legged trousers by the White Stuff; jumper by Tu and polo underneath by M&S.

All jewellery charity shopped.
I then wrapped all the Christmas presents and put them under the tree. What a relief when it was all done! OH came home from work with another Fortnum and Mason hamper; his Christmas Box from his employers. We hadn't even used the Christmas pudding from last year's hamper but luckily both will still be in date for this year and next year. OH is going to use the hamper to store his DVD collection.

On Saturday I joined the other Rambler's Group for a 5 mile walk starting in the village of Risely. After the walk we went into Risely church for mulled wine and mince pies and some festive music. I had been looking forward to next Thursday's walk which was to be in London to see the Christmas lights but with the rise in Covid cases the walk leader decided to cancel. I planned to walk on Wednesday with my usual group.

All Saint's Church, Risely.
What a miserable day Saturday was. Cloudy, gloomy and dank. Very depressing weather but at least it wasn't too cold. I stayed in my walking gear so no outfit to show you for Saturday.

I spent most of Sunday morning in the kitchen making this butternut squash and chickpea tagine. The recipe said to cook it on the stove top which was lucky as I don't have a tagine; although I do have casserole dishes. Very tasty it was, too. We did the usual Sunday house cleaning and I made dinner for the grandsons and OH. I also got a lot of fiddly little jobs done such as descaling the kettle, cleaning out under the sink where the cleaning stuff is kept and I foraged some ivy from the clinic next door for my mantelpiece. Not a day for walking though; cold, very damp and foggy...

Monday was a long and busy day. I went to Barnardo's and worked hard putting the Christmas cards on sale and sorting, tagging and hanging clothes and other donated items. My daughter's partner came to put shelves in the wardrobes when I got home. I'd been thinking the space above the hanging rail in the wardrobes was a waste of space; by putting a shelf in each of the 3 wardrobes it would give us extra storage. It did, but not as much as I thought!  It was a good time to have a cull of clothing items I no longer liked, or didn't fit as I'd like. When OH came in from work he did the same. Between us we filled 2 black plastic sacks and we already had 1 sack waiting to go to the charity shop!

Everything charity shopped. Jeans by East, top by Oasis and striped polo underneath by M&S. Red boots online retail. All jewellery charity shopped. It was another miserable day as you can probably tell by the awful light. It was cold at 6 degrees all day.

It took me until 9 pm to sort the two wardrobes out. Taking everything out and putting it all back; hoovering up and deciding what went where. I took most of the shirts off hangers and folded them and put them on the new shelf. I don't wear shirts that often in the winter so I probably won't need them until Spring. I culled some (short) cardigans and put the remaining ones on the new shelf; I don't wear short cardigans that much and could probably get rid of more but I do like them! I also put lighter weight trousers that I'm unlikely to wear until Spring on the new shelf; by which time the shelf was full. In the spare bedroom wardrobe it was making room for my son's old stuff by utilising the new shelf which then freed up more hanging space for my dresses, jackets and long cardigans.

It was full on at the food bank on Tuesday. I stayed on for an extra hour as one of the afternoon volunteers was unwell. I went swimming in the afternoon and did 44 laps (1.4 km). I noticed in the big sort out yesterday I was missing a swimming costume so enquired at the pool if I had left it there but no luck. I can only think it blew off the washing line into another garden...or maybe it will turn up in an unexpected place.

(I put the flash on the phone camera as the light was very poor but it makes eyes look demonic)!


I started out wearing black and white plaid trousers but they were too big on me and went into (yet another) charity shop bag. The last minute substitute was these Prince of Wales checked leggings. Cardigan by Next; leggings by New Look and tunic by Glamorous; all charity shopped and boots bought in Sainsbury's sale. All jewellery charity shopped.

After the swim I did a wash, sorted out the fire and made dinner. My next door neighbour had Covid so I took her some of my Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine. I rang her first and left it on the doorstep. She was self isolating in her bedroom as she has a lodger. I offered to walk her dog but the lodger had taken that task on. 

I had a brainwave when I was sorting out the fire. When I buy kindling from the farm shop in Sharnbrook it often comes in small plastic crates. These are sometimes utilised for other things; to hold my bird food supplies or spare plant pots for example; often they are disposed of. I thought I could use the 2 spare ones I had to put my piles of folded clothing in on my new wardrobe shelf. I managed to squeeze one in but the other one was slightly bigger and wouldn't fit. I asked OH to saw the corners off for me and he did as he had a day off on Wednesday. We finished watching 'Partisan' a Walter Presents crime drama set in Sweden. Slightly strange but very gripping...

It was a relief to see some sunshine on Wednesday even though it didn't last that long. I had planned to go walking in Maulden Woods with my group but woke up too late. It was just as well as I had plenty to do on Wednesday.

It was very cold. Starting out at 1 degree in the morning it peaked at 3 degrees later in the day and then dropped again. I wore these black Marilyn jeans by M&S;  polo by Oasis; tunic by Masai; jacket by New Look - all charity shopped and boots were donated by my daughter. Underneath I had a vest and thick tights on and when I went out I wore a knitted wool 'Donkey Sanctuary' coatigan; scarf and gloves.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were a present.

I went to M&S to buy some Christmas food items; stuffings of various kinds including a vegan one for my daughter and I picked up a vegan Christmas pudding for her, too. I then went to Sainsbury's to buy mixers, soft drinks, mince pies and the turkey. My friend Ann goes to Tesco on Christmas Eve at about 3 pm and picks her turkey up at a greatly reduced price. I'm not that brave. Knowing my luck if I tried it; Tesco wouldn't have any turkeys left! I then had to go to into town to buy one more present - there's always one I forget. The days leading up to Christmas Day always entail me going into town every day for one or thing or another. I came across this thought today in a blog I follow (HERE) and it summed up this phenomenon perfectly!
have no idea how it is, but every single year, no matter what you might plan, it seems that you end up spending sundry and irregular amounts, day after day. I have given up resisting this and now simply accept it. 
I dropped some books off at the library; collected a parcel from the sorting office and on my way back from M&S which is at the retail park; the town centre branch closed down a couple of years ago, I dropped off the charity shop donations to the Cat's Protection League. I had a wander round and bought a pair of black patent lace up boots for 5.00. Whilst I was doing all this OH went out and did his Christmas shopping. He's always late as he only usually has the weekends free. This year he was determined to take his due holiday before 31st December and not lose the days as he has in the past. After I wrapped the last of the presents I made some soda bread having picked up buttermilk in Sainsbury's. It was very easy to make but it was very dense and not as I like it.  I wasn't sure I had used the right flour as I bought it from the Polish grocery asking for wholemeal flour. (This was during lock down when there were shortages of some grocery items). Not vegan because of the buttermilk, but I have a recipe for oat bread which is vegan so when I make that I can share it with my daughter. We started watching 'Witch Hunt' on Walter Presents in the evening; set in Norway.

I went for a swim on Thursday morning swimming 46 laps (1.5 km). It was a dreary, dank day but it wasn't cold; the temperature reaching double figures of 10 degrees. After I got back from the pool I got ready and went to Lidl to do the food shopping. Once the shopping was packed away I ventured into town (again) for forgotten bits. That was it. All finished. If I'd forgotten it we would just have to go without! I was hoping to be able not to go anywhere at all on Friday as I had a lot to sort; ready for Christmas Day.

This was the town bridge lit up for the NSPCC at Christmas...

I didn't bother with a coat; I just wore the Donkey Sanctuary coatigan over the pinafore dress and shirt by Kaleidoscope. Boots as before.

Earrings bought from Sainsbury's ages ago; back when they had a good range of earrings...

I did venture out on Friday; just to Sainsbury's at about 4 pm to see what reductions they had. They didn't close until 9 pm so I timed my visit wrong. Middle grandson's mum went to Tesco's in the morning and bought most of her Christmas dinner at greatly reduced prices!

Everything I'm wearing was charity shopped except the boots. All the jewellery was charity shopped.

I spent most of the day preparing for Christmas Day and our visitors. I changed 3 sets of bedding and brought our fold down bed out of the loft. I washed the dining room seat pads and ironed a tablecloth for the garden table we brought indoors to accommodate the 10 of us around the table. I set the table ready for Christmas dinner. I prepared all the vegetables and potatoes for Christmas dinner. My daughter was making a vegan wellington, a beef wellington for the (red) meat eaters and a small salmon wellington for her partner who doesn't eat red meat. I just had to cook the turkey on the day...

I used 2  pieces of metallic African cloth for the main tablecloth and the white table cloth which came from Mauritius. A present from my lovely ex-next door neighbour who stopped by on Friday to say hello. All the glasses, napkin rings and food warmer came from charity shops. All the plates and bowls we used on Christmas day were charity shopped as were all the vegetables dishes and the platter for the turkey. The Christmas place mats came from Chicago in the 1970s; a present from my Aunty Mary who lived there for 50 years before she retired to live back in Ireland. I also received a Christmas table runner with the mats but that disappeared some years ago.

I got all the drinks and glasses ready and prepared a tray with cocktail making equipment. Eldest grandson loves to make cocktails for everyone...apart from the drink, everything on the sideboard came from charity shops or car boot sales - including the side board.

Grandson's cocktail making kit. He also brings various bottles of his own...

This was my Christmas Day outfit. The same one I wore to the family reunion in Norwich. Dress by First Avenue; from the 1980s I think;  bought in the 3:16 charity shop. Grey boots by Manteray charity shopped from Barnardo's.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped except earrings bought online.

My Uncle Paddy (my dad's brother) lived with us for a while when I was about 12 or 13;  around 1967.. He bought me a very similar necklace to the one above as a Christmas present one year. It was far too old for me and more suitable to someone my mum's age but I was thrilled with it. I don't know what happened to it and when I saw this in a charity shop a few years ago was instantly transported back to that Christmas.

We had a really lovely day on Christmas day. The preparation was such a good idea as it made cooking the dinner much easier. It was a struggle though to get all 10 of us around the table and still get in and out of the room; I ended sitting on the edge of the sofa arm to eat my dinner! The food was lovely and we all enjoyed our dinner; desserts and turkey sandwiches later in the evening. In between eating and drinking we played games; Charades and Articulate and had great fun and laughs. I went to bed at midnight absolutely knackered! I received some lovely presents; perfumes, scented soaps, scented candles, a subscription to 'Slightly Foxed'; walking socks, a pair of animal print chunky boots; a flask for hot drinks when I'm out walking; chocolate and some Amazon vouchers; which I spent on books and music.

Boxing Day was busy.  I took my brothers back to Kettering in the morning. When I got home there was a lot of clearing up and putting things back where they belonged. There was admiration of the presents - and putting them in their respective places.  I made soup with some of the leftover turkey. We did several washes of towels and bedding. Grandson and girlfriend wanted to go to Milton Keynes so I dropped them off to the shopping centre. They had a good day; bowling and eating out coming back in a taxi after midnight. My daughter and the grandsons came round and we played more games; cards and more Articulate.

This was what I wore to the charity shop on Monday. Yes, we were open even though it was a bank holiday in the UK. We had about 5 customers who looked around but bought nothing! In fact, I was the first paying customer picking my self up a bag; and a trinket dish each for my stud earrings. I now have a dish for hoop, post and stud earrings and as they're made of glass I can see them and therefore wear them more frequently. Everything I'm wearing was charity shopped, top by Next with John Lewis polo underneath; Kettlewell skirt and long suede boots no label. All jewellery charity shopped.

I went to Sainsbury's to buy next years crackers at half price and a few bits and pieces. OH made a turkey curry for dinner and we watched the rest of 'Witch Hunt'. It was a very gripping programme - who knew financial irregularity could make such an interesting story line?

 Tuesday was still a bank holiday day but more shops were open. In need of bird supplies I made a trip to Home Bargains. I had checked out whether the swimming pool would be open on Tuesday and was surprised that it would; I booked a swim for 3.30 pm. I usually swim between 2 -3 pm on Tuesdays but was just grateful the pool was open on a bank holiday. There was no food bank this week and I felt a bit discombobulated!

I wore this dress by Next and my new to me black patent chunky boots bought at the Cat's Protection League last week. The cardigan was an online purchase.

All jewellery charity shopped.

That's it folks! I wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope that 2022 sees us all in good health and spirits. And wouldn't it be marvellous if Covid was no longer in the news on a daily basis?

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Christmas Fairs, dinners and decorations.

Well, that's another fortnight gone by!

All jewellery charity shopped.

Our walk on Wednesday was excellent. We walked from North Crawley to Chicheley and back; 7 miles. I'd never walked in this area before.  I've often driven past Chicheley Hall but although I tried to take a photo to show you; the planting around the house and gardens was so  prolific it was difficult to even discern there was a house there....another time maybe. It was a cold day with a bit of a breeze. 

Driving the youngest grandson back from school; a green parakeet flew across the road in front of us. I've known we had parakeets in Bedford as I've seen them near the grandson's old school and have been told there was a nesting pair at the marina. When I told someone later they told me they had seen parakeets in Leicester! They're definitely spreading north from London...

Thursday, on the other hand, was bitterly cold but sunny with a very chill wind. I went for a swim, nevertheless, and managed 48 laps - 1 mile. I went to help out at the food bank in the afternoon - more making up of hygiene bags plus putting away 6 crates of toiletries. I got dressed in a hurry as the swimming session started at 9.30 am so I grabbed one of my remaining 4 blue dresses (I had 6 at one point but gave 2 away). This one is by Apricot and was charity shopped somewhere; jacket by M & Co also charity shopped. Blue velvet leggings by M&S and boots both retail. 

There's still some colour in the garden back and front. I'm surprised that some flowers are still blooming given we've had a hard frost - it's all been recorded in garden notebook so I can compare this year to next year.

Top left; Shasta daisies which bloomed late in November; top right Chrysanthemums which also bloomed late in November; bottom left flowering on the Delphinium spike and bottom right some Osteospermum which also bloomed recently.
Top left; Geraniums still blooming back and front; top right newly bloomed Snapdragons - just in the last day or so; bottom left Verbena which has been blooming for months and bottom right the last of the Stocks.

And look at my pink Trandescantia! I've taken more cuttings to be potted up. I need to cut back the trailing Geranium just above the Geranium and the Pyracanthus berries have turned red. They started out as yellow...

After the foodbank it was off to Lidl to do the food shopping. I also bought a Christmas tree. I hoped OH would put it up on Sunday; then I'll decorate it bit by bit to my satisfaction! I made dinner after unpacking the shopping and cleaned out the fire and lit it early as it was so cold.

I had a laid back Friday. I got up at 9.30 am which is very, very late for me but I had slept extra well in the spare room. As my bedroom faces the street, the traffic always wakes me from 6 am onwards; or the council van that empties the public rubbish bins along the stree. It was good not to be woken up at 6 am for a change. I chose another blue dress to wear on Friday: this one by Tu worn with a short kimono by M&S; both charity shopped. The wine coloured woollen tights were also charity shopped and have a plaid design. I can't remember where the boots came from.

After getting ready I went to B&M for some bits and bobs. I made a list; I took the list with me and when I got home realised I'd forgotten the most important item of all - loo rolls! I spent the rest of the afternoon catching up with blogs and writing my own and finishing my book. No cooking - we had an Indian takeaway; my favourite - fish biriyani.

All jewellery charity shopped.

It was another busy Saturday. I went back to B&M for the loo rolls and then set off for the Christmas Fair in Great Denham where I was helping out at the Barnardo's stall.
This was our stall in the village community centre.  We were one of 22 stalls in total plus a Santa's Grotto. By the time I took this photo we had sold a lot of items. Lucille; at the back in the black Christmas jumper made a lot of home made items: gift bags, wreaths, Xmas trees and her mum potted up tiny house leeks in a range of pretty containers. The rest of the stuff was donated to the shop and the Deputy Manager (in the green) saved it all for the stall and the Christmas gift display stand in the shop. We did pretty well raising over two hundered pounds for Barnardo's.

We'd been asked to dress festively and as I don't do Xmas jumpers I wore red and green. Dress charity shopped in Co. Longford charity shop; red boots online retail and tights were a present.

All jewellery charity shopped.

 Soon after I got back from the fair we set off for Burton Latimer to meet up with my brother's ex-partner and all their children and partners for a 60th birthday meal in an Italian restaurant. It was lovely to see my neices and nephews again and their families. Two of the neices have children so that makes me their Great Aunt. Great Aunt Veronica, it has a certain ring to it...There were 19 of us in total and the food was delicious.

Sunday was a wet and miserable day. I didn't fancy going out in it for a walk but I did have to go to town to Iceland to pick up a few groceries I'd forgotten on Thursday. I made dinner for the grandsons and OH;  I also made some 'Mincemeat Crumble Slices'. The mincemeat I had was suitable for vegans and I had vegan butter so I was able to give some to my daughter who liked them so much; she asked me to make them for her Christmas Day dessert! I also ate the last of my vegan Shepherd's Pie and it tasted much nicer. I think it's one of those dishes that taste better if it's not eaten on the day it was made. I will make it again now that I know that.

Monday's weather wasn't a lot better although it was colder than Sunday. We took lots of donations at Barnardo's which kept me busy until it was home time.

Ooops - Charlies dead! (Petticoat hanging down). It kep hanging down and the Deputy Manager said to me 'Charlie's Dead' on more than one occasion. On Sunday, whilst doing the housework I checked one of the storage drawers under the spare bed and found more of my winter clothes that hadn't made it to the loft when it was time to do the big clothes change over. This dress was amongst the items; by Store 21 and charity shopped. Boots by Manteray from my Barnardo's and the jacket by Liz Claiborne was from a 1.00 rail quite recently. The polo neck by John Lewis was also charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.
As much as I didn't want to go out when I got back from Barnardo's; I had to collect a parcel from the parcel shop. I've started my Christmas shopping but luckily don't have to buy too much; almost everyone has asked for money including the 2 eldest grandsons. I only buy for my children, my grandchildren and my children's two ex-partners and OH; within the immediate family we do Secret Santa. This year I drew my brother in the Secret Santa so I know what to get him.... I went to the library to pick up some books making the most of being out in the miserably cold weather. Then it was back home; sort out the fire light it and make dinner. I spent the evening catching up with blogland.

Storm Barra was set to hit us in Tuesday and it was a very cold day that became increasingly windy as the day went on. It was freezing in the food bank and I didn't take my coat or scarf off. Just as well as I wore yet another dress I found in the drawer. I don't know why I bought it; other than it must have been from a 1.00 rail; it has an asymmetric hem which I'm not a fan of and it was in uninspiring shades of brown. Never fear, it has gone into the bag of charity shop donations. Here it is and here I am in all its horror:

Why? I'd thought I'd learned my lesson about asymmetric hems but clearly I hadn't!

At least it gave me an opportunity to wear my psychedelic tights which were a lucky charity shop find and my brown suede ankle boots.

The cardigan (charity shopped) was added for warmth.

The manager who had Covid was back and looking very peaky. She said was taking things easy and proceeded to work like a navvy! There were lots of donations and two major drives on at local supermarkets planned at the weekend. Goodness only knows whether there'll be room to move next week!  I was so busy I didn't have time to unpack toiletries and I was asked if I could go in again on Thursday for a couple of hours. Of course I could and  next week we should be back up to a full complement of staff and volunteers and I won't be needed on Thursdays again...

I went swimming in the afternoon. The pool was pleasantly uncrowded; probably due to the weather. Only 4 of us in the slow lane. I did my 45 laps. Home to hang up washing, cook dinner and sort the fire out. By the end of the day I'd finished my John Le Carre book. I found another John Le Carre at Barnardo's on Monday but forgot to pick it up. I'll try to get back there on Thursday or Friday to collect it; meanwhile I have 2 library books to be going on with and shelves and shelves of my own library so I'll never be short of reading material. Not having anything to read is a fear of mine and probably accounts for why I keep buying more books!

Can you spot me?

It was Wednesday so that meant walking. I walked with the group in the morning; a 5.5 mile walk in cold and muddy conditions; it was followed by very welcome Christmas lunch at Stagsden Golf Course. The food was very good and the service was excellent. Normally we sing carols but thanks to Covid 19 a decision was taken not to sing so we had a Christmas Quiz instead. Our table didn't do that well; we only got 13 questions right out of 30! To be fair a lot was based around Christmas pop music and movies e.g. 'Home Alone 1' and 'Home Alone 2' neither of which I knew anything about!


I changed into the outfit above in the car after the walk. I wore the leggings (M&S retail) under my walking trousers and just had to remove my walking tops and replace them with this Biba dress and orange scarf;  both charity shopped at Barnardo's last year; I added my Gerry Webber leather jacket; also charity shopped and put on my daughter donated boots and some beads and I was ready. I did get some strange looks from some of the golfers getting into and out of their cars but I just ignored them...From there I went to Aldi to buy items for dinner and collected youngest grandson. He did his homework while I cooked dinner and I took him back home in the evening.

Another busy Thursday. So busy in fact I didn't bother with doing the food shopping. I put it off until Friday as I knew I would probably be too tired on Thursday. I started out with a 9.30 am swim; swimming 45 laps. Then I came home and got ready and went to Sharnbrook Farm shop for coal and kindling. Then it was off to the foodbank where I made up lots of hygiene packs and put half of the crates of hygiene products away. Then it was into town to pick up another parcel; off to the library to collect some book reservations. I went to the new B&M in town that opened last week and bought some bird fat balls. By which time it was time to come home, make dinner and sort out the fire...

I hadn't planned to but I wore dresses for 8 days in a row! Two of the dresses were new to me but one I didn't like and I don't really like this Joe Brown one above either; so two have gone into the donations bag. I wore my yellow chunky cardigan over it for warmth which I bought online; boots by Manteray charity shopped at Barnardo's. Yellow tights online retail. The light was awful so apologies for the dodgy photos.

Friday was a quieter day but the cold weather remained; there had been an icy wind all day on Thursday which had gone by Friday. I wore this latest new to me dress. When I saw it in Oxfam last Friday I immediately said to myself; this is an Ann (of 'Polyester Princess') dress! HERE I loved the pink and the geometric design and as I don't have much pink in my wardrobe it came home with me for the very reasonable price of 4.99. I had to hem it as it was too long. It's a home sewn dress so there's no label.

Luckily I had some pink titghts to go with the dress and paired the dress and tights with green accessories. The boots were charity shopped as was all the jewellery.

As the dress has some fawn panels in it; I added this boiled wool jacket for warmth; charity shopped in the Willen Hospice shop a few years ago; my animal print scarf and pink leather gloves, when I went out. I wasn't warm enough and should have worn a coat. At least I was in and out of the car and not walking about. I went to Lidl and Sainsbury's for the food shopping then drove to Rushden to the Salvation Army charity shop. I bought 4 side plates that look like Burleigh plates; I think they came from Wetherspoons - there's one in Rushden. I'm always dropping plates so try to have extras for back up. I do have a genuine Burleigh cup and saucer that goes well with the plates. I also found a red pinafore dress by New Look and a silver necklace. 

I didn't dare look at the books as I had a nice pile of library and paperback books on my TBR (to be read) pile.

I'd finished the Claire Fuller 'Unsettled Ground' when I took this photo. Recommended by Gail of 'Is this Mutton' HERE and a very enjoyable read it was, too.

On my way home I collected the middle grandson and took him for his second vaccination jab so he's sorted now.

We started watching a new 'Walter Presents' called 'Angel of Death' in the evening.

On Saturday, I woke up to find the washing machine wasn't working. I managed to arrange for someone to come and look at it on Monday afternoon after I get back from volunteering. I was hoping it was repairable as it was a Bosch machine and they're pretty long lasting. If not I'd have to buy another one as a washing machine is an essential item as far as I'm concerned. I spent too many years of married life without one to ever manage without one again! I made a butternut squash and sweet potato soup and then went over to my daughter's to use her washing machine. OH's work clothes needed washing ready for the week ahead. Whilst I was there I went out for a 3.3 mile walk around the footpaths that encircle my daughter's estate. I got quite wet as it rained almost non stop but I did come across a skip with two solid wood kitchen stools and a natty little suitcase. I knocked on the door and asked if I could take them and they came home with me along with the wet washing. My daughter had made some rye baguettes with pumpkin seeds and gave me one to have with my soup; she'd also made her own version mincemeat crumble slices; of which I also had a couple of slices. Both were delicious.

I bought another denim skirt in The Children's Society when I took the grandson for his second vaccination on Friday afternoon. I thought it was more A line than this, but I'll keep looking. I consigned my black denim skirt to the donations bag which was rapidly filling up again. The skirt was by Oasis; the top by Misslook; also charity shopped. The cardigan was a present from OH several Christmases ago.

Turquoise tights by M&S charity shopped; navy boots online retail.

All jewellery charity shopped.

When I got back home I decorated the mantel piece. I was supposed to decorate the tree which OH put up last Sunday and put the lights on; I thought I'd do it on Sunday instead and get OH to cook Sunday dinner for a change. He went to London for a school reunion. He and his friends meet up a few times a year at King's Cross and go for a drink...

You can see my bowl of soup and baguette waiting to be eaten. I just need to find some winter greenery  to complete the mantelpice when I'm next out for a walk....

The stools I found in the skip will be very useful. I can eat my 
breakfast sitting on one using the counter top as a breakfast bar;  also I can sit down when I'm preparing the vegetables and give my back a rest.

We did the usual housework on Sunday and I decorated the Christmas tree. I was going to go for a walk but by the time I'd decided to do so it began to ran. It was lovely not having to cook the dinner for a change. We carried on watching 'The Angel of Death' which has turned out to be a good series - if a little bit predictable. 

Back to Barnardo's on Monday where I spent the morning decoding the entire women's wear section. I wore the pinafore dress from New Look picked up on Friday at the Salvation Army. The top is one I've had for a few years but it was also charity shopped as were the tights and  the boots as before. 

It's not very practical wearing a mask with a headscarf;  but my hair needed cutting.  I've learnt to put the mask on; then my scarf and then pull the mask down under my chin until I need to put it over my mouth and nose again. I am always very relieved to finally take the mask off when I've finished.

All jewellery charity charity shopped.

I spent the afternoon waiting in for the washing machine engineer who never turned up...

I  got to the foodbank 25 minites late on Tuesday morning. There was a huge tailback of traffic which was due to the amount of people trying to get to the vaccination centre which is at the bottom of the road the foodbank is on. The reason why the engineer didn't arrive on Monday was he had been given the wrong address and the wrong phone number but he finally arrived at 2pm onm Tuesday and fixed the machine. It was the brushes that had gone (a common problem on washing machines) and I now  have a working washing machine again.

I found this navy blue knitted skirt (1.00 rail in the summer) in the drawer in the spare room and wore it with thick woollen tights underneath; a Primarni long sleeved tee and a Jigsaw short sleeved knitted top picked up at Barnaro's on Monday from the 1.00 rail. OTK boots ensured I was toasty as the concrete floor in the foodbank warehouse can be very cold.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Once the engineer had finished repairing the machine I headed into town to pick up some batteries and other items and to collect a parcel from the parcel shop. I came home the long way round and did a 3 mile walk to compensate for the loss of the swimming session. It will be after Christmas when I next post so for those of you who celebrate the season or even if you don't;  have fun, stay safe and stay fabulous!

Weird weather...

  Hello there!  My calculations were a bit out in my last post and it's this week (Thursday) OH has his MRI scan at Papworth Hospital. H...