Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Hello 2022!

 Happy New Year to you all!

I thank you each and everyone for your support and lovely comments throughout the year. I appreciate them all and derive much pleasure from reading them. 

2022 is the start of my 7th year of blogging. I can hardly believe it myself...

The weather over Christmas had been wet, dark and so dismal but mostly quite mild. On the Wednesday before New Year's Day I was determined to go for a good long walk, having not walked for over a week. My group was walking in Woburn Sands but the forecast for the morning was rain, so I decided to walk on my own later in the day when no rain was forecast. I walked along the river to the village of Cardington (8.5 miles) stopping on the way back to stock up on bird peanuts at Wilco. It's the only shop that does small packets of bird peanuts. I've noticed the peanuts go 'off' very quickly (the birds won't eat them) so there is no point putting lots of peanuts out. When I do put the peanuts out the squirrels get more than their fair share, too!

I spotted a Grey Heron perched on a branch over the river whilst on my walk. It's not a good photo as I had to zoom in on the maximum amount - the Heron was quite far away.

I hadn't worn this skirt in over a year. It was a present from my daughter found in the 'Mind' charity shop in Camden town on my birthday a few years ago. It's by Armani; the green jumper by Jaeger and the lacy jacket by Roman Originals; both also charity shopped. These chunky boots by New Look 9-15 range (children's) - OH calls them my 'bovver boots' - were found in the Cat's Protection League just before Christmas. All jewellery charity shopped.

I was pretty tired after the walk and my hips and calves ached. It's amazing how quickly you can get out of condition after just a week. I've noticed when I swim on a Tuesday afternoon, having been at the food bank in the morning; I rarely manage to swim the 48 laps needed to swim a mile. However, when I swim on Thursday mornings I find I can usually swim more laps. I made dinner when I got back from the walk and sorted out the fire. In the evening we started a new to us 'Walter Presents' series called 'Inspector Borowski'. I also finished reading my 'Slightly Foxed' magazine; it's a quarterly magazine about books that have mostly now been forgotten. I used to have a subscription several years ago and let it lapse. However, it does tend to send me off on a voyage of discovery trying to track down some of the books that have been reviewed... I was delighted to discover that they have 36 podcasts that I can listen and look forward to. I usually read in bed before I go to sleep but I also like listening to the radio or just lately;  lots of podcasts - I've finally joined the 21st C!

I left OH in bed on Thursday morning and set off for the swimming pool. I swam 48 laps or 1 mile. After I returned home I got ready wearing this outfit. The dress had no label and the cardigan by F&F both charity shopped from Barnardo's. Green boots by River Island; same.

All jewellery charity shopped except eBay earrings.

I dropped yet another bag of donations off to the Daycare Hospice charity shop and then went to do the weekly food shop at Lidl. I had a 10.00 off voucher to spend and treated myself to some stuffed Medjool dates. I forgot to buy some at Christmas...Middle grandson came for dinner.

On Friday, OH and I went to Cambridge for a good old rummage. I had Secret Santa money to spend. We went to both Burleigh Street and Mill Road. Two of the charity shops on Mill Road were closed but all the rest were open. We both did pretty well. I found a pair of mid length red boots for 6.95; a black wool dress by Max Studio for 6.50 and a BNWT Laura Ashley animal print skirt for 5.50. I also found some beads in lovely autumnal colours; a yellow bangle and a rather pretty bangle in green and white. And I still had 5.00 left to spend! On our return journey from Cambridge we picked up the youngest grandson who was staying the night; his mum had gone away for a New Year celebration to Bournemouth.

 It was the first wear of the chunky animal print boots my daughter bought me for Christmas. Dress; charity shopped in a Co. Longford charity shop; cardigan by from Barnardo's. I've had the plaid tights for years but had to bin them as they were completely gone at the toes. It always happens with my tights. It was a strangely mild day at 15 degrees centigrade and I didn't need a coat at all.

Earrings by Sainsbury's; all other jewellery charity shopped.

This was the first chunky necklace I bought about 7 or 8 years ago in our local Oxfam shop. I saw the same one on Vinted recently for 8.00. We spent the evening chilling out and watching TV to see the New Year in. The fireworks in the neighbourhood went on for absolutely ages; the most I think I'd ever heard. I also did what I do every new year and counted up how many books I managed to read in 2021. I read 110 in 2021 - better than last year by 1! I have kept track of my reading since 2007. I originally recorded the books on a spread sheet but when I started blogging in November 2015 I used the blog to keep a record. If you're interested in what I've read there are a couple of pages on this blog called 'Books I have Read 2015 -  2022' and '2022'.  I had to start a new page of 'books read'; it was getting difficult to add information as the page was loading so slowly. You can click on the link at the top to take you these pages.

Saturday was another surprisingly warm day but there was a brisk breeze. The sky was blue and the sun shone but by midday it rained and went grey and miserable again. It stayed that way for most of the day. It was quite a lazy day for me. I needed some vegetables and walked into town. Iceland was open and managed to get what I needed there.There were very few people around because the shops were closed; I assumed.  I made a casserole for OH's dinner and took grandson to his Dad's house at 5 pm. I made a start on listening to the 'Slightly Foxed' pod cast. I should manage to listen to all the episodes over the next couple of weeks. 

I wear this old faithful of a skirt a few times every year. By French Connection it was charity shopped somewhere many years ago. The blouse underneath is a vintage one by Del Mod. It was on the 1.00 rail at my Barnardo's and I felt sorry for it as it had been in the shop for months. I'm afraid I do this quite often take pity on a garment and buy it. Hopefully, this will get worn a lot as it features red and blue; both colours I wear a lot. The top by F&F was also a charity find whilst the M&S boots were from a local buy and sell FB group and the tights are by Snag.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Sunday we took the Christmas tree and all the decorations down. I went for 4.5 mile walk with my daughter then cooked a roast lamb dinner for OH and the grandsons. We started watching 'The Tourist' on BBC and watched 'The Great Pottery Throw down'.

Monday was a Bank Holiday but Barnardo's was open and I went in from 10 am to 1 pm. We had lots of donations in all morning. I find it quite overwhelming as I want to sort it all and get it off the floor, but processing the donations can take ages. I processed a huge IKEA bag of books, cleared the sorting table of bric-a brac and put it out on the shelves; then processed a large black plastic sack of men's sports wear.  This was as well as serving customers; answering customer queries, answering the phone; making tea and tidying things (toys etc) off the shop floor and replacing items on hangers on the rails. 

We did the housework in the afternoon and OH cooked dinner. He would go back to work on Tuesday having had a good break.

In the photo above you can see the difference between my phone camera in selfie mode on the left and normal view on the right. I can never position myself properly for this type of close up but I find the selfie view often gives this gauzy, opaque effect when the light is poor.
Monday was the first cold day in a while and I had to put the heating on when I first got up.

Everything I wore was charity shopped. Marilyn jeans by M&S; boots by New Look; top from Vintage Kilo sale in the summer and the jacket is a home made buy from the Red Cross; I've had it for about 5 years and it's one of my favourite items of clothing. All jewellery charity shopped.

This was Tuesday's outfit worn to the food bank. It was a very cold day and the food bank was freezing. It took about 2 hours for my fingers to thaw out. I made up the usual hygiene bags - 50 singles/couples and 20 family packs and put toiletries away.

Everything I wore was charity shopped.
Skirt and shirt by Next; jumper no label; boots by Matalan. I wore orange opaque tights underneath.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I'd been reading about the projected huge fuel cost increases predicted for April. I had been thinking about it a lot and I must admit to worrying a bit. I already pay a substantial amount each month by direct debit for our gas and electric and really didn't want to pay anymore. Our house is cold; it's old and we only have double glazed windows in the kitchen and bathroom. The other windows are all the original sash windows which don't fit that well anymore;  we have wooden floors downstairs and laminate flooring upstairs so there are lots of draughts. We do what we can in the way of draught proofing the front door and letter box; we have a curtain over the front door and curtains in every room. We also have rugs down in every room. I don't mind living in a relatively cold house as I didn't grow up with central heating and we never, ever had heating in the bedrooms; iced over windows on the inside in winter were very common! Once we light our fire in the late afternoon the heating, if on, is turned off as we stay in the living room for most of the evening. 

I was therefore very pleased to receive the Winter Fuel Payment (WFP) early in December. This is a payment made to most people in receipt of a state pension and/or other state benefits. I normally save the WFP to go towards the large January quarter bill. Imagine my surprise and delight to find that I was in substantial credit with my fuel payments and could put this toward any increased cost when I get the next quarter's bill in April. I'm not struggling to pay my bills as so many other people are and know how lucky I am. It remains to be seen if the government intervene in the price cap which is set by the energy companies each April. Another reason to have nationalised fuel industries and not private ones...

I went swimming as usual in the afternoon and surprising myself did 48 laps or 1 mile. I was just coming to the end when the whistle blew. We spent Tuesday evening catching up with all the episodes of 'The Tourist' on BBC i player. I've also been listening to the 'Slightly Foxed' podcasts and have got to number ten. Only twenty-six to go!

I should have been walking with  my group on Wednesday but when I went to book it was full. Damn! I had to go to Aldi in the morning for some bits and pieces including Wednesday night's dinner. I then went to the Castle Rd charity shops to spend the last of my Secret Santa money. That was what I call guilt free shopping; it wasn't my money I was spending! I got lucky buying an interesting woollen skirt; a knitted tunic; another jug to add my collection but also useful for cut flowers which I like having in the house; and a tray to hold bottles of drink on the sideboard. On Wednesday, it was also back to collecting youngest grandson from school; the first day back at school for most of the children. It was middle grandson's 17th birthday. Where the heck did that time go? We went to his house later in the evening to wish him happy birthday and have some birthday cake. I gave him money for his present which was what he requested.

Another really chilly day on Wednesday but bright and sunny for most of it. Wearing my BNWT Laura Ashley skirt found in Cambridge last Saturday; Minuet top with no label shirt underneath; woollen tights; all charity shopped. Boots; a Christmas gift from daughter.

All jewellery charity including necklace picked up in Cambridge last Saturday.

I broke my own record on Thursday morning at the swimming pool; swimming 50 laps in 60 minutes. I had just started on the 50th lap when the whistle blew. I was very proud of myself. Don't know if I'll ever manage it again but at least I've hit the big 50!

Thursday's outfit. The knitted tunic was picked up in the Castle Rd charity shops yesterday; washed and dried overnight. Underneath charity shop long sleeved t shirt and charity shop Nike leggings. Red boots; local FB buy and sell group.

All jewellery charity shopped. The necklace came from a Co. Donegal charity shop.

I went to the farm shop in Sharnbrook and bought coal and kindling. Then it was off to Lidl and Sainsbury's to do the weekly food shop. By the time that was unpacked and put away it was time to sort out the fire and put the wash that I'd put on in the morning away. I'd made a butternut squash casserole on Wednesday whilst making dinner for the grandsons and OH so I had that for dinner and OH did his own thing. We're going out for a birthday meal in Milton Keynes on Friday evening to celebrate grandson's 17th birthday -  so no cooking on Friday either, hurrah!

You might remember that just before Christmas I 'rescued' an off white garden table from a skip in the road where I park my car. I looked online for 4 secondhand matching chairs to no avail; ordering them from an online retailer in the end. On Friday morning they arrived and I'm very pleased with how they look and go with the table.  We just need the weather that allows us to sit out outside and eat at the table again...

This was my outfit on Friday. I bought the skirt in Mercy in Action in Castle Rd. It's made of wool and has tweed panels but the waist had lost any elastication it may once have had. Hence the belt. Jumper by M&S and polo underneath by John Lewis. The red boots were found in a Cambridge charity shop last Saturday.

I wore my black corduroy fancy jacket when I went out (bought in the Donkey Sanctuary charity shop in Donegal) and some red suede gloves picked up in the Autism charity shop in Bedford some months ago. It was a cold day made even colder by the very chilly breeze. I did not want to go out for a walk in it. I went to Home Bargains to buy some bird supplies and popped into the Daycare Hospice shop where I found a jacket and a short sleeved red jumper on the sale rail. In the morning the chimney sweep came to sweep the chimney; a regular January occurrence. I made some mincemeat crumble slices in the afternoon and listened to several 'Slightly Foxed' podcasts. I discovered there are actually 38 episodes and I was roughly a third of the way through listening to them.

In the evening we drove to Milton Keynes for a birthday meal for grandson. He didn't even take his jacket off on the restaurant; it was air conditioned and a bit chilly. Daughter and her partner had gone out to vape when these photos were taken. Youngest grandson had his hair plaited and looks very grown up.

What a miserable day Saturday was. Grey and wet. I went for a walk in the afternoon; along the river from Biddenham - Great Denham - Queens Park; walking 5.2 miles. There was a heavy downpour for the last 5 minutes of the walk and I got drenched. It was good excuse to get out of my wet jeans and put my PJ bottoms on and sit by the fire catching up with blog land. Before I got the soaking, as I was walking I spotted this rather beautiful little bird - the smallest in the UK; smaller even than a wren; a Goldcrest - it just popped up beside me on a bush and a few paces later it, or another one, was there again.

We watched a new series to us  on Saturday evening on Netflix called 'Bordertown' set in Finland and featuring a rather intense police officer.

I took grandson to basket ball on Sunday morning. He had stayed overnight. Whilst he was at basket ball I went for 4 mile walk. I came home and made a lentil cheese bake (using vegan cheese so my daughter could eat it and making 'chia seed eggs' to replace the eggs in the recipe) for dinner as well as roast chicken. OH and I did the usual Sunday housework. Daughter's partner had come down with Covid (again) so we all tested ourselves as we'd been together on Friday evening, but thankfully all tested negative. 

This was what I wore to the charity shop on Monday. Everything was charity shopped. Skirt by East; jacket bought in Donkey Sanctuary charity shop in Co. Donegal; boots bought in Cambridge charity shop recently. I wore fleece lined leggings underneath the skirt and was warm all day.

Striped tee charity shopped; jumper by M&S;  found in the Daycare Hospice shop on Friday.

All jewellery charity shopped.

The donations didn't stop all morning. As fast as I cleared one bag; three more had come in. Despite working flat out, when I left after one o clock the floor was still covered with bags waiting to be sorted. There's very little space in the back of the shop (more donations) so it wasn't possible to put them there. Personally, I would have put a stop to the donations for the day but I don't make those decisions. I went home and put a wash on; sorted out the fire and caught up with my blog and blog land in general.

If it's Tuesday it must be the food bank. Everything I wore was charity shopped. I bought the jacket which I think is home made;  there are no maker's labels or washing care labels; from a sale rail at The Willen Hospice Shop in Newport Pagnell. Jeans by M&Co and the top was picked up from the 1.00 rail from Barnardo's.

Boots bought from the Cat's Protection League a few weeks ago.

All jewellery charity shopped.

At the food bank I made up 28 family hygiene packs and 50 individual/couple hygiene packs. I was asked if I could spare some time on Thursday to make up more. I should be able to manage a couple of hours extra in between going swimming; to the hairdressers and doing the weekly food shop.. I could go food shopping on Friday if necessary if I'm feeling too tired by then. I'm also determined to get to see the Evelyn Dunbar exhibition in Milton Keynes as it finishes in February and will book it this weekend and go next week if possible. I can say for certain that the one thing I never suffer from is boredom. There's always so much to do, see, watch, read and listen to. Long may it continue!


  1. such lovely outfits as always, Vronni! I wish we had a charity shop that sold these kinds of clothes in a size to fit me (16). I love your long skirts, and also all your various coloured tights. Wonderful colour coordinations.
    Margaret P

    1. Thank you so much, Margaret. You're near Teignmouth? They have very good charity shops as does Exmouth. Exeter was a disappointment regarding charity shops and I've also visited the charity shops in Torquay and Totnes - both good. The trick is to visit the charity shops often,,,

  2. Ooh, I'm always excited by your posts, Vronni! Congrats on your seventh year blogging (I'm coming up on 14 years!), and well done on your reading! Wow, that's a lot of books! Funny, I also out-read myself from last year...by 1 book!

    What good news about your gov cheque for your oil/heating. L and I have electric baseboard heat in our condo, and our windows were all replaced with thermal/double-panes a few years ago. However, our deck doors don't close all the way (old building, sagging, settling) and we can't afford to replace all of the doors in the building (anything to do with construction costs has gone through the roof over the pandemic), so we get cold drafts from there. We are so glad we got our electric fireplace last Feb - it's a welcome burst of quick heat...although it causes all the lights to dim when it's on, so imagine how much energy it's using! Most energy in my province is hydro-electric, i.e. water from dams creates our electricity.

    Now, your outfits. I love seeing all your pretty things. Quite loving the new boots you got as a gift. The Armani skirt is so very 90s, and love that houndstooth "coatigan" (as the cool kids say). The French Connection skirt is lovely, as is your new Laura Ashley one, but that knife-pleated skirt really sings to me.

    The green brocade jacket looks like it might have had a matching dress - it's very much early 1960s. The stars and moon skirt is so fun, and I'm swooning over your East skirt. Love your black/white/red outfits (a favourite of mine too). Guilty of also buying something that's been lingering in a store to give it a home! The Donegal jacket is awesome.

    Wonderful to get together for the grandson's birthday. I love the braids on youngest - very cool. Well done on your swimming goals! I really need to get back into my Mental Health Walks - I really miss having my extra day off for them. Once NFL football is over, I'll start doing walks on Sundays.

    Great to catch up with you! Have a great week!

    1. Thank you, Sheila! We should make ourselves a badge that says 'One more than last year club'!

      I winced when I read that your heating is electric - it's the most expensive form of heating and fancy the lights dimming when you turn your electric fireplace heater! At least our winters aren't as cold as yours.

      I can see my favourite jacket with a matching dress - just wish I could find it AND that it fits me...

      Have a great week,

  3. Happy New Year!
    I'm in awe of all your swimming and walking. You're as fit as a flea.
    Loving your grandson's braids, they're both handsome lads, aren't they? I hope you all mange to avoid the dreaded Covid after your daughter's partner tested positive, it's crazy at the moment.
    Like you, we're dreading our heating bills. I didn't grow up with central heating either but I must admit I've got used to it now. Thank goodness for charity shopped jumpers and thermals!
    Bordertown was mentioned on another blog, I do love Finnish dramas, they have such quirky characters.
    Outfits! Needlkess to say, the East skirt steals the show, it's utterly fabulous on you. Particularly loving the black and white outfit, the French Connection tile print skirt and the outfit with the snazzy star skirt but you look fabulous in everything!
    I don't think I've ever seen a goldcrest before, how cute is he?
    Have a fab week. xxx

    1. I have to keep fit, Vix - it's a case of use or lose it at my age! Thank you for your lovely comments. Bordertown is a bit addictive as the cop and his family are revealed more in each episode. He certainly could be described as quirky!

      Hope you have a fab week, too.

    2. Meant to say; the last time I saw a goldcrest was when daughter was pregnant with youngest grandson and she ate some pineapple and we went for a long walk to try and encourage him to come out and meet the world...!!

  4. Happy New Year, Vronni, and congratulations at starting your 7th year of blogging. I'll be blogging for 6 years in March and don't think I could live without it and all the blogging friends I've made. I love reading people's comments too!
    I'm glad to hear you've all tested negative. It's a bit scary at the moment, so we have cancelled lots of things. I've been hearing of quite a few people getting Covid, fortunately most of the boostered and only having mild symptoms.
    Fuel prices are going crazy here too. We live in a old draughty house, with only double glazing in the kitchen as well. The problem is that Jos is always too cold, while I'm quite the opposite!
    Fabulous outfits as always. My favourites this time are the first one, with the Armani skirt, the one with the French Connection skirt and pops of red and - my very favourite - the East skirt worn with the striped top and short-sleeved jumper!
    Loving the garden table and chairs, they're a perfect match, and how cute is that goldcrest! xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann.

      Yes blogging certainly fills up quite a lot of my time but it's worth it with all the lovely people I've met - both in blog land but also in person...

      Have a great week,

  5. Happy New Year and congratulations on your seventh blogversary! Sorry I haven't been commenting very much recently as I have had so much going on. After my next minor op. scheduled for Monday, I hope to start getting back into a routine again.
    I do love seeing your outfits. I have wardrobe envy. XXX

    1. Thank you JayCee and thank you for taking the time to comment. I bet you're still unpacking boxes.....

  6. you´r right - lots of blues and reds! love the brightness of your outfits!
    but also the greens - as a green lover - and the sophisticated back&white looks..... but my favorite this time is the black with splashes of orange from blouse and plissé skirt´s pattern.
    congratulation zu the one mile swim!!!
    and to the 7. year of blogging - the chunky necklaces are your signature - is´t it?!
    the masses of donations mean a lot of retail/internet shopping lately i guess? i think people compensate for the corona frustration with even more quick and ill-considered purchases....
    love goldcrests! we often can hear them in the wintery forest - typical dainty voice - and sometimes they come down to the lower branches - but only if we are very quiet.
    the fuel is getting more expensive here too - but it only affects our car use by now. the BWH is heated exclusively by coal and wood - and we´r always wearing the *scandi noir sweaters* in the house, the BW with a wooly hat on his bald scalp :-D
    stay warm and safe!! xxxxx

    1. Thank you, Beate! Yes, OH is the same - wears a knitted cap indoors to keep his bald head warm.

      Have a great week,

  7. Happy New Year!
    You are starting the year off with a fantastic collection of outfits. They're all so good it is impossible to pick a favourite this time around.
    Heron are such beautiful birds but I almost never see them still. In flight, they look so big. At the opposite size end the wren photo is great. They're such delicate little things.
    Congratulations on breaking your record. What a relief you've all tested negative. It is just everywhere now, isn't it. I know it is completely bonkers but I find myself holding my breath beneath my mask as I pass people. If only that worked.
    Take care

    1. Thank you, Goody! Yes, I find myself doing the same - especially if the other person isn't masked!!

  8. Congrats on your Blogoversary and wish you a Happy New Year!. It's amazing that we've been blogging for so many years and even managed to meet each other!. Hope we meet again soon!.
    And so lovely to see your outfits, those colourful ensembles are a mood booster!. Love particularly all these reds and blues that You Rock In. Love your Armani skirt and the French Connection one in blue, which is a favourite of mine!. Also Love your pleated skirt (orange fabulousness!), the starry skirt and the maxi skirt, actually I love everything!. And totally in love with your chunky necklaces, all of them are Fabulous and you style them so brilliantly!
    Glad that you tested negative, and also glad that you received some extra money for fuel/electricity. The prices are increasing here too, so our heating bills are higher but not too much. We have central heating in our building, but our own thermostat, which really makes a difference!.

    1. Thank you so much, Monica. It's really important to be able to control your own home's temperature; too many places are too hot!

  9. I darn my thick tights when they go at the toes, though there does come a point when they're irreparable. It's so annoying when a favourite pair go, and those plaid ones are (were) fab.

    I'm glad to hear you all tested negative for Covid - has your daughter's partner had it twice? I hadn't realised that was possible! Makes sense in a way, as colds, flu etc all mutate but it's still concerning. Your family is beautiful!

    1. Thank you, Mim!

      Unfortunately the plaid tights weren't thick; only about 60 denier and I find the ridges made by darning tights in the toe area very uncomfortable so I chuck them out.

      Yes, he's had it twice but he hasn't been vaccinated so it's not surprising!

  10. Lots of beautiful outfits! Love the houndstooth coat, knitted tunic and the pleated skirt to name a few. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2022!


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