Tuesday 21 June 2022

Too many unworn dresses and a blogger meet up.

Hello again! 

On Wednesday, the first of the tiger lilies bloomed and the second of our roses. It has the most beautiful scent; almost sherbety.

Unworn Dress No.1

I bought this dress during the first lock down in 2020 and had never worn it! It came from Vinted and is by Artigiano. Next jeans and white pumps by New Look; both charity shopped. All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were bought on Bedford market many years ago.

I went for a swim on Wednesday; then off to Aldi to do part of the weekly food shop. By then it was time to pick up the youngest grandson from school and then make dinner. I lead such an exciting life - not! We watched 'Sewing Bee' in the evening; it's the quarter final next week. Time is flying by; it's hard to believe that at the time of writing this we're almost halfway through June; halfway through the year 2022. I remember when the year 2000 seemed aeons away but that was more than 22 years ago. At least the weather had improved since my last post. Mostly sunny days with a few showers often during the evening. No jumpers or coats required.

I went for a swim again on Thursday morning; both days I'd managed to swim 48 laps or 1 mile. Once I had eaten my breakfast and got ready; I went to Lidl to do the rest of the food shopping. When it was all packed away I decided to go to the Castle Road charity shops and a have a rummage. I bought another book:

I also bought a necklace and a bangle. The Artigiano dress which I'd not worn until Wednesday reminded me I still have several 'new to me' unworn dresses in the wardrobe. One was bought at the vintage event in the Children's Society earlier this year; it's a short sleeved navy dress with red spots; a black and yellow maxi dress bought in the autumn last year; a vintage style patterned dress which I've had for more than 2 years and still not worn (the shame). A navy knee length tiered dress which had fallen off the hanger to the back of the wardrobe floor. I only discovered it  and a navy spotted one, too, when looking for the red shoes I wore to the Golden Wedding party! And in among my dressier clothes I found an animal print knee length dress with sequins I'd never worn either. The dresses were all bought in the late summer last year when the charity shops reduced their summer stuff to make way for the winter clothes; or when Barnardo's had their half price dress sale earlier this year. As a challenge I shall endeavour to wear all over the next few weeks so I can at least say I've worn them! 

This was Thursday's outfit:

Everything charity shopped. Skirt by New Look has gone into the donations bag; I didn't like the way it hung on me. Top by M&Co; denim jacket charity shopped in Ireland. The black sandals have a small heel so good support for the PF foot. I've had them for such a long time I have no idea where I bought them from other than it was a charity shop - updated; I bought them from the Cat's Protection League in 2020.  All jewellery charity shopped except earrings from eBay. I added a bangle and a ring later as I'd forgotten to put them on. This week so far I'd also donated a dress; a skirt; 3 tops and a pair of jeans that didn't fit properly around the bum...

I went swimming on Thursday morning; swimming a mile. Then it was off to do the food shopping at Lidl and home again. I did washing and hung it out; the weather was warm and sunny and it dried in no time. I love that.  I did some dead-heading and tidying up in the garden. 

I'd been contacted by someone through Ancestry earlier in the week who was Maltese in origin and a DNA link to me. This person is a 2nd or 3rd cousin so the link maybe at the great-grandparent level and it's on my father's side. It's all very exciting. We'd been trying to work out how we were connected and were both frustrated with people we had messaged and who hadn't replied. It was lovely however to have been contacted by someone and we arranged to speak on the phone at the weekend. I may finally find out which member of my family is responsible for a almost a third of my DNA being from Malta and Italy...

On Friday I went to a blogger's meet up. Meet Monica on the right; of  'Mrs. Allnut' HERE; and Fig: of 'Buttercup's Frocks' HERE. Monica was visiting England from Spain and Fig lives in London. I drove to London; parking on my friend's drive and met them at the V&A. I didn't intend to walk round looking at the exhibits because of the PF but we had a lovely time catching up and I indulged in a cream tea. What a shame we didn't get a photo of the three of us - once again too busy having a nice time! I wore this outfit and was complimented by several people including a train guard. Everything charity shopped. Trousers by Papaya (given to me last year by someone who they didn't fit), top by French Connection; black sandals as above. My feet were filthy when I got home; London has such a dirty, polluted environment. The lace jacket (no label) was bought somewhere a few years ago and this is only its second wearing. All jewellery charity shopped

From the V&A I travelled by bus and tube to my friend Bernie's house and we had a good catch up. It would be her birthday on Sunday - happy birthday Bernie!

Unworn Dress No. 2

It was a hotter day on Saturday; the car registered 24 degrees C at one point. I collected youngest grandson around midday as he was staying over; prior to that I'd walked into town for bread and bacon and to the sorting office to pick up a parcel; his birthday present in fact. He will be 12 on the 18th June and is now about an inch taller than me! This dress was nice and cool but unlike the others this was a retail buy at the end of last summer; bought in the 'Vera Tucci' sale; along with a tunic and at charity shop prices. The tunic went to join the caravan wardrobe and I wore it in September when we were there. Leggings by Primarni; pumps by Vans; both charity shopped. All jewellery charity shopped. The dress could also be worn as a beach cover up or even night wear. Of course, I fell for it because it was green. 

I had an hour long What's App call from Australia in the afternoon and spent the rest of the day on Ancestry adding to my family tree. My (2nd/3rd) cousin Ann's family lived in Egypt for a long time;  both grandparents on both sides were born in Malta. When they were expelled from Egypt by Nasser in the 1950s; they came to the UK where they lived in a hostel in Lancashire for 10 months before emigrating to Australia where they had relatives. Ann was born in Australia. She enlightened me about several of my other DNA matches with Maltese DNA on Ancestry; mostly cousins of hers and therefore distant cousins of mine. In my own research on Ancestry my paternal great-grandfather seems to have been a bit of bugger! I've found 2 records so far of the Petty Sessions in the 1890s; where he was up before the magistrates for fighting. Both times he was remanded into custody to Tullamore Gaol. 

Unworn dress no.3

This dress was found on the floor of my wardrobe at the back. That's what happens when you have too many clothes; things fall off hangers onto the floor and are not missed... I have a favourite white top of mine that I can't find so I keep meaning to investigate the other wardrobe and see if it's fallen off the hanger. This dress by M&S was bought in the Barnardo's half price dress sale earlier this year; it's a jersey type material so I could wear it in winter too. Leggings as before and charity shopped pumps and jewellery. I put 2 maxi dresses into the donations bag including my golden wedding outfit dress; I don't like the fact it's higher at the front than the back - asymmetric again - so off it went. If I don't love/like something I'm donating it.

 I started Sunday off with 48 lap swim and then it was on with the usual Sunday routine; house cleaning and Sunday dinner. OH cooked a goat curry which was lovely and both grandsons had dinner with us. When I dropped the youngest grandson home his mum gave me a pair black Birkenstocks and I planned to wear these round the house as they will help give my PF foot good support. The PF is definitely waning; I'll give it until the end of the month with no walking before I even attempt a walk of any distance. I am, of course, walking into town; to the swimming pool; round the corner to our Sainsbury's Local and seem to average out at

 12,000 plus steps per day.

Back to Barnardo's on Monday. I've not missed charity shopping in the way I'd missed walking but I suppose I get my 'fix' as I volunteer in a charity shop once a week. This was Monday's outfit; all charity shopped except the brown shirt which was home made and bought from Etsy earlier this year; trousers from Topshop from my Barnardo's and sandals as before; all jewellery charity shopped. I caught up with blogs and blogging when I got home; no need to cook as there was food left over from Sunday dinner. In the evening we started watching a new BBC drama called 'Sherwood'.


I should have worn another unworn dress on Tuesday but trousers are  more practical for the food bank. Especially this Tuesday: I was making up food parcels as one of my colleagues was off. Trousers by Commoners (a New Zealand luxury basics label, apparently) charity shopped; top by George at Asda 1.00 rail at Barnardo's; jacket bought in a Co. Derry charity shop and pumps also charity shopped somewhere. All jewellery charity shopped. It was a hot day and I didn't really need the jacket. I went into town in the afternoon running a few errands. I put my feet up when I got back and read for a while as my foot was sore after the walking around town. We seemed to have lost 2 further charity shops; Oxfam had closed down; couldn't afford the High Street rents I expect but the Oxfam bookshop is still going strong. In fact, I have a bag of books to donate but as they're rather heavy I will need to be dropped off outside the shop which is on a street with double yellow lines. It also looked as if the Wood Green Animal Shelter shop was finished as it hadn't opened in weeks. However, we still have 10 charity shops in around the town centre and High Street. When OH got in from work he said it was 26 degrees C as measured by his car's barometer.

Unworn Dress No.4

This dress was another bought in Barnardo's half price sale earlier this year. They had another one on Monday and I was tempted, I must admit...It's by Fatface and was perfect for Wednesday's weather which was hot; 24 degrees and sunny. Clogs by Seasalt bought in the Devon Air Ambulance Shop in Teignmouth, Devon on a trip to see Hilary. All jewellery charity shopped. I remember buying the earrings in the Arthur Rank charity shop in Cambridge. It's funny how sometimes I can remember exactly where I bought something and at other times I have no clue.

 I dropped off a bag of donations to the Daycare Hospice shop then went to Aldi to do part of the weekly food shop. When I got back I went to the pub! We have a pub less than 50 yards away from us. My daughter's friend's daughter had taken this pub over after it had been shut for 6 months; today was its official opening date. It had a lovely decor and lots of outside space. I was hoping there might be some work available for middle grandson so he came with me and I introduced him. We had a complementary drink - a freshly squeezed orange juice for me and coke for him. I wished her every success with her latest venture. She also owns and runs several mobile bars which are hired out for events such as birthday parties, weddings etc. After my trip to the pub I spent time in the garden blogging and picked youngest grandson up from school. I made dinner for everyone and we watched the quarter finals of the 'Sewing Bee'; it was 30s week and the winning frock was sensational. I think it's my favourite category of all.

I was hoping our lovely weather would last until Sunday so we could have a barbecue but it looked like cooler and wetter weather was on its way.  I was taking my brother to the Manor at Hemingford Grey near Huntingdon on Friday when it was forecast to be a scorcher. OH and I went to see the beautiful but quite small gardens at The Manor just after the first lock down; back then the house wasn't open to the public. Now it had opened up again I was looking forward to seeing both. I dug out a hat to wear on Friday to keep the sun off me. I'd let my brother wear my bucket hat I keep in the car for when I'm walking and need to cover my head. In fact I ordered him one from the internet but it wasn't going to arrive until early July; too late for our trip on Friday. The brilliant sunshine we'd been experiencing had produced much in the way of extensive flowering in the garden front and back:

My Hebe at the front has gone mad. This was originally an 8 inch high plant bought either Lidl or QD and now it's ready to climb over the front garden wall...
OH loves lilies. We have Tiger Lilies and the Arum Lily (taken from a cutting from a friend years ago) but also Canna Lilies and another smaller creamy yellow coloured lily which I don't know the name of. Once it's bloomed I'll be able to Google Lens it.

Our third rose has bloomed and a fourth one; a yellow one (at the front) has fat buds about to burst open. This red rose has the most gorgeous scent. I wish I knew the names of the varieties of roses we have; we only buy scented roses as I don't see the point of roses that don't have a scent...

The Thunberga (left) which was bought from QD some weeks ago is doing well. The Passionflower which was bought years ago to replace the one that was original to the house, when I moved in almost 31 years ago; has also bloomed. I can see 2 blooms and lots of fat buds at present but it's rare to see more than 2 or 3 Passion flowers blooming at the same time. I don't know why that is. They are such interesting and intricate flowers. In our garden we have two flowers that grow wild and with great abandon. Campanula is one; it grows on the back wall and smothers it. The other is a yellow Corydalis Lutea that creeps along the house wall under the kitchen and dining room windows. If we're not careful it chokes some of the pots on the ground so I cut it back quite drastically every so often. Outside my neighbour's house to the right of me; her front garden is awash with Corydalis Lutea. It is a most cheerful little plant. So far the Clematis nor the Sweet Peas have bloomed...

This is the nesting box we bought in a Gainsborough charity shop. No one has taken up residence yet but I live in hope...

My hall table is home to a collection of cacti and small alpines/succulents which all seem to be doing well, too!

Both the Agapanthus and the Alliums I grew from seed show signs of blooming soon. It's all very exciting and each day brings something new. OH waters religiously each evening unless it rains, of course.

This last pale pink beauty is a trailing fuchsia called 'Pink Marshmallow'  and is trailing from one of the two hanging baskets we have at the back.

Oh boy, was it hot on Thursday. When I was coming back from Lidl the car registered 27 degrees. I started the day with a swim, swimming 48 laps;  after hanging out washing and getting ready; I set off to do the weekly food shop. I also had to then walk into town to run a couple of errands including buying more fat balls from Wilko and a birthday card for the youngest grandson. I was hot and bothered by the time I came home I can tell you! I dressed for coolness; everything charity shopped. Homemade harem pants (not by me) can't remember; top by Falmers 1.00 rail somewhere and red Clark's Mary Janes. All jewellery charity shopped.

If I thought it was hot on Thursday, it was even hotter on Friday reaching 32 degrees in the afternoon. I was in the car before 10 am driving to Kettering to pick up my brother; where we set off for The Manor at Hemingford Grey; one of only two of the oldest continuously inhabited houses in the country. OH and I had visited after the first lock down but the house wasn't open to the public. On Friday, we had a guided tour of the house by the current owner; Diana Boston, the daughter-in-law of the previous owner, Lucy Boston author of the 'Green Knowe' books for children; quilt maker of world wide renown and gardener and restorer of the house. Although it doesn't look like it from the outside; the house was originally a Norman Hall built 900 years ago and surrounded by a substantial moat. Lucy Boston restored some of the house to reveal the Norman features (half of the house was burnt to the ground in the past with only the Norman side remaining). On our tour I helped the owner; by donning white gloves to turn back each layer of beautifully hand made quilts; which adorned a very large bed. We were not allowed to take photos of the quilts but they were exquisite and all hand stitched; the last being made when Lucy Boston was in her early 90s. After the rather intimate house tour including the current owner's bedroom (it was fabulous!) we explored the beautiful gardens. Originally two fields; Lucy Boston created a wonderful English cottage garden albeit on a much larger scale; complete with lawn; topiary and a wild meadow. It's full of little winding paths that take you to different parts of the garden and eventually down to the river.

I tried to dress for coolness. Everything charity shopped. Linen dress by Woolovers, bought in a 1.00 sale at the 3:16 charity shop; sandals as before; tee shirt by Religion; also from a 1.00 rail somewhere. Both brother and I wore hats to keep the sun off our heads.

I forgot to take photos of the side of the house with a couple of the Norman windows.
A gravel path runs parallel to the wild flower meadow and leads you to a gate and towpath beside the River Great Ouse; the same river that runs through Bedford.

Part of the substantial herbaceous border.
I have featured photos before of the wonderful garden but if you want to read more about the house and garden; you can do so HERE. You can see my photos from the previous visit; including the village HERE. We wandered around the extremely picturesque village stopping for a drink in the pub. We visited the church and followed a footpath that led us to the towpath and the bottom of the garden of The Manor. It was a fascinating visit; brother Tony even enjoyed the quilts -  much to my surprise. Diana was a very good story teller which made the tour so fascinating.

At the Manor there were plants for sale; I bought a couple of Honesty plants; a different variety to the one I had already which was 'Honesty Lunaria'. The heat during the day on Friday was ferocious and didn't let up much throughout the night which was hot and sticky. 

On Saturday morning I woke up to what I thought was thunder in the distance; coolness and eventually rain. A totally different day altogether was Saturday. I went round the house shutting windows and had to dry the washing indoors on the clothes horse. I made a chocolate birthday cake for the youngest grandson and studded the frosting with fresh strawberries; I forgot to take a photo. I also made flapjacks for my daughter. OH set off for London to visit his daughter and grandchildren. Later on that afternoon; everyone came to my house for tea, birthday cake, cards and presents for the birthday boy. He'd had a great birthday with a friend sleeping over on Friday evening;  then on Saturday he and his three friends were taken bowling and to Nando's by my daughter. Oh, to be 12 again! Though birthdays were far simpler affairs in my day. I certainly didn't have a birthday cake and remember getting an album by 'The Equals' for my 12th birthday!

I had planned to wear my denim pinafore dress but when it was on I realised it was too big for me; it billowed out around my middle which was not very flattering. It went into the donations bag which was gradually filling up. I decided on jeans again partly because it was much cooler and I tend to wear jeans at least once a week. Everything charity shopped. I found the sandals by New Look at the bottom of my sandal basket; bought last year and forgotten all about them. They were very comfortable.  Mom jeans by M&S; the top was a vintage St. Michael label; making it at least 22 years old; the kimono jacket by Paul Costello bought recently; breaking my no clothes buying ban! Well, a pair of pumps and a kimono jacket aren't bad after almost 7 weeks! All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were an eBay buy.

Once everybody had left I chilled out; catching up with blog reading and continuing with my Beth Chatto book. I had a nice pile of books waiting to be read on my table and was looking forward to starting the next one. Simple pleasures. Yesterday's trip out hadn't involved much walking - too hot - but the best thing was my foot was fine all day. I felt sure that another week of rest would see me able to recommence regular walks. I particularly wanted to find and gather some elder-flower blossom to make some elder-flower cordial. And talking of making things; about a week ago I picked up a jar of homemade jam from the food bank. (Home made jam doesn't have a use by date so we can't give it to users of the food bank; it goes on the staff table where we can buy things in exchange for a donation). This particular jar of jam, made by a local vicarage, was courgette and ginger and absolutely delicious. I need to find a recipe and make some more. Both courgettes and ginger are part of my food cupboard staples. This year, too, I am determined to gather some sloes and make some sloe vodka or gin for Christmas. It was actually quite chilly on Saturday and in the evening particularly;  at least 20 degrees cooler than Friday. Such weird weather.

I went for a swim on Sunday morning swimming the usual 48 laps. Once I was ready and had eaten my brunch I took youngest grandson and his dad to basketball practice. Home again to do the weekly house cleaning and make a roast dinner for everyone. The houndstooth check trousers I'm wearing are my 'I can't be arsed' trousers by M&S. I put them on with a t shirt when I want to get out of the house quickly; they're very comfortable so I kept them on adding a striped top by F&F and lace tunic/dress by Select; sandals as yesterday. Everything charity shopped including the jewellery. The scarf was a belated Christmas present from OH's eldest daughter. It has penguins on it. How nice to receive Christmas presents in June! I still have 3 unworn dresses to show you but can't see me wearing them in the next week. The animal print short dress is a jersey material and we have some more hot weather coming next week so wouldn't be suitable. I sorted out a few more bits for the charity shop bag and now have a full bag to drop off after the volunteering on Monday - 2 bags in 2 weeks. Yet, the wardrobes look as full as they always did...

Back to Barnardo's on Monday. It wasn't terribly busy and we stopped donations so we could work through the piles we already had. The half price dress sale was still on and I caved in and bought a maxi dress for 2.50...I mean it would have been rude not too! It was a pleasant, warm day and I wore cotton and linen to stay cool. Everything charity shopped. Jacket by M&S as was the top underneath; skirt by Anokhi for East. Sandals were a Clark's sale retail buy and they're ten years old. All jewellery charity shopped. In the garden the Coreopsis had bloomed; the yellow roses at the front were just opening and the sweet peas would open by Tuesday I guessed.

I also bought a proper log basket at Barnardo's; one with a flat bottom and a handle. When I went home I hung out the washing; had some lunch and a short rest and then walked into town to run some errands. After that I put on another wash and made dinner for OH and I; then I caught up with blog land and read for most of the evening. Not as many blogs to read this week; several people are away and taking a blogging break.

Another beautifully warm day on Tuesday. Off to the food bank where I made up hygiene bags until we ran out of both soap and shower gel. I was so warm I had to take my jacket off...

This is the dress I bought at Barnardo's yesterday in the half price dress sale. It fits well and was nice and cool although it is a man made fibre; no labels at all and I guess it was an Amazon GIK (gift in kind) donation. I don't feel guilty at all! The white top I can't find anywhere was also one of those, I just can't think where it can be unless I inadvertently donated it. I'm hoping it will turn up before the winter comes!  Denim jacket bought in Ireland and I can't remember where I bought the as yet unworn white sandals from; other than it was a charity shop and at the end of last summer when charity shops are keen to get rid of their summer stock. All jewellery charity shopped.

On my daily walk around the garden this morning a hydrangea had flowered; the rose at the front's buds were just about to open. They may well have bloomed and died back by the time I post again in a fortnight but other things will have popped up, I'm sure. Take care and see you on other side...

Very proud mummy.

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