Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Winter Tales

Back again - that fortnight flew by! 
I wore this outfit to the food bank on Tuesday; a cold miserable day. I had tights on underneath my jeans which were pre-loved and picked up at the Daycare Hospice shop in Sandy on Saturday. The top by Warehouse;  green boots and olive green suede jacket all pre-loved too, as was all the jewellery. I kept the jacket on in the warehouse. We ran out of toothpaste by the end of  my session. I was asked to go in again on Thursday to help out and will go in again for a couple of hours. They're still working their way through the harvest festival donations; hope there's some toothpaste in amongst them! My hair was in need of a cut; my quiff kept flopping forward (unless I sprayed it with hair lacquer) but I had an appointment on Thursday so only had a couple of days to wait...

 I went swimming in the afternoon - I'm stuck with Tuesdays now and swam 42 laps. I got out earlier than usual as I wanted to wash my hair; the swimming pool has only 2 working showers out of 5 in the changing rooms and there's often a queue. It's taking months to fix the showers which I expect, is a sign of a cash strapped council...

Now, this red thing I'm wearing is called, I think, a shacket; that is it's a cross between a shirt and a jacket. The thing is it has the 'Moto' label; which was the label Topshop used in the past so I'm guessing this predates 'shackets'! Whatever it is; I wore it as an extra layer of warmth on Wednesday. I don't think it goes with this dress and would be better over jeans/trousers/maxis. I picked the 'shacket up from Barnardo's last Monday. The dress is pre-loved and by Fenn Wright Mason; the blue polo is the one I picked up on Saturday in a Sandy charity shop. Tights are made of bamboo and I bought them a couple of years ago in a Traid charity shop in Brixton; they're very warm and cosy to wear. Boots retail buy online. I also don't know why I opted to wear purple jewellery other than it's the jewellery colour I least wear.

It rained for most of the day on Wednesday. The group walk was in Luton and as I'd walked in Luton the previous Friday I didn't want to go. I had a rare lie-in; only waking up at 9.40 am which is very late for me; I'm usually up between 7 and 7.30 in the winter months and 6 to 6.30 in the summer months. I had a leisurely breakfast and got ready to go to Aldi to buy the regular things I buy there on a weekly basis. From there I went to run a few errands. I picked the youngest grandson up from a basket ball game and then cooked dinner. I finished my book and OH and I, having finished watching 'The Chestnut Man' on Netflix, tried something else called 'The Girl from Oslo'. After one episode between the awful acting and dubbing we decided not to bother anymore!

Thursday was a busy day. Swimming in the morning managing 46 laps; then off to the hairdresser. I was really pleased with my hair; I think it's finally how I want it. I wanted the back graduated but to have a quiff too;  I think I've got there with my hairdresser's help. Thank you, Lorraine! I am no good at blow drying or styling my hair; it has to be something I can wash and go with...

Everything pre-loved except the boots a sale buy from Sainsbury's. Top by Next; tunic by 'The White Stuff'; loose navy trousers by M&S. The jacket made of felted wool by Clements Ribeiro; was picked up in the 'Bedford Autism' charity shop last year. I decided I didn't like this tunic and put it in the donations bag. It got a reprieve last year but it's a definite NO from me! From the hairdresser's I went to the food bank where I put toiletries away and then made up food parcels. From the food bank I went to Lidl to do the weekly shop then home to unpack and put it away. After an hour with my feet up and catching up with my blog I made dinner. In the evening OH and I finally sussed out how get rid of the dubbing and have subtitles in English!  We started watching a Norwegian drama called 'Post-Mortem: Nobody Dies  in Skarnes' on Netflix in the evening.  It had a vampiric theme which usually I won't watch as I find it all a bit silly but this was different and highly recommended.

Friday was official bus walk day. There were eight of us and we caught the bus to Shefford; a village about 9 miles from Bedford. From Shefford we followed 'The Navigator Way' so called as part of the river was navigable by narrow boats and barges in the 19th century via a canal which then joined the River Ivel not far from Shefford. The walk took in the villages of Clifton, Stanford and Southill; home to the brewing magnates the Whitbread family who live at Southill Park. We only glimpsed it through the trees; it is not open to the public but the gardens are open during National Open Gardens Day.

Southill Park

View of Shefford on our return journey.

This lovely building was spotted in Shefford. I love the herringbone brickwork in between the timber beams and the tall chimneys.

A ghost sign. The building is now a cafe. Also seen in Shefford.
Along the River Ivel. An abandoned watermill. This river is the one that gives its name to our walking group -  'Ivel Valley Ramblers'.

The walk was 8 miles in total. I put my feet up when I got home and read my book; Kate Atkinson's latest book 'Shrines of Gaiety'. I recently took part in an IPSOS survey which involved a detailed, online, five part questionnaire and online daily diary kept over 7 days; filled in in half-hourly slots. I earned every penny of the vouchers they sent me! This was how I bought a  new swimming costume;  a brand new book and some new CDs which I could also stream. My children think buying CDs in this day and age is madness. However,  I don't trust these 'clouds' where all our data is stored. I can't help but think one day something will happen and all the data will be lost so I like to have hard copies of my music where possible. If that makes me a dinosaur I don't care!

I wore this on Saturday. The dress was pre-loved and bought from Willen Hospice shop in Newport Pagnell last year. Boots and belt as before. All jewellery pre-loved. 

OH and I went to Ampthill for a quick rummage on Saturday afternoon where I found another Virago book to add to my constantly growing collection and a green necklace for 50 p!  I need to reorganise the book case in the dining room where I store my Virago and Persephone books. I may have to find a different place for the Persephone books eventually; as I could fill five of the six shelves with the Virago books alone and I have two shelves of the Persephone books...

In the evening we were off to Kettering to celebrate my youngest brother's 65th birthday. We went out for a Thai meal and had a lovely time.

Sunday was a miserable day and I stayed indoors all day! I did a wash, did the weekly house cleaning and cooked a roast dinner. We finished watching 'Post-Mortem' in the evening.

I wore this to volunteer at Barnardo's on Monday. A really chilly day at 8 degrees and there was an eerie ground mist over the fields as I drove into the charity shop. Everything pre-loved; vintage polyester 1970s dress was found at the independent charity shop some years ago. Interestingly; this shop is still surviving in the town centre whereas some of the bigger charities; 'Mercy in Action' and 'Oxfam' for example, have closed down in Bedford. Boots and jackets as before. Tights by Snag. I kept the jacket on all day. It's made of very soft suede type material and doesn't crease!

All jewellery pre-loved.

Another volunteer was in and as we had stopped donations for the day we cracked on with getting as many bags of donations unpacked as possible. I went and did the shop's banking in Kempston. On Saturday I'd be volunteering again as it was the annual Christmas fair in the community hall in Great Denham where the shop is and we always have a stall. After volunteering I spent the rest of the day getting the washing done; cooking dinner and catching up with blog land.

Tuesday was freezing! The temperature didn't climb higher than 8 degrees all day. The warehouse was very cold at the food bank as the doors are always open. I wore this outfit with everything pre-loved. The skirt is by Kettlewell; the jumper had no label; both from Barnardo's and the red shacket. Boots by New Look and tights were a present. All jewellery pre-loved, too.

I was very cross with my self on Tuesday afternoon. I went to the swimming pool; got half-undressed and realised I'd left my swimming costume at home! I had washed it and I would normally put the clean costume straight into my swimming bag; this time I put it away and forgot I had. By the time I'd walked home, picked up the costume; returned to the pool and got undressed; I would have been lucky to have a 25 minute swim, so I didn't bother. It was such a horrid day I didn't even try to go for a walk instead. Damp, moisture laden cold; the sort that gets into your bones...

It was still cold on Wednesday but it wasn't damp and dank. In fact the sun came out later in the afternoon for a little while. The group walk was close to Bedford but was one I'd done several times before so I gave it
a miss. I had a leisurely morning then went to Aldi to do some weekly food shopping and then onto B&M for some bird food supplies. I used to by half-coconut shells filled with suet in a packet of 6 but they had increased in price by a pound, so I bought some suet pellets to try instead. I also buy 2 types of seed; fat balls and the occasional packet of meal worms...the birds in my garden are very well fed.

Everything pre-loved. Skirt by M&S; polo-neck and cardigan also by M&S; tights by BHS; all from Barnardo's. Boots bought in Sainsbury's sale. All jewellery pre-loved. Underneath, I had on a thermal vest and I wore my animal print coat and gloves when I went out! Only middle grandson came for dinner as the youngest grandson had a basket ball match.

Thursday was cold and very foggy but it didn't deter me from swimming. I remembered my swimming costume on Thursday morning and to make up for missing Tuesday's swim I swam 50 laps! Then after getting ready I went to Sharnbrook to the farm shop to buy kindling; to Lidl and Sainsbury's for the weekly food shop. By the time I had unpacked the shopping it was time to collect the youngest grandson from school. He stayed for dinner and I took him to basket ball practice. You might be forgiven for thinking I wore the same outfit as yesterday but the skirt, top and tights are different!

Skirt by M&S; top by Zara. Both pre-loved. Cardigan and boots as above. All jewellery pre-loved. I look forward to putting my feet up on a Thursday evening after running around all day...

Friday was cold and foggy. I drove to Cambridge to meet with a small group for an unofficial bus walk. We met in the Park and Ride and took the bus into Cambridge Town Centre. From there we walked to Kettle's Yard where they had an exhibition 'Paint Like the Swallow Sings Calypso' by three contemporary Caribbean artists; Paul Dash; Errol Lloyd and John Lyons. For more info you can see HERE. The plan was to visit the house as well but the walk leader hadn't realised you had to book in advance so we decided do it another time. I had visited the house before many years ago with OH but I would like to see it again. We did visit the tiny church of St. Peter's which abuts Kettle Yard; the church has been here since 1092. It was plain and simple both inside and out.

I liked the christening font with the Mermen on it.

Across the road from St. Peter's church was the church of St. Giles; there had been a church on this site for the past 1,000 years, too, but its current Anglican and Romanian Victorian incarnation was quite elaborate in contrast to St. Peter's. 

The chancel screen was decorated in copper in the art deco style.

Such a beautiful door and doorway.

The icons were behind glass hence the reflection...

The actual purpose of the walk was to visit Cambridge Castle. Like Bedford Castle; Cambridge castle is long gone but the mound (or motte) remains. If you look carefully through the branches of the magnificent tree you can just make it out...
The views across Cambridge from the Castle were fabulous but of course the fog messed the views up!
That is King's College Chapel in the top photo and in this photo above you can make out Cambridge University library tower.

We passed Westminster College:

The last part of our walk took us along the river Cam and punting was still going on...

We had stopped for coffee and cake at Kettle's Yard and as by now it was lunch time; the others went off to get some lunch.  I went for a rummage instead; visiting Burleigh Street where there were 10 charity shops. I bought a pair of trousers; a pair of earrings and a lipstick. The two most reasonably charity shops were Oxfam and Sense; most of the charity shops in Cambridge are very expensive.
I expect it was the light but it was if the fog got into the camera. Sorry about the crappy photos. Everything I wore on Friday was pre-loved; jeans by Next; top by Isle and knitted tunic by New Look; boots as before and all jewellery pre-loved. I wore tights underneath the jeans and of course I had my thermal vest on...I wore a warm coat, a scarf and gloves whilst walking around Cambridge.

This was Saturday's outfit. Dress by Izabel; tights by Snag and suedette jacket by New Look; boots by Manteray. Everything pre-loved as was all the jewellery; I had odd earrings on all day! I didn't notice until I got home. I went to the library in the morning to return a book and collect a reservation. It was too cold to hang washing out so after hanging the wash up indoors I set off for Great Denham where Barnardo's were taking part in the Christmas Fair. I helped set up the stall and served a few customers then went back to the charity shop to give the area manager a chance to help out at the fair. After an hour I went back to the fair and from there I went home. We raised about 70 pounds ....

Mostly Christmas tat but people bought it...

The plan for Sunday was to go to London and do a Black History walk. OH had bought a book of Black History walks and we wanted to try one out. I made us a packed lunch and we set off for the station soon after 11 am. We should have checked before we left but there were engineering works on the train route. It would have meant getting off at Luton, getting a bus to Hitchin and a train to London from there. Too much faffing about and it was a bitterly cold day reaching a high of 5 degrees centigrade. We opted to go to a National Trust property Wimpole Hall instead; which is near Royston, Herts but close to Cambridge. We had been before but the house was still closed then and I knew the house had reopened. In fact, the house was only partially opened but there was a Christmas light display which was turned on before we left and it was rather lovely. If we had waited until it was completely dark it would have been even better, but it was far too cold to hang around. I even begrudged taking my hand out of my glove to take the photos! After looking round the house we walked around the grounds; the walled garden and orchards and the Park View walk admiring the light displays.

We last visited Wimpole Hall in September 2020 and you can read more about the actual house HERE. This time we got to go inside...

Entrance hall atrium

The breakfast room

The dining room

The bells!

The Housekeeper's Room

The Housekeeper's Pantry

The Butler's Pantry. The chafing dishes next to the urn (on the left of the photo) were for the butler to make late night snacks for the family once the rest of the household staff had gone to bed...

The Chapel.

It was good to get home, get the fire lit and thaw out!
I wore this to Barnardo's on Monday. A thoroughly cold, wet and miserable day.

Everything pre-loved. Jacket by River Island; trousers by Zara and top by Next. Boots as before and all jewellery pre-loved. I bought the trousers in Cambridge on Friday; they had been reduced to half-price. Halfway through  my shift at Barnardo's the zip broke...

Did you notice I forgot to put my earrings on? I remembered after I'd taken the photos and I wore a turquoise drop pair I bought at Barnardo's on Saturday.

This was what I wore to the food bank on Tuesday. Cardigan from the 3:16 charity shop by Wallis; dress bought in an Irish charity shop by Julien McDonald; boots Sainsbury's retail sale two winters ago. I wore thick knitted tights; a polo neck and a thermal vest underneath the dress. It was freezing in the food bank warehouse so I needed layers.
All jewellery pre-loved.

I'm off to catch up with your blogs now and look forward to seeing you again in a fortnight...


  1. Oh my, time really does fly, doesn't it?
    I absolutely love your hair! Like you, I'm hopeless at styling my hair and need something wash, dry and go.
    Glad to hear you got rid of the dubbing, it's not something we usually get here, fortunately, as I thoroughly hate it. I'm not a fan of Cloud based services either and would never trust my music or photos to any of them. It's quite enough that we have to deal with such things at the office. Beside, I do love seeing rows of CDs just like I do love shelves of books. If that makes me a dinosaur, than so be it!
    As usual, I loved seeing your parade of outfits. Particular favourites this time are the dress from Willen Hospice worn with that fabulous teal belt, the vintage 1970s polyester dress, and the first of your animal print outfits.
    I also loved tagging along on your Cambridge walk and visit to Wimpole Hall! xxx

  2. Another lovely catch-up with Vronni! Lovely quiff (lol, that word is so fun) in your hair. I am the same - i don't do anything other than work a bit of oil or styling cream through my hair and then blow-dry it - I can't be bothered to do more!

    Clothes: I always love your outfits - I suspect we would raid each other's closets! What caught my eye: the spotted dress, the bigass teal belt, the vintage squares dress and the green plaid skirt, both animal print outfits and your new Zara trousers (shame about the zip!).

    I also really enjoyed "Post Mortem" - I thought it was quite funny (although gory). We don't get all the same titles in Canada as the UK (or the US for that matter), but I like the recommendations. I also like having physical media - L still has over 3,000 CDs (they are all over the house!), and we have a 5-disc CD shuffler so that we can mix up 5 discs when playing boardgames.

    I love seeing all your pics of the English countryside - even in the fog! I am very familiar with that damp cold - that's what it's always like here on Canada's west coast. My colleagues who work in the prairies or back east in Montreal and Toronto get much colder temps but it's a dry cold. This dampness just seeps into your bones, and it's hard to warm up. My hands are cold as I type this!

    Thank you for the lovely post, my friend! I hope you have a wonderful couple of weeks ahead. :)

    1. Thank you, Sheila! I loved 'Post Mortem'. It's good to get out of one's comfort zone now and again.

      I have no idea what non-damp coldness would feel like but it sounds pretty good to me!

      I'm sorry to say that CDs which are donated to my charity shop get thrown in the bin (gulp) as they do not sell....isn't it awful? All that plastic...

  3. Your outfits are wonderful in winter with the tights and boots. My fave is the burgundy patterned dress you wore to your brother's birthday outing. Loved the Cambridge pics, I never got to explore it properly when I worked there. The lights at Wimpole Hall look enchanting. Ghost signs fascinate me. There was a local outcry when 2 old signs were revealed and disposed of, during the refit of a shop. I look out for " ghost wallpaper" on houses being demolished. It's very poignant to think of the families who chose it. We quite liked The Girl from Oslo but has to be seen subtitled. We watched about 3 episodes of the Norwegian vampire drama - will be interested to see if you stick with it! Hair looks lovely, it's great when you get it how you wanted it xx

    1. Thank you, Gail.

      There was a ghost sign at the top of my street for a building firm. When they did up the houses alongside the sign they painted over the sign - aaarrrggghhhh!

      BTW we loved 'Post-Mortem'.

  4. i´m grinning everytime a british is saying *ice/bitterly cold* to temps over zero.... ;-DDD here we need minus10° to say so......
    animal print on animal print is getting your signature look! totally love it! and your other outfits are fabulous too!
    its wonderful to follow you on your walks - especially the inside of Wimpole Hall is stunning..... sorry for the railroad construction disturbing your plans for london.
    stay warm! xxxxx

    1. Oh, we love to moan about the weather, Beate! I know we don't experience such cold temperatures as you have in Germany but if it snows here it's big news. It's because we are not equipped for cold weather and so it fills us all with dread!

      Thank you for your lovely comments as always.

      You, too, stay warm!

  5. I'm tired just reading about all your fabulous escapades! I must admit to feeling a tad envious of you living in the UK. I do miss it sometimes...all those fabulous walks and visits to such beautiful old villages and suchlike.
    And I adore all your clothes!! You have the best taste...I especially love those black and green striped tights and how you styled them, pattern mixing, was genius!
    Suzy xx

    1. Thank you, Suzy! I hope you'll continue to follow me on my escapades. I'm off to see the West End Christmas lights next...

  6. My favorite outfit from this post is the first one. Jeans with olive green jacket and boots plus the colorful necklace. And that teal belt was a statement ! Love the way you wear the colorful tights . Seeing that ancient baptismal font makes you think of all the infants baptized there . Thank you !

  7. I love your outfits, always beautifully styled! My favourite was the dark green skirt and striped tights. Just glorious.
    I love the house at Kettles Yard. I first discovered it back in the early 90's. You didn't have to book then, my friend and I sat chatting on the sofa for a couple of hours, we made ourselves at home, it was great. The staff just left us to it. I expect it would be different now though, you are probably discouraged from sitting on the furniture..

    1. Thank you, Carole.
      Yes, I wentt to visit Kettle Yard in the early 00s and loved it. I've noticed to deter people sitting on furniture in the places I've visited they put pine cones on the chairs - painful!

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  9. You're not alone about cloud storage. I know it would free up space on my computer to store photos but I like knowing where my stuff is.
    Beautiful outfits as always, and your hair is looking beautiful.
    Those birds are lucky you feed them so well.

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  11. Hello Vronni (and Julian!)! Your hair is looking so good! Fabulous outfits, I particularly love the double animal print one, the Julien McDonald knitted dress and the spotty pinafore with the Moto jacket (I can't bear that "S" word) and the mock docs!
    Wimpole Hall looks very grand, I absolutely love the storage tins in the kitchen and the frosty kitchen garden.
    Our viewing habits have been dominated by football of late, I'm not sure if I fancy vampires. I like the look of Damian Lewis/Guy Pierce's A Spy Among Friends which I thinks on ITV (so I'll probably lose my rag over the adverts!)
    Don't get rid of your CDs or tapes - the hipsters are collecting them again!
    Stay warm. xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix!

      I wouldn't have knowingly watched a vampire series but we didn't realise and by the time we did we were hooked! Hope you've had a fab Spanish break...

  12. Fabulous outfits, I love particularly that Moto jacket (such a beautiful colour) with the green skirt and striped tights. Also love that burgundy&teal dress with the statement belt and the yellow jacket ensemble, so beautiful colour!. I think you look fab in your jeans and trousers, but also in some knit dresses (love last one) with long cardigans!, and those animal prints are totally a fab style!.
    And you know I have a weakness for your jewellery collection!, lots of fantastic beads!.
    Totally understand you about cloud storage, I'm keeping my cd's. I prefer to have my photos and music where I can actually see them!

    1. Thank you, Monica! Yes, it seems most of us don't trust cloud storage...


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