Friday 6 January 2023

Welcome 2023!

Hello and a Happy New Year! I'm posting a few days later than usual as I've had a visitor and got behind with blog writing and reading...

2023 already. I remember years ago thinking how far away the year 2000 seemed and now it's 23 years past that one...

Back to 2022 in the meantime... 
I wore this outfit on Wednesday before Christmas. I wore it with my black leather jacket by Gerry Weber when I went to Barnardo's for a get together for the volunteers. It was very pleasant and we all received a miniature Christmas cake each and a card. I also received my first Christmas card on Wednesday morning. I don't know if people weren't sending cards because of making economies or if they were all stuck in the Post Office/Royal Mail sorting depots. It was all very reminiscent of the 1970s with all the public services going on strike. When I was a nurse I refused to join the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) because they had a 'no strike' clause. It caused ructions between my ex-husband and me as he was a RCN shop steward at the hospital where we worked! 

I wear the brown cardigan for an extra layer of warmth when I'm indoors. Polo neck by Next; pre-loved. Skirt by New Look; birthday present from OH a few years back. Boots as before; recent retail buy with Christmas gift money. All jewellery pre-loved except the earrings bought online. When I got back from Barnardo's I decorated our Christmas tree which had been sitting unadorned since the previous Sunday. I also put some decorations up in the living room. I still needed to go out and forage some greenery for the mantel piece...

I went for the usual 48 lap swim on Thursday morning and then onto the hairdresser. From there I went to Lidl to do the weekly shopping then into town to go to Iceland, Tesco Metro and to buy some bird seeds at QD. Middle grandson only came for dinner. The youngest grandson was staying overnight on Friday as his mum was going out.

Everything except the boots were pre-loved. Dress by Zara; jumper by Tu; scarf picked up at Barnardo's years ago. Tights by Snag and all jewellery pre-loved. We'd had 2 days of wet and windy weather by Thursday and it looked likely to continue. Friday was wet until about 3 pm when the sun made a brief appearance. I had to walk into to town to run a couple of errands. I did some washing and spent much of the time wrapping presents. I also gathered some greenery for the mantel piece. Youngest grandson stayed over night; tucked up in bed with the heater on whilst I watched a documentary about the Irish poet Seamus Heaney; which we had recorded earlier in the year and hadn't got round to watching. We were in Ireland in 2013 when his death was announced on Irish radio as we were driving to visit relatives.

This was what I wore on Friday.  Everything pre-loved except the boots which were a New Look retail buy. Trousers very old; by Zara; tunic by G 21 and the cardigan had the label cut out but I got it at Barnardo's a few years ago. All jewellery pre-loved.

I was busy for much of Saturday and after dropping youngest grandson back home; I washed all the cushions on the sofas in the living room and changed the spare room bed linen as well as making up a single and a double duvet bed set. Both of my brothers who live in Kettering would be staying over on Christmas Day night and my eldest grandson and his girlfriend. I ironed a tablecloth and Christmas runner for the table on Christmas day. We make do with a plastic table cloth the rest of year - easy to wipe clean. The table cloth was a present from Mauritius brought back some years ago by our lovely ex next-door neighbours. By 4 pm I had done everything I needed except prepare the veg which I planned to do whilst watching TV on Saturday evening. Once all the preparatory stuff is done for Christmas I can relax and enjoy it. I started with a glass of Canadian Club and dry ginger!

Everything pre-loved. Black suedette jacket/kimono by New Look; trousers by Yessica (part of C&A way back when); red top by M&S; boots as before. All jewellery pre-loved. It was the first time I wore these long tear drop glass earrings although I'd had them for ages. There's no point waiting for an occasion to arise to wear the more dressy items of jewellery and clothes I have; carpe diem and all that! I planned to wear another dress and a dressy pair of earrings I hadn't worn before on Christmas Day.

This was what I wore on Christmas Day. The dress was covered in sequins and had hung unworn in the wardrobe for over a year. It was the penultimate of the unworn dresses I had. It was pre-loved as was everything else; except the boots which were New Look retail and a Christmas gift to my self bought with money I was given. All the jewellery was pre-loved. I didn't wear the earrings I had planned as they were too long but may save them for the New Year...

And here are most of my Christmas presents! I'm currently reading 'The Ink Black Heart' (from daughter) and will probably be reading it until into the New Year! The book by Machan Magan (from OH) is about how the Irish language has changed; 'Copsford' is a nature writing classic I've wanted to read for a long time (from middle grandson); the book by Claire Keegan (from middle grandson's younger brother) is another I've wanted to read for a while ; I loved her previous book 'Foster'. 'These Silent Mansions' (from youngest grandson) is about graveyards. This was a bit of synchronicity because 'The Ink Black Heart' has a graveyard - Highgate Cemetery in London -  as an essential part of its narrative. The 'Slightly Foxed' is a magazine subscription from OH with a copy of the latest volume. He also bought me a lovely gift of soap, candle, reed diffuser set and jam by English Heritage. He sneakily bought them at Kenwood House in Hampstead on our recent London walk.

And I almost forgot this one which was also a present from my daughter...another Persephone for my collection.

We had a lovely Christmas Day with lots of delicious food; plenty of alcohol and fun and games played until late in the evening. The television wasn't even switched on. There were 10 of us around the table for dinner and at one point 12 of us paying games and making merry. We didn't even think to take any photos. I drove my brothers back to Kettering on Boxing Day morning and went for a 4.5 mile walk when I got back. It was cold, breezy, but very bright with a clear blue sky. On Tuesday morning I went for a swim and managed 48 laps. In the afternoon I drove my eldest grandson and his girlfriend back to London. The motorway was very busy and we were constantly being slowed down to 40 mph to deal with the congestion. I wore this:

 The velvet skirt by M&S and polo neck sweater by Isle; both pre-loved. The jumper was bought on my last Lidl shopping trip with the last of my shopping money; I loved the colour. Tights by Snag. Brown leather boots
 were a Christmas present from daughter. Earrings from eBay. In the evening we caught up with some of the 'Gardner's World' special episodes and also watched 'The Festive Pottery Throwdown'.

 Rain put me off walking with the group on Wednesday but I did go for a 4 mile walk with my daughter in the afternoon. I didn't go to Aldi for the usual weekly things I buy as we were still living off leftovers! OH made a curry with the leftover turkey and a lamb stew with the leftover lamb. On Wednesday we finished up the lamb stew and the last bit of salmon en-croute my daughter made; so no food went to waste.

Everything except the boots and skirt was pre-loved. The skirt by George was bought from QD at a charity shop price (5.00); the belt, the top by Next and jacket by Liz Claiborne all from Barnardo's. All jewellery pre-loved.

I had the usual Thursday. A swim in the morning 48 laps; farm shop for kindling and logs followed bu grocery shopping at Lidl, Aldi and Sainsbury's. I popped into my Barnardo's to buy a calendar. For 2023 they produced another William Morris calendar with different designs to 2022. I may have picked up a couple of other items while I was there...then home to unpack all the shopping, hang out a wash (it was a very windy day but cold) sort out the fire and make dinner.

I'd almost forgotten about my dungarees and decided to wear them on Thursday with thick tights underneath. I bought them in the market on the secondhand stall. Jumper pre-loved as was all the jewellery. Boots; retail as before. The jacket by Moto was bought in my Barnardo's a few weeks ago. 

On Friday it was the unofficial bus walk day. We started from Old Warden which is about 8 miles from Bedford; meeting at the village hall. We walked around the Shuttleworth Estate and on to the village of Ickwell which was the starting point for a fairly recent official bus walk with the larger Rambler's group. By the time we got back to Old Warden and the Hare and Hounds pub for coffee we'd walked 6 miles. It drizzled on and off and there were a couple of muddy bits but it was a lovely walk and I was so glad I didn't let the rain put me off.

Shuttleworth House built in 1875-1876 by Henry Clutton for William Shuttleworth who bought the site from the Ongley family. It is now an agricultural college and houses a collection of aircraft and vehicles (The Shuttleworth Collection) which can be visited with several airshows held every year; also the 'Swiss Gardens' which I have not yet visited but plan to do so in the Spring when they re-open. 

We didn't walk close to Shuttleworth House but we did walk up to 'Queen Anne's Summerhouse' through the woods. It was built in the early 18th century so predates the Shuttleworth family and it was believed Queen Anne visited here. You can stay in this property via The Landmark Trust - see a video about it HERE. There were people staying when we walked through the estate but a permissive footpath runs around the building to where the Shuttleworth family's pet cemetery lies.

The bracken turned brown in its winter guise.

We also spotted this inscription on a bench in the woods which made us all chuckle:

A beautifully proportioned Georgian House on Ickwell village green.

St. Leonard's Church; Old Warden.

The church has some nationally important treasures; Anne of Cleves carved panels from the 1540s and the medieval Abbey window from c1370 - the only one in the country depicting an Abbot!

This exquisitely carved serpent on a pew. My friend Jan's grandson loves to come to this church just to stroke the 'snake'. I'm not a religious person but I do enjoy looking at churches in the UK. There's always some fascinating detail or artefact to catch your eye...

 This corner was interesting in that it contained three different types of  carved materials. The wooden angel supporting the roof beams; a stone gargoyle type figure and right at the front the top of a marble memorial stone to this young man below:

The Belfry.

The medieval stained glass window.

The Ongley Mausoleum in the grounds of St. Leonard's Church; Old Warden.

I spent most of the week reading my book in the evenings and on Friday read it into the wee small hours of Saturday morning finally finishing it; all 1012 pages; and a cracking good read it was, too. As I stayed up so late on Friday evening I didn't wake up until 9.30 on Saturday morning. I wore this outfit; everything pre-loved except the boots by Tu which were a Christmas present from my daughter. Jeans by East; top by Boden and the cardigan by Cos was picked up from Barnardo's when I stopped off there to buy a calendar. I won't be going in to volunteer at Barnardo's on Monday 2nd January as my ex sister-in-law is visiting from the USA and will be staying with us for a couple of days.

All jewellery pre-loved.
I went to Sainsbury's in the morning to collect a top I'd ordered online; I then walked to our local international supermarket to top up on seasonings and spices. As we'd be travelling to London on Sunday to have a get together at my ex mum-in-laws and to pick up my sister-in-law; we did the dreaded house cleaning on Saturday and before I knew it; that was it the day was done!

New Year's Day outfit. Polo neck by TU bought from Sainsbury's. Boots as before; jacket by Zara and skirt also by Zara both pre-loved. All jewellery and belt pre-loved.

We had a lovely time in London and I met my nephew's three children for the first time. How quickly children seem to grow or is it just me growing old faster? Anyway, sister-in-law came and stayed until Thursday when I went swimming in the morning; did the usual mile and then drove her back to London  in the afternoon. We went to Cambridge on Wednesday which she really enjoyed and other than a little bit of gentle walking we just chilled out. Completely forgot to take photos whilst Priscilla was here except for this outfit below which I wore to Cambridge. We also didn't take photos of each other together; it's been 20 years since I last saw Priscilla so I hope it's not another 20 years before we do get to take a photo together!

Everything pre-loved except boots as before. 

It was middle grandson's 18th birthday on Thursday and on Friday my phone was stolen (again) so I'll tell you all about that in my next post. Until then stay warm; it seems to have turned very chilly again...


  1. Happy New Year to you Vronni.
    I love your new hairstyle.

    1. Happy New Year. Thank you, JayCee! I had my hair re-styled in July so it's well established now.

  2. Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Vronni! Here's to another year filled with good times, good books, good walks, good friends, and awesome outfits! I love all of your outfits here - that yellow jumper is fab on you!

    I often forget to take pictures when we're with company - I try to remember to do it at the beginning before everyone starts drinking, lol.

  3. Love the New Year's Day outfit especially . The long white pleated skirt is wonderful and the necklace you chose really mirrors the pleats . Beautiful ! Here's to a peaceful, healthy 2022. 🎉

    1. Happy New year to you and thank you! The pleated skirt was of a silvery hue but I do have a white heavy cotton pleated skirt; just waiting for an evening out somewhere to wear it...

    2. Make that 2023 🎉🎉!!

  4. happy new year - dear vronni!!
    your x-mas tree looks totally cute and your festivities with your lovely family sound wonderful - and the description of the food yummy :-D
    gorgeous outfits - all black&white patterns is sublime, the dungaries cool and again fab animal prints..... but the favorite is the one with the white plissé skirt - perfect match of the necklace with said skirt!!

    1. Happy New Year, Beate! The skirt is actually of a silver hue but looks white or cream in the photos. I do have a white pleated skirt, too but not yet worn. Thank you for lovely comments throughout the year.

  5. Happy New Year, Vronni!
    Your Christmas decorations are lovely. We've just dismantled our tree today and Bess isn't too pleased that it's gone. I think she enjoyed it more than we did.
    Lots of fabulous outfits here, my favourites being the one you wore for the Barnardo's get together, your Christmas Day outfit with its stunning dress, and your New Year's Day outfit which is absolutely brilliant! Also loving the yellow jumper you picked up at Lidl, of all places!
    I totally enjoyed tagging along on your walk as well. Ill health and weather have kept us from going outside much, and I've sorely missed walking.
    It must have been wonderful seeing Priscilla again after so many years, and I totally understand it escaped your thoughts to take any photographs! xxx

  6. Happy New Year!
    Beautiful outfits, especially what you wore for Christmas. A bit of sparkle can't really go wrong.

    1. Happy New Year, Goody and thank you for comments throughout the year.

  7. Happy New Year, Vronni! Looking fabulous as always. I kept trying to get Jon to buy one of those jumpers with "Lidl" on them but he wasn't having any of it!
    That bench inscription made me laugh out loud, I love it. I'm also mad about the snake in the church. I'm not surprised your grandson like to visit him. The Pugin floor tiles are gorgeous.
    Sorry to hear about your phone and happy birthday to your Grandson! xxx

    1. Happy New Year, Vix and thank you for comments throughout the year. I loved the floor tiles, too, they were interspersed with plain ones. Not sure if that was the design or the plain ones were replacements for cracked or broken ones...

  8. Happy New Year lovely Vronni! My you were glamorous on Christmas Day. I wore my Christmas jumper, it was only the two of us, but pushed the boat out on Boxing Day with my peacock skirt, for the family get together.
    Loved your tour of Shuttleworth House. I am going away for three days at the weekend and will be walking in the vicinity of Chatsworth House, so look forward to sharing that.
    So glad you got the Clare Keegan, you will love it! I remember Dorothy Whipple from when I had a thing for Persephone books, but don't think I read that one.
    All the very best for a happy and healthy 2023! Time has indeed flown since 2000, when we were frightened by the press about the "Y2K bug" which mercifully never materialised! xx

    1. Thank you Gail! Yes, I remember the 'millenium bug'. The Dorothy Whipple is a relatively new addition to the Persephone catalogue and I'm looking forward to reading it. Hope you had pr are having a fab break near Chatsworth House.

  9. I always enjoy seeing all of the colors and patterns you wear and how so much is preloved! I also enjoy seeing the area around where you live. That bench inscription is really funny!

  10. I'm glad to hear you had such a lovely Christmas and new year. Love the bench!

  11. I'm really late in my commenting!, Anyway, I can not help but stop for a comment, your outfits have inspired me to keep my style colourful and accessorized too when it's so cold!
    Love your preloved jewellery, particularly those massive beads in your first outfit
    Love that Zara dress in orange fabulousness!, love your sequined dress and love your yellow sweater (always in love with this colour on you!). You rock some layering and love particularly that last outfit and how the necklace echoes your skirt print!
    Always lovely to join you for a walk (vicariously) and see some photos!


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