Saturday 17 December 2016

A week of shirts and blouses

 Monday's outfit - Day 1 - Shirt/blouse challenge

I spent £2.75 in Save the Children on Monday: a shirt for my grandson, a ring (see below) and a small  leather purse to fit in my rucksack when I'm out walking. 

 Everything is charity shopped except the boots (Sainsbury's) and earrings (e bay).

I finally tidied my bookshelves by taking all the stray books lying on top of the vertical rows and stacking them on the floor under the bottom bookshelf. Once I've finished my most recent library book I'll start reading my way through the floor dwelling books until they are gone...that's the plan anyway, and it should work as long as I don't buy any more books!

Shirt, Charles Tyrwhitt and bought in Cambridge Cancer Research last year for £5.00. Charles Tyrwhitt shirts have been around since 1986 and like the shirt from the shirtmaker in Tuesday's outfit, both companies are based in Jermyn Street, London.  The pinafore dress is from New Look; can't remember which charity shop I bought it from. All other jewellery charity shopped.

I thought I might be starting at the Bedford Guildhouse this Tuesday but it will be 10th January; also I start at the Red Cross on 9th January.  New Year, new beginnings!

 For once I had free day on a Tuesday so I put it to good use and finished my Christmas shopping!

Day 2 - Shirt/blouse challenge

As you can see I do love my Sainsbury's boots! Note the white flower ring bought yesterday...

All clothing charity shopped.

This is the M&S skirt I bought last week in Barnardo's. It has a leather trim at the waist and on the faux pockets. It's wool, so it was nice and warm.   Purple tights, charity shopped somewhere. This lilac, purple, pink and blue shirt is by TM Lewin and on their website it says:

The first T.M.Lewin opened in Jermyn Street in 1898. This bustling London Street soon became a magnet for the world’s finest tailors and Mr. Thomas Mayes Lewin was among the industry’s original innovators. A hundred years ago, shirts didn’t have buttons down the front. T.M.Lewin’s ‘coat-shirts’ were not only pioneering, they are a prototype of the modern shirt worn today.

Who knew?

  Both the shirt and the purple cardigan, came from the Red Cross shop.

Necklace bought by OH in charity shop, bangle, watch, earrings and brooch all charity shopped.

I didn't manage a shirt/blouse on Wednesday as I went walking in the morning with the Ramblers. 6.5 miles from the village of Southill to Broom and back to Southill; followed by our annual Christmas meal. I changed, with great difficulty in the car, from walking gear into a pair of trousers and a tunic.

The trick is to wear a pair of leggings under the walking trousers and a vest underneath the top; then take one off at a time and slip on the replacement garments. Of course I changed out of muddy boots,  gaiters and walking socks first into a pair of black boots!

These are my steel pan  earrings from Trinidad - bought for me by OH when he was en route for Jamaica  many years ago and had a stopover.

Velvet trousers, Debenhams. Tunic, charity shopped, boots donated by my daughter. Necklace, watch and bangles charity shopped.

Day 3 - Shirt/blouse challenge

I think you might describe this as a blouse rather than a shirt. I have to confess I don't know what the difference is between a shirt and a blouse - they can both have buttons, for example. This one is from La Redoute, bought in a sale, and this is the first time I've ever worn it.  I wore this sparkly bling to accompany Sheila; you can find her fabulous blog; 'Ephemera' here. She's doing a week of sparkly outfits!

I don't have much in the way of sparkly clothes but I do have some sparkly jewellery. The earrings are from ebay; 99p and the necklace bought locally.

Waistcoat, Zara. Trousers, Topshop; headscarf, and boots from Italy, all charity shopped. I don't like these trousers anymore; off to the charity shop bag for them.

On Thursday OH had a rare day off so we went to Stony Stratford just outside Milton Keynes. We looked around the charity shops. Did I buy anything? Yes. I bought two necklaces for a £1.00 each, two padded hangers (you can never have too many of these) a felt Merry Christmas banner for 50p and a pair of Red Herring jeans for grandson; £2.50. Did I buy any clothes for me? No! It was supposed to be a week of abstention so I abstained. Total spend £6.00.

Day 4 - Shirt/blouse challenge

This is a pretty cheapskate outfit; everything is charity shopped except the boots which are the latest addition to my wardrobe of daughter donated boots (DDB).

The trousers are Next maternity ones (sale rail £1.00 somewhere) which although very comfortable, tend to fall down around my hips. I  have a tummy but not a pregnant one so this will be going into the charity shop bag. The shirt is from M&S bought at the Red Cross £1.99; top 50p rail in one of the charity shops in Royston some months ago. I bought 3 x 50p tops there and have worn all of them now. Cost of outfit £3.49!

Necklace was a £1.00 from Keech Hospice shop last week and all other jewellery is charity shopped except the teal ring from Sainsbury's.

Day 5 - Shirt /blouse challenge

My week of abstention was up so I visited my two favourite charity shops in the town on Saturday morning. In the 3:16 shop I bought a chambray tunic for £1.75; an animal print beret from Next - never worn, these two silver containers below, in which I will put flowers and a couple of other bits all for a donation of a couple of quid.

At the Red Cross shop I bought a brown velvet jacket to replace the one I put in the charity shop bag some months ago as the arms were too tight on me; I bought a pair of jeans and a nice casual jacket for one of the grandsons - all £1.99 each.  Total £5.97 + £3.75 from the 3:16 shop + £6.00 spend on Thursday on Stony Stratford = £14.72. Quite restrained by my standards!

After my little splurge I went for a short walk of 4.5 miles around our local area, and on the way back I spotted this on a street I rarely walk:

We have three other blue plaques that I know of in Bedford but I didn't know about this one.

Everything charity shopped except the boots - Xmas present from daughter about 4 years ago

Trousers, Tu from the Hospice shop in Kempston; denim shirt and grey knitted top charity shopped but can't remember where. I love denim shirts and have 3 in my wardrobe - all slightly different.
Can you see my new watch? It's from Next and is a very tiny rectangle. I love tiny watches but I don't know why I bother with them, as unless I've got my glasses on, I can't see the watch face!

All jewellery charity shopped except for the blue ring.

I have also been getting rid of items from my wardrobe this week; so far the count is 3 cardigans, a small bag of jewellery - mostly earrings, a handbag, 2 pairs of trousers, 3 pairs of skinny jeans - I've gone right off them - and 1 dress. 9 items plus 1 handbag out, 3 items in. That's more like it!

I've got a busy week next week but my plan for outfits is for a week of tunics. The following week, the only thing I can come up with, is a week of maxis. I'm enjoying doing these challenges as I'm getting to wear more of the clothes in my wardrobe and it's helping me make decisions about what to discard and what to keep.

If I don't post again before Christmas I wish you all a peaceful and blessed holiday.


Sunday 11 December 2016

A bit of a do and some cardigans...

I'll start at the beginning...
On Friday we attended the funeral of my lovely neighbour of 25 years. She had a white carriage and two white horses to take her to the church and her final resting place. I wanted to take a photo of the carriage and horses but it would have been disrespectful. RIP Cynthia. We will miss you.

This was my funeral outfit. Skirt, Phase Eight charity shopped, top M&S charity shopped.
Jacket and boots; both past Christmas presents from my daughter. Hat, Primark; past Christmas present from eldest grandson.

All jewellery charity shopped.

OH's outfit for the funeral - coat charity shopped in a Leather Lane charity shop in London - he sweet talked the volunteer to get it out of the window for him!

Then off we went to Luton Hoo. It was a bit of a rush in the end because of the traffic in Luton but the hotel was brilliant. The park, the hotel and golf complex is situated in, is enormous. We saw deer, pheasants, ducks and geese from the two french windows in our room. Forgot to take photos of it - what am I like?

Everything, except watch (present from daughter) and earrings (Sainsbury's), was charity shopped.
The bag was given to my mum who gave it to me.

I have to admit to being a little disappointed in my dress; it didn't fit as well as I thought - either that, or I have lost some of my tummy - highly unlikely; me and my tummy have been together a long time now...I wished I'd stuck to my e bay dress but it was too late.

We had a really nice evening. The food was lovely - except for my dessert which was too sweet and cloying, and I'm a woman with a sweet tooth! Anyway, it was great to meet OH's work colleagues who seemed a lovely bunch. There was booze a plenty; no Canadian Club unfortunately but I had Southern Comfort instead and few glasses of Prosecco - which I liked - much nicer than champagne. I didn't get drunk but OH did. We were both very giggley but luckily neither of us had a headache the next day.

Someone took this photo of us...

No rummaging for us in the Luton charity shops. OH managed to get some last minute tickets for the Arsenal v Stoke game on Saturday; we departed the hotel early so OH and middle grandson could get to London to the Emirates Stadium on time.

Did that stop me rummaging? Did it heck! I was very tired as I hadn't slept all that well; I only managed two charity shops in Kempston. I bought some bargain wool at 3 balls for a pound; then in the Hospice shop I bought a yellow and black dress with floaty sleeves for £4.50 from Wallis, and a necklace for £1.50. Add this further £7.00 spend to my current total spend of £23.50, and my absolute total spend this week is £30.50 - a record, I think!

I think this might be my Christmas day outfit...

I have to finish my Christmas present shopping this coming week; volunteer at the charity shop; walk with and have a Christmas meal with my walking group on Wednesday, so I doubt I'll do any more charity shopping. I need to cut back and a week's abstinence will do me good.

I've heard back from the Bedford Guildhouse and they would like me to sort and price the donations they receive for their charity shop, which only opens on Saturdays;  I feel well able to do this after the past fourteen months at Save the Children. I may start on Tuesday next.

Saturdays' outfit - Day 5, Cardigan challenge

Tunic, cardigan and top underneath tunic all charity shopped. Boots; present from daughter and black trousers; Lidl.

I had hoped to wear the green cardigan that I bought on Barnardo's 99p rail over this tunic, but it didn't look right - too boxy in shape. In the end I went with this red cardigan, but I also have a yellow cardigan I could wear with it and two different black ones. I can also wear it over shirts or blouses; I like items like this they can be made to be very versatile.

Earrings; Bedford market, red ring; Sainsbury's. Other jewellery charity shopped.

This week with buying so much stuff I have managed to get rid of two jackets; two tops; a pair of jeans; a shirt and a pair of boots. Seven items out but nine items of clothing in; something's not quite right there! Must do better.

Sunday's outfit - Day 6 Cardigan challenge

Cardigan, Next; trousers New Look; blue top; no label, boots, German made - everything charity shopped.

The earrings are from Sainsbury's.

Necklace £1.00 at Oxfam - months ago; this is the first time I've worn it.

I had a lovely 7 mile walk this morning; it started out chilly but bright and then the sun stayed out. It was fantastic walking weather but a bit muddy after all the rain. I saw three Goldfinches and a flock of what I think were Lapwings who winter here.

I'm thinking about a week of shirts for next week's challenge...

Friday 9 December 2016

A week of...cardigans

Purple and orange alstromerias this week to match my tunic below! The lilac ones are still looking fresh but are on the dining room table.

I finally finished 'Barkskins' by Annie Proulx. I really think it could have been 100 pages shorter and still been an engrossing read. It was an eulogy to the destruction of the forests in Canada, USA and elsewhere in the world; told through the story of two French settlers in Canada in the 17th century and the dynasties they founded. 

I managed to squeeze in 5.5 mile walk on Sunday morning but have only managed two shortish walks last week. I'd prefer to do three walks a week of at least 7 miles duration. I should be able to walk this Wednesday and Thursday and probably Sunday, so I might achieve my goal this week.

The clothes challenge this week is to wear a different cardigan everyday. Shouldn't be too difficult I own lots; in fact I nearly counted them all but chickened out because I'd end up feeling too guilty...

Monday's Outfit - Day One

I need a haircut. I'm having it cut on Friday and can't wait. All jewellery charity shopped.

I bought this tunic last week at The Red Cross shop for £1.99. It's TU by Sainsbury's and a lovely mix of purple, orange, cream, navy and turquoise. The rust coloured cardigan is by Hobbs and was also a £1.99 bargain from the Red Cross some weeks ago. I nearly wore a purple cardigan with bell sleeves instead but it just wasn't warm enough for a thin cardigan.

Purple leggings, online retail and boots by Sainsbury's.

I was so proud of myself on Monday and Tuesday for my minimum spending. On Monday, I left Save the Children with two headscarves and two small Christmas decorations - total spent £2.50. On Tuesday, after volunteering at the foodbank - we were so busy; so many donations - I had lots of errands to run in town. This is usually fatal for me because I have to look in the charity shops, but I was very good and only looked in 2. In the Red Cross I spent the princely sum of 80p on a padded hanger and in the 3: 16 charity shop, I managed to knock over one of their Christmas trees smashing several glass baubles in the process - oops! I spent a £1.00 in there on two velvet brooches at 50p each. £3.50 spent in total so far.

Tuesday's Outfit - Day 2

This cardigan came from Save the Children back in October and I last wore it here. It's from Blarney Mills in Ireland and was beautifully warm.  The brown jeans are a Red Cross bargain as was the top. Boots from Debenhams and were a Christmas present from OH.

It was foggy, damp and cold all day on Tuesday. It's always cold at the Foodbank because we keep the door open constantly so people know where to bring their donations; plus the volunteer driver is in and out with donations and dropping off food parcels to the distribution centres all day.

50p earrings and Elephant necklace bought in the Salvation Army last week. Bangles and watch also charity shopped.

As the weather seems to be improving from Wednesday I plan to go to Ampthill in the afternoon after my walk and check out their four charity shops.

I had a very good time  in the Ampthill charity shops even though one of the four was closed! Barnardos had a huge sale rail with everything 99p. Even though I said earlier I had lots of cardigans I have added another two to my collection - one of which I'm wearing below. The other has short sleeves and is green flecked - both 99p. I also bought a black summer dress from Italy; a brown M&S wool pencil skirt; a golden bronze asymmetric skirt from Next; a red top, a blue top; a purple and black shirt with big sleeves; a navy blue Boden jacket; red Clarks shoes;  and a ring   - all 99p. I bought OH a pairs of trousers for 99p, grandson a hoodie for £1.99 ; some bits and bobs for the house; £2.99 and a pair of tights for 49p. In the RSPCA shop I bought some household items at 3 for a £1.00 and  a neck pillow for £1.50. Total spend - £20.00.

Wednesday's outfit - Day 3

Crochet cardigan 99p at Barnardo's. Top; Phase Eight, Save the Children. Boots and skirt also charity shopped; boots from  Barnardo's, Great Denham some weeks back.

 Skirt; M and Co but can't remember which charity shop I got it from...

All jewellery charity shopped including the new orange/coral ring from Barnardo; 99p.

Eldest grandson is back for a few days; it's lovely to see him. He took these photos and somehow has managed to include his thumb in the middle photo!

Wednesday and Thursday were extremely mild days - such a contrast after Monday! I walked 7 miles on my own onThursday morning and having started off in the gloom, it brightened up but then clouded over again.

Thursday's outfit - Day 4 

This is the rather fabulous necklace OH bought me when we went rummaging in Kettering a couple of weekend ago. I bought these earrings in a local shop; they're silver and I've had them for at least 20 years. The cerise velvet brooch was 50p from the 3:16 charity shop on Tuesday.

Today I wore a purple velvet cardigan. It's one of the very few (3) things I've ever bought at TK Maxx and I've had it for about 8 years. The purple patterned top was one of the 99p purchases at Barnardo's on Wednesday. I meant to take a photo of me with just the top, as it has lovely pointy sleeves, but my photographer - middle grandson  - was eager to get on with the things 11 year olds like to do!

Headscarf and jeans charity shopped; boots donated by my daughter.

I know I've only posted four days worth of cardigans, but on Friday I have a manically busy day. Here how it's going to go; school run, hairdressers, funeral, school run, travel to Luton Hoo for OH's work do and stay overnight. So, I shall post again on Sunday with the fifth cardigan outfit and pictures of the 'do' outfit. As we are in Luton overnight we may have a rummage around the Luton charity shops on Saturday morning before heading home....


Saturday 3 December 2016

A week of trousers...

I thought I would continue the clothes challenge by wearing a week of trousers. Not too challenging for me except it will be a week of trousers; not leggings, not jeans; not skinnies but actual trousers!

But first, let me show you number 6 of my dress challenge which I wore last Saturday. The previously mentioned black velvet swing dress. I don't think it looks too bad...OH liked it so it's a keeper at least for a while. I wore it on Saturday when we went out for a meal with my three brothers. A lovely time was had by all. Lots of laughs and reminiscences.

I popped into town on Saturday morning and looked in the Red Cross shop on my way home. I picked up a pair of black cords for £1.00. My charity shop spend for this past week is £19.

I can't remember where I bought this dress from but it was a charity shop. Tights charity shopped.

The necklace was bought in a junk shop for £1.00. All the jewellery is charity shopped.

Black leather boots donated by my daughter. That's three pairs of ankle boots she's passed on to me and I believe there's a beige pair wending its way as well...

On Monday I came home from Save the Children with a rusty orange top from Phase Eight for £4.00; a short sleeved M & S grey cardigan £2.00; t shirt for grandson 75p; a special cup and saucer for a Christmas present £2.50. I also bought a pair of earrings and a silver bangle for 50p each at Keech Hospice shop. Total spend £10.25. I have a very busy week this week and probably won't have anymore time to go to the charity shops so that might be the grand total for this week!

Monday's outfit - Day 1 Trouser Challenge

Tunic bought last Thursday for £2.99 in the Cat's Protection League and black cords bought on Saturday for £1.00 in British Red Cross. The top underneath the tunic is one of the £1.00 rail bargains I got on my charity shop trawl to Royston and Baldock some months back...

Black boots from Next; Christmas present from daughter some years ago.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Day 2 - Trouser challenge

I wore jeans for comfort on Tuesday as I travelled in the afternoon to Cambridge for an overnight stay. On Wednesday we went to Huntingdon for a pre inquest hearing so I had to dress a bit soberly - given the circumstances. I opted for navy with a bit of animal print for contrast.

Everything charity shopped except the boots which are from Lidl.

All jewellery charity shopped.

This was probably not the best week for a trouser challenge so I will have to extend it into the weekend to ensure at least 5 trouser outfits. On Thursday I walked 5.5 miles in the morning and then I donned a dress for a job interview in the afternoon. Yes, I applied for a job and gave my interview dress its christening. Now I've got to the interview stage I'm not actually sure I want the job!  The money would be so useful, through. If only I had my state pension as I'd planned...but then the government moved the goal posts and now I have to wait for another two years and ten months.

 I didn't get the job but I have to say I was relieved. I really don't want to to do any more paid work. I contributed for 45 years to the economy and tax system and I think that's enough.


Boots - donated by daughter. Dress, Lidl. Coat; David Emmanuel; charity shopped.

I would not like to have to dress like this every day!

All jewellery charity shopped.

I should have gone for a walk on Friday but it was such a grey, gloomy day I didn't fancy it. I should be able to walk on Sunday morning if I get up reasonably early. I hope the weather is brighter. I had errands to run in town and I walked to the Castle Road charity shops. I just cannot resist charity shops if I'm in the vicinity and neither could I resist buying anything. I spent £8.50 on accessories; scarves x 3, necklaces and a brooch. I''m supposed to be looking for long black boots....

I  also couldn't resist going into the Red Cross shop to say hello (it's on my way home) and of course I bought something - a multicoloured tunic and a book. For the first time in my life I got a discount of 20% in a charity shop; not because I'm such a good customer (!) but because they were offering 20% discount to all customers who have a Red Cross loyalty card - and I do!

I've read on other blogs where the thrift shops in the US and Canada routinely offer special discounts but this is definitely a first for me in the UK. Having decided to curb my spending - fat chance - my total spend this week is £20.75.

Friday's outfits - Trouser Challenge  3 and 4

A bit more colour today.

Everything charity shopped. Cords from Red Cross £1.00

I can't remember where I bought this green paisley top but it was a charity shop. It's home made and I love the  bits of yellow and blue in it. I have no idea how old it is and the material is a silky type - rayon maybe?

It was my Christmas meal with Save the Children volunteers on Friday evening. It was only around the corner from where I live so I was able to stagger round there in these heels which are about 3 inches high and the absolute maximum I can handle! The shoes (Twiggy at M&S) and the black velvet trousers (Debenhams) are both past Christmas voucher presents from OH. He gets one every year from his company and always passes it on to me!

This top was my mum's. It was a favourite of hers and I like it too; unfortunately the metallic thread in the sleeves irritated me and I kept scratching at my arms throughout the meal. I'll have to wear a long sleeved top under it next time. The silver bag was also my mum's but she gave it to me many years ago; long before she died.

All jewellery is charity shopped except the rings.

This velvet coat is by Boden and was charity shopped about 7 years ago. I've only worn it a few times and must wear it more often. I wore a huge purple velvet shawl over the coat for additional warmth - I hate to feel cold.

Saturday's outfit -  Trouser Challenge -Day 5

I went to see my son on Saturday and left him in time for grandson to get back and watch the Arsenal game. I have a houseful of football fanatics...

I like to wear bright colourful clothes but I also love black and white together. I bought these beads on Friday for £1.00 in the Children's Society. Earrings, bangles and watch charity shopped.

Top and trousers charity shopped.
Boots donated by daughter.

This long top was a Christmas present 14 years ago from my ex mum in law. It's 100% wool and a very useful item of clothing. I think it's among one of the few items in my wardrobe I've had for more 10 years and one that I still wear.

So what's next week challenge? I think I'll try a week of cardigans; I have so many this one should be a doddle... I'm off now to drink a large glass of Canadian Club, ice and Dry Ginger Ale and watch Modus. Fancy joining me?

Have a great week!

Fine weather, flea markets and funerals.

Hello and welcome! Posting a day later than usual; if you want to know why - do read on... (Pre-hair cut of course!) Wednesday was a lovely ...