Monday 23 November 2020

A lot of jeans and some cooking


I haven't been doing much since I last posted and am looking forward to the end of this lockdown...

All jewellery charity shopped.

When I started this post we were one week into the mini lockdown. I had booked to walk with my group on Wednesday; but of course due to the lockdown it was cancelled. I wish I could say I went for a walk regardless but I didn't. Instead I did some washing and stuff around the house; and for dinner I tried 'Fish Finger Bhorta'; a recipe by Nigella Lawson from her new TV series. It was delicious; even though I didn't bother with the pink pickled onions sprinkled on the top... I heard part of a feature about it on 'Woman's Hour' on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday morning. The fish fingers seemed to be controversial, I don't know why. I'd definitely make it again!

This was Thursday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except the boots which were bought on line. Jacket by Warehouse and bought from the 50p rail in my Barnardo's; jumper by Next donated by my daughter; trousers are by Zara and years old; I can't remember which charity shop they came from. They are made of a thick material and are nice and warm.

Thursday is my food shopping day so off I set; this time on my own.  Dawn was busy trying to complete the final assignment for her on line course in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). I almost did the same course whilst I worked at the university; but it would have meant travelling to evening classes twice a week -  to Luton. I just couldn't face it after working 5 days a week. And, actually after teaching for 31 years;  the last thing I wanted to do after I retired was to teach again!

Almost everything is charity shopped; jeans by Next and frayed by me, top by Oasis; striped top by Primarni and my old red boots bought online. 

All jewellery charity shopped.

In the afternoon I went into town to run a couple of errands. I spent the rest of the day catching up with Blogland and  doing some pruning and dead heading in the garden. My current book, 'Commonwealth', by Ann Patchett is highly recommended. I've only one more book of hers to read then I'll have read everything she's written. I'm afraid I'm a bit obsessive when I find a new to me author. I've also just finished reading 'Redhead by the Side of the Road' by Anne Tyler; one of my all time favourite authors; and I have to stay I was a little disappointed. The ending was so abrupt! Has anyone else read it? What did you think?

On Friday, to break the monotony we had a trip to Sharnbrook to pick up more coal, then a trip to B&M for bird food and a new doormat. How exciting is my life? This was my outfit; jeans as above, top bought in my Barnardo's the week before lockdown began; jacket by Windsmoor; bought on the 1 euro rail in Donegal. Boots by Primarni but bought in a charity shop.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped.

I managed a 5.5 mile walk in the afternoon which was bright and sunny but with a cool wind. It's good to walk through a golf course and not worry about being hit in the head with a golf ball! I'm leading a walk in mid-December and need to recce it soon. It's been a while since I walked it and I hope I can remember the route. It all depends, of course, on whether our lockdown ends on 2nd December...

Saturday was wet and miserable so no walking for me. In the evening Dawn and I went to dinner at my daughter's. She made a vegetarian meal which was delicious and she'd baked an apple cake for dessert; but I was too full to eat any of it. We took some home to have as dessert on Sunday.

  I went out for a 6 mile walk on Sunday morning when we had a sunny interval that lasted for several hours.  I walked along the river to Priory Marina and back again. Grandchildren and daughter came for dinner. I didn't take any outfit photos at the weekend as I forgot on Saturday and stayed in my walking gear all day on Sunday. 

On Monday, I ran a few errands and spent the afternoon making a macaroni cheese and a Bara brith; or tea loaf as I call it. My mum gave me a recipe for it back in the 1970s which I made for years; but this time I followed a recipe cut out of the Guardian newspaper some time ago. Dawn has shown me how to make Dhal; and shared her Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe with me which I made on Sunday. In the space of little over a week I've learned 3 new recipes (including the Fish Finger Bhorta) which I can add to my repertoire of meals. That's one of the worst things about cooking thinking what to cook for each meal and eventually you run out of ideas. Well, I do and I don't like cooking to start with...

On Tuesday I went to the food bank as usual. There were only 2 of us and we were very busy. This is what I wore - all charity shopped; all from my Barnardo's except the white Gap shirt. Tunic by M&S; jeans by Next and boots. 

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped. 

It was a very grey day on Tuesday; I would have really loved to have gone for a swim. Oh well, only 14 days to go until I can. I cooked dinner, did a wash and sorted out bed linen. I bought a new duvet in Lidl on Monday as my spare duvet was leaking its stuffing. I only noticed when I took the cover off for washing. 13.5 tog rating by SilentNight normally retailing at 52.99; but only 14.99 in Lidl; and I had 2.00 off on my Lidl Plus digital card! Last week I got 10.00 off my weekly shop as I had spent over 200.00 within a certain time period.

A view of some of the shelves in  my study. I've settled on this as the best place to take outfit photos as the light seems alright. I've given up on selfie mode on the camera; and just take the photos in normal mode standing in front of the camera without being able to see the screen - and hoping for the best! As you can see I love Matryoshka dolls and have built up quite a collection...all from charity shops and car boot sales. Some of the animal ones were presents from my eldest grandson.

On Wednesday, it was Dawn's birthday. We're the same age so I welcomed her to the Senior Citizen's club. She should get her pension any day now. I made her my special pancakes for breakfast which we had with bananas, yoghurt and honey. We had Chinese takeaway for dinner to celebrate as we couldn't go out to eat as originally planned before the lockdown. I bought her a (used) Kindle for her birthday as she liked the way the font size can be altered, when I lent her mine. The print in a lot of books is very small and for us older people it can be hard to see. I thought it was a very clever present!

I'm finding it hard to be very inspired in my outfits. I tend to go with jeans as they are the easiest things to wear. Top as above, Boyfriend jeans from Next and yellow and blue top worn underneath by Next as well. All charity shopped.
 Boots online retail.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I did the shopping on Friday for a change and as well going to Lidl, Sainsbury's and Aldi; I checked out the charity near me to see if they were open. They were so I bought some kindling. Once we'd unpacked the shopping I made Soy and Ginger Belly pork for dinner (new recipe #4) and some flapjacks. There was good news too; Dawn has passed her course and is just awaiting her certificate -  and the Kindle I bought for her arrived. I was able to get it set up for her; and she downloaded lots of free books and bought a couple as well.

Everything charity shopped except OTK boots online retail.

Skirt by Per Una, jumper by Bon Marche. I had sworn to never buy anything from this shop as I think it's the epitome of what manufacturers think women of my age should wear; but this was a charity shop find and as there was a light blue one as well, both for 1.00 each; I couldn't resist! Jacket by LB (an Irish company) and was bought in a Donegal charity shop on the 1 euro rail.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Kimono; present from my daughter; dress charity shopped in Ireland; tights charity shopped and boots from my Barnardo's.

All jewellery charity shopped except cuff which was a present from my friend Ann and the ring which was bought from Sainsbury's.

We've had such wet, grey and cold weather this week that I hadn't managed a walk at all.

I made up for it on Saturday and walked to Bromham village and back again; a distance of 6 miles. I wore this skirt by Red Herring; shirt by Punt Roma and the 'I'd never be seen dead wearing that' blue jumper from Bon Marche. Everything charity shopped including Boots by Vanilla Moon from my Barnardo's.

Scarf and all jewellery charity shopped except for...

My little Dutch girl brooch which I bought from Etsy. 

As well as going for a walk; I went into town in the morning to go to Savers for some toiletries; took Dawn to Aldi as she wanted to buy a duvet set she saw yesterday and took my daughter some flowers. I also cooked dinner - a pasta bake - and we watched the first episode of the new BBC4 Icelandic drama 'The Valhalla Murders'.

Sunday was a bright sunny day so I got up and went out for a walk of 6.5 miles. It was very muddy:

At one point I was up to my ankles in mud. The trick is to walk through wet grass as a way of cleaning your boots of mud; it takes the worst of it off. 

OH cooked dinner, chicken curry; and both grandsons came for dinner. The youngest always stays over on a Sunday night and I take him to school in the morning. Starting next week I won't be picking him up from his dad's on Friday mornings and dropping him to school anymore. His dad's shifts are going back to pre-lockdown shifts and Amari will take himself to school. That means I will only have one day per week when I have to get up before 7am - yippee!

On Monday, he most exciting thing I did was go out and buy a new bucket as the old had cracked and was leaking! In need of a bit of something I decided to set  myself a clothes challenge. I have 8 blue knee length dresses - yes really I obviously like blue dresses. To be fair several of them are tunics, which because I'm short fit me like a dress. That's my excuse anyway! I picked out 5 that haven't been worn since last winter and decided to wear one everyday this week. Here's number 1 of my 5 day blue dress challenge:

Everything charity shopped except the boots and fleece lined leggings (so warm and bought last year) which were bought online. Dress by White Stuff; no label cardigan.

All jewellery charity shopped. Unfortunately I lost  one of the earrings whilst out buying the bucket...

I'll feature the other 4 blue dresses in my next post. Meanwhile, stay safe, take care and stay as wonderful as you all are.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

5th year anniversary and a mini lockdown (I hope!)

Hello again - on the 3rd November it was my blogiversary; I 've been blogging for 5 years now. How the time has flown! I started out blogging weekly but changed to fortnightly as blogging can be very time consuming. I've made so many blogging friends and find the blogging community to be very supportive. It's great to find like minded people and read about their lives. Long may it continue!

This is what I wore for the foodbank last Tuesday. Jacket by John Rocha; my Barnardo's, skirt by Red Herring BNWT in Bury St. Edmunds last weekend; jumper 1.00 rail somewhere. I'm wearing red boots bought online retail; I rarely wear them as they're cheap and plasticky looking (one of the drawbacks of buying online - they looked fab in the photo!) but they are very comfortable and easy to get on and off.

Scarf and jewellery charity shopped.

After the foodbank I had to go into town to do some errands: when I had done that I went off for my pre-booked swim. I did 41 lengths but at the start I almost forgot I was wearing makeup; luckily I spotted it in the loo before I went in the pool. I have a swimming toiletries bag which is always packed and ready; I keep it in my swimming bag so I was able to use the wipes and clean the makeup off! I usually swim on a Friday but changed it to Tuesday in case I was doing something with the grandsons on Friday as it was still half term. The younger grandson had a busy half-term week; bowling, a visit to the London Dungeon to name just a couple of things. The middle grandson, almost 16, is harder to find things to do with; understandably few 15 years old want to be seen with their Nan...

On Wednesday I walked with the group in a local village called Turvey; we did a 6.5 mile loop around the village. The village houses are mostly made of limestone which can range from a pale grey to an almost sandy colour...

Took this view from the top of a hill

Everything is charity shopped from my Barnardo's; top, jacket and jeans . The jacket is by Zara. Boots bought online.

When I got back from the walk I changed into this outfit and set off for London; where I was picking up my ex sister-in-law. She was coming to stay with me for a while. I hadn't seen her for a long time as she had moved back to South Africa but was now back in the UK for good.

All jewellery and scarf charity shopped.

Thursday was my usual food shopping day; but this time I had some company! We also went to pick up coal from the farm shop in Sharnbrook. In the afternoon, I took Dawn my S-i-L, to a couple of our charity shops including Barnardo's. She found some great things and was very pleased with what she found. I started the day with a trip to the hairdresser...

On Friday, my daughter had booked for us to have afternoon tea in a hotel in Newport Pagnell.

Daughter and S-i-L.

The tea was delicious and we had lots left over which naturally came home with us...

It was a strangely mild day but I wasn't too hot despite wearing this wool dress by M&S; jacket by Honor Milburn. Boots bought online as before.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Saturday after much stopping and starting; Boris announced we're set for another lockdown starting on 5th November up until 2nd December. The first thing I did was rebook my Friday swimming session to a Wednesday one - it will be the last one I do for four weeks. I shall miss this the most.  I plan to swim twice a week when this mini lockdown is over.  There is something about swimming which is completely different to when I'm walking. Of course, the activity and the medium is very different; but with walking I am thinking things through and sorting out stuff in my head; whereas with swimming I don't think about things very much, if at all. I seem to concentrate on what my body is doing; from my head to my feet and focus on getting from one end of the pool to the other; and how many more laps I have to do until I hit 40. I worked out this difference between my two major activities whilst walking!

We had a quiet weekend overall and I took Dawn into town with me to run a few errands and to familiarise her with the town and surrounding area. She will probably be  here with us throughout the latest lockdown.
 On Sunday, everyone came for dinner except middle grandson who was feeling very tired...

This was Monday's outfit worn to volunteer at Barnardo's. The shop will be closed from Thursday onwards. Trousers by M&S, BNWT bought last Monday at my Barnardo's. The top is a Primarni one bought for 1 euro in a Donegal charity shop. Boots bought at my Barnardo's, too.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Tuesday I was back at the foodbank. We won't be closing so I will still be volunteering on a Tuesday morning throughout this mini lockdown. In the afternoon I was supposed to be taking the youngest grandson to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge; as he had an audiology appointment. They cancelled  the appointment that morning; but Dawn and I decided to go to Cambridge anyway for a rummage and a wander around. We visited the city centre; saw some of the colleges and visited Burleigh Street where there are 10 charity shops all very close together. I bought a handmade green woollen skirt and a couple of necklaces - well, I had to buy something -  the charity shops will be closed for the next month! Unfortunately the green skirt was too large on the hips and has gone into the charity shop donations bag...

I went for my final swim on Wednesday before the lockdown started. Did my 2k or 40 laps. After the swim we went into town to run some errands as many of the shops would be closed from Thursday. We went to Wilco for bird food and a new mop; my steam mop has given up and I thought I'd wait  until after lockdown to buy a replacement. The newly bought mop will be relegated to the bathroom mop once the new steam mop arrives. I returned one of my library books; the library will be closed again unfortunately. We also went to the butcher and to Superdrug and the Black Hair shop which sells black hair products and cosmetics and is always worth a look in. I'm forever looking for the perfect red lipstick. And talking of lipstick; I wear two colours of Essence lipsticks (by Wilco) regularly. I noticed in there they had a new range of Essence products which means the two I normally buy will be discontinued (aaargh!) but they had some of the old range in a reduced box. I was able to pick up one of each colour at the reduced price of 75p each!

This was Wednesday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. Skirt by M&S, jumper by Tu and shirt by F&F. The boots were also charity shopped but can't remember where...the tights are orange but don't look it in this photo.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings bought in Debenhams sale last year.

It was a lovely bright sunny day on Wednesday - no rain, but it was chilly. OH said he had seen a gritter out on Tuesday evening so there might have been a frost expected. There was - I saw photos on IG!

All jewellery and headscarf charity shopped.

This was Thursday's outfit. The top is by M&S; it's made of wool and was a gift from my ex mum-in-law about 12 years ago. The trousers were charity shopped and the boots were online retail.

The last hurrah from the garden. The yellow chillies are very hot and to be used sparingly! The rose is having a resurgence after blooming earlier this year; I cut this one and there are two more buds waiting to flower.  One of the other roses is also reflowering. I still having fuchsias blooming, some begonias, a cyclamen and the unknown orange flower is still blooming well. The chillis have all now been used!

This is the Salvia Sebastian we bought in the reduced section at the plant shop at Anglesey Abbey. We went just before I went to Ireland and it's only just blooming...I bought the orange wooden plant holder at the charity where I buy the kindling from. They make them themselves out of salvaged wood.

I went for a 6 mile walk on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My sister-in-law isn't a walker but we went on a stroll to our local park on Friday afternoon as she needed to get out for some fresh air.

I missed going into Barnardo's on Monday. I took grandson to school as usual; I made chicken soup and flapjacks and did two lots of whites washing. I've managed to draw up 2 family trees and only have 2 more to go. This was Monday's outfit; everything  is charity shopped. Trousers by M&S, jumper by F&F; look at those massive sleeves; it's a very impractical jumper but warm and toasty and mustard yellow! Green boots from River Island.

All jewellery charity shopped. I found a leather mini rucksack handbag in the loft on Monday when putting something away up there. It's from River Island and I think it was my daughter's from the late 1990s. It will be very useful when I go walking in Bedford and don't want to carry my normal big rucksack. Shopping my loft is almost as good as shopping my closet! The lamp in my dining room broke and I found one on eBay. I made an offer as I hate the bidding business.

The seller delivered it to me on Monday morning and I'm very pleased with it. On Monday too, it was announced that a vaccine may be available by the end of the month and that by next Spring it could be rolled out to everyone. If they have found a vaccine that's wonderful but so little is still known about how effective it might be. I think I shall be very cautious and do my research before I decide to have it.

At the food bankI had a busy morning unpacking crates and crates of toiletries. Then I sorted the baby food and finally marked up cereals and tins. This was what I wore. Everything charity shopped. Skirt by M&S as is the green cardigan. The top is by Next and the boots are from the Cat's Protection League.

All jewellery charity shopped.

In the afternoon; as it was such a bright, sunny day I took my sister-in-law for a drive around some of the local villages; and went to look at the two houses where we previously lived. She had come to stay with me at both of them in the past; and the whole thing was very nostalgic remembering the days out with our children. When I first came to live in Bedfordshire I lived in a house in the grounds of the hospital and that hospital and its grounds are now a luxury housing estate. 

That's what I've been up to - how about you?

Tuesday 3 November 2020

The 7 Day Skirt Challenge

I decided to take part  in Gail's of 'Is This Mutton' 7 Day skirt challenge see HERE ; but I will state from the beginning that I cheated! I didn't wear these skirts everyday over the past 7 days. I did wear 5 of them in October; but the other 2 were worn earlier this year in July. In reverse date of wearing order:

Day 1

Skirt by Anokhi for East; jacket by M&S and top by Next - all charity shopped.

Day 2

Jacket and camisole both M&S. Skirt by Anokhi. All charity shopped.

Day 3

Skirt by French Connection; top no label; shirt by Gap. Everything is charity shopped.

Day 4

Skirt by Laura Ashley, jumper by Seasalt. Everything charity shopped.

Day 5
Skirt by Next; top by Pepperberry. Everything charity shopped.

Day 6

Skirt by M&S, merino wool top (I usually wear this as part of my walking gear) and boots; all charity shopped. Leather jacket by Asos; present from my daughter.

Day 7

Blazer by John Rocha, skirt by Red Herring, jumper no label - all charity shopped. Boots online retail.


Weird weather...

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