Tuesday 5 July 2022

A new hairstyle and the end of the clothes buying ban.


Hello,  yes it's that time again...

I take back what I said about the passionflower on our back wall. I can count 8 blooms here and this was only a third of the plant's expanse - OH took this photo on his phone. One sweet pea flower  - a deep red one greeted me on Wednesday morning. Which was another scorcher reaching 27 degrees by the afternoon. I woke up really early; just before 5 am and to my surprise a wee robin flew in the narrow side window. Our bed is in the square bay window; the robin flew behind our secondary double glazing panel in the window (it slides open and shut) and I was able to coax it back towards the window and then to freedom. What a great, if somewhat startling, way to wake up!

I went to Aldi and Sainsbury's for part of the weekly food shop on Wednesday. I'm finding it easier to do the weekly shopping like this now; split over two days. I buy different things in different supermarkets so this works well. For example in Aldi I like their Earl Grey teabags;  Magnum washing up liquid;Blackcurrant and Liquorice sweets; their skin products; especially the Caviar Night Cream (currently out of stock for the past few months) and their Sourdough Rye bread. I buy the least groceries in Sainsbury's buying bacon; sausages; a garlic and herb seasoning and when they have them pikelets. Pikelets are like flat skinny crumpets; both grandsons love them. Everything else I buy at Lidl. 

I should have worn something cooler...

I should also have worn another 'unworn' new to me dress but instead I opted to wear this; a Fenn, Wright and Manson open work tunic which was bought at Barnardo's early last year and not worn until today.  I had to wear a vest underneath it to preserve my modesty and was a bit too warm for comfort. The trousers by Next were also a Barnardo's buy; the shoes bought in an Irish charity shop. The jewellery all charity shopped; I picked the square yellow bangle up on Monday from the Independent charity shop in town for the princely sum of 50 p! The headscarf was one of the belated Christmas presents I received from my stepdaughter. I was very matchy-matchy on Wednesday especially as I wore this yellow cross body saddle bag by Matthew Williamson; also a Barnardo's find last year.

After I'd put my grocery shopping away I went to the Castle Road shops for a browse. There are 3 charity shops there and a junk shop; they're always worth a look. I found a brooch, a necklace and a book. I then picked up youngest grandson from school. I made dinner and a sponge cake with leftover buttercream icing from the birthday cake I made last week. I hadn't made a cake in months and in less than a week I'd made two! I also finally got round to taking up the white flared trousers I'd bought in Lincoln leaving one long dress still to hem...

Thursday was hectically busy. I started as I usually do with a tour of the garden where there were new things to see:

These lilies on the left are day lilies and there were several blooming. The coreopsis had bloomed.
The agapanthus was bursting out of the bud and the new orange geranium had its first bloom.

Both hydrangeas had one bloom each.

One of the succulents had produced a flower!

I went for a swim; swimming the usual 48 laps. From there I went to the hairdressers where I decided to try something different. Short hair can be very boring and I wanted a change:

It's been shaved at the sides and the back with a quiff on top which will grow longer in due course. However, I have Alopecia Areata and because of the shaved areas the bald patches were very noticeable particularly at the back. I thought what the heck; I have bald patches in various places - so what - and although the hair probably won't ever grow back over the patches (I've had AA since 2007); once the back in general grows out a bit more it may not be so noticeable and I don't have to have the back shaved again; just cut very close to the scalp. I can't see it so I don't really care!

Sorry, it's a fuzzy picture but the bald areas go in a V shape from behind  one ear to the other. I also have bald spots on the top of my head and over each ear...

I wore this dress which has featured on the blog a couple of times before before. Charity shopped but originally by F&F; Italian made linen jacket also charity shopped. Birkenstocks donated by my daughter. The dress gapes at the front so I usually put a camisole underneath; it was a bit too warm on Thursday for camisoles. I regretted it as when I went to do the food shopping at Lidl; several buttons came undone exposing my bra to all and sundry! All jewellery charity shopped; I forgot to put on rings or bangles. Before I went food shopping I took the middle grandson for a job interview at Aldi. Then I rushed home to pack away the food shopping as my friend Ann was coming round for a catch up. It was so lovely to see her. We had fish and chips for dinner as I couldn't be bothered to cook...

Still warm on Friday but cloudier. I stayed in bed later than usual. I've been waking up as soon as its light and can't always get back to sleep but today I did. After putting on a wash and getting ready I ventured out to Ampthill to look round their 4 charity shops. I was deeply disappointed in Barnardo's. It was, quite frankly, a mess and they seemed short of clothes. Needless to say I bought nothing there. I bought a pair of earrings and a rather nice sun hat from the V&A in the RSPCA charity shop so my trip wasn't in vain.

Everything I wore was charity shopped. Sandals as before; trousers and top by F&F. Linen kimono/duster by Billi. What a pain to iron and to make matters worse the label was made of some type of plastic material (how I hate it when manufacturers do that) I burnt it with the iron leaving a gooey mess stuck to the iron plate. I have some metal type scouring pads which are brilliant at cleaning iron hot plates and they did the trick. I was surprised as Billi is, according to my research, one of the top sustainable clothing brands. I have another Billi garment too but can't remember which it is but like the kimono/duster it was also charity shopped. All jewellery charity shopped. I wore 2 necklaces as I couldn't decide between them. When OH got home we went to the newly opened pub and had a sharing platter for dinner. The food was good and next time I'd like to try the fish sharing platter. They only do sharing platters and tapas type food. We spent the rest of the evening catching up with episodes of Sherwood which has proved to be pretty gripping so far...

Unworn Dress No. 5

I wore this on Saturday to go for a rummage with OH. He hadn't been for a rummage for a while so we decided to go to Newport Pagnell and Olney; both not too far from Bedford. This dress from Tu was a 1.00 rail find last summer; of course the colour attracted me but it's gone into the donations bag. I don't like it on me. The t shirt was found in the Cat's Protection League the last time Hilary came down in the summer - pre-Covid, I think. Sandals and jacket as before. All jewellery charity shopped.

Although I was hoping not to buy anymore clothes; I couldn't pass up two good finds. One was a kaftan type dress BNWT for 5.00 in the Willen Hospice shop and a pair of wide legged beige trousers in Age UK for 4.00.  I might wear the dress out or I might just use it to wear indoors. I'm always on the lookout for wide legged trousers as I like them and they seem to suit me. I also found a new swimming costume which I needed as two of the others I had were both faded (washed every week for almost the best part of the past two and a half years) and one was fraying slightly. Furthermore, a pair of pink sunglasses were bought;  I had lost 2 pairs in the past week so this was a replacement pair. I started the 'no more charity shopped clothes buying' on 1st May so it's been almost 8 weeks. It's over now; I didn't make the 3 months target but I certainly bought far less than I used to and hope to maintain this new habit. Perhaps OH and I will go for a rummage away from Bedford once a month and that should satisfy both our urges!

Sunday was warm, sunny and breezy. I washed towels which dried just in time as we were doing a BBQ for Sunday dinner. I made a sweet potato and lentil chilli for the vegetarians and it was delicious.  The day started with a 48 lap swim and I then took youngest grandson to basketball practice and picked him up as well. In between all this OH and I did the weekly houseclean. I was very glad to sit down in the evening and put my feet up. 

We had caught up with 'Sherwood' on Friday evening and enjoyed watching 'Outlaws' (both BBC series) on Sunday evening. I went to bed early as I was up early - I'm awake as soon as it gets light in the summer months. Perhaps I should draw our bedroom curtains but I hate dark rooms, so have never bothered in the almost 32 years I've lived here. Even when I had Venetian blinds I never closed them.

This was Sunday's outfit; trousers by F&F from my Barnardo's; top by River Island from 1.00 rail also at Barnardo's; Van's pumps bought from Daycare Hospice shop. All jewellery charity shopped.

My car was due for its annual service and MOT on Monday. I dropped the car off at 9 am and then walked from the garage in Bromham to  Barnardo's at Great Denham. It was the first time since I had the PF diagnosed I walked any distance in one go. It was 2.75 miles and my foot was fine. However, after 3 hours of standing in Barnardo's processing donations and serving customers; my foot began to hurt. I decided not to walk back to the garage -  which had been my original plan - but to get a bus into town and then one back out to the garage at Bromham. When I arrived at the bus station; I had almost an hour wait for the right bus and took a taxi instead to pick up my car.  I get a taxi about twice a year and am always horrified at the cost! The car needed 2 new tyres and a new windscreen wiper which left me a couple of hundred pounds lighter...

This was Monday's outfit. Everything charity shopped or secondhand. Skirt by M&S;  local Facebook buy and sell group; sandals by New Look; tee shirt no label; jacket from the euro rail in a Dublin charity shop. All jewellery charity shopped. I bought the earrings on our Saturday rummage in Newport Pagnell from Oxfam.

After volunteering I went home and hung up a wash. It kept clouding over and rain was forecast for the afternoon so I didn't hang it outside; it dries quite quickly indoors as all the windows and doors are open which creates a good flow of air through the house. In the garden the sweet peas had bloomed but only a few at a time. I cut them and put them in small vases; the smell is divine. The montbretia was almost flowering and more of OH's lilies were about to flower. I spent some time in both front and back garden dead heading and tidying up after the BBQ on Sunday. Watched the penultimate episode of 'Sherwood' in the evening - now at last we know who the undercover cop spy was!

Unworn dress No 6

Off to the food bank on Tuesday. I made up 50 hygiene bags and then ran out of soap and toothpaste. We had ordered both; when the order arrived the toothpaste was only a quarter of what was ordered and no soap was delivered at all. I don't think there's a shortage of toothpaste and soap generally; it's the lack of lorry drivers to deliver the supplies. And talking of shortages, Lidl finally had some cooking oil when I went shopping last week. It seems that every week I do my food shopping there are shelves that are bare of certain products. Something we will have to get used to I think.

Everything charity shopped. Grey trousers by Whistles; tunic dress from Barnardo's half price dress sale. Pumps by Primarni; retail. All jewellery charity shopped. There are still a couple of unworn dresses to go but unless it suddenly gets cold again I probably won't wear them until the autumn. In fact more hot weather is predicted for the end of this week.

After returning from the food bank and having a bit of a rest with my feet up; I decided to go for a walk as it had turned out to be a lovely warm, sunny day. I put on my boots and walking socks and set off walking 3.8 miles. It was so good to get out into fields and along foot paths; to hear the birds singing; bees droning and the occasional sharp but welcome breeze. I made dinner on my return from the walk and was happy to report the foot was fine although a felt a tightening in the heel on a couple of occasions but they passed. In the evening we watched the final episode of 'Sherwood'. What a good series it was.

Another warm sunny day greeted us on Wednesday. I took the youngest grandson to school and on my walk around the garden when I got back I was delighted to see the hellebores I planted this winter are showing signs of flowering. The engineer came to give the boiler its annual service; I washed the kitchen floor and put a towels wash on.  I got ready and set off to Aldi and to run some errands. Everything I wore was charity shopped. Trousers by Wallis; top by Karen Millen and linen tunic by Monsoon. You would never have guessed I had just ironed it! Sandals as before. Brooch picked up on a rummage last week. Earrings bought in the Ethnasia sale. Cuff a present from Ann.

I dropped off another bag of donations to the Daycare Hospice shop near me then went to Aldi, and up to the retail park to the big Wilko for bird supplies; which they didn't have!  I will have to dig out my shopping trolley and go to the one in town putting the fat balls in the trolley. The last time I carried a bucket of bird's fat balls home I was knackered..I also went to the post office to post off brother's hat which had arrived in yesterday's post. By the time I had unpacked all my purchases at home, it was off to pick up grandson from school. I had time to do bit of blogging before I made dinner. I spent the evening finishing my book 'Darktown' which was a fictional account of the first black police squad in Atlanta, Georgia in the 1940s and their attempt to solve the murder of a young black woman. Excellently written. I read another book by Thomas Mullen called 'The Last Town on Earth' a while ago which was also excellent and now I'll be looking out for more books by him on my rummages. 

The clematis finally bloomed on Thursday. A cooler day but still very pleasant I went for a swim managing the final lap as the whistle blew. Then it was home, something to eat and time to get dressed and off to do the weekly Lidl shop. I dressed for comfort and ease of changing at the pool.

Other than the mules which were bought at Sainsbury's at half price; everything else was charity shopped. Trousers bought on Saturday's rummage in Age UK; Olney; top by M&S years old; denim jacket from an Irish charity shop.All jewellery charity shopped. The earrings are about 30 years old. The sunglasses were charity shopped from the Willen Hospice shop on Saturday's rummage.

I need to paint my toenails...

After the shopping had been put away I had a long phone call with my friend Hilary. I was hoping to get to see her in the next few weeks but as we both have a lot on I decided I would go later in the year. I no longer have a spare room so it's difficult for anyone to stay - my brothers don't mind crashing on the sofa, mind you! Some weeks ago when I was having a look in the YMCA charity shop in town I saw a camp bed. I wish I had bought it now as I could probably squeeze it into the study and buy a single mattress topper to go on top of it. I might have a look on eBay. I made dinner making a sweet potato Mexican style salad with recipe and ingredients from 'Hello Fresh'. Middle grandson's mum received some free meals and gave me this one. It was very tasty and filling and I'd definitely make it again. I started reading a Persephone book - 'The Home Maker' by Dorothy Canfield-Fisher in the evening. It was one of the first Persephone books I had and thought I had read it but on reading a review of it recently realised I hadn't...

Friday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except the pumps from Sainsbury's sale. Trousers by H&M; t shirt from Next and red jacket from Dunne's Stores via my Barnardo's. All jewellery charity shopped.

After pottering around for a bit in the morning I booked for OH and I to go to Ascott House; another National Trust house and gardens just outside Aylesbury on Saturday. I want to make the most of our National Trust passes and make the most of the decent weather spell we'd been having. I then decided to try a slightly longer walk; walking along the river to the Marina and back via the Castle Road charity shops just under 5 miles in total. I bought a pair of bright yellow leather sandals in the Children's Society for 2.99 - such a bargain and I haven't any yellow sandals. I may not get any wear out of them this year because of the PF but I will have them for next year.  I then took some plant cuttings round to Ann's house where we walked round her garden looking at her plants and fruit trees and deciding where to plant the cuttings. She gave me cuttings of 2 succulents I didn't have and I will take more cuttings for her from some more of our plants now I know what she likes and doesn't. In the evening we watched a new drama series called 'The Undeclared War' and as it was streamed we watched the second episode, too.

Saturday was cloudy with the promise of rain later in the day. It was cooler with quite a strong breeze. I regretted not wearing a vest/camisole under my top. Everything charity shopped except the top which was a secondhand 1.00 buy from Bedford market; jeans by Next; jacket by M&S; Vans pumps. All jewellery charity shopped. I didn't like the asymmetry of the top and tried to cut it so it was a straight line. I failed miserably and had to cut it up for dusters...

OH and I set out at 11 am to visit Ascott House in Wing, Leighton Buzzard.  'Ascott House was originally a farm house, built in the reign of James I and known as "Ascott Hall". In 1873 it was acquired by Baron Mayer de Rothschild. The Rothschild family had begun to acquire vast tracts of land in Buckinghamshire earlier in the century, on which they built a series of large mansions from 1852 onwards. Baron Mayer gave the house at Ascott to his nephew Leopold de Rothschild, who transformed it over the following decades into the substantial yet informal country house that it is today'. SOURCE. We spend about an hour walking around the grounds and then after a cup of tea and a slice of cake we visited the house. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photos as the house remains the country residence of the Rothschild's family. Only some of the ground floor rooms were open to the public but it was a fabulous house and not too ostentatious or ornate. The house is famous for its paintings, fine furniture and superb oriental porcelain - which was exquisite.

The drive up to the house.

The rear of the house.

This was the view from the dining room.

The Rothschilds like a fountain it seemed...

The Eros fountain

The Venus fountain

I think this was called the Madeira Walk and there were lots of roses but they had mostly finished. We need to come earlier in the year next time!

This was a  huge circular planted bed of lavender.

The lily pond full of huge Koi carp.

It was a very enjoyable visit. We bought some plants whilst we were there; some verbena and a couple of delphiniums. In Leighton Buzzard where we went afterwards for a rummage; we found 5 charity shops. OH did very well but all I bought was a pink bangle and a pair of earrings. We also bought some more plants in the market; including a red penstemon which I'd fallen in love with having seen them in the gardens at Ascott House (seen in the above photo in the middle of the bed). When we returned home OH made dinner and we chilled out watching more episodes of 'The Undeclared War'.

On Sunday I started out with a swim of 48 laps; did the house cleaning; picked up grandson and his Dad from basketball; made dinner and took grandson home to his mum. In the evening I finished my book and we finished watching the above series. I would catch up with 'Outlaws' on Monday evening. The 'Sewing Bee' finished in the week and there will be a hole in Wednesday evenings from now on....

Monday was cool with sunny spells. There was a sharp wind which was good for drying the washing but it meant I needed a jacket for warmth. I wore this to Barnardo's. Everything charity shopped; the trousers and jacket bought from Barnardo's a couple of years ago, top from a 1.00 rail somewhere and shoes (complete with my new orthotic inserts from Superdrug) were from a Co. Donegal charity shop. All jewellery charity shopped.

There were lots of donations and I was kept busy trying to process them and serve customers. I didn't buy anything at all! I took advantage of the breeze and hung a towels wash out when I got home then spent the afternoon catching up with blog land before making dinner for OH and I. This week there is quite a lot on apart from the usual volunteering, swimming; shopping and the Wednesday school pick up; I have a breast screening appointment on Thursday; on Saturday there is a London walk with my walking group of 11.5 miles; including going on the newly opened Elizabeth Line of the underground. I feel confident I'll manage the walk as we always have lots of stops for toilets and drinks so I'll be able to give the foot a rest. If I find it too much to manage at least I can hop on a bus or a tube and return home!

A brighter day on Tuesday it was lovely in the sun. I went to the food bank but ran out of soap, toothpaste and hand wash. The order with the toothpaste and soap has still not arrived. I left earlier than usual after putting stuff away, tidying up and sorting out the cardboard for the recycling. I fancied wearing my Gudrun Sjoden tunic over jeans so I did!

I wore purple accessories with it and everything was charity shopped except the earrings which were bought from Sainsbury's years ago.

And at last the monbretia burst into flower. We brought this montbretia back from Donegal so it is special to us; a little bit of the Donegal hedgerows in our garden!

Very proud mummy.

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