Hello everyone

Thanks so much for your comments on Peaky Blinders. You convinced me!  I’ve started watching it and I don’t know why I avoided this series all these years as I really like it.

I wore the spider brooch (see last post) last Saturday when I returned to my former dress-up place, the Hillcrest Centre in Newhaven and the monthly film, which this month was Woman at War, an Icelandic film that was excellent and one for those of you who like their women to be strong and formidable. Won’t give the plot away but the woman in question is an eco activist, and along with the serious points about activism and our planet there were some laugh-out-loud moments and also, I really, really covet her knitwear. As the review says in the link above, it’s a weirdly beautiful film.

Anyway, I thought I’d show you a favourite necklace of mine bought at the V&A museum and priced very much at the cheaper end.

Only once did I buy one of the V&A’s shop more expensive items, a necklace, but I wear this cheaper one far more. See below for how I wore it up to London last winter.

That jacket, I love it (bought new at a knockdown price at H&M), but note it’s a cropped jacket.  Now did you know that jackets are to be the longer type this Autumn and Winter?  Well, serve me right for getting rid of my longer jackets when they went out of fashion, because I’ve just trawled through my photo library and there are some lovely examples of longer jackets that I got rid of! As you know, I don’t keep things in my wardrobe just in case, or because they might come back in fashion, but in some instances I think I’m a bit too efficient in clearing out my closet.  The thing is when items do return to favour there’s always a little tweak here and there, and actually the new look is just a little different. Hence I don’t like to wear the old jacket that’s been in the back of my wardrobe waiting. So I’ve been on the hunt and, yay, I found three jackets.  And here’s the first one. Actually more of a coat than a jacket but I think it’s a winner.

I saw it and pounced! It cost £15.

It’s going to look good round the shops in the Kemptown area.

Snazzy jacket plus hat (£3) jeans (Galeries Lafayette) and studded boots (Sole Trader). This is my Brighton look, now, I think.

What is your favourite type of book?  I say I don’t read much light literature, yet of course, I do, as I read a whole tranche of light detective/crime/thriller books throughout late summer and into September. While I was going through the stress of the move I felt I didn’t have the capacity to read a ‘good’ book.

Re: that term ‘good’. I follow the Martin Amis view (in his book, Experience) that all books are either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I haven’t read the piece for a long time but the categorisations he set out stuck. Within those definitions there are good ‘good’ books (all classics and some modern authors at the Booker prize level) and bad ‘good’ books (unreadable, pretentious), equally with ‘bad’ books, there are some that are very good indeed. Having that definition in my head like an ear-worm I put all the Jack Reacher/Lee Child books in that category along with Lynda La Plante, although having said that about Lynda La Plante, I’ve read only three of her books, two of which were from the Anna Travis series, which I thought very good (but obvs they’re not in the ‘good’ category) then I picked up one of her Jane Tennison novels and felt quite grubby after reading it.

So I moved away from that genre and here are three books I’ve read recently.  First is Warlight, by Michale Ondaatje which is beautifully written yet, I would admit, strange, plus it’s a depiction of appalling upper-class behaviour towards their children, as in, this is about two children and their abandonment. They survive – or do they?  A haunting book. Then there is The Wall by John Lanchester. I really admire this author as he writes for the London Review of Books. Another of his books is Capital, which was televised a couple of years back. This is a dystopian view of a watery future and how our nation defends itself in that scenario. See where this is leading? Highly relevant to today, actually. I wondered whether it would be a hard read but actually found it quite a page-turner.

And finally, I re-read The Handmaid’s Tale. And here’s another confession I haven’t watched the TV series. But I thought, yes, I’d like to read Atwood’s follow-up, but what happened in the first book?  I kind of knew but didn’t. Interestingly it’s deceptively easy to read.  But ooof, it’s a world where women do very badly indeed. As in, some women perpetrate the wrong doing on women, and some are on the receiving end of the wrongs of this particular society. A chilling, but essential read, I think and like The Wall highly relevant.  And all of three good ‘good’ books.

That’s all for now, but should I watch The Handmaid’s Tale????? Very happy watching Peaky Blinders btw 🙂

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper




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34 thoughts on “A necklace, a new jacket (or is it a coat) and some books I’ve been reading

  • 25th October 2019 at 8:24 am

    I’m always late posting comments Penny, so I’m making an extra effort this morning! I can’t tell you how much I love that coat. I have serious coat envy. I also read a fair few psychological thrillers. Do you know Nicci French (actually a married couple) and the brilliant series based around Freida Klein? Fantastic! I seem to be going through a phase of reading novels with quirky main characters. Have you read ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine? In fact, one of my next blog posts is going to be on recent reads and viewing! J x

    • 28th October 2019 at 9:24 am

      Oh do – I’ve got some great new reads from this post. Looking forward and Eleanor O…. is on my list as is Nicci French. Yes, had heard of this couple who write and thanks as would like a different type of thriller/detective as just read another Jack Reacher and seriously wondered why I had!!!!

  • 25th October 2019 at 8:24 am

    Hi Penny! I read your blog avidly but very rarely comment. Well today I feel compelled to be drawn into the conversation! Great coat by the way!
    It would definitely be a coat on me as I’m only 5’ 2” and thereby lies the problem with fashion and long line jackets……not for the little people! I have managed to find some ankle grazer cords in petite however so am channelling one of the season’s trends.
    I just wanted to say DO watch both series of The Hanmaid’s Tale because Elizabeth Moss has done a stirling job, especially if you liked the book. And also have you come across Refugee Tales? A series of true stories linked to people currently held in the detention centre at Gatwick because The Home Office cannot get its act together.! And we call ourselves a democracy with good Human Rights.

    • 28th October 2019 at 9:28 am

      I know I often say (especially on My Other Blog) open your eyes and look and really see what’s going on, but Refugee Tales I haven’t watched as I cannot bear the lack of empathy this government has towards refugees. To have to be put in a detention centre when you’re escaping whatever is not what I stand for – just horrible. But I will give The Handmaid’s Tale a go. And thanks for your comment which is very much appreciated 🙂

  • 25th October 2019 at 8:59 am

    Gosh I love that leopard coat! It’s fantastic. Why don’t I find treasures like that! Haha. I don’t watch a lot of series. Although I am now following the old Dalziel series on BBC first! Love it!

    • 28th October 2019 at 9:32 am

      Thing is, I’m always looking. So when I saw that coat I went yessssss!

      Just finished the 1st series of Peaky Blinders. Amongst other things I liked was the hats – loved those!

  • 25th October 2019 at 9:55 am

    That coat is absolutely fantastic! It looks brilliant with the jeans. The best book I have read this year was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Absolutely wonderful on all levels. I watched El Camino (but first I had to re-watch the final episode of Breaking Bad, I needed reminding of events). Enjoyed the film. Have a good weekend. Carole R.

    • 28th October 2019 at 9:39 am

      I’ve started a book review notebook (nothing fancy just a few words) and at the back is a list of must-reads. Your recommendation has gone in – thanks so much.

      Funnily enough I had to think quite hard about the events leading up to El Camino too!

      Have a good week Carole 🙂

  • 25th October 2019 at 10:20 am

    One of the best books I have ever read is Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. It was one of our book group reads and I’d never have picked it out otherwise as it’s about 2 men serving in the Indian Wars and the War of Independence in America. I cried at the end – something I rarely do with books and it haunts me still. Eleanor Oliphant is a must-read in my opinion, both funny and tragic. I’ve got The Wall to read soon. Really like the authors work. My husband once asked me to define ‘good’ writing and I would say writing that surprises, challenges and moves the reader.
    Like another of your petite readers I could not wear the furry coat as I would look huge in it but it is great for someone tall and slim like you. As to jackets I like them short or three-quarter length and I have no idea what is in fashion now as I don’t buy magazines any more. I became quite angry at the constant pressure to buy, buy buy. The new-look Saga magazine has now got a page of ‘must-have’ buys ……………..arghhhhh! I don’t find the glossy women starting businesses backed by their wealthy husbands anything but irritating either. I know I’m generalising and I’m probably just envious of their success but it’s a few years since I bought such mags; I even used to have subscriptions!
    Perhaps this is a topic worth further consideration?

    • 25th October 2019 at 11:04 am

      You look great in your new coat.
      You sound so much better and back to your scintillating self. The move to Brighton has rejuvenated you. A friend of mine has made a recent move to the West End of Glasgow
      and a smaller flat and she does
      seem to have a new lease of life
      It is hard to embrace change as we get older, but it can be so worthwhile. I love your blogs.
      They are a beacon of light in these
      frightening Brexit times.

      • 28th October 2019 at 10:57 am

        I acknowledge that I actually like change perhaps more than others, for example, I really enjoyed moving some furniture around yesterday! Thing is to find out how you might manage once things get a bit more difficult or you have to give up your car. We find city living the best for that with everything on hand – but there’s lots to think about. Very best to you 🙂

    • 25th October 2019 at 12:07 pm

      Totally agree with your comments about magazines. I always got really annoyed with the “interior design” type of woman who got free publicity and got to wear lovely clothes! I too made the decision to stop buying these magazines, Woman and Home, Good Housekeeping etc as they didn’t seem to cater for someone like me. I have had a couple of good buys from EBay recently as our local charity shops never seem to have good quality items for sale.

      • 28th October 2019 at 10:59 am

        Hi Pauline, yes, I used to buy Good Housekeeping but not any more as I am actually put off by some of the women they have on the front page!

    • 28th October 2019 at 9:53 am

      Thanks so much for your recommendation, Lynda, it’s gone on my list of must-reads.

      I know, I know ‘fashion’ v style. Style should always win but I do like to know what the trend is and then find (frugally) a version of the ‘look’. I don’t buy any fashion mag apart from Vogue when it has a cut-price £2 offer. Of course, Vogue is actually ridiculous so I skim through it and wonder why I bought it! And the idea of ageing is still far too glossy – that I find so annoying which is why it was so refreshing to see another role model in Lady Hale who despite my love of layering on the stuff was makeup free. But what a woman! It is a shame the rules here are to retire her at 75, when she quite obviously could go on for many more years.

  • 25th October 2019 at 10:38 am

    Love your V&A necklace and the faux fur coat. V glam. I only watched the 1st series of the Handmaid’s Tale. I didn’t want to watch the second because I knew it was made up. I’m saving her new book for the next long flight. Have a good weekend- I am in Plymouth with mum, and going to a reunion on Sat.

    • 28th October 2019 at 11:03 am

      Just finished the 1st series of Peaky Blinders (very good) but might keep The Handmaid’s Tale in reserve. Currently watching Better Than Us on Netflix. It’s about sentient robots and reminds me a bit of Humans, but it’s Russian rather than an American series which makes it interesting so we’ve kept with it.

  • 25th October 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Loveeee that necklace and coat! Also, Peaky Blinders is one of my favourite ever TV shows, very gory but the acting in it is amazing! I’m going to the V&A museum in a couple of weeks, I will be scouting for jewelry!

    Katt x

    • 28th October 2019 at 11:05 am

      The V&A shop has some amazing jewellery – you’ll love it. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  • 25th October 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Love the coat. I never see anything like that in our charity shops. Perhaps I don’t look hard enough, or often enough.
    I had to stop reading the Handmaids tale. I found it so tedious. I know it’s a should read book but I think I can survive without it.

    • 28th October 2019 at 11:13 am

      Good for you to stop reading something you don’t like – I’ve just read another Jack Reacher and wonder why I did!!!!!

      I do look quite a lot – the important thing is to walk away if there’s nothing there – best of luck with your search 🙂

  • 25th October 2019 at 2:46 pm

    I won’t be going into long jackets I’m 164 cms and long jacket are not flattering for me and we oldies don’t need to be told what to wear we know what suits us. I do have a longer rain coat for practical reasons.

    I just finished a Jack Reacher book, on the cover it says ‘one Lee Child book sold every 20 seconds in the World’ (plus all the ones I have bought in charity shops). So he is doing something right. I’m not a fan of Linda laPlante either but a lot of people are. I have a bookmark with a quote “the good reader makes the good book”. Being a reader is life’s ultimate pleasure for me I don’t care what people read but I find it perturbing when someone tells me they never pick up a book.

    • 28th October 2019 at 11:18 am

      Yes, I feel a bit anxious if I don’t have another book to hand ready to take over whenI’ve finished the current one. Not being able to read is unthinkable. Gosh Lee Child is certainly popular and I used to love the books and like you I’ve just read another one, but tbh I now get slightly worried about Reacher’s quirks and buying only one set of clothes for the current quest/adventure he’s on – underwear???

  • 25th October 2019 at 9:11 pm

    I’d definitely recommend the Handmaid’s Tale, although the tv series goes beyond the book after season 2. However I believe that Margaret Attwood has been involved throughout to keep it relatively true to her vision. There have been some increasingly unbelievable plot points in the latest series, but it still remains very watchable. I will be getting her new book, once its available as a paperback, can’t be doing with hardbacks. The Lanchester books sound interesting – a bit sci fi? I enjoyed Eleanor Olliphant and have the paperback if you want it – We could meet for a book exchange! I recently read Go set a Watchman, the Harper Lee follow up to To Kill a Mocking bird. It falls into the good book category as it made me think, which isn’t true of most of my page turners! Just started reading Wilding which is a story of a farm that is transformed by returning it to nature. Its fascinating so far and shows how resilient nature can be, given a little help. Have you read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies? – also great books and very readable. Your coat made me laugh – it would definitely not be coming home with me – I’d look like a weeble. But any furry coats would be a no no as far as I’m concerned, far too hot, however it looks great on you. I also love a big statement necklace.

      • 1st November 2019 at 12:08 pm

        Yes, I only read paper backs. the last two Harry Potter books were too big even in paperback so I haven’t read them, though I saw the films. Hard back books are too heavy and big for the train. I know all about kindles etc but am not a fan. somehow its not the same as holding a proper book – although maybe for the Harry Potter books I should have made an exception! Also I begrudge buying something that is only in the cloud so if I enjoy it I can’t pass it on like I would a book.

  • 27th October 2019 at 10:59 am

    Love your Brighton look, you have such panache!

    • 28th October 2019 at 11:23 am

      Thank you so much 🙂

  • 29th October 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Well, that jacket/coat was a fabulous find and it looks superb on you with the hat, jeans and boots. Very Brightonesque indeed! Your V&A necklace is lovely. I was astonished at how expensive some of their jewellery was but it was beautiful.

    My reading guide is, unfortunately, my old English teacher! She lives in my head and won’t let me read popular fiction but only literary fiction. Sometimes I ignore her and do read some popular literature! My guilty pleasure (because of Mrs. Grunspan/my old English teacher) is crime fiction especially Nordic noir….she’s probably spinning in her grave as I type this!

    • 3rd November 2019 at 10:02 am

      Yes, like you I have something similar guiding my reading with that ear-worm of MartinAmis in my head saying this is not a ‘good’ book! But I do read crime fiction in between the good books!!!

      That V&A necklace was £18 – that is the cheaper end of the V&A offerings. But some of the jewellery is amazing and very very humungeously expensive £500+ – eek! But I do play a game of saying, ‘if I could, what would I buy?’ It is fun.

  • 31st October 2019 at 8:10 am

    What a wonderful collection Penny – love the fur jacket, looks very snugly and warm!
    I’ve not watched either Peaky Blinders or The Handmaids Tale – need to do some catching up and less blogging – ha ha ha x Jacqui
    Thanks for adding to the #chicandstylish #linkup

    • 3rd November 2019 at 9:58 am

      Hello Jacqui – have I joined in this week? Must go and look. Thing about the fashion blogging/writing/linking is I do it first thing in the morning and that’s it – nothing more during the day. And never in the evening as that’s dedicated to watching box sets and films and reading. In our household watching films and reading books is absolutely one of the most important things we do. And this coming week I’ll be doing something on My Other Blog – ho ho and ha – that will take precedent over everything!!! Have a lovely Sunday 🙂

    • 3rd November 2019 at 10:09 am

      OMG Jacqui – just been on the link – thank you so much for featuring me on the linkup. Really honoured. It is a great little jacket though – that really helped!!!!

      Thank you again and have a really lovely Sunday xxxx

  • 9th November 2019 at 3:24 pm

    I watch Peaky Blinders on Netflix in the states and love, love, love it!!! And that coast is to die for!!! I love that necklace too….hope you are having a good weekend!!!

  • 20th November 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Wow. I just found your blog and my golly you have great fashion sense. You make everything look lux!

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