Hi everyone

I’m still doing an end-of-the-month review (a trifle late this month) but as you can see it is no longer called Lockdown Diaries, as it’s now just a roundup of events, happenings, clothes I might have bought that I haven’t shown you, films and television that I have watched and books I have read.

Before I start though, I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to those of you who signed up to this blog after watching TeaTime with Tricia last Tuesday. Thank you so much for your interest in this blog and I appreciate every one of you. If you haven’t seen the interview – here’s a link to it.

As I said on Tuesday, just as Tricia does not write exclusively about makeup, I also don’t always write about fashion. It’s great to show you my latest charity shop purchases but I often write about other subjects and one that I will tackle soon is, really, should I even be buying as much as I do?  The consumption of us consumers is something that needs to radically alter if we are going to tackle climate change, and I include in this my own searching for a bargain in charity shops, which is not quite on the same level as those who queued to get into certain stores in Brighton when it was allowed earlier in April (!), but even so should I be buying so much?  We consumers of fashion and the industry that produces our clothes, both have to change – more about that in another post.

Anyway, what an exciting month it’s been. From 12th April all non-essential retail was opened up – huzzah! However, I haven’t gone into the centre of Brighton for the stores, instead, I thoroughly enjoyed going back to my two local charity shops and made some very successful purchases.

I put this photo up last week but did you notice the black trench? That was a very recent buy from my local charity shop and very reasonable too at £10, and exactly what I was looking for as it’s waterproof and lined so it’s warm enough for the cold sea breezes we’re still getting.

Here’s another photo, which was taken more for the hair than anything else.

I was beaming from ear to ear there because I was so happy with my new haircut!

Anyway I continued to visit the opticians for my new glasses, and a very big cheer from me at this point, as I went to the beauticians twice: once for a facial which was lovely; and once for electrolysis, and, oh my word, that visit was so essential, I needed 20 minutes instead of my usual 10 as I was getting quite furry on my face what with a whole year’s growth! I will be going back again for another 20 minute session this week. Plus we visited both our grandchildren several times for garden visits – brrrr! The weather is unseasonably cold here in the UK and we are still getting overnight frosts. In Scotland I believe snow is expected.

However, although these appointments and visits are exciting, one cannot say that this pandemic is over. Here in the UK we are very fortunate with our numbers of Covid cases at a record low, and all due to our nationwide vaccination programme working well and motoring along with the 40-45yr-olds now being vaccinated plus, of course, there was the very strict lockdown we’ve had. But we know that there are shocking numbers of cases in India and in other poorer 3rd world countries.  We also know that at the moment countries around the world are sending emergency supplies to India but I hope the G7 Summit gets its head around being prepared and ready for pandemics now and in the future.  It’s 100 years since the last devastating  pandemic but this one is not yet over and there may well be others that come along especially now that we are encroaching into areas that were previously uninhabited and frequented only by animals. Can we learn from the mistakes that have been made by various governments? I hope so.

Anyway, in the UK we are beginning to have a slightly more normal life with the prospect of even more normality after 17 May.  Here’s what’s happening:

  • Two households or 6 people can mix indoors (Wonderful)
  • Indoor cinemas, theatres, museums and art galleries are open (Hurrah)
  • Hotels and overnight stays are allowed
  • Indoor gym classes to open
  • Large capacity events 1000 people (shudders)
  • Outdoor events from 4000-10,000 allowed if seated (same)

I am so looking forward to the Victoria & Albert museum opening  – the bag exhibition beckons 🙂 but I think I’ll still avoid the cinema, which is such a shame as I love watching films on the big screen. The last time I went to a cinema was November 2019!

Btw, before I start this section, new followers may wonder who am I to award stars to films! The thing is we ran a film society for five years in another town near Brighton and were pretty much responsible for the type of films we showed, and we watched shed loads of films before any got to the film society screen. I feel I can recognise a really ace film when I see one!  And same with the turkeys!  Anyway here’s what I have been watching in the month of April.

I’ve just counted up the number of films we watched in April and I think it’s a record at eight films! Two were rubbish and that includes a dire and miserable film starring Arnie Schwarzenegger, plus a very feeble Wonder Woman 84, which was disappointing as the first Wonder Woman wasn’t bad at all.  However, we did watch two 4* films and one 5* film.  One of the 4* films was Concrete Cowboy (Netflix) a fictional account of some real-life dudes who keep horses in deepest urban Philadelphia. In fact rather like Nomadland (no, not seen that yet) the film has some characters in it who are from that particular group of people. Starring Idris Elba (The Wire) it tells the story of prejudice, poverty and the tough human spirit needed to fight encroaching gentrification.  I loved it as it was different, and actually quite uplifting and nice to watch. The other 4* film was Sound of Metal (Amazon Prime) starring Riz Ahmed. This tells the story of a musician who becomes deaf,  but as he’s the drummer in a very loud Heavy Metal duo that was to be expected. Riz Ahmed was nominated for an Oscar in the best actor category, which is totally deserved as he is excellent in this role and you are totally with him as he moves towards accepting his condition.

And finally the film I’ve awarded 5* to is The Mauritanian (Netflix) which I think is beyond outstanding, although I see that some reviews have been a bit sniffy about the film, not sure why. The film tells the tale of Mohamedou Ould Salahi (Tahar Ramin) and his 14-year stay in Guantanamo Bay detention centre. We see him captured and sent to Guantanamo and we learn how he withstood the early years when he was interrogated. We also learn about his lawyer Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and see how she built the case that there was no case, mainly because there was no evidence of any guilt.  I was mesmerised throughout the whole film and it left me feeling strangely uplifted that Salahi survived, but I also felt it was a salutry warning that we must never forget that when capturing people, who we believe have done wrong, we must prove their guilt using due process rather than coercion. At the end of the film it was good to see the real people during the credits.

Very much related to The Mauritanian was a Guardian short, My Brother’s Keeper, which is about the reunion of Salahi and Steve Wood who was one of his Guantanamo guards. Oh. My. Word. I cried. If you want some reassurance that the human spirit prevails, that friendship can arise between the most unlikeliest of people, and that good people do exist, then watch this. It’s so very lovely to watch and up-lifting too.  Another Guardian short to watch, where I dare you not to cry, is Colette. It is the tale of a 90-yr-old woman teaming up with a young researcher to visit the concentration camp where her brother died 75 years ago.  And this, dear readers, won the Oscar for best documentary short. I’m not surprised, it is very good.

Well, who’s watched that last episode of Line of Duty (BBCiPlayer)? A bit of damp squib, no? What did you think?  And for those of you who haven’t watched it I can’t even begin to describe the plot as you have to have watched from Series 1 to catch all the references to double dealing and bent coppers. So will there be Series 7?  I’ve got nothing but questions about that ending, and I just hope that the writer doesn’t come out and say, ‘No comment’!

We’ve also finished watching Bridgerton (Netflix) and I surprised myself by loving it as usually I don’t like dressy-up costume dramas, but with this one I did. And as for that luscious Duke of Hastings (Rege-Jean Page), honestly, my chest positively heaved every time he was on the screen – could he be the next James Bond? What do you think?

Enough of that! Another series we’ve finished was Deutschland 89 (All4), which has been excellent all the way through from Deutschland 83 and Deutschland 86. A tale of spies and spying in East Germany, the characters are well developed and the story arc compelling, do give it a try if you haven’t touched it before.

We’re going slowly (as in not binging) through Call My Agent(Netflix) and have one more series to watch and the same goes for Schitts Creek (Netflix) with two more series to go.  After that last episode of Line of Duty there were several articles commenting on its less than satisfactory ending, with one saying the series that aced its ending was Schitts Creek, which ended so perfectly you cry at the loss of this absolutely delightful show, and that’s why I’m going slowly with the Rose family’s life.

We’ve begun watching Mare of Easttown (Nowtv) and are very pleased with this gritty tale of small town America. Kate Winslet has never been better.

Finally, we are watching the delightful The Great British Sewing Bee (BBCiPlayer) which has to be watched if you want to be both delighted and enthralled at some of the contestants’ skill whilst holding your breath at the disasters of others.  Altogether a lovely watch.

I’ve got several non-fiction books on the go, but the only novel I’ve read in April is another Helen Dunmore book, House of Orphans. I discovered Dunmore a couple of months ago, and can’t get enough of her. She writes so well, and is obviously incredibly knowledgeable about Russian and Eastern European history and yet it is just there in the background, which means she’s one of those authors who ‘show’ and imply, rather than ‘tell’. This story is set in Finland in the early 1900s and tells the tale of a young girl who loses her last parent and is sent to orphanage. We see her grow and survive and move on first to domestic service and then back to her home town, and all of this amidst the policy of Russification when Finland was being forced into closer integration with Russia.  As the blurb says it’s a brilliant story of love, history and change and I found it gripping and unputdownable!

But do tell me what you’ve been watching and reading – I’m always keen to watch and read something good 🙂

Finally, a shot of the sea front which has been quite chilly these last few days.

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

 

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25 thoughts on “April review – 2021

  • Avatar
    5th May 2021 at 8:20 am
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    J’adore vos posts

    Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 6:41 am
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      Je vous remercie beaucoup 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    5th May 2021 at 8:23 am
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    Hi – I am quite new to your blog and loving it. We have been fortunate here in Guernsey to escape long lock downs but have had travel restrictions in place. I have watched many of your TV recommendations and enjoyed them- I love a lot of the foreign TV crime series on Netflix and All 4. Also loved The Great Pottery Throw Down on Channel 4. I do think there should be another series of Line of Duty as it seems as if there is more to be told. I have just finished reading The Secret Stealers – a novel about the French Resistance and am about to start my free choice from Amazon First Reads – The Tangled Vine. Most recent non-fiction I have read is about Formula 1. We have a couple of charity shops here but I haven’ had a lot of luck – I need to go more often I think. I am currently trying to live with less clothes – I have thrown out everything that doesn’t fit or doesn’t wow me and I have to say it is easier to decide what to wear!

    Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 6:51 am
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      Hello and greetings from Brighton – glad to hear you’ve escaped the very long lockdown we’ve had although it was totally necessary and it worked.

      I too hope there is just one more Line of Duty series, but on the other hand maybe the writer got it right and that feeling that the series and the A12 characters never got to the root of the corruption particularly at the top-notch level, is how it is. We’ve just finished watching the BBC’s Bent Coppers: Crossing the Line of Duty (BBCiPlayer) and numerous inquiries never ever got to the top-level bent coppers. It’s an interesting and sobering watch https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000v4h4

      Thank you for the book recommendations – they’re always welcome 🙂

      Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 6:52 am
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      Oh yes, so with you there, Call My Agent is delightful. Thank you, Anna 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    5th May 2021 at 12:50 pm
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    Hi Penny,
    We are in lockdown in Toronto (again)while going through our third wave with Covid. People are truly fed up, as our winters are so long and cold, that getting out for fresh air and exercise is not easy. I have just started prepping my summer wardrobe, and am horrified at my weight gain. I’ve started intermittent fasting, and am feeling so much better, hoping by June, my clothes won’t be quite as snug, as I have no intention of buying anything new to wear.
    We have just finished watching a series called Yellowstone, which I thought I would hate, but actually found it gripping, and hubby and I had a couple of late nights binge watching.
    Loved your interview with Trisha, and I LOVE your tulle skirt, can’t wait to see all the different looks you will create. I may even have to break my commitment of not buying anything to hunt for a similar one, I just love the look, especially with a chunky jumper.
    Thank you for brightening my lockdown rainy day.
    Geri.

    Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 7:00 am
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      Hi Gerri and commiserations re: your continuing lockdown, I feel for you as ours too was depressing going through those damp cold winter months of ours – fortunately for us it’s lessening.

      I know what you mean with the weight gain and I too am careful about what I eat now, last year there was a lot of cake hence the weight gain. I no longer eat cake (!) and have stabilised. I would say we are what we eat and what goes in to our mouths matters, intermittent fasting is a very good way to lose a few pounds.

      Thank you re: the interview and I’m determined to wear the tulle skirt when I next go to London.

      You take care and this will end one day 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    5th May 2021 at 1:10 pm
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    Hi Penny,
    I really enjoyed your April review. I agree with you about consumerism & our need to change our habits, I have just purchased ‘Loved Clothes Last’ by Orsola de Castro after listening to her on a podcast with Alyson Walsh & it’s a wealth of information to help educate ourselves.
    Recently I’ve been reading the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley & several books by Anita Shreve who, I think, is an excellent writer. We’ve also been enjoying Line of Duty & I think we need another series to tie up some loose ends. I do like your lovely wavy hair & the black trench coat. Enjoy your outings, I too love the V&A but don’t get down too often from Glasgow, but a bag exhibition you say, mmm.

    Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 11:24 am
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      Hi Anne, I have just started reading ‘Loved Clothes Last’ and shall have to watch that Alyson Walsh podcast. And I shall have a look at Anita Shreve’s books, thanks.

      Oh my word, that ending of Line of Duty left so many loose ends – it was not very satisfying.

      Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    5th May 2021 at 1:21 pm
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    Hi Penny,
    Smashing raincoat and especially nice with your accessories.
    We are in the middle of our house rewire and new boiler so I’m at present basically wearing the same clothes every day!!
    Can’t wait to “dress up” a bit!! Actually it’s quite cold here especially as the heating has been off due to the work.
    Thanks for your great blog Penny
    All the best xx

    Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 11:25 am
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      Honestly this weather! When will it ever warm up, I feel for you with no boiler!

      Thank you so much and all the very best to you too 🙂

      Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 11:27 am
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      I can imagine with your boys plus your blogging that you have very little time left for watching films – that’s how it used to be for me and I remember it well! Take care and thanks for commenting 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    5th May 2021 at 1:51 pm
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    That was a lovely interview on YouTube! Loved to hear your voice again. We have a vacation as of the 17th, of course we goed to be in the UK then. Now I just hope to be there this year! Have a great day Penny!

    Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 11:29 am
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      Thanks you so much re: the interview 🙂

      One day we will be able to vacation abroad without a care in the world – can’t come soon enough but being realistic it probably won’t be this year. Hope you get some holidays though in your lovely country.

      Take care 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    5th May 2021 at 2:13 pm
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    Hi Penny
    Looking at your trench coat I realize I have one that is very similar which I purchased over a dozen years ago. I thought of replacing it but decided since it is still in good condition so why? I have fond memories of it on my trip to the UK ten years ago. Here things are becoming less restrictive. I can go walking without a mask now which feels quite liberating. Also looking forward to a birthday dinner in a couple of weeks . It will just be my daughter and her husband, my son, his wife, granddaughter and grandson. Venue will be a lovely French restaurant which I have wanted to try for ages. The two book clubs I belong to at the local library have continued on Zoom. One is a global book club where we read authors from other countries, often in translation. It is an opportunity to read things I would otherwise perhaps not considered. The last choice was ” Before the Coffee The Coffee Gets Cold” , originally a play by a Japanese writer, apparently a best seller in that country. My other book club read ” My Notorious Life” by Kate Manning, a fictionalized biography about a woman in Victorian New York City who becomes a midwife and also performs abortions. again a book that might not have been on my radar but was both enjoyable and thought provoking. As a change of pace, this group is now reading the old classic “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier.
    I recently watched ” Promising Young Woman” and “The Father”. both excellent and Anthony Hopkins of course won the Oscar for his performance. well deserved! I have the DVD’s for Bridgerton and will watch them based on your review. My daughter also thought that actor was hot!
    One small rant. last year I watched on our Public TV station a series called Flesh and Blood. It was a British production, of course. One of the best things I had seen in a while, suspenseful, interesting characters, good acting. An older woman main character who is allowed to be beautiful and sexy. disappointed there were only 4 episodes. the last was a cliff hanger, in more ways than one of you watched the show. I saw it was coming back this past week. but it was just a rerun. and apparently there is to be no second season. bummer!
    Well, if this is the worst of my problems, I am very lucky indeed.
    So be well Penny, hope you get some warmer weather soon. With love from New York
    Darby

    Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 11:44 am
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      Hi Derby
      It’s great to hear things are getting more normal in the States – must be the vaccination programme.

      The global book club sounds a really interesting one to belong to. As you can probably see I read mostly UK authors although I have a great interest in Russian history (did International Relations as a degree) so am liking Helen Dunmore as 3 out of 4 novels of hers that I’ve read touch on Russian history. Have taken note of the two you’re reading.

      I really want to watch Promising YoungWoman but in the UK it’s currently streaming on Nowtv and we don’t pay for the films – will have to think about it. Same goes for Nomadland – that’s on Disney and we don’t subscribe to it and I’d love to see it. I very much admire Frances McDormand.

      Actually I’ve not come across Flesh and Blood, but just looked it up and I see that it’s currently on Amazon Prime and that it’s a mini-series. As we do subscribe to Amazon, we could watch it, but if it’s got a frustrating ending, perhaps not! You will love Bridgerton though!

      Take care and you be well too and enjoy the birthday celebrations 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    5th May 2021 at 2:27 pm
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    Keen to watch The Mauritanian, but hubster not convinced; I also want to watch The Stowaway – I love anything about space (and Toni Collette). Line of Duty I thought was OK. They had boxed themselves into a corner in terms of an exciting big reveal and I thought the chosen reveal was all the more interesting when I read in the Times that Jed Mercurio was actually drawing parallels with the Govt —- incompetence paying off, and upward promotions for no good reason!
    Your hair looks lovely! And enjoyed you on Teatime with Trish, the first time I’ve seen one of those.
    I can’t remember when I last went to the cinema, but I’m keen to see Nomadland and it’s launching in cinemas (and on Disney which we don’t have). We’ll probably wait until it’s on Netflix.
    I can’t believe how unpredictable our weather is at the moment – sunny this morning, raining now. And still cold. I want to get my bedding plants!
    Have a good rest of the week x

    Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 11:50 am
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      I shall watch Stowaway as, like you, I’ll watch anything that has a hint of science fiction in it, but do try and persuade your other half to watch The Mauritanian as it is very good.

      We’ve watched the BBC documentary Bent Coppers: Crossing the Line of Duty, and actually Jed Mercurio has got it bang to rights (!) as the top-brass bent coppers hardly ever got caught and like a hydra you stop one bent ‘firm’ and another pops up. So yes, it could be the end of Line of Duty – sigh, it was a good run!

      The weather is appalling – so cold for the time of year!

      Thanks and have a good weekend 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    5th May 2021 at 2:57 pm
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    Hi Penny, I do enjoy your posts and to see what people are reading and watching. We watched both your top rated films – Sound of Metal and the Mauritanian and I was very moved by both of them. Riz Ahmed was brilliant as the deaf drummer and the Mauritanian made me cry!! Here in our house, when not gardening, I am watching ‘This is Us’ on Prime, whenever I get the TV to myself – it’s my guilty wet afternoon pleasure. My husband and I are both hooked on ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ about the New York Symphony Orchestra and all its goings on. It’s both funny and moving and with some lovely music as well. The other thing we love is The Good Fight, season 4 is now on More 4, season 3 on Prime. Brilliant strong female characters and very good entertainment. Love a Trench coat for ever. Judy

    Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 11:53 am
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      Oooh, thanks for all the recommendations, Judy, will give them a try and yes, those two films were excellent.

      The trench is a keeper, and with its lining you’d think it would be more suited to winter, but currently I shall wear it a lot – what with this weather which is so unseasonably cold!

      Thanks and take care 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    6th May 2021 at 8:56 am
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    Hello again Penny, always pleased to get another post from you! The consumption thing is a concern, particularly hearing that Boohoo’s pre-tax profits have gone up by 35%. I have far too much really which I justify by it being 2nd hand and cheap but that’s a bit of a cop-out really. I’ve got a charity bag ready – always have one started – and I’ve decided to start sorting out shoes and bags today. My daughter has a problem with facial hair and waxing leaves her spotty so I’ve suggested electrolysis, which she has not heard of.
    The bag exhibition looks good, perhaps in the autumn. I’m so much missing things like that as I love the stimulation of colour and form. I also like going on courses at Denman the WI college near Oxford (you don’t need to be a member to go). Online is a poor substitute but I’ve enjoyed some of the talks.
    I’ve read a couple of books about Covid and Failures of State will be next. I’ve just read Philippa Perry’s book about parenting which has a lot to say that can be useful even now. I’m also reading a book about near death experiences -NDEs – by a psychiatrist who’s been studying them for 45 years. Lots of questions arising which I hope will be answered. I’ve found a new crime fiction writer Cara Hunter, first book Close to Home which lives up to it’s hype.
    I love LOD and I thought the final episode – if that’s what it really is – was very good. I have trouble believing Buckles is H , he does not seem bright enough! Enjoying Sewing Bee again and a new programme about jewellery making . I’ve not yet started the ‘make-up a glamourous history’ but other daughter says it is good. We enjoyed the silliness of The Syndicate too.

    Reply
    • the frugal fashion shopper
      6th May 2021 at 12:02 pm
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      Hi Lynda
      I too am really concerned about our continuing consumption and the way we are constantly exhorted to spend, spend, spend. Even my charity shop shopping has to be curbed and I’m thinking about ways to change.

      Electrolysis is provided by fewer and fewer beauticians as everyone is keen on laser, but that doesn’t work on fair hair. Electrolysis is very good and keeps it all at bay, but as I have quite profuse growth I do have to return fairly regularly, but I had a year’s growth!!!! It’ll all get under control though now. Do encourage your daughter to research it.

      I am like you and feel starved of the stimulation of exhibitions and art galleries and live talks. The online Guardian Zooms have been good but not quite the same.

      Yes, Buckles……? He definitely is not the mastermind, surely?

      Sewing Bee is such a delight and of course, we do watch Grayson Perry’s Art Club (just finished) and have liked the pair of them even more than I did before.

      Thanks for your as ever interesting comment 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    7th May 2021 at 6:43 am
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    Hi Penny, one film that I really enjoyed was Ladies in Black, set in Australia in the 1960s and directed By Bruce Beresford, it is on Netflix here in Australia where I live but we also borrowed the DVD from the library, I’ve watched it three times, something I never normally do but it was just lovely and being from that era I can identify with it, especially the clothes.
    It’s set in a well known department store in Sydney, the cars, the public transport and the
    Home interiors, the food and attitudes in general were spot on.I cannot recommend it enough.
    I loved your interview with Tricia and I’ve loved your blog for years.
    Carol xx

    Reply

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