Hello again

Apparently wearing an all-white outfit is the latest in thing in fashion circles, say the fashion journos, and who am I to argue with this. Did you know that this wearing of white is meant to be a homage to Wimbledon, which I am so sad to be missing. While the footie seems to be back with a vengeance, oh how I am missing this event, and the Tour de France, especially the latter. We have been devoted to the Tour ever since it went past our front door (well, just up the road) when it came to Brighton on the 6 July 1994.  We had no idea it was such a spectacle with an hour-long pageant of motor-bikes and other mad items fronting the actual bike race. We’ve watched it on television faithfully ever since. We haven’t travelled to France to follow it (that’s kind of on my bucket list of things that I know I won’t do) but we made a special effort to see the second day of the Tour when it started in Yorkshire in 2014.

And, I say yippee to the start of the truncated Grand Prix. The first race was on Sunday, because while football means nothing either to Mr F or me, Wimbledon, the Tour and the Grand Prix are always looked forward to in our household, and we feel, well, thrilled and excited watching them. Yes, I can get a thrill from watching both the motor racing and the bike race in real time.  We are dedicated sports fans to those three annual events.

Back to the wearing of white! Actually, I have been wearing my white tee-shirt a lot these days, plus the white cropped trousers. The thing is I wouldn’t normally wear white through the summer as I usually use public transport to get around, and really, one cannot guarantee the seats are pristine, but these days it’s the ‘walk’ that gets me out, so with just a short walk down the stairs (I don’t use the lift, and I walk up those stairs coming back) then through the foyer, and out into the fresh air, my white clothes have remained white!

My latest buys were two sale items from Mango.

A white loose boxy blouse with big puffy sleeves, and a really comfortable ‘paper bag’ trousers. To see the waist, here are the trousers with my old tee.

Apologies for the creases but that’s how they arrived and if I can get away with it I never iron anything. When I first met Mr F (in 1973) I didn’t know this, but he had always ironed his own shirts, and that has continued through our marriage, so I never had that ordeal of ironing a week’s worth of mens shirts. Bless him, he ironed his shirts because his mother had a serious heart condition, and he thought why should that change just because he got married, which I think was quite advanced feminist thinking for 1974. Anyway, I said, oh yes, do continue the ironing!

I understand that through this lockdown the burden on women has increased with them working from home plus balancing home-schooling and housework. Where has all that feminist thinking of equality at work and in the home gone? Not sure. What I do remember is that for the short time I was at home with babies, and then two small children, all we did as young mothers was sit round our kitchen tables raising our ‘consciousness’. I read all the books on it avidly. Do young mothers do that nowadays? Or is it that we gained the notion that work was central to all (because note I had to resign from the Civil Service when I got pregnant) but now women are probably far too busy juggling work, alongside children, ageing parents, cooking and housework to even begin to think of things like ‘feminism’, which was all we thought of back then.  But I was really grateful for that break from work as I found time to start an Open University course with fees that were affordable. The reason for the OU course was that as a teenager nursing was always my goal, but I’d stayed on at school to take A-levels and had sadly failed them, and in those days that was fine as nursing was a hands-on apprenticeship rather than an academic degree course. An OU course was for me the way back to a more academic appreciation of society, and national and international events, because we were also demonstrating against cruise missiles and holding hands round the Greenham Common base. The upshot of getting good grades for two year-long OU courses was that when we moved from London to Brighton I said to myself, oh, wait a minute, there’s a real university nearby, let’s go there. And I did, graduating three years later at the age of 40 with a 2.1 in International Relations. And note I got paid to do that degree because I had a grant, and if I hadn’t received one I’d never, ever have taken this degree as I had to contribute to the household budget. Yes, I think we have gone backwards.

It’s cooler weather now so I’m not wearing shorts, instead its my leggings for a Zoom Pilates class.  And why do we not, as a rule, have air con in our homes? Because that was 3 days of sweating unpleasantness, and then it’s back to days of rain one minute and sun the next with a very strong, near cold, sea breeze, which is actually my favourite type of weather.


I’ve cut out the biscuits so that spare tyre around my middle is going – phew! And here’s the new blouse with my cropped trousers.

Yes, I have almost given up wearing shoes indoors!

To be honest, I’m not sure about this blouse, and think it’s too large. It definitely unbalances this combo so here are the cropped trousers with a white tee-shirt.

That’s better! The blouse might work with a longer item so here it is with palazzo trousers bought (blows trumpets to herald this announcement) several years ago in a charity shop – ta da! I usually wear them on a cruise.

Hands in pockets and now hands outside.

What do you think?  Too big?  I mean the blouse will be lovely to wear in the hot weather with its loose cut but I’m near to sending back. I’m dithering, what do you think?

That’s all for now

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper


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64 thoughts on “Are you wearing all white?

  • 6th July 2020 at 7:30 am

    Send it back Penny, it distorts your slim shape, making your shoulders look disproportionally wide. As usual, love the blog and think the other pictures make you look really trendy.

    • 7th July 2020 at 7:27 am

      Thank you Marie – I’ve really appreciated the feedback – it’s going back!

  • 6th July 2020 at 7:37 am

    The blouse is too big!

    • 7th July 2020 at 7:27 am

      It is – it’s going back!

    • 7th July 2020 at 11:00 am

      Hi Penny, what about a smaller size, although I must admit I don’t like big puffy sleeves but it might look entirely different in a smaller one, just a thought.
      Warm wishes, Carol

  • 6th July 2020 at 7:39 am

    Too big! Looks like it’s wearing you, rather than the other way round.

    • 7th July 2020 at 7:28 am

      Agree and the feedback has helped – thanks!

  • 6th July 2020 at 7:49 am

    Penny – I think when you did your degree, mature students (which just meant anyone aged over 21!) in the UK who had worked full time for 3 years automatically got a full grant – it wasn’t means-tested on yours or anyone else’s income, as were other maintenance grants. When I was an undergraduate I came across quite a few mature students who’d taken this route: people who’d been expected (by the school, or parents, or peers) to leave school at the first opportunity and find work, or whose parents couldn’t or wouldn’t support them (if your grant was based on your parents’ income, as it was for pretty much everyone else, any shortfall was theirs to meet – which not all did, or could: it wasn’t a generous means-test by any stretch of the imagination). The mature student grant in particular opened up possibilities for many (as did the OU, pre-high-fees, for those who still needed to earn or provide unpaid care while studying) who hadn’t been in a position for whatever reason to go to university (or poly) straight after A levels. Much has been lost.

    • 7th July 2020 at 7:31 am

      It was wonderful to have that grant – the grant radically changed the lives of those who’d missed out going to uni at the age of 18. It certainly changed my life. It is such a loss.

  • 6th July 2020 at 7:55 am

    I am sad about Wimbledon too, but enjoying all the repeats .

    Yes I too enjoy the Tour de France, and the views of the countryside.The motor racing these days is too political for me .I am stuck in the Maserati and Stirling Moss days.

    The blouse is wrong, and I do not like the stringy ties on the trousers.Your t-shirt and leggings look fab.
    Stay safe.

    • 7th July 2020 at 7:35 am

      I must look at some of those tennis repeats. I tried though to watch a past Tour de France and it somehow didn’t feel right. So looking forward to these sporting events happening in more normal times. The cropped trousers, I forgot to say, are charity shop finds so I wear them knowing that they’re comfortable, cool and very cheap, but agree the ties are a nuisance!

      You stay safe too 🙂

  • 6th July 2020 at 7:57 am

    It’s the puff sleeves on the blouse that distort your shape, Penny, oversize white shirts can be quite slimming if they’re the right shape – men’s shirt shape, not cut straight at the bottom. Everything, else looks good. I’d send it back with no qualms. BTW I love reading your blog. Please keep it coming. Jane

    • 7th July 2020 at 7:36 am

      Yes, a long white oversized man’s shirt would be far better – it’s going back. And thanks for the kind words abut the blog 🙂

  • 6th July 2020 at 8:04 am

    Penny, the OU is of course also a “real” university and what a life saver it was for those of us who missed our opportunities at school. I paid for my 6 years of studies got a B.A Hons 2.1 and it was the best investment of my life.

    • 6th July 2020 at 8:22 am

      I’m replying immediately, Pamela, as really I was so wrong to say that. OU is a university and I owe it a huge debt as it gave me confidence to apply to Sussex. When I think back at how very difficult it was to go to uni, the OU was a life-changer to those of us who took a route away from academia after A-levels or had left school with little to show. And financially it was within the reach of everyone. The raising of the fees to equal that of the other universities was so wrong, but the idea of the state educating children, and people, equally, from all walks of life and abilities has long gone. And that is a huge loss. All hail Harold Wilson for his great achievement.

      Thanks, Pamela, and congrats on going through the whole 6 years!

    • 6th July 2020 at 10:16 am

      Me too. I did a degree in psychology then an MsC in occupational psych at Leicester (distance again) then changed careers and worked in occ psych till I retired. Best money ever spent. I was hard working full time and studying but satisfying.

      • 7th July 2020 at 7:40 am

        Hi Maureen, OU was, and still is, of course, a wonderful institution. But it was the way it gave a leg-up to those who’d missed out, that was the genius part of it.

        I know what you mean about working full time and studying as I went on to do an MA at Brighton Uni whilst working. But like you, it was so satisfying.

  • 6th July 2020 at 8:23 am

    It’s a shame but it’s definitely too big – don’t keep it.

    Like you I love Wimbledon and also the Tour, can’t stand football, although not keen on F1 I do like to know how Lewis Hamilton is doing. He’s really grown on me as he’s got older and matured.

    I’m quite enjoying the BBC coverage of old Wimbledons but must confess that I record it and then can fast forward through some of the chat when it becomes boring. Did you see that Steffi Graf has been voted by sports journalists to be the GOAT women’s player? I wonder if Federer will win the men’s?

    • 7th July 2020 at 7:43 am

      It’s going back! The feedback was the key to me acknowledging that it was too big.

      I so miss the Tour. I will look for those repeated matches – thanks for reminding me.

  • 6th July 2020 at 8:45 am

    Morning Penny,

    I have to agree with other comments, I don’t think the blouse is quite right. Not very flattering and far too big. I do like the paper bag trousers, I’ve not seen them properly before,where did they come from? I would be interested in sending for some. I also like the palazzo pants, would be lovely dressed up in the evening.
    It was interesting to hear that you had to leave the Civil Service when pregnant, I worked for Post Office Telephones from 1970, they had only just begun to allow women to work after marriage – we were Civil Servants then – they carried on with the Dowry system for a long time, several of my friends received a Dowry but were also allowed to carry on working. Sounds Victorian now doesn’t it? I don’t think many people now would even know what a Dowry was.
    Have a good week

    • 7th July 2020 at 7:57 am

      Oh so sorry – they were from Mango and seem to be out of stock. Here’s the link to all their trousers, plenty of palazzo pants there https://shop.mango.com/gb/women/trousers_c52748027

      And wow how interesting re: a Dowry system. It does sound as though it was another age, but so does having to resign once you have a child! It was indeed, so very very different back in the 70s with no nurseries available and actually when I got into volunteering with a social worker to help run a holiday scheme I remember being castigated for ‘working’ by my so-called friends who were also at home with babies, mainly because they were followers of John Bowlby!

      It was different when we moved to Brighton, I found the like-minded women there – thank goodness! You have a good week too 🙂

  • 6th July 2020 at 8:48 am

    I agree, I think it’s a size too big for you and that’s why you’re not comfortable in it, maybe if you had a size smaller you would be happier with the proportions and ways to wear it!

    • 7th July 2020 at 8:00 am

      It’s definitely going back Lin, and I now realise that the shape of the blouse is not for me. It’s always useful to take photo of something you’re not sure of but the feedback has been so helpful – thanks!

  • 6th July 2020 at 9:06 am

    I won’t be wearing white as not a tennis fan and I think motor-racing should be consigned to the past with the pollution and ‘macho’ posturing it creates. I’ve seen the T de F passing once about 25 years ago and at that time it wasn’t anything much, just a blur of colours and whizzing legs!
    I like your leggings Penny, where did you get them? Yes, the blouse is too big but the palazzo pants are nice too. I’ve just bought a hot pink sequinned dress for my next cruise & yes I’ll be back on one as soon as I can. It is new (!) and cost £26, reduced from £160, for me irresistible. I always worry about the possibility of underage working. It seems there’s a sweatshop scandal unfurling in Leicester although everyone seems to have known about it for years and done nothing! I’ll bet that people have been paying more for a Made in England label without realising what lies behind it. How appalling (angry face!!)
    I took a degree as a mature student, graduating with a 2:1 in Psychology at 38. There were no tuition fees and as I hadn’t been working before (had 3 children spaced out) I had no financial worries. One of the other older women students had to work in a care home at night to be able to continue. I really admired her determination. Something like that does give you confidence which certainly helped me to do other things in the future.
    When I was at home I can’t remember friends talking about feminism but I did get into politics later. I actually quite like ironing because I like the finished product and I’ve done a lot of dressmaking where pressing is essential. I used to do all the ironing as I was very much a housewife taking pride in my home and how my family were turned out. That sounds like something out of the ark, doesn’t it? Or that smug American trope of the fulfilled home maker – ugh!

    • 7th July 2020 at 9:56 am

      The leggings are DKNY Sport and bought in TKMaxx about a year ago. Nice tight, but not too tight, feel to them. Oh gosh like you I’d so like to go on a cruise, but won’t until there is a vaccine so, for me, I think it’ll be summer 2021 if we’re lucky. I wonder how many of the cruise companies will go out of business and if all buffets will be a thing of the past. I never liked them. The dress sounds lovely – bet it suits you. Pink is now my favourite colour.

      The thing about talking round the kitchen table of things connected to feminism was that I didn’t have children until I was 30 and had always worked so it was a shock to the system, even though I wanted children, to not work. And then when I began volunteering (in Penge) to be castigated by other women for not being attached to one’s child at all times, phew I felt awful. It was such a relief to find like-minded women in Brighton who thought the same way as I did!

      Well done you for being a mature student. It does give confidence and changes ones life, in a way,I am glad I did the degree then as actually I really think I worked harder than the other students who wanted to do all the usual things one should as a student. I just went home to cook the tea! But ironing – no thanks!

  • 6th July 2020 at 9:16 am

    Penny I almost stopped reading your blog because of your political views but now you have come out as a cycling fan and cycling is my passion.
    PS that blouse is far too big.

    • 6th July 2020 at 2:42 pm

      I loved Penny’s political views!

    • 7th July 2020 at 10:00 am

      The blouse is going back! And the Tour – I love it so much. Do hope it happens next year.

      And as for my political views, you just have to see me as an ageing hippy with political views that haven’t gone to the right as I’ve aged, in fact, I think I’ve gone even further left than when I was younger! Love and peace x

  • 6th July 2020 at 9:41 am

    Seems funny seeing all white as we are in winter here in Australia and we finally get a chance to wear…..black! Not that it is as cold as England, still short sleeves in the daytime etc.
    One thing I must say Penny, each time I look at your posts, I do love you in your glasses, they really suit you!

    • 7th July 2020 at 10:09 am

      Oh of course, you’re in winter. I used to wear so much black! I try not to wear that colour so much now. I think one’s colour choice changes as the hair goes white.

      Thank you re: the glasses. I used to wear contacts and I might still go back to them. Do you get the Great British Bake Off with Prue Leith? I think the glasses I wear are the same make. See here https://prue-leith.com/prue-at-ronit-furst-my-new-glasses-range/

      I’d love to have more glasses, so like Prue you can choose the glasses to go with your outfit, but opticians are not open yet and not sure when they will as all that close attention to one’s eyes wouldn’t be a good thing.

      Thanks again 🙂

  • 6th July 2020 at 10:12 am

    I also received a grant in 1981. As I was a divorced mum with 2 children there was an element for them included, too. Without a grant I’d never have qualified as a teacher, always employed, and been able to support my own children through school and universities.
    I don’t hold myself qualified to comment on your blouse though !

    • 7th July 2020 at 10:18 am

      Those grants were never wasted and were a lifeline to those who’d missed out earlier. I know there are loans but the ethos of giving a helping hand to people, has so gone out of the window. And it led to people being gainfully employed in a profession that they wanted to be in. We have very much gone backwards.

      The blouse is going back!

  • 6th July 2020 at 10:17 am

    Yes, agree that the blouse is too big as I think slim cut clothes suit you best. And as you don’t iron anything do you think it might be much more creased after it’s been in the washing machine? I also think the ties on the baggy white trousers are a bit much, love the tan trousers though. Sorry to be so critical but you did ask!

    • 7th July 2020 at 10:20 am

      The blouse is going back but yes, the tan trousers are great and very comfortable to wear. The white cropped trousers are charity shop finds and cost next to nothing (?£3) so I wear them with pride, although yes, the ties are unnecessary and a bit irritating.

      The feedback has been really helpful.

  • 6th July 2020 at 10:26 am

    Morning Penny

    Thank you for another enjoyable blog. Firstly, your blouse. I agree, it looks a little big, but perhaps it would work better with your leggings, i.e. tighter-fitting below – to contrast with the sleeves.

    I enjoy Wimbledon but haven’t been wearing white especially and would find a whole outfit in it too much. Actually, my colouring suits off white/ivory, but I’d still need something – scarf, belt, jewellery – to break it up.

    Thumbs up on no ironing – sounds like you have a good arrangement. I still do some ironing.

    My husband and I both received mature student grants in our 20s. Then, 20 years later I got further funding. We were so fortunate. I feel so sorry for young people who are thousands of pounds in debt and others who are deprived education.

    All the best, Mary Evans Young

    • 7th July 2020 at 10:30 am

      The blouse is going back today! Didn’t cost the earth but even so it’s too big. Never iron if I can help it which is one reason I prefer winter clothes as really there is nothing to iron.

      The ending of getting a grant to go to uni was such a backwards step but possibly unaffordable as student numbers increased. Although, really it’s about priorities and if we have governments who prefer armaments and battleships and huge infrastructure rail projects that are not all that necessary then I guess you can’t find the money. I would never have been able to get a degree without one. We were so fortunate. All the best to you, Mary

  • 6th July 2020 at 10:49 am

    Hi Penny
    I love the paper bag trousers. They look so comfy and cool. The white blouse is far too big for your lovely slim shape and the baggy puff sleeves don’t flatter. What would look lovely I think is a man’s type shirt in white with a tails hem and the cuffs rolled back. You can wear it over the white T shirt or a vest top and it would look great with jeans too. Maybe Mr F has one that he’s finished with? 😉

    • 7th July 2020 at 10:33 am

      I shall look inMr F’s wardrobe but he wears his clothes until they fall apart so there’s probably nothing! Instead the blouse is going back and I shall look for a long oversized boyfriend shirt.

      Thanks yes, the paper bag trousers feel comfortable and are good to wear.

      • 7th July 2020 at 11:39 am

        Hi Penny
        I have a Mr P a bit like your Mr F. I have just removed a collar from a twenty year old Boden shirt as it was fraying so now it’s a collarless shirt and yes, he still wears it. 🤣
        Ellie x

  • 6th July 2020 at 11:05 am

    Wear that lovely blouse on those darker trousers! Yesterday was very disappointing Formule 1 wise for us. Ah well, next time more luck! I purchased a white blouse and a off white vest but I almost never wear white. But more now because I see it a lot and I always like it! Have a great week Penny!

    • 7th July 2020 at 11:27 am

      What a crazy race that was – so many DNFs. It was exciting though and so good to watch. Yes, like you I never used to wear much white, also like you it was always black. But now, it’s colour I love and – white!!!

      You have a great week too, Nancy, take care x

  • 6th July 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Sorry Penny but that blouse has got to go. It does not flatter you at all as you are lucky enough to look good in fitted tops.

    • 7th July 2020 at 11:28 am

      Thank you, Maureen – just got back from the Post Office – it’s gone!

  • 6th July 2020 at 2:41 pm

    I’m sorry to be the one to say this but my idea of the young mothers I see are girls on their phones with a toddler tugging at their skirt/trousers. When my children were small in the early 70’s I think there were more free clubs and groups. I went to an Italian class in London we all had pre schoolers who were looked after while we ‘learned’. I love your palazzo pants I’m too short to wear them on the other hand cropped trousers are often that rare thing, for me, the right length.I agree the blouse is unflattering big sleeves seem to be a thing but they are hard to wear. I didn’t know that about white being an homage to Wimbledon. Sports wise my thing is the Tour de France but I won’t be wearing a yellow jersey. It starts off where I live this year, at the end of August, but I think we are being asked not to approach the riders. I’ve seen many stages over the years if any of your readers are in a position to go to see it I recommend the start of a time trial as it’s easy to see the individual riders leaving from the podium, otherwise they just zoom past.

    • 7th July 2020 at 11:36 am

      Yes, I remember that there was a lot on offer, but to have a grant to do a degree was a lifeline for me and all the others who gained degrees and in many cases a new career.

      Ah, the Tour, I miss it so, is it really going to start this year? I had thought it wasn’t happening. Oh gosh, if it’s safe for everyone and does happen, then just wow. The way the Grand Prix is being conducted is very safe with no spectators and everyone in masks, even the drivers up to the moment that they drive. But will the Tour be able to keep the crowds away from the Tour roads? But that’s good news and great that you are near the start.

      The blouse has gone back!

  • 6th July 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Good morning Penny
    like many of the others I think the white top is too big and you ought to return it. on the other hand I really like the paper bag pants and the white crops. and one can never have too many white tee shirts. I did enjoy learning a bit of your background. I was married with a child and had a masters degree at 23, had earned a scholarship to pay my tuition. my husband at the time was finishing his PhD so actually I stayed home for the most part, did a little part time teaching and had my daughter. while he finished his degree and taught college, I was mostly at home with the kids.. those were good days, I did learn to be a fairly good cook. At some point I decided that the kids would get older and I wanted more. I was able to get accepted to a PhD program in clinical psychology, it took me 9 years to finally complete the program, do an internship and write my dissertation. in 1981 I earned my degree and in 1983 was licensed. by now my marriage was over so I had to work full time as well as being a single parent. when I tell people this it sounds hard but really it was just my life and didn’t seem all the difficult. I liked what I was doing. I was lucky in that whether I worked in- patient settings or in community clinics I worked for New York State so I had good benefits and now I have a nice pension unlike a lot of my contemporaries. however, I miss feeling useful, especially now when we are so limited to what we can do. and speaking of cycling, I am hoping I can still ride a bike. I plan to take mine on vacation, it is at my son’s now and trying to figure out how to practice since it has been two years since I have ridden. well enough of my chatter, stay well and I always look forward to your news from Brighton, fashion or otherwise.

    • 8th July 2020 at 9:35 am

      The blouse has gone, but glad I bought the paper bag pants.

      How interesting to know a little bit more about your life, Darby, and a PhD, how excellent. After my degree, I began and completed a Masters in Social Policy and what with that and the degree I was able to forge another career in what we call the voluntary sector, focusing in on older people and their carers and later becoming a social policy researcher specialising in focus groups of service users – it was very satisfying. I miss working yet on the other hand I developed my skills in the arts and ran a small film society in a small town with no cinema – that was probably one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done. And then there’s the writing.

      I don’t know Darby but I think writing is useful and you writing poetry that’s a skill you can develop for ever, for the rest of your life. I think that’s great, you can do that while we’re still in semi-lockdown and then just go for it when we’re freer at open mics or even self-publish.

      And bike riding – you must be fit – well done you!

  • 6th July 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Great post! I love white but I won’t be wearing it until the puppy is a bit older! Puff sleeves are very ‘fashionable’ currently. I’m not sure about them but I do fancy a white broderie anglaise blouse! I think your blouse might be better in a smaller size? I like the white with the camel/tan/sand (?) coloured trousers. I watch very little sport, apart from, tennis – I love it! I used to live in Wimbledon and it was in the days when, if you went after work, people leaving would give you their tickets (it was allowed) and you could enter the grounds for free. I was a massive Borg fan and did see him play once. I was ecstatic! When I was a student, in France, I did see the Tour de France pass through a local village. The riders went through in the blink of an eye but the celebrations lasted all day and night as far as I can remember!

    • 8th July 2020 at 9:44 am

      OOh fancy seeing Borg play! I went to Wimbledon twice as a 6th-former when 17 and 18, I just remember those amazing tanned legs and the tension of the matches. Never been since, but have watched Wimbledon through the years. I realise I could watch some old matches and saw Roddick v Federer yesterday – amazing standard of tennis.

      The Tour is quite a fete, I think, in France, but even here there is the cavalcade beforehand which we saw both in Brighton and Yorkshire recently. Apparently one should watch the race when they go uphill but staying with friends we couldn’t for a variety of reasons, and so they were coming downhill and they passed in a flash but the vibration of the displaced air as they pass is very thrilling! We’ve watched it so often we know most of the riders and their teams. Hope it goes ahead later this year – fingers crossed.

      The blouse has gone back!

  • 6th July 2020 at 9:11 pm

    I think the blouse is a bit too big across the shoulders, so personally would send it back. It looks better with a contrasting lower half, such as the black and white trousers. I like the cropped white trousers, but I’m not keen on a white top with them, prefer a different colour for contrast.
    I did an OU degree, studying mainly history, in the 1970’s, (I started in its second year) but only needed to do five years as I already had a post-A level qualification in librarianship. When I studied that, it was a two year qualification, but our lecturers told us that it would be a three year one soon. I was working in a College of Further Education when I started my OU degree, and quite a number of the lecturers there became lecturers for the OU. It was certainly affordable on a librarian’s salary then.

    • 8th July 2020 at 9:51 am

      The blouse has gone back!

      Oh well done you for staying the course! I think OU was excellent and still is. I was talking to my 14 year-old grandson who says some of his classes are now a bit boring – but it’s quite obvious that the teachers have done sterling work in suddenly having to teach online. Was explaining how OU was able to engage its students from the word go. If this pandemic continues I hope somehow OU helps teachers to get up to the OU standards. Although I do remember those filmed lectures with the very hairy lecturers were a bit of cliche even then!

  • 7th July 2020 at 9:34 am

    Hi Penny, I watched a Wimbledon 1980 final between Borg and McEnroe yesterday, gosh it was exciting. I miss Wimbledon being on this year . Next year hopefully.
    I went to uni in my early 30’s. As a single parent I received a very generous grant for my daughter, no fees and a decent grant for myself. I am so appreciative of the system back then. How different things are nowadays. So difficult for young people.
    Glad you decided to return the blouse, it was too big. I would have kept it and spent many evenings altering it to fit and never being truly satisfied! Live and learn! I do try!
    Best regards, Carole.

    • 8th July 2020 at 9:57 am

      Yes, I wouldn’t even begin to try to alter the blouse, and it was quite painless to send back free of charge.

      I bet you enjoyed going to uni in your 30s. I was 37 when I began and 40 when I graduated. I remember begging a 20-year-old student, who was giving it all up half way through her degree to get married, to stay on (this was 1984) just kept saying you could stay and do both, but no, hope she returned to study.

      Best wishes to you Carole

  • 7th July 2020 at 2:39 pm

    I think it’s gone back? It’s a nice top but too big. I am forever buying things that don’t fit quite right, and then I end up hating them.

    Love the cropped trousers and yout Pilates leggings. I have also developed a bad biscuit habit, two M&S Extremely Chocolately biscuits a day, and although I haven’t put on weight, I’m sure my stomach is more doughy than it used to be. (There are also two Lindor chocs every evening….!!). I must copy you in giving them up!

    Ironing —- I didn’t iron my husband’s shirts to his high standards, when he was working, but I found a local ironing company that did it all, and still use them for my bedding. I love pristine bedding.

    I started an OU degree a few years ago but at the time I was working very hard at my previous company with a lot of travel, and choosing English Lit was a really bad decision. I’ve always regretted giving it up, particularly as two of my friends did OU degrees and one did an MA after that. I was looking at some of the subjects that really interest me, as a retirement project, but the cost is putting me off.

    On the tour. Back in the 70s, the Tour actually came through the village of Plympton in Plymouth. There was great excitement and we went to watch, and didn’t know what to expect (it wasn’t on TV much then). There was a big lorry throwing out artichokes to everyone. My mum, was extremely bemused, as no-one in the UK knew what to do with an artichoke in those days!

    • 8th July 2020 at 10:01 am

      The blouse has gone and biscuits have crept back! I don’t know, I think we have to be kind to ourselves some times and this is one of this times, so a bit of chocolate is fine and it’s that very dark chocolate it’s actually good for you!

      I’ve got a friend like you who sends all her ironing out to be done, I am just a bit of a slut re: ironing!

      Definitely do an OU course once you retire, but save up!

  • 7th July 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Yes, that blouse is a great shape, with the puffed sleeves and fitted waist, but maybe the upper part is just too big. Anyway, your white tshirt and white pants and black print ones are great. I admire anyone who can wear paper bag pants, I’m not slim enough in the waist for them. I puff out where they puff out!

    I’m wondering what these 2 things mean: “the Dowry system”, and “that smug American trope of the fulfilled home maker – ugh!”, both comments made by readers.

    I’d like to know more about the grant system you talked about. It does sound like a wonderful system that would offer support to people who didn’t go directly to university. I did go to university right after high school (age 18), but had no real ambition or career goal. At age 40, I was married with a child, working full-time, and began to get that ambition to become part of something I cared about. So I went back to university, still working at my job, and got a degree in education. Then I did what I loved – teaching until I retired. For me, that was fulfillment, but I can’t know what will give that feeling to anyone else. I just wish it for them.

    • 8th July 2020 at 8:00 am

      The blouse has gone back Evie, I was dithering and the feedback really helped.

      And the home-maker? The phrase Home-maker, is used to describe an idealistic way of being the ideal housewife and mother, and is not entirely complementary. The thing is when I had small children it was the norm to stay at home, we were called stay-at-home mums, as there were no nurseries to speak of and indeed, many professions actually did not want women working with children. And indeed, I found myself criticised by my peers for volunteering, for goodness sake! Now the boot is on the other foot, so to speak, and you are considered unusual and there is some criticism if you continue to stay at home (after maternity leave of one year). The term, home-maker, which might be used for these women, is seen as a cliche and people can correct me if I’m wrong, but the picture we have when we use this term is of a 50s American housewife and mother behind the picket fence welcoming home her husband with her rosy cheeked children holding her hands, and a meal waiting on the table. I feel slightly faint and nauseous as I write that last sentence!!!!!! Which is why I sat round the kitchen table all this years ago, with other young mothers raising my consciousness – happy days!

      I’d never heard of the Dowry system but re: the grants for studying at university. Basically further education in the UK used to be totally free, as in, students did not pay a fee to study for a degree. And in addition to that, from 1962 until 1990, UK based students received grants for maintenance (means tested according to parental income). So when I and other commenters talk about the ‘grant’ we’re actually talking about the free education we received at uni level with no fees, PLUS, getting a grant that contributed to our living costs. Furthermore mature students received additional monies – see Lorna’s reply above as she knows more about it than I do! But that’s all gone. You could argue that it was impossible to fund once university student numbers increased but on the other hand it is about priorities and what kind of society you want, as the students that were helped through having these grants could never have afforded it pre-1962. And there are many put off now, as it’s an expensive business to go into further education (probably not as expensive as the States though) with students having to pay fees (£9000) and all their expenses. There are student loans (introduced in the 1990/91 academic year) but students leave higher education with huge debts.

      Take care Evie, thanks for the interesting comment – bet you were a great teacher.

      • 8th July 2020 at 8:29 am

        One of the political parties had a policy that everyone should have a further education ‘pot’ that could be drawn upon at any time in their lives. I thought this a great idea as it is often not until later in your life that you have the motivation to learn about what really interests and motivates you. By then you will have financial commitments so without help many just can’t do it. Needless to say the idea was never implemented!

    • 8th July 2020 at 3:49 pm

      I think the song by Mary Chapin Carpenter ‘He Thinks He’ll Keep Her’ sums up the mistaken idea that all women want is a domesticated life.

  • 7th July 2020 at 9:17 pm

    The blouse is much too big for you! Urgent comment from New Zealand!

    • 8th July 2020 at 8:02 am

      It’s gone!

  • 9th July 2020 at 3:17 pm

    Those crop white pants are so fun with the ties! Have you tried them with the white tee instead? We have been taking it easy this week after a lot of hiking last week but I am still walking with a friend in the evenings and running a few times a week too.

  • 12th July 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Penny, I could not find an email so I will try a comment, instead.

    I’ve noticed you at Bettye’s blog, Fashion Schlub. It warms my heart every time to see a comment of yours. What a treat to have someone “over the ocean” visiting with all of us!

    I live in the United States. During the pandemic, especially, I’ve been strengthened and encouraged to see so many lovely commenters from around the world. The way we “gather” together even as so many hard things unfold brings joy and lifts my spirits.

    I wanted you to know deeply appreciated you are. Your voice matters to me – and I’m sure, many others. I appreciate your perspective, your warmth, your kindness, and your intelligence. Thank you for spreading good cheer and giving the rest of us a chance to know you in this way.

    Like you, I have a long-standing love of charity shops, which I think are the same as our thrift shops…? Such a fun and interesting way to find treasures! 🙂

    Thank you again for brightening my days with your comments. Stay well and stay safe!


    Cathy in Missouri

    • 15th July 2020 at 11:03 am

      Thank you so much for your kind words Cathy, I think it’s great to meet and mingle with people from all over the world. I really didn’t think when I started out that for me one of the main reasons for blogging would be communicating with so many lovely people, but that’s how it is. Also I love Bettye’s blog and think she’s right to call out the criticism.

      Thank you again Cathy – take care and stay safe 🙂

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