If you thought that the last post I put up was a little thin, apologies, I have been quite distracted these past few weeks. First of all, I took a couple of weeks to write a 3000+ word piece for My Other Blog. New followers I need to explain something. My Other Blog is full of my Guardian-reader type opinions, and yet many long-standing followers know how I write these pieces and support me in my endeavours. I absolutely don’t want to offend, but don’t look at it if you are a fan of this government! Just saying 😉
Actually before I get into the other thing that has been distracting me, honestly, I think I have something that apparently a lot of us are suffering from – brain fog – and all due, I believe, from being stuck indoors throughout our three lockdowns and the consequent lack of stimulation so necessary for our brains. I used to be able to dash the Other Blog pieces off in a matter of days and, if you look back, to when I first started I wrote one every two weeks. I now seem to do one every two months!
The thing is despite many of us adapting well to the lockdowns it was dull without all the hustle and bustle, and the meeting and greeting we’d do just going about our daily lives. There isn’t anything wrong with us if we do feel this foggy sense of having slowed down, as it’s obviously a completely normal reaction to this really odd experience we’ve all been through over the last few months. And it should go once we pick up on our more normal routines. Thank you btw, for last week’s thoughtful comments on my slight reluctance to do exactly that – I’m working on it!
Now the other thing. I thought I was the epitome of a sensible person who looked ageing straight in the face and consequently thought through what ageing was all about, including where one ought to live. So, for nearly 4 years we have lived in an over-55 block of flats managed by a Housing Association. We are possibly the youngest of the owners (no-one rents in this block, although that is more common) but if this is so, it won’t stay like that now that I am nearly 75.
I’ve written about our reasons for moving a couple of times on this blog, but in a nutshell there are 3 key reasons why we live where we do: i) I carry a lot of baggage. My mother did not choose her final resting place and put a huge burden on me and my sister, particularly with regard to her accommodation, with her resisting and hating every moment of the way out of her home even though she patently could not manage. It was a very challenging time and I decided I would never, not ever do that to my kids. ii) It’s sensible and the thing one ought to do. In my career as a researcher and development officer specialising in older people’s services, I saw so many people regretting that they hadn’t made that decision to down-size, and having to move when it was a crisis, from their too large houses and large gardens that they could no longer manage, rather than taking control and moving to just another place to live. And iii) we wanted to return to Brighton and living in this type of accommodation was a cheap option (for Brighton) as long as you can afford the service charge.
And what have I been doing the past two months? Mrs ‘Sensible Personified’ has only been thinking about putting this ‘sensible’ flat on the market and moving again! We had the Estate Agents round to value the flat, and looked at a few places as well. We’re not, btw. As in, we’re not moving. A key meeting with our Financial Adviser made us realise it was financial folly so my moving madness has been binned and we have a couple of projects that are keeping me happy. More about those in a min.
It’s the pandemic wot’s done it. I just got fed up, not with where we live, as the Kemptown area is divine and saved our sanity through these past month with its proximity to the sea and its sweet little independent shops that are all open now. No, actually, I longed for an outside space of my own and, and, another room for me to shut the door and write away to my heart’s content.
We bought the flat as a base for an out-and-about lifestyle with visits to art galleries and exhibitions in London and us participating in everything Brighton has to offer including many visits to the cinema, all of which are in walkable distance. Instead like the rest of the population we’ve been stuck indoors for months, and well, I just got fed up. I acknowledge that I am a serial mover and I have had a quite a cool hard look at why we have moved so often. But we have been very happy with each and every one of those moves. However, a move now is out of the question for so many reasons, not just our finances, including one or two I’m not going into now that you’ll hear about soon.
Anyway, Mr F and myself have had lots of chats about how we feel about living where we do and, and, there is one solution/ project that has delighted me. We have two bedrooms and Mr F has the second bedroom as his office, while I write on a table in the sitting-room, which means I have to clear up my scattered papers every time we eat and every time we have a Zoom Pilates class. But oh joy, Mr F has conceded that what would make me really happy is to have a room of my own, soooo, I am to have the second bedroom as my office and Mr F will do all that he does (and he does a lot of very interesting family history plus he designs printed books of our old photographs which are given to our kids) and all of that will be done in our sitting-room. Now that will take some doing as we have to change our furniture and redesign the room to get Mr F happy with where he works, plus not ruining our sitting-room with (I have to say it) his clutter! This switch-round of offices is not going to happen immediately, but as I absolutely love rearranging furniture in a room, I’m feeling very energised having to deal with it all.
Just a thought, if you are thinking of down-sizing to a place that is more suited to you in later life make sure that you do have sufficient room for all your hobbies and pastimes. And if the garden means a great deal to you, then get a ground-floor flat with an outside space or an apartment with a large balcony, ours is quite small and not really suitable for sitting out on. I’m fine about that now and I’m currently working on the balcony’s summer display. (What summer!!!) It was just the pandemic that put me in that frame of mind, that what we had wasn’t sufficient for our needs.
And here’s another project that I’m thinking about. During the interview I had with Tricia Cusden I told her that I have quite a high-turnover of clothes, although I hasten to add I have many charity shop clothes I’ve kept for years. But what I usually do is return charity shop clothes to charity shops. Well, since I said that, I’ve had a think about this, and some of these clothes are lovely and really, could I be selling them? This might sound a bit mean, after all, I am always saying that it’s good to give back to charities, although I suppose I have already by buying the item in the first place! Anyway, this is my latest project. I have a lot of UK size 12 clothes that I simply cannot get into anymore. I am going to experiment and start by selling one or two items on eBay first. I have also wondered whether I could create my own little shop on the blog? But that would be up to Mr F and he has a lot of his own projects to deal with let along a mammoth task like that – so that’s very much on the back burner.
What do you think about this, as tbh, it’s a bit scary as I will be going outside this lovely community of women here on Frugal Fashion and encountering the real world! I know some of you have bought on eBay (and there are other platforms like Vinted and DeePop) but have any of you sold on these platforms? Do let me know if you have and if you had any problems with selling items.
So there you are, you now know what has been distracting me over the past few weeks! However, I think, having a tricky project is actually energising and such a positive thing to do. I’m loving the first one with the redesign of the sitting room but finding the other project a bit terrifying, but it’s good to be challenged. And it sure keeps you on your toes!
And here are my latest buys. Two days ago, I had a very successful visit to my local charity shop and found 4 items. Here are 3 of them.
The first buy is a really great pair of Zara pants – I do think they’re fun!
They’re sort of sporty, and I love that stripe down the side, which is quite slimming. Then I bought two jackets, both for £9 each. Here’s the first one.
Yes, it is big, but who was telling me big jackets are back? Well, it’s definitely a big jacket, with a Betty Barclay label no less.
I think despite it being one size too large, it’ll do. Then here’s another that is the right size (UK14) but still gives that big jacket vibe.
Does the colour clash – not sure!
The colour is really in-your-face, and Mr F says he’ll have to wear sun-glasses to look at it. But it’s a fun jacket and I like it!
I spoke too soon as it is absolutely not summer yet here, and there’s more cool weather on the way with high winds too. Brr! Still, the jackets and the pants are waiting to be worn and all I want is the right sort of weather to wear these items – can’t wait for this unseasonable cold to end and the warmth to begin!
That’s all for now but do tell me if you have sold items on eBay or elsewhere, as it’s good to hear your experiences.
With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper
P.S. If you’ve read down to these last few words, and still want to read the piece I wrote on My Other Blog, go to the icon to the right of this post if reading on a Mac or PC, or scroll to the very end of the post and beyond if reading on a phone 🙂