Hello again

Did I mention that I was going on a cruise?   Like last year (and even though I’m going away for 14 days) I’m taking a capsule wardrobe for daywear, sticking predominantly to blue jeans and black skinnies with a mix of black and blue tops.  Here’s an old pic of me in my very old cruise (charity shop) blouse and Gap jeans (£4).  Here’s hoping we get the weather to wear this blouse, as don’t forget at the top of Norway it could be ultra cool.  Packing a thick woolly cardi, for that part of the cruise.

My cruise blouse

In the evening there are 3 Gala nights, for which I have 3 long frocks.  Here’s one (bought for £15) that I’ve worn on every cruise.

purple-cruise-dressLong frocks were the norm in the previous 3 cruises but reading some reviews of this liner, people are apparently wearing anything on those nights. But I shall wear the long frocks come what may, including this.


What do you think, people?  It’s a skirt plus a Joseph top, and I’m being a bit of a numpty here, as I’ve put the top on back to front (doh) and only realised it afterwards!  It’s in cashmere with a silk roll-top neck and was reduced to £10.  The skirt is rather fine don’t you think?  Actually it might just be a dress with a large black band that goes over the bust (but not mine!).  Ok, it cost £45, but it’s a Jonathan Saunders skirt/dress and his clothes retail at very, very fancy prices.

For those of you who live outside the UK and/or don’t know much about our charity shops this pic (taken by @FriendsofRCBPR, thank you!) shows you exactly what our boutique-like charity shops are like.  But this is rather a special charity shop as it’s the Red Cross shop near Victoria Station in London.  I visit it every six months or so, and after stifling a scream at the prices (because these are London prices, folks) I love to take a look as it’s full of designer clothes at very reasonable prices (for a designer piece, that is).

Really I can’t not dress up, so for the 11 other so-called Smart Casual evenings I shall be taking 3 cocktail dresses, plus a couple of sparkly tops to go with the ubiquitous black evening trousers and, maybe, one skirt. And whatever other people are wearing I shall be strutting my stuff.

Btw, all the costings I put into these blog posts is to say – you can do it, you can dress up yet spend next-to-nothing, you really can!

Actually feeling slightly nervous as it’s an American cruise line (no names) and it already feels a bit different from the past three cruises on British ships.  What I’m used to is paying up front, and then nothing much else once on board (apart from drinks) including, I might say, the tips for the stewards and everyone else, which are all included in the overall price.  There seems quite an emphasis on getting you to pay for loads of extra stuff. Enough of that (what a first world problem) but here’s the (critical) thing will I be able to get a decent cup of tea on board this mega liner?

I’m sure you’re aware that a cup of tea is an absolute essential for a lot of Brits.  I mean, coffee has become a go-to drink for us and, boy, is that a change in our British habits, as when I was a child in our house we had nothing but instant Nescafé, which bore no resemblance whatsoever to the ground coffee of today.  And I’m old enough to remember my grandmother drinking that Camp coffee, which was made of chicory and tasted beyond bitter.  Now, though, we’re as civilised as you are, and me, I like nothing better than an Americano from Café whatever.  But I still have to have a cup of tea every now and then, as in, two large cups first thing in the morning and then in the afternoon, then again in the evening, you get the drift.  And on one cruise line I’ve been on, there’s not only free tea available on tap 24/7, you get a tray of tea in the morning delivered to your bed-side, also absolutely free of charge.

So what sort of cuppa will I get on this liner?  Will it be that dreaded tea that seems so weak to our palates, and tastes like coloured water?  The tea I like has to be strong and brewed a while, and the colour of a dark ginger nut (that’s an English cookie).   And another thing, it has to be boiling hot – I have had a luke-warm wet thing served to me a couple of times!  OK, I’m prepared for all eventualities, I’m taking some tea bags with me!

That’s all for now, but leaving you with a pic of tea taken in a lovely garden near where I live – did I say afternoon tea had to include cake!


With love, Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. Sharing with Catherine Summers and her #iwillwearwhatilike session In a homage to Prince this week’s theme is purple – I think my cruise frock qualifies!



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20 thoughts on “I’m taking a capsule wardrobe, I promise!

    • 10th May 2016 at 7:07 am

      Thank you, Umi, it was such a find!

  • 9th May 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Penny. I freakin’ LOVE the long skirt and the top! It is amazing!!!!! But about the tea…..I’m American but my grandparents are immigrants (Oh…I wonder if Donald (The United Hates of America) Trump is aware that 99.9 percent of The States was built by immigrants…..) from Ireland. And with that comes a great cuppa tea. My brothers and sisters walked around with tea in their baby bottles.
    I’m going to suggest you bring your own tea and a tea ball with you. You are welcome! XOXOXO!

    • 10th May 2016 at 7:14 am

      Yes, re: the top and skirt – I pounced when I saw it!

      And yes, T-bags or even a tea ball – might just do that. Thing is I have found that as coffee needn’t be boiling when made, there have been occasions when (this is over the channel. Actually this was in Italy.) the tea has been made with water that hasn’t been actually bubbling and boiling hot. Just disgusting! So I hope there’s somewhere I can get really hot, as in boiling, water – then we’ll be fine! On t’other hand, I ought to be more adaptable to difference. AND actually looking forward very much to meeting Americans on board ship – do you think the Donald thing will come up in the conversation spontaneously? Absolutely fascinated to know what people think about the Trump person xxxxxx

      • 18th May 2016 at 2:07 am

        Penny, I hope you meet a ton of Americans willing to talk about how embarrassed they are that Trump is running for President. I pray that man will never make it to the White House–if he does, the name will be changed to the Fright House!

        • 18th May 2016 at 6:45 am

          Yes, he does sound a frightening prospect – I read a lot of articles on all sorts of things including the politics of both the UK and the US. And one or two are quite insightful about the Trump person and why people vote for him. It rather sounds as though these are people who are suffering from what some people in the UK are suffering from. In some parts of the UK there were huge industries of steel and coal. There were factories everywhere in the UK and we made things – all sorts of things. But capitalism is all about the profit and paying the lowest wages it can for those things that are made – so off that manufacturing went to all over the world and especially China. No-one is really to blame because that is the nature of the beast, but the people with absolutely nothing to make and no jobs to speak of apart from whatever ‘service’ industry you can get into feel forgotten. And then in the UK we get foreign or as our press calls them ‘immigrant’ workers working for even lower wages than our so-called minimum wage. And so people begin to get angry and they vote for anyone who comes along and promises them salvation. Bingo – in the UK it’s a party called UKIP and in the US it’s Trump. Frightening. But our political parties have failed these people and I include the party I vote for which is Labour, that is, until Corbyn came along, who is the equivalent of your Bernie. Corbyn though has a chance of winning an election – I really hope he does. But the whole establishment in the UK and particularly the press are very scared of that prospect so I bet all hell will be let loose against our Corbyn – but he’s popular and I love him! Will I be able to have this conversation with anyone on the cruise – I do hope so!!!!!!!!

  • 9th May 2016 at 4:48 pm

    I absolutely love your blog! So inspiring, I’m always intending to comment, then time flies by, and there is a fresh blog. Re the one about short jackets – I find I don’t get much wear out of them, and I’ve quite a few, accumulated over the years. The weather is either too cold, or too warm, with very few just fine enough to wear a jacket.
    The new skirt and top is fabulous, it looks like a very expensive designer evening dress. Hope you have a fabulous time on your Norwegian cruise, I’ve only been to Oslo but I’d go back tomorrow. Thanks for your enjoyable blog too. X

    • 10th May 2016 at 7:19 am

      Yes, I love the look of jackets, but they’re so often just not quite right for the temperature – either too hot or not enough cover in the colder months.

      And re: the ‘skirt’ or dress. It was being sold as a skirt but actually think you’re right and it’s a dress with the band going over a small bust – wouldn’t be able to do that, so I’m just tall enough to get away with it as a skirt. Think it needs a belt though to separate out the black of the top from the skirt.

      And thank you for the feedback on the blog – lovely to meet you!

  • 9th May 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Hi Penny
    I love the long skirt. It reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright glass panels. Have a great holiday.
    Ellie. X

    • 10th May 2016 at 7:20 am

      Thank you so much, Ellie x

  • 9th May 2016 at 6:52 pm

    Such a beautiful skirt. What a purchase!

    • 10th May 2016 at 7:22 am

      It was an amazing find! Like all charity shops there were quite a lot of options but nothing much was taking my fancy. I was quite prepared to walk out empty-handed and then I saw it!!

  • 9th May 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Penny, that skirt is divine! Perfect to waltz about on board. We went on a cruise in Feb and I managed to wow everyone with my green designer frock which only cost me £17 on ebay! The crusie company is now putting a link back to my website to show ladies what to wear on their first cruise when they enquire, which is very flattering. I’m a big fan of charity shopping too and am constantly amazed at the bargains you can find. I hope you have a wonderful time x

    • 10th May 2016 at 7:23 am

      Hi Anna
      Sounds as though you bought an amazing bargain – following your blog now x

  • 10th May 2016 at 11:01 am

    Another interesting post and I have come to the conclusion that next time I go into a charity shop I must be more patient and thorough! Have never been on a cruise – yet. A friend suggested starting with a river cruise, perhaps?
    Ah tea! My sons once asked me if I would find it harder to give up wine or tea. Sounds bad… I pointed out that I don’t wake up longing for a cup of wine!! Currently in France and loving strong black coffee, I still have my tea bags (Yorkshire tea! ) so that I can get my early morning fix!
    Hope you have a wonderful cruise.

    • 12th May 2016 at 6:56 am

      Hi June. Yes re: charity shops – i) be prepared to look and then ii) be prepared to also walk out empty-handed. It was at that point that I found the skirt! And yes, a river cruise would be a delightful way to start although I started with a 7-day cruise to Norway, which was just wonderful which is why I’m returning to this beautiful country. Also there are plenty of cheap cruises and more expensive ones and as ever you get what you pay for. If you’d like a tray of tea in the morning, try Saga!

  • 10th May 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Hi Penny

    That skirt is wonderful. I am amazed at the wonderful bargains you find. A cruise to Norway is on my bucket list so I will look forward to reading your blogs about your trip. I hope you have a great time.


    • 12th May 2016 at 6:58 am

      Hi Susan, thanks so much! And Norway is just wonderful – they’re really friendly people and it is such a beautiful country.

  • 11th May 2016 at 11:54 am

    You will be the belle of the ball in that cruise.Are you passing by Málaga, because if you do I would love to meet.
    Have a fabulous time

    • 12th May 2016 at 7:01 am

      Hi, how lovely to hear from you! I’m so sorry but the cruise is going north of you to the top of Norway (that means I have to be ready for any kind of weather – cold, hot, snow!!)

      The next time I come to Spain we’ll meet up!! And thank you I will have lovely time xxx

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