Hello again

Sorry, been very busy with this and that, so there wasn’t a post last week. Well, there wasn’t here, but I did put a post on My Other Blog. The thing is, I hold strong views on Brexit (nope), refugees (we, as in the worldwide community, are not doing enough), the Labour Party (I love it some of the time, but definitely not all of the time) and the NHS (we all love it most of the time) and not everyone will agree with what I say. But I set out my views to make things clear to myself (very necessary) and then to communicate and connect with others, and especially those who don’t agree with me. That’s the whole point, to get out of our little huddles of people agreeing with each other. But this latest one is on the NHS and kind of non-controversial as I unpick some developments that are in the ether and gearing up to happen.  It’s a post that will have a follow-up or two, or three, as I feel passionately about the NHS, but it does need a re-think but not in the way the policy wonks would have it.  I feel there’s a clue in its name, the National Health Service and there’s a need for more of an emphasis on the middle word.

The other thing that took up my time, apart from attempting daily exercises and only managing every other day, and then missing two days because… I went up to London again!  These trips are getting to be quite a habit. Actually, I’m doing it while I can, as it’s really tiring to do, not helped by the trains.  I thought moving to Brighton would ease my journey to London, but not while we’re in the midst of a great timetable fiasco, which if you live in the UK you’ve probably heard of and/or suffered under. Outside the UK, in a nutshell, nearly every train line company in the country has a new timetable with new routes and they didn’t factor in the training for these new routes. The result, chaos. This was compounded on my return journey with a fire on the line, with massive cancellations. I stood with an anxious crowd waiting to hear announcements. One came in and I managed to scramble to the head of the queue at the door of the train, got on and got a seat.  As we moved off I heard the cry ‘can you move down the carriage’, looked back and it was like a train in Japan. And it remained that way for 2/3 of the journey. I saw people in stations, especially Clapham Junction, but also further down the line (which is unusual) running up and down platforms looking for somewhere to push their way in to no avail. No wonder people cling to their seats with a grim determination and never stand up for anyone – why would you in those conditions? This is a very first world problem, but even so I don’t envy those commuters.

Enough of that, my day was great. And the trip was to that wonderful Victoria & Albert museum, again, to see the amazing Frida Kahlo exhibition.

I’d read a slightly grudging review that this exhibition didn’t focus enough on Kahlo’s art and instead was rather more about fetishising her disabilities.  But on seeing this exhibition, that’s such an unfair depiction of what is on display, which is actually not about her art but about a room in her house that had been locked for 50 years. Anyway, I’d been to the Tate some years ago and seen a Kahlo exhibition that showed all her glorious art. This was different. The exhibition revealed the contents of this room: her makeup, her jewellery, her medicines, and yes, her corsets and her false leg in the red boot. And then there were her clothes, her clothes.

But in addition, there were many photographs, letters and stunning, stunning paintings.

The exhibition wasn’t at all voyeuristic: it was beautiful and sad, and colourful and astonishing and ravishing and made you think about the life she led amidst all her pain and suffering.

Do go if you can!

As you know I’ve got a certain style for Brighton, but I decided to honour Frida and wear slightly more colourful clothes. Here’s me getting ready for my trip.

My hat was bought two years ago in Toulouse embellished here with a flower made by my friend Cathy. There’s that designer skirt again, a t-shirt from Peacocks, plus the only second-hand item that I wore that day, my biker boots. They may have looked good but they were too hot as the UK is warming up.  I should have worn my white plimsols.

Here’s the complete ensemble topped with a thin (so, not hot) black jacket from Hennes bought new for next-to-nothing, and a gaudy necklace bought from the V&A shop on an earlier visit.

You get a glimpse of my living room with its yellow wall and a great painting I bought some time ago from Tina Balmer – have a look at her website.

Here’s a last look at Frida.

So lovely.

This is someone who died young. But what a life, it makes you think. Because things can change in an instant as it did for Kahlo who was going to be a doctor until that dreadful accident, which happened in her teens. Yes, just go for it, life is for living right here and now.  Stuff the trains, I’ll be going up to London again and again, doing what I love which is ‘looking’. Next trip, I think, will be to Grayson Perry’s Summer Exhibition at the RA – just watch this space!

That’s all for now

With love Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

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P.P.S And sharing with the usual lovely people 🙂




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14 thoughts on “Living life to the full!

  • 25th June 2018 at 1:03 pm

    It’s a must see, I am excited about going! They do these exhibitions so well at the V&A: not just the art, but what inspired the artist and how they were in real life. I’m also keen to see Christo’s mastaba in the Serpentine Lake. I’ll be going swimming there soon so hopefully will get a picture of me swimming alongside it!

    • 26th June 2018 at 10:29 am

      I love the V&A and am a member. It’s my one real extravagance although on the other hand there is so much in it about fashion as well as ‘great art’. And it does these exhibitions so beautifully.

      I didn’t know about the Christo in the Serpentine. Just looked on YouTube – amazing – look forward to seeing you there!

  • 25th June 2018 at 1:21 pm

    I read about that exhibition. Sounds really intriguing. What an awful journey with the train.

    • 26th June 2018 at 10:31 am

      The trains are dire and I should have avoided the rush hour, although by the time I got to Victoria I had hoped it was half over – no it wasn’t! The exhibition is great. A few years ago there was one at the Tate which showed most of her art. This one doesn’t – but it shows her clothes, Nancy, and they’re stunning!

  • 25th June 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Oh yes, we must seize the day!

    I would love to go to London more frequently but until I get my state pension next September, it can be a bit too expensive at the moment as I’m desperately saving to pay off my new kitchen and save for my stay in Ireland. I did make a business related trip to London near the end of May and trains were chaotic. What would normally have been a journey of just over an hour took three…

    I love your London outfit; what a shame the boots were too hot. Still we are having wonderful weather at the moment and long may it last! Plenty of time for you to wear your white plimsolls…

    Hope your week is going well.

    • 26th June 2018 at 11:31 am

      Yes, I do get the feeling that despite the cost involved it’s important to seize the day because it is so very tiring doing these trips. What with the trains being so bad. But something good came out of this as when I went to buy my ticket expecting to pay £20 (using the Senior Rail card) I was told that because of the delays the ticket had been reduced to £12 return. Once up in London I used my bus pass and my friend and I halved the food bill for lunch. So what with the V&A membership card now covering its costs, it was such a budget trip!

      Have a great week – enjoy the sun – wearing sandals now!

  • 25th June 2018 at 8:08 pm

    For Frieda fans everywhere, have you read Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Lacuna? This is a fantastic story, based on some factual detail I think, and features Frieda and her time in Mexico with her husband Diego Rivera and Trotsky, with whom she had an affair!
    I am planning to go to both exhibitions mentioned and shall wear my lovely layered and colourful Freida skirt ( an old Per Una one before M and S lost the plot!)
    Love you bold Penny, keep up the good work x

    • 26th June 2018 at 11:36 am

      I love Barbara Kingsolver but realised that I hadn’t read The Lacuna. I’m going to get that and will look in thrift/charity shops. Also there’s book fair where I’m going on holiday, but if I can’t find it, I’ll just buy it new as I really would love to read this.

      I’m thinking about wearing more bold and vibrant colours through the summer, and will also look for more striking skirts. The sporty look is Ok but hey yes, let’s be bold! And thanks for the prompt re: the book x

  • 25th June 2018 at 10:21 pm

    I can sympathize about the trains, I caught a train in York to take me directly to Manchester Airport, we were stuck on the line outside of Manchester for ages and then were told the train would terminate in Manchester, I then struggled with my large heavy bag, up stairs, over a bridge, onto a platform to catch a connection, only to be told there had been a platform change. I finally made it, but not with a lot of time to spare.
    Next time I fly back to England I’ll just hire a car at the airport.
    Such an interesting post Penny, thank you, I’m now motivated to find out all I can about Frieda, including reading the recommended book The Lacuna. It is hot here in Toronto, so I’m breaking out all my brightly coloured clothes. When I lived in Iran, and in Argentina and Venezuela, I always wore brilliant colours, Canada’s winter, tends to put me in black’s brown’s and Winter whites. I love your yellow wall too, I’ve just painted my main floor loo Black, and I have to tell you it looks amazing. Maybe I could do my bedroom yellow……..

    • 26th June 2018 at 11:42 am

      Honestly, these cancellations cause havoc and I do think of people trying to get to airports – I was just trying to get home!!!

      Ooh that colour sounds amazing. But I do love sunshine yellow! And I hadn’t read The Lacuna and will thanks to Melanie. Have you seen the excellent biopic, Frida, starring Selma Hayek and Alfred Molina – it’s really good.

      Link too IMDB here https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120679/

  • 26th June 2018 at 7:51 am

    I try to do a daily YouTube workout in my living room and I am full of bounce and beans because of it. I’m determined to spend this year shaping up for 70. Of course there are days when I just can’t fit a full workout in but there is everything on YouTube. On those days, I spend a few minutes practising the Macarena in front of a mirror (and thinking terribly vain thoughts). And I’m learning the Zumba dances too, which have quite simple steps. Anything to remind myself to keep moving!
    Tomorrow I’m going on a group ramble to Derbyshire (in the heat! on the hills!). This will be my first ramble since my knee replacement. Hopefully, the first of many more.

    I read The Lacuna a few years ago. Such an interesting book and I enjoy reading Barbara Kingsolver.

    • 26th June 2018 at 11:46 am

      Oooh, hope it’s not too hot for the ramble and that the knee is good. Here in Brighton there is a breeze coming through my window so it’s not too bad. I was so pleased to be told about The Lacuna and will read it now.

      And great to hear about your efforts to keep fit. It is an effort, but so, so worth it. Why wouldn’t we want to be as healthy and as supple as possible into one’s 70s and 80s – it just makes sense!

  • 26th June 2018 at 9:58 am

    Good on you for braving the train , I am sure the Frida exhibition made it worthwhile, it looks so interesting. I always enjoy exhibitions that include something of the artists life. You look perfectly attired for the Frida exhibit in that gorgeous skirt and your hat with the flower.
    Enjoy your week Penny.

    • 26th June 2018 at 11:37 am

      I will enjoy the week, thank you, and also thankfully our flat doesn’t get full sun so I’m nice and cool at the moment!

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