Hello again and, my word, another month has passed.  Do you find the days going by quickly?  I do. I have to say most of the time I’m busy with projects and the blog, and happy to be in contact with friends and family via FaceTime and WhatsApp.  But every now and then I catch myself thinking of what might have been, or what should or could be happening.  We are still very uncertain as to whether we go on holiday this year, obviously, within the UK as I wouldn’t fly if you paid me.  I can tell you once this is over, I won’t be saying we can’t afford this or that (when considering a balcony cabin on a cruise, for example) because, really, live in the now people, enjoy that holiday and break in the sun while you can. Because, you just never know when life can go totally t..s up as it has done in 2020!

Actually, towards the end of my walk I often sit on a bench and look through the railings at the sea.

And just for a moment I feel as though I’m on a cruise.

Here I am on another day wearing an old dress with my white tee, still wasn’t quite warm enough to go completely bare-armed.

And full length.

I see from the photo that I’m standing up straighter than a few months back when my core had collapsed what with one thing and another. That’s a favourite phrase from the Kermode & Mayo podcast on films. Do any of you listen to that?  I’m a long-term listener and they’ve valiantly continued throughout the pandemic talking about films despite cinemas not being open.  If you love films do have a listen, but they’ve been doing this for so long they kind of bicker (or ‘witter’ as they like to call it) about all and sundry, and especially music. It’s very entertaining although there are lots of in-jokes. If you’ve ever heard anyone say at fairly inappropriate times and places ‘and hello to Jason Isaacs’ that’s where it originated. Anyway, the twice weekly Pilates has helped a lot with my posture, but I can still see the extra inches that went on after weeks of inactivity and months of Christmas Cake (December and January) and Hot Cross Buns (February through to April) plus the biscuits and a hot drink before bedtime. All cakes and biscuits, and my flavoured (i.e sugary)dessert yoghurt are now banned!

So what has this month brought you?  What have you done now the lockdown is eased?  We’ve now visited both our children in their respective gardens, and last Sunday we went to friends for a Sunday lunch, which was bliss and such fun. I wore lots of layers though, jeans, vest, top and jacket, as the previous Sunday I’d worn a dress for a garden visit and froze. And on this day even with the sun shining, there was that typical south coast breeze keeping us cool.

Two days ago I ventured into our local bakery – yay! It only lets in 2 people at a time so that was fine. Yes, I’ve decided that wearing a mask (of course) I will return to the little shops nearby because, despite living in a city, the area I live in is like a village with small, independent shops such as a butcher, a baker and a deli. It also has two charity shops and I haven’t gone into any of these yet, but last week I visited Emmaus in Portslade, which has a wonderful vintage and pre-loved clothes section called Outfit@Emmaus.

That is a photo taken last year on its opening night and a more stylish place for hunting bargains you could not find. Originally a chapel you can also see how spacious it is with its high ceilings. You probably know that Emmaus is an international charity set up in 1949 by a French priest, Abbe Pierre, to support the vulnerable and the homeless who, together with volunteers and paid staff, run income-generating activities at a local level. So I shall go again as it is such a good place to support.  And the clothes are fab!

And double yay, I bought 4 items for £18. Here’s my £3 skirt

I also bought two dresses to be featured soon, and a long white blouse/shirt (£4) which I’ll style a couple of ways in yet another post. Noting that these four items cost me a mere £18, I realise just how expensive my lockdown practice of buying new clothes online has been, and I have vowed to cease that activity! Every time I feel the slightest urge I shall instead set aside an afternoon to pop over to Emmaus for a rummage – it makes sense, particularly financial sense.  And just look at the quality of that skirt, it’s 100% cotton and will be fab in the hot weather.

Watching – films

As well as listening to the Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo podcast, we have been watching lots of television and some films. However, the films watched in July were not as good as the ones we watched in June, and that includes a Tom Hanks film. After saying that A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood was excellent and perhaps the best film I’ve watched all year, I was so disappointed with the Tom Hanks vehicle, Greyhound (Apple TV+).  And I say Tom Hanks vehicle because it was just a teensy bit self-indulgent with Tom Hanks writing it, along with producing it and starring in it.  Look, I love a good war film set on the sea, give me The Cruel Sea and I’m happy. But this? It was OK, but nothing came of it, apart from a ship chasing submarines. There was no plot development and no character development so yes, do please, give me The Cruel Sea, which is a far superior film.

Slightly better than Greyhound were two films starring Charlize Theron, the first being Bombshell (Amazon), based on the true story of the sexual harassment case against Fox News. It’s OK but I preferred the television series The Morning Show (Apple Tv), not based on the Fox News case, and better in its character and story arc. Then another viewing of Charlize Theron came from The Old Guard (Netflix) and really not bad. We enjoyed it as it was a couple of hours of escapist nonsense of 4 ancient people guarding humanity being joined by a new recruit. Are your eyes closing in boredom! The thing is we found it a well executed and quite exciting film, and good fun, so we give it 4 stars! Finally this weekend we watched Radioactivity (Amazon Prime) which is a biopic of Marie Curie’s life. Sadly, it’s not a good film – so it gets 2 stars! Btw, if you’re thinking why allocate the stars and who am I to do so anyway? For over 6 years now I’ve been writing down every film we watch in a little black book with the date and its name, actors and star rating. So it’s like second nature to me to say how many stars a film merits.

Watching – television

Alex Rider (Amazon) Finished watching – surprisingly good. I thought why would I be interested in a teenager becoming a spy but it was excellent.

Cardinal (BBC iPlayer) Finished watching – good but a bit grim. Very noir and set in Canada instead of Norway/Sweden.

Perry Mason (Now tv) Thoroughly hooked.  Excellent but don’t watch if you don’t like that particular type of down-beat and quite violent American detective series.

I May Destroy You (BBC iPlayer) We resisted the hype but started watching to see why it was so lauded, and have watched 4 episodes. Was it overpraised?  No, it’s really excellent, but don’t watch if you’re squeamish!

Mrs America (BBC iPlayer) Watched one episode. A bit glossy but interesting. I think I might get very angry with that Mrs Schlafly played brilliantly by Cate Blanchett. Oh my word, if it had gone the other way…..

The Norseman (Netflix) On the recommendation of Gail of Is This Mutton writing about her favourite books, films and tv, we’ve watched a trailer and it looks to be good fun. It’s the Norwegians taking the p**s out of the Vikings. Only half an hour long we shall watch when we need a laugh, which is quite often these days!

We’re also watching two documentary series: Once Upon a Time in Iraq (BBC iPlayer) which is very good and rather devastating.  And The Murdoch Dynasty (BBC iPlayer) ditto, in that it’s very well executed. Gosh, what a family, what a man, and rather sickening to see power win out as it always does. Very watchable though.


After reading Stalingrad, I rather needed some light relief and turned to Nina Stibbe’s Love Nina. Yes it’s light reading, but so very enjoyable.  The whole book consists of letters to her sister written in the 1980s when she was au pair to Mary-Kay Wilmers. What’s so special about that? Well Mary-Kay Wilmers was editing the periodical London Review of Books then, and now. I regularly read the London Review of Books and love it, and hearing about Wilmers life gave added meaning to the book. But the letters from this young under-educated girl are superbly naive and so very funny.  She’s a published author now and how amazing and fortuitous was it that she managed to fall into Wilmers’ household who quite obviously influenced her.  And what a household!  Alan Bennet in the 80s lived opposite Wilmers and seemed to eat supper with them nearly every day. Stibbe puts the dialogue of many an evening meal into these letters and what with Alan Bennet (and others) present, it is simply hilarious.

That’s all for now, I leave you with another photo taken from my walk.

With love Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper


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28 thoughts on “Lockdown diaries – 27 July 2020

  • 29th July 2020 at 8:40 am

    It’s so nice to see Brighton seafront again. It’s been a while since I visited but I recognised the background. I never realised the cruise analogy ( oh how I’m longing for a nice cruise holiday to be possible again). I love the green pineapple dress – it’s such fun and suits your colouring. Perhaps I may venture into charity shops again for a bit of a lift. Life seems a bit dull at the moment as this drags on. All the best. Stay safe and fit. Trish ( not the Trish)

    • 30th July 2020 at 7:22 am

      Hi Trish
      I’m so on the same page as you – how I long to go on the cruise we booked for August. But I won’t touch a cruise until we have a vaccine, and indeed the whole world is vaccinated, and, more importantly, it is proved effective. Thank you, the green pineapple dress is a favourite of mine.

      All the very best to you too 🙂

  • 29th July 2020 at 10:28 am

    Thanks for posting again Penny. You are looking really well and glowing in your skirt and white T shirt outfit. A bit of extra weight is a good insurance against illness when you can lose weight faster than they can get calories into you to compensate.
    We have an Emmaus near us but I don’t know if they sell clothes. I think it’s mainly about furniture refurbishment. I may visit a charity shop this week but I’m holding back my contributions until I know they can cope. I’m going on the bus – if it is running- on Thursday as I need to pick up a book from the library and return some others. The bus has very little usage – no doubt soon to be axed – so not worried about contamination. I will have to wear the dreaded mask; the ones we bought are hopeless for me so will have to tweak. I’m considering a visor if this keeps on.
    It will be so good to be out on my own again. I’ve found the constant company at home very wearing after the first three months. Retirement has been difficult only & manageable with regular breaks away. He does the shopping once a week but goes so early now that I don’t even benefit from the hour on my own as I may still be asleep! We had some friends round last week for a garden lunch and family from the north on Sunday and yesterday went to my daughters’ to look after her youngest who is 7. The teenagers appeared around noon!
    Our September cruise – a special one to America – is off of course so we have booked for Iceland in July 21 so the company keeps the money. I cannot even tolerate a fleeting thought that it may not happen. We may go to the Isle of Wight in October just to get away. the boat trip always makes it feel as if you are going right away when it’s only a few miles. We had out honeymoon there 50 years ago – how exotic is that!

    • 30th July 2020 at 7:29 am

      I believe that every Emmaus is autonomous and it just so happens that the one in Brighton has large grounds and was a former convent so had all the accommodation it needed to support vulnerable people, plus it had a rather lovely chapel. And it is the chapel that has been converted to a very high-end charity come vintage shop. And I do feel safe walking around it as it is so spacious so it’s a great place to start charity shop shopping again.

      It sounds as though you need some me-time I do hope you can engineer some of that! Sorry about the cancellation of the cruise, I really really know how you feel about that!!! The Isle of Wight sounds an ideal compromise.

      Very best wishes 🙂

  • 29th July 2020 at 10:57 am

    I used to love visiting my local Emmaus in France. It was like a self contained commune, accommodation for the people who were experiencing hard times. They were taught different skills such as restoring furniture.
    I can see a trip to Brighton happening soon. Thanks for the link and al, the information.

    • 30th July 2020 at 7:31 am

      Hi Holly, Emmaus is a really good charity and I’m glad to support it. Thank you so much for reading the blog and commenting 🙂

  • 29th July 2020 at 11:01 am

    Four items for £18 is a fab bargain – unfortunately the charity shops where I live charge considerably more, maybe it’s the London effect. Not many seem to have reopened yet but keeping a beady eye out. Thanks for the reminder about Kermode and Mayo, I used to listen to their podcast when commuting but it’s dropped off the playlist. Haven’t done much post lockdown except for the week when I stayed with Mum in Plymouth and we went out a couple of times. Hopefully this weekend the trip to the Titian exhibition will actually happen. Keep safe x

    • 29th July 2020 at 11:02 am

      Oh and thanks for the call out regarding Norsemen!

      • 30th July 2020 at 7:57 am

        Very pleased to so do!

    • 30th July 2020 at 7:35 am

      I was very pleased with the prices as before the pandemic on my two visits there I’d bought vintage items, which were quite pricey, they were lovely though, and I haven’t featured them yet on the blog – so there’s a thought 🙂

      Yes do re-start listening to Kermode & Mayo but it is a bit different in the circs. A lot of wittering, but the reviews of films released to Netflix and Amazon are still pretty key. Fingers crossed for your trip to the Titian. You keep safe too x

  • 29th July 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Love the pictures of the railing. We are on vacation in the mountains and it feels so good to be away. We have enjoyed the outdoors and different outings. Time has been flying by and now need to get serious about August has school will start with 2 days in school a week for the kids and a visit from family. We need to get into a routine after 5 months of laid back routines: back to having chores, wake up time and helping out around the house.

    • 30th July 2020 at 7:42 am

      It must be so good to be in the mountains, I bet you’re having a lovely family time with your boys!

      Good luck with the new routines next month, and take care and stay safe in these challenging times.

  • 29th July 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Love your pineapple dress and thanks for posting the film and tv recommendations. I am surprised you would consider a cruise after all the problems they had early in the outbreak. We’ll be holidaying locally too. BTW Abbe Pierre founded Emmaus in Paris in 1949 but maybe it started in the UK later.

    • 30th July 2020 at 7:40 am

      Oh gosh, thanks for the correction. Will change the date on the blog.

      And I won’t consider a cruise until we have a vaccine. I won’t even book for next year as I’d like to know that if we’re lucky enough to get a vaccine that it is worldwide and effective. Then and only then will I lift the phone and book, but I do, all the same, long for one!

      Thanks again and take care 🙂

  • 29th July 2020 at 7:45 pm

    Love the skirt.
    Long-time listener of Mark and Simon.

    • 30th July 2020 at 7:37 am

      Hi Royleen and thanks re: the skirt, am pleased with it.

      And hello to Jason Isaacs!

  • 29th July 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Hello Penny , pleased to hear you able to catch up with friends in person . I can see why you enjoy Brighton and that lovely seaside view.
    You did find great bargains in that charity shop , I do remember it from a previous post .
    Looking good in your green pineapple dress , love the side pony tail .
    Enjoy your careful trips out and about. Heard on our news that masks are now compulsory to enter shops in the UK, I was astounded it was not already so.

    • 30th July 2020 at 7:49 am

      That pony tail is the result of lockdown but I’m kind of liking it, so rather than rushing off to the hairdressers I’m keeping it long for now.

      This government always does things two months too late, or in the mask instance, it’s 4 months too late. Hence their rush to lockdown the returning holiday makers from Spain. I think they decided they must be seen to act and act fast. But our own death stats are still high. No one trusts or believes a word this government says, and indeed they talk a lot of **£@%** Sadly at the same time no-one is really self-distancing, so I fear that the scientists calling for zero-Covid in the UK are whistling in the wind. Challenging times!

      Take care 🙂

  • 30th July 2020 at 7:44 am

    Do watch the rest of Mrs America, Penny, as it is right up your street. It’s the story of Women’s Liberation in America in the 1970s and many of the main characters, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Bella Abzug among them, and how they worked to get the Equal Rights Amendment to the American Constitution. They failed, and this is how and why they failed.

    • 30th July 2020 at 7:56 am

      Hi Christine, thanks, I will watch as I was on the verge of wondering if it was going be too glossy and well, irritating, but I will watch it now. I read Betty Frieden in the 70s and so many others and as I said, sat around the kitchen table with my friends wondering how we could move on from being stay-at-home mothers.

      I shall also watch because during the first episode I was rather gripped by the clothes Mrs Schlafly wore!

  • 30th July 2020 at 8:52 am

    Thanks Penny. Lovely pineapple dress. I hadn’t heard of Emmaus but see there’s a branch in Oxford which sells furniture. The branch in Portslade looks very inviting.

    I watched Mrs America and agree with you about Cate Blanchett’s acting: very talented woman. It brought back lots of memories of my activist days in London; I was disappointed how softly Phyllis Schlafly was treated compared to, say, Better Friedan. I hadn’t heard of Phyllis Schlafly until the series then read her last book, The Conservative Case for Trump, was published the day after her death and the endorsement of Trump. Thanks very much Mrs America! All the best, Mary

    • 1st August 2020 at 8:40 am

      I’m quite conflicted about Mrs America and not sure if I’m enjoying it.

      The Emmaus in Portslade took their selling of clothes to another level. I consider it the best vintage selection in Brighton but their second-hand clothes are really good value as well, plus my money is going to such good cause. So actually I can’t wait to go again!

      All the very best to you too, Mary x

    • 1st August 2020 at 8:41 am

      Thank you so much – you stay safe too. Have a lovely (!) weekend 🙂

  • 2nd August 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Penny
    I just returned from a week in Virginia. the town is fairly isolated, an island, so not as much risk as other places but I must now isolate for two weeks now that I have returned. I traveled with family, spent a lot of time in nature, the beach, the wild life refuge and on the water. It is quite beautiful and I am happy we chose to make the trip even though many of the events which take place during this time had to be cancelled. It was very hot, most days sunny. needless to say wardrobe was minimal. I did purchase a tee shirt from my favorite vendor . I have been buying shirts from him for many years, they are more imaginative than you find at many of the other stores. Coming home is always bittersweet, glad to be in my own place and see my cat, who seems to have missed me as well.
    All the best to you Penny

    • 4th August 2020 at 10:49 am

      Great to hear from you and so glad you had a good time with your family. It must have been a very precious time together and makes the 2-week quarantine worthwhile. Actually it sounds eminently sensible. Take care 🙂

  • 4th August 2020 at 2:17 am

    Oh, what a lovely spot for a walk!

    I watch a couple UK fashion bloggers and I cannot get a sense for the weather there At All! One day they’re sunning in their garden and the next they’re layering jumper upon jumper to sit by the fire!

    I loved reading your movie and tv reviews. I’m going to look for Once Upon a Time in Iraq. I like good but devastating.

    And I agree with your philosophy of LIVE NOW, because who knows what’s coming tomorrow.


    • 4th August 2020 at 10:54 am

      Hi Bettye, well the thing is, it is never summer all the time for several weeks, instead we have one day hot and one day cool. Of course, don’t forget that, in comparison to the States and the centre of Europe, there is no land mass to get hotter and hotter instead we are a titchy teeny island with weather very much dictated by the sea that surrounds us. It is so good to live by the sea, Bettye, as we get those sea breezes and here’s hoping for a sea breeze over the next few days!

      Live in the now and have a great rest of the week 🙂

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