Hi everyone.

What are you doing now that you wouldn’t have done before the lockdown? This month I cleaned my oven twice (ordinarily I would never….) plus I ordered some little storage boxes for my bedroom and bathroom drawers, which I’m sorting and tidying. I always felt that our flat is rather like a small boat, and consequently you stow away your stuff tidily. In actuality a lot of my ‘stuff’ was just dumped in drawers and cupboards so the flat looked nice and neat, but there was a lot of hastily put away items that had begun to accumulate.

I am also planting seeds. You might think I miss my garden, particularly now with the lockdown?  But that’s not the case. This flat was always about simplifying our lives, down-sizing, having a convenient and central pad for the city, and being out and about most of the time, which is out of the question now! The balcony meanwhile was going to be full of greenery and plants, and that would have satisfied my need to garden. What I miss, though, is ambling off to the garden centre and buying whatever I want to display. No such luck now. And there seems to have been a run on seeds and plug plants as so many garden centres are closed and/or all plants seem to be out of stock. I understand a chain of DIY stores has re-opened and they have gardening materials and plants, but from what I’ve seen from social media the queues to get into those stores were as bad as our supermarkets, so I shall avoid, as I do all forms of face-to-face shopping.

But let me count my blessings, my daughter has sent me some seeds: French beans, nasturtiums and peas. The supermarket had some fibre pots and I got some potting compost from eBay – so off I go! I’ll let you know what happens and if any seedlings appear. Although I always loved gardening I hardly ever grew anything from seed so I’ll have to just wait and see what happens – it’s quite exciting.

Here’s another blessing I bought this pot of cyclamens before Christmas and they’re still flowering!

How are you all getting on with the technology to communicate with others? We love having a coffee with friends and family using FaceTime. I’ve also used Skype to have lunch with a friend and WhatsApp is also useful. A couple of days ago I chatted to my cousin using FaceTime, which was just lovely to do. It’s nice to see people. And what’s more I dressed up for the occasion wearing a top I bought in a flea market in France, plus my old sparkly black jeans.

I’m also wearing more eye-makeup these days, which has made me feel so much better. This is me with glasses wearing eye liner and some dark brown eye shadow, plus quite a good amount of eyebrow pencil and the additional product L’Oreal Brow Artist Plumper, in a dark shade, which acts rather like a mascara for the eyebrows – works well with my bristly eyebrows.

As I’ve said before I shall wear my glasses for the duration as the glasses must give you some protection against droplets. I’m still mulling over whether I should wear a mask outside as I definitely touch my face more often putting it up and down – you do get hot wearing a mask. I think the scientists would say that’s not good, but don’t forget if the whole population wore a mask then the rate of infection would go down, as if you were unknowingly infected you are keeping your droplets to yourself.

And speaking of droplets I give you a well researched article to read about Covid-19 Superspreader events in 28 countries. It’s a long read, but I do highly recommend it. Another good read was my last book, Clock Dance by Anne Tyler, which I loved as it was so different to the detective fiction that I’ve been reading lately. Currently reading The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen, but not sure where it’s going – I’ll let you know.

I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying Piers Morgan tearing into feeble Government ministers who are sent on to ITV’s Good Morning to be devoured by his questions that they cannot answer. Are they not prepped? They seem be universally and unbelievably awful, and unable to be truthful, that they messed up big time. I believe that the government is no longer sending anyone to this programme – hmm. But enough of this here, I will though begin to write in My Other Blog.  My concentration and energy is still a little below par so I shall take my time and my next post there will be in a couple of weeks time.

Other TV that I love is Killing Eve (BBC iPlayer) but it’s not to everyone’s taste. We’ve just finished watching the 4th series of Peaky Blinders (Netflix) and are giving that series a rest for a bit. WestWorld (Now tv) continues to leave me quite befuddled as to what is going on but I still watch it.

I haven’t watched any decent films this month. I was pleased to see Jumanji, the Next Level could be streamed (Amazon Prime) so we watched it last week, but tbh, it was rather silly. I mean what was I expecting, but the first Dwayne Johnson Jumanji was good, this one jumped the shark. I’m waiting for the film Emma (also Amazon Prime) to come down in price from its £15.99 current price to £4.99.

Yes, on the whole I have dreadful taste (!) but people, the telly I totally adore is the BBC’s Sewing Bee (which we watch on BBC’s iPlayer). Has this programme been sold abroad or do you have a version of this in your country?  This latest season has 12 competitors who for each episode are given 3 sewing tasks, but it’s not competitive, although, of course, one contestant is eliminated every week. Despite that people help each other. A nicer, sweeter programme for these challenging times you could not find.

I hardly ever take pix of my meals but I thought this one so colourful. This plate has on it roast vegetables with tomatoes, spinach, basmati rice and quinoa.

My total respect goes to NHS staff and all key workers.  Around here people are putting up pix of the NHS rainbow in their windows.

These decorate a deserted pub.  That’s all for now, hope you’re all OK. Keep safe and well.

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper





29 thoughts on “Lockdown diaries – 30 April 2020

  • 30th April 2020 at 8:03 am

    Hi Penny

    I see you enjoyed Your Anne Tyler read, Anne is my fav Author and one of my Fav books is Ladder of Years it’s a great read

    Also, as you like Peaky Blinders try out The Corrupted on Radio 4 you can catch the early episodes on BBC Sounds

    Missing seeing your charity shop finds, but you still managing to keep us entertained

    I’m keeping busy going round the U.K. and the World in films I pick a different destination everyday so far I have seen The Sound of Music, The King and I, and Educating Rita

    Trying to keep my mind busy whilst waiting to start back on chemo – scary times

    Keep well

    • 1st May 2020 at 8:06 am

      Oh, Lynn, how scary for you and I truly hope your chemo has not been delayed by the virus. The impact of it goes far – such challenging times.

      Thanks so much for the tip about Anne Tyler’s Ladder of Years, I shall get that. And I shall go on and read other books of hers. I don’t know why I’ve not read her before. Thing is I always read quite serious novels and a lot of non-fiction and now I can not do any of that kind of reading. Don’t have the concentration, which I think is partly due to my January illness and then, like a lot of people, it is also down to the current situation. I’ll look out for The Corrupted on BBC Sounds.

      And the charity shop, ah yes, almost forgetting what it’s like to actually shop in a shop. I have been experimenting with online buys, not a lot I hasten to add, but value for money items. Will talk about that in a post at some point I think.

      Take care Lynn and very best wishes to you xx

  • 30th April 2020 at 8:35 am

    Oh Killing Eve is so good! And Sewing Bee is such a lovely show but I watched The Great British Menu yesterday. Love that little table with that yellow , very retro looking! Stay safe Penny!

    • 1st May 2020 at 8:09 am

      I will stay safe. I shall be locking down until there is a vaccine! The Sewing Bee is just lovely, isn’t it!

      That table is from Made.com and is meant to be an outdoor table!!! Here’s the link https://www.made.com

      Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  • 30th April 2020 at 12:25 pm

    I’m no fan of Piers Morgan, but have also agreed with/liked a lot of what he’s said over the last few weeks.
    I read an interesting article the other day, it pointed out that the countries with current female ministers/presidents, etc. appear to have had (up to now) fewer deaths, less economic upheaval, etc. during this situation. Why? Lots of reasons, e.g. women see the bigger picture, they empathise, they think holistically. The last paragraph of the article also stressed that these women in positions of power were exceptional in the first place, else they would never have got to where they are. Admittedly, countries such as Taiwan and New Zealand have tiny populations compared to the UK, but I still think comparisons can and should be made. I read the daily death figures in the UK with horror, and we’re only a few weeks into this.
    On a much lighter note, I LOVE Sewing Bee. I’m not a sewer, other than basic repairs and have nothing but total admiration for the contestants and what they come up with. Plus Patrick Grant is very easy on the eye!
    I’m also an Ann Tyler fan, the last one of hers I read was Digging to America, really enjoyed it. I’m currently going through my thousands of books, it’s taking much longer than anticipated, because I’m re-reading so many of them. And in some cases, reading them for the first time, as they’d been shoved into book cases, boxes, piled in cupboards, etc.

    • 30th April 2020 at 1:35 pm

      Oh, Jacqui, your house sounds like mine! I even have books stacked between the bannister railings! I always say that I have more books waiting to be read than I have years left to live (just turned 80) and of course I keep adding to the piles, but hey, I love a challenge!

      Penny, it’s good to have you back and to see that you’re picking up the reins again. You look after yourself.

      All the best


      • 30th April 2020 at 7:26 pm

        I have solid walls on both sides of my staircase, the hand-rail is on the left side and books are stacked up to that level all the way up the stairs (mostly two layers thick). Some of them are “by author” (most of which I want to keep), the rest are those that I definitely want to read before I get rid of them. I’ve given I don’t know how many away to/back to charity shops, chums, etc. over the last two years. Another four bags full recently went to someone who is “shielding” and who had appealed via the local Cv self help group on Fc’bk. There’s still countless numbers in boxes around the house, plus four tall bookcases that are blocked by boxes of books in the stairwell. I honestly never realised how many there were until I started going through them.
        It’s really because of not wanting my daughter to be left with a house full of books and other stuff to have to dispose of if I died suddenly that I’ve finally started to have a clear out.
        My older brother died suddenly five years ago, and his widow is still, slowly but surely, going through sheds, a triple garage, the loft, etc. It wasn’t books with him, but mostly tools and “that’ll be useful one day” stuff. Any time he ever went to the tip, he always came back with more than he’d dumped!

      • 1st May 2020 at 10:41 am

        Thank you Zepherine – oh the books I let go when we moved! Slightly regretting that 🙂

        • 1st May 2020 at 4:29 pm

          Yes, Penny, I think we’ve all let go of books we wished we’d kept. Maybe they’ll come round again.

          As for Jacqui: Okay you win!

    • 1st May 2020 at 8:15 am

      Absolutely with you on this as I am so not a fan of Piers Morgan, but oh my word he’s got it right as far as this government is concerned. If we survive it will be no thanks to them and yes, I am saying that, I am that angry. Aiming to write something about this. Also in total agreement with you about the female leaders of this world.

      Thanks for another tip about Ann Tyler – so pleased to have found this author. Ah books, I had walls of them, but got rid of so many when I first moved to a flat. Slightly regretting that as you would expect. Mind you I’ve still got the 3rd Hilary Mantel waiting for me 🙂

      Sewing Bee is just delightful. Have a good weekend 🙂

  • 30th April 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Hi Penny!
    I just found your blog through a link up. So glad I did!
    I used to live in brighton and I used to be store manager of the little Next store by the old Hanningtons dept. store. sweet memories. So nice to be reminded of brighton seeing your super pics!
    stay safe and happy (not sure which is easier these days?)
    best wishes
    Ashley x

    • 1st May 2020 at 10:42 am

      Hi Ashley – how nice to meet you!

      You stay safe too 🙂

  • 30th April 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Good to see you back on Instagram and looking so full of beans! The top you bought in a French charity shop has a lot of Parisian chic. Glad you mentioned the Sewing Bee, I keep meaning to watch it. I am completely hopeless at sewing but have always enjoyed that prog and have a lot of admiration for their talent. If only. You’ve done incredibly well with those cyclamen. I have a few in the garden but they don’t seem to flower for long. I’m really looking forward to going to the garden centre again when they reopen. I have a gap in the border that needs filling, and need a few bedding plants for empty containers. Stay safe xx

    • 1st May 2020 at 10:45 am

      I don’t sew anything now but once upon a time I did and made lots of my own clothes and for my daughter when she was young. Life is too short (hmm interesting expression) so I don’t do anything like that now but thinking of taking up knitting. The Sewing Bee is just delightful.

      So looking forward to going to a garden centre!

      You stay safe too xx

  • 30th April 2020 at 2:15 pm

    I love Anne Tyler and have read all of her books and have copies of nearly all. There’s a new one due out in August, I believe.

    Cyclamens are wonderful – ours have been flowering for about 5 months now. I had no idea they would so it’s such a lovely surprise. Good luck with your seedlings!

    I loved your outfit – very chic but also great fun and I love the idea you dress up to do Face Time and Skype. We all need a reason to look our best in these unprecedented days.

    The GBSB is my absolute favourite programme at the moment which is strange as I can’t sew for toffee; but I do like programmes where things are made – except for food! We’re about to start watching ‘Killing Eve’ this evening and am looking forward to it.

    I think we’re all praying that a vaccine won’t be too far off.

    Take care and stay safe,

    • 1st May 2020 at 2:08 pm

      Oh my word a vaccine – really it might be several months on. I am quite reconciled to being in self-isolation (apart from a short walk every day) and then it gets to me. I can do without the outings to London as actually I haven’t recovered sufficiently for that. But family and friends, oh how I want to see them.

      Anne Tyler is going to be a favourite read from now on. And do let me know what you think of Killing Eve because it doesn’t suit everyone. However, everything about it is so stylish and I simply drool over Villanelle’s clothes. Have a lovely weekend and you stay safe too xxxx

  • 30th April 2020 at 4:18 pm

    We live in North Carolina. My husband will get seeds and mail them to you if you tell us what you need and where to send them.

    • 1st May 2020 at 2:15 pm

      That is so lovely and sweet of you. But I don’t need any more for the moment. I planted out 10 fibre pots of French Beans and am waiting with bated breath to see if any of them germinate. It’s gone back to being chilly here in Brighton so I can’t put those out in the sun. Also planted nasturtiums which are outside on the balcony – again waiting to see what happens. I still have seeds left over which I might need if nothing comes up!!!!

      But thank you so much for offering – I absolutely appreciate the thought.You keep safe and well 🙂

  • 30th April 2020 at 9:40 pm

    Good to hear from you again Penny, always a good day when I see your blog pop up in my email. You look lovely with that top, and I love the longer hair and the glasses, very Diane Keaton!
    I am making myself put make up on everyday, it makes me feel so much better. We are really not having very good weather here in Toronto yet, so am just getting round to doing my garden clean up. I ordered all my garden seeds and starter pots on Amazon, which arrived the following day, thank goodness for Amazon Prime, am loving that in with our membership we get to watch Prime TV which has I think, a better selection of things to watch than Netflix.
    I am finding reading really difficult, can’t seem to concentrate past page 3, so have tons of books just stacked up waiting for my brain to catch up. We have lockdown for at least another month, so am hoping our weather follows your lovely spring and warms up. I think gardening will be good brain therapy.
    Keep writing Penny, you always add a smile to my day. Thank you.

    • 1st May 2020 at 2:17 pm

      My longer hair is going to get so much longer Geri!

      And thank goodness to hear of another person who can’t concentrate. I found the Anne Tyler book Clock Dance very readable though – loved it.

      The weather has turned chilly and windy here in Brighton. I will keep writing – stay safe 🙂

  • 1st May 2020 at 12:43 am

    I love that you are planting seeds Penny. I only wish we could grow things!! Both my husband and I have black thumbs, and while I used to be able to grow herbs, my one kitty eats them!! But I’ll live vicariously through you!!

    • 1st May 2020 at 2:19 pm

      Oh no, black thumbs!!! I do have green fingers for gardening but not sure about growing from seeds though. I’m waiting to see if any germinate.

      Stay safe and have a good weekend 🙂

  • 1st May 2020 at 10:19 am

    Hi Penny! I already used FaceTime and WhatsApp but Zoom is a new one to me. I really enjoy mastering new technology, although it can be frustrating at times. Like you, I love Killing Eve and the Sewing Bee. Race Across the World is my absolute favourite but the second series has just ended. I’m also reading the Other Half of Augusta Hope’ and, so far, I’m really enjoying it. I do like a quirky book! Fabulous photos.

    • 1st May 2020 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you June re: the photos – that one of the boarded up pub is a good one. People love the NHS and that’s one way to show appreciation.

      I must try Race Across the World some time – thanks for the reminder. Stay safe 🙂

  • 1st May 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Hi Penny
    kind of getting into a routine, walking in the neighborhood, doing yoga at home. my library has some online yoga classes as well and has just started a cooking series. following the birth of the wild foals on Chincoteague island in Virginia via f-Facebook. there is a woman who hikes there most days and posts her adventures. My family and I were planning our annual vacation there but this is doubtful but who knows. I am now on my last book that I ordered so hoping the next shipment comes soon. I stick with PBS on the TV, currently watching World on Fire a WW Two drama also standbys Call the Midwife and Midsommer Murders. I know what you mean about feeling better about yourself by putting on some makeup. some days I do make the effort but often just don’t bother. Hoping I can find flowers and herbs to plant in my little back patio garden. at least it was a mild winter here and the thyme, chives and rosemary are thriving from last year. Apparently there will be shortages of meat but as I am a vegetarian this does not affect me. it seems many are doing a lot of baking so now you cannot find yeast or even flour in the markets. So this is it from New York. be well and be safe.

    • 2nd May 2020 at 7:59 am

      I think a routine is excellent and in fact, essential for sanity and just keeping oneself going. I don’t differentiate between week days and the weekend apart from getting up quite a bit later on Saturday and Sunday. Every morning I sit at my laptop to write and that could be anything from the blog, a couple of projects I have on the back burner, emails to friends, even ordering online, all of that is the morning’s business. Thursday morning though I do a gentle Pilates class via Zoom. The afternoon is more for relaxation and the one short walk we allow ourselves.

      Hope your books come soon and that you get some plants. World on Fire is one of those classics, we have the box set. You take care 🙂

  • 1st May 2020 at 4:00 pm

    so me again. I was also going to say how much I love Anne Tyler. I have requested her latest book for Mother’s Day/my birthday, which are close together. Probably won’t be a celebration, but looking forward to reading her newest offering. Darby

    • 2nd May 2020 at 8:01 am

      I shall be reading more of her books. In fact although I got used to The Other Half of Augusta Hope and liked it, I loved Clock Dance, so will get another Anne Tyler for my next read 🙂

  • 3rd May 2020 at 6:10 am

    Love Sewing Bee maybe one day I’ll learn how to sew more than a button!

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