Hello everyone

I’m still rearranging things in the new flat including my makeup drawers, which are now my costume jewellery drawers.

I am, btw, going to re-start the makeup videos, not immediately, but at some point. There’s a whole load of reasons why I stopped them and I’ll be writing about this shortly.  I’m just sorting where my makeup should be put and where I’ll be filming.

All the necklaces are from charity shops apart from the red one from the V&A and the one made from cotton-reels, which I got for my birthday. In the other drawer are the more sparkly items – here’s one of them.

It was bought new some years ago and it comes out for lots of occasions. Here I am (apologies for the quality of the pic) wearing it at the launch of Tricia Cusden’s book, Living the Life More Fabulous, which I enjoyed as it has loads of good tips on the things one should do as you age. It really is a good read.

There are many books out there on ageing and other things like style and makeup and wellbeing. Some are better than others.  Quite recently I linked up with someone I met on Twitter (@MaryEvansYoung) who has written a great book on Ageing With Attitude – a guide for baby boomers, and I’ve said before, the Age Well Project (both a book and a blog) by Annabel Streets and Susan Saunders is absolutely outstanding. Not all the books on these issues I rate are necessarily for older women as there’s the blogger Alyson Walsh’s book Style Forever – she really knows her stuff. Then there’s Pretty Honest by journalist Sali Hughes which is a really full-on book that has absolutely everything in it about beauty and your face and is a terrifically good read.

However (pause) there’s something that I have to admit, it’s like all self-help books, I read them and then what?  Do I do all the things that are in these books – actually I don’t. Perhaps a little of this type of reading permeates into my life-style and that’s good and maybe that is exactly what the authors aim for. But do tell me what you think of this type of book – do you read them?  I ask because every now and then I think should I write a book?  But I don’t. And on reflection I think I am more of an essayist. Anyway, I’m interested in your thoughts on these books.

Actually, what I don’t see out there are many books about the 4th age, as I guess the books on ageing well and healthily are for the 3rd age as they usually have many illustrations and  pix of the 50+ age group. This makes me think that there’s a big gap in the market. Let’s have more about living through a much, much older age. Would you read a book on that? I would. I’m interested, as that is my age group.

Here I am in some grey-weather, grey clothes at the gym with leggings peeping under the coat plus a woolly jumper.

The virus I had/have is so annoying as it is exceedingly minor but it comes and goes and then returns once again – it’s been over 3 weeks of this. Longing to get back the vitality that I know I have that lasts. Once that happens I’m aiming to volunteer a couple of sessions in a charity shop. More about that when I actually do this!

But really, life in Brighton-by-the-sea is great. Here’s a pic taken during a walk in the sun on Sunday – the sparkling sea is such a joy.

Went to Ikea yesterday.  Huge crowds including many children accompanying their parents as it’s half-term. Wouldn’t have thought children would enjoy this as a day out, but there you are.  Feeding the thousands there the ubiquitous meatballs with very little in the way of waiting time is a modern miracle of efficiency. Lovely staff serving as well. Applause and 5 stars out of 5 for service.

Finally, I’ve just read a really bonkers book. It’s the Booker prize-winning Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. I avoided it for ages as reviews said how unique it was (did that mean unreadable). But I saw it in a charity shop at £2 and thought, oh what the heck. And, my word, do not expect a conventional read, but I found it quite the page-turner. What was going to happen, I wondered? Absolutely original. It surprised me and so pleased to have read it. Now re-reading the Philip Pullman trilogy beginning with His Dark Materials ahead of the BBC series starting this Sunday.

That’s all for now. With love

Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

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34 thoughts on “More random thoughts on books and things

  • 31st October 2019 at 9:43 am

    Yes please I would love books on the 4th and 5th age come to that!
    Always trying to keep updated with everything from current affairs to fashion, but sometimes could do with a dose of inspiration from others to kick me out of the doldrums.

    • 2nd November 2019 at 8:47 am

      Well, this is my next project. Thanks so much for your feedback on this – much appreciated 🙂

  • 31st October 2019 at 9:57 am

    I absolutely loved Lincoln in the Bardo! I can’t understand people who think it’s difficult – like you I found it a page-turner.

    • 2nd November 2019 at 8:48 am

      Yes, it’s a truly unique book.

  • 31st October 2019 at 10:20 am

    When I opened your post I was thinking: When will she do a video again? Ha, and the answer is there. Oh yes, bomb me with lovely Brighton photos. And Ikea?? I never go there! Awful. And those meatballs, brrrr, haha sorry it’s not for me. But they do have great stuff!

    • 2nd November 2019 at 8:52 am

      I will do a video. They’ll probably be once a month or even every 6 weeks or so, and there were lots of reasons why I stopped which I will go into.

      And as for Ikea you’ve got to be 110% fit and well to go there, Nancy. We didn’t for ages as we were so tired and virusy, and we just about managed it on Wednesday. I don’t know why I eat those meatballs but I do!!!! I love their jam though and usually buy some – also their biscuits are nice. And our entire flat looks very much like an Ikea show room now so that’s why we keep going!!!!!

  • 31st October 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Im am nearly 70 and I would love to read a book on women in that age.
    Everything I see is : 40 + or 50 +.
    But these women are growing older too, isn’t it?

    • 2nd November 2019 at 8:54 am

      Absolutely. Most of these books are for the 50+ and maybe 60+ and therefore not for the likes of me. And also they are SO upbeat – they don’t seem to reflect real life at all. I’ll think about what I can do – thanks for your feedback on this 🙂

  • 31st October 2019 at 1:19 pm

    Frankly Penny, I would much rather information given to me via a blog than a book. Fashions and make up looks are constantly evolving, and although I now, at nearly 68, know what’s suit me, I adapt my look to current fashion and makeup. I find the books I have bought tend to get dated really quickly, whereas, blogs are current. I have recently brought out some vintage stuff, which I have had for years and carefully stored away, mainly because the stuff I bought years ago is so much better made than the clothing on the racks today. I switch things around a lot, in fact my husband thinks that I have bought all new things this autumn, I have had a hard job convincing him, that I’ve had sweaters and skirts for years, just wearing them differently, Handbags, I never throw away, I have just brought out a Hermes bag, which belonged to my aunt, so it’s at least 45 years old, it’s bright green, paid to have it reconditioned, and it looks brand new, and green is so in this year. I love your blog, love your ideas, but wouldn’t buy a book!

    • 31st October 2019 at 2:29 pm

      Love your blog.
      Looking forward to the makeup video.
      Would read a book for us oldies.
      I am 70 and wear a lot of my clothes from long ago. I love to mix it up. I love coloured shoes and my girls say it is my signature.
      Have just had my cataract done, amazing job and can’t wait for the other one to be done.

      • 2nd November 2019 at 9:00 am

        I expect to have one eye done in the next couple of years and as I have so many glasses plus contact lenses I rather hope that the op might improve my sight – we’ll see.

        Your coloured shoes sound great 🙂

    • 2nd November 2019 at 8:57 am

      Thanks so much for that feedback – which is rather how I think. These books are read once and then what? Blogs are so much more current. But nevertheless I will think on this and see what can be done – like an updatable ebook. But on the other hand that sounds rather like a blog!!!

      That green Hermes bag must be amazing. Love the idea of that colour.

  • 31st October 2019 at 2:52 pm

    I love your blog and I also read your political one. Just a guess, but I think your forte might be in essay writing. Possible title: Essays from the Seventh Decade.
    This sort of book of collected essays would give you the freedom to range through a variety of topics from lifestyle to general experiences of ageing.

    • 2nd November 2019 at 9:03 am

      Oh my word, thank you so much for the title!!! Might go with that as essay writing is my thing I think. Nora Ephron is my idol and role model for that. Will be working on My Other Blog next week on, well, you know, the current situation…… 🙁

  • 31st October 2019 at 4:59 pm

    I’ve read and enjoyed Tricia’s book but probably not made many changes as a result of it. Geri’s comment about how books become out of date quite quickly is a good one. Grandma Williams’ blog is great on the issues that matter in your 80’s and beyond. I’ve had a winter coat hat and gloves out this week for the first time – I do like hats! There is a constant shifting balance between what you already know about yourself and your style and being open to new ideas. I’ve been reading recently about the positive effects LED light treatment can have on your skin which interests me more than ‘miracle’ creams and serums. (There are just too many too choose from and the prices can be astronomic.) I need to investigate more about this treatment.
    I was thinking the other day about our concerns as to how our faces look and realised that it is because they are just so important in our interactions with others. You can cover up your fat knees or wobbly arms but you can’t hide your face unless you take to partially obscuring it with a veil of some sort! I suppose I could wear a little hat with netting coming down from it…..now there’s an idea when the jaw drops even further…………..I’m getting my hair cut soon which I always say is much cheaper than a face lift and it’s painless!

    • 2nd November 2019 at 9:11 am

      Hats are wonderful and I do like winter and cold weather for hat wearing. RE: treatments I have had radio-frequency facials. Three things about them: i) they actually truly do work especially with lifting jowls etc ii) but it doesn’t last, so rather like botox once you start them you don’t want to stop and iii) they’re expensive so I have stopped! Now if I could truly afford them, just maybe I would continue having them. At the moment I’m concentrating on hair removal (yes, really) sorting out my winter nails (they crumble in the winter) a whole body skin check (very pricey, but essential for my skin type) and getting fitter! There, that’s my next month’s pension gone! I’ll write more about this next post. Thanks for the prompt, Lynda 🙂

  • 31st October 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Penny,

    I will be checking out your book recommendations. At 71 years, gratitude for ALL things pretty much covers it all. Thanks for sharing. Judy

    • 2nd November 2019 at 9:13 am

      I am so with you with you on this Judy. I’m concentrating on getting fitter after a minor virus, from a base of being quite well. For that I am so very very grateful. Have a lovely weekend Judy 🙂

  • 1st November 2019 at 9:13 am

    Hello Penny , glad your are so enjoying living closer to the sea in Brighton. Hope the virus goes away soon, they can be so annoying as they seem to take their time.
    I was also pleased to read you are to make another make-up video as I so enjoyed them. Always good to hear some one elses take on things.
    I have read Tricia’s book and enjoyed her common sense advice as well as her make up tips. I will admit to hunting out my eye lash curlers after reading. I have amassed quite a collection of these type of books, some better then others. I am not one to be preached to on what I should be doing or wearing as an older woman. Probably my favourite books are the Advanced Style books by Ari Seth Cohen for style inspiration as well as a book by Tziporah Salamon called The Art of Dressing .

    • 2nd November 2019 at 9:20 am

      I shall look for the book by Salamon as I really admire her style as I do yours Jill 🙂

      Some of these books are excellent (especially Tricia Cusden’s book) but I think I’m an essayist so this is my current project: will I publish a book or do something a bit different. And what tack and direction and stance shall I take as I do think a lot of them are for the 50-60 age group and are illustrated with women in these age groups. They don’t cater for the 70+ imv, so lot’s to think about.

      Thanks Jill and have a lovely weekend – raining +++ here and very windy!

  • 1st November 2019 at 5:37 pm

    I read the books and can even be full of good intentions but rarely do I put any of the advice into practice. Instead, I just go on doing what I do and being ‘good enough’. Like magazines which pontificate about how we can have the perfect Christmas, buy the perfect presents, set the perfect table (this is something I feel VERY strongly about), many of these books can have the opposite intention of what they set out to do – they can make us feel inadequate because we don’t achieve the heights.

    • 1st November 2019 at 7:11 pm

      Like you I really dislike those Christmas glossies and the ads which depict a groaning table with enough to feed the 5000 on it. It worries me that people will go into debt to try to emulate these preposterous perfections. Anything which says it is perfect gets my goat immediately!

    • 2nd November 2019 at 9:24 am

      I’m very like you. I read them but really what effect, if any, do they have? It’s a genuine point to ponder. The best book ever is Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck which has such wonderful writing and is realistic and funny too. And I too loathe those magazines about the perfect Christmas with tables groaning with food and stuff – they really sicken me. We’re absolutely on the same page, Eloise 🙂

  • 2nd November 2019 at 5:55 pm

    You are a minimalist when it comes to jewellery, Penny! What a lovely, limited display. I’m way over the top with my jewellery; I’d go as far to say I’m a jewellery hoarder. It’s slowly taking over my bedroom…

    Your volunteering at the charity shop sounds intriguing; can’t wait to hear more.

    I’m not a fan of self help books; I don’t read or buy them but I do enjoy books on style and fashion and recently purchased, from my own charity shop, an interesting bunch of books; one of which will be a useful reference book. I used to love Sali Hughes make up column in the Saturday Guardian so I think I’d like her book – will have to check to see of the library has it. As for ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ I saw a copy in the charity shop but like you all the hype put me off! I’ll be looking for a copy now and if not, once again I’ll try the library.

    Hope you shake off your virus for once and all!

    • 3rd November 2019 at 9:41 am

      I’d definitely recommend the Sali Hughes book as she really knows what she’s talking about. And as for Lincoln in the Bardo, don’t know if I’d actually pay the full price but if you see it in a charity shop, pounce and buy as it is an amazing read.

      I think the virus is gone now – phew! And how funny you saying I’m minimalist as I think I have hoards of jewellery!!! And I keep adding items. There’s another drawer like that with the sparkly necklaces and bracelets and then I have two smaller drawers with jewellery in boxes. Actually living in a small flat it’s all about storage and putting stuff away – like living in a cabin of a small ship 🙂

  • 2nd November 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Penny, How long did the affects of the radio-frequency facial last for? Did it lessen wrinkles (like lip lines), and was it painful? Tx, Lise

    • 3rd November 2019 at 9:50 am

      The thing about radio-frequency facials is that they do say you should have more than one. I had several (?approx 4) in the Spring and very early Summer, then I stopped more from the expense than anything else (£75 for face, £90 for face and neck). Also I was very pleased with the result as I really do think my stringy neck and jowls had pulled up and tightened and my face was generally tighter???? I mean, not a huge difference and nothing outlandish but there was a difference nevertheless. And now, I think the face is generally suffering from the after-effects of a virus and it’s gone back to how it should be. So will I have more? Well first I’m trying a facial that is meant to be very organic and pure just to cleanse and hydrate. It will also be soothing. Radio-frequency is not soothing!!!! Oh no, it’s like having a small octopus pound away at your face – feels quite intrusive. Thinking about whether I do. But, to be absolutely honest if I had the cash I would, but I don’t so probably not.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  • 3rd November 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Yes, I read any ageing-well; anti-ageing; whatever; books that I can find, and have done so since my early twenties. To be honest, most of them I can’t stand. Some of the advice can be so generic that it’s ridiculous. And some I feel, are just plain patronising. Sometimes I wonder: if you’re of a certain age, does that presuppose that you’re “past it”? And so a book tells us how not to be quite so elderly . gggrrr one of my pet peeves. But, when I was 28, so that’s a long time ago, I found a book about a woman who rejuvenated herself and my gosh she did look good, went on to become a lawyer. Anyway I still have that book from 1976 and I still adhere to it. It changed my life and beliefs. I could do better with myself, but I figure: hey, I’m still standing.

    • 5th November 2019 at 8:16 am

      Yes, I think some of these books are useless at best (because they say the obvious) and at worst they’re just in denial of the ageing process. Yes, you have to work at your health and wellbeing, as you should throughout your life, so why the emphasis on doing things at a certain age. So wrong!

  • 3rd November 2019 at 8:08 pm

    Love how you pull off these fashions. Classic with trendy, upscale with casual. You have an air of confidence, that makes me want to do the same.

    Thanks for posting!

    • 5th November 2019 at 8:17 am

      Thank you! But I’m not really confident, tbh, but I do believe in not hiding away as one ages. Thanks again Donna

  • 4th November 2019 at 3:56 pm

    I’ve heard fabulous things about Lincoln in the Bardo! I’ll have to keep my eyes open at our secondhand book shops. I love the dividers in your drawer… Now to keep my eyes open for something similar on my side of the pond.

    • 4th November 2019 at 6:43 pm

      I use a wooden adjustable cutlery tray in my make-up drawer and it works very well.

    • 5th November 2019 at 8:22 am

      Lincoln in the Bardo is a very unusual read. Don’t expect a conventional novel but it does mirror the tragedy of Lincoln’s loss. When I finished it I was so glad I read the book so do look for a copy – highly recommend.

      The dividers came from Ikea which means they cost next to nothing but also I think Ikea has crossed the pond. Does Ikea do online sales in the US? You’d find them there 🙂

      Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

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