Hello everyone

Well, that’s that. The tree and decorations are down and here we are in 2021. How do you feel about that? Me, I’m a little deflated and flat, and tbh, a tad anxious, what with this new variant currently rampaging around the UK. And, oh my word, I began this post on Monday and by Tuesday we are back into a nation-wide UK lockdown for some weeks, if not months. I am restraining myself and not saying a word, apart from, goodness, what a surprise, not. There will be a post on My Other Blog soon, probably next week.

The weather here isn’t helping my mood either as we have the kind of cold that gets into your bones, it’s a damp cold and comes with a lot of grey clouds. However, even with the greyness there’s a beauty to the sky and when the sun breaks through….

We’ve had lot of walks with similar scenes of the the sun shining on the sea.

Not that I managed to take a photo of the three people that were swimming. but would you believe it, on days like this with the sea as flat as a pancake there’s always someone swimming in the sea, and as the temperatures are hovering around 0C(32F) hats off to their physical fitness!

So what to do about lightening our mood and moving away from the gloom of the grey days and our abysmal…. nope, stop! Because, there’s always a way to move towards light, laughter and love. So… first of all, I shall be connecting as per usual with my family and my grandchildren; and every day I shall contact one friend via email first then a phone call, or WhatsApp/FaceTime; and, furthermore, I shall put on the slap and dress up.

Here to illustrate this are my last charity shop buys for several months.

On one of my last trawls through the stock of my local charity shop I found this dress. I pounced, as note it has long sleeves. It also has pockets, yay!

It feels really good on as it fits so well.

Yes, I am wearing my fur-lined boots indoors! I’ve teamed the dress with a sparkly necklace and belt. This dress is a keeper.

And then in the same shop on the same day I found this fur-trimmed jacket.

It’s in reality a very black colour, so I’ve lightened the photo for you to see the detail. All totally fake fur I hasten to add, I mean do I need to say that? I don’t know that real fur is on sale now. Anyway, it’s a lovely jacket for some time in the future when I jolly well will wear it – a lot!  I think it will be best with black trousers, but here it is falling off my shoulders with the new dress.

Yes, I am that shallow that wearing makeup and a good outfit lightens my mood! But people anything that makes you feel better during these challenging days is OK. Mind you I also need to keep warm, so a brisk walk and bundling up is also the name of the game here in the UK.

I hope all of you are keeping well and safe, and here’s to hope and good things to come in the latter part of this year. But do let me know your coping strategies as I think we can all learn from each other  🙂

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper




47 thoughts on “New year, new hope?

  • 5th January 2021 at 10:48 am

    Keep safe Penny.

    Love the jacket

    • 6th January 2021 at 8:21 am

      Thank you Wendy. I was so pleased when I saw it! It’ll be so useful for evenings out when….

      Thanks again 🙂

      • 6th January 2021 at 8:53 pm

        Hi Penny,
        I really admire the way you are making the effort to dress up during these current circumstances. You look lovely in the dress and jacket. 😍I confess that since Covid19, I have hardly worn anything but athleisure. Occasionally for Zoom appearances I have smartened up (top half of me anyway)🤗. Like you, I am anxious about Covid19 and find the damp cold weather (it’s been like that here in London too) goes right through me. I don’t mind cold, dry crisp weather, wrapped up warm and walking fast. All the best,🌈💕
        P.S. My granddaughter is called Penelope!😊

  • 5th January 2021 at 11:24 am

    Wow Penny, that dress is a winner. So smart, it’ll never be out of fashion.
    The jacket I love too, very dressy.
    Thanks for your posts, they brighten my day, when there’s not a lot to
    look forward to at the moment.
    Stay safe & happy.

    • 6th January 2021 at 8:22 am

      Thanks Anne, so nice to hear you look forward to the blog – makes my day! Yes, we have much to look forward to. The days will go quickly and we’ll get our vaccine – hurrah!

      Take care 🙂

  • 5th January 2021 at 12:13 pm

    I do like that dress Penny you look wonderful in it!
    My personal year has started badly with a completely unexpected family problem & catching Him Indoors’cold when I thought I’d escaped it.
    Beautiful sunshine here but so cold I won’t be going out today. Very concerned about the situation in the country but of course it’s out of my control. I’m now knitting my daughter a jumper, a 1948 pattern in 4 ply on No11 needles. It’s going to take a long time but then what else have I got to do ? No make-up today as feel too rough to bother.
    I’ve just read a very good book called ‘Snowdrops’ by A.D Miller. It’s his first book set in Moscow in about 2010. It was on the Booker shortlist. I’ve got his next book on order (2nd hand e-bay). I’m also waiting for some more of the Nicci French Freida Klein novels, not in the same literary league but absorbing page-turners.
    I had what I thought was a ‘lightbulb’ idea about allowing people to give themselves the vaccine at home – if they are willing and able – but thinking it through there are so many problems, not least people selling it on the internet! Concerned that the PM is over promising again on numbers and will fail to deliver , yet again. We shall see!

    • 6th January 2021 at 8:35 am

      Hi Lynda and so sorry you’re off to bad start to the new year with a cold as well – you take care and get well soon 🙂

      You mentioned that book before and I have it on my wish-list (I’ll get it soon).

      The thing with Boris is nothing he says is real or based on the actual facts. It’s all about trying to jolly us all up. I mean that statement that everyone in the first 4 categories will be vaccinated by mid-February.? Will be interested to see when the first people in this block of flats gets vaccinated – there are several people here who are well over 90-yrs-old and they’ve heard nothing as yet. Personally think it’ll be mid-March.

      Ah ha the knitting – well done you. I sent the complicated pattern and kit back as it was just too advanced with the long tail cast-on and so on. Have now got a simple scarf to knit. Unfortunately before I start that the little cardi I knitted has to be unpicked as indeed the armholes are too tight. Oh calamity, I am not looking forward to doing that! But it’ll be fine when that’s done as it’s still too big for him, so I can take my time.

      Hope the cold goes quickly 🙂

  • 5th January 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Oh my, I love that jacket! It will go with so many things, from fancy dresses to jeans and boots. Such a wonderful find in thrift. I found a wonderful mohair burgundy coat made in Italy at ours just before lockdown again. We are back in total lockdown as well until who knows when, and yet the numbers are still rising. The variant has arrived here as well (in Canada) so I am sure it is everywhere as well. We are in a stretch of milder winter weather for the next week ( -2 ) with glimpses of sun so I plan on getting out for mind clearing fresh air and scenery. Of course no gorgeous sea views but lots of trees and snow. As for the clearing of Christmas, I have decided to leave the trees with the lights up for a bit longer as it is so comforting to sit and read by the light. The decorations are off the bigger one and just glass pine cones on the small one. I spoke with a friend yesterday who is doing the same thing, she used the word calming, and I think that fits. Thank you so much for your continued efforts in keeping such a fun and interesting blog going. I so look forward to seeing you in the in box that I wait until the tea is ready and then dive in. Wishing you and Mr. FFS the best for the new year.

    • 6th January 2021 at 11:09 am

      Oh wow, Diane, you saying you’re having some mild weather at -2 made me chuckle! We think that’s severe cold weather (we are such wimps) and actually that temperature is coming in a couple of days – brrr! But it is a damp cold so it’s not pleasant. There’s even some snow in the UK but more up north and to the east.

      I like taking the Christmas decs down as I always think it’s a new start – I dust and tidy as well and this year re-arranged my book shelves which felt good. But I agree that anything that is calming and uplifting is good and have thought I might get some indoor sparkly lights.

      Thank you so much for the good wishes – all the best to you too 🙂

  • 5th January 2021 at 2:58 pm

    So happy to see your post this morning Penny! I really like the dress, I had purchased two dresses just prior to lockdown. I was imagining birthday diners, graduation, local theatrical and music performances. I did manage to wear each one once. On New Year’s Eve I did wear one, a black and blue print faux wrap, with boots like you did and a cardigan. It was just dinner at my daughter’s, the three of us but it felt good to make an effort. the only other clothing I purchased this year were two pairs of joggers to wear at home for yoga, housework and such and they replaced my old holey yoga pants. I am trying to hold on to some optimism. The Covid cases here in the US are as they say skyrocketing. I was so happy when the vaccine was released but now there seems to be massive delays in actually getting people inoculated. And the political situation! the next few days promise to be chaos. attempts at an overthrow of our election, possible riots, it is hard for me to believe this is my county. sorry to be so negative, but the mundane everyday lives we are living now are against this stark backdrop. Today I must focus on getting my cat his food(do not want to make him angry) fixing my automobile’s sensor, repairing the vacuum cleaner, I think you call it a hoover, going to the outdoor library browsing area to se if I can get a book to read. Perhaps I will wear one one of my dresses. I will put on my face, even though masked and think of better times to come. Be well and safe.

    • 6th January 2021 at 11:21 am

      So glad you managed to wear your dresses. I too have plans to wear that dress out and about in the evening, but that will only happen when we are all vaccinated. Our great leader (!) has promised that all vulnerable people will be vaccinated by mid-February, but he’s like Pinocchio and its a wonder that his nose isn’t yards long. When the older people in this block start getting the vaccine I’ll be pleased but so far no-one has heard anything yet.

      I listened to that tape which is so shocking and yet it’s like he’s got a teflon coating – nothing happens! Interesting that one of our pundits was saying that it’s possible that Trump isn’t being mendacious in saying that he’s had the election taken away from him, he actually genuinely believes that this is so. But to demand they ‘find the votes’ is near criminal surely? This is another jaw-dropping moment. But hopefully this will end soon and America will get a more Presidential President.

      Yes, let’s put on the makeup and go out with heads held high. Be safe too 🙂

  • 5th January 2021 at 4:19 pm

    What a fabulous find that dress was and it fits beautifully. I have a very similar coat to your fab find but without the fur and mine is knee length. Mine was by M&S via a charity shop; and I’ve featured it on my latest blog post.

    It’s hard not to feel down with the bare rooms, grey skies and bone chilling cold but I agree putting on the slap and dressing up always helps lifts the spirits!

    Take care, stay safe and sane!

    • 6th January 2021 at 11:26 am

      Yes, it was great finding both in the same shop on the same day! The dress is so comfortable – I shall wear it a lot. And the jacket can be dressed up or down. Might wear it with jeans!

      I think colour is important and shall endeavour to wear bright colours from now on until the Spring – take care and just off to look at your blog xxx

  • 5th January 2021 at 5:01 pm

    The coat and dress were fab finds, you look great in both. The number of cases here ( Greece ) are up again today, and we are in lockdown. We live in a small place so don’t feel too restricted, although some days I wake up and the reality of it all hits me all over again ! I imagine that happens to most people. Not sure when it will be our turn for the vaccine, so we just have to be patient( and very careful ). I am putting more effort into outfits, even if it’s only to go out for groceries, and trying to not fall into my usual jeans habit.
    And because I don’t think I wished you a Happy New Year, let’s hope it will be a good one , and we’ll soon be out of this nightmare ! Stay safe !

    • 6th January 2021 at 11:32 am

      They were great finds weren’t they!

      Sorry to hear cases are going up in Greece, and yes, I too forget then the reality comes rushing back. We’re near to the end of this pandemic, almost, but it’s very tricky this waiting for the vaccine. But it’ll happen. In the meantime we’re all being careful.

      Thanks so much, stay safe, and best wishes to you too 🙂

  • 5th January 2021 at 5:42 pm

    Best wishes to you, Penny! I appreciate your photos of the sea from your walks. Today your skies are beautiful. One idea for lifting our mood is to leave up the lights and decorations. The color and sparkle is so cheering. Just leave up whatever still makes you feel happy and comforted. I’m working on finding ways to make our dim living room more cozy, less lonely looking. I’ve always kept string lights in the front window year round. That’s a welcome to passersby, just as I enjoy our neighbors’ lights. Candles (battery look real) and lamps with white shades. It all helps, makeup too, whatever encourages you!

    • 6th January 2021 at 11:39 am

      Yes, I never get tired of that view of the sea, I mean one day I shall venture further afield but I just don’t while all this is going on, but that seascape changes all the time which is lovely.

      Yes, I also agree about Christmas decorations and apparently this year there’s quite a thing about keeping these decorations going. But I do like the new-start feel to taking the decs down and tidying up, however, I’m going to invest in some string lights, and possibly put them around my balcony which will look really cheery. I agree whatever helps 🙂

  • 5th January 2021 at 7:01 pm

    I don’t consider that shallow Penny. In fact, there are scientific studies that show how we look affects how we feel. And who doesn’t want to feel good???

    I love finding long sleeve dresses. It’s so frustrating that so many dresses (even winter ones) are sleeveless, LOL!!!

    And swimming in that weather?? Certifiably crazy I think!!

    • 6th January 2021 at 8:44 am

      You are so right, Jodie, and I always always put on my makeup even when I know I’m just going out for half an hour to exercise rather than meet anyone, which we can’t do now anyway – boo!

      The long sleeves are so lovely to have – what aren’t there more of these?

      And actually swimming outdoors at that temperature is quite a thing in the UK, There are people here who swim in the sea throughout the year, no matter what the temperature is. It’s meant to very healthy and a boost to ones immune system but I’ve never tried this, and won’t!!!

  • 5th January 2021 at 9:03 pm

    If you ever get bored with that dress Penny, I want it!! It’s gorgeous! But it looks also gorgeous on you!

    • 6th January 2021 at 8:39 am

      Thank you so much Nancy, yes, the first thing I saw was the pattern and material and then – long sleeves – wow! It’s a keeper to be sure, and I shall wear it and wear it!

  • 6th January 2021 at 8:22 am

    The darkest hour is near the dawn. Waking up to a pandemic free future will be sweet day.
    Your new purchases are lovely & lively. Cheers, Judy

    • 6th January 2021 at 8:37 am

      Thank you so much Judy, and you are so right, the end of the pandemic is nearer than before what with our vaccine rollout beginning, we just have to be patient. And yes was so pleased to find those two items.

      You take care and stay safe and warm x

  • 6th January 2021 at 8:55 am

    Belated Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year, Penny! I love both the black and white dress and the jacket. What finds! I don’t think you are the slightest bit shallow in wearing make up and a good outfit. I think we all have to do whatever we can to lift our spirits. I put on perfume most days and there’s nothing to beat a dog walk, although I’m so over mud and wet! June x

    • 6th January 2021 at 11:42 am

      Ah I miss those walks with our dog and remember the mud!

      Yes, wearing makeup and a good outfit really helps the mood – anything to lift the spirits.

      Take care x

  • 6th January 2021 at 10:14 am

    Happy new year! Wish you a healthy, happy and successful 2021!

    • 6th January 2021 at 11:48 am

      Thank you Aidan, Happy New Year to you too.

  • 6th January 2021 at 10:17 am

    The dress and jacket are definitely keepers – brilliant finds. You’re so right about having a positive attitude, putting on the makeup and making some Facetime calls! I love the look of the flat sea and would happily swim now, although it would come as a terrible shock to the system. I didn’t swim once last year! First time ever.

    • 6th January 2021 at 11:44 am

      I don’t know how those people do it, but on days when the sea is calm there are always some swimmers, never mind the temperature! Phew! But apparently it’s very good for you. This coming year I hope to do more swimming.

  • 6th January 2021 at 10:58 am

    Hello Penny and wishing you health and happiness in 2021.
    Nothing shallow about putting on makeup and dressing in a way that makes you feel your best is so good for keeping the spirits up. Your black and white coat dress looks wonderful on you . The jacket is also a great buy and would work dressed up or down.
    Thinking of you as you enter the lockdown , hopefully it will have the desired effect. Take care.

    • 6th January 2021 at 11:48 am

      Thanks Jill, the whole situation is very tricky what with this new variant, and I’m hearing of more contemporaries of my kids (both in the 40s) getting the virus, so it’s reaching the younger population. Interesting that at my daughter’s work several people were positive but had no symptoms whatsoever – that’s the danger.

      So yes, anything to keep the spirits up – and that definitely includes wearing makeup and a nice dress. I agree I shall dress that jacket up and down.

      You take care too x

  • 6th January 2021 at 2:13 pm

    That dress was a fantastic find! So was the faux fur jacket! I am the same way about clothes: it does lighten my mood and moving/walking each day too. I did a workout with my walking partner yesterday and we are going to add that a couple times a week. So many videos on you tube. We actually like the kids workout videos the best!

    • 7th January 2021 at 8:36 am

      The two items were wonderful finds! And I agree a brisk walk is really uplifting and if you walk somewhere with a great view – even better! Take care 🙂

  • 6th January 2021 at 6:49 pm

    Happy New Year and Lang may yer lum reek. I’ve got through the first days of 2021 by reading some Xmas presents. Two books by Amor Towles. One, A Gentleman in Moscow, I loved so much I went back to the beginning and read it again. Also I’m thinking of going on Mastermind, specialist subject the Ikea catalogue :). Whatever it takes, we have curfew from 6 to 6, not that there is anywhere to go in the evenings. Great b&w dress btw.

    • 6th January 2021 at 7:00 pm

      I loved a Gentleman in Moscow too but it did take a bit of perseverance to get into it. It was my book group choice so I did!

    • 7th January 2021 at 8:40 am

      Happy New Year to you too! I agree I’ve been transported away from all this by reading books – read that book a couple of months ago – very good! Here’s to a better year but think it’ll be the latter part that will be the best of it as at the moment….

      Take care and stay safe 🙂

  • 7th January 2021 at 5:48 am

    Happy New Year Penny!
    The news from over your way is quite scary for you all, I hope it doesn’t last too long for you. It’s a bit hard to comprehend as we are living ‘normal’ lives here, they even have tens of thousands attending cricket matches, which I don’t think is really necessary.
    Very warm and humid weather here but it is that time of year for us.
    Take care and let’s hope your lockdown will be eased soon.

    • 7th January 2021 at 8:44 am

      Apparently we’ve not reached the peak of this ‘wave’ yet and our NHS staff are suffering with ICUs full to the brim. The lockdown will go on to at least March I think. There’s no getting away from it, at every point in this pandemic Johnson has failed us. It could have been very different under a different leader. While the news across the pond is utterly shocking I shall be writing about this failure soon.

      You take care too and enjoy the sun and the normalcy – we hope for that at some point this year!

  • 7th January 2021 at 3:55 pm

    I too find this time of the year flat, with nothing to look forward to or do, that’s before we have lock-down! I normally have a skiing holiday to get ready for, alas probs not going to happen this year! Which makes me really sad! Anyway I have a new dressing room to sort out and am planning lots of new outfits from shopping my closet! Thanks for sharing on #Chicandstylish today. Jacqui x

    • 9th January 2021 at 3:53 pm

      Yes, the new year, hmm. And then the events of the past week in the States! And the constantly rising Covid cases… I’m hoping the latter part of 2021 will be better.

      Btw, so very pleased to hear you are better – but take it easy.

      That new dressing room of yours is amazing – quite envious as our flat is small and there’s just about room for my clothes but I could do with more room!

      Thanks for hosting #Chicandstylish Jacqui x

  • 8th January 2021 at 10:22 am

    Morning Penny

    Many thanks for this enjoyable post and pics. I like the jacket and the dress. The jacket will be great for parties and suppers out. (I love the combo of glam and jeans.) And the dress is interesting too. Different belts/necklace/footwear will change the look entirely. I’m not sure about it with the fur boots – but so what? – I’m not wearing them 😉 and better than cold feet any day.

    BTW – you’ve said several times your love of clothes is shallow. If it was your only interest – may be – but, as your comments here and your Other Blog shows, that’s not the case. A nice balance I’d say.

    I too find the first three months of the year difficult – the cold, damp weather and the long dark nights. Consequently, we usually have a holiday in January and March and are very happy to be in Blighty during the spring/summer/autumn. Our January holiday was cancelled and it looks like March will be too. So, I’ve purchased a sunlight/body clock – eagerly awaiting its arrival later today.

    I don’t normally wear make-up when I’m indoors but have been doing so since before Christmas and also giving myself regular manicures/pedicures and going through my wardrobe wearing whatever I feel like regardless of ‘suitability’ – forget that now! I’m wondering why on earth I’ve not worn some stuff for so long. I realise I like the thrill of the find/purchase. Surprisingly, I’m culling very little.

    I also been doing some batch cooking: tagine, casserole, veggie lasagne and fish pie for those days when I/we don’t want to cook. Setting the table, opening a bottle -when I’m dressed and made-up – is the next best thing to eating out. Over the holiday period, we had several Zoom parties with friend/family and a quiz which gave a focus for dressing up. Hopefully, they’ll continue.

    Swimming: I seem to remember that was one of your plans this time last year before you were ill. So, I really hope you get to do so this year.

    All the very best to you both. (BTW forgot to say, love his tweed overcoat) Mary xx

    • 9th January 2021 at 4:00 pm

      The fur boots are really necessary as the flat is quite hard to heat with all our windows. We think we might have to replace the balcony doors as the glass is so cold.

      And well done you the dressing up and setting the table making it like you’re eating out. We have a takeaway every other week and I really love those – fish and chips this weekend – yum! Other weekends it’s a curry delivered in four enamel tiffin bowls, which is delightful, we’re going to try a pizza at some point.

      It’s just astounding to see people swimming in the sea in these temperatures – they say it’s really healthy – hats off to them, I say! I think swimming through the summer will be all I can manage but I look forward to it.

      I’m hoping that the latter part of the year will be better than this rather rocky start! And one day we shall meet up again 🙂

  • 8th January 2021 at 5:41 pm

    Happy New Year, Penny!
    Love the dress – black and white is always a winner. Jacket is fab too!
    Here we are again, another lockdown and it seems harder third time around. I am working hard at staying cheerful and calm, not always achieving either.
    Boris Johnson, what can I say? He is a total chancer and how he managed to end up PM is beyond my understanding. His wild promisings, bluster and use of ridiculous analogies and metaphors drive me crazy. I don’t think the target of mid Feb for the first 4 tiers will happen, but of course, it won’t be his fault. I could go on and on but what is the point?
    Stay well and keep being fabulous. Your blog is a ray of sunshine!

    • 9th January 2021 at 4:10 pm

      Thank you so much Carole, the two items were quite find.

      I think it will be great to get the vaccine by March but it might be April. But February is such a nonsense – and if I’m proved wrong and I get a phonecall or letter asking me to come along well that would be wonderful. But there are many 90+-yr-olds here who have heard nothing. And that Stanley Johnson has had 2 vaccines – it’s one law for the rich and one…. Or possibly it is actually a postcode lottery.

      It’s a wonder Johnson’s nose isn’t yards long – he’s such a Pinocchio, although really that’s doing an injustice to Pinocchio!

      Thank you again Carole, your stay well too 🙂

  • 10th January 2021 at 8:08 am

    Oh I absolutely love the dress Penny, what a find!!
    My coping strategy is to keep to a routine.
    Stretching on waking
    Cup of tea
    Few necessary jobs or admin
    Outdoor walk in local woods
    Coffee on return
    Make soup
    Sorry it’s beginning to sound a bit tedious but helpful to me
    Thank you for your posts it so helps Penny
    love Viv x

  • 11th January 2021 at 5:32 pm

    Oh goodness, it’s not shallow at all to do something that lifts your mood! Self-care is always important, and especially during difficult times like these! Sometimes all I DO is self-care! Ha ha!


  • 12th January 2021 at 1:21 pm

    Happy New Year, Penny! I do hope you see this late comment! I have been glued to the TV regarding the storming of our nation’s Capital. Frightening. Disgusting. Unbelievable. And these same terms can be used for the “current” administration. I am writing to you on January 12th and cannot believe they are still in office! Also, Southern California is a hot bed of infection. So thankful for our move out of the Los Angeles area in 2019. While we are just in the next county over, we are in an agricultural area and have open land and fresh ocean air. Still, our CoVid numbers are very high, too.
    Your dress and jacket…and you(!) look great! I do love black and have lately tried to add more color to my closet. Like you, I do make an effort to pull myself together for the day. I don’t believe it’s shallow but a life/mind saving issue! The weather is mild and this morning we are heading out to pick up a curbside-delivered breakfast and then go for a stroll along the beach. We need a break from the politics.
    Praying for our country and for the Biden/Harris administration! They have a very tough road ahead of them. I am encouraged by the Cabinet/Team they are pulling together…experienced and career people!! Calls for violence still abound as their inauguration draws near. May God bless America!
    Do take care, Penny! Stay safe, healthy, and your buoyant self!

Comments are closed.