Hi everyone

I apologise, late again, but life got in the way! More about that in another post, I think. Anyway, what a month!  It began with me at the tail end of having a series of viruses (not Covid) which I think I got from my lovely new grandson who is now going to nursery, which is a veritable petri dish for bugs!  I am better.

I’ve been pruning my wardrobe big time and many items have gone either to be sold or to the charity shop. But I have to tell you, that wonderful grey tweed jacket you saw in the last post? I only tried to sell it the previous month. But phew and thanks all round as it didn’t sell and was returned to me, and gosh when I saw it and wore it again, particularly with my amazing ruffled skirt, I thought I am too darn quick sometimes to get rid of clothes.

Earlier this winter I also tried to get rid of this skirt, which was returned unsold. This is an old photo – the shot is taken last year when I had long, long hair.

I thought the green a rather dull colour, but actually I’ve warmed to it and have worn the skirt many times since I got it back from the dress agency, especially on cold days!

You know I sometimes see other bloggers, or articles in fashion mags, praising the no-socks gap between the end of the jeans/pants and their shoes. Brrrr, that’s a style that’s far too cold for me. In the winter I wear a long skirt with leggings and thick socks, and I wear long fur-lined boots when I go out over these layers, and for me even though it’s the beginning of March it’s still too cold to attempt that look.

But the days are getting lighter and the daffodils are coming out and, oh joy, Spring is approaching.

And yet, and yet, we have a war in Europe. Do you remember a time when the only thing we worried about was Covid – I didn’t realise that these were happy times. I won’t write any more on the subject of Ukraine as I have already written two posts on My Other Blog and plan more, of which one is running around my head right now.

Owing to the viruses and this and that I haven’t done much apart from seeing good friends and family, of course. But we have done the usual gogglebox watching and I have done much reading – and writing!

Films and TV

Actually we only watched two films, which is quite atypical for us as we usually watch at least four films, but not this month. So, last weekend having gawped at rather too much of the news we decided to watch something that would take us completely away from reality – yes, we fancied something in the disaster genre!  But one with a kind of happy ending so we watched The Day After Tomorrow (Amazon) and really, it is a Hollywood, don’t worry, it’ll be OK, people survive (not all though) but wow, look at this disaster unfolding (around climate change) kind of film.  We found it quite relaxing to watch!

The previous weekend we watched Last Night in Soho (Amazon) starring Anna Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie. It also has wonderfully sleazy Matt Smith, and then there’s Terence Stamp and a small but key part played by Diana Rigg in her last film role. Now that was an interesting film, it’s a psychological thriller, bordering on horror movie, but it’s OK. It’s all about a present day young woman getting into a fantasy world of the early 60s, and I have to say having lived through the 60s I really enjoyed the depiction of Soho, the clothes, the hairstyles, the cars and the music.  A really enjoyable watch, but if you don’t like jeopardy of any sort – avoid.

Of course, Anna Taylor-Joy has a key role in Peaky Blinders (BBC iPlayer) which has returned for its last series. And I see her name is now added at the end of the cast list as with Anna Taylor-Joy, to denote, I suppose, her status as a rising star in the film industry. Oh Peaky Blinders, it is soooooo good and I won’t give you any of the plot because if you’ve been watching the previous series, you’ll know it’s much of the same, but there’s always a new scam.  And if you haven’t watched it, do start at Series 1 which is on Netflix. By the way, they have dealt with the death of Helen McCrory very well. I was so sad when I heard that she had died – far too early, far too young. You were so beautiful and a great actor – RIP Helen McCrory.

We have finished watching The White Lotus (Nowtv) which has put me off ever wanting to stay in a posh expensive hotel. The people, the people, no thanks! But this first series (apparently there will be Series 2) is such a fantasy of high-end life with the hotel’s dysfunctional staff and dysfunctional guests, and so unlike my life I found it quite addictive, but I’m not sure if I actually liked it. Try it and see.

We also finished Yellowjackets (Nowtv) which is all about a young female football team who while flying to a footie match crash somewhere in the South African jungle and survive – somehow. Did I really like it? Not sure.

And then there was Trigger Point (ITV Hub) which has just finished. Quite gripping, but a bomb in every episode?  It got a bit samey! Not sure if I would watch another series.

I have dipped my toe into watching The Gilded Age (Nowtv) and watched one episode. I see that it is written by Julian Fellowes and is an exact replica of Downton Abbey transferred to New York.  It’s very pretty and the costumes are divine but can I take the snobbery from ‘old’ New York? Anyone else watched it – should I continue?

It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed much of what I’ve watched, it’s just that I have felt a little unsatisfied with the depth and quality of these series. However, one series I adore is The Marvellous Mrs Maisel (Amazon) and we’re on Series 4 now. Gosh I love this so. It’s the clothes, the colours, oh my word, the colours are gorgeous, and the characters, Midge Maisel’s father, for instance, is just wonderful and I simply love the depiction of this Jewish New York life.

And I also really liked Reacher (Netflix). Do any of you read those Reacher books? They’re very formulaic but quite relaxing to read and very much the epitome of a page-turner. I read many and then stopped as I began think the character, Reacher, was rather dysfunctional and got bored with what, yet another mystery to be solved by our hero coming to the rescue of whoever. Well, Tom Cruise made a film of one of those books and it was OK but all you could do was giggle at the very idea of Tom Cruise taking on Reacher as a role, because, well, Tom is small and Reacher is very tall and built like brick house. This Reacher was the right size and we both really, really enjoyed this first series. More please.

We’ve watched two excellent documentaries: one was Versus: the Life and Films of Ken Loach (BBCiPlayer) and  if you’ve not come across this wonderful director this would be good start.  He began his controversial career on television with Cathy Come Home, perhaps the first depiction of working-class life in the raw, and a shocking indictment of the housing policies of the day. For 50 years Loach has continued to be controversial and radical, and it’s altogether a fascinating look at his life and politics. And currently we are watching the 1998 doc Bruce Springsteen: A Secret History (BBCiPlayer). Oh, the Boss, I do love him and his songs. It’s an excellent watch.


I continue to buy books from the local charity shops and consequently took two of them back after reading one chapter. I read all of Midnight Library by Matt Haig which had a serious theme: should one take ones life, and how should you live a life anyway? But funnily enough I thought it too light and felt unsatisfied after reading it. Thankfully I’d picked up two of Helen Dunmore’s books (my now favourite author) one was Zennor in Darkness, which is a fictionalised story of DH Lawrence’s (real-life) stay in Cornwall. It was her first book and not her best as the writing was a bit florid, but good nevertheless. And the second Dunmore book was The Greatcoat, a ghost story set just after the war. Again it was OK but rather too light for me.  All the other Dunmore books have been superb and two, The Siege and The Betrayal are at the level of Tolstoy and I don’t say that in jest. They really are magnificent books and just the kind of book I like to read.

That’s all for now, may you all sleep well through the anxiety of our times. My heart is with Ukraine and its people and a million thanks to all those wonderful neighbouring countries taking in now over 1 million refugees💙💛

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper










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26 thoughts on “The (as usual) late end-of-the-month review. February 2022

  • 3rd March 2022 at 9:22 am

    Helen Dunmore wrote so many good books. The Lie is good and Birdcage Walk is superb. It takes place in Bristol where I hail from. So sad that this talented author died a few years ago at only 65 years old. X

    • 4th March 2022 at 8:42 am

      Yes, Helen Dunmore is truly wonderful as the majority of her books are on another level to the norm. I have read Birdcage Walk and loved it, but haven’t read The Lie so will look out for it – thanks x

  • 3rd March 2022 at 9:36 am

    Super.Lots to read.The grey jacket is super.Great withe ruffled skirt.
    I am a trouser person , and can imagine it would with wide a cigarette trousers.
    The news is dreadful,and I am trying tut back on my consumption.
    Best wishes to all.

    • 4th March 2022 at 8:46 am

      I’ve just read Susan Saunders blog on reducing our anxiety levels and the first thing she advocates is cut down on the news, which is what I have done and I am a great newswatcher so that’s new for me, but we can’t take too much of this without some cost to our mental health.

      Thanks – the grey jacket is lovely and I don’t know why I tried to sell it!!!

      Best wishes to you Ro 😄

  • 3rd March 2022 at 9:44 am

    Morning Penny
    Thanks for this monthly round-up. You may have seen fewer films but you’re certainly viewed/read masses. Several of your viewings are on my list but we’ve become re-addicted to The Sopranos: two or three episodes a night and no deviations. It is still as fresh and gripping as ever.
    Yes, spring is round the corner but, yes, it is still very cold. Yesterday, here in Oxfordshire, we had sleet at one time.
    I’m with you on the gap between footwear and trousers: a stupid fashion this time of year. (I sound like my mother!) Actually, it’s a look I really like in summer but, as my mother also said, “To feel warm keep your ankles and wrists warm.” I’d add ‘neck’ to that list. I must have a scarf or neck warmer in these temperatures.
    I don’t know what to say about Ukraine other than it is utterly heartbreaking – and was avoidable.
    I hope you’re completely recovered and that your grandson is enjoying nursery.
    Go well.
    Mary Xx

    • 4th March 2022 at 8:55 am

      Hi Mary and oh how I love The Sopranos. We watched it long after it first came out and – it’s brilliant. We will watch it again I’m sure. Mind you, I said that about The Wire, which ranks I believe at the top of the list of all time great TV viewing, with The Sopranos coming in at a close second, but we haven’t watched it again – yet!

      Completely recovered but somewhat stressed and flustered as ‘this and that’ is coming to fruition next week – eek. More about that soon! Oscar is a delightfully happy child who is content wherever he is, and whoever he is with. So lucky, as my other grandson cried buckets when separated from his mum. He’s nearly 16 now and a really nice, grounded, thoughtful lad.

      All the best Mary, will be in touch soon x

  • 3rd March 2022 at 10:48 am

    So agree with you about Mrs Maisel – wonderful! I’ve also started watching Mad Men again from the beginning – my favourite TV series ever. The 60’s costumes and interiors are fabulous, the scripts so sharp and the mystery element intriguing. If anyone missed it the first time, it’s on Amazon Prime.

    • 4th March 2022 at 8:59 am

      A long time ago we watched a couple of episodes of Mad Men and couldn’t get into it so never went further – I wonder if we should try it again??? I’m sure the costumes would interest me.

      Mrs Maisel is wonderful. However, I sometimes have a little niggle at the plot hole of who looks after Midge’s children? And where’s her little girl???? Not been seen in this series!!! I love everything about Midge, everything and then I suddenly think, actually…….

  • 3rd March 2022 at 11:42 am

    Hello Penny, thanks for your latest round-up. It’s hard to believe another month has ended but signs of spring are everywhere. The weather last weekend was lovely, I got too hot on my walk on Sunday. Hope to get out today now the rain seems to have let up. Like you I sometimes get rid of clothes too quickly. I had a dress I really loved and now miss but I’ve seen it on E-bay so may buy again!
    We did not watch Peaky Blinders originally. I think I saw a trailer and it seemed very dark and violent but we are thinking of trying it if it’s still on i-player. Recently we watched ‘Happy Valley’ which we’d missed – boy was that good! We have no subscription channels and for the first time I’m feeling that we don’t have much to watch at the moment. We loved the recent ‘Shakespeare & Hathaway’ series and the first one is now showing so enjoying that too, really recommend! I think it may be a bit like Repair Shop which was originally shown in the afternoons but became a big hit when more people started to watch it. I see that ‘Our House’ by Louise Candlish is being dramatised soon. If it’s as good as the book it will be worth watching. I like her more recent novels, especially ‘The Other Passenger’.
    For more serious reading I’ve now started ‘A History of Masculinity – from Patriarchy to Gender justice by Ivan Jablonka. He is a French social historian and his ideas have been well received. I’m learning a lot from it. Found a new author recently – Gillian White. She has an unusual style , very conversational. Not progressed with plan to start reading poetry, perhaps I’ll do that when I can get back to the library. Are you ‘Wordel’ -ing ? After initially being frustrated by it I’m getting better!
    I’d be interested to know what you and others think about the way some people are preparing to send goods, including second-hand clothing to Ukraine, presumably overland. To me it seems much more sensible and effective to send money to those who are on the ground who know what the refugees really need. The impulse to help is right & laudable but I think you need to stand back a bit from the emotion and work out the best route to help. Perhaps I’m just being lazy and uncaring??

    • 4th March 2022 at 9:23 am

      To cut to the chase of what to do about Ukraine, I think, don’t donate clothes as the people of Poland seem to be doing that very well. I’m hearing that sending money directly to small organisations on the ground is what’s needed, but to who, I’m not sure, yet. At the moment it’s unclear whether i) the clothes would actually reach Ukrainians and ii) can one get money in anyway? That’s why I hear that people are booking Ukrainian AirBnBs to get money directly to Ukrainians, but it’s just hearsay, so I can’t say anything for sure. However, if Ukrainians turn up in the UK without any clothes, then that’s different – give clothes then. Because I know for a fact that Afghans were dumped in hotels (and still are in hotels) without a stitch of clothing beyond what they were wearing and the government did nothing – local people stepped in. I hope these Afghan refugees aren’t forgotten because they certainly have by our government.

      Sadly, there will be many more than 1 million refugees from the Ukraine, but you’re right to work out the best way to help.

      We seem to be the same kind of person Lynda in the getting rid of clothes and then regretting it. I had a lucky escape with that jacket which is so beautifully tweedy!

      Do try Peaky Blinders. We didn’t watch it for exactly the reason you give, but as people began to recommend it, we tried it and didn’t regret it at all. It is violent, but the violence is appropriate not gratuitous, and the story line, development of character, and script is excellent.

      Thanks Lynda

  • 3rd March 2022 at 3:13 pm

    Thanks for the watching ideas. We have been watching Justified I got the DVDs from the library, I think it could be ten years old. The dialogue is sparkling and it’s packed with character actors.

    We are packing up to move and we already regret some of the things we have donated to Emmaus, gadgets we ‘never use’ and suddenly we need. At least you got your things back. Obviously the sparking joy method does not work.

    • 5th March 2022 at 9:43 am

      Will look up Justified, thanks. Ah yes, the packing and the moving. Oh Flora, do I have a story to tell – soon! 😉

      Good luck with the move x

    • 5th March 2022 at 9:45 am

      Thanks Nicole, yes, I love the skirt but prettying it up would be too much for me and my style – so studded boots and a tweed jacket is the way to go for day, and leather jacket and black top at night.

  • 3rd March 2022 at 9:03 pm

    I recommend PRICELESS, an Amazon Plus rental film with Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh. It had so much French fashion and wacky fun. Ya gotta laugh, right?

    Looking great Penny!

    • 5th March 2022 at 9:47 am

      Oooh that sounds great and Audrey Tautou is lovely – thanks so much, Judy. And yes, we all need a laugh right now – thanks again 😄

  • 3rd March 2022 at 9:46 pm

    We watch very little TV but have taken the time to watch Mrs. Maisel. ..the fashion is always glorious!!
    I know exactly what you mean with the bare legs in winter! I could never do that in Denver but it’s so different in our new environment! Warmer is better!!.

    • 5th March 2022 at 9:50 am

      Oh Mrs Maisel – that series is divine, although it went a little off in, was it the second or third series? Can’t remember. But we stuck with it for the colour and those clothes, they are just wonderful.

      It’s still bit nippy here in the south of England, so it’s warm socks with either skirts or trousers.

      Thanks Jodie xxx

  • 3rd March 2022 at 10:10 pm

    I have been thinking that my wardrobe needs a decluttering. I do not have that many clothes but there are a few that I think are just not that flattering. I liked the idea of the garment but the reality was that it do not look especially well on me. A couple of dresses come to mind. I recently read some advice by French style advisor MarieAnne Lecoeur ” If it’s not a Wow! it’s a non”. I think I have a few things which fall into the non- wow category. I am, however, reluctant to get rid of them. do not want them just ending up in a landfill or thinking that I will regret it later. While nothing was truly expensive, some were not cheap, are good quality or have some sentimental meaning. This should be my biggest worry. I do really like your new skirt. The other one I am not so sure about. That said, you have styled it so that it looks fresh and fun, on anyone else it would probably look boring. Actually, the skirt reminds me of my high school uniform. I seem to have acquired a stack of books by my bedside table, slowly making my way through them. My concentration is off lately. Also have a number of DVD’s which are still unwatched, courtesy of my son in law.
    Here the weather has been so variable. freezing and windy one day, and the next day it will be in the 60’s, then back to cold. Some shoots poking through the ground in the sunnier places, but no flowers, Lots of our American Robins.
    And of course covid restrictions are lifting, some more activities to enjoy.
    Keep enjoying the new season Penny, in spite of so much sorrow in the world. We need to keep on. Darby

    • 5th March 2022 at 12:03 pm

      We do need to keep on and good to hear there is some warm weather in New York, which I always imagine to be freezing in winter. Here, it’s between seasons but we still get the typical damp cold that you get in the UK, nevertheless I’m pruning my wardrobe and wondering why I bought a couple of items. And yes, quality items are always hard to relinquish which is why I take my quality clothes to a dress agency where you get half the sum that the owner of the shop allocates. I’m always pleased when I manage to sell items particularly if the quality item was found in a charity shop!

      But the keeping on is hard, so I’m rationing my news watching and increasing my cultural watching. We finished watching the Bruce Springstein doc – it was good. I have an awful habit now of buying serious books and only reading half – my concentration is off too. So you take care Darby and thanks so much for your comment 😊

  • 4th March 2022 at 4:18 am

    Oh, I’m so glad you got the tweed jacket back. It looks wonderful with the new skirt! I’ve given away so many things only to wish I had them back! Oh, well! We have been watching “The Gilded Age”. I’m just not sure how much I like it. It seems a far cry from “Downton Abbey”. I know it’s showing both the upstairs and downstairs aspects. Nigel and I just rewatched “Downton” (well, I rewatched; he watched for the first time), and I find some of the dialogue there is a bit stilted as well. Maybe, “The Gilded Age” just needs to grow into itself. I’m not sure. I do hope it gets a second series. We are now watching “Inventing Anna” which is a bit of a strange show, but we’re only two episodes in. I, of course, am up to date on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and am rooting for Willow or Bosco to win! I read How to Stop Time by Matt Haig and found it intriguing. I’m now reading The Vanishing Half, another intriguing book. And, if you want something rather sinister, try The Final Girl Support Group. I find I read something rather dark and have to cleanse my palate with a light read. I haven’t done that lately.

    And, yes, my prayers are for some kind of quick end to the Ukranian situation. It’s heartbreaking and maddening. Will we never learn? I don’t think so…as long as power hungry madmen rule.

    I always enjoy your posts, Penny, as you know I love to read and not just look at pictures!

    • 5th March 2022 at 10:11 am

      I know, Marsha! Fancy trying to sell that jacket – had a lucky escape there!

      But regarding The Gilded Age I’m just not sure as I kind of liked Downton Abbey and kind of didn’t, mainly because our aristocrats are not like the bunch depicted in that series. They’re usually a pretty awful bunch of over-privileged so-and-so’s who care only about their status, their land and money. Servants had to/have to know their place and in some instances had to keep their eyes to the ground when they passed them. Our pyramid society that you can’t buy into, with the royal family at the top and the aristocrats next, has been the ruination of our country! I could go on, but won’t!

      We have started watching Inventing Anna and think we’ll continue watching it – looks OK and intriguing.

      Thank you for those kind words Marsha 😄

  • 4th March 2022 at 7:10 am

    I’m glad you’ve got that tweed jacket back! It is so gorgeous. You have no idea how hard it is to find good tweed items. I’ve received a lot of, real, books from my father, all thrillers. I usually read on my e reader. But I love paper books far better. Have a great weekend I hope it will be as sunny there as it is here.

    • 5th March 2022 at 10:01 am

      Not sunny here I’m afraid as it’s cloudy with rain coming apparently! I know, I know, that tweed jacket, how mad was I to try and sell it!!!!!

      You have a great weekend too, Nancy x

  • 4th March 2022 at 8:19 am

    I love that tulle skirt and just pinned it!
    As always some great suggestions. I’ve enjoyed books by Matt Haig and Helen Dunmore.
    We also watched Reacher and the new Reacher is much more suitable than Tom Cruise!
    I’m afraid we didn’t stick with Trigger Point after episode 1.
    I’m very tempted by Peaky Blinders but we get put off when there are too many back seasons to catch up with. It’s the same with Ozark.

    • 5th March 2022 at 9:58 am

      Oh wow, Gail, thanks, but it is a superb skirt and one I shall treasure. Helen Dunmore is just the business – it’s tragic she died so young (in her 60s, I think)

      Reacher was great, but Trigger Point? Won’t watch a second series as there’s not much to it, really, just a lot of rushing around and defusing bombs – bit disappointing.

      We couldn’t get into Ozark, but Peaky Blinders is well-worth watching. I think it’ll be around a long time and you could go at a slow pace a season at a time. The script, the acting and the character development is very good and then there’s always Cillian Murphy to watch (those eyes) and the late Helen McRory (lovely and such a strong character).

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