I do like winter weather. Well, I qualify that, as we’re just at the beginning of winter and we’ve not had weeks of that grey damp (gets in your bones) weather that we have here in the UK. Today is a bit grey in the south though, but I still love the fact that I can wear my winter coats and hats. I have so many hats and, as most of them are winter hats, they stay in their hat boxes for many months with me knowing they’re there, but unable to wear them.

Just recently this one had an outing.

It’s a large beret (charity shopped, of course), so large that it goes in and out at its brim.  Now I know some of you will say, what (!) when I tell you that I wore this to another tea occasion. Why am I not wearing a fascinator? Two reasons: I don’t have any, and I just thought wearing one through the tea was a bit over the top. People, I am not a fashionista, I just like wearing slightly funky clothes, so on went the brown beret.

And yes, what else can you see?  It is the only vintage item I possess (bought in a vintage fair approx 3 years ago for £75 – phew. But I think worth  it) my faux fur coat.

And I didn’t take any pics of me and my friend during our tea, there’s fine line between being friends and being posey, which I didn’t cross. But here’s a couple of pics of the cakes and the places.

Just a word about these ‘teas’. We shared a tea, as what you get are 3 savoury items. Me, I ate the cucumber sandwich, which was delicious, so much so that I made a plate of cucumber sandwiches the very next day when friends came round to inspect our (finally) finished flat! Then there are usually 2 scones, which were totally great. I often eat scones that are so heavy they sit like lumps of lead in my stomach – these were light and fab. An aside. On a cruise round the fjords of Norway we were served marmalade with our tea and scones. Coughs politely – this was an American cruise line! I kind of recoiled and very tactfully informed the waiters that it was strawberry jam or nothing. But I could see they didn’t know, or even care. As far as they were concerned it was an English tea with marmalade and lump it. OK! Then there were 3 sweet and creamy cakes. And this is meant to be one person’s portion. Thankfully my friend felt the same as me, that half of the one portion was quite sufficient. I don’t and can’t stuff myself with food – feel awful if I do.

Also, and it just shows you how old-fashioned and/or stuck in my ways I am. (I think the latter.) I know this is what you’re meant to expect. But I’d just love, just once, to be served a slice of Dundee cake with my cup of tea. You know that fruit cake that isn’t sweet and sticky, but kind of marmalady. It’s a throwback to my childhood as my mother always made that cake.

Gosh though, we had a great get-together and chat. And look at the place.


I was meeting someone I’ve known for 35 years – good grief! But how important are these friendships. These are people who’ve known us through thick and thin, and many changes in our lives. Our children are now the same age as we were when we first met! And do we still worry about them – these grown children in their 40s? Yes we do!

That’s all for now, but do you have some favourite places you go to, to celebrate friendship? Let me know!

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

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34 thoughts on “The blessings of friendship – and cold weather!

  • 24th November 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Ah fantastic! Afternoon teas are the best in the UK! What a treat.

    • 26th November 2018 at 7:50 am

      It was a lovely tea in superb surroundings.

  • 24th November 2018 at 1:38 pm

    What a fabulous afternoon tea, I just love doing that with special friends. I recently took my mum to The Salutation in Sandwich – absolutely loved it. Your hats suit you and it’s always nice to see you in a different one. By the way, you are my featured favourite on my recent #linkup. Happy weekend to you. Jacqui Mummabstylish

    • 24th November 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Ooh Jacqui 😊 Will go on the #linkup when I’m at my laptop again, thank you 😘

    • 26th November 2018 at 8:14 am

      I’ve just gone on your site, Jacqui, thank you so so much. And it was a fab tea! Have a great week!

  • 24th November 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Really like the coat -I’m thinking of buying something similar but trying to stop myself ! I like going out to lunch with friends as teas are often a bit disappointing when you need gluten-free. You can easily buy the bits for tea at home, M&S do a lovely GF version of a Victoria sandwich cake, but I’ve never has a good GF tea in a hotel or restaurant
    Were you in an Ivy restaurant ? It looks so similar to the one we have in Winchester where we had lunch with another couple yesterday. The Christmas decorations outside are wonderful.
    Another American idea which I decline is putting ice in liqueurs!

    • 26th November 2018 at 8:16 am

      I agree and think having a coffee with a friend or a lunch is just as good as a tea. But this was fab and it was The Ivy – I should have said!

  • 24th November 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Nine years ago my girlfriend was diagnosed with cancer. Myself and five other friends were with her throughout her battle…one of us would go to her chemo treatments with her, another would attend doctor’s apts…I would take her for brunch on Saturday to The Grenadier in High Park…Praise the lord and the power of prayer she has been in remission for four years and we have continued that tradition to this day! We have now retired and our children are grown and our friendship will always be there!

    • 26th November 2018 at 8:18 am

      Oh well done you for giving such solid support – wonderful!

  • 24th November 2018 at 5:33 pm

    That coat was worth every penny of the 75.00! It’s fabulous and looks wonderful on you – and the chic brown beret! I’ve been looking for a fab fur coat for years and know I’ll find one someday…

    Totally agree about worrying about our 40 years old kids – and now I’ve got grand kids to worry about, too!

    My daughter and I went out for afternoon tea in Donegal in the summer; in the local department store. We were served sandwiches; a mini burger (!) which we didn’t eat; scones with jam but no cream – I asked for some; mini cakes including macaroons AND a mini trifle! It was delicious though.

    I think the grey, damp weather is setting in here. I hope your weekend is a bit cheerier than ours!

    • 26th November 2018 at 8:20 am

      Sunday was better than Saturday here in the south so we got out for a good walk. The coat is absolutely wonderful and actually it was really cold that day so I needed it!

      Have a great week!

  • 24th November 2018 at 5:50 pm

    Love that coat

    Where did you go for the Afternoon Tea?

    • 26th November 2018 at 8:21 am

      I should have said that this tea was at The Ivy in Ship Street, Brighton.

  • 24th November 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Hello Penny,
    I like your slightly funky style!
    As an American southern daughter-in-law, I ran out of marmalade one fine morning, replacing strawberry jam on my Scottish father-in-law’s breakfast tray. “Oh, it’s just like being on the Continent! he shared. Bless him.
    Judy @fancified.ca

    • 26th November 2018 at 8:23 am

      Oh yes, jam v marmalade?! Actually when I go to the Continent (and I do hope the barbed wire doesn’t go up after Brexit) I love to eat apricot jam for breakfast.

      Re: the funky – I could up the funky a bit more. You’re a great role model for pushing the boundaries 🙂

  • 24th November 2018 at 6:24 pm

    It’s marmalade for breakfast and strawberry jam for tea. Anything else is so wrong!

    If your tea place is in Brighton, I had lunch there with my sister on Thursday.

    Your coat is super – nice to see a bit of faux snow leopard for a change.

    • 26th November 2018 at 10:41 am

      Yes, I should’ve said that this was at The Ivy in Ship Street, Brighton. Good to see the place used as of course it was the town’s main Post Office. I won’t now go into a rant about this – but may one day do so on My Other Blog, but not until after Brexit is resolved! A post will go up there shortly.

      The coat was needed as it was quite a cold day.

  • 25th November 2018 at 10:34 am

    Hi Penny. I think I’ve said before how much I love that coat. You always wear your beret with such aplomb! Friends and a special tea; what a great combination. I have one friend with whom I used to teach in South London and we shared a flat, so we always try to meet for a high tea before Christmas. We try a variety of venues but we haven’t tried one in Brighton – yet!

    • 26th November 2018 at 10:42 am

      Actually it was a really cold day so I looked at my coats and thought, well, why not!

      The tea place does lunches as well. It’s The Ivy on Ship Street, Brighton – and well worth a try!

  • 25th November 2018 at 9:43 pm

    I have a friend whom I’ve known for 58 years! OMG. She has requested that she be called my friend of the longest duration, rather than my oldest friend (chuckle)

    • 26th November 2018 at 10:49 am

      Yes, you have to be careful about that phrase ‘an old friend’, as we are that anyway!!!

      But wow, 58 years, that really does go back a long way. I don’t have any friendships from my childhood as we moved away from some (I still think of them, but have no idea how to get back in contact) and I just hated my schooldays and therefore haven’t kept in touch with those friends, although I’ve recently got back in touch with one through good old Facebook. That’s the positive side of Facebook – there are negatives. However, I do have two very good friends from my nursing days and they go back 52 years!!!!! So, on reflection, I’m not far away from that length of friendship that you have!

  • 25th November 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Friendships, afternoon tea and winter clothes…..a perfect set of ingredients! I dislike winter weather (love crisp autumn days though). It’s so nice to get back into cosy clothes. I like layering but that’s often not possible in the summer because it’s too hot. Afternoon tea is a real treat but I like raspberry jam with my scones. And friendships – where would we be without our girlfriends?
    You look fab in your hat, but hats are just not for me. I have a black furry one for the coldest days and a straw one for the hottest. I do have a couple of fascinator S but they don’t often get an airing!

    • 26th November 2018 at 10:53 am

      Well, I do agree that the particular bone chilling winter weather is awful. It’s the winter clothes I love plus the hats and coats.

      I also agree with you that homemade raspberry jam is better than strawberry jam. And yes, our female friends are so important.

  • 26th November 2018 at 5:10 pm

    I had no idea it was strawberry tea or nothing with scones.

    I’m a fan of high teas, but I’m a fan of food and rarely if ever leave anything on the plate. It’s just the way I was brought up. It is also why after 50 I’ve started to struggle with my weight. I’ve had to cut way back on high teas and baking.

    I do love the beret and the vintage coat. Vintage anything is better if you ask me.


    • 28th November 2018 at 8:17 am

      Ah ha, the strawberry jam issue is not the thing around the ‘cream tea’ that (some) Brits argue about. Incidentally I remember one foreign student I had staying with me thought that this meant she would get cream in her tea. No, a cream tea has to be a scone (which I often don’t like as they can be heavy, heavy, heavy) plastered with clotted thick cream then strawberry jam. Note there’s no butter. But arguments rage over whether you do put butter on, then the jam, then the thick cream. People actually take sides. But there is never an argument about what kind of jam – it’s always strawberry! I jest of course, as it’s not a serious argument, but it’s great to write about this rather than Brexit which I am currently doing for My Other Blog – which is serious, as in very serious!!!!!

      Thanks so much for looking at my blog 🙂

  • 27th November 2018 at 12:17 pm

    It looks so lovely. I am enjoying your coat and hat combo–so nice you get to pull them out and wear them this time of year.

    • 28th November 2018 at 8:08 am

      Thank you – yes, the winter for me is the time I can wear all my warm coats – I love that!

  • 27th November 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Hello Penny
    Just catching up; am STILL in bed after several days with a chest infection – most unlike me! Grr!

    I love berets and plan to look out for one/some when I’m allowed out. The nice thing about them is how chic they are when ‘perched’, but should the weather change can also be pulled down as ear huggers. Not the most glamorous look admittedly, but who cares if you look like Norah Batty on a bad day if the wind is hurting your head? Your beret looks lovely; am I right in remembering you put a brooch on one last year?

    And yes, friends are SO important. We’ve lost dearest friends recently and that hurts, but, like my Mum used to say, Nature abhors a vacuum and you know what? She was right! New friends, destined I’m sure, to become old friends, have appeared. But old, old friendships also still continue. My most precious has lasted 74 years! We are still in close touch every week and trust me, our conversations never run dry. Well, usually; I’m not talking quite so much at the moment. I’m waiting for my immune system to kick my cough into touch, but I’m not hurting so my husband is just savouring the silence!

    I so agree with you about afternoon tea. Lovely, but talk about overload! So, no to rock hard buns (like you) and yes please to raspberry jam (like Eloise) IF the buns are light enough to start with. I don’t think that’s being too picky, is it? I wonder, as a more-savory-than-sweet person (nothing to do with my already sweet character, honest!), has any enterprising teashop anywhere considered offering an entirely savoury alternative afternoon tea? Just a thought.

    Sorry if I’ve rattled on a bit. I’ve been reading but have only just got my hands on my iPad. Can you tell I’m a little stir crazy?!

    Have a good week.

  • 28th November 2018 at 8:22 am

    Oh Zepherine – get well soon, my dear! What a thing! Yes, berets are great, and I think are a hat that anyone can wear including those who say they don’t suit hats – a beret would suit them!

    You have a good week too!

  • 28th November 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Hope I’m not too late to add a comment ! Like you Penny, I love the cooler days, though not when it gets really freezing. Living in Greece I find myself longing for cloudy rainy days after the relentless heat and blue skies. Sadly, going out for afternoon tea is not a thing here, unless in a few of the large city hotels. So I do, whenever in England ! Friends, old friends, one of the best things in life. To be cherished ! Love your coat !

  • 29th November 2018 at 5:48 am

    Hello there! I discovered you blog and have been reading up on your posts! I absolutely love your content and what you have to say! I think you are incredibly graceful and beautiful. I am fascinated by your words on aging because I did a research paper during my last year in school about ageism and finding power as well as beauty in aging as a woman. I specifically looked at the artist Joan Semmel. Keep up the great work and inspiring words!

    -Olivia Pyanoe

  • 3rd December 2018 at 5:59 am

    love the beret! I recently found one through ebay in camel color wool and mohair, probably from the 50’s? but a good wash and it is like new, I absolutely love it with my camel colored coat. I’m not a hat person but a beret is something else …..
    so happy I found one, and love yours too. ann lee s

  • 3rd December 2018 at 6:00 am

    love the beret! I recently found one through ebay in camel color wool and mohair, probably from the 50’s? but a good wash and it is like new, I absolutely love it with my camel colored coat. I’m not a hat person but a beret is something else …..
    ann lee s

  • 3rd December 2018 at 5:22 pm

    You’re a fashionista for sure – today’s Times says berets are very trendy! They really suit you. Only the Middletons wear fascinators. And the faux fur coat! Gorgeous. I was offered lemon curd once with a cream tea. It’s nice but not in a cream tea.

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