I thought you might like to see two charity shop dresses I bought in June in my local charity shop in Brighton. Here’s one I’m really happy with.
It’s made of 100% viscose which is quite sustainable and it’s great to wear in the hot weather. And yay it has pockets!
We are having such strange weather these days – we have days and days of cold winds and rain and then it’s too warm and humid. So I find wearing a pair of leggings and a tee-shirt under a shift type dress has been the best kind of dress to wear as I feel warm with the leggings if it’s cool, but if I’m mistaken about the weather and its unexpectedly warm I nip into a charity shop to try on some garments and whip off the leggings and tee, and there you are, it’s a floaty dress that keeps you cool.
And here’s another dress with asymmetric hem that again I wear with leggings and a tee. This is made from a mix of viscose, cotton and linen. Both dresses cost £8.
Behind me you can see part of the reconfiguration of our flat. We do like (as in, I like ) moving the furniture around!
Anyway, apologies! I’ve got behind with the blog. But how was your June? As you know we went away on a vacation twice; once at the beginning of the month to Lewes, and once to Woodbridge in Suffolk at the end of June. We had quite hot weather in Lewes but the weather in Suffolk and around the whole of the UK was mostly cold and wet and we continue to have this rather odd weather with a lot of rain. It can get warm but the heat is never that predictable and there’s been more rain this month than sun, so the raincoat I bought in Woodbridge is getting a lot of use!
Both the two holidays were wonderful though, in that they gave us that longed for change of scenery. We had planned to get away somewhere throughout the summer and into the Autumn and, indeed, we do have a holiday cottage booked for mid-September. But somehow I don’t feel the same enthusiasm as earlier in the year when we talked through some of our plans for trips to London to exhibitions and to see relatives further afield. It’s this Delta variant. And avert your eyes now if you don’t like any criticism of this government!
The thing is we are a small island and yet our Prime Minister took a long time to shut down our borders to people coming in from India with the result that cases are rising exponentially. The vaccines do appear to have broken the connection to very serious illness needing hospitalisation, and death, as these numbers are still low, but here’s the thing, people who are doubly vaccinated are getting this variant and feeling very ill with it and with numbers rising the NHS will eventually become overburdened. Furthermore, with a large number of cases there is always the danger of another variant appearing and what we don’t want is a variant that is resistant to the vaccine. But our leader has always wanted to follow the policy of herd immunity and he’s certainly going to do that now.
What’s more, while the Delta variant rampages across the country by mid-July all restrictions will be removed including mask wearing as it will now be up to individuals to decide whether to wear a mask or not. Personally I think it’s crackers, as in, absolutely insane, and I just wonder how many cases, and how much illness, and, crucially, how many deaths Johnson will tolerate, or maybe the question is how much illness and how many deaths will the public tolerate? Because be assured, this is a policy of never mind the old and vulnerable and the yet-to-be-vaccinated. If you’re my age (75) we live not just in challenging times with this government, we live in dangerous times, because we are being put through an experiment and this government freely admits that more deaths are inevitable. Well I don’t like being in the grip of a government that is not looking out for its citizens.
Btw, I am restraining myself mightily in the above paragraph I can tell you, because I could say far more, furthermore I’ve hesitated and wondered whether I should just shut up and erase all of the above, but no, this blog looks at events every month and I have written about this because this is what’s happening in the UK, and the continuing course of this Delta variant will impact us all. But I don’t get angsty all the time. I do enjoy life and we are seeing a lot of our new grandson, Oscar. It is so lovely to see him grow – he’s now 8 months old.
Films, television and books
And turning to what I watched and read, we only watched 3 films this month and not much television either, mainly because we’ve been away and that has broken our dependence on watching the television as a distraction, which is very much winter thing, that somehow we seemed to carry into the summer, instead I read loads of books – more about those in a moment.
The first film seen in June was Nomadland with the wonderful Frances McDormand, which we saw in the cinema no less! Gosh that was great, mainly because I’d forgotten the sound of cinema, that full throated low growl of the base notes. And then there’s the size of the screen. I believe Frances McDormand said to try and watch Nomadland on the largest screen possible because of the vast vistas of the American mid-west, and we did! Huzzah! The film itself is unique and original with not much plot, just the life of Fran over one year as she goes from a home owner to living in her small van. I thought it a 5* film and that it thoroughly deserved its Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress and the historic win of Chloe Zhao as only the second female film director ever to win an Oscar. Sadly I won’t be returning to a cinema – why? See above!
Then we watched Summerland (Amazon) which was a sweet watch of a crotchety writer taking in a child evacuee during the Second World War. Through flashbacks we see her doomed love affair and oooh, there’s a twist! It’s Ok and as I said, quite sweet but not brilliant, so it’s 3* from me.
And finally we watched A Quiet Place (Amazon) which some of you might not like as it’s a sci fi horror but actually it’s an excellent watch. The jumps are there but it is intelligently acted, the script is well written and I believed in the story arc of the characters. It therefore gets 4* from me.
We haven’t been watching much television either. But what we are watching is 3 sporting events that are my all time favourites, and no, I’m not talking about the footie! Congratulations though, to the England team, they appear to be doing well. Their manager is a good egg and maybe it’s down to him. Anyway, first of all, I adore every minute of the Grand Prix races (Channel 4). Mind you I only watch the highlights, but still I find the races exciting, as I do the Tour de France (ITV4). I really, really love the Tour and have watched it for years, ever since it passed the top of our road in Brighton many years ago. What an experience that was, as it was when we went to Yorkshire for the start of another Tour in 2015, so now we are very familiar with the teams and the complicated rules of this type of bike racing and we are thrilled by the comeback of Mark Cavendish and his 3 stage wins – so far – this is beyond exciting! And then there’s the tennis at Wimbledon (BBC1&2) which I don’t get quite as excited about, but still, that familiar sound of the balls being knocked from the back of the court is just the epitome of summer.
Otherwise, we are still watching Call My Agent (Netflix) and very fine it is too. But we’ve stopped watching The Underground Railroad (Amazon) as it is so grim. We might pick up on it again but we’ll have to be in the right mood. For a feel-good factor hour is anyone watching Sweet Tooth (Netflix)? It sounds a bit barking as it is all about a virus called ‘the sick’ that has killed off half the planet but the kicker you don’t expect is that from the virus onwards all children are born half animal. Our young hero has antler horns but the rest of humanity hunt these children down and it is the story of his survival and the people he meets that is, well, just lovely. Honestly, it’s good thing to watch.
Now for the six books I read in June. I had several given to me for my birthday and how very good they were.
After being very disappointed with Richard Osman’s book I read The Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead. Oh what a contrast. It’s beautifully written book and an intricate and rich depiction of two women’s lives several decades apart. One is an aviator and the other an actress, but I really can’t emphasise enough that you dive into this book and enter their lives and believe every word of their story. This is a book to get lost into and is for me the best read of the year so far. Then I read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and this was another good read telling the story of light-skinned African-American twins whose lives diverge with one passing as white and the other remaining in her home town. Very interesting and engrossing and as well as loving the book I learnt a lot as well. This btw, was a recommendation from Tricia Cusden who wrote a blog post on her reading and I do urge you to have a look at all the books she recommended. I’ve made a list from this blog of books that I hope to read. Then there was The High House by Jessie Greengrass which is actually a cli-fi rather than a sci-fi. It’s about time, I thought to start reading about the coming climate crisis, which is, of course, practically here. The book has its faults but overall, I was pleased to have read it although I can’t say I enjoyed it. And if it has any message it is that we are tuning the warnings out, which, of course, we are. It was an interesting read.
And three of June’s books have been about extraordinary families. First was The Mitford Girls by Mary S Lovell, which actually states on the cover that it is ‘The Biography of an Extraordinary Family’ and it is, of course, an excellent account of the Mitford sisters and their one brother. It’s a good read and your jaw will drop at the antics of the Mitfords, especially the parents. Nancy Mitford’s books, of which I read two last month (The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate) are very auto-biographical and so funny! Then two other memoirs will also make your jaw drop and wonder why Social Services wasn’t involved from the get go. These were The Consequence of Love by Gavanndra Hodge (finished) and Priestdaddy by Patrical Lockwood (half way through). Both are well-written reads and made me realise what a very conventional upbringing I had in comparison to some.
Well there you are, that was June. We continue to rearrange our flat but are finding that things we wanted to get are out of stock apparently due to a combination of Brexit, Covid and the blockage of the Suez Canal so we continue to look (for two armchairs) elsewhere including second-hand stores. Sometimes I think instead of the career I had I should have been an interior designer!
Here’s another shot of that dress which is perhaps the best buy of the month.
And here’s a close-up of the charity shop necklace and bracelets worn with the two dresses.
Do let me know how your June went – I hope you’re still able to get away this summer.
With love Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper