frugal fashion shopper

Is age just another number?

Dressing for a typical English holiday – the necessity of covering the ears!

I had written something for the blog to post while away on a week’s holiday in Suffolk, but some of the photos we’ve taken are so reminiscent of the holidays I experienced as a child I felt I had to share them with you.

Southwold Suffolk-1

Yes, who remembers the 50s and the British tradition of no matter what the weather you went to the beach?

I have 3 distinct memories of those holidays. One is of my parents sitting in the rain on their deck chairs in their plastic macs. And in my mother’s case, with the addition of the plastic head covering tied over her head that she’d pulled out of her handbag, which had been folded concertina style to a small oblong. We would be playing alongside them building sand castles wearing the ubiquitous hand-knitted cardi (which scratched the skin) over our cossies and under our child-sized plastic macs.

Southwold Suffolk-2

The second memory is that when it rains and you run into the sea, it feels warm in contrast to the colder drops of the rain. Or was it the other way round? All I remember is that there was a contrast between the two mediums of wetness.

The third thing I remember is a noise. The now iconic and gaudily painted beach implements – the bucket and spade – bought every year (because no matter how you said you loved them they were never brought home) were made of metal. And there was a noise you made, when going back to the hotel tired after being outside for so many hours, as you pulled the spade along the pavement. If I close my eyes I can hear that gravelly scraping noise now, plus the usual refrain from my mother, ‘Pick it up of the pavement, dear’.

This week in Suffolk has coincided with a ‘low’ over England, so it’s been grey, wet and very, very windy. And did I bring a hat with me from the many I possess? No, I didn’t!

Southwold Suffolk-4So here I am with a scarf tied round my head in what might be seen as retro fashion. No, seriously it was so windy on this pier that the scarf is essential to both stop me feeling that my ears are being blasted off the side of my head, and getting that particular numb/cold pain you get in your ears in the wind. But, do you know, I love holidays like this!

Southwold Suffolk-3Apart from the Primark skinny jeans everything else is from charity shops, natch!

Here’s hoping the weather is better where you are!

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Hatwalk 8 – September 2015

Hi everyone

It’s the beginning of September and time to celebrate the wearing of hats with the lovely Judith Boyd of the Hat Attack blog posts.  The hat for this month is not the grey waterproof hat that I took to Scotland and the Faroe Islands, as I never wore it once.  Actually it’s on ’probation’, which is something I will be writing about soon in a post on de-cluttering your clothes, as there’s definitely a category of clothes (and hats) that you keep in your wardrobe and never wear, but can’t quite get rid of because, you know, you just might wear it!

Instead I’m featuring a beret, which I think is a shape that suits so many people.


I’ve been wearing this blue beret (I have 4 berets, all different colours) a lot recently, as our weather is so strange; it’s hot one minute with a blue sky and sun, then it’s that dull leaden grey that we often get in our English summers, but then it’s still hot, which feels weird.

Leopard-coat-3-webBut with this grey weather comes rain, in buckets. It’s the sort of weather where I begin to think what can I wear on my head? So out comes a beret – such a useful, all-weather hat.  And the blue beret (bought in a charity shop about three years ago for £3) comes with a renewed love for that colour. You’ll be pleased to know I’ve worn the little blue tartan kilt twice now – that item is definitely not staying in the back of my wardrobe. I wear it over my navy jeans, which is a great look whatever your age!

I wore the kilt and the beret a couple of days ago when visiting an amazing garden  – do have a look at the link, as it’s a typical English-size garden with an atypical eclectic mix of plants.

Anyway the blue beret plus a leopard skin mac brightened the spirits as it was a very grey day, and matched my scarf, navy jeans and boots to perfection.  And all bought from charity shops for next to nothing.

Leopard-coat-1-webThat’s all for now

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. I state where these clothes come from to prove the point that you really don’t have to spend money to feel good about your look.

P.P.S And somebody has pointed out to me that the cushions are upside down – oops, so they are!


A sunny day in the UK!

Hi there

I just thought I’d put these two photos up to show you we do have some good weather in the UK (!) and that I do wear the hats featured in Hat Attack!


It was quite a breezy day as you can see from the brim, which is up and away from my face.

And here is the beach – a quiet Sunday by the sea!


I wonder whether I’ll get sun like this when I travel north to the Shetland, Orkney and Faroe Islands?

I’ll let you know!

With love, Penny

P.S. Apart from the Peacocks hat everything else came from a charity shop including the sunglasses, sandals and watch – it’s such a frugal outfit!

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Hatwalk 7 – August 2015

Hello again

It’s August 1st and time for another Hat Attack run by the hat loving Judith Boyd, so I thought I’d show you a hat I wear during the warm weather – yes,  a sun hat!


Here in the UK we had some really warm weather in July, but lately it’s been a bit mixed; we’ve had some sun but also had a lot of cloudy, rainy days.  And today I went out into my garden quite early, sniffed the air, and said to myself, ‘I can smell Autumn’, as there was quite a chilly feel to the morning.


But I did wear this hat out and about during the hot July weather.  It’s not a charity shop hat, but one bought from Peacocks over four years ago for the huge sum of £3.99, and still going strong. I love it as it has a big floppy brim that suits my face.


Mind you, perhaps I should show you a hat I will be wearing soon.  I’m going to the Faroe Islands on a cruise and have been looking at the long-range weather forecasts.  I’m sure you all know that the Faroes are above the Shetland and Orkney Islands (where I shall also be going) and below Iceland.  And the weather!  Apparently you can get all four seasons in one day.  Temperatures on the day we visit may be anything from 9-13C (that’s 48-55F) and rain is expected so I’m taking a stylish and waterproof rain hat! I’ll feature it next month.

In the meantime, I’m off into the garden today as the sun is shining.

That’s all for now

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper



Hatwalk 6 – July 2015

Hello everyone out there

It’s July already and time for another Hat Attack hosted by the wonderful Judith Boyd.  I so enjoy this partnership with hat loving people around the world!

OK, this hat was bought last year in Tallinn, Estonia in a delightful little shop, in the old part of the city, that was full of hand-crafted hats.  I don’t know if you have been to Tallinn, but it’s so beautiful, and I highly recommend a visit.

Hat bought in Tallinn

The weather here in the UK is quite hot (for the UK, that is) and I have a problem with hats in hot weather, because I have really thick hair, which is great, of course, particularly at my age.  But I have to be so careful when I buy sun hats, as they can make me feel even hotter if they’re heavy or made of thick material – even some straw hats make me feel hot.  But this hat is made of a lightweight natural cotton material with a gold thread woven through it.  And it’s cool to wear.


What I remember most about Tallinn was how cold it was!  In two days we went from 30C (84F) in St. Petersburg to 8C (46F) in Tallinn, oooof, that icy wind!

But please, don’t let that put you of going there. This was on last year’s cruise (in May) and I’d taken clothes for all weathers, so I just dressed up in my winter woollies and was fine!


To be quite honest it’s my idea of heaven to be cool in the summer.  I’m someone who was thrilled to bits when it snowed on my trip to Norway, and that was in early September!

Until next month!

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Hatwalk 5 – June 2015

Another month, another post on hats for Judith Boyd’s monthly Hat Attack.  Hello again to everyone in the hat loving community!  This post, however, shows a hat that I wouldn’t wear around town, lovely as it is with its tulle covering and navy feather.   Instead this post is a homage to my mother.


I found the hat in Oxfam for the princely price of £1.99, that’s just over 3 US dollars.  Possibly they might have been thinking well, we have to keep it cheap for anyone to buy it, as it is very vintage 50s.  (I bet that in a shop that sold vintage clothes it would have been far more expensive).

But it brings to mind my mother wearing hats exactly like it for special occasions, such as my school’s sports day, when parents dressed up in their Sunday best, or an outing to London to meet her friend for afternoon tea.


She wore hats for years but they were never the large brimmed variety that I like, instead they were always a pillbox size that sat squarely on her head.  Nothing too fancy either but that’s what women of my mother’s ilk wore until in the 60s that fashion faded away.


That’s all for now but do tell me if you have memories of your mother wearing that kind of hat.

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Hatwalk 4 – May 2015

Hello again to the hat loving community across the world!  I’m joining in with another of Judith Boyd’s wonderful Hat Attack sessions – hi everyone!  Anyway, here’s a beauty I picked up in my local charity shop for a fiver – that’s £5 or just over 7 US dollars.


I love this hat but will have to think where I can wear it as it is rather dressy.


It’s possibly too dressy even for wearing in Brighton or London.


What do you think?  Should I wear it?  I think I’ll wait for a hot sunny day and see if I’ve got the courage to wear it out and about.


Because I really do believe that we shouldn’t keep lovely things in our wardrobe for best.

Until next month’s Hat Attack that’s all for now.

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Physical fitness and me!

There are times, you know, when I do more exercise in my head than in actuality. If you asked me a couple of weeks ago how much exercise I did, I’d be saying ‘oh, I go to seniors gym and do a yoga session once a week’.

But do I? Actually, I’d been missing the odd gym session and then last week, for a variety of reasons, I missed my yoga session. Next day, when I was dressing, I twizzled round to get something (as one does) and ooops, my back twanged and I just knew something had happened. It manifested in my right hip giving way every now and then, and being unable to walk at more than a snail’s pace.  Has that happened to any of you? It felt as though I’d dislocated my hip – not a pleasant sensation. As I was going up to London to see the Alexander McQueen exhibition Savage Beauty at the end of the week I was somewhat in panic mode.

To cut a long story short, I saw a physiotherapist, and it wasn’t my hip it was my back, and the answer was doing some exercises very similar to yoga positions. Anyway, I managed to get to London, but as I never, ever want to feel like that again I’m going to follow the physio’s advice and not miss my weekly exercise sessions. Moreover, I’m doing yoga every morning. And you may well say either, ‘that’s not for me’, or, ‘oh yes, and how long will she keep that up?!’  But do you remember the documentary Fabulous Fashionistas? I know that at least two of them (the wonderful model Daphne Selfe for one) did their exercises every day. So I am absolutely determined to do the yoga every morning.  I am approaching my 70th year after all, so I feel that exercise and, especially, focused exercise is something that one has to do to keep well and, above all, supple.

Once up in London I went to the Mole Clinic for my annual skin and mole check – important for someone like me with a history of sunbathing (only in my teens and 20s but sufficient to cause damage).

We stayed overnight in Pimlico – what a great area, loved it. Instead of rushing off to see an exhibition as we’d planned we mooched around getting the feel of the place.


And joy of joys, the area had 6 charity shops where I found two items at a very reasonable price. I didn’t take all that many pics, just went around absorbing the atmosphere and then #SavageBeauty the next morning – wonderful. Went with my very good friend Tricia Cusden of LookFabulousForever fame. And here’s a pic of me on the train on our way back home.

IMG_0682 I wore that hat throughout my visit to the V&A.

That’s all for now but do tell me about what you do to keep yourself fit and healthy.

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Out and about with my yellow hat!

This is just a quick post to show you that I really do wear my hats out and about!  The photos were taken on Sunday in Brighton outside a pub where I had a typical English Sunday lunch of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding!  And yes, I’m definitely over 25!


More like nearly 69!


There was a chilly wind so I put (my non-charity shop) tweed jacket back on.


As I don’t drink these pics are a good advertisement for a well-known American beverage.


I love the hat’s rakish angle – it certainly makes a statement, I think!

But that really is all for now

With love

Penny, the (not always) frugalfashionshopper

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Hatwalk 3 – April 2015

Greetings to everyone in the hat loving community. Here’s a hat with attitude to join Judith Boyd’s monthly Hat Attack!  And while it’s not exactly an Easter bonnet – the colour is near enough to that daffodil yellow that signifies the coming of Spring.


I bought the hat in Brighton earlier this year at a great little shop called Mad Hatter in the North Laines.  And I’ve worn it several times already!


I simply adore the colour as it’s has a hint of that bright canary yellow that goes with my other in-your-face yellow clothes!



Isn’t it great to see the sun these days and to feel that Spring really is on it’s way.  Mind you, I’ve been away (to Wales) and it was beautiful but quite cold.  And it’s still a bit cold where I live – we had a frost last night and I’m wearing some thick socks while I post this blog.

Hope you’re all keeping well.  It’s good to be back, see you later.

That’s all for now.

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper






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