Friday, 10 March 2017

Three Frocks, Two Bags and One Garden.

Another couple of weeks have blurred by, eat much, sleep a little, work a lot. You know the drill.

The weather has had a couple of tantalizing almost Springlike days and my thoughts have turned to colourful frocks in pretty prints.
I spotted this dress by Eucalyptus on a couple of repro brand websites and dithered.

I loved it but was it just a tad too ACID green for me? and there was a pesky V neckline I am always so fatally attracted too, the price was painful for my pocket too. All of a sudden the fates forced my hand by sending me yet another sale email and finally it was under £30. So I took the plinge and ordered it from Weekend Doll.
Knowing me and my challenging torso, I sized up, I then got an email to say "sorry we are actually out of that size in green but would you like it in a lovely navy blue?" well no I wouldn't because it was the green that had had me trapped with it's siren call. I emailed back for a refund but happened to mention I had sized up due to fit concerns. Yuriko from Weekend Doll kindly measured the dress for me and said she was pretty sure I should be fine in my usual size so I took a punt.
I'm so glad I did because when it came it fitted like a dream even the cut of the cross over neckline looked fine - Huzzah!
I bloody love it and to me this dress just screams SPRING at the top of it's voice.

Apologies in advance but all three dresses are fresh from the wash but not yet fresh from the iron so very crumpled to say the least!

Next up I finally took the plunge with Lindy Bop as I had an online code. I have never bouight from them before, due to the many mixed reviews on fit from the vintage blogosphere.

To be brutally honest I'm not sure I will bother again. The delivery was super speedy I'll give then that, but for me I'm not so sold on the quality.

First up this sale dress
cats with umbrellas you say? well in the basket it went!
When I unpacked it the first thing I noticed was this fault in the fabric print
I checked the rest of the dress carefully and thankfully it was only this one patch so I tried it on and as it goes the misprint is at the side and not hugely noticeable, unfortunately I then found that one of the sleeves had been caught up in the seam of the armhole
Something I can easily unpick and restitch but both issues equal some pretty lax/crap quality control by the company!
Admittedly I could have returned the dress but it was in the sale and had a discount code and as neither issue is a deal breaker for me I couldn't be arsed. If the fabric had been faulty all over or right at the front of the dress it would have been a different story. I can't afford to keep an unwearable dress.

Next up I bought this owl print from the full price range.

I knew the waist would be an issue on my long torso so sized up with this. As suspected the waist sits right on my rib cage so it was a good job I did.
This dress is slightly too big, but my usual size would have been uncomfortably tight for sure.

 The only issue I had with this dress was it smelt hideously musty, nothing a wash couldn't cure but not pleasant in a brand new frock!
So yes, on the whole, don't think I'll be rushing back to Lindy Bop any time soon.  

What's that you say? Why yes I did mention bags as it happens. Feast your eyes on these beauties.
Still going through a red bag phase. It's all because I saw a stunning one when I was shopping in Burford before Christmas with Soo.
 I just couldn't justify getting at the time, and of course I haven't been able to get out of my head since!?! I have been hunting for it's double and not finding it but buying other ones instead! Oops.

How about this butter soft leather green goddess?
Yes she's seen life, she's a little battered around the edges but aren't we all? She also comes complete with matching gloves tucked inside (I know they look much darker here for some reason, but they really aren't!) unfortunately they are miles too big for me dammit.

So other than internet shopping like a woman possessed what else have I been doing? I've been out for dinner and to the cinema just for a change. Dinner was a long overdue catch up with Soo and Melissa and the cinema was for the last ever Wolverine film Logan
Great film, loved it, but boy is it bleak. Not one for those who are feeling low or worried about getting old that is for sure.

Also this week I got a gentle prod from work that we are almost halfway through our leave year and I have only taken 5 days off since October last year. So I threw caution to the wind and booked two days off (steady now!)
Usually I never have an issue using up all my leave and tend to have run out way before September comes, but after all the upheaval last year, and not having money to spare for trips away, and mostly not having a gorgeous garden to lose myself in I just don't see the point. Also work takes my mind off things, meaning I have become chained to my desk until there are signs of better days.

Anyway yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day so I decided to do a bit of tidying up in the wilderness that is the garden at this house. I have been torn, because it is crying out for love but if we are only here a year and the owner potentially plans to build on most of it what is the point? But fresh air beckoned so I tooled up, went out
 and yes I may have got just a tiny bit carried away!

Lord only knows what the hell we will do with this mountain as we only have a fortnightly collection for our brown bin and this is about a year's worth of content.
This actually constitutes only a bit of the garden too, I wasn't kidding when I said it was overgrown. Ivy is rampant everywhere
those two humps at the back are not trees or shrubs but a shed completely covered in ivy, you can't even get in it!
I found two bird houses nailed to the fence, hidden under about a metre deep ivy growth
there is a fence under those roots somewhere...
the three plants I always have in my garden are rosemary, lavender and mock orange. Here I am thrilled to say are all three but this poor rosemary has literally become a tree where it has been strangled by the ivy and so forced to struggle up and up for some light.

On the plus side the lawn is awash with violets of all shades from deep purple to white which is very pretty.

So 6 months on in our temporary home and it's a bit weird. I finally feel settled here, it took this long but the house has won me round. It has made me realise just how much we were putting up with because we loved the location, and the cheap rent, and the huge garden of our old place.

To have a house where the heating works on demand, that has hot water and plenty of it at the turn of the tap and a toilet that flushes with ease. To have a house that doesn't smell bad, that isn't damp and full of mould, it's been a revelation if I'm honest.

Do I miss the old house? Nope, I do miss the quieter location and our wonderful neighbour but otherwise not at all.

Do I miss my garden? well that should tell you right there! yes I miss my beautiful garden with every ounce of my being and yes I still call it my garden. Even though of course it wasn't because it was a rented garden at a rented house. I guess I just have to hope the next place we find will combine the best bits of the last two, though the thought of starting the search again fills me with utter despair.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Walking Literary London

You may recall back in October Himself and I headed to London to 'Walk Haunted London' well this weekend we were back but this time armed with a book that shares it's title with this post.

I've had the book a few years now and we have done a couple of the other walks out of it, but this time we decided to go for the one that went from Regent's Park to Camden via Primrose Hill because we had both only ever been to one of the 3 (Camden) and even there never together.

I should be honest here and say the trip to London was actually to check out the new Lego store at Piccadilly Circus which I was intrigued to see after watching the show all about it's opening that was on at Christmas. Himself was not so keen but as it was a gorgeous day I convinced him we could swing by there, build a quick figure or two and then go for a lovely walk. It was fun to see the store with it's huge Lego Big Ben and other London landmarks but I don't think I'll hurry back.

Our walk started at Holy Trinity Church Marylebone  - birthplace of the Penguin paperback.
They started out in the crypt and had to be silent when services were taking place, according to the guide book staff were given a penny a day to use the toilets at the tube station over the road!

From here we headed to the gorgeous Regent's Park. I just had to take an arty shot of this amazing Art Deco hotel.
  I can't believe I've never been to Regent's Park before it's gorgeous! Mind you there is so much of London I still need to discover.
In this day and age of computers and playstations it was lovely to see so many families out enjoying the sun.
Did you know Regent's Park has London Zoo in the middle of it? I didn't.

We didn't go in, but it was fun being able to see into some of the enclosures.
Look who followed us all through the park. Very apt!

We circled the zoo and crossed the canal and road to head up Primrose Hill.
It seemed every tourist in London was up the hill taking shots of the London skyline so we grabbed a few shots and carried on with our walk.
We got hopelessly lost, retraced our way back and started again. This time we got it right and followed the walk past various once homes of various literary greats like Kingsley & Martin  Amis. Yeats, Keats and Sylvia Plath.
Finishing with a little dogleg that took in Alan Bennett's house at the time of The Lady in the Van. The guide was very good at not telling you the exact house, at the time it was written he still lived there. So whilst Himself resorted to Google I wandered down the street and fell in love with this lovely house, so very different to all it's neighbours. I just had to take a picture.
Turns out it was the house we were looking for, It pleased me a lot to know I chose the same house as Alan Bennett. I love Alan Bennett.

Now it is no secret that I like to drink tea, a lot. By this time it was about 4 in the afternoon and I had had one cup all day. Even I will admit I was on the very cranky side of cranky so the need for the cup that restores was getting urgent.
First cafe we saw was an old pet shop converted into a terribly chi-chi cafe.
This being Camden it cost just shy of 3 quid, (3 quid people!?!) for a cup of tea, not even a mug, but a cup. By the time Himself had had 2 sips of coffee I had inhaled my tea and was desperate for another but not at that price. This also being London I got the most ridiculously dramatic over reaction when I politely asked a guy if he could move his chair in so I could get to my seat. I just laughed. I wasn't about to let some silly pretentious prat spoil a lovely day out.

So what else? Busy, busy busy, work has been crazy. Himself and I had our annual cinema trip for Valentine's Day. As ever I chose the film and tested his love for me by making him go to the 30th anniversary screening of Dirty Dancing, a film he has never seen and I have seen more times than I can remember. I wasn't about to miss the chance to see it on the big screen again.

It has to be said the 30 years have not been kind. I hadn't realised just how dreadful the dialogue is but, oh well, the soundtrack is still outstanding and lets face it is is really about the dancing isn't it?

This week I also went to see Hidden Figures.
I loved it. What a fantastic film, though it does make you kind of sit back and think what you've done with your life. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it.

I've been out to dinner with friends, nothing fancy, just mac and cheese with lots of wine and good conversation. Fun Times.

Also this week we went to see Nephew Number One's new band Rats Eat Rats play.
They were pretty good considering it's only their second gig, sadly the venue was pretty terrible and the line-up an eclectic mix to put in mildly. A young lad who clearly thought it was the 80's and he was auditioning for Kraftwerk, followed by a very earnest folk band and then the Nephew's Grunge Metal band!?!
Yup, still can't figure out what the promoter was aiming for there but the Nephew's band wisely decided to look on it as more practice.
Himself and I propped up the bar and shook our heads over the youth of today and the fact they couldn't even last in a mosh pit for more than one song, no stamina, not like in our day.

And for those of you with no interest in Metal and mosh pits here's the lovely latest addition to my collection......
I'm going through a bit of a red handbag phase.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Vintage Weigh & Pay and a New Luxulite Delight.

So today I forced a grumbling Himself to get up early and go to Reading. I had a ticket for a vintage kilo sale at The Hexagon.
My friend Charlotte, who lives in Reading, mentioned in passing at work on Thursday that it was happening. Cue much frustrating internet searching by me to actually find out when it was on, lets just say it wasn't well advertised!
At first all I could find was one at Reading University on the 25th Feb, so I figured Charlotte had got the wrong date, but she was adamant she had walked past an advert saying this Saturday so we looked again and *finally* found a link.
The fair was due to start at 11am, entry £1.50, but you could buy an early bird ticket to get in at 10am for an extra £1.50 so I thought what the hell and did. The premise being you get given a bag which you go round and fill then hand it in to be weighed and you pay by weight, with it costing £15 a kilo.

I must admit I still wasn't sure whether I really wanted to go or not right up to last night, I couldn't decide whether £15 a kilo was kind of expensive and was dubious about the quality of stock as I have heard mixed things about kilo sales in the past, but in the end I decided to pop my weigh and pay cherry.

As I've been a pretty crap blogger of late I forgot my camera........again!

There were a fair few people queued up outside by 9.55am but judging by the photos on the facebook page many more arrived later. They apparently open new bundles every hour, I've no idea what a bundle consists of but again judging by pictures it seems to cause a bit of a frenzy!  

I was expecting a glorified jumble sale, but everything was hung up on rails and sorted into garment types, it was all incredibly crumpled so clearly had just come out of some big old bundle and hung up. I'm glad I went early because it wasn't huge and I know it would have pissed me off to fight to get near anything once it got super busy.  In terms of content, as anticipated the bulk was 80s & 90s and various teeny teeny tiny size items from other eras.

So did I come away with any bargains? Well actually yes I did
My swag came in at £22.50 and consisted of 2 dresses and 2 bags.
 The brown one has seen a bit of life but still has plenty left, and the burgundy one is in perfect condition.

A brown sleeveless number
and this pretty black patterned 1970's number.

So would I do one of these sales again? well yes, I think I would, but definitely on the early bird entry.

I should clarify Himself went off into town as wild horses wouldn't drag him near a vintage sale! I met him later and we did a bit of shopping and had a late breakfast in Five Guys, delicious as it was, I conclude burger and chips does not make a good breakfast, I was left feeling nauseous for quite a while afterwards, I'm not used to eating greasy food these days.

I snagged a few tale end of the sales bargains.

Dress £5, Top £3,  Trousers £5
as well as a couple of full price items. A new shirt & jumper

and a dress I fell in love with in New Look.
It was nice to get out and about today. I have been full of cold *again* and feeling very sorry for myself the last week or so. Other than heading out to the cinema to see the Lego Batman Movie (which was very funny) I've been flopping around pathetically at home.

Talking of Lego I did finally get round to building the false Lego pirate ship Santa brought. Of course Himself has to add embellishments, so I came down the next morning to
a Medusa figurehead and a poor chap being made to walk the plank!

I shall finish up with my delicious new Luxulite brooch. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love it. It was a custom order from the super talented and really rather lovely Katy.
She had made a similar one with purple beads but with a yellowy green back.
I dithered and dithered over it because I wasn't sure about the colour of the back and when I finally decided it had sold.
So on the off chance I emailed Katy and asked her if she could make another one but with a darker green back and she said she could. I suddenly had to decide things like plain green or glitter?, shape, size etc. As you can see the Magpie in me went glitter. I am absolutely thrilled with the end result.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Annual Outing.

Is it just me or does January seem about 10 weeks long this year? Last week was mad, it felt like the longest week in the history of the world, one poor colleague came in on Monday having woken up thinking it was Friday and then realised she still had the whole rest of the week to get through. Devastating I think you'll agree.
I made Prosecco cupcakes to take in because I thought we could all do with the lift and it also meant I got to drink the rest of the bottle.

I seem to have spent the whole month eating too which is never a good thing in my case. Having said that I have always believed January is a bad month to try and diet, I leave that to February when I feel a bit brighter and stronger willed.
Mind you last night I dreamed I was being weighed and came in at a heart stopping 15 and a half stone!?! I actually woke up in a panic so clearly even my subconscious is thinking it's time to zip those lips girl.

I have made one last sale purchase, from Collectif. They started their sale late 50% off and now have an extra 30% off that so it's worth holding your nerve.

I also got given a dress this week, apologies for the bad picture I just popped it on a hanger all creased and bent, so it looks like a shapeless sack!
One of my students went home to Nigeria for the Christmas break and brought me a traditional dress back, complete with the contrasting hair wrap (not that I have enough hair to pile it up and wrap it sadly, but I shall use it like a head square instead I think.) I was totally blown away by his thoughtful gesture.
I have it on good authority that these are ace to wear in the summer as the lightweight cotton keeps you cool as does the loose design, it also has pockets! Who doesn't love a dress with pockets??

Well unless they are in the wrong place........

So that cherry print frock I bought from Joanie and showed last post also has pockets. I took a punt on the fact the waist would probably not sit right so bought a size up, and sure enough the waist is high, so high in fact it's pretty much under my bust. It looks fine under a cardigan but it does mean I can't use the pockets. As you can see I practically dislocate my shoulders trying to get my hands in them! and yes I am wearing two dresses in this picture. Nothing to do with the fact the heating is broken at work so we are having to swathe from head to toe to keep warm, but I was about to do a load of washing and I suddenly remembered I wanted to take a picture to show the mad high pockets so rescued it out of the laundry basket and put it on over the dress I was already wearing.

I must say this gesture does thrust the bust forward so maybe I could do it as a chest lifting exercise a la Barbara Windsor in Carry on Camping!

I have started to fret a bit as this seems to be happening with depressing regularity lately. I don't *think* I have a particularly strange shaped torso. I mean I am taller than the average and as my inside leg is a fairly standard length I guess most of my height does seem to come from my torso instead, but I don't recall having such an issue in the past. Maybe it's the style of dresses I choosing now?
Having said that I bought a lovely long sleeve pussybow blouse in Debenhams and had to return that because the sleeves were about 3 inches too short so the cuffs were way too tight and frankly looked ridiculous. Maybe the combination of Pilates and regular osteopath visits are lengthening my limbs!
Talking of Pilates and clothing gifts. My brother and sister in law brought me some elephant print loose trousers from Thailand.
Seem here drying after the wash and in need of a desperate iron. These will be perfect for Pilates in the summer.
Most of the ladies in my class are kitted out with snazzy sport/exercise gear. I toyed with getting some but I feel a fraud. I do not partake in any manner of sport or exercise like activity outside of my Pilates class, to be blunt basically in life I'm lazy as fuck, so exercise gear is a fake and a fraud. Instead I wear plain black leggings and a t-shirt or vest top. I have now become known for my quirky t-shirts so I figure these trousers are a step further down the path of eccentric exercise wear!

I also bought another quirky item of clothing to Pilate in when I was out yesterday with Soo for our Annual January Charity Shop Extravaganza.
This January was not so bounteous as previous years. One charity shop was shut and 3 others had sales on, so the only stock out was the not so great stuff they desperately wanted to shift.
This bunny vest is exactly my kind of exercise top. I paid the grand total of £3.75 for it and these other 3 items.
The crocodile is for the garden would you believe, not the animal you would instantly think of when making a garden ornament but I'm happy to go with it.
I can't decide whether to give the Tiki jug to my brother or my sister.
My sister loves her 50's Tiki but my brother is a fan of African art so I thought this might be a fun  thing for his office, to hold pens or something......hmm I suspect it will come down to who is the nicest to me the next few weeks hehehe

I bought a scarf, I don't need a scarf but I bought one anyway because it was lovely and a pound.
Finally I feel in love with this gorgeous footstool. I went away and had lunch but couldn't stop thinking about it so had to go back and buy it. I'm pretty sure it's 1930's or maybe 1940's
It's beautifully made and in pretty good condition. I need to give the wood a good clean and polish and get the white paint you can see off it, as well as clean and feed the leather. I love the little magazine shelf underneath. I have no idea where it will go and I am meant to be downsizing but it was £5 so how could I not?

Oh and before I lose all my beer drinking cred, the John Smiths is left over from Christmas and Himself's Dad, we haven't yet become desperate enough to drink it thank the lord, but don't really know what to do with it. I may have to cook some beef in ale, lots of beef in ale.....

Right I'm off to do the RSPB Big Bird Watch.