Sunday, 21 September 2014

Hedges and a Harvest Festival

Work has been crazy busy so my lovely relaxing holiday is already a distant dream already.
I'm sitting here drinking tea and marveling at the sheer level of chaos I have let my house get into since I've been back, am I going to do anything about it? Nope the sun is shining so I'm off out for a walk after breakfast and a food shop, housework be damned.

This gorgeous weather has meant I'd rather be out than in and we even had a departmental meeting outside at work. This did result in me getting bitten by some unidentified creature which quickly started to swell and form an ominous red line up my arm. I don't know what it is about me and bug bites at the moment usually I rarely get bitten and now it's like it's open season. I'm not happy I can tell you.

I raked the first lot of leaves in the garden and attacked the hedges ready for winter. I had to go and buy a heavy duty saw and some extra long telescopic handled loppers which I got a little bit too excited about (I really need to get out more.)
When the lady in the shop checked I was over 21 and the were actually for me. I replied in the affirmative with so much enthusiasm she narrowed her eyes and said "I see" with such emphasis on the 'see' I thought she might call over the manager and suggest detaining me until the police could be called!
 Luckily I left with my purchases and spent a happy few hours chopping things down out side.
 My bingo wings certainly got a workout!

Yesterday Soo and I went to Grey's Court near Henley for a visit and because they had a 'Big Harvest' festival on. The house and gardens were absolutely gorgeous but the festival was actually more of a small farmers market with a few Morris Dancers for entertainment.
The house had a wonderful homely feel, like it was still lived in.
 This is probably down to the fact the family agreed to leave all their grandparents belongings in it, so it's a wonderful mix of old and valuable with cheap and cheerful. There are books and photos and toys scattered about but it doesn't feel contrived. I wish I could have taken pictures but you weren't allowed. There was a lovely Steiff elephant who caught my eye and an amazing yellow Art Deco bath which made me exclaim out loud with delight.
The guides are very friendly and informative, to the point where we got trapped in a bedroom for about 20 minutes but one who kept going 'but' or 'and' just when you thought she might have finished and you could slip away. 

Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the area.
How amazing is this bench? there seemed to be a theme of Owls and Hedgehogs throughout the house and garden.

My only complaint £1.95 for an small cup of tea that was gone in two mouthfuls, £1.95!?! seriously! bloody outrageous.

Other than that Himself and I went to see 'Before I go to Sleep'
I haven't read the book it's based on though quite a few people who have, said it is amazing. I'm not sure I could now because I know the big plot twist! I really enjoyed the film and hats of to Nicole for going through most of the film with not a scrap of make-up on or flattering lighting.

This week we are planning to see 'The Riot Club' which is loosely based on the elitist Bullingdon Club at Oxford University. Apparently it shows the university in a very poor light so I am intrigued!

Talking of the University we have enrolment day on Monday. This year is different because they have brought in an ex-student with her own PR company to 'manage' the day.
We all got emails telling where we should be and when, (like none of us have ever done this before!) and much worse told we MUST be wearing either a black or navy suit.......
Well that nearly caused a riot club there and then!
Let's put it this way most people are like me, in that as we are not a corporate environment my work wear is casual smart. This goes up to smart/formal on special days like this, but from the way it was worded we all felt the insinuation was that we don't know how to dress appropriately for more formal occasions.

That being said I don't actually own a black or navy suit and as it turns out neither does anyone else in my office, it seems we all prefer a bit of colour. I emailed back saying just that and was told a formal black or navy dress would be fine instead as we will be wearing a 'branded' sash. WTF? I said we will look like Miss Undertaker of the year contestants, it all descended into chaos after that with threats of bikinis and tiaras.
Anyway the long and the short of it is I don't own a formal black or navy dress either so they will have to make do with my black and white spotted Pearl Lowe dress and like it.

Think of me on Monday parading round in my sash..............  

Monday, 8 September 2014

Sun Sea and Sand What More Could you Want?

We are back from our long weekend by the sea. Mentally refreshed and restored, physically tired, aching and a little sunburnt and in my case with a massive unidentified insect bite on my leg.

We arrived on Thursday and had to go straight to the shops because Himself managed to only managed to bring one pair of jeans. Trouserage purchased we headed to the beach with a bottle of wine and sat until it was dark watching the sea and the people.
 I do love people watching. A surfer dude who loved himself very much and spent more time posing for photos than surfing and some drug addicts in a tent with a fishing rod kept me entertained the most, though the later did rather spoil the idyll, I know it's life but it's not a part I was looking to be reminded of as I sat on a beach relaxing.

On our first full day we decided to hike to Hengistbury Head, a 15 mile round trip the thought of which I did find more than a little daunting. As it turned out the terrain was pretty gentle on the whole and it was worth it for the views.

It's a long way up and judging by the flowers and the odd wreath dotted about clearly a suicide spot which was another sobering moment of the holiday.
We sat on this bench for a while to admire the view, and because frankly, we were knackered. It was absolutely silent and still with no breeze, just gorgeous.

After a restorative dinner we decided on another quiet night chilling on the beach so called in at Tesco on the way back for more wine.

As we headed through the park the siren call of the crazy golf was too much so we did a detour.
Himself kept score but didn't tell me who won so it must have been me ;-)

We sat watching the dusk fall and the moon rise, drank wine and played with some of the settings on the new camera and no I still haven't read the manual yet!

I made a collage with what was in reaching distance around me
and in doing so found this stone which made us both laugh
A perfect day.

Saturday I was nowhere near as knackered or stiff as I expected. Himself had managed to break the toilet in our en suite so we took ourselves off for a beach walk whilst it was fixed.
I picked up about a hundred weight in pebbles and shells which I insisted on bringing home but made him carry in his bag (hehe).

In the afternoon I met my friend Alison for cake and much gossip. We chatted about various things including the fact you sometimes get dolphins around the area, a creature I have only ever seen in an aquarium and would love to see in the wild.
Next day she sent me a link to the BBC news website about a pod that had been spotted at Sandbanks right where we had been sat in a bar discussing seeing dolphins in the wild. I imagined it being just like the Kit-Kat pandas advert!!

That evening Himself was determined to go out. Saturday is probably not the best choice of night to sample the delights or Bournemouth's bars because it is the time the stag and hen parties are at their full and terrible height.
 I lost count of how many staggering shrieking groups of girls and baying groups of blokes we saw, it was like being plunged into a horrible dream.

This is the side of Bournemouth I hate, the seedy strip clubs and pissed up punters. Just to bring it all home and to remind me how very happy I am my drunken clubbing days are far behind me I will describe what happened in Yates's.

 They had cleared the floor for dancing and there were 2 girls right next to where we were standing minding their own business  and having a dance. One was tall and very slim in a black crop top and skater style skirt. Next thing this bloke from a stag party takes off his shoes and socks walks over to the girl pulls her top forward so all the lads get an eyeful then stuffs his socks down it because "you're not bad but your tits are too small and you'd look better with bigger tits"

 Himself and I couldn't decide whether the worst bit was what the bloke did or the fact that she just stood there and didn't punch his lights out for doing it, personally I wanted to kill him but it's not wise to get into anything, you don't know what might happen which I think is probably why she didn't react other than to remove the socks and leave.
Horrible, it really ruined any fun I might have been having so we also left and headed back to a quieter Wetherspoons off the main trail.
I had brought my Hawaiian Hell Bunny dress for an outing and I feel sorry for what it had to witness.

As Alison says on the one hand the whole Stag/Hen do reputation brings money to the town but on the other the amount of damage and anti-social behaviour it also brings might just outweigh the benefits.  

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Blogger in No Make-up, Midi Dress, New Boot Shocker.

I have a day off work well I have a few if I'm honest. the last bit of my annual leave to use up before the end of September and we are off to Bournemouth for our yearly pilgrimage away from it all by a bit of the coast that we love. We have one long walk planned and other than that we will see where the mood takes us.

We did a gentle 5 mile warm up hike on sunday as the day was so gorgeous, in fact I got sunburnt dammit.
One thing I love about living near the Chilterns is you seem to get such vast skies in this area, even though it is by no means a flat landscape.
This is me getting stung to buggery by the nettles, well I did decide to wear 3/4 length jeans! but I mean really, maintain your footpaths please dear local council.
I also got round to hameriting my crows. The poor things have been falling to bits and big crow was in danger of a wing completely rusting away. I didn't really want them all shiny but as Himself pointed out crows are meant to be black.
 I'm sure they will weather a bit.

Today I had to go the Clarks to try on some boots I'd ordered. Practicality has meant I haven't been able to wallow in mourning my dead boots for very long.
I had a bit of a disaster with the first order but the second was fine and they have come home with me, here's hoping it's the start of a long and beautiful friendship.
I also got some cheap and cheerful black biker type boots in the New Look sale. If I remember correctly they were £12 and no doubt won't last the winter, but they fill a gap for the time being.
So what did I wear for my trip into town?

Well I have been stalking a vintage dress on the bay of E for a while now.
To digress for a moment, I find my vintage frock buying on Ebay tends to be a bit of a disaster if I'm brutally honest.
Probably 4 out of 6 purchases will be a mistake and I either end up reselling or charity bagging them. Those are pretty poor odds right?
You would be right to ask so why do I keep buying?
Well because when I do find a good one it's usually a total gem.

This purchase doesn't quite fit into that territory but it's a keeper. It's not in a style I normally choose and was too expensive to begin with which was why I didn't snap it up, but I kept it in my watch list for about 6 weeks. Watching as it got re-listed and re-listed again and again, each time it was reduced by the seller until I finally snaffled it for £7.99.

This ploy does work sometimes. To be fair mostly items will just keep getting re-listed at the same price or get bought by someone else but if that happens then so be it.
I wore it with my Curtise boots, which I think you will find Clarks have renamed in her honour much in the way of the Birkin or Kelly bag.
I also wore it out into town with no make-up on hence the headless shot above.
Want to see?  Oh go on then
Haha, as if! this is as close as it gets.

Oh and in case you are wondering that is the Hogitat (hedgehog house) and their feeding box at the bottom of the tree.

Right I'm off to pack.


Saturday, 30 August 2014

It's a Nice Day For a White Wedding

No no we haven't finally tied the knot, I've just been at the V&A viewing the wonderful wedding dress exhibition with Melissa and Soo.
I absolutely loved it, if I have any complaints it would be that I would have actually liked to have seen more dresses!
It was fascinating to see how the dresses have evolved but also how some styles are just timeless. You could be looking at one from 1865 and if it wasn't for the label telling you the date it could well have been lifted from the rails of any modern wedding gown shop.

Frankly some were hideous, but you know, each to their own.  The upstairs of the exhibition had lots of  'famous' dresses from Camilla to Kate Moss to Dita Von Teese, it was great to see them close up.

Star frock, for me and Melissa anyway, was a really rather gorgeous 1950's number (3rd one from the left in this picture) In fact we agreed that the case of 1940s - 50s dresses was the winner for us.
The first one on the left was made during WW2 from upholstery fabric which one very canny bride realised wasn't rationed meaning she could buy plenty of fabric and have the full skirt and train she dreamed of. The stunning deep red dress was also WW2 and very cleverly re-purposed from another outfit.
I loved this purple dress too.
Close up the stitch work and attention to detail was just breathtaking. It was lovingly created by a former ladies maid for her own wedding. Apparently she felt as she was in her 30s white wasn't appropriate, whilst personally I think that's bull, I have to say I doubt this dress would have been half as striking in plain white.

The exhibition is on until March next year and I would certainly recommend it.

What else have I been up too? Well I finished off my week of holiday with my annual trip to the huge craft fair at Stonor Park where this year I bought some very delicious mayonnaise and a cheeky blow fish.
From there I went into Oxford for cocktails with people from work, nothing like a 3 hour long 'Happy Hour' to get the night going! It was a great night out.

Saturday I nipped into town to pick up my beloved black boots which I had taken in to be re-soled prior to winter. When I handed over my ticket the man said "ah, I haven't done these yet" of course my first thought was FFS! until he explained he'd started to prepare them when he realised they were both split at the side, one boot worse than the other. Fair play to him for not just doing the job anyway and charging me but.......but.....WAAAAAAH.

They were un-fixable. So all I got to do was take the laces out and throw them in the bin. I now think maybe I should have brought them home and given them a decent send off. Oh well.
                                      R.I.P boots, we had some damn good times.

I now have the task of trying to find another pair of ankle length boots. Of course the minute you NEED some you can never find any you like *sigh*

I've been having a bit of a clothes shopping splurge lately. I have nowhere to put any more clothes but this does not stop me. I can't really afford it but this does not stop me. I've put weight on again but even that doesn't stop me. Oh dear.

Photo overload alert.
Today's outfit of top £4 and gingham pedal pushers £13

Another navy top £3
Tea dress from Peacocks £16.
Sorry for the crappy picture it had just been washed and needs ironing. I had to do a presentation on Friday and wanted to wear something I felt good in so I bought this to fit the bill. Amazingly it is actually long enough to reach just below my knee, a veritable miracle in a modern frock.

Swing pants and check frock from Collectif. I found a 30% off voucher that was valid on sale goods too = result! I got these for £30 including postage.

Jeans £9. I love that these and the gingham ones I'm currently wearing actually have to be Super High Waisted  to fit me perfectly!
Houndstooth check leggings can't remember the price but they are from New Look's Tall collection.
As is this checked frock
Another checked frock this time from from River Island £8 in the sale.
Finally another Pearl Lowe for the collection £6 Ebay
When oh when is she going to design some new dresses?


Thursday, 21 August 2014

Art Deco and Fields of Gold.

This week we have been off work.

Getting Himself to book any kind of time of is nothing short of a miracle, so I was delighted to get him to commit to a whole week off even if we had no plans to do anything with it.

As it turns out we decided to finally visit Eltham Palace. It may have been the boyhood home of Henry the VIII but it is also a shining beacon of Art Deco gorgeousness thanks to it's owners Stephen and Virginia Courtauld who moved in in 1933 and with money no object set about creating their perfect home.
Ever since I realised it was Linnet Ridgeway's home in 'Death on the Nile' I was determined to visit it. Finding out that the house was also home to a Lemur called Mahjong who had run of the house with his own ladders and doorways made me want to visit even more!

It has taken me a while but I eventually wore Himself down and the trip was planned. Now usually I would have just gone on my own but I knew Himself would love it too so was determined we would go together. 
The journey comprised of train, underground, train, by foot but we finally got there and it lived up to every expectation, I was in Art Deco heaven. No photos inside so I bought a guide book as a reminder of what we saw.
If we had any complaints they are that the rooms were, on the whole, very empty, I guess to be fair when the Courtauld's moved out in 1946 they took their belongings with them! Also only a limited amount of the house is available to view.
I have read that English Heritage are still restoring the Palace so maybe a trip back in a few years might be an idea.

The palace was taken over by the Army from 1946 to 1992 and it was interesting to see some of the rooms set up as they would have looked as an officer's bedroom. I squealed when I noticed the bed was the exact same solid G Plan single bed I spent my childhood sleeping in. Clearly they were issued across all the armed forces and not just the R.A.F!

We also spent some time ambling around the gorgeous gardens, the sun even managed to come out for a short while.
This is me doing a 1930's/2010's mash-up.
Being a strapping lass the Deco style embroidered dress I had decided to wear turned out to be far too short on me to go without leggings, also a day out requires a bigger handbag than any of my tiny, age appropriate vintage beauties so I went for quirky and spacious. I also needed comfortable footwear so glittery sneakers it was.

All in all well worthy of a visit if you are a fan of all things 1930's.

From Eltham we headed back into London and across to Hammersmith. Himself had got tickets for a special Marvel screening and I was the 'plus guest'
Himself goes to the cinema at least twice a week, every week, and writes a film blog. It seems my years as a Cineworld widow are finally paying off.

It was quite exciting being signed in, getting a pass, being ticked off lists and generally herded about.

I'm not meant to discuss the screening other than it was mainly to do with Captain America and the DVD release of The Winter Soldier.
They gave is all a raffle ticket as we queued and gave out a few different prizes at the end. Himself only went and won a copy of the DVD so he was very happy.

On Tuesday we had a few things to do in town so we walked down together but split up as I wanted to do the Chazzas. There wasn't a whole lot to be had.
I bought a brooch and a pair of earrings

and a dress, £6 for the lot.

I had dropped a bag off in one shop on my way into town but didn't go back there to browse until much later.
I had had a good sort out of my jewellery last weekend and was amused to see what I had taken in was already out on display. I was very much less amused when the lady took the brand new pair of baseball boots I had donated and just lobbed them straight into the bin!?! 

Let's just say I won't be taking my donations to that particular shop again!

Yesterday we decided whatever the weather we would go for a lovely long walk and a pub lunch.
Thankfully the weather was chilly but sunny, perfect walking weather.
The hedgerows were full of berries and fruit which whilst pretty are all much too early, it's only August for heaven's sake!
They were cutting the wheat.
which was fine until the combine came near by and we nearly choked to death on that cloud of dust.

We found a pub called The Bear at Home so it seemed appropriate to have a pint of 'bear's paw' and very nice it was too.
We decided against food and headed off out again. We met a pig or two
and I fart-arsed around with the zoom on the new camera
It took longer than I thought it would to get home, I was busting. The downside of drinking a pint in the middle of your walk. Unfortunately this part of the walk was through a village and a nature reserve full of open spaces and people so I couldn't nip behind a bush.
We found some seats so Himself said we should take a picture, by this time my back teeth were floating.
I like this picture because you would never guess that behind this beaming smile was a very, very desperate woman.