Monday, 26 September 2011

Family Outings & Autumn Cleaning.

I know I am meant to get the cleaning bug in the spring but I seem to go mad with the scrubbing brush in the golden glow of the autumn. I don't know if it is a psychological way of preparing for winter, getting everything clean and it it's place or whether it's to do with the fact that this house has a fairly serious damp problem (which our landlady is in complete denial about - Grrr) At this time of year, when it's cold and clammy, mould springs up at the drop of a hat if I'm not careful.

I started with sorting out the shameful disgrace that was my clothes all over the spare bedroom.

                                                               From this
                                                       to this.....that's better.

Anyway I have been full of manic cleaning energy this last week, which is a frightening sight to behold apparently!

I cleaned all my windows on Saturday, now I don't clean them religiously every month or anything but I certainly do them more than once a year. Yet I can't get over the difference it has made to the quality of light in the house. They weren't very dirty but I guess maybe dusty? Anyway at this rate I may start doing them a bit more often.......Hmmm

I did take some time out on Saturday to catch up with my brother who is just back from holiday. Himself and I also met him and my Dad at the cinema later in the day, to see 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' Unfortuantely though I and the rest of my family enjoyed it, Himself hated it so he was in a bit of a grump when we got home. (Thankfully going off to watch Blade Runner on his laptop restored his good humour!)

Sunday I was up tidying and cleaning like a demented woman. I blitzed our bedroom from top to bottom, Himself sensibly kept out of my way, other than to see me well supplied with mugs of tea until the deed was done.

I have EVEN cleaned the oven!?! (See most hated chore in my 'A-Z of me' post.)
                                                          Behold!! My sparkling oven.

I'm not sure how much longer this will go on for, no doubt soon I will slump back in my chair in front of the t.v. and that will be that. I'll be back to whinging and sighing before I weakly wave a duster about in a  half-hearted fashion.

I have two days off work this week but as the weather is meant to be gorgeous I refuse to waste them in the house cleaning. The plan is to go to the Marilyn Monroe exhibition in Bath on Thursday for a start!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A Blatant Stealing of the A-Z of me Idea!

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading a couple of other bloggers posts of this idea so I am blatantly and unashamedly stealing it for myself.
Here goes......

A is for Age: I am 21 with 22 years experience. Though some days I will confess to feeling about 103.

B is for Bed Size: Good old double. Though sometimes I wish it was twin as Himself talks, walks, shouts and generally thrashes about in his sleep. It's a good job I love him really!

C is for Chore that you hate: Cleaning the oven.

D is for Dogs: I used to be terrified of them because I was knocked flat by a big alsatian when I was little. Just as they were winning me round I got bitten not once, but twice, one of those bites was on the arse no less! Now I don't mind them but I will always be a cat person through and through.

E is for Essential start to your day: Tea. It is as simple as that.

F is for favourite colour: I don't have just one. I love blue, green and purple.

G is for Gold or silver: Silver for me, even the engagement ring is white gold.

H is for height: 5ft 11' apparently it's the Dutch genes in my mongrel genetic make-up, though it could be the fact my mother fed and fed and fed us when we were little. My Nan who was a tiny wee thing used to joke we were infact planted in manure at night.

I is for instruments you play: Absolutely none I'm ashamed to say.
I do love to sing but noone else does because I'm rubbish at it lol. I am extrodinarily proud of nephew number one who is insanely musical and has a perfect pitch singing voice. I shall just live my teenage dreams of rock stardom through him. Besides he's promised me that once he is rich and famous and after he has bought himself a penthouse industrial style flat he will buy me a white Art Deco 'Poirot' house

J is for Job Title: MBA Admissions Co-ordinator. Asia.

K is for kids: Love them but couldn't possibly eat a whole one.

L is for live: Just outside of Oxford in one of those towns that has spread and grown to bursting point with more and yet more ugly housing estates. Thankfully our end of town is the old part and everything here is 1930's.

M is for Mother's name: Ellen Elisabeth.

N is for Nicknames: How long have you got??  Gis, Gis a job. Gizmo, Gizzy, Gizzimundus, Gleeshi, Geega, Our Lass( by Himself), The Little G (my sister is The Big G)

O is for: Overnight hospital stay: Never, touch wood.

P is for pet peeves: Rudeness

Q is for quote from a movie: 'My own brother a god damn shit sucking vampire, what am I going to tell mom?' The Lost Boys.

R is for right or left hand: Right. I am rubbish on directions however and had to learn to drive with a big 'R' on my right and a big 'L' on my left hand. This was after I turned the wrong direction one too many times and pulled into George Harrison's drive lol. 

S is for Siblings: One brother and one half sister.

T is for time you wake up: 6.45am in the week and when ever I damn well want at the weekend.

U is for underwear: Marks and Spencer, usually at sale time, they are one of the few places that sells bras in my size.

V is for vegetable you hate: Carrots and celery.

W is for what makes you run late: falling back to sleep after the alarm and getting absorbed in a magazine with my breakfast!

X is for X-rays you have had: Shoulder, foot and teeth.

Y is for yummy food that you make: Cakes. I love making cakes.

Z is for Zoo animal: Monkey or elephant.
My Granddad had a brown bear which he rescued as a cub when he was in the navy. By the time they arrived back in the U.K the bear was enormous, thankfully he managed to find it a home at Bristol zoo.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

My Autumn Break or a Long Weekend in Bournemouth.

We had a wonderful long weekend away in Bournemouth, our first holiday since Easter!
Boy was I ready for it, I just wish it could have been longer but I couldn't get any more time away from the new job.
The weather reports for the weekend were not great but I couldn't have cared less, I was going 'away' and to the seaside no less and that was all that mattered!
As it turned out the weather was perfect when we arrived on Thursday. We checked into the hotel and I shot straight into town and onto a bus to meet my friend Alison leaving Himself to his own devices, aren't I nice?
It was fab to catch up with Alison, eat a delicious cream tea (a tradition with us!) at a working water mill and farm. Here are the goats and pigs enjoying the afternoon sunshine
 Then it was off to oooh and aah over her lovely new house with it's stunning garden. I also got to fuss some gorgeous cats both at the mill and at Alison's house.
I do miss having a kitty of my own sometimes.

I headed back into Bournemouth just in time for Himself and I to take a stroll along the beach to a beachside restaurant for dinner, what could be better?
On the way back to the hotel we were joined by yet another very handsome four legged friend, it was obviously a day for cuddling gorgeous cats!
He followed us all the way along the promenade and up the winding cliff path, playing that cat game of hanging back, peeping round corners at you, then racing ahead only to sit and look all bored and unconcerned. I was worried he was well and truely lost what with being on the beach and everything but on checking his collar I found he was from one of the hotels on the clifftop and obviously knew the route well.Clearly he thought we were the ones who were lost and needed a guide back up to the top.

Friday was another beautiful day and after breakfast we decided to walk to Poole. It took longer than we thought and a somewhat more circular route than expected too, but it was worth it for the wonderful views along the way.
                                  Aren't these Art Deco style sunburst barriers wonderful?
Brownsea Island as viewed from Sandybanks, no wonder millionaires choose to live here when you can get up to this view every day.
                                                          About halfway there.......

We finally arrived very hot and bothered and a bit footsore for a browse round the town. I dragged Himself into every charity shop (and there were many!) but the pickings were slim *boo*. Apparently the lovely antiquey and quirky shops are down by the marina/harbour but we didn't know that at the time so didn't head that way.Bah. Instead we called in for a much needed refreshing alcoholic beverage in the old library which is now a Wetherspoons. 
I guess at least it making use of the building right? Do I sound convinced? How about this 'Burger King' below? Not sure if I'm relieved a lovely old building has been saved or horrified at what they have done to it.... 

We decided to catch a bus back as we planned to go out that evening. We did venture into town but didn't stay out long, must be getting old or something, but I want to be able to hear myself speak and not have to pay over £10 for two drinks lol.

Saturday we woke up to pouring rain, but thankfully it cleared by the time we headed out and we managed to dodge the couple of other showers throughout the day by diving into shops or pubs! 
                                  We decided to walk to Boscombe along the beach.
 There were quite a few charity shops in Boscombe too but I was amazed to find the prices were WAY more expensive than anywhere else I have ever been. At least 2 or 3 pounds more for every item, and we are talking in national chains here, like Age UK. I don't know if it is because Boscombe has a blossoming reputation for Vintage they felt they could justify it? It's not exactly a wealthy place in terms of it's inhabitants, very strange. It was all pretty uninspiring too.

I was very surprised to find the 'Bournemouth O2 Academy' is actually on Boscombe High Street and *gutted* to see I had missed the chance of seeing Gary Numan again the night before :-( 

After my disappointment in the Vintage shops and Himself's in the Sci-fi shop we headed back to Bournemouth to walk through the park and get something to eat.
A poigniant floral display in the park for the Bournemouth Air Festival. There was a lovely tribute to Flt Lt Egging and someone had laid flowers on one of the planes. I thought it was a beautiful gesture from both the town council and the townsfolk for an incredibly brave man.

After an out of this world delicious mushroom lasagne for me and pizza for Himself we headed back to the hotel with a bottle of wine because we were both knackered. To digress for a moment last year we stayed in a hotel with not only a hen party but a stag party too. Consequently we were woken up constantly throughout the night by singing, shouting, vomiting and other delightful drunken sounds.This time however we were in a hotel with a coach party of pensioners so we were woken up VERY EARLY in the morning instead, by them roaming round and talking loudly, can't win!

Sunday was time to go home and it poured and poured with rain and there ended my Autumn break.

Monday, 19 September 2011

What do you Expect from a Vintage Shopping Experience?

I have just come back from a lovely long weekend away in Bournemouth (more of that in another post!) and whilst there I took the time to visit some of the Vintage stores in the Boscombe/Pokesdown area.
One store in particular called 'Per Sempre' is the reason for this post and I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on Vintage Shopping generally.

So Per Sempre.....
The shop looked lovely and inviting from the outside, and in it's favour it had a buzzy atmosphere as well as great displays. Which in a way is what made it SO frustrating, it just didn't deliver on it's potential! It could have been an amazing shopping experience but sadly it wasn't.

Firstly the owners had made the mistake of filling a small floor space with far, far too much stock. I can understand the idea that if you display everything you may have in stock you might sell more. However the clothes rails were packed so tightly with garments you couldn't actually browse through them. It was impossible to look at things properly and potentially damaging to the clothes themselves. I battled with one rail and then just gave up. 
The only person having any success was a girl who had cleverly brought her mother with her. The mother assessed the situation, then lifted and held an armful of garments from the rail which meant her daughter could then look through the what was left with relative ease, mother's do know best it seems!

Secondly the random jumble of clothing was insane. Now personally I would like items to be grouped by era but that's just me I know! However I do think a little organisation doesn't go amiss.
It's just so much easier to have the full length maxis, and evening dresses together on a rail. Day dresses with other day dresses, formal with formal, summer and winter in seperate sections, blouses seperated from dresses and skirts no?

Thirdly the clothes had no sizes on them. Now we all know dress sizes have changed over the years, a size 10 then is not the same as a size 10 now, also not all vintage garments, especially handmade ones, have sizing labels. However it doesn't take much effort to whip a tape measure over a garment and have 'bust approx', 'waist approx', length etc measurements on the price tag. Whilst I was in the store I heard the question 'What size is this?' at least a dozen times (mostly from girl with her mother). The reply to one such question was 'I think it might be a 12, yes I remember looking at that dress when it came in and thinking it might be a 12, or maybe a 10' was hardly an enlightening answer! Again the assistant could have stepped out from behind the cash desk and done a quick measure of the dress.

Finally on to the handbags, it was almost there but sadly not.
They were cleverly displayed in, and on old suitcases.I stepped forward for a happy rummage, but it was not to be. The prices were a little high it's true, but if the item was right that wouldn't have mattered. What I was most disappointed about was the lack of attention to detail. If I'm going to pay over £30 for a vintage bag I don't expect it to be full of grit and fluff and general detritus from it's previous owner, nor should it be thick with dust and dirt on the outside. Maybe from a charity/thirft shop, but not from a vintage store. It wouldn't have taken much effort to spruce up the bag to make it worth it's £30 tag, at the very least brush it out and give it a quick wipe over!

So am I alone in my above gripes? What do you expect from a shopping experience? Would the above have put you off? What surprised me was that this was a shop in a row of other vintage and antique shops. With competition on the doorstep would you not have made a little more effort?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A Post about Clothes with a bit of Gardening Thrown in.

I haven't posted for a while, mostly due to being very busy, but not with anything intersting enough to post about!

This weekend has been my first one where I haven't had any big plans and it's blissful.It's not that I don't like getting out and about but sometimes it's just lovely to be able to sit in my dressing gown and huge fleecy socks drinking tea until lunchtime.
This is meant to be a post about clothes but first I have to share a little bargain buying with you. Yesterday I had a free morning so I took the opportunity to visit the charity shops in town, somewhere else I haven't been to for a while. I found a few good bargains which is always a bouns.
First up a lovely polka dot dress for the bargainous price of £1. For some reason one of the shops was selling all their dresses off at £1, so it would have been rude not too!
 Lovely burgandy blouse with unusual elasticated panels at the waist, also £1. Perfect for work.
 Dark green cardigan again bought with work in mind, more on that in a moment.....
I shall be using this scarf in my hair rather than round my neck, and a lilac plastic necklace which probably doesn't go with anything I own, but what the heck, I liked it.
Finally cats, very grubby ones seen here sitting on the draining board waiting for a bath! I already have one of these tiny little white cat creamers, now I have a pair :-) The black cat is MEANT to be for my sister as she has been after a black one for ages but I suspect he will find a happy home among my other cat ornaments and never leave.........

So, clothes.......
As is clearly obvious from my blog I love clothes. I have been having a wonderful time lately clotheswise, and it's all thanks to the new job.
As I have said in the past, my old job meant jeans and t-shirts all day every day. I got in the habit of wearing them at weekends as well because it was easy. I got lazy, I reached blindly for the first shirt on the pile and put it on with the first pair of jeans out of the cupboard, end of. That and the dreaded weight gain meant it was just easier, no not being able to fit into to something from the wardrobe. If I'm honest it was also a way of just blending in, not drawing attention to myself, and comforting as well. With all the stress going on reaching for the old faithful, comfortable jeans meant appearance was one less thing to worry about.
The new job has changed all that. According to the job description, I had to be smart. I rushed out and bought some new trousers and shirts (thank the lord for the Next sale!) plus a dress or two, all in the next size up than usual (*sigh*)
As it turns out the office is actually a bit more casual than that, there are times where the buisness suit is needed but not every day as it turns out.
Oh but it has been bliss to start wearing the lovely things that have been languishing in my wardrobe unworn for forever and a day, the ones I still fit in anyway!
It has been a real joy choosing what to wear each day, I have been loving wearing dresses and pretty tops and just getting my clothes mojo back.

Last Saturday Himself and I went shopping in Reading. I had a H&M gift voucher to spend, and he is never going to turn down a visit to Toys-R-Us and HMV, and as long as we end the shopping trip in the pub all is well.
I had a wonderful time browsing round the clothes shops and rather than thinking 'Oooh that's lovely but I'll never wear it', I was looking at things and thinking 'that's lovely, I can wear it for work, I'll get it'. I have also been wearing my lovely things at weekends now as well. Indeed I have been in the new job one month and last sunday was the first time I have worn jeans in that whole month! I made a few purchases that day and here are my favourites.

                                                                         Happy Days.
So the wearing of the jeans was to catch up on the gardening. Autumn seems to have arrived judging by the fact I have had to rake leaves 4 times already! My poor tomato plants are full of fruits but just haven't had the sun to rippen them.
I did come across a wee visitor who was busy tucking into all the seeds that had fallen out of the bird feeders.
                                  I just hope he can get big enough before the winter comes.

It would also appear we have had a larger 4 legged visitor than the neighbour's cat! I'm guessing a fox has dug out this throughfare under our fence.

Finally I'm going to leave you with a picture that makes me throughly ashamed.
I can't even blame a collapsed clothes rail. It is the disgraceful result of an untidy person having a busy month clotheswise. My task today is to restore order. Posting the picture means I'm going to have to deal with it because now you all know about it.