Monday, 30 April 2012

A Fungi Adventure on Hampstead Heath.

Saturday was the day of Soo's birthday fungi forage. She arrived just before 7am and off we set on our adventure in the big smoke.
As it turns out the train gods were on our side and at every part of our journey a train pulled into the platform just as we arrived. This meant we got to Hampstead Heath somewhat earlier than expected and as it was raining steadily and a bit chilly to just stand around waiting we went for a little explore.

  We discovered the Pergola and had a stroll around this beautiful garden before heading back to the meeting place.

Now I will confess that I have foolishly just assumed all these years that Hampstead Heath was exactly that, a heath, an open space of gorse, grass and heather......doh.
Anyway it was a delightful surprise to find lots and lots of trees and vegetation. I grew up next to a forest and if nothing else this day out reminded me how much I loved it and that I must make an effort to get back out into the woods more often.

So on to the forage, there were about 20 of us in the group and Andy the guy running it was brilliant. As it turns out you are no longer allowed to forage on Hampstead Heath this meant only Andy was allowed to gather anything we found there. Luckily this was not the case on the Kenwood Estate which is English Heritage so our forage took in a large area of their grounds.

 As you can see it rained ALL DAY. Hand on heart this did not detract from the experience in any way at all. We had a fantastic time and the hours flew. 

After all the rain we have had in recent weeks the going was pretty grim, Soo and I did fairly well though as we had taken the wet weather advice given out on booking and worn boots and waterproofs. You would be amazed at how badly prepared some of the rest of the group were! One guy was in canvas deck shoes for heaven's sake!?! By the end of the walk he had given up and was just wading through the mud and planning to throw the shoes away when we got back to the carpark at the end. Others didn't bring waterproofs and were soaked to the skin! each to their own I guess.

Towards the end of the forage nature was calling me very, very loudly. Thankfully Andy's wife was on hand and gathering that the ladies of the group would really rather not squat behind a bush suggested a slight detour that took in a public convenience, bless her heart.

 The wonderful if overcast view and the roof in the right hand corner was a very welcome sight for my poor crossed legs I can tell you!

It truly was a fantastic day out despite the weather and I would highly recommend it, I now know some delicious edible and some extremely non edible fungi.
By the end however  I was more than ready for a cup of tea. So on the advice of Margaret at Penny Dreadful Vintage we sought out Louis Patisserie.

Thankfully we weren't too muddy so they let us stay. The cakes were delicious and I practically inhaled the pot of tea, in my defence I really do drink too much of the stuff and was going cold turkey after tramping around outside for hours, far from my kettle.

We decided to visit Keats House as we were in Hampstead and thoroughly enjoyed staring at all the huge houses on the way there, playing 'if money were no object' and chosing which one we would buy.

After that we mooched around looking at the shops for a while but to be honest we were both feeling pretty cold and damp at this point so we headed for home where I had a lovely hot shower and an intravenous drip of tea to top up my depleted levels.

As the evening went on the weather started to kick off big style and I crawled into bed to the sounds of howling wind and rain pounding the window. 

 I woke up to patio carnage, and eventually, and very reluctantly got into all my wet weather gear (that had only just dried out!) again to tidy it up.I am very grateful it was just raining on Saturday and not blowing the hoolie it did on Sunday, somehow I suspect the walk would not have been anywhere near as much fun whilst battling the elements!

Friday, 27 April 2012

A Post About the Weather and The Avengers.

What a freaking mental week it has been weatherwise! Sunday being the casing point in the space of 15 minutes we had sun, thunder, lightning, torrential rain, more thunder, hail, more hail and then sun again all with the back note of a gale force wind. Biblical is the word, I was fully expecting it to either start raining frogs or for the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse to canter down the street. Think I'm exagerating a little? let me share the three pictures I took on Sunday.
 I grabbed the camera and stuck my head out of the front door, this was my view. I then scooted through the house and took this picture out of the back door....
 Hail stones the size of marbles came down at one point.

I then took this picture of the sky at the back.
Blue sky no less, it was just plain weird. The weather has been the pits and it has made me very grouchy. I have serious garden withdrawl symptoms. I haven't been able to get out there for a few weeks now, mostly because of the weather. The weeds are taking over and my peas are about 10 foot tall under the cold frame, and positively desperate to get planted out. I am determined to try and get them in this Sunday. I can't get out there tomorrow for it is the day of the Hampstead Heath Mushroom Forage!

More details to follow!

I shall finish by saying Himself and I went to see 'The Avengers Assemble' last night, I was VERY excited about seeing it it has to be said.

 Thankfully the film lived up to expectations. I didn't love it as much as I loved 'Captain America' or 'Thor' as stand alone films but it was great fun, especially when the fighting started and The Hulk had one scene that had us roaring with laughter. In terms of the eye candy I thought in passing (as you do) 'oh Robert Downey Jr has clearly been working out, and Chris Evans (Captain America) wow now he's bulked up a bit' then Chris Hemsworth (Thor) comes on and you think 'actually stcratch that, next to him they both look a bit puny!' lol.

To go off at a tangent...

Saw the trailer for 'Prometheus', not my cup of tea, even if does have my swoony Michael Fassbender in it. He's doing his 'voice' again by the way. My first thought was 'Hmm I wonder how long he will keep it up in this film'. He does this clipped English accent (his real accent is Irish) and when he does a dramatic scene he clearly gets so involved in the emotion of the scene the voice just goes and his natural accent breaks through in a most bizarre fashion . The final scene on the beach in 'X-Men Origins' is a prime example, you just think 'What in the name of god was that he just said?' The Yorkshire accent in Jane Eyre was a bit mental too bless him.

Right I'm off to bed. 6am start for me tomorrow *weep*

Sunday, 22 April 2012

High School Playlist

I have had this one on a back burner for a while now but as I was up at 7.30am this morning (partly due to Himself snoring in spectacular fashion GRRR) I thought I would root round under the spare bed find some of my old vinyl and do a slightly different take on the High School Playlist.

Most people have been putting up YouTube links to songs and this in a way is part of the reason I haven't got round to it yet. I was HUGELY into music as a teen and I wouldn't know where to start if I was just trying to think of songs or browsing online for them.

So, being the massive hoarder I am I decided to get out the 7 inch vinyl and see which songs I had kept from that time working on the theory I had kept them because I loved them!

Now to set the scene. Whenever I got asked the question 'What was the first single you ever bought?' for many years I used to lie. I used to say it was 'I Don't Like Mondays by The Boomtown Rats' that was in fact the SECOND record I ever bought. The first one really was........

 Nowadays I don't care about admiting this fact and as you can see I also still own it!

On to the list.
I work on the theory Highschool is the same as Secondary School in the U.K. so I have picked a song for each of the 5 years I was there.
My First Year song is:

                                                One Step Beyond by Madness. 
I bought all their singles and I still have all their singles, great fun band.

My Second Year song is:

                                 Enola Gay by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.

 I was also starting to discover the New Romantics at this point too and whilst I still loved Madness my flirtation with Ska kind of ended. I wasn't an OMD fan for long, after the next couple of singles they started to get a bit too experimental for me. I sold their first album to a guy at college a few years later for a couple of quid and a Marc Bolan cassette! 

My Third Year song is:

                                                 Tears For Fears - Mad World.

This obsession was fairly short lived too. I had my hair the same as Curt's at one point ie; huge bouffy fringe and millions of plaits at the back (what in god's name was I thinking??)
Tears for Fears were also the first big band I saw live, at Sheffield City Hall no less. My brother took my under great protest and refused to be seen with me in the interval because there were other people from school there and he didn't want to be seen with his little sister! I only ever bought their first album which I played constantly, over and over and over again, this nearly broke my Mother.

My Fourth Year song is:

                                                          Bon Jovi - Runaway.

and so it begins, my passionate love affair with rock/glam metal. Around this time I was getting a bit disillusioned with the charts, I wanted a new musical obsession!
My brother was into Metal or NWOBHM as the music magazines called it (New Wave of British Heavy Metal to those of you too young to know what that stands for!) .He used to make me listen to his records and though I liked the odd song it didn't 'speak' to me. I wanted something a bit more lighthearted and fun. One night he was listening to The Friday Night Rock Show on Radio One and Tommy Vance played a single by a new young band out of America, the single was the one above, Runaway by Bon Jovi and I was hooked just like that.

My Fifth Year song is:

                                                          Jump! by Van Halen.

 By the time I left school I had the beginings of rock chick going on. The hair was getting big and bleached. I had skin tight jeans, lots of scarves and more importantly my first leather biker jacket and mini skirt! I smoked, I drank and I was as insecure as hell.  It was not a good time for me.

The song that was big that autumn when I had to retake my maths was the one below so I have added that too as I was kind of still at school.

So there you have my Highschool playlist and what a very strange one it is! If nothing else it shows you how fickle I was as a teen.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Dress Crazy and the Quest for a Ring.

Three posts in as many days? there must be something wrong, and indeed I am at home today nursing a decidedly unhappy tummy. Not sure if it is something I have eaten or a bug, but whichever, my poor tum and therefore myself is suffering and I'm sure you don't need to know any more details than that!

Thank you for the lovely comments on my holiday purchases. For those who wanted to know the Bird Print Top came from Dorothy Perkins and yes I was surprised by that too!

Anyway I thought I woud share a few more new purchases. The other week I had a bit of a clearout of one of my wardrobes and sold quite a few dresses on Ebay.Since then in true Miss Magpie fashion instead of letting the wardrobe sigh with relief at having a tiny bit of room on it's rail, I have set to with a will and bought almost as many new dresses as to make fitting them on said rail a serious issue. Bad very bad *sigh*
The first two were from ebay, you know how I said I end up browsing and buying when I sell?
 sorry crap picture! Summer dress which appealed to me because I thought it was holly print on the fabric which I thought would be weird in a cool way on a summer dress. As it turns out I think it is meant to be cherries? Anyway it has front pockets which is always a bonus.

   Another summer dress. I liked the front zip feature.

Would you believe this is from M&S??? Cherries and nautical stripes is a win in my book, (not sure if thi is in store or online only.)
1960's replica dress from Chelsea Girl at River Island. I saw a blog from Vix a little while ago about the revival Chelsea Girl range that River Island had reproduced using some of their original outfits/patterns for inspiration. Also how she had picked up a couple of pieces in the sale for a song. I was walking past yesterday and there was a sale on so I stepped in and found this little gem.They had some other fab things but none in my size which was probably all for the good!

Today however instead of the lovely grey lace dress I was going to wear to work I am currently in sweat pants and this huge baggy top. I share with you it's cheery bunny face instead of my whitish green one. 
My quest for a ring.....

A few weeks ago the stone in my engagement ring fell out for the 3rd time!??! Thankfully on all 3 occasions I have managed to find it, I live in fear of not being so lucky next time. I took it back to the shop who had refitted it only 18 months before, (with only a years guarenttee on the work of course!) and asked if there was anyway they could make it more secure. The girl thought they might be able to put a claw on each end so it was duly sent off. I heard nothing for nearly 3 weeks so I went in, they had no news but rang the workshop whilst I was there. The only way to secure it was to completely change the setting and put 2 sets of 3 claws on each side apparently, oh and it would cost me £285. I made a loud, rude involuntary exclaimation to this price, it was instantly dropped to a 'good will gesture' price of  £170. Clearly there is something to be said for letting out involuntary outbursts of language in such hushed establishments!
I said I hadn't intended to spend that much and needed to talk to Himself and that I would return the next day. I was not happy, I thought about it all afternoon and discused it with Himself and decided against the work.
The first reason being I am not a fan of claw settings, I also think they need a faceted stone to look good and my stone is smooth. Also I could not see how they could change the whole setting without wrecking the ring. We decided on having the stone reset in the original setting and for me to stop wearing it everyday, this makes my heart heavy because it means a lot to me and I don't really want to 'keep it for best' but neither do I want to lose the stone.
So I am on the hunt for a replacement around the £50 mark to wear everyday. I found a couple of nice examples, I showed them to Himself who frowned and dismissed them all because 'he doesn't like rings with stones' To which I frustratedly waved my hands, currently covered in 8 rings all with stone settings, infront of his face and said 'but I DO!'
I know he's never been a fan of me wearing so many rings but I have always hated my fingers and since about the age of 14 have never worn less than this many at any one time.

 Anyway my ring is finally back and currently on my finger where it belongs whilst the hunt for it's everyday replacement goes on........

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Devonshire Delights or What I Bought on Holiday.

Well it seems only fair to share my purchases with you :-)

So Clare and Dee are quite right in their comments on my last post, Torquay's charity shops are pretty rubbish. I have yet to find anything to buy when I have been to them but I live in hope. This means everything I did buy, apart from the buttons came from the high street so some of you may want to look away now....

On Wednesday I bought :
 A purple bucket to go with the purple spade I found last year in Bournemouth, well I was at the seaside after all!
I also bought some purple skinny jeans in Asda(Walmart) when we stopped to get wine but they are in the wash so no picture.

On Thursday I bought:
Firstly the flea market.....
a kitsch mini cushion for my Mum because I know it will make her laugh.

some buttons for my ever expanding collection.

Then it was 'to the SHOPS!'

I absolutely fell in love with this bird print top even though the price did make me wince a bit, it had to be mine.
I then spotted this dress.

More birds! I really wasn't sure about the cut and the neckline so I tried it on and it fitted like a glove so home it came with me *oopps*  Oh well I was on holiday.....

I loved this top and it was in the sale, perfect for lounging around at home :-)

Another bargainous sale item, a new jumper for work, it's nicer on than it looks in this picture!

  I LOVED the pineapples, and the bananas are pretty cool too, for £4 they were definitely worth it.

Some more rose earrings, these were £1.25 a pair in the sale so I have added them to the growing collection.

Finally two rings, one of which is an elephant so I need say no more.

And thus ends my holiday shopping.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Delightful Times in Devonshire.

Indeed they were. For despite the weather and the shower in our hotel being very tempremental we had a lovely time.

Wednesday was our first full day out, we went to Dawlish Warren. The only consistant thing was the wind blowing, otherwise whilst there we had sun, rain, hail, lightning and even a flake or two of snow!?! Got to love the British weather and the British people who determined to enjoy the Easter holidays no matter what, were out in surprisingly large numbers, and could be seen sitting on the beach under umbrellas, some hardy types were even in swinwear!

After doing the nature reserve, sea front, arcades and shop it finally got just too damn cold so we headed home. Once Nephew Number Two was in bed the adults got out the wine and his Megabricks.......
                                     Yes that really is Mario made from Megabricks.

Thursday is Flea Market day at the Town Hall in Torquay. Where else could you get such a unique and sometimes disturbing experience for the princely sum of 30p? Nowhere is the right answer.
We took Nephew Number Two with us and he turned on his charms to one and all, which meant he got all the bargains there were to be had, though to be fair there weren't that many.
It was the weirdest mixture of 'stuff' I have seen in a long time and nothing really appealed. I came away with a very twee cushion with a picture of a bear for my Mum because I know it will make her laugh as much as it did me, and some vintage buttons.

We very wisely went home via the play park, nothing like falling off a climbing frame to restore the spirit. I hope I never get to old to play on the swings, mind it was nice to find a slightly larger one that I could sit on without getting my arse painfully wedged stuck as I did the last time Nephew Number Two visited. I had visions of being cut free by the firebrigade and featuring very heavily on the local news at one point that visit!

  In the afternoon The Nephew went to get some sense and solace at nursery and we went to THE SHOPS!
Himself came with us, us being his sister and myself, and clearly regretted it once we made it clear it was charity shops and clothes shops all the way. 4 hours of solid shopping later even I was ready to admit defeat so we went home to lots of much restoring wine.

                                                             Hound's Tor

Friday was Dartmoor day. It was sunny when we set out and sunny when we got slightly lost and found a giant red rabbit in the process, as you do....

It was still sunny when were halfway up Haytor where we planned to have a picnic lunch. However by the time we got to the top this started to happen.

It was very atmospheric and made for some great photos but trying to eat your picnic whilst sitting under, and trying to keep up an umbrella may be very British but it's not very sensible. We decided to head back to the car.

My hands felt like ice by the time we got to it so I for one was very glad to finish the picnic there. By this point it was raining pretty hard so we decided to decamp to Trago Mill. We saw some lovely Dartmoor ponies on the way off the moor, who decided to cause a traffic jam horse style,by standing in the middle of the road and refusing to move.
The rain was monsoon like by the time we got to Trago so we were all cold wet and miserable, tell a lie The Nephew was happy because he had cleverly thought to bring wellies to change into and there were many puddles to jump in!

We mooched around the main shop for an hour or so, Himself bought a pair of trainers and I pushed the boat out and bought some ribbon and wunderweb!
 Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time we decided to risk heading outside again, so with some 70's/80's rock anthems on in the car we headed home.
The Nephew showed his great dislike of Cher by putting his fingers in his ears and shaking his head violently until the track got skipped, though he did seem to approve of Harry the monkey singing a word perfect rendition of Bat out of Hell along to Meatloaf. It's amazing what these toy monkies know about music isn't it? *cough*

Saturday was time to go home. The train from Devon was packed and when we changed at Reading the next one was full of lairy Liverpool fans, so without needing to be Miss Marple I gathered some manner of football match had been won.

Now I am sitting here this morning feeling a bit flat, staring at a mountain of laundry, which will then equal another mountain of ironing. My liver isn't speaking to me after a week of wine and fried breakfasts and Himself thinks he is getting a cold......yup the holiday is definitely over. *sigh*

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter. My Favourite Time of the Year.

Indeed it is.

I love Spring so therefore Easter becomes my favourite holiday. I think because on the whole the weather is good enough for you to get out and do things without being too hot (I don't do heat.) also I actually feel energised and full of zip in the springtime, (if only that would last all year....)

 You get 4 days off work, my first chunk of holiday since Christmas (which was of course marred by the tooth disaster) and you get to eat chocolate and cake because of the Easter Beagle/Bunny  JOY!

Mostly though Easter reminds me of my Nan. Nearly every Easter Nan came to stay, when we were younger, every morning my brother and I used to get in her bed one on each side and make her read to us, it was magical. I swear this is where I get my love of listening to audio books from.
My Nan was amazing at reading out loud. She did all the voices, she captured the drama, we'd be spellbound and would refuse to let her stop until Mum came in with a much needed cup of tea, poor Nan was often hoarse by this point, and shooed us away.
When we got older we went for family days out, all my Nan's favourite flowers were spring flowers so somewhere with gardens full of blooms was a must. Or we would sit and watch old films and drink oceans of tea, another habit I get from my Nan!
It's 6 years since she died now, I miss her and know I will for the rest of my life, I still see things or read things I wish I could tell her, but mostly I am just damn grateful to have had such a wonderful woman in my life.

This Easter however it's just me and Himself. We were invited to Mum and Dad's but as we are going on holiday on Tuesday (SQUEE) the logistics didn't work out. So Good Friday I saw my parents for tea and caught up with my brother to deliver Nephew Number One's eggs. At 17 he was horrified at the thought that he may be considered too old for chocolate eggs, bless him (are you ever too old?)
My Mum and I both agreed 'No Chocolate' as we would both like to lose a bit of weight, so instead my parents brought me this because it is made of egg so therefore counts as an Easter gift.

                                                       I like the way they think.
Saturday I had a lie-in, it turned out to be somewhat longer than even I had planned. As if it needed to remind me just how much it needs a holiday my body let me sleep until 11am yesterday, without waking up once!?!
Before you ask, no, vast quantities of alcohol were not involved either!
I felt SO much better for it too which is weird, usually I fell like death if I sleep for too long but clearly this really was needed.

I took a gentle stroll into town for some fresh air and to look at a dress I had seen in Peacocks and couldn't make my mind up about. I decided against the dress so had a browse of the charity shops instead with the £16 the dress was going to cost in my stickly little mitts.

Clearly they haven't recovered from my sister's visit the other week because there were slim pickings to be had and every one had a sign in the window saying they urgently needed donations!
I bought two jumpers and that was it. Mind it's been cold enough to warrant a jumper again lately....
Not sure if I have mentioned here before but I loathe rollnecks. Just can't bear anything around my throat so I plan to chop the neck off the second one as soon as it is dry from the wash.

I spent the evening eating and drinking (diet? what diet?) and watching 'Singing in the Rain' followed by 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' (the Anthony Andrews version of course!)

Today being the glorious day of the Easter Beagle himself I have read, eaten boiled eggs for breakfast and lounged around whilst drinking my body weight in tea.

Tomorrow I shall be packing for a week by the sea. Yes Himself and I are off to Torquay to see his Sister, her Husband and Nephew Number Two.I can't wait.

I shall leave you with a picture of the wonderous new egg cup Himself bought me for Easter, isn't it ACE?