Sunday, 22 September 2013

They Came, They Saw, They Did a Little Shopping.

Yesterday Soo and I headed out on day trip to a local stately home Rousham House. Whilst the gardens are open to the public the house itself is not, it is still a private family home and is not actually open to the public except for occasional booked tour parties.

I have wanted to go there for quite some time now, ever since my parents moved to the village where they currently live. Just outside the village there are some stone gate posts and a tree lined avenue that leads to nothing more than a cow field.
 I did a little research and found the house that the trees used to lead to burnt down in the English Civil War, it was owned by the same family who owned Rousham House and was a 'sister' house to it. I was longing to see Rousham in the flesh and imagine what might have stood on that cow field back in the day of Cavaliers and Roundheads, a period that I am very interested in.

I was not disappointed.
The house has been extended in the Victorian era but otherwise it was perfect for the era.
As a Royalist family there were various precautions, like the solid oak doors with a row of holes hidden by a cover that you could push aside, stick your musket through and blast away at any Roundheads who happened to come charging the door!

The house was fascinating and very much still a family home. Somehow this made it so much easier to imagine all the different eras from the ringlet-ed, wide skirted royalist miss to the glamorous 1930's dame drinking iced cocktails on the lawn.

Having said that, sadly it is clearly a house in decline, it was freezing cold and clammy inside despite it being mild outside, and the guide freely admitted damp, mould and moths are ongoing issues. There were many wonderful artifacts pretty much crumbling before your eyes and that was heartbreaking. Especially the clothes. I couldn't help feeling that instead of having all these wonderful outfits falling to pieces in the loft that perhaps selling a few would mean money could be spent on the house where it was needed and this amazing 15th, 16th & 17th century clothing would be properly preserved.

Anyway, I must explain how we found ourselves on this special tour. Soo had been sent an email link by a friend so we signed up, paid our fee and turned up in time for the before tour tea and biscuits in the car park.
It quickly transpired that this was a business woman's group primarily set up for the purposes of networking and as neither of us has a business we did feel a little out of place, sort of there under false pretenses!

So once the tour of the house was done and the group was free to tour the grounds at will, I'm afraid we were very antisocial and sneaked off on our own to ramble about and gossip to our heart's content.
There were statues galore, all gloriously intact, clearly there were no Victorian prudes at this house! 
Wonderful kitchen gardens bursting with produce, a knot garden and temples and ponds all wrapped around by the gently flowing river.

We were all done by about 2.30pm so decided to go in hunt of a cup of tea. We ended up in Summertown where after we had had the cup that restores we browsed the charity shops.
There are 2 new retro/vintage charity shops there where the stock, quality and prices varied dramatically.

The Blue Cross one had very random stock and ridiculous prices. I'm sorry but I get so riled by this whole jumping on the vintage bandwagon. 'Oh it's vintage so it must be worth a fortune'  and irrespective of the fact that it might be stained or damaged beyond repair it gets a £50 price tag! Also last year's Primark tea dress might look vintage but it's not, so why is it there with an equally high price? Ridiculous! It drives me mad, I want to go in there and sort it!

The Helen and Douglas House retro/vintage shop on the other hand is a breath of fresh air. A wonderful mix of eras, all reasonably priced and with faults clearly noted and labelled 'as seen' rather than pointedly ignored. Look at this for a window display, eye catching or what?

There were some incredible hats, but as I have a massive hat none of them fitted.

I did fall in a big way for this glorious green ballgown  but I would never wear such a huge skirted frock, it had yards and yards of billowing skirt. To cut it down seemed criminal so I left it behind.
But by far the most outrageous thing of the day was I bought two Christmas presents. I think I'm still in shock!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Feel The Rush! Viva Hysteria?

It's been a bit of a week for the cinema and it ain't over yet. About Time tomorrow apparently *Sorry Claire!*

First up was Rush with Himself and my Ma and Pa. I was very excited to see this film, not only did the trailer look fantastic it was a nostalgia trip for me.
 Basically my Dad has always been a big Formula One fan so I grew up with it, and back in the day my Mother did have just a wee bit of a thing for James Hunt.

 I was too young at the time to remember all that happened but I knew enough of the back story to thoroughly enjoy the film. Having said that Himself knew nothing of the back story at all and enjoyed it just as much,so it's not a requisite!
I think it was a given that this would be a historically accurate film, it's recent history after all, and if nothing else Niki Lauda was deeply involved from the start. Daniel Bruhl as Lauda and Chris Hemsworth as Hunt were outstanding. Both played a flawed and at times unpleasant, yet ultimately likable character, so basically you were rooting for both and wanting them both to win. This film is more about the people than the sport and as people are miles more interesting anyway it's what makes it really work. I highly recommend going to see it if you haven't already.

Last night Himself and I went to see Viva Hysteria one of those cinema screenings of a concert. On this occasion from Def Leppard's Las Vegas residency earlier in the year.
Basically it's 25 years since Hysteria was released so they were playing the album through in track order. It was entertaining enough, in that they put on a note perfect but rather clinical show. There was hardly any interaction between the audience or even themselves and unfortunately the sound wasn't the best.
 I think the most startling thing was the way they looked, to put it tactfully, time has not been kind and up close on a great cinema screen quite frankly Joey Elliott's face was bloody terrifying!

From a nostalgia point of view with the first chords of 'Animal' I found myself drifting off into memory (quite frankly anything to avoid looking at that face!)
 Seeing them play at Donington, the long hot summer, taking Jenny's younger sister (who was a huge fan) to see them at the Hammersmith Odeon.....good times. good times.

I was never a fan as such but you couldn't escape that album at the time and it did have some great songs.

Oh and in other news I sold some stuff on the bay of E and just might have bought myself a frock with the proceeds.
Goes off singing 'A wild ride, over stony ground, Such a lust for life, the circus comes to town
We are the hungry ones, on a lightning raid, Just like a river runs, like a fire needs flame
I burn for you.....

Monday, 9 September 2013

Fun in the Sun.

We are back from our jaunt to Bournemouth and I am feeling very relaxed, I suspect after one day back in the office that will all change but in the meantime I will remain sanguine.
 As a mentioned in my last post the weather was meant to be terrible but what the hell, I was determined to enjoy my holiday no matter what, and as it turns out the weather was glorious, so up yours weather people.

We checked in to the hotel and how about this for a sea view.
I could feel my cares melting away by the minute.

We unpacked and as you can see it would seem we were both going for the checked shirt holiday look!

 We headed straight for the beach where Himself swam and I didn't because I forgot my swimsuit. As it turns out I managed to forget a multitude of things which was really annoying, especially when you bear in mind all the time I had had to pack *sigh*.
I had to go into town and buy stuff like shampoo but with views like this I soon stopped being cross.
We ate out and then mooched along the promenade as darkness fell.
Sadly the carousel was all lit up but not working, boo.

Next day we had planned to go to Brownsea Island. As it was meant to pour with rain we were prepared with waterproofs, hiking boots, the works. It had rained overnight but as it turns out the day was glorious.
As sunblock was another thing I had forgotten we both ended up with random burnt bits but that's what holidays are about right?

Brownsea Island was just gorgeous. There were other people about but it was so quiet and so beautiful.
The history of the island was fascinating in particular the one mad old biddy who bought it, threw all the people who lived there off the island, released all the domestic and farm animals and did nothing other than patrol with a shotgun taking pot shots at any visitors, so the place could go 'back to nature'.
Of course this was a complete disaster and the National Trust had a hell of a job when they took the place on to get the forests back under control and the buildings back up to scratch.
Some like this Victorian villa were beyond salvation and they had to be left as was to gently collapse.
The one other reminder was that there were peacocks and chickens roaming the woods which was a bit random.

What was most incredible to me was all the different types of landscape to be seen on one small island. Forest, heath, cliffs, beach, it had it all.

We had a great day out and it was made even better by chips on the seafront a pint or two.

Next day dawned sunny and clear again. We went into town for a couple of hours before I left Himself to his own devices and went for a day out with my friend Alison.

We decided to check out Westbourne and mooched about until it was time for lunch in the extremely pretty Dot Teas Vintage Tea Boutique. We called into Number 83 a fab little shop where I bought my only purchases.
A brooch and a card. I also just had to take a picture of the shop window. How ace is the slug draft excluder?

Time was up at the car park so we headed to Branksome just in time for afternoon tea at Lulubelle's and then a brisk walk on the seafront to burn off the cake!
A great catch up all together.

As ever we had a wonderful time, here's to next year.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Most Beautiful Dress in the Whole Wide World.

Apparently Autumn is coming with a vengeance at the weekend, just in time for me to be on holiday in Bournemouth....Arse!
In the meantime I have been melting in the baking heat and snotting from a delightful cold that has also seen this as the opportune moment to descend upon my personage. Bah.

I know it is that classic situation of having stopped that has found me full of cold, up until this weekend I have been flat out busy socially and it's been bloody great, but tiring.

I was actually secretly loving the fact that this weekend we had no plans for the first weekend in months.
Friday night we had the Rocky Horror Show but other than that nothing, sweet nothing.
The RHS was fun as ever. Sadly not the greatest version bearing in mind it was the 40th anniversary tour but fun never the less.

Saturday I had a glorious lie-in and then we attacked the final hedge. My poor garden is in a very sorry state as all this social butterfly stuff means I haven't done more than charge round with a watering can when able. Much work needs to be done before the winter!

I had plans of the lying on the sofa watching a film kind for Sunday but Himself had other ideas. He announced we should go the Reading as we hadn't been for ages and there was a film in there we should see.
So off to Reading we went. I spent most of it refusing to let myself do any shopping so close to my holiday which was hard I tell you, very hard. SIGH.

We headed to the cinema to see 'The Way Way Back'
I really enjoyed it, though it is quite a depressing film in many ways. I'd recommend it if you get the chance to see it.

We came home to the most glorious sunset.

I do love this time of year.

Two days at work and now I am off until next Tuesday Huzzah. We are off to Bournemouth tomorrow for our annual visit. It seems our luck has finally given out weatherwise as the weekend is meant to be awful. Usually we have sun, sun, sun.
Not that I care in all honesty I'm just dying to get away for a few days break.

I have had to rethink the packing and add waterproofs, hiking boots and a warm coat, oh well. I packed this morning then scooted out to the shops.

God our Charity shops have been completely crap lately, all over priced Primark tat. I hunted and scoured and all I found was.

A green blouse for a pound and a floral dress for three pounds, both will do for work and
the sweetest little metal kiwi bird. How cute is he?? I was going to put him out in the garden but I suspect he will find a home inside....

Finally I must share with you the dress of the title. As you know I am slightly obsessed with green dresses at the moment and forest green is a colour that suits me very well. I had a dress that colour years ago that I literally wore to pieces and I have never found anything to match it since, until now that is.
Words cannot describe how much I love this dress, it's a repro piece by Hell Bunny and it fits like a glove. I really wasn't sure about the sizing but I just had to have it. When it arrived I was actually too scared to try it on for a couple of weeks in case it was too small, I know, crazy stupid right? I can't be the only person who does that though!
Anyway I finally took the bull by the horns and put it on today and it is divine. So divine I have ordered myself the burgandy version too.