Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Christmas and all That.

Hello, I'm back and it's been a while.
As you can see I did manage to get the tree up but a combination of the manic build up to the festivities and being ill have kept me from blogging. I can't grumble because what I've been referring to as my annual cold isn't even that.
 I'm convinced working in a University library is like working at a doctor's surgery, in that, at first you catch every damn bug going and are constantly ill, but eventually become immune to the majority.
Even though I no longer work there I clearly have a lifetime of antibodies and thankfully I rarely get ill. I can't even remember the last time I had a cold, certainly more than a year ago but just to make up for it this one has thoroughly kicked my butt.
It hasn't been enough for me to take to the bed (sadly) though the sinus pain was enough to drive me to the very edge of my sanity, ok, I know that's not far but let me be a little dramatic here.

A couple of weeks down the line and I feel like it's drained the very life out of me, to be blunt I'm knackered. I hate having no energy.
Christmas was lovely but by 9.30pm I was done, a broken woman. We finally left my brother's house at 10.30 and walked briskly home which I have to say helped.
We brought Nephew Number One home with us so I left the pair of them too it and crawled into bed. Apparently Himself and the Nephew had a whale of a time drinking beer and watching dvds until 4am.

Talking of nephews we did our annual jaunt down to Torquay for Nephew Number Two's birthday just before Christmas. I could have done without the 5am start but it was all worth it when we arrived.
It was a fancy dress affair with 2 spidermen, one of whom stabbed me in the buttock with a ninja turtle's sword, (that's what happens when you get distracted by green jelly, you get caught off guard) and 3 batmen.

Himself was very impressed that we had 3 eras of batman represented, from Adam West to Christian Bale.
Though I bet none of you knew that Batman's real arch enemy is not actually The Joker but in fact Peppa Pig. I don't know what he said to her but she floored him good and proper despite the pink party frock, now there's a film I'd pay to see......
Nephew Number 2 was 5, he had a big shiny balloon and borrowed my camera to take a picture of me with it. I returned the favour.

Here's The Little Miss, who was far more interested in licking the window than watching the party games which amused Himself no end. He spent a lot of time outside trying to take pictures of her doing it, he got some crackers butI'm not going to share because every girl deserves to look her best.

We didn't stay over this time, so caught the train home at 8pm. That got quite lively at Bath where it filled with rugby fans who proceeded to wedge somebody into the luggage rack and somehow managed to plunge our carriage into darkness! Thankfully they all got off at Swindon and the last leg of the journey was quiet. To give them their due, the sheer number of them did also raise the temperature in the carriage, up until that point the train had been freezing cold. I was very glad to get home to my bed.

Other than that I ate out with friends pretty much every night until work finished for Christmas, to the point where Himself looking all sad gave a plaintiff  "are you actually in any nights this week?".

I had to work Christmas Eve again, bah, but luckily it was quiet and we got sent home early because of the trains being rubbish.
There was a lovely eyelash moon on Christmas Eve.
(When it's this little it's an eyelash, a bit bigger and it becomes the Cheshire Cat.)

I ventured out to feed the birds and found my early snowdrops are even earlier this year.
I can't remember them coming up in December before.

We went to Reading yesterday. The sales no longer seem to have the appeal they used to for me. Once upon a time I would be up and out the door on Boxing Day morning but now I really couldn't care less. Himself needed new work clothes though so we ventured out. I bought a few bits, including a cartoon print bank robber dress from Cath Kidston as you do.
 I never get over how some things are so damn expensive in there and others not. I saw a cardigan for £45 in the sale, £45!?! I mean it was very pretty but quite thin, I'd never have paid £45 for it let alone nearly £90 full price. I visited Paperchase (one of my happy places) and Accessorize and then called it a day.

Today I'm going to nip into Oxford as I want to get some theatre tickets. I won't stay long, I have Christmas books to read
and tea to drink in the peace and quiet of my own home. My plan is to hibernate until it's time to go back to work.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Why Do Housework When You Can Shop For Antiques?

Why indeed.?
Even though my house was crying, no positively bellowing out for a clean I gave it not a backward glance.
I was up and off and out for a day of antique browsing, tea drinking and cake eating with my friends Simon and Liz.
We went to The Old Flight House at Weston on the Green. It's a fantastic place.

Very much like a lot of other antique centres out there it is made up of lots of small units within one larger building. The difference is The Old Flight House is really well laid out and beautifully displayed.
There really are prices to suit all budgets and it has a wonderful cafe with gorgeous hot and cold food and homemade cakes.

We had a blissful few hours browsing before tucking into freshly made baguettes and a naughty piece of cake that no one really had room for but it would have been rude not too eat.
 We decided for research purposes to try different ones each, and I can report that the fruit cake, coffee and walnut and chocolate fudge cake were all delicious.

There were a couple of things I wanted to buy so after we had eaten we went back round. Both Simon and Liz were left speechless by my memory skills as I whisked back through like an exocet missile with it's target lock on to the 3 different units that held the things I wanted.

This ability is what I call my 'shoppers recall' and it is a skill I have honed well over the years!

Like the good blogger I try to be, I took my camera with me, and below are some of the shots I took. I did get a couple of funny looks and one tut but such is the lot of a blogger.
I loved the top picture of Canterbury Bells but of course I took a completely shit picture of it with full glare on the glass *sigh*
A family of teapots.
A shocked beaver (fnar fnar)
I was fascinated by this bust. It was opaque glass and from this angle had such a gorgeous serene expression but from the front, and you might just be able to make it out on the neck in this shot, you could see inside was carved the skeletal spine and collar bones. Very bizarre.
Oh how I wish my bedroom looked like this! I have to say hooks on a picture rail is a damn good idea for handbag displaying, note to self.......
Just for Vix - Spot the poodle!
How ace is the kitty sign?
because no blog post from me is the same without an elephant.
This eland statue was gorgeous but sadly way, way way out of my price range.

So what did I buy?

I don't know if it is always the case but there were quite a few handmade Christmas decorations around and very good prices too.
I couldn't resist this felted snowman.
Or this lovely green necklace
Or this navy woven wicker handbag for my collection, and at £26 for all 3 items who could blame me?

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Shops, Frocks and Orange Jam.

As reported in my previous post, on Saturday last week Soo and I headed to Reading to Christmas shop til we drop.....

and boy did we!

Now anyone who knows me, or even just pops by this blog once in a while will know I LOVE shopping, but even the most hardened shopaholic out there can be reduced to tears by shopping at this time of year.
I'm no exception, by the time we got to Wetherspoons at just before 3pm I was pretty much incoherent.
A large glass of wine and a nice sit down brought me back to myself but neither of us, not even me, could face any more shops so after a bite to eat we headed home.
I'm delighted to report we did manage to battle the hoards and shop up a storm. It was such a relief to know I had pretty much broken the back of the present buying.

I was only the tiniest bit naughty.
I couldn't resist this sparkly skater dress, which for some reason looks horribly huge and shapeless here. It's really rather lovely I assure you and perfect for Christmas day.

Mind you if I carry on at the rate I'm going I'll be in need of the next size up, I've been out for dinner twice this week alone. I was trying to be good, but when everyone else is having a pudding it's rude not too.


Now the sharp eyed among you will have spotted that it says 'frocks' and not 'frock' in the title. Yes I may have bought more than one this week.

This 1980's checked beauty was the princely sum of £1.29 on Ebay. 

and this one was also an Ebay bargain purchase.
As you can see it needs a wash and a damn good iron, so a better picture will follow, once it's freshly washed and pressed. I'm not sure on the era, 1960's I think.

I know I really do need to stop with the dress buying.

This week was also the street fair for the lighting of the Christmas lights in town. I always make Himself walk home through the fair which he hates however as I once won a little knitted elephant on the tombola I hold it in more affection.
It wasn't as busy as in previous years which was a bonus, but the best bit?
The robin light was back!!!!! HUZZAH.

 I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. I love this light more than I can say, it has always hung in the same place which is pretty much at the end of our road.

Then tragedy struck a couple of years ago, horror of horrors it was gone!
To add insult to injury it was replaced by a hideous pink bear (and we all know how I feel about pink.)
As luck would have it the pink bear went missing about a week after it was put up last year, which even I will admit was a bit weird (and no it wasn't me)
So I did wonder what would replace it this year.Imagine my joy when the robin was back!

I know, I know I'm tragic, what can I say other than it's nice to have something that makes me smile on my commute to and fro the station.  

Last night we went to see Paddington. I was quite excited about that too.

Rightly so as it turns out. It's brilliant, very funny and I loved it.

Obviously you can't watch anything to do with Paddington without marmalade featuring heavily. Now I am a fan of the marmalade but I hate the peel in it which I admit kind of defeats the object. If nothing else your toast is stone cold by the time you pick all the bits out!

There I was mindlessly shuffling around Tesco the other week when I discovered something called orange jam.
Bloody marvelous stuff, all the fun of marmalade but without the horror of the peel, I approve. 

Oh finally I forgot to share the only item I bought on Soo and my ill-fated trip to Woodstock
 £3.95 and all ready for some chocolaty treats.

Friday, 21 November 2014

This and That.

I had my first free weekend in ages and I was quite excited about it. I had great plans for a bit of an autumn clean.

Those who have followed my blog for a while will know we have just a wee bit of a damp/mould problem in this house. This is the time of year when it likes to take grip if I give it the slightest chance, so my eyes and nose are on high alert.
I have become quite the expert on mould, I swear one of these days with the time and inclination I will write a dissertation on it's habits.

There are the places it grows with depressing regularity, there are the places it grows just once and after a treatment of bleach never comes again.
But then it likes to be tricksy and suddenly appear somewhere unexpected, somewhere that it has never grown before.
It can appear literally overnight, open a kitchen drawer and all is well, open it again and suddenly the rolling pin is wearing a fur coat for winter!

It loves to grow on wood, though not if it's painted, it especially loves wicker. It's also a big fan of suede and if it can't have suede it will make do with leather.

In my never ending battle I have discovered the best treatment is bleach. Sadly even bleach can't stop it returning, only when it does, it comes back white instead of blue or black.

Anyway I digress, I had great plans to tackle a few of mould's favourite places but instead I woke up feeling rough as hell.
I did a couple of jobs but mostly I collapsed in a heap and watched many episodes of Twin Peaks instead. I am working my way through the whole lot from start to finish having been kindly lent the boxed sets by a colleague at work.
So far I have been amazed at how much I remember and how much I have completely forgotten! I have 7 episodes left to go so that might be my Saturday night this week sorted.

I did manage to clean my new handbag display stand, and typically for me, having already bought the black paint I decided to leave it brown after all!
I tried it this way
but in the end I have it turned this way. Not as attractive but it does give me easy access to all the bags on the bottom shelf and holds one of my dishes of Brooches too.

Oh and to answer the question from Mim.Yes I was absolutely losing track of my brooches and never wearing the ones at the bottom of the dish, hence the reason behind getting another dish! (no it wasn't at all an excuse to buy even more brooches....)

I did also forget to share with you the other thing I bought on my last charity shop outing.
Now I have the perfect excuse to buy chocolates to go in it!

On the note of that certain day. Tomorrow Soo and I are off to Reading to do some shopping.


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Friends, Family and Shopping.

So far November is belting along at the same exhausting fun filled pace of October.

I've seen my family loads after hardly seeing them at all for the last month or two, it's been lovely to catch up.
It was my Dad's birthday at the weekend and we all went out for lunch. It was one of those wonderful long pub lunches after which you think you will never be hungry again, ever.

That's of course until you get to your parents house and your Mum cracks open one of the Christmas tins of Quality Street......oh boy.

Himself and I also headed out on Friday night for a get together with friends and ex-colleagues in memory of our mate Murray who died earlier this year.
I can honestly say I haven't laughed so much in a long time, it was a great night out, the kind that does your soul good.

That was followed by a day of shopping with Soo. We decided to give Chipping Norton a go and it was certainly worth it despite the hideous weather.

Chippy is a beautiful Cotswold town with a high street heavily tipped towards independent shops which was a joy to see.

Talking of joys to see, the high street had be wool bombed with a distinctly Remembrance Sunday theme, it was absolutely fantastic, sadly I didn't get many pictures due to the torrential rain.
There were some of wonderful quirky shops to browse,

How cool is this oil can lamp?

A handful of interesting chazzas
                                                       Seriously sinister cat!

We also found a fantastic craft fair in the town hall. I shamelessly bought myself 2 brooches when I wasn't meant to be spending money on myself.
Having said that, priced at £4 and £3 respectively it would have been rude not too.

I also bought a large pressed glass party snack dish for the princely sum of 75p!
It has 5 compartments and is exactly what I was looking for to hold some of my ever expanding brooch collection.
No that's not all of them
there's these ones too
yup I think I may have a bit of a brooch addiction.

on the subject of things being exactly what you were looking for I also bought this afternoon tea stand.
apologies for the weird angle of the photo, it's not as long or as narrow as it looks in this shot!
I spotted it in one of the first shops we went into and couldn't get it out of my head so we called in on the way back to the car.
I don't think it's particularly old and it needs a damn good clean, then I think I will paint it matt black.
The plan is to use it to display some of my vintage bags, it's going to be absolutely perfect for it. I'm a happy bunny.

Once back in the car we decided to head to Woodstock to check out the shops.

For those not in the know Woodstock is a very beautiful and fuck off expensive village on the outskirts of Oxford.
They even still have stocks for the peasants.

We shamelessly earwigged a surreal conversation in a high end furniture store, where the assistant was actually trying to persuade a couple NOT to buy the £20,000 table they had set their hearts on (because it would be too difficult to get it through the kitchen and into their house.) Whilst they were determined to make it their own. Bizarre!

We tried a few shops, got booted out of a chazza that was closing at 4pm just because they felt like it and came to the conclusion Woodstock was not for us.

Soo then kindly drove me to the station with my bags and tea stand. Thankfully the rain stopped long enough for me to get home without incident and collapse in front of Strictly with a huge mug of tea.

Finally I also bit the bullet and had my hair cut. After seeing the various photos from the blog meet in Walsall I could no longer ignore the fact my hair was in shocking need of a cut.

I toyed with going for the usual trim, but in the end decided to go with the urge that had overcome me to have the whole damn lot chopped off!
After the initial wake up next morning having forgotten new haircut WTF??? in the bathroom mirror I love it.

Outfit = 1970's sundress from C&A, Cardigan from Sainsburys, poppy brooch made by me.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Sherlock Holmes and The 39 Steps.

Well this post is very late! I meant to post earlier honest, I don't know what went wrong.

Anyway on Halloween we took ourselves off to The Big Smoke for our anniversary. First stop was a quick visit to 'Poirot's' block of flats in Charterhouse Square, well we were so close by it would have been rude not too.
Just beautiful. *happy sigh*

We then mooched along the road enjoying the glorious sunshine until we reached The Museum of London where we had tickets for the Sherlock Holmes Exhibition.
Himself told me to stand by the poster for a blog picture, I have no idea why I'm doing that granny handbag arm thing, I never hold my bag like that usually, weird.....

As it was Halloween I decided to wear my Vivian of Holloway skull and crossbones dress.
I'm ashamed to say this is the first time I have ever worn it, it's been hanging in the wardrobe ever since I bought it. As you can imagine it cost quite a bit (ok, a lot) and if I'm honest I was too scared to try it on in case it didn't fit.

What an idiot.

We both enjoyed the exhibition but agreed it was too small, it was like you were just getting into it and the next thing you turned the corner and were outside!
Basically you came out wanting more. When you keep in mind it was mostly about the history of Sherlock Holmes on stage and screen it would have been great to have seen much more about the behind the scenes side of things, the planning, the casting, the characterization, things like that.

The Victorian London of the books was depicted by various period photos, paintings and etchings, all of locations mentioned in the stories. Personally I particularly liked the part of the exhibition that showed the different aspects of Holmes's character, all in all very interesting.

My big complaint though is that the Jeremy Brett Sherlock, to me the definitive Holmes, was hardly to be seen!

After the museum we mooched past St Paul's
down Fleet Street and along the embankment
There we caught the tube with a handful of zombies and a few witches all heading to Oxford Street. From where we walked to Piccadilly to see The 39 Steps.
We did call in at our favourite London pub for a cheeky drink or two first.
not telling you where it is or everyone will start going! ;-)

The show was fantastic, I highly recommend it. It is a comedy based on the Alfred Hitchcock film of the book.
 The cast is made up of only 4 members who play all the 130 odd characters from the film! 
It's very cleverly done and very funny.
They certainly shoe in a lot of Hitchcock references which is an added extra, I especially loved the paper cutout who did the famous Alfred 'cameo'.

Sadly after the theatre it was time to go home due to a super early last train home. We dived into Tesco to buy a couple of beers for the journey, queuing up behind yet more zombies and a ghoul or two.
The underground station was also full of zombies all heading out towards Eros, it made me feel like Cinders having to go home early and miss all the fun.

Having said that by the time I got home all I was fit for was bed and sleep. Poor old duck, no wonder I've started carrying my handbag like my Nan!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Rock, Shops and a Lovely Cup of Tea.

Well my action packed October continues apace.

So far I have been to Paris for work, been to London for work and been to Walsall for pleasure.

I have been out for dinner four times, been to the cinema twice and to the theatre once. I have shopped much, eaten much and walked far.

Quite frankly I am skint, fat and knackered!  

Last weekend was no different. I crammed in a visit to good old Witney with Soo, to oooh and ahh over Melissa and her other half Dan's gorgeous new house and to visit the shops (of course!)

We three shopped up a storm, stopping only for a bite of lunch. We did all the chazza's where I found this magnificent teapot in one for the princely sum of £2.

It was filthy but I loved the shape. A bit of elbow grease later, it's gleaming and I'm thrilled with my purchase. Sadly no genie with wishes for me so it's back to work.
I also found a couple of Christmas presents, yes, yes I've said the 'C' word but it's always a relief to get the first present out the way. Oh and my Dad's birthday present too which is even more of a relief to find.

Soo and I went to see the stage version of Rock of Ages, but please don't hold that against us.
It is a lot cruder and much darker than the film version. As far as musicals go it is truly appalling but we laughed our heads off and had a great night out.

I also took a day off work last week to catch up on some much needed sleep and to try and get my chaotic home under control again.
I blitzed the place, I have 4 bags ready for a charity shop of my choice in town and have listed a shedload of stuff on the Bay of E.

I feel relieved, like I am gaining that control again, there is more to do but much progress has been made.

October ends tomorrow and goes out with a bang. It's not just Halloween, it's our Anniversary.

We are off to London.

First up the Sherlock Holmes Exhibition at the Museum of London followed by The 39 Steps at the Criteron Theatre.

I am very, very excited but as Himself quite rightly pointed out how middle aged does it sound? Spending our anniversary at a museum followed by a theatre show?