Monday, 27 January 2014

Cinema, Shopping and Bad Dresses.

So to fill in a bit more of what I have been up to in my blogging hiatus. I've still been wearing my wardrobe from the back to the front.I have decided providing the dress actually fits, I have to wear it for a whole day to be absolutely sure.
It has meant some weird and some wonderful and some most definitely unflattering outfits!

Unlike the first week, sadly the ones that followed have not been so successful, they have resulted in only 2 keepers, one possible and the rest out. I have been left wondering why on earth I bothered to keep such unflattering frocks in the first place, perhaps I was hoping if I lost half a stone they might magically become 'the' dress who knows? frankly I think I just lost the plot, and clearly more than once.
It's funny really as I wouldn't say I was hugely fashion conscious, but it's incredible how wearing bad fitting or unflattering clothes makes you feel really uncomfortable and well a bit low, especially after a whole week of one outfit after another. So much so I did go back to a few wardrobe faithfuls here and there just because I wanted to be wearing something nice for once.

Right now I'm having a wee wardrobe break as I am off work this week and unless I am out and about that means chilling out wear (ie; the stuff I slob around the house in)
Today I was in a keeper, (a little Hell Bunny number I forgot I had *cough*) as I had stuff to do in town and I thought I'd pay a visit to the Chazzas too.
There is a new one in town which is for a local charity and I think it will be worth keeping an eye on. I didn't have a huge amount of time and it is an absolute jumbled mess but I scored a few bits never the less.

A couple of Babycham glasses for £2.50 and a rather lovely hat for £3.00.I'll definitely go back with more time to really get rooting round in there.

I also had to pop into Wilkinsons and ended up getting a load of seeds as it was buy two get one free.
here's to the spring, if it ever stops raining. As usual I got soaked coming home today, this seems to be all I ever see when I open the curtains.

Other than bad outfits I have also been to the cinema not once but three times. Whilst I enjoyed all three films they weren't exactly easy viewing.

First up was the Railway Man.
Himself was not a fan, and admittedly there were points we agreed on, like in the right hands this film could have gone from just good to truly outstanding.I did find it incredibly moving and thought provoking.

This was followed by 12 Years a Slave.
Wow what a film. Well deserving of all the awards that have been showered on it, just incredible. If you haven't already go and see it! Go, go!
I will confess I was worried it would make me hate Michael Fassbender (as if) but thankfully not, monstrous as his character was, that person was a creature of it's time and upbringing.

Finally Philomena
Himself wouldn't go and see this when it first came out but when it appeared on 'Take Two Tuesday' he agreed to give it a go. Whilst again it was not of the calibre of 12 Years a Slave I did really enjoy it.
It has to be said in some ways it was the hardest film of the three to stomach. They were all about man's inhumanity to man, but somehow the ice cold and heartless cruelty meted out by people who are meant to be Christians was the most shocking of all.

Those three certainly left me with plenty to mull over and certainly didn't help lift my frame of mind any! I would recommend all three just not one after another like I did them.

I shall finish on a lighter note. Jenny bought me this wonderful Art Deco reproduction elephant bowl. I absolutely love it and felt I had to buy some flowers straight away to show it of in all it's splender.

I think it will look stunning when they open fully.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Afternoon Tea and a Tale of WW1

On Friday I meet with Soo and Jenny for afternoon tea and present exchanging, we haven't managed to coincide our diaries before now so it was a somewhat belated Christmas for us!

I got a finger wag telling off from Soo for not having blogged for weeks and rightly so, I was going to last weekend but in a mad moment I decided to randomly move pieces of bedroom furniture and deal with whatever this revealed, the dust was like geographical strata in some corners - shocking!
 I am a bad one for hoovering up to, but not behind objects, anyway I did find a couple of earrings so it wasn't all bad.

Now if I were a blogger worth my salt I would have some marvelous photos of our tea and the fab surroundings but quite frankly I was more interested in the food, and the company of course. So I have blatantly nicked these pictures off the internet.
I didn't know Bill's was a chain, but apparently it is. I had been recommended it by various people at work for an evening meal but when we saw they also did afternoon tea we decided to check it out.

As Jenny reminded me we had been in this building, which I believe is an old chapel, once before. That time it was for one of those poster sales that always seemed to happen when the new academic year started, and as Jenny had just started university at the time we were looking for stuff to cover the walls of her room with. For years after that it was a soup kitchen for the homeless, I really hope that has moved to a new premises somewhere and not just gone for good.

Inside is light and airy and somewhat bizarrely kitted out in the baroque industrial style, with touches of baptist chapel, but you know what? it works
The atmosphere is chilled, we were there for the best part of 3 hours and not once made to feel like we were overstaying our welcome. The food was delicious and I loved the fact you got a bloody massive pot of tea each, marvelous. 
There wasn't masses of food I have to say, but as it turns out it was just the right amount with no left overs. I will definitely have to try here one evening soon.

Before we had tea we went for a browse in Arcadia a wonderful teeny tiny shop bursting with pretty things, they also happen to sell secondhand books and old postcards.
Soo and I love reading the postcards and both still regret not buying one we found from an outraged father to his daughter demanding to know the name of the person who had SHINGLED HER HAIR!
Anyway we were all three busy reading snippets out to each other when the owner asked us if we would like to hear a story to do with postcards. It was wonderful and I hope I do it justice when I tell it here, we were all rapt as he recounted it.

He said one day a lady came into the shop and started sorting through the postcards like a woman on a mission. He said she caught his attention because not only was she sorting them into 2 piles her hands were shaking badly as she did it. He said he started to worry he might be having to call an ambulance as she was clearly agitated and sweat had started to trickle from her forehead too, but she finished sorting and gave him one of the piles and said 'I'd like to buy these please'.
He saw they were all sweetheart postcards from the First World War and written in the same hand. The lady explained that she had been contacted by another woman who said 'I believe you are the granddaughter of...'
It turns out this random stranger was a fan of genealogy and had bought 3 or 4 of the postcards the week previously.
Having realised they were written by the same person and being struck by the beautiful loving way they were written had decided to try and trace the author. It turned out the lady with the shaking hands was indeed the granddaughter, and that not only had her grandfather survived the war he had gone on to marry the sweetheart he wrote too.
Even more romantic was the fact his sweetheart's parents had not approved of him so the pair had eloped on his return and lived a long and happy life together. Apparently they had both died in the mid 1970s and there had been some issue with the house and contents, items had disappeared, the postcards being one of them.

Now here's the amazing and wonderful thing. The shop owner collects postcards as well as sells them and he said only that week previously he had sorted through his private collection and decided to clear some of the duplicates etc and sell them in the shop.
When he looked closely at the lady's postcards he realised not only were they some of those from his personal collection but he also had more of them at home.
So he took the lady's number and said he would hunt them out for her. When he went home and sorted through he realised that not only did he have more, but they happened to be the first ever collection he had ever bought in 1975!

He was so moved by how beautiful they were he had bought them as a job lot rather than see them broken up. The lady came back the following week bringing with her the genealogy lady who had contacted her about them and was happily reunited with her grandfather as a young man in love.

Now as the shop owner said of course it's probably just coincidence but what were the chances that he would have bought them all in 1975, and kept them all until that very week when the genealogy lady came into the shop, and that she would decide to do her research........

Serendipity indeed.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

To The Horizon Or As Far As The Eye Can See.

There would be quite a lot of water. It has rained rather a lot lately and this is the result
That is not a river running straight down this picture but one of the main roads into the city of Oxford.
and this is why I have been having a few problems getting into work (I commute by train) Would you believe they managed to keep the track open for most of the week running an hourly shuttle service with some poor bugger having to stand thigh deep in water manually changing the points! I know people like to slag off the train service in this country, and I'll be the first to complain about the astronomically high fares, but they do often have a lot to contend with when it comes to the weather in the U.K.

It never ceases to amaze me at how shocked some people in this country get when the water starts to rise, we even made the national news for 3 nights in a row!
Most locals know it is a hazard of choosing to live in this beautiful rural area. When you bear in mind 'Oxford' was derived from 'Oxen ford' meaning 'where the land is low enough to lead oxen across the river' and that it is in the 'Thames Valley' the clues are in the names as they say.
Villages get cut off but people prepare. My parents are currently stuck in their village, but they went out just before the worst and did a massive food shop so are snug and safe.

Having said that, the flooding of the city itself and many homes within it in recent years, only happens because they keep building more and more houses on the flood plains.
Those fields were called flood plains for a reason which the stupid greedy builders, and the stupid even greedier councilors like to forget.
They throw up hundreds of  houses and are long gone before any problems occur, the water has to go somewhere and now the fields are gone sadly that somewhere is straight into people's homes. Ironically it's not the new houses with the flood problem, but ones that have been there for decades up until now with no issues, that are suddenly under water. Can you tell I am not a fan of my local council??  Biggest bunch of crooks going!

Anyway on Friday the rain had stopped and the cold weather arrived with a vengeance so all that water froze. That meant definitely no trains so I worked from home. Another first in all of my 20 plus years of working and something I could get used to very quickly I think.
It was lovely to be wrapped up in a huge scruffy jumper, drinking tea and blaring music, and best of all no phone ringing nonstop!

This week has been an interesting one outfit-wise. I decided to take everything out of one of my wardrobes over the weekend. I had finally managed to get my hands on some Liquid Gold
as recommended by other vintage furniture loving bloggers for it's magical wood restorative powers. I must admit I was sceptical, but the wardrobe which I love (and was given by my Nan much to my Dad's chagrin as it had been his 21st birthday present so not her's to give away) had got some bad scratches (also something my Dad was very cross about as it was in immaculate condition before I got my mitts on it) so I figured there was nothing to loose. I will point out the scratches happened when we moved house and not due to my wanton neglect!

I'm very happy to report Liquid Gold is as good as it's reputation. All but the very worst scratches are completely gone, and those worst ones are hardly noticable at all now.
I'm thrilled and I'm sure my Dad will (begrudgingly) be too.

Anyway once the wardrobe had been treated I hung stuff back in and found various dresses that I'd either forgotten about or genuinely didn't know I had. I decided some could go but others I decided to wear and see if I liked them or not, thinking there must have been a reason I left them hidden at the back of the cupboard!
The green one below still had price tags on it for heaven's sake, what is that all about? I never usually buy something and then shove it in the wardrobe without even trying it on?!? I am firm about taking stuff back if it isn't right, so how did it slip through the net?
This picture shows most of them. I'm pleased to report that so far 3 are definitely keepers, (including the green one!) and one is in the 'maybe' pile.
The dress I wore on Monday was a £1.04 Ebay bargain that turned out to be much too big for me hence it languishing unloved in the wardrobe, but I stuck on a belt and put a cardigan over the top to try it out anyway. I got so many compliments that it went straight into the mending pile and last night I started putting darts in to make it fit better.
As it's in the mending pile no picture, but here is the one from Ebay when I bought it, and as you can see even the seller had put a belt on it to give it shape!

I've decided there is too much unloved clothing in my cupboards, I have been working my way through my other wardrobe wearing things and if they aren't quite right they go.

 I've been feeling kind of restless with my clothes for want of a better way of describing it. I end up circulating the same few outfits and the rest just sit there. This needs to change.

Mind you I undo all my good work by buying more, it was ever thus.

I shall leave you with a picture of my newest bargain sale purchase, Himself is not sure I can pull it off.
What does he know? What do I know? maybe he's right. we shall see.

Oh and here is my sock reindeer, I have called him Neville because I made him whilst watching Harry Potter on TV.
The kit was a Christmas present, it had the instructions but was missing it's pattern pieces so I decided to take a chance a wing it without them. I'm very pleased with the result.