Saturday, 26 April 2014

A Tree, a Dress and Some Cats.

It's been a week of randomness so apologies in advance for a meandery post. I hope you all had a good Easter? I most certainly did and somehow ended up with a respectable haul of chocolate even though I specifically told everyone not to buy me any!

We went to my parents for lunch in Easter Monday but not before I had to belt down into town as soon as the shops open to replace a picture frame I had bought on the Saturday. It was a large clip-it frame for a poster I've been meaning to do something with for ages, Himself had kindly volunteered to come down and carry it home for me so I took advantage of him and bought some other bits as well (hehe).
The frame arrived home in one piece but when I went to lift it to unpack it the glass just exploded!?! I can only assume it must have had a fault in it, it certainly broke in spectacular fashion, as you can imagine I was NOT a happy bunny.

As ever Mother fed us to within an inch of our lives, the meal included her famous black forest trifle *happy sigh*
We got home in time to catch the first episode of Jamaica Inn. I was looking forward to seeing it as I am a fan of Daphne Du Maurier but sadly the show did not do the book justice, what a shame.

Now my Mama has been busy crafting sock cats with her ladies for their latest Age U.K table sale, she already has a positive herd of them, I should have taken a picture, they look so cute all together but I didn't.
Instead I will share with you the two I now own, one was from a pair of my stripy socks and the other from a pair of American flag ones that I bought when I went into town and got Mum a whole batch of different patterned socks for her cats.

Behold Winston and Captain Americat

She had an order last week from one of her ladies for a purple cat so I called in at Peacocks to buy her a pack of pink and purple socks I had seen there. This of course meant I ended up buying something for myself!  
They have had some cute tea dresses in there and I ended up getting this pale green one reduced as the neck was damaged, nothing that I couldn't fix, it's in the wash right now so I pinched this picture of the tinternet
I was also on the hunt for something to re-pot my contorted willow tree into. I resent the fact that a garden centre will charge £50 or more for a large plastic pot when you can get a big toy box or similar on the high street for a fraction of the cost, which is exactly what I did.

 This big blue box cost me £6.99 from Poundland, Himself drilled some drainage holes in the bottom, I put in a layer of crocks and a bag and a half of compost and the job was done.

We also got some edging to go round the strawberries to make it easier to put a net over them when the fruit comes. Himself did a splendid job building what he called a strawberry fort. Unfortunately the local cats thought what he had actually built was a marvelous big outdoor litter tray!
Yuck, yuck, yuck.
I have laid sticks across in the hope this will deter them until I can get the net over it.
I have made another couple of purchases this week. I was seduced by a new mascara in Boots. I have had a long, long quest now to find a new mascara. I was deeply in love with Bourjois 'Coup de Theatre' mascara but they discontinued it, then brought it out again but it was completely different *weeps*
Ever since then I have strived in vain to find one to match it.
I saw many bloggers raving about Benefit 'They're Real' Mascara, I tried it, I did not get on with it AT ALL, frankly I have no idea what all the fuss was about! I think it is rubbish.
Of the two I preferred their 'Bad Gal Lash' though this always ends up leaving me looking like a panda after a couple of hours.

At the moment I am using this new Bourjois one 
'Clubbing Volume Mascara', it's ok, but it's not amazing. The big negative is it has a really horrible brush, I actually ended up shaping it a bit better with nail scissors but it's still not great, I wouldn't buy it again.
Anyway I was in Boots and I spotted this one
Of course it was the deep red glittery tube that made me buy it, that and the fact it was on a special offer of course.
I haven't tried it yet, I will finish the Bourjois one up first, but lets hope the sparkly scarletty loveliness of the tube is not it's only good point.

Right, I have to go as I am being dragged out to see Spiderman by Himself who is adamant I MUST see it hmmmm.

I will leave you with a picture of the pretty bracelet I bought in London last week. It has an old tape measure inside it
and the notebook I bought for my Mum in Paperchase, isn't he ace?

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Two Go Adventuring Again.

This time it was up to Old London Town in search of jewels, not just any jewels either.
We were there to see the amazing Cheapside Hoard.

The exhibition has been on for quite a while now, in fact it is almost over, but we didn't manage to coordinate ourselves before now. (We being Soo and I, I can't imagine Himself getting excited about seeing jewels!)
To give an overview this is an amazing collection of  priceless 16th and 17th century jewellery with a huge mystery attached to it. The hoard was found in 1912 by some workmen renovating a house in Cheapside. No one has ever been able to establish who it belonged too or why it was hidden beneath the cellar floor. It seems back in those days what a workman found a workman could keep, no treasure trove laws to worry about so the workmen whisked the chest of jewels off to 'Stoney Jack' an antique dealer/pawn broker who also happened to work for a couple of London museums. He at once recognised the collections great importance and bought the lot, to be split between 3 museums. This is the first time the collection has been seen whole in 100 years.

Now as you can imagine security was tight, no bags and no coats allowed in the exhibition and certainly no pictures!
But the beauty and fine, fine detail of some of the work was just jaw dropping. They actually provide magnifying glasses so you can examine up close and really it is just incredible, especially when you see the fairly basic tools of the trade from the time and the fact they worked by the naked eye alone.

It was also fascinating to see how styles and tastes changed over the decades, especially in the Elizabethan Era and there were many items that would not look at all out of place in a jeweller's shop today. 
Seriously just google images of the Cheapside Hoard and feast your eyes on it's splendour. There were a couple of crosses, a stunning huge square cut sapphire ring and a Moonstone ring carved into an angel that were my top choice.

After all that glory what else can you do but go and have lunch? We had a sandwich in the museum cafe before having a 'speed tourist' zip round the rest of the collections. The place was packed mostly with school groups and families where due to the noise level most found they simply must shriek louder and louder to compete with each other, we left before our eardrums burst.

With no particular plans and a glorious spring afternoon ahead of us we decided to head towards St Paul's and see where our feet took us.
We meandered down Fleet Street where all eras jostle together, medieval, victorian, art deco, 20th century
Tudor, squirrels

 As Bill Bryson says, walk down any British high street and it pays to look up!

 We ended up at The Temple and what a beautiful and serene area of London this is, it's hard to believe you are slap bang in the middle of the city. They had the most delightful set of courtyard gardens, each different, god I would love to have the job of maintaining them!

 We ambled along the embankment for a bit before heading back to the underground and home. We decided to round the day off with dinner at the pub, just perfect.

Other than that I have done nothing more exciting than take a trip to the garden centre with my parents and then, well, garden. It's starting to take shape even if I haven't started tackling the main flowerbeds yet. Now the weather has changed and I am stuck indoors with plenty of jobs to do but no inclination.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

I've Looked At Life From All Sides Now,

So as it turned out our visitor had a last minute change of plans and wasn’t able to visit after all. This meant, in theory I got to move all my stuff straight back into the front bedroom but true to my word I decided to have a thorough sort through first. It was a kind of grey showery weekend so instead of going outside to garden I stayed in and de-cluttered instead.
 It never ceases to amaze me how tiring it can be, it’s not like I was hefting heavy stuff around or anything, mostly I was sat on my bum with a drawer or box on my lap going through the contents, but after 5 or 6 hours I was knackered. I suppose, especially with personal stuff and paperwork that you have to concentrate on, it can be emotionally and mentally draining.Well that's my excuse anyway.

By Sunday evening the job was pretty much done. The room is still full of my stuff, no fear of me ever going minimalist! But I did have a satisfying 1 sack for charity, 2 sacks of recycling and 2 bags of rubbish.
I found a hilarious old picture of my brother and some equally bad ones of me, including my college i.d which showed me with my ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ Bonnie Tyler haircut. Yes people I actually took the album into the salon and asked to have my hair ‘like that please’! 

Dear oh dear.

My underwear drawer is also in the front bedroom and I did that thing of finding a really pretty bra at the back of the drawer and thinking ’How lovely, why do I not wear this??’ I duly put on said bra the following morning and trotted off to work. 




By the time I got home I knew EXACTLY why the bra had been consigned to the back of the drawer!
Now only another woman (or man, if that is what floats his boat) who has ever spent the day in a really uncomfortable bra can know the sheer, utter, joyous relief of whipping that baby off the minute you have shut your front door behind you. This time round it is going to wing it’s way to Oxfam (who have a wonderful charitable scheme for unwanted bras) and most definitely NOT going back into the drawer.

I did take some time out to go and see 'Captain America – The Winter Soldier' on Saturday. It was good, but not really my cup of tea. Strange really when you think how much I loved the first film.  

We also went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel before it closed. I did enjoy it, and Ralph Fiennes is just amazing in it.

Actually it's been a busy week  because I also went out with friends to try the ‘New’ menu at the pub opposite the station. It turns out the new menu is basically just the old one but with all the less popular choices taken off it!
 I stuck with the good old Macaroni cheese and garlic bread. They also do a very decent house white for £8.99 a bottle, it would have been rude not too have that too.
 Sadly no extreme wood sports on the big screens this time round, which was probably a good job as we were busy chatting, though we did get interrupted by the table next to us asking us for answers to questions on the pub quiz! Could they tell just from appearances that we were all ex-librarians?

Friday night we were double booked with drinks with Melissa and Dan to celebrate their engagement (I can safely say I don't think I have been so thrilled about an engagement since my own.) and Nephew Number One playing a support slot at the O2 in Oxford.
We managed to skillfully juggle both by finely tuning our times, this meant joining Melissa and Dan for a swift couple of beers first, then dashing up the Cowley Road to see the Nephew before dashing back for more beer before catching the train home. 
All in all a cracking night and I am now the owner of some rather splendid beer glasses (that we christened tonight with a bottle of fizz.)
I loved them for their shape, basically they are giant Babycham glasses and Himself loved them because they said 'La Trappe' on the side (The Trap is a Northern term for the toilet.) 
I know this may offend some but I'm afraid I have no compunction about re-purposing a beer glass if I like the look of it.

This week I also shortened the chain on the magnificent necklace I mentioned last week, here it is in all it's stupendously mad glory.

I've had a great week but today I am in a funk, I found out my Alexander Technique teacher died just before Christmas and it has knocked me, I knew she was ill but I hadn't realised how serious it was this time, well that's not strictly true, lets just say I didn't want to accept how bad it was, but dreaded it must be because I hadn't heard from her in a few months.

 I had been working with her for about 15 years and she was just one of the most wonderful people you could wish to know.
So damn lovely, and life just kept throwing crap at her, including a very rare form of cancer, and yet I only saw her downhearted twice despite it all.
Somehow she always managed to see some good and turn things to the positive, I hate that she is gone and I shall miss her.

It really makes you realise you really should grab every moment and live life to the full, a lesson that was brought home to me twice more this week.
Once by hearing an ex-colleague of about my age had had a stroke, and then by chatting last night with my brother's best friend Mark who has just thankfully recovered from a 4th round of heart surgery.
He said my brother worries more about him than he does about himself!
 They can't really fix his heart and he knows the next time could well be the last, and that that next time could be at any moment, amazingly he isn't at all scared, in fact he was incredibly chilled, at peace with life and himself, he said he has made the decision to just live every minute to the max so if his heart does stop he won't have wasted a moment.
It certainly makes you reassess, think about wasted time and the luck of the draw when it comes to things like health.The fact that right now I have good health and yet I have got very lazy again and am eating too much of the wrong stuff again, I have gained weight again etc.

Time to jump back on the wagon and grab those reins.....

First stop to soothe my soul, (and help my waistline) was doing some hard graft in the garden yesterday. The veggie patch is 3/4 dug and mulched and strawberries, peas, onions and potatoes are planted.

Today I plan to get out there and start tackling the flowerbeds. I also need to find some decent small branches to bring in the house to decorate for Easter. One of my Mum's traditions that I love. 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Comedy, Music and Shopping.

Hello, hello it's been a while. I didn't blog because I had been a boring old fart and done absolutely nothing worth mentioning and then I didn't blog because I was too damn busy gadding (or gladragging to give it it's full 1920's title) about town.

First up I went to a retirement do at the library. It was the first time I have been back there since being given the boot, and I nearly bottled out. In the end I'm glad I didn't, it was lovely to catch up with people like my first ever boss, but it did feel weird, very, very weird to be back.

From there I went to the pub as you do, where I drank wine and ate a big bag of Wotsits for my dinner, god I love being a grown up sometimes.

From there Himself and I went to see the comedian Richard Herring for his latest tour 'We are all going to die!' As ever he was very clever and very funny, a good way to end the day. Well I say that. The show finished a little earlier than we expected so Himself decided we should walk the long way home and have another drink.
You get an interesting crowd in the pub at that time of night and the big screens were on showing Extreme Wood Sports, I kid you not. I was mesmerized! You have 2 teams of 4 against the clock chopping and sawing the heck out of bits of wood in a tag team. Bloody mental, Canada won which seemed only right somehow.

 We left the pub and it was absolutely hammering down, my poor Curtise boots got soaked right through, what a christening for them. Thankfully they lived to tell the tale.

This was followed by a few days off work and a trip to the seaside. Himself to stay with his friend and me to stay with my sister.
She was a bit more all over than usual but it was her last day of work having been laid off. She is actually delighted about it as she had come to loathe her job but still it is an odd feeling.
We bought a couple of bottles of fizzy stuff and toasted new starts.

I have to say it wasn't the most comfortable of stays as the wee air mattress she had bought for me to use went down steadily overnight so I had hardly any sleep.
I know I'm not the most sylph-like of creatures but I wouldn't say I was hefty enough to flatten a mattress, we came to the conclusion it must have had a hole somewhere. Ho hum.

Thankfully after the most insane storm on friday where trees and houses got struck, the weather at the weekend was glorious. We sat on the front steps drinking Prosecco whilst we waited for her other half and our friend Kay to arrive.
 I managed to take a picture of our feet by accident

as you can see we are all about the slipper glamour!

I am in black and before you ask yes I do have ridiculously small feet for a tall person.

Kay and I headed off to Margate old town to browse. In some ways it's great to see it busy again but on the other my god they have jumped with both feet onto the retro vintage bandwagon and I fear what will happen when that bubble bursts again.
Everything was ferociously expensive, Vix's wall of misery were £25 a pop! I also tried and negotiated a rather splendid bubblegum pink, white and blue 70's frock for dear Vix but the woman would not drop the price as it would make a 'great fancy dress costume' Hmm

All I came away with was a 1970's Snoopy mirror from a charity shop for £1.99 and a lovely purple 1980's tartan skirt for £3.50

It won't fit me as is but I'm hoping I can do something with it. I did buy a mental necklace in a pop-up shop but I need to change the chain so more of that at a later date.

I must share with you the magnificent toilets of the cafe we had lunch in
and whilst I'm at it my sister's fabulous kitchen. Every time I visit her flat is different, she loves interior design and is always changing her look.
From the old town we headed up the High Street because there is a Primark in Margate and every time I visit I absolutely have to call in, why on earth you may ask?
well for this actually
The best panoramic views of Margate beach in the world! It used to be a cafe which must have been wonderful. Imagine eating with that view to gaze upon.

 After that I caught up with my sister and her fella at their jive class. As I have 2 left feet I sat and watched before we headed out to stuff our faces in the resaurant of the hotel at the end of her road. Then it was home for more wine and bed or slowly deflating through the night in my case.

Himself and I linked up on Sunday to visit his parents before heading home. They were in good spirits though neither is at all well, it was good to catch up though.

It was also good to get home to a lovely freshly made bed. Bliss.

Monday we were off to London to see Daughtry. I bought Himself the tickets as he really likes the band and I felt the need to make amends for dragging him to see Gary Numan! (who he did not really like at all)
For those not in the know, the front man was in the final of American Idol a couple of years back and has an incredible voice.
 He did not disappoint live, he sang solid for 2 hours, the rest of the band even went off for a break and he came on alone with an acoustic guitar and just played on!
It was the last night of the tour so the band took this picture. I'm in there somewhere, to the right of the sound desk....
I decided to give the pirate dress an outing, it is actually slightly too big which was quite gratifying, especially after my week-end of indulgence.
Who doesn't love a frock with pockets?

No head because I hadn't put my face on yet and me sans make-up is not something I need to scare you with on here!
Other than that my boots absolutely mullered my feet and I have the mother of all blisters, the train took twice as long to get home than usual, Oh! and we found, or should I say I found, what could only be described at the worst Wetherspoons ever, like in the world ever. It was horrific in every detail, but especially the clientele, I felt quite proud of myself. It's the one in the tatty shopping mall in Shepherd's Bush in case you ever feel the need to test it.

Tuesday we had wisely booked of work as we thought we might be home late so after a mammoth lie-in I decided to hit the charity shops. There was the usual uninspiring toot in the main shops, though I did score a couple of Hawaiian shirts for Himself, he is a big fan of a Hawaiian shirt. I struck gold in the smaller local charity ones.
Hanging pockety thing with elephants and an elephant bedspread
Teal cardigan grrr
nautical style tee
Awesome bright green plastic shopper
 And the piece de resistance......
Genuine Homemaker £6  = get in!
There were other pieces but I only had a tenner on me and some of them were very very well used. I actually sorted through the few sets of cups and plates to match up the ones in best condition bacause you have to do these things right?

Anyway I am away, we have a visitor this weekend and I must clear the front bedroom of all of my 'stuff' Good lord. I have seriously vowed to sort thoroughly before it goes near going back in, the amount of shit I have is insane.

Hoarder Next Door anyone?