Monday, 20 April 2015

A Sunny Cotswolds Outing and a Bit of a Shopping Frenzy.

This gorgeous weather has been hanging around hasn't it? Soo and I were long overdue a get together and we decided an outing was in order.
It was Soo who picked Cirencester from the list of possible options because I have never been any good at making a choice.
It's somewhere neither of us had been before and visiting in the glorious sunshine certainly showed it at it's very best.

The shops are an interesting mix of expensive boutiques, independent, charity, and just a smattering of high street chains.
Indeed many charity shops had 2 branches in what is not a huge town centre. The prices were higher than your average, but then this is an expensive/touristy area.

Cirencester also gave me a few firsts.

One of them being in all my years of chazza shopping, never did I think I would ever find myself singing along to The Sisters of Mercy whist rooting through the rails!!
There was also a woman in the Red Cross shop who was so damn rude we very childishly flicked v's at the shop when we drove past it later. Nothing like being a mature adult hehe.

We had been recommended 'Handmade By Bob' for lunch but it was packed and with a queue so we carried on shopping and stumbled across 'The Cotswold Artisan Coffee Shop' in the Bishops Walk arcade.
What a find! The ciabatta's were delicious, but the star of the show was the chocolate and salted caramel brownies, handmade by the lady who runs the shop with her husband.




I don't think I will ever be able to eat another brownie again, nothing could possibly compare to the sheer heaven of this chocolaty caramel filled delight.

I liked Cirencester, and what was really lovely to see was the sheer number of independent shops and things like good old fashioned greengrocers and butchers, this was most definitely not a high street in decline.

On the way home we decided to stop off at Bibury.
Tiny, very beautiful and overrun with tourists!

There was a wee antique shop run by an elderly couple who clearly just buy bits and pieces at jumble sales and flog them to tourists for a decent profit.
Mind when we went in the lady was having kittens at the fact a young German couple were looking at teapots for the girl to use for flower arranging and NOT drinking tea from!?!

So what did I buy on my lovely day out? A couple of floaty tops.

A starfish sunburst brooch.
A cheeky blue cat for a pound.
A lovely patent kelly bag that turned out to be real leather and came up beautifully after a good polish.
and a couple of sale necklaces in Dorothy Perkins £3 each that I couldn't resist.

Ok, ok I know you all really want to know about the shopping frenzy. I've been going a bit mad, I don't really know why but on the whole it's been bargains and I'm pretty darn pleased with my purchases.
There been the nautical

There's another striped top but that is in the wash.

The floral 

The bardot top

and finally this gorgeous waistcoat from Kinky Melon (aka Vix) which I am doing battle with Himself over.
The best bit? Not a single item cost more than £20 and most cost significantly less.




Monday, 13 April 2015

Profoundly Lovely Blog Party

So Mim of Crinoline Robot has nominated me to join this, like her I dip in and out of joining in after being nominated for these sort of question and answer type blog round ups.
She's suspecting me of having wisdom I suspect I may disappoint!

However here goes....

1. Tell me about something you love and why?
Gardening. It’s hard to describe really, but for me it is the thing that soothes the savage beast as they say. I feel my cares lift the minute I get amongst my flowerbeds, sometimes it’s only for the few hours I’m out there, but mostly I find things seem to somehow work themselves out in my head whilst I potter about thinking of nothing in particular. 

My first ever job was in a plant nursery where they worked me like a dog. I was completely exhausted at the end of each day but I loved every minute of it, well apart from the time I had an allergic reaction to the growth powder they put on the hyacinth bulbs to make them bloom in time for Christmas.
Oh and the other time when I had to remove a large dead rat from middle of the shop floor after someone nearly stepped on it.......
As it turned out I didn’t make my career in horticulture but it’s certainly a big joy in my life.  

2. What is one thing you do that makes you feel like "I could do this forever"?
Drinking tea!
Seriously now, I think I must say Reading, the sheer joy of losing myself in a good book cannot be beaten.
 It’s no surprise I ended up working in a library for so very  many years. I just wish I could find more time to indulge in this pleasure.
3. What do you love about yourself?
My sense of humour and my joie de vivre. As someone who has suffered from depression but found their way through, I think I find more delight in life now. I appreciate things more because once you have been in the very deepest dark, the bright beauty of the day is all the more beautiful.

If we are talking physical attributes I used to be damn proud of my behind. Sadly age, greed and laziness have all caught up with me and it, alas it’s no longer the firm peach it once was. So instead I’ll go with my eyes which I have always liked.
They are half green and half blue. Not one of each like David Bowie but top half green bottom half blue for each eye, it's unusual and I like their quirkiness.

4. What advice would you give to someone who doesn't believe he/she is beautiful?
Now that is a hard one because if someone is really in that place, whatever you say to them they probably won’t believe you anyway. 
It’s so much easier to look in the mirror and see the faults rather than the good things. I think my inclination would be to listen more than advise. Ask them why they feel that way.  
Having had so many self doubts myself it breaks my heart when I see someone beating themselves up or thinking they don’t deserve any better.

Be kind to yourself and to others. There are a great many people in this world who are superficial and shallow, to whom beauty is literally skin deep, but there are an equal number who see the beauty of the soul. 
My Nan always used to say “you get the face you deserve” The older I get the more I see there’s truth in that statement. Think about all the people who at first glance might be pretty but on closer inspection have sour faces or hard mouths because they are never satisfied with life.
Then think of the person who at first glance looks lined and weary, but then you see the twinkling eyes and the gorgeous smile and the goodness glowing out of them. Now there was a wise old bird, my Nan.

5. What is the best piece of advice you've ever received about confidence?
You know I wrack my brains and I genuinely can’t recall a single piece of advice on confidence.

The only thing that springs to mind is when I did a coaching session for speaking in public. Something I can now do if I have to, but something that I never have, and never will enjoy. The guy said if you do dry up just pause, take a breath and carry on because no one is sitting there waiting and willing you to fail. More likely they are actually sitting willing you to do well. 
On the whole that seems to be the case, though there was one girl in the front row of one presentation I did recently who looked so apoplectic with rage the whole time I was talking, I was thankful she was nowhere near any kind of implement with which to run amok. 
Most off putting.

6. If you were your own daughter/son, what important things would you tell yourself/them?
Sorry love, no matter how much you truly believe it WILL happen, you aren’t actually going to marry said actor/rockstar (delete as applicable) that you swoon over.
I know this because I am living proof, I myself was utterly convinced I was going to marry Jon Bon Jovi and as you can see this did not come to pass. 

Thank. The. Lord.

7. A verse, poem, sonnet, ancient-old proverb that inspires you to love yourself and others?
'All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.'

So there you have it and in my place I nominate Charley from LandGirl1980 because I would be interested to hear her thoughts.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Ma Nature's lyrical, with her yearly miracle.

How wonderful is it to have the sun in the sky? Not just that, but when you are sheltered from the breeze some real warmth to it too?

Bit too much stuff going on for me to be my usual Mad March Hare self but I'm not so far off. Talking of off, I am off work for a week, my first proper time off since Christmas and boy am I enjoying it!
This gorgeous weather has seem me out in the garden for days on end. I'm putting it down to the Pilates but I haven't had anywhere near my usual stiff aching agony after a 6 hour stint in the garden.

Mind the teacher did nearly kill me last session, I think she either had a bad day or thought we needed an extra tough session due to having a week off over Easter. I don't do too badly, but then just when I get cocky about my agility, she makes us do a move that everyone except me and the two ladies in their 70s can do with ease.
Oh and the 'clique' have decided to go to the later class so there was actually a bit of friendly banter before we started this time round too.

Anyway time for some gratuitous garden shots
Magnolia in full bloom, it got hammered by a late frost last year poor thing so it's lovely to see it in full glory this year.
Primroses that suddenly appeared in the lawn. I bought a wild primrose plant last year which disappointingly didn't do much flowering but was clearly having a shedload of babies instead so I shall stop grumbling.

Reduced hyacinth bulbs from Wilkinsons last year in full flourish this year.

I went out with my friends Simon and Liz for dinner last week and Simon gave us both this as an Easter gift
I shall be planting them this week too.

So what else? Himself and I went to see 'Return to the Forbidden Planet'.
I was going to take myself to see it, as it's a musical I have always fancied seeing but somehow never got round to over the years. As no one seemed keen to come with me I thought I'd do the matinee on my own.

For once though Himself was listening to me (joking dearest) and bought me tickets for a Christmas present.
I hadn't realised we were in the front row which was unnerving at first as we didn't know how participatory it was!
Thankfully it wasn't at all so we could relax and enjoy. It was great fun, I thoroughly enjoyed it and what a talented cast. There were only about 10 of them and they all acted, sung and played a plethora of instruments. Not just guitars and drums either, but things like trumpets and saxophones. Brilliant.   

I found out there was an official Snoopy shop online, I'm sure I probably already knew that but had blanked it out due to things like exchange rates and import taxes. Only now it seems they have a U.K branch now *Gulp*
I was very restrained and only bought a t-shirt.
Meant for Halloween but I know I will wear it all year round,
and a cloth bag which was too cute to resist.

I have been doing a LOT of shopping lately. Some for me, some for presents, you know, stuff. I will share more another time

I have come to the conclusion the red bag I bought in January is just a bit too small so my work handbag hunt begins again.

I ordered one from Accessorize but annoyingly they don't have dimensions on their website, sort that out will you Monsoon? It arrived and turned out to be the size of a small country, I returned it today. *sigh*

As I was at the post office I decided it would be rude not to browse a few charity shops. I found not one, not two, but three bags!
One which will do for work, it has the required separate zipped compartments that I demand in a work bag and is neither too big or too small. It is from Hotter and cost me a magnificent £4.
The other two are both vintage evening bags and cost a bargainous £1.50 and £2.50 respectively.

Finally I ventured down to the house clearance place I have mentioned before. The place where they pile it high and then pile it even higher just because they can. It means you can get a cracking bargain, but also means that often you spot a potential bargain but can't actually get anywhere near it without risk of death or at the very least serious injury. 
It has to be seen to be believed and the stuff comes as is, so filthy dirty on the whole. Today I spotted a late 60s early 70s coffee pot in a box of other stuff. It looked like it might have been blue and white though it was hard to be sure. I gingerly picked it up and turned it over and saw 'TG Green'

"Aye, aye" thought I, I'll find out how much it is. 

The girl behind the till took it off me, looked it over and said "Probably £4, that stuff has just come from a house clearance" so I nonchalantly said I'd take it.
She dithered a bit, turning it and looking at the mark on the bottom a couple more times. I'm guessing something was telling her she should know the make, that she was trying to place it but just couldn't, lucky for me the recognition didn't kick in so I paid my £4 and left.

I should have done a before and after but I just wanted to stick that thing in some hot soapy water and scrub!
Et Voila
The pattern is Jersey Blue, it's from 1968 (the year of my birth, which seems a good omen) and whilst I was researching that, I found one for sale for £50. Not a bad return for £4.