Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Looking With Fresh Eyes.

On Saturday I had to work, which is kind of a boo because who wants to have to get up early on a Saturday and trail into town when you could be catching up on much needed ZZZzzs.

On the other hand when 'having to work' includes a walking tour of Oxford on a gorgeous Spring day who can complain? About 4 times a year we have something called an Oxford Experience Weekend to try and encourage potential students to fall in love with Oxford and come to us instead of one of our rival establishments.

The Friday is all about the school and the programme and ends with a traditional Oxford college dinner, while the Saturday is all about the city of Oxford itself.
It's actually pretty tiring if I'm honest, you have to be 'on' the whole time, getting in after 11pm then up and off again the next morning.
Having said that I always enjoy the walking tour. We tried out 4 or 5 different companies and ended up going with one which gives tours lead by current students at Oxford. They are always different and always thoroughly entertaining.

As you can imagine I've done a few now, from the bitterly cold, can't feel fingers can't feel toes, if I stand still out here a moment longer I might just die. To the biblical downpour where at first you make a hopeless attempt to stay dry and end up helpless with laughter because you are soaked from top to toe and right down to your undercrackers so what else can you do but laugh.

Days like this Saturday however are the charm, and this time I promised myself I would remember my camera.

A gorgeous Spring day in a gorgeous city what more could you want?

It's so easy when you have lived somewhere for a long time to stop looking up

to stop looking around you.

You hurry to the bank and back in your lunch hour and barely look up from the pavement, or more likely have your eyes glued to your phone screen, (unless you are me and a touch screen technophobe!)

Sometimes I forget what a damn beautiful city I have the privilege to work in.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Three Frocks, Two Bags and One Garden.

Another couple of weeks have blurred by, eat much, sleep a little, work a lot. You know the drill.

The weather has had a couple of tantalizing almost Springlike days and my thoughts have turned to colourful frocks in pretty prints.
I spotted this dress by Eucalyptus on a couple of repro brand websites and dithered.

I loved it but was it just a tad too ACID green for me? and there was a pesky V neckline I am always so fatally attracted too, the price was painful for my pocket too. All of a sudden the fates forced my hand by sending me yet another sale email and finally it was under £30. So I took the plinge and ordered it from Weekend Doll.
Knowing me and my challenging torso, I sized up, I then got an email to say "sorry we are actually out of that size in green but would you like it in a lovely navy blue?" well no I wouldn't because it was the green that had had me trapped with it's siren call. I emailed back for a refund but happened to mention I had sized up due to fit concerns. Yuriko from Weekend Doll kindly measured the dress for me and said she was pretty sure I should be fine in my usual size so I took a punt.
I'm so glad I did because when it came it fitted like a dream even the cut of the cross over neckline looked fine - Huzzah!
I bloody love it and to me this dress just screams SPRING at the top of it's voice.

Apologies in advance but all three dresses are fresh from the wash but not yet fresh from the iron so very crumpled to say the least!

Next up I finally took the plunge with Lindy Bop as I had an online code. I have never bouight from them before, due to the many mixed reviews on fit from the vintage blogosphere.

To be brutally honest I'm not sure I will bother again. The delivery was super speedy I'll give then that, but for me I'm not so sold on the quality.

First up this sale dress
cats with umbrellas you say? well in the basket it went!
When I unpacked it the first thing I noticed was this fault in the fabric print
I checked the rest of the dress carefully and thankfully it was only this one patch so I tried it on and as it goes the misprint is at the side and not hugely noticeable, unfortunately I then found that one of the sleeves had been caught up in the seam of the armhole
Something I can easily unpick and restitch but both issues equal some pretty lax/crap quality control by the company!
Admittedly I could have returned the dress but it was in the sale and had a discount code and as neither issue is a deal breaker for me I couldn't be arsed. If the fabric had been faulty all over or right at the front of the dress it would have been a different story. I can't afford to keep an unwearable dress.

Next up I bought this owl print from the full price range.

I knew the waist would be an issue on my long torso so sized up with this. As suspected the waist sits right on my rib cage so it was a good job I did.
This dress is slightly too big, but my usual size would have been uncomfortably tight for sure.

 The only issue I had with this dress was it smelt hideously musty, nothing a wash couldn't cure but not pleasant in a brand new frock!
So yes, on the whole, don't think I'll be rushing back to Lindy Bop any time soon.  

What's that you say? Why yes I did mention bags as it happens. Feast your eyes on these beauties.
Still going through a red bag phase. It's all because I saw a stunning one when I was shopping in Burford before Christmas with Soo.
 I just couldn't justify getting at the time, and of course I haven't been able to get out of my head since!?! I have been hunting for it's double and not finding it but buying other ones instead! Oops.

How about this butter soft leather green goddess?
Yes she's seen life, she's a little battered around the edges but aren't we all? She also comes complete with matching gloves tucked inside (I know they look much darker here for some reason, but they really aren't!) unfortunately they are miles too big for me dammit.

So other than internet shopping like a woman possessed what else have I been doing? I've been out for dinner and to the cinema just for a change. Dinner was a long overdue catch up with Soo and Melissa and the cinema was for the last ever Wolverine film Logan
Great film, loved it, but boy is it bleak. Not one for those who are feeling low or worried about getting old that is for sure.

Also this week I got a gentle prod from work that we are almost halfway through our leave year and I have only taken 5 days off since October last year. So I threw caution to the wind and booked two days off (steady now!)
Usually I never have an issue using up all my leave and tend to have run out way before September comes, but after all the upheaval last year, and not having money to spare for trips away, and mostly not having a gorgeous garden to lose myself in I just don't see the point. Also work takes my mind off things, meaning I have become chained to my desk until there are signs of better days.

Anyway yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day so I decided to do a bit of tidying up in the wilderness that is the garden at this house. I have been torn, because it is crying out for love but if we are only here a year and the owner potentially plans to build on most of it what is the point? But fresh air beckoned so I tooled up, went out
 and yes I may have got just a tiny bit carried away!

Lord only knows what the hell we will do with this mountain as we only have a fortnightly collection for our brown bin and this is about a year's worth of content.
This actually constitutes only a bit of the garden too, I wasn't kidding when I said it was overgrown. Ivy is rampant everywhere
those two humps at the back are not trees or shrubs but a shed completely covered in ivy, you can't even get in it!
I found two bird houses nailed to the fence, hidden under about a metre deep ivy growth
there is a fence under those roots somewhere...
the three plants I always have in my garden are rosemary, lavender and mock orange. Here I am thrilled to say are all three but this poor rosemary has literally become a tree where it has been strangled by the ivy and so forced to struggle up and up for some light.

On the plus side the lawn is awash with violets of all shades from deep purple to white which is very pretty.

So 6 months on in our temporary home and it's a bit weird. I finally feel settled here, it took this long but the house has won me round. It has made me realise just how much we were putting up with because we loved the location, and the cheap rent, and the huge garden of our old place.

To have a house where the heating works on demand, that has hot water and plenty of it at the turn of the tap and a toilet that flushes with ease. To have a house that doesn't smell bad, that isn't damp and full of mould, it's been a revelation if I'm honest.

Do I miss the old house? Nope, I do miss the quieter location and our wonderful neighbour but otherwise not at all.

Do I miss my garden? well that should tell you right there! yes I miss my beautiful garden with every ounce of my being and yes I still call it my garden. Even though of course it wasn't because it was a rented garden at a rented house. I guess I just have to hope the next place we find will combine the best bits of the last two, though the thought of starting the search again fills me with utter despair.