Wednesday 29 June 2011

Bath, London and other Excitements.

This week I am on holiday HUZZAH! I still have another 10 days to use up before the redundancy but I think I shall do them as odd days and long weekends rather than whole weeks. Rather than doing any of the many, many jobs waiting around the house I have been out gadding.
 On monday I went to Bath with two of the people I travel into work on the train with Carole and Liz. We had a wonderful day.
 We did a short river cruise to Bathampton where we got off and ate lunch before heading back into Bath itself. I was thrilled to see a Kingfisher. I have never seen one in real life before.
We then mooched around Bath where there happened to be a Bentley Rally. 

I couldn't resist taking some pictures. I was just amazed they were all parked up and left. There wasn't a soul to be seen with them, other than 50 million tourists taking pictures and trying to get in them!
We pretty much managed to avoid the rain by either going into shops or eating!
 I fell in love with this windchime made from old silver cutlery. isn't it gorgeous? It has the most wonderful sound when the breeze catches it and what a great use of knackered old forks.

 Sadly this shop was shut so we could only press our noses to the window and admire the fab window display.
We headed home on what was one of the muddiest trains I have ever seen, inside that is, the floor was covered the seats were covered. It had been used to transport Glastonbury passengers!

Tuesday I took myself  down to London. (I always say down when really it's across but old habits die hard.) I finally went to see The Cult of Beauty exhibition at the V&A. It was excellent, I didn't love it all but I loved quite a lot of it, and was beside myself with excitement to be able to get so close to the 4 Edward Burne Jones paintings. *blissful sigh*
I did my usual busman's holiday thing with the book section, ended up breezing through thinking 'oh we have that at work, and that and that' or 'Hmm our copy is in better condition'
There were 2 tremendous storms whilst I was at the V&A. Despite all the people and other noises going on you could still hear the thunder so I went to the stairs and watched out of the window for a bit. I LOVE storms.
Sadly the fashion gallery was shut but I strolled around most of the others before taking myself down to the cafe for sadly what I can only describe as the worst cup of tea I have ever had the misfortune to taste in my life. I actually couldn't drink it it was disgusting. What a shame.
I finally left after about 5 hours of blissful meandering to find the trains all up the spout because the line had been struck by lightening in Southall. I finally got onto a frighteningly packed train which I actually didn't think I'd be able to fight my way off in time for my stop.

Other excitements =  I bought some patent leather brogues in the Clarks sale to replace my now deceased vintage interview shoes.

Oh and Tomorrow I am going to Giffords Circus!

Sunday 26 June 2011

Shopping, A Vintage Fair, Some Blisters and a Rubix Cube.

Today Himself and I went to Reading shopping. Not exactly what I had had in mind for the day but what the heck, I'm not one to turn down a trip to the shops!
I mooched round the clothes shops whilst Himself scooted off to Toys-R-Us and Argos. I bought myself a rather lovely summer dress in Oasis reduced from £55 to £20.

I'm already spending the birthday money I haven't got yet! Oopps.

Himself decided it was time for a drink and as we headed in the general direction of the pub I was handed a leaflet for a Vintage Fair at The Purple Turtle. As we were literally outside we went in. It was pretty disappointing actually. It was quite disjointed and as Himself pointed out everything was just muddled up like some kind of huge jumble sale. There were rails of clothes where all eras, sizes and even genders were just shoved on any old how. That combined with that bizarre attitude some of these sellers seem to have, that just because something is vintage they can charge a fortune for it no matter what condition the item is in. For example there was a suitcase full of handbags, most of them were pretty beaten up some were completely wrecked and yet the cheapest price was £15. Well they are old aren't they? so they must be worth that much even if they aren't even usable!
I did buy this brooch, it caught my eye. According to the lady on the stall it's 1930's marcasite, personally I don't think it is that old but I liked it so I bought it.
We left and went to the pub.  I was nursing very sore feet at this point. For some reason a pair of shoes I have never had a problem with before suddenly turned and mullered my feet. I ended up with 4 plasters on one foot and 3 on the other. I'm going to Bath for the day tomorrow, god knows how I'm going to walk all day :-(

 So Himself has had a graphic design idea which involves a rubix cube so he bought one. I had a go. It's been years since I last had a go on one and I still can't do it!

Action shots!
Oh and if you all felt the earth tilt on it's axis on friday that was my fault. I bought a white dress!
I saw it as soon as I walked into the shop, I loved the style but it was white, WHITE. I tried it on and it actually looked lovely, amazing. So I bought it.

Friday 24 June 2011

A Weighty Issue.

Two articles, one magazine and one newspaper have had me pondering the somewhat depressing issue of my expanding girth.

The magazine article was about Fearne Cotton, who said something along the lines of  'I never exercise I hate it, luckily though I can eat whatever I like and never put on an ounce'. I had two thoughts one was 'Yeah RIGHT!!' you can bet your life she is actually exercising/weight watching with the best of them.
The second was if it's true, beware Fern oh beware, for it will catch up with you eventually. I know this, I speak from experience.
 I would class myself as quite a lazy person, the mere thought of exercise of any kind makes me feel ill. Yet despite a couple of massive weight ups and downs, (more of those in a moment). I had a long period through most of my 20's and 30's where I was indeed able to eat and drink as much as I liked, do no exercise what-so-ever and it had no effect on my waistline. I stayed blissfully slim with no apparent effort.
Yet when I give it more thought that isn't the case. I was actually always on the go,  I had a job that kept me on the hoof all day and most nights I got home, changed and went straight out, often without eating.

That also got me to pondering whether I really am as lazy as I think. As a little kid I was always out playing and was thin, then between the ages of about 8 to my early teens I was a small solid barrel of a child. I tended to stay in and read all the time then. For my 13th birthday I got my first grown up sized bicycle. I rode it pretty much every spare minute I had and I guess that combined with shooting up in height from 5ft to 5ft 11' lost me that 'puppy fat'!
By my late teens I played tennis, badmington and hockey. I was even in the Hockey team at college! Not bad for someone who professes to hate all exercise is it? So clearly I have actually *become* lazy over the years and now I wonder where has all my get up and go gone?
 I have the same job but now I come home and collaspe in a heap, and one who shovels in food and then slumps in front of the T.V. until bedtime at that. Not good.

The second article was about how stress is making us fat.How stressed people crave sugar and carbs, how the majority comfort eat and how they store fat round their middles. Again here was something I can relate to. Right now life has been flinging curveball after curveball at me and my response is to reach for either cake or potato in large and comforting quantities.I have always found comfort in food, I know this well it is not as if I have had a sudden potato based epiphany. Equally I don't seem to be able to stop myself, contrary to what the magazines tell you, knowing and accepting is not my cure.
I have had one similar stressful time in my life and also ballooned in weight then too.

This is definitely the biggest I have ever been though.

I then thought about times when I was thin. Interestingly the one time I was desperatly under weight was when was having the time of my life, backpacking round America. At the time I was still battling to gain control over my clinical depression and chronic panic attacks, I was dreadfully shy and insecure. Thankfully the trip was the making of me, I learnt a lot about myself and started down the path of loving myself and feeling at peace, basically of being comfortable in my own skin.
I came home tanned and happy and full of life....... and also painfully thin. Kind of like a convalescent who has battled some terrible illness.

I have been underweight, I AM overweight and the only person who can do anything about it is me. I have another battle on my hands and right now I'm on the ropes, though not yet defeated.

Mind you. Perhaps instead of blaming my stress or my lack of willpower or my sheer gluttony, I shall blame Himself.! I was a weeny size 10 when I met him. Since we have lived together I have gained and gained clearly he is a bad influence on me!

Monday 20 June 2011

New Hair.

Yestrday was a funny kind of day in the end. My brother came over and we went food shopping, he was in a foul mood. We came back here to put my purchases away and picked up my Dad's card and gift. Leaving Himself tucking into most of a litre tub of ice cream (no room in the freezer!) we headed back to my brother's house to put his groceries away. He and my sister in law were growling at each other the whole time, hence the foul mood so it was all a bit awkward really.
Anyhow as you know my sister in lawis my hairdresser and my hair has been in a shocking state lately. Even my natural curl seems to have abandoned me and left me with a mop of straw on my head. So I was bemoaning the fact and Caron got that gimlet look in her eye and whisked me into her salon and I was shorn!
So here is my new hair.

 Oh and I finished my Mum's pearls after hours of fiddling, much cursing and having to restring one set!

Sunday 19 June 2011

Who wants to do Housework when you can go Shopping?

For the first saturday in ages I had no plans! *woop woop*  Himself was out gadding in town (which included buying tickets for Bowling for Soup when they play Oxford in October = HUZZAH.)
I was meant to be doing a little, ok a lot of housework. Instead I lay in bed reading until my growling stomach would be ignored no longer. Scrambled eggs on toast and much tea later I sat surveying the disaster that is my sitting room. 'I really, really need to tidy' I thought 'I know I'll go to the charity shops instead' I decided. I did have a bag of stuff to take down so that would class as tidying a bit right?
I had a lovely couple of hours browsing. It was all about plates apparently as you will see below.
  First purchase reduced from £6 to £2. I didn't really want the bigger plates but they wouldn't seperate them so I took them all. As it turns out this was a deliberate move on their part becuase the bottom 4 plates were very damaged and had next to no print left on them. Grrr
Next up in the 4th shop I went into I found this medium sized serving dish for £1.
On to the next shop and still no clothes but I did get this gorgeous plate for £1.49
I also found two pink cups and saucers for my Mum's mis-matched teaset for £1
Finally I found this little green glass dish. It's just the thing I've been looking for to put my stud earrings in.
Oh and did you really think I would come away without an elephant? Of course not!
 This dinky little chap  just looks so happy I had to buy him even though he is a bit grubby on one side. This is his good, for the camera side. I need to figure out how to clean him now.
I did also buy another new set of bedding, a V&A museum set no less and at less than half price.
Here it is drying, the design is based on some chinese porcelain apparently so the plate/china theme to my day continues! Now I just need to sort out my linen cupborad and pull out the ancient bobbly sets of bedding which can be relegated to use as dust sheets.

I also got talked into buying 2 pounds of cherries by the bloke on the fruit and veg stall. Anyone who knows me knows I adore cherries so it was a done deal. I made a huge cherry clafoutis and I still have a big bowlful to eat. Yum.
Himself arrived home with a friend which left me filled with shame all over again at the state of the sitting room so I did finally tidy up.

Project for today, after food shopoing and visiting my Dad is mending this green faux pearl 3 strand choker for my Mum. She bought it at the same time as the faux pearl neclklace for me and didn't like the clasp so she just cut it off with wire cutters!! Nice one Ma, now I just have to figure out how to fix it for her......  

Wednesday 15 June 2011

The End of my Quest for a Rose Print Dress and Yummy Thing s from my Garden.

You know how it is when you get an idea in your head about the perfect dress/shoes/ornament? well this year I have been hankering after a rose print dress. I have hunted and hunted in vain. Many, many dresses have been seen and dismissed because they weren't quite right. I finally took a chance on a dress on Ebay and I'm thrilled to say when I unpacked it today I loved it. The fabric actually looks so much better in the flesh than it did in the pictures which surprised me as there was a well lit close-up.
 It's just come out of the wash and once it's ironed all I need is the right occassion to wear it at :-)

Other than that my parents came over today and my Mum brought me a couple of pieces of jewellery she bought for me at an Age Concern sale.She does know me well, pearls and an anchor.
 After they had gone I managed to get a couple of hours out in the garden.

 I harvested the last of the strawberries and the first of the potatoes plus some radishes which I really should have picked a bit sooner judging by the size! we have just had some of the potatoes for tea = YUM!

Finally I forgot to put this picture on my last post. It's my sister's lucky black cat.
4 years ago my sister's flat caught fire. It was due to faulty wiring but because she had a glade plug-in in the socket next to where it started the oil inside that combusted and caused a fire ball. Thankfully the cat was outside and my sister was at work because she wouldn't have stood a chance according to the fire investigator. She was literally left with the clothes she stood up in. It was heartbreaking going in after the event, to see all the charred and melted remains. The weird thing was you would find, say one shoe in a perfect untouched condition, and the other burnt and almost unrecognisable.
Anyway she had bought this cute little kitty postcard in an antique shop and had just bluetacked to the wall,  it survived the fire with just a little damage so she framed it and now it hangs in her kitchen, her lucky black cat and a reminder of just how far she has come in the last 4 years.
It says 'This little black cat is all alone he will bring you good luck if you give him a home'

Sunday 12 June 2011

A Day by the Sea.

Well the weather has certainly been a mixed bag this weekend. I have gone through hot, freezing cold, soaking wet and been almost blown off my feet in the space of 24 hours!

Due to one thing and another Himself and I ended up heading to the coast on Saturday morning rather than Friday night, as it turned out the journey was a breeze and I hopped off the train in Ramsgate just before 11am.
 The sun was out and the sky was blue and it was blissful to fill my lunga with some sea air. I met my sister and we had a quick catch up over lunch before heading to the British Legion 90th anniversary event.
Sadly it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. The vintage vehicles consisted of one rather spendid Naafi van and a 50's cadillac.

The half a dozen stalls were full of retro style not vintage clothes, New Look, River Island and Select anyone?
So we paid a visit to the vintage pinball arcade.

before we headed back into town for a trawl of the charity shops. Sadly they let us down too, all I bought were the two items below, a crystal bowl vase and a jumper.

 oh and I treated my sister to a fabulous pink satin wiggle dress for £4.50.
It got persistantly colder and finally started to rain so we decided wine and chocolate at my sister's flat were a much better idea!
I found some yoghurts called 'Nom' which made us both laugh
 and we ended up purchasing a bottle of fizz purely because the description seemed appropriate!
We retreated to the sofa with our fizz and a large box of Roses that my sister won in a raffle, and had a long talk about her lying, control freak and now thankfully 'ex' boyfriend.
She's had a tough time of it poor thing. I'm just so glad she's finally opened her eyes to what he was really like before she quit her job and lovely flat and moved in with him.
Anyway after we had put the world to rights I headed back to Himself's parents house. It took me nearly 2 hours to get there because there was a 'problem' with the bus, oh joy. I was frozen stiff and desperate for the loo by the time I finally arrived! After I availed myself of the facilities much wine was drunk and holiday photo's viewed until the early hours of the morning.  
We had a lovely roast dinner today before I headed home leaving Himslef to go on to his best friends house for no doubt much drinking and DVD viewing followed by yet more drinking.
I had a good journey home but got soaked to the skin and was nearly blown off my feet by the gale force gusts of wind on my 15 minute walk from the station to our house! One very hot shower and 3 mugs of tea later and I'm feeling human again.

I'd like to thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my last blog. I'm making plans and determined to stay as positive as I can. x

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On.

Which in my case means shopping. I will admit I have had a tough week, the kind of week where if you have an inkling you would never have got out of bed. So I have been shopping but I haven't gone as mad as I might in the past, which is a consolation I guess.

Monday I got formal notice of redundancy and the news that a friend has terminal cancer. I have to admit the cancer news did knock the redundancy news into a cocked hat. Tuesday I got the news that another friend's Dad had died unexpectedly. I'm so sad for her, I can't even begin to imagine what she must be going through.

Oh and today I got the news that I didn't get an interview for the job I went for.
 So I must admit I'm more than a little down right now. I'm tired and just want to crawl into my shell for a while, but no time, no time. We are mad busy at work and Friday we are off to the Kent Coast where my sister is in need of much TLC. Turns out her Beau was not what he appeared to be so she's feeling very bruised, mentally and emotionally and very stupid for falling for the lines.
As it turns out there is a parade in Ramsgate to celebrate 90 years of the British Legion with lots of vintage cars and stalls and a 1940's dance in the evening. We are planning to go and have some much needed fun.

Anyway this wasn't meant to be a pity party so I will share my shopping.

 Firstly the things I ordered with my 20% Tesco code.All 3 were also in the sale so it was a win win situation!

Also today I visited the new Asda Living store in Cowley and picked up this cute little bird print dress.

 How sweet are they?
 Finally I got this new bed set for the bargain price of £13
Here's to a good weekend and a better week next week. x

Monday 6 June 2011

Oh The Irony.

I just had to share this because it made me laugh out loud. I do have quite a dark sense of humour sometimes it must be said.

I read my horoscope on the train home tonight and I quote:

'Thankfully good career news will arrive and give you something to celebrate'

Actually today I was given formal notice of redundancy!

Sunday 5 June 2011

Essential Accessories Exhibition Review and a Little Charity Shop Shopping.

As promised my review of the Essential Accessories exhibition in The Lightbox Museum in Woking. Firstly no pictures from the exhibition itself due to copyright infringements which is very sad though I do understand.
 So all I can share with you the pictures from the leaflet and a link to the wonderful museum in Amsterdam who loaned them out. It's called the Tassenmuseum and there was a fascinating 15 minute video about Hendrikje Ivo the lady who began the collection and how she came to set up the museum.
 She was an antiue dealer who collected tortoise shell, one day 35 years ago she bought a inlaid tortoise shell bag (see picture above) and another passion began! She now has over 4000 bags and decided it was no fun to store them in boxes, they needed to be seen and enjoyed so she opened the museum with her partner. If I ever get back to Amsterdam it's high on my list of places to see.

 I guess this exhibition contained about a quarter of the collection, starting with purses from 1610 through to creations from last years catwalk collections. We were just mindblown by the fact that these very early beaded bags were made using beads the size of a grain of sand stitched with a needle made out of a single horse hair!?! The very early shoes were fascinating too but so ridiculuosly small, it was like looking at childrens, or even dolls shoes, and who would have thought your prim victorian marm might be wearing 6 inch stiletto heels under all her petticoats?
It was so interesting to see how the bag evolved from and essential item carried by both men and women into a frivolous frippery carried only for display, back full circle into an essential item filled with pretty much our whole life. Who doesn't go out without keys, wallet, phone, I.D, etc
Though not everything was to my taste it was easy to pick a favourite from each display cabinet, a game Soo and I like to play. Thankfully we would only have fought over 2 bags lol. Interestingly it was the items from the 80's and 90's that really did not inspire at all. Especially the shoes from the 90's. On the other hand the shoes from the 70's were definitely the most striking. There was a pair of rather battered but obviously well loved red suede Biba shoes, oh I bet they had some tales to tell!
 Hand on heart I couldn't say there was an era or style I liked the best, the collection is so diverse and each decade had very different styles and genres.The thing that we both itched to know was the history of each item. The condition of most of the bags was incredible, someone had obviosly loved and treasured them so much. The little evening purses with half filled dance cards, who owned them? what dance did they go to? The stunning art deco clutch still containing cigerettes, powder and rouge, who was the woman who had filled it? The frighteningly expensive evening bag, was it one of many belonging to some wealthy lady or a much longed for bag purchased after much scrimping and saving, and therefore all the more adored?
It is a wonderful collection and well worth spending a few hours browsing round.

After all that beauty we needed some lunch so we headed back into Woking town centre where we ate Steak and cheese flatbreads with red onion marmalade and a cheeky glass of wine. For the afternoon we decided some shopping was in order and taking a leaf out of Clare at Dolly Cool Clare's book I googled all the charity shops and printed out a map before we left!
In the first shop, which had a half price closing donwn sale I bought these blue gingham curtains for £3.50
 I'm going to make a dress out of these I think.
I also bought this rather splendid Margaret Thatcher-esque handbag for £1.50.
 It's very dirty but I can clean it up.
Next up was this lovely little necklace.
 Again very dirty and someone had knotted the chain to make it shorter. I carefully unpicked the knots and gave it a polish last night.
We struck gold in the local hospice shop. There was so much I could have bought but I restrained myself to this gorgeous designer tuxedo style fitted jacket.
 I need another jacket like a hole in the head but it fitted like a glove, was only £7 and I loved it.
Bargain of the day was this little bag.
 At the museum shop they were selling bags by the same designers 'Hope and Benson' for £69 and above.They were gorgeous but out of my price range. I spotted this one for £6 in the hospice shop, it is brand new with labels still attached!
I also got a little something for my bloggy swap partner. :-)

After we had exhausted the charity shops we headed into the big mall to look for earrings for Soo as she is cheif bridesmaid at a friends wedding soon and is struggling with accessories to her dress. We did find some earrings that might do and I also bought myself these in the same shop.
 Oh I FINALLY found a black cardigan I liked too!

All in all a great day out. Thoughtfully Himself had put a bottle of wine in the fridge so I could collapse in a chair with a glass oif chilled rose and watch Indiana Jones, bliss.