Sunday 30 October 2011

Tintin and Chocolate Treats.

Ahh Sunday morning the guarenteed time I get to take over the computer and do things like blog because Himself is still fast asleep upstairs.
I've had a unintentionally busy week this week, work has been quiet and home has been a veritable whirl.

We went to see Tintin for free on Wednesday (good old Orange Wednesday!). We both loved it. I read the books avidly as a child so was pretty excited to go, Himself read 2 Tintin books as a child and didn't like them, I know what can I say? he's nuts!
I always loved Snowy best and he pretty much steals the film, if it wasn't for Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock that is. Great stuff, I highly recommend it.
 I wore my bargainous £1 blouse, I love it, even if I did have to keep flinging the pussy bow over my shoulder when I was eating my dinner! Note to self : do not cook soup for dinner again when wearing said blouse.
                                     See I can smile in a picture if I try hard enough

Thursday night I spent pretty much the whole evening watching the BBC I-Player catching up on things I'd missed because I've been out, bloody social life interupting my TV viewing!! In doing so I completely forgot the last episode of Hidden was on so had to watch that on the I-Player yesterday - doh.

And the it was Friday, huzzah and I was out in Oxford with the girls.Lots of gossip, wine and yummy fish and chips. I was home and in bed before the witching hour where as Himself who was out in London rolled in at some ungodly hour, disgraceful!

So tomorrow is Halloween. I love it and I love getting the local little ones trick or treating. I know there are many in the U.K who think it is a terrible American thing that shouldn't be allowed, but personally I think thats bull. I guess probably because when I was of an age where these things make an impression we lived on a huge RAF camp where there were also serving American airmen and many had young families.
Just like in WW2 the American servicemen arranged lots of events for the children with great enthusiasm. Trick or treating was just one of them . It was the best fun to dress up as witches and ghosts and run round in the dark shrieking excitedly and getting given sweets whilst doing it. It all used to end with a huge party and most of us either being, or feeling sick from eating to much!

I know it is inevitable that you get the local chavtastic element who see it as an excuse to pound on doors and demand money or to vandalise just for the hell of it, but on the whole the last couple of years has seen an ever increasing number of excited little ones in fantastic outfits, (usually with a watchful adult in the background) having a wonderful time and I love it.
So my lovely black felt cat basket has had it's usual contents (hair clips) tipped out and is filled with treats, and of course any that are left over we get to eat, not that there were any left overs last year, bad calculation on my part there!

Halloween is also our anniversary. 14 loving years!?! We both have the day off work just for the heck of it, to do something.......not sure what yet.....
                                                   Seems like only yesterday !
We will be going to see The Rocky Horror Show at the cinema in the evening. Lucky us it has be digitally remastered and re-released just in time for our anniversary. We both love it and always go to see the stage show when it tours. It also has one of 'our' songs in it.

                                                                 enjoy! x x 

Monday 24 October 2011

Guitar Drama and I Heart my Pearl Lowe Dress.

October means many things crunching through leaves, pumpkins, early dark nights. Nephew Number One's birthday, our anniversary (eek must buy a card!) and the annual tour of my favourite band Bowling for Soup.
It also seems to mean that I will be sick, the last 4 years in a row I have been sick when they have toured, indeed the last 2 years the band have all been sick too, and this year was no exception. This time round I was over the worst of it thankfully though Himself was just starting to get sick, see all these years later and I still love him enough to share my germs!

We took Nephew Number One, I bought him a drink. Oh dear, that's a weird one. He's 17, he drinks with his mates, but as his aunt and his godmother (and therefore responsible for his moral welfare, I stood up in church and swore to that!) am I naughty to not just let him underage drink, but actually buy it for him? I know I was at it from the delicate age of 15 but not with the help of my relatives!! hmmm.

Anyway we had had some drama the night before when he had managed to lose his beloved guitar. At first it was thought to be stolen, but it finally transpired he had accidentaly left it in a kiddies playpark where he was horsing around with his mates from college.
 He was devastated, well we've all been there haven't we? Noone to blame but yourself and you are just sick to your stomach at your own stupidity.
                                                                Not happy :-(

Amazingly enough the guitar gods were on his side because in the morning my brother got a call from the community centre next to the play area. Someone had handed the guitar in there the night before. I can't describe the relief all round, we drove straight over to collect it and lets just say the lesson has most definitely been learnt!

Anyways so off we went to see Bowling for Soup in high spirits. As ever they were awesome. The venue was freaking packed. I hate it when it's so full you are wedged in no matter where you stand, and why, WHY do I always seem to get stuck next to the kid in a stupid hat that blocks my view, with the most eyewatering B.O you are ever likely to encounter?? BLEURGH.

So for once I even loved the support band too, usually I hate the support. The were called 'Suburban Legends' and not only were they very funny and very good, they had a cute monkey on their t-shirt. What's not to like? :-)
I had decided I wanted to wear my red tartan docs, cos it's been a while but I was stumped what to wear with them....
Oh and get this! I actually got asked if I was Over 21, bless her short sighted heart! You get a wristband you see, to use the bar.

So, then I remembered the splendiferous Pearl Lowe black lace dress I bought ages ago and have never yet worn because I was too scared in case I didn't fit into it's lacy loveliness.
                             Remember it? Isn't it lovely? *happy sigh*  That's not me by the way......

So with some trepidation I tried it on and joy of joys it fitted like a dream. I was one very, very happy bunny.
We had a great night. Nephew Number One moshed in the pit at the front and I boogied more sedately at the back.
Sorry no full length picture of me en frock the camera stayed forgotten in my bag all night until we got home. So here I am sitting in my chair debating whether I can muster the energy to get up out of said chair and go to bed.
Tired and still full of cold, but inside I am laughing like a loon, can't you tell? Hmm? can't you?

*Edited to add looking at these two miserable pictures above of Nephew Number One et Moi, I now see why I am often taken to be the boy's mother! We do both smile a lot in our every day lives....... honest.

Random picture spot:

                                                                Elephant bangle!
                                                      You had the ghosts, here are the bats.

Friday 21 October 2011

For Vera.

This week I have had a heavy cold and deadlines at work. I have crawled in dosed up on Lemsip and crawled home and into bed. Today I am finally feeling a bit more human if somewhat drained, so I was thinking about blogging and what to blog about after having done nothing much except feel ill. That was until I got a phonecall to say an ex-work colleague/dinner companion/movie buddy/gossip pal/mad Bon Jovi worshiping friend had passed away last night.

I feel strangely displaced. I no longer work in the place we spent 23 years working together in. I know there was a huge outpouring of grief there today, for the first time in the history of the library they closed briefly on her behalf. As another numb friend said 'I just cannot picture the Old Library without Vera' and that says it all for me too. She was a larger than life character with a huge zest for life. She could talk for England and could be SO frustrating at times but she would give you the shirt from her back if she thought it would help you and she was just.....kind.  

Vera was incredibly talented, she adored food and trying out the cuisines of other countries especially cooking them for herself if she could. She loved to travel and went all over the world, which I envied her for at times.
She loved America, as do I, and it was somewhere we talked about a lot over the years, mostly we fancied the same kind of bloke and talked about that a lot too!

A few years ago she signed up for a sliversmithing night class. She quickly found a real love of working with silver and proved to have an amazing flair for it too. One of my favourite crosses (I have a thing for crosses, I have a LOT of crosses) is the one she made me.
It was one of her very early pieces and she hated it. It was a bit wonky a bit too rough and ready, it didn't meet her standards and she made noises about melting it down. I loved it for exactly the reasons she didn't and said I wanted to buy it, but she would not sell it to me because it wasn't 'right'. It became a joke between us for years. With me asking every so often 'When are you going to give in and let me buy my cross?'

The last two years were very very tough for her. She had been caring for both her parents and still working full time. Her Mum had dementia and was deteriorating fast, and her father was frail and needed help around the home. Out of the blue her beloved father died and her mother finally had to go into care. I have never seen Vera so worn down as she was then. She was an intensly private person and most people at work simply didn't have a clue about what she was going through and why she might be being a bit snappish or difficult. I feel privileged that she did confide in me about what was going on, that she trusted me enough to share. Though I feel disloyal writing it here, I know she would have hated me doing it.

That Christmas she rang me and asked me what floor I was working on, when I aksed why she said she wanted to send me something over on the conveyor, my christmas card, and apologised for it being late and her not being very festive .So I told her where I was and 20 minutes later I opened a conveyor box to find a card written in her very distinctive hand and a little package.
It was my cross.
I rang her straight away and she joked I had FINALLY worn her down, she was giving in, I could have it! She then said she wanted to say thank you for my support of her. I felt a bit guilty really as I didn't, and still don't think I did that much.
We then had an undignified wrangle over whether she was going to let me pay for it or not, she most certainly was not!

This year Vear was diagnosed with cancer. I heard on the very same day I was made redundant and it certainly put the whole job loss bit in perspective.

There are those who would say it is a dreadful thing that someone so young and full of life should have to deal with so much and then get sick and die. It is hideously unfair and unjust and they would be right. It is all of those things and more.

I would like to add to that. Vera just gave and gave, she enriched the lives of so many people and made life a better place for having had her in it.
Yes she could be difficult and a bit bitchy at times, but then so can we all.
Above that she had warm and generous heart, which means she will never be forgotten, and I for one feel honoured to have known her.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Ghost Earrings, Cat Dress, It's All Go!

Frankly I'm knackered and it's only Thursday. I've been mad busy with application deadlines looming at work and a social life a go-go.

Sunday night I was out with my parents. We went to see 'The Ghosts of  Ruddigore' by Opera della Luna..

My Dad is a huge Gilbert and Sullivan fan so I thought this would be right up his street. It was a re-working of their operetta 'Ruddigore' with 6 professional opera singers playing all the characters. It was fantastic. Very clever, funny and superbly sung, if you like a bit of G&S you'll love this.

Tuesday was Nephew Number One's 17th birthday. He wants a new guitar so we gave him some cash, we also went for a family meal at the restaurant of his choice. His choice was the Fabulous 'Atomic Burger' in Oxford.
If you are a fan of Homemade burgers and all the trimmings and find yourself on Oxford's Cowley Road you would be very wise to call in this wonderous little establishment and eat until your eyes bulge. The interior is quirky to say the least, the walls are decorated with lots of figures and soft toys of all your childhood favourite shows. (I ws a little distressed to see Snoopy hanging by his feet from the ceilling!) I had the Dr Zachary Smith with plain fries and a banana milkshake, then back to my brother's for birthday cake. The stays were certainly creaking after that little lot.

Yesterday Himself talked me into going to see The Three Musketeers. Dear lord those are two hours of my life I am never going to get back again. The part of me that loves the book weeps. The part of me that adores the film with Michael York and Oliver Reed sobs hysterically. It was dreadful from start to finish, the thing that makes me mad is I have seen the trailer, it was terrible so why on earth I agreed to go to see it I have no idea. A terrible aberration on my part that will not be repeated.

On Saturday I did buy 2 non-charity shop dresses in the sales. One was black with white stars and one was black with white cats.It's pretty obvious even from just that brief description why I bought them :-)

I had to change the sleeves on the cat dress a little but I wore it today with my purple charity shop cardigan. I love it.
I also found these fab ghost earrings, also bats, pumpkins and black cats. Well it is nearly Halloween :-)

Sunday 9 October 2011

All Fur Coat and New Knickers.

Yesterday I took a long overdue trek to the charity shops with my girlfriends Soo, Melissa and Gillian. We had a great day out and all came back with bulging bags of goodies, though I far outstripped the girls when it came to buying and bulging bags ooops....

Oh how I wish I had thought to take my camera with me, for there were some strange and hideous sights to see, a pig in suspenders and false eyelashes anyone? no? how about a lovely picture of William and Harry from when Lady Diana died with a gushing dedication under it about how in their darkest hour they need the love of a nation? not convinced? No neither where we.
Soo and I were sniggering and trying to understand the point of a denim skirt so short the waistband was actually wider than the skirt part when a young lady whisked it from under our noses and stalked to the till with it. Even her boyfriend snarled 'why the f**k are you buying that?' Oh you've got to love the local townsfolk!
So see below my wonderous haul. (not including the couple of shirts I bought to cut up or the things I bought to list online!)
I liked this blouse, it was only £1, Himself frowned and said he'd have to see what it looked like on.
Lovely M&S purple cardigan. I got told off by the lady in the shop for buying this and ruining her planned Monday morning window display!
I was very excited to find this. I have been trying to buy an argyle tanktop for bloody weeks now on Ebay and they keep going for silly money bah. I even forgive this one for having pink on it, thankfully it's so pale it's hard to tell.
Two more headscarves for the collection. Fresh from the wash hence the horrible creasing.

Yellow crystal necklace.The clasp is dodgy so I'm going to figure out if I can do something else with it. Unlike my mother I will not cut it off until I have an alternative way of restringing the clasp!

                                                      6 teaplates in lovely condition.
I have to sneak these into the kitchen past Himself who does not understand why I keep buying plates. I do have a secret fear that one of these days the cupboard will fall off the wall if I keep putting more crockery into it........

And finally the item that gives this post it's title. Behold the latest coat to join my ever growing collection, a bargainous £9.99 and in perfect condition, it even had the spare button in the pocket. I needed another coat like a hole in the head but with even the old chap who was resting on a chair whilst his wife shopped telling me I had to buy it, how could I resist? I have no willpower at the best of times and when it involves a lovely coat at a bargain price there is no hope......
  I was going to take a picture of myself in it but as I feel, and look, as rough as a badger's arse this morning you will have to make do with the good old 'hanger' shot.
It's super warm and I'm sure I'm going to wear it loads this winter so there is bound to be a picture at some point. The reaction of Himself was to frown and say 'I'm not convinced'.
Men couldn't you just sometimes??

So on to the knickers part of the post. I had an email from M&S this week.'We have a sale on' it said, 'bollocks' thought I, for I cannot resist the siren call of a bargain and besides I needed some new undies. I bought a bra in the sale, and a pair of trousers that I took back the next day. I also got some knickers 4 for £5 in various shades of purple, lovely.

I got to pondering whether there comes a certain age in a girl's life, or perhaps a certain width of derriere that makes her eye stray from the lightweight wisps of lace to something a little more, well, substantial? I will state for the record I have never been a thong girl, just never seen the point of spending the day wearing something so damned uncomfortable.
However I have found lately that my usual choice of 'mini brief' just doesn't seem to provide what I want from my undies anymore, and whilst I still shudder at the humongous granny-esque 'full' pants. I am drifting away from my usual 'mini'. Thankfully M&S provide the answer in 'boy shorts' I have definitely become a fan of the boy short!

Anyway whilst I was in Marks I succombed to buying a pair of shoes. I first saw them when I breezed through the shoe department a couple of months ago, it was love at first sight but I couldn't afford them at the time. I saw them again when we were in Bournmouth but again financially the time was wrong. This time there was only one pair left in my size and I had just been paid. Third time lucky I guess.
Suede brogues! I thought they were navy blue at first but in actually fact they are violet. They are blissfully comfortable so I'm hoping my poor battered tootsies are going to forgive me for all their recent abuse.

Finally on the subject of shoes. A bit of sideways browsing on Ebay the other day turned up these vintage beauties that go with the bag I bought in Edinburgh rather nicely. :-)

 They need a clean and the heels need a little attention but they were less than £6 including postage so a definite bargain.  


Sunday 2 October 2011

A Busy Weekend and a Visit to the Seaside.

Firstly I would like to say thank you for the lovely comments on my previous posts and to say no I didn't just nip into B&Q and photograph a new oven, it really was mine!
It isn't an exactly old oven, just over 5 years but I keep it sparkling with the below items and a bit of elbow grease.
                     Seriously I LOVE 'Bar Keepers Friend' and use it for all sorts of cleaning jobs.

I have been half enjoying and half dying in this heatwave we are having. I was all prepared for Autumn you see and now this!
 I even picked all my green tomatoes because I thought they had no hope of rippening outside any more, now of course I have more ripe tomatoes than I know what to do with, time for a soup or pasta sauce I think....

Anyway I was out in Bath on Thursday (see previous post) I got home in time to have about half an hour with my feet up before I had to get ready to go out again! I met up with the friends that I used to travel into work with every day. Since the new job I have been on a different train so we had a lot of catching up to do.

Friday I had a departmental lunch at work and then straight on to drinks in the evening for my friend Will who is off to London to do an MA.

I wore this lovely black dress and my new red shoes. I had a brilliant time though I about died of heat in the dress as it was fully lined and the shoes destroyed my feet big style!
I don't know what it is about me this year but all my shoes seem to be giving me serious blisters :-(

Saturday I caught up with my brother and my parents which was so lovely. It's the one thing I miss about not having a regular afternoon off any more. I mostly used it to visit with my parents, it became our routine and chatting on the phone is not the same. Mind you it will be good for my waistline as our wednesdays usually involved some manner of cake! 

Today we decided to use up some of my free train tickets (you get 6 for renewing a season ticket) and have a day out whilst the weather was so good. We were thinking of Portsmouth but that involved 2 changes and nearly 4 hours of travel each way for some reason!?! So we settled on Weston-Super-Mare due to the fact it was a direct train and only an hour and a half journey = result!

 It was packed with people and in all honesty even though it was the seaside, I didn't like it as much as say Bournemouth.
                              Vintage headscarf and shades and my beloved 'kittens in mittens' handbag.

We walked a lot and I discovered my espadrilles did not have solid rubber soles at all but are actually half rope/half rubber and therefore I spent the rest of the day with wet feet. I suspect my poor feet are begining to think I hate them after this weekend!

We retired for a much needed glass of something in the local Wetherspoons where they had a fab seaside theme going on.
                        They had gorgeous old swimsuits framed with lots of cheeky postcards.

We did have a mooch through the town such as it is. Himself was happy to find some old star wars figures for £2.50 each in the covered market and I bought this lovely glass necklace.
 After that we spent a ridiculous 25 minutes queuing for chips while the girl behind the till did everything she possibly could to avoid actually serving anyone!!! Grrr.
On top of that the train home was late, packed full to the rafters with other travellers and to make matters worse the aircon was broken so it was like a bleeding sauna. Kind of spoiled the end of the day I must say.

Thankfully I was home in time for Downton :-) 

Saturday 1 October 2011

Marilyn : Hollywood Icon. American Museum in England Exhibition.

Yesterday I finally took myself off to the American Museum in Bath to see their exhibition on Marilyn Monroe.
I have had a fascination with Marilyn since I was about 6. I can trace it back to an occasion when I was out with my parents, possibly at Madame Tussards, and there was a waxwork of Marilyn. Not in full bombshell mode but from the film 'Bus Stop' with a suitcase at her feet. I remember being mesmerised by it for some reason and asking my Dad 'who the pretty lady was' when he came back to fetch me. I remember he said ' The pretty lady is called Marilyn Monroe, and she was an actress'.

Having done some internet research it turns out the American Musuem was not the place I thought it was! It is on the outskirts of Bath and not an easily walkable distance as I initially thought. Good job I looked it up really!!
I caught a train to Bath and then a bus to the museum. It was dead easy to do as the new bus station is right next to the train station. I don't know how regular the buses are, it may be that I was just lucky but I got straight on a bus on the way there and when I came to leave the museum a bus arrived literally as I turned the corner and walked into the bus stop. You get off at the University of Bath campus and then walk about half a mile to the museum itself. I have to confess halfway there I was starting to have grave doubts I was going the right way, as it is a pretty narrow country lane as you can see.
Lucky for me it was a beautiful day so I enjoyed the walk. At one point all I could hear was continuous barking and yowling. I did wonder if the university has a veterinary department but at this point it was a cacophony of miserable dogs, and far too many for something like that, it was actually a bit upsetting if I'm honest. All became clear when I passed the local RSPCA centre.
I decided not to call in though visitors were welcome, I fear I would have wanted to bring all the cats home with me!

This is the amazing view just as you turn into thr museum entrance.

I paid my money at the entrance to the car park and was directed down a different path as I was on foot. Finally here was Claverton Manor or the American Museum.
I loved this covered wagon at the entrance.
By now it was lunchtime so I decided first stop would be the cafe for something to eat.
 There is a beautiful terrace which is where I chose to eat my 'mac and cheese'.
 What a view! It was just so peaceful.
I was joined by an elderly couple as I had nabbed the last table in the shade. We chatted as we ate, and in that weird way life has it turns out that though there were visiting from Cardiff, the old chap was born and grew up in the next village to where I now live! Small world indeed.

Once I had had my fill of food I went to get my fill of Marilyn.

It is a small and intimate exhibition, no cameras allowed so no pics from inside I'm afraid.
One of the things I was most struck with was how tiny her dresses were. She is always thought of as having an hourglass figure with killer curves but by today's standards that is hardly the case. I have read so many accounts of Marilyn being a 'Size 16' and I think people in the U.K forget that that means an American Size 16 which is actually a British Size 12, and that was her at her biggest.
So really Marilyn was pretty damn tiny.

I liked the fact the clothes, especially the film costumes were quite often faded and damaged where they had obviously been worn and worn out during a film shoot.
 For me, there is also something about seeing a person's handwriting for real and not just reproduced on the pages of a book written about them, that I find very moving. It was incredibly poignant to see some of her prescription pill bottles and the bill from her doctor.
My only gripe about the exhibition was the signage. It was really very poor.
I would not call myself an expert on Marilyn by any means but I could have written better myself! Also the small signs in the cases just repeated word for word what was on the big signs hung on the wall and were often in front of the wrong object so they didn't even make sense.
Very shabby.
Other than that it was a wonderful snapshot of Marilyn's life.
                                                 These were my two favourite outfits.

I did take the time to look round the rest of the museum which is pretty small, but no less intersting for that. I loved the folk art room and some of the quilts were pretty mindblowing in terms of the work involved.
There was one made from old dress fabric which I loved and I would have quite happily had a dress made out of each one of the fabrics used they were so pretty.
It was also interesting to see rooms laid out from the same era but from different parts of the U.S.
So the eggshell blue and gold gilt 18th Century bedroom from a house in New York, in complete contrast to the opulence of the burgundy flock brocade and carved dark wood bed of a New Orleans plantation house.

The Marilyn exhibition runs to the end of October.