Monday 30 December 2013

As One Year Closes.....

I'm feeling reflective as I sit here drinking tea and listening to yet another storm battering the U.K outside.

Once more I am grateful we live on a hill, I can't even begin to imagine how it must have felt to be flooded out on Christmas Eve like some in this area. Now heavy snow the U.K is never ready for, but storms? It's a joke, they need to pull their fingers out and spend the money that is needed on keeping storm drains and culverts clear and stop building houses on flood plains!!

I'll stop now before I start ranting.

It is meant to be recycling day today as you can imagine 70 mile an hour winds and papery goods do not mix, it's like there has been a recycling explosion out there.
I would step out and take a picture of the street which is much worse put it's hammering down so I shall make do with the view from my window and you can get the gist.

So Christmas came and went. I worked Christmas Eve, no biggie to some who do it all the time I know, but it's the first one I've ever had to work in all my 20 odd years of employment. It sucked royally, especially as there was nothing to do and the other department fucked of at 12 without telling us! As you can gather I was not happy about that.

On the plus side Marks at the station had reduced everything including the flowers so I got a £22 bouquet for £3. All the staff at the station were there buying them up so I think there were some very happy wives/girlfriends/boyfriends/other that night.
                                                       So big it filled 2 vases.

I also bought one for my Sister in Law to take on Christmas Day. I got a jug out to put them in over night, and inside it there was the most enormous spider you have ever seen in your life!?! EEEK
It's testament to how much I love the jug that I managed to place it on the floor rather than drop and or hurl it from me! I think I aged 10 years.

Christmas day was craziness, busy noisy and fun. We brought Nephew Number One home with us to sleep over. I know he's 19 but as his aunt/godmother it did feel a little wrong to sit up until the early hours drinking to the point of him vomiting.
I did try to impart some hard learnt drinking wisdom but he wasn't interested. I guess the whole point is you have to learn it yourself!

I went to the sales on Friday, now that was a revelation. I have always loved the sales, I usually march into battle on Boxing Day but the last couple of years I haven't been for one reason or another and now it's like something has changed. It was horrific, too many people, too much nasty rubbish, too hot, too loud, you get the picture.
A couple of hours was enough and we beat a hasty retreat.
I did pick up a couple of bits and pieces, I had a voucher to spend in Accessorize and scored this huge satchel type bag.
You can't see in the picture but it has gold flecks in the fabric so it subtly sparkles. Not only was it reduced in the sale, it has extra money off as the straps were broken. I examined it carefully and figured I could fix it so took a chance. Here it is all fixed and with a couple of extra adornments on the front.

What I needed was a new work bag, which I didn't find and a new winter coat which I didn't find either. Now that I have been hunting for for some time, in charity shops, online everywhere. Everything seems to be either black or grey and if it's not have some sort of mental collar thing going on. I don't want black or grey or a great huge collar thank you.
I ended up spending my Christmas pennies shopping online where I have ordered a coat we shall see when it arrives.....

After the nephew had departed I was able to move all my 'stuff' back into the front bedroom. I did that yesterday and must conclude I really do have far to much 'stuff' and it is quite possible I might just have too many handbags. I have displayed some of my evening bags on the door mostly because it looks pretty but partly because there is nowhere else for them to go!
 Right I'm off to put the kettle on and have a browse through my Christmas books.
I'll see you in the new year.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Elves, Babies and a bit of Wizarding Magic.

Well it's ramping up towards Christmas, which means I have been out more nights than I have been in and Himself has taken to the bed stricken with some manner of lurgy.

I have consumed vast quantities of calories via food and alcohol, which will mean me whimpering on the bathroom scales in January and swearing off food and drink for the next millennium, but in the meantime my mantra is eat drink and be merry!

Last week I had a couple of days off work to do some very important stuff.

I went to The Warner Bros Studio for 'The Making of Harry Potter' Christmas at Hogwarts, it was AMAZING. I'm not a die hard fan (unlike my Dad) but I did enjoy the books and the films, and the fact that I got to watch some of the said films being filmed puts it in a special place in my heart.

I wasn't sure at first as to begin with you have some very perky guides who quite frankly grated to the point of wanting to smash them in the mouth, but once we were left to wander at our pace it was fascinating, absolutely fascinating.
The attention to detail was mind blowing and the animatronics and model making just gob smacking.
I could post the millions of photo's I took but I won't bore you with it all. I shall just share Neville's cardigan, because Neville is my favourite.
And this gorgeous painting of a young professor McGonagall (Dame Maggie Smith) because I loved it. Do you know they hired 6 portrit artists to paint the 350 paintings seen in the films? I thought they were just printed scans or CGI, but no, they were all actual full sized oil paintings based on pictures from the National Portrait Gallery and often of members of the crew.
I also managed to find an elephant or two, well you know me....

I swear I really do not go hunting for them, I just seem to spot them.

All in all a bloody good day out and highly recommended.

We also went to see the second Hobbit film. It was better than the first, but frankly it would have to have been pretty dire to be any worse than that endless snooze-fest.
I did quite enjoy it, I wish I could have enjoyed it more. It only ever got interesting when the elves were on screen and as none of that action is in the original book it kind of defeats the object really. Ho hum.
Nice bit of eye candy though and no I don't mean Sir Ian!

We were up at a horrific time on Saturday to head to Devon for Nephew Number Two's 4th birthday, and to meet Niece Number One. The weather was absolutely miserable, at one point we were going to take the nephew to the beach but as the rain was pelting down and the sea was crashing over the wall onto the road we decided against!

The party was all it should have been, 10 overexcited, sugar high 4 year old's running amok, it's been a long time since I have been to one like it.
We spent most of it having cuddles with the Little Miss, who somehow managed to sleep through the lot, bless her!
She is an absolute delight. So is the Nephew if I'm honest, he's at that chatterbox stage and I have to say I just love the random stuff kids of that age come out with.

Unfortunately the recurring theme of the weekend did seem to be vomit. Only to be expected I suppose what with a new baby, excited 4 year old's and adults plus alcohol. A fun but tiring time.

After that it was back to work where we had a long lunch to watch The Muppet's Christmas Carol today. I also took time out to catch up with a friend this afternoon and then out this evening to eat with more friends and the happy news that a baby is on the way for one of them. A perfect way to end an evening.

Sunday 8 December 2013

My Life as a Tree.

Today was the day to put up our tree. Now those who know me know I go a bit mad at Christmas, I do love me some decorations!
Last year because we were in Edinburgh and then away, we didn't bother with the big tree, but this year it's back and more decorated than ever.

I have a cd that I must always play when I decorate the house. It was a gift from Soo many years ago now, but it comes out every year and means that I do have to stop more than is helpful to do a bit of a charleston with jazz hands!
                                              My let's get this tree decorated kit.

It occurred to me when I was sitting back admiring my handy work that the tree is quite a good reflection of me.
It's colourful, and busy, and not to everyone's taste.

It is a lovely mish mash of vintage and modern.
and off the wall

with classic art deco

and rather a lot of very silly
and of course lots of elephants

So yes my tree seems to reflect my personality more than I realised......hmmm

I shall finish with a picture of what I did with the 12 days of Christmas decorations I bought for £2 in Newbury. I bought a wicker heart and wired them on to it in a random fashion. I'm still missing a drummer but I like how it worked out.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Frocks and Bags, or Adding to My Collection(s)

Well things are finally slowing down at work so I can stop whinging, other than to say I'm flaming knackered!

Having said that last week we went to the cinema twice. First we saw The Butler which was great and pretty thought provoking.
followed at the weekend by Saving Mr Banks, which again was very good

Even Himself liked it, the first Tom Hanks film he has ever liked!

I also visited my friend Murray for the last time on Friday HUZZAH! He *finally* got to go home after more than 5 months in hospital, it was wonderful to finally see him looking and sounding, well, like himself again. Good news indeed and a great way to end the week.

Other than that I have been collapsing in a heap each evening and doing nothing more than read. Oh and browse the bay of E because I don't have to think or expend energy to do that. I managed to miss the most amazing black and silver lurex frock because I fell asleep *WAH* but I did stay awake long enough to bid on some other things.

I bought two new frocks.

The orange one is a wonderful piece of 1970's homemade crimplene joy, though not quite as bright in the flesh as it photographs. It reminded me of the purple dress I foolishly left behind on my visit to Birmingham (though a different colour obviously).
I have also added to two of my collections in one fell swoop.

Elephants and deco handbags?  

Why yes I'll have some of that thank you. 
 Look at this glorious little clutch. Usually these sell for upwards of £40 but I managed to snag this one for £10.49. No I couldn't believe it either! and it's in fabulous condition needing nothing more than a careful clean.

 I'm one happy bunny.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Presentations, Monsters and Electro-pop.

Where have the last two weeks gone?? In a flurry of good and bad things and busy times.

I had to do my first ever presentation at work which thankfully went well. Mind, if you would have put a glass of water into my hand just prior to, or just after, I would have frozen it solid!
I always get freezing cold when I'm nervous. I wish I could say I'll never have to do it again but it will be the first of many and I fear it is not something I will ever enjoy.

The same night I dragged Himself to see Gary Numan. I will confess I am sad I took him to this particular show as Gary has really gone back to his electro-pop roots, with 3 keyboards on stage and only one guitar. His sound had been a lot more guitar driven before now which I know Himself would have loved. This was most definitely not his cup of tea.
Oh dear.
I loved it but it's not the same when you know the person with you is not having a good time.

I will also add that in all of my almost 30 years of gig going, this show had by far the worst support band I have ever, ever heard, and that's saying something.
The biggest bunch of pretentious, up their own arses, whining drivel I have ever had the misfortune to stand through. At one point the singer even draped a black shawl over his head and the microphone stand to sing a song, what a twat.
I'm clearly getting to old for this shit.

Things at work have built to a crescendo and there was a massive blow up. Things were strained to breaking point and I actually started looking for a new job, which gutted me because I really enjoy working there but enough was enough.
Thankfully our manager called us all in individually for a chat and I was able to get everything off my chest. Let's just say I was guilty of letting things get to me and also listening to somone I should have know better than to.
The air has been cleared and I'm feeling much happier. I'm also being a bit more cautious about who I tell what!

After all of that, it was nice to have a weekend with no plans. Himself decided to go to Reading to see a film that wasn't on here and I went with him to do some shopping whilst he was in the cinema. I made a dent in the Christmas shopping which is always a great relief.
I did end up buying myself a couple of things. What can I say, I always do no matter how hard I try not too!
A set of Agatha Christie novels for £9
A pair of skull print lace leggings £3 in the sale at H&M. They would probably look more effective on but as they are on the radiator drying I wasn't about to test that theory today!
A little trinket pot that was going to be a present but I ended up keeping - oopps.

Finally this fella was 30p in a charity shop and I couldn't resist.

This week has been manic at work so it was blissful to head out to the pub for a plate piled high with carbs and a glass of wine or two with some friends.
We also went to see 'Frankenstein' again. This time with Jonny Lee Miller as the monster and Benedict Cumberbatch as Frankenstein. It was just as good.

Tonight of course was the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who I celebrated that with a very dusty bottle of London Pride I discovered in the kitchen.
I've been fighting an on and off scratchety throat which I refuse to give in too. I have far to much coming up to be sick, which of course is always the time you get sick.....


Monday 11 November 2013

Two go Mad in Newbury and a New Arrival.

Well it's been a while but in my defense I've been a busy bee.

Himself and I went to see Thor on Monday, Ooooooh it's good, I thoroughly enjoyed it. We also got a new shed roof on Monday, I think I'm still in shock I only reported it needed replacing on the Friday!?!

On Saturday Soo and I took ourselves off to pastures new for some much needed girlie time and to start the dreaded 'C' shopping.
We decided to try Newbury after being recommended it and it was lovely. Such a pretty town and with quite a good mix of shops, we did the real shops and the charity shops all whilst dodging the downpours.

It has little alleyways
original family run shops
gorgeous old buildings and some lovely old pubs.

The Charity shops were very disappointing. For clothes it was the old story of over priced Primark and not a lot else.

All I found was a Per Una hat for £3
and a set of Gisela Graham 12 days of Christmas ornaments. They are missing the drummer drumming, but as they retail at £30 and I paid £2 I'm not too worried, I think I can find a drummer somewhere.....
I particularly liked the maid a milking and her lovesick cow!

We had heard great things about the Debenhams outlet in Newbury but I wasn't that impressed, it wasn't a bargainous as I had been lead to believe so all I bought was 2 pairs of Snoopy knickers! (Well you know me and Snoopy.)

There was a good market and best of all a cracking Antique/Flea Market. We both scored some fabulous jewelery bargains there. Soo found a stunning Amber pendant and I found 2 gorgeous brooches.
This lovely whale

and this sparkly palm tree
I *know* I'm not meant to buy myself presents at this time of year but I just could not leave either behind.

Finally I came home to 2 packages. I won these ace 1970's beaded shoppers on Ebay, both were 99p plus postage and I am thrilled with them.

  SNAP! Helga!


now that all is well, and all the people who should know do know, I can announce 2 weeks ago Niece Number One FINALLY arrived, and she is a little smasher.
 She didn't arrive when the doctor said, or when her Mum wanted, but when she felt ready. Clearly once she has made up her mind she doesn't hang around as from start to finish it took just over an hour for her arrival!?!

I am very much looking forward to my first cuddle.

Friday 1 November 2013

Frankenstein and a Little Shopping.

So Halloween has been and gone and so has our 16th Anniversary. Himself got me me some flowers with an ornamental cabbage in the bouquet (not sure what he's trying to tell me!) and this little chap
as a hint to what we were going to do for said anniversary. He took me to see a cinema screening of the National Theatre's production of Frankenstein starring Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch.
It is the show where they took turns with the roles of Frankenstein and his monster each night. This version had Benedict in the role of the monster.
I was very excited to see this as you can imagine.
We were shown to our seats by a young man wrapped in toilet roll, I *think* he was meant to be a mummy but his wrappings had slipped so much he was just a young man in jeans and a t-shirt with random lumps of toilet roll round his arms and legs which trailed out behind him and gently shed sheets here and there like dandruff as he went up and down the stairs.

Before I get into the production I'll get a rant about the 2 women next to me off my chest. Himself said, very charitably for such a people hater as he, that they 'clearly didn't get out much'.
Firstly they talked quite a lot, not enough to give you the opportunity to tell them to belt up but enough to be irritating, (though I will confess I did find the comment about Benedict Cumberbatch 'he's very bendy isn't he?' funny.)
 The one next to me reached into her bag about 2/3 through the production, got something out and started rustling it. At first I thought she was trying to open a sweet, but no, oh no, she actually just had a piece of paper in her hand that she was absentmindedly agitating!

I unleashed some of my finest passive aggressive behaviour and very pointedly looked her in the face and then at her hands and then at her face again. Thankfully she took the hint and stopped before I had to throttle her with some discarded toilet roll from the stairs.

The worst bit by far though was the one farthest from me kept making that really gross nasal throaty horking snort that old men make right before they spit. I mean this was a smartly dressed middle aged woman for god's sake, it was absolutely revolting and very distracting. Unfortunately she was too far away for me to throttle though the idea of lunging across at her got more attractive the more she did it!

Going to the cinema would be so great if it wasn't for the people.

The play was bloody brilliant. Bit slow and 'modern dance interpretation' to begin with but other than that brilliant and with a fabulous supporting cast. I can't wait to go again in a few weeks to see it with them in the reversed roles.
It's such a thought provoking story, it still blows my mind to think Mary Shelley was just 19 when she finished writing the novel. I could never have conceived something so complex and so worldly wise at the age of 19 that's for sure.

I actually had yesterday and today off work in lieu for those Saturdays I slogged away at earlier in the month.
So yesterday I went to a local garden centre with my Ma and Pa, completely forgetting it was half term so the place was rammed with families and shrieking kids.We looked at the Christmas decorations, as you do, bought some hedgehog food and beat a retreat!

Today I went into to town to grab some shampoo and a few groceries. En route I browsed the chazzas, as you do and came away with
a suitably autumnal vest.
A huge vintage straw bag for a pound, It just needs a new toggle closure, and 2 bead necklaces for 50p
I also dived into Wilkinsons for bird food and found they had all their left over bulbs reduced to either 50p or £1 = RESULT!
This little lot cost me £6 I restrained myself from going too mad! Now I've just got to find the time to plant them all....

I shall leave you with the suitably festive aspects of my outfit yesterday. I love Halloween and not just because it's our anniversary.

Oh yes and we had Halloween shaped pasta for tea!