Friday 30 January 2015

Life's a Bitch.

Well I had a shortish post lined up all about The Great January Charity Shop Extravaganza of 2015 but this is not quite it. In fact so far 2015 has not quite been what I was expecting either.

I had high hopes for a year of fun times, including My Dad's 80th, my Brother's 50th and Nephew Number One's 21st. I hoped to go to America on the trip that got postponed last year when my friend Ash's cancer came back, this time with bells on to celebrate the fact she was declared cancer free just before Christmas.

Yup it was going to be a good, a busy, and a clearly very expensive year!

 I was going to carry on accepting invitations and indeed tonight, right this moment as it happens, I was meant to be knocking back cocktails with some girls from work just to celebrate the fact we had survived January.
Instead I sat with my Mum next to my Dad's bedside in the dedicated stroke unit at the JR in Oxford. This after having just gone through what was possibly my worst day at the office since I started working there.

Yes I can safely say 2015 has not been panning out as I expected.

On the whole I've been a mess this week, on Wednesday we were warned to expect the worst, but you know what?
Today my Dad is still with us and fighting hard, the difference in him tonight was incredible, so I figure I will post the pictures of my purchases and blog about my day out with Soo and Melissa, because life does go on and my god you need some normality when the rest of your world has been tipped on it's head.
Oh and as far as the people at work making my life hell today are concerned they can go fuck themselves because I have more important things and people to be bothered about.

So yes last Saturday the annual January Charity Shop Extravaganza took place, and this year Soo and I took Melissa with us.
Soo and I shopped up a storm, whilst Melissa showed admirable restraint.

If I had the space in my house I would have bought the most gorgeous 1960's blonde ash chair, a huge wooden coffee table with the most stunning wood grain and patination, and finally a fab little folding table that had the added extra of being on wheels!
 Damn I wish I had the space for that, I really do.

I'm afraid I failed in my blogging responsibilities and forgot to take my camera with me, so no pictures of the various pieces of lovely furniture or the frocky horrors and ornamental china monstrosities that are always a key part of our January outtings.

Without further ado my purchases.
I really wasn't going to buy this bag. I picked it up and put it back down twice but in the end I was seduced by the £2 price tag and the thoroughly and satisfyingly loud SNAP the clasp made. I think the turquoise beads were 99p.
A Ken Messer print of Oxford High Street for £3. I bought this for my Dad because I knew he would love it. I was going to give it to him next time I saw him. Mum took it home tonight to put it up in his study.

Star purchase. A brand new Debenhams Collection winter coat for £14.

Finally after about half a dozen completely wrong purchases, I had a brain wave about the type of lampshade that would suit the Elephant Lamp of Wonder. I got this one for £1
Admittedly it's the wrong colour but I have plans.....

Sunday 18 January 2015

Shiny Happy Things.

This is going to be a short blog post. It's been a busy week work-wise and I'm glad it's done.

The weather has been quite mad, to the point whilst walking home from the station on Thursday it rained,sleeted and snowed within 5 minutes and all whilst a gale relentlessly blew it all straight into my face. The only consolation was I was on my way home so could jump straight in a hot shower when I got there.

My new umbrella got snapped clean in half when a sudden unexpected strong gust of wind blew, I don't put my umbrella up in wind for fear of just that thing happening but this caught me unawares. It makes me very sad because it was a lovely and new (and expensive!) umbrella which I now have to replace.

I went to the cinema on Wednesday to my second film of 2015.
The first was The Theory of Everything on New Year's Day which was just wonderful and well worthy of it's Oscar nominations.

The second was Into The Woods which was pretty damn dreadful actually. 
Now you know me, I do like a musical, but I am most definitely not a fan of the type of musical where there are no specific songs as such, just everybody 'speak-singing' their dialogue to the same 'tune'. Sadly this was exactly that kind of musical, it was also much, much to long.
Thankfully we went on Orange Wednesday so didn't pay!   

My new brogues finally arrived
I'm pretty sure they are going to go with  all the same outfits my old brown ones did and a few more besides, another item ticked off my wish list.

Talking of wishlists.

I'm not a huge collector of vintage china but I do know what I like and will pick up pieces here and there even though if I'm brutally honest, I have nowhere left to store any more plates or teacups.

For a long while now I have had a fancy for a Lustreware teapot after having fallen for one owned by a friend but the price was prohibitive for the ones I did see.    
I'd sort of forgotten about this until I was going through some back issues of Homes and Antiques magazine and spotted a really rather lovely one.

That got me on Ebay where after many weeks of hunting and stalking I finally found one I liked at a price I was willing to pay.
The bonus is it came with a matching milk jug and sugar bowl.
I'm pretty sure this is not going to be to the taste of the majority of my readers, it is a bit in your face for a tea set!
but for some reason I love it's gaudy shining gold-ness. I have already rearranged one of my shelves to display the 3.

Saturday 10 January 2015

Sales Shopping and a Resolution or Two.

Ah yes the siren call of the January Sales.
I no longer leap into action on Boxing day and pound the pavements for hours on end in search of a bargain, any bargain, just as long as it's REDUCED!!
 I do still love a bargain however, and will venture out at some point to particular favourite shops hoping to find something lovely at at least half it's original price.

I had a small list of things I actually needed, but everybody knows I'm not going to stick to a list right?
Having said that I did manage to some things from it so clearly I can do it when I try, mostly though I just can't be arsed to try.

Anyway from my list I bought the following :
A lovely new dressing gown from M&S. I needed a new one and this one has been on my radar for a while now, but I just was not willing to pay full price for it, I was however more than willing to buy it at 60% off.
I showed it to Himself and he started smirking, I'm like "What?" "WHAAT?" and he said " Nothing, nothing, it's nice.........but it is a bit 'Margo' "
In my eyes this of course is not a bad thing so it's staying.
Next up
Snugly slippers to replace my comfy but knackered ones. These came from Accessorize and are polar bears I just loved the faces and the pompom tail.
Also from Accessorize
A new handbag for work. It might surprise you to know that whist I avidly collect vintage bags, I am ridiculously, insanely particular about the bag I take to work each day!
It has to have 2 separate zipped compartments for a start, I have been looking on and off for a new one for 2 years and I finally found this one. It's not 100% perfect and it is smaller so fitting all my 'stuff' in it is a challenge but it will do.

Another item ticked of the list are a new pair of patent brogues to replace my brown ones that split I ordered them from the Office sale but they haven't arrived yet. I couldn't get brown so I went for ox-blood as I figure they should go with most things too.

Then of course we reach the items that weren't on the list but somehow I ended up buying anyway.

Like the day I went into Oxford to buy theatre tickets and came home with theatre tickets and 2 dresses.
These two dresses to be precise. I got them both in Debenhams and they will be perfect for work (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)

Or the day I went into BHS looking for pillowcases and came out with a dress but no pillowcases.
It came from the Dorothy Perkins franchise in there which is so temptingly placed right by the entrance. Who can resist a bit of glitter? Not this magpie that's for sure! (I ended up getting the pillowcases from Sainsbury's after I popped in for some bananas as you do.)

As requested I add a picture of my Cath Kidston burglar dress. I haven't even tried it on yet let alone worn it and no I really have no idea why I do that with some items of clothing. It's just plain weird  and I'm the first to admit it.

Finally here is my before Christmas Ebay purchase, photographed after the toxic armpits have had a liberal dosing of the, as recommended by Vix, vodka & water spray. Neither of us drinks vodka so I bought the smallest cheapest bottle Tesco had to offer, I hope the dress won't hold that against me. Now I just need some slightly glam event to wear it too.
I'm never a fan of early January. With the Christmas decorations gone, my house seems dull and lacking in glitter so it makes me feel dull and lacking in glitter.
It's back to the painful early starts and the waiting for a train in the pitch black, freezing cold morning. Roll on the spring say I.

I do find this time of year does seem to induce a certain amount of navel gazing in me. I've said before on this blog I'm not one for New Year resolutions, I find 9 times out of 10 you fail and that's just something else to beat yourself up about, but, I do give myself a few goals to aim for.

This year I want to be a bit more proactive about my waistline. I spent last year losing and gaining and losing and gaining the same half a stone to the point where it just got ridiculous! 
I'm not as big as I was in 2013, but I didn't end 2014 as slim as I would have liked either. Much as I would love to lose a stone or 2 I know it's never going to happen, because not only do I have 0% willpower, I'm lazy to the point of coma and basically I'm a greedy pig.

So I will aim for more realistic goals like keeping that half stone off for good, and losing another into the bargain.

Also I have signed up to start a Pilates class in February. If this helps lose a little weight it will be an added bonus, but the main motivation behind it is to get some fitness and flexibility back.
Serious health issues for a couple of people close to me has really brought home the fact that as you age, unless you use it, you lose it and when it comes to both of the above I am already losing it.

 It's been 18 months since my friend Susan died so also 18 months since I did the Alexander Technique with a teacher. I miss it, and her, I practised with her for the best part of 20 years and I just can't bring myself to start again with a new teacher, it doesn't seem right somehow. That might change of course, but for now I've decided to look for something new but with similar priciples and Pilates seems to fit the bill.
The class I have found is not only just down the road from my house, but also lets you sign up and pay for 4 sessions at a time, so if I don't like it I can leave after my 1st 4 are done.
 I like the fact it starts in February, I feel somehow I will be more likely to stick with it than if I started it in January!

Other plans are to carry on with last years goal of accepting more invitations and going out and doing more, I have to say that was particularly successful.
I add to that spending more time in my garden which got sadly and shamefully neglected last year!
I also plan on upping the number of books I read, another thing like gardening, that brings me great joy and yet I never seemed to find the time or inclination for either last year.

Finally my itchy feet are urging me to travel states side again, I need an America fix, so that's another thing I need to work on.


Saturday 3 January 2015

2014 Dress Round Up

I've been reading and enjoying quite a lot of blog round-ups so I pondered doing one for my blog.

Keeping in mind I mostly end up bleating on about things I've bought and combining this with my one 2014 New Year resolution that I did pretty good with ie; 'to shop less' I have compiled a frock round-up.

(when did I say this was going to make sense?)

Was a very restrained month and so it should have been bearing in mind that was when I made the resolution!
Delightful Purchase was :
The Hell Bunny Pirate Dress. I love this dress and we have had some great nights out together :)

Sewing Disaster :
I completely wrecked this Ebay purchase trying to take it in so it would fit me. It was just too big in size and in ambition, I had to throw it away *weeps*

This month had some great Charity shop purchases, having said that from those purchases.

Washing Disaster :
I completely wrecked this charity shop find by shrinking it in the wash. I tried turning it into a top instead but it was all twisted and weird so it also had to hit the bin too.

Frocky Horror : 
This silver and purple lurex delight was an Ebay purchase. It looked so pretty in the pictures, it looked fucking terrible on.
It went back on Ebay and winged it's way over to Poland at a slight loss to my pocket.

Shameful :
A brand new Hobbs dress for £12.99? yes please thought I. I haven't even tried it on, it's hanging in the wardrobe, it's still got it's tags on and I haven't even put it over my head. Disgraceful behaviour!

Again a very restrained month from me

Delightful Purchase :
Another Hell Bunny frock, this time it's the apple print one.

Frocky Horror :
Another Ebay purchase. Nothing wrong with the frock as such it just looked wrong on me somehow. I kept it for a while but knew I wouldn't wear it so I resold it, happily at a slight profit. 

A remarkably restrained month for me frockwise!

Delightful Purchase :
Lovely floral tea dress from Peacocks. The neckline needed mending so it was reduced. I'm not one for pastel shades as a rule but I decided to take a punt on this because it was pretty and it was a bargain, for once this turned out to be the right thing to do and I have worn it a lot to work.

This was the month of the giant tights (seen here with an ordinary length pair to give perspective!) Proof, if any is needed, that purchasing tights in Primark is a risky business. Since then I have found many, many people say the same thing.

No horrors this month but 3 Delightful Purchases :
 2 from my trip to Molly's Den in Bournemouth. I even managed to take the burgundy one in successfully!

and one from The Bloggers Meet in Sheffield.
Is a bumper month! Maybe I have to have a splurge every 6 months......hmm

Delightful Purchases :

Include a couple of cracking Charity shop purchases and another Peacocks tea dress.

Frocky Horror :

I think I was channeling the 90s with that checked dress, and to be fair I still like the fabric but dear lord it looked hideous on, just hideous. It went back to the charity shop from whence it came.

The red and black Pearl Lowe dress  was an Ebay purchases I was very excited to add to my collection of her dresses, but it just looked completely wrong on me and was also ridiculously short, so that got listed back on Ebay, can't remember if I cut even or made a slight profit on that one.

Shameful :

This very unusual handmade dress, another charity shop purchase that still hangs on it's hanger  and hasn't even been tried on. I honestly have no idea why I have this extreme reluctance to try on certain dresses. Quite frankly it's bizarre.

The month of my birth and when you consider that meant I had birthday money to spend a gentle month. This month also showcases my first 2 successful Ebay purchases, only took me 7 months!

Delightful Purchase :

Both spotty and both lovely. (I really must get a full length shot of the purple one it's fab) The black one came from the sales the purple one came from Ebay.

Sort off Frock Disaster :
An Ebay purchase from a while ago that only got worn this month. It was very smelly when it arrived and I learned that terrible lesson that some vintage clothes hold odours even after a good wash.
A few hours into wearing and this baby started to hum! I do still plan to wear it because it is lovely but I haven't yet because I now have the fear.

Definite Frocky Horror :
Why oh why do I still buy things in white or cream?? I can't wear either colour. This one went straight back on Ebay!

Another splurge month though with mixed success.

Delightful Purchase :
2 new dresses from Peacocks

 A charity shop find, a dress from New Look's Tall collection and a lovely black Pearl Lowe number.

Frocky Horror :

Both of these checked dresses looked terrible on. The first one (from Collectif) got butchered and is now a delightful swing skirt, The second one from River Island got sold on Ebay.

A fairly successful month and another winning Ebay purchase!

For some reason I never wear midi dresses but I saw this one on Ebay and took a punt, plus another couple of Hell Bunny dresses.

Disaster :
A sad disaster indeed was this Peacocks Owl print tea dress. I wore it once and it looked lovely, I washed it and most of the colour came out :(
I took it back and it turned out they had had a problem with the fabric so they refunded me. Bah.

Not a single frock was purchased this month!?!

I did buy some bags though, and one of them in Paris no less *happy sigh*

Another fairly restrained month

Delightful Purchase :

Though the second one is still waiting to have it's armpits fumigated!

Frocky Horror :
Frankly this dress needs a woman with a magnificent bosom to do it justice and that woman is definitely not me. It will shortly be winging it's way across the ocean to someone I'm hoping will do it the full justice it deserves.

Two naughty Ebay purchases, both by Hell Bunny that were at a price to good to resist but have yet to be worn.

So what does this round up show me?

1. I have actually done pretty damn well with my shop less resolution.

2. I have a thing Hell Bunny dresses!

3. Peacocks and Hell Bunny seem to sell dresses that fit me well and suit my style and taste.

4. I really need to be much more careful about my Ebay purchases!