Saturday 23 April 2016

Spring Cleaning

and getting some of those little chores done that have been left languishing for ages. I've had a couple of crazy busy and frankly pretty shit weeks but I'm not going into that. Thankfully the weekends have been free for pottering about quietly at home.

I did a little bit of gardening in, thankfully not too much now it seems the weather is going to get artic again! What has happened to spring? *sigh*

With spring cleaning in mind I decided to buy a pressure washer. Our neighbour has one we have borrowed in the past, failing that we could always borrow my brother's......but I wanted my own. Himself made lots of valid arguments against but he's known me long enough now to recognise when I'm not going to be moved, and I was not going to be moved. I had found a good deal on a Karcher for a start.
Last weekend Himself set too on one side of our huge ugly concrete patio. It took him about 2 hours to do and then me twice that to clean up behind him, who knew a pressure washer could simultaneously clean and make a mess?

Where once there was greeny sludgy brown there is now a sort of cream.

The lawn got it's first cut which gave this self seeded cowslip the room to flourish

Pootling about outside revealed there has also been some cheeky land grabbing going on by the builder next door. Don't get me going on how I feel about the block of flats going up at the bottom of our garden!
 They are using part of what was next door's garden to be the car park. Not only did they remove our fence, as in the one that belongs to our property, they also dug out the soil right up against the trunks of our hedge stealing between 1-2 feet of our garden into the bargain, (the hedge isn't planted in a straight line) the thieving bastards!!

It's enough to get the calmest gardener raging.

On top of that my pilates teacher has been on holiday for 2 weeks so I haven't even had that release. Of course I haven't done any at home, I always say I will but I never do because truth be told I'm a lazy git.
I have to say I am struggling with the advanced pilates class, I feel my teacher was perhaps a tad over confident in my abilities. I'm basically the dunce of the class, I seem to spend my time alternating between trying to keep up and flailing around like an upturned tortoise.
Having said that it's clearly had some effect. The other week I sat on a wet chair on the train to work, (thankfully it was nothing more sinister than spilled water!) and ended up with a wet bottom. I was able to bend right over with ease and dry myself under the hand dryers in the ladies toilet so I'm clearly more flexible than I once was. Something at least.

Anyway I digress.

I finally got round to framing a couple of prints

 and putting them and a few other pictures up around the house.

I sorted and tidied one wardrobe and had a good tidy and clear out in the small front bedroom.
I even dusted my handbags.

Talking of handbags
I picked up this raffia beauty on Ebay, it turned out to be of epic proportions, much bigger than the slightly daintier bag I was expecting that's for sure. However great for any future outing where I might be required to bring the kitchen sink!

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Films, Specs & a Dress Dilemma.

So what else have I been up to lately?

Well I've been to the cinema twice to see two fairly dreadful films.

In both cases I enjoyed the first film so thought I'd give the sequel a go, and yes this was probably a mistake. I didn't hate them as much as Himself, but they were both a disappointment.
Having said that I tend to hold all bad films up against the 2011 version of The Three Musketeers and I can safely say neither where anywhere near as bad as that, but they were pretty bad.

I also got a new pair of reading glasses. I have to have my eyes tested annually due to a hereditary condition.
I've worn distance glasses since I was 15 and that prescription hasn't changed for years but 3 years ago I got told I needed reading glasses for the first time. Basically every year since then has meant new reading specs. *sigh*

Apparently this is quite common, the optician assured me your eyes deteriorate rapidly at first and then plateau. Here's hoping my plateau is soon, I don't fancy my eyes getting any worse as this year it's been a pretty drastic deterioration and difference in prescription, also it's not exactly cheap getting new Geps every year.

The girl asked me what sort of frames I like so I showed her my current pair, which are turquoise with leopard print arms and said something colourful, like red or purple, but NO PINK!!
She looked a little taken aback at my vehemence but then set to suggesting options. We settled on these.

 So this is me in my new purple frames, just in from FINALLY being able to get out in my garden for the very first time this year, and for a good 7 hours solid too which was absolute bliss. Hence the happy but weary make-up free face, and the mental wind swept hair!

Wilkinson's had marked all their bedding plants down to half price so I filled my boots and now all my tubs are looking colourful and springlike. I also decided this year I wanted a pressure washer, we usually borrow our neighbour's one but once I have decided that is that. Himself made all the right arguments against and then took a look at my face and said there's no point arguing is there? You are just going to buy one aren't you? to which I replied "yes, yes I am!" So I did and then felt very middle aged.

A month or so ago I bought us some Rocky Horror Show tickets, (we see the show every time it tours.) then last week I got a letter to say they had changed the dates for the show.

This meant I had to pop into the theatre and choose a different date, which I did, and as I just happened to have a £3 off voucher for Debenhams, and as they just happen to be on the same street, I stepped in.

Once there I was instantly presented with a dress dilemma! A sale bargain = tick, Plus an extra £3 off = tick, Teacup & teapot print pattern = huge double tick, Pink accents = Eek.

It probably has just about the most pink in it I've worn since my Mother stopped choosing my outfits,but, it's got teapots.
 I dithered until my lunch hour was almost done but knew I just had to have it. Everyone at work knows about my extreme lack of love for the pink so when I got back to the office I voiced my dilemma to my colleagues and they insisted on seeing the dress.
They then basically told me I was being a mentalist because it was the bluest pink dress ever seen.

Himself agreed when I got home that it was indeed the bluest pink dress.


Sunday 10 April 2016

Ride a White Horse.

To Banbury for a shopping trip as it goes, and actually it was Soo's car that got me there and not a horse which is a good job really I'm not really a fan of the horse.

It's been many, many years since I was last in Banbury. They now have a new shopping centre called Castle Quays which is built in a sort of star shape so it gets very confusing, especially for a couple of old ducks like us, somehow you seem to leave a shop, walk forward for a bit, only to see the same shop again in front of you.
This level of confusion continues in the town centre too.Banbury is very old and still keeps it's medieval layout, with lots of alleyways off the streets, so you can find yourself distracted by an interesting shop or building down an alleyway head back to where you thought came from but actually suddenly find yourself on another street completely.
Or maybe you step into a charity shop, which unbeknownst to you actually has 2 doors, so you browse round, maybe buy something, then step out into a completely different street to the one you stepped in from! In the end we gave up trying to figure it out and just embraced it.

There are some absolutely gorgeous buildings in Banbury and I loved all the suns around the city. It turns out the 'sun in splendour' is the coat of arms for the council so they are to been seen everywhere from buildings to, wrought iron to even the bins.

The main plan of the shopping trip was to buy presents for various upcoming birthdays but I seemed to keep finding things for either myself or my Mother, and neither of us have birthdays for months yet!
Eventually after a delicious lunch in The Bay Tree tea shop we found the Banbury Museum Shop (as recommended by Soo's Mum) and I hit my present buying stride. I'm not going to show you any of those but I will share with you my other purchases.
From one of these stalls at the mini flea market I bought the appropriately giant sunburst-like brooch.

The green scarf and bunny came from one of the 2 door charity shops and were £1.49 and £1.99 respectively.

From the St Katherine's Hospice shop. I bought this blue dress for £5
Look at the amazing deco building the shop is housed in....
but dear lord was it carnage inside! A jumbled mess of stuff in no particular order laid out in a way that seemed to detract from, rather than make a sensible use of, the layout of the rooms. Sadly no vintage I'm guessing that must get sorted and sent elsewhere.

I also bought this mini coffee/chocolate pot for 95p
and this lovely green blouse for £4
There were a couple of scary parts of town, but then what town doesn't have it's dodgier areas? On the whole though it was a fun and successful day out.

* Yes, yes I changed the first line of the poem but I want to avoid the kind of traffic the C word would bring to my blog!

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Vogue 100 and Some Leopard Print

Last week was a short week anyway due to Easter, but Charlotte and I took a cheeky extra day off work to visit the VOGUE 100 - A Century Of Style exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery.
Being a lover of fashion and photography I genuinely don't know what I liked this exhibition for the most, the pictures, especially the black & white ones, or the fact that a large majority were pictures of fashion. As ever no picture taking was allowed so I can't weigh this post down with all my favourites, and there were many, it really is an extraordinary exhibition.

I loved the fact that it was deliberately set up to lead you from the present day back in time, decade by decade, to 1916 when the first issue was released. Each decade had it's own room and what a difficult and amazing job it must have been to choose the most representative pictures of each era. I'm afraid I'm guilty of dismissing Vogue as one of those coffee table fashion mags made up of 80% adverts and no proper articles, so it was good to also be reminded of some of the groundbreaking photo-journalism they have produced.

The exhibition clientele was almost as fascinating as the pictures themselves. An interesting mix of young and old, including unexpectedly, quite a few young men, and some very, very glamorous and well groomed ladies of a certain age, who for the most part clearly came from the industry. We spent quite a bit of time ear-wigging their conversations, particularly in the room that had two long cabinets with glass cases displaying open copies of various issues of Vogue.  Being such a lover of history it was interesting to go from things I've lived through (1980's supermodels darling) to eras I've read about voraciously (The Bright Young People & WW2)  In fact we got quite lyrical about our own youth, what we wore and the celebrities and supermodels of the day.
All in all a fantastic exhibition and one I thoroughly recommend.

Conversely on Friday I had to work late as we had a yield event at the school which meant I had to be on my very best behaviour ALL DAY!
The only plus to this was there was a college dinner involved so not only did I get to eat some lovely food I got to do it in the stunning surroundings of Harris Manchester College in Oxford.

Mind I would have loved to have seen a picture of the horror on my face, when on arrival, I was told the drinks reception would be in the library! Food and or drink near precious books goes against every fibre of my being. Having said that what a gorgeous library it is,

I also think I am little in love with their librarian who ever they may be, they are clearly a librarian after my own heart allowing quirky touches like a skeleton in a hat and a sleeping bat to take their place among the stained glass and polished oak. Apologies for the crappy phone pictures.

I shall sign off with the leopard print. I bought this frock from the Lady Vintage sale
I dithered for some time over whether to buy it or not as whilst I have always loved the leopard, even back in my rock chick days I never dressed in it head to toe, and lets face it a swing style dress equals a LOT of leopard print. *but* it is a style of frock I love and it does have sleeves which is always a Brucey Bonus when you get to a certain age/weight in life. So I took the plunge and hit the 'Pay Now' button.

I ordered it to be delivered to my work address as there is always someone on the main desk to sign for it and sure enough I soon got an email to say there was a package for me. I didn't half get some looks when I scooted down to collect it and here's why

 A huge expanse of leopard print clearly visible through the packaging!

 Let's just say my work wardrobe would never lead one to suspect I might be a full on Bet Lynch in my spare time!!