Thursday, 21 August 2014

Art Deco and Fields of Gold.

This week we have been off work.

Getting Himself to book any kind of time of is nothing short of a miracle, so I was delighted to get him to commit to a whole week off even if we had no plans to do anything with it.

As it turns out we decided to finally visit Eltham Palace. It may have been the boyhood home of Henry the VIII but it is also a shining beacon of Art Deco gorgeousness thanks to it's owners Stephen and Virginia Courtauld who moved in in 1933 and with money no object set about creating their perfect home.
Ever since I realised it was Linnet Ridgeway's home in 'Death on the Nile' I was determined to visit it. Finding out that the house was also home to a Lemur called Mahjong who had run of the house with his own ladders and doorways made me want to visit even more!

It has taken me a while but I eventually wore Himself down and the trip was planned. Now usually I would have just gone on my own but I knew Himself would love it too so was determined we would go together. 
The journey comprised of train, underground, train, by foot but we finally got there and it lived up to every expectation, I was in Art Deco heaven. No photos inside so I bought a guide book as a reminder of what we saw.
If we had any complaints they are that the rooms were, on the whole, very empty, I guess to be fair when the Courtauld's moved out in 1946 they took their belongings with them! Also only a limited amount of the house is available to view.
I have read that English Heritage are still restoring the Palace so maybe a trip back in a few years might be an idea.

The palace was taken over by the Army from 1946 to 1992 and it was interesting to see some of the rooms set up as they would have looked as an officer's bedroom. I squealed when I noticed the bed was the exact same solid G Plan single bed I spent my childhood sleeping in. Clearly they were issued across all the armed forces and not just the R.A.F!

We also spent some time ambling around the gorgeous gardens, the sun even managed to come out for a short while.
This is me doing a 1930's/2010's mash-up.
Being a strapping lass the Deco style embroidered dress I had decided to wear turned out to be far too short on me to go without leggings, also a day out requires a bigger handbag than any of my tiny, age appropriate vintage beauties so I went for quirky and spacious. I also needed comfortable footwear so glittery sneakers it was.

All in all well worthy of a visit if you are a fan of all things 1930's.

From Eltham we headed back into London and across to Hammersmith. Himself had got tickets for a special Marvel screening and I was the 'plus guest'
Himself goes to the cinema at least twice a week, every week, and writes a film blog. It seems my years as a Cineworld widow are finally paying off.

It was quite exciting being signed in, getting a pass, being ticked off lists and generally herded about.

I'm not meant to discuss the screening other than it was mainly to do with Captain America and the DVD release of The Winter Soldier.
They gave is all a raffle ticket as we queued and gave out a few different prizes at the end. Himself only went and won a copy of the DVD so he was very happy.

On Tuesday we had a few things to do in town so we walked down together but split up as I wanted to do the Chazzas. There wasn't a whole lot to be had.
I bought a brooch and a pair of earrings

and a dress, £6 for the lot.

I had dropped a bag off in one shop on my way into town but didn't go back there to browse until much later.
I had had a good sort out of my jewellery last weekend and was amused to see what I had taken in was already out on display. I was very much less amused when the lady took the brand new pair of baseball boots I had donated and just lobbed them straight into the bin!?! 

Let's just say I won't be taking my donations to that particular shop again!

Yesterday we decided whatever the weather we would go for a lovely long walk and a pub lunch.
Thankfully the weather was chilly but sunny, perfect walking weather.
The hedgerows were full of berries and fruit which whilst pretty are all much too early, it's only August for heaven's sake!
They were cutting the wheat.
which was fine until the combine came near by and we nearly choked to death on that cloud of dust.

We found a pub called The Bear at Home so it seemed appropriate to have a pint of 'bear's paw' and very nice it was too.
We decided against food and headed off out again. We met a pig or two
and I fart-arsed around with the zoom on the new camera
It took longer than I thought it would to get home, I was busting. The downside of drinking a pint in the middle of your walk. Unfortunately this part of the walk was through a village and a nature reserve full of open spaces and people so I couldn't nip behind a bush.
We found some seats so Himself said we should take a picture, by this time my back teeth were floating.
I like this picture because you would never guess that behind this beaming smile was a very, very desperate woman.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Picture Says it All.

Hello Lovelies, well it's been a while and all because my camera finally gave up the ghost.
Poor thing it had done good service.
It's amazing how difficult it is to blog when you can't add a picture or 10. Not that I have been up to too much but still it's not been fun going cold turkey from the blog. After much hunting we now have a shiny new camera, same make newer model. It has all the same buttons the old one did and about 50 more. I haven't figured it all out yet, I really should get round to reading the manual *cough*

So what have I been up too apart from eating and drinking more than is good for me? I've caught up with friends for dinner a couple of times and done a little shopping. Well would you expect anything else from me?

I also went to the war memorial in town for the commemoration of the beginning of WW1. There is a barracks in my home town so there is a strong link to the army.
Things started well, the schedule of events was explained followed by a reading and prayers from the vicar and another reading by a member of the British Legion.
 Candles were lit by members of the public and then sadly what should have been an extremely thought provoking and moving time was completely ruined by 3 women in their 60s who decided the time of silent contemplation was actually the perfect opportunity to have a lively gossip.
When someone went across and pointed out (a damn sight more gently and kindly that I would have!) that this was meant to be a time of silence, instead of shutting up the three were outraged and decided to kick off big style instead. 
It was so unbelievably disrespectful and so damn typical of some of the people who live in this town, I was just so angry I left before I throttled one or all of them!

Instead I came home lit a candle and watched the rest of the service from Westminster Abbey.

On Saturday I had to collect a parcel from the sorting office. This meant passing half a dozen charity shops so of course I couldn't help but nip in each one en route.
I came home with a weighty parcel that actually turned out to be for someone else when I opened it *sigh*  


Even Himself was taken with the Britvic glasses, just the right size for quaffing a Bucks Fizz or a Kir Royale and £3 for the set.

I'm not sure exactly how old the bag is, it has an old style metal zip inside so it's got to be at least 1970's. Anyway it was £3.49 and I love it so who cares?

Talking of bags I snaffled this Art Deco beauty after stalking it for ages on the Bay of E.
Other than one broken link on the chain it's in gorgeous condition, and talking of that era my Mum brought me a magnificent hat that one of her ladies brought in to Age Concern.
 It's not old and Himself hates it so it's definitely staying!

Bertha did her worst with gale and storm so I had no excuse but to finally sit down and frame my matchbox labels.
Now I just need to attach the cord and hang the picture, hopefully that won't take me another 2 years....

There was a sale in Wilkinsons, I bought some seeds for making my garden look gorgeous next year and a couple of solar lanterns for £2.50 seen here hanging on the washing spinner.

  Finally after a ridiculous palaver I actually got sent what should have been in the parcel I collected on Saturday.
I was never going to not buy these when I saw them now was I?

Friday, 25 July 2014

While the Sun Smiles, Stick Around and Laugh a While.

What a most excellent week off work it's been, I was more than ready for some time off and I feel I have certainly got the most out of it.
Rather than just pootling round at home as was originally planned, I have ended up with something to do on pretty much every day.

Monday my Mother came over. She has a posh dinner to go to today and needed a top to wear, nothing like leaving it to the last minute to add an air of desperation to your shopping trip!

My Mum is a challenging person to buy clothes with, and for, so it was never going to be an easy day. Without going into all the gory details, 4 hours later we did return with a suitable top and once she had left I took some aspirin and collapsed in a heap, my work done.

We did go into every chazza we came too because my Mum loves to browse charity shops but my Dad (much like Himself) hates them with a passion so she doesn't get to go in them too often!

I didn't buy much, just a chunky white bead necklace and this shirt and bag.
I bought the bag with my friend Kay in mind, I know she will love it.

Tuesday was my no plans day so I alternated doing nothing at all cos it was too hot, with doing manic bouts of housework.
I finally got round to hanging the new lampshade I bought for £2 in a chazza a few months ago, I  promptly broke it but put it up anyway with gaffa tape. Himself came home, examined the join and said "you really are all about the gaffa tape aren't you?"
 I do use it a LOT to fix things it has to be said.
No one would ever know it's being held on by tape......

I also finally framed my tea print which has been waiting since Easter when I bought the frame.
I didn't get around to framing my match labels, I've only had that frame and mount for about 2 years now *cough*.
I did clean the thick dust off said frame and lay them out in an order I like so it's a start right?
I might get Himself on the case, he's far better at lining up and measuring so things are exact.

Talking of Himself, he had managed to win 2 tickets to the press screening of 'Guardians of the Galaxy' in Leicester Square.

So after a lazy morning I met him at the station to head off to London. Unlike Himself who was very, very excited to see the film, I wasn't expecting great things, I have seen the trailer if nothing else, which did the film no favours at all.

 I'm happy to say I was proved very wrong. It's a great action film with lots of laugh out loud humour and one liners which is very unusual for a Marvel superhero film.

I can't remember the last time I have been to the cinema where the audience burst into spontaneous applause and cheering at the end, but they did and it was well deserved.

I did love how a representative from Disney came on at the start and introduced the film and made us all swear not to tweet, blog or otherwise until the film had had it's official premier the next night. How important did we feel? We were both good and didn't say anything.

We grabbed some chips after the film as neither of us had eaten yet and took a gentle stroll towards Oxford Street. Who should I bump into on Regent Street but Sara from Hello The Mushroom
What are the chances of that? It was lovely to see her and have a quick catch up.

Himself and I then went for a quick beer before heading home on the slowest train known to man, seriously I think I could have walked home faster. A 40 minute journey took just under 2 hours.
I finally gave my Hell Bunny apple dress an outing and yes I am as hot, bothered and tired as I look in this picture.

Thursday I was up and off to London again for the Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition at the V&A.

For an exhibition that says 'strictly no photography' having just done a quick image search there are a lot of pictures online if you want to check the frocks out.
My conclusion is that from 1945 to 1980 Italian fashion was lovely, from 1980 - 2000 it was hideous and from 2000 onwards it got lovely again! 

I bought this dress on Monday when out with my Ma it was £19 in the sales and I decided it was perfect for looking at Italian fashion.
As I walked past a busker down the subway to the V&A he started playing 'Great Balls of Fire' which amused me mightily.
Striking a pose.

Would you believe having bumped into Sara the day before this time I happened to bump into my friends Melissa and Dan on the underground, how weird is that?

Once home and re-hydrated and showered, Himself and I went out to take a walk to visit the power station. At 3am on Sunday morning the cooling towers are going to be blown up.

I'm very sad that the towers are going to be demolished, I wish they would leave even just one. They are such a landmark in Oxfordshire and have been here for 40 years. It's going to take 30 seconds to demolish them and 3 years to clear the site which then can't be built on for 75 years!

As Himself works nearby he knows you can brazenly ignore the 'Private Property - Trespassers will be prosecuted' signs and walk right up to the boundary.

Weirdly right next to the power station was an orchard.
Radioactive plums anyone?

Today I trotted off into Oxford for a lunch date with Jenny and Soo. We had a lovely leisurely feed in Bill's and caught up on each others news. What a wonderful way to end a great week.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Too Darn Hot.

Whilst I'll be the first to agree a bit of sunshine is a wonderous thing, I do not do well in heat.
 I have been really struggling this week, especially as our office has no air con, you try and be bright, efficient and capable when you work in an office with no windows and it's topping 30 degrees inside most days!
Consequently I have been grumpy and whiny and basically a bit pathetic this week.

I did have Thursday off, because ever since I turned 40 I have flatly refused to work on my birthday any more. Instead I had a lovely lie-in and then went out for brunch with my parents at the Waterfront Cafe in nearby Benson.
Eggs Royale seemed fitting for a birthday feast and bloody delicious they were too.

From here we went to a garden centre where I showed I am now truly middle aged by spending some of my birthday money on plants!
(seen here waiting to be re-potted.)

I wore a red and white gingham sundress with a mix of vintage and modern accessories and took a very civilized afternoon siesta (with Captain Americat and Winston keeping guard.)

This was followed by dinner, prosecco and Death on the Nile = Brilliant birthday all round. 

I was back to work the next day (boo) but then it was the weekend (huzzah) and a Cotswold Vintage Afternoon Tea with Soo and Melissa.

 More prosecco and chocolate caramel peanut butter cake. Bliss.

We waddled back to Soo's house to drink more wine and enjoy a cracking thunder storm

which managed to break the heat for ooh at least half an hour.

There was a gorgeous sunset on the way home which partly made up for the fact I was sweating like a beast walking up the hill to my house.
I got in, drank yet more wine and went old school by watching the first series of Hustle before bed.

Today I had a late breakfast, gardened, spoke on the phone to my Bestie Jenny and relaxed happy in the knowledge I am off work next week.

I'll leave you with some random birthday picks.
Birthday sunflower
Purple polka dot vintage frock treat to myself.

top three birthday gifts from Himself, Himself and Soo respectively.

I feel very blessed.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Rattle and Hum.

I may be feeling just the tiniest bit delicate this morning. Aren't the best kind of nights the ones that just evolve spontaneously?

I popped out after work to have a quick drink with some very old friends Sharon and Simon. Back more years than I care to remember we all used to work together.

 I'd been working at the library a few years when Sharon joined my department, we were put to work together on her first day and soon became fast friends.We were both art students, both a bit shy and both had a very silly sense of humour!
 A little while later Simon joined the department and love blossomed, that might have been me sidelined but thankfully we just started hanging out as three instead of two.
I was incredibly proud to be asked to be Sharon's maid of honour when they got married, especially as they had a very small and intimate wedding with just family and a couple of close friends.

As is inevitable, life takes over and you don't get to see friends as often as you would like, not because you don't want to, but just 'because'. Whenever our paths did cross it was lovely to catch up but with us all changing jobs that got less and less often.

At Murray's funeral we were a bit shocked to realise just exactly how long it had been since we last got together so made plans to have a proper get together.
Last night was going to be an interim catch up just for a couple of hours after work with plans for a longer one at a later date.

We met in the pub at 4.30pm and I finally rolled home just before 11pm!

I was a bit worried once we had done some reminiscing there might not be anything left to talk about but I couldn't have been more wrong. Conversation flowed (as did the wine!) and it was just a fantastic evening. 

Walking home from the station I was plugged into my I-Pod when U2 - With or Without You came on.
Now if there was ever a Venn Diagram drawn of my family's musical taste the only 2 bands that would be in the overlap of all the circles would be U2 and Nirvana. The two bands guaranteed to get us all up and singing, possibly dancing too, are U2 and Nirvana.
(By the way I don't count my Dad in this Venn Diagram because he only listens to classical music.)
In fact I would say my Mum is the biggest U2 fan but I digress.
The reason I am mention this is because a sure as the sun rises in the sky, if my sister and I are in the same room as each other when drunk we will spontaneously burst into U2 song.

Our favourite party piece is With or Without You. Of course we think we are fricking awesome with harmonies and everything, but in the cold light of day I suspect we are probably more like a couple of cats having their tails pulled!   
So strolling up the hill to home last night singing along, I was instantly reminded of one particular incident when we had been out on a pub crawl round Margate and Broadstairs with Himself. Now the full facts of the night are a bit hazy, it's possible it's the same night my sister got pee on her velvet boot but it's possibly not.
All I do recall is half lying half sitting on the platform at Margate with my sister and treating the other travellers to our full U2 repetoire.
At this time the romance between Himself and I was a very baby brand new shiny thing, a saner man might have fled in horror, but clearly Himself is made of sterner stuff for he took it all in his stride and just scooped us up and carted us home. This especially as he is not and never has been a U2 fan.

Anyway enough of this, would you like to see some shopping?

You know the drill by now. Me selling on Ebay means me buying on Ebay. I scored these two frocks for 4.99 and £3.99 respectively

I suspect the teapot one will have to be a tunic top on me, it is somewhat short!

Whilst in WHSmith which houses the post office I spotted this bag reduced to £2. It was very, very dirty which was why it was reduced, but I decided it was so cute I would take a punt on sticking it in the washing machine with a liberal dose of Vanish stain remover.
It came up pretty much spotless so that was a great result. I have had so many compliments on it, clearly Mr Happy has many fans.

I also needed some more black socks but couldn't resist these 2 pairs at a £1 each in the sales.
I also bought myself a little plant, it was so pretty and being sold for charity so even more justified.
It brightens my kitchen perfectly. Finally this week I found a cheats recipe for salted caramel ice cream.
YUM! just don't ask about the calorie count..............