Friday, 24 February 2017

Walking Literary London

You may recall back in October Himself and I headed to London to 'Walk Haunted London' well this weekend we were back but this time armed with a book that shares it's title with this post.

I've had the book a few years now and we have done a couple of the other walks out of it, but this time we decided to go for the one that went from Regent's Park to Camden via Primrose Hill because we had both only ever been to one of the 3 (Camden) and even there never together.

I should be honest here and say the trip to London was actually to check out the new Lego store at Piccadilly Circus which I was intrigued to see after watching the show all about it's opening that was on at Christmas. Himself was not so keen but as it was a gorgeous day I convinced him we could swing by there, build a quick figure or two and then go for a lovely walk. It was fun to see the store with it's huge Lego Big Ben and other London landmarks but I don't think I'll hurry back.

Our walk started at Holy Trinity Church Marylebone  - birthplace of the Penguin paperback.
They started out in the crypt and had to be silent when services were taking place, according to the guide book staff were given a penny a day to use the toilets at the tube station over the road!

From here we headed to the gorgeous Regent's Park. I just had to take an arty shot of this amazing Art Deco hotel.
  I can't believe I've never been to Regent's Park before it's gorgeous! Mind you there is so much of London I still need to discover.
In this day and age of computers and playstations it was lovely to see so many families out enjoying the sun.
Did you know Regent's Park has London Zoo in the middle of it? I didn't.

We didn't go in, but it was fun being able to see into some of the enclosures.
Look who followed us all through the park. Very apt!

We circled the zoo and crossed the canal and road to head up Primrose Hill.
It seemed every tourist in London was up the hill taking shots of the London skyline so we grabbed a few shots and carried on with our walk.
We got hopelessly lost, retraced our way back and started again. This time we got it right and followed the walk past various once homes of various literary greats like Kingsley & Martin  Amis. Yeats, Keats and Sylvia Plath.
Finishing with a little dogleg that took in Alan Bennett's house at the time of The Lady in the Van. The guide was very good at not telling you the exact house, at the time it was written he still lived there. So whilst Himself resorted to Google I wandered down the street and fell in love with this lovely house, so very different to all it's neighbours. I just had to take a picture.
Turns out it was the house we were looking for, It pleased me a lot to know I chose the same house as Alan Bennett. I love Alan Bennett.

Now it is no secret that I like to drink tea, a lot. By this time it was about 4 in the afternoon and I had had one cup all day. Even I will admit I was on the very cranky side of cranky so the need for the cup that restores was getting urgent.
First cafe we saw was an old pet shop converted into a terribly chi-chi cafe.
This being Camden it cost just shy of 3 quid, (3 quid people!?!) for a cup of tea, not even a mug, but a cup. By the time Himself had had 2 sips of coffee I had inhaled my tea and was desperate for another but not at that price. This also being London I got the most ridiculously dramatic over reaction when I politely asked a guy if he could move his chair in so I could get to my seat. I just laughed. I wasn't about to let some silly pretentious prat spoil a lovely day out.

So what else? Busy, busy busy, work has been crazy. Himself and I had our annual cinema trip for Valentine's Day. As ever I chose the film and tested his love for me by making him go to the 30th anniversary screening of Dirty Dancing, a film he has never seen and I have seen more times than I can remember. I wasn't about to miss the chance to see it on the big screen again.

It has to be said the 30 years have not been kind. I hadn't realised just how dreadful the dialogue is but, oh well, the soundtrack is still outstanding and lets face it is is really about the dancing isn't it?

This week I also went to see Hidden Figures.
I loved it. What a fantastic film, though it does make you kind of sit back and think what you've done with your life. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it.

I've been out to dinner with friends, nothing fancy, just mac and cheese with lots of wine and good conversation. Fun Times.

Also this week we went to see Nephew Number One's new band Rats Eat Rats play.
They were pretty good considering it's only their second gig, sadly the venue was pretty terrible and the line-up an eclectic mix to put in mildly. A young lad who clearly thought it was the 80's and he was auditioning for Kraftwerk, followed by a very earnest folk band and then the Nephew's Grunge Metal band!?!
Yup, still can't figure out what the promoter was aiming for there but the Nephew's band wisely decided to look on it as more practice.
Himself and I propped up the bar and shook our heads over the youth of today and the fact they couldn't even last in a mosh pit for more than one song, no stamina, not like in our day.

And for those of you with no interest in Metal and mosh pits here's the lovely latest addition to my collection......
I'm going through a bit of a red handbag phase.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Vintage Weigh & Pay and a New Luxulite Delight.

So today I forced a grumbling Himself to get up early and go to Reading. I had a ticket for a vintage kilo sale at The Hexagon.
My friend Charlotte, who lives in Reading, mentioned in passing at work on Thursday that it was happening. Cue much frustrating internet searching by me to actually find out when it was on, lets just say it wasn't well advertised!
At first all I could find was one at Reading University on the 25th Feb, so I figured Charlotte had got the wrong date, but she was adamant she had walked past an advert saying this Saturday so we looked again and *finally* found a link.
The fair was due to start at 11am, entry £1.50, but you could buy an early bird ticket to get in at 10am for an extra £1.50 so I thought what the hell and did. The premise being you get given a bag which you go round and fill then hand it in to be weighed and you pay by weight, with it costing £15 a kilo.

I must admit I still wasn't sure whether I really wanted to go or not right up to last night, I couldn't decide whether £15 a kilo was kind of expensive and was dubious about the quality of stock as I have heard mixed things about kilo sales in the past, but in the end I decided to pop my weigh and pay cherry.

As I've been a pretty crap blogger of late I forgot my camera........again!

There were a fair few people queued up outside by 9.55am but judging by the photos on the facebook page many more arrived later. They apparently open new bundles every hour, I've no idea what a bundle consists of but again judging by pictures it seems to cause a bit of a frenzy!  

I was expecting a glorified jumble sale, but everything was hung up on rails and sorted into garment types, it was all incredibly crumpled so clearly had just come out of some big old bundle and hung up. I'm glad I went early because it wasn't huge and I know it would have pissed me off to fight to get near anything once it got super busy.  In terms of content, as anticipated the bulk was 80s & 90s and various teeny teeny tiny size items from other eras.

So did I come away with any bargains? Well actually yes I did
My swag came in at £22.50 and consisted of 2 dresses and 2 bags.
 The brown one has seen a bit of life but still has plenty left, and the burgundy one is in perfect condition.

A brown sleeveless number
and this pretty black patterned 1970's number.

So would I do one of these sales again? well yes, I think I would, but definitely on the early bird entry.

I should clarify Himself went off into town as wild horses wouldn't drag him near a vintage sale! I met him later and we did a bit of shopping and had a late breakfast in Five Guys, delicious as it was, I conclude burger and chips does not make a good breakfast, I was left feeling nauseous for quite a while afterwards, I'm not used to eating greasy food these days.

I snagged a few tale end of the sales bargains.

Dress £5, Top £3,  Trousers £5
as well as a couple of full price items. A new shirt & jumper

and a dress I fell in love with in New Look.
It was nice to get out and about today. I have been full of cold *again* and feeling very sorry for myself the last week or so. Other than heading out to the cinema to see the Lego Batman Movie (which was very funny) I've been flopping around pathetically at home.

Talking of Lego I did finally get round to building the false Lego pirate ship Santa brought. Of course Himself has to add embellishments, so I came down the next morning to
a Medusa figurehead and a poor chap being made to walk the plank!

I shall finish up with my delicious new Luxulite brooch. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love it. It was a custom order from the super talented and really rather lovely Katy.
She had made a similar one with purple beads but with a yellowy green back.
I dithered and dithered over it because I wasn't sure about the colour of the back and when I finally decided it had sold.
So on the off chance I emailed Katy and asked her if she could make another one but with a darker green back and she said she could. I suddenly had to decide things like plain green or glitter?, shape, size etc. As you can see the Magpie in me went glitter. I am absolutely thrilled with the end result.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Annual Outing.

Is it just me or does January seem about 10 weeks long this year? Last week was mad, it felt like the longest week in the history of the world, one poor colleague came in on Monday having woken up thinking it was Friday and then realised she still had the whole rest of the week to get through. Devastating I think you'll agree.
I made Prosecco cupcakes to take in because I thought we could all do with the lift and it also meant I got to drink the rest of the bottle.

I seem to have spent the whole month eating too which is never a good thing in my case. Having said that I have always believed January is a bad month to try and diet, I leave that to February when I feel a bit brighter and stronger willed.
Mind you last night I dreamed I was being weighed and came in at a heart stopping 15 and a half stone!?! I actually woke up in a panic so clearly even my subconscious is thinking it's time to zip those lips girl.

I have made one last sale purchase, from Collectif. They started their sale late 50% off and now have an extra 30% off that so it's worth holding your nerve.

I also got given a dress this week, apologies for the bad picture I just popped it on a hanger all creased and bent, so it looks like a shapeless sack!
One of my students went home to Nigeria for the Christmas break and brought me a traditional dress back, complete with the contrasting hair wrap (not that I have enough hair to pile it up and wrap it sadly, but I shall use it like a head square instead I think.) I was totally blown away by his thoughtful gesture.
I have it on good authority that these are ace to wear in the summer as the lightweight cotton keeps you cool as does the loose design, it also has pockets! Who doesn't love a dress with pockets??

Well unless they are in the wrong place........

So that cherry print frock I bought from Joanie and showed last post also has pockets. I took a punt on the fact the waist would probably not sit right so bought a size up, and sure enough the waist is high, so high in fact it's pretty much under my bust. It looks fine under a cardigan but it does mean I can't use the pockets. As you can see I practically dislocate my shoulders trying to get my hands in them! and yes I am wearing two dresses in this picture. Nothing to do with the fact the heating is broken at work so we are having to swathe from head to toe to keep warm, but I was about to do a load of washing and I suddenly remembered I wanted to take a picture to show the mad high pockets so rescued it out of the laundry basket and put it on over the dress I was already wearing.

I must say this gesture does thrust the bust forward so maybe I could do it as a chest lifting exercise a la Barbara Windsor in Carry on Camping!

I have started to fret a bit as this seems to be happening with depressing regularity lately. I don't *think* I have a particularly strange shaped torso. I mean I am taller than the average and as my inside leg is a fairly standard length I guess most of my height does seem to come from my torso instead, but I don't recall having such an issue in the past. Maybe it's the style of dresses I choosing now?
Having said that I bought a lovely long sleeve pussybow blouse in Debenhams and had to return that because the sleeves were about 3 inches too short so the cuffs were way too tight and frankly looked ridiculous. Maybe the combination of Pilates and regular osteopath visits are lengthening my limbs!
Talking of Pilates and clothing gifts. My brother and sister in law brought me some elephant print loose trousers from Thailand.
Seem here drying after the wash and in need of a desperate iron. These will be perfect for Pilates in the summer.
Most of the ladies in my class are kitted out with snazzy sport/exercise gear. I toyed with getting some but I feel a fraud. I do not partake in any manner of sport or exercise like activity outside of my Pilates class, to be blunt basically in life I'm lazy as fuck, so exercise gear is a fake and a fraud. Instead I wear plain black leggings and a t-shirt or vest top. I have now become known for my quirky t-shirts so I figure these trousers are a step further down the path of eccentric exercise wear!

I also bought another quirky item of clothing to Pilate in when I was out yesterday with Soo for our Annual January Charity Shop Extravaganza.
This January was not so bounteous as previous years. One charity shop was shut and 3 others had sales on, so the only stock out was the not so great stuff they desperately wanted to shift.
This bunny vest is exactly my kind of exercise top. I paid the grand total of £3.75 for it and these other 3 items.
The crocodile is for the garden would you believe, not the animal you would instantly think of when making a garden ornament but I'm happy to go with it.
I can't decide whether to give the Tiki jug to my brother or my sister.
My sister loves her 50's Tiki but my brother is a fan of African art so I thought this might be a fun  thing for his office, to hold pens or something......hmm I suspect it will come down to who is the nicest to me the next few weeks hehehe

I bought a scarf, I don't need a scarf but I bought one anyway because it was lovely and a pound.
Finally I feel in love with this gorgeous footstool. I went away and had lunch but couldn't stop thinking about it so had to go back and buy it. I'm pretty sure it's 1930's or maybe 1940's
It's beautifully made and in pretty good condition. I need to give the wood a good clean and polish and get the white paint you can see off it, as well as clean and feed the leather. I love the little magazine shelf underneath. I have no idea where it will go and I am meant to be downsizing but it was £5 so how could I not?

Oh and before I lose all my beer drinking cred, the John Smiths is left over from Christmas and Himself's Dad, we haven't yet become desperate enough to drink it thank the lord, but don't really know what to do with it. I may have to cook some beef in ale, lots of beef in ale.....

Right I'm off to do the RSPB Big Bird Watch.

Monday, 16 January 2017

A Little Light Sales Shopping.

Well it just wouldn't be me if there hadn't been just a wee bit of shopping taking place when the sales are in full swing.

First stop was Clarks. I *Finally* got my green brogues after literally a year of lusting Porcelina  I bet you can't believe I managed to hold out this long!
Would have been rude not to get the bronze ones too. I now have the full Olympic medal set of brogues! The boots were not the ones I planned to get. I was looking for some black boots, they didn't have my size in store or online, so I thought grey but even as I was trying boots on in store my size sold out online which was a tad annoying. So I tried on the brown ones. The size 6 flopped around my feet and flapped around my calves, so I tried on a pair of size 5 and they fitted perfectly, most bizarre. All three items for £100. Christmas money well spent in my opinion.

I also bought another trio, this time a trio of dresses from

These two were in the sale, the 3rd wasn't but how on earth could I, an ex-librarian, resist books??
Having had so many issues last year with dresses being too short in the torso I took no risks and ordered the next size up. I'm glad I did because as suspected the waist sits squarely on my rib cage and would have been a bad/uncomfortable fit in my usual size.
I'm actually wearing it even as I type
and after the day I've had today no you aren't getting a full shot!

Finally I could not resist this picture.
It could be my old cat Benjie. She was teeny tiny and curious too.

I haven't been doing much else other than working like a Trojan, it's our busiest time of year at work. I'm so wiped other than the necessary housework I have just flopped about and read or watched films.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was fun. As you know we see it every time it tours and we have certainly seen it done much better than this time, but we still enjoyed it.
I found it hilarious that the guy on the door thought Himself in his brown vintage cord jacket was in fancy dress (as Brad) Himself did not.
There again as you can see from this crap picture from a dying phone you can't blame him for that assumption!

We did go and see A Monster Calls at the cinema too, I had no idea what to expect, I wept like a baby.

I also finally got round to watching an Australian show called Cleverman as recommended to me by my osteopath no less!
I wasn't at all sure with the first episode but I gave it another go and then ended up binge watching the whole lot in 2 days!

Finally a new period drama that is actually really rather good. The new series of Endeavour is off to a cracking start, and yes, yes I am a touch biased because it is set in Oxford and it makes my home city look as bloody gorgeous as it mostly is, but seriously people it's fantastic. Frankly Shaun Evans is worth giving it a go for if nothing else.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Disaster Dresses the 2016 Edition

So the round up is nowhere near as bumper as in previous years. This is due entirely to a particularly shitty and stressful year and not to me suddenly developing the insight to only buy frocks that actually suit me! I mean how boring would that be??

So we started out with the brown Hell Bunny dress I had been coveting for fricking ages. I finally found it at a decent price and snapped it up.
As I have mentioned before I seem to be fatally attracted to V necklines and they really, really don't suit me. This dress looked hideous on, I could have wept. Undeterred I replaced it with this one
which looks a great deal better.

Next up is this dark blue dress I bought in Banbury, as I recall it was £5
 It's hard to explain but the minute I put it on it just drained me. I tried it a few times with different accessories but no, just no, so back to the charity shop it went. (Not the one I bought it from obviously.)

Hot on it's heels came the teapot dress
I was totally blinded by the fact it had teapots and teacups all over it. In truth it was too short in the body and too v in the neck and did absolutely nothing for me, so after a couple of wears I admitted defeat and it hit Ebay and was soon winging it's way off to a new home.

Next up my second ever purchase from Lady Vintage. I should have known it would end badly as neither of the dresses in my first purchase from them actually fitted.

I bought 4 dresses. 2 fitted but this one didn't. BAH. Again it is much too short in the body, meaning the waist sits uncomfortably on my rib cage, the skirt looks all wrong because it's too high up on me and there are acres of spare fabric gaping at the bust. Of course in true (to me) fashion I didn't actually bother to try it on until well after the date I could have returned it by so now I'm going to have to flog it on Ebay which serves me right for not trying it on straight away. When will I learn?

Never clearly

because the 4th dress is the same style and I still haven't even put it on yet mostly because I know it won't fit and that depresses me.
I can't remember when I bought this dress. It was in the sale at TK Maxx I do remember that. It didn't fit when I bought it, I couldn't be arsed to return it, then I got stressed and lost weight so I thought I'd try it on again. This time it did fit but looked absolutely dreadful on me.
I've listed it on Ebay 4 times now and it won't even sell! Truly a white elephant.

Next up is this deceptive Ebay purchase
I mean what could go wrong?

Everything apparently!

Too short in the body again, (see a theme here yet?) meant a comically bad fit, so with a sigh I sold it on.

Next disaster was down to either my eyesight or a bad picture on the internets. I *thought* the dress was purple. Clearly it's grey, even I see that now. Grey is one of those colours I just can't do, even accessorizing this with a lovely rich purple cardigan didn't work, so it's gone.
I shall finish with an almost disaster. The dress I bought for £10 when I went to Bath to meet with Mim & Vix
It's another too short in the body purchase, however! this one works because the waist is higher up than usual so just under my bust empire line fashion, rather than on my ribs. The sleeves are too short as well but I am in the process of altering them.

So there you have it the disaster round up of 2016.

Of course there have been some star buys.

Unusually a couple of these proved to be from Collectif!
A repro range I have had fit problems with in the past, it may just be me but among other things they do seem to design dresses for humongous bosoms. I remember a gingham sun dress I bought back in the day when I was still a size 10 and the bust was so huge my Mum removed a spare 4 inches of fabric from each cup!?!
 Anyway here are the two star buys, if anything the polka dot one is slightly too big not something I'm used to experiencing!

The Voodoo Vixen cat print dress (see previous post) fits beautifully so I may well buy from them again in the future, and as ever I know where I am with Hell Bunny, providing I buy the right style/colour of course!

On that note I may have made a wee purchase with some Christmas pennies....
 Who can resist a green dress? definitely not me!