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..............

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Old Shoes, New Shoes and a Little Zip Drama.

Here I am sitting quietly on a Sunday morning with the washing machine churning away, drinking tea and having a bit of me time before the Kraken wakes.

I might go out and cut the other hedge today or I might just sit in doing bugger all, the options are endless. I love Sundays!

Last Sunday as the weather was a bit iffy, and we had a house inspection on the following Tuesday, I decided to put away the clothes mountain that lives on my side of the bedroom floor. This ended up with me taking everything out of 2 drawers of my dressing table and having a bit of a sort out. Quite satisfying as it turns out, I ended up charity bagging some stuff, listing some on Ebay and generally making room to put other things, that have always lived on the floor due to lack of drawer space, away.
I also created an alarming pile of ironing but there always has to be one drawback!

It was also fortuitous as I had recently bought a pair of cropped trousers for work in the BHS closing down sale and hadn't been able to wear them as I couldn't find anything to wear with them. The are very patterned you see.
(Currently hanging to dry and very creased but this gives you an idea.) Anyways I found 2 plain black tops I had forgotten about that were perfect. I wore one of them to work on Friday.

I bought it in a charity shop and have learned another valuable lesson. Don't just think 'oh that looks nice I'll buy it'

If it has a zip check it actually works!

See this top has, or should I say 'had' a side zip, the full length of the side which is quite unusual. As I can get the top on and off without the use of the zip I just pulled it on and went to work.

A few hours later we were sitting in the sun with a cup of tea when I felt a popping feeling under my arm. "Bollocks" said I " That was my zip going". I dashed back inside and took the top off in the ladies to see if I could pull the zip down and re-zip it up. This was where I discovered there were actually some teeth missing on the zip around the bust area and it had clearly been a bit buggered all along, probably why it had ended up in a charity shop in the first place!

To set the scene this was 11am and I had to go on a course at 12 noon that involved me sitting in, and perhaps presenting to, a room full of people!?!!


First stop reception and asked if they had any safety pins, one raid of the first aid kit later and at least I was no longer showing all I had to the world.
This was followed by a manic dash into Oxford city centre, one and only stop H&M as the first clothes shop I came to, to find something, anything, that I could wear instead.

Someone was smiling down on me, because not only did I find 2 black tops in my size that would probably do, both were in the sale for £7. As I didn't have time to try them on I bought both to be on the safe side, turns out when scanned through the till one was now only £4 and thankfully that was the one that fitted like a dream.
By 11.40am I was back at my desk properly attired and sweating like a beast. Good job I always have a spare deodorant in my desk drawer, shame I don't have a spare top too!

As it turns out I did have to stand up in front of everyone and talk so I'm glad I didn't just risk the safety pin look, it's nerve wracking enough being put on the spot let only having it happen when you are bursting out of your clothes. Eee the drama.
Dodgy zip removed and top waiting to be stitched up.

On to happier things, shoes.

This week I had to throw out 2 pairs of summer ballet type pumps as they had reached the end of their life, which I always hate doing. At least I do throw them out these days once upon a time I would have just kept them anyway, mad woman that I am. Whilst rummaging round  my shoe shelves I found these.

I bought them about 18 months ago and somehow they had ended up at the bottom/back of the shelf and I haven't worn them since. I put them on with my patterned trousers (above) perfect! Now that I have re-found them they are going to get much wear I can tell you.

I also ended up buying a pair of shoes in the sales this week. I was looking for some new jeans which I didn't find but got drawn towards these shoes instead.
They reminded me of the ones I used to wear when I was little and as they were reduced to £18 and called 'Margate' it had to be done. Question is do I get myself some knee high white socks to go with them hehe.

Other than that I have refused to go to the cinema with Himself to see 'Walking on Sunshine', I believe my exact words when asked were 'over my cold dead body'. Turns out I was right and it was every bit as appalling as it looked.

I have also tried out some new nail polish
and taken some pictures of the amazing evening skies we have been having.

We also started watch Game of Thrones. Now I know we are way behind everyone else, 4 seasons to be precise, but we don't have satellite t.v and it never really appealed to either of us anyway. However Himself was bought a box set of the first 2 seasons so we thought we'd give it a go.

It's not a good start when everyone who has watched it tells you you need to give it 'at least' 4 episodes to get going, that is at lot of hours of t.v for something to get going!
 So we are up to episode 6, at first I liked it now I am rather bored if I'm honest, I will keep with it a bit longer though.

One thing I will say. As a feminist, and yes I am a feminist, not a rabid, bra burning, all men are bastards feminist, but one never the less. This programme really pushes my buttons in it's portrayal of women.
With the sole exception of the character of Lady Stark. They are either, scheming evil bitches, scheming demented still breast feeding your grown-up son whilst sitting on your throne nutjobs, vacant airheads or whores.
Oh yes there are lots, and lots, and lots of prostitutes, all walking round with their breasts on show.

As for the sex which there is also a fair bit of, so far it has all been from behind with the woman on her knees being held down whilst it takes place. This is the same for ladies of the night and queens alike, all treated in the same derogatory, piece of meat to be 'used' at will way.
I'll give it some more episodes but I doubt that is going to to change or improve, I really am struggling to see what everybody loves about it. Maybe when the dragons arrive?

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Exploring Stow and The Circus Comes to Town.

I've had a busy week. Monday was our last interview day at work for the 2015/16 intake, it was a bit manic.
 I wore this lovely blue vintage dress for the first time since I bought it however many months ago.

 I got some lovely comments on it, someone said "I love your dress, it has this really vintage vibe about it" which of course meant I could smugly reply "actually it IS vintage".
Pride before a fall for me though, because as the very hot day wore on and the dress began to 'warm up' shall we say, it also began to smell. It wasn't smelling great when I got it, but I foolishly thought a quick freshen up in the washing machine would be all it needed, wrong, so very wrong.

I could not wait to get home and get that thing off me and shower! I then did the only sensible thing and reached out in desperation to our vintage frock guru Vix for advice! She and some other very lovely ladies on her Facebook page gave me some fab tips so here's to the dress smelling as fresh as a daisy from now on.

Tuesday the Dean of the business school had an afternoon tea for the staff, it was a gorgeous day and we got to stand around in his even more gorgeous garden eating sandwiches and little cakes and drinking prosecco.
I was with a couple of people from my office chatting and happily being topped up every time the bottle came round. We realised perhaps we had been a tad too enthusiastic with the top ups when the waiter said "Shall I just bring you 3 a bottle to yourselves?" My cue to wobble off and catch my train home!

Friday I had the dentist (Boo) followed by the circus (Yay)
Thankfully the dentist visit was all good. I still have 2 milk (baby) teeth and he gave them a push and said "these things are rock solid, at this rate you will lose all your other teeth and these two will still be hanging in there" I decided right then and there to do just that very thing, because I am bloody minded in that way.
 Also whose to say that finally losing all my baby teeth might not make me grow up properly and frankly I never want to grow-up properly.

I went back to my parents house to eat lunch, watch some tennis and snooze on the sofa until it was time for the cirucs.
Yes Gifford's Circus was back. As you know I do try to go every year if I can, it's such great fun. This year the show was called 'Thunderers' and was about the Greek gods. It was fantastic, though hand on heart not the best show by them. I would have liked more of the tumbling and juggling of previous shows.
Having said that there were some incredible moments, the contortionist who played Medusa was mind boggling and the Chinese acrobats did one move that had the whole tent gasp out loud in unison.
I loved the good old fashioned slapstick with water from Tweedy the clown, and had to chuckle when Bibi and Bichu the jugglers came on and a woman to my left exclaimed " OH MY! He's just beautiful!" rather more loudly that she probably meant too. For the record they are both gorgeous so she was quite fair in her assessment.

I got home and watched a bit of Glastonbury on the tv with a glass of wine which was a pretty good way to end the day.
Saturday I was up and off to meet Soo for our second weekend jaunt in a row. We were going to take a trip to Stowe Park for a gentle meander but as the weather had decided not to play ball, the plan changed to driving to Stow-on-the-Wold instead because I have never been there before.
It's a very, very beautiful little Cotswolds town.

This is the area where a lot of celebrities and rich people have their country retreat, so it was wall to wall Range Rovers and expensive little shops. Clearly they also like to come to Stow to eat because there were more quaint tea shops and other eateries than you could shake a stick at.
We ambled about oohing and ahhing at the lovely houses and gardens and snorting loudly at the ridiculously over priced unnecessary stuff in the shops. Clearly people round here have more money than sense!

We had a delicious lunch in The Burrow Cafe where they had the inspired idea of putting old games on the table so we got to have a rousing game of dominos whilst we waited for our lunch to arrive. According to the lady who owns the cafe our doubles had been in there a few days before and were touring the Cotswolds.
I know we are all meant to have a double in the world but I'm hoping I have 2 because as I am already meant to have a scanky one (see here for details) So I would like to have a nice looking one too.
Happily there were charity shops so we did both make a few purchases before the sky did this
and it started to rain in a biblical kind of way. We took shelter in the town hall where there was a craft fair.
I bought a necklace for my Mum and admired a nude picture of Nell Gwynn whilst wondering if it really was the right kind of picture for a town hall......

In the end we risked the rain to head back to the car. In that true crazy British weather way would you believe it was hammering down with rain at the same time as the sun was shining when I took this picture. 
Without further ado here are my purchases from the day.

A glass whale paperweight

A crazy blouse with upside down pheasants on it.
a designer frock darling, which looks just like any other pretty tea dress style frock you can get!
and a vintage brooch to add to my every growing collection.

I got home grabbed some dinner and did a bit of sewing whilst I waited to watch Metallica at Glastonbury, who in my opinion fucking nailed it. So there's mud in your eye to all the pretentious music twats who thought it was blasphemy to have a metal band at Glastonbury!

I finally fixed this pretty gingham summer dress with bees on it. It had really stupid frilly straps which I altered.

much nicer now don't you think?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Afternoon Tea, Wine Tasting, Shoes and William Morris.

'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.' William Morris.

Not a bad mantra to live by, that's my excuse for a house packed full to the rafters with "things" anyway.

This weekend thanks to Soo I finally got to visit Kelmscott Manor, the Oxfordshire home of William Morris. Bit shameful really, it's only 25 years since I was an art student who did paper on the Pre-Raphaelites  and it's been on my doorstep the whole time.

We chose a beautiful day to drive into the Cotswolds, as you can see the village of Kelmscott was just idyllic
you felt your cares melt away.
No wonder Morris lost his heart to this house the minute he saw it.

Sadly no photo taking was allowed inside the house, which was just beautiful and surprisingly uncluttered!

You could take plenty outside in the pretty gardens though.
We wondered to our hearts content and ate lunch in the tea rooms before ambling back to the car park through pretty country lanes.
The British countryside at it's very best.

If that wasn't good enough we then jumped in the car and headed back to Soo's village for a spot of  afternoon tea.
The teas are run once a month by a mutual friend who not only collected all the wonderful vintage crockery and champagne glasses, but makes all the scones and cakes herself. Delicious it was too.
That was a strawberry, elderflower & white chocolate cake in front of a chocolate, rum & hazelnut cake. As you can imagine I was stuffed after that little lot.

As it turned out there was an alfresco wine and beer tasting going on too so we waddled down there afterwards.
Not only could you taste, but you could then also buy a glass or a bottle of what you tasted, bloody inspired.
I quaffed a couple of large glasses of a rather lovely Pinot Grigio Blush whilst talking America with some of Soo's friends. I was sorry to go but knew I had to get home before my last train so headed off around 8pm.  Trouble with the trains meant I finally got in just before 10, but all in all it was a fantastic day.

No blog post of mine would be complete without a purchase. I needed some more summer sandals but as my toe is still gammy I wanted some that covered it and found the perfect pair, rather surprisingly they are white!
A huge deviation for me.
 I ended up picking up a very 80's-tastic t-shirt too!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Fun in the Sun. Donkeys and Frocks.

Today is the last day of my week off work (Boo) I have had a great time with lots of unexpected busy-ness so I have actually hardly been in the house at all, and there was me thinking I would be kicking my heels at home for a week!

Sunday Soo came over as her other half was playing cricket in a nearby village. Neither of us is a fan of the cricket so we parked up said a quick hello/goodbye and took ourselves off for a ramble. 
As you can see it was a glorious day, with the most amazing cloud formations in the sky.
We did a slight detour as the village (Brightwell cum Sotwell) has a Donkey Sanctuary.
We ambled about looking at the many animals they keep, and got an unexpected bonus bit of sex education from one rather amorous ass who was having his wicked way with as many of the ladies as he could!
Ice cream was required after all that excitement so we bought an absolutely delicious tub orange and cointreau flavour each and resumed our walk.

We had decided to walk to the nearby town of Wallingford using Soo's O.S map which was fine until we got to the industrial estate where they have kindly built a load of houses since the map was printed.
It was quite surreal in someways, trapped on a housing estate on a glorious Sunday afternoon where there wasn't a soul about.

Seriously, it was like the Twilight Zone no people washing cars or mowing lawns, no children playing, no barbeques just this complete silence.......

We finally found our way to the town centre where we stood on the bridge watching the river which was thankfully VERY busy before heading back a different way!
In some places it got very narrow and I regretted wearing cropped jeans with all the brambles and stinging nettles I can tell you.
We arrived back for that last hour and a half (yawn) of the game but at least we got to tuck into what was left of the cricket tea so that eased the pain.
Then the sky did this
The rain came and it was time to go home, where Himself had thoughtfully put a bottle of wine in the fridge. Now that is what I call the perfect end to a perfect day.

Monday I took my parents out to lunch, prior to that I had made us some scones to have for afternoon tea. get me being all domesticated!
We had a lovely day though I did completely forget to give my Dad his Father's Day present for Sunday, so I will have to post it now - Arse.

Right, steady people but you are about to get not one but 2 frock shots!

I meet a friend for a drink yesterday afternoon and decided to give this little tea dress I picked up in a sale at Peacocks an outing.

I tied the waist ties to the front in a bow, as, as ever the waistband of the dress is nowhere near my real waist. I liked the effect I got.

Apologies for the strange angle I had the camera propped on the wheelbarrow!

Now this is the frock I was wearing when I walked through Oxford train station and a charity collector said "hello big fella" to me.
I did actually do a comedy look all round me to see if it was really me he was addressing, it was.
Big Fella????

It's amazing he lived to tell the tale.......

Today I am off out again for lunch with some more friends and I decided to finally give the bee button dress an outing.
It's not that I am having wistful emotional thoughts in this picture, I am actually really suffering with the hayfever today, hence the pink hooter and watery eyes. I never usually get it at this time of year but I have been hit hard this last week for some reason. Which is a fricking pain in the arse as I can't take anything for it.

Of all things to be allergic too, trust me to be allergic to anti-histamine!!! 

I shall end with a cute little bag I picked up when I was in Oxford yesterday for £3.50 in a 'retro/vintage shop. I don't think it's particularly old but I loved the colour. The blue beads were 99p.