Saturday, 3 February 2018

January Purchases, Vintage Sales and a Film or Two

It seems I did do a lot of shopping in January so I have restricted myself in this post to just include the things I bought Lou Lou's January Sale Fair and exciting things like frocks and bags.

I headed into Oxford in the pouring rain to meet my friend Alex (seen here in the foreground examining a plate!) to give Lou Lou's another go.

I do find them more expensive than other fairs as a rule but this one was listed as a January Sale and it did make the difference. As well as many rails of everything £5 or £10 overall prices were cheaper too. There were a surprising number of stalls selling just men's wear, albeit mostly 80's & 90's, which was good to see as well as plenty of males busy browsing and shopping rather than just trailing along looking bored.
The sale was billed to start at 12 noon so we got there on the dot as last time it was fairly quiet early on, this time however the queue wrapped right around the upstairs of the town hall and even went back down the stairs down the stairs!
I made my first purchase literally as we stepped in the door, a bin full of handbags with an everything £5 sign above it caught my eye and I dived in purchasing this 80's burgundy Deco style clutch.
In fact we both made a couple of buys straight away which was worrying because we both had limited cash on us it being the wrong side of payday! It was actually quite good to go to a fair with only a certain amount in your pocket. I deliberated hard over some things and left a few I might have bought under different circumstances without any qualms or regrets. Indeed once we had done a circuit we decided to refuel with tea and cake and mull over a couple of things.
As a one time full on impulse buyer it's a technique I use often now. It's amazing how going back to something after a period of time you realise actually you don't really need it, and if it's gone well it clearly wasn't meant to be.
Before you think it's that easy it's not, I do get mega palpitations/sweats sometimes and have to rush right back and snap something up in a panic but mostly it's good.
I was slightly worried that the 2 bags I had spotted earlier might have gone but they hadn't. I spent quite a while looking them over and trying to decide which one to buy as I couldn't afford both. I toyed with asking if they would do a deal but then I thought come on you have brown bags and in fact you have one very very similar to one of these so in the end my choice was made.
I loved the buckle on the front and it was in great condition if a little grubby, but it's cleaned up beautifully and is currently closed tight with an old sock containing a scoop of biological washing powder in it inside. A nifty little tip another vintage bag collector gave me for getting rid of musty smells in handbags, it works a treat! 

I also bought two brooches
Clearly I'm having a blue moment.
 On closer inspection the middle flower of the bottom one was all gunked up with glue where someone had re-fixed the middle stone with a great dollop of the stuff. I spent about 2 hours carefully scrapping and picking it out before gluing the stone back in place again but with a tiny amount this time.
I also bought this compact from the same seller. I'm not bothered by compacts and in fact this is the first vintage one I own, I just loved the pirate ships! (yes I know they aren't really pirate ships I just call any tall ships pirate ships)
Finally I bought a dress for £5 because I liked the colour and the Deco-y design of the fabric.

I couldn't figure out why it was hanging lopsided until on closer examination I realised it only had one shoulder pad!
I'm not a fan of them anyway so I'll chop the one that's left out too. I haven't tried it on yet because it's in the wash but I'm hoping the slightly dropped waist will work well with my long torso.

So that was Lou Lou's, a pleasant surprise as it goes. My one oops moment? I spotted an unusual shaped cream 1940's bag for £10 which seemed far to good to be true. On came the specs (which cracked Alex up but I wanted to be able to see it really clearly) so I could do a close inspection, and sure enough it was very dirty and quite badly damaged. I had to sort of step round someone to lean in and put it back in place and doing so I suddenly realised I had inadvertently stepped on and pulverized the stall holder's packet of fags which were in a carrier bag under the clothes rail. Lets just say I beat a hasty retreat before anyone noticed!   

I've also been to the cinema twice this month, once to see Coco which is just wonderful and well worth seeing, I enjoyed every minute.

As well as the final Maze Runner film.
It's been a long time in between films because one of the leading actors was badly injured whilst filming and they delayed indefinitely until he recovered. The delay meant that even though there's only meant to be 6 months between this one and the last film in terms of the story, most of the adolescent cast had grown up and filled out in dramatic fashion between films! Which was a little disconcerting.
I really enjoyed it despite the zombies (I HATE zombie films) in fact I really enjoyed all three films despite them not being the sort of thing I would have chosen to see (I got to see the first 2 for free).

Finally just in case you have been champing at the bit to see my January round up here goes!
I will start by saying I have indeed stayed true to my resolution of;

1. Opening parcels as soon as they arrive. (usually they sit for days or weeks even, until I get round to it)

2. Trying things on as soon as I open the parcel (shamefully items lie about for weeks until I can be arsed to try them on!)

3. Returning things straight away if they do not fit or look right. (usually by the time I try things on it way too late to return them if they are wrong in any way.)

First up I did crack and dip my toe into Collectif again because they had incredible reductions with some items over 75% off. I did sort of cheat in that I only ordered styles I know have fit me in the past. I did my usual 3 to make the postage worth while and what do you know?

They all bloody well fitted - Result!

Next I bought two dresses from Dolly and Dotty another company who's sizing is completely mental. Two dresses , exactly same style, exactly same size just different fabric. One fitted perfectly the other was way too small!?! So I packed it back up then and there and mailed it back the same day. Go me.
This is the one that fitted. I must admit if it wouldn't have been stupidly cheap I would have left it for being too pink, but I really did love the parrot tulip print and it's cerise enough for me to live with it.

Final online shop purchase was from the new Hell Bunny collection with a 20% off and free postage voucher.

How could I not? I mean it's strawberries so it had to be done! It's described as a midi dress which is random because even on the model it's just on the knee and it's certainly above the knee on me.

Anyway final purchases were vintage. A green floral 80's dress with yet more shoulder pads to remove.

(It does have pockets though woop woop) and a delicious lime green 50's raffia bag for my collection
I just could not resist this in any way shape or form and quite frankly nor would I want too. It fills my heart with joy.

Friday, 26 January 2018

January Adventures in the Big Smoke.

So January is nearly over thank the lord. It’s been bad enough with the rain, rain , snow, rain , snow, gales, more gales, more rain and relentless grey skies. I don’t know about you but it seems to have been particularly bad this year. On top of that it is our busiest time of year at work. We have been absolutely flat out processing and reviewing a bumper crop of student applications, and now I have the fun of organising the best part of 400 interviews. No rest for the wicked as they say.

I must add there have been some fun times in January. Himself and I had a day out in London. He took me to see The Twilight Zone at a little theatre in Islington as part of my Christmas present. 

First we went and had a delightful browse around The Museum of Brands. 
We picked something indoors as it was meant to be another miserable day weather-wise, as it goes it was a gorgeous crisp winter day but we stuck to our original plan. 

This is somewhere I have wanted to visit for quite a while now and on the whole I was not disappointed. Starting in the Victorian era you move decade by decade through advertising, packaging, toys and products right up to the current day (case full of One Direction memorabilia anyone?) 
The one complaint we both had is that each case is so chock full of objects that it’s almost overwhelming, there is simply so much to look at, and also there are nowhere near enough information cards to describe the contents of the cases. 

No photography inside so I have pinched an internet picture to give you an idea

Other than that it’s fantastic, I particularly like where they have themed some displays, like a 1930’s period copper(clothes washer) & mangle with all the various boxes and packets of cleaning products available at the time, or a 1950’s cocktail cabinet and record player complete with all the drinks, cigarettes, records and snacks of the time.

Of course it suddenly becomes all the more interesting when you hit your childhood years, in my case the 1970’s. I was suddenly darting about squealing things like “I remember that chocolate bar, I wonder why they stopped making it?” “Oh my god I forgot yoghurt pots were that shape!” “Look at that! We used to eat that” “I had that toy!!” whilst Himself who is not only younger than me but also a lot less excitable just looked at me hard and sighed. 

 We reached the 80s and 90s and had various discussions about different things we used to eat and drink, programmes we watched and toys we owned (Being the Star Wars geek he is he of course spotted that they had toys from different eras mixed up!)     

When you finally reach the end of this bit of the museum (and the amazing One Direction collection) you are almost overwhelmed, and it’s very clear that this is merely the tip of the iceberg as far as this collection goes. I must admit I was thinking about it afterwards and thought it would be very cool if they were to do a boy band exhibition, they had memorabilia from the Beatles, Bay City Rollers and Take That within the main displays, it would be interesting to see how that has evolved over the decades and all the product endorsements, some of those from the 60’& 70’s would never happen now! 

 Beyond the cafĂ© there is a cabinet of radios that again span right from the very first radiogram to today’s digital offerings. The most frustrating thing about this cabinet and indeed the final room of objects is there were no information cards at all, so annoying! 
It would have been so interesting (and useful) to know which era the radios were from and even who invented/designed them. 

From there you walk into a room set out with rows of chairs before a television playing adverts from the 50’s right through to the present day. It was lovely to sit down for a few minutes, and interesting to watch how advertising via television has evolved over the years. 
The room beyond is a great concept but as I said frustratingly lacking in information. There were cabinets of products, so  for example Bovril or Vaseline, that had a little line of bottles ranging from the very first one right up to the most recent one available today, but that was it. 
Yes it was fascinating to see how the product had evolved but it would have been SO helpful to have a little date card next to each bottle so you could see which one came from which decade, and perhaps some information on who came up with the name, logo and say product shape in the first place. 

So for a Museum of Brands it was distinctly lacking in information about said brands. Which seems odd as Peter Opie the owner, is an expert in the field and has written several books on the subject.
Having said all of that I would still recommend a visit if you have the time, it’s an amazing collection.

From there we headed into central London and mooched down Regent’s Street to Piccadilly. Himself declared he fancied a burger for dinner and what about Burger King? We compromised on Five Guys because if I’m going to eat a burger I at least want a decent one, especially where the fries are concerned as well!

The play was on in Islington, a part of London I used to go to way back in the day to see bands in pubs when it was as rough as. 
I was completely gobsmacked to step out of the tube station and straight into this happening hipster night spot with fairy lit trees lining streets full of chi-chi eateries and wine bars. 

 The Almeida Theatre is a lovely but intimate space where you can’t help but get well acquainted with the person in the seat next to you, having been to a few smaller London theatres now we have learned to choose at least one end of aisle seat. 
We had to stand to let a couple of elderly gents into the seats next to us so Himself took the opportunity to nip to the loo. I fell into conversation with the one sat right next to me who was an absolute delight. I’m afraid Himself didn’t get a look in for the rest of the night as every spare moment before the play started and between the acts we dived straight into conversation again. He is in his 80’s, adores the theatre, tries to go at least once a month and has pretty much all his life. We discussed plays, books, what was on in London at that time, opera, the theatre and had just got to the story about how he was asked to sit on the panel for the Olivier awards when the lights went down again so I never did find out what year it was or who he voted for bah. 

The play itself was an odd one. Based around 5 or 6 episodes of the original 1960’s series of the Twilight Zone it jumped madly between the stories which was very confusing and to be honest some of the acting was better than others. 
 Having said that the set and stage craft was absolutely outstanding. I did enjoy it (even if I didn’t get it) and I’m glad we went, but I didn’t love it. 

It was of course on one of the nights where the weather decided to madly storm,  thankfully we were home and in bed before it reached it’s crescendo. I did suddenly jolt awake in the wee small hours not knowing why and lay there listening to the wind raging outside and first our wheelie bin and then our neighbour's going for a burton. 
I then realised what it was that had woken me up because it happened again and scared the absolute bejesus out of me! The wind was blowing directly at the house and when it gusted was actually lifting  and dropping the doorknocker so it sounded like someone was rapping smartly at the door. I can assure you I had no intention of getting up and letting that wind in. 

My other trip to London was this Monday with my friend from work Charlotte. I had taken part in an Art Fund campaign for the Museum of London called 'Redressing Pleasure' which was trying to raise £10,000 to change the costume display, and do conservation work on the outfits, for their exhibition on the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. 

The previous display had contained genuine outfits from the 17th & 18th century but focused on the exotic, the outrageous, the glamorous. Outfits from the wealthy classes who got up to all sorts when darkness fell...
The hats/headwear were designed by Phillip Treacy especially to go with the outfits.

I had gone for a package that included a talk by Timothy Long the Exhibition Curator and Melina Plottu the Head Conservator which was also called 'Redressing Pleasure'. Timothy explained how they had come up with the idea of changing the exhibition to reflect the daytime activities of the gardens. 
They were the theme park of their day after all, and irrespective of the naughty shenanigans that went on after dark, families would save all year round to visit for a day or a weekend and enjoy the sights and sounds whilst wearing their very best.
When he said the theme they had decided on was white I will confess my heart sank a little and I thought how dull. Until he explained the joy of white is it's a blank canvas that you can accessorize in a million ways and also when he showed one or two slides of some of the white outfits they had chosen.
Look at this stunning archer's coat. Not only is it pretty unique because it comes with all it's accessories intact, but it is also super rare because it belonged to a woman! How freaking awesome?  Oh my goodness there was another white dresscoat with this zigzag effect down the front that was so gorgeous I could have wept. 

Oh how I wish I could have pinned Melina in a corner and asked her 50 million questions about her job. She described how they intend to conserve and stabilize the outfits not restore them. So they carefully record all the damage (and previous repairs) then mend so it's not visible from a distance but close up you can see what has been done, so they are preserving the history and lifetime of the outfit. They also make all the repairs in such a way that they can be carefully removed should the techniques no longer be best practice in 10, 20 or 100 years time.

They explained how once they had chosen and assessed the outfits they plan to use, they then had to have special dummies made, as your average shop dummy these days is not the same size or build as your average 18th century lady. This is so that none of the outfits are put under strain whilst they are on display. 
Next was having the appropriate undergarments created to support the outfits, another item that rarely if ever survived was the undercrackers, I think we can all imagine why!
They had a couple of examples on display and not only did they seem ridiculously tiny in height they were ridiculously tiny in size too. 
I swear to god the only bit of me that would fit the waist of that petticoat was my calf.

They have also commissioned hats from top milliner Jane Smith (she made the hats for the Harry Potter films and The Duchess with Keira Knightly) as in the whole of the museum's vast collection there are only 3 surviving hats from the 18th century. they have provided her with all the pictures and adverts they could find for hats from that era and given her free reign. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with.  

It was also interesting to hear how they use the internet for research. So one of the outfits belonged to a lady with quite an unusual name meaning they were able to research her on to bring a back story of the outfit. They explained ideally they would love to have the history of every outfit but sadly their records from years ago are not so detailed or complete as they would be now which makes this very difficult. 

You ring someone up and go "your great aunt Jane donated an outfit to us 50 year's ago can you tell us anything about it?" to be greeted by anything from "did she?" to "great aunt who?"

The floral fabric that you see to the left in the very first picture above is actually a dress and frustrated by trying to figure out if it was a genuine French Designer piece or a later English copy Timothy took to social media. He said within just 12 minutes he had proof that it was indeed a genuine French piece and various other pieces of data to support the identification. Proof that the internet can work in a good way sometimes! 

Anyway it was a fantastic evening and as you may have gathered by me blathering on above I LOVED it.

Tomorrow I am off to Lou Lou's January sale vintage fair in Oxford with my friend from work Alex. I'll report back on that and also share with you my (many) January purchases next post. 
You will be delighted to know I have so far managed to firmly stick to my dress buying resolutions.

There again it's only January........ 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Disaster Dresses the 2017 Edition.

I know, I know, no December post from me and this is a bit late as well but I couldn't let my annual disaster round up slide!

Christmas came and went. Himself was at his Dad's and due to engineering works on the trains, didn't get home until about 10pm on the 28th meaning we finally had our Christmas on the 29th. We had breakfast with buck's fizz and I promptly knocked mine over, not only soaking myself but smashing the glass as well *sigh*
Mind you it was a bit of a trend as I spent Christmas Eve at my Mum's and borrowed a spare dressing gown from her which I promptly dropped my toast butter down in the lap of on Christmas morning. So yes Christmas week was mostly about washing dressing gowns for me.

I had given myself the task of sorting through some boxes we haven't opened since we moved and to be fair I did do some, but for some reason I had no oomph, which kind of depressed me until I looked at it from the point of view of who says I can't spend a whole day sitting drinking tea and reading a good book? who says I have to fill every hour with action? It's not like there's a man with a clipboard marking me down for not decluttering. So I had one whole day reading and a couple of afternoons in front of the box watching a good old fashioned murder. Bliss.

Anyway I geuninely didn't think I had made that many disaster purchases this year but as it goes, hahaha I did.

January it was this dress from Joanie. Their sizing is a bit rogue so I sized up. sadly it was just too big and the waistband was pretty much in my armpits so it just looked weird. The quality of the fabric was poor too so all in all a bad buy.
Having said that the book print dress I bought at the same time is great and I wear it a lot.

February I bought a couple of dresses in the tale end of the January sales. In both cases they just didn't fit right somehow, there was loose material in unexpected places. A clear advert for try before you buy and return if you don't.

I mean looking at it above the rose print one even looks hunchbacked on the hanger!

March was this cat print one from Lindybop. Frankly I should have sent it back because it was faulty but I didn't get around to it so I just stuck it in a charity bag.
Another example of if it's not right don't be such a lazy cow, return it! 

I managed not to go astray in April or May but was back on track in

June with this sundress which thankfully was only a charity shop purchase
It was not me and a tad too small so back to the charity shops it went.

July was the month of my mammoth Collectif splurge. You have all heard me rant enough times about their sizing issues and as ever I ordered various dresses in the same size only to have some too big, some spot on, some a snug fit and some that wouldn't even fit over my head!?!
This was of the later variety and was so small it didn't even go near me. *sigh*

Another little break until September when I purchased this Tara Starlet dress on holiday in Bournemouth.
Another dress that I couldn't even get over my head let alone zip up even though it was labelled a size larger than I am. At the moment I'm trying to flog it on Ebay but with no joy. Bah.

The round up closes with November but boy was that a bumper month!!
Firstly all 3 dresses I bought at the vintage fair in Bath.

The green one shrank in the wash and the other two were too small, I really should have tried them on first. Do you see the theme here??
The good old Collectif mentalist sizing meant this dress wouldn't zip up but this one I did actually return on time woohoo.

All year I managed to avoid buying V necklined dresses. I really thought I had finally learnt that lesson but then I bought this dress because I loved the colour and the cute bird print
but of course it just looked weird on me like all V necklines do. This one I didn't return in time but I did manage to sell it on Ebay for the same price I paid for it which was more luck than anything else.

It's interesting that most of my bad purchases in previous years were from Ebay and none of this year's are, in fact I don't think I bought any dresses on Ebay in 2017!

So my dress resolutions for 2018 are;

1)Try before you buy, yes yes, you hate changing rooms, the wrestling out of your layers, the pouting selfie taking teens, the seeing all you bulges and lumps in that unforgiving glare, but it will save you so much money in the long run.

2) If you must buy online try things on as soon as they arrive! Do not leave the parcel sitting there for two weeks only to find when you finally do open it said outfit doesn't fit and it's too late to send it back.


3)If it doesn't fit or look right send it back straight away! Do not delay you know it makes sense.


4) Remember no matter how much you love the fabric or the print if it has a V neckline it will NOT suit you so step away.

Now with that in mind do you think this time next year there will be another round up with me lamenting exactly the same things??

You bet ya!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

November Purchases

Better late than never or something like that.

I've  just got in from dinner with friends and am now sitting watching Poirot (The ABC Murders) and drinking a cheeky wee snifter of Baileys. It's pouring with rain which is quickly clearing the snow and ice outside. Now that was quite the surprise on Sunday when we arrived home from a quick over-nighter in Devon visiting these mad munkins
They didn't know we were coming and were flatteringly delighted when they saw us get off the train. We had a lovely time even if it was way too short, literally a day to deliver Christmas and birthday presents then home.
As you can see not a flake of snow waiting for the train back home, gale force winds that blew wheelie bins down the street and tiles off roofs yes but no snow. It wasn't until we were just outside of Swindon that we saw the first snow and by the time we reached our home station it was a decent 3 inches deep.
It makes such a difference to find myself working for somewhere that has a clear, sympathetic and sensible bad weather policy rather than somewhere that didn't give a shit about how bad the weather might be or how dangerous/impossible it might be for you to travel to and from work.

Anyway I digress, November purchases.

I did do a little Black Friday buying. Collectif had a 30% off so I finally succumbed to a dress I have been stalking for just over a year. It went out of stock and is now back in stock just in time for me to use the discount -  huzzah!
 Of course I didn't just buy the one, if nothing else the postage is expensive enough to make it more sensible/less painful to do a multiple purchase.

The arrival of my order was like deja vu. 3 dresses all purporting to be the same size, one slightly too big, one spot on and one so small I couldn't even get in it!?!

My conclusion - Collectif really are shit when it comes to sizing.

It is all the more frustrating when you have to pay postage for returns or exchanges. It's not like they have a mammoth stock either so why they can't measure each style like many other websites is beyond me, come on Collectif get your act together!

Anyway at least the above dress was the one that was spot on
This one was the one that is slightly too big, it also smelt horribly musty so went straight into the wash.
This is the one that was way too small. As I already have a green & navy tartan dress from Hell Bunny I returned it for a refund.

Talking of Hell Bunny they also had a Black Friday deal with certain dresses at 50% off so again I gave in and bought one I have been dithering over for a while
I'm very happy with everything about it, and yes you are quite right I bought more than one from them too!
I was a bit worried this one might be too pale for my colouring but thankfully the red and navy nautical print are strong enough.

Finally I bought 2 brooches. This one was another black friday sale purchase, this time from the fab Luxulite

perfect for the run up to Christmas and then beyond because frankly I'll wear gold glitter any time of year!

Finally I commissioned this brooch from Cherryloco Jewelery. I have bought a few pieces from them over the years and love the quirky designs and the fact you can request and design custom pieces.
This awesome sloth actually comes as a necklace and when I made my request I got a worried email reply that it would be far too big as a brooch. I was quick to reassure that I wear a lot of big brooches and 10cm was absolutely fine. My instinct was right and he looks bloody fabulous as a brooch.

Anyway there you have the November purchases I do feel a bit naughty spending on me at this time of year but what is done is done.....

I have a few more outings lined up before the C word including the new Star Wars of course!

I'll leave you with this arty shot taken from our back garden by Himself of November's super moon
I mean what else would go with my super November purchases?   

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Nonstop November.

It has literally been a manic month, this is my first weekend in the house all month! It's been lovely I'm not complaining, well actually I am, I just wish my social life would spread itself out a bit instead of happening all at once, I'm knackered and the house is a right pit.

It all started on the 1st November when I went to see Monty Don in Reading with 2 friends from work. For those who don't know who he is he presents Gardener's World for the BBC.
As he fully admits himself the real star of the show is actually his dog Nigel (on the right in this picture) who gets more cards and fan mail than anyone else and therefore did get mentioned often! He talked about his life prior to becoming known as a television gardener and freely admits he is not a professional plantsman as you would expect, he was actually a travel writer who happened to love to garden. He's one of those fascinating and very entertaining people you could listen to all night, 2 hours was just not enough.
That Saturday I met Soo and we headed out on an adventure to Leamington Spa, somewhere neither of us had been before. It was an easy half an hour on the train from Oxford and we were both impressed, it was pouring with rain when we set out but thankfully it soon stopped. We both agreed it's somewhere we would go back too when the days are longer, by the time we had looked round the city centre shops it was already dark so we didn't do any of the sights or culture other than to step into the church. The windows were stunning.
The only other spa town I have been to is Bath so it was interesting to see one that is not quite as touristy and well maintained.
This derelict building for example was one containing a spring where visitors used to take the waters, I do hope it gets renovated it was sad to see the decay.

I have to say I was in absolute Art Deco heaven at the train station which has been lovingly restored, but as we cut it a bit fine to catch our train home I didn't get any pictures, definitely next time.

We did browse every charity shop we found and fittingly I came away with a set of 1930's tea plates and matching cake plate. There was also a teapot and a random 3 cups and 6 saucers which I didn't want. It was £5 for the lot so I asked if they could be split. The girl behind the till dithered and wasn't sure so said she would go and ask the manager. She came back and announced the manager was in the toilet but would be out soon!
A tad too much information....anyway the manager finally arrived and also dithered. It seems she was a relief manager and whilst she would say yes if it were her own store she wasn't sure she could say yes as it wasn't her store. By this point I was getting a bit fed up so I gave her the £5, took my plates, handed her the rest of the set, said "I donate these back to you" and left.
Here they are plus a scarf I bought in another shop. 
I know I'm not meant to be buying more stuff (especially crockery) when we are meant to be downsizing but they are just so cheery and once upon a time I'd have bought the lot, so that's a start isn't it??

The weather started to close in again which made for a dramatic picture as you can see.
I look forward to seeing Leamington in the spring, I gather there is a lovely park there.

It was my Dad's birthday on the 8th and we went to lunch at our local Prezzo because he decided he wanted to eat pizza. We had a lovely time with Nephew Number One being the only one missing as he couldn't get the day off work. We all headed back to the care home where they had made Dad a delicious cake, the every day food there can be a bit hit and miss but I must say the chef is bloody good at cakes. I definitely had no room for dinner that night.

Himself and I also headed into Oxford that Friday for a night out to catch up with friends from my time at the library, it had been too long. We tried The Castle which had recently reopened having been completely refurbished (it's now a Hook Norton pub.) It was busy and we ended up in a corner downstairs, all was going well until a guy started setting up an amp next to us, like literally right next to us...... one dreadful cover song in and we were all hysterical, a lot of beer had been drunk at that point it must be said, we decided it was time to leave which was probably a good thing. Anyway we had to be up the next day to head over to Mum's with my brother, it was my parent's 53rd wedding anniversary, one of those times when it's hard not to have Dad at home with her. 

The next day we took my Mum to see the new Paddington film as a bit of a cheer me up
we all loved it, Hugh Grant was fantastic and sent himself up mercilessly.

On Monday it was an interview day at work and then I headed straight out to met some more friends for an early dinner. My friend Simon needed to head off, but it turned out to be one of those occasions where we were so deep in conversation the next thing we knew 3 hours had flown by!

Saturday I was up early and off to Bath to meet Mim and Liza  As ever Mim whisked me to bits of Bath I'd never been to before, I don't know how she does it! I honestly thought I'd seen all there was to see. Due to one thing or another in the past it meant this was the first time I had met Liza and it was so lovely to finally meet her in person. I had such a great day out and rubbish blogger that I am I forgot my camera. My only purchase was this brooch for £5 from one of the maddest Vintage shops I have ever been in.
This picture really doesn't do it's iridescence justice.

Liza asked me if I had bought any handbags lately and as it happens I had. I will admit I spent more than I ordinarily would on this stunning chocolate brown Corde 
It is a richer darker brown than it's photographed and it was this unusual colour that sealed the deal for me. It's also in fabulous condition.

On the 22nd I had another day off work to take Mum to see Mamma Mia. 
This was actually her Christmas present from last year! We had lunch first then mooched around Debenhams and Oxford's only independent depatrtment store Boswell's. We spent a lot of time looking at the bling and I did buy a set of Christmas brooches in their week long(!?!) Black Friday sale.
The pink one on the end was a separate online purchase. Frankly that's about as much pink as I can handle in an outfit!

Lunch was funny as pretty much the rest of the restaurant were octogenarian ladies doing the lunchtime special before the matinee. The tables were in very close proximity to each other and the old duck next to me practically had her face in my dinner when it arrived, to the point I was this close to passing her the plate and saying "here have a taste you clearly want one!"
Mum and I hadn't gone for the lunchtime special so I'm guessing she was regretting her cheap & cheerful choice.
I really enjoyed the show, it was very different to the film. The Oxford mail reviewer also loved it but said of the performer playing Sky 'he was clearly hired for his six pack and not his singing ability'. Not a truer word was spoken, he was pretty dreadful in an otherwise great cast.     

I shall sign off with some lovely presents from Ann at Polyester Princess  and Mim. Ann sent me this lovely bag already taking pride of place on the bag wall.
as well as the golden elephant brooch on the left and the amazing elephant necklace
the silver elephant is from Mim. They both know me so well.

No plans for the last few days of November but December already has 3 dinners and a trip to Devon booked in........