Friday, 31 July 2009

wet week in wales

I disappeared there for a bit (again)! Oops. Saying 'we were on holiday' seems like a strange excuse, as it was ages ago now!
But, we were on holiday - a week in Pembrokeshire with S's family. It's not somewhere I have been before, but is a beautiful part of the world.

And quite wet.

The pictures below look lovely and sunny, but they are a well-curated collection, chosen to show the best bits!

We stayed in a gorgeous barn conversion, just outside St David's. Below is the view from the house. We couldn't see it when we arrived, because of the rain, but what a view to wake up to on the first morning! I enjoyed many cups of tea, sat at the dining table taking in that sight.

We managed one day at the beach, and I made the most of lying on the sand reading my book (One of a pile of eight books I took with me! I didn't read them all, but wanted to have options, depending on my mood).

We also exlpored some of the little towns in the area, and had a few hikes up to the standing stones.

Overall, we didn't do a huge amount over the week, but that had been my intention - it's not often that you can dedicate a week to doing nothing!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

battle for a bargain

So, I'm back. Rome was amazing - and very hot. Even though we were only there for a few days, it has taken me ages to get back into routine.

We have had a quiet weekend, just pottering about the house and garden, which has been very nice. I didn't go to the car boot sale this morning as I was saving my energy for a special event later on in the day.

The local paper had been advertising a sale of Joules clothing. It was a sale of catalogue returns, in aid of charity. I have had my eye on a dress for a while now, so thought I would see if I could get a bargain.

I knew it would be busy, but oh my goodness. It was held in a garage (I think in the salesroom/reception area), with clothes piled on tables and a few hanging racks. It was absolutely jam packed with women. Let's just say that you don't come between posh women and reduced Joules clothing. There was pushing and snatching going on everywhere. There were a few little kids there, who were almost getting trampled. And it was so hot. Not a good combination.

I tried on the dress I wanted, but it didn't look very good. Instead, I got this:

As it was a catalgue return, one of the seams had come apart, but nothing that couldn't be sewn up (which I have just done, very messily!). It wasn't a huge bargain, but I have been wanting a new summer dress for a while, and do like it a lot.

After that I had to come home and have a sit down!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

lots of love

Realising that my last post was a bit gloomy, here are some things I love this week:

* Buying new pyjamas (in the sale) - even though it is the summer, and will be too hot to wear them for a few months.

* Choosing which books to take on holiday - this can keep me happy for days. The current front runners are Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman and Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor.

* Watching an entire series of a favourite programme in one go.

* Scones with strawberries and cream on my favourite plates.

And I will sneak in a couple of not-so-good things:
* Discovering that a favourite charity shop has closed.
* Car boot sale vendors that have an attitude when people try to haggle.
* Trying to work out how to spell pyjamas - it doesn't look right.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

roman respite

So, I disappeared there for a bit! Things have been a bit hectic the last couple of weeks. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. More specifically, the gorgeous light of Rome. We are off next week - and it can't come too soon!

Picture borrowed from here.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Thursday, 21 May 2009

a day out in... norfolk

Actually, a weekend away! We have been talking about going to Norfolk for the day for a while, and last Wednesday made a impulsive decision to go for the weekend. So we booked a b&b. All in the space of ten minutes! How exciting!

Bright and early on Saturday morning, we took ourselves over the border into Norfolk. Our first stop was lovely, lovely Holt. We only had two hours parking, which is no where near enough, even though it is a small town.
We had been before, so I knew exactly where I was heading. We hit the charity shops, and had lunch at the wonderful Byfords (coffee, victoria sponge and a chicken and chorizo pasty).

We then had a nose around an amazing 'antiques emporium', where I fell in love with a bicycle, of all things. Is it weird to buy a bike from an antiques shop? It was an old Triumph, that had been painted a pale jade green. Oh, so beautiful.
But common sense won, and I didn't get it.

It was then on to Cromer, where we wandered past rusty, yet beautiful, old tractors, sat by the beach huts, and ate the first 99's of the year. It was back to Byfords in the evening for dinner. S had a salad and I had, um, pie and mash.

The next day we worked our way along the coast, from near Blakeney (where I saw my first ever starfish - admitedly dead, but you have to take what you can get!).

On to Wells, where we went to Big Blue Sky and drooled over the lovely handmade items, and in to a crazy shop, housed in the old railway station that sold books and pottery. There was no owner to be seen, just a bell and a sign that said 'ring loudly for assistance'. Ooh, and a whole shelf of King Penguin books.

We had no luck finding somewhere to eat, and (after exhausting all possible options) ended up in MacDonalds in King's Lynn! But it was a fun ending to a fab weekend.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

a break from bargains

We interupt the bargains of the bank holiday weekend, as I fear it was getting a bit over the top!

My parents came up to visit last weekend, which is always fun. I never thought I would end up living so far away from them (it's about a two or three hour drive), although I am dealing with it better than I expected.

On Saturday we wandered round town, drank coffee, didn't eat cakes as they had sold out, and went for a walk in the evening. I was supposed to cook dinner, but changed my mind at the last minute, and we picked up takeway on the way home (which made everyone far happier).

Sunday morning we went to the car boot sale, which was a bit rubbish. I think I used up all my luck the weekend before!

We then went to Belton House for the day. It is one of my favourite National Trust properties. There are some beautiful formal gardens, and lots of big open spaces as well.

We got there just as it was opening, so had a chance to wander round the outside of the building taking pictures before it was covered in visitors. Somehow I have managed to end up with lots of pictures of details, rather than overall pictures of the place, but you get the idea.

The statue below was the inspiration for the book 'The Moondial' and where they filmed the children's tv series (back in the late 80s / early 90s). I vaguely remember it, but Mum got very excited by this!

We also went into the house, rather than just the grounds, which was beautiful. There were two vast libraries (my favourite rooms) and a gorgeous Chinese-style bedroom. They have recently started opening up the basement rooms, so we explored the butler's pantry and the wine cellar, as well as the stunning kitchen.

Overall, a lovely weekend.

Monday, 11 May 2009

bank holiday finds: volume three

So, it's been a while since the bank holiday, and I am still posting about it - sorry!

So this was another car boot sale find. And the point that S was about to disown me.

Yes, it's a toy crib.
No, I don't have kids.
No, I don't have the space for it.
But it's so cute!

Just look at the fantastic transfers.

I love the blue bear riding on the back of the pink swan. And the dear!

Thankfully, I've worked out that it can be dismantled, so it can be tucked away for a while - and hopefully S might forget about it!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

bank holiday finds: volume two

I never thought I would get one of these! A printers tray has been on my list of 'things to look out for' for a while.

On Saturday, while we were in Norwich, peering through the window of the printer's museum, I pointed them out to S, and told him to keep an eye out for them. Wandering round the car boot sale on Sunday, he muttered under his breath, 'is that what you are looking for?'

It was leaning against the car, slightly behind the table - I would have walked right past it.

When asked the lady how much the tray was, and she referred to it as a printer's tray, I thought that was a sign she knew what she had and was going to ask a ridicuous price. Instead, she asked for £2.


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

bank holiday finds: volume one

This will be the first of a number of posts showing my treasures from the weekend!

First up, the charity shops in Norwich provided this little lot:

Biscuit tin (60p), tiny deer (80p), flower pot (80p) and owl mug (10p). I have no idea what I will do with the tiny owl mug, but couldn't resist his little, drowsy face!

This all came from the car boot sales: tatty Habitat picture frame that I am going to paint (20p), lamp base that I was going to spray paint a shiny red, but might now leave as it is (50p), Ladybird books (25p each), more little deer (50p for the pair), old suitcase (£1), Country Living book (50p) and lots of fabric - this is one piece of about five (£1).

A closer look?

The deer are salt and pepper shakers - and I fear they may turn into a collection!

Close up of the fabric - I have plans for this! I thought it was quite old, but it has 1988 printed on the selvedge. Do the eighties count as vintage yet?

Country Living - Shoestring Chic - a lovely book, which I will scan some pictures from at some point.
The rest of my purchases deserve a post each. Look out for Volumes Two to Five! (sorry!)

a day out in... norwich

What a fantastic bank holiday weekend. I really needed that extra day, and made the most of the weekend. As always, I am so sad it is over, and really didn't want to go back to work. Does anyone?!

We hit three car boot sales and quite a few charity shops this weekend. And they were some of the best ever! I got some amazing stuff - things I have been looking for for a while, and some others that are a bit strange (but I love them)! I haven't got round to taking pictures yet, as there are so many to take! But I will do soon, promise.

On Saturday we went to Norwich. It's about two hours away from where we live, so was a bit of a trek. But it was worth it. What a fantastic place! There are beautiful buildings, lots of museums, fantastic shops and lovely walks. And it was a gorgeous drive across Norfolk to get there. We only scratched the surface, and will have to arrange another trip back soon.

We started off with a walk along by the river, and round the back of the cathedral.

Past this enormous building, covered in ivy and wisteria. It houses the Print Museum. It is only open one afternoon a week, so we weren't able to go in, but I had a peek through the window at the lovely printers trays and blocks.

Then we hit the shops. There is a great mixture of high street stores and independent shops, and some lots of lovely cafes and restaurants.

But my favourite shop was this one: The Treasure Chest Centre.

It was essentially my dream shop. Full of everything you could possibly think of.

Can you see the rocking horse outside? Just behind it in the window is a rocking reindeer!

I only took one picture inside, which doesn't do it justice. There were tables of jewelry, piles of old ice skates, telephones, buttons, clothes, crockery, books, and so on, and so on. And there was a warehouse out the back full of furniture. It was beautifully displayed too. It wasn't themed at all, not by colour or subject, but it was cohesive, rather than just piles of stuff everywhere. Um, not that it appears so in this picture!

It was all a bit too much for me! Everything I had been keeping an eye of for in the charity shops was there, unfortunately at ten times the price (although it wasn't overly-expensive, just that I like a bargain). Rather than my dream place to shop in, it is my dream shop to own. Can you imagine it being your job to find all this?

What else did I do? I made some cookies, which are fast becoming one of my favourite recipies. We also did some jobs that have been hanging round for ages. S fitted his old CD player in my car, so I can now listen to my own choice of music. I am sure there will still be plenty of Radio 2, but its good to know the CDs are there when they are needed. One of the best things I did was tidy the airing cupboard! Very dull for everyone else, but I feel so much better now!

Back soon with pictures of the treasures!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Friday, 1 May 2009

bird song

Singing (and posing) for us as we walked home from dinner.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

blackboards in unlikely places

Blackboards are all over the design websites and magazines these days (have they been and gone, in fact?).

On Sunday I saw a novel alternative to painting your fridge door - how about the hood of your car!

In the very glamorous location of outside Sainsburys, up pulled an old red Escort-type car, complete with boy-racer driver. Unfortunately the blackboard had boy-racer type comments all over it (complete with 'rude' words), so no pictures were taken!

Picture from Living Etc

Friday, 17 April 2009

easter weekend

Easter weekend was spent with family in Hampshire.

S and I grabbed a few hours on our own to go for a walk. St Cross is one of my favourite parts of Winchester. The meadows and abbey are so beautiful, and I have a lot of happy memories of sunny days spent there as a child.

We decided to have a picnic on my favourite bench. It turned out to be a picnic (and a walk) in the rain. We were having a lovely time, eating our cheese sandwiches, and watching the cows and horses.

Then someone got a bit inquisitive.

And a bit more...

So we slowly moved out of his way.

But he wasn't giving up, and followed us round the corner.

We made our way back into town, past the Winchester College buildings - this part of town is hidden away from the main streets, and feels very old fashioned.

At the Cathedral, they have a regular book stall, tucked away under cover. For some reason, I have never had a look at it before, but it was fantastic. I didn't buy anything, but spent a pleasant 10 minutes browsing.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

boston bound

Sadly not the American city. Instead, Boston in Lincolnshire. It gets some bad press, and certainly isn't the most stylish place in the world. But I fancied a trip there anyway (in the spirit of exploring the county). I mainly wanted to go due to the golden thrifting rule: the less stylish the town, the better the charity shops.

And... it was ok. The weather was appalling, and the charity shops were only so-so. I did find one treasure, which 'someone' wouldn't let me get. A 1950s' formica-topped kitchen table for only £5! As I would have needed help carrying it back to the car, I couldn't get it. But I know that the missed opportunity will be playing on my mind for some time.

[edited] Ooops. I drafted this post at the end of March, and it is now the middle of April. Better get cracking with a post about the Easter weekend!