Tuesday, 21 March 2017


The year before last when working at the doctor's surgery I, along with my colleagues, received a Christmas time thank you of a £100 high street vouchers gift card.
Can you believe it took me until this January to spend any of it.
My first purchase was a new electric toothbrush, not exactly exciting but something I needed to replace.
Then whilst in town on Monday, with some all important time to myself to peruse, I made a beeline for the underwear department in M&S.
It was bra time bliss!
Being able to amble around the displays and look at what was on offer, make up my mind and then go and try them on.
Let's face it something so basic needs to fit exactly right and be as comfy as can be. I made my selection and used my gift card to pay, silently thanking my previous employers as I did so.
Once home I sorted out through my underwear drawer and found that one of S's first bras had somehow got itself mixed up in with mine. It's no good for her now and so I packaged it up to be sent to a very worth while charity Smalls For All. 
As their website says they accept donations of gently worn bras which are then sent to Africa and distributed to women for whom having such underwear is a luxury. I have posted the address details as maybe next time any who reads this is having a sort out they may have something suitable to send which could be of use to a woman elsewhere in the in the world.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

International Women's Day .....

......is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. 

Here is my post from 2015.

And here is my post from 2016.

This year I'm sharing another book, The Blessings of a Good Thick Skirt.

Lady Mary Wortley MontaguMary KingsleyFanny WorkmanAmelia Earhart, Lady Hester StanhopeHarriet Quimby.
Some of these names are more familiar than others I'm sure.
Each of them deserve to be remembered for their sheer determination and strength of character, for their own talents and achievements and for making their mark in history when chances for women to pursue their ambitions were so much more restricted.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Half Term, Birthdays and Beyond

I must have uttered this every year since we became parents but for me February whizzes past in the blink of an eye.
When the children were younger and there were such things as birthday parties to sort as soon as the page on the calendar was turned it was head down and on with the planning for 2 birthdays on 23rd.
Throw half term into the mix as well as a sprinkling of other birthdays and these things combined ensured there was 4 weeks of busyness.

Let's go back to half term and then bring things up to date.

Monday to Wednesday T and S were busy with friends, sometimes in and sometimes out.
I pottered over those days catching up with jobs around the home.
Nothing interesting just sorting the junk drawer in the dining room, tidying the bookshelf outside our bedroom and sourcing some new butterflies for my earrings so they could be worn again.

I read this book in a few days. It was a quick read. I didn't much care for Tressa one of the main characters. I found her grandmothers story of her marriage much more interesting than Tressa who was trying to work out what she wanted from her new marriage. Again this book has been sat on my bookshelf forever and is now on the way to the charity shop.

Wednesday saw us going to the vets with Melvin. Can you see the left hand side of his face is swollen? Long story short the vet popped it, he had an antibiotic injection and was much happier and we were £153 poorer.

Thursday was birthday day with cards, presents and (unfortunately) disappointing news at breakfast. T has been counting down the months, then weeks, then days and hours until his first driving lesson. At 7am he received a text to say his driving instructor was ill and so she had to cancel. He was very disappointed as you can imagine.
My mum, G's mum and her partner J came for lunch and cake.
T went out to meet a friend for hot chocolate and then it was time for us to take S and two friends trampolining, then for food and then back to us for a sleepover. Meanwhile T had gone bowling with friends and then on for food. Once home his friend J came to see him and so although his day didn't have the best start he got out and about and it ended on a better note.
Next day we took S and her friends to town for shopping and ice cream. 

Friday evening we were fit for nothing and flopped on the sofa to watch Far from the Madding Crowd. I've never read the book and wasn't 100% sure of the story but I loved this movie. I now want to read the book.

Saturday got off to a slow start with a bit more movie watching, this time inspired by our trip to the theatre the other weekend, we watched Easter Parade and sang along, very badly in my case,to the songs we knew.

Sunday was all about the football. Saints were in the EFL cup final. Sadly they didn't win, who knows what would have happened had their first goal not been incorrectly disallowed.

On Monday I went and did a grocery shop and popped a few little Easter chocolate treats into the trolley in readiness for the hunt in April. Couldn't resist this little Lindt sheep, apparently he is exclusively available in Tesco stores only.

After a busy return to work on Tuesday I came home and spent an hour or two finishing off my next read, Holy Fools by Joanne Harris. Within the first few pages I was hooked into the world of the Juliette and the other nuns and their life on their little island. I loved Chocolat and The Lollipop Shoes and now I love this one too. I have more JH in my to be read pile and I can't imagine not enjoying all those too.

Wednesday was St David's Day so I made sure there were daffodils in the vase, no hardship as a bunch of these cheery flowers are always very welcome.

I'm pleased to report that T finally had his first driving lesson on Thursday of this week and he LOVED it. He rang G afterwards who said he was bubbling over with excitement and the praise he received from his instructor. Phew, I'm glad after the false start it went well.

Now here we are at Friday evening with the weekend ahead, hope it's a good one for one and all.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Warning- This Post Contains the Word Christmas

Yes I know it's only March, but I just had to share in case someone finds this useful.
I was shopping in Tesco a day or so ago and saw they had quite a few of these miniature mirrors for sale at a vastly reduced price of 50p each. They measure (approx) 16cm by 10cm and as you can see one of them found it's way into my trolley.
If only they had been around when I was compiling this White Christmas gift. Lots of people, in blogland and 'real life' commented on what a lovely gift they made which is why I thought I would post about the mirrors now, just on the off chance it should prove to be useful to someone else.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

February Buys

Here are my charity shop buys for February, starting with my most favourite find.
A cute cherry patterned cardigan for £1.00

I much prefer flats to shoes with heels but I already have a pair of these shoes in black which I wear to work and know they are super comfy. When I saw a barely worn pair in dark brown for £3.00 I was happy to add these to my small shoe collection.

A stripy jumper for £1.00.

This cord Monsoon skirt is actually a richer plum colour than the photo suggests. Brilliant buy for just £1.00.

I wasn't sure about this top when I bought it, I liked the style and the shaped buttons are a sweet added touch, it was the colour which I wasn't completely sold on. It was another £1.00 item and so I thought I had just as well give it a go. I wore it this last weekend with jeans and decided it's a keeper.

I don't like wearing sleeveless tops on their own but seeing as I have about 50 cardigans I have more than enough to choose something suitable to wear with this £1.00 purchase.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

London In January

 I had been looking forward to our post Christmas trip to London so much and      the weekend did not disappoint.
We had a plan, which we stuck to, and it all worked out rather well.
We took the tube to Notting Hill and walked in the direction of Portabello Road as we wanted to wander the market.
As I'm sure you can imagine the housing in this area is all extremely desirable.
The previous residence of one George Orwell was up for sale in 2012, you can view the details here.

 I can't imagine how busy this stretch of road is in the summer as even on a cold Saturday in January it was absolutely heaving. Everywhere you look there is something which catches your eye.

We weren't really there for shopping but the riot of colour which is Alice's couldn't be ignored and

had money been no object then the soda syphons and this sign would have come home with us.

Even the door was a work of art.

As well as spending some time in a part of London we haven't visited before the other reason we were here is because we were going to visit the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Design. Using our rail tickets were we able to make use of the 2 for 1 deal on the entrance fee.
No photography is allowed inside otherwise this post would be chock full of photos.
We spent ages in here. 
It was so interesting. 
We spent ages pointing at things we recognised from when we were children. Packets of sweets, yogurts, breakfast cereal, tins of soup, household cleaning products, shampoo, toys and games,  I could go on and on.
I would thoroughly recommend a visit, not just for a stroll down memory lane to remind you of things you had forgotten but also for the informative displays on items from other decades such as the children's board games from World War I.

From here we took the DLR to Greenwich where we had booked into a Travelodge.
We managed to get a seat in the very end of the train and as we came up from being underground the skyline of London opened up in front of us and we the most perfect clear view of it.
An unexpected and very welcome treat.

The reason we stayed in Greenwich was so on Sunday morning we would be right on hand for making our way to the Maritime museum for soon after opening. 
We had tickets for the Emma Hamilton exhibition.
Actually before I continue with that, I must give a mention to the cafe where we had breakfast. Should you ever be in the area and in need of refreshment then try The Plumtree Cafe.

We didn't really have time to explore Greenwich which is a shame if there are other parts which are just as elegant as the Queen Elizabeth College Almhouses.

Although we did make a little stop at the vintage market in case there were any gems of the vinyl kind for G.
 He left empty handed but I found a birthday gift for a friend which was an unexpected bonus.

 So then it was on to the museum I must admit I was feeling very excited by the time we got there. I mean just look at this place.

I got a bit giddy with it all which I think probably explains my rather jaunty stance by the huge anchor at the entrance!

The exhibition was wonderful.
Whilst travelling home from Salisbury on the train last year we had seen a poster advertising the exhibition which said 

Emma Hamilton was one of the most famous international celebrities of her time and her life is the ultimate costume drama. Now largely remembered as the woman who captured the heart of the nation’s hero, Admiral Horatio Nelson, Emma was an extraordinary woman in her own right. Find out all in our dazzling new exhibition and events season.

So what did we find out about Emma?
Emma was born in Cheshire andwent to London when she 12.
She was became the muse of George Romney who painted her dozens of times.
She was the mistress of Charles Greville who then persuaded his uncle Sir William Hamilton to have her live with him in Naples once he needed to settle down to married life.
Emma and William eventually married, there was an age difference of 35 years.
Emma became fluent in Italian and French and developed a series of dances inspired by classical art which were known as The Attitudes.
Emma became a close friend of Queen Maria Carolina, the sister of Marie Antoinette.
Emma met Nelson in 1793 but their affair did not start until a few years later.
Emma gave birth to their daughter Horatia in 1801.
Sir William died in 1803 and Nelson in 1805.
Emma spent time in a debtors prison due to financial difficulties before fleeing to France  where she died in 1815 aged 49.

We had spent quite a while in the exhibition and there really wasn't any time left for further exploration of Greenwich museum. My mum was staying with T and S and we were mindful of having to be back home.
So it was back through the main hall where we just had to spend a few minutes looking at all the colourful figureheads

before heading back on the DLR to Canary Wharf and then on to Waterloo and home.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Saturday to Sunday

A round up of life here from the past week or so.
Saturday 11th saw us in Winchester for a few hours.
We went to see the The Romantic Thread in British Art. A small exhibition drawn from the extensive collection of Southampton art gallery.
Although undoubtedly the highlight was the Frank Dicksee Romeo and Juliet which was used to advertise the exhibition- anything Pre-Raphaelite gets my vote- a close second was a work named Coliseum at Moonlight which can be viewed here. The way the artist has captured the light of the moon has to be seen to be believed. The artist is Frederick Bridell and he was born in Southampton.

It was very cold that day, snowflakes were in the air, but we were warmed up by delicious hot chocolates as we waited for the train home. The florist based at the train station always has the most stunning displays and that day was no exception.

Monday is normally full of housework chores but I did manage to carve out a little time so I could finish my latest read. I thoroughly enjoyed this story of Ava Maria finding love and happiness in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it made me laugh out loud a couple of times which is always a sign of a good book. It's been made into a movie and I shall keep my eye out for a copy once the car boot season starts, you never know someone may have a copy they don't want anymore and I'd be interested to see how it translates to film. This is the first book in a series and I'll definitely read more.

Tuesday was Valentine's day. T was the only person in our house to receive a card, in fact he got two from the same chap!

I'm trying to decorate the mantelpiece in our dining room differently each month. I have so many odds and ends and sometimes I forget what I have got. I've been collecting as many of these items as I can and keeping them all in one big plastic storage box. Hopefully as the months go by I'll have something on show which reflects the time of year, occasion or celebration. 
This month is all about red and pinks and hearts.

Thursday was S's parent's evening. We had her report last week and she's doing ok, but there's room for improvement. We were taken aback by a comment made by her maths teacher, he described S as a boisterous student. This is so out of character from all the other comments we've had over the years. It would seem that she shares her maths class with more than just one or two of her good friends and it would appear that the chatting sometimes takes over. Although we had a laugh over the comments there was also a 'you must take it more seriously' chat as well!

Very welcome signs of spring seen in the park on my lunchtime visits.

Friday evening I was out for a meal with a bunch of friends from my previous life as a civil servant. We all worked together for about 15 years and still try and meet up every now and then. 
We met at the new Watermark complex of restaurants which is built opposite the old city walls. Lights were being projected on the walls as part of a Festival of Light event. This is a great new space in the city and I hope it gets used to it's full potential.

Saturday morning I was out to eat once again. Last year on what would have been our dad's birthday my sister T had suggested going out for breakfast and toasting dad with a coffee and a bacon sandwich, two things he was fond of, and we decided to do the same again this year.

The weekend was rounded off with a trip to the theatre for me and G. We went for a drink first, somewhere where the walls were covered in works of art including this David Hockney which really grabbed our attention.
At the theatre we watched The MGM Story. The website shows 4 participants but there were only 3 of them the night we saw it. My oh my did they have bucket loads of energy, they sang and danced their way through the history of the musicals produced by MGM.
An extremely entertaining and (for the performers) energetic way to end our weekend.