Thursday, 4 February 2016

Brighton

Way back at the start of October G booked us a night away in Brighton.
This came about after a conversation we had had about not spending much on each other at Christmas and instead using the money towards a couple of trips away during the year.
 The end of January seemed a long way off when the plans were made but it was lovely having such a treat to look forward to.

Last Saturday morning the day dawned for our jaunt along the coast.
The plan was to take the train as far as Hove and then explore the huge amount of charity shops there before walking along the front into Brighton.
The shops did not disappoint and we both made a couple of purchases we were extremely pleased with.


Once done with spending we were hungry and seeing as we were at the seaside it seemed only proper that we bought a bag of chips and made our way to the front.
Goodness me that wind was cold as we strolled along the prom but the sights and sounds made up for it.
A beautiful stretch of beach huts on our left



including this one which reminded me of the old candy stripe bed sheets and pillowcases we used to have.



To the right of us the waves were crashing in and as we neared the derelict West Pier we turned off and headed into the town centre and towards our accommodation.



Everywhere you look there are examples of beautiful architecture, so many eye-catching features to feast your eyes on but I couldn't keep stopping as we were being met at the B&B at a specific time so I had to keep moving.



We passed a handful of statues on the way and I was able to take a quick snap of them as we passed.
Top left is clearly Queen Victoria and the top right The Bugler and he is dedicated to Royal Sussex Regiment.
Bottom left is the back of the angel known as the Peace statue, a memorial to Edward VII and in something completely different to the others bottom right is of the comedian Max Miller.


I don't have any photos of where we stayed which is a shame. G found it through Air BnB. Our host, Andrew, was so welcoming, we had a lovely relaxed chat over breakfast on Sunday morning, nothing was too much trouble. The converted basement where we stayed was spacious and had everything we needed. If you ever want a recommendation for somewhere to stay in Brighton let me know and I'll send the details. 
Once we had dropped off our bits and bobs we went out again in search of the Theatre Royal and that's where we came across Rowlf from the Muppets playing the piano, as you do.


When G had contacted Andrew about plans for our arrival he had mentioned he would be going off to the matinee show of The Mousetrap I got quite excited as this is a play I have wanted to see for the longest time. Saturday was the final day and we went along to the box office to see if we could get tickets. Thankfully they had a few left and so I left G paying for them so I could take a photo of these toadstools and fairy door painted onto one of the exits from the theatre.



I had to take a photo of  this graffiti as as well as being beautiful the woman's face on the right looks so much like G's god daughter it's uncanny. You'll have to take my word for it.


From the theatre it's just a short stroll to the Brighton Pavilion. As you can tell from these photos the light was starting to fade as we got to it.
It's something we will explore further on our next trip for sure.








The light was fading past as we made our way around the perimeter of the Pavilion which meant the lights on the pier could be seen twinkling in the near distance and that's where we made our way to next.





We stood here for a while watching a murmuration of starlings as they swooped around the pier and sea, it really was a spectacular show and I would love to have stayed for longer but it was so cold by then.

After our relaxed breakfast time on Sunday we had an hour to ourselves before we needed to go for the train home.
We planned to walk to the station via the Lanes.

There was plenty to see on our way to them.
I liked the art work on the outside of the corner shop.


There is a scheme in the City to help combat illegal and unattractive graffiti on phone junction boxes by commissioning a local art group to paint them with mini artworks.
We both loved this Ewok one.



The Prince Albert pub did have a Banksy on it's wall but as this article explains the original was removed and sold in America and a copy is now in it's place.
As well as the Banksy copy the wall is home to a mural of a plethora of singers,





a list of who's who can be seen here.



Well done if you've made it to the end of this post, there are just a final couple of photos of things which caught my eye that morning.




During breakfast Andrew mentioned a place we really should investigate before we left called Snoopers Paradise he said it was chock full of vintage items and vinyl. We could have spent ages in there but had to make do with 10 minutes. 
I'll share our Brighton buys in another post, I had to take something home as little momento now didn't I.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Jammy

I know what with it being February it means it really isn't the time of year for robins wearing holly but I couldn't resist him.
I mean just look at him.

It's the same old story.
I took another couple of bags full of donations into the charity shop, had a quick look round, just on the off chance there would be something I liked and well wouldn't you know there was.

He'll be a great addition to the breakfast table in December, the little ceramic spoon is perfect for serving up jam.


Thursday, 28 January 2016

Blue Plaques

On Sunday G wanted to pay a visit to Richer Sounds.
Not my idea of an interesting shopping trip but it did provide me with the opportunity to go in search of a blue plaque which I had read about.
Emily Davies who was a pioneer of women's rights and a co founder of Girton College, Cambridge and she was born in Southampton


and this is the house she lived in.
Not bad eh?
The house is in Carlton Crescent which is part of a conservation area in the City. 
These houses were originally owned by officers in the army and navy and professional businessmen, Emily's father was a clergyman and her mother a teacher.
Most of them are now homes to businesses, such as solicitors, rather than families.


As I wandered further along the road I came across another blue plaque which I didn't know about.
This one was to commemorate Alexander Ross Clarke.
I have to admit I had never heard of this gentleman or his achievements.




I'd be just as happy trying out living in his house as I would Emily's former home.




Since coming home I've found information online about this part of the City and I think I will be going back for another more in depth look around.




Our route to Carlton Crescent took us along London Road and as we walked along it I noticed the word DAIRY painted on this chimney.
I've lived here all my life and can honestly say I have never noticed this before. This amazes me as I try and make sure I take in my surroundings wherever I go, just goes to show there is always something new.


London Road is the home of the Titanic Musicians Memorial.
This is a replica of the original which was destroyed during World War 2.
It's just across the road from the memorial to the engineers which is stunning and well worth making the time to seek out should you ever be in Southampton.




Once G had made his purchase we walked back through the park and that's where an eagle eyed S spotted this squirrel. I'm glad she was paying attention to her surroundings so I had the chance to snap Mr Bright-Eyed and Bushy Tailed.





Saturday, 23 January 2016

Books, Puzzles and Cards

A little round up of the past week is needed.
Back to last Saturday and we were toying with going to Winchester for the day.
The record fair was on and G likes to go for a mooch to see what he can find to add to his vinyl collection.
However in the end we decided to stay local as G was going to Portsmouth in the evening to see The Temperance Movement and one eye would always be on the time thinking about when we needed to get back so G could go out again.

We took S and her friend L down to the park instead.
They scooted and we wandered at our own pace.
I took my camera, but yet again I forgot to check it contained it's memory card so no photos to share.
We walked round the football pitches and strolled by the river and stopped for a while so the girls could run off more energy in the play area. 
Our route had been planned so we would finish at the shops.
 At The Veg Shed we purchased the parsnips for our cakes, then we stopped at The Songbird - coffee for the adults and ice cream for the girls.
Within the clutch of shops is a branch of Barnardos which is always worth popping into.
G certainly came up trumps in there.
For £10 he found 5 LP's and he was particularly pleased with ones by Cream and The Kinks.
My purchase was less exciting.
A pack of 10 Christmas cards reduced to 69p which will be perfect for sending to our neighbours when the festive season comes around again.
When we got home G checked on-line and found the records were worth a little bit more than he had paid and so this week I made sure I dropped off to them the 3 bagfuls of donations, mostly books and some clothing, from our latest round of delcuttering.


Talking of books I've made a good start on this month's book club read. The tag line describes it as 'A reimagining of Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of the servants'. So far so good.



On Wednesday afternoon I had to go into work as we were having our annual first aid refresher session, so for the morning I made sure I had something to do to make the most of the time off I did still have. I planned on having a charity shop session primarily because I needed to buy a birthday gift.
When our friends G and M came over at Christmas with their young children M had been drawn to my new cat jigsaw puzzle. G text me a couple of weeks ago to say that since then the four of them have gone jigsaw mad.
As G and M are keen charity shoppers I knew M wouldn't mind a birthday jigsaw coming from one of them and I hoped that the 7 I had in mind to visit would turn up something suitable.
The first shop didn't have anything for M but I found a great book for me, a copy of Cath Kidston's Stitch for £2.00. 



The next few shops also drew a blank and then the 5th one was where I found exactly what I hoped I would find.
A 1000 piece jigsaw of Liverpool Street Station in London. To go with it I bought a bottle of London Lager. Fingers crossed he likes it.



Thursday was squirrel appreciation day which meant that there was only one choice of ear-ring that day.



Friday was a bit different this week as I had the morning off.
Once the children had gone off to school G and I took ourselves off into town for breakfast.
One of my Christmas presents to G was a mini poster of rock guitarists and he is on the look out for a frame. There is a shop in town we wanted to try for one whilst we were there but they didn't have anything suitable so that quest goes on.
I ended the week as I started it by buying another pack of reduced Christmas cards.
These were 29p and are for S to use for her school friends. 
Luckily she liked them so they've been stowed away with the others.


Friday, 22 January 2016

Kindness

One evening last week I came home from work after a really rotten day.
When you work in a doctor's surgery you don't always see the best from people.
Sometimes they come in and they anxious about their, or a loved ones, health and they can be a bit short with you because their minds are occupied with concern.
You don't take it personally, some people are dealing with a lot.
But some people think the way to get things done is to bully you and this was the very unpleasant behaviour I had been subject to that day.
I couldn't wait to get home and shrug of the way I was feeling.
Once home there was something which turned my day around in an instant.
Inside a little padded envelope was a little box and inside the little box was the cutest little brooch.
Not just any brooch.
A brooch which had been made just for me.
Someone had taken the time to make me something they knew I would love.
That someone is Kezzie.
If you aren't familiar with Kezzie's blog then please do pop over and have a browse, you'll be dazzled by her extensive range of brooches and hats, her outfit combos with an inspired hint of Doctor Who about them, her enthusiasm for being a music teacher and her zest for grabbing any and every opportunity which comes her way.


Thank you Kezzie. I absolutely love my cherry decorated teacup and saucer, it's perfect.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Hidden Veg

As well as getting more fruit into our diet with the Nutribullet S and I have made some cakes which are bursting with goodness.
Parsnip and Pineapple.
Not an obvious combination I grant you but one which we are enjoying.
You don't taste the parsnip at all, it's just an alternative to carrot really.

The recipe was photocopied from a cook book a while ago, although I have no idea which one.
If you fancy giving them a go here's the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 180c, Gas Mark 4.
In a bowl mix together 2 cups of self raising flour, 1/3 cup of soft light brown sugar and the same of caster sugar, 1tsp baking powder, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and the same of salt.
To this add 1/4 pt sunflower oil and 2 beaten eggs.
Finally mix in 1/2 cup grated parsnip and 1 cup crushed pineapple.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.



In celebration of Tin Can day I thought I'd share another recipe. This one is quick and easy and good for a midweek meal. I cooked it last night and served with carrots, broccoli and Yorkshire puddings.
Boil a pan of potatoes for mashing.
Fry bacon, onion and garlic.
In a casserole dish empty a tin of Campbells condensed mushroom soup and whisk in just under half a pint of chicken stock. 
Add sweetcorn (and peas if you like them) to the casserole and then add the bacon mix.
Top with the mash (I add cheese to ours) and then bake in the oven at 160c for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Eastleigh Streets

Sunday saw us over in nearby Eastleigh.
We wanted to stretch our legs and go for a walk but with all the recent rain something urban seemed more sensible.
Plus we were wanting to seek out some frozen fruit for our Nutribullet trials and so a little grocery shopping was also needed.
Here's a few highlights from our wander.

A new sculpture has appeared outside the train station. 
It is of local novelist Charlotte Mary Yonge who gave Eastleigh it's name.
She is positioned right next to the busy main road through Eastleigh so she won't get much quiet time contemplating her literary endeavours.


The Point is a theatre and dance studio which is situated in the former town hall.
I have very fond memories of an afternoon there with T and S. When they were much younger we went to see an adaptation of The Tiger Who Came to Tea. It was wonderful and the audience had to participate in tiger aerobics. They would probably both be horrified to think how enthusiastically they took part at the time.
The four of us went there a couple of years ago, with friends, to see a panto and without a shadow of a doubt it was the worst thing any of us have seen. We couldn't wait for it to end.
Anyway, outside is the dancing garden which was constructed as part of the council's Millennium celebrations. The tables and chairs look like a lovely spot to sit and relax in the summertime.





Next door to the theatre are the council offices. This impressive looking face presides over the main entrance.


Two Closes in Eastleigh have been named after two men who were famous for different reasons.
The comedian Benny Hill worked as milkman for the Eastleigh based Hanns Diary. 
Heinz Burt lived in Eastleigh as a child. You may not know the name or even recognise his face but you'll definitely have heard the the song he and his group the Tornados were famous for. Just Like Eddie was his solo hit and it's one I remember hearing when I was younger as my dad was partial to listening to a bit of rock 'n' roll.


Good to see that they think highly of Tim, whoever he may be!