Monday, 31 May 2010


Don't you just love Freecycle?
Years ago I saw a picture in a magazine.
Can't remember which housey type of magazine it was, but the feature was on gardens.
One beautiful garden used an old wooden stepladder in amongst a border as a means of displaying flowers in odd plain and painted terracotta pots.
It's something I have always fancied having in our garden as neither of us are natural gardeners, our garden is a bit of a mess and this idea seems to fit quite well into the general mish mash untidiness.
2 days ago a fellow Freecycler offered 'an old rickety ladder which isn't safe for using as a proper ladder'. I enquired about it and he said it was mine! I went and collected it this morning! S couldn't understand why I was so excited about it. Just need to buy some more plants and get busy!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

day trip

The reason for my day trip to Portsmouth was to go here, the city museum (postcard from giftshop)

to see this touring exhibition from the V&A.

On the way to the museum I walked through Victoria park and spotted this bushy tailed little chap who wasn't at all put off by passers by.

I walked down to the harbour and saw HMS Warrior at the dockyard.

Just across the road is a retail outlet called gunwharf quays. I popped in briefly, mainly becuase I needed the loo! And very impressed I was too. So clean and well maintained I had to take a photo!

It's at this shopping complex I nipped into Whittards and took the photo of the Tea poster and made a small purchase. Couldn't resist this plate. As yesterday wasn't about shopping I didn't spend much longer at Gunwharf but instead made my way to the museum.

The exhibition was really good. Lots and lots of black and white photos of singers from 50's and 60's. The Beatles, Bill Haley, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, The Everley Brothers, Brenda Lee, Helen Shapiro, Adam Faith, Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele. So many of these I listened to from an early age as rock and roll was one of my dad's favourite choices of music. He actually worked with Tommy Steele before he became famous on one of the big cruise liners. It was just for one trip and he said he drove everyone crazy singing and playing his guitar whenever he was off duty.
I didn't recognise Shirley Bassey from this photo. I don't think I've ever seen a picture of her as a young woman.

And this was a highlight. Seeing Billy Fury in full swing. I think he had a lovely voice.

I got talking to a couple who were also looking round the exhibition and who remembered going to the cinema to watch Cliff Richard in Expresso Bongo, clips of which were playing through an old TV. They told me about the dancing they did and the clothes they wore. He was very proud of a pair of crepe soled shoes which were adorned with treble clefs and she told me how her mum would rinse her petticoats in sugar water before hanging them on line to dry so they would be stiff and keep their shape.

I did wander around the rest of the museum and would have liked to have spent a while longer looking at some of the exhibits. But my highlights are this gorgeous room set of an old kitchen

this poster for promoting the art gallery. The original painting was also on display. The artist is Benjamin Haughton. Isn't she beautiful.

And these 2 vintage advertsing posters encouraging visitors to the seaside.

If you do find yourself in Portsmouth then a trip to the museum is a great way to pass an hour and it's free.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

tea time

I've had a day out on my own today.
I took the train down to Portsmouth and went to a photography exhibition and had a mini mooch round some shops.
The full details will go in another post but I just wanted to share this wonderful poster I saw in Whittards.

Isn't it great.

Monday, 24 May 2010

weekend wander

What a glorious weekend we've just had.
Sunshine all the way.
We wanted to make the most of the weather and so we did think about going to Bournemouth on Sunday for a day out at the seaside but decided against it as it was just too hot for train travel. Instead we drove to a paddling pool about 10 minutes from where we live. I'd been recommended to try it by a few friends and despite it being so close to us we'd never gone, until yesterday. The children loved it, we were there for nearly 4 hours. We will definitely be going again, weather permitting!

On Saturday T went off with his fellow cubs for a trek in the New Forest. He left home at 8.45am and arrived back at 5pm, he was worn out!
G, S and I decided we would go on a walk of our own, but more a wander than a trek.
We started at the same park I went to on Thursday and G and S hung out on the new climbing frames for a while.

Then our next stop was down at the shore where ice creams were enjoyed.

I am very much in love with my new, charity shop purchased, skirt. Ice cream was toffee crunch, very yummy.

Across the water we could see where the Hythe ferry docks and the pier we walked along on our visit there back during the Easter school holiday.

We found some treasures, some pretty, some not quite so pretty

and watched in awe at this adventurous chap who raced across the grass on wheels and then swooped and spun in the air as he was lifted off the ground by the kite.
3 hours later we arrived home again, tired from the heat but very happy.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


Today I went out for a walk to one of our local parks.
Mayfield park is on the site of a formerly privately owned estate. The main house was demolished in the 1950's but the stables remain, although there is no public access to them.

The park is in two parts. One side has a small playground and lots of football pitches.
It also has an Obelisk which was erected by the former owner in memory of his friend the famous politican Charles James Fox.

There is a lot of work being done in the park at the moment and some of the trees that have been cut down have been set into the ground as seating.

If you don't like flowers look away now. The park looked absolutely beautiful today. So many flowers blooming and colour everywhere.

And the birds were out being busy. Both of these little chaps were hopping around picking up grass and twigs and then flying off their nests.

I felt very relaxed after my little wander. So nice not to have a day of rushing around.
Just a couple of hours to listen and look and just be.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

easy tea

I am in the very lucky position where I only go out to work 2 days a week.
On these 2 days I make sure I leave something quick and easy to prepare for G to cook for the evening meal. Last night it was a jar of Honey and Mustard Chicken Tonight which all 3 of them really love. I don't mind buying that one as it seems to contain less additives.
Instead of G cooking it though it was me. S was off school yesterday as she woke up many times during the night coughing and coughing and coughing. She was exhausted by the morning and spent the day at home resting and has gone back to school today bright as a button.
As I had a bit of extra time given that there was no real food preparation to do I decided a bit of baking was in order.

I baked a ginger and date loaf. No picture to share as it came out looking very mis-shapen! The recipe said to bake in a 1lb loaf tin which I did. Next time I'll be doing it in a baking tray. The preparation was quite unusual. Dates, ginger,butter and sugar in a mixing bowl, sprinkled over with bicarb and then boiling water poured on top. Stirred until the butter had melted and then flour folded in. The end result was very tasty though, especially with a cup of tea.

This doesn't look like the most comfortable place to rest but Malcolm seems to like it.

T came home from school proudly wearing this badge on Monday. He is so helpful towards the staff. Last time I had to drop something into the school receptionist told me 'how polite T always is. He always has a please and thank you. I shouldn't be so amazed when a child is that polite as I work in a place full of them, but he is the exception rather than the rule.'
I left feeling a very proud mum indeed. That's my boy.

Monday, 17 May 2010

words and music

I love listening to the radio.
Radio 4 keeps me company most of the time I'm at home.

There are two reasons for enjoying it in the last 2 days.

Firstly, yesterday afternoon I switched on half way through a short programme by Laurence Llewelyn Bowen. I know he's not everyones cup of tea, but I do love the way he uses language.
In this programme about Gertrude Jekyll he is visiting the home of Edward Lutyens and in talking about the construction of the archway to the main porch he says it's 'very, very Lutyens flavour. Lovely and crunchy. Big chewy bits of stone like treacle toffee. And great big wooden beams like Flakes.'
It may be because Flakes are just about my favourite chocolate bar, but I think his description is fabulous.

Second reason is this morning on Womans Hour hearing Lucinda Belle singing and playing her harp. I've never heard her before. She describes herself as a jazz harpist. I'm going to be putting her new CD on my birthday present wishlist.

The TV I think I could live without.
But I'd really miss the radio.
It has provided me with so much knowledge, information and entertainment.

Thursday, 13 May 2010


Odd photos from happenings over the past few weeks.

My new hair colour, no grey now, well for a few weeks at least.

A new badge on T's cub jumper. A reminder of a great day out with his friends.

Six eggs, complete with feather. S had a friend round for tea and these were given to us by her mum. Layed by their chickens that morning.

S wearing safety equipment whilst making her own chocolate ice cream with liquid nitrogen at a student festival.

A thank you for all the effort we've made at work recently. It's been really stressful there at times since my return in November. Our team were nominated to receive £25 each in vouchers. I chose to have mine in Sainsburys vouchers. That way I could use them to pay for the shopping and then use the cash I would have used for groceries towards a treat just me.
The very same day I was awarded them I came home to a letter from Country Living magazine offering 2 years subscription for just slightly more than 1 year plus a free EB mug.

My magazine arrived yesterday! I'm so looking forward to reading it. G is to London tonight to see Kiss. And he' staying over. An early night and Country Living awaits!

The chest of drawers in our bedroom sandwiched between 2 new Aspelund wardrobes from Ikea. And we do LOVE the way it's all looking up there.

Who was a grumpy cat after we spent one night away? Who didn't come up and have his night time snuggle for 2 nights? What's he going to be like when we have a week away?!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

I Spy

During a car journey today S decided to start up a game of I Spy.
We started with the traditional 'I spy something beginning with ... insert letter of choice......'
This quickly changed into 'I spy something the colour of red/blue/green.'
Answers here being wellies, sky and trees.
All was going well until the colour brown was chosen.
'Mum's hair?' G suggested.
'No' said S with a note of disdain in her voice. 'Mum's hair is grey not brown.'

This afternoon the hairdye I bought 2 weeks ago has been used.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

cheeky boy!

On our dining room wall we have 2 large corkboards. One above another.
The top one is used to display photos of family and friends.
The bottom one is used to display tickets from shows and concerts we've been too, little crafty bits the children have made, little momentos of family life.
Today there is a new addition.
Trying to be orgainsed and fairly tidy, all our rubbish items which can be recycled are kept in the utility room in a large plastic tub. Once full it's emptied into the outside wheelie bin.
Whilst tipping the contents of this tub into the wheelie bin a colourful leaflet caught my husband's eye.
He made a little addition to it and pinned it to the noticeboard before leaving for work this morning.
It made me laugh out loud when I noticed it after I had come down to make breakast a bit later.
Which is exactly why he did it.
I do love him!
Dream on though my love!