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


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!

Monday, 11 January 2016


Today is
I kid you not.
Maybe if I had a rainproof outfit as cute as this one I'd go out there and jump in a puddle myself.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

A is for

Argyle day which was on actually on Friday but as I was at work and couldn't wear this cardi then I chose to wear this grey ensemble on Saturday.
It's the first time I've worn this cardigan, it was one of my last buys from the car boot last year and as I was taking the photo I remembered that's where I had bought the dress as well.
Both cost me a pound a piece.
In actual fact the necklace came from the car boot too but that was purchased for me by my mum as part of my birthday present.

A is also for apricot day.
I've mentioned in previous posts my fussiness over food.
It's a taste as well as a texture thing.
My diet is extremely limited and although I am better than I used to be I do not eat anywhere enough fruit and veg.
Which is one of the reasons why G and I have bought ourselves a Nurtibullet.
I flippin' love this new addition.
So far we have been sticking to fruit based combinations teamed with natural yogurt.
Apricots are something I do not eat normally but as it was apricot day I could not let the occasion pass without chucking these into the smoothie of the day.
Along with pineapple and plums.
We need to branch out and try some with veg.
I'm working myself up to those.

And finally A is for avian - well actually Tuesday was bird day but that doesn't fit in with my 'A' theme for this post.
Anyway for that I wore a new brooch. This pair sat on a branch was a gift at Christmas from my sister.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

12 Days of Christmas Swap

To prolong that lovely bubble of Christmas giving and generosity my blog friend Jo and I have, for the second year, exchanged gifts for the 12 days of Christmas.
Starting on 25th December and ending on 5th January it's so lovely having a little treat to look forward to each day.
I always save mine for the evening and the days when I was at work it was so nice coming home to.
I wasn't organised enough to take photos of the presents I sent to Jo, but if you would like to see them then click here to go to Jo's post.
When Jo blogged about our swap last year lots of people commented saying what a lovely idea it was and so late last year Jo very kindly co-ordinated a swap for others who wanted to join in.

So with no further ado here are my gifts......

A necklace and bracelet set in colours and a style which I would definitely have chosen for myself and a very cute lavender scented fox to hang in my wardrobe.

No swap is complete without chocolate and I was lucky enough to receive this pack of Green and Black miniatures. As well as the chocolate I have a tin of Danish cookies, both have been hidden away for me to dip into when I feel the need!
The other item in this photo is a fluffy elephant book mark, hard to get a decent photo of him in the dreary light.

Next is a pretty compact mirror which is now in my handbag, a set of lip balms (one of which is also in my handbag) and three bath fizzers. I think S has her eye on these.

The next two photos are, again, not great.
I love this heart shaped sun catcher. The colours are so deep and vibrant.
At the moment it's hanging up in our bedroom. I'm not sure whether it will stay there, I need to wait for a proper sunny period to try it in different places around the house.

Another foxy item, this time a windchime. I've got this handsome fellow hanging in the dining room at the moment. Again where he'll end up living isn't decided yet.

These two memo magnets are living on the freezer and have already been used for leaving notes to the children.

Last up is the gift I opened first. How cute are these two kitty cats. I do love a good jigsaw and with so much grey, black and white this is a tricky one to do, but it will be completed it.

Thank you Jo for all my fabulous gifts.
I hope everyone who took part enjoyed it as much as I did.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Fresh Flowers

I have written on the blog before now about how Brocante Home has helped me get a grip on, among other things, home organisation.
I like Alison's writing style and I have learned a lot from the site and her many downloads.
For 2016 she had launched a new download called The Better Me Program.
Each Sunday evening an email is sent to your inbox with a little something to do each day of the coming week.
I should mention that I'm writing this post because I have chosen to do so, I've not be asked to promote her works.
Tuesday's prompt was to consider sewing some geranium seeds. 
Now I love geraniums but growing from seed is just not for me.
I prefer to buy mine already grown from traders at car boot sales later on in the year. 
Buying fresh flowers isn't something I do very often but in the Better Me spirit my Tuesday treat has been to purchase a bunch of tulips and I'm so glad I did.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Sweet and Sour

I think two things are clear here.
I'm not going to win any awards for 1. food presentation or 2. food photography.
But the sweet and sour chicken did taste good.
Or so I'm reliably informed.
Since writing this post last year I have tried to keep things varied and interesting and not get too fed up when things don't go quite to plan.
I want to try and strike a balance between cooking things which I know are certs for a happy mealtime and will end with clear plates and keeping myself from being bored churning out the same old stuff.
Tonight was sweet and sour chicken and I decided to go down the noodle route instead of rice because noodles are loved and rice is tolerated and when you're doing something new teaming it with the preferred option makes things easier.

Sunday, 3 January 2016


Question - when you're missing a bit of Christmas twinkle and sparkle what do you make for Sunday teatime.
Answer- a glitter jelly of course.
The top of the jelly had a sparkly sheen to it like that on a freshly opened tin of lip balm.  
There was ice cream too. Just what Sundays were made for.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Two New Things

With new resolve I opened my wardrobe this morning and picked out a jumper I had never worn before.
It was a very cosy choice for the colder day we had been forecast.
 The big floppy collar was just crying out for a brooch.
Mrs Fox was a gift in my Christmas stocking.
Father Christmas knows me so well.

It did actually stop raining for a couple of hours this afternoon which was long enough for a quick walk down to the local shops.
G had to collect a prescription and we had three bags full of donations destined for a charity shop.
It seems this is the time of year lots of others are having a sort out too as one shop had a notice on their door saying they couldn't take anymore donations due to lack of storage space.
At the shop we did drop them off in the lady volunteer was practically pinned into the corner, so surrounded was she by black sacks full of donations.

With trying to wear more of what I do have I wasn't really looking to buy anything new.....
But one of the shops was having a half price sale and I fell for the pattern on this long length top, it all looked very romantic and for £1.24 it was too good to pass by.
I will make sure I wear it soon though.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Make More

of the clothes in my wardrobe.
That's one of my goals.
Apparently we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.
I can believe it.
It's just so easy to grab the same old thing.
But no more, more effort is needed. 
Today was easy.
I picked one of the lovely things my sister gave me for Christmas.
A big, bold floral splash of a dress.
Pudding cushion is a necessary accessory.

Today has been fairly laid back.
Our bedroom is looking more or less normal again. Yay.
I made cake pops with S.
The four of us played Pointless, G's present from T and S and then we settled down and watched a movie. 
A lovely way to spend the day.