Friday, 31 March 2017

Read, Watched and Bought

I didn't manage much reading this month.
I first saw Pip mentioned on Louise's blog when she declared it her favourite Freya North book having had read it more than once.
I picked my copy up in a book sale at the local library.
It's a very light-hearted romance between a clown (Pip) and an accountant. 
Mentioned in the story are Pip's two sisters Fen and Cat and reading the author's info I saw that she has written stories about them too. I shall keep an eye out for those when the car boots start up again.

Neither G or I had ever seen a Woody Allen movie until we watched Manhattan Murder Mystery a couple of weekends ago. We won't be rushing to watch another as we both found aspects of this movie irritating but G said there are a couple he would still like to give a go, namely Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters.
We have also seen Priscilla Queen of the Desert which was funny and moving and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day which was a wonderful 'Sunday afternoon curl up on the sofa with a hot chocolate' kind of movie.

Minimal purchases were made from the charity shop in March.
First up is a shiny pair of shoes for work.
Whoever donated them didn't wear them, they were still brand new and cost me £4.50.

Barnardos came up trumps again with a lovely M&S black and white summer dress

and this navy and white polka dot rain jacket. Love this the most.
Both were £1.99.

I just had to include these flowers as well.
G came home from work with these for me yesterday evening, for no reason.
Lucky me.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Two Days with Just the Two of Us

At work our leave year ends at the end of March.
I had two days annual leave left from my allocation and so I booked last Thursday and Friday off.
Thursday was mostly spent catching up with my friend G. 
It's always a delight to see her and we could just as happily passed another 3 hours away on top of the 3 hours we did spent chatting over coffee.
Friday was spent with the other G in my life, my husband Graham.
We had decided a little trip to Portsmouth was what was needed.
We trotted off to the local station, me (as seen below) wearing my new coat.
I say new, but it'll be no surprise for you to hear that it's not brand new, just new to me. 
My mum actually picked it up for me last year at a car boot. A lady was selling clothing at 3 items for £1.00 and so mum bagged this for me along with a winter coat for S and a top for herself. 
This is the coat's first proper outing as I have been a bit unsure about the colour. My previous winter coat was a lovely dark green and I felt this was a bit too luminous in comparison but my old coat has now been consigned to the recycling bin and so a change was needed.
Talking of needing a change, my hair needs dyeing looking at all that grey!

Arriving at the station in Portsmouth I had to snap Emma Hamilton and Lord Nelson after our recent trip to London.

Portsmouth had been chosen as our destination as G had been wanting to go to the Isle of Wight music festival exhibition at the Guildhall and all I needed to do was buy a birthday gift and that could be bought there just as well as anywhere else.

The exhibition is only small but there was lots of information and some great photos on display. I didn't really know too much about the history of those IOW festivals beforehand but now I know that the only act ever to be booed off stage is Kris Kristofferson and the only act to have been billed but not played is Mungo Jerry because they turned up too late!
This poster was used to advertise the 1970 festival and shows that a ticket cost £3.00. One website I looked at said that this amount equates to about £45 today.

On leaving the Guildhall I noticed that one of the rooms has a frieze painted round the top of the walls depicting each of the four seasons. The winter one was just above the door to the exit and I think it was the red of the robin or the child's coat which must have caught my eye.

From the Guildhall we went to the pub for lunch and then over to the shops where the gift buying proved to be more elusive than I had hoped. 
Whilst strolling around we wandered past a women's clothes shop and this sign on the front instantly reminded of the Pippa dolls I had when I was little. I loved playing with those dolls so much.

And so to Saturday.
T has just started learning to drive. I have agreed to take him out for some extra practice, but not on proper roads. So on Saturday afternoon G and I went out for a walk to explore the possible option of a small industrial park near to where we live. 
There were lots of boring looking modern offices and warehouses and then in among them was a building which had a bit of character but which very sadly was all boarded up and didn't look like it was still in use.

Also seen by us for the first time was this memorial to RJ Mitchell. It stands on the site of where the first Spitfire was built by Supermarine. Real history right on our doorstep.

We ended Saturday by watching The Duchess.
I read Amanda Foreman's about Georgiana The Duchess of Devonshire years ago and it's one which is still on my bookshelf now, a definite keeper. 
We both enjoyed the movie, the costumes and the locations are as stunning as you would expect, but it's not one we are likely to watch again and so it has been passed along to a colleague of G's for her to enjoy.

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 ..... 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.