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.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Recent Buys

I will save all purchases for me until the end of the month for a round up but i the mean time I've been lucky enough to find some great buys for other people.
In Poole I purchased two of these polka dot mugs for 50p each.
One will go towards my sister C's birthday haul and the other is sat on my kitchen window sill waiting to be planted with a suitable spring flower.

Another pack of Christmas cards, this time from Oxfam, couldn't resist this handsome stag.

This is actually something G bought now I come to think of it. Looking forward to watching it, has anyone else seen it?

Another Oxfam purchase. £1 for a set of mini crackers will be an ideal addition to my sister T's advent gifts.

After leaving work on Friday I needed to nip into town for a couple of things and spotted the Cancer Research shop was having another of their periodic £1 sales. I picked this up for my sister C. She's going to love it.

I also picked up this silky top for S. She has a couple of these tops and likes the long rectangular sleeve style.

Saturday saw us in Winchester as there was a small art exhibition we wanted to see and then when we went into town afterwards we found the Cancer Research branch there was also having a pound sale. 
So now S also has a pretty sequinned jumper

and blue and grey floral hoodie to add to her slowly expanding wardrobe.

She's looking mighty grown up here too don't you think.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Pick of Poole

Normally when G has to work on a weekend he takes the following Tuesday as his day off.
Last week he changed it to the Monday so we would both be off together.
There are lots of changes afoot at his place of work (again!), all to do with working patterns and this just might mean that a Monday off together will occur every few weeks.
Watch this space.

Anyway back to last week.
It was G's suggestion we go to Poole.
Neither of us have been for years, decades in fact.
It doesn't take that long to get to either and was easily manageable by train during the school day.
It was a perishingly cold day and all the more so when we got down to the quay.
The cold and the pubs and windows we saw will be my over riding memories of the day.
This is definitely one place which I'm sure is much more attractive to visit during the summer when it is full of the colour and hustle and bustle of holidaymakers.

Here then are the things which caught my eye.
The aforementioned variety of windows.
The first above a closed up shop, the second is also above a shop but which must have been a cinema at one stage I'm sure, the third above a pub.
The large one at the bottom was on a very inviting looking cafe.

The cockleshell history trail can be followed around Poole, this would definitely be something I'd like to do in warmer weather. An grand clock outside a solicitors and advertising on the side of a boat for trips to Brownsea Island, home to red squirrels.
Beautiful tiles on a boarded up pub.

All of these can be found on The Antelope Inn.

Paradise Street is right down by the waterfront which makes me think it probably wasn't very much like Paradise in earlier times, maybe the cockleshell trail will enlighten me. The Poole Arms is the oldest pub on the quay and resplendent in it's vibrant green tiles.

It was wonderful having an extra day out together. I wonder where we'll go next.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Top Tip

I'm not sure where I first saw this idea, it's been gleaned from one of my too numerous to mention, visits to Pinterest.
Such a simple idea and it costs very little too which is an added bonus.
On a trip to IKEA last week I picked up a couple of these plastic bag dispensers and they are now home to all of my rolls of wrapping paper. 
The dispenser is tall enough to keep the rolls standing up straight and with it's flat back it can easily be stashed in a cupboard/wardrobe or hung up on a wall and takes up very little room.