Wednesday, 26 October 2011


About 6 months ago it was announced that the office I worked in would be closing as part of some government spending cuts. There has been an awful lot of uncertainty surrounding my job. I have been one of the lucky ones and have been redeployed to another office. Leaving the team I have worked with for a long time was quite a sad day. Last week I started at the new office. It's bound to be a bit bumpy at first as I get used to new colleagues and they get used to me, it's been kind of first day of school nerves. The whole change of workplace and people has been one big issue which has been preoccupying my mind this past month or so.

Yesterday I explored the area around my new place of work and found 6 charity shops. A plus point if ever there was one.
A couple of items came home with me, the best buy being this Pyrex dish for £1.99.

It was my sister's birthday on Monday and after she had waded through opening all her presents and before we had a late lunch we had a little browse around a couple of pretty shops. I bought this for my mum and she bought one for me. I just love the little sprig of holly and look forward to when I get to hang it up in our home.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Do you think they grow on trees?

'Look at the fungi growing on the side of that tree,' I said whilst we were out getting some fresh air on a brief stroll this afternoon.
'Looks more like those white crisps from the Chinese takeaway,' said T.
These will now be known to us as prawn cracker mushrooms.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Thrifty Thursday- the Birthday Edition

My youngest sister is 40 next week and today I am wrapping up all the bits and bobs I've bought for her. This is the sister with whom I do the gift exchange where we buy just about everything from jumbles/car boots/charity shops etc.

Pink blanket £1.00, charity shop
Set of 2 dotty tins 25p, charity shop
4 bottles of smellies 95p, charity shop
Pink jug 50p, jumble sale
Felt flower and butterfly brooch 25p, church summer fete
Heart casserole dish £1.99, bought new.
Heart garden stake £1.59, bought new.
The last two will be given to her from the children.

Silver cardi 20p, jumble sale
Book 20p, church summer fete
Bookmark 25p, church summer fete
Notebook 25p, car boot
Monsoon cardi £1.50, charity shop
Butter dish £1.00, charity shop
Bottle stopper 50p, charity shop

Green cardi 50p, car boot

1989 t shirt 50p, car boot

Green star shirt 75p, charity shop

Blue floral top 50p, charity shop

Fat face grey skirt 50p, charity shop.

There is also a green flower pot which I have forgotten to include in the pics. Total, for items from me, with the pot at 49p is £10.09. Just a smidge over our £10.00 budget.

Now to wrestle with the paper and sellotape.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Just how excited is it acceptable to get about a piece of plastic?
When the weather changes and it's no longer possible to dry washing outside it doesn't take long before I am completely fed up with trying to dry it all inside.
The length of the banister is perfectly suited for hanging the sheets and duvet covers over and a clothes airer we received as a wedding present is in constant use for everything else. The trouble with that is we tend to keep it in our bedroom and where ever it is in the room it's always in the flaming way!
So to try and make use of the empty space and (hopefully) warm air circulating on the landing I bought a retractable indoor washing line. Oh how I love it. It's green, it's curvy and the line is very, very long.
G has attached it to the door frame of S's bedroom and it can be easily removed when the time comes.

This photo is probably one of the best contenders for most boring photo ever taken. Our plastered and unpainted walls with sundry items of washing.

But the washing is dry! Oh the bliss of hanging it up inside the house and having it dry within a few hours. OK it's a little unslightly, but you only see it if you go upstairs and you may have to duck underneath when you get to the top of the stairs, but I love it.

Not sure if that makes me a complete sad case but I don't really care.

Monday, 17 October 2011

6 miles

G and I decided we should all try and get out for a walk on Sunday. The weather was looking good and so we thought we should try and make the most of it.
Leaflets were consulted, train times worked out and a picnic packed up.
We took the train to Shawford to do the circular walk that starts and ends here, it's part of a series of walks along the Itchen Navigation Trail. It said allow 3 hours for the 6 mile walk and some of it was a bit steep. We kept those details to ourselves when T and S asked where we were going!

The first thing that caught my eye after we left the station were these tiles outside a beauty salon, so of course the camera came out to a chorus of 'what photos ALREADY????!!!!'

Within a few hundred metres we had seen a deer in some one's back garden, a family of swans and this goose who was desperately trying to eat this apple as it bobbed along next to it.

It kept whacking it with it's beak and so it would sink and the goose turned upside down to find it. It amused us anyway.

These were the kind of views we enjoyed along the way to our left

and then to our right, chatting as we went and snacking on some oatmeal and raisin biscuits I had baked and were actually edible and enjoyed by all.

One of the reasons we chose this walk was it took you (or so we were led to believe) under an old viaduct. But unfortunately the directions at this point were a bit sketchy and we managed to miss it! We did spy it in the not too far distance though.

Halfway round the way we stopped at St Cross hospital

and had our picnic sat opposite these almhouses.

Hospital is used in the same sense as 'hospitality' and in centuries gone by they provided food and shelter to the poor. Clicking on the link will give you more information about this medevial building and it's history.

After leaving here the steep bit kicked in. It wasn't very picturesque for this part of the walk either and a bit of post lunch lethargy and boredom set in. We stopped at one point to see where we were by wandering into a field just off the path we were on and had a lovely view with the Hospital just poking it's head about the trees.

We passed fields with horses in and kept walking up and up

until we reached Yew Tree Hill and were rewarded with views of countryside like this

and this

and this.

Which made it the boring bit worth it. Even T stopped and took it all in and wanted to take photos.

Out with my family in the fresh air and sunshine. Perfect.

Doing the walk to St Cross and back again is something we hope to do next year, making sure we find the correct path to the viaduct this time!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

More Ho Hum Than Ho Ho Ho

As well as spending time in Blogland I also like to visit Pinterest. I have pinned so many craft ideas I'd like to try and as a lot of those are Christmas orientated I thought I should crack on and start having a go at some of them.
So last night I set about making a Santa sweetie jar like these at, except mine is using an old Sainsbury's pasta sauce bottle.

I'm not happy with the gold buckle, it definitely needs to be black like the original, but I couldn't find any black card last night, but then that's what doing a practise is for, finding out what works and what doesn't!
I'll top them off with a piece of red felt and then add a handmade tag.
I'm only going to make a couple of these, one each for G's dad and brother. Full up with Christmas chocolate these can be part of their gift from the children.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Birthday Weekend

On Saturday it was G's birthday. As we would have been going up to Salisbury to see his family anyway he asked his mum if she would mind having the children to stay with her on Friday night so we could have an evening to ourselves.
She agreed and after we had waved them off at the train station we wandered into town and spent a lovely evening together and stayed over night at The Kings Head.

We had a very unhealthy but very satisfying cooked breakfast in the pub whilst watching England lose the rugby and then set about having a mooch around the charity shops. Our biggest purchase was this mirror. It's destined for the hallway. 'The shelf will come in handy for you' G said. 'Somewhere to put your keys and sunglasses when you get in.' I have to admit that most mornings I can be heard saying 'Now where did I put glasses?' as I tend to wear them all year round, my eyes stream otherwise. But I managed to surpass myself and I lost them during our wanderings before we got to G's mum's!

G's mum told me about a sculpture exhibition she had seen and suggested we should try and see too, outside and inside Salisbury cathedral

We were very pushed for time so we had a stroll through The Close and just saw a couple of them.

Not often G meets a woman taller than him!

We walked past part of the boundary wall to G's old school and spotted this blue plaque.

The houses around the Cathedral are very picturesque but it wasn't a day for stopping and admiring, although I did quickly snap this elegant display of greenery by someone's front door.

We were very excited about one of G's gifts. T had spotted it in Primark at the start of September and instantly asked if it could be his and S's present to their dad for his birthday. Knowing G would LOVE it I agreed.

His face was a picture as he opened it and saw what it was. He was THRILLED and trotted upstairs to try it on.

What do you think?

We laughed and laughed and laughed.

G says it's very cosy and his brother said he would like one too!

Yesterday I went to a Vintage Fair which took place in one of the University buildings. Mum came along with me and we took S too. She has a bit of a cold (again!) and so although I could have spent hours looking at all the beautiful clothes I was mindful of S coughing away and so we didn't stay too long.

Mum fell in love with a ring which I bought her and have squirreled away for Christmas and my two other purchases were this brooch for £1 (I know it's a bit chipped, but it's just so pretty)

and these 2 plastic masks, 50p each, which I'll save for G's table present at Christmas as we always buy each other silly hats or masks which keep us giggling through our turkey dinner!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Weather Tree

As quite a few people liked the strawberry paper from Phoenix a couple of posts ago I thought I would share with you all another of the items I bought. I did buy 2 other things but these are Christmas themed and I'll save those for another post.

I loved this idea for a poster which will keep us busy all year. It's called the Weather Tree and there is a leaf for each day of the year.

You have to decide which colours are going to represent each weather type and then fill in the key below the tree. There is a special space for the name of the person(s) whose tree it is and the year it was completed.

All around the tree are drawings with information about the seasons and the weather, such as cloud types

facts about snowflakes

and storms.

I'm, sorry of course I mean the children (!), are going to enjoy filling this in over 2012.

EDITED to say the company selling these posters can be found here Items are purchased through a 'trader' but if you don't know one in your area then you can complete an on line form and someone will contact you.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Dotty for Storage

I do have a bit of a thing for storage items. Boxes, baskets, jars that kind of thing.
I also ahve a bit of a thing for polka dots.
Combine the two and I'm one very happy person.
Yesterday I purchased not one, but two said polka dot storage items.

The first was from the well known purveyor of elegant homewares (not) that is Lidl!
A set of two cardboard boxes for £3.99.
I was after something that would go in our bedroom on top of the wardrobes to hide all those things that need to be hidden at this time of year. When Christmas presents and stocking fillers are being purchased on a regular basis and so instead of laying in bed and staring at a plethora of carrier bags there is a bit more tidiness and prettiness going on.

The second purchase is for the dining room, in the space under the stairs. I wanted something that I could throw all my reusable shopping bags into and also be able to get them out from easily too. I didn't want something I had to stuff them into and have to wrestle out again each time I was off to Sainsbury's.

canvassy type bag for £8 from Matalan. Sturdy enough to stand upright so bags can be chucked in and large opening to easily grab bags from when needed.

Polka dot heaven for a storage freak.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Kitchen Shelf

As part of the ongoing plan to use the kitchen cupboards to best food storage advantage and so cut down on shopping trips and hopefully save money, I thought it would be a good idea to have a place when all the sauces and spreads that are used on a very frequent basis are kept. I like the idea of open kitchen shelving so thought a little shelf was the way to go.
My sister found a brand new pine shelf for £3 at a car boot a couple of months ago which fitted the bill.
I wasn't sure which colour to paint it and so it just sat around getting in the way and annoying me because I wanted to use it but wasn't sure what to do with it exactly. Then when I spotted a sheet of strawberry patterned gift wrap in the Phoenix catalogue it all fell into place.
The paper was used to line the back and the bottom of the shelves and the rest was painted in a shade called Flagon. This was a tester pot I had bought a while ago when I was considering which colour to paint the dresser.
Yesterday G fixed it to the wall and so now at long last it's up and being used. Just the rest of the kitchen to sort now then!

It's a good home for my latest TK Maxx purchase. The heart patterned salt cellar, so cute.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Beach in October

Who would have thought that after the inadequate summer weather this year we would have spent 1st October on the beach in brilliant sunshine?

There were signs of autumn to be seen as we wandered from the train station to the beach.

A couple of conkers were spied and picked up to add to our ever growing stash at home, acorns(!) spotted

and a box left by someone's front gate labelled 'free food' which contained apples rom their garden. G and S enjoyed an apple each on the way from the station and back again later on in the day. Very tasty they were too apparently.

So where had we decided to spend the day? We took the train to Hinton Admiral in the New Forest and from there it was a 30 minute walk to Highcliffe and Mudeford.

This was a journey we had considered in the summer but never got round to for one reason or another and yesterday suddenly seemed the ideal day to give it a go.

Because it was kind of last minute we weren't really prepared and so there was no picnic, instead G treated us to lunch and from there we strolled back along the front to find a place to spend the afternoon.

Here is the view to our left

the one in fornt of us

a close up view of that seagull

and the view to our right.

G took photos of me having a paddle with the children and asked why I was doing a Rigsby impression all the while I was dipping my toes in!

We took a different route back to the station and walked through a nature reserve, this huge fossil was by the entrance

and we even spotted a deer!

The coastal path leads to Highcliffe Castle where a wedding party were having photos taken in the grounds. What a stunning car.

We didn't have time to stop and so G and I said that one day we'd like to come back (just the two of us) for further exploration of the castle. I only managed to snap a couple of photos as we wandered on past.

Maybe with a trip to the tearooms for a cream tea for good measure.

I am hoping that G has been able to sort out our computer issues and I can now get back to blogworld properly. Hope that hasn't jinxed it!