Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Looking for Clues

Today we took the train to Fareham.

As today was supposed to be the best weather wise I wanted us, if possible,  to spend the time outdoors but also spend it somewhere where there would be a good selection of shops as we are off to see T's birth siblings at the end of the week and several belated birthday presents are needed.

In the end I bought the Murder Mystery from Treasure Trails which I thought would keep us amused and which we could dip in and out of as we did the gift buying.

The trail started by the library and then took us past some trees which had lost lots of their leaves and which were just begging to be kicked around.

Our first shopping stop provided plenty of good finds and T also talked me into wearing this police cap for a laugh.

Then it was round to the pedestrian precinct for further clue hunting, it was here where the first dip in enthusiasm happened as it would appear that the information to a couple of clues wasn't quite up to date which made things a bit tricky. I must go over the info again and see if we perhaps missed something. 

From here we went into the old High Street which is a much more attractive part of the town with it's rows of Georgian buildings, some of which are solicitors offices, some were shops

and a few still appear to be lived in

and this one is the birth place of John Goss, who I must admit I had never heard of before, but it meant that I had learned something new today.

Our next stop was the church. This is where T and S had enough! We searched and searched for the answer to a clue which we just couldn't find and as the sun decided it was time to make it's disappearance it got a bit too nippy.

Luckily there were only a couple of clues left to do and around the corner was   the shopping centre which meant we were near the finish point.
Once inside we quickly found the last couple of presents we needed, met G from work and then we all came home together.

There was lots more to photograph but seeing as my hands were full with the trail and the shopping I only managed a few pictures today.

To end are a couple of random shots, though admittedly not as random as the earlier one of me!

An attractive gate on the Old Vicarage.

Berries in the churchyard

A miniature bath, looking at the size of the slippers behind you can see how dinky it is.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Halloween Trail

For the first day of our half term we went on our annual trip to a local country park to do their Halloween Trail. 
The tradition that has evolved over the past few years is to do the trail and then visit a nearby garden centre for a hot chocolate.

It was hard not to miss the dragon hiding up high in tree tops, although we thought it looked like a fairly friendly one rather than a evil fire breathing one.

Halfway round we paused for a few games of egg and spoon, with a bit of a Halloween twist.
I had packed these tiny ceramic spoons in my bag which were used to balance a chocolate eye ball on.

T set the course for the race which he decided should involve climbing over a couple of fallen branches. As you can see my mum had a bit of difficulty with this part which the children (and I) found highly amusing!

An entertaining start to our week.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Thrifty Thursday- The Birthday Present

It was my sister's birthday yesterday and here is the haul of gifts I gave her.

Black and pink rose strapless sundress £1.00, floral top 50p, pink flower platter £1.50, stripy top 25p, set of 3 red dotty boxes £1.49, 1950's products jigsaw 75p, small pyrex type bowl 25p, red plastic heart shaped ladle (new) £1.00, orange polo neck 20p, blue cardi 20p, blue rose patterned shirt 25p, scarf (new) 25p, red rose plate 10p, black and white bag £1.00, grey socks (new) 25p, black and white purse 25p, black cardi 50p.

I broke our rule twice because the boxes and the ladle came from dotcomgiftshop, but everything else came the way of jumbles, car boots or charity shops.

She said she loved it all. The purse was put into immediate use, she said the black cardi would be perfect to go over the dress she is wearing out for her work's Christmas meal, the black and white bag will be taken to the car boot on Sunday to hopefully be filled with her latest bargains, she wore the scarf as soon as it was unwrapped and after she has done the jigsaw she's going to lend it to me to do too. Result all round.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Riverside and a recipe

Yesterday was perfect autumn walking weather. We didn't venture far, just to one of our city's parks.

First off we feed the ducks.

Then we strolled by the river taking in the beauty of the trees as they start to display their autumn colours.

To get the children a bit more active I set them races to do from this list . T started to get a bit self conscious when it came to the 'run with your hands above your head' so it was time for me to take part too which made him laugh.
A lot. 
My inner child really enjoyed doing that one and the pretending to be an aeroplane was good fun too.
And by the time we got to 'run whilst singing' my mum had joined in as well and we all sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Not sure why but that was the first song that popped into my head that I knew we all knew! 

Mum found a lost golf ball, one must have gone astray from someones pitch and putt game, just before we reached the end of our walk so we had a couple of games of hunt in the ball in amongst the fallen leaves before we left.

Before I go I just wanted to share a recipe I found online which I cooked last Monday. I wish I had taken a photo as it actually looked like it was supposed too! 
It's for lightly spiced cottage pie. The recipe uses pumpkin for the topping but I used sweet potato and cut down the curry powder and cumin by half. 
There wasn't a smidge left afterwards and as she was eating it S said that she wished she could eat it for breakfast, lunch and tea all week as it was so delicious. Perfect autumn fare.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Pink Bubbly

If you have been following this little blog for over a year then you'll know I REALLY LOVE thinking up and putting together themed gifts, just like these jars and this milk and honey one.

When I saw this little tin of Pink Bubbly lip balm I thought it would be a good starting point for another present idea.

I found the Pink Champagne bubble bath in Savers for £1.00 and I think the two things go together really well. Although my present budget won't stretch to a bottle of pink champagne maybe a bottle of rose wine will finish off a neat little trio of pink bubbly things.

Or maybe you can think of some other things to fit in with the theme?

Monday, 15 October 2012


With the forecast looking good and the fact we hadn't made it along to the last couple of charity Pumpkin Festival events organised by the Jubilee Sailing Trust  on Saturday we popped out to one of the local country parks to see what was going on.

What a whopper!

The event was really well attended and there were a lot of interesting local information stands, children's craft stands, foodie sellers, craft sellers which we had just started to look around when the rain began.
We tried to brave it and kept wandering, but it got heavier and heavier so we sought refuge under one of the exhibitors marquees and watched as the rain turned to hailstones!

Thankfully it did stop and we were able to resume our wanderings which included a really entertaining half an hour listening to the Southampton Ukulele Jam who are fab, we've seen them at a few events around the City and they always get the crowd going (check them out on youtube if you fancy listening).

Now that's the biggest marrow I've ever seen!

One very sweet little scarecrow.

Of course I didn't come home empty handed. I bought a packet of Hallowe'en pasta shapes, just the thing for our evening meal on 31st October

and my other purchase were these two squashes, they are the size of satsumas, so cute  and a bargain 20p each and are the perfect autumnal decoration for the dining room mantelpiece.  

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Thrifty Thursday- The One Where the Boots are Back

My latest buy from the reduced to £1.00 rail in one of the local charity shops.

It's made from cord and I think the fabric and colours are just right for autumn.

Worn today with my brown boots.
Because it's pouring down with rain.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


S normally has a satsuma or tangerine in her lunch box.

Normally they go in the lunch box undecorated.

But seeing as Hallowe'en is at the of this month they have been looking more like this.

Small things make us smile.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Park and a Party

It's been a busy weekend, good fun, but busy and today I have the start of a cold. Stuffy head, runny nose, gritty eyes, sore throat, all the signs are there.
But I need to blog about the weekend, so it's a quick post and then I'll have to leave catching up with you all until another day.

Saturday G, S and I went to the local park for the annual Nature's Harvest event. We called for S's friend L on the way and spent a really nice couple of hours outdoors in the autumn sunshine.

We watched the ferret racing. There were four ferrets in each race. The girls both chose Blondie, yes she is named after Debbie Harry, although she isn't the one below, he was called Jamie, and they doubled their 20p stake to 40p when she did in fact win the race! 

As well as the ferrets there were farm animals to pet and a family who had bought along their collection of birds of prey. The owl fancied a bit of exercise and perched up in a tree for a while.

Sunday was an early start with much tidying and food preparation to do. 
A few weeks back T asked if he could arrange a birthday party for G.
Initially he wanted it to be a big surprise affair, but G really dislikes anything like that so after a bit of a chat T was happy just to go for something low key and let his Dad in on the idea.
With G's brother and sister not able to make this weekend and various friends having work commitments there ended up just being a handful of us, but that didn't matter. A jolly afternoon was had by us all, as well as a goodly slice of the chocolate birthday cake made by G's mum!

Followed by lots of presents today (his actual birthday) and a take away tonight, I think that should round of his birthday celebrations for this year quite nicely.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Thrifty Thursday- An Early Festive Edition

No I haven't gone and got our Christmas decorations out already!

This morning I popped into the charity shop where I used to volunteer and bought this lovely little lot of paper honeycombe decorations for 20p each.

They are from 1980 and 1979 according to the info printed on them but they have a real vintage look about them.

Father Christmas certainly looks as though something has taken him by surprise!

Monday, 1 October 2012

What I've Been Doing This Weekend

On Saturday I went to the Tudor House museum. They had a jam packed weekend full of Tudor Revels and although there was lots I would have liked to have gone to the one talk I was really interested in was 'The Queen in Context: Anne Undressed' by Lyze Lynch.
Lyze talked us through the various layers of her outfit. This is the style of travelling gown Anne Boleyn would have been wearing when she visited Southampton during her marriage to Henry VIII.
She started with the coif, a close fitting cap to cover the hair, then the type of hood, this style is called a French hood. 

The black gown is held in place with pins at the front and once removed you can see the kirtle. The kirtle is the part which would be more luxuriously decorated. Fabric was expensive and the Tudors made use of every scrap. Any pieces would be kept to patch up the kirtle as needed and cut offs would be used to make the matching sleeve inserts with would be tied on with ribbons beneath the sleeves of the gown.

Lyze is now wearing her linen smock and over the top of this is her petticoat. Apparently historians aren't sure why red was used but the general theory is that red is seen as the colour of health. 
The talk lasted nearly an hour and was fascinating, I learnt lots.

Whilst waiting for the talk to begin I had a quick wonder around the museum, but I have been here fairly recently and it was getting busy with other visitors so I spent the little time I had looking at the small exhibition, Cherish by Susan Cutts.
Taken from the literature provided...
'Maiden's garlands have a long Hampshire tradition. When a young woman (or sometimes a young man) died before their wedding day, local women would make a paper rown to be carried in front of their coffin. After the funeral, the crowns were placed in churches and were often accompanied by handkerchiefs, rosettes, gloves and fans bearing the names of the deceased.'
The works in Cherish are inspired from the history, occupants and artefacts of Tudor House and represented in paper sculptures of hats, gloves, fans and dress sculptures.

I had an extra trip to make on Saturday. 
The opticians, to collect my first pair of glasses.
I need them when using the computer.
I have taken a huge amount of photos trying to get something halfway acceptable, no giggling please!

I tried a new recipe. I made Pizza style whirl buns which was in Asda's free magazine, August edition. They were suggested as a picnic treat. I made them to have as rolls for our vegetarian hot dog. They were tasty but probably better as a picnic treat or maybe with soup.

 On Sunday morning the four of us went out for a short walk, within minutes T and S were running ahead of us, enjoying being out which was a joy to see. 
G has been off work again due to more back pain. He has been resting all week. We were only out for a while but it would appear the fresh air and exercise wasn't so beneficial to him as he was hoping to return to work today and now has pain in his foot. Not great.

Although it looks cloudy and quite stark in this picture it was mild enough to be comfortable to be out in just a thick cardi, no coat needed as yet.

Just had to snap S next to this tree seeing as someone had painted her initials on it!

Not much to catch our eye today except for this one wild rose clinging onto life whilst the rest of this shrub was smothered in hips and the smiley face on this tree which made us smile too.

Back home to enjoy tea and tea loaf which I made using this recipe.