Sunday, 28 April 2013

A maternal supplier of baking delights & tasty stuff ...

This week a friend and I had two free invitations to attend The Cotswolds Art & Antiques Dealers' Association Fair at Blenheim Palace. For two girlie's who are familiar with what is typically for sale at a general auction, this was the dizzy heights of the antiques and art world at it's best. The elite. So much so that a furniture expert who appears on the antiques roadshow amongst other things was there to buy. We were both like a couple of sponges absorbing up all of the wonders before our very eyes, like what is popular at the mo, prices, display ideas ~ we were in our element. Taking photos was a big no no but I was allowed to take this single snap
It was such a treat to see items of furniture at their very best, not only quality wise but also cleaned up, professionally polished and gleaming. We are used to seeing sad, forlorn things in need of tlc waiting for a trained, eager eye to see their potential and bring them back to life.
A great time was had, especially with it all being in such stunning surroundings.
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I have been making a start on beautifying our garden this week.  To be honest I don't really know where to begin? I have so many different ideas and styles that I can't work out which one I want to go with? I got fed up with being confused and have made a start with what I already have and hope the rest just falls into place.
Do you remember the tacky plastic Wedgwood bowl I picked up recently (I can't remember if it was 50p or £1.00) which I had plans to use it in the garden?
Blog post here
Well, it is now planted with pretty Violas and looks as pretty as I hoped it would ...
I've also filled several other pots with pretty Violas and got another ready for sweet peas but sadly I'm lacking on the 'display' front and need something pretty to display my bits and bobs on. I'm on it though! The thing is like everything I hunt down it's got to be a real bargain so goodness only knows what will be appearing in this lil gap soon??
 Watch this space!!
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Damn, here is my stash of bits and stuff that seams to be breading and multiplying more bits and stuff every week ~ ooops!!
Sigh, tut and a raise of the eyes, once again I feel the need to sell some things before my husband cottons on to the fact that I have been hoarding/shopping too much!!
Thing is though, these beauts all cost very little which seams to be one of the very few hazards of living in Oxfordshire, we have the most awesome charity/secondhand shops and car boot sales. All of these wealthy people and weekenders tempt me with their posh cast offs being sold for pence and I'm like a moth to the flame, every time
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I have been raiding my local charity shops massive stack of 50p CD's this week and have plucked a beaut from the frankly bonkers collection of other peoples random cast off's. It's a greatest hits CD by a band my husband likes but I've never been a huge fan, however when this tune came on I rocked it like a loon.
I'm gonna add this one as well ... if I had to choose a fav of this band it would be this one. Not one to make you rock like a fool but a good tune all the same ...
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Some of you may have noticed the lack of anything cooking related in my posts? That's because I am a terrible, doomed, luckless cook! Every now and then I feel the urge to dust off the mixing bowl and
re-attempt baking a lil something ~ will I ever learn? This week was one of those weeks where I started off full of optimism and feeling like a maternal supplier of baking delights. I picked my families jaws off the floor when I proudly announced that I was baking cupcakes, then I set about sifting, whisking, weighing and beating.
Soon after I remembered that baking just isn't something I enjoy but I continued with forced enthusiasm and produced these ...
They may look OK but I've seen thicker economy biscuits!!!
I used a rising agent but they have still turned out like icing with a slither of cake attached.

Sigh, one day I will grow up and become a maternal supplier of baking delights and tasty stuff.
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My fav photo taken this week is this ...
A 'tweeked' softer version of the one at the top of the page.
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Well thats about it for this week, until next Sunday ~ y'all xx

Sunday, 21 April 2013

I didn't see any Witches ...

I can't believe I am actually sat outside in a warm sunny spot while typing this weeks blog post. It's like summer in our garden, real proper summer! 

I've been a bit of a home bird this week and have busied myself tending to all of the things that I've neglected while over these last busy couple of weeks. (Cleaning the house, sorting out a mountain of post, cleaning the caravan, emptying and cleaning the summer shed and all of it's contents, washing, washing, washing, just way too much blah with a meh thrown in for good measure). I feel much better for catching up with my list of dullness and although my days off work have been full of dull atleast I feel like a proper housewife!!

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Firstly, I am pleased to say my latest obsession 'The 1975' have uploaded more songs to YouTube ~ eeeeeek.

So, if you liked last weeks linky then y'all lurve these below.

The 1975 ~ The City
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While I am sat here typing away my laptop is resting on this patio table ...
This table along with the two chairs are desperate for a bit of care and attention and a good 'ol lick of paint but ... this is where a problem lies.
Taken from Farrow and Ball website.
I would like to paint them a Farrow and Ball Cream (poss Mizzle)but my husband would like to paint them a mahogany coloured wood stain.
 Really?? Wood stain?? Stain? Urgh!!
Grrr husbands with opinions hey!
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Have you come across the latest trend in wall decoration?
Patterned rollers that add a hand paint touch to walls.
Apparently the best place to buy them is NotWallpaper and this is what their etsy page says "our patterned paint rollers help you create a beautiful stencil like design on walls, wood, furniture, fabric, paper and more! We discovered the original rollers at an antiques shop in Kennebunkport Maine and wanted to re-create a forgotten decorating technique. Paint directly on walls in your choice of color paint! Get a beautiful wallpapered look with the ease of paint!"

Hum, I'm just not sure about the practicality of using one of these? You would need to have a very steady hand to match the patterns up, have even paint distribution which is hard with a roller as once loaded with paint the effect will start darker and turn lighter with each turn of the roller. May be that's the appeal of it? May be its an effect that is not suppose to look perfect and the whole point of it is to have a hand painted unique finish as appose to the perfect pattern repeat and colours of wallpaper?

I'd be really interested to use one and see the effect they create and I like the idea of using it to make pretty wrapping paper or on garden furniture.

Here's my fav designs ...

sold by NotWallpaper
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Keeping fingers crossed for a lovely Summer and that the sun continues to shine, I thought you might like to see the home tour below of ...
Not only is the house a gorgeous bit of eye candy but its also a great source of inspiration and full of ideas on how to display summer blooms along with lovely things to put them in ~ enjoy.

 This is the lil display I have been able to gather from our garden, yay finally garden blooms have started to appear in our home.
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We visited The Rollright Stones this week, a ancient mystical and fascinating place that we are very lucky to have just within the borders of West Oxfordshire.
The whispering Knights.
The King stone.
 The main reason for our visit to was to see the wooden sculpture of a Witch created by environmental artist David Gosling. It was erected in 2012 and was inspired by the well known legend of the Rollright Witch (in brief the mother Witch of Witchwood turned the King into the King Stone, his men the King’s Men Stone Circle, and his treacherous and conniving knights the Whispering Knights, although some say that the knights were actually at prayer. The Witch then transformed herself into an elder tree, which some say is still standing guard over the site today). This sculpture is not made as a permanent feature as it will deteriorate over time due to being made of dead wood that is held together with wire so we were grateful for a dry and mild day to go and visit.
 I have added a 'spooky' effect to my photo above ~ a bit tacky but I like it :D
Long Compton village lies just below the stones and, even to this day it is believed to have the highest concentration of Witches living there due to its geometric alignment for perfect ley-lines which are believed to generate energy.
It has to be said that the stones and the area they sit in hold some amazing secrets and foresight into the way our ancestors read and worshipped the land.

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With the high winds we have been having this week sadly this lil baby bird become dislodged from it's nest.

I ushered it to a safe place near to where I think it fell and have kept my fingers crossed that it's been able to clamber back home. The poor birds are having a real hard time of it what with snow, severe prolonged cold snaps then high winds for most of this week. They need all the help they can get at the mo.

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So this week my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. Following on from my recent obsession with The Rollright Stones and Ley Lines (did you know that there is a Ley Line Hunters Society?)we went for the most delish meal at The Red Lion in Long Compton, you know where the Witches are suppose to live!!
I didn't see any Witches although in my mind they all look like Meg from Meg and Mog with stripy tights and a tall black hat but then I was too busy ogling the fab and quirky decor. Now, any pub that has a Greyhound with a pretty shade on its head is a winner in my book ... 
A chap sat relaxing in a sunny spot with the days paper and a cold glass of white ...
The glasses that come with the jug of table water, oh sooooooo very pretty.
Anyways the meal was superb and, if we don't fall out over staining or painting of our patio furniture, I can't wait to go back and celebrate future wedding anniversaries with my lovely hubby again.
Oh, do you remember in a previous blog post here that as it's our crystal wedding anniversary I thought a vintage crystal chandelier would be fitting but then came down to earth with a bump as I realised that we live in a 1960's bungalow! Then, I discovered a lil parcel poked through our door I was squeaking with excitement as my husband told me he had bought me a surprise anniversary present from New York?
Well, d'ya wanna see what was inside the box?
Tah dah!
Hand made chandelier earrings made in New York (my fav place)from vintage crystals. And that my friends is why I married the man ♥
so, after a delish meal we mosied on to the next village aptly named Witchford
had a look at the beautiful surroundings then went back up the hill to The Rollright Stones where we sat and watched the sun go down x
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Until next Sunday, by y'all xx

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Auctions, our 1st caravan trip & disco balls ...

 Hi y'all, phewee this week has been a very busy but very enjoyable one. So where to start ...
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Here ... NEW MUSIC ALERT! This fabbo song from a new band has been going around and around in my head this week ~ OMG I love it. Enjoy xx

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that, as they are still relatively new on the music scene, they may come to Oxford to gig. My daughter and I have managed to see the likes of Tinie Tempah and Professor Green in intimate gigs for £10.00 each in Oxford while they were climbing the ladder to fame. Recently we saw Temples as a support act who I have a feeling will make it to fame and fortune. I hope so, they are a fab neo psych band who are unique, write great songs and captivating to watch. Cor, it all happens here in Oxford ... we should be called the home of new music!! ;)

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Shiny Disco Balls ...

After 'wanting' for such a very long time my search is finally over (thank you to Si the man). I am now the proud owner of a rather large shiny disco ball that shines and does it's sparkly thing in our kitchen.

All I can say is "eeeeeek" :D

This ball of sparkly joy brightens any bleary morning and I'm very pleased it lives in our kitchen ~ yay

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My fav photo of this week is a bit of a corker, even if I do say so myself. 
 I had the micky taken out of me by my family including my father-in-law in the process of taking this, then when the waitress tried to take the used cutlery away and I asked if she could leave the spoon as I was taking a photo of it you should have heard the howls of laughter from around the table.  Still, just look at this cracker ...

An au-natural formed English breakfast tea love heart
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 Auction fever ...

The last auction my friend and I attended was the beginning of February so we were both champing at the bit for the next date which was this weekend. With over 500 lots we hankered down for the day with a continuous supply of coffee, eccles cakes (delish and homemade by a very talented baking lady who supplies the auction house with the most tasty delights ~ nom)and a couple of magazines for the few dull lots (Beswick figures ~ yawn and stamps ~ bigger yawn). We were both content spending the day in familiar surroundings and lovely antiques and collectibles.  Here is a snippet of what was on offer ...

The most gorgeous sofa in the whole wide world. I fell head over heals in love with this beaut but sadly I have no need or space for such a thing

I had my eye on this lil lot but sadly but it went for more than I wanted to pay.
Boxes upon boxes for loveliness
(inc a rose glass chandelier ~ oh yes please)
Half way through the day and the back of our bidding card is starting to fill up with purchases. We were out bid on some things when they no longer became a bargain but were winning others ~ yay ...
Sooooooooo ... this is what I bought:
All of the above came as one lot (21 paintings in all) and I paid the grand sum of £5.00.
After some quick research I found this with individual paintings selling for £10 - £15 each and I have also found out that they can not command a higher price as the artist wishes to remain anonymous meaning a lack of provenance.
Regardless of the price T Castle's watercolours are currently realising I am over the moon with mine and have bought them out of love and not profit (no wonder I'm always skint).
Then I made a rash, impulsive and darn right bonkers purchase that I even surprised myself at!!!
I bought the one and only ...
 But ... in my defence, I only paid £11.80 for it and have looted the cushions then passed it on to a loving home. So £11.80 for 4 large cushions with feather pads (all 4 are floral backed with striped fabric for a contrast) it wasn't such a bonkers buy and there was method to my madness, despite the fact I had no way of getting it home and my lovely friend and her partner came to my rescue(cheers J&M)
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This week has seen a momentous occasion ...

Finally, after 6 months of waiting patiently for warmer weather we ran out of patience and took our Hermie caravan away to the seaside on his very first holiday with us, his brand spanking new family.


Poor Hermie was bursting with family members, all of us squeezed in to him. He was a home from home on two wheels to two adults (slightly larger after Easter than before), a teenager, a lanky lad, a tiny lil puppy dog and a great big mahousive Greyhound. All of us along with every type soft furnishing you could ever need in an assortment of different colours meant poor Hermie nearly burst at the seams. Thank goodness we filled the tyres up to the max with air before we embarked on our way! However, Hermie did us proud and kept us all warm, dry, cosy and happy in our lil home for the duration of our stay in lovely Dorset.
The main reason for our trip was to finally experience ‘ hands on’ what a stay away in a caravan/our Hermie is really like and to see what we need/how to set things up/gain experience in towing/etc.  We had a pretty major mishap within the first hour of arriving, during the journey the water pipe had come loose under the sink and broken away from the tap.  When we turned the tap on water gushed out under the cupboard soaking the electrics, flooding the cupboard, its contents and the floor ~ ahhhhh. That’s a lesson learnt the hard way! However, despite that ‘blip’ below are the reasons why we have fallen head over heels in love with caravanning:
1.       It’s like having a sleep over party every evening. We would cosy down on the double bed in our jamas and toasty bed socks among cushions, our pillows and duvets and chat or read, play games, write music. As my son said “it’s like having one long fun sleepover at Hermie’s house”.
2.       When it’s raining outside there really is no better feeling that snuggled down in your duvet with a warm cuppa listening to rain drops pitter patter on the roof.
3.       As sad as it sounds, nothing beats coming back from a day out and filling your own kettle up then pouring a cuppa into our usual fav mugs  ~ ah a proper cuppa.
4.       Freedom of choice: having the freedom to stay put or hook up and move on to the next destination of choice.
5.       The community feel. We have noticed that there is a real community feel between fellow caravaners, if you’ve gotta caravan then we’re all friends together.  Most morning’s milk, bread, eggs and other delights are shared among fellow neighbours. Pleasant “good mornings” and chit chat over the football results and weather reports go on with a cuppa in hand.
6.       The just got up look is all the rage. It is the norm to crawl out if bed, tiny pincey eyed and hair like an unkept nest and trundle down to the shower block clutching toiletries and a towel. Inside a welcomed 15 mins is spent showering, teeth cleaning and hair drying, along with chatting about hair products and how your neighbour has such a glossy mane only to emerge invigorated and looking like a completely different person to the one who staggered from your caravan 15 minutes earlier.

7. It’s an excuse to cook a fried breakfast every morning ;)
  The only draw backs are:
1. Adapting to a small area in which to live, sleep and cook.
2. Packing beds and bedding away each morning then setting them back up again in the evening (that’s just us being lazy though).
3. Sleeping with a dog in between you as your bed is much more appealing than theirs!!
4. Setting up an awning is a pain (but so worth it when it’s up as it gives you so much more space) then packing it away again, especially when it’s wet.
5. Banging your head on the door frame like all the time ~ dooh.
Retro V Brand spanking?
There are good and bad points to owning an older (almost retro) caravan, our Hermie is 22 years old.  The good is with it all being completely authentic inside its sweet and like stepping back in time and you know you have something with age, character and becoming rarer and rarer. The bad is having your father-in-law parked up next to you in his almost brand spanking new and improved, posher than posh caravan with space, all mod cons and total luxury.  My husband kept saying “I’m just popping next door” and came back some time later saying “Phwar, it’s boiling around there with the central heating on, I had to take my jumper off” and “I’ve just been watching the built in TV around there”. Hum, we have no mod cons, other than a fridge! Still, retro v modern? I suppose the two are so opposite they are just too impossible to compare.  Although I wouldn’t say no to central heating, this portable plug in jobbie has been a God send during our stay …
Here are just a few snaps of our time away (I’ll keep it brief) …
Remember this anyone? Full sets of vintage Poole Pottery for sale at Poole Pottery HQ
Cushions, pillows and duvets make for the perfect snuggly cozy evening.
Oooh look away kids, rudie nudies ahead!!!
Teenage tracks.
My lil lad roaming for treasure.
Lil and large.
My most handsome chaps first time on a beach.
Bessy bear and her bestest friend sharing what looks like an hilarious joke together!! ;)
 There you go a lil snippet of our adventures in Dorset, our next trip is planned and we'll be off just as soon as the sun makes an appearance.

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Until next Sunday, bye y'all xx~