Sunday, 28 July 2013

'cat that got the cream' swagger ...

Not something you'll usually find me blogging about folks but this week I clapped eyes on the most beautiful dress known to man. As fashion isn't usually top of my agenda if something catches my eye then it must be love!! It was one of those dreamy eyed, sharp intake of breath moments ~ ahhhhhhh. Suddenly, I went into panic mode and thought that other shoppers must have had the exact same thought and were going to swoop and take this beauty from me. There was nothing else for it, I came over all panic stricken and behaved like the place was on fire and totally un-necessary until I had the dress in my mitts. I then looked around to see if anyone was watching my sudden attack of the loons ~ yep, everyone was!!

Still, with my 'cat that got the cream' swagger I bought said dress whilst containing my utter joy. 
It's a beaut ♥

Boho, dreamy, floaty heaven on a hanger.

~ ~ ~

This weekend just gone once again I snapped up a true bargain ...

Just £3.00 was paid for this stunning chandelier ~ yep you did read that right ~ three whole pounds.

Because of it's very tiny price tag I didn't feel too guilty about taking away the electrics and hanging it from our apple tree.

I am soooooo in love with this sparkly treat dangling from our tree. When the sun beams hit the droplets the sight is just immense and utterly mesmerising. If you ever come across one I urge you to hang it in your garden, you wont be disappointed.
Oh, several days later and look what we found?
Whilst in John Lewis yesterday I spotted this:
Only our chandelier (yep, the exact same one ~ the only slight difference is the bulb holders) reduced from £350.00 to £245.00.
We were both dumbstruck. With our jaws agog my husband turned to me and said "and you said to cut the electrics off so I did and now ours is hanging in the garden"???
"urm, yes I did" was my reply.
 "Well we've got one mightily expensive tree decoration in our garden then" was his!!
~ ~ ~

Whilst on the subject of delights in our apple tree, we are so pleased to see apples starting to bud.  Last year we (along with many others) didn't have any apples grow as a result of such a poor summer. I use the word summer loosely, to be fair it was nothing like a summer at all!!  We have a Cider press on standby and a friend who is a whizz at all things chutney so bring on all apple related goodies. Nom, yum, slurp!

~ ~ ~

Yay, a cause for celebration: I have a rose. One rose has bloomed in our garden and it's brought a smile to our faces. We have lovingly watered this lil bush and watched as it withered in this blistering heat we're having. To see a delicate pale pink rose bloom makes all of that early morning and late night watering (mostly in my jamas or my husband stood there in his underwear) all worth while.

~ ~ ~

A couple of kids,
A canvas each,
Pens at the ready,
Hair dryer steady,
Wax crayon poised and ...

Melted, messy colourful wax art!

~ ~ ~

Warning, boring domesticated post alert!

Right, I am fed up with my soap dispenser draw being clogged up and made all gooey buy fabric softener (see, told you it was boring) and having to wiggle the draw out to rinse and de-gunk every couple of weeks. Well, not any more! I have solved the problem!

I now have a softener that cleans my clothes, takes away deodorant marks and not only cleans my dispenser draw but the whole machine at the same time. Even better this costs just 50p a bottle. What is this magic for machines I hear you cry?

Well my friends , it's this ...

Distilled white vinegar.
Yep, that's right vinegar!
Now, I promise you your clothes do not smell like vinegar and that you will not smell like a walking fish and chip shop. Honest!
This stuff is the bees knees and I only wish I had plucked up the courage to use it as a fabric softener sooner. I have known about it's magical washing powers for several years now but didn't believe that such a smelly thing like vinegar could really be used for washing clothes. Que an annoying gunky washing machine and one fed up me, an old towel due for recycling and a bottle of white vinegar, a cycle in the machine and voila!

Non stinky, really clean washing and machine.

I still use washing powder as normal but use the vinegar as a replacement for fabric softener. I am now vinegar mad and have sourced all kinds of essential oils to add which makes the washing smell just divine. Lavender is my current fav and beats the scent of any previous fabric softeners I've used hands down.

I can see you all now thinking "Louise is finally lost the plot, she's only putting vinegar in her washing machine".

Honestly, you wait until you've tried it, you'll soon have a small mountain of distilled vinegar next to your washing machine and an obsession for sniffing your washing and telling anyone willing to listen that it doesn't smell of vinegar at all!!

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Football season has started in our house. The village team training is once again in full swing and I can sense flower pots being knocked over and broken, washing with dirty great football sized marks on, sticks being thrown in the tree to try and retrieve a lodged ball and our neighbours finding themselves constantly answering the door to my son asking "please can I have my ball back".

It's all gone footballing crazy on our lawn at the mo!!

~ ~ ~

Just wanted to share with you photos of the lil oasis my husband and I visit when we can snatch a couple of hours to while away.

This is the view whilst we sit drinking coffee and noming on delish homemade cake.

English country garden heaven. 

~ ~ ~

Well that's it for this week folks, until next week ~ bye y'all xx
as seen on

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Virtual Heaven! ...

This week I wanna share with you a fab discovery.
Virtual Heaven!
A place inside your computer that sells the most divine things.
A place where my virtual basket is so full to bursting it's groaning under the weight of plentiful delights.
This magical virtual land is ...


Here is just a teeny tiny selection of things I have fallen head over heels in love with.
Dreamy sigh ...

What a fab idea, shades to turn your decanters into candle lights ~ just genius!

These are just soooooo uber super dooper cool. A friend pointed out to me that the subject matter on the bowls is rather dark ~ to be honest I hadn't noticed, I just thought they were pretty glass bowls with vintage tattoos etched on  ~ ooops. Still, the dark side, evil and cults aside these are still super lush (to me)!!

I can not tell you how much I am in love with this ...

Just OMG! Crowns for your candles, surely everyone needs crowns for candles? I do!!

Now, this is where my wanting turned to "cor blimey, I actually have one of those. Now where did I put it"??? 
These, I have learnt, are vintage Chippendale glass Jugs made by Davidsons of Gateshead c 1930.
Whoop, I only blooming have one ...
I bought this beaut for £3.00 at a table top sale, not having a clue I might add of its provenance.  I just loved it's very classic lines and style. No more letting my son use it in the paddling pool to scoop out flies!!!

~ ~ ~

Whilst on the subject of buying something because you love it ~ lady luck has been on my side as I've come up trumps again ~ hurrah!

Last weekend I attended my most fav auction with my lovely and very dear friend. Very annoyingly it was packed with people (like more than ever before) all looking for a bargain. "No, people! Go out and enjoy this very un-British glorious Summer we're having and leave the bargains all for us".  No such luck (I think they were all there in the hope of a free air conditioned room and a comfortable seat for the day). Grrr, these people (tut) put the prices of almost everything up along with a scowl on my face. Part way through the day and my friend and I had been out bid on everything ~ not only new people but new people with money, damn!
As the pictures started to be auctioned off I did the whole "please let me win my most fav thing in all of the sale, I won't be greedy and want for anything else, I really, really love this one thing, like this much (virtual arms stretched to the max).
My plea was answered and as the bidding war began I adopted a stern and determined face (whilst inside thinking Eeek, blimey I'm already over my limit but I am not giving up) and my rival finally admitted defeat. I have to confess pure happiness quickly turned to that panicky feeling that churns around in your tummy as I realised how much I had paid. Oh dear!
Still, here is my most beautiful piece of art ...

It's a watercolour and a glorious one at that.

My friend, slightly amazed at my determination she'd just witnessed suggested we do some research on the artist. I don't do research! I Google and if the answer doesn't come up in the first three lines then search over, I'm done, no info to be found.
Thankfully, she text me the answer that my impatience was unable find ...
This artist is well known and in 1998 one of her watercolours fetched £552.00 at Christies. 
What a strike of luck!
I then enthusiastically headed off to Bonham's auction house to get a true and current valuation. It's worth between £200 - £300 in today's market ~ Eek. Just goes to show folks, you never know what you might pick up at an auction.

The thing is I truly love this painting and will never, ever part with it. I bought it because I think it is beautiful and the fact it's worth money is just a happy bonus for me.

Not wishing to brag ... but I also bought an original watercolour that no one wanted (not even the new people) because the guilt frame was damaged. In the interest of shabby chic and trying to embrace the beauty in imperfection as we're all told to do I snapped it up for £6.00.
I have since found out that the artist, Lillian Canning exhibited at The Royal Academy between 1917 - 1936.

This too is currently being valued. 
Once again, a very lucky purchase ~ yay.

~ ~ ~

Oh dear ... a very sad and sorry for itself wall between ours and our neighbours property ...

One very clever husband, tonnes of Cotswold stone and many an evening later and ta dah!

The most beautiful Cotswold Dry Stone Wall.
What a talented chap my husband is xx

 ~ ~ ~

Do you remember when I blogged about redecorating our living room wall here?
We had planned to introduce another colour to the walls but after trying almost every colour known to a tester paint pot we just became more and more confused. We decided to readdress the situ when we were not so bewildered and with fresh eyes.

So ... we are now not so bewildered and we have fresh eyes, or should I say "I" and not "we".

My husband came home from work and casually called to me "Hi, what are you doing?" to which I replied "painting the living room wall black".
Silence ...

Bear with me, I'm really pleased with it. What do you think?


This is the wall before I came over all Emo

An attack of Noir ...

This was the point of no return and when I started to doubt my earlier excitement over black paint.

I decided to stop at just painting the chimney breast and did an experiment with gold paste. I used it to highlight the raised floral pattern and initially I LOVED it but when I started to put things back on the shelf and our large mirror up it sadly looked over the top and just too messy/busy.

So out came the black paint once again, a coat was put over the gold paste and it's now a simple black matt finish. 
This is what we decided suited the room better ...

As only one side of the chimney breast is a resess we used beading to define an actual fireplace and painted within these two strips.

We are really, really pleased with the effect and the over all look.
It's better than we hoped it would be and finishes our living room walls off perfectly.

I'm keen to add a touch of hot pink to the mantle so am in search of a beautiful delicate rose to display against the harsh black.
Eek, I'm looking forward to experimenting with this new colour :)
~ ~ ~

Well, until next week. Bye y'all xx

Sunday, 14 July 2013

My Camper love began ...

So, as I type I do so from my Boho den, man how I love my scrumptious Boho den. This lil slice of heaven is inside Hermie our caravan home on two wheels.
Hermie was our home for two nights whilst on a holiday in the New Forest with lovely friends.

Whilst on the subject of our lovely friends …. I have Campervan envy ~ like BIG time. Just look at this corker …
 I have never seen the inside of a Campervan before (I know I live a sheltered life) so was really keen to have a snoop around ...

Proper retro cool right? As much as I love our Hermie and my Boho den I have to say our friends Camper really does have immense personality. This green mean machine (whose name is actually Hannibal) is where my Camper love began!!!
Still, Camper envy aside what a really, really lovely time was had. Great weather, great company, great food = great times ...
Our Hermie with the setting sun behind. My husband rudely calls him 'The Sprout' which doesn't sound as pretty as "The Sprite". Tut!!


Yay for living with friends in a field.
~ ~ ~

I just wanted to share with you my lil collection of memento stones. Basically, every journey we make in Hermie we find a stone or shell and write on it where it's from and the date.

By doing this we will always have a reminder of the great memories we made and the people we made them with, during our holidays in Hermie.
~ ~ ~

Here are a few snaps taken of the pretty journey home from the New Forest to Oxfordshire. Yay for going really slow due to a caravan being attached ~ I could have a proper nosey!!!

Just look at this place below. It's actually lived in! I have fallen in love and sooooo desperately wanna go inside for a cuppa tea and chat with the owner ~ I bet they are very interesting folk. I wonder what it's like inside? 

~ ~ ~
This is a dull topic but as it's been at the forefront of my mind for many a week now I wanted to share with you where my journey is currently at with 'buying local'.

As the weeks go by I have been on a mission to buy healthy (organic if poss), local sourced food. This, let me tell you is no mean feat when you are used to buying everything all under one roof (i.e. large but dull supermarket)and you live in the middle of nowhere. Still, undeterred I have persevered with my quest and this is what I managed to purchase this week from within a 3 mile radius of home.

I'm not used to carrots coming complete!
In a nutshell this is where I am currently with my pursuit:
1) Most stuff is much more expensive than the supermarket (sometimes double).
2) It is almost impossible to purchase a weeks supply locally. For example dish washer tablets cost a fortune in the local convenience stores by us where as in a large supermarket in town it's so much better value.
3) You need a constant supply of cash to pop here and there to buy stuff. Most small independent places open odd hours so you can only go on certain days/hours.
4) Finding picked fresh, local fruit to fill a fruit bowl is like trying to find hens teeth. Impossible!
5) It is a military operation that can take over each day trying to plan where and when to buy a weeks supply of food. Mondays I can buy veg from the guy with an Orchard but he's away on holiday for two weeks so will have to find somewhere else until he's home. Tuesday the farm shop is usually out of milk, Wednesday is a good day to buy dairy from them, etc, etc. Our fridge has never got all of the basic food stuffs in ~ Quiet frankly this makes my brain ache!!
6) I have started to make my own hedgerow cordial, I'm damned if I'm spending over 3 quid a bottle on organic squash! 
7) I will persevere with it until I find a manageable and affordable balance to feed my family fresh, healthy, locally sourced food.

~ ~ ~

Did you happen to notice my latest charity shop buy in the photos above? A pretty flower vase.

 Well, with every day that goes by I am gradually filling it with more and more of the villagers floral overhang!! On dog walks and school runs you will find me looking very dodgy whilst trying to quickly snap off a pretty bit of hedge or bush then walk away like 'nope, wasn't me'!!

This is what has made it's way to my new vase as the week's gone on ...

Crimes against floral overhang?
Ooops! I hang my head in shame ~ guilty as charged!
; )

~ ~ ~

Well, until next week enjoy the sunshine ~ bye y'all xx