Friday, 30 April 2010

Book Club, Aprons and General Ramblings

Friday again, where has the week gone! Its been a busy one again, what with one thing and another. It's not been the most productive week on the crafting front, in fact I haven't done a thing, literally not a stitch. I hope to make amends over the weekend and actually do a bit of sewing, lots of WIP to be getting on with.

Tuesday night was my book club night. I have been a member of the club for almost five years and I thought I would give you a little glimpse into our little booky world.

We meet every four to six weeks and take it in turns to host the evening. Our evenings consist of the following:-

Wine is a must have essential, no good book club is complete without several glasses of vino.

The next essential is a mini table (in this case a play mobil toy box covered with a CS vintage table cloth find) laden with lovely nibbles, mainly of the savoury variety but always with a little selection of sweet treats. On Tuesday we had some red velvet cupcakes, a little bit of retro by way of some battenburg cake and some yummy GU millionaires flapjacks.

Obviously a book has to feature somewhere in the evening. This month we read This Perfect World by Suzanne Bugler, we all enjoyed it, which was unusual, and spent considerable time chatting about it. Who ever hosts the evening, compiles a short list of books that we then choose from for the next month. It was at my house this time so I had the joy of picking four books and printing off some reviews from the Internet. After much deliberation, voting and re voting we opted for:-

Its a lovely way to meet friends and read books that you probably would never choose. My book club consists of Julia (my good friend who loves vintage, crafting and blogging - so much in common!), Kris who is the most loveliest American you could ever meet. She is incredible well read and seems to get through books at an alarming rate, Lisa - she was the founder of our book club. Sisters Debbie and Nikki who both love more challenging reads and often scare me with their choices of books! If anyone is ever debating about whether to join a book club or start one then I would definitely recommend it, its a good sociable evening and it keeps you reading.

I have joined in on the Great Apron Swap 2010 and finally this week I bought some fabric in readiness. Here it is, I really hope my swap partner Alex likes the mix. Not sure exactly what style of apron I am going to make yet but I do have some ideas in my head. I will keep you posted and take some pics of the finished article - blimey I really hope it turns out OK - fingers crossed.

I spent today helping out on Alex's school trip to Windsor Castle. We have had a very busy but very enjoyable day on a whistle stop tour of the Castle. I had four little boys to look after, including Alex and I needed eyes in the back of my head. They were all very well behaved and apart from feeling knackered at the end of it I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

My ideal evening tonight would be a take away for tea followed by an relaxing evening in front of the box and an early night. But no, silly old me is off for a girls night out. I have to somehow get my tired feet into these silly high heels and doll myself up (lots of work needed on that front I'm afraid) and be presentable by 8pm. I'm sure when I'm out and have had a few wines I will be in the mood for a bit of a boogie and a good laugh with the girls. Sat her typing on the lap top its the last thing I want.

Off to make the little ones tea and then the task of making one tired out mummy into a girl ready for a night on the tiles. Wish me luck!!

Do you like my shoes, I love them, its just as shame I can hardly walk in them.

Alison x

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Happy Birthday to you!

What a busy, busy weekend. This weekend Mr P turned 40 and my sister turned 50. Happy Birthday to you both. We have had a lovely weekend but more of that later. Firstly I am going to start by saying a big thank you to Vanessa over at Hapi-ness who was my "too good to eat" swap partner.

On Friday morning I woke up feeling in rather a grumpy mood, you know the sort of mood when you even start to get on your own nerves let alone everyone elses. Luckily the postman knew exactly the right sort of parcel to deliver which was gauranteed to snap a girl out of a grumpy mood.

In this lovely little box I found the following goodies, all lovingly wrapped in flowery tissue paper.

I had a lovely hand knitted strawberry keyring, two very cute biscuit cutters (one bunny and the other a duck) some lemon and lime coloured silicone cupcake cases, some funky little cupcake flags, a cherry smelling eye shadow compact, hand printed cupcake ribbon, a slice of pie (was a gorgeous smelling soap), hot chocolate mix, a very cute postcard and finally (I think that was all) a recipe for chocolate toffee cupcakes. I was indeed a very lucky girl. I am hoping to make the cakes this week when I get a moment. So thank you Venessa you were a great swap partner indeed!

So onto the weekend, on Saturday the lovely Mr P turned 40. We were very lucky bunnies as the in-laws decided to treat us, themselves and my sister-in-law and her boyfriend to a day and night at Danesfield House Hotel and Spa in Marlow. We all get on really well and enjoyed a truly lovely day in great company, ate lots of lovely food, quaffed champagne and woke up this morning feeling a little worse for wear! There is a price to be paid for too much good living!

After unpacking we headed to the terrace and sat in the sun over looking the gorgeous gardens sipping Pimms - oh this is most definitely the life for me. After a leisurely Pimms I headed off to the Spa and enjoyed a very relaxing aromatherapy facial followed by a pedicure. My lovely mother-in-law even treated me to some delicious smelling facial products and some fancy new nail varnishes.

In the evening we all got dressed up for dinner and enjoyed a lovely meal washed down with P's favourite champagne tipple. We retired to the great hall for after dinner drinks around the roaring open fire. The lovely evening finally came to an end and we rolled into bed well after midnight.

This is our room, we had a tiny little door that led to the balcony and overlooked the gardens and the River Thames.

A picture of the rather comfy and rather large bed.

This is the back of Danesfield House.

Here's a picture of me all dressed up for dinner, excuse the stumpy legs and cankles! I'm sure I'm not that stumpy in real life.

This morning we had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and sadly left to return to the real world. We had to go and pick up the little ones from their sleepover. My friend Julia was very kind in having them both overnight (plus her own two). Apparantly they were both very well behaved and went to bed at a reasonable time.
So back home and just enough time to get ready for party number two. I had invited both my sisters and the in-laws around for tea to celebrate Mr P's birthday and my sister's 50th birthday with the little ones. We had a manic tidy up and laid the table ready for a birthday tea. We threw on a vintage cloth (CS find) added some lovely smelling stocks and set out tiny sandwiches and rolls, little sausages and sausage rolls, crisps and a cake stand full of cream dainties, not to mention a very tasty key lime pie.
Followed by some singing, some blowing and then a bit more munching.

A birthday boy of a certain age most definitely needs a little helper with lots of puff!

Here is the yummy birthday cake, which sadly no longer looks like this.
Well that was our busy weekend. I am looking forward to a slightly more restful day tomorrow, though I have a sneaky feeling its going to involve rather a lot of house work and catching up.
I hope you all had a great weekend too.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

I've got an Award!!

Thank you to Pea Green Kitty at Memoirs of A Vintage Magpie for my very first award, I am thrilled to receive it

I now need to tell you 7 things about myself that you won't already know.
Now let me think..... (can you hear the cogs in my head whirring)

1) I have a strange obsession with the moon. - not sure why it just fascinates me. I once crashed my car because I was staring at a full moon (it looked stunning as it had a real red glow around it) . I drove straight into another car and my little Fiat uno needed a whole new bonnet. I didn't mention the Moon on the insurance claim form though!

2)If I was going to listen to any piece of music whilst doing a manic house cleaning session then it would be the Bat out of Hell album by Meatloaf played at full volume. There is something about that album that compliments housework so well!
3)I used to be obsessed with Paddington Bear when I was a child. He is still one of my all time favourite bears. I will add a picture of my favourite furry friend. I have an original Gabrielle bear who lives on Daisy's bookshelf.

4)I am the second youngest of four and have two older sisters and a younger brother. I was born on my Dads birthday in November 1968 and I am Scorpio birth sign. My dad said I was the best birthday present anyone could wish for - I think he meant it!

5)Whilst on holiday in Florida in 1993, I got up at 4.30 am to drive to Kennedy Space Centre to see a launch of the space shuttle Discovery. It was very exciting and the sonic boom was very loud. I have been back visit Kennedy Space Centre three times since then and love it every time. I'm a bit of an anorak at heart I think.

6)My all time favourite place to visit in the UK is Corfe Castle in Dorset. There is something about the ruins that fascinate me. I did a project on Corfe Castle when I was in Primary school, I think that's where my fascination stems from.

7)My favourite food is Tai green curry. The only food that I really really dislike is liquorice or anything flavoured with aniseed.

Now to pass the award on to 7 bloggers.

Here goes

I love reading all the blogs I follow and get so much enjoyment from reading little snippets of peoples everyday lives.
Till Next time, Alison x

Sunday, 18 April 2010

A day in the Garden

Two posts in two days, I am doing well! We have had a nice day out in the sunshine, just enjoying the last day of the holidays and making the most of the sunny weather.

I took some photographs of the various plants that are growing out in the garden, it looks so colourful now compared to a few weeks ago when any colour outside was hard to find.

The Spring bulbs are flowering well and we have some lovely fringed tulips out in the tiny front flowerbed. They are real show stoppers.

I was very excited to find that my potatoes have started to shoot through, we may get spuds after all.

My newly acquired Aloe Vera plant seems to like its new spot outside, its is such a fab plant for medicinal purposes. It really does sooth a burn.

As you can see I have done lots and lots of washing today, its was all dried free of charge on the washing line and has that lovely fresh outside smell to it. I have even ironed it all - blimey how good am I.

When I took the picture of the playhouse I just didn't realise how tired looking it is. I think a lick of paint and some new curtains are definitely in order. Some cheery geraniums are a must for those window boxes I think.

Well we did manage to squeeze in one last picnic lunch. We dug out the old picnic hamper from the loft, dusted it down and packed it ready for lunch, We enjoyed cheese and crackers (the crackers where an unopened layer found in the box we bought at Christmas - still in date just!) squash poured from a slightly smelly thermos, crisps and fruit out on the lawn. It was a rather basic but surprisingly tasty lunch.

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I spent some time this afternoon working on my hand made item for the "good enough to eat" swap. It didn't turn out as planned, so I gave it to Daisy and will start again tomorrow. She was pleased with it, but it didn't quite measure up to my expectations.

I will leave you with a couple of pictures that greeted me when I went to check the little ones earlier tonight. My two seem to be obsessed with anything that doesn't belong to them, and they do their up most to acquire the coveted item. Let me explain, P has had a cold for the past two weeks and his snoring at night has gone off the scale. It's like sleeping next to Nellie the flipping elephant. There are only so many sleepless nights a person can tolerate before action is needed. So a week ago I went out and bought a pack of ear plugs. The little pack contained three sets of brightly coloured plugs and were safely stashed in my bedside cabinet.

Slowly but surely the earplugs started to vanish. I did start to wonder if they had fallen out during the night or had fallen into the abyss under our bed. I now know exactly where they went!!
Daisy really suits day glow orange!

Alex lime green is just so you!
Till next time.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


Well hello, it's been a while since I've updated, we have had a very a busy week with the little ones still on school hols and to be honest my head wasn't really in blogland.

We have had a mixed week of days out and lazy days at home. We were without our car for three days as it needed a new middle rear seat belt (it just stopped working for some odd reason) and an MOT. It took three days (yes you heard right) three days for them to replace it. I felt like I had been transported back to the 1970's when our only means of transport was on foot or waiting an age for a bus (we have a very rural bus service to our village). Anyway the kids managed to scoot everywhere whilst I hot footed behind them. We enjoyed some activities at the local library on a couple of the days which is always fab and free too.

We managed to get to Cadbury's world and had a really nice day out with the In-laws. We had lots of free chocolate and enjoyed our little tour round learning all about the the history of chocolate and we all enjoyed the part when you get to drink melted chocolate with your own choice of topping. I went for marshmallows, a little girl in front of me actually chose liquorice all sorts in hers - yuk, yuk, yuk.

Here's Daisy Doo sat by a mock up of an old Cadbury's advert.

We managed to meet my oldest friend and her two little ones at the Odds Farm Park which is a rare breads farm just five minutes from our house. We had a lovely if not rather cold day there.

I loved this old fella, I think he has a really sweet face. Daisy is mad about horses and rides each week. Unfortunately both of them are really allergic to horses. Daisy has to take antihistamines before each lesson.

I liked the chickens too, I would love to keep them but P loves his garden too much and would hate the damage they would do to his plants, not to mention the chicken poo.

This fella was most definitely in charge bossing all the hens around.

We went on a very long walk last Sunday to Virginia Water which is adjacent to Saville Gardens and Windsor Great Park. There is a massive lake there which we walked around whilst the little ones whizzed round it on their bikes.

Valley gardens is part of the park and they had some fab displays of daffodils, magnolias, rhododendrons and these weird plants called skunk cabbages. Strange name for a plant that doesn't smell.

The terrors managed to sniff out an ice cream van .

Its been a glorious day here today, really warm and sunny. I had arranged to meet my sister at 9.30 am to go off for a mooch around a large car boot sale. P was tasked with taking the little ones to the cinema to finally see Nanny McPhee. P hates car booties with a passion and would much rather scoff sweets and watch a good film.

It wasn't the best car booty in the world, yes it was large but there were so many traders there, I prefer the smaller booties with just stalls selling people's junk. I did manage to find a little glass sugar shaker for £1.50 which will come in handy when Daisy wants a little sprinkling of icing sugar on her eggy bread.

Also found these vintage coaster in their very own little case for just 50p

This little glass fella had to come home with me and is now on Daisy's window sill with all her other glass bits and pieces. He reminds me of the crocodile in the Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dhal.

Next task of the day was to stop at Waitrose and do the weekly shop. What should be advertised on the way into the car park , an antiques fair in the church hall next door. It would have been rude not to pop in.

I found a 1972 ladybird book for a couple quid which Daisy was really pleased with and also a funky Stratton compact which due to the fur (not sure if its real or fake) seemed to freak the kids out. Thinking about it, I do have this horrible feeling it might be real, if I had put any thought into it them maybe I wouldn't have bought it.

Well its the last day of the hols tomorrow and then boo hoo back to school on Monday. We have had a fab break and I have so enjoyed having the little ones at home. We are picnicked out and I think tomorrow will just be a day out in the garden and hopefully enjoying some sunshine. I never got my weeding done last weekend so still owe you a garden update post.

Oh I have been a brave novice blogger and entered two swaps. I am very excited about them both. First there is the "Good Enough to Eat" one and secondly the "great apron 2010 swap". I am really looking forward to receiving my parcels and also making my apron. I have pretty much got my bits together for the good enough to eat swap, I just need to work on my hand made item. Hopefully I will have a bit of time during the week to complete it.

I will leave you with a picture of my Kiss cushion, just to prove that I have been doing a tiny bit of crafting over the last two weeks. I googled the kiss cushion and found a couple of web sites that sell them made up for £300! They state that there are over 28,000 stitches and take the maker 50 + hours to make. I shall not let these facts put me off and I will finish the cushion even if it kills me!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Hooray for the holidays!

What a lovely week we have had at home, no school and no rushing around. We have had relaxing lie ins and spent rather a lot of time in our PJ's.

We have spent the week seeing various friends, getting hair cuts, mooching around town and just generally relaxing. The little ones have spent lots of time out in the garden bouncing away on the trampoline and playing on the swing. We even ventured out this evening for a walk with the little ones on their bikes. Alex is funny, he only learnt to ride his bike last Summer and he is very wobbly still and seems to spend a large amount of his time crashing into hedges and walls. It makes for an exciting (read as stressful) walk.

I have been doing about an hours worth of sewing on my Kiss cushion each evening and am making very slow progress. I think the cushion is going to take rather a long time to complete. It isn't complicated just very labour intensive.

I haven't done any other crafting this week but I have spent rather a lot of time reading which is nice. I love a good book but normally my reading time is limited to the evening before I go to sleep. This week though I have been reading first thing in the morning before I get up. Its been fab, a much better time for getting into a book. On Friday I bought the Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society book which has turned out to be a great read. I finished it on Tuesday and have now ploughed head long into the Time Travellers Wife. I am about two thirds into it and am loving it.

Over the past few weeks I have stocked up on some great books from the charity shops, my to read pile is looking rather large but equally inviting.

Haven't done much in the way of baking this week either, we seem to still be inundated with chocolate so not much call for cakes this week. I am still waiting to make some millionaires shortbread, I might do that over the weekend.

I fancy taking the kids to see Nanny McPhee over the weekend if the weather isn't great or if the sun shines then we will probably spend it out in the garden. I have so much catching up to do outside. I have some new plants to dig in and we have loads of seeds that are growing in the mini greenhouse that I need to get to grips with. I think I will do a garden update post next week. I really need to get the boarders sorted out and weed free this weekend. Oh and the car desperately needs a wash too. It is covered in sand, we had some rain on Wednesday and today the car looks like its been in a sand storm!

We have a couple of days out planned next week, we are off to Cadburys world with the grandparents on Monday and on Tuesday we are meeting friends at Mead Open Farm. I love love love the Easter hols, its the first time in the year that we can plan some great days out with every chance that the weather might be warm or at least dry.

I am planning on decorating Alex's bedroom at some point over the next few weeks. I think I will make a start during the week and P will help me finish it off over a weekend. I fancy making a new roman blind, it doesn't look that complicated. I have made curtains before but never a blind. It can't be that hard surely?

Anyway, I'm waffling on as I'm tired, I have just had a lovely long soak in the bath it had my all time favourite bubble bath in it. Its really old fashioned, not particularly cheap but it is soooo relaxing I would highly recommend it. It smells lovely too.

Till next time.


Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter

Hello and happy Easter to you all. Did the Easter bunny visit your house? He certainly paid us a visit here. We are now the proud owners of our very own chocolate mountain. The little ones took this picture of their chocolate display this morning before they received another three very large eggs each!

We have spent a pleasant day with family and all went out for a lunch. I wish I could say the lunch was lovely but it was in fact it was very disappointing. We went to the Cheerful Soul which is a gastro pub run by a couple who won The Restaurant (TV programme) a couple of years ago. The food was not great and the service bad, however the company was good and we made the best of it. I just hate being disappointed, I was really looking forward to eating there.
I gave my SIL and MIL their Easter gifts and decided on carrot cupcakes instead of millionaires shortbread. Here they are, they tasted lovely even if I say so myself. The gifts seemed well received.

On Saturday we packed a picnic and headed for London with the plan to go to the Science Museum. We drove past the Natural History Museum and the queue zig zagged around the block, the Science Museum was just as bad, so a rapid change of plan saw us heading towards the River and popping over Lambeth Bridge towards the Imperial War Museum. We have never been before and I was a bit worried we would only be there for an hour or so before moans of "I'm bored" were being shouted. What a fabulous museum, it was so interesting and just the right mix of informative and hands on exhibits.

We saw lots of these:-

They had loads of planes suspended from the ceiling.

We went on the Blitz experience and sat down in an air raid shelter whilst bombs dropped all around us.
Here is Daisy and my sister sitting at desk in the 1940's class room. They had a fantastic 1940's house and a prefab to look around. The museum was also hosting a Ministry of Food exhibition which was really interesting. It covered rationing, the land girls and had a mock up of a 1940's sweet shop. The cafe at the Musuem served traditional war time fayre also. Me and my sister indulged in a bit of blancmange, haven't had that since we used to go to birthday parties back in the 1970's! We could have chosen a slice of beetroot and cocoa cake! We all had a great day out, P and Alex loved all the tanks and planes, us girls loved the glimpse of home life during the war. P & I went to look at the Holocaust exhibition which was very moving. You really do have to count your blessings and realise just how lucky we are today, no real worries.

After a busy day we headed home through London. I took a few pics I thought you might like. Just look how grey that sky is!

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
A drive past Buckingham Palace.

Alex took this picture of our berries that we had on our picnic and I promised I would include it!

Here is my sugary mouthed boy enjoying his picnic in the fresh air.

Enjoy the rest of the Easter hols whatever you do.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Hello, its Thursday and school is out for two weeks - hooray. I love the holidays, no rushing around, no getting out of the door on time stress. Just some quality chill out time with the little ones.

My cold is so much better now thank goodness, I had a very miserable couple of days with it but thankfully is now on its way out. P is now suffering, and boy does he let you know he is feeling poorly. Why is that men make such a blooming fuss?

Had a busy week what with one thing and another. Had a couple of late nights so am feeling rather tired and in need of a lovely sleep in.

I managed to get out and about this week despite not feeling tip top and found a couple of little jugs to add to my collection in the charity shop. Do you like them?

I love this little hand painted parrot one. P said it was an old ladies jug - but what does he know hey!

This is a little very dark blue Aynsley jug that just had to come home with me. It looks the most gorgeous blue when the light shines on it, sadly this picture does not do it any justice.

Have you been into Waitrose recently? They are doing this new little range called Swallows and Sweet peas, its a home baking range I guess you would call it and it is packaged up in such a lovely way that it just shouts "buy me" in a very loud voice indeed.

Here are the little measuring cups that I bought, not sure why I needed them but they look so sweet. These are also from the range, little egg cups and cosies. I guess we will be using them this weekend. In our house you have to have a boiled egg on Easter Sunday!

Alex and I made some cakes yesterday for him to take into school for his Teachers as a little Happy Easter gift. I bought the rice paper flowers and the sparkly glitter at the CL Fair last Saturday.

Daisy's new quilt turned up in Tuesday which brought much excitement and bedroom rearranging. Daisy is so like me - it flipping scary. She loves her room just so and is a collector and hoarder just like me.

Do you like her quilt, it has some lovely duck egg blue colours in it. She felt she needed to pinch my duck egg blue (well more like teal actually) Love and Hope cushions from my room to sit on her bed!

I also bought these Susie Watson pillowcases at the CL fair, they are so lovely and crisp and have little pea green polka dots on them. I have a real thing for white pillowcases, my two pillows that go on top of the quilt always have to have white pillow slips. I love the feel of clean, crisp, pressed linen, I look forward every Monday to going to sleep on clean fresh bed linen - how sad I am! I wish I could say that I look forward to ironing all the bedding every week too.

Finally, here are the little needle cases that I made, I said I could make them and I did! I am rather pleased with the finished result and have sewn on some of the little ceramic buttons I bought a few weeks back. I have also made some matching pin cushions. I am planning on giving the first two to my MIL and SIL for Easter along with some home made millionaires shortbread and a little Gerbera in a tin from good old M&S. I would be very happy if I received them as a gifts so I'm hoping they will like them also.

Have a great Easter whatever you get up to and lets hope the weather is kind to us all (well dry at least would be a good start)