Friday 23 March 2018

Birthday weekend and other things

I had a lovely birthday weekend. Our walk in London was not from Waterloo to the Houses of Parliament as I thought. We caught the tube to Waterloo and then from Waterloo we got on the train to Chiswick. From Chiswick Station we walked along the Thames Pathway to Hammersmith Bridge passing Barnes Bridge and Putney Bridge. This walk traced the course of the Oxford - Cambridge boat race from Mortlake to Putney; only ever rowed three times in the history of the boat race so far. The walk was 7 miles in total with a stop for lunch.

 At Hammersmith Bridge we went into Bishops Park and onto to Fulham Palace - the Bishop's seat, where we had tea and cake. The best way to finish a walk I always think!

Fulham Palace. 

This is the River Thames and very unappealing it looked too; that's the old Watney's Brewery, a typical Victorian warehouse building; it's now owned by Budweiser.

This is for Sheila of 'Ephemera' here -  a great Star Wars fan! This house overlooked the Thames. I don't think I'd want a life sized Stormtrooper on my balcony. And I certainly wouldn't want what another house had; a full sized white cow on their balcony with SALT written on the cow's flank = salt beef!

These two churches are at either end of Putney Bridge. Above is St. Mary's Church and below is All Saint's Church. St. Mary's Church was the site of the Putney Debates. The Putney Debates were a series of discussions between members of the New Model Army – a number of the participants being Levellers – concerning the makeup of a new constitution for Britain in 1647. (Source Wikipedia).

The view from Blackfriars station. I thought I had got the Shard in but I hadn't; it's on the right hand side but out of view. That's Tower Bridge in the distance. It was a very dreary day as you can see above and there were several showers...

I went out with my brothers and OH on Saturday night for a birthday meal - this is what I wore.
Trousers by Abercrombie and Fitch from the 'Mercy in Action vintage rail' bought for 7.00. Top from La Redoute sale a few years back. Long jacket; David Emmanuel charity shopped in the Red Cross; boots, daughter donated. 

All jewellery charity shopped except necklace; present from OH and bought in Donegal.

 Lovely birthday cake!

I was very spoilt. My son gave me money and I bought two of my favourite perfumes. My brothers gave me money; OH bought me posh headphones, books and CDs and daughter bought me books and CDs. I was very pleased and grateful everything. 

We had finished our meal and were on our way home - a member of staff kindly took this photo...

On Sunday I went out for afternoon tea with my daughter. It was Mothering Sunday here in the UK.

I got a bunch of daffs for free and some daffodils in a pot from the place we went to as well!

I've got a new kitchen coming and it's going to be fitted whilst we're away in Ireland at Easter. I'm having extra plug sockets installed and some are being moved as you can see in the above picture.

Everything charity shopped except the OTK boots - on line retail. Dress bought  in Cancer Research, waistcoat from Zara charity shopped but can't remember where.

I don't know what happened to these photos - the light was peculiar!

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings 99p from e bay.

My daughter bought me a beautiful cactus plant in a lovely chintz plant pot for Mother's Day and gave me the most beautiful card. I got a lovely card from my son and some from the grandchildren, too! I am very lucky to be surrounded by such loving family.

On Monday I had some birthday money to spend so I thought I'd see what the Barnardo's in Great Denham had on offer. You may remember I don't go there too often as the new manager got rid of the 99p rail and put everything up to London prices. What a shock I got! EVERYTHING was 99p and had been since after Christmas. They may be permanently keeping everything at this price they're not sure; just waiting on an area manager's decision...

I bought some buckle boots from Miss Selfridge; a green corduroy skirt (both can be seen below), a navy sleeveless top; a beach wrap;  another headscarf in yellow and turquoise; a cross body bag; a leoprint long sleeved t shirt and a hoody and long sleeved t shirt for grandson. All 99p each. They had very little in the way of jewellery. Then I went to the Cat's Protection Society in Kempston where I bought a green summer coat from M&S and a pair of red jeans that fit me properly, so out went the old red pair! I did enjoy my spend up - 23.00 in total!

Everything charity shopped except striped top Primarni retail. Skirt and boots; Barnardo's Great Denham 99p each; I think I bought the kimono in Ireland but can't remember where.

Green tights charity shopped about 6 years ago. Scarf bought in a Stevenage charity shop for 1.00 last year.

All jewellery charity shopped. Those blasted hanger thingies have escaped again!

The JAYG method was coming along. I made some errors but as it was my first attempt that wasn't surprising. I found the written instructions and photos less helpful that watching this You Tube tutorial by Bella Cocoa here


Finished - I added a couple of buttons. I still wanted to use up the remaining scraps so started making 8 inch granny squares. I'm aiming to make 49 squares which will be a 5 foot + blanket. I can work on these squares until I go to Ireland and start the Willow block blanket. That's the great thing about crocheting granny squares; you can pick them up or leave them for another time.

More black and white.

Trousers; Sainsbury's retail sale and boots on line retail. Cardigan and top charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped. I meant to wear my silver boots with this outfit but as I was walking around a lot I needed thick socks so I stuck with the trusty old red boots.

We went out for eldest grandson's birthday meal last Wednesday. He was 23 on Thursday.
I saw him come into the world...

It's been a pretty uneventful week this week. I passed by the 3:16 shop on Monday and bought four more items from the 1.00 rail getting one free as it's buy two and get the the third free. A Jasper Conran patterned cardigan; a white short sleeved top from M&S, a blue striped shirt with little birds on (see below) and a lace sleeveless tunic for the summer. Total spend 3.00.

I volunteered at the library on Tuesday afternoon.

Everything is charity shopped except the earrings which were from Sainsbury's many moons ago. The blue kimono jacket was bought on our last rummage in London for 2.99. Blue striped shirt 1.00 rail 3:16 charity shopped. Jeans; M&S 1.00 Red Cross shop. Blue boots 1.99, also Red Cross.

I didn't wear bangles as it can be quite difficult to get my coat sleeves over them and they make quite a racket when I'm shelving the books. I keep expecting one of the librarians to go 'sssshhh'!

On Wednesday I walked with the group and what a beautiful day it was. Sunny and relatively warm. I had to take my jacket off at one point! We walked from Turvey to Newton Blossomville via Cold Brayfield 6.7 miles. This is Brayfield House below. We have often driven past the lodge house and seen the path winding up behind huge iron gates: but this is the first time I have ever seen the house and it's a rear view you can see what a beautiful house it is. Look at that blue sky!

I spied this in the village of Newton Blossomville.

On Wednesday evening I started watching 'Craft Britain'on BBC4. They featured typesetting and rug making - both of which I'd love to try. The rug making reminded me of my student nurse days in the early 1970s. I trained for what was called at the time the 'Mentally Subnormal' part of the register; later renamed as the Mental Handicap part of the register;  and now called 'Learning Disabilities/Difficulties. Part of our training was a 12 week placement in the Occupational Therapy unit where you spent half the time in the 'Huts' (Arts and Crafts) and the other half the 'Sheds' (Carpentry, Marquetry; light industrial work and rug making). I loved helping the residents with the rug making...

This was Thursday's outfit. Everything is charity shopped except the necklace which came from Primark years ago.

The squares I'm making for a new blanket are to replace the blanket behind me. I don't like this one very much; it's called the 'Beachcomber Blanket' and whilst I like the pattern I don't like the white in it or the border. I wished I'd used cream instead. I will take this one to a charity shop when I've made the new one.
Silver boots; 3:16 charity shop 2.50; striped top 1.00 rail 3:16 shop.  The long cardigan came from Keech Cottage 2.25 but I can't remember where the trousers came from.

Friday's outfit

Everything charity shopped except black top: Primarni. I bought this dress from a 99p or 1,00 rail somewhere; Barnardo's in Ampthill, I think. The boots were from the Willen Hospice shop in Newport Pagnell 5.99 from New Look.

All jewellery charity shopped; I had removed my rings as I started to cook dinner...

We're off to Ireland in just over a week's time. I can't wait to see Ruby Super again and my family and friends in Ireland. The kitchen will be fitted while we're away so I'll be busy next week emptying out the cupboards and packing stuff away. I'm getting a new fridge and freezer but reusing my oven, washing machine and dryer; so they will have to be disconnected and put somewhere before we leave. It's going to be a busy week.

I'll do my best to keep up with all your blog posts while I'm away but the wifi at the site is very poor so I probably won't be able to comment very much. For those of you who celebrate it have a wonderful Easter.

Thursday 8 March 2018

Goodbye February, hello March!

Goodbye February and hello March!

I've read fewer books this February than I have for a very long time. I've been keeping a record of all the books I've read since 2007 and I checked back in my books read list;  there was one month where I read only three, but two is an all time low for me.  I used to keep my books read on a spread sheet (!) but when I started blogging in 2015 I used the blog instead. Unfortunately, whilst browsing through some past books read lists I noticed I have lost about six months worth of books read from just before the switch over. I expect they're floating around in cyberspace somewhere and if you find them could you return them to me please?

It was that dratted blanket to blame for my lack of reading in February. I can't read and crochet at the same time and when I'm crocheting I get a bit obsessed with finishing it...I wanted to start on a new crochet project -  a throw for my bed. I bought the wool online at a place recommended by Vix of 'Vintage Vixen' here. Cheap and cheerful but lovely colours. My throw will be in lavender and violet and I'm making it in the 'Willow' pattern block by Jan Eaton (below).

Image from Franney 
 I got the pattern from the book '200 Crochet Blocks' which I bought from you know where.... but I'm going to fill in the outer edges of mine and I'll be using a method to do it that I got from ''' here so this is what my 'Willow' pattern block will look like.

Image from hookandbake,
I'm only going to use two colours because of all the ends that have to be sewn in if you use lots of colours. It's okay on a small project like a cushion cover but not on a pretty large throw. On grandson's blanket there were 80 squares in two colours which meant 80 x 4 ends per square = 320 ends; plus the ends left over from crocheting the squares together and 2 ends each from each colour in the border - a lot of ends!

Last Saturday we went to London to visit OH's family. It was lovely to see them but what a cold day it was! I was frozen in my skirt and leggings. Everything was charity shopped except the boots which were a present from OH from Debenhams. Both tops were from the Red Cross 1.00 rail. I can't remember where I got the skirt from but it was probably Barnardo's in Ampthill or the Red Cross. 

This was my outerwear plus a pair of animal print gloves (charity shopped of course) but not seen here. The M&S cape was a Christmas present from OH back in the days when his company used to give him a M&S voucher for Christmas and he gave it to me - oh happy days! Now he gets one from A****n instead. Which he keeps - quite rightly!

Necklace charity shopped in Derry and all other jewellery also charity shopped
We also made time, despite the cold, for a rummage in Willesden and Kilburn. I bought quite a lot of things! A Boden dress from 3.99 in Geranium in Willesden and a small spider brooch 1.50; a short kimono type cardigan for 2.99 in a hospice shop, a necklace from the Heart Foundation shop for 1.50 and a jumpsuit. In the Kilburn Oxfam shop everything was 2.00. I bought a large floral print blazer in blue and green for the summer, a  skirt and a head wrap thingy. I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable SOME of  the prices were - for London. I passed up a Max Mara orange corduroy skirt with a ruffle which was 6.00 and I'm sorry I did now...

The fire was a godsend in the cold and snowy weather we'd been having. OH lights it in the evening but on this particular occasion I lit it for the first time - hence the rosy cheeks... I'm wearing the sweater dress I bought Keech Hospice shop in Kempston for 3.99; charity shopped cardigan with a M&S t shirt underneath. I had planned to recce my bus walk on Wednesday, but as it kept snowing when I went to the bus station to catch the bus to Elstow and walk back, I decided against it; I did some errands and came home to the warm! I did pop into the 3:16 charity shop and bought some silver boots and three summer items for 2.00; a pair of trousers, a top and a full length slip. The third item was free as it was 'buy two and the get the third free'.

Leggings and boots are retail.

All jewellery is charity shopped and the head scarf is the one I bought on Saturday in Oxfam, Kilburn High Road for 1.00. It's rather strange; made of two pieces of material zipped together but there is no zip pull and it is slightly stiffened with wire -  so it doesn't slip about in the way the usual silk type head scarves do. It had a label in it that said 'Tammy Child'. When I looked it up online I was astonished to find that her long scarves (I think mine is a long scarf) retail at over 100 pounds!

Last week was such a lazy week for me. No walking because of the cold and snow.  I had to take the car for an MOT on Monday which it failed and had to go into the garage. On Tuesday I had to take it back for a retest - it passed but as it was being retested mid afternoon it meant no volunteering. All week it was bitterly, icily, cold with snow and on Thursday it snowed all day. I managed to get out to do the food shopping and that was about it.

These are the boots I bought on Wednesday; from Primark originally they're silver and were 2.50 . Trousers and tunic charity shopped, black blouse present from ex mum-in-law. It's 100% wool and very warm.

All jewellery charity shopped including my 50p zip brooch! I think I may have a coal smudge on my face...

On Friday I should have been taking the youngest grandchild for a hospital appointment at Addenbrookes in Cambridge but we cancelled it due to the dangerous driving conditions. All the schools in Bedford were closed. In the evening we were meant to be going to watch my brother's solo gig at 'The Stables' in Wavendon  here but that too was cancelled because of the weather. Such a shame. It is going to be rescheduled at some point in the near future.

So, as I was stuck at home on Friday and not able to go anywhere I decided to start a crochet project. I ruled out starting the throw for my bed as I want to save that for when we go to Ireland at Easter. I wanted something I could work up quite quickly and something that would be useful, so I hit on the idea of cushion covers. Using again - well the blogger is a fellow Bedfordian after all!  I decided on this:

Image from
The Happy Flower! I'm also going to use her join as you go method (JAYG) which is the white surround in the photo above.  I like the effect it has as it is a continuation of the pattern.  No more sewing squares together hopefully!

When you knit or crochet you accumulate lots of left over balls of wool; some balls are almost used up and others only partially used. I have quite a stash of very small left over bits of wool and I wanted to use up as much of it as I could. A pattern like this is ideal as it doesn't need much wool. By last Friday evening I had made five squares and what is more I also followed her advice to work the ends in as you crochet along and what a difference it made! No more sewing ends least fewer ends, as I didn't always remember to work them in as I went along. I was hoping to make two cushion covers out of all the mini left overs.

There are two miniature suitcases (both charity shopped) here of small odds and ends...

On Saturday I had a PJ day. I think it''s the second since I started blogging in November 2015; I have one roughly once a year. I wasn't going out anywhere - too cold and icy so I slobbed out! I did have to go and drop a grandson off but I just put my boots on and my coat over my PJs! I drove very cautiously I can tell you. I also find walking in the snow quite daunting as I'm scared of slipping and breaking bones. On reflection I should have tried walking in the snow and ice in my walking boots. Why I didn't think to do that I have no idea...

On Monday  it was as if we had entered into another climate altogether.  It was a lovely, sunny and snow free day and quite warm at 9 degrees.  I walked to the hairdressers and back and ran some errands in town clocking up 4.5 miles. I passed the 'Mercy in Action' outlet charity shop and I popped in...yes, you've guessed it I bought more stuff.  On their vintage rail I bought a pair of Abercrombie and Fitch red plaid wool trousers for 7.00 and a brown tunic/dress for 2.00.

I wore this outfit to do my volunteering at the food bank and the library on Tuesday.

This is the Boden dress I bought at the Geranium charity shop in Willesden for 3.99. It's made from fine needlecord and is fully lined. I wore my M&S fur gilet on top for warmth and blue tights bought online. Boots from Sainsbury's retail.

All jewellery charity shopped. I didn't even notice the teddy bear brooch on the gilet until I saw this photo. I often leave brooches pinned on garments then wonder why I can't find them in my brooch box!

I recce'd my bus walk on Thursday; I walked 7 miles in total. This was Thursday's OOTD.

Boots online retail. Kimono present from daughter;  black jeans Lidl; tunic charity shopped in Donegal
All jewellery charity shopped.

It's my birthday this week and there are plans afoot. On Friday, which is my actual birthday, I am going walking with my group in London. We are walking from Waterloo to the Houses of Parliament. The rest of the group are having a guided tour of the HoP, but I did this last summer with the middle grandson, so I shall be returning home to blow the candles out on my birthday cake. On Saturday all three brothers and OH are taking me out for a birthday meal. On Sunday, which is Mother's Day here in the UK; my daughter wants to take me somewhere in the afternoon. I don't know where we're going but it may involve tea and cakes...

Just a quick crochet update; I've made enough squares this week for one cushion cover; I just have to start joining them together.  I won't have time this weekend to do this but hopefully I'll be able to post a picture of the completed project in my next post. I also have enough wool left to make another smaller cushion cover, I think.

Let's hope March stays bright and snow free...

Very proud mummy.

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