Monday, 5 December 2016

Useful and beautiful

Thank you so much for all of your lovely comments on my last blog post, I thought I would sneak a post on and no-one would notice for six months or so, how wrong, and it was such a lovely surprise to see comments appear so quickly too, you lot are so on the ball!!

On 2nd December the OH and I decided on a trip out to Wightwick Manor, the newer than it looks National Trust managed home of the Mander family, Wolverhampton paint manufacturers.

We have visited several times before, the house is particularly appealing as it is so very liveable, the rooms are big but not too grand, and there are many quirks and interesting corners.

As per usual, I asked at the door about photography, as previously photos have been banned at Wightwick.  To my surprise the lady on the door said no flash but snap what you like, I nearly fell over!

So, sit down and enjoy the photos. Obviously, because of the plethora of wallpaper, paintings and textiles in general, the rooms are kept quite dark, and as December is generally pretty gloomy here, so you may need to squint a bit here and there.

Here's a few outside shots

There is so much to take in, there are even quotations carved into the woodwork above the windows

Inside, the hallway has a large inglenook raised area with a large window, just perfect for thawing out

The house is now dressed for Christmas and there was a tree in the other part of the hallway

The house is very much a whimsical rabbit warren of rooms and nooks, mostly decorated in off the peg William Morris (I overheard a conversation and one of the guides said William Morris was not commissioned to do anything specific for the house, it was all bought from his catalogues)

The house had electricity from the start, and some light bulbs are amongst the oldest still in existance.  Pre Raphaelite art hangs on the silk William Morris wallpaper.  Beautiful Arts and crafts stained glass adorns windows, and I just love the loo roll!

 Silk wallpaper, fraying

 Beautiful window seat in Lady Mander's drawing room

The main dining room

 The great hall

The OH (far right), listening intently to a talk in the billiard room

 In the staff bathroom at the top of the tower (wearing: new boots from Original Factory Shop £17.60, blue bag, charity shop £1, Aldi skinny jeans £7.99 and John Partridge jacket £10 ebay)

 Senior female staff bedroom in the tower (bloomin' freezing!)

Block of tea. Yep, compressed tea in a block, could be used as currency in the far east

 The OH, in the staff dining room

One of the two kitchens

Fireplace in the nursery, complete with very old but working electric fire

 Some little bits that caught my eye, amazingly narrow Edwardian boots, farmyard frieze in the nursery, detail of glass panel in the hallway, William Morris fabric on the bed in the nursery

Well, hope you enjoy looking at the photos as we thoroughly enjoyed our Winter visit to Wightwick.  

 I've managed to run up a couple of welly boot bags this evening, out of an old animal feed sack and the strap off an old handbag 

I really didn't want to pay almost a tenner each for proper ones which seemed too small for the OH's welly boots, so made these.  

Right, time for me to catch up with all your blogs, thank you again for the comments

See you soon!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Ramble on

Apologies for the blogging hiatus, I appear to have lost my blogging mojo of late, coupled with getting my head around being a landlord and attempting to start a business.  Those of you following on Facebook will have been privy to the scant posts I made showing my feeble bargains over the past few months, which is more than I have put on here!

My head is bursting with paperwork, landlord law, problems with the rental property that I hope are almost sorted, despite being pretty major, and the all round headless chicken mode that comes from being fully responsible for everything I do to earn money and keep afloat, it's terrifying but empowering at the same time.

Where to begin?  Not sure really, Christmas is coming, I've done all my shopping, my gift bags for friends and family are sorted.  Some non seasonal generic products (like foodstuffs and toiletries) I have recently purchased in shops or online, other things, individual to the person, are picked up as I shop in the year.  I have found great purchases in the charity shops over the year, and hopefully they will be liked by the recipients (despite the fact I paid pennies instead of pounds)

On a sadder note, I lost one of my chickens at the end of October.  Maisie was just under six and a half, quite a good age for a light Sussex bantam.  She was a lone hatch at the time and I had to keep a mirror and cuddly toy with her to stop her crying.  She spent time in the kitchen with me when she was tiny, she loved me sliding her along the tiled floor and raced back to me for me to do it again!  She moved with us to the countryside and thoroughly enjoyed the freedom, the views and once she was used to them, the horses in the field next door.

Here she is with her mirror

Still living in the kitchen

The terrible trio last summer, Duck passed away last Christmas and now only Lola remains.

I do have two new chickens I was given by the person who keeps horses in the adjoining field.  Lola is now integrated with the female, Florence.  The male, Brian is rather amorous so has to be kept separately!  Both were not in a good condition when I was given them.  Florence obviously has vision problems, this is frustrating Lola big time as Florence does not go to bed or follow her around foraging.  Both chickens had very bad feet when they arrived, the toes were covered in hard balls of caked soil, and after some gentle removal of the loose stuff, and several days walking on good ground, their toes emerged.  Brian has managed his own foot problems, and has no further trouble, but Florence has lost some toes, had to have her ridiculously long nails trimmed and had some sort of scale disorder, which is healing and appears to no longer be causing discomfort.  She is being monitored closely!

On a lighter note, the OH and I now have two days a week when we get to go out and just relax.  We have been to some lovely places, and I hope to start sharing our visits with you all soon.  We are both struggling with a work/life balance at the moment, and hopefully will sort this out soon, especially as things on my side calm down a little and I get used to my new work pattern.

I'll leave you with this bargain I picked up from a charity shop in Broadway (yes, there are charity shops in the Cotswolds) not a cheapy cheap buy at £5.50 but so worth it!

 I  am so fussy with jumpers and only have three that have to last me through every winter.  as a charity shopper I find buying woollens so difficult as donated woollens are usually not in great condition.  We generally hang on to our beloved jumpers and cardis more than anything else I think.

  The jumper is green and lavender and I actually took the photos before I washed it, it came out a little lighter as it was filthy!  Never mind, it is now the softest and most comfy jumper to wear, and must have cost over £100 brand new.  Sometimes it pays to spend a little more, it has certainly expanded my range in the chazzas.  

Right, I think it's time for me to get out there and get commenting on your blogs!

Monday, 30 May 2016

A half hearted attempt... a blogging comeback.

Work continues to gather pace at the soon-to-be rental in Brum, upstairs totally decorated and carpeted, workman has finished downstairs wall repairs and tiling, gas man contacted to do boiler service and issue landlord safety certificate, fingers crossed that isn't too expensive.

We've visited some lovely places in the past few weeks and bought a few bargains.  I have been quite productive on eBay and the facebook local selling pages, which have been brilliant in covering my share of the bills, phew!

 I won't bore you with all the photos from our days out this past month, as there are too many to share in one post, so I'll just focus on the charity shop stuff and other bargains until I get back to speed with regular blogging.

OH picked up these two shirts, both were £2.50.

   The top shirt is a linen mix one from Sainsbury's, and a very nice fit.  The bottom one was an open waffle weave Cotton Traders one, which proved to be a no-no when we got it home.  I managed to sell it on ebay and we recouped the money, thankfully.

I have bought more of the ASDA boy's socks, still going through the till at £2,

and this lovely top, bought on a whim at £2.49 and the labels had been cut out, something I hate.  When I got it home I noticed the name sewn into the hem and on the buttons, it is a Fat Face top, and fits really well, phew.

Oh, and if you look closely you will see the dreaded sleeve turn up bits, I'm leaving them on this top as it fits fine with them and looks better!

High street bargains next, and a lovely violet nail polish from Bodycare (love that shop) just 99p, and just to match, 5 packs of Parma violet sweets for £1 from ASDA

Next up, a plentiful haul for Mr pennypincher, two shirts and two pairs of cool linen trousers for the Summer.

Both shirts are M&S and both were £3.50 each

Both pairs of linen trousers are by Next and both pairs were £3 each

I picked up a couple of toiletry bargains, Pixi glow tonic and Josh Wood travel sized shampoo, both were 20p.

I was quite shocked when I saw the RRP of the Pixi glow stuff, so much so that I sold it on ebay, I was happy to try it if it was cheap stuff but it isn't, so the profit will happily go towards petrol money!  The shampoo (M&S but highly sought after) is for coloured hair so rather than use it myself (as I don't colour my hair) I will pop it in a friend's birthday bag.

I also had a lovely bargain on ebay, this fabulous Next crocheted cardi, just £7.05 and that includes postage!

Isn't it fab?!  

Another ebay purchase for me, these Eddie Bauer leather slip on sandals, had to pay £9.50 (that includes postage) for them but at least no-one bid against me.  

Excuse the chipped nail polish and lillywhite winter feet!

These sandals are so comfy, the soles are the same as the Cotton Traders clogs.

Another charity shop bargain next, a great pair of linen mix Per Una trousers for 50p

They look a bit short in the leg, but so am I so they fit!  There is a teeny bit of hem allowance if I need to let them down a touch, not sure I will bother though.

Another great bargain for OH, I picked up these Levi 506 for just £3.99

The label says they are 38 waist, OH is a 36 but I measured them in the shop and they only measure 38 exactly, no extra for a comfy fit, so when I got them home I measured them against his other jeans and they are the same size. He has since tried them on and they fit comfortably.

I found this 3/4 sleeve t shirt for myself, at the strange price of £1.38 as the chazza had a sale on.

  It is only a George at ASDA top, but I like it, I am looking for more green for my wardrobe, so the flash of green dragon is welcome.

Lastly, on a day trip out we happened to stop off in a small town and I found this Custo Barcelona top for £2.

 I'm not entirely happy with the pastelly colourway, but I like Custo stuff and it was a thrill getting hold of one of their tops for £2!

I did find a stain on the front as I took the photo, so just rubbed a Vanish bar on it and gave it a gentle rub, it came right out in the wash, phew.

As well as the final push on the rental, I have secured a business unit near OH's studio and will be setting up a small business shortly.  I have a name and will be building a website rather than trading through Folksy or eBay.  Until I register with the Inland Revenue I will be keeping it all under wraps, and after everything that has been going on these past months, I'm sure the start up will be slow, as I'm completely cream crackered at the mo.

Just a reminder that if you are UK based, you can still enter my vintage dress giveaway on Facebook, or if you are not on Facebook just mention in the comments below if you would like your name to go in the hat, closing time is midnight on 31st May, good luck!    

Monday, 25 April 2016


I am giving away this charity shop find on my facebook page, pop over if you want your name in the hat, link on the right of this post.  If you are not on facebook, just comment below if you want to enter in the draw, you have until the end of May.

UK size 10 dress, approx 43 inches long and bust measures 36 inches, matching fabric belt and pussy bow tie at neckline.  In excellent condition!

UK entries only please though.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Riders on the storm

Waking up on Saturday morning to this view was a bit of a shocker;

The view from the lounge was equally disturbing... for April

Thankfully (I hate saying that about snow, I love snow!) it was all gone in two hours

Since then, we have had much warmer weather, much more Spring-like.

So much so, that painting in the soon-to-be rental was almost enjoyable. Today I managed to paint a whole room including the ceiling in three hours, and after arriving home also managed to clear a lot of the rubble that the builders left on our drive (despite them saying it was like that before they started, no, it was not!).

I've treated myself this week, to a beauty box I saw advertised in mum's daily paper.

  I wanted to buy myself a treat, and OH will use some of the things.  There are a couple of items I'm never going to use so they will go on ebay and hopefully I will recoup most of the cost of the box.  The nail varnish was going to go in the present drawer, but the colour I've received is different to the one on the advert, it is much nicer, so I'm keeping that too!

Yesterday, I picked up some new socks from the supermarket.  As I'm usually in boots or trainers, I like sports socks, and as I have small feet (a size 4) I buy boys socks.  They seem to be better quality and are cheaper than ladies socks.  

These boys socks from ASDA have reinforced toe and heel and went through the till at just £2.

No charity shop bargains this past 7 days, I was due to visit some last week but when I went to get in the car the immobiliser decided I was a thief and refused to open up for me, all lights flashing and horn blaring!  I was locked out of my own car for two hours until OH managed to open the door and start the car. He pressed the fob button whilst the key was in the ignition and this disabled the immobiliser, meaning I could drive it at last.  I had enough time to get some shopping in before phoning a specialist car electricals company, who managed to sort it all out quickly, and surprisingly cheaply considering they come out to you.  Turns out the fuse had blown for the immobiliser and I had a short in the tailgate.

All sorted now so there may or may not be bargains to be seen next time!

Our Friday outings continued last week with our first visit of the year to the beautiful Coughton Court in Warwickshire

This is the back view, the private apartments of the Throckmortons are on the right, the rest is accessible to the public.

Inside the door there is a fabulous looking ceiling

Amazing, considering it isn't stone, but plaster.

As it was wet underfoot, we had to don the very attractive blue plastic foot coverings, modelled here by OH on the stairwell

The family silver is on view in the panelled dining room, where the dining table was laid out for members of the household serving in world war 1.  That flower display is made up of documents relating to the officers of the household who were serving in the great war, so clever.

 Seems it not just me who has trouble keeping silver clean, look at the state of that cutlery, but the glassware sparkles

  I do love the stone mullion windows, the tiny panes of glass in different levels of clear, and the close up view of the upper floors of the wing.

A previously Catholic family, Coughton has many close associations with brutal historical acts, including the Gunpowder Plot and the death of Mary, Queen of Scots.  This chemise is allegedly the one she was wearing when beheaded.


As the weather was OK, we spent a good part of the day wandering around the grounds, part of which were not open due to the previous weeks of wet weather.

At Coughton,(pronounced coat-on) there are two family churches in the grounds, the older Catholic church

 which has a beautiful old porch on the side

and the more modern Anglican one, which is also nearer to the main house

So much so, that it pops up on another shot of the gardens!

My favourite part of the garden has to be this bit, complete with the most over the top regal looking bench

A greylag goose casually dried itself after a good bath in the lake, and wasn't bothered by us approaching

As there was a chance of rain, I took the opportunity to wear my ebay Seasalt raincoat again, which I absolutely love

Yes, it's a rubbish photo! 

We are trying to decide where to go this week, so much more needs doing on the rental I hope we have time to go out, it is a welcome respite from all the work, and the madness of this past week. I also hope to browse some chazzas soon!