Monday, 29 June 2015

Living in a rock and other tales from last week

I've got a bit of everything this week, a day out, bargains, a quick refashion, and even a make up purchase to share, phew, where to begin?

I'll start with the refashion.  I've been looking for shirts to wear as an alternative to my favoured long sleeved t shirts left over from my office days.  I want nice, easy to wear, no fuss shirts or blouses (although that word instantly conjures up 'girly' in my mind and puts me off!) and have been browsing on ebay.  I bought a couple this week, both ridiculously cheap and sent quickly by extremely competent sellers.  

The first one was this ditsy print tunic from Fashion Union, new with tags attached and just £4.89.  I didn't notice on the ebay photos that there was an awful lot of frilling going on around the neckline, and also two cutie patch pockets.  The fact that the top is a busy print was enough surely, I don't think it needed further embellishment!   

Pretty hard to see the pockets but you can just about make out the frilling, all three rows of it.  After I picked it all off and chopped 5 inches off the length, it looked like this;

Much better, in my opinion!!

Now straight on to this week's bargains.  I also purchased this mint green top from ebay, by Willow Blossom, a brand I've never heard of.  It cost £3.99.  It is a good fit and really pretty, I did notice it had two of the little bell type buttons missing, one had obviously never been there, and the other on a cuff had come off.  No matter, as the unusable drawstring thingy at Empire line level had a matching bell on each end (no sniggering please!) so they were used to fill the gaps, and the drawstring was removed.

It is made in India, which explains the bell type buttons and the beautiful fine cotton fabric too.  There are small pieces of self coloured velvet appliqued on in places too, so nice!  When this top arrived I was really pleased to find that I had cut the ditsy print one to the same length, phew!

I had a couple of rather good charity shop finds last week, both from the same shop in Bromsgrove, and both more than my usual pound (that's inflation for you!).

The first was this fab pair of linen Country Casuals trousers for £1.49, in a nice oatmeal neutral colour.  I noticed they had been taken in a little all the way down the outer seams so unpicked that.  Then, after trying on and measuring against my only other pair of linen trousers (a gorgeous pair of white M&S ones) I decided to drop the hems to gain another 2cm in length.  The photo is before;

I've since been onto the Country Casuals website and found they sell their linen trousers for £100, so you can imagine I am very happy with these!

I've been looking for another couple of bags, summer colour ones, so was pleased to spy this Tula one, with leather trim, on the back of the bag rail, for just £3.99.

I've already been using it.

I'm not a great one for sandals as my feet get cold and then so do I, but needed something to wear out and about with jeans or trousers, something I can walk around in, and found some beautiful Moshulu slip on sandals on ebay.  They were a buy it now at £14.99 plus postage, which I thought was a bit steep for me until I realised that Moshulu are quite expensive, and these were as good as new (they look new but were not sold as such).  So I bought them!  

Aren't they lovely!  I'm hoping I won't step out of them, because of the extra bit over the big toe, I can't wear normal toe post sandals.

I've also spotted Scholl sandals in similar styles and a myriad of colours and of course, I want them all!  I'll have to hang fire though, I need to sell a few things to raise some money before I go around splashing out on more stuff.

I made a make up type purchase a week ago too, off ebay again.  It was this rather expensive and indulgent lip salve by Gale Hayman, actually called a lip lift.  

I had been sitting doing my sewing with QVC babbling in the background, and saw them going on and on about this stuff.  I believe the 3.4g size sells on QVC for £21.50 and £2.95 postage.  This has a faulty twist mechanism so was £9.50 and free postage from the ebay seller.  Not very moneysaving, but sometimes you just have to try these things!  I'm not great with lip salves and find a lot of them too greasy or they just disappear within minutes, this one certainly has more staying power, though I would hesitate to recommend anything that cost so much.  This is also supposed to volumise your lips too, and as I have pretty thin lips, I thought I would give it a go, although after a week all I can say is my lips are soft.  Reading reviews it certainly appears to be a Marmite product, some folk swear by it and others think it is overpriced carp, I'm still on the fence. 

Finally, our trip out this week involved us going not too far from home, literally 20 minutes away and just over the border into Staffordshire, somewhere we don't go often enough, judging by the fabulous scenery we encountered.

We visited the Holy Austin Rock Houses in Kinver, another National Trust managed property, and somewhere I thought would be a lot more industrial than it turned out. 

 The rock houses have been inhabited for a few hundred years, the lower ones are rumoured to be the inspiration for JRR Tolkien's Hobbit, as Kinver was a popular day out from Birmingham, where Tolkien lived for a while.  You can get the gist with this photo of the lower rock houses;

From the other end of the row;

The inside was actually cosy especially with the fire roaring away in the kitchen

There are half a dozen different houses on the lower level, I think, there are little front doors in the rock all over the place, and I seem to remember six!  As you approach through the trees, the first houses you can see are the lower level ones, they are actually in the rock to the left of the chimney!

  This one, at the end of the row, that you can see on the photo above, even had a porch and roses in a little front garden!

I just couldn't resist trying on the hat in the main living room, naughty!

Yes, I am posing at a funny angle, for some reason

The rooms look so normal inside, and are furnished with so many everyday items, you feel that the occupiers have just popped out and left you there

I could have happily sat down here and got on with some sewing, the view was lovely and far reaching.

There are three levels of houses at Kinver, the second level is closed off to the public but I stuck the camera through the fence to take this photo, very Hobbit like.

  The view from the third level of houses is rather nice

Up on this level the houses are Victorian and the frontages are of brick, attached to the rock face.  The row of houses are actually the tea rooms, with a cute little front garden too

You can just see from this photo that the back of the properties are all solid rock

Inside the tea rooms, you can see where rock meets brick on the front wall

Next to the tea rooms are a series of cave rooms in their raw state 


Leading down from the top houses are a group of allotments, tended to by residents in the area

After this interesting stroll into Staffordshire's past, we set off to find somewhere nice to have lunch, and happened upon Kingsford Forest Park, which had a very pretty car park

 The view from inside the car wasn't bad either!

Seemed like a nice place for lunch and then a walk

Until we finally packed up and popped in to the village of Kinver, where I discovered two local charity shops.  I was delighted, OH was not, until he found a nice suede looking microfibre jacket that fitted him, for just £4!!!  I bought nothing!
"When can we go back?"  He asked!!

Today's outfit was: Ozone jeans (RRP £19) free with vouchers from M&S, Per Una knitted jacket £2.50, Spirit blue bag £1, pink silk scarf 50p, all charity shopped. Brand new Hi Tec 50 Peaks walking shoes reduced to £10 from the original factory shop, Stourport on Severn  

We've been making a bit of headway with a few garden jobs on the house, I've finally removed a six inch flower border next to the house which was breaching the damp proof course, and we've chopped more wood.  The summerhouse is ordered and we have enough old blue engineering bricks to sit it on.  A garden archway is being constructed too, and is presently half finished, phew!  

The bad news is, we now have a mole in the garden, eek! 

Linking up with the glamorous Style Crone's Hat Attack no 24!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Croome revisited

Well, after a week of nothing happening on the house front, and no purchases from charity shops, I was feeling rather deflated.  So we took ourselves off to Croome again on Friday for a wander around the grounds.

This time the visibility was good and we could see the Malverns!

Of course, being a weekday, when we got there it was pretty quiet.  Which was nice.  The sun was just burning off the light cloud too, and it was quite comfortable for walking.  Thankfully, the Lancelot Brown designed landscape had plenty of cool tree lined areas to walk through, as you can see in the photo above. We walked down to the right and then just followed the line of trees around to the left.  It was quite a lengthy walk but there was so much to see it felt like a short stroll.

We came across the statue of Pan again, OH kindly posed with him 

The morning sun was casting shadows through the huge sash doorways in the Orangerie

A little further on we found this interesting bridge

It led to the lakeside, where we found the memorial to Lancelot Capability Brown.  The inscription is so white it's almost unreadable!  

The lakeside path winds around the edge of a huge lake and past various follies and items of interest, this grotto for instance

Through the woods, I caught a glimpse of squirrels going about their business

Turning around, the lake was stunning!

 Canada geese and Croome branded deck chairs on the banks

This chap came over to see if we had any food, we did, a plentiful supply of floating duckfood!

We headed towards the church, and stopped to rest awhile on some of the deckchairs

to literally stop and smell the roses and take in the view

Back up the hill towards the church

Another sit down near the church

Wearing DKNY jeans £1, green leather bag £1 Jack Purcell special edition Converse £1, East scarf (was pennies but can't remember how much) Toast jacket also a pound. Everything charity shopped!

Green nail varnish, a pound!

As we left I took this pic of the entrance, an old RAF building

Hopefully, we will be off on another trip this Friday, where to ?  Who knows!

I've been spending such a long time in the garden on these light evenings I'm aware that as well as neglecting my own blog, (I almost binned this post as it's rather boring without bargains, cakes or house stuff, but that's life sometimes!) I need to catch up on my reading too, so I'm off now over to your blogs for a mooch around.  

See you there!

Monday, 15 June 2015

A quick refashion and lots of bargains

I picked up this rather nice pair of Next jeans the other day, for my usual pound, but when I got them home found them to be a little generous.  

They are a size 12 and so am I, but the denim isn't really stretched on me for a good fit, as I prefer with jeans.  The condition is great and the are quite high waisted too, all plusses, but at one point I was just going to donate them back.  Until today. Out in the garden it was so hot that I changed into a pair of scruffy shorts and suddenly realised I have no decent longer shorts to wear out and about if we have really good weather.  I don't have the legs for short shorts, or the confidence,  so never wear shorts outside of my own garden.  (Actually, I have worn shorts out and about, the proof of my one time only short wearing on holiday is on the blog header!)

Anyway, half an hour later and


I measured and pinned the inside leg of the jeans where I wanted them to come to, allowing two inches for the turn up.  Then I measured from the hem up on both outer and inner leg before cutting, to ensure the legs were straight and not on an angle.  I turned the hems up twice and ironed flat, then put a vertical row of stitching next to both leg seams

Job done, new shorts for a pound and a bit of effort!

Last weeks bargains were quite diverse as you may have seen on Facebook. 

I bought this lovely piece of silk, it was in a scarf box but I actually think it may be a sash off a dress. It has a row of covered buttons and corresponding row of button loops 20 inches apart in the middle. The care label has been removed.  It was a pound and should go with quite a few things, I might even wear it as a belt with my new shorts!

I also received a couple of ebay purchases, this versatile beige vest top for £2.49. it is tagged at £3 and the poor person who sold it to me rolled it into a bag so it cost them £2.80 to send it.

I was excited to buy this Cath Kidston cagoule, I paid way too much, £20, but they sell for £30 brand new and I'm not usually a frivolous shopper, so this was a treat.  The pattern reminds me of Magic Roundabout!  The one I have at the moment is black, so it will be a pleasure to wear this.

       I was surprised at how well it is made actually.  Lots of taped seams and double stitching with reinforced bits in strategic places.

I popped into a Poundland and treated myself to a new nail varnish, Sally Hanson's In Record Lime, more like Kermit green to me, but I like it.

When I purchased the jeans-now-shorts, I also found a nightie, another pound, my size and as  I've been looking for one for ages, I was very happy.

When I got it home, I discovered a split in the side seam, where the fabric hadn't caught properly as it was made, I soon stitched that up!

On Saturday morning I found these cream cakes at just 52p a box when I deviated into a local Co-op on a whim.  They didn't last long as you'd expect!

I also found this cute address book, unused for just 10p in a book box in another charity shop.  I'm still unsure if I should keep it or put it in the present box as it is as new.

My last two purchases for the week came from my favourite shop, and were just 50p each.  another vest top, and a pair of Adidas shorts.  

The shorts had the label removed so I took a chance and they fit fine, but are obviously for the garden only!

Finally, as it was raining on Saturday I had my trusty charity shopped brolly with me, I was rather surprised to exit one charity shop and almost bump into a woman outside with the exact same brolly!  One of the great things about charity shopping is the individuality of the clothing, but this brolly is obviously a trusty favourite, and not just to me!

A quick house update, architect has been paid and has submitted detailed plans to local authority, builder has been given a copy too in order to do a detailed quote, we will be good to go with the garage conversion in as little as 4 to 5 weeks, depending on the availability of the builder. I'm not cheering yet!