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!


  1. !. frills not your thing eh!

    2. love the day out photos, why not make use of a natural wall if it's there.

    3. I had a 3 but now can't remember what it was. Oh well, just too bad.

  2. OOOh, didn't you do well with the new blouses! Well done on adapting them to your needs too! My husband was the same about going in charity shops until he found those nice shoes last week (and cheeky blighter has worn MY LOAKES to work!)
    That hobbit cottage is amazing!x

    1. Thanks, Kezzie! Yes, OH is getting slowly drawn in to the second hand life, and I'm very thankful due to the size difference we cannot share clothes or shoes!

  3. Well done on your buys for the week. I found the rock houses fascinating , such clever use of the existing rocks. Your garden seems to be taking shape at breakneck speed , hope to see photos of all your hard work in time.

    1. Hi Jill, your wish is my command, I'll take some garden pics this week whilst we have our heatwave xxx

  4. Wow, I will shop with you, great bargains.

    1. Hi Marlene, thanks for the comment, glad you like my purchases! xxx

  5. Those rock houses were opposite an old work colleague's house - in fact I can see her place on your photos. What a small world! x

    1. Small indeed, Vix! Your old work colleague lives in a lovely place. xxx

  6. I love love these rock houses, I've never encountered these ones before so I'm very excited! I think I'm going to have to plan a visit, thanks so much for sharing! I love that you tried on the hat- definitely what I'd do too. I always try and sit on the seats in National Trust homes- naughty! I stayed in some cave homes in the South of Spain when I was a teenager and it was such an amazing experience. X

    1. Hi Lally, thank you for visiting my blog and I'm so pleased you enjoyed the little tour around the rock houses. Glad I'm not the only rule breaker in NT properties!

  7. Great buys this week, I think my favourite is the blue shirt - and you're right, the 'after' version is considerably better than the 'before'!

    1. Thanks, Caroline. Sometimes I think it's just me, but embellishments don't always embellish in my book!

  8. I admire your sewing skills and how you have the ability to alter to your heart's content. Lovely finds, and your photos of the rock houses are gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing your headwear with Hat Attack!

  9. Thank you for your kind comments, Judith. I do love joining in with Hat Attack, even if it is with borrowed headwear sometimes!

  10. Those rock houses are amazing. I'm definitely adding them to my 'to visit' list. Looking at so many new places on people's blogs, I feel like I need to do a tour of the country. I'll be following for more ideas about places to see.

    1. Hi Katharine, thanks for visiting. Yes, we get around a bit so feel free to pop in for more travel ideas. The rock houses are small but interesting.


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