Sunday, 26 April 2015

New boots and freebies

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned!  I've stepped momentarily into the realms of "proper retail" and bought a new, yes new, pair of boots.  And I paid with money, not vouchers, real money, eek!

I popped into Birmingham last week for a day of retail therapy with vouchers I had still to spend, and saw a beautiful pair of boots in M&S.  Little ankle cowboy boots, lovely they were, and part of the Indigo range, which I really like.  My M&S vouchers did not stretch to the £59 cost of the boots though, so I walked away with nothing more than a furniture catalogue!   Anyway, as I exited Boots (the chemist) with some free mascara (courtesy of my Boots card points which I didn't realise I still had!) I spotted the Deichmann shop nearby and went in. These beauties caught my eye, and at £22.99 I thought they were much more my price level, so I bought them! 

They are a lovely moleskin colour and oddly, a size 5 when I'm normally a 4 (and a very small 4 at that!).  I've already worn them of course, we drove over to one of our nearest National Trust properties, Hanbury Hall, on Friday for a relaxing end of week picnic. 

Hanbury is a grand country house built in 1701 in the William and Mary style. 

We didn't go inside as we have been in so many times, we just had tea and cake and a wander around the grounds.

As ever, I was fascinated by the old set of staff rules in the old servant's hall cafe

Spot the fake windows on the side of the building, clever huh?!

The Spring flowers are just on the turn, it's a funny time of year as I like the splash of colour but much prefer the lush foliage of June and July.  This is the parterre next to the cafe

Where we managed a hands free selfie, thanks to the camera timer and a strategically placed planter!

I do love the way they store the empty planters behind the orangery, all lined up neat and tidy 

                      Talking of the orangery, plenty of citrus fruits growing in there!

The grounds have an Italian feel in parts

The orchards do well, all the trees are just coming into blossom.  I'm pretty sure I saw these orchards on the BBC programme Countryfile last year.

There are so many lovely gateways, I'd love a garden with a bit of freestanding old wall and a random gateway in it!  OK so the middle pic isn't a gateway, just a view of the house through the trees!

 Lots of garden buildings to explore too, and an array of beehives near the chickens

When we arrived home, the postman had delivered goodies, lots of BHS vouchers, courtesy of my cashback credit card, that I only ever use for essentials, I've never bought enough in a charity shop to warrant using a credit card! .  Pay your bills and get vouchers for free stuff, can't be bad!

Best of all, there was an offer on redeeming BHS vouchers, you used 10% less points to get the usual amounts, so I was able to squeeze another £5 voucher for my points!  I feel another no spend shopping trip coming on, yay!

Nothing to show on the garden front this week, we have done loads but it amounts to piles of things we've moved from a to b, so not at all exciting.  Our plans are now being drawn up by the architect and we need to see what forms and permissions we need to apply for.

Just in case you were wondering, my outfit was

Levi's £2, Toast jacket £1, Nomads top £1, Jocasi green leather bag £1, East scarf, not sure how much this cost but it was pennies rather than a pound, and the new boots.  The undies were also free courtesy of previous credit card vouchers, but I'm not going to show you!

Finally, if you follow my facebook page you will know the only bargain I had this week was a roll of Gardman lawn edging for £1.50.  It retails at around a tenner and I wanted to try some so it was a good buy, just not exciting enough to show the photo again!  

Linking up with Sheila's Shoe Shine!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Walking with herbivores

We've had another busy week at pennypincher cottage.  Despite the recent hot weather, we managed to complete the chicken run a couple of weeks ago, with temporary summer roof (old glass clear tarpaulins lashed on!), and have now created a little sitting out area under the already in situ pergola.  I managed to move 9 large paving slabs across the garden, and actually felt like I had achieved something doing so.  Actually I did achieve something, a couple of strained back muscles!  We now have flower beds around the drive as well, which adds to the kerb appeal of the place. I've also riddled a lot of gravel off the garden in an area near the back door where we want to create a wood shed.

Here's the almost finished chicken run, and some assorted garden debris!

The tenants

OH has been working crazy hours recently, and helping out (for free) at the rugby club with their sound system, and I've been doing the garden, so we spent the day relaxing on Friday.  I couldn't resist a quick charity shop rootle on Saturday morning but only spent 50p.  This lovely summer top from Gap has a side zip fastening so fits really well, and is fully lined too. I found it in my favourite independent animal charity shop where they often have large baskets of clothes outside for 50p or a pound. 

Today we have been for our weekly walk around the village, the lambs are getting bigger and now, instead of running from us they follow us!  They were in another field away from the public footpath and I imagine this could be a reason for their bravery.

 We walked down a lane we've not been down before, and quite frankly I'm not sure about driving down due to its narrowness, and the national speed limit signs which I think is ridiculous!  Could you go down this lane at 60 mph?

I couldn't and wouldn't and don't think anyone should either.

We soon came across a set of steep steps in the bank, a way of getting off the lane and up to the public footpaths running through the fields, known locally as the Devil's steps, apparently.

Very steep!  Nice views from the top though!

Just a couple of fields from home now, nice gateways to pass through

and a glade of trees to walk round

Past the church, and we are home!

I do like those twin bootscrapers by the door

My walking outfit

Moto jeans £1, Tommy Hilfiger rugby shirt £1, both charity shopped, brand new Hi Tec walking shoes £10 (reduced from £35) from The Original Factory Shop in Stourport on Severn, and a warm Cotton Traders parka shaped fleece, bought new.  It costs hardly anything to look this cheap!

This week we have the architect coming, who will do some millimetre perfect measuring up for the builder and chat about our ideas for altering the layout of the cottage (honestly, who puts a downstairs loo next to the lounge, who?!)

I'm hoping to get some semblance of a woodshed constructed this week.  Give it 7 days and we'll see!

Linking up with Patti's Visible Monday!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Croome with(out) a view

I hope you've all been having the stunning weather that we have had here in Worcestershire over the past week!  It gradually got warmer and warmer until Thursday when I was burnt to a crisp whilst doing some painting outside in the garden.  As a consequence I had to wear long sleeves when we visited Croome Court and park on Friday.

Croome (managed by the National Trust) is in South Worcestershire, and our 45 minute journey there was memorable for the fact that we didn't pass through any towns or cities, it was just all pretty country roads, absolute heaven!  

The property itself was remodelled by Lancelot "Capability" Brown, his first commission, and the interiors were done by Robert Adam.  There are no furnished rooms in the property, as it has had many varied uses over the past 100 years, namely a boys school and during the Second World War it housed the Dutch royal family and RAF Defford.  It has also been used by Hare Krishnas.  

We were expecting the usual spectacular views of the Malverns from Croome, but unfortunately, due to the previous day's hot weather and apparently lots of sand blowing in from the Sahara, the Malverns were shrouded in mist.  They are usually pretty obvious from the view below

It was warm enough for sandals though

As I said, the insides are pretty bare, there are still a few grand bits on show, namely this fantastic marble Adam fireplace, the mantle is well over six feet off the ground

Rather splendid ceilings

Ridiculously high doorways with broken pediments (I'm using OH for scale here as he is 6'2" tall)

and ornate plasterwork and gilding, redone by the Hare Krishnas I believe

I have to admit this isn't my taste

Outside, we wandered around a small part of the substantial grounds, which appear to stretch as far as the eye can see and are pretty much man made by Capability Brown.  He created a lake, and a river, designed and built many follies and this lovely church which he positioned on top of a hill, the interior being designed by Robert Adam

Each twist and turn of a path in the grounds reveals follies, I do love this rotunda

More interesting gateways!

and the odd statue dotted here and there, this one is of Pan

and some modern additions!

The house itself is presently undergoing a huge amount of restoration work, and is almost completely covered in scaffolding and protective wrapping

A shame but ultimately necessary.

Back to reality, and this week I managed only one bargain buy in the charity shops, this rather nice knitted and fringed waistcoat from the Indigo range at M&S.

                                            At a pound I think it was a great buy!

Have you had any good finds this week?  Do tell if you have!!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Time and tide wait for no man

Time flies when you are having fun, so the saying goes.  It also seems to fly when you are trying to get lots done, even if it isn't fun!  And what's that saying attributed to John Lennon? Life is something that happens while you are busy making other plans. 

I can't believe it is almost four months since we moved into the cottage.  We have done so much to the garden in the wet, windy and wintry months, and are now planting like billy-o! Everything is a muddy mess at the mo so I won't post pictures.  The chicken run is now complete so the girls have their home sorted and have now come into lay for the year.  They are all pure breeds and are too posh to push over winter!  Here's yesterdays eggs, just in time for Easter;

We've been for a stroll to see the new lambs in the nearby fields, they are so funny and make the cutest little bleats!

We also have rabbits playing in the field next to the garden.  Unfortunately, it looks like a couple have become food for the buzzards who hang around the area, there are bits of bunny fluff rolling around on the breeze some days.

Talking of time flying, although I don't remember it, I was christened on Easter Sunday in 1966, mum says it doesn't seem that long ago.  We still have the Gothic Victorian parlour organ! 

 I still have this funny watch necklace that my godfather gave me, I uncovered it recently whilst sorting through all our unopened boxes, it still works too!  I might have to start using it.  Not sure whether it is sixties or 1970's though (it wasn't a christening gift!).

Not much charity shopping has been done this week, but I did have time to grab these lovely bargains yesterday.

Zandra Rhodes 100% silk scarf, new with tags and exclusive to M&S £1.99

Country Casuals linen jacket in a lovely denim blue just £1 

and a nice little silver necklace for £1 too.  Not a bad little haul for £3.99. 

 I'm now on the lookout for a tan leather bag. Curiously, I saw loads of cream leather bags all nice branded ones and all less than a tenner, last week, but I really don't think cream is very me. 

I'll be tucking into my jelly bunnies this afternoon, I'm not a huge fan of chocolate.

Jelly Bunnies, who knew!!

Happy Easter everyone!