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!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Sew in love

After weeks of chucking out, I'm finally getting round to thinking about sorting out those items of clothing that need a tweak to make them wearable. 

Altering those pesky £1 Jane Norman turn up jeans the other week has given me my sewing mojo back and I set to on a pair of Levi 501's bought on ebay for the OH.

He virtually refuses to wear any other jeans, and as you know, they are anything from £55 to £70 brand new.  We (well, just me actually) trawl ebay periodically, searching for the elusive button fly red labels to keep him stocked up, usually at around £20 for a lightly worn pair, if you are lucky.  It appears to be worth the cost as Levi's last for eons, and the pocket linings are the strongest I've come across.

Anyway, a recent purchase provided a conundrum, they were too long. Way too long!  OH has a 34 inch inside leg and these were at least 36 inches.  Label said they should have been 34 but...

After a quick trawl of the internet, I came across several tutorials showing how to keep the original hem whilst removing length, and chose to follow this one from Snapguide 


Bit more detail for you

I had to cut the excess off as it was longer than the hem and quite bulky.

Another project I'm just mulling over is this pretty home made dress that mum came back with when she went to help the local village hall clear their loft out.  It appears they had a sewing club there many years ago and they left an awful lot of half finished projects, fabric and shop bought clothing to cut up, in the loft when they disbanded.

We donated the other items she rescued to the local chazza, but I was rather taken with this dress.  The fabric is a little vintage looking, it reminds me of the Magic Roundabout!

It is a lovely thick glazed cotton, I can't find a selvedge to find a printer's mark though, so am in blissful ignorance of its origin.

I'm not into pink, but love this print, and am hoping to get a summer maxi skirt and maybe squeeze a fitted top out of it too.  I dropped the hand stitched hem and found a further three inches of fabric and the dress was already too long on me so fingers crossed!

Only one purchase this week, since the epic Ercol find the other Friday I'm not sure anything will live up to that.  I bought this pretty wool cardi from ebay, at a cost of £7.94.  A trifle more expensive than I like to pay but I can never find nice cardigans in the charity shops, and they are so expensive brand new.

Pity the seller didn't notice the oversized top buttonhole that the button wouldn't stay in, or the stain on the front, something I didn't notice either until after I had given it a quick wash.

The buttonhole was hand stitched with a matching thread to tighten it up and is now good as new.

I'm still on the lookout for another cardi though.

This past week we had a flying visit from OH's dad, who now lives across the water in his native Ireland.  We decided to take him out for the day and popped over to Witley Court via the Dog Inn at Dunley

We visited the Dog on my birthday, and it was quite empty then.  I was really surprised to see hardly anyone in the place again, as the food is beautiful and very reasonably priced, and the French Maitre d' is attentive (and a rugby fan!)

We arrived at about 12.30 and were the only ones there for quite a while.  I had the ranch burger and OH and his dad had the Cumberland sausage with mustard mash, which looked amazing.  With drinks, the bill was £36 and we were very full. (apologies, totally forgot to take a photo of the food!).

Onwards to Witley, to walk it all off.

A trio of trouble!

Wearing: new-to-me Seasalt raincoat £29 ebay, Grey leather Fat face boots (possibly £35 on ebay but can't remember) and H&M teenage jeans, £2 chazza find.  One of my more expensive outfits.

I love all the moss on the fountain, bet English Heritage don't though

Witley is huge, you can only imagine how amazing it was when lived in

The fire damage is most evident in the ballroom

The building is still beautiful though

The front porch is bigger than our cottage

The back portico is probably the largest in England on a country house

Plaster still on the walls

Beautiful window surrounds 

Walls without floors

Witley Court is maintained by English Heritage, and well worth a visit if you are in the area.  It is very atmospheric and was featured in the video for A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procol Harum, in the late sixties.

OH has kindly offered my limited sewing services to a friend who has wrecked the zip on his expensive rugby stadium coat, I've been sitting looking at if for a fortnight now and haven't plucked up the courage to attack it.  Good job I googled around as I've found a super quick way of replacing the zip and the friend is happy to let me do it, so much less faff, will update next time! 

Monday, 4 April 2016

The chick has attitude

I detest shopping in normal shops.  If I'm forced to go normal clothes shopping (usually only ever if I have vouchers to spend) I get very twitchy if I can't find anything within an hour.  As I'm not a follower of fashion and the range of clothes I feel comfortable in is very narrow, this can be a trial.  I'm not one for make-up, can't blow dry or even think about colouring my own hair and don't do perfume or products.

So, I thought I would do something totally against the grain and recommend some products I've been using recently.  Knowing me they could possibly be discontinued as it takes me an age to get round to using 'stuff'. 

Here goes:

I do like a good body scrub.  I usually buy whatever is available in the pound shop, but a while back got this product from Boots 75% off sale.  Soap and Glory the Breakfast Scrub.  

The smell is amazing, have to stop myself from scooping it out and eating it! 

They've changed the recipe since I bought this, and it is available on a buy two get one free at the moment in Boots.  The reviews are very good and I can concur, it is fab! 

Next up, I'm getting better at using hand cream, and over the years have tried some supposedly great ones (Neutragena, I'm looking at you!) but have settled on cheap Avon ones instead.  By the computer I've got an Avon Christmas one based on paraffin, which is excellent, but this Avon one smells divine and sinks in really well

I do have an Avon one with royal jelly in it, absolutely horrid and am using it on my feet.  Once it is on your hands it just won't rub in.  Gah, I really hate sticky hands!

Hair next, I'm currently using a men's Next shampoo that OH was given for Christmas but can't use as he has fussy hair.  It is absolutely fine for me.  My choice of conditioner at the moment is this cheap Creightons one from Bodycare, 99p.

Lovely stuff and doesn't weigh my fine hair down at all, actually I think it is giving it a bit of body.

Body moisturiser next, I'm using this at the moment, bought it in Poundland and love it, when I remember to put it on.

So there you go, if you have tried any of these and agree with my findings, I'd love to know!  (if the opposite is true, let me know too)

Back to the task in hand, I'm still decluttering like a good 'un, and my ebay listings grow ever longer.  The local charity shops are doing well too, and so is Facebay.  I have a bin bag of stuff to get rid of this week as well.  This was last week's pile

We had a big birthday in the household last week.  My little Araucana hen, Lola (as in "her name was Lola, she was a showgirl") turned 7 on 31st March.  She was the first chick to hatch out of a box of six hatching eggs I bought off ebay.  She wasn't supposed to be a bantam, but she is.  She spoke to me from inside the egg, I spotted the egg rocking violently as she tried to break her way out, and gently "peep peeped" at it to encourage her.  It "peep peeped" back, very loudly and rocked violently!

There she is, one day old.  The girl's got attitude!

Here she is at seven

She is still laying, albeit a little sporadically, but I am so pleased she is fit and healthy in her mature years.

After throwing out so much of my wardrobe, and realising that some of my more well loved items were a bit tattier than I thought, I was very pleased to discover a BOGOF in one of my local charity shops.  i was thrilled to find a couple of tops in with tags still on, and got both for the grand sum of £3.

The one on the left is an Artscape top, still for sale (albeit discounted now) on the QVC website.  The striped one is Esmara, which I now know is Lidl.  Both fit me, although the Esmara one is a 14/16 but works well a bit looser I think.  Here I am modelling them, excuse the cheesy grinning, I need to work on my selfie face.

I'm wearing my £1 Jane Norman jeans which I have altered the turn ups on, on the left I have Moshulu slides from Ebay and on the right I am wearing white BHS sandals, that were free with a cashback credit card voucher.

Saving the best till last, OH and I went on a charity shop trawl last Friday and made an impulse purchase. We spotted this table and chairs in the local YMCA shop, which is closing down this Friday, and decided we couldn't leave it.

It was £45, and is Ercol (yes!).  

The table is the Chester pedestal style and the chairs are Windsor Shaker.  The cushions are a bit ropey but replacing them with proper Ercol ones will cost hundreds, so I plan to cut the tabs off and make my own cushion covers to go over the foam pads.

The highly sought Ercol button!  

The label says they were made in 1981. 

I have cleaned the chairs since the photo was taken, they were rather dusty. To continue the good karma, I gave the old table and chairs away on Facebook to a nice young couple.  It was a modern Argos set I bought in 2007, and has served me well considering it only cost £80. 

What's your latest bargain?