Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Shropshire and Wales, the abridged version

We have just returned from a week in North Shropshire and Wales. I'm trying to get into a rhythm with work, so far so good as this week I have been most productive, thank goodness!

New stock bought and checked over, housework nearly up to date, and holiday washing almost all ironed, phew!

The chickens are all still friends, and are laying lots of little eggs for us, so we have a backlog to get through.

Thought I would share a few photos with you, hence the post title

There you go, a sneaky peek at where we've been. I will be compiling a new post soon. 

I've had a few bargain buys recently that I have forgotten to share

 The toiletries above were all 25p each, I quite like buying these smaller sizes to try out, and it's a token charity donation too

I do like a good cross body bag, and have kind of wanted a Kipling bag for ages, but they are pricy for nylon, I don't recall seeing one in a chazza before, so for around £2 I treated myself! No monkey keyring thing with this bag though. I realised after I bought it that it zips up the correct way round for me, I carry my bag on my right shoulder and I wear most bags back to front.

Today I found this fab Topshop orange cobwebby knit top for a pound so treated myself again. Love the colour and have several vest tops to go underneath, so if Summer is on the cool side it's probably my fault for buying this!  

Right, I have more ironing to do, a whole load of holiday snaps to sort through, and some blogs to catch up with.

Ooh, and this is my 100th post on Blogger!

Friday, 28 April 2017


Well, it's all chaos at pennypincher cottage, I've completely lost the plot and all semblance of time and space appear to have left the building!

The OH has a new work pattern and has to finish teaching at his new studio by 9pm.  He is now back at 9.30, having sorted his paperwork and driven the 2 minute journey home. That's kind of wrecked my blogging time, which was generally 9 till 11pm.

I've got a small shop on ebay, fusing my love of a charity shop, or any other bargain with selling on ebay, something I have been doing for years (cleared a loft and shed plus all my vintage toys over the years). It's a proper business, all registered and above board, and I'm finding doing the books at the end of every month quite depressing at present, having very small profits while building the business is a challenge when you are used to receiving a salary once a month, with all those pesky deductions already done for you!  I should be grateful to be turning a profit, albeit small, after just a few months and slapdash input!

I have also obtained a small business premises near OH, on the same estate, and as it is just down the road, it's proving very handy.  

We lost one of the rescued banties, Florence, in March, she was never well so it was a blessing in disguise that she is no longer with us.  This left me with a dilemma. Do I have rescue hens and possibly end up with my beautiful 8 year old bantam being picked on by bigger hens, or do I buy brand new point of lay (POL) banties and let her continue to enjoy life? Of course, Lola the bantie came first and we purchased a Hamburgh and Friesian from the Domestic Fowl Trust in Warwickshire.

Lola took to them quite quickly, thank goodness, and has since taught them all her naughty habits, I can now listen to her 'let me out' screech in three different tones! Hierarchy has been sorted, and Daphne the Hamburgh is the new second in command, with Maureen the Friesian at the bottom of the pecking order.

Here they are, Daphne is black and white, Maureen is gold (Maureen was named by OH after Maureen O'Hara as she is a feisty redhead)

 Daphne laid for us the morning after she arrived, and Maureen a week later.  We now have a dozen little eggs a week, with the occasional one from Lola, proving she ain't past it yet. 

Pure white Lola egg on the left, pearl white Daphne egg on the right, just to add to the confusion Maureen lays a white egg, should've checked the earlobes before I decided on breeds, doh!

I've had to buy myself a new all singing and dancing phone for business use, internet on the go for ebay and unlimited texts and calls for the rental, got a bargain though so not too much damage done.  Thank goodness for tax deductables!

No major visits to report on as we have been relishing our new found wealth (?) and shopping for all those things we were cutting back on for the past few years, clothing, toiletries etc, we have managed on the very basics for far too long!  However, we have a holiday booked soon and will be sharing the trip with you all.

I am seriously hoping all will soon settle with times and organisation and I will be back with regular blogs soon, thanks for hanging on in there while chaos ensued in the background xx

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

I'm late, I'm late!

Darn it, missed my Monday deadline for the next blog post!

Seems I'm playing catch up again, we are so busy. 

 No time for frivolities and lengthy self indulgent stately home visits, no, all our free time has been used up doing work related stuff and shopping for essentials, including gumtree and facebook furniture pick ups for the OH's new studio.

Last week we moved the OH's business, from the suburbs into the countryside.  He will be able to walk to work, which is good. Whether he will be able to work whilst gazing out at fields, rabbits and horses is another matter! 

I'm now making new blackout blinds for him, I made him some 18 months ago when he moved within the same site in the city, just a bigger room, and now am deconstructing those same blinds to fit smaller windows. 

I also made him some new cushion covers for his new waiting area chairs

Bought the fabric as fat quarters off ebay and it was delivered promptly.  I probably could have had a better deal from a well known fabric store in Birmingham, but it was quicker to buy online.  As you can see I ran out of fabric as I was only going to do two cushions, but ended up with one fat quarter and one fat half!

Charity shop wise, I found a gorgeous solid silver necklace a few weeks ago, for 50p. Angel wings in the shape of a heart.  It is quite weighty, but with the price of silver the scrap value is probably around what I paid for it, no matter, I like it. 

I also picked up these fab burnt orange colour opaques, another 50p, they reminded me of my work days and I have noticed Ann, of Polyester Princess, wearing gorgeous opaques with her vintage dresses.

I have an old Jigsaw wool skirt I need to alter and it matches these tights, that outfit will have to wait for next Winter now, I reckon.

I was tempted to part with a pound each for these biographies, think I will need to broaden my mind before reading!

Both books are in excellent condition. 

 I had a serious book addiction a few years ago, bookshelves groaning under the weight of factual and biographical books, most were donated when we moved, but sometimes I just can't help poring over a shelf of books in a second hand store, I'm always drawn to them.

More shower gel, and that expensive Grace and Cole stuff again, this 200ml tube was 75p

Finally, in a moment of weakness in the Cotswolds and Evesham, a bit of retail therapy.

I spotted this jumper in the EWM sale and ummed and ahhed.  The ticket price was £25 reduced from £30, but at the till it rang through at £16.  I had a similar colour jumper (well, the blue bits anyway!) which is on the way out, so it's gone in the rag bag. 

We went for a window shop in the Valley retail park again and in the Fat Face shop I spotted this hoodie.  Fully lined with fleece and just the thing I need for morning walks through the fields and shopping runs.  The tag price was originally £55, it was reduced to £30, still a lot of money for me, but I've been so pleased with the quality of the jumper I treated myself to recently, that I bought it.

  I think I've spent a lot recently in proper shops but looking back at my blog, where I do share all my personal purchases, I can see that I haven't.

Now the only other thing I need is new socks, and I'm off to Asda tomorrow! 

Monday, 27 February 2017

Last Summer pt 3: Porlock Weir

When we booked our Somerset cottage, I began researching places for us to visit.  One place that stood out for me was Porlock Weir.

Porlock Weir is a very small port and tidal harbour, with a long history.  The port has existed for over a thousand years, in 1052 it was plundered by Harold Godwinson, who became King Harold for a few months in 1066, before his defeat at Hastings.

We didn't come to plunder, we came to find a tranquil, picture perfect village-by-the-sea, and we found it. Sheep grazing in fields almost at the shoreline, and seagulls, somewhat laid back compared to their more commercial seaside cousins.

The weather was very overcast, we expected rain at any moment, but is was surprisingly warm, even by the sea.

Today's outfit: Free M&S jeans courtesy of the reward credit card, £1 Jack Purcell Converse, and black 3/4 sleeve t shirt with Chinese dragon, possibly 50p both charity shopped

I was really taken by the colour of the pebbles on the beach, small and very large, in various delicate pastel shades of pink and green.

 These long sticks mark the entrance to the harbour, the deepest entry point for the boats.  As you can see, when we were there the tide was right out. 

When the tide is right in, the grade II listed Gibralter cottages are marooned on their own tiny island, accessible only by a narrow footbridge  

As they are only accessible by foot anyway, I was somewhat puzzled to find a Rover 25 in one of the gardens! (I know the shape of these cars well as I have one of the last ever 25's off the production line)

By the time we had our lunch at the picnic tables almost on the beach, the sky was clouding over and the headland looked quite menacing

We decided to drive back to the holiday cottage via all the interesting places we had spotted on the drive down.

In Porlock itself we found a tiny private museum inside an old pale pink cottage and had a look (no photos allowed inside) 

View from Selworthy Green

Further on up the coastal road we spotted National Trust signs and drove up a very steep hill.  We had found Selworthy Green

A little collection of picture perfect thatched cottages, clinging to the side of a steep yet green hill

 A cup of coffee and cake from the picnic bag in one of the most picturesque places, then back down the hill and onwards.

We noticed yesterday that Dunster had a beach and drove down to park up for a walk.  Surprisingly the beach was mainly sand with a few stones  

Dunster also has a little railway station.

OH was highly amused by this bench, apparently the name of a station in the film Oh, Mr Porter!  I was in blissful ignorance. 

We explored the little station, quietly hoping that a steam train would turn up, whilst admiring the old luggage 

This label for a famous Welsh town, was attached to the curved top case on the left of the trolley

Also known as: Saint Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave

This case has travelled a little further

Finally, after a false start of a diesel train trundling along the track, this little steam train pulled in to Dunster station.

7828 is a fairly new steam engine, it was built in 1950, scrapped in 1965 and ended up at the now famous Woodham Brothers Barry scrapyard in Wales, where the owner found it easier and more lucrative to cut up coal wagons rather than the more awkward engines.  This resulted in 213 of the 297 engines sent there to be scrapped, being rescued and refurbished.  But that is another story!

More Somerset tales soon!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Last Summer pt 2 - Dunster

Day two of our holiday and it's a Sunday. So, first things first, finding somewhere nice to have a Sunday lunch, we chose the Stags Head in Dunster.

Dunster is a medieval settlement with iron age roots.  The basis of what you see now was formed in the late 11th century, and Dunster Castle is mentioned in the Domesday book, being built just after the Norman conquest.  The village grew up around the castle, which sits atop a Tor, or rocky hill.

 Dunster castle from the beach

By the time we had parked up for free in the castle car park, courtesy of National Trust membership, it was almost lunch time. We meandered through the castle grounds, straying into the village beyond, and discovered a 15th century grade I listed packhorse bridge (Gallox bridge, so called as there were gallows nearby) on the way.

   We spotted a chap mowing the lawn to the left and struck up a conversation.  He told us all about the television programme Time Team, and their visits to Dunster and the history of the area around the bridge, that the nearby mature trees will have to be cut down soon as they are unstable and threaten the bridge (the ones behind OH in the photo), and his own walks, he was approaching 80 (and looked no more than 65) and was planning to walk Hadrian's wall for his big birthday!

These quintessential cottages were nearby, how very English is this!

 A quick look around the town and we honed in on the pub for our lunch at noon, prompt.

OH had the roast beef but I plumped for fish, and surprisingly, they reduced the price as I asked for a smaller piece of fish.

We were so pleased we went in at noon, as by half past the place was heaving, mainly with other tourists. We finished up and had a slow walk back to the castle for our tour.

 Dunster church

Dunster yarn market, another grade I listed building and from 17th century

The impressive and original 13th century gates to the castle, at the top of one of the steepest hills I've walked up!

The impressive frontage showing Victorian improvements to Dunster castle

All very Romantic and Gothic!

Inside is very much what you would expect, grand rooms huge fireplaces you can walk in, opulent decoration and sumptuous fabrics 

Look at that massive gong!

Four poster, anyone?

I had to have a go on the snooker table

Nice place for a read

 Interesting to see this guide to the shooting season was produced by a Birmingham company (Birmingham was known as the city of a thousand trades at one point) as were the cartridges, no doubt.

The view from the castle was stunning, and the weather wasn't too bad either!

Right, this is where it gets a bit spooky, we followed the signs to the crypt, and the lights go on and off in some areas,when the lights went off I took a photo

I took this, there was no mist in the crypt, and that swirly bit in the middle is a bit odd.  I'm not a great believer in things that go bump but I'm not sure what to make of it, it was certainly a little creepy down there

Yes, those are eyes you can see shining in the doorway, we could just make out the statue, which was intermittently lit up to scare people

Back down to the village we went, through one of few original bits of the medieval castle, the gatehouse

Wearing: DKNY jeans £1, BNWT Artscape top £2, leather Coccinelle handbag £1, all charity shopped, Eddie Bauer leather sandals Ebay £4 plus postage.

On the photo above you can see the incredibly steep hill up to the castle

Outside of the castle walls and we wandered the village, the narrow medieval streets twist and wind and compel you to go just a little bit further to see what delight is around the next corner.

We found these delightful gardens with a lovely view of the church

 Which happened to lead us to a craft and coffee shop offering cream teas!

 More wandering and we soon discovered secret gardens at the back of the church, how idyllic

Through a heavy wrought iron gate and into a lovely open space

Back around the base of the tor, through the castle grounds to the car park, we stopped to admire the watermill, this building was constructed in 1780 and stands on the site of an earlier mill, mentioned in the Domesday book

The mill is still grinding wheat today, how fast is that mechanism!

After a lovely day with very good weather, so good that even I had to change into sandals, we set off back to the holiday cottage to plan our next trip in Somerset.

Join me soon for more tales from last Summer