Top Five

Ok, so before I bore you all with my latest top five post, let me first impart ma news.

This past week I have been travelling to work via a hire car, thanks to the fact that my dopey car had a split in a hose that was part of my cooling system. So as it was spewing steam everywhere, it went to the garage to be repaired, which took an age due to the part only being able to come from Chevrolet themselves. It’s fixed now thankfully.

Today, I felt a bit yucky, so Alex cooked me an amazing roast beef dinner and baked chocolate muffins and cookies too. As I do 95% of the cooking, she was very happy to be able to cook me something. So now I’m sat waiting for the very last episode of The Durrells to begin ( massive sobs ), and writing this post, which is…………….

Top Five Heroes.

These are all people or characters who have been massively important in my life. I’m a total dreamer, and I’ve taken these people into my heart for various reasons, so off we go.

5. Alan Rickman.

This man first came to my attention in my late teens, when I saw him in Sense and Sensibility. I thought he was utterly beautiful and his voice was lovely. I always wanted to find someone who would look after me the way he looked after Marrianne in that movie. So sad he is no longer with us.

4. Columbo

I have loved this man for such a long time now. His charisma and dogged charm in this long running series were a total winner for me. I would watch this on a Saturday with rapt attention, just thinking all the time how fabulous this man was. Also sadly no longer with us, but thankfully kept alive by re runs.

3. David Bowie.

There are some people who are alive on this list I promise. Now this man leapt into my life very early on when I saw The Labyrinth one day when I was off school because I was ill. It was literally like seeing the inside of my head on screen. This gorgeous man oozed charisma out of every pore and had a voice that could melt chocolate. I wanted that film to be real so much. When it was announced that Mr Bowie had died, I actually had a little cry, I had carried him with me through my life as something special for so long.

2. Poirot.

I have such vivid memories of sitting with wet hair after it had been washed on a Sunday evening just soaking up as much of Poirot as possible. I loved his intelligence, his gentle manner, his quirks and his dedication to solve the crime. It’s highly likely that this is where my love of vintage stems from. I have seen every single episode way more than once, and the later lavish movie length productions were absolute heaven for me. I utterly adore how David Suchet portrayed him. Poirot definitely holds a place in my heart as he another one who has been carried with me for a very long time. It was a close run thing between the top two but the top spot goes to………..

1. The Doctor.

Now let me be clear, we are totally ignoring the blip that is the latest incarnation because quite frankly no one has enough time for me to get on one of my rants about this disastrous choice. I know some people like her and will feel that I ought to as well as I am female, but I DO NOT!

Let’s concentrate on the other 12. I came to Doctor Who during Peter Davison’s reign, but it was the fabulous Sylvester McCoy who made me fall in love with the Doctor completely. I used to tell people that I wanted to marry Sylvester McCoy, but of course I didn’t, I wanted to marry the Doctor. He was a perfect hero, brave, with an unshakable belief in doing the right thing, charismatic, flawed and with the ability to completely change his face. They have all been great at adding to the complexity of the Doctor’s character, but Sylvester remains one of my favourites along with Matt Smith. Mr Smith was able to switch from childlike joy to devastating righteous anger in a split second. The Doctor has been so precious to me for the longest time and he probably always will be.

So there we have it, 5 people who are very special to me.

TTFNXX

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Serendipity

Finding things when we go a-tat hunting can be quite tricky. This is down to two main reasons; 1, our home is pretty much complete and space to put things is getting smaller, especially as I like things just so, and 2, we really are cheapskates, and refuse to pay very much for items. We have been doing this for about 5 years now, and we have learnt quite a bit about vintage tat, and we know when things are over priced.

Occasionally though, we come across something so beautiful or a rare find, that we just have to have it.

This has happened the last couple of weekends. Last weekend, we went to fabulous Hemswell for a good old gawp round. I’m finding that as most of my days are now spent in a very modern school, that I really crave being around old stuff as much as possible, so I informed Alex when she asked me what I wanted to do for the weekend, that if I didn’t go antiquing, I would shrivel up and die. After spending just that bit too long pondering that idea, she agreed that a good long day in antique heaven would be a great idea.

There is so much to see and hanker after at Hemswell, and we had a fab time and came away with two small but perfect treasures.

We found a whole set of china that must have come straight from a church hall. I’ve wanted a Woods Beryl tea set for ages, and I couldn’t resist coming away with the teapot. This set can be pricey for some unbeknownst reason, but this was quite reasonable and if the cups and saucers are still there next time, I shall be getting them too.

In a small cabinet, I spotted this little lady. She is a wonderful example of a 1950s head vase. She was with a couple of other head vases, which is quite a find as we rarely see these, and when we do, they are astronomical in price, often fetching 3 figures. This one is small and I snapped her up at £15, a brilliant price considering she is complete with necklace and earrings still. I love her and she looks perfect on my dressing table, and I will find some lovely dried lavender stems to put in her.

This weekend, we wound up in a few charity shops, where the gods of tat were still smiling on me.

I spotted this lovely large embroidery in a pile of pictures. It’s so pretty and looks gorgeous on the chimney breast in my bedroom as it goes with the rest of the decor.

Then Alex found the epitome of vintage curtains. Just look at them, they are just the ones that everyone’s nan had hanging in their house. I love them so much and they suit our bathroom window to perfection. I know I’ve not long bought curtains for this window, but how could anyone resist such vintage glory, and at £4 too!

Today, as it’s bank holiday, I have had a lovely day of cleaning with my iPad playing non stop cosy crime, now I’m off to make toad in the hole and roast potatoes for everyone’s tea. I’m one very lucky lady.

TTFNXX

Easter Break

The unthinkable has happened. It is half term, a bank holiday, I’m not full of cold and the weather is glorious!

I’ve had a lovely break from work, doing the things I love most like cooking and cleaning and enjoying some sunshine. Yesterday, I spent the day planting some new plants and then I made my lovely chicken and bacon salad with homemade croutons and honey mustard dressing, followed by some huge homemade chocolate muffins for tea. Everyone really loves that salad.

Tonight I shall be making enchiladas for dinner. Yum!

We have also been working hard doing the garden. It has been a mammoth job but we are getting there now. Our garden was pretty boring but not dreadful, but we wanted something much prettier.

So Alex removed the conifers and old fence and all the gravel. Then I painted the new fence panels and they went in.

It looked bare but much wider without the trees. Then it was time to spend a small fortune on plants.

We put in lots of small perennials, that we hope will grow and fill out the space. There is also five fruit trees, but they are just stick like at the moment, but hopefully you get the idea.

At the bottom in the corner, we have a new whimsical rockery. We have various garden ornaments dotted about too.

Yesterday, we bought two vintage style planters that fix to the wall, so we are hoping to get them up this weekend. Once everything starts growing, it will look very pretty.

The countryside that surrounds us is also springing back into life. I love it when it all starts to look green and beautiful again.

These are the views we get from our back garden and the road that leads to our street. You can see the nearest village up on the hill. I feel very lucky to see such lovely views every day and I’m looking forward to a warm and sunny peaceful weekend before I return to work next week.

Hope you have a good weekend.

TTFNXX

A Cotswold Story

Last weekend was a fabulous one for all of us here in the back of beyond. My boys flew off to Scotland on Friday and totally loved being on a plane and seeing Orkney, and Alex and I had a lovely relaxing break in the beautiful Cotswolds. As I worked through my lunch break by playing badminton with some of my more challenging students, I was able to leave work early, not long after the school day had finished. So as Alex had the day off, she had packed and given the house a good clean, so when I got back at 4pm, we were able to head straight off.

The drive down was great, with us enjoying the radio and chatting away. It was just getting to dusk as we arrived in the village we were staying in and we got our first glimpse at our cute tiny cottage we had rented.

It’s called ‘ The Bothy’, and it was adorable. I loved the slate roof that had tons of moss growing on it. We were quite tired by this point, so we just spent a relaxing evening enjoying the peace and quiet.

The next day we spent hours and hours just exploring all the gorgeous villages. We went to Broughton on the Water, which has a canal running straight through the centre of it, and lots of tiny footbridges so you can get from one side to the other.

It was a very pretty village, but not as pretty as the next one. Bibury, had been described by William Wordsworth as the prettiest village in England, and it is undoubtedly beautiful. It’s so old and was like stepping back in time with all the wonderful tiny cottages.

It felt like we were in the opening titles for Postman Pat at times, it was that picturesque. I could have gazed at those cottages for days and not been bored.

We visited several more villages, all filled with lovely Cotswold stone houses. Next it was off to Cirencester. Alex and I enjoyed looking around all the posh independent shops that filled the high street and that we definitely didn’t belong in. We also found a nice pub to have dinner in. Then it was back to the cottage ready for the next day.

I couldn’t wait to get going on the Sunday, as this was the day we were going to Blockley, the village where they film Father Brown. The village is quite hilly, and you can see the church as you approach, and I may have squealed in delight as I caught my first glimpse. Still it cleared some ear wax from Alex’s ears.

They don’t have to dress the village too much as it’s so old, so it really was like walking straight onto the set.

I, of course, had to have my usual photo looking like a grinning muppet outside, just to convey to everyone that I am a massive fan. It’s a great shame but probably for the best that they weren’t filming as I would have wet myself if I’d have spotted the fabulous Mark Williams.

Some inconsiderate people had planned a christening for that morning in the church, so we had to wait a bit before we could go inside, but it was worth it.

We were treated to this gorgeous stained window and a photo display of the filming of the latest series. I also sat in the same pew that Mark Williams did in one of the episodes, because when in Rome….

I was a happy camper that day, as my dopey face displays, especially as the local shop sold Father Brown memorabilia, and I came away clutching a prized tea towel with the silhouette of him on his bike in my hands.

Sadly it was time to come home, although as we weren’t constrained by two bored teenagers in the back, we took a detour to Stratford upon Avon on the way and saw many thatched cottages including Anne Hathaway’s. This was a after we had spent time looking for the Globe theatre, before our shared brain cell kicked in and we remembered it was in London, Duh!

It was an amazing trip and I am so lucky to have been there and continued my pilgrimage to the places where my beloved cosy crime is filmed. My ultimate aim will be to get to Corfu and pretend to be a Durrell, and to the Caribbean to see Jack’s Shack.

We have already booked our next holiday for August, where we will be going to the Lake District for a week, can’t wait already. Hope you all had a great weekend.

TTFNXX

Back to School

Tomorrow I start my new role as a full time Teaching Assistant, tutoring and supporting secondary education students. I am very much looking forward to starting as well as being a fair bit nervous. On Thursday morning, I went for my induction, to have my photo ID taken, collect my gigantic personal file, full of safeguarding regulations to read, pick up my school master key set and run through fire safety training.

This weekend was mainly taken up with the mammoth task of getting our garden started. So Alex has just about wrecked herself, cutting down conifers and clearing stones, and I have painted lots of fence panels. We squeezed in some time to pick up some bits and pieces that I needed to be fully organised for tomorrow.

First off new shoes. I wanted some vintage appropriate flat shoes, so I would be comfortable all day. I opted for these burgundy brogues, as they will go with lots of outfits.

Secondly a new bag. I didn’t want to be using my vintage bags as they can be quite delicate, so I bought a satchel instead. I love this bag, and nothing screams school quite like a satchel.

Finally, a new lunch box, drinks bottle and pens and pencils.

I do have a true vintage lunch tin, but I don’t want to be taking it to work in case it gets bashed about.

I love this tin, and I use it for picnics but I’ll stick to my new bamboo one whilst I’m at school.

So, I’m all set. My outfit is all laid out and ready, my new car is full of petrol and my bag is packed. All I have to do now is be the best I can be in a demanding but rewarding role.

TTFNXX

Planes, Jobs and Automobiles

It’s been a good few weeks since my last post, as we have been so so busy. Lots of things have been in the planning as we continue to work towards making our lives just how we want them.

So, in a couple of weeks, my kids are flying to one of the islands off Scotland to attend a family wedding on their dad’s side. I have given strict instructions for them to take lots of pictures of the scenery, as I love Scotland so much. Alex and I will be using the opportunity to have a few days away in the Cotswolds. I’ve always wanted to see the pretty chocolate box villages for myself, and we will be going to the village where they film Father Brown too. I can’t wait to stand in the churchyard where the fabulous Mark Williams has stood many times.

On the job front, I have loved my role as a SEN Teaching Assistant, but it was only part time and I really wanted to do it full time. Well as of the 1st April, I shall be doing just that. I have worked really hard to get a full time role in this line of work. I am passionate about helping children to achieve their best no matter what obstacles they face. My full time role will even involve tutoring children to help them gain the best grades they can in their exams. I can’t wait to be doing what I love for the whole working day.

As I will be travelling a fair distance everyday to my new school, Alex persuaded me that I would be better off getting a newer car. I currently have a Honda Jazz, that I has been good to me for a few years, but today, we are travelling to Bradford to pick up my much newer Chevrolet Aveo. My new car will ensure I can get to work safely and reliably for a good while to come.

We also have a load of garden stuff being delivered next week, as work to turn our garden into a cottage heaven starts in earnest. Alex switched to summer mode in February, so I’ve been having to hold her off from starting the garden for a couple of months as I knew the weather wasn’t going to be too reliable at that time of year. Now, as the clocks go forward soon, I have let her off the lead, so to speak, as she can’t wait to get stuck in with her beloved tools.

In other news, we went to the National Care Awards last month, where Alex was the finalist for our region. It was in Birmingham and we didn’t get back till two in the morning! Still it was a good evening with Alison Hammond as guest presenter of the awards, and we enjoyed a very nice dinner.

For starters we had some weird melon and mango sorbet, which Alex loved.

Mains was the softest most gorgeous beef ever with potato gratin. Lovely.

We finished off with an amazing chocolate brownie with ganache and ice cream.

I’m very proud of Alex for getting to the National Finals, she blooming well deserves it as she is very good at her job and being a manager is not an easy thing to do in her industry as she has lots of staff and service users to keep happy.

She is also very good to me, and she bought me a truly beautiful beaded bag and pretty lucite brooch recently when we found out I had got my job.

This bag is so pretty, I love the tapestry on it and the carved Bakelite clasp. It shall be used when we have our vintage trip to the Cotswolds.

My brooch is a carved lucite beauty. It can go with many outfits, as it has lots of colours.

I look forward to more good things happening in the coming months.

TTFNXX

Kitchen Glory

When we first bought our house, we did as much decorating and revamping as we could in order to create a beautiful vintage home. However, time and money meant we couldn’t do everything that we wanted immediately. Since we moved in, we have redecorated the porch and added here and there to the house, but what we really wanted to do was the kitchen. Now, I was happy with our kitchen, it looked pretty, but a couple of things were niggling.

This is the kitchen right after we bought the house and were working on decorating everywhere. As you can see, we had brown carpet on the floor, which was inoffensive, but dull and a bit grubby.

This is when Alex had painted it our chosen yellow, much brighter.

And this is how it was when all my tat was in place. It’s very pretty, but not exactly the completely vintage look I was after.

So, we decided to paint the cupboards and have the floor done. Now I say we, but it was Alex who did the painting. I did pick the paint though, as I had a definite colour in mind. We were all in agreement about the floor. It just had to be black and white tile effect linoleum. I could picture how perfect this would look in my mind, and this week my picture became a reality.

How unbelievably gorgeous is my kitchen now! I love it so so much. It’s so bright and beautiful and I am so flipping lucky to have it. It is the kitchen I have dreamed of for quite some time. The blue on the cupboards matches the blue on my pan stand perfectly. The yellow with red accents really compliments cupboards and floor.

My home may not be to everyone’s tastes or be what they could live with, but I love it, and I’m so lucky to have a family that fully supports me living the vintage life I’ve always wanted.

TTFNXX