Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Don't Break the Bank for a Stylish Christmas

In recent months I have tried to be even more savvy with my food and household shopping. Money is tight, but even if I had pennies aplenty I still wouldn't waste my hard earned cash. Why would I? Why would anyone? I truly feel that every penny saved makes a difference to my budgets. And as you know I'm the kinda gal who wants quality but refuses to pay the earth for it.

I have made the time to do my 'big' shop across two main stores now. Lidl and Morrisons, and it is really working for me. I'm lucky in that I have both of these stores a short drive from me and in close proximity to each other. So I can nip into Lidl and then across to Morrisons. Yes it does take more time but I do save enough money to make it worthwhile.

I picked up the Christmas edition of Morrisons FREE magazine this week and I have to say I'm very impressed with it. Dear reader there is absolutely no need to spend your £4.95 on a 'posh' Christmasey magazine, when you can get all the information, help and festive titivation from this mag.

Over 145 pages of articles, recipes and tips to make your Christmas the special event you want it to be.

You can even go onto the Morrisons website and watch these three celebrity chefs in action cooking their favourite Christmas recipes.

So how did I spend my 'saved' £4.95? On these fantastic sparkly silver reindeer candles, 6 for £2.99 at Lidl.

Perfect for the Christmas day table. And this adorable tiny Swedish angel rotary candle holder, 99p in my local chazza shop.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Boy Oh Boy Did It Rain

The Deluge by William Etty

The Christmas event at Charleston was a HUGE success despite the incessant rain. And thankfully nobody ended up in quite the same state as the young lady above.

Photo copyright  Penelope Fewster

Hundreds of people turned out to see the family of reindeer, who kept the smiles on faces all through the rotten weather. A very jolly day indeed.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Christmas at Charleston

This time of year, heading towards Christmas is such a terribly busy time. I do manage my time well and can usually step up a gear when I need to but I have to admit to feeling a bit frazzled at the moment. 

But I must press on me dears, as there are lots and lots of things that have to be done. I can hear a lot of voices in the ether concurring with me. Yes, yes, busy busy we are, (does that sound like Yoda in your head too, or is it just me?).

I'm fortunate in that I get a decent break from the day job over Christmas and a chance to recharge my batteries, so in my mind I'm working towards that. Plus I have a very special treat to look forward to in just a few weeks to celebrate my birthday, but more of that particular wonderfulness later.

So this weekend I will be galvanising me old bones into action and taking Shrimpton and Perfect to market, because as we all know, not only is Christmas a busy time it's also bloomin expensive, even for a thrifty chick (well hen then) like me.

Charleston farmhouse is hosting it's first big Christmas event this Saturday 24th and I'm lucky enough to be having a stand there. Over 20 makers and crafters will be plying their wares, including Samantha Stas who has just featured in this month's Mollie Makes.
And there are other VIPs coming or should that be VIRs?

I'm very excited about getting up close and (sort of) personal with a family of reindeer.

I'll be selling some fabulous pure wool hand made knitwear, from original 1940s knitting patterns.

And the good news? I'll be selling these garments for just the cost of the yarn £45.00, as they were knitted up as samples for me when I had my vintage knitwear company.

There will also be lots of other vintage goodies and desirables at sensible prices, so pop along if you can.

and pick up a gift that someone will love.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Agatha Kills Poirot-Again

Just heard on the Christie grapevine that the last scene of the final Poirot story has been filmed thus ending David Suchets long association with Agatha Christie's most famous detective. Boo hoo I say.

They have yet to film the four other stories that David is contracted to, but he apparently wanted to film the last story before the others.

Maybe it is because in the last story, Poirot's last case, he is totally immobilised by arthritis and has to rely on Captain Hastings, I think the little Belgian detective would feel that to be a very poor show indeed.

When Christie wrote the novel in 1975, ending the life of Poirot, The New York Times reported a front page obituary for the detective, How cool is that?

And how cute is this?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Flute, Saucer or Coupe?

It's funny how your tastes change. I used to think champagne flutes were sophisticated, but not any more, I much prefer a saucer or coupe, even though it holds less and is more susceptible to spills.

And these 'upcycled' versions are just divine.

These little beauties are made from discarded cut glass stoppers, left overs from vintage decanters. Such a great idea.

Exclusively available at Liberty's, designed by Lee Broom for his 'Half Cut' range.

Legend has it that the coupe design is supposed to be reminiscent of a woman's breast, Marie Antoinette no less. But don't let that put you off.

I buy my saucer/coupe glasses in charity shops and at vintage events. They are all different designs, but always feel very special  and go down a treat at parties.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

And The Winner of My Christmas Book Giveaway

Is Rosemary of 'Where Five Valleys Meet'. Just let me know your postal address dear girl and your festive bible will be winging it's way to you.
For everyone else a thrifty tip. Second purpose your old post it notes by using the sticky end to remove dust between the keys on your keyboard.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Most Extraordinary Thing

There was I resting me pins and easing myself into a very gloomy and wet Monday morning, sipping my favourite cuppa of Earl Grey and Vanilla tea and reading Mr.S&P's This Week  magazine, when I saw the most extraordinary thing. I had to think hard, had I somehow managed to travel back in time to April Fools day? No? Then this must be for real.

A full page advert from MI6 recruiting for spies. Yes, spies. The advert as you will see looks totally innocuous, but that's the point, you have to be alert and curious to even notice the advert.

How exciting to join the Secret Intelligence Service, I'm in, although my intelligence is far from secret.

I already have an essential bit of kit, fortuitously purchased from the V&A's Hollywood Costume exhibition only last week.

I shall insist on the code name Secret Squirrel,obvs.


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Proud to Remember

I watched the coverage of the remembrance service at the Cenotaph this morning and found it deeply moving. I felt a great sadness and empathy for all the families effected by the loss of their loved ones and friends, and being a mother of a young man of 23, the heart breaking stories of the young lives recently lost resonated the most.  

Yet what was also evident from that loss was an enormous pride and dignity surrounding their lives. A pride at being a member of the British army and what it stands for.

My father like his father before him was a member of the army. Grandad served during the Boer war and the First World War. My father an army man for over 17 years travelled all over the world in defence of his country and democracy, joining up two months after his 17th birthday.

This is my dad on the right of the picture aged 5 years.

And here he is again with me at my first wedding in 1984 when he was 73. 

Reading his service record (only quite recently), was quite a humbling process for me as he had been involved in so much, yet he never really spoke about it. 
Dunkirk and D-Day, the liberation of France and fighting deep within the heart of Nazi Germany. At one battle near Sourdevalle on 6th August 1944, lasting half an hour 160 men in his battalion of 550 were slaughtered.

I do feel tremendously grateful to all of our service men and women then and now, and immensely proud of their fortitude and decency.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Poor Old Puss

I had to drop off our old puss Pendragon at the vets this morning.

She lay in her little basket  (once we managed to capture her), and just trembled. I felt so bad when I left her  I thought I was going to cry; I had to have a few stiff words with myself. They had thought she was having problems with one of her teeth and so they were putting her under to remove it.

But once they had a closer look they realised it wasn't the problem they thought it was and so just descaled and cleaned her gnashers instead. What a relief.

She is back home now and is purring very loudly like a tiger. Come on Pendragon give us a smile :)

Monday, 5 November 2012

How to Knit an Elvis Scarf

I thought I would share what I'm up to on the knitting front. I have made one of these scarves before as a gift for one of my all time favourite English eccentrics, Debo the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire.

I absolutely adore everything about her, including her love for Elvis. Which explains the scarf. 
And dear reader I have it on good authority that she has been seen wearing said scarf , too thrilling :)

Anyway I'm knitting another one. I have some of the wool left over from the original scarf and as it is fairly quick to knit I can fit it in before the two other knitty projects I plan to complete before Christmas. 
I'll probably sell this scarf to get some pennies towards my annual pilgrimage to Chatsworth. Yes, I have to go EVERY year.

It looks a little bit crumpled and curly here but all will be straightened out when I block it once complete.

I made the design up myself using graph paper, it's a fairly simple process, and would translate to other designs if you have an idea in mind.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Bible of the Beat Generation

The British Library is exhibiting the manuscript of the novel that defined a generation. In London for the first time. Until December 27th.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Come on

Ah come on all you shy Minnies, enter the giveaway. There's loads of you dropping by :)