Sunday, 20 December 2015

Seasons Greetings

A very Merry Christmas to one and all. I hope the New Year brings good health, wealth (in all its forms) and happiness to all of my blogging chums.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Good Morning My Friends

Well my blogging chums this will be the last post for me. I have been on 'holiday' from the blogging world for the last couple of months and as I suspected it has had a tremendously positive impact on my life. In the sense that I'm not using up precious time deciding what to post. Is it good enough? Is anyone out there that interested in my ramblings anyway etc.

I hasten to add that although I have not been 'transmitting' I have most definitely carried on 'receiving'. I really enjoy reading all your fantastic blogs in all there myriad forms. They uplift me, inspire me and inform me, in a way nothing else does. So I might not be posting anymore but I will continue to be part of this wonderful community, after all you are my virtual friends.

There are major changes a foot in my life. Hopefully moving to a different area of Britain and starting a new business working with my husband.

If any of you want to keep in touch I'm on Pinterest, simply click through on the button on the blog to see what I'm up to.

Or if you are inclined it would be great to link up with you on Twitter: @perfectjean.

Yvonne from Winter Moon and Barbara from March House Books already chat with me there.

It's been a blast. Thank you all.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Girl Time

I'm away for a few days, popping up north to visit a chum who's feeling a bit cheesed off. The Mister is staying behind, plenty of work to do and all that. Besides she needs some girl time !

Here is a pic of the city I'm going to visit, can you guess where it is?

It's a wee bit colder up there so I'm taking plenty of warm clothes. Tis a pity though I can't take my knitting on the plane. (What the authorities think I could do with a knitting needle, that anyone couldn't do with a biro is beyond me).

Lovely weather down here at the moment though. Spring is most definitely on it's way. I know this because Pendragon has started to 'sunbathe' in the little hot spots around the house.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


There is so much bad news and cruelty being displayed throughout the world just now. I don't need to list all the grisly goings on, I'm sure you know what I mean. I thought I would highlight two initiatives that have helped me see the bright side of life.

Firstly The Scandinavian Kitchen team have linked up with a charity called Magic Breakfast. The charity works with schools in deprived areas to identify children who are in need of a good breakfast before the school day starts. Sadly 1 in 3 children in England go to school with an empty stomach.

They provide porridge, bagels, toast and cereal. It gives the children the best possible start to the day. For every bowl of porridge bought at the Scandi Kitchen they will donate a breakfast to children in need via the charity.

Image Jessie Willcox Smith

The other project that brought a smile to my face was the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm. Set high up on the roof of an office building in New York, is an organic garden, founded a few years ago, it now supplies nearby restaurants with all their vegetables. They simply bicycle over their orders. The public can shop there too and they also have educational and volunteer programmes. A real community success story. Everyone working together, just how I like it. If you click on the link you can watch a very sweet little film all about it.

I like to think the Green Giant might help out at weekends.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Life in the Knitty Nud

I wanted to share this short animated film, amazing in it's execution and wonderfully silly. Take the time to get past the musical introduction to the film proper and I'm sure it will delight you. It's quite saucy and risque, full of double entendres, in true seaside postcard fashion.

I first saw it over at Crafts from the Cwtch.  Make a pot of tea, and click on this link, you'll be transported to the yarny village of Woolly Bush.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Dame Vera Lynn Dresses Auctioned

Another gorgeous sale today at Kerry Taylor Auctions. Lots and lots of special costumes and some surprises too. Here is the link to today's catalogue if you want to take a squiz and see what went under the hammer. I'm hoping it will stay on-line for a while and give you a chance to view it.

In the past they have sold some very high profile clothing and textiles. I had hoped to download a few more images for you but alas I think there was some kind of 'technical hitch'. So I only managed a couple, which show a vintage suitcase and some dresses donated by Dame Vera Lynn to be sold for a charity.

If you like perusing beautiful clothes and textiles, you can sign up for their newsletter and get information on future sales. It doesn't matter if you don't buy, after all a cat may look at a King.

Welcome to my latest Google Connect Follower(s) The Squirrel Family who blog here.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Buns and Bacall

I am amongst other things a Sarf London girl, Battersea born and Fulham schooled. I love London, and go up to the big smoke as often as I can. I keep a small list of things I'd like to see or do up there and try and tick a few things off the list in one hit.

Tuesday was The Scandi Kitchen and Bonhams, plus lunch at the 'club' to make use of my free 6 month membership I received with The Lady magazine subscription.

I've been wanting to check this place out for a while. It was smashing. My chum and I shared a Semlor cake with some fresh coffee. Divine. I also made a few essential grocery purchases.

We then pressed onto Bonhams to check out some objet d'art from the estate of Lauren Bacall, due to go under the hammer in New York next month. I do love a bit of Hollywood glamour. Brought up on it you see.

They only had a few lots on display, which are touring  London, Paris, Hong Kong and Los Angeles before the big event. Beautifully displayed with some gorgeous huge black and white images of Miss Bacall, totally seductive. The auction in New York will be made up of more than 750 lots. Oh if only I had some spare cash masses of cash I would definitely try to buy something. The estimates look quite low, but I just know the items will go for huge amounts.

A few years ago there was an 'attic' auction at Chatsworth. One of the lots was a tiny brooch that had been owned by the Dowager Duchess, Debo. The estimate was something like £250. I left a bid of £450 and the hammer went down at £4,500. Nuf said.

Monday, 16 February 2015

A Busy & Fun Weekend

Valentine's date night went really well, with The Mister getting back from the rugby in goodly time. We don't tend to go out to eat on Feb 14th anymore as we always find the prices are hiked up and the quality reduces accordingly, with two sittings being the norm in restaurants.

So after some research I decided that the Waitrose £20 deal was going to be the best option for us. It was tremendous value with a choice of starter, main, side dish, pudding, fizz and a small box of chocolates. That is all I bought from Waitrose though, as I went on to do the rest of my shop in Lidls and Morrisons. Going to 3 supermarkets in one morning was a bit of a schelp, but I don't mind as it meant I got the best deals from each shop.

The starter I got from Waitrose we actually had for lunch today with some salad and coleslaw left over from making a lunch for friends yesterday. So that stretched the value even further.

I made my own starter on Saturday with the last of our home grown beetroots. A healthy beetroot hummus, which I have to say was picture perfect in its vibrant hue.

The recipe was quick and easy.

350-400g boiled beetroot
1/4 lemon juiced
4tbsps thick natural yoghurt
3 tsps olive oil
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tsp cumin seed toasted and crushed
S&P to taste.

Simply blend all ingredients with a hand blender until smooth, then tweak any flavour adjustments.

Served with warm pitta bread it was gorgeous, although I say so myself.

We've had a very busy weekend and are a little bit over tired, (I feel a darkened room may be calling), as we went out on Friday night too. Still all good fun so I'm not complaining.

Friday we went for a light bite and a glass of wine, before going to see a 1965 Dr Who film at our local heritage cinema, Hailsham Pavilion.

It's such a lovely place to go and on Friday they even had a real Dalek to greet us in the auditorium, I gave him a wide berth of course, I'm not silly. The Mister tried to get on the right side of him by offering him some tea, but the Dalek wasn't having any of it. Apparently he'd already eaten, but what or who I wonder?

I saw the film when it came out in 1965, my big brother took me, it was wonderful seeing it again on the big screen.

Saturday, 14 February 2015


Hope you're all having a lovely time today so far. I've got a date night with the Mister this evening. He's at Twickenham at the moment watching rugby, so I'm sorting things out at Perfect Towers. I can't say too much about my plans for tonight as he sometimes takes a look at my blog on his train journey home. Can't catch me out eh?

More importantly here are some treats for you m'dears. First off a lovely bunch of roses to show how much I care.

And some delicious coconut and chocolate cake that is guaranteed not to make you put on weight.

Lastly and non virtually here are the details for some 'free' flower or vegetable seeds. Woman's Weekly magazine is running an offer for 5 packs of seeds, you just pay £1.99 postage. All you have to do is sign up for their emails. HERE.

Hope you all have a brilliant weekend with the folk you care about most.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Cake, Cream and Questions.

I have had a rip roaringly busy day and feel as though I have achieved much, and the day is not over yet. I feel the urge to blog.


A couple of days ago I baked my first cake from the smashing Scandinavian book I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

I am as you know dear reader trying not to indulge over muchly in calorie laden food. But I have decided that to make just one cake a week would be OK. Especially as I normally have one slice and The Mister valiantly eats the rest, to save me from myself. He's a brick.

The first cake, a chocolate and apricot pound loaf didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. Kinda dry I felt, although The Mister had no complaints. It may well be down to the fact that my oven cooks a wee bit hot. So if I make it again I will turn it out earlier than the recommended hour and let it firm up in the hot loaf tin, outside the oven.

Next Wednesday I have some friends over for afternoon tea and will be making a second selection from the book, chocolate and coconut cake. The choice of cake was largely decided by the fact I have left over chocolate from the first one and a pack of desiccated coconut in the pantry.

I have also been 'pimping' up my bargain face cream from Lidl. I use their Cien Q10 moisturiser because I find it every bit as efficient as the Nivea Q10 one it replaced, at a fraction of the cost.

It is rather bland smelling though and I do like my face potions and lotions to have a strong floral fragrance. I usually only get a really fine fragranced one when I get free samples from Espa or Elemis. So to get the expensive salon effect I have added my own essential oil blend. Camomile, Rose Geranium and Frankincense. The latter being especially good for more mature skin. It smells divine and strangely, feels much better too.

I also put a few things on Ebay today:

a rather fetching Wade teapot

and some pretty Ming sateen cotton fabric

Lastly, I have been trying to understand some of the mysteries of my Blogger dashboard in a bid to improve my blog. And so I have to ask you dear blogging chums for some advice. I have discovered during my research into setting preferences that I have my custom robot txt and my robot header tags disabled. My question is should I enable them to help my SEO and are there any down sides to doing so?

Also how does one set up labels on the sidebar of a blog to categorize topics and subjects so that folk can find posts more easily.

Sorry about the homework, but if I can't ask you guys who can I ask?

Friday, 6 February 2015

Getting Hygge With It

Hygge is an old Danish concept that helps Danes get through their long dark winters. Originally an old Norwegian word for well-being, it roughly translates to coziness. It's all about creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. I approve, not only because of my Scandi crush, but because I think it's a good blueprint for life generally. Denmark is officially the happiest country in the world, I think more Hygge is required all round.

Last Saturday I had the best Hygge evening. Listening to Lisa Tarbuck on the radio and knitting by a roaring log fire. Pendragon meanwhile was experiencing her own Hygge moment enjoying the underfloor heating in the kitchen.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Images of Childhood

Just checking in with some info on a couple of exhibitions I've been to recently, that I think may interest one or two of you.

The first was at a fairly local school gallery, Mascalls in Paddock Wood, Kent. I hadn't been to this little gallery before but happily somehow got sent an invitation to the private view of 'School Prints, Art for the 1940s Classroom'. The Mister and I spent a lovely hour or so, drinking Prosecco and secretly wishing we could take some of the works away with us.

'Some of the most important contemporary artists were commissioned to produce original, hand drawn colour lithographs with accessible imagery'. It was a bid to expose school children to their first experience of contemporary visual art. And was the brain child of Brenda Rawnsley, who by the third series managed to persuade hugely important artists such as Picasso and Matisse to participate.

Vogue magazine loved the school room concept so much, the prints were touted as the clever way to add colour to interiors.

The second exhibition contains a lot of heart warming nostalgic imagery from my own school days.

image BBC

'Ladybird by Design', has just opened at the de la warr pavilion East Sussex. A celebration of the significance and affection that we feel for these early childhood books.

Looking at these gorgeous illustrations brought back floods of memories for me.

Not that my own experiences were reflected in these depictions of a middle class Utopia. I love them nonetheless. A gentler, simple and more uncomplicated way of life, well that's how I remember it anyway.

The exhibition displays over 200 original illustrations that cover a selection of Ladybird books from the 50s to the 70s.

There is no admission charge to either of these delightful exhibitions and they are both on for a wee while yet, pop along if you're in the vicinity.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Happy Days

I don't know if you all saw the 'Eat Well for Less' programme the other evening. Basically Greg Wallace and award-winning greengrocer (whatever that means), Chris Bavin were purporting to help families eat healthily while saving money. What they actually did was swap the branded products the couple normally bought for cheaper alternatives. Good in itself as it did save them money, but they didn't tackle food waste, balanced diet, proper menu planning, food management, i.e. cook once eat twice, nor the possibility of them growing some of their own fresh produce. Amazingly they also ignored the elephant in the room, the £1000 worth of excess food they already had in their home. No, they sent them out to buy more. I thought the programme failed on many levels and I'm sure that many of my fellow frugally clued up blogging chums will feel the same.

It did get me thinking though about balance and harmony in the home and how important it is to me and my husband that we live and eat well and make the most of all of our resources. A strong waste not want not ethic. Since I stopped working full time I have had the luxury of being able to spend more time making sure we get the best value for money on everything we 'consume'. This gives me a great sense of contentment. Money is hard earned and should be spent mindfully. That's not to say we don't spend when we think something is worth it and will enhance our life experience.

Sue over at Frugal in Suffolk  has just written about finding pleasure in small things and how it can make you happy. I couldn't agree with her more. For me, having everything in order at home is my life base from which everything else stems. It does indeed make me happy. Yesterday I made a lamb casserole in the slow cooker for dinner last night and cooked up a batch of roasted red pepper soup to have for lunch today and froze the excess for another time = happiness.

Because we don't waste our money we have more disposable income then friends who earn more. I feel it's a strong framework for a happy life.

It also means we can book tickets to go and see a poptastic icon of the 60s.

A warm welcome to my latest Google Friend Connect follower Carol, thanks for joining my site.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Year of The Sheep

2015 is the Chinese year of the sheep.

The first day is on February 4th, with the Chinese New Year day on February 19th.

For the Chinese New Year celebrations China Town in London's Soho goes into carnival mode and the streets are filled with much gorgeousness and festivities. It's a great place to be, the atmosphere is high energy and the food and 'dancing dragons' make it a very special celebration.

Because it is the year of the sheep, the Campaign for Wool has collaborated with the Michelin starred Chinese Dim Sum tea house Yauatcha, and will be transforming the restaurant by designing a pop art window display. There will also be an unconventional art gallery and woolly make over of the restaurant space. All sounds jolly interesting to me.

At home my woolly endeavours are still going apace, working towards the completion of my knitty blanket.

I'm working on my forth strip of knitty squares, 36 squares in each strip, with one more strip to go. Then I intend to sew the long strips together and finish off with a fancy edging of some description in black Lopi Icelandic wool, which I bought during my trip to Reykjavik last year. I have been sewing ends in as I have been knitting so it's nice not to have to do that all at once.

I have been using up my stash to make the blanket, so it sort of feels as though I'm getting it for free. I have to admit though it doesn't seem to be making much of a dent in my yarn supplies. But it has stopped me buying more yarn for the time being, which is defo a good thing.

Welcome to my latest Google Friend Connect follower, KimmyKimmy 07, who I don't think has a blog for me to mention.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Inspiration And The Snow Child

Champneys is a great place to recharge your batteries and enjoy a wee bit of pampering. I went hoping to energise myself, get loads of exercise and to get my head around reducing my portion sizes.

The Mister and I eat really well and healthily but my portion sizes have crept up, and with drinking a glass of wine most nights, the weight has crept on. I can happily report that I achieved my goals, made a dent in my flobbage and have returned home with a good mind set. Now I need to carry on.

I went with one of my best chums, no Willie that is not her in the waistcoat. She, god bless her, managed to get us a tremendous deal through an associate so we only paid about a third of the going rate. I wouldn't say it was worth the full rate. But for my budget it does feel as though I have made a good investment in my health and appearance.

Whilst there I read the most extraordinary book, inspired by a Russian fairy tale, Snegurochka. The tale of an old man and a woman who form a little girl out of snow and she comes to life.

"Alaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding - is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her?"

This Newsday review sums it up beautifully. 'Ivey, a native Alaskan, knows how to make the frost glow in a window, how to describe light flickering through birches in a way that plays with the reader's imagination........The book is full of reflections in dark windows, lamplight, alpenglow.......Ivey sets up the two most powerful forces in any story: fear on the one hand, potential for the miraculous on the other'.

A wonderfully evocative and spiritual story of love, in an icy magical and powerful landscape. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Another book to mention is the cutest little journal that arrived at my house whilst I was away.

A giveaway win, my first, from Cornish Chickpea who has a smashing blog just here. Thanks again Chickpea, I will put it to good use. Can you all see the quote on the front? It's from A Midsummer night's Dream. " Though she be but little, she is fierce". Sounds like my kinda gal.