Monday, 31 December 2012

A New Year In A New Home

Hello All! I hope all of my lovely followers & readers had a wonderful Christmas, and I wish you all a very happy New Year!!
This will only be a quick post, but I didn't want to finish the year without updating my blog - something which I have truly missed over the last 6 weeks or so due to the house move and not having internet access for a little while! All is now sorted however, and I am so pleased so say that, after 6 months of uncertainty, we moved in to our beautiful new home just before Christmas!
I will write a proper post in the week, but first just a quick catch up of our Christmas, somewhat rushed, but I managed to get most of my decorations up and we have had a lovely, cosy week, Mia and (a now very big!) Baby Boy had a lovely time and just love their new home!

Happy New Year to you all xxx

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Family Halloween Fun!

Over the weekend we celebrated Halloween a little early, due to Mia going to spend some time with her dad this week over the half-term.
As usual, we had our little family party on Saturday evening, we have a large fancy dress box which we add to now and again when I manage to find second-hand dressing up costumes in charity shops or at a very reduced price (50p in our local Tesco!!). These provide hours of entertainment, and Mia loves us to dress up and take photographs in the various costumes, wigs and masks! Saturday evening we had;

We put up a few decorations and had a party-tea consisting of “Dead Man’s Finger” hot-dogs and “Zombi flesh and minced-brain” (pepperoni and chilli minced beef) pizza.  The table decorations, plates, napkins & crackers were all bought at a very reduced price - 60p for the box of crackers after Halloween last year (Tesco), which i've worked out will last us for 2 more years to come! And the plates, cups & napkins were all sealed in their packets and in the local jumble sale at 10p a pack! (again, these will last us another few years yet!)

Washed down with a “blood” drink, (red food colouring added to lemonade). Mia LOVES this, and the husband makes the horrible drink every year – which usually ends up being left in the jug after only a few sips because the lemonade is tainted by the taste of the “beetroot” red food-colouring! Still, it’s all good fun, and despite this Mia always insists that he make it. 

We ate our gruesome tea whilst listening to a CD of horror music and by the light of a few lanterns. Baby Boy didn’t quite know what to make of it! He kept looking behind him at the huge spider!
Afterwards it was time to carve the pumpkins which the husband and Mia got stuck in to whilst I put Baby Boy to bed, and then it was time for Ghost Stories by the light of the pumpkins – which made for more fun than a DVD!
However it was perhaps not a good idea to have done this before bed, we’d hastily chosen a story from a book of ghost stories that I’d bought some time ago from a jumble sale and never read, so I’d asked the husband to choose a suitable one for Mia. Unfortunately as the story unfolded, it was becoming blatantly clear that it was not quite as suitable as he'd first thought - judging by Mia's wide-eyed look of horror as he began to describe the "mutilated  body of poor little Tommy Tucker"!  I quickly intervened, announced that I wanted to finish off the story, and pretended that it had all been a "joke" all along, and that Little Tommy Tucker was in fact alive and well, and had been hiding behind the door, as opposed to being killed by an unknown entity in the creepy cellar!  Mia seemed satisfied with this explanation and told me as I was kissing her good-night "i'm so glad that Tommy Tucker was OK!"  Hmm, mental note I think to put that book away for another few years, despite it stating "suitable for ages 8 years & up"!
I will leave you with a photo of Baby Boy's bat picture which our child-minder bravely made with him and her 18 month old daughter last week - apparently there was glitter everywhere!
Happy Halloween!
Marina x

Friday, 26 October 2012

Our Little Vampire

Just a quick post today, to share a photo of Baby Boy in his Vampire costume ready for his first Halloween party yesterday morning at baby group! 

This was my BARGAIN buy back in the TESCO sale in January  - they were selling lots of dressing up costumes for just 50p each so I stocked up! I refuse to buy new normally, but you can't go wrong when they're that cheap!  It's actually slighly too small now as he's big for his age and it doesn't do up around the tummy, but no one could tell!  He had a great time at the party crawling around like a mad thing with his cape flying out behind him.

This weekend we are having our little family Halloween party - every year we dress up, have lots of yummy food, decorate the dresser and take lots of photos..Mia is very excited, especially as on the way home from school today we are going to buy our pumpkins :)

Marina xx

Monday, 22 October 2012

A Favourite Book & Memories of A Gypsy Wagon..

Mia & I are currently reading “Danny the Champion of the World” by Roald Dahl.
I am really enjoying this book, having read it as a child and all but forgotten the story since, it has been wonderful to become familiar with the story once more and to share in Mia’s excitement as she looks forward to the next chapter. We read together every evening, usually a chapter at a time, and I like to introduce Mia to the classics that I enjoyed as a child by authors such as Roald Dahl, C. S. Lewis, Enid Blyton, the list goes on.
"Danny the Champion of the World" though, above all, has really captured Mia’s interest and imagination, she has begged every evening for more than the usual one chapter, and most nights we have ended up reading three at a time! Right from the start she was captivated by the thought of Danny and his father living in an old Gypsy caravan, just one little room, with bunk-beds and a little stove and oil lamp. She thinks that would be absolutely wonderful and has been day-dreaming as to what it might be like to sleep in one herself. 
This thought, has brought back a lovely memory for me, from when I was in my early teens. It was the summer of 1994, (eighteen years ago, goodness me!) and  sticks in my memory as I have always considered it as being the very best summer of my teenage years.
It was the year that I got back in touch with an old friend, Poppy, with whom I’d played with when I was very little, but she had gone to a different primary school from me, and we’d lost touch after the age of 5 or 6. Her family lived not too far away however, and I’d never forgotten her, so that summer I decided to write to her (no e-mail or text messages back then!) and see if she remembered me. I got a reply within a few days, and much to my excitement she had invited me to visit her that coming weekend. I remember I used to walk to go and see her, which used to take me about half an hour, mainly through fields and country lanes. 
The things which stick in my mind the most, and what really sum up Poppy and her family to me are; their huge, ramshackle old farmhouse, the renovation of which always “in progress” but never completed, piles upon piles of old books covered in thick layers of dust, faded black and white framed photographs of family members during the 20’s & 30’s (very glamorous!)  sat on the piano (again covered in dust!), wind-chimes tinkling in the early evening summer breeze, Poppy’s mother, an actress, very "bohemian", slightly well-known for a short time back in the 70’s for her role in a popular soap-opera, and Poppy's father; an author of some sorts, an old typewriter & mounds of manuscripts piled on his desk which buckled under the weight of them. “Friends from London” would arrive on a weekend, with whom they had parties lasting until the very early hours, and an “ancient” great-grandma, long white hair in a bun, lived in one part of the vast house, who always sat in her rocking chair, staring out over the meadow, lost in her own thoughts of the past. And absolutely BEST of all... the old Gyspy bow-top wagon in the meadow behind the house!
Just as Mia has been, with that in "Danny The Champion of the World", I was immediately taken with the beautiful wagon, and was jealous beyond words!

(This isn't the actual wagon belonging to Poppy & her family, but a photograph I took of one extremely similar!)
One week during that Summer, it would have been in the August because I distinctly remember that Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” had been released a few weeks earlier, and Poppy loved it! She played it all the time, and whenever I hear that song, it too, brings back these lovely memories.
One weekend Poppy’s parents went away, I forget where, but Poppy was left behind to “keep an eye on Grandma”, and to feed the dogs. I was permitted to stay and keep her company - and the best part - we were to camp out in the Gypsy wagon!! I remember being so, so excited! It was one of those summer evenings which we just don’t seem to have these days, dry, hot and muggy, when it stays light until gone 10pm. We took Poppy’s two dogs (for company) who slept on the floor of the caravan, and Poppy & I slept in the bunks – I was on the top. The interior of the wagon was much as it had originally been, and I remember the little tassels on the curtains around the bunk. We lit candle lamps and had a camp fire in the field where we tried to cook our dinner, although I do recall that it didn’t quite turn out as planned and Poppy had had to go back to the house to finish it off in the oven! We were joined by a little girl called Jenny. She would only have been around 8 or 9 at that time, had the most beautiful blue eyes and long, dark curly hair, and lived in a caravan a few fields away. I don’t remember much about Jenny, though I do recall that she followed Poppy everywhere, never said much, but loved the dogs. She was from a travelling family I think, and her parents never seemed to mind where she went, I remember we were a little annoyed at the time that she had invited herself along, probably because she was so much younger than us, but she was never any trouble. I remember she slept on the floor with the two dogs and became very frightened when we began telling ghost stories during the early hours of the morning – looking back I think we were being a bit cruel to be doing so! I’d brought with me a book of supposedly true ghost stories that I’d recently bought at a bootsale, (I still have it now!), and at the time it was the most scariest thing I’d ever read – I remember little Jenny’s face going pale with fright at the mention of the “Black Hell-Dog Shuck” roaming the countryside looking for it’s next victim! Though even Poppy and I scared ourselves silly after reading that – we screamed and hid under the covers at every rustle in the hedge! 
(image from Google)
I don’t remember much about "keeping an eye" on Grandma, though we did go to check up on her one morning – she was in her rocking chair as usual, and little Jenny hid behind it so she could hear, but not see her. Old Grandma went mad and I remember her saying in a very posh voice, “who are you!? Come out! Who’s that behind there?! Elizabeth is that you??!!” I never asked who “Elizabeth” was, perhaps Poppy’s grandma, (who would have been her daughter), she was very confused by then, and well in to her 90’s. Jenny thought it was hilarious and ran off home then across the fields, to return later that evening for a second night in the wagon – obviously not perturbed too much by the thought of the Black Shuck!
Reading that back now it really does sound like something from a novel! My only regret is that I didn’t take any photographs, of course we didn’t have digital cameras or mobile phones, but I always usually had a camera with me – unfortunately though just not at that time, which is such a shame now. 
I don’t remember seeing Jenny again after that Summer, and as we grew older Poppy and I lost touch once more. Her family emigrated in the end, and goodness knows what ever happened to the Gypsy wagon. The farmhouse has now been modernised, and the meadow where the wagon once stood has been built upon. I will never forget those lovely surreal few nights we spent in it though – it really was one of the best summers of my childhood – memories which were brought back recently after reading the book with Mia.  She has LOVED hearing about them, and I hope you have enjoyed me sharing them too,
Marina x 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Some Good News

Hello all, and thank you for the lovely comments as usual on my last post  - Mia was thrilled to read how so many of you mentioned her beloved "Alf" be it bad or good! She was especially pleased to note Vintage Coconut's comment in that we were right, he was a 70's/80/s cartoon character, and she told us to check out You Tube where some old episodes can be found - Mia loves Alf all the more now..oh dear!
Well we finally had an answer on the house and our offer has been accepted!! We have therefore agreed to the offer on ours, and things are moving along smoothly so far...fingers well & truly crossed!!  Whilst trying not to get too excited at this early stage, we are relieved to finally have an answer and all being well, we should move at the end of November/early December - in time for Christmas! Ohhh trying not to think yet at how wonderful the new house will be to decorate for the festive season!!
And now that I mention Christmas, I know i'm not the only one of us who has been busy planning and perhaps buying a few little gifts already.  I found these most gorgeous Scandinavian girl & boy decorations yesterday in Hobbycraft at just £1.29 each;

It was actually my first EVER trip to Hobbycraft!! I've always wanted to go, but living in remote Mid-Wales i've never had the opportunity, so I was so pleased to find that when we went to Hereford on Saturday to buy Baby Boy a new car seat (he's already grown out of his first one, where has the time gone!?) a new Hobbycraft store has opened right next door to Halfords where we were going to buy the seat! I'd just spent hours in the town waiting with Baby Boy whilst the husband chose some new work shirts and trousers  - I did not expect it to take as long as it did, and certainly wasn't aware at how many different sizes men's shirts come in, e.g. neck size, width, etc, not just plain old small, medium or large then!!  Hmmm not much time to browse the charity shops afterwards, so I wasn't in the best of moods when we went out of town to Halfords..that is, until I spied Hobbycraft! The husband had no choice but wait why I had a browse!
I also came away with some lanterns for Halloween, we always decorate the dresser and have a little family party with lots of scary costumes and party food, so these will be great;
I hope you all had a lovely weekend, the weather is certainly getting nippy now, definitely time for a cup of tea and perhaps a sneaky bun whilst browsing the new Prima Christmas Makes 2012 magazine!

 (image google)

Marina xx

Sunday, 30 September 2012

A Great Charity Shop Haul and a Monster Thrown In For Free!

Well thank goodness it's the weekend!  We've had a very stressful week unfortunately, and would you believe we are STILL waiting for our answer as to whether our offer will be accepted on the new house.  It feels like we have been going around in circles with the whole thing lately, you will recall from my last post that we were waiting to hear whether a "very interested" couple were going to put in the offer they had promised the estate agent they would.  They viewed our house on Monday, again on Tuesday, told her they "LOVED" it and even wanted to put in an offer higher than the asking price to secure it. 

Anyway, to cut a very long story short, they decided after all that, that they didn't like the house anyway.  Hmm..moving on, we still have the lower offer which is still on the table from the first couple that viewed, but of course now we are still waiting for our answer from the seller...he has today promised us we will get that answer next Tuesday afternoon (after he has seen his financial advisor, apparently), though we have of cousre been promised that before, twice already. 
So as you can imagine, after the events of this week, I was in need of a little something to cheer me up, so we headed up to the local school charity shop which opened back in the Summer.  For this week they have sub-let the shop to another local charity, and today was their last day.  Now we often pop here on a Friday, especially when it's the final day before another good cause takes over, as there is almost always an absolute bargain to be had!  Though I have to say, i've never experienced anything quite like this afternoon - I was in heaven!
Baby Boy and I first went in on the way up to collecting Mia from school, so didn't have long, but much to my absolute joy, every item of clothing was just 50p...and so was this gorgeous silk MONSOON dress, which came complete with the original £150.00 price tag!!! And to top it off - it was in my size and absolutely immaculate, obvioulsy still having the price tag on, it had never been worn, and was pristine!

I've found it a bit hard to photograph so I've found these other two images of the very same dress on Google images:

I tried it on when I got home and fits perfectly, though unless I decide to wear a very high pair of heels, I will probably need to have it taken up a few inches, though there is a local lady who does this and her prices are very reasonable.  I just can't get over that i've found a new with tags silk Monsoon dress worth £150.00 for just FIFTY PENCE!  We may have at least a couple of weddings to attend next year so this will be perfect, and I already have a pair of shoes and facinator that will match very well indeedy!
Next I nabbed this vintage hand-crocheted shawl, again worth it for just 50p!  Perfect simply for snuggling up on the sofa with a good book in the Autumn/Winter months;

I could have bought a whole lot more - but I abstained, my wardrobe is crammed as it is, and I was more than happy to settle with what i've got. 
Now for the books - again I could have gone mad, but I held back and settled for a couple of vintage Enid Blyton's and a total bargain as ALL books were just 10p each!  Funny enough I've just been catching up on Lucy's blog "Tales From The Faraway Tree", and she too found the exact same " Adventurous Four" book this week at the charity shop!

While I was browsing and trying to hide my utter joy at the bargain Monsoon dress, Baby boy was getting very grouchy, and the lovely old ladies running the shop were trying to cheer him up - without success i'm afraid, as he's a little under the weather today, his teeth I think, but his blue eyes won them both over and they GAVE him two little teddies to "cheer him up" bless. 

Now this leads me to the "Monster" mentioned in the title of this post.  Upon seeing Baby Boy's "free" teddy bears on the way back from school, Mia was more than a little miffed, especially as once upon a time it had always been her who had managed to bag a freebie at many a charity shop or jumble sale - usually from a lovely elderly lady.  I told her that as a special treat, we could pop back to the shop and I would buy her one little thing as she'd been good and because Baby Boy already had something.  Oh how I regret that now...!
We went in for another browse, and upon looking over Mia, I noticed the she was doing a very convincing job of looking extremely sad at the teddy bears, whilst making a fuss of Baby Boy at the same time and glancing over at the old ladies.  The little monkey's ploy worked - one of the ladies said "oh dear is this your little brother? I didn't know he had such a pretty big sister and I gave him a little something earlier, now I must make it fair - would you like to choose something?" And Mia immediately beams and points to the most HIDEOUS monster on the top shelf - I hadn't noticed it earlier.  The ladies seemed more than happy to hand the thing over, and insisted she take him, despite my polite attempts at "oh you don't need to do that" and I of course because of their generosity simply couldn't tell her to "put it back!" like I normally would, and even popped 50p in to their collection box for their kindess.  So, home with us came..."ALF"!:

Mia carried him all the way home on her shoulders, and even around our local TESCO when we called in for a Friday evening treat - a bag of gingerbread men.  She was CHUFFED, Baby Boy is SCARED of him, and I spent the whole way home trying not to think how awful he'd look in her lovely room against the Cath Kidston boat print duvet cover!
She is tucked up in bed with him now as I write this...his ugly face beaming in the light of her lamp...the free Monster..out of all the things she could have chosen it had to be ALF!

Wishing you all a lovely weekend xx

Monday, 24 September 2012

And Still Waiting...

Just a quick post, to update all of my lovely blogging friends on the “house move” situation!  Thank you so much for all of the positive comments and wishes of good luck for my previous post “A Waiting Game”. 

As you know we were told that we would have an answer last Friday.  Though since I wrote that post, we had a further development in that the owner of the house that we want to buy decided he wanted to see our house!  He has since been TWICE, and had the second viewing on Thursday afternoon.  The other people who have put the offer in, are unfortunately still waiting, as we are waiting to know if this man will accept the offer we have made on his house – regardless of whether or not he decides to put a higher offer in on ours!  He then decided that he wants more time, so asked for the weekend to think things over, and promised an answer today…though as yet, still nothing.  However…to add another cat amongst the pigeons so to speak, we had a call from our estate agent this morning to ask if another lady could come and view our house this afternoon.  They have made her aware that we already have an offer, though we haven’t accepted it yet, and she is apparently “desperate” to see it, as has just sold her house over the weekend and had been waiting until she had done so, before making an appointment to view ours. 

So it would seem our little house is popular all of a sudden! Though we desperately want to know if the offer we have put down on the house that we want will be accepted or certainly is a waiting game!

I will be happy to know one way or another, the waiting is the hardest part for me, the husband's finding it hardest of all, and took the day off work today, which was a good thing as it turned out, as he has been around to spruce up the house ready for this afternoon's viewing.  I've been trying to keep my mind off things and "Keep Calm and Carry On" in true Brit style making many pots of tea and a batch of fairy cakes!

I've kept myself busy with thoughts of Christmas, yes, perhaps many readers will recoil in horror at the utter mention of the festive season whilst we are still in September, but like many of us I'm trying to spread the cost a lot more this year, and it's also my favourite time of year!  I've signed up for Laa Laa's advent Swap, where i'm paired with Country Rabbit, i'm so excited about this and bought my first little prezzie for Kazzy today - something which i'm pretty sure she'll love!
i've also seen that the DVD for Kirstie Allsopp's "Handmade Christmas" series which I think first aired last year is soon to be released - I loved this!! And would highly recommend it for some great Christmas craft inspiration - definitely one to watch with a glass of mulled wine. 
These lovely things have really helped to take my mind off the "possible" house move, and i'm really looking forward to the festive season :)  Is anyone else preparing for Christmas already?
Marina xx

Saturday, 22 September 2012

In Search of Blackberrys...

Today, officially the first day of Autumn, Baby Boy & I went  to my mum & dads' for the afternoon, while the husband stayed home for a well-deserved rest (he's gotten up early with Baby Boy on the last few weekends and let me have a lie-in which was bliss! So I thought he deserved some "me" time), and Mia is away with her dad for the weekend. 
We went in search of blackberrys - my mum wanted to make a pie, and hadn't been very succesful in finding many this year, something which I also found last weekend and I think is down to the terrible wet weather we had over the Summer.    We had a lovely walk, and finally managed to find some at last!! That is at least they weren't small & bitty and most of them were actually ripe - and tasted wonderful!  There wasn't as near as many as there usually are at this time of year, but enough for my mum to make her pie!

Perhaps next year I will have more luck myself, and just maybe muster up something to resemble this!; (well, that is the wannabe Domestic Godess inside me can dream!)

(image from my Ideal Home calendar)

Or what about this which i've just come across on the "Delia online" webpage - it's literally made my mouth water;

Something which were in abundance however were these lovely pine cones, they were everywhere in the lane, we collected a basket-full and i'm going to dry them out a little more and paint them with glitter for Christmas, something which Mia will love - as little girls' do she adores anything where glitter is involved!

I'm feeling very Autumnal this evening, the weather is very chilly out, i'm happy to be wrapped up warm indoors with a mug of tea and toast & marmite for supper.  Definitely a night for digging out the crochet blankets and slippers I think!


I've just come to the end of my favourite Yankee Candle, "Cinnamon Stick", perfect for when the nights start drawing in.  I must ask Santa for another one this year!


I've given my dresser a bit of a change around as I do from time to time, usually to reflect the season, lots of reds and browns and this lovely wooden fox jigsaw I found in the local jumble sale for 50p;

And this vintage deer came home with me recently too, something about him caught my eye, another 50p find;

And finally a fantastic box of wooden counters, from my local vintage store, perfect for our old board games! This Autumn & Winter I would like to spend more time as a family playing games, and perhaps a jigsaw or two. I like Mia to take some time out from television and games such as the Wii whenever possible;

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend  - maybe some of you will have had more luck with the blackberrys than we have! :)

Marina xx