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Is there a Scrooge equivalent for Halloween?

Sunday, 31 October 2010

I may be exaggerating slightly. I don't really hate Halloween. It's just that I much prefer Bonfire Night (fireworks are more fun than fancy dress) and the whole event is very much associated with work for me. For the past 5 years I've spent the day frantically turning the place into a haunted house, then hiding in cupboards/behind wardrobes and scaring the hell out of people at the evening event. It's all very good fun and I'm secretly rather proud of the fact that I've made grown men cry with fear, but it's still work. I decided to have a break from the scaring part this year so my day has been spent doing the cobwebbing etc, then as a total change I went out for dinner with friends in the evening instead.

Daytime clobber was practical and really not very attractive:

Jeans & vest top - Dorothy Perkins (the jeans are so baggy now!)
Flannel shirt - Primark
Cat earrings - Asda

The fake cobweb looks RUBBISH in this picture - it was considerably more impressive when I'd done the whole room.

Evening outfit was a little more polished:

Jeans, in a size that fit me - Dorothy Perkins
Top - courtesy of the delightful Helga (thank you again sweetheart, I love it!!)
Cardi & ring - Primark
Shoes - Irregular Choice Flicker Flack
Clutch & earrings - ancient
Bangle - pinched from Mum

These are the shoes I treated myself to on my last jaunt to London. They're my first pair of the Flick Flack style and they won't be my last - they're so comfy! I'm totally in love with the fabric, and the little buttons, and the snazzy red heel tip.

ps - Mr Pizza Express man, if I order a pizza with no cheese and tell you that I'm allergic to dairy, what makes you think it's a great idea to slather my salad with vile cream-based dressing? Moron.

I Love Payday

Saturday, 30 October 2010

October was a bit of a frugal month due to some unexpected expenses. November won't be much better as I'm going on holiday and have to pay for that but I've done my budget for the month and allowed myself a small amount of spends for fripperies like clothes.

How to stretch that small amount? Firstly, sales shopping:

River Island currently has 50% off all sale prices so for the princely sum of £15.50 I got some House of Holland "House" tights, some green fishnets, a plain longsleeved cream top, a nice slouchy green top with a key & padlock pattern and the best bit - some gorgeous tapestry cord shorts. These are the first pair of shorts I've ever bought. I'm still not sure I'm brave enough to show that much of my thighs but I was too taken by the fabric to leave them behind.

Secondly, charity shopping:

I do love discovering a new charity shop, especially when it's a local one that doesn't dramatically overprice stuff. I think I spent £9 in there and got all of the above stuff. I'd almost given up hope on the white blouse hunt so was chuffed to find this vintage beauty. The patterned thing next to it is a more modern tea dress. And £2 for some vintage, never worn, burgundy leather sandals? Don't mind if I do!

Going home with a bag full of lots of lovely cheap books makes Alex a very happy girl. Elizabeth Goudge is one of my favourite authors and her books aren't always easy to track down, so I did a small jig of joy when I saw a 1956 hardback of Green Dolphin Country, in immaculate condition, for only 50p. The roaring 20's book looks like much fun too.

Thirdly, a little vintage store:

It sold such nice things and they weren't expensive at all. I fell mildly in love with a checked 50's day dress but as I'm nowhere near a size 8, it wasn't meant to be. I got myself a fluted chiffon green and white scarf instead, and this very cheerful white and yellow tank top.

I also discovered a little bazaar type shop with lots of interesting furniture and fur coats in. Tucked away right at the back was a true find but I'm not going to share pics because it's going to be a present for someone else and I don't want to spoil the surprise.

I think I did rather well. Can't have spent more than £30 in total and that wouldn't get me a nice jumper in most High St shops!

Your Questions Answered

Thursday, 28 October 2010

I have eventually got round to answering these!

Are you Liverpool born & bred?

Sort of. I was born here but the family moved to just outside Leeds when I was one, then back to Liverpool again when I was 10. So I'm mostly Scouse but a bit Yorkshire too. I don't really have much of an accent of either place (any Yorkshire burr was well and truly bullied out of me by the time I finished primary school) but the Scouse does come out when I get irate.

Do you like to cook?What's your fave kinda food??

I do all the cooking so it'd be a problem if I didn't! I much prefer baking and making cakes, desserts etc to "proper" cooking though so my repertoire is a bit limited. I made a New Year's resolution this year to learn a new main course every month and it's going quite well so far! Fave kind of food? Well I'm limited because of the dairy allergy so there are lots of things I don't/can't eat which is a tad annoying. But as long as it won't make me ill and isn't too hot (my tastebuds are late developers and I've only just started eating curries etc), I'll eat pretty much anything. I love old fashioned English food - roast dinners and stews and suchlike.

Do you think cats/otter and ducks are similar?
Um, no?

Do you fancy coming to NZ?!

I really do! Mum is threatening to retire and go on a 6 month camper van trip around NZ in a few years and I really want to go with her for part of it. It's somewhere I've always wanted to visit.

Are you a lefty or a righty?

*hopes you mean handedness - a discussion of my political affliations could take some time!*

I'm a righty. Fun fact about me though - I find left handed men really attractive.

What is your shoe size?

Size 6/39 - I'm sure someone my height shouldn't have feet this big. They have shrunk a bit since losing the weight though, but thankfully not too much or none of my beloved shoes would fit!

I would like to know more about your career? You seem to have such an interesting job, but don’t really know exactly what it is you do, and I have always wondered!

Oooh, I'd love to know more about your job - it always sounds so interesting! Tell us more!

Hmmm, I wonder exactly how much to reveal here? I don't want to go into exact detail cos, you know, this is the internet and all. But then again, I never say anything bad about work on here (because it's generally wonderful) so why not talk about it?

I work for a heritage charity that looks after historic houses, gardens, countryside and coastline. I won't give the exact name but if you're UK based you've probably heard of us. It's a charity that my family has always supported and I grew up visiting properties all over the country. The big bonus about working for this sort of organisation is that everyone is there for the right reasons - they believe in what we're trying to do. I am genuinely passionate about what I do and I absolutely love my job.

As to what it entails, well I'm a bit of a jack of all trades. Technically I'm in admin but that covers all the admin, HR, payroll, handling enquiries, web editing, managing the various booking systems, bits and bobs of marketing and graphics, group bookings, weddings, lots of volunteer management, project work, events etc. It is NEVER boring. I help with as much of the conservation work as I can too - technically nothing whatsoever to do with my job but it's where my interest really lies (plus I love the smell of furniture wax) and on the job training is a lot cheaper than jacking my job in to do an MA and then become a full time volunteer!

I am seriously lucky. Yes, the pay is rubbish (charity wages are not high) but I don't do it for the money, I do it because I love it and I can't imagine wanting to work for anyone else. So many people are stuck in a souless office 9-5 and I get to work in a very old house and do all sorts of crazy things. I sometimes feel I should write a book about it - over the past 5 years I have done some truly bizarre things in the course of a working day (Lisa is stuck up a ladder balancing some antique duelling pistols and needs me to rescue her? Just a normal day in our place.)

I have a question! Do you live on your lonesome or with parents or with housemates? Random I know but these are the nosy details I like to ask.

I share a house with my mum. On my wages I can't afford to live by myself and after the divorce and house sale, neither could she. I'm really lucky though as we get on very well and we don't get in each other's way so it's just like a house share. Plus she's awesome - that makes life much easier.

Question - the best day out you've ever had? Home or abroad? What did it involve? xxx

Ooh tricky one! I've had lots of amazing days in my life but sticking strictly to the wording of the question, the best day out was probably 16th May 2001. 18 year old self and pal Nicki bunked off Sixth Form for the day, ventured to Dortmund along with thousands of other Liverpool fans, got adopted by some nice moustachioed men who gave us beer and taught us some new songs (totally non pervy of them, I swear) and watched our team win the UEFA Cup in a rather chaotic but thrilling game of football. I have never shouted so much in my entire life. I had no voice for about 4 days afterwards. It was bloody brilliant.

Please don't laugh at how much shiny polyester we're wearing.

Who or what would you say has had the most influence on your life so far and why?

Who? Probably my mum. She's an inspiration. My grandad is a constant reminder of what a truly wonderful person it's possible to be. I might not have his musical, artistic or creative talents but I can try and be as nice a human being as he was.

What? Books. No one book in particular, but I can't underestimate quite how important the written word is to my life.

What's your favourite building/ruin/castle in the UK ~ and why?

Well my favourite style of architecture by far is Georgian but my favourite places never seem to date from that era. Curious huh? I've been to a LOT of historic houses and castles and I could reel off a list of reasons exactly why I like each one but that might bore those of you who don't share my love. So, limiting it to two:

I love the building I work in. I genuinely mean that. I get a bit blase about it sometimes because I see it day in, day out, but it's STUNNING. I am possibly a little bit mad but I talk to it sometimes, especially when we're reopening after the winter and it actually feels like it's waking up and getting excited that lots of people are about to come and see it again.

Haddon Hall is somewhere that I go to again and again, just to enjoy the atmosphere and the sheer beauty of the place. It's somewhere that's grown over the years rather than being planned and that just makes it so much more fascinating. I am very fond of the Dining Room there for some indefinable reason.

Oh the annoyance of it all

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

This really is a super cute dress and the fit is lovely - makes me look far more boobalicious than I really am and then skims over the problem stomach area. People at work liked it and I got some lovely compliments so was altogether feeling rather pleased with myself today (this doesn't happen often). Then the photos look nothing like my reflection in the mirror and I feel as if I look enormously pear shaped and I start feeling a lot less pleased. I'm blaming Jen - her post today has clearly cursed me! Perhaps it's all in the mind and you'll all tell me I'm mad and look fine. If not, I'm blaming the camera. It looks nice in real life, honest!

Dress & tights - Primark
Cardi & shoes - New Look

I'll stop beefing on about looking fat now. Here's something altogether more cheerful:

He is so very handsome.

Racy In Red

Monday, 25 October 2010

I had a rather fab day at the races on Saturday. I had two winners and two thirds out of four bets so I was a) happy and b) rather richer than at the start of the day. I employed my usual combination of reading the form, inspecting the horses in the parade ring and then picking on sentiment. It works though! Just Smudge (we used to have a cat called Smudge...) zoomed in at 8-1 and then my trusty old favourite Monet's Garden ran his usual brave, bold race and came home first to the cheers of practically everyone there. What a horse.

Winnings are not there to be spent on practical things so I bought a new hat instead.

As for my outfit for the day, I went for wintery fabrics, spiced up with some jazzy red accents, and based it all around wanting to be warm and comfortable. No heels for me, not when I'm going to be on my feet all day. A chilly October day is NOT the time to wear a party frock, heels and nothing else - not that this stopped some girls. They would have looked amazing in the summer but all the goosebumps on show rather detracted from the overall look at this time of year.

Vest - Zara (I know, again. It does get washed though, honest)
Skirt - Warehouse
Tights & pearl headband - Dorothy Perkins
Cardi - Matalan
Brogues - River Island
Ring - Primark
Blazer - vintage St Michaels, via Oxfam
Clutch - courtesy of Margaret from Penny Dreadful Vintage - I made her a pom pom necklace and she was lovely enough to send me this in exchange.

The blazer needed a wee bit of alteration before I wore it as it had these beasties tucked away inside the lining. Easily sorted though and I'm very pleased with it. Am equally pleased with the skirt as I bought it when I was about 13 and it's never fitted. It does now though, muahahaha.

Holy shoulder pads Batman!! That's an A4 sized magazine they're sitting on - they're huge!!

Ps - sorry for the lack of weekend posts - I've given up on the pc. I tried to keep up on comments via my phone but it's a bit tricky due to screen size etc. However all is not lost as I'm going to pick up a shiny new netbook after work. WOO!!

Scavenger Hunt!

Friday, 22 October 2010

The delicious Helga tagged me with this and I thought, as I'm feeling ROTTEN and not wanting to share outfit photos today, now would be the time to take her up on it. So I have to track down the following things:

Favourite You Tube vid:

I can't embed it in here but please click here to see it. Too funny to miss.

Post a picture of something geeky:

I really love board games. Perhaps not Monopoly because it goes on forever and bores me but I'll play Cluedo, 221B Baker Street, Trivial Pursuit, Echelon, Articulate, Scrabble, Carcassone and lots of others until I fall asleep on the board.

Find a picture of something that makes you go awwwwwwwwwwww:

Well, every picture ever taken of Oscar but I must try not come across as a crazy cat lady all the time so...

I want romance.

Find a funny T-shirt:

I love Balcony Tshirts, especially the range of town/city tshirts that they do. It's a close tie between this one and the Basingstoke one but I'm part Yorkshire so this one wins. And just because I know Helga will appreciate it, here's another.

Post a still from my favourite film:

It's from Ever After. Mock if you wish. I love films and will watch pretty much anything, but my favourites list is generally composed of cosy things and I have such a soft spot for this film it's untrue. It's either this or Mary Poppins* depending on how I feel on the day. Today my girlcrush on Drew Barrymore wins.

* And you definitely can't mock Mary Poppins because Mark Kermode loves it too and he is God. So there.

A blog I have recently discovered:

Foof & Faff. She's lovely, go read her blog.

Something from my wish list:

Rock & Rule pj's from David & Goliath

I really want them, especially as I've just got rid of most of my ancient and baggy pyjamas, but I'm just not prepared to spend £35 on pj's!

And I'd like to tag:

Laura at A Daisy Chain Dream

Kel at Hair Advice and All Things Nice

Kandi at Kandipandi's Pad

Belle at Bellevintage

Bit of a mish-mash

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Ever feel like you've just rolled around in your wardrobe and walked out of the house dressed in whatever happened to stick to you? Yesterday was one of those days. Looking back at the photos though, I actually quite like it.

I'm not sure who I pinched the idea of layering fishnets over coloured tights from - I know it's one of the MSE gang but for the life of me I can't remember who. Thank you though! I love it, especially chocolate brown over purple (aka Cadbury legs)

Coat - Monsoon
Vest - Zara, via a friend
Cardi - Primark
Skirt - from a vintage fair.
Tights - bottom pair Dorothy Perkins, fishnets Evans
Pumps - New Look

ps - The technology situation has not improved. The pc is diabolically slow and took TWELVE MINUTES to go from one photo to another in picture viewer yesterday, at which point I lost my rag and went to bed instead. I think a new laptop is an absolute must. Or perhaps a netbook? Does anyone blog from a netbook? I don't see the point in shelling out for a full laptop when I'm going to be using it mostly for the internet and a bit of writing.

Why Does Technology Hate Me So?

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Evening all. Just a quick* Monday outfit post - I'm working from home tomorrow and won't be wearing anything interesting enough to bother blogging so thought I might as well pop up a few pictures tonight instead.

Today was a first run out for this rather lovely vintage shirt which I picked up for £2.99 in a charity shop. Bargain! I only realised today that it's missing a button or two but luckily they aren't in crucial places and there are a couple of spares sewn on the inside anyway. I'm pondering a full button alteration though as they're not the most interesting. It has a rather wonderfully pointy collar but as you will read below, pictures are proving a problem tonight so I can't show it to you. Sorry!

Shirt - via Oxfam (original label is half cut out so not sure of the brand)
Jeans - Dorothy Perkins
Brogues - River Island sale
Jacket - think it's Primark originally but I got it for 50p at a car boot sale and it's practically brand new.

Bag - Next (brand new) via charity shop

* well it was intended to be quick. I have killed the laptop tonight though (it's really dead and won't even load up in safe mode) so had to hook up the old pc to write this. Naturally it won't work with the wireless network so I've spent the last three hours lying on the floor in the hall with it plugged into the world's shortest cable, battling to edit pictures. I gave up in the end. Apologies about the picture quality.
I wonder if it's worth it sometimes. Surely a sane person would have just gone to bed by now, not be lying in the cold begging an inanimate object to work.

This Week

Sunday, 17 October 2010

I have been:


My tights. Due to my fairly large sock collection, there is no room in the drawer for any tights. I decided to make my little weekend case earn its keep and shoved them all in there. I seem to go more for colours than patterns...


Restrepo. Which I thought was very good. I love war related films and books but as good as some of the fictional ones are, they're never going to convey the same sense of realism as a documentary. This was really powerful stuff, very honest and very moving, especially when it came to the reactions of the soldiers to the things they've seen and done.


Nothing! So poor.


My nails in Barry M Emerald Green - isn't it pretty?


Some tweaks to the blog in terms of sidebars, changing my profile pic etc. Still need to get to work on the header though!


Chocolate cake in a cup. I just fancied a little something this evening and remembered the post I'd seen about it on A Thrifty Mrs. Yum!


That the makers of artificial sweeteners are BAD PEOPLE. For some unknown reason they almost all put milk in their little round sweetener tablet things. Muggins here didn't know (the powder version is fine, I didn't think they'd be different!) and has been accidentally poisoning herself whilst enjoying coffee.


How big Oscar is. Well you did ask! I would say he's on the large end of the cat scale but he's quite slim, so not one of those massive cats who have bellies that practically drag on the floor.

(shouting at me as I arrived home from work)


My new followers - hello! I'm thinking that now might be the time for a little "about me" post. I have no idea where to start though. The Girl has just done a very interesting Q&A couple of posts, so I'm going to shamelessly pinch her idea and ask you to ask me a question (or two, should you so wish) each. Is there anything that you're desperate for me to talk about? Anything you really want to know? Ask away...

Take One Skirt...

Friday, 15 October 2010

(Yes, I should have taken the photo before wearing it all day, not afterwards. Should probably also have remembered to cut the tag off before I wore it...)

It is definitely not something I'd usually buy. I am not the sort of girl who can waft around in a floaty cream coloured thing and not end up with some sort of bizarre stain on it by the end of the day. Consequently I don't buy that sort of clothing. I admire it, I even go and stroke it sometimes, but I don't buy it. So how did I end up with this beauty? It was very kindly sent as a free gift by Gemma from Pink Haired Princess when I bought a couple of things in her recent blog sale. I looked at it and ooh-ed over it and hung it up for a week or so, then finally decided, what the hell, I might as well wear it. It is a very different length and colour to anything else in my wardrobe but this year has been all about branching out so it seemed like an opportune moment to try it.

Skirt - H&M via blog sale
Jumper - Dorothy Perkins
Tights - Ethel Austin, I think
Pumps & earrings - New Look (I wear these earrings stupidly often)

I am not entirely convinced by the overall look of the outfit. Perhaps it's just because it's a step out of my comfort zone, who knows? Thoughts/opinions/criticism are very welcome! (don't be mean though - I am feeling very poorly and I might cry if anyone is horrid). Any ideas on what other tops I could pair it up with?

I wore it with flats today just from sheer lack of energy to pick out a better pair of shoes. I tried it with The Fierce Boots ™ when I got home but I'm not convinced it actually looks any better. Plus, y'know, I can't actually walk in them for more than about 3 hours so they're not really a practical option anyway...

ps - I didn't get any dirty marks on it, woo hoo! That's got to be a first for me.