Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Pink And Green

Bought this card* the other day; it's been hanging around, waiting for me to stick up other cards I've got above the sideboard.....

Then I noticed a bit of a pink and green theme, in the bits waiting to go onto the compost after making last night's pudding.

It was meant to be strawberries, raspberries and kiwi with brown sugar and creme fraiche. No raspberries, brown sugar or creme fraiche, so 2 fruits with vanilla sugar and natural yoghurt was still lovely.

* Kathy Behrens for Hallmark

Monday, 30 May 2011

New Charity Shop Find

Look what I came home with this week! A lovely 60s powder blue formica folding table. I have been disloyally contemplating changing our a-bit-too-large round table for a while for something a little bit more flexible space-wise.......


....the 2nd pic shows the default setting of Trashsparkle HQ. Yes look away now if you are easily offended by slovenly ways. It is spectacularly horrible in this shot; there's bite cream as I'd just been zapped by something in the garden, a box of granny bandages as I'd strained an elbow lifting the 13 year old's bed to get something underneath it, a wallet to remind me to put money in it for the 12 year old for after half-term, a book called "Icons" I'm thinking of scanning and making into a collage, my parents' wedding photo for a future post, an Australian tea towel and a nursery-rhyme pillow case found last week, an old 70s round sewing basket and 2 old fans found at my mum's the week before, magazines, an Easter Dr Who mug which is cracked and should be a) thrown out or b) used upstairs as a pencil pot, a battery-powered lightbulb(!!) for the cellar, bits of newspaper from a collage I'd done the day before, and some scribblings to do with James Bond posters on ebay.... I need an office!

So. Which table should I keep? Should I take the Minimalist Challenge of the blue one, or stay with this one???

More on the How Good Am I At I.T./DIY: This morning I took the side off the computer tower, cleaned all the dust out, put it back together again. And it still works!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

An Afternoon With Men In Make-Up

Nope, not been down Madame Jo-Jo's, but at the cinema.
We had a very pleasant excrutiatingly long 20 minutes
of trailers and adverts before the film. 

 One of them was Sam Taylor-Wood's Equals short film,
with Mr Craig All Dressed Up In A Frock And Everything.

Looks a bit alright in make-up with the short hair doesn't he! 


There was also a trailer for the new Keef film.
Well, ok, Johnny's film. Pirates of the Caribbean.
Made a mental note that the new Horrid Henry could be almost bearable,
as Noel Fielding popped up in the trailer. He is often wearing make-up too.

And then the film began, with this 19 year old actor being all Pete Doherty:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2, with guylinered Devon Bostick.

As some readers may have noticed, I like to comment on the quality of toilets at some of the venues I visit; shopping centres, ice rinks, cinemas. Such a hectic social life... Today's Toilet Report is that the loos were very glam; spaciously laid out, with very touchy feely fittings and surfaces. Although the hand dryers were not exactly conveniently located, so a minus point for ergonomics.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Bit Of A Quick Survey...

... how many people are STILL having Blogger related gremlins??? I can leave comments on some blogs, but not on others. The latter outweigh the former. Or have I had Super-Injunction-style blocks put on me to stop me annoying people? ;)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Collections 1

At last, some semblance of regularity in what I might post in the future, seeing as this is number one.... in a series.

Being a bit lazy always terribly busy doing other things, I don't always post pics of bits and pieces I've hauled back from junk markets, charity shops, and sometimes the roadside... so here are some recent finds.

 I totally adore old Quality Street tins, with this gorgeous pinky-lilac colour and the 101-Dalmations-era illustrations. Next time I'm at my dad's I'll look for the one I had back in the day - his house is a total time capsule, from 1957-1973. Furnished in the late 50s, and not significantly decorated since my mum moved out in 73. (She marked time until she could divorce him by taking out the frustration in papering whole rooms in a constant cycle of the latest patterns, and dad being a typical man just updates the electrical goodies and ignores the decor.) There'll be Some Serious Wallpaper Photos coming here, circa summertime. Come to think of it, I'd love to enlarge those prints onto canvas and put them on my walls!

No real idea about this one - it seems to be an hors d'oeuvre/condiments dish and I would imagine its late 60s, as there was a lot of paua shell knick knacks coming over from New Zealand at that time. My Grandma had the most fantastic tiered paua shell stand - probably for plants - that her brother got her, but my cousin nabbed it first! I've got some coasters and a tray up in the depths of the loft - time to resurrect them.

 And of course this ain't remotely vintage but its the nearest thing to a vintage phone I have at the moment ;)

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

It Wasn't Me, It Was Blogger Wot Did It...

It appears that I may have tried to give the impression of posting prolifically this afternoon, after wailing about absence of mojo.

Now, I have 2 posts from earlier this month, with relevantly-date-marked comments as evidence trying to muscle into today's slot on the list of posts.  All I was doing was sorting out the mish-mash of hieroglyphics that the blogger outtage of last week made of my labelling. Plus sneakily adding a label or two...

So sorry to any of you reading - you are not imagining deja vu. It's (probably) just blogger being a bit crazy. Not me ;)

Pop Star To Opera Star...Swoon. Slightly

I have just been *reliably informed* by the 12 year old, aka the showbiz correspondent of Trashsparkle Towers, that a new series of Popstar To Opera Star is coming back next month. And Midge Ure is going to be on it. One of my top early 80s crushes, he was. I'm a bit flustered now....;)

Lounge Revamp, And A Letter Written

Today I have mostly been Quite Busy, if that includes time lurking on here and time spent gauging the nation's reaction on twitter to last night's Home is Where The Heart Is programme. Colin and Justin are now the New National Treasures. Alex James, with his own bootcamp-on-the-cheese-farm, apparently is Not.

After that the nagging file of paperwork pertaining to various authorities' interest in my parenting skills needed to be addressed. I whipped off a letter to Chief Meddler our key-worker and requested that they circulate my points to the relevant people in order to update the 13 year old's by-now-very-weighty file.

I followed that one up by deciding at midday I could perhaps get away with a quick snooze on the sofa before 60 Minute Makeover, but changed my mind and stuck to Today's Great Ambition of tarting up the lounge.

Remember this bit of unpainted wall?

 ...umm it had been like that since last year.

 It now looks like this:

But not as dark as this. Its just the room faces north and the lighting was pants by early evening. This is merely for photographic proof that the wall is Now Finished. Its dulux urban obsession, 17 shades lighter than the grey I used 2 years ago.

From the colour proportions being, most-used first, darkest grey, white, black, metallics, and a bit of purple and green, its now going more "washed-out-coastal" - mid-grey, white, cream, metallics, black and purple'n'green.

The room's being lightened up largely because this little baby came home to roost at the weekend, from the boyfriend's office, and she just didn't look right in such a "night-time" room. Besides which, there's no other space in the house for her:

Ex-stock purchase from Royal College of Art, £35, back in the days when I wore red lipstick and got taxis.

And then because the leylines that run through TKMaxx propelled me through the doors yet again on my way home yesterday, I found this beauty:

TKMaxx, £8 from £19.99 because of a tiny scratch. And yes, the shade is leaning but thats because I changed the original dumpy flared shade for this one.

I'm keeping all this though:

Thank you for the encouraging comments re technical tips. Lord knows what's made me now start a twitter account - I'll never work out  how to keep up ;)

An Afternoon In Town

I live in a fairly small town. Where far too many of the locals look like this. I am not local.

Have been out for coffee and some thrifting with the boyfriend (who is not local either). I didn't get round to posting up any pics last time I got a haul, and findings have been scarce the last couple of weeks. So I absolutely had to buy, and immediately show you, this nursery rhyme pillow case.

Humpty Dumpty seems to be depicted as some sort of failed glue-sniffer. Or that could be my cunningly-on-purpose-honestly sideways photo technique. This is definitely going on ebay; perhaps it could be cut up into individual framed scenes, or become a cushion in a "traditional" nursery room.

Obviousy I then started to get a bit pattern-crazy, as I found this "almost retro" gem in poundland.

I've already tried out the marker pen, to remind us to use up the strawberries we got the other day, not because I was writing random Damned cd titles...

And this belt. 75p! Which I'm keeping, in a must-accessorise-more bid to remember to look into a full-length mirror more often before leaving the house.

The Fabulous Colin And Justin were on 60 Minute Makeover today. Cracking shots of them don't you think?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Mojo Malaise

I've had nowt to write about all week and am feeling a bit dulled. Today there's the usual pile of impossible domestic stuff needing to be done - dirty saucepans, marvellous meals, a hefty dose of outdoorsy exercise, cracking the algebra that the 12 year old's teacher is too useless to teach.... Despite waking up at 6.45 feeling wide awake I opted to snooze instead. Its either time to start drinking or to get a dog... Which way does va va voom lie?

2 cups of tea later Debbie Harry was on desert island discs. I'm no good with radios - short of nail-varnishing marks on the dial next to stations I could no more find radio 4 than I could comprehend latin. So it was weird having the programme through the tv - a bit like the olden days when families sat reverentially around the cumbersome wireless set. See, even there I have nothing to write about, other than it was just cool to listen to her voice.

Grasping for a positive spin to put on the week:
- I've put up a shelf in the kitchen, and its actually straight, unlike last time when a big lump of white tak had to be employed to level it up at one end. For the first time since the kitchen refit  I won't be moving all the saucepans first before being able to use the cooker.
- I sanded and painted the hideous wall under the kitchen window.
- I did a tesco online order, and got all the right things, with none of the usual surprises like 12 packets of tomatoes.
- We finally got the lump of plastic known as the Wii working - the one posted to the boys by their dad, hitherto regarded as Not Working and reeking of fags. The Wii that is, though an apt description of him too.

And what a pile of child-scaring cobblers all that rapture stuff was. Its a bit like a Dr Who episode - they sort of know its made-up but like to be a bit scared at the same time. A friend just summed it up with "oh well, I'll have to do the washing up after all". But there again, the prediction was for 5 months of fire and that big volcano in Iceland's just gone up again...

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Mantelpiece Today

Pat Phoenix has joined the mantelpiece riff-raff, in honour of the Elsie Tanner storyline in Corrie ;)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Technicalities Tease

Ho ho. In the space of 24 hours I have fouled up the computer 3 times. The first one was hitting some random key, by accident, that made everything on the screen go at a 90 degrees angle. Operative words being random and accident, I hadn't got a clue how I'd done it, or more vitally what to do to make it go normal again. To make things even more ham-fisted, the mouse thought the screen was still the right way up so I felt like I was trying to reverse-park a car. In heavy fog. Tried holding the laptop at 90 degrees, but somehow that didn't quite feel right. I also discovered you can make everything on the screen go upside down. New tricks to try on the students at the World of Work there, then. The next surpise was the wireless mouse. I am not totally convinced this one was down to me - it was working, I popped upstairs, I came back down, it was no longer working. The 12 year old swears he didn't drop it... And I have tried new batteries. And to cap all that, I have yet again managed to accidentally alphabeticise my email inbox. No idea how that happens, other than hovering the mouse hopefully over the bit it was over before.
Official Day Off tomorrow, which I'm earmarking for slapping paint on the walls. And maybe getting some powertools out. What can go wrong....?

Monday, 9 May 2011

More Bad Home-Management

Have read a few very astute posts lately about living more frugally. In a way that makes doing so seem like you are conquering the grinding poverty, and not vice versa, I suppose. One recurring theme centres on buying less frivolous food. OK, no more party rings on my list then.... Or, to cut to the chase, buying food less frivolously and, here's the dreaded words, doing some menu-planning. So far that has not been something that has entered my domestic radar, living instead with the element of surprise that occurs roughly every 4 hours reminding me that I am in sole charge of 2 minors who yet again need to be fed. I may have unresolved issues with food - an ability to imagine combinations thereof being the chief one, but I think tonight was the turning point where I realised I might just be going about things the wrong way. I went to pull out a carrier bag from the ikea stuff-yer-bags-in wotsit that lives under the sink. I'm still, against popular opinion about saving our oceans, using supermarket bags as they are perfect to use as bin-liners. The element of upcycling/recycling kind of makes the bag-use viable by its very practicality, no? Anyway, no carrier bags to be found, only lots of dubious-fake-charity sacks, and you know what my first thought was? If we're out of bags it must be time to get some more food in.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Turner And Marmite, All On The Telly

Oh the cultural highs I encounter these days... have just seen Michael McIntyre re-created out of toast and marmite. By a 21 year old art student. Roll on the next Turner Prize nominations...

Personally, I thought it was more like Peter Mandelson, but who am I to deny MM his moment in marmite?

And that led us nicely into hitting the toaster in the ad break, but our toast and marmite was for satisfying our suggested-to tastebuds and not for the cultural puzzlement of any mass Saturday night audience. Actually on the food front today I have been unusually inspired, and made savoury pancakes with chunky houmous and olives. Washed down afterwards with walnut cake. From a shop, not my own fair hands. But there was a certain harmony in the textures of said pancake-and-cake combination.

Going back to Turner, I watched the delectable Andrew Graham-Dixon, he of the slightly-Bryan-Ferry-coiffure-with-a-twist-of-Serge-Gainsbourg, doing National Trusty things last night. Very rock'n'roll, me. Watching some posh bloke (phwoarr) hovering old carpets. And on a Friday night 'n' all - how did it get to this? Anyways, the Turner bit of the show was the fact that the dusty carpet was at Petworth House in Sussex, where the racy aristocrats of the day collected Turner's paintings of landscapes. When to do so, AGD informed us, was considered avant-garde at the time, when all the other posh families were commissioning portraits of their chubby, rosy-cheeked selves.

And seeing as I'm wittering on about tv again, I am a little intrigued about the upcoming thing about celebs having a homeless person come to stay. Noble, and both parties will surely learn something about each other, and the celebs will momentarily become humbler people. But why is it only Justin out of Colin-and-Justin hosting the homeless person? Do C & J no longer feature as the tweedle-dum-tweedle-dee kind of duo on which they have built their career - house renovating, shrieking, cushion-arranging, tantrum-throwing... oh, and dancing? Is this Justin being Grown-Up and Serious? Does Colin also get to separately sneak in a homeless person later in the series? I think they've gone for the wrong angle with this programme - much more mileage if it was People Famous Mostly Just For Tarting Up Houses On The Telly doing the social-conscience bit. Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, are you listening?

Friday, 6 May 2011


Ok, a lame title for a post, but it sort of sums up a week that's zig-zagged to its Traditional End, as in the Great British BlowYerWagePacketDownT'Pub in a 60s kitchen-sink-drama-film sort of way. Yes, probably that film with Rachel Roberts in.

With a week that didn't really start til Wednesday, is it any surprise that I was a bit gobsmacked to find it was Friday, already?

Its not that I've been hibernating til Wednesday, or been on a far-flung jaunt to a time-zone challenged somewhere. Just that the 12 year old and I have been jammy enough to be still on our Easter holidays til Wednesday, which is when hurtling around at crackingly early times of the morning kicked in again. And any first-day-back-to-school-and-World-of-Work always feels like a Monday. Hence, 3 days in and its Friday. Already. Heck. Brilliant.

The day before that I had a birthday. Which was a delightful more-chocolate-than-usual fuelled 24 hours, and I pretended to be sophisticated by adding brandy to my coffee all night. Though I would go for amaretto next time.

Wednesday  (which I seem to be name-checking a lot, but more in a failing point-in-time reference than for any other reason) was spent trawling the many charity shops in a nearby little town, having capuccinos with big fat cookies, and scoring £14 worth of cardis, tops, picture frames, and a 1973 book on lacemaking and crochet which is going on ebay.

From then on it seemed any time I wasn't at work I was shopping, for two birthdays. There was sensible present buying - jewellery, hand cream - for a work friend, and then there was silly stuff like glittery beach bags, garden gadgets and a fruitless trawl of more charity shops and the vintage market for bits for my mum*. By this time my head was spinning with the sight of reduced-to-£2 Primark cushions emblazoned with Attack of The 60 Foot Killer Diva, and all manner of kitchenalia, old pictures, and more jewellery so I retreated home. To eat nearly a whole packet of flaky pastry cheese twists and move only the fingers I'm using to type this.

*Which is what I always end up doing before working out what main, proper-money, thing to get her. This can be hard work, given that she recently bought me an itchy blanket-fabric cocktail dress and a blouse with whacking great pockets on the front that even Yootha Joyce would have cast to the back of the wardrobe. But she knows to include the receipts...