Thursday, 30 June 2011

Where We Went On School's Out Thursday

Despite not having to set the alarm clock this morning we were up early, to make the most of the Extra Day-Off today, and even managed to be back by teatime. We were so busy having a lovely time that I only remembered to take one photo. I'm really Quite Proud Of Myself for getting a move on and managing an impulse day at the seaside...


Nah, course we didn't! The 12 year old enjoyed a long lie-in til gone 10, and it was a pj morning for both of us, but we went for an afternoon up the train track to Civilisation, exploring vintage shops, quaint buildings, finding A New Favourite Cafe - houmous and roasted vegetable ciabattas and king prawn salad sandwiches. Would love to show a photo, but still trying to pluck up courage to take food pics; they might think I'm from Environmental Health!

We* were so impressed at getting long-handled spoons with the coleslaw that afterwards we went to this lovely little shop to find some of our own, for ice cream sundaes aka anything from the freezer I sling into tall glasses and slather in chocolate sauce:

A treasure trove of Very Expensive Loveliness - personally I'd cry for days if I dropped an Orla Kiely teapot that cost £54.99 - but we found the spoons. Apparently they are latte spoons. There were several types of cutlery which, frankly, I'd never heard of and I felt as uncouth as someone encountering a place setting with so much silver that you have no idea whether to start from the outside or the inside. Grapefruit spoons? How very sensible - I thought that's what teaspoons are for. ;)

And finally, we had to put on body armour, took a load of rescue remedy.... and hit Primark. Yes, this was the Day When It Was Discovered That None Of The 12 Year Old's Jeans Fit Him Anymore - apart from the one pair that were in the wash. Predictably it was rammed, groups of School's Out teenagers (mostly well-behaved) and a slightly higher than usual amount of unmanned toddlers. But puzzlingly, there were also hoardes of people NOT entertaining school-age children - older people, people with babies... School's Out Thursday coinciding with payday? Brilliant! Oh, and I also got this t-shirt ;)

* Actually just me - the 12 year old is still being polite enough to pretend to feign interest

A Mini-Post About Aqua Manda Because...

... blogger seems to be up the spout again, this time its google chrome not letting me comment (don't all say "but that's a good thing") so this is in reply to Linda from Tabbyroo (hi!) who mentioned seeing the bottle of Aqua Manda in my Mantelpiece On Monday post.

I don't remember its original scent but it must have been deliciously orangey, as there were a lot of fruit-impersonating chemical unguents around at the time. I found it at a junk market a couple of years back and recognised the packaging; its soooo gorgeous and early 70s. That vivid orange bottle is the same orange as the washing up bowl my best friend's mum had in the early 70s. Ditto orange squash, pre-tartrazine ban*...

Shortly after I'd bought it I think Dawn French mentioned Aqua Manda in a book - so presumably that's made the stuff harder to track down, and hideously expensive for collectors fans of vintage cosmetics.

I've just taken a dab of it and sniffed it; it's definitely gone "off" - I can only describe it as smelling of one of those ancient potions intended to provide a bandaging, muscular-relieving effect, that's been festering at the back of the grandparents' bathroom cabinet, with a hefty dose of gaviscon thrown in for good measure.

* I thought it had been banned - apparently its now "not recommended for children". So, obviously totally safe then. Not.

If I get replies describing the 2011 olfactory experience of a gone-off bottle of Aqua Manda, I may be tempted to award prizes.... possibly of remaindered, dog-eared copies of Dawn French's book.

School's Out Thursday

Occasionally I love the tories. The added-comedy factor of making 2011's Glasto go down in history as the one where the tory expired in the portaloo. Not one of the hoi-polloi toilets either; a restricted-access one. A bit like the type they send their kids to. And very like the type they plan on turning universities into.

Which brings me to the glee which I feel - albeit indirectly and temporarily - for the tories this evening. I don't have to set my alarm to get up early tomorrow as the 12 year old has the day off. The tories have caused most of the schools in the UK to have to close tomorrow in order to show how much they really do not want to have to work until they are almost septugenarians. In fact, on a training course today*, a statistic was thrown in that by 2015 the majority of the working population will be between 45 and 70. Though it would be quite plausible to believe that they could try to make that 40 to 75. Monkeys running the economy would be less ludicrous.

Anyhow, it feels very superfluously good that it is not a school night. Avoid all UK shopping centres at all costs tomorrow, as they will undoubtedly be overrun by feral school children whose parents have not been able to take the day off to look after them, for fear of losing one of the few remaining jobs in this country.

* The course was about Diversity. I hesitated when doing the feedback form at the end, not sure if I would still have a job in September if I expressed how disappointed I had been by the fact that Ashley Banjo had not been there.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Hope that's not a phrase that nowadays has any unsavoury connotations - back in the day it meant Pretty Bl**dy Tired. Which is what I am. Lead Balloon coming up, then I can't wait to get some sleep.

This time last night the 13 year old proved to me that he did indeed have something wrong with his stomach. Luckily he had the presence of mind to get a bucket in time. Upchuck number 2 followed at 6.30 this morning - again, bucket, but bleach, cold flannels, soothing manner and all manner of mum-heavy doings all the same.

Which seemed an excellent morning to have decided to defrost the fridge. Lollies were to blame. The fridge was fine, but the attached freezer had at some point earlier in the Summer gone into overdrive when Someone Unknown (aka the 12 year old) left the freezer door Not Quite Shut after another lolly raid. It had been tolerable until having to remove the middle drawer, the top drawer already jammed shut in permafrost, and only being able to sling a few things into the bottom tray. Seemed a bit of a waste having a freezer when it got to that.... started at 9, fully expecting to be done and up to tesco by 2 to restock.

Nope. 9 hours later, large obstinate icebergs refusing to melt on command, the water that was melting out refusing to play ball by landing in the desired location of washing up bowl, several lakes beneath both appliance and sideboard, multiple changes of sodden newspaper, nearly all the backlog of guardian's used up, and nearly the worst thing of all - black finger and foot prints all over the shop from the defrost massacre.
I'd probably left it a bit too long before getting round to it.

The only casualty seems to have been the lightbulb. Its not quite a fridge experience if that little light doesn't go on - especially at Nigella-fridge-raiding-times. But having spent the first hour post-switch-on thinking I'd broken the fridge yet oddly not the freezer, and mentally spending a few 00's on a replacement - ooh, could be smaller, what colour...but definitely self-defrosting - it is nonetheless good to have the silver ex-display model from Barkers of High St Kensington, bought 12 years ago with naughty mortgage shares as the closest I could afford to a Smeg, back with us again.

Happily, the 13 year old is doing a good impression of being recovered.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Mantelpiece Today Part 2 - On Monday

This photo is here for several reasons: This morning Lakota of Faith Hope and Charity Shopping
posted her mantelpiece photo, and a link to Estelle's Fortune Favours blog which is running a mantelpiece-on-Monday feature here: So I'm joining in!

Also, I started one of my never-get-past-part-one series on my own mantelpiece here: last month. Today's pic is what happened when hayfever kicked in and everything had to be dusted. And of course, re-arranged.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

I've Painted Me Happy

Seeing all the lovely nail polish on blogs is rubbing off on me - last night I sat here and did a nail every time I clicked on a new post. This is proving indestructible and has so far withstood shopping, coins, zips, moving furniture, fiddling with the digital camera, opening packs of jam tarts... what more could a girl ask for?  Electric Punk, maxiflex collection 2000. 

On Thursday evening I was watching a programme about Spitalfields and the 1970s rescue squad who started moving into derelict Georgian houses there - Dan Cruickshank et al. Suddenly I was overcome with the urge to start painting this sideboard:

I never saw the end of the programme, and have been applying coats of paint ever since. It was brown, and I've umm'd and ahh'd for 2 years about painting it, so it was hardly spur-of-the-moment. Wonder why Dan Cruickshank had that effect? I'm going to sand the feet to rough them up a bit, and the top is going to get the sticky-back-plastic treatment.

The kitchen is starting to come together now - I've worked out I'm going for the less is more look (the less decorating I do, the more it remains unfinished) and so only a handful of the vintage bits are going back into it. Blue and white mostly. Like this car boot find:

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Not Much Going On

Oh the folly of last week's blitz on the kitchen. It was meant to lead to grand things, such as skirting boards being finished off in the dining room, anti-winter insulation devices being, well, devised for this cold victorian house... I have just got round to pouring a cement mix into the corner that the dishwasher usually occupies, so am technically still doing the kitchen. And its very boring.... and now The World Of Work has decided to have a staff meeting this week (I know! And I'm officially on holiday and all) and some training has to be done next week. Frankly m'dear, I couldn't give a damn...

The other thing I told myself I would be doing with all this free time is ebay selling. There was another free-to-list weekend - which turned me completely off the idea, as I cannot ever seem to do anything when it is supposed to be done. Ah well, will just have to pay those extra pennies if I ever get round to listing all that stuff languishing in the loft. A buyer has just paid by e-cheque, which has knocked 44p off the amount I got from them, the cheek of it. So I'll have to find out how to not accept those next time. Bah....

I'm off now - to burn the dinner, or embark on some similar catastrophic domestic failure.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

A Dozen Bond Posters

Remember those James Bond calendars I bought a couple of weeks ago? I've finally cut out the Sean Connery ones I like best and was planning to frame a handful of those in narrow black frames on this wall. Last night these ones got blu-tacked up to see which ones work together. I might just leave it like this for a while as I like the impact and the overall size it makes.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

M Is For Music, Moon, Mess... And Mooching

Day 4 of The Ridiculous Amount Of Activity here: out with the washing first thing, enjoying the still calmness, the birds cheeping in the surrounding trees, the blue sky and the green leaves... then helping to get the 12 year old off to school, instead of me having to rush about like most weekday mornings the rest of the year.

Music to kickstart the wall-sanding has been the Mamas and Papas, who I love so much I've played them loads this week. How like the B52's the girls' harmonies are on some of the tracks... Now I'm playing Generation Terrorist, the first Manics cd, prompted by a story online this morning about Richey's sister and the missing person's charity.

Did anyone see last night's lunar eclipse? I'm never clued up beforehand, so missed it yet again. My friend posts on facebook when one's due - but I'm usually a day behind catching up on there. Maybe there's some email alert you can sign up to...? Anyhow, the film online of the eclipse looks very wow and ravishing. Had a very strange dream last night about being able to see fish in the sky - like you see stars in the daytime sometimes, these fish were swimming all over the place. It was the bottom of the sea in Australia, that joined into the top of our sky here... sort of an inverted version of how the world's made up.

A bit more sanding and painting of a small bit of wall under the kitchen window, then the room is FINISHED!!! Apart from the floor - hhhmmm - and a missing kickboard for the sink cabinet. I was sure I'd put the old one in the shed somewhere, but rooting through there the other day I just ended up with a big plank of wood falling on my knee. Big purple bruise now.... just right for summer frock attire!

The reason its taken til today to get the kitchen finished is because I keep sloping off to cafes and charity shops with the boyfriend - lots of good finds, I'll put pictures up on Saturday. If I stop and do that now, I'll never get the bloomin' kitchen done ;)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Sand(paper), Bucket And Trowel

I'm being super-duper focussed at the moment (can't exactly say this week in case I jinx myself) spending some hard-core time fixing up the house. The house that is perpetually unfinished. Well, the annual long summer holiday has now started and I have 2 AND A HALF MONTHS OFF WORK!! Am I in the right job or what! Obviously the pay for only working 9.5 months a year is a bit of a drawback, but I prefer the time over the cash... Have been working my way round the kitchen since yesterday - tacking an extension lead along one wall (for the dishwasher; having paid an electrician 2 years ago to put in sockets, only to decide to change the layout el cheapo-style), putting up a rail for the tea-towel & oven gloves, and this morning I've sanded the long wall above the sideboard and cooker so I can finally finish painting that wall. Dull stuff, but its high-time it got done. Then all the vintagey bits will come out of storage and go back on the shelves to get greasy and dusty  to look magnificent again ;)

Ah well, tea-break in the garden over - better fix another shelf, wipe the dust off myself and go buy the paint. Far too messy in there to cook tonight - it'll be 2-for-1 pizza delivery!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

New Haul

Yesterday we went to not one but TWO house-clearance shops, and a church table-top sale. Get these 70s boot stretchers - the orange is the colour orange squash used to be! There's a pair of wooden shoe stretchers labelled Mentone of Northampton, a 1973 Co-Op budget recipe book, 2 knitting patterns, a linen tea towel labelled "foreign" (how quaint), some cake slicers - which always come in useful in this house, some Cmielow Poland eggcups, a couple of dressing table dishes with roses on the lids.... and a utility ware Woods Ware blue Iris jug and bowl. And a J-Lo label red top for the fashionistas. 

 When I saw these I thought of Scarlett, who found one this week!

This is actually my favourite find - its just like one my parents used to have, and its in top-nick too:

This Co-Op recipe book was a close 2nd favourite though - before this goes on ebay we're going to have to try out shrimp flan, beefburger nests, giblet pie (??), as well as wacky cake, black beer cake and mincemeat surprise:

 What about these trendy girls and their retro furniture?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Red Sky At Night...

 ... don't get all excited; we're not getting a heatwave tomorrow - this was last night's sky. The 12 year old is getting into keeping a photographic diary (including evidence of the mutilation of his hand in an art lesson...)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

What To Do...

...with this very-much needed Official Day Off? See, I have been hit by alternate waves of procrastination (the do-you-really-want-the-filter-keys-on? message came up there when I had my finger on the shift key, while the brain came up with some commands) and getting-things-done mode. Admittedly the latter mode wants me to take everything out of the dining room part of the kitchen and reassess the empty room, blank-canvas-sprayed-white, George Clarke style.

Then when the room had been made twice as big by means of architectural magic wandiness, Dawna Walter could rock up to stop me putting all the sh*t back in again. I am aware that she would frown on the old birthday cards stuffed into the drawers of the cupboard of doom. I usually heed her advice of you don't need to hold onto it, but occasionally there have been years when its been quicker to stuff the cards away rather than sort out if anyone wants to keep any particularly special ones...

This is the Culprit Corner. I am going to move the desk over to under the window again, and get that hulking great printer up on a shelf. The cupboard will go where the desk is at the moment, so a nice, neat visual line of whiteness will prevail. The roller blind came down this morning, as I was too heavy-handed with trying to straighten it. And those wires are So Bad. We have wireless internet in the house, but you wouldn't think so from this heap. Its been left "temporarily" like that for, oh, quite a while now. The floor is ancient - the scuffed up bits were inherited; a slate-grey floor is on my wishlist, somewhere. And don't ask why the blender is down there on the floor... just don't ask. Perhaps finishing the kitchen is what I should be concentrating on instead.

But on the other hand, I might just go out instead!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A Post About Some Posters

Every now and then I think how wow it would be to have an old early James Bond film poster. 2 things bring me back to the realms of sense; lack of wall space for a 3' x 2' image, and the fact that I get bored easily so buying one would be uber-impractical. I love the typography used in old images from that era, specially the Connery ones, and the foreign language ones look amazing. So when I found 6 calendars of film posters on ebay, with oodles of mini versions of the posters to cut out and frame, it would have been silly to choose just one...

So this is what the postman rocked up with today: