Wednesday, 27 January 2010

My First Album

Hi everyone,

First I want to say thank you SO much for all the lovely comments on my last post. I think the tureen got the most votes for best find. It really will be used only for very special occasions as the stamp on the bottom reads 'permanent detergent proof decoration', which I take as a warning not to put it in the dishwasher. Anything that doesn't go in the dishwasher is used very reluctantly! I received 22 comments on that post and that's a record.

Speaking of records, there is a fab giveaway over at Dreaming of the Simple Life and to enter we have to post about the first album we ever bought.

Well, I ploughed my memories and remembered that the first album I ever owned was this one:

I was absolutely besotted with this film - my mum took me to see it twice. I came home and announced I was either going to be a nun or an actress when I grew up. Years later I tried for the later, but no way on earth was the first ever going to be realised!

My parents indulged me and bought the soundtrack for me. I think it was about 30 shillings. However, as this was a gift, I don't think it counts as the first album I ever bought, so going forward a few years I believe the first album I ever used my own money for was this:

Anyone remember this series? The albums cost something like 70p and the artists were sound-a-likes. I would have bought it from Alan Freeman's record shop at the Angel, Edmonton probably using record tokens I'd got for my birthday.

Ah, those innocent days *sigh*.


Andi xx

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


No, I don't mean in the Mr. Humphries way (goodness, I'm showing my age now) but rather in the arms outstretched, embracing the world type of free. After being almost stranded in the house because of the weather, I finally got to the charity shops at the end of last week for the first trip of the year, and it felt WONDERFUL!

The kids were at school, M was at work, the dinner prepared and slow-cooking in the oven so I went SHOPPING.

Three of our local charity shops are what true charity shops ought to be - a place where you can pick up a real bargain. Others, who shall remain nameless, charge so much I am convinced that top, or that skirt was cheaper the first time around in Primark. Anyway, this gilet in Oxfam was my first buy and is in the washing machine as I write. I think the best colour to go with this would be a soft dove gray. What do you think? (Remember - I don't do pink):

Every other Christmas when my family are here, we say 'next time, we'll put all the vegetables in tureens and let people help themselves' (we usually dish out for them in the kitchen), but it never happens. Next year it will because I found this large tureen which should be big enough to hold the roasties:

A set of four strawberry forks which my daughter pointed out will be just the thing for 'dipping the strawberries in the chocolate fondue that we always have on Valentine's day' (don't think I didn't recognise this subtle reminder for what it was).

This delightful creature will be wrapped and put away until the autumn:

I thought this print was sweet:

And a collection of books. As usual, the books were the first things I found, so I asked if I could leave them behind the counter and come back to collect them:

Some of the designs in the Craft Collection may be out of date but the techniques won't be. M likes Eva Cassidy, so I got her life story for him. Planet Earth I was particularly pleased to get for my son. I rarely find things for him (high tech stuff doesn't appear very often second-hand!). The spine hasn't even been creased. Neither has the Start Crochet. My friend knew I was having difficulty find the Art of Crochet magazine, so treated me to this book. She was charged £1 for three books - wow! The Accidental Gardener is very amusing as well as being helpful, and last but not least, Looney Tunes - the ultimate visual guide. Fantastic.

I know some of you have been out there already and I've been reading about your finds. Treasure hunting is just so much fun!

Andi xx

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Happy Easter?

I was prepared for the Valentine's Day gifts and cards to be in the shops by now, but I have spotted my first Easter egg display in Marks and Spencer this afternoon. No wonder the years seem to be going past so fast when we're frogmarched by the shops to the next celebration. We haven't even finished our Quality Street yet! Anyone else seen an Easter display earlier than this?

And have any of you purchased or tried to purchase this?:

I've been asking in newsagents and supermarkets but they've all sold out. The assistant in W.H. Smith told me they'd had a lot of boxes delivered because they anticipated it would be popular. How right they were. Not a copy to be had anywhere in a ten mile radius of me.

Not to be outdone and not even thinking of paying the prices asked on Ebay, I telephoned the company that launched the magazine, told them of my problem and ordered a copy from them. It should be here next week. If any of you want this first issue and haven't been able to find it, the company web site is:

However, something occurred to me while I was ordering my copy...

You know how, when you phone a corporation or shop etc. that recorded voice comes on the line to say 'your call may be recorded'? Well, I asked the guy whether my call was being recorded. I was told that ALL calls are recorded. When I pointed out that I was about to give my credit card details and that they too would be recorded, I was assured that 'only the top, top management of the company get to hear the tapes'.

Oh. That's OK, then, because it goes without saying that if they're 'top, top management', they must be trustworthy.

How many times have I ordered things over the phone and my details have been recorded 'for training purposes'? This fact has only just occurred to me. Have I been slow in realising this? Do other people avoid ordering over the phone for this reason, and is it something we should be protesting about?

Andi xx

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Erosion Bundle Project

This project organised by Kris Henderson over at has caught my imagination:

Make a bundle of anything you like: fabric, paper, buttons etc. and then hang it in a tree or bury it in the ground until April. After that, open it up to see what Mother Nature has done to the items and make an art project out of them.

As a child I was always digging for treasure in the garden or burying things and then digging them up weeks later to see what had happened. I remember we had a funeral for a plastic soldier whose parachute had failed to open during a jump down the stairwell. I dug him up weeks later to see what had happened to him. (As I type this, I realise how macabre that sounds. I was just curious.) (At least it was a plastic man and not a pet. Now THAT would have been macabre.)

Of course, I got carried away and made more than one bundle:

This first one became, unintentionally, a romantic one. It's filled with lace, a key, heart-shaped sequins and pages torn from an old book of love spells. It's decorated with pink (yes, PINK!) ribbon from Fortnum and Masons. I have a feeling it's going to end up looking like a shrivelled Miss Haversham.

The second one is made up of an empty incense tube. I left one incense stick inside and then stuffed the tube with fabric, crayons, buttons and tissue.

This third is just all manner of things wrapped in the leftover wool from my hot-water bottle cover project and muslin.

My last (four, I know - I got carried away) is buried in the garden. The place is marked with a slab and terracotta pots. This one is a Christmas one in that I put the leftover bits I found around the house such as wrapping paper, paper hats, candle stubs and some holly berries. With each layer of paper and fabric I sprinkled some ground cinnamon.

My daughter got enthusiastic about the project when she saw me making my bundles and wanted to join in. She raided her toy boxes for all manner of items and these were also buried in the garden and are being guarded by a decoy duck:

Digging the ground when it's as hard as iron? Our frogs just didn't know WHAT to think!

I'm not promising to make anything wonderful with the results, but I'm very excited to see how the weather changes the things inside. Our tree looks more interesting, too!


Andi xx

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A Beautiful day in London

On Saturday we took my daughter up to London to meet her godparents who were taking her to see the new A Christmas Carol film in 3D at the IMAX cinema, Waterloo.

After delivering said daughter, M and I strolled across Waterloo Bridge. It was a beautiful day. Cold but bracing, and the sky so clear and blue I couldn't help be reminded of Paul Newman's eyes *sigh*. The stroll really cleared the Christmas cobwebs away:

Just look at those blues. Beautiful. M works close to St. Paul's Cathedral, so this photo was a must.

Here's the Gherkin and the Oxo Tower. I've heard the restaurant at Oxo is very nice:

We walked to Covent Garden which was bustling. Various aromas fought for our attention: coffee, pastries, handmade soaps. Crowds gathered to watch the entertainers like this unicyclist/juggler:

The Christmas decorations were very pretty. Down in the square below the balcony was a male opera singer. I am not a fan of opera, but he ended on Nessun Dorma which is one of the few tunes I DO like. It was a treat to hear.

The market was full of stalls selling handmade goods. We didn't buy, but there were lots of temptations.

We had lunch at Porters restaurant. I don't think I'd been there since before we were married (and probably then with a previous boyfriend). Porters sells pies. And such pies! I tried scanning in a copy of the menu to show you but it didn't come out clear at all, but it includes Lamb and apricot, Turkey and chestnut, Three bean, spicy lentil and vegetable pies. I chose the Steak, Guinness and mushroom (which I seem to recall was what I had the last time! Shhhh, don't tell M).

It certainly fortified us for the walk back across the bridge. This is Cleopatra's needle:

The sun was beginning to set:

which put the Houses of Parliament into silhouette:

We so rarely go out just the two of us, this was a lovely treat and I felt very content as we met up with our friends and daughter to return home.

Andi xx