Saturday, 30 June 2012

A Month of Reading

Yep, a month and I've only managed one book.  To be fair over the past month we have driven approximately 1,700 miles, seen most of our families attended two birthday parties, one funeral and a wedding.  Reading hasn't been high on the agenda, nevermind here we go!

1. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I don't usually read translations (originally Spanish) of novels, obviously you can never be 100% sure that you're reading exactly what the author intended you to read, however I needed a book for going on holiday and this one came to hand when I ran into the charity shop.  It took me a couple of chapters to get used to the flamboyant descriptions but that really is my only criticism, this is a great story full of suspense and interesting characters, at times quite bleak and genuinely scary in places but that's why I loved it.  I would recommend it to anyone, although perhaps not if you wanted a beach read.  

Hopefully next month I'll have a bit more time to chill out a read some books, I've got loads stacked up and read to go.

Friday, 29 June 2012

A Bandwagon? Let Me Jump Gazelle Like Onto That Thank You!

I first saw the personal planner on Deer Little Fawn's post and as I was having a bad day at work I thought sod it I want one!  I love this little planner!  As the name would suggest I customised it to my hearts content; to do lists, training schedules, 2013 overview, squared paper, even the colour of the ruler!  My only regret is that I didn't design up the front cover more, but hey there is always next year!  

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Vintage Wedding

I'm going to make something of a shock statement here: I hate weddings.  Being one of those shy retiring types I don't like having to put myself out there and I don't like having to talk to loads of people I don't know, I don't like the pressure of finding something to wear and also don't like being the awkward person who is allergic to milk and therefore a nightmare to cater for.  But then I hadn't been to a wedding where 80% of the people in attendance were from  Newcastle and I didn't need to put myself out there at all because I was called 'pet' a lot and was made to feel completely comfortable.  I hadn't been to wedding where the milk free food was delicious and after dinner I was allowed to change into my jeans (and thus freeing me from the corset that was a slightly too small dress).  I hadn't been to a wedding where the bride looked like a movie star and the groom (sporting a cigar and shades) looked like the Godfather!

Mr and Mrs Lovely, I hope you have a lifetime of happy times and happy memories, I can't wait to see you both again soon xx

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Road Trip!

A pictorial journey from the South West to Derby (oop North to me, being a Southerner and all).

All packed with wedding clobber we jumped in the car and left Devon, the blue skies, fluffy clouds and animals frolicking to almost immediately hit traffic.  Hurrumph.  Luckily I had suitable reading material and MozzyMr was driving, win!  Along the way we passed a glittery lime green VW Transporter driven by a youth who we naturally assumed lived with his mum, how else would he afford to a) buy a new VW Transporter and b) bling the bugger up!?  We passed the best bit of the M5 by Bristol where on a good day you can see for miles.  We attended a lovely wedding (here is a sneaky peak of the lovely bride, but more of that on a later post), I wore a new dress, had new hair and took lots of photos.  We did origami, and MozzyMr styled it up with a cigar.

Heh heh heh and this is when I get evil.  The day after the wedding MozzyMr is in a delicate state, whilst he is weak and kitten like curled up in the front seat of the car I pull into his favourite store... but don't worry I bought him a desk lamp and a piece of cake he was perfectly happy.  And finally, when you're tired, sick of driving and other drivers, this lovely sign whooshes over head, because for us at least South West is best baby!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight.  This week I made my first visit to the island, not for holidays or joyous reasons but this isn't the place to go into that.  Instead I'll tell you about the beauty of the place, the quaint nature of it and the visitor attractions I am keen to go back and see; Fountain World, Butterfly World, Bus Museum, the Needles (with chair lift to the beach!) and of course the airstream caravan park!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Le Weekend

A weekend of luncheon with my aunt and uncle, a pint in the rain next to the river, some blue skies, getting pot-bound beetroot in the plot, of waiting for the apples to be ready for crumbles and harvesting a bumper crop of strawberries.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Allotment Geekery

A week away from the allotment and it has gone crazy!  Our peas have produced a good amount of pods and the additional peas I planted straight into the ground have come up and are looking healthy, I'm optimistic we'll have a good crop.  

As for our strawberries we have tonnes of them!  You can smell our little strawberry patch metres before you can even see our plot they smell absolutely delicious.  MozzyMr is great at making strawberry sauces which we'll freeze and I'm going to give jam making a bit of a go (Women's Institute ahoy!).

Our first garlic!  Planted in November we have waited, and waited and waited for the leaves to yellow and fall over, apparently this is a sign that they're ready to be dug up, and here we are!  The elephant garlic we planted a couple of months ago is making good progress it's all very exciting the only problem is that with all of the veg growing well the weeds haven't been doing so badly themselves so we have a lot of work to do to get things back to how it looked before we went on holiday.

Monday, 11 June 2012

A (couple of) Month(s) of Reading

Oh dear, what a woeful attempt at a 'regular' feature on my blog, it's a good thing I have a day job!

1. Enigma by Robert Harris

This is a re-read for me, but I'm planning on visiting Bletchley Park at some point this year so thought I would read a couple of books either about or based around the park.  I love this book and will probably re-read it again and again.  The story doesn't skimp on detail or intrigue, and is packed with facts about Enigma and Bletchley.

2. By Royal Command by Charlie Higson

The final Young Bond in the series and frankly the weakest, I found it a bit of a struggle to get through this one.  I should probably add a caveat to that statement; I have read three or four of the series in quick succession which probably wasn't the smartest move and the story was still good but the fantastical nature of Bond just gets boring after a while.

3. The Secret Life of Bletchley Park by Sinclair McKay

More Bletchley research with this one.  Good grief McKay is perhaps one of the most pompous writers I have ever come across, so patronising towards the women he interviewed I can almost visualise him patting them on the bottom and telling them to fetch his slippers.  It was only a wish to read something of the history of Bletchley that I actually bothered to read to the end of this book, and thankfully there were lots of really interesting nuggets of information to be had.  Did you know that maps of buildings were disguised within illustrations of butterfly wings and that there was a hut at Bletchley that was only every used as a hair salon?  

4. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Ahh The Book Thief *looks at book with dewy, soft focus, besotted affection* this was the book I gave away as part of World Book Night on 23rd April.  I had to keep a copy for myself and I had to re-read this book in celebration.  What an amazing story, with amazing characters, a completely refreshing piece of prose that everyone should read.

5. I Left My Tent in San Francisco by Emma Kennedy

My colleague Anne lent me her copy of Kennedy's first book 'The Tent the Bucket and Me' which was genuinely laugh out loud (and for those that know me I don't often laugh out loud, but don't worry I'm not dead inside I just don't laugh out loud much).  I Left my Tent [...] is a good tale, perhaps not as funny as The Tent [...] but still I would definitely recommend it and perfect for reading on holiday because no matter what, your holiday can never, ever be the disaster Kennedy and her friend Dee got themselves in...

Well that's it for now, I will hopefully get back on track with A Month of Reading especially because I have some interesting books line up that I've been told are worth a look, I'll let you know my humble little opinion when I've read them...

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Happy Skippy Purchases

I wanted to share with you some of the things I brought back from France.  The toadstool above is a salt mill found in a beautiful little gift shop in Ruffec and is my new most favourite thing ever.

  1. A 1950's vase found at Emmaus, Ruffec where my aunt now works.  It is a charity depot that opens at 2.30pm on the first Saturday of the month, to say it is a elbow jabbing fight to the good stuff is an understatement but happily I've had many a car boot and jumble sale experience and could shove as good as the next person.
  2. Another Emmaus purchase, I was in a queue to pay and spotted this little beauty at the last minute, it's been a slow burn of appeal on this one but it is fast becoming my new favourite serving dish.
  3. Emmaus again!  This is a slightly chipped but beautiful little glass perfect for a snifter of Pineau des Charentes the local tipple.  Somewhere between a sweet wine and a Cognac I do love a glass of Pineau and now have the perfect glass to serve and enjoy it!
  4. Tulip egg cups, these were a present from my aunt, any guesses where it is from?
  5. Lovely, lovely enamelware pan, yep you guessed it Emmaus again the pans that I've had for years have started to break so I've decided to collect enamelware pans, we have a lovely butter coloured pan already, I'm not fussy about them matching, life is too short to be all matchy matchy.  Happily all of my Emmaus purchases came to an astonishing 3.20 Euros that's about £2.60!!
  6. Toadstool cookie jar, this was surprisingly NOT an Emmaus purchase but from the little gift shop in Ruffec if I could take you all there I would because I know that each and every one of you would find something there that you would love.
Sad that we have had to come back to cold and rainy England especially with the various bits of sad news that have rocked our little world recently.  But you must not dwell on the things you cannot control but focus on the good things still to come so we're already planning our trip next year this time we're taking a couple of Brummies with us...

Saturday, 9 June 2012


I know many of you will probably roll your eyes at the indulgent nature of this post, but bear with me.  Little Pigga was killed by a car last week, it's really sad.  I know she was 'only' a cat, but I spent 9 years with this little beasty and I loved her a lot.  She was my first cat and the best I could have asked for, at 13 she was turning into an old maid but she was well loved.  To quote my friend "she was as crazy as a snake... you know, good crazy" and that's true.  

Thanks little Pigga, miss you x

Friday, 8 June 2012

Fabulous Fake Flowers

Fabulous French Fake Flowers at their best.  I am all for a vibrant flower display real or fake.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A Random Assortment of French Loveliness

  1. In the village of Aigre for a festival in May each shop in the village had the portrait of the shop owner painted on their window.  Apparently some were removed as soon as a polite amount of time had been observed...  This one was my favourite.
  2. Yep this was my sat nav, and do you know what?  This and a map got me there just fine thank you.
  3. Max the dog.  A new addition to my aunt and uncle's household, he made light work of the squeaky toys I bought him, he's a strong little beast but cute as a button.
  4. Naff-o birthday cake made for my brother's birthday.  Nom nom.
  5. Super hot evenings playing cards by candle light, on this particular night we waited for a thunderstorm to roll in, it arrived around midnight and was quite a show.
  6. Decorations for my dad's birthday.
  7. Yay!  Neon plastic cups!
  8. Everything ready for our celebration meal, we cruelly made dad wait for his present until after dinner, after which he scuttled off to play with his new iPad.  He is a very happy 70 year old, in fact we haven't heard a peep out of him since.
  9. Cake, lots of it.  Sadly I couldn't eat this one but MozzyMr enjoyed it.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Interior Details

MoMa has a knack for the details especially when it comes to interiors, these are just a couple snapshots of where we have been staying in France.  Of course we came along and spread our stuff far and wide and the quiet, calm, tidy equilibrium has been well and truly shattered. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


France is awash with flowers at the moment, predominately roses and poppies, they're everywhere and they look amazing!  The roses in the pictures above are all in my mum's garden and the courtyard at the front of their house in France.  They smell amazing and are exactly what roses should be.

Monday, 4 June 2012


A collection of birdhouses to be found in Tusson, France where MozzyMr and I have been celebrating family Birthdays and soaking up a little sun...

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