Friday, 30 December 2011

I was not alone ......

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my last post .... it would appear I am not alone (so pleased to hear it ladies) ..... wonder if I can talk them into being even more daring next year ;-)

One of my Christmas pressies was a trip to London to see Million Dollar Quartet at the Noel Coward Theatre yesterday afternoon.  It was a girlie day out for me, my mum, my sister and her daughter and my two daughters ..... alas my youngest daughter was struck down with S & D so Ellie came instead .... I am sure that girl put a spell on her mother as she was most disappointed when she learnt we were all going out without her!

We took a lunchtime train to St Pancras and as mum doesn't like going on the underground since the London bombings my daughter pre-booked a private 7 seater car which was waiting for us on arrival.  The car was immaculate and the driver most helpful and he dropped us off right outside the door of the theatre.

The show was fantastic and we were not far from the stage so had a brilliant view ..... the cast all played and sang some rock & roll favourites.

You just can't beat the golden oldies ..... they'll still be around long after Simon Cowell's wannabees are forgotten.  Can you imagine how it would have been if Elvis's twin brother Jesse had survived .... one of him is bliss and two would have been absolute heaven on earth!

After the show our car was waiting to take us back to St Pancras ..... no longer just a railway station this place is now a shopping centre in its own right.  The Champagne Bar just had to receive a visit and then we had dinner in the restaurant before we headed home for bed.  It was a lovely outing for the three generations of my family .... here are some of my own photos of the day

The Lego Christmas Tree at St Pancras station

Inside the theatre ..... Ellie did make us chuckle during the interval when she exclaimed Elvis had just gone into the Gent's loo ..... "he had the shiny suit and hair nanny "she said .... a few moments later the man in the first photo returned to his seat a couple of rows in front of us.  Seems you must never argue with a 7 year old as they are usually right!

Fancy putting a Cath Kidston shop on a railway station!

Appears she is getting a taste for the CK too ... the cocktail I might add was non-alcoholic!  I bought her an I-Pod Nano for Christmas together with some special earphones that she can wear over her hearing aids .... of course she NEEDED a bag to keep them in.

Just sniffing ..... I drank them!

Din Dins ..... Smoked Haddock on a Crushed Potato base with a poached egg topper .... it was delicious!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Bucking the trend .......

Well we have safely got to the other side for another year ..... I love the build up to Christmas but always feel somewhat deflated on the big day itself.  Why I ask myself ????  It could be because it has no religious significance to me as although I try to live a good honest life I am not a church person ..... or is it the anticipation and anxiety or fear of disappointment ???  I will find the answer one day I am sure and this year I was determined not to get dragged into the turkey and sprout fest that the supermarkets and TV chefs keep ramming down our throats.  Am I just being awkward .... please tell me there is someone else out there who feels like this??

Having prepared a traditional Christmas dinner every year since 1979 this year it was time for a change and I threatened the family with the local Indian restaurant much to their dismay.  I just couldn't face hours in the kitchen and then sitting down and looking at a plate full of food that I wasn't going to enjoy.  A couple of days before Christmas my daughters announced that they had indeed booked a table for us at the Indian and off we went at three thirty for something completely different.  I did have a giggle with an Indian lady and her husband at the market on Christmas Eve when she mentioned turkey ..... I said you'll never guess what we are having and when I told her it was curry she grinned and said she was having turkey as they have curry every other day of the year!  So perhaps it wasn't just me who fancied a change.

The restaurant was all lit up with Christmas music playing in the background and it was packed!  We had a lovely relaxed three course meal with coffee for £20 a head ..... compared with the £60 that some pub restaurants were asking on the day that seemed the real deal to me.  It was delicious and I am so glad we made the break with tradition.

I can't believe it is nearly Thursday already and tomorrow I am off to enjoy one of my pressies .... a trip to London to the theatre to see Million Dollar Quartet ... better dust off my blue suede shoes coz there will be some walking around Covent Garden to do too!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Greenhouse, Letchworth

This is a brilliant community concept run by Jenny and her loyal band of helpers aimed at bringing something new and vibrant to a beautiful and traditional town centre .... Letchworth the first garden city of England.

Following Mary Portas's report to the government on the decline of our town centres we need more initiatives like this rather than takeaways and estate agents !

Who do you blame for the decline ..... Town centre planners, large supermarket chains, greedy landlords, high car parking charges, internet shopping, recession ? Or is it a jumble of all of them ?

Right that's me off the soapbox ...... are you all ready for Christmas yet?

I'm not xxx

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Holly & The Ivy and of course the Mistletoe ...

11/12/2011 by Lalabibaby
11/12/2011, a photo by Lalabibaby on Flickr.

No people I am not looking for a snogfest this Christmas!

When we were at the garden centre yesterday I spied these lovely bunches of mistletoe and thought I would have a go at growing some myself.

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on a host .... apple and hawthorn are favourites so I have been rubbing the sticky berries into the branches of trees around the garden in hope that some of the little seeds will germinate and I will have some of my own homegrown in future years. I have tried it on cotoneaster, pyrocantha and a plum tree too.

Fingers crossed !

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The kindness of virtual friends

08/12/2011 by Lalabibaby
08/12/2011, a photo by Lalabibaby on Flickr.

I had a late delivery from the postie this evening .... a parcel .... but I hadn't ordered anything so what could it be?

One very lovely lady, who shall remain anonymous unless she puts her hand up, saw this and thought of me. How wonderful was that!

Thank you so much lovely lady xx

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Oliver muscles in again .......

05/12/2011 by Lalabibaby
05/12/2011, a photo by Lalabibaby on Flickr.

While I was in the loft getting the decorations down I found this ..... A lovely vintage pine washstand that I bought around 8 years ago but had to take out of the room once grandchildren and minded children arrived. My wash set ( the basin and jug are - by Methven of Scotland and called Tom Tit and the guz is a Rathbone of Staffordshire) have been living on the cupboard tops out of reach from little fingers. About time they came out of hiding .... Oliver was his usual curious self and had a good sniff as if to say "what is this?'"

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Getting ahead of myself .....

Blimey I have excelled myself this weekend and have got the tree and most of the decorations up a day earlier than planned.  Seems strange though this year without the snow outside to give that festive feel.  Yesterday on my walk with the dogs I did some foraging .... some branches for spraying gold, pine cones and some sloes to make some sloe gin .... nothing like a drop of mother's ruin !

I didn't realise till I downloaded the photos that there is a ladybird on the pine cones if you look carefully ... heaven knows where she is now.

I made it to the car boot this morning and did find one lovely bargain .... a set of pretty 1930s pink glass bowls - large fruit bowl & six serving dishes

Can't wait till it gets dark later and I can turn on all the twinklies ready for a peaceful Sunday evening.

Hope you have all had a good weekend x

Friday, 2 December 2011

Looking back ......

Can you really believe this was happening 12 months ago?

Apart from a frost this morning it is gorgeous out there now with blue sky and sunshine and I even saw a live wasp on my way back in the front door after dog walking.

December already and hopefully this weekend will see the decorations go up if I can get myself organised and into the loft.  Space has to be made downstairs first though and I feel a little freecycling coming on later .... I've been feeling restless lately and in need of a change so for 2012 it may be a case of out with the old/in with the new (or newish because almost everything I acquire is secondhand and I'm proud of it).

Talking of acquisitions this little beauty was delivered this week .... a Fleabay bargain and the seller is based about 5 mins away from me so how good was that!

It is painted with F & B Calke Green and now I have seen it there may be some colour changes ahead .... green is my favourite colour

I decided against buying crappo wrapping paper that tears as soon as you look at this year and I'm using good old fashioned brown paper with Christmas ribbon and homemade felt reindeer heads .... I have embroidered names on the back so the littlies have a dual purpose tag/tree decoration.  Gonna use some Christmas stamps for the grown ups I think.

I hope to find time at the weekend to make some more vintage book paper chains .... these books are ex-library so are well used and not really fit for any other purpose so rather than have them sit in a box I think their new lease of life will be around for a few more Christmases yet.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Paper Chain Decorations

27/11/2011 by Lalabibaby
27/11/2011, a photo by Lalabibaby on Flickr.

What a great way of re-purposng tatty old vintage children's books for Christmas decorations .... this one is Noddy and his friends

Upcycled Display Board

27/11/2011 by Lalabibaby
27/11/2011, a photo by Lalabibaby on Flickr.

My display board made with a vintage picture frame with added ingredients of linen toile fabric, East of India Union Jack ribbon and upholstery pins. This one is dual purpose as I will be usng it to display small items such as hansmade corsages and jewellery when I do the vintage fairs in 2012

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Stir up Sunday

Here is a link to the Wiki definition of Stir up Sunday and even though I am the only Christmas pudding and cake eater in the house it hasn't stopped me today.  There was a really quick and easy pud recipe by Jamie Oliver in yesterday's Mail Weekend magazine and as I had all of the ingredients in the store cupboard there was no excuse!

I used the ramekins that supermarket desserts come in to make individual ones and one large one .... the smaller ones are steamed in the oven for an hour and I have to admit to scoffing one already .... it was delicious and not too sickly and rich like shop bought puds and yes you aren't seeing things there is Guinness in the recipe.

I've been out this morning stocking up on animal feed for our menagerie which now includes two goldfish and another bantam ... she is a Bantam Quail and is currently acquainting herself with the other chooks.

Hopefully I have enough supplies to last into the new year which is frighteningly only 7 weeks away .... how did that happen!

We took a team of OH's canaries to a show in High Wycombe yesterday and with time to kill we hopped onto the M40 and headed north to Bicester Village .... I have neither the dosh, inclination or patience for shopping centres and much prefer my usual second hand shopping haunts but there is a Cath Kidston outlet here and I wanted to see what fabrics they had.   My goodness you would never believe that we are in the grips of a recession after seeing how full the car park was at 9.00 am and the masses of people chucking their credit cards about.  I am strictly a cash only type of girl now and very careful about how I spend it .... the CK fabric here is £12 a metre which I can put up with but I would never pay full price or the stupid money that some people seem to do on a well known online auction site.

I had to rub my eyes when I saw the price tag on this lovely sewing box .... only £10 reduced from £40 ..... now that's what I call a bargain.

The purse was a special treat to myself as I have had another very good sales month at Country Matters and I was in need of a new one.

The whole place is twinkly with all the Christmas stock on sale and there is something new every week.  Based in an old village hall in Hexton it is open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday and has a gorgeous tea room with home cooked food and a lovely fire to warm your cockles whilst sipping tea and eating cake.

Now where was I????? Going off on a tangent again .... after CK I couldn't stomach any more of Bicester so we headed off to Brackley Antique Cellar which was only about 15 mins away.  We haven't been here for years and it was nice to see how it had changed and expanded.

Debbie over at Vintage Wants Not Needs and Annie of Vintage at the Corner House have units here and I really did missing seeing them and all the other lovely sellers/bloggers/visitors at the 2nd Market Harborough Vintage & Handmade Fair yesterday.  Can you spot a certain baby picture?  I already have this one otherwise it would have been coming home with me.  My one purchase here was some gorgeous glass chandalier droplets .... I have been collecting these for years and they make perfect vintage decorations for the Christmas tree and at only £1 each for the tear drop shape and £2 for the multi-drops they are terrific value.

Found this strange object growing in the garden this week too

Looks like Molly wouldn't let her share the kennel and not wanting to get her bum cold this was the next best thing!