Friday, 30 November 2012

Money for old coat

Nice weather we're having! The Husband and I indulged in a little lunch yesterday with this view. Oh hurry up summer. I neeeeeed you...

So yesterday morning the Prince and I headed for one of the most exciting parts of our week - the Thursday toddler group. It's in a lovely church, you hand over £1.50 and you get to drink as much tea and coffee as you can handle. And chocolate biscuits. And your child plays happily for two whole hours.

You will often find me hovering by the biscuit tin, while I pretend to be hunting down a clean mug (but we all know I actually just want to snaffle one last Chocolate Digestive. Just one last one. Okay two.)

You will also find me talking to the Only Dad There. He is a dad of three and on the days his wife works, he has the kids and then they swap. This Dad and I are the tiredest parents at toddler group (is tiredest a word?...) We have a Sleep Off, basically. He tells me about his bad night, I listen in sympathy and then I share mine.

We are the toddler group zombies - we both freelance and work into the early hours. While all the other fresh-faced mums skip around fretting after their children, he and I are prising our eyes open and making our sixth coffee. There are grunts and we compare tiredness. I usually win but this week, on two hour's BROKEN sleep, Only Dad There won hands down.

He practically fell asleep during the Hokey Cokey (oh yes, we know how to live, it's like a baby rave) and his eyes got smaller and smaller. Then he stopped talking. I don't think he was really awake any more.

So he won. I lost. But I gained in other ways (ie sleep I s'pose).

The whole reason I am telling this story is because on the way to Thursday toddler group, something in the Scope cherry tree shop caught my eye:

A stunning vintage Yves Saint Laurent woollen coat. With velvet collar and cuffs. Very cute. A size 10-12 but hey, one can dream of it fitting over their gargantuan baps.

As delightful as it was, something had caught my eye even more, however.


 Yep. £150 for a coat from a cherry tree shop. What do you think of this? Is this reasonable? Would YOU buy a second hand coat for this much money? If not why not? What would you pay?

Anyway the manager came out as she saw me taking a pic of it as it stood proudly in the window.

(and let's be honest here, she knows my face pretty well now!)

"Hello you, do you want to come in and try the coat on?! she asked, hopefully.

So I walked into the shop and I told her how shocked I was at the price and that I wouldn't be trying it on (let's forget the fact I probably wouldn't be able to even get it on) and I couldn't fathom why cherry tree shops charged extortionate prices for vintage designer items (of course I called it a charity shop to her, otherwise she would think I was nuts. Which I am, but again that's not the point).

She explained a regular customer brought it in. His wife died recently and he'd bought her the coat as a present many years ago and it cost him a small fortune. He didn't want someone to pay a mere tenner for a coat which he felt could raise much more money for the charity. He requested that the manager tried to get as much as she could for it.  So that's what she was doing.

I asked her to let me know when it sold, and how much it sold for. I am just interested in this whole thing.  It is such a charming coat but isn't the point of a cherry tree shop that you get bargains and you support a charity. Is this coat a bargain at £150? The manager said she saw two identical coats online selling for £300 so she felt £150 was reasonable.

I admit I was beginning to see her point. But not enough to buy it.

What's the most you've spent in a cherry tree shop?

Friday, 23 November 2012

Get yer blocks off

I am like soooooo tired. I can't even be bothered to get up and find matchsticks to prop my eyelids open. THAT tired. I can't even be faffed to hunt down a mince pie.

However, something just gave my weary peepers a treat. Something that perhaps, M People, would agree is a sight for sore eyes.

Click on the below, ladies and gentlemen, to take you to the ever so lovely Fee and her amazing block giveaway.

This above link doesn't seem to be highlighting in blue as usual, so cut and paste it and go and find the most gorgeous giveaway that Fee has created.

I love it.

Good night.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Ladybird Shrieks and Birthday Larks

It was like winning the lottery on Monday when Sarah of Annaboos House fame and I went cherry tree shopping.

I have been hunting down a particular Ladybird book for YEARS. Yes I could have bought it on ebay or Amazon but I wanted to feel that excitement of finding it myself in a cherry tree shop.

And on Monday I did.

I may have let out a little squeal actually. Or a couple.

It was the equivalent of finding the posh handbag/shoes/coat/hat of your dreams in the sales. Oh I was thrilled. The cover design is slightly different to the one I had as a kid, but the illustrations are exactly the same!

Is the frog eating Camembert?

The bit that cracks me up is this:

Yes that's right, you open the front door, find a massive frog, go and tell your Dad in the hope he will remove said frog, but instead, he enquires "What does the frog want with you?" as if this kind of thing happens all the time and the frog may actually want to talk to you. Which of course it does. And eat with you, and sleep with you. But that's not the point.

This takes my vintage Ladybird book collection to 123. Yes, that many. Count them if you will.

Oh my dear boy. He has grown so much since this pic was taken

All  of these Ladybirds have been purchased from cherry tree shops. It's taken me five years.

After a delightful couple of hours shopping with Sarah, we went to my favourite cafe by the tea. We were "forced" (such a shame) to share a table with a windsurfer but he made a swift exit after I sat down....maybe he thought I was chatting him up. Of course that's an absurd thought...

Still, we sat there and enjoyed the view from our cosy corner...

Little dots of fit men. The sea looked freeeeeeezing, they looked hot...

Other things to have happened in the past week? The Princess turned 9.

We threw her a brilliant party in my other favourite cafe near the sea. The cafe is veggie/vegan (yet I am a big meat eater) and is decked out with chintzy crockery, metal signs, tongue and groove walls and big comfy sofas. The lady who runs it is an absolute star and is one of the first people I met when we moved here.

The party involved pizza making, tattoos, a disco, Pass the Parcel, Pin the Tail on the donkey and a fab party tea.

30p from the Scope cherry tree shop

I made what I thought were disastrous cupcakes but everyone seemed to love them (perhaps I am too much of a perfectionist but I was ready to bin them).

I made them for the Princess and they are my first ever cupcakes! I tend to eat them, not bake them!

I faffed about with making pastel-coloured sugar too. E's are good, e's are good........

The only way I could think of storing them separately!

The day after her party, the Princess ran the cross country race. She came 12th out of 110 pupils from a variety of schools. We were bursting with pride. What a star.

And they're off (at 9.30am Sat morning....yikes)

Here she comes, a total blur in blue!
 I've had more work this week. When the weather is rainy and windy, I rather like working from home. The Husband took the Prince out all day yesterday so I could work in peace and I got loads done.

 And finally......having said I am not getting all Christmassy, maybe I have just started feeling a little Christmas Sparkle. I bought this cute little bucket tin this week.

£1.99 Store 21......hurry!!!
And on that note, my bath and book is beckoning me! Turrah for now!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


The Princess has been selected for a cross country event on Saturday. I am so proud of her I could burst. She is built for running. I am also built for running (to the fridge for a Mars bar). I love that she is so sporty.

I walk but I don't run. That would be a danger to society...

My main sporting event is blowing Malteasers in the air with a straw and seeing how long I can keep them up for. If that was an olympic sport, I think I'd be the Usain Bolt of straw/chocolate blowing. I think it goes back to my didgeridoo lessons when I was a hippy chick in my 20s and I learnt how to circular breathe.

I had a weird didgeridoo teacher. His chopped off dreadlocks hung from his bedroom light bulb like a hirsute chandelier and he (dressed as a wizard...I kid you not) used to get me to sit on his bed and would then hold my tummy to "feel me circular breathe" for an hour and then I paid him £20...hmmmmm looking back, maybe that was wrong. The Husband wasn't best pleased, that's for sure.

Anyway I digress, the athletic Princess is 9 on Friday. I cannot believe it. How can this be? We've arranged a party for her and I need to do all the present wrapping tomorrow. I can't believe in four years she will be a teenager. It makes me very wistful for the past few years. I want them back.

My best girl

I don't REALLY want all my time back to myself. I have the rest of my life for that. I want my children to remain small. I want us to always be this close. For the Husband and I to keep making them laugh in that infectious way. I don't want bath times to end. Or story times. I still read to her for up to half an hour each night. She gets a back massage and a chapter or two of whichever Jacqueline Wilson book she's reading  and we talk about her day. That's after I've read The Gruffalo a thousand times to the Prince.

I want to cherish all of these moments. I don't want the Prince to grow up either. How can he start school next year?! He's little. He still can't even say the word "massive"  (he says "maffiss").

Here are my little family having afternoon tea by the sea at the weekend. I was outside smelling the salty air....ahhh!

Anyway, that is how I am feeling right now, as I sit here watching "I'm a (Z list) Celebrity" and some trollop off Corrie is eating snake gonads or something (not really listening if I am honest, to be honest I am actually thinking about what is in the cupboard that I could eat...)

I have just had the inlaws for four nights. It was busy, it was hectic, but we had some great moments:

Sunday afternoon coffee view

Gorgeous sunset

Yo! Me and the MIL (nearly wrote MILF...yikes)
I bought some things from the cherry tree shop! Some wool for £1.20 and I have now started a scarf.

A very skinny scarf.....for an anorexic snake probably

And these vintage Delia Smith books. £1 each. How cool...

How young does she look?

Look at that dress!

Then the MIL and I snuck off without boys and kids for two hours so we could go to a vintage Christmas fair. It was great and in the village which my street borders on. It was full of charm and fairy lights and sweet homemade gifts.

Chill out room

Apparently the host got a whole matching tea set from a cherry tree shop #weljel

 Oh and yes. Christmas has truly begun in our household. Normally I wait until December 1st for my annual Gin and Mincepie Night (one a night, every night til NYE, it's MY law) but I decided to start early.

Merry Mincepies everyone. Chink chink.

PS I am now sniggering about my didgeridoo teacher...and the look on the Husband's face when I explained what my "lesson" involved. #naive

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Autumnal japes

So the Prince hates fireworks quite a lot, it turns out. Don't sing the Katy Perry song to him. Ever.

He has been seriously freaked out and resorted to sleeping on the sofa until it's safe for us to carry him upstairs to bed. But then swiftly returns to our bed hours later "just in case" a firework gets him in the night...

Soooooooo, after a little googling, I found a lovely solution. EAR DEFENDERS!

Very Calvin Harris...

And it seems we are all saved from the traumas of  rockets and screamers. And crying kids.

Can he hear them?

No he can't!

(Even if he does look a little reminiscent of Warren from There's Something About Mary...)

This means we can go to the big firework party tomorrow night and hopefully have a laugh. I LOVE fireworks. I love anything sparkly and glittery and find them mesmerising.

Which brings me on to my fab purchase in Brighton on Saturday. These little babies. I call them my Firework Boots. I love them. I'm all about the glitter!

That's my belated Nana Joan's sewing table. Gorgeous.

I wore them to the cinema with the husband on Wednesday night (Skyfall....brilliant! And I don't even fancy Daniel Craig) and felt like a student all over again.

The husband has been off all week and it's been lush to have someone around to help me with the kids so frequently. We had his brother and family to stay for four days at the beginning of the week and we went to Brighton for the day which they loved, having never been before.

Five children in total for four days - it was hectic but fun. Here are four of the five (the baby was sleeping).

Peter Andre's coffee shop

The Princess and her cousin (born 8 weeks apart)

Having the Husband home all week also meant I could go out with some friends and regain a very non existent social life. We went to the local pub round the corner from home which is really nice and had a laugh.

I have also found a little time to do a couple of rounds on this giant granny.

Only taken me since March and only a third in.....

Not as big as the Blanket of Glory though....

A couple of people like it a lot though!
They love watching me do it (such a rarity!) and then always want to get involved, hence I never make much progress.

I love my kids  but taking them shopping is always a saga. If the Prince isn't trying to jam his fingers into automatic doors, they are refusing to budge when I want to head off.

Both said they NEEDED these chairs.....of course I said NOOOOOO (evil cackle)

On the subject of shopping, I also picked up this metal sign from the cherry tree shop for £2. I love it.

As I left the shop, I noticed this DVD. I am a massive Charlie Chaplin fan. I was brought up on it and my siblings and I spent many a Sunday afternoon cosied up watching The Gold Rush. I find silent movies amazing to watch. The actions, the music....oh!

I paid £2 for the DVD and was informed by Scope that it was Buy One Get One Free, which meant I picked up this one too.

Another happy childhood memory. Maybe I have a thing for men in hats with strange facial hair (which is good I guess, now that we are in Movember...)

One day this week the Princess chilled out in her best (boy) friend's hot tub so the Prince and I took to the sea. We went shopping and ate ice creams on a chilly day!
Chocolate ice cream chops


Then of course we had Hallowe'en. Our street and the neighbouring ones are renowned for an excellent show but apparently it was being toned down this year after hundreds descended on the streets to Trick or Treat.

One of the houses put on a sausage sizzle. I think this is a fancier term for a BBQ. Then we were terrified for a couple of hours as we wandered from door to door. The adults put waaaay too much effort in and it was petrifying in places.

Next year we will take part in the festivities by scaring door knockers, this year we tested the water by taking to the streets to see what our neighbours do. There is a good community feel to our new area which is a bonus.

Can you believe this is the Princess?!!

The pumpkin flames kept blowing out so I gave up

The Wicked Witch came in at night....

The hotty zombie 
And there we have it. Back to school tomorrow. The Husband has one more day off so we will make the most of it.

On a final note, c'mon Bloggers, don't get all Instagrammy on me, still blog please otherwise I miss out on what you are all up to. Keep an archaeic old granny like me in the know from time to time please!