Saturday, 30 June 2012

Darling, Happy Anniversary

Tomorrow is our 23rd wedding anniversary.  We seem so young in the photographs, it feels like another world away ... and in other ways, it feels like yesterday.  It was a beautiful, sunny, day ... the previous day had been full of horrific thunderstorms and flash flooding, like lots of us have been experiencing this week, and we just thought our wedding day would be like that too.

We had a quiet wedding, as money was tight, we had a 2 year old son and had just bought our first proper home which needed total renovation, so fripperies were dispensed with.  I hired my wedding dress, and although I try to never regret anything I've done, I do regret that I hired, rather than bought.  To hire the dress was £35, to buy £70.  I know it doesn't sound much now, but at the time it was, especially as friends were telling me that I would just shove it in the loft and forget about it.

It really wasn't typical of the time, this was the era of huge, meringue-like confections, but that wasn't me at all.  It had a touch of the Kate Middleton's at the top (it was too big as I lost weight before the wedding, but because it was hired, couldn't be altered), but had a full, ballerina-length skirt.  This is a photograph of the back view of the dress from the brochure.

Three years ago, we went on a weeks holiday to London.  It was August and London was basking in a heatwave of massive proportions.  We were ambling along Carnaby Street (as you do) and my sister spotted a little alley with chairs that were calling out to her.  We strolled down and came upon a quadrangle of little shops on 3 levels.  There were craft shops, knitting shops, baby shops ... and a beautiful vintage clothing shop that had the most gorgeous American-prom style floral dress in the window.  Millie and my niece, Daisy were oohing and aahing over it, so we went in.  In the centre of the shop, taking pride of place was


I'm not for a minute saying it was the same one, but it was the same size.  I excitedly told the sales assistants that I had worn this dress 20-odd years ago and they asked me if I would send them a photo of me on my wedding day, so that they could put it on the dress with the date.  It was priced at £750, over ten times the price it would have cost me, had I bought it.

The value of it doesn't interest me, but I can't help thinking it would have made a beautiful prom dress for my daughter next year, who as you know, loves all things vintage.  Or even, in years to come, her wedding dress.

I didn't get round to sending a photo, but instead, the following spring, while attending the Country Living Fair, I took a photo round to the shop.  It was closed down, empty, with a few cardboard boxes lying around the floor.  Another victim of the recession. The shop was called Fur Coat and No Knickers.

Enjoy your weekend,

Love, Claire xxx

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Hello everyone, when the weather is as bad as it has been these last few days (or weeks) if you have a day off there is nothing nicer than making a cup of tea and sitting at the Big Computer (can't see the pictures as well on my ipad) and catching up on your favourite blogs.  

A good few years ago I found my first blog completely by accident while looking for a crocheting pattern on Google.  It was the lovely Lucy's blog attic24, which I am sure lots of you are familiar with, and I was completely drawn in.  I started to look at the blogs Lucy liked and the rest is history! 

In those early days I never thought that I would have a blog of my own, I just liked looking at the lovely images, getting inspiration for my own home, and even suggestions for what to cook for tea! Now I have my own, I love the way we all exchange views, recommend items and share a bit of our lives with each other.

Through my bloggy friends I have received a couple of lovely parcels this past week ...

A while ago,  miss-thrifty gave a link to a competition for the Diamond Jubilee which had loads of prizes and one in particular interested me.  It was from Graham and Brown, the wallpaper specialists, offering a roll of Jubilee wallpaper ...

I had never seen anything like this, so had to enter, because it was so me ... and I won a roll! (So did Miss-Thrifty!) As it is only one roll, I am going to have think very carefully what to do with it ... ideas on a postcard please!

I couldn't get a good picture of it as the light is so bad today, so have had to doctor it a bit so it isn't wishy washy ... the colours are more muted than this, but it's absolutely gorgeous, and so vintage! I am thinking of painting my bathroom in the salmony pink colour (and my roll-top bath) and papering the back wall beside the bath with the paper.  If I do this, will definitely show you how it turns out. I know it's very girly, but I do have a small shower room which gets used all the time and the bathroom is only ever used as a bathroom by me and my daughter.  The male members of the family just use it to get a towel out of the airing cupboard and splatter toothpaste and hair products all over the walls!

Another recommendation I had was via evelyn-may, who was hosting a giveaway which was won by my friend Maria of rosey tinted spectacles.  Evelyn-May recommended the Pretty Nostalgic magazine, and if you purchase a years subscription via her blog and mention who recommended it, you also get free the Pretty Nostalgic book.  So pop over to her blog, because I can easily say, it is very well worth it!

Maria was actually at my home yesterday, and we were having lunch when the postman called with this beautiful book ...

 the images are gorgeous, and the book is divided into chapters, with seasonal features and loads of ideas for titivating your home ...

There is a great 'make do and mend' ethos throughout, which I totally identify with! It encourages you to make use of what you have instead of going to the shops an spending a fortune on stuff that has a short shelf and becomes dated almost immediately ...

 It also encourages you to explore your own style and not follow the herd by having everything that everyone else has.

Loads of old fashioned hints and tips ...

  And lots of sayings that you don't hear nowadays ...

I don't want to reveal too much, but can honestly say that I pored over this divine book all yesterday evening, but on opening it again today to do this post, have found loads more things to look at.  It is absolutely jam-packed with images, old advertisments and household hints.

If you do nothing else this week, buy a subscription to this magazine, because it is £36 for the year (6 copies of the magazine) and this book is £25 rrp on its own.  Believe me, you will thank me!

Have a lovely week!

Love, Claire xxx

Friday, 22 June 2012


I don't know about you, but this rainy, grey weather's really getting me down! It's my day off today and I usually see everyone off in the morning and then get ready to have a morning browsing round the charity shops, but in this weather, I just don't feel motivated.  

I felt like being creative and really wanted to bake, but that isn't very compatible with Weight Watchers ... couldn't decide what to do, then out of the corner of my eye, I saw this ...

A dated, unloved, lampshade that was just 'making do' until something better came along.  I ripped the old tatty braid off the bottom of the shade ...

 and then off the top, so that it now looked like this (rather dejected, a bit like me at the moment!) ...

and then got out my little stash of paper tapes ... I bought most of these very cheaply off Ebay, there are loads to choose from, and they're great for adding a trim to pictures, presents and to make strings of mini bunting with ...

I decided on the faded red polka dot one, as I didn't really want the pattern to be fighting with the curtains for attention, and we all benefit from a little dottiness in our lives, let's face it!

I stuck it down around the top, then over the rim and down each 'rib' of the shade, until it looked like this ...

Using my trusty glue gun, I then added a bit of bobble trim, salvaged from another lampshade I didn't like, and this is the finished product!!

What do you think? Is it a bit mad? It took 10 minutes, no sewing involved, and cost practically nothing because I already had everything in, and it's made me happy! Hopefully the tape will stay put, but if not I'll just put a few blobs of glue down each line. Of course, you crafty lot could do it properly, ie, by sewing braid or ribbon down each rib and stitching on the bobbles, but I needed instant gratification this morning!

I shall now spend the rest of the day wandering around the house, glue gun in hand, wondering what I can titivate next! Please share your 'cheap as chips' craft tips with me, because I love to make something out of nothing!

Am getting a little stash of goodies together for the 'Jar of Love' swap, how are you all getting on?

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend and that it turns out fine for you!

See you soon, Claire xxx

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Have just found out that the pair-ups have been announced for the Jar of Love Swap on  I have been teamed with, which is a new blog to me, but am looking forward to finding out what Madison likes, and hopefully, filling a jar with things that she will love!

I have until the end of July to fill my jar, so need to get cracking and source some lovely items for her.

I have never done a swap before, so am very interested in the concept of it ... introducing like-minded people to each other and sharing this in Blogland!

Thank-you Katie, for hosting this, and am looking forward to seeing all the filled jars in August!

Have a lovely week,

Love, Claire xxx

Sunday, 17 June 2012

I wandered lonely as a cloud - again!!

Hello, sorry to everyone who has already read this post when it was first aired, but I was trying to do my award post on my ipad  (I never do a post on my ipad, always on The Big Computer) and somehow deleted this post.  I couldn't get it back, however hard I tried, couldn't find it anywhere, but my lovely friend Julie somehow has, and so I'm putting it back on again as I want a record of a lovely day out!  (I know that otherwise I would forget I'd deleted it and be looking frantically for it!)

Posted: 11 Jun 2012 04:31 AM PDT
Before I start waffling on, can I just say a Very Big Welcome to all my lovely new followers!

Have had a lovely weekend, with a  fuller house than usual, as my second son, Jacob, who lives in Leeds, came home for a few days, bringing with him his lovely girlfriend, Jules.  All the rest of the family were home too, so have had a nice family weekend with days out, a bit of carbooting, Chinese takeaway, fish and chips and board games. 

Got up early on Sunday and was expecting it to be pouring down as the weather forecast wasn't good, but was actually quite a nice day in the offing.  Picked my friend Kath up and went to the car boot at the end of the road (the one I went to where I got all the lovely treasures which I did a post about).  This is what I found:

2 orignal Hummel pictures
Cath Kidston Travel Set
Vintage half a cup from the Isle of Wight
2 Fawn Candle Holders
1988 Christmas Plate
Random Jewellery
Next Patchwork Flowery Bag

Came back laden and by then the sun was getting quite hot so we decided to have A Day Out in The Lakes.  Jules is from London originally and now lives in Leeds and hadn't been to the Lake District, so we had to put that right!

The Lake District was packed with tourists as we drove through Bowness and Ambleside.  A sunny day brings everyone out, and it was the last day of half term so everyone was making the most of the unexpected nice weather.  We decided to go to Grasmere and though the first car park we tried was full it wasn't as thronging as the previous places.  We parked up and ambled along to one of my favourite places ... Dove Cottage, home of one of the Lakeland Poets, William Wordsworth.

The house is gorgeous, just what I aspire to one day living in! A chocolate box cottage with roses round the door! You can just imagine WW sitting at that upstairs window, looking out at his beloved fells beyond ...

The side of the cottage ... I like the way the reflection on that latticed window looks like a perfect heart ...

A slate with a message on, taken from Dorothy Wordsworth's (William's sister) journal.  I have a paperback copy of this, and it is fascinating to get an insight into how they lived their everyday lives.  212 years ago, to the day, a snippet of Dorothy's entry for that day ... "A cold yet sunshiny morning.  John carried letters to Ambleside.  I made tarts, pies, etc.  Wm stuck peas.  After dinner he lay down.  John not at home.  I stuck peas alone.  Molly washing.  Cold showers with hail and rain, but at half past five after a heavy rain the lake became calm - and very beautiful".  Can't help but think if Dorothy was around now, her blog would be fabulous, because she paints such a lovely picture with her words.

The side garden at Dove Cottage.

We left Dove Cottage and walked along the lane into the village, where the hotels and shops have many references towards Wordsworth ...

"Feel free to wander lonely or as a crowd" ... very clever!

To the Grasmere Gingerbread shop ... I wish I could relay the smells to you that waft from this lovely shop, the only place in the world allowed to call its product Grasmere Gingerbread.  There have been legal wrangles in recent years, but the closely guarded, centuries old recipe, thankfully won!

A little touch of Jubilee Spirit by the side of the door ... and on to the churchyard, where William and Dorothy Wordsworth and other members of their family are buried.  A very peaceful, tranquil place, despite the hordes of tourists passing through ...

We walked over the bridge where lots of mallards were congregating, being fed by diners at the riverside restaurant ...

Distant cousins of the pair who visited our garden on Friday (yes, I know the grass needs cutting, we have had lots of rain!) ...

We then left Grasmere and trundled along to Ambleside for a cream tea ...

Then on to Bowness where we just had to stop here ...

And then home to fish and chips (I can feel the excuses coming on already, when I step on the scales at WW tonight!)

I'll leave you with this image, have to go and prepare a roast for this evening, Jacob's looking far too thin!

Thank you for bearing with me, you probably have a feeling of deja vu!

Have a lovely week,

Love, Claire xxx

Thursday, 14 June 2012


I have just found out that I have been nominated for the Sunshine Award by the lovely Cheryl from My Little Piece of England ... this is my first award, thank you so much Cheryl, you've really made my day! I got all excited and started to create this post using my ipad, and stupidly have deleted my last post about Wordsworth, does anyone have any idea how to get it back? Sorry back to the award!

The Rules:

1.   Thank the blogger that nominated you - Thank you again, Cheryl!

2.   Answer 10 questions about your favourite things.

3.   Nominate 10 blogs and let them know.


Favourite Animal - Dog - how could I say anything else, Ruby would never forgive me

Favourite Number - 7, since I was little I thought it was a bright, shiny number

Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink - Tea - I drink buckets of it

Facebook or Twitter - FB, but not really a fan

My Passion - All things vintage (my family and friends are obviously the most important thing in my life, but that goes without saying)

Getting or Giving - I love looking for or making the perfect present for someone, but like to receive things too, especially if thought has gone into it, doesn't matter how big or small, cheap or expensive, what matters is the time someone has given to make it special.

Favourite pattern - Does this mean sewing, knitting or crochet pattern? I can't really follow patterns, just make things up as I go along! If it's a favourite print then it's Cath Kidston Paris Roses.

Favourite Day of Week - I always get the Friday Feeling!

Favourite Flower - Tulips/Daffodils in spring, Roses any other time (sorry, that'S 3)

Favourite Country - Love Greece, but am always ready to come home, so GB!

Now for my ten nominated blogs, was very difficult choosing just ten, but after lots of thought, I went for relatively new blogs, and in no particular order, (apart from alphabetically) so there's no squabbling, they are

Aunt Jane's Attic
Down by the Sea
Four Happy Bunnies
Goodnight Prudence
Little Chicken Scratch
Priddy Priddy
Rosey Tinted Spectacles
Tangled Sweetpea
Where the Moon Sleeps

Thanks again Cheryl, hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and now to see if I can get my last post back!
Any help with that would be gratefully received!

Love, Claire xxx

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Jubilee Weekend

Have had a very eventful past few days, and feel a bit worse for wear today, as my friend Kath came round last night for a quiet drink, and to watch the Jubilee concert on the telly ... we were busy putting the world to rights, and before we knew it, it was 2 am, so am not the liveliest person in the world at the moment, so please bear with me as I might ramble on a bit, or disappear completely!

My lovely Giveaway prize from Bellaboo at Bella's Country arrived midweek, beautifully wrapped and beribboned ...

Thank you Bella for picking me, it was a lovely giveaway, and I feel very lucky to have won your lovely presents. (Can I just apologise for the quality of my pictures, must get a better camera!)

On Sunday, me and Millie got up with the lark to a dreary, wet and windy day ... the morning of the long awaited Jubilee Celebrations, which have been planned for a year.  We had packed the car the day before and my little Micra was stuffed to the ginnels with tea trolleys, cupboards, crates and boxes, with not an inch to spare!  Dressed in a dotty dress and Cath Kidston wellies off we went to a sodden field with dejected looking swingboats, 

and marquees, resplendent in bunting and jubilation ... and do you know what, we had a fab day! Although the sun didn't make an appearance the Great British public sallied forth in their kagoules and wellies, and a good time was had by all! Let's face it, if we waited for lovely sunny days, we'd never go anyway, or do anything, would we?

Our marquee

Millie and our stall (as I've said before, it's amazing what you can get in a Micra!)

We had a really good day, and went home with a lot less than we arrived with, thankfully! I sold the little cupboard I showed you on a previous post, and also another rosy, dotty bedside table (and received an order for another).  I love these fairs, because you meet such lovely people,  customers and stallholders alike, who can tell you tales about your wares (Oh! I remember my Grannie had one of those ... and we've got one of those in the attic somewhere).

We were entertained by fabulous Lindy Hop Dancers

and the amazing Swingaroo Sisters ... sadly it was their final performance that day as they are disbanding.  Such a shame as they were fabulous, and sang songs from the 40's and 50's (We'll Meet Again, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, etc) ...

and of course we had to have the amazing afternoon tea, but was so busy eating it, forgot to photograph it!

Millie and her friends...

On Sunday, the weather was better (typical), so me and Millie went to a Vintage Fair in Ulverston, which was in a lovely hall, all art deco extravagance and gilding, was a really lovely setting, so we may join this too in the future.  I didn't take any photos inside, as I didn't know any of the stallholders so didn't like to, but this lovely lady was outside...

She wasn't really dressed for the weather though, unlike these three ...

Ulverston is the birthplace of Stan Laurel, and is very proud of its famous Hollywood actor son.There is a world famous Laurel and Hardy museum in the town.  

We took the scenic route home ... (Millie took these photos through the windscreen, in between stopping to pick big bunches of cow parsley and buttercups)  ...

where we wrote out all the names of our lovely Giveaway entrants ...

Put them in a vintage hat ...

Drum roll please ......

And the winner is  ....

Four Happy Bunnies! 

Congratulations to you, and if you could please email me with your details, I will send it out to you as soon as possible.  Commiserations to everyone else, but hope you've all had a lovely Jubilee Weekend.

See you soon, 

Claire xxxx