Monthly Archives

March 2012

Five for Friday: Why I'm peeing my pants in excitement for summer

Highclere Castle, Highclere, Hampshire

I wouldn’t usually wish huge chunks of the year away but I positively cannot wait until June. Here’s why…

1) Bye bye studies (temporarily), and hello life (temporarily)
Once my next assignment is submitted in early June I’ll be free of study for the whole summer, which means I get my evenings and weekends back and complete freedom to… DO WHATEVER I WANT! Whether it’s dinner and drinks with the girls, a day out with hubby or clearing out the garage (I’m itching to get in there and unleash my inner Monica) I can do it. Hoorah! I can even spend a whole weekend in my pyjamas watching back-to-back episodes of Murder She Wrote, eating nothing but biscuits and drinking tea from china cups if I want to. It’s not that I don’t love the MA, I do, but a break will be blissful and hopefully well earned.

2) Holiday!
Usually, as January 1st of each year rolls around me and hubby will be booking a holiday, putting a marker in the calendar to drag us through the bleak winter months when there’s nothing much to be cheery about. Christmas behind us, we always need a holiday to look forward to. We’ve planned nothing this year because we’ve been reluctant to spend any money (having a tight arse phase at the mo – and hubby nearly bankrupted us with his eggnog latte addiction) and free holidays don’t exist – or rather, they do, but are at my mum’s house in the Shire. And while we STILL haven’t booked anything, we WILL be taking at least a week off in June to revel in some Cornish sun, make ourselves sick on rum and raisin ice cream and cream teas, eat in seafood restaurants, explore parks and gardens and generally have a bloody marvelously British time.

3) Writing, writing, writing
It’s really not possible to work full time, do an MA part time and manage to eat, bathe and dress myself daily as well. Throw in time with the family, time to read, watch my fave TV programmes and wind down after a long day in front of a computer, play netball and volleyball and try and salvage some inkling of a social life, and my poor old writing tends to fall off the ‘really need to get on and do’ list. I’ve just managed to enter two competitions which, luckily, only require the first chapter or two of my novel (and I await with baited breath!) but it’ll be lush to get some proper time back to focus on writing projects, my blogging, my novel, some freelance work. Bring it on. I’m brimming with ideas and won’t be fulfilled until I’ve put this creativity into action.

4) Afternoon tea and a slice of heritage
To celebrate the handing in of my last assignment of the academic year hubby and I plan to while away a few hours at Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed. We’ll soak up the history, the grounds, the well thought out camera angles, and revel in a slice of British history and an era brought alive by a fictional place called Downton Abbey. And on the way home we’ll stop for afternoon tea a posh hotel in Marlow, using the voucher my delightful friend Bloater (she’s not fat, far from it, but has been known to eat a whole maltloaf in two bites) gave me for my birthday. A lush present and hubby and I will use it to pretend, just for a couple of hours, that we’re civilised.

5) Sporting highlights
June to September calendar highlights include: car shopping (hoping my current batmobile lasts that long); Buchy and Bruiser’s birthday bash (these are my husband and wife friends, not a comedy duo btw); the Big Doggie Do – the dog show in which Ralphie was crowned cutest puppy two years ago; Mandy’s wedding in July; Olympic volleyball in August (we have tickets!) and topped off nicely by a weekend oop norf and a trip to the York Festival of Writing (need to run that last one past hubby first).

 

Pictured above is Highclere Castle, Highclere, Hampshire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Mothers' Day

We’ve never done that much in celebration of Mother’s Day, partly because I live two hours away from mine and partly because it’s a tad commercial. So, mum picks out something she needs – one year it was a new ironing board cover, oh, the glamour – and me and my brother cough up the pennies.

This year it’ll probably be something for the garden as she’s just bought a small piece of land to extend her kingdom in the shire. And I look forward to helping her pick something when we pop over for Easter.

So, in absence of seeing my mum today – and who I love lots and lots – here’s a bunch of flowers for you mum. They’re on my kitchen windowsill but they’re just for you x

Vase of daffodils

Charity shops and tea cups

Last Sunday I was nosing in the window of the Mercy in Action charity shop on the High Street while hubby popped into the shops to get some icecream essentials. We had Ralphie with us, he’s not allowed in shops what with him being a dog and all, and it was my turn to stand out in the cold.

At first I revelled at the large display of books in the window – literature for literally pence, utterly marvellous, and then I frowned at the noticeboard hanging above the display, pinned head to foot with the pages of a book and I thought how horrid it was that one of them had to die for the sake of a window display.

Tea cup and saucerThen I was distracted by a teapot, a black and white striped one, and then, and then… I got very excited by a cute teacup with matching saucer. And then I spotted another, and another and another. Four! A whole set!

I’m not a huge fan of Royalty but as we gear up to the Queen’s Jubilee, I’ve fully bought into the concept of traditional English tea and the cupcake era, and am the proud owner of a cake stand and old fashioned tea pot. A friend, just the other day, was talking about bunting and the possibility of planting red, white and blue flowers in the garden for the Jubilee and I did get a flash of good old English excitement.

So with no firm plans for the Jubilee – except an MA assignment on the horizon – I do plan on having afternoon tea in Queenie’s honour. And I need cups and saucers! In John Lewis a few weeks ago I spotted a glorious selection including a Cath Kidson selection that I’d have to sell my car to invest in.

So when I caught a glimpse of the price tag on these four black and white beauties – which clash nicely with my red and white spotted cake stand and teapot, I fell in love. £8 for the whole set! Utter bargain!!

But the shop is closed on Sundays and as it keeps the same opening hours as my place of work I couldn’t pop in during the week to snap them up. A part of me wanted to call and reserve them, but I thought that was a tad desperate. So it was with anticipation that I plodded down the High Street yesterday morning, husband and bow wow in tow – High Street shopping is a family affair – and was chuffed to bits they were still in the window.

After trying them out ALL weekend – coffee and hot cross buns (an Easter rehearsal one might say) they now take pride of place on the kitchen windowsill for the next time I’d like to sup tea in style.

Charity shops – there’s some real gems in them and you’ll save yourself a fortune.

 

 

The joy of afternoon tea

You can’t beat afternoon tea with the girlies – especially when the cakes are home baked (not by me, I hasten to add) and decorated by hand as a collective effort.