Reflecting on my week #84

Ah, it’s Press Day at Chelsea today and while I didn’t get a pass this year (boo!) as I sat down to write this post I couldn’t help but remember my day there last year with fond memories. I’m sorry to be missing it, as it really was the most enjoyable day, but I’m also keen to see the highlights of the show on the tv programme throughout the week. I’ve still plenty of photos to share from my visit- I’m not sure where the year has gone, so perhaps it’s no bad thing I’m not there, after all.

Last week was its usual busy self, and there was some sun wasn’t there, which was most welcome. Although it seems my body is having the strangest of times with the sun this year.  Over Easter while topping up my natural Vitamin D, I caught a little bit too much sun and had some very silly tan lines, which still persist. It seems this year my skin is either embracing those rays or ignoring them completely, nothing in the middle, which is quite odd (for me).

As the weather improves though so does my ability to actually take a short lunch break; on Monday a sandwich in the sun and Tuesday discovering what could be dangerous to me, a yarn shop in Greenwich, but a little more on that later in the week. 

A REMINDER OF A GREAT DAY AT THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW LAST YEAR 

A REMINDER OF A GREAT DAY AT THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW LAST YEAR 

As exams complete and the end of term approaches, there’s been a noticeable shift in activities at work. There’s ‘end of year’ celebrations and starting to look ahead to September, although I’ve much to fit in before then, including some more holidays, but somehow it’s been a week without many photos, and none that relate to this post, which is unusual, so instead I’m including a photo with a nod to Chelsea!

This weekend was earmarked for plenty of gardening, as we’ve seriously fallen behind in our plans to maximise green bin space and reclaim some of our border space. somehow though it was hijacked with a trip into town, meeting up with family and a couple of meals out, one of which was the largest roast dinner ever, or so it seemed as I munched my way through the Yorkshire pudding, trying to find some space on the plate for vegetables.

The tube journey home prompted me to read a book, I think if I commuted again I’d read a lot more, but then again that’s a bit drastic really isn’t it? I started a book - The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain, which I highly recommend - on the way home from our impromptu shopping trip early evening on Saturday, and had finished it by lunchtime Sunday.  

I love books that draw you in and immerse you entirely, and which encourage under the cover reading when you wake in the small hours, but they don’t always make me the most productive person, which is, I think, why my reading at the moment is so sporadic. But with a holiday on the horizon that could change!

Reflecting on my week #83

The week started with a visit to Grand Designs Live over at Excel and a few purchases along the way. At every show I go to there always seems to be one item that everyone’s buying. This year we joined in. The item ‘de jour’ was a telescopic mop, which supposedly extends so you can clean your upstairs windows. I’m doubtful that it would work for us, but we had it in mind for another reason, well MOH does as it looks ideal for cleaning our conservatory roof, which is essentially, a glass flat roof.

But that wasn’t our only purchase - maybe it was the show’s proximity to home, but we also brought home a small folding teak table for the garden, and what looks like a high-tech garden hose that’s lightweight and automatically retracts. We’ve already been warned to stand well clear, as it takes no prisoners, but haven’t yet had a chance to try it for ourselves.

I also left with an unintended consequence of bumping into a large plastic bucket on one of the stands - a whopping bruise. It took a while to come out but spectacularly rivals the one I had the other week from that trip down the stairs.

Rain in Greenwich Park

Like most members of my family I’ve been on weather-watch this week ahead of a family wedding this weekend. And hasn’t it been a mixed bag?

On Wednesday it was so wet that walking to and from work, or rather the thought of walking to and from work was less than favourable, but when I got going it wasn’t so bad, until the deluge arrived. Squelching feet until lunchtime is never the best is it? It did mean quite an empty Greenwich Park though, so it wasn’t all bad.

And throughout the week there has been much prepping, those hems got pressed, MOH tried his suit on with no ill effects, and he narrowed his shirt and tie combo down to just two. Despite it being a four day working week, it was one with days that were overfull with work, so as ever it felt far from a short week. But Friday evening with everything packed and double checked we headed off to Peterborough to join my niece and her husband-to-be and their wedding celebrations, meeting up with family and friends but somehow managing to arrive two minutes after last orders for food. It had been that sort of week, and so ending it with a KFC was not such a bad thing.

We were already aware of the itinerary for Saturday, which started with bacon rolls at 8am before heading off to the reception venue to ready that. Many hands really do make light work, and many minds help overcome the obstacles on our path. Thankfully though they were just small ones, like not being able to get the hire van under the height restriction barrier initially, until the correct key was delivered.

With everything set up it was time for the most important part of the day. Lunch. Sorry, no, the ceremony and getting ready for that, which did include lunch and then off to the church.

NORMANTON CHURCH AT RUTLAND WATER

NORMANTON CHURCH AT RUTLAND WATER

I’d seen pictures of the venue, but it was even more beautiful first-hand. Even on a cloudy day, in fact the clouds looked more moody than they actually were. It was dry - and stayed dry, many of the guests keeping the rain at bay by carrying umbrellas. We had some fun with selfies in a hat, trying to get the church in too. Poor MOH, he has a lot to contend with any way, let alone when a hat gets in on the act too.

some selfie trouble

We did manage a decent picture in the end, but this one is much more fun.

All in all a great day, and one full of emotion. There were quite a few of us that found something in our eye during the ceremony. There were speeches, good company, plenty of dancing - and my shoes lasted on my feet the whole day, which was very good news. They fared better than one of the buttons on my jump suit, which popped off on a post-ceremony toilet visit. A lady outside noticed saying “come on husband you haven’t spotted the button’s not done up” at which point he checked, only to discover it was missing. So back to the loo - not photo worthy! - and there it was on the floor.

What a great feeling to find a lost button that belongs to you! Had that lady not commented and complimented my outfit, my button would have remained at Rutland Water. I’m sure I’ve a spare, but, you know, I’m glad I found it.

wedding flowers
love

We had an absolutely fabulous day celebrating with family and friends of the bride and groom and clearly wish them a lifetime of happiness. Their timing is impeccable though, just as we’d finished clearing the venue on Sunday morning they arrived. But not one of us minded.

After a busy weekend, back home we were glad to make use of the sun loungers in our garden - once MOH had dug them out from the back of the shed. We should have been gardening, but snoozing won hands down!

Reflecting on my week #82

* This post contains an item that was gifted.

You’ve got to love a Bank Holiday weekend haven’t you? Even though quite often the four day week that follows it feels like the longest week ever, and even though after a spectacular Easter the weather has resorted to more usual Bank Holiday behaviour. We packed a lot into ours, and quite honestly I think three day weekends are the way forward…

Next weekend it’s my oldest niece’s wedding, which seems to have come round all of a sudden. My preparations, which are mostly my outfit, have been coming together in dribs and drabs. I’m very much of the opinion that if you see something you like then you should buy it, and so a January sales item has become my wedding outfit. A couple of months later a hat of the same colour was added, rather fortuitously as the outfit wasn’t with me when I bought the hat.

Then last month I was out and chilly so popped into Zara to buy a cardigan, opting for something that would complement this outfit incase the day was chillier than we want it to be. Although I’m hoping it will be much warmer than this weekend, or else the cardy might not cut it. And I’m sure my niece is hoping for warmer weather too, as there aren’t many cardy-wearing brides are there?

 Which left shoes and a bag, and I’ve been undecided. I should go for white, but white shoes. Well they’re not really me, so of course I delayed and deliberated thinking I have silver ones that I could wear or tan sandals, they’d do too. With a week to go though, I thought I really ought to try and pull it all together. So on the outfit went, on went the jewellery, and the hat and MOH’s verdict was sought.

Bright.

Not quite the response I expected, but one that’s probably accurate. And that was without the shoes. The trousers were, of course too long. Adding the tan sandals, still too long. Higher shoes, that’s what’s needed my inner voice said, so out came the silver heels with an inbuilt wedge. Still too long. This length wasn’t going to be solved by heels. Stilts maybe, but not heels.

And so sewing was needed. MOH was instructed on how to pin and where. Then hemming was required. Lots of hemming. You see the trousers have lining, the sort of lining that’s not attached. It was already much shorter than the outer material, but to be safe I hemmed that too. Four rounds of handsewn hemming, trying for the stitches not to show on the outside.

HEMMING. LOTS OF HEMMING. BUT HAVING THREAD THAT MATCHED MY OUTFIT WAS AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE.

HEMMING. LOTS OF HEMMING. BUT HAVING THREAD THAT MATCHED MY OUTFIT WAS AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE.

But it’s done, it just needs pressing. And then setting aside ready for the weekend.

My shoe choice? I opted for my tan Hasbeens, which I expect to last the whole day in, and which seem the sensible choice having learnt that there’s a woodland path to the church from the car park. Having settled on the shoes, my bag choice followed. I have two, what I can now safely call vintage tan leather bags, as I learnt this weekend that for clothes and accessories anything over twenty years old is considered vintage. Both of my vintage tan bags, I’ve had since new, one is more used than the other. My initial thoughts were to smarten up my go to, more used bag, but I thought I’d look out the other one as it’s smaller and potentially smarter.

It’s also, as it turned out, a better match for my outfit and so that had a bit of a spruce up too. I coated it with olive oil to nourish and help soften the leather, following the advice and wisdom I received when I first bought my Hasbeens. And since I’d bought another pair of Hasbeens earlier in the year - another January sales purchase - these were olive oiled at the same time. These ones are mules, and despite looking a light tan in the picture below are actually more of a yellow, and I’m sure that won’t surprise you either.

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So it seems, now I’m all set. Outfit, shoes and an almost double vintage bag, which I think was probably my first handbag. It’s had some, but not very much use, so its condition is almost perfect and I’m sure was a present from my aunt. It’s funny how some things, especially those that are classically styled just take a little while for us to grow into, or a bit more of a while to be considered usable again. I’m sure this saddlebag-style bag has never really gone out of fashion, but now - or rather next week - is the time that it’s making a reappearance on my shoulder.

Although I’m now a little concerned that someone will make a 1970s connection or comment about my outfit. Clogs, as some might call Hasbeens, a saddle bag and, well for the rest of my outfit you’ll have to wait. But if anyone does, I’m just saying here I called it first!

I’ve also realised that I’m having a bit of an orange week: the outfit, the handbag and some new colour in my hair. Which isn’t actually orange, though it’s not that far off, it’s probably officially called copper or something, but orange is generic enough. So I wasn’t surprised when I opted to try the orange boxed coffee called Smooth Journey, which the Lost Sheep Coffee sent me to try.

SMOOTH JOURNEY COFFEE FROM THE LOST SHEEP COFFEE

SMOOTH JOURNEY COFFEE FROM THE LOST SHEEP COFFEE

Lost Sheep Coffee is an independently owned business based in Kent whose Nespresso compatible capsules are certified compostable. They have their own Speciality Coffee Roastery in Whitstable which are filled with their speciality grade coffee which they buy direct from the farmer, paying them up to four times more than they would receive through importers. A box of ten capsules retails for £3.95 and this is just one of two varieties available in capsules, the other is called Funky Camper, which I’ve yet to try.

For me, our Nespresso machine has revolutionised how we drink coffee, and while we send our capsules back for recycling we know they’re not the greenest of machines. However with compostable capsules that could change, and that is the reason for a snap of my compost bin. I’m keen to see how they rot down, but immediately after use you can see they’re already behaving differently to the Nespresso capsules.

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I’m a fair weather coffee drinker, enjoying a cup or two occasionally whereas MOH is a coffee every day type of guy. He prefers stronger tastes, me milder varieties, him with milk, me without - yes we couldn’t be more different at times - but interestingly we both enjoyed this coffee. The one suggestion I have for Lost Sheep Coffee is to include which size, or amount of water, to use. Is it a lungo or espresso, as I believe that determines the force that the machine pushes the water through the capsule.

That said, I’m looking forward to trying the lime green packaged Funky Camper variety next.

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There was some brief time in the garden but only in between the bouts of weather on Saturday. Rain, hailstones and wind, after one of the showers I nipped out to the greenhouse to pick some sage for dinner and couldn’t help but stop and take a few pictures. The rain glistening on the weigela was pretty spectacular and a reminder that we have plenty of gardening to do.

Instead though we’ve spent most of today at Grand Designs Live over at Excel, it’s one of my favourite home shows and I’ve plenty to share from there, and plenty of photos to edit from our visit, but look out for an overview post from this year’s show shortly.

* While the Lost Sheep Coffee was gifted, I was under no obligation to share it here on my blog.