Friday, 28 September 2012

The Big 4-0 - Part Two....

On Saturday Mr G had "things" planned - he wouldn't tell me what and said we had until about 2.30pm free and so after a really fantastic breakfast at the hotel we travelled to Liberty as (would you believe?) I had never been:

We had a good mooch around and there was much incredulous giggling at the prices of things - £54 for an egg cup anyone? Or £96 for a tiny espresso cup (no saucer)? £550 for a free motion embroidery?

We did buy a small gift for MIL for looking after the boys and I got a new metal seam gauge as mine is bent and useless and I was stupidly delighted when they gave me a huge purple Liberty carrier bag to carry it in so we looked posh for the rest of the day!!

After Liberty we made our way to Covent Garden for a wander and eventually found ourselves at the river to get a glimpse of the iconic skyline:

Soon, Mr G said we had to head for Piccadilly - I had an inkling that afternoon tea was in order, The Ritz perhaps? Or The Dorchester? Not knowing London I had no idea.

We got there with an hour and half to spare so when we came to Fortnum and Masons Mr G asked if I wanted to have a look around - I had never been so was delighted to.

It was fabulous, we started in the basement and oohed and ahhed over all the lovely produce. We sighed at how the other half live as some of the patrons filled trolleys with all the wonderful (expensive) goodies and Mr G bought me a lovely pink tin of birthday biscuits that plays Happy Birthday.

I didn't realise that Fortnums sold none food items and so we spent a good hour or so wandering round the Christmas department; the beauty and bath department; accessories and gifts for the person who has everything.

It was a lovely way to while away some time - all the staff wear tails, but were very welcoming and didn't make you feel out of place at all.

Soon Mr G said it was time to go. We were up on the third floor and so I went to press "down" on the lift and Mr G looked at me with mischievous blue eyes and said "No - Up"

"We're here?!!" I said incredulously, I hadn't even considered we were having tea at Fortnums!! He had been so nonchalant about even going into the store!!

As the lift rose up to The Tea Salon on the fourth floor the sound of a piano wafting gently down - the doors opened to reveal:

And I burst into tears. Proper floods.

I was so overwhelmed. By the surprise; by how perfect it was; by my wonderful husband.

We were led to our seats and the waitress gave me a few minutes to compose myself and then returned to explain that they do three types of tea: Classic Afternoon Tea with finger sandwiches; scones with jam and cream and cakes. Savoury Afternoon Tea with sandwiches; savoury scones and savoury canap├ęs. And High Tea with which you had a hot savoury; scones and cakes.

We went for the classic tea and the lovely waitress helped us choose from 100 different teas. She was so knowledgeable and made suggestions based on the types of tea we like. She also explained that you can order a new tea with each "course" and you both can have different types.

We also had a jug of fresh lemonade which was yummy....
It really was the most wonderful way to spend a couple of hours, I have had a few afternoon teas and this was by far the best, not least because you were allowed to order more of each thing if you wanted (three rounds of sandwiches? Don't mind if we do!!)

All too soon it was time to return to the hotel, but the days festivities were not yet over. We had about an hour to get changed and then it was time to head out again. Once more Mr G refused to tell me where we were off too, even making me stand well back whilst he spoke to the taxi driver.

After a short drive we pulled up here:

I cried.
What a lucky, spoiled girl I was!! We love, love, love musicals and I have been wanting to see The lion king for ages as its one of our favourite Disney movies.
It didn't disappoint, we had seats in the stalls and it was fab - all the animals ran straight past us. It was magical. I cried three times. I just cannot contain my emotions. Never have been able to but seem to get worse as I get older!!
After the show we had a late dinner in Covent Garden and then grabbed a taxi to return to the hotel tired but very happy....
S x

Click on the link and find things to do in London - spend time in our wonderful capital, there really is something for everyone....

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Big 4-0....

So, here I am, three days after turning 40 and you know what?

It's OK.

I haven't suddenly got an irresistible urge to wear crimpeline dresses, cut off all my hair and have a shampoo and set (why do all old ladies of a certain age do that?) or an urge for tartan slippers and quantities of Werthers Original.

What I do have an urge for though, is to tell you all about the most FANTABULOUS weekend EVER that my wonderful, wonderful Mr G organised for me all by his self.

I knew we were going away for the weekend and one of Mr G's family let slip *rollseyes* it was to London so off we went on Friday morning. Due to the cost of train tickets and the fact the hotel had reasonable parking it was decided we would drive.

We arrived at lunchtime and the first in a number of lovely meals was consumed:

We were staying near Euston Station and after lunch we walked along to Madame Tussauds. We hadn't been for over twenty years - when we were 18 we spent four days in London doing all the sights - so were wondering how it had changed.
Luckily, as I knew that we were going to London and fancied Madame Tussauds, I had managed to find a 2 for 1 voucher which was greatly appreciated as the entrance fee is £30 EACH!!
Naturally, much of the afternoon was spent striking silly poses with the celebrities:

Phwoaaaarrr, Russell!

I couldn't have looked more chuffed if I'd been stood between the real Twilight boys!!

(Despite looking like their mother!!)

All in all Madame Tussauds was much better than we remembered, as well as the celebs above there was a History of London exhibit where you went along in little taxi cabs; a Scream experience (like "Saw Alive" at Thorpe Park) which is an update on the old house of horrors, it being pitch black and scary and real actors leap out at you - I screamed like a girl and with my pelvic floor that can be a problem!!

There was also a 4D cinema experience which was fun - it was a Marvel Avengers cartoon and when they splashed you got wet, and when Spiderman shot his web it whooshed by you and so on. The kids would have loved it so we hope to take them.

Afterwards, we caught a bus back to Euston and it was time check into the hotel. Mr G had got a Groupon deal and the hotel was more than adequate, if a little impersonal - of course anything remotely boutique-ish (which is what I love) is an arm and leg in the capital.

Dinner on the first night was included and we enjoyed a nice meal (yummy steak) after which we set off to Covent Garden in search of cocktails.

Which we found:

Passion fruit martini....

Listening to Mr G trying to talk me into a third cocktail....

Then Mr G fancied ice-cream and so it was we found a Gelateria:

I had cheesecake and the nice waiter put a candle in it:

Phew, that was just the first day!! It was lovely to have Mr G all to myself and for once to have his undivided attention!!

I'll post again tomorrow, all about Saturday which has gone down as one of my favourite days ever along with getting married and giving birth!!


S x

Monday, 17 September 2012

Life Begins At 40?

This week is my last week as a 30 something as next Monday I turn 40!! I really don't know how it has happened as I feel no different to how I did when I was 16.

I have been struggling with it a little bit - of course in the grand scheme of things it's a trifling matter and much better by far than the alternative - I am reminded of a quote I once saw: "Do not regret growing older as it is a privilege denied to many"....

I guess age is just a number and (despite Mr G saying that only 40 year olds say it!!) I really believe that 40 is the new 30 - a 40 year old a generation or two ago were a lot older in their outlook and ways than a 40 year old in the noughties.

I wibbled over turning 30 too and have really enjoyed my thirties - even to the point of feeling a wee bit superior (in a Sex And The City kinda way!!) to some twenty somethings *blush*. In your thirties you feel more comfortable in your skin, are less worried about what other people think and are starting to have a good deal of life experience. Maybe this'll continue into my forties?!!

I've found too that my health anxiety gets worse as I get older, I guess as the chances of becoming ill increase with age. The happier I am the more I worry about my health!! *rollseyes*

The other issue is broodiness!! Part of me is craving another baby, Mr G says its my hormones/body clock playing tricks on me and he's probably right but the older H and W become, and the less they need me the worse the hankering becomes!! I need to feel needed!!

On Friday Mr G is taking me away for the weekend, I'm not sure why it's not on my actual birthday but I have an inkling maybe something else is going on. Mr G won't divulge where we are going, but my Mum says "The boy done good" and my mother-in-law says she said to a friend "I'm jealous of my daughter-in-law, for what my son has arranged for her"!! - so all that sounds very intriguing and exciting!!

Maybe it'll take the sting right out of being the big 4-0?!!

I'll leave you with a photo of my best boys taken yesterday at MIL & FIL's golden wedding anniversary lunch - proper pics to follow when I've taken them off the fancy camera!!

As always, thanks for reading....


S x


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

My First Blanket Ta Dah!!

Well, when I say blanket I use the term loosely as it is not as big as I would have liked, not because I didn't have the stamina, but because I needed more yarn!!

Here it is:

It's made from Debbie Bliss Amalfi which is a blend of cotton/viscose/linen/silk - I got the first batch on sale reduced from £5.00 to £2.00 per ball and soon realised I needed more. I reordered twice and probably spent nigh on £50 over the course of a few weeks!! It is the perfect size for putting over your lap whilst snuggling on the sofa and is also very heavy.

I must confess I am becoming a bit of a yarn snob and find I dislike acrylic yarn, I have found that cushions I have made from it have not worn well at all and I've had to throw two away that have gone fluffy/bobbly.

I don't know how people afford to make huge blankets out of nice yarn though, as it's usually at least £4.00 per 50g for anything decent unless you are lucky enough to find a sale bargain.

In other news, last week I had to have my cracked tooth out and it was horrid!! It didn't hurt when it was actually removed of course as my lovely dentist gave me plenty of anaesthetic, but that in itself was unpleasant as I had to have an injection in my palette. It took a-g-e-s to come out too, a good 15 minutes of digging and yanking.

Luckily my Mum came with me as I felt quite shaky afterwards and she took me home to look after me. I went home after lunch as the anaesthetic was wearing off and boy did it hurt!! I took lots of painkillers and took myself off to bed with a hot water bottle to lay my cheek on and about tea time it stopped hurting so bad.

Now, a week later it's still a bit sore - in fact I have had a sore mouth for four weeks since I broke the blimmin' tooth in the first place!! Hopefully it's on the mend now.

The countdown is on to my 40th on the 24th Septemeber, Mr G will give me no clue at all as to where he is taking me - exciting!!

Before that though I am stupidly excited for the return of Downton Abbey this Sunday!! I am currently rewatching the last two series on ITV3 each evening, I have an early bath and then snuggle up on the bed with my fleecy blanket and my iPad to lose myself in it for an hour - bliss!!


S x

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Boiling Frogs....

Hello again!! Two posts in two days, blimey!!

Mr G has flown to Geneva for a meeting and I've been bored and lonely so I just wanted to show you a couple of things I finished yesterday.

I made myself a new sign for my girl cave:

I also gave a mirror my Stepdad had given me a makeover - he kindly gave it to me to sell, but yet again I've ended up keeping the thing he's given me to sell on.

It was dark, dingy wood and had a rusty chain so I set about giving it a coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White and then a layer of Duck Egg. I soaked the chain in some vinegar and then scrubbed it to remove the tarnish and after sanding and distressing I added some gold Rub And Buff:

I love how it's turned out!! Because it was to be hung by the chain, I used an idea I had seen in "Period Homes" magazine (that I buy even though we live in a 1970's semi!!) where you drill a hole, insert a rawl plug and then screw in a drawer pull or knob to use as a hook.

I must tell you what Mr G said after her hung it for me, I was saying how nice it looked and he agreed and then he mused "It's like boiling a frog isn't it?"

"What is?" says I....

"All the shabby chic/vintage/floral decor we now have spread around the whole house, if you'd tried to add it all at once I wouldn't have had any of it. But you kind of sneaked it in, gradually" he said "You couldn't add a frog to boiling water as it would jump out, but put it in cold and gently heat it up and it'll hardly notice what's going on"....

I must admit I laughed my head off at this as it's EXACTLY what I've done!! I started off with a bit of Cath Kidston and shabby chic in the bedroom and then gradually spread it around the rest of the house too!!

"I can't remember what it looked like before it was all shabby chic can you?" I said

"Yeah" Mr G said "It looked crap!!"

I think you could say the assimilation is complete!!


S x


Monday, 3 September 2012

A Bit of TLC For The Kitchen

Hello my lovelies!! How're you doing?

This past week we gave our kitchen work tops a bit of a overhaul. We had the kitchen in nearly five years ago now and I still love it, but the oak butchers block work tops were looking sorry for themselves.

Getting them oiled was all a bit of a rush before they were installed and so they weren't as water resistant as they should have been and had gone all black and mouldy looking round the taps and sink area. No amount of scrubbing would make them look better and it made me dislike the whole kitchen.

I got a quote to have them replaced with some engineered stone or granite -£1800!! The whole kitchen only cost £3500 in the first place.

I lay in bed and suddenly had the idea that perhaps if we sanded them, stained them and varnished them it would hide the damage (I don't know about you but I often have fantastical ideas as I am falling asleep but 9 times out of 10 they are ridiculous in the light of day - this was one of the rare good ideas!!)

I emailed Ronseal and to ask if any of their products would be food safe and they advised me to use their Colron Refined Wood Stain and either Quick Drying or Diamond Hard Varnish.

Once we got to Homebase we saw the sample of the shades and realised that we could perhaps skip the staining part as the varnish came coloured and the Dark Oak in the satin finish (so not too shiny) looked perfect.

We gave the tops a quick sand with 80 grit sandpaper using an orbital sander then went down to 180 grit to give a smooth finish and then slapped on the varnish. We chose the Quick Drying and I'm pleased to report it had virtually no smell and was touch dry in 20 minutes. Two coats was all in took:

How good do they look? I wish had a close up before to show you - you can see it if you zoom in on the pics in this post - not only has it hidden the horrid mouldy looking bits, but the whole surface just looks better, a nicer colour and more nourished (despite oiling it always looked "dry"):
As you can see in the above pic I've been making bunting again!! Mr G is not impressed, but I love it!!:
I used some scraps of Cath Kidston Fabric and sewed it onto the lovely Sass and Belle ribbon the boys bought me for Mothers Day.
Now Mr G and I keep walking in and saying "I can't believe how much better it looks" and "Why didn't we do it before?"!!
In other news I've been feeling a bit under the weather the past couple of weeks or so - I managed to crack my tooth clean in half and had to make a dash to the dentist. She thought she could save it and so filled it with some semi permanent stuff but it has been giving me trouble - feeling ouchy when I eat and I've been having headaches which set my health anxiety off a treat.
It's still not great, I'm going back this week and I think I'll just ask her to whip it out!!
Also, I've finished my first ever crochet blanket and will ta dah it next time!!
S x