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Four Lovely Things For Friday

After a bit of an up and down week, it’s always good to have a few uplifting thoughts on a Friday to herald the beginning of the weekend.  Linking up this week with Liv’s Little Bliss List and Mimi & Tilly’s Favourite Things Friday.

1.         My New Handbag

Today, my gorgeous new Mulberry Tillie tote is having its very first outing.  It’s a big departure for me to choose a handbag that’s not black, but when I saw this beauty on my recent visit to the Mulberry Factory shop, at a totally knock-down price, I knew it would be mine.

2.         Weekend Away

So looking forward to a weekend away near Bath with my parents and my brother and his family.  Am so grateful for all my lovely family and all the happy times we spend together.

3.   Books

I’ve been trying very hard to avoid new books, as I have a bookcase full already, but a few charity shop bargains and some Readitswapit swaps have made their way into my bookcase so far this year.

4.   No Alarm Calls

It’s been absolutely blissful to wake up naturally without the insistent ring of the alarm clock all this week.  I intend to make the most of the next couple of mornings, as it’s back to school on Monday.

 

 

London & Shopping

Got back earlier this afternoon from a lovely time in London with Mum, shopped till we dropped, never stopped chatting, ate some lovely food, drank more wine than we probably should have done, and generally enjoyed ourselves enormously.

I did lots of shopping, and thought I’d show you some edited highlights of my purchases (sure you don’t want to see all my new M&S underwear, for example!)

Lovely new blue suede shoes!

Colourful tea towels to replace my horrible old, stained ones, and brighten up my kitchen.

A couple of new Boots No 7 products I’ve been wanting to try for a while, and a gorgeous turquoise nail varnish.  I was quite excited to buy these, as they are the first beauty products I’ve bought since my year-long ban on buying any new toiletries, skincare or make-up.

Flip flops (summer – yay!) from Primark – only £2.50 a pair, so it seemed a shame not to get a pair in each colour!

Fabric to make a curtain for Will’s cabin bed, to hide all the junk underneath it.  Couldn’t believe John Lewis still had the same fabric I bought for this exactly purpose (but for the other end of the bed) four years ago – what a result!

New jewellery. I had a big earring clearout recently, so wanted a couple of new pairs to replace some of the ones I’d got rid of.

Another highlight of my London trip was meeting up in real life at last with my long-time blogging buddy Teresa, who blogs about her lovely life and all the things she gets up to over at TCakes.  Although it was a flying half-hour cup of coffee, it was great to meet in person at last, in the ‘big yellow store’ where Teresa works.

Hope everybody’s had a good week – I’ll be catching up with my blog reading over the weekend.

Spending & Saving

Up to my eyes in eBay listing today, so just a quick post with some pictures of my latest purchases – some more thrifty than others!

Treated myself to some of this gorgeous perfume at the Duty Free before we went on holiday ….

… and then had several glasses of champagne on the plane and decided I needed this as well ….

 

I had a quick whizz around a few charity shops this morning, and was delighted to pick up this camel coloured 100% wool coat for only £6!

It will replace the grotty Tesco thing I bought in desperation about three years ago because I couldn’t find a coat that I liked.

Brand new  with tags Salt Rock shirt for William, only £1.50.

And today’s book purchases …

The bottom two were 50p and 80p from a charity shop, and the last one was strategically placed on the counter in WHSmiths (where I’d gone to pick up the new Christopher Paolini for William, which he’s been waiting for for months, after finishing the first three in the Eragon series).  It was half price and I’ve read some good reviews of it, so I decided I needed to purchase that as well.

My name’s Caroline and I’m a bookaholic ….

 

The Last Post

… before my holiday – yay!

I’d hoped to blog a little bit while we’re away, but it seems that wifi may be not easily accessible, so I’ll have to wait and see.

Anyway, a quick photo round up of the last week or so:

Couldn’t resist this cushion, AND it matches the new colour scheme in my lounge!

Picked up this vintage 80s dress on one of my charity shop visits last week – it reminds me of the design of Studio Line hair products (though it’s by a USA label – Petrina).

My new favourite mid-morning drink.  Addictive.

A fabulous new kaftany top – perfect for lounging on the beach. or dressing up a pair of white linen trousers in the evening.  Such a lovely surprise, very kindly sent to me by Elizabeth (one of my long-time favourite bloggers) after I admired it in one of her car boot bargains posts.  It will be much worn over the next couple of weeks, Elizabeth – thank you again!

New shoes – Jane Shilton – for £4 from the local Hospice shop last week.  Brand new, too.  I’m not a big lover of flats (other than for the comfort factor), and these are a nice compromise between comfort and style.

And now for a before and after pic … this is my eye before I spent half of Friday in the beauty salon being manicured, pedicured, waxed and having individual false eyelashes applied (at great expense – but how amazing not to have to wear mascara on holiday, huh?)

And this is after …

They’re supposed to last for about three weeks, although quite a lot seem to have fallen out since Friday.

(And sorry for the rubbish photography – HOW difficult is it to photograph one’s own eye?).

Finally, specially for Mumof4, here’s my holiday reading pile …

Right, I’m off – see you all in a fortnight xx

Bits & Bobs

I don’t often go to M&S Food Hall  (far too much temptation in one place – get thee behind me, Satan), but when I popped in last week to pick up some bits and bobs for my cocktail evening, I treated myself to this salad for lunch:

Crayfish and mango, with a coconut and chilli dressing.  It wasn’t cheap, but it was huge and ABSOLUTELY delicious.

And while I was waiting at the checkout, I couldn’t resist picking up these little pots of yumminess for Will:

 Considerably more expensive than buying him a chocolate bar, and probably only an equivalent amount weight for weight, but the cute pots got me!

Like I said, far too much temptation …

Moving on, do you remember I wrote about a vintage dress I picked up by Horrockses Fashions a couple of weeks ago?  Well, while I was researching it, I discovered there was a book all about the company, so I ordered a copy from the library.

It is a beautiful coffee-table type book, and is full of vintage loveliness – just look:

I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours flicking through it, and learnt a lot in the process as well.

William finally got the cup he won for being Year 6 Scholar last year, and brought it home earlier this week:

I am a very proud mummy, and love that the winner’s name is engraved on it each year.

(I’ve blurred out the surnames on purpose – they are written in full in real life!)

Having waited very VERY patiently for Season 6 of Grey’s Anatomy to become available in this country (it’s been available everywhere else, even FRANCE, for MONTHS), I finally lost patience, as there’s still not a date for it, and Season 7 is already available in the States, for goodness sake, and bought myself a Region 1 boxset of Season 6.  Thank heavens for multi-region DVD players.

I’ve only watched the first three episodes so far, but am so enjoying catching up with all my favourite characters again – it really is one of the best series I’ve watched for years.

And finally, at the end of this post of total randomness, new shoes:

A bit of a Chanel vibe going on here, and very on-trend with the block heel, but only £26 from the Next Directory.  Really comfortable, too, as Next have wide fit options in loads of their styles these days.  Love ‘em.

 

Autumn, Christmas & Another Holiday

It’s a funny old time of year, I always think.

Neither one thing or another.  Not quite boots and jumpers weather, but too chilly for sandals and short sleeves.  Exacerbated by the fact that I’m lucky enough to be heading for the sunshine again soon – this time in three weeks I will be boarding a plane headed for the Maldives – woohoo!

So I’m struggling to get my head around the whole winter clothes thing.

I did order some new shoes, a couple of skirts and some jeans online for the oncoming cold season last week, but they’ve all been sent back – didn’t fit or didn’t like them.

And then there’s the thing that happens every year when we go on holiday in October – I suddenly discover (just about now) that I desperately need a beach bag or a pair of flip flops or ‘just one more’ pair of shorts.  And can you buy such items at this time of year?  No chance.

Anyway, yesterday, with several days still before September ends, the first Christmas catalogue arrived on the doormat.

Shame on you, Book People.  TOO.  EARLY.

And this morning, when I arrived home from the school run, the Christmas Next Directory was propped up by my front door.

Much as I love Christmas, I don’t feel the need to have it shoved down my throat in September, thank you very much.

So this evening I had an hour to kill whilst waiting for Will at karate, so I flipped through said Next Christmas Directory.  And amongst lots of this …

… I was delighted to find some of this …

How refreshing.  I think I might well treat myself to that rather nice pink maxi for my hols.  And it comes in black, too ….

No beach bags, though – thank goodness for eBay!!

Sale Bargains

I can’t think of anything very interesting to write about today, so I thought I’d show you a few things I’ve treated myself to recently – I seem to have a bit of a shopping head on at the moment!

I am such a jewellery magpie, and I couldn’t resist these pretty earrings, reduced to only £2 each.

I read one of Diane Chamberlain’s books on holiday and loved it, so I treated myself to a couple more – can’t wait to get stuck into them.

New nail polishes.  I’m a bit addicted to my new gel nails – never having been able to wear nail polish on my fingernails before as my own nails are so weak and flaky, it’s all still a bit of a novelty to me, and I’m really enjoying experimenting with different colours.

Couldn’t resist this pretty daisy shaped flower ring – only £1 in Dorothy Perkins’ sale.

And finally, this pretty pearly flowery bracelet, again only £2.

I’ve also had a bit of a internet shopping frenzy this week in the sales – loving all the bargains around at the moment.

The weekend is once again upon us – we’re off to Axminster for the night tonight, meeting up with my parents and William, who’s been away since Monday.  Although I’ve got loads done, I have missed him – the house has been so quiet!

 

 

Catching Up

Morning everybody!

We got back from Cardiff on Saturday afternoon – and what a fabulous time we had.  I worked out that, unbelievably, it was 10 years since Ashley and I last went away together by ourselves!!

The hotel was great – we had an amazing room on the top floor with views over Cardiff Bay; the weather was beautiful (quite bizarre for Wales, really); we had some lovely meals, plenty of cocktails, wine and champagne; and shopped till we dropped.

Talking of shopping, I must show you my totally bargainous new shoes.  I’ve long wanted a pair of designer shoes, and I couldn’t resist these fabulous Versace summer wedges in TKMaxx (not a shop I usually go in, as it always feels a bit jumble-saley to me, but without the attraction of jumble sale prices).

They were the last pair, and were half a size smaller than my usual, but I tried them on, they fitted – so it was a sign – I had to have them!  They are also amazingly comfortable considering the vertiginous height of the heels.  (£73 pounds reduced from £420 – woohoo!)

Will went back to school yesterday after half term, and we now have a four week count down until the end of school, and indeed the end of junior school!  In September, William starts secondary school – I can’t believe it.

This is always a busy time of year, and there seems to be a lot going on over the next few weeks: sports days, speech days, lots of social events coming up, quite a lot of work going on as well, and of course, eBay.  Not to mention the fact that I’m sneaking away on Saturday to Spain for four days with my parents (gotta love those Ryanair bargain flights!), and leaving Will and Ashley to their own devices at home.   Really looking forward to spending some time with Mum & Dad.

Just before I go, a bit of book-porn for the readers amongst you – I did a few swaps on ReadItSwapIt, the book swap website last week, and when I got home from Cardiff at the weekend, all these were waiting for me – lovely!

 

Bits & Pieces


Have just had a lovely couple of days with my parents, who came down to stay on Thursday and left earlier this morning.

Plenty of good food and wine, games of Scrabble with my mum, a nice evening out at the local pub on Thursday, an obligatory Bank Holiday visit to the garden centre, and a really good laugh (though none of us can remember quite what caused such hilarity) last night.  It does you good to laugh till your sides hurt, don’t you think?

Today is an absolutely beautiful day and Ashley is outside doing stuff in the garden.  Will is at karate – I’ll go and collect him when I’ve finished writing this post – and I’ve been catching up on emails and blog reading for the last hour.

We’re off early on Tuesday morning to Tenerife for the week, staying here.  I’ve never been on holiday to Tenerife, though I went there a few times when I was working on the cruise ships, so it’s not an entirely unknown quantity.

I’ve chosen my holiday reading matter:

And I’ve been online shopping a bit madly over the last week or so as well.

Having had a really good sort out of my shoe collection and taken a huge bagful of shoes to the charity shop earlier this week, I felt it only right and proper that I should treat myself to some new footwear for the summer(!)

I have quite wide feet and as I get older, I get less inclined to tolerate ill-fitting shoes – gone are those days of bleeding toes after a night out dancing in ridiculous ill-fitting heels which look fabulous but destroy your feet!

I’ve discovered that New Look do a really good range of wide-fit shoes, so I ordered half a dozen pairs to try, of which I kept three and sent three back.  These are the ones I’ve kept:

Love them all, but particularly the bottom ones (which were only £9.00 in the sale!).

Time to print off my holiday packing list (yes, I do have such a thing – what can I say, I’m a list freak!), and get the suitcases out!

Sunday Car Booty

Despite being away for the weekend, Amanda (my SIL and another avid car booter) and I headed off from the hotel early yesterday morning to to see what the local boot sale had to offer.

The short answer was: not very much!  It was very small, with only a handful of sellers, and Amanda and I were the only two buyers there at 8.15 am.  Nevertheless, I picked up a few bits for resale, so it wasn’t an entirely wasted journey.

Principles suede boots, almost new, £2.50

Per Una linen skirt £1.50, Evans tweed wide leg trousers, £1.00

Floris body lotion 50p brand new

Monsoon girl’s dress £2.00

I’ve also picked up some good bits and bobs in charity shops over the last couple of weeks:

Steve Madden shoes, brand new, £4.99.  Very sadly, they are not my size.

Couple of books – Rachel’s Holiday which I’ve read twice before, but it’s my favourite Marian Keyes novel, and I quite fancy reading it again; and The Sunflower Forest by Torey Hayden – I really enjoyed all her autobiographical books, but this is her first novel, so I wonder what I’ll make of it.  50p each.

Dress by Madonna for H&M -£4.

Gents’ Turnbull & Asser shirt £3 (very nice profit to be made reselling this, I think), and M&S cropped trousers (can’t remember price!)

First full week of the Easter hols, and the weather is due to take a bit of a downturn by the looks of the forecast.  But Will has lots of plans with friends for the next few days, so we shan’t be scratching round for things to do, which is always good.

** Linking up this week with  Apron Thrift Girl’s Thrift Share Monday and also to Magpie Monday over at Me & My Shadow.