August Clothes Shopping

Time to have a look at my purchases during August – which were rather thrifty if I do say so myself!

I saw this gorgeous kimono style top on the H&M website back at the beginning of the summer, and bookmarked it as I thought it would look lovely over a black swimsuit on holiday.  However, I couldn’t really justify spending £19.99 on it, as I have plenty of similar throw-over-a-swimsuit type things. I found the link again, having completely forgotten about it, while I was clearing out my bookmarks in August, and was delighted to find it reduced to £5.99 – AND still available in my size!  So I snapped it up forthwith, adding a pair of oversized sunglasses, also reduced.  Total, including a small discount code, and postage and packing, £10.88 for the two items.


My next purchase was a pair of shoes.  I’ve already got these shoes in navy, and just love them, so when I saw them reduced in the Peacocks sale to half price, I just had to have the red ones as well.  At £10, they are a total bargain, and look far more expensive.  The first time I wore the red ones, two separate people stopped me in Sainsbury’s to admire them!  Best of all, despite the heel, they are very comfy and I can happily wear them all day.

Lastly in August, I found this rather nice grey printed tunic top/dress in the sale in Asda while I was picking up some groceries, and as it’s super-lightweight, I picked it up, thinking it would be perfect for my hols in Spain.  I paid £8 (original price £16), though was rather miffed to find it on the Asda website two days later, reduced again to £4.  Unfortunately when I tried it on, I didn’t much like myself in it, so I didn’t end up taking it to Spain after all.  Perhaps I’ll warm to it a bit more when I’ve lost a bit of weight.

So, total spend for August was only £28.88!!  Amazingly little, I thought!


A Holiday In Instagram Photos

We arrived back from Spain at about 8 yesterday evening, and ate the fish and chips we picked up on the way home with a bit of a subdued air – the end of the summer is once again upon us.

I can’t believe how quickly the nine weeks of summer h0lidays have flashed by, but we’ve had two fabulous trips abroad, spent time with friends and family, been glued to the Olympics, had some memorable days out, and done lots and lots of fun things, despite it being the wettest summer for 100 years or some such!

I can’t deny that it’s rather nice to have the house to myself this morning, along with the attendant peace and quiet, and no doubt we shall slip back into the routine of school – with the slight alteration that school now finishes at 4.30, rather than 4.00 pm – very quickly.  September always strikes me as a time for new beginnings, and once again, I’m hoping to lose some weight and get a bit fitter, amongst other things.  Oh, and procrastinate less, and waste less time online!

So here are a few memories of the last 10 days spent in Spain:


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The Bags Are Packed & We’re Ready To Go

Firstly, thanks to everybody who commented on yesterday’s post about birthdays – it was really interesting to read all your viewpoints.

A couple of people asked how I manage with only 10kg of hand luggage for a 10 day holiday, so I thought I’d do a quick post on the subject before we head off to Bristol Airport in an hour or so.

The short answer is: I cheat!

We are going to stay at my parents’ villa, and we already have quite a lot of stuff there.  I leave shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, sun tan lotions and aftersun, hair products, mossie spray etc all there, which cuts down enormously on the amount of toiletries I need to take with me.  We also leave flip flops there, which saves taking those with us, and I send over a few books with Mum & Dad when they drive over and hence have loads of space in the car to fill, earlier in the year.

Luckily the part of Spain we go to is not smart at all, so clothing requirements are minimal.  (When we go to Greece, the resort we go to is really dressy and I like to have loads of different outfit options for the evenings, so I don’t think I could do that holiday with hand luggage only).  In my suitcase are:

  • 3 swimsuits
  • 2 sarongs/kaftans
  • 2 pairs of linen trousers
  • Four lightweight tops for evening wear
  • 2 pairs shorts
  • 2 day time t shirts
  • 5 pairs of knickers
  • 1 pair flat sandals
  • PJs

William’s suitcase contains:

  • 2 pairs swimming trunks
  • 4 t shirts
  • 2 pairs cropped trousers
  • 2 shirts
  • 3 socks, 4 boxers
  • PJs

We have a washing machine at the villa which is very useful.  Again, not sure I could do 10 days with hand luggage only without a washing machine available.

Make-up wise, I take as little as possible.  Sample sizes are great for holidays, and products that can be used for more than one thing.  Cleanser and toner are replaced by a pack of face wipes, for example.

Here’s what I’ve taken this time:

I’ve also packed my iPad, some jewellery, my birthday cards, birthday cards and a very small present for Dad, three books for William, my Babyliss Big Hair hairdryer which I cannot live without, despite the fact it’s rather bulky(!), and a large box of Tampax.  Not to mention passports, tickets, Euros, driving licences etc.  And my Gucci evening bag.

My case weighs 9.4 kg, Will’s is 5.5 kg, and Ashley hasn’t yet packed his as he’s still at the office.  He did mention he needed to take his laptop, so I’m guessing his will be near to the 10kg mark, as his laptop’s quite heavy.

Right, that’s it for now, folks.

Toodleoo, and back soon xx




(Not Very) Many Happy Returns

As you get older, your birthday holds less excitement and expectation than it does as a child.  Nevertheless,  it’s still your special day and it’s nice to have a bit of a fuss made of you and, of course, to receive cards and gifts from your loved ones.

I always ensure that my friends and relatives receive well chosen, thoughtful gifts and cards in good time for their birthday.  At the beginning of each year, I write all the birthdays I need to remember on the wall calendar, and that way I know who I need to buy for and nobody gets forgotten.  Hardly rocket science, is it?

So, about a month ago, I found Ashley hunting in the filing cabinet in my office.  I asked him what he was looking for.  Passports, he says.  Why, I ask.  Turns out he’s checking when my birthday is.

CHECKING WHEN MY BIRTHDAY IS?  He’s been married to me for sixteen frickin’ years, does he seriously need to look at my passport to check when my birthday is?

Earlier that day, I’d seen my brother and sister-in-law, and they’d given me my birthday present, as it was too big to post and they don’t live locally.  I’d put it away in the spare room, as my birthday isn’t until the end of August, and Ashley had seen it and panicked that he’d forgotten my birthday!

Several years ago, my mother- and father-in-law completely forgot my birthday. They phoned up a couple of days later, absolutely oblivious, had a chat, asked what we’d been doing.  Celebrating my birthday last Sunday, says I.   Long silence on the other end of the phone.   Oh, did we miss it?  I was very hurt and upset at the time.

Last night I had mother-in-law and aunt-in-law over for dinner.  We were talking about various people’s ages at one point in the conversation, and I said that I wasn’t looking forward to being 44 next week.  Next week?  says MIL in tones of horror.  Oh.  I always think your birthday’s in September.  Oh, so you’d forgotten again, had you?  Nice.  She then goes on to say that she wouldn’t mind at all if somebody forgot her birthday, because ‘they’d remember eventually’.  I said that I simply did not believe that if Ashley failed to even telephone and wish her a happy birthday on the actual day, that she wouldn’t be upset.  She tried to deny it, but the wind was taken out of her sails when Ashley’s aunt piped up ‘Yes, you would, you’d be devastated.’

I have a close friend whose birthday is a couple of weeks before mine.  She lives about five miles away, and I always either give her her card and present sometime before her birthday if we’re getting together in the couple of weeks beforehand, or deliver it to her house on her birthday or the day before.

Sadly, she doesn’t afford me the same courtesy and seems to think it’s acceptable to give me my present and card whenever she sees me after my birthday.  Once it was October.

To me, that’s unacceptable.

My other sister-in-law completely forgot William’s birthday in February this year.  Last month was her daughter’s birthday, and I sent a card (on time of course).

Last week I had a text from sister-in-law saying that she hadn’t thanked me for her daughter’s present as she’d only received a card, and had I left the present elsewhere (presumably she meant at her ex-husband’s house).

I replied saying that I’d assumed we were no longer bothering with presents for the kids as she hadn’t sent anything at all on William’s birthday, but that I felt I wanted to send a card to my niece, so I had done.

To be fair, she was very apologetic and said that she couldn’t believe she’d forgotten about it.

My side of the family always remember birthdays and ensure gifts and cards arrive on time.  But it seems we are in the minority these days.

To me, the very act of giving timely gifts and cards is a statement of your love/friendship/affection for the recipient.  Forgetting completely or giving something weeks after the event just says in foot high words ‘you are of very little importance to me’.

My husband is also in my bad books birthday-wise.  We are off to Spain with hand luggage only to keep travel costs down tomorrow, hence I shan’t have any presents to open on my birthday, but will have cards.   I mentioned to Ashley last weekend that it would be nice if he’d take Will shopping to choose a card for me.  I know, pititful that I have to even ask, he should think of it himself, but he doesn’t.  Guess what, we’re off tomorrow morning, he’s at work all day today, and he hasn’t taken William shopping.  Nice.

If you’ve got to the end of this self-pitying rant and are still reading, well done.

I’d love to know other people’s thoughts on this – am I unreasonable in my expectations?

Five Things That Are Annoying Me Today

1.  My hopelessly unreliable broadband.  The speed is up and down like a whore’s drawers, if you’ll pardon the expression.  One minute it’s fine, the next it’s completely dead.  Tesco, my broadband supplier, blame BT: ‘It’s a problem at your local exchange, love’.  BT, unsurprisingly, blame Tesco: ‘No problems with your line, madam, contact your internet service provider”.  And so it goes on.

2.   Christmas cards in August.  I went into a card shop to purchase a birthday card yesterday, and there was a HUGE display of Christmas cards.   Before the kids have even gone back to school.  WTF?!


3.   Lack of housework and mess everywhere.  At this stage of the summer holidays, I always feel a bit like this, sort of like the post Christmas/New Year feeling.  I’m looking forward to getting back to normal routine and getting my house clean and tidy again!

4.   Posing photos on Facebook.  Is it really necessary to put a whole bunch of photos of yourself on Facebook like this one?  Is it not just a little bit vain and showy-offy, even if you’ve got a lovely figure? (Dreadful skin, though.  Dreadful.  Just saying.)


Oh, and she’s not the only one.

I get that teenagers like to publish this sort of pic of themselves, but these are both women in their late 30s.  Get a grip.

5.   I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.  Not pertaining to the above picture in any way, I hasten to add.  Ashley started singing this on Saturday, a propos of nothing, and it’s been going round inside my head ever since.  JUST.  GO.  AWAY.

What’s bugging you at the moment?



Sunday Car Booty

Sunday again already, and although the rest of the country seems to be having the best weather of the summer this weekend, Devon remains dull, damp and unpleasant – and very muggy.  This morning’s boot sale was at the race course, and was one of the biggest so far this year.  Inordinate amounts of tat to sift through, as ever, but finding the good bits among the rubbish is what it’s all about, really!

Here’s today’s shopping:

Green Gap hoodie for Will, £2 – in lovely condition.

White Stuff linen dress, White Stuff lambswool cardigan and Monsoon pink beaded cardigan, £5 the lot

M&S Porfolio blue shoes (brand new) £3, Black & Red Clarks Active Air shoes £2 each, Baby Reebok trainers 50p

Stripper shoes!  £1!

2 beanie soft toys for my mother for the orphans’ Christmas boxes she does every year, £1.50.  Cross stitch kit 50p.

Lip gloss kit, brand new 50p – great Xmas pressie for my niece.  Chilli Pepper brand new boxed giftset 50p.  3 x Virgin Vie bronzer products, £1 each.

Right, time for a vegetarian sausage sandwich and a quick squizz at the weather forecast to see if we’re likely to get drenched if we attempt a walk later on this morning.  Judging by the look of the sky, it’s almost a certainty, I’d say!









A Fun Week With Family

On Monday Will and I drove up to Bournemouth to spend a few days with my family, and we certainly packed a lot into a short time.

Monday evening Sam, Will’s cousin, came over to my parents’ for a sleepover with Will, and they enjoyed playing Minecraft (latest computer game obsession) together and watching a scary movie  Mum, Dad and I polished off rather more wine than was strictly necessary on a Monday evening – but hey, it is the summer holidays(!) – and we had a fun evening chatting and putting the world to rights.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent with Amanda, my sister-in-law – it was lovely to have some time together with the kids, and I think we all enjoyed it.  After dropping the boys off at Amanda’s, I took my lovely niece, Sophie, clothes shopping for presents for her upcoming 8th birthday.  I don’t know who was looking forward to it more – me or Sophie!  We went to Primark (Sophie’s choice, not mine!), and Claire’s Accessories, and she picked out several outfits (one of which she’s wearing in the photo below), a pair of sandals, some lipbalm and a hairband.

After a nice lunch in the garden back at Amanda’s, the sun decided to make one of its rare appearances this summer, so we spent the afternoon at their beach hut.  Amanda and I sat and gossiped with a cup of tea, watching the world go by, and the kids built sandcastles, dug holes, and even had a swim.  It was William’s first ever swim in the sea in the UK!!  And I can confirm, having stuck my big toe into the water to test the temp, that it was bloody freezing!

I left William for a cinema trip and sleepover with his cousins, and headed back to Mum & Dad’s.  We went out for a delicious Italian dinner, only marred by my Dad losing his glasses.  At the time of writing he still hasn’t found them, so their whereabouts remains a mystery.

Wednesday morning dawned dark and with torrential rain, but undeterred we set out for Longleat bright and early, and managed to have a great day out, despite the inclement weather.  I was really impressed by Longleat – it was definitely worth the long drive, and although the rain continued until mid-afternoon, the safari drive was excellent, and Longleat House well worth a visit.  Once the weather cleared up, the kids wanted to go into the maze, which ended up a bit of a disaster when William went off by himself, got hopelessly lost, panicked (at this point, he had been in there an hour!), and had to be rescued by the maze staff!  Thank heavens I’d had the foresight to give him my phone before he got lost, otherwise we might still be there!

On Thursday morning, we went with Mum & Dad to have a look at a hotel they were considering for a celebration of their Golden Wedding next year.  It was in a little Dorset village, and seems perfect for the event, so I think they are going to go ahead and make a booking.  I do like to have things on the calendar to look forward to, and that’s one of the first things to put on next year’s.  No doubt it’ll be here before we know it.

Random photo taken in above-mentioned Dorset village – I do love an old-fashioned red phone box.


Tonight we’re off out to  meet friends and their kids at Wetherspoons after Will finishes karate at 7, looking forward to a glass of wine or two and a catch-up, as we haven’t seen them for a while.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend, whatever you’re doing, and let’s all pray for no rain!