Tag Archives: travelling

Where to go?

Okay, my lovelies.  I need some advice.

It’s a not very well kept secret that I have a rather large birthday looming and although Paris was our first port of call for birthday celebrations, circumstances are conspiring against us (in a good way) to prevent this from happening.

So that’s my 51st birthday celebrations sorted. *wink*

However, The Husband, because he’s a superstar, has offered a bit of a jaunt and some fabric shopping as an alternative.  Of course I’m in for that!

So now I need to decide where to go. I’ve narrowed it down to Harrogate or Birmingham.

Harrogate….because Fine Fabrics and Betty’s, of course.

But Birmingham has the markets and Guthrie and Ghani.  And we could go on the train and both have wine with lunch.  There’s also the library which I’ve read has a super sewing reference section, so I could also have a browse and audition some new books for my home library. (I cannot remember who blogged about this recently, but if you know please do share and I’ll credit appropriately.)

So what do you think?  Which should we choose? And do you know any other great places in either city for food, yarn and fabric?


We’re back from our Autumn half term holiday in Wales and much the better for it. It’s been 4 years nearly since our last holiday so it was well overdue.  After a delayed start for a day whilst we confirmed that the 100.4 temperature that Button was running wasn’t, in fact, scarlet fever (phew!) the week ran smoothly and we had a relaxed but still very lovely time doing pretty much nothing except walking, eating and watching movies.

Oh, I love these guys

Oh, I love these guys

Of course there was the minor incidents of small folk rampaging out of earshot and the neighbouring holiday makers knocking on our door at 6.30am begging for relief.

And The Incident of the (toy) Dragon in the Nighttime, which included a beanie baby dragon, a table lamp, and a pesky small boy, that could have ended up very badly had Button not realised that the Rubicon had been crossed and come to wake me.

That said, here are a few pics that aptly capture the real essence of our break and the beauty of the Welsh coast and countryside around Cardigan bay.  They are phone photos because very early on I decided that I wanted to actually be in this holiday rather than spending time observing it from behind the lens.  I highly recommend this strategy…making memories is more fun than simply capturing the images.










Searching for shells for Grandad. A very serious endeavour!




Llanerchaeron woodland walk

Vintage by the sea

I’m always amazed that someone other than my family reads this blog.

I was thrilled when Simplicity contacted me to do the review (there’s still time to enter the giveaway, don’t forget) and last week I was delighted to receive an email telling me about an event happening on the 14th September.

The Vintage Festival takes a one day trip to Morecambe to help celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the iconic art deco hotel , The Midland.

If you’re not familiar with The Midland


it’s a beautiful Art Deco hotel on the North West coast, which has recently been restored and in it’s heyday was

a favourite haunt of celebrities such as Coco Chanel, Sir Laurence Olivier and Noel Coward, along with many of the actors and musicians performing at The Winter Gardens. Today it stands restored to the glory as the jewel in the crown of the British coast.

It’s the kind of place you expect to bump into Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings.


Personally, I’m thrilled that Wayne Hemingway has decided to hold this festival. Morecambe is a typically English seaside resort that has faded over the years. Events of this type help to bring a new lease of live to the area, and to put Morecambe back on the map.

The Festival sounds like it’s going to be a great day out – shopping, vintage hair and make-up , creative workshops, a food market and beautiful classic cars.

The fair is on from 11 – 6pm and entry to the main event is free, although you can also stay for a vintage dinner in The Rotunda!  Oh my, the glamour.

I’m really grateful to Rachel for bringing this event to my attention.  I’m surely going to do my best to get there…I’ve always wanted to visit The Midland and this is my kind of day out!

No go Gertie!

How annoying is this?

The Husband recently started a new job.  That’s not the annoying bit.  That’s very good news indeed!  He’s really enjoying his new job and he’s home much more than he was previously.  It’s a win win.

No…the annoying bit is that although he’s on holiday now for a week, his major client has requested a meeting next week.  The Husband is the only person who can facilitate this meeting…which means he has to go.

Which means we’re not off to Devon next week.

GertieNo Gertie for us! *sad face*

Under normal circumstances I’d kick up a royal fuss about it, but new job and big client means we have to make other plans.

So, we’ll be having family fun closer to home.  And saving our Gertie adventure for another day.

Which means, I suppose, that if you’re looking for a last minute adventure for yourself, she’s sat there waiting for you.

Go, go, Gertie

We hadn’t planned to go on holiday this year.

We had planned to start a big project of work on the house that is going to need quite a bit of expenditure.

But then along came Gertie!

GertieGertie’s Adventures is Alice-who-isn’t-a-cat’s exciting new venture.  So during the last week of August we shall be near the beach in Devon, and the woman who said she would never, ever go camping again (that’s me) will be…camping.

gertie2Although, lets’ face it, this is slightly significantly more glamorous than a tent and a fly sheet in a field in Northern England, which was my last experience of camping 30 years ago!

gertie3At the moment you can keep up with the adventures of Gertie and, of course, book her for your own adventures, via her Facebook page and Twitter feed.  It’s definitely worth it because there’s the chance to win a free weekend with her up there right now.

I’m off to check out campsites.  😉

The Princess diary

Early Saturday morning was cold and crisp and sunny.  I know this as I was up with the lark and heading for the train station, heading to Walthamstow to meet a princess.

Yes…you heard right.

A Sewing Princess to be precise.  Silvia was in town for the weekend and we’d arranged to meet up and explore Walthamstow market.


I was decidedly nervous.  Despite all evidence to the contrary I actually quite shy…not the sort of shy that actually stops me doing things, but the kind of shy that can make me gauche in new social circumstances with new people.

My nerves were groundless.  Silvia is every bit as delightful as you’d expect from her blog.  She is warm, and funny and has a megawatt smile. Even when I talked endlessly about the kids!

After coffee and a walk along the market, with which we were decidedly underwhelmed, we decided on a change of plan and headed off to the Goldhawk Road, with a loose plan of catching up with Rachel, who had organised a sewing meetup.

As we sat in Costa grabbing a coffee, I recognised stylish hair and a lovely skirt whisking into the loo.  Poor Karen was greeted by two joyous sewists as she exited…now she knows how Kenneth King felt!


We were quickly welcomed into the group and found ourselves joining a shoal of sewists heading off for lunch.  What an unexpected surprise and pleasure.





What a wonderful, wonderful, day!  Sewists are without doubt the most genuine and lovely group of people you are ever likely to meet.

Thank you Silvia and all the other amazing ladies for making a trip to London very special indeed.

Cake and Bake Show – Manchester

You know you’ve married the right man when he agrees that a visit to a show which celebrates cake and bread is simply the best way to spend a spring Saturday.

So yesterday saw us trotting off to Manchester to the Cake and Bake Show at Manchester Central.cake and bake

We had a spanking time.  Plenty of stalls with inspiration for baking and decorating cakes. Speakers in the various “kitchens” throughout the day. Artisan bakers and flour millers.  Vintage tablewear.  

Right up our street.

We bought flour and another banetton for The Husband.  Piping bags and nozzles for me.  I might have succumbed to a couple of recipe magazines.

delicious baking

And some oversized Bonne Maman jars which each hold a bag of sugar and are too cute for words.

The best purchase of the day was two beautiful Hammer Stahl knives.


It’s taken us nearly seven years to agree on a set of knives, so I wasn’t passing up the opportunity.

I attended a macaron workshop with Rashmi from Anges de Sucre and came out muttering repeatedly “how have I never eaten macarons before”.

image from http://www.angesdesucre.com/blog/

image from http://www.angesdesucre.com/blog/

Oh my! They were wonderful. Rashmi completely demystified the making of the Italian meringue. And, yes, she really is that cute in real life. I’m totally committed to giving these a go…I’ll report back!

The day at the show rounded off with the delicious Eric Lanlard showing how to make fabulous petal paste decorations for the top of cupcakes.


He is delightfully funny, quite naughty and so ridiculously skilled at icing a cupcake, it would make you weep. Even with cream cheese topping melting under the heat of the lights, he piped perfect swirls and peaks without missing a beat in his delivery to the enraptured audience.

The cakes weren’t bad either! 😉

To round off the perfect day we treated ourself to dinner at Browns. (with apologies for crappy iPhone pictures).

Lobster linguine…


Salt caramel cheesecake…

salt caramel cheesecake

Hazelnut martini…

hazelnut martini

And this, plus the red wine we also had, is why I’ll never be a size 6. 😉

But I’m a very happy girl!  And I have all the ingredients for macarons in the kitchen…


Well, I’m home after our visit to Alice-who-isn’t-a-cat, but note to self…next time I do a long journey with the kids…put one in the front and one in the back.  Divide and conquer.  I’m far too traumatised to tell you all the details, but flying shoes were endured at one time, and I’m hoarse from bellowing at them to behave! 😉

It was worth it, though!


We had a lovely break.


The weather was cold but dry and perfect for a walk on the beach.



Extreme Toddler Sports were resurrected.





Huge hints about an addition to the family were dropped. Button would love a baby brother or sister…


The Boy…not so much!)


I suspect The Boy will win that particular vote!


We are having a quiet day at home today. And missing Alice and Huggy immensely.

However, tomorrow is the Cake and Bake show.  I’m beyond excited!

Mummy’s day off

As a mother, you have a 24/7, 365 days a year job. It’s absolutely the best job in the world, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

Occasionally, though, Mummy needs a day off, which I took on Saturday and captured  in (very grainy iPhone) pictures

6.58 – Preston to Euston – Coffee and a breakfast bar to wake me up!

Making a start on “Langston”

Waiting for the fabric shops to open.

The Cloth House, of course.
image courtesy of www.clothhouse.com

Book browsing…the best selection of French books I’ve seen in this country.

Tea in the garden at the V&A with my friend

the awesome “Hollywood Costumes” exhibition




Pretty practical

About 4 miles from our home is an collectables centre named Bygone Times.  It calls itself an antique market, but I think they are overly hopeful in that description.

It’s a large warehouse, like a permanent car boot sale, stuffed to the gills with independent stalls of all sorts of second-hand stuff, some of which, but only a small minority, falls into the category of antique…quite a large proportion of which falls into the category of “good grief look at the crap people will buy!”.

However, that also leaves quite a bit of stuff that is actually really lovely and just what you’d like to have, or just what you’ve been looking for (even if you didn’t know it before you visited).

These adorable little ice cream bowls fall into the latter category:

Who knew such things existed?

Too darling.  I simply couldn’t leave them behind. Especially at only £4 for the set!

Something I have been looking for for quite some time are cannisters for teabags and sugar.

All the ones I’d seen were either plain old ugly, or ridiculously expensive, or the openings were too tiny for my ham hands.

Another steal at £4 for the three.  Suitably shabby chic.  And the perfect colour for our kitchen.

Last up was my absolute find of the year.

A French enamelled coffee pot.

Not so exciting on it’s own, although again, the green and cream are the perfect shades for our kitchen.  But, it’s not just any old coffee pot:

It’s got it’s very own built in filter!

I die!

I may have squealed quite a lot and quite loudly.  I’ve been searching for one of these on eBay for a while and they’ve only been available in America with quite onerous shipping charges.  The £25 I paid for this beauty, whilst it might seem a bit steep, is still cheaper than it would have cost from the States.  And I’d have kicked myself to New York and back if I’d left it.

So a splendid haul.

And a reminder that I really should check this place out more often.