Thursday, 29 September 2011

Bit of this, bit of that

As excited as I am to wear my new winter boots, legwarmers and knitted dresses,  I am loving this late September sunshine.  Fully expected to be wearing my denim shorts with tights by now but I've gone back to bare legs for a while! (The razor blade in my bathroom is enjoying a brief revival... tights really are a lazy groomer's best friend.)

I had to see the doctor yesterday morning and spent a few quiet minutes enjoying the view from the surgery.  The surgery is in a pretty part of the village, sits on a little hill and the waiting room has huge picture windows so that you can look right across the fields whilst you wait.  This big imposing house, next to the car park, looked lovely in the sunshine:

Look at the colour of that sky!  

It is quite unlike me to dawdle, in everyday life I mean.  I'm usually rushing from one thing to the next and I don't pay much attention to my surroundings.  It was so refreshing to take my time for a change, I will try to do it more often.

So last weekend was pretty full-on.  We had some utility china (an ebay purchase) to pick up in Somerset which is about three hours away from us.  We booked a lovely pub/B&B for Friday evening and made a night of it.  Best thing we've done in ages.  It was great to have such a spontaneous weekend away and the pub was a real find.

It was called The Three Horseshoes and was in a tiny village (with very narrow winding, spooky, roads) called Batcombe.

The room was nice.  Small, but very comfortable, with lovely views.

But it was really the pub downstairs, and the food, that made this place such a treasure.  We arrived at about 7pm, dumped our bags in the room and bagsied a lovely big scrubbed pine table in the main bar area next to the fire.

We started with a couple of G&Ts then moved onto a bottle of wine and a game of dominoes.

You do have to knock on the table when you can't go don't you?  That's the way we always played it with my granddad anyhow and that's the way I made Andrew play too.  I think he was a bit embarrassed in such a busy pub but you've got to play these games properly or not at all, in my book.

We had a lovely dinner but our eyes kept moving to these beauties on the bar:

Forget smokey bacon crisps and salted peanuts (peeled from those cardboard sheets with topless ladies on), this pub served olives, pistachios and homemade pork pies as nibbles.  Amazing idea.  They looked so appealing and were even served on the most gorgeous small thick rustic wooden boards with a dollop of relish (got to get me some of those wooden serving boards...).  We had planned on making a long night of it but ended up crashing out at 10:30.  Must have been the fire.  Or the wine.
Always take a self-portrait when we do anything fun (well, not quite anything...)

Breakfast the following morning was equally delicious.  Again, a big scrubbed pine table, this time laden with coffee, toast, newspapers and juice.  We had a full English each but there was also a selection of cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, toast and preserves.  Y-um.  I love having a leisurely breakfast at the table but we never do it, the furthest we get to sitting down for breakfast together is at the kitchen counter or sitting in the conservatory.  Setting the table for brekko is definitely on my 'to do' list when the new dining table arrives.

On Saturday we drove to 'the house of the utility china'.  Oh my.  There was such a lot of it.  The items were listed in bulk by a couple who were moving house.  They had collected loads of the J&G Meakin Glamour Rosa china and just sold the lot off.  I also bought a bulk lot of Meakin Glamour Celeste and some Johnson Bros Greydawn bits.  The lady I bought from was absolutely lovely.  We had so much in common and I could have chatted with her all afternoon.  Whilst Andrew and her husband were loading the car with my new goodies, I spent time looking at the rest of the lady's vintage china collection (she had yet more utility china), the AMAZING sugar flowers that she makes and photos of the cakes she has decorated in her time.  She has also been a member of the WI for a long time and we chatted about that too.  It was fab.

I loved unpacking my china when I got home but as we don't have any sideboards in the dining room right now, I just don't have anywhere to store it all.  I will do a proper post to show my beauties off in all their glory when the dining room is finished but for now I will share the JUNK SHOP that my home has become.  Spot the china piled under furniture and on the floors.

First up, the new dresser in the dining room.  Clearly not styled at all (sorry to disappoint), simply piled with china for storage more than anything:
There are books haphazardly thrown on shelves and we even have things thrown on the window seats too.  We are having the floor redone this weekend and I can't wait.  I know this parquet stuff is very old and expensive but frankly it's knackered and looks awful.

There's more china in the spare room:
...together with the booze from our drinks cabinet and the baking supplies from my baking cupboard.

The windowsill in the spare room is piled with cake stands, lamps and glassware.  It is driving me crackers.  I can't wait for the furniture to arrive but I've been informed we have to wait another month.  Arrggh!!

I will do some proper photos of the china when we get our house sorted for everyone who I share a utility china fetish with.  I  now realise that I have got loads of pink and blue china but very much need to build up my green items.  If you are interested in swapping a Meakin Glamour Jade, Grindley Almond Petal or Johnson Bros Greendawn item for something pink or blue, please get in touch!

So I've had a quiet week.  I needed it.  Read a fab book mentioned here on the Florence and Rose blog (it's a lovely blog, you might want to linger a while).  The book is called The Help and is set in Mississippi in the early 60's.  It is a story about race, class and friendship.  It's definitely a feel-good story and I'd recommend it.  Thrilled to hear that it has been made into a movie; there are some strong characters in the book and I'll enjoy seeing how they have been interpreted.   So now I need something else to read.  Any recommendations?

In between the reading I have been practising some Christmas crochet:

Ha!  Funny little thing isn't it.  I downloaded this stocking pattern from Ravelry.  There are a few tweaks I'll make to the pattern when I make them for realsies (I'll make them in thicker, neutral coloured yarn) but I'm planning on hanging these on my tree if they look any good.  Not bad for a first attempt (and if you'd told me last Christmas I'd be able to even make this, I'd have snorted derisively!).

We're planning a quiet weekend too.  I might nip off to the local car boot sale on Saturday morning but apart from that we're taking it easy.  My stepson, J, is coming to stay this weekend and I think he has school gossip for me - he texted me earlier this afternoon to tell me he doesn't fancy M as much any more (he has liked her for two years now) but he fancies K instead.  Love it when he tells me this stuff!

Still have loads to chat about but I'll be back in a few days.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.



PS And thanks, Sam, for the blog award!  Am thrilled. I'll do a proper post for it next time x


  1. Gorgeous B&B, sounds like a perfect weekend!! Hmmm, look at those pies!!

    I love your "unstyled" dresser, it looks fabulous!! That china is really lovely!!

    Cute stocking!!

    S x

  2. What a gorgeous place - and you are pretty gorgeous too!

    Loving the utility china, I am a collector too! x

  3. Look at all your utility china!!! You have so much now, I'm very jealous. Can't wait to see your "styled" photos :)

  4. Sounds like you had a great time and the B&B looks fab! the china is so gorgeous, love the colour, also love your house you have some gorgeous pieces :) have a great weekend.

    Bee happy x
    Have a delicious day!

  5. wow how much china did you get.. im soo jelous.. you never need to look again if you dont want to!
    your b&b sounds gorgeous them pies ooo im drooling and its only 9am is that wrong!!.. theres nothing better i think than a few drinks leading to a bit of smudgey face and a pub fire its the best feeling ever i think!!..
    i get were you are coming from about the house driving you mad at the minute i have stuff spilling out from under my bed and at every corner there is somthing stuffed.. everywere needs sorting but mine is all resting on me getting a dresser for my living room but that means moving the whole room round including buying a new telly so i dont know when thats going to happen... i feel your pain!!!..
    forgot to comment the other day on your wedding pics ..but they were gorgeous .. i love your dress.. did you get obsessed after the wedding and just look at your pics all the time .. i did and watched our dvd about 1000 times!!


  6. *THUD*
    Did you hear that thud??
    That was me as I hit the decks swooning after your china!!
    Say it with me...I am not an addict, I am not an addict

  7. That sounds like my kind of weekend!

    I enjoyed 'The Help' too. I loved the name and character of Mae Mobley, so sweet.

  8. Ooooh look at all that gorgeous china! Surely that didn't all come from ebay though!? Sounds like you had a lovely weekend, hope you enjoy this weekend too xx

  9. I'm loving your crochet Christmas stocking!!... Too cute! - I might have to make a couple for my tree this year (I couldn't crochet last year). Can't wait to see your china in all it's glory when your furniture arrives :)

    Hope you're having a super weekend so far :)
    Louise xx

  10. Just all a leetle bit too gorgeous for me!!!! Where do I start? You? The pies? The fireside meal? Your dresser?
    Hey, don't feel like you need to style it, I think a haphazard look is more natural actually! I love it like it is!!!
    Would have NO idea how to make a crochet stocking as can't follow patterns to save me skin.
    Glad all well with you bird.

  11. What a lovely weekend I just love a good old pub with a fire, some food, wine and the Mister.
    LOVE your Christmas stocking- very, very sweet.
    And by the way, we seem to have the same wardrobe- leg warmers, boots and knitted dresses? Check. Leggings and denim shorts? Check. !!
    Have a great week!
    PS found a gorgeous Boden knitted dress in charity shop today. Am most chuffed!

  12. Your mini break reminded me of the one Chris and I went on when we visited Oxford recently for long weekend.... and like you we stayed in a lovely B & B, had our evening meal there and read the papers in front of an open fire in the bar -- delightful !
    ohhh wow.. you have so much china - it's impressive and i love that your dresser is wonky and inkeeping with your house. Super charasmatic.
    I can't make this weather out, at all. i dont know what to dress in from one day to the next *giggles* its so typical of British weather.
    have a lovely weekend hun. Oh btw if you do get into twitter my name on there is SnapHappyJen . come find me. ;-)

  13. what a lovely china collection ,will look fab on that dresser which is lush and cant believe you were 10 mins from me you prob went through my town to get there , i was more your way last month daventry ? xx