Stir Up Sunday

It was Stir Up Sunday yesterday, the last Sunday before Advent and traditionally the day people make their Christmas Puddings. Many’s the year that I’ve helped Mum make the Christmas Pudding, in fact Mum and Dad always said I was a stirrer! So in the spirit of passing on traditions, Isla and I stirred up our Christmas Cake, yeah I know it’s not a pudding but you have to put your own stamp on traditions. As you can see from the photo the best part was, as ever, licking the whisk. This recipe is from Mary Berry’s Christmas cook book and we will be feeding the cake some sherry over the next couple of weeks.

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The only thing about Christmas Cake is you only find out how good, or bad, it is when you cut it on Christmas Day so keep your fingers crossed. This is how it’s looking now it has been baked, I think it might be a little dark? Although that shouldn’t matter as Isla has some very elaborate plans for how we’re going to decorate it, which included a rigorous voting process on Friday evening. Watch this space! Xx

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Happy Fathers’ Day

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It’s been a while since I posted but today seems a good day to start again. Today is the first Fathers’ Day without Dad but I’m not writing this with a heavy heart. I could bemoan that he was taken too early and that we should have had many more years together but to be honest I don’t feel that. I’ve woken up with a genuine happiness that I had this amazing man in my life for thirty four years and that parts of the man he was live on in me, so today I’m going to celebrate that!

I hope that those of you who are spending the day with your Dad have a great time and that those of you who haven’t got that privilege can hold fast to your memories and smile.

Here’s last year’s Fathers Day blog and Mum’s Diary entry from the same day….

19th June Fathers’ Day a very emotional and poignant day for Nick. Met Liz for coffee. We went to Housing Units. Wore navy linen trousers, navy and white striped top, navy and white mac, red bag and shoes. Vik came for us at 3.30pm. Nick not great, but made a huge effort. I wore red cropped trousers, blue cardi with bows, red bag and shoes, navy swing jacket. A very jolly afternoon all things considered.

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Dressed for threes

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So, three days in work this week and three weeks till I jet off to the sunshine for my Birthday. I can’t blooming wait to feel the sun on my skin and sit and read books while enjoying a cocktail – bliss!!
Today I’m wearing cherry skirt from River Island, black vest H&M and black cardigan from M&S. I incorporated a few of Mum’s accessories into my outfit today, check them out below….

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Mum had this necklace for as long as I can remember and I always loved it, it reminds me of an eye.
I also remember her wearing this brilliant wonder woman badge, how fitting it was for her :-)

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Dressed for a tea party

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On Saturday Isla and I went to Olive&Em’s first tea party and had a lovely time, check out my blog on our afternoon here

For the tea party I wore River Island trousers, Mum’s kimono blouse from M&S and cardigan from Hobbs. Talking of Mum here’s some more of her diary entries….

April 20th….. Another warm, sunny day! Went into Manchester to meet Sue G. Had lunch at Harvey Nicks – brill! Wore black linen trousers, black and white gingham top, black patent ‘ballet’ shoes and pink ‘Macy’s’ bag. Made first purchase on my M&S card – pink and black showerproof jacket with hood. Quite jolly and useful, I hope as it packs away. A sort of up-dated version of the trusty ‘Pacamac’.

April 21st….. Maundy Thursday. Went up to Dobcross Garden Centre with Liz. Warm and sunny so wore black and white gingham trousers and black top edged with gingham. Took black cardi but didn’t need it. Amazing weather!

April 27th….. After a chilly and windy day yesterday, with a hint of rain, it was back to sunshine today. Christine Oates and I went over to Turf Lane Garden Centre for tea and cake (me), coffee and a scone (Christine). I wore jeans (blue), converse trainers, pale pink cotton blouse. Took my pink padded coat but didn’t need it. Saw Eileen and Helen at garden centre café. Collected Doug from his art class later. A very nice afternoon out, after a difficult few days over Easter.

1st May….. Weather still dry and sunny, but spoiled by a sharp north east wind. Liz called for me about 11am and we went up to the Delph Farm Shop and Café. It was quite nice and the shop bears further inspection. I wore blue jeans, pink Artigiano t-shirt, Converse trainers and pink jacket from pink suit. After our snack and look round shop we went down to B&Q. I bought new Yankee Candle for bathroom and three birthday cards.

2nd May….. Bank Holiday. Vicky, Isla and I went to Dunham Massey. Nasty east wind still around but otherwise sunny and dry. Wore navy linen trousers, navy and white stripe three quarter sleeved t-shirt, and blue ‘swing’ jacket. Red bag and boat shoes. Hair a mess because of wind!

4th May….. Lunch at Dobcross Garden Centre with Chris P. Had walk round Uppermill first. No cold wind – lovely hot day with wall to wall sunshine. Wore navy linen trousers and striped top again. Took red fleece jacket just in case but didn’t really need it. Red bag and shoes.

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Introducing….Olive&Em

On Saturday Isla and I attended a lovely tea party held by Emily from Olive&Em. Olive&Em is a vintage crockery hire business run by my lovely friend Emily Bowyer, named after her Grandmother Olive. On her website she shares her love of all things vintage and her finds from local charity shops. I asked Emily to tell me a little bit about her business so grab a cup of tea and read on….

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I’ve loved vintage fashion for a good few years now experimenting with what I wear and always adoring the 40s/50s style but I’m branching into earlier eras now especially the 20s and 30s. I like to mix what I wear with modern finds so that there is a contemporary feel. So my love for vintage fashion led me to a vintage inspired wedding which is where the love and the obsession with vintage crockery came in :-) I hunted high and low all over the country for tea pots to have as the centre pieces for our wedding and I guess after that I just kept going and started to branch out into other areas, tea sets, plates etc… Lots of people have asked to borrow the sets and tea pots so I thought what better way to advertise than through a blog.

Ive always adored charity shops, never being put off my the smell or the disorder in some shops, I’m always looking for a bargin, the more of a vintage find the better. I am so so pleased that charity shops are really starting to grab hold of their potential. I think we should all recycle and charity shops are a great way to do this and help others. It also makes me feel a little less bad about how much a spend on clothes, crockery and homeware when its all from a charity shop – its going to a good cause :-) I loved the idea of sharing my finds with the world and seeing what people thought… showing people the potential of charity shops.

So the reason behind Olive & Em is really for me to write about all the vintage loveliness that keeps me up at night thinking and gets me excited when the day job ( teaching) starts to get a little too much. My recent move into sewing is another hobby that I am so excited about, its just so satisfying creating something so orginal :-) Also I love learning a new skill, all helped along by my lovely mum.

Isla and I had a lovely afternoon and as you can see the cakes provided by Helena from Chocolate Cake Cottage were a big hit with Isla….

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Emily has enough crockery to seat sixty people and her collection is growing by the day,so look no further if you would like to give a vintage feel to your function.

Thanks for a great afternoon Emily I can’t wait for the next tea party xxx

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Spread the Grumbi love….

I think you all know by now that Isla and I are a little bit addicted to Grumbi Dolls. Just take a look at our collection….

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Mr and Mrs Grumbi

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Isla with Fairy, Vintage and Rudolph Grumbi

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My Grumbi badge

Pauline Ng is Grumbi Doll’s Mum and she has been successful in getting to the next stage of Enterprise Nation’s Fund 101…..read all about it here The Grumbi’s need 500 votes when voting opens later today so keep checking in on this page and cast your vote as soon as it opens. Let’s spread the Grumbi love and help Isla and I extend our collection ;-) x

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Dressed for A Little Bird Told Me Sew

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Here I am at Woodchip Boutique’s new home…A Little Birdie Told Me Sew. I’ve been a big fan of Donna and Kim’s creativity and talent since seeing them at Vintage Village and was lucky enough to have them at our craft fair and my end of challenge celebration. I was very pleased when I heard they were opening their own shop as I just knew it would be my kind of place. So Princess White and I headed over to Preston on Saturday to check it out and we weren’t disappointed!

The shop is a treasure trove of all things vintage, handmade and general prettiness, throw into the mix tea and cake and you have the perfect place to while away an afternoon with friends or your kids. My advice would be to spend a good amount of time browsing as it takes a while to take in all the fabulous displays and range of stock that’s there. Allow me to share some photos with you….

Not only do Donna and Kim handmake a lot of their stock they also encourage others to get the sewing bug, check out these gorgeous buttons and vintage fabric, there are also packs made up with a selection of cute things which could be used to create something unique to you.

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When Rachael and I arrived Kim was hard at work on the sewing machine, it’s great to see the products actually being made in front of you.

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This is a selection of the gorgeous handmade leather bags that are on offer, I have a lovely one with multi coloured flowers on it and I added a clutch bag to my collection on this trip, I’ll share it with you soon. The brilliant thing is that you can also have things made to your exact specifications, while I was there I put an order in for a cover for my i pad.

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I also picked up a cute skirt and lace blouse which will look great over a vest top, at £10 and £15 respectively you just can’t beat it

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The attention to detail in the way the shop is decorated also adds to the experience….there’s even a space for the kids to play.

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It wont surprise you to hear that Rachael and I indulged in tea and cake as well.

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With plans to start sewing classes soon I know A Little Birdie Told Me Sew is just going to go from strength to strength. Why not like their Facebook page so you can keep up to date on products and events?

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Dressed for probate

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Every day brings us another day closer to having dealt with the practical side of Mum and Dad’s death. Al and I met in Manchester today to complete probate, so that’s a big part of the administration over. It’s a relief to get things over and done with but at the same time it all makes a surreal situation seem very real. Dealing with the emotional impact of what’s happened is not as easy as filling in forms and jumping through bureaucratic hoops, it’s more like one step forward and three back….but as long as one of the four steps is forward I guess that’s the main thing.

As you’d expect I wore an outfit to cheer me up, my dress is from TKMaxx and shoes from Poetic Licence.

PS Four weeks smoke free!!!

April 17th Palm Sunday Went to church. It was another beautiful day. I wore my grey and pink stripe trousers, pink jacket, grey suède ankle boots, pink gloves and pink and silver scarf.

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Dressed for Martin Mere

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Today I spent the day at Martin Mere with Lyndon and Isla, I’ve not been there since I was young when I went with Mum and Dad. We had a good walk and were shown round by a tour guide who was very knowledgeable. I also finally got an answer on whether it was fact or myth that a swan can break your arm with one flap of its wing, apparently it’s a myth!

Today I wore a denim jacket from River Island and also my new Grumbi badge made by Pauline. You might just be able to spot Mr and Mrs Grumbi on the bed behind me. Isla and I are getting a bit addicted to Grumbi Dolls, why not check out their home here?

Here’s a few posts from Mum’s diary:
April 3rd Mothers’ Day Went to Vicky’s for Sunday lunch – roast beef etc. A beautiful bunch of tulips arrived from Al first thing – well 8.40 am. A difficult day as Nick is very weak and ill from his treatment. However we managed to have a pleasant time at Vicky and Lyndon’s. Isla was inside her tent when we arrived. It’s really good, even indoors. I wore my bright pink dress with pink and grey leopard print cardi, black patent shoes and pink tweed coat

April 6th Oldham with Olga. Nick too ill to take us in so we got a taxi. A very warm spring-like day, so I wore jeans and my burgundy bouclé jacket. I was too warm even in that, but didn’t want to risk anything lighter in case there was a chill wind. It was breezy but not cold.

April 10th Daisy Nook with Liz. A beautiful, warm and sunny day so we sat outside. I wore black linen trousers, black and white gingham top and black patent ‘ballet’ shoes. Also took black cardi, but didn’t need it in fact I caught the sun on my arms and chest.

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The journey back home…

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So last week I made the journey up to Scotland to take Dad back to his final resting place, not a bad spot is it? This is the river Clyde, opposite Dad’s childhood home and also where my Aunt Isla is scattered. Although it was a poignant trip I had plenty of laughs and fun with Lorna, Brian and Noah including meals out, a trip to Edinburgh and a particularly fruitful trip to Mandors

Here's a few photos of my trip....not many outfit shots but now Andy's sorted out my website there'll be plenty of those to come!!

This was taken at The Willow Tea Rooms, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh one of my favourite designers.

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Here’s Lorna and I at Assams, a very nice curry house where the Nan breads are like blankets and we all left so full we were groaning with greed!

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This is our walk by viewing of Edinburgh Castle as I would neither queue up nor pay over £30 to look round, what can I say? It’s the Scot in me ;-)

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And lastly a particular favourite of mine….

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PS If you fancy taking a look at the Daily Mail article about my challenge just click here

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