Friday, 3 July 2015

Friday Threes - TV, pins and blogs

TV shows monarch of the glen mad men humans

1 - Monarch of the Glen - I just finished the entire thing last night, yay!  I've been rewatching Monarch for months on (American) Netflix and although the later episodes were a bit rubbish, it was just as great as I remembered.  We always watched it on TV on a Sunday night -  I remember when each episode ended I'd get ready for bed and dread going to school the next day.  Not that I hated school really, there were just a million better things I could see myself doing.  Like marrying a laird and living in a castle in the Highlands.  Not that the show put ideas in my head or anything...

2 - Mad Men - When my internet was gone for a week last month I finally got started on Mad Men, which had been sitting on my laptop for ages waiting to be watched.  I might be the last person in the world not to have seen this show.  Well, I saw part of season one not long after it came out but my memories of it were pretty vague...  So I've started again.  As I guessed they would be, the costumes are my favourite part.  I was expecting to like it more (I'm not keen on any of the characters so far), but I'm not ready to stop watching yet so something interesting better happen soon!

3 - Humans - I sort of caught this show by accident - my memory for live TV is so bad that I set weekly alarms for Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey.  If I happen to see anything else it's just pure luck.  Anyway, I started Humans because Katherine Parkinson from The IT Crowd is in it.  Yup, all it takes is one familiar face to get me to watch something.  She's on more serious form than usual though, playing the mother of a family who buys a human-like robot to serve as their housekeeper.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well actually, nothing really, so far...  We're three episodes in and it appears to be a bit of a slow burner, but hopefully this means some action is on the way.  The actress who plays their robot is especially brilliant, and I'm curious to see what she's like in real life.

blue clothing kimono dress summer jeans florals

1 - Chambray dress (pinned here) - I seem to have gone for a blue theme this week!  When I was little my gran made me a dress in similar waffley type fabric and now I think I need an adult version...

2 - Urban Outfitters Kimono (pinned here) - I wasn't really a fan of the kimono trend until I saw this one - from far away it looks like it has a tiny palm tree print.

3 - DIY patchwork jeans (pinned here) - I need to do this.  Perfect summer jeans.

I found these fab blogs recently so they had to be shared.

1 - The robot that had a heart - A cute style blog with a great written accompaniment, not a mixture one often sees!

2 - Me and Orla - A very pretty lifestyle blog covering a bit of everything.

3 - The Salty Sea blog - Awesome outfits and stunning outdoors shots, this Cornwall based blog is a new favourite.


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Nairn, John O'Groats and Thurso

Everyone knows I went to Orkney on holiday right?  I may have mentioned it once or twice...  Ahem.  Because we were driving up, Tam and I decided to set off a couple of days early and meander up the country.  I'd not been any further up than Inverness before (something a lot of other people also admitted to when I mentioned it!) which is just crazy.  There's so much more country up there waiting to be explored, and I was ready to explore it.

bandstand nairn vintage

bandstand dancing vintage dress nairn

waves shadow figure beach nairn

beach viewfinder telescope

victoria hotel nairn old sign

Our first stop on the mini road trip was Nairn, where Tam's cousin lives with her husband and a very fluffy cat.  They kindly offered us a bed for the night and we said yes on the assumption that it would be too rainy to camp, because... Scotland.  It turned out to be a completely beautiful day and, after a quick wander around the nearby Brodie Castle, we decided it was high time for a proper paddle in the sea.  Tam was all set for an actual swim in there but I was ready for my dinner!  It was chippies all around then off out for a drink.

The next morning we went a quick nosy around Nairn then hit the road again - although we actually went back on ourselves a bit because we'd heard great things about a scone place just along the road.  Verdict?  Good not great.  I think that's the problem with places that have a huge hype around them - they rarely seem to live up to it when I actually get around to visiting!  Anyway, we got back in the right direction eventually and made it to the top of the country.

john o groats sign post

duncansby head john o groats

lambs john o groats

tent orange sleeping bag lamp

John O'Groats
The weather changed substantially by the time we got to the most northerly point in mainland Scotland.  Still, we had to do the tourist thing and get our pictures taken by the sign.  After another chippy (with the most freaking delicious chips - if you visit and see the van next to the sign, that's the place) and an Orkney ice cream (also delicious, and slightly earlier than planned...) we pitched the tent on the campsite and got down to the serious business of drinking whisky and writing postcards.  Oh, and taking a walk up to Duncansby Head to look for non existent puffins.

Since we were so far north, the sun only went down for a few hours, so sleeping required a scarf over our heads and the ability to keep it there.  We sort of succeeded...  It wasn't the worst night I've spent in a tent anyway!  

coffee walnut giant sponge cake cafe thurso

ferry scrabster

The next morning we packed up the slightly soggy tent in good time and headed into Thurso for a look in the charity shops and to meet Andrea for coffee.  She took us to the most amazing cafe by the harbour - the cake there was possibly some of the best cake I've ever had.  So good was it that we went straight there for lunch on the way back from Orkney.  I had a piece of coffee and walnut cake roughly the size of my head, and it was one of the few times a cake has defeated me.  I took the rest away and had it for first dinner though.  It was too good to leave leftovers!  As you can see from the picture, the cafe was so cosy and steamy that all I got was one blurry photo of awesome cake, but I tested Tam's brownie and Andrea's chocolate sponge and they got an awesome verdict too.

After a couple more charity shops (Andrea showed us some hidden ones) we drove round to catch the ferry at Scrabster, just next to Thurso.  Now that my stomach seems to repel all kinds of boat travel I was apprehensive, but figured a bigger boat would be fine.  Well...I didn't feel as sick but I couldn't look out the window or move very far from my seat.   I seem to have some kind of late blooming motion sickness.  Yay.  

And then...Orkney!  More on that soon.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Buyer's Archive - June

Last year I started keeping a note of the clothes I was buying.  My spending habits had decreased in recent times and I was craving more space and less stuff.  Being mindful about what my money went on with regards to non-necessities seemed like the logical place to start.  I had an idea to compare my purchases from this time last year to the ones I've made this year and see if there's any change, and if I wasted my money on stuff that didn't last, or that I changed my mind about.

It seems June is a pretty quiet month for me where shopping is concerned.  Except when it comes to handbags...  First up is last June's purchases.

next handbag H&M ankle boots

  • Next handbag - £34 - I am the biggest fusspot around when it comes to handbags.  They have to be the right colour and size, have the right amount of pockets and the right handle length.  They have to be big enough for my regular junk but also hold my camera when I decide to bring it along.  They have to be easy to zip up (the zip is non negotiable - I'm a paranoid Peggy when it comes to trusting others not to steal the aforementioned junk).  They have to have the right shape to sit comfortably on my shoulder or my arm without causing pain.  It's a tall order, and this bag ticked some of the boxes.  Not enough, as it turned out, since I spent all year looking for a replacement.  
  • H&M ankle boots - £10 - These boots were a fantastic sale bargain and a winter favourite.  They have good grippy soles and no zips - funnily enough the thing I need on bags is the thing I hate on boots.  My brain, ladies and gentlemen.  H&M didn't think it was necessary to make these in a 7 though - the label actually lists all the sizes, going from 6.5 to 7.5 - so they have some thick fleecy insoles to keep me even warmer.
  • M&S black bra - £12 - I couldn't even remember what this was at first, then I realised it was the bra that I found on sale, wore once, hated it and consigned to the eBay pile, where it still sits, making me feel bad for being too lazy to deal with it.

So the total spend for June 2014 was... £56.  Considering the only thing I liked from these purchases was the boots, it wasn't a great month.  I did use the bag just about every day though, so I'd call that getting my money's worth.

On with this month's purchases.  I thought there wasn't anything until I glanced up and saw the new bag, but it was still a pretty light month on the clothing front.  June seems to be accessories month over here!

vintage bag leather brown charity shop black tights tesco opaque

  • Charity shop bag with matching vanity case - £5 - This bag has no label.  I think it might be menswear?  I'm not even sure that the matching case is a vanity - for all I know it could be some fancy artist bag (she says, knowing full well that it will become travelling knitting storage.)  I've used the main bag a few times - the strap is longer than my last one (good) but it doesn't feel very strong (bad).  There are only two main pockets and a small side one (bad) but it's the perfect size for the junk plus camera (good).  Honestly, I'm not convinced this bag is the one, but at least it didn't set me back much and was second hand.
  • Tesco black tights (2x 80 denier, 3x 40 denier) - 2 packs @ £2.80 each - Not much to say about these...  I'm stocking the winter drawer from the summer sale section, my usual practise :)
Total spend for this June was... £10.60.  Time will tell if the bag was worth it but I'm certain the tights will see some regular use!  (Just...not yet...please?)

What's everyone been buying this month?  Let me know if you do a similar post!


Friday, 26 June 2015

Friday Threes - Reading, Feeling and Blogging

books magazines tent reading

1 - Testament of Youth is finished!  It was pretty awesome until I realised Vera Brittain had written many more books about her life and this one was only a small part of it.  I think I'll pass on the others for now...  There I am in the tent on holiday, looking sleepy but making good reading progress (not seen - the bottle of whisky I was drinking from to keep me warm.)

2 - Next I'm reading the first book in the Mistborn series, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.  I ordered this at the library a while ago thinking it would take it's usual long time to arrive, and it turned up about a week later.  One renewal later and I've finally started it.  I wouldn't normally follow one huge book with another, but I'm hoping the change of genres (from memoir to fantasy) will speed things along.

3 - Apparently I'm collecting magazines lately.  The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland ones showed up a couple of weeks ago, I'm about three issues behind in Empire, and my friend brought me the Shetland magazine 60 North back from her holidays and it hasn't even been opened yet.  Tam brought me Shortlist and Stylist from the train station and I picked up the Tesco one with my shopping last night.  Oh dear.

1 - Overwhelmed.  Everything seems to be happening at once this month.  My flatmate has moved out, and I finally picked a new one who'll be moving in next week.  All the bills were in old flatmate's name, so I've had to call a bunch of people and switch things over.  EE were lovely but not very helpful when I got a new broadband box and just needed the line turned back on.  They eventually got around to doing it the day I went on holiday.  Scottish Power were lovely AND helpful when I finally got through to the right person (and after giving the guy my date of birth, he told me that he was born a few days before me and is not looking forward to turning thirty next week.  We commiserated together.)  The council tax have been completely unhelpful so far but I'd expect nothing less from them.  Oh, and my MOT and car insurance are due on Tuesday and Compare the Market keeps changing my quotes.  I pretty much spent half the week bemoaning how non adult my brain is about coping with such dull tasks.

2 - Frustrated.  About the above, but also because our landlady very nicely put in new sofas (the old one had literally fallen apart) but failed to consult any measurements, so we now have two cheap, ill fitting IKEA couches in the lounge.  Since she uses the flat as a dumping ground for all her old furniture, we also inherited a scratched up old TV table.  The place is now so stuffed with junk that it's making me twitchy, so I just closed the door on the lounge and am hanging in my room.  It's also fairly full, but much more pleasant in there.

3 - Excited.  In an odd contrast to all the drama, I'm excited about having today off work (three day weekend!), giving Tam birthday pressies on Sunday and hopefully finishing a couple of knitting and crochet projects at the weekend.  Also I get to go see my mum next week, which means parking myself on the couch, catching up on all the gossip, and watching nonsense on TLC for two days.

1 - Jo made this awesome crocheted pineapple garland, and now I need to make one too.

2 - Andrea has been killing it with interesting posts lately (and, let's face it, always), but my favourite this month was 5 things you can do right now to help save the planet.  Simple, easy to implement suggestions.

3 - Jessica's post about book snobbery and the 'classics' that she very much did not enjoy was funny and informative and had me nodding along in agreement with each one.


Thursday, 25 June 2015


My favourite wee fluffy friend passed away last week.  He'd been ill off and on for a little while and finally we found out that it was incurable.  He'd just had his twelfth birthday last month, so he was a pretty old man in dog years, but he still liked to behave like a puppy, especially when his favourite squeaky toys came out.  He really belonged to Tam and his mum, but I like to think I won him around in the two years I knew him with an abundance of hugs and biscuits.  Mostly the biscuits, let's be honest.  He would do any number of tricks if he knew there was a Markies in it as a reward.

He always had a knack of avoiding the camera, but Tam managed to catch us chilling out in the garden in Orkney in the lovely sunshine.  I think he liked it there.

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