Monday, 5 December 2016

Crazy Camden

Working twelve hour days during the winter is no good for taking photographs I've found.  It's dark when I go to work, it's dark when I return.  Hence this post has had to wait until I had a day off, to snap my latest chazza scores.   But before all that, let me tell you about last weekend.

It was an early start last Sunday as I was off with a friend, to a vintage fair in the Big Smoke.   (London, for non-UK readers)   Camden was our destination and the venue of Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair where none other than Kinky Melon were trading.

Vintage Vixen resplendent in 70's lurex 

 It was brilliant to catch up with Vix again and to meet Jon, her talented bloke.  I checked out their vintage stock and bought myself a gent's titfer. I also came home with this Vendéen souvenir scarf, depicting my favourite area of France, a lovely thoughtful gift from Vix as I'd admired it on one of her blog posts.

 We chatted to several traders who reported disappointing sales due to poor footfall, including this striking lady who makes exquisite cushions from vintage fabrics.

Her stitchery was impeccable.

And cop a load of this gorgeous creature who was deliberating about the fab velvet housecoat as her other half wasn't keen on it.  As for myself, I was gutted that a stunning Welsh tapestry coat that I'd tried on had swamped me, therefore my only other purchase was a £2 green scarf. 

After visiting every stall and a quick cuppa, we headed out into the craziness that is Camden
where we stumbled upon a Mad Hatter's Tea Party....
and an abundance of paintings, street art and sculptures of Amy Winehouse, surely one of  the area's most famous former residents.  

 Camden, situated in the north west of the city, is home to London's most diverse and eclectic markets, where artisans and street food traders create a youthful vibe.  We strolled into the Stables Market and wandered among the labyrinth of stalls where the convivial ambience enveloped us.

We treated ourselves to a pricey cup of mulled wine... (it was bloody good and worth every penny) before wending our way back to Victoria and catching the very overcrowded train home. 

In other news, also last week I managed to hit the charity shops.  The chazza gods were benevolent as I managed to score a Welsh tapestry waistcoat, a leather handbag and a vintage hooded corduroy jacket which although grubby, came good after a cool wash in the machine.
  The quality modern leather handbag which looks brand new, was a steal at £2 and even came with a free panty liner!

 Afterwards I dashed around Aldi to do the weekly shop and was dismayed to see aisle upon aisle of ghastly Christmas tat ....but no sodding cauliflowers! And I was intensely annoyed yesterday to hear the interminable xmas tunes had already started on the radio...and we've yet three more weeks to endure them
Is it only me, or does anyone else think...it's just too early??

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sunday Photo

I took this photo with my phone last weekend at the Stables Market in Camden just as dusk was falling,
the colourful brolly provided a canopy above one of the stalls.

Linking up with Darren at Photalife

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Sunday Photo

Last Wednesday was such a beautiful day that it prompted me to get some fresh air, and armed with camera, I took a stroll along the the Worth Way.  Now a seven mile footpath and bridleway which passes through my Sussex village, this corridor of outstanding natural beauty was formerly the route of a railway track which fell victim to the Beeching Cuts in the sixties.  Now it provides a wonderful environment for wildlife; I've glimpsed woodpeckers and a kingfisher down this leafy lane and during springtime the banks are smothered with primroses, cowslips and bluebells.  The trees are particularly beautiful at this time of year and thanks to the sun, provided a golden canopy to walk beneath.  

Linking up with Darren's Sunday Photo.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Bake, Make and Quake!

It's been one of those uneventful weeks chez moi, but I feel happy that a few domestic jobs have finally been completed. The man with chainsaw has been and my hedge is now a shadow of its former self, paperwork has been attended to and a declutter commenced, I feel that I'm making headway.

   Last week I met a friend for lunch in East Grinstead and as I was early I managed to shoot into a few chazzas...it's been a while!  Unfortunately, although I saw a gorgeous vintage M&S mohair and wool jacket in mint condition, it had three quarter length sleeves which I don't like in coats so I left it on the rails.  I did find these pottery plates marked at 4 for £3...(there were 5) and I thought they'd be a welcome addition at the van in France, I also bought some £1 barbecue utensils.

Back at home I baked this Weight Watchers Tea Bread, it's become a firm favourite and is very quick to knock up with ingredients most of us have in the cupboard.

I also got back to my craft room. (does anyone even remember that this blog was formed to chronicle my papercraft creations? Over the years it's gone off topic somewhat, as I've been sidetracked by other interests.)   A while back I read a craft magazine featuring an article on air dried clay ornaments and thought I'd have a bash.  With the aid of a cookie cutter come printing set scored in a charity shop last year, I knocked up these rustic looking specimens.  I learned that the clay dries fast and wrinkles easily, so later attempts were kept moist with a few drops of water.  No doubt there are Youtube tutorials but impatient me just pressed on with it regardless.

I also made these easy wedge shaped gift boxes and filled them with truffles....

...and two boxes of mini greetings cards.

Both of the above are gifts for a couple of friends, the three of us meet a few times a year and it has become tradition to exchange small home made gifts as we are all of a crafty bent. We're off to the pub this lunchtime actually, no doubt we'll be discussing the big news..... I'm trying to remain hopeful, but that famous line from The Fly keeps entering my head. 

Wherever you are, enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Five on Friday - Pictures of Home

Not much of interest to report today.  Gallivanting around France so much recently has meant that things at home have suffered.  This week I've been playing catch-up and as a result have been quite productive.  I finally phoned Amazon about a refund for that order that never arrived, I organized the drain-down of my van in France, I phoned Scottish Power as instructed, regarding the installation of my Smart Meter (only to be answered by a machine that would not allow me to leave a message... yeah, helpful) and I made a start on the hedge!

A nice man with a chain-saw will finish off the job for me as it is now about 10 feet high.  The laurel hedge is in the garden of my neighbour, an elderly lady who recently moved to a care home, whilst the property is empty and with her family's agreement I am going to reduce the height of it by half as it blocks out so much sun in my garden on summer afternoons. Hacking away with the loppers has been a most satisfying feeling.


Unpacking my winter wardrobe and putting away my summer clothes was also long overdue, another thing I tackled this week.  My out of season clobber gets stowed under the bed in this vintage suitcase, what do you do with yours?


I noticed that my home was looking lacklustre and could do with a spruce up.  I'd like some new curtains but money's tight just now, a move around of the furniture would freshen up the place but my open plan ground floor does not lend itself easily to this.  Eventually I settled on decorating the mantelpiece and the sideboard in the hall with a few pine cones, a kilner jar filled with autumn berries and leaves and a few candles in jam jars...all of which cost me nowt.

I also painted this picture frame to tie in with the black theme going on in the hallway.


Now the evenings are dark so early and I haven't been around enough to get into anything much on the telly, the crochet hook has been in use again making this floral ring.  I used an inexpensive plastic embroidery hoop, double crocheted around it and then attached the flowers and leaves.

I also made a pom-pom hedgehog in front of the telly the other night. 
Not sure he looks very hedgehoggy though, his snout is not quite right and the cute factor is definitely missing.


My final chore before going back to work today was taking the garden rubbish and other crap to the tip, only to discover that it is now closed two days a week!  Yet another victim of cut-backs Britain.

 On that cheerful note I will leave you with some bangin' sounds from the 70's.  Enjoy your weekend.
Linking with Amy's Five On Friday 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Five on Friday - French Connections

Crikey I've had a hectic time of it lately, I've crossed the channel twice in the space of two weeks, driven halfway down France and back, worked four twelve hour shifts and attended a concert in between ..phew!

After purchasing my holiday home in France HERE, I needed to close it up before winter.  Essentially a caravan, it would be too chilly to use in colder months and must be prepared for winter. (Being a novice at this malarkey, I'm not au fait with all the proper terms yet but if anyone knows them....do speak up.)
Anyway, I digress, I took a stuffed car on the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen and benefited from a few hours shut eye in a cosy cabin.
 After a five hour drive I arrived exhausted at my new place, but before I could relax I had to unpack the car and organize the van.  An invitation to share an apero and nibbles with some neighbours whose acquaintance I'd made in the summer, was gratefully accepted and I soon learned all the important stuff...like the opening hours of the village bar.  The next day following my appointment at the insurance office, I zoomed around SuperU and returned 'home' to further explore the local village.

St Christophe du Ligneron is not the prettiest village in France, especially on a grey day in late September but with two boulangeries, a convenience store, tabac, pharmacie and resto... it suits me.   One thing I've noticed about small French villages is that they often have huge churches.
It makes you wonder how often the pews are filled these days?

All too soon I found myself back across the channel and looking forward to events of the following week....


....the long awaited Jean-Michel Jarre concert!
The godfather of electronic music has entertained me on and off over the last four decades so when the chance arose to go and see him at Brighton I jumped at it.  The queue outside the venue snaked along the seafront but once doors were opened we were soon inside and remarking upon the dreadful soulless place that the Brighton Centre is!

There was no publicity of current or forthcoming events anywhere to be seen, no artwork.... just yards and yards of concrete and brick, it reminded me somewhat of the National Theatre on London's South Bank.
However the gig was fabulous and the visual effects were AMAZING!  The two hour show consisted mostly of JMJ's new album Electronica, alongside a couple of tracks from Oxygene & Equinoxe.  After the concert, instead of hanging around the stage door (oh yeah, for him I would!) I hurried home as hours later I'd be travelling across the channel once more.


A weekend break in Lille had been arranged a few months back with a colleague. D had commented that she wanted to go but her husband wasn't keen, I jokingly replied that I'd go with her, she took me up on it and so we found ourselves at Ebbsfleet boarding the Eurostar.

  It was my first time on the cross-channel train and I expected it to stop before the entrance to the tunnel but we sped on through and the next stop was Calais. My experience of it was very efficient, door to door in two hours, most impressive.


 Lille was lovely!  We took a tourist bus around the city checking out the sights en route which included Old Lille with it's stunning 16th and 17th century Flemish architecture, the birthplace of De Gaulle and the Palais des Beaux Arts, which houses the works of Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya and Toulouse-Lautrec and in France is second in size to the Louvre.

 The old stock exchange

The patisserie was to die for!

  Later in the trip we walked miles around the old city and for a taste of authentic Lille, visited the Marché de Wazemmes. This huge market located in an ethnically mixed working class area of the city sells just about anything you can think of.  D bought several items for her family and I spent the grand sum of €6 on a book about the history of the 2CV and a pair of orange opaque tights.



Walking back to our hotel through the wonderful Gare de Lille Flandres

I happened upon this poster advertising Higelin's latest album.

Jacques Higelin was the first French artist that I discovered, in 1978.  Back then I was given a tape of his album Alertez Les Bébés and played it non-stop, I recently revisited it and found that I still love it just as much as I did in the 70's, here's my favourite track.  Enjoy.

Linking with Amy's Five on Friday