Tuesday, 10 December 2013

All About Me (Tag)


Sorry folks ... been obscenely busy of late and blogging has had to take a back seat. I found this great quiz tag thingy over at The Jolly Fashionista and thought I'd give it a go...

First of all tell us your name and what you do...
I don't give my real name online. I am a teacher, Head of Department and Head of Year at a large comprehensive so online me has to be official and serious if I name myself fat chance of that happening.

I live at home with...
My husband.

My favourite thing(s) to do are...
Drinking Baileys coffee in PJs long walks, meaningful books, exercise. Hahaha who am I kidding? I like buying crap and going to the pub and doing my nails. This is why I can't name myself on here.

My favourite thing to eat is...
Japanese food - sushi, tempura, noodles, salads. Any of that.

When I get cross...
I get my way. 

Sometimes I worry because/about...
My health at the moment. The situ is OK right now though, thanks to the NHS.

My favourite book is...
Fiction: The Complete Sherlock Holmes Colllection
Non-Fiction: Nigella Kitchen #TeamNigella

My favourite toy...
My tablet/kindley thing and my Nicer-Dicer (in the kitchen).

I dislike...
Cold, wet weather. Clothes that accidentally don't match. Liars and hypocrites on any level (bar hilarious blatant lies that make me laugh e.g. people smuggling booze in tucked in their stocking etc').

When I grow up I want to be...
All powerful  Comfortable and healthy. Preferably well dressed.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Party Frocks For Pennies

Well, not quite pennies. But not breaking the bank. You know what it's like ... Christmas again and you have soooo many glamour-filled parties to go to*...

Whoo yeah! Chrimbo! Let's party like it's 1899!

Great: an excuse to buy a new dress. Only there are a few problems; Christmas is a fricken expensive time of year, you're likely to get photos all over Facebook so are perhaps reluctant to wear the same thing again and again and it's freezing cold out so all day shopping would be a pain. Yeah. And you need to save your pennies for Bailey's mint chocolate liqueur and biscuit selection boxes. If your anything like me, that is...

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Oakley Court Hotel Review

If Oakely court looks familiar, that's because it is. Before it was a hotel, it was owned by a local production company and used as the setting for a host of movies and TV shows including the St Trinian's series, various Hammer Horrors and the singalong favourite The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In fact, so recognisable are many of the fixtures and fittings that you may, if you are a kitsch film buff, start pointing out where famous scenes were filmed the moment you walk into the venue.

Recognise me?
Thankfully there are no monsters or monstrous schoolgirls there now, it's a four star hotel.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Bargain Review: "Everything £5"

£5 clothes, brand new. I know what you're thinking: how could there possibly be a website selling clothing for just £5? It sounds too good to be true. It sounds like they must sell seconds or the garments would fall apart. You wouldn't go for it unless you head someone tell you it's OK.

Skater Dress: £5
So, I tried it. And I can tell you ... "Everything Five Pounds" is OK! The clothes are absolutely, positively normal high street stock. Indeed, my latest purchase had a tag on it with an RRP of £15.99. I would guess that they buy up old sale stock, deadstock and the like and sell it on - meaning, interestingly, that those of us with slightly alternative tastes are well catered for. Many of their items tend towards a retro or rock-chick style (perhaps that's why they didn't sell out on the high street?) and I've noticed the plainer and more 'key basics' an item is, the more unusual the sizes (top tip for you big or small footed ladies- black flat shoes- only ever in large or tiny).

Thursday, 10 October 2013

I'm still here! Rambling...

I'm still here! Still alive and kicking. It's just this old blog that's gone all droopy and wilted like a neglected houseplant at the back of an office. Interesting metaphor, given the reason for my absence has been the fact that I myself have been droopy, wilted and at the back of an office. I'm a curriculum developer. That means I figure out how to fit all the things kiddliwinks in my school need to learn into the school year. Now, as you'd expect, usually the National Curriculum and exam contents are published the year before so I can set it all up. Which I do, over the summer holidays. But oh no, this government like to make major changes saaay ... over the weekend in the middle of term time. Requiring an extra fortnight's work to be done on top of my term time workload, quickly, without error or teething room. Irritating. Not going to bore you with some political rant but suffice to say it has, as they write in management documents "impacted upon my work life balance" (and I've had to do things twice, down to someone else's fickleness. A pet hate of mine).

So, I have done nothing of any interest to anyone since early September. Honestly, the highlight of my month has been finding a runner bean cutter at a boot sale and being able to trim vegetables more neatly. Sad!

Anyway, if you want to be more interesting than me at the moment (and trust me, that is very easy. You could be a potato, or a neatly machine cut runner bean, and be more interesting) here are some of my favourite blogs, they actually post stuff (!!) and don't abandon y'all for months at a time. You all know my usual list of vintage reads (they're linked down the side of my page, innit), but these are some more eclectic choices:

A Thrifty Mrs - currently my go-to lifestyle blog. Realistic, thrifty, witty. Also, she has a tiny little miniature doggy and basically when I'm not being all cynical and Lahndan I secretly click and go "aww look at the ikkle puppy!!" before normal service is resumed.

One Nail To Rule Them All - If I wasn't a rambly slightly vintage type blogger I'd blog nails. But not as well as this site. A-maz-ing and UK based so you don't love a colour then find you have to pay for postage from the US...

All The Dresses - a new project from Gemma of Retrochick. Just loads and loads of dresses. All the dresses, indeed. AAALLL OFFF THEEMMMMM!

Do you follow blogs of the same genre, and if so what? Or do you have a more eclectic reading list..?




Thursday, 29 August 2013

My Youtube Channel

Howdy folks! Hope you're enjoying ekeng out the last few weeks of summer. If you shun the sun like a mysterious vampyre, delicate flower or erm like, a worm or something you might enjoy going on Youtube. Even if you enjoy the sun, Youtube waits faithfully for those rainy weekends or days when you're on your own in the office.

Why not watch my most recent attempt at a video? As with this here blog, I can't always guarantee focused content (Vintage? Beauty? Creepy? WTF?) but the general theme is nosing around my stuff. Don't worry, burglars wouldn't want my stuff. I don't even want some of my stuff (see freaky musical box for details) but it's there for your viewing pleasure.

Nose Through My Nail Art Stuff!

Yes, I know green isn't a primary colour. Sue me.



And heyyy, subscribe while you're at it! I haven't got a cute or funny kitten but I do have a purple Hello Kitty onesie so a cute cat video isn't out of the question. Although I would also need beer to do that. Lots of beer.

Classic Creepy Music Box Video



Actual Vintage-Educational-Type Video! Wonders never cease...

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Swimming at Serpentine Lido

As we are having such a great summer (compared to last year) I thought I would share an idea for a thrifty and fun-filled day out in the centre of London, with a difference.


Hyde Park is a wonderful resource and a fantastic day out for anyone living in, or visiting London. Served by several tube stations, and with a wealth of free attractions such as the Diana Memorial and Serpentine Gallery, the highlight on any sunny day has to be a stroll around the epic man-made water feature The Serpentine. Created for Queen Caroline in 1730, a walk around this lake (starting and ending at Lancaster Gate tube) offers a range of elements. You start at the Italian fountains - this formal garden is incredibly beautiful on a summer's day; benches face white stone fountains - lots of them - with the odd swan swimming in the pools. A dramatic waterfall fountain with ornate carvings sends the water crashing down into the next phase of the lake; a section where reeds and plants are encouraged and many rare water birds feed in peace. Following on from that, The Serpentine becomes more recreational, and it's here that you can hire rowing boats or, for a unique experience, spend some time swimming in the lake yourself in the wonderfully beach-like Serpentine Lido.



It's an incredible experience sunbathing and swimming surrounded by the world famous park and rooftops of London. What's even more incredible is it only costs £4.50 (Adults - £1.50 kids) for unlimited time - and you can bring your own snacks (although there is a tea/coffee/ice cream stand too). There are changing rooms (of course) but also a well maintained garden with picnic benches, separated by a small footbridge from the lakeside sunbathing/swimming zone - so it really is set up for you to stay all day! Now that is fantastic value.

 As the water is in a lake, in the full sun, it is not as cold as sea or river bathing. The lake swimming area is safely roped off from boats and pedalos (although ducks do pop over to look at the curious swimmers) and fully supervised by lifeguards. In the garden area, there is a kiddy-pool with fountains - and if swimming isn't your thing, many people came to sunbathe and enjoy the beach-like ambiance.



We went on a Sunday afternoon - we expected it to be rammed full but actually, we were pleasantly surprised! The building dates from the 1930s and is quite quirky, so a few tips I would suggest are:

  • The Ladies' changing rooms are very small. If you're shy about changing, I would suggest wearing a cossie under your clothes upon arrival, and waiting for a cubicle only as you leave;
  • Lockers cost 20p, however they sometimes run out on busy days. The Lido itself is secure, and many people choose to bring their bags with them to the lakeside, perhaps leaving someone who swims less to keep and eye on them;
  • You may hire sun loungers but there is a grassy bank on the lakeside upon which most people simply used towels to sunbathe;
  • The showers are outdoor cold water showers and you can't use soap (because it would run into the lake!). If you have very sensitive skin - or are worried about being muddy - do as I did and take some baby wipes.
  • You cannot take alcohol or glass over the bridge to the lake area, however disposable plastic containers are fine. Normal picnic ware was being used (even champagne bottles!) in the garden area, and there are tables there too.
  • There is a cafe just outside the Lido, however it is quite expensive. If you don't want to bathe but fancy a picnic instead, the grass area by the Italian fountains has a marvellous view and toilets, recycling bins, benches etc'.



Now I have tried the Serpentine Lido I shall definitely be returning; a clean, comfortable beach-like experience in the centre of the city. It goes without saying, I paid for my own ticket and this review is simply based on a day out we thoroughly enjoyed!

Where is your favourite 'unexpected gem'?


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Holiday Highlights: Sheringham & The Poppy Line

I'm back! Had a month of busy busy work and then a lovely holiday last week. But now I'm home, dropping stinky little blog drops all over your carpets. Haha.


Now I'm not going to bore you with my whole holiday album, both for consideration's sake and because, as Gemma of Retro Chick revealed, some of it was debauched gambling of the most sordid nature. Well, going for a drink down Great Yarmouth way and putting all my pocket money into the 2p falls machines. I won a little plastic horsey. Class.

Here's a little video of our time in Yarmouth...(it isn't actually of my chest, for some reason that's what the editing app put as the first shot!).


Anyway the thriftier and more sophisticated resort on our little East Anglian driving route was Sheringham. Sheringham is slap bang next door to Cromer (famed for seafood and well worth a visit). It's a small resort but well served by shops, cafes, bistros and pubs. The larger hotels tend to be pricey compared to B&Bs and the wealth of self catering, camping and caravan places around - we did stay in a hotel, but this was our big holiday. The nice thing about the town is that there is accommodation for all group sizes and budgets.



It is a very typical traditional resort, suited to families and couples alike. There is plenty of maritime history explored in two museums "The Mo" and The Fisherman's Heritage Centre. Of course, Sheringham has a broad and clean beach (we were there during those seriously hot days- it was fantastic) lined with colourful beach huts, tea rooms and a couple of pubs with great views! Amazing sunsets to be viewed from The Two Lifeboats (try their steak... a real treat) and The Crown is a great spot for the evening, with live bands outside in summer. Off the seafront but with a great beer garden and epic menu (especially seafood) is The Lobster. On rainy days, their indoor ambiance is great, a real place to relax.



OK enough about His Lordship and I filling our bellies! We did stuff too! As well as the beaches and walks, charity and craft shops and views, Sheringham has another great value day out: riding the North Norfolk Railway "Poppy Line" to Holt. This is a restored steam line with 3 stations. Each station has refreshments, museums and things to see such as model railways. It is a wonderful day out for just £11; the return ticket allows you to ride up and down the line getting off at Weybourne and Holt. Holt itself is a charming little town (one of the residents did joke it was "Chelsea on Sea", I guess it's not fascinating 24-7) - especially if you like to hunt round charity shops and antique markets, picking up what the wealthy locals have donated! There's a routemaster bus from the station to the town centre, £2 return ... everyone got very excited about this (me for a slightly different reason - it was built in Park Royal and suggestions inside were it ran out of Acton Depot back in the day - I may well have been on it before as a kid! Showing my age!). On a pleasant day you could also definitely walk the route. We enjoyed all the activites on our little jaunt, but in terms of value this was superb: a whole day riding in beautiful old carriages, superb views, museums and new towns for just over £10.













Unfortunately the weather has now turned and we're definitely NOT on hols anymore. Are you planning a trip in the UK this summer? Where are your favourite thrifty days out?

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Another little Video! Bargain Retro-Style Haul.

Here is a little haul video of things I have found on EBay, Poundland, Primark and my local YMCA charity shop... enjoy, nosey peeps!


Monday, 17 June 2013

Cheap Chappette Style (Olympiad & Vintage Event Dressing On A Budget)

There are some events where everyone dresses up. Events where half the point is to people watch, to see and be seen. Events such as The Chap Olympiad, which pop up once a year in the vintage calendar and provoke a mad panic of 'what shall I wear?'. It's part of the fun and part of the hell of getting ready ... and sometimes all those lucky people with perfect late 40s Dior or made-to-measure repro can be pretty intimidating to those of us on a more modest budget. Ha, never fear! One of the great things about these events is their creativity - in all but the most joyless, geekiest snobfest (and who would want to go to an event like that anyway?) when you look closely you'll see a myriad of different styles, budgets and methods. If you look closely at some of the perfect 'just got papped' blogger types, you may well note it's their sharp eye for styling and not their budget that gave them the edge. So here are some ideas on how to dress for those 'big' vintage days out without breaking the bank...