Monday 30 June 2014

The very lazy crafter

My hubby says that of late, I am like an empty hospital - I have no patients (patience - his jokes are appalling!).  I don't know where it went - perhaps he and two kids and a frustrating occupation have taken its toll!  He's not far wrong though, and I find that whilst I still like to craft, I do like to see a quick result.  So when I popped into a lovely craft shop recently, I found myself admiring a "charm" pack with HUGE squares that I knew would quickly make up a lovely bed size quilt. The main attractions for charm packs for me are that they are already perfectly cut (my cutting is sloppy!!) and they are colour matched perfectly too.  I think you are  supposed to cut theses exceptionally large squares up and make fancy shapes with them, but I was having none of that.  So I sat and sewed them all together, then sandwiched a lovely piece of cotton wadding between that and my backing fabric - and hey presto!!

 Now anyone who has bought a charm pack knows that they are ridiculously expensive - but in my defence your honour, the denim I backed it with was absolutely free of charge to me.  I've had it ages and it needed using.
 I made the backing a few centimetres wider than the quilt and folded it over so that I didn't need to bind the edges too - proper lazy!!

But I have decided that I will hand quilt it a little at a time - as and when the mood takes me.  I think this quilt will go very nicely in my tent.

Sunday 29 June 2014


A few years ago, my daughter expressed a desire to see the musical "Wicked".  I have to admit that the songs didn't really excite me but last year when I saw that the production was coming to Leeds, I thought I would treat us to a couple of tickets.  So last week after work on Tuesday, we hot footed it up to Leeds Grand Theatre.  I love the way that we are still Theatre buddies.

 Leeds Grand is a gorgeous little Victorian theatre that has been restored perfectly.  It's a proper gem.  I can't understand why people pay vast amounts of money and flock to London's West End theatre's when they generally have such treasures on their doorsteps.
 My camera is not behaving at all and I am having problems with focus - hubby says it is over used!

 Any way - all I can say about Wicked is that it is probably the best musical I have ever seen!!  It blew me away!  The story is excellent, the acting and sing was totally superb - each and every cast member was awesome.  The costumes were stunning and visually the whole thing was immense.  I was bowled over by it.  Musical theatre at its very very best.
Go see it xx

Saturday 28 June 2014

A very hot day in Oxford

So on the Saturday, after a leisurely start, we headed into nearby Oxford.  We had visited Oxford in the past and been stung by the very high cost of car parking, so this time we very sensibly used the brilliant Park and Ride scheme that they have.

 We wandered around taking in the gorgeous architecture - it is a stunning city.  However, it was very very busy and very very hot.

 Hubby is trained to never forget a face - but he is now of an age where he can never remember a name!   He knew that the chap with the glasses on was an actor but couldn't remember his name or what he had seen him in!  I didn't know his name but knew exactly what film I had seen in him. (answer at the end of the post)
 I love the Bodleian Library
 We visited this free exhibtion.  It was personal letters written by the men in power in Downing Street during the first world war.  Exhibitions I have seen in the past usually feature the "ordinary" chaps on the front line.  It was unusual to see such extremely personal letters from great names.  Herbert Asquith - the Prime Minister who led the country into the war was having an affair with a lady who decided to marry his best friend whilst he was away from Downing Street.  His begging letters to her were filled with his heart break - all this whilst he was "running a war".

 We wandered off to stroll by the river
 I loved the area where the rowing club houses were.

 Lots of graduation ceremonies and end of term balls were happening or being prepared for.  It had a real buzz about the place.  The funniest comment I heard was from a young graduate who I gathered lived in London.  She was telling her friends that she had loved being  at Oxford, but initially had been worried about studying here as it was so far North!!!!!!!! Not a geography student obviously and I suppose Sheffield had been out of the question then!!
 Finally on our way back to our camp site, we spotted a beautiful little pub by a river.  It would have been rude not to call!

*  The actor that hubby spotted was Richard Hawley (not the singer) who played Hugh Grants Deputy Prime Minister in "Love Actually"

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Giffords Circus 2014

We visited Giffords Circus last year and enjoyed it so much that we promised ourselves a return visit this year.  It travels around the Oxford/Gloucester area's all summer, so we were able to pick a different location to see it this year.  They do choose the most gorgeous locations to set up camp.

 We had a wander around to look at all the vans - I love them.  It's difficult to describe this circus, it is utterly charming.  It is suitable for every age group - I think it is so clever how they can make everyone from age 2 - 92 years old laugh at the same things!

 My camera doesn't work very well in the tent I'm afraid, but you get the idea.
 Because we were camping in the middle of nowhere, we had decided to eat at the circus.  Most people take a picnic to eat on the village green .  One option was from the Pizza van....
 ... but we decided to go all out and eat at "Circus Sauce".  The menu looked interesting - Deep fried Colcannon with sour cream for starters, then Kedgeree with Samphire and duck eggs, followed by Chicken with spring greens and roast potatoes - finished off with Baked rice pudding served with poached fruits.  All the ingredients are sourced locally and cooked freshly by the chef on site.
 I would give the food 11/10 - everything was so tasty.  We will certainly book for this again next year.   Nell Gifford who owns the circus is the sister of Emma Bridgewater - hence the fabulous crockery!
 We were even entertained circus style by the chefs!!  It's the little unexpected touches that make this stunning night out so fantastic.
 Roll on next year I say!

Monday 23 June 2014


On Friday, hubby and I packed up house and home and trotted off to deepest Oxfordshire for our first camping trip of the year - and what a perfect weekend it was for it too.   Our campsite was lovely and exceptionally empty.  Once pitched, we drove a couple of miles to the tiny village of Waterperry and parked up at the house and gardens to take a look around.  You can only visit the house on certain days (and not today as ir happens)  but the gardens were open.  The house was once a centre of Horticulture - mainly teaching ladies I believe (when ladies were not considered suitable for gardening).   

 We took a little look around the pretty church.

 And then on to the gardens.  It houses a magnificent amphitheatre which looks as if it gets used regularly.
 The gardens are still used to teach horticulture in a much smaller way and have some great plants all around.

 It was an exceptionally hot day and the garden looked stunning.

 I loved this statue.  It reminds me of how my daughter looked when she was younger.

 There is a small exhibtion about the Horticultural school, but we didn't get much time to read about it as time was pressing on and we had somewhere to be.
 We had spent too much time having a lazy lunch in the tea rooms that used to be the classrooms, and wandering around the garden centre and gift shop attached!!
 If you are in the area, I would highly recommend Waterperry for a look around.  It is so tranquil and peaceful and the gardens are beautiful.  They also host lots of events - and that is why we were there.  Amidst this wonderful setting. Giffords 1930's style Circus has camped and we were booked in for the 6pm performance.
The setting was as picture perfect and as quintessentially English as you could possibly get!