Friday, 10 May 2013

A Birthday Treat and a Pretty Sight

Mum had a little birthday last week and it  was decided that we (mum, me and two sisters) would go to Oxford to visit the Ashmolean Museum and in particular to see the  John Tradescant’s collection. We had a circuitous, but very pretty, journey there going past mum's old school and passing through some lovely countryside. Arriving just in time for lunch - we like to get our priorities right -  we went straight up to the roof terrace of the Ashmolean for a light lunch.

Gorgeous place to have lunch sitting outside in the May sunshine and they had the most amazing lights inside which I had to take a photo of ... made of feathers. We decided you would need A LOT of feathers to do this.

We then went and had a little mosey round the museum although just walking through the building is pretty impressive in itself.

Two of us sped through as we are wont to do and there were lots of interesting things to read and look at and we particularly liked the currency and money exhibit.

Truth be told I was a little disappointed when we got to the Tradescant collection as I expected it to be in cabinets. There was one cabinet but I think I prefer Anne's virtual cabinet really.

Too sunny outside to stay inside any longer we went for a walk around Oxford, taking in the sights.

We stumbled across a fabulous shop call Objects of Use. Heathen that I am dare I say I enjoyed looking at the objects in this shop more than the objects in the Museum?

We stopped to admire some Morris Dancers who were there in force as it was May Day and then wanting a cup of tea we wandered back to the Ashmolean. 

This turned out to be the highlight of my day. Sitting there waiting for our tea and who should walk in but Grayson Perry. Not wanting to turn round and be obvious about it Sister #2 asks where he is and will she be able to recognise him? Sister #1 and I reply "You'll know which one he is as he's the only one with a Little Bo Peep hat on". He looked amazing. Gorgeous, gorgeous blue and white patterned dress with petticoats underneath and blue sash, white ankle socks and white mary janes. He had a matching hat and dear little bag. No photo of him as I was just too embarrassed to take one properly but mum drew a sketch when she got home.

My highlights of our day out. Spending enjoyable hours in the car just chatting, the Ashmolean for its architecture  Oxford for the Objects of Use shop and seeing Grayson Perry's alter ego Claire.

What a great way to spend someone else's birthday!

The Birthday Girl

Monday, 22 April 2013

Father's Day Tokens

A new product from me for Father's Day this year, June 16th by the way, some Father's Day Tokens. Dads are notoriously difficult to buy for so these little tokens are an easy way to treat them to all the things they would like which luckily enough don't cost any money.

I know that Ed would like the Control of the TV Controls the best but we may just give him some of these token and inexplicably forget to put that one in the packet!

Friday, 19 April 2013

New Neighbours

We don't often get new neighbours in my part of the village so I wanted to make a good first impression but the 79p pansies I bought from the local hardware store (limited shops on my post office run) wrapped in a thin blue plastic bag didn't quite look right.

However, whip off the 79p stickers, put a bit of recycled tissue paper around them, wrap round some yellow bakers twine and add a Penguin Classics postcard and voilà a present fit for a new neighbour.

Always sad to say goodbye to neighbours who you've known for a long time and there is always the dread that someone you don't like might move in but am happy to report that on first meeting new neighbour seems lovely. Now all I have to do is arrange a little soiree*  {what is it with me and smatterings of French today} with the other neighbours.

* Don't worry I most definitely did not use the word soiree when I was talking to her I'm sure I said get together.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Thank You

As any reader of this blog will know my new products normally come from requests from those lovely notonthehighstreet customers. Well guess what .... here is another one!

There is a bit of a trend for wedding couples dressed in all their wedding finery to hold a bunting saying THANK YOU and then they can use the photo for  their thank you cards.

I've done a number of them through my Wedding Signage Bunting product (catchy product name NOT) and had numerous enquiries so I decided the time had come to give it its own dedicated product page.

So here we have it the THANK YOU bunting. Not just for weddings of course but any time you want to say thanks in a small, medium or large way!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Birthday Treats

It was my birthday last week and as a treat I had a day off for a little jaunt to London. I had booked tickets for the Park in Progress Tour and for some inexplicable reason I had booked a very early slot which meant we had to get up to London for 10am (silly me exorbitant rail fare and exorbitant train tickets ooops). I can only think that at the time I booked it was the only slot they had left. Anyway it's always good to start days out early isn't it?!?

We got there in good time and listened to Boris (on video sadly not real life) giving us a safety talk whilst we put on our high-vis jackets, which is always exciting.

Then we got on the bus and went off to the ArcelorMittal Orbit not the catchiest of names is it and to be totally honest I'm not a huge fan. I don't think it is that impressive especially next to the Olympic Stadium but who am I to judge. 

The viewing platforms are amazing though and I'm so pleased it was a clear sunny blue sky day because we really did get fantastic views.

We also got to see Kapoor's million pound distorting concave mirrors .... mmmm .... not too impressed by them either, I mean why would you want to view London upside down in a mirror when you can go and stand outside and see the real thing? It does mean you can take a self-portrait with Chris Hoy though which is fun!

Now I'm sounding a bit negative but I did enjoy it because it was one of the things we didn't get to do when we went to the Olympics and so I'm glad I've been up but I wouldn't rave about it. As for the Park in Progress tour well that was a bit of misrepresentation really because we didn't get to see much of the park. My advice is don't bother with the tour and just wait until they have actually finished doing whatever it is they are doing and it's not a building site any more.

As it was my birthday we then got to go shopping (whoppee). So off we went to Oxford Circus and a little visit to Liberty. Ahhhhh bliss. From the moment you walk in the door it is just amazing.

As a child I was taken to Liberty a lot {thank you Mum x} and I was really pleased that both the boys "got" Liberty and realised that this wasn't like your normal average store. They stood in awe looking upwards, ran their hands over the wooden frog on the staircase and wished they could buy a leather pig. Nostalgic for me, oh yes.

Obviously the things Liberty sells are beautiful but so is the styling and everywhere you looked there was something unexpected and delightful.

We were thrilled to find a RE concession there full of extraordinary things, I could buy it all.

But I just bought some poison glasses, as you do.

What is your poison

Two Liberty bags later we finally left with smiles on our faces and a comment from youngest asking if he could have one of the Liberty bags .... never has a mother been so proud of her son.

Quick lunch stop at Wagamamas, I needed to make sure the boys were sustained for the next bit, and then off to Anthropologie. I'm not sure how many years and how many trips to London have passed since I became aware of this shop but I had never managed to get there so it really was a birthday treat.

Another sensory delight full of amazing styling and gorgeous, gorgeous things to buy displayed so that you want everything. I succumbed to a floppy hat and a wooden postcard that is winging its way to Australia and so another bag with string handles to add to my collection.

Perfect day out and home to husband cooking dinner and something pink and fizzy cooling in the fridge. Yup definitely perfect.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


A little bit of a longer gap in blogging than I had anticipated but I've just had too much to do and not enough time to do it :-(

Let me start again by showing you the labours of a great day out I had a few weeks ago at a signwriting course with one of my sisters and mum. Mum had found the course and two of her daughters didn't need much persuading to go with her. The course was held at Assington Mill an amazing venue with Wayne Tanswell - Traditional Signwriter as tutor. Wayne had a very relaxed easy-going teaching style which meant that we didn't feel too intimidated by what we were about to try and complete, which was to end the day with our own hand painted sign.

We started off by just practicing the strokes needed which was actually very therapeutic and I could quite happily have done this all day.

Then we got to do our chosen word or words for real on a piece of wood for. As our house sign has bullet holes in it .... yes bullet holes. Oh alright I'll tell you why. The reason it has bullet holes is because my dear husband and one of our dear friends one night decided to set up tin cans on our gate and then preceded to kneel at our kitchen window shooting the tin cans off the gate with the air rifle. They are not very good shots and the gate and sign got peppered making it look like we have been subject to numerous drive by shootings. So back to the sign here is the chalked out lettering.

And here is the painted version.

And here is the final shadowed version.

Now although I put a lot of paint on the board the reason it looks so good and so perfect is sadly not because I am a natural at signwriting but because maybe Wayne came and touched it up just a little bit!

Everyone else produced amazing work too.

We had a great day out, delicious lunch and came home with a sign and a better understanding and insight into how difficult, but not actually that scary, traditional signwriting is. 

Friday, 15 February 2013

Onesie and an Apology

This is really a post for my god-daughter Abi. 

Abi, do you remember that onesie I bought you that you loved so much that you could hardly bear to take off at Christmas? You know the one that your youngest English cousins greeted with disdain? The one that they teased you about? The one they said was the most awful thing they had ever seen and why on earth did you wear it?

Well Abi it's funny how quickly opinions can change. 

A couple of weeks ago Oscar got his final skiing packing list and on it was the requirement for a onesie. They didn't have to have one but Oscar said he ought to and funnily enough Archie asked if he could have one too - how strange when they were so scornful?

So Abi let me share some photos with you. In this photo for some reason Archie is wearing a red curly wig and my spotty boots, I wonder if this is to distract from the green dinosaur suit he is wearing. You will also notice he's not too keen on having his photo taken and is in fact running away.

Which is funny because he wears it all the time so it is quite easy to photograph him although he has deleted some of the photos off my camera in a bid to stop me showing them to you. But as he wears it all the time, even on the trampoline, it was quite easy to get photographic evidence for you.

He doesn't just like it he absolutely loves it and is even going to wear it for a school assembly after half term. So how is that for a complete turnaround? I think they should both write or skype you a full apology because they think they are comfy and warm and snuggly and you were right and they were wrong.

Oscar has a monkey one ... with a tail ... ! He had some friends over the other night and the three of them all sat watching television with their onesies on (even I found this odd I must admit).

So on behalf of my sons Abi please take this as confirmation that you were right and if you would like to smuggly raise your eyebrows whilst murmuring "silly boy cousins" please feel free to do so. x

Thursday, 14 February 2013

No Parties Day????

I've had a very busy run up to Valentine's Day and have been rushed off my feet with orders for Love Tokens.

The prize for the one that made me laugh the most was a husband who gave his wife a token that was for housework .... to which he added underneath "to the required standard". Wise man, very wise man indeed.

A lot of the tokens have been far too rude to mention here and I've printed some off with eyes half closed thinking they should be sent in a plain brown envelope. My most stupid misread was one that I thought said No Parties and I wondered why anyone would give a token for No Parties. Mmmmmm try changing the R for an N and it will all become apparent. Bit draughty in February though don't you think? 

After sending out romantic order after romantic order do you think I will get anything from my beloved today? Nah doubt it, we don't go in for that sort of thing much.

Going out on Valentine's Day always feels a bit too forced for my liking, in much the same way as I always think that there is too much pressure to have a good time on New Years Eve. One of the best Valentine's Day nights we've had was a few years ago when a group of about twelve of us went out together. We were placed slap bang in the middle of the restaurant with couples all around us. Perhaps it was our raucous behaviour drowning out their sweet nothings but I swear they were all looking at us enviously wishing they had come with a group of friends too. Much more fun and we had a great night. No Couple PaRties is just about right I reckon.


I did get a Valentine's Day present, hush my mouth for not having faith that there is romance in our house. And it's on the right side of tasteful ....

Monday, 4 February 2013

Shocked? Me? Yes frequently!

It is that time of year when I like to get shocked by the notonthehighstreet customers and their choice of tokens. This year my Love Tokens seem to have a bit of Fifty Shades of Grey influence (more bondage) but I'm glad to see that 'having use of the controls' and the less risqué 'massage' are still very popular.

This year I've yet to have a truly shocking set of tokens, in fact so far there have probably been more "ahhhs" than "oooo my goodness" when I first look at the messages. Saying that I have still felt the need to make sure that these orders are done strictly during school hours though to prevent any awkward "what does that mean Mum?" conversations .... yes some of them are pretty graphic and quite rightly of an adult nature as they are Love Tokens. Perhaps I should rename them Luuuurve Tokens?

Another addition for Valentine's Day is my Heart Bunting - I hope you like its simple design. Can't imagine why I haven't done this before really as it goes so well with my Just Married and Just Engaged bunting.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Distant Memories of the Snow

Hard to believe that a week ago everywhere was still covered in snow.

And it was lovely snow, light fluffy and very white. It didn't seem to go horribly grey as it does sometimes but just remained beautiful and as it lasted so long I sort of got used to it. Waking up at the weekend to see it had all disappeared overnight was a bit weird.

It also didn't cause us too many problems as, although we live on a tiny country road, we happen to live near the farm where the local gritting lorry "lives" so it comes past our door and grits us a lovely safe path to the main road. This sort of snow I don't mind and seems preferable to the mud and floods we have again now grrrrrr.

The boys were very happy that they got one and half snow days and made full use of the days off playing in the snow. As it stayed around for a few days it was funny to see how quickly they became blasé and didn't bother rushing outside to play when they got home from school. It was pretty while it lasted but now I would like it to dry up and get more spring like please.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Oooo La La Bonne Année

A little bit late I know but Happy New Year anyway. 

A wonderful family Christmas followed by a little family adventure to Paris. Lots of laughing, talking, looking, eating and walking and all sorts of different fonts and lettering for me to admire. From the beautiful lettering at the catacombs, the dignified lettering at the Arc de Triomphe, the haphazard writing at the padlock bridge {yes I've forgotten the name but if you've been there you will know what I mean} and the design classic at the Paris Métro.


On the last day I bought some beautiful macaroons as a treat to bring home, oh and they did taste delicious. Pistachio, strawberry, hazlenut and rose and I can still recall the taste umm ummm ummmm. 

Not quite back to normal for us all yet as we still have a few days to spend with the Australian side of the family and a few more hugs, giggles and memories to fit in. I'll be back soon ... à bientôt ...