Monday 18 May 2015

This Weekend at the Duckpond

We have mostly been...

Day-tripping - to Salisbury, somewhere that's really not that far away (about an hour) but we just don't seem to visit it. Andrew wanted to spend his weekend painting and polishing his lorry (ready for Selwood Steam Rally in Wiltshire the following weekend) and we had a bit of spare leave from work so we had a day out and strolled around.

Salisbury cathedral

Knitting - a little something for a really good (elephant-loving) friend who's going through a bit of a challenging time at the moment. Hopefully it'll bring her some much needed luck over the next few weeks.

Knitted elephant

Wrapping - up a little gift for my cousin who had a gorgeous baby girl a few weeks ago. We didn't want to get anything that would be too much like clutter so we picked a blanket and some dribble bibs plus a £10 Boots voucher (which could be used for baby or parent) and also three bars of Galaxy as a 'well done' present for the worn-out mum!

Baby presents

Baby presents

Realising - that I've well and truly stuffed up Blog Every Day in May this year round. It's been a bit busy over the last couple of weeks and I've been knackered - ah well, there's always next year!

What did you get up to at the weekend?

Monday 11 May 2015

This Weekend at the Duckpond

We have mostly been...

Travelling - over to Pinkneys Green near Maidenhead to visit Carters Steam Fair. Even though they travel around the south of England and we visit them in other places, this weekend they're joined by extra steam engines and it's a lovely day out plus a chance to catch up with various people.

Sunset at Carters Steam Fair

Munching - on the usual fairground fodder - donuts!

Donuts at the fairground

Treating - ourselves to the ultimate accessory to any long car journey, a pack of M&S Percy Pigs!

Percy Pigs

What did you get up to at the weekend?

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Here Is The News #42 (#BEDM Day 6)

Here is the News

Blogland Brilliance

Shazza visited Skipton Waterway Festival (and I'm just a little bit jealous of her jammie dodger milkshake drink - at least I think it's a milkshake!)

Kerri's take on last month's photo an hour challenge is well, typically Kerri - very clever and very funny.

Zoe showed everyone how to make a quick and simple bird feeder.

I love Elise's sheep hat - I reckon Shaun would be chuffed to be immortalised that way!

Chloe visited York's Chocolate Story and got the chance to make her own chocolate lollies (plus her hot chocolate looks delicious!)

And possibly the best post of the week, Danielle's shots of Jemima Puddleduck and her brood - I mean, who can resist stunning shots of fluffy little ducklings?

Interesting Info

A very British story methinks - one man has morris-danced his way from London to Norwich, recreating a journey undertaken by Shakespeare's clown in 1600.

This circus couple had their marriage ceremony on high wires 80ft in the air above Wookey Hole Gorge. There's a short video of the ceremony which you should watch - it's lovely!

What's new with you?

(This post is day 6 of Rosalilium's Blog Every Day in May challenge - after sticking to the topics for the last couple of years, this year I'm going off piste)

Tuesday 5 May 2015

This (Long) Weekend at the Duckpond (#BEDM Day 5)

We have mostly been...

Being - pretty lazy really, with just a bit of gardening and housework done in amongst listening to podcasts and watching some TV programmes.

Spotting - that the apple tree in our back garden (which Andrew gave a serious chop last year) is blossoming very nicely.

Apple blossom

Sorting - out my shoe collection which (rather embarrassingly) amounted to 60 pairs. I really didn't realise I owned quite that many. After breaking my ankle last year though, one thing I can't do now is wear high heels so after eliminating those ones and a few others, I managed to whittle it down to 47 pairs - which is still an obscene amount to own, I know.

Shoe collection

What did you get up to over the bank holiday weekend?
(This post is day 5 of Rosalilium's Blog Every Day in May challenge - after sticking to the topics for the last couple of years, this year I'm going off piste)

Monday 4 May 2015

7 Awesome Things to do in Anglesey (#BEDM Day 4)

Anglesey is somewhere I've been every Easter since 1987. My parents started going on holiday to Trearrdur Bay (in the far west corner of the island) over the school holiday and when I picked  up with Andrew in 2004, I told him one thing that wasn't up for discussion was a holiday to Ynys Mon each year.

I told him when I took him up there for the first time, that it was always sunny and he laughed at me, rolling his eyes and muttering "rose-tinted glasses". 10 years on though, he has admitted, I was right!

So if you're ever in that corner of North West Wales, here's seven ideas for things to do:

1. Sit wrapped in a snuggly blanket munching chips at The Harbourfront Bistro in Holyhead.

Chips at the Harbourfront Bistro, Holyhead, Anglesey

View from the Harbourfront Bistro, Holyhead, Anglesey

2. Get lost in and around Penrhos Coastal Park.

Penrhos Coastal Park, Anglesey

Ducks at Penrhos Coastal Park, Anglesey

3. Not for the faint-hearted but go and park at Llanfair-yn-neubwll (a Wednesday or Thursday is best) and watch the trainee pilots learn to take-off, fly and land Hawks right over your heads.

Hawks flying at RAF Valley, Anglesey

Hawks at RAF Valley, Anglesey

4. Bask in the sun on Holyhead promenade and watch the ferries going off to the Emerald Isle.

Holyhead Promenade, Anglesey

Holyhead Promenade, Anglesey

5. Go to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, stand on the station, try and pronounce the name and then realise how much entertainment you must be providing for all the locals.

The railway line at Llanfair PG, Anglesey

The railway line at Llanfair PG, Anglesey

(learning how to say LlanfairPG was on my 33 before 33 list - if my dad (who's Welsh) saw this, I daresay he'd be in fits of laughter, not just at the pronunciation, but also how Somerset I sound at the end!) 

6. Watch the sun go down in Trearrdur Bay.

Trearrdur Bay, Anglesey

Trearrdur Bay, Anglesey

7. Visit the Canolfan Ucheldre Centre (the local arts centre based in a church), see a film if there's something good on and/or grab a cuppa and a cake from the Ucheldre Kitchen (and also, marvel at the range of novelty tea pots they have!)

Ucheldre Kitchen, Holyhead, Anglesey

Ucheldre Kitchen, Holyhead, Anglesey

Ucheldre Kitchen, Holyhead, Anglesey

Ucheldre Centre, Holyhead, Anglesey

Ucheldre Kitchen, Holyhead, Anglesey

And if anyone knows where I can buy a novelty duck teapot, let me know! :-)
(This post is day 4 of Rosalilium's Blog Every Day in May challenge - after sticking to the topics for the last couple of years, this year I'm going off piste)

Sunday 3 May 2015

An A-Z of Me - V (#BEDM Day 3)


Vintage - Like a large proportion of bloggers, I have a fondness for anything old, retro or vintage. Not just the clothes and homeware but also things like seaside architecture, fairground rides and old vehicles (although that's probably more Andrew's thing than mine). I'd particularly like an old showman's caravan or shepherd's hut to tow behind his lorry at steam rallies but I think that'd take rather a lot of looking after! (also, the book in the picture is probably the oldest thing we own, it dates back to 1865)

Vaseline - I can pretty much guarantee that I will always have a pot of Vaseline somewhere in my handbag or nearby. It's about the only beauty product that I couldn't live without!

What 'V' things sum you up?

For the rest of the alphabet click here!

(This post is day 3 of Rosalilium's Blog Every Day in May challenge - after sticking to the topics for the last couple of years, this year I'm going off piste!)

Saturday 2 May 2015

A Charity Shop Trail - Bath City Centre (#BEDM Day 2)

I overheard a conversation last summer when I was in Weston Super Mare mooching round the charity shops - one lady said to the shop assistant in a slightly out of town (but still within walking distance) charity shop, "ooh I didn't know this one was here". Shop Assistant replied, "oh yes, there's quite a lot of charity shops in town in different places". Lady commented, "you know, someone really ought to produce a leaflet telling you where they all are".
Well I can't do the leaflet but I can share my knowledge of where charity shops are in certain towns. One of the things I like most when I visit somewhere new is to search them all out and it's a terrible habit but I do tend to judge how good a place is based on how many they have (and also what type). There's quite a few towns across the UK which I've visited so often that I've paced a well-worn trail around the streets and if I can make it a circular tour of the town, even better.

So, first up - Bath city centre (and if I've managed to create the map properly, you should be able to click on the markers and hopefully they should show more info)
Date of visit: March 2015
Amount of charity shops: 14

1. Disabled in Need and South West Holidays for the Disabled
A new little one that seems to have just popped up, occupying the former MINT vintage shop on Manvers Street. Lots of things to rummage around in and fairly cheap prices with a shop assistant who'll happily chat away to you while you're browsing.

2. Dorothy House Hospice Care
A medium sized shop in the main shopping area of the centre, just round the corner from Abbey Green and opposite the side entrance to Marks and Spencer. It's a little bit narrow in places but everything's well organised and decently priced.

3. Cancer Research Campaign
Quite a large shop on Westgate Street near Komedia but a bit hit and miss with the prices occasionally. Most of the times I've been in, it's been rather busy but you certainly get to overhear some interesting conversations (bringing back hanging anyone?)

4. Mercy in Action (aka The Charity Shop)
I didn't actually get to go into this one as the Saturday morning I was exploring, they were shut at 10am. It's a short walk from the train station across the River Avon if you fancy visiting.

5. Oxfam Books and Music
Tucked away near to the Chapel Arts Centre on Lower Borough Walls, you could easily spend hours in here browsing! Lots of books, lots of records and a range of prices depending on what you're looking at.

6. Oxfam
Just across Pulteney Bridge and occupying two floors, whenever I've visited it seems to be a good source of slightly more upmarket clothes - obviously the prices reflect this but it's worth a browse to see what gems you might find.

7. Dorothy House Hospice Care
Only a couple of doors away from the Oxfam shop above, again this branch seems to have a more posh range of clothes but like with all charity shops, you never know what you might find!

8. Save the Children
The first one you come to when walking up Walcot Street, it's a bit hidden away but has a good range of stuff all at fairly decent prices.

9. Julian House
Further up Walcot Street is another branch of Julian House and this one is quite a large shop. It goes quite far back inside with good displays (they clearly have a very good windowdresser) and a vintage rail hidden at the back. Lots of houseware bits and bobs and a lot of vintage childrens books that I spent far too long looking through.

10. Bath Women's Refuge Shop
A very small shop on the corner of Walcot Street and Chatham Row, it's packed with stuff but some of clothes are in need of a bit of TLC. Cheap prices though (books at 50p and dresses at £3 for example) and if you like a good rummage and don't mind a bit of mending, it would be worth a visit.

11. Dorothy House Hospice Care
This one's on Broad Street and was very busy the last time I visited. Lots of clothes, books and bric and brac though.

12. British Heart Foundation
Found on Green Street, right next to (the very posh) Milsom Street, it's got the usual range of clothes and homewares - some well-priced, some slightly overpriced, much like most other BHF shops.

13. Shaw Trust
Another shop that appeared to be closed, this time on a Saturday afternoon but from what I can remember the last time I was there, it had a good range of clothes and the prices were quite good too.

14.  Oxfam Boutique
Right on the corner of George Street and Gay Street, it's actually an Oxfam Boutique with a mixture of normal items and redesigned or altered items of clothing. There seemed to be a lot of space on the shelves when I was there and although I liked seeing how clothes had been changed, sadly there was nothing I liked enough to buy. If you're going past it anyway though, it's probably worth a peek in.

So there you have it. There's several more charity shops in and around the outskirts of the centre but they're all a bit far to walk really. Hopefully the map should work and feel free to use it however you want if you're a charity shop aficionado planning a trip to the city. Also, it goes without saying but all the info was correct as of March; obviously if you're reading this several months or years in the future, please be aware things may have changed (although if I spot one that's closed or a new one, I'll update the map as and when).
(This post is day 2 of Rosalilium's Blog Every Day in May challenge - after sticking to the topics for the last couple of years, this year I'm going off piste!)

Friday 1 May 2015

Glass Blowing with Bath Aqua Glass (#BEDM Day 1)

Back in March me and Andrew joined a group of people from our workplace to have a go at blowing our own glass baubles (I was so tempted to write 'trumpets' there). Bath Aqua Glass as a company was started almost 20 years ago but glassblowing itself has been around for about 2000 years and the technique hasn't changed much since then.

Bath Aqua Glass
Bath Aqua Glass

Bath Aqua Glass stained glass window

Bath Aqua Glass

Bath Aqua Glass

Bath Aqua Glass

Bath Aqua Glass have a main shop right next to the Abbey in the centre of town but the workshop is a little walk away on Walcot Street. At set times during the day (and for a small fee) you can watch the glass production or see a glassblowing demonstration and for £12.50 you can blow your own and take it home.

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing

We went along on a Saturday afternoon where we were shown into the viewing area of the workshop and listened to a short interactive talk all about how it's done. There was plenty of time to ask questions during the demonstration and it was quite fascinating to see the glass being moulded and shaped in front of you.

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing

Then came the blowing bit! All the glass had copper oxide added to it to produce the traditional blue colour and we had to choose which colour or colours we wanted added as a pattern. Firstly they took a blowpipe and warmed it, then took a ball of molten glass from the crucible (basically the liquid glass in the furnace) and because the blowpipe is already warmed, the molten glass sticks to it.

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing

Then the blob of glass was rolled in coloured powder crystal thingies and manipulated into the beginnings of a ball. Next up was our bit, blowing into the pipe whilst the glassblower was turning it at the same time so it formed a nice round inflated bauble shape.

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing

Then it was passed to another crafty glassblower to chop the bauble from the pipe, add a spot of hot glass to the top to make into a loop, use a blowtorch to cement the bond between the loop and the bauble and then pop it in another furnace to cool down in a controlled way (so it wouldn't shatter). So quite a complicated process! 

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing

I went with a purple colour and Andrew plumped for red - and here's the finished products...

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing  
Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing

We're planning on hanging on them on the Christmas tree!
(This post is day 1 of Rosalilium's Blog Every Day in May challenge - after sticking to the topics for the last couple of years, this year I'm going off piste!)
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