Friday, 29 May 2015

BEDM - Day 29 "Passion Projects"

The one thing we have really got into this years is birds.
(The winged variety!) 
So cute!
A big baby blue tit caught my eye today, as I was washing up, just sitting on the edge of the cold frame lid.
They haven't nested in our garden that I am aware of but we have the little tits nesting in the hole in the wall again.
I've lost my bird book at the moment, but there are 3 types of tit, I think, and this one is other larger variety. Great tit? Coal tit and blue tit isn't it? Will have to have a little Google.
Talking about Google, my picture from yesterday, was a Google Doodle for my birthday. I didn't know they did that.
Have you had a birthday Google Doodle?

Thursday, 28 May 2015

BEDM - Day 28 "?"

Can you guess what today is?

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

BEDM - Day 27 "Hometown"

 I've really fallen off the wagon with this BEDM malarkey.
So, in an effort to at least do a blog post, I created these collages of my garden. is where I live!
cherries, pears, raspberries & strawberries in there somewhere
My home town does have these though!
Concrete shoes! Well, Northampton is the 'shoe town'!
And it's the home of 'The Saints' Rugby Club, who do lovely firework displays, that I can watch from my back door.
we also have 'Castle Carlsberg'
I don't use pesticides, but having seen what some frickin' slug has done to one of my 2 lupins, I could be very tempted to start!
I hope he had a really bad stomach ache after that meal!
 Oh, and we have the 'Northampton Lighthouse'.
It used to be a testing building for Express Lifts. At Christmas it has a tree made out of coloured lights on top, which, again, I can see from the back door.
If you ever come to visit my home town be sure to let me know!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

BEDM - Day 21 "Collaboration"

Today I am collaborating with Kezzie over at Kezzie AG. She suggested that we ask each other questions. My idea, from Mr B, was that we did some sort of Skype-y video thingy of her teaching me Chopsticks! Not enough time for us to figure it out for today; but the future? Hey, you never know!
I called my questions to her " KezzieQuest". Any questions, from anybody, directed to me are called "Interrogation"!
So let the interrogation begin...
1.  What was the finest or your favourite hat you ever made and why?
I rather liked one I made for a ladies' second wedding. She was a 'mature lady' and my friend was doing her suit, in scarlet silk with a sort of lime green piping. It sorta sounds garish, but it was very smart. The hat she wanted was, so I was told, like the one that Jamie Curtis wore in "A Fish Called Wanda", which I hadn't seen.

We didn't have access in those days like we all take for granted nowadays, so I sussed she meant a Jackie O-type pillbox with a big bow on the back.
All in the red silk and piped in green. Even the big, puffy bow. I think it looked fab. Sadly, no photo but I know she also wore it to Glorious Goodwood, so she must've liked it too!
2. Who was your favourite teacher or lecturer through life and what difference did they make or how did they inspire you?
This was tough. I narrowed it down to 3. In reverse order, Gordon, who I worked with at Festival Ballet. Generous to many of us with his knowledge and spirit. He went on to work lecturing costume in Hong Kong and it broke my heart to find out that he had been stabbed to death in his own flat with his cutting out scissors. Second, Mr Hathaway from Junior School. Just brilliant in all respects. Our big Summer Term project with him was building a Saxon Hut and a Charcoal Burners Hut in a corner of the school playing fields.
But in first place, the wonderful Mr Little. Also in Junior School, the year before Mr Hathaway and the designer of LOBNIC - Little's Own Binary Numbers Instant Calculator, or words to that effect. He also helped teach us French by playing Bingo in French...'Maison!'. Well, we were only about 9 years old at the time!
3. If you could design a new crisp flavour, what would yours be?
I'm wondering about cheese and pineapple?
When I was younger, before the choice there is now, someone taught me about putting Worcestershire Sauce into a bag of ready salted and giving it a good shake.
4. What was your most embarrassing work experience ever?
Calling Chantal, Princess von Ernst of Hanover 'Mrs Hanover' when filling in an order form for her at Catherine's!
"Mrs Hanover" probably wearing something not from Chelsea Design Co
I only found out when I came to do the banking and logged her cheque in for items she had bought  from the women's wear boutique. ( I had been working in the children's shop.) In my defence, the form was one of those pre-printed ones with Mr/Mrs/Miss on, so at least I didn't put Mr! For another good boobie, again at Catherine's, read this!
5.  What led you to follow the career you followed?
I went to design college not knowing what I wanted to do. I had tried really hard to get an apprenticeship as a farrier, whilst still at school, with no joy. I did the Foundation Course and didn't want to do a degree so it was a toss up to either do Theatre Design & TV Crafts or Product Design, purely on the basis of wanting to be able to use the amazing workshops that were available. I plumped for theatre because I could sew. One of my tutors was Head of Millinery at The Royal Opera house; we hit it off and I had a flair for hat making.
I pushed myself out there in what was due to be my last year at college, and was offered a job with Freddie Fox, with college agreeing to me doing one day a week with FF in my final term and then go into a full time job.
Then I got glandular fever big time. My mum thought I had luekemia I was that unwell. So everything went a bit tits up! When I finally finished my course and moved to London I was lucky enough to get work as Wardrobe Mistress for visiting companies to Sadler's Wells, for Dance Umbrella. The theatre was also home for Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet, (aka BRB now), and eventually moved permanently to the Making Wardrobe, as opposed to Touring Wardrobe, for them.
Was head-hunted by Gordie at LFB.

Me & Gordie were working hard in Granada
Then I moved to work with a friends' mother, who made bridal wear in Chelsea which was hellish and then went to Catherine's.
Fast forward to us living in Southsea, where I set up as freelance maker and then eventually re-training in Business Administration and then working as a technical librarian for an engineering company that carried out work for British Aerospace amongst others.
I loved it.
Sadly, my clinical depression started and I was ultimately made redundant, which didn't help.
I now am termed 'a homemaker' or what I call Mr B's PA!!
6.  If you were offered some sort of blog opportunity, what would your ideal one be?
No idea.
Maybe something for large ladies or something for mental health or something for large ladies with mental health issues!
7. Where was your most exciting holiday ever?
I'm not well-travelled at all, but I did go on tour with Mr B to Switzerland. We stayed at the amazing Lausanne Palace Hotel and also spent time in the most amazing theatre in Basel.
Where we ate breakfast at the Lausanne Palace, with a view of Lake Geneva
I'm tempted to say I don't do 'exciting' but I am doing something exciting at the end of June.
If I can get out of the house, which nearly tripping myself up just going to the bakers this lunchtime, I wonder if I'll manage it! It's just the stress I think that makes me lose balance; I must look drunk if you are walking behind me!
8. What is your most favourite item in your wardrobe?
Depends what for. Generally trousers and if at home all day, then comfy.
Can't think of one extra special item though.
Will have a think on that one!
9.  Share your most shocking deed as a child (if you dare!??!!)

When I was away at school, aged 12, a whole load of us went into the field next to the tennis courts and 'fought' with the local boys.

We got sent to bed early, (I mean about 6 o'clock early), with no supper, just bread and water. I can't remember her exact words, but Mardi, the headmistress, was really, really not pleased with me!
10. What are the things you miss most about being a child.
Brent Cottage, where I grew up. It was idyllic. And a lack of fear. I was always wary, but it's the fact you don't take in the huge enormity of stuff when you're a kid, do you?
11. Tell me your favourite word and why?
Tabby. Yes, I know, my cats' name. But we would, and still do, sing what we call The Tabby Cat Song aka the SATC theme tune with Tab Tab Tab as the words. Or The Big Bang Theory with Tab, Tab Tab, it all started with a tabby cat! CAT!! Try it, it's catchy!

Phew! If you're still reading, I take my hat off to you! (ha ha).
Thank you, Kezzie, it's been a blast!
Now, about Chopsticks...........

Monday, 18 May 2015

BEDM - Day 18 "Newsflash!"

Mr B has just Skyped me from Truro.

The digs where he is staying is the third chimney along the row of houses, just visible behind the trees on the left.
The cathedral is behind where this is filmed from.
It is a beautiful place; if you ever get a chance to visit, grab it with both hands!

Friday, 15 May 2015

BEDM - Day 14 and Day 15 "Fashion/Style/Photography" Cheating Combo

I am not having a good week, but I know it will improve!
Can't get any impetus to blog, even with BEDM giving me a topic to write about. I feel really depressed, which is unusual for me. I may have been diagnosed as clinically depressed, but for the most part, I don't go around 'feeling' it! It's all the other cr*p associated with it, that messes me up!
So, I'm cheating and combining a Polaroid of me taken by Chris Roberts, who took the cover photographs of Sade for her album 'Diamond Life'.
Sade must be one of the most stylish ladies. Just search for her on the Internet and you'll see what I mean. Classy, timeless. Sings pretty well too!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

BEDM - Day 13 "Top Tips"

My recipe post is on its' way, post written, just need to find the actual recipe! I've made it that often that I just 'throw' stuff in, but for a first timer, it might help to have measurements.
(It's that old it'll be in ounces tho').
So, a couple of tips from me...
The first one is if you have sluggish plugholes use old coffee grains. Pour the used grains down the plughole, followed with some liquid soap and then pour down some very hot water. Bingo! I've only recently tried this out in the bath and after a couple of 'doses' the water is draining away so much better.
The second one will probably make you go "Eurgh!", but it does work; I know as it was used on me.
Years ago I was having my hair dyed black in a salon in Southampton by a student. She managed to get dye all over the sides of my face(!). They used the salon dye remover but it didn't budge it. They called the boss, as she was on her day off, and she told them to collect cigarette ash.
But gently rubbing it into the dyed areas with cotton wool did remove it.
Probably not good around the eyes, nose or mouth, but jolly good on the cheekbones!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

BEDM - Day 10 "Wishlist"

Rene's wish list is...
a room that we can't go in, but she can
rotisserie chicken at any given moment
a nice comfy bed with duvets, throws and cushions that she doesn't have to share with us
(even tho' she gets our bed to herself for most of the day!)
I couldn't really decide on a list for me; but that was then and, as I am behind with this post, and this is now, well...
Having had smoke and a vile smell coming from my washing machine this morning, I am putting that in very big letters at the top of my list!
Thinking about this Hotpoint washer/dryer.
Never owned a washer/dryer, well, never actually had a tumble dryer. Used them in work, but do think they can wear out your clothes much quicker, but, I live in the UK and we do have a lot of wet weather!
Anyone got any views, news or reviews?

BEDM Day 11 "Walk To Work"

If I don't add this now, I will never get back on track!

It isn't a grape ivy, it is a grape vine.
It isn't a fountain, tho' there is a fountain later on. It is a birdbath.
It is an anemone de Caen, but my French pronunciation is beyond dodgy!
Sorry about the close up of my thighs. And my cough. And my sigh.
But do enjoy Dawnies' ice cream van tune, the fountain burbles, birdsong and the buzzing bee at the end.
You will never get this 5 minutes back, you know!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

BEDM - Day 9 "Secret Talent"

 A little 'Art Therapy' project that I took upon myself to carry out.
Made with bits and pieces found around the home, years ago, I thought I'd make a fly screen curtain for the back door. The nylon cord came from a kite that my dad made me when I was about 9. The kite got trashed almost on its' first outing, but its' line was on a wooden kite reel that dad had made as well and that got kept...because one day, 'it would come in handy'. The brown plastic spacers I cut from the outer casing from copper wire that I had stripped out, (and probably had used for something else!). The leaves were stripped off fake rose stems used to make the bouquets that were handed out to Roxy and Velma in the original London production of Chicago.
Nothing goes to waste in this household!!!

I was just going to blog about my sewing and millinery, but Mr B said to use these two different items.
So, my second piece is a watercolour, again, done many years ago. I nearly always pack my tiny watercolour paints tin, boards and a pencil when I go away. But this has been the only time I have ever really done anything with them.
I used my make-up brushes to actually paint with! 
And the real view...

Friday, 8 May 2015

BEDM - Day 8 "A Day In The Life"

Woke up!
Always a good start!
Bed with a view - wardrobes, window, make-up drawers and a Rene cat.

Not the news I had hoped for, for my town. This is the man that OK'd the brand new Bus Station that cannot cope with all the buses which means people have to stand out on the road in all weathers to catch their bus. Also the new Rail Station with lots of nasty, steep, concrete steps at its' entrance and a single lift. Not exactly good disabled access for the 21st century.
Loathsome dollop. 

BBC iPlayer link
Watched a little bit of this BBC4 programme and can't wait to see it all. Two hours of real-time footage on a canal boat travelling on the Kennet and Avon Canal; so no doubt some stunning scenery and views of Bath to come. Lovely.
Jigzone link
This could also be under the guilty pleasure banner. My daily fix of Jigzone. A different picture every day and a choice of how may pieces, so good for all ages. I tend to go for 184 which takes me a little less than 15 minutes. A nice little break with a cup of coffee.
The whole afternoon was spent pricking out and potting on seedlings. I did it in the kitchen, nipping in and out between showers. This wet weather has brought out loads of slugs, nasty little bu**ers! I thought birds ate the yucky things, but for all our menagerie of birdies, they don't seem to be doing a very good job.
The robins fledged a couple of days ago. Sadly we found one that didn't make it under the bench. We think it was the 'interloper' cat that we had just chased out of the garden. But 2 out of 3 is good. We also found an adult blue tit the other day, which was sad, but there seems to be much to-ing and fro-ing to the hole in the wall above loo window, so hopefully that family will fly off safely when the time comes. Don't know quite what happened to the blackbirds' nest in the honeysuckle. There was a couple of babies and the next time I looked the nest just seemed to have fallen apart! But, again, they seem to be keeping close to 'home'.
They didn't half work hard to bring up their little ones
It's about 7:30, Corrie is about to come on and I'm waiting for Mr B to come home from work. He's bringing in dinner from M&, chips and peas, so that won't take long to cook. Or eat. We'll plonk ourselves down for the ballet portion of BBC Young Dancer of the Year at 8. We know 2 of the 3 judges, Kenny and Dominic, so that'll be a bit of a giggle. The dancers have been fabulous to watch. Last week was the Asian section and they were fantastic.
A bit of TV news at 10. We still don't know how our local elections went. Northampton had a power cut just as they had started doing the counting, so they were going to start again at 6:30. Let's hope they do a better job than the last lot, even if it's the same party, as he is now our MP. And they wonder why our town never gets 'City Status'.
Roll on Saturday and the weekend!
Have a good one!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

BEDM - Day 7 "Home Sweet Home"

Books, stuff and more stuff makes my home sweet.
Probably too much 'stuff'!
Mr B stayed in digs in Edinburgh earlier this year. It was a family home with some amazing artefacts.
Whilst having a chat with the owner, he mentioned that we have more things than we really have the room for and the overflow is kept in storage.
"We rotate things" to which the owner said "Like the British Museum, you have seasons."
Those who've followed for a while may remember a couple of years back when our flat was "refurbished".
Belongings were packed up and stored for several weeks.
The family house down the road had two crates worth.
Yep! We needed FIVE of these wooden crates
We had five!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

BEDM - Day 6 "Share The Blog Love"

I have a reading list with my favourites in, in the sidebar on the right.
I'd say take your pick. They're all good!
Or, for something a bit different, check out the same post a year ago, here, for the original bloggers that got me started. Narrowboating bloggers have a lot to answer for!

But if you only ever read one more post, make it this one, "Legs Akimbo LIL - the PAP test Queen...."   from MOB (menopausal old bag). She hasn't blogged for years but all her posts are brilliantly written, funny, (apart from the one about the passing of her kitty), and in the case of this one, a little bit 'vulgar'.
Be warned!

But do read!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

BEDM - Day 5 "Cinco de Mayo"

Rene in a sombrero
I'm afraid to say all things 'Mexicana' really don't come into my sightline! We enjoy Chiquitos when we're in Salford, but I tend to eat steak, nothing spicy.
Oh, and cocktails, of course!
This next picture was taken when we lived in Southsea, when we would visit the Southsea Show held on the common.
They had a most wonderful Floral Tent, our very own 'Southsea Chelsea' so to speak.
There were all sorts of displays - these cacti, sweet peas, (my fave), professional growers, WI groups, kiddies mini gardens, (I loved doing those at school).
 And a tea room!

Monday, 4 May 2015

BEDM - Day 4 "Guilty Pleasure"

This pleasure was 'made' guilty by a family friend.
I wore my red leather trousers home for the first time and a family friend, Lois, was visiting. She was determined to find out how much I had paid for them and, in front of my mum and dad, kept pestering until I gave up and said they were eighty pounds.
I'd been working for a while at The Wells and had seen these in a store up Chapel Street Market and, once tried on, they had to be mine. They fitted like a dream and they wore and wore and wore. Even when they got ripped on the train down to Plymouth, they got stitched up and worn some more.
With red leather boots in the cold and my Arnie Zane cut-off T-shirt in the summer.
The year was 1987 and I loved those jeans like, well, a second skin.
But that chat at my parents - oh my, my dad, he very nearly went ballistic!
Guilt? Oh yeah!
Then I just got on with enjoying them.
These 2 photos were taken by Mr B on a trip over to The Isle of Dogs, an area now more commonly known as Canary  Wharf.
We had travelled over by bus to visit the Limehouse TV studios; it was one of those 'mecca'-type places that we aspired to work at, at the time. It was still East India Docks then and they had just built the Docklands Light Railway, which was running on the track with no-one driving or travelling on it. Weird!
Canary Wharf is just to the left and the white 'blob' top right is the Blackwell Tunnel ventilation shaft.
It is quite shattering to see the developmental changes. What was not much more than scrubland and disused docks, is now what it is today.
The O2 is just out of the Google Map screenshot above, on the right.
This was one of our 'days out' trips that we would do when we first started dating.
Today is our 28th Anniversary!!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

BEDM - Day 3 "Self Care Sunday"

Having woken up this morning with yesterdays' make-up still on, well, I'd guess I'd suggest taking off your make-up before going to bed as a good step to looking after ones-self!
To be fair though, most of it was Laura Gellar stuff which is a mineral make-up and therefore not too awful to have left on.

A gentle walk through the park to Aldi was up-lifting for the soul and spirit as we were in the sunshine and missed all the rain.
I have a stash of daily meds to take to keep me 'healthy'. Two lots for high blood pressure, which is all over the place at the moment(!), anti-histamine, anti-depressant and something for my overactive bladder.
I'm think crystals are a positive force. How? Not really sure but they've been good for me. Regular heavy-duty massage for my neck/spine because of scoliosis. I quite fancy taking up Pilates, which is a fantastic thing. Working in a dance environment I was introduced to it donkeys years ago and, with hindsight, wish I'd pursued it.
Having been in a really rather horrible dark place with clinical depression my self care has left a lot to be desired. I don't think anyone has ever sat next to me and thought "She smells", but daily ablutions really didn't figure in my day, (not very much did), and even now it is something I have to consciously think about as opposed to doing it on 'auto-pilot', if that makes sense.
Even now it is a struggle to clean my teeth even daily, let alone twice a day! Thank goodness I have strong teeth and a caring dentist!
My garden has quite seriously been a life-saver and I would say grow something, wherever you live. The garden isn't very big but I cram a lot in and the excitement when, like today, my broad beans began to show...WOW!!
Then you get the good thing of eating fresh produce, which really is just the best.
And there's the thing - just do the best that you can do.
YOU deserve it!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

BEDM - Day 2 "Adventure"

I have to admit I am not much of an adventurer, in the going-off-and-travelling sense.
In fact, when an anxiety attack kicks in, it's a bit of an adventure even getting out of the front door! 

picture from motorbase

An adventure from way back, when I was at school; I has just started to take driving lessons and school had started a 'pre-driving class'.
Part of this class involved going to the Race Circuit at Goodwood, for classroom lessons and then a chance to actually drive around the track itself. The car I drove was an Inca yellow mini and we all screeched as I drove it through its' first 100 miles on the clock! As I had my Provisional Licence I was also able to drive around the Goodwood Estate are which was beautiful. 
picture credit

Friday, 1 May 2015

BEDM - Day 1 "A Sense of Purpose"

Well hello to the world of Pennyblossoms!
I think that BEDM has come just at a good time, (yeah, like, um, the beginning of May?).
I ground to a halt after loosing Tabby and just retreated into my shell. Either that or I was just being a grumpy git!
Think it might be time to invest in some new glasses!
What else can you do with 2 Flake Ice Cream cone plastic tops?
(Answers on a postcard please)
Me...grumpy git?
For those who don't know me or need a re-cap, I'm Zoe, not actually 'Penny' but called this blog after a storyline in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, a show I love so much that when I watch it on E4 I'll watch it again on E4+1. I am getting scarily word perfect on some of the episodes!
I have a long-suffering partner, who is known as Mr B on this site, because one blogger commented about 'Mr Blossom'. He isn't, but the name serves a purpose.
Pucker Up on the 1st May
Mwahh to Mr B
I said out loud to him "Ah, yes...Pennyblossoms; I'm fat and 50, that's my introduction", to which he replied "Not fat, fabulous". That sounds a lot more positive, but I am very overweight, due in part to laziness, mental health issues and medication (probably).
But a lot better than when I started this blog at the end of May 2009.
And actually I'm nearly 55!

Pucker Up

link here