Wednesday, 13 September 2017

These boots aren't made for walking...and other bargains

I realised I haven't done a bargains post for ages, around two months I think, so here are a few things I've picked up since June.

The latest bargain were these unbranded leather boots, really well made and high, I'm sure I won't be going far in them but they will come in handy as a smart wardrobe staple.

Found in a charity shop £1 bargain bin.  Go on, tell me the last time you found a pair of hardly worn leather boots for a pound!

Found these boots on ebay and forgot I was watching them. The listing ended with no sale and they were relisted again. The photos were dreadful but I could see there was hardly any wear on the heels so took a chance and bid. I won as no-one else bothered.

100% leather and suede.  They are in superb condition and are Clarks, total paid was £14.44 I think.

Next item was a skirt I found today, the brand is Mantaray and it looks unworn, thick printed jersey cotton with deep elastic waist.

Found this fab t shirt a week ago, good quality and I love the print.

Paid £1.50 and it's a perfect fit!

Treated myself to a few Gringo tops in their sale, they only had M/L left so I took a chance and one is a perfect fit the other a little loose.

The black one is the perfect fit, and cost £12.99 

This one is a little baggy but the design is gorgeous and repeated on the back in negative, £15.49. I also bought a tunic dress which was a bargain at £10.99 but it's too long for me so I will take it up.

I also found this top on ebay with best offer on, it's an Orla Kiely design and I love it. I offered £5 plus postage and the top was mine!

Love the close up of the little cars

Back to August and I found this M&S Magenta top for 50p

Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the sleeve of this Orla Kiely top peeping out of a rail of clothing in an expensive chazza I like looking round.

At £2.99 the price wasn't bad either.

Just goes to show, those expensive shops are worth looking around.

Another M&S top, this one was £2.25

It's really nice but when I put it on OH said "haven't you got one like that already?"

Mmm, it does resemble a couple of other tops I have, we'll see which ones stay the distance.

Lastly a few items from June

 Pac a mac for £1.50, bit dark but they are difficult to source round here.

Capri pants already turned into shorts

Cost £1

Last item was this gorgeous M&S top I bought over a Fat Face one for the same price

This cost £3.75, but looks fab and I've worn it loads already, as you can see in the photo below

So comfy!

Well, that's all my bargains, OH has had lots of things, several pairs of footwear, several pairs of jeans, a hoodie in the sales and a new to him 50p leather cowboy buckle belt.

Hope you are all finding great bargains out there!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Boleyns, Blickling and the beach

Day 5 in Norfolk, and we were treated to yet another warm and sunny day.

We had decided on a one stop trip so headed due south towards Blickling Hall.

This amazing Jacobean mansion, constructed around 1616, is built on the site of the former home and birthplace of Anne Boleyn, second (and beheaded) wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I.  All three Boleyn siblings were born here during the short ownership of the estate by their father.

Jacobean architecture at its finest

Supposedly haunted by Anne Boleyn herself and voted most haunted house in Britain in a 2007 National Trust survey, we saw no spirits while we were there

The inner courtyard entrance to the house proper is slightly less grand

Painted ceilings in one drawing room, with a previous owner being Ambassador to St Petersburg in the mid 1700's who knows how many notorious leaders have been here? 

My personal favourite area in any property has to be the kitchens and these at Blickling had the best outlook 

Upstairs, and the doorways were grand indeed

The bedrooms are grand of course and are dressed in the style of various stages of the history of the property

Look up and you will find grander ceilings!

More important tapestries than you can shake a stick at, these were a gift from Catherine the Great of Russia and the room was built to house them 

And one of the finest libraries in the country, with some extremely old books, and very modern nylon printed copy carpets, a trick the National Trust is now employing to save important carpets but to still give the feel of grandeur underfoot.

 The library is over 100 feet long and packed with leather and vellum, all secured behind discreet wire doors. At the base of the photograph above you can just see the frame of a mirror so you don't strain your neck looking up at the ceiling.  

The room below I understand was built for Catherine the Great of Russia, she ended up not visiting but now the guides tell you there is enough bling for President Trump and his wife to feel at home. Unbelievably, the gilding has never been retouched since it was first done in the 1700's 

Outside, and we wandered around the immediate gardens. Blickling is so large that I imagine it requires more than one visit to cover it all.

The fountain created an enjoyable fine mist as the day got hotter

We discovered this analemmatic sundial in the grounds. I recognised the letters spelling out the name Jason as the months of the year and we realised what it was. It even accounts for British Summer Time.

Selfie in the garden!

 After a quick walk around the walled gardens it was time to head back for tea, just time for one last look at the beautiful meadow opposite the entrance, complete with cows, it could almost have been painted by Constable

 After tea, and we were back on the beach near the chalet. There were swimmers, fishermen and these paragliders enjoying the fine weather

The weather was glorious and the noise of the sea breaking against the steep pebble shore was soothing and mesmeric.

We spent almost two hours enjoying the sea spray.

More tales from Norfolk soon!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Hip. Hip. Horatio!

Day 4 in Norfolk and a road trip was on the cards. Large picnic bag packed to bursting with supplies and we set off west along the coastal road.

Our first port of call was medieval village Cley-next-the-sea, somewhere I've wanted to visit since the early 90's when I collected Lilliput Lane miniature houses and they brought out a ridiculously expensive model of the village. Of course there was plenty of artistic licence involved, and the Cley we found bore no resemblance to that model! 

Still, the walk from the car park to the windmill was interesting, down all the little back alleyways, where I imagined smugglers brought their bounty ashore.  Cley was once one of the busiest ports in England, doing a roaring trade in grains, fish, spices, coal and fabrics, especially with Flemish towns across the North Sea.

Of course, Cley is no longer right next-the-sea, it's now around a mile away over slat flats, a great place to find samphire it seems. The locals were selling it at every corner from these little hand made, and sometimes colourful, stalls.


We soon arrived at the famous windmill, which turned out to be a B+B as well, something to look into for future visits this way. Interestingly, the mill was owned by the family of singer James Blunt until 2006 when it was sold. 

I also discovered that wartime poet Rupert Brooke was holidaying in Cley when WWI broke out.

After a cup of tea and some cake in the car, we drove eastwards again, in search of another small but interesting village.

Burnham Thorpe is the birthplace of Horatio Nelson. It is a tiny and disjointed village with old properties scattered around the lanes. The local pub, we discovered, had closed down in October 2016. Nelson often brought his crew back to the pub when they were in port. He had his favourite bench, which is still inside the pub. The pub was known as the Plough during Nelson's life but the name was changed to The Lord Nelson after his death.

Nelson was allegedly born in the parsonage, as his father was the Rector

However, the parsonage was being redecorated at the time of his birth and locals believe his family were staying at the shooting box, a house nearby.

The shooting box.

The church, All Saints, was heavily restored in the late 1800's.  Inside, due to the Nelson connection, there are several ensigns on display, all are old and off previous warships, but none are from Nelson's time 

These flags are huge and off warships from the 1st and 2nd world wars, they flank the medieval font where Nelson was baptised  

This one's seen a bit more action, the fabric was so thin, like muslin.

Nelson's father, Edmund, is listed in the column on the right of this notice.

Nelson requested that he should be buried in the churchyard at All Saints with members of his family, but when he died at the age of just 47 during the final moments of the Battle of Trafalgar, his service to the country meant his was a state funeral, with interment in the crypt at St Paul's cathedral in London.

I was utterly fascinated by the story of Horatio Nelson, and after we arrived back home, read up on his amazing life story. After thinking he died very young he appeared to have packed more into his 47 years than most of us could fit into two lifetimes. 

With the village pub shut, we sat on the deserted car park with our packed lunch, imagining the well worn wooden benches inside, where Nelson briefed his crew and enjoyed a pint or two.

Turning back towards the holiday chalet, we stopped at Creake Abbey, a free to visit English Heritage ruin nearby.

Creake Abbey was founded in the early 1200's, but a fire in 1484 meant that large parts of the abbey had to be demolished, despite donations from King Richard III.

we noticed several shrines in the walls, with money and prayers

In the early 16th century the plague struck and the abbot was left alone, he died in 1506 and at that point the church reverted to the crown

It took all of ten minutes to view the ruins, so little is left. However, it is a pleasant and tranquil spot.

Nearer to our chalet we came across Binham Priory, a sprawling ruin of a Benedictine Priory, with the church still standing. The bricked up windows below date to 1244, and the remaining window is thought to be the earliest example of decorative windows called bar tracery, in England 

The priory was founded in the late 11th century as a dependant house of St Albans abbey, by the nephew of William the Conquerer.

The grounds were quite extensive and it was surprising to see so many walls left in situ

The walls must be damp to support this beautiful deep red antirrhinum, growing happily 

Spot the OH, camouflaged in khaki.

Of course, Binham was closed down during Henry VIII's reign, but the church remained and now serves as the local parish church.

By this time we were suitably shattered and could take no more information in, such a fascinating day out, but we needed a good rest.

More tales from Norfolk soon.