26 March 2012

Thrifty Finds

Time for some thrifty finds! I hope that everyone had more luck, and time to get to thrift shops than I did.  As usual, everything comes from eBay!

First up is this Grindley Peach Petal Vegetable Tureen.  I now have 4 tureens of various colors and I think that I'll be covered next Thanksgiving!  This tureen was bought with the gravy boat that was broken here.  I'm pretty happy with it and I hope that I'm able to find more peach petal china.  I just love the two toned look!

My next find was in triplicate!  I found three Johnson Bros Greydawn tea cups!
They go really well with the saucers I found a while back on Portabello Road.
 I thought that I'd take them outside for a closeup and for the backstamp.  I was really hoping for better light!

I’m going to link up with Her Library Adventures and Flea Market finds, Magpie Monday at Me and my Shadow, and Thrift Share Monday at Apron Thrift Girl.

22 March 2012

Simple Banana Bread

Last week I had short notice about some guests.  We had about an hour to get our house clean.  As my husband and I were running around like headless chickens I realized that I didn't have any food in the house.  Just two almost off bananas and a lot of nothing else.  It was Thursday after all.

I took the bananas and quickly thru together some banana bread from this recipe. I only had two small bananas so I halved it and baked the whole thing in a round Pyrex  dish (as seen here) as I didn't have a bread pan.  I was shocked and surprised when the bread came out stunningly.  Everyone loved it. 

The following weekend I decided to give the full recipe a go.  So first I gathered my ingredients:

Then I mushed together the butter and the bananas:
After that I added the dry ingredients:
After mixing it up really well to evenly spread the banana bits I poured it into my new bread pan, which I forgot to get a picture of.  Just imagine it, the pan is pink!  The bread takes about an hour to bake, but I like to check after 30 minutes or so.
Lastly I served the bread for dessert.  It was scrumptious if I say so myself!  I didn't last long and there were only three of us, so I guess that's a better recommendation.

19 March 2012

Thifty Finds

Its that time, my favorite time, when I get to show my new utility china finds to unsuspecting readers of this blog!

 First up is a ginormous Woods Ware Jasmine jug.  This was another case of not realizing just how big the jug I won on eBay was.

 Here it is next to a regular sized teacup.  I told you it was ginormous!

Next up are four Conway Lavender side/dessert plates.  These aren't as nice as the other pieces of Utility China that I've bought.  However I'm happy to give them a good home!
I’m going to link up with Her Library Adventures and Flea Market finds, Magpie Monday at Me and my Shadow, and Thrift Share Monday at Apron Thrift Girl.

15 March 2012

The Graveyard Book

Sometimes I like to read kids books.  I took a class in college on children’s lit and it’s really far more complex than it seems.  Kids only like to read certain things.  Boys won’t really read a book about a girl, but a girl doesn’t care.  Harriet Potter wouldn’t have worked.   Another reoccurring theme is freedom, freedom from bedtime and parents rules.  This is why kids’ books often feature an absent parent or parents.  The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman was no different.

The main character is Nobody Owens, a child who was orphaned under mysterious circumstances as an infant.  He escaped his parents’ murderer by hiding in the graveyard across the street from his house.  Here he met, and was raised by, the ghosts of those who had long been buried.  Not all of the ghosts are friendly, and Nobody, is still in danger from the man who killed his family.

Gaiman created a wonderful and dark world.  This isn’t a tough read, but it’s a fun one. 

14 March 2012

Expat Limitations

Being an immigrant has put some limitations on my life.  A lot of these are pretty understandable.  I can’t collect benefits, I haven’t paid into the system so that makes sense.  There are some, often funny, language limitations.  I’ve found that DIY words are quite different here.  

What I never thought was that I wouldn’t be able to get a phone contract.  I’ve never paid a bill late in my life, this seems totally unfair!  However, the phone companies all require 3 years of UK residence.  I’ll be a citizen by the time I’m allowed to get my own phone contract!

The smart part of me understands why companies do this. I’m considered high risk for being given a phone.  But the child in me wants to throw a hissy fit and bang my hands and feet on the floor. 

When we get around to it, my husband will take out a phone contract for me.  But for now, I’ll be a pay as you go girl without an I Phone.  .

13 March 2012


One of the biggest challenges of losing weight and getting healthy is finding inspiration.  I always find the first few weeks to be easy.  I feel all in and the weight comes off easily.  But it gets harder as you get closer to your goal weight and have a smaller calorie deficit every day. 

When I start to feel like its all up hill I turn to Jillian Michaels.  I adore her fitness DVD's but I don't often get the chance to use my collection any more.  We've only got one TV and I can't seem to wake up at 5:30 am every morning to fit it in along with going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. 

A little over a year ago Jillian came out with Unlimited.  It's basically a self help book about how to realize your dreams by making them happen yourself.  I prefer Jillian's fitness books, but I couldn't pass up the chance to meet her. 

I waited in line at the Columbus Circle Barnes and Noble for 4 hours.  It was a long wait, but worth it, because I got this:

When ever I feel like throwing in the towel I try to remember waiting all that time and how nice it was to meet my biggest motivator.  I might not have Jillian as a trainer, but what I do have are her podcasts that I'm only allowed to listen to at the gym!

You can find Unlimited here. Just don't ask me how you can meet Jillian!

12 March 2012

It’s Not All Utility China

So, as you know, I buy a lot of utility china.  It’s pretty much all I’m after, but it’s not all I like.   I decided a while ago that I wouldn’t collect everything vintage that appealed to me.  There’s just too much.  How much can I collect, and store and use?  It would seem a shame to have more collections than I can display properly.  At that point it would become pointless collecting?

Before I made that very difficult decision I bought this tea pot with matching jug and sugar bowl.  I love that it’s metal and oh so very shinny.  I love that we use the sugar bowl to store coins in.  I just love it in general.

I also love this cake tin.  I use it to store cookie cutters in.  I would like to collect more tins, but we have a ways to go before the kitchen is organized the way we want it to be so I’m waiting to buy tins.  I want to see exactly where they would be the most useful and what sizes I need.  

Is what you collect in reality different that what you collect in your dream world of endless storage and a maid to dust it all for you?  Of course, this maid would dust each item with just as much love and care as you do.  What are you main collections, and which ones are sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be unleashed?

I’m going to link up with Her Library Adventures and Flea Market finds, Magpie Monday at Me and my Shadow, and Thrift Share Monday at Apron Thrift Girl.

09 March 2012

Jolie Box

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a makeup blog.  Not that there is anything wrong with makeup blogs, I follow several of them.  I’m just not a makeup girl.  Still, I like to receive monthly boxes of goodies.

In the States I had Birch Box and I loved it.  I would often forget all about it and then it would show up, a nice little present.  The makeup boxes here cost more and I spent a lot of time reading what other bloggers had to say about all the different boxes on offer here.  In the end I went with Jolie Box.  

I don’t think that the packaging was as pretty as some of the other ones I’ve seen, but small bags are always useful to have and the box is about the contents, not the wrapping. 

Fist up was a bottle of Taaj makeup remover. It’s for all skin types and definitely something that I will be getting use out of.

There was a nifty makeup brush, but I don’t quite know what to do with it, any tips?

Lavera skin cream will definitely be knocking around my purse for a while.  It smells delicious!

Next up was RMK cleansing oil.  I’m not really sure about this one, but I’ll give it a go. 

Macadamia deep repair mask.  I think that I’ll save this one for a pre-vacation treat! Although it might feel good on a day I have a hangover as well.

Lastly, there was a micro tube of Jane Iredale lip and cheek stain.  This is pretty much coral pink and I’m undecided.

Overall, I’m really happy with my box and am definitely looking forward to seeing what next month brings!

If you want to read about makeup from people who know what they're talking about try one of these blogs: 

08 March 2012

African Diary

I am a huge Bill Bryson fan and have read most of his books.  I’m sure that they will end up here over time.  I am also a traveller.  Well, I was.  I did spend 20 months travelling around the world, alone.  Bryson has been a real travel inspiration for me.

When I unwrapped Bryson’s African Diary on Christmas I couldn’t wait to tuck in.  Bryson was invited by the charity CARE to visit their various camps and projects across Africa and to write a book about to raise money.  How could this be better?  You buy a book, have the joy of reading it, and manage to donate money to a worthy cause at the same time?  I know that you can buy books in charity shops, and I sometimes do, but this book was printed to raise money, it didn’t happen to  be given away and end up on a shelf in a shop.  

This book was short, too short.  Well, I often find books are too short or, as I’ll complain to my friends, it felt unfinished.  This rarely actually the problem, despite having turned the last page I’m not always ready to be finished the book. This often happens with Bryson’s books.  I want one more antidote, one more tale of beers with locals.  What can I say, I’m greedy when it comes to books! I kept having to  remind myself, that this was only a week long trip for Bryson, how much could there be to say?
Even though it was short, I enjoyed it.  You can get yours here.