A Cosy New Year – Hurray!

Admittedly we haven’t done as much to the “new” house as we would have wished but, as with our old house, it will all come in it’s own good time. Having said that, the place is considerably nicer than it was when we moved in (thankfully!) and is feeling truly like home.

This January we’ve hit the sales! Since we decorated the front room, got rid of the carpet and fireplace it’s been feeling as if it’s been missing a focal point so we thought we’d put things right with a “pretend” fire. I know it’s not as good as the real thing and we did consider re-opening the chimney and putting in a wood burning stove, but I had such a bad reaction to the one in the place we stayed in Cornwall a few years back that it wasn’t worth the risk of paying of paying out so much money and finding we (or I) didn’t get on with it. We decided we definitely needed a rug too as the large space in the middle of the room needed “pulling together”.

With that in mind we pondered around the shops, looked at catalogues and online and have ended up transforming from this when we moved in (sorry the telly’s on!) …..







To this… IMG_4699





And, then as of this year, to this….


Even though we haven’t actually had the fire switched on, other than the flame effect and I know it’s psychological, evenings feel so much more toasty now!


O is for …. Outlet Shopping

Anyone who knows me will be quite aware that I’m not a fan of shopping, unless it’s for crafty things, cook-y things or irrelevant, unneeded nonsense. To find myself spending Saturday sat in the car for 2+ hours to travel to Swindon Designer Outlet might, therefore, be a bit surprising but I’m all for outings to somewhere new and to find something different to see.

As Outlet shopping goes, Swindon’s pretty good I think. The outlet occupies the restored Great Western Railway Works and opened in 1997. I found looking around the bits of left over engine works the most interesting bit, but that’s just me. The centre was actually surprisingly quiet for a Saturday, but perhaps the locals had stayed away as the outlet is undergoing a big makeover at the moment, reopening properly in the autumn.

So, on arrival the first thing to do, other than marveling at the high ceilings and wonderful natural light (see, not a shopper!) is to approach the information desk at the front of the outlet. We stopped there initially drawn in by a compeIMG_2095tition to find the right key to open one of 3 boxes containing designer goods. Once we were at the desk we were asked if we’d like to sign up for a Privilege Card to gain another 10% savings on top of the already generous discounts available. On top of that we were given 2 sheets of paper with special offers available just for that weekend. As we looked around I was amazed by the number of people who were just handing over their money without using the card or the additional sheet of offers. For example, we ate at Pizza Express just before leaving and handed over one of the sheets which allowed us 25% off our total bill. This sent the staff into a bit of a frenzy over what to do! It must have been the first time they’d been handed that sheet on that day, or at least on that shift. Given we were eating after 6pm, a lot of people must have missed out on that offer presumably?

Kevin and Holly picked up great bargains during the shopping spree, particularly at Superdry where prices were slashed by an average of around 60%. On top of designer clothes stores there were three different chocolate shops (yay, more my scene!), cookery shops and home furnishing outlets. Plenty for everyone. And if you don’t like that, there’s plenty to see in, as previously mentioned, the old station works and several large Lego displays!

If you’re in the area, it’s well worth the visit – just remember to pick up your privilege card on the way in!


Oh, and look out for the odd famous model hanging around too!!