After a somewhat rubbish start to the week, with being very busy and then getting sick, I'm pleased to say that things picked up a fair old bit. I was home from work at a reasonable time on Wednesday, despite having been working in London. I tidied myself up and then went out to The White Horse to join the Sew Make Believe ladies for our book group. The book under discussion was The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I had been very resistant to the idea of it, but found myself captivated by the novel when I read it a few months ago. The book group was really excellent - while we all enjoyed the novel we all had very different interpretations, which made for a fascinating conversation. Nic joined us towards the end, after having spent his evening in the Somerville, and the night ended very happily with Caroline and Lauren popping up to our flat to borrow a book. It was a really lovely evening and I am already excited about the next book group.
Happily on Thursday I didn't have to go to London, as we were having an all staff event in our offices in Coventry. As it wasn't starting until 10 I had a positively decadent lie-in until 8:30 (just as well really, as I'd had a couple of glasses of wine the night before) The day itself wasn't hugely exciting. It was nice to be in the Coventry office (I found myself really looking forward to being based there permanently after the end of June) and it was really good to work with colleagues from across the organisation. Also, I got to spend some time chatting with Louise's lovely hubby. I have him to thank for our friendship and he is a very lovely and funny man. The best thing about the day, however, was the fact that we finished at four so I was back in Leamington well before five. The weather was glorious, so Nic and I walked over to the Saxon Mill to enjoy a drink in the sunshine. After that we wandered up to the churchyard at Old Milverton and spent some time there. I love churchyards - one of my favourite places in the world is the churchyard behind St. James's Church of Ireland Church in Aughnacloy. The church at Old Milverton is also called St James's, and the churchyard is just as beautiful. I had been feeling a bit fuzzy after a day spent indoors, but the peace and beauty of the countryside brought me back to myself. We walked back through the village and then spent a quiet evening in - it was bliss.
I was working from home on Friday and took advantage of the sunshine to get out and have lunch in the Pump Room Gardens. In the evening Nic and I headed out to The Somerville Arms to meet Caroline, Lauren, Alysa, Rich, Paul and Viv. As always, we had a perfectly lovely time and kept poor Paul B, the landlord, up late. As we were all at a loose end the following day, we decided to take Viv up on his offer of a walk to Hunningham to have lunch in the Red Lion. Caroline has written about it in more detail over on her blog, and you can see her gorgeous photos there too. Martha joined us and the walk was stunning - we walked up through Newbold Comyn and across the countryside to Offchurch, and then down along the road to Hunningham. It took us a few hours, and it was very companionable to walk along in the sunshine and chat. I had been warned to wear flat shoes, so I got my faithful Birkenstocks out for the walk:
In my Fever Maisy sundress and birkenstocks
The food was excellent at the Red Lion and I felt very happy and relaxed. I feel very lucky to have stumbled into friendship with the Sew Make Believe ladies, and yesterday was one of the nicest days I've had for a very long time.
Nic and I had been invited to a party yesterday evening but it had completely slipped my mind until I ran into a mutual friend in Tesco. After such a long walk and a large lunch I wasn't in the party mood, so instead I curled up on the sofa with a DVD and the blanket I am crocheting for a friend who is expecting a baby. I had taken a bit too much sun and wouldn't have been much company and for various reasons I'm very glad Nic and I had a quiet night in.
I have no such exciting adventures planned for this afternoon as I have a mountain of ironing to do, but I did have time to have a quick coffee and a browse in the shops with Martha this morning. I didn't buy anything, although I did pick up some free books from the Bookcrossing shelf in the coffee shop -The Best of Friends and The Rector's Wife by Joanna Trollope and The Long View by Elizabeth Jane Howard. I tried on a few dresses in Lilac Rose, but as I have been especially profligate in my spending this month, I decided against buying anything. My steely (!) resolve was helped along by the fact that I won a dress this morning on eBay. It's a dress by Ruby Belle, the sister company of Fever and, annoyingly, I can't find a picture of it to put on here. It's called the Photograph dress, and it's orange with a tropical print over it - I'll no doubt post it up here when it arrives! I wore my Bertie Sardinia Shoes, number 1 in my Shoeperwoman's Shoe Challenge:
Bertie Sardinia shoes, Fever Cuba dress
I've also another pair of shoes to add, as my Irregular Choice Mermaids arrived on Thursday:
24. Irregular Choice Mermaid shoes in red
The picture doesn't do them much justice, but I plan to wear them for Ruby Shoesday very soon! Thursday was a good day for red shoes, actually. The mermaids arrived, obviously. Also, while I was at the whole staff event one of my colleagues told me she had a pair of red suede heels to give to me as they don't fit her any more - again, I'll put up a photo when they arrive!
I found out this week that I'll be getting a bonus in my April paycheque. I had already planned to spend some of it on the trip to Paris that Nic and I are planning for June, and after some discussion with Louise I have decided to spend the rest on a sewing machine. I went to a sewing evening class last year and really did not enjoy it, and it put me off attempting to do much sewing myself. I've also been wary of it because, well, I've seen how there is a certain smugness to it. However, I have been so inspired by Kate's quilting and the talents of my other Sew Make Believe colleagues that I've decided to stop worrying about it and give it a go. I'm going to cheat a little by practising with this Rob Ryan design Cloth Kits skirt, which will go to Martha if it functions as a skirt in any way! I'm looking forward to the challenge, so when I get paid I'm going to ring Sewing Machines Direct and see what they recommend in my price range.
Okay, that pile of ironing really is VERY big so I'm going to go and attend to it. Then perhaps it's time for some cake. But I'm going to leave you with this video of Rizzo from Grease. I'm not a huge fan of the movie, but I love this song, and I think Stockard Channing is brilliant: