Monday, 30 September 2013

Mad About The Boy? Yes. Mad About The Book? Hmmm.... *SPOILER ALERT*

Well ladies, she's back.
Bridget Jones, our loveable heroine who has been so unlucky in love is back in a third book from author Helen Fielding.

And according to the news spread across the internet today, the women of Great Britain are truly heartbroken.

Mark Darcy is dead.

Yes. Dead.

I'm literally distraught at this news.

Our handsome tall, dark and sexy lead male character has been killed off by Fielding in her new book, leaving fans of the books reeling after extracts of Mad About The Boy were published in the Sunday Times Magazine yesterday.

The extracts reveal that Bridget Jones is now a widow of five years to Darcy after marrying him and giving birth to two of his children.

As we all know Mark Darcy was played in the films by the very dashing, very sexy Colin Firth:


Its been fifteen years since the last novel hit our shelves and all women could relate to Bridget, portrayed as a 90s thirty-odd year old woman, obsessing daily over her weight, drinking and smoking habits.

This modern day story of our heroine, which is very loosely based on Pride and Prejudice from author Jane Austen, hence the name Darcy, was centred around love interests Darcy and her sleazy boss Daniel Cleaver.

Since the The Edge of Reason we will now find ourselves reading about Bridget as a widowed 51 year old, with two children, completely obsessed with wrinkles, and I'm guessing a few of the other normal problems we women manage to find out about ourselves.

I first watched Bridget Jones when it first hit our big screens in 2001, when Renee Zellweger became our hero, introducing us to huge pull-in pants, bunny girl outfits and that it was okay to pig out on Doritos and Ben & Jerry's when we felt worthless.

I was instantly hooked and immediately read the books and fell in love with the story and more importantly - Mark Darcy.

I was straight to the cinema's when Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason came out in 2004, and was equally impressed with sequel.

I now spend a night in every couple of months, sat in my PJs, with a tub of ice cream watching both films back to back, you have to have yourself a girly night every once in a while, and what better way?

So in the new book about the widowed Bridget Jones has a new adventure as a fifty-something cougar who meets a new 30 year old toy boy, Roxter, via Twitter.
This is set five years after Mark Darcy's death.

But for those of us eager to find out what happened to dream hunk Darcy will have to wait a little while as Mad About The Boy doesn't hit our shelves until the 10th of October, and according to the news reports, his death will not be revealed in advance, but as a flashback deep into the book.

So girls, get your big pants on, grab a spoon and the tub of Ben & Jerry's and get ready for some laughs and tears and to bid farewell to our Mark Darcy.

I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

Love Always,

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Charity Shop finds...

Yes, we all love a good bargain.
Most can be found in your high street shops, such as New Look, Boots, Asda, Primark, but have you ever thought of looking for a even bigger bargain in your local charity shops? 

I didn't until this weekend.

I kept saying to myself "Go and have a look" but I always passed them and carried on to Primark or wherever else the latest fashion would be.
So, on my visit to Wednesbury this weekend, I decided to pop into Age UK and Acorns to have a nose about and came across 4 of the biggest bargains I had ever had in my entire life.

I picked up a dress in Age UK that was originally from Moda in Asda, which usually is a little more expensive than say your George or G21 range.

I fell in love with this dress as soon as I saw it, and almost squealed in delight when I saw the price tag. £5.99!!

I became even more excited when I pulled out a skirt off one of the racks that instantly caught my eye:

 I had to get this skirt and again quietly squeaked to myself when the price tag read £3.99!
I looked at the label and was overjoyed to find out that this was from Debenhams originally, now, I've never shopped in Debenhams in my entire life, but I know that the clothes in there can be quite expensive.
I think this skirt is absolutely perfect for the Autumn, because right now I can wear it bare legged, with a nice top and I know that when it gets a little chillier I can put some tights on and a cute jumper on to go with it.

I wore this skirt today, here are some photos of me wearing it:

 Its quite long which I love about it, I don't have to show the tops of my legs off, its high waisted and somehow feels like a 50s skirt as its quite big and poofy at the bottom, plus my Dad said I looked all 1950s today :) Thanks Dad!

So I went and took my clothes to the counter in Age UK and noticed a little basket on the side with some costume jewellery in it and was drawn to a chunky green bead necklace and a matching bracelet, and asked the woman at the till how much they were and was pleasantly surprised to find out they were 99p for both of them, so I asked her to pop them in my bag and left Age UK feeling amazing that I had just picked up a huge bargain.

Total Spent: £10.89

I next ventured into Acorns, and I pottered around for a while, I looked up on the wall at some shelves and saw the most beautiful pair of black ankle boots, they kinda looked a bit like cowboy boots!
Just out of curiosity I picked them up while on the phone to my other half and turned them over to check the size.
I had to hang up on my fiancée as I was stunned to find out that not only were they my size (An 8, I know I have massive feet) but they were £1.99.
That's right. £1.99 for a pair of ankle boots that are mostly made of real leather.

How gorgeous are these?! 

I had to nip outside for some air as again, I was getting way too excited to stay in there and I knew that if I had stayed in there any longer I would've left with an empty purse.

So for a dress, a skirt, necklace & bracelet and a pair of boots yesterday I spent a grand total of:

I left these shops feeling amazed at how little I had spent on some new stuff, because I can hit the £50 limit in no time at Primark or Asda or New Look, and sometimes you don't get a lot for £50.
Plus, it made me feel wonderful that my money will go to a good cause and that's important to me as well.
I mean, I will still pop into those high street shops for a new pair of jeans or if I have seen a dress I like, but believe me, I will be going into the charity shops afterwards incase I do see something better.

I do urge you all to try a charity shop at some point, because you never know what you might find, its like finding gold in there.

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed finding these bargains, hopefully you won't become the huge excited, sweaty, red-faced wreck that I was.

PHOTOSET: An Autumn Day In Wednesbury

I would like to welcome you all to my beautiful home town of Wednesbury, West Midlands.

I lived in this wonderful town from the day I was born in 1987 until the day I moved out to live with my boyfriend in Wolverhampton and boy, do I miss this place.

So I've made it my duty to visit Wednesbury as often as I can and last year I had the idea to photograph my favourite place with my friend, so when feeling a little homesick I just look at my photos and I feel better.

This post will be a photoset from the photos I took yesterday on our visit back to Wednesbury.

Wednesbury has a very rich history to it:

It is believed that Wednesbury was originally and Iron - Age hill fort, and the actual spelling of Wednesbury was 'Wodensbyri'

Here is a little history of Wednesbury: 

Wednesbury is one of the oldest parts of the Black Country. The ending 'Bury' comes from the old English word "Burgh" meaning a hill or barrow So "Wednesbury" may mean "Woden's Hill" or "Woden's barrow". It could also mean Woden's fortification, although the former description is often accepted.
During the Anglo-Saxon period there are believed to have been two battles fought in Wednesbury, one in A.D. 592 and one in 715. According to The Anglo - Saxon Chronicle there was "a great slaughter" in 592 and "Ceawlin was driven out". Ceawlin was a king of Wessex and the second Bretwalda, or overlord of all Britain. The second battle, in 715, was fought between Mercia (of which Wednesbury was part) and the kingdom of Wessex. Both sides allegedly claimed to have won the battle, although it is believed that the victory inclined to Wessex.
Wednesbury was later fortified by Ethelfleda daughter of Alfred The Great and known as the Lady of Mercia. 
Ethelfleda erected five fortifications to defend against the Danes at Bridgnorth, Tamworth, Stafford and Warwick with Wednesbury in the centre of the other four.
 Wednesbury's fort would probably have been an extension of an older fortification and made of a stone foundation with a wooden stockade above. Earthwork ramparts and water filled ditches would probably have added to its strength.
 There is now a plaque on the gardens between Ethelfleda Terrace and St. Bartholomew's church stating that the gardens there - created in the 1950s - used stone from the graaf, or fighting platform, of the old fort. Exploration of the gardens reveals several dressed stones, which appear to be those referred to on the plaque.
We first off visited my favourite place in the whole Borough - St Bartholomew's Church or as everyone else in Wednesbury have come to call it 'The Black Church' 

I have no idea why I love this church so much, I guess it because wherever you go in the surrounding areas of Wednesbury you can see this beautiful church for miles and it always reminds me that I'm not far from my first home.

Here's a little bit about St Bart's taken from their website:

Our church building is a very large and fine medieval church enlarged and developed by the Victorians. It is a grade II listed building first mentioned in 1088. It has a superb collection of William Kempe stained glass windows and plenty of original medieval furnishings.  Sitting on the top of Church Hill, seen for miles around, St Barts has been at the heart of Wednesbury for centuries.

There was certainly a church at Wednesbury by the early thirteenth century because it is recorded in the Plea Rolls of King John for 1210-1211, that Master William, a royal chaplain had been appointed to the church at Wednesbury.The present St. Bartholomew’s Church dates from the late 15th or early 16th century and contains a pulpit carrying the date 1611. At the west end of the nave is a table tomb with recumbent effigies of Richard Parkes who died in 1618, and his wife. It has been greatly restored and rebuilt, and stands on the site of an earlier 13th century stone built church. Remains of the earlier church were found during restoration work in 1885 and consisted of a three light window contained in a round-headed arch. The three lights date back to the 13th century but the arch itself could be earlier. The ancient window is to be found at the west end of the north aisle. It is next to the doorway which gives access to the choir vestry. This has a pointed segmental arch and is said to be from the same date as the window.In 1757 the tower was restored and the top 16 feet were rebuilt. At the same time the ball and weathercock were replaced. Restoration work continued in 1764 and 1765 when the nave roof was repaired and a ceiling added to the nave. Unfortunately during the work, part of the parapet on the northern side collapsed onto the roof and both fell onto the pews beneath, causing serious damage. As luck would have it the pews were empty at the time. Only an hour earlier they had been occupied during a funeral service.

As the parapet on the south side was found to be in an extremely poor condition, the decision was taken to rebuild both parapets and also to add a ceiling above the north aisle. As the restoration was now much larger and so more expensive than previously envisaged, neighbouring parishes were invited to make collections towards the cost of the work. In 1775 part of the south transept was enclosed and a wall added to form a vestry, and in 1818 the body of the church was coated with Parker’s cement. Nine years later the church was enlarged by the addition of the north transept and an extended nave. The pews were also replaced and a new font was presented by the Rev. Isaac Clarkson in 1827. Restoration work continued in 1855 when the upper part of the spire was completely rebuilt and the 8 bells were recast. Two new bells were also added, along with a new clock and weathercock. The cost of the repairs was raised by subscription and amounted to nearly £1,200.

In 1878 the spire was raised by 10 feet, and in 1885 the internal galleries were removed and the floor lowered to its original level.  Further restoration work took place in 1902 and 1903 when the transepts were restored. In 1913 the Chapel of Ascension was added to the south transept.
The church contains 15 late 19th or early 20th century windows containing stained glass by Charles Eamer Kempe and is also known for its unique fighting cock lectern. On 2nd March, 1950 the building was Grade 2 listed.

St Bartholomew's also has a beautiful garden full of flowers, which I also photographed:

I love the Wednesbury locals, everyone is so friendly and always happy to have a chat with you, while we were taking a little break on Church Hill we had a lovely Border Collie dog approach us with a ball in his mouth which he dropped at our feet and patiently waited for us to throw the ball for him, his owner was very friendly too, having a little chat to us about Wednesbury and us photographing all the old places.

We said our goodbyes after that and we went on our way back through the oldest parts of Wednesbury capturing photos as we went:

 I wanted to also visit our oldest pub in Wednesbury too called 'The Leathern Bottel' 
Legend has it that Dick Turpin once called into this pub to water his horse in the early 18th Century as he travelled from London to York, so the place is quite historical!

Its such a pretty looking pub as well and hidden away from the main road, just around the corner from our local park.

There's a lovely little sweetshop in Wednesbury called Teddy Gray's.
Teddy Gray's was founded in 1826 by Edward Gray of Dudley, there are only 4 shops across the whole of the West Midlands, and those are in Wednesbury, Great Bridge, Bewdley and Kinver.

The business was passed down to his son Teddy Gray and now five generations of the Gray family have worked in the main sweetshop in Dudley.

You have to pop into Teddy Gray's when you visit Wednesbury and get some sweets!
I had a bag of cola cubes and pineapple rock (pictured) two blocks of chocolate fudge and some Jelly Babies :)

 So, after a huge walk around Wednesbury we decided to visit our local park - Brunswick Park.
I've got so many great memories of this park from playing in the paddling pool to visiting Pat Collins Funfair in the September to hanging about with my friends there in my teenage years. It was where I had my first alcoholic drink (Frosty Jack, YUK) and it was where I had my very first kiss, so this park will always have a huge place in my heart.

This huge park was opened in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.
There are huge hills to climb in Brunswick Park, tennis and basketball courts, a bandstand where some Sundays they have a brass band play and multiple twists and turns that take to to the top of the park, with gorgeous surroundings and you come across the squirrels a lot too. Its an excellent place for collecting conkers and acorns. 

The park keeper's house is beautiful and sits at the top of the park and has a stunning garden and a huge willow tree: 

 The other really beautiful part of Brunswick Park is its graveyard. I was told that there used to be a chapel in the middle of the graveyard, which was knocked down in the early 70s I think, and there hasn't been anyone buried there since.
The graves are so old in this graveyard, I saw that most of them were from the 1700s which told me this graveyard was here well before Brunswick Park was even thought about.

So after around 5 hours of walking around my beloved hometown, discussing memories and gawping at the beauty of it, I sadly had to make my way back to Wolverhampton.

But even looking at my photos now, I feel happy I visited again and I'm sure I will visit a hundred times more, because as we all know, 

There's no place like home.

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