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Category Archives: Out & About

Shopping trip

Off out

Off out

Today I decided to get into girl mode and to pop into Camberley for a spot of shopping.

Looked great in the pic

Looked great in the pic

I wanted to pick up a few things, specifically a valance for my bed, and also perhaps something sexy for a photo shoot. I’d previously bought something on eBay for the purpose but it turned out to be a bit naff and also doesn’t fit (the strap across the back is non-adjustable and too tight, although perhaps I could replace it with ribbon).

First port of call was Primark. I figured that they would be the best place to get something cheap that would be good enough for a photo shoot. I wasn’t disappointed and got a really nice thong body (see later) for a very reasonable £12. I also found a really nice faux suede jacket. Due to the length of my arms and also the width across my shoulders, it’s usually quite hard to find a jacket that fits me, and I usually end up having to go several sizes too big. I picked out a size 18 (even though I am a 12-14) and it was actually too big. However, when I tried a size 16 it fit perfectly, so I was over the moon about that! At £25 it didn’t break the bank either.

I looked around for bedding, but couldn’t find that area despite venturing upstairs which is where the children’s section also is. It was so crowded and noisy with screaming kids that I didn’t last long before I had to get the hell out of there.

Biker (shabby) chick

Biker (shabby) chick

When I got to the checkout to pay, the checkout girl told me she absolutely loved my hair, that the colour was amazing, that it really suited me, and asked if it was my natural hair colour. I don’t know if she was a good actress, or genuine, and if she thought it really was my hair or realised it was a wig, but either way it absolutely made my day. 😀

I called into a few charity shops, but found poor pickings, and then into The Ark. I had changed into the new jacket by now and was itching to take a selfie, and found a nice full length mirror to take one.

Liquid eyeliner

Liquid eyeliner

Nothing much caught my eye, so I then moved on to Boots because I needed some new liquid eyeliner.

I ended up buying a Metallic Anthracite by Max Factor, and a Velvet Black also by Max Factor.

I’d been walking quite a bit by now, and wanted to go into House of Fraser (formerly Army & Navy) next, but needed a rest first, so called into the in-store Cafe Nero for a coffee and a caramel shortbread (mmmm). Whilst I was there I observed a slightly creepy looking bloke eyeing me, and when he got up and headed my way I thought “uh oh. Here we go”, but instead he went to a blonde lady seated near me. I didn’t hear what he said to her, although I can guess, but I overheard her reply “uh, thanks. That’s very kind”. I’m not sure which is worse, getting slightly creepy compliments, or not getting any. LOL.

Then to more shopping. Yay!

I was quite tempted by a lovely sequinned club dress, but frankly I know I will not have the opportunity to wear it so it was fairly easy to pass on it.

Sequinned club dress

Sequinned club dress

Vero Moda jumper

Vero Moda jumper

A little harder to resist was a gorgeous soft jumper by Vera Moda. I really deliberated on this, but in the end decided that I have far too many jumpers already and passed on it – but only just! I’m still not sure that I made the right decision though. If my bestie had been with me, she’d have probably tipped my indecision into a purchase – she’s good like that. 🙂

Gigi leather handbag

Gigi leather handbag

I also popped into TK Maxx and was briefly tempted by a Gigi leather handbag, reduced to £44.99 from an alleged RRP of £110. It smelt wonderful, and I liked the exterior design of it, but the interior was really lacking – just a vast open space with a small phone pocket and nothing else. I prefer my bags to have loads of compartments rather than just being a cluttered sack, so sadly I had to pass on that. Shame.

I still hadn’t got the valance for my bed yet (I hadn’t fancied paying House of Fraser prices), so I popped into Argos. I haven’t been there in years, and it was quite the nostalgia trip. There were still the multiple copies of the Laminated Book of Dreams, the little slips of paper, the tiny pens, the tills that you take your slip to. Oh, for sure, there are now touch screens that allow you to search for stuff, which is what I used to find a suitable valance, but you still have to write down the catalogue code and take it to the till (although there there were two automated tills, but one wasn’t working, and one was in use, and even then the systems aren’t linked and you have to type in the codes). So it was off to the till, old school, with my little slip of paper, where payment was made, and I had to wait for my order to be fetched. All very retro, and not in a good way.

One last selfie

One last selfie

So, with my mission accomplished, and my feet increasingly sore, it was just time for one last selfie, and then I was done and headed off home.

Not as racey as it looks

Not as racey as it looks

When I got home, I tried on the body that I bought in Primark and it was absolutely brilliant – it fits so well, is flattering, and looks more revealing than it is due to flesh colour modesty panels; I’m really looking forward to doing a photoshoot with it. Be sure to keep an eye on my Flickr!

So, I got what I set out to buy, spent frugally, and had a really nice day. I’m calling that a win.

 

 


Update:

Pics are now available on Flickr, but you will need a Flickr account to view them as they are marked as Moderate (this one) and Restricted (this one).
 

 

 

Posted by on 28th October 2017 in Clothes, Diary, Out & About, Photos, Shopping

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Girls who do Maltings

One of the things that my various social media accounts often results in is contact with other t-girls, and one such girl is Siobhan Hapgood who regularly comments on my Facebook posts and who has become a friend as a result.

We’ve been meaning to meet up for a while, and Siobhan suggested that since the Monthly Market at Farnham Maltings was coming up and, since as a regular reader she knows I often visit that, maybe we should meet up for July’s, which sounded like a great idea to me, and so a plan was formed.

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Weekend Away (Part 4) – the journey of eight legs

This is the final part of my series of posts on my trip away for the Bank Holiday weekend, which included front row VIP tickets to Caro Emerald‘s 2017 UK “Emerald Island” tour and also a gig by my best friend Claire’s band Iconic at Lady of the Lake in Lowestoft

In Part 1 I told you about my journey there, in Part 2 I covered the Caro Emerald gig, and in Part 3 I covered the rest of the weekend including the Iconic gig.

Now, in this final part, it’s the journey home.

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Posted by on 8th May 2017 in Diary, Out & About, Photos, Social

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Weekend Away (Part 3) – Iconic

This is Part 3 of my trip away for the Bank Holiday weekend, which included front row VIP tickets to Caro Emerald‘s 2017 UK “Emerald Island” tour and also a gig by my best friend Claire’s band Iconic at Lady of the Lake in Lowestoft

In Part 1 I told you about my journey there, and in Part 2 I covered the Caro Emerald gig.

Now for the rest of the weekend.

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Posted by on 7th May 2017 in Diary, Out & About, Photos, Social

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Weekend Away (Part 2) – Caro Emerald

Caro Emerald tour dates

Caro Emerald tour dates

This is Part 2 of my trip away for the Bank Holiday weekend, which included front row VIP tickets to Caro Emerald‘s 2017 UK “Emerald Island” tour.

In Part 1 I told you about my journey there, and how we barely arrived at the Ipswich Regent Theatre in time for the Meet & Greet.

So without further ado, here’s what happened next.

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Posted by on 5th May 2017 in Diary, Out & About, Photos, Social

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Weekend Away (Part 1) – The Journey there.

Caro Emerald tour dates

Caro Emerald tour dates

I’m a big fan of Caro Emerald, and almost a year ago I bought two tickets for her 2017 UK tour. In fact I think I might have bought the tickets the moment they went on sale. I went a little over the top and bought VIP tickets with a Meet & Greet with Caro beforehand, because I was a little more flushed with cash back then.

I chose Ipswich as the venue because, even though it wasn’t my closest, it was one that my best friend Claire could join me at and I thought it would be a nice thing for us to do together. As it happened, it fell on the May Bank Holiday weekend so a plan was hatched to stay with her and make a long weekend of it.

Since it was a Bank Holiday weekend, with the ensuing traffic chaos, I decided to take the train. Normally I would take my car, but I know from experience that the journey can take over 4½ hours when the M25 is rammed, although I have done the journey in as little as 3 hours when travelling back late at night. But I thought it worth trying the train.

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Posted by on 4th May 2017 in Diary, Out & About, Photos, Social

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Diary update – Lady driver

Recently I popped over to Thruxton Race Circuit for a track day organised by Gold Track. It’s a circuit I have driven several times before, but on this occasion I was not driving as my sports car is too noisy for Thruxton and my current road car is too boring.

The reason for my visit is that Melindi Scott, who runs Gold Track, has become a good friend over the years and I was visiting to see her as it’s been a while since we last got together.

It was a lovely sunny day, so I drove over in my noisy sports car and arrived late morning. I figured there was no point arriving too early as I knew Melindi would be busy with driver check in, briefings, etc.

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Posted by on 23rd April 2017 in Diary, Out & About, Social, Transgender

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Sunbury Antiques Market (31-Jan-2017)

Today I got up at a frankly ridiculous 5:30am, and left the house at just gone 6am heading for the Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse in Surrey and arrived at 6.40am.

Here are a few pics that I took with my phone.

 

Posted by on 31st January 2017 in Home furnishing, Out & About, Photos, Shopping

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Dear diary

Somewhat surprisingly, people actually read my blog (I know – it came as a surprise to me too) and people have been asking me what I’ve been up to, and how the job is going.

Business Casual

Business Casual

As I mentioned in my previous post, the job is predominantly based at my own home office, with most client interaction being via Skype (either voice-only conference call, or IM) and email. Up until last Friday, I hadn’t actually had any further in-person meetings, but on Friday we had a catch-up and progress meeting which I attended.

Based on previous meetings, I knew people dressed pretty casually so I chose a casual t-shirt dress by Atmosphere which had cost me the princely sum of £5 in Primark, plus the shoes and tights I mentioned buying from M&S in my previous post.

The meeting went very well, and people seemed happy with the progress I have made, my estimates for how much is to do on what I am doing, some design ideas I have, and also a roadmap for what I will work on next. It was all very encouraging.

As before, everyone was very accepting of my presented gender.

However, at one point I had the most bizarre thing happen – I’d just taken a sip of orange squash, put it down, and then a few moments later without any warning or feeling that it was about to happen, a really loud burp escaped from me. I could have died of embarrassment! I was absolutely mortified. I got teased a little bit in a good-natured (but not blokey banter) way, but was still so embarrassed. That really has never happened to me before – normally I can feel a burp coming and suppress it. What surprised me the most, though, was just how much more embarrassed I felt in girl mode about it than I might have in guy mode.

When I got home I did a small photo shoot for a schoolgirl outfit I have been working on for Flickr, but I’m not happy with any of the shots.

Butterflies and flowers

Butterflies and flowers

The next day – Saturday – it was the Monthly Market at Farnham Maltings, which I like to go to. I’ve mentioned it a few times in previous posts, and it’s an Antiques, Crafts and Collectables Fair. It’s a reasonable £1 to get in but the car park is not free and costs £1.20 for 1 hour and £1.40 for 2 hours (and more for longer obviously). I usually go for 2 hours as although I could whistle round in an hour, it’s not worth feeling rushed just for a saving of 20p.

I dressed casually in a nice butterfly top I recently got from eBay (in fact I like this one so much I now have 3 of them in different colours) and a skirt by Hollister. I wore flats in the end, rather than the wedges in the photo, as I knew my feet would get sore quickly in the wedges.

It was clear that a lot of sellers were on holiday, as the place felt very sparse compared with normal. I didn’t find much apart from a very cute silver pinky finger ring of two entwined open hearts, marked 925 silver, which the seller said was 1970’s. It wasn’t in the best of condition, but it fit me just right, and the seller wanted £10 for it. I decided that I already wear rings on both pinky fingers, so told him I’d leave it whereupon he said he’d take £8. I decided to walk away though.
I really regret doing that now. It occurs to me that I already have two rings that fit only my right ring finger, which I choose from as the mood takes me, and my pinky fingers should be no different. A missed opportunity there, because it was very cute. Never mind, maybe the seller will be there next month and still have it.

When I got home, I tried again on the schoolgirl outfit shoot, but still wasn’t happy with it.

The following Tuesday I got up super-early and made it over to the Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse, which you can read about on my public Facebook page.

Shabbytique

Shabbytique

The rest of the week was spent working from home, then on Sunday I went up to Maidenhead for the Shabbytique and eatonthehighstreet fair. I wore a pretty top by Per Una, which was one of my many eBay / Charity Shop bargains, some jeans by Autograph (also a M&S brand), and a pair of boots by DUO.

Bonus Selfie #1

Bonus Selfie #1

Bonus Selfie #2

Bonus Selfie #2

Steve Conway was singing, so it was really nice to catch up with him and his wife and was worth going just for that.

The fair itself was a little disappointing, with a mix of stalls selling crafts and the like, and an equal number of food stalls, all spread out over the length of the pedestrianised part of the High Street. It felt like slim pickings though.

However, I did manage to get the most adorable necklace from a lady who is retiring and selling her remaining stock off at half price. The necklace I bought was £10, reduced from £20, and features a Murano glass pendant with flecks of gold in it, and a Sterling silver chain. I thought it was beautiful.

After that I headed home. I didn’t feel like doing any further photo shoots and had a pretty quiet remainder to the day.

Murano glass necklace

Murano glass necklace

 

 

 

 

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Art Nouveau – Alphonse Mucha exhibition, UEA.

 

F. Champenois Imprimeur-Éditeur by Alfonse Mucha, 1897

F. Champenois Imprimeur-Éditeur
Alfonse Mucha, 1897
(Public Domain image)

I’m a big fan of the Art Nouveau movement, especially the works of Alfonse Mucha, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Charles Horner. I have a number of reproductions of Mucha’s works and a few items of jewellery in the style of Mackintosh. Sadly I don’t have anything by Horner as even reproductions are expensive.

I love the organic shapes of Art Nouveau, far more than the more minimalistic style of the more popular Art Deco movement that followed it, although that’s not to say that I dislike Art Deco; I just don’t like it as much as I like Art Nouveau. I do particularly like the Streamline Moderne (aka Art Moderne) movement that evolved from Art Deco, although I think it would be fair to say I am a fan of the whole Raygun Gothic catchall retro-futuristic vibe. But I digress.

In a subsequent post I will show what I have of the above, but it will make this post too long if I do it here and, besides, it deserves a post of its own.

A month or so ago, I learned that I had a missed an exhibition of Alfonse Mucha’s work at the Russel-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum in Bournemouth last year but that it was currently running at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia (UEA) until 20th March, so a plan was hatched to visit my best friend Claire in Lowestoft again and for us to attend the exhibition.

Claire & Joanne, Besties Forever

Base credit: eugene-joe-c at DeviantArt

So, tickets were booked, time off work was booked, and a hotel was booked. The weeks dragged by somewhat until the weekend we had dubbed “Bestiefest” finally arrived.

I travelled up on Friday morning and the journey was not good. The M3 and M25 were ok, but the two lane M11 was a nightmare with loads of lorries doing elephant racing.

Here’s one of those maths questions for you – if a lorry travelling at 60.01 mph overtakes a lorry travelling at 59.99 mph on a two lane carriageway, how many miles of abject misery can they cause for other road users? Answers on a Carrier Pigeon or Stone Tablet please.

In the end it took me just over 4 hours to get to Claire’s, having set off around 10am. Although, in fairness, I did stop for 15 mins at a service station for a loo break, and also had a panicked switch from the A14 route to the A11 route because I thought I knew better than Google Navigation. I should learn to welcome my digital overlords, because I was wrong.

It was good to see Claire again, and we spent the afternoon just nattering and catching up. She had to pop out to get the kids from school mid-afternoon, so I took the opportunity to drive over to the hotel to check in, to freshen up, and change.

Off out for a night in

Off out for a night in

I had decided not to book myself into the same hotel as last time, but to use a Premier Inn. Upon arrival this proved to have been a good choice. Although Premier Inn are quite basic, the price was very keen, and the room turned out to have everything that I needed – a nice comfortable bed, a comfortable chair (a chaise longue, no less!) which also doubled as a place to put my suitcase, a small desk, and a small dressing table with illuminated mirror for doing my makeup. Everything I needed and nothing I didn’t need. The only thing lacking was a lift – lugging my suitcase up a flight of stairs was a bit of an inconvenience.

The downside of my choice was that, rather than being 5 mins from Claire I was now 15-20mins but, to be honest, the cost and benefits made that worth it. I just wish I could have the best of both worlds. As always.

It took me a little longer than I anticipated to unpack, freshen up and change, and although we weren’t going out that night I probably slightly overdressed but never mind. It was late afternoon before I got back to Claire.

We spent some more time nattering, and I also helped her with the new website for the band that she is in (the band is called ICONIC). She is developing with WordPress and was having a few problems with a few things, and I have some experience there so we were able to work on that together. In fact the rest of the day fairly flew by and I’m not entirely sure that we did a lot more besides that, apart breaking for dinner.

All too soon it was bedtime and I headed back to the hotel where I had a really good night’s sleep, which considering that I often suffer from insomnia was a nice bonus.

Alfonse Mucha exhibition. Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts University of East Anglia

In quest of beauty

The next day I got over to Claire’s mid-morning, and a little while later we headed over to Norwich for the exhibition. We got there a little ahead of schedule and I spied a large Next store so we popped in there for a browse and a coffee, then headed over to UEA to arrive in time for our “slot” at the exhibition.

I went to university at a non-campus one, so entering the campus of UEA and driving round looking for the SCVA was a slightly new experience for me. In the end we found it, and even managed to find a space in the small car park with free parking that had been set aside for exhibition visitors. In fairness, had we not been able to park there then there were other car parks on-campus, and a free parking permit was available from the front desk of the Centre, but it would have been a little bit of a hassle of back-and-forth to go get one then go back and place it in the car, then back again. It was nice not to have to do that as no permit was required in the reserved car park.

The exhibition was small, but was well presented. There were examples of Mucha’s artwork throughout his career and also examples of his sculpture and jewellery on display. In the corner was a television showing a loop of a documentary about him which ran for around 20-30 mins, so we sat and watched that and it was very interesting and I learnt things about Mucha that I did not know. It’s made me want to read the book I have on him in more detail as I confess that I had only skimmed it until now.

After we had finished at the exhibition we went down to the gift shop. I very much wanted the weighty 168-page paperback guide that went with the exhibition (£16) and they also had some very good quality mounted reproductions of some of Mucha’s art. I have wanted some of these for a while but have been very wary of buying online – when I enquired of one seller on Amazon Marketplace a while back as to the provenance of their pictures they told me that they printed them themselves on an Epson printer on ‘high quality paper’, so being able to see the quality, and to see that they had been commissioned by the Mucha Foundation, was a big selling point. They weren’t cheap, though – £25 for a larger size and £15 for a smaller size. There were also some unmounted posters of A2 size for a more reasonable £12 each. There were also various books on Mucha, including a book of posters whose quality was very good (£12).

In the end, after an awful lot of pondering, I limited myself to one larger print, one medium print, the guide, the poster book, and a poster. This came to a not unsubstantial £80, but I could very easily have spent double that.

Purchases

Purchases

Even now I’m not convinced I chose the right prints, particularly Bieres de la Meuse which I already own as a metal sign. I think I should have chosen a different one, and perhaps given in to my desire to buy more of the prints. I justified the decision not to at the time as I rationalised that I could cut out the posters in the poster book and frame them, but now I am not so sure.

It was early afternoon by now so we popped into Norwich for a light lunch and then dropped in on one of Claire’s friends who was looking forward to meeting me as she’d heard lots about me. We seemed to get on really well, so that was nice. Then after a little while we headed on back to Claire’s.

A little later we popped out for a curry (and a natter, of course. Lots of nattering on this weekend). The portions were really big and at the end of the meal they asked us if we wanted the leftovers to be bagged up. They were so nice about it, and we felt so guilty for leaving really nice food, that we accepted.

BFFs

BFFs

By now it was getting late and I headed back to the hotel after. Again, I had a good night’s sleep – there must be something about those Premier Inn mattresses after all.

I was a little later getting over to Claire’s on Sunday morning as I overslept a little, plus I had to pack up and check out.

We spent much of the day nattering (yet more. I know) and working on the website and the like. Lunch was jacket potatoes plus all the leftover curry and sides from the night before, which was really nice and filling.

By mid afternoon I felt it was time for me to hit the road, not just because I had a long journey but also because I felt that Claire’s poor hubby had been somewhat neglected due to me being around so much and taking up so much of Claire’s time, and I thought that he would appreciate some time with her. So I left around 3pm.

The journey back was as expected, with the M25 being rather a nightmare. It didn’t help that idiot drivers like the one in a white VW Tourag were bullying their way into gaps that weren’t there and causing everyone to brake. At times we were reduced to walking pace, then back up to speed again for no reason – almost certainly the “traffic ripple effect”. But I got home eventually, about 3hr30 after setting off. That left me with the evening to wind down and prepare myself for the coming week.

And that was my weekend. Not quite as packed as the last time, but very enjoyable and I was very happy.

 

 

 

 

Posted by on 19th March 2016 in Diary, Out & About, Photos, Social

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