Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Fame, Fame, Fatal Fame

Tuesday lunchtime, I got interviewed for the Helen Blaby's show (Follow the link to listen again about 37 minutes in). Helen was interested in what bargains could be had round and about and I happily chatted away.

Then Helen asked me what the best bargain I'd had was - ever.

All I could think of was chocolates and turkey. Could you tell it was lunchtime?! Were these the best bargains I'd ever had?

Why didn't I tell her about my gorgeous £35 wedding dress?

.. or how about that I was only charged labour costs for the jewel bouquet due to the generosity  of my friends collecting pieces for me. My purple chiffon - £2 from the market and pressie feathers from another friend.

As I write, I'm wearing a very sunny dress (given to me for nowt by my friend the stunning and amazing comedian Leanne McKie - she's given me loads of clothes, lovely lady) and some bargain £20 DM dolly shoes from the factory outlet shop in Wollaston, saving probably £40 on the full price. Similar outfit to here in fact (only I am a squidge slimmer now). Most of my wardrobe is from the chazzas.

Then there was the stunning break I arranged to propose to OH in an Elizabethan manor house (because he's a sucker for romance), with afternoon tea, a ghost walk around Stratford upon Avon in the evening, a few hours in the spa and pool and a trip to Warwick Castle (including the tower) the next day? Thanks to Top Secret Rooms, buy one get one free ticket from collecting crisp packets and a perusal of the local 'what's on' site, I bagged all this and the man for £88.


How about all those fabulous trips to the theatre over the last year for between nowt and a tenner for me and OH? And how about paying NOTHING to go and see X-Men First Class and Anchorman 2 at the Picturedrome, NOTHING to go see The World's End at Cineworld (with chocolate wrappers) and just £3.50 for the pair of us to go see The Lego Movie on the Kids' Sunday Matinee (incidentally, it's awesome, very funny).

Some of the cool stuff to be had out there for little or nowt is for everyone and anyone to find. I would say, only take advantage of the stuff you know you will appreciate if it's a material object, there's a limited quantity, or if there's a cost. But if you're talking about a thing to experience, potentially a good memory for the future, why be a stick in the mud? Just go for it!

Speaking of which, here are some from this weekend. I went to see my university friends in Southampton. After we bid goodbye, I tried to get back to the train station. I got stupendously lost, but hey, Southampton has some cool historical stuff dotted about the city centre, from sections of the old city wall and castle, to the elaborate gate, gun dock, and a memorial to citizens who died in a terrible fire in the 1830s. Good exercise, taking in the sights. Also good for clearing hangovers. not that I get such things...

Big gate thing

Great Fire Memorial - or recycled church, if you will.

Castle gate, with gun docks

What was not so good for a hangover was the continued session that resulted from going to Northampton Music Festival the following day.

The festival site was the whole town

Surprised to see Avril Lavigne get such a low billing... perhaps that's why she didn't show. Maybe it was the shame from that awful Hello Kitty thing.
The view from the beer garden - which could be the title of a future biography, I like to think.

Two-string shoebox guitar and tea-chest combo at All Saints - I think this was Kenneth J Nash.

I believe this was Hannah Graham at BBC (Black Bottomed Club - Northampton College) stage, not Avril Lavigne.

These guys were pretty good - I think they were The Celebrities.

Brighton beach? No! It's the Summer Terrace at NN Cafe

King's Gambit - I'd always wondered what they sounded like. Folksy gutsy music. Very good.

Alan Lynn of NN Cafe creates a masterpiece of a salad with turkey, pear and blueberries.

Whilst many band members looked like extras from Mumford and Sons, the keyboardist of Sean Grant and the Wolfgang resembled Sherlock's arch villain Jim Moriarty.

Cousin Avi. A bit Jamiroquai/Maroon 5. Not really my thing, but the crowd loved them. Well, we can't all like Mumford and Sons, can we?
What an awesome weekend - prepare for repeat at the Northampton Food Festival on 4th and 5th July - free, with free tasters and voucher giveaways for local restaurants and shops. I hope there's some left on Saturday as that's the only day I can make it down.

Food-wise, I've been very lucky lady. Vouchers found on have got me a free Danio yoghurt, and a free sushi roll this week.

Taken on the bus. It's okay, I had the duck.
And I was lucky to get free tickets and a lift to the Good Food show last weekend, where I picked up some bargains and free goodies. Just like the shops, if you go round on the last hour on Sunday to make your purchases, the stall holders throw in some extras or make things even cheaper.

We had free Super Theatre tickets to see Tom Kerridge and Michael Caines.

Great displays in the Garden Show

This was part of an RHS garden commemorating the First World War.


My nephew, taking part in a free craft session to make a candle from real beeswax.

The haul! Mostly freebies. Total spend £7.60. The bag contains 2 fresh kippers for £1.60. Awesome.
Other freebies I've had this week include 2 free style magazines (I know, I'm stylish enough, right?), one for filling in a survey online, another was just left on a bus as litter. I'm not proud. I finished the free book I had from Galaxy chocolate - Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - and it was really good, I  recommend it. A nice blend of self-harming Southern Gothic, freaky families and a murder mystery to boot. Think Tim Burton does The Killing.

So, anyway, in this blog, which is essentially an exercise in over-sharing, it seems I am perhaps not sharing enough. You may be here looking for advice in grabbing bargains, but reading about what I have managed to find after the fact may be as useful to you as extra dentures would be to Luis Suarez. Even though I do hunt down more bargains than Tim Wonnacott (what do you mean "who"? The antiques fella. No, not the orange one, the one who dresses like Peter Davidson era Doctor Who), I am pro-mimalist spending; pro-local industries, pro high-street, pro-ethical shopping and all for paying the creator their due. These things do not always go hand in hand with being a bargainista.

Ah well, I can but try.

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