Charity Shop Treasure Hunting- Holywood

Holywood's maypole

Holywood's maypole

Another instalment of charity shop visits, this time Holywood. They have about six or seven shops, and some vintage antique shops too. 

Its a nice little afternoon out too, with lots of quaint coffee shops, specialty delis, and independent boutiques. 

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Vintage My Little Ponies. I also spotted a Rugrats doll- the ginger one? I want to say Chuckie? 

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Lovely Irish linen

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Royal wedding stuff is uber kitsch collectible. Charles & Diana trays, plates, moneyboxes, etc. 

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More original packaging. Check out the top left suggestion of how to use your push-light. Fancy dinner time. 

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The following items, apart from the last, are all from an antique shop beside the maypole. They are priced up accordingly, so you will pay more than a charity shop price if you want to go buy anything I show. 

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I love the bird cage. It's a really big home interior trend to have bronze metal accessories, so this would be a show stopping centre piece of a room. There's even a bird in the cage.

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The pair of dogs is a classic kitsch decoration and they come in all colours. It's a 60s/70s 'every home has them' furnishing, like paintings of gypsy kids by Dallas Simpson, or three flying ducks on the wall. 

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And there's me! 

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Lastly, I like to finish with the weirdest thing I spot, like last week's Mona Lisa, so here she is! 

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Centra Go Back Stage in Vegas With Carl Frampton #LiveTodayNI

Pictured: Michael McCormack, managing director, Musgrave NI with Centra Live Well ambassadors, Jane McClenaghan (nutrition); Bridgeen Rea (mindfulness) and Johnny Davis (RunTogether).

Pictured: Michael McCormack, managing director, Musgrave NI with Centra Live Well ambassadors, Jane McClenaghan (nutrition); Bridgeen Rea (mindfulness) and Johnny Davis (RunTogether).

Centra has teamed up with Carl Frampton’s award-winning and highly respected boxing coach, Shane McGuigan, along with a top team of Ambassadors, to help inspire the people of Northern Ireland to Live Well Every Day.

The new Centra Live Well programme aims to educate and inspire consumers to make healthier choices and encourage communities across Northern Ireland get active.

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Get friendly with  Centra NI on Facebook and see the behind the scenes action with Carl Frampton in Vegas. Or follow them on Twitter to keep up to date with instore offers, competitions and giveaways.

Zany Illustrations & The Real Housewives Entertainment Paradox

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I love love love The Real Housewives. I've watched all of the Beverly Hills franchise, Miami, newer ones like Dallas & Auckland, but I've just finished a major five week binge of The Real Housewives of New York. 

I'm now right up to the end of season 8, ready for Hayu to screen season 9 in the next few months. 

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I spotted these hilarious illustrations of the ladies on  But Youre Like Really Pretty, where you can find lots of Kardashian content too. Strangely I don't watch the Kardashians, despite it being the Bible of reality tv shows. I tried to get into it but there wasn't enough fighting in it to entertain me.

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That leads me to my current problem. Something I call The Real Housewives Entertainment Paradox. 

I've finished RHONY, and next up is Orange County. Hayu has ten seasons, enough to keep me going for maybe two months.  

So why am I reluctant to start watching? Well, it's the fact that the earlier the Housewives season, the less drama and fighting there is. So whilst I've ten seasons to watch, the first four are going to be set in the mid 2000s and involve a lot of watching them go to the hairdressers and politely eat dinner with each other. 

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So why not skip ahead to season six or seven? Well there's a problem there too. When they do yell at each other, you haven't done your homework and don't know all the underlying tensions and alliances causing the ruckus to occur.  

So to fully enjoy the drama of later seasons, I have to do the homework and watch the earlier, slower seasons before they realised big viewing figures were brought about by making these women catfight as much as possible.

With Orange County I have another more personal problem. They are ALL blonde. I have slight facial blindness and find it hard to recognise people even if I've met them twice or three times in person- so put seven identical thin blonde women on screen and I have no idea why anyone is doing anything. 

So I'm going to have to just knuckle down and watch the boring, early seasons so I can get to enjoy the later seasons where one of their husbands pretends to have cancer etc.  

Life is tough, right?  

Want to chat Housewives? I'm @rudedoodle on Twitter. 

Post Script- I found a way to cheat. You can skip the first three seasons of RHOOC by just watching the reunions to get the round up of what little disagreements have happened between the ladies.  

M&S Balanced For You: A Refreshed Menu of Healthy Eating & its 3 for £10 Right Now

If you don't put on weight over Christmas, you haven't done the holiday season justice. The average person puts on half a stone, which can easily be shifted in January with careful watching of calories for a week or two. I never begin trying to lose this weight on January 1st. There are still so many left overs to indulge in, and boxes of sweets to work through. Once we get about two weeks into January and Smix is back at school, I can turn to losing the Christmas chub.

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A nice way to do it is with simple calorie counting and the Marks and Spencer Eat Well ranges. You watch for the sunflower symbol and know those ranges, including all the fresh fruit and veg, is a good choice for healthy eating sessions.

I usually skip breakfast and just have coffee, but when I'm trying to lose weight I actually add in this extra meal. It helps get your metabolism working and stops snacking cravings later on. M&S have these snazzy little on the go porridge pots, shown above, for £1. You can also buy packs of sachets of porridges for £2.50

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There are several healthy eating ranges at M&S. Count on Us is a low calorie range of typical meals made with less calories. Fuller Longer is a range of meals with ingredients specially picked to fill you up with good stuff.  

The range I chose from this week is Balanced for You. Again it focuses on keeping calories down, but also using great, healthier ingredients, so it's a bit of a mid way point between the previous two ranges. 

It also has a selection of fresh new dishes this January, and who can resist prawn & crab macaroni cheese? Hard to believe this can be used as 'diet food'.  

Lastly I chose Balanced for You for this post as the meals were all on 3 for £10 mix and match when I was in store on Monday. Means you can stock up on 6 meals to cover your whole week evening dinner for £20, taking one day a week off for dinner as a cheat meal. 

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So porridge for breakfast, Balanced for You for dinner, but what for lunch. When you are watching your weight soups are a great way to fill up at lunch. M&S are kings of delicious soups, and again their range just happens to be on offer, buy one soup, get the other half price. The beetroot soup is my favourite,  but I'm keen to try the crab bisque. 

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I'll let you know how my weight loss goes!

We Went to the Northern Ireland Sing Movie Premiere!

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Sing is the new animated movie from Universal, from the studios who bring us the Minions.  

Sing is part musical I suppose, as the characters perform dozens of well known pop classics during the story of a small theatre putting on a singing competition. 

The story itself is a tried and tested, feel good, overcoming adversity tale, with no shocking twists or modern edgy plot lines, but that's what makes it a great family film that even toddlers will be able to follow & fall in love with. 

Coincidentally Smix is obsessed with Koalas right now, and the lead character is the theatre owner koala Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey.

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Universal Ireland invited us along to the Northern Irish premiere on Sunday, at the Odeon in the Victoria Square complex in Belfast. 

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I think it was both our first times at a premiere, so it was very exciting to get on the red carpet! 

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We had such a good time, and loved the film itself too. There are screenings this weekend, so check your local listings, then the proper full release is on the 27th of January.  

So it's a great one to pencil in for half term. 

Lastly, I had to include this gif from the Magic Mirror, because it made me laugh so much when they printed it out. How to mortify your nine year old son in four easy steps!

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Charity Shop Treasure Hunting- Ards, Plus the Origins of The World of Kitsch

The World of Kitsch has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2009. I've had websites of my own since 2000/01, starting with digital camera photos of local gigs in Belfast, updating twice or three times a week as I bounced around partying in my early 20s. 

My gig photo website logo  

My gig photo website logo  

That also took on a form of its own with batches of photos of nights out being uploaded, this was before the times where a club would have a designated photographer taking crowd pics to have you cringe at the day after. My photos still made people cringe, but the site got a ton of hits, with its apt headline, "Like the Tatler, but full of wretches".  

If you want to nosy,  parts of that old site are still working.

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In 2007 I got married & had Smix, and wasn't drinking or going out any more, so my online presence stilted. 

Then my old flat mate Ron suggested I start a blog, I think after seeing some of my charity shop purchases that week on MySpace, or early Facebook, or whatever I was using at the time. 

So he helped me chose Posterous, and set up The World of Kitsch, and now I had a place to post the photos of the weird stuff I bought for my house.

Then however, the blog took off in a different direction, and I was lucky to begin to work with brands and feature products outside the realm of second hand goods.  

The other factor limiting charity shop posts was that I ran out of room in my home to display any more junk. 

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However in the summer there I found this corner cabinet, which I knew I could squeeze into my home, and I have yet to fill it. So I decided to try to keep true to the early blog, I'll be including some more charity shop hunting posts, picking one town at a time to pillage. 

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Today I visited Ards. It's a great place to charity shop for two reasons. 

The first is the sheer number of shops, there's at least ten. The second is that there are independent charity shops, which means they tend to have more old fashioned junk, which is what I'm after. 

The best two are the Elim store and the Assisi shop. 

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There's also a really great Oxfam, which is excellent for clothing. 

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The Elim has stuff decades old, as well as a treasure trove of books to scour, novels and hard back information books. I filled out my Childcare collection a bit more from their shelves. 

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I didn't actually buy anything today, but I did stand staring at this cabinet pondering was there anywhere I could fit just one more of these in my house.  

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£40 is a really decent price for one of these display cabinets, and this one is a good size too. It was in the independent charity shop opposite Knotts. 

Lastly, Ards even had a version of the Mona Lisa! 

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My Top Picks From This Sneaky Peek at What's Ahead For Spring/Summer 2017 at IKEA Belfast

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Your living room never looks so bare as the day you take down your Christmas tree and pack away the wreaths, candles, ornaments and holiday fixings. It's the time of year you feel like refreshing your living spaces, and even in rental properties you can switch things up thanks to the availability of fabulous and reasonably priced interior pieces from IKEA. There's no need to have to paint the walls or go through the hassle of wallpapering, you can create a fresh new feel to a room with the right soft furnishings and furniture.

Personally, I've set my sights on our small bathrooom to be the target of my January makeover spirit. 

We have a shower cubicle, sink, toilet & one wall mounted cupboard. My plan is to give the room a new look with a new bath mat & towels, but also to introduce some house plants & ferns in the space beside the shower which is currently just an empty space. I also want to buy hanging pots to layer down the outside of the shower cubicle. In my mind I'm picturing a tropical rainforest, so let's see how that one turns out! 

As well as the bathroom, I'm hoping to pick up some other bits & bobs on our trip to IKEA Belfast this weekend. They shared with me a sneak peek at products that will be appearing in stores in spring and the summer ahead. 

There are a number of special collections, but the one that jumped out at me was 'Fine Geometric'. There's a mid-century feel to the products with definite Eames' style inspirations.

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Digital Wave also has retro futuristic touches, and how could I resist that rainbow cabinet? I also love the deep, bottle green throw (7), and vivid, Barbie pink candlestick (9). 

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Again IKEA has partnered with a fashion designer, this time Kit Neale, to produce the eclectic SPRIDD range. There's a Vivienne Westwood feel to parts of the collection, with orbs aplenty. 

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It seems a lifetime away, but the SPRIDD collection has the items to make you the most fashionable festival goer this summer. Bright colourful picnic ware can be used by families as well as music festival campers, and you wouldn't be able to miss that tent amongst a sea of other campers.

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SPRIDD also reminds me of Moschino's pop art, bold patterned looks. 

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So so so Vivienne Westwood

So so so Vivienne Westwood

So there's lots to look forward to in  IKEA Belfast and other stores this spring. In the meantime I'll be the one pushing a trolley packed with ferns this weekend!

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Belfast Drag Queen Blu Hydrangea Brings a Tattooed Pin Up Vixen by NI Art Scene King Terry Bradley to Life. You HAVE to See This.

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I've been a massive RuPaul Drag Race fan for a good number of years now. I watch it & indulge in my hobby on my lonesome.

Alaska 5000 & our very own Blu

Alaska 5000 & our very own Blu

My ex-husband hated it, I can't yet watch with my son because he's nine, and it's still a bit crude for his ears. He does however watch top ten catwalk look type videos on YouTube with me, and his favourite is Alaska, even with only seeing her outfits. He can spot her in any line up.

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So it's quite sad I've yet to make it to any drag show, when there is a healthy scene in Belfast centring around Boom Box and their cast of spunky, young queens. All the RPDR alumni tour here, all my favourites like Alyssa, her Haus of Edwards, but I've never made it to a show. I might take the plunge and go see Bianca Del Rio in February, in the Waterfront, but I'll be on my own for that too.

Blu at work

Blu at work

Anyway, I try to support local queens by liking their pics on Instagram where I can. This week I was blown away when I spotted Blu Hydrangea's Terry Bradley tattoo girl look. 

Terry Bradley is a NI artist and you may have spotted his work in local bars, restaurants and around the Sailor Town quarter where the Rotterdam bar was. 

There is even a turiorial on Blu Hydrangea's YouTube. I think she's one to watch in the coming future- especially with the fact Johnathan Ross has bought rights to make RPDG UK. 

Follow Blu on Instagram for weekly unreal looks.

All images belong to Blu Hydrangea

All images belong to Blu Hydrangea