Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I've wanted a cosy shawl for around the house for a long time, and have also had a couple of balls of James Brett Marble Chunky hanging around for a couple of years. I'm also making an effort this year to use up some of my yarn stash. When I  saw this Stitch Sampler Shawl pattern it all came together. I don't think there is quite enough of the grey, so I ordered some more Marble Chunky in a grey/blue/sand mix that goes nicely with the other and I am alternating it for different sections of the pattern. I expect by the time I am finished the weather will be boiling and I'll be complaining about the heat rather than the chill but it will still be there when the evenings turn chilly again. 

Last year I took part in the Spring Knit Along on one of my favourite blogs, Crafts From the Cwtch. I made a Miss Winkle scarf, which I love and wear all the time. This year there is a Make Along to include crocheters, though I will still be knitting. Details are on the CFTC blog, along with some discount codes, and it start on Friday, so you still have time to join in. There's also a Ravelry group. I'm making a Settler Shawl, in Madelinetosh. The colourway I have is Courbet's Green. I've wanted to knit something in Madelinetosh for a long time. 

I'm reading We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler, which is unusual and rather intriguing. I'm enjoying it but can't work out where it's going yet. 

Joining Ginny and Frontier Dreams

Monday, April 13, 2015

That Was the Weekend

Our weekend:

:: sunshine 

:: fun and food with friends and family

:: shopping - not my favourite, but we had a nice lunch and we found towels we liked for our new bathroom, so that was a plus

:: a visit to lovely Leigh on Sea. It was very windy - hence my hair is all over the place and my eyes almost shut in the photograph - but the sun was shining and we wrapped up warm and had a nice walk around, looking at the boats and the tiny old houses 

:: afternoon tea in a nice little tea shop 

:: a walk around the ruins of Hadleigh Castle

Weekending with Karen 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Knitting and Reading

I finished reading Station Eleven and really liked it. I enjoy post apocalyptic tales for some reason, I think I like to scare myself about how easily and quickly society and all its infrastructure would break down. Cheerful stuff. The book followed several people over time from before the event and during life afterwards and ended positively. I really enjoyed it. 

I'm now reading The Miniaturist for my book group. The story is set in 17th century Amsterdam and the main character is a young girl who goes to live there after her arranged marriage to a businessman. She knows very little about her new husband and his household and there are a few mysteries. There is also a kind of magical sinister thread running through the book to do with a dolls house (giving nothing away) and I am looking forward to getting to the bottom of it. I only have a hundred pages or so left. The book group are planning to follow up with a visit to the Dolls House exhibition at the Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green. The museum is always good for a visit and this new exhibition looks interesting. 

This year (and last year, only this year I MEAN IT) I resolved to deal with some unfinished projects. So yesterday I decided it was time to pull out my purple poncho and coral cardigan and finally get both of them completed. The poncho just needs some sewing up. I love the yarn (James C Brett Marble Chunky), it is very warm and soft. The poncho is knitted as a series of different squares that are sewn together, and sometime I would like to use this yarn and knit a throw from the same squares for our living room. First I need to decide on a colour scheme for the room and decorate it. That's a whole other project! There's one sleeve to knit to finish the coral cardi, so I'm working on that now and then will sew it together. I'm looking forward to wearing it as it goes well with my coral sandals that I hope the weather will be warm enough for soon. 

Joining Yarn Along and Keep Calm Craft On

Friday, March 20, 2015


Awright here we go, today I'm totally gonna...

For Today... March 20th, 2015. Spring Equinox and partial eclipse (apparently)

Outside my window...grey skies all morning. Brightening up this afternoon, now it's too late to see the eclipse.

I am thinking...about lunch. Decisions, decisions. I fancy boiled eggs but we're having those for tea, something light on Friday evenings as we weigh-in tomorrow morning, not that I expect that will help as I've been far from a Slimming World Diva this week.

I am thankful...for my son who rang me yesterday as he thought he'd put something important in my kitchen bin and would I look for it. I spent a happy ten minutes getting my arms wet and smelly to no avail and then found the required item on the work surface this morning. I still love him.

I am purple fluffy dressing gown past lunchtime. I didn't really intend to, but I rushed downstairs this morning to see the eclipse and haven't gone back upstairs yet.

I am creating... dishcloths. I have a lot of part-balls of different coloured cottons and am amusing myself knitting stripes, and choosing the next colour from the bag without looking. Sometimes one must make one's own entertainment.

I am wondering...if I can't have boiled eggs, if it's acceptable to have crumpets for lunch when I already had them for breakfast. I'm sensing not.

I am reading... The Radio Times. My regular weekly Friday session of reading the interview at the back, the letters page and then going through the whole week's listings and setting up everything I want to record.

I am going... to buy myself daffodils.

I am hoping...the weather is nice at the weekend. The Prof has work to do on our new fence and I might just join him and tidy up out there. I'm sure I could do with the vitamin D.

I am learning...that I really do need to stay within my energy envelope, as they say. Overdoing it one day and then being unable to do anything for the next three, time and again, is hardly sensible. Five years down the line with ME/CFS/SEID/Whatever they're calling it now, you think I'd have learned that already.

In my garden...there are two little flowers on the very small Daphne I planted last year. The blueberry bushes are coming to life and my pot of lilies are starting to push up through the soil, there are so many as they multiply each year and I keep saying I'll repot them after they've flowered.  And as always at this time, I wish I had got around to planting daffodils last year. I even bought the bulbs and they're still languishing in the shed, I wonder if they'll still be okay to plant after a year.

In my kitchen... vegetable crisps, chocolate biscuits, pears. On the windowsill my Christmas/Easter cactus (it has an identity crisis) is in flower again.

A favorite quote for today... Bill Bailey, on twitter: 'feel left out of eclipse frenzy in W London so have draped a satsuma peel over my left eye'.

Linking today's post to Simple Woman's Daybook 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Knitting, reading

I'm knitting a baby blanket, my third time knitting this pattern. It looks quite pretty when it's finished and the lace edging has been sewn on, but knitting the main part is a huge garter stitch square and takes (me) forever. I'm not a very fast knitter!

For weeks I have been carrying the same book up to bed with me every evening, downstairs to rest beside me on the sofa during the day, and tucking it into my handbag when I leave the house. In about two weeks I have still only read 150 pages, I read that in a couple hours if I am enjoying a book. I wanted to like it; it's for my book group and others in the group have really liked it.  What I really don't like when I am stuck with a book I don't enjoy is that I'm barely reading at all, and I love to read.

I moved on and I'm now reading and enjoying Station Eleven. The story has a surprisingly gentle feel, though given the post-apocalyptic setting I am not sure if that will last! I've also been browsing through London Villages. I love that we live right on the doorstep and one of my favourite things is to drive into town on a Sunday and find somewhere that I've not been before to explore. Preferably involving cake and coffee. 

Joining Ginny and others for Yarn Along 

Friday, January 16, 2015

knit, purl, sneeze

I'm knitting a cowl for myself. I knitted it flat as I wasn't sure about the length I wanted and I'm still not, so I've stopped while I decide whether to sew the ends together now or knit more so I can wear it doubled. While I'm thinking, I've cast on a Chinese waves dishcloth (ravelry link) for my friend Lisa. I promised her dishcloths a while ago, and I'm seeing her Tuesday so I'd like to give them to her.

I'm reading Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie, the first of the books on which the series Grantchester is based. I'm enjoying it very much, and as I've already seen the first series I know what the characters look and sound like, which is nice. I don't like it the other way around, when I read a book then see the programme or film and all the characters seem wrong. I'm also reading Dave Ramsay's Total Money Makeover which I am enjoying less. I get stuck on his suggestion of saving three to six months's expenses before doing anything else. That's all very well, but we need to be saving for a car . While spending months or years getting that sort of money together together the bottom would likely fall out of our old car and we'd be running around like the Flintstones.

I have a cold so I'm not up to doing much today. I'll be writing a menu plan for the next week or so and a shopping list for the Prof to pick up on his way home from work. I think I'll do some knitting and sewing and watch the Downton Abbey Christmas Special.

Joining Ginny and friends for Yarn Along

Monday, January 12, 2015

that was the weekend

Hahn/Cock, by Katharina Fritsch, I love the madness of this in Trafalgar Square among all the grey London  buildings

Most weekends I try to have a mix of getting things done and having fun. This one was more fun and less doing the necessary. The housework didn't happen, but these things did:

:: I went to a cafe for breakfast with the Prof, the young Philosopher and Ms S

:: I made delicious soup for dinner, twice

:: I spent an afternoon in London with the Prof, visiting the (excellent) Rembrandt exhibition

:: I wore my new all-black Converse, which made me happy. It's the little things!

:: I made a decision to wear my 'best' coat whenever I feel like it. How daft is it to have a coat I love that's only been worn twice in the 18 months since I bought it?   
:: I knitted some more of my blue/green cowl 

:: I took lots of photos. Half the fun was carrying my camera around in my new mint Jo Totes Gracie camera bag, which is exactly the kind of handbag I like. Roomy, long strap, room for camera, book, notepad as well as purse, keys etc. I love it! 

It was a good weekend, except that my poor Prof has a cold. I'm hoping he feels better soon (also that I don't catch it!). 

Weekending with Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise and others

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

Today we visited the Rembrandt exhibition at the National Gallery. When we came out there was a large gathering of people in Trafalgar Square, demonstrating unity with the people who were murdered in France last week. There was a quiet, subdued atmosphere and many held up banners or mobile phones displaying the words 'Je Suis Charlie'. Some people held up pens or notebooks. The Prof left his pen with other tributes there and we stayed for a while before making our way home. We didn't know beforehand that this was happening today, but I'm glad we were there.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

It All Adds Up

Is it Spring yet? 

When I took down the Christmas cards, as usual I cut up any that were suitable to use as tags on presents next Christmas. This isn't very money saving, as tags are cheap, but I like to do it. It's nice to get another use from the cards and I like that they are all different, rather than the usual packet of tags. I've taken my birthday cards down today and will do the same with those.

Both EDF (our current electricity and gas supplier) and the MSE Energy club alerted me that I could save by switching. There were various options, including switching to another company to save £117 a year, but I chose to switch to another EDF tariff, as we are happy with their service, and the new company also had a £30 charge if you switch away from them within a year, which I never like.  We will save £60 over the year.

I cancelled my subscription to Country Living magazine. It expires in March and would be £30 for the next year. I'm not enjoying it like I used to and often find that two or three months of the magazine have piled up unread. 

I signed up to Abel and Cole's weekly vegetable delivery box scheme again, after receiving several vouchers from them that I can use over the coming weeks. In my first delivery I received a free tea towel and a bottle of organic extra virgin olive oil. In the coming weeks there are money off vouchers I can use, and a completely free veg box on the fourth week. 

How I didn't save money this week was by forgetting to go through a cashback site when I ordered myself some new clothes. That's £13 I could have made and didn't. I'm annoyed that I forgot, but pleased with the savings I did make this week. Over the next few weeks I'm planning to see where we can save in different areas. It's surprising the little changes that can make a difference, such as changing energy supplier or broadband provider (that's next on my list). 

I'm also hoping to reduce our grocery bill by about a third to a half without compromising on free range/organic meat as much as possible and probably continuing to receive our weekly organic vegetable box. Now there's a challenge. 

Friday, January 09, 2015

A New Year

My forsythia is in bud, I noticed the other day. I'm looking forward to it looking like this again very soon. 
Well, hello. It's been (cough cough) months since I wrote anything here and the longer I didn't, the less I seemed to have to say. Yet here I am, back. How are you?

So, what's new. The Prof has a new job that he started just before Christmas. He likes it much better than the last. The Young Philosopher started a degree in Anthropology and is thoroughly enjoying it (maybe I should change his pseudonym) and his lovely girlfriend S has been in a new job for a couple of months which she is enjoying, too. I am very happy that they're all happy.

And me? I feel like my New Year is off to a slow start. I have a list of to-dos in my head that's nine feet long, and somehow I spend time crossing things off but the list doesn't get any shorter. I was making plans for what I wanted to accomplish this year but then I got fed up because that  seemed like another lot of pressure so I stopped. I'll probably go back to it in the next weeks. I've been bullet journaling in the last few months, which helps me stay (semi) organised. It stops the noise in my head from completely overwhelming me at least, and I no longer lose my lists, because well, my moleskin bullet journal is a lot bigger than a scrap of paper. And it's pink.

I've been knitting and reading, but neither very much. I made a cowl for the Young Philosopher which he really likes, and as usual I forgot to take a photograph. I'll try and remember to get one. Now I'm knitting the same pattern for myself, and I've had a couple of request for dishcloths, so I'm working on those in between times. I've several unfinished projects I want to complete too, if only to get them off the to-do list! I read a good book recently - Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey. The story is written in the voice of Maud, an elderly woman with dementia, and her narrative goes back and forth between the present day and her youth, when her sister disappeared. I found it intriguing, sad and gently funny.

I'm glad I came back here, though I'm probably talking to myself. I expect you have given up on me! If you're reading - hello, and Happy New Year. I'll see you in a day or two.