Monday, 22 December 2014

It's just not like me......

I'm feeling organised for Christmas and it is a confusing feeling.
I am a person that is found frantically wrapping presents at midnight on Christmas Eve....always.
But... I have all the presents (other than my husband's) wrapped and his will be done today.

Yesterday I finished the blanket that I have been crocheting for the last God knows how many months, so that is ready to be a Christmas present.  This is it in all its glory

I have never been in this position before.....  Do you know I may be able to enjoy Christmas Eve, with my feet up and a glass of mulled wine in hand and I'm not even sure how that happened.

I'm just glad that it has. 

Hope you all enjoy your Christmas x

Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas arrives at our house

My daughter has instigated a tradition of inviting a friend to decorate the house at Christmas.

They get all the stuff out of the loft.
They place the decorations on the tree,
 in roughly the same place as they were last year (weirdly).
They place every single ornament we've ever bought on the hearth.
They trail tinsel all over and leave glitter on everything they touch.
And they chatter away while I keep out of the way.
When they're done they pack up
and I drive the friend back home.
But... they leave the mantelpiece.
That's all mine.


Friday, 5 December 2014

Lovely, lovely Reeth

Last weekend I was in Reeth. 

Reeth was on the Tour de France route and is a lovely little village high up in the Yorkshire Dales. 

We travelled through in July, after the Tour had passed, when we spent a glorious day following the route from Skipton.  On that day this was the view on the green in the centre of the village.  It is a popular walking destination.

On that day a brass band was playing and we sat on the rug
with an ice cream and enjoyed the sunshine.  Bliss.
I felt completely carefree that day.
So when I was deciding what I wanted to do for my birthday I decided a cottage in Reeth was where I wanted to be.  So a cottage was booked, booze and clothes were packed, best friend was invited and the school training day fell perfectly to allow a long weekend.
It was a good choice.  The weather was murky for 2 days.  This was the road over Buttertubs in July, in November that entire view was mist and fog, so no good photos. 

But then on Sunday the sun came out.  We had booked my daughter and her friend in at the Forbidden Corner.  We weren't sure whether to join them but decided that we would do and were soooooo glad that we did.  It is really good fun, if you are ever in the area it is worth a look (you need to book ahead and can't just turn up).  In some places it is properly scary, but in all places it is good fun.
I came back with aching legs (steps at Forbidden Corner)
Aching tummy muscles (from laughing)
Tight jeans..... (too much good food)
Slight headache (too much fizz)
That's got to be a good birthday..... hasn't it??

It's Curtains for You...

These are the curtains that were in a little house in France near where we stayed in the summer.
Every time I walked past they made me happy.
I loved the fabric.  This is it close up.......

Isn't it lovely?
I just thought I would share a bit of loveliness with you, hope you like.

Thursday, 27 November 2014


Yesterday was my birthday.
It is the only day that I get all my own way from start to finish.
I get hugs from the teenage daughter whenever I want them.
I get a happy family who stop arguing the second that I ask.
I get cups of tea made for me. 
My birthday is always a lovely day.....

Such a shame they only happen once a year......

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Knitting a Family Tradition

I wanted to write a little bit about my current knitting project as there was a special reason for this project, which is to do with family.

My Dad's family have always lived abroad, they moved to New Zealand before I was born.  His Mum, Dad, two brothers and two Aunts all emigrated.  Obviously my Dad didn't go and I'm speculating that was because he had just got married and had a good job.

So we didn't see much of his family, in fact I never met my Grandad.  But, Grandma would come over from time to time and when she did she would knit things for me and my sister.  I still have a poncho and some of the dolls clothes she knitted for me.

My Great Aunt Lily, Grandma's sister, was the person who taught me to knit and crochet. 

Earlier this year my Grandma reached 100 years old. 

This is Grandma at her party at the retirement village where she lived in Australia.  My Dad and my Step-Mum went over and she had a great time surrounded by her family and friends.  She was even in the local paper.

Unfortunately not long after her birthday her health deteriorated and she died in September.  She had a long and happy life and so I am not sad, only sad that I didn't know her better.

Not long after she died my cousin, who I have never met, gave birth to a baby boy and so I decided that I would like to knit a blanket for the baby.  It seemed like a nice thing to do and I felt it gave me some connection to the family and particularly to my Grandma.

As the blanket is nearly finished I contacted my Aunt and told her what I was doing and asked where to send the blanket to. 

My Aunt was thrilled as she doesn't knit and told me Grandma had got the ladies together where she was living and they used to knit constantly, beanies for the troops in Afghanistan, items for the local children's hospital and baby items galore.  But my favourite of all; she liked to crochet "knee blankets for the elderly".

You've got to love the spirit of a woman at 100 years old making items for the elderly, apparently it was said without irony as she never saw herself as old. 

I'm hoping I have some of her spirit and humour when I get to that age.........

Friday, 14 November 2014

The view from my office

The view from my office is generally uninspiring.

Where I sit at my desk I can see the top of some shortened poplar trees, the end of a warehouse roof and sky, quite a lot of sky.  Today the sky is grey, flat and heavy.

Next door to where I work they erect stage scaffolding and all sorts of removable structures for festivals and stage shows.  Sometimes my view is of some enormous structure, which usually looks like a stage and I wonder who will be playing on it in the future.

This week the view was made more interesting by the introduction of this......

I rushed outside to take a couple of closer photographs.  It is difficult to get a perspective on how big he was (I'm saying 'he' but it could have been a 'she').  If you look at the bottom of the photo above you can see a fence post, so that gives some indication.

Later in the day Bear moved into the sky, and then as the sun started to descend he changed colour, to blue then bright pink and finally green.
Unfortunately my little phone camera couldn't cope with the fading light and I couldn't get a photograph.  He looked lovely all lit up and when I left work he had a soft green glow.
I was looking forward to seeing him when I returned to work the following day.  
But he was gone.
It was strange the amount of joy that massive Bear brought to me and others at work and it is hard to explain the disappointment I felt the next day every time I looked out of the office window.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Colourful Crochet and some Knitting

Apologies for the quality of the photos but here are some of the
items that have been on my hook....... and needles
My Granny Stripe and the start of my crochet journey
My colourful squares car blanket.

My Elmer squares baby pram blanket using the pattern
from this lovely blog
I love the colours of this and the best thing was I didn't have
to think 'random' because it was rainbow stripes.

My ripple baby cot blanket, again using Lucy's pattern 
(but not the coastal colours, just what was in my stash)
I should have taken a photo of this in good light but the baby
 was imminent so I had to get it packed up and handed over.

My chunky sampler picnic blanket which is still a WIP...
Inspired by Little Woollie blog

And finally my knitted baby blanket.
I made the pattern up.
No reason for this other than I am showing off...... there, I've said it.

Monday, 3 November 2014

I'm too old for this.....

This weekend we decided to do a bike ride. And we went at it hell for leather.

I can't remember the last time I got on my bike, but I have to say that despite it languishing in the garage for ages...... I bloody love my bike. 

I got it about three year's ago and it is a sit up and beg style but with 21 speed gears.  It is a 'comfort hybrid' and it is comfortable.  Very.

When I was younger I did a lot of mountain biking, proper stuff on proper trails with pumped thighs and a seat that I barely sat on.  But times have changed and now I sit on the saddle which is designed to accommodate you sitting on it.

We cycled from the North end of Bridlington, past Sewerby, to the North bay at Flamborough.  When we got there we couldn't go down to the bay because they had just been filming the new Dad's Army film down there.  So we sat at the top, ate our lunch and enjoyed the day.

Realistically when we got there I had had enough. 
About 6 miles of rolling hills on legs that were not used to cycling is about enough.
But of course once there you have to get back...... bother......
So we cycled back on the road,
into the head wind
and when we got back my legs were like jelly and my knees were killing me!
But this was the view in the late afternoon sun looking towards
where we had just cycled, even though I felt old and knackered
I did feel like I'd achieved something....
And we had really enjoyed the day out.......
So the question is... am I really too old for this?

Friday, 31 October 2014

The colour of Autumn leaves

It is warm here today and so I decided to sit outside for lunch at work.

Where I sit is fairly uninspiring, but it is green and I can enjoy the sun which shines directly onto the picnic bench in the shade of the gatehouse.

While sitting there just listening to the day go by and re-setting my brain ready for the afternoon I noticed the leaves on the grass.  Lots of leaves but some in the most gorgeous colours, I did a bit of a collection to share....


This was on the bottom of my shoe......

How uplifting it is to sit on an October day, the end of October at that, in the hazy sun enjoying these colours. 

 The just before I went in a breeze came and scattered them back to the grass and I returned to my desk revitalised by the warmth and the colour of the day.


Tonight is Halloween.
I have not carved a pumpkin.
I have not bought synthetic cobwebs.
I have no fancy dress outfit.
I am not organised......
But I have got sweets, in packets, ready for the children on our estate.
I'm hoping they will be suitably dressed for the occasion, even though I will not.
I can't wait.....

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wear it Pink.... I can do that

I love Wear it Pink day, it fits with my wardrobe, does not involve any particular exertion and raises money for a good cause, Breast Cancer Campaign.

This year I decided to bake some buns to raise additional cash.  I am not a baker, not at all, but I decided I must have a go.  So last night I baked coffee buns and on the morning of the event.... yes the morning .... I got up and iced them.

So this is they.... they turned out ok and I even got a retweet from @BCCampaign for them.    PROUD or what?

There were 12, but one got pinched by my daughter......
This was the selection on Reception at work ready to raise money - pink vanilla buns with secret jammy blob and lovely cake stands supplied by one of our resident expert bakers, Sophie.

And this is us all dressed up......

Looking Good Doing Good I think........ we raised an amazing £376!  Not bad for a small organisation!


Monday, 20 October 2014

Last weekend.... now what did I do?

Question from my Mum, what did you do at the weekend?

It was Wednesday and I had completely forgotten.  I think I did something on Saturday but I can't remember what. 

Mum then goes on to tell me about how long she spent on the phone to the credit card company telling them that you don't spell 'Jennifer' with two n's....... oh wait you do.  She is reminded of this after some time on the phone and has to apologise profusely to the person at the other end who is about to change her name on her card.  It's genetic.

So I looked at my camera and remembered that on Saturday I was at the Superleague Grand Final.  It was a day out, on a bus, with lots of other people..... how did I forget that? 

This was the view from our seats.

Not bad.  I enjoyed the atmosphere more than Wembley.  Being at a game where you don't actually support either team is much more relaxing.  I didn't get a single headache.

On Sunday I went to a vintage fair and got this fantastic glass vase..... bowl..... bon bon thing for £3.

Three quid....I'd spend more than that on  a magazine.  Absolute bargain.  And it is lovely and quirky and looks like proper blown glass at the top.  Rubbish photo but you get the idea.

Finally when I got back from the fair and getting the car washed I found that Husband had been to the supermarket and brought me flowers.  I like him... a lot.

The colour of these is really lovely.

So I did do something at the weekend.... thank God for phone photos. 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Me and Barbara Hepworth (part 1)

This weekend I visited the Hepworth in Wakefield.  It has been described by the Times as one of the greatest galleries in the world.... indeed an achievement. 

I loved it for many reasons but there is one reason that resonated with me...... Barbara Hepworth was a collector of pebbles.

This is a quote from her which is on the wall of the exhibition - I have typed it out because the photo I took was blurred:
'Many people select a stone or a pebble to carry for the day. The weight and form and texture felt in our hands relates us to the past and gives us a sense of a universal force. The beautifully shaped stone, washed up by the sea, is a symbol of continuity, a silent image of our desire for survival, peace and security’ Barbara Hepworth 1961
And in a drawer in the exhibition space were these beautiful pebbles....
There were shiny ones and not so shiny ones and when I looked at them I could see the links to her work, to that organic form and shape.

It is just a pity you cannot hug the exhibits to make that connection, to feel their weight, form and texture.

I'll just have to make do with the little pebble in my own pocket.... This is the link to the Hepworth's website but I really do recommend a visit if you are in or around Wakefield; parking is opposite, well sign posted and although it is £4.50  the Hepworth itself is free - donations are of course welcome.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Me and Barbara Hepworth (part 2)

A trip to the Hepworth Wakefield on Saturday. 

I loved it for several reasons.
These haunting figures in an exhibit by Alexandra Bircken.
Made from leather they were very realistic - this photo is a bit rubbish and doesn't do it justice.  the second is better.
These ships made by Folkert de Jong.
Part of an exhibition that was again slightly spooky. 
The way some of the exhibits were staged and lit was particularly good, and the detail of these ships was incredible.

And then there is the Barbara Hepworth part, this is one of the galleries.  (The irony is I passed beneath the winged figure on the recent trip to London as it is above the door of John Lewis on Oxford Street, which was the first shop we went in.)  I did actually notice it at the time... honest.

I thoroughly recommend a visit and on the way out don't forget the café,
coffee, cake and food all excellent.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Dancing the night away with Sophie

We went to see Sophie Ellis Bextor at Holmfirth Picturedrome.

You can see from the photograph just how close you can get to the stage.... almost touching distance.  We queued up to get in early, but not for the front row, no we headed for the seats on the balcony. 

I was sat on an office style chair, husband was sat on a wedding reception style chair and there were at least a couple of dining chairs up there.  Brilliant.

Now not only is Sophie beautiful to look at that girl can sing.... and dance...... in sparkly high heel shoes.  They played songs from Wanderlust, her new album, which were beautiful as well as a special rendition of True Faith by New Order. Gobsmackingly good.

The band's encore was a selection of disco.  I danced and danced and then right at the end Sophie sang a song from just below us on the lower balcony.  As she sang she turned and looked right at us and waved.

I had to stop myself from bursting into tears.  It was a wonderful night in a great venue.

And they serve Timothy Taylors - result!

Friday, 26 September 2014

A Weekend in London

I can't remember the last time I went to London, well I can but it was ages ago.

This weekend I went with friends on the train and stayed over so that we could visit the Handmade Fair.

The best bits...

Getting an Oyster card - made me a proper London person

 Liberty - even though someone was wandering round with a dog.....just a dog not even a Guide Dog.  And it had a swishy tail that was perilously close to the Christmas ornaments....

Savile Row, peering into the basement workshops and this Porsche parked there (nice)

Sitting in our hotel room in pyjamas discussing the day with a bottle of wine and crochet in hand (obviously no picture of this bit).
Hampton Court grounds and the sun shining on us at the Handmade Fair on Sunday

Making a memory wire bracelet (although not enough time to get the colours right, it's too dark)

The stations in London - Kings Cross and St Pancras are sooooo different from the last time I visited, just look at this amazing structure..

The slightly weird bit.......
Yes that is the Very hungry Caterpillar.  And the apple.
So all in all a good weekend and I managed to crochet an entire scarf... it was going to be called my Hampton ...... but then something clicked in my head....... arghhh, we'll go with it as my London scarf.
The thing is, it was remarkably easy. So having done this once and enjoyed it so much, I might just want to do it again...... quite soon.