Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Christmas: Done!

Sorry about the long radio silence. I started my new job a couple of weeks ago and I have been busy trying to stay awake in the evenings! Also, most of the knitting was for Christmas pressies and I didn't want to spoil any surprises!

So, first up, here are my Christmas hats:

Stripy hats for cousins Jonny and Christopher

Beaded hat for cousin Laura

Pink hat for cousin Lizzie

Black hat for SIL Jenny

The hats all seemed to be a hit as they were all put straight onto heads and worn for much of the day! Hoorah! I told Jonny I will gladly make him more hats if he wants them as he was so pleased with his.

Walking socks for Dad

Phill and I went back to Reading for Christmas. Naturally, the day before we planned to drive North, record breaking snow fell in Reading, causing total gridlock and impassable roads (well done, Reading Borough Council... leaving the footpaths ungritted for 4 days was genius!) This meant that if we wanted to get home as planned (and I did as it was the Sticks and Strings Christmas party on Tuesday) we had to get the train. This was an interesting experience as we had to travel separately from two different places, Phill from Portsmouth and me from Chichester. Phill had to take the cat with him! Several changes later as we were home.

Thanks to my secret Santa for my fabulous sewing and baking goodies!

On Wednesday, I went out to play in the snow but by that point it was just pretty ice and wouldn't be formed into anything other than a pile so no snowman for me :(. I cheered myself up by taking lots of pictures of the snow. Here are a few of my favourites!

My parents' back garden

Mum's gnome

Chilly bird house

The Red Kite flew into my view finder =)

We had a lovely Christmas. On the day itself we went to visit my Dad's family at my Grandparents house near Evesham. Then, on Boxing Day we drove down to Cornwall to visit Mum's family. It was very nice to see everyone.

I got some lovely presents including Christmas socks with bells on, loads of lovely chocolate and alcofrollic goodies and these button kits from Sue. I am looking forward to having a go at making my own buttons!!

In my "stocking", there was a box of Ferrero Rocher. As I was looking at them, I realised something was wrong... there were c ouple of missing! It turns out Santa got a little peckish during the wrapping process =)

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and I wish you all the best for 2010!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Friday, 4 December 2009

What have I done?

I have just registered for the Great North Swim. Along with Charlotte and Simon (and Dave for support), I will swim a mile along Lake Windemere next September. I will have to wear a wetsuit! And do some training. It fits in well with the whole weight loss resolution for next year which is good.

Charlotte is going to do all four of the swims (North, Scotland, East and London), Simon is going to do three of them and Dave and I will be doing just one. We are hoping to raise £2500 for Barnardo's, who work with children to help them realise their potential, no matter their background. We have a Just Giving page so if you would like to sponsor us, please click the link to donate and thank you!

You can also keep up with what we are doing on our fancy pants blog that Simon set up.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Random Thursday

She's a princess! Anna came to visit us in our new house this week. We had a fabulous time involving the Spinnaker Tower, shopping, Chinese takeaway, wine, buttons, an enormous puddle (and associated wellies) and fancy toasted sandwiches in Chichester.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Remembering Andy

Today would have been my friend Andy's birthday. He would have been 33. Unfortunately, he will remain 30 forever as he died suddenly in 2007 from a pulmonary embolism.

I am reminded of his birthday by Facebook. I still haven't removed him from my friends, nor will I. He is also still in my mobile phone address book, despite this being about the third phone since his death.

The Facebook message tells me to "write on his wall". I won't. Because he won't read it. But I am thinking of him today.

That's Andy on the left. This picture was taken on New Year's Eve about 5 years ago. We were in Edinburgh for Hogmonay and to collect money for Cancer Research. I wish I could remember what we were laughing at but this is how I like to remember him. He was a miserable old bastard with an excellently twisted sense of humour. He would be very angry at me for writing this post.

Friday, 27 November 2009

New House, New Life

Last week, Phill, Mani, Moosey and I moved to Portsmouth in order for me to take up my new post as a Speech and Language Therapist in Chichester. It was a bit of a major operation as we were moving an entire house worth of stuff. It needed a truck and everything!

Our new house is fabulous. It's very similar to our old house except that it's actually been looked after and has sensible landlords. They sent us a card to welcome us!! They came over on Wednesday to fix something in the living room and it was really nice to meet them. They are nice and will actually do the things we need doing. There are no plug sockets hanging off the wall and no hole in the roof, unlike the house in Reading. Hoorah!

I've written a letter to Romans to let them know exactly what I think of them. Hopefully they will get the message and maybe not send prospective tenants round without warning the current ones next time =)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Radio Silence

Tomorrow is the Big Move. Phill and I are moving to Portsmouth as I have a job in Chichester and he is transferring to Fareham branch of D&A. It is very exciting although I am al little worried about the big lorry trying to get down our road!

Tomorrow out internet will be turned off and won't be reconnected until Friday so please, entertain yourselves until then. I will try and take lots of pictures in an attempt to relax about the lorry situation!

Also, Mani has gone on his holidays to my parents house for the week so he is out of the way for the grand clean. He's only been gone an hour and I miss him already :(

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Spinning Weekend

Last weekend, I went with Felix and Liz to Beech Hill Farm in East Sussex. Beech Hill Farm is owned by Felix's friend Julia and we stayed in "The Studio", a converted barn with a lovely wood burning stove and cosy kitchen and bedrooms.

The Studio

The view up the lane to the road

We arrived in the dead of night on Friday so Liz and I did not know what the area around the farm looked like. It was also raining so we holed up in front of Autumn Watch and commenced the knitting.

Later, Felix needed something from the car and when she came back inside, she announced that there were stars. And boy, were there stars! The sky had completely cleared and as we were in the country, we could see many more stars than are visible in town. If the moon had not been so bright, we would have seen many more.

I was sad that I had left my star chart at home but I was able to identify the Plough, the North Star, the Seven Sisters (I think), Orion and Cassiopeia. There was also a very bright star and another which was slightly reddish which I wondered were planets or maybe satellites.

While were outside, we heard three Tawny Owls which we had just learned about from Autumn Watch. Later, Liz reported our 'hearings' to the Tawny Owl Survey.

The view from the studio

On Saturday, we woke to the sound of Sheep. Julia keeps a flock of Wensleydales which we met a couple of while they were being fed. After a breakfast of porridge made by Felix, we headed off to a local farm shop where we bought provisions for dinner, including sausages made on the farm.

A Wensleydale Lamb

The Wheels

In the afternoon, Wendy came to teach us to spin. While Liz and I are confident spinners with our own wheels, Felix had never used a wheel to spin before. Wendy brought some Black Romney fleece from another local farm and it was great to be able to experiment and not worry about how my yarn was turning out without using up any of my limited fibre stock at home. I managed to spin some fabulous thick yarn on a special wheel, the Country Spinner which has a weighted wheel and is designed for spinning thick yarn.

Country Spinner

It was difficult to get the hang of though so I went back to my own wheel and the finer yarn I am happier with. Felix very much got the spinning bug and in the evening after dinner, we all sat and span while watching the X Factor.

Felix learning to spin

On Sunday, after packing everything back into the car, we headed off to Lewes and after a wander around town in some fabulous shops, we stopped at the Needlemakers for lunch and a poke round the shop. Disappointingly, the fabric shop was closed but this was probably a good thing for my wallet! In the basement was an Alladin's Cave of bric a brack and antiques. There were books, clothes, niknaks, and best of all, haberdashery items.

Tins and packets from the 40s and 50s

I was a little worried to find items that I remembered from my childhood amongst the antiques. I could have quite happily spent the whole day down there poking around in all the nooks and crannies. I came away with an Enid Blyton book on tape (The Sea of Adventure which I read as a child), a pretty darning mushroom for my socks and a set of hideous patterns for knitting jumpers with giant Muppet faces on them.

Knitting goodies

It was fabulous to spend the weekend with Liz and Felix. It was very relaxed and much good food was eated in great company.

A carved seat covered in mushrooms

Friday, 6 November 2009

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Rugby avec Guiness

Today, I went to help the BCC collection at the Madejski Stadium in Reading. London Irish were playing Leicester and I drank guinness from a plastic cup with a plastic lid through a straw. Classy am I! I have a picture but it is on my phone and my computer won't let me upload from my phone :( so I am stealing pictures from Simon's phone. Here is Jenny with our guinness:

Also, Jenny and I knitted at the game.

Also, I accidentally went on Etsy and bought fabric.

Also, tomorrow we are going to Tiggers and we are going to attept Bacon Jam and Bacon Cookies.

Also, I have had the best part of a bottle of wine =)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Random Thursday 4

A London Bus on Westminster Bridge. Tonight I am off to London as tomorrow is Wear It Pink for the Breast Cancer Campaign and I will be stood in Holborn Underground station all day, dressed as a pink fairy, collecting cash. I hope to beat last year's £925. Wish me luck!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

Yesterday, Phill and I went down to the South coast to see where we will be living. We started off with a wander round Chichester where I will be working and then drove round Havant.

We stopped off at the beach at Hayling Island and had some delicious fish and chips and builder's tea in a caff on the beach.

It had a proper greasy spoon menu and I envisage a lot of time on the beach eating fried stuff with chips and tea!

(click me to zoom in)

We spent the afternoon in Portsmouth where it looks like we'll be moving to as it is much more affordable. The seafront has been redeveloped and the area around the Spinnaker and Gun Wharf Quays was really nice! I am quite looking forward to moving to live by the sea!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Random Thursday 3

Give a cat a box, he will sit in it. No matter his size!

This is a black leopard in the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. He seems to like his box!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Excuse me...

... Where did you get that bag?

What? This one?

With the little handle?

And the fabulous lining?

Well, it used to be this one: (picture by Ginger Rob)

But it was knackered. So I made it into something else. Anna bought me this bag and it has served me well for several years but the handles were splitting and the corners were wearing off so it was time for it to be replaced. I followed this tutorial with a couple of mods from here

And yes, I did make my own bias binding. =D

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Here is my Chicago Yarn Haul. I went a bit mad in the shop but a bunch of it is for Christmas presents so it's not as bad as it looks.
The bag at the back was a gift from the shop, Loopy Yarns in Chicago for joining their mailing list.

Look what Felix brought me!

This is soon to become many different pumpkin based yumminesses (new word!) including ravioli, stew, pilaf and pasta sauce. Nom nom nom!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Blocking Miracles

I am back from Chicago and pics and news will follow once I have sorted through the pictures. I am sure you don't want to see all 200 odd!

I recently knitted a small shawl/scarf thingy. It is lace and lace looks like crap until you block it which opens up all the holes so you can see the pattern properly.

Here it is before it was blocked:

And here it is after (Mani is helping!)

The pattern is the Forest Canopy (Ravelry link).

Monday, 21 September 2009

Radio Silence

I am off to Chicago for a week to get away and see Rachel. Hoorah!