Monday, 20 February 2017

Unravel, Welford Park and Other Bits and Bobs

Good morning! I hope you all had, or are having, a wonderful, relaxing half term. It seems strange now that E is at uni not to have one as I used to love those mid term breaks. I've had a jolly week of my own, however, with my first trip to Unravel, our annual trip to Welford Park to see the snowdrops, a quick trip to Oxford to see L and a few crafty bits and bobs. I apologize in advance for what is a rather photo heavy post! Here goes:
On Friday I set off for Unravel - the festival of knitting held at the Maltings in Farnham. I had been to the Maltings once before when E was acting in a Shakespeare play there, so it was vaguely familiar. I arrived early and was lucky enough to get a space in the car park. I was then able to sit and work on my socks until it opened, whilst watching the drama of the car park unfold before me. It filled up quickly and instead of being designed in a nice convenient circuit it ended in a cul-de-sac, which meant that everybody worked their way hopefully to the end and then had to either do a three point turn or try to reverse out again with a queue of cars behind them. Most people were patient but occasionally tempers frayed! 

The festival itself was wonderful with lots of stalls, talks and workshops. I was thrilled to meet Amy from the Stranded Dyeworks podcast and she was just as sweet as she seems onscreen. I was too embarrassed to ask for a photo but I did make a couple of purchases from her glorious stall.

I looked round all the stalls but it was very crowded by that point, so I was happy to leave with my goodies and bequeath my parking space to a very grateful lady. Just because I like seeing what other people buy, here are my Unravel acquisitions:
 A new project bag from Emerald. The colour isn't showing up very well in the photo, it's actually a brighter green than it appears.
 2 skeins of sock yarn from Stranded Dyeworks - Mint Imperial on the left and Industrial Kingfisher on the right. Looking at them I think they'd go together very well in a Find Your Fade shawl.
 A circular needle for a new project that I'm about to start, some needle end stoppers and a couple of pairs of vintage needles:
Despite the crowds and parking difficulties, I would definitely go again next year.
Other happies this week include:
My trip to Oxford to see L and lunch in Wasabi. I can thoroughly recommend their veggie noodle soup.
We pottered round the covered market and spent a while watching the cake decorators working:

Back home, it had been a while since I had done any sewing and I felt the urge to get my machine out and make a mini quilt/table mat with my scraps of fabric:

Then on Sunday R and I went to Welford Park. Every February they open their grounds for charity and people get to see their marvelous snowdrop display.
 If you look very closely at the photo below, you can just about see the different coloured grass where the Great British Bake Off marquee was positioned last year. I don't know if it will still be held here now that it is moving to channel 4 and I'm not sure if I will be boycotting it this year. I'm disappointed that it will be moving from the BBC, but I do love a reality series - Bake Off, Sewing Bee, Allotment Challenge and, my current favourite, the Painting Challenge on a Sunday evening - I watch them all!

I finished my Rainbow Pride socks for L. They don't match and, in retrospect, I think that a Fish Lips Kiss heel may have been better in terms of the stripes, but I do love a heel flap and gusset! I'm going to cast on a pair for E next in a West Yorkshire Spinners' Kingfisher yarn that she chose on our trip to Bath.
Finally, our woodpecker remained still for long enough for me to grab the camera. I was a little panicked though and he (or is it a she?) is still a bit blurry.
Anyway, that's all for this week. I'm just off to the supermarket and then for a run at the gym. After my chest infection, my running has taken several steps backwards and I'm eager to get back to where I was before Christmas. I think it may take me some time ...........
Toodle Pip for now. xx

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Ninjabread, photography and signs of spring

Hello there. It's been a while, so I thought I'd take half an hour to clear my camera and have a bit of a catch up. January, sadly, was virus ridden. I had one day when I felt relatively okay and disease free, then I collected E from Oxford where she had been spending a few days with L before the start of term. In the few days that she was home before I took her back to Bristol, I managed to catch her latest cold which went straight to my chest and I've been coughing ever since. Running is a no go at the moment. I went swimming for the first time in ages yesterday and I've been doing a bit of yoga when I can, but otherwise I've been taking it slow. I was supposed to have had a day in London as R had managed to get tickets to see a radio show being recorded. I cancelled as I didn't think I would be very popular hacking away in the audience. E and I managed a trip to see 'The Kite Runner' before I was very bad and that was excellent. R and I watched 'Murder for Two' at our local Watermill Theatre which was also good, but I was trying to time my coughing for the relatively noisy bits and was still very aware that the gentleman sitting next to me was getting rather annoyed (I put up with his sweet wrapper rustling, so it did go both ways!). I would thoroughly recommend both productions though if you're close by and fancy an evening out.

Anyway, here are the photos that I've found on my camera:
Hamish and I enjoyed one snowy day but, unfortunately, it didn't stick around for long:
 Supermarket tete-a-tetes:
 I won a give-away run by the lovely Penny at I'd actually forgotten all about it until it dropped through my letter box. It's mindfulness in crochet form and I'm looking forward to making some of the lovely projects. Thank you Penny!

 When R and I went to Stow on the Wold in the autumn, I picked up a Ninjabread kit for the girls from a lovely kitchen shop. They spent a merry morning in Oxford making them and they were surprisingly tasty:
 E and I popped into Bath again on the way back to Bristol. Tea was taken at the Bath Bun tearoom:

 Having finished my latest pair of socks, I've cast on another pair for L. The yarn is 'Rainbow Pride' and it looks like being a very jolly knit:
Here it is with my Moomin progress keeper:
On Sunday, I drove to Bristol again to meet my friend S. We were going to M Shed to see the Wildlife Photography Exhibition being held there. It was great and had photographs by both professional photographers and children. To be honest,I preferred the ones by the children. Some of the others had special effects that made the photographs look more like paintings. There were some taken with a Go Pro as the photographer shinned up trees in Borneo etc. compared to some of the children's which were just taken in their local park. I took the one below before noticing the 'no photography' sign - oops! My favourite was a silhouette of 2 goats against an evening sky. The mother goat was plodding along slowly and her kid was pronking away behind her. It was taken by an under 10  and was just perfect. The exhibition is on until March and there is ample parking close by and lots of other things to look at at M shed.

We had lunch here and their pizzas were delicious and huge! I saved half of mine and donated it to E when I popped in to see her on the way home.
Another thing off my needles this week is my 'Because I love you' wrap by Amy Meeks. I actually got a little carried away and did one more orange stripe than was intended. It does make it extra cosy though!
  There are signs of spring in the garden:
 .......... and this is what I have planned for the rest of the day. Gillian at Tales from a Happy House made some recently and it reminded me that it's marmalade time of year again:
So, that's all for the moment. I wish you all a happy, creative and disease free week.
Toodle pip for now. xx

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Breathing Out

Hello there; Happy 2017 everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and wish you all the best for the new year. I think I've mentioned here before that the end of the year is an unusually hectic time in this household. The last 6 weeks have seen Christmas, New Year and 4 birthdays celebrated and I'm more than done with all the festivities. It was lovely having both girls home for Christmas and, now that they've gone again, the house seems too quiet. I'm sure that I'll get used to it soon, it just takes me a while to make the transition. The past few weeks have seen several meals out, lots of lovely presents (I was very spoiled for both Christmas and my birthday), winter walks, cinema and theatre trips, a jigsaw completed and another attempted - until it was deemed by all to be too boring a picture to continue with; it even defeated J and that's a first! - and the cracking of my 5K barrier. Then the viruses took over and it was tissues, Lemsip and hot water bottles all the way. Today is the first day that I've been able to run for over a week and I've surprised myself with how much I've missed it.

Anyway, here are a few photos to remind me of the holiday period:
Veggie dumpling soup at Bento Boss in Bristol, when we went to collect E for the holidays:
 A very blurry photo of the running machine at the gym. By the time, I'd found my camera, taken a quick snap and realized that the shot was out of focus, the machine had reset and I was unable to take another. But I did it CT!
 L made the Christmas wreath:
 ...... and a panettone:
Hamish warmed himself by the stove:
.... and reveled in having E home again:
 Our Christmas Day walk:

 The jigsaw that we did manage to complete:
 Me playing with my new yarn swift - it's such fun, there were no tangles and no bad words had to be uttered! 
 Our Boxing Day walk and picnic in Inkpen:
 E had left her walking boots at uni!

 My birthday theatre trip:
 For E's birthday, we saw Rogue One at the cinema, followed by lunch at an American style diner. We thought we would try Root Beer and I'd always assumed it was like ginger beer. It actually reminded me of that powdered toothpaste that you used to be able to buy that tasted of cloves and cinnamon. Can anyone tell me if proper American root beer tastes like that?

 We ate in an airstream and lunch was enlivened no end when a fire alarm went off and the shutters automatically came down locking everyone in the diner - it seemed illogical to lock us in with the kitchen ie. the most likely source of the fire but, luckily, it was a false alarm ........ and it did make it memorable.
 We ate Lebanese mezze for dinner:
 Finally, I have a half finished object - just the one sock of my Christmas Eve cast on. Things have been a bit slow on the knitting front recently, but I did manage my first ever Fish Lips Kiss Heel. To be honest, I wasn't that impressed initially, but it does fit really well so I may try it again at some point.
Well, that's all for now. According to the radio this morning, there might be a chance of snow tomorrow - it probably won't come to anything but Hamish and I are very excited at the prospect and I'm off to make a large pot of warming smoky veggie chilli just in case. 
Wishing you all a lovely week. 
Toodle Pip for now. xx