Tuesday 31 January 2012

Wanna see my Wips?!

I'm hoping that by cataloguing my Works In Progress I might get motivated enough (shamed rather) to steam through them all...Yes. See that big pink cloud over there? That's a pig. 

So first up we have this knitted shawl. In my head it will look like a beautiful creation draped around my shoulders much like the shawls you can see here.  I plan to finish this before my sock making work shop at the weekend or it will never get finished as I think sock making is an obsession waiting to happen. Oh Lord please help me!!!  I'm on the frilly edge now and it is not going well. It is not behaving at all and I am having mini tanties over it. But I think it will all come good in the end, once I get it off the needles. It's so hard with knitting to visualise how something will look once cast off.

So that's my knitted shawl, now on to the Shawl of Dreams. Remember that? Well I'm not sure about it anymore. It isn't turning out how I hoped. I can't even grasp the memory of the shawl I am trying to copy...the memory is deteriorating. I look at it and I'm have reservations as to whether I like it enough to carry on with it. It's a pig to crochet. I have all the yarn for this project and I don't know what I would do with it if I didn't complete what I have started. I do kind of like it when I see it here and it is really soft and smoochy.

Next up is my Granny Square which was inspired by Bunny Mummy who was inspired by Le Monde de Sucrette, only the Granny Square I originally started turned into a cushion for Little and then I started a Granny Rectangle. There's not much to say about it other than I started it on a whim at Christmas and I pick it up now and again. I don't even know where it will be used. Probably the kitchen since we tend to live in that room and the Granny Blanket is currently on my bed helping me to sleep. I'm having a hard time sleeping lately. Night sweats and weird dreams.

On to the little Kid Silk Aura capelet. I started this with a surge of motivation back in November but flitted on to Mr C's Christmas scarf which I still haven't photographed properly. I should get a wriggle on with this as I have just acquired a dress it would be perfect with. I say acquired as I haven't paid for it yet. I mean I didn't nick it, but I didn't get it with my own money. I wrote Mr C an IOU.

Lets not forget the blanket I started when I originally set about learning to knit............I'm not sure I'll get this blanket done in its entirety, not the the full size with all the sample squares. Maybe a little lap blanket of all my favourite squares. I would rather crochet blankets and knit items to wear.

Talking items to wear, I have completed one wrist warmer but haven't stitched it up as I think I would like the cuff to be longer. I'm going to knit the second one and see how much yarn I have left. I was knitting these at The Savoy. The pattern is one of Suzie's of Knit Club fame, it's there that I am going to be learning sock making with my Mum. (Mamoo I will call you tomorrow, it's been so noisy here lately)

It's not all yarny stuff in my Wip list either. I started this hexy patch work when we were on holiday in Spain when I was pregnant with Mini. I knew I was pregnant and so I was making a pram blanket for the daughter who was inevitably on her way! Ha haaaa! It'll be a wicker shopping basket liner now. Way too girly for my sweet baby boy who turns one in just a few weeks.

I made a couple of dresses once, I wear them a fair bit so with that success behind me I embarked on this gorgeous retro pattern from the 1950's. Thought I'd give it a Joules vibe by choosing turquoise bias tape. It was going very well till I tried it on and realised my chunky 1980's waist meant that I had to make a large size and so the shoulders and bust were so huge on me I looked indecent. I have had some help from Bubble and Pookamook at Swine Club to alter the top but I haven't got around to it yet. I'm sure if I had the 1950's hourglass shape it would have fitted nicely.

And finally (not finally really, there are 162 other half started projects or projects I have bought the kit for, all hidden away about the house not least some embroidery as Emily sent me some vintage transfers which I have big plans for) I have been asked to test drive this sharp crochet hook. The idea is it eliminates the need to use a needle to get the foundation stitches set for a crocheted edge. I have plotted out the placement of the stitches with an erasable fabric pen and bought the yarn but I've not finished the next part. I must get on with it soon as I feel honoured to have been asked to give it a whirl. If you are intrigued go here to see what Alice has to say about it.

So this next pic isn't of a Wip but of  a blind. It's my Mum's bathroom blind. At least it is now. I was asked if I would like to review some bits for DunelmCath Kidston style dinner service) and being a frequent visitor to the Weston Super Mare store I said "Well why not!' I was sent a blind. It didn't fit any of my windows that needed a blind so my Mum swiped it off me. Good on her I say! So between the pair of us we have reviewed this blind and below is what we think.

On receiving the blind I made these observations:

  • Nice material, very substantial which gives the impression that it will wear well and hopefully not fray when in use.
  • It looks like it would be easy to cut down to size if one had the correct blind cutting gizmo.
  • It's a decent size so would fit the majority of houses windows.
  • The instructions look comprehensive so fitting shouldn't be too difficult.
  • The fittings appear to be sturdy enough for the weight of the blind.
  • The packaging was good, not too much rubbish to have to dispose of which is important now most councils have a limit on how much rubbish they will collect per household on the kerbside.

  • The packaging was a total beast to get into. Four heavy duty staples through hard plastic made it rather hard to get to the blind!
  • The chrome eyelet has a sharp burr on it which is both unsightly and could scratch someone.
  • The leather dangley bit would be nicer if it was real leather but I don't think it added anything to the overall design. That is my personal taste though and maybe the next person will adore the leather dangle.

And here is what my Mum had to say in an email along with the photographs you see here:

Hello Lovely girlie,
I have put up the blind.  It was quite easy and straight forward.
As you know the fittings and instructions were all in the same bag.  I laid them out as you can see in the photo to check that everything was there.  Didn't need too much in the way of tools, but the requirements are laid out in the instructions what you need.

The blind was easy to cut to size, but you need to be careful of the sharp edges that you make with the hack saw when cutting down the top tube prior to putting the end fittings in. Overall it is quite a nice blind.  My only criticism is that when the blind was made it was not cut straight with the grain of the material and that hampered the cutting down process as it threw you off line.  Also the eyelet being centrally placed meant the I had to cut both sides, and not just one side if it was plain, but that is a consideration that the purchaser would need to take when buying.  After I had cut the blind the hem both sides wanted to come undone and the sides frayed a bit.  The eyelet had a sharp lug on it where the top ring and the underneath ring didn't match up, which could be something that they should look at as it could have hurt someone.

Once the blind is cut and re-rolled and put into the brackets the mechanism runs smooth and easy.  The overall effect is very nice.
If I were to give it marks out of ten it would come in as an eight.
I hope that you can make sense of this to give Dunelm feed back from.
Love you,


So there we go. I actually think over all that this blind, which was less than twenty quid was super value for money. I'd like to thank Laura very much for approaching me to test run this blind and I hope I did a good and fair job of it.

This week has been a funny one. Mr C set off for France to go Skiing on Saturday. Usually we all go but our friends that we go with had to leave making plans till the very last moment as their Mum is having chemo for bowel cancer and it all needed to fit around her. On Thursday Mr C came home and said he'd been talking to Jim about it and that the plan was to go on Saturday.  To cut a long story short it made sense for me and the kids to stay behind which I am totally fine with. My last few skiing experiences have been awful and I'm scared to get back on the slopes now. There's a really long story attached to this about someone taking my ski's and me losing all my confidence as a result. So here I am home alone with the kids and I miss my chap. Don't get me wrong in someways it is easier but I don't like it. It feels very different to last week when we had my God daughter to stay. The house was full to the brim and now it feels a bit rattly, even thought there are still four of us here.

Lady Buttercup's stay here was lovely. I was apprehensive prior to her arrival as I'd offered to have her to give Kmmms a break. Those of you who read her blog will know why I was a bit nervous. Lady Buttercup had some trouble with going to bed. My Kmmms needed some respite so I offered. I kind of knew Lady B would be good as gold here but I wasn't certain. Anyway she was a joy and I really loved having her her. I ABSOLUTELY loved my time with her. I will treasure the memories forever and although she is only 4 I hope she remembers it too (but not the bit where I crashed into a barrier when trying to do a 3 point turn when collecting her Mum from the train station. God love my husband for not going bonkers at me when I told him!) The boys are missing her too, they enjoyed the new dimension she brought to their games. Big said a few times "Were is Brooke? Get her back Mummy, she lives with us now. She is our Brooke" which made me melt. That lovely little boy is so loving and welcoming.

Of all the photographs I took, this is my ultimate favourite.
She was decorating cup cakes for her family the morning she was going home.

ps. How many links in this post? I've gone link-tastic!! 

Monday 23 January 2012

I can't think of a title, so call it what you like!

Remember I was crocheting Little another cushion cover to go with his bolster cushion? It is finished and Little has scamped off with it and is loving it more than his other one. It melts my heart when I go in at night and see him like this:

It feels very special to make something for someone I love, it's even more wonderful when they are so happy with what I have made them. I hope my sweet boy can feel all the love that went into making him these crocheted cosy cushion covers.

Now, I may be a little quiet this week, you'll see me here and there for certain, leaving sporadic comments now and again. But I am having a potentially busy week. My God daughter Lady Buttercup arrived yesterday for a little holiday so I'll be bobbing in and out of blog land as and when I get the chance. Here she is, fast asleep in my spare room that is her room till Thursday.

That little pink crocheted rabbit was one of the first things I ever crocheted
 once I'd taught myself how. It's about 3 years old now and is called Miffy and is adored
Lady Buttercup. Oh how happy I feel to see her fast asleep cuddled up to it.

We are having to make plans by the hour depending on how Mini and Big are feeling as they, with perfect timing, have come down with bugs. Mini has a croupy cough and a bunged up up nose. He feels rubbish and he is not the sunny little soul he usually is. I hate that I can't do much for him to make him feel better.

But the little boy I feel most badly for is Big Cuckoo as he has a virus which is sending his temperature up to 39.3 even when dosed up on paracetamol and ibuprofen. Mr C took him to the Docs this evening as he is prone to tonsilitis, but it's a virus so nothing can be done. Poor little fella. He was off school today and desperate to play but he was shaking so much. He tried to join in with the baking we were doing but his head hurt so he stood on the stool and lay his head on the worktop and watched us. He gave up in the end and spent hours asleep on the sofa. Thankfully my friend, Princess, brought Little Cuckoo home from preschool for me so that I didn't have to drag two poorly kids out. Thank you Princess for doing an 8 mile round trip out of your way, I am so grateful I can't thank you enough.

I hope my boys perk up so we can all really enjoy having Lady Buttercup to stay. It's something the boys have looked forward to since we planned it a couple of weeks ago.


ps. Am loving having a girl to play with. I found myself taking photos of our legs all tangled up together as our almost matching tights looked so cute, her little legs, my big legs.
"Look Auntie! We have the same legs today!" She exclaimed,
"So we do darling!",
"Can I have some lipstick please?",
"Of course you can, give me a kiss square on the lips, I'll share it with you, my lady" I said.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Swine and dine

A while ago I went to jewellery school and I made a friend there. We decided that we needed to set up a crafting group as so few of our day to day acquaintances were into crafting and we wanted to have a monthly get together so we'd be inspired and bounce around ideas. I'd not long fallen into the world of blogging and I was desperate to have some buddies to craft with. We decided to set up our own group called Swine Club as we intended to sew and drink wine. SEWine Club

The inaugural Swine Club was at my house and was a huge success, there were about 15 of us and no one got anything done as we were all so excited to see what everyone else was doing. The numbers quickly dropped to six as is the norm with any new group but we were rather pleased as we realised that we had a special thing going on and we didn't want to mess with it nor dilute it nor change the dynamic. The monthly gatherings became fortnightly and we frequently have an interim Swine if one of us can't make it but feels they need a Swine session. It's very special. It does me good.

I had the Swine Girls over last night. It was fun as usual, we laughed a lot and had a lovely time. I cooked a fish pie and we sank a bottle of prosecco that Princess brought with her as it was one of the girl's birthday.  I feel a bit shabby today that's for sure.

I'm just going to have a little think about what nicknames I'll give the Swine Girls. Ok, thought of a few, now I can introduce you to Pookamook which was her nick name already, she is the friend I made at jewellery school. Jasmine, as she looks like the heroine from Disney's Aladdin. Bubble, because she's as funny and scatty yet intelligent like the Absolutely Fabulous character. Bambi because she is doe eyed with the most gorgeous laugh, she's going to hate that nick name. Last but not least, Princess, who you have already met.

So the girls came over last night and it reminded me I hadn't shared the photographs I took at our last Swine Club gathering before Christmas. I'm quite pleased that I am sharing this with you today in the middle of January as I am still missing Christmas to the point that I have put up three more sets of fairy lights in my kitchen to try to bring back some of the magic I felt this year.

Pookamook, Bubble and Jasmine

Princess, Bambi, Pookamook

Swine dog, Bea

The only photo of me!

Thai prawn curry from Nigella Express

Christmas Swine was wonderful. I enjoyed cooking a Thai prawn curry, I enjoyed making my secret Santa gift, I loved jazzing up the dining room and digging out my gold rimmed glasses that I bought for a song at the local auction room. I had fun tinkering about to make things lovely. 

I'm still a bit odd in the head if I'm honest, still not quite found my way back to normal yet. The anti depressants are working well and I feel pretty good but I can't cope with crowds at all, I'm spooked by strangers at gatherings, I'm scared of going out somewhere unfamiliar with out Mr C. I went to WI last Tuesday and I forced myself to enter alone even though I could feel the tears prickling behind my eyes. I'm not quite myself so I am getting much more comfort out of my home than ever before. I loved entertaining my Swine Girls as we are like therapy for each other. There's a wonderful dynamic amongst us. The girls have all led such diverse and amazing lives, there's probably very little that life can throw at a person that one of us hasn't experienced from the good to the most awful. One of us left home aged 16 and put themselves through law school whilst living at the YMCA. One of us is a young widow.  One of us built up a business and sold it on and doesn't really need to earn a lot now, two of us are foster carers, two of us are  career girls, one of us made the hats for the drama series House of Elliot, one of us longs for a baby but the baby wont come, one of us is very poorly, one of us has a brother with the same condition Big has (such a comfort to hear great stories about him), two of us can speak several languages....I'll stop there as I've noticed that most of these revelations are not about me as I have lived a wholly unremarkable life......! A valuable life, but little to report, which could be seen as a good thing.

We all gave each other hand made secret Santa gifts that were totally appropriate for the recipient. We were all thrilled to bits with our gifts.

Jasmine received this amazing bag from Bubble

I received this stupendous bag made by Jasmine who has only just learnt to sew

Princess received an oil cloth peg bag and fudge from Bambi

Bambi received a crochet hook roll from Pookamook

I gave Pookamook the jar cosies I showed you the other day.
Don't you think Pooks looks like Adele the singer?

Princess gave Bubble a knitted dahlia corsage, hard to see here as it's a
gorgeous aubergine colour

In other news, my pink hair washed out far too quickly so I didn't get any decent photographs. These iPhone pics will have to do.

Been mucking about with my iPhone apps

I had my skull x ray on Tuesday evening. They were so efficient I didn't even have time to get my knitting out. I parked up at 6.25pm and was back in my car by 6.37pm. I didn't owe anything for parking as you get the first 15 minutes for free. Never known such efficiency in the NHS. I know we all moan about our health service but it is flipping good really, over all it's amazing that we get such a high level of care for free (more or less). Anyway, I have gone off on one of my tangents. I asked the Xray technician if I could have a good look at my Xray. I'm a bit weird in that I love anything like that, I even have my long deceased cats Xrays from when she was knocked over by a car. I should have been in the medical profession properly. I used to be a medical rep in days of old and I loved the clinical side of it all. I was obsessed by clinical papers and trials to do with the drugs I was peddling. I was so interested in all the patient case studies these Doctors were trialling my drug in, I used to get really involved, they never divulged personal details but they'd tell me what they though was going on with patient x. I loved that side of it. There was a time when I really felt I should work out a way of retraining to become a Doctor. I would have loved to have been an orthopaedic surgeon. But several things stopped me. I was a bit too old to embark on a 15 year retraining program and I had a mortgage and, this is key, I didn't quite have the brain power to do it either. Maybe next time!! Ha! Oh gosh, gone off piste again.....

.....so I had a good stare at the Xray of my skull, I wish I'd taken a photo of it now. It was amazing. All the stuff you can see! I have HOOOOOOGE sinus cavities. That explains my neolithic brow (there's a story behind that description I'll share one day, quite insulting and hilarious at the same time). Pearl earrings show up very well. My chin isn't just a fleshy architectural feature but has a big old bone in it. My brain didn't really show up, it looked like a big vacuous space to me. (No silly jokes thank you very much Mr C, I know you are reading this). There is an obvious mass in my skull bone. It sort of looks like a fried egg attached to and growing out of the skull where my lump is. It's a white coloured mass and I *think* that's a good thing. I've googled bone tumours and they appear as dark grey so I'm hoping this is a nice bump to have. I think we should name my bump. What shall I name it? Actually, lets have a laugh with this and leave your name suggestion below and I'll do that random number generator thing.

Right it's late and I haven't done half the things I was planning this evening as Bubble arrived unexpectedly and stayed for supper. It was really really lovely. I hardly ever have friends just drop by unexpectedly as we live out in the sticks up a spooky country lane.

Night night,


ps. Am silently laughing so that I don't wake up the sleeping beauties of the house but spell check wants to change Pookamook to pock mark and it's tickled me! I must be tired.

Friday 13 January 2012

It's all about Little Cuckoo's stuff today

Sometime ago I realised that Little Cuckoo didn't have any cushions in his room. How very remiss and neglectful of me. There was a very nice double bed crying out for a cushion or two, what an oversight and how lovely to have the revelation that there was a place perfect for a bit of crochet adornment.

I had a rummage around to see what cushion pads I had lurking about and what stash yarn I had available and I came up with a plan. Then I did bugger all for ages and ages until I saw this cushion over at Victoria's.

Woo hoo! That got me all fired up and I made this cushion in a matter of a few days. I finished it ages and ages ago and this isn't the first time this bit of crochet has been on my blog (see here and here)

You can probably tell that it had been used quite a bit by the time we had a bright enough day to do some snapping. Little loves his cushion. He sleeps with his head on it most nights. He wont let anyone else lean on it when he has a story. He says happily "My Mummy made this for me".

Of course there is a blooper. I don't think I have ever crocheted something without making a mistake. Have you spotted it? Yep one red strip is thicker than all the other red stripes. Silly me! I blame the Kir Royals we were drinking in this post

Little is quite excited as there is another cushion for him in the making. You can see it there in it's current state. I'm hoping to have it finished this weekend.

While I was taking photographs of Little's bolster cushion I thought I'd show you a couple of other bits of his room. Granny (my Belle Mere aka MIL) is a wonderful patchworker/quilter. She made this amazing quilt for Little

It's single bed size and has been quilted with a pattern of dragon flies. It is an amazing piece of art of hours and hours (and then some) of work. We have hanged it from a curtain pole but it needs re hanging as the pole is skew whiff.

It deserves a post all to it's self really. Maybe when Granny finishes Mini's quilt I'll show you all of the boys quilts in detail. Big Cuckoo has a cot size one of teddy bears and houses. It's adorable. Mini's is going to be a flying theme.

See that mural? I got into such trouble over that mural. You see we were at a charity ball that my friend had organised to raise money for a prostate cancer charity as she'd lost her very young husband to the evil disease. There was an auction and a mural was up for grabs. Mr C started bidding on it but then the bids went a bit high so he ducked out. I was chatting to an acquaintance and in my tiddly state I thought it would make her laugh if I leaped up just after the bidding for the mural had ended, pretending to bid. I know, not funny really, except the last laugh was on me as I timed it wrong and ended up placing the closing bid. Mr C was furious with his drunken Mrs! That was until he found out the mural had gone for way less than it's commercial value and so I was forgiven. In the end we went for two less detailed, half wall murals so that both boys could have one. We live close to Bristol so we chose the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Concorde on it's final flight and some hot air balloons as we have a famous balloon fiesta in Bristol every year. The penguin was included because Little's favourite book is Penguin by Polly Dunbar.

Remember Little turned 4 years old a couple of weeks ago? Well I figured no one would want even more cake to work their way through so I made a gingerbread house for him as it has all the size of a big cake but is hollow, not to mention covered in sweet sugary stuff. Perfect for a boy who has a considerable sweet tooth.

Ma Belle Soeur and I decorated it the night before but I had baked it on Christmas Eve eve using this recipe and template. If you want the smell and taste of Christmas them you have to bake some gingerbread cookies using this recipe. It was more Christmassy than Rudolf and certainly tastier (although I haven't tasted reindeer)

Ma Belle Soeur did the most splendid roof tiling.

Little loved it, we sprinkled it liberally with gold glitter and it sparkled beautifully when his candles were lit. We shoved one of those magnificent cake sparkler fountains in it too. 

Little came out with one of his many funny quips the other day. Big Cuckoo and he were in the bath and Big asked Little what he was doing. Little replied "Watch and learn, watch and learn" in a voice laden with superiority. It was v funny. Oh and he asked me for some gorilla milkshake. I think he meant vanilla but you can never be really sure with him.

So what else can I tell you? I'm feeling a little flat. I'm missing the Christmas tree a great deal. I know that sounds bonkers but I loved having it around this year. Usually once it's drooped and dropped needles I'm quite happy to fling it out but this year I feel sad it's gone. I miss the twinkle and the smell. I wish we could have this Christmas all over again. It was ace. I particularly miss the booze too. I suit being constantly merry. I can't remember when I last had a little schnifter, oh yes I can, I had a Pimms Winter on the 11th night while I took the tree down. Needed something to numb the sorrow!!!

I've got psycho eyes here!

And finally, spot something different about me? I have pink hair! It has already faded a lot but if it still looks pink enough tomorrow I'll get Mr C to take some shots so I can show you. Otherwise you'll just get the poor quality iPhone snaps I took of myself when I had it done on Wednesday. 

I have a skull X-ray on Tuesday at 6.30pm. Wish me luck. I am getting quite anxious, I've had a tricky tummy and two nightmares this week already.


Thursday 5 January 2012

It was like a fairy tale

I'm talking about our 7th wedding anniversary celebration. It was, it was....it was bloody AMAZING! Yes yes, I know, I just swore on my blog but honestly I cannot get over how wonderful it was. A 24 hour window of grown up time amongst two weeks of full on festivities that involved possibly the two most excited little boys on the planet.

Christmas was wonderful this year. It will be remembered as the year Uncle Dorv turned fire breather* and my two boys were hilarious in church on Christmas day**. I could bore you with all the minutiae, in fact I've deleted a couple of paragraphs as I was going ON and ON and ON when I really want to blog about our anniversary this very moment.

So back to The Savoy. Yes Ladies and Gentlemen. WE STAYED AT THE SAVOY!!!!!!!! Oh My gosh it was divine. I made a total disgrace of myself and ran about the place taking loads of photographs and looking totally uncool. None of this "I stay here all the time" demeanour. It was perfectly obvious that I was a country oik who had been plucked from her real domestic life for a spell in the world of glitter and glamour.

This post is going to be very photo heavy, to the tune of around 80 photo's and it's a loooooong one. I will not apologise for this as I think some of you will love seeing the delights of The Savoy. Also uploading all these photo's to picnik to make collages is simply too time consuming and faffy. I want to get this post going so I can relive such a super time. I adore my blog for allowing me literally relive a moment and then have it stored here to share with my friends, family and in time, my children.

Ready for the tour? Good, here we go.

So glad we stayed over Christmas time, those trees make my heart sing

We arrived and the door man asked our names and took our cases, he then handed us over to a chap with a discreet clip board and introduced us. That chap took us over to a lady who on hearing our names said "Welcome to The Savoy, you're in room 332, please follow me and I'll take you up now if you like?" 

Wow. What service! Such a slick operation. I felt like hopping on the spot and clapping. 

The red lift was the first elevator in London. It is beautiful

That was our room on the left

Even the fire extinguishers were elegant

I LOVE how each room has a doorbell, it had a gentle
 chime so it wouldn't make a person leap out
of their skin

Mr C was so cool about it all, he went and sat down and connected to the wifi and flicked through the magazines....

.....I, on the other hand, dumped my bags and flitted about taking photo's and exclaiming "It even smells NICE! It smells of linen water"

He just looked at me fondly, he is rather more used to this sort of thing than me.
His mother went to The Savoy for afternoon tea when she turned 21,
I went to a garden centre in Taunton when I turned 21! 

So uncool. Don't care a bit.

I swear to you, this shower head was the size of a tea tray.

The spare loo roll was wrapped up in tissue paper.

Have to say, this TV being off centre bothered me a bit

We then dragged ourselves from our room and met up with Little Cuckoo's Godfather and his wife Clarabelle and had a spot of lunch in a little place off Piccadilly, I think, (I had Thai coconut and crab soup which was divine) and then we had a mooch down New Bond Street. I was just itching to get to Liberty's though. I'm much more of a haberdashery/charity shop/auction room shopper. The glitzy places don't appeal much now.

I was rather restrained in Liberty as I have made a pledge to not buy any more stuff for future projects until I get a heap completed (famous last words). I only bought yarn as it was our 7th wedding anniversary which is copper or wool. I had thought I'd knit socks with it but Mr C said he'd really like some fingerless gloves to match the scarf I made him for Christmas which I'll show and tell another day, if I forget then remind me, though it is a very manly brown scarf, not particularly inspiring but Mr C looks lovely in it.

I love Liberty's usually but it was a bit crazy as the sale had started. I'm a bad sale shopper. I get the heebie jeebies amongst the crowds. I didn't stay long. I left the others to carry on mooching and I headed back to the hotel to have a long bath with some fudge I had spied in the mini bar. Afterwards I took my time to paint my nails and read a magazine with Antiques Road Show playing on an obscure channel in the background. It was heaven. I do enjoy Antiques Road Show.

It was a pleasure to get ready to go out, to do my hair properly and take time over my make up. I usually have to do everything at break neck speed after I've got the little uns to bed.

A lavender pillow hanging from the hanger,
oh the tiny details were special.

Mr C has fancy wooden inner thingies that came with his shoes.
What a dapper chap.

That's the cocktail menu, there was one called Grounds For Divorce
that we thought about ordering.

I can't be sensible. Ever. I can't help but pull faces. It's like a compulsion.
Doesn't Mr C look odd with that reflection around his chin!

Our partners in crime. They lead us a stray in the shops

After a few cocktails for me and pink champagne for them we went through to the restaurant to eat. The food was amazing. Every single mouthful was perfect and happily the portions weren't too small.

After supper before returning to the bar I popped to the bathroom and was gone ages......

.......I was snapping away at all the paintings. I had some very funny looks as I was weaving about snapping away and everything. Mr C would have been mortified if he was with me


Once back at the bar, I had an amaretto on the rocks and I had my legs stroked by the cabaret singer who had taken a shine to my tights. She was utterly barking mad and very entertaining. It was just her and the pianist and she held every ones attention for hours. I can imagine her touchy feelyness might have put some people off but I loved her. I thought she was a hoot and I was dying to get up on a chair and sing Big Spender with her. Mr C had growled "Don't even think about it!" so I behaved myself. Just as well as I'd probably have fallen off the chair as I was pretty wibbly by then.

Bit blurry

Me in her hat that had a shoe on it. A Shoe!!!

My tights. What a weird angle.

Back at the room Mr C and I kicked off our shoes and put on the slippers and had a little dissection of the evening before turning in for the night. I slept so well. Although the bed wasn't as comfortable as ours because it had a feather mattress topper that had got compacted so it was a little harder than the cloud I sleep on usually.

I was woken just after nine so I could get a robe on before breakfast arrived. It had been delivered by the time I came into the room and I was again left grinning from ear to ear. Proper linen table clothes. Stunning china, yummy food, pretty flowers. It was gorgeous.

There I am again!

Gosh I wish I was back there again now.

There's a small museum near one of the bars which was very interesting, I took a few pics of the things that appealed to me to share with you:

It didn't say if the postman had guessed right...must have.

I would love to time travel to see life back in this era

I would turn into a burglar to get my hands on this china... 

...I'd pinch this dressing table set while I was at it too.

I could have stayed in the shop all day, tasting everything they had on offer. I had to settle for taking photographs rather than mouthfuls though.

I love LOVE love how they have collections of paintings all of different sizes in different frames of different genres and yet it all works. I reckon I could pull this off in our hallway at home. Our hallway needs a bit of attention this year. It could be fabulous as it's pretty big but it is lacking in style.

Can you see me there with my bright spotty knitting bag?
I turned and snapped away at this chap and he said, I'll take one of you and your husband if you like, afterwards he asked if I'd like him to take the camera and get me some pictures of the kitchens. He was gone ages. Absolutely ages. To the point that we wondered if he didn't really work there and was a camera robber.

But he did indeed come back and he'd taken a fab load of shots! I really need to write in and thank him. He was a suuuuuuuper star.

This was going up to Gordon Ramsey the celebrity chef

"Whatcha doin'?"

They do all look really happy in their work.

Thank you Michael Stenekes for taking the time to make our stay even more memorable.

I'm going to copy this silver votive flower thing.
Anyone know where I can find a similar  looking vase?

Spot my knitting!

The lady in the background was perplexed by my wanton photographing,
I wonder what she thought when I started knitting.

Look how chuffed I am!

Now it's all over. A week has already passed and the decorations are coming down, the tree is wilted and I feel a bit deflated. The boys are back at school and I need to sort through their toys and find homes for the new ones. The unbroken new ones that is. Quite a bit of what they were given is now broken irreparably. Either it was too grown up for them or very inexpensive or more ornamental than a functional toy. Big Cuckoo struggles to play in the way most children do. He is quite destructive and throws things a lot. It's one of the things he finds difficult. It's just hard when something gets broken and the tears flow. I get saddened that people spend a tenner on something that looks like a 'big' gift but it gets trashed as it can't stand up to the task. I'd much rather they spent a fiver on a small robust toy to save my children's tears and their pocket.

Anyway enough of that, I'm looking forward to this evening so I can sit down in the cosy drawing room with the fire lit and the lamps on. I'll light a few candles and get on with some knitting or maybe some crochet. I do love this time of year when it gets dark early and I can cook stews and snuggle in.

I rejoined weight watchers last night and so have just eaten 4 mini mince pies to get rid of them. I'm thinking about eating the other two and just be done with it.

Does anyone out there have any experience with heap lumps? In the Summer I noticed a bump on my forehead on the right hand side near my hair line. I thought it was a zit or that I'd bumped it except it didn't hurt. This past month I have noticed that it has grown so I went to the Docs yesterday and he said it was likely to be a bone tumour, probably benign and not to worry about it. He's referring me for tests/x-ray/MRI whatever they decide after a discussion at the practice breakfast meeting. The question I'm asking is do these things grow really big? Will I look like a unicorn? I don't mind looking like a unicorn as long as I get the special power of flight as well. No seriously, anyone know anything about lumpy heads?


*Uncle Dorv is a bit posh. He speaks very nicely, he knows the 'right' people, he went to one of the top schools in England, he is very gentlemanly (and lovely). So when he turned fire breather it was flipping hilarious. 

See the sweet little house tealight holder in the photo below? Well the tealight flame suddenly went wild. It grew to about 3 inches and the flame was licking at the gold frame of the picture above.  

"Quick!" Granny shouted, "The candle! My painting!" 

"Goodness me!" cried Uncle Dorv and as he was nearest he jumped to it and blew on the flame. But he had been eating icecream with home made rum topf.

Rum topf is rum that has had fresh fruit and sugar added to it
and allowed to steep for months. It's potent.

The flame grew and licked around Uncle Dorv's nose. "Jesus Christ!" he exclaimed and took in another big breath and blew harder. The look on his face when again the flame grew to mammoth proportions will stay with me forever. The surprised expression was priceless. Then Poppa grabbed the whole tea light house and blew harder than the big bad wolf and the tealight flew through the air and hit my Belle Soeur square on the left boob. It might have landed on her arm but I've remembered it as her boob as that's funnier.....I guess you had to be there. I'll leave this story in though as this is my diary of sorts and I don't want to forget that moment

**The boys were so funny in Church on Christmas day. I wasn't there as I'd stayed home to have a tidy for Granny and so that Mini could have his nap. The vicar had asked all the Children to go up to the front and be given an illuminated whizzy windmill and a sweet. The vicar asked each child to speak into the microwave (I meant microphone, but that has made me hoot so it stays) and tell everyone what they got for Christmas. Along the line the children had received iPods, Scalextrics, bikes, x boxes... he got to my boys and Little said "I got a bunch of dirty keys" Big said "I got a wiggly wig". Then someone spilt the rest of the sweets and the vicar told the kids to all walk around the church with their lit windmills lighting up Christmas lest we forget that it is about the birth of Christ. But my two were nowhere to be seen. Eventually they joined the procession with their arms full of the dropped sweets. "We tidied up!"