Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Worth their weight in gold....


Oops, I've been absent from here for a while. 
I feel a bit devoid of words at the moment, I'm not sure why so I will let the photos do most of the talking - with a few words for explanation where necessary. 

Fabulous fungi growing on coconut, found in a packet in one of my kitchen cupboards 
(cough, cough!)

A few of my Christmas makes - a scarf for daughter,bobble hat for son's girlfriend, 

Son's brass band played at a carol concert at St Matthew's Church in Sheffield. 
This was the only concert that son played that we attended this year. 
Before son went to University we used to attend many band concerts this time of year - we thoroughly enjoyed our one brass band outing this Christmas! 

Only one child is, well, still a child but we continue with the old traditions of pillowcases
 for a few gifts from Santa, newspaper, port, carrots and Santa's muddy footprints. 

Sons enjoying a virtual reality experience - they are on a roller coaster, using an app on their 
mobile phone. I love this sequence of photos while experiencing a 'loop the loop'.

I reduced my work hours 3 months ago, I hardly saw my daughter and as she has only 18 
months left at school we decided it would be better to reduce my income but spend more 
time at home for those last 18 months. I do appreciate that this isn't an option for some and so am grateful that we have the choice. 

One of the benefits of reduced hours means I have more time to bake and this year I made 
a Christmas cake for the first time in several years. M&S have been supplying our 
Christmas cake for the last few years. 

Younger son saw me putting the marzipan on the cake and said "I wanted to ask if 
you had made one this year but didn't like to"! 

Older son saw me icing the cake and said "Oo, homemade cake, so much nicer than shop bought".

Those two comments were worth their weight in gold, and every penny of income lost because of my reduced hours - in years to come I know the boys will remember the Christmas cakes I made - they would never remember "Oh, yes mum used to work 4 days a week"!

Yarny Christmas gifts -

I have plans to knit socks with this yarn. 

And yarn from Jamiesons of Shetland for my baa-ble hat. This is a free knitting pattern
 from Shetland Wool Week 2015. There are lots of finished examples of baa-ble hats 
here on Ravelry.  

What a super label!

Indulgent evenings spent reading craft magazines (more thoughtful gifts from children) and 
wearing my new pyjamas. 

I have wanted to buy snuggly pyjamas for several years but just never actually bought any. 
 I saw a pair reduced to half price just before Christmas and decided this year was my time to buy a pair, and I LOVE them!  

2015 has been a hard year, not so much for me directly but several friends have experienced
 quite difficult bereavements. I don't wish to say more on here. My thoughts have 
been with them over this Christmas period. 
For many, Christmas isn't the happy, jolly time portrayed all around us. 
I do hope that 2016, and the passing of time provides some relief.  

I do hope you all had a super Christmas and I send you all my very best wishes for a 
prosperous 2016!

And as always "Thank you for reading!"

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Yarn along - Bad Pharma and Folksong scarf!


Joining in with Ginny's yarn along, and because I am not working today for a
change I'm posting this surprisingly early for me on a Wednesday.
On the needles:
my second girl's chunky scarf in Sirdar Folksong.
This scarf is for daughter and so mostly gets knitted when she isn't around.
The first one I knitted for daughter was safely stored in my gifts cupboard but was
summarily called into service about two weeks ago. Daughter had been invited to a party
and had forgotten all about until a friend rang from the pizza restaurant for the birthday
 meal and asked "Where are you?"!
So we had to find a gift immediately and I suggested we gave this scarf as a gift.
Daughter of course hadn't seen it and said how nice it was, and asked whether it had been
intended as a gift for her. I had to admit that it was so I promised I would knit another one
for her. I think Sirdar have discontinued this wool but thankfully I managed to find
some more on ebay.
This should be finished in time for Christmas.
My book:
Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre.
Loving this book!
This book describes how data in medicine is misused and unused, and so doctors
 are making decisions, such as prescribing drugs without having a full picture of a
drug's efficacy and side effects.
Loved Ben's previous book too Bad Science, especially the chapter on Gillian McKeith.
Happy reading and knitting!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Yarn along!


Today I'm joining in with Ginny's 'yarn along'.

 I'm making some progress with my Osen Christmas stocking knitted in Titus yarn
This yarn is so soft that I think I will be wearing this Christmas stocking, rather than 
hanging it up hopefully on Christmas Eve! 
Progress on this has slowed recently because I've been distracted by crocheting 
little red Christmas gift bags.  

I am making even less progress with 'The Full Cupboard of Love' - I just don't 
seem to be able to concentrate on reading at the moment. 
Looking forward eagerly to my next book!

PS Thank you for all the lovely messages left on my last post - and for all the offers of drives on which to park my campervan! Fun times beckon!

Monday, 16 November 2015

"swishing and swooping, tumbling and turning"


Do you watch 'The Apprentice'? This is one TV show that all the family in our house like. 

For those of you who do not know the programme, over a period of weeks candidates
 vie to become the business partner of Lord Alan Sugar (he of Amstrad and Tottenham 
Hotspur fame). The candidates divide into two teams and take part in a variety of 
challenges, such as selling pet care items at a pet show or developing a new brand of shampoo, 
and each week the team that makes the least money loses and at least 
one member from that team is fired). 

In a recent episode the candidates were charged with writing and printing a children's book. Team Connexus wrote a tale about a dragon-elephant hybrid creature named Snottledink  - it was really very good. Team Versatile opted for a story about Bizzie the Bee's search for honey. Poor Bizzie got blown about by the wind all over the place and one of the candidates memorably kept repeating, while swaying her body - 

"swishing and swooping, tumbling and turning". 

This is exactly how my mind has been feeling lately. 

There are many changes afoot - mostly related to that fact that my family is 
becoming more independent. It is a fact of life and I wouldn't have it any other 
way but it does take a bit of getting used to. After 20 years of three main 
elements to my life: children, work, home, my life now seems 
much more: work, home

 I feel my life has changed much, even over the last 2 months. 
Younger son left for University last year and elder son is in his final year so you 
would have thought I would be accustomed to their empty bedrooms, but I think 
because this year both of them are much more settled and established in their lives 
away from home that their combined absence has only now really hit me. 

I miss their lively conversations - the house is so much quieter. 
I miss their bodies not filling the space. 
I miss the coming and going of people. 
I miss that I no longer have to fill my brain with things to remember to do 
and that I no longer juggle transport for after school activities 
I despise myself because I find myself enjoying the fact that the house stays tidier - grrrr! 

Daughter is still at home of course, and misses the boys, frequently 
complaining that she does not like being an only child!

So I have been doing much soul searching, readjusting, trying to see 
this all as an opportunity and not a threat. You know, trying to think 
positive about it all. Realising that maybe the time is approaching for me to regain 
some of my independence after 20+ years of daily hands-on child care.  

As Thursday was such a beautiful morning I took myself up to a local wood for 
a bit of restorative fresh air and cogitating space. This is one of my favourite 
places local to us - it is just 3 miles away, I even cycled to it! 
Well, ok, it is a while since I have been on my bike so I cycled 
down the hills and walked my bike up them!

 I was so glad I went out, soon after I returned home the sun disappeared. 

Sorry, this is a bit of a self-indulgent post. Sometimes I just need to 
write my thoughts down to help me sort out 
their "swishing and swooping, tumbling and turning".
I've considered and debated with myself at length!  
If you have got this far, thank you for sticking with it and it has all helped.

And you know, I really think it might be time to start planning new adventures for 
that time when daughter leaves home. It might even be time to start saving 
for that longed-for campervan and a map of the world.  ;-)


PS. Thank you for reading. 
I'm not looking for sympathy, please save that for those around
 the world who really need it.