Saturday, 31 October 2015

Enjoying, 17!


Enjoying, and with disbelief, that daughter celebrated her 17th birthday on Friday!

Daughter has a habit of never being at home for her birthday. 

Her birthday usually falls during the autumn half term and sometimes we have been
 away as a family but last year daughter was away on a school trip so we didn't 
see her at all on her 16th birthday. 
This year she was at a two-day football tournament in Cambridge. We eventually 
caught up with her late afternoon on her birthday.  
Next year she has vowed that she will spend all her 18th birthday with us, and 
has already requested that brothers must be present too.  

Enjoying Cambridge in all its autumnal glory. 

We used to live here...I miss it. 

Enjoying two football matches, daughter in action .... playing central 
defence for a change and outrunning the forward!

Enjoying mid air antics to clear the ball - number 6!

Enjoying her cake belatedly. I had promised to bake her favourite birthday cake but 
being away for two days scuppered these plans. 

Enjoying the reflections on my new candle holder.  

Enjoying more of those autumn views and late sun from the bedroom 
windows as I vacuumed and dusted.

Enjoying all those nostalgic moments invoked by dusting my dressing table - 
daughter has brought back these tins for me from her school trips, she knows my taste!

Enjoying the possibilities these little goodies promise - bought from 
John Lewis in Cambridge. Definitely a rosy, Christmas theme going on! 

Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Whitlam cowl


Earlier this year I bought myself a buff (this isn't a sponsored post by the way!). 
A buff is basically a tubular piece of material, with no seams, that you slip over your head and wear round your neck. There are lots of fancy things you can do with a buff, for example, make it into a head covering but I only wear it round my neck. I bought it 
initially to wear when I am cycling (not that I have done much of that just lately, 
but thereby hangs another tale!). 
Often I don't want to wear a thick scarf when I am cycling because I would get way to 
hot after I'd been cycling a while, but I want something just to keep that cool 
"wind chill factor" from going down the front of my jacket.  

Anyway I discovered that I loved my buff! 
It was so good for keeping warm, and not just when I was on my bike. And as the 
first buff I bought was mainly yellow to match my fluorescent yellow cycling jacket 
I rather naughtily forked out for 2 more buffs - one mainly red and the 
other mainly blue to match different outfits. 

Oh but my love for having a warm snuggly neck did not stop there. 
I saw this Whitlam cowl from Baa Ram Ewe and realised how much use 
I would get out of one of these. 

This cowl is thicker than a buff so would 
be useful in the cooler months but not so thick as to be cumbersome.  
I bought Baa Ram Ewe's Titus yarn (again, no sponsored link). 

Balling the yarn - this takes me back many years, helping my mum to ball yarn. 
Sadly I had no helpers so had to use the back of an old chair that had been discarded under the car port as the seat was broken (maybe I'll have to keep it now for balling yarn?)

The colour way I chose is Yorkstone - a muted, unusual choice for me as I tend to go for 
bright colours but I thought I might wear this quite often and thus I played it safe 
and chose a neutral colour.  

I carried this project around with me in one of my favourite project bags. For me 
the whole experience of knitting/cross stitching is heightened by a pleasing project bag. 

This project even came to Exeter with me for a 2 day conference - I can always manage 
to find a few minutes knitting time, even if it is on the train. 

This was quite a straight forward pattern but I am a bit frustrated because I made
 several silly mistakes which I couldn't rectify easily as it was a lacy pattern. 
I think I just wasn't in the mood for concentrating properly sometimes but 
generally the mistakes are minor and probably, as is often the case, only I can see them.  

This cowl grew quickly.  
I knitted for 44 inches. Blocking it highlighted the lace 
pattern and also softened the wool.

And here is the finished cowl, prior to joining the ends. 

You could use this as a scarf too - it has pretty scalloped ends. 

And here is the finished article in situ - note how I artfully stretch my neck 
to iron out wrinkles!!


 And just to prove the neutral colour was a good choice this time, 
here it is with my blue coat.....

my red coat....

and even my turquoisey coat!!

Yes, I'm very happy with it - I know I shall get a lot of wear out of this. 
And I can see me knitting this again. Now which colour yarn to choose next...
Goathland? Endeavour?
They even have one called Filey, one of my favourite seaside resorts. 
Fantastic names aren't they?

Friday, 23 October 2015

Cool camping


I do love being outdoors and the urge to go camping again has been steadily 
growing over the last few months. I probably haven't been camping for 2 years and
 besides barbecues in the back garden, I can't remember when I last cooked outside. 

So with a half term looming I decided it would be an ideal opportunity to spend a 
couple of nights camping, but as this would be the first time we'd be away with daughter on her own, and not even one brother to keep her company, I decided it had to be something a little bit different. It had to offer daughter a little extra - and I found the ideal place. 

I found this great campsite, with the main attraction being a wood fired hot tub!
And while you are warming up the hot tub  
you can also boil water for your tea. 

The idea is so simple. You keep a fire burning in the bin and the water from the hot tub
 circulates round the coil that circles round the bin. Once the hot tub was 
full and the water started to circulate it heated up very quickly. 

Of course when it came to cooking dinner, the kettles 
on the hot plate of the hot tub stove were replaced with sausages and baked potatoes. 
Why is cooking sausages by head torch so much more entertaining than
cooking under a grill?!
Daughter remained sitting in the tub to eat her dinner - I waited until I'd finished 
eating before I joined her!

The other great attraction about this campsite was the sleeping arrangements. 

Daughter got to sleep in a VW campervan!!

Husband and I slept in the tent. And there was also a campfire and pizza oven!
This is the outdoor cooking/washing up area.

   Hammocks to while away a few lazy hours in the summer - but perhaps for 
just a short time in the cooler British autumn.  

However, the first night we were there the temperature was incredibly mild 
for late October, helped by cloudy skies.

Steps up to the dry compost toilet. 

The tress this autumn have been particularly stunning - I think because we have had so
 little wind the leaves have stayed on the trees longer and given us a truly beautiful display. 

It really was a wooded wonderland...

...with a covered eating area.  

This site had no electricity but it takes more than that to stop a teenager from using her ipad.

Our water carrier. 

Firing up the hot tub for our second night!

Daughter in the hot tub by torch light. 

The second night we had clear skies - what joy to sit in the hot tub and look at the stars. 
But oh boy, was it cold for camping. Hot water bottles, extra duvets and plenty of 
blankets kept us snug. In fact husband and I had so many blankets on our bed I
 struggled to turn over under their weight! 

A fabulous couple of nights camping. 

And did it fulfil that urge I had to go camping? Most definitely. 
And did everyone enjoy the little adventure? Again, most definitely. 
But guess what daughter would now like in our back garden?!