Monday, 16 November 2009


Oh my God. I think I just saw a meteor!  Just done a quick google and apparantly there is the Leonid meteor shower about to happen.  Amazing


That's Stash Beyond Life Expectancy of course! Hmm.. well.... we had a bit of a reshuffle in the living room and the full extent of my ever-growing yarn addiction started to become clear when DH told me to sort out the pile of knitting stuff in the room.

I looked at it and then had to go and have a cup of tea and a bit of a think.

Then I had another look at it and just had to have another cup of tea.

Blimey, how did this happen? Where did it all come from? I'm sure I don't know, really I don't, surely I'm not responsible for all of it.

Then I got myself together and managed to stuff quite a lot of it into new hidey holes and all was normal again.

I really don't have too much yarn. No really I don't (just don't open any cupboards around the place)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Bike Trip

Blimey, it's been months and I haven't updated this blog. All the pertinent info went onto Twitter though so you can still have a look at it if you are interested.
What a blast! Here's what happened in a nutshell.
First of all. It was hot. Very hot. Very, very, very hot! At least 40C for the first few days. We were totally unprepared for this and riding in that heat in British bike gear is not nice at all! Now I know what it feels like to be a boil in the bag fish! Progress was slow because we had to keep stopping for rehydration (also removal of lots of gear to cool down). Still we weren't the only ones. All of the bikers were suffering and there was a certain camaraderie as we all huddled in the scant shadowy places to cool off!

We didn't get to all of the places we planned on account of the heat. But did reroute via Millau. This was a random selection from the map but there is a famous bridge there which was well worth seeing. It is an engineering marvel and looks almost impossibly delicate. We didn't ride across it but did pass underneath which was a great way to really see it's magnificence.
Got to the accommodation in the Pyrenees which was quirky! Bit of a mistake booking it for 10 days. We were all mountained out after a week. Plus the bike fell over and one of the indicators stopped working so we ended up heading home a few days sooner than planned.

The Pyrenees. Wow!
One day riding in the clouds being all British and sure that it would brighten up soon. It didn't. We saw nothing. Thank God for sat nav as we could barely see past the front of the bike a lot of the time and it showed us what was coming.
Very freaky looking at the side of the road and seeing nothing but cloud yet knowing that there is most likely a frighteningly long and steep drop there! Disorientating.

The next day fabulously clear and totally blown away by the amazing views. Also amazed by the astonishing number of cyclists zooming around the place!

Also kept coming across animals at the summits scrounging for food! Horses on one carpark and a cheeky goat on another! All looked, well chunky.

The best bit of all was all the people we met. The Spanish bikers (all on BMW K series bikes), the friendly cook at the roadside cafe, the lady Harley rider we kept bumping into all the way home, Gary from Bournemouth who we chatted to at the top of the Col du Tourmalet, the bonkers ex-pat who moved to France because he likes to own guns, the chatty dutchman with 4 hours more to drive who wished he was on his bike. Just great. You don't get that when you are driving a car.

Also visited some great places briefly. Had coffee in Luxembourg, stayed a night it a very posh hotel in Lausanne by Lake Geneva, walked amongst the beautiful people in Biarritz, crossed the border to Donastia St Sebastian in Spain, goggled at the numerous souvenir shops in Lourdes, and had a pleasant evening in Charleville. All great.

After deciding to head for home, we also decided to see how far we could go in one go. 900 miles it seems. We kept going until Leamington Spa where we had to stop to pick up the car and the dog. Although the dog was now in Cheshire (long story).

Bit bum sore but exhilarated.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Big Bike Trip

Probably won't be able to blog much en route so we are planning to Tweet instead. You can also check out where we are on a map too!

Follow us on the trip

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

UFOs....confession time...sigh

Well I have not done too well at finishing off some of the things I have started of late. One exception to this is the lovely Seraphina shawl that I started a few weeks ago. Although, having said that.... there are still ends to sew in and some blocking to do but in essence it is finished (that's what I keep telling myself anyhow!)

I did knit a lovely baby jacket for my boss's new daughter but she is now 6 months old and I have yet to add buttons! Of course it's way too small now! Have started a baby blanket and I can feel the ennui striking as it's a pretty mundane knit.... I really should stick to socks! I generally finish those.

What else is unfinished?
  • A shawl
  • Another baby jacket
  • A knitted bag
  • A crocheted top (started almost 2 years ago now!!)
  • A pirate hat
The shawl is a bit of an issue. It should be lovely and it should be a joy to knit but I've shoved it in a bag and put it on one side for now. It just looks awful. I'm assured that the miracle of blocking will sort all of that out but frankly I'm a bit concerned.

See what I mean.... I'm just not sure about it.

Well better get back to the blanket that I 'just had to make' but which is now becoming a bit tedious!!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Oh to be in England, now that April's there.....

Well it's bluebell time again. I'm sure we all have somewhere we call "bluebell woods" nearby but ours is actually called Spring Wood near Whalley and it's a bit of an annual ritual. (2008 & 2007 if you are interested!)

You have to time it just right to catch the bluebells at their best and today was just perfect. A gorgeous sunny morning and nice and early to ensure a spot on the carpark.

It was a sea of blue and there was the lovely mixed smell of bluebells and wild garlic. Heavenly. The girls are really into the Faraway Tree at the moment so we spent ages looking round trying to find it. This was a strong contender;

Until we found a tree that seemed to have a "Slippery Slip". Despite exhaustive searching, no trap door was found but the girls had fun trying it out anyway....

We made our way to the top of the hill and sat on the bench to admire the view... another ritual of the bluebell woods trip is to have this photo taken every time!

On the way back down the hill you pass some open fields full of sheep with their lambs. This group stayed still long enough for a good pic but then we realised it was because the lamb at the front was busy having a long wee!

Finally back on the carpark we all had a 99 ice-cream (need a second mortgage to buy them mind..... the man in the icecream van did have a stripey sweater on and a bag with "swag" written on it!!!)

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Charity Bike Ride and Some Crochet

Well what a fantastic day it's been today. Met up on the carpark at Giggleswick and then joined in the ride back to Burnley. Hundreds of bikers out. Check out my pics taken whilst riding on the back (getting some practice in for the hols)

Bikes and trikes arriving at the finish in Burnley. What fantastic weather. Blooming cloudy and cold at the start of the ride but glorious here.

Who says it's grim up North??

I couldn't believe it bikes and knitwear all in the same place! Just check out the fabulous Wazoo Wacky jumpers!!

There was a police escort due to the large number of bikes. Plus there was an organised road closure to allow us to ride together on the last stretch. Loads of kids were posing for pics on their bikes and I just couldn't help myself...

DH much cooler than me in his Union Jack open face helmet!

The kids had a fab time at the grandparents and we were all back home by 2.00pm. Even managed to do some crochet! Here's the beginning of a Seraphina Shawl

Well that's the Easter holidays done with back to stinky work and school tomorrow. It's been a fantastic fortnight and an excellent break from the usual routine.

The Joys of Spring

Sigh... this is the last day of the Easter Holidays. Back to stinky work tomorrow. It's been so lovely this past fortnight. The weather has been great for once too. It's my favourite time of year when all the trees and plants are bursting back to life and it's light for long enough to do stuff after 4 o'clock.

Off on a charity bike ride today. Should be great. Lots of bikers riding in from Giggleswick to Burnley. Will post some pics later.

Friday, 17 April 2009

All's Well!

Long time no blog .... again!

Been a bit preoccupied of late really. Had a bit of a funny turn a few weeks ago. Chest pain. Not nice. Thought it was a heart issue. Have family history of this and let's face it I'm 40, carrying a few extra pounds and a smoker too. Got in a bit of a state so went to see the doc. He was great and I have been fully MOT-ed and given a clean bill of health. Hooray!! Feeling so much better about things.

Went to the cardio clinic this morning for a stress test. It's all a bit undignified for us ladies though as they have to have access to your chest to attach all the necessary probes and stuff. This means you are wired up, topless and using a treadmill. Not a pretty sight. I asked them to stop when it got to running speed (no way was I going to do that with my bosoms bouncing around all over the place! Got to draw the line somewhere!!!) Anyhow, all is well. No heart issues, blood pressure normal, cholesterol low. Left with the number of the smoking cessation team.

So what else is new? Well I am now term-time at work. This is fantastic and relieves a lot of the stress and military-style planning that has to go on to sort out childcare during the school hols. There's a pay cut of course but it's worth it I think. Just had a lovely fortnight pottering about at home with the girls and getting out and about.

We've been to Hardcastle Craggs

What a glorious day it was too! Lovely spot with the mill and the craggs to walk around.

We went up to the Lake District to visit my parents who were caravanning near Kendal. The girls had great fun building a den just behind the caravan

We left them with my parents and went for a drive round. Another glorious spring day that really blew us away

We also went for some walks locally including the Coppice - a hill that overlooks the neighbouring town of Accrington. Bit of a blustery day but still good fun. Unfortunately, you can't see the annoyed gothic couple who were rudely interrupted in their canoodling by our arrival!! They are sulking at the other side of the stonework!

My mum took the girls out for the day so we nipped out on the bike for a run out. This was an excellent opportunity to visit the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop and have a bit of a splurge! Also managed to track down some of the sheep in a field across the road. Gorgeous chocolate coloured ones too. According to the woolshop lady the white ones are indoors at the moment as they are about to lamb. Ahhh....

Aren't they cute!

In between all of this I've also done some knitting!


And a jumper for me

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Well long time no blog.....

Well quite a lot has been going on. The run up to the end of term is always a bit hectic and chaotic. Plus there has been one or more birthday parties every week since the beginning of the school year! Honestly, the social lives of the primary kids is such a whirl.

It was also Natty's birthday at the beginning of February - 6 years old - I can't believe how fast it has gone!! Anyhow we had her party at the school hall with an entertainer who was just brilliant! There was balloon modelling, corny magic tricks, punch and judy and party games. Really old fashioned but great fun.

The kids had a whale of a time. 32 of them, all between the age of 3 and 6, and no tears or tantrums.

Half term has arrived and have had a couple of days off work because Nick's brother came to visit with his two kids. Had a lovely day all together and nipped out to lovely Towneley park and then nipped up to look at the wind farm. Then back home to warm up in front of the fire with hot chocolate and biccies. A pleasant chilled out day together. Don't see all that much of them as they live in Norfolk.

Here we are having fun at Towneley. It's a great place all year round. There are proper paths so it doesn't matter if it's been raining. I like the mossy winter green-ness of it. There are lots of interesting nooks and crannies to explore and felled trees to clamber about on.

No-one can resist the urge to stand on those balls outside the visitor centre at the main Hall!

Brr... it was getting a bit chilly up on the moors. The wind farm is soooo big. One of the turbines was turning into the wind and the weird creaking and banging was like a sound effect from Jason and the Argonauts (which we had been watching the day before!)

I'm quite pleased to report that even with all the stuff going on around us there has still been some knitting! Couple of pairs of socks. Lovely Kaffe Fassett regia socks for Nick and some Hedera socks for me in a very bright green Opal Uni. Have cast on a jumper for me in some bargain Paton's Jet too. There you go very productive all things considered!

Hedera Socks for me!

Lovely Kaffe Fassett Colours!

Have also expanded the stash a bit.... ulp!

Saturday, 31 January 2009

UK Swap parcel of loveliness

Huge thanks to Snailspace for a great swap parcel.

There is an awesome pair of Magic Mirror socks - I love them - a spinning kit, some lovely bath pearls, sumptuous chocolate, scrummy chilies, some invisible ink pens for the girls (they'd already eaten the sweeties when I took the photo!) and some bright ideas stickies for Nick.

Just gaze at the divine Magic Mirror socks... they are great

I have been truly spoiled!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The never ending size 12 socks

Blimey I really must stop offering to make socks for people before I've found out what size feet they have. I am knitting a pair of UK size 12s for a colleague at work and they are never ending! I feel like I've been knitting them since forever!!

On the second one now though so not long to go and then I can knit something a bit more petite!!

Might do a pair for my younger daughter as she has lovely little feet and it will be a nice quick job too.

Got my winter warmer item to make for the UK swap and then I am free to do whatever I please!

So for 2009 I would like to:

crochet a blanket (a la Bessies Blanket most likely)
Use the stash of Rowan Kid Classic and knit something for me!
Finish off all the sad and lonely bits and bobs that are lying around.
Conquer my fear of lace knitting

But no doubt I will get all enthused about something completely different and will be relating the same resolutions in 2010

Monday, 12 January 2009

A Bag of Nostalgia

My mum is finally redoing the front bedroom and brought over a bag of my stuff that's been there for almost 20 years. So I spent a couple of hours lost in the past going through it all.

There were letters from friends I still know and some I lost touch with long ago all concerned with stuff that was so all-encompassing then but seems somewhat shallow and meaningless now. There were photos, a few records and lots of bits and bobs that I hung onto for a whole plethora of significant at the time reasons. There were fanzines from the 80s and a really old copy of Viz. My favourite find though was the zippo lighter that I thought I'd lost a lifetime ago.

Feels like finding an old friend.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

UK Swap - Warming Your Head

Ooh ooh... catching up now!

Hats are great fun and a lovely quick knit too! I've fought in Hat Attack twice now (got bumped off quite early on both times but got a couple of lovely hats for my demise which made up for it!)

What is your favourite style of hat?
I love hats! No particular favourite style really. If pushed then I'd have to say earflap hats are my favourites

Do you have a favourite yarn for making hats with?
Wool or other natural fibre works best for me I think. The Hat Attack hat this time was designed using SWTC's Therapi yarn which is lovely and has some sort of jade composite in it along with silk and wool. Having said that the most important thing about yarn for a hat is that it is soft, warm and not itchy so I wouldn't rule anything out.

What hat patterns are in your queue at the moment?
Just had a quick look. I've got a balaclava, an earflap hat and some berets in there at the moment! Anything goes really

Do you have a favourite handmade hat that you (or someone else) has made?
I made the We Call Them Pirates Hat for a little boy and it was brilliant but I forgot to take a photo but it did look like it should have!

I also had fun knitting the Loopy Flapper hat recently. I too love the Woolly Wormhead hat designs

The Fibonacci Sequence Hat that killed me in Hat Attack is a favourite in this household my DH loves it too... it's just soooo cosy! Here's a pic of the Fibonacci hat and a nice red beret that I knitted recently for Natty. We were up Pendle Hill on New Year's Day and it was rather bracing and windswept!

UK Swap - Warming Your Knees

Oops falling a little behind on these at the moment. It's the whole end of Christmas sloth and getting back into being back at work syndrome I reckon. Feeble I know but oh so true!

What has been your favourite finished blanket/lapghan?
Do you have a favourite pattern that you'd like to make in the future?
Do you have a favourite type of yarn for making blankets/lapghans?

I have never knitted a blanket or afghan to my shame. This is because it's such a big project and I have such a small attention span. I do have some lovely old crochet blankets that my Great Aunt Lizzie made and gave me - bless her she was the one who taught me how to knit and crochet many, many years ago. I love them. They are made of acrylic yarn but I've had them forever and they wash and are all saggy and funny shaped and I wouldn't be without them.

There were also lots of lovely little knitted blankets in the NICU when my youngest was there which we all tried to grab first after they had been watched... much nicer than the utilitarian NHS cellular blankets! There weren't enough to have one to keep though which was a shame. Note to self - must pull finger out and do some knitting for the baby unit to rectify the situation!

There are lots of stunning blankets and afghans around but my favorites are:

Color Me
- a crochet blanket that's really original

Love the bright colours and the crayola crayon vibe. It's great!

I also really like the Natural Dye Studio's range of Bessie's Blankets too. There is just something so cosy about crocheted blankets. These blankets are so timeless and are made from the fabulous Dye Studio yarn so really sumptuous and touchable too! Love 'em!

I'm also really like the Lizard Ridge throw. It's just beautiful.