Friday 8 November 2013

Memories of Summer 2013

It feels absolutely freezing this morning and we had our first frost on the car windscreen today, so it seems like a good idea to look back over photos taken during the amazingly warm Summer we were lucky enough to enjoy this year. We definitely made the most of it, once we returned from our holiday. We went for a day trip out, just me and my girls, to a local farm to do some fruit picking. The strawberries were the best I have seen them and we go to this particular farm for fruit picking almost every year. They had been planted in troughs raised above the ground at hand height so no back breaking bending over to pick. Such a good idea especially as my back has seen better days!

The plum trees were heaving and we didn't even have to move off the spot before we had filled two punnets.

The cherry trees were unreal, I've never seen so many cherries in one place. There were quite a few wasps around too so we had to pick carefully.

Once we had picked enough, we shot off down the road to a lovely little stream which is perfect for picnics. We ate a few nibbly bits before eating some of the strawberries we had just picked for pudding. Yum.

Then the girls had a little paddle in the stream which was remarkably clean and very shallow, and a bit cold.

The tortoises had the most incredible time in the heat, they were noticeably happier and more active, soaking up the sunshine and charging around the tortoise enclosure searching for food. They are finding it a bit difficult being inside all the time now, although it won't be long before they go into hibernation.

Just before the girls went back to school, we took a day trip to the Big Feastival, which was organised by Jamie Oliver and Alex James. We were so lucky with the weather, the food was amazing and there was plenty to keep us all occupied. It was a fab day out and here is an aerial shot taken on my phone at the top of the Ferris Wheel, which I really shouldn't have gone on as I went a bit green and had to close my eyes and go to my special place to get through it without screaming or throwing up. The last time I went to my special place was when I gave birth to my two kids!!
So there we have it, roll on Winter. x

Tuesday 1 October 2013


It seems like a lifetime ago that we were in Singapore but it's lovely looking back over a few of the photos, bringing back wonderful memories of a fantastic once in a lifetime holiday.
The above photo is of the 50 metre pool at the apartment block where my sister and brother in law live. We made the most of the pool due to the extreme humidity, it was very refreshing I can assure you!


My favourite building in Singapore - very art deco. There are a lot of 1920s and 1930s buildings in Singapore, nestled in amongst the more modern high rise blocks.

We stopped by this mosque to have some ice cream and a rest in the shade. A gorgeous little street, completely different to anywhere else we had seen on our travels.

We ate in Satay Street one evening - here's the remains of our meal, chicken and beef satay which was cooked in vast quantities on the street in front of you. Notice the blue fan on the table - these were well used whilst we were out there!

And we couldn't go to Singapore without the obligatory trip to Raffles. We didn't go in the long bar and none of us ordered a Singapore Sling but we drank delicious cocktails (even non alcoholic ones for the kids) and relaxed on the outside terrace.

There was a very conveniently placed cupcake shop just round the corner from the apartment so we indulged a couple of times. Tea and cake on the balcony - bliss!

The Gardens by the Bay which we visited were stunning. We are not gardeners but we still enjoyed a trip round these two huge conservatory type structures. This lions head was carved from wood. Incredible.

Waterfalls in one of the conservatories. The girls weren't so keen on looking at plants but still had a great time climbing up inside this waterfall tower.

A view of the Marina Bay Sands building through glass.

I was really hoping there would be a miniature version of this lion in the gift shop at the Gardens by the Bay but alas, it was full of garish sparkly tat!

There was a bookshop just round the corner from my sister's place which had a vintage section out the back. Look at their cool collection of vintage Pez sweet dispensers. I had to stop myself from buying any, we have enough at home already.

They also had a large collection of glassware and a box full of vintage black and white photos. I love old photos and bought a couple to display at home.

These art deco apartments surrounded the apartment block where my sister lives. Beautiful streets to meander around.

We had such a great time, I'm sure I could bore you all with dozens more photos! A real experience and memories I will treasure for years to come. x

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Crewel obsession

I bought a book over a year ago on crewel embroidery. It has sat, along with lots of embroidery wool from the charity shop, in a project bag in the wardrobe. I have always meant to have a go but never had the inclination to just go for it and deal with any disastrous results. Having only ever concentrated on tapestries in the past, I thought it was going to be tricky and too fiddly for my lack of patience. Then I saw the perfect kit was on sale and had to order it.

It came all the way from across the pond from this lovely lady. It arrived when we were on holiday so it was a much needed treat when I got home ( a 12 hour flight including travel sickness from one of my daughters kind of did me in. I could have kissed the tarmac once we'd landed!).

I am really really having fun with this crewel kit. It is so easy and quick to work up. Makes a nice change from crochet, which I've found the weather is still a bit too hot to have a crochet blanket in progress on my lap. A nice embroidery hoop and a tiny bit of woollen thread works out much better at this time of year.

I was just lamenting the lack of crewel kits available in the UK - either on ebay or in charity shops when I popped out and what did I find?

You couldn't get more Granny Chic if you tried and all for £1. Included is the printed fabric, needle and embroidery thread. It looks like it hasn't ever been removed from its packaging. Can't wait to get started on it, although I must finish the current one first. Must also start looking for an appropriately sized picture frame in the charity shops too.

Here is my Crewel work project bag, stuffed with hoops and wool, all bought at bargain prices. This kind of stuff always seems to be ultra cheap in the charity shops, you just have to rummage around to find it though. Right, must get on. I have been doing much needed housework this morning and now it's time to sit back with a cup of tea and relax. Holiday photos next post. x

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Apple for the teacher

Well, it's that time of year again - what to buy for the teacher? I decided I would make some apple coasters using some leftover cotton yarn. They turned out really well after blocking and sewn on pips! It was an extremely quick and easy pattern too, only just under ten minutes to crochet each apple (minus the leaf). I've already had a request for some apple bunting. I found the pattern here. It's free and so quick and easy to follow. I went in search of a mug to go with the coasters and found this fab green one which kind of looks like a big juicy green apple. I bunged a couple of walnut whips in for good measure. As you do. I really hope the teacher likes her gift, F so enjoyed having her as her teacher.
One of F's other teachers is due to give birth to her second child in August so I have plans to make something. I made her first child this blanket. I don't know what she is having this time so I will have to wait and see and then quickly crochet something ready for September so I can pass it on. I have a pattern in mind if she has a girl but F thinks she is having a boy. Who knows?!
Lots of things have been happening recently - we decorated our bedroom and got new carpet (yes, the ugly purple shagpile has gone, you cannot understand how ecstatic I am about that), I have made a couple of dresses and crocheted quite a few little bits and pieces. We are going on holiday soon, a trip to Singapore to see my sister and brother in law. Yes, they moved from Hong Kong to Singapore, how convenient for us! So so so looking forward to seeing them and it will be great to have a holiday so soon after school breaks up - we usually have our holiday at the end of the Summer holidays. We are definitely ready for it.
I think we are going to be quite spontaneous these Summer holidays, we will just see what we fancy doing as each day comes. There is only a 2 year age gap between my two but they increasingly seem to want to do different things. Will have to see where our imaginations take us. I would like to go on some picnics by the river (weather permitting) and strawberry picking has also been mentioned but I think we are a bit late for that this year. We would have gone over the past few days but the weather was just too hot. Cinema is always a winner especially when it's raining, we've also got our swimming pool up which has been in constant use over the past three weeks. Not sure how much use we will get out of it for the rest of the Summer but we'll see. xxx

Tuesday 2 July 2013


The big button is up there on the right. You know the drill. BTW, I didn't know Google Reader existed until all this talk about it closing down started. I'll crawl back under my technology free rock now! x

Friday 14 June 2013

Mmm cake

Celebrating F's 10th birthday this weekend. Lots of cake has been made, hoping we get lots of visitors this weekend to eat it all up before I do! Hope you all have a lovely weekend whatever you're doing. x

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Great British Sewing Bee day trip out

Back at the end of April, E and I visited a very special shop opening. Lauren from the Great British Sewing Bee was opening her very own (along with her husband Ayaz) haberdashery shop. It's about an hour and a half's drive from my house but it was well worth the journey. We turned up about an hour after the official opening time but we still had to queue for ten minutes outside. The shop was heaving, so many people, it was amazing to see. And of course it was so lovely to meet some of the contestants from the show - Lauren, Ann and Tilly were there, as you can see in the above photo, and I had a little chat with Stuart who was an absolute delight. There are lots of photos on Tilly and Lauren's blog, some of which appear to have me in the background! Don't quite know how that happened, I wasn't posing honest!!
Of course we had to spend some pennies having travelled so far to visit and I'm always keen to support independent businesses. E and I decided to buy some fabric to make a bag each to take with us on holiday. I think I will make a tote bag as per the tutorial on Lauren's blog. The fabric I chose is the brown floral one, E surprised me by choosing a pale pink floral after hating pink for the past 5 years. We also got some pom pom makers (great fun), a cute apple tape measure for E, a seam ripper for me (this unfortunately gets a fair amount of use when I'm sewing) and some fabric squares. I also bought a Colette Hazel dress pattern. Everyone on t'internet seems to be raving about Colette patterns so I thought I would give one a go. 

We had such a fab day, including a delicious lunch at a local Italian restaurant. Unfortunately we didn't have time to visit any of the numerous charity shops we passed on the way home. There seemed to be one every other shop at one point. I was desperately trying to stop myself from shouting "Stop the Car!" at my husband.

Not too sure what I will make with these but I may use one or two when making the bags. I really wanted to buy the GBSB book but they had run out at the shop so I ordered a couple of copies from Amazon - one for me and one for my Mum. Lots of patterns in there that I would like to make but I decided on the dress that Stuart made in the first episode. If you watched the show, you may remember it was made in the green and navy Chinese lantern fabric above but I dug out some fabric I bought from the charity shop a few weeks ago. Three metres of grey floral fabric for £3.75, not bad at all and it meant I wouldn't feel too bad if I messed up.

I only took one photo whilst making this. Here is the lined bodice on Deirdre my dressmaker's dummy.

And here is a photo of the nearly finished dress. I tried to fit a lapped side zip and managed to break the sewing machine needle when I hit one of the zip teeth, consequently breaking the zip as well. I have unpicked and bought a replacement zip and put off fitting it for the last two weeks. In the meantime I have made three other dresses, one is just a wearable muslin though.  After the zip disaster I picked up a dress pattern which doesn't need a zip or buttonholes. It's a New Look Easy 2 hour pattern hence the reason I have made 3 in the past couple of weeks! I really must face my zip phobia though.
I've cut out the pattern pieces for the Hazel dress and will make a muslin of the bodice to check for fit before cutting into the actual fabric. So many plans, so little time. Don't worry, I have still found time in the evenings to crochet in front of the telly. Have got some photos of stuff I have made over the past couple of months.
It was a fantastic day trip out and I'd definitely go again. Lauren's shop also has an online shop so do check it out and see what gorgeous fabrics etc. she has available.
Finally, just a little reminder about the Bloggy Blanket that I added some crochet squares to. I still have it carefully packed away under my coffee table. If you would like to add some squares to this blanket, please either contact me or leave a comment here so we can get the blanket moving and growing again. It's all for a very good cause. Thanks.