Monday, 16 October 2017

#stitchingsanta 2017

I just thought I'd mention the #stitchingsanta 2017 swap which Sheila from Sewchet blog is running. This will be the third time that I've taken part in this swap and it's always so much fun, I thought a few of you may enjoy joining in too.

It's a bit like a Secret Santa, you get given a partner to send a swap package to and a different person gets given your name and in turn sends a swap package to you, so it's not a straight swap with one person.

The great thing about this swap is that it's for crafty people, you can opt to join the knitting/crochet swap, the sewing swap, or both.

The cost, I think, is very reasonable. Gifts to the value of £10 (excluding postage) should be added to the parcel, but you're also able to add things which you've made or which haven't cost anything. I often add little kits or free gifts from the front of magazines and I always send something handmade too.

It's such a lovely swap for crafters, so if you fancy joining in, head over to Sheila's Sewchet blog and sign up on the #stitchingsanta 2017 post.

Perhaps I'll see you there.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Blackpool Illuminations

Go to Blackpool to see the illuminations is on my 50 Before 50 list.

We decided to go a fortnight ago, Mick had planned to finish work early, however, he had to go and visit a customer and got stuck there so we didn't actually set off until 4.30pm. The traffic on the motorway, being a Friday evening, was horrendous and we didn't arrive in Blackpool until 8pm, by which time it was already dark and the illuminations were already lit. We got in the queue of cars at the North Shore to make our way through the display of lights which run the whole length of the promenade, and beyond. The imposing Tower can be seen from most points.

Most visitors drive through the six miles of illuminations, and therefore, it takes quite a while in the queuing traffic. There are also open top trams, and other trams which are illuminated to look like ships, which run along the tramway, as well as horse drawn landau.

There have been illuminations at Blackpool since 1879, though they consisted of just eight carbon arc lamps. The first display similar to what we see today was held in May 1912 when Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's Granddaughter, visited Blackpool to open a new section of the promenade, Princess Parade.

Not only did we get to see the illuminations but the World Fireworks Championship was also being held in Blackpool and they were putting on a display for four consecutive Fridays in September so we got to see the Celebrations Display by the UK. It made the time spent waiting around for the cars to actually move more bearable.

Many of the illuminations are sponsored by businesses. These 'I'm lovin' it' lights were outside McDonalds.

Forty large tableaux are displayed from North Shore to Bispham, these are set back beyond the tramway and a pedestrian walkway runs the length of these.

I liked this Hickory Dickory Dock tableau. Here you can see the mouse at the top of the clock after it's run up, but as the lights change and the clock strikes one, you get to see the mouse run down the clock again.

Here are a small selection of the 2017 illuminations.

Blackpool itself was extremely busy with families out to see the lights as well as party goers spilling out of the bars and clubs onto the pavements. I have to say that even though I live in a large city, I've never seen so many police vehicles speeding around at any one time. At one point, we were in the queue of traffic when a police car, sirens blaring, sped towards us on the other side of the road, finally coming to a halt right in front of our car. Five police vans followed suit and all the officers jumped out, running down a side street, to what I do not know. It totally unnerved me though. Sirens could be heard more or less continually during our time there and we saw so many police cars and ambulances, some of which were speeding along the tram lines as the roads were chock o block full of queuing cars. The emergency services were very busy and I wonder if this is normal for a Friday night in Blackpool.

It took us a good two hours to drive right the way through the illuminations and though we thought we'd have an easy drive back home, we discovered that part of the motorway was down to one lane due to night time roadworks and another part of the motorway was closed, so it was actually 1.30am by the time we arrived home. I usually go to bed pretty early so it was a bit of an adventure to be doing something out of the ordinary like this so late at night.

That's something else crossed off my 50 Before 50 list.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A Woolly Giveaway Win

I often have little giveaways on my blog, especially around the time of the anniversary of me starting my blog, but I'm also really quite lucky with the giveaways I win. My latest prize is a pair of knee length merino wool socks. I won them on Kimberley's Creative Chaos blog and they came all the way from New Zealand where Kimberley lives and where the socks were made.

There was also a little surprise in the parcel, two rolls of fabric tape.

Thank you Kimberley, the weather is getting much cooler here now, we're in to autumn and winter is on the way so it won't be long until I'm needing them. I'm sure they'll keep my tootsies toasty warm.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Petunia Dursley's Double Eyelet Shortie Socks

You may remember the Pink Flamingo Socks that I knit for Daniel's girlfriend, well I had quite a bit of yarn left over so I thought I'd try and get another pair of socks out of it, and I managed it. It helped that I'd used a contrasting yarn for the cuffs, heels and toes, it meant that there was more of the main colour left than there would have been if I'd knit the full socks in just one colour.

I used the Petunia Dursley's Double Eyelet Socks pattern by Erica Lueder, another pattern inspired by a Harry Potter character, which is a free pattern on Ravelry, but I've made a shortie sock rather than knit the whole leg. Again, I've used a contrasting colour but this time I've just used it for the heels and toes, the cuff has been knit using the main colour. I've used West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in the Pink Flamingo colourway and Candyfloss as a contrast.

This is a really easy lace pattern and makes such a pretty pair of socks. I used the Fish Lips Kiss Heel pattern by Sox Therapist, it's only the second time I've knit a heel using this pattern but it's surprisingly easy once you know what you're doing.

These will be an extra pair of socks for Eleanor for Christmas but I wouldn't mind knitting this pattern again, this time as a full sock, for myself.

I've already cast on another pair of socks for, you've guessed it, another Christmas present. It's going to be socks all round this year.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Choose Or Lose

Walkers Crisps are running a Choose or Lose promotion at the moment.

Three classic flavours are pitted against flavours from around the world.

Smoky Bacon Vs Bacon & Cheddar.

I'm not a huge fan of Smoky Bacon but I definitely prefer it to Bacon & Cheddar.

Salt & Vinegar Vs Lime & Black Pepper.

Salt & Vinegar is a favourite so that one has to stay. The Lime & Black Pepper tastes very similar to Salt & Vinegar at first but it's got a really weird fruity aftertaste.

Prawn Cocktail Vs Paprika.

When did Prawn Cocktail become a classic flavour? They seem to be foisted on us at every opportunity. They're included in the Walkers Classic variety pack and they're also in the Meaty variety pack too. I don't mind Prawn Cocktail every once in a while but it's overkill, I'll go with the Paprika on this one which I expected to be rather spicy but only really had a very mild flavour.

What about you, which would you choose?

And what about Marmite crisps, not included in the promotion, but are you a lover or a hater? Mick and Eleanor love them, Daniel and I dislike them with a passion.

You can vote on the Choose or Lose website.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Last Day In Norfolk

We were coming to the end of our holiday. The cottage was booked until the Friday but as the weather wasn't brilliant on the Thursday we decided that we'd head home later that day rather than staying another night and having to rush around packing up the next morning, as we had to be out by 10am.

We headed out to the beach where Mick was planning on doing a little more fishing but he decided against that. We'd seen lots of cormorants fishing in the sea throughout the week but this one perched obligingly on the groynes so that I could take his photo.

I mentioned in an earlier post how I'd set a challenge for us all at the beginning of the holiday to find a pebble with a hole through it. As none of us had yet found one I didn't think we were going to do so, but walking on the beach on that last day, Eleanor came up trumps.

Not only did she find a pebble with a hole through it, earning her the title of champion, but she also claimed the prize. I thought something like an ice cream would suffice but Eleanor had other ideas, she'd seen a make up palette she wanted and it ended up costing me twenty five quid! It's the last time I'll issue any challenges on holiday, that's for sure!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Holidaying With Friends

When Eleanor knew we were going on holiday to Norfolk, she was keen to meet up with a friend she'd made at university who lives in Norwich. Paige lived in the next flat to Eleanor on campus and they became very good friends. Unfortunately, she's decided that university isn't for her so she hasn't returned this year, I know that Eleanor will miss her.

Eleanor found out that Paige had a day off work on the Wednesday of our week away so we kept that day free so that we could drive over and pick her up. We headed back to the cottage first of all for some lunch and then Eleanor and Paige went for a long walk along the beach before we all headed out to the cafe in the village for tea and cake.

It wasn't a very nice day, it was rather dull and very windy, but we decided a walk along the prom in Cromer would do us good after the rather large portions of cake we'd just consumed.

We were surprised to see goats grazing on the cliff tops, apparently they're being used to control the scrubland.

You can see how steep it is from the photo I took at the bottom.

Eleanor and Paige enjoyed having time to catch up on gossip together.

I doubt this shop will have sold any buckets and spades that day, it was rather wild and the beach quite empty.

The beach huts were all shut up too.

Someone was enjoying the beach though.

I quite fancy a little beach hut, we always used to hire one when I was a child, though I remember those holidays being filled with wall to wall sunshine. I'm sure it wasn't really like that, it's funny how our memories can play tricks and recall just the good bits.

It definitely wasn't a beach day, it looked rather bleak out to sea.

Just time to have a go on the 2p machines in the amusements before heading back to the cottage again.

Although the weather wasn't brilliant, Eleanor got the chance to catch up with her friend, which I think they both enjoyed. It's such a shame that Paige hasn't gone back to uni this year but she's already talking about visiting so fingers crossed they manage to stay in touch.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Raindrops On Roses - September

These are a few of my favourite things.

Seals. Horsey Gap has to be the highlight of my month. Not only was it the favourite bit of my holiday in Norfolk, it's the thing which has stuck out during September. If I ever get the chance to go back again, I'll be there like a shot.

Ice Cream. I'm not usually a lover of ice cream but I make an exception when I go away on holiday. It has to be hard ice cream, I really don't like soft, whippy, ice cream, and usually vanilla.

Yarn festivals. I visited Yarndale last Saturday, it's the fourth time I've been to this particular festival and it seems to get bigger and better every year. I'll tell you more about my day in a forthcoming post.

Imperial Leather raspberry and pomegranate shower gel. I don't usually use shower gel, I have sensitive skin so I stick with a soap which I know I'm fine with, but if I do deviate, it's usually for something with a citrusy scent. I saw this shower gel on the supermarket shelf and it lured me into having a whiff of it, I was sold. Though it's not something I'd usually buy I can see it becoming a regular in my shopping basket. It's got a fruity scent and smells good enough to eat.

My birthday. I celebrated away from home this year, it was my birthday at the beginning of the month when we were on holiday in Norfolk. I got some wonderful gifts, including a beautiful swift and a wool winder. Actually, I think Mick had an ulterior motive for buying me these, I usually ask him to hold my skeins of yarn on his outstretched hands whilst I wind them into balls. I'll be able to wind them myself now. Can you see the cute novelty cake and biscuit stitch markers and needle keeper from Chapel View Crafts? Eleanor bought me these and I'm so pleased with them. They've been on my wish list for quite some time and they didn't disappoint. I got lots of other lovely gifts too, and money so I can treat myself, I was thoroughly spoilt.

What favourites do you have this month? How about joining me and writing a post about them?

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Back To Uni

Eleanor's summer finally came to an end on Sunday when she returned to university for her second year. It's been lovely having her home for the holidays though it seems a long time ago now since she came home. Well, I suppose it is, she arrived home on the 11th of June and she's had fifteen full weeks here.

It was very strange when she went away last year, it was the first time that Mick and I had been on our own for over twenty one years but we soon got used to it. In fact, it's the norm now so it takes some adjusting when she comes back home and we have to share the house again. The house does seem empty again though now but I'm slowly getting back into a routine of being on my own during the day.

She managed to get herself a little bar job while she's been at home, she worked four and a half hours on a Friday night and eleven and a half hours on a Saturday. She's saved most of her wages so that she's got quite a bit of money to take back to uni with her.

The hard work really starts for Eleanor now. High grades have never come easy for her, she has to work for every mark she gets, so we were thrilled when her overall grade for Year 1 was a 2:1. It's a shame that the first year grade doesn't count towards the degree. We're just hoping that she can keep it up, though she does work hard so I know she'll give it her best.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Messing About On The Water

I still haven't finished telling you about our holiday in Norfolk at the beginning of September so we're back there again today.

The day dawned bright on the Tuesday so we decided we'd head for the Broads and hire a boat for a couple of hours. There's quite a few different marinas where boats can be hired from, we chose Wroxham,

We had a short holiday on the Norfolk broads when Daniel and Eleanor were very young, I think Eleanor must only have been about three or four and she can't remember anything of it now so she really enjoyed having a go at steering the boat herself and she soon got the hang of it.

I've never seen so many herons in one place before, they could be spotted all the way along the river bank.

There were swans too, and different types of ducks.

This salty sea dog enjoyed his time aboard. The life vest was not his, he was just wearing it for the photo.

We could have gone on a boat trip rather than hire a boat ourselves but we definitely did the right thing, it was much more fun.

About half way into our hire it started to rain. It wasn't a problem though, we just pulled the roof across to keep us dry.

The rain soon passed by, which Archie was pleased about as he could go back to sticking his head over the side and watching the other boats go by.

It's a pity that this ice cream boat was closed for the day.

There's some beautiful little riverside cottages, lots of them even have their own mooring for their boat,

There's some beautiful larger cottages too.

Number 7 on my 50 Before 50 list is Take a boat ride, so that can now be crossed off.

This little trip has whetted Mick's appetite for a weekend away on the Broads next year. Nothing's been decided yet but we may very well end up back there. I won't be complaining.