Thursday, 9 December 2010

Secret Santa!

I finished making the last item for my Secret Santa parcel last night; now everything is wrapped and ready to go! I can't tell you who will be receiving the parcel as that would spoil the surprise, but suffice to say it's going to a different country without going overseas... I hope the 'lucky' recipient enjoys their gifts.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Lending a Hand to the Global Economy

On Friday hubby & I celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary and where better to celebrate than back in the city where we got married - New York! Yay!!! And we are child-free for the entire time. Yay again! (much as I love the little blighter, shopping til you drop with a buggy and toddler is not such an easy feat.)

So, tomorrow afternoon DC is toddling off to Grandma and Grandad's and then very early on Friday morning we will wend our weary way to Heathrow to board a lovely BA flight for the city that never sleeps. It's pretty much a whistlestop tour and a bit of an odd one because on Sunday evening hubby and I will be going our separate ways as hubby flies off to San Francisco for business and I stay in NYC for an entire 24 hours ON MY OWN!!! Well, on my own WITH A CREDIT CARD. And an empty suitcase.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Birthday Haul

'Twas my birthday on Monday. Don't tell anyone, but I turned 39. Also known as 34 because when I turned 37 I decided I was going to go backwards in years and see how long I could get away with it, so when I was 37, I was actually 36; when I was 38 I was 35, and now I'm 39 I'm only actually 34. Get it?!
I had a very lovely day indeed as I decided to do absolutely no work whatsoever (the joys of working from home, flexi-time!) So, while hubby took DC off to nursery, I sat in my pyjamas, drinking coffee, watching Ugly Betty on Sky+ and flicking through Christmas catalogues.

Upon hubby's return I opened a very fine stash of birthday presents, many of which had been sent from Cath Kidston, which I thought was remarkably kind of her. She must be a very busy lady, even more so at this time of year, but how nice that she realised what I would most like and delivered it to my very front room.
About 10am I summoned up the energy for a shower, after which I toddled in to town and had a very pleasant few hours wandering round the shops, buying a few Christmas pressies plus some new gloves and hat for DC to ward off the Arctic chill (he already has some but hubby felt an upgrade was required.) A leisurely stop in Starbucks for a venti Peppermint Mocha, before a little more shopping and then, treat to end all treats, I got the bus home! Oh yes, that may not sound like much, but I always walk home from town - but not on my birthday, no sireeeeee. Then it was over to the health club for a back, shoulder and scalp massage - blissssssssssssssssss, before returning home to a roaring fire and still another hour or so of child-free peace.

But the best moment of the day came when DC arrived home from nursery clutching his very first piece of 'art' (word used in loosest sense, for I am not one of those mothers who sees a spark of genius in everything her child does), or at least the first piece that nursery thought it safe to let him come home with.

What luck that DC had got me this lovely wire heart for my birthday, so that I can display his art in all its glory...
After DC had gone to bed, hubby cooked me a birthday request dinner: toad in the hole with cauliflower cheese, followed by strawberry shortcake birthday cake.
All in all, a tippity-top day. I'm a very lucky 33 year old.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Tidy House

That makes a change.

We're putting the house on the market in the new year but decided to use the opportunity of DC and hubby being away for the weekend to get the estate agent round to take photos. On Wednesday the cleaners came and made us all spick and span, then on Thursday hubby & DC toddled off for a long weekend 'oop north'. I spent the rest of the day tidying and stuffing things in cupboards/under beds and plumping cushions and packing away dust collectors and generally prettifying the house. Then on Friday morning the estate agent came round and took photos and in the afternoon we had our first viewing, even though the house isn't officially going on the market until January! Apparently the lady who came round really loves it and wants to bring her parents round next week to give her a second opinion (they are lending her the money, hence their interest.) How wonderful would it be if she decides to buy the house? Mostly because it would mean we won't have to keep it tidy for much longer because, believe me, it's hard work. But it is lovely being in such a tidy, clutter-free house.

The living room

The kitchenThe room where I work and DC plays (would probably be the dining room for anyone who doesn't work from home/need a playroom for a child with too much brightly coloured plastic)Main bedroomNurseryNo photos of the third bedroom because, although tidy, it's not pretty. And no photos of the garden either because it's foggy.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Country Living Christmas Fair

I'm amazed that it's a whole week since hubby & I made our way to wet and windy London for a (separate) day out. We travelled together as far as Baker Street, where hubby alighted from the tube for a visit to the Cabinet War Rooms, while I carried on to Angel and then battled through the rain to the Business Design Centre - luckily not far from the tube station - for the Country Living Christmas Fair.

I was very excited to be here and spent a good few hours perusing the stalls, buying a few bits and bobs and making the most of the free tasters in the food section - I didn't need to buy any lunch!

Would you believe that I forgot to go to the cashpoint before I went in?! My heart nearly stopped when I realised I only had just over £10 in my wallet and could see pretty quickly that it might not go very far. Luckily, most of the stalls were equipped to take credit/debit cards but in the end, I only needed to get my card out once as, although there were lots and lots of stalls selling many, many lovely things I did find that there wasn't much I wanted/hadn't seen before. While there were plenty of hand made, original items there was also a lot of "same same" high street fare - Cath Kidston, Gisela Graham, East of India, Susie Watson, so my hard-earned cash stayed in the bank. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed my time at the fair and would definitely go again. And, I expect you'd like to see what I came home with:

This robin was my first buy - he was on one of the very first stalls I came across (can't remember the name of it though.)I picked this lovely little metal tag on the same stall for just 50p - could be used as a tree decoration or a gift tag. Wish I'd bought more now. Always the way, eh?I thought of DC when I saw these - they combine two of his great loves: tissues and buses. Strange but true.And these fairy cake cases were a small gift for hubby, who is chief baker in the W household and a great lover of all things Christmas.And my last purchase of the day was this lovely heart for just 3.50 - bargain!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

More Exciting-ness

Tomorrow I'm off to the Country Living Christmas Fair in old London town. Hubby & I are having a day out together, separately. After we drop DC at nursery we shall catch the train into London together and then go our separate ways, me to do girly shopping and oohing and aahing at pretty things and him to do boy stuff, possibly at Imperial War Museum.

That reminds me, I really must go to the cashpoint...

I wonder if I'll spot any fellow bloggers there? Is anyone else going tomorrow? Say hello if you see me!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Fabulous Autumn Swap!

This week I received my very first swap parcel; looks like I lucked out with my swap partner (Tracy of Mad About Bags), and I feel like I did her a real disservice with the things I sent since only one of them was hand made. Note to self: be a better crafter for next swap.

When the post arrived, I hastily opened the envelope to discover a whole host of gifts wrapped in gorgeous autumnal paper

and accompanied by this sweet handmade card

First out of its wrapping was this lovely woolly brooch which will look absolutely perfect on my brand new black coat:

Next came this giant pincushion which, as you can see from Tracy's note, will be perfect when I finally get my sewing machine set up in what has been designated as my office-cum-craftroom at our new houseNext, an autumnal cross-stitch tutorialAnd finally a notebook which will be very handy for writing down all those things I need to remember!

There was also a lovely book entitled 'The Autumn Garden' which I've forgotten to take a photo of, but which will be very useful for the garden at our new house which is much, much bigger than any other garden we've ever had to cope with!

Didn't I do well?!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Holidays Are Coming

I'm very much looking forward to being able to enjoy my peppermint mocha out of one of these little beauties very soon!

Monday, 1 November 2010


How excited did I get when this little beauty fell with a less-than-graceful thud onto the doormat just now? Very, very, overexcited.
My first Christmas magazine.
(so far.)

Friday, 29 October 2010

Same Same, But Different

This is a phrase you will hear/see often should you happen to be travelling in South East Asia (mostly Thailand, I think); when you ask the salesman 'Is this a real Rolex', he'll say 'Yes, madamsir, same same, but different'.
Anyhoozles, I'm not trying to sell you a Rolex here, honest guv. I just thought the phrase was very apt when it comes to describing the "pair" (used in the loosest sense) of wristwarmers I've knitted. Because they are, you see, very same same, but different.

In evidence, I give you wristwarmer no.1 (apologies for out of focus and generally rubbish photos - they were taken with the iPhone because I was too lazy to get my camera out):Wristwarmer no.1 was made following the pattern almost to the letter (admittedly I used slightly larger needles for the ribbing because I knit very tightly and made them only 10inches long where the pattern called for them to be 11inches.) In order to make the thumb "hole" you simply put a few stitches across the cast off edge at the top:This is the ribbing at the bottom edge of the wristwarmer.And this is wristwarmer no.2: Can you spot the difference(s)?I knitted no.2 in exactly the same way as no.1. What made the difference was when it came to the sewing up. I cut the yarn too short and was left with an approx. 1.5inch gap in the seam. It struck me that this would actually make a great thumb hole

And, indeed, it does. The only trouble is, the hole is nearer to what should be the bottom end of the wristwarmers, hence the thicker area of ribbing is now at the top and the thinner area ia at the bottom.So, I now own a pair of same, same but different wristwarmers and I'm now knitting another pair which I will make up according to wristwarmer no.2. Sometimes going wrong is actually a good thing!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Laa Laa's Secret Santa Swap

I've signed up for another swap! This time it's a Christmas one. I know who I'm sending my gifts to, but I can't tell you or it wouldn't be a secret now, would it?! Suffice to say, the person I've been given doesn't live 'down south'. That's all I'm saying, so don't try and fool me into giving the game away with your crafty little questions. Now I need to read back through this person's blog and try to glean as much info as possible about her/him (ha!) from what s/he's written about what s/he likes, dislikes, wants, needs, desires, etc, etc. And then I have to beg, borrow, make and procure suitable gifties. Sounds like fun?!
I sent off my Pumpkin Patch Swap gifts to Tracy at Mad About Bags a few days ago and she's emailed to tell me the parcel has arrived. She's being very, very good and not opening her gifts until I receive my parcel from her; I hope she likes what I've sent. Just as soon as she opens up the parcel I'll post a photo of what was in it.
Oh, and last night I finished the other wristwarmer; just a little more sewing up to do and then I can show the pair in their full glory.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

A Few Child-Free Days, A Lot of Shopping and Some Knitting!

Ah, bliss. Although of course I miss the little blighter! Luckily Daddy kept me well abreast of his movements - here he is on his way to nursery (with George) on Weds morning.
And here is relaxing with the Sunday papers
On Tuesday evening I caught the train to Bristol; I worked out that the last time I did this was Christmas 2003. That's quite a while. Anyhoozles, I headed out of the door leaving hubby and DC behind, feeling guilty at abandoning them but knowing that on Thursday they would be heading up to Wigan to spend the weekend with Grandma and Grandad. Luckily, the guilty feeling didn't last that long...
The purpose of my trip to Bristol was to play nursemaid (although re-reading the following paragraph, it would seem that the purpose was actually to go shopping.) On Weds morning Mum & I were up at the crack of dawn (earlier than I have to get up with DC - ouch!); we walked down to the hospital and at 9am Mum was taken to the operating theatre to have her gallbladder removed. Cue my dash back to Mum's to fetch her car and drive to the mall. I looooooove the mall at Cribbs Causeway. So much so, that from Weds-Friday I managed to spend a total of 15 hours there. Sad, but very, very true. And, boy did I shop up a storm. I totally and utterly made the most of being child-free. I bought trousers and a coat in M&S; yarn and a knitting pattern for wristwarmers (for me) in John Lewisdungarees, pjs and a t-shirt for DC in John Lewis; a long cardi in Monsoon; a big cardi in Next; toys for DC from ELC; toiletries in Boots; and I had the same lunch in John Lewis three days running - brie and courgette soup - delicious; not to mention a coffee/biscuit break in Starbucks on day one, a coffee/cake break in M&S on day two and a coffee/shortbread break in John Lewis on day three. Could it be that I'm a little bit in love with John Lewis? I also saw Nigella Lawson in the flesh in Waterstones on Weds afternoon, but couldn't be bothered to buy her book and cue up to have it signed so I meandered round the shop trying to make it look as if I wasn't really interested in the fact that she was there and then snuck out the old iPhone to take a photo.

I will hasten to add here, that the hours I spent at the mall were while Mum was a) in hospital sleeping after her op and b) while she was at home resting. I didn't just abandon her; honest... In fact she made it quite clear that she felt more able to relax knowing that I wasn't sitting at home waiting for her to wake up - so that was fine by me!

Anyway, when I wasn't shopping, I was knitting! Now that the weather has turned, my thoughts have turned to chilly fingers. I popped into Accessorize to look at the gloves and my eye was taken my some wristwarmers (yes, I know they're not necessarily going to keep my fingers warm, I just fancied trying them), but at 14.00 a pair I did wonder if I might be able to make some myself, hence the trip to JL's haberdashery department where I found the fab pattern and yarn for a grand total of 5.80. And since Thursday evening I've barely stopped knitting:
By Friday evening one wristwarmer was done!Saturday afternoon I knitted on the train And today I knitted in Costa.
I'm officially addicted to knitting these wristwarmers!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Architect's Plans

Last Thursday while DC was in nursery, we hot-footed it down to the Somerset house to meet the architect and see his plans for the very first time - we were VERY excited! I know hubby & I both had/have ideas in our heads of what we want the house to look like come the end, and we were hoping that the architect would use all his powers of telepathy and mindreading in order to present us with plans that would exactly match ours.

Unfortunately, mindreading clearly isn't the architect's forte. Luckily, explaining exactly what we (I) want is one of my skills and, after nearly two hours, we (I) had battered the architect into submission so that he realised our (my) ideas we best.

I'm putting the photos of his plans (edition no.I - we are awaiting the new plans) on here but I'm not sure if you will actually be able to see them very clearly.

Proposed front elevation:
this will change slightly as we are having a window to the right of the garage door in what will be the downstairs shower room.

Proposed rear elevation:
This will change slightly as we will lose the window on the far right at the back of the garage; the window to the far left in the 'living' end of the family room will be slightly smaller, the doors will move along slightly to the left and there will be one large window to the right of them, making the rear elevation more symmetrical.

Current ground floor plan:

Proposed ground floor plan:This will change quite dramatically. The wc to the left of the front door is going, making the entrance hall larger and more symetrical; what the architect calls here the 'kitchen' (at the front left of the house) will be the dining area and the door that he has through to the larder will not be there, instead that area will become a downstairs shower room/loo and will be accessed through the utility room. The extension at the back of the house will run further across to the right and will become the kitchen and family room. There will be a wall built across the middle of the living room on the right of the house; the front section of this room will then become the 'snug' while the back section becomes part of the family room. Are you still with me?! Hopefully we'll get some new plans from the architect soon and it will all make a lot more sense!

Current first floor plan:

Proposed first floor plan:This will change very slightly in that the wall of the master bedroom will come further out onto the landing and we will lose the linen cupboard as the space is incorporated into the bedroom.

I've not included the plans for the second floor as nothing of any interest is changing up there.