Saturday, 29 May 2010

Aïe aïe aïe

That's the sound my bank account made when I made a certain purchase in a certain little town near the Brecon Beacons. Want to know more? Well I guess it all started with this.

Everywhere. Sheep with lovely yarn coats e-ve-ry-where. I couldn't take it. I just had to have some, only now the real sort. I'm sure you know where I'm going here. I just couldn't leave the land of sheep without some yarn. Hence the start of an expedition to find a decent wool shop and let me tell you it was no easy feat. Oh no. But my search came to a stop when we paid a visit to a lovely little town, now very famous the world round for its book festival. Hay-on-Wye. A lovely, lovely place really. We were there a couple of weeks before the said festival and it was so peaceful and quiet, but not dead, just a few people wondering around, looking through the thousands of books this place contains. Anyway, back to the main topic of this post. The reason why I'm knitting my table runner like a mad woman. I want to start touching some of this.

Isn't it beautiful? All pure wool, or a blend of wool, alpaca, llama and silk. All natural colours. Now I do love what some of you do with colour, but I do have this irresistible attraction to natural colours too. Honestly, the joy I get from buying yarn like this is high up there with other more basic pleasures in life (I'm sure you get my drift!). And the plan for all this? A crocheted granny square blanket of course!

Wouldn't you want to bury your face in this? I have and I can tell you, it's proper lush :-)

Friday, 28 May 2010

If you dislike animals...

Look away now (and may I ask, what the hell is wrong with you??!). Because this post is going to be heavy with super cuteness.

It all started with these lovely plump ladies. So cute and so bold, not scared at all to come near us when we were having breakfast to check if there were any crumbs going spare. And let me tell you, they gave us the most wonderful eggs ever (note to self: add chicken to the list of things I want to have in my imaginary house when I'm rich and famous - actually, forget about the famous bit, just rich'll do).

But then we quickly moved on to these little guys (this is them eager to get out of their barn in the morning).

Obviously, when we booked the cottage, we had no idea we'd have seven little balls of fur to entertain us all week. They definitely helped to make our holiday the success that it was.

They started out so cute, I mean just look at them!!! They'd get all excited when they'd see us, we'd play around for a bit, and then they'd just fall asleep by our side. I had to stop myself from smuggling a couple in my suitcase home.

They were all so little and fluffy, with their new baby teeth. But you know what, and I know this is probably old news to all of you who have a dog, but what changes can occur in a week!! By the end of our stay we were struggling to keep them off, those little buggers' teeth had become rather sharp and could do some damage I can tell you!

And then we became very good friends with these two. What a pair. Cuddling each other all the time and coming to say hello every morning and evening when we came back from our adventures. The white one in particular was just so so cute. He'd come and watch TV with us in the evenings sometimes, or just hang out with us when we were having breakfast outside. I nearly took him home as well.

And last but not least, by far the most entertaining of all. The Pig. Now, this is no ordinary pig. Well I guess it was pretty ordinary in the sense that it would actually eat anything you threw at him (although we were trying to make him healthy by giving him old apples and oranges that were past their best - he was definitely having more than the recommended 5 a day). But it was rather special to us because it made us laugh no end. It's difficult to explain really, guess you had to be there, but I'm sure you'll see what a character he was from the photo below. That's him after having escaped from his enclosure and running riot around  the chicken and the pups. Classic. I lured him back to his pen with some apples. Go me. Although that was after he tried to chew one of the puppies!

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little post, I hope I didn't bore you to death! But if I learnt something from this holiday, it's that I definitely no doubt whatsoever want to live in the countryside. Not necessarily in the middle of nowhere, just somewhere with plenty of space. Plenty of space to keep a couple of dogs, a couple of cats, some chicken and a pig of course ;-)

Thursday, 27 May 2010

It's all about the views

This is going to be a photo-heavy post but I can't apologise for that. I want to show you just how beautiful this part of the country was last week, and what a difference a little bit of sunshine can make!! The Brecon Beacons in South Wales definitely blew us away. And I'm sure you'll be blown away too as you scroll down these photos.... Enjoy!

View of the Neuadd Reservoir...

And view of the same valley from a slightly higher altitude...

View from Pen Y Fan, the highest peak in southern Britain...

Cycling along the canal from Brecon to Talybont-on-Usk...

And the waterfall that we cycled all round a massive reservoir for - and you know what, I didn't even take this photo, Boyfriend did - because I thought if I made another move I might actually pass out - 13 26 miles we did (corrected the distance as just checked it on GoogleEarth!!), and a lot of that uphill so there!

The lovely town that is Brecon...

And the River Usk that runs through Brecon...

Can't remember where exactly I took this from, but it sure was beautiful!!

Another waterfall, this time in the southern part of the national park...

The Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard (yes they grow wine in Wales and I can tell you it's rather good!!)...

And finally inside a very famous bookshop in Hay-on-Wye... I can confirm the seats were very comfy indeed!!

Come back tomorrow for less scenery and more cuteness! xx

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Back again! Although I shouldn't be going away again for some time now!

Hello everyone!!! Well, I'm back, finally!! Sorry it's taken me a while to get back onto blogland, even though we came back on Saturday from our little holiday, I just haven't had the time nor the inclination to come on here. So much to do, so little time (alright, just didn't get round to going through our photos until last night!). But anyway, I've got a few posts up my sleeve for you, because you know what? We had one of the best holidays ever. E-Ver. You might remember I'd told you we were going to the Brecon Beacons in South Wales. And my goodness it was beautiful! From the wonderful cottage we stayed in, to the amazing scenery, the animals we spent some time with, some of the most entertaining accents out there, and of course the amazingly-super-hot weather for this part of the world (some people were saying it was the first summer they'd had in Wales - ever!) - it was simply frigging acesome ;-)

But until I get all my photos sorted out, I'm going to leave you with this, my current knitting project. I gave you a little taster here, and there was no way you could guess what it was. So let me show some light on this!

A table runner!! I'm knitting this with 100% unbleached cotton I picked up in Rye earlier on in the year, and I love it. Can't wait to see what it looks like once it's been blocked. I want to finish it quickly (cue daily pains in my left arm and fingers as I totally overdo it) before I start on a new mahoosive project - more on this later in the week! By the way, it's lovely to be back - I've missed my little daily blog reads!! xxx

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Finally getting round to it

Showing you photos of my trip out to the UAE of course!! I have so many photos, it's been really quite hard to narrow it down, I don't want this website to crash!! So here are a few. Sit back, relax and come enjoy this trip with me! Because I really should be packing, but you know how it is... I have just about an hour to pack, iron some stuff, make our packed lunch and a million other things before Boyfriend comes back from the gym expecting me to be ready!

Where I spent a lot of my time (outside of work of course!)...

View of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world...

View from the Burj Khalifa - I helped out an A-level photography student who'd ran out of battery and had the same camera as me - I lent him mine after his mum came to ask me for it! My good deed for the day!

And up... you only go up to the 140th-ish floor

In the Dubai Mall aquarium...

Crazy architecture within the Dubai Mall...

What you can do with a little irrigation in the desert...

Taking the abras (little wooden boats) to cross the Dubai creek...

Going round the gold souk with my sunglasses on...

Visiting a couple of these...

And having to cover head to toe - yep, that's me in an abaya there, with a head scarf - nice look hey?

Chilling out in the vegetable market...

Well, quite a load of random photos there, but honestly, there's over 500! I won't be going back, they don't need my help out there anymore, which I'm a little disappointed about, but what can you do? In the meantime, Brecon Beacons, here I come!!! Have a lovely weekend and I'll see you in a week's time! xx

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Since you asked...

I'm going to tell you all about it!! My crochet day that is!!! Oh my, where do I start?! It was simply fantastic, I had such an amazing time!!! Now, I don't want to advertise this little day course I went on, I guess a lot of it is down to the teacher that you have, but my oh my, it was brilliant! Everything fell into place, things I'd tried on my own before seemed very simple all of a sudden, I can't believe I struggled with it so much before!!! So, I bet you're dying to see what I came home with? I won't hide it, I was absolutely ecstatic!! So where shall we start.... well how about at the beginning?

Here are my first rows of double and treble - and I'm oh so proud!!!! Done in lovely super soft super easy to work with Rowan cotton - yum! None of that cheap shiny acrylic I had at home with which I couldn't even make out my chains :-(

And here is my first ever granny square!! Aaaahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love love love, love it!! (see see, I even managed to change colours!!!)

And finally, something the teacher thought I could do, and I can't quite believe I actually made this:

So, what do you reckon? Do you think I'm now worthy to come on board the crochet boat?

Because I'll tell you something, I'm super duper well up for it. Please pretty please I want to join the crochet fanatics out there!!! I'm dreaming of granny square blankets and jar covers...!!!

But in the meantime, well, a girl's got to keep herself busy! So I've started this medium sized knitted project...

Hopefully I'll get it done during the holiday next week and then I'll be able to start on some crochet action - hooray!!! xx

Happy tissues

I hope you don't get angry with me for this, but I often look at other people's blogs and decide I absolutely have to make whatever it is they're doing, whether it be food or crafting. I guess this fits in with the swaping life/ house/ job mentionned yesterday!! I just get like that, cravings and stuff. I guess it could be seen as stealing, but it's not really, it's Inspiration. So thank you all!!! :-) No but honestly that's what it's all about isn't? I talked about the yogurt thing yesterday and it's true, through blogging you discover things you'd never have thought about, you broaden your horizons and get other people's opinions. That's simply invaluable. Now, enough of this. I was saying all this because I saw something on a blog last week, and that was it.

The blog? Mooncalf Makes. The object of my desire? The babette blanket. Totally. But don't get your hopes up. I didn't have the time or inclination (or cash for that matter) to start one of these at the weekend. I did however make a couple of the tissue pouches.

Because it's just too cute. One of these rather unnecessary things in life, but let's face it, it's just too adorable. I think one will be going to a friend, the other to my mum.

And I might have to make a third for myself like the one above. Or maybe I'll just keep it. Because those stripes? They make me Very happy indeed :-)

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

It's yogurt time

Do you ever get that feeling when you want to swap lives/ house/ job with another blogger? I had a bit of that when I was reading Sue's blog over at The Quince Tree the other day. I had the wanties big time. Want to know what I had to have, like there and then? Please don't laugh. It's really cool. A yogurt maker!! Sue explained how easy it was to make it, and with the affordable price of the machine, that was more than I could take. So off we trotted down to this shop on Saturday. And guess what? It worked. All I put in was 2 tablespoons of natural yogurt and 900ml skimmed milk. Oh my. This is super lush, honestly!!! Please don't think this is yet another kitchen gadget. I'm determined to make this part of our life and kitchen routine. For 3 reasons really:
  1. we know exactly what we're eating and it's low fat. No added preservatives or colourings. Just lots of friendly bacteria, skimmed milk and homemade jam
  2. we are cutting down on waste by not buying yogurt pots which we can't recycle where we live
  3. we are reducing our food bill because making yogurt this way is a lot cheaper than buying it ready made

I mentioned jam because that's what we use to flavour and sweeten the yogurt. And I have a few pots of plum jam left from last summer! But it means that the yogurt that's produced is simply natural yogurt. Which means it can be used in curries. Oh my. We all know how much I love curry. Result :-)

And all this means I finally have a use for these super cute pottery yogurt pots I'd brought back from France about a year ago now. Can you believe they sell yogurt in the supermarket in these out there? Too cute, that's for sure.

Anyway, want to know where I'm off now? A crochet class. Yes yes yes I've taken a day off and I'm going to pretend I'm a lady of leisure!! Work, me? Never!! Haha!!! Had days to take since I worked over Easter in Dubai, and when I saw my local John Lewis was hosting a crochet class, I just couldn't let it pass... More on this later!! xx

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Healthy sunday lunch

Hello!! Well thank you for all your lovely messages yesterday, I'm so glad you liked that little hoop too!! It is rather small, but very cute! I put some glue on a spare bit of fabric this morning and will try using nail polish remover to see if that works tonight... fingers crossed! Otherwise I might have to resort to adding a cloud or sun somehow!!!

So, onto today's post. Food. Sunday food. But I'm afraid this isn't a roast. So no recipe for healthy roast potatoes here (is there such a thing anyway?!). Rather an alternative.

And I give you my word this is totally and absolutely delicious. The best thing about it too, it's ridiculously easy to make. Easy ingredients, easy prep. And easily doubled too. Here goes:

Ingredients (for 2):
  • tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • large tablespoon of green olives
  • large tablespoon of black olives
  • tablespoon of capers
  • 2 fillets of frozen (or fresh if you have it) haddock

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
  • In a baking tin, add a swirl of olive oil, the garlic, tomatoes, olives and capers. Mix everything and put in the oven for 15min.
  • When the 15min are up, place the fish on top, add a grind of black pepper and put in the oven for another 15-20min (until the fish is cooked)
  • Scatter with fresh basil leaves and serve with brown rice
  • Best enjoyed with a lovely crisp white wine ;-)
We had this for lunch last Sunday, but it could easily be done on a school night too. It is a rather stunning dish, although the ingredients are really simple. All the flavours complement each other without taking over, it's just perfect. It certainly made us very happy indeed!! x

Monday, 10 May 2010

Felt like it

Oh my. That really is a terrible pun. But I just couldn't help myself. I'm sorry. Maybe I should find a corner and go hide for a while...

Ok I'm back! And I bet you're wondering what I'm going on about! Well let me explain. Felt. 100% wool felty goodness. I'm thinking of making myself an all-body suit in it that I could sleep in, I love it so much. Right, joking again. I better stop this, you're going to think I'm mental!!

So what's this all about? My little present to Boyfriend and myself for our anniversary. We don't really do anniversaries, Valentine's day, that kind of thing. But since it was our 5 year anniversary, I wanted to mark the occasion with something that we could enjoy and look back on in years to come. And let's face it, I couldn't wait to try out this new craft!!! My inspiration is utterly and completely from Melissa Crowe, a super talented lady. My stitches will never look as good as hers, but I tried really hard you know!!! And more importantly, I treated myself to 100% wool felt, because I thought it would help me start on the right foot. I've never worked with acrylic felt, so I can't really compare the two, but all I can say is this 100% wool felt is great. Love the colours, love the feel of it. I don't know why I'm going on about it though, it's not like I'm trying to sell it to you!!

So let's move on to the actual crafty bit. It all started here for me. Those red flowers seriously spoke to me. Their delicate green stalks. The soft yellow ground, so complimentary. And man, that red. Honestly I love red. I think it might have to be my new official favourite colour. Anyway, let's not digress again! So back to the flowers. Back to this wonderful landscape and cute little bunting. It looked simple enough for me to try out as a first project. Simple shapes, limited number of colours. And oh so very cute and lovely and adorable. Well, do you want to see my version?

I embroidered our names in the bunting at the top, but added those little white dots it because I didn't want to broadcast our names like that to the entire wide world. Yeah, because the entire wide world reads this blog. Whatever!! No but honestly, I could make hundreds of little hoops like that, those red flowers make me very happy indeed!!! Now, where are we going to hang this up?

ps you may have noticed the big fat glue mark in the top right. Makes me very angry. Me and my big fat fingers. Any idea how I could remove it?