Sunday, 24 April 2011


Some things are just quirky aren't they? Or maybe just weird? Well not so long ago, a little shop I walk past in a small alleyway in London has undergone a transformation. Quite a strange one. See for yourself:

Can you see? There are books piled up in there from floor to ceiling. Since I saw a couple of guys sorting out this funny arrangement a few weeks ago, I've never seen the place open. How strange is that? I think they must have an experiment going on, with a tiny camera monitoring just how many people stop and stare, and how many come back to take a photo...

Saturday, 23 April 2011


I'm not one to wait around for someone to buy me flowers. And when there's a good excuse to do so, you don't have to tell me twice.

I here present to you the house celebration daffodils!

Showing off their yellow happiness in a lovely thrifted glass bottle, £1 in my local charity shop.

I can just imagine a row of those of my soon-to-be mantelpiece. Cheap and cheerful, that's all there is to it! Well, I better get charity shop shopping then!

Friday, 22 April 2011

I'm happy!

Because today's a bank holiday.

Because we're on holiday for 11 days in a row.

Because the sun is shining.

Because my legs are clean shaven.

Because I'm sure there's got to be lactose-free chocolate out there.

Because it won't be long till I get to visit an oyster park.

And a caramel factory I last visited 18 years ago.

Add to the list and share your happiness today!!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Building lines and curves

As mentionned yesterday, I had a little photo session on my way into and back from work on Tuesday. The weather is still glorious here in London, and it's making all my favourite buildings look absolutely fabulous.

Our environment isn't all flowers and birds. Some of you live in more remote areas, and sometimes I do wish I lived somewhere deep in the countryside, but the matter of fact is, I live in a part of the country where it's hard to get away from built up areas. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. These buildings are part of our culture too, albeit an urban one. I for one appreciate it today. Maybe not every day, but certainly at the moment I do.

The thing is, I know very little about architecture. I can't tell you when any of those buildings were built, who the architect might be, nothing. But I do hope that you can, like me, appreciate how they are all beautiful in their own way. That strong blue sky certainly helps I reckon.

So sit back, and enjoy some central London beauty! (My favourite one is definitely the one where the old meets the new, where you get a reflection of that old building in the new glass one - stunning I reckon!)

I'm also partial to those rounded buildings, curves are always a good thing I reckon!

Have a lovely sunny Thursday everyone! If it is your last working day until May as it is for me, let's all say a little thank you to the bank holidays gods!!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Mr Grumpler

Well, where the hell have I been?! No frolicking in the sun at the moment, I’m more of the locked up in the office style. Typical, just when the weather starts to go mental – we’re getting temperatures 10degrees C above the normal average for this time of year people!

Anyway, yesterday I grabbed my camera on my way out of the flat and took a few snaps I’ve been meaning to take for ages. So tomorrow’s post will be about my route to work, buildings and blue skies. Fascinating I hear you say. Wait till you see the photos I’d have to answer!

But until then, have a look at this. Two little fellas I met yesterday afternoon on our road. I’ve seen them before (and had great cuddling sessions with them too), but this time I had my camera to immortalize our moments together. It won’t be long till I move away, so I’m making the most of these two lovely cats while I can.

Well, I say two lovely cats, but you can see from the picture above one of them was far from lovely. Maybe he was having a bad day, I don’t know. In any case, he got christened Mr Grumpler for the occasion. He just sat there, looking at me from a distance, not responding in the slightest to my little squeaky noises. Stupid cat.

His mate on the other hand was after some serious neck scratching. And coz I’m nice like that, I very much obliged.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Spell it out.

Money. I won’t have much left at all at the end of each month once it kicks in. For the foreseeable future. Ouch. But it's all going to a good cause. Not so ouch.

Own. Mine all mine. Ok not quite, some sharing with Boyfriend is involved, of course. But it will be our house. Ours and the bank’s to be more precise.

Relax. We’ve done all we can so far. Now we just need to sit back and let others do a bit of work. Fingers crossed all goes well.

Tree. A few will depend on us. That makes me rather nervous. I’m not sure I’ve got green fingers and I’d hate to make one die.

Garden. It’s got to be worth it for the garden right? Oh barbeques in the sun, cups of tea outdoors…. *sigh of happiness*

Animal. This might be our first chance to get a proper pet (my childhood goldfish really don’t count I’m afraid). If we can verify Boyfriend is not allergic to them, a cat or two might find their way into the Petit Filoux household. You can’t have a cat flap and no cat right?

Garden. Yeah I know, I’ve said this before. But I reckon I can mention it a second time because well, there will be a front garden and a back garden. Double whammy.

E. Ok that’s French, so might be cheating slightly, but I was struggling here. And it’s actually relevant, because if everything goes according to plan, we’ll be in by the summer!

(shall I be worried that the first four letters of the word "mortgage" spell out "death" in French?!!)

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Amy and Tolstoi

I think it’s time I give a little review on a couple of books I’ve read recently. I know I’ve never done this before, but I feel these two deserve a mention!
The first one was Reuben Sachs by Amy Levy. I’m including this one because a couple of you were interested to hear what I thought of it. I read this in February/ early March, so it’s not exactly fresh in my mind. I thought it was an enjoyable read and made me chuckle a couple of times. You have to read of bit of background to really get it (info provided by Persephone and Wikipedia was plenty by the way, no need for serious research!), and having some basic knowledge of Jewish culture might help as well. Anyway, I thought it was an easy read, a fast one too, which was nice for me as I was in between big books. The storyline? Well I don’t want to give anything away, but it’ll surprise you right until the end. All in all, a pleasant read, nothing too strenuous for the mind, but really quite enjoyable.

The second book I’d like to talk about is Tolstoi’s Anna Karenina. I’ve just finished this (literally yesterday during my lunch break!) and unfortunately I have mixed feelings about it. First of all, I was a little put off at first because it resembles a brick. 816 pages, not that anyone’s counting… and a page at the start listing out all the different characters and how you should pronounce their names properly. That totally freaked me out, I thought I’d have to start drawing family trees or something (this has been done during my school days!).

But actually, I was pleasantly surprised by the book. The translation I read was really very good. I was worried the language might be a bit old fashioned, but not at all, it was really enjoyable. Characters were introduced slowly, which meant you had time to get your head around who’s who, and how people are related. The book is divided into 8 Books too, each sub-divided into smaller chapters (at most 4 pages long), which made reading this on the train very practical indeed.

In the end, I must say I really enjoyed reading this book, it was really interesting and very different from anything I’ve read before. I did get lost occasionally in discussions about agriculture, but overall, it gets a thumbs up. Not two though, because I wasn’t really taken by the ending. Didn’t really do it for me. I’d preferred it if Tolstoi had carried on focusing on the main plot. But then who am I to criticise Tolstoi?!!

So there, my last two books. What’s next? I’m not sure really, maybe one of the two Persephone books I bought at the same time as Ruben Sachs, maybe a little bit of a reading break and some train crafting instead!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A cold spell please?

I'd like it to get temporarily colder for a couple of days before spring truly kicks in. My winter coat has been relegated to the back of the coat rack, and really I should just take it to the dry cleaner's so I can put it away until next winter. Trees are in bloom, flowers are everywhere, and I'm cool with that, only I'd like a little more cold. A couple of days is not too much to ask for? I'd like to be able to wear this you see....

I've finally finished my herringbone cowl!!!! I got the pattern from Purl Soho (here), and I must say it was really easy to follow. I didn't make any modifications apart from switching to size 8 needles to cast off, as sticking with the large size 12 was making the edge undulate.

Unfortunately, I can't say it was the most enjoyable knit in the world. For the first time, I realised my knitting sessions could only last for so long before my fingers actually froze in position. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I was using mahoosive needles, or the stitch itself, but while row 1 was a breeze, row 2 was always a little more difficult. It definitely got much better in time, but I did stop for a while because I was put off by the slowness of it all and the knowledge that I would get painful fingers.

The yarn I used was bought at the Glasgow Christmas Country Living fair from Woolfish. I shared a pack of 10 with a friend (check out her lovely new blog!), so it came to £15 for 5 balls (approximately 325m). The yarn was really beautiful to use, I mean you can't go wrong with 70% merino, 20% alpaca and 10% silk!!! (Although the merino fibers did leave a rather conspicuous trail wherever I sat down to knit... be careful if you're wearing dark colours!).

The pattern says to knit until the cowl measures 14" in depth. I didn't have enough yarn to make it that deep, and I didn't fancy buying some more, so I just went for as long as I could with those 5 balls. In the end, it's 23cm deep and 132cm long (diameter really). It's really lovely as it is, and I'm happy with my decision not to purchase any more yarn.

And look at that, not bad for £15 really!! It feels so luxurious, it really is quite wonderful. My favourite bit about it though? The stitch of course. This looks so simple, but I like how it looks quite sophisticated too. Using just one colour, you need a stitch that's going to speak for itself, and this one certainly does.

So, low temperatures for a bit please, I'd be very grateful indeed! Because let's me honest, a knit like that needs showing off a bit I reckon!

(project on Ravelry, as usual!)

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

It's all go!

Yes yes yes, we are indeed buying a house!!!! The Petit Filoux flat will no longer be, we shall soon (fingers crossed) be moving to a cute little cottage. I was hoping for a 3 bed semi at the start, but means and all that, so it's not quite as big as we'd hoped for, but it has a lot going for it. Bags of charm. And 2 really nice gardens, one at the front, one at the back, which will mean cups of tea at any time of day in the sun. Oh yeah.

But for the moment, it's not all choosing paints, new sofa and packing. My mobile phone has become temporarily attached to my right ear, or it might as well be for the amount of time I'm spending talking to estate agents/ solicitors/ bank. Everyone says buying a house is a stressful process and I totally believe them! But it's also so unbelievably exciting, I can't quite convey how happy I am that it's all going through.

Not only will we stop paying someone else's mortgage off, we'll have a proper home, somewhere where we can put our mark, and put things up on walls without feeling guilty. We'll be able to buy furniture that fits in. So far, we've mostly done with other people's cast-offs, and although that's served us well for the last few years, we feel we need our own stuff. I'm not saying it's got to be new new, just not given away if you see what I mean. Not that we'll need to buy much anyway, like I said it's quite small, but there we go!

So there, I may be a little more quiet than usual because I just don't have so much time to do crafty stuff at the moment. I may just babble on and I'm grateful to anyway who puts up with that! I will aim to take some photos of a finished project tonight so hopefully there'll be more than just words tomorrow.

In the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed for us that everything goes well in the next few weeks, you never know, we might be in come July!

Monday, 11 April 2011

At the weekend I...

  • Had mega stress sessions - having to replace Boyfriend's car (due to recent accident and insurance deciding it was a write off) couldn't have come at the worst time...
  • Totally knocked my leg, yet again, in one of the corners of our bed - I now sport a rather ugly black and blue mark just below my knee. Not only it is really unsightly, but it bloody hurt too.
  • Finished my beautiful knitted project - more on this when it's finished blocking! And here's to hoping for a little cold spell before Spring truly kicks in, I'd like to wear said knitted item before November!
  • Picked up some mindless cross stitch. You just can't go wrong with cross stitch, it's just so easy, and doesn't make a mess in the living room. Bonus when you're trying to keep things tidy and organised.
  • Made a really tasty cake. Lemon and vanilla cake. So nice and fresh, perfect for this time of year.

  • Painted my toe nails red - even if they don't get out much, I feel so much more lady-like in the shower. And when I get out of bed. Trust me, feeling nice on the inside makes a massive difference to how you carry yourself on the outside.
  • Even found some time to paint my fingernails. That doesn't happen as often as I'd like to because, well, I'm a busy lady! Always have something to do, washing up, crafting, cleaning, cooking, and drying nails aren't very conducive to such activities. On the other hand, sitting in the in-laws' garden in the sun waiting for Sunday lunch to be served up is a perfectly conducive activity.

  • Enjoyed basking in the sun in said garden, wasn't the weather totally amazing this weekend? So warm (well, really quite hot some times!) that the back of my jeans felt a little sweaty after a while. Not a nice detail I know, but definitely I sign I must get ready to get skirts out!!! (Well, only after I get rid of my massive bruise first).

  • And last, but truly far from least, revelled in the fact that someone has changed their mind.... do you think the vendor reads my blog and felt threatened?! I was in a rather foul mood when I wrote that post, so I don't blame them!!

Thursday, 7 April 2011


Is how I feel. I feel like a balloon that was blown up to the max, so much that it kinda hurt, and now someone’s burst me with a prick, a very sharp needle it was too. I feel deflated. My hopes have been thrown in the air, and scattered around. I’ve just got to move on and well, it’s not easy. I got a little emotionally attached.

A bit of background perhaps? Well, here it goes.

A few weeks ago, we decided to put our house hunting hats back on. They’d had a few (very) brief spells on over the last two years, but every time I was put at risk of redundancy. Not the best time to get involved with the banks. But recently, things have been going alright, and we thought why not, why pay someone else’s mortgage off when we could start paying off our own?

And so the search began. Proper full on too. We’d be visiting houses left right and centre, several at the weekends, occasionally after work too during the week. It’s fair to say, there’s a lot of shit out there, and overpriced too. So when we found this little cottage last weekend, we both felt the same way. I’ll spare you the details of how cute it is, how lovely it would have been, because it’s not going to happen. As Boyfriend’s mother would say, it just wasn’t meant to be. The vendor rejected our (second) offer. If I’m completely honest, I think she’s being greedy. Well actually, if I’m completely honest, I think she’s a heartless bitch and I think she should have sold her house to us. But yeah, I didn’t tell the estate agent that. I was very well behaved. I think I might even have said “the search carries on”. What am I, looking for the next apprentice or something?!

Anyway, so there we go. That’s why I didn’t post yesterday. I didn’t want to mention it, I didn’t want to jinx it. I was hoping I might have some good news to share with you today. But fat chance of that happening any time soon. Everything is so expensive in this part of the world, and low interest rates aren’t doing our meagre savings any good. Boo.

Rant over.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

It's cold and grey outside

It's the 5th of April, and for those of us who thought spring was well on its way, Mother Nature sent us a bit of crappy weather to put us back in our place. It's so grey, wet and miserable out there, it's difficult to remember those recent days we've had, full of sunshine and early warmth. Even getting up this morning felt a little like winter, with it being so overcast. Maybe that was a sign, and I should have just stayed in bed, all warm. But instead, I had to go and freeze my wet backside outdoors. The only positive about that? I managed to take a few snappy snaps of happy flowers in bloom. Even when it's raining, that colour and the promise of more to come surely is enough to lift the dampest of spirits.

Have a lovely Tuesday! xx

Monday, 4 April 2011

To be or not to be...

Lactose intolerant!! I know really, I’m pushing myself here!! I mean, who wants to read about crochet, knitting and cooking, when I can babble on about lactose intolerance?!

In all seriousness, there seems to be a high possibility I’ve developed this allergy over the last couple of years. Fantastic isn’t it? I felt like a right cripple asking two different coffee shops on Saturday whether they had soya milk. They looked at me like I was being a right difficult snob. Ouch. (And no, neither of them had soya milk). I didn’t really want to go into an explanation as to the effects cow’s milk has on my digestive system. Doesn’t quite come into the category of ‘small talk’.

Anyway, so here I am, trying to cut down on milk. And all things that may contain lactose, just to make sure you know. So last night I made the most of it before the start of my new found abstinence and indulged by having vegetarian lasagna, which had plenty of ricotta and cheddar in it. It was seriously yum.

Surely life’s not worth living without cheese/ cheesecake/ ice cream?!!!

Friday, 1 April 2011

April cuteness

You must MuSt MUST check this out. No choice. Actually, it's an order. Press play. Now. (And watch it till the end, that's where the best bit is!)

I love this and could watch it over and over again. It's just sooooooo cute!!!