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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Knitted owl lavender bags (and a Merry Christmas!)...

Well amazingly my house is clean and tidy (well as tidy as it ever will be), presents are wrapped and my to do list is pretty much ticked I thought I'd treat myself by writing a quick blog post to share one of my recent knitting projects with you! I was sure I would have to wait until after Christmas to get this up as it feels like life has been moving at 100mph recently.

These knitted lavender bags are a Christmas gift for my Nana and the first pattern I have ever followed. They were just too sweet to not make! As the owls were coming together I kept thinking while I was knitting the stocking stitch something just wasn't quite right about it. It was only when I moved onto knitting a scarf that I realised that I had actually been knitting through the back of each stitch for the whole of this project. Oops! It would seem right now that anything I knit has at least one quirk to it but often multiple!

Knitting pattern - Owl lavender bag from Cute and Easy Knitting (there is so much I want to knit from this book!)
Yarn - Sirdar Country Style DK
New techniques tried and learnt - following a pattern, increasing and decreasing stitches, mattress stitch...and I guess knitting through the back of a stitch ;)

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year - my friends write a wonderful and inspiring blog called Saltwater and Honey. Lizzie has written a beautiful post about why Christmas was never meant to be perfect...this time of year isn't always easy and sometimes the pressure can build up around getting everything ready, anyway, I would really recommend reading here.!

Merry Christmas, see you in 2015!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Blogger of the month...

I'm very excited to share that Black Sheep Wools have chosen me as their November blogger of the month. Considering their expertise when it comes to knitting and sewing (they're a gorgeous yarn and fabric shop), I feel a little undeserving to say the least!

They've featured a little Q&A with me on their blog so do head over there if you fancy a read :) They also kindly gave me a gift voucher for their shop - I think I know what I'll be spending that on! Oh yes - the blanket of course! Thanks for your comments on Facebook - that and chatting with my Mum has helped me to make a decision - I'm going chevron :)

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Choices, choices, choices...

I'm loving my current Christmas knitting frenzy and hope to have a few things to show for it soon - I'm just finishing up some cute owl lavender bags and am about halfway through a scarf at the moment. I still have a couple of other things I'd like to knit before Christmas so here's hoping I've not been too unrealistic about my abilities!

Despite my current projects I can't help but jump ahead to what I'd like to knit after Christmas...a baby blanket for our baby! I'm due in February so I'll need to crack on if I'm going to finish the blanket in time...I just can't decide what pattern I like most! I feel quite confident now with the basic stitches so I want to choose something that will challenge me a little, whilst it still being a project I can easily complete - I know there will be tears if I get halfway through the blanket and realise I've made a mess of it!

Here are my current front runners -

I do love my chevrons, especially in the form of this cute blanket by Espace Tricot, the pattern can be found here on Ravelry.

I like the idea of having a go at using multiple colours but this blanket by Nancy Hearne is so lovely in it's simplicity.

This was the first blanket that caught my eye, mainly because in my complete amateur knitting brain I imagined that a 'holey' blanket would be quicker to knit??!! Please tell me if that's true! It's by Pickles but there are quite a few questions in the comments to clarify the pattern so I'm not sure this should be the blanket I make with my time limit!

We don't know whether we're having a boy or girl so I want to make sure it would suit either - I'm thinking I'll go with shades of turquoise and grey.

I would love to here what you think about these patterns - especially those of you who knit and have an idea on how achievable these would be for me! Also - please do share any favourite baby blanket patterns that you have!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Simple crystal pendant...

I've talked before about how my style seems to have been simplifying over the last couple of years. Somebody I work with was surprised when I told her I made jewellery because apparently I never wear any! That's mostly because I don't see the point of trying to jazz up my work uniform (hey there tunic and bottle green trousers!) but even outside of work I find I don't really wear that much jewellery, normally just a necklace or earrings. I have accumulated a lot of statement necklaces over time but sometimes I just want something a little more dainty. When I was shopping for beads for my shop plans (which are currently on hold) I spotted this pretty 10mm tourmaline vintage Swarovski crystal which I just had to buy for myself :)


If you have made jewellery before then the picture is probably all you need to recreate this pretty necklace. but here's a little step by step in case you're new to it...this is the perfect project to start with :)

What you need:

I had a ready made chain and eye pin to hand so I used these. If you don't have an eye pin then just use wire - you just need to make an eye loop before adding the beads. Also if you don't have a finished chain to hand, all you'll need extra is a clasp and two extra jump rings. I use flat nosed pliers to bend wire at sharp angles and round nosed pliers to 'roll' the wire but round nosed pliers would do both jobs adequately if you don't have both pliers to hand.

1. Add the beads to the eye pin and bend the wire 90 degrees with pliers.

2. Trim the excess wire to 1cm.

3. Make an eye loop with round nosed pliers to close the wire (learn how to make an eye loop in this previous post).

4. Find the middle of the chain and cut in half. Use the jump rings to add the pendant to the chain. If you're not using a ready made chain then you'll just need to add the two jump rings and clasp to the other ends of the chain.

And that's it :) Despite wearing green every day for work it is still one of my favourite colours so this is a perfect splash of colour for me to add to any outfit!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I did it! I finally made a quilt!

So my 'passion' for learning how to quilt was one of the ways I first justified buying my sewing machine. 4 years ago. I even bought a couple of quilting books and pinned plenty of beautiful quilts for inspiration but I failed in the one really essential part of quilting- that is actually making a quilt.

But September was the month it happened (and November is the month I finally do my blog post on it!). I can't believe it but I have finally made my first quilt! I'm relieved to say I also enjoyed every moment of it as well so I'm hoping it won't be the last I make! I've spoken before of how I tend to be drawn to crafts that can be completed quickly as I do tend to get bored and forget about projects that seem to go on. and on. and on. I can't help but feel as though I miss out on the process of 'making' by being focused on the end project so I have tried to challenge myself to stick at some longer term projects - my aim being to just enjoy the therapeutic nature of being creative. Knitting is one way I have tried to challenge this and quilting seemed like another good option - given my apparent dedication to it all those years ago!

 A close friend of mine was expecting her first baby and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally get down and learn how to quilt. Making it as a gift was also a good way to stop me from thinking 'oh it'll be fine' and take silly shortcuts that, let's face it, hardly ever work out.

I have a couple of books with patterns but after browsing Pinterest I decided to work out my own pattern inspired by this quilt by Whitney Deal. This was perfect for me because it helped me to learn and practice a basic but useful tool in quilting - half square triangles - in fact I made 120 of them so I feel fairly confident now!

I have no intention of teaching anyone how to quilt as I don't really have a clue - but I thought it might be helpful for anybody else thinking of having a go for me to share what I found helpful along the way...

1) Enjoy the process - it felt a long time before I actually started 'quilting', what with cutting out 120 squares, sewing them together and cutting them up to make 120 different squares, then measuring and squaring up the squares, pressing fabric, working out the design and then piecing it together. But I surprised myself by just being able to enjoy each step. Don't rush through the early stages, which leads me to the next thing...

2) Accuracy is key - I am guilty so often of rushing or skipping stages and making things up as I go...generally things do work out but I'm so glad I didn't do this here! Measurements matter so when cutting your original squares make sure they are at least the right size but you could also cut them bigger and cut them down to size later on. I think I'll do this next time as I had a mini falling out with my rotary cutter when cutting my original squares and a few of them ended up slightly narrower than I wanted (I'm pretty sure rotary cutters are meant to be simple to use so don't ask me how I managed to complicate it!). I didn't have enough fabric to recut them so had to make do but it did mean I had to adjust my measurement of the overall squares and quilt. If they were all exactly the same size it would have made matching up the chevrons in the quilt top a lot easier!

2) I had no idea what half square triangles were until I started googling tutorials...this tutorial for making half square triangles is really clear and helpful.

3) Square your squares - this was a step I was tempted to skip but I'm so glad I didn't - maybe it should be obvious how to square a square but I found this tutorial really helpful! It really is worth the extra time to make sure your squares line up.

4) Putting the quilt together - I used the book Material Obsession to help guide me through the process of putting the quilt together. I learnt that the backing fabric and wadding should be about 4" larger all round than the quilt top - I didn't read this before I ordered my backing (I went with flannel) or wadding but thankfully I had sufficient fabric! It probably sounds silly but I also really didn't know whether I should quilt before binding or just in case you're also wondering - quilt before binding!

5) Binding - Again Material Obsessions was really helpful in explaining how to bind but they recommended the traditional technique of blind hem stitching the binding to the back of the quilt. I really didn't trust my hand stitching abilities so looked for how to machine stitch. This video tutorial helped as well as Kate Haxell's Me and My Sewing Machine. She also gives a really clear explanation on how to mitre a corner...I never expected my corners to look so neat! Binding was the one place where I ended up having to make it up slightly as the binding I had bought was quite see through so I had to be creative in how to make it thick enough so that the quilt top didn't show through - the only thing it meant was that I ended up still having to hand stitch a lot of the back to tidy it up...but in doing so I discovered that hand stitching isn't as scary as I first thought!

So there you have it, my first blog post in months - sorry for the how quiet I've been. I'm not sure how often I'll be making an appearance on here over the next few months. I'm currently in a knitathon to get some presents finished for Christmas so hopefully I'll be able to share my most recent adventures in knitting with you soon :)

Thursday, July 3, 2014


I've always liked the idea of being able to do fancy writing. The problem lies in the fact that my writing is just not that fancy - especially after writing hospital notes all day at work (although even then it is still infinitely better than the dreaded infamous doctors writing!). Over the last couple of months I've been spending time looking up examples of calligraphy and practising a couple of different fonts- I've come to realise that people, generally, don't just sit down and roll out the beautiful writing in just a few seconds. It takes time, which reassured me enough to have a go!

I am definitely still a novice when it comes to typography but I've really enjoyed practising and have built up a small stack of cards during my experiments! I thought it would be fun to share what I've done so far :)

I wish I could say this card idea was original - I love it so much but it was inspired by tee and toast.

After writing out the note I decorated this card by dipping the rubber end of a pencil into metallic turquoise paint and using it to stamp out these mini circles.

This card went to my husband because he really is very marvellous! I wrote out the phrase on a separate piece of paper and then adhered this to the card with washi tape in an attempt to not over-girlify the card!

This is probably my least favourite card out of the lot. I tried writing with a sharpie but I think it just makes the writing look a little clumsy. I haven't invested in any pens but I think this highlights my need to if I want to continue on with this!

You can find some of the tutorials and pictures I used over on my craft inspiration board on Pinterest - I would love to hear if you have any advice or tips...especially any pens you have used and loved!

Monday, June 30, 2014

origami gift boxes...

So now you've seen the little crafty gifts we gave at the party (clay stamped magnets, felt heart bookmark and fancy paperclips) all you need now is the box to put them in!

These boxes have got to be my favourite piece of origami yet - they are so simple to make but paired with pretty paper they make perfect gift boxes! I love that it is a closed box but only uses one piece of card - I always dread finding out that the separate lids to boxes don't fit - even after I supposedly measured it carefully! To open you just pull out one of the triangles that are tucked in to the top and the box opens before your eyes :)

I followed this tutorial over at Homemade Gifts Made Easy so do head over there to find out how to make these beautiful boxes. After a couple of boxes I didn't have to use the instructions any more, don't be daunted by the amount of folding involved, it really is very simple!

Happy folding :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

d.i.y. pretty fabric paperclips...

This is a really unessential piece of crafting, it's crafting for crafting's sake. I mean, these paperclips will work just as well without fabric...but when paperclips are involved in my life it normally means hours of boring organisation is also involved. So anything that makes it a little more bearable is always welcome :)

These were the final d.i.y. addition to the gift boxes (see here, here and here) for the party. Since everyone receiving the boxes are soon to be moving house I figured these pretty paper clips might help bring a smile when surrounded by the inevitable paperwork that comes with sorting things out for moving!

This is perfect for using up scraps of fabric and is so simple. I got the idea for these paper clips from Amanda Rydell's instagram feed, I recommend her for crafty inspiration, her photos are lovely!

Just cut a strip of fabric (mine was about 2cm wide) and tie it into a single knot around the top of a paper clip. Trim to your desired length by cutting the fabric at a diagonal angle.

Now all I have left to share are the pretty origami boxes for it all to go in to!

Monday, June 23, 2014

D.I.Y. felt heart bookmark...

I'm a chronic page folder...I know some consider it a crime but I like my books to look read so I don't mind. Not that I would dare do it to any books I borrow - the problem is I can never find a bookmark so I always end up spending time trying to remember where I last got up to! I saved this bookmark idea a while ago as a simple solution to my night time reading woes but then decided they would also make great additions to the party gift boxes.

As with the clay magnets I have no step by step photos but the instructions are really simple! Here's how I made them:

What you need -
Contrasting embroidery thread and needle

1) Firstly draw out a heart template on paper, making sure the point of the heart is 90 degrees. Cut out the template and pin to the felt.

2) Cut out a heart from the felt and repeat to make an identical second heart. Pin the two felt hearts together and trim if any sides mismatch.

3) Cut a length of embroidery thread and thread through the needle. Knot the end of the thread and pull through one heart (see photo below for a guide on placement) so the knot will lie on the inside of the bookmark.

4) Sew the two hearts together along the two straight sides of the heart. Next continue to sew around the edge of one of the hearts for the front of the bookmark until you reach the first stitch. Tie a small knot on the inside of the bookmark to secure the thread. The back will look like the heart on the right in the photo above.

And you're done! I thought it might not be obvious that these were bookmarks so I added a little explanation to help people out!

I have the practice one in my current book of choice and it's holding up well! I did worry that it might fall off the page but it hasn't so far!

For more on the gift boxes you can see an overview here and a clay magnet project here.

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

D.I.Y. printed clay magnets...

In the last post I shared the little gift boxes that we put together for one of the parties we had last week. It was so much fun thinking of what to put inside but also a little tricky. It had to be things that were small,  inexpensive, easy to replicate but also practical because, whilst pretty things are lovely, I didn't want to just create things that would add clutter to people's homes!

Thank you Pinterest! I don't claim any of these gifts as original ideas, pinterest was hugely helpful and inspiring (as always!). Except for the gift boxes, I didn't actually use any of the tutorials so I'll share on here how I made them. Although please excuse the lack of step by step photos - everything was made 17 times and there was a process to making it as time efficient as possible and that process did not include my normal over-the-top camera action! I'm just amazed we finished them in time for me to even take any photos!

First up I thought I would share these pretty clay magnets which were inspired by these Easter ornaments. These are a very sweet gift idea as you could personalise them and give them as a set, and if I dared bring up Christmas at the start of summer, I would suggest they would make great stocking fillers too. But of course I wouldn't dare do that ;)

What you need:
White air drying clay
Rolling pin
Round cookie cutter
Alphabet stamps
Tissue paper
PVA glue
Magnetic strip

1. Take a small chunk of clay and place between two pieces of clingfilm (I found this gave the smoothest surface for the clay) and roll out the clay until it is about 5mm thick. You can of course vary the thickness, I tried slightly thicker but personally preferred them on the thin side. 

2. Cut out the clay with the cookie cutters, I suggest only doing a couple at a time so that the clay doesn't dry out before stamping your wording.

3. Stamp out your phrase, and place the magnets on a cling film lined baking tray. Smooth out any marks or rough edges with a slightly wet cloth and leave to dry according to the pack instructions. It can take up to four days for the clay to fully dry. Note: the thinner magnets have a tendency to curl up as they dry so keep an eye on them and flatten them out if they start to curl up. I made a couple of 1cm thick magnets - these didn't curl up at all.

4. Cut out strips of tissue paper and glue to the magnet, trim any excess and flatten the edges to the back of the magnet. Next paint a thin layer of glue over the tissue paper. I like the contrast of the matte clay against the glossy tissue paper but you could gloss the whole magnet if you prefer. Leave to dry.

5. Cut small strips from the magnet strip and adhere to the back of the clay.

This is a really easy but very effective DIY, I love the colour the tissue brings to the magnet - forget these as gifts, I want to make set for my own fridge!

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's that time of year again...

Almost exactly a year ago I shared this post about our first year in Cambridge. Now our second year is coming to an end and the reality is setting in that this time next year I will be surrounded by boxes and chaos as we move on to a new venture. It's bitter sweet how time flies - whilst in so many ways I relish change, we have come to call people we didn't even know two years ago some of our dearest friends and I'm in denial about the fact that I can't pack them up and move them with me next year! I talked last year about our first year here being sweet but, compared to that, this year has been like a triple decker chocolate brownie sundae with honeycomb sprinkles and dash of golden syrup for good measure. Not to say it hasn't been without struggles and tears but even within those times I've been able to grasp out for the beauty found in the fragility of this life. I have grown so much and owe a lot of that to my wonderful friends, they really are an incredible and beautiful bunch. Yet some of these friends are already moving this year - my baking and crafting buddies are taking their talent across the country! I'll miss them but this has been a week of celebrating friendship together at various leaving parties, including an epic Hollywood themed ball (there might just be a craft tutorial coming related to that!) - I'm so excited for all that God holds for them as they move on to curacies.

For one of the parties, like last year (remember these paper gift bags?), I put together little party bags for each person leaving. I loved the chance to spoil each of them a little and show them how much they're loved! This year we went with origami gift boxes and, wait for it, I was actually organised enough to photograph the contents beforehand! Which means I'll be sharing a few projects over the coming weeks...despite the silence on the blog I've had a really crafty couple of months and am so happy I can finally share it with you!

So here is a taster of what's to come. I'm happy to say that I've found another origami project which doesn't leave me tearing my hair out (I'm slowly adding to my repertoire!), felt bookmarks, pretty stationary and clay magnets. Along with these DIYs my friend Martha made some pretty cross necklaces and we popped in a sweet treat for each leaver and also a prayer card (not pictured as obviously they were very personal).

So stay tuned!

Monday, May 26, 2014

A very out of season knitting update...

Summer is here and so is my scarf! Truth is, I actually finished it not long after I posted my last update but it was already too warm for me to wear it sat in my knitting bag until I finally tidied the ends. So at least I'm prepared for next winter!

It's so snuggly, I love chunky scarves. I used two balls of mega chunky Sirdar Denim Ultra in Starling. The neutral colour will go perfectly with all my coats.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out, the stitches are pretty even, although it did get a little loose around where I started the second ball of yarn. Also next time I make a scarf I want to look at doing a fringe finish, I'm not so keen on how blunt the ends are. But I really enjoyed knitting it and it's the first piece of knitting I have ever finished! I've moved on to a couple of new projects, including the aforementioned blanket! I felt daunted about such a big project but it's actually the perfect chance for me to try out different stitches and work on my technique. I've done 5 squares so far, they're definitely not perfect but I'm hoping the practice will help - I have a feeling it will be a looong time before this is finished!

Out of all the stitches I've tried so far the moss stitch is my I got distracted and decided to make a cushion cover to match a beautiful throw we were given at Christmas! Sadly a few other things have had to take priority recently but I'm hoping to finish it soon :)

Hopefully there will be more knitting updates making an appearance on the blog you knit? I would love to hear what projects you have on the go!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

It is well with my soul | Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, I hope you are all having a lovely day! I have been wanting to update my chalkboard for a little while now and on Good Friday I finally did, I'm slowly improving my chalkboard skills but don't look too closely!

Dodgy calligraphy aside, It is well with my soul. Today I celebrate that Jesus died for me, beat death and rose again to everlasting life. It is truly well with my soul. Because of God's extravagant love for me (and you) it doesn't matter what life throws at me because it is all temporary. The worries, hurt and brokenness of this world will one day fall away...and even as I stand in the midst of it, crying out to God, he holds me close, he loves me and I have his unshakeable joy and peace.

This quote is from the hymn of the same title.It is an incredible hymn which never fails to moves me. The author had experienced such heartache but was still able to see God's goodness in his life. You can read his story here, it is well worth a read ... but here are the lyrics of the hymn -

When peace like a river, attends my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, You have taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And has shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
You will whisper your peace to my soul.
But Lord, it's for You, for Your coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so it is well with my soul.

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 31, 2014

D.I.Y. gardening kneeling pad...

I feel like the title for this post ages me about 30 years! But I am truly intent on getting into gardening so I may as well get accessorised appropriately ;)

I've mentioned before that, because we rent, we can't do too much with our current garden, so it is more about maintenance. I can't help but dream about all we would do if we had complete control over it but for now I'll settle for weeding, pruning and adding spring bulbs. When it's chilly, tidying up the garden moves waaaaay down our priority when the wave of warm weather hit this weekend we made the most of it and got outside...but first I made my kneeling pad!

Now I use the term kneeling pad in its loosest way since really I've just made a rectangular cushion...but it works for me and, since I had all the supplies to hand, it cost me absolutely nothing!

Ideally I would make this with a waterproof fabric like oil cloth however I had this blue fabric lying around so I just made a removable cover so that it could easily be washed.

It's so easy and I plan to to use the same method (but with much prettier fabric) to make some indoor cushions!

Just in case you fancied making a kneeling cushion then here's a quick guide to how I made mine...

1. Cut the lining fabric into a 30cm x 90cm strip and fold in half. Sew the sides together, starting 10 cm from the folded edge to leave space to pull the fabric through to the right side. I added a line of zigzag stitch to further strengthen the seam. Trim any excess fabric.

2. Turn the lining cover inside out by pulling it through the hole. And stuff with your filling (I used hollowfibre filling)! Sew the small opening together, I would normally use a slip stitch for this but I was feeling a little lazy so I just machine stitched it closed.

Ignore the seam in the middle of the cushion, I used an old curtain lining which had this seam in it already!

3. To make the outer cover cut the fabric into a strip of approximately 33cm x 110cm. Double hem the short sides (if your fabric allows, otherwise a single hem would be fine).

Now right after my scissors started slicing up the fabric I realised I hadn't added the extra length to allow the fabric to overlap so please ignore the added fabric in the next photo...I went into automatic mode!

4. Lay the fabric out right side facing up and lie the cushion on top. Fold one end of the fabric over the cushion and position so that it is roughly in the middle of the cushion. Fold the other end of the fabric over so that it fits the cushion snugly. Pinch the two ends together as you remove the cushion. I'm sure there are more technical ways to do this but it just saved added measuring out! Pin the sides together.

5. Sew down the two long sides and then turn the right way out. Now it's ready for the cushion!

This took me no time at all...and it really did help my knees! In fact, there is a significant lack of chairs at work so I often end up kneeling when I chat with people...I wonder whether I'd get away with carrying one of these around the hospital for such times?! I could even make one to colour coordinate with my OT green trousers :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beautiful Venice...

We snuck away to Venice for a few days last week and, oh my, it was so beautiful! It was somewhere we had both always wanted to go and it was also my first ever trip to Italy, I loved it so much :)

It was initially forecast to rain the whole time but the sun came out and shone on us most days...even though the wind meant we had to keep our winter coats firmly on!

Venice has got to be the most iconic place I have ever visited. It was somewhat surreal to find myself there in the middle of the famous sights, feeling like I knew it so well but really knowing nothing about it all. Over the years we have watched documentaries, read books and visited art exhibitions about Venice, it would have been easy for our expectations to be too high but it was everything we hoped it would be and more.

But to be honest, the ice cream would have made up for any disappointment.

We packed in a lot of walking but it was so relaxing to be walking around with no time limit or agenda. We arrived in the afternoon of Monday and spent the rest of that day and then all of Tuesday exploring the different districts. Venice is full of narrow alleys and beautiful bridges over quiet canals. We kept coming upon beautiful buildings and squares which were any other city they would be a main attraction yet Venice seems to be overflowing with them.

We didn't bother going on a gondola... this is going to seem very unromantic but it was ridiculously expensive for what it was! I think in the Summer you could probably group up with people but we didn't mind too much. There is a water bus so we went up and down the grand canal in that a few times...hence many of our photos being lopsided from the current!

On the Wednesday we visited the main attractions - we went up the campanile (the bell tower in st Mark's square) and visited to the Doge's Palace and the Cathedral. Everything felt so over the top and ornate...the Venetians were pretty sure of themselves back in the day and were happy to shout about it in style! Another highlight was visiting the Rialto bridge and market...there was so much fresh produce to drool over!

I would highly recommend visiting Venice, it was so lovely! It was the perfect size for a three night stay...we felt like we saw all that we wanted to and also fitted in visiting a neighbouring island. Visiting in March did mean it was a little cold but it was still lovely and sunny - and more importantly out of the main tourist season so we didn't have to queue for anything or struggle with crowds.

So long Venice - thanks for having us! and for the awesome ice cream :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Get in my belly already...

Oh Pinterest, why do you thrust such beautiful photos of food at me day in day out? No matter how much I search for salads and smoothies you invite me to drool over cakes and treats and I just can't help but accept.

Maybe one of these days I will actually make some of these but for now here's some cakes and sweets that I'm drooling over...

Apple pie bars with toffee sauce from Kwestia Smaku (translator tool needed unless you speak Polish!)

Chocolate marshmallow teacakes from BBC food

Thin mints by Deliciously Yum

Quadruple chocolate mousse cheesecake by Portuguese girl cooks

Orange cinnamon Belgian waffles with dark chocolate fudge sauce by

And I'm done...for now.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Knitting update (take 2)...

So things have been very quiet on the knitting front since my last update in... oh, October! It was mainly due to the fact that I got bored with what I was knitting. Pink is not really a colour I would automatically go to, it was just some yarn I had inherited. I do want to finish it at some point because I love the idea of knitting something for my niece (for whom pink is the go-to colour).

But I tidied up, the knitting got put away. And it was a case of out of sight, out of mind. But the other week I hosted a knitting night as part of the craft nights I help coordinate. This time I went out and chose my yarn...and went for the chunkiest yarn and some of the biggest needles available! It turns out this is the way forward for me, it comes together so quickly! I also learnt to purl stitch so I'm having a go at making a scarf with a stocking stitch.

I had a minor emergency the other night when I reached the end of my yarn...I know common sense should prevail but I had no idea how to start a new ball off! I was going to just tie the ends together but then thought that it must surely be more complicated than that. So I went for the default option - and called my Mum! Turns out it is pretty easy - Thanks Mum!

So I'm officially back on the knitting bandwagon...I hope! I've got so much further with this already. I would love to make a blanket at some point but I think a scarf is enough for me to deal with at the moment!
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