Thursday, 28 August 2014

Speedy Ta Dah!: Wedding Shawl

I did it! Quite literally in the nick of time (we're leaving tomorrow morning already and I still need to tidy house/pack/all the usual things) but I have finished. I present to you, my lovely readers, my first shawl.

The light is terrible at this time of night, so I promise I will try and get a picture of it in action over the weekend so I can show you the lovely purple colour. It's a simple V-Stitch pattern, I chained 7 and then in the 4th chain from the hook I did (treble, chain one, treble) then skipped two chains and did the same in the last chain. Then I continued the pattern on the next row, working (treble, chain one, treble) into each of the chain one stitches from the previous round. It worked up really quickly!  I used 3 balls of  'Omega' by Lang yarns and a 5.5mm hook, to get a slightly lacy look. I like the yarn a lot, it's an acrylic/nylon mix and really soft. My only slight complaint was that the yarn got knotted on 2 of the balls halfway through, think it wasn't wound properly. A wee bit of time wastage but hey ho here it is :)

Have a lovely weekend whereever you are! Here's fingers crossed for some nice summery weather :)

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

All You Need is Soup

Kinda like the Beatles song but not quite....

Brrrrr where did August go?! Come back!! Don't get me wrong, I love Autumn, I really really do, but I'm just not ready for it yet, like the majority of people I know. It's been really rather cold, and given that it's August I can't legitimately put the heating on, right?

Sometimes all it takes is soup. Using this recipe (my absolute favourite by the way) I made lentil and bean soup yesterday before hubbie arrived back from an exhausting (in a pleasurable way) weekend at the Reading Festival. So being a good little wifey I welcomed him back with a clean house and some hot soup (procrastination from the thesis really can transform a person I've found...)

We got the lovely Le Creuset bowls as a wedding present, this is their first use!! The lid is particularly inspired as it keeps the soup warm whilst I faff before I sit down, and prevents me from spilling anything (no mean feat). And here's the soup itself:

Nom nom nom.

I had a lovely weekend at the spa for our friends' hen do (somewhat more civilised than the Reading Festival activities!) with a relaxing facial, pedicure, and lots of jacuzzi time. Bliss. When I got back on Sunday the Thesis was the last thing I felt like doing so I delved back into Mollie Makes Crochet......

I used Drops Safran yarn with a 3.5mm hook, these were the only colours I had so it was an easy choice. I wasn't so sure about the combination at first but now I really like it, it's different to other versions of the pattern I've seen this far. AND even C liked it (he has a slight doily phobia for some reason, I'm working on it). He even let me put said doily under his precious whiskey decanter (another wedding present) high praise indeed! I have been sworn to a 'no more doilies' mantra, but I'm not so sure about that...

I made another version of Regina's wonderful cake (here) this time with plums, absolutely scrummy! I really am becoming a procrastination master... but that is no good! I have so much still to write, edit and rewrite that I think my mind has just shut down. I feel like the girl in this picture I bought from my favourite artists in Berlin (here), weighed by time and drowning...

On a more cheerful note, after the wedding of our friends this weekend C and I are off to Berlin on Monday. Again! He is at a conference and I am slumming it in his hotel room and using the library, very excited to be back, it seems like a minute since I left though! I'm still working on my shawl for the wedding and hope to have a ta dah moment by Friday otherwise it looks like I will be very cold on Saturday...

Friday, 22 August 2014

A Daisy Interlude

Thank you for the shawl pattern suggestions, there were some lovely ones and I have added several to my 'to crochet' list. I've ended up going with something very simple due to time constrictions, will share some photos before too long.

I've got some peace and quiet at the moment, C is in Reading for his best friend's stag do until Tuesday so I am ploughing away with my thesis. I'm off on the hen-do tomorrow, one night in a spa, which I am very much looking forward to!! I then have a couple of days after to attack mundane tasks such as cleaning and tidying - with all our coming and going we're a bit pillar to post at the moment.

I went to see my Nana again on Wednesday night, she was 93 yesterday. Such an amazing woman, I hope I have inherited her strength and gumption. I stayed most of yesterday and then had a bit of a long drive back so collapsed promptly on the sofa with a bottle large glass of wine. I fancied doing some crochet but nothing too strenuous so dug out my copy of the wonderful Mollie Makes: Crochet which I haven't touched yet since it arrived in May. I made the pretty folk daisy which came as a free kit and was really pleased with the result!

It was so nice to do something mindless :) No idea what to do with it though, any suggestions?!

I already have my next project earmarked, it's something I've seen a fair few times in blogland already and always wanted to attempt...

When I was at Nana's I saw some of my Great Grandmother's crochet - she used to make lots of doilies and she taught my mum to crochet when she was small. Nana still has a few bits around the house...

It's so fine, I'm not sure I'd manage with that sized thread!!

Anywho: wishing you all a wonderful weekend, will be back soon with something more substantial ;)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Yet Another Cowl, A Spot of Baking and a Plea for Help (!)

So I kinda made another cowl.....

It's the same cowl in all the pictures, the light must be weird in my house! It's using the wool I bought on honeymoon in Austria it's a beautiful soft mix with a lovely sheen to it. I can't wait to wear it in the Autumn :) It's just treble crochet, with a 5mm hook, quite a tight stitch. 

I've also been baking, I found this wonderful recipe on Regina's lovely blog 'My Simple Life' (here). It's for a Zwetschgenkuchen, which is a cake with fresh fruit. Really scrummy, I ate a lot of it during my time in Germany (cake is a major part of my love of Germany!) I was so pleased with how it turned out, it was so easy and so tasty. C liked it too, there's not a lot left. I used peaches this time, but will definitely use plums next time... 

Otherwise I haven't been terribly productive, I'm still ploughing away with the blanket, more photos soon :)

I have a question to ask all you wonderful experienced crocheters who pop in here - a bit of a plea for help! Does anyone have an easy, quick shawl pattern that they would recommend? I'm off to a wedding in two weeks and need something to pop over my shoulders. I was thinking maybe a simple V Stitch or granny type pattern, but wanted to see if anyone had any recommendations :) I bought some lovely soft DK yarn, an acrylic/nylon mix all ready and will try and start crocheting before too long. any suggestions?!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Home Sweet Home

It's so nice being home, and settled again. Having not being able to bake for a few weeks I quickly seized the opportunity and made chewy chocolate cookies, so easy and very tasty - they didn't last long! (recipe here)

We bought these lovely ceramic plant markers at a Berlin market: chive, parsley and thyme. My favourite plant in the garden is also out in full bloom, I do love hydrangeas :)

I stayed with a good friend in Nottingham on Friday, we had some drinks and dancing and then the next day we went into town. After lunch at Jamie's Italian (YUM) we did a spot of shopping, and picked up some tarts from Patisserie Valerie for afternoon tea. Isn't her tea service wonderful! It's vintage 70s, I love the vivid colours.

I've now joined two rows of my blanket for Bonnie - slow progress but worth it! C and I have a bet going as to when I will finish, watch this space!!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Camping in Cornwall (and Devon!)

Back home sweet home after my travels, it's always so nice to be back regardless of what adventure it was that took me away.

We have had a lovely (sometimes adventurous thanks to Bonnie) trip down to the South West, with a few nights in Cornwall and then one in Devon on the way back. We are based in Lincolnshire, so rather a lot of driving for poor C, but as long as it is not raining, and as long as Bonnie is behaving, he seems to not mind it too much.

An old family friend of hubbie's family got married near Padstow on Saturday, which was the catalyst for our trip. It was a lovely wedding, and as a bonus we got to spend a few days with ma-in-law, pa-in-law, my two brothers-in-law, sister-in-law and niece. Hubbie's family is a lot bigger than mine! It was lovely to see them all for a bit longer than usual, as we live a fair bit away from them. Little niece is growing fast at nearly 3 months and I got lots of smiles and cuddles which was great. As we had a lot of family time I took less pictures than normal, but I will share a few snapshots any way :)

We lucked out and had an amazing view from our campsite. The first morning was a little grey, but I thought that made for some nice lighting!

That morning was the morning of the wedding, so we had a sneaky trip to Padstow, just to the harbour before getting ready and heading off.

That night we had the luxury of a hotel room and the following morning we headed back into Padstow, walking up to the head. A bit of a mission with a pram, slightly grumpy baby, two golden retrievers and a group of people who were split in half regarding what they wanted to do! We made it up nevertheless and enjoyed the sunny views over the town and bay.

This was followed by fish and chips from Rick Stein's fish and chip shop. C is rather a big fan. He had the plaice which he said was good, my Cod and Chips were ok, the cod a little dry though.

We then went to a BBQ on the beach with the rest of the wedding guests, camera safely tucked away due to the combination of aforementioned Golden Retrievers, sand and sea.

The following morning we had a sunny view and had a lovely brekkie sunning ourselves

I love camping in Bonnie, it's great fun! We made our way north after a final lunch with the family, and stopped for the night at West Middlewick Farm in Devon, between Nomansland and Witheridge. It's a working farm, and wonderful for kids. We popped into Witheridge in search of some afternoon tea, it's a lovely village.

The village tea rooms was sadly closed, but we found an amazing afternoon tea in one of the pubs....

We had it in the traditional Devon fashion: clotted cream then jam. Apparently Cornwall is the other way round!!

After that we headed back to the campsite, and cooked dinner for the first time overlooking fields and beautiful countryside.

We had veggie fajitas - a highly easy and recommendable camping meal :)

Now sadly it rained that night (Monday), and Bonnie wasn't very happy the following morning. Her electrics were a bit hit and miss, so rather than stopping again we decided to head for home. We made it home, and although I was sad to miss out on a night's camping, it is SO good to be back :)

Hope you're all well, I'm looking forward to catching up on my missed bloggy reading ;)