Thursday, 31 October 2013

adventures in october

Apart from the storm on Monday it's been a very mild October. Can't say I'm a fan of it, I've got lots of snuggly knitwear to crack out and I'm getting impatient. On the whole it's been a positive month in terms of my 4 things challenge but the flat and its contents really need a good going-over...

De-clutter: Filing away any papers relating to the wedding is pretty much all I managed this month. The flat is a bit of a mess - clothes everywhere. It's starting to feel like no matter how many things I give to charity or sell on ebay, there will always be too many clothes in the flat, even though we haven't been buying tonnes of new things! They must be multiplying somehow...

Health: Gym attendance has been mediocre this month, the first two weeks were particularly poor - mostly due to the weekend in Snowdonia but I can't blame the mountain for everything. The second half of October has been much better - back to three times a week. Our stint of only eating veggie at home seems to have come to an end what with a few chicken dishes (and a roast dinner) taking place this month. However, the time for soups is almost upon us and, seeing as I'm not a fan or meat soups, I think my veggie in-take will soon be on the up again.

Money: I made my lunch almost everyday (apart from 4 occasions) this month and I do believe I saved myself a small fortune. This is something I clearly should have started doing a lot sooner but hey, at least the penny has finally dropped! The trip to Snowdonia left me slightly poorer than usual by the time payday arrived, but no regrets as I had a great time away from London on what will most definitely be my last holiday for some time. Saving continues pour le wedding.

Do more new: Loads of new stuff happened this month including: trying out some new-to-me pubs in peckham, meeting 6 other lovely bloggers at a get-together in camberwell, a trip to Snowdonia where I climbed (or rather scrambled) up a mountain, went to give notice of marriage at lambeth registry office, visited my friend's new flat and met his v.nice flatmates. October has been the prefect mix of meeting lots of new people and achieving something pretty awesome that was completely out of my comfort zone, thanks Snowdon.

Et toi? How did your October shape-up?

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Tuesday's Tees - Stay Home Club

This fine tuesday it's all about Canadian site, Stay Home Club.
I came across these guys last week and I think they're pretty ace. What's more, they don't just do apparel. You'll find all sort of accessories, home stuff and other bits + bobs including this card which amuses me greatly.

Monday, 28 October 2013

moss diamonds scarf

I finished my scarf and here's what it looks like!

I really like the way the pattern looks on the front and then more subtle on the back - I'd be quite happy to wear it either way.

I actually started this scarf three times and ended up unravelling it because I was unhappy with the patterns. Eventually, I settled for this, moss stitch diamonds, which I found here. After a few repeats it's quite easy to remember so most of the scarf was knitted on the tube going to and from work - it made the time pass so quickly :)

Now that it's finished and my hands are idle again, I'm tempted to invest in some round needles and try making a pair of wrist warmers using the same wool as I've got quite a bit leftover... we shall see!

Friday, 25 October 2013

hair inspiration


link left and right 

link right

no link :( which is a massive shame as this girl's hair is amazing.

(Apologies for the lack of image links. It is v.annoying when you find a great picture on pinterest that leads to nowhere but some of these were too beautiful not include! If anyone does come across the original links to them do let me know.)

My 'do' has been rather lacklustre for the last two months or so. It's the longest time I haven't dyed it (so you can imagine the roots I'm sporting) and it's quite probably the longest it's ever EVER been. Both these things are largely due to laziness and a lack of funds but I'm also feeling rather unsure of what direction to go in. To dye it red again or to try a new colour or to continue letting the red (now a faded ginger) grow out and return to my original hair colour (mousy brown), which it hasn't been since the age of 17. Colour aside, I'm also wondering about the cut. I'd like to keep growing it but what about the fringe - is it time to let it go? Given that most of the hair images I've pinned on pinterest feature fringes I don't think I'm ready to kiss it goodbye just yet...

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Walking around in Witley

Last Saturday Mitch and I got the train to the little village of Witley. The reason being: to have a nose around the venue which we'll be using for our wedding reception :)
After about an hour in the village hall - taking photos and measurements, just generally talking about what we're hoping to do to decorate the place - we took a v.leafy path back towards the train station. Witley is a lovely green place - sheep on one side, horses that looked like cows on the other, ducks, and lots of big old trees.

Luckily for us, it decided to absolutely pour with rain the minute we arrived at the train station and it stopped just as we emerged at Clapham Junction. After stopping off for a spiced pumpkin latte (had to be done) we wandered into TKMaxx and, omg, the clapham branch is amazing - more specifically, their knitwear section. If I had had the money I would've bought about 6 jumpers (ahem, mostly from the men's section - they have the best knitwear). Showing some restraint, I came away with 2 and I love them.

If, like me, the unusually mild October weather hasn't curbed your want for knitwear and Clapham isn't too much of an arse to get to, go! Go to TKMaxx! What I also found when perusing the knitwear rails was that it's also quite inspiring. Not only did it make me want to buy jumpers but also to have a go at making one... First though, I need to finish my scarf. It's coming along v.nicely, not long to go I think.

Monday, 21 October 2013


A couple of weekends ago, 10 of us went to Snowdonia...

We arrived v.early on saturday morning at our accommodation in Caernarfon - Trotter's hostel which I can happily recommend should you also like to spend a weekend/week in North West Wales. After a nightmare-ish drive (which took 8 hours!!!) we all went straight to bed. Saturday we took to the mountain.
A few little facts for you - Mount Snowdon is 3560 ft high and is climbed by people all year round. There are 7 different tracks to the summit - we opted for the miner's track on the way up and the pyg track for the descent. The first hour and a half of the track took us through and around beautiful hills and lakes at a very easy incline. Upon reaching the third lake we found ourselves in the clouds. It was then that the path became a lot more challenging. Our lovely, almost flat, walk up to this point turned into an hour and a half of scrambling (more difficult than rambling but easier than climbing) to get to the top.

The second half of the ascent was bloody hard (I took no pictures) - visibility was reduced to about 3 or 4 metres which, on the plus side, meant we couldn't see how far up we were, but on the downside it meant that occasionally you'd lose sight of the people in front or behind you. Thankfully, despite it being October, there were quite a number of people climbing the mountain that day which was reassuring in that you might come to a stop because you can't see the path (I use the word 'path' very loosely) and then people would appear in the mist and you'd know to head that way. I'm not the athletic sort, and have only just started going to gym regularly, so I found the scrambling pretty hard going - not helped by the people coming down the mountain making 'jokes' about there "being only 5 hours to go"! Perhaps the worst news we heard on our long ascent was that the cafe at the top was shut because the train wasn't running due to the bad weather. The last little bit was probably the most terrifying as the wind was just insane! Clinging to each other and the rock with the metal disc which marked the summit, we finally reached the peak three hours after we set out. After a brief few minutes, during which I managed to get a pic of our hands at the top (trust me, you wouldn't have wanted to see what our faces were like), we set off back down the mountain, taking the quicker pyg track route. The descent proved to be a bit tricky thanks to lots of loose stones and rocks as well as lots of little fresh water streams which made the ground slippery. Although I did slip over twice - the second time I landed right on my tail bone and swore at the top of lungs just as a group of fellow trekkers walked past, v.embarrassing - as long as you watched your footing, the descent was easier.

The whole trek took us about 5 and half hours - we celebrated with hot showers followed by a mountain of food and several pints in the local pub in Caernarfon. My legs ached for a good few days afterwards (something called muscle fatigue apparently) but it's a great feeling to know that we did it and I can now say that I've climbed scrambled up a mountain :)

Sunday was v.chilled - a wander around the castle in Caernarfon, a leisurely coastal walk and a massive Indian takeaway, games and booze in the hostel's 600 year old basement. It was so good to get out of London and do something completely different. There's talk of the same group planning another walking/trekking weekend and if there's room in the car, you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be going.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

knitting & stitching at ally pally

Last Thursday I spent the day at Alexandra Palace looking at fabric, yarn and all things textiles and creative. It was, of course, the Knitting & Stitching Show.
As packed as ever with stalls, galleries, mini exhibitions as well as fun things to get involved with. Lots to see and not enough time. What I did get around to seeing was very are my highlights:

★ Nicola Jarvis and May Morris - 'The Art of Embroidery'
This latest work from very accomplished embroider, Nicola Jarvis, was based on the designs of William and, his daughter, May Morris. I'm v.fond of Morris' patterns and designs so I thought Jarvis' stuff was ace.
★ The Graduate Showcase
Students always seem to make the best stuff and this year was no different. Lucy Jones, from the Winchester School of Art, had some cracking knits and I v.much liked Katie Jones' (of Central st Martins) work too.
★ Mandy Pattullo - 'Thread and Thrift'
I'd seen most of this collection at the festival of quilts but there were one or two new pieces. Her work is just beautiful.

★ Phillipa Turnbull - A timeline of Crewel Work 1630 - 1930
This lady had some seriously impressive examples of crewel work (entire bed spreads, bed curtains and canopies - god only knows how long it would've taken to stitch it all). She had a very strict 'no photography' rule which is a shame because the neatness and colour work was incredible. I did manage to get a quick snap of one of the less antique, but no less intricate, examples.

★ Japanese Connections
A mixture of work by 6 Japanese and 6 British textile artists. Sadly I didn't get the name of the lady that made the one below. I love how seemingly simple yet v.atmospheric it is.

★ The Rowan Wool section
I think that now I'm well on the way with making my second scarf, I'm much more interested in knitting and all the possibilities it holds. The rowan section this year was hugely inspiring - sooooo many pretty jumpers. I had a very brief chat with Sarah Hatton who has done a number of (seriously gorgeous) books for Rowan. She was lovely, v.encouraging and enthusiastic. Alice from work ended up buying one of her little books for beginner knitters. Some of the projects inside are fabulous and v.manageable. Alice v.kindly said she'd lend me the book so perhaps I'll be knitting more than a scarf this year...

Some other nice things I saw:
A detail of a piece by Sue Spooner for the Japanese Connections gallery.

These cute crochet animals which you can purchase the pattern for and make for yourself! The tiger and the wolf were my favourites, and the bat which sadly doesn't appear on the website. The collection is called Edward's Menagerie and is available from Toft.

The knitted taxi. Naturally.

All in all a very good show. I even managed to leave without buying anything for myself which is a first!

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