Friday, 5 December 2014

Life is too short to read books that you're not enjoying!

This month I have not managed to read any where near as much as I would have liked! Now we all know that books are a very personal choice, and I take recommendations from people I follow and friends. I rarely consider a critics choice but occasionally I need to be pushed out of my comfort zone and inspired to read something very new and a different genre that I am used to.

Novembers book choice included Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield and I have to say I didn't read any of the reviews around this book, I picked it up in Waterstones, read the back and went from there, It sounded very intriguing so I bought it and away I went. At first I did not settle into the book I found it slow & filled with details that did not seem to matter. Usually if a book does not grab my interest in the first couple of chapters I will happily bin in (life is too short to read books that you don't like) but I persevered thinking that the story would kick in at any moment, It didn't and in a temper after wasting two (maybe three) weeks of reading (I was so slow reading the little I did read because it was just so boring)  I put a call out on Instagram and the response was unanimous the book was rubbish! I was however directed to Setterfields début novel which I was advised was much better. So I didn't finish this book and was very disappointed because the write up on the back page promised so much.

I did however finish both graphic novels of the graveyard book (which the Mr quickly read after me) and continued to read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Just over a week ago I started to read Foxglove summers by Ben Aaronovitch which I was hoping I would have finished by now but, nope. I have around 35% left so my intention is to continue with that hopefully finishing it this week and then my next week is a book first recommended to me by Mrs ID and I have since read a couple of blogs about it too. A Discovery of Witches. I hope that I can read this (rather large book) through December and finish it before January ( a little wishful thinking there).



Because Christmas will soon be upon us I will have some time off work and can settle into a little more knitting or reading. I like to get cosy in my lovely chair, and because its winter, wrapped up in a lovely blanket and book/kindle in hand nice and cosy looking out of the window and watching the world (well the little court) go about their business while I read. I also like to spend hours in the bath reading usually until I start shivering and I realise that the water has gone cold at which point Mr tells me I have been missing around 2 hours lost in the world of the book I am reading!
Do you have a favourite place to escape to while you read?

Linking in with A Year in books over at Circle of pine trees.


Friday, 28 November 2014

Chelsea Waistcoat is Finished

I have loved making the Chelsea Waistcoat from Purl Alpaca Designs. I have to say I finished knitting this some time ago (I mean at least a couple of months ago), it has been left neglected in my basket with just the ends to sew in and then a good blocking. Finishing off is not always my strong point. I guess I am worried that once I have successfully finished knitting, I will muck it all up sewing together. Once finished and blocked I have worn it a few times before I managed to photograph it (badly) so that you could see it!

As I finished each section I blocked them, I'm not sure if this was what I was meant to do but figured it would make sewing everything together a lot easier. I discovered that my little blocking board was not big enough and resorted to blocking on the carpet in the corner of my living room (much to Mr. M's delight). I then sewed all the pieces together and there is where it ended for a short (okay maybe a little longer) time.

So finally as part of the WipCrackAway group on ravelry I sat and finished it off the soaked it and gave it another hard blocking.

 


I used Brignatia Aran to make my Waistcoat, I think it was 3 skeins I used and I loved the pattern, there are a few mistakes in my knitting but that is my errors nothing to do with the pattern, I am still fairly new to knitting and still working out certain increases. I ended up with little holes where I was increasing which I quickly worked out was because I was doing it incorrectly but I sussed it eventually. It was a lovely simple pattern to follow.

I did start this project back in August and discussed it on the blog. All the details are also on my Ravelry page.

p.s - sorry about the dodgy pictures, the light is shocking and unfortunately for you it has me in them too!


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Reading & Crochet

Oh what a dreary day it is today! so dark and miserable, winter has certainly arrived here in Yorkshire.

So regular visitors to Little House in the Corner will know that I love both reading & crochet/knitting (although not always at the same time). I have two projects on the go currently.

I am still knitting the Susan Crawford Little Angel baby jumper. I am almost finished but I am on the yoke which requires concentration and counting, both things I am incapable of by the time I settle down to my crafts at around 8.30pm after a long day at work. So that is most certainly a weekend job, but I do need to get on with it as it is my nieces Christmas present. My other project also has a time limit on it as it is a Christmas decoration...

Pretty red & White




Isn't it pretty? And bells too, I cant wait to get to add the bells on (although the embellishment is not part of the pattern just my little addition). I hope I will be able to finish in a week so it is ready for when the Christmas decorations go up. I'm sure you have worked out what it is but I shall do a full reveal as soon as it is completed. I am really enjoying the crochet pattern as it is so simple and works up so quickly. Most importantly it matches up with my red Christmas theme in the living room. Look at me being all organised ready for Christmas. What usually happens is I see something I want to make for Christmas just as its too late and the Christmas spirit is leaving so I never manage to have anything home-made. This year is different!

Jingle Bells
I have struggled to get any decent photo's due to the lack of decent light around at this time of year.

I am reading Foxglove summer by Ben Aaronvitch on the Kindle. I am around half way through it at the minute (as of last night) I was hoping to get it finished by the end of the month as part of the 'A year in books' challenge I have joined in with but with all the knitting and crochet I have to do I am not sure that I will manage it, we shall see.

I am linking in with Small Things Yarn Along today.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Slow cooked sausages

Who knew sausages could be slow cooked?! Any one who knows me will know that I'm not a fan (putting it mildly) of sausages & any time the family meal involves sausages I opt for a jacket potato!
Well while on my week off I decided to have a look at alternative recipes for sausages that didn't just involve the typical bangers and mash or toad in the hole. I found a couple of ideas for slow cooked sausages and since the slow cooker is most definitely out I thought I would put something together and it tasted so nice I actually ate it (we have since had it a couple more times). So I thought I would share it with you


Serves 4 adults & a 7 year old (easily halved)

Ingredients

12 sausages (I used some lovely Lincolnshire sausages)
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
A sprinkle of mixed herbs
2 garlic cloves
1 large onion chopped roughly
1 bay leaf

I browned off the sausages in a frying pan and then put them in the slow cooker, added all the other ingredients in and mixed it up a little. Season and Put on the lid. Cook on low setting for 4-5 hours (I did 5 hours and they tasted lush). I made some mash up to serve with the sausages and the sauce from the slow cooker tasted lush over the top of the mash.

So there you have it slow cooked sausages. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Not Much to Report

Its all been a little bit quite over here at 'Little House in the Corner'. You know when life to zooms on past you and you often feel a little dizzy.

Work has taken over my life for a couple of weeks since my break for half term. I seem to have spent the last two weeks catching up with my work since having half term off. Little lady has gotten back into the swing of school and we are just generally settling into a routine again.

I seem to get in from work do the usual evening things and then fall in a heap on the sofa with exhaustion. That said I have been managing to keep up with my challenge to spin although I am a little behind on my target. Ive also been cracking on with my reading but other than that not much knitting/crochet has happened. I have started a new little project (even though I really should get on with My nieces jumper).

Surprisingly I have started to think of Christmas. Often not my favourite time of year and I am usually a last minute shopper too but I've already started to consider gifts and decorations and Christmas dinner too. I know that my feelings towards the time of year will not change, it is just a very sad time of year for my family but this year I am determined to lift the mood a little and not be last minute with everything. Well I got a little side tracked there didn't I! My new project is to do with Christmas.

So there we have it, not much to report at this end really, life is just zooming on by and making me feel a little dizzy really, can you believe that we half way through November? really? when did that happen? I've struggled to keep up with all of my favourite blogs but know that this week I will really make an effort to get everything done, pop by and say hello at a few blogs so sorry if I've not been and visited of late, its nothing personal. I have just not had the time.

So here we go, a little more positive thinking and more energy, lets hope this week is going to be a good one!


Monday, 3 November 2014

The Year in books Part 3

Its been a very sucessful month as far as books are concerend! I had planned to read The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and I did. Words cannot describe how much I loved this short story. I finished the book in a week but at 192 pages thats no surpirse really.

This is the first Neil Gaiman book I have read, never heard of him before I saw this book in Waterstones, I have since visted the local tearoom (which is just like visiting a friends house now), Axholme liscensed tearoom, and I had a little (well ok, rather long) chat with the lovely owner Jules who I discovered also loves Neil Gaiman books 'who doesnt?' she answered when I asked her if she liked his work! this made me smile and she immedietly listed of the books that I should add to my ever increasing to read pile. I loved speaking to Jules about books, her enthusiasm for them, she is so animated when talking about them and like me doesnt see the point on wasting precious time on books that you are simply not enjoying, and will (litrally) toss them to one side. My hour at the tearoom flew by and I felt like I could have spoken to Jules for hours more.

Sorry got a little side tracked there! Back to The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The book captured my attention from the start and I felt immediatly immersed in the story, I felt for the little boy in the story through the lonilness, the happy and sad times, so good was the story telling and the world that Gaiman created that it was totally believable to me, at times I wanted to pick the little boy up and cuddle him,tell him it will all be alright (as only a mummy can). I love how Gaiman makes the story so very real! SImply to say I was sorry when the book ended, it left me wondering did that actually happen or was it a dream? I have now been looking at further books by Neil Gaiman to start next! I am in love with Gaiman's writing style and his abilty to create such a world in which I can completely loose myself for hours at a time. 

After reading a good book it takes me a couple of days to, well I guess digest the story completely and understand what has happened, I struggle to jump straight into a new book, I like to think bout what I have read, I like to remeber the charecters. Do you do this? Mr. M can read a book as soon as he finishes another book, which sparked a little debate with good friends and it seemed that I was the odd one out, please tell me its not just me? 

After a few days had passed and much browsing my goodreads list and talking to Jules, I settled on another Neil Gaiman book (seriously hooked) I read the Graveyard Book (which I understand is also a series of graffic novels) I didnt manage a great deal of reading the first week I picked up but when I told Jules what I was reading she said 'hurry up and fisish so I can talk to you how much I love this book' she may have been a little more exuberant than it sounded just there. Again I loved the book, Gaiman's ability to drop you into the story and create a wonderful world in which I can get lost in for hours at a time. I didnt love this book as much as `Ocean at the end of the Lane' but I still loved it.



For my November read I have settled on Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield, its a book I have wanted to read for a couple of months now. I will also continue reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell which I started last week, I mentioned it just last week in another post. As a last minute entry I'm going to include The Graveyard Book graphic novel part1 which arrived on my doormat just this morning! (a lot to pack in this month)

I am taking part in The Year in Books hosted by Laura at Circle of Pine Trees. What are you reading, I am always looking for books to add to my list.


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Challenge 2 - Lets take a spin

As part of my continued effort to improve certain aspects of my life and health I have taken on board the words of Shelley who wrote How I changed my life in 12 months.

My first challenge Kicking the Sugar habit, has gone reasonably well, as you would expect the first couple of days start great but then it gets harder. I have had stumbling blocks but picked myself back up. The last week of October I will admit I let things slip with it being half term and Halloween but that said I'm going to continue the effort to reduce the sugar intake. I have enjoyed the lovely sugar free cakes produced at my favourite tea room and the reduction of processed sugar in my life has meant that my skin is healthier and I've even lost a few lbs too. The biggest thing I have discovered is that I DON"T NEED SUGAR. so on to challenge two...

Challenge 2 - Lets go for a spin

If you visit Little House in the Corner regularly you will know that I bought a spinning wheel earlier this year and then for my birthday Mr. M sent me on a spinning course. Since then I have not realised much time for spinning. My second challenge is to spin more, but as a person who needs goals 'to spin more' is not specific enough and as Malcolm Gladwell highlights in Outliers (which I started reading this week), in order to be an expert in a specific area you need to achieve 10,000 hours practice. Well I certainly don't wish to be an expert on the subject, I just want to improve, and I most certainly don't have 10,000 hours available just for spinning practice. I intend to manage 10 hours spinning in November, this averages out at only 20 minutes per day. By which time I hope to achieve a more even yarn (My current product is very un even and un usable).

So there we have it challenge 2 is out. here we go, I shell keep you posted on my progress!


Friday, 31 October 2014

Crochet Zebra - Edwards Menagerie

I'm loving the WipCrackAway group on Ravelry, I'm getting all of my WIP's done eventually!

On a recent trip to the library visited the Library I spotted Edwards Menagerie. This surprised me as its a fairly new book and I know that these can sometimes take a while to filter through to the libraries. I first spotted the book on some blogs that I VISIT (I can't remember which ones) and instantly was drawn to its quirky designs and gorgeous animals. I took the book on loan from the library knowing that I wanted to make 'Alice Zebra' for my baby niece. Baby S does appear to popping up in my blog over the last couple of weeks. 

I started the Zebra at the end of August and it soon became a part of the WIP basket, its incredibly hard to work with black yarn in un natural light! The books loan period expired before I got to finish the zebra, excellent excuse to purchase my very own copy. I bought my copy from Amazon UK and it was a reasonable price too. 

Eventually I finished the zebra on Sunday (26th October 2014) the day before my adorable niece came to stay for a few days from Scotland. She is only 5 weeks old, I had forgotten how very small babies are, so the zebra although quite small in my hands looks rather large next to baby S. 

                                 

As for the book, I think the fact I ordered my own copy tells you that I love it. The book is exceptionally well designed with all the animals made up of variations of standard patterns which are set out at the start of the book, each animal obviously has variations on these standard parts. Three levels of animals to make meaning that there is something for all abilities in crochet. There is also a choice of 4 sizes to make, depending on the weight of yarn and hook size used. I used DK yarn. If I had been motivated enough and the light in my house been better then I could have had the little zebra finished in a weekend easy. If you love crochet animals then I certainly would recommend this book, I will certainly make more of the cute little animals from it. 

I used Patons DK Smoothie yarn in Black and White and a 4mm hook. I had so much yarn left from each ball I think that I could make another 1 or 2 zebra's so you could use ball ends if you don't want to buy yarn for it. (full details on my Ravelry page)

Today is Halloween and until we moved to the village it was never a big thing, however in the little court we live all the houses get decorated, the children get dressed up and go trick or treating. Little lady has asked if she can have a Halloween tea party so she has her two best friends coming over at tea time and they are going to decorate some cake pops (Halloween ones obviously) before they go trick or treating. I have to get the house decorated up. I'm sure pictures will appear over on my Instagram feed if you follow me.




Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Susan Crawford - Little Angel and Outliers

Knitting & reading kinda go hand in hand don't you think? although not at the same time for me as I'm not that good a knitter.

This week Is half term here and I have the week off work, while little lady is occupied playing with her friends outside or doing some crafts I have been able to do some knitting or reading. It is unseasonably warm outside for October, which means I'm managing to get the washing out on the line and little lady is able to play out without the restraints of hats, gloves and scarves.

I am not normally afforded that much knitting time so it is lovely to get a nice cuppa and get settled in the chair and just knit away with no worries about the time.

                                         

I am, amongst other projects, knitting a Susan Crawford pattern called 'Little Angel' in 6-9 months size. In a lovely shade or red (Colour chosen by my nieces mummy). I am using Stylecraft 4 ply as it has a lovely finish and is machine washable (very important when knitting for a baby).  Normally progress on such things are very slow however because I am off work I am able to crack on with it as well as any other WIP's I have. My niece is only 5 weeks old and I am knitting this delightful little jumper as a little Christmas gift for her.

So far the pattern is straightforward but I have never knitted anything like this before, I can see that it will get more complicated when I get to the yoke. I bought this pattern at Yarndale 2014 with the intention of knitting it as a gift for my Niece, so pleased that I am eventually knitting it.

Reading, yes I did mention reading didn't I? well this month I have read a couple of fiction books already so this week while I don't have the pressures of work I decided to read a non fiction book, inspired by a curious handmade's Helen who mentioned this book on her podcast a while back I have been reading 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell. As someone who always strives to improve i have found (what little I have read) this book to be thought provoking and inspiring.

what are you knitting and reading? 

Today I am linking in with Yarn A Long,  You can follow my blog on Bloglovin to keep up to date.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Slow Cooked Chicken Casserole

Winter is almost upon us and I am craving hearty warm winter food. Our slow cooker becomes the most used piece of equipment when Winter arrives, its so convenient and easy. Prepare the food in the morning and by the time you are home in the evening there is a lovely warm dinner waiting for you.

So I thought I would share our slow cooked chicken casserole with you, I have provided a list of the ingredients below but this can often change depending on what is available from the veg patch or what we have in the fridge so don't be afraid to experiment.

Slow Cooked Chicken Casserole



Ingredients

6 x Chicken Thighs
4 x Carrots (medium or large carrots)
4 x Large Potatoes
2 x Courgettes
3 x Cloves of garlic
1 Red Onion
1/2 cup Dark Soy Sauce
1/2 cup of water
2 tbsp tomato puree
can of chopped Tomatoes

Season with Pepper (I don't add salt as the soy sauce replaces the salt, adding more salt is a little to much for my taste).

Simply chop everything up (I usually chop all the veg up quite chuncky so it doesnt get to soft) and put it all in the slow cooker give it a good mix and put on a medium heat for 8 hours.

Finally serve and enjoy, perhaps a lovely crusty roll alongside will complete the meal but I love it all on its own. 

If you are doing slimming world then this is free on Extra Easy and Red days which is a bonus. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Great Knitting Group & Wip Crack Away

This weekend (just passed) was the monthly knitting group meet up which is known as the 'Social Knitwork'. It was only the second meeting but still was great to meet up with new people, hopefully over the coming months more new people will join us. I have spoken before about Social Knitwork which is held in the local tearoom, now I LOVE Axholme Licensed Tearoom for several reasons, the first being the two owners are simply lovely and I really don't know how they fit everything in with a new born baby who is often at the tearoom for the customers to swoon over. second is that Jules the owner makes the most amazing cakes. Jules was aware of my current challenge, So she made a totally lush Sugar free Marmalade cake (follow the link to get the receipt Jules so kindly shared) , it was so nice I brought some home with me as well (Thanks Jules),and finally Mike (Jules partner in crime) makes/brews (I'm not sure on the technical term) the beer that they sell in their very own micro brewery. mmmmmm Axholme Beer. Great Tearoom right? Towards the end of the group Mr.M came along with little lady to have a swift pint and piece of cake and little lady brought her knitting along to join in with the rest of the group, It makes my heart leap with joy seeing my gorgeous little lady sitting with everyone knitting along. Such a proud mummy I am.

Little Lady with her Knitting

So any way as usual I have completely gone of track there, I have a few WIP's on the go all part of the WipCrackAway KAL over at Ravelry so, even though I am itching to start several new projects I took one of my WIP's. I chose the crochet zebra that I am working on for my beautiful Niece. I really need to get a move on with this as she is coming to visit all the way from Dundee next week. So while I was at the Social Knitwork I managed to complete the head, make two ears and make the tale. All body parts complete I started work on the mane which was a little trickier than it looked but fingers crossed I will get there and she will be finished just in time!

The Best Knitting group Ever!

Another long term project I have which I am working on as part of the WipCrackAway is my first every knitting project, knitted squares (that's where we all start right? or a scarf?) these have bee a royal pain in the derrière. I have slowly been blocking the squares and pressing them over the last couple of weeks. Once done they have been put in a little pile until all the others sorted. Now they are all done, I have decided the lay out which took ages to do. I wanted it to be a bigger blanket than it is but the yarn is now discontinued and I have been unable to find any of my colour ways available so settled on a smaller blanket. I have now started the process of sewing the squares together. I will write more about the history of the blanket when it is actually fished off. For now I am learning a new skill which is sewing together knitted squares!

Not the Best Picture.
Lay out decided.
I feel a few Finished Objects (FO's) coming up soon! whoop whoop.

Click to follow



Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Not Knitting Socks

You may recall some months back now that I was knitting socks. The concept of DPN's being new to me (looking enviously at MRS. ID as she knits away) I thought they would be complicated but actually they were very easy. I sorted the cuffs out easily and after a little request from help I got through the heel turn but then it came to the Gusset section, well this baffled me and I just couldn't work out the instructions. Mrs. ID very kindly cast her eyes over my socks and the pattern and she couldn't work it out either. There was the suggestion of doing a bodge job, which I was reluctant to do. I did have a second sock to knit & I was pretty sure second sock syndrome would set in.

The offending article
I was feeling very despondent about the whole thing really and much to Mrs. ID's shock in a fit of rage I ripped the whole thing back until there was no sock! The very next day I was a little upset with my rash (as was Mr. M as the socks would have been his) decision to rip them back but ultimately I needed to do it and find an easier pattern for me to begin with. I'm not saying the pattern wasn't easy just not written very well which for a Rowan pattern I was a little disappointed with. So you see, I,m not knitting socks, not anymore.

So can you imagine my delight when the class lists were released for Edinburgh yarn festival and there was a sock class and even better the tutor is no other than Clare Devine. I have to say I have followed Clares work on Ravelry and twitter and of late have come to admire her work. I had a quick chat with Claire at Yarndale and expressed my excitement about the class. Clare did seem some what excited to be hosting the class too. I really cant wait because I sooooooo want to knit socks and I know that I just need a little guidance to push me in the right direction.

So for now I shall look on enviously at those of you that knit socks and continue my mission to learn & Mr. M will have to wait a little longer for the knitted socks. Plus its not like I don't have lots of other things in the project basket to be getting on with!

Today I am linking in with Ginny's Yarn Along.



Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Autumn & Crochet Blankets

Autumn is most certainly here, as I type the wind is whipping around the house and I can hear the rain pattering on the conservatory roof. The little tree in the front garden has decided to shed its beautiful golden yellow and orange leaves onto the front lawn and the nights a drawing in. The weather has certainly turned colder now.

So with autumn weather comes the urge to make blankets. Earlier this year in spring I started to crochet the wooleater blanket, but it was hibernated as soon as the warmer weather made an appearance. I bought a load of stylecraft Special DK sometime ago to make a friend a ripple blanket and once it was finished and posted to my friend I realised I had quite a bit of yarn left and as I really struggled to part with the ripple blanket I thought I would use the left over yarn for a blanket to stay at Little house in the Corner. I had queued the wooleater blanket sometime ago so of I went.

I didnt like the ridge that the pattern created by crocheting around the previous round post so rather than crocheting around I crocheted into the top creating a flatter finish (just my preference). I agreed with myself that no new yarn would be purchased for this project and I would only use what was in the basket. So I worked on the blanket for a couple of weeks before the warmer (oh no way can I crochet a blanket) weather set in and it was put in a basket and hidden away on the shelf.

Then come along the WipCrackAway group on Ravelry hosted by the lovely Knit British & Yarns from the Plain the Idea is you only work on your WIP's to get them all done and the motivation of the group helps you through. It runs until the 15th November.  'I don't have that many wip's' I think I can be quoted as saying but well when I started to look into it I had blooming loads that I had hidden away and forgotten about the first being my wooleater blanket, so I immediately took it down off the shelf and set to completing it.





The completed blanket is just a lap blanket really but it is snug, and its lovely crocheting yourself into a warm cocoon. I was actually sad to finish it because it is so snuggly and warm. I decided not to edge the blanket as the scalloped edge is pretty. 


I still have plenty of yarn left, just not enough to do any more rounds, so I will make up some little granny squares in the hope of making up another big bed blanket out of scraps of DK. A lovely multi coloured blanket like the one I made little lady a few years back. 

I do love a crochet blanket! Autumn has to be a knitters/crocheters time of year right? so much wooly inspiration out there. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Kicking the Sugar Habit - Challenge 1

I wrote about my Addiction a few weeks back, and so far I have not done anything about it, I thank you lovely people for both your comments on my blog post itself and also the private emails that some of you lovely lot sent to me. It made me feel less isolated that people understood and even shared your experience and advice.

The reason I have not done anything about it, mostly, is procrastination I guess, I have assessed the situation, tried to understand why I turn to sugar so much but really to no avail other than I am weak. 

I read in a book recently 'How I changed my Life in 12 months' in which the author points out that it takes 21 day to break a habit, I knew this somehow, I must have read it somewhere before and tasked myself with breaking my habits. once I hit a stumbling block I struggle to get back on track and I think that is where the problem is. I tell myself  'what is the point? I may as well go back to how it was' I tell myself 'I can't do this' I make up so many excuses. I need that chocolate because I have had a bad day, I am tired I need the energy or I so deserve a treat I've worked hard. THIS NEEDS TO STOP!

So, here it is, friends and family, I ask of you please do not offer me a biscuit, please do not offer me sweets or chocolates for the next 21 days! I will free myself of the binds I have with the white stuff, one day at a time, if I stumble I will pick myself up and most importantly I do NOT need it. 

My October challenge is to kick the Sugar habit, and although I want to enjoy baking cakes and eating the occasional chocolate bar, that's what it needs to be occasional, it is not to be apart of my everyday life and instead I need to embrace healthier eating habits and avoid the temptation of the work biscuit tin.

So wish me luck and here we go. Any tips for avoiding sugar and tame the cravings I know I will have will be much appreciated. I will keep you posted on my progress. 

Day one  starts 8th October 2014! So far it has gone well with one day of for mrs. ID's graduatio party where I may have had a couple of little treats, but the very next day I picked myself up again. Ive resisted the biscuits at work and even turned down chocolate cake:).

I can do this! 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Hardcastle Crags

Anyone that knows me knows that I am not very outdoorsy really, especially now that autumn has set in (although you wouldn't know it today). You are more likely to find me sat in the corner with a good book or my knitting and a cuppa tea staying warm.

Today however we took a drive over to Hebden Bridge and a lovely place called Hardcastle Crags. We simply don't spend enough time together as a family and spend far to much time in doors. I am pleased we did head out today, the weather was gorgeous today and it was such a beautiful place (I did however take my crochet with me to keep me occupied in the car).

once we got parked we walked the mile to Gibson Mill where there was a cafe and we had a light lunch before setting off on one of the national trust walks around the site.

Gibson Mill first opened as a cotton mill in the 1800's, restored by the national trust, it was opened to visitors in 2005. The mill is now a great example of how sustainable energy can be used. We certainly hope to visit again as we had such a fun day.

Walking boots on and here we go…


With my knee still not fully repaired we took a steady walk around the stunning site & lil lady just loved being outside and exploring the woods.

There was a beautiful little waterfall


I love waterfalls, I find them quite captivating, the sound of water trickling down to the river is simply amazing.

We had a little look around for signs of fairy's in the woods, looking for their homes. Obviously during the day when people are around they stay hidden but we did find potential fairy houses…

Do you see any Faries?





















There was so much beauty to be seen, lots of colour as the leaves change ready to fall to the ground, so many pretty little bridges to cross and lots of stairs to climb. With the weather being so beautiful there was lots of people around but because there are so many routes we rarely saw anyone and when we did they were so friendly. There was lots of people walking their dogs (one little dog with a stick in its mouth more than three times the size of himself). Lots of children exploring the woods and having their own little adventures and making memories that will last forever.












Lil Lady's favourite part was the stepping stones over the river, she had to go over them a few times, at first very slowly as she was unsure but she did get a little more confident…


all in all we had a great family day, the sun shone on us and we enjoyed the 5 1/2 miles we walked although my knee did start to hurt towards the end, I was pleased to be back at the car to give my feet (and knee) a rest and have a flask of tea.

I shall leave you with my favourite picture I took today...

Looking to the sky through the tall trees.
I really must make more of an effort to be outdoorsy!


Friday, 3 October 2014

A Year in Books

The urge to read has really taken hold recently since my friend at work gave me a gentle reminder about books which was reinforced by Mrs ID. I had forgotten the great pleasure that immersing yourself into a book brings. Even more so now that autumn has taken hold and I can snuggle under a warm crochet blanket in the rocking chair with my kindle!

A cosy chair, my crochet blanket in the making
& a good book.
In September I read Broken Homes by Ben Aaronvitch. The forth book in the Peter Grant series I feel that Aaronvitch has settled into a great style. I did enjoy this book but found it kind 'plodded' and was slow to get started with very little action happening until around the last 5/6 chapters with previous chapters concentrated on character development and fully expanding the supernatural world. The books are well thought out and bridges the supernatural world and every day London together very well. I love peters sarcastic humour which often lightens the mood in places.

If a book doesn't really grab my attention from the start I will usually abandon it to the never to read again shelf (virtual shelf since I read on a kindle most of the time) however having read the previous books I knew what to expect and Aaronvitch didn't let me down, when the story was in full swing I found it gripping. I am not the fastest of readers most of the time but I did finish the book in around a week in the end with the last 6 chapters completed in 24 hours fitted around a working day (reading in my lunch break and after dinner). I found that with 2 chapters left there was no way I was going to sleep so I finished it before bed (It made for a later night than usual).

Luckily for Me Foxglove Summer (Book 5) is out in the next couple of months as Aaronvitch has left the book with a shocker of cliff hangers (honestly I really didn't see that one coming) which made up for the pacing issues in the book. I can't wait to read the next book.

My October read will be Ocean at the end of the Road by Neil Gaiman (the author of stardust) Originally written as a short story it ended up being a short novel. I am starting with smaller books to get me back into reading, plus I also have lots of knitting to be on with in an evening too. This is the first Neil Gaiman book I have read and I am really looking forward to it. I do have a couple of other potential reads should I motor through this book!


Now, I mostly read on my Kindle, but I do love a books and book shops too. I find book shops such inspiring places to be. I know that most people are either for or against a kindle where as me, I don't mind. I like the convenience of the kindle as it fits in my bag easily, the animosity it gives me as people do not judge me based on the book cover, the fact that no matter what the size of the book my kindle is always the same size, but most importantly it doesn't hurt when I start to fall asleep and drop it on my face! That said I do like the feel and the smell of real books as well. what are your thoughts? Do you prefer and e-reader or a book?

A Year in books is hosted by Laura over at A Circle of Pine Cones.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Yarn Dale 2014

Well what can I tell you about Yarndale? I loved it and I can't believe it is over already!


As Skipton is only 2 hours away Mrs. ID drove us there and back in a day, leaving at just after 7am (to make sure we got parked okay) we arrived not long after 9am and took a walk to the park where there was a frenzy of activity with runners and dog walkers, Yarndale is set in such a beautiful location, I am envious of the beautiful rolling hills and glorious views.

We were very organised about our visit and made a list of our must visit stands and made a beeline for those stands first not being distracted by anything else, spending our hard saved pennies on the most important stands, which included

Eden cottage Yarns, Daisy Bum boo, John Arbons, Hilltop cloud, Little Grey Sheep, Baa Ram Ewe, Skein Queen, Blacker Yarns, Yarn Garden, Tin Can Knits (I was so excited to get my copy of road trip and chat with Emily too) amongst other stands too.

We had some lovely conversations with the stall holders, Victoria at Eden cottage & her partner are just lovely, we had to depart quickly though as the stall filled up quickly (obviously after purchasing the most deliciously squishy yarn). The lovely lady at Hilltop cloud explain the yarn gauge for me to help with my spinning, I just love the Little Grey sheep stand, she is so passionate about her products. I love the Baa Ram Ewe stand which we have visited at every event (we must actually make it to the shop one day) although it gets ridiculously busy and me with my weird phobia about being trapped start to panic and hyperventilate. I could talk to you for hour (or pages and pages) about the lovely stall holders who are happy to talk about their products.

Once the must see stands had been completed we popped of back to the car to put the purchases in the boot, before heading of the the Instagram picnic where I met some of the lovely people I have followed on Instagram, we sat round the front on the grass and ate our lunch while having a little chit chat. I have to say it was a little chilly though and we didn't stay to long.

Then we took a leisurely walk around the rest of the stands making a few more purchases to add to our stash.
Yarndale 2014 purchases

At 3pm we joined the podcasters in the cafe for a meet up, where I was (as I usually am) a little nervous. However there was no need to, I met Amie from Knit spin cake, Louise from Knit British, Jo from Shiny Bees, Claire Devine and several other lovely ladies (sorry not to mention you all but I have yarn brain and forgotten everyone's name) and we chatted about lots of lovely things, I epecially had a lovely long chat with Louise from Knit British about her purchases and Amie about her spinning and the new shop. They all wore their lovely Lush Cardigans from the lush pod kal (I didn't participate). It is so nice to actually put faces to names of all these lovely people that I follow via the social media world and listen to through the wonderful podcast world.

After this we took a slow walk back to the car and Mrs ID drove us home, I must confess to being mentally shattered, the day had really taken its toll on me as there was so much to take in, so many people to meet and talk to and my knee held up very well (signs that it is improving).

I unpacked my purchases once home and looked lovingly at it all. The only issue I now have is that I felt so inspired to cast on so many new projects, I just don't have enough hours in the day!

Roll on 26th and 27th September 2015 for the next Yarndale. The Yarndale team which includes Lucy over at Attic 2014 did a totally amazing job! Both Mrs ID and I even found our own mandalas in the wonderful display, Mrs ID's was fairly easy to spot as it was in the minority of knitted mandalas where as mine was more difficult but after much searching I did actually spot not to far away from Mrs ID's. I wonder what the big project will be for Yarndale 2015?

Did you go to Yarndale? What did you think? I would love to see your purchases too!
Sorry to ramble on, I blame the overwhelming excitement of so much yarny deliciousness

Monday, 29 September 2014

Knit Me KAL

For the first time in my very short knitting history I joined a Knit Along (KAL). I have never really had the time to join in due to other projects or being busy with work/study, But when Mrs. ID made me aware of this KAL I thought I would join in.

The project is the Knit me Shawl by Louise Zass-Bangham.

Looking through my stash I had some yarn to use (when it came to cast on though I didn't like the original choice and I chose another yarn, again from my stash). The only thing I needed to buy was some size 6 beads so the idea really appealed to me.

So how does the KAL work? The cast on date was the 1st September and runs to the end of September, The aim is to complete the project by the end although in this case WIP's are okay. The group is hosted over at Ravelry and the forum group provides a platform to chat with other members of the KAL and get support where needed. One member of the KAL in Ravelry will win a prize at the end of September

The Knit Me shawl can be made to the desired length, its such a lovely pattern to work and knits up really quickly too. I have used a lovely 4 ply rainbow yarn which I discovered in my Nana's loft with no ball band on it but its really nice to work with. I have had it in my stash for a while now (I didn't list it on my Ravelry stash as I don't know how much yarn there is or the brand of it so I kept it for such an occasion like this. I did think that the beaded boarder would cause me issues as I had never done it before but after the third beaded picot I had got the hand of it and zoomed off.

My only concern has been the serious curling of the pattern as I knitted, although the pattern and Mrs. ID had said that it may curl a little. I was concerned that mine was really bad.  I was assured by a lovely lady on the Ravely group after putting a post up about my concerns, that it would be okay after blocking so I persevered and pleased to say I am very happy with the end product.

Knit me took me around 3 weeks to finish and that's with mostly knitting in the evening after work (which is usually my only knitting time). I still have half the yarn I started with left which means I can use this for another smaller project or Hexipuffs!


Full details of my project are available on my Ravelry page where I put all my projects (purely as it is great to see what I have done when I look back), if you would like to take a look.

I am finding that with this pattern and the Chelsea waistcoat I am staying to one project at the time which is completely unheard of! I usually have several things on the go at once and can never keep up with myself! I look forward to my next KAL.

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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Books, Books, Books

I love books (who doesn't). It is another thing that I just never seem to have enough time for or when I do have the time its at the end of another busy working day. I lost my reading mojo some months back when I was studying and mostly read heavy going text books, once study was over I have not managed to pick up a book and read for too long.

But encouraged by a friend I set off reading. Picking a book up that had been left neglected on the bedside table for a couple of months, I of course had to re read a couple of chapters to get back up to speed, but a week into it and i am over 70% the way through. I am certainly getting back the reading bug.

I had (yes had) to go to Meadowhall on Saturday (Meadowhall is not a place I enjoy going to as it is always far to busy and loud for me), I needed to get my phone fixed so while we waited Mr. and myself took a look around Waterstones and I found myself adding more and more books to my must read list which further inspired me to march on with my book. Then to add to my urge to read more  Mrs ID (my lovely best friend and yarny partner in crime) wrote a blog post about her lack of reading and joining the 'A Year in Books' organised by Laura of circle of pine trees which I thought was a great idea. Although I'm not sure that I would manage a book a month (unless we are talking exceptionally short stories here) but I will certainly give it ago so thank you Mrs. ID for the further inspiration.

So what am I currently reading? I hear you ask...


Broken homes is the fourth book in the peter grant series which covers the supernatural, the strange happenings and the plain bizarre stuff, Based in London and the out skirt Ben demonstrates a vast knowledge of London. I have previously read books 1 - 3 and although each story does stand alone there are some running themes that could be missed if you have not read the previous books. I hope to finish this book by the end of the weekend and then I can tell you a little more about it.


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