Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Unravel and Vegan Life

I've had a couple of nice days out in the past few weeks. The first was a visit to the Alexandra Palace in London. I've been to the Ally Pally before when they hold the Knitting and Stitching Show, but this time it was to visit Vegan Life. It was initially L's idea - we had planned on visiting a vegan market in Bristol just before Christmas. Unfortunately, E had a concert the following day that we wanted to see, and driving there two days running seemed a bit too much. Then L spotted an advert for Vegan Life, suggested it, and, living nearby, decided that she wanted to come too.
There was a food court, stalls selling clothing, shoes, confectionery etc., and various cookery demonstrations. 
To be honest, I was in two minds about it all. Whilst it was lovely to have such an enormous choice for lunch, it was very crowded and, in places, a bit too political for me. I've only been vegan for the past 4 months, I have, however, been vegetarian for the past 34 years. In all that time, I've adopted an 'each to their own' approach. Just because I choose to avoid meat, I don't expect anyone else to. I rarely mention it, unless at cafes/restaurants when inquiring about the menu, and I NEVER, EVER preach. Consequently, I found some of the rather aggressive slogans on the clothing for sale questionable. Quite frankly, it made me want to go out and bite a cow! If it did that to me, I hardly think it would endear the movement to your average omnivore. To be fair, they weren't all like that; just rather too many for my comfort and I don't think I would go again. Still, it was a day out and I got to spend time with L.
Here are some photos:

 Such was the choice for lunch, that we had difficulty deciding. In the end, we chose from 3 different stalls and shared:

My other day trip was to the yarn festival 'Unravel' held at the Maltings in Farnham. Unlike Vegan Life, I felt totally comfortable here; as if I had found my tribe! I came here last year too, but this time came with a friend, W, and it made it all the more enjoyable.
These baskets were gorgeous and I may have succumbed and bought one!

 Drop spindles - very pretty, but I have no desire to learn to spin.
Compared to some (mentioning no names, W!), I was rather restrained. I only had one thing on my list and that was 3 skeins of fingering weight yarn to make the 'Featherweight' cardigan. L bought me the pattern for my birthday, so I wanted something special to make it with.
Here is the yarn I chose - 'Industrial Kingfisher' from the Stranded Dyeworks stall:
...... and here is my new basket!
I'm not starting my Featherweight cardigan yet, however, as I have still to finish my 'Soiree' sweater:
Just 2 other photos - my Valentine presents from R. A bunch of roses and some Booja Booja vegan chocolates, which I can highly recommend whether you're vegan or not. YUM!

Well, that's all for this week. I'm just off to the dentist for a check up and then it's back to the decorating for me. After finishing the hall, I've now started on the landing. The stairwell, however, will have to be left to R - just standing on the stepladders to take down the curtains and looking at the drop made me go all wobbly!

Toodle pip for now. x 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

January Happies

Happy February , Everyone. Just a quick post to  clear my camera of a few snapshots of my month. There has been a bit of decorating, a lot of dust, some nice day trips out in Bridget and a few crafty bits and bobs.
R decided that he needed a new coat, so a trip to the Outlet Village in Swindon was planned. Rather than go straight there, we stopped off at Liddington Castle,  a late Bronze Age/ early Iron Age hill fort in Wiltshire. It was a bit of an uphill trek and very exposed to the wind. I was wearing ALL the knitwear and was still  freezing. The views were worth it though and we treated ourselves to a pub lunch afterwards to recover.
 A poor photo of the bank and ditch:
 My new dining chair cushion made from sock leftovers and minis from my advent calendar:
 Painting the hall. We made a bit of a boo boo doing this. Prior to starting, I suggested to R that we sand the floor first as it was looking rather sad and worn by the entrance. He decided against it, saying that it was only bad in one patch and a bit of dust was easily cleaned up. Famous last words! I spent a week painting, only for it all to be covered in a film of dust when he then decided that he might as well do the entire hall and got out his belt sander. I was not best pleased!
 Supermarket tete a tetes:
 A visit to Bristol to visit E. We thought we'd try out the vegan menu at Zizzi's. I can thoroughly recommend it, especially the chocolate and hazelnut torte with vegan ice cream. We shared one and it was delicious, but too much even for the 2 of us. E took the rest home in a doggy bag!
 A trip to Cirencester. There was an L.S.Lowry exhibition on at the gallery which we pottered round. Most were signed prints but a few were originals. Sorry no photos were taken, but my favourite was probably an oil painting of a small boat. It was priced at over £300,000. Looking at it objectively, if I ignored the signature, I probably wouldn't have been that tempted if I'd come across it in a charity shop. Maybe I'd have bought it for the frame. Deciding that we weren't Lowry fans, we wandered round the town (lovely) and warmed up with a coffee before driving home.

 My Christmas Eve cast on. 'Gilmore Girls' Socks' in the 'I smell Snow' colourway:
 A dog walk with a friend:
 Snowdrops - are they early this year?
 Digging out my English paper piecing. It has been languishing for far too long, so I'm determined to at least get a cushion out of it:
 Another pair of socks using some birthday yarn from L:
 More signs of Spring - Camellias:
 ....... and my Mothers' Day Narcissi from last year. I potted them up outside when they had stopped flowering and it's lovely to see them growing again.
Well, that's my camera clear. I hope you're all enjoying this beautiful sunny, cold snap that we're having. I spent the morning outside gardening and can just about feel my fingers again!

Wishing you all a happy week.
Toodle pip for now. x

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy 2018, Everyone! Sorry that I'm a bit late with this post, but E only went back to uni on Sunday, so we have been a little busy. I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I can't tell you how relieved I was to be able to take down all the decorations. It feels as though the house can breathe again. We had a lovely festive season, with both girls home and L's boyfriend, J, joining us from the 27th. Lots of food was eaten, games played, walks taken and Hamish enjoyed having lots of attention and ear rubs. R bought me a painting course at our local college for Christmas - I was a little bemused initially but, having read the spec, it does actually sound rather fun. Lots of dancing around to music whilst throwing paint at a canvas! My birthday present was a trip to Antwerp, but that's not for a couple of months yet. He thought that it would be nicer when it's warmed up a bit.

Anyway, here are a few shots of the holidays:
Falafel King in Bristol where we went for lunch after collecting E:
 Everyone thought I was boring when I chose the soup, but it was delicious and everyone shared it!
R decided that he didn't want any presents for his birthday/Christmas. I cheated a little and bought him a bottle of Laphroaig and some concert tickets. Having frozen in Clifton Cathedral the week before, we togged up to the nines and then, of course, had to strip off as it was toasty warm!
Some of the minis from my Advent Calendar. Most have now been incorporated into a cushion for a dining chair. It is finished, but I forgot to take a photo!
 A bit of a last minute wreath:
 Joining Dani from Little Bobbins in a Christmas Eve cast on. This is a pair of socks in the 'I smell snow' colourway, cast on whilst listening to the 9 lessons and carols from King's.
 A rather poor photo of our small amount of snow:
 Photos from my birthday walk:

 Our finished Christmas jigsaw:
 Hamish enjoying having E home:
 !0 pin bowling. R won .......... he always wins!
 Finally, another Sock Head Hat in the Equinox colour from Elm Tree yarns:
Well, that's me all caught up. The girls have both gone back now and the house seems too quiet again; it always takes me a while to adjust. I have the decorating itch again and am planning to repaint our hall and landing - once I've decided on a colour that is. One upside of the girls being away is that I can dump everything in their rooms whilst I'm painting, so we don't have to keep tripping over all the c**p!

Anyway, best wishes for a happy and healthy 2018.
Toodle Pip for now. x