Saturday, 21 October 2017

Yarndale 2017

It's a while now since I went to Yarndale so I thought I'd better write a post about it before it gets completely forgotten about.

I missed the very first Yarndale, it was the weekend that Daniel started university back in 2013, and every year since then I've had either Daniel or Eleanor going back to university the same weekend as Yarndale, though I've still managed to fit a trip to Skipton in. It was the same this year, however, Eleanor wasn't going back until the Sunday and ordinarily I'd have made the most of her last day at home on the Saturday but she was working from midday until 11.30 at night so it didn't matter that I spent the afternoon at Yarndale.

This is the first year that I've been on my own, we didn't have anyone to leave Archie with so Mick dropped me off and then went dog walking in the woods behind Skipton Castle, they both enjoyed their afternoon so I didn't feel guilty at all spending plenty of time stroking and squishing gorgeous yarn.

To be honest, I wasn't sure I'd be visiting Yarndale this year, I came away a little disillusioned last year after being pushed and shoved out of the way by people with terrible manners. I'm glad to say that it didn't seem quite so busy this time round and there was a happy spirit about the place.

There were lots of vendors which I'd seen before but plenty of new ones too this year. I was quite spoilt for choice when it came to making purchases.

I visited the Yarndale Sock Line but as there were a few of us who had used the same yarn to knit our socks, I'm not sure whether I spotted my Lavender Socks or not. I do know that they'll be gifted to someone who'll appreciate them though. There were lots of socks hanging up this year, definitely many more than in previous years. It's nice to see such a worthwhile project being well supported.

The community charity project this year was Creative Hearts. It's recognised that yarn crafts promote emotional and mental well being so it's hoped that the display will raise awareness and funds for Mind, the mental health charity.

A few animals had been brought to Yarndale, as usual. I didn't see any alpacas this year but what a beauty this Exmoor Horn Sheep is. Such a handsome chap.

There was a good mix of stalls, knitting, crochet, spinning, felting and weaving, and others besides. They've definitely got a good balance at this festival.

I always do a full tour of the stalls before buying anything, it actually takes quite a lot of time to get round them all.

Once I've seen everything on offer, I make my choices and revisit the vendors from which I'm going to make a purchase. This works for me, at least I know I'm not going to see something I want after I've spent up.

I always come away with renewed enthusiasm and this year is no different. There seems to be so many possibilities when faced with so much beautiful yarn. Better get the Christmas knitting finished first though.

I expect you'd like to see my little haul.

My favourite is the Mothy and the Squid yarn in the Calico Cat colourway. I just love those orange/red black/brown shades on the ecru base, and there's a bit of silver stellina sparkle added for good measure. I'm very pleased with all my purchases though.

It was a lovely day out again, I'm so pleased I made it.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

The Girl You Left Behind

I've become a bit of a Jojo Moyes fan since reading Me Before You, however, none of the other books of hers which I've read since have lived up to that one. The one I've just read has come the closest though.

I downloaded The Girl You Left Behind on to my Kindle without knowing anything about it, other than that it was written by Jojo Moyes, I didn't even know the outline of the story, but it had me gripped straight away.

The first part of the story takes place in occupied France during the First World War. Sophie Lefevre's husband, Edouard, has gone to fight in the war leaving her behind to run her hotel. She's ordered to serve up dinner each evening to the German troops and the Kommandant takes a shine to the portrait of Sophie, painted by Edouard, which hangs in the bar. His obsession with the painting leads Sophie to take the biggest gamble of her life.

Fast forward nearly a hundred years and the painting is now owned by Liv Halston. It was bought for her by her husband, who has since died, whilst they were on honeymoon. But where's it been in the interim? This is what Liv has to find out.

If you enjoyed Me Before You I'm sure you'd enjoy this book too but be warned, have a box of tissues at the ready.

If you want to know what else I've been reading lately, you can find a list in the sidebar. This shows all the books I've read this year and there's also lists of the books I've read right back to 2012.

Monday, 16 October 2017

#stitchingsanta 2017

I just thought I'd mention the #stitchingsanta 2017 swap which Sheila from Sewchet blog is running. This will be the third time that I've taken part in this swap and it's always so much fun, I thought a few of you may enjoy joining in too.

It's a bit like a Secret Santa, you get given a partner to send a swap package to and a different person gets given your name and in turn sends a swap package to you, so it's not a straight swap with one person.

The great thing about this swap is that it's for crafty people, you can opt to join the knitting/crochet swap, the sewing swap, or both.

The cost, I think, is very reasonable. Gifts to the value of £10 (excluding postage) should be added to the parcel, but you're also able to add things which you've made or which haven't cost anything. I often add little kits or free gifts from the front of magazines and I always send something handmade too.

It's such a lovely swap for crafters, so if you fancy joining in, head over to Sheila's Sewchet blog and sign up on the #stitchingsanta 2017 post.

Perhaps I'll see you there.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Blackpool Illuminations

Go to Blackpool to see the illuminations is on my 50 Before 50 list.

We decided to go a fortnight ago, Mick had planned to finish work early, however, he had to go and visit a customer and got stuck there so we didn't actually set off until 4.30pm. The traffic on the motorway, being a Friday evening, was horrendous and we didn't arrive in Blackpool until 8pm, by which time it was already dark and the illuminations were already lit. We got in the queue of cars at the North Shore to make our way through the display of lights which run the whole length of the promenade, and beyond. The imposing Tower can be seen from most points.

Most visitors drive through the six miles of illuminations, and therefore, it takes quite a while in the queuing traffic. There are also open top trams, and other trams which are illuminated to look like ships, which run along the tramway, as well as horse drawn landau.

There have been illuminations at Blackpool since 1879, though they consisted of just eight carbon arc lamps. The first display similar to what we see today was held in May 1912 when Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's Granddaughter, visited Blackpool to open a new section of the promenade, Princess Parade.

Not only did we get to see the illuminations but the World Fireworks Championship was also being held in Blackpool and they were putting on a display for four consecutive Fridays in September so we got to see the Celebrations Display by the UK. It made the time spent waiting around for the cars to actually move more bearable.

Many of the illuminations are sponsored by businesses. These 'I'm lovin' it' lights were outside McDonalds.

Forty large tableaux are displayed from North Shore to Bispham, these are set back beyond the tramway and a pedestrian walkway runs the length of these.

I liked this Hickory Dickory Dock tableau. Here you can see the mouse at the top of the clock after it's run up, but as the lights change and the clock strikes one, you get to see the mouse run down the clock again.

Here are a small selection of the 2017 illuminations.

Blackpool itself was extremely busy with families out to see the lights as well as party goers spilling out of the bars and clubs onto the pavements. I have to say that even though I live in a large city, I've never seen so many police vehicles speeding around at any one time. At one point, we were in the queue of traffic when a police car, sirens blaring, sped towards us on the other side of the road, finally coming to a halt right in front of our car. Five police vans followed suit and all the officers jumped out, running down a side street, to what I do not know. It totally unnerved me though. Sirens could be heard more or less continually during our time there and we saw so many police cars and ambulances, some of which were speeding along the tram lines as the roads were chock o block full of queuing cars. The emergency services were very busy and I wonder if this is normal for a Friday night in Blackpool.

It took us a good two hours to drive right the way through the illuminations and though we thought we'd have an easy drive back home, we discovered that part of the motorway was down to one lane due to night time roadworks and another part of the motorway was closed, so it was actually 1.30am by the time we arrived home. I usually go to bed pretty early so it was a bit of an adventure to be doing something out of the ordinary like this so late at night.

That's something else crossed off my 50 Before 50 list.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A Woolly Giveaway Win

I often have little giveaways on my blog, especially around the time of the anniversary of me starting my blog, but I'm also really quite lucky with the giveaways I win. My latest prize is a pair of knee length merino wool socks. I won them on Kimberley's Creative Chaos blog and they came all the way from New Zealand where Kimberley lives and where the socks were made.

There was also a little surprise in the parcel, two rolls of fabric tape.

Thank you Kimberley, the weather is getting much cooler here now, we're in to autumn and winter is on the way so it won't be long until I'm needing them. I'm sure they'll keep my tootsies toasty warm.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Petunia Dursley's Double Eyelet Shortie Socks

You may remember the Pink Flamingo Socks that I knit for Daniel's girlfriend, well I had quite a bit of yarn left over so I thought I'd try and get another pair of socks out of it, and I managed it. It helped that I'd used a contrasting yarn for the cuffs, heels and toes, it meant that there was more of the main colour left than there would have been if I'd knit the full socks in just one colour.

I used the Petunia Dursley's Double Eyelet Socks pattern by Erica Lueder, another pattern inspired by a Harry Potter character, which is a free pattern on Ravelry, but I've made a shortie sock rather than knit the whole leg. Again, I've used a contrasting colour but this time I've just used it for the heels and toes, the cuff has been knit using the main colour. I've used West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in the Pink Flamingo colourway and Candyfloss as a contrast.

This is a really easy lace pattern and makes such a pretty pair of socks. I used the Fish Lips Kiss Heel pattern by Sox Therapist, it's only the second time I've knit a heel using this pattern but it's surprisingly easy once you know what you're doing.

These will be an extra pair of socks for Eleanor for Christmas but I wouldn't mind knitting this pattern again, this time as a full sock, for myself.

I've already cast on another pair of socks for, you've guessed it, another Christmas present. It's going to be socks all round this year.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Choose Or Lose

Walkers Crisps are running a Choose or Lose promotion at the moment.

Three classic flavours are pitted against flavours from around the world.

Smoky Bacon Vs Bacon & Cheddar.

I'm not a huge fan of Smoky Bacon but I definitely prefer it to Bacon & Cheddar.

Salt & Vinegar Vs Lime & Black Pepper.

Salt & Vinegar is a favourite so that one has to stay. The Lime & Black Pepper tastes very similar to Salt & Vinegar at first but it's got a really weird fruity aftertaste.

Prawn Cocktail Vs Paprika.

When did Prawn Cocktail become a classic flavour? They seem to be foisted on us at every opportunity. They're included in the Walkers Classic variety pack and they're also in the Meaty variety pack too. I don't mind Prawn Cocktail every once in a while but it's overkill, I'll go with the Paprika on this one which I expected to be rather spicy but only really had a very mild flavour.

What about you, which would you choose?

And what about Marmite crisps, not included in the promotion, but are you a lover or a hater? Mick and Eleanor love them, Daniel and I dislike them with a passion.

You can vote on the Choose or Lose website.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Last Day In Norfolk

We were coming to the end of our holiday. The cottage was booked until the Friday but as the weather wasn't brilliant on the Thursday we decided that we'd head home later that day rather than staying another night and having to rush around packing up the next morning, as we had to be out by 10am.

We headed out to the beach where Mick was planning on doing a little more fishing but he decided against that. We'd seen lots of cormorants fishing in the sea throughout the week but this one perched obligingly on the groynes so that I could take his photo.

I mentioned in an earlier post how I'd set a challenge for us all at the beginning of the holiday to find a pebble with a hole through it. As none of us had yet found one I didn't think we were going to do so, but walking on the beach on that last day, Eleanor came up trumps.

Not only did she find a pebble with a hole through it, earning her the title of champion, but she also claimed the prize. I thought something like an ice cream would suffice but Eleanor had other ideas, she'd seen a make up palette she wanted and it ended up costing me twenty five quid! It's the last time I'll issue any challenges on holiday, that's for sure!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Holidaying With Friends

When Eleanor knew we were going on holiday to Norfolk, she was keen to meet up with a friend she'd made at university who lives in Norwich. Paige lived in the next flat to Eleanor on campus and they became very good friends. Unfortunately, she's decided that university isn't for her so she hasn't returned this year, I know that Eleanor will miss her.

Eleanor found out that Paige had a day off work on the Wednesday of our week away so we kept that day free so that we could drive over and pick her up. We headed back to the cottage first of all for some lunch and then Eleanor and Paige went for a long walk along the beach before we all headed out to the cafe in the village for tea and cake.

It wasn't a very nice day, it was rather dull and very windy, but we decided a walk along the prom in Cromer would do us good after the rather large portions of cake we'd just consumed.

We were surprised to see goats grazing on the cliff tops, apparently they're being used to control the scrubland.

You can see how steep it is from the photo I took at the bottom.

Eleanor and Paige enjoyed having time to catch up on gossip together.

I doubt this shop will have sold any buckets and spades that day, it was rather wild and the beach quite empty.

The beach huts were all shut up too.

Someone was enjoying the beach though.

I quite fancy a little beach hut, we always used to hire one when I was a child, though I remember those holidays being filled with wall to wall sunshine. I'm sure it wasn't really like that, it's funny how our memories can play tricks and recall just the good bits.

It definitely wasn't a beach day, it looked rather bleak out to sea.

Just time to have a go on the 2p machines in the amusements before heading back to the cottage again.

Although the weather wasn't brilliant, Eleanor got the chance to catch up with her friend, which I think they both enjoyed. It's such a shame that Paige hasn't gone back to uni this year but she's already talking about visiting so fingers crossed they manage to stay in touch.