Monday, 26 March 2012

Beautiful weather, the Garden & Sports Relief

Beautiful weather, the Garden & Sports Relief

I am struggling to believe that we're actually still in March! The weather has been so gorgeous for the last few days it's easy to forget that the clocks have only just gone forward!

We have made the most of the weather though by tackling the garden. It's been hard to find time over the last few weeks, but with such beautiful weather it was impossible not to get out and do some tidying. We've made progress with reducing the width of the border in the back garden and started to lengthen it too. I've finally (and belatedly) cut back my raspberry canes and given a few of shrubs a well needed haricut. Most of the plants that I dug up and put in pots to overwinter seem to have survived as it was so mild, but I am going to be needing a lot more to fill the border when it's done. I feel a trip to the garden centre coming on next week! At the moment the garden looks quite desolate still, with lots of soil, piles of wood everywhere and an empty greenhouse- hence no photos yet. We have next week off work, so hopefully there will be a great improvement soon and I will be getting my veggie beds planted up too.

This year Amy asked if we could enter the Sport Relief mile which is run along the seafront. I signed us up thinking what a nice mother/ daughter activity it would be, only to be told a little while later, 'I'm not running with you, I'm running with my friends!' much for that plan! I resigned myself to running alone, but found that the same thing had happened to her friend's mum, so we ran together, picking up another mum as we arrived. It was a beautiful day, warm with a little breeze, and the seafront was packed with people. I was pleased to complete my mile, without stopping, in just over 10 minutes- Roger Bannister wouldn't be impressed, but that's not bad for me!

the 'neon fairies' on their way to the start

Me and Amy after the run with our medals!

Craft-wise I have done nothing this week. No knitting, no sewing anything together. Nothing! Needless to say, I still have to do the last bit on my blanket- the worst bit is the finishing off, but I will get there...

I have been doing plenty of reading this week- I have to confess that I've not been inspired to read 'The Grapes of Wrath' yet, so it's on the back burner for a while. Instead I've been doing chick-lit...I finished 'Laura's Handmade Life' and 'Girl on the Run' by Jane Costello and I'm part way through the latest teen sensation 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins. We went to see the movie of 'The Hunger Games' on Saturday with friends as the girls were all desperate to go. Although it was a bit predictable in places I did enjoy it and it is a good story.

It was my Dad's birthday yesterday, so Amy baked him a cake. They had to devise their own flavours for a cake at school a couple of weeks ago, and it was so nice she replicated it! It was a honey sponge cake with lemon buttercream- lovely!

Amy's honey and lemon cake

Well, that's me done for now. Although the sun is still shining I have a mountain of ironing to do as I did lots of washing so it could hang outside to dry over the weekend.

Have a great week and enjoy the weather while it's here!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Back to normal life...

Well, the long awaited visit from Kath, Sarah and Rachel has been and gone. The days went by really quickly when we actually all wanted the time to go much slower. It was great catching up with them again, and so sad to see them leave. It's funny that although they are on Chris' side of the family I feel really close to them all. We may not have seen each other for years, but when you get chatting it's like there's been no gap. Amy got on really well with Rachel too, and it turns out they have much in common and have very similar characteristics, I know she's going to be feeling a bit flat for a while now too.

At Shakespeare's House in Stratford-upon-Avon
left to right: Sarah, Rachel, me

Sarah, Rachel and Kath

Kath is a very accomplished knitter and we had lovely chats about past, current and future projects. I sent her home with a copy of 'Knitting' magazine as the patterns were a bit much for me, but perfect for her. I've given her strict instructions to get on Ravelry too!

Although my knitting time has been a bit restricted for the last two weeks, I have finally finished knitting the strips to my blanket! I've also done the two long edges but now have to sew the eight strips together before I can knit the short edges. It's strange but the sewing is worrying me far more than the prospect of knitting such a big project (for me at least) ever did! Still, I am determined to finish it before the next Knit Club so that I can show it off. Pictures will follow when it's completed.

I'm still plodding with my Woolsack cushion too, almost finished the first side...I need to get it done soon as I want to start on baby boy booties for my cousin and a work colleague, both are due in May, so I need to get a move on.

I spend a lot of time worrying about my weight and making well meaning but ultimately futile attempts to loose weight. However, I am a focused woman now and have rejoined Weight Watchers online. I didn't really want to at first, as I've done it in the past and although it's worked for a while, when I've stopped I end up back at square one again (if not worse). This time though, I'm already back into a good exercise routine, have started walking much more and I am determined. I have a LONG way to go to get to my goal, but I've just had my first week's weigh in and I've lost 6lbs!!! It is such a good feeling to be making progress- I know it's going to take my a long time and there will be set backs, so I'll remember the excitement I felt this morning when I saw that I'd made such a good start. I'm not going to bore you each week with my news, but had to share the first week.

Liverpool had a great result yesterday too, beating Stoke 2-1 to move into the semi-finals of the FA Cup...fingers will be tightly crossed now!

I haven't started on my book of the month yet (The Grapes of Wrath), but I have finished 'The Sisters Brothers' by Patrick deWitt. I enjoyed it, there were some really funny bits, but it was quite odd. I've now started on some chick-lit 'Laura's handmade life' by Amanda Addison, which is dangerous as it's making me want to work book club will be reading 'How to be a Woman' by Caitlin Moran next, so I await that with baited breath...

Have a great week everyone, enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!


Monday, 5 March 2012

The Canadians are coming and the end is in sight...

Don't panic! These two events aren't connected!

This Wednesday sees the arrival of my mother-in-law's sister Kath, niece Sarah and great niece Rachel from Canada for a stay just shy of a fortnight. They're primarily coming to spend time with my in-laws, as my father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer just after Christmas. Although he's currently undergoing chemo, he seems really well at the moment and is still working at the age of 71. He's pretty positive about everything and takes what is thrown at him in his stride. The same can not be said for mother-in-law who hasn't been coping well at all. Enter the Canadians to save the day, spend some time together and generally perk everyone up. So looking forward to seeing them as Kath hasn't been over for about 20 years, so has never met any of her great-nieces or nephew. Rachel is a similar age to Amy and her cousins, so hopefully they'll all get on well together. Pictures will follow next week...

As I alluded to earlier, the end is in sight! I have now started on the last strip of my Rowan blanket! It will still need to be stitched up and a border knitted, but in my mind, the end of the blanket is when I finish the last square. My blanket has it's first birthday on March 7th, so I had hoped to get it done by then, but if it can be April 7th, I'll still be pleased. After listening to my fellows knitters at the very lovely Knit Club at on Saturday, I'm interested in the idea of crocheting the strips together instead of sewing as my mattress stitch is rubbish...mind you, I can't crochet at all, so that might not be an option!

The pattern and my choice of colours
 My garden is gradually coming together too. We've had to buy more green recycling sacks as we've tackled some of the overgrown shrubs and done some much needed weeding and clearing. The vegetable patch is being levelled, dug and cleared of stones and the square raised beds for my veg have been assembled in readiness. A couple more weekends of digging, changing the borders and laying new turf should make all the difference. I love it when spring arrives and little by little everything comes back to life. When the garden looks a bit more respectable and the bags of rubble have been removed I'll start posting photos of the transformation.

So, now that we're in March I'll shortly be starting to read this month's classic book from my list- it's 'The Grapes of Wrath' by John Steinbeck. Much as I want to read it, I am a little concerned that it might be a classic in the 'On the Road' sense (ie: not a classic)....time will tell. I've also read 'Me before you' by JoJo Moyes, which was a fantastic book, very thought provoking and moving, and I'm about a third of the way into 'The Sisters Brothers' by Patrick deWitt, which I'm finding really funny, although fellow readers in my work book group are somewhat non-plussed by the whole story!

Finally, the sport round up...Amy's gym club came home from their competition with a total of 44 medals which was a fantastic achievement for the club. Football wise, after a very tense 90 minutes of normal time, 30 minutes of extra time and a nail biting penalty shoot out, Liverpool finally beat Cardiff and won the Carling (League) Cup!!

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard lifting the Carling Cup

It's our first trophy in 6 years, so hopefully this is a turning point. I'm not going to mention this weekend's premiership result, especially as my husband, Chris, and his entire family are fans of a certain north London team who shall remain nameless in this blog.

Here's to what I hope will be a fantastic week of catching up with family and enjoying life xxx