Thursday, 31 January 2013

Challenge Update - January

My 2013 challenges are:-

1) Watch one old film each month.

2) List five items on Ebay each month.

3) Have a date night with Mick each month.

The film I watched in January was Brief Encounter. I'd heard a lot about it, being one of the classics, but had never seen it before. It's based on Noel Coward's play Still Life, and stars Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard as Laura and Alec, two people who meet in a railway waiting room and fall in love, though they're both already married. I really enjoyed this film, and it's one I shall definitely watch again.

I did manage to list five items on Ebay, though it was rather late in the month and the auctions haven't yet finished, but two items already have bids, and I have watchers on another two.

Our date night was a meal out at Bella Italia, purely because I'd exchanged some Tesco Clubcard vouchers for restaurant vouchers and they were running out. Every £5 in Clubcard vouchers can be exchanged for £20 in restaurant vouchers, so it worked out to be a very inexpensive date. We enjoyed having a little alone time, and the meal was lovely.

The first month of the year has gone by so fast, I can't believe it's the first day of February tomorrow.

Monday, 28 January 2013

One A Day

I received some Stylecraft Special DK for Christmas in an assortment of colours. This is an acrylic yarn, but it's so soft that I'm happy to use it. This is the best budget yarn I've found, it's not splitty when crocheting, it doesn't have that squeaky feel to it, and it comes in a whole host of colours. It's a great price too.

As the yarn was a gift, I didn't choose the colours myself, but there's a whole selection with everything ranging from flourescent to pastels and then darker colours too.

I decided that it would be fun to mix all the colours together, and after seeing Gwen's Granny A Day project on her Cottage in the Lane blog, my one a day blanket was born.

I started it at the beginning of the year, so I should have twenty seven or twenty eight squares by now, but I have to admit to falling down over the weekend as I've been a little busy. Twenty four squares have actually been crocheted so far, so I have a little catching up to do, it won't take long.

I'm crocheting the squares together as I go this time, something I haven't done before, but it's so easy, and it will save all the sewing or crocheting together at the end.

I'm loving this project so far, I don't know how big the blanket will be, I shall just carry on until it looks right.

One a day leaves me free to get on with other projects too, so I'll have to tell you what else I'm up to soon.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snow Days

We had quite a snowfall on Sunday night and in to Monday morning, in fact, it didn't actually stop snowing until yesterday afternoon. As a result of this, the school was closed, so Daniel and Eleanor had the day off.

It was a blessing for Daniel as he's started with a cold and bad chest, and didn't feel like going to school anyway, though he's taking exams this week, so come what may tomorrow and Friday, he'll have to go in.

Eleanor and I decided to take Archie for a run in the back field. I think there's something magical about untouched, freshly laid snow.

It was still snowing lightly and the sky was full of it.

We made sure that Archie was nice and warm in his coat. He only ever wears a coat when it snows or it's exceptionally cold.

Archie loves to play in the snow, front paws and head flat to the floor with his bum sticking up in the air before dashing this way and that and biting at the snow as he runs. He's also got a fascination with sticking his head right down in to the snow, I don't know what he's doing under there.

His ears are covered in snow when he eventually pulls his head out.

The only problem with long-haired dogs is that the snow sticks to their fur, and as they run along, each bit gathers more snow, until it's the snowball effect. This is what Archie looks like after a walk in the snow.

We had more snow fall overnight and the school is closed again today. The roads are terribly icy around here as we never get the gritters up our little cul-de-sac. We've had the worst of the snow now, according to the weather forecast, though it seems to change on an hourly basis, so who knows.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Yummy Goodies

It got so cold last week that even the heating wasn't warming the house up. I decided that I'd do a bit of baking, as the oven is a great source of heat. It throws out lots of warmth in to the house whilst it's doing it's thing.

I found one of my favourite recipes on Lucy's Attic 24 blog for Carrot Cake. Apparently, it's from a Be-Ro recipe book, but it isn't in the copy I've got so it must be from a different edition, mine's the 38th edition. If you haven't tried this version of Carrot Cake I'd definitely recommend it, not only is it delicious, but it's so easy to make too. It's Eleanor's absolute favourite, and Mick's also quite partial.

Now Daniel isn't a lover of Carrot Cake, his favourite is Chocolate Brownies, but I didn't have all the ingredients required for this in the house, so I decided I'd make him Lemon Drizzle Cake, another of his favourites. The recipe I use is also from Attic 24, and is equally delicious.

Not only did the house warm up whilst the oven was on, but it was filled with the most delicious smell, and I couldn't wait to tuck in to these yummy goodies.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Chasing The Winter Blues Away

We're certainly getting some wintery weather at the moment. January started very mild and I was beginning to wonder if the temperature was going to dip at all. We had snow at the start of the week, and there's still bits of it hanging around, and today we've got freezing fog which doesn't look as though it's going to lift at all.

I hate being cold, but don't mind looking at wintery weather through the window whilst I'm snuggled up nice and warm in the house. It's nice to have some colour indoors too, to brighten up the dreary days.

Earlier on this month, I happened to pop in to the local supermarket just at the time when they were reducing the flowers. This gorgeous bouquet should have been £7.50 but it was reduced down to £1.88. There wasn't a thing wrong with the flowers, and they lasted for a fortnight.

They've been helping me to chase the winter blues away for a whole fortnight, that's how long they lasted. At £1.88, that's what I call a bargain.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Les Miserables

I don't go to the cinema very often, in fact, I can't remember the last film I went to see. I've been waiting for Les Miserables to be released though, and yesterday, I went with Mick and Eleanor to see it.

I thought it was fantastic. There's some brilliant acting, and even though the film is over two and a half hours long, it certainly held our attention.

It's been nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture.

If you're a fan of musicals, I would certainly recommend it. I shall be putting the DVD on my Christmas list.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Red Sky At Night...

...Shepherd's Delight or Sailor's Delight?

What do you say, Shepherd's or Sailor's?

We have a difference of opinion in our house.

I've always said Shepherd's Delight.

There was a frost this morning after last night's red sky, but the sun is shining now and it's a beautiful, crisp day.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Simply Crochet

I was alerted to the fact that a new magazine, Simply Crochet, was being launched this month, by Amanda over at Eight by Six. I try not to buy magazines these days as I find they're usually very expensive, and this one is no exception at £4.99 per issue. I wouldn't have bothered with it had it not been for the fact that there's a deal on at the moment, three issues for £5.00, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I'm not brilliant at crochet, and I've never read or followed a pattern, but I think there's things in here which would be easy enough for me to have a go at, as well as some more advanced projects. I've loved making cushions and blankets, and there's lots of inspiration for future ventures in here.

There's lots of heart designs, all ready for Valentine's Day, but I love these heart sachets. I may give them a go.

I don't think I'll continue with the magazine at it's full price, but it's certainly worth the offer price.

Friday, 4 January 2013

2013 Challenges

I was hoping to do a post about my challenges for 2013 sooner than this, but the start to 2013 has run anything but smoothly so far. On New Year's Eve, I got a phone call telling me that my dad had been rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack. He suffered one in 2011, and the pains were similar. The hospital kept him overnight whilst they did tests, and thankfully, they came back negative so he was allowed home on New Year's Day. It's obviously worrying though, he will see the heart specialist in the next fortnight for more tests to see what the problem is.

We've been without an oven so far this year as the glass door decided to blow up in Mick's face. Luckily, he wasn't hurt, but he had a mark very close to his eye, so it could have been so much worse. We've ordered a new oven which is being delivered today and fitted tomorrow, thank goodness. I hate being without an oven.

With that sort of start to the year, my challenges for 2013, just like last year, are going to be fun. I don't set myself new year's resolutions as such as I consider them to be things which are a hard slog, and which I give up nearly as soon as I start. My challenges are things which I'm going to look forward to and enjoy doing.

My first challenge is to watch one old film each month. I'm not a huge film fan, I hardly ever go to the cinema, though I have to say I'll be going soon as I can't wait to see the new Les Miserables film which is being released next weekend, but I do like to watch the old classics. Some of the films I intend to watch will be ones which I've seen before, but others will be new to me.

I've got so many things which I've put to one side intending to sell on Ebay, that my house is becoming cluttered. I do take lots of things to the charity shop, but many things are in such good condition that they'll easily sell. I really need to get back in to using Ebay so I'm going to ease myself in gently and challenge myself to list five items each month. Over the course of the year, this will add up to sixty items, which will hopefully, earn me a bit of money too, so I'm going to put any profit to one side and shall think of something to spend it on at the end of the year.

I'm only setting myself three challenges this year, and the last one will be to have a date night with Mick each month. We've very rarely been out on our own since we became a family nearly eighteen years ago, so I think it's now time to spend some time together again as a couple. There's nothing I like better than spending time together as a family, so it will be a struggle for me not to invite Daniel and Eleanor along, but it will be lovely to have Mick all to myself.

I shall also carry on reading, knitting, crocheting, walking, having fresh flowers in the house and trying to eat healthily, which were my challenges last year, so I shall be rather busy again this year.

Mick went back to work on Wednesday so we took our Christmas tree and decorations down on Monday. I like to have everything put back in their boxes and out of the way before work starts again. Daniel and Eleanor go back to school on Monday and they've both got important exams in January, Daniel's towards his A levels and Eleanor's towards her GCSE's.

Happy New Year, everyone.