Monday, 29 April 2013

Challenge Update - April

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 this month is one I haven't seen before, All About Eve. I'd bought the DVD for my mum one Christmas, as Bette Davis is one of her favourite actresses. She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Leading Actress for her role as Margo Channing in this film. The film was actually nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won six. One of Marilyn Monroe's earliest roles was in All About Eve.

The Ebay listings are going well, apart from me making a silly miscalculation with postage on an item this month. I knew the postage rates for parcels had changed, they're supposed to be easier to work out now, but I made the silly mistake of quoting for a small parcel when it should have been a medium parcel. Can you believe that the cost of posting a medium sized parcel within the UK is now £8.00? It's probably cheaper to send by courier, I must look in to this.

This month, our date night was a date day. I did a post all about it, so if you'd like to read about it, just click on the link.

I'm still enjoying my challenges. I'm trying to think of somewhere to go for our date night in May. This year seems to be whizzing by, only one more day left of April.

Friday, 26 April 2013


Eleanor and I love going to see shows at the theatre, especially musicals. One of the shows Eleanor really wants to see is Wicked, so when I found out that it will be touring next year, I knew I must get tickets.

Wicked is the story of the two witches from The Wizard of Oz, Glinda and the Wicked Witch of the West, as they meet and become friends as sorcery students. This is as much as I know about the storyline, so I'm really looking forward to seeing it. I find I really enjoy shows where I don't know what to expect, you tend not to go with pre conceived ideas and just enjoy it for what it is.

It's so expensive to go to the theatre these days, so I usually buy seats in the balcony which are a bit cheaper, but as this is a show which Eleanor really wants to see, I decided to splash out and buy seats in the stalls. It's going to be part of her Christmas present anyway, so I don't mind paying a bit more on this occasion.

There's three other shows coming up in the next three months which we've got tickets for, so that's exciting. I'll tell you more about those as we see them.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Goosey Goosey Gander

It was only a couple of posts ago that I mentioned I'd only ever eaten eggs from hens before, so I'd bought some duck eggs to try. So, what a coincidence that I won a goose egg in a competition on Sue's Our New Life in the Country blog.

Three Skyline hens recently came to live with Sue, so she set a competition for her readers to name them. The three winners would be sent a goose egg layed by one of Sue's Chinese Grey geese, Harry, Larry and Mo.

Sue posted a photo on her blog, and I thought the name Dolly would suit one of them just fine, so this was the name I suggested. Sue liked it, so I was chosen as one of the winners, and on Friday afternoon, the postman duly delivered my goose egg. I have to say that Sue had done a marvellous job in protecting it for it's journey through the post. It was wrapped in large bubble wrap and nestled safely inside an ice cream tub. I'd had reservations about whether it would reach me in once piece, but I needn't have worried.

Goose eggs are equivalent in size to three hen eggs, you can see the difference.

I had a very tasty breakfast on Saturday, scrambled goose egg, two slices of toast and a rasher of bacon. It was delicious. There wasn't really a difference in taste between the goose egg and a hen egg, but it certainly tasted fresh, and just look at the colour of it, the yolk was so bright.

Thank you, Sue, and a huge thank you to Harry, Larry and Mo too.

Friday, 19 April 2013


I can do it. I can ripple. Though I had serious doubts I'd ever be able to master it when I was trying to do the first row. It took me three attempts to get it right, but once you get your head around the increases and decreases, it's easy.

I'm loving the repetitive pattern, it's so relaxing and easy to do whilst chatting or watching tv as you really don't need to concentrate. It's an Attic24 pattern, the Neat Ripple Pattern, and as usual with Lucy's patterns, it's so easy to follow.

I started with 171 chains, (12X14+3), and this has made a width which will fit nicely on a single bed. It will hang over a little and the border will widen it a little more. I'm making this blanket for Daniel so it's being made in boy colours and I'm loving how the colours are working together.

Even Archie's impressed. I think he's eyeing it up.

I'm still working on my One A Day blanket too, I'll give you an update on that soon.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Date Day

One of my challenges this year is to have a date night with Mick each month. For April, we decided that instead of going out on an evening, we would spend Saturday together.

The day started at Poppleton Garden Centre in York where we enjoyed breakfast. Our house is a hive of activity on a morning, even on a weekend, we never get a leisurely breakfast as someone is always rushing around getting ready to go somewhere. It was nice to be able to actually talk to each other over breakfast for once. We were very naughty and had a full English, it was very tasty.

We had a mooch around the garden centre and made a few purchases before heading off to the car boot sale which is held each Saturday morning at York Racecourse. It's a huge car boot fair, but I find that the prices are quite high, and we didn't buy anything. It was good for a look round though.

The second Saturday of each month sees Malton's Food Lovers Market taking place, so after we'd had a walk around the car boot sale, we decided to head that way.

Each market has a seasonal theme and Saturday's was Yorkshire Rhubarb. There's both an indoor and outdoor market, and there's lots of produce to taste before you buy.

We came home with some Epicure's Larder Wold White cheese, an absolutely delicious soft cheese produced from rare breeds on the Yorkshire Wolds. It's made in a variety of flavours, I thought the garlic was very tasty but Mick preferred the plain flavour, so that's what we bought.

We also bought some duck eggs, just because I've never eaten duck eggs before and I wanted to try them. I had one poached for my breakfast yesterday, but I didn't notice any real difference other than it being slightly bigger than usual.

After visiting the Food Lovers Market, we had a little wander around Malton. I loved this display on the side of a cycle shop, it looks as though a bike is smashing through the wall.

It was really unusual having the day to ourselves, it made a lovely change. It was nice doing something different too for our date rather than just going out for a meal on an evening, I'm sure we'll do something similar again.

Friday, 12 April 2013

My Cameras

I was recently asked about the cameras I use, so I thought I would do a post about them.

The first digital camera I bought was a Fujifilm Finepix 2800Z. I loved this camera, but after a while, because it was only a 2MP and the LCD screen was only small, I decided to upgrade.

I was always happy with Fujifilm, but I decided to go with a Canon Powershot A1100IS, purely because it has a viewfinder, which I thought would be handy in bright sunlight when it's often hard to see the image on the screen. I've actually never used the viewfinder so it hasn't been a consideration in future purchases, which is just as well as pocket cameras with viewfinders are quite hard to come by. I never rated the Canon, and when the battery compartment cover wouldn't close properly due to a small piece having snapped off it, I took the opportunity to buy a new camera. It didn't actually stop the camera from working, and the cover did still shut, but I needed a new camera, you understand.

I knew straight away that I wanted to go back to Fujifilm, but this time I went for a bridge camera. This is a camera which slots between a compact pocket camera and an SLR. They have more advanced features than a pocket camera, though I have to say that I still usually use the automatic setting or pre set settings. I chose the Fujifilm Finepix S2950.

I'm happy with this camera, but it's too bulky to carry around with me all the time so I was still keeping the Canon Powershot in my bag. Eleanor has a cheap Fujifilm camera which takes better photos than my Canon, so I asked Mick to buy me a similar model for Christmas. He bought me the Fujifilm Finepix AX500. It only cost £40, yet it takes better photos than the Canon does. It's ideal to carry around with me in my bag, but if I know I'm going somewhere where I'm going to want to take photos, I take the bridge camera with me.

I'm no photographer, I don't really understand photography, and I don't spend a fortune on my cameras, but I'm happy enough with the cameras I use, and I can thoroughly recommend Fujifilm.

I think, as bloggers, we're always interested in the cameras we each use, so I'd love for you to tell me in the comments, or why not do a post yourself about your camera?

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Friday Night Knitting Club

I received The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs as a gift at Christmas. It was on my wish list, so it was a book I knew about and one which I wanted to read. I thought with it's knitting theme, it's a book I'd enjoy. It should really be an easy read, but it's actually taken me ages to finish it.

In the first place, I didn't get on with any of the characters. The author seemed to introduce some of them at the beginning of the book, then forget about them until much later, by which time, I'd forgotten who they were and didn't particularly care. The main plot was predictable, with a bit of a sad twist near the end, which in my opinion, was rushed and should have been given more time as it would have made the book marginally more interesting.

There's more books in the same series but I shall be giving them a miss.

I don't think two books could be any more different than the one I've just finished and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier which I've just started. I'm only a few chapters in, but already, I'm gripped. I usually prefer to read a book before watching the film, but even though I'm familiar with the film, It's not spoiling the book for me on this occasion. Rebecca is very well written and it's definitely holding my interest, even though I know what's coming next, something which doesn't often happen when I know the story.

I don't think this book will be sitting by my bed for as long as The Friday Night Knitting Club did.

Do you like my bookmark?

Mick's auntie bought me it for Christmas. The doggy looks just like Archie.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Back To Lotherton

It's been a lovely weekend, the sun was shining yesterday and it was noticeably warmer.

In past years, we've had a season ticket for a nearby country house and gardens, Lotherton Hall, but last year they increased the price from £15 to £40 for a family ticket so we didn't renew it. They said the increased admission prices would enable them to make improvements to the estate. We've missed going as it's a lovely place to take Archie for a walk, and in reality, £40 isn't very much for a place we will visit regularly, especially a place with so many facilities, so as the sun was shining, we decided to take Archie there for a walk and buy a season ticket. The ticket gives admission to the whole estate including the house and bird garden. As we have a Leeds Card (a membership scheme which gives discounts and exclusive offers across Leeds), the price we paid was £32.00.

There's also a deer park at Lotherton where red deer can usually be seen.

The increased ticket prices came in to force last year, but the only changes we can see to the estate is a new exit which has been constructed, and some new play equipment. I wonder what else is in the pipeline.

Lotherton already has a super playground, children love it as it has some really good equipment, especially the zip wire, but some new equipment has recently been installed just on the outskirts of the woods which Eleanor felt she really must try out.

Here she is on the climbing frame.

A less energetic piece of play equipment.

We took Archie on the Boundary Trail walk and Eleanor couldn't resist climbing on the stones in the stone circle. You can read more about the stone circle as well as Lotherton Hall and some of the things it has to offer in my Lotherton Hall And Doggy Ghosts post from March 2011.

It's another bright and sunny day today so we might head off to Lotherton Hall again. We've got to make the most of the sun while it's here.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Fent Shop

We decided we'd have a day out on Saturday, and as I was wanting some yarn for a new crochet project, we decided on Skipton.

Skipton is a lovely market town in the Yorkshire Dales. We parked by the side of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Some people were just heading out on a boat trip, but although the sun was shining, it was still very cold. I prefer being on the water when the weather's a bit warmer.

Saturday (as well as Monday, Wednesday and Friday) is market day in Skipton and the town was heaving. The market stalls are set on each side of the high street and sell a wide range of goods from old fashioned sweeties to meat and pet accessories.

We had a wander around the market as well as the shops. There was also a flea market being held which we had a snoop around. The shop I was itching to get to though, was The Fent Shop. It's website bills it as a sewers paradise, it's literally packed to the rafters with fabric, but it also sells yarn, and in particular, it sells Stylecraft Special DK which is the yarn I was after for my project.

The project I'm wanting to start is a ripple blanket. I've never even tried the pattern up to now, but I'm sure I'll muddle through. I want it to be different shades of blue with a grey and a white thrown in to break them up a little. I managed to get everything I needed from The Fent Shop, and also bought a ball of Aran for my next knitting project.

We had a lovely day out, and it was extra nice to have a bit of sunshine too, though it was still very cold.