Friday, 28 February 2014

Challenge Update - February 2014

My 2014 challenges are:-

1) Knit one hat each week for The Innocent Big Knit.
2) Do something nice for me.
3) Choose a non fiction book from the library.

I've used a different pattern for the hats this month. It's by Alison Hogg and can be found on The Creations of Crazy Dazy blog. I'm really pleased how they turned out, they're so pretty.

My nice thing for February was the Girly Day which I had with Eleanor last week. I say it was a nice thing for me, but I think it was a nice day for Eleanor too.

Bigfoot by Rupert Matthews was the non fiction book which I chose from the library this month. It's subtitled True-Life Encounters With Legendary Ape-Men. It was an interesting read, but it hasn't convinced me one way or the other if these creatures exist. I wonder if we'll ever know.

Mick's has the day off work today, he had a day to take before the end of February so he wasn't going to waste it. We've been over to York to take Daniel out for lunch and we had a lovely time.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Books From My Childhood

I've been enjoying the Ladybird Tuesday posts which Anne writes on her Marmalade and Catmint blog so much that it got me thinking about a favourite Ladybird book I remember from my childhood.

It was called The Runaway and was about a rabbit that was locked inside a hutch. He was so envious of all the other wild rabbits playing in the sunshine that he decided to try and escape.

I couldn't remember the full story so I though I would try and track down a copy for a nostalgic look back. I was thrilled when I managed to find a copy on Ebay.

I loved the thought of all the Woodland animals gathering round a picnic laid out on a Toadstool Table.

As a child, I remember being frightened for the animals when the Mr. Fox came prowling.

This was my very favourite picture in the book, two rabbits snuggled up in the warren. I love the little lantern and all the root vegetables hung up. It looks so cosy.

This book is from the Ladybird 401 series, a collection of stories which were told in rhyme. It was first published in 1948 but was reissued again in the early 1970's.

You may remember me showing a photo of my very first school report on a recent post. It was written in 1974 when I was five years old. There was mention on there that I'd reached Indigo Book 2, but I had no idea which reading scheme this book was from. Mum from Mum's Simply Living Blog left a comment saying that the book was from the Through the Rainbow scheme, so I decided to try and find a copy. As I could read when I started school, I thought it would be interesting to see what I was reading towards the end of that first school year.

I found a copy for sale on Amazon. I have to say that I don't remember these books at all. I presume that the books went in order of the colours of the rainbow, starting with red as the easiest of the set and working the way right up to violet. I know there were three books in each colour.

What a lot of writing on each page, and the book is quite substantial, there's 63 pages.

There are some quite hard words too.

A list at the beginning of the book shows all the new words which are being introduced. It also states how many times each of these words are used in the book.

Enid Blyton was a favourite author when I was a child. I read so many of her books, but my favourites were The Five Find-Outers (And Dog) Mystery Series. I remember visiting the library many times to take back the book I'd had out on loan and borrow the next one in the series, I absolutely loved these stories.

One of my all time favourite books was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I remember being very young when my mum read it to me for the first time. I have memories of sitting together by the fire and wanting the story to go on forever. I was fascinated by the tale of Mary Lennox arriving in Yorkshire from India after her parents had died. Together with her cousin, Colin, and her maid's brother, Dickon, she discovers a door which leads in to a secret garden. It's a really beautiful story about friendship and learning how to appreciate the simple things in life.

I read The Secret Garden to Eleanor, I wanted to share such a beautiful story with her just as my mum had shared it with me. She loved it too. Last Christmas, I stumbled upon Literary Emporium. They sell some great gifts for book lovers, and I knew as soon as I saw The Secret Garden Key Necklace that I had to buy it for Eleanor. The necklace has a key and rose charm on it, and it's presented on a print featuring a beautiful quote from the book, 'If you look the right way you can see that the whole world is a garden'.

How very true.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

A Sunny Day

Sunny days have been few and far between just lately, so when I woke up and saw bright light shining through the bedroom curtains, I jumped out of bed and decided that a day outdoors was the order of the day.

We decided on a trip to Roundhay Park, primarily to visit the gardens, which you can read about on my Garden Visiting In February post on my The Good Life blog, but also so that Archie could have a good run in the park.

I'm always transported back to my wedding day, nearly 24 years ago, when I visit Roundhay Park as we held our reception in The Mansion. It was July and we had torrential downpours of rain as well as sunshine on the day.

Yesterday, the temperature had risen to double figures and it had tempted lots of people to get out in the fresh air, the park was full of dog walkers, couples out for a stroll, families with children on scooters and people just enjoying a break from the incessant rain.

We walked down to the lakeside. Archie had to be put on his lead here otherwise he'd have jumped in, he loves water.

Hundreds of birds were waiting for people to throw bread to them, they were making a raucous noise.

Although we're still in winter, the newly emerging bulbs are reminding me that spring isn't far away. They too were enjoying a rare day of sunshine.

I'm glad that we made the most of it while we could, it's dull and windy again today, though so far, it's been dry. A few more nice days would be very welcome.

I've recently reviewed a book, Rosehips On A Kitchen Table, on my The Good Life blog. The publishers are offering the book as a giveaway prize, and as I know that many of my readers over here on Through The Keyhole would enjoy the book, I thought I'd let you know about it. If you want to be in with a chance of winning it, head over and leave a comment on the relevent post, but be quick, the giveaway ends at noon on Tuesday the 25th of February 2014.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Girly Day

I've had a really enjoyable day today and laughed so much that my sides ache. One of my challenges this year is to do something each month for me, and I decided that the thing I'd do this month is spend a girly day with Eleanor.

Eleanor's 15 and she's really good company. When I was expecting her, I could never imagine myself having a daughter. I don't know if it was becuase I already had a son or if it was because I'm not very girly myself, but I'm so pleased that I've got her. Don't get me wrong, I love Daniel just as much, but it's lovely having a daughter and getting to do girly things with her.

We started off the day by going to a local shopping centre for a look around the shops. Eleanor needed some new leggings and she also got a few tops as well as a new bag. We had a look in a few charity shops and I came away with a couple of books for the bargain price of 99p, buy one get one free. By this time it was midday, so we popped in to the dentist's as Eleanor had an appointment.

Everything was fine with Eleanor's teeth, so we popped back home to let Archie out for a wee before heading off to the local pub for a pub lunch. I'm supposed to be trying to lose some weight, but this is the second meal out I've had this week. On Tuesday evening, we went over to York to take Daniel for a meal to celebrate his birthday, he was 19 yesterday. Anyway, back to today's meal. Eleanor had a voucher for a free sundae for dessert, but the sundae she chose involved a milk shake and the machine was broken so she was told that she could choose any other dessert off the menu instead. She was very cheeky and asked if that included a dessert which was meant to be shared between two, she's a greedy girl.

Well, when it was brought to the table, we couldn't believe our eyes. It had eight scoops of ice cream in it, two Twix fingers, Maltesers, M&M's, cookies, cream and chocolate sauce. The restaurant staff were laughing and said that she couldn't leave until she'd finished it all.

They brought two spoons, but I literally only had two spoonfuls of ice cream, Eleanor ate the rest.

It got to the point where she just couldn't eat any more, but I have to say that there wasn't much left in the bottom of the bowl at this point.

We came home to spend the rest of the afternoon cuddled on the sofa with Archie, and watched a Rom-Com which Eleanor got for Christmas, 27 Dresses.

I didn't think that after all the food she'd scoffed at lunch time, Eleanor would have any room left for more, but she still managed some of the pick and mix sweeties she'd filled a cup with during our shopping trip.

I've had a really lovely day with my girly.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

58 Years

Today is my mum and dad's 58th wedding anniversary.

They met in Woolworth's in Leicester where my mum was working. The store was being refurbished and my dad was doing the French polishing in the refit. He asked her out on a date on numerous occasions but my mum played hard to get and didn't accept for quite some time.

They married in Leeds on the 18th of February 1956. My dad was 22 and my mum was 21.

A couple of years ago, they moved in to an apartment. Whilst having a clear out ready for the move, my mum came across her wedding album and passed it on to me. It's something I'll treasure.

Happy Anniversary, Mum and Dad.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Ripple Update

It's been a while since I've posted any updates on the ripple blanket I'm crocheting for Eleanor so I thought I'd show you where I'm at with it at the moment.

A blanket is a large undertaking so I like to take my time with such a big project. I'm thoroughly enjoying the process of rippling the yarn together and I love how the colours are working out, especially with the interlocking colour pattern.

My favourite colour combinations are the darker shades.

The lighter shades are what does it for Eleanor.

I'm in no hurry to finish this blanket, especially through winter as it's keeping me lovely and warm as I'm working on it.

I don't tell Eleanor that I'm taking my time with it though, she's anxious for it to be finished.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

School Work

When I showed one of my old Science books from school on a recent post, I got a few comments from people who were interested in the work we were doing at that time compared to the curriculum today, so I thought I'd show you some of my Maths work from around the same time.

We were encouraged to back our school books to stop them getting tatty. Daniel and Eleanor had to back theirs in sticky back plastic, but we were allowed to back our books in whatever we liked. I went for a Holly Hobbie design.

My Maths teacher in 1980/1981 was Mr Forshaw, he was my favourite teacher ever. I used to love my Maths lessons because he made them so interesting and fun. If lessons are boring, the kids won't learn anything from them, I wish that teachers would understand this. I know from my own experience as well as from Daniel and Eleanor going through school that kids learn more from teachers who they like because they make the lessons enjoyable than teachers who stand in front of a class and recite facts with no passion.

This was homework from September 1980, I'd just turned twelve, so this is from thirty three years ago. I wouldn't have a clue how to do this work now.

Logarithms. This work is dated 1980, but it was actually 1981. It's funny how I couldn't get the date right, but the sums were all correct.

Trigonometry. Sine, Cosine and Tangent. One of Eleanor's favourite maths topics. I think this is taught around the same time in schools now.

Whilst looking for my old school books, I came across some of my school reports. This is my very first one, I was five years old.

When I started school, they'd just brought in a new way to teach reading called ITA, which stood for Initial Teaching Alphabet. Words were spelt as they sound, so was would have been taught at woz, alphabet would be alfabet. Once children could learn to read using this method, they then had to be taught the correct spelling of words. This method wasn't taught in schools for long.

I could already read when I started school, so it was decided that I could carry on as I was and I didn't have to learn the ITA method. My first report states that I'd reached Indigo Book 2. I'd love to know which reading scheme this was from and see the sort of things I was reading at this age.

I'm really pleased that my mum kept some of my school books and reports, they're lovely to look back on.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Over Ripe Bananas

There's always one banana in the fruit bowl which we just don't get round to eating. Last week there were three there. They're so off putting when the skins have turned black, but it's at this stage when they're perfect for using in baking.

I had just the right amount with three to make this really easy Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chips recipe. The bananas don't look particularly appetising once they've been turned to mush but the end result is worth it.

Bananas may languish in the fruit bowl long enough for them to turn black, but they don't last two minutes once they've been turned in to muffins.

I've also been making some Artisan No Knead Bread which I've seen on various blogs just lately. I love it toasted and Mick likes it for his work sandwiches. It's so easy to make too.

Daniel came home from university on Friday for the weekend so I made a double batch yesterday so that he could take a loaf back with him. I don't think it will last long when his housemates catch sight of it.