Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Strictly Cha Cha Chevron Socks 2019

I've been taking part in the Strictly knitalong which is being hosted on the Little Drops of Wonderful podcast. I took part in this same knitalong last year, and in fact, knit the same sock pattern which was last years official Strictly knitalong pattern. It's the Cha Cha Chevron pattern by Sandra Paul and though I don't want to knit anything too complicated whilst watching the dancing, it's interesting enough for me not to get bored.


My knitting mojo has been coming and going since my mum died in March but taking part in a knitalong has been keeping the momentum going on this project. It's also encouraged me to pick up other projects and knit on those too.


These socks have been knit whilst watching Strictly Come Dancing, the results show and its sister show, It Takes Two which is shown on weekdays. It's been a while since I've had a finished item to show so I'm very pleased to have got these done. I've used a hand dyed yarn which I received in a swap which I took part in on Instagram, I don't know who the dyer is but the yarn is so soft, it's been a pleasure to knit with.


Unfortunately, I started the toes a little too soon and the socks are a tad too small for me, but I don't mind, they'll make a lovely Christmas gift.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Still Me

I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes back in 2016 and absolutely loved it. I'm always wary of reading sequels when I've enjoyed a book so much as they rarely live up to the first offering and unfortunately, I found this in After You, which I read the following year. It left me wishing that the author had left Me Before You as a stand alone book.


When I saw that a third book in the series, Still Me, had been published I decided that I wouldn't bother reading it, however, after reading a few reviews and people telling me that it was much better than the second book, when I saw it for sale in a charity shop I picked it up.

"Lou Clark knows too many things...

She knows how many miles lie between her new home in New York and her new boyfriend Sam in London.

She knows her employer is a good man and she knows his wife is keeping a secret from him.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to meet someone who's going to turn her whole life upside down.

Because Josh will remind her so much of a man she used to know that it'll hurt.

Lou won't know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything."

At first, I thought I'd made another mistake reading this book, I found it quite slow going and there were definitely characters which I didn't warm to. I'd have to say that it's a book of two halves, I could have quite easily put the book to one side even when I was half way though, it was probably the last third of the book which I enjoyed the most, though it was very predictable and I guessed the outcome of each storyline well before it was revealed.

Would I recommend the book? I think I'm probably expecting too much after loving the first book in this series so much so perhaps I'm being over critical of the following installments. Still Me is probably a good enough story in its own right for me to recommend but I still think that the story of Louisa Clark should have finished at the end of Me Before You.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Happy Spooky Halloween

You may remember my Spooky Halloween post from last year where I took you on a tour of the grounds of Lotherton Hall where they'd put on a Spooky Scarecrow Trail. This has been going for a few years now, but last year they decided to extend their opening hours into the evening to make it even spookier with a scary walk through the haunted woods. We went during daylight hours last year but we decided we'd be brave this time and went after dark. Some of my photos look like daylight but it's because I used the flash on my camera, it was actually very dark.

The first thing we came to were the wooden cabins by the car park which have all been decked out as Spooky Wild West. Some new cowboys were just arriving in town.


I think they were just in time to join the cookout.


They'll probably want to join in with a hand of cards later on.


Or perhaps they'll just enjoy some time in the saloon.


All needs are catered for, though the public conveniences could do with a dust looking at the number of cobwebs.


They'll need to have their wits about them though, not everyone gets out of here alive.


If they don't want to join the cookout they can always purchase a burger or hot dog, though on second thoughts I don't think the chef will be up to making them.


After exploring Dodge City we set off to explore the haunted woods.

Unfortunately, the lanterns they'd got strung from tree to tree were only working at the entrance to the woods. The spotlights they'd got trained on the exhibits weren't working either. It turned out to be a spookier walk than was intended as it was pitch black. Mick had to use the torch on his phone so that we could see where we were going and we missed so much of what we were supposed to see.


This was at the start of the trail and looked very spooky in the dark.


I jumped out of my skin when these monks started chanting.


There were lots of scary and spooky things hiding in the trees but unless Mick managed to pick them out with his torch we ended up missing them.


A scary mummy dangling from a tree.


It's such a shame that the lights were out. We always enjoy the events at Lotherton, they really do make an effort with them, and I thought visiting the Spooky Halloween Trail in the dark would really add something to it, but unfortunately, without lighting it was just too dark to see much of anything. Oh well, there's always next year.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, 28 October 2019

What I'm Watching - October 2019

TV and film that I've been watching this month.


I started taping the BBC drama The Capture when it started but by the time I got round to watching it I had all six episodes waiting for me. I quite like it when this happens and I can watch a new episode one night after the other instead of waiting week after week. The first episode was compelling, I didn't know where the story was taking me but I was hooked waiting to see what was unfolding. It wasn't until episode two that I understood in which direction it was going. I thought it was a great storyline and really made you think.


Once we finished The Capture, we started on Dublin Murders. I watched the first episode and wasn't sure it was for me, the second episode lost me completely, it just didn't hold my interest at all. I've decided not to watch any further but Mick's going to persevere with it.


I haven't watched The X Factor for many years now, I thought it had run its course after just a few series. This year, instead of searching amongst the public, they've cast their net amongst, so called, celebrities. How is it that an unknown who then goes on to appear on some reality show automatically turns into a celebrity? Anyway, I thought it might be fun to watch X Factor Celebrity so we watched the auditions and have watched the first live show too, but I think they're flogging a dead horse. It's time they called it a day and put this horse out to pasture. I don't think I'll watch any further.


There are a few podcasters who are doing Vlogtober this month. Basically, they record snippets of their everyday lives and upload them daily to YouTube. I'm watching Ali at Little Drops of Wonderful, Sherrie at Ollie & Bella and Gayna at Tales From Cuckoo Land. It's like a little peek to see what they get up to each day, gosh I am nosey!

Have you been watching any of these? What else have you been watching this month?

Friday, 25 October 2019

In The Making - October 2019

A roundup of the things I'm working on at the moment.

I have to say that my crafting has slowed down somewhat this month. I'm not sure why that is, I just haven't been reaching for my knitting as often as I usually do.


Strictly Come Dancing is back on our screens so, just like last year, I decided to join in with the knitalong which is being hosted by Ali on her Little Drops of Wonderful podcast. I had a look in my stash and thought this yarn I was given in a swap I took part in on Instagram would look lovely knitted up into the Cha Cha Chevron socks, the official Strictly knitalong pattern from last year. I'm very pleased with my choice so far. I only knit these socks whilst watching Strictly Come Dancing or its sister show, It Takes Two, which is shown on weekdays but I've already completed the first one and I'm down to the heel on the second.


I've added the two gorgeous mini skeins I received for my birthday from Maggie from BlackCountry Wench blog into my scrappy blanket. These are from Beaker Button, a dyer I'd never heard of before. It's such soft yarn. Maggie also gave me this beautiful needle case for my birthday, I've opened it up so that you can just peek the gorgeous fabric inside, and the cute little hedgehog stamped on the back. Thank you, Maggie, such a thoughtful gift.

My crafting enthusiasm seems to be coming and going at the moment but there's no point trying to force it, a hobby is all about enjoyment so I'll pick things up if and when the mood takes me, I'm sure my mojo will return again soon.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Stocking Up The Bookshelf

I often buy second hand books from charity shops but I'm noticing more and more places are accepting book donations and selling them for charity. There's a charity book stand in our local Tesco's and one in Wilko's too.


Our local chemist has recently set up a bookshelf for this exact purpose. The books are sold for 50p each and the money raised is donated to a local hospice.


Unfortunately, as yet, the shelves are not very well stocked so I popped back in to donate a couple of books which I've recently read. No books came home with me as there weren't any there which took my fancy, but I shall keep popping back in just in case something comes in which does.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

A Local Walk For Archie

We often jump in the car and take Archie to lovely places like Lotherton or Temple Newsam, which I've posted about many times in the past, but we've also got some lovely walks on our doorstep without needing to travel in the car to get there. These are the places he walks daily so we rotate them. I'm going to show you the walk we took on Thursday.



A lot of dog walkers use this lane and it also leads to some stables, though there were no horses in the yard on Thursday, they were all tucked up indoors. A dog did come out to see Archie as we passed though and he wanted to come on our walk with us but he was very good and went home when we told him to.



The view to our right. We used to cross this field and it would take us to lower fields where we could continue on a circular walk. Unfortunately, back in 2012, sixty eight houses were built on the lower field and we're now unable to take this circular walk, we have to turn around and come back the way we came. I wrote about it in my A Sad E-State Of Affairs post.



The view to our left. This field is full of crops during the summer months but they've all been harvested now.



Archie's really good when he's off his lead, he does love a good sniff around but he doesn't stray from us very far, he runs to catch up as soon as he sees we've walked a few yards ahead.



I always try to get some good photos of Archie when we take him for walks but it's very difficult, he doesn't stand still for long so my efforts result in blurred snaps. If he does stand still he's usually eating grass!



I was expecting the lane to be rather muddy on Thursday as we'd had quite a bit of rain but it wasn't too bad, there was the odd puddle or two but we managed to avoid them.




It's not a long walk but it's long enough for one of Archie's daily walks, we don't take him as far as we used to these days. He's fine when we're out and about but it knocks him out when we get home.



I hope you enjoyed seeing one of Archie's regular walks. Perhaps I'll show you one of the others another day.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Zero Waste

A new zero waste shop opened nearby recently and at the weekend we finally managed to find time to pop in. What a lovely surprise we had.


It's such a well stocked shop, so many more products for sale than we'd imagined. There's dry food, everything from pasta to granola, many different kinds of nuts, dried fruit, all different kinds of flour, every spice you can imagine, and they also have a great range of eco friendly products too, reusable make up remover pads, bamboo toothbrushes, metal straws, reusable sanitary products, bamboo lunchboxes to name just a few.


You're able to take your own containers or use paper bags. There's also a very good selection of reusable containers for sale too.


There's a whole section of cleaning products as well as toiletries, soaps and body washes.


The shop has been opened by a local couple who are very friendly and knowledgeable about their products.


I like the idea of being able to purchase just the amount you need, it cuts down on food waste. Also, you don't have any unwanted packaging here. The prices compare very favourably with those in the local supermarkets, which is really good. It seems to be very popular already and it's somewhere I shall definitely be shopping in the future.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Yarny Advent Calendars

Following on from my last post, No Apology, about Christmas goodies coming to the shops, I just thought I'd mention that I've made my first purchase towards celebrating the big day, a yarny advent calendar. In fairness to the dyers, they have to put up the listings for these yarny advent calendars very early in the year as they have such large batches of yarn to dye so they need to know numbers well in advance and get them out to customers in plenty of time for the countdown to begin.

When I was a child I had a charming little paper advent calendar with a picture behind each window. It was very carefully opened so that when Christmas that year was over and done with, we could close up all the windows and pack it away ready for the countdown the following year. It was used over and over again. Advent calendars these days are big business, it's quite rare to see those paper versions which I had as a child, now there's chocolate calendars, candle calendars, even beauty calendars where the windows open each day to reveal a cosmetic product. I've never had an advent calendar since I was a child but I decided that I'd like to have a yarny advent calendar this year.


Many dyers offer yarny advent calendars so I shopped around a bit and finally settled on one by Hedgerow Yarns. I've had yarn from this dyer in the past and have been very pleased with it. Each little parcel is numbered one to twenty four and each one contains 10g of hand dyed yarn. There was also a little stitch marker and another couple of extras included in the box.


Some dyers offer twelve days of Christmas calendars to open from Christmas day onwards and I decided that I'd also like one of these. Again, I shopped around and settled on one by Craft House Magic for this. Again, there's 10g of hand dyed yarn in each parcel. The dyer also sent an extra mini skein in the Pumpkin Patch colourway.


I'm also taking part in an advent swap. I've been given a partner and it's turned out to be the dyer behind Down Sheepy Lane yarn. We'll be making up an advent calendar to swap with each other.

The mini skeins will be the perfect size to add to my scrappy blanket with plenty of yarn left over for other things. There's lots of patterns now which use oddments of yarn so I may take a look at those to see what I can knit.

I'm looking forward to the countdown to Christmas and the twelve days afterwards. Will you have an advent calendar this year?

Thursday, 10 October 2019

No Apology

I make no apology for this post, after all, there are just 76 more sleeps until Christmas Day, and I do love Christmas!


Actually, I don't like to see Christmas in the shops too soon, the 1st of December is soon enough for me, but we popped to our local garden centre yesterday and they've just started putting out their Christmas display so I thought I'd snap a few photos to share with you.


I thought these (not so) little mice were so cute.


We've collected different Christmas decorations over the years but I'd like some new ones this year. We're going to have a proper look at what's on offer before making our choice.


We really need a new tree too but our old one will last one more year. Have you seen the price of Christmas trees? So expensive! I fancy a real one but Mick's concerned that Archie will be cocking his leg all Christmas.


We saw some good bargains in the sale at the beginning of the year so I'm hoping we can pick up something nice for half the price in January ready for next year.


It's not only the garden centres which are getting ready for Christmas, there's mince pies in the supermarkets already, along with other goodies.


So what do you think? Is it too soon for the shops to be stocked full of Christmas things or do you welcome it? Do you like to buy well in advance of the big day or are you a last minute shopper? Do tell.