Tuesday 28 October 2014

Crispy Chips

I've been dithering over buying a Tefal Actifry for quite some time now. We're not huge chip eaters but I hate oven chips, I've never found any brand I enjoy, so I always resort to deep frying which is both messy and unhealthy. It's quite an expensive bit of kit but a deal came up recently and I couldn't resist any longer.

Up to 1.2kg of chips can be cooked with just one spoon of oil, it must be much healthier than deep frying.

The inside pan lifts out and the lid is removable for easy cleaning, in fact, the pan, paddle and lid are all dishwasher safe so it should be a doddle to keep it clean.

I've read some very good reviews, as well as a few bad ones, so I couldn't wait to give it a try. I was very impressed with the chips we made, they were lovely and crispy and I can't wait to try other things in it now. It comes with a recipe book but there's lots of other Actifry recipes to be found online.

I'm sure it'll get plenty of use.

Sunday 26 October 2014

Challenge Update - October 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 set myself the challenge of knitting fifty hats for The Innocent Big Knit over the course of the year. They had to be finished before the end of the year as they have to be sent off soon, and here they all are, all fifty of them. That's one of my challenges now completed, well, all apart from sending them off.

Wetherby is a small market town about ten miles from where we live. I love visiting as there's so many small, independent shops and they're always good for a mooch round. It's not a regular haunt, but I do like to visit a few times each year and this is what I decided to do for my nice thing for October.

The car park is by the side of the river and it's a beautiful spot when the sun's shining.

There was an antique and collectors fair in the town hall so we had a little looksy in there as well as popping in to my favourite shops. I was saddened to see that the book shop had closed down since my last visit. The independent book shop in my own little town has closed down recently too, a sad sign of the times as online book shops are pricing them out of the market.

There's lots of cafes in Wetherby where the seating spills out on to the pavement, but we resisted and instead, bought some goodies to take home with us, a French tart for me, coffee and walnut cake for Mick and a pavlova for Eleanor. They were all delicious.

I popped in to the Christmas shop and treated myself to a couple of new tree ornaments. I like to buy something new for the tree each year.

I chose Where To Go When as my non fiction book for October. It highlights some wonderful places to visit in Great Britain and Ireland, and the best times to visit them. It's a Dorling Kindersley book, I always find the photography and illustrations in these books stunning.

It's half term here this week, I know that Eleanor's looking forward to having a bit of a break from school, she's worked so hard since she started the sixth form in September and it seems to be paying off as she's had some very good marks in the tests she's done so far. She hasn't got anything planned for the week so I might just treat us both to lunch out one day, I do love spending time with her, she's a wonderful companion.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

On Edge

The end is now is sight for Eleanor's Ripple Blanket. The main body of the blanket is now finished and all the ends have been sewn in. Actually, I sew the ends in as I go, I would hate to have so many to do all together at the end. Here it is, waiting in my basket for the edging to be added.

The first row of side edging will be pomegranate to match the first and last rows of the blanket but I'm unsure as yet what other colours I shall edge it in. I think three or four rounds should do it so I won't need to use all six colours.

The edging is my worst bit of blanket making but I wouldn't leave a blanket without an edge as I think it needs one to finish it off. It can look a bit messy without.

Eleanor's looking forward to getting her hands on her blanket. It will be finished at just the right time now that the cooler weather is here.

I'd just like to thank everyone who left a comment on my last post. All your good wishes must have worked as my mum was allowed home from hospital yesterday. She's got an appointment at the Warfarin Clinic this morning and an out-patient appointment at the hospital in a fortnight. Her arm and side are still black and blue and she's still in some pain, but I'm sure she'll feel better just being in her own home. I shall pop round and make a fuss of her this afternoon.

Sunday 19 October 2014

Black And Blue

My poor mum was taken in to hospital on Tuesday. She'd noticed the top of her arm starting to swell up on Monday and by Tuesday morning, it was twice the size it should be and bruising was starting to show. It was very, very painful.

This is how it looked last night. It turns out that the Warfarin she takes has caused a hematoma, clotted blood outside the blood vessels. During the week, it has slowly crept right the way down from the top of her arm right in to her hand, though most of the swelling has now gone. It's still very painful though.

She's got a big birthday coming up in a couple of weeks, she'll be eighty, so I hope she's better for that so that she can enjoy her celebrations.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Yarn From Skeggy

You may remember my post back at the beginning of September about A Birthday In Skeggy. What I didn't tell you in that post was that I splashed out on some new yarn whilst I was there.

We were walking along the front when I caught sight of a small craft market down a side street. There were a few stalls selling all manner of crafts and to the side was a yarn and haberdashery shop. I couldn't resist going in to peruse their wares, I couldn't just pass by, and I'm so glad that I did as they were selling Stylecraft Special DK at the bargainous price of £1.35 per ball. To let you know just how much of bargain this was, the same yarn which I bought from The Fent Shop in Skipton when I went to Yarndale was £2.00 per ball.

I had a look at the colours they had in stock and a few just jumped out at me. It was the beginning of September, autumn was on its way, and the copper, gold and spice reminded me of the shades of autumn leaves. I couldn't resist. Then a few blues/greens happened to jump in to my basket, turquoise, teal and petrol. To bring everything together I chose stone. I bought two balls of each, it should have cost £18.90 but the friendly shopkeeper let me off the 90p so it cost £18.00.

When I got home and laid the yarn out, I realised that the teal and petrol are very similar and there isn't a great difference between them, so I probably won't use them both together. I'm very happy with the other colours I've chosen though, I think they work well together.

I'm not sure yet what I'm going to make with this, probably another blanket of some sort, and I might yet add more colours to the mix, what do you think?

I'm coming to the end of Eleanor's ripple blanket now, there's only a couple of rows to go and then the border to add. I'm looking forward to starting a new project but what it'll be, I've yet to decide.

Friday 10 October 2014

Cider With Rosie

Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee has been on my to read list for a long time now. I saw on Mitzi's Lazy Days & Sunday's At The Willows blog that she'd recently reread the book and when I mentioned that it was a book I'd like to read, she kindly offered to lend it to me.

Laurie Lee was born in 1914 and the book tells of his childhood in a remote Cotswold village before electricity or cars. It has a gentle pace, which I prefer as I like to read in bed before I go to sleep, so I don't read books which make me think too much. The writing is vivid and descriptive and it transported me to the time Laurie Lee was writing about.

Thank you for lending me the book, Mitzi. I enjoyed reading it very much and it will be winging its way back to you very soon.

I came across Daniel's copy of To Kill A Mockingbird whilst packing away his books when we decorated his bedroom earlier on this year. I studied this book for my English Literature O Level, I enjoyed it then and thoroughly enjoyed it again when I recently reread it. It's such a wonderful book, it's hard to believe that this is Harper Lee's only published book.

At the moment I'm reading Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. I'm about half way through but it's a gripping novel, focusing on Sibyl Danforth, a midwife who becomes embroiled in a legal battle when one of her patients dies following an emergency caesarean section.

I haven't been buying any books just lately as I'm trying to wind down my pile of books to be read as I've got an e-reader on my Christmas wish list. I must admit that I do like to have a proper book in my hands when I'm reading, however, I'm a terrible sleeper and an e-reader will be great when I'm awake during the night. I don't like to put the light on when I wake up as it disturbs Mick, but some e-readers have a backlight which allows you to read in the dark, so this would be perfect for me.

I hope that Santa reads my list.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Bloggy Meet Ups

I started this blog back in September 2010 and I started The Good Life blog in April 2009, yet until recently, I'd never met any of the friends I've made through blogging.

It seems funny that the first blogger I should meet would live on the other side of the world, but when Susan from Granny Smith's Quilting emailed me to say she was coming over to England and would I like to meet up, I jumped at the chance.

It was the beginning of September when we met for the first time. Susan suggested we meet at Temple Newsam, a place I've mentioned on my blog many times, and it was a beautiful day. Her hubby was with her, but as it was midweek, Mick was at work so couldn't make it. Eleanor was still on holiday from school at this time so she came with me and we took Archie too.

It was a bit like going on a blind date, having never met, or even spoken before, however, there was no awkwardness at all, we got on like a house on fire and it was as though we were old friends, which of course, we are really after all the chats we've had online.

Susan brought me a wonderful gift, a beautiful crochet hook holder which she'd made herself.

There's plenty of room for all my crochet hooks.

The crochet print fabric is so appropriate, and it makes me smile just looking at it.

Whilst she's been over here, Susan's met up with quite a few bloggy pals and one she was eager to meet was Anne from Marmalade and Catmint. As Anne lives fairly close to me, Susan suggested that we all meet up together. It was arranged that we'd meet on the Sunday just gone at Temple Newsam again, but this time, as it was a weekend, Mick managed to make it too. Anne brought her hubby too, so there were six of us altogether and we all got on really well.

We were lucky with the weather again, a lovely crisp, autumn day.

We had coffee accompanied by lots of chat in the tea room and then we went for a walk down by the lake, passing some gorgeous donkeys on the way.

Thank you, ladies and gents, for a lovely morning, both Mick and I really enjoyed it.

Susan is jetting back to Australia later on this afternoon. I wish her and her hubby a safe journey home. It was wonderful to see you both, and terrific to meet up with Anne and her hubby too.

Saturday 4 October 2014

Thank You, Sally

The bloggers I've met here in Cyberspace really are the most kind hearted, generous people I've come across. Take Sally from Crafty Northerner blog, she recently blogged about some yarn she'd bought to knit squares with to make a blanket for a charity which is helping children in Syria. Sally wasn't happy with the way the colours were falling, it's a variegated yarn so you can't really see the pattern it will create before you start knitting with it. I commented that I liked it and the next thing I knew, Sally was asking for my address so she could send me the second, unused ball she'd bought.

It's Wondersoft, which is the name of Stylecraft's baby yarns. It's lovely and soft and I'm now on the lookout for just the right project to make with it.

Not only did Sally send me the yarn, but also in the parcel were some lovely magnetic bookmarks and the cutest little granny square brooch. Sally has only been crocheting for about six months, but the square is so neat. I pinned it to my top straight away.

The smaller, heart shaped bookmarks are just the thing to use in my Filofax, and I'm quite short on actual bookmarks to use in books so I'm very pleased with the larger one too.

Thank you, Sally. It was a lovely parcel to receive.