Friday 30 October 2015

Challenge Update - October 2015

My 2015 challenges are:-

1) Read one book each month.

1a) Read Agatha Christie books in chronological order.

2) Watch films from IMDb's top 100 movies of all time.

3) Support charities.

I'm still exceeding my target of reading one book each month, this month I've read two in addition to the Agatha Christie book I've read.

I watched one of Caroline's 'Current Favourites' vlogs on her Mrs M's Meanderings blog where she reviewed The New Woman by Charity Norman. It sounded very good so this was my first read of October. The book is about a middle aged man, Luke Livingstone, who has hidden a secret all his life and has now got to the stage where he feels he can't carry on living unless he tells his family, however, he knows that if he does tell his family it will tear them apart. I think the author handled the subject very sensitively, it was interesting reading about the family's reactions to the secret as well as how Luke handled it himself. It was a book I thoroughly enjoyed and I'd recommend it.

Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates by Kerry Greenwood was sent to me by Lisa from Jumble and Jelly. Lisa thought I'd enjoy this book and she was right, I did. It's not a book I'd have chosen to read myself but it just goes to show that old saying is right, you should never judge a book by its cover. Phryne Fisher is a bored socialite who leaves London and travels to Australia in search of adventure. It doesn't take her long to become involved in illegal abortions and drug smuggling rings and there's a few steamy episodes in the Turkish bath thrown in for good measure.

The Murder At The Vicarage is the first Agatha Christie book featuring Miss Marple. I think I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I can never guess who the murderer is in Agatha Christie books and this one was no exception, there's always so many red herrings that I always latch on to the wrong person. Another excellent read.

I've managed to watch three films this month, though now the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in, I'm aiming for more next month.

I remember Guy Pearce when he played Mike Young in Neighbours, goodness, that was a lot of years ago now, I was in my teens. The first film I watched this month, Memento, saw him playing Leonard, an ex insurance investigator who lost his short term memory in an assault where his wife was murdered. Now he's trying to track down the killer, however, the fact that he's unable to make new memories makes this already difficult task even harder. There's two storylines, one moving forward in time with the other working backwards revealing more each time. I found it quite complicated to keep track at first but it was worth persevering with as it was a good film.

I'm really not in to superheroes, however, the second film I watched this month was The Dark Knight, a Batman film. I actually quite enjoyed it and I think Heath Ledger was fantastic as The Joker. Christopher Nolan directed, produced and co-wrote the film and he has dedicated it in part to Ledger's memory.

Gladiator is my favourite film this month. It's another one I've never really fancied but it turned out to be totally different to what I expected it to be. I didn't like all the fight scenes but it did have a very good story and it's a film I could watch again.

I've cut down on the amount of Christmas cards I send each year, however, I still like to send to those people I don't see very often or elderly relatives so I like to support charities with the cards that I do buy. I couldn't resist these cute doggy cards which were being sold on behalf of Guide Dogs.

There were some old quilts and pillows lurking in the cupboards upstairs which I've finally got round to sorting out. We took these earlier this month to Dogs Trust, I'm sure the dogs there will be pleased to have something comfy to sleep on.


This box of sweets has turned up in the office at Mick's work. He bought a packet of wine gums and in doing so, supported Mencap, a very worthwhile charity who work in partnership with people with a learning disability.

The clocks have gone back now, the weather's changed, lots of soggy days just lately and we're definitely heading in to winter now, though I have to admit that I'm still wearing sandals and the anorak only comes out to walk Archie in if it's raining. I don't know whether to mention this or not, it may set you all off in a panic but it's now only eight weeks to Christmas Day. Eeeek. Where's this year gone?

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Photo Medley - October

Not many photos to share with you this month, my camera doesn't seem to have been in use as much as usual, perhaps because I don't seem to have been up to much.

Another photo of the crochet along I'm taking part in. I've got more to share with you about this project but it will wait for a future post.

We visited RHS Harlow Carr earlier this month, they're gearing up for the Halloween celebrations and are selling all manner of pot decorations in their plant centre. They're quite reasonably priced and mean you don't have the hassle of having to carve a pumpkin. I didn't buy one but I was quite tempted.

Apples and pears, a gift from our next door neighbours who have had a bumper crop this year.

I had a trip to Hobbycraft on Sunday where I picked up these little Christmas cross stitch kits and aperture cards to mount them in. A little Christmas project to have a go at.

I must make more of an effort to use my camera more next month.

Monday 26 October 2015

Passing On The Kindness

At the back end of last year, Sally from Crafty Northerner asked if anyone would like to receive a Random Act of Kindness, or RAK. Never one to pass up on the chance of receiving a parcel of lovely goodies through the post, I said that I would love to. The parcel of happiness arrived in July and you can read about the lovely things I received in my I Received A RAK post.

Sally asked that if we joined in, we were to share the love and pass on a RAK ourselves, so after I'd received my lovely parcel I asked who would like to join in and got lots of replies so I picked two names at random and last week I sent one parcel to Pam at A New Life In Wales and one to Cheryl at My Little Piece Of England.  I now know that the parcels have been received as Pam has done a post about her's and Cheryl has dropped me an email to thank me, so I thought I'd show you what I sent.

As the clocks went back at the weekend, I thought it would be a nice idea to make up a parcel for when the ladies were hunkering down on the darker nights. First of all, four sachets of hot chocolate in different Cadbury's flavours to keep them warm, some yummy chocolatey biccies to eat with said hot chocolate and a packet of cheddar and caramelised onion chutney Yorkshire crisps, I can vouch that they're scrumptious. I know both ladies are crafty so I sent a couple of balls of Stylecraft Special DK to each of them so that they can keep busy knitting or crocheting and a book each. I do love a good read during the winter months. They both have dogs so I popped a little treat in for them too.

They both got the same things except Cheryl got a different book and some treats for her puss too.

Now, as I said, these RAKs should be carried forward so that the kindness spreads so if you fancy receiving a parcel tailored to your own likes and tastes, pop across to Pam's blog and have a look at her R A K, ooh, lovely Friday Surprise post and you could have the chance to receive one. I know Cheryl will be sending one out too so do keep an eye out on her blog too.

I really enjoy choosing little gifts for people so I might even send another myself in the future, I know it certainly brightens up my day when I receive happy mail so I'm sure it must brighten up other people's days too.

Thursday 22 October 2015

More Swaps

I seem to have got the swap bug, I've joined another two Christmas themed ones this week.

I saw the #stitchingsanta Blog Christmas Gift Swap over on Sheila's Sewchet blog. There's two categories in this swap, you choose which you'd like to take part in, either sewing or knitting/crochet. I've gone for knitting/crochet. I'm looking forward to finding out who my partner is so that I can get buying for them. If you'd like to join in the fun, you've got until the end of this month to sign up.

The other day, Amy from Love Made My Home did a post about her Christmas Card Swap 2015. I took part in this swap last year so I've signed up again. It's a good way to make new bloggy friends and doesn't have to cost very much, just the price of a card and a stamp. If you'd like to take part in this swap you've got until Monday 16th November 2015 to sign up.

Of course, there's also my Twelve Days Of Christmas swap. The sign up for this in now closed but I know many of those taking part are now enthusiastically making or shopping for gifts, it's all very exciting.

I think most people have now been in touch with their Twelve Days Of Christmas Swap Partners but if there's anyone who still hasn't heard from their partner, either by email or a comment on their blog, can you please let me know.

There's going to be so many cards and gifts being exchanged throughout blogland this Christmas, I can't wait.

Tuesday 20 October 2015


When I saw these comics at a vintage sale I just had to buy them.

I remember reading Twinkle when I was a little girl, I loved all the characters in it but my very favourite was Nancy The Little Nurse. She worked at the Dollies Hospital where broken toys are mended with her grandad who is the dolly doctor, Mr Jingle. I even had a little dress up outfit like Nancy's.

Polly's Magic Painbox. Polly could paint a picture and it would come to life, very exciting.

Witch Winkle created havoc wherever she went, but it always turned out well in the end.

So many old favourites.

I used to love these cut out dolls. I'd cut out the clothes for them and then sit and dress them in different outfits for hours.

These three comics were dated 1977 and 1978, I would have been eight or nine when they were published. Did you have a favourite comic as a child?

Thursday 15 October 2015


I know my holiday posts have gone on a bit this year, it's over two months ago since we were away, but I promise this is my last one.

Eleanor and I had never been to Scotland before so whilst we were in Northumberland, we decided that we'd cross the border. We didn't go very far in to Scotland, just about eight miles north of Berwick upon Tweed to Eyemouth. Eyemouth is a small town with many features of a traditional fishing village. The reason we chose to visit this place is that someone had left a comment in the visitor's book back at the cottage saying that they'd seen seals here. We thought we'd take a look ourselves and we weren't disappointed.

There's a van in the harbour which sells seafood, they sell fish here to feed to the seals too. You can borrow a pole which has a clip on the end to attach the fish to, it's easier to lower the fish to the seals this way.

The seals attract quite a crowd at times, they must be well fed during the summer season as many people were wanting to have a turn at feeding them.

They had to be quick though, seagulls are opportunists and are so quick at grabbing the fish before the seals get chance.

As soon as they realised the seals were being fed, they were circling overhead.

Many were successful at getting the fish before the seals did.

I think seals are really cute but they can be quite vicious.

As well as the harbour, Eyemouth has a lovely beach.

It's quite small but it wasn't very busy when we were there. We had plenty of room to set up camp.

We spent a few different days here when the sun was shining. We had lots of dull days on our holiday so we made the most of the sunshine.

There's nothing more relaxing that sitting on a beach on a sunny day watching all the comings and goings. There were lots of boats sailing in and out of the harbour.

This cormorant was doing a bit of fishing in the sea, he'd bob right underneath the water before resurfacing in a totally different place.

Archie enjoyed himself too, rolling around in smelly seaweed, one of his favourite activities.

I think he enjoyed the holiday as much as we did.

It was a change holidaying further north this year rather than heading south. As you've seen from my posts, we visited many different places but I feel we only touched the surface. I'd like to go back again some time in the future but we're considering a holiday down south again next year, perhaps we'll venture north again the year after.

Monday 12 October 2015

Barter Books

I'm aware I haven't yet finished telling you about our summer holiday, it seems ages ago now, just two posts left so I'll get on with it.

I'd have loved to have visited Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden whilst staying in Northumberland but having Archie with us once again restricted our plans, dogs aren't allowed in either. We did have a look around the town though and managed to tick off one place on my list, Barter Books.

This second hand bookshop is a book lovers paradise. Located in part of an old Victorian railway station, Barter Books has been called 'The British Library of secondhand bookshops' by New Statesman magazine. It hasn't lost its link with trains having a model railway running around part of the shop high above heads.

The building is impressive, it holds many thousands of books as well as having many extra features: The Station Buffet , open fires in winter, a children's room containing toys and lots of comfy seating where you can sit to browse the books you're interested in. There are lots of glass cases lining the walls which house many interesting antiquarian books. I loved reading all the poetry which was dotted around.

I was like a kid in a sweetshop, so many books all under one roof. I'm always overwhelmed when faced with such a large choice but I did manage a small purchase, one of the books from the Amanda Prowse No Greater Love series, Christmas For One. I haven't read it yet.

So what did we do with Archie whilst we were inside this wonderful bookshop? Well for once, I'm pleased to report that I've found somewhere dog friendly. He didn't create havoc, he didn't destroy anything, he didn't leave any puddles, in fact he behaved much better than some of the people I saw there.

I'm a responsible dog owner so it saddens me when I'm declined entry to some places because I have a dog on a lead beside me. I can understand not being allowed in buildings but many people, adults as well as children, behave much worse than Archie does in a garden. A big thumbs up to Barter Books for being dog friendly.

This is just a short post about my own visit but there's so much more to Barter Books including its history, the station, special books and Keep Calm, Barter Books is the home of the original 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster. Do take a look at the Barter Books website.

Thursday 8 October 2015

Yarndale 2015

I wasn't sure I'd be able to make Yarndale this year, my weekends have been so busy just lately and to top it off, Mick had a bit of a crisis at work on the Friday and thought he might have to go in on the Saturday, but it all worked out in the end and we did manage to get there.

We arrived earlier than we had last year and there was definitely a different feel about the place. It was absolutely packed and everyone was jostling to get the best vantage points, there was a lot of pushing and shoving going on. We decided that we'd wander round looking at whatever we could get close to before following the same path again looking at what we'd missed the first time round. As the day wore on, I'm pleased to say that everything calmed down and there was that happy feel that I'd experienced last year.

I think the thing which hits you most at Yarndale is the colour, it's absolutely everywhere as you might expect when yarn's involved.

I was looking forward to seeing all the crochet Flowers for Memories which people from all around the world had sent to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society. They didn't disappoint, there was a rainbow themed display containing over 5000 flowers which had been sent from twenty two countries and they raised £1811.80 for this very deserving charity.

The mandalas, which were last year's Yarndale project were displayed at eye level this year rather than hung up high. You really got to see all the work which had been put in to them.

A project I'd taken part in this year was the Yarndale Sock Line. Earlier this year I took part in a sockalong which Christine over at Winwick Mum blog was organising. After this sockalong, Christine came up with the idea of asking people to send handmade socks so that she could make a line of sock bunting at Yarndale. After the festival, these socks were to be gifted to people in need who may be thankful for a cosy pair of handmade socks. I thought it was a great idea and sent off my pair of socks and here they are in situ. It's not a very good photo but they're the ones on the left on this first stretch of bunting.

I had every intention of having a word with Christine whilst I was there, she was selling and signing copies of her Super Socks book, however, she was busy chatting away to other people when I visited the Knit and Natter Lounge and she'd disappeared when I went back, I think she may have gone for some lunch.

The auction mart where Yarndale's held is usually filled with animals and the weekend of the festival was no exception, well, perhaps not filled but there were animals there.

This gorgeous little sheep was called Viola and she was the most friendly little thing. She loved being stroked and having her head scratched, I could have taken her home with me. Not sure what Archie would have thought to that idea though.

I didn't take too many photos, I was too busy oohing and aahing at all the lovely things to be seen.

Would you like to see what I bought? I'm sure you would. Not a huge haul by some standards but more than I bought last year.

I bought a couple of balls of Drops Lima. Mick bought me Edward's Menagerie book for Christmas last year and I haven't had a go at anything from it yet. He bought me some Toft Alpaca yarn but I want to have a go with something cheaper first so this yarn ticks the boxes.

Manos Silk Blend Fino, 70% merino 30% silk, it's silky soft.

Exmoor Sock Yarn. Made with 85% Exmoor Blueface and 15% nylon for extra strength.

I saw these cute ornaments last year and regretted not buying one so I rectified that this time.

I have to admit that I don't actually use many buttons but I can't resist buying them. I also bought some new felting needles for Eleanor as her needle snapped half way through a project. She can get on and finish it now.

I may have also bought a Christmas present but I can't show you that at the moment or tell you who it's for. Yarndale's a great place to pick up gifts.

I had a really wonderful day out and came home, once again, filled with inspiration. The date's in the diary for next year but once again, I'm not sure if I'll make it. I missed the first Yarndale two years ago because it was the weekend we were moving Daniel in to his university accommodation. Eleanor will hopefully be going to university next year so we'll just have to see if her moving date clashes with Yarndale or not. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't.