Thursday 31 May 2018

New Sandals

I didn't realise it was four years ago that I bought my last pair of sandals. That's the great thing about a blog, you can look back and find out when you did a particular thing. I wrote about My Gorgeous New Sandals in June 2014 and that very pair of sandals have lasted right up until this year. They've done so well as I wear them every day during the summer months.

I'd been looking for a pair of Jesus sandals and though they weren't exactly what I wanted, the sole was much thicker than I'd have liked, they were pretty close. They've been a great buy though and they were comfortable and have worn well. As they are now looking beyond their best I decided that I needed a new pair this year so I headed back to Clarks to see if they had something similar. I was disappointed to find that the shop didn't have any similar styles but before I gave up, I checked the website and my luck was in, they had exactly what I was looking for originally four years ago, a pair of Jesus sandals with a flat sole.

They come in black, white and gold so I've gone for black again. I've worn them a few times and they're so comfortable so I ordered a second pair to put away ready for when the first pair wear out.

Do you do that? Do you buy more than one if you find something you particularly like, or do you buy the same thing in different colours so that you've got a choice? I have such a hard time finding comfortable footwear that it makes sense to buy a second pair when I find something which fits well.

I do wish the weather wasn't so changeable at the moment though, one day I'm in my lovely new sandals and the next day I'm back in my hand knitted socks, it just can't make up its mind.

Monday 28 May 2018


We had a walk at Newmillerdam yesterday. It's a while since we've been but we were thinking of somewhere different to walk for a change and came up with this lovely park.

There's a central lake with a surfaced path around it, just under two miles in total. There's some gorgeous rhododendrons at the start of the walk.

As you walk you can see the lake to one side. Across the lake is the Boathouse which was built in the 1820's.

Woodland is to the other side.

Archie was a good boy, no jumping in the lake, but he couldn't resist a paddle to cool down.

It was a lovely day, rather warm but with a nice cooling breeze. The dappled shade that the woodland provides was very welcome.

We're half way around here, looking back to where we started out from.

There's always lots of wildlife on the lake. The park is designated as a local nature reserve and is managed for the benefit of wildlife and people. This family of greylag geese were out for a swim.

Everywhere is so lush at the moment. The rain we had recently, mixed with the warm weather, is making everything grow fast and trees and plants are so green.

I managed to get a couple of photos of Archie. Here you can see that his fur is growing back even though it was cut so short just four weeks ago. It'll need cutting again soon.

Here's Archie sitting down for a change, he doesn't often stand, or sit, still for two minutes when we're out and about so it makes taking photos of him very difficult.

Incidentally, I wrote A Sunday Morning Walk post about Newmillerdam back in 2010 just two months after we got Archie, just look what a little scrap he was then.

An abandoned nest. It's sad to see it lined with so much litter.

On closer inspection, there's an egg.

I think it may be a coot's egg as this little one was swimming around nearby with its parents and two siblings. Awww.

Archie had been for a run at the cricket pitch in the morning so he was worn out by the time we got home, it doesn't take much to tire him out these days.

Friday 25 May 2018

Temple Newsam Rhododendrons

We've been making the most of these warmer days and once Mick gets in from work we've been taking ourselves and Archie off for a nice walk most evenings before we have our tea. Lotherton is a regular haunt but late afternoon on Wednesday we decided to venture to Temple Newsam instead to see the rhododendrons.

I wrote a post about Temple Newsam Rhododendron Walk back in 2012 but I thought you might like to see the flowers again.

It's a stunning sight to see them all in bloom.

There's so much colour about at the moment, even the trees zing at this time of year with their new growth.

The grass in front of the lake looks parched but everywhere else is so green with the odd rhododendron giving a splash of colour on the other side of the water.

There's sometimes donkeys in this field but none on this visit. There's a mass of clover and buttercups though.

It's raining today, I doubt the plants will be complaining as the ground has been so dry that we've been having to water. It's supposed to be nice over the weekend again but in true bank holiday style we're due rain on Monday. If you happen to be in the area I can definitely recommend a visit to Temple Newsam, I think the rhododendrons will be blooming for a few weeks yet but best not to leave it too long.

Tuesday 22 May 2018

A Busy Weekend

Archie enjoying the sunshine on Sunday.

We've always kept Archie's hair quite long, after all, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a long-haired breed, so when we take him to the groomers we ask for the hair underneath to be cut short as otherwise he ends up trailing twigs, leaves and goodness knows what else around in it, but we always ask for the rest of him to be just tidied up. We took him to a new groomer in January as his old one had closed down, she cut him fine so when he was due another trim about three weeks ago we decided to go back there. We explained exactly what we wanted and had every faith that he'd be cut to our satisfaction as he was last time but goodness me, when we went to pick him up my jaw nearly hit the floor. He'd been shaved to within an inch of his life! It took me just a moment to gather my composure and then, as I looked at him again, I decided I liked it. He looked so cute. I'm sure he's felt better having a short coat in the warm weather we've had since too. We've decided that we'll get him cut short again the next time we take him to be groomed. It did feel a little bit like that first baby haircut though, you know when you see your little cherub's curls all scattered on the floor. It's starting to grow back again already so it doesn't stay so short for long.

It was a gorgeous weekend. Mick was supposed to be playing cricket on Saturday but the match was called off as the other side couldn't get a team together so they forfeited the game. I thought I was to have the day to myself to enjoy the royal wedding but that wasn't to be. Instead, I managed to watch the ceremony and then taped the carriage ride as we wanted to get some errands run whilst we had chance.

I've been sorting out all my bedding so I had some old duvets and blankets to take to the Dogs Trust, I think the dogs there are thankful for donations. Of course, I couldn't leave without seeing all the doggies waiting for a home. They have two beautiful, friendly lurchers at the moment, George and Mildred, who I would love to have brought home with me, and they have many other dogs waiting for a forever home too.

We went to the other side of Leeds to a cricket shop as Mick needed some new cricket shoes and cricket pads, goodness, they're expensive! He needed them sooner rather than later though as the strap recently broke on one of his pads and he's been sliding all over the pitch in the shoes he's been wearing.

On the way home we called at the crematorium to take some flowers for my sister. I can't believe it's coming up to nineteen years since she died, it seems like only yesterday in some ways. I still miss her so much. We brought all the little ornaments we leave by her headstone home with us for a wash, we'll take them back the next time we visit.

Later in the day we went out for a meal, nothing special, just a pizza at Bella Italia. We like it there.

On Sunday it was time to get some jobs done around the house and garden but Mick took Archie for a lovely walk in the local woods first before it got too warm. Later in the day we had a drive to Lotherton where we enjoyed an ice-lolly while Archie enjoyed a run.

It was a busy weekend but it was good to get some jobs crossed off the list, we enjoyed a meal out and a lovely walk too.

Saturday 19 May 2018

A New Obsession

I've seen lots of people making blankets out of small squares, some call them scrappy blankets whilst others call them memory blankets, essentially they're made from bits of leftover yarn from other projects. I've resisted starting one myself, up to now that is.

Oh my goodness, what trap have I fallen into? I've made just four squares so far but all I want to do now is add to this blanket.

The squares are quite small, just 8cm x 8cm so I know I'll never have enough leftovers to make a blanket but that's where mini skeins come in. I bought a pack of five when I was at Spring Into Wool last month but I know people swap amongst themselves so I shall be up for a bit of that in the future. Each square only takes about 5g of yarn so you don't need a huge amount. They don't look all that neat at the moment but they should even out when more squares are attached.

So far I've used Third Vault Yarns - Dragon Scales, Laughing Yaffle - Mango Tango, one of the minis I bought in a set from Rosie's Moments, and Fondant Fibre - Amazon Orchid.

I suppose it's a good way to use up all the leftovers, but of course, as with most stash busting projects, I'll end up buying more yarn for it.

What do you do with the leftover yarn you have from a project?

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Blooming May

I love this time of year, not least because the lilac blooms right outside my bedroom window and there's no scent I'd rather the breeze carry into my bedroom.

It's not all about lilac though, there's so much more interest in the garden at this time of year.

Geum - Koi. This is a dwarf variety. I also have Mrs J Bradshaw in my garden, though she isn't flowering yet.

Dicentra Spectablilis or Lamprocapnos Spectablils as it's now known. I prefer its more common name of Bleeding Heart.

Welsh Poppy. These pop up all over the place, they're all self sown. I remove most of them but they're pretty so I allow a few to flower.

Chive. The flowers are only just opening up but once they have, they'll be covered in bees, they love them.

Lily of the Valley. These can be a bit of a thug but they tend to behave themselves in my garden.

Dandelion Seedhead. Who can resist these?

Dandelion. Oops, should have removed those seedheads! The grass is covered in dandelions at the moment even though it was only cut a few days ago.

Daisies. There's still room for plenty of daisies though.

Aquilegia - I bought this one but I also have lots of self-seeded ones.

Saxifraga - Peter Pan. I bought this from the plant shop at RHS Harlow Carr a few years ago to give some extra colour in spring, it certainly does as I'd hoped.

Welsh Poppy Bud. They're so tactile.

Do you have a favourite?

Sunday 13 May 2018

I Said I Wouldn't...

...but I couldn't resist buying more yarn when I saw what Tamiwicolors had on offer.

I've been under the weather this last week. I started last weekend with a sore chest and I thought uh-oh, this is usually the sign that something else is going to develop and sure enough, I've now got a full blown cold and a hacking cough. I shouldn't complain really as I'm not ill very often but I don't make a very good patient when I am.

So, when I stumbled upon Tamiwi's Etsy shop on Monday, feeling very sorry for myself, my defences were down and resistance was futile, I ended up popping three skeins into my online basket. I know, I know, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I was saying I had to use up some of my stash before I bought any more, but I needed cheering up, and cheered up I was when there was a knock on the door yesterday morning and I saw what the postman had delivered.

How quick was that? I only placed the order on Monday evening from an online shop which is based in Germany and it was delivered on Saturday morning.

I'm so happy with all three of my choices, Yellow Primrose, Beth is the pink one and the green one doesn't have a name. These photos don't show them at their best but if you take a look at the online shop, the colours show up much better there.

I went for the Strong Sock range, 75% superwash merino wool and 25% nylon. I don't think it's quite as soft as some other yarn I've bought in the past, it's a little more woolly if you know what I mean, but I'm very happy with it and it was a fantastic price for hand dyed yarn. Tamiwi does sell a Soft Sock base which, I presume, is softer than the Strong Sock and it's still a very good price if that's what you're after.

Attached to Tamiwi's business card was a cute little owl progress keeper which I'll put to good use and a little packet of Haribos was also included in the parcel.

I'm still feeling very ropey today so I shall dose myself up, squish my gorgeous new yarn, and I'm sure I'll feel much better.

Thursday 10 May 2018

Keeping A Journal

I started using this A4 size notebook as a journal back in 2006. I've never been very good at keeping up with diaries, starting out with good intentions to write an entry every day, but I've come to accept that there'll be periods where I'll write something every day for a week and then there'll be a lapse of a few weeks.

I included Keep a journal at number 1 on my 50 Before 50 list hoping that I'd be able to increase the number of entries to a few each week, and though I'm still not quite there, I definitely am writing in it much more frequently.

My blog is a diary of sorts, I like to write about the things I've done or the places I've been, however, I find that I write more personal things about my feelings, fears and anxieties in my journal and it definitely helps me to work through them.

Do you remember my Dear Mum post about the book which Eleanor bought me for Christmas 2013? Dear Mum from you to me - journal of a lifetime.

The idea is that I fill the book in and then pass it back to Eleanor so that she'll have lots of information about my life, my memories and my thoughts.

I've already completed some of the book but I'm making an effort with the rest of it now. There's questions on each page and photos can also be added along the way.

I wish I'd done the same with my mum, it's only when memories begin to fade that you realise they can never be recaptured. Not only would it be a nice thing to have myself but it might have helped my mum to remember some of the things she can no longer recall.

The best thing about keeping a journal for me is being able to read back through the entries years later. I find it really interesting looking back on my hopes and fears from that time and seeing how things have changed, or not as the case may be.

Monday 7 May 2018

The Son-In-Law

I've read and enjoyed books by Charity Norman before but The Son-In-Law had me hooked even before I'd started the first chapter with the transcript of a 999 call to the ambulance service by ten year old Scarlett.

Joseph Scott has killed the wife he loved, and their three children, Scarlett, Theo and Ben, have witnessed it. The story begins as Joseph is released from prison after serving his sentence and his in-laws, Hannah and Frederick, have been bringing up the children.

One would think that the story is about domestic violence but it soon becomes clear that it's more complex when the full events of the fateful night begin to unravel. The book is written from three different angles, Joseph's story, Hannah's story and Scarlett's story with each of them having a different perspective on what's happened.

I liked how the author allowed the story to develop naturally and unfold bit by bit. Certain details made for uncomfortable reading and really made me question what my feelings were towards particular characters, and they weren't all favourable.

I would definitely recommend The Son-In-Law, I've enjoyed every book of Charity Norman's that I've read so far, so much so that I've just downloaded another by this author onto my Kindle.

Friday 4 May 2018

Rip It Up And Start Again

This is all that's left of my Spice Of Life blanket.

I started it back in September 2015 when Sandra from Cherry Heart was running a crochet along and I wrote about it in my Spice Of Life Crochet Along post. Well, as you can imagine the crochet along finished a very long time ago but I lost my mojo with this blanket. I really didn't know whether to force myself to finish it or pull it all out and use the yarn for something else and I asked my readers' opinions in my Stitch Or Ditch? post. You can see how far I got with the blanket in that post too. I got a lot of encouragement to continue with the project and I did, in fact, pick it up and add some more to the blanket but by then it was just too late, I was completely out of love with it and the enjoyment of working on it had been lost. I pulled the lot out.

I'd been running short of yarn for the blanket so I'd bought a few more balls, so I've got five full balls as well as the yarn that's been rewound.

There's also this bag of odds and ends which were left over, and I've just noticed that there's another full ball of the light green in there too.

The yarn is Rico Baby Classic DK, a 50% acrylic 50% polyamide mix, and it's lovely and soft so I definitely intend to do something with it. I think all the odds and ends cry out granny square blanket so I think that's what it will probably become.

Watch this space.