My Photo

I knit, I sew, I run, I look after children, I cook, I complain.  Sometimes all at the same time.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Today you're younger than you're ever gonna be

Portraits of my children once a week, every week, in 2014.

Week 29.

The garden looks a bit like the Somme.  The lawn may never recover.  Hours of fun in about 6 inches of water.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

So I let Crazy take a spin

The Year of Projects runs from July to June, and so I really need a new list.  Last year was partially successful, so I'm going to up the ante this year, and include slightly more projects, plus I'll almost certainly be doing a bit of sewing.

For me:

Finish the Wisteria jumper (not much to go)
Finish the Myrna cardigan (again, shouldn't be too hard)
Finish the other Peacock Mitten in time for winter
A Garter Yoke cardigan in that lovely blue
A Coraline cardigan in either that same lovely blue, or in the other blue I've just impulse bought
A Petrie top with navy and blue stripes
A knitted Coco (no link, because I am going to make it up and channel Tilly)
A pair of socks

For the girls:

Ringo and Elwood mittens in grey and brown
A cardigan for Hattie, probably this one
One of these for each of them
A pair of simple socks each

For Simon:

I am going to reknit one of his unwearably large jumpers.  Either this one or this one.  I was a terrible knitter when I made these, and I'm much, much better at it now.  So now he gets a recycled jumper.
More socks.


Owl Obsession for my new godson
Hexipuff Quilt (I'm aiming to get 250/500 done by the end of June 2015)
The Weather in the Streets (should probably be finished by June)
Finish the bloody Elephants blanket
A blanket for Lucy's 6th birthday, which is in September, so may well be sewn together stripes instead of something knitted

That looks do-able.  Probably.  Come back in a month.

Monday, 14 July 2014

People are just people, they shouldn't make you nervous

On Friday, I went to a party.  It was in Peckham, which involved getting a bus, then a train, then a tube, then another tube, then another bus and then a walk.  It is 16 miles from Ealing and felt more.  I used to live in Canada Water, and it's really, really changed.  I don't think I have pictures from back then, but it looks a bit different now around the station.  A quick google shows me that my flat looks the same as it always did, at least from the outside; the next door flat is on sale for a ridiculous amount of money.

My old flat is on the left, second floor.  Super place to live, and I had a lot of fun living there.

Anyway, I got the 381 down to Peckham, and went to the By Hand London Thank You For Giving Us Money Party, in a lovely little studio near the bus station.  Talking with one of the ladies, Victoria, I found out that their new studio will be in North Acton, and I can practically walk there from work, so I am looking forward to their next party.

There were lots and lots of people there; lots of people I recognised from the internet like her, her and her, and I managed to get over myself and chat away to a lot of them.  Roisin is really very nice indeed, and I wish I'd not been so silly and talked to her earlier.

I wore my terrific Anna dress, the one with the raccoons; Hattie pulls a very similar face when she is concentrating on being naughty.

I don't know what's going on with the camera on my phone; that is a terrible picture.  There is a better one here, and do follow the link as there are 10 of us in the same dress, although each one is different.  The joy of handmade.  

I managed to pull my calf muscle again on the way home; it's those sodding shoes, so no more running in Converse.  Stupid things.  I actually NEED to go for a run, but while I'm hobbling around, it's a very bad idea. It's not as bad as it was the first time, but I'm still wincing going up and down stairs, so I'll try to go out tomorrow.

I'm thinking about a Frozen inspired Anna Maxi dress.  The obsession in our house is not getting any less, although I think I'm the worst of the bunch.  I explained the plot to my mum on Saturday evening, and nearly cried at the end.  To be strictly open and honest, I had been drinking mascara thinner all night, so that didn't help.  

Anyway, Dodgeball is on and I have an empty glass that needs filling.  Four days until the holidays.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

You laugh until you cry, you cry until you laugh

I've missed a few weeks, what with one thing (laziness) and another (too busy).

Week 26:

Lucy at Sports Day.  She is very good at the things that involve following the rules, and not so good at things like running very, very fast.  We are going to work on that. 

Hattie at Sara and Reuben's wedding.  She had a great time, and hasn't taken that cardigan off since.

 Week 27:

I'm not sure this is from the right week, but I can't find a better one.  It's from my strike day; the best bit was when I went to pick up the children and we went for ice cream.  Very expensive ice cream.

Week 28:

Lucy has been doing ballet for a while now, and took 2 exams in May.  She's very young to be doing exams, but actually, she wants to do it properly and they help her focus on what she's doing and why.  I don't force her to do anything she doesn't want to do, and as long as it's making her happy, she can carry on doing it.  Her great friend does Modern dance, so Lucy's been doing it for a few weeks.  She's getting the idea of it.  Next year, both girls are going to be in a show in a professional theatre.  Brace yourselves.

Hattie on the tag-along.  Her legs aren't quite long enough to reach the pedals, and she didn't really enjoy it very much after a few minutes.  Lucy was her age when she started riding on the tag-along, which shows how much taller Lucy was than Hattie.

Portraits of the children once a week, every week, in 2014.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Leslie, no, don't drink that. We use it to burn warts off of the mules!


Apparently, it's been a year since I started the whole "Year of Projects" blogging about knitting and that.  I had forgotten about it as sewing gradually took over my free time and most of my spending on myself budget, and I started writing more and more about non craft things like running and Frozen.

So, here's the list at the end of June.

Wisteria - on hold; but there's not a lot left to do really.
Idlewood - done!
Blue and Grey Socks - done and being worn
Elephant blanket - two stripes still almost finished.  For Hattie's birthday (December) I don't like this much.
Peacock Mittens - found this the other day, it's too hot to think about gloves
Ringo and Elwood mittens - still queued (still want to make them, see above)

Owl Blanket - finished and done
Paper Dolls - finished and done
Peerie Flooers - finished and done
Alphabet Blanket for Noah - done
Granny's a Square Afghan - done

Hexipuff Quilt - 147/500 hexipuffs done (least said, soonest mended)
The Weather in the Streets - done and sewn together up til April.

That is not bad progress really, considering I've made a cardigan for Lucy that wasn't on the list, a couple of other things for my nephew and an entire wardrobe of dresses (5).

I need a new list now, and a new resolution to stick to the plan, and try to write a bit more about the knitting.  I'm going to have to have a bit of a think.


She is a photographic genius.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

You're thinking about something, and it makes you forget to talk

I hate the summer term.  It's nearly the end of the year, but it simultaneously drags and races by.  The days are long and the weeks are short, I suppose, would be the best way to describe it.  Reports, assessments, rewrite reports, format assessments, reformat assessments, cry quietly, try to run on a pulled calf muscle, swear loudly.

We've been busy too.  A social life, who would have guessed it.  A rather fine wedding, where I wore my new Anna dress, and I still haven't got a decent photo of it being worn, drank rather a lot of vodka and danced a lot, ending up with the pulled calf muscle.  I could barely walk on Sunday, but still just about managed to limp round to the pub for lunch.  By the way, if you are in Ealing, the Drayton is not as good as it used to be.  The food is good, but not great for the price - salmon and spinach, roast beef, sausage and mash, twice, orange juice and a diet coke came to nearly £50.  Ridiculous.

I even went out last night too, and I'm going out twice next week.  I don't know how I'll cope with the whole social whirl.  The party on Friday is in Peckham, God only knows how I'll get there, and more importantly, get home. I do not want to drive, as there will be cocktails and dancing and I like both of those things.

There's not a lot left to say really.  I'm overtired and fed up with this term, and really looking forward to the holidays.  That might kick start me into actually writing more.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast

My children, like most other girls under 10, are completely obsessed with this woman and her song.  Hattie likes to roll around the swimming pool singing the chorus over and over again.  She really wants to be Elsa when she grows up, and is looking forward to building her own ice palace and letting all of us go just as soon as she can.  My baby is growing up, and while she sometimes clings on to her babyhood - baby voice, refusing to have adult cutlery or china plates, she's got one eye on the horizon, keen to get a move on with it all.  It makes me a bit sad to think about too much, so I don't.

What I focus on is the whole "fuck it all" selfish liberation aspect of the song.  Let it go, the cold doesn't bother me, I don't care what they're going to say, I never asked to be born, just put up with it.  It's a gateway song to other adolescent shouting songs, and it says volumes about my musical taste that I genuinely love this song, and encourage the girls to sing it whenever they want.  I even love the sexy make-over Elsa gives herself; why not wear practically nothing in the middle of coldest winter in history, I am the SNOW QUEEN.  It's no different to the ripping up of the uniform and writing on school shirts that we did at school - you made me wear this, I'm going to do this to it.  In short, it's very adolescent.

I'm not so keen on the selfishness; after all, Elsa might not mind being cold, but the rest of the kingdom did, and her rejection of the good girl she was expected to be was also a rejection of her sister who only ever wanted to love her and be loved in return.  We talk a lot about the film, analysing it in a very amateurish way; it's Lucy's first introduction to critical thinking, and the film is so different to other Disney princess films, so it provides good contrast.  Lucy is impressed that the girls rescue themselves, and she's starting to understand the message of the film, which is, as I read it, learn to love yourself as you are.

Cleverer people than I have written about the song and the film here and here, and this is a genuinely interesting musicologist's view of the song, which is worth 10 minutes of your time.

In the meantime, plait your hair, slip on your turquoise nightie and belt out the song at the top of your voice.


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Trying to get away, into the night, then you put your arms around me and we tumble to the ground and then you say

Yesterday I ran just as fast as I could, which isn't that fast really, but I kept on doing it until I couldn't anymore, and it turned out that I ran for 4.5 km.  Which is only half a kilometre off my personal best.  It took rather a long time, but I don't care so much about that, it's still 4.5 km.

Earlier in the day, I ate cake, and read this rather silly article on the "My Fitness Pal" website.  Written by someone very fit, who has been running for a long time, and entitled "How to Learn to Like Running".  If you have been doing it for a long time, and you still don't like it, you must be some kind of idiot at best and some sort of sado-masochist at worst.

Anyway, I feel that with my new attitude towards exercise and the great outdoors, I could write something much better than that, and something less contradictory; point 4 - love your alone time, point 5 - run with a friend - proof reader to aisle 6.

How to Learn to Like Running, by a seriously unfit beginner

1. Get an app.  Seriously.  Download the Couch to 5 K programme.  Look at it.  Read through all the weeks, and properly scare yourself.  Close the app, and leave it for a few months.  There's lots of time.

2. Have a very minor health scare.  I'm pre-pre-diabetic.  I'm a bit overweight, and my waist measurement has just dropped from "high risk of heart disease and diabetes" to "risk of heart disease and diabetes"; when I was pregnant with Hat, I had gestational diabetes; last year, I was told that I had lots of plaque on my teeth, which is another weird little pre-diabetes thing; my grandmother has diabetes, my dad is pre-diabetic, I don't want either.  So either stop eating things I like or do exercise.

3. Sign up for a race before you are ready.  Once you start the programme and have done about a week, sign up for a 5k.  Don't do it the next weekend, that's just silly, but do it before you get to the end of the programme, ideally once it tells you that you are capable of running for 25 minutes without stopping.  Or collapsing.

4. Run on your own.  Race with a friend.  Particularly a supportive friend who sees you as a project.  My running friend runs marathons and can do 5km in about three minutes, so she was definitely there for the lunch afterwards.

5. Find your power tracks.  I like Cheated Hearts by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fuck You by Cee Lo Green, Closer by Tegan and Sara, and Like Eating Glass by Bloc Party.  It should be clear that I have a magpie approach to music.  And poor to little taste.

6. Walk sometimes. You are still running faster than the person sitting on the sofa, playing computer games.  It's not a race against anyone else, it's you pushing yourself to do something.

7. Get another app that tracks your distance and time.  Although it can be dispiriting to hear "Time 20 minutes; distance 2.08km; time per kilometre 10.04 minutes".  Shouting FUCK OFF at the top off your voice can help at these points.  NB.  Do not do this when there are people around, unless you don't mind being looked strangely.

8. Buy expensive trainers and work out how much they are costing you per run.  Mine are now only £11 per run.  Buy cheap running clothes.

9. If you don't feel like doing it, don't do it.  It's not compulsory.

10. If you do like it, don't stop.  From looking at the photos of friends of mine who run, I don't think it ever gets easy, but it does get more enjoyable.  I'm actually starting to like it now, and I'm starting to call myself a runner.  Only in my head, but that's where it counts the most. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Camping without beer is just sitting in the woods

Despite this, or perhaps because of this, we went camping this weekend. We didn't go far, just along the M40 to near Henley, to a lovely site near the Icknield Way.  It was basically a field, with a loo block and a couple of showers, and somewhere to wash up, and that was all we needed.  I didn't take many photos because my phone died and the camera died, but I did managed to take a few of the red kites bombing our campsite. Someone was feeding them, which gave us an amazing view, but probably isn't the best thing for the kites.

I did take a few of them dive bombing, but they are appalling.  You can see the colour of sky too.  So gorgeous.  Of course, it was Solstice, so it stayed properly light until about 10, then it slowly got dark until about a quarter to 4, when it was light again.  Fantastic for insomniacs, less so for parents.  Fortunately the girls slept through the dawn, and didn't rise to salute it until about 7.  Simon woke up, and I was only sleeping fairly lightly, so we were all a little bit tired yesterday.  

The other wildlife we saw were 10 ducklings and their mum, some pigeons, a load of rabbits, two ponies and a moth.  We were hoping to see either a hedgehog or a bat, but it wasn't dark enough early enough for any of us, even though we went for a stroll along the Icknield Way for about ten minutes.  The girls are not great walkers.  Yet.

We completely inadvertently were taken part in the RSPB and Project Wild Thing's Big Wild Sleep Out.  I only found out about it via Twitter, and we weren't doing it officially.  Still, it was great fun, and I'll send the RSPB a tenner too. Next year, we'll do it properly.

Anyway, the camping was great fun, even though I forgot to bring my jumper.  I wasn't cold in bed, my Mock Crocs and thick socks made me look like a recently escaped inmate from an open prison for the terminally confused, and despite the wee-d in sleeping bag (not mine) dyeing the washing a funny shade of yellow, a good time was had by all.  Our next camping trip next month, and we're heading to the Isle of Wight.  I'm genuinely looking forward to it.  I've even made a "camping" tag.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Whoever said orange is the new pink is seriously deluded

Hnnngh.  A couple of weeks of the 52 project.

Week 24:

Hattie's first ballet lesson.  She is a natural.  Do not think of this:

Lucy part way through another mammoth bike ride.  We cycled from West Ealing to Syon Park and back again.  That is 15 kilometres.  She did very well.  

Week 25:

Hattie at the Henley adventure playground. Faster mummy, make it spin more.  She wasn't sick, despite the enormous ice cream immediately before this.

Lucy learning to row.  Surprisingly, she wasn't very good at it.  I had to crop this photo, after my friends on Facebook pointed out the unflattering angle of Simon's legs.  The world is not yet ready for that picture.

Portraits of my children once a week, every week, in 2014.