Sunday, 28 April 2013


A portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2013.

Two photos from last week.

Lucy at a party last Sunday, which is cheating a bit, I suppose.  She was Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and the "big girls" who were there did face-painting, or the ever popular "drawing butterflies on over-excited four year olds cheeks."

Hattie helped me with the gardening.  She used her digging stick and everything.  Absolutely filthy.  But, as she said, "Me dig a hole right here, Mummy".  Thank heavens for washing machines.

Friday, 26 April 2013

WIP Friday

My current favourite WIP is not the green socks started in South Africa, or Lucy's small socks, or the Very British Killing Jumper, or the Paper Dolls jumper, or the Owls Blanket for Hattie, or the Hexipuffs Blanket, or even the Pink and Purple socks, it is the Alphabet Blanket for my friend's baby due in May.

It's a lace job in the pattern, but I don't do lace, so I've made it using intarsia and lots of colours, and so far it looks great, and I'm actually really enjoying it.

Looking at the list of WIPs makes me feel a bit tired.  Pass the wine.

For those who like this sort of thing: Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo, 7 colours - pale blue, purple, turquoise, red, blue, royal purple and orange; 3.5mm wooden circular needles, pattern from Debbie Bliss The Baby Knits Book.

Thursday, 25 April 2013


It's been Spring here in London for a couple of days.  The weekend was absolutely glorious, and I took the girls to Syon Park Garden Centre for an outside lunch.  As a reward for relatively good behaviour, they had an ice cream.  This is because we are British, and, at the first sight of the sun, we strip off and try to pretend we are used to all this warmth.

Let's hope the weather lasts.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sausage and Spinach Pie

While we were in South Africa, one thing impressed me very much.  Many Afrikaner men do NOTHING in the home.  Nothing.  Not cleaning, not laundry, not washing up, not looking after the children, nothing.  Mind you, the women don't seem to do a huge amount either, they all seem to have a maid to do the dull bits for them, allowing them to concentrate on running errands (drinking coffee and going to the mall).  It was like stepping back into The Diary of a Provincial Housewife, where all she has to do is complain about the lack of staff and force some hyacinths.  This is a life I would dearly love to have for a very short amount of time; I love pottering, shopping with other people's money and meeting friends for coffee.  I know that after about a week it would drive me to distraction, and we wouldn't be able to afford the cleaner, or a Nursery or preschool for Hattie, or to shop at Waitrose, or to buy wool, so it remains a dream for the meantime.

During the holiday, Simon, who is not an Afrikaner, thank goodness, did all the cooking.  He claimed that this was because he wanted to give me time with my grandmother, but having spent the last night cooking chops, I know that the lovely peace in the kitchen while the children rampaged around outside was just as important.  Now we're home, I'm going to try to cook more often - I have shelves of cookery books that are untouched from one year to another, so tonight I have dusted off "How to Be a Domestic Goddess" and made a sausage and spinach pie.  It is cooking at the moment, and hopefully won't collapse like a fainting maiden when I take it out of the oven; I forgot to make a steam hole, which might lead to disaster later.  Skinning sausages, which is a key part of the preparation, is a disgusting job - it makes me feel like a mortician.  

Well, it turned out nicely in the end and was very tasty too.  Shame it had a soggy bottom.

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Year of Projects

Now that the holiday is over and I'm back at work and back at home, I'm starting to think about my knitting more and more.  It's a great distraction from the other things I should be thinking about, and conveniently takes up lots of time.

I joined the Year of Projects Ravelry group back in February, and have already slipped from what I was planning to do, not because the projects are boring, but because I didn't give them enough thinking time.

The list looks a bit like this:

Rusted Root - the first six inches looked dreadful, and I don't really want an asymmetric bust, so swapped it out
Hedgehog Mittens - still yarn
Starburst Flower Blanket - still yarn (unbought)
Idlewood - still yarn
Owl blanket - half way through the main body of the blanket, put down as too addictive
The Killing Jumper - going to be joining the sleeves at some point, exciting!
Hexipuff Quilt - keeps on growing steadily, but will be swapped out as I honestly don't think it will be finished until Winter 2014
Paper Dolls jumper - meh
Vine Yoke cardigan - done
Skyfall socks - done

I think I am going to swap in an Alphabet Blanket for a little boy due next month, and an Elephant Blanket of some description for a little person due in September/October.

It's all rather exciting really.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013"

They are my husband's children, and like nothing more than messy around in a hammock.  Another picture from our Cape Town trip, this time from a wonderful farmer's market on the Route 44 out of Strand towards Stellenbosch.  Called rather unimaginatively "root 44", it was a bit like a mini-festival - lots for the children to do, street food without having to go out onto the street, and nice things to buy.  I got myself a rather wonderful, and definitely grown up, handbag, and Simon bought a belt.

Shame the holiday is over now; next week's picture will be them slumped in front of the TV watching endless bloody Disney princesses in the pouring rain.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A bit like Iceland

We spent a few days in a small town called Montagu, about 2 and a half hours drive from Cape Town.  We've been there before when the unending bloody wind in Strand drives us away, and usually it is glorious - sunny, calm, no wind, hot pools, lots of braais, eating outside, getting brown.  This time it was wet, a bit miserable and acutally quite cold.  We stopped on our way there to buy provisions, and I had to buy the girls and I leggings and tracksuit tops just to get them to walk outside the car.  Still, it wasn't all bad.

[For some reason, I can't upload photos from the laptop, so picture me and the girls in a hot pool with the rain lashing down behind us and the steam rising from the pool like smoke]

We travelled up via the Huguenot tunnel, where we normally see baboons, but they are wiser than people and were hiding in their caves in the heaviest downpour I've been in for a long time.  Before going into the tunnel, we could barely see out of the windows, the rain was so heavy and the sky so dark.  Wonderful.

We did see baboons coming back, a whole troupe of them, a big alpha male and female, a whole bunch of babies from teeny tiny clinging to their mothers' backs to tussling teenagers, and all the rest of the family too.  There must have been 12 or 15 of them, just sitting by the side of the road minding their own business.  The Franschoek Pass is amazing, the view is breathtaking into the valleys on either side, and down into the town.  I don't remember having been on it before, so it was very exciting. 

We're coming home on Saturday.  I really, really don't want to, despite the dreadful wind and the rain. 

WIP Wednesday (Thursday edition)

I'm making Lucy a pair of socks.  This is a first for me; I haven't made children's socks before, and I've never made a pair of toe up socks either.  So, of course, toe up children's socks started in the middle of nowhere with no internet access made perfect sense. 

Actually, they've turned out pretty well, and I'm very pleased with them.  The annoying thing is that I would have been able to have a pair if I hadn't attempted to make two pairs of adult socks as well out of the two balls of pink and orange sock yarn I brought with me.  As it is, I am a tantalising 3g short for Lucy's socks, and need about another 10g for the adult socks - they are striped, so take much less of the secondary colour; I've had to buy a third ball, which may well be delivered by the time we get home on Sunday.  I've already had an order for a similar pair from Hattie (where me sock go?), so that'll be my job next week.  Good thing they've got small feet really.

These two weeks have been very productive, sock wise. 

For people who are interested: I used Regia Sock Yarn, 4 fadig, colourway Crazy Chris and 2.75mm DPNs.  I didn't use a pattern (get me) but started the toe as if it were a Hexipuff, and then just knitted until it fitted her foot, and then made a short row heel.  There are 25 rounds on the leg, and then 10 rounds of ribbing.  I used the Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off to make sure that she could actually wear them, and would probably been better off waiting to do that when I had internet access to check how to do it, as it looks a tiny bit ropey.  Oh well.  Lucy absolutely loves them. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013".  And for once, on the right day.  Hurrah for Africa time.

The girls are having a marvellous holiday here; they love the space and the sunshine and having both of us around all, but all, of the time. Mind you, the sunshine has been conspicuous by its absence today, which is irritating, but we don't come here just for that.

The pictures today are family ones , which may or may not count, but I don't care.  They were taken on top of Table Mountain, where the visibility was amazing, and we all got a bit sunkissed, and we were all amazed for the billionth time by the exquisite, unique beauty of the Cape. 

I know I'm priviledged, I know how lucky I am and I am grateful. More grateful than I can express in words.  

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

WIP Wednesday

Socks.  Not officially part of my year of projects, but the best I can do in the car. 

They are not a pair.  I know that.

Two WIPs in one post - economical!

the best part of life it seems

Coming here is as familiar, comforting and lovely as being at home; a sort of home plus, if you like, with better weather, more expensive internet, worse tv and a powerful, emotional connection.

So here are some photos.

How can you not love it?

Monday, 1 April 2013


It's becoming a bit of a refrain, "I don't know where this week's gone, it's all going so fast, what's happening to the time" and all that, but it's true, I have no idea where the weeks go at the moment.

We're keeping Africa time now, so things are settling down a bit; I probably won't be updating this that often for the next two weeks, I'm meant to be on holiday.

This snap is from the flight here, just before we left.  The girls were very well behaved on the flight and slept as well as can be expected.  We didn't sleep too well, but we weren't really planning on doing so - we've caught up now and are just normal levels of tired.  Let's hope that the horrible gale force winds blow themselves out soon, and the rain goes away - we do not come here to be rained on.

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013", even if sometimes it's a bit late.