Saturday, 27 August 2011


Oooops.  I seem to have fallen off the blog wagon for a bit.  Life has been a whirlwind and while I've really been enjoying having the kids at home, I seem to get to the evenings, which is when I usually do my blog posts, and find that it's all I can do to lift my wine glass to my lips I'm so tired.  So hey ho, apologies for the quiet and I've just got my fingers firmly crossed that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
So anyhoo, how do you like the pixie wings in the pic above?  No self-respecting girl can go to a festival and not wear wings, apparently...  I resisted the urge, but I did spend rather a large amount of time in my wellies, which are yellow - does that count?
Now, rather than try to summarise what's been going on over the past week or so, which frankly would take me about three days, I'm just going to share with you three stories on a similar theme.
1) The dress
This incident occurred at the Just So festival and it made me chuckle to myself because it seemed to sum up the whole thing so well (well, that and the fact that I was hideously sleep deprived at the time, which might have had something to do with my hilarity).  Anyway, I was waiting outside one of the toilet blocks when a little girl came down the steps to her mum, who was waiting next to me.  'Oooh' said the mum 'do you want to take your dress out of your knickers, darling?'  'No'.  'Uh, okay then.'
2) Pizza
This again took place at the festival.  Picture the scene: Mr N and middle are in the 'foodie' part of the festival, ordering a pizza for our dinner.  Once they placed the order, the woman serving said that there was about a 20 minute wait and so she'd call them when their pizza was ready.  She then asked them what name she should put on the ticket so that she'd know who to call when it was done; to which middle replied: 'Maloney.  Knickers Maloney.'
3) The toll bridge
The journey home from my mum's in Dorset involves a rather scenic trip through a gorgeous village called Bathampton, which has a tiny toll bridge that we need to cross in order to get to the M4.  For reasons best known only to himself, and probably mainly because he's an eight-year-old boy, big had decided to take his trousers off in the car when we left my mum's house.  As we approached the toll bridge he became a bit concerned that the man collecting the money would see that he was sitting there in his pants, so after a big old fuss he put a pillow over his legs to protect his modesty.  Mr N, hilarious wag that he is, pretended to shout out of the window that 'my son's not wearing any trousers.  He's sitting here in his underwear.  Come and see my son in his undercrackers etc etc.'  To which big calmly wound down his window, stuck his head out, looked at the man collecting the toll money and said 'my dad's wearing knickers today'.  I'm still not sure how I managed not to crash the car.
I'd like to pretend that the subject of bottoms and underwear gets less hilarious the older you get, but actually, I don't really think it does, does it?
Middle and I made a few little essential snack items to take with us to Just So, including the amazing rocky road from my new Avoca cook book (was delicious - yum yum).  And what did I do with the left over marshmallows?
Why, I put them in a jam jar and tied them up with greaseproof paper and a pink ribbon, natch. x

Sunday, 14 August 2011

That was the week that was

Well hello there, lovely ladies, and how are you all?  I am making a quick bloggy pit-stop in between bouts of frenzied activity of one sort or another.  As I type I am licking jam from my fingers (makes it tricky to type properly when your fingers stick to the key pads, you know) having just spent a very happy hour or so making greengage jam from fruit picked by me and my gang from my gran's garden (the garden of flowery loveliness, you may remember).  Greengages are one of my all-time favourite fruit and I am pleased to report that after our recent picking session, the boys are converted to their sweet loveliness too.  If this jam works out well, I will be writing a post about my efforts (once the jars have cooled sufficiently for me to label them and put little crinkly hats on them ready for their photography session - can't have naked jars on my blog, that simply wouldn't do).  However, if the jam fails to set properly, I will never mention it again in my shame and will have to live in the hope that you will get collective amnesia and forget I ever mentioned it.  Fingers crossed...
Anyhoo, the eagle-eyed among you may have spotted those rather intriguing-looking circles at the top of my post and be wondering what they are all about.  So, with a small drum roll and slight nod of the head, I present you with the first official glimpse of my summer hols blanket.  Dunh duuuuunh:
Yeah babeeeeey, I LOVE this blanket.  This is not a blanket to be used as an accessory for pirate-related activities (a la springtime throw).  No sireee, this is MY blanket and it will be treated with due respect, or there will be serious talking-tos going on, and maybe even a bit of sitting on the bottom step.  And I haven't even finished it yet.  Don't let them say they haven't been warned...
So the past week has seen a bit of jam-making, a bit (a lot) of crochet, a bit of this:
Oh god, please don't drop them...
A bit of this:
quite a lot of this:
Oh yes, bun-bun comes in three different shades - no colour discrimination in this house...
And the final, rather thrilling thing, that happened this week was this:
Ooooh, open this one first, mummy
My amazing giveaway presents.  Thank you so, so much Catherine, I love them all and can report that the chocolate was most delicious - a little thank you will be winging its way to you soon. 
Right-ho, must dash, my next bout of frenzied activity involves packing an excessive amount of bunting and a big box of wine for our trip to the Just So Festival on Friday.  Eeeeeekkk!!!! x

Sunday, 7 August 2011


Aaah, more of my lovely sweetpeas.  When I was pregnant with baby n, the smell of these used to make me barf and every other year I've tried to grow them, I've managed to kill them (how?) so I am completely, disproportionately thrilled that I have managed to keep these ones alive and not throw up every time I walk past them.  Happy days indeed.
Here's a thing: I have gone so completely crazy making my new summer hols blanket that my hands actually ache as I'm typing.  Jeez - a crochet-related injury - does that make it a sport?  Olympic crocheting anyone?  Well, yes please, that would be great; but I'd only participate because Olympic sports are no longer done naked as they were originally (I know about the naked thing because I watched Horrible Histories every day for the entire Easter holidays with the boys).  I have the missing blue yarn in my sweaty mitts now, though the second mint-coloured ball that I ordered from eBay has yet to arrive (cue panic attack).  Just to say a really huge 'thank you' to all you lovely, lovely bloggers who offered to bail me out in the missing-mint-yarn-nightmare.  I really appreciate your kindness and I've tried to contact you all to say thanks, but Linds I can't get in contact with you for some inexplicable reason, so I'm sorry - I have been trying!
So today has been a ploddy, domestic kinda day, which is always great.  I sneaked in a little, tiny quiet moment in bed this morning feverishly working away on my new blanket before I was rumbled and the child-menagerie came and jumped on my head.  (Ha ha, I say 'moment' but in actual fact it was more like an hour and a half.  How brilliant is that?  I love my husband quite a lot, he's so good at containing the mayhem so I'm left in peace...)  We took the kids to the park this afternoon after a long and heated debate about which park we should go to - I won the argument and we got to go to the one with the massive death slide, which I absolutely love.  Mwah ha ha!  This park also has the added appeal of being next to a huge field with goal posts in it, so the boys weren't too disappointed that I forced them to go there.  
I got a little bit excited when I saw these:
(They were transported home in a poo bag that I filched from a passing dog-walker.  Needs must...)
I got even more excited thinking about what calorie-laden delight I was going to make with them.
This did the trick:
Mr N actually blanched at the size of the portion I gave him, but I noticed he didn't actually leave any.  Pig. x
PS - we're off to sunny Dorset for a few days tomorrow so a) if you're a burglar, remember the thing about the hungry, slavering Rottweiller: and b) I may be a bit absent on the blogging front for a while, sorry; and c) if you're Cuckoo, lock all your doors because I know where you live and I'm coming to get myself a crochet hook roll...

Thursday, 4 August 2011

A ta-dah and a plea for yarn

Well, lookie's a completed African flowers make.  Yippeeee!
Yep, it's done and dusted (and you thought all I'd been doing lately was spreading paint around the place).  This was a funny old project - I plunged into it in my usual 'feet first, engage brain later' way - I bought the yarn solely on the basis that I loved the colours and it was half price, then got it home and thought 'uuuuhhhhmm.  Okaaaay.  I wonder what happens now, then?'  Then I found the pattern for the African flowers (here) and fell head over heels in love with it; and before I knew it, I had a pile of hexagons and still not a clue what the heck to do with them!  I kept scratching my head thinking 'hmmm, maybe a bag?  Or what about a baby blanket?  Right, erm, I could make a....'  You get my drift?  But in a moment of un-inspired clarity I decided to make a cushion.  And here it is:
Oh, hang on, the crochet ninja's getting in on the act again...
And I'm jolly pleased with it too.  It's lovely and soft, and it's also squishy, and I do really, truly love the colours, and those little hexagons are a dream to make - I thoroughly recommend making them (though perhaps with a little more purpose than I had while I made mine).  
So there you have it: my African flowers cushion.  Ta-dah!
So, on the 'what's in the pipeline' front we have, firstly:
this rather sweet, but slightly un-loved child's rocking chair that I was given by a lovely lady that I used to work for.  My plans involve a lick of paint (even as I write those words I'm thinking 'whaaaat MORE painting?  Noooooooooo') and this stripy little beauty (oh, that looks suspiciously like another cushion in the making):
At the rate I'm going, the children will be afraid to sit down and watch television for too long for fear that I might decide to give them a lick of paint too - nothing in our sitting room is safe from me and brush.  Actually, thinking about it, even the thought of being covered in white eggshell probably isn't enough to impel my boys to get off the sofa and actually do something.  It might actually do some good for baby n, however; it would cetainly cover up the muck at the very least:
Hmmmm - what do you get if you cross a Calippo that's been taken out of its tube with a very dusty play park?  Sticky little toes, natch...
And the second, even more exciting thing in the pipeline involves this (just brace yourselves, how much excitement can you take in one blog post?):
Now, here's something I learned when I ordered this yarn: it's hard buying yarn on the internet if you haven't seen it in the flesh previously.  I couldn't see the colours grouped together when I ordered them, and I saw immediately I opened the package that a) the greeny colour is just wrong and b) I need more blues.
Anyhoo, I placed another little order and now have these lovely colours to play with.  And you want to know what I'm going to make?  Why, it's another blanket that's tickling my fancy.  This one is for my new-look sitting room (the springtime throw has now been relegated to the kitchen sofa - it just wouldn't look right with the grey walls, you know).  I wanted to make it with cotton, but couldn't justify buying Rowan yarn (though it is my absolute favourite), so I thought I'd give Rico creative cotton a whirl.  I bought it from this website here and I can thoroughly recommend them as their service has been very quick and friendly.  They did slightly mess up my order and sent me four balls of one colour and none of another, but when I told them about it, they were great and immediately sorted it out for me.  So I have another shade of blue to add to the collection above, but at least I've got enough to be getting on with (me and my instant gratification).  
And this is where my plea for yarn comes in (please don't have fallen asleep by this point, I know this is a waffly old post - I did warn you that my mojo's deserted me).  The mint colour has been discontinued and they only had one ball left and I need two!!!   Eeeeeek.  Does anyone have any of the mint colour knocking about, that I could have?  Pleeeeeease.  I will pay for the yarn, I will pay for the postage, I will write lovely things about you on my blog, and karma will surely repay for your kindness.... x

Monday, 1 August 2011

Hurrah, for I shall paint no more

So, I know I usually do my crochet update at the end of the month, but this month I thought I'd really rock the boat and NOT do one.  I know, hold onto your hats...
Most of my energies over the past week or so have been focused on this:
Aaaah, happy sigh - look: it's my new-look fireplace (as opposed to New Look fireplace).  Decorating this room has been a beast.  It's taken me the best part of a week and we've been living with the television on the dining room table, books all over the place (thanks to the relocation skills of baby n, who's obsessed with them) and paint spread liberally and randomly throughout the house;'s do-one!  yippeeeeee.  I had a major wobble re the colour the second day of painting, but now I absolutely love it.  Deeply, deeply love it.  I know I'll find it very hard to even let the children in the door at first for fear that they might smear, scratch or otherwise sully its pristine beauty, but for a couple of days at least I can sit and feel proud of my lovely new sitting room.  But here's a teeny, tiny confession: while I'm not the most enthusiastic cleaner at the best of times, I'm certainly not a slob by any means - I'm somewhere in the middle of the spectrum with Kim and Aggie at one end and squatters at the other - but when I moved the sofas, I was somewhat startled to see a big, flashing neon sign saying 'welcome to spider-land, we hope you enjoy your visit'.
And who knew that spiders pooed so prolifically?  Ew.  Ew.  Ew
Oh goodness, if you look very closely at that picture, you can see that Dr Who seems to have magically appeared in my sitting room.  Perhaps he's heard how fabulous and spider-free it is now...
And on a completely other note, I have finally got round to thinking of my seven 'interesting' facts for the award that Fluff Pot and Dinki Dots kindly bestowed on me recently.  You ready? 
1) I've got a piece of pencil lead embedded in my finger.  I've had it since I was about seven and I still can't for the life of me think why my mum didn't dig it out with a needle in the style of a splinter-removal.  Oooh, I've just remembered that I've got a bit of glass embedded in my heel too - this is as a result of getting into the car barefoot just after Mr N had broken the windscreen by rear-ending someone when we lived in NZ.
2) I secretly long to be able to make myself invisible in the manner of a super hero.  How brilliant would that be? 
3) I am absolutely, properly terrified of drowning.  No idea why, I've never had any bad experiences in the water - but if I can't either see or touch the bottom, I have a full-on panic attack, which really isn't my usual style at all.  I had an incident in South Africa involving me in a bikini, a waterfall, a panic attack and several bystanders.  Humiliation means nothing to me when it comes to my fear of water.
4) I let people intimidate me too easily.  It drives me bananas.  I can feel myself coming over all intimidated and then I get annoyed with myself for letting them do it to me, and that just makes it worse.  Grrrrr
5) The most precious non-human things to me are my silver bracelets.  I have seven of them and I never take them off.  Each one has been given to me by one of my best people and I love them beyond all reason.
6) Certain words are guaranteed to make me smile.  Egg, for example.  Just brilliant. Other words make me squirm - like 'pamphlet'.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.
7) I have had recurring toilet-related dreams all my adult life, especially when I'm not very happy.  Sometimes I find myself sitting on the loo and realise that there are no walls and I'm in full view of the whole world with my knickers round my knees; other times I am in a huge building and just can't find a toilet; and other times there are hundreds of loos but they're all so bad that I can't bear to use them.  (I really, really hope none of you are psychologists...)
On a confessional note again: I've really been feeling like I've lost my blogging mojo lately.  I don't know why, there's no particular reason, but I just can't seem to get into the whole 'writing my usual drivel' mode at all.  I've got so much to talk about, especially on the crochet-front, but I just can't seem to get my head around actually writing about it all.  Blah. 
Having said that, something rather exciting and blog-related did happen to me today: I won a giveaway!  I know, I can hardly believe it.  Thank you so much Catherine, this couldn't have happened at a better moment, you've really put a smile on my face.  I am soooo looking forward to receiving a rather exciting parcel and I promise I will do a proper post about it when it arrives.  (Pfftt - I just typed 'abou tit' then - snort, snort).
And with that, I will love you and leave you.  Fingers crossed for the speedy return of the elusive mojo x