Sunday, 23 April 2017

A Quick Reading Update!

My Goodreads Reading Challenge was off to such an incredible start in January, but has since dropped off of the radar due to crochet commitments! It has taken me 3 months to finish one book (which was about 400 pages long) which is sooo long for me!

I finally finished The Book Thief a few days ago, and I bloody loved it. The first quarter really didn't do much for me, but it really picked up after that and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even shed a little tear at the end! Definitely one I would recommend to everyone, and advise them to persevere! I have since moved onto something a little different, and not the kind of book that I would usually opt for - So You've Been Publicly Shamed.

I first heard about this book a couple of years ago on Radio 2, during an interview with the author. I thought it sounded interesting, so downloaded it onto my Kindle and it's sat there since. Whilst scrolling through my "to-read" list the other day, looking for something shorter and not too challenging (after my epic 3 months with The Book Thief) I chose to give it a go, and was not disappointed! I have just reached the halfway mark, and am absolutely loving it! I'll let you know what I think in detail, once I have finished.


I am currently 1,168 pages into my 2017 challenge, which isn't too bad. My all-time page record for one year goes to 2013 though, with 7,065 pages read. Hoping to try and get past that this year, but we shall see what happens. I am 3 (excellent) books into my year, and halfway through my 4th.

From a crochet perspective, I have just two more large flags to make for my 12m of bunting! Then I will start on the rest of the small flags, before the small task of assembling it all. I'm feeling really positive about it all, to be honest! I think it'll look fab on the day. As always, I am constantly adding to my crochet to-do list...it's absolutely never ending. I'm hoping to crack on with some amigurumi again once I get my bunting out of the way though. Watch this space!

That's all for now; had a busy weekend and am back to work tomorrow. Will catch up again soon!

Week 16

Birthday baking!

16th - 23rd April

From left to right: Beauty & The Beast on my birthday, apple blossom in the garden, watching the local steakhouse go up in flames, one of the lovely gerberas in my birthday bouquet from Sarah, clean sheets, making brownies for work colleagues, little bro treated me to breakfast, filling up my bird feeders, and raspberry traybake - yummy!

Week 15

Frodo, food and fragrance!

9th - 16th April

From left to right: the My Little Pony that I gave my brother for his birthday, green cooking, dissecting a hot cross bun (raisins are disgusting), my fritillary is still going strong, received a card identical to our lounge art, one of Mum's bumblebees (for the wedding bunting), the start of an epic Lord Of The Rings (extended edition!!) marathon, Kelly's birthday presents all wrapped and ready to go, and a lovely Candleberry candle from my colleague Kara!

Week 14

Lovely friend time!

2nd - 9th April

From left to right: daffodils from my lovely colleague Helen, Dave has put my birds up in the garden, stained glass biscuits, pretty melted wax reflections, transplanting primroses, yummy Indian sweets from one of the doctors at work, Kirsty's hen party, our new Aloe Vera work pet - "Arfa", and my best friend and I!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Cluck Cluck!

After months and months of preparation, yesterday was the day of Kirsty's hen party! Right from the start of planning, Kat (a bridesmaid and amazing helper) and I wanted to make it really special. We came up with lists of things that Kirsty enjoys, and eventually settled on a Mad Hatter's Tea Party (she loves Disney and afternoon tea) and a crafting session (she loves to cross stitch).

I arrived at our venue, Holton Lee, really early to start setting up. Faith House doesn't need much doing to it, and there are stunning views out across the fields and Poole Harbour - we were super lucky to have amazing weather as well!

Party bags!

I came loaded with decorations and the party bags I have been assembling over the last few months. I wanted to go for a balance between tacky stuff you'd receive in a kids party bag, and grown up. I think the balance worked out ok!

I purchased the bags from The Favour Factory, after lots of searching! I love the customised labels! Each party bag then contained sweets (love hearts, lollies, Haribo etc), customised "Kirsty's Hen Party" chocolates, miniature wands and tiaras, bubbles, wish bracelets, balloons, and straws. Kirsty's had a large tiara and wand (pictured), a "grow your own male stripper" and a "bride to be" sash. I am really pleased with how these turned out!

On the decorations front, I had a load of paper bunting, giant Alice in Wonderland card props, honeycomb baubles, a "bride to be" banner, and a ton of balloons. Once Kat arrived, she brought more bits and bobs, and we got the venue looking pretty good inside and out.

Our Mad Hatters Tea Party took a lot of work - I baked some (rubbish) biscuits, Kat bought lots and we had some amazing baking help from Kirsty's mother-in-law-to-be Ilse. We set up the tea in the room adjoining our crafting room (I'll share pics of that later!).


For our jewellery making session, we had a lady named Cara from Crafts & Giggles come to us. All of the supplies are included and we got to make a few different items! Kirsty made earrings to match her dress, which looked fab. We all got a little bag and box to put our finished jewellery into as well, so people got to go home with 2 party bags in the end!

My finished earrings and bracelet

After our crafting session, we moved on to our tea party. The room looked awesome. It's usually used as a quiet room for kids with autism and is totally decked out in silver birch trunks - it's really unusual! The second Kat and I saw it when we visited the venue, we knew we needed to use it for the food.


Kat and her friend supplied all of the crockery and cake stands (except the tall one, which was card and bought online), along with the table cloths and champagne flutes.


The overall effect looked so good, and it definitely had a wow factor as you entered the room. The cakes were all absolutely delicious as well (Ilse did us proud).

After our tea, we cracked out some hen party games - lots of rudeness and silly things! I'm not 100% on my reading audience here so I'll refrain from pictures, but rest assured we had a really good laugh - willy hoopla was my personal favourite! We got to lounge outside in the sun a bit as well, so that's always a bonus.

My beautiful best friend and I

Next up was a trip to the pub for refreshments! A few of us went for some drinks, before disbanding for a little while and meeting up again for a much needed curry at Taj in Corfe Mullen! Indian food is always a winner in my books, and the food was absolutely fantastic. Only Kirsty was actually drinking as the rest of us had to drive, but the staff supplied us with two bottles of wine and some shots to end the night with - it was a lovely gesture!


All in all it has been a thoroughly exhausting, but very rewarding process. I've put countless hours into the planning of it, and everything ran pretty smoothly! I think everyone had a good time - Kirsty says she did, so that's all that really matters to me really. So now we begin the countdown to her big day on the 13th May! Only a few weeks to go before she becomes Mrs Kelly! So exciting!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Week 13

Unlucky for some!

26th March - 2nd April

From left to right: a foxy visitor, blossom in the garden, pepperoni pizza, discovered the real use for car cup holders, my bleeding heart is blooming!, our first RSVP for the wedding - thanks Karen and Mark!, dark skies overhead, quiet reading time, and a robin at the garden centre =)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Springing To Life

Happy April! I can't believe this year is flying by so quickly!

Had a quick mooch around the garden this afternoon and am so thrilled with how some of our plants are coming along. Just look!


I'm absolutely beaming about my bleeding hearts having come back so well. It's the first time I've grown them, and when they died down for Winter, I was so worried they wouldn't come back. But a few weeks ago I noticed some shoots, and the plant is already flowering like mad! It adds such a gorgeous splash of colour, to what otherwise is a pretty dark and dreary corner under our camillia bush. Speaking of which, look top right and check out one of the beefy blooms we have on that at the moment! Our camillia never fails to impress me each year (the only annoyance is all the petals it throws everywhere when it's done flowering!). Surprise of the day is an appearance made by my snakes head fritillary! I thought this plant had died after I transplanted it to the "wild" garden, as it didn't show it's face last year. Low and behold, there it is! I adore these flowers - they're so unusual. Definitely going to buy some more fritillary plants now that I know they do ok up there. And last, but not least, our plum tree has started blossoming. There is something so gorgeous about fruit tree blossoms! I'm impressed that the camera on my phone picked up the detail here, actually!

So everything is coming along swimmingly! Dave mowed the lawn for the first time of the year last weekend, so that is looking loads better as well (though he did nearly chop his toes off in doing so!). The weather is improving each week and I'm loving being able to sit out in the garden with my books again.

Speaking of books, I am way behind with my 2017 reading challenge! It started so well, but then I got distracted with making my bunting, and lost the thread of what I was reading. However, I am now finding a bit more time for reading so will hopefully manage to catch up with my challenge again. Currently open on my kindle is The Book Thief, which I am about 50% of the way through at the moment. I didn't really enjoy the start, which is why I think I have put it down a lot, but it's definitely grown on me. Not sure what will be next on my list (perhaps an actual physical book?) but I'm hoping I get my reading mojo back soon.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend, and a good start to April! My brother is coming over for breakfast in the morning, so I'm looking forward to seeing him. Then some more chilling out - I've been stressing over Kirsty's hen do (which is next weekend - aaaaahhhh) so I really need some quiet "me time". Also hoping to have another BBQ tomorrow afternoon, with some luck!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Week 12

Sunny spring days!

19th - 26th March

From left to right: posting wedding invitations, our engagement roses are looking good, first BBQ of the year, a peek into the bunting flower bag, a pretty peacock butterfly in the garden, back to flags, Bailey and his woodpecker, my lounge is filled with roses this week, and Pat gave me my Easter eggs!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Back To Flags

Since putting together my first 5m at the weekend, I have regressed back to making bunting flags again and have put in a little yarn order to top up my supply of certain colours! It's going well and I have already created enough of the yellow/orange large flags to finish my first bunting garland and also for my second. I just have the small ones to do, and yellow/orange shall be finished! That's a little way off yet though. Have now started on my lemon/lime flags, and have made a couple today so that's heading in the right direction! I do absolutely love the pattern and how quickly each piece seems to come together. It's also a really nice, easy size for me to take to work and do on my lunch break - even just half an hour of stitching is better than nothing at all!

My second bag of pearl buttons has arrived (these are a slightly larger size) so I should be able to start attaching flowers to garland #1 now. To be honest though, I may just make sure I have all of the flags finished and joined in, before I start messing about attaching the flowers. I have already come up with the plan of having a movie day with my friend Sarah, sitting at opposite ends of the sofa, and working our way through a movie marathon whilst attaching flowers, working our way inwards haha! It works in theory...! Anyway, the flowers are all made, so I can start on that whenever I like.

Exciting news! Today I posted off some of our wedding invitations!


I am going to put the others in envelopes over the weekend, but it's a good start! Planning is getting there, and we don't have too much left to do...I am surprisingly relaxed as well. On a (sort of) wedding themed note; Kirsty's hen do is in a couple of weeks and that has taken lots of planning - looking forward to it! And a hen do means an imminent wedding! Much excitement!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Week 11

Spring flowers, more bunting, and early starts!

12th - 19th March

From left to right: a cup of tea to start the day, cherry blossom, lovely shabby decor at Sopley Mill, yet more daffodils, throwing some white into the mix, a walk to the shops via the pond, 5m of bunting, getting to work at 07:30, and pretty stationary!

The 5m Mark

I have created 5m of bunting, and this is what it looks like!

63 flags!

I have currently run out of flags so need to get stitching again, but how cool do they look! I've opted to go for the rainbow gradient order of flags, as shown in the original pattern, and I love how it's turned out. I must stress that the white "ribbon" is still in progress - I just need to get to the end before I can turn and do another row. I've worked out that this is approx 5m of bunting. I'm going to do a final metre (or one more cycle of colours) and then leave that as the final length...then start all over again for the other side of the bridge!

Here's where it is going!

The bridge measures around 5m or so, but I want the bunting to drape rather just be taut, so I'm going to make the extra metre so it looks spot on. It should go along there quite nicely though! I don't doubt that I will be sick of making flags by August though...

I have finished going through the colour cycles of flowers in both large and small sizes, so I'm hoping those will be enough for the bunting in it's entirety. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it (no pun intended!). Anyway, it's bed time for me, back to work tomorrow and then flag making again in the evenings!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Week 10

Lots of lovely colourful crochet,  and the start of garden time again!

5th - 12th March

From left to right: spring time is finally here, my final colour palette for my bunting, Kirsty's lovely fish tank, a really cute pin cushion from Pat, cherry blossom, lots of single crochet, sparkles, my owl bird feeder, and another bunting picture because why not!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Bunting

Our wedding bunting is going really, really well! It's only been in progress for a couple of weeks but so far I have made:

  • 29 large flags
  • 29 small flags
  • 47 large flowers

I'll start on my small flowers once I have made large ones in all of the colours. It's all coming together well though! No idea how much I need to make yet, so I'll just keep going til I'm bored!

Wedding planning is going well too! We have a venue, caterer, some entertainment, a photographer, and are in the process of booking a florist. Last weekend I bought my dress - so exciting!

My bridal party, mother and future mother-in-law!

We managed to find a dress in about an hour and half, which has got to be some kind of a record. Love it though and can't wait to wear it in August.

So all of that busy-ness kind of explains my recent absence from the blogging world. I have been pretty active on Facebook and Instagram as of late though, so check me out there! 

Week 9

Pancakes, candles and yet more bunting!

26th February - 5th March

From left to right: beefy noodles for dinner, started another candle, small triangle pile is growing, lunch in Moreton Tea Rooms with Nicky and Nick, when your colleagues accessorise you, loving Spring times, pancakes, my awesome blue tit bird feeder from Kelly, and a tiny end-of-day treat from my manager!

Week 8

A ton of crochet!

19th - 26th February

From left to right: working on another large flag, sunny day, my brother won a scholarship!, official countdown continues, pretty mosaic, stripes of flags, Storm Doris debris - wouldn't fancy being hit by those, organised stripes, and closeup stitches!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Week 7

The start of another couple of projects, and lots of cooking!

12th - 19th February

From left to right: cute kitty buttons, stir frying, hazy mornings, giving our notice of marriage at Poole Registry, the start of our wedding bunting, my brother's amazing Valentine's card from his girlfriend (inside it says "joke, it's tiny"), giant turkey burgers with wedges and halloumi, a practice bee that my Mum has crocheted for the bunting, and Sue's finished baby booties for her Granddaughter Harriet!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Tiny Shoes

I was asked before Christmas if I could make some little shoes for my colleague Sue's new baby Granddaughter. Like lots of other projects, I had to put it to one side over the Christmas season, but finally started them on Monday and finished this morning! And they are SO cute!


I used some leftover Paton's 100% cotton DK that I had left from a blanket project I finished a few years ago, and bought some cute little kitty buttons yesterday! Really pleased with the outcome - the buttons match the yarn colour really nicely and add a touch of cute to the booties.

The pattern - Mary Jane Rosebud Baby Booties by Hopeful Honey Designs - was nice and easy to follow and really well written! Hopeful Honey Designs has loads of other really cute bootie designs in their shop too, so lots to choose from.


I love how quick and easy these were to finish - they have literally only taken a couple of hours from start to finish and the most time consuming part was attaching the little rosebuds!

I hope baby Harriet likes them!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Week 6

Amigurumi, tasty dinner and my gift from Amsterdam...

5th - 12th February

From left to right: stunning ice patterns on my windscreen before work, "griddled midget trees and spears with eggs", a lavender and lime kind of evening, lunch out with Ruben means toys at the table!, Ben's jellyfish above his bed, my gorgeous gift from Amsterdam - thanks Dave!, "Chez Fred" the chick (our new phone room mascot), finished tabby cat, and a cute little cactus for a lovely friend!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Tabby Cat

So I finally finished the tabby cat that I was intending to make for my colleague Margaret for Christmas - she wanted to give it to her Granddaughter. I've been totally rubbish and only just managed to get him done, but how cute can a kitty get!


I used the same pattern as I did for my Henry cat - "Charlie the Kitten" by Kate E. Hancock. Had lots of fun working it in different colours! I also love the fact that despite using the same pattern, this kitty looks totally different to my other one (just realised I never actually blogged about Henry, so you can see him top left in this weekly collage). Weird huh?

Front and back

I gave him some super sweet stripes on his back to try and make a point that he is a tabby cat - initially wanted to single crochet them on but eventually opted for just embroidering them. I think it works well!

Next job on my list are some little baby shoes for my lovely colleague Sue! And then some teddies for Nurse Adrienne - the to-do list is never ending! After that it's bunting for Kirsty's wedding (which I may boost up the list) and other bits and bobs. I am also eyeing up the gorgeous cardigan on the front of Simply Crochet's Issue 54 - it's stunning! So many things to make and so little time. I've hardly progressed on my reading challenge in the last month either...eek!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Jellyfish

Remember this project?

It took me months to get it to him, but Ben finally has his amigurumi jellyfish! And his Mummy has sent me a picture of it in it's new home!


Ben's jellyfish is now swimming above his bed, with his Nemo and Dory bauble! I'm intending to try and knock a few more of these out in due course, but I'm just glad that I eventually got this one to Ben! Woohoo! Always nice to see your work being appreciated.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Week 5

What a nice week!

29th January - 5th February

From left to right: daffodils in my lounge, pork stir fried rice, cold and wet walk to work, an awesome wedding beetle, beautiful sunrise over Westbourne, Happy Chinese New Year, watching the lions dancing at Wah Hing Chinese Supermarket, I got a sticker for being good at work, and cold beachy walks with my Grandparents!

Week 4

A wedding! And some fog...

22nd - 29th January

From left to right: Dave Bought a copy of Escape From Colditz, St George's church in Fordington, cheesy chicken and spinach for dinner, went makeup shopping with Kirsty - note to self; we can't contour for shit, a foggy walk into work, our freebies from the Italian Villa wedding fair, day 3 and still foggy, our save-a-date cards, and all suited and booted for Nicky and Nick's wedding!

Week 3

Super chilly wedding venue shopping!

15th - 22nd January

From left to right: pretty pink vapour trails, the most gorgeous magazine cover was waiting for me after work, Dave made friends with a seal whilst climbing, the ceremony room at The Old Vicarage, teeny tiny ice crystals, char siu pork with rice and wilted garlic spinach, an old barn, bought some party bits, and the official countdown begins!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

2016 Roundup

Just like at the end of 2015, I have put together a super collage featuring all of my This Week collages of the year!

Click to enlarge

It turns out that 2016 was a really colourful year! I love looking back on these at everything that's taken place. Dave and I had a look earlier and were shocked at some things that happened a year ago! I did loads of crochet last year, and I think that shows in my collage. Hoping to make 2017 go in the same direction!

Week 2

Wedding planning!

8th - 15th January

From left to right: sunny walks to walk, a new amigurumi project, helped with a car accident outside our house, Gizmo really didn't want to have his photo taken, big moon on the drive home, looking at wedding venues - Sopley Mill, crispy beef with Sarah at Koh Thai, I love sunsets, and Dave playing with Ruben's workbench!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Week 1

The start of 2017! Let's do this all again!

1st - 8th January

From left to right: overnight oats, my first book of the year ("One By One" - Chris Carter), trying on my bridesmaid dress for Kirsty's wedding!, last Christmas nibbles, empty pan..., one of Kirsty's beautiful Josephine Wall prints, winding my Mum up on Whatsapp, raspberries and chia seeds, and my new copy of Careers!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Dear 2016...

You have been an amazing year! So much has happened, and will pave the way for things to happen in 2017 and beyond!

My biggest moment of the year definitely has to be getting engaged to the love of my life. Ok, ok - soppy stuff, but I mean it. Dave has changed my life in so many ways, and I can't wait to marry him and embark on our next chapter together!


Another big change has been my change of profession; swapping from baby photographer to medical receptionist. It has, without a doubt, been the best decision ever. No regrets! I do occasionally miss playing with children for a living, but on the plus side, I am not doing a daily 2hr commute, spending endless periods of time in hotels, and being treated like dirt. I feel like I've finally found my calling! And I've made some fab new friends along the way!

My new job meant losing my work van...so I bought a car! It'd been a few years since I had given up my car, so it's been lovely to have my own set of wheels again!

Crochet achievement of the year! My Lilypond CAL - I loved making this, and although it was a little rushed towards the end, and I did have the disastrous moment of throwing a cup of tea into the bag of squares, it turned out beautifully and Dave's Mum loved it.


In addition to the blanket, I picked up my hooks and did some amigurumi for the first time in over a year, and now have crocheted critters all over the upstairs office at work (hoping to add to the collection...!). I also made my first items of clothing! I'm already piling up the projects for 2017!

This year brought an amazing achievement within the family - my Grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary! They are an absolute inspiration ♥

2016 also brought the "adoption" of Dave's new lady, in the form of his Lotus...which I did not initially take to, but have changed my mind!

In addition to these lovely highlights, I have spent 2016 reading, cooking, laughing, making, creating, loving, and smiling. I've tried new foods (I never thought I'd eat calamari, and discovered I love it!), been to new places, and made new friends. I've been camping, for the first time since I was a teenager, and can't wait to go again when the weather warms up! I completed the first year of the 5 year memory book that my brother gave me for Christmas 2015, and am ready to get started on year 2!

It's been a fantastic 12 months, and although a lot of people have been saying it's been a sad one due to celebrity deaths and terror attacks, for me as a whole, it has been life changing. Bring it on 2017 - you have a lot to live up to!

As for this year - what would I like to achieve? I have already set my target in my Goodreads Reading Challenge! This year I am hoping to reach 18 completed books, which is the most I have previously read in a year (in 2015), so I know it's achievable. If I can surpass that, it'll be an added bonus. I also want to try and see how many of these I can tick off...

Click to enlarge

I would like to dabble in pattern writing again, which is something that I haven't done in several years, but who knows...maybe I'll have a stab at it again.

I want to spend more time with my loved ones, which is a recurring thing each year, but I believe that people focus way too much on work and not about those around them. We are only here for a limited time, so we need to make the most of it.

I am hoping to plan the most kick ass wedding ever! Or at least a really good one!

As always, lose weight and get fit are high up in the rankings...but this year I really want to stick at it and sort myself out. Getting married is definitely good motivation for that, and I want to maintain it afterwards as well.

But more than anything, I want 2017 to be another happy year. And that applies for my loved ones as well. Life's too short to frown all the time. It's taken me a long time to realise that!