The Month That...

May…The Month That

…And this is why I can’t do weekly posts, I can’t even keep up with the monthly’s haha! Let me cast my mind back and round up the month that was May 🙂

Ely Cathedral

My Mum and her friend are keen photographers so when they mentioned getting together for a photography day I jumped at the chance. We decided to visit the pretty Cathedral City of Ely in Cambridgeshire. It was a beautiful day so we sat outside and had lunch by the canal.

Ely.JPGBefore making our way up to the Cathedral.

Ely Cathedral.JPG

The Cathedral has origins dating back to the 11th Century and the City (it’s called a City due to the Cathedral, but really it’s the size of a Town) was developed around it. It is a truly beautiful place, and we were so lucky that on the day we visited the choir was practicing for an upcoming concert. To hear the voices sing as we walked around was quite something else!

Ely ChoirThere were so many interesting things to see and photograph…Ely Cathedral Pics…and I came away feeling so inspired that I am using some of the images to re-do my C&G Course Module 5… after 2 attempts at my accessory design I am DETERMINED to get this module ticked off once and for all!!

C&G Knitting.jpg

A Weekend in Portsmouth

On the last May bank holiday weekend Mr. A and I took a trip to the seaside town of Portsmouth – famous for it’s Historic Royal Dockyard which houses HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, the remains of The Mary Rose, and other national treasures.

The reason for our visit was thanks to my Mum gifting us a wine tasting voucher for Christmas. We chose to visit the Three Choirs Vineyard, just a short drive from Portsmouth and make a weekend of it 🙂

During the afternoon we got to sample 3 white wines which were each paired with a complimentary cheese.

Wine Tasting

These were the wines we tasted, my favourite was the middle one – May Hill, it was a bit sweeter than what I usually go for but paired with the cheese it was absolutely delicious!

Three Chiors VineyardIt was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, and needless to say we came away with a few souvenir bottles 😉

From here we headed to our B&B which was in Southsea, next door to Portsmouth. It was such a beautiful day that after checking in we hot footed it straight to the seafront.

SouthseaJust look at that sky!! We had a lovely time sat on the promenade, eating ice cream and watching the world go by…and in the evening we went for dinner and a few cocktails 🙂

The next morning after a hearty hotel breakfast we made our way to the Historic Royal Dockyard. Our first port (if you’ll excuse the pun 😉 ) of call was HMS Victory.

Victory Portsmouth

Launched in 1765 HMS Victory is the world’s oldest naval ship still in commission, she even still has her own crew! She is most famous for being the flagship of Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar on 1805, and the place where he met his demise (the spot where he was shot is marked with a brass plaque on the deck). She was moved to Portsmouth in 1922 where she has been preserved as a museum ship.

With a crew of 821 and 104 guns on board during the Battle of Trafalgar it’s hard to imagine what life and conditions would have been like during battle. Especially when it took 20 men to man each cannon in very little space!

Warrior Cannons

There are still 8 original guns onboard the ship – and these are the kind of things that would have been hurtled through the air…

Cannon missilesAnd imagine trying to get to sleep here…

Victory Hammocks

No thank you. A Sailors life would not have been for me!

We also visited the HMS Warrior 1860 warship and HMS M.33 – a warship from World War 1. The Dockyard also houses the 16th Century ship The Mary Rose, which sank in 1545 and was reclaimed from the sea in 1982. However the exhibition is not yet open to the public until later this year…still, it’s a good excuse to go back one day!

So that was May…oh and we also had an amazing weekend in Porto, Portugal which you can read about here if you like 🙂

I’ll hopefully be back at the weekend with a long overdue knitting post!

Shenanigans, The Month That...

April: The month that…

And yet another month flies by! April was a fun month, and although there was slow progress on any knitting it was all for good reason. So here we go, April: the month that…

We Had a Party

April was kickstarted with Mr. A’s birthday BBQ on the first bank holiday weekend. Luckily for us the sun shined for most of the day and we celebrated with friends and one or two drinks. We made a summer cocktail in our new drinks dispenser (a Christmas present from Mr. A’s parent’s) which went down very well!

Cocktail on tap

As much as I love a good party I always under estimate the amount of prep work and tidying that has to be done beforehand. As such my crafty ‘workstation’ in the kitchen had to be dismantled and temporarily boxed up to free up the kitchen table. So that meant very little knitting for a whole week! On the upside, the kitchen had never been so clean and sparkly 😉

We Looked at Lady Sheds

I have always dreamed of having my own craft room as knitting in the kitchen isn’t ideal, especially when we need the kitchen table! Add to that I have books and skeins of yarn stashed away all over the place, it would be sooo nice to have somewhere more permanent to set up station! So Mr. A and I got talking as lately he has been thinking about getting into woodwork and learning to use a lathe. Add to that that the garden is in need of a bit of a makeover and I think we may have found a solution….our very own garden log cabin studio / workshop!

This is the kind of thing we are thinking of:

FifthAvenueDuoMaxi_l

It has 2 separate compartments so Mr. A can set up his lathe in the shed end and I could have my very own craft room in the pretty summerhouse end! I’m trying not to get my heart set on anything as we still have to work out the costings and our garden isn’t massive so we need to think about space, but we did go to a local dealer and have a look round some options. They even had a similar model on display so we were able to get a better feel for it.

Cabin

Wouldn’t THAT be amazing! It would be small – but it would be bigger than a kitchen table 😉

I Discovered that Knitting can be Bad for the Diet

Work saw me travel up to Manchester in April and rather than drive I saw 3.5 hours on a train as valuable knitting knitting time. And boy did I knit, I cast on a sock at the beginning of the journey and managed to knit the leg and the heel flap by the time I got to Manchester Piccadilly!

Sock

However I did consume a hot chocolate, a kit kat and a chocolate cookie on my travels – I don’t think that’s any coincidence when the yarn looks good enough to eat, haha! I never saw knitting as bad for the diet before but now I’m starting to wonder…

I pretty much finished this sock on the return journey. It’s a shame the 2nd sock hasn’t been such a quick affair, it’s been over a month in the making and I have only just turned the heel!

We went to the Handel & Hendrix House

Mr. A and I do love a day out in London and as Mr. A is a keen musician and guitarist we decided to check out the Handel & Hendrix house in Mayfair. Handels house, 25 Brook Street, was opened as a museum in 2001 and showcases carefully restored Georgian period rooms on the first and second floors. More recently the space in the adjoining house number 23, has been opened up as a museum to celebrate the time Jimi Hendrix spent there in the 1960’s.

Left: Handels Rehearsal and Performance Room – Almost all his works after 1723, amongst them many of his best-known operas, oratorios and ceremonial music, were composed and partially rehearsed in the house, which contained a variety of keyboard instruments, including harpsichords, a clavichord and a small chamber organ (text taken from Wikipedia)

Right: Handels bedroom (where he is believed to have died).

Up the stairs, Jimi Hendrix’s flat used to be used as admin offices for the Handel’s House until it was opened as a museum earlier this year. The exhibition documents his time spent in London during 1968-69 when he lived there with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham. Unlike Handel’s House there was only one room recreated to show what it would have looked like when he lived there and that was the bedroom.

Every item in the room had been sourced and curated based on photographs taken at the time of his residence. It was so well done, it almost felt as if he was going to step back into the room at any moment.

And check out this giant knitted dog bear given to him by a fan. How cool is he!

Hendrix Bear

The rest of the flat had been turned into exhibition space, full of photos, records and memorabilia of his time there. On walking out there was just a small framed newspaper cutting announcing his death – it was a very poignant end to the celebration of his short time in London.

We ‘Cooked’ Cocktails in an RV

From Mayfair we hotfooted it over to Shoreditch as we had tickets to a pop up breaking Bad themed bar in Shoreditch! If you have seen the show you may recognise this…

Breaking bad RV

At 6pm the doors opened and about 20 of us piled into the RV to begin a ‘cooking session’. We were seated at our table and instructed to put on our protective clothing…

Cocktail makers

And the cooking began!

IMG_7522

We were given a base cocktail made with our spirit of choice (we went for gin). The first one up was a ‘505’ made with lychee, rose, maple martini and gin – but it was down to us to add the dry ice smoke infusion!

Cooking cocktails

Oh my, it was delicious!

Next up was the ‘Fly’ – gin with cranberry caviar, creme de mure, xanthum gum and a few other things I can’t recall…

breaking bad cocktailAnd this one used a whipper to infuse it with nitrogen cavitation!

breaking bad cocktails

Yum.

Finally we had ‘the cocktail that changes flavour’. We were given a really sharp citrussy cocktail, so sour that it made me wince. We were instructed to take a sip and then pop the pill (the pill being a berry fruit pill that miraculously turns sour things into sweet)

Berry pill cocktail

What a difference, the cocktail tasted amazing from thereon and we could even suck the lemon wedges without pulling funny faces haha!

So that was April, it turned out to be a rather boozy affair – and a lot of fun!

I’ll be back soon with more knitty posts as the needles have been very busy of late 🙂

Have a great week whatever you get up to! x

The Month That...

March: The month that…

Hello! This year I am writing a monthly post on things that wouldn’t always warrant a full blog post. Inspired by the weekly ‘Sunday Seven’s’ devised by Nat at Threads and Bobbins  the series is a great way to share little moments by posting 7 pictures of your week and letting people know what you have been up to. As much as I enjoy reading other blogger’s Sunday Sevens I’m just not disciplined enough for weekly scheduled blogging so I am doing a monthly round up instead, just of little things that fall outside of my normal knitty posts.

So here it is, March: The month that…

We Dusted off the BBQ

Sunday the 6th March was Mother’s Day here in the UK so we invited our Mum’s over to ours for a BBQ. I know it’s not quite BBQ season yet but we couldn’t resist! Mr. A’s BBQ’s are legendary with our friends and family, he doesn’t go for the traditional sausage and burger fare, instead he makes up delicious kebabs which are cooked over coals on the mangal.

BBQ

Our Mum’s really enjoyed them and we had a lovely day together 🙂

I went on a Spa Day

On the Monday after the knitting weekend in Portsmouth I had a day booked off work to go to a spa for a day of pampering with 2 of my close friends. We went to Sopwell House in St. Albans where I had a facial and a back massage. Oh it was heaven…

We even had a cheeky little glass of prosecco with our lunch 🙂

Spa Day

I Beautified March

I will do a more detailed post on this next week but I took the Beautify Your Instagram  online course run by Emily Quinton at Makelight. I am fairly new to Instagram but it’s fast becoming one of my favourite social media platforms, I love seeing other people’s photo’s and being inspired by their images and projects.

I signed up to this course after seeing Emily’s beautiful flat lay photographs, they are simply stunning. If you are on Instagram do go and have a look at @emilyquinton

Since doing the course I have been taking time every week to work on my own flat lays with the aim of building up a beautiful and inspiration gallery that I hope other knitters and crafters can enjoy.

This is one of my favourite images so far…

Socks

The project is the ‘Helix‘ two at a time toe up socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.

Our ‘Mikro Fraoula’ is now a ‘Megalo Fraoula’!

If you are a returning reader you may recall my post from last year about how we were adopted by a tiny kitten in Greece – Our ‘Mikro Fraoula’ (Little Strawberry). Well our little strawberry has now grown up into a big strawberry! Last week we received an update from ASAP the animal charity on Alonissos to say that he (yep, he’s definitely a boy cat – we weren’t sure before as he was so tiny) is at a shelter and is doing really well. He has been neutered and is very friendly and is being very well fed.

This is how small he was when we last saw him…he was only as big as my flip flop!

IMG_3204

And this is him now…

Stannis!

Isn’t he a beauty! I can’t wait to go and see him this year…I wonder if he will recognise us?

I wish there was some way we could magic him over here, although I’m not sure Mr. Pea and Micicles would appreciate us adding another cat to the fold.

Cats

I love this picture. Mr. Pea was just chilling and watching me knit when Micicles jumped up on the table.That look says it all – 30 seconds later Mr. Pea was well and truly usurped!

Until next time! x

The Month That...

February: The month that…

Honestly, where does the time go?! It’s already mid-way through March and it’s been non-stop! Not that that’s a bad thing as I have been up to some rather fun things. This weekend was spent in the company of some of the other students who are doing the City & Guilds knitting course. I will tell you all about it in my next blog post as it really was a lot of fun, and also gave me the kick I need to crack on with my current module that I have been stalling on for far too long!

So February…February was the month that:

We went to a Record Fair

I mentioned in a previous post that I had bought Mr. A a record played for Christmas. So along with some friends we went to a proper vinyl record fair in Bedford. I must admit it was a bit overwhelming when we first walked in as there were just crates and crates of LP’s stacked up on tables and there was no easy way of rifling through them other than having to flick through each album.

Record Fair

We came away with a few new additions to our collection, Mr. A picked up some Jimi Hendrix, Queen, Cream and Eric Clapton – all the cool stuff…and then I embarrassed him by buying The Bangles, haha!

We Went to a Party Dressed as a Ladybird and a Fly

My friend has just moved into a new house, so decided to throw a Valentines themed house warming party! Can you guess what Mr. A and I went as…

Love Bugs

Love Bugs! I don’t know why I look so grumpy in this photo…and Mr. A looks like he has had a few too many…it was a fun night 🙂

I wish I could say I was clever enough to make the costumes but the only thing I made is the fly hat…I made it using super bulky yarn, and what you can’t really tell from the photo is that the ‘nose’ was padded to give it some shaping. The antennae was done as i-cords on much smaller needles so they were dense enough to support themselves without flopping over.

Fly costume

And with added ‘eyes’. How cute are the love bug chocolates?

Love Bug Hat

We Went to Secret Cinema

If you haven’t heard of it, Secret Cinema is an interactive, live cinema experience. When you sign up for tickets you don’t always know what film you are going to see. All we knew when we got the tickets was that it would be in London and that it would involve secret operations…even the website doesn’t give much away!

A couple of weeks before the event we were sent an e-mail from the ‘Department of Cultural Surveillance’ directing us to a secret website where we had to register to be assigned characters and could access more information. I found out that my character was Jessie Paige and I was a Senior Airman in the Data Operations Department. I was given details of the uniform I would have to wear (the key colour being blue) and also a list of things to bring:

Captain L.M has requested all military personnel to bring one or all of these items:  a map of the world, reconnaissance photos, phonetic alphabet and a paper folder to keep the classified information you will receive.

 

Mr. A’s character was Gilbert Hightower and he was a member of the press. He had to wear a long trenchcoat and a trilby hat.

We had great fun assembling our outfits, and you could buy costume items, identity cards and uniform badges etc from the website too which made it a bit easier.

Secret Cinema Costume

When the day came we did feel a bit conspicuous in our get up and got quite a few odd looks as we got on the train to London.

Secret Cinema

Gilbert Hightower

Mr. A looking ‘enigmatic’

We met our friends in a pub before heading to the venue, garnering even more strange looks now there were 4 of us! As we walked down the road to the venue it was rather surreal, there were tanks going into the compound, warning sirens going off and the road was lined with people in military fancy dress waiting to go in!

As we were waiting some ‘American soldiers’ were dishing out sealed plastic bags that we had to put our phones in (unfortunately this means I don’t have any more pictures).

When we went into the compound people were guided into different entrances depending on the department they worked in. I lost Mr. A pretty quickly as he was whisked off by a Press Officer who was keen to gather all the press personnel for a breaking news story! I was rounded up with the other Data Operations officials and we were taken into the Data Operations Department and assigned a task to go to the officers mess to take a roll call of the officers on duty. As it turns out the officers mess was also a bar – yay!

The event was run by actors who took charge of the various groups and all had different tasks or games for us to play. Within 2 minutes of getting to the mess one of the soldiers had me arm wresting with another DOD! Mr. A and our friends caught up with me in the mess and we took 5 mins out for a cocktail in a tin cup. Whilst enjoying our drinks one of the soldiers came and sat with us and said he had a task for us, which if we could complete would give us a code that would get us access into a secret bar.

It was one of those annoyingly simple-when-you-know-how puzzles that involved moving cutlery. We must have been there for about 10 minutes trying to figure it out before he took pity on us and gave us the code anyway and sent us on our way.

We had to find a secret door hidden by a coat, which when opened was guarded by an officer who asked for the code. He let us through and we found ourselves in the Communist bar surrounded by Diplomats and high ranking officials. There was a live band, go-go dancers, plush velvet seating and ladies dressed up to the nines milling about with their Martini’s!

We had a couple of tasks to carry out in the secret bar too, we had to call the President and give him an urgent message and also also find a General and ask him to sign a document!

The whole thing was so well done and you could get involved in as little or as much as you wanted.

When it was time for the actual film a siren rang out and the actors directed everyone into the main screening room. There was a staged area in the middle and seating at the front and back. During the film the actors would play around us, miming to the dialogue. I wish I could tell you what the film was but it’s still running for another week and its shrouded in secrecy until they announce it when it’s all over! All I will say is that it was a classic film, which happens to be Mr.A’s all time favourite so he was as pleased as punch!

It was one of the most bizarre and surreal experiences of my life – and one that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for an alternative night out!

We went to Iceland

And the week after that we went to Iceland 🙂

So that was February. What a fun month!

Until next time x

Shenanigans, The Month That...

January: The month that…

There is a great weekly blog series called ‘Sunday Seven’s’ devised by Threads and Bobbins. The objective is to write a weekly post on things that wouldn’t always warrant a full blog post, such as going for a nice walk, buying something special or spending time with friends and family. The series is a great way to share these little moments by posting 7 pictures of your week and letting people know what you have been up to. I really enjoy reading other blogger’s Sunday Sevens and would very much like to participate but I know what I am like and I’m just not disciplined enough for scheduled blogging. As much as I try!

So I am going to do a monthly round up instead, just of little things that fall outside of my normal knitty posts.

So here we go with January: the month that…

We Went Vinyl

I bought Mr. A a record player for Christmas (secretly it was for me too but don’t tell him that, haha!) I had some old vinyl records stashed in the loft from when I was a teenager so it was great to dust them off re-live my youth by dancing round the living room to The Smiths and Pearl Jam! A few days later on Facebook we spotted a house-clearance ad offering 3 boxes of vinyl for ÂŁ35, but the only record we could make out from the picture was Queen’s Greatest Hits. So we took a gamble…

And it paid off…in amongst the soul and disco compilation albums I found these Abba 7″ singles. And I LOVE Abba 🙂

Abba

And there was even Dancing Queen – my favourite song ever… it never fails to get me up on the dancefloor! I have so many happy memories attached to this record. I felt like I had struck gold!

Dancing Queen

I went Urban Exploring

If you have read this blog before you may remember me saying about a photography course I was due to go on that got cancelled. So I made the most of my free day and headed out to practice using the camera anyway.

There is a house by the side of a road that captures my imagination every time we drive past it. To me it looks like a life size Doll’s House as it’s facade has completely crumbled away.

Urban

I have to admit to being a bit obsessed with abandoned buildings. I love watching youtube videos of urban explorers who explore forgotten sites and buildings and imagining the lives of people who lived or worked there in a time gone by.

One of my absolute favourite urban explorers is the super talented film-maker ThisisDanBell. Dan Bell has a number of series on his channel that are truly captivating such as the Dead Mall Series where he explores the most depressing shopping centres, and the Dead Motel Series which documents abandoned hotels, motels and resorts. But perhaps my favourite are the Forgotten Pocono’s films in which he explores a forgotten holiday resort in the mountains. There is one scene where he enters an old arabian themed nightclub that has remained largely untouched since the day it closed, it’s so rare to see something like that that hasn’t been vandalized. His films are truly fascinating, and I love that amongst all of the decay he will always find something beautiful or interesting to share. He is far, far braver than I will EVER be in my explorations so I am more than content to get my urbex fix by watching his films from the comfort of my armchair….just not this one!

Urban Chair

I Got Organised

For me, there is only one thing better than new yarn, and that’s new stationery 🙂 When I am working from London I love to pop into Paperchase and lust over new notepads and journals…I picked up this gorgeous To Do pad to help keep organised with projects.

To do

And a new project bag too!

Project bag

We Went to Birmingham

Every year Mr. A’s company holds an annual awards night in Birmingham. It’s something we look forward to every year as it always promises to be a great event, and this year was no exception. We travelled up on Friday night after work and met up for a few drinks with some of his colleagues and their other halves at the hotel. This then turned into going for dinner at TGI Friday’s. And the funniest thing happened…one of our party told the waitress it was Mr. A’s birthday. And not just any birthday, that it was his 50th! So the next thing we knew he was being presented with a large slab of cake, a birthday balloon and he was being sung to by the TGI crew! His little 38 year old face was a picture, haha!!

At least he got some cake out of it 😉

Cake

That night ended up being a bit of a late one that saw us crashing into bed at 4am. Oops!

On Saturday Mr. A had an all day meeting so I was left to my own devices and went for a relaxing spa, which was much needed after the previous night’s shenanigans, and I even found time for some tea and knitting in the afternoon.

Hotel knitting

Before I knew it Mr A was out of his meeting, it was time to get dolled up for the main event and head down for the cocktail reception…

Cocktails.JPG

Before taking our seats for dinner

Awards

It was a brilliant night and much fun was had by all. I think it’s such a lovely thing that his company does to hold these events, and as a ‘plus one’ I feel so lucky to be a part of such a great weekend.

Here’s a parting shot of Mr A and I having fun in the photobooth, hehe!

D&J Photobooth

This weekend is going to be a rather sedate affair in comparison, but I’m not complaining as I have lots and lots of lovely knitting to do 🙂

Until next time xx