Saturday, 28 February 2015

Ten Things :: February

:: February has been the month I've been suffering from inertia. A feeling I should be doing something but not knowing quite what that something should be and as such not doing very much at work and at home...until I suddenly think about it or write it all down and realise I've just not been doing anything particularly blogworthy in the ta-dah finished object sense of the word but have actually had a really full month.

:: In February, I finally, finally unravelled the delicious ball of malabrigo sock yarn. It's actually a lovely striping green colour, not that you can see that here. It was definitely a labour of love (with much swearing). I'm planning to make this hat with it, but in the usual way, I now have another project on the go. That project being a scarf for the ABO. I've chosen a simple pattern, mistake rib stitch and thank goodness for that as I've already had to frog back and restart. Maybe that's why it's called mistake rib stitch? The yarn is a beautiful charcoal grey but doesn't look quite right here, i'll blame the electric lighting, Anyway, seems to be going OK...for now

:: February has been the month I've been making bread. Quite a bit in the breadmaker (just a regular white loaf) but also pizza (since discovering that using semolina on the baking tray stops it sticking!!) and this challah. It's a traditional recipe with egg and honey meaning it's really light and tasty.
I was somewhat surprised that the loaf rose to fill the entire baking tray...

:: February was the month of rainy afternoon TV viewing. We watched 'Frozen' (again...and again), 'Cinderella' and 'Room on the Broom' and the girls' favourite....'Four in a Bed' (the show where B&B owners stay in each others' businesses and rate them). They're both really taken with the idea of checking for dust in the bedrooms and giving marks out of ten for the facilities. hopefully they won;'t be looking too hard for the dust here!!

:: February is Christmas all over again. Or that's what the Christmas cactus is thinking.

:: February is actually July. I found roses flowering in the garden! The weather just has no idea.

:: February was the month when my very good friend L, gave birth to her second child. A girl this time round. I'm so excited to meet her. I'm also thinking of what to make for her. When her son was born, I did an embroidery, maybe I will again.

:: February meant that it was half term. BigR had a great week. A couple of 'Daddy days' whilst I worked and LittleR was at nursery. Then some family days out, long walks and a trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park and ate a picnic outside without our coats! 

:: February was the month of trying a new cake. I (with BigR's help) made an almond, orange and cardamom cake that Jen suggested on her blog. I didn't have a blood orange so just went with a regular one. Yummy.

:: February has been the garden planning month. What to plant, what jobs need doing. We definitely need to make the gate to the garden more secure as the Littlest is planning her escape at any opportunity. The ABO dug up  a dead rose wouldn't believe the roots on those plants! We bought a wendy house for the girls; it's already been put to good use. It's very cosy. I might take up residence if I get badly marked for the facilities in the next game of 'Four in a Bed'.

Monday, 16 February 2015

The year in books - February

January saw me finish my intended read. I really enjoyed Maggie O’Farrell’s “Instructions for a Heatwave”. It was an interesting book to read during our coldest spell of the winter. All of the descriptions of the warm summer of 1976 (which I have vague memories of, a washing up bowl of water and the grass under my three year old feet) were totally at odds with January’s weather.

I didn't manage anything else, other than the usual reading of recipe books at bedtime.

February has gotten off to a good start on the reading front. I’m aiming to read 2 books this month; “Because She Loves Me” by Mark Edwards and “Sleep Tight” by Rachel Abbott.

Let’s see how I get on.

Joining in with Laura.

Monday, 2 February 2015

January, mostly

:: Once again I am surprised at the passage of time. January has been a bit of a blur. Time off, illnesses (not serious but enough to make you feel a bit sorry for yourself), work and birthdays have all played a part. I’ve been busy but not ridiculously though. It’s just prioritising time at the computer when I’ve been on a computer all day at work or when I’ve been cuddling a poorly child and it’s habit I’ve gotten out of. Anyway, I will be catching up with everyone’s blogs and in the meantime…I’ve been trying to appreciate January and all that sit has to offer. And also working out how 1/12 of the year has gone already!!

:: I’m STILL unravelling the hideous mess that is the yarn from hell. It’s taken hours…probably longer than it’ll take me to knit the hat! It’s got a tight tangle at the moment. So I’ve put it to one side less I take to the scissors to unravel it! In the meantime I bought some more wool and am going to make the ABO a scarf. I’ve selected mistake rib stitch as it looks fairly simple and fairly achievable, for me. Socks have been side lined for now. I’ve chosen Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in Charcoal. Right now it’s still sat in the bag it came in!

:: I’ve been admiring my yarn bowl (thank you ABO) mixed in with my cookery books. As yet it contains no yarn but it does look very nice. We had a bit of a declutter and rearrange which resulted in a trip to Ikea. The trip to Ikea necessities some new frames and a rug too. CDs and DVDs (of which there were many) were moved into a series of wallets and the cases disposed of. CD cabinets moved and replaced with book shelves. Books transferred (this is just a very small sample....can you believe I reduced my book collection when LittleR was born? This was so she fitted into the house) and a myriad of child clutter put where the books once lived. The resulting tidiness lasted about an hour before normal service was resumed. I know I'm fighting a losing battle. Perhaps if the ABO and I moved out there might be enough room for the girls? I'm particularly enjoying reading through Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries. I received book 2 for Christmas. He does have a magical way with food words.

:: LittleR turned two in the middle of the month and has definitely mastered the art of ripping open a present. I made my usual birthday cake of a Victoria sponge with person specific topping. So in this incarnation Peppa Pig jumped in a chocolate puddle. All of a sudden she's a burst of language - sentences flow and there's a constant chatter.

:: I’ve also been admiring Leeds’ hotel ceilings during a break at a work training day. I did do some work too.

:: I’ve listened to the entire Serial podcast series. And now I’m mourning its end. Once again late to the party.

:: I’ve been lazy and watched a lot of TV. Not sure quite what as I keep complaining there’s nothing  much on. Football mostly I think. We're now out of the FA cup but still in the Capital One cup. And there I betray my honorary Yorkshire-ness (although I've lived more than half my life in Yorkshire) and show my true Essex/London/Southern colours.

:: I've been cooking but mostly the usual things that we always have. A very tasty chicken, chorizo and butter bean casserole featured. It looked a little anaemic but some broccoli livened it up.

:: I've enjoyed bringing in the first daffodils of the year. They've definitely brightened the kitchen.

:: We built the world's smallest snowman with the lightest snow shower. I only had HUGE carrots. A snow bump with an enormous nose.

:: I've been making plans for the garden this year. Deciding what we're going to do with it all. We need a more secure gate this year so the children (well, LittleR really, she's utterly fearless) can't escape when my back is turned for a second. A couple of roses have seen better days so I need to dig those out and replace them...not sure with what yet. I've been browsing the seed catalogues for inspiration for the summer. We're definitely growing strawberries again...they were a hit last year.

:: Thank you so much for all your helpful comments on my precious things. There are some really useful suggestions for keeping on top of all that precious child art.