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June 2015

Very quick WIP update

My NoFa shawl is on the blocking board! I'm so happy with how it's turned out and can't wait for the final VOILA reveal.

NoFa wrap blocking

I thought it would take longer to knit up but once you get going this really is a great little pattern. The rows did get VERY long at the end so plenty concentration required. And I did have a little melt down with only 6 rows to go as I was overreading row 7 of the bell ruffle. These things are sent to try us!

Happy heat wave Britain!

Ciao xx

What's going on?

On the 15th of Feb I took stock. And today i'm taking stock again.

Making : Nofa Shawl
Cooking : Loving al fresco dinners in the garden. Salad, olives, pickled garlic, antipasto and grilled chicken.
Drinking : Lemon and lime infused water out of this bottle.
Reading: Chick lit, Katie Oliver's And the Bride wore Prada
Wanting: To move more
Looking: For party ideas on Pinterest
Playing: Candy crush. Thankfully I got past that awful level!
Deciding: What to wear at my Birthday Braai
Wishing: For sunnier days
Enjoying: Al fresco dining
Waiting: For delivery of 2 x 5l Kilner drinks dispensers
Liking: Long afternoons of yarn crafting in the garden
Wondering: If I can turn my dream into reality
Loving: That i'm nearing 6 months of daily diary writing
Pondering: If I should swop the spare bedroom and craft room around....still
Considering: A new car
Watching: Devious maids on Amazon prime
Marvelling: At how well the capsule wardrobe actually works
Needing: To practice all these hair styles i'm pinning!
Smelling: Lemon and lime from my water bottle
Wearing: My fit bit
Following: This blog, daily
Noticing: Summer is taking it time getting to Hertfordshire
Knowing: That summer will come, even if only for a short while
Thinking: About designing a yarn craft journal
Feeling: Thankful
Admiring: People who courageously pursue their dreams
Sorting: Party TO DO lists
Buying: Photo booth props off ebay
Getting: Very excited for my Birthday Bash
Bookmarking: This blog post
Disliking: Some of the content posted to Facebook, especially violent videos :(
Opening: My mind to new projects
Giggling: At this You tube video. Actually I was roaring with laughter!
Snacking: On nothing. Steering clear of snacking
Hearing: That sweet song happy chooks make

Play's fun

Ciao xx

Next WIP

This wasn't strictly a WIP as I hadn't started it, well actually that isn't entirely true either! I bought the pattern for this Nofa Shawl (you may need to be a member of Ravelry to see this. It's free and a great pattern source so sign up!) a few years back along with some very expensive beautiful yarn. It's a fingering weight yarn that I bought at Loop Knitting, although I don't seem to see this particular yarn on their website now, they do have others which are just as lovely.
I made a start and thought it looked a mess. It's one of these start with 3 stitches and do loads of increases type things. I just couldn't do it. So I bagged the yarn, pattern and circular needle in a baggie and there is stayed. I found it while doing my huge yarn sort and as it's light I thought it might be suitable summer knitting.

I'm loving it and totally nailed the pattern! (after pulling it out a couple of times)

NoFa wrap

It looks kinda greenish on my screen but it's infact silver :)

I'll be sure to update on progress!

Ciao xx

PS. Since taking this photograph I am 56 rows further on. It's a great knit once you master the pattern.

Pashmina ta-da.

It's done and I love it!!

Pashmina hanging draped

It is, as promised, so soft and cosy and perfect for cool evenings, although my darling husband doesn't know how anything with holes can actually keep you warm!

Pashmina closeup of square

I have chosen not to block it just yet as I want to see how the fibres settle now that they have been squared off in the joining process. The yarn is delicate and I don't want to risk a tear or break.

Pashmina close up of fringe 2

I debated leaving the fringe but it didn't seem finished somehow and needed that extra little something. The fringe is about 15am long and as you can see it isn't dead straight as I wasn't sure it needed to be.

I am so happy with how this project came together and will seriously contemplate doing another one in more neutral colours for the winter months.

Pashmina hanging

I didn't sew my ends in as I went so I had a mammoth task at the end of joining and as always I promise not to make the same mistake again. I start off tucking in my ends and then I think 'oh i'll do 5 squares and then get the ends in' and then it increases to 10 squares, and before I know it, all my squares are complete and I only have a handful that have no ends to sew. The lovely ladies at Jolie in Walkern always say that a square is not complete until the ends are sewn in. I love this thinking!

A note about the yarn...Rowan Kidsilk Haze is a beautiful yarn to work with but there are some things to consider when choosing a project using this yarn.
It's not easy to unpick if you make a mistake. I recommend going slow and perhaps learning your square using cotton scraps to make sure you are comfortable with the pattern before you start. It IS possible to unpick, but do it slowly and don't pull if you feel resistance. Also try do it in a cool place as the heat from your hands can cause the fluffy fibres to bind.
It's a lace weight so there doesn't seem to be much substance in your hand, that is odd especially if you have just finished a chunky jumper!
It is very expensive at £8.99 a ball, it's a 25g ball but there are 210m so it goes a long way.
It's lovely to mix in with another yarn, so you get the mohair feel in a garment of a little more substance. Try mix it with a chunky yarn when making scarves and beanies.

There is also a Debbie Bliss version and glitter versions of each too!

You can see the rest of the pashmina story here.

Ciao xx

Holiday capsule wardrobe

When I posted part three of my get organised project, capsule wardrobe, I mentioned that I had orginally set out to create a functional 5 day summer break carry on suitcase. And now I want to talk about that suitcase and how it worked out.

This post will be in two parts. I wanted to record what I had packed and how I thought it would work for me and then when I get back I can finish off the post with how it actually worked! Today, as I start to draft the post, is the 1st of June and our flight is on Wednesday. Over the weekend I caught up with the laundry and we packed our new 'fit for easyjet purpose' carry on suitcases.

So we're off to Barcelona and it looks like we're going to have some fine weather.......

Holiday capsule weather

That doesn't mean I won't take a cardigan which I plan to include in my travel outfit along with my only bulky pair of shoes.

Holiday capsule travel outfit

According to Travelista's Packing Essentials: Summer, you need:
One light jacket
One light cover-up or sweater
One blouse
Two sleeveless tops
Two tees or tops
Two bottoms
Two dresses (day and evening)
Optionals (swimsuit, beach cover up and beach shorts)
Three pairs of shoes
Accessories (hat, sunnies, day bag, evening bag, 2 necklaces, scarf and belt)

So how does my packing list compare (including travel items):
No light jacket
One cardigan
No blouse
No sleeveless tops
Four tees
Three tops
Five bottoms (1 Jeans, 2 shorts, 1 linen trousers and 1 skirt)
No dresses
Optionals (swimsuit)
Three pairs of shoes (converse, evening sandal, Birks)
Accessories (Sunnies, all day bag, 2 necklaces, 2 scarves and belt)


Holiday capsule t shirts


Holiday capsule tops


Holiday capsule bottoms

All packed...

Holiday capsule suitcase

Days will be spent in shorts and tees, and evenings in skirt, linen trousers or jeans and a top. There will be a small overlap, ie some things worn twice, like a top worn at dinner one evening can go another wear on Sunday. After all we're not running marathons! And if I do run a marathon then I'll need to wash a tee or top in the basin and hang in the shower to dry.

I don't ever mix and match when we go away. Normally my holidays are to SA where i'm staying with family and can just wash and dry as I need, and a few years ago we went to Crete where we rinsed clothes each evening and hung them on our balcony to dry overnight. Long weekend trips in the car mean I can take as much luggage, and therefore as many clothes, as I need to.

Here we go.....Bon Voyage!!

10/06/2015 - We're back from an awesome 5 days in the sun. Firstly I want to recommend Barcelona as a travel destination. It's a great city to explore! It has an exciting nightlife, awesome beaches and the sea is beautiful to swim in. Just chose the sandy beach or the pebbles will kill your feet :) The food was spectacular and the beer cold!

The weather when I checked on Tuesday 2nd...

Holiday capsule weather 2

So lets talk about how the holiday capsule wardrobe actually worked.
- At the last minute I threw in a black vest top. It should have been packed as it goes under the very see through blue top!
- My cardigan was great for the early morning flight and the plane which was a little chilly.
- I wore everything I took except the blue see through top as it was just too hot and instead wore the vest top on it's own.
- That vest top came in handy as I wore it a few times, so I did land up washing and wearing. LESSON: Next time take more vest tops!
- I loved my tees. All three were new (two bought just a week before going), and fit into my basics capsule which stay in my wardrobe all year. I wore the tees over my vest top to start the day and took it off when it warmed up. It ws good having with me as I could always then use it as a cover up to go into churches/cathedral and in the heat of the day when the sun was a killer.
- Everything in my holiday capsule mixed and matched.
- I felt confident and comfortable in all my clothes.

One thing I wish I had taken were strappy tops for the evenings. I don't have any following my huge wardrobe clear out and the ones I did have were well past their sell by date. When I need to replace clothes (spring and summer capsule) I will look to add some strappy tops that can be paired with a cardi in the UK and be good for sunny holidays.

Holiday capsule cathedral

It was HOT HOT HOT...

Holiday capsule us 2

I bought a hat out there as I couldn't find one here that I liked. I'm glad I waited as they were half the price. I also bought some new fashion sunglasses as I took my prescription sunnies with me so I could at least see the place rather than just blocking the sun.

My one wardrobe fail was my choice of shoes.
My Birkenstocks that I thought would be perfect gave me horrid blisters :( I tried to patch them with compeed blister plasters but in the heat they moved and I had sticky patches on my shoes which just irritated me. My feet were very sore!
My night time sandals were great for short walks between bars in the cooler evening.
My converse worked fine for the plane as I prefer to limit my trip hazards to what is actually on the ground (or fresh air that I often trip over!) and not add to the issue with a pair of flip flops. They were too hot to wear out there but as we had to pack on the Sunday quite early I wore them for the whole day. They were hot and uncomfortable and gave me two seriously shit blisters!

The footwear fail was self inflicted and vanity induced as I wanted my glittery toe nails on display. What I should have done was wear my crocs. I know they are ugly but hey who cares when you can walk a million miles in them. We did a lot of walking and that certainly didn't help matters.

It didn't stop me though and we saw so much of the beautiful city and had the best time.

Holiday capsule us

I didn't expect to get it 100% right on the first try but I think I came quite close and had we not done 83,000 steps in 5 days my feet might have coped better. I'm looking forward to going away again and planning my holiday capsule wardrobe.

Happy holidays!!

Ciao xx

Summer = Sandals

For us in the northern hemisphere it's summer. Um, yes it's supposed to be summer! As I type this post it's raining and blustery outside and we're all well and truely fed up.

But on the few days that the sun does show it's pretty face we all bounce out of bed and into shorts, vest tops and sandals, showing far too much lily white flesh and dry cracked heels. My poor heels really do take a bashing and they get so sore from the deep cracks.

In an attempt to prevent this happening for yet another summer I stepped up (ba boom - i'm here all week) my foot care regime to form new habits.


About 10 years ago my other mum bought me a Margaret Roberts lavender hand cream from Woolworths South Africa. Woolies is the SA equivalent to M&S here in the UK.
I loved it and used it on my hands and feet every night before going to sleep. I knew it wasn't going to last forever so I tried other creams to find a closer to home alternative. I'm sure I went through every brand in Boots and found that they all left my feet feeling oily. It was like a moisture coating that just came off on my socks!
Thankfully Stuart went to visit his dad in Cape Town and I sent him to Woolies to stock up for me! But again, it didn't last forever and I have been ekeing out the last tube over two years only using it when my poor feet were really dry.

Last week I took my visiting family to Hitchin Lavender, a place that I have wanted to visit for years but didn't have anyone to go with. Although it's not flowering season it was still lovely to see the rows of plants and imagine it in full bloom. Chloe and I have made plans to go back to see it in full flower!
Oh course we had to have a little look around the shop and I spied a lavender and peppermint foot cream. Now I did have high hopes that this cream was going to be the answer to my feet care needs and it has not disspointed! Although I was a bit annoyed that the answer was SO close to home and I missed it!

Alongside the foot cream I am using the AVON invigorating scrub with a gentle foot file every three days to remove any dead skin. On the other days I use a wash cloth and soap to exfoliate and remove excess cream.

I wish I had taken before and after photos of my heels. I'm really so impressed with the difference and loving not having to deal with sore feet in open sandals.

Happy holiday feet!!

Ciao xx

PS. Opinions in this post are my own and all products have been paid for by me.