20 Oct 2016

getting back into crochet - making blankets!

I've taken a bit of a break from yarn (see my last post for my weird habit of 'sewing in summer, wool in winter'), my last foray into crochet being many moons ago in April. To get back into the groove, I thought I'd try something easy - blankets!

Firstly, my boss volunteers at an animal sanctuary and they currently need hats for baby birds (to sit in rather than wear) and blankets for hedgehogs. So, I decided to crochet a little blanket for a recuperating hedgehog. Ta da! As you can see it's just a glorified granny square but it was the perfect thing to get back into crochet.

Secondly, my very good friend Lauren had another baby (boy) this summer so I decided to make him a blanket. Again, it's a lovely simple pattern (granny rows??) but I really like the colours. Best of all, I got to deliver it in person, which of course meant baby cuddles!!!! :D ♥ Oscar is SUCH a cutie.

Next, I need to pick up my knitting needles again...pattern/idea suggestions most welcome :)
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9 Oct 2016

summer sewing

It's that time of year again, this week I packed away my summer clothes and brought my knitwear out of hibernation. As I de-hangered my tees, skirts and sundresses I noticed that about a quarter of them were made by me, and a fair few of them being recent makes too! *smug feels* This summer, for reasons unknown, inspired a surge of sewing activity, and in particular dressmaking. I've already blogged about some of my apparel but here are three more...

Yup, another zippy tee, that's a total of five now, it really is an awesome pattern. It was originally a shapeless (rather unflattering) dress bought on sale from ASOS. Joyously there was enough fabric to give it a new life!

The Fen Dress from Fancy Tiger Crafts, fabric from John Lewis. Overall I like the pattern (a dress with pockets is always a winner) but the bodice is a little on the baggy side and the sleeves are rather odd. This one is wearable (I wore it quite a bit thoughout the summer) but I think I'll drop down a size for my second attempt.

Lastly my chambray dress. It's the basic bodice and gathered skirt (the 'sleeves' are my own addition) from Tanya Wheelan's Ultimate Dressmaking Guide. Of all the things I made over the summer, I'm most proud of this dress. Sure, the zip is wonky (oops) and the 'sleeves' don't sit as well as they could, but it's super comfortable, I'm pleased with the fit and I love the silhouette as well as the trim I added.

Looking back over my creative exploits sewing is definitely something I focus on in the warmer months - summer dresses and tees for the most part - whilst the autumn and winter is given over to crochet and knitting. I'd like to try some colder weather dressmaking items this year, perhaps a jersey sweatshirt...we shall see.

30 Sep 2016


Earlier this month I got back from one of the most relaxing holidays I've ever had -  a week in beautiful Sicily. Seven days of sun, beaches, the Mediterranean Sea and, most importantly, A LOT of delicious food.

Home for the week was a lovely villa on the outskirts of Palermo. Most days we drove to different (stunning) beaches - Magaggiari, Mondello, San Vito Lo Capo - along the north west coast. We drank (giant) aperol spritzs and ate brioche gelato (yep, that's two scoops of a-mazing icecream in a brioche bun); I swam in the sea six days out of seven! We went to an outdoor club and danced under the stars; we had a 1am walking tour of Palermo city; I tried every type of sicilian pastry and snack (savoury + sweet) - arancini, panelle, crocche, cannoli.

One of our friends is Sicilian and his parents, very kindly, cooked for us twice - once in our villa and once in their top floor apartment in Palermo (the views from the terrace were incredible). I don't need to tell you how awesome it was to have home cooked italian food. A quick note on the food: 5 - 7 courses long, the trick is NOT to fill up on the antipasti, which, might I add, is actually impossible because it's all so delicious. On our last night we went to a seafood restaurant, the starters alone consisted of: oysters, prawns, tuna steak, caponata, swordfish, squid, mussels, the sicilian equivalent of whitebait, sardines and a calamari salad. There was no menu at the restaurant, the staff just brought out what had been caught the day before, we even met the fishermen who caught it all!

To get as much holiday as possible out of our seven days away, we spent a few hours in Rome on a long stopover back to Heathrow. It was boiling hot in Rome, the same temperature as Sicily (which is pretty unpleasant when you can't go for a swim in the sea to cool down), and insanely crowded. A few of the friends we were with hadn't been to Rome before so we did a whistle-stop tour of some of the sights (colosseum, trevi fountain, roman forum). It was FULL to bursting with tourists, way too crowded for me. I'd been before in February (10 years ago) and that was much more bearable. Still, I glad blue stopped by Rome, if only for the colosseum and a walk around.

And now for some favourites...
Favourite food: a v.tough choice between cannoli and our friends' mum's homemade caponata...so I'll go with both!

Favourite day: Sunday. We drove to Trapani to catch a ferry to the island of Favignana, hired bikes and spent the day cycling around the island in search of wild beaches. The first place we stopped, Cala Rossa, had the most spectacular sea I've ever seen, impossibly clear and blue! After a couple of hours of swimming and basking in the sun we cycled to the town for icecream (naturally), before stopping off at another beautiful beach for more, you guessed it, sea swimming.

Favourite beach: Faraglioni di Scopello. It's not technically a beach as there's no sand but the water there was beautiful. The affectionately named, Dolce & Gabana beach (due to the fact it looks similar to where they film their TV adverts, though no actual tiny-white-underwear sporting adonises were actually seen), was the last beach we went to. It boats lots of shade and v.friendly stray cats, but what made it my favourite was the sea and little caves in between and underneath the rocks which you could swim through, it felt like another world.

Writing this now, in my chilly office at work opposite a window view of grey building under grey sky, it almost feels like I dreamt the whole thing up...

But I didn't! It's real and I can't reccommend Sicily enough, you should see it for yourselves :)

6 Sep 2016

illustrated packing list: Sicily

The long awaited holiday has arrived! 
The weather isn't looking too great in Sicily at present (thunderstorms!) but I am unperturbed, it's just going to be great being somewhere other than London. As you can see from the packing list, I'm also optimistic that we'll see some sun. Rather pleasingly I was able to include a couple of handmade items of clothing too :) 
Arrivederci chums! 

1 Sep 2016

Ah, August

...what a fabulous month you've been! Sociable yet chilled, food-filled, park-based and most importantly: sunny & bright :)

Reading: I'm one chapter from finishing Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It's excellent, quite easily the best read of the year so far.

Watching: BoJack Horseman season 3 (it got reeeally dark); Star Trek Enterprise (we're onto season 4 which pales in comparison to seasons 2 and 3); Great British Bake Off (it's back!); and in honor of Gene Wilder, See no evil, Hear no evil.

Eating: a vegetarian diet. Mitch and I decided to give vegetarianism a try for a while. We really don't eat that much meat to be honest, and when we do, it's mostly when we go out. At the risk of sounding defeatist, I shall be breaking the veggie diet when we go to Sicily for a week (I have to try the local cuisine after all, that's a big part of a holiday for me!).

Drinking: fresh mint and ginger tea.

Making: a dress (surprise, surprise) from some lovely chambray I bought at the Knitting & Stitching Show a million years ago.

Wearing: sundresses! And sandals! And sunglasses!

Sleeping: very well indeed thanks to our brand new mattress (such an adult).

Looking forward to: our aforementioned week long trip to Sicily (sooo excited!)

Feeling: very much contented living in Peckham and rather smug too particularly when friends come to the area for the first time and we get to show them around. A little burnt out - work hasn't really slowed the pace since I started in June. Incredulous - we can't possibly be two thirds of the way through 2016??!!

25 Aug 2016

two years ♥

Last Tuesday marked mine and Mitch's 2nd wedding anniversary. It's funny, on the one hand I feel like we've been married forever (in a good way!), but on the other, it's as if the best day ever was only last weekend :)

Unlike our first anniversary, this year was rather low key, dinner in Peckham (Taiwanese at Mr Bao - SO good, we basically ordered everything on the menu) followed by some Star Trek back at the flat. We didn't even do gifts this year which I'm a bit sad about especially as two years is cloth and I had so many ideas (namely involving making clothes)! The truth is we'd just paid for our villa in Sicilly (two weeks today!!! I cannot wait!!!) and August in general has been busy (aka expensive) month.

A lot of things have finally fallen into place during the year which is probably why I boldly stated at dinner that I thought our second year of marriage was better than the first. The independence of having our own home has been, and continues to be, fricking amazing. We're also back living very close by to the majority of our friends. And, thanks to this more independent, relaxed, sociable set up we have, we've talked a lot more about future plans - travel, housing, (gulp) family. It's all very exciting and I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else ♥

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