Friday, 2 June 2023

Evolving and Simple Pleasures........

Life is ever evolving.

I have felt like I have slowly been changing these past couple of years. It is quite a scary thing, especially for someone who is a complete control freak. To have that security that you know who you are, then to begin to feel like you are becoming someone else.......and not of your choosing.

I LOATHE change. 

I'll do change

I'll accept change....if it's my idea

If I've thought about it forever in my head that it feels like it's not been sprung on me, then it'll be okay.

Anyone else feel like that?

I know I'm not on my own. Many women experience this. Your kids, suddenly aren't these little beings anymore who solely rely on you. In a blink of an eye (it seems), they are suddenly these big people, who want to (and should) branch out in the world.

These emotional feelings of not really knowing who you are to people day to day, are often accompanied side by side the peri-menopause or menopause. The physical and emotional double whammy just to make it all feel like you have been thrown into a washing machine, and set on a really long, and really rough cycle. 

It's a minefield, that so many of us go through and experience. I guess you don't really know how much it displaces you until you are actually slap, bang in the middle of it.

My creative side has taken a back seat for the best part of a year now. It's like it's just upped and left my body. I don't know whether it's a temporary thing, or whether it's really gone for good. I don't know whether it's me thinking that I'm ready to change direction and discover something knew, or whether my love for crochet and making will come back to me. I made a start on two blankets. One is half finished and stares at me half draped over a chair. The other, was going to be a slow grower. A labour of love. One I could pick up and put down when I felt like it. The gaps in between picking it up have been too infrequent. I'm enjoying it when I'm working on it, but that zest for seeing it finished is just lacking. I saw a pattern on pinterest for a lovely jumper, and my interest was slightly peaked.

 However, that bit from being interested, to full on excited, just isn't there anymore. I looked at it, looked at yarn on a website, then lost interest. I think it would be cute and fun to make, but I just can get to the 'make' stage.

Maybe my lack of enthusiasm for crafting, is just my body telling me that I need to focus on other things at the moment. Who knows? I'm just trying to go with the flow of it all.

I have been enjoying baking. My waistline hasn't thanked me. Who knew it was totally easy to make your own butter? The satisfaction of making it and then putting it on freshly made bread.....well....there's nothing quite like it


I have been enjoying You Tube more so these days. Slow living vlogs soothe my soul. Beauty and lifestyle vlogs for women more my age suck me in also. As someone who had gone through life really being lazy and neglecting her skin, I thought I ought to get my act together and start to do something about it as I'm nearing the mid century mark. I started watching a couple of vlogs to get an idea of what I really ought to be doing. Self care has always been something that gets a bit lost on me. When you're a busy mum, it's easy to feel the guilt of spending any time on yourself. Plus the fact that I'm quite a lazy person when it comes to skincare etc. I'm a sucker for products, and have the best intentions, but my execution has always been sporadic to say the least. I have been trying really hard to maintain continuity.  It's been quite nice to take some time and realise that little rituals really make a difference to how I look and feel. 

Here are a some of vlogs I watch just in case anyone fancies a goosie gander. I am sure some of you who are reading this post will be familiar with some crafty vlogs already. I dip in and out as and when I have the time.

Crafty Vlogs

Slow Living Vlogs

Beauty and Lifestyle

Walks out and about have been lovely recently. 

......and cuddles with this one.....

It's full on summer weather at the moment. I have been waking up with the sunrise. I so love this time of year. Waking up at 4ish and just listening to the birds. That first morning brew in total quiet listening to the day slowly wake from its slumber. One of my favourite song lyric lines is from Kate Bush's song 'Nocturn'.

Look at the light......all the time it's changing, and all the dreamers are waking.



Friday, 22 April 2022

Autumn/Winter Ramble 2021/2022

When I went to write this blog post, it dawned on me, that for the past couple of years I have only written Spring and Summer posts. I can't really say why I seemed to have missed two seasons out of the years. It was certainly my intention to write 4 seasonal posts a year. Maybe I find these seasons to be the most busy and stressful of the seasons. It sometimes takes all that I have just to get through them, let alone write about them. Maybe I'm over thinking things, and I'm just plain lazy.



Actually, this post has been chopped, changed, written and re-written. I questioned my own sanity at one point. Weirdly, for saying I have a blog which I share to anyone who chooses to read it, I'm a very quiet and private person. I plod along in life being a mother and a maker of things. Life ebbs and flows, and every now and then it gets turned on its head for good measure. To tell you the truth, I have felt so discombobulated and out of sorts recently. I have mainly put it down to being peri-menopausal. It's the darndest of things. My hormones seem to be all over the place. I just don't really feel like I know myself at the moment. I'm all over the place and it unsettles me. I'm trying to accept this time of change, but I am feeling frustrated with myself. It's also quite hard to get others to understand just how much this season of life affects you. I think it's always been seen as a bit of a joke, and only others who have, or who are currently experiencing it can completely understand it. There are more celebrities discussing it quite openly now, which is fantastic. Do you know, I had never even HEARD of the peri-menopause until I started to get symptoms. I knew I hadn't hit the menopause but felt all of these tell tale symptoms. This whole wealth of information was found at the touch of a button, but I had to go searching for it for answers. It beggars belief really that something so profound in women is discussed so little. Anyway, that's just my experience. Others may have faired better. Suffice to say, I have been acting weird and feeling weird and it has made me really quite grumpy and frustrated to feel a lack of control. I am a control freak by nature, so I find it doubly hard. I'm sure the Bears have been finding me a little testing. It's almost like I have had to deal with their adolescence and mood swings, and now they have to deal with mine. I go from feeling like the crappest mother in the world, to feeling like I actually did a decent job in a space of 0-60 seconds.

Trying to get a handle on all of these physical and emotional changes, I really began to analyse myself. It's not something I think I have ever done. You get up in the mornings, you are you, then you go to bed. And Repeat. Anyway, I realised something about myself that had not crossed my mind ever before and it was sort of a revelation for me. I felt like things finally made sense. Doesn't change anything, but it clears a lot up and sort of organises the compartments in my mind.

Two thirds of the Bears are fully grown adults, and Baby Bear is catching up quick. I absolutely adore having grown up chats with them, but I mourn the loss of feeling so needed. Big Bear flies the nest in a few weeks and the dynamics will change. I'm bracing myself. Of course, I'm over the moon the time has come to start spread wings, but it's bitter-sweet and it's hitting me hard feeling so out of sorts too. I know so many others share similar feelings, so I take comfort in not feeling alone, when sometimes I feel very alone.

Usually when I feel like I am on some very fast roundabout, I have a very urgent need to just retract from pretty much everything in my world. I call it 'going down the rabbit hole'. I came off any social media, burrow down and just concentrated on my little bubble. When I am not feeling myself, I find the lure of social media almost too much to bear. The fake perfectness does absolutely nothing to help me get through how I'm feeling. When I'm in a better frame of mind I can quite happily brush it all off and see it all for how it is. As soon as I start to feel like things are spinning around too fast, then I know to start cutting myself off from everything and just concentrate on the things that really count in my life. I also actually find that the social media detox is great for rediscovering myself. Sometimes I find, I get so caught up in someone else's daily dream that I forget it's not actually mine. Just by stopping and remembering what it is that I actually love, I end up going down my own path and the joy it brings is second to none. I have, however, discovered some slow living vlogs on You Tube that I find really calming and inspirational. They have helped to remind me to slow things, take my time and just enjoy the simplicity of the small pleasures. That is what I have been doing, and that is currently where I am up to in my life.


Autumn came and went, and with it followed the mildest Winter. I actually planted up spring bulbs for like, the first time ever when I was actually supposed to. I was super proud of myself.  The Winter has been so mild that they have come up really early. I have not really bothered with the garden these last few years. It's honestly the size of a postage stamp, yet still I really struggle to manage it. I just don't think I'm green fingered enough. About 10 years ago, we had one of the wettest winters, spring and summer. A wave of blackspot descended upon my little Town. It landed most heavily in my garden, and to this day, my roses truly suffer. I have tried everything, bar completely demolishing the garden to eradicate the fungus. I get so disheartened when I try something and it totally bombs. It happens way too often for my liking. I'm a defeatist. Failing at something really doesn't spur me on to try harder to succeed. I just think "okay I'm done, what's next?"

My tastes seem to be changing. Well, when I say that, I think I mean I so desperately feel in the need for a complete change. I'm a pastel girl at heart, with the odd bit of vibrant thrown in when the mood takes me. Lately though, I just need empty and pretty much all white. It could possibly have something to do with the present situation I have found myself in these past 18 months. I'm just craving serene and neutral. I tried to make a start on my dresser. All pastels came off and white dresser was teamed with white crockery. Plants were added for a touch of contrast.......but safe to say.......a little bit of pastel made its way back. Only a hint though. I was quite pleased with myself at my restraint. I now want all the walls painted soft shades of white. Everyone rolls their eyes at me. 

I actually need to summon up the energy and willpower to detox my house. I attach sentimental value to pretty much everything and I need to just learn to let go a bit more. I think it will help to declutter my brain. That is sorely needed. 

(Bye Bye Pastel Dresser)

The outside office was installed before Christmas. I was so grateful for that. Finally I could see light at the end of the tunnel. The pandemic has certainly turned life topsy turvy. The house had been so jammed pack full of office stuff, with no actual office space, that when it was all finally moved, I didn't want anything to get in the way of finally having space to breathe. Unfortunately, that was the middle of December, when trees and decs and all lovely manner of stuff usually gets crammed into a house. I just couldn't face it to tell the truth. The Bears weren't bothered about not having a tree or any decs so that made me feel a little less guilty. I snuck a few little bits onto shelves that I had bought in the month, but nothing was brought down from the loft.  It felt weird, but also liberating. I did miss my yearly ritual of getting up super early whilst the rest of the house is still asleep and having my first cuppa of the day in silence.....just the twinkly lights on the tree and me.

Christmas came and went. Lovely highs and not so lovely lows. It was what it was. It came in a whirlwind it seemed, and left in one.

The family saw the New Year in with a lovely dose of Covid. Only Big Bear managed to escape it. We had all been vaccinated as much as we could be for our ages and it was actually fine for us all, just colds, so we were lucky. Some are not so.

I had started another blanket back in the Autumn.  I just loved the look of...


As per usual, I saw it, and straight away decided that I was going to make it. I just don't really stop to think as to whether I actually NEED any more blankets, I just dive straight in. I never learn.

I did my usual, not sticking to the pattern, and made work for myself, only to realise if I'd just skipped a bit then carried on, it would have been just fine. I really can be a crochet muppet sometimes. Anyway, I liked how it was coming together. I actually really like straight forward squares that you just crochet together in an easy fashion. Maybe it's because I seem to be drawn to hexagonal motifs that really are the WORST to put together. So time consuming and tedious. But I do love the end result. My Beatrix Potter Blanket is one I have got so much joy from. It really set me on a path for the patchwork look. I actually have to confess to getting the wanties to making another hexagonal crochet blanket but with even smaller hexies. I know it would absolutely drive me batty to make it...........but I also know that the end result would be beautiful. 


Back to my current blanket. I was desperate to use the King Cole Forest Aran yarn. I just fell in love with most of the colours and wanted to use them all together. I wasn't keen on a couple of the shades and needed to bulk the blanket out with another couple of shades to get a good balance throughout the blanket. I mixed Sirdar Saltaire in the Fern and Squirrel colour ways and like how they blended in. I was going to make all the circles first, then square them off, then lay the colours and crochet it all together in one big finale, but decided to actually do one strip at a time and get each strip crocheted together first. I just thought it actually might spur me on rather than just seeing piles of motifs growing.

I decided that this was to be the final crochet project before I actually knuckled down and learnt properly how to knit a pair of socks (I don't know why it just scares me so?). I have enough blankets now. I gave a fair amount to charity last year but still have a lot in the house. Socks. People always need to wear socks. Can you have too many? I'm sure avid sock knitters will say maybe yes, but if I start from none, then if I learn, I can make quite a few before I need to quit those too. I think 1000 pairs of socks would roughly equal the size of one of my blankets! I still haven't perfected the art of a small blanket. 

I have some You Tube sock tutorials book marked, and I think I have the needles now to move forward. I just need to finish my blanket and psyche myself up for the knit lingo. I tell myself I taught myself to crochet, I can teach myself to knit socks.

At this point I will insert an edit:

I got 3/4 of the way through my blanket and was making great and speedy progress......then I lost a whole bunch of made up squares. They must have been packed somewhere before Christmas when we were packing and moving things to the office. Getting Covid after Christmas and generally just feeling discombobulated, I really couldn't be bothered to go hunting through stacked tubs. To date, the blanket is half finished, and another blanket pattern caught my eye in the meantime. I'll save that for another post. These knitted socks are elusive.


Spring has arrived and I am in need of piggy backing it, tapping into its boundless energy and upbeat positivity.

I'll let you know how I get on with that.





Friday, 15 October 2021

Summer 2021

 Goodness......and just like that, we have slowly sauntered into Autumn. How did that happen?

So, Summer 2021, we came out of the Lockdown and life began to resemble some sense of being sort of normal again. The days have just flown by. Blending one day into the next.....and before you know it, another month has been crossed off the calendar. I cannot say that I can look back over this summer and feel like I have really achieved anything though. I seem to be dabbling in even more procrastination these days. My house really has got to bursting point. Others in the household are still working from home with the decision for it to be a permanent arrangement. Offices have been cleared out which means housing a lot more at home. The decision was made to buy a garden home office to make this permanent situation workable. However, until things are all finalised, the house is full with people and work clutter. I have got used to the limited use of the house on my days off, and keeping the noise very low whilst people are on work calls. Headphones have been a godsend, because not being able to listen to music would have just sent me crazy. My whole life runs alongside one big film score.

I procrastinate, because I don't seem to get anywhere when I try at the moment. That sounds a bit pathetic I know. I am waiting...........waiting patiently to be able to get to 'full steam ahead' mode.

It is with this procrastination and lack of space, I have found it difficult to do anything in the way of crafting. I have been slowly working on my Beatrix Potter Blanket. It is almost there. Only took 9 months. It is all sewn up now and I just love how it turned out. I wanted a simplified vintage look. I think I've achieved it. The colours were just really leftovers from my last blanket, and I don't think I actually purchased much yarn apart from the mint colour way. They were just muted pastels and fitted perfectly with Beatrix Potters colour palette of her watercolour illustrations. 

I can't say that I'm that confident of my sewing skills. Let's just say, I've told the Bears' (firmly) that it will solely be a chair throw or bed throw. It's definitely not a blanket that can take 6ft boy abuse! I don't know what on earth possessed me to sew up the hexies by hand with cotton thread. Really, cotton thread should be left to cotton fabric, and yarn should be used to sew yarny things. Non flexible with flexible was fine, but whether it will hold is to be seen. I guess my way of thinking was that I wanted seamless hexies sewn together. I know that there is a way to do it with yarn, but to be honest, I'm incredibly lazy, and because my hexies were quite small, I thought the yarn way was far too labourious than the thread way. Like I said, I don't think this blanket would withstand 6ft boy abuse, but it will be fine for me. The dog seems to have taken a shine to it. Seriously, she thinks that any blanket is especially for her. If I am chilly and I snuggle up in one, you can bet she'll hear the blanket rustle from the furthest part of the house and be straight up on me on it for a cuddle. I guess I should be pleased that someone loves my blankets as much as I do!

As soon as that blanket was ticked off the list, I thought I'd put down my blanket hook for a while. I bought a crochet sweater pattern. I find crochet garments a bit hit and miss. My plan was have a go. I find that I'm not terribly good at reading written patterns. I work better from charts. Written patterns always put me off. I have several crochet sweater patterns ready to make a start on, but I seem to put off doing them as much as I like them. So, I bought the pattern, bought the wool.......then saw a blanket idea that I loved and the sweater pattern suddenly got thrown down the list. I've just ordered the yarn and am looking forward to the cosy Autumnal evenings with candles, some spiced drink and a new hooky project. Look out for the next post to see the blankety progression. I don't seem to have that many photos of my Beatrix Potter Blanket. It was finished, and put at the end of my bed ready to take some pics and keep a record of my finished project, but it somehow just progressed to being a dog snuggler. I'm hoping that once my house gets opened up again, I'll be free to have the space to make and pick up my camera again.

Late spring into early summer I really concentrated on my health. I wasn't happy with my fitness levels or my weight gain over lockdown last year. For a few months I worked really hard and was pleased that I'd reached half my goal. Then I went away on holiday and I enjoyed myself so things have been 'suspended'! I'm still trying to be sensible until I feel in the mindset to give it my all again, but I do feel happier and healthier than I did last year.


Bread is pretty much my downfall. I baked A LOT last year, hence the large weight gain. I haven't baked much bread this year, but floral foccacia is something I'm loving. It's so much fun to make.

I also bought a new cookbook, that had strawberry breakfast slices. It's from a cookbook with the word 'Comfort' in the title. Seriously, I should have left well alone. Super quick and easy to whip up. Basic puff pastry, mash some strawberries with either thick greek yoghurt or cream cheese and layer over the pastry. Layer thinly cut strawberries over the top, egg wash the sides and bake for 20 minutes until golden. For a pop of extra sweetness, I layer a thin veil of strawberry jam underneath the cream cheese mixture. Very moorish, so these are strictly Sunday morning baking if I have been good and not naughty during the week! 

Coffee is a staple too. Summer was for fresh, crisp coffee. I'm looking forward to the flavoured coffees now.

These past few days, I've woken up to darker mornings. Misty and crisp. We are on the cusp of the Autumn slumber. It's my mission to find my pumpkins to display around the house. 

As usual for this time of year, one of my most favourite things to do, is to go to TKMax and stock up on the Autumn candles. It's my favourite Autumn thing to do, fill the house with the gorgeous comforting aroma of spiced apple and pumpkin. 

I'm ready for warm knits on crisp days, falling leaves on sleepy trees and the beautiful scent of woody damp decay. Every season truly is a beauty.