Tuesday, 30 December 2008

New Year's Resolutions

So, it's the time of year in which everyone makes resolutions and looks back on what they've achieved. Who am I to go against this noble tradition?

Things I did:

- moved house and got a cat
- went to Paris
- decided that I hated driving and it wasn't worth the misery carrying on (best decision EVER, seriously)
- passed my first year in teaching
- asked for help when I needed it
- kept my temper when dealing with a particularly difficult colleague
- started baking
-read 38 books

Things I want to achieve by this time next year:

- grow at least one edible tomato and one presentable flower
- bake some English muffins
- knit a full sized cardigan
- have actually started to write for publication again
- look after myself more
- spend less
- think before I speak
- bake an actual cake
- try and be positive through whatever life throws at me :)

Happy New Year! xx

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Post-Christmas Ponderings

Merry (belated) Christmas! I would have written sooner, but I had a bit of the flu in the run up to Christmas...

The day itself was lovely and I am a very, very lucky girl. I got my Knit Picks and they are perfect, I am knitting up a storm. I also got baking related gifts, a seedling set and lots of historical biographies (as well as Gone With The Wind, both on DVD and the novel!) so I am set up for whatever the recession can throw at me :) I'm just going to hibernate and work on the garden! I must admit though, I have succumbed to the post-Christmas blues, but those are easily beaten by a quick flick through Knitty's archives and ordering odd varieties of tomato seeds. One of my New Year's resolutions is to grow at least one tomato I can eat this year, what with last year's solitary fruit turning brown and hard :s I'm also going to be growing sweet peas, salads and sunflowers, which I can't wait. I'm also looking out for the bulbs Emily and I planted back in October. For the first time in ages, I feel hopeful and it's nice. It's more than nice, I feel like I'm a human again!

I was going to do my year 11 media marking today, but it's such a nice day that I think I will go and clear the garden and watch Bronte harrass the pair of wood pigeons that live in our tree. Then I plan on baking some Snickerdoodles and a honey loaf. Life is good.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Life is on the up..

Well, I'm feeling tons better and a doctor finally took me seriously, so all is good :D I have energy and enthusiasm (probably too much enthusiasm if you'd have asked Benn yesterday after I'd insisted he put the fairy lights on the tree... is it like the law that men have to look grumpy whilst doing that particular job??) and it's nearly Christmas!

So, two weeks ago, I finished Grandma's shawl AND the Unshaped Shrug. I have to take photos to show, I just haven't got round to doing it yet! I'm now knitting Branching Out with the beautiful green sock yarn I bought from Wibbo at the Knitting Safari and it's a gorgeous pattern for a gorgeous yarn. I did have a bit of a disaster this morning- I snapped one of my Knit Picks Harmonies, which nearly made me cry. I then duly went to Get Knitted to order more, when Benn almost tore my hand from the keyboard. It turns out I'll be getting the interchangable needles set for Christmas as a 'surprise'... I was really touched, he'd gone to a lot of trouble to find them and even though they're not a surprise any more, I'm still excited! So, Branching Out is now on the Addi Lace Turbos, which I don't like as much. I've always been more for bamboo/wood anyway.

Today I had a go at peanut brittle from Nigella Christmas- I'm planning on making work colleagues sweets as presents (have no idea how I will be presenting them- any suggestions welcome!) What a disaster that was! She says to 'seriously boil the sugar mixture for ten minutes- it will smoke, be warned!' What Nigella doesn't tell you is that you will burn the mixture and possibly swallow carcinogenic chemicals when you don't believe your nose/eyes and try the aforementioned burnt mixture and then spend twenty minutes cleaning your boyfriend's best pan, whilst shooing smoke out of any available window or door...

Anyway, I then tried again. And ended up with caramel with peanuts in it which was not even useful. *Sigh* I will be making peppermint creams instead next week. Oh, and baking biscuits for some of my classes. I'll be buying the rest.

Oh, and we have a tree. I decided to put it up yesterday (we got a fake one in the end.. grr) and it looks fab :) Bronte is not too bothered by it, she was more put out by the fact that we locked her out of the room last night. I also bought a couple of lovely decs in some open houses I visited in Hove, so it's really cool.

This week is going to be an interesting one, particularly Wednesday- we're being OFSTED'd for one day and I'm teaching one lesson. It will be interesting to see what we're expected to do in the next few days. I'm trying not to be too worried about it (I think my medication is taking the edge off it anyway...!) and looking forward to the fact that Wednesday is also the evening of my Stitch and Bitch Christmas meal. I have a very interesting Secret Santa present to give- I hope the recipient likes it!!

Right, Bailey's is calling me...

Monday, 24 November 2008

Ooh, two posts in two days!

Unusual, I know!

I am sat at home, stressed and tired after a day of marking and arguing with teenagers, exhausted after travelling for too much time and I am thinking....

Is it really so ridiculous to open a knitting shop in Brighton? A good one, where I can sell local and independent products and really cool stuff and books that you can't get in C&H or Borders? Where I could teach classes and my Stitch and Bitch group could come for cake and coffee (and, more importantly, less scowls than they receive in Starbucks) I wish I had the money. I reckon even in recession, it'd make money (even the Guardian is declaring knitting to be just the thing to do in hard times!)

Ah, I can dream, I guess.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Long time no post....

Hello! I haven't been around for a while, I've been so exhausted and snowed under that blogging has been temporarily forgotten. However, I have had a very interesting month:

- Brighton Knitting Safari: it was fab and I bought some amazing yarn that will no doubt be revealed as I use them, but it was great to see everybody (and I won in the raffle! And not teabags! I was *well* chuffed)

- Bronte has started going out of her own accord! She ran Bully Cat out of the garden (this is the cat who has consistently tried to beat Bronte up- even going so far as to running into the flat when we were out) We were mystified by this, until yesterday when I heard the distinct noise of chickens coming from a neighbouring garden. Mystery solved! She's obsessed!

- I went to see the Kills on Friday. Best. Gig. Ever. Lots of Kate Moss-a-likes though (one half of the band is her current beau)

- Benn and I have started our annual fake vs real debate regarding Christmas trees. I'm sticking with real, artificial just wouldn't be the same!

- Knitting and general life is OK, I just wish I could shake off the tiredness and anxiety, but I have an appointment with a nice doctor on Wednesday, so hopefully I can be back to normal sooner rather than later...

Normal service with the blog hopefully resumed soon!

Monday, 3 November 2008


So, half term was lovely. Em stayed for a few days, I made a tote bag and Nintendo DS pouch as Christmas presents and I spent a lot of time at the doctors.

I have been very, very tired for a long time now and I thought it might be anaemia, what with female-related stuff happening and I had tests last week. No anaemia, yay! But some evidence of slight inflammation in my blood (whatever that means) and no answer for the tiredness. So back to the doctors I go. Sigh. It's really ridiculous. I feel cold all the time. My ankles ache (if anyone wants to knit me a pair of thick socks, I wouldn't argue!) I am, in fact, turning into an old lady and I'm tired. I'm 24, I can usually walk for miles without so much as a red face. What's even more bewildering is that I didn't do any work over the holiday, as I was determined to give myself a break after the madness of the summer. *Sigh*. So now I have to wrangle time off and what have you and it is most annoying. As well as slightly worrying... Please keep your fingers crossed!

I did a load of work on Grandma's shawl, although it's still not done. I'm working like a beetle on it and the shrug has been relegated to the sidelines until it is done. I am so easily seduced, I need to focus. Yep, that's what I need to do. Oh, and write a novel in November thanks to NaNoWriMo. I've started but have no idea if I will make the 50,000 words by the 30th. We shall see. I guess I better go have a look at it.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Exciting things and happenings...

Hello! How are you? I am immensly perky for a change, which is terribly unusual for a Sunday night.

Firstly, I've sorted out a health problem that's been dogging me for months. I'm no longer feeling tired and irritable all the time, which is fab :) I actually feel like myself again, something that has not been the case since about May. Also, I didn't have too much work to do today, as I did all my planning on Friday and I forgot to bring a mark scheme I needed! Sod's law, but it gave me a well deserved break.

Secondly, my grey yarn arrived and I am knitting up a storm on my Unshaped Shrug. I'm about a third of the way through; it is very easy and moves quickly, so hopefully that should be ready to wear in a matter of days! It's lovely to do something quick and satisfying- I've not had much luck with projects this year. I also did a bit of Christmas-present-fabric-shopping so I have a great selection of stuff to work with. Heaven!

Thirdly, Benn and I have spent time together properly for the first time in ages... We went out for a really nice meal last night (I ordered calamari! And plaice! I've never ordered fish that wasn't battered before. Wasn't keen on mussells though. A bit bogey-like in texture) and, OK, we spent an inordinate amount of time discussing our neighbour's slightly abandoned cat and what we should do about him, but at least we were *together* and enjoying each other's company.

The neighbour's cat, who has a Turkish name that I can never remember (I call him Baldrick, because he's short and scruffy) is locked out a lot. And sits on our windowsill waiting to be let in. At all hours. We've started putting biscuits down for him because they never do and he's out a lot. I would quite happily take him in, but I know it doesn't work like that, but I'm at a loss as to what to do. He tries to dash in here when we open the door and he and Bronte are fascinated by one another. They never hiss at each other like the other cats we get. He was out there until very late on Friday, again last night and was out today too. I know they let him in, but surely, if you live in a second floor flat you don't get a cat? Or if you do, you keep him as a house cat? Also, it puts us in an awkward position because we're nearly always in on an evening and he tries to come in with us. We have to throw him back outside whatever the weather and he hides in the bush. Or we risk locking him in the hallway with no litter tray until who knows what time. I don't know what to do. I am going to speak to our neighbour and mention that we have been putting food out occassionally. Benn doesn't want him anywhere near our flat (I suggested letting him through into the garden, where he would at least be safer from cars).

Any suggestions?? (I wish my lead for my phone was findable- I have a good photo of Baldrick on the windowsill!)

Sunday, 12 October 2008

musings of a crafter..

So, I was thinking today about why I make things (even though, it seems, I rarely finish up with what I intended- or rarely finish in some cases!) and I know that Benn often looks at me when I'm having a knitting/sewing/crochet/baking related tantrum and looks like he's wondering the same thing.

The event that kicked off the musing was the fact that last night, I ordered four balls of Freedom wool in light grey and two pairs of new knitting needles (metal- thanks, credit crunch!) Now, this might not seem like a major event, but I have very rarely bought yarn this year, making do with what I have, or swapping for new and interesting things. Heck, I've rarely bought anything for my crafting. But last night, I realised that I only had my grandma's Christmas shawl to do and then I would be left with nothing else. Nothing in my stash excited me and most of it was single balls. I've been coveting grey knitwear for a while and, though I don't have the patience or the time for a larger item, I decided to finally make the Unshaped Shrug I've been planning for a year. I like shrugs, I like grey and I like knitwear. So, the perfect combination. I had a bit of a headache with gauge, but I think I'll work it out. I usually do.

So, £22 lighter, I am excited. I actually don't think I've ordered so much yarn in a year. And then I started thinking. Why make a shrug for £22 when I could pick one up in Primark for £6? Sure, I wouldn't have the tantrums or the expense, but would Primark have a decent quality, grey shrug that I liked? (Answer: no. I checked.) This way, I know who made the shrug and I get some enjoyment out of the emerging pattern too.

Similarly, I am making bags and purses with my sewing machine as gifts. I'm also planning on making some tree decorations myself out of felt and stuffing. My sewing may not be perfect, but I'm thinking about what my friends like- for one, a black cord handbag with Batman lining will be perfect. For another, a black cord purse with tasteful fabric lining (I have a lot of black cord knocking about right now) My crafting, although by no means the most talented, means that I can have an idea-usually a simple one!- and turn it into something I want but can't buy. The Christmas decorations come from that fact that this year we're getting a bigger tree, so we need more baubles.

If I can't make what I want, or I don't know how to, I look for people who do; either for instruction or to buy. Etsy has been great- a lady in Belgium made me some Christmas stuff and a girl in Vermont is making me something else... A lady in Arizona is making me a ring based on my favourite Emily Bronte poem.

I like this freedom from schlepping round shops on a Saturday. I like getting what I want and, I hope, the recipients of this new found freedom enjoy what they receive. It's better than a voucher.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Can I Have My Life Back, Please?

Uh, I am tired! Seriously, I have to really keep myself going with the use of caffeine and sugar most days and it is not. good. I suffered from a bout of seriously low morale earlier this week, so I'm not sure what I'll do to fix that long term. I'm considering all options, as they say.

Other than that, things are OK. I took Bronte to have her jabs on Saturday, we went to a cat-only vet(!) where she was given a green catnip mouse for being good! It was quite nice to go without being on the receiving end of a Rottweiler's death stare, actually. She's doing well, actually, although desperate to go outside (she can't until we've completed her injections in a fortnight and then we have to keep her in for a week after that to be on the safe side, so the first weekend of half term is when the happy day arrives!) She was driving Benn mad yesterday and the day before- he's been off sick and an over-enthuasiastic cat was not the thing he needed. She has mad mornings where she runs everywhere and jumps after phantom objects. In fact, she just made the same weird clucking noise she does when she's watching the birds... whilst stalking my tube of mascara. Seriously.

I got a huge package the other day, too. It was a Travelling Tea Box that came from Germany and I have to send it on tomorrow to the next person. You take a few bits out and replace them with stuff you've bought. It's filled with amazing stuff like yarn, tea and chocolate, and I had to restrain myself from taking a lot of stuff, but I'm regretting taking one thing- I always seem to pick the teas from the US that don't send here.. *sigh* It's like peanut butter M&Ms all over again... But I also took a pair of Knit Picks Harmonies and some Heather yarn that's kind of green and black, as well as some chai tea latte sachets (I am *addicted* to chai lattes after discovering them last week- they taste like Christmas!) and a thing that you put used tea bags in.

I'm loving autumn though; I'm seriously debating hauling my winter coat out, it's been so cold the last couple of mornings and my little green jacket just isn't covering it. I love coming home and making a cup of tea and just reading my emails (occassionally this is let down by the fact I have to do some school work..) I also bought the entire four series of Blackadder on DVD, so that's ace too. Oh and I'm working on my beret still, although it's slow progress!

Benn is going away next week, so I will have lots of time to do stuff like that and also a slightly deranged cat to keep me company. Yay!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Interesting Women I Have Read About (in the last month)

I've been doing a lot of reading..
Catherine of Aragon

The Brontes

Marie Antoinette
I'm open for new suggestions!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Jeepers Creepers...

Well, the flat is no longer 'owned' by Benn or myself. No, we have given ourselves over completely to our new tenant. This includes fretting for a week when she wouldn't eat anything we put in front of her (we solved this by buying one each of each pouch the supermarket sold in a desperate attempt to find out what she liked), chasing local hostile cats out of the garden at odd hours in our pyjamas, being stared at when partaking in private bathroom activities and keeping our fingers crossed that when Madame Bronte is finally allowed outside after her injections, she will refrain from killing members from either the wood pigeon or the robin families that frequent our garden for the bird feeder. I can handle dead mice, but not birds that I feel are as much a part of the garden as the grass.

Now she is sat on the back of the sofa, using me as a back rest whilst I type this... I am of course back into my usual Sunday routine of shirking from my scholastic obligations of the coming week. I am ignoring the fact that I don't have any resources ready for tomorrow, or that I have rough drafts of GCSE coursework to mark; instead, I am typing on my blog, drinking tea and listening to the Puppini Sisters (if you like 40's/50's girl groups like the Andrews Sisters, I can heartily recommend them to you.)

The first two weeks of school have been OK, I seem to have scored the worst behaved boys in years 9, 10 and 11 though. I'm not sure if it's a bit of a backhanded compliment, actually. I'm taking a 'soft' approach with this boys, as each one has anger management issues, although this doesn't mean that I'm not setting boundaries etc. It just means that my discipline strategy is to reward good behaviour and use positive reinforcement. Much like the way I treat the cat, in fact.. I have mixed feelings, as a student is about to take over my worst class, so we'll see how she copes. Obviously I'll be there all the way to help, but it makes me slightly nervous, especially as I've got them nearly to where I want them in terms of behaviour. Oh well.

I'm looking forward to this week, as an INSET means I'll only be teaching one full day, so hopefully I can get a lot done. I'm finding hard to adjust back to the weekend working thing, so I'm trying to do as much in my frees as possible.

I'm also in the process of making a crochet 50's beret, complete with bow. I think it surprises people that I'm in love with the 50's, I certainly don't look like I am. I always admire those girls who really embrace it as, not so much as a lifestyle, but definitely a look. I'm far too low maintainence to even consider lip balm, let alone bright red lipstick, heels and perfect bangs every day! I am loving Mad Men though, I would totally live in the 50's if it wasn't for the various '-isms' and problems that entail it. I think in times of insecurity and uncertainty, it's easy to look back and idealise a certain way of life. We're certainly living in scary, interesting and possibly turbulent times at the moment...

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Nice Things...

Thanks for all the nice comments about Doug. He was buried on Sunday in our new garden in a L'Occitane box and we put a couple of bulbs in with him, so come spring there'll be a few flowers.

Anyway, I promised you a summary of my summer, especially as I'm back in the old routine from tomorrow when the kids are back.

1) We moved. This has provided quite a bit of, er, hilarity. Our flat has a very narrow, stupidly designed hallway. Needless to say, after dealing with a washing machine that the delivery men refused to move (leaving me and my sister to try and do it ourselves) and dealing with a ready-built bookcase, we have damaged the walls. I will be spending a weekend soon repairing them to their former glory. We also have a garden and a bird feeder! Alas, the mere acquisition of this garden appears to have scuppered any chance of nice British weather. Sorry about that.

2) I went to Paris and Haworth! I walked up the Eiffel Tower! I was actually quite surprised that everywhere in Paris I was applicable for concessionary rates (you pay adult fares at 25, so I was six months too young, hurrah!) I also saw actual Van Gogh paintings at the Musee D'Orsay and the cell where Marie Antoinette was held before her execution. I read a biography afterwards and felt incredibly sad when I got to that bit.

Haworth was a more sedate visit and it was lovely. I've been there loads, though, so I'm familiar with a lot of it.

3) We got a cat! This is Bronte:

She's a rescue cat. Can you believe that she's a year old? She was basically used as kitten-making-machine (her last litter wasn't that long ago, by the looks) and was given up after the last lot. Thankfully she is now spayed! We'd been planning on getting a cat for ages and the new flat meant that we could finally do it. We were originally going to get a kitten from someone at work, but it didn't work out. So this mad bundle has been keeping up very occupied! She chose me at the shelter by licking my hand. As soon as she came into the flat she was settled. She's very inquisitive and lively.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

In Memory of Douglas (December 2006- 30th August 2008)

So, I'm back on the internet and I did have lots of exciting news.. which I will post about another day. Today I'm going to post about Doug.

He's not been well for a while, something (we think) to do with his kidneys. He's been going bald and peeing a lot, which all points to renal problems, not a lot can be done about them. Anyway, today, in the midst of dealing with upstairs' errant kitten and a stupidly big bookcase, I noticed that Doug was in a funny position. Whilst holding a kitten unceremoniously in one hand and a shelf in the other, I asked Benn to check.

I went to hand the kitten back and Benn confirmed the worst. He looked peaceful. I, on the other hand, have been bawling my eyes out.

I hope there are plenty of peanut sticks wherever hamsters go...

Friday, 1 August 2008


I failed. Hey ho. I think I'll re-take it in October, but I'm not sure how keen I am on that. I don't actually like driving that much and am only really doing it because Benn thinks it's a good idea. I see what he means about the driving being a good skill to have, but I have no plans to buy a car if I pass. The test was so stressful, my nerves were shot (I actually started crying at one point, at one of the 'serious fault' points. If I were the examiner, I would have got out and walked away.) Another reason he says I should get my license is that it would free up where we could live (i.e. not near a station). I've said I will quite happily buy a scooter and get to the station that way. *Sigh*, I dunno.

Anyway. I have spent *so* much money this week being off (not least in Ringtons. I love their loose leaf tea and I bought various ones and a Teafuser. It's amazing. I love gadgets, especially ones that mean I don't spill tea leaves everywhere!) I think, though, that as I'm teaching summer school next week I'll be too knackered and occupied to spend money.

Oh, and the week after that, I've decided to get the bulk of my preparation done for going back to school. I felt I should get it done so I can relax on holiday. So it'll be a day or so marking coursework and then maybe a day or two planning (although I find you can't get loads done until you actually start back at school. But I have a lovely A5 planner! And a seperate mark book!) and I have dentist and opticians appointments and I'll be knitting for the Ravelympics, so I'll be busy busy.

And I'll be in a new flat! We're moving next Saturday, so I can sit in my garden and potter, apart from the times when I will have leave the house for various reasons. So, hopefully, I should not need to spend money unless it's for the new flat. I am *so* excited, it's untrue!

Off to drink some tea so I can use my gadget now...

Monday, 28 July 2008


I have my driving test tomorrow at 8.10am. I am very nervous and don't feel at all ready (it doesn't help that I failed my mock test) Because of the APD, I've been given extra time.

Add to that, I am being given the responsibility of talking to a letting agent afterwards, I am not at all thrilled at the prospect of tomorrow. I will have to crack out the old shorthand (I knew my journalism degree would come in handy one day!) and try to remember what he says.

I think a trip to Ringtons to spend copious amount on tea may be needed afterwards. Wish me luck!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

A Work In Progress

... It looks like the move is back on. I don't want to jinx things by giving too much away, but at present we should be moving by the end of the month.

We also could possibly be getting a cat. She's a little ginger kitten (girl gingers are quite rare) and I think she may well be called Felicity, it's a very distinguished name for a cat methinks.

I have been to the wedding at which Benn was best man and bought some fantastic books at an amazing bookshop :) I wore my lovely dress and it was a success. Yay!

I will post more when I have definites to tell.

*oh, and my Batman fabric arrived!

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Batman, Beth and Bronte

Things I have learnt this week:

1) Sewing is quite frustrating, but because I learnt to knit, I appear to have infinite patience with these things, even when I want to scream and never look at my sewing machine ever again.

2) Saying that, I have a massive desire for a skirt made of Batman fabric. I have also rekindled my love of the 60's Adam West Batman. Because of these things, I *will* sew again next week.
3) It is possible to get through to stroppy teenagers with the poetry of Emily Bronte! One of my more difficult students actually came up to me at the end of a lesson and told me that she was enjoying studying the poetry, as she knew how Emily felt when she was writing it. That is one reason why I teach. However, that doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to the summer.
4) I've been watching Glastonbury and wanting to be there. It's been years since I went to a festival. I also enjoyed Gossip's set and I heart Ms. Ditto for lots for reasons, but I especially enjoyed her singing in the crowd.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

In which I do something entirely different...

Meet Esmerelda:

I bought the sewing machine today and Emma decided to call her Esmerelda. I think it's a fitting name for a sewing machine. Don't you? I've saved up for a sewing machine for ages, so it was quite nice to finally get one. I figure that if I can knit and crochet, I can sew, right?
The picture above is the resulting mess (which I have yet to tidy up actually... must do before Benn gets home) I basically bought a load of remnants and played with them. I decided to make Emma a pin cushion, as she bought me some posh cupcakes in a shop in the Laines. They were very nice.

It took ages to work out what I was doing, but I finally worked out how to wind a bobbin (all the time actually singing 'Wind the Bobbin Up', I was amazed at how words I haven't sung since nursery came spilling out..!) I practiced loads of seams and back stitch. I still haven't got it to pat, but I did manage to make:

One dotty pin cushion. It took about two hours to work out what to do and I did have to close it with hand stitching, but I think it looks darn good for a first sewing project. I'm toying with making a tote bag, but I have hundreds of bags, so I'm not sure. In the book I have, there are some amazing patterns and I would like to have a go at a wrap around skirt, so I may have a go at one in the next couple of weeks. My aim is to make a dress similar to one the one I bought a couple of months ago by the end of September.

Benn is a bit bemused by all of my crafts stuff. I am the messiest slob in the world normally, but stuff like this and baking and growing plants fascinates me. Benn is also going away for five days with work again, so I will have plenty of time for sewing this week, without annoying anyone (except maybe Douglas!) or getting in anyone's way.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Lazy Sundays..

So, my usual Sunday procrastination abounds. This weekend has been one of mostly pottering- sorting out and moving my plants after various kamikaze missions off the window sill, writing letters, sleeping, reading, generally taking it easy. I would have liked to have knitted in public yesterday with the rest of the Brighton knitters, but I was so tired and I had a huge headache, which resigned me to lots of afternoon sleep.

I have decided that next weekend will herald a massive de-cluttering. I am going to be really looking at a lot of stuff- I have so much I don't need. So charity shops, eBay and Freecycle will be called upon to get rid of various things. I also would like to get a sewing machine and learn to use it, so once I have created lots of space, I will finally have enough room to install one :)

I have been knitting, although not as much as I would have liked to, and I think the shawl is really coming along (even if it looks like one repeat in the pattern has gone somewhat awry- I refuse, for my sanity to fix it. I can live with it and Benn assures me that no one, other than me, will notice it..) I have also decided, in typical optimistic fashion, to start knitting the odd Christmas gift, without stretching myself to stupid levels. So, my friend who loves orange will get an orange and cream stripy angora/merino mix scarf etc.

Roll on the summer holidays, when I can actually do what I like without work hanging over me!

PS- How excited was I that Sebastien Tellier was interviewed in the Observer Music Monthly? I think it's now bordering on obsession.

Monday, 9 June 2008

I am very tired..

.. and behind with a few things. I also have to go to sports day tomorrow, which does not fill me with joy (I would actually rather teach)

Because I am so tired, I have decided to post links to videoes of two of my favourite songs at the moment, in a hope of momentarily distracting you from the lack of postings.
At the moment I really like Annie's 'I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me', even though I know I probably should know better. But, but, but it's all summery and colour co-ordinated! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcGSLnE4rcg

Sebastien Tellier: Divine. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vz58Hw9hldw (Sebastien is the chap at the top of the post)
This was the French entry for Eurovision. I love this song. I could listen to it ALL DAY! I think the video is a bit mad, to be honest, but I think I am a bit in love with him. Probably because he's French and a bit filthy. And inhaled helium live on Eurovision. I once had a Scouse boyfriend who was half-French. He was beautiful, it's a shame he was a raving alcoholic.
My shawl is coming along! Yay! And I might be due some chillies soon, double yay!
PS- I did try and embed the videos to no avail, but click on the links, you know, if you're bored and let me know what you think.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Things I have been thinking about today:

1) My hamster Douglas is going bald and is peeing a lot. This could mean renal failure or old age. Bald old men pee a lot, right? I kind of don't want him to die.. Good thoughts required please :)

2) I'm surprised Vivienne Westwood is northern. I heard her speak on the news and she's, like, totally not what I expected.

3) I have a chilli plant given to me by my friend Suzanne. It is magnificent.

4) I have a new book to read *squee* (although it's about eating disorders and obsession with weight, so it's not a candy floss read)

5) I was sworn at twenty minutes into my first lesson today. It's a vocation, I tells ya.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

A very strange week indeed...

Hello! I figured I should post as I haven't for just over a week. It has been a bit weird this week, good weird and bad weird, but strange all the same.

Benn went on a course in Birmingham on Monday until Wednesday, which meant that, due to both our downstairs AND upstairs neighbours moving out last weekend and the flat opposite us being empty for months, I was pretty much on my own in the building (and not at all freaked out, oh no. Not one bit. At all.) This intensified when, on Tuesday night, there was a *huge* storm which frightened me half to death and sounded like there had been an explosion on my street.

I mostly baked, repotted plants and generally pottered around Brighton while he was away, ate too much junk food and drank too much Diet Coke. Oh, but I did pass my driving theory test first time :) That was *fun*, as I'd thought it was on Thursday, only to discover at 3pm Monday that it was at 8am WEDNESDAY and I hadn't done any revision. That was a fun Tuesday...!

I also locked myself out for eight hours on Wednesday and then remembered that Benn's last words to me on Monday had been "Oh, I don't need to take keys, do I?" Cue frantic phonecall to his mum and me camping out in Starbucks for two hours, knitting and snarling at teenagers.

Other than that, it's been a fairly relaxed week. I've done very little school work, which I think I needed a break from, as I have been so exhausted. I'm also starting to look forward to the summer break, as I didn't get one last year, as I was temping. (Yes, I know I haven't gone back yet, but I need *something* to get me through the next seven and a half weeks!) I have a feeling that this half term could go very quickly, which would be nice. At least I'm back to normal emotionally!

I've also started to work out what needs knitting for whom for when in December. I think this year will be shawls and mittens mostly, with most of the rest coming off etsy. I know it's early, but I guess I need to be organised, as I never manage to get everything done that I would like. I'm knitting some Kaffe Fassett socks and I'm wondering if that sort of thing would go down well, as they have been so easy and worked so well.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Okie doke, so I've been tagged...

I was tagged by Yogic Knitter and it's only polite to respond!

Rules: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

Ten years ago I was 14, so I would have been at the end of year 9. If you'd have told me ten years ago that I was going to be a teacher, rather than an internationally famous journalist, I would have laughed at you. All the money in the world would not make me want to be a teenager again!

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):
1) Driving lesson in half an hour, joy.
2) Meet Katie
3) Buy Tangfastics for Eurovision (it's tradition in our house!)
4) Catch up on my letter writing
5) Work on my shawl

3. Snacks I enjoy:

Too many to choose- if I *had* to pick favourites, I'd pick cheese Kettle Chips, Percy Pigs or just good old hot buttered, white bread toast :) Oh, but Cyber Candy sell cherry M&Ms- AMAZING.

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

I'd make sure my parents, my grandma and my brother and sister were sorted out at the very least. Then I would go and live somewhere glamorous like New York or Paris. I'd also like a house in Ireland and a few cars!

5. Places you have lived:

I was born in Cardiff, I lived in Halifax for a year until I was about five. I've lived all over Leeds and I went to uni in Preston. Now I live in Brighton, but would happily move somewhere on the trainline nearer to work in Crawley, but not so near that I would have to see the kids at weekends!

People I have tagged (because I am nosy and I would like to know more about you!!):

Emma: http://emmamccann.blogspot.com/

UpKnitCreek: http://upknitcreek.wordpress.com/

Loobles: http://knitandnatter.blogspot.com/

Katie: http://www.thatdress.blogspot.com/

Wibbo: http://wibbo.typepad.com/wibbos_words

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Back to normality...

Hello! Apologies for the incredibly downbeat/frustrated post the other day. I feel much better and, dare I say it, the most normal I have done in a fortnight (although I'm never *that* normal!) Also, thanks for the comments. I promise normal service will resume..

Due to the football, I have the flat to myself. This means a bath-and trying to finish sodding 'Atonement'... although I am liking it a *bit* more, I admit- knitting and Suralan, although I have promised to tape it.

Add to that we break up tomorrow, that means a week of knitting. I'm planning on starting something from Victorian Lace Today for my grandma, as she wants a shoulder shawl and there are some lovely ones in there. I have to choose which one, which will be hard! I'll also be marking and sorting out my flourishing window garden.

I was also really pleased by the AS lit question my students were asked today. Hopefully they should have been able to answer it with their eyes closed and do me proud... another weight of my shoulders. Other things that I was paranoid about haven't come to pass, so you know, I was a bit mad.

But the exciting news? I can't remember if I have said on here about me never going abroad on holiday (well, I went once to France for three days with school=hell on a hot coach), butbutbut I may be going to Paris with a friend from work! For two nights when Benn is on cricket tour!! How exciting?! Any suggestions of places to visit/eat most welcome!

Monday, 19 May 2008

Completely fed up.

Apologies, as I feel this is going to be a bit of a rant. Sorry.

I had a contraceptive implant put in my arm a week last Thursday. It has been having all sorts of weird effects on my body and my psyche (my personal favourite has to be the paranoia. Can't beat a bit of that on a three day basis.) I feel fat and frumpy and ugly and everything else I possibly could feel in between. Oh and I spent most of the weekend asleep.

Add to this, I have also been stuffing my face with alarming amounts of chocolate (the end of term when students leave is always a bad time for this). I know if I carry on, I'll be two ton tessie by the end of June, but I can't say no. I've started drinking loads of water and eating brown bread and pasta. But it's not enough. I even contemplated making myself sick today after eating one two many biscuits. (I didn't, but the thought is still lingering in my mind.)

I hate feeling like this. I know I shouldn't- I'm supposed to be intelligent. I should find an exercise I like/that I don't feel self concious in. Or I should stop eating crap and stop whinging. But I can't actually say any of this out loud to anyone. Everyone thinks that I'm happy and fine and coping. I'm not. I'm tired and cranky and dreading parents' evening and obsessing about food all the time.

*end of self pity. I'm sorry if you read that, I just don't know where else to post*

I also have some nice stuff to blog about (Kaffe Fassett socks, anyone?) but I'm too tired to do it today.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Sun, sun, sun

Hello! It has been a hectic week... the sixth form go on study leave this week, so it's been lots of last minute revision and stress, which has meant I have been very happy to come home at the end of the day. Coming home at the end of the day has also been *amazing* because of the lovely weather!

However, due to the aforementioned stress, I have completely mucked up the Tuscany shawl and had to frog it back, twice. Not easy when it's a) lace and b) very fine yarn. Argh. I think I'm on the right track, here's hoping!!

Oh, and I went to school with a huge bandage on my arm on Friday, as I had a contraceptive implant stuck in my arm on Thursday night. Yum. It's not so sore now, but on Friday it really, really hurt and there was a *puncture* wound on my arm. The funniest thing, though, was the reaction from the kids. There were lots of wild rumours flying around; Miss had been attacked by her hamster; she'd got a new tattoo; she'd trapped her arm in a door... Fun times. At least the SATs papers were lovely.

Oh, I should mention that my plants are blossoming! It's getting to the point where I'm having to give lots away, as we're running out of space in our little flat. I don't think I can keep any of the sweet peas, as they'd grow too tall for our window sill, but I am keeping a couple of tomato plants and some of the chilli plants, that have come through surprisingly quick. And princesspea is right, they *do* feel like my children! Some of the plants will go to Benn's mum's, so technically, they'll still be mine.

I've been very ponderous this week, but I don't think it's time to post it- otherwise it might look a bit rant-y, and I'm actually quite chilled at the moment. Needless to say, however, my feminist sensibilities have been riled this week and I think I need to think about what I write, before I write it!

Have a good week!

Saturday, 3 May 2008


Sorry I have been a bad blogger, life has been a little dramatic and hectic round here lately. I'm in the middle of preparing for exam season and the SATs kick off on Tuesday, so I'm hoping my year 9s will make me proud :)

So what have I been doing? Well, I started knitting 'Ziggy' from Knit on the Net and wondering why the hell I keep choosing lace, as it's not so good when I'm tired, which is often at the moment. It's quite a challenge, but I'm getting there with it. The Tuscany shawl and I are having a break....

My plants are coming along nicely. I now have about 20 tomato seedlings, two *huge* sweet peas and a few chilli plants coming through, which is all rather exciting, I hope to use my tomatoes and chillis in my cooking!

We decided to take the flat off the market, which makes me a bit sad. We've always planned to move this year, but it just wasn't happening and Benn and I were at odds about a rental place, so we're staying here until the market picks up. Which means I have 20 tomato seedlings, two sweet peas and a few chilli plants in a one bedroom, no garden flat. I've persuaded Benn's mum to let me put them in her garden for now and hopefully, I might be able to get an allotment at some point.

It's nearly the summer!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Total Procrastination and Carbohydrates

I am in self-imposed house-boundedness today. However, it's not working, because, rather than doing school work, I'm on here. Or Ravelry. Or Feministing.com. I am also eating a lot of toast, so that I don't walk down to the shop and buy chilli kettle chips. I do know that if I just got my head down, I would be able to get stuff done in a couple of hours. I have to admit it- I'm bored and lazy and neither state is good. I need my routine back, dammit!

Oh, this may have followed me home on Tuesday:

This is the print of the dress. I love it, it makes me feel like Ava Gardener or someone..

The Lost in Music coverup has gone by the way- I was getting confused and it was a terrible mess, so I changed tack and decided to start crocheting 'Cold Shoulder' from The Happy Hooker. So far it looks like this:

It's going to be worn with the dress at the wedding in a couple of months. I think it's a nice match, don't you?

I'm going back to toast and marking (Freudian slip- I just wrote knitting then.. Wishful thinking.)

Monday, 14 April 2008

I am a domestic goddess...

So, Em went back to Birmingham after a fab weekend! She also went with two chocolate brownies in her bag.

I was at a loose end today so I made these (translation: I was hiding from marking. Again.)

They're parmesan and sundried tomato rolls. I ate two and sent two to the Gatwick Parcel Force man who has been helping me sort out a stolen package. He seemed happy, so I'm hoping he'll sort it out with a carbohydrate-bribe-incentive (he did actually ring and say thanks!) :D So there's only six left and they're a surprise for Benn..

I also started a 'Lost in Music' inspired cover up (basically, I'm lazy and am doing it garter stitch/yarn over, rather than stocking stitch). I'm doing it in light blue Rowan cotton:

(photo is rubbish, BTW, but you know, it's just a start!)

and I'm hoping it will go with this dress:

in a blue print with garden birds on it.

It's my intended dress for a wedding we're going to in July. Benn doesn't think the dress is appropriate for a wedding. I think it's the only way I *will* wear a dress, wedding or otherwise!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

I'm like Charlie Dimmock with chest scaffolding....

I am very excited. I'm excited in the way I get when I have a lovely new knitting project lined up. This is in the same vein, but not.

I am going to grow vegetables. In pots. In my flat.

I know that looks boring, but, bear in mind, we may have a garden soon (when people who are showing us flats *actually* turn up) I want to grow stuff. I've ordered some tomatoes and some of these:

They're Chinese Five Colour chillies! And they're edible! And yes, I know that this is usually a knitting blog, but as a knitter, I like colour (can you imagine a sock yarn with these colours?)

I also ordered some seeds of a variety of sweetpea (I know you can't eat them) that's been around since the 1600's. Doing my bit for the environment.

I realise I may sound like I need a holiday. Or that I may just need to get out more...

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Let it snow...

I wish it had snowed like this at Christmas, rather than at the time of year I would most like to be wearing skirts and Birkenstocks:


Brighton never gets snow that sticks, we get that weedy type of snow that is a bit like frozen drizzle normally. Ah well, Benn is out playing cricket (!) and I don't have to worry about school work, so I am going to stay in and drink hazelnut hot chocolate and knit my Tuscany shawl.

There are exciting moving options afoot, but I don't want to jinx anything just yet by saying anything. Needless to say, I'm hoping it comes to fruition, but we shall see. It'll mean a joint bank account, which is a tad scary!

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Acceptable in the 80's...

I am a child of the 1980s... I remember Claire Rayner, The Raggy Dolls and The Only Way is Up. However, for the last month I have been singing Erasure's 'A Little Respect' and I don't quite know why. I think I have fallen for the condition the Germans call an 'earworm', as in a song that you hear and it burrows it's way into your brain. Hey ho.

Anyway, I digress. Lots of exciting happenings at Beaconsfield Villas... we have just got back from the Leeds v Brighton game, which meant I spent 24 hours in my home town. Oh and I sat in the Brighton side, demurely smiling and laughing off lots of northern jokes ('Why, no, I'm not one of those.. Yes, I may be northern, although, technically, I was born in Wales. And I have a bath everyday, and my parents were married when I was born...') It was an OK match, the first half was apparently quite boring, but I enjoyed it. I just wish my feet did. Rain + football = trench foot.

I came back to earth with a bang when we got home- lots of marking. Oh well, we break up on Friday, so if I get more stuff done tonight, I might not have to go into school over the holiday. Yay! I did manage all of my year 8 exams on the train though.

Other news... last week (Monday), I set up a reading group on Ravelry. I expected maybe me and three other people and that would be it. In less than a week we have 202 members! It's insane. I'm loving doing it though.

Oh, and the Tuscany shawl is lovely. Thanks for asking.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Birthday Shenanigans


Well, I have survived my birthday without so much as a hangover, which is lucky! I myself was very lucky, I received so much more than I was expecting. Benn gave me a pair of Birkenstocks (I love this so much, I would wear them in the rain if he would let me!!), my mum sent some lovely smellies and a photoframe, Benn's parents gave me the Vogue Sock Book (it's amazing), I was given some Kaffe Fassett sock yarn and a Cath Kidston bag by Emma, some knitting books from Marine and Family Guy on DVD from Jeni, amongst other things- I won't bore you with everything, but I am grateful for it all... I also received a lot of chocolate, which is nice, especially as most of it was given to me by my pupils (I was also 'serenaded' four times by various groups of students. My favourite was my sixth form, where even the boys joined in, albeit unenthusiastically and my year 9s, who had obviously all decided my name was Sarah and sang so rather loudly).

Fabio's leaving do was on Friday and was a very boozy affair, Benn and I left early (I may have forgotten the alcoholic content in vodka and cranberry quite early on) and enjoyed some gnocchi in a little italian restaurant. Yesterday was a more hectic affair, in which I went to the hairdressers and we then went and met Grace to give her her jacket. Oh and she farted rather loudly whilst on my lap. I swear I felt the nappy reverberate. Needless to say, she is far too tiny for her jacket, but as my mum is fond of saying, 'she'll grow into it'.

Last night was a very civilised meal with all of my Brighton friends and it was lovely. Pizza Express and cocktails at Las Iguanas was a perfect idea and I really enjoyed myself. I think the guests did too, so that was nice.

And then today is the comedown. I've spent a lot of time writing cover sheets for the sixth form, I'm not sure whether I'm being too detailed, but I reckon too detailed is better than not enough.

I'm really looking forward to a spectacularly *dull* weekend next week with lots of knitting and rest. And do you know what? I can't think of anything better!!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Malabrigo, Dogs and General Excitement..

This week has been particularly long and stressful and the coming week has the potential to be too (Horrendous weather meaning kids will be hyper? year 12 parents' evening? Impromptu trip to the Globe on Thursday night? Leaving Do/my birthday Friday? My birthday meal Saturday? What do you mean, I need sleep?!)

So, yeah, busy. BUT, I did get some knitting related work done. Look!:

grace's jacket

Grace arrived on Wednesday, so I reckoned I better get a wiggle on with The Baby Jacket From Hell. I think it looks OK (you can't tell that I haven't weaved the ends in yet.. shhhhh!) This pattern was badly written and ergo, hell. So I'm pleased it's finished. And did you realise that flower buttons are *really* hard to find?

I also received some of this lusciousness:


Malabrigo lace in Little Lovely. I've cast on the Tuscany shawl from 'No Sheep For You' (yes, I know Malabrigo has sheep in it.) It is beautiful and so soft. Perfect for a shawl. And I have discovered a love of lace knitting, which is unusual, as I find it quite mathamatical and I generally don't like numbers. I think that the satisfaction I get is worth it.

Oh, and Crufts was on and a giant Shnauzer won. I have decided that when I grow up, I would like a Tibetan Spaniel as they are quite cute.


So, next time I write (presuming it will be a usual Sunday night update), I shall be 24!!

Sunday, 2 March 2008


So, I am very tired. This week has been busy, busy and I have had to hit the ground running.

1)Benn's birthday was a success, he loves his new MP3 player, which was a relief after the Great Tie Disaster at Christmas...

2) Literature coursework marking has come round again, meaning that I am stressing about that. However, my year 12 trip to London to see the Importance of Being Earnest is all sorted, so that's exciting.

3) I should really be finishing putting together The Baby Jacket From Hell as the baby is due this week sometime.

4) I really want some bamboo sock yarn, as I don't think Benn will pick up the hint that I would like some for my birthday. Any recommendations welcome.

5) I am completely obessessed with The Tudors. I rented the first series from LoveFilm and it is *amazing*, if a bit rude. Lots of buttocks and cleavage. But I highly recommend it for knitting to!

6) I really want the flat to sell. Bored of selling now. We had another viewing, I'm hoping the weather improving will help. Patience is not my most immediate virtue.

Monday, 25 February 2008

I survived!

So, I got to Kensington in one piece, although I did get very confused this morning... London tube stations on a Monday morning are *really* scary. I felt all the usual shakiness and nervousness as I went down into Victoria tube station and I had to ask a man where to go. Luckily, the train came quickly and as I got off at Earl's Court, I saw the train to Olympia, ran across the platform (I don't usually do running) and jumped on. I felt like a right Londoner!

I was very early, so I sat in a cafe doing a spot of sock knitting and nearly choking at the price of one coffee (£10.50 for a coffee with Bailey's in it!! £3 for a bog standard tea! How do you Londoners manage to live there?!) In the end, the course wasn't too useful, but I have made a decision that I am going to look into doing a diploma in Advanced Special Needs, as I would really like to persue that option in my career.

Ooh, ohh, I bought my ticket to the I Knit show in September!! I had such a good time last time and I *adore* Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.. she emailed me back a couple of times when I asked her something and she seems really nice.

So now I am settling down to berating University Challenge contestants and knitting my sister's socks and shouting at the Masterchef judges (how exciting am I...?) and pretending that I don't have to go into school tomorrow...

Sunday, 24 February 2008


I'm going to London by myself for the first time ever tomorrow for a course. I am a bit scared, because I hate the tube (the smell, the heat, the noise, the rushing and pushing and all of the people... *shudder*) and I will have to get on it and make my way to Kensington.

I also have to get off at Three Bridges and get another train, becuase school wanted me to try and get a travelcard from there. I may be a bit late to the venue, but I don't care.

I'm a bit of a scaredy cat really.

Thursday, 21 February 2008


This week I have knitted myself a little turquoise beanie, which is short but sweet. Am very happy, I will have to post a pic soon, when I remember!

I am also in the process of knitting my sister's socks.. the pattern is 'Waving Lace' from 'Favorite Socks' (I have to really resist the urge to correct that spelling!) and I'm using the 'Saucy' yarn from Woolhunter. Now, Em's birthday is in April, but I have a feeling she'll get these in December, seeing as my progress is slooooooooooooooow. But I have good feelings about these socks.

We saw two flats yesterday and I have fallen in love with one, which is naughty, I shouldn't have at this point. The only bad thing about this flat is that is on top of a huge hill; it fulfills every other box that needs ticking. I only hope someone likes our little flat enough to put in an offer. Apparently the couple the other day liked it, but they'd only just started looking. We shall see.

If you're interested, I went to the dentist today and left with a new filling- no root canal, no chavvy inlay, £94 cheaper than originally planned. Hurrah! However, I am now waiting for painkillers to kick in and for a bowl of Cheerios to soak in milk, so I can eat. Nice. I watched a programme on the BBC about self help the other day and found myself chanting stuff in my head in preparation that I'd picked up! I thought I was watching Alan Yentob rather passively, obviously not...! Although I don't think my fear is fully gone, I do feel more confident about dentistry and my dentist is nice (she even turned up the radio after I said it was the sound of the drill that I didn't like. Unfortunately, the song was Lionel Ritchie... I'm not sure I wouldn't have preferred a root canal..)

I'm feeling very thoughtful, and a bit tired. Listening to Ray Lamontagne and Jose Gonzales probably isn't helping...

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Really Quite Cross (and a little bit scared)

I just got back from the dentist. I didn't pull a filling out- good.

I do have extensive decay under a filling that may require root canal work and lots of money I don't have- bad.

I started crying as soon as the dentist told me. I am really, really, really terrified of dental work, all down to a bad experience when I was 16. It is actually untrue how scared I am of this type of thing. I feel sick. I am actually really angry as well, because Idiot Dentist (i.e. the old one) didn't pick up on this and if it is so bad (it is, even I understood the x-ray) why did he not sort it out six months ago? Saying that the decay is under a filling, so you didn't spot it is NO excuse when you are a dentist and this is your job.

The upshot is that now I have to go back on Thursday and have the filling removed and the tooth 'explored'. The dentist has promised she will try and save it without doing surgery, but that this requires an inlay. This is better than a filling. Oh, and it's in gold. So I'll be paying £200 to look like a bloody chav. I am very cross.

I have written a very long email to the man who is charge of dentists in Brighton. Because Idiot Dentist ignored the first letter I wrote (they're supposed to write back within ten days... this was three months ago nearly). I am sorry for the rant, I'm just a bit annoyed. Well, a lot annoyed, actually.

There is some good news though- we have actual people wanting to come and view the flat in an hour. I'm going out.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

What do a Sombrero and a trifle have in common??

They are both finished objects in this house as of today!!

I am being a very Domestic Goddess (whilst avoiding the washing up) and have finished my sombrero socks. They have taken a while due to Christmas and birthday knitting/crochet. The pattern in Jon at Easy Knits and the yarn is Easy Knits 'Ruby Slippers'. It's lovely to work with and the end result is a nice thick sock, which I shall enjoy padding around in:

(ps- the white fluff? Didn't notice it was there until just now. Sigh.) The pattern is really a lovely easy let's-combine-lace-and-socks pattern, which my photo doesn't really do justice to.

Secondly, I made this:
I am stupidly proud of this, because usually I mess this kind of thing up. I know trifle is basic, but I.just.don't.care. I'm also making egg fried rice tonight, which is from a super healthy recipe and is very nice. I don't care that trifle and egg fried rice don't go togther.

I suppose this means I have to finish the baby sweater from hell now.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

Well, today has been a bit of a mad 'un, really! We don't really *do* Valentines Day in our house, as it's Benn's birthday in two weeks and mine two weeks after that (just to let you know that I will get more and more excited the nearer the 14th March becomes. I'm worse than a six-year-old) This has not stopped it being a busy day though.

1) As Benn and I opened our cards, we were a bit worried... they looked frighteningly similar. Cue worries looks and then sighs of relief when we realised that they were from the same range, but not the same design. Phew! We have been living together too long! We enjoyed a curry, despite the fact that I nearly spilt my wine over myself and did end up with prawn dansak on the work trousers I intended to wear tomorrow. Sigh.

2) I stupidly agreed to play a potential 'date' in a comedy Blind Date thing organised by the sixth form. Despite playing it purely for laughs and having a stereotypical northern persona, I got picked. Which will a) cause some of my year 9s to think I'm having an affair with the teacher, which until now I had the opportunity to deny and b) my sixth formers will never let me live it down. Oh, and the 'picker' hugged waaaaaay too long! Blimey! And it's on video, ugh.

3) Today is the last day I can comfortably slob around the flat. It is on the market as of tomorrow... eek! The solicitor is instructed, the agent is coming round to measure up and we're getting ready to move. We're even viewing a flat on Saturday and looking at Burgess Hill as a potential moving into area.

4) I am having to register with a new dentist. Yet again I will spend another holiday schlepping to and fro the dental chair, having pulled out a filling by eating a 10p chew. Damn.

5) I am getting yarn withdrawal. I don't care that I have loads knocking around. I need more. I think yarn is exempt from Benn's 'don't buy anything before your birthday' mantra. Right?

6) It's half term tomorrow! Yay!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Nearly half term...

...only a week to go, yay! Last week was pretty stressful, but this week should be ok (fingers crossed)

Just got back from the Creative Stitches and Hobbycraft fair in Brighton. I was a bit disappointed, really, not much caught my eye. I actually just spent a fiver on some wire and beads so that I could have a go at knitting some cuffs. Maybe I'm just a) in house-buying/it's-a-month-til-my-birthday mode and so don't really feel the need to buy any wool just yet b) spoilt by my love of indie-dyers' woolly goodness or c) I can't buy anything else until I've finished at least one thing....

Talking of at least one thing being finished, the sombrero socks should be wearable in the next couple of days! I will be a very happy bunny. Part of me doesn't want to finish them, because even though they have been terribly frustrating (which has been totally my fault for messing stuff up), I've enjoyed making them and feeling clever and the wool is just amazing. I love watching all the reds change subtly and then realise that it's not a subtle change. What can I say? I'm easily amused....

We've had two estate agents round and a third is coming tomorrow. *Sigh*. They talk too fast and I can't pick up what they're saying. However, the flat has been valued at considerably more than Benn was hoping and is still £17k cheaper than the poky (and wildly overpriced) flat across the hall that is less well decorated and is a lot smaller (and smells of fags). Would you pay £17k extra for a postage stamp patio that you can't even access without leaving the flat? Pfft. We shall see. We'll decide this week and get it on the market by the end of the week, meaning that, feasibly, we could be having a variety of people traipsing through here on a regular basis over half term. I may spend a lot of time at the beach/in the park if the beautiful weather continues.

Actually, that brings me to one last point... I've noticed that as soon as a bit of sun comes out, everyone seems to stick on the shorts and flip flops. It's still February. Am I being terribly Northern and shocked about this?!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

How exciting!

Well, I might be chasing up some payment for journalism that has mysteriously gone awry and having to answer DVLA medical questionnaires and be running out of money, but d'you know what?? I'm excited all the same, for a variety of reasons:

1) Benn got the promotion!! Yay! He was a bit reluctant at first, because it means he will have to commute to Croydon, but at least if a vacancy appears in the Brighton office, he still has the opportunity to transfer, rather than go through the whole rigmarole of interview again.

2) We have estate agents coming round tomorrow and Friday.. eek! It is all becoming *way* too real now- in a matter of months I could actually be a property owner of some kind. Although I have just found out that the neighbours across the way are also selling their flat. Ours is nicer, I think, but they have a poky little garden. We shall see.

3) I am quite comfortable with my work load, I've caught up after my sick day and everything is going at a good pace. I know it won't last, but I will take advantage as it is here. So knitting and TV tonight then :)

Sunday, 3 February 2008

I can't hear your voice, do I have a choice?

X-files+knitting= a Very Good Thing.

I've found that I get a lot done whilst watching Mulder and co., and as I always have subtitles on with DVDs (it helps me keep up with what's going on, especially if a character talks fast) I can now knit AND get a bit freaked out! The sombrero is still slow going, but at least it *is* going. I am being quite good and resisting the urge to cast on some more socks (the baby cardi is still relegated to the bottom of my knitting bag..)
Other than that, the kitchen is now a lovely shade of 'Mint Julep', which I like so much that I want it in wherever we next end up. The moving side of things is very much starting, estate agents should be round next week to value the flat and me and Benn made a list of all the stuff we wanted. Thankfully, a lot of stuff matched, but I still cringe at the possibility of paying a quarter of a million quid for a flat. I dunno, am I being too northern? Benn wants to stay in Brighton, I'm not adverse to moving to Burgess Hill. Hmm.
Maybe I should knit some cushions whilst I decide..

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Good Things Never Last..

Remember in my last post I said that I felt all positive and good and stuff. Well, it's totally my fault I have a big fat cold, as I tempted fate. I spent last night on the sofa shivering under a blanket.

I did actually go into work today, for two reasons. One, I'd told people Benn was at home, so I didn't want people to think I was skiving to spend time with him and two because it was class photos and I didn't want people to think I was skiving those, either. However, people are now urging me to stay off tomorrow, so I have planned cover lessons and will decide in the morning. Although I have felt better today, this cold does tend to deteriorate in the evening. I'm blasting my system with Sudafed, echinacea, vitamin C and Berrocca, but any other suggestions welcome!

Also, I really fancy some sock yarn in turquoise and green-y type colours. Anyone got any suggestions? Ta :)

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Racing so hard, you know it won't last...

Well, the week from hell is over (being randomly groped on the train, having 12 year olds being generally horrible and rushing to deadlines, whilst feeling generally rubbish) and I'm feeling positive about everything. I must say that it's an unusual feeling to have on a Sunday, but there you go.

I think the fact that I went out on Friday for a bit helped (along with the glasses of rose...) and yesterday was a lovely day has helped. Yesterday started with a much needed haircut- Natalie Imbruglia was stated as the inspiration, then the hairdresser (as much as I like her) went and ruined it by using Kym Ryder as a reference. *Sigh*.

I met Benn and we had a Thai lunch followed by Ben and Jerry's and Sweeney Todd, which I loved, even though I'm not a fan of gore. Yesterday was just the best day in ages.

Today has been tidying and sorting stuff for charity shops. Benn has this week off to decorate the kitchen and spruce up paintwork in time for estate agents. It's very exciting, but very scary too. I don't feel old enough to own property! Half term is a little over two weeks away, that's when it'll all kick off.

I'm looking forward to half term, I'm not going to make the same mistake I made at Christmas. Lots of knitting will get done, hopefully I will finish at least one project before then, am desperate to use my new sock yarn! Ooh, but I did actually knit on the train home on Friday, which is a first. Hurrah!

Right, off to buy paint xx

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Well, today has ended and I'm a sock down. I shouldn't knit lace socks when I'm tired, it's ridiculous. The second sombrero sock is again no more. Pffffft. And tonight was the first time in ages I haven't had school work to do *sigh*. Will make up over the weekend, I suppose, I am *desperate* to get these socks finished, I haven't ever made myself something and am determined to have these on my feet soon!

Add to that, a man groped me on the train this morning and you can see what kind of a week this is panning out to be. *sigh*

Monday, 21 January 2008


Today was just one of those days where I woke up and discovered my sense of humour had deserted me. Year 8 were horrendous, I had year 10 giving me attitude first thing and I had to give up a free to a bloody course.

It was so bad I bought M&S fruit pastilles. It must have been bad for me to be actually arsed. I have marked two and a half books. I am going to knit and watch University Challenge.

Normal service resumed shortly....

Sunday, 20 January 2008

All the pretty things

Hullo. Busy, busy week, but life is steadily gaining a comfortable momentum, rather than the insane rush that I've experienced recently. It's not even 1pm and I've planned my lessons for tomorrow! Now that's what I call non-procrastination-of-work. I got up at 7.20 this morning for a disasterous driving lesson. Ugh. I went back to bed for a bit, I was so fed up. I'm now listening to No Doubt.

Yesterday was a good day off, I got a lot of knitting done (the sombreros are back, kids! Yay!), fired up by two sock yarn purchases:

Licquorice by Easy Knits (www.easyknits.co.uk- Jon is really nice and you'll be supporting an independent spinner/dyer)

and Saucy Stripes by Woolhunter on eBay. This is for a pair of socks for my sis (she doesn't read the blog, so s'ok):
saucy stripes

Both are Blue Faced Leicester, which apparently is one of the best yarns for socks. They're gorgeous, aren't they? I just have to decide which patterns I'm going to used (curses the lack of a printer). I've also joined a group on Ravelry for 'Selfish Knitters'. This will be interesting, as I've given away almost everything I've ever made. I've decided not to make stuff for people unless I think they'll appreciate it. Also, I will probably end up knitting for myself during term time, as I only have a limited time during the week to myself.

Other news, I was swimming at 9 yesterday and pleased myself with my progress. Slowly but surely, best way. Met Katie in Rock Ola, which is a mad little cafe off the Brighton tourist stomp. It's basically a greasy spoon with lots of Elvis memorabilia, it's ace. She's feeling guilty cos she's accepted a story commision from 'Knitting'. She feels bad because of the way they treated me and Sandra, but we'll see whether the column gets recommissioned. I'm not bothered though.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Oh. Dear.

A knitting post, for once! After spending most of today working on school stuff, I decided to tackle The Knitting Corner. This is where I sit and is usually covered in a variety of yarns and tools (and the occasional tube of mascara, depending how much of a hurry I was to leave for work) and there is a magazine rack thing that was *supposed* to be for current projects and a box for yarn.

I have been very noble, I have given away or sold four skeins of Natural Dye Studio sock yarn this week. I couldn't possibly have too much left, could I? So, I set about tidying The Knitting Corner, thinking it would take, ooh, I don't know, fifteen minutes? The plan was to take the two projects I'm currently working on (sombrero socks and the baby jacket) into respective bags- my knittiotherapy sock work bag for the socks, the Cath Kidston knitting bag for the jacket. Put the yarn in the sack that the expensive handbag came in and the equipment in the big box. Sounds simple, right?

Wrong. It took 45 minutes, a lot of swearing and a lot of trips to the bin. It is achieved though, the magazine rack thing is ready for our 'we're moving so here's the stuff for the charity shop' collection, the equipment is either in my beautiful handmade needle roll (I'll have to post pics of that, my friend made it herself, she could sell them for a fortune and doesn't believe me) or in the box. And the wool? Oh, er, that's filled the huge sack and doesn't even count the bag of green cotton I have (I don't want it.. do you?) and various other bits that I know are on top of my wardrobe. That's next week's job.

In sad news, my sombrero sock had to be frogged, because I am an idiot. I feel quite sad, but will continue tonight. I am determined to not start anything else and I'm really not in the mood for crochet today.

Does all this mean my stash is out of control...?

Thursday, 10 January 2008

These are a few of my favourite things..

I have walked around like a zombie all day, my shoulders ache. Ugh. However, to cheer me up and remind me that life is not all bad, here are some things I do like:

- pepperoni pizza
- knitting books. Love them so much, I have too many. I joke that's why we're moving.
- M&S fruit pastilles or Percy Pigs. I have to resist these on a daily basis, as there is a M&S in Brighton station. Not fair.
- making something for someone that they really love. I gave my mum the Forest Canopy shawl I made and she appears to like it, so result!
- getting home from a stressful day, putting on my pyjamas, drinking hot chocolate and reading or knitting.
-pyjamas. Especially with stars or stripes on them.
-brightly coloured socks
-my doc marten mary janes. Most. Comfortable.Shoes. EVER. That's important when you're teaching in a school of 2000 kids every day. You run. A lot.
-sleep. I would like to get some more, please.
- the interweb, particularly etsy, ravelry and blogs. I'm nosy!
- my bag I got for Christmas.
-spare time. Of which I have none tonight, so better skedaddle!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008


Well, first two days of school are over, hurrah! I am very tired though, I think it will be a couple of days until I'm right again (after which it will be the weekend and then the whole process will start again, but it gradually gets easier to get up in a morning, although Mondays are going to be hard until the summer).

I'm a bit pleased, as my awful sixth form media class are being taken off me for three weeks for one lesson a week, yay! It's just one less thing to worry about. I'm also pretty OK about those Much Ado essays I marked, as another teacher looked them over and said my marks looked about right, double yay! The next draft isn't due in for nearly two months, so I can concentrate on getting other stuff, like year 10 media coursework, sorted. They don't tell you about the marking in those 'Use your head. Teach.' adverts. Pah.

I'm a bit worried about my baby jacket- I've followed the pattern, and the best way that the sleeve will fit is sort of with a bit at an angle on the shoulder, which is a bit disconcerting. Is this OK/normal?

I am also now obsessed with old reruns of Who's Line is it Anyway from the early 90s.. good to knit/mark to, especially now Strictly Come Dancing is hibernating.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

If I hide under the desk, will anyone see me?

So, it's back to work tomorrow and back to land of 'normal'. Woo, year 10s who haven't seen each other in two weeks are my first contingent of students tomorrow. It will be hell. And then I've blagged a fairly easy-yet-lazy lesson for my sixth formers after that. I have, however, marked all of the literature essays, and for once, I think I feel fairly confident with the marking, which knowing me will mean I'm completely out with their grades.

Yesterday was a day of school-ness, despite the fact that I have done nothing but (it feels like) since last week. My fault for not being focused, I guess. Also, the Christmas tree came down- a lot longer than I would have liked, I might add- and Benn spent the day distraught because Brighton were knocked out of the FA Cup.

I decided to have a lazy day today and not beat myself up about the fact that I haven't got an entire week's worth of planning done, but I do know where I'm going, so that's ok, and I have most of my first three days' worth of lessons done. Phew.

Is it really wrong that I'm counting down the six weeks to half term? There are a couple of reasons though, let me explain. 1) The weather will be much better after half term, give or take a bit of snow, 2) all the illnesses will hopefully begin to subside- we haven't been hit by Norovirus at my school. Yet. 3) we begin the big scary move towards selling the flat, something I've been after doing for ages.

So I've spent most of today watching Top Gear repeats on Dave (sad, I know, but now I actually understand what they're talking about, I find myself oddly fascinated by cars that cost the same as this very flat and possibly our next home put together) and knitting. I've got a bit bored with the baby jacket, so have switched my fickle affections back to the sombrero sock, which I began before Christmas. I've done the toe a bit weird, but it fits, so I don't care. I'm on the second one now like a demon, I only gave up because my hand hurt. I've also spent part of the day reading my Mitford book and reassuring Benn that his interview for promotion will go well tomorrow, fingers crossed. I do feel I've hardly seen him this weekend.

I'm off to hibernate in preparation for my 6am start. *sob*

Friday, 4 January 2008


So, the holidays are nearly over and I could do with another week off, really. I think I brought too much marking home with me this year, so this is something to think about in future. I went into school and thankfully the essays I was missing were on my desk underneath some general rubbish. I went with Amelia for coffee which was nice and avoided seeing any students, which is always a bonus :)

I still haven't started marking those essays yet, though. Am watching Jeremy Kyle (sort of) and reading my new book. I got a copy of this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Favorite-Socks-Ann-Budd/dp/1596680326/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199454204&sr=8-1, which is *amazing*. It makes me want to order a set of KnitPicks DPNS, if anyone can tell me if they're worth the money, I'd be grateful. It's a lot of money to spend on needles.

Baby cardi is coming along nicely, although I was right about the pattern being rubbish. Thankfully, Annie helped me out with that, so it's ok now. I just hope it comes together, I've never made a garment in my life.

Ugh, I'm tired.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Au soleil, sous la pluie, à midi ou à minuit

Bonne année à mes amis!! (apologies if that is *really* bad, my French is a little rusty these days)

Hello. I haven't gone mad, I just was singing along to Champs-Élysées by Joe Dassin (it featured on the soundtrack to 'The Darjeeling Limited'.) I'm also listening to 'Where Do You Go To My Lovely', which sounds a bit creepy, actually (also from TDL soundtrack).

Anyways, a new year! How strange, it seems that last year went pretty fast, actually. In the yarn harlot blog, Steph asked what was everybody's best knitting moment and I have to be honest and say that I don't remember.. Maybe knitting the shawl, I dunno. I started a baby jacket yesterday. I'm only doing it because the baby is due on my birthday, so I felt I had to do *something*. It's crochet, so it only took four hours to do the back, so I'm hoping it will be relatively painless. The instructions are rubbish though, I'm having to 'interpret' them, which usually leads to disaster...

We spent last night indoors, stuffing our faces with pizza, crisps, pop and random bits of Toblerone. (A six-year-old's dream New Year's celebration, in fact. We hate NYE that much!) We watched Jools Holland and enjoyed Seasick Steve for a second year running. Then this morning I felt dizzy, so we went for a walk on the seafront via Boots (the labrynthitis is kept at bay by seasickness tablets.. nothing to do with the aforementioned Steve). We also went into Primark, as I wanted tights. All the chavs must have been hungover, as the store was empty and I ended up buying two t-shirts and a beret as well. Gah.

The beach was quiet.

I took this picture of Benn and got confused as to why when I was getting nearer to him, the camera didn't zoom in (then realised I hadn't switched to camera mode, duh)

Ah, here we are (he does look a little tired, I promise he wasn't hungover)

Here's to a great 2008!! x