Lucy In The Park With Diamond Lace

Life has been a little taxing recently – I resigned from one of my jobs and am looking for something to replace it, there have been health issues both physical and mental, and I’ve been helping a friend through a horrendous rough patch.

Hence this little corner of mine of the internet has been neglected. There are many drafts of posts both on my dashboard and in my head, but I thought I’d just post a quick something.

I went to meeting this morning, which was much needed and helped me to clarify some thoughts and action plans which was great. I was very glad to see my lovely friends L and J there too – we had a good catch up and I was invited for lunch – Hurrah! Even better it was home-made Falafel, which J is particularly talented in creating!

After a lovely lunch we went down to their local park to take some photos of a gorgeous shawl L has finished knitting. The (Ravelry) project page is here, and L’s blog is here.

Just a few of the 60+ photos I took are below.

 

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I loved playing with the focus for the few I took on the giant tree stump that we conveniently found!

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It was lovely and breezy, and a series of twirling got some great angles – the best ones that make L look like a flamenco dancer I’ve saved for her to post.

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I love the shape of this one – it makes me think of jellyfish, and the elegance they have rippling through water. The wind was both a hindrance and an interesting aid!

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I rather like photos of created objects, be they knitted, sewn, baked, drawn etc, in natural settings; the colours and textures can be so similar or so very different it makes for some lovely photos – at least I think so.

Black Dog

I tried to explain this video, and the concept of depression as a black dog to someone the other day but didn’t do very well. Having had more black dog days than usual recently I think it’s important to talk about it if you can. It can be bloody hard though.

I’m just going to leave this here.

“I had a black dog, his name was depression”

http://youtu.be/XiCrniLQGYc

Food! Raspberry and White Chocolate Cookies

No knit night this week, but an urge to have raspberry and white chocolate cookies led to a late night recipe search and baking occurrence.

I’ve not baked cookies in a long while, so I did a bit of googling and adapting and I think they came out okay – my house mates agreed, with a chorus of ‘mmm…’ ‘delicious’ and ‘more please’

I used the recipe from here – but I of course  adapted it a little… my adapted version is below:

  • 125g butter – I used stork, and popped it into the microwave for a few seconds.
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract – 2 capfuls
  • 215g plain flour (I didn’t want to use cocoa so replaced it with flour)
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 200g (ish – one packet) raspberries

I creamed the butter and sugar together, then added the vanilla extract, followed by the egg and mixed until smooth.

Next I added in the flour and baking powder, mixing thoroughly and making sure the mixture is smooth.

I then folded in the chocolate chunks, followed by the raspberries, trying to get them distributed evenly.

Using a tablespoon, I made little piles of mixture on the baking trays – I got 12 cookies out of the mixture, but they were quite big!

I then put them in the pre-warmed oven at about gas mark 6 – but my oven is as reliable as an unreliable thing – for about 30 minutes in the end.

They cooled for as long as we could stand, then they were wolfed up 🙂

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Woolly Wales Weekend

This weekend was Wonderwool – I’ve been debating whether or not to go for a while, but after a minor (hah!) meltdown in the car park I made it in and found some lovely things, and chatted with some lovely people too.

Not many purchases this year – having not knitted for a fair few months I’m destashing rather than enhancing.

I did however get some lovely batik fabric from Textile Traders (below), a fantastic Niddy Noddy from the ever lovely Mulberry Dyer, and some base yarns to play with.

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and we saw the knitted exhibition…do you remember seeing the knitted house a few years ago? There was lots of press about it. Well the same people organised this one. Storybooks, a dragon and sheep…

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There was also a new (I think) addition to the food stands…Chips! and tasty chips at that!

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2014 was a good Wonderwool year, especially considering I’m not really knitting anymore.

As always, I spent the rest of the weekend in Llandrindod with family, including meeting a gorgeous new addition in the form of 10 month old Skye.

Lots of things have got me thinking recently – about time, hope, dreams and forgiveness, but that’s a whole other post. Now I have to go get the baked potato out of the oven before it’s a burnt crisp.

Food! Baked Gnocchi Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Chocolate Fudge Cake (cheats version!)

Last week I managed – for the first time in a while – to both have Knit Night and take photos of the food!

Everyone – including me – was a little dubious about the success of Gnocchi based mac ‘n’ cheese, but as soon as forks were put to mouths that was shot out of the window!

I got the idea and recipe from here and bodged it a little by adding more sauce and spinach, but it really was yummy.

The recipe linked above is in cups, so below are the quantities I used.

about 450g gnocchi

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (vitalite in my case!)

1 clove garlic (diced as small as possible)

1.5 tablespoons flour

8 fl oz milk

150g baby spinach (chopped)

30g Parmesan

Handful of sharp strong cheese for sauce, plus some for over mix

Preheat the oven to around gas mark 5 (we have to guess what temperature ours is, but it’s about a medium heat!)

Cook the gnocchi in boiling water until a few pieces float to the top. Drain and set aside.

In a medium-large pan, melt the butter, then add the garlic. Keep moving until they’re mixed well  – about 30 seconds.

Sprinkle in the flour and keep whisking.  Slowly add milk until combined and the mixture thickens.

Lower the heat and add the parmesan and sharp cheddar while still stirring.

Add the spinach and stir in the Gnocchi until it’s all mixed in well.

Put in a dish, cover with cheese and pop in the oven for half an hour or until golden and bubbling on top.

Serve with salad (if, unlike me you actually remember to buy some!) and garlic bread.

Gnochi Mac n Cheese

For dessert I made a chocolate fudge cake. I cheated and bought a  mix from Morrisons, but ended up putting too much milk in so bodged it adding a bit of flour and milk too. Fudge icing and white chocolate drops and it was lovely! It kept well in a tin till Sunday :~)

Chocolate Fudge Cake

 

Twenty One – Buy a Car

Although a few weeks have gone by since I posted about my 30 before Im 30 list I have ticked only 1 thing off my list.

But it is quite a big one – I bought a car!
With the help of my Uncle Barry and Mum I now own a lovely silver meriva!

I say lovely but it’s spent 2 days in a garage under warranty over the last 13 days. An airflow meter, coolant sensor and seat cable later it seems to be doing ok but thank goodness for warranties!
The jury is still out on whether it’s completely fixed, but there’s still a bit of time left to decide, and the man I bought it from has been great.

I have of course had to accessorise it and make sure my ’emergency car kit’ is loaded and proper – I do love buying car things!

One down, twenty nine to go!

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Not quite 30…

A week ago I turned 29.

I decided that instead of giving into the despairing depths of  ‘nearly hitting 30 and not got my life sorted out quite as much as I thought I would with a faint tick tock ever present’ I’m going to take this year by the ears, and make it a bloody good one!

An idea I’ve been playing with for a while is a 30 before I’m 30 challenge, so I sourced ideas across my lovely birthday celebrations – including friends old and new, and family. The list ended up at 50, so a bit of editing was required.

Two of the things that didn’t *quite* make the final cut include ‘throw up on your own shoes’ and ‘ride a pig in a shopping centre’ – both lovely suggestions from my little sister!

The Final List (in no particular order)

  1. Go to New York
  2. Road Trip (one epic or several – weekend trips, day trips, etc etc!)
  3. Learn to Crochet
  4. Write and Illustrate a children’s book
  5. Host a 3 course dinner party
  6. Fly a kite
  7. Shoot a bow and arrow
  8. Perform at an Open Mic night by myself
  9. Go horse-riding (and at least see if I can still do it!)
  10. Learn how to play Chess
  11. Join a gym (and actually go!)
  12. See Wicked
  13. Drive a particularly fast car (thinking around a track sort of deal)
  14. Go to The Barber Institute
  15. Go to The Electric Cinema
  16. Use Air BnB
  17. See every (free) exhibition at BMAG
  18. Go to the V&A properly
  19. Go on a pub crawl (probably the Harborne one!)
  20. Get a vibrant hair colour ( a slice through counts!)
  21. Buy a Car
  22. Revamp my work wardrobe
  23. Buy a goat
  24. Meditate all day
  25. Go on a rollercoaster
  26. Learn one song on drums
  27. Go on a spa day

Taking inspiration from my friend Issy, who did 25 things in her 25th year, I have left 3 things free to add throughout the year.

One of the things I wanted to put on but didn’t, was to think less about what people think about me – care less, and be more confident in myself. After reviewing the list, I decided that although this is definitely a goal, it didn’t really fit with the rest of the list – so it’s going onto the unwritten ‘life goals’ list instead.

A few of the items that made it onto the list are quite easy to do – I’m going car shopping next week for example – but I think it’s quite a balanced list for me.

So, the next year will be one full of new adventures, and hopefully new blogs too!

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