::Liebster Award nomination- woohoo::

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I have been lucky enough to be nominated by Amanda at Amjaylou for a Leibster award. This is a fabulous idea; you can get to know a little bit about your favourite blogs and also to find new blogs. I love it!

So here are the answers to Amanda’s questions, some random facts about me – (steady now!) and my nominations for awards of blogs I love, love, love.

1. How many WIP’s do you have at the moment?
I currently have 3 wip’s that have actually been started, but many many more in my head! Cushion love, blanket love, and bunting for my new nephews bedroom is a must before christmas!

2. What are they?
I have my kaleidoscope blanket Cal from The Natural Dye Studio ( christmas present from my lovely Hubby) which is coming along nicely, but takes lots of 3mm hook size concentration!20140510_094442

My ripple blanket for Doris Caravan in style craft DK Attic24 pack – which is a great pick up and carry on project.CAM00359

My peruvian poncho in Cascade 220 – which is a joy at 5mm size chunky, fabulous colours and grows so quickly.20140526_094026

I’m currently catching up with the May section of my kaleidoscope blanket (yes I know we’re in June, hence the reason for catching up!)

3. Regarding days out what would be your idea of heaven?

I love to visit the seaside and collect shells, stones, sea-glass and just to breath in the salty fresh air. Lying on my back on a beautifully crocheted blanket, guessing the shapes of the clouds, with the warm sun an a gentle breeze. We live 20 mins away from the West Cumbria coast so it’s great on a Sunday morning to plod along the beach, collect the Sunday papers and sometimes have a cheeky ice-cream in the local shop!20140615_113954

4. What would be your idea of hell?
End to end football, cycling, rugby- or actually Golf. I cannot stand Golf! Having to go and watch it , a whole day or more of it (the TV is bad enough) would be absolutely awful! Yuck! Argh!

5. What book are you reading at the moment?
As a year 6 teacher, I am constantly looking for great inspiring rears for my class and to motivate my reluctant boy readers to get into a good book. I have just completed Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve ( it was fabulous) and I am currently reading The Knife of never letting go by Patrick Ness and I LoVe LoVe it. My favourite personal text favourites are Tess of the D’Urbervilles and anything else by Hardy. Carlos Luis Zafon’s The shadow of the Wind is a firm favourite as is The Book Thief.

mortal knife tess shadow thief

6. What is your favourite tipple? ( can include non-alcoholic!)

A Mojito Mocktail – complete with lime juice, elderflower cordial, soda and a secret non-alcoholic ingredient from a bistro I love in my nearby town.

7. What’s been the best holiday you’ve been on so far?
A few years ago we took the boys aged 15 and 11 to Barcelona- it was amazing. I had been before 20 years ago and desperately wanted my family to see this wonderful city. It didn’t disappoint and they all loved it too. The Sagrada Familia was still unfinished and just as spectacular as I remember. Gaudi has always been a design inspiration to me and I felt quite emotional revisiting these beautiful buildings, Parc Guell and the amazing mosaics. The boys were thrilled to visit the Football stadium. Later, we travelled by hire car to a quiet fishing village up the coast and holidayed there with the french and spanish holiday makers. It was wonderful. A close second was our family holiday in Rome and Pompeii last year. As you can see- I love architecture!

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8. What is your dream destination?
I really want to visit Sydney, Australia and walk along the harbour, visit the opera house and take in the sights before travelling up to Cairns to the rest Barrier reef. We’re hoping to go next year.

9. What would you put into Room 101?
Tin openers and garlic presses. They never last very long, always break down when you need them, and become worse than useless right at the wrong moment!

10. Do you have a favourite TV chef?
I don’t have one chef that I like in particular- they all get a bit samey after a while I feel. But I do absolutely love watching MasterChef- the normal ones not the celebrities or the chefs one. Also, I’m a real Saturday Morning Kitchen fan- I rarely miss it.

11. What is your all-time favourite cake?
It has to be a good old fashioned lemon cheesecake- it just can’t be beaten. My mum makes an amazing cheesecake with preserved lemons chopped up into the creamy mixture and it has chocolate digestives for the base. It is divine!! (Note to self- get the recipe from my mum!)

Now to the 11 random facts about myself.
1.I am a trained textile designer and worked as a textile designer for The Burton Group before my children were born.
2. I play the cello and all three descant, treble and tenor recorders.
3. I love tulips- very, very, very much.
4. My favourite chocolate is Green and Blacks 75% dark- closely followed by Lindt salted caramel.
5. I run- and completed The Cumbrian Run in 2011 a long 13.1 miles in 2hrs. Very proud.
6. I have raised just under £5000 for Cancer Research in the last 4 years.
7. I have cycled the Coast to Coast cycle route- 142 miles in 3 days.
8. I have been a teacher for 10 years and a deputy Head for 2 of them.
9. I am still best friends with my child hood best friend who I met when we were 12.
10. I drive a VW Beetle.
11. The first album I bought, aged 14 was hatful of Hollow by the Smiths- I still have it as a very treasured possession.

My chosen favourite blogs.

Loopy Freak with a list
Little Room of Rachel
Fox’s Lane
Little Red Squirrel
Little woollie
Lulu loves Crochet
Haken en Meer
Eclectic Gypsyland
Little Tin Bird
Betty and Annie
Poppy and Bliss

My 11 questions for them
1. When and why did you start to craft (crochet, knit, sew, make?)
2. What are your favourite colour combinations?
3. What have been the last 3 things you have made?
4. What would be your dream holiday destination and why?
5. What is your favourite food?
6. Who do you most admire – past or present?
7. Who would be at your dream dinner party?
8. What advice would you give your 10 year old self?
9. If you could live in any country which one would it be and why?
10. what would be your favourite film?
11. What will your next project (s) be?

I hope my nominees enjoy this as much as I have! Wishing you all the very best of weekends. xx

::2013: Year end review: part one::

So here it is… my year end review part one and what a rollercoaster of a year it was too, both personally and professionally. It is always sentimental and lovely to look back over the year – normally looking back is a tricky place to go, as inevitably there may be regrets and wonderings about the path that was not taken.

However I can honestly say I haven't anything to regret, only lovely, happy family memories and times spent with my lovely bunch o 'boys' before our family entered a new chapter. With E leaving home for University and Little J beginning his GCSE's in September, and my work place changes, we have weathered the changes remarkably well and are very much intact. 

Here it is in pictures; some happy reminders of times spent with family and some of blossoming projects, blossoming confidence and blossoming gardens! Enjoy :O)

•∆• January •∆•

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•∆• February •∆•

February 2013

Very wet, lots of snow and then the glorious fire of the garden in full flame!

•∆• March •∆•

March 2013

Mother's day, family walks, snow and then the gloriousness of beautiful daffodils!

•∆• April •∆•

April 2013

E's 18th Birthday, walks at Glaramara and Loweswater, picnic's in the car, music exams and the beautiful practising that went with it, and the ever so sleepy awakening garden.

•∆• May

May 2013

The beginnings of a Summer Sunshine granny square Blanket and the tiny idea for a personal blog, explorations, cake and new kittens arrived in the middle of the night, behind the bath of all places!! Oh so cute.

•∆• June

June 2013

Tickets for The Cambridge Folk Festival arrive, more cake (another family birthday) crocheting projects and growing mischievious kittens.

From Little J's birthday at the start of the year (2nd of January!!) all the way to Christmas and family times together, it has been an amazing year full of delights, trials and tribulations.

So far so good… more tomorrow.

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More mix-tures!

-Garden developments, sunshine blanket and rainbow colours-
- Whilst the weather…-
Tickets for 50th Cambridge Folk Festival go on sale

::This week so far…::

WOOOHOOOOO it's the half term holiday!

Lots of jobs and bits and bobs to tick off my list!

Well half term in my house generally involves lots of sleeping (me), eating (me) and catching up on housey type jobs (everyone) that I either can't be bothered to do or haven't time for in term time. These include (in no particular order):  pulling out the sofa for hoovering, refolding the towels in the airing cupboard so that they all fit in again, putting back the increasing pile of shoes, boots, scarves, hats and gloves that pile up on the hall settle, moving winter clothes out of storage and summer ones back into for another year!

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The half term week started for me in Edinburgh!! Yes, I went with a couple of work friends and we ran the Race for life twilight around Arthur's Seat.


EdinburghIt was amazing and we LOVED it. I have done many runs but not one in the dark- the atmosphere and the twinkly lights were fabulous. But we did get VERY wet. 
Really enjoyed the weekend and pootling around Edinburgh on Sunday morning – christmas shopping in Jenners is always a treat.

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I went into school at the beginning of the week to get a few bits and pieces done, and it's so much easier when there are no children around – although they are kind of the point of it all anyway!!! You know what I mean!

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That done, time to concentrate on recharging my batteries and doing some family things.

With all of those jobs done and dusted (yes I did that too), time to snuggle down and get on with some crochet. The weather has been very hit and miss- in fact more miss than hit!


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Lovely coffee ( a Starbucks Christmas blend – I'm testing it out you see!!), walnut whip (oh how I love a walnut whip from M and S), candles, a warm glow, gorgeous yarn and lots of ideas to get on with!! Heavenly!


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and with a few more leaves and a marigold…


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Tick! Tick!

Then the task of cooking and making and with an Aga that decided to get hotter and hotter yesterday – lots of cooking, baking and making was needed to cool it down and regulate the temperature again.

So here you go, as you can see the oven was very hot as a couple of the next items got a little 'flashed' as Mary Berry says in the Aga cookbook!!


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 Yorkshire puddings LOVE a hot oven, but it was even a bit hot for these little guys! Still they'll freeze well enough.


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The choclate cake will get icing, and a chocolatey top in time for tea! Also made HUGE pans of chilli, soup and a very large ginger parkin ready for bonfire night.

Tick! Tick! Tick! Lots of jobs done there then!

My favourite though is the cherry, gluten and diary free flapjack- Yes I can actually eat it!


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The recipe is here if you would like to make a gluten free and diary free person VERY happy!

350g (12oz) sunflower margarine

3 generous tbsp golden syrup

175g (6oz) light soft brown sugar

1tsp valilla extract

75g (3oz) Doves farm plain flour

375g (13oz) Gluten free oats

Mix marg, syrup, sugars together in a pan and melt until smotth, add vanilla. Add to the flour, oats and stir to mix. Pop into a lined swiss roll tin, 25x38cm and into the oven for about 20 -25 minutes. Cut into squares, fingers or triangles – what ever you fancy whilst it's still warm and allow to cool completely on a wiire rack. I add 100g of natural glace cherries into mine but you can add 100g of banana, sultanas, chocolate chips. Anything at all!! 

Enjoy with a lovely cuppa!


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Oooooh forgot to tell you, my new book arrived. I've been following Arne and Carlos for a while and their book came out in English!!


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So what's next for the rest of the half term week.

Well we've booked a lovley hotel in Shipley, you can have a peak here. We're going to visit E in Leeds and I've wanted to go to the lovely and exciting sounding Salts Mill for AgEs and so we're heading there on Friday together. E will get the train over from Leeds and meet us there, we'll have food, look at the exhibition, hopefully have a wander around and genrally relax! Phewwww. Deep breath! There is an exhibition of Rock and Roll music etc that will appeal to my two big boys VERY well, and even to J too.

There are the Hockney paintings which will appeal to me VERY much and lots of things to pootle about at. I'm really looking forward to going.

Then we will be visiting my Brother's new little family and Baby M before we travel home and back to the prospect of getting back to school. 


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Hopefully as ell as ticking off lots of jobs and things off my list, I'll feel refreshed and ready to take on the run up toChristmas in school – that's no mean feat I can tell you!

So, that's my week ahead and so far. What about you?

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::Summer Holiday part 1• Cambridge Folk Festival::

It's a very long time since I've been to a music festival, and I've never been to a folk one, so wasn't sure what to expect at The Cambridge Folk festival! Arrived at Cambridge , at the campsite at Coldham's Common with our friends D and K with Little Em and their lovely campervan Dora. Camp was made, boundaries and territory set, then the beer was opened! 


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You may remember I was starting my Festival Granny Stripe blanket here and it came out of the packing quite quickly!


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There were such an abundance of flags to mark out where each camp was, so that they could be found in the dark, later when either walking back from the festival, or in the night with our torch wandering back from the toilet facilities!!


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The organisation for the event is fantastic, buses running from the campsite to the actual Arena area at Cherry Hinton Hall. Catering for kiddiwinkles (play areas, storytellers, foody bits, creche, activities galore), adults (music, food, beer, cider, music, food, beer, cider!) and even retail therapy with an abundance of incense, kaftan''s, musical instruments, and many other clothing and jewelry stalls.

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Impromptu musicians playing… such a happy sunny feeling about it all.


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It was lovely to wander around on Thursday, when it wasn't quite so busy, and OH BOY, did it get busy!


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We set camp at the arena near the main stage (see above), with our chairs, and blanket and sat in the blistering sunshine, chatting, relaxing, listening to music and drinking cider, ginger beer and beer. Quite a lot of falafal was consumed too!


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And let the crochet begin…


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We had an amazing frst night Lucy Rose was beautiful, lovely and amazingly shy! Her music is so new and interesting and I loved being in my own little world singing along in the stage 2 arena. A lovely way to end our first day, before snuggling into my sleeping bag and dreaming of bacon butties!! Yum. 


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Day two, had a similar feel: lots of crochet, Crabbies, falafel and greek wraps which were lush! I had a lovely quiet interval in the afternoon listening to some amazing storytellers in the duck pond area of the site, Little Em and I munched on marshmallows and absorbed the wonderment of the children's faces as they listened to tales of dragon's, princesses, princes, evil witches and good kings. Amazingly they are all oral stories and well acted out some of them, many drama students do a turn here and I was amazed how intriguing they were, in story and how animated they made the captivating stories. No chance of falling asleep…. I wanted to know the endings!

However E, (who by the way I was loving spending mum and grown up boy time with) had obviously enjoyed his ciders, having tried a number of the varieties on offer!


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 The levellers were my favourite act to see and I wasn't dissappointed AT ALL!! Took me back to my sixth form days and days of being 17 again! Aaaahhhhhhhh…


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and of course more of Festival Blanket completed during the day…


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I did get many admiring glances and comments, when packing up at the end of the day, the guy in the next 'camp' asked me if I'd finished it yet, when I replied no, he did say it looked complicated!! I'm loving making this blanket, it grows quickly and I love how the colours are rainbow-like but not in a rainbow.

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They compliment each other so well. Anyway, sleeping bag beckoned once more…

On day three the weather forecast was ominous: having had 100% sunshine, very, very, hot sunshine, we were promised some rain later! 


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And it rained and rained … just when we were waiting for my other highlight K.T. Tunstall. I only got a bit of "Suddenly I see.." sung and the heavens opened…


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and of course you do what every self respecting festival or open air concert-goer does…. yes you put on a large coloured carrier bag type thingy poncho!!!  Tres attractive!!

End of day three, but this time hot chocolate, marshmallows and brownies in the tent were calling. The whole family and our good friends enjoyed the rainy, wet, squelchy ride and wlak back to the camp, knowing that something warm, chocolatey and friendly was waiting.

Finally….. on the last day we had another gloriously sunny day, The Mavericks on Headline and more storytellers, magic shows, duck pond adventures and crocheting. The festival was great, the entertainment fabulous and overall the weather did us proud, us Brits!!

I'd like to go again next year, it' the 50th anniversary, so I think there'll be some amazingly awesome music, sights, sounds and stories. 


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The thought of camping in a field, sitting in a field and being around soooo many crowds and people for the whole festival, had I must admit seemed daunting and I wasn't sure how I would feel. Smelly, grubby, tired and in big need of a hairwash? OH YES!!! but content, happy and so lucky to have the amazing family ad friends to share the experience with…. as that bank card company say… PRICELESS!!

Part 2 of our little family holiday coming soon… Roman Holiday… see you soon.:o)xx

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