Sunday, May 31, 2020

What I Wore 9th May

We had some errands to run on the morning of the 9th of May. It ended up really annoying because the bank wasn't open (I had work banking to bank, and couldn't) and the first post office we went to wasn't open either. Well, we managed to get stuff posted and then get some groceries in a small co op. It's ages since I've been in a shop - Lee's been doing all the food shopping - and I wanted to buy some alcohol but the choice wasn't great. Oh well, I got two bottles of wine anyway!

Anyway, here's what I wore. I've been wearing this yellow skirt quite a bit because it's so bright and cheerful and I reckon that's what I need currently. It's from Scarlett & Jo and I've had it forever.

This top started its life as a white crew neck one from Simply Be. I tie dyed it last year while we were camping, but the ties weren't that tight and it didn't work out that well. But I still liked the colour and the slight pattern, so I kept it. I have worn it a couple of times, but the neck was just too tight on me and it put me off.

So I took a pair of scissors to it. I cut carefully around the ribbing on the neck, and then I used my sewing machine on a zigzag stitch to sew the raw edge into the new neckline. It's MUCH better now. It feels a lot more casual and a lot nicer to wear. I can see me wearing this a lot over the summer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Up My Street

Lee and I went for a walk one day in early May, just up our street. I've been doing step aerobics in the house, but wanted some exercise and fresh air, so said we should walk up the street to where there's a bench and back again. Our road is on a hill so I wasn't sure how difficult it would be, but I actually found it an okay walk thankfully.

While we were out I challenged us both to take some photos along the way. Mine were all nature, although there were some interesting non-natural things too. Here's my photos:

Look at the sky, it was beautiful. This field is just opposite our house and there's been a few families exercising and playing in it over the past few weeks, but not today. I've only been in once, a very long time ago!

This tree had really spiky leaves, but I'm not sure what kind it is. I liked it though

This was growing in someone's garden, I liked the flash of red in it

This is the top of a public footpath that I think must go over the motorway on a really high bridge. This gate is really old!

And this is the footpath itself. Lee says it goes into the housing estate first

We stopped here and talked about climbing trees when we were kids, something I really liked to do

And finally this cow parsley is close to our street. I love it, I find it really cheerful!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Films of the Month - April

I watched fifteen films in April, so lockdown didn't really affect my film watching one way or the other! There was lots of good TV to watch so I think I did that instead! Here's what I watched:

Lee and I watched This Is Spinal Tap together. It's so stupid but so funny, I love it. 

I decided to watch all three Bridget Jones films in April. I'd seen the first one way back when it first came out but had never seen the other two. I like the first one but don't feel like t has dated very well. It feels very early noughties now. 

Netflix recommended Ladies in Black to me so I took a chance. I liked it. It's about women working in a department store in Sydney in the late 1950s. I liked it, it was quite sweet and it looked really good.

I haven't seen Paddington 2 since I saw it in the cinema when it came out, so I wanted to rewatch it. It's so sweet, I think it's my favourite of the two.

Someone on Twitter recommend the documentary about the Fyre festival and I'm passing that on - watch it now. It's BONKERS. I had heard of the festival that never happened, of course, but I hadn't realised just how bad it was. Watch it!

We made it most of the way through The Godfather Part II before I got bored and asked it to stop. I don't connect with the story of young Vito Corleone at all, and I don't like Michael when he's just being irredeemably bad. The reason I love the first film so much is because of Michael's inner conflict - the tug he feels between the family duties and being a good person. I love that, and it's lacking in this film. Sorry. 

I have been so excited about the Miss Fisher film coming out as I love the TV series so much. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. It's set in Egypt, and there's no Dotty or Hugh in it, which I felt was lacking a lot. I did quite like it, but the TV show is better.

Next I watched Jacques Peretti's documentary called The Real Michael Jackson. I have of course seen the documentary with Wade Robson and James Safechuck, and I utterly believe them. I refuse to watch any of the stuff which calls them liars, but I did think that this, by a fan of Jackson's, was interesting. Peretti has made several documentaries about Michael Jackson and has to deal with his own pain and what part he might have played. I felt it was a fair documentary. Believe survivors always, though, yeah. 

Some pals and I did a Netflix Party of Lady Bird, which I have seen before but only once. I love it - I was 18 in 2002 so pretty much the same age as Lady Bird, so I deeply feel everything that she does. I love this film.

I decided to rewatch Blinded By the Light, which I saw in the cinema last year. I really like it, but maybe that's because I'm such a big Springsteen fan? It's so cute and feel good, and it sounds and looks great. 

Next I watched the second Bridget Jones film. It's terrible. Enough said!

I was reminded that I've never seen Mortal Engines, even though I liked the book. I liked the film, I thought it had the right look of the book and I liked the characters. Hester isn't as scarred as she is in the book, which I thought was a shame, but otherwise I liked it. 

I watched the final Bridget Jones film, I think it's the strongest of the three actually. I liked it a lot. I do really like Patrick Dempsey though!

I noticed I, Tonya was on Netflix and I've been meaning to get round to it for ages. I LOVED it. It's so good! I love Margot Robbie and Seb Stan so it was great for me. Plus it's a really interesting story, and I liked the fake documentary feel it had. Watch it if you haven't!

Finally, Sam and I watched Margarita With A Straw while chatting on hangouts, which was nice. It's really good, I would recommend it. Very sweet. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

What I Wore 1st May

We had some errands to run on the 1st of May so I got dressed to go and do them. We took my car out for a run which it was in need of as it hadn't been used much. Lee popped into the places we needed. I put on this new-to-me dress from Lindy Bop

I bought it on eBay at the beginning of March and was planning to wear it pretty soon but then lockdown happened and I didn't get chance to. I thought it was exactly the same as my blue spotted Lindy Bop dress but when it arrived, it isn't. It doesn't have pockets and when I held the two dresses up together, this one is smaller. Still, the material is stretchy so I gave it a go. It does fit, but I think it'll be better when it's softened up a bit and stretches a bit more. It feels a bit tight on my boobs but I think it looks fine in the photo so I'm not going to worry about it. It's lined, too, which the other one isn't, which makes it a bit thicker and warmer. I love the colour! I'm glad I've got it, I'm also glad I didn't pay full price for it!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Shopping Local

Well, we're still in lockdown. As I write this it's the end of April and I don't think things will be over by the time you read this in aa couple of weeks. I feel like it's become normal now. I'm working from home a few hours a week, and I've had to go into the centre to pick up donations and the post a couple of times, but mostly Lee and I have been staying in. He's been working, but since we were supposed to be on holiday now he had some hiliday days booked. His boss encouraged him to take at least a few days because he hasn't had any time of since Christmas and he's been snowed under with work as his work have merged with a couple of others and everything's been haywire. So he's off work the end of this week. Yesterday he didn't do much; I didn't either, I lay on the sofa and read my book all morning. We're redecorating the attic and it's actually getting done a lot faster as we've had so much time at home, so I repainted a mirror with white gloss paint. We've also been doing jigsaws together. They're not something I do often at all, but it's been a nice activity to do together.

Today we needed to go to the supermarket. We went last week to the Morrison's in Barnsley, and it took over 90 minutes once you factored in queuing to get in and queuing to pay. They're restricting it to only one adult per household, so Lee goes in as I can't manage a big supermarket by myself. I sat in the car and read my book. We didn't fancy taking quite that long this time, so we went to Tesco in Penistone. It's a medium sized supermarket, it has most things you need, and when we got there the queue wasn't too long at all.

Then I noticed that the market hall in Penistone was open! It's an outdoor hall, it has no sides but has a roof. There was a fruit and veg stall, a cheese stall, an egg stall, a pet stall, and a stall selling things like rice and beans by weight. I was so happy! We queued at the fruit and veg stall but picked up loads of stuff - cauliflower, broccoli, courgettes, grapes, bananas, and strawberries, all for just over £10. The staff put items straight in our bag and we paid with contactless card. The cheese stall is one I've seen before at markets like this. I got some Five Counties cheese which I love, and a slice of something a bit like Brie to try. I don't love it by itself but I'm planning on eating it tomorrow on a toastie with some pesto. Perfect! Lee noticed this stall had salted farmer's butter, so we got some of that.

We didn't need eggs or pet supplies, but we did need red lentils and Lee has struggled to find them in any supermarkets. We bought 200g and also some raw cashews which I love. For years people have been asking us all to shop local and while I do try, I haven't done anything like this in ages. I rarely go anywhere with a market, and it can feel like it takes a lot of time and lacks convenience. However, we've all got time right now. Plus it's keeping money in my local area and supporting businesses who may be struggling (which the big supermarkets are unlikely to do, they'll just have less profit than last year probably). I was happy to do it.

Lee went into Tesco and got everything else we needed, but it didn't take him too long at all. He bought a French baguette and we had bread and butter and cheese and crisps for lunch like we were on holiday!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

My Carousel Blanket

I'm showing you today my latest crochet creation. I finished this towards the end of April, but I started it way back in October. I've worked on it on and off, but it took a long, long time. It was some new crochet techniques for me, and those hexagons took me about two hours each! I really struggled to get through those, but when I did, the border didn't take long at all and the edging just took me a few hours. I was so excited to finish it.

The pattern is called the Carousel Blanket and it is inspired by a circus big top. I did the mandala way back in October with my friend Sarah. The middle part is raised, which is apparently an old Irish crochet technique. The mandala didn't take too long at all, I liked it.

The cream and red stripes are all exactly the same, just mirrored. I took the kit with me to Grassington back in November and did tons of stripes then. I didn't understand fully how to attach them to each other and to the mandala, so I did a different technique. I wish I'd stuck with it, because I understood it much better when I was attaching the pentagons. If I could have been bothered, I should have unpicked it and done it again, but I think when anyone else sees it, they won't see any difference. So it's fine!

The pentagons were okay. They had the same raised middle as the mandala. I understood the joining technique and I think it looks really good.

The hexagons..... took forever. They're not even - they're pointed so two sides are longer than the other. I had to count every single stitch and that just really really annoyed me. I usually craft most days, but these were depressing me so much that I only did them once a week at crafy club. I genuinely think I spent two months on sixteen hexagons. I was so frustrated. And then so happy when I sewed the final one in on 25th March!

At that point, the blanket was about four feet wide and I really saw it as a whole for the first time. I started the border, and I was supposed to count that there were a certain number of stitches on each side. I didn't. I had had enough counting by that point. I learnt a new technique for changing colours, which was good. The colours change so much though, meaning there were literally dozens of ends to sew in. Everyone hates sewing in ends! I got through that by doing it while I was video chatting with friends in lockdown. It meant I didn't concentrate very much on them!

The border took a month more or less. Then the edging didn't take very long. I love doing shells. However, I think the number of stitches maybe wasn't right, because I had to leave one stitch fewer in the shells. But, by that point I just didn't care anymore. It looks fine! It really looks perfectly fine to anyone who isn't a crocheter.

I sewed in the final ends and then it was done! I spread the blanket out to show Lee and to take these photos. I can't decide which part is my favourite. I love the colours so much!

I am however really ready to move on to a new project. I always am by the time I finish something. I may do some cross stitch, I may do another blanket, I may turn to another kit that I bought...

I think the whole is so stunning. I'm really proud of myself!

It's about five feet across all in, it's humongous. It wasn't until I was doing the edging that I realised quite how heavy and big it is

A closer look at the beautiful octagon mandala in the middle and the stripes around it. I'm so glad I made this!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Making Dalgona Coffee while in Lockdown

I'm sure you must have seen people making dalgona coffee while on lockdown. I saw it around Easter and my cousin Rob joined in with the trend and on one of our video chats I asked him for the recipe. He said it was so easy and I was determined that I would make it at some point for me and Lee. So one Saturday in the middle of April I did!

The coffee originated in South Korea when they were on lockdown, although it is also similar to an Indian coffee apparently. It's like an iced coffee, something that I probably get from Costa or somewhere else twice a month and which I am really missing on lockdown! So it's nice to be able to make something similar from home.

All you need is instant coffee, sugar, and water. I used boiling water in mine, but Rob used cold water and got similar results, so maybe it doesn't matter. I put two tablespoons of instant coffee granules, two tablespoons of sugar, and two tablespoons of boiling water into a bowl. I mixed it together a bit to dissolve the granules and the sugar, and then used my electric hand mixer to whisk it all together.

Apparently it's something in the way they freeze dry coffee that makes it so foamy when whisked, so it has to be instant coffee you use and not ground coffee. It starts to come together as a foam really quickly! I was surprised as I thought it would take ages. You have to whisk it until it forms "stiff peaks". I wasn't sure exactly what this meant, but the colour came quite pale and it was really foamy. I whisked a little bit longer, but the peaks didn't seem to change so maybe I had got the right consistency.

I poured milk into a glass and then dolloped the foam on top. It was quite sticky and wouldn't come off the spoon very well, so it didn't dollop perfectly like I had seen on Instagram. Oh well, life isn't perfect! Lee wasn't sure he would like it so he had a smaller glass. He decided he probably wouldn't drink it again, but didn't mind it.

I liked it - I used a spoon to stir the foam into the coffee bit by bit. Our milk wasn't particularly cold, so I added some ice cubes and that really helped, it was definitely like a proper iced coffee then. It's nice and sweet - you could reduce the sugar a bit I think. I will probably make it again, and put more ice in.

Have a go if you haven't - it's fun!

Starting off the whisking

Getting there, but it's not quite pale enough

Ta da!

I also think you could use this foam to mix with cream and freeze and make an easy ice cream