Category Archives: Books and Reading

Book of the Moment

So. Books. More books.

I just finished Daniel Deronda after several years. I tried to get into it a few months back and just couldn’t get started with it for some reason, and now after zooming through it in 3 evenings I don’t see why I couldn’t start it. I really enjoyed it and found it quite an easy read and I liked the style of the writing. Some classics are hard to get your head round the meaning and the way it’s been written but this was quite a modern style if that makes sense? It left me wanting to know what happened to the naughty father – did he get caught stealing something else after he stole Daniel’s diamond ring (which was a stupid thing for a man to carry about and leave carelessly on a sideboard when you know there is a man of ‘ill repute’ staying with you but anyway).

Lizzie bought me that book a while ago, and this week I found a parcel waiting for me from Lizzie with a book and some other goodies in. So 84 Charing Cross Road has been read and added to my ever increasing pile of books given to me by Lizzie (thanks!). I liked this book, it just screams Lizzie! An in your face American from New York orders books from a typically British bookshop in London in the years straight after the second world war and gradually chips away at the famed British reserve. I cant get my head around how receiving a parcel of powdered eggs or a pack of tights is seen as such a treat but I guess rationing was still in effect in those days (although eggs?!!). It’s a shame she never got to meet the main man she corresponded with, but that’s life isn’t it?

I am now onto Cross Stitch (again given to me by Lizzie) and I’m liking it so far. only about a third of the way in, curious to see how it ends…I know there’s a few more books in the series, so does she get back?!

I have also read a book called Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki. It’s about how he went from cluttered big apartment in Tokio to smaller empty apartment. Hundreds of CDs and books (gasp) were thrown away, and gradually he got rid of most of his clothes and then furniture! It’s an OK read, I got a bit bored to be honest, hoping for some inspiration, it was more of a book for the sake of writing a book I think.

And finally, I just picked up Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood. I love the first 2 books – The Year of the Flood and Oryx and Crake. They are dystopian fiction, which is probably my favourite genre now. 1984, A Clockwork Orange, The Hunger Games, A Handmaid’s Tale, City of Ember…it makes me want to yell at the film or book “Cant you see what’s going on?!”

And speaking of dystopian fiction. The trailer for The Dark Tower film just landed. OMG. This series is my favourite series of all time by Stephen King. From the trailer it looks like they have picked bits and pieces from several of the books, not sure what to make of that just yet. But i will DEFINITELY BE SEEING THIS AT THE CINEMA! And Idris Elba as the Gunslinger. Gonna be great!

“I do not kill with my gun. I kill with my heart.”




Hi all,

I know it’s been a while now, almost a month, but sometimes you just need a break from blogging and time to get back into the real world and all that.

I have been rather busy this past month, having started a weight loss scheme run by my local council I have been making use of the 12 week free gym pass it comes with and actually turning up at the gym. I even went after work yesterday and did a spin class today – maybe that’s why it decided to hail as I got out of the gym?! I have lost a tiny bit of weight, quite a lot more to go, but it’s a good start. 🙂

I have caught up with old friends, made some progress on blankets I am knitting and crocheting, started reading Daniel Deronda again (couldn’t get into either last year or the year before, which is quite rare for me to put a book down to one side once I’ve started it). I finished Game of Thrones up to season 4 so I just need to watch 5 and 6 now (payday on Thursday yay!).

Speaking of books, I saw this article on the BBC today.

Apparently almost half of people asked in a survey were too busy to read and 35% struggled to find a good book they wanted to read.

To which my reply is…don’t be so damn fussy! Some of the best books I have ever read are those I have either heard mixed reviews about or those where I have literally judged them by their cover. And it’s not school. It’s not university. You don’t have a set amount to read every night so there’s no excuse!

Now, it’s time to write up my gym planner and get sorted for tomorrow, pics of stuff to be posted tomorrow, I cant be bothered now…too tired from the gym lol!

Ellen x

Knits and Bits

Now that I have all that technical wisdom stuff out of my system, I can get back to what I have been up to.

Making Mozzarella Cheese

Christmas 2015 – my parents bought me a cheese making set to make either mozzarella or ricotta (you provide the milk and there’s enough rennet and citric acid to make 10 batches). I think they got it from Steamer Trading which sells kitchen stuff in the UK but here is a link to the actual cheese company’s website.

The kit has lain around the house in various places and it’s only now I got the oomph to make it (with a little help from my lovely assistant aka mum). It was quite easy to do too although I didn’t really take a lot of pics and document the whole process as a lot of it is literally looking at milk! In the picture below my balls of cheese are in ice water cooling down and the white stripe across the pic is the reflection of the light above! Just in case you were wondering…don’t think you were, but anyway. I also added a few chilli flakes to a few balls so we will see how they turn out.


Knitted Spring Bunting

Just got one more triangle to do, weave in ends and make a long strip to attach them to and hang up, also they are quite twisted so will need blocking first. I think I am going to go down the edge them with crochet route so that should help them stop curling too. I changed my mind slightly on colours, sticking with 4 triangles of 3 colours – pink, yellow and green. I was going to do light blue as well but decided it just didn’t fit. Also I may do the strip in blue to denote the sky! And since I had to throw 3 triangles away after realising I had done them in 4mm needles and not 5mm ones….this project has taken longer than it should have!


New stuff

Yesterday bought Let’s Knit magazine and a few more stitch holders since mine has gone walkabouts. The knitting mag came with a free crochet pattern mag and I actually like a few patterns from here, so not a bad buy I think!

The stitch holders were from Wilkos which I never think about for knitting supplies.



Mollie Makes

Magazine through the post today, will look at later. 🙂



I am reading Daniel Deronda at the moment, tried to get into it a couple of years ago but lost the will, so am trying again. Of the 13 books in my Read What You Have Challenge in the pages above I have now read 4 so only 9 to go! Most are classics which as we all know are never a quick read, especially when, with some of them it’s a case of here is a paragraph. Three pages later the paragraph has ended. The style of the writing itself can make a book very hard to read, even though the story may be fantastic.

I am also having a look at the ones below. Coz I have a whole shelf of crafty books. And sometimes we just need pictures!


Using up my stash

The only problem with knitting magazines is that a lot of the time for me the free gifts are either naff or just what I wouldn’t make. So I had LOADS of leftover yarn and nothing to do with them. Finally decided to make a few knitted squares as I think I showed you in a previous post somewhere and some crochet granny squares which are a heck of a lot quicker to make. Will darn in the ends and maybe find a charity to donate to or make something simple, don’t know yet, just wanted the pile of tiny balls gone!



And it has suddenly got REALLY dark and rainy now. I’m British, so a dark overcast afternoon means only one thing – time for a brew! 🙂

Never Fear – SEO is here!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

I have just been reading a book called SEO MADE EASY by Evan Bailyn published by Pearson.

I borrowed it from the library along with 5 other books, which, incidentally, is a good time to preach to the masses: USE YOUR LIBRARY!!! Think of all that knowledge and adventure that awaits inside (although, obviously with a book title like SEO MADE EASY…maybe not so much adventure but anyways).

It’s quite interesting for a lay person like me to read about ‘technical’ stuff. This blog is as technical as I get in many ways. And yet. I feel I am at that stage where I want to move forward and I have been reading around lots of different subject areas, more about which another time.

But it got me thinking. About searching the web and how people find this blog. I wish WordPress would let me see the unknown search terms (which usually denote someone using Google) as there are loads of these, but the search terms that I CAN see…well, let’s just say – quite logical actually!

So here they are: prepare to be amazed and astounded! Or not…


Unknown Search Terms: 18


Unknown Search Terms: 104

masham yorkshire flooding

sacred shawl women’s shelter


Unknown Search Terms: 65

“cast on foot”

scarf edgings

crochet a sitting cussing

my james brett jumper finished

deramores gemstone colours granny squares

where do knitting magazines get freebies from

attonment blog crochet

I have posted about flooding in Yorkshire, wearing a cast on my foot, I have used James C Brett wool before, I have cussed when I have been sitting crocheting but never written about it! So, it’s mostly all logical, although I have no idea where magazines get their freebies – sorry whoever searched for that!

So, what would the keywords be on this blog? Crochet, knitting and wool/ yarn I think would be on the list somewhere. Maybe also books and reading/ writing. Hopefully craft and hobbies too.

Writing this I just realised I haven’t posted anything about the allotment for a long time. I haven’t been for a while as the past few months have been a bit stressful but need to take some pics and see how it’s doing.

As I may have said before, this blog is just a hobby blog for me. It’s a good intro into the world of ‘online’ and I am enjoying it still. As a result of starting this blog I am active on Instagram and Pinterest (having found LOADS of money-making, crafty, writing and lifestyle ideas on there), am fairly active on Twitter, but this is still a bit of a headache for me. Facebook I have washed my hands of. It’s quite old-fashioned and doesn’t do it for me I’m afraid. I have come across lots of inspirational blogs and people and it’s nice to have a nosy at what other people are making and baking. When I was at primary school and we had swimming lessons on a Monday, I used to love looking out of the windows on the top of the double decker bus as it meant I could peer into people’s homes and gardens. I don’t think that nosiness has ever left me – I shall blame it on being female and that’s all! So, with blogs, I get to see into other people’s homes and gardens, except this time with pretty pictures, sometimes a video and always an explanation!!

But anyway…

What’s the most random search term people have used to find your blog? Do they match the content of your blog or are they way off?

Ellen xx





On Writing Often

One of my goals / challenges for this year was to write 500 -1000 words a day. Due to some personal reasons I haven’t managed to get off to quite such a good start but the number of words doesn’t matter really…the point is to write more.

Here are a few links I have come across regarding writing…

See if there is anything here which takes your fancy

Ellen x

Book Challenge Update

Hello there!

Things have been really busy here the last two weeks but I am pleased to say I am on the way to completing this year’s book challenge (which is to read all outstanding books on my shelf).

I wrote my goals for this year in a previous post

And out of the 12 or so books listed I have managed to get through 3, as well as a re-reading of The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett which was small and light to carry around with me last week.

The 3 I have finished are:

  • Women in Love by DH Lawrence
  • The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
  • The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

I was not at all impressed with Women in Love, I believe it was written in the 1920’s and I’m not struck on books of that era generally, although I will give anything a go when it comes to books. Apparently this book was banned for obscenity for 11 years in England and so had to be published in America first. I didn’t like the characters, they weren’t personable, they didn’t make you want to root for them, and I was left with a question at the end…so is Birkin gay or not?!

The Return of the Native I really enjoyed, it seemed a quick read in a day compared to a week and a half reading Women in Love. I have mixed feelings about Hardy’s books generally but this one was alright, I was waiting for at least one of the characters to die, which, lets face it, was the only way anyone was going to get a happy ending here. The villain I didn’t find too villainous, not my favourite classic but worth a read.

The Riddle of the Sands was written in 1902 and is scary in it’s predictions in a way. 2 amateur British spies realise Germany was practising / planning an invasion. The two of them get to grips with the boat they are in and with trying to lie to the locals, figure out who is on their side and decide what is best for England, whilst getting the girl on the way. A good adventure story, I enjoyed it, but the end was a bit rushed, it felt like a lot of lead up to a very quick finish.

So, that’s a good start to my reading this year. I can cross off a few books on my list on the books page above finally.

Hopefully I will continue with this eager reading momentum!

Ellen xx

Bye Bye 2016 and Hello 2017!

Hello and Happy New Year!

It’s been a while since I last posted but you know…Christmas and all that! Who wants to blog and be online at this time of year? There is such a thing as focusing on what is happening in the moment and if you can’t do that at Christmas then when can you?

I’ve just looked back and the last post was December 13th…eek! So, to briefly summarise the last month or so…

– Making mince pies and yummy rum fruit cakes (keep meaning to put up recipe for those)

– Rogue One with Angela and Dan – because for the next few years Christmas won’t be Christmas without Star Wars! Or Angela and Dan – yay! (You two are NOT allowed to see the films with anyone else!)

– Knitting like a crazy person!

– Job Interview preparation – bleurgh

– Moaning about how bad the TV is this year – seriously the only good film on was Zathura!

– Reading the Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking whilst drinking tea out of my new big mug and with the fire on and a mince pie close at hand

And pics? I have to get some in quick before the festive times are forgotten and fed up with…





That’s the stocking Lizzie made me a few years ago btw – it comes out every year now! 🙂

And as for 2016?

Once again, I didn’t meet the 52 books in a year target, although after August I kind of drifted off reading. Only managed 28 I’m afraid but on the plus side there were lots of library books. If you don’t use your local library, local authorities will see no reason to keep them so I try to borrow one set of books a month (I can get up to 10 at a time…just have to write it on my calendar otherwise I forget and have big late fees).

This is what I managed last year (2016)r:-

  1. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  2. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
  3. The Story of English by
  4. Allain Quartermain by H. Rider Haggard
  5. The Sty’s the Limit by Simon Dawson
  6. Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
  7. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  8. Easy Knitting: Country
  9. Easy Knitting: Vintage and Retro
  10. Easy Knitting: Weekend
  11. Arm and Finger Knitting by Laura Strutt
  12. Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done by Adrian Tannock
  13. Country Skills and Crafts by Maureen Little and Craig Hughes
  14. Just the Job by John Lees
  15. 201 Knitting Motifs, Blocks, Projects and Ideas by Nicki Trench
  16. The Knitter’s Bible: Knitted Throws and Cushions by Claire Crompton
  17. Selling Online 2.0 by Michael Miller
  18. A Woman’s Guide to Working for Herself by Sandra Hewett
  19. The Crafter’s Year
  20. Knitting in the Details by Louisa Harding
  21. 100 Colourful Ripple Stitches to Crochet by Leonie Morgan
  22. Knitting Basics by Tracey Lord
  23. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  24. Knitting Smitten by Jessica Biscoe
  25. Learn to Knit Block by Block by Che Lam
  26. How to be a complete and utter failure in life, work and everything by Steve McDermott
  27. Yoga for runners by Lexie Williamson
  28. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

I have a shelf with books which I have had for years and not got round to reading so I think my reading challenge for this year would be a more attainable goal of reading what I have rather than aiming for a number. That means that the books still to be read are:

  • War and Peace
  • Anna Karenina
  • Ivanhoe
  • The Mill on the Floss
  • Cross Stitch
  • 20000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • Rob Roy
  • The Return of the Native
  • Women in Love
  • The Riddle of the Sands
  • Vanity Fair
  • The Woman in White

Only 12 but 12 LONG ones! We shall see…

As for 2017?

I am starting the new year as I mean to go on…

Yesterday I had a job interview so fingers crossed for that.

As for resolutions…I think too many and you won’t keep them. So here are 6 (sort of) resolutions for this year.

  1. Publish a pattern on Ravelry – free or paid
  2. Crafty goals – knit a hat and a pair of socks, crochet a corner to corner blanket, sew an item of clothing – Use up my crafty stash – fabric, wool etc.
  3. Start doing Yoga again
  4. Write 500- 1000 words every day
  5. Keep up with technology (those who know me are shouting HA! right now) and learn to use EXCEL and ACCESS properly
  6. Blog more often and take better photos and learn how to edit them

A little random and a mixture but personal ones for sure.

And this post is a whopper so I will sign off and say Happy New Year and wish you lots of good stuff and goodness to come!

Ellen x