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This Week

Five things this week:

  1. Pilates class on Monday night. This was not how I expected a Pilates class to be like, since it was my first time. I thought it would be more like Yoga, and indeed there were some Yoga poses in there (which weren’t explained so if I hadn’t have done it before I’d have been stuck) but it was a bit strange! I am going to go to a few more until I make up my mind properly – not judging a book by it’s cover and all that!
  2. Tai Chi class yesterday. Again not what I expected – I thought it would be much slower and it was quite quick actually! I won’t be able to make it every Thursday, maybe one in two or three but I would like to do more of it, even if I was a bit wobbly and confused yesterday!
  3. Went into Waterstones yesterday after Tai Chi and came out with 2 books! One of them was The Fat of the Land by John Seymour, him of the self sufficiency fame. I read it in one go yesterday, because I am sad in the fact that I like reading about other people’s forays into keeping livestock and growing their own veg on a small holding. It was written in the early 60’s but is still a classic. It’s quite funny with the exchange rates – he managed to get a 25 year rent on a cottage and land for £25 a year! And when they mention cars and how difficult it is to get certain things, I just have to remember that it was 50 years ago now!
  4. Being inspired by the book I was reading yesterday, when my mother and I had tea at a local garden centre, I decided to carry on a tiny tradition of mine when I was a kid and teenager and that was to keep cacti. I have only ever had one at a time, so in a burst of impulse buying I bought 2 cacti and 2 little pots to put them in.
  5. If you know anything at all about politics in the UK, you will know that yesterday was the general election and I did my bit and voted. How very grown up of me!



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


Happy Tuesday everybody!

Had a busy week last week and was so tired just forgot to post anything! Oops!

First and foremost I have got a new job working in a kitchen – yay! Long hours on my feet but that’s a good thing as it means I’m moving more and not just sitting and static all the time.

On the WIP front, I haven’t done any more to many projects except the Storm Trooper Crochet Blanket. I am now at 11.52% of it done (that’s 72 out of 625 squares). Not much else has moved with things in the last couple of weeks as I have been working and watching Game of Thrones, which btw am I the ONLY person on the planet that hasn’t seen the whole series?! I read the first 2 books ages ago before they made the TV series and I wasn’t overly impressed with them, but the TV show is much better to get into, currently at episode 3 of season 3.

And I have my pottery pieces back too now! They look much darker after being fired and glazed.

I haven’t tried out the tea light holders yet but I will soon! 🙂

And now off for a nap and to get sorted for tomorrow! xx

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! 🙂

November’s gone!


It’s been a while since I last posted…a whole month has gone by!

I have been busy beavering away at craftiness…some more crafty than others…but first…

At the beginning of November my friend Trina came to stay for a couple of nights…it was lovely seeing her after so long…we met in Thailand when we both did a teaching placement there…but that’s a WHOLE different post though! I am sooo glad I didn’t have pigs being slaughtered behind my accommodation like she did…and then some!

We went to Fountains Abbey which is about half an hour away from me. It’s the go to place to take people I think…and also good to catch up over a scone and tea.

Here’s Trina!



Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey


So yay Trina!

I have also been busy knitting – it’s getting to the point where I can spot when something is wrong with a pattern, like with these wristwarmers I’m currently knitting. The first 20 rows of single rib = not a problem. But the main pattern did NOT turn out like the picture so I unravelled it and altered it and it still didn’t work so after an hour of frustration I decided to look through other books and magazines and am now doing a simple basket-weave pattern.


The yarn is Stylecraft Cabaret shade 3570 sunset and was a gift from my friend Lizzie – thanks! One ball should be enough for a pair but we shall have to see! I love the colours in this and it sparkles!

I also finished a knitted gift a few days ago from Knitting Magazine which had quite a few patterns I would make…normally there is only a couple I would realistically see myself making and wearing but there were quite a few good ones in this mag. I like the xmas trees which I thought could be done in 2 different sizes and colours and used as tags or maybe bunting. No pictures of that or the duplicate of it I am making as someone might see it!

I’m also knitting a blanket for someone and trying to find the perfect snowman pattern for mum to take to her work.

And now? To sort out what arrived from Amazon yesterday…sounds exciting…except it’s antivirus so let’s see how fast my internet wants to work today – I’m thinking slow!

Have a good night

Ellen x

Feeling Christmassy

Yay! It’s that time of year again when the preparations for Christmas begin – and I don’t mean putting up the tree!

Last night we (the parents and I) made a late shop to Morrison’s to stock up on things as it had a 20% off day for their staff. We now have most of our wine, alcohol, fizzy drinks, nuts, crisps, snacks, matchmakers!!, After Eights!, toiletries, kitchen roll etc. to last us through at least to the New Year and probably into January and February.

The Side part of the house, which is attached to the garage and is always like a second fridge in winter because it’s so cold, has been sorted and ordered. I know it is Christmas when this is done! Now I just have to resist temptation with the chocolates staring me in the face every time I go down there.

The kitchen cupboards have been sorted and cleaned…the uncooked lasagne sheets from 2011 have been thrown away! And now there is more room for festive things…or at least they are more accessible.

There is a list of jobs to do before getting the decorations out, but it’s a little early for that yet. We used to have neighbours who put their decorations up on bonfire night (5th November) and took them down Boxing Day – madness!!

Last year my favourite little local florist closed down due to high rent rates on the High Street. Such a shame because we got out wreaths from there 😦

Oh I love this time of year…


I had a nice surprise in the post today. I have been on survey site Toluna for a year and a bit now and last year earned a £15 Next voucher. I have only just gone back on it a few weeks ago after not going on it for months and am now waiting for my £20 Amazon voucher to arrive.

But last week I did a survey about tea and said I would like to test it, yes please! So, today I got a box with 10 free tea bags and a survey to fill out…and they smell very yummy and fruity yummmmmmm.

I wont say what flavour or who makes them because the product isn’t out in the shop yet but I will say it is the first free thing from Toluna and will make a nice change to try something a bit different!

I think the survey sites are a good idea as you can save up your vouchers or your points throughout the year and spend them at Christmas! If you do 2 or 3 surveys a day or spend half an hour a day then they will soon add up. Check out Toluna’s website on their rewards page if you’re curious as to what you can earn…vouchers for Next, Topshop etc, John Lewis, Marks and Spencers, Debenhams, Pizza Hut, Tesco, Sainburys, book tokens, money into PayPal account…


I also had a nice trip to Teesside Park last weekend and spent some Hobbycraft vouchers (thank you Lizzie and Kerrie – and thank you Lizzie for taking me!). I bought some jam jars, ribbon, buttons, candy canes, candle holders, and something else, but I cant remember what! And there is still money left for next time! Thanks guys!

I have been trying out some quick and easy crochet patterns…experimenting and all that. Also doing a spot of sewing and knitting.

And I have been to the library getting 10 books out. As always I say Use it or Lose it with libraries! I have taken about 40 out in the last year and as I am currently job-hunting they are a good source of information about writing a cv/fillinf in application forms/starting a business etc.

I have a list of things to do and things to get…but I am going to have a cup of (free) tea now I think! And since mother dearest got a panetone with choc chip yesterday…well, I may have to sample some of that too!!

And that is as much as I have been doing in the last week or so! xx


Sunday update


Sorry for the absence this week, it’s been a busy fortnight. Lots of health stuff got sorted, some didn’t – had chronic back pain for several days which always throws me off kilter.

I started a scraps scarf. It is in my favourite crochet pattern of basket weave stitch in black, grey, beige and blue. Because OMG I am running out of room! Need to whittle down stash. I absolutely HATE colour changes though so it is taking a little while, but nearly done. Just a few pattern repeats then weave in all the ends and double (single) crochet around the edges.

You’re only getting a close up coz it’s not finished!

close up basket

I will do the Friday Follow post tomorrow I think, since haven’t been online for a week or so and honestly, I’m not in the mood now! Just about to have a slice of apple pie from the BEST APPLE PIE SHOP IN THE WORLD! So, you know, no offence, but between blogging and pie? I think pie wins! (And the shop is called The Apple Pie Shop in Ambleside, Cumbria if you are interested).

Last month I wrote the post below with a few things I wanted to achieve.


So here is an update:

Walking. As of 3 days ago I am officially on 1 crutch and can get in and out of the bath by myself (no bath board to sit on). Which in my book equals progress. It’s slow going and since April I have been quite patient and sensible, but I think another 6 weeks or so before I can properly walk unaided with confidence. So a result in my opinion!

Finishing WIPS etc. I finished my Dictionary of Cake cross stitch. I have one more cross stitch thing to do, which is a MASSIVE balloon cross stitch pattern I have had for years. A couple of years ago I got all the ‘ingredients’ for it and it is in a folder waiting to be started. And reading? Of that list I have only read David Copperfield and 1Q84 so far…but they took long enough! And if I want to actually complete my 52 books this year I should probably be a little more proactive in my reading!

Decluttering. SUCCESS! I hardly recognise my room. So much has gone. I am in the process of whittling down my language and grammar books with a couple of boxes ready to go to fellow nerds and language teachers. I also have another bag ready for charity shop and a bag of craft papers I am not sure what to do with. So that’s good.

Gym etc. I’m not quite there yet. A tad overambitious maybe? But it’s on the horizon.

New crochet techniques. I have experimented with colour more. I have also done quite a few granny squares which was something I hadn’t really been interested in before now. Likewise I have made a ripple blanket which I had never tried. So, slow progress but that’s ok.

Needle felting and Gutenberg Project – I just haven’t got around to. But I will!

Win lottery – I would have to play first!

Which about sums up where I am at the moment. Some things completed, some things started.

So, lots to get on with methinks!

To the pie!