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Blankety goodness.

Hi guys and gals! I’ve been deep in the blankety goodness just recently, the air is starting to turn chill and I’ve been hooking away at the old popcorn stitch in the top left corner, and its been nice to see the other two put to good use again as the nights turn chilly. With summer fading away and another glorious season just beginning the garden was perked up a bit by my washing line wonders…

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They look so pretty hanging there and wash remarkably well and I can’t wait to add to the collection. Summer was great for me and though I didn’t take my camera with me to Whitby this year we did take the niblings (nieces and nephews) to the seaside at Bridlington, which in the heat was almost like being abroad. The sky was cloudless and the sea was caribbean  blue and it was such a wonderful day.

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The little ones played on the beach and in the surf and little toes felt the North Sea for the first time.

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As anyone who reads this blog will know I love the sea and I was having the time of my life with the little ones taking buckets of water to our little moat and sand castles, jumping the waves with them, playing football and picnicking on fish and chips. What a memorable day it was.

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One of my friends kindly loaned me her camera as I am in between devices at the moment but as you can see the zoom on hers is quite something, this pirate ship was quite far out to sea, we had quite a bit of fun waving at the passengers! I’m hoping to get to the coast again before winter so watch this space!

Back home I’ve been busy trying to complete my list of jobs to do and have managed to finally complete another baby blanket I was working on, the nautical coloured stripes remind me of the seaside so much I’m thinking of making a single bed sized one for our spare room.

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As I said, I’ve been deep in the blankety goodness and hope to continue whilst Autumn sets in.

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I absolutely loved these bright colours and the wool was beautiful to work with, it was Milla Mia for you yarn lovers and I just did the stripes randomly. I can’t believe I’m about to say it but I actually didn’t mind sewing in the ends for this one, whether because I was just determined to get it finished or I loved the colours that much I can’t say. It was a joy to hook up.

In between the happy hooky I did a little baking and made for the first time ever, my own homemade Quiche!

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The one on the left is bacon and mushroom and the one on the right is cheese and broccoli and I didn’t think they were too bad for my first attempt. Also culinary herbs have been a focus in my house recently as I’m sad to report all my little bonsai saplings failed 😦 Feeling like a total green fingered failure I planted some herbs, knowing that I’ve grown them before and being more determined than ever. The result is pleasing.

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It took two attempts for me to get the coriander and parsley to grow, I probably tried planting them too late in the year but they are coming along, and the beauteous basil already needs re-potting, something high on my to-do list. I think once they’re in bigger pots I can start to use them for cooking. I am quite pleased with the way they’ve taken off. I may attempt not to kill another houseplant soon.

Other goings on in my house have been craft related. I had been trawling the internet and once you see something that catches your eye you can’t seem to get it out of your head. I had spotted the soap making community! and oh those gorgeous pictures of stacks and stacks of chunky pretty soap that looked good enough to eat! Here’s just a taste of the things that got me inspired.

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I defy anyone to look up homemade soap and not want to give it a try. For my attempt I started with a simple glycerine soap base and followed the instructions.

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Chopping up the soap was quite satisfying, and your left with lovely icecube-like blocks of meltable soap. As it was my first attempt I wanted to start with something simple and natural to mix it with so I chose oatmeal and honey.

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I didn’t add any perfumes or colourants as I just wanted to make something wholesome and natural. I melted the soap base at first on a bain-marie which seemed to be taking ages so I resorted to the microwave which worked a lot like melting chocolate, short bursts with stirring  and the residual heat melts the last few lumps.

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I did find there was a little bit of vapour whilst it was heating which was probably the alcohol in the soap mix to help it melt. I tried not to breath it in and carried on. I mixed my oatmeal with honey and a bit of water and blended it, strained a couple of times and it was ready to mix with the melted soap base. If you are thinking of trying this yourself be warned the oatmeal mixture didn’t mix in easily, but after a few minutes stirring I put the mixture into a silicone loaf mould and left it to set. It’s probably best to leave it overnight but mine seemed set before I went to bed and I couldn’t resist chopping it up into soap-sized pieces.

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To be sure the colour is 70’s beige and all my oatmeal sunk to the bottom and it didn’t really smell of anything, but for a first attempt I was quite pleased. As it was just for home use and not for gifts or anything I wrapped the soaps up in clingfilm with fears of mould in the back of my mind.

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but I’m glad to say the soap, despite its natural ingredients has lasted really well and is quite lovely to use. I have a second tub of melt and pour soap and hope to make a scented soap next, again trying to keep it as natural as possible I’m thinking lavender!

Though my soap was a success the 70’s beige counteracted my blanket pics at the beginning so for another pop of colour I can proudly announce that I finally completed my Morrocan cushion, complete with pom pom border.

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It didn’t turn out as big as I expected but I do love the colours, not sure how long my pom poms will stay on for. I backed it with a bright colour to try to keep it vibrant and added the pom poms last.

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It felt good to get it finished and hopefully the completed projects will start coming thick and fast so I can share them with you next time. Cheerio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi folks, it’s the first of January 2016 and I’d just like to start by wishing everyone a happy new year! If you read my blog you will know that the last time I posted we were going through a family crisis, well, the crisis is far from over but at the minute everything is as well as can be expected, suffice to say were hoping for the best.

As it is I’ve been quite busy in the last 6 months and unsure of where to start, so I suppose . . .

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A beautiful picture of the Yorkshire Wolds, me and the bf did a sponsored walk back in September raising money for the Sick Children’s Trust and Ward 52 at Leeds General Infirmary. The walk was 13.65 miles long and it took us just under 7 hours. I’ve never been so exhausted in my life but we walked every metre of it and it was rather beautiful. So much so we intend to do a lot more walking in future.

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We walked through an area called the deer park which was I think the relic of an old manor or stately home, there was even a deer shelter, almost like a stable without doors and these we learned were built in the 1600’s.

The walk got higher and higher as we ascended the wolds and became all the more lovely, the views really are spectacular. We ended our walk at the highest village on the wolds and are sure to walk in the area again.

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In July I had a birthday and turned 30 years old, normally I would let the event pass as quickly as possible however I received some delightful gifts. Off my wonderful friends . . .

Some beautiful Cath Kidston teacups and teapot. Still unused I’m afraid as I’m saving them for special occasions. Also the bf’s mum booked me and the bf and two others a cream tea at a lovely little teashop in a village not far from town.

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The homemade quiche was particularly good. Though my birthday was in July we actually went for the cream tea at the beginning of our week off in October which was the start of a brilliant week. We did our usual jaunt to York which, as creatures of habit, commenced with a trip to Betty’s at Halloween. Their window display was particularly good and we treat ourselves to the chocolate taster plate which speaks for itself.

I must apologise for some of the picture quality, a lot of these I took on my phone and others are simply the result of our computer dying and having to use a laptop kindly loaned to us. York was gorgeous as ever in its Autumnal apparel, and I couldn’t help but snap this pic of the city walls blanketed in autumnal foliage.

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We walked through the York gardens and the light was perfect for photography. There was even a Birds of Prey demonstration.

While at York we also visited the National Railway Museum, and I simply can’t understand why we’ve never been before. I was in heaven . . .

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This burgundy coloured train was called the Duchess of Hamilton and was by far my favourite locomotive in the museum, so perfectly art deco it was a relic of the sleek and sophisticated era of 1930’s glamour. The bf also bought me some art deco earrings from the giftshop which I’ll endeavour to share a pic of in a future post.

I highly recommend the museum if your ever are looking for something to do, the museum is free and asks only for a voluntary donation.

Also on our week off we took a journey to Leeds which is around an hour by train from where we live. We went with the purpose of visiting the Royal Armouries, again a place we have never been and yet is readily accessible, free of charge and incredibly interesting.

Again the images are a little blurry, the first is of the stairwell at the armouries and the second is of a Vampire Hunting Kit. All the components of the kit are authentic Victorian artifacts, apparently Vampirism was a real worry back then.

As it was the week of Halloween we could not go without decorating the house and carving some pumpkins, I was rather pleased with how they turned out this year.

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I did the castle and the bf did the creeper from minecraft at my request. The green glow stick was perfect don’t you think? I also tried for the first time, the candy corn we bought back in February and was pleased to find a sweet and marshmellowy flavour. Yummy!

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With Halloween out of the way Christmas soon crept upon us and with it came a new skill . . .

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Friendship bracelets, though I’ve found their just as useful as bookmarks. They are also incredibly addictive and therapeutic to make, hence why I made several this year for presents. I’m quite excited to see what else I can achieve with this new hobby.

As usual I’ve made a ton of new years resolutions and I’m determined to keep them this year. With recent events in my life I’ve come to realise just how important it is to enjoy every minute you have and its my aim to do just that. See you folks soon.

 

Hello everyone, I always seem to be starting my blogs with an apology on how I haven’t written anything in a while and this time it’s no different. My last blog was in March which seems like such a long time ago. The reason for my absence is quite straight forward, my family needed me. We are currently battling a monstrous crisis which will hopefully resolve itself in a happy ending, it’s going to be a long tough road though. As I have finally found the time to write here are some of the things I’ve been up to. Firstly . . .

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Me and the bf had a short break in Whitby back in June as we usually do, this year we took it the week after our normal week and lo and behold, we finally got glorious sunshine. So this year my photos are particularly good.

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The view from our window never fails to impress me. I could stare at it for hours, and our first night in particular was simply breathtaking.

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With the sun shining Whitby was a little busier than were used to but enjoyed it all the same, there were old cars out and the old bus, and when we climbed the 199 steps the view was crystal clear. Here are just a few pics from our few days there.

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It was on my to do list to fly a kite on the beach, something I’ve never done before, so me and the bf bought this one for £1.99. It flew brilliantly but it did feel a little bit of a cheat as it said on the packet (guaranteed to fly) I couldn’t have got it wrong but I enjoyed it all the same, maybe next year I’ll get a more challenging one.

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Anyone who has read my blog before knows I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to steam trains (or anything else for that matter) so when this huge engine came into whitby station I had to get a few snaps, I also took this sneaky one of the inside of the cabin because I just love all the brass dials and wheels, very steampunk don’t you think?

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As we strolled along the beach we also came upon wildlife my first and only time I’ve seen a crab on the sand, we had to wash a bit off to get a photo then covered him back up when we were done.

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I just love this last pic, the sunlight on the waves is just so beautiful, if only I could pause the sun at this time of day. On the way home from whitby we stopped at Goathland. The bf’s parents kindly drove us to and from whitby this year and this gave us an opportunity to meet the steam train at the little station that was the setting for Harry Potter’s Hogsmede station.

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I’m a huge Harry potter fan so as I stood on the railway bridge and watched this steam train come in I was super excited and I managed to get a video for my nephew.

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Goathland is also the setting for Heartbeat (a popular show once aired in the uk) and they still have many of the old cars and things on display, but I thought this picture of the garage was what I remembered most about Heartbeat. We then met up with the bf’s brother and gf, and we had afternoon tea at the Middleton post office and tea room. I’ve written about this before back in January and I couldn’t express to you enough how wonderful it is. It was just as good as I remember.

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So the bf’s brother and girlfriend took us the rest of the way home but on route we stopped at some roman ruins where we caught a glimpse of this lizard which stood still long enough for me to get a photo.

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My camera picked up his patterning quite well I thought. What type of lizard he is I’m not sure, a bit of googling might be in order. We drove the rest of the way through Dalby forest, a beautiful place which I hope to visit again soon. We returned home tired but content. It was a happy time.
Now onto crafty things. I’ve been very productive recently, trying to finish projects before I start new ones. So naturally I made lists! Lists of projects to complete, lists of projects ready to start, and lists of projects I’d like to do one day. I’m a bit of a list fanatic.
Many moons ago I began a blanket, a ripple blanket to be exact, from Lucy’s pattern at Attic24. It was when me and the bf lived in our teeny tiny flat. Well it’s been almost three years or something like that but finally . . .

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. . .i have my own Ta-Dah!!!!!! This was quite a big project for me, I have a full time job and finding the time to finish any project is quite impressive for me. So I was glad that I finally managed to complete a full sized blanket.

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I also completed a smallish baby blanket for my new nephew, who was born early and weighed just 4lb 3oz, so it didn’t really matter that the blanket was on the small side. I completed a couple of other projects that were sort of prototypes and didn’t really warrant a photo shoot, a small baby girl headband (he turned out to be a boy) a little pixie type hat (which my 2 year old niece didn’t like) and a very plain striped phone/glasses case which was just to use up a bit of spare wool. I’ve also been continuing my cross stitch which came along quite nice during the hours of Wimbledon I watched this year. All these projects complete made me feel quite justified when I purchased some drops cotton which was on sale at Wool Warehouse, (a tip off from the bf’s mum).

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My first thought was to buy some summery colours as I need some new cushion covers, which made me put the above selection in my basket, but then . . .

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I saw these and thought they were very prettily autumnal and it is my favourite season, in the basket they went. My first thought had been to do some cushion covers in summer colours, then autumnal cushion covers. As this was limited edition cotton I was then beginning to panic a little because I put these together . . .

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And I quite fancied a Lego coloured shawl for chilly summer evenings. My mind was running away with me and even moreso when finding that, when I put them back in the bag randomly . . .

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All the colours went together so nicely! I’m still undecided what to create from this lovely limited cotton, but I’m really holding off until all my other WIP’s are complete.
So that’s it for now folks, I don’t know when my next blog will be, family is so important to me and things are so unpredictable right now its hard to say how things will turn out. Hopefully I’ll be back here soon enough with happy tidings.

Hi guys, welcome back to Minnie’s. I just want to do a quick post about a couple of things I’ve been up to recently. Last week me and the bf went to Leeds, about an hours train ride from where we live, I had booked tickets to see Ryan Adams, an alternative country singer who has been touring Britain the last few weeks. I adore his music and when I found out he was doing a gig in Leeds I knew I had to go. If your not familiar with his music I urge you to check it out. I did take my camera with me but unfortunately I had neglected to change my settings before the actual gig and I had not the room nor inclination to be fidgeting with my camera whilst the gig was in full swing, but there is plenty of coverage on social media, twitter and the like so please check it out, I highly recommend it. Nevertheless I did take some photos and bare with me I know they’re awful but I feel I must share them anyway. :/

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Okay I promise that’s the last of the crappy photos I’ll share and I’ll be sure to change my camera settings before I go next time. So the next day we spent in Leeds City centre, our hotel was directly opposite the 02 arena and being a rather smart looking building I had to take a pic . . .

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I also took a pic of the Hedley Verity pub, purely because Hedley Verity was my friends great great grandad or something of the sort, also he was a famous cricketer, hence a pub being named after him.

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A rather smart looking pub, if I have to say, though we didn’t have time to stop for a drink. I had been given Cath Kidston vouchers for Christmas and knowing there was a store in Leeds we set off in search of it. After some deliberation I purchased some new pack lunch boxes, a matching water bottle and a pair of fish earrings,

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The fish earrings I particularly liked, as regular readers will know I’m a bit of a nerd, what with my amateur twitching and other minor interests, and I have to admit, I like a bit of fishing. Well, not myself, I’ve never actually tried it, but I quite enjoy watching it on t.v. I may add it to my list of hobbies one day. Carrying our bags round Leeds had taken its toll by around 11 o’clock and we stopped for a drink at Costa Coffee, and I was delighted, not only had they white hot chocolate left over from the Christmas period but they sprinkled little gold stars on top too, which were super cute . . .

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It was a perfect end to our trip and I hope to repeat our experience many times in the future.
On the run up to our Leeds trip I had been playing around with colour, I got my balls of spare wool out and just had a play around with them to see what pretty colour combinations I could make . . .

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I think I knew subconsciously I could never resist temptation and despite what I thought was all my effort, (clearly not!) I started a new project. It was very very very naughty of me, I have so many other things on the go, but those of you who share my interests will know the utter joy of starting something new. I threw a few colours together under the excuse that I was just practising a pattern and using up some left overs and began yet another blanket. This time I chose a pattern by the Cherry Heart blog, it’s called the clamshell, I’ve wanted to do this pattern for a while as I think it looks very Art Deco. There are many clamshell type patterns on the web but I liked this one the most as it was a bit more solid and didn’t have any big holes.

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Now I have three blankets on the go, at least I hope it’s just three, who knows what might be lurking in the craft corner! On returning home from our trip I promptly got another dose of germs and am fighting off yet another cold, so I thought now I’d got a little further with this blanket I would indulge myself in a little blanket wip photoshoot . . .

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All three of my unfinished blankets, I actually got a lot of pleasure just laying them out and looking at the pretty stripes, (I may have to do a granny square for my next project, I feel I may be obsessed with the stripes) my ripple blanket from attic24 is the biggest and as I laid it over the bed the thought crossed my mind that it might be within days of being finished if I put my mind to it. Imagine me finishing something!!! The bobble blanket is slow going, there’s a lot of work that goes into them little popcorns, but I think it still is my favourite, the texture is just too good. And then the clamshells, all girly and lovely, they crochet up quite fast and I hope to make speedy progress with it.

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That should do it for now I think, I’ll keep you posted on the trio of blankets and anything else I can’t resist to start. I love starting new things, I’d love to hear about new projects you’ve started or things you need to finish, and maybe with a bit of moral support we can complete things together. 🙂

I kept the title simple I suppose because this winter has been full of highs and lows, I’ve been on a little holiday and I’ve been quite poorly and that’s just not me, so whilst we had a great holiday at the end of January the beginning of February has just been horrible for me. I haven’t left the house in 5 days and I am desperate to get outside. But hey I’m finally on the mend and finally can catch you up on our time at Cropton Forrest in the North Yorkshire Moors. We went with the BF’s Parents, brother and his partner, and travelled in his parents car. We left early on the Monday morning and crossed the very snowy North York Moors, our intention to get to whitby for fish and chips. We stopped briefly at a place on the moors called Horcam Hole and I despite the freezing cold temperature I took a picture on the bm’s (boyfriends mum’s) phone that does panoramic shots. The view was spectacular

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Being on the moors in the freezing snow was quite atmospheric if not a little scary but I love to see places in the different seasons and it was so beautiful. And when we arrived in whitby I was overjoyed, regular readers will know how much me and the bf love this little harbour town and its fish and chips. Magpies the restraunt wasn’t open so we stood and had our fish and chips from the takeaway, still just as delicious. Then we walked down the to seaside to find very tempestuous waters.

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The camera, I found, didn’t really capture the intensity of the waves. We took a moment to take some pictures on the harbour wall but the sea wind was absolutley freezing so we didn’t stay too long. I still very much enjoyed whitby and we hope to be there again in June, as is our usual custom.
From whitby we travelled back across the moors and past Pickering to Cropton village, and from there Cropton Forrest holidays.

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It was quite hard not to compare Cropton with Sherwood and in some ways there was a lot of similarities, the log cabins were extremely comfortable and catered for our every need, and there were a multitude of pretty birds to watch from the windows, lots of chaffinches, blue tits, robins, even bull finches.

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But it wasn’t until the second day, when me and the bf went for a walk that I realised, Cropton forest was different. The forest itself felt a little more untouched, a little more isolated and quiet, spooky almost, but perhaps older?!? it just felt a little wilder than Sherwood. This quality I liked and I think it shows in some of the photos I took . . .

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One of the things I love most about winter holidays is going for a long cold walk and coming in to get cosy, with a warm drink and perhaps a little snooze, it feels great, especially when there’s under floor heating. 🙂 Midweek we had a very special treat, it was the bm’s birthday and we all went to a place just outside of Pickering called Middleton, wherein you will find a teeny tiny post office, and the most wonderful 1940’s tearoom. Middleton Tea Parlour was simply the best place I’ve ever been for afternoon tea, as you walk in there is a little booth with working post office and just further in a beautifully decorated 1940’s parlour, with fine china silver service teapots, embroidered tablecloths, cakes everywhere and fresh flowers on the tables. As we sat down and perused the menu I could barely contain myself.

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I mean just look at these teacups!!!!

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When we’d placed our order despite being six of us and only seemingly two ladies running the parlour we were served very quickly, first the tea came,

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Silver service and everything, and then the food!!!! Oh my the food!!!

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This was the ploughmans lunch the bf’s dad ordered, just look at the size of it. The bf’s brother got a savoury platter which I didn’t get chance to photograph as he was at the other side of the table but the rest of us had afternoon tea, and boy was it good.

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The sandwiches came in three varieties, egg, ham and mustard, and cucumber, and then came the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen . . .

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Everything was amazingly beautiful, the scones were still warm and the fruit was fresh and sweet. Despite being amazingly full already from the sandwiches I had to try at least a mouthful of each of the cakes, and they tasted as good as they look. The service, the food and the setting were all exceptional and I hope to visit many times in the future. As someone who likes to throw my own afternoon tea, I was in heaven and absolutely recommend this gem of a tea parlour.
However if your not into that kind of thing and would much prefer a simple but tasty pub lunch, the New Inn at Cropton village just a few minutes down the road serves excellent food, we stopped there for lunch one day and the food was soooo yummy, and they do all their own brewing much to the delight of the menfolk.
We stopped for a look in Pickering one day and me and the bf popped to the station to see if there were any steam engines in, (I’m a bit of a geek for a steam engine) but alas, we were out of season but one day I’ll get that ride on one, through the moors to whitby. The station itself though was lovely very potter-esque, though I looked it up and a station further down the line was used in the Harry Potter films, very similar to this one though.

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And the old carriages were very pretty, reminds me of a cross stitch pattern I’ve got that I’m now itching to start. On the way back to the cabin me and he bf were dropped off in Cropton village as there was a good view from behind a small church not far from the New Inn. The church itself was a very out of the way sort of place, perched nimbly on a sloping hill, it was very picturesque.

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Just beyond the church is another hill and atop of that was the most fabulous views, albeit a little hazy from the freezing fog, you could still see for miles around.

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The way down was a bit hairy and the bf slipped and I had to run down the hill or fall myself, it was a bit comical to say the least but we got there in the end and had a quick look round the church yard where there was a lovely grove of trees, and just outside the church yarn a vibrant mossy wall.

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Our holiday came to and end and on the return journey we stopped at a little place called Flamborough, famous for its white cliffs, (although nothing like Dover) here I felt a cold like nothing before, the little bay channelled the sea wind and it was unrelenting and icy cold, but it was bathed it glorious sunlight and made for good photos.

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We reached home and the winter skies were as pretty as ever . . .

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And then I got I’ll . . . 😦 but today is Valentines day and I’m feeling better despite a lingering chesty cough and residual tonsilitis. I’m sure I’ve felt a slight change in the weather (before my incarceration at the sickebed) and am looking forward to spring, and all the joys it holds.

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Happy New Year!! 2014 has been and gone and here at Minnie’s me and the bf eased our way into the new year with Ferrero Rocher and Harry Potter. So as I did last year I’d just like to do a quick review of events and perhaps share some of 2014’s pictures that didn’t make it onto the posts of last year.

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We enjoyed beautiful skies.

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Beautiful flowers.

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As much craftyness as possible with the occasional short break . . .

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And the odd spot of baking . . .

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Sitting down to sift through the years photos really does lift my spirits. When I look around and see all my unfinished projects and my extensive list of things to do it really makes me realise that I did actually achieve something, that some things however small, got done. It reminds me of the happy times on holiday, even if it did rain a lot. It reminds me that I’m thankful that I’m able to do these things. This is also why I need this blog, to access my thoughts and feelings and hopefully share a little of what makes me happy.
I hope to take this sentiment with me into the new year. I aim to be a little more organised and a little more productive, I have many ideas, hopes and dreams for 2015, and I’ll try my best to realise them.

Hi guys, summer is here and I am rather proud to announce I’ve had over 1000 views here on minnies. It’s quite easy to become disheartened when I read all the lovely crafty blogs out there and see how these crazy talented people have a gazillion followers and post at least once a week, but I’m always incredibly appreciative of the views and likes I get off my small following and when I saw I had reached a thousand views my heart leapt, thank you so very much! Yippee!!!

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So back to business. I have been utterly impatient for summer this year, the slight increase in temperature and I felt the need to buy some new summer clothes and dig out my shorts, albeit a little prematurely. These lovely summery coloured flowers the bf got me made me a little too excited as we had some rather stormy weather to begin with.

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As well as trying to organise my summer wardrobe I have been desperately trying to contain my enthusiasm for beginning new projects when there are older ones to finish. I have been slogging away at crocheting my seat cover together, the squares are a delight to do but crocheting them together always seems like a bit of a chore and I admit it still isn’t finished, here it is after I’d finished all the squares . . .

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My impatience to start a new project also may have something to do with these . . .

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Lovely balls of tutti fruitti coloured stylecraft. I’d bought some balls previously but the project I have in mind calls for more wool and when it arrived I had to sit on my hands to stop myself, I’m sure my resolve will break soon though, how do you resist colour like that???
I did however complete something! Yes you read right! Me and the bf booked a little holiday (piccys to follow shortly) and I wanted to make a little summer hat for myself in case the sun did show itself. So I crocheted it up following the pattern. However I must have done something wrong because it ended up too small, still very cute though so I added a little ribbon and gave it to my year old niece, yes it was quite small.

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I think she pulls it off better than I ever could, isn’t she adorable!
Hatless we went on holiday but co-incidentally we didn’t need them, the weather was gloomy and quite fitting for Whitby’s gothic atmosphere. Low lying cloud hung about the cliffs . . .

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And it remained gloomy for most of our stay. Here’s a few of the pics I got in the wet windy weather . . .

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With the wet weather we ducked into little places to escape the rain and decided to go for lunch at a cafe called Sherlocks, the interior was very much as you’d expect . . .

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The cafe had numerous little nooks and crannys to sit and eat the scrummy food and it was a welcome break from the rain.

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These houses are a short walk from our b&b and they are meant to emulate the famous regency houses in bath, a place which I’d love to visit. I love a good period drama.
There was a Royal Navy training vessel for sea cadets and this also was very reminiscent of the regency era . . .

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I love to see the rigging on these type of vessels, and just had to get a close up when it came back to harbour . . .

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On our first evening we took a stroll along the pier to get a good view of the town, it does feel a little like your way out into the water when really it’s only a short walk but the view is really spectacular . . .

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There was a few breaks in the weather later in our stay and we managed a stroll around Pannet park enjoying some slight sunshine.

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I was glad to see the bunting in the sunshine rather than in the rain but alas, it didn’t last long. We stopped off at the train station to see if the steam train was in but it was a little diesel called . . .

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And though not a steam train the little sign on the front was rather charming.

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Towards the end of our stay there was better weather and we walked the 2 3/4 miles to sandsend close to the cliffs I’m always taking pictures of. It afforded a better view of the gnarly hills that jut out into the sea.

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The better weather also made for better views from our b&b which I was truly thankful for, the views in Whitby do not compare. . .

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Of course I couldn’t come away from holiday without buying something crafty and as it happens we found this wonderful little fabric shop down one of the side streets, and I bought suitably seasidey fabric for the eventual refurb of our spare room back at home.

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I also bought this wonderfully quirky Art Deco fabric which must have been popular as I managed to get the last metre.

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So after filling our bellies with seafood and our lungs with sea air we made our way home and said bye bye to Whitby for another year.

Hi all, its been just over a week since Halloween, but since this is such an excitably anticipated celebration in my calendar I think I’ve overwhelmed myself slightly with all that I want to convey. Firstly, me and the bf had the week off. Holidays were to be used and considering the fine Autumn weather and the fact that I love Halloween we thought it was right to have the week off.
The beginning of the week I spent baking snacks that would keep rumbling bellies at bay, so I had a huge bake off . . .

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Cheese scones . . .

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A loaf (which didn’t last the night) . . .

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Halloween ginger biscuits . . .

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Tea cakes which didn’t turn out as well as the last ones . . .

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And breakfasty oat biscuits which the bf loved. Bake off complete it was time to prepare.

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Cue the scary Halloween lantern . . .

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And of course pumpkin fairy lights. I wanted to get more fairy lights this year but I think we left it a bit too late. One afternoon we decided to make most of the light and weather and set off for our usual walk, the rowan trees that had been full of berries were still full, but the leaves had gone, and this felt distinctly more wintry than seeing them with the yellowy leaves.

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But the autumn colour still hadn’t quite disappeared, the oaks further along our walk were just starting to lose their foliage but the light was just right to fetch the colours into vibrant display.

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I just love the shapes of oak leaves, they are so beautiful. Another autumn colour we came across was vibrant red . . .

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Rosehips were everywhere and I just love the colour, they are a sure sign of colder weather and the colours are almost a pre-cursor to the red and green of the holly trees. I later googled that you can make things with rosehips, such as rosehip tea and other such delicacies. I figured I was a little too new to the foraging business and left the rosehips sitting pretty on their bushes . . .maybe next year.

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We enjoyed the long stroll through the grove and then as we came to the point where we normally join the main road we stopped and looked ahead . . .

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. . .and then carried on. We wanted to explore a bit further and we certainly did. The grove carried on for a bit longer and, not quite being in the country, we eventually hit a main road, about to turn back we noticed that the public footpath continued over the road, I persuaded the bf that we should carry on a bit further just to see what was down the way and we suddenly came across . . .

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. . .possibly the creepiest looking building in our neighbourhood. Right on top of Halloween you can imagine our thoughts running wild with haunted houses and ghosts and other such ghoulish thoughts. Actually its an old water pumping station, possibly victorian in age, but my how it struck us with its grandeur and altogether suitably creepy atmosphere.

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It looked decidedly run down but some things in it must have been operational because the water board had fenced it off. So after this Halloween treat we reached a drain and seeing it was being unblocked with diggers, decided to skirt around the pumping station and continue our walk. We eventually found the public footpath again which led us onto the main road a mile or so from our house. Here we saw the footpath continue onto the nearby golf course, and with adventure in our hearts, we decided to carry on.

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Though a little less wilder than the grove, the pathway through the golf course did hold a certain quiet and calm serenity to it, and I did manage to spot, and take a very poor picture of this goldfinch, (I think).

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The light was turning golden and it was so beautiful to be out in the open, albeit chilly air, aching from our long walk, chatting about our little adventure. And though a little manicured for my taste the golf course was nice to walk through.

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Our walk didn’t stop here either. Leaving the boundaries of the golf course we broke out onto fields looking across to a nearby village.

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We did also come across some gypsies camped up on the side of the field and saw an exquisite example of an old Romany caravan, but I was a little too shy to ask if I could take a photo. So as the light faded we headed home, and stopped briefly for some well deserved refreshment.

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We’d thoroughly enjoyed our wander and the achy legs and sore feet felt almost good as we made it home. I hope to repeat the walk many times and even go further a field too.
So, midweek came and Halloween was almost upon us, time to get the pumpkins done! We met up with the bf’s parents who kindly took us to the supermarket, the posh one in fact who blow out cold vapour on their veg, and we picked up two huge pumpkins. I should also add here for you craft lovers that earlier that day I did pick up some delicious stylecraft life dk in tutti fruity colours, I simply couldn’t resist. (The photo doesn’t really do it justice, light fades fast this time of year and I keep forgetting to take my photos in daylight).

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Carving pumpkins is a messy affair and this year was no exception. I was a bit stumped this year of what to carve so I googled ideas. But first let me show you last years.

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This was mine . . .

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And this was the bf’s, it made such a cool bat signal on the wall. This years . . .

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I decided to do a scary house, quite fitting after our walk. And the bf did another bat themed lantern.

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For Halloween we decided to go to York, about an hours train ride for us but York being an ancient city its always fun to go at this time of year. Our main purpose was to visit the legendary Betty’s Tea Room, which serve food, savoury and sweet, and cream tea.

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I was a little excited as it was my first time at Betty’s, the service was extremely good and the food even more so. We had eggs benedict as it was still fairly early, but the sweet trolley is incredibly tempting. We have vowed to go again and have a full cream tea next time. One of the great things about Betty’s is they always do a fantastic display in the shop that adjoins the tea rooms. One year we saw the biggest Dracula’s castle cake in the window for Halloween. This year wasn’t quite as grand but they always do nice themed displays.

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You can just see the little ghost fancies and other treats on this pic, and I just loved the variety of the mini pumpkins.

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York is full of character, even more so at Halloween. We were once again blessed with gorgeous bright sunlight, bathing all the autumn colours in a golden glow.

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I was in my element, it was Halloween, I’d been to Betty’s, we were enjoying fine weather and the delights of York in all its medieval and gothicy splendour. The architecture in York is superb, you have the gothic awesomeness of York minster. . .

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The topsy turvey streets of the medieval Shambles . . .

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And the ancient stones of the city walls . . .

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We took a stroll along the riverside before we made our way to the station for our train home, and I marvelled at the cylindrical shaped turrets and towers lining the riverbank.

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As a History graduate I find these buildings amazingly evocative, and can almost imagine life as it was back then, brutal and beautiful at the same time. The river reflected the day perfectly in its shimmering movement.

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We had passed another little tea room in York which I always stop at to look in the window. They have a display which makes my heart a flutter. The bf thinks I’m crazy but I just love . . .

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. . .jugs!! And one day I will own one from this little shop, a beautifully floral one, that I can swoon over. I even took a sneaky photo of the ones inside.

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Aren’t they super pretty, how I’d love a shelf like that.
After a walk on the city walls to admire the view and the spectacular light . . .

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We headed for the station to get the train home. En route home I tried my damnedest to get a photo of the wonderful Halloween sunset which was the perfect finale to our day.

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So in the aftermath of Halloween, after the pumpkins have gone out and after trying unsuccessfully to toast our pumpkin seeds, we finish off the last of the pomegranates with their little jewel like fruits packed inside.

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And say bye bye to autumn with a flourish of powder keg colour for bonfire night.

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Winter is coming!!!! 😉

This Autumn is shaping up to be one of the best ever, we’ve had fairly mild weather with some good patches of sunshine, perfect for brisk autumn walks. I know I’ve mentioned before how much I love autumn but it really is one of my favourite times of year, and this year I’ve savoured every minute. Theres so much that goes on at autumn in this part of the world, all the natural changes that occur in the trees and landscape but also in my hometown.
Hull plays host to one of the largest travelling fairs in Europe. It arrives every October and has been since 1278, making the fair over 700 years old. Of course things have changed since then, there bright lights, loud noise and rides that will make your stomach churn but the tradition is still strong. I’ve been going since I was a small child and still love to walk through the winding pathways between rides, taking in the sights, sounds and smells that are so very familiar to me, and no doubt to a lot of people in Hull.

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The fair is a sure indicator of autumns arrival and there’s one saying in my hometown which everyone repeats when it starts to turn that little bit cold “Oo its hull fair weather!” Guaranteed you will hear this around the end of September til the end of the fair. It makes me smile just to hear it, and to know a lot of Hullians have shared the same experiences and memories at our most ancient fair.

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Bob Carvers is possibly the best known fish and chip place in hull and it has a stall at the fair each year, even this name goes back a hundred years or more, and is another of hulls traditional places. The lights and rides are changing every year and they are really a spectacle to see.

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The Big Wheel seemed truly ginormous this year.

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And it’s always nice to see a ghost train or two, just to remind us that Halloween is on its way.
The bf even won me a minion . . . .

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The weekend before the arrival of Hull fair me and the bf visited the historic town of Beverley, just for a day out and about. There is a market every Wednesday and Saturday and it had been a while since we were last there. Unfortunately it was raining, but it didn’t stop us having a nice walk about.

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After a quick bite to eat we strolled over to the Minster, quite an imposing example of gothic architecture in the centre of Beverley, I’d never really had a close look before so had my camera to take some snaps.

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The market was there despite it being a rather dismal day and was stocked full with fresh fruit and veg, baked goods, and other little things usually found at markets, but much to my delight there was a fabric stall! Of course I couldn’t resist. I purchased the following . . .

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A lovely floral print in very autumny colours. My photos aren’t the greatest, light is limited these days. I also bought this cute little print, not exactly sure what to use it for but I couldn’t help it.

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Perhaps I’ll make a pet bed one day.
After our walk around Beverley we headed home, tired and soaked, it was nice to get home and cosy. . .

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And sooooo nice to get my feet dry . . .

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Even the bf was zonked after all the walking we’d done, I took this on the sly whilst he had a cheeky nap.

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After looking at the fabric id just bought, I decided to do a roll call on all the bits I already had, just to see what I’d actually accumulated and to see if any in particular matched.

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I just love the greens and reds in is selection and have had some ideas for it, but it would involve the sewing machine and I’m not sure if I’m quite ready for it yet. We’ll see.

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It was great to sit down with a nice cuppa in my fluffy cardie, my feet and hair finally dry and just toy around with a bit of fabric while the bf snoozed beside me, it was one of those days that stick with you, and I’m sure ill remember it for a long time.
Recently I’ve been trying to snatch as much time as I can outdoors, we’ve been walking home from work most nights past the fair and seen as the days are getting wetter I’ve really wanted to be out on those increasingly rare days where the sun is shining. So yesterday as the sky was relatively clear I went for a walk to our usual patch. The bf was at work so I was all by myself. Taking in the crisp air and autumn colours was great and I couldn’t believe how laden down some of the trees were with bright red berries.

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I think these are Rowan berries but really not sure (can anyone enlighten me?). I loved the contrast of the red of the berries and the yellowing leaves. Like a lot of trees and bushes I’ve seen, this year seems to have been a bumper year for wild fruit and berries.

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I think there’s still quite a few trees to she’d their leaves so I’m hoping to get out again next weekend to see if the oak tree down the grove has shed some colours and dropped some acorns. The silver birches on the other hand are in full colour.

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I just love that golden colour. As I strolled back home along the main road I wondered if I was the only one who appreciated the spectacle of trees we have in the area. I took a snap of the tall trees we have in the central reservation down the main road where I live.

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We have conifers and pines mixed in with the deciduous trees and it really is quite pretty when you take the time to look. More joy arrived when I got home and went into the garden, I haven’t ventured out the back for a while and wasn’t sure what I was going to see but lo and behold I was overjoyed to see . . .

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Marigolds! Self seeded in my teacup pot! After the weather had started to turn the first lot had died off but I was totally shocked and delighted to see that they’d made a come back!

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They look a bit rough and ready but I think its testament to the hardiness of this superb little plant, and if I can get a second growth spurt out of them then they must be easy to grow. I was also pleased to find a perfectly formed poppy poking its head out from one of the dying pots I’d sown this year.

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Though getting colder and light levels are falling this time of year, it was still lovely to see so many little flowers still making the most of it.
Speaking of light, autumn has brought some spectacular skies . . .

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One of THE best things I’ve seen for the first time this year is an autumn moonlit sky, it was a full moon last night and although difficult to capture I gave it a shot.

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And on that moonlit note i’ll sign off . . . .next stop Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi guys its been a while since my last post and I’ve been quite busy making the most of the lengthy summer, getting involved with things in a crafty way (more on that later), and baking.
Firstly though I’d like to share with you a spectacular sunset we had a few days ago. Everything was a vivid reddy pink and I just had to take a few snaps.

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I love the contrast of the sky and the tops of shadowy trees and chimney pots. As aforementioned were having quite a lengthy summer here and we took an impromptu trip to Bridlington, a little seaside town not far from where we live. It was overcast but a nice day overall. I love the quaint little boats and lobster pots that sit by the harbour.

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I just love the colours on this little fishing boat.

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There is a lot of shellfish caught on the east coast and I’ve always liked looking at the lobster pots. They usually line the harbour walls waiting to be taken out and I just love the maritimyness of them, especially in this pic where you can just make out the bunting on a nearby ship.
Speaking of bunting!!! Some of you will already know of a fantastic blog called attic24 by a lady called Lucy. A few weeks ago she called out for people to do some bunting for a craft fair called Yarndale. I confess I’m not really good at getting involved with things but after I saw the granny bunting required for Yarndale I couldn’t help but give it a go. I did have some scraps of wool I needed to use so I got to work.

20130826-123800.jpg I chose these pastels which ended up working nicely together and once I’d got into the swing of things I couldn’t stop!

20130826-123917.jpg I did ten triangles altogether and once I’d used Lucy’s ironing technique (which I agree is highly satisfying) I was in bunting love!
I decided to hang onto the pastel coloured triangles (which I think will go above the bed) and quickly hooked up some more bunting for Yarndale from some more vibrant colours.

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I fell in love with these too but I had to let these ones go . . . reluctantly.

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Luckily I have plenty of wool in these colours and will eventually be hooking up a few more for the house. I’ve had a new addition to the house recently, my very first dressing table! At the age of 28 it is well overdue and I’m absolutely in love with it.

20130826-131920.jpg it came with a little stool which I’m making a cover for with the same pastel colours as my bunting, but using squares instead.

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However I may have to be naughty and order just a couple of extra balls of wool just to finish it.

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So for a time my beautiful dressing table was temporarily a craft table also, and my triangles sat proudly waiting to be used.

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Whilst we’re still on the subject of crafty things I have to tell you how overjoyed I was to discover Bridlington is full of little craft shops and on a Wednesday and Saturday there is a stall at the market place selling all kinds of wool! Yipeeeeee! Well you can imagine my excitement. I came away with two balls of . . .

20130826-135314.jpg . . . Robin paintbox DK. It’s sort of a sock wool I suppose and I thought I’d crochet up a pair of my socks in it to see how the colours work out. I really like the earthy greens and yellows, very springy.

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That’s a project for another day. I’ll add it to the list.
As you know I’ve been doing a lot of baking recently a few weeks ago it was a plaited loaf and this time I fancied something a little sweeter, bready and sort of healthy. So along with another loaf I baked tea cakes. I’d looked up some recipes but all were quite different so I took a deep breath and winged it. Beware! The following recipe is my own.
You will need:
400g plain flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1 Sachet fast action yeast
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ginger
25g sugar
25g butter
80g mixed peel
80g sultanas
80g currants
250ml water
A good glug of olive oil
1 egg for brushing.

Method:
1. Sieve together flour, Baking powder, yeast, sugar and all spices. Mix together until well incorporated.
2. Add butter in small chunks and rub in until no large lumps remain.
3. Add all the dried fruit and mix until well distributed.
4. Add a good glug of olive oil (around 2 tbsp) and 3/4s of the water, with hands mix together and start bringing the dough together adding the rest of the water as you go.
5. Once the dough has come together turn out onto a floured surface and knead. (Don’t worry about the fruit that falls out at this stage simply pop them back into the dough) knead for 5-10 mins until dough becomes a little more like bread dough.

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Place in a greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove for 1 hour in a warm place.

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6. After the first prove turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 8 equal portions, roll each portion into a ball and flatten. Place on greased baking trays and leave to prove for another hour.

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7. Once risen again, brush with beaten egg and place into a pre-heated oven gas mark 6 or 200 degrees for 15-20mins they will go a wonderful rich brown colour and smell delicious. Best served toasted with lots of butter.

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Please note the recipe is my own so you may want to tweak it as you see fit, I like a lot of fruit in mine which isn’t necessarily to people’s taste and they are rather filling, you may want to use self-raising flour instead to make the dough a little lighter. If you have the time they’re a great way to use up any dried fruit that’s left over and a great treat for breakfast or afternoon tea. Yum!!
I also thought I’d share with you a little idea that is so healthy and yummy you’ll have to try it. With the plaited loaf you saw proving earlier I like to do an Italian anti pasti, Bruschetta. Simple food at its best. I just chop up some tomatoes, (I like baby plum tomatoes myself) and put them in a bowl with salt and pepper, a good glug of olive oil, a little garlic and lots of basil, mix it all up and serve on fresh warm toasted bread.

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It’s so simple and delicious, were a little obsessed with it, and its superbly healthy.
So for me its been a very good few weeks but I’ll finish with a few more pics from Bridlington. I can’t get enough of the seaside at the minute.

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I just love the pale pastels of these Victorian (I think) seaside houses.

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Pebbles which were incredibly difficult to walk on yet so pretty to look at.

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Til next time folks.

ayarnyrobin

my crochet life and more

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