Bake off and escaping to a chateau

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I might have cheated a bit with this blog post title.  It’s nothing about baking in the kitchen at all though I do love a bit of baking when in the mood and I adore The Great British Bake Off, though preferred Mel, Sue and Mary to the newbies. (I hope readers know what I am talking about here – please ask if not.)

I am writing about the last few days of baking hot sunshine we’ve had in the UK.  Wow, was it warm enough for everyone? At times it was a bit too hot for me though I am not complaining much, I could keep out of it when I needed to.  It was a great excuse to sit indoors and sew one day – I will reveal the result of that day soon, though it’s a gift for someone who might read this so remains under wraps for now.

A snapshot of the cherry blossom in full bloom over the garden fence one sunny afternoon

So, today the temperature has turned itself down a bit. The whole family is having a better day.  We all had streaming eyes and noses with hayfever – even one of our cats suffered. (Hayfever-like symptoms in a cat, possibly some allergy to something in the air/garden.) It is a little respite from the past few days.

Whilst staying out of the sun, I also discovered a tv show about owning your own french castle (Escape to the Chateau DIY, Ch4), which builds on the original series Escape to the Chateau.  I love trips to France, though not in the same league, one can dream big. Image result for escape to the chateau

Dick and Angel Strawbridge make entertaining tv.

I wonder what anyone else did to stop being ‘baked’ last week?



A small knit a la plage

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A little break in Normandy, France.  One afternoon, Cabourg on the coast.  A gentle breeze blew the winter blues away.  Briefly the beach was empty and perfect.


Later, pins and wool in hand, half a baby dress. This is an ongoing project but there is a time limit.

greendress1 (2)

Unfortunately due to hand trouble it is a little slower growing than I would like.

More another day …


Buttons in a tin

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Whose Mum or Granny had a button box or button tin?  I have fond memories from a young age of being allowed to sit and sift through my own Mum’s buttons.  Different sizes, different shapes, some matching pairs or sets, lots of odd ones, lots of old ones, many that stayed in that tin year after year.

This week I was searching for buttons in one of my own button tins – so I thought I’d show some of my favourite ones. The first picture shows leftover fabric buttons made ages ago, dorset buttons from a workshop and two fabulous buttons with cute printed fabric which I bought in France.

buttons1The second photo has horn shaped buttons which used to be on a handknitted cardigan, I Ioved them and I loved the cardigan, unfortunately after two years I shrunk it in a wash(!) and couldn’t wear it again. Then there’s a couple of ceramic buttons from a gorgeous shop in Westerham, Kent – and more ceramic ones from a friend’s trip to Denmark.  The rainbow ones I found on a stall at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace about three years ago.


Here’s the reason I was searching for buttons.  I needed eleven for this chunky cardigan – finally finished – it had been a WIP for a while! These are wooden and were an internet purchase from China.


I wonder if anyone else has favourite buttons to show off. I’d love to see!

A little French sunshine

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trouville beach 1

Last week we were in Normandy, France for a few days of glorious R&R.

Trouville sur Mer beach. Deserted mostly. A stroll along the sand, a gentle breeze, sunshine on the face, watching seagulls chase the waves, truly restorative.

Followed by a fab lunch, traditional style, Soupe a l’onion, Veau a la Normande, and then a long knitting session at home in front of a roaring fire – the best day!

nepal knit (2)



The knitting project photo is deliberately a ‘jumble’ because the finished item may be a gift.  I don’t want the recipient to see exactly what it might look like!






trouville beach 2What a shame we won’t be there for the upcoming book/writers festival in early November.  It sounds interesting and you can’t beat the advertising boards which capture the ambiance of this lovely seaside resort. This link is in French but you can google translate it if you need to.

If you love books and France try and take a trip and tell us all about it!  Even in the autumn you might sit outside at a pavement cafe, watch a game of boules …. ooh reminiscing ….

Signing out for now.

Blue Sky Tag, a little me

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Lovely blogger Postcard from Gibraltar tagged me a Blue Sky Tag – thank you so much for the nomination and for making me feel truly part of the blogging community.



Not so much ‘blue sky’ to share with you today though, it’s grey, windy and rainy here is Kent this Thursday aftenoon.


The tag is a fun event which runs throughout June, and requires me to answer 11 questions about myself and then nominate 11 other bloggers for the same award (in my case, a few less bloggers!)


So here goes, I hope I don’t bore you senseless!


1. What do you most enjoy about blogging?

It makes me feel I am not wasting my life away.  Sometimes when a person asks you what you’ve actually been up to, you can’t recall much of significance or even anything they would be interested in. Posting shows I actually got up to something!

2. What made you start your blog and how long have you been doing it?


I had a lull between jobs, had read a few interesting blog posts and thought it was a great way to share my own love of crafts and love of life.  I started slow three years ago, been a little sporadic, I hope have got a lot better!

3. What most attracts you to a blog and what makes you keep reading it?

Humour, skilled craft show off (or admission of defeat is good too – we are all human!), great photos, written well, punchy (hate spelling errors!)

4. What other hobbies and pastimes do you enjoy?

I post about my hobbies, knitting, stitching, reading, France and the seaside.  I like a laugh with friends. I like movies, theatre and eating out too.  Some bloggers post pics of dinners – I wouldn’t have time as I eat too quickly!

5. Given your time over, without any restrictions, what would be your ideal job? Why?

I would love to have had a better education, learnt craft skills thoroughly, have a well paid business selling things I make rather than things for others to make things with (current job).  Or of course, as my friends and I sometimes say after a couple of glasses wine, we should ‘run the country’… as in become Queen of England/Prime Minister/Chief of Police …

I’m the one with the blue hair, pink hat, viking hat, red feathers – think we were planning to run the country that day !

6. Which new country would you like to visit?

Fairly recently, Joanna Lumley has done two great series on Japan – so Japan goes on my list.  I also fancy more Caribbean locations such at Guadeloupe so I could enjoy the sunshine and practice my french – guess that combines two of my loves so that might be perfect!

7. What is playing in your headphones right now? Music, podcast, audio book?

Fleetwood Mac, Tango in the Night in the car today – hubby hates FM so I enjoy blasting it out when driving alone.  Reminds me of being 17 and playing it all the time. Feeling slightly old now reminiscing about being 17, stories I could tell – er, maybe I will leave that until another day!

8. What is your favourite book and why?

I just can’t choose one – so changing the rules it’s going to be 2 books.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova – the sad decline of a highly intelligent lecturer who suffers from early onset dementia.  A revealing read to me, well written and recommend it to everyone.

Image result for a room with a view book cover

Secondly, the classic, Room with A View by E M Forster.  I read this as a teenager, could read it time and again. It brings to life the romance of Florence and an era of restrictions and tentative love.  Just found this review — I have very similar views, though I visited Florence years later, looked everywhere for a ‘Lucy Honeychurch’ or  a ‘Mr Emerson Junior’.

9. If you could go to any point in history to witness it for yourself, when and where would that be?

I would quite like to be in the crowd watching Queen Elizabeth II come out of Westminster Abbey having just been crowned in 1953.  It would have been incredibly exciting and as many families didn’t own TVs and we would never have seen such celebration on a grand scale, let alone in colour.

10. If you could eat anything for your next meal, what would it be?

Best memory of best meal, sitting in a treehouse eating curry in Mauritius on our honeymoon.  Can I say that meal again and in the same location?

11. I’m writing this while watching Glastonbury, what would your dream gig line-up be?

From my past, great concerts from Alison Moyet and Sade – so those two for moods and blues and an 80’s blast.  Coldplay for energy and musings. Ed Sheeran for a  bit of something modern and because he’s ginger (have ginger family and friends!).  Phil Collins – loved most things he has ever played – voice from my past and he is currently touring too and is still great. Adele – love her voice and her songs are so emotionally raw (wish I had tickets for tonight at Wembley!). Could go on.  In fact I might just spend the evening playing some of these.

Image result for alison moyetImage result for sade

Image result for ed sheeran Image result for adele

That’s me done.  I hope you enjoyed my 11 answers.  Now for nominating my choice of bloggers. I do hope you will join in, I won’t be offended if you prefer to give it a miss or if you have already been nominated by someone else.


My Tangled Yarn


Dartmoor Yarns


Mrs Craft

Puddleside Musings


Crawcrafts Beasties

My 11 questions are similar to those posed by Postcard from Gibraltar

  1. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
  2. What made you blog and what do you enjoy most about it?
  3. What attracts you to a blog and why do you keep reading it?
  4. Other hobbies and pastimes?
  5. Without restrictions, what would be your ideal job and why?
  6. Which new country would you like to visit?
  7. Currently on your headphones/music player? Music, Audio book,  podcast
  8. What is your favourite book and why?
  9. If you could go back in history, where would you be?
  10. What would your next meal be if you could chose and time/place/budget was unlimited?
  11. What were you doing right before you read this blue tag post?  What will you do right after post your 11 answers? Ok, that’s 2 questions…..




Ripping is not as satisfying as knitting: Meribel but this time not in France.

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Schoeller and Stahl Meribel – Shades 19 (the teal one) and 4 (the navy one).  I decided to knit this

ML181 Pattern ML181 Love this Cardigan Meribel’s great to work with , it’s soft, it grows quickly on big needles, it sheds a little but not too much.  I made the first front in speedy time.  I began the second front. I usually compare the two as I go along, especially when there are colour changes or shaping – but I didn’t this time. (Why?? I can’t actually answer that!)  I measured the two against each other only when I reached the armhole shaping and realised I’d not done enough stripes on piece two (how did I miscount when the stripes are in bands of 2? I know my 2 x tables!) and the pocket was placed too low down. Duh! So I had to rip down a couple of hours of work, undoing this slightly fluffy yarn whose fibres cling to each other, and started reknitting, surrounded by teal fluff.

We knitters know ripping is quicker than knitting!  Ripping is satisfying to me only if it doesn’t mean it’s a current mistake than needs fixing quickly.  I really want to finish this cardigan to wear this season and I have so many WIPs that this was a little ‘treat’ to myself.  Dare I carry on today for a while or do I need to switch to a much more pressing time restrained project (eg. a friend’s baby may arrive soon and he/she needs something to wear much more than I need to add to my own wardrobe)? I guess my knitting time today will be shared between the two.

And before I go – Meribel, France, not been there, just quoting yarn name vs place name.  I wonder why ‘Meribel’ as Schoeller and Stahl is a German yarn brand.  Just wondering …

Here’s how far I got to last night, pocket back in, stripes of the right number. Bye for now.  Got to go, got to knit!

meribel cardi




Books, sewing, family, France, knitting, cooking – in no particular order – what’s important to me

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I knit, I sew, I am a wife, mother, lover of France and French things, I like to cook, I also love to read and belong to a book club.  My book club is not high brow.  Is my book club unusual?  I don’t think so.  I meet friends once a month, we talk about a book or two, we talk about life as well. We take it in turns to choose the book.  We usually avoid biographies and we definitely avoid science fiction.


Over the years we’ve delved into a large handful of titles, sometimes with a similar theme, sometimes not.  We have loved some, hated some, been on the fence about some, wished we hadn’t read some, been embarrassed about some (!)  We all agree sometimes the title/blurb isn’t one we would personally opt for but we all read each others choices.  Well, we all try to read them, very occasionally someone is beaten, either because they are struggling with content or running out of reading time.  (We are all human, no one gets beaten up for not finishing or enjoying a book!)  I took offence at some of the words in Virginia Ironside’s article about book clubs.  Thank goodness the world and it’s inhabitants aren’t all the same!

I go to two craft clubs.  One is knit-only.  One is for whatever craft you are enjoying at the moment.  Nobody criticise’s each others work or enjoyment of it.  Are crafters more complimentary to each other?  As Ms Ironside says ‘you get something at the end of a knitting bee’.  I get something at the end of a book club meeting – a good feeling inside that I spent some time with friends

Don’t criticise something somebody else does just because you don’t like it yourself. Respect other people.