Skyscrapers and String


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Holiday category.

Holiday Makeup

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Hello everyone!

I have worked really hard today – phew!

First of all I got out all my regular holiday things and sorted throughout them. Last year I took Way Too Much Stuff away with me and I felt stupid.

After much hauling out and trying on and puffing up in front of the mirror I settled on a handful of vest tops, a sarong, one cossy, one pair of Birkenstocks and my walking sandals, my trusty Havaianas, some shorts and some light evening dresses, knickers and a bikini top. Sorted! Oh my how light will my suitcase be this year!

I will also take my bathrobe, my two tiny towelling turbans, and a thin but big beach towel that dries quickly.

Then I hunted out my holiday jewellery. Again, last year, I had a whole kilo of beads and necklaces and it got on my nerves trawling through it all. This time I have five necklaces, some beaded bracelets and two pairs of earrings and two rings. This small stash was culled from a selection that covered my entire double bed!

Above you can see my makeup collection, I sat and made a “look” for myself to wear at night, it is hardly a fraction of one percent of my usual makeup packing.

From left to right you can see my “tanned face” bareMinerals pressed powder, Body Shop tea tree bb cream – so cooling! A sparkle pale honey bronzer by Body Shop, my current mascara by Soap and Glory, a Leona Lewis Body Shop blusher bought in a sale, and kept put by for holidays as too dark for winter use.

Also, my absolute current faves are a pale gold and a mushroom Kiko eyeshadow stick – these are fab as they don’t irritate the eyes, crease or flake and they last all day. I have one in every colour. But I’m not taking them all this time! Lol!

As an experiment I’m taking a peach coloured Clinique lip balm chubbystick which I’ve never really used since I bought it and an Avon pink champagne lipstick pencil which I do like. I am hoping I’ll get some wear out of it if it’s visible in my handbag.

Next there are two Body Shop glosses one orange, one crystal sparkle pale and a brown Next glitter eyeliner between them. Then my favourite Clinique lipstick in melon, a By Terry lipgloss in pink/gold that cost a packet, then my Chanel blusher brush. I’m worth it!

Hopefully these few key items will reduce my holiday packing overload.

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French Ladies Crochet Bag Ta Daah!

Hello everybody!

My New Year is off to a flying start, what with bread baking, and finishing things off and lots of craftiness at home.

I have a new ta daah today, well in all truth it’s from yesterday, but by the time I’d finished it was too dark to take pictures.

A couple of years ago, my world was rocked when I went to an embroidered buttons course at my favourite shop in the world, Loop, in Angel, Islington.

There were two French ladies in charge of the course, Cecile, who was teaching, and Veronique who was assisting with translating. Both were the height of glamour, and they were delightful, inspiring ladies, tres charming! The course was wonderful and we had a super day and learned loads, as I wrote here in my review which you should be able to see if you click on the icon for Loop on the left hand side bar of this post. Cecile’s website is here.

Before the course started, I was early, and browsing in the shop. So were the French ladies. Whilst they were looking around, I think it was Veronique who had a wonderful yellow and blue crochet bag, and inside was a Volvic bottle in a crocheted cosy as well. I stopped in my tracks, unable to breathe.

A green mist of covetous envy descended on me. Unlike other kinds of coveting, which are generally frowned upon as a deadly sin; when you can knit and sew and crochet for yourself, violent coveting of someone else’s crafting becomes a delicious inspiration.

Here you can see the bag, and dear Cecile and her daughter, and some pictures of the buttons we made on the day:

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After the day’s class I was on fire with ideas, however they take time to percolate into action in real life, largely because if you already have a dozen things on the go you have to finish them off first.

I loved the yellow bag, and every accessory the French ladies possessed was hand made and embroidered and beaded, like an exposition of fabulousness and finery!

Here you can see I made a bag in orange silk scraps next, using Cecile’s book “Granny Folies A Crocheter”.

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Next I made a beaded bag out of the leftovers:

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As you can see, whatever the French bug was, I was thoroughly bitten by it!

Since the class, I’ve been to another held by Cecile as well, but my way of thinking has been transformed. I expect more of myself with my work, a higher standard, more detail, beading, luxury in my accessories, everything.

I have become the Elizabeth Taylor of knitting. Jon of course is Richard Burton. He encourages me in my excesses!

Here you can see my French Ladies water bottle cover I made on holiday.

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I wanted to make an exact copy of Veronique’s bag, but it wasn’t to be this time, the bright colours I bought originally were jarring and clashing, so I kept the clear yellow, turquoise, white and navy and toned them down with ballet slipper mauves, taupes and greys.

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So it was all sewn up, and my challenge for yesterday was to add a lining, so I hauled out my sewing machine. I made it work, after many practice pieces to get the right tension and everything. And I love it!

Here it is, handles on and ready for a jaunt! Oh la la! C’est bon!

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Curry, Cats and Knitting Club To Look Forward To!

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re all well and enjoying your week so far!

We made it home from Greece quite a bit later than planned, due to flight delays and an accident on the M25. I managed to nap both on the plane and in the cab home, and when we got in our dear cat was so happy to see us!

Our friend Majick had been our cat sitter, he had looked after Woozle really well. As a bonus, our house was neat, and he had even left beer in the fridge!

Amber, Jon and I made it to work on time despite very little sleep, and even though I was there in person, it was hard to get into a serious frame of mind! I felt relaxed and tanned, I had my Birkenstocks on, and everyone kindly said I look well!

Due to the madness of getting ready I have had to cart my holiday beach bag bought in Hydra into work, and I must admit, although it is a perfect shape and really comfy to use, it is crocheted and shed little bits on my dark business clothes!

I have a vast laundry mountain which I am trying to work through, it is slow, but I’ll get it done!

One thing I’ve done since I’ve been back is ramp up the dinner making efforts, not cooking for two weeks and eating nice but foreign things made me really long to back get in the kitchen!

Yesterday we had roast chicken thighs, with roasted herbed butternut squash and fresh broccoli, with bread and tzatziki to start. Today we had chicken curry and whole grains cooked from scratch, with naan bread and samosas. I even had one of the beers Majick left behind!

Yesterday was very tiring, ploughing through so many emails and dealing with urgent work, however I am enjoying seeing my friends and colleagues and catching up.

I may have mentioned before that I am Co Chair of the Disabilities Network in my firm, and I am very proud of the stance my firm has taken on accessibility, and the way it is prepared to listen to the needs of colleagues and customers in this respect.

The piece I have been working on this year is in relation to setting up focus employee groups for each category of impairment so we can listen confidentially to any issues they may have and get them resolved promptly, and to also coordinate volunteers to assess and feedback on any new building works and computer systems that are being planned to make sure they suit all needs from the outset.

The other nice part of this piece is that we hope people will be able to also learn from each other in the same position, and that they will form communities to support each other. Statistics show a high number of people become affected by illness or accident during their working life, they might become a carer for someone with a disability, or it might, god forbid, affect a child or relative, and we hope people will find benefit in good resources, and having someone to speak to who is in a similar situation.

The priority group I am working on to launch first is to help colleagues with mental illnesses of various kinds. As you get older life gets complicated, and hard, and stress at work and at home can lead to all sorts of problems, and when this happens, not everyone has someone to turn to, or knows what to do.

You will know I am particularly sympathetic to this cause from previous posts because I have been dogged by depression due to the despicable actions of my parents, which caused my beloved Grandfather to have a drawn out, painful and horrid end to his life which he did not deserve, and I was not only unable to cope with the aftermath, but was angry and ashamed of them and did not deserve to have to deal with the mess they made and simply walked away from.

The stress of grief and coping with what I had to deal with nearly broke me, and when you get depressed it is really hard to admit you’re suffering. The angels close to me at home and at work amongst my friends who listened to me got me through, and I appreciate very clearly that not everyone has this resource.

A couple of times when things were bad, colleagues I didn’t even know stopped and comforted me as they could see I was crying or terribly upset, and they even followed up with me afterwards to see how I was getting on! My friends, my boss, absolutely everyone was great and I felt I could deal with the huge juggernaut of the situation with whatever time off I needed and boundless compassion, and to help me through how hard I took the loss of my Grandad I was even able to shift down to 4 days a week, which has been a godsend.

Imagine my delight when late in the afternoon yesterday I got an email to say I had been nominated for work I’ve done for a Diversity Award. This is the second year running I’ve had a nomination and I am walking on air!

I hope my late Grandparents can look down and see how I’ve come through it all and that I’ve made good from the bad forced on me, and how loving and caring for them opened my heart and taught me to try to comfort and help others who may have difficult hands dealt to them by life.

I hope things are good with you all tonight. I am truly contented and really grateful for all my blessings. My cat is on my lap, and Tomorrow is Knitting Club, it is the very best bit of the week (after dinner time of course)!


Holiday Finishing!

Hello everyone!

We’re at our favourite Taverna, “Maria’s”, in Tolos, it’s our last day!

We’re packed after morning swims, breakfasts and showers, amazingly my suitcase seems less crammed going back!

Jon and Amber and I are revelling in the abundant wifi, we can hear the sea, the ticking of cicadas and Greek pop music playing softly.

I’ve had the best holiday ever, met some amazing people, laughed, ate and drank well, went on boats and travelled the islands.

Everyone should visit Tolos, it is Gorgeous!

Best of all was the quiet refuge from the 36 degree heat when the aircon purred as I sat and crafted. Am very pleased with my water bottle cover, my cowl and my shawl, which I finished this morning.

Am looking forward to home, my dear cat, my little house and my dear friends.

Here are some pictures of the shawl, which will be quite a lot bigger when Jon blocks it, as it is quite puffy with the lace ridges:

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Last Day Crochet!

This yarn comes in an amazing range of colours, and it’s pure wool so you can do what you like with it!

I felt so gleeful scooping out the balls from the little cubbyholes upstairs in Loop, just looking at the colours playing together made me ridiculously happy!

I’ve made two projects with these balls of yarn, this one and the Yves Klein Scarf, and I still have leftovers to make something else with!

I’d like to make another few cowls like this, I was inspired by Madeline Tosh last year who wore a beautiful knitted cowl, I realised as I stared at it that it is not intended as a warm garment like a scarf, its an accessory, just to be displayed as a drape, almost like a necklace.

I also have a hank of Noro Kochoran spare which might look good as one of these too! I wonder what a chunky cowl would be like?

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Holiday Ambitions

This year, on holiday in Greece, I had certain humble ambitions, which I am pleased to say I have largely fulfilled:

  1. I wanted to try the Gigantes beans they eat here: last time I came I heard of them, but didn’t get to try them, I had them last night in a Taverna in Napflion and they were really good! I am taking a bag home with me
  2. Also, last time I missed out on the hot crepes they sell on the beach; now I’ve had two chocolate and one savoury one, they were really yummy!
  3. Last time I had very little to drink, everything went to my head. After two years of steady Mojito practice I have done well this time. Apart from the Mojitos I’ve had Capirinhas (really nice!), a Peach Daquiri, a Mango Margarita, and a few La Mumbas
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  5. I wanted to read Game Of Thrones, which was brilliant, I finished it just now, can’t wait to start book Two!
  6. I wanted to loll about and take lots of naps and swim loads, tick!
  7. More than anything I wanted this to be a really happy time with Jon and Amber, I can’t guarantee she’ll want to come with us again as she’s a grown woman now, so give me a yes there too! Here you can see them “sharing” dessert
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  9. I wanted to make some nice things, with the wool I brought with me, I have my water bottle cover, a nearly finished shawl, some granny squares, and a half finished cowl in soft blues, which I am really happy with
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  11. I wanted to get my head round my life, which amazed me when I did, even though my account of it here on this blog had the fewest hits, comments or likes of any post ever, so, apologies to anyone who found my cheery prattlings offputting!
  12. I wanted to work out how much stuff I really need to pack for a fortnight away
  13. I learned to snorkel. It is very cool to look inside the sea at its inhabitants

Just another couple of days and I’ll be home. With my Woozle cat, seeing my friends, and no longer broiling in 36 degree heat! But here we are again, waiting for cocktails, it is lovely to have a couple of days left!!!

Hope you’re all well and happy!

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Unravelling And Starting Again!

Hello all!

I hope you ‘re enjoying your week so far!

We have had cocktails and dinner out everyday, this morning I was up early and had a couple of hours to myself.

I fed the kittens:
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And today Jon and Amber are at the beach:

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I’ve been unravelling the crochet I started yesterday:

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And I’ve started again:

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I need to make 72 of these. I have lots of colours, mostly blues to use up:

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I’m just having a superb latte in a cafe on the beach. Mmm!

Have a wonderful day!


Holiday Truths

This holiday has been wonderful. I know, being in a hot and sunny place we know well, surrounded by the sparking sea and the beautiful scenery and the marvels of Ancient Greece, should guarantee a pleasant stay.

But for me, the best bit has been the serene atmosphere between us as a family, watching Jon and Amber rub along so happily together, the peace from the three of just loafing about in silence for hours, or giggling about some silly thing or other.

Yesterday, Jon and Amber had got up early and trailed round in the baking heat whilst I went on a mission to see the craft stores of Napflion. Then Jon went to see the War Museum, and Amber delightedly emptied her purse in the teen fashion shops in the adjacent street.

Jon finished long before Amber, and even though our individual respective interests had caused the others to have to lurk about in 36 degrees, there wasn’t a cross word, or a glimmer of impatience, and when we came home we lolled about together in the apartment, then either napped or went to the pool.

Last night after dinner beside the sea, we’d spent a few hours together already and watched the sun set over cocktails, and had eaten yet another superb dinner and it was dark; I was sitting at the dinner table quietly lost in my own thoughts and Jon and Amber were both talking and laughing about some random bit of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, their faces warm with smiles and I thought, “This is it. This is what good family is about. This is all I have ever wanted.”

After all my years of striving and restlessness, and worrying if I am doing the right thing or not, and desperately trying to please people I don’t like or even speak to now, I know that at in this moment everything is fine, we are all doing well and I can relax.

Seeing love in motion, looking at happy faces gently surrounding me I don’t need anything, I don’t need to keep trying so hard all the time and I know what I have built will last, whatever happens we will get through it together.

For the first time in my entire life I can truthfully say I feel safe and the peace this brings me is overwhelming.

Also, looking at my life with new eyes I can see this has been here all along, but I just didn’t get it. Just like the ruby slippers moment in the Wizard of Oz.

It is almost like I am being guided by gentle hands to the top of a mountain, and everything I could ever need is all around me and someone is telling me to free myself from the burdens I put on my own shoulders as no-one was asking me to carry them anymore.

For the first time I don’t feel angry, I have not a twinge of anxiety or discontent, or shame or envy, my heart soars with happiness. I am whole and everything feels new and clean and fresh.

We still have a few days to go, my crochet blocking has dried and is ready to finish, and I still have plenty of time to make more things.

But making myself see how happy I am with what I already have has been the best bit of the holiday, and I can hold onto that truth long after we get home to our dear sweet cat and little house.


Crochet And Knitting Shops In Napflion, Greece

I wanted to write to you today with super tales of the big yarn store I’d seen in Napflion.

We got up early, and were at the bus stop to catch the 10.15 bus, and I spotted a different yarn store than the big nice one I’d seen before in the same part of Napflion so we hopped off, thinking it would be super to see what this one did, and then a short walk to the other.

I blinked in the glare of daylight outside the shop and looked in the window close up and it looked not at all inviting. Like the very old button shop we’d found near the harbour, it was dusty and old fashioned. There were a few faded canvases for tapestry, some brown yarn of indeterminate age and a few racks of bobbins of sewing thread.

One wall held bras, again very old and faded stock, and there was a screen to the stairs where I could see some balls of school jumper coloured acrylic yarn.

The elderly lady who ran the shop smiled at me but had no english, and I could do no more than leave.

Amber and I set off down the next street, I saw a nice lady in a soft furnishing shop and with the help of Google translate, she managed to understand what I was after, and we set off down another side road to yet another faded shop, bigger this time, but still not the one I saw.

They were very polite, but again it was disappointing to see a muddled shop. This one had three staff, it was a family business, but why did none of them think to tidy it or lay out the stock neatly?

I suppose I am spoiled by Loop and the London stores, but surely if you are going to depend your livelihood on a shop you could at least make it well organised and inviting?

The lady who ran the shop showed me a vivid afghan she had crocheted, red and black squares, the acrylic was so hard and unyielding it could have doubled as a cheesegrater. I bought some needles and seeing thread, and could do no more than admire the good selection of knitting magazines on display as they were all Greek to me!

I was unable to spot the large modern yarn store I’d seen from the cab window on Saturday, but I will ask the lady who cleans our apartment (who knew the shop I meant when I spoke with her) to write the address down for me tomorrow, and I’ll try again.

At least Napflion has three wool shops! There must be knitters and crafters out there!

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Crochet Update!

Here you can see all the motifs are made and I’ve started the base!

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