Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Further Adventures in Abandoned Castle Exploration

one man and his dog...
Moffat and I went another walk to the castle on Sunday afternoon.  We've went up a few times, although I haven't been since boxing day, or posted pics since the first time.  We also met a couple there for the first time - normally it's pretty abandoned whenever we've been there.  They turned out to be fellow explorers though, so Moffat the local history expert gave them a castle lesson and told them which parts to go into.  I just stood by and snapped pictures as usual...
I wanted to explore more in the gardens this time - every time we go I see something different!  We briefly went into the castle and servants house and both were a bit more collapsed than last time, likely due to the crazy winter weather.  The gardens were super overgrown but we did find a few more shortcuts in and out of the grounds, well worth the trip!  We also stumbled across the above metal post complete with gears - Moffat reckons it's as old as the main castle but if anyone knows what it actually is we'd appreciate the help!

Did everyone else have a lovely weekend?


Monday, 29 April 2013

Challenge 14

Challenge 14 - Write a big, long list of things that make you happy.
I've been working on writing my list for this challenge for a while now.  I think it's something that, if you sit down to just make a list, it's harder to get your brain in gear, so I've been keeping my notebook in close vicinity the past few weeks so I can add things when I think of them.  As a result, the list ended up being pretty...diverse.  Enjoy!

  • Watching movie trailers.
  • Having a day off with no plans.
  • Big fat green grapes.
  • Lunch with friends.
  • When I find what I need in the shops (bonus points if they're super quiet!). 
  • Knitting and knitting and knitting...

  • Laughing til I cry.
  • Hanging with Mother.
  • Rediscovering old favourite songs (then basking in their goodness).
  • When my Empire magazine gets delivered.
  • The smell of memories (i.e. when someone walks by with familiar scent on).

  • That tipsy moment where I've had a beer or three and think I'm hilarious.
  • When my legs burn after a run.  Also running to the beat of my favourite songs.
  • A fab movie.
  • Rewatching Phantom of the Opera.  Again and again.
  • Freshly washed hair.

  • Taking pictures.
  • Dancing to those songs that get me moving! (This and this and this)
  • Every time I watch this.  And every other unexpected moment of wonderfulness on my favourite TV shows.
  • Freshly epilated legs.
  • That first length in the swimming pool.

  • Rollercoasters (and staff outings!).
  • Meeting the girls for coffee.
  • Discovering a new route on our walks.
  • Discovering an abandoned building I can poke around in on our walks.
  • Going to stay with my oldest friend.

  • Wellies.
  • Slippers.
  • Cosy socks.
  • Giant scarves.
  • Furry ear muffs.

  • Hanging out with a bunch of my favourite people all at once.
  • Finishing a really good book.
  • When I go to work and there's interesting staff to talk to!
  • Print checking movies at work.
  • Reading on the train.

  • Summer nights spent on the beach.
  • Hilarious outtakes.
  • Random nights out that turn into the stuff of legends.
  • Singing and dancing in my soundproof projection booths.
  • The Paperman short

  • New York.  Of course.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Wanderlust and Wandering...

Ok guys, I don't want to jinx it or anything, but I THINK the weather might have taken a turn for the better this week.  Ssshhhh, better say it quietly or it might go away again...  Leanne and I went another walk on Sunday, this time out to the airport a few miles away, for whatever inexplicable reason.  Really I just wanted a medium length wander to stretch my legs and Leanne wanted a Starbucks, so it made sense to go eat cake and watch happy people walk around with suitcases while we're stuck in this country, months away from our next holiday.  Sigh.
After a coffee/berry cooler thing each and a giant ass choc chip cookie, we went up to the viewing deck to look at old pictures and, ya know, view planes.  Actually there was only one plane there - it's not a very big airport, so Sunday was obviously kinda quiet.  It was rather nice in fact, finding somewhere to go on the weekend that wasn't swarming with people.

Today will hopefully involve another walk, by myself this time since Leanne has to work.  And if I can't summon up the energy for that, I haven't been to the library in a while...


Friday, 19 April 2013

A month at the movies

I've hardly watched any movies in the past month!  A mixture of back shifts and opening early when the schools were off mean my movie checking time has been seriously limited, plus there's not been much on the line up I've been really interested in seeing.  I'll leave all the movie excitement to next month, when Sarah and I will be seeing OMG GREAT GATSBY AAAHHHH!!!! (Which better be good, I've been waiting ages for the next Baz Luhrmann movie!)  Anyway, back to the present...

I kinda loved The Incredible Burt Wonderstone for the sheer naffness of it all.  It's absolutely not a good movie but I tend to like anything Steve Carell does, there's just something incredibly fun about him.  Jack the Giant Slayer pleasantly surprised me - I was expecting another Pirates knock off but it was actually a bit different and nice to see a fairy tale that's not been overdone - yet.  (Although Jack wearing a hoodie kinda bugged me for some reason...).  At the total other end of the movie integrity scale was Trance, the latest Danny Boyle film.  It was superb and twisting and disgusting.  In a good way of course.

What's everyone else been to see this month?


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Knitting - Seed Stitch Wrap

It occurred to me recently that I never really share my knitting projects on here, despite spending a fair amount of my time with needles in my hands.  I've been knitting fairly consistently for the past twenty years, having been taught at a pretty young age by my mum and primary school teachers (knitting was my favourite part of the week, second only to library time...evidently I've not changed much!).  I must admit, I'm not much into the complicated patterns - I have a terrible habit of knitting a bit then not picking it up again for a week, by which time I've forgotten which part of the pattern I'm supposed to be on.  I'm trying to change that though!  Not with my current lovely pattern mind you...  I found the Seed Stitch Wrap on The Purl Bee last month and was charmed by it's prettiness and the simple design.  It's just a constant K1, P1 stitch but it creates a lovely moss stitch, plus it uses double knitting wool, which my mum has boxes of, so it won't even cost me anything to make - bonus!
Here's my work in progress.  It knits up really quickly while I'm watching my backlog of TV shows on the laptop and the pattern is obviously so easy I barely need to think about it.  I think I'll leave the skills developing to the next pattern then...

Has anyone else made this up?  I'd love to see pictures!


Monday, 15 April 2013

A week in outfits

jumper - charity shop
dress - charity shop
shoes - TK Maxx
This is the dress I found in the charity shop a few weeks ago - I've not taken it in yet but I stuck it in the wash (as I usually do with charity shop purchases) and it came out about eight inches shorter.  Eh what?!  I gave it a pretty thorough iron which seems to have stretched it a bit but it's much shorter now, not sure it's gonna work for summer after all.  Faff.
top - George via charity shop
vest - M&S
jeans - Long Tall Sally (here)
Converse - gift
Think this was another walk outfit.  My memory is shocking.  The photos don't always reflect it but I've been wearing more jeans lately, thinking my summer wardrobe will be mostly denim and t-shirts this year...
cardigan - made by Mother
dress - Matalan
Converse - gift
Another cold day dress and cardigan combo - after a few wears I've decided this dress is definitely shorter than I'm comfortable with so I may try experimenting with extending the hem.  And if it all goes wrong it would make a cute top anyway...


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Faff Favourites...

Argh, this week somehow seemed super slow at the time, yet I can barely remember anything I did...  Not that that's unusual, mind you.  Another walk took place, which seemed shorter this time but I was ready to collapse by the end.  I wore my actual walking shoes but still got sore feet.  My friend told me about Cheesy Beanos a few weeks ago and I finally got round to trying it - toast with beans and melted cheese was somehow not as OMGAMAZING as I was expecting, thinking I need some brown sauce on the toast layer next time.  I got this dress from M&S and love it so much that I'm keeping an eye out for more colours appearing - fingers crossed!  And I have my favourite three day weekend shift pattern this week so I've decamped to Mothers with a trashy train book for much cake and internet.  Yay!

Here's some fun reminiscing - Kestrel talks Fashion Wheel!

Jurassic Park returns to UK cinema screens in 3D this August - wanna know what the stars look like now?

World's Most Beautiful Abandoned Places

That Awkward Moment When You Realize You've Become Garfield

I don't know about anyone else but I see an expanse of water and just wanna jump in - any one of these 24 Amazing Pools would do the trick...

18 Principles for Highly Creative Living

I'm loving The Lizzie Bennett Diaries on YouTube, a totally hilarious modern twist on the famous Pride and Prejudice story.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Out walking (or killing our legs)

 My friend and I have been on two giant walks the past week.  Kinda by accident actually - we started with just a general idea of which direction to go and were so busy yapping that we made it way further than intended!  So I've decided to always go walks with someone worth talking to from now on ;)

The above is an old gatehouse on the edge of an estate (near the quilting exhibition).  As usual I tried to find a way in but it was pretty well boarded up, although we did managed to peek through that wee window next to the door, the inside was just full of old broken furniture.  We also found an otter on the path round the side, which Leanne immediately took concern over since it looked injured, but we couldn't find a ranger in the vicinity, so hopefully it was just...sunbathing....
 Leanne trying to work out whether to call the SSPCA...
After all the otter and quilt excitement, we wandered back to town via the 'fancy houses' streets.
We also found a new shore road that took us up a hill and into the next town.  I used my compact camera instead of the DSLR, which was lighter to carry but the picture quality wasn't great...
 A few days later we walked in the opposite direction and realised we could walk along the beach to the one two towns over.  It took a few hours (extended thanks to one very long necessary detour when a river blocked our path) but it was almost sunny the whole time and not many other people were attempting the walk so we had peace for the most part.
These pictures turned out a bit better - the views from this beach obviously helped!  We made it to town and got lunch, then discovered a fab sweet and cake shop.  I had a coconut meringue cookie with cherries and chocolate chips, which sounds like overkill but it was super!  Then we got the train back.  Because I still had to go grocery shopping and my legs weren't up to THAT much exercise.

We're walking again on Wednesday and trying to think up a new route, hopefully the weather will hold up a few more days!


Monday, 8 April 2013

Challenge 13

Challenge 13 - Buy that practical thing you never get around to.
Actually I feel like I buy nothing BUT practical things - my budget doesn't really allow for extravagant spending (and last weeks denim shirt purchase was a total necessity.  Obviously.)  When I read 'practical thing' on the list in the first place, I thought of kitchenware for some reason, but living with a flatmate who owns every kitchen accessory and more, I was spared the pain of shopping for anything that dull.  I did however need a new backpack.

I'm terribly fussy about shopping for bags - they have to be just the right size and shape and colour - so it's something I almost never do, preferring to stick to the ones I like until they fall apart.  Like the old backpack was about to do.  After numerous trips to TK Maxx I finally found a suitable one in the shape of this black Jeep number.  It's spacious, dark coloured and has an interior laptop sleeve, plus a front pocket for all my handbag junk.  Perfect!  While I was there I also picked up a penknife, cause I've always wanted one, and you can't get more practical than that, right? (And it was reduced to £3, not sure if that will prove to be a bargain or not...)

(Check out the full list here)


Thursday, 4 April 2013

March in Books

I thought I'd share what I've been reading this month, since I seem to have put in more effort than usual to read some of my book stash - I miss the library but I feel bad having a pile of books at home that I should really be working through...

The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - I've actually read this book a few times but not recently, so I decided to indulge myself again.  Unsurprisingly, it was just as good as ever!  My mum and I have a running joke over it too - I made her read it after I'd decided it was the best thing ever and...she hated it.  What?!

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming - I've been wanting to read this for ages since Casino Royale is one of my favourite movies and I really wanted to try a 007 book.  It wasn't BAD but....there wasn't nearly as much action as the movie and I'm all about the action movies.  That torture scene in the chair though?  Still there.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld - Now here's a book I can get on board with - set in a boarding school and with a quiet, observant main character.  Take out the boarding school part and it was like my teenage years, until I decided that being shy wasn't working for me and started talking.  A lot.
America Unchained by Dave Gorman - As I'm sure I've mentioned before, give me any book based around America and I'll read it quite happily.  This one was pretty excellent and was like reading about my dream come to life - road tripping around small town USA in a classic car.  Only this guy was making a documentary, which is next on my 'to acquire' list.

Rules for Saying Goodbye by Katherine Taylor - I picked this up in a library book sale last month and must admit I only did so because the cover had a recommendation from Emily Blunt.  No idea if it's the same Emily Blunt that I worship, since why would an actress be reviewing a book?  But that was good enough for me.  Kinda like the book.  It didn't really go anywhere, and while it was billed as another boarding school tale, it mostly just meandered through the first thirty years of the narrators life.  Not terrible but not very exciting.

What's everyone else been reading this month?


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

In the details...

I don't tend to post much in the way of outfit detail pictures any more, but I thought I'd share these ones, if only in the hopes that the season of wearing fleece slipper socks and fluffy hooded parka coats is coming to an end...  I can dream right?


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Quilting love...

My friend Leanne and I went a huuuuge walk yesterday and ended up in an estate with an art gallery.  We were walking through anyway so decided to check out a quilting exhibition they had up.  Now, I'm not really a fan of traditional quilts (they always seem a bit naff to me!), but these ones were something else.  The insane detail that had obviously went into each one was outstanding - each design was like a work of art.  Technically I wasn't meant to be taking pictures so please excuse the terrible quality of these camera phone shots...
I got really excited over this honeycomb design, partly because I'm making my own knitted version and partly because it was so tiny and intricate - each hexie was about two inches wide and the fabric mix was just lovely.
Leanne was super impressed that this one was made out of old shirts!  Each square had a cool twisted design sewn in and the quilt was edged with the front button sections of the shirts.
 Now this one completely took my breath away - it was massive so was hung in pride of place in the entryway (guarded by a receptionist, hence a rather rubbish close up shot...).  It's name was something like 'Postage Stamp Quilt' because each square...was the size of a postage stamp.  There were HUNDREDS of pieces sewn together then a swirl design stitched over each square, I can only imagine the patience and time it must have taken to construct it.  We stood in front of it for ages spotting designs in each piece.  Or rather, I did.  Me 'Oh look, a teeny snowman!  A teeny rhino!  Holly!'  Leanne 'hmm?  Oh yeah...'
Some other cool designs - the triangle one was also pretty huge and had tons of gorgeous floral fabric selections, each one would have made a gorgeous dress for moi.

I overheard the guide telling someone that the next town over has seven different quilting groups alone, not to mention all the other groups they run from the centre.  Maybe sewing has come back in a bigger way than I realised?!


Monday, 1 April 2013

Living the quiet life...

 I've been spending a lot of time just chilling out and hiding from the cold lately.  Most of this year in fact.  I just have no motivation to do anything that requires much effort, so the past few weeks have involved lots of couch surfing after work and on days off, popping to Lidl and back for essentials and going for tea at our favourite local coffee shop.  Or in the case of the above picture - drinking green tea (from my only/favourite mug) and reading every magazine that comes my way, even the Scouting one.
 I was at my mums this past weekend because I knew my flatmate had friends staying and I wanted to get at least some sleep.  He's lovely but not great at being quiet or getting the front door open when drunk ;)  It worked out pretty well for me though, Mother bought me a new fabby twist on Easter eggs and my new Britain magazine came, complete with a feature on Scottish gardens and some old Royal family pictures.  And if you read yesterdays post, you'll see I even got out for a walk.  I had to go to work on Sunday but it was a short shift and I got loads done, even if sorting out old posters gave me bloody paper cuts all over my hands...
I've not got much planned for this week either - another walk is happening this afternoon since my friend has a day off work.  Since she got a 'real' job last year it's a bit of a novelty to see her during the day!  I feel like doing some reading and crafting from the comfort of my living room, although I'm still on a mission to find a desk so a trip to the charity shop may be in order...  Last week I popped into my favourite one on the way to Lidl and found a knee length floral dress - just what I've been looking for!  And at £1.50 I can ignore the fact that it's a size 20 (and that weird back neck strap thing...) and will likely need to be attacked with the sewing machine soon.

What's everyone up to this week?

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