Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Show And Tell


Pinch me.  It can't be two weeks since I last posted, surely?

School started last week in earnest and I'm not ashamed to admit that I am cock-a-hoop!  The silence is a joy.  Or rather, not having to listen to 5 Seconds Of Summer (daughter) in thumping competition with Arctic Monkeys (son) is a joy.  I've decided that I'm totally and utterly rubbish at time and household management in the holidays.  Routine flies out the open windows, my food bills seem to treble (I'm not convinced my children don't each have a tapeworm) and I slowly drown under a pile of laundry and mess.

I spent a large chunk of last week restoring some semblance of order and I think I might, just might, be getting there.  Hopefully my blogging manners will now improve too!

My knitting classes on Monday nights have been a hugely enjoyable constant.  It's the last one next week.  We've been shown all the basics now and I'm quite hooked, especially since I made the decision to buy my own needles.  We were given a plastic pair to begin with but my new shorter bamboo ones are so much easier to use.  I'm still having the odd issue with tension; I tend to work too tightly and my working yarn keeps ending up in a twizzled tangle.  What's that all about?  Knitty Gritty: Knitting for the Absolute Beginner is a fantastic 'how-to' book if you're a newbie knitter like me.

Oh but there's something about the stretch and drape of knitting that I completely adore.  With hindsight, I think my crocheting style has always tended to try and emulate something similar.  I'm pretty sure my first grown-up knitting project is going to be some sort of colour block scarf.  Which reminds me …

I promised a lovely friend that I'd make him a scarf.  I've not crocheted for a man before so I played safe and chose a soft denim blue in an aran weight.

I chained 220 with a 7mm hook (I always, always use a hook two sizes up for a foundation chain when I'm making a scarf - it stops that annoying curve) and then, using a 6mm hook, simply worked half trebles (half doubles US) in the back loops.  It creates the loveliest flexible rib.

Also, since you and I last spoke, my youngest brother and his wife have had a baby!  My seventh sixth nephew*.  I'd already planned a personalised gift but wanted to make something I could wrap up straight away.  After a quick flit around the internet, I settled on making the cutest little hat, using this super crochet pattern here.  I added two extra increase rounds to take the finished diameter to 15".  (Baby Arthur weighed in at an impressive 9lbs 13oz so I thought I'd better err on the side of caution!)

So, two little makes, both blue and both for boys!  I can feel something extremely colourful and girly coming on next!


*Oh crap, I'm such a bad auntie!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Six Nice Things

1.  Sunshine in a vase.  Two generous bunches of gerberas for £2 each from Aldi*.  Perched on my mantelpiece, they are giving off the most gloriously happy glow.

*I gave my middle class self a good talking-to and lost my Aldi virginity this week.  Let's face it, there's no room for snobbery values when it comes to juggling soaring food bills.  (For those who don't know, Aldi is a discount supermarket which used to have a reputation for selling low quality items.  It has recently won several 'Supermarket Of The Year' awards in the UK and is fast becoming more popular and well thought-of.)  I have to say I was pretty impressed.  My favourites were the free range chicken, the cold meats, the fresh juice, the wine (Alison, you're right, the Chilean Merlot is very quaffable indeed!) and the flowers of course - all were considerably cheaper than I'm used to paying and super quality.

I'll gloss politely over some of the other clientele but will just say that there were a few characters I definitely wouldn't like to meet down a dark alley!

2.  Not having to get up early!  Six more days of school holidays and counting.

3.  My linen crops.  They're so comfortable I have to keep doing a double take just to reassure myself that I haven't left my pyjama bottoms on!

4.  This yarn.  Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky.  I am head over heels in love with it.  It's super soft and super smooshy and heavenly to crochet (and knit) with.

5.  Hot garlic pickle.  I bought it from a stall at the St Ewe Country Fair in Cornwall last weekend.  It's amazing and completely transforms a simple supper of cold meats (particularly scrumptious with pork pie), jacket potatoes and salad.  Not so great if you're fancying a snog with your loved one but absolutely fine if your snoggee has also indulged.  ;-)

6.  The nicest of my nice things?  My son's triple science GCSE result, taken a year early.  I'm so proud of him I could burst.

Hope your weekend is full of nice things.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Cornwall … Again

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

This Week

I've been faffing around with my blog.  For some reason, which still escapes me, I joined Google+ last week and have been trying to extricate myself ever since.  I don't like it at all.  Lovely, lovely Gill emailed me to let me know that she couldn't leave a comment on my last blog post as she wasn't signed up with Google.  I won't bore you with the details but I think (several cups of strong coffee and a lot of filthy words later) I have sorted it.  If you did leave a comment on my Zakynthos post, it may have vanished from my blog but I can still see it via Google.  Aargh!  The equally lovely Amy also sent me a message saying that her computer was struggling to load my photographs.  From hereon my picture file sizes will be smaller so I do hope that helps.

Gill and Amy, thank you so much.

In other slightly technical news, I've just set up a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pinkmilkblog) and am back on Instagram (as pinkmilk42).  If either of those are your thing, do pop by and say "hello".

I had the second of my beginners' knitting lessons this week.  Oh, I'm so enjoying them.  There are only five of us in the class and it's so lovely and relaxed.  We were taught how to cast on and do knit stitch last week.  This week it was casting off and purl stitch.  Can I just say, I LOVE purl stitch.  Is that odd?  Is it stocking stitch that is knit one row, purl one row?  That's my favourite.  As you can see from the top two pictures, I've got a long way to go but I'm chuffed to bits so far.  I can't ever imagine preferring knitting to crochet though.  I have to keep doing bits of crochet here and there in between my knitting practise or I start feeling strangely disloyal!

I'm just about to start packing again.  I know.  We're off to stay with some friends in Cornwall for a few days.  I'm really looking forward to it but the weather is so irritating at the moment, don't you think?  It's glorious sunshine one minute and high winds and torrential rain the next.  At this rate, we'll have to take everything from winter woollies to shorts and tees.  Sigh.  I even found myself craving mashed potato the other day so I made a Beef Bourguignon.  That must be the ultimate winter dish, surely?

Before I go, I wanted to show you my two recent purchases.  Personally, I'm not at all keen on some of the new Cath Kidston designs but those colourful ditsy prints?  Oh yes.  Most definitely my cup of tea.  My new bum bag* will be the very first thing I pack for Cornwall without a doubt.


*I think a bum bag is known as a fanny pack in American.  *titter*

Tuesday, 5 August 2014



Where ancient olive trees and heady jasmine grow and the sun's heat splits the dusty pavements.

Where the rugged coastline rises majestically from a sparkling sea.

Where the food is simple and fresh.

Where the inhabitants welcome you like nowhere I've ever experienced and make you feel beautiful.

Where I watched my two children put down their technology and unfurl like flowers in the sunshine.

Where I suddenly realised that my sulky sultry son might, just might, be a bit of a babe magnet.

Where we snorkelled in turquoise waters and gawped at loggerhead turtles.

Where our days started at 9am and ended at 3am.

Where I was taught how to make a 'slippery nipple' cocktail by a wonderful man with a glint in his eye.

Where long periods of lying prone, baking in the sun, afforded me the opportunity to unclutter my mind and put life into some sort of perspective.

Where we made such special friends it took my ribs three days to stop hurting from laughing and three days to stop weeping when we had to wave goodbye.

The.  Best.  Holiday.  Ever.