26/01/2012

fitbit fitness frenzy - well almost


So I'm not usually one to covet my neighbours ox or anything but the other day whilst walking Tilly in the forest we bumped into our neighbours and one of them showed us his Fitbit....ooh matron!!

It's not as rude as I just made that sound, the Fitbit is a bit like a fancy pedometer, it tracks your daily steps, distance travelled, calories burned and activity levels and all that in this cutesy little bit of plastic that neatly clips onto your clothes.

Needless to say we went home and scooted around the internet for more information (I love stuff like that and Mr P loves gadgets so you can't blame us), and then Mr P just went ahead and bought one for me, what a sweetheart (do I think he's telling me something, perhaps I had one too many mince pies over Christmas after all)!!!


So now I love my Fitbit. Of course.  I wear it every day and trot about trying to reach my 10,000 steps goal - easy peasy some days, not so great other days.

So that you can monitor your progress, you register with Fitbit and then all your data is downloaded whenever you charge the device or it syncs.  You have a profile, where you register your goals and set your preferences.  You can choose what your Fitbit displays and you can also choose your preferred goal, mine is 70,000 weekly steps and as you can see I'm just over half way there - and it's only Thursday...hurrah.


You can also log your food or other activities that might not register on the device - such as yoga or weight training and it's so super whizzy that you can even wear it at night to monitor your sleep.  It logs when you go to sleep, how many times you wake up in the night and the time you get up, it then uses this data to give you a sleep efficiency percentage.

I don't really get on with wearing it at night though, it wakes me up too much plus I got some really weird readings the few times I used it and so I'm not sure it's the greatest (or most popular) feature of the device.

You can view all your data in different graphs, which is quite cool (if you like that kind of thing) but I appear to spend waaaaay too much time being lightly active compared to being very active, which is slightly discouraging, so I don't often look at this bit.  I blame crochet for this.  Absolutely.  Remember kids, choose sedentary activities at your peril!

You can share your stats, join groups of Fitbit fanatics or start your own.  You can compare your fitness and activity levels with other users and even tweet your daily stats....blimey, I wonder if doing all this stuff counts as an additional activity??

Anyway, my review of the fabby Fitbit is this; brilliant little product, great for keeping an eye out on your daily fitness levels and making sure you move enough every day.  The sleep function is a bit clunky and not it's greatest feature but everything else, especially the online dashboard is great. 

Pricey (I think) and a pedometer works just as well but worth it for the additional functionality, and the sheer satisfaction of realising you've climbed up stairs (or floors as Mr Fitbit puts it), equal to the height of the world's largest pencil..!!! Go figure.

23/01/2012

colour obsessed at the moment



I'm currently a tad colour obsessed and have been craving bright and lovely colours.  Above is the new fabric I purchased for the bathroom blind, it's called Cossack girls and I'm in love!


These are the colouring pencils that Mr P came back from New York with.  My colourful, awesome present.


These are the hearts I've been making using the yarn from my Springtime Throw project.



This is the Belle & Boo needle case that I made, it was the free project with issue nine of Mollie Makes, my current favourite magazine.





And to finish off the fit of Monday afternoon colour therapy, this is my favourite lampshade in the house.

Ta da!!  I feel better now, do you?

19/01/2012

the crochet bird debacle


Here's the thing, I saw a little crocheted bird somewhere...not sure where, but I thought that's pretty darn cute, gotta be making me one of those.

Then I got my Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker book for Christmas (yes a book about happy hooking, awesome right?), and I saw that there was a crochet bird pattern in it.  The pattern was for a little birdie pin and I thought they were really pretty, so (perhaps foolishly) thought there would be no problem in making myself some of them bad boys.

How wrong could I be.

My first attempt was ridiculous.  Ha ha, what. is. it?  Think I might have gone wrong somewhere around his tail area.  Not good.


My second was hilarious.  Now, I thought I had done really well with this one, I'd really properly followed the pattern and was most upset when this is how he turned out!


And my third attempt, and you would think I would be getting slightly better and almost have it by now, is just unmentionable.  I mean, I'm slightly embarrassed to share it with you but what the heck, have a laugh.  I did.

Hahahaaaaaaaa!

Fortunately (or not) I'm a bit stubborn and refused to give up.  Went searching for a different pattern and found this one by Linda Permann which seemed a little easier to understand.

And then... finally, FINALLY, I made a bird that I'm really rather proud of and you met the lovely little bleeder at the top of this post, complete with cute orange beak and pretty, pretty pink wing and tail.  I love him.

My brother thinks he's quite cute too and has asked me to make a cot mobile out of them.  What a brilliant idea, I might yet surprise him.   Watch this space.

17/01/2012

long overdue Tilly blog



It's been blooming ages since I did a Tilly blog, you would almost think she had disappeared.

No, no, no, not a chance sailor, she is bigger, bouncier and funnier than ever but is growing up and luckily (thankfully) turning into quite a good girl so she doesn't get herself into so many scrapes.

Since last time I wrote about lady Tillington she has:

1. had the snip - her bits have gone!
2. found her voice - she likes a bark, we are not encouraging her.
3. become a teenager - when we are out with her she totally ignores us and goes off to do her own thing, charming.
4. discovered water - any walk that involves water is now her favourite walk
5. developed some rather strange habits - see below!
6. likes a cuddle - she now comes up on the sofa and will squeeze herself in to the smallest spaces just to be next to us.....very heart-meltingly cute!

I meanwhile have put a few Tilly videos on YouTube, not great quality as from my phone (which puts those black lines down the side) but quite funny just the same.


Her water obsession is a bit odd.  She doesn't like it too deep and doesn't actually swim or anything but rather she gets in and tries to eat it...very weird but amusing all the same.



Yesterday the pond was frozen completely over and she couldn't figure out why she couldn't get at the water.  She does attempt a few scratches and nibbles though, you will hear me say "what is it Tilly?" and see her completely ignore me - see point 3 above - I am completely surplus to requirement at the moment, she's like a proper teenager embarrassed of their Mum!..ha ha, cowbag!

Her bad habits are not restricted to walks either.  She has taken rather a liking to the shower.  You have to be so careful to shut the bathroom door otherwise she'll come running in and spend the entire time trying to get in with you and eating the water (see, I told you she was a weirdo!).  This results in her head getting rather wet and often soapy and the bathroom turning into a soggy and very hairy mess!!

She also has a new tuggy toy - this will be her third or fourth as Mr P has a habit of lobbing them into the trees!


And a new set of disco lights for all the walking in the dark we've been doing (I say we but it's Mr P who does the majority of the early morning and night time walks)!


Talking of walks, we are just off out for our second of the day, this morning it was very very cold or as the meter reader man said to me "Taters"!!!! Love it.

13/01/2012

springtime throw update, 100 squares made!


Here they are, my little lovelies in all their glory....big beaming smile on my face too.

So my springtime throw is now well underway and last night I reached the 100 squares milestone....hurrah, hurrah, hurrah.

It feels so good to have made it this far, I'm still really enjoying it - even though each teeny tiny square has six ends to sew in - yes SIX ends each to be individually sewn in to ensure they don't come loose with future use!  Crazy stuff.


In order to maintain my sanity I'm sewing in as I go along, I couldn't face having to do it all at the end, oh no...and I think I might try and step it up a bit or else I'll still be making this blanket in the summer and I'll miss the springtime that the blanket is named after.


I've lined them all up neatly in little piles (they look so cute!), and am going to have to find somewhere to stash them like this as the piles grow, a shelf or drawer perhaps.  I'm currently lusting after this blogger's idea of storing them in a (rather pretty) suitcase.  Genius!

The yarn I'm using is really nice too, it's called Rooster Almerino DK and it's 50% baby alpaca (do they mind giving up their hair?), and 50% merino wool so is soft and lovely to work with. 100 squares has used two balls of Cornish (the dreamy cream main colour) but there is still quite a bit left on each of the first balls of the other colours; Gooseberry, Smoothie, Strawberry Cream, Custard, Glace and Grape.



I hope you liked this milestone sharing post, it feels good to tell someone, anyone about it - poor Mr P hears about nothing else unfortunately.

Have good weekends everyone.




10/01/2012

crochet granny blanket repairs urgently needed


So this crochet blanket is easily over forty years old and has been in Mr P's family for ever.

It was originally made by his great aunt Min and famously worn by his Mum as part of her pirate fancy dress outfit back in the 1970s so he has lots of fond memories of it and when he saw it was falling apart he rushed it back home and asked me to save it.

Blimey...pressure!

coming apart at the seams!


It's proper falling apart, lots of the seams have come away, there is one whole square missing (how on earth? maybe a mouse ate it), and lots of tassels have gone (probably by way of that same mouse) too.



look at that, missing a square....pesky mices!


It is a bit of a a daunting project, I don't want to ruin it with my crappy sewing and crochet but you can't just let all that history fall apart... so I have started to repair it with lots of love and attention to detail.

Now it's not proving to be that easy, the wool originally used is so flattened and old that anything I crochet or sew in with new, fat, fluffy wool just looks obvious.  It's not so bad on the seams that are black but fixing up that missing square might prove tricky.

Also, you just can't get some of the colours used back then, there are some really retro cool colours in the blanket and the blue was impossible to match.  In the end I just went for the best shade navy blue as possible, it looks okay, you can't tell too much.

For the missing square I will used pink and white as that is what looks to have been used before, hopefully it won't look too out of place.

One last picture, just cos it's so retro coloured pretty :o)


Gorgeous.

Right I'm off to make bungalow pie for our dinner, I'll update you on great aunt Min's blanket when it's finished.





05/01/2012

cross stitch fever has taken hold

Years ago I had a friend who loved to cross stitch and I couldn't quite figure out why.

Then a couple of years ago I heard about Urban Cross Stitch and in particular I saw one of their kits that I really wanted to make called Thug For Life.   It was cross stitch and yet it was funky and it made me laugh.

So Santa got me the Thug For Life kit two years ago.  I was dead chuffed, spent ages figuring out what to do, finally managed to make some progress and then I met Mr P!!  Dun dun durrrrrrr....everything change, cross stitch relegated to the bottom drawer for, like, EVER.

I only got it out again when we were going through San Francisco-gate, must have been the stress!


progress at 5 January 2011
But out it came and I hadn't done as much as I thought so I've been really working hard to get it done asap for two reasons:

a. it will look really cool in a frame on our bathroom wall, and

b. i've got a lovely new kit from Emily Peacock to begin and I couldn't possibly have two on the go, I would get proper told off....no doubt.  Here it is, I am in love with it....obvs.


In other news, my lovely cousin Emily got married to her boy Mark on the 30th December.  It was a fabulous day, we had so much fun and really liked their chosen venue, Great Fosters, which was built as a royal hunting lodge in 1550...!! WOW!

I had decided (not sure why) that I would make a little embroidery hoop of cross stitch flowers for them, well for her really because Mark will probably look at it and think....what on earth is it?, understandably, he is a boy.


This is it mid-project.  The flower design is from Cath Kidston, the book I got it from is called Cath Kidston Stitch! (I love it of course) and once I'd finished the flowers I had loads of space left over so having tried and rejected putting their names on it (wouldn't fit), I added the date in funky numbering from another cross stitch book called Made in France: Sweet Treats in Cross-stitch.  Then I did some underlining, just because I still had room and we were watching some awful Christmas film...can't even remember what it was now.

Anyhoo the finished result looked like this, I hope they like it.

03/01/2012

review of 2011

2011 was a fabulous year.  We did so much, saw so much, went to so many places and had our ups and downs but always, almost always had loads of fun.  2011 is known in our house as the year of the dog.

Cataloguing the year month by month is a great way to remember your year and it's made me realise just how blooming good it was.

Roll on 2012 and may it be a wonderful year for everybody.  Happy New Year!

January was quiet and a wee bit gloomy but we got our thank you letters written for our Christmas presents and we went for some lovely walks in the countryside.  January was when we decided to get a dog and started to think how we could make that happen.


In February we were honoured to become Godparents to our scrumptious nephew and niece..WOW!  We also went to see our favourite singer (in the whole wide world), Mr Ray Lamontagne at the amazing Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank in London.....what a night!  We also decided I should take redundancy so we could make the dog thing happen...gulp.



March is my Birthday month and we celebrated by going to the Lake District, staying in a lovely cottage on Ullswater and climbing a mountain.  Helvellyn you are my bitch!  We also wallpapered for the first time ever, incredibly stressful but well worth it for the glamorous results.  At then end of the month I left work and was terribly sad about it....ha ha....NOT REALLY!!


In April we went to pick our puppy and when we got to the farm there were only two girls left - we chose this little pickle and she was named Tilly that day - full posho name Matilda Mahinda Moorhen...cute.  We also started work on our enormous garden to try and turn it into an allotment - some small success there but not as great as we would like.


In May Tilly was old enough to come home with us.  I had already forgotten how little and cute she was back then so these pictures made me smile the most.  The whole month consisted of vet visits, picking up poop and family and friends coming over for a peek.  We fell in love.



In June we went on holiday to Corfu, what a gorgeous, hot and sunny place.  We relaxed.

July was a snoozy month, I had a bad leg and went to a chiropractor for the first time (interesting) and had horrible hayfever for only the second time in my life..grr!



August was hectic.  We went visiting our friends and Tilly met her new partner in crime, Parker the Springer Spaniel.  I started blogging and wrote my first blog about wildflowers.  We went to the cinema to see our favourite film of the year, The Skin I Live In, a brilliant and wicked story from Pedro Almodovar starring Antonio Banderas.


In September we had our new drive and pathway laid - the bliss of having a nice paved path to walk on should never be underestimated.  Walking was the theme of the month as Tilly grows, she needs more and more exercise.  Exhausted just thinking about it.  We visited our family in Manchester for the first time and loved it.


October was really special, my two favourite people's Birthdays - Molly Moo was 1 and Mr P was a little bit older than that.  We went to Malta with our fabulous friends and it was my first time (they've all been loads) so really special.  I loved it, so pretty and more importantly such great food!

November was crunch time.  Mr P was offered a job in San Francisco so we went out for a visit to  see if we wanted to live there.  We didn't for a whole raft of reasons and luckily he was offered another job, this time in London...so no moving house...phew.  This is the month I taught myself to crochet.

Lovely, lovely December.  I heart Christmas so we dressed up the dog for our cards, made them as tacky and glorious as possible.  We got a beautiful tree, played our Christmas Mario Lanza CD a lot, saw loads of friends and family, ate sackfuls of food and ensured we drank lots of champagne too.  Hurrah.

I hope you had a great 2011.  Let's hear it for 2012 the year of the .........