blue, blue, interview and a tiny splash of pink

This dress is lovely.  It's so blue and looks a little vintagey.

It's got a full and swishy skirt which always makes me happy.  The only thing lacking in this little number is pockets.  A particular kind of joy, that only a lady can know, happens when you find out your new skirt/dress has pockets.

It isn't vintage.  I just got it.  In the sale too, it was a super bargain.  I was quite pleased with myself.

I had an interview yesterday which is why I had a pretty outfit on, usually I'm scragging around in jeans.  It made a nice change to dress up.

:: dress great plains similar here, here and here ::

I tried to break up all that blueness, I didn't want to look like a smurf.

These lovely pink nails did it.  They stopped me looking like mama smurf, they come courtesy of Paul & Joe who make the most freaking gorgeous nail polish bottles I have ever seen.

Maybe my pink nails got me the job either that or my swishy blue dress.

Off to get red wine now, Wednesday's wine night here in bloom towers. 


pretty baby dresses

I'm so glad I had a baby girl because I love baby dresses.  How can you not love this dress?  It's my favourite and Betsy looks like a tiny, vintage princess in it.

Mind you, she did poo all over it the first time she wore it. In spectacular fashion, in her car seat which I then discovered did not have a removable cover.  The joy of cleaning up an awkwardly placed poo!

Most of Betsy's dresses come from her nanny who has an eye for a pretty baby dress, good job too seeing as she has three grand-daughters to clothe for the next sixteen or so years!  She gave us one which is so pretty I don't think I'm going to be able to put her in it. That's right, it's unwearable because it's too darn pretty.  I mean really. Look at it.

Currently it hangs on the back of her bedroom door doing its job and looking lovely.  There it will remain until a suitable occasion arises (she is not wearing this to Tescos!) and cripes if she poos in it, I will actually cry.

Obviously she has her knitted dress from mama and I'm currently looking for my next knitting project as have nothing on my needles....quelle horreur!  Whilst scooting around looking for inspiration I saw this beauty at Boden.

:: stripy knitted dress ::

I love the idea but I'm not sure about executing the yoke and pockets.  I'm not sure I'm ready for that many stripes having been stripe averse so far in my knitting life - bloody lovely though.

Finally I saw this and might have to buy it, I love the colours, love the stripes, it screams Elizabeth at me, yep, yep, stripy jersey dress your card is marked.

:: stripy jersey dress ::

This post could go on forever but I should go and get dressed given that it's nearly quarter past ten!  Thankfully it's a bit cooler today so I might actually put some strides on.

ps. royal baby name prediction, my guess is George and I'm sticking with it even though I think Prince James sounds better.


a room fit for a pixie

It has taken us me ages to get Betsy's room looking lovely and fit for a pixie.

I still think it needs some work,  there are serious curtain issues going on in there for a start, but I'm happy with it now.  It looks pretty.  Which is exactly how a little girl's room should look isn't it?

Her picture was a present from her uncle David and is called 'little song bird', this week we have renamed it 'little shriek bird' as she has learned to scream.  High pitched banshee screaming in your ear all day long, lawd she just shrieks whenever the feeling takes her and it's not bloody funny, although you give her the look, you know, the look, and she just laughs in your face...hahahaaa I love my daughter, she is ace!

Springtime throw has pride of place as it bloody well should given how long it took me to make the darn thing.  And she will like it, or else.

I have tried to keep the crochet stuff to a minimum, been slightly put off having recently seen the brilliant British film Sightseers, you need to see the film to see what I mean though, it's a good un and very funny.

So that's your lot.  Little snapshots of the pixie's room.

I've got lots to do today so I must dash and scratch my giant mozzie bites - who, just who thought it was a good idea to go walking in the forest yesterday with bare arms and bare legs - good GOD the mosquitos were the size of small birds!


one year anniversary

A year ago today we got married.

It was shotgun quick, crazy, secret and the best thing I ever did.  My husband rocks.

Elizabeth was with us too, I am one classy broad.  Loved being a pregnant bride, highly recommend it.

Happy Anniversary husband.  I love you.


summer whites

:: jigsaw ::

Summer is for wearing whites isn't it?

White dresses, tennis whites, shockingly bright white converse, floaty white linen trousers...blimey I could go on but I won't because for all my love of summer whites this year I ain't putting them on my ass!!

You do the maths.......small person + white outfit = major disaster.

All my whites are safely out of sticky fingers way and will not be worn this year.  I am sad about it. 

I'll get over it.

:: boden ::
Doesn't stop me looking though.

:: monsoon ::

...and wishing and thinking maybe next year.

:: mint velvet ::


in praise of cow parsley

Nothing says summer to me more than cow parsley.  Cow parsley is the frumpy best friend of the flower world.  Whilst everyone else is eyeing up the pretty peonies and fragrant roses, this lacy lady is standing tall and saying something with no fuss and bother.

Often overlooked, considered by many to be a weed and in fact an invasive species in the US, I love how the smell of cow parsley instantly makes summer happen for me.  It reminds me of hot car journeys when we were kids, back in the days when people opened their windows on a hot day and breathed real-life air because air con was the stuff of dreams.

One of my favourite local parks has a wildflower policy which means they leave huge areas of the grass uncut and it grows silly wild.  There is so much cow parsley growing rampant that the smell hits you as you walk in and it has grown so big that it towers over me, waving at me in the breeze like an old friend.

Dog walking is a whole different world in this hot, sweaty weather.  It's all about hats, sun cream and bottles of water, makes a change from layers, boots and waterproofs. Not complaining.

Betsy stays covered up unless we are in a shady bit whilst Tilly doesn't get the concept of shade.  Even though she is cooking, literally cooking in her shiny, black fur, she carries on romping about like a mad thing.  We all get seriously happy as soon as we get to the park, especially me, I just mooch along (at speed) looking at the flowers, enjoying the sunshine and soaking up the atmosphere.  It is heaven.

I love you cow parsley, live long and prosper.

Erm was that a Star Trek reference Emma?  Nah, couldn't be.  Move along. Quickly.


a plain knitted vest

I knew it.  I bloody knew it, the moment that I saw this vest on the Pickles website I knew I would have to make it.

I ummed and ahhed about it for ages though, with my usual pre-knitting jitters.  Wailing "I can't, I can't do it" is never a good look and Mr P just rolls his eyes now as if I'm some ridiculous attention seeker requiring a bolstering of confidence that he just can't provide given that he still thinks knitting is some form of dark magic performed by witches underneath a full moon.

So with a few morale boosting emails and tips from my blog and Ravelry buddy Sarah, who told me it was easy but came up small, I decided to just do it and worry about the results later.  I already had the two yarns, this is the first time I've knitted with two strands of different yarn and I like it - it creates a pretty marled effect, not at all what I expected. 

It starts of easy, really easy until you get to the armholes.  Now because I had been told that the armholes were on the small side I tried them as per the pattern the first time - just to be sure.  And yep, they were tiny.  Plus my casting off for the armhole looked hideous!  I am a really crap knitter.

So I frogged back and tried again, this time using a technique for casting off that I found suggested on ravelry where you kfb the last knitted stitch in order to create a spare stitch to make the casting off look neater - this worked!  So I tried again and this time I adjusted the stitches to create bigger armholes (perfect) but tried out a new method for casting on the new stitches above the armhole and it looked awful - really, really BAD!  So frogged again.

Third time lucky? Nope.  Made another mistake, dropped a stitch.  Whilst trying to fix this dropped stitch I got into a holy (oh the pun!) mess and ended up with a massive gap and so frogged again.  This time I had to go quite far back because I had fannied about so bleeding much.  I decided that I would give it one last try and if I couldn't sort myself out then I would frog the whole lot.

Race face on.  Check.  Knitting fingers at the ready.  Check.  Arse in gear.  Check, check, check.

This time I nailed it.  Mission armhole completed.

Next problem, yep this project wasn't quite as quick and easy as it probably should have been huh. 

Decreasing?!?  The pattern basically says decrease evenly across the next row.  That is it.  No instructions, nothing.  Erm.  Okaaay.  And how do I do that??  It makes my head hurt how difficult I find knitting.

After much trawling through the other plain vest projects on Ravelry, I found some helpful folks who told me exactly how to do that with the general opinion being I could k3, k2tog all the way along.  Fine. Fine. Did that. Fine.  Only trouble is I ended up with uneven sides (so one side finished on a k2tog and the other side didn't) and it meant that the finished article looked squiffy.  See.

yes, yes dear that's what we call an uneven yoke!
In true crap novice knitter fashion I didn't notice the squiff until after I'd cast off so I'm stuck with it.

However I am turning into a bit of a whizz at fixing my knitting blunders when sewing in ends and finishing off and I decided to crochet a trim just to the top few stitches of wonky yoke to make it look more even and then I bunged on some buttons I found in a jar and ta da!!!  Betsy has got a new vest.  I am awesome after all.

Technical stuff
:: Yarn :: Drops Baby Merino, shade 22, light grey and Rowan handknit cotton, shade 341, mist.
:: Needles :: 5.5mm
:: Pattern :: free from Pickles via Ravelry
:: Buttons :: wooden ones from button jar - have no idea where or when I got them.


summer prints

I like big prints and I cannot lie.

When I was a youngster I used to be infuriated by my Mum's obsession with prints and patterns, I couldn't understand why she wouldn't buy me clothes in plain colours erm, like all my friends Mum!  But as I've aged mellowed, I find myself more often than not drawn to all things bright, bold and beautiful too.

Preference to pattern and print is fascinating. I like how everyone has their own cup of tea and we pick up on hints, subtle or otherwise, that lead us to understand somebody else's.  I know without asking which of my friends likes all things blue and swirly, who can pull off the most garish and shocking and who prefers subtle hues, pale and understated (not me, nuh uh, no way).

I think that the prints in your life are influenced by where you live and/or your heritage.  My preference for bright and clashing colours, bold summer prints and anything shiny and garish loud must surely be linked to my family roots in India where everything is brighter, lighter and shinier than shiny itself.  This may also be utter claptrap, I know nothing and am slightly prone to spouting random nonsense, surely a prerequisite for a blogger, no?

Anyway, I love the colour of Mexican serapes.  These dudes equal summer, summer, summertime.

:: etsy ::

And the coolness of Turkish Hammam towels.  I once came back from a holiday in Kalkan with my suitcase bulging at the seams with these light, floaty towels.  I feel summery just looking at them, in fact I'm now really wishing I was by the pool, sipping a margarita, soaking up the rays.....

:: sorbet ::

I love the regionality of pattern and design that so closely identifies a nation.  A sari in India evokes heat and humidity, a tartan in Scotland looks strong and warming - well it would have to be wouldn't it, Scotland is cold nearly all the time!

But there is something about summer prints that makes us yearn for these warmer months all year round, I think it's the lack of the colour black, that winter staple without whom most of us would be lost.  Black equals winter and a riot of colour equals summer - well said by the woman typing on her laptop on a boiling hot July morning wearing a black dress!

Right, I'm off to look for holidays in Turkey - Mr P better keep an eye on his wallet!


walking for fitness

I know the secret to long-term fitness.  It's free, it's easy, you don't need any special gear, it's a no-brainer really.  And we do it a lot, mainly because of this big lump.

We walk every day in all weather.  We walk in forests and parks, round water and racecourses.  We have to walk otherwise Tilly rebels and starts shooting filthy looks and flouncing about the house whilst sighing and harrumphing a lot.  This dog knows how to make a point.

Walking a dog every day is a funny business.  Sometimes you want to, sometimes you don't.  Sometimes you see lots of people out and about, especially if it's sunny but more often than not it's a solitary (and cold) occupation with maybe the odd fellow dog walker to shout a merry "halloo" to.

The good thing is that a healthy lifestyle is automatic with a dog because you have to walk them every day, you have to, them's the rules!  And so each day regardless of how I'm feeling I will walk between two and three miles.  I won't say I go fast but an old fella did shout "it's not a race" at me once so I must keep up a fair old pace.

Not all the baby weight has gone, there is still a tiny packet of bulge that won't give up the good fight, but I feel good and all my old clothes fit including my beloved skinny jeans so if you want to know the secret of keeping fit and staying a healthy weight....get a dog!

There are levels of fitness though, yesterday I was trotting along feeling really springy when, out of nowhere, another woman with a baby sped past me.  I say sped because she was on in-line skates but in fact she sort of flowed right past, rhythmically swishing and swooshing.

Now, I'm not the type of girl to make comparisons, nor do I feel like I have to keep up with anyone, especially in the mad world of Stepford Mums but this was one fit mama!  She was dressed in a white and black skin tight lycra running outfit, she was fully head-banded up and she was on it.

I knew that her royal waftiness had ruffled my feathers because immediately I looked down and noticed that I had baby food on my top and for the first time ever I cared.  In fact I licked my finger and started frantically scrubbing at it.  Of course this also happened to be the day that my pushchair was broken and so I was using our naff, pink travel buggy.  The day I had a minging pair of old jogging bottoms on.  The day my hair was scraped back and I hadn't put some face on.  Blah, blah.  Typical innit?

Well, these things happen.  I brushed myself off, looked down at my girls and realised that it didn't matter that I can't roller skate or wear lycra and whilst a bit of lippy wouldn't go amiss, it really isn't the be all and end all.

I then rounded the corner and saw lady lycra struggling in ungainly fashion to get up a hill in her skates whilst pushing a pram.  Oh happy day.