Archive for December, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice

Posted by on Dec 21 2008 | General Ramblings

Happy winter solstice everyone!

Today I baked a toffee apple cake (from Cornflower’s recipe), then had friends round for said cake, plus tea and presents. Lovely presents. A great knitting book and a lovely box from lush.

I’ve been knitting too, but I can’t show you any of it :-(.

I’m re-reading the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, and I don’t seem to be able to get anything else done apart from reading in my spare time.

So, I’m just going to go with it, I’m off for a hot bath with a sparkly bath bomb and a good book. It seems like the best way to spend the darkest day of the year.

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Edinburgh for a day

Posted by on Dec 19 2008 | Books, Cultural Things, Delicious Things, Travel

A couple of months ago, Cheryl asks me: “Hey, fancy going to Edinburgh for the day?”

Well, there’s only one answer to that question, so I got up at 4am on Tuesday to make the 6.30 flight, and by 8am we were on the airport bus watching a beautiful sunrise over the city.

Our first stop, at an hour that really was too early to expect such wonderful hospitality, was with Karen from Cornflower. Karen welcomed us into her lovely home with tea and a delicious passionfruit cake that was light a creamy and sweet and mmmmmmm. (and some lovely Scottish angora yarn that’s deciding what it would like to be). I’ve been reading the Cornflower blog for a little while now, and I suspect that some of my reading material for 2009 will be based on recommendations from there. Thank you so much for having us to visit Karen, it was lovely to meet you.

Delicious treats chez Cornflower

Our next stop was a short bus ride across the city. Ok, It was walkable sort of, but we had bus tickets, and a long day planned, and the bus went right where we needed it to. So. Justification over. Our next stop: Fidra Books. Oh boy, am I glad I don’t live near here, I don’t think they’d ever get rid of me. Ostensibly a children’s bookshop, Fidra also has a small but extremely well selected (to my mind) choice of adult books books for adults too. The shop was welcoming and friendly, and Vanessa, Malcolm and Teaga all lovely. Teaga (the dog) is quite big, so I think they would have noticed if I’d tried to sneak her home with me, but I was very tempted.

Fidra also have a publishing arm, for classic children’s books. The editions are lovely, and if you’re a fan of classic children’s adventure stories or books about ponies do check them out. They also have the later books in the Trebizon series, that I didn’t know existed. I may need to see if my local library has the earlier ones, as I haven’t read them since I was a child.

Lovely Fidra Books editions

Now, when we’d arrived in Edinburgh, the very helpful lady at the information desk told us about a German christmas market and a highland market that were on in the city. These were down by the Scott memorial, and also featured a ferris wheel. Hmmmm, is all I have to say about that.

The market was, well, small. A couple of stands, some hot wine or sausages, and that was the German market. The Highland market was pretty similar – tablet, fudge, or hats knit in Nepal with the Scottish flag on them. Oh, and crepes. Meh. It was raining at this point anyway, so we didn’t linger, and instead visited the National Gallery of Scotland for art and lunch. There are some fabulous pieces there. I especially liked the fact that their famous painting of the ice-skating preacher, The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch, by Sir Henry Raeburn, might not have actually been painted by Raeburn, was probably painted ten years after they thought, and doesn’t seem to be of Duddingston Loch.

Anyway, refreshed from our lunch and culture, we ventured up many steps…

…and down more, to K1 Yarns, which is a lovely and friendly shop with a small but nice selection of yarns. I’d imagine it’s a lovely place to hang out and knit.

K1 Yarns

By this time it was about 3.30, and we were flagging a little. Coffee, shortbread and knitting were required, and we spent a very pleasant hour in Always Sunday, a bright and comfortable cafe on the Royal Mile.

Chocolate chip shortbread and a cappucino

A very small shop later, and a stroll along Princes Street, and we were ready for home.

A very quick photo of the castle in the dark

I fell in to bed back in Dublin at about 11.30pm, very tired, but very happy.

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Some Hats

Posted by on Dec 11 2008 | Crafty things

Most of my knitting at the moment is for presents, so I can’t blog about it, but a little while ago I ended up in a bit of a hat phase.

I left my favourite warm hat in a taxi, and needed another. I’d been ashamed for a while that the hat I wore was store bought, and I really had no excuse for that.

So, I cast on for the Amelia Earhart Aviators Cap. It was fun to knit, quick and interesting, and the Rowan Wool Cotton gave good stitch definition.

There was a problem though. It just didn’t suit me.

So, with the weather getting colder by the day, I grabbed some wool/alpaca from the stash and some needles, and knocked this one up:

I love it. It’s cute and it’s cosy and warm. It’s my Pikmin hat, after the Gamecube game of a few years ago. Just missing the leaf.

This was leading up to halloween, and also to the first birthday of a friend’s daughter. I just had an urge that wouldn’t go away to make a pumpkin hat, and This is Knit had the perfect shades of the lovely Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply in stock. It just had to be.

There are plenty of patterns out there, but I just made it up as I went along, and it ended up looking exactly like the picture in my head, which was nice.

In case the hats for Innocent smoothie bottles, 2 hats for me and one to give away weren’t enough, I did make another hat around this time. A hat that’s taunting me regularly now, and keeps on giving me a very good lesson. But that’s for another post.

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A return and some Revels

Posted by on Dec 04 2008 | Delicious Things

I know, it’s been a while. Everything sort of exploded and a few things had to be put on hold to ensure my general sanity and well being, and blogging was one of them. Everything’s good, it just got a little busy there.

So. I return with the very exciting news that Revels have temporarily got rid of the coffee ones, and have introduced a new mystery sweet. I have a packet here with me now and I’m blogging as I eat them.

If you’re not familiar with Revels, they’re a sort of mini selection of chocolates. There are chocolate covered raisins, toffees, maltesers, chocolate discs, orange cremes and coffee cremes. It’s fairly obvious which are the raisins and chocolate discs, and the malteser ones are slightly bigger than the rest, but you should pretend that you don’t know what you’re getting each time.

I may be an anomoly, but I like the coffee revels. We used to have a rule that if you were sharing a pack, at the cinema for example, if someone took a sweet and got a coffee one they could take another one too. This worked out very well for me.

Before I start I would like to state for the record that I have not been researching this matter, and I have no prior knowledge of the new sweet, but I’m guessing that it’s a strawberry creme.

Anyway, onwards:

First sweet… raisin. I played it safe. Mmmm.

Sip of coffee.

Second sweet… orange. Oh yum.

Sip of coffee.

Third sweet. Going for one of creme ones again… Ewwww! Ewwww! I was right, it’s strawberry. Oh yuk, that’s really nasty. Sweet and artificial tasting. Eww ewww eww. Quick! raisin one again.

Lesson learned. No more Revels until this stupid experiment of theirs is over.

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