Thursday, 31 July 2014

And we're off :::

Camp Bestival is calling us! We're heading off very shortly. After Tuesdays 7 hour train journey back from Norfolk, today's 4 hour journey seems like nothing. Can't wait to get there and set up all ready for the fun to begin tomorrow.  I've heard rumours of limited internet reception there, so if I go quiet for a few days that'll be why.

Hope you all have glorious weekends whatever you may be doing.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

North Norfolk Holidays ::

On Thursday Milo and I headed up to North Norfolk to visit my family and enjoy a little bit of the lovely seaside, countryside. 

We're having a fabulous time but our internet is very very limited! I'll try and post to Instagram when I can, but for the most part we're enjoying being screen free for a bit. I'll post a proper recap of our time away when we get back.
Hope you're all enjoying your summer holidays.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Packing for a Festival ::

So in one week now, we're heading down to Lulworth Castle for Camp Bestival.  We are all so very much looking for this, but since we're mostly away now until it's time to go we have a lot to prepare.
As non drivers, for us packing for any trip away always has to be quite a considered activity, especially now I'm pregnant, with all the back pains I'm having, anything that isn't necessary really needs to stay at home.

We've not been to Camp Bestival before but we did attend Latitude last summer and Milo and I headed down there on our own, so I feel I have a little experience of the light packing required.

Here's my list ::

Camping Equipment ::

  • Tent (we had a 2 man last year, which was fine for me and Milo and even OK for the 3 of us when Johnny decided to turn up and surprise us) but this year I think we're borrowing my sisters 4 man, to give us a little more space as Milo and myself are both a little bigger than last year!
  • Sleeping Mats.  We borrowed some self inflating ones off a friend last year that were fab, similar to this one, they were comfy easy to carry and set up and something we'll be purchasing for ourselves this year.
  • Sleeping Bags. 
  • Pillows.  Last year I simply took our slimmest regular pillows and rolled them up.  They weren't too heavy and meant we had a little bit of extra comfort.  I then used my hoodie for a bit of extra support under this, which worked really well.
  • Light Weight Fleece Blanket. Light enough and small enough to carry, but provides a little extra comfort.
  • Small Camping Stove. We have one like this, which is nice and small but enough for our morning cup of coffee requirements.
  • Small Camping Kettle.
  • Tin Mugs.
  • Spoons/Knives/Forks
  • Small Torches.
  • Wind Up Lamp.
  • Battery Powered Fairy Lights.  These just make the tent that little bit more cosy, totally not necessary but small enough to make it in the bag.
Food and Snacks ::
I was really happy with the food stuffs we took with us last year.  They provided enough to get us through the morning before the arena opened, we took snacks on site with us and were also able to feed ourselves a couple of lunches, meaning we weren't completely reliant on purchasing food there.
  • Cup-a-soups.
  • Pot Noodles (or similar)
  • Bread. Last year I made a small loaf the day before to take along, we also took a small jar of jam. As we didn't break into the bread until the first morning, it stayed reasonably fresh and provided us with breakfast 2 days.
  • Apples. The easiest fruit to take in my opinion, easy to store and transport without any worries of squashing or going bad in the heat.
  • Coffee/Tea/Sugar.  I don't use milk in my coffee so didn't consider what to do about that last year, as the Mr does have milk in his tea I'm not sure yet how will deal with this.
  • Dried Fruit. Raisin boxes and the little bags of yoghurt covered fruits worked great for us last year, so expect we'll do the same this year.
  • Biscuits.  Also something you don't need to worry about going bad in the heat.
First Aid Kit ::
  • Hayfever Tablets
  • Paracetmol
  • Plasters
  • Savlon
Wash Bag ::
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo/Shower Gel. I decant some into a little travel bottle.
  • Suncream
  • Moisturiser
  • Wipes
  • Hairbands/Hairclips
  • Hairbrush
  • Towels
Others ::
  • Camera
  • Phone
  • Phone Charger (there isn't always a place to use these, but I tend to take to keep a full charge on the train etc. so arrive at maximum charge!)
  • Books, the smallest, lightest ones we can find in our collections!
  • Notebooks.
  • Pencil case with a collection of pencils for the boy to colour.
  • A small knitting project for myself.
  • Ear Defenders for Milo.
  • Ear Plugs.  Didn't have these last time and they were the only thing I really thought we were missing.
  • Glow Sticks.
Clothes too of course! We'll also have a fancy dress outfit for Milo for Saturday's Circus theme and I'll be keeping an eye on the weather as it approaches to make sure we have the right equipment for defending the elements.  But that's our big list.  I was so surprised last year at how much I managed to fit into such a small space.  I took just one large camping rucksack and one large shopping bag, giving one had free all the time for Milo when changing trains etc.

I really am getting so excited now! If you have any top tips for festival camping with children I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

32 Weeks ::

Oh my, I am starting to get big now.  I'm finding things more and more difficult, simple tasks like picking something up off the floor, require all sorts of odd movements and body arranging.  I'm also struggling more and more with back pains.  The physiotherapist gave me some great advice and exercises to do, which have helped a lot, but walking is becoming a real problem for me now.  I'm hoping if I just keep going things will be OK.
Otherwise all is well, I'm getting lots of Braxton Hicks, but I'm generally coping well with the heat, despite being asked about 10 times a day questions along the lines of 'how are you coping in this heat', 'I bet your struggling with this heat' etc...
I think I must also look HUGE because at least once a day a stranger will now say to me 'oooh not long now' to which I have to respond, 8 more weeks, much to their surprise! I don't actually think I look 'about to pop' big, but I guess people just don't realise quite how big you get when carrying a baby.

I'm still not quite as prepared as I should be really.  My hospital bag is not packed (I haven't even obtained all the necessary to fill it yet), but I do now have the moses basket ready and in place.  I still need to purchase a mattress but I'm hoping there's plenty of time for that.  I really must get everything in place soon though, as my sister keeps reminding me, she went into labour at 32 weeks with her first and gave birth at 34 weeks, although it seems unlikely, it isn't impossible!

Summer Holidaying ::

Woohoo...summer holidays are here.  After my boy's first year at school, we are all so very ready for this 6 week break.  He's loved school so much, but 6 weeks off, in the sunshine, a fresh new class come September and all to coincide with my maternity leave are just what we need.

We started as me meant to go on, by heading straight to Sanford Lido after school on Friday, to spend a couple of hours in the sunshine for me and a couple of hours refusing to get out of the water for Milo.  I'm ashamed to say I've not really done much with Milo in terms of swimming, summertimes at the Lido and on the beach are really the extent of his experiences so far, so I was super proud when on arrival he declared, no inflatables or goggles for him today (the kids pool at the Lido is shallow enough throughout that his feet will always touch the bottom).  I then watched him repeatedly jump in from the side and happily immerse himself entirely under the water in an action he called 'diving'.

After the Lido we met up with Johnny in the pub for chips and ginger beer.  The late(ish) night for Milo even meant he slept in a little on Saturday morning.

Since then, we've attended birthday parties, played lego, made loom band everythings, watched the Lego Movie three times and played out on the street with neighbours.  Just perfect, lovely summer holiday activities and we're only officially on day 3.

Now my shop is closed for my maternity leave we are so unbelievably busy for the next few weeks. Tomorrow Milo and I head off to Norfolk to visit my family, when we return we have one day to get ready before taking off to Camp Bestival then home for a few days before taking off for Cambridge. After that I expect we'll be taking the rest of the holidays pretty easy, as I approach those last few weeks of pregnancy. Hoping your summer holidays are filled with as much fun as ours hope to be.

Monday, 21 July 2014

31 Weeks ::

Whoa...down to single figures now!

So I think I may have jinxed myself last week with all that talk of how wonderful I was feeling.  This week has not been so great.  I've really really struggled with back pain, it started on Sunday and it seems to have got progressively worse as the week has gone on.  It's an odd pain about halfway up my back. It's fairly constant, though much worse if I'm walking, when it tends to spread around my front too.  The only real relief I'm managed to find for it so far is to lie down with a hot water bottle under the offending area.  I'm sure you can imagine this isn't the most comfortable way to be in this mini heat wave we're having.  I remember having this same pain when I was pregnant with Milo but I really don't remember it being quite so bad.  Fortunately I'm off to see the physiotherapist this morning. I'm really hoping she has some kind of miracle cure for me, as I'm so looking forward to the summer holidays and all the fun things we have planned.

On a brighter note all this gorgeous sunshine means I'm really get through washing all the baby things in anticipation of her arrival.  I still have a lot to organise, a hospital bag to pack and a whole lot of essentials to buy, but I'm feeling a little bit better about all that now I at least have some clothes all washed and ready for her to wear.  I also discovered yesterday that I've been booked in for an extra scan at 34 weeks, I have no idea why this is, as far as I'm aware there have absolutely no problems with her growth etc. so far, but it'll be lovely to see her again before the big day.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Finding Inspiration :: Dressing Up for the Circus ::

Two weeks today we'll heading down to Lulworth Castle for this years Camp Bestival.  We're so excited.  I cannot wait.  We've never been before, but everything I've read about it so far just makes me more and more eager to go.

The dressing up theme this year is 'Circus'.  After sending Milo off to school this morning dressed as a spider for his 'Ugly Bug Ball', I got to thinking about his costume for Camp Bestival.  We've had a bit of a chat about it and I think at the moment he wants to be a clown, though there was some indecision over whether a lion tamer would be better.

I'll probably make his costume, but I couldn't help taking a peek over on etsy at some of the fabulous circus themed items they had over there.  Here are a few of my favourites.

Click the little pictures at the bottom to see the original source of the images above, or click the big picture to see more of my pins over on pinterest.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Crochet Lego Head :: A Pattern ::

I originally made this Lego head about 18 months ago now, after taking Stacey Trock's fabulous Monster Making class on Craftsy.  I only ever really intended to make one for Milo and leave it at that, but I've had so many requests for the pattern for this I thought I'd write it up for you.

It's really very simple and if you've tried your hand at amigurumi before I'm sure you'll have no problems with this.  If you haven't here a few notes to help you on your way.
  • The whole head is made in one piece, working in continuous rounds of double crochet (UK), meaning you don't join or chain at the beginning of each round, you just carry on in to the next stitch.
  • You start at the bottom and work up to the top, increasing and decreasing at various points to create the shaping.
  • You start your project using the magic loop technique.  This gives you a nice tight first round with hardly any gap in your starting ring, this is especially important for amigurumi as you want your work as tight and as free from holes as possible.  There is a really handy tutorial for magic loop over on craftsy here.
  • You need to use a marker to keep track of the beginning of your round, I find a scrap of yarn much, much easier to use than an actual stitch marker.  I have a tutorial on how to do this here.
  • There is much talk about the right side and the wrong side of your work, I say as for most crafty endeavours, there is no right or wrong, go with what looks/feels best for you.  I know some folks prefer to work through the back loop only of each stitch too. I take the side that faces me as I work to be the right side and work through the whole stitch, but like I said, do whatever works best for you.
  • I recommend you go at least a hook size smaller than your yarn ball suggests, this helps to get a nice tight fabric.
  • You can use whatever kind of yarn weight or content you like for this project, obviously the chunkier the yarn the bigger the head, for my bigger version I used aran weight yarn held double and for the smaller head I used a fingering/4ply weight yarn.  The smaller head measures 5cm tall and 5cm wide.

Monday, 14 July 2014

This Week ::

A round up of some of my favourite moments from my Instagram this week ::

30 Weeks ::

Oh my how exactly did it all go by so quickly! 10 weeks to go, though I'm thinking I'd quite like for her to arrive a couple of weeks early and therefore get in to the earlier school year!  Not too early mind.

All has been pretty quiet in terms of pregnancy this week, no appointments, no worries or problems and an unexpected upturn in energy levels.  All in all it's been a good week.  In fact there have even been a couple of occasions I've almost forgot I'm pregnant at all, which when you're as big as I am is quite unexpected.

I'm starting to think I need to start getting ready.  I've made a big list of items for my hospital bag, though I'm hoping to stay at home I still need to have a bag ready to go, just in case. I was thinking I'd get together a box for labour at home too, something with everything ready for when the time comes. I don't remember having a particularly large bag last time, but the list I've copied off a baby website somewhere on the internets, seems enormous. Think I'll be taking a suitcase in to hospital with me. I'm also making a start on getting all the clothes etc. washed and ready whilst it's lovely and sunny.  I'm super lucky in that I've been given a whole ton of clothes, there really is pretty much nothing in terms of clothing I need to buy, which I'm really grateful for.

Like I say all is pleasantly quiet this week, which is wonderful and really given me a chance to start preparing for the summer holidays and all the business of having fun which will ensue.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Stash Dash 2014 ::

I have quite a few finished objects this week.

I finally finished up my Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  I'm not sure if this really counts towards my stash dash total as I haven't really done any actual knitting on it.  I'm going to count it unofficially just because it seems unlikely I'll make that 5,000 total anyways!
I love this cardigan, I loved knitting it and really like the way it turned out.  I did 10 rows of white for every 4 rows of colour, I did this without doing any sums to see if it would work, but fortunately it's almost perfect in terms of colour spacing.  I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino DK for the main colour and some scraps I had left over from my Mystery Blanket for the stripes, which was Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. Buttons are from my etsy shop (don't forget I have 30% off until I go on maternity leave and there's a chance to win £15 to spend in store, see this blog post)
Yardage is 240

Next up is the Milo vest I knit for the baby.  Looks super tiny, which is a bit worrying, but hopefully I've just forgotten how tiny babies really are, it also has quite a lot of stretch.  I enjoyed this pattern and I love the yarn (Cascade 220 Aran).
Yardage is 132

I also managed to finish up the baby granny blanket.  I just kept going until I ran out of yarn.  I'm not sure I'm all that impressed with this piece, I don't think it helps that after soaking it I decided I couldn't be bothered to block it so just laid out to dry.  I'm sure it will serve it's purpose well though.  I used Rowan Felted Tweed, which in retrospect is probably a bit tickly for baby skin, but I figure it will be over sleepsuits and sheets so probably won't be too much of a problem and will certainly be lovely and warm.
Yardage is 764

Lastly I have something entirely different for me, some spinning!  I bought myself a spindle last year from Hill Top Cloud and taught myself from the kit I got.  Then at the Knitting and Stitching Show I purchased some fleece to try and have a bit more of a practice.  That was back in October and I literally just finished spinning that measly 50 grams a couple of nights ago.  I was thinking spinning just wasn't really for me, as much as I'd like it to be, but when I came to ply the yarn I changed my mind a little. As I saw the yarn really come together, I thought maybe I could enjoy this after all.  This is very much a beginners skien of handspun, but everyone has to start somewhere right?! I have no idea what I can/will actually knit from it either, it's really quite ugly in many many ways.  For now I'll just admire all my hard work.
Obviously now I can't stop looking at all the beautiful roving on etsy I'm especially in love with the gorgeous colours over at Spin City Yarns, plus her spindles are works of arts in themselves.
Yardage is 236.

So my total yardage so far is:
Brickless - 315
Hitchiker/Brickless for me - 275
Baby socks and hat - 70
Milo's Hitchiker - 215
Baby Surprise Jacket - 240
Milo Vest - 132
Granny Square Baby Blanket - 764
Ugly Skein - 236
Total - 2,247 (nearly halfway!)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Win :: £15 to spend at

As you are probably aware by now, I shall soon be going on my maternity leave.  I have officially decided to shut up my shop when the summer holidays begin, so the closing date will be Sunday 20th July.  I figured this would give me time to spend with Milo over the holidays before the baby arrives (plus I am no where near to being ready to have a new baby join us!).

So until then I'm offering 30% off across my shop with the coupon code HELLOBABY I probably won't be reopening the shop until 2015 so if there's anything you want to get your hands on now is a great time to do so.

If you don't already have an etsy account, you can sign up using this link to get yourself a fabulous £5 credit to spend in any etsy store that accepts gift vouchers!

I'm also offering 1 lucky reader a chance to win £15 to spend in my shop, all you need to do is enter using the rafflecopter form below.  The competition will close next Sunday to allow the winner a week to spend their prize.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Week ::

A round up of some of my favourite moments from my Instagram this week ::

Friday, 4 July 2014

29 Weeks ::

Cravings seem to be starting to make an appearance in my day.  I never really had any at all with Milo, apart from drinking gallons of hot ribena, something I returned to at the beginning of this pregnancy but has since passed.
This time however foods call to me from a far throughout the day.  Mostly it's the old age cliche of the gherkin, I could happily munch on these all day, if it weren't for the terrible indigestion they provide I probably would.  I'm not pairing them with any odd companions you'll be pleased to know, just as they are on their own suits me fine.
Other things that I've been particularly keen on so far this week have included, avocados (seriously try finding a ripe avocado that you can consume right then and there, in this country I don't actually believe that's possible), peanut butter (Reeces's peanut butter cups especially!) and oats.  I made flapjacks this morning to ease this particular craving, I had this last time too, right at the end of my pregnancy with Milo I made batch after batch of oat and raisin cookies, I later learned that oats are good for milk production, so I wonder if that's why.

I had my 28 week check up with the midwife a couple of days ago, all is well.  Milo came with me and was able to listen to the baby's heartbeat which was really nice, though he was pretty disappointed I didn't need any blood tests. I'd warned him earlier that this may be a possibility, afraid it might worry him a bit, turns out my morbid child was super keen to seen the midwife draw blood from me!  My bump is measuring a couple of weeks ahead, but I'm not sure this is a particularly accurate science, so I'm not worrying about it yet.  She's also currently lying across my stomach, rather than head down, I figured this from the way she moves and the strange feeling I get and the limbs I can see when she stretches out.  Midwife says this is fine for now as there's still plenty of time for her to get into position.
Milo was breach up until quite close to the end last time, it wasn't until the day I went in to have him turned that he decided to flip over into the correct position.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Stash Dash 2014 ::

I cannot stop knitting at the moment.  Unfortunately it's not all the old 'works in progress' I originally aimed to finish over Stash Dash, but lots of new things, fortunately I've knit entirely out of my stash at least.

I have 3 finished projects to share with you this week.

First up is my Hitchiker/Brickless mash up from 2 of Martina Behm's patterns.  I am loving Martina's patterns.  I literally cannot stop knitting them.  I am so happy with everything about this particular shawl.  I dyed the yarn myself with Kool Aid and am so happy with the result, there are a couple of patches where the colour jumps a bit more dramatically than I would like, but over all I love the finished look of it.  I'm also really pleased with the beading, this is probably my first 'proper' beaded project and these work so perfectly with the weight of this yarn.  Seriously I am so in love with this project.
I calculated the yardage at 275, though this wasn't stated on the skein so had to do a bit of weighing and measuring, I'm fairly sure it's pretty accurate.

Next up, I knit some socks and a hat for the baby out of some more hand dyed yarn.  This time it was a self striping I dyed up, hoping it would look like strawberries, but it sort of looks a little more like a football team colours or quite christmassy!  Either way, I'm reasonably happy with the result.  The socks are just simple top down tube socks, in the hope they will grow a little with the baby and the hat is a simple hat knit in the round with an icord tail on top.
Yardage is 70.

And lastly, Milo requested a hitchiker for himself, one that looked like fire.  I dyed some yarn on Sunday, a beautiful, perfectly coloured gradient which went from yellow to red over 7 shades, it was wonderful, dyed with Kool Aid, on cotton.  Alas I should have tested this combination first, because as soon as I put the skein in to soak, the colour ran out and the whole thing became the same shade of peach.  Hey ho, lesson learned.  I did have some dye left over so I painted an aran weight merino I had in my stash and the result was this.  I'm not entirely sure it looks like fire (more like Fruit Salad sweeties I reckon) but Milo's happy and that's all that matters.
Yardage is 215.

So my total yardage so far is:
Brickless - 315
Hitchiker/Brickless for me - 275
Baby socks and hat - 70
Milo's Hitchiker - 215
Total - 875 (still a long way off the 5000!!)