Monday, 20 October 2014

A few of my favourite things

These items are quickly turning into my wardrobe staples.  Here's the bargain cashmere jumper in action - you know, that one I won't stop going on about?  It's sooo cosy.  This dress is in pretty constant rotation all year, being that it's that rare mix of long enough, and navy, and fitted in just the right way.  (Here's a slightly better view of it...)  And the shoes.  Hmm.  Alison also owns them and loves them but they're taking an absolute age to break in!  In fact I wore them out to dinner a few weeks ago - I walked there and back, about half an hour round trip - and they rubbed my feet so badly I couldn't wear anything against my heels for over a week.  Picture me walking about Glasgow, standing on the back of my shoe so nothing touches the bloody, plaster-covered surface of my foot.  It's a nice image, isn't it?  I'd been a bit scared to put them on again since but they seem to be ok just walking about work.  Fingers crossed they accept my feet soon!

coat - Topshop Tall via eBay
jumper - M&S mens via charity shop
dress - Monsoon
brogues - Clarks

Friday, 17 October 2014

Finished Crochet - Christmas bunting

My first completed crochet project!  I'm a bit proud of myself here, since I managed to do this completely independently of my class.  I was off work ill a couple of days last week, which carried on into the weekend, so I thought it was a good time to lie on the sofa with movies and wool.  After finding the bunting project on the Let's Knit website (free pattern!) I decided it was time for a bit of extra crochet practise.  I had no trouble with it at all - the triangles are just like granny squares and the snowflakes are chains and double crochet.  They took about ten minutes each and I LOVED doing them, I think our office window will be getting decorated in snowflakes soon.

As usual my stitches were pretty tight, so the shaping came out a bit curved.  I also did the red border around three sides instead of two - that'll teach me to only read the instructions once.  The 'string' that holds them together should have an extra chain row on the top but when I started it, it seemed to be taking the design out of shape - again, this was probably down to my tight stitches though.

I've decided to give my first completed crochet project to Mother next month - I got us tickets to the Country Living Christmas Show for her birthday so it seems like an appropriate time!  Plus she taught me how to knit many (many many) years ago and it feels right that she should benefit from the eventual evolution of my skills.

Next up, I want to try this cute little pumpkin pattern designed by Jo.  Hopefully with my fellow crocheters sat beside me on holiday I should get it semi right...


Thursday, 16 October 2014

The end of Super Summer, Take Two

I think we can say summer is well and truly over now!  I was giving my Super Summer list until the end of September since I knew there was a few I would do towards the end, and I'm pleased to say most activities were ticked off.  Let's start with the good ones...

A Definite Yes
I went camping (twice!) - once in Ardnamurchan and once in Moffat.
I drank cocktails that Tam's mum and I made - we mixed wine, lemonade and a bunch of fruit and called it Sangria.
I watched the sunset with Tam at Ardnamurchan.  It was beautiful.  We did this a few times in the summer, most recently in Blackpool.
I went to a water park.  It was satisfactory.  And pricey.
I sat on a deck chair on North Pier.  It was just hanging out waiting for me to come along and tick off my list.  It was less comfortable than I expected.
I visited many Scottish islands!  Rum and Eigg and Arran and Inchcolm.  I can't choose a favourite.  But I did come this close to applying for a job on Canna last week so that little cluster was among the top of my list.
I went to Blackpool.  And we won a minion there.  And another one up here, taking our total to five.  We have a problem.
I made more videos - we captured the local fair day and a trip to Burntisland on what may have been the windiest day of the year.  Parsnip and I nearly went over a cliff!  (Dramatic?  Me?)  My boss is going to teach me to edit them so no-one has to hear me telling Tam to wave.
I visited Yorkshire before my friend moved to Ireland, via Scotland to get married.
I visited two lighthouses - one at the most westerly point on the Scottish mainland, and another at North Queensferry.  It was so tiny I have no idea how Tam and I both got in there.

Kind Of Achieved
I was in the sea multiple times...whether I actually swam could be debated...I'd say probably not, although I did get waist high in Rum.  It's just too cold up here, even in June!
My friend had a ceilidh band at her wedding and we danced every single I reckon this counts as going to a ceilidh.
Tam claims that our current holiday (the one we're on right now that this post has been scheduled not to interrupt) could count as a group holiday but I'd say it's more of a family one...  And it's definitely outside the time limit.
I have knitted a few wee hats for the Big Knit, but the deadline is later this year so I haven't given it a great push yet.  Soon!
We didn't have a beach BBQ, mostly because I forgot about this one - we cooked dinner on a camp fire and had an actual BBQ in the garden though.

Definitely Did Not Do This
I didn't get to sleep in a camper van (they cost a LOT to hire, you guys), nor a hammock.  No idea where I'd find one of them lying about to be honest.  Trying surfing failed for the same reason.
Much to my disappointment, a distillery was not visited.  Yet.
I didn't walk across the Forth Road Bridge.  Still really want to do this but I have a raging hatred for windy weather, so maybe winter won't be the best time to fulfill the dream...
I also didn't do the Great Scottish Run.  My uncle did though and he only started running a few months ago.  Folk like that make my injury plagued body crazy jealous.

I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I achieved from the list!  Tam was good at reminding me of various points on it, but I think we both forgot a few that needed more effort to complete.  There's always next summer...


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Me and my knitwear

I've been wanting to do a series of posts about the various parts of my wardrobe for a while now.  I think I have more of a definite style now than I did when this blog started up, or indeed ever - I tend to go back and forth and back again on my tastes in just about everything, but lately I've been getting more comfortable with the way things are now and it seemed as good a time as any to document it.  I'm obviously starting with my favourite part of my clothing collection - knitwear!  Living in Scotland means about half of these items are in constant rotation, with the rest being worn from around September to May.  There's something gloriously comfortable about pulling a big men's jumper over a floral dress, or a cardigan over a tshirt and skinnies, or a giant chunky jumper over pjs.  Am I right?

For new or casual readers - my wardrobe is based on what fits me as a taller than average woman.  I don't usually wear a specific size in tops, unless I'm buying actual Tall range items.  This is probably most apparent in knitwear, since I like oversized sweaters and cardigans, which helps with the inevitable sleeve and body length problems.  I love menswear and charity shops especially for finding items that fit the way I want, as you're about to find out...  Also I can wear whatever I like to work, so there's no division needed in my wardrobe - almost everything needs to be suitable for everyday use.

The Basics
grey jumper - H&M, burgundy jumper - H&M, black jumper - Long Tall Sally (here)
purple cardigan - H&M mens, navy cardigan - Long Tall Sally (here), blue cardigan - Gap mens
These cardigans live in the wardrobe all year, as does the black jumper.  They go with most of my other clothes and are worn at least half the week.  The purple and blue cardigans have gone a bit bobbly, the Gap one disappointingly quickly, but I still love them.  The Gap one even has pockets, the holy grail of ladies clothing!

The Menswear
mickey jumper - Topman, penguin jumper - Run and Fly, goofy jumper - Topman via charity shop
tan jumper - EWM via charity shop, navy jumper - M&S via charity shop
These ones come out in the fall to spring rotation, although only the Mickey and penguin ones have been in my wardrobe for longer than a few months.  The cashmere jumper was my bargain of the year - at £1.85, extra large AND navy, it's something I know I'll love until it falls to pieces.  I'm not sure if the Topman/Disney jumpers were originally from the same collection, but I swear they're the only 'novelty' part of my otherwise age appropriate wardrobe.  Unless we're counting the penguins.  (A Christmas present from Tam last year,  My reaction?  'Hahahaha one of them is drunk!')

The Chunky Knits
cream cable jumper - M&S mens via charity shop, black ribbed jumper - TTYA4LTS (here), green jumper - handknit via charity shop
red cardigan - TK Maxx mens, green cardigan - handmade by Mother
My favourite part of the wardrobe come mid-winter.  I seem to have a habit of picking cold flats to live in, so these babies are a lifesaver on the coldest days.  The bobbly, verging-on-holey M&S cable knit is so soft and warm, I've taken to wearing it probably more than I should, given its age...  

The Hand Knit Twin Set
jumper and cardigan - handmade by Mother from this pattern
Yeah...I begged Mother to make me a twin set (after binging on too many period dramas no doubt) and it turned out to be a bit chunky to wear both pieces at the same time, despite the 4ply wool.  I blame the cable/ribbing.  As with my green cardigan above, she measured the sleeves out to make them longer for me then added an extra bit 'just in case'.  So I have a cardigan with turned up sleeves, which is actually a great novelty since I'm used to sleeves being too short!  The jumper is my only shorter sleeved knitted item - I get cold too easily for bare arm skin.

The Randoms
fair isle cardigan - H&M, blue/white cardigan - BHS, granny cardigan - charity shop
blue jumper - H&M, grey sparkle jumper - Long Tall Sally
These are the odd ones out, the bits that can make themselves a bit awkward to style but that I love nonetheless.  I discovered last year that if I went up a few sizes in H&M that sleeves would be long enough, so I bought a bunch of jumpers in the post Christmas clearance sale.  The BHS one was another anomoly - it's actually a size down from my standard but the sleeves were somehow fine.  I think that distracted me from the fact that I own literally not one other pastel coloured item of clothing, but the length means it works with dresses just fine.  I also don't do sparkly things, but I really liked the style of this LTS jumper when I saw it in the sale last year so I gave it a go,  It's a little thinner and more fitted than my usual style but it gets fairly regular outings to my work.

And that's my knitwear!  Phew, you've probably seen half my wardrobe in that one post.  And a lot of it being worn in my outfit posts.  When I was writing up this post, I found a similar thing on Ella's blog - but hers has the edge in that all her knits are handmade!  I may as well admit that those levels of patience for knitting are beyond me so I'm a bit jealous of her collection...


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Into the woods

We were looking for somewhere different to walk last weekend - or rather, a different way to end up at the same place - and ended up going through the woods at the prettiest time of day.  The sun was streaming through the trees and showing off all the lovely leafy colours at their autumnal best.  You wouldn't think we'd be getting caught in a hail storm an hour or so later...  As usual, Parsnip was in his element and was almost happy to pose for photos, provided we snapped away quickly enough anyway.  He's not daft, there was too much exploring to do!  I got my favourite boots out of their brief summer retirement and stomped about feeling invincible in the face of the mud.  (I got them for a bargain in TK Maxx, but they have a newer version on the website here.)  Here's hoping we can hang on to this sunny weather a bit longer...