Sunday, 27 February 2011


Hello all

I've been living very much in the spirit of this blog: playing. Cheered by my new knit spot I decided to venture even further afield and the man beast and I went on a day of finding a new 'place'. Do you have that? Like a place you ALWAYS go with your partner or friend? We had one. Oh wow, I miss it so bad and since moving here we've not found THE place. 

So I packed up my knitting, he packed up his work for the day and we started in a place just round the corner. It started off promising, I was enjoying the space: light, airy and full of interesting things to look at. I settled into more lace work and the man beast and I felt cheered. 
Then the coffee came. It was good, don't get me wrong but LOOK at this cup? I like my favourite mug for a good reason: it has a pleasing shape and I can insert my index finger through the handle and 'hug' it with both hands. I could not get my finger through this and I started to grow uncertain about too much radical change. The java gods were angry, I'd messed with what was right and perfectly good at home. Nervously, I knittted on and wondered whether being a creature of habit might not be such a bad idea after all. I mean, bad mugs? What's next? Too thin glassware ::shudders::

Then breakfast came; I was expecting the breakfast of champions. It was, inspid. One of my favourite songs is 'How do you like your eggs?'. NOT LIKE THIS.
We moved onto a less well lit space that had good cups. See? I can get my finger in there. I toottled home to watch Twlight (I have no shame, I'm 29 almost 30 and I heart teen vamp flicks, you're not the boss of me). Man beast came in an hour later with this

It's a Hazlenut Caramel cheescake from Ottolenghi's. Who I've just realised have a blog. HELLO!

So how did I finish off this exploration? Why bowling and dancing and hula hooping at The Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes. It was so playful. Firstly they have a big tribute to Mad Men with a big Sterling Cooper business card for Donald Draper on the walls. I immediately knew that me and this venue were going to be great friends. Then it's all jazz, funk and hip hop on the dance floor. You can grab a booth and grab a slice while drinking beer and then drunkenly play bowling or sing into the early hours. I was very taken with the shoes....!!!

Hope you all had lovely weekends too.

Friday, 25 February 2011

A change will do you good

What's this? Oh that's my new knit spot. Isn't it pretty? Yesterday, the rain FINALLY lifted and I walked out to meet a girlfriend for cheap lunch. I spotted lots of early signs of Spring and even put on my sunglasses. I felt a shift in my apathy, life was good. 

So I scooped up my lace project, Spring Leaves, and popped back out round the corner to Canonbury Square. (I'm going to warn you now, a very smug paragraph is coming up). The thing about where I live in London is that I'm surrounded by the most beautiful houses, parks and shops. Everything is individual and full of character. Having moved from Canary Wharf where there is a tower sucking up the souls of any life around it, its such a happy move. Canonbury is also very historic and I tried to capture this while I paused between rows. I noticed another knit sib in the opposite square and smiled across. Neither of us spoke, we were just content to acknowledge our smugness at knitting in such an awesome spot and carry on.
This plaque says 'George Orwell lived here'. (Excuse the bad photo, I really was too lazy to stand up and take a better one). There's another one round the corner for Evelyn Waugh. Again. where I live has lots of blue and green plaques commemorating famous people. Islington has always been 'artsy' so I often just wander about, looking for plaques and peering in little gated gardens. 

So there I sat, feeling content, knitting at last after another knitting funk. All around me were signs of Spring and I tried to ignore the fact we've been predicted another cold blast next week. It doesn't matter. I have this. 

ppppsssstttt..... a note on the damn pigeon. If you ever come to London and are sucked into one of those stupid places where they sell feed like Trafalgar Square then want to take your picture, DON'T. They are flying rats that are destroying our lovely buildings. It drives me nuts that people feed them.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

I captured 'L'

PhotobucketThis week's You Capture was fun. I decided to enter into the spirit of things and really try to find things I wouldn't normally capture. I live in London, I had grand hopes of capturing something so completely London to me that I'd be able to tell the world about the wonderful city I live in.
The hurdle was my complete apathy this week. Not towards this projects but in general. I'm honestly struggling to knit, read or even leave the flat. I can't tell you what I've been up to in it's place though. Really. Where did this week go?

I DID flirt with the idea of writing about the plight of the UK's libraries but the pictures just didn't feel like something I would never have thought of capturing before; I am completely in love with the area of London I live in so I regularly snap the architecture. I like the idea of finding something new, that's why I do this challenge. I did find Latex though which sure made me giggle.I will post some more 'London' pics though. I might even make myself go out today with this sole purpose in an effort to beat the apathy.

Then I stumbled on an idea: Laundrette! I went in and looked at the rows of machines all pleasingly identical. I puzzled the laundry worker as I snapped my shot and felt pleased: Kate 1, apathy nil. 
L is for Laundrette

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


I've been pondering my next post. I have lots of recipe ideas, knitting news, playful things I've been up to and more Introducing goodness. What struck me today as I looked at images I'd captured to illustrate these posts with, was a sense of ritual. I'll explain.....

I'm on school break which is just as well because I've been flondering with myself lately and I don't know why. I've been particularly lost as I've NOT been following my usual rituals. Normally I'd get up, make strong coffee, put on some jazz and cook up some eggs or something while I catch up on Ravelry. I'd then knit before realising I'd lost half the day and disappear off to do something domestic or find an adventure. I've not been doing this. I know that I've been doing things but I can't put my finger of what that is right now. 

Today however, I've found my groove. I woke, stretched contentedly and arranged some meet ups later. Then I basked in tea, leftover breakfast muffins and took a bath with a book. (I'm currently reading 'The Concubine', jury's still out but historic fiction is my trashy read of choice so I'll let it pass). I realised I need these little rituals to settle me down before I wander off and find something shiny. Without them, I get quite lost and antsy. 

So I've set myself up for a ritualistic day: the washing machine is slowly winding down and I've got podcasts keeping me company (Never not Knitting is still my favourite but I'm saving the last episode, how sad am I?). As you can see I've hollowed out a knit spot with some baked goods and I fuelled on hummus and veggies. For godsake no one tell the man beast though- I pouted that we ALWAYS have hummus and I wanted a new dip but I'm secretly revelling in the hummus today. I must make some Avocado hummus again soon. 

Yes the recipes will follow and I will have knitting news that involves lace success (ish) but today I'm celebrating rituals, like a recurring cup. Have you noticed it?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Introducing: Last Yesterday

I have some pretty clever and talented friends and people I've got to know via the joy of Ravelry, blogging and crafting. I decided I'd like to give them a shout out and hopefully run features on 'a talent' every couple of weeks or so. To kick us off I've started with my friend Amber, who blogs at Last Yesterday. Stay tuned for more features. 

I chose Amber because I love her writing style and her no nonsense attitude to life. She is one of the most playful people I know but when it comes to life, she's got it sorted- she gives the best advice too!

What are your favourite hobbies?
I love to crochet, sew, bake, read and color. When the weather is nice, I like to do outdoorsy things like canoe, climb trees, and wander around aimlessly in the woods. And when nobody’s watching, I dance.
Favourite Childhood Game?
This is a fairly tough one. I had quite a few! Hide and seek was always a favorite, because I could hide like a ninja. Then, there was Spoons, a fantastic card came that normally ends in chaos, followed closely by Egyptian Ratscrew, another chaos filled card game. And of course, board games! I loved Candy Land, Scattergories, Scrabble and Life.

Where do you find inspiration?
A little bit of everywhere. It normally springs from boredom, me thinking something needs to be done or improved, and I go from there. Sometimes, I’ll flip through blogs, and see something someone has created, and think “I can do that.”

Are you an early bird or midnight owl?
Neither, actually. I hate waking up, but I love sleeping. I’m more of an early afternoon person, right after lunch. It’s when I get my best work done.

Tell us about a dream you recently remember (it doesn’t have to be recent, it can just be one that’s stuck with you!)
LOL. My dreams. I have the most unusual dreams. The one I can remember most recently, was for some reason, I was in an Indiana Jones movie. Indy and I were on some adventure, somewhere in the jungle, and he had to rescue me constantly. Never the less, I think it was the hottest dream I’ve ever had. Did I mention I have a thing for Indiana Jones?
Though, I do have a reoccurring dream. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. I’m walking around this grand house, and I’m peeking into every bedroom. In these rooms, there are different themes. And that’s all I do. Wander around and peek into rooms. But the thing is, every time I have the dream, the themes of the rooms are never the same. I don’t understand it, but its fun seeing what themes my head can come up with.

Comfort Food of choice?
Bread. Hands down, bread. Normally, a good fluffy yeast roll, right out of the oven, with butter. Nom nom nom.

When you daydream, where do you tend to end up?
Normally, somewhere in the future. I dream about what’s to come, where we’ll be living next, what things we can do there, how I can redecorate our home, etc. Other times, I just think about random things. But, it’s always present or future things. I’ve never really dwelled on the past. 

Life according to Amber:
I’m Amber, a 25 year old newlywed, who was thrust into the Army wife life. It’s always an adventure, and I never know when to expect my husband home for dinner.
I grew up in a large town during my school career, and was a rather quirky kid. I most definitely was a tomboy, who my mother desperately tried to tame into a young lady. She succeeded a little. She taught me to sew and crochet, and took me to dance lessons, which helped me stay “feminine”, and I developed my love to bake from my grandmother. My father taught me how to respect and fire guns, fish, create a proper fire, change my oil and how grill damn good meat. As much as I love my mom, I am a complete daddy’s girl.

When I graduated from high school, I got my first job at a bookstore, which caused my room to explode with books. Along with a new job, we moved into a new house, my first move ever. I went to a community/junior college for my Associates degree, which is also a military college, where I met my husband, Brian. While neither of us can pinpoint why we love each other exactly, we know it’s true blue love. After graduating with my Associates, I moved along to another college and another job, and I’ve been there since, plodding along with my Graphic Design degree. I hate school, but thankfully, my bachelor’s is here in the near future.

We’re currently residing at Fort Knox, while Brian is at Armor School, learning how to play with tanks and various other things that go boom. I’m currently a “domestic goddess” and spend my days crocheting, trying to figure out how to play the ukulele, and spending way too much time on the internet, whether it be for school or just for the hell of it.

A huge thank you to Amber for taking time out from being a kick ass friend and domestic goddess to answer my questionnaires and provide some images. I hope Indy knows you're spoken for....!!!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Morning is broken


Morning all. I should not be up. Nope. It is a Saturday and these are made for lying sleepily under one's duvet, tangling feet with the man beast and finally giving in to the idea of getting up for coffee. I've been up for nearly 40 minutes and there's no coffee.


The upstairs neighbour has the squeakiest door EVER. Really. It's like some kind of Chinese torture device, slowly creaking open then screeeeetching shut. I can hear it now. It's not a couple of times either, it's over and over again at 7.20 every morning. I couldn't block it out this morning. Then I started to listen to the rain that had been so comforting last night but this morning is driving me nuts. Oh and there's a bird chirping repeatedly which again, I should be joyful as it signifies Spring. But I'm not. I am thinking I want fresh pie.....

So I'm up and deciding what to do. I have plans to make Breakfast muffins and I've photoshopped yesterday's pictures. I'll share some of those with you instead of throwing myself under the sofa with all the cushions on my ears as I'm tempted to with THE DOOR GOING AGAIN. I will have to concentrate very hard though, I'll warn you now. 

Yesterday I took the camera out on the way to the grocery store. I'd spent all mornign joyfully reading blogs and I had the next You Capture challenge in mind (it's something srtarting with L FYI). We are blessed with some truly beautiful libraries in Islington and I wanted to capture them and write a feature about the threat they are under (for a look at how people are trying to support try here). 

I snapped away thinking how sad and awful it will be to lose these fantastic resources and even more horror struck by the idea that they'll become another vacant London building , falling into further disrepair because no one has the money to preserve a vacant building. I watched families pouring in and out, adults stepping purposefully in to make use of the free internet access and language groups and thought about the parenting/ story telling/ sign and sing groups that are drying up as both Children's Centres and libraries are scrapped under our dear new government. Oh no Cameron, I completely agree with you when you tell us to 'grow up' about the cuts. I can see we're just being childish about wanting to encourage community learning FOR ALL not just your elitist academies that will suck teaching talent dry. Gotcha. 
So I'm snapping away, a little peeved and man beast points across the road next to the library and says 'L is for Latex'. I snap nmy head up from my camera and say 'WHAT?!?!' and follow the direction of his pointing finger. Yup. A latex couture shop right next to the library. Not just one latex shop though..... two. Uh huh. 
 London is a strange and wonderful place.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Because apparently some things can't wait.

To be fair I did promise my friend Gourmet Macaroni Cheese instructions. I was planning to get it here sooner but I've been busy demolishing needles and sleeping and things. Tonight I was subject to the pathetic cries of a girl intent on carb loading before she hits Stitches tomorrow. I guess I should keep her sweet, there could be yummy yarn in my future.

So for my darling PJ, here is the instructions of how I made my Gourmet Macaroni Cheese.

For the Sauce:
  • I dollaped about 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and melted it down. 
  • I threw in about the same amount again of flour. I didn't bother to seive as I would for a regular sauce as I was adding cheese so I was expecting lumps. 
  • You end up with a 'paste' that smells quite delicious (don't eat it, you'll have to start again and that's actually a lot of butter). 
  • Graaaaaaaaadually add milk, about a tablespoon at a time and keep it moving, waiting until the milk has completely disappeared into the paste before adding more. The paste gradually gives way to a thick, thick sauce and you keep going till you have a sauce that pours smoothly from your spoon but doesn't 'run'. I've tried to photograph this as I'm rubbish at quantities, I cook by instinct.
  • Grate some delicious cheese and add about a cup and a half, stir it in till it melts. 
Making the floury paste
It's hard to 'grab' but hopefully this gives you an idea what you're aiming for
Pour said sauce over cooked pasta (I ran out of Mac) and grate further cheese on top to crisp. This time I added a layer of mushroom at the bottom, I sometimes use tomatoes and basil. The cheese was this deliciously strong goodness that I got from the farmer's market. It was a rich cheddar with blue vein. I've used gorgonzola for the topping before too or sprinkled on a little bread crumb for extra crunch. I always put a healthy dose of black pepper on the top to offset the cheese too.

I popped this in the oven for about 30-35 minutes as I like the top to be quite crunchy.
Enjoy! x

Getting warmer still

Isn't this lovely? It's another Jared Flood pattern, Wool Leaves. I've made it once before and it's a quick and satisfying knit. The lace is pretty intuitive and the overall effect is always brilliant. I've always loved Mr Flood's patterns and I've knit this twice now- both times for a special friend who is having a baby.

The wool is Cascade 128 Superwash Chunky. It's not the kind of yarn I'd probably use for a jumper as it doesn't have that 'pop' I like in more solid fabric but I really loved it for this. My friend is a wee goth chic and so a dark grey for little Samuel seemed perfect. I'm all about the neutrals or rustic when it comes to blankets. I love a splash of colour but I really am drawn to simplicity and the inviting comfort of a good, traditional looking blanket.

I've fantasised about making a blanket for me. There are two patterns I'd LOVE to make and once again, Mr Flood is the designer. First there's Umaro, which he shows off in cool white yarn that I just want to stick my face in and just KNOW I'd spill coffee on if I tried to copy the colour! The other is the Hemlock Ring Blanket and is a FREE pattern. It grew from a doily pattern but don't panic, this is not going to add frump to your home. At the centre is the doily design and then the blanket grows with a feather and fan stitch. And ofcourse, it's in stunning neutrals that just scream 'wear plaid and drink hot chocolate under me'. 

Hear that? I'm purring again.....

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Warmth and fire


I'm going to winge. I know, I know, it's not playful but I have fallen off the internet. I've been kinda busy and kinda having bad luck. First there was the lace shawl that is no more. Nope. It won. I am now onto a new pattern which I won't jinx yet by talking about explicitly. Let's just say things got bad with the last one.....

..... real bad. 

Then there was a stupid computer vius. It rendered my internet usage to about 5 minutes before an 'antivirus' warning popped up and everything froze. These things make me so mad!

But I'm back in enough time for this week's You Capture challenge: warmth.

Sweet snuggles all!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Cold turning to warm


I thought a lot about this week's theme of cold. I looked at endless snow pics and thought about the fact we've had a reprieve from the blinding cold here in London. So I turned my attention to finjally feeling warm, that atlast, knitted gloves is almost enough to stop the cold biting at your hands (almost):

Or staying inside and keeping warm, which is pretty much all I've done this week:

Then today we ducked into the Worker's Cafe on the Holloway Road and had a good plate of grease that sticks to your ribs and warms you up. I hasten to add this was not MY plate! There is something so ritualistic about a good greasy spoon off the beaten track on a cold day and ordering a cup of tea and eggs to warm up.

I briefly flitted through a story of the thing that makes me feel colder than anything else ever has. I started the photos and then coudn't bring myself to write down cold words like barren and how cold hospital floors are on bare toes. Maybe another time. Not today. Not today.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Ugly duckling soups and polka dot wellies

All those great intentions and the rain just never stopped falling. I spent the morning peering hopefully out the window then gave up in favour of soup and blog reading. After the second batch of soup and the smell of fresh bread baking I knew I'd made the right decision. 
I did venture out. I mean, I couldn't resist a little puddle jumping. 

Soup menu for today? Potato and Kale soup adapted from Hurrayic's blog entry. I lacked any regular Kale or onions so I went for the purple Kale and Cavolo Nero and some red onion I had in (I was not brraving the weather when there was perfectly good ingredients inside). The colours were very satisfying during the prep but were a bit 'muddy' in the outcome. I knew it wouldn't look as appetising but the soup was delicious so I consider it an ugly duckling soup.

While I was in the mood and feeling a little more human than I have been all week, I decided to improvise a Butternut Squash and Carrot soup. I'll blog that one up soon. Oh and PJ? Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese recipe will go up too. Promise x

Have a happy Friday everyone!

ETA: oh and I'm having a go at You Capture this week. I am leaving the house with my camera and no rain is going to stop me! Stay tuned.....

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Will it ever get light?

It's so dark today. It's pouring with rain and from where I sit, I can see the people opposite with the adorable spaniel scurrying around under a big umbrella. Nothing bothers that dog, it is possibly one of the happiest creatures ever. I remember when O.T.L. was that excitable just to be by your side. He stills get excitable but in a more weary 'I'm-feeling-old-now' kind of way.

You'll note I'm back on the coffee. I feel this lethargy is turning round today. I plan to make soup and gourmet macaroni cheese (farmer's market cheese- WIN). I've been lost to blogland and knitting this week. It feels good to be honest. I remembered why I started blogging in the first place. I needed a space to push my creativity. I love photography but sometimes feel lacklustre about what to photograph but reading blogs always gets me thinking again. I love this idea from 'I should be Folding Laundry's' Blog. I might hover around today as Thursday is the I capture challenge day and give it a try. 

I've particularly enjoyed rediscovering old blogs I've not read for age, as well as finding news ones. It struck me that I often feel I have to blog SOMETHING INTERESTING when actually what I love and find most interesting in other people's blogs is the everyday. I love that, it's what inspired me in the first place. Pictures that made me smile. 

In fact I generally realised I don't use my camera enough. I have plans for today ande I'll be sure to be snapping along the way: phone my mum, finally order those dance clothes I've been promising myself, knit some more of the shawl that scares me (the one on the left not the stunning Cedar Leaf on the right in the pics below) and cook soup and Mac. It doesn't sound like much but it's a lot when you've had zero energy. I've not left the house since Monday and it's.......... woah, Thursday. Ok I also need to put welly boots on and leave the house this afternoon. There's some good puddles out there now too.

I've also enjoyed some Britishness. Chemicalika's blog in particular. Her blogs chat about the 3 most talked about subjects for the average Brit girl: the weather, colds and flu and wine (or being drunk). She's witty too but don't indulge her with this 'lace is so fast' thing she states. Really. It's all lies and she's just showing off.  

Here's my day so far:
2 people's breakfast debris- he once gave a monalogue about the frustration that his mother NEVER rinsed her oatmeal pan. I'm looking at the bowl from his Muesli and smirking.
Oh how you haunt me
Unpacked atlast- I missed you!

They're keeping me company today