Monday 30 July 2012

Choosing colours

I got carried away again.

It all started with a feeling that I had been neglecting my crochet. It's such a relaxing,take-your-mind-off-everything activity that it would be good for me to continue.

I realised that fab as my granny squares were, I didn't have enough wool to make a whole blanket so progress ground to a halt.

Luckily, I got re-inspired by Lucy at Attic 24 and hunted out a yarn shop. One field trip and of 15mins um-ing and ah-ing later, I'd spent more than I'd meant to on a very pretty collection of yarns...

The plan started with summery/hot colours, so I grabbed a yellow, orange and red...

Then I experimented with other colours to add to the mix. The hot pink was a definite...

Then I tried out various other colours, rejecting those that made the combination too dark , too dreary or too red...
They look worse altogether! As individual colours, they almost worked but just dragged the summery colours down a bit.

Following Lucy's advice, I kept playing with the colours until the mix felt right. This did involve me feeling slightly idiotic and self conscious as I basically kept grabbing balls of wool and fiddling with them on the table, occassionally putting one back or swapping it for a different one. It seemed to work though, as I ended up with a lovely combination of colours. Here's my final selection:

Sunday 29 July 2012

An update on ambitions

Almost exactly a month ago, I wrote a summer ambitions list, so I guess it's time to revisit it and see how I'm getting on!

1) To get surfing again - planned (roughly). I know when I'll be in a good surfing location, haven't booked any lessons yet but this one is definitely happening!

2) Do 3 ballet classes in one week - achieved! In fact I did four classes, including two on the same day. I wish I had the time and money to do this all the time - it was so good for me to concetrate on one thing and work my body a bit harder than normal.

3) Spend some quality time working on my Spanish - not really done. I got as far as downloading a couple of free apps onto my phone. Oops...

4) See some live music - partly done. As predicted, I was in the vicinity of live music at Marvellous Festival, but was busy rigging and setting off the fireworks so it doesn't really count. Will need to see if I can fit this in better in the next few weeks...
An entirely unflattering pic of us wiring in the shells at Marvellous

5) Make sushi - not got any further with this one :S but I will!

6) Make more pies - - almost done. Had a (pretty dodgy attempt) at making an apple and pear tart a few weeks ago. Also, I am entertaining next week so will crack out the pie recipe books again :)

New things to add to the list:
7) Get to work crocheting again. I popped out to buy beautiful new wool colours the other day and am ready to get to work!

Thursday 26 July 2012

Dance clothing obsessed

I have been expanding my ballet horizons! Over the summer, my local ballet school is closed (boo!) so I've had to be brave and venture further afield.

Special thanks go to Dave (@davetriesballet) who babysat me through my first "strange" class.

As well as meeting new teachers and being exposed to different teaching approaches (which can only be a good thing), my clothing horizons have also been widened...

At my regular class, it's dark coloured leotards and pink ballet tights, but the world of ballet wear seems to extend far and wide from those humble beginnings: there's skirts, shorts, tights over leotards, socks, legwarmers, vest tops, t-shirts, leggings and even a wide selection of shoes. It's a veritable fashion parade! Not that I entirely appreciate some of the looks (e.g. to my mind, tights over a leotard looks odd, but that might simply be because I'm not used to it).

So what's a girl to do? Accessorise of course! One trip to Primark later (and a whole £4.50 spent!), and I have a couple of pieces to mix and match with my leotard:

Add a few old tops and a pair of leggings to my new purchases and I suddenly own a vast range of ballet wear!

Wednesday 25 July 2012

A bag or two

I have to learn to pack lighter!

Recently I went away for a few days. I thought I'd done well with my packing: only one handbag, make-up bag rather than the whole box, only one pair of jeans, etc. But when I trundled off via several trains, reality hit - I had brought way too much stuff. I barely managed to struggle to my destination!

The problem is, I try to plan for every eventuality: a couple of posh tops and high heels in case we go somewhere really nice, running gear (you never know!), shorts/skirts/trousers/dresses for whatever mood I'm in, kindle/iPad/other electrical devices to fill time and relax. I just don't know what to cut out!

Sunday 22 July 2012

An evening of culture

Monday (yes, that was almost a week ago, but I haven't had a second to write about it yet!) saw me attempting an epic feat - leaving work on time and jumping on a train to get to Trafalgar Square. I'm pleased to say that I made it with a whole 10mins to spare!

And what was all this rushing for? The ballet of course :)

BP were sponsoring a Big Screen event across the country, involving a live link up with the Royal Opera House. On this occasion, the performance in question was the Royal Ballet's Titian 2012 - three pieces created by a team of different choreographers, composers and designers.

On arrival in the iconic square, we were presented with rain ponchos and blow-up cushions (which proved super-useful!) and then settled ourselves down. Each Act lasted about 35mins and the intervals were 30 mins which gave me time to grab some dinner between the dancing! They screened various "behind the scenes" films between each act, including live interviews with some of the people involved.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Hidden spots

A few gems of London that I've recently discovered:

Borough Market - not far from London Bridge tube station. Some great food stalls and a fun atmosphere. We visited a wine bar where the bartender offered us samples before choosing, and also served us an amazing cheese board...

I also enjoyed paella from a very Spanish establishment, where one of the staff paused to discuss the best places in Spain to visit - apparently San Sebastian is the place to be (seeing as it's where he's from!).

I also ventured further East to Greenwich. I'm sure I've visited the observatory here before, but I've never really done Greenwich. And I still haven't - I need more time to explore the shops, market stalls, eateries and cafes! Did get to see the Cutty Sark and the Royal Naval College at least.
One of the many impressive Royal Navy College buildings.

Sunday 15 July 2012

A trundle around the Olympics

It's sad that the world is such a scary place nowadays; I remember visiting the Barcelona Olympic stadium when they were still building it and being allowed inside. However, in London in 2012 you can barely get near any of the Olympic venues due to the worry of terrorist attacks.

We showed a couple of youngsters around London to see some of the Olympic "bits", starting with a trip down to Thames to see the Olympic Rings on Tower Bridge.

The picture doesn't do them justice - it's actually a rather impressive statement!

Sunday 8 July 2012

Oh, so organised

I got a bit carried away in trying to make sure I manage to get to some ballet lessons over the summer - I got a couple of recommendations from twitter and then researched the different levels for each location. It was a bit complicated as each studio has a different set of classes and despite their descriptions, it's still a bit of guess-work: Am I a beginner+? General? Intermediate? Elementary?! It was pretty confusing.

And now I'm left with a spreadsheet (yup - I said I was being organised!) of different class options. I wonder how many I'll realistically make it to?! :)

Thursday 5 July 2012

Wednesday 4 July 2012


For the first time in weeks I'm feeling relaxed :) Had a whole evening of just cooking a nice dinner, enjoying a glass of Pinot Grigio, washing up and generally chilling. Lovely.

And here's an amazing photo that A took at the weekend during the Henley Summer Fireworks:

Sunday 1 July 2012

Climbing the walls

For once, it isn't me that's taken up a new hobby - it's A. So yesterday morning, I headed to Reading Climbing Wall with him to see what all the fuss is about.

I stuck to bouldering - this is climbing without ropes and harnesses. Apparently it is kind of harder than rope climbing because you can't rest and take the weight off your arms, but I'm not quite ready for being suspended by a rope and travelling high up a climbing wall. The highest I climbed was with my feet about 5' off the ground.

I hired some shoes, stuck my handbag in a locker and A gave me some basic instruction.