Sunday, 3 May 2015

Oh the stress

I mentioned in my last post that things have been a little hectic here in the penthouse as we prepare to leave on Monday to drive out to Italy for what was to be an indefinite time.  
We arranged early last week to have two new radiators fitted, a steel and chrome towel radiator in our bathroom and a swanky brushed steel long thin one in the hall.  The plumbers arrived on Tuesday, I had expected with a screwdriver and maybe a spanner, no they carried mountains of kit into the penthouse and quickly covered the floors in dust sheets (there was a clue there).  I had no idea the work would involve emptying out our bedroom fitted wardrobes, most of the utility room and the hall cupboards to gain access to the walls.  We ended up with clothes everywhere, which as it turned out wasn't such a bad thing as eventually everything got a good sort into take/leave/chuck out piles.  
To add to the fun Mr FF decided whilst the guys where here and because they were so hard working, efficient and respectful, it would be a good idea for them to do some cabling networking stuff that I just don't understand.  Cue more drilling of walls, climbing about in the loft, the work took 4 days and only on Saturday were we able to think about cleaning, putting things back, getting sorted.
The new radiators are smart and stylish though I think I might move away the large gold framed print next to the hall one.   Our en suite seems so much bigger now and because that radiator is duel fuel, ie has an electric element as well as being connected to the central heating we are never without warm dry towels. 
Meantime I heard that the little pink cardy was a bit tight on Amelia and she kindly said her little sister Esme could have it, so I felt I had to knit a bigger one.  It was all going so well until I got to the yoke and the pattern went haywire, if there's one thing I hate more than knitting on a circular needle it's unpicking on one.   This cardy may become known as the Italian job, if it ever does get finished.
To further add to the fun I foolishly embarked on a new library book during the week but didn't make the progress I expected.  It had to returned by 5 pm on Saturday, by Friday night I had 200 pages to read but fortunately I woke at 6.30 the next morning and phew finished it.
Weeks ago I booked in for a hair cut and a facial in our pre holiday week, I asked my hairdresser to give me a cut that might last maybe 3 months and she did her best.  The facial was lovely but I was so uptight it was rather wasted on me.  I plan to have another when I get back as I should be more receptive then.
Then of course there's been the Tour de Yorkshire to follow.

I wouldn't let the boys pass by without giving them a cheer and Ilkley turned out in force offering a sprint down the main street which we watched and a mountain stage up to the Cow and Calf rocks.

At least we now know that we are coming back in about 3 months as Mr FF has a couple of dental appointments so the packing doesn't have to be so comprehensive.  We hope that if we get some good design ideas while we are in Italy we will get the guys to come back maybe next year to refit our second bathroom, the one with the horrid black bath,  now that will be fun up on the third floor won't it.   I thought it was going to be so easy living in and going away from a lock up and leave, dream on Mrs FF.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Two Good Reads Tag

Photo 30-04-2015 18 21 46

I don't usually join in these tag posts but Caroline at Mrs M's Meanderings who I consider a good friend though we have never met gave me such a glowing write up and lovely surprise this morning that I had to respond. Her tag couldn't have come at a better time (joke) since we leave on Monday for an unspecified stay in Italy, long enough to need socks I don't know, meanwhile we have the plumbers in the penthouse and it is chaos.  I had no idea we'd need to empty our wardrobes to fit a new towel radiator in our bathroom, a rant may follow.
Anyway to the job in hand, I need to give you two blogs that I love to read and while Caroline's would have been one because I love all her posts, car booting, upgrading her beautiful new house, holidays, more recently interesting beauty vlogs,  I expect that's against the rules and you need others so.

Liz at Love those Cupcakes writes such a sweet interesting blog, she lives in the north of England where I spent many happy years.  She travels extensively bringing back the most beautiful photographs to accompany detailed and interesting posts of extra ordinary places, also she shares my sense of humour. 

Josie at The Woolly Adventures of Josie Kitten is a knitter extraordinaire and an inspiration, indeed much more adventurous with the needles that I shall ever be.  Unlike me who has also attended lessons she actually learnt to spin producing some wonderful fibres and is now dabbling with writing her own patterns.  Her cat Flo is adorable too.

Liz and Josie if they wish to take part have to 

  1. Copy the tag logo from the top of this post if you like
  2. Link back to the person who tagged you
  3. Write a post recommending two blogs you enjoy reading and tag your recommended bloggers to do the same

So thanks Caroline for a great idea, sorry this is such a quickly typed up post but I hope it meets the criteria.  I too look forward to discovering new blogs but not as much as I look forward to having the walls replastered, the dust sheets gone and being able to find my holiday clothes under the mountain of garments on our spare bed.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

My fetish for fragrance

I am having a bit of a fragranced candle fest at the moment.  I like to light a candle every day in the apartment, usually late afternoon and often when I am cooking, but my stock has rather built up thanks to a few offers and gifts.
Vetivert is one of my favourite scents, this candle from John Lewis was a Christmas gift that I never want to end.  The smell is delicious and I like the simple labelling on the jar.
On the right is a beefayre candle that I bought myself, they use natural wax, a percentage from each sale is paid towards bee conservation and the jar is so pretty and reusable.  The scent is B Happy a mix of orange and jasmine that actually doesn't smell very strong when its burning so is a little disappointing. The Neom organic candle, Happiness a mix of white neroli, mimosa and lemon was a moving in gift from the estate agents when we bought our apartment.  I'd been wanting to try these candles for a while, the head office of the company is not so far away in Harrogate and the co founder is a Yorkshire lass.   There was also a selection of Ilkley beers and a nice glass in the agents' gift pack so Mr FF was happy and it was pleasing that they had shopped locally.
These two were half price at Waitrose, at only £2.50 each a bargain.  They are a good size, each has 35 hours burn time, smell great, particularly the fruity one though vanilla is always a favourite with me and I like the reusable coloured jars.
I've had quite a few Lily Flame candles in tins, this one was a gift a while back and is almost finished, the label suggests 30 to 35 hours burn time.  Such a pretty tin it's currently sitting in our bedroom, though I never light it at bed time in case I fall asleep.  It has a very heady scent that you notice even when its not lit, in fact I have only been burning it for short periods of time because it is so intense and I may just keep the dregs to perfume the room.  
And finally my latest purchase from my local Clintons Cards, they have a surprisingly large stock of candles including Yankee.  These double wick jars are currently half price at £6 for 50 hours burn time and they are excellent, burning evenly with a good perfume.  Pomegranate and pineapple is as you would expect fresh and fruity, a good scent for springtime,  I am tempted to go back and try a few more while they are reduced if only I can find the space.

Monday, 20 April 2015

There has been knitting

After disappointing sales at the craft fair and considering my large stock of socks I decided some knitting for the little ones was the way to stash reduction.
I looked for a shrug or bolero pattern to knit for Amelia but eventually chose Wonder Wave a short sleeved cardigan from Drops Design and some Sublime organic cotton dk in this pretty pale pink that was waiting to be used.   The body is produced in one piece to the arm holes, the sleeves on circular or double pointed needles then everything transferred to a circular needle to knit the yoke.  
I really don't like working with circular needles but there was no way to get all the stitches and the tubular sleeves onto a straight needle so I went with a circular needle until the stitches were reduced enough and I was sufficiently beyond the sleeves that I could manage on straights.   The wavy pattern is a 4 row repeat that is easy to memorise and apart from the faff of the circular needle it was an enjoyable knit, in fact it was worth the effort because there was hardly any stitching up to do just a little under the arms.  I would say however that the pattern isn't for a beginner because it didn't go into great detail and certainly required some knitting knowledge.  
I should have taken a photograph after I'd blocked, sewn on the buttons and when I wasn't casting a shadow,  but for some reason I didn't and the parcel is now on its way to Amelia.  I have a slight concern that it isn't big enough for her though the finished size agreed with the pattern for age 5 to 7.  If it has to go to her little sister I am prepared to take an order for a larger size of if there is sibling envy I will make a smaller one for Esme.  Of course they may both detest it, I am waiting to hear.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Come into the garden

I managed to take a few snaps of our lovely communal lake garden, which I am now calling the duck garden as we have a good colony of mallards and at least one muscovy.
The garden sits beautifully between our home and the edge of the moor, the building on the right across the road is an old pump house that has been converted into a house.

It really is a lovely facility to have, lots of daffodils and primroses, lovely mature trees, gentle waterfalls and the promise of woodland flowers to come.  I am hoping there will be ducklings too, eggs are laid between March and July in well concealed nests, hatching takes place after 28 days.  
No wonder I'm not missing my own patch with all this well tended space around me and I still have to show you the roof garden.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Days like these

We had a fabulous week of warm sunny Yorkshire weather and a fantastic week of pure relaxation here at the penthouse.  I've mentioned before that we have communal gardens for the inmates to enjoy and Mr FF and I have certainly had our moneys worth lately.  Days have generally gone along these lines.
Breakfast in our kitchen dinner with the Juliet balcony doors thrown open to enjoy the sunshine that comes in through the glass atrium and heats us up nicely.  
Then Mr FF has wandered down to the roof garden that is over the garage taking cushions and reading material, after a quick doris round I have followed with more reading material, sunscreen and a flask of coffee.  We've been joined over the week by various resident cats, some more friendly than others, and a few neighbours but not enough that we've had to fight for seats or tables.
Chatting to an inmate from the ground floor who found me doing a bit of hand weeding, she told me that she has permission to plant up some of the borders and negotiate with the gardeners on work to be done.  She then invited me to put plants in if I wished and weed if I wanted to.   That's perfect, as soon as I find my remaining gardening equipment I will happily help to keep on top of the garden and root out some of the alchemilla mollis (lady's mantle) that has seeded everywhere.
We've sat out till the sun disappears behind the building then moved back upstairs to own balcony, which whilst lovely and sunny can be a bit breezy.
Mr FF has sometimes gone off into the gated garden with two lakes opposite our building, is for the residents only plus a large colony of ducks.  I haven't spent any time in there yet but I do intend to, its looking beautiful now the spring growth is showing.  
So as I mentioned recently I am not missing my garden at all, life is so much more relaxing when you can admire without responsibility.  We feel very fortunate to have so much beautiful outside space though these days of better weather have sent me back to thinking I am permanently on holiday again.  Not a bad feeling at all.
I should have taken photographs while the sun was out, its raining today so we shall have to make do with a shot of my lovely daffs, not having a garden of my own is a good excuse for buying cut flowers I find.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter Sunday

If we'd been up very early this morning we could have attended the 6.15 sunrise service up on the moor.   I was awake in time to walk up but it was misty so we stayed at home and listened to church bells ringing out around the town to celebrate Easter Sunday.
It's been a glorious spring day, the first this year that we've thrown open the balcony doors and enjoyed sitting out. 
When I'm not relishing our beautiful view I do like the feeling of being up amongst the chimney pots in our own private space.
And for those of you wondering if I'm missing my garden, I still have plenty to admire without the work or responsibility.  
 Lovely daffs on our walk to town
 and the gorse out on the moor
The town is very colourful, we get judged very soon for the Britain in Bloom contest so everything is extra smart.  I did think today the standard is better than I could ever have achieved and though it is a little regimented for me it's all very colourful and well tended.

We sat beside the bandstand and enjoyed an ice cream whilst feeling sorry for all the holiday weekend visitors in town who have to leave this evening.