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.  

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Do not disturb

I've been on my own in the penthouse for the last couple of weeks.  Mr FF drove out to Italy in the car completely rammed full of unwanted items from our downsize.  I left him to it then listened when he told me on the phone we now have many duplicates and he couldn't find space for everything.  Things never change.
He's been busy in the house, a storm had blown the chimney cowl off, it landed on and destroyed our garden table, a large expanse of fence had blown down, the freezer had stopped working and he had quite a bit of earth to move from his landscape work.  
I meanwhile have enjoyed two weeks of utter calm, solitude, relaxation and self indulgence.  Not long enough to tire of my own company but long enough to slip into an easy (lazy) routine that has involved many long baths, beauty treatments, calorie controlled meals, excessive reading, hours on the computer and strolls to town.  
I feel refreshed and energised.   Apart from brief conversations with other inmates I've met in the hall and a few phone calls I've hardly spoken to anyone but I haven't felt at all lonely.   I know it wouldn't be healthy to live this lifestyle for a long period, I'd probably loose the art of speech and turn into some nutty recluse, but knowing it was only for two weeks made it seem like an acceptable respite from normal life.    I had imagined I might sort out some kitchen cupboards and the wardrobes full of hastily unpacked items, no chance. After an initial attack on the office I resorted to my default setting of sloth.  
Normal service will resume on Tuesday, Mr FF has already started the long drive home. April will be full on organisation as we have friends coming to stay and prepare to move to Italy for an indefinite period.  And I shall be ready for it, I feel I've had a total detox, two weeks of spa treatment for free.  Happy me time.


Saturday, 21 March 2015

It's a funny old business

Today I had a stall at a Made in Yorkshire craft fair organised by friends of the local primary school.   Being new to the area I wasn't too sure what to expect but it was well advertised, with professional posters around the town, and in addition to the craft stalls there was to be a cafe, craft room for children, face painting, Easter egg tombola, sounded like lots of fun.
Firstly when I arrived my table was right at the back of the large room in a corner partial concealed by another stall.  I did manage to move my table to a more prominent position with the help of an adjacent stall holder who agreed nobody puts baby in a corner, OK he didn't say that but I couldn't resist.  
The fair was well attended though I got the impression mostly by mothers of the pupils and their immediate family who were treating it as a social event more than a shopping opportunity. Everyone was very complimentary about my knitting, happy to chat and handle the goods but very few people were interested in buying.  My little baby socks particularly got lots of praise but even at £2 a pair I got no sales.    Speaking to other crafters they felt much the same and we were all a bit disappointed with our day.  Nothing to do with the quality of the items, there were some lovely things, if I didn't already have masses of lovely cotton tote bags, toilet bags, felted bags etc I could have bought plenty more and been delighted with them.  
Maybe there is a limit to how many egg cosies complete with creme egg people want to buy in a lifetime and the public is becoming crafted out.   I don't make egg cosies but I thought we'd always need socks. Apparently not, I sold one pair and one pair of gloves, I won't be appearing on Dragons Den any time soon. Incidentally my neighbouring stall holder, a nice young cabinet maker who had some beautiful wooden items sold only two clocks and one of those was to his mother.