Aim for Balance

August 29, 2011

I've got my resignation letter for the gym sitting on the table - I just don't go. I've been paying them all this money for a good few years now. I intend to go every day; every day I tell myself I'm going to go there straight after work and get on those machines, work hard and eventually become a stunning svelte person with Michelle Obama arms. Only problem is that I HATE the gym, I didn't use to, I used to go and do all that stuff, run, step classes, you name it, I used to be that thin person. My God, I even used to wear that Jane Fonda thong up the backside/cycling shorts workout combo so popular in the eighties, I felt the burn right enough! Ah well, apparently if I walk every day from the ground floor in the college to the 8th floor I'll have climbed the equivalent of five Munros in a year. Sounds good to me, I could do that and not even have to buy any hiking gear, it's all about realistic expectations after all...

Illustration from Susy PilgrimWaters.

Wool & cakes

August 27, 2011

A rainy start to Saturday, and an opportunity courtesy of my friend Libby to visit John Lewis for a Knitty coffee morning. That meant coffee, cake, the chance to view some new collection knitted garments, pattern books and 10% off Rowan wool and patterns. All this was hosted by Kirsty the Rowan Design Consultant modelling a cool cardigan: pattern book 50. Kidding! Can't remember which pattern book it came from, the acoustics were bad in that corner of the cafe.

I love this kind of thing, not necessarily the overpriced pattern books or wool, but the chance to have a chat with people who share a common hobby. There was chat about casting on - I thought there were only two methods, I'm a 'thumb' girl myself...but NO, according to Kirsty there are at least twenty seven different ways; Turkish cast-on, old Norwegian cast-on, braided cast-on to name but a few! Oh, to be as knowledgeable as Kirsty. I asked Kirsty a personal question, "do you slip the first stitch?" because the world of knitting seems to be divided into those who do and those who don't. ( why is life is always like that for women? ) Kirsty does. That made me feel good as I was recently lambasted by a wool shop owner (who shall remain nameless because I want to buy more wool at her shop), because I mentioned I slip the first stitch. I never think it's a good marketing strategy to make your customers feel stupid, but I recognised that this was no ordinary shop and insults were obviously part and parcel of the experience. I know this because I heard her doing the loud tut-tut thing at another customer over some confessed knitting misdemeanour, in this case it was missing out the picot edge on a shawl. "Take this customer out the back and whip her with some Hayfield Aran, Elsie - she didn't knit her picot edge". She didn't actually shout this but I'm pretty sure she wanted to. Kirsty is cool and wears vampish red lipstick and I felt strangely vindicated when I knew she slipped the first stitch too...

Libby and I shared a table with a lovely lady who was wearing a beautiful lacy scarf which I instantly recognised as being a free pattern from Ravelry. That's what I mean; common interests break down barriers and we then learned from her about life lines used when knitting lacy stuff; who knew! If you really want to find out about knitting life lines with dental floss you can read about it here. Now, I'm no knitting guru unlike Libby who is uber talented at both knitting and crochet, I just dabble but I would love time to do more, maybe I could hang out at the Ravelry forums and talk life lines with the lovely ladies there, knit intricate lacy little numbers, have long discussions about the pros and cons of casting on and off. Seriously - would I? Probably not.





Little Red Riding Hood

August 25, 2011

I'm always on the look out for fabulous illustration to inspire the students at work and last year I came across Daniel Egnéus, It was love at first sight - the work - not Daniel, I'm a married woman for goodness sake! He is VERY cute though, but forget that and go visit his site and drool over the drawings!

Recent uploads are a series of illustrations for Little Red Riding Hood...




Portloe

August 22, 2011

It's been a bit of a technological nightmare today at work so what better way to chill out than revisiting the calm of Portloe on the Roseland peninsula. Mr K and I found this sleepy little village five years ago purely by chance; I was actually looking for Polperro, could only remember the village began with a 'P' so directed Mr K in the totally wrong direction; what can I say, I have absolutely no sense of direction but a great spirit for adventure so we discovered Portloe and the Lugger Hotel instead of Polperro. I decided then and there that one day we would return and stay at the Lugger; this year it finally happened. The village is tiny and totally relaxing, the total antithesis of busy crowded Padstow. I also loved the little touches in the Hotel like the freshly baked cookies and brownies left every day in our room and the hot chocolate and marshmallows every night along with the following day's weather forecast. In actual fact we were always too stuffed after dinner to even contemplate hot chocolate but it was a nice thought, and the weather forecast was useful given that there was no mobile signal or internet. The first day we arrived we had to climb up the coastal path to get a signal; Mr K standing on a rock sending a message to the girls, we didn't bother after that, it's actually very nice to be cut off from technology...








World War Z

August 20, 2011

Shopping in town today so Mr K and I had a wander along to George Square to take a look at what Glasgow looks like transformed into Philadelphia for the Brad Pitt film World War Z. I'm happy to report that there was no evidence of any zombies apart from the usual ones that stoat about the city centre on a Saturday afternoon...  (stoat: Scottish word meaning bounce)



























Some things remain the same though, the Duke of Wellington's statue in front of the Gallery of Modern Art was still sporting a fetching traffic cone.


Friday

August 19, 2011

Enough said...


























Sign outside Bintwo Padstow.

Padstow

August 17, 2011

I'm enjoying posting photographs of our time in Cornwall, it certainly beats doing college work, procrastination; love it! We stayed at the Old Custom House in Padstow which was right on the Quayside, therefore pure delight for Mr K as he just had to glance outside our bedroom window to feel right at home amongst all the yachties. I don't sail but I do like that tinkly sound you get from the masts or rigging or whatever when the yachts are moored... lovely. OK, that's my nautical appreciation post over for the moment, moving on...

We ate both nights at the restaurant attached to the Hotel, Pescadou.The food was great so didn't see any point in looking for anywhere else, we're lazy like that, but in our defense, the food was very good and on our first evening I was facing the kitchen so watched the two chefs prepare everything, all with military precision and an impressive calmness, do they learn that at cookery school, that composure? Before dinner on one of the nights we had a wander round to the other side of the quay for a pre-dinner glass of wine. A couple came and shared our table, all good, but of course after a large glass of red I felt the need to talk to them; what can I say, I can't help myself I'm just a friendly person, so below you can see a photograph of Rob and Marie from somewhere outside Birmingham. Rob if you're reading this I hope you have taken our good advice and are working on reducing the workload, let Marie take you away for more romantic weekends...trust me, too much work sucks!

I do feel I give very good advice, particularly after two large glasses of red wine!

Only downside to our stay was Amy; Amy who was very drunk and very loud right below our bedroom window and managed to keep me very awake for what felt like a long time. Now, if I could speak to Amy (more advice...) I would tell her that it's not a good idea to shout in a very loud voice that your name is Amy and that you work in the bar at Rick Steins especially while discussing the price of hash with a French drug dealer, I mean I could have been a member of the drug squad on a weekend break to Padstow. At one point I thought about getting up and telling them to speed up the negotiations so I could get some sleep, but I was too tired to even do that so I just lay there and wished a plague of boils and the worst hangover known to man on Amy, whoever she was. Lack of sleep affects me like that.















Monday feeling

August 15, 2011

Eighty Six

August 14, 2011

My lovely mum the QVC Queen, had her birthday celebrations on Saturday. I look at these photographs and her skin and think wow! I do pray I've inherited her genes, because I read an article recently which stated that all the expensive creams in the world won't make a difference to your skin, four things will: Sun, alcohol, smoking and genes. I regret bitterly every moment I've ever spent toasting my skin during the heady days of my youth in an effort to achieve that sun kissed look which was so popular in the eighties. Whereas my dear mum has never been abroad in her life, well unless you count Ireland; has never even set foot on an aeroplane so no dehydrating flights to suck out all the moisture from her skin, and living in Scotland, well lets just say that sun damage to her skin must be minimal. She did smoke a little in her youth, but then everyone did back then and that was over sixty years ago.  Alcohol; don't we all love a glass or two of wine? I've sadly, sunbathed in the past; this is like an AA meeting - I'm Fiona and I have binged on both sun and wine... OK, I admit I shouldn't use the past tense about the vino BUT, on the positive side, I've never smoked so it's not all bad!!

It's a sobering thought though, to consider that your eighty six year old mother has better skin than you...



























Like this natural photograph taken in mum's flat. Mum with Mopsy wrapped in a blanket to stop her shedding fur all over the good clothes. Mopsy, 92 in cat years and still looking good, could it be because of those moisturising skin wipes mum uses on her coat; skin care for cats, because she's worth it - the Jane Fonda of the cat world! The Marks & Sparks bag I should have removed from the back of the sofa before taking the photograph, but hey it all tells a story, the cardigan was a present from Craig and Sara and although gorgeous, needs to be returned for a slightly bigger size, mum likes 'loose' garments. The book that Sara is holding is one that her Granny had just given her about food cures for different ailments. By the look of the advice in the book Sara will be on a diet of... not sure... chicken? Flowers in the background are from Victoria and there's me in the mirror taking the photograph in my orange/teal combo... teal sale dress from Joules; what a bargain!



























Mr K thinks I'm turning into some kind of daft food critic always taking photographs of meals, but I would like to think I'm just documenting the artistry, or not, of food presentation, so there! We had lunch at Livingston's in Linlithgow. I had the Pan fried sea bass with crispy parmesan & sundried tomato polenta & basil puree followed by Whisky parfait, chocolate ganache, raspberry puree & toasted oats. The waitress we had was charming and no complaints from anyone about their food but when we arrived at 1.30pm there were only us and one other couple in the whole restaurant so that felt slightly strange, maybe everyone else had already eaten and gone... I think next time we may skip lunch and have dinner instead, it was strangely lonely in there.

Port Issaac

En route to our next destination we decided to visit Port Isaac to check out the home of our favourite TV doctor, Doc Martin. Mr K and I are great fans of Martin Clune's curmudgeonly character with his total lack of respect for political correctness and dearth of even a smidgen of bed side manner. We had to do the 'fan' thing and walked up the hill to the Doc's surgery which in real life is probably someone's home and the PRIVATE PROPERTY sign, which definitely doesn't exist in the series, is probably a big hint about how the owners feel about sad people like us... On the way back to the car we were harassed by a seagull who obviously wanted us to take his photograph; "Yeh, OK seagull, we see you, you look great - go away!" it's probably tragic when the camera crews move out and you're no longer a star - just an ordinary seagull craving attention, a has been who once was an extra in a comedy drama. In the words of Napolean Bonaparte: "fame is fleeting, obscurity is forever"!






Clovelly

August 12, 2011

Mr K and I recently spent a lovely relaxing week exploring some of the Cornwall coast; of course I've been having a great long relaxing summer anyway but Mr K was definitely in need of some summer rest and relaxation far from the madding crowd!
First stop on the way to Cornwall was the quaint village of Clovelly in North Devon, a uniquely preserved coastal fishing village which clings to a 400 ft cliff, it really does. No cars are allowed in the village and all access is by foot, well unless you are staying at the Red Lion on the quayside like we were, that way you get to manoeuvre your way down tiny windy roads to the bottom and park right beside the water - result! After settling in to our room and a quick meat and potato pasty on the quayside for lunch we took advantage of the land rover service which is provided to take visitors all the way back to the top so we could then walk back down and enjoy the views. Some people happily walk up and down but we're neither that mad nor that fit. The cobbles are treacherous and not that easy to walk on so sensible foot gear is a must, I loved the sign which said "stiletto heels not recommended on the cobbles", who on earth would even consider such a thing?


























This is the view from our bathroom window. Technically you could lie in the bath and gaze out over the water but I was worried that it might scare the fishermen so modestly pulled down the blind during ablutions...









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