Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sunday at Sandsend

In order to blow some of the cobwebs away and make the most of the sunshine (intermittent though it was) I headed to Sandsend with a friend to take a walk on the beach and collect stones for her collection.  As we drove up onto the moor the sky darkened and the rain started to spit but it was so windy the rain clouds were blown away by the time we got there.

The beach was quite crowded considering the brutal wind but determined dog walkers and intrepid parents bundled up against the cold while children danced in and out of the waves in their wellies and built sand castles.

We had a quick look round Wild Hart

Before heading into the pub for a warming bowl of home-made leek soup - just the ticket

I had planned to get out in the garden when I got back but my frozen nose and hands changed my mind!  I'm away to Finland tomorrow where the forecast is lows of -16 C and highs of -2 C so I shouldn't complain and it was so good to have some fresh air.

Work has been very demanding this past week so I've done very little in the way of crafting but did want to show you some little Amigurumi birds I've been making.  

They are winging their way to a new home at the moment so I hope they'll make it OK.  They should do - they are wise young owls after all.

Hope you've had a great weekend.
See you next week.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Post Apology

I have to apologise to my middle son, Michael - he is not happy with the calibre of photos of him that I have been posting on my blog (and Andrew also complained)!  Oh me oh my-o.

I have changed the photo of Michael and Andrew as St Pancras as I had to agree with him, it wasn't the best one - but the best one of Andrew had Michael all blurry (and that was before I finished my glass of bubbles, I hasten to add).

So, in an effort to redress the balance and keep my favourite graphic designer happy (you might have noticed that my blog is undergoing a bit of a transformation - it's a work in progress as he is much in demand at the moment) -  let's see what they think about these ones....

Andrew and Michael, New Year's Eve early on.  The later photos and ones from the day after are definitely not fit for publication!
Michael, Summer 2010
Lynne is running a 'favourite things' feature on her blog so here are three of my most favourite (and most definitely my best) creations
I'm very proud of these three chaps - L to R, Michael, Will and Ben

Hopefully, these meet with approval!  I shall be snapping in earnest when I go back to London to visit Ben and Michael at Easter.  Ben and Will don't like having their photo taken (must take after their mother).

Hope you are all keeping warm.  It's bitterly cold here and sleeting :(  I'm off to make some cup cakes for work as we have a Polish visitor to the office tomorrow.


Saturday, 19 February 2011

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain

... but the rain in Catalonia fell mainly on our heads!  Having been reliably informed that the weather was lovely and warm in Polinya (half an hour from Barcelona) I packed lightweight clothes only to find that it was nithering!  Plus 9 was the warmest it got so I spent the week with cold hands and tootsies.

I expected it to be a pretty tough week on the work front but things went surprisingly well.  Ulla and I managed to stretch our legs most evenings but were usually the first to be at the restaurants - very un-Spanish.  The first one we went to wasn't even properly open and they looked surprised to see us and checked their watches!  I think I have gained at least half a tonne and retained sooooo much water from all the salty food that I daren't even get on the scales.  Ulla and I both had swollen fingers and feet - just not used to the diet I suppose.  We didn't complain or refuse any of the delicious pastries though!

This is pretty much the quantity of bread and pastries we at this week!

We also had to sample some very nice Jambon in this tapas restaurant (and some of the local wine, of course!)  The restaurant had been recommended to us by the lovely Despina from our sales office in Athens - it only took us an hour and a half to find it despite it only being about 10 minutes from our hotel!  We thought we deserved the wine by the time we got there and the waiter was VERY nice :)

I didn't do much crochet - just a little on the way out as the days were long and by the time we'd walked around, eaten and headed back to the hotel it was straight to bed.  We did manage to go to Barcelona on the last night and had a tour of the city in the rain.

A rather blurry shot of one of Gaudi's finest... well, it was tipping it down!

THE department store of the area - El Cortes Ingles - we almost got vertigo from the one in Sabdell as there seemed to be endless floors.

We had to seek shelter in this rather nice bar and have a glass of wine (or two) to warm us up and rest our weary feet.  Then it was off to enjoy a very nice meal (and a little bit more wine).

Ulla and Bernat toasting the end of a successful week (with, you guessed it, some very nice Spanish wine!)
Last time I was in Barcelona it was sunny and warm but the city is really beautiful, so much wonderful architecture and very alive.  The shopping is excellent too but there was no time for any of that, which is just as well as the prices were pretty steep.

I seem to be missing out on a fortune - first I have a clothes shop in Nancy, now a chain of parfumerias in Barcelona ..

But if I had to own a chain of shops I think this one would be perfect..

It's actually a candy store but what great name!
So, a week at home before I head off to Finland.  Hope it warms up a bit as they had record low temps last week at minus 40 C - yikes!  That's weather for staying in the sauna me thinks.

It's tipping it down with rain, snowing up on the moors and more cold temps forecast .... guess I'll just have to stay in and stitch and stuff, shame hey?  Hope you are managing to spend your weekend doing the things you love.


Whistle Stop Number 3 - London

OK ladies, wait no more, now I have figured out how to work Photobucket (yes, I am one of the numpties to whom Lynne  refers) - here's Loop....

It was lovely but mega expensive so I headed upstairs to the jumble sale for patterns and some inspiration

Too much choice!
Gorgeous buttons
Some gift inspiration
So what did I buy?
Some reduced patterns and a couple of lovely books

Love, love this book by Julia Arkell although I doubt I'll ever make any of the projects.  It was all the lovely shelves of goodies that drew my eye.  Oh to have a work room like this.

By now we were starving - hungry students in tow - so we took a quick look around the market and then found this wonderful place called Elk in the Wood for a spot of lunch.
Just love this wallpaper
and all these lovely fireplace tiles in the kitchen
and all these mirrors on the wall.  That's Michael taking the picture for me - I haven't grown a beard, honest!
Next was a wander around Borough markets and a look at all the lovely fare.  

We were in search of desert but couldn't find carrot cake so we headed to Patisserie Lila for cake and tea/coffee.... well, I had a long train ride ahead, needed to keep my strength up :)

Mission accomplished!

Did I mention that Michael and Andrew met me at St Pancreas and we had a glass of bubbly in the Champagne Bar and then went back to Kingston for dinner at Carluccio's?

Oooh, get us!
So that was London, tomorrow I'll bring you Barcelona.  Gosh, my life sounds rather glamorous but trust me it's not!

Happy Weekend all and thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your comments - I look forward to every one.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Bonjour mes amies... je reviens!

Phew, I feel like I've been gone for ages and I've only really got time to give you a whistle stop tour in this post, mention Lynne's Moda Bake Shop debut (well worth a visit to see the stunning quilt and the chance of a giveaway), do the washing and then pack again!

So, the whistle stop tour begins.  Monday, Paris - just an hour but long enough to get the feel of the place and sit outside the Gare de l'Est in the sunshine (everywhere I sat smelled like a men's urinal but never mind, it was still Paris!)

Then on to Nancy.  All the photos are taken at night as the work days were very long.  No time pour fair le shopping as the shops shut at 7 but I managed to take a good stroll each evening just to stretch my legs (and try and combat the vast amount of bread I ate each day!)

The Theatre

See the name?  C'est moi?  Clearly not, they must be confused!
This type of building screams France to me - I love it!
St Sebastian Church

My kind of shop - wine upstairs and good food downstairs - my colleague and I enjoyed a much needed and well deserved glass of Palmer Brut Cuvee Rubis champers with our dinner
 Plas Stanislas - very opulent and stunning, especially at night.  Lots of couples walking hand in hand, friends meeting, embracing and enjoying an exorbitantly priced glass of wine no doubt.

Some of the famous glass work of the region.  L'Ecole de Nancy - a famous Art Nouveau movement from the area. The pics are not great as they are through glass at night.

A fine example of the movement in the Excelsior restaurant - sunglasses needed inside as it is dazzling - mirrors, glass, marble, gilt - you name it, this place has it (plus a huge amount of oysters).

Well, my dears, I have run out of space to upload photos so will post about my whirlwind 30 hour stop in London later on.  I have to tell you I was in ecstasy when I got to Loop!!!!

A plus tard