Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Weekend of Contrasts...

This is a bankholiday weekend here in the UK, and since it is also the second to last weekend before the boys are back at school we thought we ought to take the chance and DO something. 

The weather on Saturday was fair, if not particularly hot, and boy #2's homework is castles and dragons (we'll still have to build a castle. Oops. I guess there is always tomorrow to start that project...), so we decided to head up to the Yorkshire moors, to Pickering Castle.

What a fantastic day out it was! We like to go to the moors, and I love the fact that we have them more or less on our doorstep. We'd not, however, been to the castle before, and what a beautiful spot, it is! It's a ruin, but complete enough to still look like a castle, and to give an idea of what it might have looked like. It's managed by English Heritage, so there is a small entrance fee, but once you are in the grounds you can just walk around and explore. The boys loved it - the wide open spaces, the ruins, the two moats, and the hidden nooks and crannies ("is that a prison, mummy?"). 

We were enchanted too. There were probably only two or three other families in the castle while we were there, and the fairytale quality of the place really left an impression. 

On the way back we took a slight d-tour so we could enjoy the blooming heather on the moors. Doesn't it look beautiful?

We followed the pleace and tranquility of the moors with the industrial setting of Sheffield today, when we went to the Magna Science Centre. It's located in a huge old Steel Works and it's spectacular in a whole different way. We spent a day being wowed by science and by the bold, imposing architecture of the place. 

The boys loved the interactive nature of the exhibits. Organised into Fire, Water, Earth and Air, there are spaces where kids can experience and experiment with different elements or work with interactive screens or, as in the case of the fire devil below, watch, just separated by a railing. 


Old Steel Works industrial heritage meets the ultra-modern in the entrance hall:

We had a fabulous time.

I also love how nature sneakily finds little places to be, even in such an industrial space. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Year of Projects update... must be Wednesday!

Yep, it's Wednesday again, and Wednesday means that I take stock of what I've been working on this week.

The Boneyard shawl didn't get much of a look in this week, so I didn't bother to take a picture of my minuscule progress - you wouln't even be able to tell!

I have cast on for two new projects, though. 

The first one is a test knit for Ruth, so I can't tell you much about it. Here is a sneak peak at it though:

The second is a beanie for myself. I had a few comments on my FO post that highlighted the absence of a beanie for the knitter and to be honest, boy #1 in particular had also been quite vocal about the absence of a 'Mummy Beanie' and had been quizzing me about colour combinations. 

I cast on with the same yarn that I'd been using for my previous testknit for Ruth, the now released Cosan Cowl pattern. I had a blast knitting it, and I think there might just be enough yarn left for a little beanie to go with the cowl. 

As for reading, I'm re-reading Life of Pi. We have a long-standing tradition of me reading to him in the evening, and although I'd previously read Life of Pi we decided to re-read it together. It's a wonderful, wonderful book, but I can't really tell you much about it without spoiling it I think. :) 

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tidy Home Tuesday - Mission Bedroom

Bedrooms are funny. Magazines and blogs alike tell you all about how your bedroom is your sanctuary, your little slice of heaven. 'Look around your bedroom', the Flylady says, 'and ask yourself if there is anything laying around that you would consider trash if it was in a hotel room Your bedroom should be your very favourite retreat! 

I don't so much disagree with  that statement (after all, wouldn't that be nice?!), as feel the need to apply a reality check, because the reality is much more complex that that. 

Dear Flylady, I am prepared to give it a go and I admit that decluttering is a good idea, but there is plenty in this room that would look out of place in a hotel room.

Just saying...

Yes, the bedroom is the room you retreat to. It's private, and it's the place that sees the most tranquility of perhaps all the rooms in a home. 

But it also is the room that is not usually seen by guests, which means that it easily becomes a room that needs to be good for all sorts of stuff that a family accumulates and that doesn't look too decorative in the living room! 

And even more important, if you have children, the function of a bedroom extends. It's not just a private sanctuary for you, or for you and your partner, it's also a family room, shared by all. It's the first room your children enter in the morning, when they run in to wake you up and claim their morning snuggle. It's the room they sneak into in the dead of night if they had a nightmare or are feeling unwell. It sees children growing up from tiny infants to toddlers, to pre-schoolers, to school children, and it needs to expand in function to accommodate all their needs. Furniture gets added (cots, changing stations, nappy bins...), and gets removed again as needs change, toys and books get dragged in for early morning or evening play and reading sessions, ill children snuggle under the covers and watch Netflix on the laptop, morning coffees and hot chocolates get carried in, get drunk in bed, get spilt in the bed. Walls see their fair share of abuse (boy #3 may just have 'tried' his colouring pens on the wall behind our bed a few weeks ago... grrrr!). Pillows go flying in pillow fights. Covers get pulled off so they can be used in the construction of dens, laundry gets sorted... This room is meaningful to the family in so many ways that extend that boutique hotel notion of 'sanctuary'.

It is a sanctuary, but the word may just have to stretch its meaning a little bit to make room for everybody...

(Flylady magic - 15 minutes in the weekly 'zone' really does get a lot done...)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Allotmenting in August... the good and the bad

Coming back from holiday we found the allotment had turned into a bit of a wilderness... 

But amidst the weeds and the overgrown tumbling plants there was much beauty to be found.

And there was also quite a bit of produce hiding... see those yellow courgettes (zucchini)? 

The boys were busy in 'their' bed - not with planting, exacly, but mud play counts as a gardening activity, no? ;)

Overall, considering the wilderness we came back to, it wasn't a bad harvest!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Holiday Recap - Borkum 2015

We had a fabulous time. 

Bye bye Borkum, we had a great time and hope to see you again another year.