Thursday, April 26, 2007

Birthday part II

On Saturday we had Edward and Lily's party. They were each allowed to invite six friends (for their sixth birthday) and we played party games in the garden and had hotdogs for tea. All the children had a great time, although Paul and I were shattered afterwards! Trying to manage 16 children is a challenge! I persuaded Edward and Lily to share a cake this year, so we had a chocolate cake with six pink candles and six blue ones (with strawberries because they are Edward's favourite), which was all eaten by the end of the day:

We played traditional games, including musical statues - can you tell who was the last one out here?

Since then I have been occupied with work and trying to do a bit of knitting in any spare moments. I have three babies to knit for and have started this cardigan for a friend who has just had her third child, weighing in at nearly 10 pounds! None of the newborn things I often knit will fit him so I have decided something more special is called for:

Progress on Tiffany's is slow but I just have the buttonhole band to knit and the final seams to sew up - pictures soon!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

More cakes than most

Today is a special day in our house. Edward and Lily are 6 today! I find it amazing that they are 6 already - time seems elastic - parts of it seem to go slow, other parts go very fast! They were due on 19 May and arrived exactly one month early, much to my surprise! Because they went back to school today I spent yesterday morning making cakes for them to take in today. We had fairy cakes as far as the eye could see:

I managed to get the cakes done before I went to work yesterday and had three willing helpers who decorated them and finished off the contents of the bowl afterwards:

So it is back to reality after our short stay in YHA Bath. We managed to leave on Friday afternoon so did get away eventually, if rather later than planned. From the outside the hostel looks like an Italian villa (although the accommodation is a bit more basic on the inside):

The great thing about this hostel is that it does catering so I had a real break from the cooking, and the gardens offer perfect surroundings and materials for building a den:

We did the tourist bit and went to see the Roman baths (and drink the obligatory glass of warm spring water - yuk)

Ellen has been studying bridges at school and so we looked at Pulteney Bridge, one of only four bridges in the world to have shops on both sides:

We also walked round the city and looked at some of the beautiful Regency architecture, including The Circus

As part of our bridges tour we also visited Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol and climbed up to the camera obscura (the only one open to the public in the UK) and down to the Giant's cave for a visit, which was great fun:

On the knitting front, I am on the second sleeve of Tiffany's and about halfway through the scarf, so some progress, mostly in the car on the way there and back. I am itching to start something new but won't until I have finished at least one project on the needles! Watch this space...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Flowers and leaves

What do you do over the Easter holidays when you are trying to entertain four children? (three of my own plus a friend)? Answer: visit Kew (along with the rest of south-west London!). The gardens are busy but there is still space in them and there is plenty to see at this time of year. The rhododendrons are starting to come out, although they have a few weeks to go before they are at their most stunning. This one has come out already and is simply beautiful:

And the formal planting near the Palm House is gorgeous - if only Blogger had smellivision:

I have been doing some knitting and am now on to the sleeves of Breakfast at Tiffany's (back and fronts done). I have also been fretting over what to knit for ISE4 and have ripped out what I originally started. I found it hard to settle on a pattern and yarn but over the Easter weekend finally plumped for this Falling Leaves pattern from Jan Eaton's book 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns in some of Richard's lovely cashmere yarn - in a sort of grainy rich brown:

I am quite pleased with how it is knitting up and have made good progress over the weekend:

We are supposedly off to Bath tomorrow for a few days but Paul has just phoned to say that he may need to go to work tomorrow. I am a bit fed up to say the least, especially as it is our wedding anniversary! Let's hope he can get through what he needs to today. I shall be packing my knitting and hopefully with make some progress on the scarf and Tiffany's in the car and over the weekend! See you when we are back.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

The Easter bunny visited today and the children were thrilled with their Lindt bunnies (I always used to get Lindt chocolate when I was little so I am following a tradition here). They are so cute with their little bells on:

Yesterday I got the most fantastic parcel from my secret pal Sabine (although she is not-so-secret any more as I have managed to guess who she is, which is actually really nice - I love knowing who is sending to me!). Just look at all the fantastic things the postman brought:

Once all the packages were unwrapped, the children had these (notebook and pencil for Ellen, pirate tattoos for Edward and horsey puzzle for Lily):

Paul had these beautiful Easter chocolates (look at the lambs!)

and I had a fantastic assortment of goodies (including handcream for my poor hands, some lovely soap for the new bathroom and lots of other goodies including beautiful sock needles and point protectors):

The yarn is a gorgeous colour - just perfect for me!:

and I couldn't resist these delicious fruity chewy sweets - the packaging is so great that I couldn't help arranging them for a photo:

Thank you so much Sabine - you have thoroughly spoiled me. The children are very pleased with their gifts, as was Paul - how lovely of you to include everyone!

We went on a little excursion yesterday to Winchester, where I spent my adolescence. To my surprise, it hadn't changed hugely, even though I haven't been there for about 15 years. We visited the cathedral (famous for having the longest nave in Europe) and took the children round:

and also couldn't resist seeing King Arthur's round table:

The high street is one of the oldest in Europe and is still pretty:

It was a good day out and lovely to see a familiar place, although it is equally pleasant to be spending today pottering about at home!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

One step forward, two steps back

Well, my relatively relaxing week (working only two days and having a bit more time at home while the children are at school) has gone by in a flash and I haven't achieved everything I hoped. I have sorted out some papers (although still have more to do), done the ironing (although my ironing pile is now back to where it was and I need to tackle it today), and cleaned up some of the building mess, but I still have loads to do and the children break up for Easter tomorrow! I feel rather overwhelmed by everything on the domestic front and don't feel like I am making much progress as while I am cleaning and tidying one room, the children are playing (code for getting everything out and not putting it away!) in another!

The week has partly been occupied with attending end of term events, including "watching week" at ballet. Ellen looks very graceful:

and Edward and Lily's class is very sweet:

I have done some knitting and have finished the beret, knitted to Grumperina's pattern, which turned out really well. Here is Ellen modelling it:

I love the subtle gradations of colour and the circles you get with the decreasing; and I particularly like the little nub in the middle. It reminds me of a school I went to when I was nine where we wore berets and I remember getting mine "christened" (the central nub pulled off) against my will. I was upset about it as it meant there was a little hole in the middle!

I really like knitting hats - they are relatively quick and very satisfying!

I am still enjoying my daily walk to and from school with the children. Reminders of spring are everywhere, even though the weather today is a turn back towards winter. Here is another tree in blossom we walk past every day: