Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Throw Away Fashion

For a while now I've been slightly addicted to Primark. Every weekend I've been buying things that I dont necessarity need, spending £20-30 each time. Yes, I do get a lot for my money but after wearing a new top a handful of times it then goes into the depths of my wardrobe, not seeing the light of day for a considerable about of time.

Of course there are those items from Primark that I've had for years; a poppy print dress comes to mind, but lately I think I have been enticed by the prices and have the need to buy something new. Recent purchases have not all been bad; I picked up a lovely pale blue duffle coat that is great quality and super warm! However, my wardrobe is now bulging and I hate those days when I leave the house in head-to-toe Primark without actually realising it.

So I am going to blitz my wardrobe and be really ruthless, using the mantra, 'if I haven't worn it for a year then its out'! I am then going to rebuild my wardrobe with clothes for each season, key pieces that I am actually going wear for both work and weekends. That's the plan anyway! I'm hoping it will stop me from buying clothes all the time when I have no need to.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'll never buy something on impulse or if I see something particularly pretty, but I need to remember to stop, think and ask myself 'do I really need this?'. I'm also not saying I'll never buy anything from Primark again. They are excellent for basic t-shirts, flat shoes and jewellery; I'm just imposing a small ban for a while....

Betty xXx

Friday, 24 January 2014

New 'do

It's been one of those weeks where you don't stop at work because it's so busy, just one thing after another. Even when you finish work (for me at 5pm) you still find that you have to do something or be somewhere to go meaning precious time at home vanishes and you have to go to bed to start the next day all over again.

Yesterday was one of those crappy days that felt like I hadn't made a dent into my workload, so to cheer myself up I decided to see if the local hairdressers had any last minute appointments. Luckily for me they did! I've been thinking about going a bit shorter for a while now, and after seeing quite a few people opting for a classy bob 'do, I decided to join the club. I only had my hair done about two months ago but it seemed to grow very quickly meaning a lot of its shape had gone and I was left with lack, boring hair.

My lovely hairdresser listened to everything I said and was very attentive. We opted for a graduated bob so it's slightly longer at the front. It feels so much lighter and easier to manage, I'm super pleased.

Betty xXx

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Venice City Break

Last weekend my lovely husband whisked me off to Venice! It was a birthday present he got me in December so we only had to wait a couple of weeks.

Venice is such a beautiful city filled with culture, sights and of course, water! We stayed in a little hotel close to the train station which was perfect for a two night stay - very central to all the hustle and bustle of the city. The only downside was that it rained constantly so we were very cold and wet until we were going back to the airport on Sunday and the sun finally made an appearance..typical!!

Rialto Bridge

Neil getting wet in St Mark's Square
Amazing sweets and chocolate

Despite the rain we walked everywhere, covering both sides of the Rialto bridge, taking in all the souvenir shops, architecture, Murano glass wears, leather handbags, amazing ice cream shops and food on every corner! I will say the food was amazing and we certainly filled up on pasta each night.

Other cities and places we have been to have a certain vibe to them and we often get harassed by street sellers but in Venice we weren't really bothered at all. This could have been to do with the rain but no one was pushy or over the top in any way.

 Gondola boats - too wet to take a ride!
 Happy, despite getting wet
 A shop full of cat items :)
 Me at the Bridge of Sighs
 Amazing meringues and biscuits in the bakery

It would be great to go back in the summer when the weather is nicer but I enjoyed being there when it was less busy; I'm dreaming of going back already!

Betty xXx

Friday, 17 January 2014

Crochet Goal Achieved! Baby/Toddler Cardigan

Since I started crocheting just over a year ago it has always been an ambition of mine to make a cardigan. Now that my skills have improved and I've mastered most of the basic stitches I thought it was time to move onto something a little more challenging. A cardigan for myself would be lovely but I felt that it might be easier to start with something smaller, so making something for my Husband's baby cousin for Christmas who will be two years old this month. It was originally intended for my Godson who is almost the same age but I had problems with the sleeves so decided to keep them to a cap sleeve and make it a girls cardi!

I searched on Ravelry and Etsy for a pattern and came across this pattern by Ball Hank and Skein. I loved the detail around the yoke and chose to stick close to the colours she had used in the picture, changing the yellow for a moss green. I used Stylecraft Special DK in Meadow, Silver and Cream all from Deramores (my favourite yarn site at the moment!).

The first part was quite easy; making the ribbed band, then working up through the body. Making the arm holes was a bit of a challenge and had to do this a couple of times to get the amount of stitched correct. There were quite a few sections that had to be frogged and started again, and as mentioned earlier I had trouble with the sleeves - this was purely my fault for not using a stitch marker but I'll definitely be having another go soon.

Overall I was really pleased that I managed to make a little cardigan! I'm now setting my next goal as an adult size version of this...I'll let you know how that goes, but for now here is the finished piece.

Betty xXx

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Whats in my Travel Bag??

For my birthday (in December) my lovely husband bought us flights for Venice! I was so happy as one of my goals this year is to travel more. I've never been to Italy so I'm really looking forward to experiencing the food, sights and culture. We've decided to only take hand luggage as we're going just for three days/two nights, so there's no point lugging around a suitcase just for a short break.

The last time we went on a plane (to Scotland) I took hand luggage and seriously over packed making my bag awkward and heavy to carry so this time around I've gone for a decent sized back-pack. For me, when I have a limited size for packing I know I can't take a lot so it makes me pack in a more organised way.

Navy Bag: Primark

Selection of clothes, pj's and socks!

Something for the evening
Top: Primark
Coated Jeasn: New Look 

Skin care which will be decanted into smaller pots
Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish
La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo 

Soap and Glory Hand Maid (hand sanitiser)
Sanex roll on deodorant
Clear pots for skin care
Soap and Glory Clean On Me shower gel

I'm super excited for our little adventure! Lots of yummy pasta and ice cream awaits!
Have you been to Venice before? What are your top tips?

Betty xXx

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

#Crochetmoodblanket2014 // Week Two

Hello lovelies! This week has been a bit of a slow week. I'm off to Venice this weekend as my lovely husband bought us flights for my birthday so I've been dreaming of that all week. The blanket has actually been quite therapeutic to sit down with almost every evening - it seems to focus and relax me.

From what I've seen on Instagram, people seem to be doing the mood blanket in different ways: some have pre-assigned a colour to a mood whilst others have just picked pretty colours that they love. I have done a bit of both; picking colours that I love but choosing one each day (or how ever often I can do it) to represent my mood on that day. I'm also jotting this all down so that when I finish I can look back and see my moods!

This week (so far) I've managed about three colours/6 rows which I'm pleased with and it has started to feel like I'm getting somewhere with it. Here's my progress so far:

Glacia and Mocha added

 Raspberry was added last night

I'm not sure how well it will 'flow' colour wise but so far I'm happy with how it is forming. It's been brilliant to see so many people taking part and the fantastic crochet talent.

I'll update again next week. 

Betty xXx 

Friday, 10 January 2014

#Crochetmoodblanket2014 - The Beginning

As mentioned in my previous post my first big project of 2014 is the Instagram hashtag as the title above suggests. My wool has arrived, I'm almost decided on the style and stitches so lets get started!

Firstly I have a gorgeous selection of yarn, purchased from the lovely Anita who is on Instagram (I don't think she has a website but her username is mycraftlife). She sells Stylecraft Special DK and New Fashion DK at very reasonable prices. I have chosen ten Stylecraft and two New Fashion:

From top: Pale Rose, Silver, Denim, Glacia, Raspberry

From top left: Lavender, Mocha, Teal, Clematis, Cream, Saffron, and Sherbert

At the moment I have decided to keep it simple by using the humble granny stitch with the colours in a stripey formation - I do keep changing my mind about this and may have to include a couple of additional stitches just so I don't get bored! I do still really like the idea of a patchwork blanket but not sure how it would all go together.

So for now this is my progress: 

I started with Sherbert, my personal favourite which is representing 'calm'. I have assigned a mood to each colour but I have a feeling the moods may change to represent the colour (or the other way round) I may feel on a particular day/week. The next colour is Lavender to represent 'sleepy' - the first week back to work after Christmas is taking its toll!

I'll be updating on a weekly basis so pop back to see my progress.

Are you taking part in #crochetmoodblanket2014? How are you getting on?

Betty xXx 

Monday, 6 January 2014

New Year Crochet Plans

Now that Christmas is out the way I can start thinking about projects for the New Year. I have one main plan in particular but I'll share that with you later when I have more details. It's lovely to make things for other people but I do like a project you can do at your own pace and then being able to enjoy it once it's finished, so I thought I would spend some time of these things and hopefully learn some new skills.

A while ago, whilst flicking through Simply Crochet magazine I came across a piece on filet crochet  and was intrigued by how delicate but intricate it looked. It seems that there are many patterns to follow, similar to embroidery and lots of things to make, from coasters to wall art. I'm planning to purchase the book by Betty Barnden (link here) to learn some new skills and hopefully create something pretty!

For a long time now I've wanted to make a jumper or cardigan for myself. I've practiced with small people sizes as seen in this post but have not had the time or inclination to set myself the challenge of an adult size. There are some easy to follow patterns on Ravelry and Simply Crochet mag so I'm going to attempt one and hope I get it right! I am tempted to adapt the baby pattern for an adult size as I really like the style! However I'm not very good at doing that so don't think I'll try on this occasion.

My first big project for 2014 is going to be a mood blanket. There is currently a hashtag on Instagram going around for #crochetmoodblanket2014 and despite saying that I was not going to do one, I caved and have just placed an order for 12 balls of lovely coloured yarn! I'm still undecided about what stitch(es) to use - originally I thought of doing a patchwork blanket with each square being a different stitch but realised that some squares may need to be bigger or small than others. I then thought about a multi stitch striped blanket but am now leaning towards a simple one stitch multi colour stripe...I'll keep you posted. 

Currently I am working on baby things to hopefully sell on Etsy once I get enough practice to think they are good enough. The gifts for my Godson went down really well which has given me some confidence but I'm planning to start small and see how I get on.

I have a lot of goals for 2014, both crafty and personal. I hope for a fantastic year and wish you all the very best!

Betty xXx