Ball Winder

Last Christmas, I was given a ball winder by our FFF. As most of the yarn I buy is already wound into balls, I haven’t had a chance to test it until now, when I decided to use some gorgeous Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend that I accidentally bought on eBay.

It’s brilliant! The ball was neatly wound, without being too tight, in a fraction of the time. It looks pretty too…

What did I do with my time?

I really want to know! What did I do with my time before the Jam was around?

I ask this because I had a day to myself on Friday – DH took charge of the Jam, ably assisted by my Dad – and I impressed even myself with what I managed to achieve. Times are approximate:

  • 8.30am – got up after a lie-in.
  • 11am – got my hair dyed.
  • 12.15pm – went to Sainsbury’s and bought two bottles of bubbly for 48p. (Nectar points are awesome!)
  • 1pm – made the Jam’s lunch. (Can’t resist ‘helping’ aka interfering.)

    Birch Shawl
    Birch Shawl
  • 1.30pm – iced the last of the Christmas cupcakes.
  • 2pm – wrapped presents.
  • 3pm – spent an hour catching up with a friend.
  • 4.30pm – cooked dinner for everyone for the evening.
  • 5.30pm – played hide & seek with the Jam and DH.
  • 6.30pm – read a book on the train.
  • 7.30pm – got my legs waxed followed by a massage.
  • 8.30pm – bought the last few Christmas presents.
  • 9pm – got home, ate dinner, drank bubbly.
  • 10pm – picked up my knitting.
  • 11.15pm – finally finished the shawl I’ve been knitting for a friend.

I wouldn’t have managed that much in a whole weekend pre-Jam, so I ask again…what did I do with my time?

Wooly Wednesday: Silk Crush

20130717-144911.jpgJust thought I’d share a picture of the beautiful yarn Dad brought for me from Canada. It’s almost impossible to get (and very expensive) in the UK because it’s made by a small company in Vancouver (called SweetGeorgia) and most colours are dyed to order.

I gave Dad a list of colours that I liked and directions to the flagship store but didn’t really expect him to be able to get hold of it as he was staying on the other side of the city, at least a 30 minute taxi ride away. Ever resourceful, he spoke to the concierge, who telephoned the store. I think he actually spoke to the owner / proprietor who managed to find two skeins of the second colour on my list and offered to drive it over to him that evening. Amazing customer service and she didn’t charge him anything for delivery!

The yarn is a beautiful blend of silk and merino in Raspberry and I have enough to make myself a shawl – probably either this one or this one. If you can get your hands on some, I’d definitely recommend it!

To the Marketing Department at [insert company name here]

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve received about twenty emails urging me to “treat Mum this Mother’s Day”.  They all have suggestions of products she might like and they’re all keen to remind me that Mum’s are very special, as if I didn’t know…

Image from www.interflora.co.uk (who did not send me an email).
Image from http://www.interflora.co.uk (who did not send me an unwelcome email).

This will be my third Mother’s Day as a mother; it will also be my third Mother’s Day without my mother. It’s a day I find hard to enjoy. Obviously the people at Hotel Chocolat, Emma Bridgewater, Tea Palace, The Sanctuary, The White Company, eBay, Vinopolis, Clinique, Mothercare, Benefit, M&S etc don’t know this, but perhaps they should. They know my name and my email address; many know my birthday, that I’m married and that I have a son. They have this information because at some point I’ve bought something from them and agreed to let them keep my details and send me promotional emails. I could decline, but generally I’m happy to see what’s available. Would it be so difficult to add an option to opt out of particular holidays or occasions?

I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. Several friends in the same position agreed with my mini-rant on Facebook earlier in the week. My Dad weathered a similar automated barrage in the weeks before Valentine’s Day. It can be infuriating, upsetting or just irritating, but it certainly doesn’t create a positive feeling about the company in question. Wouldn’t it be in their interest to allow customers to opt out of receiving emails that are likely to drive them away?

If anyone who works in the marketing department of one of the companies mentioned (or any other) would like to adopt this practice, I promise not to take all the credit – though a few freebies or a gift voucher wouldn’t go amiss. After all, I deserve something nice for Mother’s Day too…

For my husband, on his birthday

Anniversary flowers from DH
Anniversary flowers from DH

I don’t appreciate my husband enough. I know this and I’m trying to rectify it, but somehow everyday life, with a toddler, gets in the way and I snap at him because I’m tired or frustrated or upset. Usually it isn’t his fault that I feel that way (though sometimes it is) but he’s often the first person I see after a day when the Jam has wound me up, or kept me up the night before. I hate admitting that I’m wrong, even in private, but this post is a public apology.

I also want to thank him for supporting me through some difficult times, for putting up with me on grumpy days, and for loving me and the Jam more than he can express in words. He always says that he’s not good at choosing and writing cards, but he’s learnt to show his feelings in other ways. For my birthday last month, he bought me a spa day, knowing that time to myself is the most precious gift he could give me at the moment.
Valentine's Day flowers from DH
Valentine’s Day flowers from DH

This is a poem by Christina Rossetti that I wrote in one of the first birthday cards I gave him after we got together; it was also one of the readings at our wedding:

I wish I could remember that first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me,
If bright or dim the season, it might be
Summer or Winter for aught I can say;
So unrecorded did it slip away,
So blind was I to see and to foresee,
So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom yet for many a May.
If only I could recollect it, such
A day of days! I let it come and go
As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;
It seemed to mean so little, meant so much;
If only now I could recall that touch,
First touch of hand in hand – Did one but know!

Maybe someday I’ll post more explaining why this poem means a lot to us (along with these dinosaurs), but today I just want to say sorry, thank you and I love you to my husband. Happy Birthday – your present’s on its way!

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From famine to feast

My suddenly very active social life continued last night as I offered to cook a birthday dinner for a very good friend. She’s had a tough year so I thought she deserved to be spoilt; her husband obviously thought so too as he bought her the beagle puppy she’s always wanted. Ralph the puppy joined us for dinner… The Jam was very excited at the prospect (“me see doggy”) but luckily Dad was around to keep him entertained while I was in the kitchen. If he hadn’t been here we probably would have all ended up with beans on toast!

As it turned out I think we did rather well:

Potage Parmentier with home-made bread rolls

Roast duck leg with puy lentils and chicory

Salted caramel chocolate tart

Dad made the leek and potato soup potage Parmentier and Sainsbury’s made the pastry but I managed the rest and we even squeezed in an hour at soft play (to tire the Jam out so that he’d have a nap and then be able to stay up later to play with Ralph). Pink bubbly and a pamper box (full of carefully chosen things I would have quite liked for myself) were the final touches. I believe that spending time on and with friends is more important than spending money on them. This friend has supported my family through some of our darkest days and this was a way to say thank you and I love you too.

Happy birthday baby!

My baby boy is two today! He’s been through more in that time than some people in their entire lives – including six weeks in hospital and two open heart surgeries – but he’s a happy, lively, naughty, normal little boy and I couldn’t be more proud of him. When his heart condition was diagnosed at my 20 week scan we were given a choice… To us, it always felt like there was only one option and days like today confirm it was the right one. We love you Jamie Guy.

“Me like presents!”