It's been a great home this one for me.
I've had the best of time... but a change is due...
Please come and visit my new place:
It would be terribly lonely without you all.
It's been a great home this one for me.
I've had the best of time... but a change is due...
Please come and visit my new place:
It would be terribly lonely without you all.
So a few days before Christmas I got talked into joining HelloFresh by two very polite (and completely frozen solid) young men canvassing the neighbourhood.
I'd heard of the company before... but they didn't seem to have a box for 'five' people and to be honest my kids are kind of stupidly fussy when it comes to food so it never seemed the right thing for me. This time though... I thought...why not? I get bored of cooking the same stuff, it's a crazy busy term at school and there are so many sporting events to attend/drive people too that letting somebody taking over some of the shopping and thinking seems like a good idea. All I need to do is select recipes on the website...
And it's January, folks, need I say more?
The first box arrived yesterday. £40 for four meals for five people. That works out at £2.00 per portion. Not bad, me thinks.
The delivery dude showed up at the allotted time. Good, I hate it when they don't. The box had been well treated and sturdy. Good, always worrying when the corner are squashed or something.
Inside you have a paper bag for each meal, sealed by a colour sticker matching the recipe sheet.
All the cold stuff is in this bag:
A lot of packaging yes, but it can all be re-used/recycled. Another bugbear of mine... hate useless packaging,
For the first meal we decided to have steak tagliata.
... it was delicious. The meat was tender and tasty, the portions size perfect, the instructions easy to follow... I was very impressed.
They boys were impressed. (And they're fussy customers). Mr M was impressed.
So all in all a success.
(Lilli was not impressed. No left-overs for her)
I now look forward to try the other recipes and see how we go on, I know myself well enough that there will be weeks when I skip the delivery because I want to cook other things, and four meals a week like this might be a little much, we're all over the place half the time... but yes definitively, goos stuff.
If you leave in the UK and fancy try it out leave me a comment with your email. I have a three promotional codes for a free box...
...first come first served...
PS this post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own.
... or moss stitch cowl, which means the same thing and it would be a better name for this given it is totally the colour of moss. (Don't show this sentence to my English teacher... clumsy or what? Didn't sleep well last night, it is what it is.)
Knitted using two skeins of Madelinetosh 80/10/10 worsted, colorway 'rambler'. Gorgeous yarn.
Slow knitted because let's face it... seed/moss stitch is wonderful... but very tedious to knit.
Super warm and soft. Not itchy at all. (Am I the only one who finds alpaca itchy?)
I have another skein... mittens or hat?
I've just stripped the tree. It's always sad when the house goes back to normal. Ok it does feel good to have less clutter around... but... it seems like an awful long time to the next Christmas season...
Normally I wait till the 6th January but this year we were delivered a really crappy tree that started shelling needles so soon (and so much of it too!) that it really had started to look like a sorry specimen. AND we're having a BIG weekend for Mr M BIG birthday so... I need the house clear.
(BIG birthday folks!)
What I didn't need was to wake up in the middle of the night having done who knows what stupid movement that left me a totally stiff neck. I walk around straight as a broom and can't turn my head, I must look ridiculous.
AND it hurts.
AND I have so much to do!!!
This is how I left my desk yesterday... half a journal entry, thank you cards to write, magazines to read... I have however finished the 2016 phonebook (which turned out to be two books because I couldn't cut too many photos out, we had such fabulous times).
I used to print photos and put them into albums, but it got really expensive and time consuming and the albums took up so much rooms I now print yearly books.
(If you're interested I use www.photobox.co.uk and am very pleased with the service and quality).
It's always totally exciting when you receive them and we all look through them for days!
I must stop using so many 'and'.
So, what about you? busy? kids back in school?
Mine aren't, but tomorrow they're having pre-season hockey training and (sorry) pre-county cup rugby training and (sorry) I haven't been to IKEA yet so it's going to be bonkers and (sorry) I don't want it to be bonkers I want it to be holiday time again and (sorry) go for walks and (sorry) knit with my mum and (sorry) drink tea and (really sorry) chat...
I want to read too.
Another day another walk.
This time - pay attention - at dawn. Yes DAWN. As in virtually still night time, cold and dark.
No 2 and his GoPro (I swear he loves that thing more than his parents) had the 'need' to take sunrise photos.
And so we went. Because I'm nice. Also because the sunrise is at 8.14am... so really... I don't deserves such a big medal after all.
It was actually really beautiful.
And back home by 8.30am.
Contrary to what I said yesterday... I didn't go to`IKEA today.
Just couldn't face it.
It was sunny and crisp, a perfect winter's day.
So we went for a walk...
- a winging teenager.
- a cold pre-teen that didn't listen to his mother and didn't wear enough clothes
- cold hands, mine, because had to lend my glove to aforementioned cold pre-teen
- an excitable dog
We then went home and had hot chocolate and biscuits.
All's well in the world.
All the men in the household are watching the football. Boring.
(All bar one: No 1 is shooting insurgents in his bedrooms whilst skyping his mates and snap chatting girls. Who says men can't multitask when it's convenient to them?)
So.... nice Christmas? lots of food? snow?
yes, yes, and no.
Nice Christmas lunch out. No washing up. Genius idea.
Walking back home in the cold, through empty streets was strangely Christmassy...
No Downton Abbey Christmas Special... sadly, so we watched James Bond instead, because I'm sure it's illegal not to watch JB on Christmas Day.
On Boxing day we hit the shops... but I wasn't inspired and came back with nothing. Richard Attenborough after dinner, of course.
Today we hit the woods. My sister in law has a really lovely piece of woodland and we spent a lovely afternoon eating bacon sandwiches cooked on the fire and sat on logs whittling.
I made a crochet hook
It's rather large. Tomorrow I'll test it on some chunky yarn... if it doesn't work... it's still pretty. And 30 minutes earlier was a stick... do you know what I mean?
They boys swung from rope swing
(I want you to notice his boots... they're mine. Sigh)
The men yielded a chain saw and filled the boot of the car with wood.
Tomorrow I'm having to get my sorry bottom into IKEA to buy lots of crockery for Mr M 50's dinner party... Wish me luck.
I finished the seed stitch cowl I was knitting. It's gorgeous. I'll try to take pictures tomorrow.
If I survive IKEA that is.
Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful people!
I'm going to go AWOL for a while and enjoy a quite (ha ha) time with family and knitting and inappropriate quantity of food. I'm looking forward to Christmas (now that the central heating has been fixed... doh...) and beginning a new year with my nearest and dearest.
This time of the year always goes by so fast, I really want to slow down and enjoy it.
You do that too ok? Promise?
Go go go.... turn your computer off and breath out...
It's better already right?
See you in 2017.
It's one of my favourite knitting stitch.
It's very boring to knit. You kind of need to concentrate a little so it's not mindless knitting... at the same time it's not exactly challenging.
It takes a long time. All that passing the yarn back and forth.
I'm making myself the simplest of scarves.
All in seed stitch in mossy green.
And slow. It might take me awhile. (Especially now that Mr M and I finished watching Series 5 of Homeland and have to wait a while for Series 6 - they better sort out Quinn by the way... or else).
Have a good Friday night, you know what I'll be doing.
In my mind I wrote lots of blog posts.
In my mind I wasn't absent at all... I wrote about frost and beautiful silver landscapes.
I wrote about Christmas shopping and asked your help on presents for an 11yr old who wants 'surprises'.
I wrote about a gorgeous chilli recipe I found, a recipe that for once was enjoyed by all the family (if I ignore that No 1 patiently removed every single kidney bean in his plate)
I wrote it all down. In my head.
Cross my heart and hope to die.
But seriously. I've been busy. Busy doing stuff and in actual fact I have finished a quilt, and a pair of mittens, and have wrapped all the presents that are in the house bar the three that have been delivered this morning.
The Christmas cards writing marathon will begin soon but first I need to finish my fight with the laundry that threatens to kill me lately.
And we need food. Food shopping is one of those things that can't be postponed for too long I find. Most annoying.
We have a tree and it's gorgeous... and mahoosive... although it's shedding needles like mad and I'm really worried it won't reach the 25th. I love having the lights twinkling away in my peripheral vision. I can live without Christmas music... but not without the tree!
Mr M make me a gorgeous advent calendar: He's a keeper.
Mr M and I have been to party last Friday, rare occurrence, and had lovely food and nice chats and were entertained by Elvis. Quite scary actually. He took it waaaaay too seriously. And should have done his suit up a little higher. Just saying.
I put a few things in my Easy shop. (I'll throw in a free delivery if you're interested...)
We have decided to take turn choosing a 'family' activity each Sunday afternoon in order to consciously spend more time together rather than simply in the same house and passing each other like ships in the night or meeting only at the dinner table. (And moan about red kidney beans then).
When it was my turn I dragged everyone to see Magical Beasts and where to find them. Mr M fell asleep. No 2 and No 3, mad HP fan found it a little boring (it is a tad slow). No 3, who really didn't want to come, who has never seen/read HP books... loved it. Go figure.
Yesterday No 2 took us all bowling. I lost. Both games. I think I might have to secretly practice when they're at school!
Mr M is going to put everyone through a showing of Christmas Lampoon with Chevy Chase. A classic.
No 1 is still thinking about it.
No 3 wants to go Ice skating. Oh boy. That will be interesting.
I'll keep you posted.
I gotta go now. But I'll be back. And not only in my mind.
No 2 made me a bookmark:
Last night I finished reading NW by Zadie Smith. Brilliantly written but I should have read it slower because I missed one vital clue and the end didn't make sense. Had to search for an explanation on 'goodreads'. Luckily somebody tied the loose ends for me (and I wasn't the only one!)
Next up: Here I am. I couldn't resist reading the first 4 or 5 pages... I love his writing style of writing.
Can't wait. Might have to sneak a few more pages before the day is over... (I normally tend to read in bed at the end of the day, anything else and it feels too indulgent.)
And just to bring things back to earth... this is what happens when you forget the garlic bread in the AGA oven overnight...
"Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I've shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised way,
a thousand delicious ill-advised ways
I'll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that's a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: this place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
This must be a record.
A quilt in less than a week?
Without further ado I give you .... 'the lounge quilt' (to replace the old lounge quilt which is now the 'back of the car quilt', not a demotion, more like a career change...)
Graciously modelled by Mr M in situ in the lounge. (The thing above his head? a lampshade, not a hat)
He was running late, I only had one shot.
It's very soft and already creased and worn looking, which is how I like my quilts to be.
There isn't much to say about it: only two colours and let me tell you it was very hard to be that restrained!
Am I pleased? 100%. I love it.
I think I deserve first dib with it tonight, right?
I woke up this morning with a jolt and then after checking the news I wished I hadn't woken up at all. I can cope with nightmares... but reality? It's a little bit harder.
People... what is going on?
Do we really want to leave this world in the worse possible state for our children?
How can I teach them the importance of understanding and cooperation and respect if all they hear is the exact opposite?...
It's made me eat white plastic bread for breakfast!! AND I skipped the gym!!
That is bad. Real bad.
Let's talk bulbs instead.
Every year I like to dot a few of these babies around the house:
This one will start its life in between 'sad geranium' and 'ridiculous cactus' on the kitchen sill, only to be moved to a better place once it's flowering.
Or maybe not.
We need all the 'pretty' we can find.
I'm off to buy more.
When we moved into our new home the boys got new beds. Big boys' beds.
Big boys' beds which are still too small when your first born passes the 6'1" mark... but that it's a story for another time.
Today let's talk about his new quilt.
When I asked No 1 if he'd like me to make him one for his new room his reply was: "if you want". Given his age (15) and the raging teenage hormones I took that as a "yes mum I'd love you too" and got to work. Delusional? Me?
It took a while.
Life got in the way.
Then I decided to do a lot of heavy quilting on it...
That took even longer.
And then when I finished it I didn't take pictures... and what you're getting today it's a bit of a mess. Basically old photos on my phones and me chasing the light around the house with nobody to hold the damn thing up for me.
So... the bottom half looks like this:
The top half (upside down... just turn your monitor please...)
And when it's on his bed (bad light, messy room... you really don't know what was out of view... sigh) is like this:
Or sometimes like this (as you can see he doesn't mind which way it goes... #whydoIbother...
Or you can hang it crookedly from the top of the wardrobe and it looks like this:
I used all the blue fabric/scraps I had and it was a lot of fun to make. I tried not to over think it and reign myself in a bit...
and for the quilting I tried to match the tread to the fabric... with a little of variegated fun thrown in the mix. I like doing my own quilting but by the end I would have gladly paid somebody to do it for me.
Yesterday I bought wadding for three finished quilt tops... watch this space.
I'm still alive!! Still alive. Still
The jet-lag was bad, or as the boys would say my jet lag game was strong.
But I made it through... kind of. The test will be the school meeting tonight... why oh why are all school halls so badly lit? Is it me? The lighting always puts me to sleep; kind of yellow/old neon/not strong enough. Do you know what I mean?
Oh well, my problem right?
So what's happened in the last week... well, it got bloody cold around here, that's what happened and I was not psychologically prepared for that. I had the boots and the gloves ready, not the winter brain. Still beautiful though... blue skies and red leaves everywhere, in fact it's been quite a visually spectacular Autumn (Fall... for you lot over there. Good luck for tomorrow by the way... geesh... let's hope good triumphs over evil, eh?)
This is Lilli the ferocious beast on our daily way to the park in front of our house. It's the only place she wants to go to. You try walking the other way and she plants her short little paws and looks at you like 'I ain't moving sista'. Kind of annoying. And boring. And the thing is if you sit on a bench and get a little distracted she does her thang and then walks home and you can hear her barking by the front door to be let in. She genuinely leaves you in the park by yourself. Stupid dog.
They boys went back to school after half term. (Hurray) (They're not thrilled) (the washing pile has tripled)
No 2 removed his cast and scored three goals on his hockey come back game (come back hockey game? game hockey back come?). (Would you care if I told you it rained the entire game and the back of my jeans was so wet that water trickled inside my boots???)
My parents went back to Italy. Miss them already. It's always interesting opening drawers after my mum has been for a visit... you never know what you find!
Anyway, I have a few things to show you which I'm trying to photograph but when the light is right the boys are at school and nobody can hold things up for me and when they're home it's dark. It's pants. So you'll have to bear with me.
Have another Autumn photo instead:
The maple by our front door is glowing red. I can't stop staring at it. (You could say that its red game is strong... but they you'd be overdoing it... your overdoing game would be strong... aaaarrrggghhhh.... see what kids do to you? they sneakily get in your head and take over.)
I must go and pick up Mr M and drag him, I mean, take him to the school meeting. That's what marriage is all about after all.... sharing... right?
... on the road early, in the rain (and they say it never rains in Southern California... right...)
We had an afternoon to kill before our evening flight so we headed towards the Art District of LA and more out of luck thank knowledge ended up on a really cool street full of really cool shops and graffitis..
In Guerilla Atelier we spied our first (and only) celebrity... Corbin Bernsen was buying a black cowboy hat.. (And this is where it's weird... I first 'met' him - in the loosest possible way - in 1988 when me and my American sister were in the crowd scenes of the first Major League movie filmed at the Milwaukee Brewers Stadium. I even got his autograph somewhere in a box).
He then followed us (of course) to lunch in Manuela, a fantastic restaurant we found ourselves in by chance. I had the most delicious BLT salad, and shared a squid dish and a brussels sprouts/fried potatoes/chilli thang with Mr M. Stuffed. Oh and drank my first kombucha pomegranate... very nice.
Poketo was another shop we visited, cute house wares/gifts/jewellery and a few clothes:
Mr M found a couple of really nice shirts in Apolis:
We had a fabulous ice-cream in Salt and Straw, because why not, right?
Bought coasters in Alchemy Works (you can see Mr M in action at the till) and finished the day drooling (oh my what a place... I might paint my whole house black....) in Hammer and Spears. Not even joking.
Yep, we got love.
Time to go home.
(as much as I need to see my boys - after a week there's a tugging inside me that wants to bring me back home - I know I haven't finished with this place... I have to come back)
Mr M went off for another run and I cycled to a midcentury church a few miles away.
love the simple altar
The church was designed by the architect William F Cody in 1968. From an article by Robert Imber in Palm Springs Life:
Viewed from the street, its soaring pyramidal spire is an uplifting experience, beautiful in any given daylight towering in front of the daily drama of the distant western mountains.
Large, graceful sculptural forms are made of gunite, a sprayed concrete such as found in swimming pools and boats. The dramatic curved beams are Glulam – boards glued and laminated into a strong structural beam.
Inside, the encounter richly unfolds under a pagoda like structure embellished with Italian travertine forms, walnut pews, distinctive terrazzo, bronze fittings, remarkable lighting and an enriching sense of space that transcends the desert.
High, narrow clerestory windows draw the eye out to the mountain peaks, while along the floor below mirror-image windows “bring us back” to terra-firma placing the desert floor at our feet from within the building. I call them grounding windows, and am moved by the experience on every visit.
We then popped in the Palm Spring Art Museum, housed in a gorgeous building designed by E. Stewart Williams.
We saw a very interesting exhibition called 'Go West', a great look at the Weiner family collection of sculptures (how many 'Henry Moores' is too many 'Henry Moores'?) and had a fun mooch on the top floor amongst contemporary artists.
Brian Wills (Untitled, 2013)
Stanley Whitney (Blue meets yellow, 2011)
In the afternoon we visited Sunnyland, the house of Walter and Leonor Annenberg... incredible midcentury residence designed by E. Quincy Jones (surrounded by its own 9 hole golf course and the most amazing view I've ever seen). The Annenberg were philanthropist and art collectors and hosted many presidents and ministers and Royals ... their list of guests was quite incredible!
You're not allowed to take photos inside the house... but let me tell you... it's rather spectacular... not many of us have a fountain in the middle of our home with a Rodin statue in it... just saying.
Don't look at me... look at the view behind!
Still here... still loving it.
More than loving it, actually.
We took an architectural tour ran by a really nice chap called Robert Imber, so totally passionate about architecture and so in love with this city that it was a joy to listen to him. We spent the morning in his company and he was very knowledgeable, if you're ever in the neighbourhood I would highly recommend taking his tour.
(Palevski house, 1968, designed by Craig Ellwood)
(Edris house, 1954, designed by E Stewart Williams)
(Kaufmann house, 1954, designed by Richard Neutra)
(432 Hermosa - the Dinah Shore house, now owned by Leonardo di Caprio, 1964, designed by Donald Wexler)
These are just a few of the many many many houses we were told about and drove by. Truly amazing.
This morning while Mr M was on his daily run I borrowed a bike from the hotel and drove around the neighbourhoods of Indian Canyon and Twin Palms.
I might never leave this place. It's just too beautiful.
(That was after working out how to ride a bike with no breaks, just some weird back-pedalling action... interesting few early manoeuvres... just saying)
Everywhere I looked there was something to photograph... I kept saying to myself... 'That one, that is the one'... and then I turned the corner and there was something else that caught my eyes...
... a detail.. or a whole house...
I can't wait to go out tomorrow morning and make sure I don't miss a thing.