I love my new camera
Well, there’s a blog title that says it all! Remember the autumn/bonfire crochet blanket that I started back in September 2010? I finally finished it!
This is actually the first crochet blanket that I ever started, although I think it’s the 4th or 5th I’ve finished (I’ve stopped keeping count!). It needs some serious blocking, but I hardly ever block and I’m not going to now! It’s also very heavy because it’s quite a dense crochet stitch. I’m happy with it though.
I did a lacy finish on the blanket. It doesn’t really suit the blanket style, but I didn’t want to leave it with a hard edge as it didn’t seem right.
I’m so glad it’s finished, and just in time for winter! It’s always a relief to finish projects that have been hanging around for years!
I feel like I’m a bit slow sharing my reads for October. Sorry about that. In a nice little coincidence, I read four books this month and they are all partly autobiographical and by women. I like little patterns like that!
The sound of a wild snail eating – Elizabeth Tova Bailey
I added this book to my reading list after Heather shared her review on her blog. I’m glad I did, as it was a delightful book. The book is written by a lady who got very sick and after becoming bed-bound, her friend brought a snail in from the garden to keep her company. She becomes very close to her snail given her lack of mobility, and observes lots of detail that most people simply don’t spot. It’s a well-written book and I actually think it would make a lovely gift for anyone feeling a bit down, anyone who likes nature and anyone who is ill. I highly recommend it!
Gift from the sea – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I can’t remember why I added this to my reading list, but it was because of someone on the internet! Anne Morrow Lindbergh is the wife of the aviator Charles Lindbergh. That’s just a fun fact, it’s not what the book’s about! The book is about keeping your balance in a crazy world, and it’s written with inspiration from the sea. A lovely read for women everywhere (and men, I’m sure, but it was aimed at women).
Crazy things customers say in bookshops – Jen Campbell
I read this book in one sitting, and it is very funny. Basically does what the title says! I used to work in a book shop, so I found some of the stories particularly amusing.
Is everyone hanging out without me? – Mindy Kaling
I read this book because a few months ago everyone else was reading it and saying how great it was, and I like biographies. I don’t know who Mindy Kaling is, but this book was funny and she seems like a nice person, so I’m sure her shows are good! There were lots of amusing anecdotes that had me chuckling. Mindy comes across as very normal, despite being famous!
Did you read any good books in October?
I came across an interesting idea in an issue of Zest recently, and I wanted to share it with you here as it ties into my love of de-cluttering.
This is a clutter circle – it’s not the one from the magazine, I re-drew it myself (I suspect you’ve already realised that).
In order to make life easier, you need to clear cutter from all of these circles, not just the physical one. Physical clutter is the easiest to see, as it’s the rubbish in your handbag, on your shelves, etc. However, the other circles are just as important and need regular tidying too.
Body clutter is unhealthy habits. If you want to free up your life energy, you’re going to have to stop smoking and going to bed at 2am! Time clutter you’re probably all too familiar with already – tasks you don’t want to do, but end up saying you will anyway. Relationships is an awkward one to tackle, but don’t invest time in negative relationships. Life’s too short.
Thought and Energy clutter are an interesting concept. The magazine article mentions self-criticism and lack of exercise as examples of each, respectively. I suspect a lot of us have this clutter in our lives!
It’s that time of year where you start thinking about your goals for the last year and your goals for the new year. You all know my love of de-cluttering, so I always recommend it as a goal. Hopefully this post will inspire you to tackle a part of your life that you’ve not thought about de-cluttering before!
Now is a good time of year to spot fungi, and there are some interesting specimens to be found.
I can’t name any of these, so you’re on your own I’m afraid. I’m really not very good with fungi, and can probably count all the species I know on one hand.
I liked the whole rotting section of this tree so I photographed it for you!
I also found this twig covered in lichen. I love lichen, it’s so fascinating. Lichen is actually two organisms living together as one; a fungus and an algae. That’s basically like you being part human and part tree! Also, they are so adaptive they can live pretty much anywhere. They are proper hardcore! There are at least three different types of lichen on that twig below. In the photo, you can most obviously see the yellow one and the white one next to my fourth finger. There’s also a smaller blacker one, but he’s not so obvious!
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
I don’t support the British Legion (for boring political reasons I won’t go into here), and I don’t agree with their appropriation of the poppy as the symbol of their organisation. As such, I don’t wear a poppy in November. However, I wanted to commemorate November 11th on here as I haven’t done it for a few years (and when I last did it, it wasn’t November!).
Coincidentally, I’m about to embark on a four year WWI commemoration project at work. I doubt I’ll talk about it much on here, but I guess (in Europe at least) we’ll be hearing a lot about WWI over the next four years. I’m hoping to balance the bravery of the conscientious objectors against the men (and women) that died.
War, huh, what is it good for?
Last week, I got some new boots for winter. I sorted through my boots during the summer and I was one pair short (in my head) so I’ve been keeping an eye out for a pair I liked. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a pair that I liked. Dubarry boots have been on my wishlist for pretty much five years, but they are so expensive that they have never moved on to my shopping list. UNTIL NOW!
Let’s be honest here, I bought them on a whim because I was fed up of lusting after them. And I’m not telling you how much they cost because it is extortionate! However, they are actually riding boots, which means heavy wear is expected and I can wear them for walking without getting wet feet. They also look nice so I can wear them to work. Win win!
It’s good that I like them, as I now have to wear them for the next decade to justify the price!
I went for a bracing walk at the weekend (it was freezing!) and spotted quite a few birds. I went to Denton Reservoir, which is always a good place to spot birds. These photos were taken with my Nikon D60. I bought a new camera this week (eeep!), which is a Nikon Coolpix p520 (link to my Flickr photo). I do love Nikon! The new camera is beautiful, and I’ll show you some photos from it soon.
Seagull mid-flight. I love this photo!
Little duck couple having a snooze.
Bit blurry, but this grey wagtail was hopping about near the waterline.
There’s been some debate about this bird on Facebook, but the general consensus among my Facebook friends is that it’s a yellowhammer. Note that with the grey wagtail above that makes two yellow birds in one walk. Exciting, for me at least!
On the way round the reservoir, I also spotted this gold-ringed dragonfly on the grass. It was still alive, but I suspect it was probably dying in the cold.
I’ve got some fungus photos coming up in another post. Have a lovely Thursday!
A while back, I ordered some tea from Bellevue Tea for a taste test and review on the blog. I’ve been trying to avoid buying tea from the big tea brands, and Bellevue Tea are an independent business based in London.
I ordered three teas and got one free. I was very impressed with the speedy and friendly service. I bought tea leaves by weight, and they were packed in foil-lined jiffy bags (I didn’t even know these existed!). They also sell tea in bags, so don’t worry if you don’t want loose leaf. The front of each bag is printed with the tea that’s inside. I love this packaging. It’s flat and doesn’t take up much room, which makes it good for delivery as well as storage.
I bought Kenya Orthodox, Niligiri Special Organic (there are two standards in their shop at the moment) and Bellevue Reviver, which is one of their house blends of black tea. I received Bellevue Belter as a free sample, which is the second unique blend of black tea they make.
I haven’t tried the Bellevue Reviver yet, so this blend is not included in my thoughts below. I didn’t buy any other teas, but the store also sell green, white and fruit teas, along with tea paraphernalia.
There was something not quite perfect about this tea. I don’t know what it was though. It had a shallow taste. I tried brewing it longer, using less milk, using less sugar (I like my tea with one sugar), but I just couldn’t find the right level of tea-ness. I suppose that’s OK – the reason there are so many tea blends is because people have different tastes! I wouldn’t buy this one again, but there wasn’t anything specifically wrong with it.
Nilgiri Special Organic Black Std.
This tea is really cool. When it’s dried it looks like a normal tea. However, once you’ve brewed it with hot water, you notice that the tea is actually made up of individual tea leaves. They unfurl when you brew the tea! It’s the first time I’ve had actual tea leaves that look like leaves!
It takes longer to brew than your regular teabag, so you have to be patient or you end up with brown water. However, I liked this tea. For me, it had a delicate flavour but still made a decent cuppa!
Bellevue Belter (free sample)
This tea is great. It’s a unique blend made by Bellevue, and it’s lovely and strong, with a dry taste. Proper Yorkshire tea! I really enjoyed this blend. Great for anyone who likes tea that you can strip walls with!
If you’ve got someone who likes tea, some samples from Bellevue Tea would make a good Christmas present. It makes an unusual and personal gift. They’ll be able to enjoy your present into the cold new year!
*Not a sponsored post, I just like tea.