Monthly Archives

September 2016

This week

:: This week ::

18th September 2016

:: Making ::

Caro Created Mandala Number 7


As I’ve “been in recovery” from last weekend’s Great North Run I have let myself off the hook for running this week. Instead I’ve been at home, avoiding housework and either reading or crocheting.

This mandala is made from Caro Created’s Crochet Overlay Mandala Number 7 Pattern and according to instagram I started it 6 months ago. It felt like a good time to finally sit down and finish it. So that’s what I did, at the kitchen table, listening to podcasts. I stopped 10 rounds shy of ‘the end’ because I felt it didn’t need any more added to it, once I get it mounted on something suitable I’ll blog the whole piece.

Yarn bombs


I also got started on my yarn bombs piece, now I’m just awaiting some extra yarn so I can continue with it.


:: Reading ::

Helen Russell on Denmark’s approach to their loved ones.

This list of 101 ways to avoid stress written by a teacher for her students that went viral. (79 & 98 …BOOM)

When Breath Becomes Air

The Danish Way of Parenting


:: Watching ::

TED Lidia Yuknavitch: The beauty of being a misfit.



:: What’s been making me happy ::

The dogs


This picture of the dogs all looking the right way.


Brighton Beach


Spending time on the beach. Heading there after school on Wednesday with Ruby and watching her play in the waves. I can’t actually believe that was all this week when I consider HOW COLD I WAS watching George play football on Saturday.



16th September 2016

Yarn bomb at lizards mouth

Just over 2 years ago I was one of 388 contributors from 36 countries along with all US states that participated in a yarn bomb organised by Stephen Duniers (@yarnbombs on instagram) to cover 18 sandstone boulders 3,000ft above Santa Barbara.

In 2012 Stephen made it his New Year’s Resolution to do 12 charitable things that didn’t involve writing a cheque and to learn 12 new skills. Number 4 on his list of skills was knitting. When I started making stuff with yarn, I made a cushion. Stephen instead decided to make a jumper for a massive eucalyptus tree on the Cold Spring Trail, Santa Barbara with a call out to visitors from his blog to contribute pieces.

The piece had an unprecedented impact on the locals. People ventured further to witness it before the installation was taken down. It moved people further into nature, it connected them to their outside environment. Yarn bombs has been growing ever since.

Stephen is now planning the biggest yarnbomb yet, ‘Dreamer’. in reference to John Lennon’s iconic song, “Imagine”, where Lennon invites the world to join him in imagining a world living in peace, without any reasons to kill or die for. The global online community Stephen has curated are from all ethnicities, creeds and backgrounds and you can join the ‘bomb squad’ for the next installation. Everyone is invited to send in a piece to be included in the project that will be unveiled in downtown Tuscon and the University of Arizona later this year coinciding with Stephen’s TedX Tuscon talk.

As always, the rules are, there are no rules!
Any size.
Any shape.
Any style.
Any color.
Set your creativity free!

Submissions just have to be received by 30th November 2016 to the following address:

Dreamer Yarnbomb
c/o TEDxTucson
610 S Park Street
Tucson, AZ 85719

I started my piece today, a lot bigger than 2014’s. I’m so excited to be a part of it again.


Xavier’s blanket

15th September 2016

Xavi in his blanket


Not too long ago now, I made this blanket for gorgeous Xavi using the Circle Square pattern from Leonie Morgan’s 100 Bright and colourful Granny squares.


Circle square


I used a palette of mustard, greys and cream to create the square and added an additional dc round to make the square bigger.


Border of the circle square blanket


Once sewn up I simply added a mustard sc border. I didn’t want to add any fuss. This seemed perfect.




Yarn used was Stylecraft Special DK and I used a 5mm hook.


Blanket overview


I absolutely love making these blankets, I love how they come together no matter how detailed they are. How just starting, stitch after stitch gets you closer to a finished piece. I especially love making them for friends and family as gifts and seeing pictures of them being used. As always I can work to commission, but I’ve sometimes got ready made pieces in my etsy shop. See the link at the top of the page.


10 years on… Great North Run

14th September 2016

GNR Medals

I had been looking forward to running in Newcastle’s Great North Run last weekend since I found out I’d got a place in the ballot all the way back in February earlier this year. I wrote about all the running I’ve been doing in  this post. It’s become a big part of life, more so since I read that book. Part of ensuring I achieve my goal of 1000 km’s in 2016 was booking in a bunch of races to keep me motivated, but this, I have to say was my most anticipated. I remembered the atmosphere, the scale and the people that made 2006’s Great North Run one of my best running experiences to date. It did not disappoint.

The night before I’d booked Souter Lighthouse as the camping spot for me and my friend Matt to have a sleep pre race.


I can’t fault the location, in fine dry weather, being so close to the coast was amazing. We took a walk down to Marsden Rock and got pizza from a van in the car park on the headland and took it down to the beach.

Marsden Rock

However, camping, after travelling for 9 hours, in the freezing cold and not getting much sleep was just a bit of a bummer. I was kicking myself for not throwing some duvets into the car. When I was sleeping, I was dreaming about all the people I have ever been camping with working together to get as many blankets together as possible to get warmer while we camped. It was that kind of restless night.

By 6am I was so cold I couldn’t be bothered to try and snatch a few more zzz’s and headed to the car to get changed. Getting changed in a one man tent had proved too challenging the night before and the car’s got blacked out windows. Winner.

Sunrise at Souter


I woke up to this sky. Absolutely incredible. It was so incredible, the fact that I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep felt suddenly very insignificant, I just felt lucky and awestruck. I watched that sky change for some time.


Day breaks over Souter

Then I sat in the car, with the radiator on and had a large coffee before getting the coach into town.

Here I am in my adidas crochita gear ready for race start:



By the time we got penned we had already walked 7km. By day end, including the race (13.1 miles – half marathon) my little legs had moved my body 39km. Altogether, the wall to wall support, the music, the bands, the locals handing out sweets, oranges and ice lollys, the unlikely and happy coincidence that Mel, (who I had been in touch with on Facebook and not seen for years) managed to pick me out of 55,000 runners at mile 5 made for an unforgettable experience. Added to these highlights, the runner’s camaraderie on the bus and on the track combined with the other extraordinary stories of  individuals and teams running for charities made it at times emotionally overwhelming.

I have only just started to feel myself today, 2 whole days after getting back home. Lack of sleep, running, walking and driving for so long manifested in a flat, depressing, holiday blues type hangover of exhaustion that has been hard to shake. I was almost crying on the drive back I was so weary. Aching weariness like this is hard to push through. Why would you voluntarily do that to yourself I can hear you ask? Well, beneath, that veneer of weary is the elation at completing something you set out to, a sense of accomplishment and a happy neat package of an experience to pack up and make a part of your life. Unless you’ve done something similar it’s nearly impossible to explain. However today chores were done and the normal rhythm of my day resumed. I am restored.

Also, importantly the times improved. In 2006 I ran this race in 2hrs 12 minutes and 15 seconds. Now, in 2016 I got 1hr 53 minutes and 26 seconds. That I’ve got better means I’m fitter and faster than I was before and encourages me to keep trying to improve – it made me immediately think of the quote from Murakami :

“Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.”