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This week

Crochet Life Running This week

:: This week ::

29th January 2017

Photograph of a graphic style piece of street art

 

:: Making ::

Still just adding to the babette this week. No further progress to report on that. I’m hooking up a hat, continuing on with my scrap project —

Crochet circle

 

It’s growing slowly, am hoping to find a circular cushion to fit this too… on the list.

Ruby and I also spent Saturday morning knotting up friendship bracelets. I made a couple with 8 strands but they aren’t finished yet and I’ve not got any pictures at the moment. Ruby mastered the chevron and has made a few now, she found the printed patterns for bracelets using any more than 4 strands difficult to understand (as did I, it took me a few hours and some youtube videos to decipher them!) That’s it for makes.

:: Reading ::

I finished Shonda Rime’s “Year of Yes” (3/5) and I’m stuck into “The Essex Serpent” by Sarah Perry now. I’ve also started reading a design book on design systems and user interfaces, largely out of my depth on that, but immersing myself in all things web design and development at the moment. It’s good to read something different.

:: Listening to ::

ABRA

I’ve watched nothing on TV except Homeland, we’re a season behind. Drinking? None. I know you can’t believe it either. I’ve run 17.6 miles this week, including one very muddy trail run with Rocco. I had 4 days off after catching a nasty cold last weekend, I just had to get behind early nights and lots of rest at the start of the week. Really not a huge amount going on, am still enjoying hibernating this winter. The daily coding is happening, I should have hit 100 hours in a couple of weeks, I say this tentatively as there is so much to learn and I am only at the beginning, but I’m finally starting to feel that it’s not so alien to me any more. I’m looking forward to being able to do it with my ‘morning head’ on this week. At the weekends I’m attempting an hour after the kids go to bed and my evening head is dull and sluggish and finds everything hard to grasp. On that, it’s grinding as I type, time to hit the hay.

This week

:: This Week ::

22nd January 2017

:: Making ::

Photo of v stitch blanket

Aside from adding a square to the babette everyday (it’s getting ever bigger but still so far off) I have been stitching this single size v stitch blanket when I’m sitting on the sofa, a pretty infrequent occurrence. It’s a bit disheartening working on big crochet projects sometimes, you feel like you’re getting nowhere, but I think of the experience relative to learning anything new or preparing to race, or reading a book. You just have to keep on keeping on and eventually it will reach it’s conclusion.

Mixed colour crochet circle piece

I also began a scrappy circle piece made up of oddments of cotton. Every time I run out of colour I pull the end through in preparation to needle join the cotton to the next colour. I’ve got a plan to make a floor cushion out of this, but I’m not sure it will work out. Still, I like to try the things I imagine, even if they don’t turn out exactly as I envisage. Overall I’ve hardly done any crochet this week, I’ve been trying to get my paperwork organised and combining that with all the running and housework/chores seems to have sucked up all my time. I’ll be using attacker pro this week to track my time. In honesty it won’t be spent making, my big focus for the next few months is to build on the work I’ve been doing, learning to code, but I feel like I must do some crochet everyday to keep myself levelled up, something about the rhythm of it and working with the colours always puts me where I need to be. Crocheting to a podcast is such a happy way for me to pass the time, I never tire of it, I wish I had more energy in the evenings!

:: Reading ::

“Why and how I get up at 4.30” – I’m back to my 5.45 wake-ups now, I’m not sure I could manage 4.30 but “it’s only after I accepted that I’d never again sleep past 7.00 that 4.30 started to look attractive” rang a bell.

This piece by Noel Thatcher MBE a visually impaired athlete/paraolympian. I’ve registered my interest in becoming a guide runner after reading this, so inspiring.

“Why you should stop caring what other people think” – this was recommended in the 5 bullet friday email by Tim Ferriss, definitely worth signing up to if you don’t get it already.

Just finished “The Art of Learning” by Josh Watizkin and picked up “A Year of Yes” by Shonda Rimes, whether I’ll ever get round to reviewing either is another matter.

:: Watching ::

Taboo. Of course. Everyone is watching Tom Hardy in taboo. I’m not entirely sure I understand where it’s going. I really hope it ends up being good.

This youtube video on Grace Hopper a hugely impressive computer scientist who I had never heard of until this week. Very inspiring.

I still haven’t had a drink but I am BLOODY TEMPTED THIS EVENING. I think that’s largely due to the fact that today I’m back to feeling run down, how I’ll manage the year at this point seems utterly impossible.

On running I’ve hit 26.9 miles this week, a marathon distance! Meditating: Only twice. I need to tilt back. Let’s see how this week goes…

 

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.

11.22.63

 

:: 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.

This week

:: This week ::

31st July 2016

:: Making ::

Crochet squares

 

I’ve been working on this blanket for a few weeks now, with 8 colour changes the blocks don’t work up particularly quickly. The pattern is the circle square from “100 Bright and colourful Granny Squares” by Leonie Morgan – I’ve just added an extra DC border.

Rhubarb Chutney

 

I also made a rhubarb chutney in the slow cooker.

 

:: Reading ::

I just finished up Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Committed” – it reads as meditation on western marriage compared with other culture’s, whether it’s important, why we feel it validates us and our relationships, what value it adds to society, all in relation to the fact her second marriage is very much forced so her brazilian australian partner can reside with her in the U.S. I began this a couple of weeks after I learnt that they have very recently filed for divorce.

This article about Haruki Murakami’s work on running which I wrote about here.

:: Watching ::

I don’t think I’ve watched anything on TV all week. It’s the first week of the summer holidays! I’m running around all day and collapsing in the evening! I did watch the BFG today in 3D at the cinema, it was everything I’d want out of a family film in that the children laughed and stayed captivated throughout but though the special effects were spectacular it fell very short in the delivery for me. I never felt particularly connected to the character of Sophie, I never felt overwhelmed with delight at their curious and poignant friendship. It lacked overall chemistry. The portrayal of the BFG I couldn’t fault but I could have missed seeing it on the big screen in all honesty.

:: Making me happy this week ::

My two at the beach

 

Settling into the holidays. Today was the second time this week they’ve been in the sea. The temperature just doesn’t bother them, they could sit there for hours.

 

Gatekeeper

 

Spotting butterflies on my walks with Rocco. I’ve lucked out taking pictures of butterflies this season. I’m holding out to spot a peacock, my absolute favourite. If you’re in Sussex too, I found this great site which has plenty of pictures and sightings if you t00 start to feel a bit nerdy about butterflies like me.

Sussex sky

 

I’m pretty happy I managed to run 21 miles this week despite the holidays and now we’ve settled into more of a rhythm I’m starting to feel a little more organised so I’m sure I’ll be able to work in a few more miles next week. I set myself the challenge in January to run 1000km and I’m at 634 as of this weeks end.

Crochet This week

:: This Week ::

13th March 2016

:: Making ::

Granny Squares

 

I’ve been feeling really run down this week so have been settling in front of the TV with this granny square blanket mostly. It’s for my friend Lucy who I have known since I went to playgroup! She is due next month. So far I’ve made some progress but this crappy sore throat thing is messing with my productivity in a big way – hopefully I’ll get to finish it this week.

 

New modern baby blanket order

 

I’m also working on a new baby blanket order.

 

New baby blanket order

 

I love how the colours are working up on this one. You can see more of my blankets here or get in touch on instagram to get a baby blanket made.

:: Reading ::

I’m still reading The Little Paris Bookshop – I can’t read when I’m run down, can you? I much prefer to switch off and watch something on the TV.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s life changing story from Indonesia (That you haven’t heard) – A lovely story about being human from one of my favourite writers. This one is heartwarming. Have you ever had a stranger take care of you like that?

Philosophy’s True Home – An article on where modern philosophy fits within other disciplines, that it’s not isolated from other disciplines but intrinsic to them. It just made me want to read the book – when I’ll actually get round to reading my first philosophical book since university is a completely different matter.

:: Watching ::

Love on netflix – there were so many funny lines in this show. It was over too quick.

:: Making me happy this week ::

Rainbow baby blanket

 

I sent off this blanket to one of my ‘instagram fam’ for her new baby and she’s really pleased with it which makes me extremely happy. Instagram is a strange old platform – having been on there 4 years I’ve watched babies being born, houses being refurbished, people moving house, going on holiday, I watch what they make, where they work. It’s a special albeit weird kind of connection witnessing all the highlights.

Rocco and the West Pier

 

I had one day this week where Rocco and Gwyn and I walked into town, drank coffee in the Lanes and sat on the beach. We did no housework, no stupid house admin, nothing except eat and hang out with no children, i.e. – no responsibility. Those days are rare.

 

Ruby and George at the beach

 

Another rare sunny day – where we all went for a walk and picnicked at the beach.

 

Crochet This week

:: This Week ::

6th March 2016

:: What I’m making
Bold Blankets

 

I’m just finishing off the bold blankets I started earlier on in the year. I love these. Modern, but crisp, and though almost imperceptibly different shades of blue and green they really have their own look.

 

Gorgeous blanket

 

Have also still been working on this gorgeous bright one. It will be listed in my etsy shop this week. I think the colours are great together. This would be my pick if I got to have a third child and didn’t have to just make do with the dog.

 

:: Listening to

How to overcome information overwhelm” from the Lewis Howes Podcast. ‘Is what I’m doing right now in my life fun, impactful or profitable?” – it’s only 4 minutes and it’s actually changed the way I think about anything I think about.

:: Reading

IMG_2094

 

:: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George – light relief I got to tell you, after A Little Life and Gloria Steinem’s ‘My Life on the Road‘ (note to self: I really ought to blog about that book). It’s sort of lovely and fanciful and ridiculously surreal in that European Amelie kind of way.

:: I also read this article in the guardian about narcissism. Which, considering I posted TEN pictures on instagram today was of particular fascination to me. I took the Narcissistic Personality Inventory they suggested and scored a 10 out of 40. Even that concerns me! However there was one particular thing that I wasn’t sure about in this write up. Narcissists are apparently really assertive that they are narcissists and justify it with their outward belief it makes them succeed. Er… no… I know droves of them that have the facade of humility whilst posting endless and NUMEROUS duckface/ pouting drivel under the shameless selfie umbrella. Now, I know, for sure, I am pretty guilty of filling instagram with ‘my moments’, so the intention behind them and the ultimate value of posts are something I give a lot of significant thought to. Frankly, as well, I have to weigh this up with an admission that my personal level of narcissism has actually hit the roof this year – I’ve been working through the middle aged rite of passage of GETTING. IN. SHAPE. and I got to tell you, I’M IN BETTER SHAPE THAN PRE KIDS. (No mean feat mind,) I could probably, if given the chance, not shut up about it.  But I really feel I am hugely removed from some people I have been facebook friends with that take between 10 and 20 photos of their face at any one time and post to their timeline just because they’re going out/got their hair done, and I hope, BEYOND, that I cannot be bracketed with them. Equally there are people in my orbit whose face I see so frequently on their own feed that I have definitely judged as they clearly rate themselves too frickin’ much without restriction. None of them are screaming “I’m a narcissist!” but THEY ARE. The Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump examples made me sad, it furthered my understanding that people will be and do anything for a reaction. The fact is, if Katie Hopkin’s was floating in the sea, adrift, escaping conflict, though she’s peddled the most despicable of incendiary writing, many of us, for sure, would pick her out the water. I’m not saying some might not do this without talking themselves out of pissing on her first but the vast majority have a far elevated degree of humanity than she clearly believes she possesses. Despite having to think about Katie Hopkins, I do think it’s worth a read. And do the test.

:: This article, on how, as a society, we are learning to buy less stuff. It sits directly alongside my very protracted and long winded house declutter (we had ALOT of stuff) and shift in thinking about buying stuff. I’m seeing James Wallman speak next month here in Brighton which I’m looking forward to. Repeat: Experiences! Not things!

:: Watching

:: Er… friends… I’m well over halfway through season 4. I’ve actually managed to find an entire episode I had never seen before!!!! Was like unearthing treasure, no joke.

:: Spotlight – I don’t know where to start with my gratitude I have nothing further to do with the catholic church but the premise and truth of this film might be it. Of course then I’d have to probably renounce the BBC, but, truly, this really is a shameful and sadly truthful coverup of scores of child abuse. A difficult but necessary watch.

:: Cooked – Michael Pollan’s docu series on netflix about our modern relationship with food and how it affects our sociability and health. “We are the species that cooks… When we learnt to cook is when we became truly human”. Recommended.

:: This TED Talk about the refugee crisis by Alexander Betts. We have international treaties written up as to how to respond to humanitarian crisis. Migration is not going to go away. With climate change, it will continue. “There’s nothing inevitable about refugees being a cost, they’re human beings with skills, talents, aspirations, with the ability to make contributions, if we let them”. This is a 20 minute eye opener.

:: Making me happy this week

Dog brothers together

Walking the dog brothers together

Ninja George

 

Too many moments regarding the kids. Ruby’s strength with circus school, gym and learning butterfly stroke at swimming, then George getting graded for ninja. Had a pretty fun time freezing my tits off at the local aqua disco with them too.

 

West Pier

 

Beachside runs – I hit 200km of my 1000km target for 2016 this week.

 

Me and the kids

 

Hanging out with the kiddos this mothers day. And then ignoring them while I drank wine and sat in the kitchen writing this.

Roll on next week…

Books Crochet This week

:: This week ::

24th January 2016

:: What I’m making

Granny Squares

Granny Squares

I’m hooking up a ton of these squares for two baby blanket commissions. Almost at the stitch up. Love the combination

:: Listening to

Adele’s Hello High Contrast bootleg remix. I unashamedly love Adele but I was quite frankly absolutely SICK of listening to ‘Hello’. This has refreshed it somewhat – I definitely like extremely cheesy drum and bass, I find it makes me run faster, I’m not sure this will have quite the right magic but I’m going to enjoy singing along to it with feeling as I run around Brighton (silently. with headphones)

Podcasts: I’ve listened to –  The minimalists, The Mind Palace and the Slow your home podcast. All variations on the theme of intentional living.

:: Reading

A little life - the best book I have read in a VERY long time

 

Since my last post I finished ‘A little life‘ and ‘Being Mortal‘ – reviews to follow, both were extremely good in their own way. Following that I picked up and finished Marie Kondo’s ‘The life changing magic of tidying‘ – that lady really is the best kind of crackers. I have ‘discarded’ so much from my house this week. I think I’ve ditched close to 200 books. My wardrobe is so minimal I can barely believe it. I have always loved Karen Kingston’s ‘Clear your clutter‘ but something about Kondo’s ‘tidy all at once’ system has worked really well for me, she may have funny ideas about sock abuse (not what you think) but I do quite like her idea that things ‘want’ to be useful and are ‘sad’ if they aren’t fulfilling their purpose. Now I’m onto Alice Miller’s ‘The drama of being a child‘ and I’ve picked up Dan Millman’s ‘The journey’s of Socrates‘.

The life changing magic of tidying up

 

The Drama of being a child

 

You can see all the books I’m reading, what’s on my list and what I’ve rated here.

:: Watching

This – if it was a snow day – this would be the way to spend it.

:: Making me happy this week

  • Running – I’m doing the you vs the year challenge on the map my run app. The idea is to run 1000km in 2016. I’ve clocked my target easily this week. I just signed up for a 10k in June and I’m in the ballot to do the Great North run again in September but I’ve definitely got a place in Brighton’s Bright10. I love running and I think because I’m combining this with the Kayla Itsines workout 3 times a week, all those squats and burpees are actually making me faster. Don’t get me wrong, the first 15 minutes are always a bit crappy but then it just feels easier.
  • Rocco. I’m loving our very early morning weekend walks. I tell the dog everything. And he never talks back.

Me & Rocco

  • Editing the stuff in our house. I’ve spent the last week sorting, ditching and donating. I’ve got a fair bit to list and sell yet so the work is not completely done but this house is definitely lighter after all my efforts and it is feeling pretty great to have less.
  • The Way of life app. This app is AMAZING. Up until I got my phone very wet on Friday and it died, I was tracking the following: that I’d had a green drink, meditating, running, writing, reading, listening to the children read, making sure I had made time to play with the kids. When I get my phone back I’ll be posting the tracking @abrilliantme on instagram. It is such an effective way to make sure you hit everything you want to do in a day, I thoroughly recommend it.
Books Crochet This week

:: This week ::

3rd January 2016

Christmas week pretty much kicked my ass – so this week, has of sorts been about getting back on my game doing all the normal life things like getting on top of the laundry, taking the kids cycling, walking the dog, making stuff, reading, Oh God! The reading… the absolute highlight, but we’ll get to that. So this is the current format for this year on a Sunday – what I’m making, listening to, reading & watching with a brief happy list and my favourite stuff on instagram.

First up:

:: what I’m making

I got serious with my baboushka blanket this week. I’ve been wanting to make one of these since I saw it on pinterest a couple of years ago and now the perfect little person has arrived to give me an excuse. I’ve crocheted baubles until I could do it no more and it’s so nice to be making something else.

First stage of the blocks - the flowers.

First stage of the blocks – the flowers.

 

Next up, the leaves

Next up, the leaves.

 

Then I bordered in blue.

Then I bordered in blue.

 

A single crochet red border.

A single crochet red border.

 

Now I'm just waiting for them to dry.

Now I’m just waiting for them to dry.

:: listening to

  • kiasmos – I got to tell you, I’d been listening to a bit too much Adele in December and I’m close to puking every time I hit play on ‘hello’ now, so this is quite the electronic antidote – I like ‘swept’.
  • Derek Sivers on the Tim Ferriss podcast. I listened to the first podcast Tim had with Sivers earlier in December – he’s an interesting guy. I like his story – how he went from being a musician to a circus clown to a multi-millionaire by learning to code and serving his fellow artists. I like that he has no routine to his day and that he can focus and so thoroughly lose himself in one activity alone. It’s completely antithetical to how I try to live my life but it fascinates me how other people manage their time and there’s something particularly fascinating about this man and his take on the world.
  • The rest of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons – after seeing this woman speak in London during last November and reading ‘Big Magic‘ I feel like something sparked up in me. You listen to the doubt and the worry that the women have on this podcast about beginning or being good enough and you really start to realise, you just have to begin, you have to start. To get your creative work done, you have to show up consistently, everyday, even when you least feel like it or when you feel most blocked. I loved Brene Brown’s quote ‘unused creativity is not benign’ – we are all creative – when we don’t use our creativity to communicate with inspiration bad stuff manifests in our lives, guilt, depression, frustration, sadness, unhappiness. Powerful stuff, I recommend it.

:: reading

  • Oh My God. I am reading the best book I have read in some time, in years even. On instagram I’ve been in contact with people from Kentucky to Sydney, everyone awestruck at just HOW WELL a story can be written and how much we have all felt as a result. It is already in the top three best books I have ever read alongside ‘the god of small things’ and ‘the goldfinch.’ I picked up Hanya Yanagihara’s ‘A little life’ at the tail end of December but only began a week or so ago. I really feel as I read it, with each beautifully constructed sentence, that I have been swept away and woven into an epic story of friendship and tragedy. I feel the relationships between Jude and Willem and JB and Malcolm in a rare way that not every book manages. I feel the understandings and the incomprehension and the love, the sadness and the trauma that exists between them all. I have cried 4 times and I’m just halfway through, it’s bleak, but in so many ways hopeful. The story digs deep into each of the inner lives of the characters, who they are, how they think, why they love. I can’t describe it – I just want you to read it, all it’s fragility and all it’s disturbing content and all it’s wonder and brilliance. It is similar in tone to Donna Tartt’s ‘the secret history’ but is so entirely different it almost feels incomparable. I can’t put this work down, so much so, I worry about when and how it will end and whether I will find anything to follow it.

:: watching

  • Friday night lights. We’ve just done season 1. Tim frikking Riggins. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go on netflix. You’re welcome.

:: making me happy this week

Firle

  • Walking up Firle Beacon with friends.
  • Did I mention Tim Riggins???
  • That I made George fried eggs he said were like ‘something from a film.’ High praise indeed.
  • Watching Ruby paint all day long, from the morning, through to the afternoon and then well into the night because she couldn’t sleep. She was completely in the zone, it was such a joy to watch and she created piece after piece after piece, each of them wrapped up for daddy’s birthday this week. Oh, she was a complete nightmare the following day too.
  • Mexican food and chats with my friend Ellie.
  • My flipagram for 2015
  • My 50 humble brags list for 2015. On New Years Eve between the dog walk and the tidying I wrote 50 things I was proud of during 2015 (truthfully I only managed 47) It included things like ‘kept the children going,’ ‘teaching the kids to cycle without stabilisers’ ‘running bright 10’ ‘first craft fair’ & ‘selling a blanket to the USA’. They are all small but significant reasons why the year was great.

:: Instagram account of the week

As I happened to recommend this already this week I’m going for @hotdudesreading, again, you are welcome.

:: Instaquote of the week

I shamelessly stole this from ‘A little life’ and put it onto instagram myself because it was so beautiful.

A little life