I’ve never been any good at crafts like sewing, knitting or crocheting. I can do them, but they always seemed like such an effort and I’ve never really enjoyed them.
Last Christmas, DH bought me a needle felting kit and I seemed to get on with it from the start. Most importantly, I enjoyed it.
A lot of people don’t know what needle felting is, but basically you use a specially barbed needle to stab bits of wool into shapes or patterns. It’s very therapeutic. Some felties contain wire or pipe cleaner armatures, or skeletons; wool is wound around these in layers to create the desired shape and colours.
I’ve had a go at making all sorts of different things and now I attend a local craft market every month. People ask me to make them things, usually animals or figures, and mostly seem to like what I produce.
Last week someone asked me to make her some small pictures for Christmas cards and this is the first of those. I’m pretty pleased with it as I love robins.
If you are interested in seeing what else I make, check out my FB page and if you fancy trying a (new) craft, can I suggest needle felting? But be warned, it’s very addictive!
This is DD1 and our second rescue dog, who she has taken on the task of training.
He was an Irish street dog and was rescued from a pound when his seven days were up. A very lovely rescue called Heathlands Animal Sanctuary brought him to the UK and fostered him for three months before we met him and took him home.
He’s a good old fashioned mutt. DNA tests have shown he’s got a labrador grandparent, and a husky grandparent, and the rest is a real mix. But he’s very keen to learn and is a good partner for DD1 in both dog training and agility classes.
Here they are practicing the ‘Watch Me’ command, where he is supposed to be looking at his owner and ignoring what’s going on around him. You can see the concentration on his face as he waits to be told what to do next.
He’s not perfect, and is partial to stealing food and disappearing after interesting smells when in the woods, but he’s a loved member of our family now and the thought that he was so close to being killed because no one wanted him makes me very sad.
We all have to make the most of the nice weather while it lasts.
We’ve just had the last week of our summer break and the weather has been lovely. After our washout of a summer holiday in Ireland, we had to make the most of it so got out and about as much as possible.
One of the places we visited was Knebworth House. We’d never been there before despite it only being 40ish minutes from home. It could do with a lick of paint but though it was a bit young for the 14 and 13 year olds, the 8 and 10 year olds had a great time on the slides and adventure playgrounds. Be aware there are some height restrictions on the slides, but DS is the shortest of us at 133cm and he could go on everything.
We got an icecream, which was reasonably priced and the younger two got a bit wet playing under the water feature, but dried off pretty quickly afterwards.
Then we drove up to the house and gardens (observing the 10mph speed limit so the kids could hatch a couple of Pokemon eggs) and had a stroll around the gardens and maze. DS liked the dinosaurs, DD3 liked climbing the hills and rolling down and the teens tore themselves away from their phones long enough to appreciate beauty of the house itself.
So, in short, it’s a nice place to visit especially if your kids are 10 and under. There seemed to be plenty of things for under 8s to do as well.
There weren’t too many wasps, I didn’t feel like we had been ripped off by the entry price and it was much more fun than school shoe shopping.
This is an orchid I got for Mother’s day in 2015. It had blue flowers then, obviously dyed, and I knew if it ever flowered again the blooms would be white.
The flowers lasted for ages, but eventually died and the plant lost the stem and leaves and looked like it was dead. I tried a few different things to get it growing again, and in desperation moved it to the very sunny kitchen windowsill, chucked some water at it occasionally and left it alone.
Of course, because it was being neglected it grew two new leaves, and when I got back from holiday I found it had flowered. This is one of the flowers but it now has five. My kids think the centre looks like a Pokemon.
Orchids really are very awkward plants.
We’ve just spent three weeks driving around Ireland in the rain, but it was all worth it because I got see one of my bucket list sights in the sunshine.
When we got to Dunseverick, in Northern Ireland, and visited The Giant’s Causeway, it didn’t rain for two whole days.
The Causeway is a foreshore area that is made up of interlocking polygon rock columns. They make an amazing sight as they disappear into the sea.
The coast in this area would be glorious in any weather but it was so nice not to have to wear wet weather gear.
We visited the Causeway after the visitor centre closed, so had to walk down and back up again. The kids were not impressed with this, but it’s worth visiting early or late so you can avoid the crowds. Once we got down to the stones, they admitted the Causeway was ‘okay’.
My grandparents visited Ireland decades ago and came home with photos of this area. I’ve always wanted to see it myself and am pleased that neither weather nor whinging children stopped me from doing so.
We’ve been on holiday in Ireland for two weeks now and can confirm that the weather is shite.
There is so much to do, and such beautiful scenery, but you will probably need to be wearing wet weather gear with a fleece underneath to enjoy it.
The flipside to this is that you never take it for granted when the sun does come out.
On our third day in Dingle, it stopped raining for a bit so we decided to drive up to the top of the Conor Pass.
I had been a bit put off by some of the trip advisor comments; one in particular described ‘semi perilous’ drivng conditions with narrow roads, rock faces and steep drops.
But the lady who lived next to our holiday cottage said the road was two lanes all the way to the top from the Dingle side. And there was a view point at the top where we could turn around if we didn’t feel up to coming down the other side.
The view from the top was stunning, and I could see how the road worked on the way to Tralee, so decided to have a go at the other side. It was fine, you just had to keep an eye on what was coming towards you and stop somewhere where they could pass before they reached you.
There are a number of places that can only accommodate one car, so you do have to be prepared to back up if necessary. But the drops aren’t sheer, there are stone walls between you and certain death.
To be honest, if you are used to driving in London, you’ll be fine!
And it was definitely worth it, as once we got over the pass we found our way to Fermoyle Strand, one of the most beautiful (and emptiest) beaches we’ve ever been on.
We are going on a summer holiday. To Ireland.
Yes, we have waterproofs.
First stop, Wales, for the night. But first we had to cross the Severn Bridge.
We like a good bridge.