Saturday, April 27, 2013

nice day at the office

 Look who came to visit me at the office this afternoon.
The lockers were her favourite part, particularly when she found this pom pom attached to my workmate Carolyn's locker.  I actually made this pom pom years ago.  It was destined for a pom pom bomb kit (I used to work away on them in the kitchen on my lunch breaks) but Carolyn grew quite attached to this particular pom pom and has had it on her locker ever since.  Fortunately, I managed to prise it out of Dulcie's hands and reattach it to its rightful place on the locker door before any damage was done.  It was funny that she was so attracted to the only thing round there that really came from me.  I will have to make her some pom poms of her own to play with at home.
 Dulcie looked so tiny tottering about the office.  She was a bit shy and wary at first (we had to carry her over the threshold) but she had a good nosey at everything/everyone in the end.  My office is always pretty quiet at the weekends, so it wasn't too overwhelming for her.
We went for lunch (macaroni and chips) at the local greasy spoon and stopped to take this photo outside the house where Graham was born, which is right on the doorstep of my office.  This was also the spot where he was run over by a car while running across the road when his mum shouted that his chicken soup was ready. Ah, happy memories... Ha ha!

ready for puddles

We were planning a mini-break to St Andrews, but found the available accommodation was a bit beyond our price range, so we've decided to spend a few days at my parents' in Elgin instead.  Elgin has charity shops and beaches aplenty on the doorstep and an aquarium not TOO far way.  This was all we had planned for St Andrews anyway, so it seems like a good substitute holiday.  We got Dulcie this puddle suit on eBay in preparation for windy/rainy days by the sea, but it will also come in very handy for drizzle-tastic Glasgow's parks, I'm sure!  Dulcie was very pleased with her new waterproof look.  I feel like we should take up hillwalking now.  Let's wait and see how well my heart gadget works first...

Friday, April 26, 2013


Keeko!  Dulcie loves hiding these days.  She is forever peeking out from under and behind things (under the bannister in this case) and often shrieks at us as she leaps out from her various hiding places.
She recently came up with this hiding place all on her own.  For some reason she seems to think putting her head in this corner makes her invisible.  The rules of this game are: Dulcie hides in this corner, I exclaim, "Oh, no! I've lost Dulcie," she comes out of the corner and we both clap and say, "Yay!"  Then repeat.  And repeat.  Hours of fun for everyone as I'm sure you can imagine!
Life is much easier since she mastered the art of independent walking.  Walking seems to make everything more fun.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

more buttons

Look at these loely buttons I found in Oxfam today, £1 for all four of them.  They are pretty chunky, but I'm hoping I might be able to use the smaller two on one of the outfits I'm planning to make for Dulcie.  I'll have to see how they look with the fabric I've chosen (might go and buy that tomorrow, actually) but I think it could be a winning combination.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Those of you who have been reading long enough to remember my Craftathon 2011 may remember that I failed to make a rug.  This was partly because I never got round to it and partly because I couldn't think of any image I would want on a rug.  Dulcie LOVES Miffy these days.  Every time she sees a picture of Miffy, she squeaks "Mimi!" and she spends ages reading what was my Miffy book and is now decidedly hers.  This morning, when Dulcie got very excited to see I was wearing my Miffy socks, inspiration struck - why not make a Miffy rug for Dulcie's (future) room?  Who knows when (if?) this will actually happen, and goodness knows Dulcie will probably be less interested in Miffy by then, but that rabbit is a classic who never goes out of style (I love her even at my ripe old age) so I don't think it could go too far wrong.  Once I've finished crocheting the sleeves on Dulcie's cardigan, I will start planning the design and sourcing my supplies.  I will be so excited if I actually manage to make a rug, but for now I'm excited enough to have a rug plan!

Edit: And look at this cute Miffy amigurumi pattern too (free to download).  I predict I'll crochet this before even starting on the rug.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

how to poach an egg

I already mentioned that my mum taught Dulcie how to be a good and helpful homemaker while she was staying with us, but she also taught me a few tricks too! I can now poach an egg perfectly, without any vinegar or swirling or anything other than a simple pan of hot water. I just had two perfect poached eggs for my lunch. Mmmm! 

Want to know how? Here you go...

Bring a pan of water (fairly deep) to a rapid boil then turn the heat off completely. Crack your egg (the fresher the better) into a bowl or similar receptable and lower/slide the egg gently into the hot but still water. Leave well alone for exactly three minutes if you like a really runny yolk, four minutes if you like a yolk that is soft and dark but not really runny, and five minutes if you like your yolk rock sold. Easy, huh? So far, this method has not failed me. My poached eggs are now things of beauty, with their yolks sitting proud above a neat and tidy white. Lovely :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

what I wore today

 It's not often that I would feel the urge to blog about what I was wearing, much less to post photos, but today was the first time I had worn this lovely vintage handmade dress.  My sister sent it to me just after Dulcie was born, saying I could use it as fabric to be chopped up if I didn't like it as a dress.  To be honest, I thought that was its destiny as it seemed too big and sack-like on me then.  I don't know whether it shrank in the wash or whether I've put on just the right amount of weight since then, but when I tried it on this morning (in desperation as my staple jeans were in the wash) it fitted me rather nicely.  If anything it was a wee bit tight on the bust, which is possibly why I lost a button just as I was about to leave for work.  I'm now at work with my cardigan buttoned right up, not having had the time to change or reattach the button.  The downside of this dress is that it leaves my scar very exposed.  I'm still in two minds about all that, swithering between keeping it hidden and flaunting it.  The buttoned-up cardigan sorts out that problem too, though, so I am managing to maintain my appearance/disguise of normality at work tonight :)
 Since these photos are so blurry (taken one-handed with my phone while running around after Dulcie) I thought I should share a close-up of the fabric itself.  Apples!  It's very pretty, if a little loose-weave for my liking.  That does give it a nice hang though, which is good since the skirt is quite long - just below knee length.
As you can see, Dulcie and I were very colour co-ordinated today in our red and navy outfits.  What a team!

My day looking after Dulcie on my own went really well. She was in helpful mode - putting her own nappies in the bin and putting washing in the machine etc.  My mother trained her well!  I didn't manage to stay in all day since I discovered we were running short on nappies and wipes at about midday, but I managed a wee jaunt to the shops fine, albeit with many breaks along the way to catch my breath.  Dulcie didn't mind as it gave her a chance to touch plenty of leaves - her latest obsession - and watch the pigeons doing their mating dance.  We did have a spell of ear-splitting screaming as my trying to get dinner ready pre-work coincided with her feeling sad and wanting to be attached to me, but overall, it went much better than expected.  It was impossible to manage the getting in and out of the pram one-handed, but I just tried to take the majority of her weight on my good arm and hoped for the best.  I am only a few days away from being allowed to use/move my left arm freely, so it probably is OK now anyway.

Talking of handmade clothes (I was back there at the top of this post!) I'm looking forward to the final of The Great British Sewing Bee tomorrow.  I was very sceptical when I first saw trailers for the series, but I've really enjoyed it.  It's also got me more determined than ever to try sewing some clothes.  I'm starting with a dress and romper suit for Dulcie before, hopefully, moving onto something for myself.  My vague goal is to get Dulcie's things made for this summer, but I'm already thinking next summer might be more realistic.  We shall see.  I'm hoping the BBC will make another series of The Great British Sewing Bee and that they'll let it run a bit longer than four episodes next time around.  I hope my dressmaking enthusiasm/confidence doesn't begin to wane once series one is over.  I'm not sure who I'm rooting for to win.  I'm torn between Anne (the very old one) and Lauren (the very young one).

Sunday, April 21, 2013

granny's gone?!

Dulcie's granny (my mum) finally went home on Friday.  Barring a wee break of a few days in the middle, she had been with us for five weeks.  Tomorrow will be the first day in a long time that I'll have had to look after Dulcie on my own all day.  I haven't pushed the pram and have barely so much as changed a nappy in over a month!  Whatever will we do?  I'm hoping Dulcie won't be too demanding.  Having had LOTS of attention for the last wee while, I don't think she will take too kindly to being fobbed off with toys/other distractions whenever I need to do something.  I'm still having to be careful with picking her up etc. so I'm hoping there won't be too many flinging-herself-around tantrums.  I can only pick her up with one arm, so it requires co-operation on her part.  I don't think I'll risk taking her to the park as it's nearly always a fight to get her back in the pram when it's time to go home.  I wish we could just stay in all week, but I have a couple of annoying heart-related appointments to go to.  I think tomorrow might be a house-bound day though.  Baby steps.  I should add I have barely had to look after myself for the last five weeks either and even the thought of making dinner seems like an insurmountable task.  Come back, Mum!  Please!

Word of the week: trepidation...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

racing driver in the making

 I used up some annual leave today and took the morning/early afternoon off.  Graham's sister is visiting this weekend, so the four of us went to the Grosvenor Cafe for lunch.
 The Grosvenor Cafe is very child friendly and has a few of these miniature cars kicking about.  We've been there with Dulcie quite a few times, but today was the first time she'd shown any interest in driving one of them.
She absolutely loved it, but had a very serious expression on her face throughout.  The combo of the frown, the dress and the car made her look like a thoroughly Victorian child, I thought.  I'm telling you, this girl is really too cute at times.

The Grosvenor Cafe is an amazing looking space, the menu is great and the food tasty.  You can also get two main meals for the price of one if you've been to the cinema that week (as we had this week) which makes it pretty reasonable in price too.  Although there are kids everywhere, riding around on miniature cars and getting their faces painted, the space is so huge that you don't feel overwhelmed byb their presence.  We used to go there quite happily before Dulcie was so much as a twinkle in our eyes.

Friday, April 19, 2013

you can't buy this

I just found this on etsy.  I love it!  I want it!  It's not cheap but it's not too expensive.  But it is in America.  Boo.  I've emailed the shop owners to ask about postage costs to the UK. I'm not too hopeful.  I'm prepared for the postage costs to be prohibitively expensive, but you never know.  It was certainly worth asking.  I'm not going to post a link to this item because I don't want you to buy it. Sorry, but I really do love it!  (Please don't go looking for it and buy it, that wouldn't be fair play at all.)  I'd like to think I could make my own version but I know I could never get the colours quite right, never mind the composition.  Oh yeah, and I don't have time to make anything!  That said, I have a sewing pattern and I've seen some fabric I plan to buy to make said pattern.  More on that some other day...

UPDATE: The postage turned out to be very reasonable, the seller lovely and I bought it!  Whoop!  What a lovely treat to myself :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

chair-ity shop delight

 Allow me to present to you our new kitchen chairs.  We have four of them.  This may not sound like a big deal to you, but previously we only had two kitchen chairs and they were always threatening to fall apart.  Whenever anyone visited, we would have to gather chairs from other corners of the house (e.g. the chair at my sewing machine) and everyone would be sitting at different heights and feeling various degrees of (dis)comfort.  No more, I say!  We now have four matching chairs around our table.  Pretty nice they are, too!
 We have been looking for kitchen chairs for about six years and kept falling in love with ridiculously overpriced numbers like this one above.  We spotted this chair in John Lewis back in September and really liked it, but did not like the £125 price tag so much.  I took some photos of it and forwarded them to my family as I was sure similar chairs appeared in charity shops all the time.  Since then I had seen a number of sets of chairs similar in style appear in the Salvation Army shop, but Graham always found something not to like about them.  I saw the chairs we now own a good few weeks back, but couldn't persuade Graham that we should buy them.  He said they were all right, he supposed, but not quite right.  Last week, my mum (who carries a photo of the John Lewis chair in her purse cos she is dilligent like that!) came home from a walk with Dulcie telling me there were two sets of chairs similar in style in the Salvation Army shop and shouldn't we just go and get them.  Lo and behold, it was the ones I liked she had spotted.  They were still there.  That night I took Graham out for dinner (well, I say that, but he ended up paying) and sweet-talked him into agreeing that four matching chairs that were just all right would be a lot better than the two falling-apart chairs we had currently.  He agreed, although made me promise we would continue keeping our eyes peeled for THE perfect chairs.  So the next morning, my mum and I hot-footed it down to the Salvation Army and bagged ourselves a bargain - all four chairs for £15!  Four of the John Lewis chairs (which I now think are maybe not quite as nice as ours) would have set us back £500!  And, wouldn't you know it, once we got them home, Graham realised I was right and he was wrong (obviously!) and the chairs were actually really nice.  I don't know what happened.  He is normally pretty skilled at mentally removing items from their charity-shop surroundings, but he seemed to have a mental block when it came to these chairs.  Oh well, it all worked out well in the end.
The chairs are OK as they are, but I'm not mad keen on the black plastic seat coverings and they are slightly low for our table and a bit hard on the old bony bums, so we're planning to reupholster them.  They look like they'll be very easy to do - the seats unscrew very simply and then the old material can be ripped off and the new material (plus some foam padding) stapled on in its place.  Graham and I went fabric browsing when I finished work yesterday afternoon.  We did see a few fabric contenders, but nothing that was definitely right.  My frontrunner so far, I think, is red gingham, but we're holding out for something slightly more... edgy?  Graham says he has in mind something like the pattern on the formica table tops in the Ritz Cafe, Millport.  You can see a picture I took of it at the bottom of this post from 2009.  I don't know what I have in mind.  I had thought some sort of atomic/Lucienne Day style fabric, but when I actually look at them, I think it could be a bit of a kitchen cliche.  We'll keep our eyes peeled for now.  Like I said, the chairs are useable and liveable as they are.

How beautiful is the window in the picture above?  One of the main fabric shops in Glasgow's city centre (Remnant Kings) has to be accessed via this beautiful old staircase.  This window, about ten feet in diameter, is a highlight, but I also love the Art Nouveau style liftshaft, the wooden letterboxes with gilt names, and the wee old man who sits in the guard box at the front door.  Glasgow is full of amazing staircases.  I wish someone had collated them all.  You know what, they probably have!

Please let me know if you have spotted any fabric that you think would look good on our new chairs.  Our kitchen walls are a dusky dark turquoise (as you can see in the top picture) and our table and other kictheny bits and pieces have quite a bit of red going through them.  I'm thinking a pattern would be better for hiding the inevitable stains, but we're open to all suggestions.  Oh, and please ignore our manky lino floor!  Thanks :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

rich beyond my wildest dreams!

I've been having a bit of a clear-out this week, making the most of my mum being here to distract Dulcie and my rare get-rid-of-it frame of mind.  I'm in the mood where I'm tempted just to put 90% of all my possessions to the charity shop.  In all honesty, that's probably what I should do, but I'm happy enough to be filling a few binbags' worth for now.  Anyway, while sorting through some books this afternoon, I found this pile of dosh between the pages of my travel guide to Moscow!  "I'm rich," I thought, "Rich beyond my wildest dreams!"  I had already put a mental deposit down on a house and handed in my imaginary notice by the time I got to the computer, but, according to the internet, 130 Russian rubles are actually worth just £2.75.  Oh well, it was a nice feeling while it lasted.

This month marks ten years since I went on a big adventure, travelling around Europe for four months.  When I got back, I felt I had the bug and also felt like a seasoned traveller who could go anywhere with confidence.  I vowed to go on lots more adventures abroad.  Well, as I said, that was ten years ago and I pretty much haven't been anywhere since.  I guess that's one of the perils of having a close relation who lives abroad - you tend to visit them whenever you leave the country.  Neither Graham nor I were taken abroad as children.  I hadn't even been on a plane until I was 21 and still find the whole airport experience a bit alien and stressful now.  I guess I'm not really the travelling type, but I was a bit deflated when I realised I really hadn't been anywhere in a decade.  I made Graham pinky promise that we'd do our best to take Dulcie away now and again, even just for weekends, in the hope that she'll see foreign travel as more normal and accessible than we both apparently do.  That said, I wouldn't have wanted to swap all the summer holidays I spent at my granny's in Islay.  I guess balance is the key.

Is anyone reading this planning a trip to Russia any time soon?  I'm happy to send you my £2.75 worth of rubles if you are!  You can go wild and buy yourself a Mars bar or something.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

win in the end!

I may not have won anything on Friday's Euromillions (boo hiss!) but I did win this gorgeous cushion cover in Jane Foster's monthly giveaway.  Hooray!  This cushion is so perfectly up my street, I feel like it was meant to be.  I'm looking forward to putting this in Dulcie's bedroom... once she has one of her own!  This month Jane's giving away some lovely vintage fabric squares.  You can enter here.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

best outfit ever?

 Could this be the best dress of all time?  I genuinely think it's a contender!
 Dulcie seems to have had a major growth spurt lately.  The downside of this is that all her trousers suddenly became too short.  The upside, though, is that she has suddenly grown into a few of the vintage clothes we found the best part of a year ago.  Hooray!
Gosh, she looks crazy adorable in this outfit, even more so in real life than she does in these pictures.  I need to sew the drooping apple leaves back in their rightful positions, but other than that it is just perfection.  Dulcie seems to like it too, especially the red bow on the front.  It's one of those dresses that is short enough not to hamper her romping around either.  See?  I told you - it's perfect.  Not bad for a 50p bargain :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

day out in dunkeld

Graham was off again on Wednesday, so he, Dulcie and I took the train to Dunkeld for the day.  Quite a few of the nice shops were closed for Easter week and some other places were impossible to get into with the pram in tow, but we still had such a nice day.  The sun was shining again and it was so nice to be by the river and surrounded by beautiful scenery.  We had lunch in a nice wee pub (I had my first full pint of beer in around two years!) and visited a few antique and charity shops where Dulcie was very excited to make friends with a dog, who she miaowed at.  Seems like everything is a cat to her these days, especially if it's black and white.  We spent a long while playing at the riverside play park, much to Dulcie's delight, and walked around the cathedral.  Then we headed over the bridge to Birnam for coffee and cake before getting the train back home again.  A lovely day out.
Getting to spend a few days with Graham and getting to do actual things/go on actual outings (things I can't really manage with the pram on my own) did me the world of good, I think.  I felt my brain actually clunk into a different (more positive) gear or something.  I NEED to find a way for us to be able to spend real time together more often, but how?  I think I'll start by buying a euromillions ticket tonight.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

jaconelli's, baby!

Yesterday's Easter holiday outing was to Jaconelli's cafe in Maryhill.  It was Dulcie's first trip here ex utero (if that is the right expression).  Last time we went to Jaconelli's I remember I had terrible morning sickness and didn't enjoy my fried egg, chips and beans nearly so much as I did yesterday!  Jaconelli's is a beautiful old cafe with lots of original/old features.  They even have a picture of a knickerbocker glory and a smoking fag in an ashtray etched on the door.  You can see quite a good picture of the interior here, should you want to.   Once we'd finished our not-too-healthy lunches and four-finger Kit Kats, we got a quarter of soor plooms on the way out.  Mmmmm, delicious!  Jaconelli's is always quite a bustling little place and Dulcie had a great time watching all the people coming and going.  She was particularly impressed by the big old coffee machine, shouting, "Tea! Tea!" when she heard it start up.  This is what she always shouts when Graham makes coffee in his own machine at home.  It's a weird coincidence really, rather than a hot drink confusion.  We never really drink tea in our house any more, so it's not that she can't tell the difference, it's just that she hasn't mastered saying "coffee" yet and "tea" is the closest she can get.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

walking in the sun

We took advantage of the sunshine (still freezing, mind) and the bank holiday yesterday and took Dulcie to Pollok Park to visit the Highland cows.  They were far enough from the fence for Dulcie to mistake them for cats (what is it with this girl and cats?!) but she did get a good close look at some of the Clydesdale horses and, as you can see, enjoyed the freedom of being able to toddle around in the sunshine.  Many sticks and leaves were collected (and surreptitiously thrown away again) until her hands were black and her heart was full.  We had such a nice day - a very rare treat to be out as a threesome.  I can't wait until Dulcie's nursery place starts so I can change my shifts and start spending some time with my little family again.  Only six (long) months to go...

Talking of work, I went back last night.  I was relieved to see a designated first-aider was on shift but ended up not needing their resuscitation skills.  Naturally.

Monday, April 1, 2013

dulcie wears...

Dulcie wears...

Dress - 50p, Salvation Army

Cardigan - 30p, Oxfam

Tights - £2.99, H&M

Tiger wrist rattle - model's own.

It just amused me that her tights cost more than three times as much as the rest of the outfit combined!

Here are a few more pictures of her getting up to no good during the fashion photo shoot.  She's worked out how to set the timer on the oven and make it beep, something her father is yet to achieve.  She's a technological genius, I tell you!

Very pleased with herself.

She's got the middle-distance gaze of a catalogue model down pat.  I'm off to google baby-model agencies.  I want to see this face on the front of a knitting pattern!  Only joking - she is not easy to photograph, which I'm sure would not count in her favour as a knitwear model...

Before I go, I just wanted to say thanks for all the kind emails and comments after my brain blurb of Friday night.  I've been feeling a bit better since I wrote it and have realised something about blogging too, namely that just because everybody COULD read my blog, it doesn't mean everybody DOES read my blog, hence why I am perfectly justified in sharing things here that I don't necessarily want to be full-blown common knowledge among my real-life circle of acquaintances.  I'm glad I got that cleared my own mind!