Wonderful winters weekend

I’ve had a lovely weekend, full of fabulous festive things. Friday night was the Fabulous Frost Fair.

It was the VIP charity evening and was very glam. We were welcomed in to a goody bag and a glass of bubbles with Christmas music filling the air. After a few speeches we were free to start browsing all the wonderful stalls full of gorgeous handmade crafts and they were all local too which was brilliant. It was great to be child free so I could take my time and really look at stuff. I was very good though, I didn’t buy anything. I could’ve spent a fortune on myself but with Christmas coming I need to concentrate on gifts for others. I’ve mainly got just men to buy for now and most of the products were aimed at ladies. I felt so inspired looking at everything though, I kept thinking to myself, I could make one of those or Ooh, I’d love to try my hand at that. One day I actually might find the time to give a few new crafts a go, wouldn’t that be good?

On the Saturday evening was our village Christmas light switch on. The rain stayed away and we joined the hundreds of other villagers meandering about with a mulled wine and mince pie. I met up with a couple of my friends and we had a good catch up and a wander into one of the little boutiques that was open for the festivities. Everywhere looked so pretty all lit up, The Salvation Army band played Christmas carols, local choirs sang, it was just a lovely festive evening.

On the Sunday, we took a family trip to Thomas Land to celebrate Jude’s birthday. It was such an amazing day, I can’t praise it highly enough. Jude absolutely loved every minute as expected, even the teenagers enjoyed themselves. We’re not really a theme park family so this was perfect for us, nice gentle rides! I’d highly recommend a visit here for any Thomas fan, especially around Christmas time as they’d really gone to town with the decorations, fake snow and Christmas music playing. They had a show in the daytime and then a Christmas wishes parade at the end of the day followed by fireworks. We felt so festive. We paid a little visit to Father Christmas in the Castle of Dreams, went Ice skating and watched The Polar Express in 4D which was fab. They also have a small zoo there which was home to two adorable reindeer. They were getting plenty of rest in preparation for their forthcoming long night.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend full of fun, friends, fizz, festive cheer and most of all family. (Sadly, my big son couldn’t be there as he’s growing up and had to work, but he was there in spirit!)

Great balls of Yarndale 

Hello, can you have a little guess where I went this weekend? All you hooky friends will know as it’s the talk of the woolly media! Yes, I was extremely lucky enough to go to Yarndale on Saturday, my first ever time. I’d actually like to dedicate this post to an extremely talented friend, Janine,  who both knits and crochets the most beautiful things. Unfortunately, due to health reasons she was unable to go herself, so I hope this post gives her a little taster of the woolly wonders that were in store for us.

My other lovely friend Jane who’s also a woolly whiz, kindly arranged this trip and also drove us there. I’m not the most confident motorway driver so I was extremely grateful. Instead, I was on picnic duty which was fine by me.

We parked in the Skipton Building Society car park and waited in a very long queue for the shuttle bus to take us to the auction mart. On arrival we could sense the excitement in the air. It was hard to know where to start. We decided it would be wise to look around first before spending our hard earned pennies. We both had an idea of what we were looking out for but were also open to all the wonderful talent and inspiration that was everywhere to be seen. And there was that in abundance.

So much colour and creativity.

After seeing about half the event, we found ourselves in the Hub where there was a beautiful display of crocheted bunting.

We waited in line for ages to get a peek at the marvellous sheep that had been lovingly created and sent into the yarndale organisers. There were over 700 in all. They were all being sold off with all proceeds going to a local children’s hospice, Martin House.

So much cuteness and such a lot of love had been poured into making these. This was the one I picked…

I was just drawn to her, I think I’ll call her Betsy. I hope to find out who made her and where she’s from once Mr. Postman’s delivered her.

By this time, we were getting a bit peckish so decided to head out of the mayhem and madness and take the yarn walk to have our picnic in the fresh Yorkshire air. Just outside the building, there was a stall with a difference. It was called Little Fingy and sold knitted finger puppets. A very cool idea.

Just across from here was a lawned area where people congregated to chat yarn, eat lunch and generally get in the festival vibe.

The whole atmosphere here was so friendly, it was just lovely to be a part of it. You see those mandalas hanging from the trees? They were made by the lovely Lucy from Attic 24. One of those is on my ever growing, mental to-do list.

So off on our yarn walk, one of the many well thought out things that had been put into place by the organisers. I had to get a quick shot of the beautiful countryside we were surrounded by.

The whole walk took about 30 minutes although we stopped in the park to eat our picnic. The park had been yarn bombed which was no surprise really.

Once through the park, you met the canal. What a treat that was. Walking by the water is so peaceful.

This led us into the bustling town of Skipton. It’s a really lovely place, I’d love to have more time to explore it properly. We’d hoped to squeeze in a little visit to Lucy’s studio which she’d kindly opened to everyone for the weekend but time ran away with us and we still had half of yarndale to see. After a quick mooch about, we made our way to the train station to catch one of the red vintage buses that had been laid on to ferry us yarn-laden ladies to and fro.

It’s fabulous isn’t it? Inside was just as beautiful with mandalas and flowers decorating it.

Back to base, we were refreshed and ready to take on the crowds once more.

There were aisles and aisles of luxury yarns, way out of my price range and if I’m honest, a little out of my capabilities of finding suitable projects for. I’d be too scared to use it. I’d come with a shopping list and I actually stuck to it. I was very proud of myself. I was more than happy immersing myself in all the talent, hoping one day to be half as creative. Just look at this…

I would actually wear this.

And this is the stunning display of flowers for memories. Well half of it anyway, just breathtaking.

I love these houses created by Little Tin Bird. It’s given me a cool idea, if I ever get round to it! And living just opposite these was Lucy from Attic 24 with the Wool Warehouse stand.

And she had with her all her beautiful blankets that we’ve all marvelled at on her blog over the years. We were lucky to catch her at a quiet moment as the crowds were easing, and got to chat with her for a few minutes. I was quite in awe of her. At the risk of sounding slightly silly, it was a bit like meeting a celebrity! She was so so lovely though and I’m kicking myself now that I never plucked up the courage to ask for a photo. Oh well, I’m sure there’ll be other times.

Well, with weary legs and plenty of woolly ideas flying round in our minds, it was time to make tracks home. It was the longest I’d ever been away from Jude and although I’d missed him, boy did I need that time away. Time to just be me for a day, to indulge in my passion a little and not have to be responsible for anyone else.

As well as a few balls of stylecraft that I was running out of, I got these…

I have plans for two out of three of these, all will be revealed in good time. I’d hoped to see a granny square blocker for sale but surprisingly there weren’t any. I did come home with these must haves tho.

Aren’t they just the cutest little things? I love them! I’ll have to find a little home for them somewhere, with enough space for Betsy sheep to join them when she arrives.

All in all, it was a wonderful day and I feel very lucky to have been able to go.

Vicki xxx

National trust series – Speke Hall

As National Trust members, we often go for days out to visit some of the beautiful houses and gardens that are being looked after by them. I thought I’d do a little blog series on the ones we visit. It’ll be just as and when we go.

I’ll start with our closest one which is just 30 minutes drive away, Speke Hall.  We came here in the summer holidays on a lovely warm day. The building itself is a Tudor timber framed house. It’s lovely but when you’ve seen inside once, there’s really not much to look at again. 

The thing I love the most about the national trust places are the grounds and the gardens.

They have a kitchen garden there and it just so happened that they were celebrating what would have been Beatrix Potters 150th birthday. They’d yarn bombed the kitchen garden with the most adorable little fruit, veg and creatures. I just had to share it with you.

And there’s Mr. McGregor himself, keeping a watchful eye over his veg patch. They had a lady dressed up in Victorian clothing telling children the much loved stories from Miss Potter and her little friends. Jude’s too much of a wriggler to sit still for more than 5 seconds unfortunately.

The grounds are quite extensive, I’m pretty sure we’ve never managed to see everything. They go all the way down to the River Mersey and if you’re a keen plane spotter, it’s right next door to Liverpool John Lennon airport. There’s a pretty woodland which I’ve written about before at bluebell time. They have a nice play area for the kids and also a maze, although I’ve not managed to venture in there just yet. The bonus is its just 30 minutes drive for us so we can go back anytime we feel like it.

Happy campers – part two

There was lots to do where we stayed in Gatehouse of Fleet, near Castle Douglas. Although it was tricky finding things that we could take the dog to as well. Everywhere we went there were signs for castles, but we didn’t visit any as to certain members of our family, that would be a fate worse than death! We did find a perfect place for the older kids though and it was just a twenty minute drive.

This place was brilliant. You could book the kids in to a workshop where they learn how to make their own chocolate. I thought it was great value. For £14.00 each they got their own apron and hairnet, they made a big slab of chocolate, a chocolate animal in a reusable mould and a marvellous creation with marshmallows. All to take home with them. 

There was also a huge indoor soft play area and a massive outdoor play area with a dinosaur that was about 30ft high. Sadly, Jude had fallen asleep in the car so he missed out. We waited in the car while the kids were in chocolate heaven, but luckily I’d brought my yarn along.

It looks like an advertisement for Cath Kidston doesn’t it? This project is very mobile so it’s really easy to just do a little bit as and when I can. On the way back to the site, we stopped to say hello to some cows. 

I’ve never seen so many cows than in Scotland. Every field was full of them, and sheep. There were animals everywhere. The campsite was surrounded by rabbits. It was like a scene straight out of Watership Down. It was lovely but the poor things were so scared that they ran off if you got within 20 metres. So no photographs, although I did try my hardest.

The next day we took the kids to a local activity centre. There were some very brave souls there trying some very scary things. Ours stuck to grass sledging, lots safer!

While they were busy I took Jude to the huge sandpit to play. He thought this was the best thing ever and didn’t want to leave.

The following day we planned a lovely day  in the Scottish mountains. Otters Pool had been recommended to us by a friend. On the drive up there my hubby kept pulling over for me to take photos. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking.

We passed Loch Dee just further on from here.

After a bit of an unplanned detour down a never ending dirt track through the wilderness, we found Otters Pool. We sat and ate our picnic lunch with the water to one side of us and woodland to the other. It was such a beautiful place, so peaceful.

Flip flops on and towels at the ready, we headed into the water for a paddle with the best view ever.

The scenery was just stunning. It’s like you’re in a whole other world just for a short while. Everyone had such a nice time. Real good, honest, wholesome family time. 

Pepper loved it too, she’s always enjoyed a paddle. I spotted these toadstools in amongst the trees and just had to take a picture. They looked so magical, like they’re from an enchanted forest or fairy glen.

We were nearing the end of our holiday and I’d say it was a very successful one. Many happy memories made. Although we all love going abroad on holiday and living in a bit of luxury, there’s something really special about holidaying closer to home and closer to nature. We have some absolutely beautiful places in the UK that we often overlook. Especially on our doorstep. Perhaps we all need to pretend we’re tourists in our own towns occasionally and go see all the lovely places around us.  

As for my holiday crochet, I’m pretty pleased with what I achieved.

I wasn’t expecting to get this far. I’m looking forward to showing you the finished product cos I haven’t been able to put this down since we got home.

Vicki xx

Happy campers – part one

For this years camping holiday, we decided to try somewhere new that none of us had tried before. We usually go to Wales which is lovely, but for a change, we chose Scotland. It was a little bit further afield but it was a whole new adventure for us. After losing our lovely dog Amber just the week before, we couldn’t bear to put Pepper into kennels as planned. She’s really missing her sister and would’ve been so sad and lonely on her own. The campsite is dog friendly so we squished her in the footwell of the car along with our ever growing collection of camping gear.

We don’t travel light when it comes to camping. We like to have quite a few little   gadgets to make life that bit easier. Things like electric hook-up, a fridge, kettle, toaster and fan heater. Not quite glamping but not too far off!

The weather was awful when we set off. I was driving along the motorway gripping onto the steering wheel so hard my knuckles were white. We stopped half way to change drivers and the weather was still grey but improving. By the time we reached the campsite it was all blue skies and sunshine. Perfect conditions for pitching a tent.

It was a lovely location, we pitched right at the far end of the field so we didn’t have people walking past us constantly. The site was surprisingly quiet, I kept wondering what the catch was. We discovered what it was on the first night. The main road runs alongside the field and at nighttime, just as soon as your head hits your inflatable pillow, about a thousand lorries it seemed, come thundering past heading for the docks. We’d seen comments about road noise on the reviews before we booked, but had kind of hoped they were exaggerating. Sadly they weren’t. It was quite loud but you kind of got used to it. That was really the only negative though. It was a very carefree site, you pitched up where you liked and were just left to get on with your holiday with no interference. 

The first evening, we treated ourselves to fish & chips from an award winning chippy in nearby Castle Douglas. It was really yummy and the sweet girl who served us insisted on buying Pepper a sausage out of her own money. She’d been off her food for a bit but she managed to woof it down with no trouble. The next morning, we awoke to rain and grey skies which had been forecast for the majority of our stay. I’d packed for the chilly weather too. We spent the day in the tent mostly being lazy campers. Which gave me the perfect excuse to crack out my camping crochet. I’d dithered over what to bring with me. I didn’t want to bring too many balls of yarn so that ruled out my blooming flower cushion. I’m loving the colours in it so much though that I decided to make a second cushion to go with it. I picked just 6 of the colours to bring. 

These looked better than I’d imagined, and quick to do too. A perfect holiday project.

The following morning, we awoke to glorious sunshine. This was our view from the tent…

I couldn’t resist pulling my wellies on with my pyjamas and going for a little wander.

There was an abundance of blackberry bushes around so I decided to pick my own breakfast.

Lovely! We went for a little explore around the site later on. It’s a very well kept site. Just a five minute walk from our field you’ll find the entertainment areas. There’s a bar, bistro, swimming pool, gym and of course arcades. They were a hit with the big kids. Well actually Jude loved it there too, he discovered the 2p machines and demanded a constant supply of ‘pennies’. While they were all in the arcades, I sneaked off to take a few photos of the beautiful coastline that we were lucky enough to call home for a few days.

The sunsets here were pretty amazing too.

There’s something about being close to natural beauty that leaves you feeling very calm and content with the world. Sights like this were not made by any man, they’ve always been there and always will. Nothing can ever spoil it. It’s very good for the soul to take a few moments every now and again to appreciate these little things in life.

Another thing I appreciate in life is being cooked for. Camping cooking usually falls to the hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed having a break from having to prepare the meals. He’s also an excellent cook so win win! My job was to lay the table and in true Vicki style, I gathered some pretty flowers from the hedgerows to dress it.

I think I’ll leave it there for part one.  Back in a couple of days with the second half. Xxx

Southport flower show

This post is a little bit late as I’ve been really busy these last couple of weeks but better late than never hey?

We were very lucky indeed to be invited to this years Southport flower show as VIP guests. My husband works in the Garden Centre industry and was kindly invited by a supplier called Lavania. It just so happened that their garden entry won the best in show. It was very well deserved, it was certainly my favourite.

We got to step inside the roped barrier and have a private tour. 

The attention to detail was incredible, everywhere you looked they’d created something unique and unusual. They’d made the very most of every little nook and cranny. Very clever design.

Here are a couple of the other gardens that caught my eye..

Aren’t they beautiful? I just love the bloomers hanging on the line in this one!

I’d come dressed for the occasion.

I love my Joules wellies, and they were quite appropriate really. The weather had been awful that morning and we feared we’d end up in a mud bath, but we actually brought the sunshine along with us. It wouldn’t have been much fun getting soaked.

These were just a few of the things that whispered ‘photograph me’ as we walked around. I have been very restrained believe it or not as I’m increasingly aware that my little allowance of cyberspace is getting filled up so I need to try and be good.

There was lots to do for all ages. We got to see Mr. Bloom from CBeebies with his veggies, there was live music and talks from tv garden experts. After we’d explored all around, we were treated to afternoon tea in the VIP tent. We felt very special indeed.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable afternoon. Lots of inspiration to do a few new things in our garden next year.

Back soon with a little write up on our holiday xx

My first and last amigurumi 

Hello! I finally bring to you a post completely dedicated to crafting. Now I always said to myself from the start of my crochet journey that I’d never attempt amigurumi. It just looked too fiddly and complicated and well, just way beyond my capabilities. Well, with the little fellas latest obsession being Bing Bunny from CBeebies and discussions with some hooky friends, they convinced me to have a go. Even downloaded and printed out a pattern for me. I couldn’t really worm my way out of that could I? Besides, I secretly wanted to challenge myself and just see if I could do it. 

If I was a fantastic mummy I’d have tried to make the Bing (the bunny & main character) but I chickened out and went for Flop (Bings carer/responsible creature) He looked far easier, plus I already had some leftover yarn in the perfect colour.

Flop started to take shape round about here. I was so relieved.

And stuffing now, go me!

When the instructions finished for the body, I had a massive gaping hole at the top still, you could have operated on his brain quite easily. I just kept going round and round, decreasing and decreasing until it finally met at the top. Where did I go wrong?

There’s his body. Well, not quite the body he was meant to have but honestly, who does?

Making his limbs wasn’t straight forward either, I very much winged it here. The ones the pattern produced looked nothing like the ones on the tv. So I made my own up.

The sewing on part which I’d been dreading actually turned out to be the fun bit. I loved watching him come to life.

Now for a freehand face.

Not too bad for a newbie. I think it just about resembles him.

Jude couldn’t wait to get his hands on him.

He came out with us too..

And got to play in the park.

I think he likes him, and he seems to be standing up ok so far to being thrown around and carried by his ears.

I don’t think I’ll be rushing to do it again though, there was a bit too much concentration required for my liking. I’m very glad I managed this one though 😊

Family time 

We had one full day left of our trip and I’d planned to take my mum, nan and sister-in-law out for afternoon tea. All ladies lunching. It was a nice little tea rooms in a place called Sandhurst, just down the road from my nans.

My nan is a lovely lady and doing good for her 91 years. She’s getting a bit frail these days which is expected but still sad. Earlier this year she gave up her allotment which she’s had ever since I can remember. Her passion has always been gardening and growing her own produce. 

She lit up whenever I used to ask how her allotments were doing. At one point a few years back she had 3 plots on the go! Anyway, she reluctantly decided that she could no longer manage it. It was a huge deal for her.

We had a lovely time there, the food was great and the service excellent. 

I do wish I could sometimes transport myself down there to pop in for a quick cuppa and a chat. I know she gets a bit lonely and can’t get out as much as she used to. I can at least make an effort to call her more.

The next morning we got up early and went to Hythe for a boot fair. We don’t get many round our way. Jude did very well, tons of trains and cars for about 20p each. 

There was a vintage fair on here too, some gorgeous things. A lovely cast iron chair which would have been perfect for our garden by the water feature but it was very pricey. We found a couple of great records though.

We walked past the canal into the high street to the shops. This one was lovely, we added to our record collection again!

We stopped off for an early lunch in here.

Well, that was us done, time to pack up and get back on the road. We weren’t looking forward to the journey but after the dreaded M25 it wasn’t too bad. It was sad to say goodbye, the time always flies by so quickly. It was however, lovely to get back to our home, and our beds. And some crafting……

Vicki xx

Rye ❤️

Our trip down south would not be complete without a day in Rye, East Sussex. It’s a very special place to us. It’s where the hubby and I used to go for a rare child free day out when we first started dating, we had some lovely times here. We loved the place so much that we chose to get married there. 

First stop was to the little old fashioned sweet shop on the high street for a quarter of chocolate nibbles and peppermint creams. It’s like the law that we have to come here every time. The shopkeeper is usually very chatty with a story about Paul McCartney to tell. Not this time though, maybe he was all talked out.

Just along the High St and up the hill is Simon the Pieman’s. It’s often full when we come but today we were lucky and got a table.

We’ve been here in the winter before and it’s so cosy with the open fire burning.

Rye has an awful lot of history, I’m not going to bore you with it now but Google it if you’re interested. After lunch we walked just up the hill about 30 yards to the church. It’s beautiful inside. You can go up the tower and take in the view but we’ll do that another time when we’re without a buggy.

Just around the back of the church you’ll find Rye Castle and the gun gardens.

We had a lot of our wedding pictures taken here. 

Walking around Rye can be a little challenging depending on your choice of footwear. It’s worth it though as the cobbled streets are so pretty and full of character.

Some of the houses are a bit quirky , look at this one…

It’s the house with two front doors! There’s another road where a couple of the doors are numbered 44 and 44 1/2!

It’s the little things like that, that make this town so charming.

East Sussex is relatively flat but Rye is perched up on a hill and has wonderful views.

I think it looks a bit like a model village here. Down by the harbour there are some gorgeous antique shops.

I could pootle around these shops for hours if a certain little person wasn’t around. They’re crammed full of some really unusual pieces. The only person who came away with anything though was the above mentioned little person.

He found a little vintage London bus with Carnaby Street on funnily enough. It kept him busy for hours.

Back up the hill towards the town, we found a national trust property. It’s called Lamb House and was the home of authors Henry James and E.F.Benson.

There were only 3 rooms open which were  nice, but it was the walled garden I was really looking forward to seeing. It didn’t disappoint.

You can have a nice cream tea sat under the trees, how lovely would that be? It was a very typical English country garden, so pretty.

Just a few minutes walk back into the town and we stopped into Grammar School Records.

It’s been there for donkeys years. It’s a proper old fashioned shop full to the rafters with vinyl records. We’ve recently purchased a record player so can now start our own little record collection.

Directly opposite is The George In Rye. It’s the most beautiful, elegant, Boutique hotel I’ve ever seen.

On the first floor there is a Georgian ballroom which is where we said our wedding vows and danced the night away.

So, six years on, we paid the garden a little visit for a drink in the sunshine.

The weather was pretty much as it was on our wedding day, just gorgeous.

All in all, a perfect day. I do believe a little piece of my heart will always be here in Rye ❤️

London baby!

Apologies for the absence, we’ve had a few lovely days away visiting my family down in Kent. After a 7 hour journey down there we were exhausted. I had planned this visit down to the very last minute. I figured that if I did that, we wouldn’t waste time dithering about what to do and there wouldn’t be any disagreements. I wanted to make the most of every moment. It actually worked out well. The following morning, we got up early and jumped on the 9.04 train to London. Jude was rather excited as he has a huge train obsession. After about 20 minutes the novelty wore off though. It turns out he much prefers playing with them to travelling on one.  Our plan once reaching the city, was to hit the natural history museum first, that plan got scuppered by ridiculous queues to get in. The science museum just behind however had no queue whatsoever. We spent a while in there then made our way to Piccadilly Circus.

There just happened to be the Cath Kidston flagship store there, so I thought it’d be rude not to. It was amazing although I didn’t have time to look properly. I did make a couple of purchases though, from the sale rail of course! After that we decided to go for some lunch. There’s a great place we always end up in Soho called Bodeans.

They do the best pulled pork burgers I’ve ever tasted. Very reasonably priced too considering it’s London.


After lunch we went to some comic book shops for our eldest then found ourselves near Covent Garden. It’s been years since I’ve walked through there, I forgot how nice it is.

The weather was looking a bit grim by this stage but we carried on regardless. Up to Carnaby Street next.

There were some nice shops here but the one I really wanted was Liberty of London. 

I’d never been before and I fell in love. It was so much more than I was expecting. I felt like I really shouldn’t be taking photos in there but I couldn’t resist. Everywhere I turned I was wowed. It’s a beautiful building inside and out. They had these amazing chandeliers hanging through the centre. 

I only really looked on a couple of the floors as time was tight and kids were getting bored. I’d love to come back sometime and do an adult only day, it’d be a whole different experience.

Here’s a few yummy images from inside that I swooned over.

Isn’t it just amazing? Did you spot the fabric and all that yarn? I’d love to get my hands on some of that.

Next stop was Oxford street for the boys to visit the sport shops. We were all getting very tired now, we’d walked for miles. We grabbed a box of Krispy Creme doughnuts and sat in Trafalgar Square to eat them. It was my first ever Krispy Creme so I thought it should be a special moment.

We were ready to drop so got on the train to head back. It was a great day but also nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Everything is so busy in London, it does feel like you can’t stop, breathe and enjoy it. I certainly couldn’t work or live there but nice for just a day.