Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Top 10 Posts of 2014

Hello everyone for the very last time in 2014!
The year is nearing the end, so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on last year. Alright, I admit it, I totally saw this theme popping up in blogland and thought I'd do the same. I'm not sure how everyone else made their top 10 list, but somehow blogger doesn't have an app for that so I actually took all the posts that I've written and sorted them based on the amount of views they've received. Some surprises there!

For example, my office chair was not even in the list! I really wanted to give it an honourable mention though :) The side view picture was actually much better in hindsight but this one will just have to do.

And now, without further ado, let's have a look at the 10 most popular posts in 2014. Ready?
#10 on the list is:

Mary Berry's Double Crust Apple Pie
I'll definitely be making this again this year, it's really easy to make and so good.

#9 on the list is:

Gluten Free Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
A little crumbly but very nice nonetheless, and the decorations were literally the icing on the cake ;)

#8 on the list is:

Electric Run London 2014
I've already signed up for this year, and might even be wearing a glowing running skirt! Watch this space :)

#7 on the list is:

Cinderella Running Outfit
I just loved running in this, I don't even think I will change it for next year, it's just so cute :)

#6 on the list is:

So happy I made this, it allows me to go to races by myself without needing someone to hold my stuff. How brilliant is that!

#5 on the list is:

Scissor Sock Giveaway
This was quite popular, it was so much fun to do! I am so glad I got to give one of these away.

#4 on the list is:

Always a great dish, and so easy to make.

#3 on the list is:

I think one of the winners didn't receive theirs (am so sorry!) but the others were very pleased with them. They were so much fun to make!

#2 on the list is:

Scissor Sock Tutorial
My first ever tutorial, thank you all so much for clicking on this so much! I really hope some of you made this, and please send me pics/links when you do. They're just fantastic :)

And the top post of 2014, the #1 post with the most views is:

I was so pleased to finally have used some of the cupcake fleece, and it's so nice and warm that at the moment I use it every day. It's so cheerful and happy in these cold winter months :)

Sadly, I have also lost some things I made this year... when we went to Hastings for Colour the Coast, I seem to have lost my lovely handmade toiletry bag (no I haven't checked with the hotel).I know it wasn't my favourite but I still made it so it's still special to me.

And this is the last picture I have of Witchy Santa and her broom. I left it either in the park or in a Pret branch, but it is sadly also gone... 

Nonetheless, 2014 was alright. Not a great year on the whole to be honest, but a very active one indeed with a lot of great accomplishments to look back to. I've run in 8 races this year, created 36 items, started Tourist Tuesdays, and even posted my very first tutorial! So all in all not too bad. Let's hope the inspiration fairy visits me next year and I'll be creating lots more :)

Have a great time tonight everyone, eat lots, enjoy the fire works and here's to a cracking 2015!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Christmassing - Homemade Knitted Scarves

Hi all,
Yes yes Christmas has come and gone and I'm still blogging about it! But now I can finally show you the scarves I made for my sister and my niece! I've only recently started knitting things properly so when these came out really nice I was so proud :)

I got this wool at one of the shows (one in blue for my sister and one in purple/maroon for my niece as she is a little like me and would love it) and the pattern it came with looked fairly easy. NOT! I think I made this scarf about 5 times before I actually gave up on the pattern. There had to be another option! So after yet another few tries, I was about ready to throw this in the corner yet again, when I thought of something that one of the ladies in my sewing group said once about a simple stitch which was just k1p1 (You know who you are G). So I thought I'd try that and voila, all was solved

Check this out, it came out so well! It was simple and has a gorgeous result. I'm very proud of this :)

The ends had fringes as well. It was quite bulky wool but it sure made a really nice and warm scarf.

The blue turned out a bit longer than the purple one, I guess it must the yardage thing as I didn't cut anything off. I think I may actually prefer the blue one, the colour was just incredible, although very hard to photograph.

It really looks so cozy :)

I tried to use the photo app to make the colour come out more, it may have come out a little too bright ;)

The purple edit came out great though, on the top you can see that it has kind of a bluey tinge in the mix.

I really hope that both my niece and my sister will like their new scarves! I really must find this wool and make one for me too, I want one! :) And it sure has boosted my confidence in knitting, so maybe there may actually be a sweater made in 2015? Who knows...

Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmassing - List of Advent Calendar Mini Gifts

Hi all!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with lots of friends, family, and food. And presents. :)

As you know, I made a new advent calendar this year and the pouches were big enough to add a decent gift rather than one tiny (and tbh quite crappy) chocolate.

As promised, I made a list of what kind of presents you can add to your advent calendar without having to spend too much money but still have some good quality chocolates and present come Advent time. So in line with the shopping craze of Boxing Day which I carefully avoid, here is my list. 

General gifts, to be shared between the bf and myself:
  • Green & Blacks organic chocolates, a pack of 8 with each one a different flavour (£2 for 8)
  • Kinder Chocolate bar, pack of 8 bars, split up into 2x 2 bars each (£1 for 8)
  • Haribo mini bags, used as emergency really as they fold great (£1 for 10 bags)
  • Ferrero Rocher chocolates, one chocolate as a time (£1 for 4)
Gifts for the bf:
  • Mini screwdriver, given split over 2 days (£1)
  • Study tabs x2, split over 2 days (£2.33 for both)
  • Glasses screwdriver (79p)
  • Socks, I got him 2 pairs (£1 per pair)
  • Key finder, I got him 2 in case he loses on (£1 for both)
  • Sweatband (£1.69 incl shipping)
  • Balloon helicopter novelty toy (94p)
  • Garlic peeler (89p)
  • Sanex hand sanitizer (£1)
  • Wooden puzzle (£1)
Gifts for me:
  • Mini Christmas cookie cutters from Poundland, split pack over 8 days (£1 for 8)
  • Mini edible glitter from Poundland, split over 4 days (£1 each)
  • Study tabs (£1.45)
  • Strawberry huller (£1.19)
  • Toothpaste squeezer (£1.59)
  • Sewing machine needles (£1.50)
  • Hair clip, this was a gift from my mother that I wrapped to use for the calendar
So the bf got 50-50 presents and chocolates, and I got 60-40 presents and chocolates. The cookies cutters were an amazing find as that meant I only spent about 12p per day on a present! And wrapping everything individually meant I didnt even remember half the stuff I bought.

I got most of the presents on either Amazon (some of which came from China so were very cheap but took a while to arrive. If you do this make sure you plan ahead!) In total I spent just under £30 for 48 presents, and I managed to personalise them as well. I'm very proud of this achievement! Of course you can still go cheaper, but to be fair this means about 60p per present on average which really isn't that bad. Especially when you see that some fancy calendars cost around £20 only because it says Star Wars on them or so. I'm sure they're great, but this was so much more fun :)

I hope this list has inspired you for next year, I am definitely keeping my eye out for some good stuff throughout the year now. Have a great Boxing Day everyone!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmassing - Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas everyone!
A day late but no matter, I had other stuff to finish yesterday so here are a few shots of our evening:

Our lovely Christmas tree, I even got some new ornaments this year!

Cards are made and sent... 
(my first year of making cards, I was quite impressed! I hope the recipients were also)

...and dinner is being made.
(yes I look a bit like a 50s housewife here LOL)

Time to enjoy a wonderful Christmas with food, presents, and games.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmassing - Advent Loot Week 4

Merry Christmas everyone!
I have to admit, I am backdating this post... I had it all prepared and I was way too busy to actually post this... sorry!

So for the final few advent entries, we had the below loot:

The bf had a whistling key finder (yes this was the same one as in week 2, but this was in case he lost the other one, get it? hihi), a Ferrero Rocher chocolate (clearly not pictured as already eaten) and a sweatband where he can stash his tube card when he goes running.

My loot for the last few entries was: mini bar of Green & Blacks organic white chocolate, mini bag of Haribo sours (also already fnished), and a mini jar of blue edible glitter.

I'm really quite pleased with the results for this year. On my part it was quite perfect, for the bf I need to plan a bit further ahead next year as finding stuff that cheap and small yet still great turned out to be a bit of a challenge. I will be posting a complete list of where I got what to give you some ideas for next year! :) Until then, have a great Christmas, I need to go and prepare our Christmas Eve dinner...

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Tourist Tuesday - Christmassing in London

Hello everyone!
It's been a while since I had a Tourist Tuesday, but the past few weeks have been busy. And what better post to write at the moment than a Christmas Tourist Tuesday? :) Over the past few weeks I've been dragging the bf along to many Christmas events and markets, not all of which he appreciated. Woops... but most were fun for him too so I'm sure it was fine. I took a ton of pictures and because I do want to show you the best ones but I only have time for one post (Christmas Eve is tomorrow after all!), I made some collages. Just click on the picture if you want to see it bigger. Are you ready? Let's go on a Christmas tour of London!

In early December I had to into Waterstones to buy some gifts, and suddenly this lovely group started singing carols! It was charming :) 

And on the way out, I even spotted the Snowman! Yes and he Snow Dog but I grew up with only the Snowman so I was well chuffed when I got to take a piccie with him :) Am so sending this to my mother! Waterstones was also serving free wine and mince pies but I figured that wine and crafting are never a great combination so I hurried on to sewing group (and some hot choccie).

 I still had a couple of days holidays left at work and because we were way too late with booking anything, I dragged the bf along to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It just gets better every year and during the day it's not so bad. I made sure we went early and we had a wonderful time, with sunshine to boot!

As is tradition, after Winter Wonderland we visited the Harrods Christmas windows. Not an entire post dedicated to them this time, as unfortunately they were not as great as last year and the daylight made pictures very bad due to the sun reflection. Also the bf didn't see the point of this tradition... if you want to see the other windows, just Google Harrods Christmas display and you'll get tons of articles about them. Isn't that knitting mouse just the cutest though??

A few weeks later, I dragged the bf along to the Southbank Christmas market, having had wonderful memories of it. Sadly, it was very meagre this year. We went early again to avoid the crowds but even with some stalls closed, what they had on offer just wasn't amazing. They did have poffertjes and a whole stall with Dickmanns (or a variety thereof) which was yummy but I'd expected more... 

Going to Covent Garden was actually the bf's idea believe it or not. He's not really into the Christmas event thing (even for me it took a few years to develop but there's just not escaping it when you live in London!) but he wanted to get something there. So off we went :) They had some great decorations and we even managed to take a very Christmas-card-couple-photo hihi... 

So far I still have to visit Winterville, which is a market in Victoria Park in the East but I'm not sure I'll make it before the end of the year. And I haven't been to any of the events in the museums or Trafalgar Square. But it's been a good year so far, I've had two Christmas runs, Christmas Zumba, SantaCon, and three Christmas parties. And it's not even Christmas Eve yet!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Running - Greenwich Park Christmas 5K & 10K

Hello again everyone!
OMG there is no end to Christmas events this year! Whenever I think I'm finally done, there is more... Yesterday, I ran the Greenwich Park Christmas 5K & 10K. Well, clearly I only ran one of them but I was there...

...and in style! I used the shorter wig to run in and it was perfect, it didn't even move. Definitely going to keep that idea for any other race where I need a wig :)

For those of you who don't live in London or don't know quite what the layout of the city is, I live in the West. Greenwich is in the South East. The race started at 10am, meaning I had to be there at around 8.30/9. It was about 90 mins to get there... Well, getting to Greenwich is about an hour but you also have to get to the starting point which wasn't exactly next to the station. So by the time I got there I already felt like I'd done the race LOL. I was really nervous about this race as I managed to really hurt my knee last time and I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish the planned 10K.  

Luckily, this was a race where you didn't have to specify how far you wanted to run beforehand, but you could decide at the end of 5K if you wanted to stop and go into the finish or if you wanted to run another loop of 5K. After about 2K, my knee started to play up so no way I would be able to finish 10K without seriously injuring something. So I ran all the downhill parts and walked the ones that were uphill, and jogged in between. It wasn't too bad. Although I would have loved to finish the 10K!

I still got a medal though, a really cool one too, in the shape of a Christmas pudding!

One lady asked me why I wanted to run this race if I lived so far away. I was a bit embarrassed to say that I liked the medal hihi. But it's a good a reason as any other. And I'll definitely be running here again sometime in the summer with good knees. 

 After the race I went home where I had a pile of pancakes that I'd made the day before was waiting for me :) Yes they're a bit burnt, but then neither yesterday nor today were particularly great days so just ignore that part. 

At least I've done another race in my list of races for 2015 :) The next one is on 1 Feb 2015, and I really hope that my knee is ok by then because that is definitely going to be a 10K one. And I will have the coolest outfit, but more on that another time...

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmassing - Advent Loot Week 3

Hello again :)
It hasnt been a week since the last 'Loot' post, but that one was written waaay late... So this week I wanted to be a bit more on time, especially as it's Christmas in a few days already! :)

This week, the bf got: Green & Black mini chocolate bar (sea salt), I couldn't find the wrapper so it's not in the piccie but instead I photographer the highlighter tabs from last week. He also got a wooden puzzle, a garlic peeler (that's the blue thing), a pair of Superman socks (much more appreciated than Homer ones), some Haribo sweets (obviously not pictures), and some hand sanitizer. Hey it's hard to buy presents for guys that fit into an advent calendar! There is one more but he hasn't opened today's one yet so it will be on the next list.

My loot this week was: mini jar of silver edible glitter, a strawberry huller, Green & Black's mini chocolate bar (butterscotch), mini gingerbread man cookie cutter, toothpaste easy squeezer (that's the yellow thing), and two Ferrero Rocher (one is clearly already eaten).

So we're nearly there! I'll be posting a list of where I got what in the new year as I've been getting some questions. I must say, it's great fun to do presents as most of the time I don't even remember what I wrapped!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmassing - The Hand Stitched Christmas Decoration Swap

Hi everyone!
I'm finally on holidays!!! I'm so happy :) I did a LOT of overtime in the past weeks just to get ready for the end of the year and now I can thoroughly enjoy my time off without any stress *bliss*

A few months back, I entered into the The Hand Stitched Christmas Decoration Swap over at Paper & String. It was great fun! I had these ornament kits still that I've been wanting to make for a while and this was the perfect opportunity. We had until 2 September to send in the ornaments, and we'd get the new ones back in October. So a very early start for the holidays this year ;)

In true style, they were purple of course. They were lovely and sparkly. The only thing I regret is not adding a proper ribbon to them. I never add ribbon to my ornaments in my trees, I used invisible string instead, so it didn't even occur to me to use ribbon. Doh! I really hope that the people who received them liked them!

These are the ornaments I got in return. Aren't they cute?! I love the little reindeer and the blue one is actually sparkly too. 

Each ornament came with a label telling you more about the maker, and I could see later that people just filled in their blog page. Now that would have been a smart idea ;) But now I know for next time. This was great fun and I hope Paper & String will host another one for next year!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmassing - It's Cookie Day!

Hi again all!

I declared last Sunday Christmas cookie day. It's been ages since I made proper cookies and what better season for it? I couldn't do it next weekend as I've got a 10K scheduled so I'm going to be like way tired probably (or in pain but I sure hope not!). So right after our yoga session I got started and spent the next 6 hours making cookies. 

One of the girls at work is allergic to gluten and every time I bake something she can't have any so this time I was going to make something for her too :) And I did it in style!

I had my Christmas hat, my Christmas apron, some Christmas music and a ton of sprinkles...

...and this is the end result! The round ones on the top are gluten-free chocolate sugar cookies, the others are normal sugar cookies. I love the tree especially, and the stocking. I'm quite pleased with the results, and I hope work will be too!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Christmassing - Advent Loot Week 2

Hello again :)

The second week has already passed already so here is the second update on the loot from the advent calendar :)
The bf got some more Green & Blacks chocolate, some Kinder chocolate, a mini bag of Haribo Christmas sweets, a balloon propeller, a pair the Homer Simpson socks, some highlighter tabs, and a tiny tool to fix glasses which I'm sure will come in super handy. I didnt write down when he got what but this will give you some idea.

My look this week was strangely no chocolate at all, three mini cookie cutters (the last one wasnt in the picture), mini jar of green edible glitter, a hair clip, sewing machine needles, and some arrow tabs.

Not bad for week 2! I'll keep you posted on the rest :)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas Zumba 2014

Hi everyone!
Oh my it's been a busy weekend! On Saturday I had quite a few events lined up. We had yoga in the afternoon, followed by the annual Christmas Zumba session. And then I also had to dash off to the LOTNA Christmas party! But I made it all in the end :)

Here is our group picture of the Christmas Zumba session. It was great fun, although my knee hasn't quite recovered from last week's run so at the end I was in pain and a little grumpy. 

This time I'd brought my camera and I really tried to get a decent piccie of the whole outfit, but the fan was next to the tree so all I ended up with was this Marilyn Monroe shot LOL

The selfie worked a little better :) The hair was great! The sparkly Santa hat was too small to fit over the wig even though it's a tiny wig, but I had some fabric leftover from when I bought the wrong amount of fabric for the skirt so I used it as a headband and it worked like a charm! Am so using this for my running event next week :)

In the end I managed to get an ok piccie, no Marilyn effect or at least not as bad ;)

The class ran out by about 30 mins so I had to really run to make it to the LOTNA Christmas party. I arrived just in time for the food, so perfect timing :) There were lots of pics taken but I don't have those yet so I'll update this post when I get them. But I sure was in style for it, hihi. I was not chosen Santas Little Helper this year, partially because I was at the bar at the time and also I think because I did it last year already. It was great just sitting down and enjoying the event!

These were my presents from Santa, aren't they cool! I just love Tim Burton and whoever gave me these made an excellent choice :)

Trust me, when I got home I was knackered! I just collapsed on the sofa with some well-deserved tea. Sunday was amazing too but more in that later...
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