It suddenly occurred to me that as well as reading quite a bit in the last six months, I had made quite a few things too. So I thought I would be a bit crafty (see what I did there) and add in a little special Six in Six made up of all things crafty, in this case – crochet and crochet with TOFT wool and patterns. Now I have made more than six items, but I have picked six which are all vastly different, but show the way my brain flits from one thing to another as the whim takes me but also the extensive collection of work that is available to choose from TOFT.
It has been a while since I have posted any notices around here. I want to say it is because I have been too busy doing all sorts of wonderful things. But it is 2020 and doing all sorts of things are very limited and look like they will remain so for a little while yet.
How are you getting on around your parish?
So what has been happening…
Well reading of course, this is a book blog after all! Here are a couple of recommendations for you, just in case you need more books to read!
There is only one Queen of Crime (Agatha Christie if you don’t know) but what if the Queen was involved in solving crime. Well she needs to fill her days somehow between all the papers, visits and family battles surely?
This really is an exuberant take on the cosy mystery genre and has some good research done on it, to understand the workings of the the Royal Family and also the descriptions of Windsor Castle. There are some humorous moments and it had me laughing out loud and what seems like the absurdity of it all but then do we really know what goes on behind palace walls?
There is something reassuring about Heidi Swain’s novels. They take you to places that you just don’t want to visit, but also live and the beauty is you get to go back again and again.
One of my most favourite books of the year and is an example of escapism reading at it’s best as are all of this author’s novels. Be transported to the wonderful people of Nightingale Square and all that it offers and if you spot a place for sale- let me know, I have my bags packed and I am moving in.
Other than work and swimming (in between lockdowns) I have been busy with crafts. I have made quite a lot this year and I will not bore you with it all. However, I finished a blanket I started in 2019…
The only trouble I found starting something in April 2019 and not finishing until November 2020 is that your tension changes quite considerably! Good job it is only a blanket – but it keeps me lovely and warm and that really is a blanket’s purpose in life.
I got into Toft crochet quite considerably through the lockdown and have enjoyed the creative challenges it brings, even if I have a fear of missing out and what all the new things now! One of these challenges was Rohit the Peacock.
I was not sure about making him, as I have picked up the superstition that anything peacock in the house can bring you bad luck. I think I am safe with this crochet version.
This is an old superstition and an even earlier version claims that having peacock feathers in the house not only brings bad luck but destines any unmarried female to become an old maid.
Many actors will not allow peacock feathers to be brought onto the stage either as a prop or part of a costume and veteran actors and directors have recounted tales of sets falling down during performances that involve peacock feathers.
It is thought the superstition originated in the Mediterranean where the evil eye markings are said to represent the eye of he she-devil Lilith who is responsible for the unexplained deaths of children. By keeping peacock feathers in the house she is ever present and able to watch over your home.
However, in India, China and Japan bringing peacock feathers indoors is actually supposed to increase good luck by providing extra eyes around the house to protect the occupants from danger.
Taken from 7 Bird Superstitions @ Birdspot.co.uk
Perhaps I will share some more creating journey’s again on Parish Notices in the future?
So that is some news and highlights from my parish? How is it in yours?
Ten Years of Lists and Reviews – 2012
Here I am looking back for the third time at my last ten years of blogging, the year is 2012.
A big year, the London Olympics and the year sadly my nanny passed away. I think the latter has been the cause of some stuff in the years following and perhaps now as I look back and I can see some trigger points and some things I could have handled better. Life is certainly a learning curve.
I have learnt to accept that your blog changes as the years go past and the you change and what you read changes.
Back in 2012 I was still very much challenging myself with my reading, trying to broaden my horizons. In some ways successful in others not. I do not put so much pressure on myself now.
Of course there is still baking and this recipe for Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake is still being used now all these years later and remains a firm favourite within my family and also in the office. It seems to get better days after you gave cooked it providing it lasts that long.
The bacon and cheese straws here have not been remade – and I think they need to be!
I don’t think I have attempted Gingerbread men either since
There seems to be a theme here – starting and not carrying on!
As for the books that stand out – the first must go to the debut novel for Rachel Joyce – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Newly retired, Harold Fry receives a letter one morning from Queenie, a woman he used to work with; she has written to say that she is nearing the end of her life. After much soul searching Harold drafts a reply and goes out after his breakfast to post the letter. However he gets to the first post box and rather than post the letter he keeps on walking onto the next, suddenly he finds himself making an unlikely journey by walking from his home in Devon to Queenie in Berwick on Tweed.
Another book which I absolutely adored and realise I have never seen the film adaptation was The Light Between the Oceans – M.L. Stedman
We are transported to Australia in fact to the bottom of the world where you can see nothing but the sea and the sky, we are on Janus Rock where the Janus lighthouse stands, between the two oceans.
Tom is now lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock……
…….he meets another force of nature Isabel Graysmark who makes her mark just as the rocks do to the unfortunate ships that do not make it.
This is the only book published by this author, I wonder why?
Katie Fforde has published a plethora of books this was the first year that I read one and the love has continued ever since. My first one was Paradise Fields
Nel has a full life. Not only is she a mother to three children, growing up and away from her, she is struggling with her weight as all women at time do, she is passionate about the farmers markets which she has been paramount in getting off the ground in her small village, fundraising is another passion for the local children’s hospice. Plus walking her dogs and making fabulous shaped and themed cakes. Is there time for anything else? Is there time for romance?
And that year I ploughed through Living Dangerously, Going Dutch, A Perfect Proposal, Staying Away at Christmas. I have still not caught up on them all and despite reading at least one a year, Katie is still writing!
2012 saw the debut of what has become a staple of BBC Sunday night television – Call the Midwife. I read all three books before it even got as far as the box in the corner. I will find the reviews and re-share on here. How the programme has gone from strength to strength. It will no doubt have to come to an end as the role of Midwives changes in the community but for now – relish in the triumphs and the sad moments and if you ever get the chance go and read the books.
If you know me well enough you know that swimming is my thing – I am not fantastic, I am a breast stroke swimmer and have more endurance than speed but also swimming gives me head space. Time to digest, process and breathe through everything that has been going on. I am lucky enough to go to a place that has an indoor and outdoor pool and it was back in 2012 I thought I would try swimming before work. I made this lovely gift for the then cleaners who used to put my wet towel and costume through the wash for me. Sadly no longer at work, but I still dry my towel and costume every time I go swimming.
And if anything – I look more like this now than I did in 2012!
2012 was the year started lots of things and some of have carried on like the swimming and other things have perhaps had a bit of a hiatus or even just disappear completely. Jottings as this blog became more a jotter type blog than it did a book journey became a #hashtag before they really became a thing.
My jottings posts started in 2012 and had 9 posts which contained lots of bits and pieces of stuff I wanted to share with you all.; swimming, books, cooking, links, television, reading, World Book Night, articles in the paper, news snippets a complete jotter full of stuff! These ‘#jotter’ posts stopped in 2015 and as the blog has changed and moved on.
Other #hashtag posts started in 2012 were Acquisitions and Family Traditions and Book Club. All for one reason and another have not continued. The Book Club went on for a good couple of years, but as friendship groups morph and develop sometimes you start to realise who people are and that perhaps what is one of your loves is just a considered lip service to keep seeing certain friends and you end up being used.
I did discover Reading Day’s, book festivals and meeting authors which has certainly continued as the years have gone and perhaps now a bit more accessible thanks to social media.
But the first event was back in 2012 in Winchester, accessible by train for me and introduced me to another world! It is a while since I have been to one, but I think I would like to return to some very soon when I can simply share my love of reading as this is why I started the blog in the first place – the rest was simply a bonus!
So whilst much has come and gone on this blog something has stayed around and that is Six in Six
It is a select few people who come back every year and I am very glad that they do. I have no intention of giving this up, a once a year event seems to be manageable with a blog when you have lots of other things going on.
So that was 2012 in a swift(ish) post.
Looking back at 2011 I was thinking I might need to find some to find some Nicola Upson books, Persephone books, visit a library and remake Scotch Eggs! Now looking back at 2012, I need to add to gingerbread men to the baking list and perhaps carry on
What will be added to the list from looking back in 2013?
A Suffragette Saviour
These strange times mean that some people are finding their hobbies are a great distraction. That has always been the case for me, it is just I have not shared much of it on this blog in the last few years or so.
However in a change from books I thought I would share what has been keeping me occupied (one of the many things) in recent weeks.
Please let me introduce you piece by piece to Emmeline Pankhurst – in the form of a slide show (I hope it works on whatever device you are using)
Full Disclaimer – I simply followed a pattern, not that clever to make something up such as this. But forever grateful to Kerry Lord of Toft who creates such things.
In honour of International Women’s day we are launching a brand-new club!
This club is all about celebrating the remarkable women who changed our world for the better. Once every four months, a new crochet pattern and yarn bundle will be released to make the next inspirational female in this series. Based on the doll standard form in Kerry Lord’s best-selling crochet book Edward’s Doll Emporium, these amigurumi creations will become an heirloom collection for you to treasure. Along the way you’ll meet some of the world’s most influential women – some who you’ll have heard of, and others that will be new to you. The perfect gift for the great women in your life.
I am really pleased with how it has turned out and I did follow the pattern with some slight adjustments to hook size for the dress and I missed the bun off the hair as I felt the hat and the hair were just perfect for me.
It took me roughly four weeks, but that is with me making other things as well. I look forward to seeing what remarkable woman is next in the series – and I might just share it with you too!
Ten Years of Lists and Reviews – 2010
This year marks 10 years in August since I started this blog and posting out into the unknown. And as it is a new decade as well, I thought it might be good to reflect back at the last ten years of posting and see how much has changed.
To be honest when I have gone back and looked at some of the posts I have wanted to cringe – did I really say that, did I share that nonsense? I did share a lot more about my crafts in the early posts, which I do not seem to now. Mainly I think because I no longer have a laptop and the only access for a computer (other than work) is when I visit my mum and dad – I have yet to master WordPress on my iPad successfully enough to warrant using it all the time. Perhaps I should endeavour to do more of that in 2020?
The first post I want to link back to is from August 2010 and funnily enough does feature some craft. These were also the days when I had a digital camera and photos were uploaded that way – then along come iPads and iPhones and it all seemed a bit more easier and less of a faff. So much has changed in 10 years.
These are some of the finished projects from that post –
As for the books I read in 2010 – an eclectic mix for sure. Not all of them were reviewed on this blog as I did not start it until three quarters of the way through the year – some of the reviews were originally on Amazon. That said I have looked back and randomly picked out two books (click on the book covers to be taken to the review)
Definitely a different sort of crime novel, not your average detective novel – no goody and baddy with the other one the victim. A novel with many layers, and not necessarily ones where the truth is going to be made clear to all, including the reader.
This is the story of Julie Jacobs who upon the death of her Aunt, her guardian since her mother and father died in a tragic car accident, learns the truth about her name, her place in life, her background and her history. History which goes back to the 14th Century and involves a familiar story to Julie, in fact her favourite – William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
If you are a fan of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet and theories about where Shakespeare got his stories from and where they fit into today literature then this is the book for you.
So that is a look back from the posts of 2010 and if anything I have picked up a reminder of the lovely stitching designers I liked and have patterns of galore in my home. The books I read were very varied and I picked up an author I have not read anymore of since 2010 – Deanna Raybourn so I think I might have to rectify that and also share the reviews of the first three novels that I read.
I am going to look at 2011 next, so please pop back at some point over the coming weeks and months to see what I have rediscovered.
Hello all – I hope you are all safe and well and the rather extreme weather we have had in the last few weeks has not affected many of you. Extremely windy and with some torrential rain in my parish and I must count myself very lucky as my thoughts went out to all those people who lived in Whalley Bridge and the surrounding areas.
Three weeks of holiday begin and I can finally switch my brain off for awhile and rest and recuperate – I can understand people who burn out. I was nowhere near that state, but there have been some very trying days.
But on with the things I need to tell you about:
I hope you have all had chance to pop across to the round up post for this year’s Six in Six. I think we had the best year yet.
In a change from some reading – I thought I would introduce you to Ernest the Canary. 2019 seems to have been the year of crochet for me and this was my first Toft bird.
Of course there still has been some reading and no doubt more now I am off work but I wanted to bring your attention to some great books……
Of course this book is full of romance, but this is steeped in tragedy from difficult pasts that need laying to rest until new futures can be created. Emma Davies does it so subtly that you are so invested in these characters it is almost heartbreaking to stop reading about them and their lives.
An excellent summer read, full of warmth and the sweet taste of honey. Highly recommended and I would love to revisit these characters at some point.
The Beekeeper’s Cottage is out now.
I have waxed lyrical about Sarah Bennett many a time on this blog but do check out all of her books but of course her most recent one Sunshine over Bluebell Castle is out now. I do not get anything for all this promotion – I am simply telling you all about wonderful books and the author is more than happy to chat on twitter as you can see
In a change to what might seem like a plethora of women’s fiction, I do branch into some other genres. Which is why I was delighted to learn more about Laetitia Rodd and her latest mystery.
So what do you need to know about Laetitia Rodd? A fifty something widow of an archdeacon who is kind of down on her luck financially. She lives with her landlady Mrs Benton, one time landlady of the well known poet John Keats and also Laetitia’s friend and confidante.
A refreshing historical crime novel with a independent female detective and not afraid to delve perhaps into what was seen as the most deviant parts of Victorian society,
The Case of the Wandering Scholar is out now.
So back off to more reading – I have my first Christmas book of 2019 to read. I might take that one away with me but in the meantime…………
Hello all – what’s been happening round your own little parishes?
April has been a month of reading, resting, Ragdale Hall and spring cleaning. Two weeks off can do that for a girl you know!
I have all these great ideas of blogging about other things and I even hinted as such in my last Parish Notices post – that has yet to come to fruition. I think maybe the lack of access to proper computer and not quite there with blogging on my iPad means I only use the computer blog when I am home with my parents or if I can sneak a few minutes at work to knock up a review or something and then email myself for editing later on.
The other thing that could be stopping me writing these posts is the reading – do check out these recent reviews and recently published books
I found this book such a joyous and uplifting read and showed you that you can diversify when you need to and keep those around you as close as you can – they will love you the most. A great read and if you like your stories, full of cake and countryside then this is a must. Think Countryfile and Mary Berry mixed together!
An enjoyable read which has everything you want from women’s fiction – to take you away on holiday, for romance, for laughs and for some wonderful food.
Phillipa Ashley has done it again and she is fast becoming an author you can rely on for great reads.
Then there is the wonder that is Ragdale Hall – one day from the return of one of my visits I will write all about it.
After a lot of clearing out and dusting, I made space again for the jigsaw and also found that the spare room is much better than the living room in terms of light. Many an hour has been lost….
Then there is wool, colour, crochet, knitting and blankets galore!
What has been keeping you occupied in your part of the parish?
Just thought I would stop by for a quick hello and update of what is going on around here.
In a matter of days I am taking part in a Blog Tour for Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle.
She wasn’t looking for love…
When Lucie Kennington flees the bright lights of London for the quiet Derbyshire countryside, she’s shocked to discover that the heir to the Bluebell Castle estate is far from the wizened employer she expected.
In fact, Arthur Ludworth might just be the most handsome man Lucie’s ever laid eyes on – and a terrible distraction! So when she stumbles across a legendary painting feared lost for centuries, she can’t believe her luck – perhaps this is the hidden treasure to save Arthur and his family from ruin?
But it’s only a matter of time before Lucie’s past catches up with her and by then it’s too late, she’s falling for him…
Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Rachael Lucas and Hilary Boyd.
In more reading news and a very different change from Sarah Bennett’s book I have stepped back in time to the days of the Bow Street Runners and Highwaymen. You will have to wait until May for this one though.
A gripping historical crime debut from an exciting new voice.‘It’s strange, the way fortune deals her hand.’
The year is 1759 and London is shrouded in a cloak of fear. With the constables at the mercy of highwaymen, it’s a perilous time to work the already dangerous streets of Soho. Lizzie Hardwicke makes her living as a prostitute, somewhat protected from the fray as one of Mrs Farley’s girls. But then one of her wealthy customers is found brutally murdered… and Lizzie was the last person to see him alive.
Constable William Davenport has no hard evidence against Lizzie but his presence and questions make life increasingly difficult. Desperate to be rid of him and prove her innocence Lizzie turns amateur detective, determined to find the true killer, whatever the cost.
Yet as the body count rises Lizzie realises that, just like her, everyone has a secret they will do almost anything to keep buried…
Also if you have not caught these on my blog yet – do go and check them out. Worth a read I promise.
Cathy Bramley – A Vintage Summer OUT NOW
My Review can be found here
Holly Martin – The Summer of Chasing Dreams
Published on 29 March – This week!!!
My Review can be found here
Julie Caplin – The Northern Lights Lodge OUT NOW
My review can be found here
So that was a quick round up of the books that have been read in recent weeks but what else have I been doing….
Perhaps more about these two journeys on another post.
There is rather a niche market at the moment for anything to do with Unicorns – the list of unicorn related items to purchase is probably endless. I fell into this trap when I spotted a pattern for said knitted unicorn whilst I was at the Knitting and Stitching show back in October. I think I loved the colours and the wool more than the unicorn.
It was a really quick knit and took shape well and whilst the pattern actually has a tail, I did not include it as it just didn’t look right compared to the rest of it.
Then I foolishly thought I would make another two for Christmas presents, roughly four weeks before the big day! I got the two recipients to choose the colours they wanted – although they had no idea what they were choosing the colours for and off I knitted.
I must have been mad, the four weeks up to Christmas is one of the busiest times at work and adding that sort of pressure onto myself despite the fact that they knit up quickly was perhaps a tad risky. However the last one was knitted, stuffed and stitched together on the 23rd December and they then went on their way to await their new owners. A close friend’s daughter and daughter in law, both unicorn mad.
Luckily they remembered the colours they chose and the unicorns are now being well looked and well-loved. It does bring me such joy that something so simple as a knitted gift can mean more than a flashy one.
And whilst I am still finding bits of fluff off the wool, I have gone and done it to myself again – to knit some socks before the 15th February – luckily I have given myself about six weeks for this as the socks have a pattern and I have never knitted patterned socks before – I am onto sock two – more about that in another post.
For those that are interested in the pattern and wool it was Sirdar Touch Wool and everything about it can be found here.
Sunday Snippets and Stuff
It has been absolutely ages (July 2015) since I posted about what I was doing as opposed to all the reading and reviewing that has been going on.
I have plenty I have wanted to share, but for one reason or another have not got round to sharing it. I want to say that will change, but I cannot promise. So I thought perhaps a little update would be good.
Watching – 2016 started off as a cracking year for drama on the telly box. I loved Silent Witness, Death in Paradise, War and Peace, Midsomer Murders, Vera. I was drawn right into Happy Valley and I am awaiting for The Night Manager to end, despite knowing what happens in the book. Grantchester is keeping me entertained and I do so enjoy this series of books if you have never got round to it. I am watching Dr Thorne and I have nothing to compare it to, as I have never read any Trollope but I am enjoying it all the same.
Reading – slowly so it would seem to my Goodreads count. No doubt I will gain some momentum with bank holidays in the distance.
Knitting – Remember this
Well it has now turned into this (excuse poor quality photo)
and even though in the photo, the ends are still hanging about I can assure you they have been sewn in and I am wearing it as I type.
It was my very first attempt at making something to wear. Most of my knitting, consists of scarves and toys, the odd pair of gloves and some socks.
Still Finishing – the socks, the cross stitch I had mentioned in November last year. Though I did finish the Christmas Decoration I was making so 1 out of 3 is good – isn’t it?
Starting – After something big to knit, I needed something small to keep me occupied. You cannot get much smaller than a premature baby and so I am adding to the local maternity unit vast need for premature baby hats.
Eating – too much. The weight loss has gone, I now need to find the part of my brain that switches me off from comfort eating.
Solving – The Mousetrap. I knew who the culprit was but it was the first time I had ever seen it on stage, more about that in another post. I promise, because I have written about it already!
Worrying – Trouble with having a pet, even if it is vicariously through your parents animal, is worrying when they are ill. Little Stanley has had Gastritis and was proper poorly, it is only in the last day or so he has perked up and his little personality is starting to shine once again.
So how are things with all of you?