Saturday, 28 February 2015

Film On Friday On Saturday; Snakes on a Plane. Yes, really.

OK. I've lost some of you here. This does not sit well alongside my classic black and white weepies, or my extensive collection of child friendly movies, but, well, there is a weird explanation as to why I have only watched Snakes on a Plane this week and therefore why it has to be my Film on Friday on Saturday.

You see Number 1 Son and Number 1 Daughter are both away in separate directions this week end. So Number 2 son is the only child at home, and last night we sat down to fish and chips and to watch a movie altogether on the understanding that we would pick something he had never watched and that wouldn't be watchable by whole family (ie something grown up)

Now I had heard of Snakes on a Plane, and even heard the review on Five Live with Mark Kermode but that was years ago... yonks plus ages... and I couldn't remember quite how bad or good it had been marked. And Number 2 son had heard of it as well, or at least the most famous quote from it and he wanted to watch it and so we..... well, we watched it. And we squirmed at the gruesome bits and laughed at the "Oh My Word, I can't believe they tried that!!!" bits and hid behind cushions and kept a body count (31, not including the dog and the cat. Oh, yes, the dog got taken out.)
It's not an eternal classic. And having watched it once I do not feel the need to watch it again, but I have watched it once now. And screamed at the right places. (And it is NOT A KID FRIENDLY MOVIE)

What did you say? What's the storyline? Well, it's called Snakes on a Plane. You go figure it out.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Wednesday Wind Up

What am I reading this week?
Everything and nothing. I finished my fiction book and then didn't settle down to a new book because last week was all busy and party and oh my God my head is on the pillow and all I want to do is sleep......
And then on Thursday my nose itched and by Friday my eyes were sore and by Saturday I was sneezing and shivering and I am still in the sneezing and shivering stage and it is not nice. Not*At*All*
So from the weekend I have NOT read anything harder than a cereal package. Except perhaps the toilet roll package. I haven't wanted to.
But I still need a story, and especially a cuddly marshmallow story, so this is where Audible comes in. I love having a story read to me, and this weekend I went looking for something to make me feel cosy. When the nose runs, the life must be cosy.
I went back to teenage years. I'd forgotten quite how much I could enjoy Georgette Heyer, and when I saw Devil's Cub available I fell for it straight away. I read this years ago, when I was studying for my O Levels (that long ago) and loved it, it's a straightforward Regency Romance, when the daredevil cad, Lord Vidal decides to run away with a good for nothing sister, Sophia, only to find that her more strait-laced sister Mary has tried to foil the attempt by taking Sophia's place and he (the cad) decides one sister is very like another and why doesn't he take her to France instead..... Of curse, Mary doesn't deserve that and the story romps along in a Heyeresque (and I really hope that IS a word, even though my computer is denying it!) way until there is (major spoiler here) a Happy Ending with he (the cad) becoming a reformed rake deeply in love with Mary who is not a wet lettuce but a deeply sensible and sensitive Heroine who knows how to handle a spoilt child, which is essentially what Lord Vidal is. With endless Chai tea and a warm blanket around my legs it kept me happy all day Sunday.

What have I watched this week?
Well, there was University Challenge, several episodes of Pointless and a few episodes of the Chase.... although if you're talking coherent TV with a storyline and the need to remember anything from chapter to chapter then the thing we actually watched last week was;

 We don't usually do soaps, but somehow I wanted to watch the live week with who killed Lucy Beale being answered (or not) on Thursday. It was fun, and really well done, considering live TV drama is a no-no usually.
And then I've been keen to catch this advert. I really want to watch this when it's on, partly because I was too young for the first time, and mostly because he looks fit.

Where have I been this week?
Work. Again. And nowhere else. No trips since Black Sheep Wools. I have been to Regency London and presently Georgian Paris (pre-revolution, I think) but only in my heart.

How has my spending gone this week?
Good. I haven't been anywhere to spend anything, except for a box of Reese's Pieces which was a post cold treat. I've even rather sensibly put some cash into the bank instead of spending it. No spend Lent is going Okay.

What are my WIPs this week?
I am loving my shrug; I am over half way across the back. But it has sat, unloved, this weekend while I sneeze and shiver. the most I've done is a few more rows on the circus blanket. Mindless, repetitive hooking of the best kind. I  pick it up if I'm feeling strong and drop it again when I'm tired.

Any Other Business?

Monday, 23 February 2015

Meal Planning Monday

Back to school :,(
We are all back to school today. Is it raining? Or is it only raining in my heart?
A week is not long enough.

But there are only 6 weeks until our next holiday so we can survive.

Meals this week are easy and quick; I'm getting over a bad cold that laid me low on Friday and Saturday so I'm cutting some slack.

Monday; Party leftovers; chilli or ham or whatever is left.
Tuesday; Cowboy Casserole
Wednesday; Twice cooked pork
Thursday; Meatballs, pasta and sauce.
Friday; Fish and Chips
Saturday; ?Pizza Hut? or Sainsbury's pizza
Sunday; Welsh Lamb with potato gratin and leeks

We have 2 out of 3 children away this next weekend, so Middle Son finally experiences life as an only child. He will either love it or hate it; for 14 years he has been part of a close family and, as far as I can remember, never been alone. I'm looking forward to it because he really needs some confidence building. We want to take him to a science centre, either Enginuity at Ironbridge or MOSI in Manchester. Jodrell Bank is also a possibility! And we will probably take him to the cinema as well. Spoilt? Yes, he will be!

Friday, 20 February 2015

A Kiebster! A Niebster! No! I got a Liebster!!!!!

Thank you to Jo of Through the Keyhole who has nominated me for a Liebster award!!! 
I'm usually useless at doing these, but I'll do my best. I can't think of 11 unrelated facts, but I will answer the questions;

1) If your house was on fire, what one thing, other than family members and pets, would you save?
Only one thing? My teddy bear, Tobias. I've had him since I was 4 and he has been my constant companion since.

2) What, other than your children, is your greatest achievement?
Oh my, we do have to think. They ARE my greatest achievement; aside from them, I think finding contentment right where I am is my greatest achievement. I am happy with where I am, happy with what I am doing at the moment and happy with what ever life throws at me next.

3) What would be your dream job and is it a job you do or have done?
A job that is never boring, that gives me contact with people and computers, that pays well and has good holidays. I've come pretty close to perfect jobs, but there isn't a dream situation anywhere, because all jobs are flawed in one way or another.

Copenhagen 8

4) What is your dream holiday destination?
Copenhagen. Although my dream is to live there for an extended period rather than just visit for a couple of weeks. I'd love to visit most scandinavian countries, and St Petersburg as well.

5) If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you bought?
This will sound so consumerist. A mini cooper 5 door SD. In blue with a white roof and go faster stripes. Or red with a black roof.

6) Name your top three films of all time.
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Princess Bride
It's a Wonderful Life
The Muppets' Christmas Carol
I apologise; I couldn't get it down to just three.

7) If you could have a conversation with a famous person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Will Shakespeare. I'd have to ask if he really wrote the plays, was he an alien and did his ruff hide a very sore neck.
And then I'd ask how a glovemaker's son from the West Midlands got to be the most famous writer in British history.

8) What is your earliest childhood memory?
I can't remember. Possibly my younger brother breaking my doll's bed.

9) What is your favourite season and why?
Is Christmas a season on its own? Otherwise, Autumn when the nights draw in and the candles are lit, and we come together to talk and craft.

10) What made you decide to start a blog?
I liked reading them and I thought, "Well, I could do that." I started in 2007, and for a while tried to be like the others I was reading then. all bunches of flowers, sweet thoughts and intense shopping. I'm not. My life is just plain ordinary, nowhere really good looking or lived in a crafty way, just what you see is what you get. 

11) What would you like the future to hold for you?
I'd like to be happy. I'd like Peter Kneale Solicitor to be a success, but whatever we are doing, I'd like everyone to be well above all. As the Count says in Princess Bride, "If you haven't got your health, well, you haven't got anything."

I haven't got anybody to pass the award on to; at least, I'd like to nominate a host of blogs I love and enjoy but I know some of them have had the award recently and may not want to do another one so soon, and there is no pressure on anybody who hasn't had the award but doesn't want to. Does that make sense?
So my awards to blogs I love go to;
Amy at Love Made My Home
Lisa at Jumble and Jelly
Winwick Mum
Alison at Life At Sylvan House
Helen at I Will Bloom
Gillian at Hookin a Yarn
Redsetter at Gone Beading
Joanne at A Whole Plot of Love who is having a bad day today, bless her.
Amanda at Eight by Six
And if you're not nominated but fancy answering the questions, let me know!

Film On Friday; 13 Going On 30

A ha! When I sat down to do this post on Thursday night I gave the princess the choice of her many girlie films; "Which one did you like best?" I asked.
Naturally she chose the film that she watched during the party last night; the film that I never got a chance to see because I was elbow deep in nail varnish. Happy Birthday, Princess.
Opening her presents on Thursday!!!!

I asked her to pick her second favourite film and she was also confident in her choice of this; 13 going on 30.
Very apt, since she is now 13 and very often acts like my mother, so going on 30 then.

13 Going on 30 (2004) Poster
We watched this film as part of our marathon choosing session last weekend and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I missed it when it was first out in 2004 (busy with children) and have never caught it since.
It stars Jennifer Garner as a 13 year old who, on her birthday, makes a wish to be an adult. Of course she wakes up in a new body but, unlike in Tom Hank's wonderful picture Big, in a new life as well. In fact she is the older Jenna, living the life that all her choices since age 13 have led her to. A sports star boyfriend, a job at a failing magazine, a lifestyle of sophistication and adultness. The Young Jenna has to adjust to life as an adult over night. Jenna is shocked to meet her boy-friend from when she was 13 to find out that her life is not the one she wanted at 13.
It handles the shock of finding oneself as an adult very well. I particularly love how Jenna reacts to her boyfriend and kissing, with the same prudishness that her 13 year old self would have, especially the striptease scene. Watching it with the Princess she was cringing at the same time and for the same reasons!
Mark Ruffalo plays a cuddly lead man, the young boyfriend grown up into talented and poor photographer who is due to marry somebody else. He's not a classically handsome man, but he is charming and cute in a 'teddy bear with a bent ear' sort of way.
Although in a lot of ways this film is a lot like Big, dealing as it does with a child in an adult world. it isn't a copy or a remake; the differences are good differences. Jenna wakes in her future life, rather than having to find a role in the grown up universe they find themselves in; she has the chance of happiness when she returns as well, because the return to childhood is also a return through time, rather than a return to a place. She has a better chance of happiness because her 'love' is not an adult waiting for her to grow up (and how weird would the age difference seem by the time Josh grows up?) but is the same age as her and grows (or returns) to the same age as her.
I enjoyed a lot of the film because the childhood moments that Jenna 'references' in her adult life are ones that I remember, too; at a particularly useless party the best way to get it started is to put on (and dance to) Michael Jackson's Thriller. The music is classic 80's and other elements remind me of my teenage years.
It was a really enjoyable romantic comedy, and one that both I and the Princess (now aged 13) enjoyed immensely.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Wednesday Wind Up

Oh my goodness! Except for my quick pop by on Saturday I have not even had a chance to visit Bloglovin' and clear all my reading. I have several lists of blogs; Friends, Craft blogs, minimalists and Danish amongst them. I like to try and keep up with my blogfriend roll mostly and the others are added extras, but I am running behind so muchas apologias to those blogmates whose past posts will now get commented on two weeks late!!

What am I reading this week?

I finished a book called "A Perfect Home" by Kate Glanville. It was quite good fun, about a lady married to the wrong man and how she found the perfect home for her and her family. The story runs along in an obvious but still enjoyable way and I really enjoyed a lot the descriptions of the houses and places where she lived.
I'm onto a different style of book now; "Her" by Harriet Lane. Two women meet after years have passed; one doesn't remember, while the other cannot forget. I've just started it, and it's getting me hooked. I read last night until I fell asleep.

What have I watched this week?
My eldest child found the complete Morse DVD collection sat idly on a shelf at his Grandparents' house. It was doing nothing; Ma and Pa said they didn't need it and he is a detective fiend so we are on a bit of a Morse Marathon. We've watched The Dead of Jericho and we're in the middle of The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn. It looks like half term will pass in a flash.
On the other hand, I have had to watch a few classic teenage girl flicks to find a couple of films suitable for a pamper party for 8 thirteen year old girls! (Tonight; at 6pm. I may not survive until the morning. Wish me luck) We watched 13 going on 30 (loved it, actually, and wondered why it had passed me by until I saw the date; 2004. I was ever so slightly busy busy busy that year with a 6,4 and 2 year old. I didn't watch any thing that wasn't a; on CBBC  b; A Thomas episode  or c; completely interrupted by demands for food, nappy changes or for me to come and play.), Legally Blonde and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. I'm not sure which ones have been chosen. *apologies; I wanted to put in links, but the Amazon pages weren't loading; I hope to come back and add them later!*

Where have I been this week?
It has been half term this week, so I grabbed the chance with both hands to take my Mum out for lunch for her birthday and we went out this Monday. Ma is a great seamstress and embroiderer so it made sense to take her somewhere that would have stuff to keep her busy and also have a reasonable lunch to treat her to.
I chose well. I'd go so far as to say that, had I another sister, I would, tonight, be Ma's favourite daughter. I took her to a small place about 19 miles away from where we live, a little cafe and wool shop combined......

Yes!! I took her to Black Sheep Wools. It was brilliant. I'd been before, just for a quick visit with the Princess but today we walked and browsed and stroked and touched and meandered and ate sandwiches and drank a pot of tea and walked again and stroked another load of wool, and worked out costing and tried to match size of wool, and got seduced and spent far, far too much.
Ma loved it; there were patchwork materials she had never seen (she doesn't actually do patchwork, but she loves material) and embroidery threads and even the wools kept her looking. She bought plain poly cotton for trousers for the summer, and I treated her to a yard and a half of some Rowan cotton for a kaftan.

And I was seduced by some Debbie Bliss. It was the pattern first, in this book, the cover pattern that caught me in that beautiful yarn shade, and then I was gone. I read the pattern during lunch to check it was do-able and decided it was. I went and looked at the yarn hung in its skeins on the wall. I asked the ladies whether the yarn was replaceable (superchunky? In a ball rather than a skein? I went to look, but there wasn't another one I liked) I went back to the wall and stroked. Linen, silk, baby llama and merino wool. Flecks of green and gold. It was the colour I liked. But they only had 6 balls and the pattern needed 11.

I asked the ladies again; They ran upstairs and came back empty handed. No yarn. I looked disappointed; "Shall we ring the warehouse?" asked the really nice lady. I nodded eagerly; a quick phone call to the Man and he was over 10 minutes later with the missing skeins.  So the yarn fell into my basket and the money RAN out of my account. It is the most EVER that I have paid for one garment's worth of yarn, but I think that it will take me time to knit it properly, and then I will wear it FOREVER.
Black Sheep Wools are lovely; they were so helpful, they would have posted the wool out to me if I'd been in a rush, they went upstairs and downstairs, they share their knowledge, they have lovely tea and if I were only free on the right days I have no doubt that their courses would be good as well.

How has my spending gone this week?
See Where Have I Been This Week.
It's Lent today and I am aiming for a no-spend Lent. That way I can at least try to save some cash ready for London in April. And I can practise some character building as I resist all the things that will doubtless jump up an down in front of me for the next 40 days screaming "Buy Me! Buy Me!"

What are my WIPs this week?
See Where Have I Been This Week!!!
I have the skeins ready to go; after the party tonight I intend to sleep well and then, tomorrow I shall relax by winding langurous balls of wool (silk, llama, linen and merino mix) ready to cast on this weekend and finish..... well, if it took me until next winter that would be a shame. I shall take it with me to London and hopefully a week of no housework (for I NEVER do anything on my holiday) will give me the time to get it mostly done.

Added to that, I still have my blanket sat by my chair and ready to pick up and drop when I need to. That's the best part of a crochet stripe; you just do a couple of stitches now and again and it will grow.

Any Other Business?
I have decorated my fireplace; not quite as hearts mad as Amy!! but with a definite red theme. I can't promise this will change in March; I had my fireplace decorated virtually the same way last year and the year before; I love the Bonne Maman candle pots! and my found hearts, wooden and stone.

I'm still loving playing with the effects button on the camera. You can see the colour highlight thingy is by far and away my favourite!!! And red is best after all! When I got the camera I couldn't stop thinking of what I most wanted to photograph and, I have to say, these flowers stood tall in my memory as the most beautiful things that I could test my camera on. They look beautiful in real life, and make such an impact in the Schindler's List effect (whatever its proper name is! That's what I call it)

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

My Self Care Box; Fab-ruary 14, slightly late!

I always loved Simple Abundance; I read it often and enjoy using hints and ideas from it.
I remember one of the best suggestions in it was for a comfort drawer, a special place that you kept just full of bits and bobs to restore one's mental state when life, or life's inhabitants, made you feel the need.

Sarah Ban Breathnach suggested small chocolates, some alcohol, hand cream and little singing treats to make the heart lighter. I loved her advice and, in another life, would have a comfort drawer. However, I try not to just comfort myself at bad times, but to live in comfort and love all the time. My self-care box (which I take to be the things, both virtual and actual that comfort and care for me) is spread over the house and keeps me a happy bunny;

So, what do I keep in my self care box? Here are the things that keep me a sensible and happy person most of the time.

1. Handcream
I love L'Occitane Lavender, but any decent handcream will do. Presently I am using Sanctuary Spa which has a beautiful orange scent and I love it.

2. Tea
Chai in the winter, Lady Grey in the summer. Drunk in a mug. Often made in the mug. Sometimes made in a pot, with a plate of biscuits and a small jug of milk. The restorative powers of tea should never be underestimated.

Image result for debbie bliss winter garden knits as

3. A craft to do/ a craft to start/ a completely frivolous something that adds nothing useful but is lovely to do.
I am a good starter, a great purchaser of something new. At the moment that is a new cardy, with wool from Black Sheep Wools and a Debbie Bliss pattern. It's actually a garment to wear for me, which I haven't attempted for at least 6 years.  The wool came in hanks and I spent a pleasant lie in rolling the balls from half of the hanks, before I bethought to see if I had the right size needles. I needed 8mm and 9mm needles. My biggest was 6.5mm. That's a no then. Fortunately the power of the internet is that the needles I need are winging their way to me as I speak and the first row hopefully will be cast on on or around Saturday.

4. Something good to read.
A book, a magazine, a good set of blogs. Words, words, words. With blogs, I love the differences and the similarities. I love the idea that we can have the same prompt and produce different results. I love that a pack of yarn in a certain colour scheme can become such different things and make so many houses into homes.
With books, I don't mind being scared, but I love comfort fiction. At the right time of life you need a read that is marshmallow, sweet, not too hard.

5. A decent friends who is a good listener.
Not even good at advice, sometimes the therapy is in talking out the problem and listening to yourself. My best friend has Chai and Lady Grey as well, is into papercrafts so can always offer a creative therapy and has a dog (we can't keep dogs) so I even get a blood pressure therapy when I visit. Of all my self care box a good friend is the one I'd keep.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

And so it goes....

Best laid plans and all that, eh?
I have been too tired/stressed/weary at night/time robbed to keep up my daily schedule of posts. Not even my weekly pattern has survived. Bad author. Bad author.
But hope springs eternal. I'm having a restorative weekend with the family. I have my plans; a little lie in, a little light house work, a walk in the park with possibly a coffee and a chance to write my menu plan for Monday. I'll see you then x

Sunday, 8 February 2015

My Feel-Good Films Extraordinaire; Fab-ruary 8

OK, you caught me out. Now you know I've scheduled the Fab-ruary prompts to be published every day, and fill them in as and when I'm available. I was going to do the next week's worth on Saturday, and then woke with a headache that lasted through Sunday and left me still woozy this morning (Monday) when I crept quietly into school.

My Feel-Good films will be coming shortly; I could just slam some stuff on now, or I can take my time and list them properly. In an effort to make sure that the blog records me,as I am, now I'm going to take my time and add to this page (and others) over the week.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Books I've loved; Fab-ruary 7

I'm glad this post asked for books. Books I've loved.

There are so many books I have read and, yes, so many books I've loved. Books that kept me company when I was a lonely teenager in school, books that fed me romance or horror or all sorts of emotions that I wasn't experiencing at the time. Books that stopped me and made me think about my life. Books that taught me about people and places, about how to live well and fully, to suck the marrow out of life. And my how to books. I love a good how to book.

But you have places to go and people to see, so I should get on with it. I decided to choose the books that I loved and re read; not all of them, but the best and dearest. These are probably the ones I would grab in a fire.

Jo of The Chalet School. by Elinor M Brent Dyer

I read this when I was about 10. How I wished to go to a school like the chalet school! They lived in Austria (and then Anglesey) and they had goo dlessons like French with a French mistress, they played lacrosse and hockey, they made doll's houses. they used ink pens. Oh, how I wanted to go. And years later I went to Austria and was delighted to finally have cafe und kuchen, and say Gruss Gott to the people I met.

The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter.

My Mum had this book when she was a young teenager and passed it on to me when I was about 14. I built my ideal man on the model of David. It's like Thoreau's principles written into a romance, the idea of a simple life, a life spent working in the woods and harvesting the herbs for medicine. I love reading it just for the descriptions of the house that David builds.

Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach

The book that got me living in my life just as it is, and seeing the beautiful in the ordinary.  I don't care if Sarah Ban Breathnach went bust, or found herself living the opposite of her dream life, this is a real case of look at the book, not the writer. I found it just as I became a mother and it helped me work towards keeping a sense of me and my role as the homemaker, not house keeper. And I wonder sometimes if my life as a blogger is my way of writing the daily meditations, but with an audience, not just for myself.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

My favourite classic. Is she a downtrodden heroine or a real independent woman? I don't know, but I do know that I always preferred it to the fire of Wuthering Heights or the endless descriptions of Hardy or the universe of the grotesque that is Dickens. I have it on audible now and it has been my bedtime story of choice this week. Love it still! And my copy was my Grandmother's, bought for her by my Grandfather who died in the Second World War. It's special.