I haven’t got much to talk about this evening so here are the latest photos of the build project.
You can see the extent of the new kitchen and, beyond it, the patio. The corners have been built and the aperture for the bank of folding doors across the back is easily visible. I’m told that the blockwork for the new extension will be finished by the end of the week. We shall see.
It’s touching that Patrick, our builder, constructs a little plywood bridge every evening so that the dogs can cross to what’s left of the garden in comfort rather than having to jump. Of course, they promptly ignore the ply and jump anyway.
I take part in a pub quiz at The George every Tuesday evening. My longstanding team used to do consistently well until there were some ructions this time last year and we lost the tema member who knew most about films and boxing.. Nowadays we invariably fall down on rounds full of television, pop music and sport questions but we’re still normally one of the top three or four teams.
I’m frustrated at tonight’s result. We came second but I think we could have stood a better chance of winning if I hadn’t been overruled several times. One of the marathon rounds consisted of pictures of things and we had to guess how much they cost.
Obviously I got the £15 million pricetag of the Wittlesbach diamond correct – I’d have been cross if I hadn’t – but my guess of 68p for a tin of Heinz beans in Waitrose was far closer than the 25p estimated by my colleagues. And I was way nearer with the £85 million price of Gareth Bale.
I’m sorry to say that tonight’s quizmaster was obviously not quite as clever as he thought and made us quibble in a rather bad-tempered way in a question about which craft employed a hank. A hank is a skein of wool and I’ve seen the term used in both knitting and embroidery but he insisted on knitting only.
It was the belligerent attitude that annoyed me: he’d seen a specific answer and refused to accommodate any of us who actually know about hanks and skeins. It’s not so much that he was hank, but it was the refusal to accept that we might even have a valid point that got me.
When we return from our walk, Raffles often behaves like Brer Rabbit on his most skittish of days. He runs around the living room, jumps onto and off the sofa, goes a bit mad. I really don’t know why he does this. Is it, perhaps, that he’s relishing this final rebellious assertion of his freedom before he settles down to sleep for the next few hours?
When we came in this morning, he found an empty water bottle that I’d left on the stairs ready for recycling. He thought it was great:
Oscar clearly wasn’t keen on all the attention being on Raffles. Much of my shaky camera work was because he was butting my side, wanting me to film him instead.
I went upstairs to put on my makeup for my lunch appointment and came downstairs to find that Raffles had carefully extracted the balls of alpaca yarn that I’d carefully secreted away from his mischievous little jaws in the middle of that coffee table, and distributed the chewed yarn all over the sitting room. He truly is a naughty dog.
So I told him off a little. I didn’t shout but it was clear that I was cross and he went and stood behind Oscar to hide. Oscar looked bemused then guilty for a minute or two and went off to sulk in his bed. Poor Oscar. He always thinks everything is his fault.
I’ve recently started trying the Hourglass brand of cosmetics and I’ve done a couple of reviews on here. I’m not sponsored or anything, it’s just that I like trying shiny new things. As a premium US brand, Hourglass is likely to produce cosmetics that suit a more diverse range of skintones than European brands, and because I have such difficulty finding a foundation that matches my skintone, I’m always up for trying (at my own expense) something new.
I tried a sample of Hourglass’s Veil Fluid Makeup at John Lewis recently and liked it a lot. It’s so much more expensive even than my previous Chanel Vitalumière but I’ve found the unexcitingly-named Beige to be a really good colour match for me at the moment. This will all doubtless change in April, when I start to acquire a honeyed glow. It’s a lot to pay, yes, but then it’s so rare for me to find a foundation that has just enough yellow in it and no pink. With the wrong colour I end up looking orange or green or grey and we couldn’t have that.
I do like the foundation very much, though. It’s more or less weightless; feels silky on the skin; is a great colour match for me; lasts all day and dries to a mattish finish, which can be enhanced by using one of their finishing powders. Veil Fluid Makeup purports to have a special anti-ageing skincare ingredient. The sales assistant told me that I could use it all the way up to my eyes and it would plump out the tired-looking skin underneath. I’m not sure about that. I’m sceptical about all these potions being included in a foundation. For my purposes it should match my skin; be comfortable to wear and last all days without settling into pores and caking. For preference it should contain a broad-spectrum spf but I do use a separate one of these in the summer.
Delighted with my sample in all different lights, I ordered a bottle from Net a Porter and I used it for the first time this morning while Raffles was ransacking my yarn. Isn’t it always a minor thrill to unpackage something new and shiny? I removed the box, pressed away at the pump dispenser and:
Now, Hourglass are a super-premium brand. Their packaging is sturdy and shiny and a cut above anything I normally see. And yet it doesn’t work. How disappointing!
I tweeted both Net a Porter and Hourglass to alert them to the problem. Net a Porter wanted me to Direct Message them on Twitter but don’t seem to realise that they have to follow me first. I’ve heard nothing from them since I told them this and included my order number and date in the tweet. Hourglass have asked me to email them, and I’ll send them this video. I can still use the foundation, and it’s good, so it’s hardly the end of the world, but when you’re paying well over the odds for something, you expect it to work, don’t you? I don’t think I’m being unreasonable. (Get me, incidentally, Beckenham’s answer to Zoella.)
It’s always such a naughty, guilty pleasure to have lunch with a friend on a weekday and drink real wine. I don’t know why. I suppose it’s because I always have the feeling that I should be doing something at home and that I’m slacking off the ironing or the cooking or, as is currently the case, sorting out the house ready for the arrival of the builders. That is a side effect of being at home raising a family: your time belongs to them and there’s always something you could, should, be doing for them.
Then there’s the feeling that you should use the time productively. I should be practising my singing, for example. Or knitting that jumper I started for the Boywonder. But today I chose to take a couple (or four) hours out and have lunch and catch up with a friend. Business people call it networking.
***post not sponsored, obviously***
My lovely friend @MrsPanad is a music teacher from Wales who gave me loads of support when I was trying to improve my music aural skills in advance of my Grade 8 singing exam last November. She even sent me a helpful book and CDs. I’m returning them with thanks, Polly, and enclose this as a token of my extreme esteem.
Sorry its taken so long: it took weeks and weeks for the silk yarn to arrive from Knitshop just down the road from me. The daffodil trumpet came first. I couldn’t get the hang of it, even though I’ve been fine with DPKNs before, but there are so few stitches to start with and this made it incredibly fiddly. Luckily @Cellosuze suggested I used 2 of the DPKNs to start with instead of 4 and that helped immensely.
I knitted the petals in India in early March as I waited for word that our funds had been accepted and that my mother had been admitted to the care facility. The bureaucracy made it a really anxious, touch-and-go time, as you know, so I was glad of this little project to take my mind off things a bit. But it’s taken me ages to get around to sewing it up and sending it to you. Sorry about that.
Daffodil from 20 to Make: Knitted flowers by Susie Johns, Search Press 2010.
Made with Mulberry Merino Yarn 50% mulberry silk, 50% merino in shades Sun yellow, yellow from Knitshop and Rowan Handknit Cotton shade 309 Celery
On wooden 3mm DPKN and 3mm single points.
Dear oh dear. This jumper is so wrong on so many levels.
Yes, it’s supposed to be a Sloppy Joe, big and chunky, a comfort in the winter. And yes, I DID knit a tension square first.
I knitted this because I adore the Paloma yarn. It’s as soft and springy as a bag of wriggly worms, and this mid-charcoal grey is comforting and warming on long winter dog walks. It washes well and the alpaca makes it snug and cuddly. Be careful, though, as it knots and tangles very easily. It’s best rolled into balls, which takes a surprisingly long time even with a family member or chair. I’ve invested in an umbrella swift for next time I use it. As @CelloSuze said “You don’t NEED one but you need one.” And she’s right.
The pattern is easy, especially after my last project, the Fairbank jumper, which took me years of frustration to knit. And that was the problem. It was too easy so I became a complacent Slack Alice with the tension. So it turned out a lot, a lot larger than it was supposed to be. Admittedly I have lost a dress size recently but even the small size was always going to be a little big for me. I just hadn’t reckoned on how vast. I should have used a smaller size of needle, perhaps 8mm instead of the requisite 10mm, which makes for gauziness despite the super chunky yarn. I had to unpick it several times when the yarn slipped off the wooden needles as I transported it to and from music school and then I didn’t put the slipped rows back onto the needles correctly so there are flaws in the stocking stitch. Something to learn properly before the next time I’m panicking.
The jumper actually took me about 4 weeks to knit but it’s been sitting there in my bedroom, blocked and ready to sew up, admonishing my sloth for months. I loathe the sewing up part and I always think there would be mileage in a business that sewed up and corrected the mistakes in home knitting projects. How cool would that be? The other reason for the procrastination is fear of failure and the certainty of having to wear a longed-for garment that is so full of flaws. Still, aren’t we all?
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Paloma 60% Alpaca, 40% Wool Colour:42003
Needles: 10mm Milward Wooden Needles