Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chocolate cake

We made chocolate cake for John's dad's birthday. It was all gone the next day. That's it, really.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Went to London; rode BorisBikes; met a witch

Husband spent all weekend sailing (with EAST), so I betook myself to London on the train for a Grand Day Out. I booked my ticked last Wednesday, so it turned out that the cheapest advance single to go in was actually first class (first was £22, standard was £24). First class was great - so quiet and chill, with HUGE seats. Definitely worth the advance commitment.

When I got to London, I had intended to take the Circle Line around to Embankment for my London Walk. However, TFL had other plans. Circle Line, closed all day. Lovely. So I set off to find a Boris Bike station, you know, just to check things out.

For the grand price of £1 for the day's access and £1 every time I went over 30 mins on one particular bike (I think I spent a total of £2), it was excellent. Bike lanes everywhere, lots of cyclists, very courteous cars (it was a Saturday), and the wind in my hair. WHEEE! This was my lovely little bike, right after I parked her at Embankment station. Thanks, Boris!

Because of all my exercising, I was thirsty when I got to Embankment. So I went into Starbucks and ordered an iced passion tea. Apparently this is now an off-menu item - they use the passion tea blend for making mango-passion smoothies but aren't really supposed to feed it to the punters. was delicious.

And I drank it, sitting in the park on these chairs, arranged neatly.

And then I met a real live witch (I met a few at Colby, so it wasn't all that scary), who took us on a walking tour.

Past Cleopatra's Needle. Thank you, British explorers, for bringing all SORTS of random crap back from far corners of the world. I mean, really. A postcard is cool. Maybe a magnet. A 60-foot obelisk kind of takes up a lot of room in your suitcase. But, whatev.

Found a room that if I owned I would probably never leave (top floor, please):

And then had very yummy beef udon at Misato. Not as good as the one I had in Cambridge back in March, but not bad at all. Oh, and when we took James to Cambridge last weekend to introduce him into the cult of the Brisket Udon, they told us that the half-empty restaurant had "no room." SO disappointed, especially since the vegetarian place we went to afterwards was resoundingly and virtuously healthy-tasting (read, not doing THAT again...) and all the more disappointing when contrasted with the imagined Udon.

After my noodles, I braved the rain, went to Liberty (sigh), noodled around Oxford circus, grabbed another Boris Bike, got REALLY lost in Finsbury, found my way again (thank you helpful cyclists in London taking pity on what they thought was a very lost American tourist), dropped off my Boris Bike, bought some very excellent VivoBarefoot shoes (on sale for £28!), and subsided onto my (pre-booked) train home.

Things I learned:
-once you leave the protection of a witch, it's going to start raining
-if you leave your brolly at home, it will rain in London. <-I should really know this by now
-taking a Boris Bike around the roundabout at Trafalgar Square is probably not a good idea
-the Boris Bikes need a real HEAVE to get them out of their docks
-booking National Express train tickets in advance is much cheaper than getting them on the day
-biking is very good exercise
-getting lost makes you bike further, which is also good exercise

And there you have it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Things I Love Thursday!

If you've ever been to summer camp, check out these bracelet tutorials on the Purl Bee. Hello, 1996! I made these but never seemed to be able to figure out the "diamond" pattern - I may have to make another one, you know, just in case.

I also love (except I'm still breaking them in cause I have freaky feet) my new Clarks.

Homemade pizza (with spinach, sundried tomatoes, from-scratch tomato sauce, and feta). Best Husband Ever.

Selvedge magazine:

And Uniball Eye Micro pens. Just inky enough with not too blobby of a line.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I am Ingrid (well, not really)

It was time for some new glasses. Because, well, it was.

I had been admiring Joanna Goddard's glasses, as pictured here, and Ingrid Michaelson's glasses, here.

So I went to Specsavers (I know!) and got these. LOVE them. Also, feeling very pleased with myself because they were the cheapest pair in the store. £25 frames, £40 for the lenses. I think that might be my karma from the 2-pairs-ago expensive disaster coming back around.

Speaking of Ms. Ingrid, I can also play The Chain on my new guitar (no, it's not a hard song, and no, I'm not a good guitarist) while singing along. Oh clever me.

Other favorite thing of the moment: nectarines, halved, with a little bit of butter and a sprinkling of sugar, under the broiler for 5 minutes, with ice cream. Do we maybe think this is why my skinny pants didn't fit this morning? Umm...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Walmart and me

After chatting to my brother about fabric for his New York Rangers quilt, I decided to google to see if there are any other quilters out there with design ideas.

At which point, I saw this:

See? There's Walmart, then there's me, then there's Amazon. Wait, what? I'm above Amazon in search results? I think that means I need to get quilting.

Monday, August 8, 2011

England is not an island

Betsy Transatlantically had this very entertaining (and informative!) video on her blog today. Yay for expats.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Review: Tangled (and a new camera bag)

Now that James is older, he no longer demands to see The Latest Disney Movie as soon as it comes out. Especially if it centers on a princess. So it's not terribly surprising that we missed Tangled in the theatres.

I rented it last night, on Sam's recommendation (I had been going for a silly romantic comedy or something), and we both loved it. Good two-level comedy, great Disney songs (with melodies that reminded me a little bit of Les Mis, for some reason), fab animal sidekicks, properly bad baddies, and a very useful frying pan.

If, like me, you live under a rock and haven't seen it yet, go for it!

I'm going to be in NY next month, and want to bring the SLR with me. I've been looking for a camera bag for a while, with several criteria: 

2. Is not fugly.
3. Does not cost $300. (I've seen some excellent bags on pinterest but they are way out of my budget.)
4. Is not heavy.
5. Can also fit my wallet, phone, keys, kindle/book, and Burt's Bees.

Ta da! I've found it! The Lowepro Exchange messenger bag. It fits all the criteria above, was only £20 on Amazon, AND it fits my knitting as well as everything else. Some of the reviewers were worried about the lack of padding - it's not SUPER-thick padding, but then again I'm going to try to avoid dropping it from a height. It also doesn't have a zip (only buckles) for the main compartment, so I might not want to take it with me to a pickpocket hot-spot. I thought it might be too boxy, from the video on the Lowepro website, but it's fairly skinny considering the size of camera inside. I even managed to tuck it (including camera) into my bike panniers for a ride to Needham Market.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mini-Manu, started

I've started in on Gabi's Mini Manu (design by Kate Davies) a few weeks ago. I LOVE the color of the yarn (the blue is a provisional cast-on but I thought it looked really cute with the green. More updates soon. The general goal is to finish it in time to take it with me to NY next month. Hmm. More knitting, less blogging? Or maybe work will hire me a minion to do my work for me while I knit all day?

Ravelled, here.

Oh, and have you guys heard about Lotta Jansdotter's new fabric line? SO excellent. Must de-stash and make some quilts so that there's plenty of room for this when it comes out!