Happy Chinese New Year!

It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve today and over the last few days I have been busy tidying up  our little flat and doing my tax return.  My Mum used to ask us to clean up our bedrooms and to put all of our old clothes and toys into bags to donate to charity.  This year I managed a mini clear out and donated three handbags to charity, which is not too bad.

You’re probably wondering why I had to do my tax return before Chinese New Year?  Well, it is a superstition that you should repay all your debts before the New Year, otherwise you would be constantly owing people money for the next year.  So I’ve paid my taxes and subscriptions, although I do owe a colleague £2 which I will have repay on Tuesday, oh well, I’ve tried my best.

We have also got all our lucky packets ready to give to unmarried relatives and children of friends and family.

I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy Year of Dragon!  I’m off to Mums for a big meal .

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First Crafternoon of 2012

Last Saturday I decided to organise a last-minute crafternoon.  One of my friend is expecting her second child soon so she wanted to get some inspiration to make things for her baby.  Her future sister-in-law also joined us to make a few handmade decorations for her wedding this year.  She also bought along her new embossing tools to prepare some prototypes for her wedding stationary.  Embossing looks really interesting and yes, I am tempted to give it a try too.  Kyoko also came along with her knitting.  Unfortunately, I am unable to show you photos of her knitting projects and S’s wedding stationary prototypes, but I’m sure Kyoko will show you photos once her patterns are published.

My girl and her friend made some flower cuttings (for the wedding) using the paper punchers/cutters and folded tissue paper:

Embossing looks interesting…….

It was fun to get together to chat and share our craft inspiration.   We also drank lots of tea/coffee and  ate lots of sweet treats.  Here are some photos of the sweet treats (I felt bad for making my pregnant friend wait while I took photos of the food):

Kyoko baked a delicious apricot frangipane tart:

We also baked some pretzel using Gracie’s recipe, but they ended up looking more like little knots, but they tasted really good!!

Vanilla Sugar:

Poppy seeds:

I hope to organise or go to more crafternoons this year as it was really fun.  I have now started knitting my second sleeve for my Coraline which has been untouched for a couple of months now.  Happy crafting/baking everyone!!

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Holiday Activities

I hope everyone had a great Christmas Holiday and Happy New Year!!  After a week of resting and spending time with family, it was time to go back to work today. In a way I was looking forward to it, as I have missed my morning stroll to the station and I need to get back to my daily routine. I’m hoping to type up some of my knitting patterns soon and get back to my knitting. There are a few ideas that I have in my head, I just need to figure out how to write/type it out and test knit some samples.

But before I go back to my knitting and work, here are a few things we got up to during the holidays:

We went ice-skating at Canary Wharf:

We made a gingerbread house:

Baked some bread:

Experimented with Nail Art (for children):

Celebrated the New Year:

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Getting Ready for Christmas and the New Year

The past few days have been spent preparing for Christmas. The tree is decorated, the presents have all been wrapped up, the cards have been sent and I’m currently finishing off certain projects at work. I am shocked that there are less than 10 days left of 2011 and the shortest day of the year is now over. This has made me reflect about the past year and really think about what I plan to achieve in 2012.

Here is a short list of plans that I currently have floating around in my head:

I would like to:

  1. spend more time on my small business and blog, which has been so neglected during the past year.
  2. spend at least 30 minutes having a walk (out of the office) during lunch time (even in the rain)
  3. eat healthily (I have been watching the Food Hospital on TV which is very interesting)
  4. make more things
  5. be more organised at home and at work.

These sound like early New Year’s Resolutions, which they are, in a way. However, before I start putting these plans in place, I’m going to enjoy the last 10 days of 2011. So far, we have taken our little girl to see Jack and the Beanstalk at the Shaw Theatre. The Nolan Sisters were great as the good and bad fairy. We also went to Surrey Docks Farm Christmas Craft Fair. There were many activities for the kids such as making Christmas wreaths, beeswax candle, Christmas decorations and planting bulbs. Here are a few photos:

Candles made from beeswax from the farm:

A Christmas dear made by my little girl:

Freshly baked bread:

We also attended Gracie’s (now Mrs Li) annual Pre-Christmas Roast diner last Sunday. Mr and Mrs Li alway makes such delicious food, including cake off course. This year we had cake and Christmas pudding. She will blog about it at SimplyScrumblicious, but here are few photos:

I hope everyone will have a great Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year! Enjoy your time with your faimily and friends too!

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Autumn in Brugge

November has been a busy month.  I have been on several business trips around the UK from Scotland, Liverpool, Northamptonshire to Gatwick in London.  Work and life were getting a bit too stressful, so we decided to go on a relaxing family trip to Brugge.

Brugge is such a lovely city.  It is not too overwhelming and we managed to visit most of the places and shops during our weekend trip.  We were surprised to see cars give way to bicycles.  The people who live there cycle together; from little children to their grandparents, and they don’t seem to lock their bikes, which is very different to London.

We visited the main tourist sites, such as the Market Square, went on the horse carriage around the main town and a boat trip on the canal.  We also ate lots of good food including lots of chocolate and waffles.  The hotel we stayed at (The Flanders) was directly opposite a small local craft store called Gobelin Kreatief and there were many small independent design and vintage shops on the same road.  Here are some photos of our trip:

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Hens and Cakes

As mentioned in my last post, I was invited to two hen parties over the summer. The first was Gracie’s (baker extraordinaire) hen party which was held at Paris in the first week of July. We started the day off with lunch at a local Bistro at L’Opera, which was followed by fashion afternoon tea at Le Bristol Hotel.

The Hens:

Here is a silly photo of us imitating the models.

We then dressed up for dinner and cocktails at a local restaurant. The next day was spent relaxing by the river Seine and drooling over the amazing Parisien pattiserie.

Laduree:

Pierre Herme:

My second hen party was for a close family friend which took place in London at Le Chandlier at Dulwich which is a hidden gem. Again we had afternoon tea and my daughter was invited as well as my friend’s daughter:

We all had a great time and it was nice to have a relaxing afternoon with the girls, chatting and eating lots of cakes.

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The Knitting and Stitching Show 2011

Did everyone have a good summer break?   It has been a while since my last blog post.  My long absence is due to work commitments, a conference, two trips to Paris, two hen parties, three weddings and a new camera.  Yes, I have been a busy bee, but I’m looking forward to quieter times to catch up with my crafting and blog.

Before we have a catch up, I have to blog about my annual trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace with Kyoko over the weekend.  Every year we look forward to being inspired by all the yarns, patterns, fabrics and crafts.   This is exactly what I needed to get my crafting mojo back after such a long break.  This year we were joined by my little girl who has taken an interest in knitting and sewing (as well as dinosaurs and astrology).  She was very excited about going to a ‘palace’ full of crafts and she wasn’t disappointed.

There were also many new stalls and of course familiar stalls at the show.  Firstly, we stopped by at Jamieson so that Kyoko could drop off some of her knitting kits. I have never knitted with their yarn and there is currently a sale on a selection of their yarns which is very tempting.

We then visited The Knitter magazine stand, where apart from magazines, there were many blankets and knitted squares (to be sewn up into blankets) for Refuge which is a great cause. 

We then visited the Fyberspate stand as I wanted to get a Skein of Scrumptious 4ply to knit Childry (a lovely shawlette).  The colours of the yarn are amazing and reflects the autumnal colours.  I chose a warm cherry colour, but I was very tempted by the yellow.

We wanted to take it easy this year as Kyoko has got her half marathon charity run the next day and my little girl was getting a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing.  It was definately a great day out.  I asked my daughter whether she would like to join us again next year, which she said yes of course. 

Have a lovely weekend everyone, I will be taking my bike out of my Dad’s garage to start cycling again.  It has been 15 years, lets hope it doesn’t rain.

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