Wednesday, 31 December 2008


All those pics took a while to upload. I'll add some more of Franschhoek (for those who are interested) tomorrow and will take some pics of the swallowtail and crochet creepies later.

More photos...

Ghostly me...

Dinner (BBQ) on the stoep

The Rockstar acting all cool at a streetside cafe

My cranberry cooler...

Knitting, of course!

First morning coffee

Franschhoek Photos

The 'Treehouse' cottage

The porch or 'stoep' (pronounced like stoop but with a short oo)

The view

More View

Sunday, 28 December 2008

My weekend away..

As we have been spending so much time with the in-laws, who are driving me crazy, we book a weekend away. We decided to go up to Franschhoek. Franschhoek is pretty much a tourist destination. House prices are purely aimed at foreigners with pounds/ dollar to spend. The town is so named by French Hugenots who were given land by the South African government and literally means French Corner. Many wine farms still have french names. What I like most of the town is how they are preserving the old Cape Dutch building style. These styles are my favourite-I would love to live in one some day!! Anyway, so we went away for the weekend to Klein Dassenberg. We booked the Treehouse for 2 night and I must say, what a good choice. The cottage is set back in the trees against the mountain. It has a great veranda and is so tranquil. At night, the only thing you could hear was the frogs, crickets and owls. We sat outside the whole evening with a nice woodfire and chatted the night away.

So knitting-wise, I managed to get quite a lot done. I'm nearly done with the second Swallowtail but don't want to post any pics as it is a gift for a wait and see. I made a mistake in that I knitted one repeat too many and so couldn't make the 'nupps' lace section fit. After much calculating, I knitted an extra few repeats and it all fitted. So this one will be slightly bigger than the other one but hey, rather too big than too small.

Tonight is New Years and we'll be having a proper bash at a friends..which means too much to drink! HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYBODY!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas everybody!!!!
I hope this year brings much joy and happiness and is a LOT better that the past! ( well for me in any case!)

I know that I have been missing from my blog a bit. But rest assured, I have been busy! VERY BUSY!! For starters, the second swallowtail is well and truly over halfway. I need to take some pics of it but haven't gotten round to it. I have run into a major problem though as I have a lot more stitches for some reason....will have to figure out what the hell happened there. I may have knitted one or two rows too many. Anyway, other than that, it is knitting up beautifully. The stitch definition is good with the sock yarn. And the colour is quite nice too. Between navy and purple. Also on the knitting front, I received a gift all the way from the UK. A very good friend missed me so much and bought me a book....It's called Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden. The book is full of these great little caracters of otherwordly dimensions! There are ninjas, Nosferato ( my personal favourite!), a devil, a corporate zombie, etc.

I just HAD to start ( I'm so lame!) and have made a devil so far. Nosferato is halfway. They are about 3 inches big. I think I want the whole collection.
Meanwhile I wore my own Swallowtail a few times this week and have gotten so many compliments and even managed to get another two people to knit again!! BOOHAHAHHA!!

Well, I hope everyone has a great day tomorrow. I know that I will definitely eat too much, in true Christmas spirit!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

South Africa Photos

My new niece M! How cute!


Result no.1 - Well after a very long wait I finally have my results from uni! I PASSED!!! YYEEEAAAHHH!!! I now officially have a BA (Hons) Business Management. Thank goodness. It was 4 very long years of studying and working to get through this and I've made it. Though I can honestly say that the knitting was a HUGE help. It kept me sane through all the stress.

Result no. 2 - I have finished the swallowtail!! YEAHHH!!! I started this guy on the plane and it is now blocked and ready for wearing! Bring on the cold weather.....well, maybe not yet..

Proof of said swallowtail

I can't believe I actually did it. So I am now starting another one in a plum colour for a friend. The yarn is a lot different that the Kauni. It is some sock yarn bought locally for a bargain. Didn't I blog about this already....I may be losing my mind. It's the heat over here! It was another scorcher. 28 but probably more like 30+. My brother and family came over for a swim. The kids enjoyed it tremendously as they don't have a pool at home. Needless to say I spent most of the day in the sun. And my lily white London skin didn't take too kindly to the african sun....even after factor 40 baby sunblock! I'm a bit pink on my back...ok...a LOT pink!! My inside tip for sunburn is: buy a BIG pot of the Body Shop Coconut Body Butter and lather it on every day and night. That stuff takes away and sunburn and prolongs your tan. It really works! Promise! I've run out so will have to make a trip to the shop tomorrow to get some at an extortionate price....things here in Africa is a lot more expensive than in Europe. Even if you are buying with pounds.

Seeing as I have so much time on my hands, I've also completed a bit of Xmas knitting. I made two sets of dishcloths and matching potholders for my mother-in-law and her sister. I only intended to knit the dishcloths but had some of the Peaches and Cream left after...not enough for another dishcloth. So I fiddled a bit and came up with these potholders.

They're not something that I would use personally but the mothers will like them. Pity I didn't bring more Peaches...though I didn't have any space in my suitcase in any case. We had to pay for overweight suitcases!

Next I'll post some random pics from the past week here in South Africa. If anyone wants to know where they were taken, give me a shout!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Still sick :-((

Can you believe that I still have a cold! It's just a runny nose but it's starting to get on my nerves! I tried to spend some time in the sun today but eventually got so annoyed with my runny nose that I left it.
So that aside, I'm nearing the end of my shawl! YEAH! I have started the final lace section of the shawl but about an hour ago realised that something isn't adding up. I've messed up somewhere ( it was inevitable, wasn't it!) and will have to frog back about 4 rows. Luckily there are about 2 rows of straight knitting between the 2nd last and last sections so it will be easy to rip back! PHEW!
I've enjoyed knitting it so much that I went to a local yarn store today and bought 4 balls of sock yarn in a lovely deep purple. I plan to knit another Swallowtail for my best friend who loves purple and I know that she will wear it. It actually wasn't to expensive in relative terms. In South Africa, we keep comparing prices in £ terms...i.e. R400 Oh it's only about £35. So these balls cost R25 equalling about £1.60. Nice and cheap! Anyway, that will have to wait until I have finished my own Swallowtail.

Teeth wise, they are still giving me problems...I've read that crowns do ache for a while. But I'm seeing the dentist again tomorrow to replace the temporary crowns with the real McCoy. I'm sure that it will be another FUN-FILLED session....NOT! I do hate the dentist. Bleagh!
I won't post pictures of the new teeth for fear of looking like a saddo with no life! Hahahah!!

Oh well, all things considered, the sun is shining, it's hot in South Africa and I am on holiday.
Hope you are on holiday too!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Middle of the night stories

It exactly 2:58 am and I am up with tooth ache. It's painful enough to have woken me up and kept me up. :-(
I am in the process of receiving a new capped tooth and have a temporary one in place. Since receiving the temp, I have had pain around my two front teeth ( the teeth to be capped). So I'm sitting here in the early morning hours in a very quiet house, googling tooth ache and crowns. Luckily the Nurofen that I have taken, seems to be kicking in so I'll hopefully be able to get some sleep. So while I wait for the full ibuprofen release, I'll update you on my shawl.

This has so far been one of the most enjoyable knits to date. One other may be the pinwheel sweater that I made. The shawl has knitted up so quickly and easily and me irrational fear of lace seems silly now. I'm even thinking of making another for my best friend left behind in the UK ( I miss you K)
The colour changes in the yarn has been great. And so has knitting with the yarn. The stitch definition is nice and I think that after blocking, will look even better. Maybe I should use some sock yarn next time around? mmm......

I've completed the main lace body section and have started the dreaded 'nupps'. I struggled with these the first time round but by the second time, I knitted them REALLY loosely and the p5tog were easy enough. So if you are intending on knitting the Swallowtail, make sure you knit the nupps even looser than you think is necessary. You'll thank me when you have p5tog.

The nubbs can be seen here. They are those two bobbles at the tops of the image.

((Can you believe my stomach is rumbling?? At this time of night?? I feel hungry!))

Anyway, tomorrow I may head down to the beach with a friend and hope that it won't worsen the last leftovers of a cold I picked up...(Imagine having a cold in 35 degrees heat). We'll probably head down to Blouberg.

I need to write an update of our outing to the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. They have jazzed up the harbour which includes a snazzy shopping centre and various restaurants and shops. Very nice. Will do so tomorrow...

For now, I'm off to bed......again.....
Tooth is numb now so will hopefully get some sleep....that's if the mosquito leaves me alone....PAH!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

It's 35 today!

Yikes! It really is 35 degrees in the + today. I'm contemplating going for a swim or heading to the mall for the air conditioning....maybe I'll do both. First mall and then swim.
Anyway, yesterday I got a call from a very old friend from primary school. So I drove out to meet her in Stellenbosch. Being a farmers wife, she doesn't have much to do and so, volunteers at the local Animal Shelter. So she invited me along.

The Animal Shelter outside Stellenbosch is totally donation funded and it shows. The few building that they have are kennels to keep either dogs or cats with babies apart from the rest of the population. Puppies and dogs are kept in large open pens which is semi covered with a tin roof on one end and a sand floor. The cats were in a closed off area-still open to the elements.

Now I have to say, everything were very clean and the animals had food, water and shelter. But it is quite clear that they only have money for the basic needs of the animals. We went to socialise with the puppies and most of them are quite dirty from living in sand. Though so full of energy and love!!! I have a puppy hanging from every piece of fabric on my short! PUPPY COAT! There was this one that was definitely not well and all he wanted was to sit on your lap. Not normal puppy behaviour. He was also the ugly pup and I contemplated taking him home...which of course, isn't practical as yet.

The kittens were all gorgeous! MAD MAD MAD! One little kitty even hissed at me and he was small enough to fit in my palm! He definitely has balls! It wasn't as sad as I thought it might be...the only thing that surprised me was that all the cats given up for adoption, were all lovely, very friendly and beautiful. One little black mama was so small, not even 8 months old, and already has a litter of the most gorgeous smokey grey babies. The same with the dogs. There were two huskies (very dirty) but very loving and the most beautiful white staffi.
I won't preach today, but I will say that if you want/ need a pet, don't forget to check out your local shelter. The animals all need homes and not all shelters are no-kill. And they may even have some pure-bred dogs/ cats if you're so inclined.
I'm thinking of volunteering at my shelter for a while. I heard that they don't even have a pc. And I'd like to do something about that.

Moving on shiftly....
I've knitted about 13 repeats of the lace pattern on the swallowtail. According to the pattern, I should do 14, but most knitters on Ravelry have increased the size. I'd rather have a too large shawl than a too small shawl. So I will be knitting another 5 rows. Apparently you should increase in increments of 5. Thus if you were supposed to knit 14 rows, you can also knit up to 19, 24, 29, etc... that way the edging lace pattern matches up. I haven't had any major hitches yet (touch wood!) and am surprised that I actually like knitting lace. Meisje (on Ravelry) told me that it would be fun! I believe you now! (Ek glo jou Meisje!)

So I'm off to the mall for flapjacks ( the American kind not the British kind) and some bottomless coffee....mmmm....

Here's a nice picture taken from the car yesterday...typical roadside fauna and flora around Stellenbosch.

eta..mmm... once again I am being thwarted by a very slow internet connection in South Africa....I'll try uploading the pics again annoying.

eta..ha! Got it!

ps. Penny says HI!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Welkom ( aka Welcome)

Hallo and welcome to South Africa!

It’s very hot here today-about 27 degrees and I am about to jump in the pool! OK enough gloating!

WOW!! What a hardcore two weeks. We finally flew out from the UK on Sunday evening, arriving in South Africa on Monday morning. We flew premium economy (thank you Virgin) which was a blessing! The extra legroom really made a difference.

I’ve spent the last two days making some random purchases, such as hangers and sandals. Why I didn’t bring all my sandals I’ll never know! I’ve clearly forgotten how hot it gets here! So I just bought some cheap black gladiator sandals.
Just a short walk around yesterday was eye opening. Food is very expensive in the grocery store but restaurants are cheap. I bought the same amount of food that I would usually buy in the UK and it cost a whopping R1400-about …mmm….just realized that there isn’t a pound sign on this keyboard??!! OK so 110 pounds for a week’s worth of food! Damn expensive! I’ll have to scale down the Rockstar’s diet massively.

Knitting wise, I started my Swallowtail on the plane and managed to knit a good 5 inches on it. So far so good. I am actually enjoying knitting it and everyone is very impressed! I’m sure that once I make a HUGE mistake 100 rows down, I’ll lose my cool and toss it in the pool!!!

I may have a few less posts while I’m here due to limited internet access but I will surely keep everyone updated as to the goings-on over here. And I’ll have a bit of local pictures and news too!!

I'm off to take some pics!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Innocent Veg Pots

Forgot to tell you about my new best friend.....Innocent Veg Pots.
These babies come in 4 flavours and are simply delicious-Moroccan Squash Tagine, Tuscan Bean Stew, Pea and Broccoli Rice and Thai Coconut Curry. My personal favs are the Squash Tagine and the Thai Curry. These are soooo good and have no colours or preservatives and no meat either. So if you are a vegetarian, these are perfect. I'm not but still like them. From the Innocent website "It's a meal of chopped up vegetables, pulses, wholegrains and sauce that give you 3 portions of vegetables in each pot. With no colourings, flavourings or nasty things you wouldn't add yourself."
I've been stuffing myself with these. Probably because I know I won't have these again.

....sneaks off to have Tuscan bean stew.....

Only 3 days to go! Yikes!

Yup, only three days. How quickly has time flown by?? I feel like the last two weeks have been a mad rush. We have had a full diary for the past two weeks-literally seeing a friend every night! And last weekend was our official going away party. Crazy! We spent about 1 hour walking through London looking for a cab home at 1 in the morning. And of course, I NEVER wear high heels but on Saturday I did!!! My feet were killing me! I'm such a wuss! But they are nice shoes though!! Let's see if I can find a pic...

They are the Betsey Cage sandals fom Oasis and are on sale right now for £30. Like I said, I don't usually buy or wear high heels but I liked these so much that I couldn't stop myself! Of course I realise that I will regret that decision every single time that I wear them! Hahahah!!

I've not managed to get much knitting done with all the social events. But did finish sock no.1 of my Ziggy's. It looks nice except that the sock isn't very stretchy. Slightly tight on my foot but I'm sure it will loosen with wear. The colours worked out great though. I've just cast on sock no.2 but probably won't get much further until we are actually in South Africa.

I am taking my Denise needles on the plane and will start the Swallowtail. It's such a looooooong flight-12 hours!!! So I'm sure I will get some knitting done. We splashed out this time and will be flying premium economy with Virgin so that should make a HUGE difference in comfort. If you haven't flown economy for 12 hours, then DON'T! I've done it countless of times and it's never been fun. Just very long and very cramped.
These last few days are going to be crazy busy. I still have to swap my clothes with some in storage as the weather in South Africa is the exact opposite of the UK. It's currently about 30 degrees C there! WHOOHOO!! So I have to leave my coats, hats and scarves and get the bikini and sandals out. I don't know when I'm going to do everything.

Oh I've also finished a horrible hat for a friend. He just wanted a Liverpool FC hat as he is a supporter. It's red and very boring and knitting acrylic. Really not nice. I've clearly become a yarn snob as I couldn't stop moaning about the quality of the yarn. Don't get me wrong. I use acrylic for toys etc...but for wearables, it's just horrible (IMHO!)

And look at this crazy monkey on the bed last night...

Honestly, how am I supposed to sleep!!! :-)

Saturday, 22 November 2008

One week...

Yup, one week left before the big move. It's really gone way to quickly and suddenly we're nearing our flight date. Things have been very busy...winding things up at work and seeing everyone for the last time. We've literally not had a evening at home this week and won't for the next week. My diary is FULL! WOW! I'm definitely going back to SA about 10 lb heavier and with a damaged liver! hahahahha!!

Today I decided that I feel like a I got a fringe!! (or bangs for the US readers) I'm not sure whether I like it yet but the Rockstar likes is, which is a surprise! So I guess I just have to get used to it. What do you think? (bad pic!)

I don't mind really. It's just hair and will grow back. And between you and me, it's hiding the wrinkles on my forehead!!!!! SShhhhhh...

Knitting has taken a back seat for a bit though I did finish little Rufus the dogs' sweater. It looks gorgeous!!!

He won't hold still for me to get a good picture. It took ages to make though as the whole thing is cabled!!! Man! Did I swear. It takes quite a lot of time where I could have knitted a plain sweater in a week this took about 3. But it does suit him and he seems to like and accept it. So that's a good thing. It's also turning pretty cold in London so he will need it.

Last weekend we also went to Norfolk for a friends birthday. I'll load some pics at a later stage but it was a great weekend. We stayed in a converted barn on a farm. Somewhere close a farmer was shooting the living daylights out of rabbits and partridges-ALL DAY!! Bloody gunshots! BANG BANG BANG!! And the road was littered with spent cartridges. It was annoying hearing something being killed every 2 minutes.

Anyway, gotta go. The Rockstar is bugging me....

Monday, 10 November 2008

Weekend break to Wales **pic heavy**

This last weekend we decided to drive to Wales before we leave the UK. The Rockstar has always wanted to go-maybe he feels a connection. Anyway, so we hired a car on Friday morning, got up at the crack of dawn and made the trek up. It was a 6 hour drive which is pretty long and seeing that I had to do all the driving.
Most the drive up was uneventful until we actually entered Wales and suddenly the landscape changes, hills appear and everything is greener. And with all the leaves changing on the trees, it really was spectacular!!
This was one of the first really awesome sights that we saw!

The wind was absolutely HOWLING though and moi decided to get out to take a picture! I nearly died! WOW!!! It was sooo cold and windy and the camera actually blew right out of my hands, giving me a nice bruise on my hand. But beautiful!! The Rockstar couldn't even get out of the car as he was on the receiving end of the wind and couldn't get the door open! Pahahahaha!!

So I hopped back in the car, heating on full blast and continued on our drive. Our destination was Llanberis which is on Lake Padarn. We stayed here....

Good old fashioned B&B with a great breakfast and Henry...

Oh I did love Henry!! He was the friendliest cat ever and just wanted to visit and flirt and play! And he's so photogenic too! Just look how sophisticated he looks with his legs crossed. A real gentleman!!!

So after arriving we went down to the lake.
The area was well known for it's slate mining for many years. Hence everything here is built of slate. It also give the water in the lake a lovely blue hue. After the mine closed, the village was pretty much deserted until a hydro power station was built into the mountain using the water from a lake above and below to generate power. We went on a tour of the power station which was pretty interesting. Unfortunately we weren't allowed any personal belongings due to safety reasons so no pics. But you enter the facility through a tunnel mouth and then just drive down and down and down into the belly of the mountain. Great tour guide! Even if you weren't interested in power generation at the start, this guy had us listening intently. Really good!!
Across from the power station and lake, is Dolbadarn castle.

Great place for views across the valley and a great castle too!

We then took a drive across the lake to the actual slate quarry. It's rather forlorn now, deserted and almost sad, but still beautiful. There is a slate museum that tell the whole history of slate mining in the area as well as the old hospital...

and the mortuary...eeeeekkkk....

Oh and this is the actual quarry. It's really gorgeous in there.

The next day I persuaded the Rockstar to go to the Trefriw Woollen Mills not far from Llanberis. They manufacture products from welsh wool. So naturally I had to buy this...

It's woven from the local wool.

2 Skeins of pure Welsh wool in aran weight and colour ocean...beautiful. It's a bit hard but I'm sure I can sort that out. I just love the colour though!!!
The store did have a small section devoted to knitting with some yarn, looms and the like..

They also had some antique swifts from Scandinavia and the UK.
Sorry for the bad pic but they were high up in bad lighting.

From there we headed north west to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.......WOW!!!! It's the name of the local train station and means St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave. I did try to pronounce it but we just cracked up with laughter. Go to wiki here to hear what it should sound like. There weren't much else to look at and we headed out to Caernarfon next.

There we found a LARGE castle right on the waters edge. It was here that Charles, the Prince of Wales had his investiture-big word!! I had to look that one up myself! Haha!
The castle is pretty awesome with towers on the corners which you can climb. And some really REALLY green grass in the middle.

And lastly we rushed over to Portmeirion- an italian style resort village in Wales??!! It's strangely continental-as in European as opposed to the UK with all the brightly coloured buildings and lain-out gardens.
We had a great sunday roast at the hotel before driving back.

The drive back was another story on its own as we were hit by torrential downpours and flooding roads. I was driving with my nose practically against the windscreen, trying to see the road and on the look-out for floods. Needless to say, it took us over 7 hours to get home!!! YIKES!!
Anyway, so I leave you with this....

PAH!!! BLOODY INTERNET IS CRAP! OK I will load these last few pics's just not happening tonight.