Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that your life is more interesting than it really is.

In case you weren’t aware (!), I move house tomorrow, after over a year of looking, and I became pretty familiar with floorplans and all the potential within. So I love these floorplans from Spanish artist Inaki Aliste Lizarralde – available through her Etsy webpage

Carrie Bradhsaw's Apartment Floorplan (BIG)

I think my favourite might be Carrie Bradshaw’s (above) – but I also love the plan of the Friends’ apartments – for nostalgia – and Frasier’s for the wow factor. The size of it!

Monica-Rachel & Chandler-Joey Apartments from "FRIENDS" (BIG)

Frasier's Apartment Floorplan (BIG)

Today’s quote is from Charles M. Schulz

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

This gallery contains 16 photos.

About 10 years ago (man, I’m old), I lived in Paris for 10 months as an Erasmus year during my degree. And I fell in love. What a city. I go back as often as time and money allow, and this weekend I went back for a quick one night trip with two of my … Continue reading

Whenever a boy comes, you should always have something baking.

Well, I do love a list. So I thought I’d do another one. This time, it’s less a to-do list (don’t need more pressure, thanks!), more just a list of things I want to try out in the kitchen. This was sparked by my trip to Paris this weekend (pictures to follow…), where at every corner I was met with a delicious display of macarons, and reminded that I’ve been wanting to try making these for a long time. That, and the return of Great British Bake-Off, of course.

I love baking, and I’m ok at it, but I’m pretty slapdash about the measuring, and the following of instructions, and I think many of these things on my list require a level of exactitude/concentration that doesn’t sit well with me.

– Macarons

– Marshmallows

– Cake pops (I know, I know, I’m totally behind the curve on this one. In about three years time, I’ll be talking about how delicious those Cronuts look)

– Italian frosting

– Char siu buns (My other half grew up in Hong Kong, and these are his favourite snack. I’ve mastered char siu pork, and never thought the buns were something people in their kitchens at home could realistically do – surely there’s some kind of magic involved? – but this Jamie Oliver recipe looks so simple, I think I need to give it a try)

– Salted caramels

– Rainbow layer cake

– Mojito cupcakes (Or any booze-related cupcakes. I’m not fussy)

– This chocolate strawberry nutella cake (Difficulty-level isn’t the reason I’ve waited for this one -my other half sent it to me back in June and I promised it would be the first thing I baked in our new house. Not long to wait now!)

No doubt, I will post any resulting successes/disasters here!

Today’s quote is from Cher (Clueless, not Turn Back Time)

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In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven’t Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn’t Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written. And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of the Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You’ll Wait Till They’re Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out In Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody’s Read So It’s As If You Had Read Them, Too. Eluding these assaults, you come up beneath the towers of the fortress, where other troops are holding out:

the Books You’ve Been Planning To Read For Ages,

the Books You’ve Been Hunting For Years Without Success,

the Books Dealing With Something You’re Working On At The Moment,

the Books You Want To Own So They’ll Be Handy Just In Case,

the Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This Summer,

the Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves,

the Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified,

Now you have been able to reduce the countless embattled troops to an array that is, to be sure, very large but still calculable in a finite number; but this relative relief is then undermined by the ambush of the Books Read Long Ago Which It’s Now Time To Reread and the Books You’ve Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It’s Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them.

Italo Calvino – If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler

To do list 3: As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.

Well, I’m flying through this to-do list now. Nothing to do with the fact that everything I’ve now finished, I had already started (to various degrees) before I wrote the list.

Is that cheating?

This latest project was a cross-stitch kit that came free with issue 30 of Mollie Makes. A very pretty pattern, which I was originally intending as a gift, but then someone somehow managed to get strawberry juice all over it, just minutes after I’d finished it. I’m not going to lie, there were tears before bedtime. I’m not a calm crafter.

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We managed to get most of the juice out and I think you can barely see the stain. But I don’t think it’s suitable for a present now… The frame, I covered with some washi tape that my boyfriend had got me in Hong Kong last time he was there. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out, and can’t wait to get it up in our new home!

Oh, and I’ve made start on the throw. Still a long way to go but look:

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Quite chuffed with that! Only about 39 more like that, and I’ll be done…

Today’s quote is from Ben Hogan.

To-do list 2 – All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind‏

Although still daunting, completion of the to-do list is starting to feel more likely now I’ve ticked two things off it. Let’s not mention that one of the things on there is a gigantic knitted throw that uses 13 balls of yarn. Let’s not even think about that.

 bookmark

I made this lovely thistle bookmark using a cross-stitch kit that I bought on my recent trip to the Highlands, and had intended to make it whilst on my holiday, giving it to my mum as I passed back through Dunfermline on my way home. But obviously that didn’t happen. Ah well, better late than never!

Today’s quote is from Abraham Lincoln

Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination

Last night I was lucky enough to be given tickets to go and see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – a musical of the famous Roald Dahl classic, directed by Sam Mendes, and on at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. I wasn’t sure what to expect – being somewhat of a musical snob (anyone who has asked me whether I’ve seen We Will Rock You will know this, having suffered the ensuing withering look of disdain) – but I knew that if it was only half as enjoyable as that other Roald Dahl adaptation playing around the corner, then I was sure to have a good time.

(Image taken from LondonTheatre.co.uk)

The musical suffered a bit from a lack of good, memorable, catchy tunes – and the first half, being almost entirely in the Bucket Family home, wasn’t the most inspiring start. That said, there were some great set pieces, as one by one we were introduced to the other competition winners (all the kids on stage were fantastic) – and the first act finale, where we finally met Willy Wonka for the first time (or was it?), blew us cynical thirty-somethings away with a trick of the eye that left us giggling all the way through interval drinks.

Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka (Image taken from digitalspy.co.uk)

And then we went into the Factory. And that’s where the magic really happened. I don’t want to give anything away, but the sets for each of the different rooms were just spectacular, and had the audience gazing and applauding in wonder. This, coupled with a fabulous – and hilariously snarky – Willy Wonka, played magnificently by Douglas Hodge, had us coming away from the show glowing and basking in the magic that we’d seen before us. Oh and I can’t believe I’ve got this far without mentioning the Oompa Loompas!

(Image taken from theguardian.co.uk)

Roald Dahl creates such a wonderful, rich, world – populated with characters that you can’t help but love, or hate (or love to hate), that it would be hard to go wrong with such perfect source material. Sam Mendes has really managed to bring the most fantastical bits to life, without losing anything from the story. I definitely recommend going to see this if you can (this probably goes ten-fold if you actually have kids – you know, the target audience). And – after reminiscing with my friends about all the great stories – I think I’m going to re-read some of the collection. Which I’m sure is a conviction uttered by adults and children alike after seeing the show. And I think that’s all part of the great legacy of Mr Dahl.

Today’s quote isn’t a quote – it’s a line from “Pure Imagination” which appears both in the original film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and this new musical.

To-do List 1: Let them eat brioche

I finally finished the first thing on my to-do list – the scarf – and it looks like the weather has changed to Autumn just at the right time! I made this from some yarn I picked up in a little shop in Dunblane (near Andy Murray’s gold postbox!) whilst on my holiday in Scotland.

The shop was closing down and was selling off balls of this lovely Rico Creative Liesl yarn for 2 balls for a tenner, instead of £13.99 for a single ball! So, despite not having a plan, I bought 2 balls in a lovely maroon colour, with a bit of sparkle running through – as a Yorkshirewoman, I can never let a bargain pass me by. Of course, I’m now kicking myself for not buying more, but there was literally no room in my suitcase for anything else.

988ba3194298b898a6e2d49dafe91355(Image from the Rico Design website)

I basically just wanted to recreate the design on the picture on the packaging, which was a brioche stitch scarf. It took me several goes with different sets of instructions before  I could get going with this. I’m not sure why I struggled so much with the stitch, as once I got going, it really is a simple stitch to use. I finally found a pattern that made sense to me on Ravelry, for a brioche stitch infinity scarf – although I’ve left the ends loose for a normal scarf instead of joining them together. You might also see from the pictures that there is a slightly different pattern at each end – this is basically because I made a mistake for a couple of rows (bringing the yarn to the front of the knitting in the Yarn Over, instead of leaving it at the back), and decided to just recreate this error at the other end instead of unpicking it all and starting over (for the 5th time!). I’m going to give this away as a gift – packing for my move has uncovered an embarrassingly large stash of scarves, so I certainly don’t need any more – but I’m not sure who to yet.

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(Not sure why I look so annoyed in this photo!)

To make this I used 1 and a quarter 200g balls of Rico Creative Liesl yarn, although according to the website you can use just one ball – I guess I like my scarves extra chunky…

Cast on an even number of stitches to the width you want your scarf to be (I did 24 stitches)

Row 1: *Yarn over, Slip 1 purl wise,  Knit 1* Repeat *_* to end

Row 2: *Yarn over, Slip 1 purl wise, Knit 2 together* Repeat *_* to end

Repeat Row 2 until you are happy with the length of the scarf.

I’ve now got 3/4 of a ball leftover. I would plan to make a matching hat, but that would mean my to-do list will never be completed!

Today’s quote is from Marie Antoinette