Thursday, 1 September 2011

Making things

Today was a bit busy. After weeks of being quite, quite lazy, I got the bug and did things.

I made a fabulous Lemon Drizzle Cake.

The recipe comes from The Hairy Bikers' Mums Know Best book. It a nice a simple recipe and made a lovely, moist cake albeit one that looks a bit odd.

Then I sewed in the end, soaked then blocked a scarf that I made for my sister. When I say blocked I just pegged the scarf along the neck edge to the washing line and let it hang there. I'll write more on this tomorrow (possibly)

Then I made some Cheese Bites. Again from the Hairy Bikers' book. These were also successful and very more-ish, but a bit pale.

A day spent doing things but I'm still plagued by a twisted ankle so I can't get out and do as much as I want. I haven't run in over a week now and that is making me sad but I can't risk damaging more. I had hoped to be able to get back skating in September but now this looks increasingly unlikely so I suppose that it shall be another month before I'm back on my wheels.

Friday, 22 July 2011

MSF, Somalia and p/hop raffle

Somalia and its neighbouring countries are in the grips of the worst famine in over 50 years. While tens of thousands of people are suffering from malnutrition, homelessness and lose of their way of life, I have been thinking about what I can do to help. Part of me wants to jump on a plane, go there and help, do whatever I can to solve the problem, but I'm not a weather god, I can't bring rain to a drought ridden country. I can't stop militia groups from using this terrible situation for their own ends. I am inspired though, by the work done by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) and their commitment regardless of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. They are there in the camps trying to help and do what is needed.

But they need funds to do this.

I'm a practical person and like to find practical solutions to problems and I'm also someone who is not bothered about getting their hands dirty but I cannot go out there and help and with since I am currently unemployed I don't have a great deal of money to donate. But I do have time and I have yarn and I can knit and I can used these skills to do what I can. There is a great organisation called pennies per hour of pleasure or p/hop who have supported MSF for the past few years. It's a great idea. They provide patterns for you to knit for free, you then knit the pattern and donate an amount for the hours of pleasure the pattern has given you. Isn't that fab?

But I want to do more than that. I want you to get involved too. I have downloaded the Trinty Shawlette pattern by Anniken Allis and am currently knitting a bright red version and a rich blue version. These are then going to be raffled (separately) to help raise money. All you need to do is make a donation here for a minimum of £3 (GB) or $5 (US) and send me the receipt to as well as leaving a comment here saying which version you'd like. The comment here will generate a number that will be entered into the draw.

The deadline for entry will be Sunday 7th August 2001 at 12 noon BST

I'll make the draw via a random number generator on Sunday and announce the winner here and on Twitter. Since this is an international situation, I am holding an international raffle so will post anywhere in the world.

The red version is soft acrylic since not everyone can wear wool which will be steam blocked so that it holds the pattern. The blue version is 100% alpaca.

I've made a start and will be updating my progress every week here and on Twitter

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Still Running and knitting

C25K - Week 6 Day 1
2.54 miles nailed

Another day of running today and it well really well. Managed the first block of 5 minutes without stopping although I came close a couple of times. The 3 minutes of walking were fab (really enjoyed that) and my breathing had returned to near enough normal by the time it came to the 8 minute run. That one was a a bit harder as I had to stop and walk a few times, but I only walk for 50 paces then set off again so it’s not like I have a sit down and a cuppa while my breath returns. The second 5 minute run was okay but I hadn’t quite caught my breath during the walking section so I was much slower but hey! I did it.

I have decided that since my legs and arse are getting toned I need to do something about my upper body so am going to start doing a back and body workout on my non-running days. Just a bit of weights and toning things that I can do at home. I have a copy of Matt Robert’s Fit for Life and I like his style and stuff so will hunt through for a routine that suits and start that tomorrow.

One of the things that I am disappointed in is that I am not shrinking nor losing weight. I know that the (non)weight lose is because I am laying down muscle but I’m a bit narked about it. The same goes for my waist measurement - I have put on an inch round my waist (which is a bit annoying) but I think that again it’s due to the muscle under the fat rather than eating too many pies. I’m going to track my food for a week or so to see if I am eating far more than I think I am but I think that I have a pretty good idea of what I eat.

In other news, I have also cracked on with my sock knitting. I haven't been very attentive to my sock knitting and my plans to complete the A to Z KAL on Ravelry has not been looking good but in the past week I have finished one of the M Socks and got a fair way through one of the N Socks. I'll take some snaps and do a post tomorrow.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Seedy Flap-jack

Since I am trying to eat more healthily, I was looking around to see if there was a recipe for something that was tasty and high in complex carbs to help me feel fuller for longer. Since I couldn’t find anything I like, I then thought FLAPJACK even though it’s brimming with sugar, I thought I could offset that with seeds and fruity bits.

There are loads of online recipes so I had a look in my larder to see what I had but hardly any of it matched what the recipes called for so I used the basic sugar, butter and syrup start and added my own mixture to it.

And this is the result.

It’s not perfect but it will do for the moment. I know next time I will need to add more oats to make it a bit more chewy as this is more brittle than I’d like. I also need to reduce the cooking time, or possibly the oven temperature, or both. And I need to use a smaller tin as this came out thinner than I would have wanted it to be. Over all though, it looks okay and it’s edible and it’s ‘only’ 148 calories a slice

This is the recipe I made but as I mentioned above, it needs a bit of tweaking to get it right for me. This is the basic recipe but I think that it is very flexible and you should be able to change things or add whatever you have to hand.

Seedy Flap Jacks

80g butter

80g brown sugar

60g golden syrup

Pinch of salt

110g rolled oats (next time it’s going to be 150g)

75g sunflowers seeds

60g pumpkin seeds

15g sesame seeds

  1. Put on the oven to 180 degrees
  2. Line a small baking tray with greaseproof paper, or grease a non-stick pan. Basically you need something to cook it in. My tray was about 23cm square and too big so something smaller than that would be good.
  3. Melt the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a pan together over a low heat. Once it’s nicely mixed and runny but not boiling
  4. Add all the other ingredients and mix well
  5. Turn into the trap and level out pushing the mixture down with the back of a spoon or you could use a potato masher (I used a spoon)
  6. Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes – mine was in for 20 and came out crunchy
  7. Leave to cool for a short while in the tray then lift out with the lining paper (if you used it) and mark out the slices, I did 16. Leave on a flat surface until cold.
This should keep for about a week in an airtight box, but I have never made any cake that has lasted that length of time – Yum

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Starting Reasons

I am not a natural athlete. Running around when I was a kid was all well and good. I had fun, I climbed trees, I rode bikes, I did the things that kids growing up in the 70s did but as I got older and realised that motorbikes and cars could get you around so much faster and in a more fun way, I gave up on the running and riding.

Skip forward many years and at the age of 41 I decided to take up roller derby. It was fantastic, a real life changer, but with the joy of finding a sport that I actually liked came the realisation that I needed to get so much fitter. Roller derby is great for fitness and within a few weeks it was beginning to come together. Then . . . disaster. I fell over whilst skating and something went crack, well more CRACK!!! I sat with tears in my eyes daring myself to get up and see what part of my ankle would pop out of place and when I did nothing happened. It was a bit ouchy and my right ankle was a bit tender but nothing terrible had happened.

Throughout last summer it twinged and complained and sometimes swelled to impressive proportions but I kept on even though my skating was suffering as I couldn’t push out properly ‘cause it just hurt too much. Then in August I did the Goodwood Roller Marathon along with many of my fabulous team mates. After 5 and a half laps I was ok, slowing down but still keen and then it happened again. I fell.

My ankle complained and I along with it. I sat there on a boiling hot day on the side of the track watching skaters in all shapes, sizes and abilities go past. Some stopped to see if I was okay and I, in that brittle way of the British injured, said I was. After 30 minutes I got up and carried on: slowly, oh so slowly for the next 5 and a half laps finishing in a time of 4 hours 32 minutes.

And then I gave up roller derby – only for the short term – to give the 3, yes 3 ripped ligaments a chance to heal. After 2 months out, doing a bit of physio I went back and although it was better, I was nervous as in the intervening time I had put on loads of weight and was just not comfortable on skates. Then I got work away so was off from November until March then in April I finally left the amazing, supportive Sheffield Steel Roller Girls as I just couldn’t get myself fit and it was making me sad.

After wallowing for a few months I have decided that I want to be fit and I am still young enough to get fit so I have started to run. And be much more careful about what I eat. AND given up weekday (and mostly weekend) drinking. The running is horrible but I am doing it and I shall continue to do it until I am fit enough and my ankle is strong enough to start skating again.

So the moral of this?

Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get off your arse if you want to do something. If it is that important to you, you'll make the effort.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Back again (again)

Wow several months have passed but not a lot has changed.

The briefest of round ups.

Got a job in November: contract ran out in March. Now unemployed again.

Decided that since I was just getting further and further behind in Roller Derby that I have left the team for a while until I am fit again. Hopefully back in the autumn.

Seem to have also given up knitting which is not a good thing as I am falling way behind with my vast sock knitting enterprise. However on a more positive note, I have stirrings of interest again so this might be shortly remedied.

There you go - 5 months of life and not a moment of it lived.
Must do better!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Back to Work

Today is the first day back for the new year. I did work over the holidays but that was the old year, not this brand spanking new fabulous year so everything is that much better.

I'm currently writing up a report on a great site in Boston (Lincs) and looking out on a snow covered car park. I hope it's not going to stay too cold as I am back on site tomorrow and really would like to be warmer but it's very pretty too. I have brought along my knitting, let's face it, I hardly go anywhere with out something on the pins. This time I have my A Sock and I have the Wings of an Angel sweater test knit that I have been doing over the past few weeks. I meant to write more about it but somehow haven't managed to get round to it just yet. Will do soon though.

I should have it finished tomorrow so I'm hoping that I can have the snaps up and ready for the designer so she can see what a fab design it is.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year Plans (and a sock)

Happy New Year everyone (if you celebrate it). Do you have any resolutions? Why does the new year bring such things on in people? Anyway. I hope that this year is better than the last and that you enjoy yourself and make your and other people's lives easier.

I felt a bit lost a midnight but things have settled slightly and I am beginning to be a little more perky. Probably just that old feeling of being left out on things when I want to be in the middle of it all. However I know that when I'm in the midst I want to get out. See there's no pleasing some people!

I'm not sure what my plans are for this year. To keep working. To get things more sorted in my house. To be more creative. To smile and laugh more that's for certain. To buy less and use more of the things that I have about me. To not take people for granted and to try more. I'd also like to be fitter. So there you go - not much to that list is there. I should be able to get a few of those done in 365 days.

As part of my being more creative and using things I already have I have made a start on my sock for the UK Sock Knitters group on Ravelry. I'm doing Achilles Sock by Ingrid Marie. I'm using some space dyed 4 ply from Wingham Wools that I got years ago and from the looks of things this will be a quick knit (but only time will tell on that one).