A long overdue return…

I left the blogging world almost three years ago, when some massive changes in my work life meant I didn’t have the time to do enough of the things I liked to share in the blogosphere – baking and crafting. Three years on, I’m as busy as ever – teaching is not a career that leaves you much time to yourself, now more then ever – but I’ve increasingly realised the value of those activities in my life. No matter how little free time I have, no matter how much marking is waiting or data needs updating, I have learned that a few minutes working on a crochet project or mixing up a sourdough loaf are essential to my mental and physical health. A return to blogging here seems a good way to remind myself of that, and I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things! I am in the process of updating and refreshing the site, so please bear with me…

Here in the UK we are in the first glorious weeks of the summer holidays, and I’m relishing the chance to enjoy myself without feeling guilty – hurray for summer! I’ll leave you with some snapshots of the past few days…

A (brief) North Wales adventure

In order to visit the new baby, and deliver the rainbow blanket, we had to travel down to North Wales. Fortunately, my parents-in-law had rented a small holiday cottage in the area, so we were able to turn the visit into a short break and fit in some walking and exploring around hospital visiting hours. I took a lot of photos!

The weather was…British. That is to say, the first day and a half were freezing – I had to borrow a fleece from my mother-in-law and we slept under a thick duvet and blanket – but on the second afternoon, the sun suddenly turned up for long enough that we were able to strip down to t-shirts.

view from Bangor pier

The view from Bangor pier – I sat on the floor, out of the wind, hence the slightly wonky photo!

Bangor pier lamp

boats in Bangor harbour

Druids' cricle standing stones

Standing stones, locally known as the Druid’s Circle – but in fact about a thousand years older than the druids.

view over Anglesey

The view from the hills directly above where we stayed, looking out over the Anglesey straits. Much better on the way down than up!

tower roof

A really lovely tower – I can just picture myself sitting in that glass room with a cup of tea and a good book.

All of the rest of the photos were taken in Conwy, mainly in the castle. I love a good castle, and although I’ve visited a fair few Conwy has to be one of the best you can visit in the UK. It’s massive, fairly well preserved and the location is perfect.

Conwy castle view

The view over the bay…

jackdaw in town wall

Conwy

The castle from the town walls (also worth a visit!)

Conwy town walls

jackdaw on castle ruins

A friendly crow, happy to pose.

Conwy castle interior

The interior of the castle as seen from one of the lower towers.

hills from Conwy castle

welsh flag

boats from castle

Conwy interior window

Conwy bay through arrow slit

The view through one of the arrow slits.

king's head conwy

The king!

castle seagull

A change is gonna come…

*[…in the words of Otis Redding…]

calendula

Things are changing around here: from the beginning of September, I’ll be working flat out in a local school, training for my QTS (qualified teacher status) so that I can become a fully qualified history teacher. I’m incredibly excited (and a tad nervous) but it does mean that I won’t have much time left for some of my favourite hobbies, namely crochet and cooking. I’m certainly not intending to give crafting up altogether (it’s what keeps me sane, and I think it might provide a much-needed respite from work when things get tough!) but I’m not going to be able to commit to regular posting. I’ve decided to finish the 52 weeks challenge, which has become less interesting for me in recent weeks anyway; that way I can post on here when I get the opportunity without feeling guilty at not keeping up with the weekly posts!

Phew. That feels better! In craft-related news, I’ve pretty much finished the rainbow squares blanket (we won’t talk about how it took me approximately a month to finish half a side of the last border row…) so there’ll be a reveal of that as soon as I’ve woven in the last three or four ends and found my camera card. Back soon!

Shrewsbury outing

Back home…and the heavens have opened! I’m struggling to hold off thoughts that autumn is arriving here. We arrived back from a week away in Shropshire and Swansea on Friday, and I’ve now got two days of intensive revision for a test I have to sit on Tuesday. I’ll be back again after then, but for now I wanted to share some of the photos I took in Shrewsbury.  We were at a wedding and it was a beautiful day, but one of the highlights for me was the flower festival that meant the whole town was filled with beautiful flowers!

riverside flowers

pink petals

shrewsbury castle

shrewsbury school

Shrewsbury School – attended by famous alumni Michael Palin and Charles Darwin!

1953 coach

Our transport to and from the wedding: a 1953 coach, complete with sprung armchair seats and wood paneling. And it didn’t make me feel ill – a definite bonus!

wedding car

shrewsbury hotel

View from the hotel bedroom – I only had my phone so the quality isn’t great, but a Tudor building is always nice to look at!

52 weeks: 26/52

Hm. Halfway through the year! The first half has been largely positive; I’m hoping that the next twenty-six weeks are just as interesting. Although I’m mildly disturbed by the number of festive (I’m not going to mention the C-word) images popping up on Pinterest… I’d rather not think about the end of the year just yet!

This week has been busy once again, and I haven’t been taking many pictures – I’m aware that the photos for the past few weeks haven’t been especially interesting, but then that just reflects how life is – sometimes it’s the most mundane things that provide the happy moments in a busy week!

Firstly, rain; we’ve had a lot of this in the last fortnight. In itself, it isn’t my favourite weather by a long way; once this week, though, I opened the back door and smelled that wonderfully-fresh ‘summer rainstorm’ smell – almost as good as newly-mowed grass. Since you can’t take photographs of scents, I went for a shot of the friendly gargoyle that guards our back step.

gargoyle in the rain

In addition, rainy days mean more of this – crochet and tea! Two of my favourite pastimes. (The cosy was knitted by my sister!)

tea and crochet

And when you need a break from crocheting, there’s always baking! This was my attempt to make something satisfying to keep me going as part of my packed lunches this week – oats, barley flakes, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, prunes, cinnamon…oh, and a tin of condensed milk. Which is guaranteed to raise a smile!

healthyish flapjack

Finally, don’t you love it when you rediscover something you’d forgotten about? I came across a jar full of flowering teas (it had got pushed to the back of the shelf; that I categorised it as ‘lost’ says a lot about the state of my kitchen cupboards.) You can’t tell what flowers they have inside until they bloom in hot water; the first one I tried was a beautiful ‘dragon’s eye’. Lovely isn’t it?

flowering tea

Have a good week all!

52 weeks: 25/52

I’ve been so busy over the past few days that I haven’t had a chance to post here, so I’m a little late with last week’s moments of happiness!

Now this doesn’t look as tall as it is in real life!  The pile of squares for my rainbow blanket – all I need to do now is join them together…

rainbow squares

This is the first posy of sweet peas that I have picked in 2 years – last year, the slugs got to all of the plants before they’d even made it outdoors. Hurray for sweet peas – and the best bit? The more you pick them, the more you get. Perfect.

sweet peas

You can tell, even though there are patches of blue sky (international readers, this is what is known as a typical summer’s day over here) that it wasn’t the brightest of days. But there’s something about York minster that suits the gloomier weather. We had a lovely day out in York, and hardly got soaked in the rain!

york minster

That’s all for this week,  although if I’m realistic the final picture here should really be one of a jam doughnut. Seeing as we’ve already had a post full of those, I won’t add any more…but if you haven’t made any yet, do!