Sunday, 3 March 2013

I'm a Dr!

Good afternoon

this is the first Sunday in 2.5 months that I haven't had to do work related to my PhD. I am very happy to say that it is FINISHED and I'm now Dr. Claire Lucas :)

The exam was way back in January, a 2.5 hour grilling/debate on the points of my thesis with some experts followed by the relief of saying I'd passed :) There were some minor corrections to complete, which have taken me until the end of February and then I was preparing for a competition for Engineering PhD Thesis of the year which took place on Tuesday (I didn't win but I got a prize for being in the final 3).

Needless to say I haven't had time for much else lately, between that and house-hunting. We haven't had much luck yet: our offers have been rejected. As it gets closer to August we may have to make some huge compromises in order to buy somewhere in time.

In the last few days though I've been on a bit of a crochet roll. I made a daffodil for my grandma for mother's day using Lucy's tutorial and then a stripey elephant for a new baby at church.


stripey elephant
I promise it won't be as long until I post again now!


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Spotty blanket


what a miserable horrible wet day it is outside! And husband is poorly so I am sat with a cup of tea by myself for the first time in a while (for the christmas week we have been between parents houses and always surrounded by people).

I made a blanket for Mike's grandma for christmas, except I ran out of wool so I've turned it into a pram blanket and we've given her the pastel blanket instead.

Want to see the blanket I love so much that I'm very pleased I get to keep it?

spotty blanket
It's small (only 25 x 34 inches) but I don't want to add a border which would detract from the spots. But I love it so much! it's so bright in real life too. Pattern is from here.

A few more photos:

Hope you like it too


Sunday, 25 November 2012

crochet rabbit, alien and pig

There are so many new babies around at the moment that I have a choice of people to thrust my crochet upon (I hope they appreciate them!)

firstly, I made another bunny rabbit, this time with some multicoloured yarn I bought on our trip to Bath.

stripey bunny rabbit
This rabbit was made with Emma Lamb's pattern which works up very quickly, if having slightly oddly shaped arms! The last project I made with stripey yarn I didn't like very much but this one is vibrant enough that I love it.

a pig and an alien
I also made this pig and alien, the pig is a giant squishy ball with normal ears/legs/nose and a tail made by sc-ing a chain tightly inwards. The alien is straight from Nikki Trench's super cute crochet book and is the first time I've ever crochet-ed with felt!

I am really pleased with all of these softies, after a disappointing hot water bottle cover and the time-consuming blanket projects these small things are a delight to make and give away. 


Some recent makes: hot water bottle cover

I am writing a few posts at once for this week because I had scheduled these and they didn't post! I have been doing a bit of crochet recently. The first of these is a hot water bottle cover which was initially made to be a christmas present but it didn't turn out well enough to give away. I like the concept though and will fiddle with it a little in perseverence. Just this week Coco Rose posted a hot water bottle cover tutorial so perhaps this will help next time.

hot water bottle cover

I made 6 sunburst granny squares and a stripey back. This picture was pre-blocking so it looks slightly better but I think I would prefer smaller squares, or even a completely stripey cover - what do you think?


Saturday, 10 November 2012

A canal-side walk

A few sundays ago Mike and I packed up a picnic of ginger butternut squash soup and a thermos of tea and drove a few miles to the canal for a walk.
the route

It wasn't a particularly sunny day, or particularly cold but I also took my new atlantic blanket company blanket (a present from my parents) to snuggle under amongst some leaves.

some highlights from the walk
It was a really lovely walk, with plenty to see along the way (some locks, an old viaduct, a very muddy community road and a few horses) but I really don't like driving to get to a walk.


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Bristol, catch up

I'm so sorry readers that I haven't blogged since I started work. I got a bit caught up in everything job related and have only just got to the point where I think things are calm enough to take up hobbies again. Work is going well, i'm not enjoying having no knowledge and I am a bit rubbish at talking to people and making friends but, on the other hand, it's really exciting learning lots and meeting new folk.

As a reward for my first ever pay package, Mike and I were planning to take a trip somewhere. Happily our friends Tom and Mel got engaged (yey!) so we were able to coincide a lovely hotel stay with a trip to Bristol to celebrate with them. We scoured reviews and settled upon the Bristol Hotel booking one of the amusingly named 'passion packages' because it was cheaper than adding breakfast each day (and included not only breakfast but champagne and chocolate fondu with homemade marshmallows).

We travelled down to Bristol on the friday afternoon arriving in plenty of time for dinner. Most places were booked up but we spied a little italian restaurant. I, as usual, over ordered and ended up leaving all my main course chips because I'd eaten too much homemade bread and smoked salmon starter. It was a lovely meal and a very fun restaurant to eat at with a jokey and relaxed owner. That night we got our marshmallows for pudding back at the hotel. We were therefore in bed by 9.30 but wrapped in posh dressin gowns and slippers in our fairly large room.

relaxing in our room with champagne and marshmallows

On Saturday, after an epic breakfast, we walked to the station to catch a train to Bath for the day.
Sunrise in bristol and a lovely walk to the station

I mostly wanted to visit two shops I'd heard about: the makery and the fudge factory. It was such a gorgeous (cold) day that upon realising how expensive the abby and pump rooms were to visit, we decided to just walk around and explore.
welcome to bath! home of abby, baths, craft and fudge

We played some mini-golf up by the crescent (I lost by so much), we kicked leaves, we watched some rugby from the road and we found a very random furniture warehouse filled with antiques, some amazing handmade kitchens, and no actual staff (seriously, we didn't see a soul)

leaves, mini golf, rugby and the crazy shop

Finally, we had a very disappointing afternoon tea with teabags instead of leaf and no clotted cream!

That evening we met up with Tom and Mel at a pub in Bristol, failed to get into a free gig and ended up splitting 3 peppermint teabags between 5 in the most odd cafe ever which we chose only because it was open at 10pm.

On the Sunday with another great breakfast in our tummies we checked out (leaving the car in the carpark for the day) and wandered up the harbour to get to the SS Great Britain. We stopped off at the M-shed on the way to learn some of the history of Bristol and there were these awesome tiny ships on the windowsills and some firemen outfits to dress up in!
tiny ships, old firemen, real ships and rosie and jim!
The actual SS Great Britain was BRILLIANT. Even if we weren't both engineers I think we'd have liked it. There was a 3 storey moving engine, a propellor to play with, wax dummies and tonnes of history with just enough information. You walk to the ship through a museum which builds a good level of excitement before you finally get to it.
the SS Great Britain - majestic!

After the ship, we bought takeout tea and carried on up the harbour to the Locks and the Bridge.
Brunel loving geeks

Having crossed these Brunel landmarks off our list we returned to the hotel to drive back home content with our weekend memories (with very chapped lips from the cold). We definitely ought to take advantage of our childless state and go for more weekends away but I think the best kind are these last minute ones where you don't think about the cost too much and just have fun.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A walk around Charlecote and Wellsborough

This Saturday Mike and I enjoyed a walk around the Warwickshire countryside. We never normally drive to a walk but we were planning on going onto Stratford upon Avon afterwards for some cake and a coffee and a wander. We were also scouting a potential village for house buying.

The walk started from Charlecote house. We didn't go to the actual house so I have no idea how good it is but it looked very grand from the outside!

the map!
 The maps in this little set are useful, but nowhere near as easy to follow as an ordinance survey so we ended up slightly offtrack. But nevertheless it was a lovely 6 miles of woods, open fields and skies and a bit of river.

These are some of the photos from the walk. The ladder was supposed to be a bridge! Also, the written directions told us to go underneath the road and so upon seeing this (very low) path we thought we were supposed to crawl through. Turns out there was a proper bridge around the corner. 

We also happened upon a fence post that we had to climb over. I stepped on it and the whole thing collapsed! It was actually a tumble-style which I've never seen before (I thought I'd broken a fence).

husband successfully navigating the tumble-style

This time last year we did long walks every weekend. The summer tends to get busy and this one was particularly damp so we're going to try to take advantage of these crisp and dry days to explore until we fill our weekends with looking for houses properly.

Upon getting back to the carpark we decided to go and buy a cup of coffee and a cake from the house since we'd used the car-park. Instead though we (I) got completely sidetracked by the amazing flower and vegetable shop. There were about 45 varieties of squash (pumpkins, courgettes etc) both edible and inedible as well as large bunches of the last of the season's dahlias. The colours in the whole place were amazing.
so many varieties

Mike allowed me to buy 3 different sorts of squash and he also sneaked in a bunch of the Dhalias for me :)

 After a 2.5 hour walk and a long time choosing squash, we didn't go on to stratford upon avon and instead returned home. This will be saved for another weekend!