Sunny Spain and a catch up

Hi *waves* I’ve unintentionally had the longest break from my little blog since I started it over a year ago. Last week we were in sunny Spain and the week leading up to the holiday was really busy! Apologies in advance, because I fear this post will jump around from topic to topic as my head catches up!

I finally got round to taking some cuttings two weeks ago today. I bought a couple of beautiful Coleus which have done really well over the Summer.

In fact, they’ve got bigger than anticipated and taken over the pot! They’re not hardy, but the leaves are so vibrant I thought I’d take cuttings now and see if I can over Winter them in the greenhouse ready to plant out next Summer.

Regular readers will know of my slight obsession with my Eupatorium. I’ve taken cuttings of that too.

I was a bit concerned about them drying out while we were away, but a quick inspection of the greenhouse on our return yesterday put my mind at rest. They look pretty much the same now as they did in the picture taken before we flew off. I guess now I have to employ patience and wait for the roots to grow and establish.

On the Wednesday before our holiday I went to the theatre to see 9 to 5, the musical based in the film of the same name starring Dolly Parton.

It was really good! Very funny. I went with my sister-in-law and a couple of female friends and I’d highly recommend it for a fun girlie night out. There weren’t many men in the audience, and those that were there looked like they’d been dragged there kicking and screaming!

On Thursday the holiday preparation started properly – nails! I do like to have nicely manicured nails for a holiday. It somehow makes it all the more exciting! Here they are taken while we were away.

What you can’t really see is that my thumbs are the colour of the other four fingers on the other hand. You can get such fancy manicures these days that it seems a bit dull to have all one colour, especially for a holiday. Pink (especially baby pink – eugh) is probably my least favourite colour so I rarely go for ‘traditional’ nails.

We didn’t fly until early afternoon so I had time to pop out in the garden for a last minute peruse before we left. There was still a lot of colour.

It’s still looking pretty good now.

I was convinced our giant Sunflower would bloom while we were away, but it still hasn’t. I hope it does. I’ve nurtured this plant for months, from seed, and it would be a real disappointment not to see it through to its natural ending. The weather’s not looking good for the foreseeable future, so I guess it might give up on me!

Saturday morning came around and we were rushing around doing last minute preparations, checking all the doors had doorstops so the cats couldn’t lock themselves in anywhere, watering the pots, packing last minute essentials, chucking perishables (although we missed the carrots and came back to a bag of black, furry mush!) but soon we were on our way.

I really wanted to try to stick to Slimming World as much as possible so I had a gluten free breakfast in Wetherspoons at the airport which I figured was mostly free and for probably the first time ever, I didn’t buy any chocolate whilst telling myself that calories don’t count at the airport! I managed to be good for the first couple of days when we arrived, but it got too difficult to make good choices under pressure of a massive queue behind me! I did my best at breakfast and went for eggs, muesli and yoghurt or fruit, but a lot of the fruit wasn’t ripe so I couldn’t eat it and I bet the muesli wasn’t sugar free or the yoghurt fat free (I’m basing this on the fact that it tasted lovely!) There was a pretty good salad bar at lunch and dinner so I tried at least to stick to the principle of having a third of my plate as speed food to limit the damage. I’ve got straight back on it now we’re home so I’ll claw back any gain soon, and I enjoyed my holiday (especially the two Magnums that I couldn’t resist) so it was worth it.

We stayed in Salou and our hotel was called MedPlaya Calypso. It’s in the process of being refurbished and we were all (we went with hubby’s side of the family) in the not-yet-refurbed block. The rooms are definitely in need of updating but we didn’t spend much time in there so it wasn’t a big issue.

They were clean and safe, which is the most important thing, there was air con and the beds were comfy. Every night when hubby got in the shower I jumped as there was a huge bang as the shower attachment fell off the wall (didn’t do it for me for some reason) and you couldn’t leave the tap on for any length of time because it leaked from the bottom and flooded the floor!

We overlooked one of the pools, the snack bar and the evening entertainment area.

After the first couple of days we discovered another pool round the back of the refurbed block which was quieter and more relaxing. It was away from the bar so I guess it didn’t appeal to some of the rowdier guests, but it suited us much better.

We walked down to Salou beach one day. Hubby loves going in the sea so he was in his element. I didn’t take any photos because it was a very busy beach so I would’ve just got photos of lots of other people setting up camp for the day.

We had entry into a local water park, Aquopolis, included in the package so we went there twice. It was a short bus ride away (and the bus ticket was also included). I didn’t have particularly high expectations for the water park because the only other water park I’ve been to in Spain is a bit basic and I was worried I’d compare it to Volcano Bay in Orlando which is fully immersive and, let’s face it, awesome, but it was really good and the days there were my favourite two days. Since I’ve had the experience of rides in Orlando I’ve become much braver so I went on most rides. My favourite was the black hole, which I didn’t manage to get a photo of. It was a two person ride on a tube and it was a fully enclosed black slide with fairy lights so it was like being in a star.

We got sun beds in front of the main pool which also had a section with bubbles and fountains.

There was a ride where you sat in a raft to slide down to a pool below. We all went on this one, even my mother-in-law who is most cautious of water rides.

It’s great having a waterproof phone. I videoed hubby and I coming down and got a (slightly dodgy – excuse the state of me!) selfie.

This next one was the first ride I went on – I’d seen it on the leaflet and really wanted to try it.

It was pretty steep as you went over the edge but it was good fun!

These are two random people just to illustrate the ride. It lifted you up at the top and launched you down and then you skimmed over the water at the bottom. Pretty cool.

There was a lazy river, which I LOVE, but it was closed unfortunately and there was a wave pool but I didn’t get round to going in it, and there was a racer ride which was pretty fun too.

There were lots of elements which reminded me of parks in Orlando.

The Hawaii theme is very similar to Volcano Bay (but Aquopolis is definitely older so did it first), there’s a signpost like this at SeaWorld and, of course, the famous jaws statue at Universal Studios.

On our last night we decided to have a break from all inclusive and went for a Chinese. It was a really nice meal, and I managed to remedy my lack of Sangria so far, which is obviously an essential part of a holiday in Spain! Afterwards we strolled back along the seafront which was a really nice walk. We happened upon a gorgeous merry-go-round.

I’ve never seen a two tier merry-go-round before. It was very ‘Mary Poppins’.

I managed to get a lot of r and r in, and for me, this means catching up on reading and crochet/knitting. I made good progress on my knitted jumper on a couple of evenings when we chose to retire early and I finished a Little Box of Crochet project which has been to Malta, USA, Italy, Germany and Spain.

He’s called Donovan Chalmers.

I also finished the third instalment of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

I’ve moved on to the prequel, the Book of Dust, now because I couldn’t bear to leave the daemon world behind!

I’ll finish on a particular high which was taken as we were waiting for our coach back to the airport.

I’m back off to Spain tomorrow, but unfortunately for work this time, so I’ll see you on the other side!

My Shed Reveal

I have had a productive weekend and one of the things I managed to finish was the final touch to my shed which means I can finally do my blog reveal! You’ve probably caught glimpses of it in the background of other photos, but I’ve been dying to show it to you in all its fabulous glory.

It arrived about six weeks ago all in pieces ready to put together. I ordered a wooden base for it to sit on, but I was advised to put it on slabs to maximise its longevity so I ordered some big slabs which arrived a couple of days later.

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Luckily the area where it was to go was pretty flat already so there was very little preparation to be done before I laid the slabs and I could quickly get on with building the shed.

I managed to put most of it together by myself, but I had to enlist hubby to help with some of it because it was too big to hold it all up and screw it together on my own. I’m not very good at asking for help, but sometimes needs must!

See that window? It was all really simple to put together … except that perishing window! That window nearly caused marital discord because I got soooooooooo frustrated with it and poor hubby happened to be the nearest person to me! I had to tell him to leave my vicinity otherwise I knew I was going to explode out of utter frustration! I think the poor man was actually scared for his life. I’ve never in my life been so wound up by a piece of plastic! I even rang the supplier and got them to send out a replacement window because I was convinced they’d supplied the wrong part, but the same window arrived! Imagine my exasperation!

I’m still not convinced that they hadn’t got a whole job lot of the wrong windows matched up with this particular shed because it just DID NOT fit the space (and that can’t have been my fault because the front panel came assembled).

Anyway, now I had a replacement if it went wrong, I decided the only way forward was to cut one of them to make it fit. So, there is a window in the shed, it’s not right, it’s not particularly watertight, but it’s in and it’s staying there!

So now it was time to beautify it. It’s functional, but functional doesn’t have to be boring.

There’s the spare window behind the lion!

The outside was fun to do. It’s probably not finished, but I’m happy with how it looks for now.

These pics were taken a couple of weeks ago and the hanging basket has filled out loads since then (you’ll see in a minute). I got it last year in the sale and it was filled with yellow Begonias and I liked it so I filled it with Begonia plugs this year which have flourished. They were supposed to be mixed colour but they’re all red and pink – I was hoping for some yellow. Never mind.

So, on to the final embellishment that I finished this morning.

Crochet bunting!

I love it!

I used a pattern by Attic24 which was easy to work up and I hung it simply with tacks. I’d have liked to put it on the outside, but rain and crochet doesn’t really go well together.

Drumroll moment …….

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I love, love, LOVE it!

More Sweet Peas

Evening all!

Just a short post tonight for two reasons. Firstly I’ve already talked Sweet Peas to you a couple of times and I don’t want to bore you (although maybe you wouldn’t be bored of all these beautiful colours anyway) and secondly because I only have sixteen percent battery on my iPad!

Anyway, for those of you who’ve been reading the blog for a while. You may remember that I was following a crochet-along back at the beginning of the year run by Attic24, crochet blogger extraordinaire, colour crazy and lover of Sweet Peas. She designed a striped blanket inspired by the colours of her beloved Sweet Peas, and each week she published the order of the next stripes.

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It was all this talk of Sweet Peas on Attic24’s blog that made me decide to grow my own this year.

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You can really see from this picture how well she matched the colours. The yarn is Stylecraft Special double knit and it’s super squishy and soft.

I kept up for approximately the first day of the crochet-along but then life got in the way, and I was more than slightly hindered by my favourite felines who love its squishiness, and I got more and more behind and then when the crochet-along finished, there was no pressure at all to try to catch up so I still haven’t finished it! It is quite a size though!

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Anyway, I’ve just braved the weather to go and cut some more Sweet Peas to bring inside. I’ve been putting it off because it seems to be constantly raining, but I was worried that if I left them much longer they might go to seed and I’d get no more beautiful blooms. After arranging them, I thought it was high time that I photographed my Sweet Peas from the garden with my crochet Sweet Pea in the house, just in case I don’t get any more (this is a thought that I had before I just unearthed the photo of the seed packet above that says they should flower until October!)

So, here you go, Sweet Peas on my Sweet Pea blanket.

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Pretty aren’t they? The way the weather’s going, I’d better get hooking again and finish the blanket because I might need it!