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!

Little Box of Crochet Advent Calendar

A really quick post this evening because I want to share the fact that I actually managed to finish all my Little Box of Crochet advent calendar before Christmas is officially over!

I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with one a day throughout advent, but I’ve got the finished articles now for Christmases to come. Some of the days decorations were quicker than others, but I was so busy in the run up to Christmas that I think I only managed to stay up to date until 4th December. I’m not the only one though – I’ve been following #lbcadvent on Instagram and other people are still posting their makes now. As they say. It’s not winning the race that matters, but taking part.

Anyway, here they are in all their glory.

I bought a special little tree just for these lovely little home makes.

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I think I should apologise for my dubious attempt at the baby Jesus (the one with the bizarre yellow bits sticking out that is actually supposed to be straw in the manger). It really did look better in the book.

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I’m not really sure where I went wrong!

Anyway, must dash – have a very important CAL (crochet-a-long) from Attic24 to get going on. I’ve been impatient to start all weekend, but needed to get these little Christmassy makes done first.

 

What a lovely day

Every so often you have one of those days that make you so happy that you’re living your life. Today was one of those days.

This morning at ten thirty my good friend, Maria, and I headed off excitedly up the M6, destination: Atlantic Street Business Centre in Altrincham, reason: Little Box of Crochet Grand Sale Event. Ooh ooh ooh! Lots of yarny, crochet goodness, cake and the opportunity to meet the amazing Amanda who lovingly sends out our crochet boxes every month, ably assisted by Emma, Hazel and, of course, her angel Jenny, (check out their website to read about Jenny’s journey – it’s not my story to tell so I won’t presume to do so) and who in person was as lovely and warm as I knew she would be. I hope she won’t mind me putting this picture here for you to see.

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We were a little early so we satisfied the rumblings in our tummies with a lunchtime snack. The cafe was in the same room as the Grand Sale so whilst we munched we gazed in glee at all the wonderful goodies available to buy and take home with us. The room was full of starry eyed women (mainly) falling in love with skeins of yarn, colourful postcards and, of course, Little (and Not so Little) Boxes of Crochet.

We had such a lovely, lovely, LOVELY day. We spent lots of money. I always find spending money is good for one’s mental wellbeing (provided that you’ve budgeted for it, obviously) but today it was doubly good because a proportion of the sales is going straight to the Brain Tumour Charity.

Look at all the amazing goodies that I came home with (including my November box which was delivered to work whilst I was on my epic week of travelling and delivered to me by Maria today).

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I adore the teacup. I’ve seen this on Instagram and wished so much that I could do it …. and now I can!

Donovan Lamb was perched jauntily on the table promoting his box and both Maria and I fell in love with him so he came home with both of us.

I splashed out on my very first Not so Little Box of Crochet. As the name suggests, there’s a bigger project in this wonderful package, as well as lots of extra surprises. This one makes a very patriotic cushion which I’m excited to start.

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Five balls of the minty yarn also ‘fell’ into my bag! I haven’t the faintest idea what I’ll make with this, but I couldn’t resist the colour. Maybe I’ll investigate the braided cowl that keeps popping up on my Facebook feed.

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I’ll be sure to keep you updated with my project progress – I’ve a feeling that Christmas will be crochet-filled – but for now, must dash so I can try to make number two from my Little Box of Crochet advent calendar. I think I’ll save up my reveal for when I’ve finished all twenty four.

Toodle pip!