Friday, 28 April 2017

Five On Friday

A really simple five this week...

Five close ups with my Clematis Montana.

Linking with FAST Blog for Five On Friday.  Thank you for hosting Tricky and Carly!

Hope that you all have a great weekend!


Monday, 24 April 2017

A bag for walking

You might remember that a couple of months ago I joined a walking group.  Well, I am loving it!  We have been through the woods on more than one occasion and I have noticed the leaves coming out on the trees and things sprouting here and there.  We have seen baby lambs - just newborn! - little calves, geese, an alpaca - or a llama I can never tell the difference - horses, bluebells, daffodils, crocuses and a hundred other wonders of nature.

I have and am loving it!  I am even working up to going on the "long" walk which is a little intimidating as apparently they go faster and further, but I will get there!

To start with I was really nervous of talking to people, but it has got easier each week and encouraged me to keep going.

There has been one little thorn in the side of this walking.  It isn't my new waterproof coat which is bright orange and a little embarrassing.  It isn't my 20 plus year old walking boots which are still going strong.  It hasn't been my appalling lack of fitness or my shyness either.

No, much sillier than any of those things.  Despite the fact that I have lots of handbags and a rucksack, shopping bags, a bag for my walking boots, suitcases and many other pieces of luggage I didn't have a bag suitable for dropping my phone and keys into to take walking.  So each week I have been stuffing my pockets full of things.  Which has been OK, but the weather is getting warmer now so I will not need to wear my bright orange coat - without suffocating in the heat! - and I needed something to stow my stuff in.  I also needed a bag that weighed as little as possible as I don't want to be carrying any extra weight!

Of course I could have bought a bag, but you know me, I am a maker of things and I had all of this fabric and a perfectly good sewing machine.  Surely I could fashion something for myself.

So eventually I made this!  Ta Dah!  One walking bag.  No, not a bag that walks, a bag for taking on walks!

It fits in all of my stuff and I can even roll up my walking coat and ram it in there if it gets to hot to wear to walk in it.  It weighs nothing other than the weight of what is inside, is waterproof and was free!  You cannot get better than that can you.

I used a panel of fabric that came in a kit to make an apron - I didn't need another apron! - and to make it waterproof a really cheap shower curtain that I had bought for a couple of pounds because I needed the rings for the curtain that came with it, but not the actual curtain.

The apron panel kit thing came with enough of the blue fabric to make a front and back and then the yellow piece which was meant to be a pocket.  I used that to make a flap to go over the top so that if I really stuff the bag full the opening will be covered and remain waterproof.

I fashioned two little tabs on either side to pass the drawstring/straps through and used some more of the yellow fabric to make a channel at the top for the drawstring.

You can see above how I fixed the flap on to the back of the bag and you can see the white which is the shower curtain that I used to like everything to make it waterproof.

Inside I just left the seams showing.  I could have hidden them or made French seams, but I didn't feel the need.  This bag is just for me and as long as it keeps my phone and keys and tissues and lip balm and gloves and, well you get the point, dry that is all I need.

So there you have it!  My new walking bag that will hold all of that stuff and enable me to keep on with the walking that I am enjoying so much.  Plus I used up some more of the stuff in my house for a practical purpose, so that has to be good right!

What have you been making or sewing recently?


p.s. linking with Julie for sew, stitch, snap, share - thank you for hosting Julie!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Reading My Books - Summer at Shell Cottage

I am really on a roll at the moment with my reading!  Although this one enticed me in and I completed it in just a few days.  Other than the Norwegian Wood book which was my last review - you can see all of my reviews by clicking the Reading My Books link in the sidebar - I can't remember the last time I read a book so quickly.

What was this book that had me reading so quickly?  Summer at Shell Cottage by Lucy Diamond.

This is what the cover has to say about the book - as well as that it is a Sunday Times bestseller...

"It should be the perfect holiday...

A seaside holiday at Shell Cottage in Devon has always been the perfect escape for the Tarrant family.  Beach fun, barbecues and warm summer evenings with a cocktail or two - who could ask for more?

But this year, everything has changed.  Following her husband's recent death, Olivia is struggling to pick up the pieces.  Then she makes a shocking discovery that turns her world upside down.

As a busy mum and GP, Freya's used to having her hands full, but a bad day at work has put her career in jeopardy and now she's really feeling the pressure.

Harriet's looking forward to a break with her lovely husband Robert and teenage daughter Molly.  But unknown to Harriet, Robert is hiding a secret - and so, for that matter, is Molly..."

The blurb doesn't give much away, other than appalling grammar which I have noticed seems to be a theme in book blurbs.  Starting sentences with "But" is just one example.  However, I digress!  Says the person with exclamations sprinkled like schools of tadpoles...

The book tells the intertwining stories of the members of the Tarrant family.  Alec the novelist has died and the family are getting used to life without him.  Freya is deemed to be capable of dealing with anything, but that isn't the case.  Robert has never been capable of dealing with anything and is trying to prove that he is better than his family think.  Katie isn't mentioned in the blurb, but she has her part to pay too.

There are many twists and turns in this book, in theory to keep us all guessing, but in reality you can see where things are going and where they will end.  That doesn't mean that this is a bad book, it just doesn't manage to hide things as well as it thinks it does.

Overall I enjoyed this book, I read it in just a couple of days and for me to crack on and read a book that quickly means that it must have been a good read.  I liked the characters, they were all likeable people, it was a light read, overall a light story, not totally believable, but not beyond the bounds of reality either.

If you are looking for a pleasant summer read this one could be for you.  I do feel that I have to mention a few sexual references which are part of the story and I can see why they were there.  I wasn't offended, but you might feel differently so I want to warn you.  There isn't a lot of bad language and the sexual bits are very brief.

So, what happens to this book next.  Well, it is off to the charity shop, I would read it again, but I am in clear out and need the space mode so this one is off.  If I saw another book by this author I would certainly read it though, so please don't feel it is off because I didn't like it.  I give the book an 8 out of 10 overall.

Summer at Shell Cottage isn't great literature and will not set the literary world alight, and it might not light your reading fires either, but it was a nice story and sometimes that is just what you need isn't it!

Now I am off to get on with another book as I am behind on my target, but am managing to read more books this year than I have for a long time, so excuse me, I have to go and keep up with myself!

Happy reading!


p.s. you can find my other reviews by clicking here or the Reading My Books page in the sidebar.