Monday, 17 November 2014

our spa weekend away

We took off for a spa weekend to celebrate our wedding anniversary (24 years on the 24 Nov) and stayed in the Hythe Imperial, Kent. After reading reviews from previous guests I was a little worried about what to expect with our weekend away; they didn't paint a very rosy picture of the Imperial Hythe. I’m not entirely sure what other people were seeing or complaining about to be honest; they didn't give a fair review and only commented on the negative things they found (some people will moan for the sake of moaning). A good review should have an even balance of information for the perspective guest, good and bad. From the moment we walked into the hotel we were given a warm welcome, with friendly and knowledgeable staff.

the Hythe Imperial

We were given a junior suite on the 4th floor with dual aspect windows with sea views, which was perfect for us considering we had booked a standard double. The Romney Suite we were allocated was excellent, tasteful d├ęcor and very clean with a large bathroom - ticked all the boxes. Previous guests moaned about the old decor to the hallways on upper bedroom floors. The corridors could do with a lick of paint and new carpet, but you don’t sleep in the corridor and it added to the charm of the Victorian building!

Romney Suite

our suite

early morning visitors

sea view from our bedroom

The ground floor of the hotel has had an extensive makeover, bright and welcoming and reminds me of hotels I stayed in as a child.  The ladies powder room had the most amazing toilets and sinks and lovely spa hand wash and lotions. Sorry I forgot to take pictures of the entrance and restaurant.

the powder room on the ground floor

powder room

The spa facilities were perfect for relaxing on a rainy November afternoon, offering a steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and pool. We stayed there for a good few hours.

the Spa entrance

We opted for the inclusive meal in the Coast restaurant; which included dishes from the a la carte menu but highlighted in blue for inclusive guests, which was a bit silly as they were the same dishes. The whitebait and crab starters were excellent.

after dinner coffee in the bar

night view

After a restful sleep we finished our weekend with the excellent breakfast buffet, which was laid out in the restaurant. We can’t wait to visit again early next year.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

knit or crochet a poppy (Remembrance Day 2014)

my first attempt to crochet a poppy
Poppies are everywhere at the moment, the huge display at the Tower of London (Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red). Celebrating the WWI centenary this November. I thought I would join in and knit and crochet myself a poppy, I found this easy to follow pattern of just 12 rows. Or could try the crochet ones instead. I have made donations over the weekend and bought the paper and metal poppies but I plan to wear one of these on my coat. I'm now addicted and have crochet another 8! The other pattern for the one on my coat can be found here at Addicted to Making blog. You can also find another free crochet pattern here on the Wendy Poole web site.

Easy ribbed poppy pattern
Colour A 1 ball red yarn (this will make a lot of poppies)
Colour B Scrap of black yarn or black button
Body of Poppy
Using Col A Cast on 60 stitches
Row s1 –10 : K2, P2 across whole row(for a slightly smaller poppy do 8 rows of rib).
Row 11 : Knit 2 stitches together across the row (30 stitches). 
Row 12 : Slip 1 stitch, Knit 2 stitches together then pass the slip stitch over... repeat 
across the whole row (10 stitches).
Break off yarn with long tail and thread back through remaining stitches and pull tight. 
Join edges with mattress stitch
Centre of Poppy
Using B, cast on 16 sts. Cast off. Coil into a tight spiral and sew base to the centre.
Or use a black or green button with 4 holes and sew to centre of poppy. Add pin.
Crocheted Poppies
You will need some red wool and a black button.

Crochet Patterns
1. Three petal crochet poppy with 4.5mm hook
Ch 3, join with slst to form circle.
Ch 3, work 9 dc into the centre of the circle and join with slst.
Work the three petals separately.
Petal 1.
Ch 3, work 1st dc into same st, work 2 dc into each of the next 3 sts.
ch 1 work 2 sc into each st, tie off.
Petal 2.
work 2 dc into last dc of previous petal, work 2 dc into each of the next 3 sts.
ch 1 work 2 sc into each st, tie off.
Work petal 3 as 2.
Sew all ends in and attach button in the centre. Add pin
2.Two petal crochet poppy
Rnd 1: With 3mm hook and wool, ch2. Make 10dc in 2nd ch from hook. Join with a slst in 
1st dc. (10sts)
Rnd 2: *ch1 dc ch1 2tr in next st, 3tr in next st, 2tr ch1 dc in next st, slst in next 2sts. rep 
from * once again.
Rnd 3: *ch1 3dc in next 2 sts, 2dc in next 5sts, 3dc in next 2 sts,slst in next 2sts. rep from 
* once again. Fasten off.
Attach button in the centre. Add pin.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween

It's hard to believe that today is the 31st October, all Hallows Eve, its just too warm isn't it? I took a quick walk outside my office at lunchtime and it is a beautiful day out there. Warm and breezy with such lovely autumnal colours that I am missing from my office desk.

fallen leaves

some leaves still on the tree outside my office

fallen leaves, a sign of autumn

I stated my Moss Stitch snood last night, and I've almost knitted through one ball. I love the colour and its so soft. Should have it finished this weekend and I plan to knit another one in a different colour. Enjoy your Halloween, I'm off for a swim, my local pool will be empty!

Moss stitch snood in progress

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Moss stitch snood (free knitting pattern revisted)

You might remember this post from last November, the free knitting pattern for the snood knitted in Rico Creative Twist Super Chunky. I have finally ordered my grey wool through Loveknitting this week and I can't wait to start.

Moss stitch is my favourite pattern, especially on 10mm needles so it knits up super quick. I call Moss stitch little kisses and its so easy to knit, I also use it in my wash cloth pattern. For this snood pattern you only have to cast on 19 stitches, which makes it a great project for a Christmas present!

Friday, 24 October 2014

hand knitted wash cloths

This week on my new Addi 20cm needles from are these bright and useful wash cloths. You can also buy the Addi needles in 35cm length (I have both!) I've been knitting mine in Debbie Bliss Cotton DK, its lovely to knit with and great stitch definition. If you can get your hands on discontinued colours it makes it a reasonably priced gift.

The pattern for the wash cloth in purple can be found here at Mollie Makes and its really easy and knits up so quickly, I knitted part of one in about 20 mins. The one in pink is easy to remember too. Here is the pattern. 

Cast on 35 stitches, knit the first 3 or 6 rows, then K4 for border, K1, P1, K1 to last 4 stitches, K4 for border. Knit until piece measures 8" then knit the last 3 or 6 rows and cast off knit wise. Sew in ends. That's it. These make perfect Christmas gifts with a bar of soap and gift wrapped with a hand-knitted wrapper. You can print the gift wrapper here

Monday, 20 October 2014

my new Aran cardigan

I bought this Aran cardigan on eBay last week for £19.99 brand new thinking it was probably acrylic and not the real thing; no one else bid and I won at the starting bid. The lady said it was an unwanted hand knitted gift, she was based in Scotland so something told me it might be ok. The picture wasnt very good either so it probably put people off. Similar were selling for far more so omagine my surprise this morning when it arrived at work. It's the same as this without the pockets, bargain of the year I think! Its beautifully knitted and I can't see any joins or seams, now we need some cold weather!

We've had our holiday on the Norfolk Broads, I'll update you with pictures and all about it soon. I hope you are enjoying the autumn sunshine, it was lovely at the weekend for walking Moss.

Friday, 26 September 2014

a colourful crochet granny square baby blanket

I did it, I finally got my act together and finished the tiny granny square blanket for Abbie's baby. Abbie is my hairdresser and she's expecting her fist baby in November, so what better gift than a hand-made bright snuggly baby blanket made up of 64 little granny squares. Wow 64, I hadn't realised I'd made that many.

Tiny granny square blanket finished

Each little granny square is made up of 3 rounds, the 3rd round joining as I went along. I finished off with 3 rounds of pink granny stripes all in Stylecraft Special DK. It's machine washable and could double as a play mat. Sorry about the picture quality, I took them at 10:30pm the other night after I'd finished it!

blanket in progress, I changed it to 8x8

I've enjoyed making this blanket so much and will miss it. It was a small project (24" square) but still a challenge. I'm now pretty good at putting the little squares together and now plan to finish my granny square blanket now that the evenings are drawing in and getting chilly!

We are off to the Broads next weekend so I guess I'll be busy washing, ironing and packing for the next few days. Can't wait and as it's Ian's 50th it should be a fun holiday. There will be 5 adults and one Springer and one large 45 foot boat! (Springer Spaniel + water = eyes in the back of your head!)