Summer cardigan (and a new house!)

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Things I like about new house: 1. We don’t have to keep our bikes in the dining room anymore.

If you read this blog regularly you’ll have noticed that I love cardigans. I have an insane amount of cardigans and I wear them virtually all the time. I am not the sort of person to let something like the summer get between me and my cardigans so this year I have made myself a Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig so  I can still have a cardy even when its hot… I have had this in my queue for years now and I’m not sure what finally  inspired me to make a start on it but I’m glad I did.

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2. We have sash windows. I really love sash windows.

I used Garnstudio DROPS Lace. I wasn’t overwhelmed with awesome colour choices but in the end I went for purple. When it arrived I realised that it’s pretty similar to the purple of my Relax jumper, I must really like that colour! The Drops wool offered really good value for money; when I bought it, it was about £7 for £100g (although I bought two to be on the safe side) and I used less than one skein! Hand knitting can often work out more expensive than buying from the shop so I’m rather chuffed with making a cardigan for £7! 

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3. We have an even patio so we can have garden furniture.

I love the finished cardigan, I cast off a few weeks ago and I have been wearing it a lot. The wool is super soft and isn’t as itchy as some of the alpaca blends can be and the finished cardigan is so lightweight that I can shove it into my handbag to keep me warm on the way home from the pub (or other more sophisticated evening pursuit..)!

As you can imagine though, with 2.75mm needles and lace weight wool this took forever. I was working on it for months and it got really dull in the end as it was just rows and rows of tiny stocking stitch. It’s weird the way that it is often the projects that are a  little boring to make that I wear the most; I think I have a preference towards fairly plain clothes.

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4. You can get wifi in the garden!

Regular readers may have spotted that my garden has changed, that’s because we’ve moved house. We’ve moved all the way from North London to Cambridge. We’re just renting (until we win the lottery…) but I love the new house and the new garden. I had the best time in London and will be going back on a regular basis but so far I am enjoying Cambridge very much. It’s very pretty, the pubs are awesome, there’s a good selection of beers, the restaurants are varied, the shops are good and the whole place is insanely cycle friendly!  Plus our  front room is big enough for Coco to have her own little run to hang out in!

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Pretend you haven’t spotted the bin bag on the cage…..

Now that I’ve finally unpacked my sewing machine and my wool I plan to do a lot of crafting here (and never move again- it was ridiculously stressful and expensive)!

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Adventures in cycling

For quite some time I’ve been going on about getting a bike and then doing nothing about it. My boyfriend has recently starting cycling into work and the extra spring that’s put in his step has inspired me to finally do something about it. I’ve been saving up the money that I would normally have spent on my travel card every month while I’ve been off work so that’s given me the cash to pay for it  (I am trying not to think about the fact that I would spend the equivalent of a new bike every two months on getting to work….).

I am very excited about my bike. I’m pleased that I’ve managed to find one that is pretty enough that I like it but no so pretty that it is a thief magnet. I would loooooove to have a pretty Pashley but a) I can’t even nearly afford it and b) it would get nicked in about 5 minutes.

I haven’t really cycled since I was a teenager so I am very rusty. I needed to cycle the bike back from the shop in Stoke Newington which I was very scared about to be honest. My boyfriend kindly humored me while I checked I could actually still ride a bike and I figured out a quietish route to get me home unscathed.

I learnt a few things on my first tentative ride:

a) I am frightened of right turns
b) cars hate cyclists
c) I don’t like going very fast
d) there are about a million one way streets near my house none of which I’ve ever noticed before
e) not being able to drive means that I don’t really know the rules of the road. Although I’m sure it’s somewhere in the back of my brain from when I passed my theory test when I was 17….

however on the plus side

a) I didn’t look as stupid in a cycle helmet as I thought I would
b) I’m not as unfit as I thought
c)It is possible to cycle with my handbag
d) it’s fun

Clearly I need to put quite a bit of work in before I start zipping around central London. So, in the mean time I’m going to practice on quite roads in north london (and hope that I don’t chance upon any riots while I’m doing it….) TFL is rubbish in many ways (tube closures every five minutes, daylight robbery for a travel card…etc) but one thing they do very well is cycle maps.  They are very handily marker with quite roads, cycle paths and bits where you can’t cycle.

Armed with my map, and thinking I’d memorised the way I set off today for a little trip down to Stokey to buy some dye. My first problem came when I realised that the road I was planning to turn left onto out of my road is actually a one way street in the wrong direction, oops. Walking my bike down to the road before I could actually start cycling wasn’t the greatest start but I didn’t let it put me off. Once I got going my terrible sense of direction reared its ugly head and of course I had no idea where I was going next. However, despite lots of stops to check my map, one crossing that was too frightening to attempt and sneaky walk of the bike over the crossing I made it and I was rather proud.

The next challenge was to lock it up properly. Given that almost everyone I know who cycles in London has had a bike nicked at some point or another (one had hers nicked the day after she bought it and before she put it on her insurance….very upsetting…it was a fancy expensive triathlon bike with cleats and everything) I am naturally anxious. However I’ve got it insured and brought a massive heavy lock. For once in my life I actually read the instructions and figured out the best place to lock it. In spite of this I was surprised and relieved to find that it was still there when I got out of the shop!

I’m very excited about my cycling adventures to come and hope that I get better and more confident quickly so that I can take my bike out a little further afield.

Frame studio- Shoreditch

At the risk of stalking my yoga teacher I went along to a class she was covering at Frame in Shoreditch last night. I’ve heard a few things about Frame and I’ve been interested in checking it out for a while.

They are fairly new (as far as I know) and are dance and fitness studio rather than a dedicated yoga studio. This kind of approach worries me as I find that Yoga classes at gyms can be a very hit and miss affair. For me, yoga taken out of its context and used just for weight loss totally misses the point. Maybe its many years living in Brighton, or the hippy in me, but I believe that any weight loss or toning is a side effect of yoga and the real benefit is the balancing of the body and the mind and the sense of well being that brings.  If you’re selecting postures and sequences based on how  much weight students will lose, or where they want to tone up, you’re missing out the most beneficial part.

With the above in mind I was fairly apprehensive about what I would find. I was torn between wanting to check the place out because it looked quite cool and wondering how well yoga, a fitness studio and hipsters go together.

I shouldn’t have worried. The studio is a lovely space, high ceilings, lots of light and wooden floors. It was easy to find  and I was impressed with the friendly staff, the massive changing rooms and the overall feel of the place. While the class was only an hour long it was proper yoga rather than a soulless fitness version.

It was lovely to get back to Vinyasa flow after the Budokon I’ve been learning for the past month. It’s so much easier when you know what comes next and already have the sequences lodged in your subconscious. I was enjoying it so much that I totally forgot to worry about my forearm stand and got myself into the posture on  the first go. It was an assisted forearm stand but I found myself thinking that one day I will be able to get into, and hold, the posture on my own.

I wasn’t so keen on the massive mirrors in the room where the class was held but I suppose you need to have those for the dance classes. Luckily I was quite near the back so avoided having to stare at my sweaty face for an hour! The class was much bigger than I’m used to but everyone was very friendly and I didn’t spot even one aloof  hipster.

Yoga classes can be very expensive in London (£10 minimum often as much as £12.00) so I was pleased that my trip coincided with an offer they have on at the moment for 10 days of  yoga for £10. As this is less than I pay for my usual weekly class I was very pleased. Even if I don’t go again I’ve still saved £2.00 – bargain!  After a good look through their timetable I’ve found various classes I’d like to try over the next ten days and I’m rather looking forward to it!

Overall I’m very pleased with my new yoga find.