Monday, 30 December 2013

Boxing Day in Northumberland

So, I've eaten the most incredible amount over the past week or so. It's been fantastic. 'Tis the season to stuff yourself silly and I am a huge fan. To try and walk off our enormous Christmas lunch a little bit, we went for a stroll along the beach on Boxing Day, by Newton by the Sea. You can see Dunstanburgh Castle - my favourite! - in the distance and it's beautiful. 

Gavin & I, self-timer

Me, taken by Gavin


Me again, by Gav

My mum & sister

Me, another by Gavin

Gav & I's shadows

Lovely horses!

Obligatory doll companion on every excursion - Rose, my Kenner


Me, my sister and my mum - another by Gav

Whatever you do over this festive season, I hope you had a great time! I've been a bit sickly and pox-ridden, but acquired a bunch of cool new stuff, gave some awesome presents to other people, and consumed way above my RDA. Most excellent!

alice xox

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Rievaulx Abbey

As you might know, I'm currently taking a course in Old Stuff and at the end of November - ostensibly in the pursuit of knowledge but also it is just fun to go on field trips and eat pie and look at pretty things - we visited Reivaulx Abbey.

I present these photos to you without words because I have never been so floored in my life.

Yorkshire, you guys. Yorkshire.

Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx AbbeyRievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Abbey

With thanks to my medievalist buddies for letting me point my camera at them somewhat persistently.

alice xox

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Wintery Knits

A while ago I offered to knit Gavin something, and he requested some 'Gandalf gloves,' which I took to mean some earthy-coloured fingerless mitts. I'd been wanting to use this pattern for a while, so I figured it was close enough. I used Rowan Lima which is lovely and snuggly!

He waited very patiently for me to finish these - I am not going to tell you how long they sat in the UFO pile, because it is nothing short of shameful. I need to actually work on the 'finishing stuff' thing. Whoops.

alice xox

Friday, 8 November 2013

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes Night is the weirdest. An evening of national celebration of the morbid and (mostly) legitimate vandalism. Excellent! Well, not so much the firework related stupidity and injuries, but yay for controlled fires and explosions! 

This year we went to a really huge Guy Fawkes event in Leeds (apparently about 70,000 people!) which had the biggest bonfire I've ever seen. So big, in fact, that it fell over just before the fireworks started. I'm told this happens every year, but it was my first time seeing a twenty foot pile of burning wooden pallets crumble and I was briefly convinced something awful was happening and we were all going to burn alive. (Because I'm an optimist like that.)

... I'll stick with sparklers. More in my comfort zone!

The massive bonfire! Bearing in mind we were about 100ft+ away from it...

Alice + sparklers = happy


alice xox

Monday, 4 November 2013

Halloween & My Alternative Pumpkin

We ended up not getting real pumpkins this year, so I had fun with glass jars and tissue paper! Gavin & I do a lot of lazy cooking at the moment (i.e. sauce out of jars!) and I insist on keeping them all... the cupboard under the sink is overflowing with (mostly unused) glass jars. Finally some justification for my ridiculous hoarding habits! (I have crocheted covers for them in the past which is an awesome jar/yarn stash-buster, plus you end up with cute, woolly storage solutions!)

I stuck squares of overlapping orange tissue paper onto the outside of the jar (as I planned on using real candles inside the jar, and was worried about flammability) with PVA, and then stuck a face made of black card on top of that. I have my eye on these delicious battery powered tealights - so maybe next time I'll try sticking everything inside the jar, so the outside will still have a smooth, glassy finish.

In other news, it was my birthday over the weekend! I am pleased to unveil the Alice mark XXIV, which has thus far ran smoothly. (Well, it stupidly let the hoover eat some of its cord and continued hoovering with the copper wires exposed, but I have come to expect constant levels of daftness even when I update my chassis. Some things never change.)

alice xox

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Toy Thursday: Happy Thorsday!

Seeing as how Thor: The Dark World was released yesterday (I saw it! It was awesome!) I thought a Thor-themed Toy Thor's Day was appropriate.

Happy Halloween! Eat lots of sweets and have lots of fun dressing up!

alice xox

Friday, 25 October 2013

Toy Thursday: What has it got in its pocketses?

My guilty purchase of the week: a Hobbit Lego set that was half price in Tesco. My justification: the first rule of Lego is that when it's half price, you buy it immediately. 

The Hobbit minifigs are so cute and stumpy next to the regular height minifigs. I just need a full set of dwarves now...

alice xox

ps. I know it's Friday, not Thursday, but I forgot to click publish last night, oops.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Instagram Round-up: Dead Languages & Medieval Buildings

My life right now is pretty heavy on the dead languages and Medieval buildings front, which is a-ok with me. I'm a month into my course already?!

Top left: a ladybug landed on my book, top right: the always lovely York Minster, bottom left: the ruins of St Mary's Abbey in York, bottom right: my favourite of all the dead languages.

I am really enjoying my course! I am finding getting back into the studying/student routine a bit bizarre, though. I didn't have a long time out after my undergrad, but I feel super, super rusty. As I'd done some Old English before, I was put into the advanced class (ha!) which has been a bit crushing as I seem to have forgotten nearly everything, and I'm not feeling very advanced at all. Unlike with other things, being rubbish really frustrates me because Old English is my favourite! I'm sure I'll get there, but in the meantime I'm very grumpy at myself. (Flash cards are go!)

alice xox

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Autumn is ace!

I know that this time last year, I made a bit of a gloomy blog post about autumn. (x) I was 350 miles further north, having recently started a job in an ugly building with no natural light, and I'd had to sell my Blythecon ticket. I wasn't feeling very charitable towards autumn. Or, you know, life in general.

But - I'm feeling a lot more benevolent this year and... turns out I actually kind of love autumn. It's really beautiful.

There are a bunch of chestnut trees outside our flat, which is really cool but also deeply perilous. The trees are quite tall and some of the conkers hurtle down at such high speeds they completely obliterate themselves when they hit the ground. I live in fear of one hitting my head, I really don't think I could take the indignity of being knocked out by a conker. (Also, they keep denting the car!?!)

alice xox

Monday, 7 October 2013

Blythecon UK 2013

I had the absolute pleasure of being in Glasgow this Saturday for Blythecon UK - after a few super stressful months where it was still up in the air whether or not I would make it. I did make it, in the end, after a very early start and a lot of sneezing. (When in doubt, just assume I'm ill. I'm always ill. The rhinovirus has been my near constant companion since my thyroid took early retirement. I am so sorry if I sneezed on you!)

I bought myself a new DSLR at the start of 2013, which can take videos (whereas my old one couldn't.) Seeing as how my 2011 BCUK video was apparently quite well received - I am not linking to that embarrassment of a video, it still exists on the internet if you are bothered enough to hunt it down - I thought I'd give it another go, but with my DSLR instead of my phone.

I hope you guys like it! I was basically wandering round all day sneezing and shaking, so I'm amazed the footage is watchable. I wasn't prepared for the intricacies of manually focusing a video, or how heavy DSLRs are when you've got the ill sweats and things keep slipping out your fingers. (I know, so attractive.) Thank you so much to everyone who let me point my camera at them ominously! You're all adorable.

When I got home and tried to move the files from my camera to laptop, something happened (we have no idea what) and they all disappeared. I could've cried! Thankfully, magic Gavin magicked it better because he is magical. I was far too feverish to understand what he was doing but he managed to restore nearly everything, and I was able to put this video together in-between my pitiful swan queen sneezing and moaning yesterday. (I don't like being ill. I'm really bad at it.)

Anyway, here it is! Thank you everyone for a really lovely day and a thousand million apologies for spreading my lergy. It was a really cute, cosy con and I 'm so glad I managed to make it. Hope to see you all next year!

alice xox

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Autumn Wanderings

I love that if I walk in one direction from my flat, I'm in the centre of the fourth largest city in the UK, and that if I walk in the other...


... can't complain, eh? I love October! I can start spookifying the flat now, right?

alice xox

Friday, 27 September 2013

Instagram Round-up: New Things!

There are a lot of new and exciting things in my life, so I thought I'd share a few!

New things!

Top left: meet my new favourite rug (a housewarming present, er, to myself from myself) who is so cute I move him around at least five times a day so I can keep looking at him. Top right: progress in the spare bedroom (what a luxury!) which is currently my study/laundry room/doll & toy overspill room (oops!) Bottom left: exploring York, my new town of study, and doing some obligatory gawping at the beautiful Minster (annual pass, here I come!) Bottom right: the most instagrammable instagram I have ever instagrammed as I practise being a student again.

alice xox

Friday, 20 September 2013

Adventures in Homelifying: Socker & his Prickly Friends

I love our new flat. I am determined to do it justice with my homelifying! (That is not a real word; I googled it. But it's definitely the right word for what I am doing.)

Although we are renting it mostly furnished, we have quite a bit of stuff (understatement!) and so we popped along to Ikea to get some extra bits and pieces, where I also picked up this baby - i.e. my new favourite thing, the Socker Greenhouse.

I used to have a super-epic succulent collection when I was a teenager and I have always wanted to start a new collection. I love succulents! These three are the start of this new collection.

I love this little greenhouse. I get the feeling it's meant more as decorative than as strictly functional, but it actually does work. I have put a thermometer inside and everything, and I can confirm it is, in fact, warmer inside than outside. SCIENCE! Also, it looks good. Two of my favourite qualities in an object!

Also, I love that I am using it to hold cacti, and it is called Socker. Fans of The Last Airbender might remember this little gem. (I have been spelling it Sokka in my head.)

alice xox

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Instagram Round-up: Goodbye, Summer & Scotland!

350 miles and a lot of boxes and stress later, I am now officially a relocated Alice! The way it's worked out, this is the sixth September in a row that I am moving into a new place. I am hoping not to make that a seventh...! Fingers crossed, eh?

So, we've got a lovely little flat in Yorkshire and I am returning to studenthood at the end of the month. I don't know how this happened. I have no idea how I orchestrated this. I feel like the past few months have just been me running round like a headless chicken, and I am amazed that I am sitting here, in an actual flat, with everything more-or-less unpacked. Nothing short of a miracle!

I am very very nervous (although very very excited) about studying again. After living in Scotland for pretty much five years, I am also sad to leave, but excited to be back in England. New city, new flat... I am basically a big mess of emotions!

So, goodbye summer and Scotland! Exciting (terrifying) times ahead!

alice xox

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Toy Thursday: Beth


Meet Beth, my Goldie, who arrived in May 2010. She will forever be a favourite! I consider myself to have been super lucky in acquiring some of my grail dollies - including Beth - as they all seemed to pop up at the perfect time. Better still, like my Kenner, I was able to buy her from someone I knew in the UK. Always nice to buy from a friend, and even nicer not to worry about customs or tracking!

Took a moment at the weekend to give her some love and camera time. There are exciting changes in the works at Alice & Grabbington Towers, so I might continue on my woeful blogging schedule for a bit yet. We are MOVING and it is STRESSFUL and EXCITING and I might even be starting a cheeky postgrad course in Really Old Books (what else?!) so it's all go! More on that as it happens!


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

WIP Wednesday: Rowan Gozo & Drops Cotton Light

I've been feeling the urge recently to create some human-sized things! I don't know what it is about the height of summer, but it makes me want to buy tonnes of yarn and start making snuggly winter things. ...which makes zero sense, but it does mean I am always super prepared for October?

This is as much a WIP Wednesday as it is a budget yarn recommendation. I'm trying to be a bit more thrifty when making human-sized things, so I thought I'd try out Garnstudio Drops 'Cotton Light'. It is a cotton/polyester mix which is currently 90p per ball on, which is a pretty amazing price. Reviews warned me that the yarn is great for knitting, but not so much for crochet as it can be a bit splitty, but for 90p a ball I decided I could live with that.

I haven't really found it that much more splitty than any other cotton I've worked with. Cotton is lovely, but can be very unforgiving. Drops Cotton Light is a very nice budget cotton mix, and is crocheting up beautifully! If you are a Row@n member you can access a bunch of patterns online, and I decided to crochet one of their newly released (for free!) summer crochet designs - Gozo, by Maria Wallin.

This is an excellent companion to my Lovefilm free trial. Which I suspect will stay long after it has stopped being free (but I will pretend not to notice.)

alice xox