Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…


Oh what a lovely family holiday we had over the school May break! Although it’s not exactly relaxing when travelling with a baby, (so much stuff to take!), I think I speak for us all when I say that it restored our inner sense of well-being. It was just nice being together and not having to worry about work, school or nursery and a ‘change is as good as a rest’ so they say. 

We travelled down to Lincolnshire for the week which is somewhere we’d never been to before. It’s such a pretty place with a romantically English countryside and coastline. 

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View from the top of Tattershall Castle

We were blessed with beautiful weather for the whole time we were away which was amazing. It’s possibly the first time EVER I think for it not to rain for some part of a week away in England.  Some days the temperature soared to the dizzy heights of 20-23° which was practically tropical!!  We did lots of adventuring around with activities the children would enjoy but we also savoured some quieter gentler days walking around  Tattershall Castle and Gunby Hall Estate and gardens.

I do so love a pretty garden – I’m not much of an outdoor gardener myself (its more patio pots and house plants in the KCACOUK household) but I really appreciate the wealth of colour and the peaceful calming of the mind that a beautiful garden can provide. 

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Stunning poppies in the grounds of Gunby Hall Gardens

I especially love large gardens where you have to wind your way through the hedgerows and flowers. Little G and I had a great time exploring!

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We also all enjoyed glorious day out at Huttoft Beach  which is a large sandy beach with proper sand dunes (just as a beach should be).  

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At six years old Little G is getting more and more adventurous with going into the sea which delights me and terrifies me in equal measure because I’m ever the over cautious mother…  

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That said her joy at running in and out of the waves and splashing around made my heart very happy!  

And we actually saw a wild seal! We didn’t know that Lincolnshire is a bit of a seal watchers paradise. Apparently it boasts one of the largest breeding colonies of grey seals in the UK.  The one we saw was way out to sea but you could make out it’s head popping up now and again which was very exciting. Unfortunately it was too far away to take a photo of but I did take some snaps at Skegness Seal Sanctuary of some gorgeous baby seals which we all thoroughly enjoyed watching and learning more about.

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Our day out at Skegness was a busy one full of the noise and excitement of rides and amusement arcades much to the joy of both children – but who doesn’t love soft play areas and popping in the pence on the tuppenny falls?!?

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We also enjoyed the Skegness Aquarium, where Little G was overjoyed to have her face painted with a glittery mermaid and Little Miss was just entranced by the jellyfish tube! It was followed by ice-cream and obligatory donkey rides on the beach. Little G is just mad on animals / horses / unicorns so this was a definite highlight for her! We were all shattered at the end of that jam packed day I can tell you.

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And did I fit any crochet in? You bet ya! I did take a gianormous bag of yarn with me much to my husbands disbelief (horror) when I kept giving him more stuff to pack into the car (you surely don’t need all this? Well actually yes, yes I do). And on the still light evenings when Little Miss decided to sleep and in the early mornings when we were awake (but no one else was) I took full advantage of hooking away. 

I can’t give away too much about the projects I was working on (though all will be revealed here when ready) but I’ll give you a little glimpse at my work bag where you can see some lovely bright primary colours of Stylecraft Special DK.

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All too soon it was time to come home, back to reality, rain and mountains of laundry. I’m completely counting down the days until we can go away again!

Until next time! Keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Yarn Shop Day | 6 May 2017



Yarn-Shop-DayHave you heard about Yarn Shop Day? It’s an annual celebration supported by Let’s Knit and Let’s Get Crafting magazines which aims to celebrate Britain’s much-loved independent wool shops.  This year Yarn Shop Day took place today, on the 6th of May, in hundreds of yarn and haberdashery stores across the country. 

I don’t know how I’d missed that this day existed previously (!?!) but as soon as I learnt of it’s existence I thought I really should pay a visit to one of my local participating shops on the day.  I personally think it’s incredibly important to support any local businesses and shops – but I don’t need an excuse to visit a yarn shop… So anyway earlier today I headed off to The Little Shop of Crafts which is luckily just down the road from me.

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The Little Shop of Crafts is a lovely little shop which stocks a great range of yarns from Sirdar, James C. Brett and other Designer Yarns, it also has proper crochet cotton from Coats. As well as yarn they cater for cross-stitchers and have a range of haberdashery items and fabrics. 

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Today the shop celebrated Yarn Shop Day with a charity raffle, 10% off all yarn purchases and a crafternoon group session full of lovely ladies.  

Little G, who wanted to come with me to the shop, held court with the ladies telling them all about the birthday party she had been to (hence the streamers on her top)…and pretty much everything else that was happening in her life – which allowed me plenty of time to shop!

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The crafternooners were busy hooking up some of the special freebies which were designed especially for this years event. Debbie Bliss designed an exclusive (Knitalong) blanket pattern that was given away free, along with Rainbow the Unicorn (knit by Sachiyo Ishii) and Coral the Mermaid (crochet by Sarah Shrimpton) amigurumi patterns.

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Little G loved the ones that had already been made and was delighted to be given the opportunity to name them (and in case you were wondering she named the unicorn Sparkle and the mermaid Lorelai!)

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And the fantastic thing is that even if you missed Yarn Shop Day the patterns will be available throughout the year so if your local store doesn’t have them, you can get them from a different store later if you’re visiting another town or city.

And what did I buy…well I just had to get myself one of the new Sidar colourwheel yarn cakes (Shade 201: Colourama) because I drooled on it a bit, kidding, but it is most delicious isn’t it – and so squishy! I may have hugged it a bit on the way home…just need to decide on what to make with it.  I also got some other little bits and bobs I needed and the most amazing unicorn fabric which I’m hoping I can transform into a dress similar to the one I made Little G when she was younger (this one).

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Both Karen and Tracy, the proprietors of the shop were lovely and helpful and I want to say a HUGE thank you to all the crafternoon ladies who chatted to Little G – she had a great time. Unfortunately though she doesn’t quite understand that they are not going to be there every day – she’s already asked when she can go back and see everyone!

lyys_300x300Well we both thoroughly enjoyed our first Yarn Shop Day! I think it’s now going to be an annual event in my calendar. Craftiness always deserves to be celebrated so whether you love crochet or the two stick-ed thing Yarn Shop Day is a must for your diary.  So if you can next year please do go along and support your local yarn shop.

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Spring, Spring, Spring! And Giveaway winners!


Welcome-Spring

Any fans of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers will be completely forgiven for breaking out into uproarious song after reading the title of my post. It’s my lovely mum’s most favourite movie so the show tunes have become ingrained from childhood! 

This weekend we definitely enjoyed ‘Ma Nature’s yearly miracle’ as we went on a visit to Tatton Park, an historic estate in Cheshire. And OH but the sun was glorious and the sky was so blue, the birds were a-twitterin’ and blossoms…well they were just so blossomy!!! 

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I can’t even begin to tell you how nice it was to get outside and enjoy some good weather after quite a grey March – and to walk about with no coat on either; just delightful!

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It was an absolute pleasure slowly walking round the gardens with all my family (as my mum and Dad came too), talking and taking in and appreciating the scenery.

I even spotted a bit of crochet in one of the farmers huts…though I might question the realism of the colour palette of the bottom blanket for the olden days – hot pink yarn?!!

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Then whilst hubby played with the girls on the play-park my parents and I wandered over to look at the house. Inside, amongst lots of other things, they had what seemed to be a little embroidery showcase. There was no denying the talent of the artists that had created some of the pieces – they were just stunning! I took a picture of my favourite work because I just thought it was so beautiful (silly me though I forgot to look for the name of the artist) I just love the colours, the composition of the piece…just everything about it!

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The highlight of the day for everyone though was Tatton Park’s lambing week…

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By some sort of wizardry they had synchronised their ewes to lamb within a 10 day period and there were so many of the little cuties bouncing about ‘waggin’ tails, rubbin’ noses’. Although we didn’t see any lambs actually being born, we saw some that had just been born! Little G asked lots of interesting questions…and was thoroughly intrigued by the whole thing.  

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By the end of the day we’d walked over 8.4km  (about 5.5 miles) round the gardens and house, enjoyed some eating alfesco with the first picnic of the year and all went home with happy hearts! So glad that Spring is finally here!

And before I forget there are some giveaway winners to announce aren’t there! Just to remind you, I set a little competition so some lovely people could win some pattern prizes (details in this post). Was the winner you? Did you get the answer right?  

Well the answer to my clue was my Daisy Chain Flourish blanket

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but some of you answered that it was my Daisy Chain afghan square  which was kind of right too – so I’ve tumbled you all into a random.org and the winners of a pattern of their choice are:

  1. Patricia Giles  
  2. Trisha Smith
  3. Nicola
  4. Yolande Timkoe 
  5. Kirsty

Congratulations folks! Please can you get in touch with me so you can claim your prize!

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Autumn Days


I love this time of year! I like the fact that it’s time to get out the hats, scarves and gloves. It’s time for comfort food, bonfires, conkers,  Halloween and the red, orange, greens and golds of autumn leaves. 

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I know some people find Halloween offensive but I have always viewed it as a bit of harmless fun where children can dress up, play games and enjoy themselves.  It’s believed that Halloween actually comes from the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain, which was a celebration of the end of the harvest season, and as we slip and trip into the misery, coldness and ice that is winter (you might guess I’m not a fan!) why shouldn’t we have a bit of fun I say!

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Little G absolutely loves Halloween it’s probably her most favourite day (after her birthday) and she pretty much talks about it all year round asking how many days until the next one is (this usually starts the day after the last one has ended).  For her Halloween is totally about dressing up and playing jokes. As it’s been half term week here the children have been off school so there have been plenty of places to visit which offer Halloween / Autumn activities.

We took a trip to Moseley Old Hall with my mum and dad to do some pumpkin carving which was good and messy. The excellent thing about pumpkin carving is the innards being transformed into warming pumpkin soup served with crusty garlic bread (yummmm).  

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Children were encouraged to dress up and the house and woods were great fun for exploring.  They have a really awesome tree house in the woods and Little G enjoyed building some dens out of logs, rope and stones with her grandparents.

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It was the best sort of Autumn day, a bit chilly but dry with a bright blue sky and crunchy leaves underfoot.   I think we all enjoyed a walk in the crisp air to blow the cobwebs away!

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Another day we went with some family friends to a trick or treat village where Little G was a cute cat and Little Miss an adorable pumpkin.

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The hat pattern is the Pumpkin-Top Earflap Hat by Kimberlie Goodnough. I’ve made it a few times now, it’s such a fun hat to make, quick to hook up and just perfect for Halloween / Autumn.  I did change the pattern slightly; I didn’t add the ear-flaps on this occasion and just added a scalloped trim to finish it off. 

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The yarn I used was Stylecraft Special Aran in Spice and Meadow which are just perfect pumpkin colours. 

So now Halloween has passed it’s on wards to bonfire night! I need to finish off some new winter hat designs for my girls before the weekend so I’d better get on with it as hats unfortunately (as much as it would be amazing if they did) don’t crochet themselves!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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TOFTfest 2016


So flicking through my latest copy of Inside Crochet magazine I saw that yarn company TOFT were celebrating their 10th Birthday and to mark the occasion they were to host TOFTfest.  The day was billed as fun for all the family and as they are based in Warwickshire, which is a couple of hours away from me in Staffordshire, I thought I’d take the KCACO.UK clan along to find out about all things TOFT.

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I’ve got a golden ticket! (Okay peachy coloured ticket…)

If you haven’t heard of TOFT yarn before they manufacture high quality alpaca and wool yarn and knitwear here in the UK from British sourced luxury fibres.  And even if you aren’t familiar with TOFT yarn as a crocheter you may very well recognise the name of the founder of TOFT, Kerry Lord, who designs (almost other things) the fabulously cute amigurumi book series Edward’s Menagerie.

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So back to TOFTfest…There were alpaca themed craft activities for adults and children, a NEW book launch and talk by Kerry Lord and alpaca walking for those that fancied it (which Little G certainly did!). Unfortunately my camera broke on holiday (sad times) so the only photos my husband and I were able to get were on our phones so not of the best quality…

We were really lucky with the weather on the day we went, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the alpacas were doing alpaca type things and looking cute and everyone seemed to be in a good mood (that’s the British weather for you!).

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TOFT Alpaca Farm, Warwickshire

I just loved the TOFT farm studio.  It’s pretty much a heavenly place filled with yarn and little amigurumi hanging from the ceiling…

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Blake the Orangutan says hello!

I say little amigurumi; one of the most amazing items we saw was a gianormous flamingo (called Sophia) which is used as a show piece. In her talk Kerry explained that Sophia had been completed in only 72 hours (by several crocheters) and that they were literally sewing up the head before their stall opened – just an amazing piece of work. Below you can see Little G, for scale, sorting out Sophia’s feet which had been scrunched up and she thought she should put them right again! 

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Sophia the Great getting a pedicure by Little G

My highlights of the day were listening to the talk from Kerry about her new book..

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Avid listeners! I’m somewhere in the middle…

and having the pleasure of meeting her where she was lovely enough to sign a copy of her new book. 

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The lovely Kerry kindly signing her (my) new book for me.

The alpaca walking was definitely a highlight of the day for Little G.  She made friends with Tornado.  Alpaca’s always look as though they are smiling to me they are just so cute and fluffy! 

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Little G and the most fluffily cute Tornado

I obviously couldn’t leave TOFT without buying some goodies – that would have just been rude!  

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Oooo look at all my lovely goodies!!

My lovely husband treated me to some of TOFT’s pure wool range which is scrumptiously lush. For those that like the look of this yarn it’s definitely a luxury item; perfect for a special gift for someone (or you!).  With it being wool yarn, rather than say acrylic, it’s not cheap but it is so nice for crochet as it has great stitch definition.

The wool yarn comes in 17 different colours, 10 naturals and 7 colours.  I chose the coloured palette initially (though I have purchased more hues since!) as I have decided I want to make a special amigurumi each for my girls for Christmas.

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DK Colour Bundle from TOFT Alpaca Shop

Little G loves parrots so Jack the Macaw from Edwards Menagerie: Birds will be project 1, and I think I’m going to make Georgina the Hippo for Little Miss as project 2 (as I already have the Edwards Menagerie book) – but more on that once I’ve hooked them up.  

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Seriously how cute is Georgina the Hippo!!

Plus I need to have a go at making up something from the Imaginarium…always so much to crochet and so little time!

We all had a great day out at TOFT and as you can probably tell I can’t wait to have a go at making up some of the menagerie – in fact I may go and start something now!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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April in a Nutshell (2015)


So we took Spring cleaning to the MAX this month by deciding to decorate the whole house!  It meant that I pretty much couldn’t find anything for the majority of April as things were packed and moved into other rooms and we changed furniture around.  I seriously cannot believe how much STUFF we have accumulated over the years! DSC02673 I found 5 pairs of glasses of old prescriptions whilst cleaning!  Why I still have them all who knows but I have now donated them to Vision Aid Overseas, I also recycled some old mobile phones to Oxfam.  With all the decorating I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to go through and sort out drawers, wardrobes everything really before putting it back – that took infinitely longer than anticipated but at least we are now not only clean but we are also rather organised.  How long it will all last is another story!  We donated so much paraphernalia  to the MacMillan Cancer Support Charity shop down the road it was unreal.  But it was all good gear just that we no longer needed and I’d rather not throw anything away if it’s still useful. I’m rather ashamed that this stuff has been sitting around gathering dust in drawers for years – I should have done this ages ago!  It’s really a very cathartic exercise having a really good clear out!

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I have to say though sorting out my stash was a part I enjoyed!  All safe and sound in my spare room we set up some shelves and cleared some space for my yarn babies. This bookshelf is pretty much filled with Sidar and Stylecraft double knit as that’s what I tend to work with the most and I had some of my special yarns (many different brands) on the second to top shelf, it’s really great to be able to see what I’ve got quickly.  All the rest of my stash is now in 5 x 7 litre tubs!  Is it strange that I love just looking at the shelves?

I knew I had a lot of yarn but I’ve never had it all in one place really until now.  My plan is to start using up some of the stash but it always happens that you will need a colour / weight of yarn you don’t have!  And its super hard when you get your hands on one of these…my new Stylecraft shade card – squeal! I LOVE IT!!!   I wish all brands did this, it would be sooooo helpful!

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We also enjoyed an early Easter didn’t we in April and for once the weather, particularly on Bank Holiday Monday, was really lovely. As we were decorating we did our Easter in one day on the Monday, an egg hunt in the morning followed by a trip out in the afternoon to a local wildlife park then tea out at a carvery!  Little G loved the adventure playground the best; it really was just lovely to be outside without coats on for a change!

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Crochetwise I have been very busily hooking away this month; I released into the world my new beaded make-up bag pattern exclusively available in Happily Hooked Magazine which I blogged about here, my Spring Grace Ponchette which I blogged about here and another free pattern for the Doodle Zoo gang; Finlay Frog which I blogged about here. I have also been hooking up Block 7Block 8 and Block 9 this month for the CAL. The UK weather remained obliging and I had a great photo shoot with the first 8 blocks – I’m thinking I need to add a bit more green though as it’s perhaps the colour I have used least.

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I also did a pattern test for a cute little amigumuri which I’ll blog about soon!  Finally I finished up my Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds square for the Deramores Blog competition which I blogged about herephew!

Nothing like keeping busy!  

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March in a Nutshell (2015)


So what happened in March?  It already seems so long ago now that we are a few days into April!

As a family we went for a little weekend away in mid March to Stratford-Upon-Avon, it was lovely spending some quality time together as a family.  We were blessed with fairly good weather and we had a great time wandering around the historic town, the MAD museum and the butterfly farm

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we even managed to fit in some hide-and-seek…

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and enjoyed a most fabulous cream tea in a quaint little cafe with THE most DELICIOUS home-made cherry and sultana scones YUM!

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Crochet-wise I spent most of March finishing up a big Afghan gift for my great Aunt’s 90th birthday (ta dah moment coming soon!) and an Easter order or two….

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Released into the crochet world this month was my new bowling bunnies crochet pattern which I blogged about here, and another free pattern for the Doodle Zoo gang; Rowan Rabbit which I blogged about here.

I also hooked up Block 5 and Block 6 this month for the CAL.  I’m loving seeing the work of everyone that is joining in with the CAL; such unique takes on the same pattern and some seriously gorgeous colour schemes! If you are on Pinterest I’ve started a project board that has the details of the squares and the block collages which you can view here.  This month I also joined Instagram; I’m still learning the ropes but you can follow me here if you want to see my works in progress.

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Finally (!) I’ve been continuing the work on the Sophie’s Universe CAL – I quite behind still, something like round 4; catching up slowly but she’s definitely getting bigger and I’m loving it so far!  

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Nothing like having numerous projects on your hook!  

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