Sourdough and me

Recently I have been doing a major declutter of my house, and been making some tough decisions of what stays and goes. As part of this I got rid of my bread machine and decided I was going to make everything by hand (as soon as I decided this mass panic occurred but I decided to stick by my decision). Conveniently the same day I popped down to 'The Urban Larder' (a lovely local shop) and blow me there was a sourdough making course happening the next week, so I signed up.

So yesterday after work the event occurred I made my first sourdough! This course was run by Peter Voshol from Loaf for Life, who was friendly, nice and extremely insightful.
The class started off with a lovely cup of tea and tasting of breads that Peter had made so that we could understand what different flours produced in density and taste, so we were off to a very good start. Peter had a special bread he was working on for the Cambridge apple festival at the botanics gardens, which personally I could of eaten the whole loaf in one go, it a delicately flavored apple, cranberry and cinnamon bread (i'm salivating just thinking about it). After this we then spoke about the principles of sourdough and the tools needed (I liked how Peter took a cost effective approach to this). Then we got to start our sourdough and it was mucky, but I loved feel the dough and seeing how it works when different ingredients are added.
Here are the ingredients pre mixing

Here is the ingredients proving wearing a lovely shower cap

Whilst the ingredients were proving we tasted lots of starters to understand the qualities they have- I found this really interested as there was significant difference between them, we then learnt how to look after our starter and had a Q&A session. Then the bread went into the oven (the moment of truth was getting ever so close), we had some lovely cake to keep us going and then the big unveil. 

My Bread is on the back row far right

My bread worked I couldn't believe it, and I can tell you this morning it tasted wonderful. Tonight I will be feeding my starter ready for my second loaf this weekend.

Learning Needlefelting.......

Needlefelting it's something I've wanted to add to my skills but the idea of letting myself loose with a barded needle was a little scary. But yesterday I embarked on my journey of needlefelting by taking a beginners course at the fabulous Sheep Shop in Cambridge. the course was run by Cathy Olgivie who was just lovely, and there was lots of laughing and chatting which to me is always a good sign.

We started off by being introduced to the tools of needlefelting, with lots of words of caution around the use of the needle (Cathy brought lots of plasters, and secretly I was hoping for a small injury so that I could have the 'Mr Bump' plaster). After this we then got to choose our lovely wool tops, there was so many beautiful colours on offer but I went for the pinks and reds (no surprises there). Then off we went......
First of all we started off making a hanging heart. This was done using a cookie cutter as a template, and this was a great exercise to start with as it helped to understand the principles of needlefelting, I loved the constant stabbing and especially watching the tops turn into a beautiful felted heart, I even embellished it with budding flowers (get me).

Then we moved on to some free-form work which I was a little nervous about but I loved it and how creative it allows you to be I made a flower brooch, but I will definitely do some more practice on this at home.

I really enjoyed learning to needlefelt, and would thoroughly recommend it, next I shall be doing the 3D needlefelting class.

Back with a Bang!

So after quiet some time of being away from blogging I'm back (yippee)!

Whilst I've been away from blogging I've not been away from my lovely sewing machine and have lots of projects underway - yes more projects that will take forever to finish. But I have finished one project (still suffering from shock of actually finishing a project).

Last weekend I spent it with my Grandparents and the majority of it I spent with my Gran crafting, which I loved. But excitingly I made a dress for my friends wedding/party thing which I completely love.

I used the Vogue Very Easy V8725 pattern - its a pattern I've had in my stash for ages so it was nice to finally get to use it. For the material I used a generic medium weight spotted cotton with a non static lining. It took me about 2 days of solid work (most of the time was spent hand sewing in the lining - that added serious stress lines to me). Here it is......

I love it and am so proud of what I've done. What lovely things have you all been making?

Experimenting with Screenprinting

So last Saturday I ventured into screenprinting for the first time, and if nothing else I learnt how to cover myself in paint as did claireabellemakes who came on the course with me.

The course was run by Clive Riggs who was probably the most patient teacher in the world (having to put up with my thousands of questions) and extremely talented. We started the morning by being introduced to the kit needed to print, and then we got straight in to it. So to start with Clive got us to print without template to get use to using the screen. So as you would of guessed I grab the brightest pink paint available and got stuck in and luckily it worked (I loved the pink but it did like to dye everything around it no matter how much I washed it).
We then went on to do our first template print and I decided to make a cupcake (yes 1 hour in and all I could think about was when could I eat - I did sneak a kit kat in though), which printed up lovely. Then we use the cut outs of the template to create another image and I turned my cupcake into a cup of tea - I really liked this exercise as it made me think about transitioning one image into another and  I am thinking about this a lot at the moment.
Then came to the final picture of the day where I started to get ever so slightly carried away and decided to print a sperm whale (I then obsessed with sperm whales for quiet a while). With this I decided to do a multi layered whale using different techniques (it did look slightly like a child had done it but I loved it (I don't have a picture of it as i gave it to Mr CG - but here is my dodgy whale I did first time around).
If you haven't tried screenprinting you definitely should its fun, bring the child out in you and is a brilliant technique to use. Next week is lino printing - get me!

My weight loss journey....

So this isn't a crafty post (I'm finishing lots of projects a the moment - so expect lots soon), but it is something that is important to me. About 6 months ago I reached a point where I decided that I needed to lose weight for two reasons, one I could barely fit into my clothes (so had to lose weight as I couldn't afford new ones), and secondly because I took part in a genetics study and found out I had the gene for coronary artery disease (and after lots of tests my only major worrying factor was my weight). After weeks of convincing myself that I could lose weight if I just thought about it, I decided drastic action needed to be taken and I joined weight watchers. I'm not normally a fan of these things but after lots of research, I decided weight watchers was for me as it was about re-education and lifestyle change which I knew would help me in the future for maintaining my weight loss.

So off I trotted to my first meeting, and it all went from there the ladies who ran the group were lovely and friends and family joined with me for support (without them I could never have done this). Every week I soldiered on, but still felt like I was eating normally except having a slightly smaller portion size and being more considered when I was ordering out in restaurants. I was convinced that this was making no difference at all but every week I weighed I kept losing weight.

However two weeks ago I finally reached my goal weight having lost just shy of 3st, and it felt amazing ( however I still have a little bit to lose to be where I want to). But I still went home to continue down the path of sensible eating (I think it is engrained on my brain now).

I'm not saying its changed my life or anything like that (i'm still me), but it has given me my confidence back and more importantly I feel healthier, so much so that I have started running again after several years of not - which is very exciting indeed!

I just want to thank all of my friends and family who have helped me through this without you I could never have done this (you know who you are).

Crafternoon in June!

Lovely Crafters. Both myself and claireabellemakes will be hosting a crafternoon in Cambridge on Thursday 20th June, and we would love to see some of your lovely faces there.

It starts at 4pm in The Mill (details in below link), but don't despair we'll be crafting till late and I wont get there till 6pm (just in time for cocktail hour - hahaha).

So come along for craft, fun and new faces (and make sure to sign up below).

I Look forward to lots of eager sign ups

Learning to do Free Machine Embroidery

This afternoon I went to a class at Cally Co in Cambridge to learn how to do free machine embroidery.

The class was taught by Caroline Austin of Two Turtle Doves who is the best sewing teacher I have ever encounter, she was fun, friendly and completely inspirational. She started the class by talking us through her journey into the craft, she then went on to show us examples of work which she had done (which were amazing and especially as they featured lots of animals). After this she introduced us to the set up of the machine and showed us how to start off. Then we were free to go, she showed us how to do the craft with or without a hoop, but it became quickly apparent that I was a natural hoop user and I definitely felt more in control using the hoop.

First of all we started off doing circles and lines to get a feel for the machine, we then moved on to doing some applique work and lettering (I have terrible handwriting at the best of times so this was definitely not the part of the class I excelled at). Then we had a break for a well earned cup of tea and cake, over tea she showed some good books to use and discussed different ways we could use the craft such as sewing onto card ( which is something I definitely want to try).

After tea we came to the hardcore stuff, and were tracing images from the light box to then embroider. There is no surprises that I chose the deer initially - how could I resist, and below is how he turned out (earlier she had told us how doing multiple outlines gives a nice effect - which I tried out). I now need to work out what to do with him - I think I'll frame it.

After I finished this I had extra time so Caroline told me to make a napkin (she said these were a nice way to use the craft for gifts) For this I chose a lovely rabbit.
I really enjoyed this class and feel that in 3 hours I made a serious amount and progress, and feel really confident to continue at home.I shall definitely keep you all updated of my progess.


So this year I decided that I have to complete my unfinished projects. In October I decided that I was going to make a knitted zombie for Mr CG for his birthday in November, his birthday came and the zombie was far from complete, I then set my sights to finish it for a Christmas present (utter fail), and then for Valentines (we'll forget that this was my third deadline). But await the drum roll.......the zombie is finished 7 months later than planned.

Nobody puts this baby in the corner!

At the end of May I have a new niece due to arrive which is all very exciting. So in anticipation of her arrival I have been making her a hat and topper blanket. I made the lovely Carina Spencer Gift Wrap Bonnet which is completely adorable (I made the smallest size and am slightly worried if the baby has a big head it wont fit). I made the hat is Sirdar Snuggly with a lovely duck button (it took longer to chose the button than it took to make the hat) they had run out of the button in lilac so had to have a bright yellow duck instead.

I then went on to make a lovely crochet blanket using the principle of granny squares (yes I know I hate them but it works well in the blanket), with a double crochet edge. Again I used the Sirdar Snuggly (I really like this wool as it's an acrylic blend than has a really nice feel so is baby friendly for the washing machine).
The presents are now all wrapped up and ready to post tomorrow. I do hope they like them........

An Insight to Street Art

I have been away from blogging for a while as I have been deciding on how to take my blog forward. So as part of this little makeover I have decided to do a monthly focus and for the first one I am going to do a focus on street art. So may I introduce my interview with the fabulous Mary England who is a street artist in Baltimore, Maryland, and will inspire all of you with her projects, and has made me realise that street art is accessible to all.

1. Have you always been arty?
I've definitely always been interested in art, and I've been racking up bills at craft stores ever since I can remember. I'd say I've always been creative and interested in doing things in fun and colorful ways. Besides mail art, street art is the most "arty" thing I've ever done. And it's also the thing I've enjoyed the most.
2. How did you get into street art?
A couple years ago I heard about yarnbombing and got my boss to re-teach me how to knit. I was scared to do my first installation, though. I only ended up doing it because I joined in a yarnbombing contest through a yarn shop in Baltimore. It was an awesome experience, and then I wanted to yarnbomb everything! I started looking into different types of street art, and I've kind of found my own style.
3. Tell us about your street art projects and where you source your creativity? Who do you admire in street art?
Besides yarnbombing, interactive projects are my favorite. I love leaving out things for people to write on and coming back to see what the results are. I've also had a really great time leaving out disposable cameras for strangers to take pictures with, and coming back to develop the film (if the camera is still there). I also do a fair amount of RAOK projects, just leaving envelopes and small gifts for people to find. Right now, I'm trying to brainstorm larger installations. As far as creativity, I get a lot of ideas at the thrift store. Finding things I never would have imagined existed and incorporating them into an installation.
Three of my favorite street artists are women: Keri Smith, Katie Sokoler, and Candy Chang. Among them, I am inspired by color work, the involvement of locals, and the appreciation of little things.

4. What has been your favorite project to date?
Developing my first disposable camera, full of pictures taken by strangers, was one of the best feelings I've had associated with street art. I also enjoyed setting up the Small Things Museum, which I plan to make a seasonal occurrence. While it wasn't my favorite, I got a lot of wonderful feedback from my bench yarnbomb.

5. Have you got any street art projects that you are planning at the moment?
This weekend I'm being interviewed for a street art documentary, and I'm going to build a pyramid out of boxes that I covered in knitting. I'm slightly in limbo, otherwise, because I'm trying to shift my focus towards larger projects and I haven't had my 'eureka' yet.
6. Has the work that you have done in your local community had any positive/negative affects?
I try not to do anything political with my installations. The main point of my work is to get people to notice and appreciate things, as well as be kind to other people. I really do hope that things people have seen and found (of my work) has made them happy and hopeful.
7. How have local people reacted to your projects?
I've never been asked to take one of my projects down. The only interactions I've had while I'm doing an install are very positive. Usually it's just people walking by complimenting what I'm doing or asking about it. Other than that, my friends have been really supportive about my work. However, I will say that many of my installations have been removed and I guess that is negative feedback in itself.
8. Do you have any advice for people wanting to do street art?
For people wanting to start street art, I suggest to start small. Explore temporary things and how it makes you feel for things to disappear or to be altered. I sell little kits in my Etsy shop of stickers, chalk, envelopes, and a small knitted piece. That could be a good starter for a newcomer. I also suggest doing installations in the morning. There's not many people out and it's less sketchy than doing it at night.

Thank you so much to Mary for sharing her creativity with us and for inspiring us in street art.
Please go over and visit Mary's blog for some inspiration, but be warned you will lose an evening.......

Crush on Crochet

For some time I have been trying my hand at crochet, however I couldn't get in to it, my technique was terrible and I never felt inspired to make anything that didn't look like it had been vomited up by the 70's.

But in January this year that started to change for me, I became involved with a project with my WI and the Cambridge botanical gardens which is led by the fantastic NotSoGranny. The project really drew me in, the making of fantastic lichen from the Tundra and also amazing plants from arid houses (I cant give too much away here as the project isn't unveiled until October but trust me it will definitely be worth a visit).

With the Cambridge botanical garden project I have met some amazing people, who also happen to be very talented crocheters, and this is where my crush on crochet was sparked. For the first time I have found projects that I actually want to make (surprisingly I have a long list), but first on the list is the Galactica scarf (I really like this space inspired project). However I need to finish the blanket for my new niece who will be born very soon (yes this is the first time I have chosen crochet over knitting - this even shocked me - this crush is getting serious).

Now comes to the real shock for me and turned my head a little more to crochet is a magazine that doesn't feature a granny square project every month, and actually has patterns and garments that you could wear and that is the really well designed. Inside Crochet is definitely a magazine I can make things from. I have trawled through the other crochet magazines and nothing else delivers what this does, it feels modern and fresh, and has a really nice fashion angle to it (magazines are important to me and help my crafty creativity). 

So I would like to say a big thank you to NotSoGranny who has showed me that crochet is in the 21st century and has given me a crush on a craft that I never thought that I would grow to love.


After going to see my lovely allotment on Sunday I have been thinking a lot about motivation.

I have been avoiding going to my allotment since Christmas, last year after three rounds of planting seedlings which all got eaten by slugs and pigeons (every creatures need a meal but give me a break) I felt completely disheartened and avoided going to do any work for fear I would walk away from it forever. I sat at home making plans to go and when it came to it I remained on the sofa, with plenty of excuses of why I couldn't go (ruining the soil structure featured heavily in my list). However on Sunday I finally went - the excuses had run dry and I knew I had to go (Mr CG would of dragged me there kicking and screaming I think), after the huffing and puffing and dragging my feet all the way there, I was surprised of how happy I became when I saw my little plot. I couldn't get stuck in quick enough (weeding, ripping up areas for planting and my favorite part planning what to plant in each bed for the coming year), and by the end of my visit I had a plan and all of a sudden my passion and motivation back, which I couldn't of been happier about as I am always such a positive person that I questioned who was I becoming, and why I was behaving in such a manner.

Where had my motivation gone and how did it come back so quickly? I was thinking about this on my way home and for days afterwards. I partly feel that if I am away from something and cant see the space I am working with (in gardening, craft and work) I lose focus and quickly my creativity process vanishes and without that I never have motivation to finish projects or I quickly hide from them. Also I identified another issue that if things don't go according to plan (such as naughty greedy pigeons ruining them) I can get very frustrated and this in the past has affected my motivation. This if nothing else has enabled me to identify some issues that block my motivation and focus, but in the coming year I am going to deal even in the most difficult situations. So to start with I need to finish my projects that are all half finished and have a fantastic allotment year (if anybody has any suggestions for interesting vegetables please do shout).

Ta Dah....The dress is complete!

Well after several weeks of my fabulous dressmaking class I have completed the masterpiece. I was hoping to be posting a lovely picture of me in Paris in the dress (but the awful snow on the continent has stopped me from going - sob sob sob). So you have one of me looking slightly grump and sleepy.

The dress I chose was the Miz Mozelle dress pattern, and I made it up with some lovely navy jersey from my favourite dressmaking shop 'Sew Over It'. I trimmed the dress with red bias and topped it off with a lovely button.

The dress taught me lots of skills, especially adding in sleeves and a collar (I have to say sleeves are a complete nightmare so I will be making lots more garments to practice this technique). The pattern itself was at points a little lacking on information and without my fabulous dressmaking teacher I may have given up very early on. I am glad I persisted and came out with a fantastic dress.
Right I now need some new shoes to go with it.........

Instructions: The make or break of my sanity

The past few weeks I have been doing some pattern testing for a few companies, which has been extremely exciting and fun. But has drawn my attention to the importance of instructions, and how these can influence the outcome of a project.

When you are familiar with a craft instructions become more of a guide than a hand-holding through the project. However what happens when you start a new craft when the hand-holding is important and when a successful project can draw you further in to learning more, or an unsuccessful project can deter you for some time. In my recent experience it is a test of my sanity and patience.

The patterns I have been testing have made me realise that they assume you know techniques with very little information if you are new to the craft/technique, they also use jargon that isn't referred to, and most annoying of all very few use images/diagrams which drives me mad (if you are a creative person an image is far more valuable than words will ever be). Not only are these things frustrating but they have left me searching the internet for technical advice and help (which if nothing else has directed me to good reference sites - I shall share these at a later date).

So after hours procrastinating  and doing some research into different craft instructions on the internet and in my craft cupboard, I have come up with what would make the ideal instructions (well for me anyway):

1. The more instructions the better. Don't overcomplicate things by trying to squeeze too much information into one instruction this can be overbearing, but if you can break things down further in a simple way do (it will definitely help me to stay calm)

2. Add images to instructions - sometimes it is far easier to understand when you can visualise it

3. Hints and tips are extremely useful when talking about techniques

4. Weblinks and reference sites are always useful

5. Include a glossary (who knew so many craft acronyms are also 'sexy' I'm still a bit shaky after this)

6. Most of all assume the reader doesn't know anything (lots of instructions I have assume the reader knows everything possible in that craft area - if only I had the time to)

What are your experiences of instructions?

Cath Kidston Craft Club

Monday saw the return of the Cath Kidston craft club in Cambridge, which as you can imagine excited me alot. I have to say I was a little apprehensive as Jen who originally started the group left the shop for a new life up north, and was a natural at teaching people to craft.

So when I arrived there were some faces both old and new (and I couldn't be happier to see Kelly as a new face to craft club), and lots of cake (slightly forgot I was on a diet and ate far too much). After gossiping and eating (which definitely lasted all night), we then got on to what the project was to be. Much to my excitement we were making a love heart garland.

The difficult part then came to choosing the fabric, and we were lucky enough to have access to the new range so I was completely spoilt for choice, but managed to choose the beautiful butterfly fabric and bright pink felt (I loved the felt as it was sticky back, and will definitely be purchasing some for future crafting).

Then we got on to the actual making, which was made easier by the sticky back plastic, we had to cut strips and then sew on the machine so that we had lovely long hearts tubes (this sounds alot easier than it was as the sewing machines couldn't cope with the thickness and also the glue from the felt was transferring to the needles making for a bit of dramatic sewing).

After the drama of the sewing machines we then had time for more cake and this time a cup of tea and cut our strips into lovely hearts.

The hearts were then attached onto some embroidery thread and my garland was complete (with one heart that is adamant not to sit the correct way).
I shall definitely use this technique again , and more importantly I shall now have excessive supplies of sticky back felt.

Cambridge Craft Club

I always talk to fellow crafters in Cambridge who say how much they would like to craft together and after longing for a craft club in Cambridge I have decided that I am going to start my own.

The aim of the craft club will be to teach people new skills, share skills and to just sit with a cup of tea and craft together. It will look to start in April (just awaiting room confirmation), and will take place on the first Saturday of the month. If you are interested and want to be put on the mailing list direct message me or leave a comment at the bottom of this post with your email address, or if you have any ideas you want to input let me know.

Right I'm off to finish one of my many unfinished projects.....

Dressmaking so far......

Earlier in the year I mentioned that one of my ambitions was to start dressmaking. Well I am now three weeks in to my dressmaking course and thoroughly enjoying it. Not only is my teacher absolutely amazing (she is a retired Paris fashion house pattern cutter), with lots of fantastic advice and stories that completely inspire me. But I am now one third of the way to a dress!

I have measured myself up, cut out my pieces and at last I am starting to sew everything together (now the excitement is setting in as I am starting to see what the finished dress will look like). I have to say the first two weeks felt like I was taking so much in, but today I feel that it has clicked and I am away. Watch this space for the unveiling of the finished dress (good or bad)..............

Sewing Machine Excitement

Today I am probably more excited than I have been for a very long time. Not only have I been disciplined and sorted through my clothes and got rid of the ones that don't fit or can't be customised, but I got a new sewing machine.

It's not exactly a new sewing machine, it originally belonged to my Nan but due to her horrendous arthritis she has made a difficult decision to pass the sewing machine over to me as she can no longer craft. It makes me feel really sad as she is an extremely talented lady and taught me everything I know about craft (she is a complete inspiration and the reason I am a crafter).


So now I need to become familiar with my new machine, as I have never used a computerised machine, and more excitingly I need to learn how to use the computerised embroidery function (I may start to embroider everything in sight). I'm so excited about my new machine and I'm off to have  play. But if anyone has any tips and hints for using computerised machine do pass them this way.

Knitted Honeycomb Cushion

The snow has arrived! Yes it's cold, but it gives me an excuse to stay in and sit on the sofa to craft (this always feels so self indulgent and I love it). So like a granny sat in my onesie (just to clarify my granny has never worn a onesie) and blanket I decided to knit the weekend away, and have finally finished my knitted honeycomb pillow (looks slightly bonky in the picture as it needs to settle).

The cushion was from a kit that I received as a gift, and came with needles, full instructions and 2 balls of Rowan Big Wool in Linen (I'm a big fan of Rowan wool as it always knits so well), if you are a loose knitter though you would definitely need an extra ball as I did use the full two balls. It took about 6-8 hours to complete and was very simple to make, it would be good for a beginner who is ready to take the next steps and is a good introduction to cable knitting. I brought the recommended pad to put inside but at present it feels a little snug, hopefully it will settle and look a more natural fit over the next few days.

I really enjoyed making the cushion and I shall enjoy making maximum use of it tonight of the sofa.....

Book Review: Learn to Knit Love to Knit


For Christmas I got this lovely book from my darling sister (after giving some very strong hints). So I thought I would share my thoughts on it so my lovely readers.

Title: Learn to Knit Love to Knit

Author: Anna Wilkinson

A knitting book aimed at beginners taking them from the basic stitches to fairisle projects. The book has fantastic illustrations to teach readers both stitches and techniques (which I feel is a really nice reference for all knitters). It then eases in the readers to some simple patterns from hat, scarves and gloves to sweaters and cardigans (which all sit within the 'learn' section of the book), as the reader becomes more competent there are textured knit project and a fabulous fairisle tank top (these sit within the 'love' section).

As a competent knitter I feel that this book is suitable for all levels of knitter and there are some excellent projects to become completely engrossed in. There however is one downside to the projects within the book for me and that is that the majority use 3-3.5mm needles which means lots of time involved to complete a project (I definitely like projects with bigger needles as projects actually get finished).

I would definitely recommend this book as it is my new 'craft book crush', and watch this space for the fairisle tank top.....

Thinking about new skills........

Today I've been thinking about new crafts that I would like to learn, apart from taking up most of my day thinking about this, I've decided in the next few months that I should try to actually learn some new skills instead of thinking about them.

Screen printing is a skill that I've been wanting to do for some time (part of the reason I haven't done it is that the courses are very expensive), I would really like to get this under my belt so that I can incorporate some designs on material and make these part of my projects for a personal touch, and also nothing makes me happier than a messy craft especially with paint. On the printing theme I would also like to lino print, I like the rustic feel that these prints give and this is something that I can learn at home - so once pay day comes I shall be investing in some lino printing kit (watch this space for some tales of my lino learning).

I'd also like to do some upholstery however I feel like I'd be the kind of person to make a million chairs and nothing else, plus at this point in time I have no room in the house for more furniture so I dont know what I'd do with my projects, however this may be something to consider later in the year.

What crafts do you want to learn, or more so which would you recommend that I consider trying.....

Tea Tasting Fun!

Last night was the first Cam City WI meeting of 2013, and what could be more exciting that a tea tasting session. I absolutely love tea so couldn't have been more excited about this meeting.

The tea tasting was led by 'The Kandula Tea Company' that was founded by Jane and Gail two local ladies from Cambridge. The start of the evening was a presentation of how the ladies founded the company (which was extremely inspirational) followed by a history of tea and Sri Lanka. It was great to hear the company support numerous initiatives in Sri Lanka for women including a group who are widows due to the Tsunami. Then we got on to the lovely elephants (this is the point at which my heart melted), which they support through the sales of their tea. Anyway I could go on but now to the tea.......

We started the evening by looking at the contents of teabags - which was quiet shocking to realise what I am actually drinking dust, when we opened a generic tea bag it looked exactly like a fine brown powder. We then opened a cheap earl grey teabag (which was horrifying) when we looked at the contents it contained white specs which we found out were flavour enhancers. Then we came on to the Kandula earl grey teabag which contained actual leaves - this really made me appreciate the difference in quality of what I am drinking and will definitely give more consideration to this in the future.
We then went on to tasting the teas which was lots of fun, there was 12 teas in total, greens, whites, herbal, fruit infusions and black. I really enjoyed tasting with a group as it was interesting to see what other people saw to be important when tasting teas. They had a pink tea which was even more surprising when we added water to realise that it actually was pink in colour......
My favourite teas of the evening had to be Chai (long time favourite and will never be beaten), strawberry hibiscus and Moroccan mint.
I have to say I am now going to give more serious consideration to the tea I drink and will definitely be a long term Kandula Tea drinker.

My New Year Resolutions

Last year I decided that my new year's resolution was going to be about me - it sounds rather strange now but at the time I felt like I was putting a lot of energy and time into my life but I wasn't getting any personal satisfaction.

On reflection I feel that last year's resolution is the only one I've ever managed to keep and one that really has changed my focus on life, I now feel I know more about who I am than I ever have before. I put a lot of time into crafting which is now slightly starting to take over my life (if I didn't have a full time job I'd definitely be spending more time crafting), I taught myself to crochet - I need to refresh this but it felt like a big achievement, and I signed up for a tailoring course which starts on 17th January (I'm very excited about this and no doubt this will feature heavily over the next few months). I joined the fantastic Cam City WI of which I am the events organiser and have met some fantastic women. But more importantly for me I have started to lose weight.

I know this all sounds like I had a successful year but I seriously neglected my allotment due to the worse rain ever (the rain sent the slugs out who ate all of my seedlings which was very disheartening) - so this year I need to focus and spend more time growing my vegetables. I also have several craft projects that need finishing (this is a very bad habit of mine).

Enough of last year now for 2013, I have decided that this year I am going to have a blog, so here we are.......... a year of new beginnings and ambitions.