Monday, 29 April 2013

A Hearty SAL

Hello everyone!

A stitchy post today, but just a quick one since I want to get on with my own stitching.

Eileen Hoare is having a SAL (stitch-a-long for all you non stitchy peeps) of some beautiful little heart designs.  I've also ordered some of her silk threads to try since I've never stitched with silk threads before and these look absolutely stunning, and the hearts are small enough to try the silks out on and see how I get on.  The SAL is free to join in and there will be 16 hearts in total to stitch.

You can join in on her Thread Pickerz facebook page here to get the heart charts as they are released:

You have until Sunday 5th May to sign up for the freebie charts, I hope to see some of you on there!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Flashback... Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

All photos Copyright Robert May

Written 23rd March 2011

After a late night at the penguins, we planned a leisurely Wednesday.  This involved a lie in, a bit of pampering for me in the morning with all my lotions and potions and then jumping on a tram through town towards Federation Square, where we could get off and grab a picnic lunch which we could eat in the Botanic Gardens.  We were lucky, it was a gorgeous day outside.

A perfect spot for lunch

Lunch spot from the outside

Strange spiky balls - we were fascinated!
The gardens themselves were really beautiful, so many colours and full of dragonflies and butterflies, but thankfully no wasps!! The pictures Rob took were probably better than any description I can give, so I’ll let those show you how wonderful they were.

Pretty flowers

Beautiful colours

In the evening, we decided to head into town and to the Gin Palace, where I sampled an Australian Gin, a bit more fruity than our English ones, and also an Icelandic Gin, which was 53% and almost blew my head off.  Rob stuck to the cocktails which arrived in suitably girly martini glasses.  We had some yummy cheese plate and chorizo to soak up the alcohol, which was tasty and fantastic.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Travel Memories chart/threads winner

Since today is the 22nd April, I went back to my post on the Travel Memories finish and pulled up a list of everyone who had left a comment.  They were:

geeky heather
Gill (commented on facebook but couldn't leave one on my blog)

Using the extremely technical 'names on bits of paper' technique, I asked my hubby to choose one for me, and he picked...


The pattern and spare threads will be winging their way to you this week :)

Thanks to everyone who left comments!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Flashback... Penguin Parade

All photos copyright Robert May

Written 22nd March 2011

Today was our Penguin Parade trip over on Phillip Island, funnily enough with the same bus and guide as for the Great Ocean Road day trip, so we sort of knew what we were letting ourselves in for this time.

The first stop on this one, because it was a later pickup, was for lunch. I was very excited to see that Koo Wee Rah had a craft shop, and disappointed to find that it was only for quilting.  Still, we munched down some food and got on our merry way to the next stop which was a vineyard, for a little wine tasting. At Bass River winery, we tried 6 wines, Rob liked the Chardonnay and I preferred the Cherry wine.  We also got some nibbles of cheese, the Cheddar was very tasty indeed.

The next stop was at Panny’s chocolate factory.  Lots of silly things here, including a chocolate waterfall, and lots of freebies, and you could try to write your name in chocolate.

Chocolate Waterfall
Then came a beach stop and a Koala stop for some more photos and a ridiculous song that the tour guide played, a quick stop by the Moto GP circuit on Phillip Island, and Pyramid Rock for some more scenic photos.  

sun rays over the water

Following this, a stop at Nobbies centre on the island for further scenery, and finally we got to the Penguin Parade about an hour before dusk to meet our ranger who gave us headphones, binoculars and a little talk before we had front row seats on the sand to see the penguins. Rather than waddling into the sea, they were waddling up out of the sea and into their burrows.  Very cute they were, but sadly we weren’t allowed to take any photos.  Here's the website so you can go and have a look though :)

Scenic views from Nobbies Centre

All in all, another wonderful day with loads packed in.  I think this and the Great Ocean Road trip were two of my favourite days through the whole holiday because it felt like we had seen so much.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Flashback... Great Ocean Road

All photos copyright Robert May

Written 21st March 2011

Today was an early pickup just after 7am for a long trip down the Great Ocean Road, just out of Melbourne.  We took this trip and the Penguin Parade trip (tomorrow) with Go West Tours, and they were fantastic and extremely knowledgable and a lot of fun, I'd highly recommend them.

Start of the Great Ocean Road

On the way we passed through Geelong which looked cute and then our first stop was at Bells Beach, a really lovely looking and picturesque place.  Got some photos here and then hopped back onto the bus. A few more scenery shots and then we had a tea break at the fantastic Lorne. I think I could happily retire there with my cross stitch.

I *think* this one is Bells Beach

We carried on further down the twisty turny road (think snake pass for about 6 hours at F1 like speed), with me feeling borderline not too amazing, and then made a couple more snapshot stops and also a longer stop to spot some Koalas in the trees; we also saw a variety of birdies and an evil looking snake.


Lunch was a stop in Apollo bay for a quick sarnie, and ice cream, and then we continued via the Otways Rainforest, with a guided wander around.  Further on into Port Campbell National Park, and we arrived at the 12 Apostles, where we both took a short helicopter trip to view the amazing scenery from the skies.  

View of the Apostles from the air

Then, we made more stops to see Loch Ard Gorge and London Arch (Bridge).  The tour guide kept us very well entertained with stories and a variety of music appropriate to each of them.

Loch Arg Gorge

London Arch
(Previously London Bridge
before it collapsed in the middle)
The tour was really fun, if a little tiring because there was so much packed into the day, but we had a fantastic time, and as you can see there were plenty of photo opportunities for Rob.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Flashback...Walk to St. Kilda

All Photos Copyright Robert May.

Written 20th March 2011

Having become a teeny bit more familiar with our local area, we decided to venture on a walk to the beach at St Kilda. We walked for just over an hour until we got to the waterfront, where we were gasping for a sit down and some water, and more brekkie – we got in just before the lunchtime cut off.
After this, we strolled along the beachfront, where there were tons of volleyball games going on, people on rollerblades and bikes, altogether far too much sport happening for 27 degree baking heat.  We had to stop again a bit further down, where we shunned the noisy bar full of local squawking women and opted for the novotel bar – air-conditioned and quiet. Blissful.

Volleyball on the beach

A gorgeous day

A short walk round the local shops at St Kilda and back past some of the Market stalls before we decided to make our way back to town, via the park. However, it just so happens that next weekend is the Melbourne F1 race, and the park was being set up ready for it. We spent a while walking on the racetrack watching them painting all the sponsors logos onto the walls, and imagining what the noise would be like on a race day.  Really exciting, just a shame we aren’t here for the actual race!!

Walking along the F1 racetrack

Pretty scary view when you imagine cars screaming past
 - from one of the holes in the fencing
We were pretty tired and got a mega long day ahead tomorrow, so we opted for a snacky tea in the Blue Train Cafe (thanks Tracey for the suggestion, it was a good one!) and a slow walk back to the hotel.

Now time to crash out. 7am pickup tomorrow!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Flashback... Melbourne Arrival

All photos copyright Robert May

Written 19th March 2011

The 18th was a travel day for us, we started early in Ayers Rock, after a short 25 minute flight to Alice Springs (cute airport, smelled of waterfalls), we transferred to the Melbourne flight and then caught a cab to the Radisson hotel, where we are in a lovely 9th floor room.  We were both saying how much we love this chain as they seem to have thought of everything (Rob marvels at the fact they provide an iPod docking station and an adapter, whilst I hunt for the dressing gown!!).  There was a knock at the door as they brought our luggage and then also handed us a lovely bottle of fizz and some delicious strawberries with a sweet card to say they hoped we enjoyed our honeymoon stay.

The Radisson Hotel room

Honeymoon goodies from the hotel

The man who checked us in also gave us a map and some quick pointers on where to go for food, so we found the lively chilled out bit not too far from the hotel and had some delicious food, while in the background some dude played the drums to backing tracks of well known songs.

The 19th we spent pottering around central Melbourne, mainly looking at the bars and deciding they were too busy. We stopped for a lovely brekkie in Spiga and then did some shopping. Rob seems to be doing much better than I so far, as my most exciting purchase was some shampoo from a brand I’ve heard of.

Cool photo from inside one of the shopping centres

We were both a bit bored of Italian food and in the mood for a change, so as we got a whiff of Indian food, we decided it would be nice for a bit of something different. Also, the name 'Shi Raaz' just made me giggle. It turned out to be very tasty indeed, a good choice. Sadly, the planned night out on the town was scuppered by me twisting my ankle and not really feeling up to it, so that might have to happen later in our trip instead.  We opted for coffees instead and an early night. I know, pathetic, aren’t we?

Monday, 8 April 2013

2 Happy Dances and a Giveaway!

Hello everyone,

It's been a while since I've posted, I'm sorry!

I've had a long Easter break away by the coast and then a hen party so there hasn't been much free time for blogging.  I'll be back posting more about my Australia trip after this short stitching update.

I've been doing a fair bit of stitching, and I've completed the following:

Home Sweet Home
The World of Cross Stitching free kit from ages ago

Travel Memories
Dimensions Gold Collection, Petites

I loved the small Home Sweet Home one and mostly stitched it on the tube.  I really like the Travel Memories piece as well, but I HATED stitching it.  I'm not sure if it's because it's a petites kit and the needle was smaller than I'm used to but I found it hurt my hands a little to stitch this one and push the needle through.  It also seemed to take much longer than I expected it to.  And I was worried that with some of the colours I got right down to the last bit of thread, and some I had heaps left.  I don't think I unpicked much of it so I'm not quite sure what happened.  I have 2 more petites kits that I bought at the same time, which I'm not going to start until I've got over this one.

Now I'm finished I love how it looks.  But I never want to see the pattern or the threads again, so I'm giving away this chart and the spare threads so you can colour match. The majority of stitching is in half stitches and mine was stitched on 18 count ivory Aida.

If you'd like to win the pattern and spare threads, just leave a comment on this post and I will draw a winner in 2 weeks time on the 22nd April.  If you post about the competition on your blog, let me know and you'll get an extra entry.  If nobody wants it, I'm burning it :)