Becoming a Driver

I posted about my first driving lesson back in May, and since then I have passed my driving test and I’ve been driving on my own for a while now. I was super proud to have passed first time

Feeling like a driver took me a lot longer than passing my test. Throughout my last few lessons I still felt like a learner, like I needed my instructor’s guidance, even though he wasn’t really helping me very much by that point. I was driving independently, he was just in the car with me and occasionally giving me tips and advice about driving in general rather than talking me through how to handle situations as they happened.

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Armoured Gloves

I started a new knitting project a few days ago, and I’ve been knitting to destress after my driving lessons, so I’ve whizzed through the project and finished it already. It was a really fun thing to knit, using basic garter stitch and looping metal scales into every second row to create a scale maille effect.

I was looking for a pattern on ravelry a few weeks ago and thought it would be good to try a new technique, and this jumped right out at me.

I ordered four packs of small anodised aluminium scales from The Ring Lord in black, bronze, gold and champagne. The gold and champagne scales look quite similar to each other in some light conditions and quite different in others. I’d have preferred a more distinct colour difference between them, but other than that, I like how the colours go together.

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My first driving lesson

I had my first driving lesson the other day. I’d never driven before in my life. In fact, the closest I’d come was when my dad handed me the car keys, when I was about nine years old, and asked me to turn the car radio on. We must have been having a barbecue or something. I followed his instructions, but turned the key too far and started the engine, which was pretty scary considering I was only a little girl.

This time, as well as managing not to panic and burst into tears, I actually drove the car. I was super nervous to begin with, but my instructor was great, and before I had chance to worry about how scary it was going to be, I was driving along. It wasn’t as scary as I had expected it to be, and although I made a few mistakes, I think I did pretty well overall.

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Cowl Neck Sweater

In December 2009 we moved from Toronto back to the UK. My brother and sister stayed over there, and it sucks that we live so far apart now. My sister visited the following summer, and when she left I bought some yarn to cheer myself up.

I bought 10 balls of Artesano Inca Cloud, a sport weight alpaca yarn that is lovely and soft. It came with a free pattern, and I selected the Nico sweater by Jean Moss. I had only knit one sweater before, a chunky acrylic man’s cardigan, so this would be the biggest project I’d started for myself, and the second sweater.

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Sock Knitting

I’m not sure where I heard the idea that real knitters knit socks, but I’d been knitting for probably over a decade and had never tried to make a pair of socks before. I was curious, were they really so difficult? It was time to find out.

My friend bought me some lovely alpaca sock yarn for my birthday back in 2012 and I started knitting. I chose a toe up pattern as that meant no seaming on the toes, and a short row heel as I thought they looked the nicest. I went with Elfine’s Socks, a free pattern with a pretty lace design, with both a chart and written pattern. I prefer to knit from a written pattern, but many lace patterns only provide charts which I find frustrating.

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Moving House

We’ve lived in our current house for over three years, and it’s really too small for our family. The girls are growing up fast and it’s past time they had more space. Until recently, our budget just wouldn’t stretch to a bigger house, especially while we got our company off the ground. Things have improved a lot lately and we’re ready to make the leap.

I’ve been looking at houses online for a few months while we made sure our finances were in shape and thought about what we wanted from our new home, so I could get an idea of what was available at what price. I saw a couple houses that would have been great for us, but there weren’t many. I decided we were ready to stop browsing and start seriously considering houses around the middle of January.

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Stone Circles

Over the last few months I have developed an obsession with stone circles. I have visited fifteen, if you include Stonehenge, which I saw as a child. We’ve made several trips to remote moors, hills and fields across the north of England to visit these megalithic monuments.

Most of the circles we’ve visited have been in Cumbria. This is because there is a greater concentration of stone circles there than in Yorkshire, where we live, although we have seen a few closer to home. We’ve also visited henges and standing stones, which are from around the same period in history as the stone circles.

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Making Runes

My interest in runes began when my sister lent me The Book of English Magic. One of the topics it covers is the runes. It briefly describes their history, meanings, how to use them and how to make a set. My sister had access to wood and tools through her work, so she made me a set.

I was interested in learning more about runes and how to use them, so I installed an app on my phone that popped up a notification each day describing the meaning and associations of a random rune. After a few weeks I had learnt the names, symbols and meanings of most of the runes, and I was ready to start using them.

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Harris Tweed Handbag

My handbag finally gave up on me after three years of daily use. The handles had been fraying for months, the lining had torn, the out fabric was wearing thin, but I still carried it with me every day. When the handle broke away from the bag, there was no way I could keep using it. I had to accept that it had come to the end of its life.

The good thing about losing a handbag is getting a new one, and I had been looking forward to owning a handbag that wasn’t falling to pieces. As my old bag died at the end of January, there were still sales in the stores, so we went to have a look. I didn’t like any of the bags I saw at the shopping centre, they were mostly made from plastic and covered in gold fixings, not to my taste at all. I knew I could make something for myself that I would like a lot better, and it would also be much cheaper.

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Moroccan Chickpea Stew

We were a bit short on cash this weekend, but our cupboards were well stocked with essentials, ridiculous amounts of flour and an immense amount of spices, I took the opportunity to challenge myself to feed the family for the weekend using mostly what we already had at home.

I usually plan recipes and shop for them, leaving the kitchen full of left over bits and pieces of store cupboard stuff, oddments of vegetables and a small collection of living herbs on the windowsill, but we never keep things that are used once in their entirity such as jars of sauce, cans of beans or most vegetables that are usually purchased in the amount required for a dish.

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