Sunday, November 30, 2014

weekend wanderings #40

(images from, and

Friday, November 28, 2014

Q #29

I've been reading a bit of Atwood recently, and whilst I've actually put down her book for now, her words really stay with me. They are just very evocative and she has a very interesting way of writing, and this one has been carried about with me this week, it is reminding me that things stay with you or mark your mind. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

autumn's swan song

I took these pictures a couple of weekends back, before everything took a turn for the worse with my grandma, when autumn was still raging brightly, and the rain November was yet to fully descend on us.. A few weeks later and the tree's have lost all their leaves, the sun rarely makes an appearance and the temperature has gone from brisk to bracing. I don't hate it though, because I know the dark nights don't last for long, we only have a month or so until they start getting longer again, I know the rain won't last forever. Even on a dark Friday morning in a sad little cemetery on a hill over-looking the disused red-brick mills of Manchester, when the wind is so bitterly cold it brings tears to my eyes and my toes take an hour to regain feeling... I still don't hate it because it all feels necessary.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

taking stock #6

Making: plans for Christmas.
Cooking: mince pies, oh yes oh yes.
Drinking: Charbonnel & Walker hot chocolate, and copious amounts of it.
Reading: Elle & Oh Comely.
Wanting: a brighter few weeks.
Watching: The Missing on iPlayer, because I haven't watched it yet.
Eating: previously mentioned mince pies...
Deciding: on Christmas presents for people.
Wishing: for a snow festive period.
Enjoying: full-time work, actually. After a long period of working part-time, it feels good to be busy.
Waiting: for the winter to really set in.
Loving: regular date-nights with friends from work.
Hoping: my ASOS order comes tomorrow.
Needing: a bit of extra money. ):
Smelling: a sample of a potential new perfume I picked up..
Wearing: black skinny jeans, black & cream two-tone knit-top and wooly socks.
Thinking: about how weird it'll be not to have my brother at home this Christmas.
Hearing: Serial podcast, I'm just re-listening to it all from the beginning.
Feeling: a bit better about stuff, today.
Admiring: other peoples' blogs, I really want to try and make mine the best it can be..
Buying: candles, walking sticks, cheese graters... all presents for people. Oh, and a sneaky dress for myself!
Getting: festive.
I named this picture I snapped earlier ladystark.jpg because I felt like her, wandering around my cold house with this giant grey shawl wrapped round me, haha.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

autumn leaf bunting diy

I thought I'd show you guys my most recent make, that is hanging proudly in my window, my little autumn leaf bunting. Having been a fan of Attic-24 and her kind of bunting for a while now, I wanted to do something similar that was more me. I'd had this nutscene twine hanging about for a bit and thought I would make some little autumn-leaf bunting. It's a fairly similar pattern, so I'm just linking to the ones that I used, but thought you might like to know how I did it..

- crochet hook, suitable for the size of yarn or twine you're using
- a method of hanging, I like those 3M hooks.
- needle

1. I'm not going to repost the crochet instructions here, partly because I'm crap at crochet, and there are so many out there to choose from. I used this pattern for the large leaf and the medium fat bottom leaf from this page, for the small ones.
2. I will say that if you're using the twine, it's pretty hard on the hands to crochet with,and I found it really tough to just crochet in general, so you may need to be wary of that.
3. Leave enough string to hang them from. I found that I could easily get 1 large leaf and 2 small ones from each small roll of twine, with a length to spare - but then ended up with a giant knot in one of them and had to use the leftover length...
4. When you've crocheted all your leaves, use an iron to gently steam them flat as they have a tendency to curl in on themselves.
5. Sew in any ends, and thread through with a needle onto your length of yarn and hang in your window.
So there you go, it's pretty simple but it looks really cute, and it'll be staying up well into the new year, I think. I might even try making a Christmas-themed garland, though I might try a knitted one next time, because I'm really not very good at crochet (I had to have my mum help me with these because I get super confused between the US/UK crochet terms haha). Let me know if you try this out, I'd love to see photos! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

weekend wanderings #39

(images from, and

Friday, November 21, 2014


eileen & anne 

I wanted to say that I felt very sad, this week, that I didn't know you better, Grandma, and I know the distance between our homes was not an excuse. I realised today that I did know you well, in that you helped shape my mum, and you made her into the amazing lady she is today...You were a very interesting woman who I got to know through how your raised my mum and how she raised me (I wouldn't know how to knit if it wasn't for you, or bake, or cook or sew, as these are things she learnt from you). I'll remember your handwriting in my recipe books and the things you knit for us, the jewellery I wear, the handbags I carry, and the memory of you letting me play with your cat figurines every time we visited.. I am glad you're no longer in pain, and are at peace, you were very missed today, and always will be.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

hexagonal showcase: display ideas for collections

When I bought my new camera recently, I went about and snapped photographs of anything and everything to learn about the new settings on my camera - I took a few of some of the objects inside my display cabinet, because you know, I like to pretend my bedroom is a museum. I came across them the other day and thought I'd show you how I display and thought I'd show you. I bought this cabinet in a shop in Brighton a few years back and it's one of my favourite objects that I own. 
I collect little rocks and stones and crystals, I always have done since I was a child, and when I saw this little glass and brass cabinet with a hinged door and little round feet, and knew it would be perfect for the geologist dreams I had as a child. 
You can find similar ones on Etsy, but I'd recommend keeping an eye out at carboot sales, in charity shops or vintage shops, because you might find one, they're perfect for your collection of miniature items, from feathers and shells to crystals or acorns. 
Do you collect small treasures, like me? If you do, please tell me in the comments below or link me to it and how you display them! I'm always after new ideas..!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

book review: the snow child by eowyn ivey

This was a book I'd heard a lot about, I'd seen it for ages, on trains and in bookstores and charity shops. It seemed like my kind of thing, magical realism set in the Alaskan wilderness, with unreliable narrators and foxes... I saw it for £2 in a charity shop and thought I couldn't really go wrong. 
I wanted to write this review when the book was still fresh in my mind, however I didn't, and I think it says a lot about the book that I can barely remember anything about it. It was a very quick read, I think I read it in a couple of evenings, it captured my attention enough to finish it, which isn't always a given in my case.

I think though, I am not the kind of person this book is aimed at, and I'm highly surprised it's been rated so highly on Good Reads. The story focuses on an older couple, Mabel and Jack, who move to the Alaskan wilderness after Mabel cannot cope with the death of their child. The beginning of the book interested me, the emphasis on the loneliness of the wild they have moved to, but I really didn't invest anything in the characters, and after Faina appears several times and they begin to interact with her, my interested dropped off rapidly. The story from there on out was predictable, and I found myself skipping over the lack of plot, because I was bored.

It's sad, because I felt like the story had a lot of potential, but it really just fell flat, and I remember very little about it, except for a lot of descriptions of snow. Have you read this and did you enjoy it? Let me know, because I felt like I was missing something, as so many people seemed to enjoy it! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

weekend wanderings #38

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

a day at the sea - milford-on-sea + lymington (part two)

On Monday I shared with you guys some photos of my recent outing to Milford-on-Sea, in the New Forest, where I went to spend the day with my mum for her birthday. She just want to be by the seaside, and who can blame her really, when the weather turned out to be absolutely amazing by the end of the day. The grey skies cleared and the clouds that were skidding across the sky passed over, and we got the most amazing sun and the temperature really picked up. 

The spit of land in front of you in the photos actually leads out to Hurst Castle, and in the distance is the Isle of Wight. The castle is apparently an old fortress of Henry VIII, and you can read more about that here, but it's somewhere I'd really love to visit. Maybe in the new year it's something I can do, because it'd be really cool to walk along the shingle spit to the castle. Apparently it is prone to erosion, and some of the rocks have come all the way from Norway to stabilise the land there between the solent and the saltmarshes. 

Then as we were leaving, the sun seemed to know it, as the closer we go to the car, the sun drifted back behind the clouds and it was transformed back to the regular grey clouds we were used to. It feels like somewhere really old, and I'm not just saying that in my overly romantic ways, but it feels like a place that will just go on existing long after we're gone, with the same noise of the water lapping in the seaweed, the noise of birds coming in to land on the water and wind in the grasses going on forever.
Okay, so I am being overly sentimental and romantic, but it's a really interesting place that I had no idea existed, and I really want to explore more of..
Let me know in the comments if you've been somewhere similar, particularly if you're in the UK, because I love finding places that I've never been to before, like undiscovered little gems (in my eyes at least.)

Monday, November 10, 2014

a day at the sea - milford-on-sea + lymington (part one)

It was my mums birthday recently - I asked her what she would like to do, and she answered that she wanted to just go to the seaside for the day. A strange request perhaps, but my mum loves all things seasidey and beach related, so it wasn't really that much of a surprise. So we went down to Lymington, in the New Forest, where we perused the market and the little shops and the beautiful Georgian buildings on the high street (I felt like I was back at uni, in Farnham). Afterwards, we went for a walk down at Milford on Sea. The sky was really grey and dark at first, and it felt like such a perfect autumn day, all brisk and cool and windy.

Even though we went there for my mothers birthday, I have to say I was completely in my element, the light was coming through the clouds perfectly. Milford-on-sea is a weird place to go for a walk, the land goes up to a ridge where you can walk along a man-made pebble and rock peninsula to Hurst Castle, but before that you can walk alongside these tidal pools.

It's a really atmospheric place, too, with all the noise from the boat masts ringing, the wind in the grasses along by the water. I've take a load of photographs, it's the first time my new camera has had it's first proper outing, so forgive the mountain of photos! I took so many, in fact, that I'm going to separate them in to two posts, so keep your eye out for those.
Maybe it's just me but I feel like it's such a British thing to go for a walk at the water in the winter, it's really peaceful, generally, and I just enjoy the time I spent there, with family. 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

missing in action

Just a short update to say that U+T will be a bit up and down until further notice, due to the passing away of a family member. Hopefully I'll be back soon, posts just may be a little sporadic in the meantime, please bear with me until then. I have some things scheduled, so I'll still be popping up on your feed, but if you need to reach me, the best way is via Twitter or email

Thank-you x

Friday, November 07, 2014

Q #28

I've included quotes by Le Guin before in this series, as someone that writes mainly science fiction and fantasy, I find her writing strikes me most when she's talking about the real world. I strongly recommend you to check out her novels, though, she's one of my favourite authors, with good reason.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

a day in the country: royal berkshire county show

A few weeks ago now I won tickets to the Royal Berkshire County show from the wonderful Ruth over at - I remember seeing her previous blog about it and thinking it was really fun looking day-out, so when I won the tickets I was really psyched. However, things didn't go to plan as such on the day, I had to work until 1PM and it rained! 

However, I did get to stuff my face with bread, sausages, cheese, jams, curds and chutney, ice-cream, flavoured liquors and all other kinds of amazing food. I also got to pet some llamas, watch a guy train one to jump over a fence like horses do, pet many, many, many sheep and goats, admire chickens.. I also got to watch some sheepdog trials, see some show-jumping, and get to see some gigantic bulls being judged. Despite the set-backs, it was an amazing day, obviously the llamas and alpacas were my favourites, they're absolute beauts of animals, so soft and friendly and full of personality, I really cannot wait until I've got my own little bit of land in the future and I can keep one.. 

Anyway, this post is to say a giant thank-you to Ruth, who is fast becoming one of my favourite blogger-friends, for the tickets, and to encourage you all to seek out your county show next year! I was worried it would be full of farmers buying tractors, haha, and although there was a bit of that, there is so much other stuff to see, I'm definitely going to try and keep the day free next year so hopefully I can experience the show a bit better! 

Monday, November 03, 2014

on losing weight: compliments, self worth + other people

Listening to others is hard, generally, but harder when you're trying to do something for yourself, and for you only. When people compliment me on my weight-loss, I face a tricky dilemma, because on one hand, I want to take their compliments and show them off to everyone like a shiny little badge of honour - when someone tells me I look like I've lost weight I want to jump up and down, sometimes, I want to shout to everyone "LOOK, LOOK AT ME, I CAN DO THIS!"
But then I have a little think, a split second to remember that this is exactly what causes the problem anyway, this problem of worrying what other people think, I've placed too much importance on what every passing stranger thinks.
So, internally, I am trying to get away from that happiness that is caused by other peoples compliments (and in turn, their insults). In my head, in these situations, you have two choices; engage, or disengage.

Disengaging yourself from the conversation is a tricky one. There are situations where it's awkward to bluntly lay it out, like, "This is none of your business." At work, for example, you might have to see people all the time, so you can't tell them to fuck off, no matter how much you may want to! A polite smile, nod, and a change of conversation is generally the best course of action, in my book. I am well practised these days at the fine art of changing the subject, and evading the question, but if it keeps my health (physically and mentally) intact, I'm not afraid to do it.
If they push, have a well rehearsed answer. I get the "So how did you do it?" quite a lot, and its human curiosity (and stupidity?), I suppose. If they are that awful kind of person that won't take a hint (we all know one of those) then don't be afraid to say, "Sorry, I'd rather not talk about it." There is a woman I work with who brings up "just how fat I was" everytime I bump into her. It's a shitty thing for her to do, but she's a shitty person. I'm getting better with the sarcastic comebacks, as apparently, it's how she gets a fucking clue.
There are also those people that make comments on what you're eating/your weight/whatever they feel like taking shots at that day. As a rule, I don't ever engage with these people. I think they're dicks, straight up. Generally, it is never your place to comment on how much or how little someone is eating, as you don't know their personal situation and you're probably not their doctor - if this is you, stop it! I'm still pretty overweight, yes, but occasionally I allow myself treats, it's not a criminal act, but you wouldn't know it from the looks I got digging into a burger and chips in Bill's the other week..

On the other hand, engaging is a can of worms in itself, but I have a few main questions I ask myself, when someone says, "Wow, have you lost some weight?"
Do I trust them? Generally, this is my first thought. A starting point, a place to work from is your relationship with that person in the first place. I have a list of people in my head (lol, issues, I know) of people I know I can talk to about my weight loss. They might not be the best of friends, or people that I've known for that long (or they might be) - some of them are family, and some of those people I definitely don't trust are family. You know, deep down, whether you can have a frank conversation about the struggles of losing weight, or whether you think a compliment is genuine, or not, so trust that gut instinct.
Am I in the right place mentally to discuss this today? The second thing I have to consider is my general mood. Some days, I just cannot entertain that conversation, simply put. I might have lost two pounds that week, and still not be in a good place to discuss it. If I am feeling like this, you have to have the strength to just shut that conversation down. On one of my darker days (weeks/months!) I cannot talk about it. I might still have gone to the gym that day or eaten healthily, but regardless, I cannot look outside that bubble I'm in to see my progress, and having to fake-smile a way through a conversation about 'how good you look, now' is a hard thing to do. I'll obsess over the details, like if they said now, what does that mean? Like I looked shit before? It's just asking for trouble, in my book.
What are my boundaries? This is obviously different for everyone, and even for me, they differ from person to person that I know. With most people, I cannot talk numbers. I can say I've lost five and half stone, but I can't say what my highest weight is, or where I want to be - mostly because these are triggers for me, so I steer clear of talking about that with pretty much anyone.

Obviously, this could all seem very over the top for people that don't have these kind of mental triggers - but even if you don't I hope you understand where I'm coming from! Everything is a learning curve, but I am slowly learning to separate my self-worth from other peoples opinions of me. I don't want a bad day to be because some random fucking person thought I looked fat. I don't want to cause a binge because someone thought I ate too much. On the flipside of that, I also don't want to only feel good about myself when someone tosses me a compliment like a scrap to a dog - I don't think that is a healthy way to live!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

weekend wanderings #37

(photos from, and