Friday, 28 February 2014

Embarking on a 8-week TV bliss

OMG, OMG, I think I am hyperventilating... OK, I might be exaggerating just a bit... But you have to understand Series 2 of the Great British Sewing Bee has started last Tuesday. I followed Series 1 last year, 4 episodes, it was a bit to short.  This year BBC is broadcasting 8 episodes.

I'm not going to discuss in details the programme, so many journalists have written about it and much better that I could (the guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent…).  Although some of them might be a bit condescending... I have only one thing to say, I LOVE it; probably even more than the Great British Bake off.  What I particularly LOVE about the Great British series programmes, both Bake off and Sewing Bee, is that although it is a competition there’s no bullying of the contestants, no shouting, to unnecessary drama…  I would LOVE to be allowed to sit in a corner of the Studio, taking it all in, stroking the fabrics, fiddling with the ribbons, playing with the buttons, listening to the tips and advice of the judge, feeling the tension, witnessing the friendship growing between the contestants... I can almost make myself believe that I could be one of the contestants one day.


Now I have a few suggestions of programmes for the BBC: the Great British Knitting Circle, the Great British Quilting Guild, the Great British Throw Studio, the Great British Beading Party… the Great British Anything Crafty.

Other series from the BBC I’m hooked on.

Silent Witness

Season 17 already.  This is my number 1 favourite.  I really like the format of this series: one hour, 2 nights, one story.  The characters are complex, the intrigue is not a quick and easy one, and it is such a interesting incite of the British society.


Emilia Fox as Dr Nikki Alexander is my favourite character – I just would like to be tall, slim, blonde or at least have the address of her stylist and personal shopper.


BTW, 2 episodes were filmed our street last year -  it felt strange watching these episodes and stepping into our neighbours’ houses.

Line of Duty

I discovered the first series last year, it is about an anti-corruption unit within the police.  Strangely enough, none of the character are really sympathetic, even the good cops are not 100% good guys. No pretty faces, no white smiles either.  It feels so real that it almost scarring.



Another great show, I’ve watch season 1 and 2, learnt quite a bit about the British judicial system. Cherry on top of the cake: Rupert Penry-Jones as Clive Reader, isn’t he handsome, bad boy and so sexy…


I love the BBC, love their programmes, love that I have a UK VPN address so I can keep watching everything on iPlayer.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A table

A busy kitchen rhymes with a busy home.  It was half term in England last week and Victor came to see us (Alice decided to stay in London to revise with a friend – Thanks Claudia for your hospitality).

Half term1     Half term

Half term2     Half term3

Half term4     Half term5

Brownies with tiny marshmallows – I’ve baked these so many times, always a success

More marmalade with my friend’s juicy lemons and blood oranges - still using the same recipe

Quiche with spinach and chicken leftovers – nothing special, but a good way to finish off leftovers and feed veggies to the kids

Miso marinated skirt beef with sautéed potatoes and courgettes – I can’t remember where I got the idea from: I simply mixed a table spoon of Miso past with some Mirin, let marinated for a bit, then in the pan keeping as much of the marinade on the meat

Pancakes – of course with Nutella, with marmalade, with butter/sugar/lemon

Japanese pickles – the recipe came from Harumi’s Japanese Home cookbook

Ginger pork chops Japanese style – from the same book as the pickles, I really like what this lady make in the kitchen

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Mon Jules

This is not good; I cannot stop myself for starting new projects.  A visit to a shop, to Pinterest, a chat with a friend… and I am hooked to something new (beads - my most recent find).  I have so many WIPs and UFOs that I don’t know where to start or more precisely where to finish.  By the way when does a WIP become an UFO?

It is not realistic to think I will have only one project going at a time, but I need some finishes.  So I’m trying something different: 2 weeks of working on unfinished projects, then 1 week of doing what I want new or old.

My first finish is Jules.  The pattern is from Brooklyn Tweed.  The yarn is Scrumptious Aran from Fiberspates.


The yarn is a pleasure to knit with and once blocked it has a very nice drape. The construction of the garment is interesting, working short row to shape the front and the back, then adding the ribbing.  As usual, I learnt a new technique: tubular cast of of 1x1 ribbing.  This makes a very nice, smooth edging.  And even better, I like the way Jules fit ;-)

So this is a first success for my new routine, “Finishing one project at a time”.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Week end away

I know, I know this is supposed to be a blog about crafting…but once again, here I am with my week-end adventure.  This time in New York with Juliette.  I loved it!  I loved to go there just with Juliette (same selfish pleasure as my previous post).  I loved that it was so cold.  I loved the kick of energy I get in New York.  I loved to walk the streets, to look at people, to inhale to smell of the city…

In short this is what we did:

  • a bit of shopping – what else when in New York
  • a visit to the Cloisters
  • a walk in white Central Park
  • a lunch in Chinatown – Xiao long bao almost as good as in S’pore
  • a few more random walks
  • a night at the musical – Cinderella with Carly Rae Jespen (which was a big deal for Juliette)

02 - New York2

02 - New York3

02 - New York

02 - New York1

02 - New York4

Again, it’s been a privilege to be just with Juliette, away from home, deciding together what we wanted to do, where we wanted to go… She is my baby, but she is growing up so fast at the moment.  She can be a grumpy young lady (on an empty stomach and before noon), but she has an incredible sense of humour.

Now, I promise I’ll be back with some crafting topics very soon.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Week-end home

I have some serious catch up do on this blog so off we go to my last couple of week-ends.

I should be living the American dream now that we are settled in Orlando, and I am putting my efforts into making it work.  Still, when I arrive in England, I feel so much at home.  It is a very strange feeling, it is not just when I arrive in our small town, it is a general thing, I just LOVE the country side over there.

So two weeks ago, I made a quick trip home, visiting the kids in their boarding schools.

First stop, Alice in Cheltenham.


We had lunch and dinner together (thanks to her Head of House who let Alice go even if she was grounded – yes, my kids get grounded!).  We got some new school shoes and a bit of comfort shopping.  I spent the night in a very charming B&B (if you ever go to Cheltenham, stay there: it is so pretty and welcoming),and had breakfast with Alice.

Then Sunday morning, I was on the road again to Hertford to visit Victor.  My own little road trip, with my music at full blast.  Nice, nice, nice…

Sunday afternoon was spent with Victor, eating at a pub, driving the tiny roads around Hertford, drinking coffee… then Parents/Teachers conference in the evening.


Monday, I had lunch with my dear friend and her husband – fish and chips what else?.  Then I drove back to take Victor to the dentist.  He normally goes to his monthly appointments on his own, but I was glad to go with him.  We stopped for more coffee and a bit of shopping.

Monday night with Kevin McCloud from Grand Design, dinner from Waitrose… and my super kitsch new phone case.  Then back home.


That was an intense week-end, but I’m so glad I did it.  I felt very selfish to have each kid just for myself, giving them full attention, trying to take in everything they had to say.  I’m so impressed by their maturity, I know it must be very difficult to be away, on their own.  I often wonder whether we made the right decision, but when I visit them, our adult-to-adult discussions make me happy. I am thankful to have this unique opportunity to see them for who they are becoming, without the ‘attitude’, without the ‘policing’, without the ‘worrying about the daily routine’… Does it make sense?  This one day with each of them allowed me to see their ‘wonderfulness’ without the blur lines…

Ok, it’s time to stop before I lose to many readers… and I should concentrate on posting about my laundry :-)