Friday 29 July 2022

Emerging from Covid

Last week Covid-19 finally caught up with me. By now I had assumed that I was either immune or had already had it but been asymptomatic, so it was a bit of an unwelcome shock to actually test positive. Although it wasn't exactly unexpected - I caught it on a cruise and was fully aware that it was a high risk holiday.  I also wasn't alone, my husband caught it again too as well as a large percentage of the people on our sailing judging by the cruise Facebook group. 

But it did surprise me just how ill I have been with it. I'm not overweight, I exercise regularly and I'm in general good health. Even though I didn't really suffer any respiratory symptoms apart from congestion and a cough I did have a couple of days in bed with a fever and dizziness, and then after that it's been fatigue and just generally feeling unwell. 

I'm into the second week now, and after spending far too long lying about on the sofa mindlessly scrolling through my phone I'm finally beginning to feel a bit more like myself. I've managed to take the children out to the beach, I've caught up with the holiday washing, sorted out some of the poor dead plants in the garden that died during the heatwave and even made a half-hearted attempt at cutting back some of our overgrown front hedge.

Soon I'm hoping to turn to the tasks that need a bit more brain power - I feel like everything is still all foggy! I have lots of e-mails to answer, blog posts to write, not to mention trying to do a bit of the work that I do from home. I've just not been able to concentrate properly on anything!

I'm definitely on the mend and I had my first negative test today so it has officially left my system, just hoping that I'm starting to feel normal again soon!

NHS home lateral flow test positive
Photo credit John Cameron via Unsplash

Saturday 23 July 2022

New York Itinerary - Here's how to spend a perfect week in New York

If you're looking for a New York itinerary, look no further. This post will show you how to spend a perfect week in the Big Apple. We'll start with the basics - where to stay and what to do - then get into more specific recommendations for each day of the week. So whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned New Yorker, read on for our tips on how to make the most of your time in the city that never sleeps.

New York skyline
Photo credit Patrick Tomasso via Unsplash

Day 1: Arrive and Get Oriented

After you've arrived and settled into your hotel, take some time to get oriented. Walk around your neighbourhood and familiarize yourself with your surroundings. If you're new to the city, this is also an excellent time to get your bearings by checking out some iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center.

If you're feeling hungry, there are plenty of great places to grab a bite. For lunch, try one of New York's famous delis like Katz's Delicatessen or Carnegie Deli. For dinner, head to Chinatown for some authentic Chinese food or Little Italy for some delicious Italian cuisine.

Day 2: Explore Lower Manhattan

Start your day with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, one of New York's most iconic landmarks. Then, head to lower Manhattan and explore some of the city's most historic neighbourhoods. Visit the World Trade Center site, pay your respects at the 9/11 Memorial, and walk through Battery Park.

For lunch, grab a slice of pizza at one of the many pizzerias in the area or enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the restaurants in Little Italy. Then, take a ferry ride to Staten Island for some great views of the New York skyline. Adding some excitement to your trip is always a good thing. You may research more about the fun things to do in NYC online. Find points that fit your budget. Consider securing tickets to various destinations online.

Day 3: American Museum of Natural History and Central Park

No trip to New York is complete without a visit to the American Museum of Natural History. Spend a few hours exploring the museum and learning about different topics, from dinosaurs to space.

Afterwards, walk over to Central Park and explore one of the largest urban parks in the world. Rent a bike or go for a stroll, and be sure to check out some of the park's iconic landmarks like the Bethesda Fountain and the Belvedere Castle. For the meal, stop by one of the many food carts around Central Park or grab a bite at one of the nearby restaurants.

Day 4: The Upper West Side 

Start your day by taking a stroll through Central Park, one of New York's most beloved landmarks. Then, walk along Museum Mile and visit some of the city's most famous museums, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Guggenheim Museum. 

For lunch, grab a bite at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the area. If you have time, explore the Upper West Side neighbourhoods of Harlem and Morningside Heights. End your day with a Jazz concert at one of the city's many legendary music venues.

Day 5: The Upper East Side

Head to the Upper East Side today and explore some of New York's most affluent neighbourhoods. Start by walking along Fifth Avenue and window shopping at some of the city's most exclusive stores, like Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton. Then, visit the Museum of Modern Art or the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

You can enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the many upscale restaurants in the area. In the afternoon, explore the neighbourhoods of Yorkville and Carnegie Hill. Consider closing the day with a performance at Lincoln Center or a show at one of the city's many Broadway theatres.

Day 6: The Battery Park (Financial District)

Start your day with a walk along the High Line, an elevated park built on an old railway line. Then, head to the Financial District and explore some of the city's most historic neighbourhoods. Visit the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

When hunger kicks in, grab a sandwich at one of the many delis in the area or enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants in Battery Park. Consider taking a ferry ride to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty. 

Day 7: West Village (Chelsea/Greenwich)

New York city street
Photo credit Nathalia Segato via Unsplash

From the best pizza to some of NYC's finest dining experiences, the West Village will not disappoint. During the day, stroll around the quaint streets lined with adorable brownstones and do some people-watching in one of the many cafes. Walk along Bleecker Street for some great shopping options, then end your day with dinner and drinks at one of the many bars and restaurants in the area.

Whether you're looking to explore New York's vast array of museums, stroll through Central Park, or shop on Fifth Avenue, this itinerary will help you make the most of your time in the city. Have a safe trip!

Saturday 9 July 2022

Plans for the summer holidays

Term finished yesterday and the summer holidays are here! I used to sit down with the children and come up with a list of things that they wanted to do, but nowadays they are a lot easier to keep entertained and we are also lucky enough to have a couple of holidays booked so we will be busy. But there are a few things that I want to get done over the next few weeks:

My big job is sorting out Harry's room. It's a mess, it needs a good clean, and it is packed with old toys and things that he has outgrown. I'm tackling his room using the Marie Kondo method where you sort by category and it's working really well. So far we've done clothes, books and paperwork. The next categories to work on are stationery, stuffed toys, Lego, and then we will move on all the other toys. Toys will be sub-divided into small toys (little plastic figurines etc.), boxed toys (like jigsaws, activity sets, construction sets), games, decorative things and so on to make it all a bit easier to tackle.

Pile of small Pokemon toys

As we work we are having a good clean, and also coming up with better ways to organise what he has left. His room could also do with re-painting, but I'm not sure I've got the energy for that!

I'm also going to be spending time with Mia. I've been helping out with my four year old niece recently and have been criticised by Mia for not doing the same activities with her. So we are going to be making rice crispy cakes and doing crafts and drawing together.

I'm hoping to get a bit more blogging done. Our holidays should provide me with plenty of blogging inspiration and I'm also planning to work on my seasonal crafts and related blog posts. I have quite a lot scheduled in for Christmas already, but I could do with some more Autumn and Halloween content.

There are a few craft projects that I want to get on with. I was really pleased with the fabric laundry bags that I made recently and so I want to make a couple more before our travels. I have some Christmas cross stitch pieces that I want to finish and frame, and I have some Autumn felt crafts planned.

I want to make the most of any nice weather and get down to the beach more. We like to go in the evening when it's quieter and not too hot. Hopefully we can also make lots of use of the barbeque and pizza oven.

Pizza from Ooni pizza oven

It would be good for all of us to have some screen free time. I've always been quite relaxed about screen time as long as it's easy to get the children away from it when they need to be. But we've agreed that we could have a go at a few screen free days (as long as Mia can get her Roblox log in rewards!) 

Here's to a fun summer!

Thursday 7 July 2022

Things that I have in my craft stash

Over the last few weeks I've been making a real effort to craft only using items from my stash. Like most crafters I have a rather large stash. Over the years I've collected lots of things, some from my own shopping but also many things that have been passed on to me or that I've received as part of blog collaborations. 

These are the things that I have most of:

Felt - I have a massive plastic drawer full of felt in a huge range of colours. My felt projects are small so I don't get through it very quickly. But I love working with felt and I have lots of ideas for things to make!

Scraps of coloured felt from stash

Fabric - I have another massive plastic drawer packed with fabric. I've been writing recently about some of the things that I've made with my fabric stash. It doesn't feel like I've made much of a dent though! I have a few larger pieces but mainly smaller cuts which would be great for patchwork.

Buttons - Many of these came from a collaboration that I did with a button company a few years ago, although I also save buttons that come as spares with clothes. Most of them are in lovely bright colours and I have some really pretty ones. They are sorted in plastic pots by colour and in a gorgeous button tin that I bought years ago (which also came full of buttons).

Button stash

Beads - I've always collected beads and I've had a few happy shopping trips to the bead shop in Brighton. I was recently lucky enough to be given a box of beads along with a book on beading and I'm definitely inspired to get on and make something. I love wearing bracelets but I always forget to put one on, so I quite fancy having a go at making a few, I definitely have everything that I need.

Ribbon - I save any ribbon that I encounter, from hanging loops in clothes to ribbon from fancy boxes of chocolate. I also have some from ribbon blog collaborations and a few reels that I've bought for various projects. 

Ribbon stash in box

Embroidery thread - I have masses of embroidery thread in every colour that you can think of. I have very rarely bought it, most of it I have been given or it is leftover from various embroidery and cross stitch kits. This part of my stash is brilliant because I can always find exactly the colour of thread that I need for any project!

Hama beads - I have so many Hama beads and pegboards, both the mini and the midi sizes. I need to work on some more mini Hama bead projects because I really love how they look.

In addition I also have lots of crafty bits and pieces that I don't consider to be part of my stash. I have paints, pens, pencils, coloured paper and card. I also have my in progress cross stitch projects - two large and a few smaller ones. Finally there are the craft books - but not too many and I love browsing through them for inspiration.

In many ways it is great having such a large and varied stash, because it means that I usually have something on hand when I'm looking. It also inspires me when I hunt through my stash. But I definitely need to challenge myself to complete some projects by working through what I have.

Do you have a craft stash?