Stuff, and things

I feel like I should write a proper update post, as people keep asking me things!

So I’ll start with stuff-I’ve-done, before moving on to things I’m going to do.

I’ve done: (COMPLETELY out of order)

– Went to Live at the Apollo (BBC standup comedy show which is currently replacing Jonathan Ross on Friday nights), which was pretty cool. And look! One of the episodes is on iPlayer already.

– Did I mention I saw Avenue Q?

– And then last night I went to Kat’s musical-themed birthday party, where someone came as the Bad Idea Bears! I just wore my costume from Ooh La La, which you have already seen.

– Did I also mention I saw Kenneth! Branagh! in Ivanov, which was awesome.

– Met up with Steph, who was over from Amsterdam, and went to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum. Also had tea at Liberty, dahling.

– I already told you about the cookalong, which was so much fun and must be repeated! (as in, making that recipe again AND doing the next cookalong)

– Some dancing! I’ve been doing various dance workshops like Lindy Hop, 20s Charleston, and today I did Rock and Roll.

– And last week Rebecca and I went to see Dave Dobbyn. Hello nostalgia!

People Tree sample sale on Friday. I went a little nuts. I set pretty strict rules for myself and what I can buy these days – it should be ethically produced or secondhand, and I try not to buy too much stuff, both because it’s bad for the environment and I’ve got nowhere to put it. This has resulted in me not really buying all that much. I still love clothes though. So the sample sale was fab – everything there was ethical! I got a dress, a tunic, a summer work shirt, some trousers, a top, a tshirt, some knickers and a few necklaces.

– Charlotte and Glyn’s farewell dinner, at which she announced she was pregnant! and I caught up with a couple of the girls from her hen night.

Good times.

And hopefully good times ahead:

– Going back to NZ on 20 December for a month. Stopovers in Tokyo and San Francisco! Lots to organise and I keep procrastinating… but yay! It’s going to be weird though…

– Moving out of my flat when I leave, and

– Moving into a new flat when I get back! Nice place, nice flatmate (hopefully by then TWO nice flatmates), good location… but I’ll save the details for when I’ve moved in.

So, if I don’t post much, it’s because I have a LOT to do. Sigh.

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Christmas tree time!

Ok, usually I wouldn’t put my tree up until December, but a) I’m leaving on the 20th, and b) I’m going to have to take my tree down a long time before then, probably some time next week, to make room for a guest and then to start packing.

Here’s a photo of my tree with explanations of where all the decorations come from. Well, some of the decorations anyway. There are a lot more, including a whole Nativity set of ornaments from Prague that there simply isn’t room for on my tiny tree.

I try to buy at least one Christmas decoration from everywhere I go, not because I’m religious (I’m not) but because they’re pretty, and make for good souvenirs, and I like handcrafted things so try to buy as many as possible (but I don’t like too many knick-knacks cluttering up the place so bringing them all out once a year is perfect!). This doesn’t always work as not everywhere sells Christmas decorations year-round. It was impossible to find any in France or Switzerland, and the only ones I found in Belgium were from Germany, which defeats the point.

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Kiva

I’m desperately trying to save money at the moment, what with an expensive overseas trip coming up! (well, the trip itself won’t cost that much but the fact that I’m taking unpaid leave for a month will)

However, I remembered today that I had some credit sitting in my Kiva account from my last loan, to a women’s craft group in Uganda. Instead of letting it sit there I figured I should top it up to the minimum loan amount and lend it out again. I think that’s what I’ll do every time I receive a repayment. It’s only a little bit of money at a time for me but eventually I’ll be lending a lot!

I’ve decided to focus my loans on women and particularly in Africa. However today I was browsing through and the very first loan request on the site was for Julius Muuambi Mutua, in Kenya. He is a registered nurse with a clinic he wants to expand, and needs instruments in order to help women who have suffered health problems from illicit abortions. A worthy cause! The loan was a bit riskier than my last as there have been problems with some field partners in Kenya and this particular field partner has a high risk rating, but it’s not much money I’m investing here and like all investments I’ve weighed up the risk and am willing to lose my money if it doesn’t work out.

I really just wanted to point everyone in the direction of the site again. Kiva and its field partners are making such an enormous difference to so many people’s lives. The minimum loan amount you can make is $US25 which is nothing to us but combine it with money lent by other people around the world and it really does make a difference.

Unselfish knitting

I have been very unselfish about my knitting lately. Apart from a couple of projects I can’t share yet, I agreed to knit my friend Katherine a hat from my High Street Hat pattern (Ravelry link; I’ll updated the picture once I get my profile linked to my designer page), and I took the opportunity to update the pattern as well. I think it’s a lot better now and I want to knit myself another!

Here is Kashmira (not Katherine, she doesn’t want to be famous!) modelling the hat:

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It looks so good on her I think I’ll have to knit her one too, right? I do love hat knitting, as long as you don’t run into any trouble (as I was modifying this one I did start it three times and rip back sections) it only takes a couple of hours per hat.

On the other hand, this is how much scarf I can get done in a couple of hours:

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Five measly inches. I’ve not knit many scarves before and I don’t know how you people do it. This one is for Steph and will have a hood. It’s a bit of a long-haul project, I fear. It’ll be just as boring for you folks because not only is it neverending, the dark colour is also extremely difficult to photograph!

For myself, I have yarn for Chantal. Call it my reward yarn for when all of this other knitting gets done! I bought the yarn for Chantal and the scarf from New Lanark. New Lanark was built as a model industrial town in 1875, and we actually studied it at university. When I found out that it still existed and actually sells yarn, I couldn’t resist. The colours are stunning too, and the yarn is cheap and organic (although definitely “woolly” – it’s Scotch wool, not cashmere!). I really must go there one day. Luckily for me the yarn also comes in Aran and DK, the two weights needed for Chantal. Stay tuned.