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January by numbers

Tell me three good things about January, my colleague implored me mere hours into our working lives of 2014. I got as far as ‘the days start to get fractionally longer’ and ‘cheap post Christmas chocolate’ before I ran fresh out of ideas.

For one of my Christmas Snowman (family tradition, long story) presents I was given a beautiful Cath Kidston notebook which I have designated ‘The Big Book of All Things 2014’. It means, lucky for you, I can tell you all the brilliant things about January…

Books read: 23 (vg, although 7 of them were by Laura Ingalls Wilder…)
Books bought: 9, ish. I’ve not really kept track of my amazon spending. Ahem.
Ballet classes taken: 16 (good). I was a couple of classes behind schedule owing to a delayed start back because one of my studios is undergoing extensive refurb (it’s JUST like hogwarts at the moment and that is great).
Ballets seen: 5 (excellent). I saw the Royal Ballet in the Nutcracker (now want to drink pink gin cocktails with Laura Morera’s Rose Fairy), Jewels (Morera perfection in Emeralds and Natalia Osipova/Steven McRae/Melissa Hamilton KILLED it in Rubies) and Giselle (oh. My. Holy. Osipova). I also saw ENB’s Le Corsaire (Daria Klimentova = totally darling) and Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (jolly good fun).
Knitting projects completed: 2 (fail), a stripy slouchy beret and a blanket for my Impending Nephew.
Times I left london: 0. Total fail.
Teevee I loved: Sherlock. Call the Midwife. The Musketeers.
Teevee I continue to have a complex relationship with: Dancing on Ice
Culinary adventures: mostly soup related for lunches but I have instigated ‘Cake of Scientific Inquiry’ at work to try and make us like things in cake that we shouldn’t. So far I have converted at least two people to carrot cake. My next project involves apricots which I claim have no redeeming features…




Filed under ballet how it should be done, I dance (not by Toyota), knitting on pointe, nellie on telly

2013 By Numbers

Ballet classes: 191 (good but could do better ;))

Pairs of pointe shoes since restarting pointe: three (good, well not the Freed Studios II which, it turned out, were not the right choice for my feet. The Bloch B Morphs and Grishko Proflex were/are great though)

Ballet performances seen: 29 (average)

Ballet companies seen: 11 (vg)

Books read: 221 (could definitely do better)

Knitting projects completed: EXCELLENT QUESTION (why do I have no method for recording this? Must do better)

Baked good produced: my colleagues’ answer to this would be “not enough” and I’d probably be inclined to agree!

TV programmes fallen in love with: Call the Midwife (my ovaries are SO on board the Good Ship Turnadette it’s not funny) and Sherlock. On the downside all my long standing favourites are starting to Jump The Shark (yes, Homeland, I’m looking at you. Also Bones)

Number of times my ovaries were damaged in some, way, shape or form: innumerable (must gird better)

Occasions on which I was forced to break out the CAPSLOCK SQUEE: many

Niggling injuries: numerous (must do better)

2013 has been… well it’s not been terribly bad. It’s had a lot of good points, a few slumps but mostly it’s been a nice year of middling along in an average kind of fashion which suits me just nicely. I don’t think I have many particular aims and ambitions and resolutions for 2014. Well, you know the usual things: Be Less Fat, sleep more, stop playing stupid games on my phone instead of going to sleep, knit more, work harder, keep my bedroom tidy, keep my desk tidy…  oh and BLOG MORE (because I have been a total Slack Alice).Well, maybe there’s a few balletic aims but nothing silly, all (with any luck and a following wind) fairly achievable:

  • manage a pirouette en pointe without getting up to passé and freaking out
  • achieve some kind of consistency with pirouettes (at the minute there are some classes where I just settle for hitting a decent balance and I’d quite like to get over that now thank you)
  • manage an attitude pirouette
  • achieve consistent doubles en dehors both sides
  • get my demi pointe balances more consistent
  • start jumping again (my patella tendon/ITB have been… niggly so jumping’s been out since about October which is galling)

It’s still a bit funny to look back to two years ago when I was in the deep throes of my emo meltdown and all “I NEVER WANT TO DANCE AGAIN”. What a drama queen! Mind you, what a change too. I think 2013, in all honesty, was my happiest dancing year – it’s amazing the change that dancing in the right environment can bring. I have incredible, exceptionally supportive teachers and some completely awesome in class chums and, no matter how lousy the day has been up until Ballet O’Clock, I never fail to leave without feeling at least a little lifted and I know that I am so very, very lucky. Dance wise, there’s a long way to go – at the moment I’m settling for ‘competent. As one of my teachers said “no, not great but definitely better”*.

Here’s to 2014. And “better”.


Filed under baking and mixing and kitchen stuff, ballet how it should be done, I dance (not by Toyota), iPointe, knitting on pointe, random stuff and nonsense

Things I have learned so far this year…

1. If you go to a fancy dress party as a ballerina, it is advisable not to decide it is too much like hard work to chuck your dress back on at the end of the night and go home in your practice skirt as, owing to a combination of rucksack and coat, you will wind up catching a train looking like you’ve forgotten to put your skirt on.

2. Related to one, don’t walk between pubs in your pointe shoes. They are not outdoor footwear. (Fortunately they’re not damaged but if I do go back to pointe I think I need new shoes anyway, the Grishkos just don’t feet quite right.)

3. Prancing around the pub in your pointe shoes will result in you accidentally challenging a random bloke to a ballet off. Oops.

4. Ballet break = getting home by 7pm = being able to really work on turning my cooking relationship into a love-love one. So far this week I’ve made (for dinner) Delia Smith’s trout fillet in lettuce with Thai stuffing, butchered one of Delia’s chicken skewer recipes and Gary Fook’s Chinese sea bass.

5. Kathryn @ LondonBakes’ Allegedly Healthy Cookies are incredibly scrummy. However, what neither she nor Gwyneth Paltrow tells you about agave syrup is that it smells funny but you should all go and make them instantly nonetheless. I’m impressed I still have some in the box left to be quite honest…

Whole wheat oatmeal, raisin and chocolate chip cookies à la LondonBakes. Yumyumyum.

6. Working on my love-love affair with cooking will lead to a compulsory serious reorganisation of your kitchen cupboard because there’s too much to go in it all of a sudden… if anyone can explain quite why I need about six varieties of sugar, I’d be incredibly grateful 😉







7. Things you should not watch when rampantly hormonal: the last two episodes of West Wing. I sobbed my heart out for the entire last episode, perfect show is perfect. Also you shouldn’t go and watch the Railway Children at the theatre. Housemate and I went to see it at Waterloo station last night and it was rrrrrrrrrrrrreally good, so cleverly adapted. I managed to avoid full on sobbing at ‘daddy, my daddy’ but it was a close call…

8. Basil Rathbone is the definitive Sherlock Holmes. I’ve finally managed to persuade my mother to lend me her box set (on the promise that I return it when I’m next up next month… heh) which means I can curl up of an evening and watch them. Just don’t ask me to pick a favourite: I’m constantly torn between Hound of the Baskervilles, Voice of Terror and the Scarlet Claw.

Staying in for January

9. DANCING ON ICE IS BACK ON TONIGHT, PEOPLE! And, even more importantly than that, SO IS WILD AT HEART! As I’ve oft said, Dancing on Ice is just something to pass the time until Wild at Heart… the only thing WAH doesn’t have over DOI is my future husband Robin Cousins, my future wife Katarina Witt, object of my affections Karen Barber, the oh-so-easy to mock (because I love) Christopher Dean or my lifestyle guru Jayne Torvill. Hmm. Still, Sunday night televisual viewing is sorted for WEEKS now and, consider yourselves forewarned, that DOI will be preoccupying my thoughts for the next few months – I never intend to get so emotionally involved and yet I always do.

They're back, been let out of their ice cages and defrosted for another series... 😉


Filed under baking and mixing and kitchen stuff, I dance (not by Toyota), random stuff and nonsense

…if you wanna hear that Swanee river played in ragtime/ballet, baking, knitting and general stuff

Other things I learned in class this week: if I take my glasses off those double pirouettes en dehors aren’t all that elusive after all. We were doing something (I forget what exactly) and double pirouettes were suddenly the order of the day even if it was just trying. So I was going round (to the right) and realised if I took my glasses off I’d probably be doing better (they’re a little loose and I was in fear of them flying off). So I did and, waddya know, that double en dehors to the right was back. We’ll ignore the fact that I keep forgetting to spot that second turn to the left and get lost going round. Don’t mock… okay, mock. I don’t care.

In other news, I am thoroughly lurgified still. I mean properly so. I was almost cured then a couple of days ago the cough started and it is deeply displeasing. Breathing hurts, coughing hurts, moving hurts and I feel like I’ve been punched in the head my sinuses are so sore. This is rubbish. It’s a cold, for goodness’ sake.

So, what better way to take my mind off things than head to the kitchen? Friday night I made shortbread with the small people which was excellent and I went home liberally coated in the mixture (as did they but then, as I oft say, if you’re not making a giant mess it’s not really baking. Tidy bakers, I do not understand you). Then yesterday my very, very bestest in all the world came over for the afternoon to dance attendance on my sick bed. Feeling thoroughly grotty, I turned to my culinary guru Delia Smith for guidance and made tomato soup and chocolate mousse for lunch.

Tomato soup, a trusty bagot and beurre. Omnomnom.

Chocolate mousse. Serious nom.

I was going to blog about my latest yarny adventures but then remembered they’ve all been for other people and so I probably shouldn’t until after the recipient has them. Rest assured, though, les pointy sticks and I have been kept happily busy (although cardigan progress stalled at ten rows but I’ll get back to it soonish).

Ooh, reality TV. Wasn’t the Strictly semi-final last night awesome? Specifically I mean Jason&Kristina’s Argentine Tango but the entire show itself in the altogether. Totally overshadowed the X Factor final which I whingily swore my way through on Twitter as it was diabolically boring and made me want to weep tears of blood. Or something.

And on that note, I’m off to do my Christmas shopping. Wish me luck, bah humbug. Or something.

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Filed under baking and mixing and kitchen stuff, I dance (not by Toyota), knitting on pointe

…help me take the shadows away/cardigan redux

Yarny goodness!

Fair Isle Plotting

I am totally loving doodling geometric designs for this. I’d sort of settled on the snowflake a while ago but I couldn’t quite get the right chart. I managed it tonight but I don’t think it needs the ‘t’ bits round the edges so I’ve taken those out. This is why practice tiny squares are a good thing.

I’ll tell you what else is a good thing: going out for dinner with the friend you can share with, BBM chats with my bestest and discussing root veg via Twitter with my mini-me. Post is also a good thing. I got Haribo in the post today, which was excellent, although they’ve all gone now. I also got this:

Possibly the best book EVER

I am planning on knitting ALL OF THE CATS in this book. I kid you not.

And this has arrived this week too… as a slight distraction from West Wing:

Two episodes in and I am having ALL OF THE FEELINGS

It’s all good. Yep.


Filed under knitting on pointe, random stuff and nonsense