Thursday, 29 December 2011


We've dropped down to -20 this morning. Thankfully I finished my new mittens last night, and apart from a little chill on the left thumb, they stood up to the chill very very well. Like having a duvet on your hands.

(This shot taken before mittens became tainted with frozen droplets of tea. And snot).

Snuggly hands much in demand, because the light this morning was beautiful, so I needed somewhere to warm my fingers after snapping with the camera.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Adult content warning

For those of you with delicate hearts, or who are easily offended by mature content, I'd suggest moving on and not watching the video below. I am giving you fair warning that I am wearing my sexiest sleepwear in this video, and you may not be able to concentrate on your usual day to day activities if you watch it, I am that hot.
I fully expect this film to go viral as it gets reposted around the internet, as who wouldn't want to witness the beauty that is me ice-skating in my pyjamas:

Hows that heart holding up? Palpitations?

In defence of my skating skills - remember that I could not skate 7 weeks ago. I could stand up on skates. I could shout and yell at people whilst wearing skates. I could stamp off the ice in frustration in skates  and go shopping (after taking skates off). I could not however move in any way that involved gliding, because it scared the bejeebus out of me and I ended up shaking and moody and mean. Progress is massive!

In defence of my outfit - let it be known that despite the ever so saggy crotch and the way that the onesie seems to enlarge my hips by a factor of ten, it is still my favourite item of clothing and I am staying true to it. Oh and just to be clear, I am wearing day-clothes underneath it. I am not denying that I am a lumpy bumpy woman, but not quite this lumpy and bumpy!

Happy Christmas everyone.....oh and a little bonus for those of you making it to the end of this post. This week i learnt to stop - and now that I have seen how much stopping increases my similarity to a constipated chicken I think it'll be best if I just keep going in future.


Monday, 12 December 2011


We were upgraded to a truck this weekend (after having to return the Suzuki Swift that sounded like a Wildebeest).
When you have a truck you should:
Drive out into the country, fill it with Christmas Trees and fill yourself with perogies and cabbage rolls.
Drive your friends around town so they can fully experience truck joy too.
Head to the beer store at fill it up with is the festive season after all.
Get up earlier than you have in weeks and head to the diner for breakfast, eggs benedict and crispy home fries - deelicious!
 Pose for far too many shots with the truck - I think Paul has fallen hard for this beauty.

And ensure you've cleared your credit card so you can afford to fill it up again!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

What's in the bag?

Hello there....remember me? I have been a busy busy girl, with lots of blog-able activities,  but just not had the chance to catch up. So here is a completely random post, unrelated to everything. Maybe it'll give me the kick I need to get back into this again.

Right, introducing my bag. This is my fabulous bag, made for me by my middlest sister earlier this year:

Fab isn't it?!

I use it most days, in fact every day that doesn't involve carrying my skates.....and it has excellent Mary Poppins meets Tardis qualities - much bigger on the inside. Here are the treasures I bought home today:

From top down:
  • Upper Canada Village Cranberries and oranges for making delicious sponge pudding to take to a Christmas Tree party on Saturday. (Looking forward to perogies).
  • Red peppers to make sweet potato and red pepper chowder over the weekend.
  • Quebec carrots - going in the vegetarian Shepherd's pie this evening.
  • A bag of figs - late night snack this evening, grilled with goats cheese and honey - yummy!
  • Art-is-in rosemary and garlic rolls
  • Two bags of pasta, stocking up again.
  • CHEESE!!!! I'm not sure whether I spend more on cheese or yarn on average.
  • A poppy I found on the way home today. I'm collecting them for an art project at some point in the future.
  • My funky red felted slippers for changing into at work.
  • A copy of this weeks Metro - it has a story about yarn-bombing on the front.
  • Miscellaneous packaging from this weeks lunches. Leftover fake-chicken and fennel pie today, scrumptious.
  • Chewing gum and a harvest bar - staples.
  • A pencil I found in the street.
  • A recipe for Tofu stew, from a fellow crafter at the bookbinding course I did last weekend.
  • The pattern for the socks I've been knitting for the last fortnight.
  • My knitting bag, this weeks project is thrummed mittens. Oh so snuggly.
  • Mini-skeins of Art-by-Ana sock yarn - check out her etsy shop in the new year (she's closed for the holidays). Scrummy!!!
So there you go! Oh so much stuff.....most of it edible, what does that tell you?!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Creative inspiration.....

Last weekend was the gingerbread house competition, with the amazing creations on display at the Rideau Centre.

Well, I'm guessing they were amazing. I stumbled on this by happenstance two years ago and found beauties like this smartie-extravaganza:

Since then, I have missed the show, finding details of it two days after the masterpieces have been packed up - AGH!
So last night I decided to pay tribute to the event, using the 'build your own gingerbread house kit' B bought us a year or so ago, that had languished in the cupboard.

Step one - improve the structure of the walls by soaking in tea:

Step two - lighten the walls by removing large bite size chunks.

Step three - erm.....erm......enjoy?!

Ho hum.....turns out a gingerbread house won't stand up with only three walls......or only two.....lesson learned. x

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Busy busy.

No time for naps this week - a sorry state of affairs.
Monday - birthday celebrations for a friend - pizza, hoorah!
Tuesday - babysitting.More delightful Mary Poppins melodies.
Wednesday - coffee and putting the world to rights with a new friend.
Thursday - Bruce Peninsula at raw Sugar - fabtastic.
Friday - bed by 9:30pm - shattered!

Thought we'd lined up a quiet week to follow but something seems to have gone awry with that plan. It is all fun though (with luck) so no complaints......but if you see me snoring leant against a lamppost somewhere - leave me be!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Learning curves.

I've been making progress in my classes in the last couple of weeks. For those of you who don't know, I am currently one week into a four Sunday weaving course, and 3ish weeks into my learn to ice-skate course.

Lets tackle the weaving first.

I've had a loom for 18 months or so now. I bought it on impulse at an estate sale, $40 for the loom, various homemade wooden contraptions and far too much scratchy acrylic yarn that the agent insisted I take too. The whole lot has been resident in the craft room since then, looking intriguing and taking up far too much room.
Whilst at the weaving and spinning sale a fortnight ago, I signed up for a course at last. And here is my progress after the first lesson:

Pretty impressive isn't it? Well I'm very fond of it anyway. Turns out I got one hell of a bargain, even if I did then let it gather dust for far too long. This Sunday we're sampling some more patterns and talking about colour combinations. If you've seen my wardrobe you'd realise how useful this may be!

Now the skating is more of an ongoing project. To fully understand and appreciate my breakthrough today, you really have to have been on the ice with me before. I am a wreck. A squealing, girly, shaky wreck. Who doesn't move anywhere.
As I have explained to my well meaning friends, it isn't the falling over that scares me - I stumble and trip so regularly without the aid of blades that I'm pretty used to this. It is the gliding I have an issue with - yes, actually skating. As soon as my feet make any kind of slidy motion, the screams start and I quit. Pathetic.

This week our teacher didn't turn up (maybe I should have tried this approach more when I taught!). I forced myself onto the ice anyway and decided that this week I was going to move on the ice - without holding on to the side barriers. And somehow that decision was all it took. By the end of the lesson I was gliding (albeit in short stuttery bursts) across the ice - out into no mans land, all the way to the other side. My knees were wobbly, my breathing ridiculously erratic. Bizarrely I was humming hits of Madonna to distract myself - but I made it! There were squeals again - of joy! So so proud of myself, I gave myself a moment to relish my victory, breathing deeply and relaxing again.

And that's when I fell over. Flat on my back, giggling my head off.

The man in charge of ice-care kindly took this piccie for me, just to record the day for posterity. Check out that sexy helmet!

Lets hope I make as much progress next week, I'll be spinning and jumping before we know it!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Walking....and walking some more

Since my return from England I've been challenging myself to walk more, partly in an effort to get a little fitter before skating and skiing season is upon us once again, and partly to ensure I get into good habits before the weather turns. Originally I planned to walk 500 miles in 100 days......."I will walk 500 miles and i will walk 500 more" as the song goes. Now even the less mathematically gifted among you will realise that this is an average of 5 miles a day.

Two weeks in and I'm averaging 7 a day - yes, finally a personal challenge where I am ahead of the game! And on Monday this week I really pushed the boat out, clocking up 14 miles throughout the day.

First 2.5 miles with Paul and the dog, enjoying a beautiful sunrise:

Then a fair whack of it was up and down by the river enjoying the sunshine. Now, my internal jukebox seemed to be set again to random, and also seemed to be less 'internal' more 'sing along out loud and hope no-one jogs too close by'.  Two year old N provided judgement over the 'tunes' as follows:

Hits of Take That - big no no. There were whines and general sounds of discomfort. As I could only remember one verse of Never Forget this was probably for the best.

Songs from the musicals, in particular Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins - more popular. Not sure whether this is because I knew more of the words or because I'd bribed him with a bottle and he was a bit distracted. I don't think many people can resist my medley of 'Truly Scrumptious' and 'Fly a Kite' though......not that many have witnessed it!

The Stone Roses - I wanna be adored. By far the most popular, maybe I sing it like a lullaby (?). Maybe he was eating biscuits. Who knows?!

 That took care of another 5 miles, and the others? The walk too and fro from work and another dog walk in the evening. That is over a half marathon, all be it in bitesize chunks. Lets hope I can keep this up when the snow arrives. For now I'm happy soaking up the sunshine and blue skies.

Monday, 7 November 2011

A weekend of fun....

Busy busy, but so much fun.
Started with a walk with in the morning sunshine, Ottawa really is beautiful at this time of year:

Followed by a day of crafting with friends. There were sewing machines, scissors, buttons, fabric, Halloween shaped ginger cookies and soup - whats not to enjoy?! Sadly I got caught up in the crafting so failed to take any piccies. Here's one of my finished purse though, along with the one my sister made me from the same pattern (hers is the neater one with the whales on it!).

NB. For future sewing projects, I advise checking the pattern pieces carefully before beginning. We had two sets - one printed in England and one here, which of course means that they were slightly different sizes. Sadly we failed to notice this until the end of our projects, it went a long way to explaining the mismatched sized fabric pieces we'd cut during the day. At one stage my project looked like I'd been hitting the sherry!

And after crafting? Sushi and hockey - hoorah! Off to see the Senators play the Buffalo Sabres. A close match ending in a penalty shoot out which sadly the Sens lost out in, but hey, it was a good night anyway - made all the better as my companion chose (without nagging or pressure from me!) to wear his fish hat throughout:

 It is always gratifying to see your handiwork worn with pride!

And so on to Sunday, another beautiful day - I'm sure winter is lurking somewhere, and the snow will definitely be fun when it does arrive, but I am loving the autumnal days in the meantime. Off to the Weavers' and spinners' guild annual sale, to fondle pretty yarn and gain inspiration from others handiwork....I was particularly fond of this needle-felted giraffe:

I managed to refrain from adding to the yarn stash (shocking!), but have signed up for a beginners weaving course starting this Sunday. Hopefully going to add another string to my crafting bow - and at last make use of last years loom purchase.

To end such a fab weekend? The return of P, who arrived home laden with apple pie. He's a good boy!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Just to share our pumpkins.
Paul encorporated the markings on his to add a creepy scar to this mismatched face:
And I went with an old favourite and carved a witch on (with the help of a cookie-cutter, I'm not that artistic!).
Added a couple of bike lights and jobs a good 'un.

Plenty of princesses, a plethora of pirates, scary hockeymasked individuals and a stegasaurus amongst the visitors this evening.

Three strapping lads: We're little kids dressed as teenagers, cos teenagers are scary right?

But top prize for us was this homemade pac-man, who was accompanied by a girl in a homemade hot-air balloon costume too. Great effort.


Oh deary me, has been a long long while hasn't it? And there is so much I could have been blogging about, I just lost my blogging mojo....we've had a great visit from UK friends, then I jetted home for a fortnight of family friends and fish and chips....and still no blogging. No lack of fun has been had, just a lack of sitting at the computer, which in a way I suppose is a good thing.

A brief summary......
I have fought over gold bullion at the Royal Canadian Mint:

Explored the Kent countryside with my parents, making the most of the good weather with some birdwatching. Key spot for me were Bearded Tits (P seems to think this rates as one of the funniest bird names of all time, up there with 'boobies').

Caught up with old friends over far too much food (and far too much teacher talk for my dear chauffeur!), and even converted one sister to geocaching (the other seems to be managing to stay away from this temptation, strange girl). Here W and I are having found a cache hidden in a snail which was magnetically attached to a postbox - whats not to love?!

Anyway, now back in Ottawa, full of colds, but decided to face the morning and head out for a ramble with Jasper this morning. Just thought I'd share a few piccies from our wander around. Sadly I didn't whip my camera out quick enough to catch the zombie chef who passed us on the bridge, or the pirate who cycled by. Going for a walk on Halloween is like living in a Where's Wally book.

Lets see whether I can make it two days running hey?!
Happy Halloween everybody.x

Sunday, 2 October 2011


We had a rare opportunity to attend a gig by a grammy award winning artist today, in fact, the man has 3. He inspired some slick moves from the men in our party:

Who knew that Canada's Polka King would have such a small repertoire? I for one enjoyed the blend of accordion and electric guitar, but even my patience wore out by the third outing of 'Sweet Caroline'.....all was forgiven when he cracked out 'Roll out the barrel' though -  fabulous!

A good time was had by all, despite the rain. And with Betsy confident she could do well in the sausage eating competition, and Paul eager for us to enter the carry-your-partner obstacle course too, a busy year of training ahead for all.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Nagged into it!

My littlest sister is fiesty. And has decided that my lack of blogging disappoints her. So I'm back. (I go back to England in a month and don't want to put her in a bad mood!). Anyway, its been three hectic weeks, and frankly I can't see myself blogging each day in retrospect, so some key memories/observations for you (in no particular order).
  •  Apparently the word 'difficult' does not mean the same in different parts of Canada, at least when it comes to hiking trails. We've walked 'difficult' trails before with when we booked our hike along the Saguneay Fjord we thought we would be fine.......we were not. At least not on the first full day. 16km feels a darn sight further when most of it is uphill on dodgy terrain. P and I were ready to quit after the first night. S didn't give us the option. He was right, the next two days were much easier and definitely worth the effort. 
  •  Traffic Jams in Canada are more fun. The road to our campsite was blocked due to Hurricane Irene damage (oo-er!). We were diverted to a beach, where we made a cuppa with our camp-stove and watched Belugas with the binoculars. Magic. 
  •  Paul gets almost excited about inch-wormy caterpillars as he does whales. (In his defence they are exactly like the Sesame St.. ones and very cool).
  • Steve can light fires without matches., on one occasion he managed it without even his flint, just with his eyes. He is the manliest man I know. 
  • Except for P, who can portage a canoe 850m down a muddy incline, hopping between rocks and limboing under fallen trees. Amazing. My biggest challenge that day was eating all my oatmeal. 
  • Booking youth hostels from websites without many photos is a risky business. You may end up with all three of you in one big bed, with a man in a hammock hanging above you, someone on a couch at the end of the bed and another 5 people in various other spots aroudn the room.......don't let that put you off though, it may also be the quietest and most relaxing nights sleep you've had in a long time. Very considerate folks stay in $20 hostels in downtown Montreal. Fact.
  • It is NEVER a good idea to make coffee using water drained from making Kraft cheese dinner. No matter how low on fuel you are. Learn from our mistakes. 
  • Motels are cool. Sitting outside motel rooms on benches, supping cider from the can and sharing a big bag of cheetos is cool. Thats another fact.
  • Even non-birders are impressed by the sound of loons calling in the night. Especially when there are 17 of them on the lake. They are less impressed however by dogs who grumble in the night and sound like bears. 
  • Photos of these adventures can be seen on flickr as usual. (More on flickr than on FB). For now I leave you with the bread I baked on Monday night. Thankfully I finished the last of it at lunchtime, as I have just had to chase a squirrel out of the kitchen, that was munching on Steve's salted sunflower seeds. Jasper was asleep on the bed.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Visitors take preparation....

Step one: Get on the sewing machine and make a sign for the airport....

Step Two: Turn up at the airport on time and hold sign aloft.

Step Three: If your visitor is a member of the Hockett clan, ensure you have plenty of pickles on hand.

Very excited, off on adventures - hopefully have some fab photos to share over the next couple of weeks, fingers crossed for Belugas!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Blogging failure....

Well, suppose I should admit that i'm just not keeping up with this - had a good run though didn't I?

I'm not quitting completely though, will add more rambles when I've got something to report..... the meantime I'm afraid I got eaten by a fish again, and have to deal with the consequences before anything resembling normal service resumes.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

221/365 Imaginary Importance

I have no photo for Tuesday, just a moment or two of amusement to share.

On my walk home from work I was saluted by a man in Military Uniform, who exclaimed 'Good afternoon Sir' as he passed.

I walked on a little bemused.

Then it happened again.

It took a third time for me to turn round and realise I was walking two paces ahead of a military gentleman with a fair number of stripes and medals displayed.

Guess I'm not as important (or masculine!) as I thought.

That is all.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

220/365 Doorothy

You know it has been a successful trip when even after breaking camp and with thoughts of the slog back across the lake, the group can still find enough time to pose for shots like this:

The key member of the group I have yet to mention is Doorothy. When plans fall through and that three man tent you borrowed from a friend turns out to be at most a two-close-friends tent, finding an abandoned door in your campsite is a source of much relief. Especially if one of your party is happy to bond with said door, balancing it lovingly on chopped wood under a carefully hung tarpaulin by the campfire. R and Doorothy ended up very close, and it was only fitting that she featured in our group photos.

I only hope the next group to venture to the campsite treat her with as much love.

Good bye Doorothy, our time with you was brief but oh so special. You are one of a kind, and it can only be seen as proof of our love for you that you weren't chopped up and burnt on Sunday night what with you being the only dry wood on the campsite. That's love that is. x

219/365 Extreme Paddling

Sunday was a more adventurous day, heading out to explore yet more new shores and to try and find some of the elusive Algonquin wildlife. Kingfishers and frogs in abundance, and the ever present Loons calling, but still no moose - one day!

We paddled and swam, snorkeled and napped - four of my favourite activities, add to that some sock knitting and I was definitely a happy camper.

Here I am, particularly proud of myself after swimming over to an Island from our lunch-time spot....graceful aren't I?!

We may have napped a little too long however as we got caught in a thunder-storm on the paddle back to camp. Lightning whilst sat in an aluminium canoe - not very sensible! The downpour had me double-checking we had our bailer with us too - poor Jasper sat in a puddle....and yet it was a fantastic afternoon! All campers responded with good humour, Dunkirk spirit kicking in I suppose. Thankfully the boys went straight into camp-fire building when we got back, an evening of drying out and top-notch Risotto......oh and Sherry from the hip flask - what a classy bunch we are!

218/365 Daytripping

A lazy Saturday afternoon. Short paddle, then a hike to a new lake, with sandy shores for pottering about on. Sitting in the sunshine with tiny fish nibbling our toes and crayfish popping out from under rocks.

This was a man heavy trip, with yours truly the only girly.

It was also a dried-fruit heavy trip with pears, mangoes, apricots - so many options.

Dried fruit in abundance + male heavy trip = increased trips to the camp toilet for most of us + vast increase in toilet humour. Boys boys boys.

217/365 Hi ho hi ho....

.....its off canoeing we go!

After a couple of hiccups (last minute cancellations, canoe booking lost etc!) we were off - and with paddles in hands everything looked brighter. How can you fail to be happy with lunch spots like this?

Arriving at our lake of choice (well, second choice!), the Island campsite was already we ended up on the shore at what turned out to be a prime spot. Camp up, hammock out and a delicious dinner cooked - hoorah. The loons were calling, the mosquitos were low in numbers, and Jasper happy to cosy up by the campfire. Life is good.

216/365 Thursday night and the packings done.

P wants to make sure he doesn't forget his new toy - snorkel and goggles for exploring the lakes of Algonquin Park. After a mad scramble of packing we collapsed in the hammocks with G&T's and then an early night before the ridiculously early start in the morning....

Thursday, 4 August 2011

215/365 New arrivals

This cheeky chappy and his missus have started nest-building in the tree just in front of our house. So so pretty, and also most considerate in that they are very vocal when around, making photos easy!

Much as I love Greedy McBeaky, as feathered neighbours go I don't think theres much of a contest in the beauty stakes, and these new friends also don't wake us at 5am with their mad-cawing.

Fingers-crossed for baby birdies soon.

214/365 Planning

Trip planning sucks. The initial excitement of choosing dates and debating ideas soon fades with the hours spent trawling through websites, on hold to booking agents etc. As we get closer to our next canoe-expedition, P has taken over with his food planning - spreadsheet ahoy!

Hopefully the effort now will result in far more interesting posts and photos later on!

213/365 Holiday Mondays

We had a whole day planned out - walk dog, get in hammocks, only leave hammocks for food.

Well, a slight diversion for pancakes with M and N first - great way to start the day....then a whole two minutes in the hammocks before a text comes in and the whole day swings round from concentrated relaxation to messing about on boats!

P was up first, and disappeared up the river with his intrepid guide Rune. Apparently he was a natural and threw himseld in with gusto, trapezing with grace and even filling R with enough confidence for him to get the Spinniker out and up the speed.

Sadly I am a girl. And at a distance those boats all look fairly similar, and I took photos (and video!) of the wrong one! Anyway, here is a piccie of them closer to shore:

I was up next and surprised myself by really enjoying the trapezing - loving it in fact. I was a little concerned that it would feel much like the worst bits of abseiling, where you lean backwards and feel like you'll just keep going into nothingness. In reality I actually felt more connected to the boat standing on the side leaning out backwards than I did sat down!

Paul did a much better job of spectatoring than I, and you can jsut about make me out in this one...

Honestly - it is me!

And one final shot, just to show off the shiny sail.

A fab day all round, thanks Rune!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

212/365 Farms and scrabble

Off to the Agriculture Museum for the annual knit-out this afternoon. Apparently it is the 6th year its been going, but the first time I've made it. Worked on the crazy cabled sweater for an hour or so, and had a brief wander round to see the animals....

....from there on to dinner, ice-cream and then coffee and scrabble before the evenings concert. My scrabble performance was very sad, not on my game at all.....although I did get 'bacon' and 'egg' on consecutive turns, which I still argue should be worth bonus points!

211/365 Ambient noise....

( far behind yet again!)

A relaxing afternoon on the Island, reading books, eating cheese and listening to the sounds of summer....chipmunks squeaking and the wind in the trees....

The ambient noise in the evening was masterfully incorporated into the percussion performance at the Remic Rapids. Goose calls, the flow of the river, all mixed in with the music and atmosphere. Some memorable pieces - rhythms played on stones and the magic of wind wands. (Including the big plastic tubes we used to muck about with as children, making a horrendous wailing. Strangely they seemed so much more tuneful played this evening, by professionals!).