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The cover of 'The Little Girl and the Tiny Doll' by Edward and Aingelda Ardizzone

The cover of ‘The Little Girl and the Tiny Doll’ by Edward and Aingelda Ardizzone


The Little Girl and the Tiny Doll by Edward and Aingelda Ardizzone (ISBN 978-0141359441)

I love this book. I loooooove this book.

It is super short (45 pages!), and has lovely half page illustrations throughout, but it’s also a proper paperback so it’s great for children who are just ready to start having chapter books read to them.
The story is about a tiny doll who ends up in a supermarket freezer, and the little girl who spots her. As I child I loved the idea of finding something small to care for, as a child who sewed and made things I wholeheartedly approved of the little girl’s solution to the tiny doll’s problem.
Plus the adults in the book are kind, and thoughful and I like that.

You can find more children’s book recs on my master page here.


Unboxing my pursedori from Lyra and Co

Yesterday I did a short unboxing of the Pursedori I bought from Lyra and Co. It think it’s going to prove really useful, for when I’m out and about, and doing necessarily want to be using my main planner. Plus it’s really cute. 🙂


Oops I seem to have a youtube channel. Bit really you (though obviously I mean me), can only watch only so many planner walkthroughs and unboxings before you’re itching to have a go yourself. Plus it’s easier, quicker, and hopefully clearer to explain how my planner works via video, rather than through photos.

This time round I’ve go through my fauxdori traveler’s notebook set up. I don’t use this for my day tp day planning. Instead it is a collect of inserts that I use for different collections of note I am currently making. Some are home ed/homeschool specific (though I’m planning to do another video all about how I use my fauxdori for planning and recording our home education), others are notes about running a business, and still others are for books and blog-posts I’m reading and want to remember.

Anyway I hope you enjoy it.


(Linking up to the Simplehomeschool day in a life series today…)


My alarm goes off. A combination of engrossing book and both girls (5 and about to be 3) crawling into bed with me at different points of the night means that I am still tired. This will mean an early night tonight. For the last week I have osculated between reading a bit too much and then having to go to bed pretty much once the children have fallen asleep. Luckily hb is in a similar position so we’re not annoying each other in that regard.


I finally get up from between dozing daughters. No one complains. This is a good day (apart from the tiredness.) I say hi to my son (fellow early bird who is 7) then go pull on workout clothes and leave the house for my morning walk. Usually I listen to podcasts, but today I am in the mood for some Andrew Bird and the audiobook of the same book that kept me up last night. (Damn you engrossing book.)

By the time get back everyone is awake and I need to start breakfast. My son is looking at lego instructions on the main computer, hb in getting dressed and the girls come downstairs to see what is going on. This morning the breakfast is potato waffles and scrambled egg. Nom.


I go grab a shower and the children get dressed. The usual scramble ensues. eventually everyone is dressed approximately for the correct weather, and hb leaves for work. Just before he leaves I give him some of my birthday chocolates that my friend gave me yesterday, mostly so I don’t eat them all, but also to be nice. (but mostly so I don’t eat them all.)


I am writing this. I am about to put on a Shaun the sheep so that I can brush my youngest’s hair. the 5 year old is making everyone cards and decorating the envelopes with drawing (note to self. add envelopes to my errands list for tomorrow.)


The hair brushing didn’t take half an hour, it just felt like it did. After this, I decide to break my own rule about getting table work done before we watch a documentary, and set the children up to watch the last episode of Victorian Bakery. I go make peanut butter cookies, because I’ve been making them all week, and they have been going down really well with everyone. (I made vegan ones yesterday because we had vegan friends over – leave out the egg, add a mushed up banana instead, and about half a cup of flour or so, and they come out basically the same as if you had used an egg. Nom.)


The documentary is over, the cookies are baked, the washing up is done and I have caffeine inside me (though not enough.) Really we should be doing today’s table work, and we will, but the children are playing and I sneak a few rows on the sock I’m knitting. Eventually we start our maths, which is about numbers to 100. My 7yr old finishes quickly but my 5yr old is too busy trying to make me laugh. but she does make me laugh and eventually we are done. (My nearly 3yr old plays with the small animal counters we have, and gets on and off my knee.) Everyone goes off to play for a bit and I write this, and think about getting Ready2Read done before we have lunch.


Ready2Read is complete and we need to get lunch sorted. It was a bit all over the place. Not the doing of the work, which was fine, but now I have a pile of work to be sorted into things to be filed, and things to be put away into the unit folders ready for the next person. (The 7yr old has just started level 3 and is really enjoying the new things to do. The 5yr old is getting the hang of level 2. Neither of them want to read early readers but are getting good at reading individual words. So progress.) More play once Ready2Read is done. I disappear off and hide in the loo and look at social media for a few minutes. I am joined by my youngest who has brought a book.

The postman arrives. It is the nearly 3yr old’s birthday tomorrow. there are cards, but she must wait till tomorrow. screaming ensues. The cuddly Rey doll has not arrived, but it is from her uncle and aunt so if it arrives early next week it will just make the celebrations last longer. I look at the state of the house. All the peanut cookies have  been eaten. We need to eat and tidy the house and then leave the house in about an hour. Urgh.

Time to make lunch (“lunch is boring!” – the nearly 3yr old. I know.)


We are supposed to be getting ready for our friday meetup. This is a regular thing with about 5 or 6 other local families, where we meet at each other’s houses and do a bit of craft and play. Usually this works really well. but recently some of the children (including my eldest) have had a hard time getting on. Some weeks everyone gets on really well. Other weeks they are like cats in a bag and need a lot of help finding some sort of middle ground. After meeting up with two sets of friends the day before, my lot decide they are really not up for the meet up today, so at the 11th hour I have to text round our apologies, and instead I spend a big chunk of the afternoon properly tidying and cleaning our front room, ready for family coming over at the weekend. The children dance around, play in the garden, listen to audiobooks and build stuff out of lego, and generally get busy doing their own thing, which makes me feel a bit better about bailing on our meetup (which we usually don’t do.)


5 o’clock programmes time, which they watch on the Iplayer while I make dinner. They take turns each day with who gets first choice, then everyone gets a choice after that. I make dinner and listen to some more of my audiobook. Daddy get’s home at 6pm, we have dinner, and then everyone goes upstairs at about 7pm to get ready for bed and have stories. Daddy is reading stories tonight, and then he puts the youngest to bed. I cuddle the other two, and read a chapter of Betsy-Tacy and then they go to sleep. Once the children are asleep I curl up in bed W and listen to The News Quiz. I’m asleep by about 9.30pm.

So there you go. Not the best day, but also not the worst.


An Aran Shrug in June

OKY knitting may 2015

Yes it’s June (though it’s not exactly the hottest June) and I’m knitting an aran weight shrug. However it’s actually a pretty comfortable knit, since it’s knit quite loosely on 7mm needles.

I modified the cuff by striping the stitch pattern, and then I decided that I preferred the look of the wrong side, to the right, so I used that side instead when starting the stocking stitch portion. It’s now big enough that I can’t knit it standing up, which is a bit tricky because small people want to sit on me whenever I try to sit down. However it’s proved to be the perfect knit while I work on swapping my knitting style from English to Continental, which I’m doing with the help of Lorilee Beltman’s Craftsy Class*.

(Continental purling is so efficient! I’m hooked!)

Hopefully the loose knit, with some decent blocking, will even out and early teething troubles as a swap styles. But hopefully this will give me more knitting bang of my buck, in this season of more limited knitting opportunities. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. 😉

The yarn, naturally, is OxfordKitchenYarns BFL Aran, in Chocolate Cherry and Cloudy Sky.



(*As ever, this is not in any way a sponsored post. I just like this stuff.)


Podcast Recs Summer 2015 edition

I am a big fan of podcasts. I listen to them more than I listen to the radio, or even to music right now, particularly when I’m doing errands, and on my morning run or walk (depending on the day.)

Anyway here are a few that I’m really enjoying and that are consistently really good:

  • Friday Night Comedy from the BBC – this is whatever comedy programme is on BBC radio 4 at 6.30pm on a friday. (You know all this obviously – this podcast is hugely popular.) I’m a big fan of The News Quiz, particularly when Sandi Toksvig took over as the chair. But I’m also completely the right age to have a soft spot for Punt and Dennis, so I’ll usually happily listen when The Now Show is on too. I’ve been listening to both these radio shows for about fifteen years at this point, and having them as a podcast just makes listening to them even easier. This podcast is regular part of our weekend and W and I usually listen to it together.
  • Henry & Heidi – I think this has just pipped Wittertainment as my current favourite podcast. I’ve found Henry Rollins a fascinating person since I was reading about him as a teenage in Select magazine and the NME. I’ve been to see some of his spoken word, and would like to see more, (once I get my evening back.) These podcasts are funny, interesting and kinda inspirational. I listen to them a lot when I’m running, and if I’m giggling in the street I’m either listening to that or…
  • No Such Thing As a Fish – This is a podcast of amazing facts, from the QI elves. It’s usually both mind boggling and funny, and has me sprouting all sorts of information at the dinner table (most of which W insists is made up.)
  • Hope*ologie – this is the monthly podcast run by Myquillyn from The Nester, her sister Emily of Chatting at the Sky and their Dad Gary. Hope*ologie is subscription site, but the podcast is free and a great taster for the site. This podcast just makes me happy. It’s like a hug of a podcast and it always makes me smile.
  • Wittertainment – I’ve talked about this podcast before, here, but it’s still a thing of joy. If you like films, or Jason Isaacs, or silly in jokes that you will pick up easily, or two men grumping at either other in an increasingly married way, then this is the podcast for you. I love it. Even though I hardly get to see any films any more, and despite Mark being SO WRONG about Avengers 2. But let’s not go there right now.
  • Read-Aloud Revival – This is the podcast run by Sarah Mackenzie from Amongst Lovely Things, all about creating a family culture of reading, and the importance of reading aloud. I’m still making my way through the back catalogue but I’m really enjoying it, and get a lot of book recs from this podcast.
  • Homeschool Snapshots – This is a short, snappy homeschooling podcast run by Pam Barnhill of EDSnapshots. Overall I like it, and have enjoyed listening to almost all of the episodes. I *did* nope out of one episode due to idealogical differences, but that didn’t put me off the season as a whole. Overall I find it useful and supportive.
  • A Playful Day – I am so late to this party. But I am making my way through this craft podcast, and enjoying it very much.

So there you go – my current favourites. I hope you find something there that you didn’t know about before, and which you might give a go.  If you do, I hope you enjoy them.

What podcasts would you rec back to me?

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My Summer Reading Plan

Summer Reading Plan 2015

I think I have made it clear that I love books, and since a lot of the blogs I like have been talking about summer reads I thought I would go through my shelves and pull down a few of the books I want to read and make a plan to read them over the next few months.

So here is my summer reading list (so far):

Summer World by Bernd Heinrich (ISBN-10: 0060742186) – This is an America-centric book about nature in the summer, but I figure there is probably some cross over. Hopefully it’ll give me fact to tell the children.

Sunrise to Sunset by Adrian Bell – this is a book about life in the British countryside in the early 1940’s.

Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali (ISBN-10: 1742377017) – I keep picking this book up, reading the first chapter and then getting distracted. This is the summer I’m going to read the whole thing.

Snail Mail by Michelle Mackintosh (ISBN-10: 1742708773) – when I was a teenager I had a number of pen friends and really enjoyed it. I still enjoy writing letter, but I don’t do it very much. I saw this book reviewed at Wild Olive and thought it would inspire me.

Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin (ISBN-10: 1444768999) I’m one of the few people who hasn’t actually read anything by Gretchen Rubin before. But I’m half way through this at the moment (and incurring library fees since I can’t renew it, there is that much of a waiting list for it), and it’s really interesting.

I’ll report back at the end of the summer (if not before) and let you know how I got on. 🙂



Shop Update – June 2015

okyupdate062015A few lovely pinks and orange/reds – Marshmallow and Brick (in case you’re wondering. 🙂

See them in the shop


Let’s talk about Bullet Journals


I’ve talked about Bullet Journals on the blog before, but I’ve been using it now for nearly a year and I’ve recently been making some changes so I thought I’d write a post about it all.

All you need to know about the basics of Bullet Journalling is here (watch the video – it’s only about three minutes long.) I’ve just started my third moleskine (I got this one, having just finished the teal one) and was wanting to make things look a bit prettier than they had been in my last book. So I fell into a Pinterest black hole and came across Robin Imhof, who has done great writing and decorating tutorials for her filofax, which can totally been ported over to a bullet journal.

At which point I fell into an Etsy blackhole, first looking at pre-made stickers for journals, and then when that proved too expensive, at print-your-own stickers, and THEN clip art that you can turn into your own customised print-your-own stickers. (Yes, I fell hard. My stationary love was a blaze.)

Print-your-own stickers are pretty good, especially if you know how to use photoshop a little bit, so that you can file A4 size sheets with fun clip art (like I have above), but it assumes you have the patience to cut out the stickers and peel the backing off. I’m currently using it as a way of encouraging me to stop biting my nails, because without nails it’s pretty much impossible. Think of it as a tiny bit of forced mindfulness. 😉

Anyway if you’re interested the stickers in the image above came from the following shops on etsy:

The sticker paper is just basic address label sticky paper, which I got from our local stationers. However I also got some glossy sticker paper from ebay and I think I like that more for the stickers I’m not planning on writing on.

Watching Robin’s video taught me about Frixion pens, which are erasable gel pens. Suddenly my writing is neater and it makes me want to keep the whole book looking lovely.

I have set up this current journal so that I have the index and then four double spread month pages at the front of the book, and then daily pages, and lists as I need them. (This is a great article on lists that are useful to keep.) I’ll add the autumn months as the summer goes on, but we also have a family calendar in the kitchen so I can put any notes I need onto that and then move it into my bullet journal  once I get that month sorted out. I use the daily pages as a way to keep accountable through the day. So I have the meals I’m planning to cook (so I can make the decisions all at once, and not have to think about it during the day), a log of my water, and my running/walking. Then I have my to do list, which includes various habits I’m working on, my plan for the da regarding our home education, cleaning, OxfordKitchenYarns work, things that need to remember, and events. I’ve also added a gratitude journal at the bottom of the page, which feels a lot less intimidating that having my own book for it. If there is any extra space left on the page, I’ve started writing in a quote from my pinterest quote board.

I have the book open in the kitchen during the day, so that I can refer to it often, but it only takes about 10 minutes to set up for each day, (and mostly that’s me picking the backs off stickers to be honest.) When I was just writing stuff down it probably took me 3-4 minutes a day.

I’m really pleased with the system and how adaptable it is. I certainly get more stuff done because of it, and my head feels less cluttered. The cute stickers are fun, and am enjoying ended the day with a page that I think looks good. But that’s just icing on the cake.

If you have any questions about the bullet journal system, or anything I’ve written about here, comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.

(I’m now off to tick a box.)


(BTW none of these links are affiliates in any way. I just like this stuff and thought you might like some of it too.)


A Shift in thinking…

So I haven’t been posting much here recently. I kept sitting down the write a blog post and feeling like I had nothing to say, even though I have projects to show you, and podcasts and books to recommend. I just couldn’t get them in to a blog post.

Luckily my dear friend Lara came to visit us, and she managed to tease out of me what is going on.

Basically all my online presence is branded with OxfordKitchenYarns, which is great, except there is SO much else going on my life, and OxfordKitchenYarns is only one small part of that. It’s not a full time job. It hasn’t been a full time job in a long time, but at the same time, it’s still important to me, and I don’t want to give it up.

However right now, it feels really weird having it out there front and center when most of my time is actually spend on parenting, and home education, and our home, and making things that are for our practical use, rather than to show off my yarn. Basically my perception of all this is all out of balance and it makes me not want to be out in the world online, because it makes me feel like I’m not doing enough. Which is not true. I’m doing plenty.

I can’t express how freeing it was to realise all this. (Thank you Lara! X)

So here is what I’m doing to change things up:

I am still dyeing yarn. I will try to do a shop update every month, but there will only be one update a month. But OxfordKitchenYarns is just one of the things I am doing. It’s not central to my online presences any more.

I am going to post more, (probably about once a week), but about all thing I want to post – so there will be sewing, and knitting, and books and some adventures in home education, and stuff about doing up our house, and book recs and podcast recs and all the other things in my head.

The blog, and pinterest will look different to reflect what is going on with all this. All my blurb will be different. I will probably change my url, though oxfordkitchenyarns.com will still exist and any links to the blog with send you right here. The twitter will continue to highlight stuff going into the shop.

OxfordKitchenYarns has existed for over seven years! And in that time become a parent, and had three children, and as a family we’ve started to home educate. It not surprising that the fit has shifted some what.

Anyway that was probably more of an insight into my thought process that you needed, but there you go.

I’ll be back next week with a whole load of recs. It’s going to be great.

Thanks for sticking around.

(I promise there will still be yarn.)



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