Sunday, 24 May 2015


Hello, it's been a while again!

I haven't been able to do much lately, as I currently have stitches in my hand. They're in the palm, in that crease where my index finger joins my palm to be more precise. So this little tiny wound is proving to be very limiting to me! It's also on my left hand, and I am a leftie, so even worse!

This means that even though I had a very quiet week this week work-wise, I haven't been able to do much else of interest. Not much exercise as I can't let my hand get too sweaty (too much information perhaps!), no swimming or anything as I need to keep it dry. No countryside walks as I need to keep it clean and not go anywhere too dusty. No crochet as the stitches are right in the way - and it hurts to move my finger... You get the idea :)

But as I hadn't posted for a while, I did want to write something, so I thought I would just share a few pictures from a day out I had with a friend and her little one last weekend - before the stitches went in.

The place we went to was a local wildlife park, called Billabong Sanctuary. I have been really looking forward to visiting this place as they have wombats there. You can even have a picture holding the wombat for an extra charge, although I didn't do that on this occasion as the little miss who was with us was kind of tired, and not in the mood for waiting around for me. We did get to stroke the wombat though, and that was pretty awesome anyway :)

Billabong is a relatively small wildlife park, so its draw is not the scale of the place, or the exotic animals. It's more about the up close and personal encounters you can have with the animals there, which are mainly native wildlife. Of course, coming from the UK, the native Australian wildlife is pretty exciting for me anyway!

So, here are a few of my favourite pictures from the day:

These ducks and geese are wild, but they eat from your hand at Billabong!

These kangaroos eat from your hand too. And they come over and tap you to let you know they want feeding!

Mamma and Babba

This little furball lives in an enclosure, so no handfeeding. But look how soft and fluffy it is!! It's called a rufous bettong, although they used to be known as rat kangaroos.

This is a cassowary. Pretty rare,and pretty dangerous too. The dads bring up the chicks, and they are capable of disembowling if they feel the need to defend themselves!

These river turtles were pretty fascinated by my camera! They were so funny to watch as they stalked the lens!!

"Me! Me! Get a picture of me!"

This is Tonka the wombat - the main guy I had wanted to meet! He loves cuddles and human contact, having been hand raised after his mother was sadly killed on the road. Apparently the mother's pouch is so protective that even when they are killed by cars, a joey in her pouch can often survive the accident. Tonka loves people so much that when the park had to close for a while once for cyclone repairs, he went right off his food and got quite poorly. Once the park opened again and he had visitors, he perked right back up again!

Cuddles with Tonka!

I really loved these plumed whistler ducks. So friendly and pretty!!

Well that's about the limit for my typing at the moment, as my stitches are starting to get sore as the movement of my fingers pulls on them. Hopefully they'll come out soon and I can get back to normal!

I hope you enjoyed the animals, and I'll be back soon I hope :)

Thursday, 14 May 2015

A Quick Check-In


I just wanted to check-in quickly to let you know I'm still here, but I've just been a bit busy lately with other areas of my life...

...I have been planning things for when my friend and her kids come to visit - making bookings for the stuff we already decided on, and researching possible itineraries for the rest of the time so that she can make more decisions about what to do while she's here. I want them to have the best time!

...Work picked up a bit for a while, so I have been making the most of the extra shifts while I could. I'm on a casual, or zero hours, contract, so I need to work when I get the chance if I want to save money for my friend visiting.

...I have been trying to get my college work done in good time, it's been harder to get my practice hours up than I thought it would though.

...I've been trying again to get my fitness back on track, heading out running when the weather is cool enough - easy on some days, harder when I'm working in the evenings. I need to keep trying though!!

...I have been helping friends with baby sitting a bit, so that they can get their own stuff sorted too.

...With my husband away, there is no-one to share cooking or shopping duties with either, so that all has to get squeezed in somewhere, and I'm trying to keep it all healthy and not resort to my previous bad habits!

...And as I'm an introvert by nature, all of this time with others and being busy has meant that I really need my down time so that I can recharge. I just haven't had the mental energy for blogging lately, and I haven't been home much for taking photos to post.

Things will settle though; I will get better at routines and I won't always have the chance to work so many shifts. So I will be around when I get the chance, and I have stuff to share. All in good time I guess!

Hopefully I can catch up properly soon though :)

Friday, 8 May 2015

Alligator Creek

Last weekend was the last weekend I had with my husband before he went off on a long course with work (he left this morning). He’ll be 2 or 3 days’ drive away for this course, so there’s no way for me to visit him while he’s away.

Adam had a bunch of stuff to get organised ready for his time away, so while we wanted to make the most of the weekend we also had to do something that didn’t take up the whole time. This meant staying local, and we are very fortunate here in North Queensland that there is plenty to see and do!

What we chose to do was make a visit to Alligator Creek, a little place within Bowling Green Bay National Park, and a mere 20 minute drive from where we live. According to the website, “Rugged mountains rise abruptly from the wetlands, saltpans and mangrove forests of the coastal plain. Alligator Creek descends in a series of cascades, deep pools and waterfalls.”

The Park is pretty big though, 57,900 hectares, and is divided into three sections, so of course we didn’t see all of these features. We didn’t even see the waterfalls, which are a fair walk away from the car park and are best tackled in slightly cooler weather. What we did see though, is the swimming hole near the car park and camping area at Alligator Creek.

The last time we came here, this area was chock full of people, and we just walked on by to go for a bit of a hike until we got too hot. On this occasion however, we had the place almost to ourselves!

We followed the path from the car park towards the water side.

This way soon turned into a boardwalk for safe and easy access, if you had a pushchair or mobility issue, or simply lots of stuff to carry!

We enjoyed the shade of the trees and plants, making it nice and (relatively) cool. I love these huge jungle-ferny plants – I must find out what they are actually called!

This is the swimming spot we were after – the sun was really bright, and I has bleached out the colour a bit in these photos. Those rocks were actually really orangey-yellow, very Australian!

These fish made me laugh, with their mouths sticking up out of the water :)

We set up on some nice, smooth rocks. We didn’t have much with us, just our towels and some water, so it was nice and simple :)

We admired the quiet and beauty of the spot for a while, the warmth of the sun being all the more enjoyable for knowing we could cool off in the water.

Then in we jumped!! The water was cool but not cold, and felt gently warm once you got used to it. It was pretty clear for fresh water, although it doesn’t stay that way as the water levels drop during the dry season, and therefore pools and becomes stagnant. I’m hoping we’ll get another chance to visit before the water goes bad though, as I’d love to explore some of the other pools heading upstream – it would be great to take your stuff in a drybag and see how far upstream you could get :)

We enjoyed our little area though, swimming with the fishes.

It’s funny, in the UK this would have been called ‘wild swimming’ – in fact I mentioned wild swimming in a previous post. You can buy books to recommend good wild swimming spots, and even join wild swimming clubs or communities. Apparently Australians find that all quite strange – heading to a ‘swimming hole’ for a cool off during hot weather is pretty common for lots of people, so they just call it ‘swimming’…

Friday, 1 May 2015

Granny Stripes

If you saw my last post about Anzac Day, you may have spotted a little crochet goodness in the first picture.

If you missed it, here’s a closer-up of the crochet:

My recent Disco Willow Blanket is there, plus my Leftover Granny Stripe that I haven’t blogged about since December!!Both blankets got plenty of use that day, and the little person in that picture had a good snuggle with them :)

I feel a bit bad for not doing some kind of ‘ta dah!’ post for the Granny Stripes, but I’m not completely sure that it’s finished. I had wanted to do a proper border of some kind, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted it to be like, so I only got as far as doing a few rounds of DC-chain 1-DC-chain 1 etc, with the following rounds hooked into the previous rounds chain 1 space. Using a different colour for each round gives a good effect with this method.

I also used different colours for each side of the blanket, to keep up the uber-colourful vibe already going on! 

And that’s as far as I have got with this Granny Stripe Blanket, and until I picked it up to take out to Anzac Day it had just sat in a bag in the spare room.

After Anzac Day it was pretty much covered in dead grass and bits of leaf and twig. I’ve read other people’s accounts of how well Stylecraft Special DK washes, so I wasn’t too nervous when I put it in the machine for the first time. Waiting for the cycle to finish, I hoped that nothing would go wrong!! The blanket felt horribly plasticky and stiff when I took it out of the washing machine damp, and I was a bit worried about whether it would ever be the same again though… 
Reading the yarn band, it said that you can use a cool tumbledry with the yarn. As the blanket is so big – double bed size – I didn’t have anywhere to hang it up effectively, so it went into the tumble drier on cool for about 20-30 minutes. I was delighted to discover that it came out as soft as ever! I folded it up to hang it on the airer for a bit, thinking it would be put away again.

Granny Stripe is earning her keep though!! My husband has been complaining about being cold during the night recently as the night-time temperature here has finally been dropping. He’s been saying that it’s about time I finished a blanket so that we can actually use them, so he was really pleased to discover Granny Stripe hanging up, and he put it to work!

I think it goes great with this brightly coloured sheet too, what do you reckon?

Blankety facts:

This blanket is made up entirely of Stylecraft Special DK, in the following colours:

Lavender Meadow Clematis Aster Spring Green Wisteria Magenta Cloud Blue Saffron Candyfloss Lipstick Sherbert Shrimp Bluebell Pomegranate Turquoise and a darker Purple from which the label had come off)

That's 17 colours in total, but I'm not really sure of quantities as I was using up leftover yarn from other projects. This included leftovers from an Attic 24 pack I ordered years ago, so the colours are very similar to her Granny Stripe Blanket, although the effect is very different simply by creating my own colour order.

For my colour sequence, I have gone for random - as random as possible! I did actively try to keep similar colours apart, giving lots of contrast between each stripe. I also deliberately spaced out the reds - Lipstick and Pomegrante - fairly evenly to keep it balanced. I didn't have much greeny colour either, so I also tried to spread these out a bit.

In the making of this blanket, so many colour combinations appeared that made me feel really inspired for future blankets! I really want to make more! I didn't manage to get any yarn for Christmas (boo!!!!) but I still have Cuddly and Cotton Hexagons to keep me going for a while. When they have run out though perhaps I can treat myself to some new Special DK, and have more colour play in my crochet life :)