Wow, the first full week back at work has been a bit of a shock to the system! Not just because I've been laid around at my leisure throughout the holidays, but because I've also decided to stop drinking Diet Coke. I've gone from drinking at least a litre a day, which was to help cope with the fatigue brought on by chronic anaemia, to absolutely zilch. Let me tell you, the withdrawal symptoms have been horrendous – a bit like being hungover, but for days instead of hours. Yuck!
It's unsurprising that my crafting productivity has taken a bit of a hit this week. Instead, I've found myself curled up in bed with my Kindle most nights…
For the last week or so, I've been determinedly ploughing my way through Jean Plaidy's Stuart Saga. A longtime favourite author of mine, I devoured her Tudor novels quite some time ago. If I'm being honest, historical is my absolute favourite genre of fiction but that's hardly a shocking revelation considering I have two history degrees and most of my friends know me to be a real geek about the past. Due to my academic background, I'm quite picky when it comes to historical fiction. For instance, I really cannot stomach the Philippa Gregory novels (one day, I'll tell you why…), but Jean Plaidy has always been a solid choice for me.
Seeing as the Civil War/Restoration/Glorious Revolution period is one of my favourites in British history, it seemed natural that I dive into the Stuart Saga. I finished Royal Sisters a few days ago, which was about the daughters of James II, and I'm now onto Courting Her Highness, which is about Queen Anne. As I started the saga halfway through – with The Loves of Charles II – I'm planning to go back and read the earlier books, about Charles I, after I've finished my current novel. You see, that's the great thing about Jean Plaidy: her books are linked together, but are written well enough that you can read one on it's own or a whole series out of order. I really rate that.
On the knitting front, I've been working on finishing off my Crackle Socks for my cousin Jackie. As you may recall, I started these back in October and originally intended to finish them before Christmas. Well, that didn't happen as I got distracted by my crochet blanket and other items of Christmas knitting. I hope she doesn't mind too much that they're a bit late….
As you can see, I've just finished the first sock and need to graft the toe. My aim is to finish the second sock in this pair by the end of next week.
I'm a real sucker for second sock syndrome, particularly when it comes to patterned socks. At any one time, you can bet I have at least three pairs of socks on the go, and I'll usually flit to another pair after finishing a first sock. Although I can knit a pair in a week if I really need to I'm really determined, it usually takes quite a while longer. One of my New Year goals for 2016 is to try and break this habit so that my friends/family can actually get their socks to wear in the weather that necessitates them, as opposed to the height of summer. Yes, that's what usually happens – oops!
In between procrastinating on the socks and reading, I've also been spending some time flicking through the new cookbooks I received over Christmas….
Besides appropropriating a courgetti recipe from Hemsley & Hemsley, I've only had the chance to try Mr Todiwala's Bombay, which was a recommendation from Rachel (thank you!).I made Butter Chicken for the New Years party I threw, and it was a resounding success with my guests, I'm pleased to say.
Although I've generally been dipping in and out of the others, there's a bit of a story regarding The Voluptuous Miss Dahl and this isn't my first copy. Originally, I bought it just after publication and it quickly became one of my favourite cookbooks due to Sophie's amazing recipe for Peanut Butter fudge. And then it suddenly disappeared. Funnily enough, the same thing happened with my first copy of Nigella Christmas. I still don't know where they have gone, but I strongly suspect that my mother 'borrowed' them without telling me and then 'lent' them to someone else. Predictably, she doesn't remember who she gave them to or, indeed, when. I've long since given up on getting either of them back and I've sworn that I'll never lend my books to my mother again, but anyway….
What have you been up to this week? The weather here in London has been absolutely awful and my office, as usual, is utterly freezing. I seem to be getting by on quite a lot of soup and fruit tea, whilst bundling up in my blanket scarf…