Tag Archives: Book review

Motivational running

I know that not everyone who reads this blog runs, or even wants to…if, however you have a little bit of an urge, or have dabbled a bit then I have the book that is perfect for you:

I devoured this, thoroughly enjoying every minute. Basically it is Alexandra’s own experiences with running. It starts right from the very beginning when she forces herself out of the door, disguised so-not-to-be-noticed, in her baggy clothes for the very first and very painful first attempt. It goes from there right through to her experiences of running 5 marathons.

What I really liked is that she is not a professional and shares every little bit of advice that she can and that includes all the terrible mistakes that she made along the way.  My favourite bits include her first visit to a specialist shop to buy a pair of shoes where she is made to feel like an alien; the way her Dad was an experienced runner but it took her ages to listen to any advice that he tried to give her; and the end bit where she shares all of the tips that she spent ages ignoring before deciding that they actually make some sense!

My favourite tips include:

wearing bright nail varnish on your fingers to races (something that I tend to do so it is really nice to have it verbalised!)

nothing is as ever bad as the first time you run (true)

Smother vaseline all over your feet to prevent blisters length of time ignored: 2 years

I really love this one as soon after I had read the book I went to get my new trainers and this tip was passed on to me there too! (In case you are wondering, I have yet to try it yet either!!)

All in all I found this a very motivational book that has helped me in my running journey. I now try to think of myself as strong and capable rather than doubting myself the whole way round. Just this little shift in mental attitude has made a huge amount of difference to me! I am now hungry for another motivational running book. I love reading about real people and not just the bits that are airbrushed before deemed to be fit for human consumption. This book fitted perfectly.

The Make and Craft Blog Tour

Make and Craft Logo

Welcome to All!

Welcome everyone to my turn on the tour and thank you to crafty painter whom it seems thinks along the same sort of lines as me! I am so excited to be taking part in this and am eagerly awaiting the first edition of this brand new magazine which comes out exactly 1 WEEK TODAY! If you want to find out more about the magazine then do head over to their website here. There is lots on there so make sure you have a cup of tea handy before you start as there are forums, tips, swaps, ideas …….. (you get the idea). Also don’t forget that you can sign up and get 3 copies for just £1 (digital) or £3 paper. It has to be worth a go surely?

My Book

For those of you that have been following the tour you will be aware that everyone has been sent a book to review. I have been very lucky with my book as it is just perfect for me. I got stuck in straight away leaving everything else as WIP! This is it:

75 Crocheted Floral Blocks by Betty Barnden. ISBN:978-1-84448-808-7

(Yes I know my blog title has knitting in it but I do crochet a lot as well!)

This book is really well set out with 1 block per page. There are written instructions as well as charts making it accessible to all. I am used to following written patterns and set off to follow these but I have to say I had some difficulties. This may be something to do with the fact that I started with an advanced pattern which could have been slightly ambitious (there are three categories easy, intermediate and advanced). The consequence of this however is that I have managed to teach myself how to read charts from this book so I am really chuffed. 🙂

Book Summary

The book gives quite comprehensive instructions. It gives a summary of which hooks to use with which yarns, how to read ball bands, how to start and finish neatly, suggestions for edgings and advice on how to arrange the blocks together. At the back there are 4 examples of projects which you can make. My favourite page shows one block worked with different hook sizes and yarns. It really shows what a difference this makes clearly.

My Project

As this is all part of a launch party I decided to have a go making the triangular blocks so that I could make something very appropriate. Using some yarn from my stash (very surprising colours as I have three boys!) I made this:

Some bunting!! Not as quick to make as that from yesterday but weird that we both had a similar idea.

These blocks are incredibly satisfying to do as they are quite quick (it was easy to do one a night). They are also portable, indeed I did take them out with me to a couple of meetings. (I never like to waste good crafting time!)

Here are some of them in more detail:

This one is called ‘Violet Triangle’

Celtic Flower Triangle

Michaelmas Daisy Triangle

Stonecrop Triangle

After blocking them (pinning them out to dry after spraying them with water) I went to my local shop, bought some appropriate ribbon and threaded the triangles on to it in the order I thought most appropriate. Why not have a go yourself? I would love to see how they turn out so do link back to here so I can see.


For those of you who follow my blog, you will know that I often crochet and knit things in wire, adding beads and making them into jewellery. I have had a bit of a break from this recently but this book inspired me to have another go.

I basically take a crochet pattern and do it in wire. Here is my first one:

This is from a block called Four Daisy Diamond.

My thought on this is a pendant:

My second one is:

This is the central part from the Large Flowered Hexagon.

This is nowhere near finished and I will therefore be returning to it soon. If you have some ideas about what I should do with them then I am always delighted to hear them. If you would like to see how I finish this off  then I am on Facebook and Twitter and I will be sharing the post I write on there.

Final thoughts

I am hoping that you can tell that I really like this book. I have loads more to do with it and I really want to thank those at Make and Craft for giving me such a fab book. Not only did I get a book but I also got an extra copy to giveaway to a lucky reader. All you have to do is register on the Make and Craft website and leave a comment below. I will randomly pick a winner on the 15th October. Good luck 🙂

If you are not lucky and really want a copy then it is available from Search Press which have an amazing amount of creative books on their site. You can also find out more information about the book. If you quote Make and Craft Blog Tour when purchasing the book from Search Press you will not have to pay any P&P! (Phone 01892 510850 to order).

Thank you so much for reading. Do join me tomorrow when I pass the baton onto the wonderful Wendy from Handmade Harbour (of the handmade Monday linky party fame).