My sentiments exactly!

Hello everyone

Well the snow has almost gone here in Yorkshire apart from bits on the hills, we have Spring flowers appearing and have had a couple of warm days recently so we are all feeling very happy!

One of my favourite parts of the China Nationalities Museum that I visited while in Beijing was the exhibition of needlework, this sign outside perfectly captures how I, (and it would seem the museum organisers), feel about stitching!

China Nationalities Museum Sign

There were themed displays of footwear (including the very sad lotus feet shoes for bound feet), bags, headwear and gifts – these little embroidered tokens of love and affection are called henbao.

China Nationalities Museum Henbao

China Nationalities Museum Boots

China Nationalities Museum Lotus feet shoes

I was interested to see cross stitch and patchwork in the bags as well as the more traditional Chinese silk embroidery.

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag 2

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag 3

China Nationalities Museum Patchwork bag

There was also a section devoted to needlework tools – anyone remember these pincushions at the top of the photo?

My Nana had one when I was little (as well as the tomato one with the strawberry emery attached).

China Nationalities Museum Pincushion

In another part of the museum there were some displays of traditional Miao people costume, with beautiful silver headdresses and embroidered robes.

Each strand of the skirt is a separate piece joined with silver beads.

China Nationalities Museum Miao

China Nationalities Museum Miao 2

China Nationalities Museum Miao 3

China Nationalities Museum Miao 4

I have had a busy week craft wise, have finished and posted my Spring ornament for the Seasonal Exchange, part made two bags out of recycled denim and pillowcases and been to two knitting groups (though more drinking coffee and wine was done than actual knitting – as usual!)

And next week the season starts again! They joy of seeing all my re-enactment friends and camping and campfires and BBQs – I shall be so happy 🙂

I must get around to putting up the events page for this year but next weekend we are at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire – on Sat and Sun celebrating the victory of St George over the evil Dragon Knight! Please come and join us if you can.

Take care and thank you for visiting.

A very snowy weekend!

Hello everyone, I am very glad to be home from China, not that I didn’t have a lovely time, as always I was very well looked after and enjoyed myself, both doing the work bit and the few days I had after the teaching to visit some of Beijing’s famous places.

But I did miss my lovely hills and was really looking forward to coming home so I could go walking this weekend.

However it was snowing when I left China and I brought it back with me as we have had the most enormous snowfall over the last two days – it is up to my knees in my garden and we have been making the most of it.

Ellie and Jake have been here all weekend (Jake is home for Easter) and today Kerry , my brother Ben and his partner Amanda came over and we went sledging. We had great fun then came back for warm drinks and birthday cake (Ellie will be 22 next weekend so we celebrated early).

I went to see some lovely things while in Beijing, the Forbidden Palace and the Summer Palace and a temple as well as Tianamen Square and the National Museum.

One of my favourite visits was to the China Museum of Nationalities which is very similar to other open air museums we have visited in the past, such as St Fagan’s near Cardiff that we went to at Christmas.

The museum is a collection of buildings that have been brought from all parts of China to represent all the 56 different ethnic groups that make up the Chinese population along with exhibitions of costume, crafts etc and costumed interpreters who perform dances, music etc from all the different groups.

There was loads of lovely embroidery and I just want to show you a little bit of this. These were in the Tibetan area and they are all part of the decorations that are used on hair braid embellishments that the women wear.

You can see the way they wear them in the first pic and below are just some of the beautiful work along with an amazing embroidered hanging.Really wish I had more luggage space as I could have brought some much more home with me!

China Nationalities Museum Braids

China Nationalities Museum Braids 2

China Nationalities Museum Braids 3

China Nationalities Museum Braids 4

China Nationalities Museum Embroidery

The museum is very near the Olympic park and other business areas and this picture shows the contrast between China old and new.The pagoda is part of the museum and the unusually shaped modern tower is the IBM tower.

China Nationalities Museum Old and New

I am off to Spain tomorrow to spend a lovely long time with my Mum – it is currently 21 degrees there so will be a little bit of change from the Arctic conditions here!

Take care and will be back with more China pics on my return. Thanks for visiting.

Bright lights, big city!

Hello again, long time no blog. The reason for my absence is of course that I have been lucky enough to be teaching again in China.

I have been here for nearly a month and most of that time I have been in Guangzhou again but I have had a short holiday this time after my work and have been spending a few days in arguably the brightest and probably the biggest city in the world, Hong Kong!

I thought that Guangzhou was amazing in terms of the tallness of the buildings and of their Pearl River light show but of course Hong Kong is the mother of all skyscraper neon wonder and I have been having a lovely time here.

I also had a visit to Disneyland – it is one of my ambitions to visit every Disneyland, so far I have done 3 with Tokyo, California and Shanghai (due for completion in 2016) to go.

As well as the bright lights I spent a day on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island yesterday which is a beautiful mountain country park. I went on a cable car ride to see the world’s biggest outdoor sitting Buddha and visit the monastery, on a speedboat ride round the bay and to see some traditional fishermens’ stilt houses, finishing off with dinner on the terrace of a very nice restaurant overlooking  Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong.It was like being in a Bond film and was definitely one of the most amazing days of my life.

I will post more of those pics later once I have sorted them out (and found my camera cable which has disappeared somewhere in the packing process!) Here are a few from my trip so far. I am so lucky to be able to do this – I have spent the whole month pinching myself thinking am I really here again. I still really, really love China and hopefully will be back again with work in the Spring.

The first two photos are of the city of Guangzhou at night.

Guangzhou skyscrapers 1

Guangzhou skyscrapers 2

And here is the beautiful Canton Tower in Guangzhou which changes colour every few minutes during the evening light show.

Guangzhou tower 1

Guangzhou tower 2

Guangzhou is China’s third biggest city and is packed full of people, I have been staying in a very nice hotel in one of the busiest parts of town, this is what the evening rush hour looks like here.

Guangzhou traffic

And here is my gorgeous hotel room – aren’t I lucky! I know some people complain about business travel and living out of hotels all the time but I am still a novice at this and I am like a kid at Christmas with excitement. I am going back here tonight for two more days before flying home.

Milu hotel

And a couple of photos of Hong Kong, I have much better ones of the city lights as I was raining heavily the day I took these but until I find the camera lead can’t get to them!

Hong Kong at night

Hong Kong skyscrapers 4

There has been a little bit of shopping (only a bit, more window shopping looking at all the designer shops in malls like this one).

Hong Kong mall

And lots of culture as well, here is a picture of one of the beautiful painted panels in the ancestral hall of a museum I went to.

Hong Kong - museum painting

And lastly a little look at Mickey and Minnie in their Halloween finery.

Disney Minnie and Micky 1

Will update again sometime next week when I am back in the UK. Am looking forward to getting home to my beautiful village which will be such a contrast to all this but not looking forward to the weather. It has been around 35 degrees here and I have been wandering round in summer clothes.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Photo Scavenger Hunt – March


I am still working on sorting out all of the pictures from China but have done these for the Scavenger Hunt so this is a little taste of what I did there.


The view from my hotel room in Guangzhou – from the 11th floor overlooking the park.



Am emergency button in the hotel room bathroom.



These beautiful boxes of tea were for sale in the hotel I stayed in – sadly I did not have enough weight allowance to bring one back this time but I will when I go again later in the year.



This was one of the wonderful restaurants I visited – a famous beef restaurant where you had a personal hot-pot on each table to cook all of this lovely stuff!



We visited a historic house and museum where they had this beautiful puppet theatre with goldwork hangings.


Street name

I have started learning Chinese – being in the country surrounded by signs made it much easier, like this road sign outside my hotel – ‘shan’ means ‘mountain’.

Road name


The chairs in the lobby in the hotel I stayed in.



This is the 5 goats statue in Yue Xie park in Guangzhou, this is linked to the story of the founding of the city. Here I am with my colleagues Mo and Chris on a rather wet day out.



It was easy to see what was in fashion in China as washing was hanging everywhere, this is one of the student dorms on the campus in Guangzhou.



Loads of lovely Chinese words everywhere which were so beautiful, these were at the back of the classroom where I was teaching, these symbols mean ‘teacher’.



Half a face

One of the things that was strange in China was that all of the adverts featured very Western looking women with pale skin which is very prized in China. This was a picture outside a beauty salon. Seems strange that in my town there are lots of beauty salons offering spray tan and in China the most popular thing is whitening masks!

half a face


A picture of the other city in stayed in , Shantou. on display at a museum we visited – a small city by Chinese standards at about 5 million people.


Chinese textiles

As might have been expected I found some lovely things in China! I thought I would put these in a post rather than with the other pics I have been working on for a separate page so that they will appear in the tags at the side.

China is of course famous for silk and while in Guangzhou (which was formerly known as Canton) I went to the old 19th century area for a visit and found this beautiful piece of embroidery on silk in an antique shop there. There were many pieces to choose from but I bought the lion as that is a very traditional Chinese symbol. I love the bright colours and the detailed stitching. There were so many lovely things in the shop (that I could not afford) like caps and gowns and stitched shoes.

Chinese lion 1

Chinese lion 2

I also came across some lovely cross stitch kits – these were being sold by a street vendor on one of the bridges near the hotel I stayed at in Guangzhou and worked out at about £1 per kit so were a real bargain. I have just started stitching the Emperor one to remind me of the dressing up with Mo that I posted about last time.

Cross stitch 1

Cross stitch 2

Cross stitch 3

The first group of people I worked with in the city of Shantou gave me a gift to say thanks at the end of the week which was very kind of them. I was thrilled when they gave me this beautiful set of local lace.There are about 12 of  these in the set they gave me. They told me that lace making was brought to the area by missionaries in the 19th century so they thought the present was appropriate as it was a blend of West and East which was so lovely. They didn’t even realise when they chose this gift what a textile addict I am so it was perfect!

Chinese lace

I was lucky enough to be taken out on a brilliant day’s tour of cultural sites when I was in Shantou. I spent most of my time in China teaching but had 3 rest days while I was there and the school I was working at took me to a historic house nearby where they had museum displays. This is part of a wedding carriage and is appliqued embroidery on silk.

Shantou - applique

Puppet theatre has a long tradition in Chinese culture and in the same museum there was a puppet theatre display with beautiful goldwork side panels.

Goldwork 2


Goldwork 1

I am still working on the rest of the pics to choose some for my page – I took so many so am spending a lot of time editing them and hope to post that at the weekend.

Thank you for visting and see you all soon.

Welcome to Spring

I’m home after a very, very fabulous and exciting nearly 3 weeks in China. 

It is the first day of Spring today and the weather has been lovely and sunny and there is blossom on my neighbour’s tree and everything is looking very good.It is quite significant that I am home to see the blossom as I have been starting to learn Chinese while I have been there and the Chinese name for England starts with the word Ying which means blossom (the Chinese use similar sounding words for foreign names).

My name in Chinese translates as ‘a beautiful forest’  because ‘A’   ‘Li’   ‘Son’   relates to those 3 characters. I think that is a lovely name, especially as I love being outdoors so much.

Here is my first name on my name plate from the first group I taught.

My name

I am still feeling a little disorientated due to the time difference – it took 22 hours to get home yesterday and my sleep patterns are still very disrupted and I keep waking up and forgetting where I am!I am also very tired as I have been working very hard while I was there with at least 12 – 14 hour days. However it was brilliant fun. I met so many lovely people and was looked after really well. The food was wonderful and I got to see quite a bit of the country and some of the historic sites despite only having 3 days not teaching out of 20 days there.

I am sorting out the 1,000 plus pictures I took while I was there so that I can create a web page about the trip but meanwhile I have included a  pic for this post.

Apologies for the quality of this as it is a picture of a digital photo that we had taken in the Yuexie park which we visited on one of our rest days. They had a stall where you could hire costumes and have photos taken so this is me and my colleague Mo dressed as a Chinese Emperor and Empress. We chose this costume as I had been treated so well in the first week I was there I felt like royalty and my other colleague Chris had joked that it was because I was  princess. It was great fun dressing up and we certainly amused the people in the park, there was a huge crowd watching our photo shoot!

Dressing up

I will be back later in the week with more updates, in the meantime sleep is calling!

Thanks for visting.