Friday, 13 June 2014


I can't actually believe it's taken me this long to get around to posting about Rome... I guess we've just been super busy since we got back.  Anyway here goes....

In short, Rome was everything it promised to be.  Beautiful city, gorgeous food and just a thrilling place to be.

Getting up at 430 to go to the airport - not so thrilling!

Bleary Eyed on way to Airport
Buckle up for Take Off

When we arrived we checked into our hotel (near the Termini station) and then went for an explore.  We stopped for a glass of wine

Well this was more like a bucket!  But it was good.  We just stopped at a wee place on the side of the street - nothing to really write home about.  The wine was good tho


We proceeded to do a bit of sightseeing - so many beautiful buildings and statues it's really quite impossible to describe.    There's something to see on every corner and it's not just the big tour guide sights that are amazing.

We went to the Trevi fountain and really it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen!  Long gone are the days of this being a romantic site!  It was total chaos!  There were 100s of folk all trying to get their pic and throw their coin in.  It was like a conveyor belt. 


But I managed to get my coin in! 

We had dinner at a lovely place round the corner.  I had the yummiest pasta!  And more wine!  The boyfriend had a pizza

I have to say - I'm not really a lover of Italian food but by this point in the trip I was being converted.... what I'm not is a lover of over doughy pizza, soggy pasta and garlic bread!  

So the next day(Easter Monday) we got up early to go to the colleseum.  I'd discovered you could buy this thing called a Roma Pass a few days prior online and we bought them the second we got into Rome... they were about to prove their value!

On the approach to the colleseum I have NEVER seen so many people - not even after coming out of a gig at Hampden - it was m-e-n-t-a-l.  I thought oh crikey - we'll never get in here... the roma pass guide said that there was a separate turnstile entrance for their ticket holders... not that we could get anywhere near it with the scrum of people - anyway we braved it and pushed our way towards this gate as nobody seemed to be queuing for it, just in front of it.... on approach a security guard tried to stop us and i just showed him the pass and he ushered us right through - skipped the 1000s of folk and right in.  Amazing!  But I thought there had to be a catch, another queue inside or something for security - nope.... again.... straight through!  34 euro WELL spent!
I'd heard folk say when we were inside that they'd been queuing for 4 hours!  We weren't smug.


If i'd had to queue for 4 hours I'd have given up.  So glad we didn't.  How amazing is this.  I mean it kind of is amazing when you're standing in it and thinking wow - it's real.

 It's really, really old and I'm right here looking at it with my own eyes!
 It wasn't overly crowded once we were indoors, but there were enough folk there to not be able to hang around in any one spot for too long.

 But so special.  It was just as much fun looking at it from the outside too
Quick stop for an espresso in one of the nearby market squares and we hit the sights again.

The one thing about Rome - you need good walking shoes.  I had to buy a pair of nikes on day 2 as I was covered in blisters.

With it being Easter Monday and all it was shockingly busy.  Definitly a Roman Holiday.  We gave up on the town and walking around as it was too stressful.  Also all the places we wanted to go eat were closed.  So as we were wandering around after seeing yet another 'closed' sign we stumbled across this beautiful local bar....
Hidden under the ivy.  Folk spilling out onto the street with their drinks - so italian.

So we asked for a table and the guy behind the bar took our name, it was so busy we thought we'd be waiting hours, but after 1 drink we got our seat.


The waitress was so lovely and recommended some dishes.  I has moussaka.  It was so good.  The boyfriend had meatballs.  After a very stressful afternoon this turned out to be one of the best nights of the trip.  

Afterwards we took a walk down to the Pantheon  


The following day was Vatican City day.  

We started the trip by walking to a near by coffee shop for breakfast - we had these amazing pastries

And here's another top queue jumping tip!  The queues were much more orderly here but they were around the entire city..... again we heard it was a 4/6 hr queue...I'd booked and paid for our tickets online before we left home.... there wasn't a single person at the online ticket entry - straight in - yet again!  Rome 0 - us 2.  Hurrah.

The Vatican was amazing.  But you know when folk say there's just too much to see - it's so true of the Vatican.  Brain overload.  But it was sensational.  My favourite room was a room called the map room.  Just incredible.       


I have to say the Sistine Chapel was really disappointing.  We were ushered into it and told to 'sshhh' and 'keep moving' every 2 seconds whilst in there - it was dark, dimly lit, you couldn't see the paintings properly and you didn't get a chance to stand and look at anything. 

We were far more impressed by what we found later on in the trip by way of churches...

The spiral staircase was fun at the end.


 We managed to leave without seeing St Peters Square or the Basillica which was a bit silly!  Guess it's lucky I got my coin in the Trevi Fountain so we're guaranteed to go back! ;)

Afterwards we took a walk around and stopped for a drink every now and then

A really lovely day.  I have to say we didn't have one bad drink the whole time we were there!

That night we wanted to eat in an old Trattoria but the one we wanted to go to by the Pantheon was full.  We followed our trusty Lonely Planet to a restaurant round the corner, which was lovely - not very busy, so not very atmospheric, but it was nice


They promoted themselves on having a very extensive wine list.  So we tried a couple.  They really were very good.  The food was good too!    All in all a great day!  

The final day we weren't too sure what we were going to do - the one thing we knew tho was that we were eating at La Carbonara Trattoria.  I'd wanted to go here since before we arrived.  It was closed the first 2 nights we tried to get in... I'd read about it on a blog before we left - and it was exactly as described.  Nona was outside brushing the street when we arrived to make our booking in the morning.... her daughter (presumably) took the booking for 830 that night and it meant we could relax and enjoy our day knowing that dinner that evening was arranged!

A chance walk in off the street to a church transformed that day.  oh my lord  - I have never seen anything so incredible.


I mean this is what I thought the Sistine Chapel was going to be.  So beautiful.  We decided right then that we were going to spend the rest of the day just walking round and popping into all the churches.  Such a worthwhile venture.  I would urge anybody to do this when in Rome.  

For lunch we ate at an amazing pizzeria a couple of streets back from the colleseum.  This is one of my favourite things I have ever ate!  The beer was ace too!

Few more churches in the afternoon.... and the Roman Forum... 


And then off to our meal......

It did not disappoint!!!  The service was brilliant, the food, the wine, the atmosphere!  It was packed. I urge you to visit if you ever go to Rome!


The idea is you write on the wall of the restaurant - it's custom.... Sandy drew our faces!  Perfect end to a perfect trip!


Selena & Sandy April 2014


Monday, 14 April 2014

Baby quilt

So my best and oldest friend is having a baby and I wanted to give her something personal that she could hold onto for a long time, so it had to be a quilt!

I have never made a baby quilt before, I've made double, king size, lap, table runners - all of the above - but never a baby quilt.   So this was going to be a fun and quick project.

I went to my local fabric store and picked out some fabrics.  They don't know what they're having yet so the nursery is going to be lime green.  It's actually pretty hard trying to pick out fabrics without knowing the sex of the intended recipient... if you ask me there's not enough selection out there!  Anyway I found these lovely ones and thought I could do something with this little lot!

To start with anyway!  Once I decided what pattern I was doing I needed to buy some extra bits and pieces.  

I eventually decided on the Log Cabin design.  I just loved how easy it was to make up when I made my Kingsize Quilt last year, so I decided to go with that pattern

I used the pattern book 'Quilt in a Day' series, which is great.  I'd really recommend that series of quilt pattern books.  They're just super easy to follow.  Really good, clear instructions.

You start off by cutting your fabric into strips.  

The idea is you get 3 lights, 3 darks and a centre square.    Here are mine cut and ready to go!

Then you simple take your first fabric and the centre square and sew them together (right sides together)


Then you open those up and cut into squares.  Here are mine having a good press

In quilting - it's important to know which way to press your fabrics - as it all comes together in the end and you want to be able to not only align your fabric, but when it comes to quilting you want as few bumps as possible.

Then you basically keep going in that vain, adding another strip, trimming

Adding another strip, trimming, pressing and so on

Until you get one complete square!

I managed to cut off the outside edge on this pic but you get the idea!

Then once you have all your quilt squares you need to decide on a layout. 

This is the tricky part!  Well it is if you're like me and bad at making decisions!

See the different effects you can get just by laying out the squares differently


Do you see how the light and dark comes in too?

Anyway I went for this one - the Zig Zag! 


So then it was just a case of sewing the squares together.  Your pressing becomes really important here as you want everything to sit nicely together.

Here's a better picture of the squares!  I love that chick fabric.  It's beyond cute.

I loved it so much I used it in my border.  I liked the pea one too.

So then you have to pin your quilt to stop it from slipping when you put it through your machine.  This is the bit I hate the absolute most!  Bent over a table, sticking in pins and usually pricking my fingers!  But there we go.  Some folk use the spray solution but I'm yet to be entirely convinced by this.

Then you quilt it!

I only have a wee machine so a baby quilt was just about right for the size of my machine!  Can you imagine the struggle I had with the King Size!  

Mind those pins!

I use the stitch in the ditch method of quilting, because my freehand machine quilting skills leave a lot to be desired.  Something I will improve upon.

Then whizz on the binding and here we are!

One complete quilt!  Oh and don't forget to label it!  I had a slight problem with my zig zag stitch so don't look too closely.  At this point I couldn't be bothered unpinning and starting again - I just wanted it finished!  But the label looks OK from a distance!\

Got it out in the post today.  Baby's due to arrive with us tomorrow.  Fingers crossed he/she likes it!