American Carwash


London even has an American Carwash.

Admittedly, this is the only carwash I’ve ever noticed in central London in the past three years.

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Christmas Cupcakes


Getting festive, cupcakes were made. Yay Christmas!

What did I learn from this experience:

1. Edible Glitter fixes everything. It makes everything a bit more pretty. I also learned that just because edible glitter is edible, doesn’t mean it’s digestible.

2. Using liquid fondant is much easier then I expected, but you have to work quite quickly as it hardens within minutes. I think the hardest part is not overcooking it and making it into a rock.

3. Piping icing is much easier if you aim at 90 degrees. Doing it on a slant results in offroad icing.

4. When filling the cupcake wrappers/ tins,  less is more, as if you overfill, whatever you put on top won’t have the wrapper to help it along.

5. If you want the cupcakes to come out flattish on top, use margarine. Butter will yield a dome-shaped top, which you’d have to then level.

6. I can eat two of these before feeling vile.

Blackberry Snood


All Done!

Blackberry Snood sounds like something to eat, not something to wear.

Me in Snood

Anyway, I made this based on this pattern from The Guardian, and it is the first thing I’ve ever made from a pattern. It’s garter stitch (which is alternating knit and purl rows) and I had to decrease the number of rows as I went, so lots of new things. (Admittedly, I messed up a bit and forgot one of the decreases and just fudged it later.)

If you know me and you ask me to make you one, I’d probably say yes. It only took me two days. You’ll need to pick your color, though. (Mine is blackberry.)

More Fun with Town Names


I caught this weather report back in November, when it was especially rainy.

Naturally, I could not resist the hilarity that is the town names of  Mumbles and Dunkeswell.

This posted the question of where these places are, and much to our surprise, Mumbles looks gorgeous- at least according to this website.

I think it may be our first car trip, once I get my license!

Pityriasis Rosea


Day 29: Almost gone!

I’ve waffled about writing about this, as it seems like an overshare; thus my new category. What changed my mind was my husband’s pointing out how much other people’s accounts helped me out when I ended up with bout of Pityriasis Rosea.

It all really started mid-November when I noticed a splotch of dry skin (later I learned this is called a, “herald patch”) on the side of my torso. I thought little of it, as I tend to have dry skin in winter.  During our York trip, two weeks or so later, I found my torso covered in smaller red welt-like splotches. At first I thought it might be a reaction to laundry detergent, but the spots were isolated to my torso only.

I did what any reasonable person does in this age: I asked Google. (She seemingly knows everything. )

My quick search for red spots on torso quickly pointed me to a number of sites on Pityriasis Rosea. Among the best were these:

The first three offer helpful reference, but it was the fourth I really found helpful, as it was a personal account. It also led me to write this because this condition generally lasts eight weeks, and I seem to have mostly beaten it in four. The frustrating part about this condition is that there’s no conclusive evidence as to what actually causes it, and there’s no immediate cure; you just have to let it run its course for the most part.

My own experience after figuring out that I had Pityriasis Rosea focused on trying to get rid of it as soon as I possibly could. As the many references indicated that sweating and hot showers would prolong the condition, I abandoned the gym, and took lukewarm showers, only as needed. (See, oversharing!!)

I found this Aveeno Beth and Shower Oil worked very well as a cleanser, and I frequently applied E45 Lotion to manage the itching.

What I really think progressed this along, though, was use of a sunbed, which is something I would NEVER have done, had I not been desperate and had I not read of Jim’s successes with it. I’m quite pale, you see. The closest I come to a tan is when freckles merge. My makeup color is usually the lightest one in the palate.

What I did was spend two minutes (the bed itself recommended no more than three for a fair-skinned person) under the lamps at a time.

Timingwise, if I consider the date of the first spot Day 1, and the day I broke out in lots of spots Day 14, then I went for my few minutes of UV sun time on the 17th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, and 25th days. I learned quickly that two days in a row was too much that first time I tried it, so after that, I spread out the sessions more. Each time I sunned, the spots would initially worsen, feeling itchy and sunburned, even though my normal skin was not burned. This discomfort would last about 12 hours, after which, the spots would significantly improve.  In Jim’s account, he spent much more time under the lamps and makes no mention of feeling like the spots were burned, but his account also gave me the the impression that he wasn’t the sort of person who gets sunburned, period.

On day 22nd, the rash did worsen, spreading down my legs and arms, but this cleared up completely on day 24. I read that often, sufferers will have a brief case where the spots spread and mysteriously recede a few days later. I was relieved to see them go.

By day 28, the spots had mostly cleared, and while I was still a bit spotted, my skin felt mostly normal. I went to the doctor due to the cold I picked up, and he confirmed my diagnosis. The picture above was taken day 29, and the first (herald) spot from Day 1 is still visible but very faded. I realize it doesn’t show much, but I guess I’m not that good at oversharing. Google images can dazzle you with plenty of awful pictures, if you really want.