Archive | March, 2012

Opera North’s Cautionary Tales. Square Chapel Centre, Halifax

29 Mar

I was given 2 tickets by the Square Chapel Centre in Halifax and jumped at the chance to see this show

This hour long production by Opera north was an adaptation of Cautionary tales by Hilaire Belloc and was aimed at children aged 5+ and their families. There was a scary start with the singers wearing strange masks and tut tutting at the audience, which I thought could have been quite scary for the youngest children.

This production showcased the amazing voices of 4 of Opera North’s singers who were accompanied by 3 brilliant musicians, (especially the pianist) with each singer taking different roles in each story of naughty children who each met an untimely demise because of their naughty deeds.

Take for example Rebecca who slammed doors (and desk lids in this production) which brought her downfall when the slamming door brought down a huge statue on her head.

Then there was Jim who ran away from his nurse and was then eaten by a lion.

Henry King was the boy who chewed on string which knotted up in his stomach and for this there was no cure. End of Henry

My favourite was lying Matilda who ‘cried wolf’ so many times, phoning the London Fire Brigade until when there was really a fire, no one believed her and she was burnt to a crisp.

My shoulders somehow were quite tense as I left the theatre as it did hold my attention and the attention of the audience and I have thought about it a lot since I saw it last night so it obviously made an impression on me!

I love the cosy venue of the Square Chapel Theatre and was grateful to have been given the opportunity to sample Opera North’s talents but whilst I could appreciate these talents and cleverness of the production, I thought it was rather weird to combine Opera and children’s stories and couldn’t hand on heart say I totally loved it although I have seen reviews by parents who had seen this with their children and both parent and child had enjoyed it greatly.

Perhaps if I had seen Opera as a child I may have appreciated this more now as an adult and its certainly a good thing to entertain our children with many different types of music and theatre so for that reason it would be worth a visit to see it when it tours in your area.

Easter chick. Easy knit.

15 Mar


Size 10 needles (UK old size)        

     I believe that is 3.25mm in metric or size 3 US needles

Double knitting wool

Cadbury’s creme eggs or eggs of similar size

Cast on 36 stitches

Knit 8 rows in garter stitch

Row 9. Increase 1 st at each end of row

Row 10. knit

Row 11. As row 9

Row 12. Knit

Row 13. As row 9    (42 sts)

Knit 3 more rows

Cast off 11 sts at beg on next 2 rows. (20 sts left)
Knit 11 rows

Leave long thread to draw through sts. Fold in half and sew up. Fill the head cavity with cotton wool if required

Embroider eyes and add felt beak

Perfect size to hide a Cadbury’s creme egg (or similar) inside.

Making Up Instructions (added on 22nd February,2013)

After making another 3 dozen chicks, I’m adding a few tips for making up the chick after knitting.

Its much easier to sew the eyes (I used one stitch of black wool for each eye) and to sew on the beak before sewing up the chick.

Also, I now invisibly sew a row of yarn, along the row between the head and body, to gather up later, to accentuate the head shape.

When the chick is sewn up, this thread is pulled gently and only slightly to accentuate the head.


This photo above shows the position to place the gathering thread.


After knitting the chick, instead of casting off the stitches, the yarn is threaded through them and drawn up tight to form the top of the head, as shown above.

I like to sew up the chick from the right side using the method below. I can’t remember whether it my Mum or one of my Grandmas who showed me this method but its my method of choice for most knitted garments.


Sew from the wrong side to the right side of the item


I also sew along the bottom of the chick (about one centimetre or so) so the egg is trapped and doesn’t easily fall out.


Now add a creme egg of choice.


The head has been stuffed with toy filling. You could use cotton wool too.

Take care of course if you give these to small children. Be aware the filling will be loose in the head cavity, the nature of the chick being, to be open at the bottom to add an egg of your choice.


The finished chick …and a group of them.


Here is a link to the pattern for a larger size of chick to fit a Kinder egg or similar

If you read this blog and like it and knit a chick I’d love to see a picture. Tweet me @eviesgran.

24th February 2017

Another version of this chick is to sew up the bottom and leave the space between head and tail open. This way a chocolate egg can be inserted from the top.



20th March 2018

I have been asked for an easy pattern for an Easter Bunny too. The link is

Easy Knitted Easter Bunny



Casa Mia, Millennium, Leeds

10 Mar

We lunched today at the Casa Mia flagship restaurant in Millennium Square, Leeds, using a Groupon deal voucher which had cost £18 which was for 2 courses for 2 people.

If certain items from both the starter menu and main course menu had been chosen an extra cost over and over the Groupon voucher would have been incurred but as it was both Helen and I didn’t choose any of these items.

My starter was Insalata Con Pollo Affumicato which was smoked chicken breast, served with sun dried tomatoes, olives, red onion, yellow peppers and tomato with lemon dressing.

This was a huge portion which would have sufficed as a main course but I plodded on with it and enjoyed every mouthful. I loved the smoked chicken and the flavour of the sun dried tomatoes worked well with it. I only found 2 olives which was disappointing (especially when Evie loves them and ate them both)

Helen chose Funghi Trifolati All’Aglio  Pan fried forest mushrooms with white wine garlic and olive oil served on toasted Italian ciabatta and said it was very nice and she had finished it off long before I had eaten my smoked chicken.

My main course was Slow Roast Pork   Yorkshire pork, slow roasted, served with sage, parmesan and creamy gnocci, with crisp Palma ham.

This was belly pork, ultra tender and any fat on it melted into my mouth and I loved the saltiness of the crispy Palma ham with it,  I had made a good choice .

On the other hand when I had ordered, I wasnt sure if I would like gnocci and although I ate some of it, realised afterwards I would have preferred either pasta or potato and found gnocci a bit slimy.

I am sure it was fine and how it was supposed to be, just not too my taste. As it was I was full up with the large starter so all was well and I could leave some of it.

Helen’s main course was Homemade Meat Cannelloni, homemade meat cannelloni, baked in tomato and cheese sauce which again disappeared very quickly and was enjoyed.

The Kids set menu was Dough balls, Pizza or pasta (Evie chose pasta), and ice cream.

Some how there was some confusion. The chef brought out some dough on a plate for Evie to press into the shape of a pizza (but she wasnt having pizza) and we had to mention this. The dough on the other hand did keep her occupied and she was as good as gold all lunch time.

Also when our starters arrived, Evies dough balls were no where to be seen. We asked for them.

Much later the dough balls appeared. There were two  large dough balls which when  Helen pulled them apart had dough which was still raw in the middle. We mentioned it. The waiter wanted to replace but we couldn’t keep a child, who was only 3 last Sunday, waiting for food any longer, especially when our food had arrived, so she ate the outside bits which Helen said, still tasted floury too.

Then a lovely heart shaped pizza arrived, (but Evie wasn’t having pizza) and eventually the pasta dish arrived but by this time Evie had eaten some of my smoked chicken and peppers, some of the outer bits of dough balls and a lot of the pizza (which appeared to have been an extra dish from the chef) so much of the pasta dish was wasted.

The chocolate icecream was very strong and chocolatey and very nice. This was served with Haribo sweets on top and a lolipop which Evie enjoyed.


All in all, the food we as adults had enjoyed was good and by using the Groupon deal we paid far less than it would have been without the voucher as these bills show.So in all the lunch cost £18 plus £15.23 which was for drinks, Evies set meal and almost a fiver service charge.

In spite of the confusion over Evies food and the raw dough balls we had a lovely lunch time. The staff were attentive and we enjoyed the food.