Thursday, 29 January 2015


I'm very pleased that I didn't have to try to get to work today...

There are four cars in the photo above...can you spot them?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Burns Night

Over the past few years I've been to a few Burns' Night events and this year I decided to host one - although I held it an evening earlier than the correct date.

Cue neeps, tatties and haggis...
Neeps = English swede,  boiled and mashed with butter.
Tatties = mashed potatoes.
Haggis = a savoury pudding.

Address to a Haggis - Robert Burns
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak yer place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my airm.

Nice seeing your honest, chubby face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Belly, tripe, or links:
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm
...there are seven more verses in similar vein!

Some lovely gifts were brought.  I was very happy to get a Gillian Kyle tea towel with an illustration of a Tunnock's Teacake wrapper as I do love my print of the wrapper so much.  And a delightful arrangements of tulips (my favourite flowers) and heather in a tin wrapped in the 'Address to a Haggis' poem.

Lots of Scottish Beer was drunk and of course a fair few drams of whisky were imbibed too.

Friday, 9 January 2015

strangest and nicest!

Over the holiday period I picked up a couple of things that I thought would be interesting to have on the coffee table.  The normal things were all there: nuts, chocolates, candy canes, etc, but this year there were a couple of new additions...

Just imagine if you can a crunchy paper thin After Eight, with a very light dusting of fine salt!  Well if you can imagine that then you can just about taste-ualise - I think I just made that up, like visualising but instead imagining a taste - the delicacy that is a 'Mint Choc Pringle'.

I got these as a stocking filler for my daughter, and quickly regretted not getting several more as fun gifts for other people.  They are an interesting Pringle alternative for the Festive Season.  However, their advertising catchphrase 'once you pop you can't stop' isn't true of these, you can definitely stop after one or two. 

I was inspired to get some Turkish Delight after reading on someone's blog about 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' and Edmund's wish to the White Queen for some Turkish delight.  

The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very centre and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious.

And having recently viewed the movie with my grandson it seemed like a particularly luxurious foodstuff to have on the table to offer to guests.

I have to admit that this Turkish Delight was truly delightful!  I am not really a fan of 'jellied' sweets and avoid things like Haribo so I tried a piece of this with some trepidation.  What can I was gorgeous.  Not too sweet. nor too sticky and quite firm - not jelly like (memories of Fry's Turkish Delight anyone).  It will definitely be making an annual appearance on the Christmas table.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

10 things...

These are not resolutions, but they are things that I would like to do this year.

  1. Read more books - I've started the year with 'Burial Rites' by Hannah Kent.  Set in Iceland in 1829 it is the story of a woman condemned to death for murdering her lover.  It's very dark and there are lots of unusual place and character names.  I'm enjoying it very much.
  2. Get fitter - which I suppose also includes losing a bit of weight.  I don't think I've overindulged too much over the Christmas period, the overindulgence has just been a fairly continuous thing over the last year.  So far I've managed one walk with friends!
  3. Continue the pastry challenge.  This hasn't progressed any further from an earlier post.
  4. De-clutter.  I'm not really a hoarder of many things but I do have piles and piles of magazines that I've collected over the years.  I have about four years worth of 'Country Living' magazines, two years of 'Mollie Makes', two years of 'The Simple Things', quite a few 'Oprah' magazines.  They will all be going.  However I will be keeping my collection of 'Martha Stewart Living' magazines (about six years worth as I often refer back to them).  There is also quite a collection of plastic tubs that have accumulated over the years because they will always come in handy.  Well, I'm sure four or five might come in handy at some point...but twenty-five!
  5. Catch up and listen regularly to The Archers omnibus podcasts.  I love The Archers but usually 'forget' to listen to the downloaded podcasts.  I've forgotten so often that in Ambridge it is still early July and I have twenty-four omnibus episodes to catch up on! 
  6. Decorate.  Two of our kitchen walls were replastered last year (June), they have now thoroughly dried out and I expect they will be ready for painting now.  There are also other rooms to do too.
  7. Take more (and better) photographs.  First of all I need to unpack the lovely Nikon digital SLR that I got for my birthday in November and figure out how to use it.
  8. Invite friends round for food more often.  To not worry about the formalities of fine dining (as if I ever did) and have fun and informal suppers.  I'm already planning an evening for Burn's Night. at the end of this month.
  9. Publish blog posts more regularly.  I don't think I've quite discovered my 'voice' yet and only by posting more will this happen.  I've plenty of drafts that I've started on, I just need to finish them off and hit the publish button.  
  10. To stop procrastinating.  Looking over the previous nine points I can see a pattern of procrastination.  So my theme this year will be to get on and just do it...well I'll start after I've had this cup of tea!
Have you any things you hope to do or achieve this year?

Sunday, 4 January 2015

It's 2015 and I'm back!

Hello blog, it's been a while.  I'm sorry that I've neglected you.

The end of 2014 seems to have passed in a blur.  There were birthdays, meals out, trips away, nativity plays craft fairs, children coming home for the holidays, and of course Christmas and New Year celebrations.

I had a lovely time.