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Friday, 29 October 2010

Christmas reading

Yay, only one day left of the working week and then the long (erm, ok then-2 days) stretch ahead of me that is the weekend!  I don't think we have any proper plans as yet.  The Husband did make noises about going for a walk up to Slains the way that Daisy Dog and I trek, so we may do that on Sunday.  Other than that I desperately need to get a shop in but haven't done a thing about it, and now i feel that it may be too late seeing as its pay weekend (and with regard to wages coming in, its getting much too close to Christmas too).

We've had a real bonus of a month though, so for that am very grateful.  My tax (which I'd been fighting and moaning about for a whole year) has come in!! Yay!! And its more than i expected it to be...BONUS!! I know it was my money all along, but its been a year since the start of it so it was almost........almost forgotten about!
I think this is what will keep me entertained over the weekend, lots of plotting to do, and a massive catch up on all the old Christmas mags that i hoard away...oh and some treats too, well the trick or treaters can't have it all their own way!

Oooh too yummy....much too yummy!!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Outbound swap parcel

This is the swap parcel to Dawn, ive taken much too long to even post this, but i have been quite busy of late...blah...blah..blah...well it is on my last post and its so down and dreary i dont want to go over such bad news again!!

I knew that Dawn loved chocolate, and seeing as im totally in love with chilli hot chocolate right now i thought it would be perfectly fine to give some fiery chocs to warm Dawn up after being out in the cold!  I put it in a basket as i love these, and they always so seem to be quite handy!

Some cookie cutters in the basket...

A cookbook full of warming dishes, maple fudge and tablet....and some little hanging hearts...none of which was made by me!!

Then some candles and ribbon...

wrapped up rosey and red...

and a little card on top!

I got such a lovely email from Dawn to say thank you...i will post my lovely parcel tomorrow, i was so lucky to have Dawn as a partner and cant wait to join in with some more swaps in the future!!

And what do we come home to?

Oh dear, I went AWOL didn’t I?

I've just finished off listening to Women’s Hour as Kirstie Allsopp was on, I can’t wait until Tuesday when her new series of Homemade Home premiers!! I love her so much, and as soon as I found out she was on the Christmassy issue of Good Housekeeping last year I launched myself across the W. H. Smith to reach it! I was supposed to be keeping it for the journey down to Edinburgh by train to see my cousin, but by the time I’d got to Stonehaven (not very far away at all) it had been all but read.

The Husband and I got back from our weekend to find that my poor Grama is in hospital after a fall in town. So I have been very busy trotting back and forth to hospital to visit. She seems to be in good spirits and very much like herself albeit with a broken arm and very bruised. Hopefully the operation will be on Friday and then she can come home on Saturday. Unfortunately they have already told her twice that the operation will be on certain days, meaning that she has had to fast…and then its all been for no good reason at all, as its been postponed. I'm sure they’re doing the best they can…but I’d be much happier if my Grama could go home (she lives with my Mum) and get looked after…sitting eating walnut whips and watching star trek. Nowhere is as comfortable as your own bed and your own home.

So because of all of this busyness I haven’t even properly thanked Dawn for her lovely Swap Parcel. It really was so super fab, and I am going to do a great big post on all of the lovely and delicious things that were sent to me, but I really wanted to post about my Grama first. It also explains why I haven’t really been too up to date with reading other blogs or seeing what everyone is up to!! So I hope I can be forgiven for being so exceptionally bad mannered.

I hope everyone is well and has had nothing but good news, golden leaves to kick through, matching knitted mittens, scarves and hats, warm stews and rosy cheeks.


Saturday, 23 October 2010

Happy Anniversary!!

I really need to say a massively big THANK YOU to the lovely Dawn over at Life of the East Coast for my beautifully fantastic swap parcel!  It is amazing, but The Husband and I are currently on our lovely 2nd Wedding Anniversary weekend away, so i will show off all of the lovely Autumnal themed things on Tuesday. 

The Husband and I have horrible colds right now and are making full use the super-de-duper king size super soft bed and sleeping loads....oooh how rock 'n' roll!!!
lets get the party started!!

Have a lovely flu free weekend with your loved ones!!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Walking in the countryside

We headed off in the golden sunshine, over to the other side of the village, past the Post Office and down this little path...
Climbing up the muddy slope to the near empty field.

Looking back at the village we'd just left.  Our little cottage is hidden behind the red roof golf club.  The Church is so beautiful...

We're nearly there Daisy Dog....I can see it now...

Getting closer...

Here we are, right in the middle of it.....

It would have been very impressive in its time.

Looking out of the 'window' to the sea directly beneath...

How could it fall into such ruin? 

We walked away from Slains and back the path we came.  I carried Daisy down the side of the hill to the fiercely cold sea...delightful on my feet and her muddy paws!

Look how clear it is..

And nearly back up to the top again...

We've made it...boy was it steep!

Back to the view over the beach and up to the village

And we're nearly home again!
Hopefully we can have more Autumnal adventures!!


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Shopping with the girls...

Thursday is my day off at the Library and I will be using to go and get some Christmas shopping and decorations. A couple of us are heading down in Holly’s car (isn’t it just perfect she adores Christmas with that name?) to Paula of Farnell near Brechin which is between Dundee and Aberdeen somewhere (so you can tell I’m not a driver, can you?) I'm told that it is jam packed with Danish decorations, and really lovely individual and unique candles. I cant wait to get another couple of things ticked of my lists for Christmas.

Speaking of that I got an absolute bargain at Molton Brown yesterday. I’d signed up to the email newsletter and got told that if I did a teeny tiny quiz I’d get a free large bottle of shower gel (even the samples are good for stocking fillers). Its normally £17 and you did need to buy something to qualify. Seeing as The Husbands favourite aftershave is Black Pepper-its so yummy if you’re thinking of getting some-I thought I might as well buy it now and get a free thing! It arrived yesterday and smells so yummy I didn’t want to give it away, but it was free and full size, and will be a really nice present for someone….and if its not claimed by Christmas Eve, im getting my mitts on it!

Porridge for Breakfast

It’s actually hailstones right now! Can you believe it? Was that Autumn yesterday, and now its Winter?....No, bring back Autumn!  I don't want to go back to this...not yet, soon enough, but not yet!

Whatever it is, its time for some good warming food, that’s why I’m back to porridge for breakfast! Porridge is the perfect start to the day, whether its made with all water (and salt), milk and water, all milk or the utterly decadent tinned milk and milk it is too good to miss out on.

Apparently it is high in vitamin B6 which helps the brain produce chemicals which makes you feel good. That’s why I’m cheery even though it’s bitterly cold inside and out (or maybe its because I didn’t forget my lunch and have to go out in the rain?).

Anyway, it’s normal to have 1 cup of oats to 2-3 cups of fluid-whatever it may be. I'm a fan of jam on top of mine, although sugar, almonds, cinnamon, any seasonal fruit, honey or….salt, will do just as well.

Just stay warm!!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Thank you!

Thank you so much Mary Poppins....I am the very lucky winner of some delicious Dorset Cereal bars...yummy!!  I know that I will be doing exactly as it says on the tin (website) and having a good old nibble on the move, and even more perfect for elevenses, foursies or any other time of the day.
They would have been perfect for the walk Daisy Dog and I had to Slains Castle...very Halloweeny!  O.k., not so much on this outing, it was a perfect Autumnal day and defintly got me well and truely out of the funk I'd been in. 
We walked all the way from the cottage on one side of the village, over to the other side, up a hill, through a farm, past the cliffs and right into the middle of an old destroyed castle..stopping of to slip-slide our way down a super steep hill to drop muddy paws and feet in the cool North Sea!
I will go into much more detail tomorrow, but I need to be up bright and early tomorrow to make sure I have everything together for Rhyme Time antics at the library.


I love....Downton Abbey

I love.......... Downton Abbey.

Currently catching up with all past episodes of this amazing period drama-I can't believe I nearly missed it!  Pot of tea, Daisy Dog fresh from a bath and blow dry beside me, and a chocolate flake.  Can't see better than that.
Do what makes you happy this Monday!

Light at the end of the weekend

Ooooh, this is heaven, not only am I sitting listening to an ipod full of Tori Amos, The Beatles, Florence and the Machine, Jamie Cullum, and The Smiths, but I am still off today after an absolutely fab weekend. This is just what I needed.

Last week I was on a permanent downer for some reason. I didn’t get why and just wanted the mood to go away. Then I got it, I think it came to me on Sunday while washing my face…I was so melancholic and down because the little Nephew was away.

The first weekend he came up once we came back to the quiet empty house I burst into tears. When I dropped him off last Monday I never did, I just walked back from his house, across town and went home…I never got sad…so it just followed me the whole week. A great big cloud of gloom for a whole week, as opposed to just getting the sadness out of me in one big burst! Once I figured it out I cheered right up…so many sleepless nights, so many days mooching around, and that was all it was. Its so funny that I was trying to find ‘answers’ when all along I should have just sat down and figured out when it started! I'm so glad that’s over.

On Sunday I was up really, really late because I hadn’t got to sleep until really quite late on Saturday (see gloom). Once I washed my face (see happiness of finding reasoning of gloom), I practically skipped through to the living room to find that The Husband had planned a day out with my Aunt and Uncle at Haddo House.

We nipped over there after a full English breakfast and I was able to let my Uncle see ‘Cherry cake and Ginger beer’ as he wanted to make some things and impress my Aunt, as she grew up with only Enid Blyton books and although he has never read a single one he thought that if he could say a little about them he would be the hero of the hour, how sweet!

After a high tea, we walked around the whole grounds, and then back to my Aunt and Uncles for a take away, chicken and noodles, salty and gorgeous.

That was exactly what was needed

Friday, 15 October 2010

Secret Santa Swap

Im taking part in another swap now..I'm very excited as it's the Secret Santa Swap (I think these swaps could get very addictive!!) 

Ive already filled in the questionnaire and can't wait to get someone and find out all about them and organise something lovely for them!!

Can't wait to get started...it will make The Country Living Christmas Fair even better!


Getting the Bonfire Party organised

This is the first time The Husband and I have had a garden to ourselves, and let me tell you it is exciting. I'm not telling you gardens in general are exciting. I know many of you harvest food from them, or are amazing gardeners, but to someone who has never, ever, ever had a garden, I’m telling you that is exciting!

The garden is pretty much an extension of the house, and although it’s easy to see why this is the case in Summer, I feel it should be as much the case in Autumn (and probably all months really.) This is why I am beyond excitement at the prospect of our very first Bonfire Night Party!!!

Its only a very small and ‘select’ soiree …ok, its really a couple of friends and some relatives, but 1) I love Autumn, 2) I love the chance to celebrate anything. 3) I love sparklers, and 4) I love food.

I’ve been looking at the November issue of Your Home, and they have some totally yummy recipes and ideas in there. I know that we’re making a king size pot of soup, a similarly large pot of chilli, jacket potatoes, beans and some chilli hot chocolate-im so addicted to chilli chocolate right now and think it is such a warming Autumn/Winter thing to have.

However, I’ve found a recipe for some sesame sausages. Here it is with a couple of tweaks:

Sesame Sausages

20 chipolata sausages
1 tbsp of garlic oil
2 tbsp of soy sauce
100ml of honey
1 tsp of chilli powder
Some sesame seeds


1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 or equivalent, and put the sausages in a baking tin.
2. Mix together the oil, soy sauce, honey and chilli powder and pour over the sausages giving them a shake so they are evenly cooked.
3. Cook in the oven for 50 minutes making sure they are all sticky and lovely. When they are just about done throw the sesame seeds over and chuck back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

I love Autumn because....

I love Autumn because............
Just when you thought that you had to pack up the summer garden things, you get to keep them out for all those super clear, cold, fresh days.  The fire pit gets lit again, the furniture pulled out, and you remember s’mores.   You find pleasure in collecting conkers, kicking leaves, and lighting lamps.

All the beautiful blankets you collected throughout the year get pulled out of the cupboards and littered around chairs, cosy, snuggley corners and beds.  Popcorn feels a million times more appropriate and pancakes and sausages are the order of the day!  (well, for the weekend at least)

The whirley gig should be taken down, but there always seems like there is more to do inside.  I wont be getting to dry my clothes outside for a long time now.  I will be pulling out the clothes horse from now on!
Everything seems prettier in the soft light.

And you just know all the other houses and the families that care for them are doing the same thing.

It's the middle of the week people, we're making slowly to the weekend...I can not wait!  More Haddo adventures and a long walk around the gift shop for some presents I ear marked for people.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

New book!

I got this fab book over the weekend and have not been able to put it down!  DH bought it for me as a treat...YAY!

I always take the jacket off of books, and underneath is just as pretty.  It will go very nicely on my baking books shelf.
I love almost everything inside it, as its proper old fashioned baking, I can't wait to show my home bakes off to you all!

Have a grand ol' Tuesday, DH and I are going for tea tonight as we are both a bit poorly at the moment and can't be bothered to do a thing!


Monday, 11 October 2010

The Golden Rules

I've been reading the sweetest little home making book which gives many a tip for the ‘newly married modern woman’, I'm talking 1933 if you hadn’t guessed!! I love the way that the housewives were told to act like home making was a career choice. I really don’t know when it happened but so many people act like they are embarrassed that they run the home all day (and don’t stop at 5:30).

Here are some Golden Rules ive put together from the hundreds on offer in the book!
The Golden Rules of homemaking!

  1. A place for everything and everything in its place.
  2. Don’t put off till tomorrow what should be done today
  3. Make the most of what you ave, don’t worry about what you could do if you had this or that
  4. Clear up as you go along, and you’ll never find yourself in a muddle.


"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. "

We had a lovely weekend at HH towers, doing lots of lovely Autumnal things with The Nephew who came up to visit us this weekend.  Fires were lit, places visited, and too much food was eaten.  The car was cleaned, the kitchen practically demolished (we’re talking about a fifteen year old boy now!), and the pup was run ragged by said 15 year old running non stop the whole time we visited a super cute little village called Collieston.
I had to drop The Nephew off home today although it’s the start of the Tattie Pickin holidays, and decided to have a leisurely walk down to The University and in past a book shop to waste time before my bus came.  It was such a lovely day in a sea of rainy dark ones, so I had to take full advantage of it-although I had prepared for bad weather when setting off this morning and therefore had to carry around a snowboarding jacket as well as all the bags for the weekend!
I was struck by how beautiful all of the golden and auburn leaves were and the still calm sky.  I remember walking the same route four years ago when I would head into university.  I remembered, as I neared the grounds, looking over to the library, and the view that used to greet me.  I saw how the new library was now impacting the landscape, and I was part of the group that was ‘before’ that building.  I am someone who will say ‘I remember when…’.  I saw the happy new students, I saw lost ones, and I saw groups of friends walking around giggling and laughing about an ‘in joke’ only they would ever get.
I loved my time there, I truly did, and if I had the chance to work there…you wouldn’t see me for dust…  I know I idealise it.  Because while walking around I noticed that I was probably only one of a few looking up and around as I did so.  I could see how lovely it all is, and how beautiful, because I'm not there studying, and racing against deadlines.  I can kick the leaves up, and sit on the wall to watch the world go by, because I have a day off…which is actually a day off from everything.  I can go exploring and take pictures, because you know what?  I’ve earned it!  I've cried in the basement of the library because I was the only one in the whole wide university (and probably the history of all universities) that didn’t understand or couldn’t remember.  I've claimed that Wikipedia is an excellent source, and been verbally beaten by a lecturer.  I've got lost, or fumbled papers or words in a talk. 
I love my life NOW, just like I loved my life THEN. I hope to always feel ive got the best RIGHT NOW.

There have been times when I haven’t acted like that, IF ONLY….was the watchword in my vocabulary for a long time. But I really hope I can always love what I have now, even if it is at the back of my head. Even if it is only me catching myself mid sentence, I hope and pray I can be better at this.


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Getting Ready for Christmas 2010...the GH way!

Oooh does anyone have Novembers Good Housekeeping? I had to get it as it had Nigella Lawson on the front, and although I know lots of you don’t like her (probably for the reasons I do, remember, I liked Sophie Dahl’s show), I just adore her!

Any way, good old GH has an A-Z of ‘saving money this Christmas’, which although we read every year in various magazines, blogs, free supermarket mags, hear about on tv and the radio, I really do like feeling more organised, even though I can be a million miles from it! So far I’ve written the lists of what to get everyone, and I’ve got a few bits n bobs for stocking fillers, but I do feel more at ease when I have a list to work off of, then I wont buy two big presents for the same person, and nothing for the next!

Here are a few of the tips (in plenty of time too):

1. Get organised-online shopping may be easier, but the postage costs can mount up. Check out how much you need to spend to get free delivery, if it’s a big store then you may have needed to buy those other things anyway. Don’t waste on ‘next day delivery’, get organised so you don’t need it, or get free delivery in store. The same goes for posting cards, if you need to do it, get organised and post with a 2nd class stamp!

2. Get rid of the clutter-its almost as if this one is also to do with the first tip, as you get more things you need to get rid of the old! Well…pre-empt it and start clearing the way and cashing in at the same time. Have a look at ebay, amazon and play….(although you won’t catch me getting rid of any old books!)

3. Download this great toolbar from http://www.getinvisablehand.com/ Browse your usual shopping website and if the product is available cheaper elsewhere (48 stores, including john lewis and amazon) it alerts you and gives you a direct link to that site!

I always like to check out all of the free events organised by the council at this time of year too. There is always loads of FUN things to do round about now, so I hate to waste any time doing boring stuff. Being organised isn’t bad, bad is scouring the shops-I hate that! Hopefully you’ve got on top of your lists anyway! AND read GH, it’s a really good issue!

Yummy Autumn Food

Last night I had a hankering, you know when you just WANT something? It can be good, it can be bad, but you want it, and nothing will replace it. Mostly its chocolate and I'm telling you, a piece of fruit will not fill me up the way a piece of chocolate does. Yesterday my hankering for was Toad in the Hole.

I must confess I'm a bit of a philistine when it comes to sausages. I eat Cumberland but that’s about it, I'm perfectly happy with a good Irish sausage. As long as its not filled up with rubbish and gunk I'm happy. My friend told me about a great butchers website here, its excellent value for what you get.

Anyway, I will be making this recipe tonight, but I’ve made Toad in the Hole countless times before, and its not technically something you do need a recipe for, but here it is anyway.


8 Good quality sausages
1 Onion
‘A dash of olive oil’
(For the batter)
100g Plain flour
2 Medium eggs
300ml Full fat milk


1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 (about 200)
2. Chuck in all of the sausages (a good snug fit) and throw the sliced onions, the dash of olive oil  and the seasoning over them
3. While that’s cooking (10-15 min) make up the batter-sift the flour and add a pinch of salt, make a well in the middle and crack in the eggs, beat lightly, then add the milk slowly. Just keep going until its lovely and smooth
4. Take the sausages out of the oven and pour the batter over them.

Supper should only be about 25-35 mins away now, or when the batter goes all goldeny and crispy!

"Mum, can i have some?.........please?"
"Just a little bit Daisy, your tummy is too little"