Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmassy Snippets

:: I am absolutely loving my Poinsettia plant just now ~ these beautiful red and green leaves are just so Christmassy::

:: This jolly looking snowman came to live with us a few years ago. Each of the small people were given one by their Granny filled with Christmas goodies. He now gets to sit at either side of the fire place at Christmas time with his friend to add a bit of Christmas cheer::

::  I went into Edinburgh on the train by myself one day last week for some final Christmas bits and pieces, and I took the opportunity to have a leisurely wander around the German Christmas market ~ I just couldn't resist buying this beautiful tea light holder which lights up the Edinburgh sky line.::

:: "Christmas stockings are hung by the chimney with care" ~ this image reminds me of my favourite Christmas poem ~ The Night before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. We always read it to the small people at bedtime on Christmas Eve ::

:: Our little town is looking exceptionally lovely just now with lots of sparkly and colourful Christmas lights strung about everywhere ~ my favourite is this old Horse Chestnut tree which is at the entrance of the park ::

Hoping that you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and that all your Christmas wishes come true :O)xx

Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas Popcorn Box

My two smallish people love nothing better than a trip to the cinema ~ however, they don't get the chance to go and see a film that often these days, as a family trip to the cinema very nearly requires us to take out a bank loan.

A little while back when I was thinking about what to buy them for Christmas, I thought that it would be a lovely idea to get each of them a cinema voucher as part of their Christmas present. My daughter is just old enough to be allowed to go into Edinburgh by herself on the train and can use her voucher to go and see a couple of films with her friends. My son is not quite old enough to go by himself  yet..........  so he will have to go with his Mum and Dad ~ which means that everyone is a winner!

Instead of just handing them over a boring old white envelope with the cinema voucher inside, I thought it would be a nice idea to get a little bit more inventive with the wrapping. I googled some printable popcorn box templates and managed to print them out onto some white card. A little bit of snipping and sticking and ten minutes later I had something that resembled a popcorn box. So far so good!

Next I gathered a selection of yummy goodies that could go into the box ~ mini bags of popcorn (obviously!) and some portable bags of sweeties that could easily be taken to the cinema. Although there is a pretty good chance that the goodies will probably be eaten well before the trip to the cinema actually happens.

Here's hoping that they like their Christmas Popcorn Box ~ I think I'd maybe quite like one for myself too! :O)xx

Friday, 12 December 2014

Easy does it!

We have had some unwanted visitors here this week in the form of coughs and colds and sneezes and it has been necessary to slow the pace right down and take things a little bit easier. I've had a small boy home from school for the last couple of days. He has been fighting a temperature and has been wrapped up in a cosy blankety nest on the settee ~ and although my Little Boy Blue Granny Stripe is not quite finished yet it has already been put to good use as part of that blankety nest. There has been some cuddly doggies making use of it too!  I know that he must really be feeling under the weather as he has been happy to sit still and has been a bit too quiet ~ which is really not like him at all!

There has not been much opportunity to get out and about either as the weather here has been rather a mixed bag. There has been rain, sleet, snow, lots of wind and the odd glimpse of some sunshine. And it's been bitterly COLD too ~ It really can't seem to make up it's mind!

I took the opportunity on one of the nicer weather moments to have a walk along the sea front ~ and on the way home I passed this wonderful statue. He's called The Watcher ~ he is dressed in outdoor gear, with his camera slung over his shoulder and he gazes out towards the sea looking through his binoculars in the direction of the Bass Rock. He stands there in all weathers and I think he is just crying out for a bit of a woolly makeover ~ maybe a hat and a scarf would keep him a bit cosier!

I've been trying to get myself into the Christmas spirit too ~ I managed to rescue this little Poinsettia plant from the reduced shelf in the supermarket for a bargain price of just less than two pounds. It was all dried up and in need of a little bit of TLC ~ all it really needed was a long drink of water and a nice spot at the window and it soon perked up. It's looking very healthy now and I am enjoying seeing it's beautiful red and green foliage every time I come into the room. These lovely plants are just so Christmassy!

Hope that you all have a very lovely and cosy weekend :O)xx

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Flowery Coasters

A few days ago I showed you the Flowery Coasters that I made to make life more comfortable for my Hyacinths in their seasidey mugs and I thought that I would share the pattern with you ~ just in case you wanted to make some Flowery Coasters of your own. I know that there are lots of patterns for very similar coasters out there already but this is how I made mine.

First off some Hooky abbreviations ~ using UK terms ::

ss ~ Slip Stitch
tr ~ Treble Crochet
ch(s) ~ Chain(s)
sk ~Skip a Stitch

Materials ~ I used a 4mm hook and some StyleCraft Double Knit but you could use any size hook and yarn that you have to hand.

To start chain 4 and join with a slip stitch to form a ring

Round 1 ~ Chain 3 (counts a one treble) and then 9tr into ring ~ join with a slip stitch into the top of the top of ch3.

Round 2 ~ Chain 3 (counts as 1tr), 1tr into same stitch, 2tr into each stitch to the end ~ join with a slip stitch into the top of ch3.

Round 3 ~ Chain 3 (counts as 1tr), 1 tr into same stitch, *1tr into next stitch, 2 tr into next stitch*. Repeat from * to * until the end and join with a slip stitch into the top of ch3.

Round 4 ~ Chain 3 (counts as 1tr), 1tr into same stitch, 2tr into each stitch to the end ~ join with a slip stitch into the top of ch3.

Round 5 ~ Chain 3 (counts as 1tr), 1tr into same stitch, 2tr into each stitch to the end ~ join with a slip stitch into the top of ch3.

Round 6 ~ *Skip 2 stitches, 7tr into next stitch, sk2 and then slip stitch into next stitch* (This makes one petal). Repeat from * to * until you have made 12 petals in total. When making the last petal join with a slip stitch into the first stitch of the first petal.

Fasten off the yarn and then darn in your tail ends.

Your Flowery Coasters are then ready for you to enjoy and for you to pretty up your flower pots as you wish.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Random Things

This week I have been enjoying a nice cup of tea and a very sticky slice of syrupy flapjack bought especially for me by my boy. It was absolutely delicious despite the fact in had been wrapped up in a napkin and carted around inside his school bag for a whole afternoon.

I treated myself to a really cheap pot of hyacinths from the local supermarket for just a few pounds, They came inside a rather dull and dreary brown plastic pot so I decided to re-pot them into my favourite seasidey mugs. I'm really looking forward to seeing them bloom on my kitchen window sill and can't wait for them to begin to flower ~ I decided to go for the blue flowers as I love them the best. They have already grown quite a little bit in height since I brought them home.

I decided that the afore mentioned re-potted hyacinths were just crying out for couple of crocheted coasters to make their life on the window sill a bit more comfortable. I had a bit of a rake through my stash of Stylecraft and found some suitable hyacinthy colours and managed to whip up some pretty little Flowery coasters for them to sit on.

I also enjoyed a nice chilled glass of white wine on Sunday evening whilst adding the last few stripes to my Little Boy Blue Granny Stripe blanket. I am happy to report that I am now on the final push with this blanket (it's only taken me nearly three years!) and I am just about teetering on the edge!

Just recently the skies around my little part of the world have been pretty spectacular ~ this was the sunrise a couple of mornings ago. The colours have been particularly beautiful this month and I do love to see the dark silhouette of the Law against the sky.

Hoping your week has been full of lovely random things too :O)xx

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Dreich Outside

The weather around here has been very unsettled this week. Most of the time it has been a bit dull and overcast and there has been some very heavy downpours. In fact, it has been downright dreich!

Dreich :: An Old Scots word meaning a combination of dull,overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable weather ::

Not really weather that inspires you to want to leave your cosy house and get out and about. To be honest with you, I'd much rather be sitting in front of the fire keeping myself cosy and warm, with my feet up and a cup of tea in one hand and a crochet hook in the other.

However, earlier in the week I had to go down into town to post a birthday card which HAD to be at it's destination the very next day. I wrapped myself up as warmly as I could and headed out into the cold. I decided that my best option would be to take the quickest and most direct route through the park.

The Post Office is in the High Street just beyond these pretty white buildings. This was in between showers and the sky was grey and threatening to bring more rain.

I love this archway ~ here it is again from the other side. The trees have all but lost most of their leaves now and are looking very bare indeed, and all the flower beds are empty and have been raked over in preparation for the winter ~ there is not much colour to be seen at all. The park was also pretty deserted with only a handful of hardy souls daring to brave the elements.

This is the view that greets me as I come back up the hill from the town towards my house ~ the big hill is North Berwick Law ~ taken from my back garden gate. It makes me feel so happy to live in such a beautiful place ~ surrounded by both the countryside and the seaside.

Just inside my garden gate is this beautiful riot of red berries ~ I'm not sure what the plant is but it provides a welcome injection of colour on an otherwise dull and dreary day.

Hoping your weather is not as dreich as mine :O)xx

Friday, 14 November 2014

Little Things

Little things that have made me happy this week ::

Thing One ~ watching my boy march at the front of the Remembrance Parade last Sunday playing his bagpipes.

He looked so smart in his uniform and I'm not ashamed to say that I had a little tear in my eye as I watched him march past. Such a Proud Mummy Moment!

Thing Two ~ unearthing my Little Boy Blue Granny Stripe (which has been on the go for much longer than I care to admit!), and adding a few more lovely blue stripes. It feels like it's just the right kind of weather now to be crocheting a blanket too. I think that I must be almost 3/4 of the way done with this blanket now and it is getting quite heavy. There is something quite comforting about feeling the weight of the blanket on your knee as you crochet, and I must say that it is doing a really good job of keeping me cosy as I crochet away adding stripes.

Thing Three ~ ordering some Rico Creative Cotton for my latest project from The Wool Warehouse and being delighted when I opened the parcel and found that it came all nicely packaged up in a beautiful little organza bag. I really didn't expect that ~ what a lovely thing to do!

Hoping you all have a very lovely weekend :O)xx

Friday, 7 November 2014

Easy Lamb Keema

After you have done a hard days work there is nothing better than sitting down to a delicious home cooked meal. Something that is both tasty and nutritious, easy to make, and more importantly, something that the whole family will sit down and eat. There really is nothing worse than faffing around making different meals for each person in the family. I must admit that I have been guilty of this in the past and it really is soul destroying, not to mention really expensive too! This Easy Lamb Keema is one of my favourite mid week go to recipes ~ and the best part about it is that it can be ready on the table in about half an hour.

You will need the following ingredients ::

500g lean lamb mince
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 large potato (diced)
1 teaspoon each of ground coriander, cumin, chilli powder and turmeric
1 tablespoon of garam marsala
100 mls lamb stock
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
150g frozen peas

Firstly dry fry the lamb mince until browned and skim off any of the excess fat ::

Next add the crushed clove of garlic and the spices, stir and then cook for around one minute ::

Add the diced potato ::

Next add in 100mls of lamb stock ~ I just use a lamb stock cube and also add the 400g tin of chopped tomatoes ::

Season with salt and pepper to taste and then cover and simmer for around 15 minutes until the potato is tender ::

Next up add 150g of frozen peas and cook for a further 3 minutes::

Serve with chopped coriander, a large green salad and some warm naan bread ~ and maybe a large glass of wine for the adults ~ delicious!

Most of the time I make this recipe with lamb mince, but I have also used lean steak mince which I find works just as well. You can also add a chopped onion in the early stages of cooking ~ but my daughter refuses to eat anything that contains the slightest trace of onion, so I find it much easier just to leave it out. Anything for a quiet life! Hope you all enjoy :O)xx

Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween Happenings

This year my children have taken it upon themselves to be very busy little bees and have been getting very crafty making things to decorate the house ready for Halloween. They are now of an age where they don't really need to be supervised all of the time and can be left to their own devices ~ so to speak!

My daughter decided that she would quite like to be in charge of carving the Halloween pumpkin this year. She spent a little while doing some research on the Internet for a bit of inspiration, and finally decided that she would carve an howling wolf ~ which sounded just a little bit too ambitious to me! However, this is her finished pumpkin all lit up with a tea light ~ not bad at all for her very first attempt at it!

We have managed to gather quite a collection of Halloween decorations over the years, most of which have been chosen by the children and bought very cheaply for a few pounds each, but they were still very excited about adding to our spooky collection with some homemade bits and pieces.

A little mousy was made out of black card and has been stuck to the skirting board complete with a little mouse hole::

An old wine bottle has been carefully changed into a bottle of blood (!!) to make a spooky candle holder. Candle wax was very painstakingly dripped down the bottle for added effect. I would like to add that I was actually supervising at this point!

More black and orange card has been cut out into all manner of Halloween shapes, there are bats and cats, pumpkins and witches ready to be stuck onto walls and strung from the ceiling. I love how this bat with his red beady eyes has cast a spooky menacing shadow onto the wall behind.

Tonight we will play the traditional Halloween game of  "dooking" for apples and then afterwards we will be getting cosy on the settee and snuggling up to watch a selection of scary Halloween movies ~ with a little bit of Scooby Doo added in for good measure. You can't beat a bit of Scooby Doo at Halloween! I'm also sure that there will be a fairly substantial supply of rubbishy Halloween sweeties and chocolates for munching on too.

Hope you all have a very Happy and Spooky Halloween :O)xx

Friday, 28 February 2014

Happy Birthday to me!

It was my birthday at the beginning of the week, and I had the most lazy kind of day you could possibly imagine. I was treated to breakfast in bed, which was then followed by some lovely presents from my other half and the not so little people. My presents included some rather colourful spotty dotty new slippers and a selection of lovely smelly goodies from Lush ~ which I absolutely love.

As part of my present my Mum gave me a beautiful bunch of pink carnations ~ which I get every birthday, because that is the kind of flowers my Dad bought my Mum when I was born. I love that a simple gesture from my Dad to my Mum all those years ago is still being made by my Mum to me.

My daughter made me a wonderful birthday cake ~ a lemon Victoria sponge with a lemony mousse filling and decorated with my favourite green and yellow jelly sweeties. She is becoming quite a talented little baker and her cakes always turn out to be light and very moreish. But, then I suppose cake is always kinda moreish!

In the evening we all went out for a family meal to our local Chinese restaurant. The food was absolutely delicious and I have to confess that I ate a bit more than I should have. I could have done with a wheelbarrow to help carry my stomach back up the road!

So that's me another year older but I don't think I would go as far as saying I was another year wiser. I had a wonderful day and was well and truly spoilt by my family:O)xx

Monday, 17 February 2014

Half Term

It was Half Term here for us last week, and the week started off with a visit to the Dental Hospital for my daughter to have two baby teeth removed prior to having major orthodontic work done. As my daughter has a bad needle phobia, we were referred to a wonderful Paediatric dentist who specialises in dealing with children who get very upset about having any dental work done.

                                                             (Photo from Google Images)

To be honest, I didn't really think that we would ever get these teeth out. This was our third attempt at trying to persuade her to get it done. However, on Monday, I witnessed the most amazing piece of dentistry that I had ever seen. This wonderful Paediatric dentist had the most calming demeanour about him, and instead of using a conventional needle to numb the gums he used a special device called a "wand" which along with some gas and air, had my daughter relaxed enough to co-operate! The two baby teeth were successfully removed and we can all now breathe a BIG sigh of relief!

After Monday's ordeal, the rest of the holidays were all about relaxing and taking it easy. Like the rest of the country, the weather here has been very wet and windy, so we decided to spend a couple of days lounging about in our pyjamas, keeping warm and cosy, watching DVDs and eating large amounts of popcorn and chocolate. Which, in my book, certainly beats going to school any day of the week!  And talking of books ~ I have also managed to catch up with some of the lovely crochet books that I had borrowed from work ~ one of the perks of the job!

Later on this morning we are going to catch the train into Edinburgh ~ heading off for a pre-back to school treat to our nearest cinema to go and see the Lego Movie, which looks like it will be a lot of fun. There may even be MORE popcorn!

Tomorrow it will be back to school and our normal routine as usual :O)xx

Thursday, 6 February 2014


Enjoying some "me" time and sitting with my feet up reading the latest issue of Simply Crochet with a chocolate bun and a cup of tea in my new rainbow coloured stripy mug::

Enjoying watching my boy play with his toys, and loving that even though he is nearly twelve, he still loves to get lost in the world of Playmobil. In this very carefully arranged little scene, there has apparently been an "incident" and all the Playmobil police team are being briefed in the briefing room. Words can't describe how much I love small boys and the way they use their wonderful imagination!

Enjoying these pretty little yellow Tete a Tetes which only cost me a pound from the local supermarket ~
giving me a little glimpse of springtime and some much needed floral colour when the garden outside is feeling a bit wintery and bare::

Enjoying my recent delivery of soft and squishy Stylecraft Special DK ~ bringing me a new batch of blues for my Little Boy Blue Granny Stripe, and a selection of  blues, greens and neutrals for my newly started Seaside Squares Blanket, with a couple of extra brighter colours thrown in for good measure :O)xx

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

This week

In between working extra shifts in the library and trying to catch up with all the household chores, I have been snatching moments here and there, to hook up more blue stripes on my Little Boy Blue blanket. I've been enjoying the repetitive hookiness of it so much, that I have pretty much come to the end of my Stylecraft stash of blues and have just HAD to get online and order some more!

Whilst I am waiting on my order to be delivered I have gathered together all those scruffy, scrappy end bits of yarn that were not long enough to make a complete stripe in my blanket and have hand wound them into neat little balls of yarn ready to be used as part of my next project.

I have been playing about with some blue, green and neutral tones and have made some little seaside coloured granny squares as a kind of hooky swatch for my next project which has been totally inspired by this beautiful blanket HERE.

Keeping with the seaside theme ~ I was so excited to find these Fish and Chips biscuit snacks in the supermarket. I remember that my Mum used to buy these for me years ago and I used to love them. I'm not quite sure that they taste the same as they did when I was younger ~ I'm sure they used to be fish and chip flavour ~ but it was lovely to have them again.

I'm off now to put the kettle on and hook up some more seaside squares :O)xx

Monday, 20 January 2014

Harbour Walking

This week I have been out and about walking again ~ this time past a row of pretty pastel coloured seaside cottages. I do so love these little colourful houses ~ they always make me feel so cheerful when I walk past them::

I am making my way down to the harbour ~ passing this bright orange life buoy, which is looking a bit battered and worn after all the windy and rainy weather we have had lately::

The boats in the harbour were bobbing up and down fairly quickly as the waves were rushing in and out of the harbour mouth ~ there was lots of noise from the jingling and rattling of their tall masts too::

Next I went up some steps and paused to admire the Gannet Gateway ~ which is a newly erected art sculpture depicting three gannets, one taking off, one in full flight and one just starting to dive. You can see North Berwick Law beautifully framed by the gateway too::

Along the pathway and turning left along the East Bay ~ I love this view of the beach from behind the tall beachy grass::

Everywhere seemed so quiet this morning. There were not very many hardy souls about and the weather was just the perfect kind of walking weather.  I really enjoyed my walk this morning and I hope you enjoyed it too :O)x