Monday, 30 November 2009

It's Monday morning...........

...................and I am wondering:
1  -  Why did I volunteer to knit and bake and help set up and run the school Christmas Fayre this Friday?
-  How is it possible that I have forgotten that the last posting date for overseas is quickly approaching and I am thoroughly NOT organized.
3  -  Why when you clean something or somewhere it needs done again the instant (it feels) you finish?
4  -  Why other people can see my To Do List is unachievable but I can't?
5   -  Why am I on the computer blogging away when I have such a To Do List?
6  -  Why I have to write lists in the first place? 

Can you sense the mania???
I need to get some perspective!!!

Friday, 27 November 2009

The joys of porridge.......

I thought I'd join in with the lovely Mrs B in sharing the love for tummy warming porridge.  I took these photos last week on the official change over day from Weetabix, to celebrate the feeling of winter being here.  I admit first thing in the morning whilst preparing play pieces and lunches I cannot cope with anything more than gloop, something which slides down the throat and definitely no boak inducing chewing.  Every year I remember how I love porridge so.  It is a solitary (I'm the only one in our household who likes it) winter ritual............... has to be Scott's, no substitute allowed, the flavour takes me back to my childhood..........

........Piglet and me have precise quantities at the ready........

........I love to stir yet only the weekend brings a soothing turn of a wooden spoon, week day mornings are a little rushed..........

.......and always in the same bowl, only brought out for porridge.  If I see anything else in this bowl I just get confused it's not milky gloop and it has to be milky with a (quite large, I admit) sprinkling of sugar....... tummy is a happy, warm snuggley place.  I'm ready to brace the Scottish weather!!!


Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Forgive me Dean!

The weather outside is frightful
and I don't feel delightful
I wish the wind and rain could hear me say
Go Away! Go Away! Go Away!

I want to feel nice and cosey
and not have a bunged up nosey
I wish my cold could hear me say
Go Away! Go Away! Go Away!

Go Away! Go Away! Go Away! 

I am having THAT kind of a day!!

Monday, 23 November 2009

"I'm home!" he declared........

You may know that in Scotland this year it's all about 'homecoming' or in typically tourist terms a way to encourage visitors by making them feel connected to the country; it's in their blood!  Now I can be as cynical as I like about such blatant attempts for drumming up finances but I partook in this notion for all of five minutes for Padawan, I 'freed' him from the US and brought him home.  It was the tartan ( I can't bring myself to say plaid, it feels thoroughly un-Scottish to do so!) I found at him at SeaPinks and I knew what I had to do.............

He arrived and as I unwrapped the postal packaging I could hear a faint muttering; a tiny trilling coming from inside the box.  I put my ear close, "Hello" I said.  Carefully I lifted off the lid and....

look who was inside.  My little Padawan wren. "I'm home!" he declared and he was.  He shall be my little Scottish apprentice, my little Padawan learner.  I shall teach him the ways of the (Scottish) Force and we shall be happy together forever.......


Friday, 20 November 2009

Ode to Tea, the Beatles and my new cup and saucer!

All you need is Tea
ba ba da ra ra
All you need is Tea
ba ba da ra ra
All you need is Tea, Tea
Tea is all you need

Tea is all you need
(Tea is all you need)
Tea is all you need 
(Tea is all you need)
Tea is all you need 
(Tea is all you need)
And a custard cream 
(Tea is all you need)
Tea is all you need
(Tea is all you need)
In your favourite cup
(Tea is all you need)
Tea is all you need
(Tea is all you need)
..........repeat and fade


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

It's oh so peaceful until.................

You can hear a pin drop. You can smell the concentration and you can probably guess what an unusual occurrence this is!  My boys silently, diligently getting on with their homework.  No chatting, no silliness and no mischief-making until.............................


.................Evie really does weave a web of mischief! 


Monday, 16 November 2009

A Christmas Tradition..........

I lurve Christmas! 

You will hear me say this so very often in this blog. There is no 'Ba Humbug' in this household; it's simply not permitted.  No matter how busy or stressed I get I will not stop loving Christmas, in particular the traditions.  Here are a few of ours.........
Only bought once a year along with the Radio Times in which I still circle, with a biro, all the programmes and films I am excited about.

Nigella -the bringer of such goodies.  I use other books and recipes but for Christmas baking Nigella is Queen.   I always make and bake....

 cookies for the tree -  my boys enjoy this tradition even now at eight and six when other baking endeavours have lost their appeal.  I figure the pestle and mortar bashing of the boiled sweeties is key to this.

Christmas Cupcakes - mine look more like puddings and I wish I had a real photo to show you. ( partly the reason I decided to start a blog - up till very recently I never took photos of anything and really wish I had of many, many things I have made) I always cut out sugarpaste holly leaves and frost them with edible lustre and roll little berry balls for the top.  It's such fun!! I could eat these all year round but force myself to only bake them once a year.  I do usually make at least 48, sometimes more.  My friends and family would hunt me down if there wasn't a batch for each of them and also these....

mini apple pies (mince pies- yuck!!!) and...

Rocky Road - I combine the 'Christmas' and 'Express' recipes.  Heaven!! and each year on the Eve when my friends come round.....

a ham - in particular Nigella's Ginger Glazed Ham which I will be making again this year as it was so good last Christmas Eve. If you want the know-how check out for books and recipes.  
I also bake Christmas tree shortbread with my boys for their teachers. I know they would be disappointed if I made something else (a delia recipe). It is an essential part of the festivities that my kitchen ends up with a layer of icing sugar over everything in it because I have been baking so much.
Another tradition that I HAVE to partake in every year is Harry Potter.  I read the first four books my eldest's first Christmas and since then the build up to the big day HAS to involve re-reading (now) all seven.  I hear sleigh bells, I smell cinnamon and log fires, I taste buttery pastry and turkey and stuffing sandwiches on white bread.  Each year I lose myself in the magic of Harry Potter and in turn Christmas and all it's glory.....fairy lights, carrots for the reindeer, tins of colourfully wrapped chocolates, bulging stockings, friends and family and my boys' faces when they see Santa has been and they have been good all year!


p.s the Doctor went a bit mental.  The Ood, Wilfred, Donna, Lucy Saxon and THE MASTER in the Christmas trailer! OMG Christmas is gonna be sooooo cool!!!!! and I'm sure I'll cry!!!!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Meet the furry, four-legged family on Friday!!

There are three furry felines in our household.  Want to meet them?

'Thamas!  Thamas!  There's a mouse in the house!'

This is our youngest, Thomasina (oringinally Thomas as we thought she was a boy at first, I know you'd think we could tell the difference), she's the baby at two.  All three cats have their 'Show'/'Horse-racing' names you can see under the photos.  It's just a thing we do!

'Eva weava web of mischief!'

This is Evie or Miss Evie, she deserves the Miss because she is such a lady and she is ten.
Last is the man of the (cat) house......

'The 'Hay' with the 'Mish'

This is Hamish.  There's two pictures of him to try and show how HUGE he is but he's my first baby as he's thirteen now.  He is also affectionately known as 'beau-beau', I was very into Tennessee Williams (a cat on a hot tin roof, the glass menagerie, streetcar named desire) at the time and loved the whole Southern 'beau' thing and ladies drinking mint juleps.  My eldest is thrilled he came after Hamish as it meant the name was taken already.

Have a great weekend everybody and remember DOCTOR WHO!  Yippee!!!!


p.s I just realized my cats look dressed for Christmas with all those bells on, they are in fact to prevent bird murder and they work, I'm very pleased to say!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Release the inner geek!!!

This weekend is a cool weekend.  I am taking my mum for a night away to a Hotel in the not so exotic Dundee. We were both born there, my mum spent quite a wild youth there, my mum and dad met there when he worked on the dodgems at the Shows (do I need to translate that to Fairground for the non Scots out there?) and this weekend we will be eating, definitely drinking and being merry there.  It's a nostalgia trip for her mainly as part of her 60th b/day (she still doesn't know the destination yet), although I did see a Morrissey gig in the Caird Hall in my youth, proud to say when I should have been studying for my highers.  I wasn't always boring, I really wasn't!  Under normal circumstances a night away without the men folk would have been amazing, tickled me pink to be fed by someone other than me, I like to cook but I like to eat more!  No chores, no shouts of 'Mummy!!!' well not unless my mum's annoying me, and well just getting away.........but this weekend something way cooler is happening.
Come Sunday night at 7pm, with a large glass of red, I will be plonked comfortably on my sofa with the men folk around me for the much anticipated ( I cannot emphasise this enough!!  I won't even knit while watching it!) latest episode of DOCTOR WHO.  I love Doctor who, I come clean now.  My name is Ali and I am a sci-fiaholic!!! I also love Harry Potter but I'll bore you with that on another occasion.
My inner is geek, my favourite books are those that take me to far away places filled with magic and machines that make perfect cups of tea in little china cups out of thin air.  If it has a vampire, monsters or spooky happenings I'm there.  As a youth I did read the classics too (still do!) but my heart was and still is with the fantastical, hence why the re-done Pride and Prejudice with zombies book was a hoot.  Above of the story must be good, I have cried lots at Doctor Who and will again come Christmas time when the tenth doctor must regenerate.  For those who do not know, this means he must hoo!!!  It will be a harrowing time but I will console myself with hands dipping into Roses and Quality Street tins.
Even though I shall be having a fab Friday night and an excellent Saturday morn c/o a full breakfast, Sunday night is where it's at!! (NB. This does include the Antiques Roadshow!)
I leave you with the tenth Doctor!!!   Enjoy!!

I have a confession about the larger of these action figures .... ..this blog is a long one but I do blether, all my report cards said 'Alison talks too much' but I figure it's my party and I'll vomit verbally if I want to.......when my eldest bought himself this figure ( I called it a doll, can you imagine the look I got?) I came over all funny and it hit me, full in the face, I MUST PLAY WITH IT.  So I did the only thing a girl could, I took all his clothes off and put them back on again, quite a few times I might add until I had got it out of my system.  I hadn't realized what had been laying dorment.  I remembered my days of playing with my dolls (I was a Sindy girl mainly but did get a Barbie eventually) playing house until I got older and made them sell their posessions and become punks.  I decapitated my Barbie later trying to brush out the backcombing.  Aah those were the days.........


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A sprinkling of icing sugar!

Yesterday was a day to fill my heart as my world was sprinkled with icing sugar and I do love that sparkly sprinkling!





This is what we lovingly refer to the 'scenic route' to and from school but alas as the boys get older they like the busier child laden route where they can bump into friends but I miss the 'scenic route', it is so beautiful.  You get to feel the seasons change so easily here, from the leaves falling off the centuries old trees, the berries appearing on the holly bushes, the carpet of snowdrops through to the spring daffodils and the lush new leaves.  These pictures give the impression of boundless country fields which could not be further from the truth.  I live in a New Town made up of many, many, many, many houses and just a few less shops but my little piece happens to be built on the farm land of the 'big house' and luckily the building - Howden House- (pictured above) and it's surrounding parkland are still there for us to enjoy.  It breaks my heart that the building is slowly dying through neglect and vandalism (the repair and bringing back to former glory is on the lottery win wish list).  I have so many memories of this park and the adjoining Mews ( I think it's called Howden park Centre now); a theatre inside the old stable yard.  Of visiting as a child for bizarre puppet shows and at Christmas for the local amateur group Panto, bark rubbings in the park and snow, you know the snow like we never have anymore! There are hopes for Howden House as the Mews has just had a very expensive and lenghty re-furb which may affect the need to improve the House as you have to pass it's unsightliness to reach the Centre.  Fingers crossed!! Toes crossed painfully if it'll help!!

Yet yesterday all I could feel was the beauty of the sparkling sprinkled blanket of the icing sugar frost!


Monday, 9 November 2009

Just wanted to share...........

............these lovely photos of my boys enjoying sparkler fun.



My eldest out in the garden in his jimjams unable to go to his Cubs Bonfire Night because of being poorly, we made do.  He's never been ill for such a length of time before and although he's back at school this morn he is still not 100%.
I have no idea how my Hubby took these.  He used some mad setting on the camera.  I don't know what most of them do!

We also celebrated my mum's 60th birthday this weekend with a meal for her..............

I do love a laid table.  Don't you?



......of Chicken stuffed with Haggis and Black Pudding, wrapped in Bacon, Creamy Pepper Sauce, Roasters, Boilees and lots of Green Veg.  Followed by a Chocolate Lime Cheesecake from Nigella Bites.  It was delicious, if I do say myself!  The napkin rings are a purchase from chachkedesigns at Etsy.  I love them and managed to find the perfect flowers to go with them.
I also baked her a cake which felt like my first 'proper' one.  I have made many a novelty cake for my boys in the shapes of things like a Tardis, the Mystery Machine, a Ben 10 Omnitrix and the like, but that feels like playing with plasticine, this was from a Peggy Porschen recipe and even had marzipan in it for goodness sake.  I am very pleased with how it turned out and it tasted really good.

I have been asked to make a wedding cake for a friend next summer so this was a starter cake and I will be baking a tiered one for my parents-in-law's ruby annniversary in January as another practice run.  I have to say it's not something I would like to do as a living or set up as a business.  It's fun but only, I feel, for friends and family.  I don't think I'd enjoy the pressure of exacting standards required by the public.  I like knowing if it's not perfect my loved ones won't mind.  I have never had a disaster but am a bit of a perfectionist and am never completely satasfied with the end result.  I always think I could have done something better.  I bet I'm not the only person out there like that!!

It's a beautiful, bitterly cold, frosty day here in my part of Scotland today and I took lovely photos to share on my way home from school but my camera batteries died so I will show them tomorrow.

Ali X

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Clumsy Mummy!!

This is one of my many titles.  Now I could complain at this ever so slightly negative description but alas I must admit the truth of it.  My boys learned many, many moons ago that if Mummy touches it, Mummy could break it, so take your chances.  Hubby thinks it's a miracle that meals, baking etc appears without injury.  That I do not sew my fingers onto fabric or impale myself on a knitting needle. I have suffered the odd slight burn from the oven but, and this is the shocking bit, I still have all my fingers.  Hubby cringes when he sees me yielding my cooks knife but after seeing that CRAZY woman on The Restaurant c/o Harry Hill, I see I'm not that bad.  My problem in the main is spacial. I have no concept of it!  I do have to accept I am clumsy, it is a fact and today again I proved it. .............
( I am also very easily distracted - hence why my boys wandered up to school this morn wearing each others coats.  I must clarify, the coats are not identical,  similar coloured though. I only noticed when back at home I looked at my eldest ( who's still poorly) and thought something's not right.  In retrospect I did think my youngest looked a bit 'drowned ' in the one he was wearing as he was walking off into the school building ! As any mother knows - this was my fault for not placing them on the correct door handles after removing them from the cupboard!!)
.......So my clumsy act for today which I will have to explain to Hubby this evening and he will give me the 'why didn't you know better and leave it for me' look, was to drop the £7.45 fancy low energy daylight bulb before I got it anywhere near the lamp it was to go in.  I don't know what happened, it was in my hand then it was crashing on to the floor.  As I said, I can accept I am clumsy but cannot and will not have to rely on a man to change a lightbulb, that would be ridiculous.  In my defense, and I will be using this tonight in the 'explanation', I did manage to change the other five without mishap.  Of this I will stand up and be proud!!!

Fingers crossed it is a one off event and not a theme for today!
Ali X

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Little beauties!!

On a trip to the local shopping centre on Saturday I escaped from my Hubby (he was car stereo shopping, what's a lady to do?) grabbed my eldest ( to help carry!) and ran for the charity shop, which I mean to pop into more often, just to have a little looksy.............

...........and look what I found! Aren't they pretty!!  In all I got four teacups and saucers; a serving plate; four side plates; a milk jug and a sugar bowl.  All for under six ( I did say six) pounds!!

 I love the pattern and on this serving plate it is so worn because of use and love I have decided.
Didn't I do well??

I also picked up these ickle dishes, only about four inches wide and perfect for butter.  I am very pleased with myself and my purchase.
I am feeling a little clearer today but have more of a normal nose bunged cold.  Under normal circumstances that would seem quite enough of an illness but after the 'flu' like symptoms I've been having FOR DAYS, an 'ordinary' cold is more than welcome for a visit and a cup of tea.  Although......baking a cake whilst having a sneezy, runny nose and cough wasn't exactly easy but I had to do it today so made many fast exists from the kitchen to spread my germs in the hall and had many (OCD like!) hand washes so I did manage it.
I leave you with my beloved KitchenAid mixing away! Ali X

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The little things.........

I was thinking that to post a blog today would be pointless.  Does the world need to hear I AM STILL ILL?  This cold have become a Charlton Heston epic.  My youngest is back at school so one down, one to go.  My eldest is STILL on the sofa but today I am allowing him to play the Wii all day if it'll stop him reminding me every five seconds that he hates being ill.  I need to get's my mums 60th this weekend.  I have a special family meal planned and a cake to make and tables to plan etc I am trying to feel positive and find pleasure in the little things and try REALLY hard to ignore the negative so....whilst toying with the idea of writing or not I noticed on my blog I have a follower. GASP!  I get lovely comments from the lovely Feltgirl ( I love that name, it's a super hero name! A super sewer hero name!) but I have at least one OTHER person who reads my blog.  GASP AGAIN!  Another person who's name I recognize, a talented lady who sold me a fab knitting pattern for a cherry bakewell and at who's new shop at Etsy (crazydazyknits), I was looking at only yesterday, at those gorgeous knitted gingerbread men thinking will I.....?  Have I time for another Christmas knit to add to the list?
I am thrilled and feeling just a little bit better about this horrid cold that has decided to live with me with neither request nor invitation and won't leave regardless of polite hints and hard kicks to the bottom.

Ali X

Monday, 2 November 2009

Will I feel like this forever??

I'm still ill!!!  It's been days now and the novelty of feeling I can sit down all day if I want ( like that would ever actually happen) has definitely worn off in the main because my boys are ill too which means I am no longer a patient but a nurse.  Under normal circumstances being their nurse is just what a mother gets on with but it's a different story when this mother is ill too.
So today will be another day of being relegated from the comfy sofa onto the not so comfy chair and being up and down every two seconds a-bringing and a-fetching with endless cries of MUMMY!  We''ll try to find something to stare at as we can't really cope with any more than staring at the TV..........and I will try to keep my sanity.

I do do hope we all  feel better tomorrow!!!


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