Me on the London Eye showing how bad I am at taking a selfie. No pouts here…oh no sirree!
I cannot believe that I wrote a whole post the other day and totally forgot to mention that me and the kids had been down to London the other weekend. We went down to celebrate two birthdays: my darling daughter’s and my lovely friend Raymond’s. It was a great weekend – exhausting, but worth it. We arrived on the Friday night and met Raymond and others at a restaurant in Greenwich for dinner. The next day me and the kids met another friend, Richard, for lunch in Ping Pong in Soho (after sitting for several hours atop a tourist bus…it was a good tour, but too long). Then the four of us went to Madame Tussaud’s (the girl’s choice, I wouldn’t have bothered). It was alright, the kids enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t go back.
Here’s me taking a break with Han…he’s not much of a conversationalist!
Anyway, after all that we got back to our hotel about 6pm exhausted. We had a hour to chill out and get ready before heading to a pub in Blackheath (gorgeous place btw) for Raymond’s party. It was an excellent party and I would like to thank Raymond and George for inviting me and the kids and for buying us dinner and for the party. I had a ball. Drank way too much wine and was dancing and singing all night! Thank you both.
On the Sunday, we had a quick shot on the London Eye (well it wasn’t quick cos we had to queue for an hour before we got on it and it’s very slow), which was good in the sense it was a lovely day and you could see for miles across the city. It’s worth doing once. It didn’t open til 11am so after the ride, we got a taxi up to Euston station to get our train back.
Sigh. Apparently there had been a derailment on the west coast line somewhere near Carlisle so our train back to Glasgow wasn’t running properly. We were advised to go to King’s Cross where we would get a train back to Glasgow. This proved to be false and we ended up on a train to Edinburgh. Then it was a two hour trip back home. We were knackered, but so glad to see our dogs who were staying with a friend who is a dog walker. She very kindly dropped them off for us. I really missed them.
It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but really good. Thoroughly enjoyed it…apart from the odd whinging from the kids that is!
Gratuitous shot of Casper with his doggy.
So I have decided to try and do a month of no buying things I don’t need. This will be horrendous for me because I have a bit of a book buying addiction (mainly with the help of Amazon). However, I have hundreds of books (literally) and I really don’t need any more. So, here’s my pledge to not buy anything I don’t need until April at the earliest. And I will not buy anything I don’t need by trying to persuade the sensible part of me that I really do need it…I don’t! That is what I will be asking myself: do you really need it? No, then put it back!
I will also try to stick tightly to a meal plan. I meal plan every week but you are lucky if I stick to half of what’s written. It’s just that I get to the day a certain meal is lined up for then decide I fancy something else. Not for this month. Nope, I will stick to it. Started tonight…made pizza for dinner. However, I didn’t have any yeast and I cannot find a shop in this area that has any yeast left. Every teensy bit of yeast has been snapped up by folk wanting to make bread because there was no bread in the shops over the last few days because of the snow. A small, annoyed part of me wonders how many of them actually made bread and how many of them just took the yeast just in case and have no intention of ever using it. I have a bread maker and I do make bread, so was a little put out (‘toys out the pram’ put out) when I was unable to buy yeast. Anyway, I made the pizza with a soda bread base…it doesn’t work that well as a base for pizza. Just letting you know. First cooking disaster of the year. Sigh.
Over the last few days I also made a massive pot of lentil soup (love it!) and banana muffin cake (I couldn’t find the muffin tins…the place is still in chaos as the extension is still not completely finished…so I made it as a cake), which the boy ate most of!
Right, I am going to end this here. I still have to iron school uniforms for tomorrow cos the kids are back at school! Yippee! Til next time.
What is it about kids and animals that they never seem to sit or sleep on the expensive things you’ve bought them? Take, for instance, Casper (pictured) who will not lie in the lovely and not cheap dog basket I bought him, but lolls about the stairs as if it’s the comfiest place on Earth. And then there’s the kids who refuse to sleep under their (also not cheap) duvets and sleep on top of their beds. I need to turn the heating off in their rooms – that’ll soon make them shift under the covers! Hee hee hee (evil mum laugh!).
Anyway, how’s things? Hope you’re well. We’ve had a full on week again. Last Saturday, I got up early to take the boy to Laser Quest in the southside of Glasgow for his birthday. He’s just turned nine so he and six friends spent the morning shooting each other with lasers and coming out all red-faced and smiling. They then ate pizza and drank diluting juice til it was coming out of their ears. He said it was the best birthday he’d ever had. Myself and the girl waited for them all in a waiting area, shivering in the cold (they had not put the heating on) and listening to the racket of various parties of excited weans as they came in to do various activities. It was all over by 11.30am and I was relieved to get out of the cold and noisy atmosphere and into a warm car.
That afternoon my parents came over and we ate some cake. It was a Stormtrooper cake I purchased at M&S and was nice. I normally bake cakes, but my oven is playing up…it doesn’t cook things evenly which is a nuisance. Note to self: need new cooker.
Anyway, a few days before the Laser Quest visit, I went to a place I hadn’t been to in years and, do you know what? It looks exactly the same. The place: The Griffin Bar, Glasgow. The reason: lunch with my middle sister. The verdict: loved it and had a nice lunch there. Will definitely go back. I used to meet my sister there when she was at art school, it was a favourite haunt of her and her friends. It was good to be back.
I said I’d had a busy week and it was, but it was full of things that aren’t exactly riveting to talk about (mainly cleaning up after the dogs and kids). I have been continuing to write though and make myself write at least 500 words a day on work days and 1000 words a day on non work day. Seems a lot of words, but it’s not really. I’m about halfway through this book.
Talking of books, I finished the Miss Buncle Married book and am now on to Mr and Mrs Haddock Abroad. I can’t remember the author but the book is basically about a couple and their daughter travelling to Europe. It’s meant to be comedic, but I’m finding all the muddles and misunderstandings a bit tedious. I’ll let you know how I get on.
With reference to films now and I took the kids to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I liked it, despite it being a bit predictable (if you’ve seen it you’ll know the bit I mean…at the end with the big reveal of the baddy). The kids didn’t. They moaned about it walking back to the car and I wondered why I had bothered taking them. In fact, the boy spent half the film whispering (sotto vocce) whether it was finishing or not. Very annoying! I liked it and I think I’ll like it even more when I watch it again when it comes out on DVD. The human characters were great, but the star of the show for me was the little mole like creature that loved shiny things (I think they may have based it on a honey badger). Anyway, I want one. If only it were real!
Right, I am going to finish here. I have a lovely meal to prepare that no doubt my children will turn their noses up at, shout “Ew” and make gagging noises. You would think I was trying to poison them sometimes. The other day the boy made a huge fuss because I told him we were having Spaghetti Carbonara.
Him: “I hate that! I’m not eating that, it’s disgusting! You can’t force me to eat it.”
Me: “Fine. If you don’t eat it you are not getting anything else.”
So I made the dish. I plated the dish. I put it down in front of him and then he said…
“Oh yeah! I like this, mum!”
Tonight we’re having steak pie and vegetables. They both like it. That won’t stop them complaining about something though!
Sorry this is a little late. It’s been a bit of a mental week…and I wasn’t even working!
Apart from Easter Sunday when the kids stuffed their faces with chocolate and got a sugar high as a result and had to be reprimanded, we’ve had a week of visitors and visiting.
Tuesday – my parents, one of my sisters, two nieces and one nephew came for lunch. It was really nice to see them all. My parents were just back from holidaying in the Caribbean and were full of stories of their travels. I hadn’t seen my sister and her kids for ages either and my kids loved seeing their cousins. Unfortunately my other sister was unable to come due to having to work, but her daughter was here and it was lovely to see her.
Wednesday – we had a coffee morning fundraiser for Cancer Research.
I baked for Scotland. I must have made around 40 fairy cakes, nearly 20 chocolate cupcakes, a peach tray bake and two loaves of ginger bread. I can’t tell you how many people came, but it was lots…mainly the mums of friends of my boy (I’ll tell you about the link in a minute) and some neighbours. We raised £80 which was great. We held the event (here comes the link) because my boy had heard of a girl in his school baking cakes and selling them for a cancer charity and he wanted to “do something for cancer” too. It was also a way of us remembering a few people in our lives who have had cancer, some beat it, others unfortunately died (Katrina, Stuart). Plus it was a great way of catching up with the mums I haven’t seen for ages. Apart from the mums there was a whole squad of weans and thank goodness the weather was good and they could all play outside in the back garden. Thanks again to everyone who came and donated. I was exhausted afterwards so spent Thursday not doing very much.
Thursday – hubby came home from work at lunchtime, sick. He spent the rest of the day and night in bed. We didn’t do much. The kids went out to play…nice weather again!
Friday – I’d invited a close friend and her daughters to come for lunch. Unfortunately hubby was still ill and ended up in hospital and he’s been there ever since. I couldn’t get a hold of my friend, so had to run out of the house as she arrived. She was great and looked after the kids, putting out the food (it was all ready to go before I got home) and looking after them til I got back from hospital. Thanks AJ for that! We still had our lunch and a chat and it was great to see them all.
The rest of the week has been spent visiting hubby and watching (with relief) him steadily getting better. I hope to have him home soon.
So, there you go…instead of having a relaxing end to my week off I’ve been a bit stressed. Hey ho! That’s life. The good thing is hubby is one the mend and (and this is something we’ve been looking forward to) I also found the tv remote which means we can watch DVDs and catch up telly. Hurray! It’s the little things in life that give the greatest pleasures. The remote has been missing for about three weeks…it’s good to have it back.
Hmmm…what else has been happening? As a treat for the kids, I bought a copy of Paddington and we watched it this morning. It’s really funny. I loved watching the original tv series as a kid, so it was lovely to see the film. Ref reading…I haven’t been reading much lately, too tired, so am still on Gormenghast. Ref writing…nothing has been done on that. Just been too busy. Baking…see aforementioned coffee morning.
Anyway, I am fast running out of steam so I’ll say adieu til next time.
Aileen Quinn, the Annie of the original 1982 movie.
It’s been one of those weeks where I feel I’ve been chasing my tail. The girl was one of the orphans in her school’s rendition of the musical Annie. She was performing on Monday and Tuesday nights and Wednesday afternoon. She’s also been rehearsing for weeks with her schoolmates.
Anyway, we didn’t go and see the Monday night show, but we did see Tuesday’s. It was late nights for the girl both nights, but the performances were excellent especially young L who played the lead. She’s a friend of my daughter’s and was amazing. Well done young lady! The rest of the cast (kids from P6 and P7) were great too! Beforehand P4 and 5 put on a school version of the Jungle Book and were also very good. Well done all of you.
I can’t believe we’re at Thursday already. This week has truly flown by. I know I say that nearly every week, but this week has been particularly quick.
What have I been doing? I’m nearly finished a little blanket I’ve been knitting for premature babies for the knitting group I’ve attended.
I’ve started (again) the first of Melvyn Peake’s Gormenghast books. It’s really very good. I was waylaid by re-reading Mark Boyle’s Moneyless Man, which is the tale of his going without money for a whole year, living off the land and swapping skills for food and other necessities. It’s really interesting. I find people like him fascinating and admire the fact that he’s really stuck to his principles. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fancy living without money in a freezing cold caravan for a year, but I enjoyed reading about his adventures.
The girl and I had a sewing afternoon last weekend. She was desperate to use her sewing machine and make her favourite teddy a dress. She chose her material and we made a simple dress from the Mary Frances Sewing Book which is a lovely book first published at the turn of the last century. It’s aim was to teach young girls to sew using a story. It’s lovely – the story is lovely and the images are gorgeous. The girl’s dress turned out really nice (I did help her with bits, but she did the main parts herself) and she’s really pleased with it. Hopefully we will be able to do another over the Easter holidays.
Talking of Easter, the boy wanted to make cakes and sell them ‘for cancer’ so we’re doing a wee coffee morning next week in aid of Cancer Research. Of course I’ll be doing most of the work, but he’s happy he’s doing something. He’s been wanting to do something like that for a while having been impressed by a girl in his school doing something similar. He’s quite excited about it. The girl’s keen too. Wee souls.
Anyway, must get on. Only got a few hours before the kids stop for Easter, so am going to enjoy them. Am currently watching Dangerous Liaisons – an all time favourite of mine. So, I will say adieu and wish you a happy Easter. Enjoy the holidays, chocolate and decorating and rolling of your boiled eggs.
So my girl made her debut as a ballet dancer last weekend and I couldn’t have been more proud. She was just lovely up there in her white ballet dress. Lovely and very graceful (unlike me!). I had that ‘mum moment’ when I felt I would just burst with pride watching her up there with her friends. She was gorgeous.
Anyway, enough of my boasting about my lovely daughter. How has your week been? I’ve been quite busy attending the ballet show (which was excellent) and gutting various bits of the house (my study mainly which was in desperate need of being cleaned out). I re-started the baby blanket I was knitting for prem babies. My husband and I also celebrated our nineth wedding anniversary this week (I made hubby home-made kebabs courtesy of the Hairy Bikers fab recipe…we all love it).
In the middle of it all was Mother’s Day. My hubby gave me tea and toast in bed. The kids gave me a lovely necklace and cards. I got lots of cuddles and kisses. Hubby also made lunch and bought in a curry for dinner, so I didn’t have to cook at all that day, which was a nice treat. Of course, the shine was somewhat taken off the mum glow a few days later when my son, who is seven, was extoling the virtues of hubby as a good dad and then turned round and said to me: “Dad’s always doing stuff for us mum, but I don’t know what you do!” I couldn’t help but laugh. From the mouths of babes eh? My husband thought this was hysterical…he knows I basically run the whole household. Weans!!
Did a training course on social media on Tuesday at the Albany Centre in Glasgow and it was really good. I now know a lot more about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hootsuite and more. It was an intense course, but very good. Unfortunately, I’d had very little sleep the night before (I shouldn’t drink tea before going to bed…was up for the toilet) and yawned a fair bit during the day. Hope the lecturer didn’t think it was him! It wasn’t, he was very good.
Anyway, it’s now the Thursday of a very busy week and I’m just taking five minutes to do my blog. Have already done my housework AND (get this) the ironing!! I know – it’s not like me, I usually leave ironing to the very, very last. I’ve also worked out my meal menus for next week (and my shopping list), I’ve made bread in the bread maker and I’ve baked biscuits (admittedly they aren’t working out the way I’d hoped, but they’ll still taste nice…I hope). I am on a roll today! Later today I will probably drop from exhaustion, but just now I’m feeling good.
Right, I need to go now. Got all the ironing the put away. Til next time!
The weather has been so horrible here lately (apart from yesterday which was lovely and sunny…for a change!) that I’m illustrating this blog with pics taken in spring or summer. Not only does it cheer me up, but it makes me feel like I’m blowing a raspberry to winter. So there winter take that…
Ah that feels better! So how’s your week been? Mine has been pretty good. My colleague and good friend Laurina turns 50 this weekend, so we had cake in the office on Tuesday and we went out for lunch at Rose & Grants. She’s having a party in a well known Glasgow pub this weekend, the theme is the 1950s so everyone is being encouraged to dress up. I ordered a lovely dress from Lindy Bop, but unfortunately it was too small…their size labelling is small, a lot smaller, but their dresses are heavenly. I’ve ordered a bigger size (it’s three sizes bigger than I would normally wear which doesn’t make me feel too good – that’s how different their sizing is from normal – but if it fits I’m planning to cut the label out so I don’t have to look at it and feel eugh. If you’re a woman reading this you’ll know what I mean!). Anyway I hope the dress arrives by Saturday otherwise I have a problem. Lindy Bop are in Yorkshire so it’s not that far to post to here in not-so-sunny Scotland. I just love their dresses – they are GORGEOUS.
I am currently reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette by American writer and frugal person, Amy Dacyczyn (apparently it’s pronounced decision). I love books and tv programmes on frugality (I am a fan of Channel 4’s Superscrimpers). I don’t understand why more people aren’t more frugal and by frugal I don’t mean being a tight-arse, I mean looking after your money and making it work better. I think part of my love of being frugal comes from my parents – neither had a rich upbringing in the 40s and 50s and it was definitely a case of watch every penny. That’s kind of rubbed off on me plus I am also quite green in my outlook (although I do drive a car! A necessity for work). I hate waste. When I was brought up, we had to eat everything on our plates because there were people in Biaffra (I’m not sure of its modern name, but it’s somewhere in Africa, I think) were starving and we should be grateful to have food. We didn’t get everything we wanted instantly. We were encouraged to save our pocket money to buy the things we wanted or have to wait til birthdays and Christmas. I think this is one of the best ways to teach kids about money management. We do it with our two. They don’t get everything they want. They are given a budget for presents for birthdays and Christmas. They are encouraged to save their pocket money.
My mother also cooked all meals from scratch. We did not grow up on fast food or supermarket shove-in-the-microwave meals. Apart from the fact these were unheard of for most of the 70s and the big supermarkets never really came into force until probably the 80s, none of us liked them. I still don’t like them. I much prefer home-cooked food…it’s delicious, good for you, packed full of nourishment and so much cheaper than a packet meal. So, thanks mum for all that great food (and the pancakes, cakes and other ‘yummies’ you made) you fed me when I was growing up and the great meals you still make for us all today!
Talking of those types of fast food rubbishy meals, my friend Tracy and I were talking about a programme on tv called Junk Food Kids. I’ve not seen it, but she was relating a tale of a father who fed his kids store bought pizza because he felt it was cheaper to buy food this way. I’m not sure how many children he had, but T reckoned they must have spent at least £30 on the one meal. For that amount of money, I can make probably six meals for my family. I don’t understand why some people insist on putting this forward as a reason why they don’t make their own food. I think it’s just an excuse. They either don’t know where to start (and this isn’t really a good excuse because the local library has lots of books on how to cook) or are too lazy to do it. I can make home-made pizza for us all with all the toppings we like for around £5 for the lot.
Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself – back to the book. The Complete Tightwad Gazette is full of tips for reusing, recycling, cutting bills and generally being frugal. Although aimed at the US market, it still has lots of good tips and great articles for us lot over the pond. A lot of stuff mentioned we already do, but there are a few things I may try and some of the recipes for cheaper meals look nice.
One of the things I’m definitely going to do when the better weather comes in is to walk more – ie walk the kids to school and back. I currently drive them, but only because the weather has been so foul that I don’t want them going to school soaked to the skin…it’s not pleasant having been there as a kid a few times! I’m also going to start making more of my own biscuits and cakes. Three reasons for this: they taste far better, I know what’s in them (ie none of those chemicals you get in shop bought) and according to Amy it’s cheaper to do. Plus my kids like them better. I made some fairy cakes for Laurina’s birthday lunch on Tuesday, but kept two back for my kids…they were scoffed in seconds!
I already cook from scratch, but hubby and I decided recently to stop buying in as many carry-out meals in a bid to lose weight. We would have an Indian or Chinese carry-out meal at least once a week. It was nice for me because I got a night off cooking, but not good for the old waistline! It’s amazing how much money we’ve saved as well. We now have a carry-out once a month as a treat for being good all month regards dieting. One member of the family gets to choose what we have. I’ve already chosen (Frankie and Benny’s) in January; hubby went for a curry in February; and it’s the girl’s choice at the end of this month. The boy will get to choose at the end of April. Not only have we saved money, but it also (weirdly) makes the carry-out more of a treat.
We also recycle and it’s not just household waste we recycle, but old toys, bicycles and anything else we can. I hate the thought of sending a perfectly good bicycle to the dump when I can ask around and see if anyone else can use it.
Right, that’s my rant for today. I will continue to read and enjoy this book and see if there’s anything else I can do to reduce, reuse, recycle and save!! Am loving the thought of it already!
Anyway, what’s been happening in your world? Have you done anything interesting or exciting this week? No? Me either (well apart from getting all passionate about the aforementioned book). Oh, there was a bit of excitement on Sunday when two fire appliances turned up at a neighbour’s door. Thankfully there was no fire, but unfortunately there was a flood.
Oh the other thing that happened was this: Tuesday morning as I was waving my husband off to work I happened to look up and there in the sky was about 30-40 large birds in V formation heading north. It was lovely to see them return. I’m not sure if they were geese or swans, but they were something that big. I couldn’t make them out clearly as they were too high up, but it means spring is coming! Woohoo!
Finally, yesterday, the boy and girl were taken down to our local beach (on the riverbank) by our local Afterschool. I met them down there and the boy was convinced he’d found real gold. The girl scoffed loudly – as she always does – but the boy is insisting we go back to the beach over the weekend with a shovel so we can dig it up! He’s dead cute when he thinks he’s found treasure! I think if we find it again he’s going to be disappointed!
Right, time to go…am off to do some housework-y things! Til next time!
What a gorgeous day it’s turned out. The sun is out and it’s not too cold outside. It’s nice to have some good weather for a change. Although hubby and I did have a good weekend weather wise last weekend. Sigh…seems like a long time ago.
So how have you been? How’s your week been? Mine has been pretty busy so it’s nice to have five minutes to sit down and do this blog post…with some colourful images of flowers. I put them in because they are so cheerful.
I haven’t been doing a lot since I last posted. Mainly working and looking after the kids. However, I am back into writing…hooray!! And I’m reading The Tobacco Lords by Margaret Thomson Davis. It’s one of my mum’s favourite books, so I’ve borrowed the copy I bought her ages ago. I’m enjoying it. It’s one of those books you can’t put down.
Just want to do a quick shout out to my stepson whose birthday it is on Saturday. Happy birthday J!! Ooh that reminds me, I must go and put on my muffins. I always make him and his sister cake for their birthdays…it’s kind of my wee tradition. I don’t see that them often – they are all grown up – so it’s nice to do.
Got another cake to make next week, this time for my girl who turns ten. Can’t believe she’s that age already. One minute she’s this tiny wee baby with impressive reflux (she was a puker!) and now she’s up to my shoulders with the opinions and attitude of a 20-year-old. Sigh. Life really does pass by too quickly!
Anyway, I don’t have a lot else to report this week (I know – I’m a boring fart!), and I have those muffins to make, so I will say adieu just now. Til next time!
PS the excitement is rising!!!! Game of Thrones starts back on UK tv on April 13…woohooooo!
Well, the boy turned seven this week and was Dr Who-tastic! We bought him lots of Dr Who stuff (he’s a major fan) including the Dr’s sonic screwdriver which he has been driving everybody nuts with by pointing at us and turning it on. Never thought I’d say it, but the sonic screwdriver is driving me nuts! He loves it though.
I made him a chocolate cake for his birthday which he requested and we’ve been enjoying it immensely. It’s a recipe from Jane Brocket’s Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer. It’s one of my fave books, all about the food you find in old children’s books and the recipes. It’s a fab book and a fab recipe. I would recommend both.
Anyway, am afraid I’ve been lagging behind with the Nanowrimo writing. I am just too exhausted or too busy some days to do it. I don’t know how others do it. Instead of feeling like a failure, however, I’ve accepted I am not super woman and will do what I can do. It’s keeping me planning and writing, so that’s something at least.
Am still reading Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Am trying to take my time reading it because I am really bad for speed reading and missing bits. Then I have to go back and re-read the passage. The book is good. Am near the end, there’s been a murder and I am wondering if Esther gets her man. If you like Dickens, you will love this one.
Oh before I forget, next week is Book Week Scotland 2014. There’s lots going on, just click here to find out about events in your area. If you can’t get along to an event, just dig out your favourite book and get lost in a fantastic story.
Right, on that note, I am away to do some writing. Yes, I said writing. Am away to do it now before I get side-tracked by the television or something else.
Today is National Butterscotch Pudding Day in America! Celebrate by making your own butterscotch pudding from these recipes. If Butterscotch isn’t your flavour of pudding, what is? I still love sponge cake and custard, but my fave pudding is rhubarb crumble and custard.