Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Summer? What Summer?!

So I haven't blogged since June - scandalous! What have I been doing? Well not sunbathing - weather has been pretty poor and I've been working (very hard!) mainly at my real job (thank you KCF!) and brushing up on my photographic skills. I set myself a 30 day challenge in early July and didn't miss a day - the challenge was a new photo every day - more difficult than you think when you're rushed off your feet! I won't bore you with endless photos, ten of the best are below. In no particular order:
My Familiar - the owl cat

Sara's Sunflower



The Late Shift

Burn, baby, burn


"You ain't seen me, right?"

Girl on a Blustery Ferry

Three Oystercatchers
And there you have it - there are more pics at http://rainboweffect.500px.com/ or on my Flickr site! I'm also available for weddings, christenings and Bharmitzvahs!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

It's all about cake!

Well, cake, what's not to like! On a recent flying visit to celebrate her 25th Wedding anniversary my best friend Vera and I were astonished by this amazing cake in the Ettrick Bay Tearoom:
The biggest Victoria Sponge in the World - well, Isle of Bute anyway!

Believe me, the pic doesn't do it justice - it was enormous and it tasted as good as it looked. Baked by the proprietor of the Tearoom, Alex, it was a revelation! Sponge light as a feather, fresh, thick and delicious double cream and delicious strawberry jam. Cannot recommend Alex and his cakes highly enough.
Just one slice - almost not enough!

And in celebration of Vera and Paul (her lovely hubby) I 'commissioned' 24 hand crafted cupcakes iced with buttercream the colours of Vera's wedding dress and her bridesmaids dresses (yes, I was one of her bridesmaids - the one and only time, it was a total honour). The result, baked, iced and decorated by Alison Hutchins of the Cairndow Cake Company was exquisite. 
Exquisite cupcakes

I had them delivered to Inver Cottage where we were having dinner (sublime!) and served before the dessert order. If I was delighted it was nothing compared with Vee's reaction!!
Almost too pretty to eat - almost....

See, cake - what's no to like!!!
We also managed to arrange a pretty Argyll sunset for the happy couple

P.S. Anyone wanting to order cakes form Alison please leave a comment and I'll pass your details on!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Pretty and Pink

I'm not normally given to musing about pink stuff, gender specifics and all that - having avoided it most of my adult life and worn a muted palette of black, black and more black in terms of clothes and accessories and rigorously dressed my baby daughter in anything but pink - I couldn't help but notice how much pink there actually is around. Starting with the obvious, flowers at the Tree Shop - loads and all vibrant, Mother Nature at her girliest and finest especially when set against lush green backgrounds or with amazing yellow stamens:

And suddenly, I was seeing it everywhere:

in the Aquarium at LFO

Bobby's pants!!

Bike helmets

Skool bags & gym bags

Even on me and Ronnie next door!

Yikes! I'm wearing this!

Sadly, I didn't get a pic of Ronnie in his pink teeshirt, but he looked a fine specimen of a Scottish manhood thus disproving the myth that pink is for lassies only. However, It may be the end of the world as we know it!! I'm off to find my black jeans.....

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Ain't nature grand!

So, it all started when I went to the fridge to get a jar of ready-made pesto from a well known Supermarket. It looked like this, despite not being opened that long:

Yes, "We're not eating that" our Bobby rightly pointed out.
Ah, what to do - Mum's staple teatime dish, kaput - until I looked across the sheep field to the trees beyond and 'Voila', there was the answer to my problem - a big patch of Wild Garlic! So arming myself with Tupperware I yomped down the track, over to the trees and picked a big bunch of this delicious smelling and very tasty plant (is it a plant, dunno!). I headed back, and had the good fortune to have the rest of the ingredients I needed, otherwise the kids would have been eating pasta with blanched ramsons leaves cut into wee bits. Googling 'Wild Garlic Pesto' I found this recipe and adapted it to my own needs (pinenuts as no walnuts, but walnuts would be delicious! / no garlic / lots of pepper / didn't blanch the leaves as couldn't be arsed, just washed and pressed dry then shredded into the blender with all the other ingredients and walloped it all up together!!)

So from this

To this

And finally this!
all in the whizz of mini food blender and the shake of a local lambs tail! It was truly delicious, subtle and tasty. In fact it was so good, me and the Old Bugger had some for our dinner as well. I'll be making some more - we got through the first batch in two days and there is a truly huge patch of Wild Garlic to get through - Woop!

But it all goes to show, when the chips are down, it's Mother Nature that is the necessity of invention - especially when the nearest shop is a three mile drive away at 5.00pm teatime!


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Well I never!

I was under the impression that Amateur Dramatic's was all about the tried and tested - thunderous productions of musicals and hackneyed farces accomodating a cast of many, all tried and tested many times before. I got that wrong!

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the Arran Music and Drama Club's production of........BAD GIRLS - THE MUSICAL!! Complete with the BEST posters for an Am Dram production I've ever seen


I'm almost tempted to pay the outrageously expensive ferry fare just to go back and see it - I'm sure it'll be wonderful!!!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

My Faith in Humanity - Restored!

So, we were on Arran for a couple of days Youth Hosteling during the School Spring Break, myself, Bobby, Effie and Grandma who has bestowed the princely £10 on each of her darling grandchildren. The tenners are dutifully tucked away in pockets, with the instructions to put them in a 'safe place'.

Goat Fell in the sun

A couple of hours later after tea and a sandwich at the Lochranza Hotel and a chank around the tiny and beautiful beach at Dougarie Bay, Effie (5) announces that she has lost her ten pound note. Much furious searching in pockets, car floor, various bags proves fruitless. I ask Effs when was the last time she had the money, she's not sure, but we remember that it was in her bodywarmer pocket and she took that off at the hotel. Oh well, we resign ourselves to the fact that it's lost.

Dougarie Bay & the trouserless weans!

Fast forward a few hours and we toddle down from the Youth Hostel (very good, btw!) to the Lochranza Hotel for dinner. I tell Effie to go and look in the loo and check the garden for her tenner, while I order food and drinks. I ask the barman if anyone has handed in a ten pound note during the afternoon, but, no - a long shot really. I laugh and say if anyone does it belongs to Effs, who appears fleetingly to announce it wasn't in the loo. I joke with a couple at the bar that we have memorised the serial number so we can recognise the tenner if it ever turns up.

So, we demolish our dinner, the kids go outside to run around, Grandma for a fag and I ask for the bill. When the barman comes over with the bill, he hands me..... a ten pound note! "The Guy at the bar" he explains "felt sorry for the wee girl missing out on her holiday money". I am, frankly, astonished! However, the guy and his wife have since left so I cannot thank them. I ask the barman to pass on my profuse thanks as the couple are regulars and I leave the Hotel, stepping into the evening sun, my faith in humanity, restored.

Lucky wee lassie!

Whoever you were - I salute you and thank you from the bottom of my heart. You made a wee girls holiday - she was able to get her holiday sweeties and a lovely pottery seahorse for her bedroom! Thank you!!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Lexicon of Life

Like most families we have always had our own special and silly words for things - nessynog, dressing gown / peeblepobble, a verbal expression akin to blowing a raspberry / 'going to Milton Keynes', an activity that is somewhat pointless and will never come to fruition - are a few examples. So I am very proud to add my own daughters addition to the family lexicon.

'Nessynogs' in action

Effie (5 yrs old) has just lost her first tooth and her mother (me) is explaining the necessity of good brushing to make sure her emerging set of adult teeth (new one can be seen where baby one has dropped out) stay healthy. To press home the point of maintaining good teeth for life I use Effie's granny as an example of what happens when you don't take care of your teeth - ie. the dentist removes a large amount of them in one go.

Gappy Gal!

This is received quietly. After a long pause and much musing, Effie turns to me and asks "So, did the dentist give Grandma her Nancies?" "Her what" I venture, "Her Nancies" says Effs. It takes me a second or two to realise that she means her Grandma's false teeth which are usually known as 'gnashers' (also known as walies (pronounced Wa-lees), good old scottish slang for false teeth, but buggered if I can work out where you get nancies from walies).

And there you have it - false teeth are hereby known in out house as 'nancies'! So make sure you give your teeth a good brush tonight or you too may end up sporting a fine pair of nancies (see below)!!

Grandma and her fine pair of Nancies

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


It's a well known fact to my family that I love gadgets! Don't ask me why, I just do - I'm not the most techno-savvy of people but I do like a nice shiny new gadget!! So, having resisted for some time we finally bought a camcorder - "it's for work" we told ourselves, and have spent the time we've had it filming the cat, the dog and the kids pulling faces and mugging shamelessly.

Face pulling!

Anyhow, I thought it might be fun to get to grips with said camcorder and all it's accompanying technology as well as exploring hither to regions of my beloved macbook and it's applications. The result is posted here - http://bit.ly/eNlxMW - it's not particularly exciting or mind blowing, they are not the cutest kids in the world, and I was particularly grumpy during filming which you can hear on some of the soundtrack (which is a bit wonky in places, like some of the camerawork!) - however, for me, it marks a teeny, tiny technological milestone and I like it! So there!!

P.S. The film was meant to be uploaded on to this blog, however, this could be construed as 'uploading video-FAIL' which confirms my worst fears, that I may, indeed, be a technological numpty! However, I'm still ridiculously pleased with myself!!

Monday, 7 February 2011


Astonished to see that I had not blogged since April 2010! "Not good enough" says I. So what has happened since then - well I'm working part time which is one reason for the drop in blog posts; surprising how commuting to work three times a week in appalling weather (see below)

making sure there is clean uniforms to be had, food to go on the table, new kitten to be socialised, swimming lessons, homework (kids not me) and so on and so forth impinges on your time. Anyhow, the job is good - Project Admin for a rather cool Community Forest project (check it out - www.kilfinancommunityforest.com ), the sewing is kind of on hold, the China Hire is almost there and there are other moves afoot to expand the work that husband and I can do collaboratively! Watch this space!! And while your waiting, a selection of pictures for your delectation -

Snow berries!

This is Bickle - asleep for once, he's usually running around as if he's possessed

The view on the way to work - better than the average commuter view!

Dunan's Castle - just like Narnia! The snow was just awful but did produce some fabulous views!!

Argyll, photography, words