Sunday, 31 October 2010

::: One Car Family :::

(Another Corner of my Home)

After living with two cars for such a long period of time, to all of a sudden having only one car is a big step, but one we are excited about.

Not only is it cheaper financially (only one service, tax and MOT per year as well as fuel for only one car and not two), it also is better for the environment.

I admit I don't know a great deal about cars but oil, diesel and petrol are harmful in their own way so I can imagine that breathing in the fumes from these chemicals are harmful too.

We now travel places together, we have become more patient waiting for each other after work etc instead of rushing and getting home at different times. We go shopping together, we travel to work together and we wash the car together!

Plus it makes us feel like we are playing a part in helping the environment and bettering our health as well as our pockets.

Friday, 29 October 2010

::: Progressive Pioneer :::

I absolutely love Progressive Pioneer by Amy Thompson.

Amy is a stay-at-home Mum, married to an illustrator, Clayton, and has two gorgeous little children, Sam and Vivian.

The whole family are crazy about gardening, attachment parenting, sewing, keeping chickens, eating natural and yoga. But the best bit is that they share it with us!

There is a great saying on her 'about' page - “Through all of it she sticks to her rule of living first and blogging second.”

"When all the world is turning to the latest gadget, the latest expert advice, the latest health fad, we can pioneer the way back to our roots, back to simplicity, choose to follow the examples of our pioneer forbears; live simply, live close to the earth and close to your loved ones."

I think everyone should have a read of her blog – even just a quick skim and you'll get the feeling of home. It's contagious.

This is how I think life should be – slowed down, no TV, being outdoors and with nature, learning about important things in life and spending time as a family.

As the world is turning, the traditions of our ancestors are coming around again, embrace them.

I love how so many people are breast-feeding, growing their own vegetables and cooking from scratch. Let's spread the word. Let's become Progressive Pioneers!

(All quotes and photos used in this particular post are the property of Amy Thompson and and will remain so.)

Thursday, 28 October 2010

::: Cupcakes :::

Last week I made these amazing cupcakes.

I very rarely make sweet things, usually only sticking to cooking main meals but I was overly bored one evening and Steve was working so I drove the half an hour journey to the supermarket, stocked up on all things cupcake-y, then drove the half an hour journey back home.

The recipe was so simple to follow and makes 24 cupcakes (although I ended up with 31 smaller cupcakes!)

Steve has been taking them into work and I've been giving them away to friends and neighbours who have been 'popping by'.

I think next time I'll half the batch and lessen the sugar intake as they are very sweet.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

::: Jon and Kate Plus Eight :::

When my parents went to Canada for a month, four years ago, they came back with lots of stories and one of them was Jon and Kate Plus Eight.

It is an American reality show about a couple who have eight children.
Jon and Kate Gosselin couldn't get pregnant on their own, they used fertility treatments and eventually had twin girls – Cara and Mady.

Just three years later they wanted one more child and opted for fertility treatment again. Jon was convinced it was only one baby, Kate thought twins. Little did they know their small family of four would soon turn into a family of ten.

Little Aaden, Alexis, Leah, Hannah, Collin and Joel were born.

This programme follows their everyday lives and shows people how normal they really are. Although only season one and two are available in the UK, the rest of the shows can be seen on youtube or bought on region 1 DVDs.

I find it fascinating and I absolutely love it. Yes they have now split up due to stress levels and changes. But they do what they think is best for their children and have secured the futures for all eight going to college etc.

It's amazing what a little organising can do (and, of course, a helpful husband!). They are all up and fed on a Sunday and leaving for Church at 10.15am. Jon still works full-time after having serious worries that he wouldn't be able to provide for his family. Kate has lots of helpers and friends who love the children dearly.

Kate also relies on lists (didn't I tell you how great it is to have tonnes of lists lying around?) and she must have so many things floating around in her head at any one time.

This is a really Super-Mum (and Dad!) if ever I've seen one.

And I've just found out that Kate has a blog! Kate's Take is news from Kate about her life as a single mum, dealing with eight kids and what it's like to cope alone. It's not as in-depth as the programmes but it's great all the same. 

(All pictures and links used in this post are owned by the Gosselin family and will remain so) 

Monday, 25 October 2010

::: Meet Lucky :::

  (View from kitchen window)
This little guy (or girl?) appeared everyday for about a week at our new home. We asked around and nobody knew where he/she came from and they all thought he/she belonged to someone else.

We have named him/her Lucky. Black cats are supposed to be lucky, right?

I've decided it's a him but I have no proof, yes he rolls around at my feet and loves getting tickled but I've yet to get a good view of him/her.

When he first showed up he was quite thin, his coat was staring and his poor little eyes were runny.

(Sitting on kitchen windowsill)

Now, with a good few meals in him and lots of rubbing and petting he's looking much better.

Now to start the flea and worm treatments...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

::: Organised for Christmas :::

I know, I know, it's still way too early to be talking about Christmas but it's what I do best.

Steve can't believe I have my presents bought and wrapped by the time Halloween comes around while he hasn't even bought his yet, or even begun to think about buying anything.

But it's true, I have lists upon lists lying around reminding me what to buy, what I think people would like and my trusty to-do list is at hand as always.

I love organising things, I'm always neat and tidy, I hate it when someone moves something belonging to me as everything has a place. Okay, I might be a little over the top but if I wasn't tidy we'd be living in a pile of dishes, unwashed clothes, the ironing pile would be up to my neck (again!) and we wouldn't know where anything was.

This is why, when it comes to Christmas, I'm uber organised and tidy. All of our decorations are in labeled boxes telling me what is where. Our wrapping paper, cards and gift tags are in clearly marked drawers and my list of presents is finalised by Halloween in order to seek out the perfect gifts for everyone (if I haven't bought them already) on time and have them wrapped and delivered by December 5th.

Am I mad or what?

Saturday, 23 October 2010

::: Bag Holder :::

This 'sausage' for storing empty shopping bags in is so easy to make, you can whip it up within a matter of minutes.

I wish I'd taken step-by-step photos to show you but it's too late now.

All you need is a rectangle piece of material, some elastic and some string (and a needle and thread).

Make the 'sausage' shape, put elastic at the bottom to hold all of the bags in without them all tumbling out and put a draw-string cord at the top - gaining access to load the bag holder and also allowing it to hang.


Friday, 22 October 2010

::: Penguin Vs Guillemot :::

This is a guillemot – pretty common around here.

How silly did I feel when I told everyone I'd saw a penguin swimming past me at the beach?

But yes – I did see the otter again!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

::: Peace and Quiet :::

I've stayed in what I thought was the countryside nearly all of my life.

Growing up in a small village, picking and collecting different berries and vegetables every summer, watching the wild rabbits, foxes, hedgehogs and pheasants in our garden (and on one occasion a deer!), planting seeds, walking in the woods and seeing the stars was what I thought the countryside was.

Now I have a whole different perspective.

Staying just yards from a farm with the cows mooing in the morning, bats flying around at night, no streetlights, no cars and with no working TV right now, it feels like we're out in the sticks. We're half an hour away from the nearest town (which is so small it only takes two minutes to walk from one end to the other), and at least two fields away from our nearest neighbour. We don't even have tarmac on the road – just your old fashioned dirt track full of holes!

It gets very dark at night without lights or even the glow of light from nearby. The stars shine so bright and it's so quiet you can hear yourself breathe.

I'm loving the fact that I can potter in the garden and hang washing out without having to listen to people walking past or noisy cars.

Plus there is a little black cat who likes to visit and sit at my feet when I'm in the garden, watching the toads play in the puddles.

When was the last time you took to just sit and listen?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

::: Ardtorna :::

The Pancakes

Ardtorna is the lovely Bed and Breakfast (B&B) we've been staying (living!) in for the past month and a bit.

The owners are so friendly plus there is also a great woman who makes the worlds best pancakes for breakfast with apples and toffee sauce, yum!

The beds are all super-king size, the towels are just as huge, homemade Scottish tablet and shortbread are complimentary in your room plus a fridge full of goodies. Also, Baileys and Whiskey are always just outside your door to help yourself whenever you wish.

The views are astonishing – overlooking a loch.

If you want to stay near Oban for a holiday or even a weekend – this is the place to be.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

::: We're in! :::

The view from our livingroom window

Yes – we've finally and officially moved into or new home.

Here are a few snapshots of the view and surrounding area. I'll get some photos of the interior once we're unpacked and a bit more settled.

It's so long and tiring unpacking and moving furniture. We have yet to sort out what to sell and what to give to charity, we have accumulated so much stuff over the years and don't use half of it. It'll be good to know someone will be using and loving the things we no longer need.

The little red tractor that the farmer uses everyday to tend to his cows

Monday, 18 October 2010

::: I'm a writer! :::

It's true! I'm trying my hand at writing a book, so far I've only written the first two chapters but so many things are flying around in my head and I can't write everything down fast enough.

Who knows how long it will take to write or if anyone will even think it worthy of publishing but it's good fun and I'm really enjoying it.

Perhaps by this time next year I'll be a published author!