Thursday, 27 February 2014

Hacked off!

Apologies to anyone who visited the blog a few nights ago, Tuesday night I think, and thought I had vanished offline!


It wasn't anything planned by me!


It began last week when I received an email receipt from Google Play that was entirely in Japanese. I phoned google to discover that my account had been hacked and that someone had spent £17 on apps in Japanese Yen. They spotted the mistake as soon as I pointed it out and are in the process of refunding me. In this technical age though, can't there be a way that flags up the fact that I am in the UK and have never in the time I have had this google account travelled abroad, and that someone logging in from Japan should be a little unusual? Just a thought.


Anyway, I reset my password and set up two step sign in, which means that if I sign in on a new device I need a second code that is messaged by SMS to my mobile phone.


Then came Tuesday morning when a friend messaged me on Facebook to ask where my blog had gone! I was unable to sign in to my google as they had suspended my account because of suspicious attempts to sign in elsewhere. So, I had to prove I was me, add another new password and thought a bit more seriously about where the problem lay. (Thankfully my blog reappeared once my account was reinstated.)


In recent months I have barely used our PC as it was so slow but a couple of weeks ago we had it sorted and it's running much better. I had been on it to check my emails a couple of times in those couple of weeks. It struck me that perhaps there was a virus on it as our antiviral was long out of date. I checked with my techy brother what would be the best free software to use, downloaded it, ran a scan and sure enough there were a couple of bugs. I think something must have sneaked on with some games one of the boys downloaded.


So, I'm more than a little hacked off with hackers! I have enough things to try and remember in this baby fogged brain of mine without having to keep changing my passwords around!


Moral of the story is, keep your antiviral software up to date, keep an eye on your account usage (I'm checking my google stats daily at the moment!) and back up your blog!!


Also, just in case things still aren't sorted and my blog seems to disappear again (I have no intention of taking my blog offline anytime soon) then I do have a Facebook page where I post updates even when I haven't got time to put out a full blog post. You can come on over and say 'hi' here.


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A family filled weekend

We had a busy weekend. Busy and filled with family celebrations.
It kicked off on Friday, Valentines Day, and also my youngest brother's17th birthday. He came down to visit for the weekend, as did my mum and dad, and so we all celebrated his birthday at my other brother's house on Friday evening.
Calum (11) baked him a cake and then James (14) helped him to decorate it. My brother is a big footballer and plays for his local team so the boys made a cake in the colours of his team with his nickname on the back.
I had bought some cake fountains to put on the cake instead of candles. I didn't realise they would burn quite so high! They provided some entertainment for all the boys and their cousins though. As well as setting off the smoke alarm!


After dinner the boys and their cousins had some xbox fun with their uncle.


My dad took this photo of me and little Fraser after dinner.


Then on Sunday it was Fraser's baptism.
It was quite the family afair as my dad took the service and did the baptism. My father in law was involved by leading one of the prayers and my older younger brother led the singing.
After the service we had organised for both of our families to have lunch together in the church hall.
It was a combined effort on the food front too. My mum, brother's wife, hubby's sister, mother in law and myself all brought different things along.
Some of the boys helped set the tables...
My brother, who has a weekend job in a restaurant, tried to teach my mum how they do the napkins where he works....
Have you noticed there isn't a girl in sight?!
My dad entertained Fraser while I finished off my food...
...which was some lovely Hebridean salmon and salad.
Pudding saw a return of the Coca Cola Cake, made by Calum; Banoffee Pie, made by James; and the lovely chocolate meringue stack made by my sister in law.


Once we had cleared up after our food we took the chance to get some family photos. Fraser was changed back into his baptism gown for them, which has been worn at each baptism since my youngest brother's.
Firstly with my husband's parents and sister.


Then with my parents, two brothers, sister in law and nephews.


And finally with both of our families together.


Family filled and fun filled.


Monday, 17 February 2014

Make it Monday - Star Wars Cross Stitch

Short and sweet post tonight so that I can actually get a Make it Monday post out on a Monday!
For my latest craft I decided to embrace the geekiness that fills our house.
Especially the love of Star Wars.
It's also not a crochet project!
My first crafting love was actually cross stitch. When I was in high school one of the highlights of the week was going to the Cross Stitch club that our lovely Home Ecconomics teacher ran.
It's been ages since I last did a cross stitch project though, and I'd forgotten how long it takes! Crochet works up so much quicker and is also easier to do with a sleeping baby in your arms.
It was a fun wee project to do but I think I'll stick to crochet for now. Until the days when I have a little more spare time on my hands!


Whenever Alasdair wants to play Star Wars he pretends that I am Leah and daddy is Hans Solo so it seemed an appropriate craft!


If you want to join in the geekiness then you can find this cute pattern, as well as plenty others, on the Geeky Stitches Etsy store here.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Make it {not on a Monday} - Crochet Minion Hat

I was too busy finishing off my minion army to post this last night!

Alasdair (4) has been asking for a minion hat for quite a while now so I made him one last week. Then when David (8) saw the finished product he said that he would like one too.

I didn't use a pattern for these as I have made enough hats in the past to know the basic shape. One day when I have a little more spare time (!) I will sit down and write up this one to share. If you can't wait until then though there are plenty different ones available online if you do a quick google search.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Recipe of the Week - Chocolate Coca Cola Cake {gluten & dairy free}

I've seen a few different recipes for Chocolate Coca Cola Cakes online, as well as in one of Nigella's books, and have wanted to try making one for some time now. I've never got round to making one before as the only time I buy coke is when I am planning to make ham in coca cola!


This week I had ham in coke on the menu and made sure I bought a bottle big enough to have enough left to try out the cake. I made a few changes to the recipes I had read online and of course made it gluten and dairy free.


The resulting cake was absolutely delicious. In fact, delicious isn't even a good enough word to describe it!


You can't taste the Coca Cola but it just gives it a very subtly caramel flavour and helps to keep the cake lovely and moist too.


We had the cake while it was still a little warm for pudding (after our ham in coke!) and then polished off the rest of it for supper the next night. I can't recommend it highly enough!



For the cake you will need:


8oz gluten free self raising flour

8oz sugar

8oz dairy free margarine

3 tbsp cocoa powder

250ml (8fl oz) Coca Cola

125ml (4fl oz) soya milk

2 eggs



- Mix the flour and sugar together in a bowl.

- Put the margarine, cocoa and Coca Cola in a pan and melt it all together.

- Beat the eggs in with the soya milk.

- Add the melted margarine/cocoa/coke mixture to the flour/sugar mix, then add the eggs/milk and whisk everything together until smooth. You will have a mixture that looks more like pancake batter than a traditional cake mix so don't worry!

- Add to a greased and lined baking tin (I used our square brownie tin, and should really have measured it to help you with this, but it's just an average sized brownie tin!)

- Bake at 180C for around 45 minutes.


Now for the icing, which is my new favourite chocolate cake icing. I did a good job of scraping the pan clean after making this one!


You will need:


4oz dairy free margarine

3tbsp cocoa powder

6 tbsp Coca Cola

16oz icing sugar


- Melt the margarine, cocoa powder and coke in a pan.

- Add the icing sugar and beat with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth icing.

- Pour over your cooled cake while the cake is still in the tin. I actually didn't let the cake cool that much - we were too eager to eat it - and it didn't seem to do it any harm!

- Let the icing set a little before slicing up your cake. Feel free to sample the icing you have left round the sides of the pan while you wait.