Friday, 29 April 2011

Things I'm loving Friday ♥


Well, what's not to love about a Royal Wedding?

Today's celebrations have got us indulging in our patriotic side and celebrating being British.

And what better way to celebrate than with cake? :0)

I made red icing for these ones but the lighting wasn't so good last night and it looks a bit pinkish in the photo.

Our new toy box for the trains is equally British!

And we had our very British tea tins out too.

It turned out that all of the boys wanted to watch the wedding with me after all. James loves all history and so wanted to watch it as it will one day be part of our history. 

Calum loved watching all the Royals arriving at the church.

First William.

Then the Queen. 

Alasdair, as you can see, was far more interested in his trains!

And then the beautiful Kate.

Her dress was just perfect. Elegant and timeless and not at all over-the-top.

The boys loved all the horses and pageantry of the parade back to the palace.

David kept asking when they were going to kiss!

Congratulations to them both ♥

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Recipe of the Week - Rhubarb & Ginger Jam

I made up a batch of this jam last week with some of the new rhubarb that was just springing up in the garden. I love rhubarb jam. It reminds me of my granny, my dad's mum. She always used to have home-made rhubarb jam in the cupboard.

But before we get onto the jam, I need to explain to my US friends about the dreaded Marmite, that so baffled people in Tuesday's post.

Over here people feel very passionately about the stuff. You either love it or hate it. I, personally, cannot fathom how anyone can possibly fall into the first category.

Marmite is a yeast extract. Those who love it tend to spread it on their toast. Think of the smell of beef gravy. Or beef crisps (potato chips). On toast with butter?!

It spreads a little like slightly runny chocolate spread.

But wait....

I have been known to use the stuff.

I sometimes add it to gravy to give an extra richness. I don't use Bisto in our gravies as it contains wheat, but adding a little Marmite gives a similar browning/richening effect.

Moving swiftly on.

The jam.

Perfect for spreading on your scones as you sit down to watch the royal wedding.

Can you believe that I have got to the night before the big day without mentioning it yet?

Although I'm looking forward to watching it tomorrow morning, I'm more than a little sick of the media hype that has been going on for weeks and so have kept my blog a hype-free place!

I think Kate will look lovely and I can't wait to see her dress. I'm picturing some sort of chic, vintage inspired dress. Not a big puffy dress, but we'll see. 

David (5) has been learning all about Prince William and the royal family at school. (His teacher met Charles & Diana when she was very young.) He is keen to watch the wedding with me. The older two boys aren't too bothered but tonight when I was tucking David into bed he said, 'I'm so excited, tomorrow's the wedding!' 

ANYWAY, the jam.

Whenever I make jam, Calum (8) always likes to write the labels.

You will need:

1kg rhubarb, chopped into inch sized pieces
1kg jam sugar
1 lemon, juice and zest
2oz stem ginger, finely chopped
1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated

~Put all the ingredients into a non-metallic bowl and mix well. 
~Cover and leave for at least two hours or overnight.
~Tip everything into a large pan, set on a medium heat and stir until the sugar has all dissolved.
~Bring to the boil and cook at a boil until the rhubarb is all tender and the setting point has been reached (this should only take about 15 minutes.)
~Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

Like I said, lovely on a fresh, warm scone.

Now, how excited do you think Kate must be tonight?!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday - Coffee Pot Cosy

After my first proper crochet project, the tea cosy I made way back last summer, my husband has always been asking when I was going to get round to making a coffee cosy for him.

Well, I finally did.

I like the wool as it looks kind of like a tweed fabric once it's crocheted. 

Purple is my favourite colour too.

I am tempted to add a couple of wee flower embellishments to the front, but as it's for my beloved's coffee pot I don't want it to look too girly!

It's still a Work In Progress, as I haven't found any suitable buttons to hold it closed, so at the moment it's held together by safety pins!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Some random facts.....

Thanks to Sarah Jayne at The Lord's Lass for passing on this award to me and making me rack my brains for the last couple of weeks, trying to think of some suitably interesting random facts! 

The ones I have thought of are all food related. I'm not a fussy eater, I will eat most things, but I think everyone has one or two things they just can't stomach.

1. I don't like mushrooms. In fact I detest mushrooms. The taste, the texture, the smell - eugh! 
My husband loves them.

2. I love olives, both green and black. Plain, stuffed, on pizza, garlic.....
My husband hates them.

3. My automatic food choice would always be sweet.
My husband's would be savoury.

4. I think I have a serious addiction to chocolate. No, really, a serious one!
My husband would gladly not touch the stuff.

5. I really don't like Marmite. Again, the smell is enough...
My husband loves it on toast.

6. When I was expecting our first baby I went off coffee. I haven't liked it since then, and only drink tea. (I do like a nice coffee cake though!)
My husband needs his coffee to get going in the morning.

7. I can't face seafood ie. oysters, squid etc.
Neither can my husband.

There you go.

Chalk and cheese but we compliment each other very well. 

I like to think we are a bit like salt & vinegar or sweet & sour, you can't have one without the other :0)

OK, now I get to pass this on and I'm choosing Anne from Homeschool on the Croft. I'm sure Anne's will be suitably random and amusing, in a good way.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

We've had such beautiful weather for the Easter holidays. Last week there was sunshine every day, and the boys were so chuffed to be able to have lunch outside every day. I have finally been able to let myself believe that spring is here and summer is on it's way.

The sunshine continued today for the last day of their holidays.

It's a funny few weeks at school. They have had the last two weeks off for the Easter holidays. They go back to school tomorrow but are then off again on Friday for the Royal Wedding. Next Monday they are off for the May day holiday and then on the Thursday they are off for the Scottish elections! They then have two full weeks at school before another three day holiday for the late May, Edinburgh bank holidays!! After that it's only 5 weeks until the summer holidays - hooray!

I'm not one of those parents who complains about having their children off school, in case you hadn't noticed!

The great spring weather has meant we could crack on with our gardening chores. 

One of the first jobs we do each spring is clean out the sand-pit. Despite having a lid on it, the winter rains seem to find a way in and this was it before we started.

Here are my two assistants scooping out the water and old sand. 

Once we had washed it out we filled it with water and used it as a water pit for a couple of days until we got down to the shops to buy some more sand.

Now it's all full of nice fresh sand.

I spent a couple of days just digging, digging, digging all the weeds in the garden. The winter came on us so quickly this year that I didn't get to tidy up the autumn weeds so there was a lot to do. It's looking good now. Ready for planting.

As well as digging, I had the hair clippers out one day to give the three youngest boys some well needed haircuts!


This is David with his home made bow and some spears, off to catch some deer (pretend ones, of course!)

And to finish off, here are some snaps of our Easter Sunday.

Egg decorating

Easter lunch in the garden

Hoping everyone had a great Easter weekend ♥

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Just to round things off.... are a few scenery shots from our travels last week. 

Most of them are taken from a moving car, so please excuse the quality. When you have a car full of excited children, constantly asking 'will we be there soon?', stopping for the sake of taking a photo is a bit too much of a luxury. Especially to snap scenery you have driven through all of your life!

I did however try and grab a few shots when I could for the sake of my bloggy friends, especially those who have never visited Scotland. For my Scottish friends, I'm sure you won't mind seeing them either!

This was on the way out of the tiny village where we were staying.

This is the view standing at the front of my husband's uncle's house. He is an old bachelor and still lives in the house where he and his brothers were born.

Going back towards our cottage.

A similar view to the first one, but a better day and angle.

The next two are also of the same loch but different parts of it.

This is on our way back home, looking south from a place called Kingussie, just south of Inverness. We had actually stopped here briefly to watch a shinty match.

Back on the road south. There is only one road north through the middle of Scotland, the A9, a road we love to hate thanks to the fact that although it is such a busy road it is not all dual carriageway. Parts of it are, parts of it aren't and you always get stuck behind a lorry just as the dual carriageway comes to an end.

Approaching home.

Sweet dreams ♥