Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Final Stops On Our Grand Tour

So, it is about time I finished with these holiday posts and got back to the important stuff - like sewing and getting the girls back into school. Isn't it funny how we look forward to getting out of routine towards the end of the school year, and then can't wait for it all to kick back in again come the beginning of September? That being said. the girls were very civilised towards each other this summer which makes things so much easier. Really, really easier!

After leaving the Highlands we headed down to Dundee, where my brother and his wife has been spending a lot of time totally gutting and redoing a house in the countryside. The light is at the end of the tunnel for the renovations and they are going to have a beautiful home when the decorating is all done.

I love the kitchen character as there used to be a sawmill by the cottage and the hanging lights, green bendy light and the rough boards that will become part of the counter top are all from that former sawmill. And the view when you are having breakfast is fantastic.

I got a lovely walk in while the girls were off being entertained by their uncle. They live near an old estate where the main house burned down many years ago, but the ruins of the walled garden, stables and folly remain.

And the lane ways that cut through this former estate are lined with hedgerows that were heavy with raspberry plants in fruit. We went out in the late afternoon to do some picking (and eating). Whoever originally planted these plants had put in golden raspberries as well as the usual red. They are much the same, but sweeter, and less abundant so therefore more desirable - obviously.

And there you have it, a rarely seen photo of me. In fact, you can have two. Here's a family 'portrait' below, of us just being silly really.

We left the Dundee area and headed south to Newcastle for a couple of days. Time spent getting school shoes and the like, and enjoying a meal out with my stepsister. Then it was home again. This whole holiday was broken up by long drives. Four hours to mum's, six hours up to Sarah's, three hours into the Highlands, five and a half hours to my brother's, four hours back to mum's and four hours home again - with a detour to see Helen and Archie again.

I'm done with driving for a while, at least until the school run starts next week.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Quick Hello

Just to say we are home from our holidays. We had three terrific weeks, better weather than we could have dreamed of, and I didn't gain any weight. Success!!!

In those three weeks we didn't have wifi more often than not. The phone signal was even worse. Non-existent, or face pressed up against an upstairs window angling the phone just so, and then saying a prayer to the phone gods. Life without technology? It was fine. I read a lot. I walked a lot. I relaxed a lot. Just what a holiday is supposed to be.

I will get a post written tomorrow. And I'm slightly excited about it - because I have a computer of my own again. Seriously, almost eight months without a computer to call my own has been kind of crap. But I won't focus on that, just on the fact that I don't have to post from the iPad any more. Happy, happy me.


Saturday, 22 August 2015

A Little Bit Of Fabric Came Along For The Ride

I didn't bring any projects really. Just some fabrics to make a few hexies, and then I rudely nicked a bunch more hexie cuts from Sarah's stash. She smiled and said it was okay. Honest, she did! 

That raccoon on fire is from her stash. Who else but Sarah would have fabric with a raccoon on fire, after all?! 


Friday, 21 August 2015

Further North Again

Once the girls and I left the lovely Sarah and Molly Moo we headed further away from home again. This time into the Northwest Highlands. It was the first time I had been up here, if you don't count one port of call to Inverness back in my cruise ship days. 

On the west coast we found spectacular scenery, very winding roads and small coastal villages. 

We also found the cottage we had rented for a week, in a smaller community which I wouldn't even call a village. Right on the sea. 

The top photo is from the sitting room window, looking over the neighbour's garden and out to sea. The bottom photo is the road we took to get here. There's a lovely pebbly beach to walk on, a small book store/cafe, and peace and quiet. Oh, and about a million midges who didn't seem to like the taste of me but who ate the others alive! 

There is also the lovely @sewgoclimbing who, along with Mr Sewgoclimbing took us rock climbing. When I say us obviously I mean the girls. I was there to carry food, extra clothing, etc. And to cheer them on which I like to think I did spectacularly well. 

That's those that knew what they were doing, above. It was a beautiful day, sun streaming down. Who says it always rains in Scotland?! 

The girls loved the climbing. I loved that they loved it - if that makes sense. They've tried before but this was the hardest rocks they've ever tackled and as you can tell from the photos, they did it. Yay! 

Meanwhile, the non-midge magnet (me) went out for a long walk another day without the midge magnets. I love my family but there has to be something said to striding out on your own. Not once did I hear "How much further?!" 

I worked my way up from the shore into hill slopes covered in ferns and heather. The reward was the beautiful waterfall at the top end of the trail. Though I veered off on a tangent after to get some more gorgeous views. I could have happily just kept on walking but as there was no helicopter booked to lift me out of the wilderness once I'd had enough I did have to return to the cottage. Shame. 

And the last adventure I have to talk about it the girls twice spent time on a private climbing wall. They learned so much about technique even in this week it was amazing. Now I need to go home and see if there is a climbing wall near to us, that isn't over crowded, and too expensive. 

So, we came to Scotland fully prepared to be rained on every day, because they've not had the greatest of summer up here. But we were blessed with more nice weather than we could have expected. And we've had an absolutely marvellous time. We drove approximately 700 miles to get up here from the Middle of England. And it was worth every last mile. 


Thursday, 20 August 2015


Yesterday my baby became a teenager. I think I may be traumatised. Not that her behaviour changed over night or anything. I just have to wrap my head around the idea that my baby is a teenager. It seems like a big mental milestone to me. 

We spent the day outdoors, because Scotland continues to treat us well and it was 22C and sunny most of the day. Can't argue with that. 

We went to Handa Island which hosts a huge number of puffins at the right time of year. This is not the right time of year. They've all left now, but that didn't mean there weren't other birds, beautiful scenery and a fabulous walk there. 

Besides we brought our own puffin to make up for the lack of real ones. 

Then we had cake last night. It was a birthday. We had to have cake. Emily decorated her own cake. Not the way we traditionally do things but she sure did a good job. The lion theme was inspired by the jungle print candles we bought. 

Tomorrow I'll tell you where we are now. Because we went even further north. 


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Further North Again

We took to the roads and headed further north into Scotland, further north than we had travelled in this country before (well, I've touched on northern ports in a previous life pre-children but you know what I mean). The drive along the western side of the Cairn Gorms was spectacularly beautiful. It did help that the sun was shining to welcome us into Scotland. 

We headed for Sarahs's, one of the original Brit Bee members, who previously lived in the less accessible Shetland Islands but now can be reached by vehicle, no ferry rides required. And there was Molly Moo too. 

My girls loved Molly Moo. Okay, I loved her too and the girls loved Sarah - but Molly Moo and my girls were especially attached. Whilst we were there Sarah had a birthday. It wouldn't be a birthday without cake so Emily took charge of the making of the cakes and Helen took charge of the decorating. I may have taught them how to do all this kitchen stuff but they sure the hell surpass me now. 

And Molly had her first cupcake. 

I think she liked it. 

Of course it wouldn't be right to visit and not bring a gift with me, so I made Sarah a hoop. 

I loved making this hoop. In fact, I loved it so much that I may feel obliged to make another one. 

We had a fantastic time at Sarah's and it was hard to leave. Sarah said she would like us to return some day. I think we would love to go back. 


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Annual Migration

Every summer the girls and I leave himself in the middle of England and head north for our annual migration. This summer that also has meant a slight lacking of wifi as well. So I'm going to catch you up on a bit that's been going on. 

First up, we had to stop to see Helen (and Archie the Wonderdog) because we like to do that, always enjoy ourselves and it would be silly not to.

The girls, as you can see, are comfortable enough at Helen's to treat her house entirely like their own. 

The summer in England has been a bit dodgy this year but the northeast broke out some lovely sunshine to welcome us. The first day we were there we went into town and started filling food cravings that are not so easily filled in the middle of England, unless we make it ourselves. 

Then the sun continued to shine and we got on with enjoying the coast. 

If you've been reading my blog over any time period you will know that Tynemouth is one of my most favourite places in the world. So we spent lots of time there. Including a day spent in the Priory watching knights at battle. 

The girls got totally into the spirit of things cheering on their chosen teams. It really was a good day out. 

And we found the benefit of being in a wifi free zone at my Mum's house. I had packed embroidery supplies for the trip. The girls dove in with gusto. And I've since had to buy copious a,punts of more floss and hoops it may be said. But the results are worth the expense.

Emily stitched the rabbit using a panel I got at one of the FQ Retreats. Helen designed the bunting one herself. It has been so nice seeing them make something. We need more wifi free holidays! 


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

There's A Right Way Of Doing Things...

... And there's a wrong way. The photo below will demonstrate both. 

My face must have been a treat when I got the pouch almost finished and realised I had the zip pull on the inside of the pouch. After verbally lambasting myself, I got out the seam ripper and made it good. The verbal lambast was a good one though. 

Now I have a finished pouch that is useable. 

Useable is good. 

I fussy cut a bunch of 1.5" squares for the strip down each side, so that they finished at 1" each. To add a bit of interest I stitched in the ditch with 12w aurifil, and added a couple more lines of stitching on the cream and purple Essex linens. Used. 

It's not as quick a finish as I would have liked due to the numpty factor, but it is a finish and I can show you, and Helen can stop asking me for a birthday present for her friend. Job done! 


Monday, 3 August 2015


For the past two days I've been quilting, and asking myself why I didn't just simply stipple the whole damn thing? 

Instead I used half the colours of aurifil I had in my arsenal. A simple stipple all over would have been so much quicker, but it wouldn't have achieved the look I was after. And, despite the aching back, I'm glad I persevered. This linen quilt is my favourite one for ages and ages. Can not wait to show you, when I'm allowed of course. 


Sunday, 2 August 2015

Sometimes Things Don't Go As Planned

I've been planning on trying this idea for ages. I put it on my Pinterest board so I wouldn't forget. 

Cool, huh? Chocolate brownies cooked in a waffle iron. How hard could it be? 

Apparently harder than it looks! Oh well, once served up with ice cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles and marshmallows it was apparent that how it looked was no longer a concern. 

I have since been given this advice on IG. 1. Spray the crap out of the waffle iron with Pam or some such spray  oil. 2. Use handmade mix not from a box, which is typical because this was the first time I had used a store bought mix in about a decade. 

I have also had it suggested that chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon rolls are really good cooked this way. Seriously?! I need to get back to practicing because now I want to try cooking everything in the waffle iron. Everything!