Sunday, 4 December 2016

My Sunday Photo week 16

An "a peeling" tree. Not sure what it is but there were three of them up the estate. It appealed to me because I loved the way the layers were separating, and if you were a nature crafter person the underneath layers would have looked fab on cards or projects.

A birch of some sort looking like this.

The whole height of the tree was peeling and the trunk did look amazing, though the pics were taken with my phone and really do not do it any justice.

Another side to the beauty of nature.


Saturday, 3 December 2016

Project 366 week 48

An absolutely awful week for me. It started with feeling not good on Friday evening, a stinking cold, sore ears and dizziness for the weekend, a large drop in my peak flow so spent the week struggling to breath and could not stop couching enough to get any more than two hours sleep a night all week.

Not seen the wee ones all week apart from one very quick visit as I do not want to pass on the bugs I have.


I spent the day in bed mindlessly watching silly films on Netflix and in my more lucid periods doing some cross stitching.

Fifi had been away to Oban with DD3 to visit DD2, but while she was away Bob, Minky and Dinky spent the weekend vomiting. As Fifi has three exams during the week her mum did not want her back in the house to risk catching it. So she was sent here for 48 hrs, frying pan and fire springs to mind .

my kindle is a god send


The twins should have started nursery today but were not 48 hrs clear so could not.

Was my birthday, and our 15th wedding anniversary. Normally we go out for something to eat but that was not possible the way I was feeling. I also normally get a birthday cake made by DD1 and Fifi and decorated by Bob and the twins. But with a sickness bug rife in my daughters house, SIL has it as well now,  this was not possible, so I did not get my cake. But hubby, Fifi and I had a take away instead.

Anyway the only picture I took during the day was of Lilly chewing a chew. May not seem much to you but this is the first time since we got Lilly that she has chewed a chew. I love how she is settling in and has also started playing with soft toys in the last week as well.


More stuck in the house time, have been listening to audio books, a series called Eternity Springs by Emily March and have watched my way through series one and half of series two of Orange is the New Black.

Fifi came here after school again tonight and sat on her computer watching Celebrity on catch up while texting her friends and making some hama bead figures. She has also been Facetiming the twins as she has missed them. She went home tonight to do bedtime with the twins.

multi tasking at its best. 


Another sleepless breathless night with less than two hours sleep. So as I was up I decided to be productive. The cross stitching has been finished on this for a while, I just had to stitch it to the cushion. This was a thank you to a friend. Her three year old daughter loved it, but I had asked her mum who her favourite was I knew she would like the charachter.  Her name is on it but I have blanked that out. I also made her another character out of hama beads along with her name.

a cross stitch attached to a cushion. 


No choice but to go to the Dr. My normal methods of dealing with my asthma are failing miserably and I cannot even walk up the stairs without coughing my head off for ages afterwards.My bathroom is downstairs so when I go the loo during the night and walk back up the stairs I just cannot get my breath back for hours. Got a course of steroids and antibiotics and a sick line for a week.
Took a very slow very short stroll round the edge of the park with the dog while in the town. There were a number of robins that were considering coming across for something to eat but not quite.

you know you want to Mr Robin


A product review on a personalised book, if you are looking for something a bit different for a present why not consider one of these?


Have had masses of time stuck in the house this week, and with so many sleepless nights I have had plenty of time for working on my cross stitch blankets. I have taken all the pictures, backed them, turned them back the right way round, and pinned them onto the blankets and then stitched them into place with the sewing machine. The one for Minky is totally up cycled as I had a blanket that came in a hamper a few years back, I was hoping Dinky's could be the same, but I did not have a blanket to use for hers and I could not source one from anybody so I bought one. Was not the cost, it was the principal that I had hoped for totally up cycle Christmas blankets.

The finished blankets also have room for me to add pictures to them as well if I wish to. Pictures of them on a separate blog post some time this

A personalised book makes a great present.

In my opinion children cannot have too many books, from a day or two old right through to the time we die books span a gap that brings young and old together. They bring joy and pleasure and I have always loved how older siblings, even before they can read properly themselves will "read" books to younger siblings. I watch Bob read to the twins from the day they came home from hospital, and the twins at just turned three love to read books to Spud.

It is a bond that changes and grows with the children. So in my opinion books make brilliant presents so when I was offered the chance to review a personalised book for Bob I happily said yes please. The book is called Wise Words for kids, and is exactly what the title says. It is aimed at 8-12 year old children.

Right at the intersection of heartfelt and cheeky comes this book, bursting at the seams with useful advice for kids. Thought-provoking and smile-inducing, Wise Words is instantly and easily personalised by you to them. An original gift and lovely stocking-stuffer.

It is an easy website to work with, takes you through each stage, and each  page is fully editable to allow you to personalise to suit your child and family. Bob is home educated and so I even had an agreement to change their "surviving school" heading and changed it to "surviving home education".

I added some fun bits,

Other bits I adapted to suit Bob's allergies. 

and even changed it for the daft things are family see as normal, dry cereals. 

When you get to the checkout you have the option of which type of cover you would like 

All the books are the same size and printed on the same high quality mohawk paper. 

I have to agree the books are beautiful, the paper is excellent quality, smooth and thick. The colours are brilliant and each page has a different character that is giving the wise words. 

I like the fact if you go through and make more than one book you often get different options meaning you could make more than one book and each would be totally individual. 

The website offers books for adults as well as children, and this is the sort of thing I probably would have bought for my own children's 18th birthdays. I really like the idea of the deluxe book for an event like that.

Complete with a gorgeous padded cover, silk ribbon, and velvet top & tails, presented in stunning laminated box. 210mm by 210mm. Dispatched within 5 working days. Includes free digital version.

Sadly I ended up with a word error in mine, a mistake of my own making, but it was a shame it was not picked up by the system. The word should have been own, but is in as won instead, so technically spelt right but wrong context, but hey ho I suppose it adds to the individuality of our book.

Bob has not seen his book yet, I have put it away for his Christmas. I hope he likes it when he gets it.

Who would you buy one for?

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

We all need a helping hand sometimes.

I think we have all found our self before now with a disaster that needs a bit of money for a few days. Be it that the exhaust drops of your car,one of the children takes the toes out of their school shoes, or you need to pay for a removal van just before payday. My downfall was always the car tax until they introduced the monthly direct debit option, which I now use.  I am lucky I always try and borrow money from one of the girls. Sadly now three of us all work for the same employer we are all skint at the same time of the month.

I appreciate that not everybody can save money on a monthly basis for just such an emergency. I have a small amount of money taken of my wages every month by my employer that goes into a credit union. It means it is not shouting temptingly at me in my bank account but is available easily on the same day just by doing an online application. It has been borrowed more than once not only by myself but by family as well. It is also just as easy with an online payment to pay it straight back from the bank account when the next wage comes in.

Now I appreciate not everybody has family they can borrow from or a credit union they can join and may well need to use a different option. This is where companies like Vivus come in.

Vivus are a loan company that offer one payment loans to savvy borrowers who borrow only what they need thus placing control in the hand of the borrower. The borrower works out what they need and what they can afford to pay back come payday.

They process your loans online. It is a quick process that is transparent and flexible with no hidden fees. They are a plain speaking company. They promise;

 Vivus offers loans to sensible people that just need a loan to ‘tide them over’ until payday
No jargon or beating around the bush.
Apply, every application under goes a credit check. Get Approved. Get the cash. Pay back in one repayment when you get paid
Loans process is quick, with an online application,  with an  understanding of the customers with no hidden fees
To apply you must be over 18, a UK resident, with a regular income, a bank account that has a debit card and a mobile phone and an email address. You need to supply them with income and outgoing details,  as well as details of your bank account.

Vivus have a Mission - To make loans better
Vivus wants to remove the negative stigma from short-term loans.
To disassociate from the negative press and connotations around this type of loan.
Vivus are a ‘clean slate’ company who is making a ‘virtue out of doing this properly’.
Vivus DON’T want customers to get into debt, but only to help them out of a short term difficulty.

So what happens if for some reason you cannot pay it back on your agreed payday?
Vivus tell us;  If customer misses agreed payment date, they have 5 days to make the repayment before any late charges or additional interest is applied. If payment is not received after 5 days, a late payment fee of £12 is charged and interest is added on a daily basis, from the due date until payment is received.  Late interest is at the same rate as the loan (i.e. 0.4% per day for the first loan and 0.8% per day for subsequent loans.)
They also tell us;
This is a rate capped product, which means that you cannot be required to pay more than 0.8% interest per day on the capital balance outstanding and more than twice the amount you borrow in total. For example, if you borrow £100 you cannot be required to repay more than £200 in capital, interest and charges 

Now while I personally do not advocate getting into debt I feel if you were to speak to your bank about a temporary overdraft or use one of the door step money lenders then you would be paying back more than you borrowed as well.  So this may be an option to consider if you find yourself in a temporary sticky predicament.

This is a collaborative post.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

What #IWouldMiss if living rural or remote?

I have a dream in my head, a dream that would only ever be fulfilled with a six number win on the lottery. I would love to go and live on part of an estate on one of the Scottish Isles. I can see my three bed bungalow, with a built in gym and indoor swimming pool, on a nice piece of wooded estate where Lilly could run to her hearts content, where we could walk for miles in suitable clothing. I would have a helipad with a helicopter and pilot to bring in my shopping. A small boat at the dock to take out and admire the wildlife.

Flogas recently spoke to 910 Brits and found that 85% of people have, at some point, considered moving away from the city to live “off-grid.” 

No near neighbours, no need for the commute to work, no worries about the remoteness as we would have a cellar full of tins and packets  and a massive generator and some bottled gas for when we have any power cuts. Oh if only. But I am not the only one who dreams this dream.
25% of people are confident of their ability to self-sustain, ranking a local shop as a low priority when living in isolation.
I do not feel I could self sustain, I personally could not kill and gut a living creature. and I know that growing food so far North would be nearly impossible.

I suppose rural or remote is relative to where you live now. For some the small village I live in may seem rural or remote. We have a population of 2300, have no mains gas and have only had fibre optic available for less than  a year. My Fibre optic runs at an average of 48mbps, which considering earlier in the year I was on old fashioned broadband and in an evening we could run at 1/4 mbps then we have seen a huge improvement withing the last three years.

80% of respondents think that living in a remote area would suit them. 
One of the things I missed when I moved here I have to say was my mains gas, quick convenient efficient cost effective central heating. But having been here for over three years now then I have got use to not having it. My fuel bills are sky high, I know some of the villagers have alternatives like oil and bottled gas but that means changing over the whole heating system.
Gas is a high priority for 64% of people 

I take no personal pleasure in going into the big cities, I visit Glasgow for hospital appointments, and do not pleasure in a day of shopping there as many do. Glasgow in comparison to London is a lot less densely populated, so you have no chance of getting me there.

When we were on holiday earlier in the year in a small village called Ellenabeich, which has a population of 59, we realised maybe we were not so remote. A village reached mostly by single track road. The children go to school in Oban on a Monday and board there until they come home on a Friday. The supermarket delivers to the ferry port, and for those that live on the smaller island of Easdale the ferry man brings your shopping over for you and people then use wheel barrows to transport it to the house. There are no cars on . They have no mains gas or a mobile phone signal. To get a signal you wandered to the top of the hill. We did get a signal and send messages when we were out and about but used the payphone for any calls we needed to make. The shop did offer to allow us to use the phone but I thought I would save that for an emergency. The pub would give you their wifi code if you made a donation to the RNLI.

climb to the top for a phone signal. 

Almost half of respondents would miss their smartphone within a week!

I have to say it is a beautiful place to visit, but would I want to live there? Yes if I did not have to leave the island every day for work. Most of the cars parked at the ferry port, I laughingly call it that, it is a wooden hut with a call button that connects to the wooden hut on the other side,  are bashed and dented from the traumas of the single track road due to oncoming vehicles on one side and rocks and slate walls on the other. We did it in the day light of the Summer, not sure I would fancy it in the dark winter months.


 Running water was voted as the most important service, followed closely by gas and electricity
I have to agree not having running water is a nuisance. When we lived on the farm a number of years ago we often use to get a loss of supply just because of where we were. Not the first time I have hooked the hosepipe up to a none sterile supply in the barn to fill the bath to use to flush the toilet. It is the one service I would most hate to be without. No way for a wash, to cook, to put on your washing machine, or dishwasher, Yes you can drink bottled water but it is difficult to use an electric shower with it. Coal, logs and generators as well as bottle gas would substitute for mains gas and electricity.

An impressive 77% of people are confident of their abilities to change a gas canister. 
statistics and image courtesy of

How would you feel, could you give up the rat race, move from your cushy cosy city dwelling life to something rural, remote and off grid?

*This is a collaborative post. 

Sunday, 27 November 2016

My Sunday Photo week 15

Took Lilly for a run round the fishery the other afternoon. Our weather all week has been freezing, temperatures below freezing even during the day. But has been wind free and dry so not complaining.  The ducks and swans may not be quite so happy about it with the ponds having frozen over. Here they all are walking across the ice.

Here is one of the swans heading to the only unfrozen bit of the water.


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Project 366 week 47

Been a COLD week here this week with temperatures not rising above freezing even during the day. But we have had dry bright sunny days, no heat in the sun I have to say, with little or no wind so has made for some nice walks.


The girls at work laugh at me cos hubby spoils me by getting out of his bed and defrosting and scrapping my car for me to go to work in. I think it is just so he gets peace quicker.But no matter the reason I appreciate it.


Two more birthdays, that is four within five days. Today the twins turned three. I made their cakes and took them down, but they were not getting candles on or allowed to eat them until after they had had their tea. For the last two years I have got away with one cake between the two of them, this year I made them a smaller one each.


Have had some beautiful sunsets here this week. A lot of freezing cold weather to go with it right enough. Loved the marshmallow clouds.


A picture of Spud with a sticker on her nose, Granddad stuck the sticker on her.


Had to go and pick my glasses up from the opticians so we went for a walk along the beach. Did not get far as there were too many other dogs on the beach but Lilly had fun in her wee patch. There was snow on top of Arran but a strange yellowish mist rising off the sea that covered a lot of the isle. Hubby wandered into the water to see how deep it was, not overly for a long way out, but silly Lilly followed him, she did not stay in the freezing water for too long.



Bought some reduced pears and plums after picking up my glasses. So made a pear and plum crumble and served it with coconut almond milk custard. Very nice it was too.

coconut almond milk custard


The cross stitching is coming along nicely, one more to do for Dinky, it is started, so am on course for having them finished for the first week in December, Just have to edge them and stitch them onto the blankets. Hopefully they will appreciate the work in years to come as Fifi does.