Friday, 30 December 2016

Project 366 weeks 51 and 52

Sunday

Did some baking with the twins. Blog post here if you want to see more. Lets just say it was messy but fun.

Fifi and the twins having a laugh



Monday

Last day of my second course of antibiotics. Still not clear but huge amounts better than I had been. To be on the safe side I have put in a sputum sample to make sure there is no infection still there.







Tuesday

Another step towards finishing Fifi's picture. Have covered a piece of hardboard in pearlescent card. then added a ribbon border and  glued on the unicorn.Just got her name to add.


one hama bead unicorn 





Wednesday

Took Lilly for a walk in the morning, the first proper walk I have been out for in weeks. Was nice to get a good walk.

Had Bob round and did some baking with him today. We then made pancakes for lunch and watch a film together afterwards.


Bob rolled his own pastry



Thursday

A visit to take flowers to Gran and drop off some local Christmas cards while we were at it.



flowers for gran



Friday

Storm Barbara ripped through Ayrshire. The greenhouse got broken beyond repair as it got flung around the garden. It had been tied to the fence but the rope snapped. The  mini one managed to survive.

one wrecked greenhouse

Saturday

DD2 gave me a voucher to buy something nice for Christmas Dinner,so we did. Some steak, some none alcoholic wine, some cheese and puddings a box of dairy free chocolate and it soon mounted up. 

Thankfully made it back to work this weekend, was nice to get back. 







Week 52. 


Sunday

Christmas Day. A very nice shift at work, the sort of day it is nice to make a difference to people, even silly things like pulling a cracker with them makes that difference. A visit to the children in the afternoon to see what they had got and spend some time with them. Home for steak for dinner and a nice box of dairy free M&S chocolates along with a bottle of alcohol free wine. 

the twins having fun. 





Monday

A very muddy walk through the fields that have had days and days of rain. But this was the first good run the dog has had for ages.

Lilly avoiding the mud




Tuesday

We did Christmas Day No2 today, the day the grandchildren come round and get all the presents from our side of the family. Spreads the excitement out for them and allows them more time to appreciate what they get.

Minky was well into the opening, but as is normal for Dinky there was too many people she does not see very often so she spent a lot of the day siting on her dad's knee playing with the toys we got for Spud and Ziggy.

Minky opening his interactive Buzz and Woody from DD2



Wednesday

DD2 and SIL are down staying for a few days.

Bob wanted to come and stay for the night so we had a fun evening of playing Happy Family, Connect 4  and Bobs favourite game of all time Uno Roboto.

Bobs favourite game of all time 




Thursday

My new hobby is going to be quilt making. So I used money I had got for Christmas to buy a board and cutter. I have been picking up various quilt covers and curtains in charity shops for the last few months knowing I was wanting to try this once the cross stitching and hama beads were finished making. Will buy material when I get past the practise stage and am actually going to make an item.


cutting board, cutter and some squares 






Friday

Looked after Ziggy today while DD2 and SIL went to do some shopping. She was doing plenty of smiling and giggling for hubby this week while she was here.


Ziggy amusing Grandddad 




Saturday

My first attempt at patchwork, this is called a 9 patch. Not perfect but I am happy with it for my first attempt. It does not look much on its own I have to admit. Much more experimenting to do.

my first square 




May I wish you all a happy new year and look forward to seeing you all in 2017.












Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Making memories in the kitchen.

I have always enjoyed baking, my dad was a chef to trade and I learnt very young how to cook and bake. I passed that skill on to my own children and they in turn are passing it on to my grandchildren. Fifi at fourteen can make pretty much anything she puts her mind to. from full roast dinners to pots of soup, and it is not unheard of for her to randomly make a cake at nine o'clock at night. So when I was offered the opportunity to join in with Whitworths - the UK's best loved provider of dried fruits, nuts & seeds - to really capture the meaning of a family Christmas I could not say no. 




As part of our new #ShareTheLove campaign we've created the perfect children's e-book, an adorable story about a Cake That Made Christmas.  You can read the book here if you want a look
 The book is beautifully illustrated, with the core focus being around baking and sharing your creations with loved ones. The Cake that Made Christmas story is all about baking someone happy.


the hard backed version I got sent.



I am going to have a go at making the cake later on. 


One tradition I started with my children and now do every year with the grandchildren is mince pies. It is a great bonding time and making age dependent makes it fun for them all. So earlier this week I had Minky and Dinky over to make some cakes and mince pies. Fifi at fourteen was excited about coming over and joining in, and I think that says it all really, that she still enjoys it and wants to come and do it.

cakes prepared 
I believe the secret to baking is not allowing them to get bored. The twins are just three and can not appreciate that things do not happen instantly. So for me the key is in the preparation, making it simple and rewarding. Before I went down to pick them up I creamed the butter and sugar together and cracked the eggs into one bowl and put the pre-weighed flour and drinking chocolate into another and had also put the cake cases in the bun tin.



cupboard cleared

mixing in the eggs

and the flour

scraping the bowl 


 I got Fifi to trail them off into the bathroom to wash their hands while I redistributed the raw mix slightly more evenly so that they all cooked at the same rate, they did not see me doing this so it did not matter.



prepared pastry items
While the cakes were cooking we made a start on the mince pies. Again the bun tin was greased and the mince meat transferred into a tub so that two of them were not struggling to get two spoons into the jar at the same time.










I have taken the method suitable for their age, ready rolled pastry. Getting them to place the cutters logically so we did not need to re-roll was hard work, and more than one of Dinky's had pieces missing where she over cut with her cutter. The next bit was quite comical. placing the bases in the tray. Minky was to say the least very heavy handed, most of them ended up with holes in the bottom where he poked them down a bit harshly. The mince was added, and as with the cakes a lot more filling in his than hers. They did an amazing job cutting  the tops, we used a star shape as they call mince pies stars because the ones their mum buys have stars on the top.

cutting out the bottoms 

adding the filling

and the lids


While the cakes were cooking and the pies were cooking and the cakes cooling we had play with a few toys and the Santa hand puppet book. I even brought Buster our hand puppet down to play as well. Buster belongs to DS2 who is now in his 30's.

a picnic


Buster meets Santa



We then went and had the most fun of the day, decorating the work top and floor along with the top of the cakes. I remember when the others were that age how they love to just keep decorating. They managed the icing well and then as Minky still had dry hands he made a fairly quick job of covering his. Dinky on the other hand was quite hilarious. Children this age do not worry about germs or being hygienic. So as her fingers were wet the sprinkles stuck, so before she did the next cake she had to lick them off so all the more stuck.


adding the icing 

and the sprinkles

Dinky adds sprinkles 

and licking lots more off her fingers

No I am not eating the icing.......

the cupboard

sprinkles all over her fingers 


The finished products looked and tasted the part. They were all very pleased with the job they had done and went home happy children. 

finished cakes 

finished pies 




So all in all we had a lovely afternoon making our memories.

Today I had Bob over to do some baking as well. I could not risk having him over at the same time due to his allergy issues as my kitchen is not big enough to have safely kept the separate. So before Bob got here I made his pastry and placed it in the fridge as it needed an hour to cool before using. I used egg replacer and gluten free vinegar to make it safe for him. 


gluten free pastry mix 


So firstly Bob made the cakes, and as I say can do it all for himself.

creaming the ingredients 

He then made his mince pies, he opted for without tops. 

rolling put the pastry 

Once the cakes were cool they were decorated and then eaten. 

with cakes and mince pie. 



If you have been inspired to bake with your children or grandchildren, or just on your own Whitworths are currently running a competition to  Win a weekend trip to London for 2, including 2 nights in a 4-Star hotel, return rail travel, breakfast, afternoon tea, walking tour of London's leading bakeries and cake shops, food tasting and free cake.
Simply upload your image here  Competition closes on 31st December.

Disclaimer - I received the hardback book and a few items in the Whitworths range, but I was writing the blog post anyway. 


You inherited it from your father.

You inherited it from your father was a statement I had heard many many times as a young man and it would appear that my father had inherited it from his father and onwards back down the branches of our family tree. Was this my good looks, my wit, my charm? No it is my Male Pattern Baldness.

Now generations back this did not have a name as it does today, it was not a term I was familiar with until later in life, MPB as its known is generally defined as being related to your genes and male sex hormones. It usually follows a pattern of receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown, and is caused by hormones and genetic predisposition. So along with many other genetic inheritance there is not a lot I could do to stop it happening.

photo from rgbstock by gesinek


As a young man growing up in the late seventies and early eighties I can't say I was really ever bothered too much about my hair starting to thin then eventually receding at a fair rate of knots,yes there were a few occasions throughout those years when I wished I had a full head of hair but they were few and far between as far as I can remember.





On those few occasions I tried the usual tricks to try and disguise the fact that I was losing hair, back combing etc, but usually just relented to wearing a cap. It was not till I got older perhaps into my forties that I realised that I could have done something about it when I was younger, I had never heard of hair transplant and since then I have looked at the methods of such a procedure as offered by many clinics and was surprised to find that hair transplant cost was not as expensive as I had previously imagined it to be.

The years have been kind to me in many other ways and I have reached an age where baldness really would never be considered an issue for me but if I was to be teleported back a few decades I would have seriously considered hair transplant as an option.


This is a collaborative guest post written by David Livingstone.



Saturday, 17 December 2016

Project 366 week 50

The older two and I went to the pantomime and then for a meal. This is part of their Christmas and is a nice way to spend money on them. Cannot say I was overly impressed. First one I have been to when I did not come out thinking that was good wish I could afford more tickets. The "Wicked Queen" got a bigger part then Snow  White. The so called Wicked Queen was dressed in low cut figure hugging dresses split right up to her knickers and for some of the dance routines the backing dancers were very scantily dressed as well. More aimed at the male audience than the children I thought.

Snow White at the Gaeity Theatre Ayr 







Monday

The cold is back with a vengeance. Bottom lip full of cold sores and blisters inside my mouth.  Doctors appointment made for tomorrow afternoon. But I did make a start on the wrapping.








Tuesday

Up all night coughing again with a dropped peak flow. Eyes are totally gunked up now just to add to the misery. Barely open them and can't see properly. Phoned my optician to get him to have a look, he diagnosed bacterial conjunctivitis and gave me drops to put in every hour for two days then down to every two hours and an appointment to go back and see him again.

My GP appointment was an hour later so no real point in going all the way home to go back out again. One time where not having a local GP is a pest but would never have got an appointment with them anyway which is why we do not change. an eleven day course of steroids this time and another week of antibiotics.

So took dog a walk while we waited.


Lilly found the sign interesting


By tea time I cannot stand the light and everything hurts beyond believe.



Wednesday

.
Every year we have a family and friends get together at our local Dobbies  and have our annual colouring competition. This year it was hubby and I, DD3 and our good friend Samantha as well as Bob. It did start off by colouring in the pictures they provide with their crayons, but we unscaled it a few years back. We now bring our own pictures and crayons.

We did have other things planned for today, but everything else got changed and the time pushed back by twenty mins as I could not face doing the rest of the plans and just sent hubby to get DD3 and come back to the village for me and Bob. I did not want to let him down so I took painkillers and went for the hour.






Thursday

Take 8 tablets a day.....simple enough....except it took me four times to count to 8...I am so tired due to lack of sleep I can not even count.











Friday

Been saving these until we needed them, well this week we needed them, some stuff for Christmas and some stuff for the freezer.





Saturday

Back at the opticians today for a check. He confirmed what I knew that there is still an issue. My eyes are still mucky and feel like somebody has blown sand in them.  I still need to use the drops every two hours and to go back on Tuesday for another check.

Another mundane job done. One freezer defrosted. Ended up getting really ratty at myself as I just did not have the brain power to get one of the drawers back in the freezer.





Well this time next week everybody will be getting excited. I hope you all have an amazing time. See you all in two weeks time.



Sunday

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Project 366 week 49

Been a lovely week filled with grandchildren and a night out with the girls from work.

Sunday

DD2 came down with Ziggy for the week.




Monday

Love how Lilly likes to protect Ziggy. Sits at her side, or on her changing mat or lying on her play gym or om her blankets but is never far away.



Tuesday

A walk with the dog. I just love how she has come on in leaps and bounds, is so much more relaxed and content. She is so loving and just loves to be around people. Do not think we will ever deal fully with the dog issue and will have to accept that as part of her character.






Wednesday

Was a lovely day. I have not seen the children much at all in the last few weeks between them being ill and then me being ill so I had them for the afternoon. Went to the park, brought them up to the house for a while, took them home, fed them bathed them and did stories. Then had some time to play games with Bob before mum and dad came back.

Time we went back down the road to their house it was dark, and a lot of people had their Christmas lights on, they were fascinated and so excited by all the Santas, snowmen and flashing lights, it was a delight to walk with them and see their excitement.




adding you some baby giggles if you need cheering up.



Thursday

A night out with the girls. We just went for a Chinese as I can not eat much on a Christmas Menu in a normal restaurant. We then went on to have a game of bowling, along to a pub for one soft drink and on my way home for just after ten.

I spent the night in the bathroom I am presuming with the sickness bug that is doing the rounds as everybody else was ok after the meal. My ribs still hurt two days later.



Friday

Spent a lot of the day up the stairs out the way as really did not want baby Ziggy catching my tummy bug.   DD2 was busy packing all her stuff up to move on to her friends for the night and Ziggy needing feeding before going in the car so Granddad got to feed her.



Saturday

Now the cross stitching is finished the hama beads have been started, Hope they are recognisable.