Tuesday 28 June 2011

We're all going on a .........

.....Summer holiday, ha funny ha have you seen the rain!!

We have decided this year that we want a few days away, last "holiday" we had will be ten years ago this November when we had two days away after we got married. Did not bother me so much when we lived on the farm as we cold have peace and quiet in  a nice rural setting and spend a few days doing nothing, but not so relaxing in a busy town and housing scheme.

Like a lot of you we live on a very limited budget and do not have a lot of money to spend so have to be practical as to what and where we could afford. Looked around at various options, fancied a caravan in the middle of nowhere, but too expensive for what they are, cant do posh hotels or B&B's as we have a dog to consider and I live in £5 joggies and £3 t-shirts, and didn't really want to pay for a breakfast most of which would be no use to me due to food allergies so we decided to go to The Metro Inn  in Polmont, just outside Grangemouth. Have done a posting on this  and there is a competition on there if you want to enter.

We put some thought and planning into what we wanted to achieve and where we would like to go whilst away. My OH is into photography and we both like to look round historic building and old graveyards and decided we would make the most of our National Trust and Historic Scotland memberships. So we left home on Monday with enough time to drive over leisurely and see some sights on the way.

Linlithgow Palace

Our first port of call was Linlithgow and we took a walk round the pond in the park as well as up and down the hills around Linlithgow Palace  as we wanted to get the dog a walk before we left her in the car, (safely park in the shade with windows open ans a bowl of water to hand) whilst we went exploring. So we went of into the Palace and had a nice wander round and up and down and took a lot of pictures and video footage.

Blackness Tower
Our next port of call was Blackness Castle .  By the time we got here the sun was well and truly out, and the weather had turned out beautiful. So we popped the dog onto her lead and wandered round the castle, along the pier ( the dogs best bit as lots to sniff at), and wandered up to the top to get the full benefit of the views.
We then went into the shop and bought ice-cream which dog says was very yummy and refreshing after her walk.

on the trees at Callander Park
We decided at this point to make our way over to the motel and get booked in and unpacked. We then toddled of to Callender Park in nearby Falkirk where the dog got to chase squirrels and we finished the night with a trip to McDonald's for our tea.

the ceiling of the church inside Stirling Castle
Tuesday morning dawned dry but overcast and time we had been and had breakfast it was raining, but we had a itinerary made and we decided to stick to it, what a mistake that was. First stop was Stirling Castle as it has just been revamp and newly opened back up so we had to go and look. Initially we were riled by the fact that they expect Historic Scotland members to pay to park, (National Trust supply members with free parking), and then proceed to squash you into parking spaces so small  and tightly packed together you need to have eaten your weetabix to enable to pick your car up and lift it out when you get back to it. Took me the best part of ten mins to inch backwards and forwards literally inch at a time to get out.

Then we had to queue for approx 15 mins in the rain to get our tickets as the fast track booth for members was shut. But once in the wait had been worth while and it was very interesting and the revamped building was stunning, and the ceilings were amazing.

We decide at this point as the rain was now so heavy and the views were obscured by rain and mist that there was no point in carrying on with our day out as we could not possibly let the dog out the car or enjoy what else had been planned so we headed back to the motel, with the rain so heavy I could barely see to drive, and the amount of idiots doing 70mph plus with no lights on on the motorway was unbelievable. So here I sit typing up Monday, Tuesday and some about the motel itself. It is now 7pm and  and my feet have turned webbed, it is still bouncing down out there and I do not think there will be a walk with dog apart from the essential at all this evening.

The Church organ insie St Michaels

Wednesday dawned wet but slightly brighter, and by 10am  we felt the rain had stopped enough to go out and not get too drenched. We went back to Linlithgow and our first stop was a walk round the pond with the dog before we went into St Michael's Parish Church. This was for a good look round and for oh to take some photographs. It was very peaceful and relaxing, and it made oh's holiday as the organist was practising playing Burns songs for a funeral that was being held there on the Friday, my oh is a huge Burns fan, well we do live in Burns country ourselves, and for him to hear them being played on the church organ was an amazing coincidence.

dog at Blackness Castle
We then went back out to Blackness Castle as the dog particularly enjoyed there and it got her another walk and ice-cream before me moved across to Fife, but whilst we were there it was lunch time and the ice-cream shop was shut.

Dunfermline Abbbey

We then went over the Forth Road Bridge to Dunfermline Abbey. We had a quick walk round the church there first but there was a wedding starting so we found the abbey and went for a toddle round it. I found that quite traumatic as it (like many other of the places we had visited,) had a spiral staircase, but this one was very tight, and I have a middle ear disorder that makes any stairs uncomfortable for me, but circular ones are the worst imaginable. Going up is fairly easy, coming down is a different story altogether.

a panoramic view of the two Forth Bridges
We had planned to go onto somewhere else at this stage, but time was getting late and we thought time we drove there we would not get enough time to do what we wanted before it closed. So we went back over the Forth Bridge to South Queensferry and spent some time at the bottom of the bridges taking video footage and photographs.

By now the poor little dog is exhausted with all this walking, well she has turned fifteen earlier in the year, so we went back to the motel for a cup-a-soup and an afternoon nap, and then went back out to visit my younger brother who I have not seen for far too long, and we took him a copy of a disc of photos that we had scanned from my childhood photo albums as he comments about the ones on here. We hit the chip shop just after 10pm, back to our room and bed time. Poor dog was so exhausted during the night I didnt even need to take her out, so that was handy.

The Falkirk Wheel

Thursday dawned pretty much the same as Wednesday, and again by 10ish it was dry and brightening up. We made the decision to leave the dog behind today as we wanted to go on the Falkirk Wheel, and we were worried if the sun came out whilst we on the boat ride for an hour the dog might roast in the car. 

It certainly was a different experience and a bit nerve racking at a few points, but the views were lovely and it had a running commentary of the history etc which was interesting, if a tad annoying.

 Thursday night we packed the car back up, holiday nearly over.

Callander House

On Friday we diverted round to Callender House to see what it had to offer, not allowed to take photos inside so oh soon got bored, he has got to the stage he cant walk round anywhere and enjoy it for what it actually is , everything has to be viewed through a camera leans these days.
 There were approx 1000 photos taken, plus video footage whilst we were away so the camera certainly earned its keep.

So into the car and off home we came, but I must admit just to get a break away from the dull boring routine that is life and to do something different to what we normally do is nice, and also to get to spend some quality time with each other was well the time away, even with the strange route the sat nav brought us back  with.

Sunday 26 June 2011

May competition wins

This month started off fairly slowly, but picked up time it was done. 

I won a £50 to spend in Frankie and Benny's and will do a blog post on this once we have used it. This is a brill win for me as its the only place locally that will accommodate  the grandsons multiple allergies, if we take his food they will cook it and serve it so he feels the same as everybody else.

I won £20 towards a meat pack in a Facebook draw and you can read about my thoughts on it here. http://fun-as-a-gran.blogspot.com/2011/05/meat-pack.html

carrying on the food theme I won a £50 curry hamper from Real People, the first magazine win I have ever had, got quite excited when I saw the letter heading thinking it was maybe a cash boost to my finances, but no that win still evades me. We are not curry eaters, and I must admit for what was in it I did not think it was worth £50 but daughter No 1 was quite happy to take it off my hands, I still owed her something in exchange for The Rocket Garden selection she had won and I used at my allotment. 

Then of course I won a  Childrens nutrition recipe book, from Cheryl over at Madhouse Family Reviews which does not really cater for Bob so will find somebody else who can use it at some stage.

I also won a prize from NNUK, I will say no more on this, and no there will not be a review coming up!!

Next to appear was a win from Purty Lil Pieces, and I even got to pick my own colours as well, so here we are

I seem to be on a theme here now, a watch this time from Time out watches  for using my skill and predicting a football score in a twitter comp.

I also won 3 scratch cards on twitter and a tinga tanga tales dvd on FB, neither of which have ever appeared, so guess they will have to get written off as no shows as the people  I won them from not responding. 

not a bad lot for one month, I more than happy.

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Thursday 16 June 2011

Britains biggest mess meme

I was challenged by the lovely Lynda over at MibsBlog to do this Meme, and is my own fault for introducing Lynda to Meme's when I challenged her to join in with whats in my fridge meme and she willingly (lol)  joined in.

So here we go the criteria thrown down -  Let’s all find the biggest eyesore, mess, in need of decorating etc patches in our homes and share them!, and she goes on to say can include your garden.

Well as most of you will be aware I had my tv debut a few weeks back, and believe me every nook corner and cranny was cleaned out with a toothbrush for the occasion so don't happen to have anything in the house that fulfils the criteria, but my back door is a different matter. What you can see from the window looks good,

but you go round the back of the shed that cant be seen and its a different story.

so there you go my house might be tidy but the bits you cant see aren't so perfect...story of my life really....

right I now threw down lynda's challenge to invite 5 more friends to join in so please forgive me TheBoyAndMe, Sian at mummytips, Lou at Bobbity666, Laura at TheMcCaskieClan and Alyson at Alysons blog and have fun

Tuesday 7 June 2011

What I thought of my tv debut

Following on from this post I give you my thoughts on the end result. Also you can read here about the fun I had making it

Well that was it, my 1min 41 seconds of fame is over so unless Hollywood phone me and make me a decent offer than I guess I wont be on TV again. I was glad they had changed the headline away from from calling me an obsessive comper....I mean come on 1500 comps a week isn't obsessive its a hobby. Though they did take the top figure, some weeks I enter 3 or 400 just depends on the time of year, what else is happening and what mood I am in, also in the winter I enter more than in the summer when I can be out walking or cycling or down my allotment.

The first thing that struck me when they were making the item was the fact that it was not what I thought of as a conventional interview, I expected there to be two of us on camera not just me talking but actually answering a question somebody else had asked, though you will note if you listen all my talking it is in the form of an answer, like I am saying what do I get out of comping or why I got into it so I was answering my own questions which is how they wanted it.

It was well edited, they were here for over 3 hrs, things like the scenes with me making a cup of tea actually took the best part of 20 mins to film, I filled the kettle half a dozen times, put it onto its stand half a dozen times, shoved about 6 sugars in a cup, all sorts you didn't actually see. They also took a rake of stills photos in case they needed them to fill bits in, but none of them were needed in the end either.

The scenes with the prizes on the table took about 45 mins to shoot as well, trying various angles, backgrounds, lighting, and ways of doing it. They were very careful when doing this to turn things round so you could not see the makes of the neom candles or the paint, and they didn't show the Nature Valley Bars they asked me to open, and you could not read the name on the baby wipes either. The soft toy was not actually a prize win, he was a bear bought by my husband when I was in hospital with a dislocated ankle 17 years ago, but he was the right size to fill the gap.

The laugh was trying to cut, copy and paste tweets whilst looking at Mags, the lady from STV,  and not at the computer, hence some of the hesitating whilst talking. They did follow me across to Facebook and
as well but they were not shown. I also noticed it was edited to cut out all the name dropping apart from twitter and Facebook they had asked me for my favourite sites I use to enter comps but didn't run any of the names.

No we didn't manage to actually get a proper postman, it was one of the STV crew popping the parcel through my  front door. I was disappointed they hadn't arranged a win from Daybreak with an incoming phone call whilst they were there to film my face when I was told I had won £20k!! But can't have it all I suppose.

But all in all I was very happy with what was shown, nothing embarrassing or cringe worthy at all, and at the end of the day the whole experience for me  was a positive one with a brilliant afternoon had whilst Mags and Gregor were in filming.

Hope you all enjoyed watching it, and for those of you that have come over here from the link on The Hour website, welcome and why not come join our comping community over at Loquax, Facebook or Twitter and see if you can start winning prizes for yourself?

OH has kindly recorded off the TV my part of The Hour, and has uploaded it here for you to see, enjoy for those who missed it. and I'm not sure why, but it was less than 2 mins on STV bit longer than 3 time it gets here??

Friday 3 June 2011

Global/ Continental market at Kilmarnock

I listen to my local radio station Westsound Radio, and this week they have been running a competition for ten people to win £100 in vouchers, two people a day every day this week, as usual they were fairly easy questions to answer, so I have phoned hoping to win, but could barely get a ringing tone. But lo and behold this morning i got through. Now the DJ Kenny must have thought I was a right idiot, cos I thought he was taking names and numbers to out in a hat to pick out a winner, and it took thirty seconds for the penny to drop that I had actually won, and the vouchers were mine!! wah-hey!!.

So I had things to do this morning so after lunch hubby and I headed off to The Global Continental Market at Kilmarnock, to meet up with daughter No.1 pick up my vouchers and do some shopping. The sun was splitting the trees and the weather is the nicest we have had all year so it was a lovely afternoon for a potter around.

Now I don't know about you, but my budget leaves a lot to be desired and suddenly to find myself with £100 to spend on what I wanted was actually very difficult. Should I fritter it away on lovely things or spend it on sensible things, or blow it all on one big thing?? Oh decisions decisions..lol

We took our time and walked all the way round the market to size it up first and see all there was to see before we made any rash choices. There were stalls selling plants and flowers, to sweeties and cheeses, meat and cakes, jumpers, slippers, jewellery, hand made items and as it the title suggests stuff from all around the world. Our first stop was at a hot take away stall as daughter and I had had no lunch and were starving, so we stopped at a meat stall and I had an Aberdeen Angus burger and daughter tried a Wild Boar burger, and boy were they very very tasty and filling.

Whilst we were there we bought some wild boar, ostrich and kangaroo sausages, we only bought one lot of each but thought we would try something totally totally different ( and my OH is a sausage freak!!)

I saw a Lapland stall that had some slippers, very different and unusual but I thought my feet might roast in them, but they also had reindeer skin rugs and reindeer jackets but ( ha ha) we don' t get that much cold weather and I have lost over a stone this yr, and hope to lose another before the end of it so wasn't sure what size to buy.

We eyed up some very reasonably priced hand knitted jumpers and cardigans with hand stitched designs on them, they would not have fitted Fifi but they had a Bob sized one with a tractor on but as it is proper wool might have affected his skin too much so didn't bother.

One of the things that caught our eye as we were going round was the "free from" signs, egg free, dairy free but the one that made us laugh was on the meringues - gluten free - well yes considering what they made of I would think so....a lot of stalls selling cake and biscuits but we are  not really biscuit eaters and free money or not I was not paying the best part of £3 for a slice of cake, or you could buy the whole thing for about £30...they were nothing to look at and not huge by any stretch.

salami and chorzoi sausage
In the end we bought the sausages, some salamis
and chorzoi sausage, some cheese, again for OH, daughter and I both bought a bag each, a pencil each for the kids and they had small alphabet letters made to look like train carriages with a front and back section so we bought them both their name,
definitely an ornament not a toy

nice chunky bracelet
my bag with beaded detail.

yummy fudge
and then, so as not to waste the final voucher I went and bought
some fudge of varying types....and very yummy they were too.

So thank you Kenny Campbell at Westsound for a smashing afternoon out.

allotment update for end May

Well its been rather a wash out of a month, apart from the 31st May there has not been one day in May that it has not rained. Now I know a lot of you are thinking " we want some rain" but it has meant it has been impossible to get much done at all.

We were still getting a lot of heavy frosts at the start of the month, down to minus 4 and 5 most nights for the first 2 weeks, which did not help the plants that were out in the garden, yes I know it was early and cold but if you see http://fun-as-a-gran.blogspot.com/2011/04/fresh-veg-2011-april-post-2.html you will understand why they are out.

So at this stage my potatoes are doing well,

the potatoes looking up the allotment

some starting to flower

The lettuce seems to be doing well, and the giant red mustard is also coming on fine, the rocket and carrots have not died but have not grown much either, but we have had few days with temperatures above 16oc so not really surprising.

The courgettes, runner beans, beetroot and dwarf beans have not faired so well. There were two runner beans at each cane, but only 2 left, the rest shrivelled and died. The dwarf  beans haven't grown since they went in and are a bit shrivelled and not looking good either.

only 2 remaining, poor looking runner beans

dwarf beans have done nothing

and the gaps are where we took out the cabbage and cauliflowers which have just died.

we took out the cabbage and caulies

We notified Rocket Gardens about the issue, and as promised they are going to sent out replacement plants, told them what has died so assuming they will just replace them rather than sending out a whole pack, so will do some replanting next week when they come.

We had put a watering system into place, with 2 hoses and 3 sprinklers, so we just need to turn on the hose and get the old couple in the house to turn it off, saves standing for an hour watering, fine when its your own garden but not so fine when it somebody elses.  We did not actually need it last month at all, but if it doesnt rain today then I guess we will need to go try it out.