Thursday 31 October 2013

An afternoon of pampering.

I have been threatening my hair for a few months now that it was going to get the chop, it had just got too long, even tied up it was getting in the way especially at work. My daughter (S)  was also wanting hers done before the babies are born and I wanted mine done for the party season.

with my foils in. 
I wanted mine cut and coloured to cover the grey and I knew S could not sit long enough in a salon while I got this done. By coincidence one of my colleagues at work mentioned her daughter comes out to the house and does hair, so I bit the bullet phoned her and booked her to do both of us and Fifi as well while she was here. There is only three weeks till the babies arrive so time is getting short.  So on Monday afternoon we had a pamper session.

She started off with mine as the colouring could be maturing whilst she did my daughter's. Fifi and Bob were laughing at me, wanting to know why I had tin foil on my head. I told them it was a new fashion and I was going to go to the supermarket to see if people would laugh at me, they both thought I was rather stupid and that of course people would laugh at me. They were probably right.

daughter trying to sit comfortably. 
Next up daughter is done, hers was brushed and straightened and then had about four inches chopped off the bottom. Mine was rinsed out and I also had about four inches off the bottom, had it blow dried and straightened followed by some shape and layers put in. It is still long enough to tie back for work which is essential for me. I don't like it short.

Fifi sitting nicely 

Fifi was last to get done, hers was brushed and she also had a good four inches off the bottom. Everybody admires her curly hair but she finds it a pain as it tangles up all the time. But she did not moan once when Louise was doing her hair, she does when mummy and I brush it for her.  I have to say we were all very pleased with our finished results, and all because of a casual comment at work.

the finished result

Right well that is the hair done, next for the party season I may well need to go and get some artificial nails fitted. Then I just need to find a nice outfit. I have to say I am not a dress wearer, I feel more comfortable in trousers and a top and I like to make sure my outfit will suit more than just one occasion and that what I buy will mix and match with other items I have. There are a few retirement parties happening in December of colleagues I have worked with for many a year and really would like to go to so will be worth investing in some new items to wear.

Disclaimer -  This is a sponsored post but the ideas are all my own. 

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Whitelee Wind Farm

On the way back from Glasgow last week we decided to stop off and have a look round Whitelee Windfarm  I have never been to a Windfarm before but found it a very interesting experience. 

The windfarm became fully operational in 2009 the windfarm producing clean, green energy. Ten years in the making, Whitelee has been carefully planned and designed to work in harmony with the existing environment and is home to a 25 square kilometre area of habitat management, one of the largest in the UK.  Species such as merlin and black grouse can be spotted at Whitelee. 

Whitelee wind farm

Whitelee Windfarm is the UK's largest onshore windfarm. It is located on Eaglesham Moor just 20 minutes from central Glasgow. The windfarm has 215 turbines which can generate 539MW of electricity, enough to power just under 300,000 homes*.You can access the windfarm for free and experience the wind turbines up close with over 130kms of trails to explore.  

information signs
First off all we had a look around outside. There were posters telling you about the building itself and the wildlife that you can see on the moor itself.

The Visitor Centre is also free and has an interactive exhibition and a Cafe to relax after the long walk on the windfarm.

The Exhibition has fantastic hands-on interactive activities. If you were building a windfarm would you know where to place the turbines? Would you know how many blades to give them? Would you be able to balance the country’s energy supply to meet electricity demands? Investigate this and much more!

playing with the interactive exhibites
We played with the interactive exhibitions, we managed to get the five lights lit but was sore on the writs.

Making your own power with the interactive turbines was fun, we kept changing which ones we used and how hard the wind was blowing, have to say this was a lot of fun, and I spent quite a while playing with it. 

After we had done the inside we went for a walk The weather was not the nicest, it for obvious reasons is on a very exposed area and the wind was quite strong.

We will need to take a trip back next year in the nicer weather and really enjoy the outdoor experience, take a picnic and a rucksack and make a day of it. I have to say we fancied the Blackwood Hill viewpoint.

Blackwood Hill Viewpoint is situated approximately 2.5km (1.5 miles) from the Visitor Centre and has views for over 80 miles of countryside on a clear day with Ben Lomond, Ailsa Craig and Arran all visible on even hazy days. A large bronze toposcope is the centrepiece of the viewpoint. The toposcope itself is said to be one of the most detailed in the UK, bringing attention to features within areas such as Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, the Ayrshire coast and into the Clyde Valley.

interesting information
turbine 40

There are a lot of interesting facts and figures on signs attached to the turbines. But have to say they make you rather dizzy staring up at them, just the combination of the turbines moving as well as the clouds scurrying by at high speed.

Whitelee has over 130kms of tracks to explore so there’s no excuse not to get out and about! The windfarm offers a unique and varied setting
for many recreational activities and outdoor pursuits including walking, cycling and horse riding. Across the wider area, forest roads and trails provide increased access and future developments will see these trails upgraded and improved.

Did you know that Whitelee Windfarm has its own Countryside Ranger Service? Throughout 2013 they will be hosting a series of fantastic FREE events

In a strange sort of way the windfarm is actually very beautiful, the turbines just stretch for ever. I found the whole area very peaceful. I was surprised just how quiet the area is and even up close to the turbines they are surprisingly quiet, and even stood underneath them you could hold a conversation at a normal volume, no need to shout.

a larger view. 

I also uploaded other pictures and made a google+ album if you would like a look.

R.I.P Dipsy Cat

Another sad day has come, a day any pet owning family dreads, the day a valuable member of your family passes away. Three generations have loved her and interacted with her and all of us have shed a tear over her this week.

Dipsy cat has been in the family for seventeen years. She came into our life one night, hubby went to pick up daughter No2 (L) from a school disco, less than a ten minute trip in the car, but during that trip daughter had twisted OH round her little finger  she had that habit  and they had decided to take on this six month old kitten. We had had two cats that were also L's,  Askit and Scoobie, but Askit had disappeared a few months before hand, he just never came back, we put up posters, we asked about we hunted and searched but no luck, would have been nice to think he had found a new home but he was not that sort of cat, he never wandered far unlike his sister, she had about fifteen homes she visited and ate in.

Anyway this little kitten came into our life. Not long after that L went to work away from home and then went off to university, so daughter No3 (H)  really became Dipsys's best friend.  Dipsy always preferred children to adults. You would always find the two of them together, Dipsy always had the pillow on the bed, for a small cat she took up an awful lot of room, and poor H would be found lying at the bottom of her bed.

L came back from university, by which time H was living with her birth mum, and so the affection and the bed sharing moved back to H, Dipsy never had the same relationship with the boys but had a great bond with OH, they would meow at each other and she purred her head off any time he was around.

We were lucky we always live quite rural and the cat was always out doing what cats did best, keeping the population of birds and mice down.  Her and Shorty Dog had a proper love hate relationship, they both gave as good as they got but the cat use to creep around the house looking round doorways and such like before she entered a room. Having said that you would find the two of them lying near to each other, both facing away so they were not actually looking at each other, in a patch of sunshine anywhere in the house, they knew how to find it and move from room to room as the sun moved.

Just over six years ago  Daughter No1 (S) and the grandchildren came for a two week holiday, and ended up staying for nine months. Dipsy cat at this point got very very attached to Fifi and Fifi to Dipsy. The two of them became best buddies and Dipsy then moved on to sleeping on Fifi's pillow and she had to sleep shunted down the bed.

When S eventually moved back out it seemed such a shame to split Fifi and Dipsy up. We lived on a farm at the time and the house my daughter moved into was visible from the farm, a mere four fields away and we had a feeling the cat may just come back, but no she was that attached to Fifi she stayed. So for the last six years Dipsy has been Fifi's cat.

On Sunday evening just after 8pm S phoned to say Dipsy was really really not well, could not stand and was looking at her pitifully. So she phoned the vet, we went to pick up Dipsy and Fifi broke her little heart as she said goodbye to her. The vet did check her all over and agreed that it was her time. She drifted peacefully off to sleep.

RIP Dipsy cat. you had a great life, and brought a great deal of pleasure to three generations.

Both the children wrote her a goodbye note, Bobs read I miss you love Bob with lots of hearts and kisses.

Fifi's was a pink heart shape that read Just keep waiting for me on the front and
To Dipsy I will come one day but for now just keep waiting lots of love Fifi

Sunday 27 October 2013

An afternoon of cooking with Bob

Bob chops the pears
On Thursday after we had chased the geese and our shadows at the fishery we went home to do some cooking.  I had dug some blackberries out of the freezer and we coupled these with some pears that are in abundance in the shops at very reasonable prices.

weights out his ingredienats
I offered Bob the choice of making either sponge or crumble, and then had to explain that sponge was cake and what crumble was made from, and so he chose crumble. So he measure out the flour, margarine and sugar and we used the hand help mixer to make it into breadcrumbs.

forking up the crumble ready for the oven
He chopped up the pears and place them in a bowl, topped them with the blackberries and poured his crumble on top. We cooked this for about 20 mins at 190oC, We served it with coconut milk custard.


While Bob was making this I rolled out some bought  puff pastry and made us pear and blackberry pie. I had mine with the coconut custard and Fifi and Granddad had tinned custard.
Stood on the laminate floor with the draft that howls creeps in my back door I really need to get myself a pair of slippers as my feet were freezing. Bob was ok he is still wee enough he needs to stand on a chair.

adding the coconut
As there was some pastry left I rolled it out and cut out circles to put in a cake tin. I then got Bob to carefully add lemon curd to the pastry cases, and then top them with dessicated coconut.  He is not allowed to eat lemon curd but one day he may need to handle foods he is not allowed to eat and so he does need to learn to do this safely. I forgot to prick the pastry before we added the curd and coconut, and as the pastry rose a lot of the curd over flowed onto the cake tin, but there was enough left to taste delicious.

the cooked tarts. 

Disclaimer this is a sponsored post but all ideas and thoughts are my own. 

Saturday 26 October 2013

Help with cows milk allergy

I was invited to London for launch of a new company and to see how they are trying to make a difference.Sadly London is to far away to go for two hours but I asked for the press release and links because it is the sort of thing that is hopefully useful to my readers.

I think it is great that there are more companies encompassing the whole allergy issue as I could have done with more help not only getting my head round the diagnosis but also with getting the  diagnosis itself years ago.

So MomenTums  have started a new site, it is still in its infancy but will be interesting to watch it grow.
This is a resource to support YOU – parents and carers of babies, toddlers and school-aged children who have special nutritional needs such as cow’s milk allergy.

The Press release tells us ;

Parents of Babies with Cow’s Milk Allergy Face Long and Emotional Journey – Average Wait for
Diagnosis Is Six and A Half Weeks Abbott Launches, a New Online Resource to SupportParents of Babies with Special Nutritional Needs, Including Cow’s Milk

LONDON, 23rd October 2013. Abbott today unveils new research (1) revealing that parents of babies suffering with suspected cow’s milk allergy (CMA) currently face an average wait of six and a half weeks before their child’s condition is diagnosed. The emotional impact is widespread with nearly 75% of parents stating that the situation had caused them to feel ‘extremely stressed or worried’. Almost one parent in five (18%) said that they felt they had failed as a parent. Worryingly, the survey also highlights that, for the majority of parents, the challenges presented by their child’s condition do not end in diagnosis.

CMA usually develops in the first year of life and is one of the most common food allergies among children affecting up to 3.5%2 – potentially 28,434 children a year in the UK (3,4,5). By 12 months of age, approximately 50% of babies will have grown out of the condition but, in some cases, cow’s milk allergy may continue longer into childhood, typically resolving between the age of three to five years (6)
Rachelle Anderson had to wait 14 weeks until her son Nate was correctly diagnosed with CMA. She explains how stressful the situation was for her:

“At first I was exclusively breastfeeding but from an early age I felt there was something not quite right. Nate’s my second child and his feeding was very different to my first. At 10 days old, he just stopped feeding; he would turn away, arch his back and he looked like he was in a lot of pain. It was a very stressful
time for my husband and I.”

Netali Levi, a clinical psychologist who works with children with CMA and their families, sees this psychological impact first hand: “The process of having a child diagnosed with any allergy can be frustrating and worrying, as parents try to help their child cope with symptoms at the same time as trying to understand what is causing them. Parents feel anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated or even guilty. It’s important for parents to remember that these are completely normal feelings to have and that help is at hand.”

The message from parents of babies with CMA is that more solutions are needed including better access to information, guidance and support to tackle the emotional impact of the diagnosis, as well as alternative products., powered by Abbott Nutrition, is a comprehensive resource for parents of children with special nutritional needs, including CMA. A series of practical guides for parents are also available to download from the site. These include: Allergy Versus Intolerance infographic; Preparing to Visit Your Child’s Healthcare Professional; Practical Strategies for Parents; Cookbook of Cow’s Milk
Free Recipes for Children.

Carole Glencorse, Medical Director at Abbott Nutrition UK, notes: “While many babies will grow out of their allergy, others won’t, which is why we’ve created - a comprehensive online resource to support parents of children from birth to 10 years. The website and accompanying resources for
parents have been developed with significant input from mothers of children with cow’s milk allergy, and in consultation with healthcare professionals in the fields of nutrition and psychology. Our research with parents has identified an unmet need in this area. We hope that MomenTums will provide parents with the support they need at this challenging time.”

1. Data on file. Abbott Laboratories Ltd., 2013 (Parent survey: cow’s milk allergy).
2. Venter C and Arshad SH. Pediatr Clin N Am 2011;58(2):327-349.
3. Office of National Statistics (ONS), 2012:
Reference+table&sortDirection=DESCENDING&sortBy=pubdate Accessed 4th October
4. Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, 2012: Accessed 4th October 2013.
5. Information Services Division (ISD Scotland), 2012:
Topics/Maternity-and-Births/Births/ Accessed 4th October 2013.
6. NHS Choices, 2012:
Accessed 14th August 2013.

Notes to Editors
Parent survey
Abbott Nutrition commissioned an online survey of 100 parents (both mothers and fathers) of children under two years of age with CMA, who had been prescribed a specialist infant formula by a healthcare professional. More specifically, the survey was designed to:

 Gain insights into how UK parents are coping with the management of
their child’s CMA
 Explore the challenges that parents in the UK are facing with their child’s
 Understand how parents feel their experience with CMA could be / has
been improved with the use of a specialist infant formula
The research was conducted by an independent market research company,
Opinion Matters, between 21/06/2013 and 27/06/2013.
One mother’s story
Rachelle Anderson had to wait 14 weeks until her son Nate was correctly diagnosed with CMA. She explains how stressful the situation was for her: “At first I was exclusively breastfeeding but from an early age I felt there was something not quite right. Nate’s my second child and his feeding was very
different to my first. At 10 days old, he just stopped feeding; he would turn away,
arch his back and he looked like he was in a lot of pain. So I tried standard formula milk but it didn’t seem to make any difference. It would take me an hour or more to get him to take two or three ounces and he’d only sleep for half an hour at a time, which is very unusual for a very young baby. Getting him to sleep at night
would take almost three hours and he would scream until he was finally so exhausted he fell asleep. One night, he was in so much distress that he screamed from 7pm till 3am without stopping. It was a very stressful time for my husband and I; we were suffering from a lack of sleep on top of the anxiety of not knowing what was making Nate so uncomfortable and unhappy.”
About Abbott Nutrition
For more than 85 years, Abbott Nutrition has been developing and marketing science-based nutritional products to support the growth, health and wellness of people of all ages. Internationally recognized brands include the PediaSure® brand of complete and balanced nutrition for children and the Ensure® brand of
complete and balanced nutrition for adults.

About Abbott
Abbott is a global healthcare company devoted to improving life through the development of products and technologies that span the breadth of healthcare. With a portfolio of leading, science-based offerings in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic pharmaceuticals, Abbott serves people
in more than 150 countries and employs approximately 70,000 people.
In the UK, Abbott employs some 1,500 people with operations in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Cheshire, Hampshire and Kent. Abbott has been operating in the UK since 1937.
Visit Abbott at and connect with us on Twitter at @AbbottNews.

Project 365 20th - 26th October 2013


Attempted to make yoghurt with hemp milk today in the yoghurt maker, but it didn't work. So rather than waste the milk I added jelly crystals to it to turn it into mousse. It was all boiled in the same pan with the same jelly and poured into two containers, For some strange reason one separated ans one didn't when they were setting. But both tasted good.


Saw TBAM with her mini stuffed pumpkins. I did not have any mini ones but I did have a big one. So I gave it 5 mins in the microwave. Stuffed it with some cooked wholemeal rice ( not brave enough to put raw in) mixed with a vegetarian haggis and gave it another 12 mins in the microwave.
It wasn't unpleasant but have to say it wasn't overly tasty either. Maybe need to add something extra if I ever do it again.


On the way back from Glasgow we stopped off at Whitelee Wind Farm. We have never been to a wind farm before, and I have to say I was surprised how in a weird sort of way it was quite aesthetically beautiful, very scenic and nothing like as noisy as I had envisaged.


We found the little chap at the fishery, he did not seem to be in very good health and was making no attempt to move or jump even when we prodded him.


Fifi had news homework to do for school in the morning. So she looked at the BBC news website and decided to do the story on Ineos because her mum grew up in Grangemouth and the view from our back door at the time was the BP plant as it use to be called.


Granddad made Bob a certificate this morning. He loves to help and quite happily use the shredder all night if I had enough paperwork.Bob loves it when granddad does things like this for him.It has got his proper name on it but U have changed it for the blog.


Was sent this t-shirt from a company called T Shirt Printing . Was approached by e-mail a while ago and I was offered a t-shirt with my blog logo on. I have to say I was sceptical from knowing how I made all the pictures low quality and then made them into an equally low quality collage when I saved the final result.
I was very pleasantly surprised at how well it had been reproduced, you could make all the pictures out, my logo was well readable and he has even put my blog address on the bottom (I did ask him if he could) . All I need now is a blogging event or two to wear my t-shirt to. They come in a huge array of colours and sizes. Would make a great present with your favourite 365 picture on.

I was under no obligation to tell you about the t-shirt but I have to say I am very pleased with it. Will need to buy a new one if I ever change my blog header.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Chasing geese at the fishery

On Thursday we just had Bob to pick up as Fifi had stayed on at school for parents evening. Being the oldest in the school  they were asked to stay on and help show the parents to the correct classrooms and help out with other duties. So we have some one on one with Bob this week. 

So we made the most of the lovely afternoon we had and decided to take him for a run round the fish pond. Mummy cant go far with him at the moment so it at least gets him out the house for a while. 

We spotted the geese who seem to live at the side of the pond. 

and Bob tried to sneak up on them, I have to say I think an elephant would sneak quieter. The only one that didn't jump back in the water was one with a gammy foot. 

We found some piles of logs he decided to climb on,

walk along,

and sit on.

The reflections were very nice on the pond, both from a long shot up the pond

to across with the hills in the background

We also played chasing shadows.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday 25 October 2013

Fellowes Callisto A3 Laminator Review

Fellowes have been sharing some brilliant ideas that not only keep your children amused but they are also very green as it uses up your shredded paper. 

We looked at their fab ideas 

this one for a puppet

or this one for a monster

or even a fairy wand

They have lots more ideas, why not pop across and have a look . You can even share your ideas on their with them. 

But what happens to your creations once you have finished with them? Well we made Halloween crafts last week using the shredded paper, and so that we could preserve them we laminated them. 

and then Bob cut them out. They are going to tie them on their front door for Halloween, this way they wont get wet or ruined.

So what did we think of the actual laminator? 

We were sent a Callisto A3 laminator, which has some very useful features

  • HotSwap allows instant changes between different pouch thicknesses without the need to wait for the laminator to heat-up or cool down
  • Sleep Mode is activated after periods of inactivity, reducing energy consumption
  • HeatGuard™ Technology - reduces the surface temperature of the laminator, ensuring it is always safe to touch
  • Laminates up to 125 micron pouches
  • Reverse mechanism for retrieving and re-aligning misfed documents
  • Includes starter kit for 10 document

We tried out the product. It takes just over five minutes to heat up, which may seem like a long time but you can be preparing your products to laminate once you have switched the machine on. 
Once it is switched on you just use the plus and minus buttons to change the heat setting, this is dependant on the thickness of laminate you are using. 

Here you can see I have selected the 75 microns as this was the thickness provided with the machine.The green light flashes during heat up. Once the machine is at the required temperature the machine gives a bleep and stops flashing. 

The machine is very easy to use, just place you document into the laminating pouch and push it into the edge of the machine, You do not need a carrier. 

The machine is very quiet, you really do not hear it when a document is going through. The outside of the machine stays cool to the touch and it has an auto shut off feature so that you do not need to worry about leaving it on. 

We had a laminator many years ago as we wanted to preserve some of the items the children had made in school, things you could not replace. We laminated newspaper cuttings from articles that the children were in as well as various certificates. 

Fellowes has an idea centre with 100's of ready made resource ideas suitable for home, office and school. 

They are also running a competition where by if you share your idea of things you love to laminate then you have a chance to win "the ultimate craft pack". Read more about it her

Granddad made a certificate for Bob this morning. We now save all our shredding for Bob to do on a Thursday as the shredder is safe for him to use and he loves doing it. Zoom in and have a read. 

Oven cooked potato and butternut squash

When I was cooking the butternut squash with the onions in the oven yesterday ready for the soup, read the recipe here I had to stop OH from eating it before I could make the soup, so I thought as I had half left I would use it for tea.

So I peeled and sliced the other half of the squash and some more onions. no quantities, just enough to suit your needs, added some oil, sprinkled on some salt, some ground black pepper and flaked chilli peppers. Popped into the oven at 180 oC for approx 25 mins.Meanwhile cube and par boil some potatoes.

butternut squash

Took it out of the oven, turned it all over added the par boiled potatoes, some chopped peppers, some pieces of chicken that came of the carcass from the stock for the soup and topped with slices of bacon.

Put back into the oven for another half hour.

Once cooked we served it with green beans. Bob hasn't had green beans before, granddad explained they were like peas but only longer, but he didn't like them, but the rest I was assured was yummy.

This post is an entry for #MarisPiperBritMums Linky Challenge ( sponsored by Potato Council for Potato Week 7 – 13 October, celebrating the varieties of potatoes and how we like to eat them. Learn more and find recipes at