Saturday 29 August 2015

Project 365 week 35


Far too hot a day to be alive just cant stand this heat, the only saving grace at work was a breeze.

                                                            the temperature according to the car


We decided to re-home the girls, so here they are having a dust bath in the potatoes before they got picked up 

chickens in the tattie patch


Adding extra calcium to the diet is easy with a jelly made with coconut milk with cooked raspberries in, served with a puréed fruit sauce and a few extra raspberries added for the photo.

raspberry and coconut milk jelly


Bob had phoned while I was out wanting to know if he could come and stay for the night so on the way back home I picked him up. We went out to add a tracker to a cache, had some fun along the river and avoided some Zombies on the way back to the car.

Bob running on ahead


Have been doing holiday relief cover this week for a complex where the usual woman is on holiday, so this was the only day off I have this week. So we had planned a route to go and look at some cars we wanted to test drive. So rather than take our car we took the train. Managed to get one that we will pick up next Wednesday once they have changed the cam belt and put a full years MOT on it for me. Believe me this one is from a garage. The old couple of the car I bought the other week have phoned for the documents back so they can resell the dodgy car!!

it rained all the way to Glasgow


Hubby had the car to run down to a friends house while I was at work, so when he picked me up we went for a walk along the pier in Ayr. Seems weird seeing it with a fence all the way round as there has not been one there previously. The wind was strong, though the weather was warm, driving the waves onto the rocks. 
When we reached the corner on the way back the wind started sandblasting us in the face, so hubbys pal R started walking backwards, but he managed to walk into a large puddle and nearly fell over the bonnet of a park car. The woman in the car and I both tried not to laugh at him. 

the waves blow onto the rocks


The other week hubby had managed to break the vase we have on the coffee table with the cord of the hoover, so we picked up a replacement. This one actually goes better than the last one, and a great bargain from a charity shop.

the vase on the coffee table

So this week has been a lot better than last week, and have to say glad we have got the car issue sorted, we have a thirty day guarantee on it so that gives us peace of mind.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Online shopping for holiday essentials

Sometimes life can get busy, especially around holiday time, and this is when on line shops come into their own. I have always been a lover of on line shopping saves so much hassle of having to drive into town, pay to park, wander round crowded shops and then trail back to the car, so much easier to sit at a keyboard in the dry with no petrol money required.

So when I was asked to do a review of the services offered by Chemist Direct I readily said yes please.

So I went and had a look at their website and was happy to see it was big and bright and easy to read. There are eight main headings at the top to help in your search with each of the headings having drop down boxes to find the item categories you require. I like the search box as I feel these are an essential on any website, ans this one was easy to use and threw up good results.The prices are very competitive and they have various items of good value in their sale as well.

When you start shopping as with any other online you just add your items to the basket. I found when shopping their out of stock items were greyed out so you could not add them, this is a good thing as there is nothing worse than ordering items to be told later on they are out of stock. I had decided to restock our first aid kits as some of our items were out of date

 as well as to replace toiletries and every day items.

So having finished my shop and went to the check out, I had ordered some pain killers and antihistamines, so for these items they ask you a few questions at the end just as they would in a pharmacy, and I answered these honestly and the items came through without an issue.

Unfortunately one of my items had gone out of stock between me ordering and the packing, so they e-mailed and offered me an alternative, I accepted that alternative but by the time they dealt with my reply another item had not been delivered to them on their expected delivery date so they phoned to see if I wanted an alternative or whether I wanted to wait for the item to come in, but they did not know when this would be, so I accepted an alternative. I feel they should be offering to send out the items they have in stock and posting out the out of stock items separately. I left this comment in their online feedback so it is maybe something they will look at in the future, Could not fault them as I was kept up to date with the status of my order.

So my impression is a nice easy site to use, appears to be quite good with their stock levels, sell a very good range of items at very reasonable cost. I would happily use them again. Was happy with being kept up to date with my order status and only feel it could be improved by sending out any out of stock items on separately afterwards. My order took a week from ordering to delivery but that was lengthened by me not replying to an e-mail until after they had closed on the Friday.

Saturday 22 August 2015

Project 365 week 34 16th - 22nd August

Well for me this has been a week from hell. Not quite sure what the outcome is going to be or what my next step is but I have been left angry and disillusioned. Toyed with not sharing this but I suppose the blog is here for the good and the bad.


I won £2000 last week, and it has reached my bank. Knew when I won it that the only sensible thing to spend it on was another car. So the search had been ongoing and we decided to go and see two local cars. One of them we really liked and left a deposit on ready to get the money out the bank on Monday and pay off the balance.

a great win


Phoned the insurance company and changed our insurance over the the new car and added a temporary policy to our existing car to cover it till the end of the month so that it could be test driven when we sell it.
Went to pick the car up, saw a brief warning flash up on the dashboard and queried it with the owner but he said it goes away and it does not affect the driving. So we sat outside and taxed the car so we could drive it home. Stopped at Irvine to take a few pictures.
Have to say loved driving it, nice high up position, great all round visibility and comfortable, could not see the bonnet but will soon get use to that.

Citroen Picassa 


Popped the car down to our local garage to have a look at the warning message that popped when the car was started. This is where my week started to fall apart. This car that was sold to me as a great driver with no problems and in really good order. The car had massive issues, from a broken spring to damaged fuel injectors, no oil in the engine but the spark plugs full of it instead, not to mention warning lights being painted out with black paint. The car was too dangerous to drive and the garage would not let me leave with it.
So I got my daughter to run me back down to the previous owner who insisted there was nothing wrong with the car but gave me some of my money back. He said he was keeping the rest to pay for the garage bill and the pick up truck to get it back. Needless to say he did not pay the garage bill so we had to.
Between the tax, insurance, the garage bill, the petrol we put in the car and the money he kept we are hundreds down, money I could not afford to be down.

list of faults


So I had to phone the insurance company and pay another admin fee to sort out the mess, putting our existing car back on the main insurance, then had to phone the breakdown company and change it back on there as well. This worried me as we were due to go to Stirling and for all we have had our car over six years and it has never let us down it was tempting fate as any changes take twenty four hrs to kick in, but thankfully we got there and back fine. Then we had to phone the DVLA and explain to them, have to let my DD run for September as it is taking payment for the twenty miles we drove it on Monday!!They will then refund me the money they will take for September. Had to confirm the problem in writing with them so I did not end up paying for two months. 
Have to say it has taken all the pleasure out of the money and makes the win feel like a curse rather than a good thing. 

So have to say if we did not have to go and visit today I could have cheerfully crawled into a hole. 
But we stop at Stirling services and I decided to cheer myself up and treat us to some of these as I hear people rant about them. Not particularly impressed, wont be rushing to buy them again.

three krispy doughnuts 


Somebody had published a geocache that was very close to us, so we stuck on our wellies, jumped in the car, parked up and walked the half mile or so to be the first people to find it.

We saw plenty of these wild raspberries growing along the pathway and hubby says they were very nice, I don't eat raw fruit.

wild raspberries


Bob stayed over last night, Fifi did not want too. He was at the immunologist last week and they have changed his medicines and put him onto a new cream regime to see if it will help his skin. So first up was to rub on dermol and then shower that off. One of the tubes of cream went on hands and feet, the other tube elbows, knees and any other inflamed patches. Next was the big tub of moisturiser all over, then the small tub was to go on his elbows and feet and then top with wraps. He was quite happy to have it done, and he says he is scratching less which is a good thing.

creams and wraps


Had some strawberries needing used up so made a Victoria sponge and sliced some in the bottom of the cake tins before adding the cake mix. I then made a butter icing and puréed some strawberries through it as well, have to say made for a runnier icing than normal but was yummy none the less.

strawberry cake

Saturday 15 August 2015

Project 365 week 33


We treated ourselves to a Chinese for tea, the place we use does massive portions so we just get one meal between the two of us. This is all that was left, we don't like them but they always put them in for free and the chickens eat them.

prawn crackers


Needed some potatoes so decided to dig some up. Enough here easily for two or three weeks, and that was just four of the plants dug up, another sixteen to go. They are a fab size, last year most of them were tiny.

home grown potatoes


Not had the older two over for weeks, they have both been very busy doing their own thing. But Bob decided this week he wanted to come and stay. Think I saw them long enough to feed them and that was about it. They were both out playing in the evening and Bob decided to read books in the morning, did not want to pay games or anything, but that was their choice.

Fifi and Bob on their way home


Chocolate Brownies made from a recipe I saw on instagram. They are very delicious. I made mine in a rectangular tin rather than individual biscuits and cut it into squares to serve. You can see the recipe on Lucy's blog bakeplaysmile . I used vitalite rather than butter and had a bag of mixed nuts that had almonds and hazlenuts as well as peanuts and after about ten minutes squashed the top down with a fork to break the crust and allow them to finish cooking.

chocolate brownies


This week has been about car hunting. Last time we bought a new car, over six years ago there was a lot of small independent garages locally and most of the big ones had cheaper cars as well sadly this all seems to have changed and finding a smaller cheaper to run car locally is proving a bit more difficult than we had imagined.

Any way took a run to a few localish ones but only had one half suitable but we are just going to bide our time till the right thing comes along. Any was as we were out we just decided to pick up some geocaches and take a walk along the beach.

While we were in Kilwinning just round the corner from the abbey we decided to have a look.

Kilwinning Abbey


Went to pick up a cache that had just been put out locally and took a wander through the park while I was there. Was taking pictures of  bees on flowers and managed to get this one just as it took off.

a bee in flight


We found this in the garden earlier in the week, neither of the children would touch it but were both fascinated by it. It is totally dehydrated and its head and body are flat.

flat frog


Thursday 13 August 2015

A fun afternoon at Brewers Fayre

We were invited along to see the newly revamped Fun Factory at Monkton Lodge Brewers Fayre last week, an opportunity too good to turn down, and I will let my daughter explain why. I can honestly say for all my daughter and the grandchildren use the place very regularly I have never been in the place before.

My daughter tells us;

When someone in the family suffers with allergies, like Bob, eating out becomes a military planned expedition.  I’ve lost count of the amount of places we’ve walked out of, empty-tummied, as there’s nothing they can feed Bob.  So, when you find somewhere safe, it’s cause for celebration.
Luckily for us, our local is fantastic.  The staff are very clued up on allergies, and there are a few different safe meals for Bob, giving him a (very rare) choice, and he can even have pudding! 

So we went along to the PR event having confirmed our places and chosen our meals beforehand. On walking in we were greeted by the staff and as hubby and I had hold of the twins they knew who we were, we were shown to our reserved table and left to have fun. We went along with daughter, the twins, Bob and their cousin A as well as Grandpa Tom. 

We took off the twins shoes and hubby and I headed into the play area. Grandpa Tom got to watch the bags and shoes as he wasn't up to running around after two toddlers. 

The Fun Factory has always been Bob’s favourite part of lunch at Monkton Lodge, and it has now been revamped.  The play area has been extended and rearranged, and the toddler part has been enlarged by quite a way.  It’s always been clean, but has been brightened up, and has a lovely new desk, the kids are provided with wristbands instead of bibs, and there is a seating area within the soft play for adults.  The “party room” is partitioned off from the main soft play slightly, and, the whole play area is now Beano themed.

trying the size chart on the way out

beano, soft play
the new decorations 

So we took them in, by now Bob and A were off, we barely saw them all afternoon. There was a toddler area, which did not appeal to Minky as he is always off, every picture I took of him he was a blur running from here to here and back. Dinky and I played there for a while, then she went and did some colouring with Granddad. 

Dinky colouring

Had to chuckle as normally the minute a camera comes out Dinky is all sweetness and angelic, but at one point the professional photographer came to take a picture of her colouring, and this was the result. 

snuggled in becaue a stranger approached

Love the seating area in here, big tables and little tables. 

one of the seating area, great size table for kids

The kids had a great time leaping around the soft play for the afternoon. There are  They got to meet Dennis and Gnasher, and there were arts and crafts activities and face painting available. Bob and A got their faces painted, we did not attempt that with the twins. 

Minky having fun

Soon it was feeding time, they had catered for the allergy issues we presented them, not just for Bob. The food portions were good and the food very nice. 

fish and chips, chicken and cheese, and strawberry pudding

Have to admit she is rather cute.

Dinky playing to the camera

  They were given a helium balloon each, and a beano comic, full of activities, to take home.

Soft play at Monkton Lodge costs £3 for 90 minutes play, cheaper than most of the local soft play centres, and much more pleasant for the adults!  During term time, there are to be activities every day included in the price, from story-telling for the toddlers, to discos for the bigger kids.

Disclaimer - we were provided with the soft play and the meal for the privilege of attending with no obligation to write a post, but I am happy to promote a local company. 

My Mummy's Pennies

Monday 10 August 2015

Reading with the twins - a book review

The twins have been having books read to them since they were days old, Bob use to read them stories while mummy had a coffee or a shower, they may well have been asleep some of the time, but that did not seem to matter. They have had bedtime stories read since weeks old and both love reading books.

They will happily trot off and fetch a book at random from their bookcase in the living room and bring it across for you to read. Dinky will actually sit and "read" to herself, the book may well be upside and she may well start at the back and jump three or four pages at a time but she does not seem to care, she babbles away pointing at various parts of the book as she does so.

fetching books for Granddad 

So when I was asked to review a book I thought yes please I know at least three little people that will enjoy that, Bob and the twins.

The book we were reviewing was

The Mouse and the Crocodile”, by Lorraine Catterall

The Mouse and the crocodile 

 It’s a lovely story about a little lost crocodile, who befriends a mouse, and they go off together to find Crocs home, with help from some of the animals they meet along the way.

The illustrations, by Fanny Liem, are beautiful, very colourful and cute, as are all the best books for children.  The book is written in rhyme, which little ones love, and is one of the few where the rhymes work even in a Scottish accent!  

Dinky has ‘read’ herself the book numerous times, chuckling away at it, and it has been bedtime story for the little ones for a few nights now.  Bob has even read it, and says “it’s really good, and a bit weird, cos I thought crocodiles ate mouses.”

no encouragement required

The only think that daunted me a bit was the tarantula as I have a phobia of these eight legged creatures, but this ons is cute and you don't really see all of him so its not too bad. But it is a nice easy book to read with plenty going on on each page, but equally importantly appealing to us as adults, 

We’re looking forward to the next in the series to be published now, and it’ll definitely be on the list for Santa this year.

We were sent the book to review but the review remains honest and unbiased.


Saturday 8 August 2015

Project 365 week 32


Hubby found this up in the loft, not the egg of course it came from the chickens for decorative effect. Brought it down as there was nothing in it.


Had been doing some baking, just for a change, these are blueberry and almond muffins.


Was a very nice evening and such a pretty sunset.


Visit day today. This was the view from the car window as we ate lunch. Could not see the building let alone the beautiful hills behind. Had hoped to get out and do some caching afterwards but no luck. Makes for an uncomfortable day when all you do is drive, sit while visiting and drive back, but needs must.


A walk round the fishery tonight. Found a swan with a gammy leg who was having trouble getting up to walk. So hubby hand fed it some bread.


We had gone for a walk down to the local garage and on the way back stopped in to see the grandkids as they were out playing in the garden with pavement chalks. The gruesome twosome were having a lot of fun with the garden tap that drips all the time. Granddad was splashing them and they were giggling. Laughed at them both having a drink from the drips. It is mains water so no harm was done.


Got an invite out to Brewers Fayre at Monkton Lodge tonight. They are promoting their new refurbished bigger and better play areas. Three hours of fun and food. Minky spilt some of his strawberries on the floor, but Dinky did not even make a mess on her tray, they both ate every bit. Blog post to follow. Find more at #Playatbrewersfayre



Thursday 6 August 2015

Three afternoons with the twins.

Last week Bob wanted to go to one of the local(ish) schools out activity weeks, so he was booked in and had an absolute ball, so much so he is going back again next week. But this meant my daughter had to have the hassle of popping the gruesome twosome into the car to get them out at the other end while she went in to collect Bob to pop them back in to bring him home, so I volunteered to have them while she went to get him.

On Monday granddad came with us as he was having to watch them while I went to pick Bob up as Fifi was being dropped at a camp in Perth and her mum expected to hit major traffic coming back as tea in the park was emptying. But she made it back in time to pick him up so we got to have lots of fun instead.

It was raining so we stayed in and read books and drew pictures. Dinky is very much into reading and drawing, the other one is a typical boy and just hashes and bashes through life.

Trying to grab granddads tongue.

Granddad is stopping him from upsetting Dinky by grabbing her paper.

Oh look Grandma has been spotted with the camera, time for it to go away.

A few wee videos.

The weather was much improved and so we popped on some shoes and went out into the garden to play. Minky is so much more into doing things like climbing and using the slide than his sister, who prefers her feet on the ground.

The rocking horse is a bit faded but it is years old, but still very useable

Up the ladder

and onto the slide

They know no food and drink is allowed near the play stuff

Little cheeky madam on the swing

Football is a great game, Dinky brings you the ball, runs back to the goal posts while you kick the ball in and we get a cheer when it goes in the goal, she picks it up and brings it back.

Dinky has a go

Tickle tickle on the swing

Dinky prefers the age appropriate play equipment.

I was amused by Minky as he spent ages trying to do up the lap belt on the swing but could not reach well enough.

and of course some video footage, great to look back on

Then on Friday afternoon we were back for some more of the same, indoors again as the weather was not suitable to be out.

We had been playing with the bricks but Minky brought out the play tunnel. so we cleared up the bricks so we could get it on the floor.

We also read some books

More playing in the tunnel

and some cheeky grandma has the camera out pictures

and of course some video footage, gives a much better memory of what they were like.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall