Saturday 30 March 2019

Project 365 week 13

Another week nearer my blogs 9th birthday. I have a few giveaways lined up, had hoped for a few more but no offers to work with my blog have been forth coming. Another busy week with long days out and a back log of housework and little achieved on the knitting front.


Had a problem with a pair of Hotter shoes. so they have agreed to take a look at them and will let me know the outcome. If faulty they will be replaced, if just age degenerating them despite not being hugely worn then told them just to chuck them away, no point in sending them back at their expense if all I am then going to do is put them in the bin.


A 3.66 mile walk along the river and back.

Been doing some meal prep, I much prefer to make in bulk and freeze, saves time and money and alleviates the need to either eat junk or stop off at a takeaway.

Hubby had an appointment with the GP for the results of his blood tests, much higher this time at 8.7 but he admits is diet is crap and it is his own fault. Followed by an appointment with the Practise Nurse for his annual review.
So as we had time to kill in the town so took the dog for a 4 mile walk and picked up 2 geocaches and 2 trackables to move on.
Home for lamb steaks and  oven veg. This was one of the meals from my #MeatMatters entry. You can see what else I did here if you are interested.

oven cooked vegetables


Nothing much exciting happened at all during the day, the usual routine stuff. But we were taken out to a local eat all you can for a set price places that serves food from all over the world. Very nice it was as well. I ate far more than I needed to but might as well get value for money.


Went and did my cycle leader training so that I can go out with another adult and take local kids on cycle trips. Voluntary but giving back to the community. A blog post may follow.


Took a trip to Irvine to walk the dog and buy a new pair of trainers. DD1 suggested Sketchers so giving them a try. Was as near as anywhere else and parking is free. Popped a bag of items into a charity shop and bought two balls of wool while there. Two balls for £ so worth having. Was actually looking for 4 ply to knit some angel clothes with but they did not have any.


Have an unexpected weekend off work as I had two days holidays to use before 1st April so no choice but to take this weekend off, I am not complaining.
So we decided as the car is needing a good run to find somewhere nice to go and headed to Castle Semple. DD3 decided to hook up with us so we ended up with a four mile walk in the sun and picked up a few caches as we went.

Here is hubby and DD3 with the dog up the hill. We were hunting for a cache here, I had wandered off, found it and wandered back down the hill while they were still looking.

A blog post will follow.

We then went to Frankie and Benny's for a meal. They do vegan friendly desserts and I got to eat a dessert in a restaurant, first time in years I have found one suitable.
Was a nice day out and just what the doctor ordered.

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Friday 29 March 2019

4 Ways To Have Your Mother Of The Bride Moment

With Mother's Day just around the corner, all of the duties, privileges and sacrifices of maternal duty are in the spotlight. And one of the greatest moments, should you get to experience it, is being a mother of the bride. Watching your child get married is a hugely special experience - not least because it brings with it the promise of much-wanted grandkids! How do you best support and guide without accidentally overdoing it and being an annoyance?

  1. Respect Their Taste

Usually, you will have been a bride yourself at one point, but it's very important to understand that your own tastes, desires and vision for the day may not be the same as your daughters. She may ask you to help with the planning and in this situation it can be easy to get carried away in the excitement and overstep boundaries by imposing your taste and opinions. Make sure that while you offer suggestions and experience, they are based on what she and her partner love. If they want to hire gospel choirs in London or release doves into the air or follow a theme, it's their special day.

2. Address The Money Issue

With modern weddings, the finances can be confusing. Of course many couples choose to save and budget for their big day themselves, but some may be expecting a financial contribution from parents. Either way, talking about the money can be awkward - so don't make your daughter ask. Be the one to bring it up first. Spell out what you want to contribute, be specific about the amount and whether you consider it a loan or a gift, and also let them know when the money will be available, as a wedding involves a fair amount of upfront expense.

3. Get To Know Her Partner's Family

Although marriage is firstly about the couple making the commitment, it's also about two families coming together. No one is saying you have to be best friends (although that would be a nice state of affairs), but you will be connected through your children and even more so if grandchildren arrive on the scene. Reach out to the family of your daughter's partner and invite them out to lunch, somewhere neutral. It's a friendly gesture that your daughter is bound to appreciate and will be useful for your own peace of mind as you can then understand what her in-laws are like.

4. Don't Panic!

It's a rare wedding that doesn't have a few hiccups on the journey to the altar, so be prepared to offer a voice of reason, a calm oasis or a shoulder to cry on as your daughter needs. Organising such a big event, which may well be the first time the happy couple have done anything on such a scale, is stressful. It's quite natural for her to have wobbles over organising the seating plan, choosing a wedding dress or agreeing with her fiance on aspects of the day. Don't pass any judgements, just be a listening ear for her. It will all be worth it on the day!

This is a Collaborative Post.

Bulk cooking to save time and money #MeatMatters

Like a lot of people I work long hours and on those days I have no inclination to come home and start cooking. I know if I did not prepare meals before hand then I would end up picking at junk all evening when I am tired and hungry, or going home via the takeaway, which we all know is not overly healthy for your body or your bank balance on a regular basis, so this works well for me.

I spend a chunk of one day a week in the kitchen bulk cooking food and this makes the rest of the week much easier for me and also saves money as the oven is on one day rather than every evening. If you have a large oven you are as well with six things cooking on one day rather than one thing cooking on six days. It also makes the mess in the kitchen once instead of daily as well, a win win all round in my book.

We tend to eat chicken at least three days a week but on some of the other days I like the nutritional value of red meat.

  • Beef and lamb are naturally rich in protein.
  • Lamb provides four essential vitamins that helps reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • Beef is a source of iron which also helps reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • They both contain essential vitamins that support good health and well being. 
So what sort of things do I cook? One of our all time favourites is oven cooked veg. This is delicious on the day you make it, heats well in a microwave on another day, and can even be frozen for use later in the week and just takes a few seconds to heat in the microwave if you take it out in the morning to defrost. Not to mention they can be used to make soup, I prefer the flavour this gives to a nice pot of warming soup. 

In the past week we have had

1. Lamb steaks with oven coked veg

 Take a pile of seasonal vegetables and prepare them. This choice is up to you to adapt, I like to get a variety of colours and types.

I par boil the potatoes and carrots as they take longer to cook. Place on a baking tray sprinkle with some olive oil and season to taste, or if you are only doing enough for one night I quite like the oven roasting bags as there is no need for the oil. I seasoned mine with some of a pack or ratatouille mix.

Pop them into an oven on 160 oC

Par boil the potatoes and carrots and  season and put these in the oven alongside.

Both of these will take approx thirty mins to cook. So after 15 minutes remove the tray with the potatoes in and place the lamb steaks on top, if you like them rarer adjust this time accordingly. We like ours well done. No need to season them as you want to appreciate the full flavour.

Once the steaks are cooked serve.

2. Chicken with reheated oven cooked veg

We had had cooked chicken pieces with Kung Po sauce two night before so on day two as we were not back in till gone five all I had to do was reheat some of the left over veg and the last of the sauce and serve with cold chicken. Hubby had his without the sauce, as I would have done if it did not need using up.

3. Stewing steak with rice.

While the other food was in the oven cooking I fried off some stewing steak with some onions, beef cubes and some seasoning.

Add veg of your choice, I just used carrots, stirred through a tin of tomatoes and put it into a casserole dish and placed in the oven along side the trays. Served half with some rice cooked in a stock cube. The other half was frozen for use at a later date.

4. Home made dairy free lasagne

Having washed out the pan I fried the stew off in I now fried off 500g mince, We always buy the 5% added fat one, I know it is more expensive that the 20% fat one but I would rather have a smaller portion of something better quality. Have to say I am a mince lover and would happily eat it seven days a week.

 I added onions when frying off the mince and seasoned, we like simple mixed herbs in our mince, no need for salt and pepper.

At this point I added some frozen mixed veg and split the mixture into two pans.

I added some water and gravy thickener to this half of the mince.

Next I made a lactose free cheese sauce with soya milk and lactose free cheese, some of the dairy free cheeses work equally as well. Just follow a conventional recipe for this. This works just as  well with a gluten free flour for those with the need.

Layer up your lasagne sheets, mince mixture and you cheese sauce. As I am intending this to go cold and then be sliced I started with a layer of lasagne sheets. normally if I am eating at the time I start with mince but this was it makes it easier to store without losing your bottom layer of mince.

The oven is still on and still hot at this point so having removed the oven cooked veg and the lamb steaks this was put onto a baking tray and cooked. The baking tray saves it bubbling over the oven and creating work.

You will note I have lined the loaf tin with tin foil. If you are using the same night as you cook it this is not necessary as it will come out of the tin very easily when warm. I leave mine in the tin to cool, slide it out once cold and slice into portions for freezing. Defrosts and reheats much quicker this way.

If you bulk make the cheese sauce so you have some left over you can make a cauliflower cheese or macaroni cheese. I am not a lover of cauliflower so I cooked some broccoli in the microwave while all this was happening, stirred it through the cheese sauce while both were still warm and refrigerated once cold until I wanted it. It will keep for two or three days covered.

I served ours with some oven chips cooked at the time on the halogen oven. Yes I cheated and used frozen ones, some times you just have to go with convenience. 

5 One pot mince and potatoes.

Using the second half of the mince that has been placed in another pan I just added some washed ( unpeeled) cubed potatoes and cooked for a further fifteen minutes. I love the flavour this gives the potatoes, and it also eeks out a smaller amount of meat to serve more people if need be, or to give you a portion to take to work if you have the facilities to reheat.
This makes a stand alone meal that is quick to just reheat in small batches in the microwave. People can reheat their own portion when they are hungry which is great if you have older children that are not around to eat at family mealtime.

So while this may seem like an awful lot of work in one go, think I was in the kitchen for about an hour and a half, it is a lot less time than it would take to make every dish individually.

This post is an entry for the #MeatMatters Challenge, sponsored by Simply Beef and Lamb. Learn more about the benefits of cooking and eating beef and lamb along with recipe ideas and inspiration here!

Saturday 23 March 2019

Project 365 week 12

If you want to see my completed blanket I have done a post here. 


A full day at work,  17.831 steps, 7.31 miles done. Sat in my break and knitted a hat. This set is now finished. Really like it. I appreciate it is doubtful they will be worn in matching sets but doing them anyway.


A day where the rain did not stop. I had to pick somebody up on the way home and was going back out at 5pm so did not bother with a walk in between as had neither the time or the inclination.
Met up with DD3 to attend the Unison AGM. Ran her home and came back via here to pick up the visitor and take them home at the same time. A few interesting bits and pieces of information. They also did a raffle, a free ticket for everybody that attended and DD3 won one of the prizes. She left the chocolates with me as a giveaway prize for my blog giveaways next month,


Really in rather a bad mood today. I am trying my best with a situation that is nobody's fault and every time I smooth over one issue another rears its ugly head. So to keep the peace I am needing to use a diary for recording statistics. Had hunted the shops for one but did not find one but hubby thought there was one in the house, luckily there was.  No doubt there will be another new issue that will be all my fault next week. Seriously stressing me out.


A day spent running around on somebody else's behalf, have to say that person is very grateful for it. We all went for a walk along the beach between one appointment and the next. We all clocked up just 3.25 miles and my bunion was rather sore time we finished. Need to be looking for new comfortable walking shoes, hard floors at work do them no favours. My daughter suggested Sketchers so come pay day will have a look.

Spotted the remains of this creature on the beach, the claws are huge, amongst masses and masses of other swept in debris.


Catch up with some of the housework. Made tonight's tea and had an early lunch as going to join in with an organised cycle ride, getting the pleasure of being at the back to make sure everybody was ok. Sadly only four of us on the ride but a pleasant chat with people as we cycled just over 5 miles. My fitbit did not pick it up but map my walk was set so that was fine.

Then went for a nearly two mile walk with the dog and back for an early ( for us anyway) tea as I was starving by then.

Did some knitting in the evening and got a butterfly blanket done and a small multi coloured hat. Have been messaging the SCBU so I know now what they are looking for and what they will use.


Bob decided he wanted to come round and play and make pancakes. Sadly when he got here I had the wrong coconut milk. We played on the Wii, had jacket potatoes beans and sausage for lunch and then played card games and the old favourite Uno Roboto.

In the evening hubby went to babysit the three wee ones, who were in bed, while DD1, the older two kids and I went to a prize bingo night. But when we got there the kids were not allowed to play. So they went back home and we stayed and played. Was not the best evening, for some weird reason every call was made by three of four people. Considering how many permutations are available this should not have been happening. Anyway we won nothing between us but was nice to see the community supporting a local good cause.

As of tonight I have done 366.20 miles.


A long day at work, the only picture I have taken is a little bear I knitted. About 4 inches tall, not so sure it looks like a bear but designed for prem babies. Took longer to knit than the hats I have been making.

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Friday 22 March 2019

This year I am joining in with #walk1000miles - the first 10 weeks

I decided this year to join on with #walk1000miles and while I am at it to take pictures and share the beauty of the area I walk in at the same time. I feel lucky living in Scotland, it is such a beautiful part of the world.
In fact according to Rough Guides users Scotland has been voted the most beautiful country in the world. So seems such a shame not to share my country with my readers. This will follow little Dixie dogs walks, the seasons with the snow, the sun rises and sunsets, the flora and fauna and anything else that takes my fancy,

1. Scotland
And finally, we come to the world’s most beautiful country as voted by Rough Guides readers: Scotland. Who can deny that the wild beaches, deep lochs and craggy castles are some of the most wonderful and beautiful sights in the world? Add in thousands of years of history, more delicious whisky than you could taste in a lifetime and excellent golfing, hiking, and biking trails and you've got a very special place indeed. Well done Scotland!
January was rather a wet month but lots of river walks were done when out and about with hubby and dog.


and a snowy playpark in Oban with Ziggy.

Not to mention the parks with the grandchildren. I started on 7th Jan and by the end of the month was up to 103.5 miles.

So where was I in February and what did I see?

Had headed towards Oban for ten days, where getting out with a toddler and a new born baby in the snow when the house is near the top of a steep hill with no pavements was rather difficult.

I did get out a few times by myself.

We walked down to the beach for some fresh air. She threw stones in the water and sat on the stones and we had taken her bubbles with us so she played chasing bubbles as well.

I dropped them off at toddlers and took a walk round Connel for an hour. Over the Connel Bridge and looking at the falls of Lora.

Back in Ayrshire and more walking.

Even spotted a Robert Burns postbox.

Also had a lot of days with water breaking over the sea wall.

By the end of February I was up to 230 miles.


There are four of these benches on the low green, nver spotted them before now but they don't look new.

possibly the Loch Ness monster that has been blown off course?

So there you have it, the first ten weeks and my total is now sitting at 362.20 miles.