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Thursday, 31 December 2009

A New Year

It doesn’t seem that long ago that during this time of the year I would be swatting up for all of my exams. Hogmanay would be the last hurrah for me, and by the beginning of January I would be writing lists of books I should have read during the term, gathering resources and furiously taking notes. The end of summer would always signify a new start, as that was the start of a new term. Instead of New Years resolutions I would claim to my Mother that I would spend twice as much time in the library or start essays when titles were confirmed with lecturers.
Now when i can go out and spend the night dancing i just dont want to.  Tonight i will bring in the bells then go to bed!  Thats it, nothing in between, just some nibbles with The Husband and an early night!

Have a perfect end to 2009,
lots of love and luck in the New Year!
x x x

Summer holidays

Although I am not suffering from any kind of bleak mid winter mood I am already looking forward to spring and summer. I do adore winter, and most definitely autumn, as it’s the season we got married in, I do, however feel utterly renewed and delight in spring.
I love the buds coming out to say hello to all of the baby animals, I love the prospect of visiting friends on the farm, and I love, love, love hill walking. And, seeing as I'm an amateur, a total novice, I really can only venture out in very predictable and sunny weather.

The DH and I have been excitedly scrolling the web for lovely Lake District cottages that accept teeny tiny mostly well behaved pups! We have found a few and as we visited the Lakes for our holidays last year we are quite quizzed up. DH spent a lot of time during army training in that part of the country, and I have a work colleague who has a cottage down there too, so I have a plethora of knowledge to call upon when searching alone. Although we are both extremely excited, it really is normally me who does most of the searching for these things. Albeit, it is me that tends to get excited about events a good six months before normal people would!
Last year we had the most fantastic time eating cake and visiting tea rooms in the Lakes. The only teeny tiny disappointment was that we didn’t quite have enough time to visit the magical Beatrix Potter museum! A very small disappointment in the grand scheme of things even if I do say so myself!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Too many sweets

I am fit to burst. I've been gorging on pink, red, brown and green Quality Streets as well as various other delights from my Christmas stocking. 
I am very fond of my Nigella style Puddini's!!

Although I love and embrace the feeling of 'plenty' in my Christmas home-decorating with all of the cakes and bakes that I do only encourages the Must Not Waste feeling i was brought up with-and therefore encourages me to nibble!

Little chocolate white mice sneaked onto the cake stand to try out the Christmassy cupcakes.These were made as a chocolate flavoured buttery biscuit topped with white chocolate, jelly holly leaves and icing berries.

I've most defiantly neglected all house keeping duties and have been serving cheese, biscuits, grapes and celery for supper along with the normal accompaniments. I really do know that we all have to venture to the nearest super market or into town for proper food but none of us can gather the strength to go anywhere near any sale shoppers.

In this house hold we simply have no desire to put ourselves through that stress; however I really can understand why some people do it for some items. I understand things for your home being bought at this time, and I can even understand items that are for children, but honestly, I could never wish for say, an item of clothing that much!!  When I was younger I used to work in a clothing shop which would simply go crazy at Christmas time....or should i say, Sale Time.  I have been looking at a couple of things to get my little baby neice which is tucked up safe in her Mummys tummy at the moment-but strictly via the internet!!
We really are missing out though. All of that exercise from ducking and diving, lifting, heaving, dragging, pulling and all the other work involved in shopping this season.

That is why we have planned tomorrow. We will be heading out to Haddo House, one of the loveliest places I can think of. We are so lucky to live surrounded by all of the history, gardens and buildings that we are. Although it may not seem picnic weather, we have ours planned. Soup, pre-buttered up rolls, and another flask of hot tea….ah heaven!! And you know what? If it all goes wrong, there’s a tea room there!
Even if little Daisy will have to sulk outside!
And at very least we can comfort ourselves in the knowledge that the Dog is being as unhealthy as us....
She did get spoiled on Christmas morning...

How cute are these?

They didn't stay around for too long!!

The Simple Pleasures

One of the things that makes me happiest is rummaging. I adore charity shops, antiquarian shops, antique shops, fairs, fetes and anything of the sort! My favourite things, besides brown paper packages tied up with string, most certainly are china and books.

As a librarian the latter is easily explained. I also did history- so I spent most of my undergraduate years rummaging through monographs and periodicals in the basement of the library desperately seeking primary sources. My love of china has been with me since I was a little girl. I was the girliest of little girls and played with my plastic china tea set all of the time. My Sylvanian Families also had little tea sets, as did my Polly Pockets and all my tiny dollies!

I always think of my Granny when I go looking for my tea sets, either in my china cabinet or in a shop. I can always remember her setting places at the big wooden table in the kitchen of the tenement flat she lived in. It was the most beautiful home you can think of, a proper old fashioned on with a giant kitchen and Sheila’s Maid hanging above you as you nibbled on Victoria sponge.

I often think that i want to prepare a home like that for my family. We can not wait to have children of our own, and i think when everyone gets to the broody stage they know what kind of nest they want to make for their family. I know that ours will be like the home of my Granny.

Panto Season

I've just been speaking to my lovely aunty who threw her house open for Christmas Day to the whole family. I was (quite frankly) bragging about my organisation skills and the tickets id already bought for next year’s pantomime. In Aberdeen, where we are, the Christmas Eve panto tickets go on sale very, very early and a rush always ensues for the best seats. It will be Sleeping Beauty next year, which I am extra and especially excited for as it is my favourite Fairy Tale and always has been. My best friends remember that my tiara on our wedding day was from the Kirsty Kelly for Disney range, in the Princess Aurora style.

The panto we saw this year was Cinderella, and it was such a delight. There is nothing I love more than trekking over the cobbles, past the old gas style lamps up to the His Majesty’s Theatre.  I think the lamps are one of the reasons i can fall easily into the magical land of Narnia.
The theatre is gorgeous and evokes lots of memories for me, as I always visited there at Christmas Eve since I was a little girl. I look forward to being able to take our children there one day, and sitting with them on my lap. Seeing their little faces fill with excitement as we tread the same path from the restaurant to the glowing lights, picking up our programme and sweets, bouncing around in anticipation.

I just know that any little girl we have will only want to be dressed in a fairy tale costume and any boy will take it upon himself to inform all around him that the baddy is indeed behind the good fairy!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Post Christmas pondering

Well, what a lovely Christmas was had by all in the HH household! I’ve had the bang of drums (of the band hero kind), the shouts from ‘bop-it’, and the constant dings and chimes of various hand held consoles! This, I will just remind you, is from a home where no little ones live. My darling husband and I have been making all of this noise by ourselves!!

We’ve had a couple of visitors, and we ourselves in turn have made a few visits, but I’ve loved having this time to ourselves. I remember being in Luing this time last year. There was the excitement of Catherine expecting a baby- now little baby Richard, there was tiny little Robert teetering around on his unsteady legs, and there was the excitement of a new year just around the corner.

It’s very odd to think of what we expected to achieve by this time last year. I don’t ever really write it down- mostly as I am certainly the kind of person to run out of steam before March, but I also think its best not to write it down as you can always follow a different path. A happy, wonderful path, but a slightly different one never the less. We had thought we would be blessed with a baby and that I would be in full time employment. However, I love my job-even if it is part time. It is working in a public library, as opposed to an academic one, which I thought would be my dream job. We also are lucky enough to have made the decision not to try for a little one, and so be disappointed by the baby free way we’re going into the New Year.

The things I’m looking forward to in 2010 are my new little Niece by my DH’s sister Nicola. She is ready to pop and we are desperately hoping that the snow clears for them making their way to the hospital when the time comes. On a personal note, we are hoping for our own little miracle to happen this year. We are sure that we will be making steps for having our own baby and I’m proud that we are making the usual promise of being healthier etc… etc…, but we know we will stick to it as we need to keep ourselves in excellent health, especially me as I will be carrying someone who will have no power over all of the rubbish I normally put into my body!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Snowy Days Again

We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand... and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late.
Marie Beyon Ray

Wow, the snow has travelled up north at last, and boy is it heavy!!
Squeals of delight filled the house first thing this morning when my beloved opened the curtains and shouted for me. I was so excited!!! After seeing all of the lovely posts about snow, I felt incredibly left out, and so I’m very happy to report about the snow from my neck of the woods!!!

Mark left the house in a great big coat this morning all ready for the day ahead while I had an extra big pot of tea and got ready for the house to be left quiet and still for most of the day so I could give the puppy Daisy an extra long walk. She was ever so excited when she popped her head out of the door, and she proceeded to pull me along the path until we got to the trees and she was eventually let off of her lead in the park.

We walked all around the park viewing the snowy feilds and tree's beautifully highlighted with all of the snow.  The paths were very empty and we hardly passed anybody else.  You can tell I'm a dog walker when i can proudly say that I venture outside in the snow!

It was soup weather-thats for sure, and so when I got home it was the first thing I got ready for Marks tea. It is so tiring walking through snow, so Daisy got a warm bath, a blow dry and went straight to bed!!! I nearly followed suit but lit lots of candles, and looked out lots of cosy blankets. I was very happy when Mark got home safely, as I always worry about the roads, and the crazy drivers. 

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Feeling ever so poorly

The whole country seems to be beside themselves with excitement caused by all of the lovely snow.... I am however snuggled up in bed on the most awful of days.

It is ever so rainy, and blustery, so Daisy and I are wrapped under two duvets and settled upon a mountain of soft pillows!!! Mark has been feeling terrible, as I'm ill and there doesn't seem to be a thing he can do. The poor thing has been hurrying around with bowls of soup, and little slices of some cake I made before the weekend, and the start of this dreadful cold.

I have to admit, I have quite liked that we've been curled up while the wind is howling outside, but I do wish Mark wouldn't worry! I was up all night long, the night before last, and my other half didn't get five minutes sleep. I think that his boss understands though, as Mark popped home in between meetings with some chocolate buttons his boss got for me!!! I knew those cupcakes I made for everyone in the office would be a good idea.

However, while my own, ever-so-handsome, nurse has been out at his nine to five, I did get quite a lot of sleep and even managed to squeeze in two of my favourite films. Mark put them beside the television for me, so I wouldn't even have to venture as far as the living room for the DVD’s. So the afternoon was spent with Mary Poppins and my friends from The Holiday. Oooh I do love that film, and would simply love to have a home like Iris. It is so extremely beautiful.

I have been feeling so awful about being home and not doing anything, so I made an extra yummy roast chicken dinner for Mark coming home. I also think it set me up for feeling better, as I adore the smell of the roast from my kitchen. I don't think there is anything better.

Anyway, for now I think I will return to a good book, perhaps that copy of Pride and Prejudice we found in the second hand book shop in Oban......then I can dream lovely dreams with Mark as a kind Mr Bingley looking after the eldest Miss Bennet.

Luing adventures and too little time

 Oh dear, it seems as if Mark and I only just set off to the Isle of Luing to visit one of our dearest friends. Now we are back in Aberdeen and our home seems so quiet and empty. I feel as if my heart will break i am so far from Catherine and her lovely family. When we were in Luing there was so much to do, we had to feed the chickens each day, and make visits all over the Isle, now i'm at home and i feel as if i still need to be baking enough to feed a small army.  It was an amazing time and one of deep thought.  Our family really don't have a lot of time to ourselves to really just sit and think in the wide open.  It was great to go somewhere to quiet and still and have this time to ourselves.  It was an extra advantage that we did it at the start of a new year where we could promise ourselves we would continue to take that time for ourselves.

Catherine invited us over to the beautiful Isle of Luing, and after Christmas time and how busy we have been for the latter half of 2008 it seemed like the perfect idea. Our wedding photographs haven't arrived yet, so as Catherine was one of the most dutiful bridesmaids i could ever be lucky enough to have, she had plenty of beautiful pictures to keep me delighted and fill all of the gorgeous frames that were given as wedding presents. I have to say that i am always excited when Catherine takes a trip to Aberdeen, as i can get baking and bring out my lovely tea sets which stay hidden away all too often.
Our scrummy cake....and all of the trimmings.

 Our friends stay in the most beautiful home, as you can see, and we're hoping to get lots of trips to see them as Summer draws nearer. That way i can help Catherine settle in more, as although it will have been a year that they've stayed there. as a busy Mother, there never seems to be any end to some jobs! Mark and I took delight in making a meal for Catherine and her family. We started off with some potatoe skins, filled with lots of naughty cheese and ham, then we had some of Marks delicious lasagna, and then our cake for pudding.

Daisy had so much fun exploring the Island, she has never been able to run about so much in her life. She was terrible on a number of occasions and came running back to me covered in mud! It was lovely to be able to let her off and see her explore all around.

While in Luing Catherine and I got baking while the boys went out and looked after the farm. These are some of the cows that Mark was feeding each morning. Poor Mark isn't so used to all the work he did, but it has made him ever so healthy, and i guess will be a wonderful way to keep up all of those New Year promises. I do love Mary Poppins title for those kinds of promise- Pie Crust Promises, easily made, easily broken!
The Island is so amazing, its a completely different way of living. I wish i did more walking around as there was so much to see.

The Husband and I did have some time to ourselves. We looked about in an old slate quarry and visited Oban a couple of times. I love all of the second hand shops there as i love some of the books you can find, and they do seem to have many more independent shops which i just adore. We don't seem to have as many of those in Aberdeen. Mark bought me lots of old books about housekeeping which i love. They are by Elizabeth Craig, who i think must have been the Martha Stewart of her day! He also bought be the most beautiful set for doing my nails. Its pink and floral-he knows how to please a girl!
Catherine has promised to visit us soon, which i am excited about, and until then i think i will just have to run up a rather large phone bill

Thursday, 22 January 2009

When did it ever change?

Homemaking, put simply, is an art. Although it has been downgraded by successive generations, we should remember that it is one of the most important tasks you will ever do in your whole life. I don't mean this in a domestic goddess way, and i definitely never want to tell anybody how they should or shouldn't act.

I do mean, however, that there are some things which we hurry to do. I must admit there was a time when i avoided tidying up for the longest periods of time. However, it should be remembered that your home is a sanctuary, and it is where you feel safe. Out of the whole wide world, which we really don't have control over, we can control our own homely environment.

This is why homemaking is an art. The way you make visitors welcome, the scent in your own living space, the baking and the crafting. These things make us individual, and should never be overlooked.

This space is mine, yet you are all so very welcome to pop by any time you wish to. For this is a part of my haven, my homemaking heaven.