Wednesday 25 November 2020

Every Day Is An Adventure

 It has been a week since my last blog post, I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by.  I have been filling my days well despite the terrible weather outside.  Finally, we woke this morning to no rain so I am hopeful that we will be able to get out for a good walk.  We have had some terrible weather this past week certainly not conducive to a walk by the sea.  A couple of storms have also hit, making it impossible for the ferry to run.  It seems very early in the season so I am truly thankful that we have a good store cupboard.  

The Christmas cake has now been made, I really enjoyed the process.  The smells are so evocative of Christmas with the aromatic spices and fruit.  The dried fruits were left to soak overnight before all the wet ingredients were added.

Another thing ticked off the list.  It is now wrapped ready for the occasional feed of brandy.  The Christmas music we are putting on more and more and we are watching the occasional Christmas film.  The preparations are coming along nicely with some secret craft work still going on.  I must admit I am really enjoying the process.  We intend to get the decorations out early next week and start to sort them out.  We have so many that really do need to be passed onto others as we are now in a much smaller home.

Pyrography is a traditional folk art which we have started to explore.  So over the past few days we have been experimenting on some kindling and then progressed to a few wooden spoons.  They are going to be attached to some cookie mix and used as gifts.  Whilst not brilliant we did enjoy the process and they are made with love.

The Christmas cards have now all been made and written, even the stamps added so the list is going down quite nicely.  I intend to post them a little earlier than usual as I anticipate a surge in postage.  With all the new government announcements about the festive period I am sure a lot of people will feel better about what they are allowed to do.  It was the uncertainty that was upsetting people.  Not everyone is going to be happy but at least we have guidelines now.  

I have been enjoying going through some of my old recipe books looking for some familiar recipes but also something new to add to the repertoire.  I came across a few new additions that I want to try.  I have also started a new jigsaw puzzle that passes away the time.  I have been experimenting with paints both water colours and acrylic and again enjoying the process.  I love the idea of mix media projects both paint and sewing which I am experimenting with a little.  Have you tried something new lately?  Every day is an adventure as I fill my day with a new craft project and the joy that brings.

Time is running away with me once again so I will leave you for now and get on trying to tick off my endless list of jobs awaiting me.  Take care and stay safe in these very uncertain times.

See you soon.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Using The Store Cupboard

The weather here at the moment is atrocious, rain on rain.  Even the soak aways are flooding, which is not good, we must dig some more out once we get some dry weather.  The stove is lit and it is warm and cosy in our little cottage.  I am thankful that we don't need to go out and that we have plenty to keep us occupied.  I have some Christmas music playing in the background, a little early I know but good for the soul.  I have just finished making my Christmas cards so that is another tick off the list.

We went into Stornoway Monday to do a shop, we had run out of fresh fruit and vegetables.  We had managed for a few days using frozen and the store cupboard but nothing beats the taste of fresh.  I made an amazing spaghetti sauce using the store cupboard, passata , sweetcorn, mushrooms, dried basil, dried garlic granules and frozen minced beef.  It made for a very tasty meal, along with some cheesy garlic bread from the freezer.

A little dried parsley added to the top added to both the flavour and the presentation.

Another store cupboard and freezer meal was a steak pie using tinned stewed steak and frozen puff pastry.  A apple pie was also made with cinnamon and raisons added to the tinned apples.  The remaining pastry was used to make some cheese straws to go along with some soup.

A few tasty meals to get us by until the shopping was done again and for that I am truly thankful.  There was enough apple to make a little pot of apple sauce to go with our  roast pork dinner on Sunday.

The sage and onion stuffing was out of a packet too.  I usually like to make my own but no onion or bread so that was a non starter.  It is quite amazing how using the store cupboard can make great meals.  It is just a matter of experimenting with different ingredients and making the most of what you have.  I have found that herbs and spices can really enhance any meal.

I would be interested to know how you use your store cupboard.

I thank you for your lovely and uplifting anniversary wishes, it was so kind of you and added to our wonderful day of celebration.  The stores in Stornoway are starting to decorate their windows for the festive season so it will be nice to share them with you the next time I go into town.  We are keeping close to home as much as possible there have been a couple of cases of Covid in our area and people isolating due to close contact.  My heart goes out to all those affected, it is such worrying times.  There have been so many mixed messages about Christmas gatherings that we finally took the decision to cancel our break away this morning.  We were supposed to be renting a log cabin in Aviemore in the Cairngorms along with our middle daughter and her little family.  There is always next year...

Hope all is well with you.  Take care and stay safe.

See you soon.

Sunday 15 November 2020

Wedding Anniversary Celebrations

 Gerard and I celebrated our wedding anniversary yesterday, 39 years of happy marriage.  We have had our differences over the years and we have both had to work hard at our marriage but fundamentally we have a strong marriage and for that I am truly thankful.  We exchanged cards and gifts and then I cooked us a steak dinner last night which we had with a glass of wine.  Very simple but satisfying.

This is the leather bound notebook that Gerard chose for me, I LOVE IT.

For My Wife

_______Never Forget That________

I Love You

If I could give you one thing in life

I would give you the ability to see

Yourself through my eyes

Only then would you realize

How special you are to me.

We spent some quality time together looking at our wedding photos and reminiscing about some of the family holidays we have had and places we have seen.  It was lovely to think back on Christmas's past and the wonderful experiences we have been able to give to our children and grandchildren.  Some of the simplest things have been the best.  This pandemic is changing life as we know it and with this in mind it could just be that we look at changing some of our traditions and expectations of the holiday season.  Paring back doesn't necessarily mean not good.  Putting Christ back into Christmas can only be a good thing and whilst I will still decorate with some of my treasures and enjoy the season.  Outings will be at a minimum as will visitors to our little cottage.  We will  fill the season with lots of other feel good things in different ways.  Doorstep visits with a token gift for friends and neighbours.  Extra food bank donations.  Hats for the homeless.

We have no definite plans as yet, life is full of uncertainty due to the pandemic.  But, one thing is certain our hearts will be full of love for the family and friends that we have and the love that Gerard and I share for each other.  We will celebrate Christmas in some form and be thankful for it.

Have you made any plans yet?

Take care and stay safe.

See you soon.

Thursday 12 November 2020

Filling My Days

 My goodness how time has flown these past few days.  I have been keeping myself busy indoors in our cosy cottage as the weather is so dreich outside.  There was quite the storm yesterday, bringing wind and rain and hardly any light at all.  It also stopped the ferry from running both from Ullapool and from Skye to Harris.  Thankfully it is looking a little better today and quite normal for this time of year.  Hot soup was on the agenda this time leek and sweet potato along with cheese and mustard scones.

It was warm and tasty and the scones very moreish.  I have enough for a few days so it will make some nice lunches.

I have spent some time felting, not sure that I have got the hang of it properly as I keep making my fingers bleed but I did mange to achieve a few small flowers.  I am happy with them and have used them to embellish a few items that I want for gifts.  These are certainly made with love.

Whilst the sewing machine was out I added another couple of stockings.  They are quite luxurious as I used tweed topped with a sumptuous velvet and a silk tassel.  A great addition for our bedroom to hang on the bedstead.

I have had a sort out of my fabric basket and found some more rather sumptuous fabric to make a couple more.  I have put it to one side for another day. 

I filled a couple of hours tying chocolates to a wire ring to make  an edible wreath.  It was fun and I was able to do it watching a Christmas film, a little predictable but nice for the season.  I used curling ribbon so the end result is certainly very retro but it will be perfect for the person that I have in  mind.

The remaining tub of chocolates were made into a little bouquet, which will make a nice addition to a gift.

I have found that doing a few little things each day relieves the pressure later (nearer Christmas) and gives me purpose, filling my days with joy.  The chocolates were attached to some  kebab sticks and wrapped in voile to make them look more like flowers.  Finally wrapped in cellophane and tissue paper with an added bow.

The mincemeat and beetroot from my previous post were not done in a water bath as it is not necessary due to the vinegar or alcohol.

The recipe for the lemon drizzle cake is a Mary Berry recipe that you can get via Google, hope that helps.  I can tell you that it is very tasty.

Good news for the Western Isles as from Friday we have a reduction in restrictions, we are now once again allowed to visit each others homes.  There are limitations to numbers and such but good news none the less.

Hope all is well with you and in your part of the World.  Take care and stay safe.

See you soon.

Monday 9 November 2020


Using the traditional Delia Smiths recipe book and some Christmas music in the background Saturday was spent in the kitchen.  Overnight I had fruit soaking in three different bowls one for the puddings and two for mincemeat.

 A traditional Christmas mincemeat along with a cherry and walnut mincemeat with brandy.  One is obviously soaked in brady the other cooked on a low heat in the oven for a couple of hours.  Both are good but I must admit I do prefer the cherry and walnut one.

Another job ticked off the list.  The puddings made a little earlier than usual as traditionally they are made on stir up Sunday which is the last Sunday before Advent.  I also had some beetroot on the hob to simmer ready for pickling.

A few shallots were added and there are now an additional 4 jars ready to go into hampers.  What a great thing the slow cooker/crock pot.  Whilst I was busy I had the slow cooker going cooking up a beef and ale casserole, using the ale left over from the puddings.  It made the perfect meal for the end of a busy day and also a great addition to the freezer.  I like to keep the freezer topped up ad it always has a ready meal for those busy days in it.

Served with cranberries and sunflower and pumpkin seed bread.  I can report it was delicious.  It was followed by apple crumble, one topped with pecans for me.  A real treat, I love nuts of any kind.

Finally a lemon drizzle cake was popped into the oven so we have something to cut into during the week. 

I have unpacked, caught up with the laundry and given our little cottage a good dusting.  It feels good to be home and back into a routine.  Beatrice we live on the Isle of Lewis which is an Island off the West Coast of Scotland and travelled down to Lincolnshire in England which is a 2 and a half hour ferry ride and then a 10 hour drive plus stopping times for both us and the dog.  There were some restrictions in place but Lincolnshire was not a high risk area.  Lockdown happened in England as we returned and travel restrictions started in Scotland on our return.  We feel that it was a trip that was needed for all of us for peace of mind and our mental health.  We can now go on knowing that my parents are safe and well and ready for both Christmas and the Winter months.

I have made a start on catching up with you all and will endeavour to visit you soon.  I have an ever growing list of tasks to get through over the next week or so and lots of craft projects I want to get going on.  So, I will finish for now with a thank you for your visit to my humble blog and for your uplifting comments.  Stay safe and well wherever you are in the World, this pandemic is not going away anytime soon.

See you soon.

Thursday 5 November 2020

The Wanderer Returns

 I am back from our trip, tired but feeling good.  With all the new restrictions around Covid it was good to see my parents and set them up for the Winter.  They are both doing well and it was a delight to spend some quality time with them.  They have ample food both in the store cupboard and the freezer.  My niece goes every week and either takes my Mum to the supermarket or does a shop for them, she has been so good.  The tree and decorations are now down from the attic so they can decorate when they are ready.  The dogs have been groomed and toe nails cut and another home appointment set up for them so another thing less to worry about.  The garden is ready for the Winter and the outside water tap lagged.  I felt good leaving them knowing that all is well.

Our only trip out was to the Garden Centre which is annual event for us although this time we didn't eat out.  We did however, enjoy the wonderful displays. We had such a fun morning.

There was so much to see, display after display of decor and gifts galore.  I did manage to finish off my shopping without breaking the bank.  It was a little unusual to see all the face masks and not the shining faces of the pleasure as people wandered around.  Good in many ways too that there was not the crowds but maybe that was because we were so early.  

I have made a start on the unpacking and the laundry but there is still a way to go.  Not least finishing off some of the chutneys and pickles that I like to make at this time of year.  It is so wonderful to be back on the Island and in our little cottage, Home Sweet Home and where our hearts are.  I will be around to visit you all as soon as I have caught up.  But, in the meantime take care and stay strong.

See you soon.