A week in the kitchen – June 2018

I’ve had a good week in the kitchen. I still try to make as much as I can from scratch – with a few cheats – but some days/weeks I feel like I just don’t have any mojo. This week however has been a good week. It makes me happy when I manage to feed the 3 of us fairly decent home cooked food, and makes the treats feel a bit better too.


Merry Kitchen – Week beginning 4th June


Monday : Thai basil pork with sesame pak choi and rice

Tuesday: Chicken carbonara

Wednesday: Meatballs with a spicy Moroccan sauce, roasted vegetables, cous cous and yoghurt

Thursday: Smoked haddock kedgeree

Friday: Mexican bean soup with smashed tortilla chips and grated cheese

Saturday:  Takeaway pizza!

Sunday Scampi/peppered mackerel with peas and sweet potato bites


Breakfast is usually toast or cereal or a croissant at the weekend.

Lunch during the week tends to be sandwiches and soup or leftovers. At the weekend we usually have things like baked potatoes and beans, omelette, selections of wee picky bits (ham, cheese, carrot sticks, sweetcorn, crackers etc) or sometimes brunch – sausages and poached eggs. It depends what we have on and what is in the house. The wee one is fed at nursery Wednesday – Friday so I tend to cook slightly spicier or complicated things on those days.




A New View

On Friday the Boyo and I said farewell to the wee village in Fife we have called home for the past 2 years. We’ve enjoyed our time in the village but it was time for us to buy a home of our own.

We decided to move closer to Dundee, I wanted to be a bit closer to some of our friends whilst I’m on maternity leave, the village we were living in felt a bit isolated at times and as I don’t have a car having things to do and people to see nearby felt a bit more important. This way we are close to Dundee but still in a smaller community, there are handy things like a Doctor, a library, a shop and a cafe within walking distance. It will be easier for family to visit us in our new location and we are equal distance from both my work and the Boyo’s work.

I’m still hoping to keep my Guide Unit on in the village (after a maternity leave break Easter – September) but we are so, so happy to be in our new house.  It was funny, we went to view this house as it was in the location we were after but from looking at the house details online we didn’t think we would be finding it to be particularly desirable to us. We were wrong. The house took us by surprise.

A few months after that initial viewing we got the removal men in and my Mum came up to stay for a few days. On Friday a house we bought became our home.

We really could not have managed without my Mum’s help with the move – I’m very pregnant, I waddle and I’m exhausted. My Dad is coming up to help with some DIY jobs soon and the Boyos family are coming over from N. Ireland to visit next week. We are so lucky to have friends and family around us who help us in whatever way they can.

The Boyo and I now just can’t believe that we now have this view from our windows, we are a lucky, lucky pair indeed.

Thoughts on my Library Career

Today I was chatting with a colleague about the future direction of our institution and what it could mean in terms of the library service we provide and how our job roles would possibly change. We chatted about my ambitions. I’m still fairly young (31) and I’ve been working in the library sector full time for 4 years now, so I’m still relatively ‘new’ in the profession. The thing is I don’t have any huge ambitions. I like my current role – a librarian in charge of a campus library but I don’t have any ambitions to climb further up the library career path. I am fortunate that my campus is small so I get to know many of our students and staff and spend quite a bit of my week working with them. I also manage budgets, work on the technical stuff with the LMS, manage orders, help with online resources and a whole load of other behind the scenes stuff. I have a diverse job and I like that. The further up you go the less time you get to be ‘public facing’ and truthfully it is the part I like the most. Prior to becoming a librarian I worked as an EFL teacher, I like working with people, I like seeing how a little bit of help or guidance can benefit a student and help them to achieve what they have set out to do. Truthfully I always envisioned that I would work in public libraries and I still think that working in a public library would allow me to get the most satisfaction from my job. However the public libraries are slowly being eroded, budget cuts are leading to job losses and library closures and stopping libraries from being part of the fabric of a community. It makes me sad that we are losing so much and I don’t think many people will truly realise that until it is too late. So much potential to play vital role in so many aspects of peoples lives and it is being squandered.

(At the moment 16 Public Libraries in my area are facing closure, more information Here)

Anyway back onto my job discussion. Whilst I like my job and at the moment spend the vast majority of my time at work, it is not the main driving force in my life. I like walks, baking, sewing and running my Guide Unit. I like having weekends and evenings to not think about work and I think keeping that balance would be very difficult the more senior the position. I don’t like it when my life is too busy or stressful, I get migraines. I like having time to see my family and friends. We are just about to have our first baby and we are fortunate that financially we can afford for me to take the full maternity year off and then go back to work part time. Exotic holidays and transforming our new house will have to wait but we can afford (we think, only time will really tell) for us as a family to have that balance and I am fortunate that my career ambitions are for me to hopefully stay in my current role or one similar but I don’t have that hunger or that drive and I’m content. I know we are privileged because for many they have to pursue the more time consuming roles just to be able to afford to keep the roofs over their heads and food for their family. I know we are lucky but I think the luckiest thing is to feel content, to be happy and satisfied. Many changes are coming my way, both personal and in my work life but I’ll keep trying to remember what it is that really makes me happy and to firmly keep hold of that and be thankful for what I have.




P.s I know I have not blogged for a long time, there has been a lot going on but more cakes, tasty treats, walks, a new house, books and maybe even a baby will be on the way soon. I’ve been on instagram with a few snapshots if you are curious as to my winter goings on (mostly this has consisted of wishing hibernation was possible for humans). 

The End of Summer

Oops I well and truly abandoned this blog for a while. Life got busy then complicated.

At the end of the Summer The Boyo and I escaped on a much needed break for a week. Using a friends wedding in the middle of our holiday as a basis for our travel plans.

Then it was the start of term for me and we’re short staffed and as usual at this time of the year super-duper busy. I got another ear infection, squeezed in two visits to my home town, organised a baby shower, saw Paolo Nutini live at the Glasgow Summer Sessions, the Guide Unit I run started back with me as solo Guider for now, we  went on a days kayaking and goodness knows what else. I’ve been a bit under the weather recently and my appetite has suffered so I just have not been cooking as much, or with much variety recently so no tasty recipes to blog either. The October break is fast approaching and whilst I am working for most of it in Aberdeen The Boyo and I are going to escape for a long weekend to properly relax.  We have a lot going on just now but mostly it is good busy… although I have to say I do really look forward to sleep!


So our holiday in August was a trip round NE England. We split the trip into 4 parts.

Part 1. Northumberland.

On the road down South we found completely by accident a little sandy cove and enjoyed a picnic in sunshine, it was a very pleasant start to our holiday. We spent 2 nights at Doxford Hall Hotel (very nice indeed!) and used that as a base to explore some of the sights in Northumberland.

Bamburgh Castle, Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Alnmouth, Pride and Prejudice at Warkworth Castle, Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden, Barter Books in Alnwick.



Part 2. The Yorkshire Wolds

The main reason for this trip was to go to a wedding and this wedding was held at Brewery! Our friends got married on a glorious day at Wold Top Brewery and the bride even arrived by helicopter! We stayed in a log cabin at Dale Farm and we enjoyed Pie (ENORMOUS portions) at the Piebald Inn the night before the wedding in Hunmanby. We would definitely like go back another time to do some of the outdoors activities the region offers.


Part 3. York

I had never been to York and was very keen to go. We found a hotel – Hedley House Hotel (it had a car park!) – just outside the city walls and packed quite a lot into 3 days there.

I had bought a Treasure Trail in advance for the trip and would definitely recommend it, we had one for the historic city centre and it was a great way to explore. Other activities included: eating ice cream outside York Minster, Visiting & Climbing up York Minster, Riverboat tour, walk around city walls, The National Railway Museum (Free!) and The York Chocolate Story.

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Part 4. The Return Home, a night near Morpeth

After a quick pop back into York to get a Tea Loaf at Bettys for my Gran it was time to start heading North again. We wanted a hotel with a pool that was roughly half way for us so we could have a relaxing evening after a fairly busy holiday. The MacDonald Linden Hall Hotel near Morpeth fit the bill and we did indeed have a nice relaxed time. 11890979_10156037189365565_8082990998553755675_n

After a week on the road exploring parts of England we had never been to before we were quite glad to get home in time to put the kettle on and put our feet up for an hour or so before dealing with washing and all the lovely domestic stuff!

We had a wonderful and much needed break, the sun shone everyday and we only had 1 episode of rain (whilst we were trying to find somewhere to eat in York). The highlights for us were definitely The Alnwick Garden and The National Railway Museum. We spent nearly a whole day at the railway museum and would quite happily go again. It’s hard to believe that this holiday was nearly 2 months ago now and I’m definitely looking forward to the next adventure with my Boyo.


Weekend Wanderings: Conversation

Some weekends adventures are not needed, sometimes what you need is some relaxed time at home and good conversations.

On Saturday we had the longest sleep in we’ve had in ages which was nice. I watched Great British Bake Off Extra Slice over boiled eggs for breakfast. It was a very pleasant start to the day, later we had a wander around the countryside where we live. I did some housework, we ate some leftovers, it was very relaxed. In the evening I went to St. Andrews for an event with one of my all time favourite authors at the wonderful Topping & Co Bookshop. Louis De Bernieres is a brilliant author, for those of you who have only seen the film ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin‘ I urge you to read the book. It is at least a thousand times better than the film and the rest of his books are definitely worth reading and an extra bonus Louis was just as interesting to hear speak.IMG_20150815_163859 20150815_143922

On Sunday the Boyo was working, participating in an event as part of The Festival of Politics in Edinburgh. So I went to Edinburgh with him. I have to confess I spent most of the afternoon chatting away with my best friend over a croissant. I did not go to any festival events.  I met with the Boyo and a couple of other friends for a beverage and more conversation. It was a very nice day. Next year perhaps I will make more of an effort to go to some festival events but this year I am quite happy with our relaxed weekend.


Learning to Sew: August 2015

Last year I took some sewing classes and I very happily received a sewing machine as a 30th birthday present. I made bags for everyone’s Christmas (which were a big hit) then I got busy and my machine sat neglected for the best part of this year.

20141123_220203 My sewing Corner in the spare bedroom which is really my room, all my clothes, sewing stuff and girly bits and bobs are in here, there also happens to be a bed but mostly it is my room. 


One of the bags I made for Christmas gifts last year – this was for Maggie Dog. It was filled with poo bags, biscuits and tennis balls. Maggie liked her Christmas present.

I had the best of intentions; I even bought lovely material for new cushions for our couch and fabric for a project for my 2yr old niece – Miss M – and some fabric for a skirt for me. So I had quite a lot of fabric stashed away and plenty of ideas floating about my head.

20141129_163612 Part of the fabric stash. 

Finally last week I made some time and thoroughly enjoyed a couple of projects.

Photos from phone August 1547

Trying to suss out the right measurements for a 2 year old. 

Life this year has been busy and this summer in particular has been difficult but sewing took my mind off things and left me with a great sense of satisfaction – I had achieved something! Not perfect by any means but I am happy. Now what shall my next project be?

Photos from phone August 1613 I made a skirt for the little 2 year old and a matching dress and nappy for her dolly. I followed instructions I found via pinterest for all 3 items. The T-Shirts were bought in April at H&M. They are aged 2-4 years and are actually a little big for Miss M. 

Photos from phone August 1619


Dolly Nappy

Dolly Dress

In October Mum and I usually go to the BBC Good Food Show in Glasgow at the SECC. This year we are giving it a miss and going to The Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Show instead. I can’t wait!

 The Good Food Show by the way is a really great day out, just remember to set some pennies aside for some tasty treats and kitchen gadgets if you gadget inclined like I am.

So the blurb for the Hobbycraft show says :

Visit the popular Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts shows and find all the very latest supplies and ideas in the world of stitching and creative crafts with lots of special features to enjoy plus FREE workshops, talks and demonstrations.      

Mum has been before and loved it. She is very keen on cards and crafts and she used to do a lot of sewing when my sister and I were younger. I’m keen to get some ideas for Christmas projects. I’m sure it will be a good day out. It is in the SECC in Glasgow the 22nd-25th October 2015 and tickets are a very reasonable £7.50 each.

Weekend Wandering – Sunshine at Foodies and a spot of Cliff Jumping


Yes actual sunshine – what a wonderful surprise! The weather this summer hasn’t been great so to get some actual sunshine and on a Saturday was pretty good. I did get a little bit sunburnt on my neck (apparently I will never learn) but it felt so good to be out and about enjoying nice weather, eating tasty treats and spending time with very good friends. We were at the Foodies Festival  in Inverleith Park in Edinburgh on Saturday.

This year:

I sampled some blackberry gin (I bought a wee bottle, very tasty)

Ate Paella (YUM)

Shared a Twisty Chip (not as tasty as it looks),

Tasted some Peppermint Tonic (Peppermint helps my migraines so will see how this works out)

Tried Peppercorn Sauce (bought some and had it with steak for tea last night)

Loved a jar of Salted Caramel Sauce (Stashed away in the cupboard for a naughty pudding sometime)

And I bought a smoked garlic bulb (to keep vampires away)

We had a great time, Ice Cream was also consumed, obligatory when the sun is out and this year they had allowed a bit more space for the festival which was much better. My friends had brought a picnic rug which was excellent thinking on their part.

Afterwards The Boyo and I arrived back at my friends house early so we stole their dog…. well we took her for a wee walk, then enjoyed a pleasant evening eating pizza and yakking away. My friends only live an hour away but with busy lives we don’t see each other nearly as often as we should. I always enjoy good times in their company and their little 2 year old is the best wee person I know.

On Sunday we got up bright and early with my Dad in tow to go Canyoning with Nae Limits in Perthshire. We got all kitted up with full body wetsuits (not exactly designed for those well endowed in the chest area, breathing was tricky!), hard hats, life jackets, trainers and a climbing harness. Unfortunately when we got to The Falls of Bruar there was just too much water in the river. The rather dismal Scottish Summer scuppered our plans. Instead we went cliff jumping near Soldier’s Leap in Killiecrankie.

My Dad did really well jumping off the various sized cliffs. The Boyo and I did so badly with even the smallest jump that we were banned from doing any more jumps. This caused great amusement to both us and the rest of the group. The Instructors were glad we saw the funny side as really the way we were jumping we were going to hurt ourselves eventually. We did enjoy a swim in the river and watching everyone else tackle big big jumps. My shoulders are suffering today after swimming with all that kit on but the fresh water in the river was really rather nice to swim in. I love the water and I’m happy to jump, I just can’t do the required hop/leap needed to safely clear the cliff and to be honest both the Boyo and I are daft eejits anyway – well suited!

We will go Canyoning another time but I would encourage you to check out Nae Limits if you are in Perthshire and fancy some adventure. They do all sorts of activities, I’m really keen to try Tubing and Whitewater Rafting and they do mini adventures for kids too. The cafe and centre is just off the A9, South of Pitlochry and we enjoyed a good lunch after our activities, so even if you are not the adventurous (MAD) type then the cafe does good food too.


Summer 2015

A few months ago The Boyo and I sat down and mapped out our summer plans. As we both work within education we are both limited as to when we can take our holidays, so, we like to make the most of the summer months. We had weddings to go to, food festivals, roadtrips, picnics, my sister’s graduation, canyoning and kayaking, trips to see our families and an exotic holiday to look forward to.

We were at our first wedding of the summer in mid June when we got a phone call that made all those plans seem utterly insignificant. A member of The Boyos family was seriously unwell and he had to go over to Northern Ireland, where he is from, immediately. The Boyo spent most of the summer over in Northern Ireland and I hopped between Fife and The Causeway Coast.

We both came back to Scotland at the weekend and whilst there is comfort in being back in our familiar routine, The Boyos life and his family have changed forever. It has been such a hard summer and I so badly wish we could rewind the clock back and change things so this summer didn’t happen. There are some tough moments ahead.

I won’t say anymore about this, as it really is private matter for my Boyo and his family. I will just say that this summer would have been a whole lot harder if it had not been for the family dog, Maggie. Amazing how much comfort can be derived from a doggy with seemingly endless amounts of energy, and who has a fondness of tennis balls, cheese and swimming.IMG_20150628_194717 20150628_113148 (1) IMG_20150623_005552

This Weekend and The Search For Some Pals

Last night I woke up about 3am. I was too hot and I’d been having a strange unsettling dream. I struggled to get back to sleep and then I woke up again at 5.30am. The curtain pole fell out of the wall the other evening and I have not got round to fixing it yet as it involves filling in a hole in the wall. This means that for now I’m using a sheet, which is too thin and too small to combat the brilliant sunshine we are getting just now even at early-o-clock in the morning.

We started off our day with a swim which always leaves me feeling refreshed and awake, every time I tell myself I should do this more often and yet somehow I never quite manage to make it a habit.

I am crabbit today though. I’m in my office and the sun is shining so I really want to be outside doing something nice. We were supposed to be flying to Thailand today but as you may have gathered via Instagram and my last post we are spending a lot of time in Northern Ireland just now with my Boyos family. I can’t really say more without invading the privacy of everyone, so for once I’m learning to censor myself and say less. (On another note do any of you suffer from runaway talking? I quite often say way more than I mean to because I get all awkward and forget to stop talking). Anyway the family situation meant that a holiday just now was absolutely out of the question, it was the right decision and whilst I really wish circumstances could be different, not for the purposes of our holiday but for the health and happiness of everyone involved, they are not.

It does mean I now have a weekend on my home on my own as The Boyo travels back to N.I tomorrow. My best friend is working and my other friends live too far away to arrange something at the last minute like this. I’m also a bit tetchy anyway with everything that is going on so I probably would not be the best company. It has got me thinking though about friendships.

I met 3 of my closest friends at University. We all shared the same flat in the halls of residence and then on and off we lived with each other during our undergraduate years. One lives an hour away from me, the other two live further away. We communicate nearly everyday on Whatsapp. My other closest friend is from School and she lives in my hometown which is a 2.5 hour drive from Fife. I have lots of other friends from University (both times), from my various jobs (Scotland and Hong Kong) and from my hometown but we all live fairly far apart. What I don’t really have are local friends.

Just how do you go about making friends when you are in your 30s? For example, this weekend when I’m on my own, the ideal thing would be to call up a pal and go for coffee (and cake or ice cream). However I just don’t have those friends locally to do this with.

I do an exercise class but I’m too shy to just strike up conversations with quite a large group of ladies.

I don’t have children so going to groups to meet other Mums is out because I am not one.

I do work full-time and I get on well with my colleagues but I have not made the sort of friends where we go for coffee together here.

I volunteer – I am a Girl Guide Leader and that gets me out the house 1 evening a week, I have a small unit of 12 girls and I love doing this but at the moment I’m the sole leader.

I know a few of My Boyo’s work friends but without him around I probably would not feel comfortable arranging a meet up.

I have ways of occupying my time but it would be nice to just be able to call someone up and go for coffee, or the cinema or anything really. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit shy and I can be a bit awkward initially – even when you do get to know me I certainly have plenty of faults! There are plenty of people who I’m sure are in the same boat, moving to be in a relationship or for work or for other reasons.

Anyway I’m hoping this weekend to get a little sewing project done, I have lots of admin for my Guide Unit to do and I have some errands to run so I’m sure I will be kept occupied for the most part.

What are your weekend plans? And any advice on finding friends?



Weekend Wandering – Splashing Around on the Causeway Coast

At the moment I’m hopping between work in Fife and Northern Ireland, where my Boyo is from. He is staying over there just now with his family and I’m flying over to spend weekends with them. The family includes a very lovely dog called Maggie.

Maggie likes to get a good daily walk. The Boyo is lucky that he grew up right on the North Coast and has wonderful beaches, cliff top paths, ruined castles and of course the Giants Causeway right on his doorstep over there. Plenty of lovely places for walks, especially when the weather is fine. On Sunday it was even warm enough for both Maggie and I to enjoy splashing around at Portballintrae.



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