"Although I speak from my own experience, I feel that no one has the right to impose his or her beliefs on another person. I will not propose to you that my way is best. The decision is up to you. If you find some point which may be suitable for you, then you can carry out experiments for yourself. If you find that it is off no use, then you can discard it." Dalai Lama...

Friday, 30 October 2009

Art appreciation :-)

I took Emily along for a session of cranial osteopathy this morning.It meant getting up and out for 10.30 . I know this should not be a problem,plenty of time to get up at 9.00 and be out on time ,surely ? Well, add in to the equation very long hair that hasn't been brushed for three days and a tired and emotional Emily and the process took rather longer than anticipated:-/

By the time we left the house good spirits were restored, thankfully!

We got to the clinic on time and sat in the waiting room. As we had a few minutes to wait Emily took out one of her notebooks(at least one is taken on any outing)and started going through it to find a clean page.There were many pages of drawings of the "lady's" she likes to draw and also (a new departure) a comic strip story about one of them ,and a few pages full of her stories.She eventually found a clean page. The lady sitting next to me had obviously watched her go through the book,she lent over to me and with a smile said,

"I  do believe she will make her living doing that" I answered that I believed that too:-) She went on to tell us about her son, a graphic designer, who has worked for some top companies.She said that when he was about Emily's age he was the same and would draw the same things over and over again.He had his own style and a passion for doing it. At school coming up to A level exams, the art teacher told the parents that he would never be able to earn a living from it!

She was very taken with Emily's individual style.She said so many people see good drawing as art and that there is so much more to it than being able to draw a figure perfectly or to be able to copy a picture.True individuality is much rarer than people who can draw well.She encouraged Emily to keep following her passion and to believe in herself.

She made my day! I hope Emily took something from the conversation and that she might think twice before comparing her endeavours to other peoples work.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A bargain to solve a problem.

Some time ago I began the great declutter project! The aim was to clear any unused furniture, toy’s (with Milly's permission) basically anything that wasn't being used and that would be unlikely to be used.I wanted to ensure every part of every room was used to it's full potential .I was quite ruthless and it involved changing the way we used all the rooms downstairs.In the dining room I made this little area for Emily to use with things out on the shelves so she could see (and hopefully) be inspired:-)

It worked quite well initially, but the biggest problem was the unit was really low down and uncomfortable to actually work on.

It has been quite a while since that was set up. Now that I have finished in the other rooms, I revisited this area. I decided we needed a craft type area, with space for masterpieces to be written and illustrated. We went off today to Impact housing(recycled furniture) and low and behold the perfect desk for £20!A couple of hours later we had it cleaned down and set up with the tools of the trade for a storyteller:-)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Hearty autumn soup.

I have been very pleasantly surprised by the recipes I have been using from weightwatchers.Just had a lovely thick warming soup for lunch and thought I would share it:-)

This is my version of the recipe.The wightwatchers one uses curry powder and spray oil for a no point soup but I prefer the paste as I think it gives a deeper flavour and  I count my version as one point.

1 butternut squash peeled and chopped into small cubes
2 red onions peeled and quartered
mix in a large bowl with a couple teaspoons of dried rosemary and a tablespoon of olive oil
spread onto a roasting tray and bake in the oven (around 190 in my fan oven) for 45 mins,
dont worry if it browns a bit this will add to the flavour.

When cooked, place in a saucepan.I then mix stock using veg stock cubes and a couple of tablespoons of Pataks balti paste.The amount of stock varies depending on the size of squash but I put in enough to cover the veg by a couple of inches.Bring to the boil and then simmer for a round 20 mins,blitz with a hand blender and enjoy:-)

Will add some more at a later date.I am making a pearl barley chicken rissoto tonight, so if it is any good I will add it here xx

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Holiday photo post.

The horrible caravan park that looked a bit like a concentration camp had a rather lovely beach 500 metres away =D
 Bear in mind that most folk walking had three layers on.She went prepared with cossie on, got to the beach, threw off her clothes and off she went.
Milly in heaven.

A visit to Kelburn Castle.After lunch we went exploring,The Secret Forest was a big hit:-)Whilst exploring the adventure playground Tom managed to get stuck on a platform at one point.She bravely faced her fears!Great fun was had in and out of fairy houses and mazes within the forest.We then walked around the grounds and ended up in the playbarn which at first glance looked very small but they had packed a great deal of fun into a small space.We had it to oursleves and when Emily couldn't face going down the death slide Tom just "had" to go on to help her summon the courage and then just "had " to have a go herself:-) Luckily we had the place to our selves and Alan even had a go.Just looked at this in preview and it is all going a bit strange!Not liking this new blogger image adding need to work it out but have no time now:-/

The outside of the castle had amazing graffitti on it.I think you would either love it or hate it.I loved it!

A train trip to the "Big city" for us country dwellers.Glasgow had Emily open mouthed at all the buildings and  enormous shops and hustle and bustle.We are definatley country folk.Tom loved it! We had made the trip specially for her and could have done with many more hours to explore the shops.Didn't get to see more than the shopping centre but may plan a trip in the future to see more of Glasgow.

Alan had seen some info about a Windfarm visitor center he thought would be interesting.The girls didn't agree:-) Tom very kindly offered to stay with Emily and they headed off to the beach whilst we took a longer drive than anticipated (one of those detours that always seem to occur on any journey we take!) really want to invest in a sat nav but Al won't hear of it,his argument is that we always get there in the end and don't need to spend so much money:-/
As it turned out it was quite an interesting visit,and a lovely site to walk amongst the turbines.Amazing how quiet they are.

Went to Pirate petes playbarn in Ayr and it was massive but Milly didn't really enjoy it.She was unhappy that two toddlers had shouted at her and then was concerned in case she went in to the wrong areas and went into the under fives play area by mistake:-/ Took a couple of walkrounds to show her she couldn't as it was all netted off but by then she had been put off.So out we went and found this outside for free!She played for over an hour and made a new friend! Tom sat with us chatting but couldn't resist trying some of the equipment out.


On the last morning we decided to visit another play area at Ardrossen to shake of the cobwebs before travelling.We had passed it a few times as we had been going out on day trips and she had wanted to go to  it.This trip involved a rather longer detour that we normally manage!!

Within half an hour of being home! PJ'S on and out on the swing making up stories:-)

Friday, 23 October 2009

Ayrshire Holiday..

We spent a week away at the beginning of the month in Saltcoats at the Park Resorts caravan Park. I can say little about the park that is positive! The staff we spoke to on reception were very friendly so it wasn't all bad :-/

To be honest I wasn't expecting luxury, the holiday was paid for using Tesco vouchers and we knew it was going to be basic accommodation. We had been keen to go to Edinburgh but our options for places to go in Scotland were limited to two sites, one of which didn't have heated caravans available. So Saltcaots it was.

The caravan was adequate. It was mainly just a base to explore the area and apart from Alan and Emily( I went once and the state of the changing rooms ensured I didn't venture there again!) using the swimming pool we didn't spend too much time on the actual site.

Tom came with us and brought along Brendan the guitar:-) He was very quiet during this holiday though =D

It was a very relaxed holiday, quiet mornings before setting out and about for the day and most nights we were all going to bed by 10ish.I was concerned that it was tooo quiet for Tom! The first couple of nights Milly's behaviour was really quite extreme,really hard to handle it and I lost my temper!Got past it and the rest of the week was fine..

 We enjoyed a few games of Monopoly. Tom (with Emily as her team member) was the winner of the week with the highest total (remind me what it was again Tom!) Tom showed us a card game we hadn't played before called Go fish. We showed Tom Black jack and she had the idea to search for some poker chips and have a Las Vegas type game.

In the end we couldn't find them but Al got some coppers from the arcade change machine and we used them as our stake:-) Good fun and Tom was again overall winner. Alan then split the leftover money, so they both got to keep the coppers.

I have some pictures but they are on Emily's laptop (Tom had taken some with her camera when mine ran out of batteries and she has downloaded them onto the laptop) and for some reason blogger is not working properly when I log in on her account and I can't get the pictures when logged in on my account:-/

I have tried to use a memory stick to transfer them onto the PC but there is not enough memory on either of our sticks:-/ I have tried various other tactics like sharing the file on the laptop (says it is shared but can't find out where it is) no luck!!!! The next step is to transfer some of the pics with the memory stick and do it in two or three go’s. Hoping to do that soon. At the moment we are sitting together in the living room, me on here and Milly on the laptop.She is on MSN talking with Tom.

She likes me to be logged in on MSN as well and keeps sending me nudges and little love notes:-)

This post has taken me ages LOL.

Will try later to access the pictures and do a seperate post.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Adaptable Alan and weekend plans....

Milly often walks Beauty with Alan on an evening.They tend to set off from home and walk down the country lanes.On our way back home from our regular home ed group meet we talked about this evenings walk.I had gone with them last night and had a very pleasant walk while we played Emily's wolf game:-) I had said I  probably wouldn't go tonight because I was quite tired and didn't want to overdo it as we had all the packing to do tomorrow and then the journey to Northumberland on Friday (long weekend away,taking Emily's other best friend A with us) she was dissapointed and said she probably wouldn't go either.

When we got home and she had had time to think about it she said she did like going for the walks but it got so boring doing the same walks each evening.I asked where she would like to go and Buttermere was the answer,so she could go and see the place she had left the injured blackbird.I phoned Al at work to see if he was up for it, because it would get dark earlier they would need to set off as soon as he got home.I knew Al  had plans for tonight (nothing exciting! But jobs that he wanted to get done around the house before the weekend away) being the brilliant Dad  is, he said ,sure no problem:-) Within 5 minutes of coming home he was changed and they were off, with flasks of tea and snacks,towels and water shoes!

I have been doing some planning to try and fit as much as possible into the 4 days we are away.Travel time there and back from here obviously eats into that time.We have been to the same Caravan site many times and Milly has lot's of places she wants to show A.We are going to Beamish, which is a full day out on the Saturday so will have to be selective in the other places we go in the limited time we have.Hope the weather is dry so we can get to a couple of beaches we know are good for hunting fossils.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Monday night snapshot

Monday night Ten thirty:-

Friends coming round for a meditation group meeting tomorrow morning.I had baked the potatoes earlier today to make a sweet potato cake for them,when I realsided I had no eggs!Alan went to the farm on his way home but he was working late so didn't get home till 5.30 and we both had to get ready to go out.He was going to Tai chi and I was going to my weightwatchers meeting,dropping off Emily at my sisters on the way.Had to do some shopping before picking Emily up and didn't get home til 8.30.A couple of phone calls and a snack whilst watching Claudia and strictly take two on BBCi ,then set too making a cake!

Emily and Alan have gone up to bed and both animals have got the right idea and are snuggled up for the night:-)


Just leaves me to wait for the hour the cake takes to cook then off to bed for me too.xx

Masses of washing,Mp3 and mystery film!

We have a quiet day planned today. I have to wait in for a delivery this morning and a parcel is being collected this afternoon so an ideal opportunity for a lazy day. The holiday (will blog later) was a relaxed affair but I do still need time to catch my breath :-)

We did not seem to have a minute yesterday. Before we go away on hols we always have a good tidy (I do like to come back to a tidy house, even if it does not stay like that for long!) it seemed like a good idea to change the bedding so we could get into a nice fresh bed when we got home. It was indeed lovely to climb into a crisp clean bed on Saturday .However the mountain of washing we faced when combined with the clothes from holiday means we still haven’t got through it all! Spending the day turning clothing on all the radiators is not my idea of fun!


The other thing that took up lots of my time was much more fun! On holiday, Emily’s MP3 player was not working well and so we bought her a new one. As she wanted a shiny red one that was more than we had to spend she paid half from her holiday spends. Alan managed to get the old one working and decided he would quite like to have a selection of his fav songs on as he walked Beauty. So I spent the afternoon ripping Cds and then we created a play list for him. I did the weekly menus, a big job now, as I have to point everything (weight watchers) and then ordered online. I had seen some books in WH Smith whilst on hols, checked them out on Amazon, and added them to my basket. My basket now stands at £100! It needs editing but can’t decide what to save for later:-( Milly is so into wolves at the moment and I have found some great books with fab photography and I know I won’t be able to wait till Xmas to give her them!


Milly had suggested we all watch a film. I have been stocking up on films that we haven’t seen. Morrison’s have some great bargains from £2.99 and Milly chose The Davinci Code. Alan and I have both read the book (thanks Maria) and apparently, our nephew had said Emily would enjoy it, as she likes a good mystery! I had expected her to tire of it but she loved it! I had to spend some time talking her through some of the issues but we were amazed at how perceptive she was ,she was telling us what she thought would happen next and what she would have done in the situations they got into :-)She is keen to see Angels and demons now.


Alan went up to bed and we sat for a while watching the X Factor results I had recorded. Around 11 Emily decided to go up and listen to her story Cd which had got to an exciting part. The library are now doing Play away tapes which are a little like an MP3 player with the story on and all you need are the earphones. Great little things and no faff with loads of Cd’s which inevitably gets left in the various machines around the house,depending on where she is listening. One she took on holiday lasted 9 hours! Great for the journeys.

Milly has appeared and it is high time I got dressed and started the day!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Off on holiday!

We are heading off to the Ayrshire coast in the morning for a week in a caravan.Really, really looking forward to it:-) We are ready for a break; the last few months seem to have been stressful. No specific reason, but my hormonal imbalances have played a big part. Not only stressing me out but also the knock on effect is felt by both Alan and Emily.

Good news is that the homeopathy I had a few weeks ago has hit the spot and the flushes have almost gone. I cannot tell you what a relief it is. I don't think I am being overly dramatic when I say that I feel like I have my life back!

Just in time to enjoy a week away.
 Couldn’t have timed it better:-)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Bathtime snapshots:-)

A couple of mornings ago I got up and walked in to the bathroom to find this lovely little scene :-)

The next morning,two of her soft toys drying off, after being in the bath with her.

Emily has a love of animals,her particular interests at the moment are Wolves and cats (large or small).On a day out with Alan to get my Birthday present they went around all the charity shops and amongst other treasures, she manged to find a lovely book on cats.She has dipped into it herself over the last few weeks, but had obviously wanted Al to read it to her last night while she was in the bath.

This is the sight that normally greets me after Milly's bath,wet socks and other items of clothing, as she loves to get in with some clothes still on:-)

I often sit with her and read while she bathes/plays but Al has been with her the last few nights. I do love to find these little snapshots of the times I'm not with her.

Terry Deary in the Telegraph.

I have seen a couple of Blogs  here  and  here  mention a link to Terry Deary article in the Telegraph and finally got time to read it today.I thought it was worth another link :-))

Here is a snippet about his veiws on school!

"I get 200 requests a year and the answer is no,” he says. “I detest schools with a passion. I’d rather cut off my left arm and eat it with Marmite than go into a school. And I don’t even like Marmite.

“Schools are an utter waste of young life. Learning things that will never be any use to you. The only reason they are there is to keep kids off the street. They were a Victorian invention. The Industrial Revolution took kids from their families and made the parents work in factories long hours. Then they said, ‘we can’t have these little kids working here.’ So what do we do? Lock them all up in the same room all day and we’ll call it school. I spent hours learning trigonometry, physics, none of which prepared me for life. Relationships, talking to people, managing money, planning your career, how to help someone who has cut their leg open. I have had to learn these things by default.

“There won’t be any schools in 25 years. There will be mentoring. Older people passing their skills on to younger people. Teachers know nothing about life and the real needs of pupils.”

We are great  fans of the DVD's and TV series.We have lots of the books but Milly prefers the visual!
Full article is in the link above.