Sunday, 2 June 2019

Self Care

I'm taking a break from blogging for a few weeks to focus on a few things.  All is good, I just need to put myself first so I can make it to the summer holidays.

See you in a few weeks.

Ali xxx

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Wild Kitchen

Yesterday OH and I did a foraging day called Wild Kitchen.  It was at Gartur Stitch Farm which isn't too far from Stirling.  It involved a woodland walk led by a lovely lady called Kat with opportunities to identify and gather edible greens.  I surprised myself by knowing more than I thought!  The best discovery for me was pignuts (top left in collage.)  They look like carrot tops but when you dig down you find a wee 'nut' that tastes a bit like a hazelnut.

Back at the farm we had the chance to make a few things from our finds.  I made a dandelion leaves and wild garlic tops soda bread.  It was delicious!  We also made a spruce tips simple syrup and some pressed wildflower cookies.  Kat had made some sweet ciceley ice cream that was served with roasted rhubarb.  Everything was yum!!!

As it's a smallholding type of farm they have lots of animals and we got the chance to meet some of  them including 3 week old kittens 😍

Here's Zeus (or maybe this one is Thor 😆 ), one of the baby goats! 

Petunia the friendly Jersey cow loved licking OH's legs! 😂

This is Kevin, Kat's hubby, introducing us to BoyBoy the kunekune pig, assorted goats, geese, chickens, Soay sheep and a random peacock. 🐖🐄🐓🐐🐑

Despite having just had a hot weather week here, it rained all yesterday.  I had a decent rain jacket on but I forgot to take a jumper with me so I was really cold for most of the day.  When I got home I switched my heating back on, lit the woodburner and had a very long hot shower!  Emma had spent the day with The Teenogre and was more than happy to lie in her favourite spot.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day (OH liked some of it!!)  I loved finding out about more free foods I can forage and how I can use them.  I discovered that I'm glad I didn't get to have goats and pigs in my old house now.  I'm perfectly happy with my dog and chickens although I think I might be able to squeeze in a wee kitten 😸

Friday, 17 May 2019


By 5 o'clock tonight I was already one glass of wine down.  And I just ordered a GF pizza delivery for tea 🍕😳

It's been one hell of a week with my student failing his placement and being extremely unprofessional about it all.  He had a swearing rant at me after his tutor failed him so I sent him home (he's 45, not a silly wee boy!!), he bad mouthed me to someone who he didn't realise was actually a member of our management team (she quickly put him in his place!) and was very dismissive of my lovely colleagues who had kindly agreed to let him observe them this week as a personal favour to me.  He refused to discuss my report with him and basically left the building at the end of the day without saying goodbye.  Good riddance!!!

Then today I had several sick pupils including one who puked all over the library.  And one of my poor wee souls fell at lunchtime and has probably dislocated her elbow and broken her wrist.  Her mum came and was in bits so I ended up giving her a big cuddle as well as the wee girl while we waited for transport to get her to A&E.

I really am glad it's Friday!!!!!!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Tomatoes, Strawberries and Potatoes

This year I'm trying to grow tomatoes in pots in my front garden instead of growbags in the polytunnel.  It's directly south facing and gets really warm so maybe I'll actually get a decent crop this year.  The one in the middle is Moneymaker but the other 2 are unknown.  My Lovely Mum was gifted some and she passed them on to me.  So no cost!

I went to B&Q really early this morning to buy compost.  It was mobbed!!  I've only got £30 left in my garden budget now!  I managed to pick up the last tray of Elsanta strawberries.  I've put some in my wee trough and the rest in a big pot (see below).  If I pot the runners at the end of summer I'll be able to keep my strawberry supply going for several years so they're good value for money.

They were selling off their seed potatoes at half price so I got a pack of 10 for 88p.  I've grown Cara before so I know they can do well here.  I've put 4 in a potato bag already and I'll do the rest in pots when I get more compost this week.

I've rounded up all my terracotta pots (and a plastic lookalike!) and lined them up along the chicken fence.  I've transplanted some sweet peas (again a gift of extras from my Lovely Mum) and the remaining 2 strawberry plants.  I've also got some chives I rescued from the attention of the chickens.  I'll add more seeds or plants to them as I acquire them.

They actually look ok!  Once everything grows a bit it will look even better 🌿

The weather forecast for the week ahead is looking promising.  It's to be sunny and dry so I'll be able to spend more time outside after school.  My fruit garden (under netting in the old polytunnel frame) needs weeding and the rasps need tying up again.  There's always plenty to do in a garden.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Weird Weather

This week we've had heavy rain, very low temperatures overnight, bright sunshine, wind and hailstones. Weird weather for this time of year!  Usually May is lovely in Scotland but not this year.  So I was really happy to see the sun this morning!  I checked the forecast for the day and decided to spend my day outside.

I painted all the raised beds at the front.  OH had done a few repairs on them recently so a quick lick of paint had them looking fab again.

This one has shallots and some self seeded calendula.  I'll pull them out as I plant more stuff.

This one has some established flat leafed parsley, a few kale plug plants I've been hardening off and I also sowed some red kale seeds.  In previous years the snails ate my green kale but not the red stuff!  So we'll see how they fare this year.

This one has beetroot, spinach and marigolds.  The 3 tomato plants are just sunning themselves before I plant them in their final pots.

My 4 blueberry bushes are all in full bloom and buzzing with bumble bees 🐝  I topped them up with ericaceous compost recently so maybe that's why they're happy!

I rounded up and cleaned my blue pots ready to fill and plant with some white cosmos.  This is the path to my front door that nobody (except the postman) ever uses.

The mixed salad leaves I sowed in the back garden a few weeks ago are up and doing well.  My peas have wee shoots and my mint is rampaging nicely in it's container.  I sowed some climbing courgettes and spaghetti squash in similar pots.

I'm finding more and more that just being in my garden gives me so much pleasure 😊

My wee garden will produce some fruit and veg this year but going forward I'd like to be more self sufficient.  So I've put my name on the waiting list for an allotment again.  Last time I had just moved to Stirling, started a new job and simply didn't have the time to get the badly neglected plot I'd been given into shape. Hopefully I won't have to wait too long for one.  Last time it was only a wait of 8 months and I had a choice of 2!  Fingers crossed one comes up soon.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Plan? What plan??

If you're a long time reader you'll know since I started this blog I've had many plans.  Over the years they've had to change and adapt to stuff totally outwith my control.  Once again I've had to make some life changes and the plan going forward is that I won't be selling this house after all.  I'll be living here indefinitely.  That's no hardship, as I've really grown to love this house and it's location.  With OH's help I can turn the house into a home that really reflects me and my personality 😊

I've spent some time tidying up my garden,  The chickens have had total free range but I've put up a barrier so they're now confined to free ranging in one main area.  I put some netting over the old polytunnel frame to make a fruit garden inside.  I have raspberries (red and yellow ones), gooseberries, red currants, blackcurrants and rhubarb.  I've moved my 2 cordon apple trees and have planted up some pots with a few veggies.  There's also a pear tree right next to the tunnel.

This area was completely trashed by the chickens.  Can you see what it should be??

It's a water feature!  The previous owners installed it but I've never used it.  I tidied it and to my surprise it still works!

My purple hair is now fading into pink/lilac/blue and silver.  One of my kids said I had unicorn hair!! 😄  I rather like that description!

Oh, and I'm giving up making plans.  I'm just going to go with the flow.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Holiday round up

I over did it on the painting front.  I know I had a deadline for the carpet to be fitted (I set it myself so I'm not complaining!) but I pushed myself too hard.  There are still a few niggly finishing off bits to do especially as OH has been drilling holes for new handles and hooks etc.  I'll do them next weekend I think.

So I spent the remainder of last week doing some crafty things and some gardening (mainly tidying up).

I painted some gold photo frames (donated by my Lovely Mum) and the Dream cutout for my bedroom in Graphite chalk paint.  They were a bit boring.  Then I found some Glitter finish when I was browsing in B&Q.  What a difference a wee bit of sparkle made to the black!!

I printed off some quotes I saved on Pinterest and here they are ready to go on the wall in my study.  I posted this photo in my Thrifty Recycling Group on FB and got a fab response.  So I've entered these pics into the monthly 'Make it Yours' Rustoleum competition.  Looking at past winners I might be be lucky enough to pick up one of the 10 runner up prizes of a goodie bag!  Fingers crossed 👍

I made some Rhubarb vodka with some forced rhubarb from my garden and Elderberry vodka with some dried elderberries.  I love the contrast in delicate pink and almost black colours after just a few days!!

I started sorting some craft materials.  I found things I don't even remember buying 😳 I found a bag with 9 balls of Rowan Biggy Print (discontinued).  It's a super chunky wool that needed size 20mm needles!  The biggest ones I  had were 15mm ones.  I could only get 30 stitches on the needle!!!  I knitted 3 squares to stitch together to make a wee throw to go on one of my living room sofas.  The colours are even more vibrant in real life.

I went to TK Maxx to look for a large white plate/bowl to sit on my dining table.  I got a white picnic basket.  No idea what I'm going with it but I couldn't leave it!

I also got some bargain priced quinoa for my storecupboard.

And some green tea (I've discovered making cold brew tea!!)

I also got some PJ bottoms, a glass water jug and the white plate I was actually looking for!! 😆

Today is the last day of my holiday.  I think we're going to go out for a spin on the motorbike later.  Tomorrow it's back to work for 4 days then I'm off again for the long Easter weekend.  It's going to be an interesting week as I have a student teacher on his final placement.  I've already had the heads up he needs "a bit of support" and not to commit to other duties in school "in case you're needed in the classroom."  I'm trying to be positive and hope I can be a good mentor.  My last experience with a student was 'interesting.' 😒

I've also been given another half day to work with other classes to raise attainment in writing.  I love doing this!  So from now until the end of May I won't actually be teaching much.  Could be an interesting term!