Sunday 30 September 2018

Feed a cold...

...starve a fever!  I'm eating/cooking as normal so it's definitely a stinky cold.  Still got the lurgy (thanks for the get well wishes) but hanging in there.  This bug/virus is sweeping through the school.  Today I've got blocked/ringing ears and am coughing up lots of green stuff!! 😷

This week I was given even more apples!! This lady successfully stores her apples in her cellar over the winter so all I'm getting are her leftovers and windfalls.  She must have very established trees!!

I chopped some up to make Spiced Apple Jelly.  The smell was amazing!!  Once I'd strained it through the jelly bag it didn't look that promising.

But once boiled with sugar and potted it looks lovely.

When I got up this morning Penny had discovered my mystery winter squash!!  Naughty chicken! πŸ”  I picked it so she wouldn't eat any more.  I roasted it with a few apples, chipotle chilli flakes and honey then blitzed it all with stock to make soup for my work lunches this week.  I had some for lunch today.  It was rather tasty! Recipe from my old blog HERE.  This is the kind of eating I really want to do more and more.  Grow fruit and veg in my wee garden and cook it simply.  Use locally grown produce.  I find it very satisfying. 

I tested the Beetroot and Apple Chutney on oatcakes and goats cheese.  It was nice but will definitely improve with keeping a bit longer.  Recipe says 6 to 8 weeks and I'd say that's about right.  Ah well.

OH has replaced the tarpaulin roof on the chicken run with clear corrugated plastic.  It's not quite finished but I'm hoping it'll last longer than previous coverings.

Only 2 more weeks of school left.  Can't wait!

Tuesday 25 September 2018


I've picked up the latest lurgy going round school.  Tonight when I got home form work I pretty much went straight to bed for a couple of hours.  I have a stinky rotten cold that's making me grumpy and irritable 😩

So for the next few days it's plenty of honey and lemon drinks and paracetamol to keep me going until the weekend.  Eurgh!!

Sunday 23 September 2018

Another speedy weekend!

Maybe it's because I'm trying to pack in lots of stuff but weekends speed by so quickly!!

As well as painting the final coat of white satinwood (HOORAY!!!) in my utility room I had a wee bit of retail therapy too. I discovered that my local TK Maxx has an upstairs with tons more home items!! No idea how I missed that!  They do have some things downstairs but more than half the floor space upstairs is home stuff!  Luckily I only had loose change in my purse or I could have spent so much more.  I've been on the lookout for a white fruit bowl and they had a choice of 4 different ones.  This one was £7.99.  I also picked up a purple candle for my bedroom reduced to £2.  So less than a tenner was spent!

I collected a wee embroidered bee cushion from M&S for my living room I had on order.  

I managed to spend some more time tidying up the garden.  On Gardeners World Monty Don recommended pruning pumpkin/squash vines to encourage them to put their energy into growing fruits instead of more flowers.  My butternut squash is now the size of a pear.

And I found another one hidden under all the leaves! I doubt it has time to mature now but we'll see.

The mystery green squash is now the size and shape of a rugby ball.  Despite this week's high winds it's survived.  Now that I've successfully (albeit accidentally!) grown some pumpkin/squashes I'll put more effort into them next year.  And remember the varieties!!

Another lovely colleague at school gave me some apples.  Over 13lbs to be precise plus some windfalls.  She doesn't know what varieties they are but they were a mixture of cooking and eating.

I've cooked some of them into chunky applesauce.  Then I froze them in 1 cup portions for making baked apple oat cups (if they're good I'll share photos and recipe) and made an apple sponge pudding.

I've also made 6lbs of apple and beetroot chutney.  Lidl had loads of reduced bunches of beetroot.  It's a lovely red colour although you can't see it in this photo.  And there are still more apples to use!!  I'm planning to make some spiced apple jelly.

And so it's back to work tomorrow.  There are 3 weeks of term left until the October break.  I have big plans for my week's break so must get all the wee niggly jobs in the utility room and living room finished off by then. 

Monday 17 September 2018

The joys of teaching

It's been one of those days!  I've just bought myself one of these as there's a major outbreak in my class 😱  Let's hope I don't need it!!!

Sunday 16 September 2018

It always takes longer...

I really did think that I'd be finished by tonight but painting always takes longer than I think it will.  I won't know until the morning (depends how it dries) but I'm pretty sure I'll need to do another coat of satinwood on all the woodwork.  Painting Brilliant White emulsion on top of Brilliant White was really hard on my eyesight!  As much as I loved the matt emulsion I used 2 (yes, TWO!!!) years ago it wasn't doing well on the heavy traffic areas around the doors. I'm hoping the bathroom paint I had stashed in the garage is easier to wipe clean!!

Talking of paint I already had... 

This tin of primer came with me from my previous house so it's at least 5 years old and has been well used!!

There's still about 1 cm left right at the bottom!!

For another almost but not quite finished room (the living room 😳) I splurged on some bee fabric to make cushions to match my bee canvas.  So that's another wee job on my to do list before the October break in 3 weeks. (ETA it's actually 4 weeks!  I was getting a bit excited!)   I want the utility room and living room completely done so I can start on  my bedroom during half term.

I might also have splurged £15 on some sparkly trainers for work!!

That leaves me with £61.34 in my clothes budget to last until the end of the year.  I might need some new opaque tights for work but I don't think I need anything else. 

So that was my very quick (again!) weekend.  Hope yours was productive too!

Friday 14 September 2018


Not quite like this but I did skip out of school just an hour after the kids (unusual!!) AND I didn't bring any work home with me!!  πŸ™‹πŸ™‹πŸ™‹

Bring on a weekend of painting and DIY! πŸ”¨πŸ”¨πŸ”¨

Sunday 9 September 2018

Fastest weekend ever!!

And all of a sudden it's Sunday night and the weekend is over! πŸ˜” But I have tried to be busy and productive.  I tidied up my back garden and pulled out lots of weeds.  My wee garden is still producing edible things.  I planted some Aldi raspberries earlier this year (gift from my lovely mum), variety All Gold.  To my surprise they're an Autumn fruiting raspberry and there's lots of them just about ready to eat.

I checked the wandering pumpkin vines (they're out of control!!!) and discovered a teeny butternut squash and a mystery green squash.  It's definitely not a courgette but I have no idea what it is.  When the seeds didn't sprout after 2 weeks (I thought they weren't viable as they were a few years past the sow by date) I emptied the pots into the garden and just left the compost on the surface.    And threw away the packets too!  We'll wait and see if they grow big enough to harvest.

I used a small leek and some parsley in a big pot of Chicken and Rice soup.  That's my 5 lunches for the week sorted.

I made Chipotle Plum Chutney with the free plums and apples. I didn't have normal chilli flakes so used Chipotle ones.  It packs a punch!! Recipe HERE.  I forgot to add the onions.  Duh! I realised at the end so cooked them in the microwave then added them to the pan for 10 minutes before potting.  Tasted fine so hopefully it'll be ok.  It made 5 x 1lb jars and 2 x 1/2lb ones.  It'll be matured and ready to eat by Christmas. πŸ˜‹πŸŽ„

I painted a door purple πŸ’œ and primed all the stripped and sanded orange pine skirting and door frames.  What a difference the white primer makes already.  Might paint it tomorrow after work, depends on how tired I am!!

Speaking of tired... Both OH and I completely forgot that we had tickets to go see Janey Godley here in Stirling on Friday night.  She's a Scottish comedian who has had an 'interesting' life!  Very funny, swears a lot! Best known outside Scotland for her 2016 viral sign letting Trump know he wasn't welcome in Scotland!!  Really annoyed we let that slip as we deliberately didn't see her at The Fringe in the Summer as we had these tickets.  Ah well.

Back to work tomorrow and already planning next weekend's DIY jobs! πŸ”¨

Saturday 8 September 2018

That September feeling

I'm pretty sure if I looked back at the last 5 Septembers I'd be writing about how tired I am.  All of us at work are just plain exhausted already. I have the largest class in the school (again!), luckily I have no major behaviour issues like some of my poor colleagues.  But that means I get very little SLA (Support for Learning Assistants) support.  I'm trying be positive and supportive in the staff room but OMG it's hard!

 Me after a long shower and full hair and make up done for a night out and I still look knackered!!

The promised berries never appeared but I did get a big bag of cooking apples this week so chutney making is definitely on the cards tomorrow.

Today is yet another painting day in the never ending task that is finishing off my utility room.  And OH is painting outside if the weather holds.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Tuesday 4 September 2018


I mentioned in my last post that I regularly dream about my old house and Vintage Maison also left a comment about a recurring dream of moving back to an old house.  Back in 2010, in the month before I was separated, I had the exact same dream 3 nights in a row.  4 months later (officially separated and divorce proceedings started) this is what I wrote in my old blog.

At the end of August I had the same dream 3 nights in a row.

I'm on a beach with a group of people on my right looking out to sea. I can't see anyone's face but I know them and feel loved by them.

A white yacht sails across the bay, not going out to sea but across the water from right to left. I notice that the yacht's name is HORSE. I turn to the man beside me and ask why it's called HORSE. He takes my hand and laughs. He says 'Alison, you know why it's called HORSE' and everyone else smiles and laughs with him. They're not laughing at me though.

I believe that dreams are significant.  Yes, sometimes they're just a jumble of thoughts and events that your brain has processed in your waking hours. And sometimes it's cos you drank too much alcohol before going to bed!  But since I'm interested in developing my spiritual side further I've taken a closer look at this dream.  And with the benefit of hindsight many of the symbols in the dream are scarily accurate!

Small rowing boats suggest an emotional journey requiring a great deal of effort.  A yacht suggests the same journey but with style (yep that's me!)  The yacht in my dream is sailing across a bay.  It's not really going anywhere and I'm just watching it.  The sea is calm, representing a peaceful existence but we know that those under currents can sweep us away.

The yacht is called HORSE.  Horses in dreams represent the vitality present in the dreamer. A white horse (represented by the white yacht) describes the spiritual awareness of the dreamer. And interestingly in Chinese astrology I was born in the year of the horse.

The people in my dream are obviously known to me but I cannot see their faces clearly.  This doesn't worry me and the man taking my hand is reassuring me.

So what does it all mean?  The dream on its own has several meanings but the fact that I dreamed this dream 3 nights in a row make it deeply significant.  I truly believe my subconscious was telling me something that I wasn't yet aware of in my waking life.  The surface of my life seemed calm and ordered but I didn't want to see what was really happening underneath.  The people on the beach were my support network, holding my hand and telling me that I already had the strength/power/awareness within me to start my journey.

Timing is everything.  I had that dream 1 month before I had the courage to voice my worries and start the journey I now find myself taking.  So why am I telling you about it now?

Yesterday I had one of my aha moments.  Something that has been worrying me suddenly became unimportant.  And last night I dreamed that my white yacht sailed out of the bay.  Seriously.

When I posted this back then I fully expected everyone to laugh about analysing dreams but I was surprised at how many of my friends also had vivid dreams and saw meaning in them.

Anyone have interesting/vivid/recurring dreams??  I have a dream dictionary that could help analyse them 😴

Sunday 2 September 2018


5 years ago today I moved from what I considered my dream house to this one here in Stirling.  At the time I wasn't happy but hoped that eventually everything would work out.  Here's what I wrote back then:

One week tomorrow I leave this house.  Words cannot describe how deeply sad this makes me.  I've been told it's just a house, bricks and mortar but to me it has always been so much more.  It was the house and lifestyle I held in my dreams since I was a teenager thanks to The Good Life and Little House on the Prairie.
This was my forever home, the house where my children would return with their partners and their children.  My grandchildren would run round the huge garden, play football on the 'football pitch' and swing on the tyre swings.  I planned to build a tree house for them.  They'd help me collect eggs and pick veggies.  We'd walk the dogs on the moor and watch the deer. 
This was a sociable house where family and friends spent time and enjoyed the true peace and quiet of its location.  This is a house for sharing and I loved sharing it.
Yes it sounds too good to be true but for 7 years I truly lived that dream.  It wasn't perfect but the good always outweighed the bad.  And for a short time when I was left on my own I worked out a way to make it continue.  It would have been hard but I was willing to try.
But it wasn't to be.  The house has been sold after a long stressful process and I've bought a sensible house in Stirling for me and the Teenager.
I know I can make a lovely home for us even though I know in my deepest heart it's not what I want.  But I can bloom where I'm planted.  It's better for the Teenager to be near his friends and his big brother where he can become more independent.  I'm closer to where my partner lives and it's less than an hour to my parents' house by car.  All good sensible reasons.
And yet..........

So 5 years on I can honestly my life is really good.  I still think about my old house and sometimes even dream about it.  But within the next year or 2 I'll finally get my dream forever house with the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.  Definitely blooming 🌸🌺🌻🌼🌷🌹