Holiday weekend…

It’s been a holiday weekend for us, and we’ve been making the most of having a few days off together.

1) On Saturday we went to one of our favourite swimming pool’s in Perth – it comes complete with flumes, rapids, outdoor pool, and whirlpool…  I was so impressed to see how M’s swimming is progressing, and how much her confidence has grown since the last time we were there.

2) On Sunday afternoon, we added another location to our 45 Minute Project.  M wanted to see some snowdrops, and we discovered that a Scottish Snowdrop Festival runs from the beginning of February until mid-March. So we ventured forth to Gargunnock House Gardens, and wow, were we in for a treat! A veritable carpet of snowdrops 🙂 .  K writes it up in detail (and with plenty of photos!) here, so do head on over for a peek!

3) Today was such a lovely sunny day that we did three things to make life better!

a) We bought (and fitted) new windscreen wipers for the car – what it is to have clean windows again!

b) Our replacement light for over the sink in the kitchen arrived. K fitted it this evening, and what a difference it makes 🙂 .

c) We discovered a new park, Almondell and Calderwood Country Park, (another of our 45 minute project locations), and had a picnic lunch before enjoying a lovely walk along the banks of the River Almond. This is definitely a place we will go back to 🙂 .

All in all, it’s been a pretty near perfect holiday-at-home weekend 🙂 .

3BT from the weekend

1) Mum and I went out for lunch on Friday – we shared bruschetta, and split a pizza. It was lovely having some uninterrupted time to catch up.

2) We continued our explorations of some of the local parks and forests on Saturday, with a refreshing walk around the loch at Beecraigs. We come here quite often, and the kids built a shelter by the side of the loch on one visit last year, which has been repaired and expanded on subsequent visits…

Aidan and Megan, at Beecraigs Loch

Aidan, at the shelterMegan, at Beecraigs Loch

Beecraigs LochFun at Beecraigs Loch

3) Once again, I’m struck by how quickly A is growing up – we cooked roast beef and yorkshire puddings for dinner this evening, and A was such a help with the veggie preparations! It was lovely cooking dinner, the three of us together.

Weekend fun!

1) On Saturday morning, we went for an explore of Plean Country Park. We loved it there, and can’t wait to go back later in the year when the winter-bare trees will be green and leafy.  We would definitely recommend a visit, if you are in the area.

Plean Country ParkMegan in the rhodedendronPlean Country Park

Plean Country Park

2) We went on our first surprise nighttime adventure on Saturday evening. After dinner, the kids got into their pyjamas and then wrapped up warmly, before we all hopped into the car.

We went to South Queensferry, and ate supper under the lights from the Forth Bridges, then we went across the bridge, and drove along the north side of the river, and came home via the Kincardine Bridge. It was a lovely lovely evening.

Forth Rail BridgeForth Rail Bridge

3) The kids went to a friend’s birthday party on Sunday. They all had a fab time, running around, playing games, and enjoying themselves. The other mums and I enjoyed a more relaxed cuppa and catch-up!

 (Thanks to K for taking all the photos at Plean, and to A for the fab photo of the Forth Rail Bridge!)

Nativity, afternoon free, and getting there.

1) My two small people were in the church Nativity play this morning… M made a beautiful and solemn Mary, A was positively angelic (Gabriel).  In typical A fashion, he had his back to the camera the whole time…

IMG_9974

IMG_9978 IMG_99832) After church, Mum takes A and M off for the afternoon to go for their annual trip on the steam railway – the Santa Express. It’s lovely to have an afternoon of solitude after the busyness of the last few days.

3) I’m taking a quick tea break from gradually work my way through the house, preparing, washing, baking, tidying. It’s not quite there yet, but it will be, and then I intend to go over to my parent’s house and relax.

Glühwein, baking, and staying home.

1) Mum and I met a friend in Edinburgh this morning. After lunch, we wandered through Princes Street Gardens, where the Christmas Street Fair, and German Market were just finishing setting up.  We sipped piping hot glühwein as we walked.

2) Yesterday I baked six (well, eight really) cakes.  Today I covered and decorated them.  A big job, but hopefully they’ll sell well on Saturday, and it will all have been worthwhile!

3) My friend picked up A when I dropped M off at Explorer’s.  Later, she brought both children back home, which meant I didn’t need to go out again 🙂 . Thanks R!!

Fun with friends.

1) Weekend fun with friends: an Advent Craft Fayre, a play in the park, afternoon tea out, an enormous Torchlight Procession, Christmas Carols round the tree, culminating in the switching on of the Christmas Tree Lights.

2) The kids settled fairly quickly to sleep, and we settled down with a glass of Prosecco (to celebrate our anniversary), and an evening of catching up.

3) We went to see the Prehistoric Autopsy Exhibition on Sunday afternoon – the models were incredibly lifelife, and the kids were fascinated by the whole exhibit.

Monday Holiday

From yesterday:

1) It’s an In-Service day today (which means no school!), and I tell the kids that we’re going to Edinburgh for the afternoon.  M jumps up and down and says “Yoo hoo! I haven’t been on the train in ages!”.

2) I take the kids to visit the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Having had the opportunity to go round it at my own pace last week, I was able to go round it at the kids’ pace this week – they didn’t get bored, pointed out lots of interesting photos and paintings, and had fun choosing their own favourite painting for the BP Visitor’s Choice Portrait Award 🙂 .

3) The kids stay overnight with my parents, and K and I enjoy a rare evening off.

NB I mentioned a painting last week that I had particularly liked.  It was Silent Eyes by Antonio Titakis.

Drive through the mountains, shower of leaves, and growing up.

1) Dad and I go for a drive today. The weather was unpromising initially, but we decide to go anyway. I’m glad we did – the Grampian Mountains were beautiful – autumn colours, and snow-capped peaks.

2) I glance up thinking that it is raining, then I realise that what I’m seeing is not rain, but a shower of red-gold leaves fluttering down from the trees.

3) A and I spend some time having a serious conversation (a “discussing a difficult issue” type of conversation, not a “telling-off”) this afternoon, while M is at Jazz dancing class. I realise that my wee boy is growing up.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

From yesterday:

1) A friend and I visited the Scottish National Portrait Gallery – I was struck by the beauty and architecture of the building, the muted colours of the décor, the lighting, the space, the carefully placed exhibits. Altogether, there was a feeling of space and calmness, quietness and reflection.

2) I particularly enjoyed the Jitka Hanzlová’s Photography Exhibition. Many of her photographs made me feel that I was right there – that I could reach out and stroke the horse’s mane, or step into photo and enjoy a stroll in the forest.

3) We also visited the BP Portrait Award 2012 exhibition. I wish I’d noted down the artist, but the first portrait I saw was larger than life, a black and white, head-and-shoulders picture of a girl, so detailed and lifelike that I had to look twice before realising it was a painting, and not a photograph.

If you happen to be in Edinburgh, and have some time, I’d thoroughly recommend a quick visit…  oh, and the café did a pretty good lunch too!

Weekend fun

1) Kids dropped off, one to Boy’s Brigade, the other to the school disco, I enjoyed a quiet half hour to myself on Friday evening.

2) A youth leader’s training session at church – thought provoking, and fun.

3) Sunday afternoon pizza with the youth group.