And we’re back…

What a lovely week away we had – lots of fun was had by all 🙂 .

1) On the way south, we dropped in on a colleague of K’s whom I had never met before.  He has two very cute kids, and they live in a beautiful part of the world. We had a very pleasant time, and the weather was even (just) warm enough for us to have lunch outside in the garden.

2) Our next stop was a visit to one of my favourite online yarn stores.  I discovered that they have actual premises (including a café) just a few minutes off our route south. So we stopped for afternoon tea and, of course, a browse!

3) We spent a lovely day in London on Monday. We visited the Gherkin and Buckingham Palace (to satisfy M, having completed her “Famous Buildings” topic at school). We walked through Green Park, and had a picnic lunch in Hyde Park. We walked along the banks of the Serpentine and saw the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. We had numerous tube rides, and visited the Science Museum (which was a bit too busy for us to be able to really appreciate sadly). We had a delicious afternoon tea at a French patisserie.  We wandered through the O2 mall, and then took the Emirates Airline (cable car) across the Thames and enjoyed a trip on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway, complete with driverless trains), before wandering past the construction site that was the Olympic Park!!

4) We took the kids to see the building where K works, when he’s in London, and had coffee in a particular coffee shop which gets mentioned in one of our favourite books.

5) A lovely couple of days visiting friends, including a fun afternoon out at one of the local parks – the kids loved hand-feeding the deer!

6) A very relaxed drive halfway up the country to visit my aunt and uncle.

7) The discovery of a fantastic yarn shop near to where my aunt and uncle live – the proprietress recognised the cardigan I was wearing as an FLS! She’s even knitted some of the patterns I’m working on 🙂 . And most importantly, she had the ball of yarn I was missing, and it was even the correct dye lot!

8) a) A visit to Butterfly World at Preston Park – there were some stunningly beautiful butterflies fluttering around, and I actually watched as not just one, but three, butterflies each emerged from its chrysallis!  We watched as they slowly pumped blood into their wings, and then waited patiently while they dried. It was an incredible thing to see.

b) The kids had lots of fun playing in the playpark at the Preston Park, and then we went to the House itself, which has recently reopened as a museum. Some of the exhibits comprised the interesting and varied collections of previous owners of the house and some of them were about the house itself and its history. Then we “stepped back in time” as we walked along a recreated Victorian Street.  And all that for only £4 – for the four of us. Well worth a visit!

9) To discover a great little café at our regular stopping point on the journey north.

10) Sleeping in our own beds 🙂 .

Tablet, afternoon tea, and packing.

1) Last night we made a batch of tablet to give to some of the people we’ll be visiting over the next few days… For the first time ever, we made it with no stress, no fuss, and it all just worked perfectly!!  And we’ve perfected the taste – it now closely resembles my memory of “Cookie’s tablet” – the lady at camp who made most amazing tablet ever… 🙂

2) Friends came round for afternoon tea – we had heaps of fun creating it, and even more fun eating it! And it was a lovely relaxed way to spend an afternoon.

Afternoon tea

3) I love to travel, and enjoy going on holiday, but normally I hate packing to go away. Today, for some reason, it goes more quickly and with a whole lot less stress than usual 🙂 .

Playing, light, and parcels.

1) We bumped into friends at the park, and all the kids disappeared off together into the woods to “build a shelter” – a favourite activity. In reality, I think the girls built a “grass palace” and the boys climbed trees. But much fun was had, and they didn’t want to leave to come home for tea.

2)  It was nearly 8pm and the sun was beginning to dip beneath the horizon. I feel my soul breathing a sigh of relief that the dark of winter is finally over, and the longer lighter evenings of summer are on their way.

3) Wrapping up parcels – always good fun 🙂 .

Callendar Park, projects, and good things.

1) We head out to Callendar Park for afternoon tea in the tearoom, which are now situated in the beauitful Morning Room of Callendar House. Enjoying the lovely room, we also had a lovely view out across the park and over into the woods beyond. Afterwards, we walk along the paths we saw from the window.

2) The kids are hard at work on their various projects this afternoon. M is making a painting-by-numbers dolphin picture, and A is building Big Ben from a Lego kit.

3) A and I make brioche, for tomorrow’s lunch. K and I poach a chicken and freeze the meat and stock, ready to be made into a pie for Tuesday’s dinner.  I make candied orange and lemon peel, ready for K and M to add to the hot cross buns they plan to make for afternoon tea. K makes us a delicious citrus drink from orange and lemon. I make an orange drizzle cake, for dessert tomorrow.

Melting, she did good, and plans.

1) It snowed again last night, and we reluctantly met for a cuppa instead of our planned walk. As we drank our tea, we realised that the snow was rapidly disappearing, and we went out for our walk after all.

2) M was one of the narrators in her school concert today, and she did incredibly well – word-perfect, every word clear and audible, and a beautiful smile on her face the entire time.  Definitely a proud Mummy moment 🙂 .

(Megan has just written an account of her concert here…)

3) Planning our holiday – good fun!

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 🙂 .

At home, on my own, and yummy snack.

1) Not having to get up for school this morning, and watching the snow drift steadily down, we decided to have an at-home morning today. M stayed in her pajamas until nearly lunchtime, A relaxed on the sofa with his knitting, and I enjoyed relaxing and chatting with my kids.

2) After dropping the kids home to K, I went back out to the supermarket and enjoyed a solitary wander around, picking up the few bits and pieces we needed.

3) Cheese and Chive oatbakes, with caramelised onion chutney, courtesy of graze…  Thank you very much to my lovely sister and her family for such a fab Christmas pressie!

Home again.

I had a lovely few days in Inverness, spending time with my sister and her family 🙂 . Highlights included:

1) The train trips. On the way north, I watched the sunrise and on the way south, the sunset. I always love the scenery on that trip and, with its dusting of snow, it was simply beautiful. In addition, I had plenty of time to myself, to read and to knit.

2) My sister and I waited for the girls to come out of school – when they spotted me they came at a run and threw themselves into my arms 🙂 .

3) Spending time with my neices, getting to know them a bit better.

4) Arriving home again – nice to know that my family had missed me 🙂 .

Lovely, playing, and packing.

1) I realise that the lovely ladies who run the little yarn shop near here are really very lovely, but don’t know as much about knitting as I’d thought they would!  Still, given they thought that the needles I wanted didn’t exist*, they were really very sympathetic about my dilemma!

2) The kids were invited out to a friend’s house for a birthday tea. Occasionally, when they play there in the evening they are all tired and it can feel quite fraught. Tonight, they all played beautifully.

3) Packing to go on holiday.  I’m to visit my sister and her family for a few days 🙂 .

* I went to the other local yarn shop afterwards and bought them there.

Holiday mornings, time, and back to rights.

1) M asks “Can we stay in our pyjamas as long as we like today?”.*

2) To spend a very pleasant half-hour or so browsing yarns and planning my next projects…  No decisions yet though!

3) My lovely K restores the right settings to my blog (long-time readers might have noticed that, while he was away, WordPress updated itself, and removed some of my settings, making the post titles turn bold and black).  Thank you so much my love xx .

* She did get dressed in time to go out to meet friends in the afternoon!