Saturday, 17 December 2011

Dentistry

So there are better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon than getting a filling.

My dentist is in Livingstone and it's a small practise but with excellent dentists. When I say small I mean physically its a small building with thin walls.

Which can't have been nice for those patients waiting to be seen as I squealed my way through the anaesthetic that was injected into my jaw for a filling.

The noise just seems to go straight through me. If I can get a wisdom tooth pulled then I can deal with a filling. Which I did and once again was relieved that Husband was waiting in the car park. . .

Sunday, 11 December 2011

PS Ho Ho Hot!

I made Chilli Jam. I think I might have mentioned this yesterday.

It looks fantastic. We are still to taste it though so fingers crossed it tastes as good as it looks. Oatcakes and cheese. Yummy!

What is worth mentioning for anyone considering making this fabulously looking treat please take the following advise very seriously:

1. Use a processor.
2. If you don't have a food processor then for the love of all things culinary use rubber gloves.

I don't have a food processor.

I didn't use rubber gloves.

Today I exfoliated my hands in salt.
Rinsed them in cold water.
And then spent 40 minutes with my hands in a bowl of milk shouting instructions through to husband in the kitchen on how to deal with the biscotti.

The shortbread is off the list. Christmas Star buscuits, biscotti and the jam. . .

I made the jam last night and 24 hours later I am only just getting over a new kind of burn. Oh and did I mention that i am not allergic to chilli's.

Scarily the advise on line was to use bleach. Neat.

I'll repeat that: neat bleach.

That is not bleach that is pretty cool but straight unadulterated bleach. On your skin. To remove the remnants of chilli.

I finely, very finely chopped 3 bags of red, deseeded chilli's to the tune of 150g. And have spent all of Sunday recovering from it.

PLEASE USE A FOOD PROCESSOR OR RUBBER GLOVES!!!!!!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Ho Ho Hot!


Last Christmas I made over 100 cupcakes to give away as presents to friends and family.

This Christmas I am making mini hampers. With Chilli jam, biscotti, spiced biscuits and shortbread. For fans of tea and coffee some treats to go with them. With the exception of the chilli jam of course!

I have never made chilli jam.

I have never made biscotti.

I have never made short bread.

Tonight I made my first ever set of chilli jam. It it hot. It is jarred and cooling and setting just now. For the last 2 hours my fingers have been tingling and swealing. The recipe says to use a food processor for a reason- please for the love of all your digits use a processor.

This is far worse that dicing 12 onions.

Than dicing 1200 onions.

Than dicing 120,000 onions...

My lips have that Angelina Jolie bee-stung look about them. While my fingers have that Ranulph Fiennes pre op look about them (controversial much?). I am prepared to spend the rest of the evening getting freezer burn on them to reduce the swealing and take the burning sensation away. Thankfully I have managed not to rub my eyes. I should add that as far as I am aware the only thing I am allergic to is pollen.

They look amazing all my little ruby coloured jars glinting on the window sill. I am sure it will taste sensational. One of my dear friends will be getting the first sample this week, fingers crossed...


Anyway for the curious, courtesy of Nigella, here is the recipe for Chilli Jam:

INGREDIENTS

  • Gluten Free
  • Nigella Recipe
  • Vegetarian
  • 150g long fresh red chillies, each deseeded and cut into about 4 pieces.
  • 150g red peppers, cored, deseeded and cut into rough chunks
  • 1kg jam sugar
  • 600ml cider vinegar
  • 6 x 250ml sealable jars, with vinegar-proof lid, such as Kilner jar or re-usable pickle jar

METHOD

Serves: Makes approx. 1.5. Litres
  1. Sterilize your jars and leave to cool.
  2. Put the cut-up chillies into a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the chunks of red pepper and pulse again until you have a vibrantly red-flecked processor bowl.
  3. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a wide, medium-sized pan over a low heat without stirring.
  4. Scrape the chilli-pepper mixture out of the bowl and add to the pan. Bring the pan to the boil, then leave it at a rollicking boil for 10 minutes.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and allow it cool. The liquid will become more syrupy, then from syrup to viscous and from viscous to jelly-like as it cools.
  6. After about 40 minutes, or once the red flecks are more or less evenly dispersed in the jelly (as the liquid firms up, the hints of chilli and pepper start being suspended in it rather than floating on it), ladle into your jars. If you want to stir gently at this stage, it will do no harm. Then seal tightly.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

I am fed up.

I am trying not to be but I am royally fed up.

I think I need to take a wee break from blogging until I rediscover my mojo as it were.


Friday, 4 November 2011

Dear Mum (5)

Dear Mum,

I am 30.

When you were 30 you had a 3 year old Cass, a 1 year old Little B and were pregnant with Mummy L. The problems that were to come down the line had not manifested themselves at this point in all our lives. These were probably your most glorious days and years - I wish they were longer.

For my 30th birthday Husband got me my first "proper watch". I adore it.

I already have a "proper watch". Your watch. It gets admired and complimented and I do love it. But I find it hard to wear. Such a strange thing to write but it is bound with such a complicated set of emotions.

At 19, when it and your engagement ring, came to me I really struggled. I was too young to wear jewellery like that. Under circumstances like those.  My jewellery was up to that point was relatively cheap but my own, with my own memories and my own reasoning. So I kept them safe and locked away. I would try them on when my own grief wasn't trying to choke me. Decide that they were still yours and not ready to be worn by me. Yet.
                     My Beautiful Birthday Present

I can wear your engagement ring more easily than your watch. It is beautiful and sparkles and I haven't ever seen anything like it on anyone else. I adore how unique it is. When it was given to you it was filled with love and hope. When it came to me it was filled with sadness, but it's relentless sparkle and reminder of what it symbolised make it a piece that I enjoy wearing. I look forward to passing it onto my daughter one day- when it is filled with love again and she knows nothing of the sadness that came to be associated with it.

Your watch is different.

It has a weight to it that feels strange. The way it sits on my wrist is impossibly like how it sat on your for all those years. It takes a couple of days of wearing for it to settle into my unconscious. I have also had to grow into wearing it and I think age has brought a confidence in my ability to wear it. I found myself trying to explain this to my brother in law. I am not sure I was able to make a coherent explanation of it. So I thought I'd write to you about it.

The story of how you got it is one I will never know. I confess at one point I thought seriously about selling it and replacing it with a watch of my choosing. When it came to it I couldn't. Loosing either piece would break my heart. But I would give them both away in a split second if it meant that I could have another day with you, here and now. So you could see what kind of women your girls have become, what has happened to our family since you passed and give me the kind of reassurance that only a mother can.

To ask you a question that I could have asked years ago but was too afraid to confront you with.

Why?

In all likelihood if we had that day together I wouldn't be able to confront you with about it. It would be just as it always was- enjoy the good while it lasts don't discuss the bad in case it contaminates the precious balance that you have found.

I wish I could understand why and what I could have done differently to save you.

Love, as always

Cass
xx





                                                                                                                                                       If only it were as straight forward  as this

Monday, 31 October 2011

My Fitness Demon

I down loaded an app on my phone called my fitness pal.

It was a mistake.

A big one.

I have never calorie counted before and after entering all my vital statistics it came back with the calorie limit of what one friend called "the diet of an 8 year old girl" . . . to which I added "Kate Mosses 8 year old daughter".

1,200 calories a day.

I am 4 weeks into it and lying to it already in addition to that I am progressing to relishing in eating over my allowance.

Why is it a 2 week holiday binge had allowed the poundage to hit my hips in lightening speed and over a months worth of calorie monitoring has not shed the excess weight at a similar rate?!

Grr.

Boxercise on Monday- bye bye bingo wings.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Car Shopping- a necessary evil

I like driving.

I like driving fast.

But I prefer knowing I am safe. Our car is giving us hints and tips to say he's had enough.

We get a warning light that says nothing more informative that "Reduced Engine Performance" And the anxiety inducing orange exclamation mark highlighted with a circle. I should point out at this time we are driving a second hand Volvo V50. So I have the ability to hide that message. But not the fact.



What is happening is a peculiar thing. I put my foot down on the accelerator pedal and very slowly we creep forward and then after a moment of slow progression Viego (yes that is his name) realises that my foot is now flat on the floor and he can hear me screaming at him to "Just F***ing MOVE!!!!" as I sense other cars coming up behind us in a way that wouldn't be an issue had he responded when I put my foot down in the beginning. And he lurches forward like a demented spaniel that has caught the tale end of the scent of a rabbit.

We take off back to normal speeds. It's the stationary start from junctions that's the issue. Because Husband and I know that we are having this issue when it comes to pulling out onto busy roads we wait until there is plenty of room- no chancing it- and hold our breaths. There might not be a car in sight when we commit to pulling out but by the time we get to 30 mph there will be at least 1 car close behind if not 2 or 3!!

The mechanics have said it is an "intermittent fault" which in Cass speak translates to "terminally expensive" and any investigation will cost and not necessarily solve the problem.

So we are now in the market for a new car.

Viego is the first Volvo I have ever driven. The first estate I have ever driven. The first proper grown up car we have had. It as safety features on its safety features and I love it. I am not a big person but I feel like I own my wee bit of road when I am driving. It is easy to feel bullied when you are in a Ford Ka much harder to feel like that in a Volvo.

So my shopping list of car requirements are
1. Safety
2. Good MPG
3. Environmental- Low carbon emissions
4. Colour

I think I have found a contender in the Volvo XC70.


Who am I kidding? Certainly not you!

I haven't found a contender at all (Husband well and truly gets the credit for all the research!) and in all honesty my list reads 1,4,3,2.  At least husband and I have the same things on the list although he does talk about 0-60 in so many seconds. . .

My view on car shopping is simple. It is a necessary evil and once its over you hope you don't ever need to think about it for a while.

Husband is doing all the research. He is painfully aware of my list and my love of the Volvo, with its ridiculous number of safety features (which no other car could possibly have of course. This is how my tiny brain is working at the moment: Other non- Volvo's are Fred Flintstone like where you have to drop your feet to the ground and start running to get going!!)

Introducing me to other makes and models is a gradual process and he needs to come armed with the right order of information

1. " Doesn't this look good?"
2. " Check out all its safety features- you could get hit by a nuclear bomb and you'd be ok"
3. " It comes in a really cool shade of black" Red is banned, much to my disappointment.
4. " Watch this clip" cue a you tube video of a 4x4 being thrown safely around a snow filled landscape.

We had a lot of snow that left us flat bound as we couldn't get the car out and the trains were, shockingly for the UK, "affected". So the new criteria for this car is something called "All Wheel Drive" which is by far and away the best way for the wheels to all share the load.

Husband explained on the way to work the difference between front wheel and rear wheel drive and I have to say my response had him laughing his head off. Very reasonably I didn't think it was fair that one set of wheels were either being pushed forward or pulled along. Everyone should have a fair go in my opinion!!

Wish him luck, he's going to need it!!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sunday in Autumn

Morning Runs

Fresh Air

Mad sprinting Spaniels

Blue Skies

Autumn Leaves

Rugby Games

Home baking

Bliss

Absolutely the best season of the year

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Life



Life is feeling very much like this at the moment

Not enough time

Too many things to do

Not enough time

Still too many things to do

When am I going to have more time

&

Less things to do?

When I am dead

There will be no more time then

It wont matter what I tried to do

So 

I am going to keep on slugging

Because I am getting through these things that I need to do

Time will free up

It simply has to

Like a river it will ebb and it will flow

This might be a slight drought 

but 

it will soon flow again

and

I will have more time

and I will have less things to do

...

...

...

But I will look for more things to do

I usually do
!
!
!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

A marathon update

Sorry to build your hopes up, given my weeks of silence but this is not going to be a very long update of marathon length. . . more like an update on my marathon.

I have sent in a request to the Snowdon Marathon team asking if me and Husband could post-pone our entries until next year and offer this years spaces up to some other deserving runners.


We have been rather swamped with work and what seemed like a reasonable training schedule was impossible to keep to with weddings, hen parties, holidays, colds, wisdom teeth removals and the excuses keep on coming.

My challenges of this year have some what slipped by the way side- the cross stitch is now tucked away in a loft as we try to keep our flat minimal in order to sell it (buy it someone please, its a lovely wee first time flat!). The half marathon went when my wisdom tooth was pulled and the full marathon was wiped on the realisation that with about 8 weeks to go I am struggling to run 5k let alone 42k (26 miles). On balance it is not worth killing myself over so I am "rescheduling" rather than admitting defeat!!


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Holiday Highlights

I write this between loads of washing. We are currently having to pick our way through the piles of organised post holiday clothes that are grouped up in the hall trying to make their way to the washing machine.

So I have some down time between the holiday and going back to work on Monday, what better way to spend it than curled up on the couch with Husband watching formula 1 and surfing the net for ways to take our new holiday skills further.

I am not going to bore you with all the photos of blue skies, clear water, bottles of sun tan lotion etc etc. Just thought it might be worth running you through some of our holiday highlights!

Lesvos (pro-nounced Lesbos) is indeed a very popular destination for Ladies who prefer Ladies - we arrived during an International Womens Festival which might explain the high degree of same sex couples.  Have to confess I did think it was a bit of a myth but it would appear not.

It is also a popular destination for cats. I have been quietly working away at Husband on the merits of having a pet cat ourselves but the last fortnight might have changed even my cat loving mind. Being stared at by 6 sets of catty eyes while you eat is very disconcerting and makes for a difficult meal.

We went for a 9k run in the early afternoon. Madness you might think, given the high temperatures in the mid day, but it was a cool damp morning and not likely to get better with a storm forecast for later in the day. We thought we'd take advantage of the cooler temperature and be back before the lightening started to flash.

The route would take us up a hill where a radio mast was located but that would give us spectacular views of island.

We didn't make it to the top.

We very nearly did but the thunder and lightening was starting to build up, so rather than continue working our way up to a large metal structure we decided it would be best to make a hasty decent. By hasty I mean as quick as my legs would take me. We were running along roads that were 20 minutes earlier gravel/concrete but roads none the less. These were now clearly rivers- 3 inches of water at least, foot covering and worrying because you couldn't see where you were putting your foot- pot hole vs. solid ground!

Husband is now trying to work out quite how to put the fear of God into me when we are running back at home because the speed I was able to generate was according to him "very impressive compared to my normal speeds"

Neither of us got burnt and both of us had the most amazing time, with a couple of friends to help start the week off it was a much needed holiday in the sun.

Now to catch up on all those other blogs I have missed reading while I've been catching some late summer sun....

Monday, 5 September 2011

Keeping things alive

" I'm really sorry. It was all I could find"

Sigh and desperate looks shared...

" I am not sure I can do this. It's so pretty and we are effectively sending it to its death"

More desperate looks shared

"Oh well, I am sorry little orchid"




This was the conversation Lil B and her Husband were having at the boot of their car before bringing in a very pretty orchid as a present for me. 

I am not so good with the plants but I am making a conscious effort not to kill any. Not because I have a mean streak and like hacking to death helpless greenery but because I am not so green fingered. 

On the 24th of July Oli arrived and so far of the 10 tiny flowers she had she's only lost 6 and we are only 6 weeks into our relationship.This is new territory for me, plants in our family last days not weeks and now we are approaching "months" territory.

I have been on line and she is going to loose her flowers but I think I can get them to re-flower by cutting the stem. I am not going anywhere near her until all the flowers are gone and I have reconsulted the internet to make doubley sure I am not about to commit plant murder unnecessarily.


The thing is Lil B has the green fingers. And I want to have the green fingers - I have dreams of a garden with lots of flowers and veg and lush green grass for running around bare foot on. But I kill houseplants. So what kinds of carnage could I inflict on an actual garden?!?!

On Christmas Lil B and I got a Peace Lilly. You know the kind big green leaves one solitary white flower in the middle growing straight and proud on its own. Mine didn't make it to another Christmas, Lil B has cultivated hers to the point where I am sure she has more flower heads than big leaves. This was some years ago. 

We are selling our flat and thought some colour was in order. So Husband went out and bought the brightest funniest looking house plant he could find.



Hairy Cock Plant

I killed its brother in a fortnight. 

This replacement one is now in the "months" category.

Tonight a very dear friend brought round a Calla Lilly. 



I am now at 3 house plants, (I don't include the 2 cacti I have had since I was 17 and seem incapable of killing. I think they might be some sort of sad-masochist breed of plant) and am feeling the strain of their silent expectant hopes that they make it into the "years" category without too much drought or flooding.

I keep them separate from the cacti incase they tell these lovely new additions about the others that I have been incapable of keeping alive.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Manners- An Audio Fail

O.k it has been a while since I have had a rant but this is something that is very close to my heart.

Especially today after a rather more than usually challenging day in the office when manners would have made life fractionally more bare-able.

1. Don't interrupt someone when they are talking
2. Don't talk over someone when they are talking
3. LISTEN to the other speaker.

I am not sure there is anything more irritating than someone doing all three during a conference call. It is the hight of ignorance and I would love to "audio-slap" people when this happens.

Please don't confuse 1. with 2. there is a quick interruption which is one thing (and moderately bare-able based on frequency i.e. low) vs. deciding to simply shouting over the person who is trying to make a very reasonable point.

Can you send adults back to primary school to learn the basics of appropriate social engagement??

I bet they all snatched in the playground as kids!


Monday, 15 August 2011

Furry Boots Yei Fae?

In a previous blog I mentioned our family trip to Aberdeenshire in Easter. You definitely deserve to hear more about that trip given the lack of posting in recent weeks.


This was to introduce Husband to my young childhood stomping grounds. We were booked into stay at a city centre hotel and took the scenic coastal route to get there. The drive was beautiful and gorgeous. I was a bit apprehensive about this because in the 8 years (give or take) my memory was of freezing cold winds.

They sky could be blue and the sun shining but there would be an edge to it that would have you reaching for your thermals!

And I was proved wrong. It was glorious all weekend. So our drive up was smooth and very scenic.








We decided after our tour of old home stomping grounds we would head out to Fyvie Castle for a wee tour and lunch.

Lunch was really very confusing. It's the second main meal of the day and we were hungry and willing to pay for food so from that point of view it should be really a simple and straight forward process. Oh and it was 12.45pm. This is important because after we took our seats we were told that it was too late for lunch. We could only have tea and scones.

O.K while we were surprised at this we none the less accepted the rules and ordered tea and scones. 20 minutes later (and no they were not warm and freshly made) they arrived with no tea. But during our wait we saw sandwich's, soups and salads all make their way out of the kitchen. Lunch was clearly still on but Husband and I presumably looked like the type to start a food fight of some sort and therefore not suitable clientele to be trusted with anything more than a couple of cold scones and jam!!

I popped up to the desk and caught a different waitress to the one we were clearly inconveniencing to ask for a couple of bowls of soup and tea to go with our scones. And later had to go back to explain what we had ordered and eaten to make sure that we paid for it all.

As we went around the various rooms in Fyvie the volunteer guides gave us a lot of information. For the record I am 100% Scottish (my to Husbands surprise, but more on that another time) and my Husband is 100% English and while he has lived in Scotland for 10-12 years (give or take!) he's got a pretty good grasp of the various accents. But I know he's not heard a good thick Aberdonian accent and was curious to see what he would make of it.

So with each room I asked a guide a question and with each room the accents got gradually thicker and thicker. Until we peaked in the library/reading room where we were greeted by a proper Aberdonian lady with an accept you could cut with a knife.

Husband went very quiet and wandered around the room looking at various things while I spoke the lady about the room and was told

" they cannae mack a guiy gidd reid"

At this point we'd reached the limit of what he could fully understand un-interpretted.

It translate as: They can't make a very good read.

On our last day we headed to the beach in the morning and there must be something about the North East Coast that preserves the spirit.





I hope to be a rollerblading pensioner when the time comes!!


(If you have ever heard any aberdonian you might be able to work out the question in the title)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Dear Cass (2)

Dear Cass,

It's me again- the you from the future.

You are just about to turn 20 and have just about made it through your Year of Firsts.

This has been a really strange time. People have reacted in a really funny way. Some haven't changed and treat you just the same as always- they are blessings. While others feel uncomfortable and don't seem to know how to talk to you. You try to make them feel better by being overly normal- laughing slightly louder than you mean too, smiling more than you feel like and being more enthusiastic and energetic than you can really be bothered with. You are keeping your grief as private and personal as you can. Only your best friend at uni knows the sense of loss your feeling but you still try to "bounce back", stay resilient and keep going.

You're still quite angry and confused but you are having really vivid nightmares and for the first time in your life that you can remember you are waking up in the night crying. There is nothing anyone will be able to say to you to make you feel better, but don't be angry about their pity. You can't stop it and pretending your more normal than usual to put people at their ease is pointless. So don't feel guilty.

The best thing you do is get some counselling. At least it will help to stop you from punishing yourself and sleep. The guilt will ease, though not really disappear altogether, age and time will bring comfort and new perspectives that will see the anger dissipate.

One flatmate will knock on your door and come in to ask you something. They wont say anything about the tears that are pouring down your face. They don't need to. They just climb onto the bed quietly, hold you close until you are calm and give you a kiss on the top of your head. You never found out what he wanted but you are relieved that he didn't walk back out and pretend he hadn't seen you or that he stood awkwardly waiting for you to sort yourself out.

You are pleased that he came in and love him secretly a little bit more. It is never awkward and you don't discuss it and nothing visible changes in your relationship with him for now.

In a moment of personal pain and anguish this silent moment of love between friends has given you such comfort that you know you'll be fine.

Hang Tough Kid

Cass
(29 years & 359 days old)

Friday, 12 August 2011

Little B & Mummy L

Little B,

You are now a wife and while your still Lil Sis I am renaming you in honour of your new title. Thank you for picking a fabulous brother for me and Mummy L.


Mummy L,

You too are getting a new name. While you're still Littlest Sis you're also now a Mummy and a fabulous one at that. Although I secretly can't wait to hear what your "Mum" voice sounds like - although I doubt your going to have to use it much.



My niece is a saint. In fairness she's not really in a position at her age to get up to much beyond the baby vom and dirty nappies but I am sure it is all to come!!

So here is to new names, new chapters and new acts

xx

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Wisdom-less

I had to go to the dentist today.

I am going to be 30 in 9 days, not that I am counting, but I am scared of the dentist and I am technically a grown up.

I remember being a little kid and thankfully never having anything major wrong with my mouth that would prompt a fear of going to the dentist. In fact if anything it was fun because afterwards my Mum would take me to the shop to pick whatever treat I wanted- licorice wheels were my favourite. Of course I wasn't allowed them straight away.

Today I got my wisdom tooth pulled.

Right now I could cry. I really want a licorice wheel.








Husband came with me and sat nervously in the waiting room while I got a bit of me extracted. I think he was really worried for me. But since we've known I have this appointment he's been nothing but cool and nonchalant about the whole thing. He has been very re-assuring and calming.

In the car on the way back telling him about what happened in the room he had one hand over his mouth and the other on the steering wheel.

He then told me how he would take a spade to the head rather than get a tooth pulled under local anaesthetic.

He was so calm for me, knowing that if he suggested that the thought of getting a wisdom tooth pulled turned his stomach then I would be extremely freaked out about getting it pulled myself.

This is why he is my husband.









I could cry again. Going to put that down to the loss of a tooth.

Under strict instructions I am propped up in bed trying not to dribble, writing this and watching episodes of The West Wing (thank you Little B) to keep my mind off what is likely to be an uncomfortable couple of days. My mouth is still numb.

Wish me luck.

[For the record, the tooth was enormous- half the size of my own head (I know I can't believe it either) but it came out really easily and I didn't feel a thing. A decent amount of pressure on my jaw but zero pain]

Monday, 8 August 2011

3 weeks in a month I feel like this. . . .
 

(nearly)


Then 1 week in a month I feel and behave like this. . .

(fairly accurate)

Sorry Husband xx



Tuesday, 2 August 2011

It is your birthday my dear.

And you are very dear.

Especially to me.

And to my family.

They always ask me how you are. You are an extension. You are another sister.

You are exactly 17 days older than me and I like to think that technically, though not biologically, makes you my older sister. Which means that I can behave like a younger and more care-free sister. Not a luxury I take for granted by the way.


We have know each other for many years and you have been my best and dearest friend.


I have and am always very proud and honoured to be your friend. Your fiesty loyalty and quick wit keep me grounded. You wouldn't let me feel sorry for myself because I think you know somehow for both of us its not the way we operate!! 


You have been silent when I have poured my heart out. When I have been afraid to open up at vulnerable times you have found a way to reassure me that it is o.k to talk.

In doing so you have helped to give me courage where I wasn't sure I would be able to find it for myself.

Thank you.

We have know each other for 12 years and here is to many, many more. So embrace this birthday and the next and the one after that. Because that just means plenty more time and fun for us to have together as we get all old and wrinkly.

Here is to my best friend- HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Dear Mum (4)

Dear Mum,


This Easter I took Husband up to Aberdeenshire to see our family home. To visit my old primary school and walk around the village we lived just outside of. 


I cried. 


I didn't expect to but I did. 


I remember Dad telling us on a Monday night after Gymnastics that we would be leaving to go to Edinburgh. I remember you crying a lot. You were very upset at leaving, seeing our home all packed up and empty and bare. You seemed inconsolable. I think you told Dad to tell us alone - you were not going to be there when he broke the news. I am pretty sure now that was a deliberate move on your part. He didn't have your support.


I can only guess the reasons why. 


I know my reasons for crying. It was the last place we were a family. Properly. We were happy. All of us. 


I cried for that family. 


I cried for the waste of a life.


I cried for the loss of potential.


I cried for you.


And I cried for us- your Wee Angels.


I didn't need to knock on the door to know what the smells and sounds of the house would be like. We sat in the car, parked in a lay-by on a road across the river from the house. And looked on. The tears quietly and unexpectedly rolled down my face. 


Husband told me not to apologise and held my hand as the tears fell and the explanation and memories came.


Our old tyre swing still hangs opposite the house. Where it has hung since Dad and Uncle spent an afternoon hanging it and testing it thoroughly before 3 hyper-excited bouncing little girls clambered on it.


The games we invented in the garden, the woods and fields around the house all came flooding back. The feel of the ice cold water on our skin from the paddling pool in the summer. 


My childhood.


I was to grow up quickly when we moved to Edinburgh. You saw to that.


Love


Cass
xx

Saturday, 2 July 2011

My First EVER Marathon- Pre Training Schedule

and possibly my only ever marathon.

I am two weeks from starting a 16 week training programme which culminates in The Snowdon Marathon.

I have had the best reaction to this and it has pretty much consisted of "Wow you are going to run up Snowdon?!" There is a huge amount of respect in the delivery of that remark.

Too much, so I quickly re-assure them that I am going to be running 26 miles around this beautiful Welsh mountain. But having seen the profile and driven the route I can assure you the inclines certainly look, and I suspect will feel, like I am running up the mountain.

I have only ever run 6 miles and racked up an array of t-shirts from my various 10k runs so I am taking this marathon very seriously. Hence the swim and the personal training sessions. And the alcohol.

This is a strange one for me. For at most 12 years I have enjoyed at least a glass of wine every week, if not a smidge more at the end of a particularly tough week! Not a huge amount of alcohol and there may have been the odd stint when I didn't have any alcohol but nothing like this.

As I write this I am at 21 days of being totally alcohol free. And I am quite proud of this feat and plan to make it to the 29th of October on the wagon as it were. However I have Lil Sis's Hen, followed 7 days later by their wedding, 2 weeks in Greece and my own 30th birthday. Peppered throughout with the occasional works night out where cocktails and glasses of wine tend to flow freely.

I am also slightly disturbed at how I have at times obsessed about how much I have longed for a rioja, chilled white wine or G&T. And by obsessed I mean I have had to find alternative ways to "relax" of a Friday/Saturday evening. Hot baths are quite good, reading and blogging of course seems to take my mind off it and the level of pride I am feeling is almost a bit scary.

If I can keep this up and stick to my training schedule then I am going to be at my absolute fittest. Things can go down hill after then if they like I'll still be able to hold my head high and say I have run a full marathon and that has included 5 months of being alcohol free.

I can't not toast my Lil Sis future happiness at their wedding but other than that this little girl is going to be T total for as long as possible!

Friday, 24 June 2011

I have to apologise for my absence the last few days. . . weeks? Time is doing a funny thing at the moment.

But I wanted to reassure my wee following that I have not forgotten you and have replied to all of your fabulous comments- thank you!

I have so much to update you all with that I need to have some time to sit down and properly organise myself!!


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Some snaps

Husband and I took a trip to Jupiter Art Land, just outside Edinburgh literally a stones throw from my old home and I got a bit happy with the snappy. 

It's definitely worth a visit if your a bit of an art geek and even if you're not they have a wicked cafe and the staff are wonderful. I am not such an art geek but I like this stuff a lot!







Flowers don't answer back I think that's why I love taking pictures of them. That and they don't move much so perfect subject for an amateur photographer! Especially loved these black tulips.






 That is a drive in the between these two Jinx's . . . or is it Jinxsi when there are multiples. . .?








Husband being dwarfed by a giant orchid





 Love this one






 I call shot gun






This is the best looking Hen House going!!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Start rolling little ball. . .

o.k so it is done.

The flat is just about it reach the market, it is official the ball is rolling and we might not been too sure which direction it is going to take us but it has now been nudged and is starting to roll.

Hopefully into a quick sale.

Having never sold a property before we have tried to think of absolutely everything you could possibly imagine and we have been planning our sale strategy for a few months now, possibly even a year. Our lovely first home as a married couple would have to be stripped of us!

The to do list looked a bit like this:

  • Painting
We recruited Iain on the basis of his business card- taped to the side of a local hardware store till. 

It read:

Retired & Bored.
Reasonable Rates.


His rates truly were reasonable and he did such a fantastic job we got him to do the bathroom ceiling, kitchen cupboard doors and skirting. He would leave the receipts and left over paints to make sure that we knew he wasn't "at it".

The thing we still can't work out is exactly how he did it. Now I should probably explain we have a small ground floor two bedroom flat and when we covered the walls in purple, cream, blue and caramel it took us days and days. Each time we took on a room there would be plenty of time in between rooms to get over the trauma that moving furniture.

Iain painted our flat in a week.  Our entire flat in 5 days. All in a shade called Timeless. It was another word for white. Not just one coat either, a couple of coats of paint were required. 

All done in 5 days.

I am convinced that he has an Inspector Gadget type body and as soon as he arrived underneath the overalls were another set of arms and he was capable of painting with extendable legs so he didn't need to bother with ladders and such nonsense!

  • Rug Doctoring
Once the walls were all sorted it was the floors that were next on the hit list. 

We have cream carpets. Well, we thought they were cream.

Turns out spending your weekend driving a heavy Rug Doctor across our hall, living room and main bed room will not only have you shouting at each other through temporary deafness but it will also teach you the true colour of your carpets. 

A dirty shade of brown it would appear. Now our carpets are gleaming and it could be a shoes off at the door policy until we get prospective buyers through the door.
  • Thin, Thin and Thin Some More
If it hadn't been for my fabulous Grandparents I am not sure quite how we would have managed it but 3 (or slightly more) trips through to them has seen our flat empty, empty some more and empty a bit further and there is still plenty of "stuff" still in our little flat.


It begs the question where on earth were we keeping it all?!?! A selection of items that are now out of reach include a set of wine glasses (we still have another set in the flat), 2 mountain bikes, a set of inherited wedding china, wedding dress, fur coat and a set of book shelves (including contents). 



And it's now nearly in the hands of the estate agent. We hand over some of our hard earned cash tomorrow to get it on the market- where it will hopefully be making its debut next week. 

We saw the pictures tonight and I have to say that our little pad looks amazing. All our hard work feels like it had paid off, I hope it has paid off, I pray it has paid off. 

I am going to be sorry to see it go, we've had some excellent times here.

Got married here.

Started and finished our MSc's here.

Had a couple of Christmas' here.

Had a few of arguments here.

Had plenty of laughs, cuddles and snogs here. 

Fingers and toes crossed for lots of viewings by genuinely lovely people who want to buy our fabulous wee flat. 

The next question is . . .

Where will our little rolling ball take us?



    Friday, 10 June 2011

    Swim fishy swim

    8 Sleeps to go before I climb into a wet suit for the 2nd time with the express purpose of swimming in it!

    Yes that's right out door swimming.

    One mile.

    In the out doors.

    Did I mention that I'll be in a wet suit?




    For plenty of people the idea of swimming doesn't really present any level of anxiety but I have always been a bit nervous about the whole thing. Don't get me wrong I can swim but to the untrained eye it appears more like a fight against the water that results in a very gradual forward momentum. In other words it doesn't really come all that naturally to me!!

                                                  






    When I was little I remember being held under the water for a fraction too long and feeling that my lungs were about to explode right out my tiny chest. I came up like a bullet out of a gun with tears and snot pouring from my face.


    I can breast stroke like the best of them and it is my favourite- there is no questioning the bobbing up, out of the water that leads to lung fulls of fresh air. It is front crawl that I struggle with.

    It's optional as to when you tilt your head to one side and gasp that breath of all essential air.

    2 strokes.

    breathe


    3 strokes.

    breathe.

    4 strokes.

    BREATHE.

    Then the water slides into my ear and with each tilt to breathe it moves further in towards my brain. Like I am being punished for breathing. 

    I hate it when stuff gets in my ears- I once had a perforated ear drum and I can't stand it when I get water in them. 

    It reminds me of standing in my Granny's kitchen feeling small and in a lot of invisible pain. Mum standing soothing and reassuring telling me to be a brave little girl for a little while longer as Granny poured warm oil into my ears. 

    Not a good time. The scars are still clearly there in writing this!!

    So, swimming front stroke with water going into my ears and struggling to breathe is no easy challenge. I only ended up in this position because I can talk a good game. A really good game. Too good!

    Last year I was signed up for the Great Scottish Swim, that was taking place in Strathclyde Country Park and thankfully in the 11th hour it was cancelled (blue green algae). I had however talked a REALLY good game. So good in fact that one of my friends, who had listened to me witter on about this huge swim, suggested we go for the Great North Swim instead.

    Less likely to be called off for blue green algae. . .

    . . .

    I found out last night when 3 months ago we were logging on separately to register for this swim. We were both having the same thoughts:

    1. Please let all the spaces be filled.
    2. I can't let my friend down.


    Pretty much being repeated over and over as the login details were first registered and then as the payment details were taken and then as the payments left our accounts. 

    And now, as my information pack still hasn't arrived*, the thoughts are still repeating themselves. 

    My friends pack has arrived. 

    Our hotel is booked and paid for. 

    I am still getting into the pool on virtually a daily basis.

    And I am still quietly hoping for blue green to appear. 

    8 sleeps to go!!


    * the day after this post was written my pack arrived!

    [there will be pictures]

    Sunday, 5 June 2011

    Sleeping Beauty

    Or Tired and Cranky Witch?!



    I have been very tired of late and have taken a new approach to dealing with it. As opposed to keeping awake and keeping complaining about how tired I am; I am getting some sleeps.

    Friday night was a personal best, from my head hitting the pillow at 6:30pm through until 9:30am.

    14 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleeps.

    Amazing.

    Delicious.

    Saturday was a later night making it to 11pm I slept into 10am on Sunday.  .  .

    11 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleeps.

    Sunday included a power nap session of 2 hours from 4pm until 6.30pm.

    I am wondering just how long I could go sleeping? Days and weeks of solid and uninterrupted sleeps.

    I am going to experiment this week and see if I can make it to bed for 9.30pm for 5 days running and see what effect that has on my tiredness and general disposition!!!

    Thursday, 26 May 2011

    Manners

    I think I am becoming increasingly more intolerant as I get older, I just don't understand why the concept of basic manners is so difficult for people to grasp.

    I always try to be considerate of others and would hope that would be reciprocated but more often than not it isn't.  I find myself fighting the urge to give these people a clip around the back of the head and from somewhere within my personal history, genes and through generations of women utter the immortal words of:

    "lift your feet when you walk"

    or

    "it is not "wha?!" it is WH-AT!"

    In a way that is so arresting that people pick their feet up when they walk, hold doors open, say "Please" and say "Thank You" and rediscover their manners.

    Here are some of the things I wish people would do . . .
    • Hold the door open for someone when its clear they are about to go into the same room as you
    • Say Please and Thank You
    • Don't ignore someone when they are speaking to you
    • Pick your feet up when you walk
    • Park your car with consideration for other residents
    • Pick up after your dog
    • Apologise when you bump into someone
    Grrr

    [technophobe alter- I am still trying to work out how to get images back on my blog via my mac air, in the mean time imagine a picture of a really cross lion, roaring very loudly!!]










    YES

    Finally worked it out, Thank You Husband (credit where credit is due!)

    Friday, 20 May 2011

    Ice Cream Wars



    I like ice-cream.

    Husband likes ice-cream.

    We are an ice-cream loving household. Next to my Husband and scallops I love Benny & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice-cream the most. . .

    I decided it would be a good idea to try to make my own. I poured my way through all of my recipe books thinking that amongst the Delia's, Jamie's and others I would be able to work out the basic principles, which I did. Kind of.

    I chose to make a vanilla ice-cream (Husband's favourite) and a mint chocolate ice cream (my favourite). The recipes I attempted to follow are no longer kicking around, for reasons that will become apparent shortly.

    One recipe required just egg whites while the other needed just the yolks. Applying one generic theory of ice cream making here was not going to be a straight forward one. However both required to be stirred regularly to break up the ice crystals that were going to form as it set.

    With the ice cream eventually in their respective tubs, I was only able to track down the lid for the Mint batch, the vanilla was lidless. This would prove to be a mistake. On the first timed alarm I enthusiastically yanked open the fridge door and pulled the drawn only to be subjected to what was effectively a custard based ice cream explosion.

    Due to a lack of space I had put the vanilla in the top drawer.

    When it exploded, or rather was thrown around the inside of the freezer (when I yanked the drawer open) I managed to generate a very impressive coverage. Managing to coat most of the contents of the the two lower drawers, as well as the drawer it was held in and the inside of the freezer door.

    Setting instantaneously.

    While that was satisfying (it having set so quickly) having to wipe it off packets of frozen mince, the floor, wall and my face was not as rewarding. There wasn't much left so I was left with the Mint ice cream

    I suspect the Vanilla Ice-cream was reacting to the lack of care and attention it had received. It not having a lid this was to be its retribution.

    I have another recipe which I know has had rave reviews- being well tried and tested- and will be testing it out at some point. Fingers crossed I don't end up re-decorating the kitchen again!!

    I will win this ice cream war- or get fat trying.