Sunday, 28 September 2014

Oh God She's Talking About Christmas Already

Yes I am, I'm sorry. No I'm not. Or maybe I'm not sure. Still the last few days of September is the time to start really thinking about it.

More regular readers will be familiar with my Christmas cake. It's part obsession part tradition and for me it really marks the run to the festive season. I suspect it's the weekly feeding (rum, so much rum) and inevitable naming of at least one of the cakes. I also sort of feel like the making of Christmas cake legitimises the rest of the Christmas prep. Though as I type a few of my friends have already bought all their gifts. I am in awe of them. Seriously way to over achieve folks. I was feeling really smug about last year's tree being in a pot out in the garden looking even greener and lusher than it did last year. Oh well....

So it's time to break out a note book, spread sheet or the back of an envelope and write down what needs to be done, what you want to make, what needs to be bought etc. Then have a cup of tea and a breather. Now cull the list, while mittens for all the children you know is a lovely idea I suspect the reality would be pulling a Yarn Harlot (sorry Steph you are magic but I am not so dedicated) and knitting like a mad bastard on Christmas eve when you could be doing something with everyone you love like going out on a traipse to looks at all the Christmas lights or midnight mass or you know just curling up on the sofa and drinking your body weight in hot chocolate. The whole point of this planning exercise is to minimise last minute madness so you can actually enjoy the holiday rather than implode from stress. There's also a money saving aspect to this which is also rather handy.

So I figure out:
  1. Who I'm knitting/sewing for
  2. Who I'm baking for
  3. Who gets bought gifts (pretty much just the kids on my list)
  4. If Christmas cards are being sent this year (a first class stamp will be 62p by Christmas. Yikes!)
  5. What sort of state are the Christmas decorations in. Does anything need updated, repaired or replaced? Do I want to add anything?
  6. Will we be entertaining? what needs doing there? Recipe testing, spare room in need of a bit of tlc?
And then I cull the excess, prioritize and work my way through my list.

So what does your list look like? Spotted any cute patterns or tutorials you'll be using? What's your favourite Christmas tradition? Yes I tottally am prodding you all for ideas. So please spill!

Minnie xoxo

p.s. Christmas cards- are you doing them?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Indy Ref Count Down

Well folks tomorrow is the day we all go to the polls. (If you live in Scotland anyway.) What ever the result I think most people will agree it'll change the UK as we know it regardless.

Are you outside of Scotland? What do you think? Do you even know that Scotland is going to the polls? Will you be paying much attention to the count?

SCOTS! Are you staying up to mark the count? Planning to go to any street parties if your preferred result is the one that comes? Or are you one of the few people who is planning on not voting?

I am voting, I am going to a count party tomorrow night and I'm making a selection of themed edible goodies. Including jelly (jello), because really is there a better excuse for layered jelly?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Progress, Thought and Things.

So my posting has been pretty sparse, 2014 has been a pretty rough year here between one thing and another the blog has had to take a massive step back in my priorities. Rather unfortunate but there you go. Can't be helped.

Anyway I'm now in a place where I can dedicate time and post interesting things. Oh how very exciting. We're zooming right into autumn, hell it's nearly time to start thinking about Christmas cake again. I know right? Feels like this year has zoomed past. The independence referendum is very nearly upon us. I'm voting yes, in case you're wondering, but you know if you are in Scotland and your decision is an informed educated on I'm just glad you are choosing to vote.

Whee! So changes a coming!

Minnie xoxo

Monday, 2 June 2014

Peanut Free Peanut Butter Cookies! Wait... What?

Today we're (I say we, I mean Bloke) racing, this calls for cookies. Standing on the side lines being loud and supportive is hard work you know. Because lets be honest here I'll probably eat way more than Bloke. Sorry Bloke. Anyway sport and peanut butter are a classic combination. peanut butter is fab it's high in protein, energy and other good stuff, alas its also death in a jar for me. But thankfully some wonderful people invented Wowbutter which is just like peanut butter in every way except that it's never so much as seen a peanut in it's life. I've sung it's praises before here.

And do you know what I like even more than cookies that don't kill me? Cookies that aren't murderous in nature and are super easy to make. I don't think I'll ever post a simpler recipe. It doesn't feel like a recipie at all really. There are loads of these floating about the internet  but i can confirm that they work and they work very well with wowbutter.

All you need is:
  • A cup of sugar
  • A cup of peanut butter
  • an egg
  • a teaspoon of vanilla 
Beat together in a bowl, spoon onto a greased tin, press down with a fork to create that Nutter Butter style pattern. These will grow in the baking so do place with plenty of space.
Just pop them into a preheated oven at 175°C, 350°F or gas mark 4 for 11 to 12 minutes. They will like any good cookie be quite soft when they come put but harden as they cool. Lovely!

 Store in an airtight container. If they last that long. I can make no guarantees about how long anyone can leave these alone. Good thing they're so easy to make eh?

Minnie xoxo

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Weekend Is Shaping Up

And rather nicely too I might say. I rather foolishly decided to cope with the sheer expense involved with graduation by, uhh, spending more money. Don't judge me it made sense at the time. And my haul is pretty damn modest for all my hand wringing guilt.

Can ginger people wear maroon? I hope so. I'm not often a fan of ladies wear from Primark because I am way way too tall for 90% of what they sell. But this little beauty is nice and long and was only £6. Worth the madness of Primark on a Saturday wouldn't you say?

If all else fails I can do a rocking Ginny Weasley impression. I am a grown up adult lady I swear.

Remember those kilt hose I linked in the last post? My other splurge this weekend was picking up the yarn for them. Twice as much as is recommended because dude has massive cyclist's legs.

It's the regia 6ply sock wool in anthracite marl marked as farbe 00522 on the band. I picked up four of the 150g balls in the hope that gross overestimation will be the safest option. FOUR. That's 1500 meters. One of the balls is in a different dye lot so it's not quite so safe as I'd like but I shouldn't, in theory, need it for the kilt hoes. She says with the false hope of denial seeping away rather quickly through her toes. It'll be fine right? Just nod and smile please. And hold my hand if this ever gets to the holding my knitting while weeping stage? Thank you, you're brillaint.

What else have I been up to? 

More sock knitting. 
It's regia wool I think, it's been knocking about my stash so long it's long lost it's label band. The fancy sheep holding it all safe are from clover. They are the best point protectors ever. I don't think these will be particularly pretty socks but they should be pretty hard wearing which always good.

Tomorrow Bloke is racing, first road trip in the new (to us) car. So today I'm doing a bunch of cooking and baking. Racing is hard work, and so is being the dorky wife armed with a camera. Or maybe I just eat when I'm nervous? Yeah. Still Much food is required. This might as well be an ode to pasta salad. I don't care what anyone says about paleo you'll have to rip the carbs from my cold dead hands.

Other things I've been loving this week are:

Why meal planning isn't just for boring bitches from Mrs thrifty.

These high waisted tall legging from Asos.  Because I have high hopes for leggings I can bend over in without them riding down.

Is moving to the suburbs 'selling out'?  Even at 26 I feel a bit weird considering the notion of 'selling out' but I grew up rural so moving to the wee village we're in wasn't much of a hardship. And our rent money translates to a much bigger space than we could ever afford in the city.

What have you all been up to? What's your favourite road trip food?

Minnie xoxo

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Coffee is magical and tea is amazing.

So it's been a while. I got super sick, turns out viral bugs can do a number on you in adulthood just as much as they did when you're four. That wasn't the most enjoyable lesson I've ever learnt. Really grateful to the Scottish NHS for taking such good care of me though, did you know that even prescriptions are free for every one in Scotland? It's fab, especially when you have to go through a bunch of trial and error to find something that works without making you feel worse.

I spent most of my time in bed daydreaming about food and getting angry about stuff on twitter. I think I made a lot of really grumpy noises about people needing some serious perspective. Perpetrators of the hateful nonsense mostly involved UKIP, I don't care about your reasons but you if you want to vote for these racist, homophobic, sexist wankers we can't be pals any more. Oh and Donald Trump, dude Scotland is big on using it's renewable energy resources. If you don't like how windmills look STOP BUYING HOTELS HERE. And stop trying to bluster and bully, that nonsense doesn't fly here. There was much more getting me grumpy, probably best not to dwell least I come across as a proper mental.

Food has been a major excitement, now what I'm all better and can yanno actually face the stuff. I really missed tuna, which is weird because I don't eat the stuff all that often. Turns out a tuna mayo roll and a cup of tea can be the best thing in the world. See also pasta salad, curry, pizza, salad and er everything else. Food is just amazing. So is tea and coffee is frankly a magical wonder substance.

I have grand plans for this weekend, we've finally got some planting done in the garden. It's a little late but eh, no harm in seeing what happens eh? I also have a bunch of sewing to get done. The warm weather has totally crept up on me and I feel like I've got nothing to wear. Who knew that a few weeks in bed could totally screw with your sense of the season? Anyway they fabric stash is getting a raid and some long overdue mending needs to happen too. 

I have been knitting up a storm recently, mostly socks but Bloke's latest request has been a pair of kilt hose. These kilt hose. I'm actually pretty excited by the prospect, but his massive cyclists legs do have me a little concerned when it comes to the yarn yardage and the shaping. Still maths is fun right? Er yeah...

Anyway it's brilliant to be back and well enough to post, I've really missed blogging.  What have you guys been up to? What did I miss?

Minnie xoxo

Monday, 3 March 2014

The Common Cold

I'm doing a pretty rocking impression of a hag-fish, all sniffly and snottery (attractive, I know.) Right now there isn't enough tea in the world to make me feel better and to top it off the weather has been utterly fab today. Gorgeous sunny day, warm enough to not require a coat even if it did rain a little. So the most I got to see of it was when we went out to run of errands.

I snapped this shot of the Helix kelpies coming back from Falkirk with Bloke. I love how mad Scottish weather can be mild, sunny, bright but with rain and hail.

Any cold remedies you swear by? Give me all your knowledge please, else this cold might ruin my week.

Minnie xoxo

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Things I fell in love with in February

February was all about new things, which was rather nice given the dreary as hell weather. The winter has been super mild with regards to temperature but made up for it by being windy and wet as hell. Blergh.

Pretty much the perfect time of year to get stuff done, I finally got an eye test. Yeah way over due and yeah I really needed to get a new prescription. Pretty much the perfect excuse to update my frames too.

Tired? Check. Full of the cold? Check. Well excited over new glasses? Yup! They are the coco loco frames in black from Glasses Direct. Love them, and I love glasses direct. Well made glasses for a fraction of the cost of the high street. The quality is much better than the cheap glasses I've bought before from well know high street opticians. In Scotland everyone is entitled to an eye test on the NHS every two years, so I don't feel to guilty about not buying anything from my optician. Not that I could afford to right now anyway. Glasses direct seem to have constant offers on and I managed to get a new pair of glasses and subscription sunglasses for less than it would have been to buy the cheapest pair of glasses in the opticians or having my old glasses re-glazed.The service was fast, totally going to use them again.

I have a list or allergies and intolerances about a mile long, as a result not only is my diet pretty restricted but my husband's is too because some things just can't come into the house. One of the thing he really, really misses is peanut butter. Then one of our friends sent me a link to Wowbutter, a peanut butter alternative made from soya beans.

Image courtesy of Wowbutter

I was kind of sceptical at first, but then read a few reviews and ordered three jars from ( the cheapest UK source I could find) and I am so glad I did. This stuff is amazing. Bloke says it tastes just like peanut butter, a slightly more claggy texture if he's being very picky. But spot on. I've made some random friends try it, not telling them what it was which caused some serious confusion till I showed them the jar. It comes in smooth, creamy and crunchy options, but Bloke is all about the crunchy so that's what we got.

The label peels back to reveal peanut safe stickers for lunchboxes etc.
Image courtesy of Wowbutter
Which are really handy because a lot of schools are peanut free or if like me you just really like an excuse to put stickers on things.

It's dairy free, egg free, gluten free and peanut and tree nut free. I've concluded it must be actually magic. It bakes well in cookies, seriously how have I lived without wowbutter choch chip cookies. I made a batch and we wolfed them down in an evening. In short i am in love, with a jar of spread. My life is so exciting, let me tell you...

Other things that have been exciting me:

I'm pretty excited for March even though lent starts scarily soon.
What's been exciting you of late?

Minnie xoxo

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Adventures in the almost spring!

Have I mentioned how much I love village life? It's awesome. Yesterday we rocked up to Alva glen, bloke had the day off and we figured we might as well make the most of the bright weather. There used to be a big woollen mill powered by the waters and now it's still a water supply for the area, and gorgeous. And it's a really easy walk which is a bonus if you're a wimp like me.

Yes his hat is inside out. No 1 curr. Derpy selfies ftw.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

What's currently on my needles: Jumper redemption

For two years I pretty much ignored some of my knitting. Bloke wanted a jumper, I went on to ravelry and pulled up a selection of patterns - he picked one i wasn't wild about and man that grudging not fussed feeling soon grew to out right hate. Still for two years I'd occasionally pull it out, knit a few rows and then promptly banish it again.

Last week I hit my limit, I frogged the whole thing and cast on Fort. I'm in love, its seriously a pattern I'd consider knitting a couple of times if Bloke likes the finished product. I've been keeping track of my progress in my instagram account because I am a massive weirdo like that (see the photos in the left hand bar? That's what I'm talking about.) Still it's flying off the needles.

I've made a few adjustments, I didn't do the tubular cast on (I'm lazy, I opted for an alternating cable cast on if you're interested) and the body is goign to be a little longer to suit Bloke's proportions. He's over 6 foot tall but has wee short man legs and a long back. I can't wait to get this finished.

Anyone have any patterns they can't wait to cast on? I foresee a woolly void in my life when this is finished.

Minnie xoxo

Friday, 10 January 2014

January Problems

12th night has been, the decorations are all packed away, the tree has been re-potted into a bigger container and is out on the patio.

I've always wondered why she's got a star on a string. Is it supposed to be a tail? Or a really fancy tampon?

I'm not a big fan of January. It's a really quite,grey month. The days are getting longer but the weather is still horrendous and February my least favourite month of all looms ahead with promises of gales and endless rain. Blegh. I'm super grateful for the wood stove in this house right now.

How are you all coping with the weathers and the  wake of Yuletide excess?

Minnie xoxo