Tuesday, 30 June 2009

A gorgeous day out at Culzean

Today we visited Culzean Estate.

It was a glorious day...

First of all we stopped off at the walled garden (shame about my faulty camera!)

This climbing rose against the beautifully lichen-splotched stone wall caught my eye.

Wild flowers, love the strikingly simple shapes...

...and splashes of bold colours

The wildflower borders lead to this lovely cottage.

After a picnic lunch we walked a little way along the cliffs.

A view of Ailsa Craig.

We then descended though through the woods...

...to one of the beaches (this one accessible with pram!)

Fantastic bright green seaweed

Lovely lumpy rock formations

Cooling off some tired feet.

We had a great time and will definitely return at a later date. Despite spending most of the day there there was still much we didn't see and we were just visiting the grounds, nevermind trying to include a tour of the castle.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather too which always helps!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Bye Bye Chair

Just broke my favourite garden chair today!

Here it is in happier times. There were two of us on it at the time, but I suspect it was mostly my fault (4 yr olds don't weigh much!)

The garden is chock-a-block with weeds. They always start to take over about this time of year. We've quite a large garden and have still to get it sorted, each year we do manage to get a little more done.

At the moment it's a right mess.

There also seem to be few things actually flowering at the moment - a bit of a lull after the peonies and lilacs before the buddleias and hydrangeas have their turn.

I do have a couple of rose bushes in the front garden which are doing their best in amongst the long grass.

And not forgetting the pinks...

I popped some in a vase to make the kitchen smell nice! The kitchen's a mess too so you're not getting to see any more of it!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

New Camera

Eek, I've just ordered one of these...

... after spending an evening or two perusing just some of the many very useful camera review sites online I decided to buy a fujifilm finepix f100fd. It's supposed to take good low light pictures so should be ideal for photographs of mirrors for my website which need to be taken with no flash and usually indoors as it's often raining outside, though not this summer (touch wood!) it's been lovely and dry so far, so much so that my old 1/2 barrel planter is falling apart - the wood is shrinking and the rings are falling off...

the lovely old barrel planter while still intact just a few days ago

I got out on my bike again this morning, trying to make it a regular Saturday event. It's just for 10 miles or so and I go out first thing after getting the wee fellow up and I'm back before big sister needs to leave for her swimming lesson.

Today I did my usual route but in reverse so the killer hill was at the end and involved much braking rather than lots of puffing!

I didn't bother taking my old camera with me. Now that the decision is made and the money is spent, I'm looking forward to having a new camera. In addition to the fuzzy patch, the old one also took very dark landscape pictures. Here are a couple from a recent cycle trip just to see, hopefully future photos will be much improved!

Wee lambs

Ben Lomond in the distance (was facing the wrong way today to see this view!)

My bike!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


Ahh well, I am a little disappointed, my biscuits were last! I think they were perhaps just a little too large for the ladies of the WRI, they tasted absolutely delicious to me!

They are the ones at the top with the green "commended" ticket. The red label indicates 1st prize, obviously the lady who won believes in eking out her cherries!!! My biscuits do look rather out of place, I'll aim for a more refined effort next year.

My tablet was "highly commended" which isn't too bad considering it was slightly over done. There was also a little more competition in this category.

The local nursery had entered a farmyard drawing from all the children. My daughter won a "commended" ticket for a picture she did when she was still just 3.

It's equivalent to 5th out of 71, not bad! I'll take a better picture of the drawing once we get it returned from the nursery.

It was a showery cold June day so I didn't take many exterior pictures though I did like these orange sheep.

As you can see from the photo my camera is starting to fail, I'm getting an out of focus hazy patch on the right hand side of all my photos. It's time to investigate buying a new camera, not a task I'm relishing as it involves more expense & more time-wasting in checking out reviews to get a decent not too expensive model as I am frugal and do like a bargain which takes me tenuously on to my next picture which is of my most recent charity shop haul featuring a new craft toy...

... a bead loom set, all brand new and unused. Fantastic! I also got a nice stoneware jar and a wooden clackety dinosaur for the wee fellow. Talking of whom...

... here he is having a great time guddling in a fountain today with big sister close by. Look at the beautiful cloudless sky, I hope the sunny weather lasts for a few more days!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Rapunzel, Empire Biscuits & Tablet

"It's Rapunzel with a snotty nose!"... the 4 year old tests out her Klutz "fun with felt" birthday present.

Meanwhile, I've been busy making these...

and this...

... empire biscuits (still minus the jam) and tablet (some taste testing already carried out!) which I'm going to enter into our local show on Saturday. I'll be soooo disappointed if the empire biscuits at least don't win a prize. The tablet needed a second boil as I'd underdone on the first attempt. It still tastes nice though I'll turn it upside down for presentation purposes! It'll be "interesting" to see what other make of my baking attempts. Both recipes are handed down through my family. When I google "empire bicuit recipe" the results I get are quite different to the recipe I use. I'll post both recipes later...

Monday, 15 June 2009

Honeysuckle & Peonies

Our honeysuckle!

I am definitely going to plant more of this in the garden. It's the first year we've had decent flowers and it's also the first year I've been organised enough to deal with the greenfly, probably no coincidence there then!

It smells delicious.

I also have a yellow flowering one which is doing well too. Both the honeysuckle plants line the path and there is plenty of space for more plants down towards the gate.

The peonies are also starting to flower.

I didn't get round to staking the darker pink ones shown below and they are flowering rather close to the ground. While in bud they survived being run over by the pram numerous times, but they are rather more delicate now - a good reason to cut them and plop them in a nice big jug for admiring indoors...

...no I haven't done it yet, it would have been nice to have a photo, but here's one I took of the earlier flowering dark pink peonies instead!

Saturday, 13 June 2009


This is what I was doing earlier this evening...

... I was finding it rather hard to concentrate and my mind kept drifting off, thinking about pink knitting of all things!

That's orchestra now finished for the summer holidays so I get my Tuesday evenings back, perhaps to do some pink knitting - more on that later!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Birthday Cakes

Ta da! Today's birthday party cake...

So pretty! It tastes rather nice too (although Smarties these days are just not as good as they used to be!)

The recipe is from

According to Nigella it serves 10, or 1 with a broken heart. Even I couldn't manage to eat this all by myself without feeling extremely ill, definitely one to share!

Just had another slice and there's still loads left.

The official 4th birthday was actually a few days before the party. It's just an excuse to bake (and eat!) more cakes.

This recipe was from

It was yummy and didn't last long.




Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Bags & Bunting

These little bags have personalised badges attached which I made with my rather fabulous badge maker toy. They're party favours for the girls attending the party on Thursday. I've put a couple of little chocolate bars and a balloon inside each one.

Here are some close-ups of the badges:

I hope the girls like them.

While I was in the garden I tried out the bunting to see if it would fit between the trees...

... which it did!

A couple of other photos from the garden; my husband has started a veggie plot and has been getting rather creative too, here are the pumpkin and the runner beans:

Looking good so far...


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