August-in-a-blog-post …

… or something that attempts to sum up what’s happened in my month!

My August got overtaken with illness. Yup, it’s me that’s ill. It’s a long-term thing – been around for too long and not going away anytime in the near future. Some days are better than others and August has been a collection of mostly bad days. Life has been a struggle and finding the energy for the every-day essentials has been flakey, so my blog has sort of slipped …

I wanted to tell you because my blog and the blogging community I’ve found online has become very important to me. I love sharing my photos and life with whoever is reading these pages and getting to “meet” some of you fellow-bloggers and share my passions with you has been an amazing experience! Even though I have not been commenting on your blogs, I’ve been keeping in touch with what is going on in your lives, praying for you when you’ve had tough times and loving all the photos, recipes and fun! So I guess it’s my turn to ask for the prayers and/or thoughts. Not something that comes easily to me, but even though I don’t post as regularly as I want to, I’m not giving up!

Here are a few other things that happened in August …

I cooked a fish meal for the first time! I baked salmon in foil parcels with a sauce of chilli, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and oyster sauce, and lots of spring onion, red pepper and fresh coriander (cilantro). I served it with rice and green vegetables and it seemed to be a success! ๐Ÿ™‚

One of L’s cousins got married in a country manor house in Shropshire! The staircase used for the bride’s entrance was amazing! They handed out homemade dried-rose confetti and had a beautifully done afternoon tea for the first part of the reception! The couple was obviously happy, despite it pouring with rain most of the day and the bride’s vintage-style lace dress was pretty. There were some photos of L and I taken, but my father-in-law still has these! ๐Ÿ˜‰

My youngest sister had her 21st birthday!! Eeeek! Makes me feel old … ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had a lot of fun planning and creating a special gift for her. T has quite a number of pen-friends and writing letters and keeping in touch with them is important to her. I found a Jane Austen-style writing desk which I painted with her favourite flower – daisys! I also covered a box with old stamps from around the world (I love Ebay! ๐Ÿ˜› ) and filled it with notepaper and cards. My other two sisters had informed me that T was very set on having cards with 21 on them … so the card, some of the wrapping paper and a key-ring made sure she wouldn’t forget how old she was turning!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ My sisters and I have had this tradition of giving each other number badges for big birthdays and this year I got to buy the badge – I’ve been assured it will be pinned on her bag for a while! ๐Ÿ™‚

Just this past week we had some good friends of ours round for supper. E and S got married just 7 months after L and I did and L and E had lived in the same houses for 6 years and have been in a prayer-triplet together with another guy for nearly as long … so yeah, they go way back. They have had us round for dinner twice and we really wanted to have them round to our house – once we could find a date that worked for both couples, that is! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I kind of went a bit over-board on the cooking front … not at all common forย  me ๐Ÿ˜‰ I like to cook something which is ready ahead of time and just needs putting in the oven, so I baked Chicken, Leek and Cider Pie. It comes from this amazing pie recipe book that my sisters gave me for my birthday last year. I decided to replace the whole chicken and homemade stock with chicken pieces and chicken stock cubes and made a classic mistake – the recipe called for a chicken weighing 1.5kg so, of course, I bought 1.5kg of thigh fillets … let’s just say that not counting in the weight difference for a whole chicken made a massive quantity of filling! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Apart from that little slip-up, everyone seemed to enjoy the individual pies, sweet potato wedges and vegetables. For pudding we had lemon-curd biscuits, fresh fruit and homemade ice-cream. I’d been wanting to have a go at making my own ice-cream in ages and I found this recipe that just need me to whip up condensed milk, double cream and vanilla, then put it in the freezer and forget about it … until pudding time! ๐Ÿ™‚ So simple!

A few weeks ago L surprised me with this gorgeous bouquet of flowers – he knows how to make me smile! ๐Ÿ˜€

I hope to be writing again soon!

What has happened in your August?

Winning in inches

I’ve missed being around and posting here. I’ve missed sharing my photos, thoughts and laughs. I’ve missed you guys.

Right now I don’t have the head space for a full post, so here’s some thoughts that I’ve been finding helpful.

Victory is won not in miles bit in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.

Louis L’Amour

Jesus will keep you strong until the end so that there will be no wrong in you on the day our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.

1 Corinthians 1 v 8

God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure He will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.

Philippians 1 v 6


Bluebell woods

Last weekend L and I were visiting his parents.

We had a lovely, relaxed weekend being looked after, fed delicious food, poured tasty wine and getting to go for some glorious drives and walks through some beautiful English countryside!

Sounds like a pretty good weekend to me! ๐Ÿ™‚

On Sunday afternoon, when we had an unexpected burst of clear sky and sunshine, L, my Mum-in-law and myself went in search ofย  some bluebell woods …

… and we found them! So beautiful!!

After a few weeks of heavy rain, massive puddles on the pavements, grey views from the windows, wet socks after grocery shopping and that heavy feeling that comes with a constant half-light, it was so freeing to be out in the country, with blue, lightly cloudy skies, warm sunshine, fresh air, birds singing, grass and wildlife sounds all around.

Ahh …

A wood full of bluebells – for me, the photos say it all!

Contentment.

Meet my new little nephew!

Uncle L!

Auntie R!

Proud Grandpa!

Absolutely delighted Grandma!

“Again Uncle L, again!!”

Big sister A!

Uncle L and Auntie R!

Mummy and Daddy!

Just incase you hadn’t realised, I’m a very proud and thrilled Auntie! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Welcome to the world S!

Whiskey Tasting at NoBody Inn

Last Wednesday evening L, myself and five of our friends were at The NoBody Inn.

The NoBody Inn is a country pub and restaurant, filled with character and set in the small Devon village of Doddiscombsleigh.

The staff are very welcoming and make you feel like giving you the best service possible will make their day!

The mix of locals, regulars and first-time visitors lend a gentle buzz and friendly atmosphere to the charm of the old-word interior.

There is an extensive selection of beers, ales, wines and something they are more widely noted for – their whiskey collection.

They have amongst their collection a particularly rare single malt that will only be opened if you guarantee to buy at least a third of the bottle …

That expensive bottle wasn’t one of the whiskeys featured at the tasting evening!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The evening included a five coarse meal – and what a meal! I had been imagining five small, daintily sized portions – after all, there were going to be five of them! Each of these courses was a generous size and those of our group who consumed the whole lot went away from the table very well satisfied! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The food was truly delicious and beautifully presented. I have a special fondness for food being served on slate plates, so I was a happy girl! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The smoked salmon was smoked and grilled at the inn and was the best fish I’ve ever eaten! As with all of their menus, as much of the food as possible is sourced locally or from within Devon.

Oh yes, and have you noticed the cheese? Such good cheese! Yum!

ย The seven of us sat at the far end of the table, which out to be a good thing, as we were definitely the youngest and noisiest group round the table! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The whiskey tasting was led by Bill Hutcheson of Gordon & MacPhail specialists of Single Malt whiskeys.

We were led through the history, aroma and taste of seven whiskeys in total, so even with some of the glasses being cleared away between courses, there was a very impressive amount of glassware on the table by the end of the evening!

My personal favourites out of all the whiskeys was the 6th glass, which was a Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 12 year old. This was one of two whiskeys served with the cheese course and no, of course my liking for this whiskey was not influced by having cheese with it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Our wonderfully generous and thoughtful friends not only gave us a an evening filled with laughter, the best whiskeys, delicious food, good company and lots of memories …

… they also booked us a room for the night at the NoBody Inn. It was wonderfully spacious and comfortable with lots of character.

There was an attention to details in the decorations that made it a lot more homely and welcoming then many other hotel rooms … the attention to detail didn’t end with dcor and a nightcap of sherry …

… but extended all the way to folding the bath towels into an elephant! ๐Ÿ™‚

The NoBody Inn is an exceptional experience for lunch, supper and staying overnight.

The welcoming staff, delicious and local food, fine quality wines, ales and whiskeys and breathtaking surroundings inside and out make this country inn a visit to remember!

So do yourself a favour and next time you’re in Devon, have a meal at the NoBody Inn!

Garunteed satisfaction.

The Royal Mile – Edinburgh Part 3

I have read about the Royal Mile in story and history books and tried to imagine what it might be like. I think I based it on the nearest “big city” to where I grew up (it’s just a town really, nothing like a city!), then enlarged it in my town … combined with quite a bit of Bath (a city which features a lot in Jane Austen books/movies) … threw in the tiny amount of London I’d seen … much to my shame added some of the older parts of Washington DC (sorry for offending your sense of English or Scottish nationality … ) … and came up with something vastly different and vastly inferior to the regal and historic reality that is the Royal Mile, Edinburgh!

The Royal Mile begins at Edinburgh Castle and runs downhill, where it ends at Hollyrood House.

We started at the Castle, but didn’t make it all the way down to Hollyrood House. It’s just a mile, right? Trust me, psychology conferences and academic talk take it out of you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The views were amazing and apparently it’s pretty unusual to get such amazing weather in Edinburgh in the spring – must have been saved up especially for us! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I especially loved the views from this side of the Castle, as there was so much green and springyness!!

I fell in love with all the daffodils and took many more photos of them than I’ll force upon you! ๐Ÿ˜›

But don’t worry, L made sure flowers were not the only local beauty that got caught on my camera! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tonight my hubby and I are going to a whiskey tasting evening (including a 5-course meal – um, you’re meant to fit that much food inhow?!) with some friends. L’s friends clubbed together and bought this and a night’s stay in the inn for us for his 30th – we’ve been looking forward to this generous present for a long time! For those of you who might worry, photos will follow!! ๐Ÿ˜›

I am the gratified recipient of a blog award, so a post with the various instructions which come with it shall soon be coming your way … and check your comments, as some of my lovely readers will shortly be given the award as well!! ๐Ÿ˜€

All Things Swede

Yeah, sorry, I spelled it wrong! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

This is a swede.

In answer to inquires … and just a little bit of my own confusion, but you can skip that part … I will explain about the Mystery Vegetable traditionally served with Haggis!

It is commonly confused with its smaller cousin …

… the turnip.

This is what Americans call a rutabaga – exactly like a swede!

Apparently the key differences between a swede and a turnip (and we’re not talking about the residents of Sweeden guys!) are that a turnip is smaller, with whiter skin and white flesh and sometimes purple marking, where as a swede is about twice the size andย  has brown to purple skin and a yellow flesh.

Mashed swede and carrot is served as a side dish to roasts and such. My Grandma serves it regularly.

During my year and a half of voluntary training with my church, every week I helped out at the group for elderly people,which included lunch. Ever week, one of the two main vegetables served with the meal was cubed, boiled swede.

Day For The Retired was one of my favourite groups in the week, but my goodness, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to face another helping of boiled swede … ๐Ÿ˜‰