18 November, 2009

Even Older Friends

I got back to the UK, as I said, on the Thursday, and I had my housewarming planned for the Sunday! So, I had to do last finishing touches on the bedroom before Saturday! F came down on the Saturday evening, and I met him at my house after work. Did a lot of catching up, and ate sweet n sour chicken – the recipe for which I will post later – I’ve been very lax about posting recipes recently – I’ve got a few beauties! Anyway…everyone arrived on the Sunday, Joocey brought a great big tin of Roses, which disappeared very quickly, we had pizza and oven baked Camembert and French bread and had a great laugh! F had brought some sparklers with him, so we took L’s kids outside and they played with sparklers for the first time, and by the time they left they thought F was the greatest thing since sliced bread!!

They all left at about 6 because L had to get home with the kids, and Joocey had to get back to Carlisle to do some studying – she’s doing her PGCE at the moment. We had a quiet night, and the next day went to Ayr for the day. It was cold, but sunny and we had a lovely time wandering about. F had a flat tyre, which turned into a car maintenance lesson when he showed me how to put air in my tyres and check the pressures!! Been driving for 14yrs, and only just learned that one! Next lesson is changing a wheel!
So, the last few days have been quiet ones! I decided to have an easy week. No decorating, just chilling out between my shifts at work. I’m off today and tomorrow and today I’ve just sat quietly playing about on Facebook and watching rubbish! I’ll have another lie in tomorrow morning, and then go into Castle Douglas for lunch time and get a couple of Macaroni Pies and go to see some friends. Then it’s up to Edinburgh next weekend to help F do some decorating in his flat! My life is a constant round of excitement!

17 November, 2009

Old Friends

The weekend before I went to France, my friend that I stayed with in Tewkesbury came up to see me. She had a hellish journey up due to weather, roadworks and accidents (I don’t believe the accidents bit – there are signs on the M6 saying accident but I can’t imagine there was an accident in exactly the same place two weeks in a row – I believe her, just not the roadsign!!). We spent a very lazy morning on the Sunday, and then went out and about and I showed her the house I grew up in, the house where my cousins lived, and took her to Castle Douglas to have a look and meet my best mate J, who wasn’t in!! But his wife L was in so we saw her and their wee girl who is extremely cute! So, my mate got to meet a couple of genuine Scottish people and I had to translate for her! Although the weather was a bit crap, she was bowled over by the countryside, and actually said she could see why I love it here and wanted to come back. The next day was better, so before she left we went into Dumfries so I could show her about, she bought a couple of souvenirs, and we had lunch in town. She thought the town was gorgeous too! So, all in all, it was a successful trip despite the weather! It was brilliant to see her and to catch up, and hopefully we’ll be able to do it again soon, and for longer so I can show her more, and take her to Edinburgh etc and meet up with some friends in town and have a night out. Is she ready for a night out in Dumfries I wonder? It’s certainly not what she’s used to!

16 November, 2009

Back and Forth

I was in France for 5 days. The only flight we could find was from Bristol, so I had to drive down there. I had to leave at 5am, drive though the torrential rain most of the way, and eventually arrived at Bristol with about an hour to spare. I stopped at Tewkesbury for fuel, mainly because I knew Morrisons was only a spit from the motorway and I wasn’t willing to pay ridiculously inflated motorway prices! My mum phoned me a couple of times during the morning, and F phoned too which was great because they kept me awake! By that point I was seriously flagging! And before anyone says “oh but you shouldn’t use the phone when you’re driving” I was on Bluetooth!

France was great! When I got to the airport, Isla came rushing up to me on her roller blades, so she could roll straight into a massive cuddle! There wasn’t much time to relax while I was there – the first day we went shopping and had a party in the evening. All the usual suspects came, and it was brilliant to see everyone. They all seemed genuinely interested in what I’ve been doing, where I live and what I’ve been up to since April. God, is it really that long!? I didn’t get to eat much food, but drank a lot and ended up going to be feeling quite pissed!

The next day we went to Spain for the day! The mountains were spectacular, the weather was clear and chilly with blue skies, and we bought some cheap cigarettes in Spain, and some booze for Christmas!On the Wednesday I went to another party at a friend’s house, and saw some more people and had another great night! And then I flew back here on the Thursday. It really wasn’t long enough, but it was great to see Isla and get loads of cuddles! It did make me realise though that I don’t miss France at all – I miss the people there, but not the place. And it was brilliant to see everyone.

15 November, 2009

This is my current favourite recipe! In Dumfries we have a great Chinese restaurant called The Pearl Palace (lovingly known as the Pearl Necklace!). I've eaten there a couple of times with F, and they do a great Sweet and Sour chicken. I decided to research the recipe to try to come up with the one most like it. This is it in it's entirety.

However...I have made certain time saving alterations!

In my head I have totally dispensed with all that time wasting chicken tenderising and battering - to be honest who can be arsed when Cap'n Birdseye does lovely Chicken Dippers! So, what I do is to make the sauce up first thing in the morning (without cooking it or adding cornflour) so all the flavours can intensify throughout the day. Then, when it gets to dinner time, I stick the chicken dippers in the oven - about six each - until they are nice and crispy. I then stick the sauce on the heat, add the pineapple, carrot (which I use a cheese slice to cut so you get nice slivers), and bit of onion and a few bits of green pepper. I use arrowroot istead of cornflour (two teaspoons to a bit of water, mix it up and chuck it in while stirring). When it's nice and thick, take out the crispy chicken dippers and put them in a bowl, put the sauce over and serve immediately with rice. If you're really lazy you can get microwave rice! The taste is great - it's like that really sweet sweet and sour sauce you get in crappy chinese restaurants whch we all scoff at but secretly love! By the way, F loved it!

Make and enjoy!

Another Award

It's very remiss of me, but I haven't yet told you I got another award at the end of August from Karen over at Outlandish Observations. If you like Diana Gabaldon books - in particular the Outlander series, then I suggest you check out her blog. I haven't loked at it recently, mainly because I haven't read the new book yet, and I don't want to ruin the surprise! I'll be back over there though once I've read it!

Apparently I need to share three things about myself with you, and then pass it on to three other inspiring bloggers.

Hmmmm, here goes...

1) After nine years living in SW France I am finally living back home in Scotland and loving it.

2) I'm a big fan of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here - I don't care how z-list the so called celebrities are - it's a fun show!

3) I have just discovered Fruit Bread - it tastes like slices of Hot Cross Buns, and I have it toasted for breakfast every morning! I love this country! The food is fab!

Sorry it's not hugely exciting, but I couldn't think of anything else right now!

1) Home Is Where The Marmite Is
Another returnee from France - reading her blog made me realise that other people felt similarly to me living there, rather than just waffling on about the "perfect french lifestyle"! It's also her first award on the new blog so yippee!

2) Bring The Rain
Because Angie, the writer, is a truly inspirational woman. I'm not a religious person myself, but her blog has reduced me to tears more times than I care to mention.

3) Drover's Run
Because girl geeks are cool :-)

Getting My House In Order

I’ve had a really busy few weeks, and I am shattered! For the last week I have done no decorating or anything, just taking life easy – in between going to work, which doesn’t half get in the way of relaxing!! My days off this week are being spent in the pursuit of doing absolutely nothing, nada, niente!

Since the end of August I’ve been working really hard at work, trying to make my mark there, as I’m still in my three month probation period there. I don’t forsee any problems, but still you do tend to be on your best behaviour for a while to start with!! I’m enjoying the job actually –it’s far more interesting than I thought it would be. Unfortunately I can’t really tell you any details about it – Data Protection and all – but all I can say is that the company I work for is Hospedia and they’re the people who deal with the personal TV and Telephone units by patients’ bedsides in hospitals across the UK. It’s nice to have a job that I quite enjoy, it’s not physically taxing, bar the hours, and I don’t have to wear my scruffiest clothes as I did when I was decorating, it’s not physically demanding like cheffing, and there’s not as much responsibility as dog sitting! I turn up, do my job, and go home again – it’s what I’ve wanted for a long time – just to be a wage slave for a while. And I have to say, I don’t miss the shagging lovebirds at one of the house I used to dogsit at!!

I moved into my wee house at the beginning of October, with the help of some of my favourite people! Since then I have been constantly on the go, first of all decorating the bathroom, as you saw in the last post! I’ve also decorated my bedroom now. It was pink before – dusky pink ceiling, different shade of pink on the walls, white cornices and old white skirting boards. The painting on the walls only went part way up – it stopped about six inches from the cornice. Obviously the previous tenants were going to put a border up but never got around to it! Anyway, I decided I couldn’t leave it, so decorated! The ceiling and cornices are white, the walls good old magnolia and the skirting boards dark purple – almost aubergine. I got some black silk (well, faux silk!) curtains from the B&M store (my new favourite shop as we don’t have The Range up here!), a new purple satin bedding set (which looks gorgeous but is slippy as hell – you lose your pillows overnight!) and hung some pictures on the wall and the room is now transformed! I can’t do much about the carpet right now unfortunately, but I can live with it. It ties in ok with the colour scheme! It’s a big room with very little furniture in it, but I’m still waiting for my stuff to come back from France. It will feel more homely eventually.

So, in the middle of decorating, I went to France for a week! I always set myself impossible tasks – one of them was finishing the bedroom before I went away, which didn’t happen! I had to do some last bits and pieces when I got back!