Thursday, November 23, 2017

Top Ten Thursday - Have your cake and eat it

Today's top ten is a list of our favorite cakes, pastries, cookies or pies. Finally a list where I can use all those photos of food that I take. Thanks to Tamara, Part-time Working Hockey Mom, for setting the theme.

It's also a great topic as I am married to the self proclaimed president of cake club. First rule of cake club? You must never leave cake! Second rule of cake club? You must never leave cake! You get the picture.

Here's my list........

1. Mint Slices - my absolute number one, dark chocolate covering mint and a chocolate biscuit. Simply divine and a total taste of home (not sold in the UK).

2. Red Velvet Cupcake - so, so good, and the best is from the Hummingbird Bakery (none in Scotland).

3. Lamington - an Australian delicacy. Sponge cake dipped in chocolate and covered in coconut - a real taste of home.

4. Carrot Cake - and it has to have cream cheese frosting. One of the few cakes that my beloved will accept vegetables in.

5. Plain Croissant - I'm quite a simple girl really, and love a plain croissant, often with nothing, but also with butter and strawberry jam.

6. Coffee Cake - I'm not only a coffee drinker, I also love it in cake form.

7. Pasteis de Nata (Portugese Tart) - puff pastry and egg custard.

 8. Scone with Jam and Cream (preferably clotted) - strawberry jam is the best.

9. A Tunnock's Teacake - this is a Scottish delicacy. A biscuit base with soft marshmallow on top and then all of it encased in chocolate. The teacake was born in 1956.

10. Strawnoffee Tart - this is a treat that we've had once at a cafe on Scotlands West Coast. It's caramel, strawberries, cream, and chocolate - so good. The name is because it's like a banoffee pie but instead of bananas it had strawberries. 

Are any of your favourites on my list? What would you have instead? Before you go, make sure you visit Tamara's blog, Part-time Working Hockey Mom, to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and treat yourself to your favourite sweet treat this week.

Pamela & Ken

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Thankful Hodgepodge

It's time for Wednesday's Hodgepodge, a prompt based weekly blog challenge, with the prompts provided by Joyce at the blog From This Side of the Pond.

1. tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma's, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at 2 PM, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?

As I live on the opposite side of the world to the rest of my family I always feel torn at Christmas time as we can't all be together. One of my Christmas traditions now is that I ring mum on Christmas Eve here as it's Christmas morning in Australia, and mum rings me on Christmas morning, Christmas evening there.

Another tradition is that I always make mum's  Christmas pudding which is boiled in a cloth for four hours - the kitchen ends up feeling like a sauna. Ken does the main course and I'm in charge of puddings. Now that we're living in Scotland we spend Christmas with Ken's sister and family and Ken's brother - it's lovely.

Our Christmas tree is full of tradition and I wrote about it in a previous post, Christmas is coming very soon.

2. it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?

I hate admitting that I need help but as I've grown older I've gotten better at asking for help. I regularly tell people I'm supporting that they need to accept help when it's offered so I really should take my own advice.

3. Abundance...what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?

Lots of our beach combing treasures which we keep adding too - they're all over the house but this is the feature in the kitchen.

4. Name...the smallest thing you're thankful for? the biggest?

The smallest........


Our beautiful Princess Cookie Cat who is 13 years old (14 on Feb 1st). We got Cookie and her sister Muffin Monster as eight week old kittens and since Muffin died Cookie has become even more precious to me. She's very vocal when she wants something, if she has a furball she can't just throw up once, she throws up three times, and she barely tolerates her canine sister Bramble.

The biggest......

My wonderful life with this man. In December we will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary and I still have to pinch myself regularly because I feel so blessed and so lucky to have my beloved by my side every day.

5. Key...What do you think is the key to living a more grateful life?

The key to a more grateful life is to practice gratitude on a daily basis. Whether you write it down or just make sure you sit down and reflect on what you have to be grateful for, it really does make a difference to your life.

6. State your own random thought here.

 I wish everyone in North America a very happy and thankful Thanksgiving tomorrow, November 23rd. For the rest of the world, I hope you all have lots of things to be thankful for in the coming days.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and practice lots of gratitude this week.

Pamela & Ken

Monday, November 20, 2017


Sparks is hosted by Annie at McGuffy's Reader and her words are the best to use to explain:

"I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. Together, we can light up the entire world!"

The aim is to post a positive quote, thought, poem, or verse - I love this quote and really try to live by it.

Visit Annie's blog, McGuffy's Reader to see what Sparks my fellow bloggers have come up with.

Pamela & Ken

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday's Friendly Notions

One of my favourite things to do, apart from reading, is writing, so I love this blog link up at McGuffy's Reader. In the Friendly Fill-ins we're given written prompts (the words in purple bold) and then complete them how we wish.

1. I can't wait to eat whatever I normally eat any day of the week on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is more a North American thing and we don't celebrate it here in Scotland - I will still give thanks every day for so many things in my life.

2. My favorite kind of pie is banoffee pie - banana, caramel, and cream, what more could you want.

3. This year, I am particularly thankful for living in a land that is not ravaged by war, or extreme weather.  

4. A funny holiday tradition in my/our house is the unveiling of the reinrabbit. This is a creature that my mum made for me and my beloved, and we decided that it looked like the child of the weird love match of a reindeer and a rabbit, hence the name reinrabbit. We love him and it really feels like Christmas when he comes out of his box. (We can't actually remember which he's meant to be).

What are you thankful for this week and will you be celebrating Thanksgiving on November 23rd?

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and treat yourself to your favourite pie this week.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: Princess Cookie Cat in curled up cute mode, but still keeping an eye on what's going on around her.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Top Ten Thursday - My Particulars

Today's Top Ten is those things that we're super particular about. The things that need to be done just the way we want them done, like does the toilet paper roll go under or over, which is my number one. Thanks as always to Tamara, Part-time Working Hockey Mom for setting the theme - feel free to join us in our love of lists.

1. There is only one way to hang a toilet roll and that is with the end hanging over the top and anyone who does otherwise is obviously crazy. I may be a little bit obsessed with this as I tend to change it in the toilets at work and elsewhere if I find it's been put on the wrong way.

2. When I have a can of soda I have to tap the top of the can with my fingernail before I open it. When I was younger someone told me that this would stop it from fizzing out and now it's become a bit of a habit (OCD even) and I really don't like opening a can unless I tap it.

3. Ten items or less!!! The queue in the supermarket that you can go through if you have ten items or less, and I always double check how many items I have before I choose this aisle, so it really frustrates me when people get in this line with obviously more than ten items. It's at these times that I wish I was brave enough to say something.

4. I'm a little bit particular about my latte when I order it. It's a large skinny latte, one shot, not too hot. The looks I get from some cafe staff reminds me a bit of the scene in When Harry met Sally, where Sally is ordering her food in a very unique way.

5. Another coffee related thing is that the milk has to go into the mug before the hot water when making an instant coffee. I can tell if someone makes it the other way around as the coffee tastes bitter - the poor coffee grounds have been scalded to death by the boiling water.

6. Final coffee thing - I am fussy about the brand of coffee I drink, and much prefer a coffee that is smooth and not too strong. At home I drink Douwe Egberts pure gold - so good.

7. I have to be at the cinema early to make sure I don't miss the previews of future films - it's such an important part of the movie experience. My beloved doesn't get this and often teases me and tries to suggest that we arrive late for the film, knowing that I'll start to freak out.

8. I'm not very good at taking tablets as when I was younger I had to take tablets that tasted really, really awful. The way I got round this was to have a mouthful of liquid first and then put the tablet in so that it doesn't actually touch my tongue. It's one of my strange little quirks.

9. I have to check that the front door is locked before I go to bed, even if I've seen Ken lock it - you never know, it may have magically unlocked itself.

10. The final thing that I'm very particular about (of the things I'm willing to share) is that I can't go to sleep if the wardrobe door is open. You know there could be monsters in there, and if the door is shut at least that will slow them down a bit (I promise I'm in my 40's, it's just stayed with me all my life).

What things are you very specific about and do people understand this in you? Before you go, make sure you visit Tamara's blog, Part-time Working Hockey Mom to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and be good to yourself this week.

Pamela & Ken

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Historic Hodgepodge Moment

Wednesday Hodgepodge time with the questions posed by Joyce from the blog From This Side of the Pond.

1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?

Talking in front of large groups!!! So what did I choose as a career choice in 2008? I became a lecturer in palliative care which meant I had to quite regularly speak in front of groups and sometimes they were quite large. The most stressful one, where I really thought I was either going to pass out or throw up before I made it to the front of the room was when I spoke at the Dying Matters conference in London about what I had organised at work around cultural awareness at end of life. I'm so glad I did it but I think it aged me quite a bit that day. 

What am I doing this Saturday? Speaking at a remembrance event at Inverness Cathedral - as you can see, I'm a bit of a masochist and probably wont sleep the night before.

Me at the Dying Matters Conference 2012
2. Your least favorite spice?

I'm not the biggest fan of aniseed tastes in savoury food, so my least favourite spice is a toss up between anise and fennel. 

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?

Over the last two years I've slowly been reducing my sugar in my coffee and I'm down to one teaspoon so hopefully I'll be able to get rid of that over the next six months or so. I've done the reducing from three sugars very slowly as I need my tastebuds not to rebel too much at the change.

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

I love visiting historic homes and seeing how people lived in the past - so fascinating all the little aspects of everyday life. I have actually been to one of the homes listed above - when I visited the states in 1991 one of our stops was Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virginia). Seeing George and Martha's tomb was a highlight for me and the slave memorial was incredibly moving. Interestingly the hospital I worked at in outer London for 16 years was Mount Vernon.

I think my favourite historic home that I've visited is Hampton Court Palace, the home of the notorious King Henry the eighth. It's an incredible building and it is supposedly haunted by several ghosts, notably Jane Seymour, Henry's third wife who died in childbirth, and Catherine Howard, Henry's fifth wife who was beheaded at the age of 19.

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

In ten years time I think, or hope, that nuclear weapons will be obsolete - I may be living in a dreamland but at least in my land there's no chance of a nuclear war. This would make me very glad.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today my fellow Australians voted overwhelmingly in favour of marriage equality in the plebiscite - every state voted yes. Today I am even more proud to say that I am Australian.

Before you go, why don't you pop over to Joyce's blog, From This Side of the Pond, and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their answers.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and I hope you don't get pushed out of your comfort zone too much this week.

Pamela & Ken

Monday, November 13, 2017


Sparks is hosted by Annie at McGuffy's Reader and her words are the best to use to explain:

"I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. Together, we can light up the entire world!"

The aim is to post a positive quote, thought, poem, or verse, and this week I've chosen a quote that I actually have on a bracelet that I wear.

Have a good week.

Pamela & Ken