Monday, December 11, 2017

Sparks

Sparks is hosted by Annie at McGuffy's Reader (visit to see everyone else's sparks) 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. This is my contribution for this week and I don't think it needs any explanation.


Pamela & Ken
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Saturday, December 09, 2017

Saturday, Masquerading as Friday, with the fill-ins.

It's Saturday (Friday sort of slipped by rather rapidly) so it's past time for the friendly fill ins which are set by Annie at McGuffy's Reader and Ellen at 15andmeowing.com. The words in purple are the prompts that are provided and then the rest is me.

1. The best part of last week was a really wonderful night out with my work colleagues. I work in a fabulously supportive team and it was really nice to go out and just laugh a lot.

Our whole team together (and yes my dress does have Christmas trees all over it)
2. The worst part of last week was being told by the vet that Princess Cookie Cat had lost a kilo in the last year and had at least one dodgy tooth. I felt like such a bad mother - yes I thought she might have lost a little bit of weight, but not that much, and I hadn't noticed her tooth.

3. Doing something with all my sea glass is a Winter project that I will be working on. Think I would like to try doing a mosaic with them, or sun catchers for when the sun comes back.

4. A holiday gift that I always buy for someone is a book for my beloved. He doesn't like fiction books so the challenge is to find biographies or factual books that will grab his attention and keep him hooked. I'm hoping he likes the one I've bought him for this year.

There you have my belated answers to the fill-ins. Before you go why don't you pop over to Annie's or Ellen's blogs to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their answers.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and hope your week has only good things in it.

Pamela & Ken
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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Top Ten Thursday - The Beauty of Art

This week's Top Ten is all about art whether that be paintings, classical music, sculptures, literature, theater plays, or operas. Thanks to Tamara at Part-time Working Hockey Mom for the great theme that I think is going to show just how eclectic my tastes are.

1. Brett Whiteley's matches entitled Almost Once. This is my favourite sculpture anywhere in the world as I think everyone sees something different in it. It is in Sydney and next to one of the really busy roads, with thousands of people driving past it every day. I'm not sure what the Australian artist Brett wanted it to represent but to me it is life and death and the beauty of both of those.


2. Gustav Klimt's The Kiss. I love the passion and vibrancy of this piece of art which was created in 1908.


3. Les Miserable. My favourite musical of all time and I have seen it on stage at least six times and my beloved very kindly bought me a copy of the 2012 film so that I can watch it anytime. I've seen professional productions in Sydney's theatre land and on London's West End, and I've seen a local theatre production in the suburbs of Sydney - all were equally as good, as the storyline, the music, and the words are impossible to get wrong.

I think the casting of Hugh Jackman and Russel Crowe in the movie was inspired and I love the fact that the role of the Bishop was given to Colm Wilkinson who played Jean Valjean in the original stage production (Hugh Jackman's character).


4. John Glover's paintings of Tasmania. He was born in England in the 1700's but moved to Australia in 1831 and took on the beautiful landscape of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania).


5. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Dead. This is a play by Tom Stoppard which features two minor characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet, the ill fated Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I studied this at secondary college and loved it from the first time I read it at the age of 17, and always wanted to see it on stage. About three years ago I finally got the chance and saw it in the West End, and it was every thing I dreamed it would be.

“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.” 
― Tom StoppardRosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

6. Aboriginal Art. Whenever I see Aboriginal art, wherever I am in the world, it gives me a feeling of home. The colours, the hidden stories, and just the sheer beauty of it just say Australia to me.


7. Cats. No, not the musical, the living creatures, and of course for us it is Princess Cookie Cat. Cats contain an innate beauty and I very much appreciate it.

“There's no need for a piece of sculpture in a home that has a cat. ”― Wesley W. Bates


8. John Lowrie Morrison (Jolomo). A Scottish artist that creates the most beautiful, colourful depictions of Scotland, especially the West Coast where he is from. The first time we came across John's work was in a gallery in the Cotswolds and Ken recognised the bank in front of his childhood home in one of the paintings. We'd love one of his paintings but we'd have to win the lottery first.


9. Nessun Dorma. All of Puccini's opera's are amazing, but this song stands out from all the rest, and as I have seen him perform it live, I have to choose Jose Cura singing it.


10. Street Art. Love the variety, the way people express themselves, and how it can really brighten up an area.  I also love the nebulous nature of it as the artists don't know if their work of art will last a day, months, or years - it could be painted over so easily. It's a bit like building a sand castle that you know is going to be washed away by the tide, you still build it to enjoy it for the short time you have it (sorry, I'm rambling now).


Do any of these make your top ten of art? Before you go, why don't you hop over to Tamara's Blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and enjoy the art of your part of the world this week.

Pamela & Ken
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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

A Hodgepodge of Life

Wednesday Hodgepodge time with the questions provided by Joyce at the blog, From This Side of the Pond.

1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?

Tasmanian and her beloved explore Scotland one cake at a time. 


2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?


We are constantly using our microwave for so many things. I prefer a milky coffee, so a cup of milk gets blitzed to make my coffee and Ken uses it to make his porridge every morning. We do poached eggs in it, cook veggies, melt chocolate when I'm baking, do baked potatoes, and I could go on. We could live without our microwave but we would just have to allow a lot longer for meal preparation.

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?


My favourite carol, and it really doesn't feel like Christmas until I've heard it, is O Holy Night. The words speak of hope, of loving each other, of oppression ending, and of peace - who wouldn't want to live those words.



4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.

The most beautiful drive I've ever taken only took about ten minutes and was in the back of a white car sat beside my father. It was the drive from my parents house to the Baptist Church to marry my best friend and the day we truly started our lives together. This coming Monday will be 18 years since that drive, and every day with my beloved is a blessing.


5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

One thing that is always on my Christmas list is Ferrero Raffaello which my beloved always gets me. The other thing that's not on my list, but we always have them at Christmas and that's After Eight mints - can you tell I've got a bit of a sweet tooth.

6. Insert your own random thought here.


Princess Cookie Cat had a trip to the vet yesterday and due to a large weight loss, fur loss, and a dodgy tooth, I foresee lots of vet visits in the future. We're (anxiously) awaiting blood test results before we find out what the next step is - hoping nothing too major is found. She'll definitely need at least one tooth out but the vets are going to do a mouth x-ray and see if there are any other teeth that are degenerating at the root.

After having no health problems for the last 13 years, it seems our Princess is going to make up for lost time. It's such a huge relief that we have pet insurance, which we often had to say when Cookie's sister Muffin was alive. Keep your fingers crossed that all is well with our gorgeous furby.

I think by the look on her face she knew she was headed to the vet.
What's on your Christmas list this year? Before you go, make sure you visit Joyce's Blog to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their answers.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and have a nice piece of cake this week.

Pamela & Ken
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Monday, December 04, 2017

Sparks of Beauty

Sparks is hosted by Annie at McGuffy's Reader (visit to see everyone else's sparks) 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. My contribution for this week is because a lot of us aren't very good at accepting compliments and we need to remember that all of us are beautiful in our own unique way.


Pamela & Ken
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Sunday, December 03, 2017

Christmas Elves Invade Inverness

This weekend was my yearly pilgrimage to the post office to post off Christmas things to Australia - I'm sure the staff rub their hands in glee when they see me coming. My beloved was being very helpful and helping me tape up the boxes and what did I do, I stuck packing tape on his head (amazingly he still loves me).


Apart from our postage duties, the other reason we were in Inverness was to visit the Victorian Market as word was out about a bunch of elves taking over the shops. I must add that it was sort of a thing for kidlets with maps and stickers but I'm a big kid at heart so I wanted to see them as well.


The market is always pretty but it's especially bonny looking as we near Christmas.


The elves were in all the shop windows, posed in varying positions. Some were just sort of sat there whilst some shop owners had made an effort with the poses.


Here's a selection of the more interesting activities that the elves were taking part in.








The next two elves, Clara and Belle, were my favourites. Clara was in the window of a jewelers and had a box of Krispy Kremes to keep her company, and Belle was driving a pink Barbie car in a fashion boutique's window.



As I was taking Belle's picture I noticed an unusual shop assistant in the boutique so went in to investigate. Meet Basil who is a real cutey. His owner said that he was having a lovely day watching all the kidlets run around the market looking for elves.


This is an interesting information board in the market - sad that a little dog died in the market fire in the 1880's.


To get back to the car we walked through the Eastgate shopping centre and took time to admire their lovely Christmas decorations. Love this time of the year for all the sparkly decorations with hundreds of fairy lights.




If you follow our blog you will know that I have a bit of an obsession with unicorns. Well look what we found in one of the shops - is it wrong that I would love one of these in our house? Such loveliness.


Today we went for lunch at Logie Steading and in the second hand bookshop we came across this really lovely book Christmas tree, and to make it even better it's decorated with purple.


So there you have our very Christmassy themed weekend. Until next time, be good, stay safe, and take time for you this week.

Pamela & Ken
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Friday, December 01, 2017

Friday's Friendly Contributions

It's Friday (for another forty three minutes) so it's time for the friendly fill ins which are set by Annie at McGuffy's Reader and Ellen at 15 and Meowing.com. The words in purple are the prompts that are provided and then the rest is me.

1. I can't believe people are still sold into slavery around the world. In September the United Nations put the number of modern day slaves at over forty million which is incredibly shocking.

2. I have nothing on Craigslist. (Craigslist is basically an online classified advertising site)

3. Going into December, the weather outside is chilly and it keeps trying to snow. It's a balmy seven degrees now, at 10:45pm. The last few days haven't been nearly as warm, with it barely getting above two. All the mountains around the area are covered with snow and the ski season started a few days ago. I'm enjoying getting out my warm clothes and I love seeing the snow, I just don't like it when it gets all wet and grey at this time of year.

The view out our bedroom window on the day of our first snow
4. My current weakness is cats! (I couldn't think what to write so asked my beloved and he straight away said cats). Technically this isn't a current weakness, more a forever kind of weakness - I just love cats so much and in an ideal world I'd have many more. Last night we were watching a show about cats, and the presenter visited a woman who has got fifty rescue cats in her house (it was a big house), sixty rescue feral cats in the grounds around her house, and over forty cats for rehoming - it was like a little slice of cat heaven.


What's your current weakness? Is it a food, reading, or even spending lots of time relaxing? Make sure you hop over to Annie's blog to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their responses.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and say hello to the next cat that you see.

Pamela & Ken
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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Top Ten Thursday - Speaking Up

This week's top ten is all about speaking up in situations where someone needs to do the right thing. As I start this I'm not sure if I'll get to ten, but lets see. Thanks to Tamara at Part-time Working Hockey Mom for the challenging theme. Sometimes speaking up can be just as much about action so some of mine might be things that I do.


1. One way I speak up is by signing petitions for things that I feel strongly about. The most recent one I've signed is about the law when a cat gets hit by a car. This may sound trivial to some, but cats are the second most popular pet in this country and yet you don't have to report when you hit a cat but you do if you hit a dog or even a goat. If you're interested in signing this petition, follow the this link - Sign for Cats. I was actually going to start the petition myself when I found out about this law, but was glad that someone else had started it.

2.Becoming a pescatarian (fish eating vegetarian) is my way of speaking up for animals. There are several reasons that I made this decision, but protecting animals is definitely one of them.

3. Buying the Big Issue from street sellers gives them a wage which means they're working and this will aid them in whatever their goals are for the future. Here is a really good article that debunks a lot of the myths that people believe about the people that sell this fabulous magazine - Big Issue Article. I hope that when others see us doing this that they may buy it as well.

4. Choosing not to buy products from certain countries who have atrocious human rights records is another way of speaking up. If I believed that the money actually went to the people that need it then that would be different, but unfortunately the money usually goes to big businesses that keep the money between the entitled few.

5. I refuse to wear fur - it looks so much better on the animals than on humans. Wool is fine as you don't have to kill the sheep to get the wool.

6. I have spoken up a lot and signed loads of petitions on marriage equality in Australia and finally, after the nation has spoken, it seems to almost be a reality.

7. Another product I try to avoid is palm oil. This is in so many products and if I know I don't use that product due to the environmental devastation that is happening in lots of countries just to grow more palms. Unfortunately I discovered that it's in Nutella so that is now a no no.

I've run out of steam now so the last three are not me but people that I admire for what they spoke up for (hint, they're all females).

8. Rosa Parks is often called the first lady of the civil rights movement which all started with her refusing to give up her seat for a white man in 1955. A very brave thing to do in 1950's Alabama.

9. Emmeline Pankhurst who regularly spoke up for the right of women to vote.

10. Malala Yousafzai who spoke up for the right of girls to get an education, was shot in the head, and continues to campaign for this. An amazing young woman.

Do you find it easy to speak up when things aren't right? Do you have things that you do to help speak up in a different way? Before you go, pop over to 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 do something this week for someone else.

Pamela & Ken
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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Hodgepodge of Thoughts

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.  What's something blogging has taught you about yourself?

Blogging has taught me that I can ramble on about the most inconsequential things and has reminded me how much I love writing. It's also taught me to take photos of all sorts of weird things that I may not have really stopped and noticed before, as you never know when it will be of good use in a blog post.


2.  Leftovers...are you in the 'reheat and eat' camp or the 'put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them' camp? What's your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?

I'm quite a fan of leftovers but my beloved not so much - he always worries if it's okay to eat something still. It's easier now that we don't eat meat, as I tell him a vegetable dish that's a few days old isn't going to kill him.

This is really embarrassing to admit, but when I was in my twenties my favourite leftovers were pizza, eaten cold the next morning for breakfast, or Kentucky Fried Chicken, again eaten cold the next morning for breakfast - now the thought of it turns my stomach.

3. 'Me time'...your thoughts?

I don't think it's so much about having 'me time' as taking time to do things that restore your soul. For some people that may be having time by themselves, taking time to meditate, or even just soaking in a bubble bath. It could be about meeting friends for a coffee or going to the gym - whatever it is that helps you regroup and have the energy to keep doing whatever it is you do. For me it's about spending time with my beloved and taking time to enjoy the little moments in life. 



4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?


I like to think that my way of helping is listening. I don't think I have many skills that would be helpful to people, but I love being able to support people if things are tough.

5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.


The smell of my childhood would be hay. I loved it when the hay harvest was on and you could smell it in the air, and then we would often play in the barn amongst the stacked hay bales.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I had a fabulous argument with a three year old at work this week. We were talking about what he might want for Christmas and I told him I wanted a unicorn, to which his reply was, they aren't alive (meaning they aren't real). I was horrified (not least because a three year old didn't believe in unicorns) and proceeded to tell him they are very real, and then followed a bit of back and forth with no compromise from either of us. I then asked him if he believed fairies are real? Yes, because the tooth fairy is real (at least he believes in something magical, even though I suspect it's because of the money aspect). I then informed him that the unicorns live with the fairies so if fairies are real, unicorns must be. I'm claiming that as a victory.


Until next time, be good, stay safe, and look out for any unicorns needing a home.

Pamela & Ken
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Monday, November 27, 2017

Sparks of Love

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 as it points to hope of a future where peace and love eradicate war and hatred.


Pamela & Ken
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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Santa Arrives in the Highlands on a Trike!!

It's been a real Christmas themed weekend despite it still being November (my beloved keeps muttering this as he has a thing about Christmas too early in the year). Today we went to the Baxters Village near Fochabers to see Santa arrive in the Highlands. Lots of kidlets had been dragged out in the cold to see the jolly old man, and there were lots of irritable parents and whiny children. Annoyingly, in the middle of everyone there was one old man smoking so we had to move away from him as it was awful.

Trying to keep the crowd happy whilst we waited was Rudolph and Sugar Plum Mary.


Finally Santa arrived in style, on the back of a Rewaco trike.


Once Santa had arrived and was being mobbed, we headed to the dining room before everyone else did - it was a smart move, as no sooner had we sat down than a huge queue formed. When I told people at work that we were going to the Baxters village they told me that I must try the pancakes as they're 'amazing'.


The pancakes are huge (remember we are in Scotland) so I only had one, and I went old school with maple syrup and icecream. There were lots of other options but this is my favourite. I only managed to eat about half of it, and the sweet waiter offered me a takeaway box for the rest - I didn't accept as I don't think the ice cream would have made it home in one piece.


After our sustenance we headed around the shops to look at all the lovely Christmassy things. The food hall always has lots of lovely things on display, and wonderfully they had lots of tasters, mulled wine, and mince pies. We tried lots of pieces of fudge and I think our favourite was the panettone fudge - the Christmas pudding fudge was not nice.

Lollipops
Tins of fudge
Lovely antique cash register
Tins of Biscuits
After the food hall we went in the whiskey shop, and I was fascinated by the fact that is written above these bottles. It states that Speyside (the area around the River Spey) contains more than half of Scotland's distilleries - that's amazing!

One of the shop assistants was trying to tempt me with a taste of whiskey, but I declined as I really dislike it (slight problem being in Scotland) so then she offered me Gin, but I have the same problem, awful stuff. Her next salvo was to ask if I liked Baileys, which I do, so she gave me a sample of a whiskey cream liqueur called Magnum and hey presto, I loved it. There was one older gentleman in the shop who I think had tried one too many samples, he was a little bit merry.


In the courtyard between the shops was a brass band performing Christmas Carols - they must have been freezing, and their lips must have been so cold on the metal. Despite the cold they sounded wonderful.


Our next stop was the Christmas shop, which is my favourite, and yes we did buy a new Christmas decoration. At the back of the shop is the grotto with Santa, so lots of kidlets and irritated parents queuing to see him.


There are so many things of loveliness in the shop that I'm just going to share lots of photos for you to enjoy.






On this lovely letter box for letters to Santa the times of collection are; Bedtime, After Dark, and Fast Asleep.


It was a really magical day out and I was very excited to see Santa. Do you still get excited by Santa, or are you too mature for that now?

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and I hope all is good in your little corner of the world.

Pamela & Ken
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