Friday, September 22, 2017

Coffee & Creativity in Grantown on Spey

Sometimes we need to have a day that is all about fun and self care - our solution, to go and do something creative. We headed to Grantown on Spey and of course before we could do anything else we had to have a coffee and cake break at the lovely Elephants in the Pantry. It's such a nice shop with lots of lovely food related things to buy, and coffee served in beautiful cups.

The reason we chose Grantown is that they have a ceramic painting studio called Smarty Art where we could spend some time getting lost in painting.

The staff are so helpful and on the wall are these great ceramic paint splatters to help you see what the colours you choose will look like once they are glazed and fired in the kiln.

As you can see from above, there was a huge selection of colours and each table had a carousel of paints on it like this one with different sized brushes.

Here's my beloved getting very engrossed in his painting and then showing off his pretty plate - if you're wondering why he's so red in the face it's because he's got a thermal top on and the studio was lovely and warm.

I can't wait to see what our creations look like once they're glazed and fired - we pick them up next weekend. Here's what they looked like once we'd finished painting them.

One of the ladies that run the studio said that she was really impressed that we'd come in as most adults think it's just for children, and we were the only table without children at it. I'm hoping they get Christmas themed things in to paint soon as I'd love to do some personal decorations.

We spent nearly two hours doing our creative bit so when we finished it was time to go for another coffee, this time in a cafe we hadn't tried before and it was really lovely. Great decor and perfect ambience to enjoy our drinks and some icecream.

The two of us - love this man so much (sorry, I couldn't help myself).

So there you have our creative day out. Have you ever tried ceramic painting? If not, give it a go some time as it's really therapeutic.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and do something creative this week.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: This is how Cookie Cat often sits in the evening - on her bed with her back to the room, staring at the wall. I suggested to Ken that maybe we should get a picture to put on the wall of some fish so that she has something interesting to look at.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Top Ten Thursday - Quotes & Memes

It's Thursday which means another top ten - and a chance to share some inspirational quotes alongside some silly memes that always make me smile. Thanks Tamara at Part-time Working Hockey Mom for setting the theme.

My list definitely has a split personality, one the thoughtful, introspective girl, and the other side is a coffee and cat obsessed fairy. Enjoy my top ten and I wonder what quotes or memes you would have in yours.



3. I read this quote in a book when I was in my teens and remember thinking that to have that sort of love was just a dream - that was until I met my beloved, and then I fully understood what it meant.


5. I think I need to growl a bit more as my beloved hasn't thrown any chocolate at me lately.

6. I love this and it always makes me chuckle.


The next two are both about fairy tales and I believe in both of them.



10. I'd love it if this arrived on my doorstep, but perhaps Bramble and Ken wouldn't be quite so enamored.

So there you have it, do you think you understand me a bit better now? Before you go, pop over to Tamara's blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their top ten - Click Here to Visit.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and do something that makes you laugh this week.

Pamela & Ken

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Falling for everything

It's time for the Wednesday Hodgepodge with a set of questions set by Joyce From This Side of the Pond. This post comes with a health warning and a very random thought at the end.

Warning, Warning - this blog post contains extremely mushy romantic stuff!  

1. What's something you'd rate a 10/10? Tell us why.

Before I met my beloved I always said that I was never getting married with there being several reasons for this, including that I really didn't think I'd ever find anyone to live up to my romantic dreams. Was I wrong!! Ken is a definite 10/10 for me (yes Ken, you are) and I can't remember what it was like not to have him in my life. Admittedly no one in this world is perfect, but my beloved is perfect for me.

2. What job would you be terrible at? What makes you think so?

I asked my beloved this question and his response, I'd be a terrible spider hunter!! Is that even a job? 

I know I would be a terrible waitress as I can be a little bit clumsy (see answer to #3). Picture customers with food tipped all over them and broken plates everywhere. I'd also be a dreadful vet nurse, purely because I'd want to take all the abandoned animals home with me.

3. When did you last take a fall? What's something you're falling for (in a good way) these days?

This is an easy answer - June 3rd this year. I did an extremely elegant (not) swan dive out of the shower and ended up in accident and emergency with damaged ligaments in my leg, my wrist, multiple bruises over my body, and had to have three weeks off work. I have a bit of a falls history and have done the dive out of the shower before (in a different home), taking down the shower curtain and railing, and bouncing quite nicely off the toilet. I've fallen down stairs, up stairs, over bollards in a carpark, tripped over a baby gate, slipped on ice, and fallen whilst rollerskating (this being the only time I've broken a bone). Sometimes I think I should start wearing a suit of bubble wrap before I leave the house.

I'm always falling for my beloved and thank lady destiny every day that we managed to find each other in this huge world (I even included that statement in my wedding vows).

4. According to the Travel Channel here are some of America's best fall festivals-

National Apple Harvest Festival (near Arendtsville PA, close to Gettysburg), Harvest on the Harbor (Portland Maine), German Village Festival (Columbus Ohio), Wellfleet Oyster Fest (Cape Cod), and Wine and Chile Fiesta (Santa Fe NM)

Have you ever been to any of the festivals listed? Which one appeals to you most? Does your hometown have any sort of fall celebration, and if so will you make it a point to attend?

We've never been to any of these festivals, but after checking out their websites, the one I would like to go to is the Harvest on the Harbor in Maine - it looks really interesting. We don't have any specifically Autumn/Fall celebrations that I'm aware of, but I'm always on the lookout for interesting things going on around the highlands.

5. What is your goodbye message to summer?

My message for summer is that she needs to not be a stranger and to consider coming back earlier next year and to definitely stay for longer.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

It fascinates me how Highland Cows appeal to so many people, me included. Just along from our house is a field with three highland cows and it is in front of a large hotel, so regularly we see people trying to get photos of the cows. The day we stopped to have a chat and take some photos there was a tour bus drive past with the guide pointing at the field and everyone on that side of the bus pointing their cameras at the cows. I think it must be something about their fringes that make them look a bit like a giant soft toy.

What would your answers be to the questions, especially #2 - something to think about. Before you go, pop over to Joyce's Blog to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and make sure you're gentle with yourself this week.

Pamela & Ken

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Highland Sunday Drive

After not leaving the house at all yesterday (rain and a headache kept me indoors) we headed out for a Sunday drive like a couple of old pensioners. First we went to Aviemore as there was a craft market on, but because of the rain it was a bit of a washout. As we couldn't get into the nice cafe there we then headed off to Boat of Garten and the lovely 1896 Gallery and Coffee Shop.

My latte arrived with a slightly deformed heart on top so I preceded to create my own piece of art - I think it looks a little bit like Bramble.

Onward we meandered and then we came across Edinkillie Parish Church and graveyard - how wonderful.

Next door to the church was the rather grand Relugas House, and on the fence you might be able to make out a little Robin. This house was built in 1980, but the previous dwelling was begun in the 1700's.

In the graveyard is the below headstone for Kopuri "Tom" who was a servant and died at Relugas House. He was from the island of Rotumah (Fiji island of Rotuma) in the South Pacific. I thought it was lovely that they had given him a proper grave, and Ken thought it was the rich people appeasing their guilt of having a servant who died so far from home.

A view of the graveyard and the headstone on the right is for James S Ferries who was the commander of the R.M.S Zealandia - he died at sea and is buried in Honolulu. Here's a link to a description of one of the journeys he took with the ship and what the ship was like - Click Here.

This lopsided headstone is from the 1700's.

A few more headstones for you to enjoy (yes, that is the right word to use) with intricate carvings and a couple of lovely crosses.

One of the Commonwealth war graves at this site - a pilot and he was only 20.

Two more lovely crosses - the symbolism of the cross is so interesting as there are so many different versions of it in graveyards across the world.

Cute little shed in the corner of the graveyard - I love how it is built into the wall.

This headstone has seen better days - I hope it was just aging and mother nature that caused this and not someone being totally disrespectful to the dead.

One of the church windows - it's purple! It must look lovely from the inside so we'll have to find out when the church is open for viewing. Note that the window is another version of a cross.

There you have it, our lovely Sunday drive (minus the flat cap and hair rollers) exploring more of the beautiful Scottish Highlands.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and have a fabulous week.

Pamela & Ken

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Top Ten Thursday - Chores

This week's top ten is about chores - the ones we love (really??) and the ones we loathe (too easy). My biggest problem with this list is that I'm going to come out of it sounding like a houseworkaphobe (and yes that is a serious medical condition). Thanks as always to Tamara at Part-time Working Hockey Mom blog for setting the theme.
1. Vacuuming: hate it and my beloved won't let me do it so who am I to go against what my husband says.

2. Ironing: why can't someone just design clothes that never wrinkle, or better yet let wrinkles be a fashion choice. Early in our relationship I was ironing my nurses uniform and Ken demanded he take over as I wasn't doing it right (he was in the air force for many years so is a bit of a perfectionist with ironing) and since then he sort of does most (all) of my ironing.

3. Washing: I don't mind this as such but rarely do it as my beloved (who you're feeling more and more sorry for) does it whilst I'm at work.

4. Changing the duvet cover: I used to be quite good at this on a smaller quilt, but on a kingsize duvet I'm hopeless, so yes, you guessed it, Ken takes care of changing the bedding.

5. Hanging up clothes: I drive Ken to distraction as whenever he goes to hang up my clothes they are always inside out - I don't know how it happens, I think there must be a naughty little pixie living in the bedroom.

6. Baking: I love baking and it's really nice if people enjoy something that I've made. I don't do it very often as we'd end up eating too much of it.

7. Cat Medication: one of my beloveds little idiosyncrasies is that he can deal with any type of dog, and yet faced with having to give a cat a tablet and he becomes a big chicken. I'm an expert at getting a tablet into a cat, having had years of practice with our little Muffin Monster who had kidney problems for several years before she died. He's just as bad when we take the furbies to get their vaccinations each year - I'm the one who has to hold the cats whilst they get jabbed.

8. Making fire: I love an open fire, but I'm not very good at getting them going. This doesn't stop me from trying, but then Ken usually has to come along afterwards and fix it.

9. Booking holidays: this is definitely my job and despite it stressing me out a bit (worry that everything is as it says it is) I like doing all the research into where we're going and where we're going to stay.

10. Christmas Cards: I love Christmas (101 days away) and still send out cards and a holiday letter which I love composing and choosing interesting facts to include in it - I do let my better half check it before it goes out, just in case there's something in it that he wants to change.

Do you have favourite chores, or like me do you have a major allergy to them. Before you go, pop over to Tamara's blog, Part-time Working Hockey Mom, and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and don't do too many chores this week.

Pamela & Ken

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge - problematic confetti

It's hodgepodge Wednesday time and I'm cutting it fine but at least there's still an hour to go of this day. The questions are set by Joyce of the blog From This Side of the Pond.

1. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.

Pictures evoke so many different thoughts in  people, some bringing back beautiful memories whilst others can bring you to tears. I looked after an elderly man once who was the only one left in his family and he would pour himself a glass of red wine, get out his photo albums, and spend the evening with his parents, brothers, sisters, and friends that were no longer with him.

These two photos are from our wedding in 1999, and they are worth way more than a thousand words. They speak of the happiness of the day, the make me think of all the people that shared it with us and then I think of the ones that are no longer with us. It brings back the overwhelming feeling of rightness to be marrying the man who had become my best friend and who really is my soulmate. And most of all it reminds me that confetti may look really romantic in pictures but it gets absolutely everywhere, especially if your mother empties a whole box of it down your cleavage - my beloved is getting out handfuls of it.

2. Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?

I'm thinking that when I was on my six week trip to the states with three friends in the early 90's that we probably did travel part of this road but I don't remember. It's not on my bucket list, but the great ocean road in Australia is. I'd love to travel along this with my beloved, stopping regularly to enjoy the area.

3. How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is? 

My least favourite time of the year is when the weather starts to become cooler, warning that winter is on the way, so that's probably now. I quite like most of Autumn, the crisp days, the colour of the leaves, and knowing Christmas is round the corner, but I really don't like it when the days get shorter, the skies get grey, and it rains a lot.

4. It's your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?

Can I have just chocolate? No, that's probably not a very sensible thing to do so I'll add some other things in. I'd start with deep fried breaded camembert with crusty bread, followed by a plate of perfectly cooked scallops, and then sticky toffee pudding with lashings of runny cream. To drink during the meal I'd have a nice Pinot Grigio, but after the meal I'd have to have a lovely latte accompanied by mint slices, my favourite biscuit in the world (and not available in the UK).

I never lie about my age as all the important people know how old I am and the rest can just wonder and guess (usually wrong).

5. What's a life lesson you've learned recently?

This isn't a new life lesson, it's one that I keep reminding myself about regularly - you know those days when life can really get in the way of how you feel. It's a reminder to find something good in the worst situations, to know that no matter how bad things may seem at the time, they will get better.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Something that has always intrigued me is when you see people sitting in picnic chairs by their car in a car park to have their lunch, when if they walked about ten metres or so they'd be in a much more picturesque spot to enjoy their food. Is it just a British thing or do people do this where you live? They've bothered to bring their fold up chairs with them and yet they just use them to soak up the atmosphere (and petrol fumes) of a car park. 

So there you have my answers, I wonder what yours would be to the questions? Before you go, pop over to Joyce's blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and do something nice for yourself this week.

Pamela & Ken