Christmas and Beyond!

Well, its all over and what a successful Christmas it turned out to be! Yes, I did manage to make some non-Sabled mince pies and they were very tasty! My stuffing roll, take one, became a stuffing pancake but tasted fine. Take two was much more successful! The cheesecake was also a hit as too was the mint chocolate roll, with those who like dark mint chocolate!

The christmas cake was also tasty and took pride of place on the christmas table. We also scored a haul of presents so decided to make them last all day! Best present? Well, they were all great but we had bought ourselves a Nintendo Wii which we left until last thing, about 8.30pm! It has to be the most painful present of them all! I ached so much for the next two days, all the bowling and tennis, good grief. It also went down a storm on Thursday, when my family was over!! Some mean tennis players and bowlers there!

Oh, and we went to see The Snowman in Glasgow! It wasn't what we expected at all!! They had the Scottish National Orchestra there and while they played the music we watched the 'cartoon' on the big screen! It was really nice! Then in the second half we had carols with some audience participation! It was a great night, very different from anything I have been to before!

On Christmas eve we were also out and about, we went to a midnight service, it was really beautiful. And the minister was a great laugh! Only the second time I have been to an evening Christmas service, so something to remember!

Of course no blog entry would be complete without some photos so here they are:

"Whars Me Present"

"All Dressed For Xmas"

The Mince Pies - Take One!

Okay, so I make mince pies today! Now anyone who has seen my mince pies before knows that they win NO prizes for looks! Taste fine but look ridiculous, mincemeat all over the place! But today, I remove from the oven nine perfect looking, nice tasting mince pies!! I am so chuffed, 24 years of effort has gone into the making of these perfect mince pies but all that time has finally paid off!!!

I leave my fabulous creations on the side to cool and go off about my business revelling in my pie making prowess!! I soon return.... disaster has struck and it is grey and furry!!

One of our delightful cats, Sable, has been up on the side after the mince pies!! What kind of cat eats mince pies anyway!!? But worst of all is that she hasn't EATEN any of them, just knocked the top off one and pushed it onto the floor. But, she has still be thorough in her ruining of the pies! Oh Yes! She has carefully licked all the icing sugar off the tops of the others. So they are sitting there, still looking fine, just cat drooled! My poor mince pies! :( At least she could've eaten one, appreciated them more! But no, just make it so no one else can have them.

Ah well, making pies again tomorrow by the looks of things!

Christmas Cooking!

Okay, so i have decided to cook a lot of the christmas dinner myself this year, as I am not working i may aswell make the most of it right!? So, today, stuffing. Prepare to be bored by a rant about stuffing. I pick what looks like an easy, yet different, form of stuffing. 'This won't take long' I think. Whack ingredients in a bowl, mix, roll, freeze till xmas! Well, two and three quarter hours later I am still making it!! It had better taste excellent!! I never knew how long it would take to de-shell about 30 chestnuts! But it did end up looking pretty good, just glad i decided to make it in advance!!
And so you can all have fun making it too: chestnut and cranberry stuffing roll

I have to admit it is quite fun making food for xmas, well its fun making food at all, but xmas in particular! I have also made my own christmas cake this year too, and seriously, DO IT!! The whole house smelt xmassy for hours, all spicy and orangey! Yum! Yum! I'm not actually a big fan of christmas cake myself but it smelled so good I am going to have to try some!

Next up on my list of things to make will be a cheesecake and a chocolate marquise, with after eight mints!!

So, Christmas is here again!!

So it's Chistmas time again! I have to admit i am not feeling as christmassy this year as I did last year, but there you go! I have pent this afternoon turning the door to my kitchen into the Doorway to a Winter Grotto!!! (Simple add Snowflakes on doorframe!!)

I have been up to Christmassy things however. Been to one xmas party so far and one meal out, one in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow. Glasgow was a laugh, went on all the kiddies rides in George square! On the carousel, now theres something that I haven't done in a while!!

Off to the pantomine next week and the Snowman, not sure what that is but it must be something like ballet! Unless its Stomp! presents...

Beowolf in 3D

So we saw our first 3D film a while back, and got a great photo of us in some rather fetching specs! It was really good, both in terms of the story and the 3D effect! Very entertaining although twice the price of seeing the regular film!!! But a great night out and a good change to the norm!!!

It's Over! - Hurray!

Well, it's been a long time since my last post! But I have left Whittards and to be honest I have zero, count 'em.. zero.. regrets! I haven't got another job yet and it being so close to christmas I think I will just wait until afterwards. The job I was chatting about didn't go ahead. Don't get me wrong, I am as brilliant as i think, it was me that turned them down! By the time I had been to the interview and had a follow up call, the week day only, plenty prospects job had turned into, not the same job, every second weekend, no prospects!! So goodbye strange job people.

In the personal life the less said the better, but I think it is coming together again, although many things are still going to take some time but hey ho! that's life.

I have been photoing away again and thought that I might share some of the latests on here. I am really getting into taking photos of animals, I am wondering whether to go to some kind of photography night class thing to try and get some more hints and tips to do better!

Okay, so i have got a lot so I'll just put a few up for now!

So this is the Boys. Rocco and Monty. Monty spent Saturday night 8pm through to about 3pm Monday afternoon up a tree. We had the SSPCA out, a local window cleaner with his ladder and all sorts, but no, Monty just goes higher and ends up about 45ft up, sitting in a crow's nest of all places! He eventually came down of his own accord, with a bit of coaxing from me. Well, 'came down' is pushing it, climbed part way down and dropped the last 15 (ish) feet!
And this here is Pyper. Looking anxiously for his treat, which he gets spoiled with once a day!! Yum! Yum!!

The Dress - Definately, Definately That One.. Or Maybe...

I know the exact dress that I want. I have seen it in the catalogues and it is just what I want! It is elegant and has plenty WOW factor without being too over the top. It is by the designer Alfred Angelo and nothing has competed with it in all the books so I was off to try it on today...

She only had it in blue and white whereas I want it in Ivory and Burgandy, however the style is what is important. I can honestly say that it is gorgeous!! I loved it and I was told I looked great, even a bit of flattery from the woman that usually girls find it too 'exposed' at the front as it has no boning around the stomach so there's nothing to hold you in, but that I 'obviously didn't need it'! Probably a bit of sales patter but its good too hear!! Maybe the sit-ups are worth it....

Then I made the dreaded mistake of thinking, I have only tried on one dress maybe I should try on others 'just in case'! Bad move!! There are now two dresses that I love, buy two different designers. Its awful, when I tried on the second dress (after a few okay ones and a few 'umm no way' ones) it loked amazing, it was so different but gave a totally different feel to the whole thing. One is elegant, the other kind of Medieval.

Oh dear....

Handed In My Notice!

Well, this is a new one on me. Handing in my notice. I just did it, well, I just did it two days ago! What a liberating feeling! But at the same time it is most scary! I have been applying for jobs since and have had two calls already! Nothing to write home about, no multi-million pound deals but they have potential to be interesting if nothing else! Its hard to know what to choose, David and I have decided that after the wedding next year, and during his time at college we are going to be looking for a house up North so what to choose until then?

Looking at one, for example, 12.30 - 9pm but guaranteed Sundays off and only have to work one Saturday out of three, so no evenings together but pretty much every weekend!

Or do I go looking for another? I was hoping that the job offers would be more grouped but that's wishful thinking me-thinks!

Changing jobs is a tough old business but its also pretty exciting!!!

Sterling Mills Awards!

Weeeelll... If you are looking for the most bizzare and, quite frankly, biggest dud night of the year then you should have been at our centre's award ceremony. There was maybe 30 people there and we had a DJ that thought he was in Ibiza! No one would dance and the awards where all mainly won by the centre managers favourite shops or his own shops! We however, intended to make it a fun night! There may only have been four of us and we may have taken a huge quantity of staring from the boob tubed, knee high booted, hot pant wearing queens of sulk but we rocked! Hats off to Gemma, by the way, without whom our sides would not have split! Her dance moves know no bounds!

There may have been no more than 8 people on the dance floor at any time but we had fun! Unfortunately, Gail was unable to join us, she is still very unwell, so much so that she has been signed off sick for the next 4 weeks!

Day's Seven & Eight - August 19th & 20th


Well, its the day I have been looking forward to the whole trip, so, of course, I am ill! The moment I step off the bus at the foot of the Valley of The Kings I feel dizzy and sick and feel like I am going to pass out! Our fabulous guide leapt into action with some strange jungle pills, and after half an hour I am able to carry on, unheeded.

The Valley was great but not at all like we expected!

Day's Five & Six - August 17th & 18th

Well, aren't you a lucky bunch! A second dose of holiday fever!

Today was a seriously early start 3.45am!! We were off to Abu Simbel, you won't know the name but would probably recognise the place, it's those 5 huge dudes sitting outside the entrance to a tomb! But why the early start? Well, it gets so hot at Abu Simbel during the day that you want to get there as early as possible, and its a 3 hour journey, by bus, accross the Sahara. We had to go in a convoy aswell, and have an armed guard on board the bus with us.
When we got there however, it was well worth the trip! The place was huge, and I mean huge!! What was equally impressive was the fact that the whole thing had been moved up and accross to rescue it from the rising water after the building of the High Dam.
It was incredibly hot there and we were definately glad we had come in the morning!! Our encounter with the vendors at this particular site was the only time on the trip where I felt apprehensive about them. They were very pushy and would not take no for an answer.
The rest of the day was spent travelling back to the cruise ship, and the cruising back to Esna. In the evening we had a scavenger hunt which ended with us being dressed ridiculously, me as a belly-dancer and Dave as a woman! Don't ask!


Another action packed today when we finally made it back through the Esna lock and got back to Luxor. We saw Karnak Temple as soon as we docked at Luxor. It is the biggest man-made monument in the world and is very derelict. Because of problems getting through the lock we didn't have much time at the temple before it was time to move on. We then saw Luxor Temple itself and it was a lot smaller but very beautiful. Our final stop was to a Papyrus Museum where we were taught how papyrus was made and used. We also bought some papyrus to take home as souveniers.
The evening saw a performance by a belly dancer and another by some nubian dancers.

Days Three & Four - August 15th and 16th

Okay, so as I have taken ages to write anything on here about our holiday I will give you a two for one special.

A 6am start on the third day but the beginning of our trips into Egypt and to see exactly what was going down. Two trips planned for today, the first to Edfu Temple. A mass of vendors all desperately trying to convince us that 'yes, it is handmade and worth £80' even though every other stall has exactly the same thing and they actually cost £2. We'd been woarned that sometimes they can get aggressive so just to ignore them and press on.

The temple itself was very busy, but what a great way to start the holiday. Our guide was great, she new it all and then some, the perfect person to introduce us to Egypt.

The afternoon saw another temple, called Kom Ombo, and also the opportunity to learn a few heiroglyphics, we are 'fully' versed in them now! Cough! This stop also gave us our first encounter with trying to buy stuff from the sellers as we had been told to dress up Egyptian style for an Egyptian evening on the ship.

Everyone got into the swing of it, and after a traditional Egyptian meal we were entertained by some dancers and then played a few ridiculous games. I may have looked ridiculous during my participation but I won a camel by golly!


A busy day today, we started with a visit to the Unfinished Obelisk which was really quite facinating. A short trip on a motor boat to an island to visit The Temple of Isis, where we learnt a few more hieroglyphics. We also saw the HIgh Dam and visited a Perfumery to learn about how perfume is made.

After lunch we headed to a Nubian village to visit a traditional Nubian house and also to Kitcheners island to visit a Botanical garden, where we saw all the native plants and trees and some of the birdlife.

Day Two - August 14th

After a great night's sleep, awoken only 2 or 3 times as the engines came on and we left port, around 5am, we awoke and headed to the resturant for our breakfast, little did we know at that time that the people we sat with on that morning would become tour buddies and treasure hunt helpers over the course of the next 7 days. We were at our table with a honeymoon couple Jeff and Emily and another couple who were returning once again to Egypt for another cruise, Ron and Deliah.

After breakfast we headed upstairs to see what the commotion above was all about. It seemed that we had come to a stop, we found it was because we were currently queuing to pass through the Esna dam. The noise was from the hundreds of vendors in boats who had rowed out from the shore as we arrived and were trying to sell things. Bear in mind that where we stood, on the sun deck, was three floors up and these guys were in minute rowing boats. They were hurling the stuff up on the deck and we were supposed to throw the money back down. It was incredible how 'in harm's way' these guys put themselves! Almost being crushed by the cruisers as they tried to get their sales in before the two huge ships came together.

We waited a good hour before we were able to go up through the dam and then it was just a short trip to Esna where we docked breifly to get supplies, apparently. We were then off again sailing up stream to Edfu where we docked for the night. We enjoyed a ridiculously huge dinner and went up on deck in the evening. Next to the ship was a stall, the owner of which was desperate to sell, to the point that he was trying to get us to come down by shouting up at us. We didn't venture out but some did and before they even made it off the gang-plank they were set upon by about 4 vendors who had 'nice stuff'!

Egypt - Day One - August 13th

Okay, so this isn't as it happens, live action news. Its a pre-recorded show but it is all taken from my original notes!

So, its Day One. We are up bright and early, 6am (little did we know how much of a lie in that was going to seem in a few days time!). We are doing well time wise and hit the Glasgow traffic at about 8.30. At this point I, whom is driving, exclaim

"Oh, the little light has come on" and indeed the small 'fuel low' indicator light has made an appearance. After a brief exchange it is decided that there is enough fuel to carry on so we press forward. Shortly after comes the inevitable, "Oh, that little light is flashing now!" So what to do? We aren't really sure of the road we are on let alone heading into the centre of Glasgow! At rush hour! But head in we do and after much nail biting, one stop for direction and a lot of "I thought she said it was just up here!! What if the car stops!!" But we made it to the airport in the end and all was well.
A flight from Glasgow to Heathrow, then Heathrow to Luxor. 6 hours flying all together and now we are 2 hours ahead of ourselves. We get off the plane and then it is our first encounter with Egypt - a bank that didn't accept Egyptian currency, that'll throw ya! We had to ask our rep to help us out with this strange Egyptian custom. We had to go and convince another bank to accept our Egyptian money so we could buy our Visa! Great start! It was dark when we made it to Luxor so there was little to see out of the windows of the coach but we were able to see that there is hope for the world as we passed by, and I quote 'The Luxor Centre for the Rehabilitation of Special Neds'.
Our cruise ship was large, and empty! (Its the red one in the photo!) We were told that the ship slept 150 but that there would only be 32 of us on board for the duration of the cruise! Nice, that means no fighting for sun loungers or sardine like usage of the swimming pool! We retired to our room, which was very nice and very spacious! They had even, as we had missed dinner, left fruit and sandwiches and juice for us, very nice. There was no wake up call the following morning, although the ship was setting sail at 5 am which aught to do the trick, and little did we know what a luxury a lie in would be! Breakfast tomorrow between 7 and 10.30am.

Heading To Egypt

Well, it's why I bought the camera and it is fast approaching. We head off to Egypt soon and the planning begins. Why is it that you only seem to think of 'things you should've asked' days before you leave? Like 'How do we get from the airport to the ferry?' or 'Do we get the tickets at the travel agents or are we waiting on them being sent?' But, whatever the problems and issues I am beginning to look forward to it. Although, I usually try not to look forward to things, as inevitably in my life, whatever I am looking forward to fails to materialise!

Anyway, I think we are pretty much organised, even with all the little loose ends!! Ten days in Egypt, 7 on a Nile Cruise and 3 in Cairo. We are going to see the Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings and all the other things that one has to see when in Egypt. Seeing all those sights that people are always talking about on TV is going to be great!! And now I also have the camera to record it all! I hope I get some good photos! Those crocodiles had better be scrubbing up thier smiles!!

The New Camera

Okay, so I finally got my new camera, for those in the know or those that want to know it's a Canon EOS 400D. For those who aren't in the know, its one of those fancy looking ones with the big lens at the front!

I have played with, but never actually owned an SLR camera, let alone a digital one! So I headed to the instruction manual...

Good Lord! This thing can all but launch NASA shuttles! But I get the basics, there is an 'idiot' setting so I turn it to that and have a go. After a few random shots of the living room, the TV and a rather disgruntled fiance I think I have got the hang of it.

I head out into the garden and decide to get arty with some shots of flowers! However, the cat has other ideas and insists on being in every shot, even if that means him trying to walk on the surface of the pond! Eventually I give in and just photograph the flowers avec cat. It doesn't turn out too bad however as I manage to get this rather nice shot of him! All totally planned of course.....

Thank you Rocco, you are looking good!!

The Venue

So, we picked the venue. A while ago actually but I am only just getting around to posting about it. Its a place called Guthrie Castle which is right near where we are from. We went there to go to a wedding fair and fell in love with it. We booked it then and there for our never to be forgotten date of 14th August. Well, that;s a lie, we originally booked the 16th, then changed it, so we are already destined to be of the
'Which day did we get married again?' persuasion!
We get married in the Rose garden, weather permitting, if not in the castle itself or in Guthrie Church. Then the reception is held in there function room, called the Pavillion, and we (and 14 others) get accomodation overnight that night in either the castle or one of the cottages in the grounds.
Catering is provided throught the castle but by an external company. we are going for a buffet style, although people get served when they go up, its not a heap it on yourself type buffet. Luckily don't have to choose the actual food until like two weeks before!!