Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday's Friendly Notions

It's Friday so it's time for the friendly fill ins which are set by Annie at McGuffy's Reader and Ellen at The words in purple are the prompts that are provided and then the rest is me.

1. Snow can be so pretty, especially when it first falls and hasn't been disturbed too much. Last week we had lots of snow and I thought it was beautiful (not so much on the roads but still lovely to look at).

2. I am really looking forward to an eleven day break over the Christmas/New Year period - time for rest and time with my beloved.

3. One holiday memory that I cherish is the Christmas I had in Saudi Arabia. Christmas wasn't celebrated in the country but my fellow expats and I did have a get together and bought each other silly gifts. My favourite gift was a pink flipper for my keyring that my friend Elaine gave me as I'd commented on one that she had. Sadly, Elaine is no longer with us, but twenty five years after that Christmas, my flipper is still on my keyring and it still makes me smile.

4. I always thought that Santa came from a Scandinavian country until we had a holiday in Turkey. St Nicholas lived in Myra and was a bishop in the fourth century. He came from a wealthy family and was very generous including dropping money down chimneys to remain anonymous - I'm guessing this is where Santa coming down the chimney originated. Here's a link to the history if you're interested - Click Here to Visit.

Do you have snow where you live, or do you have sunshine all year round? Make sure you visit Annie or Ellen's blogs to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their fill ins.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and it's now only ten sleeps until Santa Claus visits all the good boys and girls.

Pamela & Ken

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Top Ten Thursday - Christmas dos and don'ts

This week's Top Ten that has been set by Tamara at the blog Part-time Working Hockey Mom is the dos and don'ts that are part of your Christmas.

1. Do watch Movies. Christmas isn't Christmas without watching my top five movies and just in case they aren't on tv I have them on DVD. My top five are; Scrooged, Miracle on 34th Street (the modern version), The Grinch (the Jim Carey one), Home Alone, and Love Actually.

One of the most romantic scenes from Love Actually.

2. Don't listen to tv ads. This time of year the adverts on tv can put a lot of pressure on people to try and have the perfect meal, the perfect decorations, the perfect presents, etc. Instead, have a Christmas that is as individual as you are and spend time with people that you love.

3. Do eat mince pies. It's a weird thing, I'm not the biggest fan of mince pies (fruit mince, not meat) as I find the pastry a bit stodgy, but at this time of the year it's the done thing and it makes it feel like Christmas. I really like puff pastry mince pies, but not many places sell these.

4. Don't endanger your pets. At Christmas time there are lots of things around that can be dangerous to inquisitive pets from tinsel on trees to fruit and nuts being dropped on the floor. Be aware of what's bad for them and keep it away from scrounging furbies. Click Here to see a list of things that pets can and can't eat at Christmas.

5. Do buy your pets a present. As important members of the family we always get the brats something. Don't tell her, but I've bought Princess Cookie Cat a huge tub of her favourite chicken treats.

6. Don't forget to recycle. There is always excess paper, cans, and plastics at this time of the year so please make sure that you recycle and help look after the planet.

7. Do make traditional Christmas pudding. Every year I make a Christmas pudding to mum's recipe which includes boiling it in a cloth for four hours - the kitchen ends up feeling like a sauna. It always looks a bit deformed as I've never mastered the art of taking it out of the cloth neatly.

8. Don't overindulge too much. Indulge but within reason. Christmas isn't about eating until you feel sick or drinking yourself into oblivion, but unfortunately too many people use it as an excuse to do just that.

9. Do remember others less fortunate. Give food to your local food bank, give treats to the local animal shelter, or even give warm coats to your local homeless charity.

10. Do pose with a santa hat on.

What do you think, do you have lots of dos and don'ts that are a necessary part of your Christmas? Before you go, make sure you hop over to Tamara's Blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their top ten.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and remember it's only eleven more sleeps until Santa Clause comes.

Pamela & Ken

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Purple Hodgepodge

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

1. 'Hurry less, worry less'...what's your strategy for making that happen this holiday season? How's it going so far?

We handle this by taking opposite sides of this option. I hurry less and worry more whilst my beloved hurrys more and worries less.

2. Do you have a list of to-dos that need accomplishing in order to prepare your home and/or property for the winter season? What are some of the jobs on your list? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone to accomplish these tasks?

The only things on my list are to make sure we have some wood for the fire in case the power goes out and along the same lines, make sure we have matches and batteries for the torches. I don't hire anyone as I have a beloved for that.

3. According to dietitians surveyed, the most popular health foods for 2018 will be -turmeric, sprouted foods (bean sprouts, breads with sprouted grains, etc), veggies in place of grains, dairy free milk, and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc).  What's the first thought that ran through your head when you read this list? 

My first thought was that I'm glad that there is no meat on the list, and secondly my thought is that I still haven't found a dairy free milk that I like in my coffee. I don't mind rice milk on my cereal, but not in my daily wake up drink.


Of the foods listed which one might you add to your regular diet? 

Probably just adding more lentils, chickpeas, etc.

Also, can milk really be dairy free? Is it still milk?

I think that it is still milk, just like you can get a sausage roll that has no meat in it.

4. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. According to the Pantone site 'Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking pointing us to the future.' What say you? Do you like the color purple?

Purple is my favourite colour in the whole wide world. When I was younger I went through a black period but once I hit my 20's purple became the colour for me. I'm not sure about the description of what it means, as I think everyone finds very different meanings in colours. Purple features quite a lot in our home, in my jewellery, my phone cover, and other parts of my life.

Did you see the movie or read the book-ha!?  No. Is purple a color you wear often? Occasionally. Describe for us one purple item in your home without using the word purple. My new Christmas ornament of loveliness that I found recently.

If you were in charge of such things what color would you select for 2018?

One hundred percent Pink! My second favourite colour and another colour that is dotted around our home, my jewellery, my clothes, and my hair.

One of our Christmas angels
5. Favorite book read this year?

This year I've been reading lots of romances and it's difficult to choose just one. I'm an avid reader and I'm really bad at putting a book down at night - I keep saying to myself that I'll just read another chapter, which then turns into several.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

This year for my beloved's advent calendar I went with brown paper bags - I like them as I can fit more unusual sized things in them.

What's your favourite colour and is it obvious in your home? Before you go, hop over to Joyce's Blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their answers.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and make sure you take time just for you over the coming week.

Pamela & Ken

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Twelve Days of Christmas and Cats in Aberdeen

Today my beloved and I have been married 18 years so to celebrate we went to Aberdeen for the weekend. Despite a lot of snow we made it to the granite city without any problems to enjoy a couple of lovely days in the cold.

The view out of our hotel window with the sea just past that white building.

There were lots of Christmas themed things going on and that was one of the reasons we'd chosen to visit Aberdeen. After a very lovely breakfast at the hotel which included vegetarian sausages (I was very impressed) we drove to the Union Square shopping centre to leave the car in the multistory carpark. When we walked down into the shopping centre I became very excited when I spotted several shops that we don't have in Inverness, including Paperchase (my stationery heaven) and Krispy Kreme.

During December there is a Twelve Days of Christmas totem pole trail around the city and we managed to find seven of them. They're really lovely and show great carving skill.

My favourites of the ones we found were the partridge in the pear tree and five gold rings. I think the partridge is looking quite grumpy, but I guess I would be too if I had to sit there covered in snow.

The Christmas village was set up in front of Marischal college which added to the atmosphere. My beloved was shocked to discover that I've never been on a Helter Skelter in my life and I wasn't starting with this one - I think with my history of falls it may not have been a very elegant landing.

Here's a few pictures from the village including the local craftsmen's fair which was inside, and the ice skating rink which no-one was on when we went past.

The teacups were very pretty including the pictures that were around the top of the ride.

Beautiful Christmas tree.

By now we were in need of some sustenance and a little bit of peace in the busy city, but where to go. Well, in a city that has a cat cafe there is nowhere else good enough (see previous visit here) and when we arrived we were the only ones there so got the cats to ourselves for quite a while.

Love the decorations in the cafe including this meditating cat statue and the fabulous Christmas tree that the cats could play with.

As soon as Ken's scone arrived Zeus was straight up on his knee trying to convince him that he should get to share it (he didn't get any).

This is Romeo who came to visit with us for a while as well.

Boo who was in crazy mode, racing around and attacking rugs and scratch poles.

Pancake who has got the cutest little squished up face that you've ever seen. Her fur is incredibly soft, in fact I think it's the softest cat fur I've ever stroked.

The climbing trees had fairy lights around them which looked really pretty and didn't put Romeo off when he went climbing.

Theodore and Drago curling up together looking incredibly cute - I took a picture of these two together in the same bed last time we visited.

After she woke up, Pancake went climbing amongst the tree branches that line part of the cafe.

Me enjoying a pumpkin spiced latte from a black cat mug with the lovely Boo finally asleep next to me.

This is Ninja who is the newest resident of the cafe. She had been at an animal rescue centre for nearly a year with no one wanting her - I'm so glad she's finally got a nice home to live in. Aren't her eyes beautiful. The box behind Ninja is how the cats go in and out of the cafe to a room that is just for them.

Whilst we were there one of the staff brought out some treats for the cats and as you can see, it very quickly grabbed everyones attention with Pancake and Boo being very impatient and trying to climb her leg. We give the same treats to our Princess Cookie cat and she's a bit crazy for them too.

Romeo went and joined Theodore and Drago in their bed and have you ever seen anything so cute - the three of them cuddled up together. Theodore has even got his arm around Romeo. The staff were taking photos of the three of them too.

Ken took this photo in the toilet - someone is obviously a Harry Potter fan.

Hope you've enjoyed this visit to the cat cafe and the Christmas village. Until next time, be good, stay safe, and say hello to the next cat you see.

Pamela & Ken


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

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 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

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