Auld Claes and Parritch

Ah, January! Once you crawl out from under the pile of wrapping paper, empty bottles and chocolate wrappers, the Bacchanalian joy vanishes, and it’s back to auld claes and parritch*, right?

No wonder folks hate January. It’s cold, dark and no-one is going out (in the UK at least). Whisper it, I quite like January so far. There are a lot of small (and the odd big) things that are making me happy.

Scheduling. Nothing says January like plotting out your activities on an online calendar, eh? I’m THE saddo who spent a satisfying two hours adding everything to Outlook. Basically, there’s no room for anything spontaneous until the end of February.

Emma BairdFeeding the Birds. If I’d known how much joy this would give me, I’d have done it years ago! I put out a handful of nuts every day, and they’re gone an hour later. We’ve got three or four blue tits that visit the garden regularly, and this morning I managed to spot one of them and a robin swoop in for a feed.

“Birdie, are you sure you can eat that?” I wondered aloud. Half a peanut looks like the equivalent of a human trying to chow down on a double cheeseburger.

I’ve also got a jar of Flutter Butter, peanut butter, especially for small, fluttering birds. Next job is to find the cat-safe place to install it seeing as our garden is also a haven for the neighbourhood cats. As my friend said, “Wow, it’s like you’ve just put a takeaway menu for them up on the wall.”

Using Draft2Digital. The Girl Who Swapped is now out of Kindle Select so I can go wide. I used Draft2Digital, as I’ve heard and read good things about this platform for uploading e-books onto multiple places. The book is now on Kobo, iTunes, Playster and a good few I’ve never heard of, as well as Amazon.

Here’s the Universal Book Link – books2read.com/tgsw

 

 

Walking along beaches. Thursday was a dull, gloomy day in my neck of the woods. I took myself off to Prestwick to visit a friend. Down there, the sun shone brightly, so we took her dog Ruaridh out for a long walk along the beach front. I probably met and spoke to half of Prestwick at the same time. Dog walking is unbelievably sociable.

Emma BairdAcquiring jewellery. My mum LOVES giving gifts and this year she decided to pass on her ring collection, giving my sisters and I one each. This is mine. Isn’t it gorgeous?

How’s your January going?

*A Scottish saying meaning the humdrum, workaday world.

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Avoiding the ‘C’ Words

Ah, the start of a new month, reinvention (as my new found friend the Reinvention Tour will agree) is always so tempting at the start of a new month…

As a bride to be, the usual concerns of being able to squeeze into a size smaller than usual wedding dress – so reinvent self as non-drinker of tummy-bloating wine, non-eater of too many ‘c’ words (crisps, chocolate, cheese and blasted diet coke – ssh! Stop talking about them, the temptation). Is resistance easier when the month date is in single figures? Discuss…

So, I’ve created the perfect recipe for a virtuous start to the month. Packed full of superfoods, healthy oils, vitamins, minerals and so many other good things it should probably be knighted, this dish promises… Och, it promises nothing. I just fancied sharing it.

 

It’s the Mother Theresa of food goodness…

Salmon and broccoli super skin dinner (serves 2)

2 salmon fillets

1 lemon

One and a half heads of broccoli

1 avocado

2 cloves garlic

2tbsp chopped parsley

Salt and pepper, butter

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly oil sheets of foil, season the salmon with salt and pepper, dot lightly with butter and wrap in the foil to make parcels. Place in the oven for around 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into even-sized floets and steam for four to five minutes. Puree the avocado with the juice of the lemon, the garlic cloves, parsley and a little salt and pepper. Mix with the steamed broccoli.

Serve the broccoli with the salmon and some salad leaves on the side.