A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Shamrock Cookies & Chocolate Guiness Cupcakes

Over the past few weeks it seems like the never ending rains of winter have decided to take a hiatus;  Maybe mother nature is playing a vicious trick and before we know it the skies will open up again and the temperatures drop back to zero.  I hope not because Spring seems to have sprung around here and with the longer days (even though we haven't yet put our clock's ahead) life is seeming a whole lot brighter in general.

Over the past few weekends I haven't wanted to do a whole lot other than spend time pottering about the house, go on long walks with Molly (especially now that the fields aren't a quagmire) and squeeze in a few workouts.  I don't know about you but I feel so much better when I've done something that makes me really sweat.

I didn't want this past weekend to end (do I ever) although today I'm feeling much better than I normally do on a Monday as I was up and out of the house at 6:00 am for a run with Molly.  It was hard getting out of bed but it felt so good to be out at dawn getting in my fix of exercise.

On Friday night Jayden came to sleep over;  he was staying with us as his Dad was going to Nottingham and his mum had to work all day Saturday. I've probably said it a dozen times but our little man is such a joy to look after, he is just so chilled and easy going. Case in point: on Saturday he slept for almost three hours, thus giving me time to to get some baking done, hang out a load of laundry, work out and make lunch... all before I gave in and woke him up.

Buttermilk biscuits with home-made jam... yum 
(just one reason why I need to work out)

After Jayden woke up and had some lunch on Saturday, Andy and I took him down to the sea-front.  It was a bit chilly with the wind but we still had fun.

Grandy should have had his sunglasses on, but I still love this snap:

On Sunday morning I got up to finish my St Paddy's Day baking;  I had made and decorated nearly 100 shamrock cookies on Friday, however I wanted to get my Guinness cupcakes with Bailey's cream icing made as well. (It's hard going resisting these which is why I give them away).

I also wanted to get dinner prepped as Beryl was coming over.  I was doing a pork-tenderloin marinated in a olive-oil/garlic and soy-sauce blend with a ton of fresh herbs... 

I love having fresh herbs to hand; I love keeping these on my windowsill - it just looks and smells like spring :) My rosemary, chives and parsley are planted outside.

Nothing smells better than fresh chopped herbs don't you think?

However the big disappointment of the weekend occurred yesterday afternoon when I was checking to see how my roast potatoes were coming along and realised the element in my oven was gone again and it wasn't emitting any heat.  Just what I needed;  this is doubly annoying as it is the 2nd time this has happened when I was cooking for company.  Our solution was to go pick Beryl up and treat her to a meal out which was nice,but I think I would have enjoyed my dinner more.  Just saying.

Well, that's my weekly wrap up.  

Oh, and Happy St Patrick's Day.  

I know not everyone celebrates, but I love to celebrate it even though no one locally seems to make much fuss of it.  I can't help it, it's such a strong part of my heritage.  Yes I'm Canadian, however a large majority of Nova Scotian's celebrate St Paddy's Day.  Besides, when I descend from this crowd it's understandable that the Irish Whisky runs through my blood.

My aunts (and a lot of the family) always seem to whoop it up on Ireland's National Holiday - any old excuse really ;) I really miss them at times like these! 

So again, Happy St Paddy's Day

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow, 
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go. 

Friday, March 07, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up

Every week I keep telling myself I really need to find the time to post;  finally I'm making that time and am realising that it's been nearly a month since my last.  Hmmmm so much for my resolution to post more and surpass my yearly totol.  It's only March and already I'm off to a bad start. Does it really matter? Who knows.  I thought it mattered to me, but obviously not enough.  I can't even plead that I'm too busy because I'm not.  Bah, never mind, it is what it is.  

I will save you the boredom of a monthly up date and give you the weekly run down, which goes something like this:

Although I'm not overly busy in my personal life, work has been incredibly busy which is probably the real reason I haven't been posting, as I will often find time to do so when I'm having my lunch. These days I just want 20 minutes to read my book as I scarf down a salad. I took last Friday and Monday off and enjoyed a four day weekend which then meant I've had to spend the last four days making up for it. 

Last Friday morning was gorgeous and I had Jayden for the day so I took him and Molly over to the park for most of the morning. I don't know who loved it more out of the three of us. Both Jayden and I certainly loved watching Moll bound in and out of the woods like a pup as she was chasing squirrels. 

I spent the rest of the weekend cooking and baking, which I haven't done in a long time. 

On Tuesday I invited Alex, Bonnie and Jayden over for pancakes however shortly after I got home from work there was a power cut so sadly pancakes didn't happen. The electric board sent a few guys around later in the evening who then called in the guys with a jack hammer and by about 12 am we were rigged up with temporary power until they could get back the next day and sort it. The power cables are underground here so it was an awfully big job to reconnect the power for six houses! At least when they are underground it means our electrics aren't at the mercy of the weather - with the high winds we are always experiencing in this area its a definite bonus. 

On Wednesday after a lot of debating with myself, I made the decision to give up wine for Lent. Sure I could have picked chocolate or cake but just in case you aren't in the know, Lent is about sacrificing something we love and that will challenge us. As I type this now I'm not craving chocolate, I'm wishing I had a cold glass of Pinot Grigio beside me. I will probably wish for the same thing when I run my bath later. So yes, this Lent I will be challenged. Much the same as last year. 

As some of you may be aware, yesterday was World Book Day and I was thrilled that Jayden's nursery was participating. I happened to have him overnight on Wednesday so was delighted to get him ready yesterday morning. 

Is he not the cutest Gruffalo ever? 

Which brings us to Friday. It's been a good week but I'm glad to have two full days off in which I have nothing planned but walking Molly and perhaps getting in a workout. 

Oh, and Andy and I just finished booking a holiday in Skiathos this June. We had hoped to go to Newfoundland in the spring but a joint trans-Atlantic trip just isn't in the budget this year. We will make that journey next spring. So for now we have ten days in the sun to look forward to and thankfully it won't be Lent when we are there :)