It’s just three sleeps until my holiday! I know I shouldn’t be so excited but when it comes to holidays I am a big kid. My husband Chris is excited too although you wouldn’t know it at the moment. He is somewhere in the loft hyperventilating trying to extract our cases from under a lot of junk we threw up there last year! We then have the conversation about what to take.He would be happy to take as little as possible.I pack for every eventuality- clothes in case it’s warm, clothes in case it’s cold even though I know it’s going to be warm! I love buying new things for my holiday, Chris  just wants his comfy stuff like his velcro shoes that got as far as my car for the charity shop before he spotted them! I also have this ritual of cleaning the house before I leave, like a woman possessed as though someone is really going break into my house to to check that I have defrosted my fridge or lined the tins up in alphabetical order (i am kidding). Finally once my large suitcase and his ruck sack are packed we are off! Then we  reverse up the drive again whilst I check that the windows and  doors are locked. Oh and I have to say “goodbye house” even though it never says goodbye back!

But it’s all worth it because when we arrive at our Gite all the tension has gone.We sit in the garden and open the wine and breathe in the night air wondering what all the fuss was about.

Having eaten too much chocolate and indulged in master chef on the TV, I thought I had experienced enough culinary experiences for one day!

Flicking thought the channels I came across a programme about the children orphaned in South Africa through aids. It highlighted a township near Cape Town where an elderly woman cooks  for 500 people a day, mainly women and children.The food is mostly out of date, donated by supermarkets. This is their only meal of the day-food for thought!

Looking on the web there are lot’s of charities helping people in South Africa  who are struggling for survival. The children, unlike my own have few possessions but one charity is changing this by encouraging people to knit or donate a bear.The website shows the joy on the children’s faces at receiving this small gift which carries the name of the person who knitted it.

If you can’t knit- like me you can donate a bear knowing that a child will have something to hold close and love even when their life seems so fragile and uncertain.

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For more details just Google the mother bear project and then get knitting!

I often complain about going to work, especially after a weekend pottering around the garden. But in the last few months instead of pressing my foot to the metal I stopped along the way to take a few pictures.Living on the West Coast of Scotland I am surrounded by beautiful views and now spring is here there is new life all around which just adds to the huge variety of wonders to capture

Not a bad journey to work after all ?

Having my lost my mobile phone I decided to clear out handbag

This is what I found:

1 pair of red glasses
A gift voucher from 2008!
A pot of Nivea cream
My payslip (no point in opening it the money is already spent)
A large black button (could be from various coats)
A green felt tip pen
A strip of chewing gum
A black plastic spoon
A cheque book
Ferry Tickets for my next trip to the Isle of Bute
A rail ticket used when I went shopping in Edinburgh (sans kids bliss)
A piece of card with a phone number on but who’s is it?
A small silver pill box my husband bought me (I keep stamps in it)
A pair of light up tweezers (bought on impulse at a petrol station)
A lipstick from Max Factor called Ruby rose
My pass for work complete with Ferrari lanyard ( i don’t work for Ferrari but it looks good)
£2.30 that got caught in the lining
A red spotted handkerchief
oh and a chocolate biscuit wrapped up in a tissue ( what was I thinking)
but no mobile phone -oh I remember I left it in my coat pocket
Whats in your handbag I’d love to know!!

I had fallen in love with some new shoes but they were too expensive. I love shoes so much so my husband sarcastically suggested I open a shoe museum as he tried to find his one pair of shoes in the wardrobe, amongst a sea of high heels boots and flip flops!Undetered I kept my beady eye on the shoes and wonder of wonders they came down to half price!My finger hovered over the “add to basket” on the internet website but something stopped me. I’ll wait until tomorrow I thought.
The following day I helped my daughter tidy her bedroom. She is always saying she has nothing to wear but five bin bags later even she conceded that she had no idea what she had. We have friends in our village who regularly send a container to Malawi so I took the bin bags to them. They explained that most teenage boys become the head of the family following the death of their parents, often looking after up to five siblings.The boys love football shirts the girls hair clips or anything pretty. I thought of what we had found under my daughters bed and felt ashamed.What we really need said our friend is an interlocking sewing machine so where there is electricity women can make clothes especially shorts for the children.

I came back and found an interlocking sewing machine on the internet the same price as my shoes! There was no contest the shoes had to go. My husband was delighted too, so in the end everybody wins!

I love this song.
It evokes so many memories of my own school days. Especially those teenage years where you don’t feel anyone really understands you. Music was such a central part of my life then and the lyrics seemed to speak to me. Aretha Franklin and “say a little prayer” was a favourite. I was really into soul music then and when I played this track I felt alive.
I am going to see Rumer in Edinburgh in April and look forward to hearing her tribute to Aretha.

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We all set off to buy the perfect tree
My husband three kids the dog and me
On arrival there were just too many to choose
We had to bag the best one, no time to lose
Some lacked in height but were wide in the beam
Confidently spikey just the right shade of green
Some were willowy tall and model thin
Waving in the breeze with a superior grin
Other poor fellows had quite an odd stance
Not quite sure where to put each branch
But we wanted a tree just happy to allow
Our twinkly lights to hang from each bough
And decorations in years gone by
Topped with a star that ascends to the sky
So that come christmas morning in we would creep
Hoping that our children still fast asleep
Would never suspect that the presents they find
Were left by the hand of a more human kind