Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Summer Holiday

It's been a little while, but its all good. I've been on my holidays!
I love to get away at this time of year but the idea of dealing with busy airports and the stress of travelling in peak summer holiday time  is something I prefer to avoid (at least while Lily is so young). Having enjoyed such a wonderful time on the Isle of Arran a couple of years ago now, I thought it would be fun to discover what it would be like on Mull.

The Isle of Mull lies a little way of the west coast of Scotland and is a short ferry ride from the mainland port of Oban. Following a looong drive and a quick dash around the supermarket for the week's supplies and to fill the car up, we were able to sit back with a coffee and enjoy the beautiful scenery during our forty minute ferry journey. It was a lovely, clear day and a very pleasant crossing.
Our arrival at the cottage was reassuring, with everything even better than expected. Lily was delighted with her bedroom, especially the beach hut pictures on her duvet cover, and there were plenty of toys supplied, so there was no need to unpack any of her own. Unexpected treats were the view from the back of the cottage, which looked over towards the Islands of Rum, Muck and Eigg and, most memorably, the Tunnock's teacakes in the welcome pack!

We had such a relaxing week and there was so much on the island to enjoy, although mainly we would spend our days quite simply. Lunch would be a picnic, which meant we could stop wherever we were and take in the beautiful scenery. The rest of the day would be spent exploring, with dinner back at the cottage in an evening, the one exception being when we indulged in some delicious fish and chips from the pier in Tobermory.

For us, the main highlight had to be the beaches. Stretches of white sand lapped by crystal clear waters. Shells to collect, sandcastles to make and rockpools to explore. Unsurprisingly, much of our time was spent barefoot. Most evenings were spent walking by the shore at Calgary Bay, Lily in a desperate hurry to run into the sea. 

We went walking through the forests, saw some stunning waterfalls and a sculpture trail. We sat and watched seals down near the harbour by the cottage. We visited a cheese farm and met some gorgeous newborn calves, some pigs and goats. 

Another highlight of our time on Mull was meeting The Tobermory Cat. Which one, I'm not quite sure, but he certainly lived up to his reputation. 🐱🐱🐱

We had a wonderful time on Mull. All the sea air and time outdoors meant we slept really well and returned home feeling relaxed, wishing to return, and just a little bit shocked at how the weather has suddenly turned so much cooler! I'm also trying not think about the amount of sand I have yet to vacuum from the car.

J. X

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Time to Unwind

It is just over a week since the start of our summer break and I am loving every minute of it. This last week has been a whirlwind, beginning with a school picnic and ending with a graduation. Initially, the idea of squeezing so much activity into a short space of time seemed almost impossible, but a general buzz of excitement in the air and planning for the weeks ahead quickly took over and, before I knew it,  it had gone in the blink of an eye. Another school year over and time to unwind.

I intentionally didn't plan any activities for our first week at home and it has felt quite satisfying to spend some time catching up with chores and getting on top of the housework again. I don't feel at ease when home life is chaotic. I prefer a calm and organised environment and recently it has felt anything but - constantly chasing my tail and still feeling one step behind. Already, I feel so much more relaxed and my sleep has improved, probably down to not anticipating an early morning alarm. With having the time to enjoy the warm sunshine and drink tea in the garden, this slower pace of life is suiting me perfectly.  

For a while now I have been meaning to buy some cotton and knit some new dishcloths, so last week I did just that. The previous ones had been looking past their best for ages, even after regular bleaching and, although they worked perfectly well and hadn't got any holes, they were looking pretty grim. Hardly surprising really. When I thought back I realised I'd had them for around six years! Not bad going and even now I will get use out of them as cleaning cloths.  The new dish cloths are now in use and it will be interesting to see if they last as long.

The house plants have been receiving some TLC too. I have been re-potting, watering and polishing leaves and there is currently a Pilea and Chain of Hearts nursery on the dining table (which makes a pleasant change from a pile of ironing!) I'm keeping my fingers crossed they grow now. I have quite a lot of plants dotted around the house which I have grown this way.

I've spent time in the (now tidy) kitchen. As well as my usual flapjack I baked some lemon shortbread biscuits. They are so light, crispy and delicious. Perfect for this time of year. I mixed 125g plain flour, 60g corn flour, 60g caster sugar, 120g butter and the grated zest of one lemon. and baked at 150° for 10 - 15 minutes.

It's been an enjoyable week, although there may have been one slight incident.....

J. X