Saturday, 18 April 2015

Now Hear Me!

Now Hear Me is a recently launched NHS education campaign to raise awareness of AAC, which stands for augmentative and alternative communication, and how we all can support people who use AAC in order to communicate. The website Now Hear Me has a lot of practical information which will help anyone who wants to better understand and support people using AAC.

The campaign also offers two very short videos which raise awareness of AAC. I think it's a great idea and much needed because when I first heard of AAC, I had absolutely no idea what it meant, and even after knowing what the letters stand for, I still didn't quite know what it was. The videos only take a minute to watch but hopefully will meant that many more people know about AAC and will be able to proactively help people who use it to be able to make their voices heard.

I can only recommend you take the minute to watch the videos:

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post. All views expressed are as usual mine.

Monday, 13 April 2015

April - The month of... Wild garlic or bear leek

A wonderful sunshine after the rain walk to and through Linn Park, which looked like this:

Two jacket pockets full of wild garlic, which is called bear leek in German, now look like this:

A super easy wild garlic paste which will keep for months in the fridge.

120 g wild garlic, washed, dried
15g salt
100ml veg oil

Process until smooth and fill into a jar.

This paste can be added to recipes, you can make it into pesto, use it as bread spread.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Review: Hawkins Bazaar

Of course we had a birthday coming up and so soon after Christmas, I always struggle to find a decent present. So it was great to try out a new toy shop, which like all shops these days, has not just a high street, but also an online presence. Hawkins Bazaar has branches in Scotland and I tested out their range and service in their online incarnation. Hawkins Bazaar has stores in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen which is a tad for to travel for me.

The website is rather intuitive and it's easy to browse and find what one is looking for. I also found it easy to browse if one doesn't know what one is looking for (i.e. me). I got lots of ideas and particularly like the section for party bag items which to me seemed a bit more of the unusual and useful type, rather than the usual plastic tat that doesn't last the day. Particularly there were some small toys that in multiple (party bag) quantities were a very good deal.

I'm not quite sure what made the website so user friendly, but my experience was that I found what I was looking for much quicker than in other store websites. For the birthday child, we got a model mini, because she's just really into minis. The idea seemed perfect, and the mini also comes in yellow, however, it wasn't possible to choose the colour (and the one that came was black, but she didn't seem to mind). For Snowflake we got a mermaid tank with swimming life like mermaid which she totally adores, and plays with hours on end. It's perfect for the garden and has been popular amongst the neighbour's girl as well.

The delivery was quick and all went rather well. I stocked up on party bag items and presents for upcoming friends' birthdays too which was rather convenient. The range and selection was good - I'm not sure how it compares to other shops but I definitely didn't feel in any way limited by the range. Postage is reasonable and free for orders over £40. Special deals and multibuy offers are also easy to find, so all in all a good shopping experience that can be recommended. I'm actually quite curious now what the physical Hawkins Bazaar shops look like...

Disclosure: I received vouchers to buy products for this review (in part payment of my order)

A spot of gardening

I love gardening. But it's one of the things that often gets pushed down the to do list. With all this spring holiday sun (now gone), there was no excuse. My uni assignments may be late, but my back garden is looking much more like a back garden than the mess it was.

This year, I won't be growing much in the line of vegetables. This is because I already know I won't be there to water them for over 3 weeks and the past has taught me what that can do to vegetables. It may rain a lot in Scotland, but there are times when, well, it doesn't. Every single year my poor veggies died of unintended neglect, so I'm going to go simple this year: with flower beds, herbs, lettuce in pots, some potatoes (still chitting), if I can source it, rhubarb (which is a vegetable, so there) and maybe a container growing apple tree.  I'd love some rasp-/tay-/black- or blueberries too but haven't been too successful in keeping them alive either, so I'm still a bit undecided.

In a small garden where container gardening is the big word, even easy growing plants just need a bit of extra attention. So it's all about low maintenance and nothing that I fret over if it gets destroyed. It also doesn't help that the cats are using the raised beds as their toilet, which I'm told is not particularly good for veg growing anyway. And doesn't give freshly planted then dug over plants the greatest of looks.

I filled 2 wheelie bins with garden waste and garden rubbish. It's rather astonishing how much rubbish and unwanted growth can happen over a year. Of course I'm not finished yet, so bring on more of the warmish weather so I can complete the job. But for today, I'm rather satisfied with our wee back garden.

(next time I may even manage to get the herbs actually into the shot, doh).

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Sunshine, holidays and a crashed aeroplane

We are currently on holiday, all four of us. Which is pretty awesome - usually the only family holidays we get in a year are one where we go abroad plus Christmas, so to be off and at home is very rare. We have to thank a change of jobs and a change of working hours respectively. So what to do with a precious week off? Not having planned anything and after having been away on a campervan trip so recently, we are keeping it reasonably local. We've explored new places nearby and further away, following recommendations in the main.

There is also this rather impossible concurrence of school holiday and good weather. It's been sunny since Saturday, that's 5 days in a row. Nothing can go wrong now.

One place we discovered was Fintry in the Campsies, a spectacular short drive away. There is a very cosy bar/restaurant, the Fintry Inn (not to be missed because they have a bike sticking out of the front wall), with very tasty Scottish food fare and a pool table, and a lovely little walk along the river - we didn't get far because the children's imagination at a pebble "beach" took them to imaginary places while their bodies stayed put on said beach. Basically we spent 2 hours on a path that would normally take 10 minutes to walk. It's as if all that winter staying in time had to be balanced out by outdoor imagination all in one go.

Today Cubling and Mr Cartside went into the hills behind Largs to find the small passenger airplane that crashed on Irish Law in 1948 (miraculously, all 20 passengers/crew survived). We didn't go along because it was a proper hillwalk on boggy terrain, which would not have been fun with a 4 year old in tow. (Snowflake and I went up another hill, with much easier access and the quick reward of stunning views of Arran, Cumbrae, Bute and Largs). At the end of a day, back came a very muddy child proudly presenting tiny bits of aeroplane that she'd picked up.

It was clearly an adventure filled day. It's astonishing that the plane wreckage is still up there and even more so that not many people outside of Largs know about it. It was something like a real life treasure hunt which made the proper hill walk so much more fun.



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