It’s been 12 weeks since lock down took effect on 23rd March 2020. Can you believe it’s been all this time? It feels like the hours have melted into days, and the days into weeks and months! Hubby and myself couldn’t make up our minds if it was Monday or Tuesday today! Turns out it’s Tuesday, 16th June. It ‘feels like’ a Saturday for some reason—goodness, no wonder I’m confused!
Rewind to last week ◀
Last week I mentioned baking some cupcake treats for our neighbours—just a wee something to remind them we are thinking about them at this time since we don’t see them nearly as often. Some of our neighbours are homeschooling their children and I thought a cupcake at break time would go down a treat. Lol, turns out we were ALL thinking the exact same thing! Just as I had finished putting the last batch of cupcakes into the oven, the doorbell rang and it was a neighbour with some lovely tray bakes. Earlier, another neighbour left some delicious Eccles cakes on the doorstep. To say we have enough treats to last all week is an understatement, lol, but we’re definitely not complaining!
Anyway, here’s what I baked: carrot cakes with butter cream icing plus chocolate cupcakes with a rich dark chocolate icing (three boxes in total). My favourite part is icing the cakes—I love fancy swirls with cute toppers and pretty packaging too; it helps make things look “extra” special and we all need a little bit of special at the moment—something to brighten our days away from all the sad news on the TV.
You can find the recipes for these particular cakes at Cupcakes UK. They are seriously easy to bake and very tasty with an afternoon cuppa. I would recommend using a large icing bag to pipe your cakes. The standard 12 inch are not large enough to decorate anything more than 12 cupcakes. When baking more than a dozen cupcakes, I recommend using either 18 inch or 21 inch Savoy bags from Bakery Direct—they’re well priced, sturdy and easy to fill; plus you don’t get icing all over your hands filling the bags like with much smaller versions.
A trip to a local nursery
Today (Saturday) we ventured out to visit a garden nursery not far from home. It was nice to actually ‘go somewhere’ other than the supermarket! We purchased quite a few plants for the front garden which hubby has started working on having finished the back garden—well almost finished that is—we still have some garden furniture to buy and a patio to build at the bottom of the garden where there’s an area that catches the sun most of the day, but there’s no rush to do so at the moment.
Hubby and myself drew up a list of flowers to plant in our garden in loving memory of our parents. We chose to include flowers they each individually loved and planted in their own gardens—flowers we had become familiar with growing up. The list included the following:
- Peony Roses
- Pink, cream and purple Lupins
- Lady Boothby Fuchsias
We were pleasantly surprised when a deep red Peony Rose began to push its way through the soil in one of the borders in the back garden at the beginning of April. We had no idea it was there until it began to fill part of the border. It produced gorgeous flowers about two weeks ago and looked beautiful in full bloom. Wish I’d photographed it in all its glory, but I left it too late.
We managed to find a bonny Fuchsia plant at the garden nursery at the weekend but there were no decent lupins. We may need to grow our own or wait until next year now. I so wish I’d purchased a couple of Lupins plants I spotted in Asda when I last went food shopping two weeks ago—but too late now! We did however buy a couple of cerise / pink coloured Foxgloves during our visit to the garden nursery nearby which look gorgeous in one of the borders in the back garden. Foxgloves are my most favourite wild flowers. I’m having to watch the dog like a hawk however because he keeps trying to water all the new plants—particularly the Foxgloves! 😱
We still need to source Lupins at this point.
When I was a child, I picked a large handful of Foxglove flowers to bring home to my mum. I thought she’d love them just as much as I did. Crossing a park on my way home, I met a woman who yelled at me to throw the Foxgloves away. She told me they were poisonous and to wash my hands thoroughly when I got home. I was gutted! I’d been imagining the delight on mum’s face when I presented her with the pretty flowers; I was always looking for ways to make her smile. I can still imagine the disappointment I felt when I discarded the flowers; I had sooo wanted to give them to my mum to brighten up her day. My mum was always giving so much of herself for others that it felt good doing something special for her. Really miss my mum. 💓💓💓
The top photograph was captured during our picnic outing at the weekend. It was quite sunny and bright and it looked like the mist which had drawn in over the countryside the night previously was going to burn off late morning; however although the mist did lift slightly, the sun disappeared leaving it feeling a little chilly (see photos below). It didn’t matter however because it was cosy and warm inside the car with the heating switched on; plus we still very much enjoyed the tranquil scenery outside, so we were happy.
Home grown salad kit
The two raised veggie beds in the back garden are beginning to sprout some fine looking salad produce. At the moment, we have various kinds of lettuce growing away quite the thing plus our beetroot and radish are growing away nicely too. Other salad kit includes salad turnip, tomatoes, potatoes and spring onions.
There’s something satisfying about growing your own fresh produce, plus their organic taste beats shop bought salad kit hands down. We’ve had salad and BBQ’s most days this week and it’s been really pleasant sitting outside dining al fresco—something we don’t experience too often here in Scotland, but this year has been unusually warm and sunny and we’re taking advantage of the lovely weather while we can.
Father’s Day (21st June)
It’ll soon be Father’s Day. Every year I purchase a pressie “from the dog” to gift to hubby. Lol, don’t laugh—he gets a card from the dog too 😂!!! This year I bought hubby a gardening book: “Veg in One Bed: How to Grow an Abundance of Food in One Raised Bed, Month by Month”. I’m hoping he’ll enjoy it. The book is beautifully illustrated and is just the kind of book I’d be happy to browse through as well. Ha ha—I’d happily browse to get ideas and inspiration re: photography more than anything else! Typical photographer, but the book is real “eye candy” for still life / food photographers—so if you’re one of those, you’d love it too!
Scottish updates re: COVID-19
Tomorrow (Thursday 18th June) at around 3 pm, Nicola Sturgeon (Scotland’s First Minister) will present updates re: the country moving into Stage 2 of lock down. She’s expected to update Scotland re: the date ‘non essential shops’ will be allowed to open for trading again. At the moment we seem to be a couple of weeks behind England, Wales and Ireland.
I have to admit, I’m concerned that the BLM movement all over the UK may have had an impact on the “R” number—time will tell over the next few week s; coupled with more public transit usage and the opening of non essential stores and the figures could rise again possibly. Life must go on however, and life being as it is will always throw up difficulties and challenging times—there is nothing new under the sun.
Incidently, I abhor what happened to George Floyd a few weeks ago and am in total agreement that Racism must stop—all racism that is and not just BLM—ALL life matters.
This evening (Wednesday), a heavy sea mist seemed to appear suddenly and very quickly descended over the entire village. We took the dog for a walk a bit later than usual and walking up the hill outside our house, we could hear people taking their bins out to leave at the bottom of their drives for the bin-men to empty in the morning, but we couldn’t ‘see’ anyone! We could only see a few metres in front of us at one point, and then all of a sudden, the sea mist blew back out to sea from whence it came. Very surreal!
Off to my scratcher!
I’ve been unusually tired these past few days—no doubt due to having too many late nights for the past few weeks! It’s 12.15 pm here at the moment 😳 so I guess I should be signing off and “going to my scratcher” as my husband likes to say.
Until next week…..same day and time (DV), look after yourselves and stay safe peeps.