Wednesday, 5 December 2012


 Buddy- sweet little bundle of energy, who has already doubled his weight in the 2 weeks we have had him and seems to be settling well into our family already...just a pity Beau (our 2 yr old Queen cat) doesn't feel the same way -any tips for harmonious living?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Friday, 30 November 2012

Cross Stich on Canvas

Despite his lack of focus, by eldest son, who is ten, is a creative wee soul - he often needs a bit of coaxing to do something, but when he does manage to actually finish a project, I think he nails it!
Take this cross stitch on a box canvas.....

He sat last Sunday afternoon when it was just the two of us in the house- in front of the stove.  He began by diligently charting his design on squared paper, punching holes into the canvas, painting the canvas yellow and then stitching the design with some black wool - I'm bias obviously, but I thinks its amazing!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Enjoying this...

Enjoying the instant gratification of a sewing project - an hour or two in the afternoon and you're done! Sewing skills still very dicey - couldn't for the life of me figure out how to neatly insert the ears so ended up zig-zagging them to top (very badly I might add). 

Monday, 12 November 2012

A Birthday....

Aaaaarrrrhhhhhhh! How can it be possible that I am 38? Well, today it's an actual fact.....But I have had the most lovely day - kids are off school due to teacher training day and Mr Northern hi-light too, so I have been thoroughly spoilt.

Lunch  was the fish board and a glass of Prosecco at one of my favourite local eateries...

Awww, and look.... its amazing the bargaining power you have on your birthday! A spot of sweet talking resulted in a trip to our local SSPCA centre and a soon to be new addition to our little family - Buddy, who is 8 weeks old and the cutest little kitty ever.....OK, so being 38 has its benefits...The crazy cat lady lives on......

Saturday, 10 November 2012


I wiped the dust off my sewing machine today and sewed myself a big owl. I love owls, and heavily inspired by Jane's over at 'teawagontales', I decided to try my own inexpert hand at sewing one.
I found the stuffing bit the hardest, particularly the ears, and I have to admit the sewing is a bit dodgy, but he looks grand perched in our living-room.  I am thinking a giant fox next...

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween

Our Lucha Libre themed Halloween....

Monday, 29 October 2012


I have spent most of my day today trying to put the house back together after 2 weeks of school holidays.  The House has been blissfully quiet with just the radio and Beau the cat for company.  Blogging has been sparse this year - Life is busy and time at a minimum.  I am about to increase my working days from 3 to 4 days a week, Monday being my day off.  I am feeling a tad apprehensive about this change and am trying my hardest to get organised in order to minimise the stress of running the house.  So I baked today - baking always makes me feel productive and means the tins are full for hungry boys after school.

 First up were digestives ( do they call them 'Graham Cookies' in the states?) - made with 100% wholewheat flour (big bonus).  The recipe came from this blog, and I have to say, despite their 'heavy' appearance they are sweet, crunchy and perfect for dipping.  I reckon they will keep quite well in an air-tight tin too. I have had this recipe in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks now and was intrigued to see they had 'Maple Essence' added to them - I was about to order a bottle from an online website (reluctantly paying the £3.00 added postage) when I stumbled upon a bottle in the deli section of our local Garden Centre...

To say I was chuffed is probably an understatement  - a great little addition to the baking cupboard, it adds a lovely subtle flavour to the biscuits ( and muffins, icing etc..)
Second into the oven today were an old favourite - ginger snaps. I urge you to try  making this biscuit - they are so easy and look like, in my opinion the perfect biscuit.
OK, deep breath....bring on the rest of the week.

Friday, 12 October 2012

DIY Candle Wraps

Autumn is here: the nights are drawing in and the rain has lashed down all day - time for some ambient lighting..
I am really loving all the geometric patterns that seem to be on-trend right now...

Tracing paper + Sharpie Pens + Jam Jar = lovely candle light!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Tickled Pink

A gratuitous photo of my favourite girl on her newly crocheted blanket - so nice to be able to incorporate pink into a bit of crochet!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Vintage Teas and Clothes Swap

A sunny Sunday afternoon and a trip out with a friend to a small village hall in the country for tea and clothes swapping..

A fantastic spread was put on -  I found myself particularly partial to the small 'crustless' cucumber sandwiches (with a hint of mint) and was informed by the lady who made them, that these were served at the Queens' Summer Garden party this year along the road at Balmoral Castle - yogurt and mint with a slice of cucumber: must try making these at home!
We both came home more than happy with our 'swaps' - a couple of designer numbers and a vintage Tux for Mr N.Hi-L.  All in all a fantastic and unexpected Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, 20 September 2012


A consignment of logs to stack....

A bit of baking (spelt crispbread - would have made these years ago if I'd known how easy they were)

..and finally at the end of the day, our cosy new stove to sit in front of - those logs burn well!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Saturday Road Trip..

A 6:30am start last Saturday, as the whole family piled into the car for a trip over to the Cairngorm Mountains.  We are lucky enough to live in a small town on the edge of the Highlands and within 30  minutes we are pretty much into the wilds of Scotland.

...Past the out of season Ski centre (The Lecht)

..arriving at 8:40 at the beautiful Loch Morlich where Mr N H-L is to take part in the Annual Cairngorm Adventure Triathlon (Canoe/Bike/run).

The sun shone all day, and if it hadn't been for the fierce and chilly wind blowing off the Loch you may well have thought you were in another country!

 and then back along the twisty, windey road .....home..

Monday, 10 September 2012

Scratching Post..

Little Beau, our rescue cat has settled beautifully into our house and it's hard to believe we have only had her for 6 months.  Aside from the odd live baby bird brought into the master bedroom at 4 in the morning, I am loving being a cat owner and am defiantly well on my may to becoming 'crazy cat lady'.  However, Beau has decided that she'd rather use our sofa/footstool than her strategically placed scratching post to sharpen her claws and this has resulted in the sides of the footstool being shredded....

Not to worry, I have crocheted a nice cover to go along the bottom edge, covering all those unsightly 'pulls'.. I even managed to work my newest, favourite wool colour (neon yellow) into the design....

..and now I'm thinking she might just have done us a favour...!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Daily Bread

I have been bread making for about 10 years now, ever since the boys were little babies and there was nothing more satisfying than to see their chubby little hands grab thick fingers of freshly baked bread and cram it into their mouths.  Of course it was easier back then to produce a fresh loaf ever day or so- I was at home all day, and there didn't seem to be as many demands on my time outside the house as there are now.
Over the years i have honed my bread making skills, using my trusty bread making machine to mix my dough for me.(I gave up baking the actual bread in the machine years ago as the results became too unpredictable) 

My two main problems I have always faced in my bread making adventures are 1) a loaf is usually devoured in one sitting by my greedy family, and 2) My attempts at making the loaf slightly healthier using wholemeal flour have always given a too heavy result.
Last year my 10 year old started refusing sandwiches in his packed lunch - this has been a major cause of stress to me as one of my most loathed chores in the morning is making packed lunches, and nothing is more soul destroying that emptying the box at the end of the day and finding an untouched sandwich.  Apparently it is the 'bought' bread  that is the issue (how spoilt are my children ?),  so at the start of this new term I decided to try something different - bake enough bread on a Sunday to see us through the week.

This isn't as difficult or time consuming as you may think - I had just stumbled upon the most fantastic recipe for Spelt bread, where the quantities used were more than enough to make 3 loaves. 
Eat one on the day, with enough left over for Mondays sandwiches and freeze the other 2 for later on in the week.  Oh yes, and another trick was to use a loaf tin, making the loaf more uniform and easier to cut.  I need to try and pick up some bigger loaf tin (as you can see i only have 1 big one) but in the mean time, four weeks into the school term, its working - sandwiches are being eaten again and we have enough fresh bread to see us through the week.

Monday, 3 September 2012


Huge excitement this week in the N H-L household - we are getting a Wood burning stove installed in our livingroom. I really can't wait and feel it will add some great cheer and comfort to the long, cold, dark Winters we have up here.

Anyway, with this in mind, I managed to persuade the family to take a trip South last Saturday to the small coastal town of St Cyrus where I had heard of but never before visited 'Steptoes Yard' in the quest to find some fireside accessories.

This place is something of a legend around the North East area - quite unbelievable that I'd never been before.  The excitement was rising (for me anyway) as we parked  in front of a large farm -like yard and proceeded to try and take in what lay in front of us.

First thing - never go to these types of places with your children - in less than 2 minutes the familiar 'can we go now' started and I literally could not focus on any of the 'stuff' that lay in front of me.  After ten minutes my impatient children were starting to annoy me and I could no longer concentrate on the job in hand and the sheer quantity of 'things' started to overwhelm me- to be honest most of it looked like a pile of junk, but I'm pretty sure, given the time and some peace (come alone next time!) there would be some hidden gems to find......