Highland Show 2016

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Last Friday we had a great day out to the Royal Highland Show.

We spent 7 hours walking around the show ground, with only about 20 minutes sitting down for our lunch, so were thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day.

But it was a happy, satisfying kind of exhausting.

There is so much to see at the Highland Show, and if you are interested in rural life in any way at all then it's a great day out. Even if you aren't so much interested in animals and machinery, there are also marquees for all the major supermarkets where they share their food ethics and such. Some give cookery demonstrations and they all give away loads of free samples!

And let's not forget the food hall, packed full of stalls offering even more free samples and the chance to buy lots of lovely Scottish foods.

It's a very family orientated day out, with kids under 16 getting in for free with an adult ticket, no matter how many of them there are.

We try and visit the show every year if we can and the boys have always loved going along.

We watched some very cool biking. This guy has just jumped off that tall tree stump...

David (10) got to climb high up in a tree (more photos of that in the slideshow below).

We saw lots, and lots, of animals. Fraser (2) really wanted to see the 'och-ochs' and the 'moos', although he held his nose most of the way round the huge 'moo' barn!

There are rows and rows of farm machinery, ranging in size from quad bikes to massive combines. This is Fraser's quad/motorbike driving face!

And, much to David's delight, there was even a chance to show off your football skills.

He was so chuffed to get his name on the leader board for the speed at which he could dribble the ball around the cones.

Well worthy of a sample of some Mackies ice cream - while James (16) and I sampled their chocolate bars!

Rather than post the rest of the photos in a long blog post, I thought I would share this slide show of them instead, so if you are interested in seeing the rest of our day at the show then just click below. (You might need to click on full screen to see it properly)

One final piece of advice if you are planning on attending the show in future years - take the bus!

We first took the bus out a couple of years ago, and although it cost us more than it would have done to park the car at the show ground - car parking is around £8 for the day; bus tickets are £6 return for adults and £3 for children, so when there are a few of you it is more than double the cost - it is worth every penny when you reach the end of Corstorphine and see the long, long queues of cars waiting to enter the show. The bus just drives right on past the traffic and takes you right up to the gates of the show. We felt very smug looking out at the cars stuck in traffic. Apparently it was taking around 2 hours for traffic to get in to the show at peak times!

There are special chartered Lothian Buses every few minutes from the centre of town. We got on at Haymarket and it took 25 minutes from the station to the show gates.

Like I said, worth every extra penny, especially with kids in tow!
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Makings - Scheepjes 2016 CAL blanket progress

Monday, 20 June 2016

I've been managing to keep up with the Scheepjes 2016 CAL - Last Dance in the Sea - remarkably well.

Up until week 7, that is, when I realised that the deadline for gifting another crochet project I am working on was looming ever closer, and so I decided to put this CAL to one side until I made better progress on my other work in progress!

Here are the Scheepjes CAL squares I have made so far, in the order that the patterns were released.

Week One.
The pattern for this one was inspired by seaweed.

Week Two.

Week Three. 

This was a time consuming square, and took around an hour and a half to make each square!

Week Four. 

This pattern is very obviously inspired by waves in the sea.

Week Five.

This one is meant to look like seagull footprints.

Week Six.

Week Seven. 

This bobble heart square pattern was one of the reasons I decided to make this blanket. I love how it looks.

And here are the week 1 - 6 squares all together so you can see how lovely the colours are together. This won't be the final arrangement for them, it was just my non random way of seeing how they looked laid out together. 

Aren't the colours lovely together? 

My other WIP, and the reason for pausing work on this CAL for a couple of weeks, is going to be a gift and so I don't want to share it here until it has been gifted. I can, however, give you all a peek at the colours I have chosen for it, which are equally as gorgeous as the ones above, but in a much more subtle way.

They are Stylecraft Special DK in (clockwise from top left) Storm Blue, Duck Egg, Silver, Sherbet and Cloud Blue. 

Stylecraft Special DK and the Scheepjes Colour Crafter that I am using for the CAL are both similar weight yarns, and while I have seen people in the CAL group online saying how much they prefer the Scheepjes to the Stylecraft, I have to disagree with them and say that Stylecraft Special DK is still my favourite of the two. The Scheepjes is indeed softer to touch, but the stitch definition is not as good and I do find it much more 'splitty' than the Stylecraft.

Hopefully it won't be too long before I can share the other project with you all too, and then get back to finishing off Dancing in the Sea, maybe even taking a square or two with me to the sea if we get beach weather in the summer holidays!
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Indoor Adventure Golf - and an unlikely winner

Thursday, 16 June 2016

A couple of months ago I was asked if the boys and I would like to visit Paradise Island Adventure Golf in Livingston, in return for a review about what we thought about it.

As soon as I mentioned it to the boys they jumped at the chance, as it's somewhere we have enjoyed visiting several times in the past. David (10) was first to visit it, at a friend's birthday party. As he enjoyed it so much he wanted us all to go another time, and then a third time the boys thought it would be fun to take my dad along with us as he is a keen golfer!

This time it was the four younger boys - aged 2, 6, 10 & 13 -  and me who went along.

That's Ally's monkey face above. I asked Fraser to make an elephant face and that's what he came up with. All elephants have raised eyebrows of course.

Paradise Island, if you have never heard of it, is like a crazy golf course, only indoor, bigger, and themed. The one in Livingston is located across from the cinema in the Designer Outlet, and has two 18 hole courses. One of the courses, Barnacle Bay, is themed like a ship wreck. The other, Lost Lagoon, is more jungle themed, with tombs and monkey temples. The Lost Lagoon course reminds the boys of something from an Indiana Jones movie!

Each hole has a fun obstacle to get around or through, and some of them even have added extras. Like these chickens below...

...they come to life and sing to you if you manage to get the ball up the ramp!

The obstacles are challenging and varied enough not to be boring, but not so challenging that it becomes frustrating! It kept all ages entertained. The time we took my dad along I think he expected it to be quite easy, but it wasn't as straightforward as he thought! He was pretty good at it though, especially when it came to working out angles of shots, and so on that visit I decided to take my shots after he had taken his so that I could copy which way he was hitting his shots!

This time around I didn't have a proper golfer to copy and instead relied on pure fluke and luck to pot not one, but two hole in ones! 

The day we visited was quite quiet, despite being a school holiday, which was good as it didn't mean that we felt we had to rush our shots because another group were following along behind us. Although if there had been, it's simple enough to just let another group go ahead if you want to take your time. 

With a 6 and 2 year old determined to take all their own shots, and the other two boys both being so competitive against each other that they didn't want to rush any shots in case it meant they made a costly error and the other boy got ahead, we certainly didn't rush our way round!

Fraser (2) really got the hang of things, as you can see from this wee clip below...

It really is a fun way to pass an hour or so, especially when the weather is bad, as it undoubtedly will be at times throughout the summer holidays. The price isn't too bad compared with other similar sorts of places, and you do often get discount vouchers on the back of tickets from the cinema across the mall. 

 It's also in a convenient location, in the heart of the busy Livingston shopping centre. In fact, I would even suggest that if you were heading out to Livingston to hit the shops you could pack your other half and kiddies along to the golf and give yourself an hour of peace to look around the designer outlet! Although then you would miss out on the satisfaction of beating them all at golf.

Did I forget to mention that? That's right, those two hole in ones helped me to victory over Mr Competitive and Mr Competitive 2.

Which means that they are still angling for a rematch at some point.

I see another visit in our summer holidays!

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Sunny Days

Thursday, 9 June 2016

We've had such an amazing run of weather here the last couple of weeks.

Two weeks of the sun shining every day, with the temperature even reaching the heights of 26C sometimes, which I admit is just a little too hot for me!

Just before the good run of weather started, the boys were given a new paddling pool, which I thought we might have out on a couple of days in the summer. I didn't imagine that we would have it out so soon or that they would want in it every day for two full weeks on the trot!

Some days we've built a shady den to keep cool.

And we've eaten lots of ice lollies and ice poles.

On Saturday morning dad was volunteering at a charity cycle - he was manning one of the refreshment stops - and so we arranged to meet him across in Aberdour when he was finished. The boys and I took the train there, which means crossing the Forth Rail Bridge - always exciting for the train fans in the family!

We had arranged to meet some friends there too, and enjoyed a picnic in the sunshine, as well as plenty of shinty playing for the boys.

Fraser enjoyed running around with his little friend, and showing her his new trick of rolly-pollies. Or 'bowly-bowly' as he calls them.

Those who were interested spent some time watching the official shinty match, Aberdour v Taynuilt.

Then once the match was finished they took advantage of the empty pitch.

Sunday saw more sporting fun. Well, kind of.

We had lunch at Auntie Anna's house, which always involves a walk with her dog to the school playing fields near her house. And the walk always involves an extended stop at the long jump sand pit there!

We even took our church toddler group outside this week, as we didn't want to spend such a beautiful day inside.

The novelty of jumping into a cold paddling pool after school still hasn't worn off for the boys, and so once again yesterday Fraser and I filled it up with some nice fresh water ready for them coming home.

And this time, while we waited for the bigger boys, I couldn't resist joining Fraser in it!

I know the sunshine has to stop soon, and there is rain forecast to come in tomorrow evening, but it's been amazing being able to enjoy such a lovely spell of weather at last. For once we are actually needing a bit of rain in the garden. 

Just as long as it remembers to stop again!
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