Wednesday is for What: What’s in a name?

Wednesday is for What.

 

My first Wednesday blog and this week my topic is What’s in a name?

 

Next week it will be a What I wore or a What I would Like post. It might even be a combination of both!

 

So what is in a name? My name isn’t actually Merry but it is close to my real name and the purpose of the name I’ve chosen is to give me a tiny bit privacy and to also motivate me. After all this blog really is all about me trying to be positive and Merry. If I leave out my real name I feel more able to use my voice. I have chosen to stay a little bit anonymous but everything is truthful in this blog and as such there are enough clues that if someone knows me in a personal context they are probably going to twig that it is me writing this blog – that’s fine I am not trying to be a secret agent. That is a career that would never have suited me as I am a truly hopeless liar. People can even tell on the phone if I’m trying a wee white fib. Oh well best to stick to honesty then. 

So why be Anonymous?

 Well I have wanted to do a blog for ages, I have tried in the past, one a travel based one when I lived abroad this failed due to having too much fun on said travels and internet not being readily available. The other was based on food when I set myself a cooking challenge a couple of years go. However my family had a really challenging year and blogging along with my social life fell to the wayside. So this is my third attempt – and funnily enough three is my lucky number!

 Over the last couple of years my own twitter account became clogged with all sorts of people, companies, tv shows, just about anything really and some were people that were related to my work. I just felt that it would be easier to start up a new twitter account and by changing my name it means I’m not instantly connected with my work and people at work are not finding out more about my personal life than needs be. Initially I planned not to talk about library related stuff on my new blog at all but quickly realised that my profession takes up a huge amount of my time and interests and occasionally there will be things that are library related that I’d like to chat about.

 So the little bit of privacy also gives me a little bit of confidence to start blogging without everyone I know looking at my fledgling attempts.

 

Is it Cowardly? 

Well a bit I suppose and I’m happy to admit that I’m nervous about facing criticism from my friends and family so starting this way eases me into the whole business. One of the main reasons I’ve started this blog is to boost my self esteem and I believe it will help me to achieve my ‘Be Merry and Happy and Healthy’ goals. I wasn’t in a great place this winter (I’ll talk another time about why) and this blog and the name I have chosen just reinforces my message to myself.

 Thoughts on Blogging

 I’m finding new people everyday who blog on a whole range of topics I find interesting.

 Fashion – some of the information I’ve discovered through the fashion blogger world has been really good. So many more options for clothes now both to buy (mostly through shops spoken about by plus sized fashion bloggers) and how to put the things I already own in a more interesting way. I bought a chunky necklace the other day that I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do with a few months ago. So great for my wardrobe, not so great for my wallet! I will occasionally post some fashion & accessories related stuff but mostly I’ll just enjoy reading the wide variety of people I have come across. Bloglovin is great for this. 

http://www.amilliondresses.com     @amilliondresses

http://littlebitofwowe.blogspot.se/   @LittleBitOfWowe

http://terribletumbles.blogspot.co.uk/ @thesmyth

 Food – oh so many food blogs. The cakes! Drool…. but food bloggers are also  inspiring me to become more inventive and healthy and sometimes more frugal as well. I’ll definitely post recipes on this blog. I wish there were more Scottish bloggers talking about foodie places to go nearby but I now have a huge list of places for trips South of the border!

 http://www.scotlandeatsout.blogspot.co.uk

http://www.thecakehunter.co.uk/ @thecakehunter

http://www.browneyedbaker.com @browneyedbaker 

Beauty – Not something that I anticipate I’ll ever really posy about because I’m useless in that department but I’ve made a couple of new purchases recently that have worked a treat thanks to reading some great beauty blogs. I still can’t paint my nails to save myself though.

 http://www.essiebutton.com @essiebutton

http://www.ascottishlass.com @laurziecooper 

Travel – Most of my escapades are in the UK now and I regularly do weekend countryside walks. I haven’t really come across many Scottish bloggers yet but if I do I’ll always enjoy tips for great walks or places to explore. I’m off to a more exotic location in June and have been looking through blogs to get some ideas of what to do when we are away.

 http://scottishlandscapes.tumblr.com/

http://truecoloursblog.blogspot.com/ 

Home – So many ideas, I wish I was better at DIY! 

http://www.younghouselove.com/ @younghouselove

http://apartmenttherapy.com

 Library  –  for this get on twitter and have a look at my ‘Library Folk’ list. So many Library related people around! 

Other – Everyday I’m finding new blogs on interesting topics, from time to time I’ll do a Follow Friday Post.

 

Anyway I hope some of those links are useful. To answer the question What’s in a name? for me the name I have chosen is a little reminder of who I am and what I hope to be.

 

Does anyone else blog under a different name? And any blogging tips for this new blogger would be most welcome, as would any other tips on interesting blogs to read.

 

Thank You! Merry 😎

Follow on Bloglovin

Thought of the Day: Moving House

Todays thoughts are all about our impending house move.

We signed the lease and paid the deposit this morning. I find this very exciting. The Boyo is still being a bit reserved and cautious about the whole thing. I think he’ll be more excited come moving day (8th) he’s just worried about things all going to plan.

Last night we started the task of phoning around everyone (companies, not friends) to change our contact details. Sky are charging us more as we are moving to a more rural location, they are also reducing our broadband allowance from unlimited to 40 or something…
The car insurance people charged us £25 for moving, but we got a small refund on the house insurance.
In all honesty I am not surprised by Sky but I’m annoyed with other places charging to cover ‘admin’. Surely when we bought the costly service that should cover us if our details change. It just adds to the cost and hassle of moving house. Anyway I won’t let this spoil the excitement.

I’m dreaming of how our belongings will look, where things will go. The Boyo does not have the knack to picture all of this at all but I do and it is fun. So I’m daydreaming about that. I’m also really rather excited about the possibility of 2 new bookcases that may be coming my way soon.

We get they keys on Friday. The weekend will be spent cleaning (it has been empty for over a year) and exploring our new area. We’ll also have to finish off the mountain of packing in preparation for moving day! I swear my current abode is being taken over my boxes and bubble wrap. It is not advisable to wander around house with no lights on – they will get you!

I can’t wait to cook my first meal in my new kitchen. Yes I do sit and daydream about what that might be. My sisters says enchiladas, my Mum thinks mini victoria sponge cakes, the Boyo says curry. It could be a strange meal! I think this will be the 14th or 15th place I will have lived but it is the biggest move (stuff-wise) so far. It is a fresh start for the Boyo and I and the start of a whole new chapter where we save money, try out rural living and get more sleep (reduced commute in the mornings).

I really am rather excited.

Follow on Bloglovin

Weekend wanderings

This weekend we decided to do a shorter walk as we’ve had so many other things going on.

We went a wander around the forest that is part of Drumtochty Castle Estate which isn’t far from Auchenblae in South Aberdeenshire. It was a pleasant and easy walk of around an hour today and the trees sheltered us from the drizzly rain. I had woken up feeling grumpy and tense this morning but a wee while in the fresh air soon helped me into a more merry mood.

We stopped at the cafe and shop in Auchenblae on our way back. It was really very nice, we both enjoyed a Fentimans drink with a wee cake. I love Fentimans Rose Lemonade – a proper treat. See http://www.fentimans.com/ for more information. I had a triple chocolate muffin and the Boyo had a snickers cupcake. Lovely light sponges, very tasty. The shop had a range of home cooked meals to re-heat at home and fresh bread. I got a little steak pie and Boyo a slice of goats cheese quiche to have with herby roast potatoes for tea tomorrow. I would definitely say stop in if are passing through Auchenblae at any point.

We got home to tasty smells – I’d put all the ingredients in the slow cooker before we left so a gym beef strogonaf was waiting for us when we got home.

A lovely relaxed Sunday!

ps. I apologise for lack of photos in this post – having technology difficulties!

Follow on Bloglovin

Thought of the day: Finance

Todays thought is quite long but finance isn’t much of a lightweight topic.

Listening to a discussion about mortgages on the radio on our way to work has me thinking about our finances.

We are planning to rent for the next two years until Boyo gets his permanent contract so we have time to save for our next mortgage.

Now I am thinking about various things:

* Ways that we can save money
* Keeping better household expenditure records
* And what are we actually aiming for?

I’ve got a lot of ideas buzzing in my head about becoming more frugal.

* My cooking – but still aiming to be both delicious and more healthy.
* Our hobbies – that is actually easy as the boyo and I like nothing more than wandering the great outdoors.
* Travel – we’ve already booked an expensive holiday to Hong Kong but our other jaunts could me UK based, short camping weekends.
* Challenging myself to become more fit and healthy so that I once again fit into more of my wardrobe and experimenting with what I have rather than buying anything new.

I think keeping better records of expenditure will help me to see where I could make potential savings and appreciate what I have more.

And lastly, what are we aiming for? Do we want a big house with lots of space? Or do we want somewhere that looks fantastic? Is the postcode important?
These are interesting questions and to answer properly we really need to think about our future, a family? pets? I don’t think the Boyo and I have grand or fancy ideas, after all any house can become a home with a bit of care and attention.

What are your thoughts? How do you budget? What are your priorties?

Thinking about all of this makes me feel terribly grown up, it’s not wonderful that so much revolves around money and whilst winning the lottery would be fantastic I think the important thing is to value what you ahave and embrace simple things which can lead to so much happiness. For me a walk in the fresh air with the Boyo is simply one of the best things around.

Follow on Bloglovin

Party Time – Simple Savoury Treats

Picnic

A wee while ago I helped host a friends baby shower. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed making lots of tasty treats for our ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’. For savoury food we had a selection of cheeses, meats, olives, tomatoes in a basil dressing and slices of fresh baguette for people to choose from.

I also made my simple (cheats) version of sausage rolls and Rosemary and Pesto Palmiers.

Sausage Rolls

1 x block of ready made puff pastry (about £1 in Sainsburys) Room temperature.

8 x Sausages (fairly basic plain ones will do)

Spices – I tend to use a BBQ spice blend and plenty of black pepper

Tomato puree – a couple of tablespoons

1 x beaten egg.

Get your sausages an cut them open, peel off the skin and put the sausage meat into a large bowl and mash it up with a fork. Add your spices and tomato purée, season. Stir well and leave in the fridge whilst you get the pastry ready.

Make sure your work surface is clean and spread flour over it, this will prevent the pastry from sticking. Roll out the pastry until it is about the thickness of £1 coin, then cut it into little squares – I got around 24 sausage rolls from 1 block but it depends on how large you would like them to be. Put some of the sausage meat mix into the middle, fold over the pastry, brush a little egg down 1 edge to seal.

Leave it in the fridge to firm up for at least 20 minutes.

Brush each of the Sausage rolls with the beaten egg (or a little milk) before baking in a hot oven for around 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy.

Place on a cooling rack to cool before serving.

My Sausage rolls never look perfect – I like to call them ‘rustic’ but they always go down well at partie and are great cold for picnics and a snack when wandering the hills.

Rosemary and Pesto Palmiers (little pastry bites!) (Vegetarian)

I adapted this from a recipe I found on the BBC food website, they used sun dried tomato but I love the taste pesto gives these little bites. I could quite easily eat them all, very more-ish!

1 x Block of Ready Made Pastry Room temperature

Pesto (I like roasted red pepper pesto but any works fine!)

Rosemary (dried works fine)

1 x egg beaten.

Make sure your work surface is clean and spread flour over it, this will prevent the pastry from sticking. Roll out the pastry until it is about the thickness of £1 coin.

Spread pesto and sprinkle rosemary all over the pastry, ensuring to cover it all. Some sun dried tomato purée also works well.

With the shortest end facing you, take both long edges of the pastry and roll them towards each other to meet in the middle. Brush a little egg down the centre to stick the two halves together.

Leave in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to firm up.

Once firm use a sharp knife to slice into pieces around 1cm thick. Place on a baking tray with the cut side facing upwards. Brush well with a little beaten egg.

Bake in a hot oven for around 15 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

Place on a cooling rack to cool before serving.

Again these little treats are great for picnics and they are a nice side with cold meat such as salami or with soup on a chilly day.

Enjoy!

Follow on Bloglovin

Getting started…

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

So I’m Merry, this will (hopefully) be a blog filled with Stories of books, cakes and wanderings.

I will blether about Cakes from my kitchen and other places, thoughts on books and bookcases and wanderings, sometimes my mind and sometimes on walks in the lovely land of Scotland.

I currently live in a little seaside town but very soon the Boyo and I are moving to the countryside, closer to where we both work. Our plan is to rent for a couple of years so I’ll no doubt chat a little about making our rental house into a home for us.

Spring Blossom

I have great hope that one day I will get this little blog up and running. I have ideas buzzing around in my head all the time… but I have very little time! I was on another platform but have decided to give wordpress a go, fingers crossed!

So many things are going on just now – so many happy, positive things!

Spring Daffodils
IMG-20140409-01304

First of all I was a bridesmaid for my wonderful friends, it was a fantastic experience, the bride and the other bridesmaid are fantastic people – when I hear the saying ‘Friends are the family you choose for yourself’ it makes me think of them and how lucky I am that they have also chosen me too (I say chosen but pretty sure they just have not found a way to get rid of me in the last 12 years!). I may not plan on getting married myself (boyo and I completely committed to each other we just are not getting married) but I truly see that marriage is a very special ceremony and commitment to one another, I thought the day was just fantastic and it was so brilliant to see my friends joy in becoming husband and wife.

The same weekend of the wedding we discovered that the boyos house has sold and we are moving! Not a complete surprise as the flat has been up for sale since June – but still a bit of a shock to the system as we had sort of forgotten about the fact the one day we might be moving. So boyo went away with work for a week and I dashed about trying to find somewhere for us to live. I am delighted to say that we’ve found somewhere and whilst the boyo has not fallen as much for it as I have (lack of imagination – just wait until I get it all spruced up and made into our home) it will indeed be (hopefully) a happy home for us for the next two years.

Hall now a box storage area, mostly boxes of books! IMG-20140406-01289

I’m trying not to say too much or get overly excited (I’m failing, sooooo excited) until the sale of boyos place is finalised etc. But we have booked the removal people.. and we have 2 weeks to go… so I think it is happening. Currently our lovely flat looks like a war zone. A war zone where the weapons involved are bubble wrap, sellotape and many many boxes. Debris everywhere! The packing part is definitely not the entertaining part of moving – that is getting all our belongings out and transforming our new place from a house to a home. It is a rental property but I do intend to do some tweaks to the current decor which I hope to blog about someday!

Labels in the box, labels outside the box: label and bubble wrap crazy! IMG-20140419-01361</a

A note about packing – the librarian in me is showing – boxes are labelled with contents and the room they are to go in. Floor plans have been printed out to show removal people and any helpers on moving day where exactly all the furniture is to go. If only I wasn’t so un-artistic I could see this whole interior design being really fun… alas my lack of painting skills and seeing everything a bit squint means it isn’t to be. I’ve bought two new bookcases from a friend as well… my plans of having my own home mini library are slowly coming together!

The other exciting plans in our future – a holiday to Hong Kong. I cannot wait! I lived there for two years and it is such a fantastic place. We will be leaving in around 9 weeks for a ten day stay… so many things to do and see and eat! We booked the holiday before we knew we would be moving so it really will be a busy but fun couple of months!

Final ramblings….

Foodie tip: Tesco are doing jars of salted caramel sauce. Very good indeed! I baked a vanilla sponge cake and used a layer of this and chocolate buttercream as filling between the two layers. Tasty. Equally as good eaten straight out the jar – very naughty!

Yum Dundee City-20140414-01356

Wanderings: We’ve been so busy that we have not been for many countryside walks recently. Easter weekend we were free and the sun was shining: Hooray! So we walked Alyth and Loyal hill in Perthshire. We deliberatly chose somewhere a bit obscure as we knew that Dunkeld and Pitlochry would be very busy with the holiday weekend and weather coniciding together. On Easter Sunday we enjoyed a wander in our own little seaside town – we really are going to miss this place – with my sister. Perfect day for ice cream!

Springtime blossom – this makes me very merry indeed IMG-20140409-01305

Merry Ferry 😎