Wednesday, 5 November 2014


My mum died 11 years ago today, on her second favourite day of the year.

This morning, my aunt Ina wrote about her relationship with my mum - as a sister and as her best friend. And it made me think about memories, and how people come with us. I'm an atheist, so I don't believe my mum is with us in a spiritual sense, but what I do believe is that people are carried on in how they impact on other people's lives, and how they are remembered.

Our mum, along with Ina, gave Hazel and I an example of how our relationship should be, and I am greatful for it, because I could not ask for a better sister.

She was our champion. Other than if I'd done something particularly bad, I can't remember her ever saying anything negative to me. I was supported in everything I set my mind to and told firmly I could do anything. I think a large bit of the successes in life Hazel and I have had comes from this encouragement.

She loved us, and our family and our friends fiercely. When I say I was 21 when mum died, people tend to say it's a shame, I was young. But while I'd love to still have her and I miss her every day, I feel lucky for having her for those years, because I was loved for every minute of them.

She saw the best in everyone and was intellegent and kind and warm and funny.
Being honest, she was also bloody stubborn, which is a trait I got. But it also meant she did not give up, and I don't generally either.

That, I think is my mum's legacy; a family who adored and miss her, children who support each other, have self-belief and try to live by her example, and lots of people who have memories and tell stories of a warm, funny, compassionate person.

Friday, 10 October 2014

...catching up - August.

August is my favourite non-Autumn/Winter month. August has our wedding anniversary AND my birthday in it. And this August also included theatre trips and nights out the wedding of our friends Gareth and Lynne. AND it was sunny and glorious for the whole month. Pretty perfect really.

...catching up - September.

...and suddenly Autumn is in full swing. The end of September has been filled with work, college, a wee bit of crafting, loads of reading, soup and stew, and dog walks where I indulge my inner five year old and collect conkers. Temperature have dropped suddenly, and the jumpers, scarves and thick tights are out.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

... A political animal

I am really struggling to get back to blogging. I've missed August, full of weddings and anniversaries and birthdays.

And until today I couldn't begin to write about the referendum, campaigning, the feeling of actually doing something that affected change and then being crushed.

For me, late August and September was pretty much a cycle of Work-college-campaign-sleep-repeat. I took part in rallies, manned stalls, folded and delivered hundreds of leaflets, and basically did anything I could turn my hand to to help. In campaigning I think I found a bit of faith in myself that I've not really had before. It has become such a big part of who I am. I guess when you believe in something, and you are working with amazing, driven people who also do, wholeheartedly, it rubs off.

The result was heart breaking, soul destroying.  More so because when ours was announced, I'd been standing up since 7am on Thursday, as a polling agent all day and as counting agent overnight. I was distraught, like most others. To work that hard and care that much and have it fail is horrific. I was heartbroken for my campaign team, some of whom had been working on this for most of their lives. For the old man who lives on my street who at the polling station told me he wouldn't see independence if we won it, and was voting yes so we have a better future. For the people living in the worst conditions in the poorest areas who are demonised, who had the courage to hope, to vote Yes. I am furious for them.

Now, with a small bit of time to think about it, I see the amazing gain that I was a small bit of, despite the government and the mainstream media being against us. I see all my amazing Yes activist colleagues, who were gutted by the result, say we won't give up, we will galvanise and move forward. And I see every horrendous thing that we were warned about being thrown at the people of Scotland, punishing us for daring to raise our voices, and I think, we promised them something and despite the set back, we must strive to get it.

And when I say 'it', initially I mean something as close to Devo Max as possible. But I also mean independence. The 45% has grown, is growing. There's this strange idea that the referendum was the end of the independence movement. It was not, it is not. The dream will never die.

I am one of the 45% and I am forever Yes.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

...Summering (July 2014)

I remember, in May, saying I was going to be better at blogging. For some reason, despite college being finished, life feels jam packed and that idea went out the window.

So, a catch up. July has held a wedding, a trip to Skye to be in the audience for thevreferendun debate, some Yes campaign activity, a Wales trip, lots of dog walks, a college night out, a few gigs, and Commonweath Games/merchant city festival fun. It has also been the sunniest July I can remember in a long time!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Mum Files, pt 1

     Quite a while ago, I talked about writing about my mum here, as a way to remember her. I find I forget little things as the years go on. I've just had one of those long, tangenty thinks with lots of wee bits about her, and I'd like to record these more often. It might be a bit rambly...

My mum was a person made of love and kindness. She always had scones or a roll or dinner for friends of Hazel and I when we came home from school (whether they were going home for dinner or not. My best friend often happily had two dinners!). She liked to get little gifts for people. We lived in a three bedroom house with my nana, and when I was fourteen, she shared a room with my sister so that I could have space. When we were little, she ran a mother and toddler's group, and was always feeding the kids. I only later realised it was because things were tight for a lot of the other mums. She made me summer fruit pudding for my birthday cake three years in a row because I loved it. I've not tasted one to match hers since. Our cousins used to take turns to stay with us at the weekend, and we'd bake and watch films and listen to Queen - my cousins, all in their 20s now, still talk about those Friday nights.

My mum could be stubborn. My aunt says I inherited that quality, and I can't deny it. She was clever as well, book smart, but also parent smart. She used to do this thing where if I wanted to do something she didn't approve of, she's say 'it's up to you what you do, but I'd rather you didn't. It drove me mad, because I had a choice but she knew I wouldn't want to upset her. I'm thankful for it now, because she stopped me doing a lot of stupid stuff.

Whenever people talk about my mum, they talk about how kind she was, how funny she was, how welcoming. She was all of those things. :)

Sunday, 22 June 2014

...a fan of a spice marinade and BBQ weather!

On Tuedsay, some post arrived for me from Sainbury's*. The post was swiftly snaffled by Oscar, who likes nothing more than tearing a letter apart. I'm really glad that the actual contents were intact, as Sainsbury's has sent me some of there new range of herb and spice pastes, and I'd rather not have to deal with a dog who'd eaten a tube of chilli paste.

I'd orginally planned to cook some sort of spiced meatball with the harissa paste, but we've been having some pretty glorious weather lately, and Dave wanted to barbeque stuff, so I went with it.

We made Harrisa and Ginger chicken wings and Chilli, ginger honey and soy marinated pork. Both were lovely and tended and full of flavour, recipes are below! This amount served two people plus one dog. Oscar loves chicken.

Harissa and Ginger Chicken Wings

You'll need:

1tbsp harissa paste
1tsp ginger paste
4tbsp olive oil
6 chicken drumsticks

  • Ideally, marinate the meat the night before you want to cook it, if you can, give it at least 3 hours for the flavours to infuse.
  • Mix the pastes with the olive oil well, until it is smooth
  • place in a tub with a lid big enough to hold the chicken
  • add the chicken, making sure to coat all the sides of each drumstick
  • add the lid to the tub and give it a god shake to disperse spare paste
  • leave in the fridg overnight or for as long as possible on the day
  • cook for 20 minutes over white hot coals in the middle of the barbeque, turning occasionally.
  • equally, you could cook these in the oven at 180 for 30 mins, again turning occasionally,

Chilli, ginger and honey glazed pork chops

You'll need:
1tsp chilli paste
1tsp ginger paste
1tsp honey
50mls soy sauce
50mls olive oil
2 pork chops

  • as before, the longer this can be marinated the better!
  • mix the chilli, ginger and honey in a sealable container till smooth
  • add the soil and olive oil, add the lid and shake hard (the honey tends to clump together)
  • add the pork chops, add the lid and shake again
  • cook pork chops as with the chicken, bear in mind that they are coated with soy, so the edges will blacken.
  • if baking, wrap in tinfoil and bake for half an hour at 180.

We ate these with barbequed vegetable kebabs, beetroot and avocado salad, and pittas, and they were lovely. The meat was really tender. Oscar seemed to very much enjoy his also!

I really like the spice pastes. Much though I love cooking, I will happily cut a corner if it means chopping/grating less stuff, and these are great for that. Just as flavourful as fresh herbs, and they are kept in the fridge. I still have the Thai ones and the basil to try, so they'll be next on the list!

*I am part of Sainsbury's blogger community, and as such am sent products to try. All opinions and recipes are my own!