Sunday Review – The Food and Cooking of Scotland


So today’s a  little different, right? Instead of just writing a review I did a little something different.

Now I bought it from a local bookshop a few years ago but I found it on Amazon, here..—step/dp/1844764796/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408269242&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Food+and+Cooking+of+Scotland

You can’t review a cookbook without trying out the recipe’s can you, but I worked for a few years as a chef so figured it wasn’t really fair me testing them. So I got my ever-ready, long-suffering husband to play my guinea pig!!! His cookery skills are lowered than zero and so I figured if he could follow the instructions then anyone could.

So we randomly selected two recipes, two recipes that aren’t overly complicated. He got traditional Bannock and Bramble Jam, two things I love!


The first thing to talk about id the book itself. It has separate sections for mains, appetizers, breads, deserts, drinks. It also has a starting point of 35 pages full of interesting information about Scotland, from their traditions to food to scenery.


I’m not going to list the entire recipes and methods, it would take forever, if you do want them then drop m a message and I’ll upload them. Instead I’ve loads of pictures to show what husband did.

He said it was easier than he expected. And the results were impressive. I’m very proud and stuffed full of yummy jam and bannock!






You end up with three pans on the go, one is your milk and yeast, you have to leave it to the side to let the yeast activate. Then there’s the glaze for the final part of cooking. Now don’t be afraid of the next bit which involves full fat milk, lard nd butter, this recipe is not for those watching their weight!


Then the bit of messy as it has to be made into a dough. Knocked back and then put into a warm place for rising. (The yeast has been added by this stage.)


Once it’s risen you take it out and add in raisins. I don’t know why raisins, I guess you could add in anything or leave it plain if you wanted.


You let it rest again, so it was back in the airing cupboard. When you bring it out get it on whatever tray or dish you’re going to use.


We had enough for two.

It goes in at 200c for approx 10 mins and then you glaze, turn the heat down to aprrox190c and leave for 30 mins.


The jam really is easier than people give it credit for.

Good tip, heat the sugar on a low heat in the oven before you do anything. Wash your fruit. Put them in a pan with a little water and start to boil.


Once it’s boiling turn it on to simmer for a few minutes then add the warmed sugar from the oven before pushing back to boil. There is no set amount of time to cook, you’ll know as the fruit breaks down. Another tip is to put a little on a cool plate, if it sort of has a skin or crinkling after a minute or so it’s done.


You are boiling sugar, that’s incredibly hot!


Get your jar ready. You’ll want to sterilize it and make sure it has a good seal.

Then you’re ready.


Spread it on what you want and away you go!


and there you have it, in one afternoon my non cooking husband made bannock and jam easily from a favourite Scottish cookbook.




Thursday 14th August. Thursday thoughts. YA Romance

Before I start I have to say it, this is MY opinion. Only that.

I’ve seen many posts about romance unequality and especially that portrayed in YA books and films.

I always suspected that I would come down heavily on the disapproving side.

I mean, we may as well face the truth here; YA just isn’t YA without some form of a romantic undercurrent. I don’t think that I can actually recall a film or book in this category that does not at least touch on a dysfunctional romance at least once.

Don’t get me wrong, I see no reason romance, crushes, whatever you want to call it shouldn’t be included in YA and teen entertainment, but face the facts, I doubt any person over the age of about ten nowadays has not been subjected to some form of sexualised imagery. It is far too readily available on the internet, etc., but more than that, look at a music video or advert and see how sex sells… I could wonder of on a rant here; I won’t because it leads too far off topic, but it may be something you want to consider.

I think there is a thin line between love and lust, and it is not always breached respectfully. That goes for all genres and age groups, but it’s YA I’m speaking about here. It’s important to remember how impressionable that age is. Oh, I know; a million teens are screaming that they’re not stupid, they don’t give into peer pressure, etc. but the fact of the matter is you do. I did. With all my talk of not following crowds and refusal to become little more than a consumer sheep, pressure is still there. And there is a huge amount of pressure on teens when it comes to things of a sexual nature without everything aimed at them confusing the situation further.

Now as far as I’m aware, and I admit that I could be completely wrong here, YA is a relatively new genre.

Let’s jump straight aboard the bandwagon and begin with Twilight shall we.

I doubt there are many who don’t know at least the basic plot.

Now, I’m not a fan of this as it refers to Bella and Edward, I find the characters deplorable, and they wind me up no end. The portrayal of Bella just ceasing to function when left by Edward fuels far too many arguments for me to go into..


They grow on me. Not so much Bella, I don’t think she ever has much grit as a character but the wishy washy deeply tortured crap that is Edward does. His passion and love, yes love, after all he’s offering her all of eternity, is nice.

So there’s a redeeming point right?

Don’t give in, you might have to wait hundreds of years for the right someone but they’ll show up eventually!

Twilight’s good point: love doesn’t set a rhyme or course. You could fall for someone who is nothing like you ever imagined, so completely different to you. Sometimes you have to fight hard to make it work. you don’t choose who you fall in love with. it can be the person you want, or it can be someone you don’t expect.

New Moon’s good point: sometimes the person you love the most will hurt you. it’s alright to not be alone; you have your friends for support, if you’ll just allow them to be there for you they can help you be happy again. sometimes the things that really hurt most were done with the best intentions.

Eclipse: each choice you make has consequences. not just for you but for people around you, you never know how your decisions are going to alter the lives of those close to you but ultimately you do have to put your happiness first. it’s your life; you are the one who has to live it.

Breaking Dawn: It’s about family. It’s about fighting for your family, to keep them safe. It’s about not judging something just because it’s different from what you know (Renesmee is the prime example here.) Just because it’s not something you have come across before doesn’t mean it’s ok to put an end to it.

The bad points in this serious are obvious.

A girl should give up everything and everyone just to be with her sexy boyfriend

If your boyfriend dumps you: become suicidal

If your boyfriend is seriously controlling and decides what you can and can not do in your its ok, don’t question it, he obviously only has your best interest in mind.

and more..

Oh, just one more point. I see a lot of negative issues online about getting married and having a baby at 18. This isn’t the horror story people make it out to be; everyone’s different. It’s only a modern world that dictates this is wrong, go back a hundred years nd this was the norm.

So mixed reviews. My point, although not always clear is this, is that yes a lot of these films and books aimed at YA have some dysfunctional relationships, but even the worst ones have nice points.

Just because teens are teens doesn’t mean they’re about to go out and immediately intimate what thy see or read, the same could be said for adults. I watched Silence of the lambs not long ago and yet I have not become a cannibal or a murderer. I read Stephen King’s Christine, and yet no demonic car has changed me with some weird possession crap.

Trust people, no matter their age to know right from wrong on their own. Understand that entertainment is exactly that.

Oh and look closer at some of the morals to these that you are maybe not seeing the first time.

I’m not excusing them; I’m not saying the don’t have bad morals and points, I’m just asking you to look a little closer…

So here are a few examples of love in YA romance that I like.

tumblr_mssyz7Dllk1s3cbmfo1_500tumblr_lwyo2dsFYC1r92grzo1_500_largetumblr_ljx0nw87MG1qdjf6to1_500the_last_song_quotesNow-Is-Good-2012-movie-quoteMortal Instruments quote 8largekatniss-peeta-message-imageJulie-and-R-warm-bodies-movie-33362196-960-960ian and wanda the hostHarry-and-Ginny-Kiss-harry-potter-4772710-1280-1024fearlessFavim_com-katniss-mockingjay-peeta-spotgaai-628677edward-cullendimitri-and-rose-vampire-academy-series-18678007-720-480d91477d241cc4c5c72df4ff36a69093bAlice-and-Jasper-twilight-series-1485893-800-60031afd8d6b332d333e864c79a6f3060755acf7258eed996bfcee4a93f8878142aethanbeautiful creatures1ec39d285677f55ce725753c7962246c


Oh, one further point, my husband and I have been together since I was 17, in a couple of months I turn 30. Proof I think that teen romance can last.

Thursday 07 August 2014

You can barely move nowadays without running into someone campaining for something. Adopt a dog, run for cancer… The list goes on and on. Now don’t get me wrong, all of these things are necessary and good things but when I have someone knocking on my door, and its always as you’ve just sat down to eat, then just once I want it to be a person telling me of a new initiative for Epilepsy research or a new program to help with Depression and Mental Health Illnesses..


I’ve suffered from Mental Health Illnesses since I was a teenager and for years have been up and down, and on and off medication.


Sitting in the doctors office at 27 years old and being told that the four visits to the neurologists in the previous five years had all been wrong was unreal. To have the neurologist explain to me that without a full scan, she couldn’t be certain but that she was convinced that not only did I have epilepsy but that I had probably had in one form or another for my entire life and that I took three separate types of seizures… well it was surreal to say the least.

My shocked expression had her calling my husband in from the waiting room where she proceeded to explain to us the various tests that would be upcoming, the appointments I’d have to go to and the tablets that she wanted me to take starting that day I was lucky to have my husband there. He listened and took it all in. I just sat.

Now it shouldn’t have been a surprise. My father had epilepsy, two of my half sisters, both from opposite sides of the family also had it as did many of my extended family.

It had been suspected a number of occasions over the years, but hearing it confirmed made it all seem that much scarier.


So what had landed me in that office? The previous week I returned home on my lunch break, the day was sweltering hot and splashing water on my face was the last thing I remembered. Becoming aware again, I realised I was on the floor and sporting a huge bump on my forehead from where I had hit the sink.

Not thinking it serious I called my boss, returned to work until she could get someone to cover me then went home. I din’t even see a doctor till two days later when my husband forced me to, worrying that maybe I had concussion as I just didn’t seem ‘myself.’

(Now we’d had a really rotten few years before this. My husband was just overcoming a battle with cancer. 4 yrs cancer free now, yay!!!)

The following weeks were a nightmare. The amount of times I found myself on the floor, or walking with no idea how I had got there. The uneasy sensation of being almost seasick, the prickling painful pins and needles that ran across my hands and face and the smell of burning had me constantly living on edge.

 Travelling for miles to various hospitals was a nightmare. The endless poking and sticking and machines drove me to distraction. I felt certain that if I had to sit through one more exam I would loose the plot completely.


And so I refused the last test, the one that would have me hooked to machines, in the hospital, for three days. I will not lie and tell you that the epilepsy nurse, neurologist and GP appreciated my choice but they all understood it.

Diagnosed with stress and anxiety I soon fell into a depressive state that was hard to deal with. Sinking lower and lower as the seizures continued I ended up unable to eat, sleep or even leave the house.


Signed of work I only plummeted deeper when I realised the only social life I had surrounded work mates. And that the previous 5 years of training to be a preschool teacher were worthless. Who would hire me now, who would trust me around small children. I certainly didn’t.

Sitting home every day only caused my depression and anxiety to spiral further which in turn had a knock-on effect with my sleep and all had a knock on effect with the epilepsy. Trying to get a handle on all three is something that even now I have still not managed to do. Despite knowing that, stress, depression and lack of sleep can bring on my seizures, they are not things I can control.

I had never wanted to be on daily medications so had always shyed away from antidepressants but I figured that now I had to take epilepsy meds every day another set of tablets couldn’t hurt so I agreed to the antidepressants.

It can take a lot of swapping and changing but the only way to find the best one for you is trial and error. I have the added bonus that many counter act the benefits of the epilepsy medication.
Finding the correct balance of medication is ongoing.

Along with the epilepsy medications I also now take antidepressants and I have sleeping tablets for when things are just too crazy with my sleeping pattern. Since I’ve done these my seizures have altered. Instead of suffering multiple seizures every day I now find myself having weeks with none. Now I’m not saying that everything is fine and perfect, it’s not. I still have seizures and they’re still bad. I still have very low moods and there are still times when I could just scream with the feelings elicited within me.

The significant problem for me has always been the lack of control over my own body. Not knowing when a seizure will strike, how it will be, who will witness it.. they are all worries, but I found that you can either let them get you down or you can move past it.



Now the worry is still there but it no longer controls my life. I refuse to be a victim to epilepsy, I refuse to allow it to keep me a prisoner in my own home. Again this wasn’t something that happened overnight. It took two years of moping around the house before I realised I could help myself.


Again this isn’t something that happened at once, it is ongoing. I gave in and saw the mental health nurse and together with my other doctors I’m improving every day.
There is no miracle cure, no wonder day when everything is fixed. You just have to hope that today will be a bit better.


The other hard part was the loss of my wage. There are benefits out there, it’s just complicated to work them all out. Luckily I found They were really helpful.

Epilepsy is part of who I am, but it is not the only part. Depression is a part of who I am, but it is not the only part.

It may take time, but persevere, it doesn’t have to be all you are either.



I now have one book published, this active website and more books to come. Epilepsy and Depression don’t have to ruin your life, let them be your new start.


Famous People who had/have epilepsy.
Vincent van Gogh
Sir Isaac Newton
Napoleon Bonaparte
Agatha Christie
Charles Dickens
Leonardo Da Vinci
Theodore Roosevelt
George Frederick Handel
Lord Byron
Peter Tchaikovsky
Sir Walter Scott

There are many, check out this site.. for more names and more information about the ones listed above.

Always report any incidents, changes, seizures etc to your GP, neurologist, epilepsy nurse.


Famous people who had/have Depression or a Mental Health Illness. Depression is hard to catergorize as there are so many types, ie, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder etc.

Owen Wilson
Heath Ledger
Demi Lovato
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Princess Diana

(info from here,,20526304,00.html)


 On a serious note, there are people to listen. If you are struggling and feel you have no one to talk to try here,

Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87

Samaritans 08457 90 90 90




I saw this, and thought it was a lovely way to pass on a message…