So first the award.
My good friend Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe has very kindly presented me with a Happy 101 Award. In return she has asked me to write about 10 things that make me happy and 10 bloggers who brighten my day. I think that is a fair exchange and it is good to take the time to think about the positive things in our lives, although I have to say my life is pretty much overflowing with happiness at the moment.
10 Things That Make Me Happy
1 My baby
My beautiful little boy Cooper. He has brought so much joy into my life and he is changing and growing so much, every day in front of my eyes. His latest thing is to give big chuckley laughs. He is a very smiley little boy.
As you can imagine, I am not getting a lot of this just now, but when I do, it is delicious! I look forward to the night when Cooper is able to sleep through the night and so am I. Oh, to wake up refreshed, with a spring in my step. Hmmmmm, wait a minute, I never woke up like that pre-baby, maybe that is too much to hope for.
3 A sunny day, a good book and a glass of chilled wine
Oh, the simple pleasures in life! One of my greatest joys in the summer, is coming home after a long, hot and suffocating day at work. (Air conditioning in my building, pah, I am sure that is an urban myth and why oh why did the architects think that glass roofs would be a good feature? Yes, it looks good and let's in lots of sunlight, but it cooks us in the summer). As I was saying, coming home after a long, hot and suffocating day at work and sitting in the garden with a good book and a glass of crisp, chilled white wine. The sun will be shinning, the temperature will be up, but of course there will be a light breeze, to make it comfortable to sit in. The book will be lightweight and give me a good laugh. The wine should be a large glass of chilled Oyster Bay, served by my husband and there will be a cat at my feet, purring. Mmmmmmm, fabulous, although I will have to work a baby into this set up now and borrow a cat.
4 Salsa dancing with my hubby Graham
I never in a million years thought I would be able to persuade Graham to learn to dance salsa. In fact, if you had asked me a few years ago, I would have cried with laughter. He has always stayed clear of the dance floor at weddings, point blank refusing to dance with me. So, when I decided I would like to learn, I didn't even ask if he would like to come with me.
So how did I manage it, you may wonder?
We were visiting Graham's parents in Cyprus and what do they love to do of an evening? Yes, you guessed it! But, it wasn't that easy Oh no! He refused to let his parents show some moves. Until one evening we joined them and their friends at their salsa class. It was a very social affair, good music and dancing, the wine was flowing and there were nibbles to enjoy along with lots of chat. Well, it would just seem churlish to refuse a lesson, wouldn't it? Although he did try. And what do you know, he could do it and it was fun!
Men - skill = enjoyment, if you don't think you will be good at it, refuse to try, I am sure that is how it goes!
Now we really enjoy dancing together, there is lots of laughter, a little skill and a baby enjoying the music from the sidelines.
5 Cooking, baking, eating and blogging about it
Say no more...
6 I love taking photos.
I am the scourge of my social group. I am always popping up with my camera and it's not always welcome. You see, I do believe in candid shots. They are always the best.
I love taking photos of the beautiful Scottish countryside. I continually trail behind when I am hillwalking, because I am so busy taking in the views and snapping with my camera. Luckily my friend Alistair is usually lagging behind taking photos too.
I love taking photos of architecture.
My holiday snaps are littered with buildings and doors. Especially doors with lots of rust, graffiti or peeling paint. Don't ask me why doors, they just appeal to me. The same qualities are good on boats too.
Taking photos of food for my blog is more about trying to get the composition right and enough daylight in the shot. Not such a joy for me. Give me a rusty door or boat any day!
This is a truly sad one, but I would be remiss, if I didn't say it made me happy. I love it, I mean I truly feel happy when I have finished all the housework and the house is neat as a pin and sparkling. There is no better feeling! I am sad, aren't I? I can't help it, it makes me happy. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't particularly enjoy doing it, but the sense of accomplishment when it is done, is great.
I never seem to get to the end of it these days. I wonder why?
8 Making lists
Graham always finds this very funny. I am often the brunt of jokes when I say, "I must make a list!". I do have to make them, as my memory is shocking at times, but I have to admit, I enjoy compiling a list. I will make a list for anything. A to-do list, a shopping list, a list of books I have read, recipes, well they are just a list with instructions, aren't they, a list of ideas for my blog or recipes I want to remember to try, lists of birthdays, of gifts given, money spent, bills paid, places to visit, a list of the dvds I have and so it goes on and on and on. At any point in the house, I can quickly lay my hands on a notebook and pen. Which leads on to my next joyful obsession.
Yep, I love stationery and especially notebooks. I have spent many a happy hour in Paperchase. I was overjoyed when Borders opened in Dundee, complete with a Paperchase concession and distraught when it closed down. 5 minutes ago, I discovered, they have an online shop. Yippee! Greetings cards, gift wrap, notebooks, pens. Lovely!
I love the sound of the sea. Waves crashing against the rocks or lapping the sand on the beach. The sound of a waterfall or rain pattering against a window. It is so mesmerising and relaxing.
10 Bloggers Who Brighten My Day
As you can imagine, it is very difficult to choose from the many great blogs and great friends out there, so I would like to say you all bring me joy every day and this is but a small selection.
1 Johanna (Green Gourmet Giraffe), not because she gave me an award, but because I enjoy the daily glimpses into her life with Sylvia. I have a similar taste in vegetarian food, so a visit is always enjoyable and lastly, I count her as a good friend in the blogosphere.
2 CC as I call her (The Caked Crusader). Who wouldn't enjoy visitng this blog and drooling over all the gorgeous cakes? They never fail to please.
3 Wendy (A Wee Bit of Cooking). A fellow scots lass, who lives in a really beautiful part of Scotland. I just love her amazing landscape photos and reading the tales of her cute little dog Marco. The food is pretty darn good too :)
4 Charlotte (The Great Big Vegetable Challenge). I so loved going on a journey through the alphabet of vegetables with Charlotte and her son Freddie. If you are suffering withdrawal symptoms, then I encourage you to buy her book Great Big Veg Challenge: How to Get Your Children Eating Vegetables Happily. It's not just for children you know. It is full of yummy recipes.
5 Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream). A light and airy blog. A happy place, with some lovely cakes and a new baby called Rory.
6 Mangocheeks (Allotment to Kitchen). I was always impressed and a bit in awe of Mangocheeks with her ability to take fresh produce from her allotment and come up with amazing and different recipes every day. She is now working from a small kitchen garden instead of her allotment, but the delicious recipes just keep coming.
7 Dana (Dana Treat). Alongside her blog, Dana has a catering business and oh what delights she cooks up for her clients. They are very lucky, very lucky indeed. If you want truly gorgeous food, that is put together with flair, then this is the blog to visit.
8 Ruth (Once Upon A Feast). Ruth created the most amazing food event, you may be familiar with it, I am sure you are, but if you have been on another planet for the last three years, it is Presto Pasta Nights, an amazing weekly roundup of pasta dishes from around the world. Friday nights just wouldn't be the same without it.
9 Chele (The Chocolate Teapot). This is quite a new blog, one that I only discovered this year, but I am glad that I did. Lots of lovely baking and chocolate. Just what I am in need of on a daily basis. It's fab!
10 Sarah ( The Ordinary Vegetarian). I only came across this blog last September, when I noticed that Sarah had linked to one of my soups. I am so glad I did. Sarah is another vegetarian who cooks the type of food I enjoy the most. I do love seeing what her next dish will be.
Now for the boring bit. For my 10 happy place bloggers, if you would like to collect your award and think about joining in and passing it along. Here are the guidelines:
1. Copy the award image into a post
2. Then list 10 things that make you happy
3. Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day
4. Put in a link to their blogs
5. Notify the award receivers
6. Award recipients must link back to sender's blog
Now for the baby!
Oh how we laughed as he had his first experience of a baby bouncer. One that he should be too young to go in. Someone needs to tell him he shouldn't be able to support his head without help yet. How we rolled about the floor with tears streaming down our faces as he bounced around in cicles chortling as he went.
And last but not least, the reminders.
No Croutons Required - The Chickpea Round. Soups and Salads need to be emailed to Lisa (nocroutonsrequired@googlemailcom) by the 20th March.
Hotel Chocolate Giveaway. If you live in th UK, then why not leave a comment here for a chance to win a fabulously thick easter egg. Entries must be in by the 28th March.
Sorry for such a mammoth post. Thanks for bearing with me, it sort of gathered speed as it went!
Whoops! Mummy brain strikes again! I was planning to give an award to two of the blogs that are new to me and that I love. Chocolate Teapot and Chocolate Log Blog. I somehow managed to mix them both together. So here goes, my 11th award goes to:
11 Choclette (Chocolate Log Blog), another lovely blog where I go for my fix of chocolate and cakes. I can never leave without bookmarking her latest creation.