Tuesday, 22 August 2017

A wee {Scottish} break.

Having family up in Scotland is wonderful. In the last few years we have taken the kids up a handful of times and each time we are welcomed into such loving arms. Rob's Auntie and Uncle look after us so well and treat our children as if they were their grandchildren, so going up for a long weekend has become one of our favourite things to do.
Dundee is the biggest city near them, about a 10 minute drive from their house so most days we are driving beside the Tay River on our way to somewhere. This trip was pretty special as the family's newest toy {not their Australian labradoodle, Harris} is a speedboat and we got very excited about our trip on it. Over the weekend we spent time at Dunnottar Castle and we went to Stonehaven to an open air swimming pool. We also spent a day at Craigtoun Country Park which very much was a day for the kids; train rides, parks, ice cream, pedalos and then the annual trip to Dundee to the Olympia swimming pool which Rob went to as a child when he came up and now we all love going to it too!
It rained a lot but on the Friday when we arrived after a detour to Falkirk the sun shone and we could have been walking along the Riviera.
It takes us about 6 hours to get to their house, we got up and left about 4.30 in the morning as we decided to go and see the Falkirk Wheel. After years of travelling up to Scotland, we had never stopped but as Rob and I both enjoy ingenious feats of mechanics, we thought we would give ourselves the day to detour slightly and spend some time there. It was actually Rob's auntie who also suggested going to see The Kelpies which was part of the same tourist trail in the Falkirk area. In as little words as possible; the wheel and the Kelpies are there as part of the canal systems that are still very active. The wheel is designed to transport narrow boats from one level of the canals to the other. Quite simply, it is a lift but indeed extremely clever in that its wheel motion is counterbalanced by a boat on each end. It is a very clever system which I later found out that my brother in law's uncle helped design! It was great to see working and if it wasn't for the rain we could have easily stayed there most of the day as there were loads of things to do and it looked to have a great play park and paths for walks along the canals. This part of Falkirk is connected to The Helix which is an eco park designed to connect 16 communities beyond Falkirk. The Kelpies are the vanguard of the project. They mark the Fourth and Clyde Canal and they are fantastic. Two huge horse head structures that stand proud on the canal itself. Again because of the rain and the usual grumpies from the journey we didn't spend as long as we could here but we had hot chocolates for breakfast and walked round the horses {which you can go inside for, for a fee} and just enjoyed the view. This was something I would do again but maybe in a couple of years and maybe on a barge!!!
Aside from Falkirk, our days were filled with trips to castles and swimming pools but our other most exciting trip was to the Tay River were we went Dolphin spotting. Now this was magical. Not only was Etta taken with how "Adorable" they were but this was the first time I had seen dolphins. What's great is even though we did this with family from Dundee you can go on Dolphin tours so if you are ever up there you can also get the chance. It was hard to get pictures as they were moving so fast and I just spent the time looking out and almost forgot. I had my video camera rolling though so I have footage I can keep of them.
With all of this excitement it's hard to think how did we get anything done but plenty of cups of tea and great food were consumed also.
It was a great little holiday for us and it very much felt like that even at just a four day trip. Collecting treasure along the Tay, dolphin spotting, castle ruin walking, saltwater swimming and good company all gave us our little Scottish break.


Let's Gather {Table wear featuring DenbyxMonsoon}

Sitting down as a family is the height of importance in our home. The dinner table is for just that and actually the kids and Rob really suffer when we haven't sat down together for a meal over a period of time. You can just sense it and actually getting round the table is a lot easier than you think. The summer holidays always throw out the plan a bit but when we have our usual routine, at least 5 days a week we eat dinner round the table together and that is of great importance to us. However, you always get the change of plan, the running late dinner and no two weeks are the same so we very much live by the way the family works. What's important though is that we do get together and gather for a meal round our dinner table as a family. 
Rob is head chef in our house. It is a long time since we wrote about food, but for us his chicken Korma is a fave for the family. We have a few sides also like a spinach and coriander salad, tomato, onion and cucumber relish, mango chutney and a yogurt, mint and cucumber raita. All easy to make and help fill the dinner plates. Poppadoms and naans are essential too and my favourite for scooping up all the sauces with!
I think what was most important about this dinner though was beautiful crockery that we had the chance to show off. And I am being quite serious. I have been collecting the new DENBY RANGE - GATHER which has seen them team up with MONSOON to create a range, full of soft coloured crockery ready for the family table. This is a perfect range for me. It's funny though because for the past year I have been collecting pure white bone china crockery but as soon as I saw this I knew it would actually sit perfectly against all my other things and actually complement the style of our house so perfectly. I mean we have a pink sideboard, yes, its pink, and these subtle shades of blue, pink and grey just hit the spot with me. An absolutely perfect complement to my simple style. 

I think what I love most though is the name of the collection; 'Gather'. Everything that is important about eating is summed up in this title. It is another reminder of the importance of eating with others, friends, family, whoever; food is meant for enjoying and sharing and gathering together is a great opportunity to do this.

A family curry is the way to my heart and I know Rob loves something much fuller in spice and flavour but he always cooks this one for me and the kids and makes sure that we enjoy it the most.
Thanks Rob!

Check out our YOUTUBE CHANNEL also for a video showing off this set!

*Post in collaboration with DENBY Who gifted us this set.
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