Spotted Blacksheep's Blog

January 5, 2011

We went for a wee drive . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — spottedblacksheep @ 9:02 pm

. . . and spent the night in Portree!

After a not-so-good Christmas and an un-eventful New Year we decided that Bank Holiday Monday we should do something.

So we planned to drive to Fort William and perhaps go to Mallaig via Arisaig.

But instead we drove to Fort William, kept going till we got to Kyle of Lochalsh.

As we got that far we thought we might as well go over the Skye Bridge, quickly realising it was getting dark so best find somewhere to stay for the night.

Our journey finally ended in Portree. 234 miles and quite a few hours later!

We found a room at The Isles Inn where we got some lovely dinner and a welcome bed for the night.

Tuesday morning started with a good cooked breakfast ahead of our epic, but slightly shorter drive home at 210 miles.

Here are a few pictures of our adventure:


November 29, 2010

Going organic

Filed under: Uncategorized — spottedblacksheep @ 8:43 pm

Blogging is always on my mind but I never quite get sat down to put pen to paper (so to speak!).

So with an evening to occupy, I thought I’d write a little bit about my change to using organic/natural beauty products.  I recently started reading the Organikal website and blog and was inspired to make the change! Or at least begin to make it!!

First, I started using some lovely shampoo and conditioner from Green People.

I chose Rosemary as my scalp can be a bit crazy at times.

The first thing I noticed when I started using it was the feel, it was so, well clean, feeling! Wasn’t sticky and slimy, just clean.

Second thing was that it really did make my hair “squeaky” clean.

Third, and most important for me, was that it didn’t strip the colour out!! Those of you who know me will know how I love my red hair! (even though there is less and less of it!)

Finally, so far, even after a few days (yes, I said a few!) my hair is still clean and definitely not greasy.  So a big hit!

Next I started on cleanser and face scrub.  I chose the Green People chamomile, marshmallow and aloe cleaner and a rose otto face scrub from Dr Organic.

Although I’ve found the cleanser very gentle and extremely moisturising, it hasn’t made a huge difference to the blemishes on my skin.  I’m prepared to give it a longer time to see how I get on as my skin can be incredibly fussy!

The face scrub smells great and so far so good! Only used it a couple of times but am pleased with the results.

To complete the facial I’ve been using Jason aloe vera moisturiser.  The jury is still out on this one, but I’ll give it a decent chance.

The latest addition to my wee collection has been another Dr Organic product, Lavender body wash which I love! Like the shampoo, it’s very clean and not greasy, stingy or drying.  I emerge from the shower feeling clean and not coated in a chemical layer! And it smells great!

Overall I’m pleased with my transition to more natural products so far.


September 24, 2010

Summer into Autumn

Filed under: Uncategorized — spottedblacksheep @ 3:46 pm

Well, the summer is almost over and autumn is definitely starting to show it’s colour.

We’ve had a very busy summer with lots going on, so much going on there has been very little time to tend the blog!

There have been 2 wonderful weeks of Guide camp. It being the centenary year these were extra special experiences for myself, the teenager and my girls. Everyone had a ball and have many memories that will stay with us for a long time.

The garden had it’s ups and downs – we had a glut of potatoes but sadly the rest of the veg weren’t quite as successful, but we learned a lot in the process which is always helpful.

Our plan for next year is to have the shed moved to the back of the garden, giving us more growing space in our patch outside the back door. For next year I think we will plant some things in pots but will only put potatoes in the ground.

That said, the rhubarb which I thought was dead sprouted a new head and has given a s fair crop. The strawberries had no fruit but they have given us lots of new plants!

In addition there is a plan for fruit trees and bushes in the larger open part of the garden.

Baking, making and creating in the kitchen has continued with 3 flavours of jam in the cupboard shortly top be joined by our first attempt at spring onions.

Sadly, crafting hasn’t progressed much beyond a very tidy and organised room. But the winter is approaching so there will be many nights to find activities to occupy us!

One thing I will find more time for is blogging!

May 17, 2010

Little and Large Craft Swap

Filed under: Uncategorized — spottedblacksheep @ 7:32 pm

Recently, the Teenager and I took part in our first ever craft swap as organised by the wonderful Blottedcopybook.

This one was a Little and Large craft swap with us being paired with Marina and her son James. Parents had to help their kids make something for the other kids, and then make something for the kids themselves. Also, most importantly, include a treat for mum!

So, we set about planning our makes, then realised we were running out of time! But we made it and posted our parcel off in time.

What we sent was this:

The Teenager made a little drawstring bag from lovely Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric we had and I made a tidy with felt vehicles sewn on.

We were really excited when our parcel arrived!

Here is what we received:

A lovely treasure chest painted by James, a crochet bracelt and bookmark made by Marina and lots of yummy sweets!

For mum, a smelly candle for “me” time!!

We really enjoyed taking part, definately know that the Teenager is better at sewing than me! Re-learned lots of sewing machine techniques and had a few testing moments with it but really enjoyed it! And we’ll definately do something like this again!

More piccies:

Wee bit of advertising – Vonnie (Blottedcopybook) and her hubby Bob are in the beginnings of setting up their own wonderful new business venture. Check them out – The Life Craft . Please support them!!

April 23, 2010

A lovely day out

Filed under: Uncategorized — spottedblacksheep @ 3:00 pm

We’ve been kept busy of late, lots to do but no time to sit and think about blogging properly, so twitter has been getting all my attention.

Thought I’d share with blog-land our recent trip out to the Made in The Shade Spring Jamboree which was at The Lighthouse in Glasgow last Saturday.

So many pretty things to feast our eyes upon we found it very difficult to choose which lovely things to buy!

The list of vendors who were there can be seen here.

While we were there we met the lovely Vonnie and two of her gorgeous kids, was lovely to meet them all!

Looking forward to visiting the Edinburgh event on Saturday 15 May when we hope to buy more lovely things from these wonderful and talented designers and creators!

In other news I’ve been working away to get my own creations online so have set up a wee fan page on Facebook, in lue of having my own web space, and also set up a Twitter account which I will start posting too very soon.

Flower Moon

Promote Your Page Too

April 10, 2010

Self sufficiency? In Surbiton?

Filed under: Garden, Uncategorized — Tags: , — spottedblacksheep @ 6:30 pm

Well maybe not! Not exactly Surrey and certainly not self sufficient! Yet 😉

Over the past week we’ve been working away at our wee back green, digging it, turning it and trying to rid it of the dreaded creeping buttercups that infest the place.

Today, we got it planted up.

There are three rows of onions, two different kinds of carrots and two of beetroot.  A row of cabbage, a row of leeks, cauliflower and of broccoli. 

I also transplanted the rhubarb thats been living in a tub the past 3 years, on doing so realised that its more than overdue! Strawberries have also finally got their own home, I kept the best 8 plants in the hope that they flourish this year.

Finally we got the spuds in, still tubs this year but bigger, deeper tubs than before, in the hope that we get a much better yeild than previous years.

Quite excited about it as the past few years have really just been a few things in tubs, now we have an almost “proper” veggie patch! Currently taking up only one half of our small plot at the back door, the other half being dominated by the shed which we hope to relocated to the back of the nearly-football-pitch sized main “green” in the autumn.  This would double our growing space and hopefully creating an area where chickens could be a possibility. 

Bill also planted a rowan tree in the front garden.  It was one we got free from the Woodland Trust a few years back and has lived in a tub ever since.  Looks alot more lively in the ground already!

In turning the earth over we discovered a number of bricks, these must have been the original bed for the shed which we believe used to be where our veggie plot is now.  There were from local brick works and still have the names clearly showing on them.  Most are from the Muir Brickworks in Armadale but a couple are from the Etna Brickworks, which I think was also Armadale but the other was from Loudon and Russell Tile and Fireclay Works, Allanton, Newmains.  We’ve kept these bricks as a reminder of the local industries that are now gone.

February 14, 2010

The Great Wardrobe Experiment

Filed under: reduce, Uncategorized — Tags: , — spottedblacksheep @ 1:03 pm

The amount of clothes I own drives me to despair. So I decided it was time to take action to drastically reduce the amount of clothing I own.

Wardrobes, drawers, boxes and bags are crammed full of lovely things.  Too many lovely things, some which haven’t been worn for years.  In general my wardrobe isn’t that old, most of the items are less than 5 years old with the few older items having been with me for a while so I’m overly attached to them.

Not any more!

The idea was, to see if we could reduce the wardrobe to a manageable size and to see if we actually miss the stuff we clear out.  And we will revisit it in 3 months to see which of the remaining items we have actually worn. 

So, here are a few pictures of the progress:

Before the cull I had:

  • 14 long sleeved tshirts
  • 13 tshirts
  • 8 jumpers
  • 14 vest tops
  • 7 cap sleeved tops
  • 3 pairs jogging trousers
  • 5 pairs outdoor trousers
  • 10 pairs work trousers
  • 5 pairs “other” trousers
  • 10 pairs jeans
  • 3 pairs shorts
  • 10 cardigans
  • 26 blouses (!!!)
  • 10 smart smock/vest tops
  • 2 trousers suits
  • 3 suit jackets
  • 4 sip hoodies
  • 5 full length skirts
  • 6 knee lenght skits

What remains is approximately half of this! many of the clothes still had tags on, some had been too small for many years.

Things I didn’t include (this time!) were shoes, Girlguiding uniform and camp wear, formal dresses (cos I only have two) and coats.  Hubby did his as well and has also reduced by about half.

There are now 7 large for charity, 3 medium sized for ebay and alot more space in the wardrobe!

The next stage of the experiment will be to review what we have in 3 months, then start to look at what the clothes are actually made of with a view to only owning things made from natural fibres! Bring on the challenge!

January 18, 2010

Inspired by the Blue Sock Monkey

Filed under: Creative, Jewellery making — Tags: , , — spottedblacksheep @ 4:32 pm

The wee blue sock monkey, now called Diego, inspired me to get stuck into some jewellery making. 

Jewellery making is something I’ve done for years and considered starting my own business a while back. But life and lack of time took over and sadly I’ve not made a think for over a year.  But I’ve just changed all that by creating three new necklaces and re-discovered one that I made some time ago and had forgotten all about.

As modelled by the lovely Diego!

 Apologies for my lack of photography skills and improvised backgrounds!

Sock Monkey

Filed under: Creative, Green, Sewing — Tags: , , — spottedblacksheep @ 1:41 pm

I first made one of these back in September while at The Hairth festival (  He was a fair effort and certainly unique!

After that weekend I promised myself I’d make another, so I finally made one this morning and I’m pretty pleased with the results!

I found step-by-step instructions, to remind me of the process, here:

Here he is!

December 31, 2009


Filed under: Jam, pickle, preserve, recipes — Tags: , , , — spottedblacksheep @ 5:04 pm

I’ve just made my first ever batch of jam!

Santa claus was kind enough to bring me the River Cottage Everyday book, which is where I found the recipe.

The recipe is called “fridge jam” and is not quite a jam and not quite a fruit sauce with the advantage of being really quick to do.

I used a packed of frozen raspberries that were getting lonely in the bottom of the freezer to make a part-quantity to try it out.

The recipe really was quick and very hassle free and I’m pleased with the result so far!

There are two half filled jars of jam cooling on the worktop, crying out for fresh pancakes to be spread on!!

Now, to wait for the autumn and make a whole batch of real jam from forraged berries!!

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