Tuesday 29 May 2012

Any advice from my lovely readers would help! PLEASE!!

Hello from a very frustrated oskandoly.com. I have been blogging regularly for about 6mnths now and am loving seeing all the visitors I get from all over the world. My blog visitor counter is ticking up which is fantastic...but...I thought I was doing something wrong as I have ever only had 1 comment added to my posts
 :(. While this wasn't a problem at first as I'd only had a handful of visitors I have not had any since that first one and my blog is definitely becoming more popular. I have had a few of my friends tell me they did leave a comment but I've never seen them, they just never appeared on my blog. I feel really bad as if people have left comments then I'd like to have commented back, its only polite really! Could any of you helpful bloggers out there give me some advice. I have trawled google for solutions but as I am not that blogger savvy I found the technical bits rather confusing. Obviously commenting back to me won't work for this so if anyone can help an email to pen@oskandoly.com would get through. PLEASE I am sure someone out there can help me as I am out of options for solutions.
xx P xx

Monday 28 May 2012

Monday blog shouts

Woo Hoo the photo list for June is out...Have you been bitten by the photo a day bug? 

Phewww it is hot out there today. I have just got back from a beautiful morning at the park playing in the sun. The swarm of mosquitoes that at one stage reached biblical proportions did put a wee dampener on the fun but it was really lovely to be out playing on the swings etc. with Oly and catching up with friends. Time for my lunch and escape to the lovely cool kitchen to write today's blog shout outs.

I have not been idle in my search for great blogs this week and have found some real gems.

This is a blog about living life on the cheap, and who doesn't want that??!! It is packed with craft ideas, recipes, money saving ideas, home decor on the cheap (but not cheap looking), cupcake recipes, partyu ideas, upcycling...there is loads to look through.

The haby goddess

Wow those Aussies are a creative lot. Yet another fantastic blog by an Australian lady who is mad about all things crafty. The Haby Goddess is a shop, a blog and a community for all things haberdashery. She runs classes on sewing and has loads of really neat ideas for things to make. There are also some great sewing techniques how to's on there which is always helpful for someone like me, who while a keen sewer, isn't always up to scratch on how to do some things. I particularly liked the idea for the stone buttons on there...I would love to have a go at making these and maybe use them to embellish a bag or something.


This is one part of a series of blogs. This is the 'mummy and baby' one and there is also Spearmint Kitchen, Spearmint decore, Spearmint Money and Spearmint Wedding (If I ever was to renew my vows I want the Tent wedding, so gorgeous!) The blogs are a collection of fantastic, creative ideas and are great to trawl through to pick up ideas.Each blog has tabs that link to different things, there is a DIY tab in the home decor blog or a cakes tab in the wedding blog. I am quiet obsessed with the Home decor blog at the moment as I am wanting inspiration for our new loft bedroom that is in the process of being done.

My life-my loves

This is such a pretty blog I just had to give it a big shout out. I have been visiting it for a while now and find so much every time I look at it. It is a blog written by an unbelievably talented and creative woman (another Aussie!) She organises the most incredible parties I have ever seen and posts photos of all of her beautiful ideas and table arrangements on the blog. I WISH I could throw a party like one of hers! If you need any inspiration for the perfect party then visit this blog, but make sure you have plenty of free time as you will probably spend hours just drooling over the gorgeous designs and parties!

Well it is nearly time for the awful school run...too hot to jostle with angry toddlers in sticky hot cars! Is it just me or do you hate afternoon school runs too?

Ah well better get to it I spose. I really hope where ever you are in the world you are enjoying your Monday as much as I am. Thanks for stopping by.
xx P xx

Monday 21 May 2012

Monday shout outs...May photo updates

What a mad day it has been today...this is the 1st opportunity I've had all day to sit and get on the computer, which is a bit of a major thing for me! I have had to work today, and not being used to working on a Monday am feeling all out of sorts and completely disorganised. Luckily I have been looking at fantastic blogs over the weekend and past week so have plenty of great shout outs to blog about today. I have also been busy snapping away for my photo a day challenge so have a few updates for that too.

Omiyage Blogs, Pretty, crafty things.
A great blogs packed with amazing ideas and DIY tutorialsOmiyage is Japanese for souvineer so this is a very Janpanese influenced blog, lots of the crafts use something called washi tape, not sure where I am going to get this from but can't wait to try it cause there are some brilliant how to's on the site using it. 

 This is a fun blog filled with great FREE downloadable stuff. It has a lot of scrap-booking ideas and downloads, and while I am not a huge scrap-booker I did find a lot of cool things that I'd use for other crafting projects. The owner is a professional graphic designer so as you can imagine the things on there are gorgeous. She sells design kits for scrap-booking plus lovely fabrics and there are lots of free things too- which is always a good thing in my eyes! This blog is well worth a visit as there are some awesome ideas for crafty projects.

I LOVE this blog! Being a little obsessed with photography at the moment I am always on the look out for tutorials and ideas on getting the perfect picture. This is an online community of Mums who are either professional photographers or just really keen, talented amateurs. They have idaes galore and it isn't written in pretentious, photographer speak- which I am all for. You can join the community or just browse through the blog posts for ideas. If you are a keen photographer then this is a must visit blog.

A pretty blog full of pretty stuff and ideas. I have been visiting this blog for the amazing tutorials which are simple but fabulous!

Some updates on my May photo a day pics..... Not long now and it will be time for June's list....so exciting!!! Wow my life is so rock and roll!!

May 11th- Kitchen, Friday night at our place is pizza and wine night!
May 12th- Something that makes me happy!
May 13th- Mum. A surprise letter from my sweet boy.

May 14th- Grass. A selection of grasses that I snapped on a walk in the country.
May 15th- Love. My 2 sweet babies!
May 17th- Snack
I forgot my own snack so had
to raid my hand-bag stash I keep
there for Olya.

May 16th- What I am reading...blogs, blogs
 and more blogs!

May 18th- Something I made...well 6 things I made actually.
May 19th- A favourite place.
 Especially when it's raining outside
and I have a pile of magazines
 and silence in the house!

May 20th- Something I couldn't live
without! I had to for a week once
when it broke...an experience
I never want to relive!!


Hope everyone has had an eventful Monday...I know mine has been! Glad you stopped by.
xx P xx

Saturday 19 May 2012

White chocolate and blueberry scones

This is one of my favourite recipes to make and quite a few people have asked for the recipe recently....so here it is. They are simple to make and taste delish!!!
Start with a simple scone recipe- I use Mary Berry's Best ever Scone recipe but any plain scone recipe you have would be fine.

The secret to a good scone is not to handle the mixture too much and to make the dough on the wet, sticky side.

450g plain flour
2 rounded tsp of baking powder
75g butter
50g caster sugar
2 large eggs
about 225mls of milk
1 punnet of blueberries
1 200g block of white chocolate chopped into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 220°C.
In a bowl rub together with your finger tips the flour, baking powder and butter until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar.

 Beat the eggs together and add enough milk to make it up to 300mls (keep about 2Tbsp aside for glazing the scones)

 Gradually add the egg mixture until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. During this time I add the punnet of blueberries and chopped white chocolate to the mixture.

Turn the wet, sticky dough onto a well floured board and flatten out to about 1-2cm. I use the palm of my hand to do this as a rolling pin doesn't work so well on the sticky mixture.

Using a 5cm fluted cutter stamp out the scones and place them on to a tray covered with baking parchment.

Brush the top of each scone with the egg mixture you put aside before. Ensure you cover all the tops as anything that isn't given this egg wash stays white and not glossy and golden as they should be.

Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 mins until golden brown. When done transfer to a wire rack covered with a clean tea towel to keep them moist.
They aren't the best looking, cook book style scones. They don't seem to rise as much with the added extras in them. But the proof is in the tasting and believe me these taste absolutely fantastic!

These should be eaten as fresh as possible they are gorgeous when they are still warm. If you make loads and don't use them all they can be frozen and reheated (from frozen) in a moderate oven for about 10 mins.

Well happy baking, would love to hear from anyone that has a go and makes these if yours rose or were they a bit flat like mine? Anyone have any scone making tricks they can share, I'd love to hear from you!!
xx P xx

Monday 14 May 2012

The certainties in life....

"The only two certainties in life are death and taxes," said Mark Twain, famously.

Well I reckon he never had to deal with utility companies cause that surely would have changed his quote to...
"The only two certainties in life are death and taxes, oh and utility companies being rip off merchants who will fleece you blind without hesitation"

What is up with Utility Companies? Is it just me and my bad luck or are they are the biggest bunch of crooks ever...thinking nothing of increasing your monthly payments by a whopping 151% and taking it out of your account without so much as a 'oh we are going to rip you off cause we have estimated that you will use 151% more gas and electricity than you ever have before, we're sure you won't miss the money!' Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr I have spent most of my precious free time this morning on the phone trying to sort out this horrific mess, am feeling completely confused by the gooble-dee-gook figures they threw at me and am still non the richer as have been told that the estimated figures were 'round about correct' (despite being more than the meters read now 2 months after the initial estimates?!). Oh and to top it off they've increased the monthly payments based on the incorrect estimates and can't change them as we will then be not paying enough??!! In the past 3 years I have never had a bill that we weren't in huge amounts of credit on, but as soon as I let my guard down for a few months and don't check them carefully, they swoop in and sting me! Well not anymore! I am now on their case and will scrutinise each bill with a fine tooth comb no more overpayments for you! Sorry to unload but I just need to vent my frustration at this injustice!

Have you ever been fleeced by these robbers? Would love to hear how you sorted it out, as I am so ****** at the moment at not getting any joy from them!

Ahhhhh...... rant over now to get to the more pleasurable bits of this post.I have found yesterday and made this morning the most delicious bread recipe ever! Banana, honey bread. It is a Jamie Oliver recipe and has filled my house with the most divine smells this morning. I have already devoured 2 rolls (damn you utility robbers for making me feel so cross.) It is super easy and a great way to use old mooshy, brown bananas (which I always seem to have). The honey is added at the end by drizzling it over the rolls just before they go in the oven. A short black coffee and warm banana, honey roll with butter does seem to calm frazzled nerves- isn't it wonderful how food does that!
Banana, honey bread- gorgeous!
Monday shout outs:
1. Don't Eat The Paste. This is a blog I stumbled on last week when I was looking for some fun boxes to use in class for the kids cooking. I am always on the look out for box templates to use as gift boxes etc and this site is AMAZING! I can't believe I haven't come across it before. There are literally dozens of downloadable templates for gorgeous gift boxes to make. I have already used several for small projects but there are so many more I can't wait to make. As well as box templates there are recipes, craft ideas and colouring pages to download. It is an awesome blog and I highly recommend you to pop over and have a look. 

2. No Sugar Sweet Life. This is a blog about a wonderful lady who is on a weight loss journey. She has filled her blog with inspirational stories about her weight loss and also compiled a fabulous list of no sugar, low fat, high taste recipes, which is always a welcome thing! The yoghurt banana bread recipe looks scrummy and will be my next bready adventure, as I seem to be on a bread themed journey at the moment.

3. Crazy little projects. This is a crafty blog full of cool ideas for stuff to make. I was first drawn to it because I spied a recipe for Chocolate Reeses Pieces cookies and thought they were something I could definitely handle making/eating. I have had a look through some of the projects and will be trying some of them out for sure.

4.Blonde Designs .The blog of 2 very talented ladies with amazing design backgrounds. I love looking through this blog for party ideas and the great downloadable invitations and party bits. I dream of hosting glamorous parties or fun kids birthday parties like this...but where do you get the time? Have you had any fantastic parties? If so I'd love to hear about them...and perhaps get some inspiration or ideas.

Well it is time for the Olyphant to get up and the madness to descend I can hear the stomp, stomp of her feet upstairs. I am sure she will be calmed with  Banana honey rolls and will let me get on with cleaning and the mountain of ironing while she watches Meg and Mog for a while....haha am I kidding myself here? I hope your week has gotten off to a great start and that it continues to only get better.

xx P xx

My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being, hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.
 ~Erma Bombeck~

Friday 11 May 2012

May photo a day challenge updates

Just a quick post today to update my May photo a day challenge photos. If you ave not already done so I highly recommend visiting Fat Mum Slim and taking part in the photo a day challenges. It is so much fun and really not as big a time commitment as I'd first thought. The real challenge is finding different ways to interpret each days brief.

Here are my photos for the last 6 days.

May 5th- Bird. Some shots of birds from around my house. The middle picture is a print done by a good friend of mine, I absolutle love it and it is perfect in my kitchen.

May 6th- You. Me, me, me and me. Getting to like this self photography challenge I have set myself.

May 7th- Someone who inspires you. My Nan. I really miss my Nan as she lives in NZ and I am in the UK. She has done so much for our family,does amazing work for cancer charities and all round fabulous lady... she is awesome!

May 8th- A favourite smell. I couldn't choose just one, I have so many smells I adore that invoke so many memories. This is a selection of fav smells in my kitchen.

May 9th- Something I do everyday. Take photos!

May 10th. A favourite word. This isn't my only favourite word but it is definitely way up there on the list.

May 11th- Kitchen??? This one is making me think!

Well work is calling, better go and do some planning!!! I hope you are all having a wonderful Friday and that you have an equally fantastic weekend (praying for a bit of sun here!!)

xx P xx

I will never be the woman with the perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it.Carrie Bradshaw - Sex and the City

Monday 7 May 2012

Shoe themed Monday shout outs.

Wow is it really Monday already? The past week has flown by, it hardly seems like yesterday I was writing my last Monday shouts. Well I haven't been comletely idle and have managed to find some great blogs/sites to rave about. The theme for this week seems to be (my favourite subject) shoes and 'how to' shoe tutorials. I am upcycling a couple of pairs of old rarely worn heels at the moment and was looking for inspiration and came across some awesome blogs with fabulous ideas on how to revamp old shoes.

U.create I was looking at Mod Podge ideas and found this little beauty of a blog. It is jammed full of cool ideas and in particular I really liked the Linda's list: 26 Mod Podge tutorials! Being a die-hard M.P fan I was overjoyed to see this list and will definitely be visiting the blog again... often!

Make Something- Cathie and Steve I saw a fantastic tutorial on a pair of boots thet she upcyclked and can wait to try it out for myself.
How awesome are these!
Picture courtesy of Make Something blog.

Wobi Sobi What a quirky name!? This had a great restyle on a pair of heels using glitter and glue. It is an excellent way of covering over messed up heels on shoes and something I would really like to try. The link buttons send you to a pinterest page where the writer has posted loads of pics of their projects so it is a great place to be inspired.

Alisa Burke- redefine creativity This is a gorgeous blog full of beautiful art and design ideas, tutorials and inspiration. There is a fantastic tutorial on covering wedges with fabric, a project near and dear to my heart. I have spent ages looking through all the past posts and love this blog...definitely one I will be following on a regular basis.

Pretty floral wedges.
 Picture courtesy of Alisa Burke- redefine creativity

Richard's Magic book- available through Amazon for Kindle.

My last shout out isn't about a blog rather it is a shamless plug for a close friend of mine. She is now a published author on Kindle. Her current book is for kids and is called Richards Magic Book and it's an absolute steal to purchase at only £3.09! You actually don't even need a kindle to purchase it as you can read it on your computer!

Book blurb....

Richard is an 8 1/2 year old boy who, like many boys of his age, simply hates reading. He views it as a waste of time - after all, there are plenty of other things that he could be doing ... such as watching TV, playing on the WII or on his Nintendo. But all this changes when his teacher gives him a special book. As he says 'I had to give it to you. It has your name on the cover!' And it does. It's called 'Richard's Magic Book'. Reluctantly, Richard takes it home to read ... and is astounded to find that it really IS all about him!

Before long, he meets a small elf called Nilbog who takes him on a series of magic adventures. The only catch is that, for the magic to work, he has to keep reading the book; however, the good side to this is that the book continues to be all about him and about his magical adventures.

His adventures take him to the North Pole, where he meets Ralop, the Polar Bear; Under the sea, where he meets the mer-people and Krash, the shark; to Fantasy Land where he meets Nicornu; into his garden where he meets the ants and finally to an encounter with a giant called Ergo.

Elaine is also currently writing a new book, which is almost finished, for parents. It is a book full of fun Maths games and activities to do with your kids. As soon as it comes out I will do a post about it, watch this space. 

Well it has been a lovely, relaxing, quiet May Day here at our place, I hope you have all had a relaxing Monday. Back to the grindstone tomorrow!!