March 2012


I love nothing better than being a lazy butt watching TV all weekend long. I don’t think I could ever get bored of catching up on my favourite TV shows, staying in my PJ’s all day with mountains of snacks beside me, only getting up to go to the bathroom LOL…to me, that’s relaxation heaven!

I’m off work on a mini holiday until April 10th. I was supposed to be going to Paris but then passport-gate struck. My poor passport expired & I had no idea LOL. By the time I realised, the flights to Paris were at a crazy price due to it being the Easter period and the cost of renewing my passport at the same time meant I couldn’t do both. So… no Paris for me, for now. Spring time in Paris is my all time favourite as well *sigh*

Instead, I’m spending my time off doing what I love best… being a couch potato! Watching my favourite TV shows which are currently; Unforgettable, Body of Proof, Smash, NCIS & Criminal Minds. Being a bum on our huge leather sofa surrounded by lots of cushions & snacks! I’d rather be a couch potato on that fabric sofa above though! How amazing is that sofa? I don’t think I’d ever get off it though!

Work has pretty much got in the way of TV watching, I’m missing out on new TV shows & lost track on what episode I’ve caught up with after downloading them all! What are your favourite TV shows at the moment? Are you a couch potato like me? What’s your ideal way to spend time off work? Let me know 😀

Now that the weather in Scotland has decided to behave and it’s been really sunny, I’ve decided that it’s about time that I got my butt into gear and finally learn how to use my new digital camera that I bought a few months ago. I haven’t really had time to play around with all the settings because I’ve been too caught up with work and other things, but I’m now making the time.

I bought a book called Digital Photography Step By Step which gives you great information about Exposure, Aperture and Shutter Speed. But to be honest, I’m a little like a deer in the headlights at the moment. With my previous camera, a normal compact digital camera, I only had to point & shoot. Sure, I played around with the limited settings, perfected them and looking at my Flickr account, my old trusty Sony did me well!

But it’s time to grow up! If my budget had allowed it, I would have bought a Canon Camera, especially since one of my childhood best friends is a professional photographer and swears by them. Unfortunately, my bank card would have cried and set itself on fire if I did buy one so I bought a camera with great reviews ‘Panasonic Lumix FZ45 14.1MP’ within my budget & I’m happy with it.

Now the hard work begins! I no longer want to use auto settings or point and shoot. I want to be able to play with the Exposure, Aperture and Shutter Speed and take great photos. I love photography. I love taking photos of buildings, animals and nature, finding the time to take them is one thing, finding the time to take photos and learn how on earth to use all the settings is another thing!

I know that Exposure, Aperture and Shutter Speed mean, I get them. What I don’t get it what the numbers *should* be, what are the perfect settings? I’m sure it will take time to get them right but I’m a very stubborn person and get really annoyed if I can’t figure it out fast enough!

That’s where you come in, yes you! To save me from beating myself up, what are your perfect settings for taking photographs? (Auto is a no no!) What kind of photos do you like taking? What camera do you have?

I adore Indian food. Chicken Saag being my all time favourite thing to eat & cook! It’s quick to make, tastes amazing & you can never go wrong with it… unless you don’t know how to fry. The beauty of this recipe is that you are in control with how much spinach you add and how hot you want to make it. Personally, I like it spicy with a big bunch of spinach. Customise it how you wish! I serve mine with steamed basmati rice, garlic naan bread & a big helping of mango chutney for added sweetness. Perfect!

350g spinach, washed and chopped
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onions, minced
1/2 can of diced tomatoes, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like it nice & hot)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons milk or yoghurt
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes

1. Put the spinach into a deep pan. Add 1/2 cup of water and cover. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. When cool, puree the spinach in a food processor or blender and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Fry the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet and add the ginger, garlic and onions and fry until lightly brown. Add the tomatoes, salt, cayenne, ground coriander, turmeric, cloves, and cardamom. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of water. Cook for 10 minutes over a low heat. Add the chicken and milk to the pan and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked fully, about 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Add the spinach puree and garam masala to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach starts sticking to the pan, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Serve with rice or naan bread.

Next Saturday, I am making my way back up to Aberdeen to attend a charity event to support Friends of ANCHOR. The ladies event “Boogie with Buble” at the Hilton Treetops Hotel features Michael Bublé tribute act, Totally Bublé, who is the 2011 Scottish New Music Award Winner. Guests will be treated to live renditions of their favourite Bublé songs, followed by a disco keeping everyone entertained well into the night. A champagne reception, lavish three-course meal and night-long entertainment are all included in the £35 ticket price where ALL profits will go to Friends of ANCHOR.

Friends of ANCHOR are a cancer charity formed in 1997 to raise funds on behalf of the ANCHOR unit in Aberdeen, and has a support area extending throughout the north east of Scotland including Orkney and Shetland. The Aberdeen and North Centre for Haematology, Oncology and Radiography (ANCHOR) unit is a fully funded NHS department at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill that brings together experts and specialist nursing support to coordinate the care of patients with all forms of cancer, leukaemia and benign blood disorders such as haemophilia.

If you are in the area & would like to attend, contact Gillian Innes on 01674 675899, email or get in touch with the fundraising team at Friends of ANCHOR 01224 859123.

See you there!