Rock of Ages at Dumbarton Castle

A couple of weeks ago we had our second experience of Historic Scotland’s Rock of Ages event at Dumbarton Castle. Sadly the weather was not up to the lovely sunshine that we were treated to last year, but there was still plenty to keep us entertained. It does amuse me to think about the contrasts in our weather system considering we were slapping on the suncream last year and this year I bought a cup of tea to heat up! There was also a section of the castle that was closed off this year due to the weather.

While Luke and Billy caught up with some zeds in the car, I took Scott out and we were immediately drawn into the action, watching a display from the Covenanters. This stirred up Scott’s sensitivities and he wanted to head off to the castle for a sword fight.

Scott cannon - Copy

Luke was soon with us and keen to join in on the action:




Rock of Ages has an assortment of characters from different phases of history and Scott was pleased to see his Playmobil Roman Centurions!



The shield is remarkably heavy:


I enjoyed talking Scott through the WW1 display and the evolving battle strategy:





Both the boys were happy to watch a lot of the displays, though we did discover that Luke is not keen on all the action….He likes the shouting…




But, “no like it big bang.” He is not a fan of the musket fire!



Thankfully, Luke’s enjoyment of all things castle seems to be continuing as this Historic Scotland event is becoming a bit of a standing calendar commitment. Hoping for better weather at our next one – Spectacular Jousting!


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Bits and Pieces

I am still chasing my tail a little to catch up with the past few weeks and to look forward to the summer. My marking has dragged on a bit and I have been a busy bee. I am now thinking “eek” about all the things I still have to organise in the next few weeks. Tired and a bit run down sums up the current standings! The weather hasn’t been too summery over the past couple of weeks so jackets have been back on for trips to the park.



Scott and Luke want to go outside ALL the time. This is my first excuse for a messy house!

Luke discovered a wee pair of jelly shoes recently that used to be Scott’s and he has taken a shine to him. He calls them his “crocodile shoes” which just reminds me of Jimmy Nail!


Luke is also partial to putting stones down the drain. This used to pass the time with Scott too!SAM_6362

Skiddling in water is top fun:SAM_6333SAM_6335

Now that Scott is reasonably competent on his bike he is keen to take it more places to go a bit further.SAM_6370SAM_6379SAM_6384

Luke just about always gives me a RSI at the park due to constant swing pushing. He is perfectly happy to stay in a swing for about an hour.SAM_6373


Playing hide and seek and climbing:SAM_6382SAM_6383SAM_6386

A rare time spent indoors gave us some time to make some cupcakes. This is not for those of a nervous disposition as giving a toddler some sprinkles to put on the cakes produces some interesting results!SAM_6353SAM_6354SAM_6359SAM_6361

Hoping next week is not so busy…..hoping for flying elephants….!





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2nd Birthday catch up

A manic couple of weeks has meant I haven’t had time to think about much or catch my breath so it is nice to look back a little at Luke’s 2nd birthday. I didn’t need much inspiration for Luke’s cake this year. Mr Tumble is a firm favourite in Luke’s world so I found myself a Mr Tumble magazine with a Mr Tumble to use on my cake. The sugar craft making of a Mr T was absolutely not an option and to be fair, the wee toy has been getting tucked up in bed every night since Luke’s birthday!

18492355_10155364296861757_1417005454_nSAM_6314SAM_6312We think he liked it.

Birthday morning (Kind of ignoring the new book box we got him!):


As I don’t need much excuse to make cake, we had a special birthday tea for Luke on his birthday.

Old school jelly by Billy:SAM_6325

Dinosaur cake by me: After Eight and Matchstick spikes and Tic Tac claws and teeth! The rest of the dino casing is green ready roll icing. Fun to make, but cutting all those triangles took some time!

dino cake - CopySAM_6328

Truth be told I am pretty exhausted so am looking forward to a less hectic time (hopefully). 🙂

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Millport 10 miler race recap

Last Sunday I ran the Millport 10 Miler Fun Run. This is the third time I have participated in this event (previously known as Michael’s Movers Millport 10 Miler) and as ever it was a friendly, efficiently organised occasion. I had this in my plans as my “goal race” for some time so I have been training accordingly. The use of a Garmin and my Sunday runs, in particular, gave me a good sense of where I was at in terms of setting my race goals. Last year, I completed the course in a time of 1:14:43 and I had high hopes of being able to better this time.  I calculated that running at an average of 7 min 20 sec miles would produce a 1hr 13 min 20 sec time. I have been training at running at this “goal pace” for parts of my runs over the last few weeks, but the challenge is being able to hold the pace for the entirety of the distance.

I was extremely relieved that the weather on Sunday was far nicer than Saturday so I set off for the ferry feeling optimistic. I did however feel chilly as I waited for the pre-race warm-up.


My race management was not the best on this occasion. I set off too fast as my split times demonstrate:

Splits Time Cumulative Time Moving Time Distance Elev Gain Elev Loss Avg Pace Avg Moving Pace Best Pace Calories
10 7:13.6 7:13.6 7:08 0.99 29 7:19 7:14 5:49 99
9 7:49.4 15:03 7:48 1.00 28 17 7:49 7:48 6:26 102
8 7:39.6 22:43 7:36 1.00 31 35 7:40 7:36 6:24 103
7 7:39.1 30:22 7:34 1.00 35 7:39 7:34 5:50 102
6 7:14.6 37:36 7:14.6 1.00 10 11 7:15 7:15 6:14 103
5 7:03.9 44:40 6:58 1.00 9 4 7:04 6:58 6:17 101
4 6:56.5 51:37 6:55 1.00 22 27 6:56 6:55 5:11 101
3 6:52.9 58:29 6:49 1.00 25 80 6:53 6:49 5:59 100
2 7:00.0 1:05:29 6:58 1.00 51 11 7:00 6:58 5:53 101
1 6:44.0 1:12:13 6:40 1.00 28 23 6:44 6:40 5:34 98
Summary 1:12:13 1:12:13 1:12:11 9.99 239 238 7:14 7:14 5:11

Mile 1 was my fastest at 6.44 pace. I managed to tail onto another runner until mile 4 when he began to leave me behind and then my speed began to drop. I could not hold the 7 minute mile and a few doubts began to creep in. The wind also picked up after mile 5 and I had to tell myself just to hang on and keep going.

A wee “handy” bit of self motivation can help:

I told myself to get to mile 9 and it would be okay. Mile 8-9 was my worst, but when I knew I only had a mile to go I was able to give it everything I had left.

run 2run1

The finish was an extremely welcome sight.

finish 2

post race

I finished in a time of 1hr 12 minute 15 seconds which calculates as an average pace of 7.14. I am obviously delighted, but not quite sure what to make of the way I went about it. Should I reign myself in at the first few miles of future races, or set a fast pace and try to hang on for as long as possible? That’s the problem of coaching myself!!

The race organisers kindly presented me with a bottle of champagne as the first female finisher. (I finished 4th overall) The goodwill at the end of the race was typical of the spirit of this event that is organised to raise funds for Parkinson’s Scotland.

presentation 3presentation

The boys also had a nice visit to the island. I was pleased that Billy brought them over and they enjoyed their time on the beach waiting for me to finish.

beach 1beach 2beach 3

car 2car

The sore legs that I have experienced since last Sunday remind me why I don’t appear to have it in me to race every week. Plenty of time to plan for the next one!






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Two already

Well my little Lukester, I cannot believe you are two already! Two years is a long time and then not really. It is hard to remember how life was without you. Every year as your birthday dawns I will remember the cherry blossoms that are blooming at this time of year. I remember vividly the cherry blossoms as I waited for you to arrive. I remember also seeing them last year as you turned one and seeing it as a sign that I had a made it. A difficult time was passing and I could look forward with my wee family.

cherry blossom

Every day is special and every moment is precious with you. There are so many reasons to be thankful to have you in our lives.

I am thankful for every single day I get to spend with you. Your curiosity, your innocence, your quest for learning, your lovely chat. The things that you do and say that make me smile and burst with pride. I am so glad on the days that I don’t have to rush anywhere else. I feel privileged to be able to live those moments with you.

The way you were: Day 1


Age 1


Almost 2:


A child giggles with all his heart, without any care in the world. I am thankful for those giggles which fill my heart with joy. The things that set you off can be so random, but you do love a right good giggle.


You are such a playful wee boy. You love spending time with your big brother Scott.


You love the outdoors.



I am the world for you today, as you will remain mine; but as you grow up, make new friends, learn new things, there will be a world beyond us. You are already making friends and making your world that bit bigger at nursery. It is incredibly exciting as well as a little sad for me. I am very thankful then for these moments in life when we have had each other’s attention all the time.



I have been guilty sometimes of feeling irritated when you pull me from all sides for attention. when you literally won’t let me put you down, when you won’t accept anyone but me. Those times late at night when I am tired or I have had a long day. I know this time is special and it is never going to come back. I know I need to slow down sometimes and take it all in. To tell you one more story. To hold you a little longer.


I have so much more to say, but words cannot quite say what you mean to me. I just hope I can remember the finer nuances of our daily lives, the fun we have, the many adorable things you do. I hope I can hold the beauty of these moments in my heart forever. I hope I can remember much more than a photograph or a video can ever capture.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Luke xx

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Blackness Castle

Last Sunday was a gloriously warm day, but sadly there wasn’t much warmth at Blackness Castle! I don’t think Blackness Castle ever gets warm given its location right next to the Firth of Forth and I can imagine that it must be bitterly cold with cutting winds in the winter months.SAM_6270SAM_6264SAM_6291

When we got out of the car, I wondered why everyone was picnicking right in at the castle wall, but I soon realised this was the only comfortable place to eat, avoiding the  wind.


My littlest man really loves going to castles and cheers when he hears we are going to one. He loves climbing and running round shouting “Attack!”


There are lots of nooks and crannies in this castle to explore:SAM_6296SAM_6297




The central lawn is lovely, but not very sheltered!


The most sheltered spot is in the central tower and there are also some impressive views of the Forth Bridges and Luke had a fantastic time playing up here.


So, we have ticked another Historic Scotland site off the list. Blackness is a formidable place with lots to get round. However, the chill in the air is a little off-putting and I would definitely recommend visitors wear a warm coat!

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Small things

Eating breakfast is more fun when it is a picnic for two:SAM_6207SAM_6208

Luke kept running through to excitedly tell me: “I eat cereal with Scott!”

Scott’s class recently did their assembly on Native Americans. I sadly didn’t get to see it, but Scott certainly talked about it a lot and the teacher did a great job with all the preparations.

I enjoyed a lovely day in the sunshine at Troon with the boys yesterday.


Scott ran on ahead and by the time I saw him again he was in the water:SAM_6212

And, of course, monkey see, monkey do:


Luke absolutely loved paddling and although Scott gave up fairly quickly, I couldn’t get Luke away and he was quite happy splashing away for ages.


Scott was starting to get a bit fed up so I started to coax Luke up the beach in the direction of the park.SAM_6225

Scott took over pram pushing duties while I herded Luke along.


When Scott goes on these types of swings it is a severe hazard with Luke as he is desperate to push Scott, but I have terrible visions of how this could go wrong!


Then it was Luke’s turn:SAM_6239SAM_6241SAM_6242SAM_6243

Time for ice-cream:SAM_6244SAM_6247

I felt bad as I accidentally left the house with very little money and by the time I had bought ice-cream I had to scrape out my purse to get Scott a shot on the bumper boats. Poor little Lukester had to make do with a bumpy pram ride!


Roll on more sunny days, please!

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