Author Archives: iona

Lunch time

‘Twas the week before Pay Day and all through the room

There was porridge for breakfast, and porridge at noon.

Porridge for dinner,

And supper,

And then;

Sleep before porridge for  breakfast again.


We got Advent Calendars. Steve forgot to eat a few days of his, so he was catching up this morning. In the wrong order.


Steve: (eats)Om. Snowman.

Me: You just ruined the surprise for me you know.

Steve: No, I didn’t. I didn’t tell you what the picture was, just the chocolate.

Me:(opening it) Oooh, a bear wrapping presents.

Steve: That’s a reindeer you dickhead.


Merry Christmas, everyone.

Outfit Of The Day

This time last week it was all about the sunshine. Shorts and t-shirts with cartoon sharks on them were all a girl needed to be fashionable. A pair of £1 purple aviators from Primark and I was set to be on-trend for the whole of the beautiful summer.

Oh how times have changed.

While I know* Primark have a whole new range of winter-wear, the sudden onset of the cold weather took us ladies by surprise, and we may not have all had time to race over there and take advantage of shopping-season**.

**It’s still summer.

Here’s where I can help: Just take some time to see how I put together THIS outfit. Feel free to copy my look!


The basis of this outfit is some jeans I found on sale in Peacocks about a year ago. The slight fashionable bunching around the crotch demonstrates that they are slightly too big for me, but this is typically counteracted by the plain black belt (An absolute bargain at £1 in the New Look sale of 2010).

This has been paired with a black t shirt. While more serious in tone than my typical style of brightly coloured t shirts with cartoon animals, I like to think* that the ‘Cat’ design gives my outfit an edgy look**.

*have never thought
**…and still don’t

Layering will be big this season, and I decided to start early. The bold stripe print of my oversized mans hoodie is softened by the chunky grey knit of my oversized mans cardigan. Sadly the hoodie was on sale in TK Maxx five years ago, and the cardigan was found on my sofa moments before going out. If you have any hints as to where my beloved readers* can find a similar outfit this season, let us know in the comments!**

*Hi Jody and Steve’s mum!
** Don’t.

The look is completed* by some walking boots. Once blue, they have taken on their trendy faded look over 12 years of wear. An absolute bargain from some walking shop in Northallerton. One of my absolute fave fashion destinations.

*unless you count pants. Which were purple with black lace trim and cartoon penguins wearing santa hats**

**that’s right, you didn’t ask.

My favourite thing about this outfit is how easily it transitions from day-wear to night-wear. Simply swap the jeans for fluffy heart-print pyjama bottoms and accessorise with a fluffy blanket and a cup of tea.

The hair was styled by sleeping on it, and my makeup was created entirely by taking the makeup of the day before, and rubbing my eyes a bit.

I do hope that this look inspires all you lovely readers to embrace the weather here at the end of summer. Let me know how you’ve been inspired by my fashion choices!

A Day In The Life of Me

  • Wake up. Spend an hour or so browsing the Internet from my phone, play some Angry Birds, or DrawSomething if it’s co-operating today. 
  • Snooze for a bit
  • Wake up again, calculate that I’ve pretty much had eight hours overall. Get up.
  • Ignore or play with the cat until his squawks become unbearable, then feed him. 
  • Think about how wonderful it would be to have a waffle machine, so I could make waffles for breakfast lunch.
  • Eat toast.
  • Contemplate jogging. Realise it’s raining.
  • Wander about on Facebook for an hour.
  • Casually google ‘waffle machines’
  • Argue with Steve about what is for dinner. Yes Steve, Stir Fry AGAIN.
  • Wait for him to leave for work
  • Plan to shower, feed my tomato plants, and leave the house
  • Wonder if Morrisons sell waffle machines
  • ACTUALLY shower, feed  my tomato plants and leave the house
  • …to go to Morrisons, to buy yet more vegetables that I will chop up and put in the freezer. 
  • Buy waffles
  • Make soup
  • Paint things. Hate the things I paint, so put them back where I found them.
  • Go to work
  • Talk about internet bingo for six hours. 
  • Drink Tea
  • Sleep


I just casually googled someone’s house today, and discovered it’s for sale.

The realisation hit me that it’s for sale because she’s dead. Though she’s likely been dead a while, it still reduced me to crying on the sofa for a few minutes.


There’s a theory that everything is on the internet, somewhere. But it’s not. Some things are hidden away in the corners of Scotland and memories. No matter how much I google, there’s no pictures of the pond, or of Mrs McCulloch herself.

I keep thinking ‘She was at least seventy’ but that was 20 years ago.

20 years and some of my clearest memories of that time are of her, and Glenrazie house. There used to be a sign with ‘Glenrazie house’ on it, where that white stick is, in the picture.

We’d rented a holiday caravan from her, every year, from before I could remember. My first stuffed toy was a cat that I called Razie, which she gave me at 3 months old. I’ve still got Razie.

She’d pick me up from my holiday caravan (the only one, tucked away behind her house) and take me for a morning walk round the pond almost every day that we were there. It has capital letters, those words; The Pond. We’d take her dog, Bobby. I had no concept that Bobby was an actual people name, and insisted that he was called that because he bobs up and down when he runs. He must have been at least seventy too, in dog years.

I’d babble away like four year olds do, insisting on counting all the slugs we’d walk past, cramming brambles into my mouth. (did I babble? I remember being scared of her, in a vague grown-up-who-i-don’t-want-to-offend sort of way.) Sometimes we’d be back from the beach, or fishing, early enough to take another walk in the evening, round the local woods and I’d get to ride in her car (my mind is conflicted between a sensible little white hatchback, and a big fancy white thing with a giant front bonnet. I suspect it was the former but felt like a limousine because it was a big event for a four year old) but it’s always The Pond I remember best.

The Pond seemed completely round, sunk in the bottom end of a big sloping field, surrounded by tangles of bramble bushes. There’s those purple flowers that look like little harmless thistles, bullrushes, a plastic heron stuck half way out. A vaguely scary bit where you have to walk over a dam built on the far end, looking down at the hole made by the overflow pipe. There’s a boat, upside down on the right hand side of the pond, never used when I was there. Covered in black paint that got sticky and hot in the sun.

Every story or essay in school that I could manage to vaguely link to the subject, and I’d start it by describing the journey up the tree-lined road to the house, the last corner where my brother David and I would compete to see who would see it first. The journey up the driveway, stopping as she’d come out to say hello before we’d carry on up to the familiar crunching sound of the gravel drive to our caravan.

Ten years of holidays, give or take one, we spent in her caravan, the front windows looking out over the pond. There was an Orchard full of the best plums I’d ever eaten,and the best grass I’ve ever sat in, probably because it was all moss. A herb garden over the wall in front of the caravan that we didn’t dare go into. Woods full of rhododendron bushes. And the field. Two ponies lived there, Scooby, who was big and grumpy, and Hazel. Hazel was short and fat and the feature of every game about ponies I ever made, year round. I used to ride her around the pond every so often, and bring her carrots and polos every day.

Mrs McCulloch must have put up with a lot, two children running around, climbing on her hay bales, plaiting ribbons into poor Hazels hair all the time, picking glittery stones out of the walls of their stable. She never minded, always encouraging us or telling us something new about the area or the ponies.

I remember a cat called Mittens, who would sometimes sit on assorted walls (I want to google it to show you exactly what the walls looked like, as they’re everywhere in Scotland, but it wouldn’t be right if it wasn’t THE walls) just looking large and shiny. We took our cat with us a few times, and hoped no-one would mind. No-one did.

I remember being invited into her kitchen for cans of coke, and perhaps biscuits. Though I feel like this is David’s story more than mine. There was a lot of turquoise in the house, but other than that, it’s a blur. Still, turquoise, grey and white reminds me of the house.

I remember the patterns on the furniture, plates and curtains in the caravan. The pattern on the spoons and the moss outside. The exact type of bushes that went round our garden. The old tyre she’d turned into a sand pit.

I remember that the thing I wanted most in the whole world was one of the buttons on her cardigan. It was made to look a bit like green opal.

I still want one.

We stayed there for two weeks every August, until I was at least 11. Then the caravan got old, or mouldy, and she stopped renting it out. We’d still come and visit, but it wasn’t the same.

Eleven years of two week holidays. 22 weeks. About an hour a day of pond-walking time, and I’ve spent less than 24 hours with this lady in my life.

I’m going back there, this year. To go to the same beaches and lochs and rivers and little seaside towns. They all look just about the same, on google. But this is proof (I nearly wrote ‘living proof’) that it won’t be. It won’t be the same, and it’ll never go back to being like it was. That’s okay, because I’m 24 and there’s a whole world out there. I just hope she knew (and I think she did know) how much of an impact she’d made on my life. I’m going to remember all this, hopefully forever.

I’m going to hope it’s still on sale, and try to get to the Orchard, if not the Pond, for one last look around.

I’m not a Vegan any more

Well that was disappointing.

I made it 40 days (44 in total, apparently Sunday doesn’t count) eating just Vegan food. Mostly. Apart from one or two (okay five) little accidents. Now I’m back to ‘normal’.


Today, i stuck to the rules and ate Vegan food for lunch, swiftly moving on to half a bag of Galaxy Caramel things being offered round the office by my dear friend Tom. He always always always has a bag of sweets and I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to turn them down recently, muttering stupid vegan to myself. I gulped down my lunch-apple quickly so that I could get to the chocolate.

What a disappointment.

It was nice, chocolatey and gooey and carameley, just as it should have been. But I actually had a better time eating my apple. I expected my mouth to practically explode with deliciousness. Nope.


Then, since I was two hours early for work, I ended up on a mission to Costa with a rather extensive list. Normally, I’d be eating something with a soya latte base. Today, Black Forest hot chocolate. This was less disappointing. It was actually the best idea for a hot chocolate flavour I’d seen in a long long time. Still, I could have made it work in a soya latte form too.

By this point I was only one hour early for work so I lurked a bit, trying to re-capture the joy of playing with a swivel chair.


Later on, I ate a Cornish Pastie provided by my mother in law. This was really nice. No nicer than a Falafel Burger. A very different type of nice, and I’d be greatly annoyed if all I ever ate again was a Falafel Burger. But still, my world didn’t change.


A few hours later and I was presented with half of the biggest pizza in the world, from a contribution of just £3.


(By this point I start to get embarrassed by how much I ended up eating, I’ll stop tomorrow)

I spent a large part of my evening typing away to little bingo customers while stuffing my face with as much cheese, chicken and garlic butter as I could fit in my mouth.

It was lovely, at the time. Then I started to feel sick and kinda regretted the whole episode.

This lasted ten minutes, then Tom came back with half a packet of biscuits, and I ate four.


I don’t think I even tasted them, not really.

Then I biked home and ate a slightly stale Krispy Kreme.

There’s a Domino’s pizza in the kitchen and I’m considering having a slice while I make some sandwiches.

Nothing is really appealing to me at the moment, I’m just eating things for the sake of it. I haven’t once, yet, gone ‘wow, I’ve been missing this for so long and now it’s back’. It’s just back.

I have big plans to buy and eat an entire Pineapple at some point.

I might go back to being a Vegan tomorrow.



The first time I failed, it was about four days in and I genuinely didn’t realise that my mead-flavoured-wine would be made with actual honey.

The second time I failed, it was still less than a week in and someone leaned over the top of my desk at work with a bag of Milky Way Chocolate Stars. I grabbed a handful and stuffed them into my face because I don’t like it when strangers ask me about Bingo games because I don’t KNOW anything about Bingo games.

Third time: “Wait, Pesto has CHEESE in it??? ”

Then I spent about a week thoroughly pleased with my new discoveries of hazelnut milk, soya creme caramel and aduki bean kievs. Twice I was making Cheese sandwiches for Steve, the cheese made it all the way to my mouth and I stopped myself at the very last second. I made it through the worst day yet; if I was EVER going to deliberately give in and stuff ‘real’ food into my mouth it would be the time I went to the Chinese supermarket at two in the afternoon, yet still before lunch. Bacon and Spring Onion brioche twisty things? Assorted pastries? Seafood Party noodles? Various delicious sauces to tip on tofu that have STUPID SHRIMP in them? Chocolate Pocky?

Despite all this I made it! I survived by making a Sriracha Udon thing. Then I felt better. Fully committed to being a Vegan for another 21 days. I even commented that I was more than half way, and plotted some delicious Artichoke Risotto for dinner.Then I got distracted in Costa and forgot that the coffee was for Steve and that I needed another coffee-type product for me. I was busy reading the back of all the crisps and settling on ‘Carrot and Beetroot’ so they ACTUALLY SAID VEGAN on them.

I was so distracted by this that I ordered a coffee and a hot chocolate, both with Soya Milk because a little bit of my brain was working.

Then I drank the Hot Chocolate. Made with Chocolate. Milk Chocolate.

So I’m the WORST Vegan ever.

Still got 21 days left. Still gonna do it, all the way to the end. Not going to get £10 prize.

But that’s okay.