Sunday, 1 July 2012

Bucket List - Doonies Farm

Sorry guys, I have been super busy the last few weeks.. change of job, family holiday, cub scout camp and the mountain of washing that comes with it all, so sorry I haven't blogged in a while.. 

Yesterday the weather in Aberdeen was surprisingly nice.. it's been horrible fog and rain for the past couple weeks. So a friend, his godson and I took the chance to tick something off my bucket list... Doonies Farm!! Doonies is one of my favourite places, it is a rare breed farm that is open to the public and I used to come as a child. They have horses, pigs, cows, chickens, turkeys, geese, goats and sheep in all sorts of breeds. You can buy a bucket of cut up vegetables for 50p and feed the animals as you go around, which is perfect for little kids. They also have a cute play park in the middle complete with mini tractors for the kids to ride on. Doonies was nearly shut down because of lack of funding and increased rent but thankfully it has managed to scrap by, so it is lovely to be able to support it. Doonie's have even made a new little picnic area so you can really spend the whole day if you wanted.

It costs £4 for adults, £2.50 for children's and under 2's go free but you can get a family ticket for £10 which is for 2 adults and 3 children and even school trips get a discounted rate of £3 for adults and £2 for children. They even sell duck, goose and chicken eggs and beef steaks (but you have to be fast they sell out fast!)

Who doesn't love little lambs and calfs?!

Love M xx

Saturday, 26 May 2012


What is everyone doing for the Queens Jubilee!? I can't be the only one who has caught Royal fever!? I must have bought hundred of meters of bunting and lets not get started on the paper plates, tea towels and party hats I seem to have slipped into my shopping basket over the past month or two.. 
I can't decide if I want to take the day off work yet or maybe have an office celebration.. the service is bound to be streamed live on youtube or the web somewhere right? If I am at work my idea was to arrange a potluck lunch and make a few royal themed desserts.. 

Here are some of my inspiration from around the web:
How about this awesome Purple Crown which was designed by the baker who made Kate and Williams 8 tier wedding cake... (instructions are in the caption).. it looks okay to make it would just be very time consuming.
Photo from

Or how about something a bit simpler like a (shop bought if you are feeling lazy) tray bake decorated with fresh berries (I am thinking strawberries, blackberries/blueberries and raspberries) in the shape of the Union Jack Flag.. with added miniature bunting if you are feeling crafty..
Photo from
Or how about some crowd pleasing cupcakes.. Something like this maybe or even just frosting with red, white and blue sprinkles and a little flag for the top:
Photo from: CakeMeCaroline
What are your plans? Will you be waving your flags on the 5th of June or slaving at a desk? Did you manage to get tickets to her concert in London!? Anyone else not at all impressed with Pippa' bottom? 

Love M Xx


Has anyone ever tried Geocaching it's described as "is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online." I am really tempted to try it out in Aberdeen, I think I might go for a little wonder tomorrow night to try find some, I will keep you posted if I do.
Geocaching Logo
If you fancy trying it out too have a wee look at the brochure...

Love M Xx

Bucket Lists

Do you ever feel that you don't actually know your city properly?! 
I was born in Aberdeen and then moved away when I was 9 years old only to return 2 years ago to be close to family again. Sometimes I feel like a stranger in my own city. This year my New Years resolution was to try as many new places in Aberdeen as I could... those old man pubs you are always too scared to go to.. that museum that you always pass wanting to go into for a snoop but don't have time for etc!?

So I am going to make a list on here of all the places I want to visit in Aberdeenshire so that I might actually manage to do some (everyone loves checking off from lists right!?) and I am hoping I will do little reviews along the way. Maybe it will come in handy for those of you who visit Aberdeen at some point in the future.. 

  1. Silver Darling
  2. The Stage Door
  3. Cafe Boheme
  4. Rustico
  5. Cocoa
  6. The Mariner Hotel
  7. Ashvale Restaurant
  8. Cinnamon
  9. The Station Hotel
  10. The George Hotel
  11. Cafe 52
  12. Manchuria Restaurant
  13. Siagon
  14. Mango Pickle
  15. Blue Moon 
  16. Yorokobi
  17. Oryza Sushi
  18. La Stella
  19. Nargile 
  1. Malones
  2. The Abercrombie
  3. The Howff
  4. McGintys
  5. The Albyn
  6. College Bar
  7. Dizzys
  8. The Prince of Wales
  9. The Malt Mill
  10. Brewdog
  11. Balmoral Lounge
  12. The Shortmile 
  13. Ferryhill Hotel
  1. Bennachie Hill Walk
  2. Duthie Park
  3. Hazelhead Park - Animal Petting and Maze etc
  4. Balmedie Beach
  5. Tyrebagger Wood
  6. Aberdeen City Beach - Walk a giant bit of it
  7. Union Terrace Gardens - before it changes
  8. Aberdeen Harbour 
  9. Doonies Farm
  10. Codonas Pleasure Fairs
  11. Storybook Glen
  12. The Railway Line
  13. AFC stadium
  14. Footdee (Fittie)
  15. River Don
  16. Thainstone Car Boot Sales
When I write it out like that it seems a lot to do but I think I will be adding to the list for a while yet.. I plan to mark each off as I go along so keep track. 

Hope you have a lovely weekend and get to enjoy the weather tomorrow!!
Love M Xx

Friday, 25 May 2012

Cute baby gifts..

Am I the only person seeming to be going through the phase where all your friends/family are having babies?! Looking for the perfect baby gift this year?! I found these at a local little art and gift shop and I think they are awesome!! How about a Quine (means Girl in Doric; the language of NE scotland) / Loon (means boy) baby bibs.. They also come in children's tees too.
The bibs cost £8 and the shirts are £14 and they all come in a range of colours.
All the bibs and clothes are made in Africa and are 100% African cotton that is responsibly produced.

I got mine from Junction Arts at 282 Holburn Street Aberdeen the website is but I don't think they have an ordering system on their yet. 
I think they are soo cute and totally unique from all the normal baby presents, what do you think?!

Have a fun weekend! Xx

Thursday, 24 May 2012


Arrow (black), Sumo (top yellow) Frey (bottom right)

The weather has been so lovely this week that the chicks (Sumo, Arrow and Frey) have been outside enjoying the sun.. I am always amazed at how they know to be a chicken without seeing it before.. How do they learn to dust bath or scratch in the ground for bugs? I guess it's a nature vs nurture thing!!

Hope your enjoying the sun too!! Xx

Cub Scouts

One of my favourite things to do each week is help with Cub Scouts, knowing what to do with 18 eight to ten year old boys can sometimes be a panic.. the games have to be fun, tiring and quick to organise. We are lucky enough to have 2 large halls to plan in and an outside green for when the weather is nice. Here are three games that we plan and are a hit with the boys:

4 Way Football
Pip, Squeak, Wilfred

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


Check out what was waiting for me when I got home from work today!! (s)he is a Maran crossed with a light Sussex (hence her surprising colouring). Hopefully some others will come soon to keep it company! No name yet, although I have a feeling it is a rooster (check out that comb at only a day old!)


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Brooding Chicks

Once your chicks are hatched from an incubator you will need somewhere to keep them until they can go outside into a coop. I like to keep mine simple.. I am no good at woodwork. The easiest way I had seen was a simple plastic box (the one i used is from ASDA for £4) and a oven grill for £1.50 (they are attached by zip ties) In a panic I had to buy two clip on lights (£3 each from ASDA) which turned out to be perfect!!
The light bulbs are red for quail to prevent them attacking each other but the main reason is for heat. Use two 60w lights or one 100w heat bulb (£4.29) to go with a glowlight by Exo Terra (£23.99) (both from petsathome in the reptile section)
From the top: The grill tray makes a perfect place to clip the lamps to. 
The brooder box needs to be lined with something none slippy (or you will get some splayed legs which will need treatment) I line mine with newspaper and then Lizard Cage Carpet on top (I bought it because I can wash and reuse it) but you can just use an old towel or something similar you have at home. You  need to add water and food in small shallow dishes. I make sure to add plenty food on a plate or tray and a couple jam jar lids for water (quail are quite clumsy and can easily drown, if you are using something deep add some stones to the bottom) Make sure your lights aren't directly above the water or you will have to replace it all the time.

The temperature in the brooder should be;
1st Week - 32-35oC
2nd Week- 29-30oC
3rd Week - 26-29oC
4th Week - 23-26oC
5th Week - 21-23oC

Imagine that the red is the heat source
and the brown are your new chicks
If your birds are huddled together it's too cold, if they are near the side of the brooder it's too hot and if they are running around cheeping then they are perfect.

Your birds will be ready to move out outside when they are mostly feathered. Quails can go out after 2-3 weeks and chickens 4-5 weeks depending on the weather and if they are expected to mix with other birds (be careful introducting quail before they are similar size as they can be very violent)

Please keep your fingers crossed that the chicken eggs hatch on Wednesday!! Photos if they do!!


Coffee and Walnut Cake

Who doesn't love cake!? My mums favourite is Coffee and Walnut cake, which is two things I don't really love so never wanted to cook but after some pestering I decided to give it a try. Here is the recipe that I found from Nigella and I adapted a little for what I had at home...

For the sponge:

50g walnut pieces
225g caster sugar
225g soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
200g plain flour
4 teaspoons instant coffee granules 
2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4 eggs
1 tablespoons of sour cream (just use a little milk if easier)

For the buttercream frosting:
350g icing sugar
175g soft unsalted butter
2 teaspoons instant coffee powder and 2 teaspoons of boiling water
2 tablespoons of cream cheese
8-12 walnut halves, to decorate

You will need: 2 x 20cm sandwich tins

Set your oven for 180oC.
With a rolling pin or food blender blitz the walnut until a powder (it will be a little damp) and mix with the sugar. 
It is such a light and fluffy batter
In a large bowl mix this with the flour, eggs, butter (I often cheat and half melt it in the microwave), coffee (which should be mixed with a little hot water first), baking powder and bicarb and then add some sour cream/milk to make a light batter. Split this between 2 sandwich tins and cook for 25-30 minutes till brown and clean when you pull a screwer out of the middle.
Let the cakes cool and then ice with the buttercream frosting (just mix all ingredients) between the 2 cakes layered on top of each other(make sure you have plenty for the top) then decorate with walnut halves. 

I was surprised at how light this cake was with so many eggs, it was lovely and moist too. I will definitely be making this again. You could add more coffee if you like it strong but I thought it might take away from the walnuts so I kept it quite light for my first attempt.   

Serve and enjoy..
Tada... The finished Coffee and Walnut Cake.
I wish I had taken a photo of the slices but I ate it too fast sorry!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

GoApe at Crathes Castle

I had an action packed day today. I kindly got invited to try out the GoApe! Treetop Adventure course today. It costs £30 for over 18 year olds (Gorillas) and £20 for 10-18 year olds (Baboons) and the course takes 2-3 hours to complete, so I thought it was great value, but it might get expensive for a family day out, they could do with a few family promotions I think. 
Did me heart stop a couple times.. yup. Did I scream at some parts... yup. Would I do it again... Definitely!!! 
The course set at Crathes Castle (which near Banchory, 15ish miles west from Aberdeen) is split into 5 sections; The first being a tiny warm up area which has a tiny zip line and a couple crossings. The second part has a huge ladder which you climb into the tree canopy, one part is called the Tarzan Jump where you jump from the platform into a net a couple meters away and for just starting taking that step off is terrifying, all of the sections finish in a zip wire (make sure you land facing forward or you will get a trouser full of bark!!) As you move onto the next sections they get harder and higher up (although the course is suitable for 10year olds). Some of the sections in the course have an easy or hard option incase you aren't feeling so brave. There is 28 different crossings with the longest Zip Wire being 125meters and its highest point 8.6 meters.
Hurrah!! I managed to finish!
I can't say anything bad about the staff. They were all lovely, so encouraging and very knowledgable. Once they show you a couple of safety things at the office and at the first section you are in charge of your own safety. They float around between everyone on the ground making sure you are safe and you are even given a whistle incase you get stuck. Our group was only 7 people which was a lovely size and you didn't feel like you were waiting ages for the next part.

I love that there is something so much fun so close to Aberdeen, it was lovely to get a ride in the car (if you don't have a car the 201 bus from Aberdeen Bus Station drops off at the estate entrance) and enjoy the grounds of the Castle. We didn't have time to head into the castle and gardens but friends of ours did and had a super time. They even has a cafe, gift shop, plant shop and dress-up costumes, and today they had a wood turning demonstration which was awesome. Plenty parking is available and is £2 for pay and display but this is free if you are a NTS member (which is only £20 for a year if you are under 25yrs). I can't wait to head back when the weather is a bit nicer and have a picnic and explore the grounds a bit more.
Photo: from NTS
Hope your weekend was full of fun!! Xx

Suro Incubator..

I have the R-com King Suro 20 Incubator... so far I LOVE it.
Photo: My own. This is the Suro King 20.
The water bottle is for the humidity, don't use tap water!
I ordered my incubator from P&Tpoultry and it was on sale when I bought it but at the moment it's £179.99. It can hold 24 chicken eggs, 20 duck eggs and 60 quail eggs but you can also hatched geese, pheasants, peacocks and turkeys (check out ebay for eggs the possibilities are endless).
It has easy to follow instructions on how to set it up all you need is a screwdriver. The incubator sits on a cradle which rocks the eggs slowly (so the chick doesn't get stuck to the egg). The incubator is all automatic you set the temperature and the humidity when starting and then you just have to remember to change it on the last few days when not turning (which allows the chicks to find the right way up to hatch). The Suro also has an alarm if the temperature or humidity drop too low (it's handy if you don't place the lid on properly!)

Photo: My Own
This is the 'face' where you control the temp and humidity
The R-com King Suro 20 is perfect if you are working during the day and don't have the time to turn the eggs 3 times a day minimum, I realise £179.99 is expensive but a day old chick is about £5-£8 depending if its autosexed and I realised if I hatched 35 chicks it is about the same price but you get the joy of watching it while it happens.. it really is the best feeling! I have incubated twice now normally with a 80% success rate but I think that is because of the eggs. This time I had 2 quail with leg problems but that was my fault as I had chicken eggs in at the same time (Please don't do it!!) A little bandage therapy on curled toes and it seems to be okay.

Keeping Poultry

One of my favourite hobbies is learning older traditions... I can make butter, bake a cake, pull the neck of a chicken, pluck and gut it, keep quails, grow vegetables, make jam, grow fruit and vegetables etc one of the best by far is keeping poultry.
Photo: My Own. This is Felix the Rooster he is a big softy
 and is often found sneaking in the house
I started with 6 Sussex birds 3 years ago; 2 roosters and 4 hens. I now have 3 Legbars, 2 Marans, 3 Sussex hens and 2 Sussex roosters. They are hilarious to watch doing their thing during the day, scratching the soil for worms and dust bathing. I highly recommend them, if you have the space and time (please check out BHWT to see if you can adopt first) plus the eggs are YUMMY!! I love to be able to show the chickens to the children that stop to cock-a-doodle over the wall, some of their questions about them make me giggle.
Last year I bought an incubator and decided to hatch some quail. Quail can fly so they have to be kept in a coop and run all the time and reward you with beautiful tiny creamy eggs (they can actually be quick expensive). This week I hatched some more quail to join the older ones. They are tiny, adorable and grow so fast. In a week or two they will be in the garden where as chickens need 5-6 weeks before going out unless with a mother hen.
I am hoping I can write a few posts that might help people starting out keeping poultry. (I promise this blog won't be all about poultry!)
Photo: My own. This is a 2 day old quail. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

This weekend...

What are you guys up to this weekend?!
I will be off to Thainstone Mart tomorrow to see the rare breed animals.. I can't wait to see all the birds (quail, turkey, chicken, peacocks) but the highlight is definitely going to be the llamas.
Then on Sunday we are heading to try out GoApe at Crathes Castle we can't wait to try it out. Keep your fingers crossed we don't get Acrophobia.

Hope your weekend rocks!!
Photo: Originally from (but i think that website has closed down)

Thursday, 3 May 2012


Photo from:
Welcome to Not All Scientists Wear White Coats, thanks so much for stopping by our corner in the internet. Bare with us while we get everything set up and running.. We will soon be filled with lots of fun fashion, beauty, science, adventures and lots more from in and around Aberdeen so feel free to please come back.
Best Fishes..