Carpe Diem: Save the world!

Random acts of kindness + cake = my favorite things!

RSPBpinbadges
Excitement overload: RSPB pin badges arrived!

Received my RSPB pin badge box this week!

I’d gotten in touch with our local representative to see if I could become a pin badge box minder at my office. I get a lot of passing traffic from students and staff, and with the students changing out every year I figured this might be a good opportunity to showcase the badges from my desk. (I totally love these badges myself, and figured it’d also allow me to selfishly get first dibs as well as helping the birds!)

WELL! The kit arrived and I got to assemble my box and put the pins in and definitely snagged a couple cute ones for myself (hello blackbird! hello snowy owl!). Then I took the box round the offices in my building and managed to sell LOADS in the first instance! So excited! It’s amazing how well received they’ve been so far. Some people had requests (for dragonflies and butterflies and puffins and more of the Scottish animal and plant badges), so I’ll need to request more of the other sets of badges. But it’s a great, great start! I can’t wait to report our success to the local rep come the end of the month!

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Carnage: Lemon Drizzle bundt cake, bottom left
Cake Carnage: My Lemon Drizzle bundt cake, bottom left

We’ve also just participated in the ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning‘ at my work, for Macmillan’s Cancer Trust. My colleague had heard about it, and as I regularly organise a Coffee & Cake mixer once a month at work, we decided to co-opt this month’s C&Cs to raise donations for Macmillan’s!

My colleague did most of the hard work: organizing the cake donations. And we all mucked in on the day to raise a couple hundred pounds! Very proud.

I got indecisive as usual and made a couple different things: red velvet cupcakes and lemon drizzle bundts (throw-backs from our wedding cake!).

Loving getting involved in good causes!

Carpe Diem: Bees!

This was probably a bit of a cheating ‘goal’, as it is not uncommon for me to overextend myself, especially when it comes to extracurricular activities. But I meant it more as a reminder to take up good opportunities as they come and not turn away ‘gift horses’ in my life because I am shy, socially anxious or risk-averse.

Hive BoxesAlmost no sooner had I published the list as I discovered the University (where I work) has just started offering beekeeping classes! AMAZING! I signed right up! It is only a 5 week, 1hr a week, training. And a couple of my colleagues from work are also joining in (as it is free for staff & students).

With only one week under my belt so far, this has already been an amazing experience! Our teacher is brilliant and didn’t mind being interrupted to patiently answer all of our many curious questions. In the first short hour, we learned about the different types of honeybees, how long they live, what they can produce (did you know they can make silk??!), the tools and costumes we will be using/wearing, the structure of a bee box, the proper way to take honey from the box, and lots and lots and lots of other things! I came home and jabbered at Stuart for OVER an hour about all the things I’d learned. So excited to go out to the hives next week.  Will keep you posted on how that goes (hopefully with photos!)

Top facts I learned this week:

  • Queen bees are ‘told’ what sort of baby bee to have (ie. for a new queen, a drone, or a worker) based on the size and shape of the comb that the worker bees make. So really the worker bees (who know everything about what the hive needs) decide how many and what kind of bees are produced.
  • Worker bees (who are all female) can only lay unfertilized eggs (which can only grow into drones (males). All drones are born from unfertilized eggs. [My colleague said – like Jesus!]
  • If a mouse invades a bee hive, the bees can kill it (by stinging the mouse, which kills them as well – to save the hive!), but they can’t tear it apart or carry it out of the hive, so they cover it in propolis, essentially mummifying it (so it doesn’t decay and destroy the rest of the hive). NEAT!

Buy a house: ongoing!

Big in the forefront of my mind for the past 18+ months has been house-hunting. Really, we’ve been looking at houses for the past 2-3 years now, but we had it high on our list of priorities for this year, and have been putting a lot of time and effort into finding ‘the one’.

We’ve seen easily over 100 houses at ‘open viewings’ (usually Sundays 2-4pm) that we thought we liked on paper; however, have had mixed feelings in person.

kirklistonWe saw a lovely house – the first one S ever liked! – in Kirkliston, a wee town on the outskirts of Edinburgh that would have been really handy for S for work. We put in an offer, but it ended up getting scooped up by someone else (we didn’t even have the chance to try and out-bid them!). It was pretty demoralising; we’d started to get our hopes up as a few months passed with our offer under consideration, before we eventually found out they’d decided to sell it quickly without letting us know or going to a closing date…

BUT! What’s for you won’t go by you, our family kept reminding us. And we put in an offer for another house early this month. This one closer to S’s family, and relatively central so potentially quite good for both of our daily commutes.

corstorphineHowever, we found out mid-month that after going to a closing date, we didn’t get the house. The lowest bidders! Gutted again! Not as badly this time as the process was quite quick and we didn’t have as much time to get attached to it.

Part of me feels like if we keep on at this rate, who knows if we’ll ever get something! But that’s me – ever fatalistic.

Fortunately, S is an optimist. So we persevere! Back to the property ‘drawing board’.