Sticky Paw Prize Draw...coming soon (GYBP)

Apologies for anyone waiting with baited breath and bitten finger nails for the giveaway prize draw announcement, but I'm afraid it will have to take place tomorrow. 
Our star and Diva 'Miss McMuffy' is insisting on being bathed and groomed before she makes her public appearance and we just didn't get around to that today. 
Plus the light is fading fast, so inevitably the film crew are refusing to film saying it's too dark and nothing to do with the fact that there's footy on the TV. 
I did intend to pick the winner today, but it has been jam packed with the usual full on weekend activities, plus visitors. 
So hang on in there peeps...we'll be announcing soon...I promise. 
Hopefully tomorrow.

In the meantime, because so many people taking part in the Grow Your Blog Party are crafty, creative individuals...I thought you might like to see some very cute critters. 
Their foliage is made up of little fir cones, branches and twigs. 
I think they're so cleverly created and adore them.
They are currently living in the inglenook close to the fire...but not too close obviously being made of wood! 
If you'd like to read a little more about owls especially about the ‘Tawny Frogmouth Owls' who came to visit us for Christmas when we lived in Melbourne then click HERE.  

So hopefully I'll be able to announce the winner for the 'stick paw prize draw' tomorrow (you'll understand why it's called that when you see the draw
so keep those fingers crossed just a little longer.
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Good Luck everyone
xoxo

OneDad3Girls

Grow Your Blog Party 2014...and a GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to the Grow Your Blog Party!
For those of you that haven't heard about the brain child of Vicki over at 2 Bags Full she's offered to host a party for over 500 people. Now I call that generous and incredibly brave. 
If you click onto the logo below it will take you into all the other party people and their blogs, but hopefully you'll not go before staying awhile. 
Now anyone that knows me will understand what a huge task this post has been for me to create...I have difficulty being brief or to the point at the best of times and that's one of the reasons why my blogs name has 'Natter' in it! 
I love to natter...about everything!
Basically, I've been described as someone being able to talk even under water and I know that's true. 
Yes, I'm aware that even this opening paragraph is in serious jeopardy of running away with me. So with that in mind I'll move swiftly on...
Firstly, though I thought I should give a brief idea of what makes me tick...I'll give only give you a few things to keep it brief...I'm not over thinking these either...they're not in any particular order, I'm writing them as they come into my head. 
Yep I'm that dizzy...and blonde! hehe
I adore my family and friends (plus our dog obviously...I live with my hubby, son and soon my daughter will be moving back home too plus our pooch Muffin)
I love drawing/art - I seriously want to devote more time to this (My Etsy shop needs to reopen) Gardening, but like to involve others when the going gets tough
Drinking copious amounts of tea and virtually never refuse a cuppa
Blogging big time of course! 
Reading and books (I've been devouring them ever since I first started to read)
Cooking and baking (sharing recipes and getting used to using my Aga once again)
Wildlife and Nature 
Photography, I'm just about to purchase a new camera...how exciting is that?

I started blogging a few years back when living in Melbourne and my daughter who was living in Edinburgh Scotland, at the time suggested it might be good to have a diary in the form of a blog to record daily life on our travels. 
At that time I'd never even heard the word 'blog' or what it meant.
Well, it was a shaky start and I'm not sure I've improved as much as I would have wished but it's certainly something I love to do and can't imagine not doing. I have posts pop into my head randomly and I'm constantly taking photos of everything in my day and thinking how they would be added into a post or tweet. Yep...I'm an avid Twitter user too. 
Blogging has changed my life and opened doors that I never thought possible. It's also brought new friendships from all over the globe. It really never ceases to amaze me just how powerful and wide stretching it can be.

Here I am doing one of the things I love to do...drawing whilst having my trusty assistant nearby to help with all of the major decisions. 
You can see she's riveted! 
That's Muffin by the way . 
(She's a mini Shih Tzu but there's nothing mini about this poochs attitude. She also known as Muffy, Muffty, Mufftypup, McMuffy after our last move, to name but a few
Although she looks cute and puppylike...don't be fooled...she's just celebrated her 10th Birthday ...and she certainly knows how to work the system or more precisely us! 

We have finally given up the expatriate life after 24 years of travelling and living abroad. We've had lots of adventures and certainly seen life along the way! 
Some a little too close and personal for my liking, but you have to take the good with the bad. Embracing it all.
So we've returned home...but I've never been sure where home was when asked this reasonable question. Over the years I decided that 'home' was wherever our nest happened to be at the time and we were all together. You have to adapt to this concept in order to have some consistency to your life when you're away.
But we packed our expatriate bag for the last time and flew off...but to where I hear you ask? Well here's a clue where we've landed.... 

Hehe isn't he stunning...a Highland Cow! 
(Not sure if you can call a 'he' a cow but maybe that's the thought for the day?) 
Did you guess right? 
Yes, we are in Scotland...in Aberdeenshire to be more precise. 
We moved away from a house here and rented it out whilst we travelled but we're back to stay. 
If you'd like to see the landscape and join Muffy and I on one of our daily walks then click HERE
I'm not sure this is it...the final destination and we'll stay, but for now we've no plans to move for a while. But I've learnt to never say never! 
It's surreal to be here once again but I'm loving settling back in. 
There are major renovations on the 'to-do list' and I've mentioned them in previous posts. Two bathrooms are just about finished except for a little bling to be added. There is decking being crafted right before my eyes as I type here and next week we are replacing all the windows and doors in the house. 
Keep your fingers crossed that snow doesn't arrive!
If you like the TV programme 'Grand Designs' with Kevin McCloud then come and visit here regularly because it's all happening. I wouldn't be surprised if Kevin walked up our driveway any day now. 
But there are peaceful parts of the property...
Here's a view of the side garden and one of my main bird feeding stations. 

(obviously this photo was taken in the summer months...
it doesn't look like this at the moment) 
It's amazing just how many birds have started to regularly visit us now there's a five star restaurant opened up. I just love to see the birds and can seriously lose hours watching their antics and acrobatics. We used to have pheasants visit when we last lived here, but I've yet to see one in the garden since we returned, but I'm hopeful that the word will spread..."they're back, come on down"!
Here's a few photos that I snapped over the summer. 
There are so many things to capture on camera.
Since we've been back in Scotland, we've been lucky enough to share in a fairy tale wedding at a castle...click HERE if you'd like to take a peek and there's lots of plans ready for exploring the area once spring arrives. There's so much happening here, history, architecture and fantastic scenery to name but a few...so it's going to be tough deciding what to post but I'm sure I'll manage. 
I hope that you'll join me because it just won't be the same without you. 
(The city of Aberdeen and around and about)
But there's also lots to share still about our travels and no doubt they'll make an entrance too at various stages. 
We've lived in hot places, cold places and everything in between.

(In order from left to right...Qatar, Canada and Melbourne) 
Melbourne was our last port of call and I miss it terribly. I made so many wonderful friends (Little Wandering Wren is taking part in the GYB Party...so why not nip over to say 'Hi'. She'd love to see you plus you'll be able get a warm too because it's summer there at the moment).
We had a fantastic time in Melbourne and have fantastic memories and at one stage we very nearly stayed. It was a very close call.
Melbourne has been voted the best city in the world on numerous occasions and rightly so.

Before Melbourne we were in the Middle East and I seriously thought we were heading home from there but instead of turning left on takeoff to come back to the UK we turned right to Australia!
What a fantastic time we had whilst there and I couldn't possibly pick a previous post for you to see because there's just too much choice. I think it might be better if you'd like to see any details by heading into my sidebar to browse. 
Muffy was actually born in Qatar and we couldn't leave her behind so she made the journey...and Australian quarantine. 
Now here's the link but be assured no animal was hurt in the making of this post...click HERE 
It's way back in the early days of blogging for me so please be forgiving if you look back. 

Can you imagine what might go through her little brain? 
"What are they thinking? I'm from the desert and then they take me off to Australia which turns out to have winters and quarantine"! 
Not content with that they then decide to cool me down even further and take me to Scotland! It's really a good job that I have friends and connections out there that send me beautifully knitted jumpers in Aran that have made my life at least bearable!" 
I am very selective in my choice of location for snoozing...it's normally near the wood burner or Aga


If you're still with me at this stage I'm thinking you need a reward. I'm going to have a giveaway and if you leave a comment below then you will be entered into the draw. I did this at last years party and there's no show without 'Punch' so Muffy had to do the draw. 
If you want to see how we did it then click Sticky Draw Prize Draw
I think we'll do something similar this year but at the moment I'm not sure what I'll be giving away. But I know 'Hamish' will be in there...plus a few bits and pieces like the book marks from a craft market in Melbourne. 
I would like to include something that I've created too but at the moment it's looking unlikely, but as I said 'never say never eh'? You never know?
Here's just a snippet of some of my art...the first was my personal mandala and was so much fun to include lots of things relevant and special to me. 
I was thrilled to open my Etsy shop last year, but I decided to close it just before I moved from Melbourne. I'm hoping that I will be able to re-open it again soon.  
For our last big adventure last year we went to New Zealand...both the North Island and the South Island with a few thrills along the way. 
If you want to see these posts they are in my sidebar (October 2012)

We plan to explore Europe now that we are over this way...so as they say...watch this space! 
Before I go I want to share a recipe with you and it's quite relevant with it being Australia Day on Sunday plus this is one of my hubbies favourite recipes. I know I should perhaps have tipped my cap or should I say Tam O'Shanter (tartan hat...if I had one) to it being 'Burns Night' on Saturday night (25th January) but I haven't got to grips with haggis yet...but no doubt I will. Maybe that'll be for next years party? 
I would have liked to have a new recipe for my regular visitors because they've seen this one before but the days just keep running away with me and I don't accomplish half of what I'd like to before my energy runs out and it's time for bed! If only I didn't have to sleep?
If you like the look of this yummy lemon tart then click on Australia Day Classic Lemon Tart
The recipe is enclosed in that post and it's one of my most popular posts.
I promise I'll have a new recipe soon...my Aga needs to get busy! 
Phew...well I think it's time for another cuppa in my favourite Denby mug.

(There are obviously other brands available than the one shown here...hehe...in fact there's a whole plethora of flavours and other brands out there...all waiting to be tasted  ~ how perfect is that) 
I'll just thank you for popping into my place and taking the time to browse. If you manage to leave a comment to show that you've been here all the better (or if you decide to follow...I always find I do a little clap and dance when I see a new follower) you'll be entered into my giveaway and will feature in a future post when Muffy does her party piece! Plus I always try to answer everyone that leaves a comment. 
Just one more thank you...and that's to Vicki for hosting this incredible event. I can't imagine just how much time and effect has gone into organising it.
Vicki is a very special person...just pop over to see her wonderful blog to get to know more.
I'm away now to put on my glad rags, lippy and dancing shoes to party the weekend away!
Have fun whatever you have planned...enjoy! https://secure.quebles.com/content/hotmail/emoticons/1511763.gif



Giveaway Prize Draw...and the winner is....


'The Party's Over' (as the song says) but it's not quite time to call it a day....sadly I didn't get to meet everyone at the Grow Your Blog Party...I obviously took too long chatting to just a few interesting people and my time ran out! But thankfully the invites are still there, so I'll continue to blog hop about for the next few weeks....
But let's get onto the exciting bit...the giveaway draw for the 2013 calendar. 
Mufftypup was bathed and groomed within an inch of her life, which unfortunately just happened to be on a day when the temperature dropped and the rain came! 
As you can imagine she was not amused and if looks could kill, I would have been six foot under. 
She just kept staring at me whilst shivering...so much so that in the end I gave in (don't I always?) and had to put on her new Aran jumper (which was a kindly sent all the way from Canada from Jenn's Mum over at Just add water silly....which I didn't think would be worn until next winter) 
Eventually the shakes subsided.

Here's Muffy modelling it....isn't it fantastic! 
Jenn was very crafty in gaining Muffy's measurements so never underestimate that lady's sneakyness but all  for a good reason and her Mum's knitting is fantastic! It fits perfectly....






I then had quite a time convincing the 'Diva' to come out of the 'Green Room' (namely her bed) for her big screen performance...her public were waiting after all!
She insisted she needed more time to prepare, but finally hunger pangs and the prospect of fresh chicken treats lured her out from the cosy confines of her bed.

 So without further ado let's get on to find out who the lucky winner is.....
Drum roll please....and the winner is.....





 CONGRATULATIONS goes to Linda, Jackie and Boo
I'll be contacting you soon for your mailing address. 

So Mufftypup decided not to pick just one name out...she picked THREE! 
I knew she'd get me back for that bath earlier!
But don't dispear if you didn't win because you can still get your 2013 calendar over at my Etsy shop...at a bargin price! See my sidebar for details....
Smile

As you can see...it all became too much and a serious snooze was in order...or was the full tummy a contributing factor? It's tough at the top! ^..^
Autographs later please (or should that read pawprints?)

I need a lie down myself after all these shenanigans!


I never got to visit many people at the party or certainly not as many as I would have liked, so I'll apologise right here if I missed you. But never mind as I may well turn up at your place sometime over the next few months.
Once again just a huge thank you to Vicki for organising this event. 
Why not nip across to Vicki at 2 Bags Full ...you'll love it I'm sure.

Thanks also to everyone who visited me here whether you became a follower or not, or who just nipped in but was too shy to add a comment. I appreciate your visits immensely and hope you'll continue to pop by.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. 
The sun's shining here so I'm off to make the most of it!

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xoxo

Grow Your Blog Party....plus a 'GIVEAWAY'


WELCOME EVERYONE...hey let's Party!!!
Just when you may have hit the January blues and recovering from all the holiday festivities, we have another invite to a party! Yay!
This one is a blog party and everyone is invited.
It's the brainchild of the lovely Vickie over at 2 Bags Full.


Grow Your Blog Party

 There's even a 'Giveaway'... a kind of party bag for the lucky winner.
So let's get started....

Let me introduce myself...I go by the blog name of 'Neesie' (a nickname that my brother has called me for as long as I can remember) but my name is Denise...not a lot of people know that!
(Initially when I started blogging I wanted to be anonymous)

I love to natter and some say I could even talk under water, so hence the name Neesie Natters!
I first started blogging back in 2009 which is a revelation to me when I checked back to the initial date, because it just feels like it was yesterday.

My daughter suggested that I start to write a blog and I have to admit when she first mentioned it, I hadn't a clue what a blog was never mind how to write one.
And so the steep learning curve began...I've had my ups and downs, my success and my disappointments especially when things didn't go as I thought they should. But that's all been part of an immensely satisfying journey...and one I want to carry on with for as long as I can.
I've met some amazing people along the way and formed some wonderful friendships that I hope will last.
I've also be so incredibly inspired.
I'm trying to improve my writing and photography skills too and when I look back over my posts I can see the progress I've made but it's an ongoing process.

(This photograph was taken in South Africa a few years ago) 

So what else can I tell you....?
I've been an expat for the last 24 years or could that be 25 now? I've been travelling around the globe with my hubby and family. I have one daughter aged 27 years old, who now lives in Edinburgh and a son aged 20 who is here with us in Melbourne.
I love nothing better than to have my little chickadees all in one nest at the same time and we've recently been lucky enough to have spent Christmas in Canada together on a wonderful winter wonderland holiday.

I've posted lots of recipes like my Classic Lemon Tart ....


....but my artwork seems to have taken priority lately. That's not to say a recipe might appear at any time.
I'm happy about finally being able to dedicate more time to my art, so I'm a happy bunny!
Here's a little peak into my studio.



And so onto the diva of the family ~ Muffin or Mufftypup ~ our mini shuh tzu.
She is an expat too...flying on her own all the way from the Middle East to Melbourne to be with us.
If you want to see her story then click here

Muffy loves nothing more than doing tricks for some fresh chicken and so when I mentioned that I was going to do another 'GIVEAWAY' she immediately volunteered to take part.

Muffy will once again pick the winner of the 'GIVEAWAY' for all my visitors who leave a comment attached to this post.
She had such a great time last time and don't worry she was well rewarded for her participation.
If you'd like to see her in action click here

So let me show you what's on offer....it's a 2013 calendar containing some of my designs.
I realise that January will be over by the time the winner actually receives this, but hopefully the remaining months will make up for missing January.
Here's the front cover....








So let the party commence...but don't forget to leave a comment below to ensure you're in with a chance of winning.
At this point I should say to all my regular visitors the giveaway is for you too...how could I not include you all....just take a moment and add a comment below and I'll pop you in the draw.
Good Luck everyone!
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I'm off to visit all the other party animals now...but why don't you join me? 
Click here to link with Vickie our lovely host over at 2 Bags Full and see lots of other party people.
It's going to be lots of fun!