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I’m back from the States! All the clever things I have to say about that can wait until a future post, though.

I’ve meaning for a while to find some way of sharing things that are awesome, but self-explanatory enough not to need entire blog posts. Ashley of The Accidental Olympian (who by the time I found her blog lived in Alaska, and then Chicago, but that’s her story) showed me the way with her no-nonsense approach, MondayFiveFavs.

Monday isn’t really my best day for blogging, though. I like a cumulative approach, so I’ll probably just jot things down as I think of them. You can expect my five things around Wednesday. Ish. These, for example, were mostly written on Wednesday. But then I wanted pictures.

Now to keep each of these from becoming long enough to be split off into its own post.

1. Cold-brew coffee. As soon as summer hit, I started craving iced coffee. It has not caught in on Scotland, possibly because there’s so seldom a genuine need to lower your core temperature. I started with this tutorial from Hungry Girl Por Vida for the method. Not being one for sweet coffee or cream, I use 2 parts milk to one part coffee concentrate instead of Cindy’s homemade creamer, although now that I’ve checked out the recipe again, I may have to reconsider.

I brew the coffee for about 24 hours in a large glass jar from Ikea. Instead of waiting the coffee to drip from the grounds, I pour it into a saucepan, and then back into the jar through a bag made from 9″ x 9″ square of cotton muslin. Then I squeeze every drop from the bag with my bare hands and rinse it out.

This is the best coffee I have ever made. Which is impressive, since I use the same 2-quid-a-bag coffee from the German grocery story that I’ve bought since I got here. It just tastes better cold brewed. I know as far as iced coffee is concerned, this is because the hot coffee gets bitter when you refrigerate it. And having made coffee for the week–about a ten-minute time investment–I have coffee ready any time I want it, hot or cold. So thank you, Cindy, for some good advice.

2. Drinking my iced coffee from a mason jar. I am such a redneck. I tried bringing it to the office in plastic and in steel, but it just didn’t taste right. And mason jars don’t leak coffee in your bag like regular supermarket jam jars, which I use for more solid things. This is still less redneck than any alcohol that comes in a mason jar. I think. Which leads us to…

Apple Pie Moonshine

3. Alcohol that comes in a mason jar. Specifically, Apple Pie Moonshine. I suspect I will not be able to find this in Scotland, but it sure kept me company in western MA. Drink responsibly.

4. Spotify. Like Pandora, it streams music and pays royalties in exchange for listening to occasional ads. I find the ration of music to ad very reasonable. Pandora does not work on UK IP addresses, so this is not so much a preference for one platform over another as it is a convenience (as hulu unblocker breaks down often). I think it’s safe to say that I would never listen to new music if not for free Spotify.

(Fun fact: I believe both platforms now have web players, so if you can’t download programs on your work computer, you can use them in your web browser.)

5. My Disney princess bed. I finally got net curtains for the windows for some privacy. My satisfaction rating for the flat immediately rose 20%. There may have been some extra netting. It may now be a canopy-like headboard.

Disney princess canopy

Kingsley Shacklebolt

Kingsley Shacklebolt says hello. You can’t see him, but he’s a dragon. Some bloggers have cat pictures. Until I get home, you get NTS and dragon pictures.

Now that I’m settling back in, I should be posting several times a week again. Happy weekend!