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I don’t know where the time has gone!

May 20, 2018

Hello everyone. How are you? Hope you’re all well. Just spending today (Sunday) recovering from a night out with a couple of friends last night. We went to the Helensburgh Ale and Gin Festival. I had a fab night. Such a good laugh. Apart from the ale and gin, the festival was a great place for people watching…there were some right sights there I can tell you! We went in the evening, but there was a lot of people who had been there the whole day going by their zigzagging gait and glassy eyes. They also had a live band and we had a great time boogying the night away and enjoying the dancers especially a young man who was doing some interesting dance moves (think marionette and you’ll get the gist)and every time he ventured near a young lady, she would grab him, lock him in a passionate smooch and then release him back to his dancing. Hysterical! The event took place at Helensburgh Sailing Club which is right on the River Clyde so lovely views. It was a nice night – the weather wasn’t very sunny, but it wasn’t too cold and it didn’t rain (always a bonus in Scotland). Ten out of ten all round.

I am sorry I’ve not been writing this blog lately, I have been very busy reading books on writing and the writing business. When I tell people that they look at me as if I am daft because I am already published, but I think you can always learn more about your craft. Plus I have picked up some great tips on things like blogging etc.

I’ve also been writing a book for adults. The one I was writing before. I had left it aside for a while there following Ian’s death (the first year after I just couldn’t see myself every getting back to writing}, then I had the extension and all the uproar that brought with it. Now, I have the time, the energy and the inclination to write again and I’m back doing it. I’m also going to get back into building on my writing blog, which has really been neglected. I’m going to relaunch it soon so watch this space for more details!

Another distraction has been family and friends. I’ve been doing a lot of lunches lately with various of them and it’s been great catching up. I need to cool it a bit though as I could do without the extra calories being already too curvy! 🙂

Books I’ve been reading: just started Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. I was never a King fan (although I think his book on writing is excellent) but I’m giving this book a go. I’ve heard it’s really good and I watched the film adaptation of it recently (starring Idris Elba…be still my beating heart, love him) and enjoyed it. Will let you know how I get on. Also been studying Joanna  Penn’s How to Market a Book, which is a great resource. Really rate this book if you want to self publish.

Right I am going to leave you here as have a bit of planning to do with regards to my writing.  Til next time.

 

Dawn xx

 

 

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Comicon here we come!

April 29, 2018

Hello everyone! How are you? Hope you are well. What have you been up to this week? We went down to Lomond Shores yesterday (Saturday) to attend Comicon. It was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. My kids enjoyed themselves, dressing up as their favourite characters, and having their photos taken with Chewbacca and some Stormtroopers. They spent some money on the stalls, I had a really nice vegan lentil thing in a flatbread from one of the vans (which was lovely) and it was good being there. We went with some friends and everyone had a lovely time. We weren’t there long – it wasn’t a big Comicon – but were there long enough. I loved seeing all the wee kids dressed as superheroes and characters from Star Wars. They were so cute!

This week has been pretty busy as usual. I don’t know where the time goes, I really don’t. I was back at Pilates and Zumba this week, which was great. We had some friends over on Friday night for dinner and wine…I had a lovely night. Today I was going to take the kids to the cinema to see the new Avengers movie, but as they didn’t clean their rooms (which are total pigsties) they didn’t get to go. It was annoying as I wanted to see the film…and have their rooms clean…but it wasn’t to be.

Still reading The Book Thief, which I am enjoying. I haven’t been reading as much lately as I’ve been exhausted at night time when I usually read. Tonight, I will get back into it.

Right am going to finish here as The Durrells is on and I love the series. Til next time.

Dawn xx

 

 

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Grease, socialising and two drunk, singing women (neither of whom were me)

April 24, 2018

It’s been a busy old week at Nelson Towers. The kids went back to school last week (yippee from parents everywhere) so I got the house back to myself. Peace reigned during the hours they weren’t here. It was just me and the dogs and it was lovely. I do love my kids, but sometimes a busy mum just wants a bit of peace (and to watch her television programme without someone interrupting her continuously).

The kids and I also popped along to Helensburgh to see an anniversary showing of Grease at The Tower Arts Centre. The last time I saw Grease in the cinema I was only seven-years-old…just a baby. I loved  it then(although a lot of it went over my head) and I love it still now and it was fab to see it on the big screen. However, the showing was somewhat…what’s the right phrase?…marred by the arrival of two very inebriated women of a certain age. They arrived late, bursting into the auditorium, fumbling with phones to switch on their torch facility to see better with and made straight for the little bar in the main screening room. They bought two bottles of wine each and then clumsily made their way to their seats. In between swigs of wine (from wine glasses…they weren’t that trashy as to actually swig it from the bottle), they then proceeded to outdo each other singing all the songs.

It wasn’t a sing-a-long.

The kids were furious at them for singing. I did tell them (the kids) to move seats, for there were plenty, but they didn’t and put up with it. I just kept on watching and ignoring the women. We saw them again outside the cinema after the film ended clasping on to each other as they tottered down the street in their very high heels.

Note: I still have a huge crush on Danny Zuko and Kennickie! John and Jeff…swoon!

On the Friday, I not only went out for lunch with friends to the Cardross Inn which has newly reopened, but me and the kids also went out for dinner with some other friends to La Barca in Helensburgh, a Spanish tapas bar. The food was good, but the service wasn’t at La Barca which is a shame. I must admit…I still had a fab day. The food and company on both occasions was great and I will be doing it again sometime soon. 🙂

The following day, my parents came to visit along with their dog, Winston. He’s adorable, but mischievous. We took him, the kids and my dogs out a walk to a local beauty spot where Winnie proceeded to prove how mischievous he could be by jumping in every single muddy puddle (despite being told not to) and then, after being told to get out yet another puddle, he first sat down in the water and then lay down. My parents don’t mind him getting wet, but he was going to my sister’s that night because my mum and dad were going out. Wee besom that he is! He was boggin’ by the time we got home and I had to hose both him and Millie (who also loves muddy puddles) down before they could be re-admitted to the house.

On the Sunday, we popped into Glasgow to get the girl’s phone looked at by a certain store with the name of a fruit. It wasn’t charging. The guy was great and cleaned out the portal and checked everything. I was relieved to find out the phone was fine and it was probably the charger. Anyway, long story short the girl somehow talked me into having a look in New Look before we went home and before I knew it I had spent more than ÂŁ300 on new clothes for her and her brother!! I don’t know what happened. It started with ‘just a look’, went on to ‘Mum I really need a new…’ and ended with me handing over my bank card.

This week has been a bit less busy, although it’s only Tuesday so the week is still young!

Books I am reading…just started The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I enjoyed the film and the book is really good. I love that it’s Death that’s narrating it.

Right, I am going to end this blog here. Til next time!

Dawn xx

 

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Winnie, Bouncing but No Sign of Tigger

April 3, 2018

Hello. How’s things? Hope all is well with you. I’ve not been around for a couple of weeks because I’ve been busy trying to get the house back in order. The extension is finished. It’s fab. I love it. I will take a pic for you and show you it in the next blog post. Anyway, I’ve been putting up mirrors, clocks and something to hold the brush and mop to the wall. It’s amazing how time consuming this is. I’ve still got some pictures to hang and other wee bits n pieces to do. I will finish it eventually.

We have a young visitor staying with us this week: my parents’ dog Winston who is a Poodle/Bichon Frise cross (a Poochon). He’s adorable and is Casper’s best friend. They are about the same height and age and just love each other> It’s sweet to see them being so pally with each other. Winnie gets on well with the other dogs, but it’s Casper who is his friend. It’s fun having him. He’s a lovely wee dog who barks at everything. Him and Casper are like naughty children. They have teamed up to ‘get up to stuff’ together. I caught them trying to get the lid off the bin the other day. The pair of them and Millie have a twice daily mad dash around the house, barking and play fighting. Earlier tonight, Casper was in the lead and spent a lot of time bouncing off the furniture (I joke not) and barking at Millie and Winnie who were on the floor. Although a small dog, Casper has a mean bounce and actually hurt my legs bouncing from the arm of the chair on to the sofa where I was sitting with my legs stretched out. Bounce, my shins got it. Ouch. I had to move.

Started reading a book that if you are a book lover you will enjoy. It’s The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Reading Fifty Great Books Saved My Life by Andy Miller. I have read only a few of the books on his list, but it has certainly piqued my interest to read some of the ones he recommends. Really enjoying it.

Dog update: all quiet again. For now.

Activities we have done recently: eating Easter Eggs and watching telly and clearing out boxes and putting up stuff. Happy Easter, by the way. Honestly I haven’t been doing anything other than doing stuff around the house. I have been going to my Pilates and Zumba classes, but won’t get to them  in the next couple of weeks as the kids are off for the Easter hols. It’s nice to have long lies and no builders in the house.

Right I am going to stop here now. I’m watching Secrets of the National Trust and they are at Castle Ward which is one of the sets for Game of Thrones…well the outbuildings are. Til next time.

Dawn xx

 

 

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Zumba, Tom and Paddington

March 10, 2018

Hello. How’s things? Hope you’ve had a good week. Just a quick blog today as I have been mainly clearing boxes and putting things away (the extension is nearly finished! Hurrah!).

Decided we all needed a little cheering up after the snowy weather last week so have put in some nice spring photos to illustrate this piece.

So apart from putting things away, I’ve been busy doing a lot of running around: taking the dogs for a walk, doing the school runs, food shopping etc. Just the usual stuff.

However, I did start a Zumba class this week and it was fantastic. It took place in a local church hall, lasted 45 minutes and nearly killed me, but I felt fantastic afterwards. There were no breaks, it was full on from the word go, but we were encouraged to stop and have a break and a drink when we needed it. I came away feeling like I’d had a good workout, sweaty and smiling. I love dancing and Latino music so it was right up my street. Going next week.

We watched a couple of films this week: Thor Ragnarok and Paddington 2. Loved them both for different reasons…Thor because it was funny and full of action and Tom Hiddleston was there being all mischievous as Loki. I loved Paddington too because, well it’s Paddington Bear and it was a lovely film and a great one for the family. The boy loved it.

Have you been watching the documentaries about the real Vikings? I think it’s on History and it’s really interesting. They have historians, archeologists and experts on talking about the culture and history of the Vikings along with some of the cast of the series The Vikings. It is fascinating stuff and I would recommend it.

Right, am going to finish up here. Got more box emptying to do. Til next time.

Dawn xx

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London, baking and no yeast

March 4, 2018

Me on the London Eye showing how bad I am at taking a selfie. No pouts here…oh no sirree!

I cannot believe that I wrote a whole post the other day and totally forgot to mention that me and the kids had been down to London the other weekend. We went down to celebrate two birthdays: my darling daughter’s and my lovely friend Raymond’s. It was a great weekend – exhausting, but worth it. We arrived on the Friday night and met Raymond and others at a restaurant in Greenwich for dinner. The next day me and the kids met another friend, Richard, for lunch in Ping Pong in Soho (after sitting for several hours atop a tourist bus…it was a good tour, but too long). Then the four of us went to Madame Tussaud’s (the girl’s choice, I wouldn’t have bothered). It was alright, the kids enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t go back.

Here’s me taking a break with Han…he’s not much of a conversationalist!

Anyway, after all that we got back to our hotel about 6pm exhausted. We had a hour to chill out and get ready before heading to a pub in Blackheath (gorgeous place btw) for Raymond’s party. It was an excellent party and I would like to thank Raymond and  George for inviting me and the kids and for buying us dinner and for the party. I had a ball. Drank way too much wine and was dancing and singing all night! Thank you both.

On the Sunday, we had a quick shot on the London Eye (well it wasn’t quick cos we had to queue for an hour before we got on it and it’s very slow), which was good in the sense it was a lovely day and you could see for miles across the city. It’s worth doing once. It didn’t open til 11am so after the ride, we got a taxi up to Euston station to get our train back.

Sigh. Apparently there had been a derailment on the west coast line somewhere near Carlisle so our train back to Glasgow wasn’t running properly. We were advised to go to King’s Cross where we would get a train back to Glasgow. This proved to be false and we ended up on a train to Edinburgh. Then it was a two hour trip back home. We were knackered, but so glad to see our dogs who were staying with a friend who is a dog walker. She very kindly dropped them off for us. I really missed them.

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but really good. Thoroughly enjoyed it…apart from the odd whinging from the kids that is!

Gratuitous shot of Casper with his doggy.

So I have decided to try and do a month of no buying things I don’t need. This will be horrendous for me because I have a bit of a book buying addiction (mainly with the help of Amazon). However, I have hundreds of books (literally) and I really don’t need any more. So, here’s my pledge to not buy anything I don’t need until April at the earliest. And I will not buy anything I don’t need by trying to persuade the sensible part of me that I really do need it…I don’t! That is what I will be asking myself: do you really need it? No, then put it back!

I will also try to stick tightly to a meal plan. I meal plan every week but you are lucky if I stick to half of what’s written. It’s just that I get to the day a certain meal is lined up for then decide I fancy something else. Not for this month. Nope, I will stick to it. Started tonight…made pizza for dinner. However, I didn’t have any yeast and I cannot find a shop in this area that has any yeast left. Every teensy bit of yeast has been snapped up by folk wanting to make bread because there was no bread in the shops over the last few days because of the snow. A small, annoyed part of me wonders how many of them actually made bread and how many of them just took the yeast just in case and have no intention of ever using it. I have a bread maker and I do make bread, so was a little put out (‘toys out the pram’ put out) when I was unable to buy yeast. Anyway, I made the pizza with a soda bread base…it doesn’t work that well as a base for pizza. Just letting you know. First cooking disaster of the year. Sigh.

Over the last few days I also made a massive pot of lentil soup (love it!) and banana muffin cake (I couldn’t find the muffin tins…the place is still in chaos as the extension is still not completely finished…so I made it as a cake), which the boy ate most of!

Right, I am going to end this here. I still have to iron school uniforms for tomorrow cos the kids are back at school! Yippee! Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

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The white stuff, Bagpuss and Enid

March 2, 2018

I am not going to state the obvious and talk too much about the amazing weather we’ve been experiencing, so I thought I’d let the photos speak for themselves.  Above, my dogs have been loving the snow…well Millie and Casper have. The pug, Bonya, hasn’t been too keen on going out but as you can see from the photo above she has been out.

She prefers to lie on the back of our sofa against the radiator snoozing and snoring, dreaming happy pug dreams.

A wistful pic of Casper as he watches Millie from the comfort of our living room.

Footsteps in the snow last night. These are my kids’ footsteps and the trenches the dogs made.

Anyway enough about that, how are you? And what’s been happening in our household? Well, the extension is still ongoing and its finishing date has been further put back thanks to the snow. The flooring was supposed to go down yesterday (Thursday), but unfortunately the company couldn’t get here. Their van was stuck outside their office. They couldn’t have gotten into the house anyway as our estate is unpassable for cars. There have been a fair few drivers getting stuck trying to get out of the estate yesterday and today. One wonders: having witnessed others getting stuck why they bothered even trying? Didn’t they think it would happen to them?

Our local shops have already run out of about everything…once folk realised they were open there was a stampede (well okay not literally a stampede, but you know what I mean). We were okay because I had stocked up before the weather hit, but one of my neighbours popped round this morning with a loaf of bread and some milk anyway. I thought that was really, really nice of her. She stayed for a cuppa and we had a good blether. Every school in Scotland (just about) has been shut because of the weather since Wednesday, so it was nice to see and speak to an adult instead of my darling kiddies. Not that I don’t find my darling kiddies adorable and interesting (they read this blog), but it’s nice to have a conversation with someone who is nearer my age.

Me and the kids braved  the weather and walked to the local shops yesterday to get out of the house for a bit (we were a bit stir crazy although the boy had been in and out all day playing with his friend in the snow…they were soaking!) and to pick up additional supplies (crisps and sweets for them, crisps and wine for me). It took us a wee bit longer (we had to fight our way out of knee high snow to get to the main road which was, thankfully, cleared although the pavements weren’t), but we got there and back without injury or frostbite. There were quite a few folk out and about, but the village did seem a little too quiet and a bit eery.

Apparently, to combat the feeling of being stuck inside (and stuck in the village – the roads  in and out were all closed due to snow drifts today and yesterday), some of the villagers have organised a party in our local hall tonight…all welcome. BYOB. We would go if we lived closer, but we are at the other end of the village and I don’t fancy the walk at night, in the freezing cold.

Changing the subject, I have finally worked out who it is that Bonya reminds me of…

Bonya (above, lying on the back of the sofa as usual…I think she thinks she’s a cat) reminds me of….that saggy old, baggy old cat…

Bagpuss! Yup the resemblance is astounding especially the way she moves and gives me those sleepy eyes a la Bagpuss. Can’t understand why I didn’t see it before!

I sent in my first assignment for my degree course on Wednesday. I don’t know why but I was nervous about doing it. Hope I get a good mark. I really want to do well in it. Have started the second part of the module. The first part was about Reputations, this one is Traditions and Dissent. I’m reading about Plato and Socrates, philosophy and deductive arguments. It’s really interesting, very thought provoking.

For leisure reading I’ve been reading Looking for Enid: The Mysterious and Inventive Life of Enid Blyton by Duncan McLaren. It’s really quite different from normal biographies. It’s done in a part dreamy way, but it’s amusing. I didn’t know boys liked Enid Blyton too…I’ve never met anyone who read Enid when they were kids who wasn’t female, but evidently Enid fans were males too. Duncan is a huge fan and he goes to where she lived and fantasies what the Five Finder Outers would have made of the real life theft of two of Enid’s own first editions which were taken from her house. As a major fan of Enid, I’m really enjoying the book.

Quick flashback…

Here I am at the Enid Blyton exhibition at the Seven Stories Storytelling Centre in Newcastle a few years ago…I loved it!!

 

Right, on that note, I am going to end this blog here and go upstairs with a glass of milk (#livingawildlife) to continue reading aforementioned book. Keep safe in the snow. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

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