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


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



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


Where have I been?

February 9, 2018

Hello. How are you? Sorry I’ve not been around lately. I have been so busy over the last couple of months that I haven’t had the time or energy to write my blog. I’ve basically been busy sorting out things for the extension (which is getting there, I am hoping it will be finished within the next three weeks), home life and I’ve started an OU course in English Literature and Creative Writing. Added to that, we are currently living in extremely trying living conditions…I have boxes of stuff everywhere, I can’t access certain things (my desk for one) and normal living is difficult, especially when I can’t find anything. We don’t have a shower – but we do have a bath – and my kitchen has only this week gotten worktops and, more importantly, heating.  And it has been freezing downstairs. Luckily  I can shut the heat in the living room and have been camping out there during the day. However, there are worst things and this ‘pain’ will not last much longer…I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Anyway, apart from living in a house that looks like a tornado has blown through it what with the boxes of stuff and building detritus and dust everywhere, we are doing great. Life is trundling along and we are looking forward to the spring. My garden is a hellhole – it served as a storage facility for building materials (front and back) – but it will recover over the coming months. Despite the stuff everywhere, spring flowers are already showing their little spears of green and I’m looking forward to their annual show.  The dogs, in case you are wondering, are still as mischievous and fun as always. Our guinea pig is still hail and hearty… he must be well over eight now, which is ANCIENT in guinea pig terms. He is fat, bright eyed and full of life. I wonder what his secret is!!

What else has been happening? Well, I’ve just finished binge watching Burn Notice, which is a US show about a burned spy trying to clear his name. I loved it. Can’t believe I missed it the first time around. Now that that is over, I am looking for another tv series to binge watch. Any suggestions?

Also read Kit Marlowe’s Dr Faustus as part of my OU course. It was great, better than I thought it would be. I always like Shakespeare, but had never read or seen a Marlowe play. Thoroughly enjoyed it. I have it as a DVD so am going to watch it soon…probably next week when the kids are still languishing in bed (they are off school next week). They’ll only moan if I watch it when they are around.

I am toying with the idea of having a no spend month…that’s a month where you only spend money on essentials and save on stuff you don’t need like eating out or sweets or magazines. I think this family could do with a bit of self control with money… my kids seem to think I have loads of cash to spend on them. I don’t, but that doesn’t stop them asking for money for sweets. Yes, the idea of having a no spend month is looking even more attractive the more I think about it. The idea comes from some of the frugality blogs I read especially Living Well Spending Less by the splendidly named Ruth Soukup…I read Ruth’s book about spending less and it has some great tips.

Anyway, that’ll be something for when the extension is done.

Right, on that note, I am going to say adieu until next time. See you soon…promise!

Dawn xxx



Seasons Greetings

December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you have a great day.

Dawn xxx


Eggnog Day (and also Christmas Eve)

December 24, 2017

I have to confess I have never had eggnog, but I love the idea of it so today we are celebrating Eggnog Day (and Christmas Eve). You can buy it in shops, but I am sure home-made eggnog is far superior to shop bought. Here’s a wee recipe for you to try (I certainly will be):

You need: 3 ½ cups of milk; 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract; 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon; a cinnamon stick; a pinch of ground cloves; six egg yolks; ¾ cup of granulated sugar; one cup rum (optional); one cup double cream; ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg.

Method: put the milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cinnamon stick and clove into a medium sized saucepan over a low heat. Bring it to a slow boil. Once it starts to boil, take the saucepan off the heat and let the cinnamon stick steep for two minutes before removing. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a mixer and whisk until pale and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the hot milk mixture to the yolks and mix. Put the mixture back into the saucepan and heat on medium for about five minutes, stirring continuously.  Don’t let boil. Once thick and creamy, take off the heat and allow to cool a little. Stir in the rum (if using), double cream and nutmeg. Allow to fully cool before putting in the fridge overnight.  To serve: place in nice glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon. For a non-alcoholic eggnog leave out the rum.


Merry Christmas everyone!!





Bake Cookies Day or as I Like to Put it ‘Bake Biscuits Day’

December 18, 2017

Personally, I think there are far too many Americanisms becoming the norm in British society, so I am renaming this Bake Biscuits Day. It’s your day to bake the biscuit of your choice and then sit back and enjoy the buttery deliciousness of your creation with a refreshing cup of tea.

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