Archive for the ‘general life’ Category

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Writing lists and getting things done!

June 11, 2017

It’s amazing what writing a check list does for how much I actually achieve in a day. If I don’t write a list, a few things get done. If I do write a list, I get oh so much more done. It’s like that list has sorted out my head and my memory and makes me do all the jobs I have to do around the house, with the kids and, equally importantly, with my writing. I wrote a long list yesterday and laid out times next to the tasks and do you know what? I managed to achieve it all. Today I am steadily making my way through a new list and I’m doing stuff…such as this blog and I wrote more than 1000 words today, plus did a bit of yoga and cut the grass in the front garden. So, it’s nearly 5pm and I’m feeling mightily chuffed with myself for actually achieving a number of things today instead of sprawling out in from the telly drinking copious amounts of tea!

Yesterday, my list included ironing (regular readers will know how much I hate ironing, but I stuck it out and completed it), walking the dogs (which I do daily anyway) and taking the kids to the school Gala Day. Regarding the Gala Day, it was really good. A lot of time and effort had been put in by the PTA and it was a huge success. The theme was on cowboys and cowgirls so there were a lot of kids and adults dressed up. A local line dancing club did a demo for the crowd. The club consisted of older men and women, dressed up in cowboy-ish clothes line dancing. There was also some ‘gunslingers’ having a ‘fight’ which also consisted of older men and women dressed in cowboy-ish clothes pretending to shoot each other. There were loads of stalls (I got a lovely Toffee the Heilan Coo brooch from my friend Sharon’s…aka Sew Silly Lily…stall

and lovely honey bread biscuits from my friend Zuzka’s…aka Honeybread Cottage…stall. I have such talented friends!).

There were bouncy castles and a dog competition and throw sponges at the teachers and a saloon and tonnes of things for everyone to do. I helped out at the cactus hoopla stall and bash the rat game….both of which were a big hit with parents and kids (see the simple things really are the best). I also had a good old chat to lots of other mums I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a great afternoon (had to drag the boy away from it cos he wanted to stay longer) and well done to the organisers for creating it.

What else have I been doing? Well my neighbours must be thinking I’m doing an online business because quite a number of parcels arrived over the last few days. Do not worry, dear friends, I am not doing an online business merely buying up presents for Father’s Day and some birthdays that are coming up in July and September. I like to be organised because if I’m not it’s always a mad panic to buy stuff in time. My memory is not good, it never was, but has been much worse over this last year, so if I buy up cards and presents now at least I have them in for the correct dates of the aforementioned birthdays and Father’s Day. Okay, so after promising myself I would stop buying books, I did indulge in a little book buying spree for myself and the kids too. What can I say? I am a book addict! It’s my only vice (she says with an innocent look on her face!).

Regarding books, following last week’s confession of being totally gripped by The Dog Whisperer’s programme I went out and ordered his book (Cesar’s Way by Cesar Milan) from Amazon. I started reading it a couple of days ago and it’s fab. I am also reading Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves and the Will to Swim by Alexandra Heminsley about her bid to do wild water swimming, something I’ve always wanted to (okay so I have swam in a loch and at the seaside when I was younger and more stupid cos I didn’t have a wetsuit, but I want to go out deeper and really swim in the wild). Anyway, am enjoying reading about her trials and tribulations as she overcomes her terror of swimming in the sea.

Right, I need to go. I have some hungry weans hovering whining about being hungry and ‘when’s dinner ready?’. Apparently they are both about to fade away through lack of food. The chilli is on, but it’s not yet ready. The house smells amazing thanks to the spices and it’s sending the kids crazy…a bit like the Bisto kids of the adverts of old! Til next time.

Dawn xx

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June 6, 2017

I did not pooh in the Girl’s bedroom. Nope, wasn’t me. What do you mean you saw me do it?

 

What a bloody awful day it is outside. It is pouring. Of course there are far worse things happening in this world – the terrible losses of life in Manchester, London and Syria etc (where there are far more atrocities, but we never seem to hear about them…what’s that about?) – but I don’t want to dwell on those in this post. It’s not that I don’t want to mark them, it’s just there are so many news stories and articles and blog posts about them all over the world that I wanted to write something to take my mind and your mind off it all.

Right, so, as I was saying, the weather is awful today. Bloody awful is how I actually put it and the mutts and I have been forced to stay in. They are not even keen to go out in the garden today, not even Millie who is our resident furry water baby. So we’re indoors and they were snoozing until I put on a recording of the Dog Whisperer. Have you seen this programme? It’s about a very well groomed Mexican gentleman called Cesar Millan (above) who teaches humans how to properly train their dogs and, well, he’s quite frankly a miracle worker. And he also has the loveliest eyes, but that’s a by the by. Anyway, it’s a hoot when I put it on because my three just love watching it and having a wee bark at the dogs too. I enjoy it because it gives me useful tips on dogs – let’s face it Millie needs to be a bit better behaved what with her not coming when she’s called – plus I go away thinking ‘no problem, I can do that’. Then I try it on the dogs and they give me a look like ‘who does she think she is?’ and refuse to perform. I think I need to get Cesar over here to sort out my three…well actually, again it’s just Millie. Casper and Bonya are very well behaved on the whole although Bonya got caught short this morning in the Girl’s room and did a big pooh. Cue: lots of screaming and shouts of ‘naughty girl’. Am I a bad mother for thinking it was all highly amusing?? AND I made her clean it up…heee hee heeee!! (whaaaat? it’s all payback for the times she’s refused to clean out HER guinea pig and for all the times she’s messed up the living room, en suite and other rooms in the house).

So. How have you been since the last blog? It’s been nearly two weeks and that’s my fault because I have been so busy cleaning out cupboards and the garage and other places that have been totally neglected over the past couple of years that the blog went out of my mind. Anyway, I’m here now. I’me generally good, although I’ve not been sleeping all that well recently. I am not sure of the reason. Millie keeps waking me at 2am to let her out (we’re working on that…I am now putting down dog matts so she has that option, but am not getting up to let her out. It sounds harsh, but isn’t. She needs to learn to sleep through the night like she used to. Also, this morning, when I opened the back door to let the dogs out to relieve themselves, guess who didn’t go? Yup, Millie. I supposed the urgent 2am need for outside wasn’t so urgent after all!). Anyway, am finding it difficult to drop off, so I need to get back to my Mindful Meditation which always sorts that out. Apart from that, the kids and I are good. The dogs are full of health except Bonya who is shedding like crazy all over the place…the amount of hair she is losing would stuff a pillow!!

Over the weekend we went up to the westend of Glasgow to meet my friend AJ and her daughters for lunch. We went to a wee pizza place on the corner of Great Western Road and Otago Street – I forget it’s name – and it was lovely. I knew the place when it was a bank and then a coffee shop and was pleasantly surprised at the change in decor which went from Starbucks (or the other one) to a little piece of Italy! The menu also surprised me. I’ve never seen such a small one…not physically but in the few thing you could buy on it. They had options for about eight different pizzas and about five puddings. You could also get wine and fizzy drinks, but that was essentially it. We all ordered. The pizzas arrived really quickly and were lovely (all crisp and delicious from their pizza oven). It was fab to see AJ who is one of my oldest friends and catch up. We had intended to walk up Great Western Road and go down Byres Road and look in the shops (they have lots of fab charity shops for treasure hunting in!), but it was pouring down, literally stoating off the ground, and we were reluctantly forced to call a halt to the afternoon.

Martha Gellhorn.

 

On Sunday, I made myself breakfast in bed and spent far too much time looking at Facebook before reading some more of my book, Martha Gellhorn: A Life by Caroline Moorehead. I am close to finishing this book, one chapter left, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Martha was a very well known American journalist and writer who covered a large number of stories including the Great Depression, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and wars in the Far East. She was also Ernest Hemingway’s second wife. She led a really interesting, exciting, often dangerous life that took her all over the world. However, she also seemed to have often been a very difficult person to be with, someone who was selfish, who went off and did her own thing no matter the cost to other people, but who was passionate about justice for others, about telling their stories and how the great event (war, depression etc) affected them and what the Governments should do about it. She was strong. She was a restless spirit. She didn’t take any crap from anyone. I’m not sure she and I would have gotten on, but I’ve greatly enjoyed reading about her. The book is really well written and goes at a good pace. I shall be sad when it’s finished, but this book will stay in my collection (as opposed to being donated to our local library as something I’ll never read again).

I’m not sure what my next read will be, but I have quite a few to choose from, which is both vexing and exciting at the same time. Vexing because it takes me ages to decide. Exciting because I love jumping into and being immersed in a new story and going places I’ve never been before.

Right, on that note, I am going to finish up here. The rain has just gone off and I am toying with the idea of getting the dogs out for a quick walk before I need to collect the boy from school.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

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Barcelona!

May 17, 2017

Oh my God! What can I say about Barcelona that would do this city any justice? It’s an amazing place with the most stunning architecture…I’ve included some pictures of a tiny fraction of the buildings above, but there are far bigger, better and stunning buildings in this city. We just didn’t have the time to see them all.

How we got there…the ship docked in the early hours that Friday morning at Barcelona’s port. We took a taxi to the airport, dumped our suitcases with Left Luggage (because we were flying home later that day) and then took a bus from the airport to the Plaza Espanya near the city centre.  Look how amazing this square is…

And here’s what else is near there…

It’s the Museum of Catalunya. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go and see it. Instead we headed down a wide tree filled street (stopping at a really nice wee pizza place for lunch first) to find the Sagrada Familia (pictured at the start of this post) which is something I’ve always wanted to see. The place was hoaching with tourists, but it was well worth having a look at…the cathedral is truly inspiring and amazing to look at. Every nook and cranny is filled with exquisitely carved modern art. As you can see from the cranes, the building is still not finished more than 100 years after it was first begun. I loved it.

After that we headed for the city’s beach area which my mother assured us wasn’t that far to walk. It took us about an hour with a stop off for some drinks because the weather was so hot. Because it was Good Friday, there was a right festival atmosphere about the city and the place was jumping with locals and tourists. There were a range of street stalls and myself and the kids spent the rest of our holiday money on bits and pieces to take home – I bought two lovely fans painted in a modern style. I was really hot on holiday, but I knew I’d use them again back home…being a right Northerner, I get hot in muggy weather and stuffy offices, so the fans will come in handy. Plus we do get the odd hot day in Scotland. There are also some cheeky folk who would point out that I am a lady of a certain age who is hurtling towards 50 and therefore menopause, but as I am still only 25 (in my head) and will be forever, this will never happen!

Anyway, after the beach we walked up the packed Ramblas. It was uncomfortably busy, but didn’t put me off the city…in fact I’d love to return there for a long weekend at some point in the near future. We caught a bus at the Placa de Catalunya to get back to the airport in time for dinner and then our flight home. We only had a few hours in Barcelona, but I loved it. Verdict on Barcelona: fab. Will definitely go back. Only issue: I had the song ‘Barcelona’ by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe ringing through my head the entire time I was there and every time I think of the word ‘Barcelona’. It’s a great song, but really annoying if you can’t get it out of your head!

Anyway, that’s the holiday. We arrived back home around midnight that night and it was great being back in Scotland, but I really loved the holiday. We all loved the holiday.

Right, so back to real life. This week is the first full week I’ve had since leaving work and it’s already Wednesday and I don’t know where my time is going? Okay so this week, I have walked the dogs every day (and got soaked on Monday), I have had lunch with a friend (down at Ardardan today) and visited my father-in-law yesterday who is very old and frail. On Monday morning I also went to a pilates class with another friend. These events took up a few hours each day, so that’s my excuse for not achieving a huge amount over the last three days. The big news is that I have gone back to writing my book for adults…the one I started last year. I can’t say it’s been easy getting back into the swing of things, but I have written up my workplan and I intend to stick to it.

The rest of the week will be spent doing the bits and pieces around the house that need doing and assembling my new bike. I have great plans to take the kids out cycling more over the summer. There are some great routes around here plus I have a cycle carrier which we can use for further afield.

Over to books and I am currently reading: Caroline Moorhead’s ‘Martha Gellhorn: A Life’, which is a great read. On holiday, I got through several books:

The first three were fantastic. You cannot beat a Pratchett for humour and a good read, and Joanna’s books are just so funny and a great beach/poolside read. I had hoped to enjoy McIlvanney’s book more because he so revered as a writer, but it was alright. I doubt I’d read it again.

Right, I think I will finish up here and say adieu until next time! See you then.

Dawn xxx

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All Aboard! Bermuda, Madeira and Malaga

May 12, 2017

Hello, how’s things? How are you? What’s been happening with you? Am back to relate the next part of our epic journey across the Atlantic. Last week, I shared our days in the Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios. Today, it’s Bermuda, Madeira and Malaga.

Firstly, though here’s a quick view of the ship. As you can see, unlike the pic above, the sun was splitting the sky. We had about three days of overcast, but still warm enough to sit out weather and the rest was glorious. Our ship was the Norwegian Epic and it was excellent. The food was excellent, the evening entertainment was good, the bars and restaurants were good and the cabins comfortable. We went to see the Broadway show of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which was brilliant, a dance show and a magician. The kids had their own clubs to attend and spent a lot of time at the ship’s waterpark (pools, flumes etc). They had a ball.

Now for Bermuda. What can I say about it? It’s incredibly flat, incredibly expensive and there’s not much to see there. We spent some time in Hamilton, which is a nice town with very expensive, exclusive shops and not much else. I don’t have any pics because I accidentally locked myself out of my phone around about then and couldn’t take any. The biggest thing the kids had about Bermuda is that they were nervous about crossing the scary Bermuda Triangle (thanks to Scooby Doo for that one!), but we reassured them and they were fine. Verdict on Bermuda: meh!

Now Madeira is a totally different kettle of fish: a beautiful, cultured, historic island with lots to see and do and where you don’t feel like you are getting the Mickey taken out of you every time you take your purse out.

 

Here’s me on the cable car at Funchal. The view was fantastic and the kids loved being on the cable car. We had a drink at the top, a wee walk around (we didn’t do the lovely park there because the kids were champing at the bit to go back down and spend their holiday money) and then back down.

Funchal is a beautiful old town with lots of stunning buildings and things to see.

It has stunning parks one of which has a great view of the harbour where our ship (left) was docked. We all spent our holiday money buying gifts and things for ourselves. My mum – a near professional shopper – and my girl – also a near professional shopper – spent a happy hour in a large international clothes shop there and came out armed with bags and happy smiles. The boy, myself, my dad and my niece waited for them at the nearby park where the boy spent his time hunting out and watching, with a fascination on his face that I haven’t seen since he was tiny, the little lizards that lived in the rocks there. If he could have, I’m sure he would have taken one home! Verdict on Madeira: loved it! Would definitely go back. Shame we couldn’t have stayed longer.

Now to another place I love. I’ve been before and was really happy to be back…Malaga in southern Spain.

It’s a stunning city with some wonderful architecture…

It also has stunning castle, Castilla de Gibralfaro, which dates back to the 10th century and includes some of the best views of the city. Recommend this as a tourist destination: not only is it very reasonable to get into (don’t buy an organised trip! just go), but it’s got a museum, café and you can wander all round the ramparts. If, like me, you love exploring castles, you’ll enjoy this one. NB while we dafties walked up the flagstoned (and extremely steep) road up to the castle, doing our knees in and almost needing leg transplants when we arrived, you can actually get to the castle by a normal road around the back. In saying that, I actually enjoyed the ascent and descent.

The ramparts and the views…

The museum…

One of the stunning buildings at the foot of the castle. This is their awe inspiring town hall…

Although I’ve shown you the images in this order, I actually took them the other way round. We did the castle first and then went into the city to enjoy the beautiful and ancient architecture. We stopped off at a little bar down a side street for beer, enjoyed the ambiance and, quite frankly, I could have just stayed there. I love the city. Verdict on Malaga: love it for its architecture, history, friendly people, lots of things to do and see. Will definitely go back.

Right, am going to finish up here now. Next week, it’s the end of the holiday and what a way to spend it: Good Friday in Barcelona a city I’ve been dying to go to for years. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

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Holidays and it’s a pug’s life

April 27, 2017

Okay so I sort of haven’t been around that much recently. Basically, me, the kids, my niece and my parents flew out to Orlando at the end of March, had three full days in Florida before joining a cruise ship at Port Canaveral for a trans Atlantic cruise back to Europe. It was a fantastic holiday, thoroughly enjoyed it and I would have told you all about it last week (we came back mid April) except I wasn’t well…I had a stinking cold for the entire holiday (not that it stopped me enjoying myself – see pic above of me on the upper deck enjoying my daily Bahama Mama cocktail!) and it got worse when we got back. Had to go on antibiotics to get shot of it. I don’t like taking tablets, but I had had this flamin’ cold on and off for five or six weeks. The antibiotics finally cleared the cold at the beginning of this week.

Anyway, regarding the holiday, I have lots to show you and talk about so I’m planning to do it over the next couple of weeks rather than doing a ginormous blog about it.

The other exciting news is that we’ve welcomed a new furry family member. Her name is Bonya (she was previously owned by a Russian lady) and she’s just adorable.

Unfortunately her previous owner had to rehome her, but I’m glad we’ve got her cos she’s a lovely wee dog. My other two dogs were a bit scared of her at first (although she’s the least scariest dog I’ve ever met), but are coming round now. She’s a terrible snorer, loves to give you big face licks (ew…I hate dogs licking me on the face and it’s a fight to keep her from doing it…she’s very determined!) and is very cuddly.

In other news, I took a major leap of faith and gave up my job this week. I feel that life is too short and I want to write for a living, so I’m going to give it a go. I made the decision months ago and it really feels right. I don’t really feel I’ve stopped work yet because I never work on Thursdays, but I think it will start to sink in next week when I don’t have to go. Just want to thank all my friends and colleagues at work for their generous gifts and see you all next week! People keep asking me what I’m going to do with my ‘retirement’, but I don’t view it as that…I am going to WRITE!! I am taking a couple of weeks off to get the house and garden in order and to chill out. Then I’ll start back writing again. Can’t wait.

Anyway, it’s getting late so I’m going to finish here. Til next time…and all the holiday tales to come!

Dawn xx

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What is it With Dogs Rolling in Poo?

March 25, 2017

Have you ever had one of those days when you feel as if you haven’t done much, but you’re absolutely exhausted? Today’s the day for  me! However, when I actually look back at what I’ve doen all day I suppose I have been busy…well -ish.

I rose at 5.30am to let two little dogs out for a pee. Then we all went back to bed until 6.30am but I wasn’t allowed to sleep, oh no, I had to spend the hour tickling tummies and rubbing behind ears and getting lots of love and licks. Every time I stopped, Millie would push her head into me wanting more attention…she’s a very lovely, but very demanding little girl at times.

NB before I forget, Casper had a haircut at Tartan Tails on Thursday and is looking so handsome as you can see in the pics. He actually looks like a Yorkie now instead of a scruffy little creature.

Okay, so we got up, I made us all poached eggs – when I say ‘all’ I mean me and the dogs, the kids were still in bed – and we ate them watching the new Lethal Weapon tv programme which is actually very good. Then I watched Modern Family (love that programme!) and Bones (I recently got back into it, still loving it although I can’t look at Booth without thinking of the vampire Angel on Buffy…hubba hubba!).

I decided to have a morning bath because…well I never get the time to have a bath during the day and I thought it would be lovely. I put some music on, laced the bath with bath salts and slipped in. Then the dogs came in, the boy shouted that he wanted me to do something, the girl started arguing with the boy and all hell broke loose…I turned the music up!

Me and the boy and the boy’s friend took the dogs down the beach after lunch. The sun was splitting the sky and it was really warm, so much so that I took my jacket off. The dogs just love the beach, although before we even got there Casper decided it would be a good idea to roll in dog poo. Ew! Anyway, we all enjoyed the beach although the boys (on their bikes) thought it would be a good idea to cycle through the water of the river (the beach is on the River Clyde) throwing up mud all over their bikes and their clothes. The dogs, who love a good chase, ran at top speed following the boys and chasing each other through the mud. As you can guess, they were all pretty mucky when they got back to our house later on, still they all had fun. Casper and Millie – to their utter horror (well Casper’s horror, Millie doesn’t seem to mind) – were then bathed before being allowed to wander about the house again. They are so funny when they are wet, it seems to spark them back into life. They just love running around and rolling on the carpet rubbing their wet fur dry on anything made of material (mainly my bed!!).

Later on, I sat down at my sewing machine to take up some summer dresses for the girl. They are made of a very fine stretch knit so are almost impossible to sew. In fact, one of them was so difficult that I ended up hand sewing the hem. Need to chat to my sewing supremo friend Tracy about the best way to sew this type of fabric! Anyway, I finished one and am halfway through another. It’s amazing how tired I get just doing nearly two hours of sewing. The time went really quickly, but I ended up with sore shoulders.

Then we had dinner and now I am writing this.

Ooh nearly forgot (and how could I?), took the kids to see the new Beauty and the Beast last Saturday. It was my wedding anniversary and I decided we needed to go to see this film to cheer us all up and it didn’t disappoint. It was a lovely film and so romantic and I just loved it.

What else has been happening? Went for a relaxing hot stone massage last week. It was fab. First had one of those six years ago when my friend AJ bought me one for my 40th birthday. Been meaning to go back and get another one and I’m so glad I did. I think I need to treat myself to one more often. So relaxing.

Books and I’ve just finished rereading Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra which is about how he went from an overweight, unhealthy 40-year-old to an ultra athlete…very inspiring. Just started the wonderful Joanna Bolouri’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year which promises to be as good (and as hysterical) as her first book The List. Also have her second book, I Followed the Rules, to read. I cannot tell you how funny her books are. They are just excellent.

Right am going to finish up here and get back to my book!

Til next time.

Dawn xxx

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The Dreaded Lurgy Comes to Town

March 3, 2017

The Dreaded Lurgy has breached the germ barriers of this house again. The girl has some sort of stomach thing and is in her bed sleeping. I have a dastardly cold that has drained me of all energy, so I’ve taken the opportunity to chill out this morning. I don’t often get the chance to just sit and do nothing, so am enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong, I am still doing washings and tidying things up…these things don’t get themselves done! Unfortunately!

So how’s your week been? Have you done anything interesting? I can’t say I’ve done a huge amount because of aforementioned extreme tiredness. Tried to have a relaxing bath last night, but was constantly interrupted by two mutts who repeatedly stood up, paws on side of bath, wanting to be patted. Casper, the water hating Yorkie, whined a lot. I think he wanted me to get out of the “awful” bath. Millie appeared to want to get in. Anyway, eventually they got bored and left me to my bath and my book (Catching Fire – the second Hunger Games book, it’s fantastic).

I’m sorry but this blog is going to be short and a bit boring. As I said I haven’t been tip top this week thanks to the cold, so I haven’t been exerting myself…except to do the housework yesterday. In fact, I’m going to finish up now and hopefully will be back bigger and better with the next blog. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

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