Posts Tagged ‘Joanna Bolouri’

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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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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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You know you’re a parent when…

April 17, 2014
Monster High Doll shoes

Monster High Doll shoes

…you find a pair of Monster High Dolls in the en suite shower room and you’re not surprised! Or there’s a bit of sticky stuff on the kitchen floor that the mysterious ‘no-one’ did after getting himself or herself a piece and jam. Or your daughter claims to have run out of underwear only for you to find 28 pairs stuffed down the back of her bed!!

It’s been a bit of a mental week this week. I’ve been watching the kids during the Easter holidays and we’ve managed to do a few nice things. I had intended it to be quiet, but it hasn’t really worked out that way!

We went up to Geilston Garden in Cardross for a wander around and a cup of tea (I brought a flask!). We went with my friend Dawn and her daughter and while the kids ran around and made a lot of noise, we supped on tea and chatted about nothing in particular.

My parents and young niece and nephew came for lunch yesterday. The noise was…well…unbearable at times. It was my two – they are boisterous, happy weans who are incredibly noisy especially when hyper. They had fun playing with their cousins and it was great to see everyone. We went for a walk, but couldn’t stay out long due to the bitter wind that comes off the river. Blustery and bracing are the best words to describe it!

Today my girl had gone to the pictures with her friend and the boy is out playing with his. I’ve spent the afternoon putting together submissions of short stories to magazines and of my books to agents in the hope that I will get the short stories published and finally get an agent to try and get Dusting Down Alcudia and Ham published in book form. Wish me luck!!

I was gutted on Tuesday having watched the last episode of series 2 of Death in Paradise. I love murder mysteries and that series is great because it’s soft (not gritty and dark) and set in the lovely Caribbean. Just makes me feel all warm and cosy.

Still watching Breaking Bad and loving it. Has taken me some time to get into it, but now I get why everyone’s raving about it!!

A final word on telly programmes – OH MY GOD!! WASN’T GAME OF THRONES GREAT??!! A cheer went up when…well I don’t want to say because I know some friends of mine read this blog and haven’t yet seen it. Anyway, for those of you who have seen it, you know the bit I mean!! No-one’s going to miss that wee slimeball!! This is definitely my favourite show of all time!

Disaster struck! I had bought another niece and nephew chocolate chick Easter eggs. However, disaster struck when I left them in a bag on a chair in my study…I forget how hot it gets in that room when the sun is shining and, well, this happened…

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It should look like this…

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Meant to say: I invested in a replacement egg for the two of them!

On that final note, I’m away to get a well earned cup of tea and maybe some of the leftover Colin the Caterpillar cake I bought for yesterday. Yum!!

Dawn xxx

PS Here’s a quick selfie of me and Joanna Bolouri at her book launch last week…!

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A racy new writer and catching up with friends

April 12, 2014

The List

Had an excellent night last night! Was out at the launch of my friend Joanna Bolouri’s brand new book The List at Argyle Street Waterstone’s. I’ve known Joanna since she was a child. She is the daughter of my dear friend Yvonne who was my very first editor (she basically took a chance on me and gave me my first newspaper job) on the Glasgow South & Eastwood Extra local newspaper. I’ve known Yvonne for 25 years…can’t believe it’s been that long (she still looks great!)…and Joanna for about as long.

The List is Joanna’s debut book and is a fantastically funny story about Phoebe Henderson who’s been single since she caught her boyfriend in bed with another woman. With her friend Lucy she creates a list of ten things she’s always wanted to do in bed and as the book blurb goes: ‘One year of pleasure, no strings attached. Simple, right?’ Already started this book and can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s hysterically funny, brilliantly written and one I can barely put down! If you love a great story, a good belly laugh and some brilliant capers, you’ll love The List. Available at all major outlets…and, no, Joanna has not paid me nor asked me to promote this book! It’s so good I have no qualms about doing it!! NB Not one for the kids!

Last night I also managed to catch up with a fair few folk I haven’t seen for years and it was brilliant. So thanks to Joanna for the invite…had a great time and I wish you all the best with your book!

Plus DarkIsle: The Final Battle is now out!! It’s the final one in the trilogy and just as exciting and pacy as the other two. I hope you enjoy it!

Right, that’s the excitement over. I don’t go out a lot (my choice), so any night out is extremely exciting. I don’t go out a lot because I have such a lot going on in my life at home that I am often too tired to go out. Plus home is definitely where my heart is, so I don’t need to have a lot of excitement to have a great life. It’s all here!!

This week I’ve been working as usual, but am off next week for the Easter hols. Me and the kids started the hols off with a trip to a local soft play area, which was a good idea in the beginning, but hell to end with. We were meeting some friends there, which was great. The only thing that wasn’t great was the hellish racket all the kids were making as they played. Two hours of it and I’d had enough. We came home to peace and quiet. My kids had a great time and it was good to catch up with friends, but my eardrums are still recovering!!

Yesterday, had a friend over to watch Monday’s Game of Thrones. Oh my God do I love that programme! I watched it Monday night with hubby and I watched it all over again with Mac (my friend) yesterday. Fantastic! As soon as I hear the opening music, my heart starts beating faster and my stomach flips in excitement. Sad, but true. Monday’s episode didn’t disappoint and can’t wait til next week’s.

This weekend, I am planning to do a bit of writing and to clean out my car. It’s badly in need of a clean, but every time I go to do it it’s raining hard. Plus it stinks of oil which isn’t great. Took it for an MOT and service yesterday and it came back reeking of oil. Hopefully it’ll dissipate soon!!

Right, am off to do something else…like getting dressed (am writing this at 10.25am on Saturday morning!). Til next time!

Dawn xxx

On Writing

PS also reading Stephen King’s On Writing…it’s excellent. He has such a good voice when he writes and this comes across beautifully in his book which is part biog, part writing guide. I’m not a fan of his books (because I don’t like horror mainly because I can’t sleep for weeks afterwards), although I love some of the films that have been made from them (Shawshank Redemption is one of my all time favourite films), but I think he’s a great writer and story teller. Not literary, but that doesn’t matter!! I think a book should be judged on it’s story telling and not how fancy the words are! Anyway, On Writing is good.

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