It’s Been One of Those Really Nice Days

Today has been one of those days that has worked out really nicely. It all started a couple of weeks ago when I arranged to meet an old work friend for lunch. I hadn’t seen my friend for a long time and it was nice to catch up.

We arranged to meet at Epicure of Hyndland for lunch today, but when I got there, the restaurant – which is in Hyndland Road in Glasgow’s west-end – was undergoing a refit and, therefore, closed. I was half an hour early so I wandered up Hyndland Road a bit and my eye was, of course, caught by the lovely little Hyndland Bookshop. I cannot resist a bookshop, particularly the independently owned one and I swear I was only going in to pick a few birthday cards for future birthdays of friends and relatives. Anyway, I picked up these lovelies:

I like them so much I am thinking of framing them rather than giving them away (sorry, friends and relatives). Anyway, whilst perusing the books, someone called my name and there was a friend I hadn’t seen for about four years standing behind the cash desk. We’d kind of lost touch. So, I spent a happy ten minutes catching up with her and promising to do lunch soon and I handed her the cards and this book to pay for them:

However, she gave me the book as a gift because we haven’t seen each other for ages. How lovely is that? Thank you my dear friend. I greatly appreciate it.

I was still a little early for lunch when I left the bookshop so I went next door to the Marie Curie charity shop for some treasure hunting. Hyndland is a very nice area in Glasgow, so you get great stuff in that shop and I picked up this Paul Costelloe leather bag for £20. Bargain! Apologies for the poor picture quality.

Then I went to meet my friend and had a lovely lunch. So, there you are, a lovely day. Plus it was sunny and warm, so you couldn’t have gotten a nicer day.

Things took a wrong turn, however, when it was time to go home. Well, I took a wrong turning…several times. I was aiming to get to Hyndland Rail Station to get my train home, but couldn’t find the bloody thing. I Googled it and somehow went off in the wrong direction. Had I only continued walking the way I was originally walking I would have gotten to the station quicker. Anyway, several wrong turns and then a few right ones later and I eventually got there. Phew! I don’t know what it is about that station but I can never find the bloody thing!

So, how was your day today? In fact, how’s your week going so far? Isn’t the weather lovely here in the UK this week so far? It makes everything seem so much cheerful. Hope you’re having a great time.

Right, and on to the most important point of this blog – Game of Thrones. What did you think of yesterday’s episode? I was so disappointed Cersei didn’t meet a nastier end. And what the hell was Dany doing? What’s gotten into her these days? She was so nice before and now she’s just awful? She seems to have turned into her mad father. It was a ‘phew’ moment when Arya and Jon survived. Cannot wait until next week’s final episode. Cannot wait and dreading it at the same time for it will be the end of Game of Thrones and I will miss it. I’m also a bit worried it will be rubbish. We shall see next week, won’t we?

Right, I am going to finish up here. The kids have the Queen/Freddy Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody on the telly just now and I can’t help but sing along…it’s a bit distracting. So to the strains of We Are the Champions, I shall say goodbye until next time.

Dawn xxx

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A toilet roll trail and reading about Jack Kahane

Is it Friday already? I swear to God my life is speeding up and every year it gets quicker. I cannot believe it’s nearly Christmas!!

Anyway, so far this week I have done this: gone to work, taken the boy to his swimming lessons, hoovered (a lot cos the dogs are worse than the kids for making a mess), gutted the house (more on that in a minute), put the outside Christmas lights on our small trees, attended a funeral (my friend’s mum, was a lovely funeral) and had lunch with friends on two different occasions ( I am turning into a lady who lunches all the time!).

Back to cleaning the house. I spent around two hours on cleaning up the house yesterday. I really went to town on gutting the place. It needed a good old scrub, so I gave it one. I was so happy when I finished and the house was sparkling. Then I went upstairs to wash and change (I always break a sweat when cleaning the house – I like to put my all into it, it’s like doing a workout). En route I took up a basket full of clean clothes leaving some toilet rolls on the stairs. Big mistake. I washed up, changed and touched up my makeup. Happy that the house was sparkling, I skipped downstairs (kind of like Snow White but not as young or as thin or dark haired) full of the joys of not having to clean anything for a while when I saw it…First it was the toilet rolls spilled all down the stairs and onto the hall rug. Then I noticed the trail of white toilet roll paper from the hall into the living room a la Babes in the Wood. Taking a deep breath to quell the rising fury, I peeped into the living room to see Millie looking all innocent with a chewed and decimated toilet roll sitting next to her and a tell-tale piece of toilet roll stuck to her little black, toilet roll chewing lips.

Her: Whaaaaat? I’ve done nothing. It was Casper.

Me (wild fury that only a parent can muster): Oh MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!! I’ve just cleaned in here! Naughty dog! Naughty dog! Look what you’ve done.

Her (shame-faced and all big sad eyes and drooping ears): Sorry.

Casper, by the way, had been with me the whole time Millie was merrily chewing her way through the paper, so I knew it wasn’t him. I wouldn’t have minded, but it wasn’t even cheap nasty toilet paper, but Andrex…the quilted one! Sigh.

I did not tear up the toilet roll!

I did not tear up the toilet roll!

 

This evening I was looking forward to taking my wine making into the next stage by de-gassing the wine and sticking the hydrometer in. Unfortunately, I am clumsy and it’s worse this year and I dropped the hydrometer onto the kitchen floor which is tiled with ceramic tiles.  It smashed into a million pieces – okay a bit of an exaggeration, but it did break and I couldn’t use it and I couldn’t check if the wine was ready for the next stage. So I swiftly went onto Amazon and ordered a new one. Bloody butter fingers and I was completely sober at the time! I’m making Chardonnay, but the way. I hope it’s nice.

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Harley Quinn

Watched Suicide Squad this week and loved it. I really like the Marvel films and this one was great. Harley Quinn definitely steals the show although I hope she doesn’t have too much of an influence on the girl who watched the film complete with Harley Quinn-esque bunches in her hair. Sigh. She’s already having her ‘moments’ – thank God I can take her phone of her as punishment – and loves Harley, so I don’t want any of Harley’s attitude rubbing off on her. Why can’t kids stay as babies and not turn into pre-tweens with the attitudes of a 20-something New Yorker? Anyway…what is it about Marvel women that they (mostly, there are a couple of exceptions) have to wear the skimpiest of skimpies? Harley for instance spends most of the film in a pair of the smallest glittery shorts that leave nothing to the imagination. They are actually more like knickers. And the Enchantress is not much better.  All the men, however, are fully clothed throughout the movie (except for the Croc one who takes his shirt off at one point to get into water, but trust me there was nothing sexy about it). Talk about objectifying women! Anyway, enough of my moaning…

Currently reading Neil Pearson’s biog of Jack Kahane, the founder of Obelisk Press who printed Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, Anais Nin, D H Lawrence (Lady Chatterley’s Lover), Lawrence Durrell, Radcliffe Hall and James Joyce. I’ve only just started it, but am already enjoying it. I watched the tv programme that goes with it and loved it.

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Jack Kahane

It’s a really interesting story. He was born and bred in Manchester, was injured in the First World War, met and married a French girl, moved to Paris in the late 1920s to become a writer, didn’t succeed so set up a publishing company. It’s a great tale of a man who loved books printing some of the most controversial and influential books of the last century. As well as the more high brow literary smutty books (haven’t read Tropic of Cancer, but Neal Pearson read out an excerpt, it’s explicit), he also wrote printed cheap smutty books too to bring in regular money to keep the business going and food in the mouths of his kids. Apparently they were quite a sensation in their day, but incredibly mild by today’s standards!

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Anais Nin

Right, on that note, I am going to leave you to go upstairs, put my Christmas CDs on (cos I love em!) and read all about Jack. Til next time.

Dawn xx

 

 

Favourite illustrators part 2

NPG P1363; Mabel Lucie Attwell by Elliott & Fry  Mabel Lucie Atwell

Had to put in a wee bit of Ms Atwell because her illustrations were another part of my childhood. I just loved her rosy cheeked children and lovely images of fairies and children’s book characters.

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So how are you all? Sorry I’ve been missing in action for the past two weeks…it’s just been a busy time for us what with hubby’s various appointments, catching up with family and friends, working and keeping the home running. No wonder I’m feeling so tired!

ppaw09-bigSo how’s life been for you since we last spoke? Let’s see…I suppose the most interesting and fun day we had recently was last Saturday. During the day, I visited my parents and we rushed back to get the house in order to get it tidied for friends coming round. We ordered a Chinese carryout, drank lots of wine and had a good old laugh when la famille Blanc came round to play. I’ve known this couple for…oh God!…twenty years. Is it really that long? You know you’re getting old when your friendships go into decades! We have worked together, played together, holidayed together and been really good friends for  a long, long time.

Anyway, we had a great night. I got slightly drunk (ahem!)…okay I was well drunk, but after the last few months (which have been pretty stressful) it was good to let my hair down and be with friends who don’t mind me partaking a little snifter or five!

Thanks for the great night!!

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I have started training for the Great Scottish Swim at Loch Lomond next year. I love swimming, I feel at home in water – I love it – and it’s near where I live. Plus my friend Jane did it a few years ago and totally inspired me. I have concerns about doing it – mainly about the actual day itself, about panicking in the crowd (am not good with stressful situations or crowds these days) – but I figure that if I start training for it, tell folk I’m doing it and get to the day and panic about it and don’t go in, then the worst I will have done is get fitter and (hopefully) a bit thinner.

The inspiration for actually being serious about doing it came during a walk – part of the John Muir Way – Jane, Tracy and myself did last week. We were all talking about challenges and the Great Scottish Swim 2015 took place last weekend. As we admired the fantastic view of Loch Lomond, Tracy said she wanted to do it, I said I will do it with her and Jane looks like she may do it too.

I need to do something about my weight and fitness levels, although I do a lot of walking and I swim every week.

Anyway, the plan is I’m going to do it…so watch this space about this time next year.

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Just finished reading Tom Hodgkinson’s How to be Idle, which is his manifesto for everyone to be much more idle and less workaholic. It’s funny and I love his views on various aspects of being idle throughout life (even if many of his suggestions are totally impractical in real life). However, what he’s saying about not being a consumer and living with less so you can work less and enjoy life more does ring true with me. Definitely a book I’d recommend if only for the lovely warm and witty way he writes.

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 I met my youngest sister in Glasgow this morning for brunch. What luxury! I never do this, but we hadn’t seen each other since July (dad’s birthday) and it was the only time we both could make. We went to the Riverhill Café and it was lovely. Riverhill have a bone fide restaurant in Helensburgh and I’d been there. I knew they had a café in the town so suggested meeting there. I was glad we did. She had a hummous and potato naan and I had the poached eggs and black pudding on toast. Oh it was delicious! My mouth has just burst alive with saliva at the memory. Yum! Was great to catch up with her and happy birthday to her daughter this weekend.

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Did I tell you I am totally hooked on True Blood? Can’t get enough of it. Am now on series four thanks to Sky boxsets and am addicted to it. The storylines are getting increasingly ridiculous, but although it can be really gory, it can also be really funny. It’s my current fave programme.

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Right, am going to finish up here. It’s nearly 10pm on a Thursday night and I’m desperate for my bed and need to be alert tomorrow for a bike ride (and later on more True Blood). Hope you enjoyed the lovely pics. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Handy things to know…

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I’m a big fan of Pinterest. I truly believe you can find out anything you want on Pinterest and I regularly go on and have a look. Here are my top five handy things to know – information I’ve gleaned via that mighty site!

1) Home-made eczema cream courtesy of Shaye Elliot of the Elliot Homestead. I haven’t made this so can’t tell you how good it is, but I do suffer from sensitive skin so will definitely give this a go.

2)33 Ikea hacks that all women can do and gathered by AllWomensTalk. I think some of them are great ideas – I especially like the ideas for the spice racks.

3) Sun Scholars’ 50 Home-made Gifts for Kids. This is my favourite from Mmmm Crafts.

4) Natural allergy relief thanks to nettles and Fresh Bites Daily.

5) And how to preserve a Dandelion in resin courtesy of Make.

I think number 5 is definitely my favourite although totally impractical. It’s just beautiful.

Dawn xx

Minions and Museums – doing family stuff this week

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The weather has been pretty good recently and there’s been some really nice skies. It’s been warm and the kids have been out playing and having a great time.

Because it’s the holidays (I have another week off work…yippee!) and we’re not going anywhere, we’re trying to take the kids on wee day trips here and there. Hubby still isn’t up to full strength, so it has to be somewhere near-ish and something he can do without walking too far. This week we went to see the new Minion movie at Clydebank. The kids loved it, we thought it was pretty average. In fact, it’s safe to say I doubt I’ll ever watch it again. Then we went to Frankie & Benny’s for lunch. Was nice to go out as a family again after months of poor hubby being so ill.

We had a few days at home and today we ventured into Glasgow to the Kelvingrove Art Galleries and Museum in the westend. I have loved this place since I was a kid and hope my kids love it too.

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I took the camera, so here’s a wee selection of what you can see inside the museum…

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I found it odd seeing this armour with guns as I thought armoured soldiers just had swords and spears, but apparently there were guns around in 1610 when the armour and the guns were made and folk were still wearing armour. You learn something new every day!

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You can’t go to a Glasgow museum without having some sort of Rennie Mackintosh influence!

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The heads (or heids as they say here in Glasgow). I love these.

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I just love the costumes. I wish there were more on display.  I wish there was a museum of costume in Glasgow – there was one in the Borders, I don’t know if  it’s still there – and I’d go all the time. The work on this dress is stunning.

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Couldn’t go by Robert Louis Stevenson without taking a quick pic.

Not sure where we’ll go next week. The boy wants to go back to Vikingar! in Largs – I’ve never been but I’d like to go. Ho hum! Decisions, decisions.

Right, am off. Dinner is nearly ready and I’ve got plans to do stuff tonight (yes including writing!). Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

 

The fox, the hare, the robin and the pop up shop in Glasgow’s Finnieston area

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Hello. How are you? How’s it going? I’ll bet you’ve all had a really busy week getting ready for Christmas. Over the last week-and-a-half I’ve attended the boy’s nativity (which was a hoot), got an excited girl ready for her very first ceilidh, took her to her ballet exam and went to the school’s Christmas church service which was held in the school hall this year as the church is full of the Christmas tree exhibition (trees decorated by local groups and very good by all accounts). I also met friends for lunch at Jam Jar, one of our local cafes, and had the best cheese on toast I’ve ever had: sour bread toasted and topped with crispy bacon, ham, cheese and cranberry sauce all served with a lovely salad and crisps. Oh it was to die for!

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Today, I met up with an old friend I haven’t seen for years and it was great. We went to Finnieston in Glasgow, had lunch and wandered about. We also dropped into a pop up shop called Veneer which is a shop run by Bespoke Atelier and filled with some lovely items all designed by Scottish based artists. My friend picked up a beautiful silk scarf. I now have scarf envy. The pics in this blog are all from the shop and are really lovely. My favourites, however, are these…

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They are by a company called. Joy Collection and are tree ornaments. I love all three animals – I have a bit of thing for all of them, particularly hares. Unfortunately, Veneer is only open until tomorrow, but if you go on the Bespoke Atelier website, you’ll get the names of all the companies involved.

Anyway I had a good afternoon. We ended the afternoon with tea and canoli for the first time (the pistachio one is amazing) in Panevino. I returned home to find my front garden filled with twinkling tree lights courtesy of hubby who put them up in my absence. Looks great.

Right, am going to leave you now. I will try and do another post next week, but in case I don’t get round to it, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

Dawn xxxx

I love Mary Poppins but I’m not sure about P L Travers

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Just finished watching Saving Mr Banks – we’d recorded it – and I quite enjoyed it. Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson were excellent in their respective roles at Walt Disney and P L Travers. It’s quite a sad film. P L Travers seems to have had quite a hard early life with an alcoholic father who died young which may have been the reason she was so cold and precise and judgemental in her outlook in later life. I looked up her biography and was saddened to see that there was a line from one of her grandchildren which basically said that she liked no-one and no-one like her. I would hate to be remembered like this. It’s just so sad. What a waste of a life despite her writing so many excellent books. I loved the Mary Poppins film – it’s the first one I remember seeing at a local cinema as a very small child – and I really loved the books which I borrowed several times from Neilston Library. Anyway, I still remember the joy those books brought me when I was growing up and their author’s apparently difficult character will not put me off them!

So how are you? Life has been pretty hectic lately – to be truthful it’s always hectic  (well, until the kids go to bed!). Work has been busy busy busy and the kids are just getting back into life at school. They seem to be enjoying it so far although I am NOT enjoying trying to get my son out of bed and dressed in the morning. Where my daughter is like the hare (quick and quiet), my son is a very noisy and objecting tortoise. He just hates to get out of his bed and he takes forever to get ready, to eat his breakfast, to brush his teeth, to get his shoes on and the list goes on…sigh! It’s soul destroying to have to cajole him every single morning. Am hoping this is just a phase he will grow out of!

Our guinea pigs are now back indoors due to the bad weather. It’s been raining a lot and has got a lot colder lately so I thought I’d take them in earlier than planned. They appear to be loving being back in the warmth of the house and I was rewarded with a lot of purring from Darcy this morning when I gave them the additional treat of some kale. They love fresh vegetables! They are very cute and cuddly wee creatures and I sort of missed them from the house. Now they are back, they are easier to visit and talk to and stroke and rub their heads. The only problem is that my study is now a bit of a mess, but not to worry…the hoover will soon sort that out!

Am currently reading Deborah Harkness’ new book The Book of Life. It’s the third in the All Souls trilogy and it is excellent. I cannot keep myself from reading it, it’s all I want to do. It’s the witch/vampire story I’ve spoken about many times before. If you like a good read I’d recommend all three – A Discovery of Witches

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Shadow of Nightand The Book of Life

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As for my own books, not much to tell you. I have gotten back to working on my adult and children’s books. Nothing else to report apart from that. Such is the life of an author!!

Anyway, talking of writing, I am going to love you and leave you here so that I may get back to it. Til next time!

 

Dawn xx

PS am thinking of getting back to Wednesday Word and the Monday favourites…if anyone can suggest either words or themes for the favourites, please do so. I’d love to hear from you.