Third DarkIsle due out in March, Burns Supper, being sociable and getting back into poetry!

coloured pencils

Hello. How are you? Hope you’re well. I’m back, but I haven’t yet finished my room…I can’t believe how much rubbish I have hoarded!! Sigh. Not to worry. This weekend it should be finished.

There are a few reasons why I couldn’t get it finished last weekend:
1) I didn’t get my new bookcase until Sunday, so that kept me back
2) I was really, really busy (Thursday: I gutted the room and moved furniture about; Friday: visited a friend and then attended the school’s Scottish afternoon which was a celebration of Burns and our culture, it was great; Saturday: took the girl to her art class and then went hunting for a bookcase in Ikea on Saturday afternoon – the shop was mobbed and I couldn’t get one I wanted; Sunday: out for lunch with friends at Luss’ The Village Rest and then my darling hubby went to Homebase and got me my bookcase). So, you can see I’ve been very sociable and haven’t had a lot of time or energy in between. This weekend, however, I don’t have as much on so I will get into it!!

This week, I’ve been busy at work, but been feeling really really tired. I think it’s a combination of the horrible cold and wet weather we’ve been experiencing, the long, dark nights and having to get up early to everyone out to school, work etc. Hopefully, I’ll get my energy back this weekend.

Oh exciting news! Apparently the third DarkIsle is due out in March. Hubby found out accidentally by looking for it on Amazon. I say it ‘apparently’ is coming out then because I haven’t had any official word from my publisher, but it must be right if Amazon says so! ūüėČ

rainbow1

Anyway, moving on…I’ve signed up to a couple of reading challenges this year so am looking to read books I wouldn’t normally read. One of them is a book by Canongate of three Scottish poets. We had a Burns Supper at home on Saturday night to celebrate the Bard and have yet another excuse to eat haggis, which I love. We each said a poem, which was nice. The kids really loved doing that. It’s given me a taste for poetry again, so I purchased the book of poems and am working my way through them. I would give you the title, but I can’t remember it and I can’t find it because my room is in a guddle and things are everywhere. I will find it and tell you at a later time. It features poems by Edwin Morgan, Liz Lockhart and another poet whose name escapes me at the moment (sorry!).

Right, I must love you and leave you! Got to get the offspring to school and do a bit of piano practise before my lesson this morning. Til next time,

Dawn xxx

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Jack Vettriano and a reading challenge

Image by Polish photographer Jacek Plackiewicz.

Image by Polish photographer Jacek Plackiewicz.

Morning!! Am writing this before I drop the kids off at school. It’s not raining outside – for once – and it looks like it’s going to be a really nice day. Am meeting my parents at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow today to go and see the Jack Vettriano exhibition. I love his work, so am really looking forward to it. Will let you know how that goes in another blog.

So how have you been? This week: hubby is still unwell with some really nasty bug, poor thing has had to take time off work and has lost a fair bit of weight. Am hoping he’s now on the mend. My daughter resumed her art lessons last weekend at Glasgow School of Art. They do regular lessons for kids and we signed her up because she loves drawing. She blows hot and cold for it, so am not sure if we’ll sign her up for more after the summer…we’ll see. The boy is just the boy and doing good.

News from me: finished the first draft of the first chapter of my sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. Have also started planning a new children’s book that I’ve had mulling about my head for the last few years. I’ve been cutting out sugar and wheat over the last few weeks in an attempt to lose some weight, but it’s had the added effect of making me feel more energetic. Am trying to channel this into doing more writing…so it’s all good. Haven’t really missed sugar that much, but I have had the odd craving for a wee bit of bread or some pasta. It’s a two week thing which finished yesterday and I’ve lost four pounds, which is great. However, am determined to lose more so am going to try and stick to that way of eating…I will have the odd bit of sugar or wheat, but I won’t go back to eating chocolate bars as a snack or as much bread as I used to. Been making my own muesli for breakfast in the morning instead of having toast and am really enjoying it.

Signed up to do a reading challenge at work. I have to read six books in this year, which won’t be a challenge at all to me so the librarian suggested I try to read something I normally wouldn’t read. I draw the line at reading about sports, but a friend recommended a book called Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Classes and I have Long Walk to Freedom to read too, so that’s a start. The friend was also talking about poetry, so am maybe going to see if I can read a poetry book too. Will keep you posted as to how I do. Am currently reading Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon having ditched Terry Prachett (for a teensy while) in its favour. And yes it’s the next part of the Outlander series.

Oh is that the time? I need to go. Got to get the offspring (and my neighbour’s daughter who we give a lift to) to school. Then it’s Jack Vettriano time!!!

Til next time!
Dawn xxx

Back to normal…early mornings, early nights

Lovely pic by German photographer Andreas Krappweis. It's called Dandelions.

Lovely pic by German photographer Andreas Krappweis. It’s called Dandelions.

I am finding getting up for work difficult this week. On Monday, I got up at 6am, did the full day and was back in my bed sleeping by 9.30pm. On Tuesday, it was the same except the lights went out at 9pm. Last night, I managed to stay up til my normal time of 10pm. I was just exhausted earlier in the week. I think it was a combination of dark, early mornings, the horrible weather and the long, long drive to and from work. The kids didn’t fare any better, especially the boy who just loves his bed and hates getting out of it in the morning (unless it’s 4.30am on Christmas morning that is!). Anyway, I suppose it’s just a question of us all getting used to it again.

Anyway, how have you been? How’s your week been? Busy?? Today, the sun is splitting the sky and it’s a very welcome relief after the weeks of heavy rain, flooding and gale-force winds we’ve been experiencing in Scotland. Still, at least it’s not as bad as the poor Americans…can’t imagine what it’s like dealing with minus 50 temperatures!! Brrrrrr! We’ve been lucky here, we’ve not had bad flooding – just the back garden – but our neighbour’s parents had flooding under their house. The water didn’t rise, which meant none of their stuff was damaged, but it was touch and go there for a while.

Am looking forward to seeing the publication of the third DarkIsle book soon. Not got a publication date yet, but it’s all been set out and the artwork is being done, so we’re nearly there. As soon as I know when it’s due out, I’ll let you know!!

Also, watched a great film last night. It’s called The Heat and stars Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. This film is not for those who find swearing offensive, but as myself and my hubby do not we really enjoyed it. It’s funny, clever and…yes, I’d recommend it.

Anyway, I feel I am just wittering on here. I have lots to do. Set out a new workplan for myself in relation to writing, so am determined to start writing again. My other plan is to see if I can get Dusting Down Alcudia and Ham – Memoirs of a P****d off Mother published. Wish me luck!!

Right am off to practise piano as I have a piano lesson today with Diane, my lovely piano teacher.

Til next time.

Dawn xx

Just watching ParaNorman…

ParaNorman

…and it’s great. The one thing I’ve found about being a mum is that you can watch kids’ movies without feeling awkward. And I love kids’ movies. The kids are at summer club just now, so am having a rare couple of hours of peace so decided to catch up on ParaNorman – about making of the film. We watched it as a family the other day, but I always miss bits because inevitably the boy always wants to talk through it or the girl – if she’s already seen it – will fill you in on the plot.

Anyway, am still off on annual leave and have been busy – between runny eyes and the sneezing that have been a major part of my life recently thanks to hay fever – marketing Dusting Down Alcudia and working on my new book Ham, which is due out next month. I’m also doing the final final tweaks to the third DarkIsle book which is due out later this year. It’s really exciting.

NB free copy of first three chapters of Dusting Down Alcudia can be found at the right-hand column under My Books. If you like the book, I’d appreciate a review on Amazon or Kobo.

I’ve also just finished that biography of Enid Blyton and am all inspired, despite the fact I didn’t feel she came out of the book as being a particularly warm individual. Anyway, I still love her books and, as I said, I am all inspired.

Right, am off to continue enjoying the peace. At the moment, it’s cool outside, which is great after the high temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately…I may just get some weeding done after all today!!

Til next time

Dawn xx

Chocolate, GB Sewing Bee and Game of Thrones…Heaven!

Easter 2013

This house has been Choc-tastic this week with the amount of yummy Easter Eggs the kids have been given. Hubby and I also gave each other one and mine is now finished (it was¬† Munchies egg with two packets of Munchies, a lovely choc egg and a mug – it was delicious and¬†calorific but I enjoyed every bite!!). I’ve been rationing the kids. The girl has been known to eat sweets until she is sick (at my parents’ house…thanks mum!!) plus I don’t want them overloading on sugar, so they still have quite a bit of the chocolate left. In saying that, it’s only Wednesday and they should have some left.

So how’s your Easter been? Hubby and I were both off Friday – Monday this week, so it was nice to have everyone around. We didn’t do much, but it was nice just to pootle around the house and have a bit of family time. We took the offspring up to Geilston Gardens to do the annual Easter Egg hunt…it was really cold, but the gardens were still beautiful and we had a lovely time following the clues so our two could get their eggs in the end.

Yesterday, we had a gang of kids round getting their pictures taken for something I’m doing at work. The house was heaving with kids and adults, but it was fun.

Today, the girl has already left for a sleepover, the boy is playing a game and I’m catching up on writing (DI3 draft is away to my publisher), housework (mound of ironing waiting to be done…sigh. You know how much I “love” ironing) and other stuff. The girl has put in a few orders for dresses for her dolls. I made one already – I would have shown it but she’s away to her sleepover with doll and dress – and have a few more to do. I may start another one tonight, depends on how I get on today. I’m wanting to start re-editing my book for adults today. Am keen to get that away.

Did anyone see the Great British Sewing Bee programme last night? Myself and my friend watched it in our own homes, but commented via text on the various things that were being made. We both thought the older lady was a pretty good sewer and felt poor Michelle, who was a bit ambitious about using silk for a reversible dress,¬† shouldn’t have been put out. She seemed to me to be a better seamstress than the two men.¬† Anyway, there was nothing made last night that I can truly say I liked, although I quite liked the car fabric and the green dress fabric. Roll on next week, I say. I enjoyed the programme and as a novice sewer myself thought the tips were quite good. We shall see if it holds my attention.

Talking of telly, did anyone see the first episode of the new series of Game of Thrones on Monday night? I just love Game of Thrones. The first episode was a bit tame, but the previous series’ first episodes were the same, they are mainly there to set the scene for what comes after. Just invested in a complete set of the books so far, but am worried that if I read past book 2, I’ll be spoiling the tv programme for myself. Dilemma dilemma. Hey, if that’s the worst thing I’ve to worry about, I’m doing okay! Anyway, am looking forward to the rest of the series. Tyrion Lannister is still my fave character!!

Also back is Castle AND a new series of The Big Bang Theory starts soon! This is great because there has been a dearth of good tv programmes recently and I haven’t been watching an awful lot of it. Just Elementary and reruns of Poirot (although I think I’ve now seen every episode at least twice by now). I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m not the telly addict I once was…means I get on with other stuff.

The other thing I’ve been doing is making bread in my new bread maker. Just bought a cheap one out of Argos, but it makes really nice bread. Don’t get me wrong, I do prefer to make bread by hand (now that I have finally learned how to do it after years of making bricks!!), but I often don’t have the time or inclination. The bread maker means I can just bung some ingredients into the maker and just leave it…excellent. This means we have fresh bread more often…double excellent. Thank you little sister for being the first in the family to buy a bread maker and sing its praises thus encouraging our mum and then me to buy one for ourselves!!!

Right am off. Until next time and Happy Easter!!

Dawn xxx

Spring has certainly not sprung!

tulip march 2013 1

Well it’s supposed to be spring, but the way the weather has been this week, you’d think it was mid winter. Thank goodness for central heating and warm clothes!! As I write this, it’s snowing outside. Brrrrrrr!

Not much has been going on this week chez moi. Still editing DarkIsle 3, but am hoping that it will be finished soon so that I can get on with my books for adults.¬† Hubby came home with a huge bouquet of tulips the other day. It was our wedding anniversary and, while we don’t really buy each other anything, he bought me those because he knows how much I love tulips. They were – and still are – gorgeous!!

Received a lovely message from young Erin Fitzsimmons from Houston, Texas whose grandfather Roy created the dragon on Irvine Beach which is the inspiration for DarkIsle. So, just wanted to say a big hello to Erin, her family and her friends across the Pond and thank you for your lovely words about the book!!

Talking of books, I have finally finished Little Dorrit! I must admit, it was a little bit of a slog at times and Little Dorrit was just a bit too compliant and meek for my liking, but I loved it anyway and am glad of the ending!! I’ll not say anything else in case you want to read it some day!

Right am going to leave you with a pretty picture of a crocus and go and tackle the list of things I have to do today. Til next time…hopefully I’ll have more to tell you!

Dawn xx

crocus march 2013 1

A walk into the past

Kilmahew 1

It was such a nice day last Sunday (apology about the picture quality), we made the decision to go for a family walk to a local ruin that myself and the kids had never been to before…that’s despite living here for more than a decade! Anyway, the boy wanted a picnic, so a picnic was duly created (it wasn’t anything fancy…just some sandwiches, cakes and bananas with some juice) and we set off for Kilmahew Castle near Cardross.

Kilmahew 2

The castle is a bit of a walk away from the village and you need to cut through the local golf course (via the right of way, of course…there was no scuttling across the green dodging golfballs for us!) and then you are in the woods. It’s not a difficult walk or climb and we reached the castle quite easily.

Kilmahew 5

I don’t know the history of the castle – I should have looked it up before writing this – but it’s a lovely ruin and a great place for a quick early spring picnic.

Kilmahew Castle

Kilmahew Castle

The kids loved exploring the old building and the tall tales their dad was telling them of how the castle only appeared to fair princesses and handsome princes (our kids). They totally believed it. They were all wide-eyed and full of questions as he spoke. It was lovely.

Kilmahew 7

We ate our picnic on some logs someone had cut up and left (I am assuming it was the someone who keeps the path to the castle clear) and we took some photos.

Kilmahew 8

It was a lovely, if cold, day and we had a great time. We left only when we started to feel the cold and the wee fella was getting tired and moany. Then he fell and the moaning increased tenfold! It didn’t put¬†us off though. ¬†I will definitely go back, it’s a lovely place. Very inspirational. Got the old creative juices flowing!

Other News

Not got a lot to tell this week. We started a wee diet club at work, so am hoping that I’ll be able to stick to cutting down and lose something (I love my food too much to be skinny!). If I can lose a stone I’ll be happy. Recieved my mini greenhouse and seeds. The kids are giving me the greenhouse for Mother’s Day, so am quite excited to get things started. I’ve begun chitting my potatoes, but it’s too cold to start seedlings outside. I may have to do it inside and leave them in my room downstairs, which is a nuisance as that’s where I sew and everything else is in there too (ie the laundry, the Guinea Pigs, anything anyone wants to dump in the house). Sigh. Still it’s not forever and will give the veg patch a wee start.

I’ve not done any writing so far this week, been too busy, but will get back on to that today. I’ve not been doing any sewing and knitting either, which is not like me. I have, however, printed off a pattern for wide-legged trousers that I have the perfect navy material for. Watch this space and I might just have them sewn by Christimas at the rate I’m going at!!

This morning I have to confess I had set aside to write, but because hubby has been watching the footie all week (which is fine with me cos I go upstairs and read) I had not managed to watch the recording of Mr Selfridge and I’m afraid that won this morning in the battle of ‘What should I do first?’. Then I had an appointment with my dental hygienist. I hate getting a scale and polish, but such is life. Learned an interesting fact recently, apparently there’s evidence that women who do not look after their teeth before and during pregnancy have a greater chance of having small babies who will go on to have problems with their teeth. Who would have thought your teeth would have such a big impact on life? In saying that, years ago I spoke to a senior dentist and he told me that your mouth and your teeth health is all linked to your overall health and problems you may be experiencing with another part of your body could stem from poor oral health. Mad or what?

Anyway, enough of my musings. I’m away to do something useful, but boring (clean the kitchen). Til¬† next time!

Dawn xxx

Appliance disaster, a gaggle of joggers and tea at Rose and Grants

It’s been one of those weeks where I felt I just wanted to stay in bed with my head under the covers. Last weekend was a total disaster for a number of appliances that just decided to give up and die on us. First to go was the washing machine. Thanks to the underwire part of an underwire bra, the inside seal was shredded with resultant burning rubber smell and ‘infected’ clothing that had to be washed again. Hubby took a look at it, looked up the part online, found out its price and between us we decided not to bother trying to fix it because it would cost as much as buying a new washing machine. The old machine is currently acting as an island unit in my kitchen. It’s in the way, but hubby will take it to the dump at the weekend.

Second to go was one of the knobs on my lovely cooker. I took all the knobs off to give the cooker a good clean. I dropped two: one survived after bouncing, the other ended up with bits smashed off it. Sigh.

Third to go was the garage door that refused point blankly to close and sat at a disturbing angle whilst hubby and I wrestled it closed. Hubby – being really handy – has fixed this.

Finally, our lovely vacuum cleaner just died as the wee fella was hoovering the living room (NB I am not a Dickensian slave driver who makes her child of five do housework, he asked to do it). He had just switched it on when the cleaner revved a couple of times and also passed away. I took it to a local appliance repair shop and am hoping it can be repaired.

So, here I am with a mountain of washing to do, no hoover and a cooker knob that now doesn’t tell me what temperature the small oven is at. Last week, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This week I am more resigned to the fact that it was just a bad week and it’s passed now. NB the heating doesn’t appear to be working properly either, but after the weeks of it¬†not working (sometimes at all)¬†before Christmas, we’re ignoring this problem until the weather heats up and maybe then we’ll get it sorted. The heating goes on, it’s just a bit weird about heating water now. Sigh.

Apart from that, I have the pleasure of knowing I’ll get my pearl earrings back this week. A local jeweller is fixing the guinea pig chewed one and I hope to get it back tomorrow. I’ve missed those earrings. Hubby bought them for my 30th birthday and I’ve been wearing them ever since.

Other good news is that the weather here has been lovely, which has really lifted everyone’s spirits and there seems to be more folk out and about enjoying it. Last night as I was returning home from work, I drove along the Broomielaw and saw a gaggle of joggers all bunched together at a junction. I briefly wondered if there was some kind of charity event going on there was so many of them, but I just think it was the sun that encouraged them out. There were also more cyclists, which is great. I think the more folk cycle, the safer cycling in the town should become as car drivers get more used to seeing them on the streets. Of course, not all cyclists and car drivers act in the safest manner when they come across each other (cyclists – you should stop at red lights and not cross the road when there’s no traffic! Car drivers – please give cyclists a wider berth and stop being so impatient around them), but generally there seems to be no problems. I’d love to cycle to work, but as I live around 17 miles away from my office, it’s just not possible. I’d only be getting there before it would be time to go home! Plus I don’t fancy it in the cold and wet…brrrrr! It’s chilly enough going from a warm house to a still-to-heat-up car without having to cycle as well! Am such a woose!!

rose and grants

Anyway, that’s been my week. The other good thing that happened last week was that I met up with some friends I hadn’t seen for a while at¬†Rose & Grant’s cafe on Argyle Street (near the Tron). It’s a lovely wee cafe. They don’t play loud music and you can chat away to each other to your heart’s content. The staff there are lovely; there are a couple of staff members¬†who are not British,¬†I don’t know where they are from but their accents are lovely. I think they may be Polish. Am not sure. Anyway, I love the cafe and we had a lovely time chatting and eating cake and blethering to the staff. Would recommend the cafe. They do really nice sandwiches and cakes. What I also like about it is that it’s housed in an old building that’s really long, so the back of the cafe houses the offices of a little business. You can see the people there when you go and order at the till. I don’t know why that amuses me, but it just does.

This weekend I have no plans other than domestic ones. Oh and plus I’ll be getting back to what I hope is my¬†last draft of¬†DarkIsle 3. I’ve just not had the time or energy to do it the last couple of weeks. I’ve had so much on. This weekend I will crack on with it.

Right am away to reload our new washing machine and empty the dishwasher. Ah, the life of a writer – so glamorous! Not! Hee hee.

Dawn xxxx

PS countdown is on til the next series of Game of Thrones is on Sky Atlantic. Can’t wait. I think it starts on April 1. Woohoo!

Discovering Witches, Baking Cupcakes, Writing and Gardening

A Discovery of WitchesShadow of Night

Just finished reading Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness which is the second novel in the All Souls Trilogy. I can hardly wait for the third book, they are that good. It was my mum who put me on to them and I am so glad she did…they are fantastic. Full of adventure, romance, history, magic and more…everything I like in a good read. Would thoroughly recommend them. The story follows Diana Bishop, an historian and witch, who accidentally uncovers a powerful magical book in the Bodeleian Libray. It’s that discovery that leads her into a dangerous world where she comes up against other witches, vampires and daemons keen to get their hands on her and¬†the book. Shadow of the Night continues the story leading Diana back to Elizabethan England. I liked this book in particular for the accuracy throughout about real people of the time, ¬†costume, how people lived, what London looked like, what they ate etc. Deborah goes into great detail about various aspects of Elizabethan life that I loved. Yes, definitely both excellent reads.

So what’s been happening in your world? Everyone returned to work this week and Monday was full of folk groaning and moaning about: being back at work; what miserable weather it’s been; and how dark the winter is this year (dark in the sense that it feels like the day barely lights up at all some days due to the heaviness of the rain clouds). Today there’s been a bit of snow and sleet fall. The snow is lying on the hills surrounding the Clyde and Glasgow, but isn’t lying further down, which is good because – much as I love snow – I hate driving in it.

I’ve had a pretty busy week what with returning to work after the Christmas holidays (to thankfully few emails!) and getting back into the swing of things. The kids are now back in their routine. The boy has been exhausted this week. I forget just how young he is sometimes, but he’s pleased to be back at school – as am I! He and his sister are currently upstairs supposedly tidying their rooms, but I hear too much chatter going on between them for them to be truly tidying! We’ll see!

Been pushing on with my book for adults and I’m close to finishing the first draft. I’ve already edited the first half of the book, but will go back over the whole of the book to ensure it reads okay. I’m pleased with it, I now just need to find an agent who thinks the same thing. Am also going to look into self publishing it as an e-book. I have a¬† couple of friends I’m going to give copies¬† to read and give comments back, which will be useful.

On the DarkIsle 3 front – there is no new news at the moment. What I hope is the final draft is with my publisher just now and I’m just waiting to hear back from him.

Crafting – been a bit quiet on that front too. One of my sewing machines’ feeder dogs are broken and am currently awaiting our local sewing machine fixing man to come and collect it. Lord knows¬†how much that’s going to cost!! Am thinking of finishing that sock I began knitting myself this time last year…hmmm.

Baking Рmy friend Tracy gave me lovely cupcake cases with excerpts from renaissance paintings printed on them. Used them for the first time on Friday.  I baked around 40 small cupcakes. They are now all gone bar one that was saved for hubby. My kids (and me) are proper cake lovers!

Gardening – have gone through my seed catalogue and chosen the seeds I want to buy. Just need to be paid again before I can purchase them! Was out in the garden yesterday weeding the front (the weeds are tenacious there), bin-bagging cat poo from our neighbours’ manky black cats (grrrrr) – I will purchase cat repellent this week, and turning over my veg garden (we put leaves from our garden on the veg plot to rot down).

That’s it from the DarkIsle household this week: nothing exciting, just a normal quiet life which is just how I like it!

Until next time!

Dawn xxx

Scarves, scarves and more scarves!

Three of 12 - sounds like a Grimm fairytale  title or the name of a Borg soldier!

Three of 12 – sounds like a Grimm fairytale title or the name of a Borg soldier!

Two days ago…

It’s amazing how one little inspiration can turn into a major project. About four weeks ago I was flicking through my knitting books looking for something that would be simple to do so that I could knit them for my kids. In Jane Brocket’s Gentle Art of Knitting she has a few scarves that are just lovely and I nearly made one of them. However, I was a tad stressed in the run up to Christmas (having had a November of birthdays to contend with including my own) and didn’t want to follow a pattern, so inspired by the Moss stitch creations in that book, I decided to do one of my own. I bought chunky wool and used size¬†8 needles, cast on 21 stitches and knitted in Moss stitch¬†’til the ball of wool was finished. Well, I actually didn’t do this at the beginning…instead I used size 6 needles and one-and-a-half balls of chunky yarn, knitting over 25 stitches. The first scarves were wider, but took longer to do. The¬†simple pattern I¬†ended up with was a lot faster. In the end, I knitted ten scarves as Christmas gifts¬†for friends and family: one each for my kids and hubby; one each for my mum, dad and father-in-law; one each for two friends and their daughters. I also knitted one for me (finished yesterday) and have started another for my sister who saw the boy’s lovely green scarf and wanted one for herself. I love the green scarf and am thinking of embarking on an expedition to Glasgow to get the yarn I want to do one for myself.

Other home-made gifts including some papercut pictures for the kids and I used a Little Girl’s Rose Barrette pattern from the Purl Bee to create brooches for my friends and their two kids and hairclips (as we in sunny Scotland call barrettes) for my girl. She loves them and is currently wearing them whilst watching Phineas and Ferb.

So how was Christmas for you? Ours was great. We went over to my parents’¬† house where we were totally spoiled by my mother who put on an excellent spread as usual. The whole family was there and the kids (six in total) ran around in a pack…even my one-year-old nephew joined in. We had a great day, but were all exhausted. Thank goodness for Boxing Day and Marks & Spencer!! We spent that day chilling out and catching¬† up on Christmas Day tv (Dr Who…those snowmen were scary!) and eating M&S party food (ie shove in the oven, easy-to-make, very little effort food…which was delicious!).

In the run up to the Big Day, I was feeling exhausted, wrung out, but after a few days off and lounging about (which I don’t normally do) I am starting to feel normal…well, as normal as I can be!! Ha ha! (Said it before you could Ian!). I even made bread today. I love making bread, but had¬†lost my bread ‘mojo’ until today when it returned with a flourish. I love the Spanish rustic loaf (tomorrow’s bread) from the Hairy Bikers’ Baking Book and the sweet breakfast bread which I made tonight. Mmmmmmmm!

Today…Hogmanay

Over the weekend, we caught up with some friends, which was fun. Although  my head feels a little fuzzy today (damn you wine!), but it was great to see them.

Regarding writing, I completed what I hope is the final final draft of DarkIsle 3 plus I put together a teachers’ pack for the second book, which I hope will be useful to teachers and their classes.¬† Am going to go back to the book for adults I’m halfway through. I really want to get that finished to see if I can get it published.

This afternoon I spent a couple of hours cleaning up my study which was stuffed to the gills with a lot of Christmas type stuff like packaging and some decorations and other bits and bobs that I hadn’t had the time to tidy up until today. It’s amazing what you find…my row counter for one, which I thought had been lost forever!

I also ventured outside and was nearly blown away as I walked round to our local shop to pick up some milk. Talk about blowing the cobwebs away! Mine were blown way up to the Artic!!

Anyway, I must go…my current reading book – Dodger by Terry¬† Prachett (bought for me by my lovely hubby who buys me the current Prachett every Christmas) – is calling to me. I am really enjoying it, particularly as Charles Dickens appears as one of the main characters in it. Never thought I’d read a Dickens/Prachett combo in one book.

Happy New Year when it comes!

Dawn xxxx