I’m still here…just busy

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Hello, how’s things? Hope you are all well. Sorry I’m a bit late getting this post to you this week – life is just incredibly busy and tiring. The good news is that I’m off on annual leave for two weeks. Yippee! Am not going anywhere, but plan to catch up on household things like painting the downstairs toilet (I enjoy painting) and getting to grips with the usual ironing mountain. I also plan to do some stuff that I want to do instead of stuff I have to do, but don’t really want to. I basically am looking for a bit of peace and quiet (difficult in this house) to read and chill out. Sigh…am looking forward to it already.

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When I say I’ve been busy, I really have. It’s been a whirlwind of work, hospital appointments, running the kids to school and to other places, washing, ironing, food shopping and…it goes on and on and on.

Here’s what I did that I really enjoyed :

  1. My colleague Marion left so we went to a local Brazillian restaurant for lunch. Dinner was nice and it was great to give her a good send-off. I’ve known Marion for nearly 20 years and she’s a lovely person.  Good luck Marion on your future career!
  2. I took a Heart Start CPR training course on Thursday night and now feel I could deal with someone collapsing, being unconscious or having a heart attack. Excellent course and it was free. Thanks to Heart Start for providing it. I couldn’t stop giggling though when I was acting the part of the patient lying unconscious on the floor. I couldn’t help myself, I just felt so silly.
  3. Saw a couple of friends round at my house for cream cakes and tea on Friday morning…they are such a tonic the pair of them! So funny!
  4. Met my very good friend AJ for lunch today. We went to a little Italian restaurant in Gibson Street in the westend of Glasgow and it was great. I haven’t seen her in months (our lives are so crazy at the moment) and it was good to catch up and have a bit of a laugh.

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Millie has been keeping us all going. She is a little nuisance, but so cute with it. The other day she came bounding into the living room trailing a streamer of toilet paper behind her a la Andrex puppy! Once I had caught her (she thinks everything is a game) and prised the soggy paper out of her mouth, I started to roll it back up hoping to rescue at least most of it. Sadly it was not to be as the pup had other ideas for it. She kept jumping up and snatching the paper, so I gave up and put the whole lot in the recycling bin. There was only about half of a roll, but I was still miffed to have lost it. I hate waste.

She is a very sociable dog and insists on saying hello to everyone and every animal we meet on our walks. This is fine if it’s humans and other dogs, but the local seagulls and crows are not impressed!

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I’ve just finished a biography of Millie Benson who was the original ghostwriter on the Nancy Drew books (amongst many others). I am a major Nancy Drew fan and I found it difficult to get books about  the author, I didn’t even know her real name at first, so the book I read was aimed at children. It was still a good read. I think Nancy Drew is one of the main reasons why I love murder mysteries so much. I remember the tv series from the 70s (that and The Hardy Boys…remember them?). Myself and my middle sister watched it avidly. Fantastic. I also read as many of the books as I could…borrowing most of them from our local library. I do, however, have a few Nancy Drew books of my own which I’ve given to the girl to read. She loved them. Ah yes, Nancy Drew is fantastic!!

For all you out there who were fans of Nancy Drew, here are a few pics…Here’s how I remember her from the books.

06-nancy-drew.w529.h529Here’s the most recent Nancy Drew, Emma Roberts (the film is good by the way)…

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Here’s ‘my’ Nancy Drew from the TV show – Pamela Sue Martin.

pamela sue martin as Nancy Drew

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And a final pic of the Hardy Boys – Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy.

parker stevenson and shaun cassidyWhoever says the 70s were rubbish didn’t watch great TV like Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. Makes me all nostalgic!

On that note, am aff. Going to get a final cuppa before bed. Til next time!!

Dawn xxxx

 

 

 

 

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A week of visitors and visiting

Spring is here!

Spring is here!

Sorry this is a little late. It’s been a bit of a mental week…and I wasn’t even working!

Apart from Easter Sunday when the kids stuffed their faces with chocolate and got a sugar high as a result and had to be reprimanded, we’ve had a week of visitors and visiting.

Tuesday – my parents, one of my sisters, two nieces and one nephew came for lunch. It was really nice to see them all. My parents were just back from holidaying in the Caribbean and were full of stories of their travels. I hadn’t seen my sister and her kids for ages either and my kids loved seeing their cousins. Unfortunately my other sister was unable to come due to having to work, but her daughter was here and it was lovely to see her.

Wednesday – we had a coffee morning fundraiser for Cancer Research.

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I baked for Scotland. I must have made around 40 fairy cakes, nearly 20 chocolate cupcakes, a peach tray bake and two loaves of ginger bread. I can’t tell you how many people came, but it was lots…mainly the mums of friends of my boy (I’ll tell you about the link in a minute) and some neighbours. We raised £80 which was great. We held the event (here comes the link) because my boy had heard of a girl in his school baking cakes and selling them for a cancer charity and he wanted to “do something for cancer” too. It was also a way of us remembering a few people in our lives who have had cancer, some beat it, others unfortunately died (Katrina, Stuart). Plus it was a great way of catching up with the mums I haven’t seen for ages. Apart from the mums there was a whole squad of weans and thank goodness the weather was good and they could all play outside in the back garden. Thanks again to everyone who came and donated. I was exhausted afterwards so spent Thursday not doing very much.

Thursday – hubby came home from work at lunchtime, sick. He spent the rest of the day and night in bed. We didn’t do much. The kids went out to play…nice weather again!

Friday – I’d invited a close friend and her daughters to come for lunch. Unfortunately hubby was still ill and  ended up in hospital and he’s been there ever since. I couldn’t get a hold of my friend, so had to run out of the house as she arrived. She was great and looked after the kids, putting out the food (it was all ready to go before I got home) and looking after them til I got back from hospital. Thanks AJ for that! We still had our lunch and a chat and it was great to see them all.

The rest of the week has been spent visiting hubby and watching (with relief) him steadily getting better. I hope to have him home soon.

So, there you go…instead of having a relaxing end to my week off I’ve been a bit stressed. Hey ho! That’s life. The good thing is hubby is one the mend and (and this is something we’ve been looking forward to) I also found the tv remote which means we can watch DVDs and catch up telly. Hurray! It’s the little things in life that give the greatest pleasures. The remote has been missing for about three weeks…it’s good to have it back.

Hmmm…what else has been happening? As a treat for the kids, I bought a copy of Paddington and we watched it this morning. It’s really funny. I loved watching the original tv series as a kid, so it was lovely to see the film. Ref reading…I haven’t been reading much lately, too tired, so am still on Gormenghast. Ref writing…nothing has been done on that. Just been too busy. Baking…see aforementioned coffee morning.

Anyway, I am fast running out of steam so I’ll say adieu til next time.

See you soon!

Dawn xx

 

Annie, the Moneyless Man, Gormenghast and Easter Cakes

 

Annie

Aileen Quinn, the Annie of the original 1982 movie.

 

It’s been one of those weeks where I feel I’ve been chasing my tail. The girl was one of the orphans in her school’s rendition of the musical Annie. She was performing on Monday and Tuesday nights and Wednesday afternoon. She’s also been rehearsing for weeks with her schoolmates.

Anyway, we didn’t go and see the Monday night show, but we did see Tuesday’s. It was late nights for the girl both nights, but the performances were excellent especially young L who played the lead. She’s a friend of my daughter’s and was amazing. Well done young lady! The rest of the cast (kids from P6 and P7) were great too!  Beforehand P4 and 5 put on a school version of the Jungle Book and were also very good. Well done all of you.

I can’t believe we’re at Thursday already. This week has truly flown by. I know I say that nearly every week, but this week has been particularly quick.

What have I been doing? I’m nearly finished a little blanket I’ve been knitting for premature babies for the knitting group I’ve attended.

I’ve started (again) the first of Melvyn Peake’s Gormenghast books. It’s really very good. I was waylaid by re-reading Mark Boyle’s Moneyless Man, which is the tale of his going without money for a whole year, living off the land and swapping skills for food and other necessities. It’s really interesting. I find people like him fascinating and admire the fact that he’s really stuck to his principles. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fancy living without money in a freezing cold caravan for a year, but I enjoyed reading about his adventures.

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The girl and I had a sewing afternoon last weekend. She was desperate to use her sewing machine and make her favourite teddy a dress. She chose her material and we made a simple dress from the Mary Frances Sewing Book which is a lovely book first published at the turn of the last century. It’s aim was to teach young girls to sew using a story. It’s lovely – the story is lovely and the images are gorgeous. The girl’s dress turned out really nice (I did help her with bits, but she did the main parts herself) and she’s really pleased with it.  Hopefully we will be able to do another over the Easter holidays.

Talking of Easter, the boy wanted to make cakes and sell them ‘for cancer’ so we’re doing a wee coffee morning next week in aid of Cancer Research. Of course I’ll be doing most of the work, but he’s happy he’s doing something. He’s been wanting to do something like that for a while having been impressed by a girl in his school doing something similar. He’s quite excited about it. The girl’s keen too. Wee souls.

Anyway, must get on. Only got a few hours before the kids stop for Easter, so am going to enjoy them. Am currently watching Dangerous Liaisons – an all time favourite of mine. So, I will say adieu and wish you a happy Easter. Enjoy the holidays, chocolate and decorating and rolling of your boiled eggs.

Dawn xxxx

 

You know you’re a parent when…

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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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What a difference a day maaaaaakes!

Twenty-four little hours. What a difference a day maaaaaakes. And the difference is you!

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Sorry. Am feeling a little frivolous just now. Two close friends – who I don’t see that often, but I still love them to bits –  have announced that after many years together they are going to get married. Am so pleased for them. Congrats G and R!!

Also, it’s sunny outside. That always puts me in a good mood. Maybe this weekend I can get on with gardening. I started last weekend putting in the spuds, but was waylaid on Sunday by torrential rain that continued until yesterday. Jeezo, everything’s been really soggy this week.

Anyway, so how are you all? Hope you are all well. I’m good. Went back to work last week after having a week off for Easter. Hubby was off looking after the kids while I was at work. I thought to myself – this is great, it’s Easter, the traffic is bound to be a lot less and I’ll juke in and out of the city in jig time. How wrong was I? Despite it being the second week of the Easter hols, the traffic was horrendous. I hate it. Anyway, work was quieter and I got a lot done.

At the tail-end of last week, hubby rode off into the sunrise (it was early morning when he left) to go on a weekend away to Bangor with his scooter club. The girl went to stay with my sister. She and her cousin are best buds and were having a sleepover, which is lovely. So it was just me and the boy. We cuddled up on the sofa, we watched telly in bed, he slept on his dad’s side of the bed and it was a really quiet time…until the morning when he wanted to wrestle. Normally it’s the job of hubby to play wrestle with him. But, with no hubby there, and with a cry of “Right, you’re getting it!” the boy launched himself at me. I was not amused. He’s really strong and it was with difficulty that I got him to understand that I didn’t want to wrestle. He said he’d wait til his dad returned and get him instead.

I picked the girl up later that Saturday and all hell broke loose in the car. They’d only been in the car about a minute when the fighting started. So I did what every parent does, I screeched at them to behave and they settled down…for about five minutes. The sad thing is is that they both really miss each other when one of them is not there. Siblings!!

On Sunday, we all had a lie in…in my bed again cos the girl was also in it this time. They both wanted to sleep there on the Sunday night too, but their dad was due back and I had to ban them. I didn’t want the poor soul coming all the way over from Ireland to not have his bed to go to.

As it happens, hubby was really late coming home. The club had originally booked the catamaran that runs to Troon, but because of the high winds and foul weather P&O quite rightly had to cancel the sailing. So hubby and the rest drove to Larne for the ferry boat to Cairnryan – which is near Stranraer and even further from home. The poor man didn’t arrive til after 11pm after a harrowing journey across the sea and then coming by Vespa from Stranraer to our home near Helensburgh. He said the wind was so bad he was nearly blown off the Erskine Bridge. I could believe it, the wind had been howling all day. I waited up for him…I was worried. He got home safely though and that’s the main thing.

So what else has been happening here? Not much. I’ve been doing a bit of knitting and have bought some material to make the girl a dress and the boy a shirt and trousers. I keep going to start them then remember I haven’t measured the two of them yet. They are both tall and skinny, so I really need to measure to make sure I get the right size. Am also knitting the boy a cardie and the girl a poncho. They look nice so far.

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Talking of sewing. Have you been watching The Great British Sewing Bee? It’s great. I am loving it. It’s my Tuesday night staple. Was sorry to see Stuart go out last week as he’s a bit of a character, but his last piece was a bit dodgy. My money’s on Ann to win because, although her creations are very safe, they are also extremely well done. I can only dream of being that good a sewing. We shall see.

Tyrion Lannister

Talking of telly. Game of Thrones – oh my goodness! Didn’t see that coming! Poor old Jaime Lannister. How’s he going to wield a sword with one hand? Do you think he and Brianna will become friends or more than friends? The scene with Tyrion (pictured above, my fave character), his father, sister and the Council was a classic! And what did Pod do to make those ladies so pleased? I was beginning to think that the series was going to be boring, but that last episode was excellent. Role on Monday!!

Jaime Lannister

Anyway, I shall leave you there with this brooding image of a handsome, if dirty, Jaime Lannister who actually made me feel sorry for him the other day. Til next time.

Dawn xxxx

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