A small death and some great books on writing

Sam

It is with mixed feelings that I announce the passing of our guinea pig, Sam. Mixed because I was quite fond of the wee guy and am a little sad. However, being the sole caretaker and shoveler of his poo, I will not miss having to clean him out. RIP Sam…you were a good piggy, an excellent pet and a delight when you had your little conversations with yourself.

I buried him in the back garden next to my guinea pig, Darcy. The kids are untroubled by his passing, so we don’t have to deal with any explosions of dramatic grief, thank goodness. They basically ignored him, which is understandable on the boy’s part because he wasn’t his pig. He belonged to my daughter. Anyway, I now live in hope that he doesn’t get dug up by Millie – who has already tried to dig up Darcy. I’ve covered his little grave with a roof tile which is too heavy (I hope) for a small white dog to remove. We shall see.

So, how has your week been? Have you been enjoying the sunshine? I have and I haven’t. Being a northern person, I find the heat too much for me. Plus me and the kids were a bit unwell yesterday (Friday). I think the girl was suffering from a bit of heat stroke – her school had them all out doing PE in that horrendous high temperatures on Thursday. The boy was sick, I don’t know if it was a bug or the heat. I felt yucky yesterday – I think it was the heat. We are all fine now. Thank goodness. It’s a cooler day and we are staying indoors for most of the day.

I’ve been continuing to write the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. I am planning to re-launch Dusting Down Alcudia before Christmas (watch this space) and the sequel quickly after. My murder book is still on the back burner and I will start my first edit of it soon. I’ve also been continuing to studying marketing e-books and recommend Joanna Penn’s How to Market A Book. It is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to indie publish. The Miracle Morning for Writers by Hal Elrod (Author), Honoree Corder (Author), Steve Scott (Author), S.J. Scott (Author), James Altucher (Foreword) is another great book for would-be writers. It gives you hints and tips on making writing an every day habit and has great advice on getting your book published. If you are wondering why I – as an already published author – am reading these books is because I think all authors should know how to properly market their books. My work background is journalism and PR, which gives me a great start, but I didn’t know enough about other marketing avenues such as how to reach potential audiences, using social media and other great tips.

It’s been too hot to do much of anything so I have been staying inside and knitting whilst I watch telly. Above is a little lamb I knitted for my daughter – well she’s bagsied it! I don’t yet have a name for her (the lamb, that is, not my daughter who already has a name!), so if you have any suggestions, let me know. 😉

Books I have been reading – just finished Eloisa James’ Midnight Pleasures book which is a bodice ripper and was great fun. I haven’t read any romance books for years (unless you count things like Twilight etc) and I loved it. It was a great read. Totally predictable but really enjoyable. Haven’t chosen my next book to read yet, but I have lots. It’s too warm outside to read a heavy book (I leave Dickens and Scott and even Austen to read in the cosy winter months), so it will need to be something lighter.

Plans for the summer – we have none except that we all want to go and see the film Patrick. Yes, it’s partly because we have a pug and know how funny they are. Yes, it’s also because it looks funny. Anyway, that is the extent of our plans for the summer holidays. We aren’t going on holiday this year, but are looking forward to the next six-and-a-half weeks at home. I have bought the kids a new paddling pool (it’s quite large), a slip n slide and other outdoor games in the hope that the weather will hold and the kids can be prised away from their electronics to go outside and have fun. We shall see.

Anyway, I am going to finish my blog here for this week and shall leave you with a still from the aforementioned film. Here is the lovely Patrick (I think his real name is Harley)…

 

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

Peonies and Eli Wallach

I do love flowers. This blog today is dedicated to the amazing Peony which is fast becoming my favourite flower (although I still love Tulips). In fact, there is a vase of beautiful pink peonies sitting close by as I write this. They are just big balls of beautifulness. I know that last sentence probably isn’t grammatically correct, but I don’t care. Today I celebrate the amazing Peony. My favourite summer flower.

Anyway, how are you all? Hope you are all well. We’re good at Nelson Towers. We’ve been enjoying a week of mostly hot sunny weather, which for any of you who live here or have visited, you’ll know, is very rare. I am actually sporting a light tan on my face and arms, which is good because usually I am so pale I look ill. I am not ill, just Scottish.

As I write, I am listening to Classic FM, which is the station I put on when I am writing novels and blogs and stuff. I find it is a good background sound and I am not distracted by it (ie wanting to sing along). This means I actually write. Anyway, my reason for telling you this is because the theme tune to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is currently being played and it took me back to my early childhood when we had three TV channels and one of them always put on a good matinee on a Saturday or Sunday. My mother worked at the weekends, so we kids would watch what my dad watched and – you’re right – it would inevitably be a war movie or a western. These weekends are why I love a good war/western movie and that tune just brought it all back. Of course, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was never on at the weekend matinee spot, but because I had already become addicted, when it was shown (at Christmas usually) I insisted on watching it. I have loved the Spaghetti Western ever since. And Clint Eastwood…but for different reasons!! I also think Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach were fab in this. I didn’t realise when watching The Holiday that was Eli Wallach playing the scriptwriter. The man who told Kate Winslet about the ‘meet cute’ (love that film). Images below are: Clint Eastwood (as Blondie/the man with no name) looking all handsome and in danger, Eli Wallach as Tuco, Lee Van Cleef as Sentenza/Angel Eyes and Eli Wallach in The Holiday playing Arthur Abbott.

Look at that! I’ve gone from Peonies to Spaghetti Westerns just on a memory from a tune on the radio. Now, where was I? Oh yes, peonies…

Right, so this week has been busy. I gutted out the garage, which was badly needing cleaned out, being a bit brutal with what was needed putting in the bin. So much so I accidentally had to dig our Christmas tree out of the skip I hired that is currently taking up our driveway. How daft am I ditching the Christmas tree? Anyway, I got it and put it back in the garage where it lives for most of the year. The skip is now full. I have a couple of bits and pieces to put in it and then it’ll be picked up next week and I can get my drive back. Actually it felt good clearing out. I haven’t totally gotten the garage the way I eventually want it, but that’s a work in progress.

Of course, one of the days I chose to clear out the garage was Wednesday which is fine if you have nothing else on. I go to my Zumba class on a Wednesday, so after a morning of clearing out and then my class later I wasn’t worth a button by that evening. I was sore and extremely tired. I think I must have flaked out about 9.30pm. Yesterday, I got up achy but alright. I took yesterday morning ‘off’ (ie didn’t do any heavy work in the house) as part of my recovery. 😉  Spent it watching an old episode of Monk (I have said before that I love cheesy American cop shows…you were warned of my addiction) and sorting out laundry (my life is so glamorous! Not!).

I also wrote some more of my next novel. Remember the adult novel I was writing? I have put that aside just now for a few weeks and will come back to it at a later date. I do this with every novel for one simple reason: I want to come back to it with fresh eyes with the intention of rooting out any errors and improving on the text. So I was without anything to write so I started a sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia (DDA). DDA is a romantic adventure story starring a Scottish archaeologist, Nina Esposito (her father was Spanish) and a handsome Texan called Jay Reynolds. She goes to Mallorca to seek out a fabled Roman treasure necklace and ends up finding love and more. The sequel is set in Perthshire, Scotland and is about a hunt for Jacobite treasure. I’ve written about 20,000 words already and am really getting into it. I think it helps that I’m getting up early specifically to write. I have more energy in the morning, the kids are sleeping and it’s peaceful in the house (apart from the gentle tones of classical music in the background thanks to Classic FM!).

I finished the Stephen King book The Gunslinger and, although I love Westerns (Spaghetti Westerns in particular), I do not really like this book. It’s okay. I have the sequel, but I don’t think I’ll read it.  I’m going to donate the books to my local library. Someone else will enjoy it. I am currently reading Nora Roberts’ Stars of Fortune. It’s a romantic fantasy (so right up my street) and is really good. So good, I was still up reading it at 11.30pm last night and am now bleary eyed!

Right, I am going to finish here and post this. I need to take the  boy to school and get the mutts out for their morning walk. Til next time!

Dawn xx

 

 

 

 

 

Meh

Hello everyone. How’s things? Hope you’re all well.  Well it’s another miserable day in the west of Scotland today, much to our pug’s disgust. Our Bonya, who has to be prised out of bed most mornings to go on our morning walk, decided she would not walk in the rain (it was only spitting, not too bad), but would stand still in the park, watch us walk around the park and then rejoin us when we were leaving (we had to walk by her). She’s such a lazy wee thing at times. She’ll be back on the lead on the next walk and made to walk, she needs the exercise.

This week has been a bit depressing because we developed two leaks in the kitchen ceiling. The plumber thinks it’s coming from the shower or possibly the enclosed sink unit. Anyway, he’s coming back to rip some things out so he can have a proper look. Meanwhile I have a large hole in my kitchen ceiling which I’ll have to live with until the builders start doing that part of our extension project. Sigh. My house feels like it’s falling apart at the moment. At least by early next year I should have my new extension (I hope…I say this because the extension doesn’t seem to be going at a fast rate, quite the opposite).

Anyway, enough of my woes. This week we’ve had guising for Halloween (last night, me and the boy and some of his friends and a couple of other mums), my parents’ dog Winston to stay while they are on holiday (they are home today, we will miss him) and I’ve finished my biog of Bess of Hardwick. I am now on to reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which I’ve only just started but am already enjoying. I saw the film, so the Cheryl in my book is Reece Witherspoon. Read the part where her mother dies of cancer this morning and it brought back a lot of memories. However, the rest of the book should be enjoyable and hopefully uplifting.

Spent most of yesterday cleaning the house and sorting things.  Today it looks like I’ve not even touched the house. Sigh.

What is it that causes an entire tv remote to vanish into thin air? And why does it happen on the morning when I want to watch Outlander? Our tv remote has gone walkabout and NOBODY knows anything about it. I actually wonder if my kids are getting properly educated because they never seem to know anything that goes on in the house! 🙂 Anyway, have been forced to order a new remote and it should come tomorrow. In the meanwhile, I am Jamie Fraser-less and feeling peed off about it. It’s just added to all the crap that’s been going on this week: wet weather, two leaks, a messy house, no Outlander….

Anyway, worse things happen at sea and I suppose if these are my only moans this week I am lucky.

Right, I am going to finish up here and go and do some work on future blogs. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

Lego, Goldman and a Deep Deep Trench

Forgive me readers for I have been bad. I have not written this blog for some time and the only two excuses I can give are: The Gilmore Girls and work beginning in my garden. The former because I recently bought Netflix and have been glued to the Gilmore Girls, all seven series of it and the winter special. Finally finished it last night after around two-and-a-half weeks of watching it in between mum and housework stuff. There were loads of episodes so I blame the tv company that produced it for a) making so many episodes and b) making it so compelling that I quickly became addicted. Am now feeling bereft because not only is Gilmore Girls watched all the way through, but Game of Thrones has finished for this year. Sigh. My tv watching has suddenly gotten very dull. The second excuse is because we’re getting an extension and I’ve been moving things around in the garden. I removed the old metal swingset, laid a new patio in its place (hark me laying a patio and it actually turned out) and then, with my lovely friends (you know who you are, thank you so much for your help, it was much appreciated) moved the potting shed over so that when the extension is up it doesn’t shade out the potting shed. It was a lot of heavy work, but I am so pleased I managed to do it. Been taking on a lot more things this year, things my beloved hubby would have normally done, including cutting our hedge which is a heavy, tiring job. Feeling that I can do most DIY things now (God help us!) and  quite proud of myself. Watch this space for more makes.

Talking of Game of Thrones. Oh. My. God. Was that not the best series EVER or what? If you don’t watch it, you are so missing out on one of the most fabulous telly experiences ever. Do you remember when it first began and no-one (except me, it felt) watched it and I was bemoaning the fact that I had no one to talk to about? Then it was repeated and  loads more folk started watching it and it grew from there. Can’t wait til next year and the final series.

Right, so apart from shunting things around the garden, I’ve also been doing the odd wee escapade with the kids over the summer holidays. Apart from visiting the Riverside Museum in Glasgow (which we Glaswegians will still call the Transport Museum until we die cos that’s what the old museum used to be called), we also popped into Clydebank Town Hall to see the Lego exhibition. It cost me £13 to get the three of us in and, although it was quite cheap, I still don’t think it was worth the money. Don’t get me wrong, the models were great, but there wasn’t that many of them, I expected a bit more. Anyway, here are some of the models…

There was also a massive castle which for some reason I never took a picture of which is a pity because it was really good.

Anyway, I have also been reading a lot over the summer and most recently finished William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood. I love reading about writing and am currently going through a screenwriters’ books phase. Goldman is famous for a number of film scripts and books including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, the Princess Bride and Which Lie Did I Tell?  The book is well written and full of great anecdotes and musings on how Hollywood works (or worked when he wrote the book…it was published in 1982). If you’re looking for an up-to-date book on Hollywood this isn’t the book for you. Instead it talks about the golden age and how things used to work comparing it to when things changed as tv became more prominent and how studio management changed in the 70s (ie how they were managed). Goldman is bluntly honest and self deprecating throughout. He takes a very measured look at Hollywood and is often funny. He’s the type of guy I think would be a great raconteur at a dinner party. Yup, liked this book. Looking forward to reading Which Lie Did I Tell?

What else have I been doing? You won’t want to hear about the boring stuff, the futile attempts I’ve been making to keep the mud out of my house brought in on the little clippy cloppy paws of the dogs. Our pug, Bonya, had to undergo an operation last week to remove a tumour from her leg. The vet doesn’t think it’s cancerous, but we’re going to keep a wee eye on her. She’s made a great recovery and is, as I write, lying at my feet snoring at the same level of decibels as a full grown man. Delicate pugs ain’t.

Obligatory cute pic of Bonya making herself at home on my bed.

 

You leave your phone down and before you know it one of the kids has decorated a pic.

I have a confession. I have not been writing. Again because of the aforementioned reasons, but also cos I’m a bit stuck about how to end the book I am currently writing. I’ve also been writing up ideas for two more books which I will start writing once I have the other book’s story down. I’ve printed off the 65,000 words I have written so far to re-read in the hope that inspiration will smack me in the face and get me back to the laptop. I do have a strong hope that this will happen. I mean, look at me…I’m actually writing my blog again so that’s a good sign! Right?

Okay, I am going to end this blog here. I have three wee dogs to take out for another walk. Because the back garden is off limits and now open to the street,  I cannot let them run about the way I used to. Apart from the fact one of them will definitely make a break for the street (Millie), I fear one or all three of them will end up the trench that was dug for the foundations. This has already happened. It was my fault, I stupidly drank some wine and then late at night fancied surveying the back garden from the kitchen door. I opened it and before I could stop her Millie (our white Jack Chi cross) ran past me and sailed into fresh air. Luckily she didn’t hurt herself and my daughter managed to coax her into jumping (that dog has springs in her heels). The girl caught her and dragged her out much to my relief as I didn’t fancy climbing into the trench. Apart from the fact it was dark and muddy, I didn’t fancy my chances of getting back out having consumed some wine. I had visions of me getting stuck and having to suffer the humiliation of having the fire service come out to rescue me. Luckily that did not happen. The back door is now kept firmly shut and I haven’t touched a drop since! Damn you wine! Millie lost her lovely pristine appearance that night and it was a brown, mud caked dog that I put into the bath that night to shower down. Thankfully she was not injured and was quickly back to her bossy ways. 🙂

Millie – none the worse for her impromptu flight.

Anyway, on that note, I’ll say adieu. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

What is it With Dogs Rolling in Poo?

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

Reading and Watching Some Great Movies

I didn’t write last week because we didn’t do anything that would have made a good post. We did, however, go and see my friend’s daughter play the violin as part of a concert by a local contemporary choir. She’s only 12 and looked tiny up there on her own doing her solo, but she was fantastic. Definitely a future Nicola Benedetti in the making!! The choir were great too. It was a good night. Except for the kids who were sad they didn’t win anything in the raffle.

This week it’s been a case of working and cleaning up two incredibly messy children and their equally messy dogs. I spent today gutting my house and it’s a mess again. Sigh. Not to worry.

Books I’ve been reading: just finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (fab name, but surely a made up one!) as I love the film. It was so good I ordered the sequals: Hollow City and Library of Souls. The girl, however,  has put a bagsy on both books so, being a kind and benevolent mother, I have agreed she can read them first. Okay, so I am not sure a good person that this doesn’t annoy me slightly because I really really want to read them, but I am trying to be an adult about it. She’s a fast reader, so I should have both in my sweaty mitts soon.

Finally got round to watching Trolls with the kids. It was a nice wee film and the kids loved it. Also watched Ice Age 5 which was fab…we are big Ice Age fans in this house. We also watched another one, I have forgotten which it was…am such a sieve head at times!! Last weekend, when the kids were still in bed I also got into We’re the Millers. I didn’t expect to like it, but was bored, all my recorded programmes were watched and I couldn’t face watching one of those weekend food programmes, so I had a look on Amazon Prime and picked up this film. It was hilarious, but not one for the family to watch. Ian would have enjoyed it. It’s about a small time drug dealer who goes to Mexico to pick up his dealer’s small package. He decides to recruit a stripper, a homeless girl and his neighbour’s teenage son to go with him so the border cops will think he’s just a family man. Anyway, I’ll not spoil the story, but I’d recommend the film. It’s rude in places and the spider bite part was just… Anyway, it was good and I was glad the kids love to spend their weekend mornings in their beds! Definitely not a film for delicate minds!

Reading my blog over the past few weeks all you would think is that all I do is read and watch films! To be truthful that does take up a lot of my time. Now I’m a single mum it’s difficult (and expensive) to go out at night without the kids. I’m a home bird anyway, a major book lover and a movie buff, so I’m more than happy to spend my time at home with the kids (if it’s an age appropriate film or tv programme) or without (while they’re upstairs).

Anyway, I am going to finish up here. It’s after nine and I’m going to take my current book Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell. It’s a gentle wee book set in the 20s or 30s about a girl who finds romance during a weekend at a big house. I’m enjoying it. It’s not dead exciting, but it’s quite gripping in its own soft way! Til next time.

Dawn xx

Jean Harlow, Muddy Paws and Geraldine Grainger

 

Jean Harlow...more about her later.

Jean Harlow…more about her later.

I’ve come to the keyboard not sure what to write this week for life has been busy, but there was nothing that you could say ‘wow, that’s really exciting’ to. I’ve started back writing, which is good, although I’m finding it difficult to get the time to do it. Looking after the kids and the house and working leaves little free time to do anything else. Plus the dogs are incredibly messy so all I feel I’m doing every day is hoovering up chewed up toys and cleaning up poo and pee from my carpet (anyone got any tips on how I stop them doing this…they are old enough now!). Anyway, I’m making time this afternoon to write and NOBODY better get in my way! Add in some dramatic music here!

Yesterday (Friday) I was barely at home during the day. I popped in to see my friend Tracy for a cuppa in the morning then met a couple of friends for lunch before meeting another friend to take the dogs a walk. She has a beautiful black Labrador that my dogs are a little wary of for some reason. She barely even looks at them. We took them down the beach and they loved it. Having dogs – despite the mess – is great for socialising with friends with dogs and meeting other dog owners. Plus you get a lot of love from them and they always look happy to see me (whereas my children often do not)!

The weather this week has been wet and windy with a touch of slushy snow on Thursday – that was what we got here as part of Storm Doris. The dogs loved being out in it, especially Millie who loves water and can often be found rolling about the shower after it’s been used. She is an odd bod dog. We have a deep puddle underneath one of the swings in the back garden which has filled with water. The hole was dug last year by the boy and a friend and never been filled in. I caught Millie at its edge testing the depth with one paw…sigh. I swiftly put her off the idea of going in. She just loves water as opposed to Casper for whom water is an anathema.  * just looked out the back window and she was at it again! Sigh. Muddy footprints and dirt everywhere!

Jean Harlow and William Powell.

Jean Harlow and William Powell.

Watched a great documentary about Jean Harlow on Sky this morning. I knew she had died young, but 26 and from kidney failure. Poor woman was at the top of her career and had genuinely loving relationship with actor William Powell. She had everything and then it was all cruelly taken from her. So young to go. Such a sad story. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen any of her films – I probably have because I was an avid watcher of the Saturday matinee when I was a child. For those of you who do not remember it, the Saturday matinee showed all the old films. Can’t remember if it was ITV or BBC that showed them, but I used to watch them every week which is why I’m such a big fan of Bette Davis, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, Doris Day, Laurel and HardyFred and Ginger and many more. I think I’ve seen all the big musicals from the 30s, 40s and 50s. I just love it.

Christina and Will from the television adaptation of Flambards.

Christina and Will from the television adaptation of Flambards.

Anyway, currently reading the fourth in the Flambards series. It’s good although I could happily give two of the main characters a good shake. You know you’re enjoying a book when you want to knock the characters heads together when their behaviour is out of hand. Will let you know how I get on with the rest of it.

Dr Strange.

Dr Strange.

Watched Dr Strange last night and really enjoyed it. I love the Marvel films and this one is full of action and adventure plus it’s got Benedict Cumberpatch in the lead role so that’s always a bonus. I like him as an actor and he didn’t disappoint with this one. Got to mention the cloak which has a personality of it’s own…nice touch.

The Vicar of Dibley.

The Vicar of Dibley.

As I write, The Vicar of Dibley is on the telly so I apologise if I seem a little distracted from this blog. I love that programme. Ian bought me the complete set one year for Christmas and I just love it. It’s so funny. It’s the first episode that’s on at the moment and Geraldine has discovered that the village don’t want her because she’s a woman. Classic telly. They don’t make them like this any more. I find today’s sitcoms – both American and British – to be turgid, formulaic programmes full of fake canned laughter and rubbish jokes. What are the writers doing? The jokes aren’t clever and the programmes often feel like they’ve been written in that way because it’s safe. No-one (and I’m talking about the mainstream telly channels here) seems to be taking risks any more. It’s so sad. Anyway, rant over.

Geraldioe marries.

Geraldine marries.

As I look down I see Millie has indeed been in the puddle. She has mud on her legs and now needs a bath…sigh. They just love to create more work for me, don’t they? I think I’ll take them down the beach for a  bit of a run and then bathe them both (Casper will love that! Not!).

Right I am going to finish up here and say cheerio til next time.

Dawn xxx

Birthday cake, Taboo and Dog Saliva Downward Dog

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It’s amazing how quickly time flies! And it’s true what they say: the older you get the quicker time passes. I cannot believe that 12 years ago I gave birth to my daughter. Where have the last 12 years gone??  It seemed like yesterday she was a wee scrap of a thing and now she’s nearly the same height as me with the same size feet! I’m not sure if she’s stopped growing. I’m 5’8″, but her dad was 5’11” and my dad is 6’2″ so she could stretch some more. Gone is the little girl with the blond curls that I used to sit on my lap. Now she’s a gorgeous looking pre-teen (I am, of course, biaised!) with legs up to her ears and the attitude of a 20-something (it’s wearing, as all parents know, to have a daughter who thinks she knows more than I do). Anyway, my beloved girl is 12…sigh! They really do grow up too quickly!

The cake above is an ‘aerial’ shot of her birthday cake and it was taken at its best angle. I say this because when I sliced the cake open and put jam in the middle, I replaced the top the wrong way round and it ended up a bit wonky. It looked like someone with a very small posterior had sat on it. Anyway, she and I decorated it and it didn’t look so bad. She finished it off and I think did a brilliant job. It tasted great when we ate it at her birthday lunch attended by we three and my mum and dad.

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This young man was a lodger here this week. He’s my parents’ dog and he’s a Bichon Frise/Poodle cross called Winston. He’s only five months old and is adorable. He stayed over to allow my mum and dad to have a day out in Edinburgh. They like to go different places, but it can be difficult with the wee fella to look after. Anyway, Winston had a ball. He gets on really well with my dogs, especially Millie with whom he’s having a bit of a love affair. I caught them lying on the floor facing each other. Then they licked each other’s mouths and gazed lovingly into their respective big brown eyes. I kid you not. Poor Casper was a bit of a gooseberry during Winston’s stay and was a little bit jealous. He engaged Winnie in a lot of rough play fighting (which Winnie seemed to enjoy, but Millie didn’t). Anyway, when it got a bit too rough, Millie stepped in to ‘rescue’ Winnie and it ended up in a real fight between Casper and Millie. Yes, it was a noisy time, but this house is never quiet anyway! There are only some rare occasions when I can actually hear the television!

 

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As I write this, my attention is half on the television which is showing a recording of The Remains of the Day starring Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins. I love any films linked to Merchant Ivory. They are always beautiful to watch and it’s so easy to succumb to their warmth and charm (my favourite is A Room With a View). I’m enjoying this one which I recorded ages ago and am only now watching. It’s a nice film.

 

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Just finished watching the latest episode of Taboo. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but am really enjoying it now. Can’t wait for the next one. Tom Hardy is great in the lead role, very menacing and moody. Is he as evil as he makes himself out to be or just a lost soul? Hmmm. Excellent cast and a great story.

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I started doing yoga again, but it’s not been as easy as I thought it would be. The poses are fine…I’m doing gentle yoga so it’s really a beginner’s DVD I’m following. However, the difficulty part is to do with my dogs who seem to think that when I’m lying on the ground or doing Downward Dog it’s time to play or be pounced on or have my face licked, which I really hate (I’ve seen where those mouths have been!). Anyway, my aim is to improve and hopefully tone up…pouncing dogs or no!

Right I am going to finish up here and say adieu until next time!

Dawn xxx

 

Little Mix Magic, the Mattress Drama and Trying to Get ‘Me Time’

A poor pic taken from a distance, but it gives you an idea of what Little Mix Magic look like!

A poor pic taken from a distance, but it gives you an idea of what Little Mix Magic look like!

You know when you go to an event and it’s better than you thought it would be? Well me and the kids went to see Little Mix Magic (a Little Mix tribute band) at The Commodore Hotel in Helensburgh last night and it was great. It was a fundraiser for a local dance school and we had a brilliant time. The band were amazing. I cannot tell you how good these girls were, they had fantastic voices, and they were so good with the (many, many) little girls and older girls who were there to see them. They spent ages at the end of the night having their photos taken with the kids and giving them autographs. Fab night. Excellent band. Recommend them.

The real Little Mix.

The real Little Mix.

Anyway, back to reality. Sorry this post is a little late this week. I have no other excuse other than I forgot about it until yesterday and decided to wait until we’d been out last night.

This past week has been just the ‘same old, same old’. Nothing much has been happening except Casper chewed a corner out of my brand new hall rug. It was literally down for ten minutes and the wee pest had decided that real wool was a lovely snack. He kept doing it so I’ve had to take the rug up. It’s currently rolled up in the room I use as a study. Sigh.

We also took delivery yesterday of new mattresses for our beds. This isn’t that interesting in itself, except for the drama of trying to get my super king mattress upstairs. Luckily the delivery men did this for me, but it took them ages and they were both sweating heavily by the end of it. I felt a bit guilty about it. If I had had any cash on me, I’d have given them a tenner for their trouble…it was that bad! However, I’m a bit like the queen – I never carry cash. Well, I do very briefly and then the kids clean me out! Anyway, I didn’t have anything to give them…sorry guys! They were so good about getting it upstairs for me.  * Additional note: I shouldn’t have laughed…me and the girl nearly killed ourselves trying to get my old mattress down from upstairs. It was a difficult job.

We went shopping with my mum on Saturday. It’s the girl’s birthday next week (she’ll be 12) and she wanted to go shopping with her gran. We met my mum at Braehead and me and the boy were duly dismissed as she happily went off with granny. While they were away, the boy and I did a bit of shopping of our own. Anyway, an hour later we all met up and the girl was delighted with all the new clothes her granny (and grampa, although he wasn’t there) had bought her. Thankfully my mum was there to stop her picking up inappropriate for her age clothes. The girl just loves clothes, and the tartier the better it feels!

This week, the kids are off. It’s yet another school holiday and already they’ve been bickering. Sigh. I don’t have any plans for this week other than doing a wee birthday lunch for the girl. I think we will just take it easy. I have stacks of stuff to do around the house plus I want a bit of ‘me’ time too!! There’s a bubble bath with my name on it tonight!!

Films I’ve seen this week include: the new Jason Bourne movie which I liked, Bundle of Joy (Eddie Fisher was a rubbish actor, nice voice though – I think this was a remake of a Ginger Rogers movie, it certainly reminds me of one of hers), The Princess Diaries II and Robinson Crusoe. Have finished reading the first two Flambards books and am looking around for something new to read.

Right, am going to leave this here and say adieu to you…and you and you and you (sorry a bit of The Sound of Music crept in there!). Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Comfort Eating, Nora and Bridget Jones’ Baby

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Oh I’ve been tired this week. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve not been sleeping at all well. Well, I do know what caused some of it – the girl shouting out at 2am ‘Where’s the toilet roll?’ and I took an allergic reaction another night which caused me to be wheezy and unable to breathe properly. I think it was either a reaction to Casper (whom I am slightly allergic to) or the feather duvet cover. Hmmm.

Anyway, I am not my usual sparky self this week and lack of sleep has meant I have not been eating that healthily either. I’ve been using food to keep me awake at work. What I haven’t done, I am pleased to say, is slip back into the habit of drinking fizzy drinks. I am afraid that if I have even one I will go back to drinking it every day. Instead, I stick to water (hark me being all evangelical!).

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Talking of cutting things out, I have been trying to lose a bit of weight, but despite my best efforts (okay, it wasn’t my best efforts but those glasses of wine were for medicinal purposes…ie to stave off the headaches caused by my kids battling with each other), I have only lost a couple of pounds in about three weeks. Sigh. I have been exercising more thanks to my beloved Fitbit, which I am still enamoured with. I know what the next step is, but I don’t really want to do it: cut out alcohol! I enjoy a glass of wine. However, I do need to get rid of the stubborn flotation ring that has developed around my middle. Sigh. I think I may have a glass of wine and think about it! J

So, where are we this week? I finished reading Nora Ephron’s Crazy Salad in the wee small hours last night – I was up all wheezy and decided to read while I was waiting for an antihistamine tablet to kick in. I’ve been reading this book since the weekend and loving it. It’s made up of pieces of work she did in the early 70s and it’s really interesting not just from the fact that she is a compelling teller of tales, but for the historical side of things as some of the articles talk about the women’s movement and the Watergate scandal.

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Now I’m back to the dilemma all we bibliophiles have and that is: what am I going to read next? It may sound simple to someone who does not love books as much as I do, but it’s not. There are certain factors to take into consideration:  what mood am I in? Light reading, heavier fiction or something non-fiction? What’s the weather like outside? I can’t read a heavier book when it’s sunny outside, it just doesn’t feel comfortable. I know that sounds mad, but have you ever tried to read Wuthering Heights on the Costa Brava? It’s impossible because you can’t get into the foul weather in the novel when it’s 90 degrees where you are and the weather is an integral part of the story. Am I hungry and trying to lose weight? Then all books about food or mentioning food are out cos that will make me hungrier and then I might eat something I shouldn’t. Okay, there’s 100% chance I will do this, so food books are OUT. Do I take a chance and read an author I’ve never read before or should I stick to one I love? Should I re-read a favourite book or take up something new? Honestly, sometimes I’m stuck in front of my (numerous) bookshelves feeling overwhelmed with indecision. Eventually I’ll just pluck something off the shelf and hope for the best! This sometimes works. Other times it doesn’t.

Anyway, there are worst decisions folk have to make in life than choosing which book to read and (secretly) I often love the dilemma!

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Now on to films I’ve seen recently and it was one I absolutely loved. Bridget Jones’s Baby is very funny and, I’m so glad to see, is as good as the previous two. It did, however, make me sad to watch it on DVD in my living room because the Bridget Jones films were films Ian and I used to go to the cinema to watch together. We used to hoot with laughter at it. They were some of the first films we saw together and always remind me of him. It’s weird the things that do trigger memories of my beloved. Anyway, I enjoyed the film none-the-less and cheered when she finally married the man of her dreams and had her baby! I will not spoil it for those who have not seen the film. There are two men to pick from. I’m just glad she got the one she did.

The kids and I had a relatively quiet weekend last weekend and I’m really glad we did. I am still tackling the mountain of washing, but have taken an executive decision that the ever growing pile of ironing will be sent out. It’s amazing how liberating taking such a decision is. I know: I am sad, but I hate being chained to the ironing board and don’t see why I should when there is a perfectly good company staffed by perfectly nice people who will do it for me. There: onerous job done.

Right, time to finish here and say my adieus. Til next time,

Dawn xxx