Book launch, China Mieville and the Marvellous Mrs Maisel

Hello everyone, how are you all? Hope you are well. Welcome to the new subscribers who have joined up since Christmas. Hope you enjoy my posts. Can’t promise scintillating conversation as my life is pretty mundane most of the time, but I’ll do my best to entertain you and the folk who have been subscribers for a while. Hello to you all too!

Right, onwards and upwards. Firstly, I’m just letting you know I am officially launching Everything She Wants next month. I’d like to do something online… like a question and answer session or something like that. Would that be something you guys would be interested in? I could do a live session. Fill in your comments below and if enough of you want it, I’ll do it. I’m just worried that if I set something up on, say Facebook, no one will want to chat to me and I’ll sit there like Billy No Mates, drinking my tea and feeling sorry for myself! 😉 I may even have to bribe a few friends to come on just to make me feel better. 😀

So, what have you all been doing over the past week? I have been very busy getting back into writing. I am just going through the agonies of editing the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. I say “agonies” because this is part of the process that I don’t like. It’s hard work and I always think the book is rubbish. Then there will be at least another three edits before I pluck up the courage to send the manuscript to my editor. Then, for a number of days, I will wait, chewing my fingernails with anxiety, whilst awaiting his verdict. Actually, the sequel isn’t too bad, but needs a bit of work on it. What I am editing is the rough story. That’s how I write. I get down the rough story and then go back and edit and re-edit it until I can look at it no more (all my author friends know exactly what I mean here). Eventually, I get a book I can be proud to publish.

I have also been getting back to proper, made-from-scratch cooking. After Ian died, my ability to cook seemed to fly out of the window. I always find my cooking suffers if my mood isn’t good so it’s not surprising that I: a) haven’t felt like cooking, b) didn’t cook much (ie properly) in the first year after he died – we lived on bung-in-the-oven stuff and takeaways (hey, at least my weans were fed! We’re all still alive thanks to that!), and c) tried to get back to my cooking last year, but failed a lot… I think I was still trying to get back on my feet properly. That’s what happens when a loved one died, especially your soul mate. The rug is completely pulled from under you and you spend a helluva long time trying to get back to some sort of normal self. Anyway, I am wittering on again. The point of this post is that I felt like making pizza the other night. So, I made pizza, with a recipe courtesy of my mum (for the base) and the pizzas I made were delicious. Here is proof of how professional they looked (this one is mine):

Can I just say – it was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite. I feel happier now I have made something good (like I used to). Next up, tonight we are having home-made burgers. Will let you know how I get on.

Talking of cooking, I recently bought a half price panini grill from Aldi (love that shop) so me and the boy have been happily making toasted sandwiches in it – not paninis. That will change tomorrow, for I plan to make my own panini rolls using a recipe from the excellent Mortgage Free in Three blog (once it is back up and running properly). If it’s not, I may need to contact Elaine who runs the blog and ask her for the aforementioned recipe. No matter, I will make my boy a proper panini tomorrow. No doubt, he’ll just want cheese as the filling, but that’s okay. That’s my favourite filling too!

The book I am reading just now is Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, which is an odd, but enjoyable urban fantasy, sci-fi, Steampunk novel.

Will let you know how I get on with it, but so far so good. I’m only at the beginning of it, but enjoying it so far.

Oh my God, but I have wasted a helluva lot of hours watching my latest obsession. The Marvellous Mrs Maisel is fab. I love it. If you have Prime, I would really recommend you watch this. It’s about a 1950s New York housewife who decides to become a stand-up comedian. It’s really funny. Her family are nuts, she’s nuts and it’s just all round great entertainment. Unfortunately, because I have been binge watching both series, I have now finished them. I am now bereft. Thank God I have today’s Outlander (also Prime) to watch tonight.

Okay, I am going to finish up here, but I will be back again with you soon… promise! In the meantime, here’s another wee bite from series 2 of Mrs Maisel:

You are welcome! Til next time,

Dawn xxx

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A broken hand, Dusting is out and Apple Pie

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Hello everyone, how are you all? Hope you are all well and had a good day today. I had the best day I’ve had this week, but more on that in a minute. Do you like the image above? Well, I happened to be scrolling through a free image site and stumbled across some lovely stone images. As the descendent of a stonemason (true), I really love carved stone. So, to celebrate the art of stonemasonry, today’s blog is dedicated to beautiful things carved in stone.

Right, why was today the best day this week? It’s because I am no longer in pain. And why is that? Because my right hand is not broken (as I thought it might be on Tuesday – aka extreme pain day – or even yesterday – aka very painful day) and is recovering quickly. Here’s what happened – I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night in extreme pain from the back of my right hand. I had no idea what I had done to it. I had not bashed it or hurt it that day. So, I got up on Tuesday in extreme pain (thank God for painkillers), got the kids to school and spent the day binge watching Grace & Frankie on Netflix (love that show, so funny) and debating whether or not to go to the hospital for an x-ray.

Any of you who have been following this blog for a while will know that I have spent a lot of time up at our local hospital over the last few years what with my husband’s illness and an extremely accident prone daughter (my son, who is 10, has been up there for the Minor Injuries Unit twice; my daughter, who is 13, has been up there about ten times). Anyway, I was reluctant to go, but I eventually relented and went yesterday. One examination and an x-ray later and it’s not broken. Phew. However the nurse did ask how it happened and here’s what’s weird – the only time I hurt it was last week when a tin of beans (or something similar) fell on it from the cupboard. That was extremely painful and the air was blue with expletives. Anyway, it hurt for a while and then the pain went away. Then I went to Pilates on Monday and it felt sore, but only when I put some weight on it. Afterwards, there was no pain…until the middle of the night. I can only think I have ‘reopened’ (for want of a better word) the injury. The nurse thought that might be it too. She said when the can hit my hand I had essentially tenderised my hand.  Ew, the thought of that.

Anyway, it stopped any kind of writing for two days. Today is the first day without any real pain and that has been good.

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The hand injury has also stopped me from doing much else this week apart from watching telly. It’s also taught me how much I use my right hand. I was seriously slowed down and it was driving me nuts, especially as I couldn’t write.

However, thanks to me setting things up…Dusting Down Alcudia is now available on Amazon here in both paperback, ebook and large print. If you haven’t already get your free character book from here.   Right, enough of the sales speak.

Regarding writing, I am still studying how to be an indie publisher, how to promote and market my books, and anything else I find useful. Currently reading Joanna Penn’s How to Make a Living From Your Writing, which will be swiftly followed by her Business for Authors. I can’t tell you how valuable I find Joanna’s books and her website, The Creative Penn. If you are a wannabe writer for both traditionally published or indie published fiction and non fiction, I would really recommend her books and website. I’m not telling you this to earn money, this is my actual opinion.

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I’ve been making apple pie recently. A friend in the village I live in gave me a big bag of apples from their apple tree and I made a huge pot of pie filling. I made two apple pies – one for us and one for my friend (well it’s actually her and her husband) – and I have enough leftover for another. Yum!

I have also been getting into making sour dough. My starter is started. His name is Fred and I have been feeding him all week. Fred lives on the island of my kitchen in a large Kilner jar. He sits there and bubbles and froths and generally looks happy. I am starting to think of him as a living being, which I suppose he is being all wild yeast. I will give him a couple of more days and then I am going to make sour dough bread. Wish me luck.

Due to aforementioned injury, I have been unable to hold books to read so I am still reading Radclyffe Hall’s biography. I am enjoying it, but I am yearning to get on to another book. Sigh. Maybe tonight I’ll got to bed early and get through a couple more chapters. What books are you all reading at the moment? Do any of you have any recommendations? Please message me.

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Okay, I am going to finish up now. It’s 7.38pm GMT and I am about to indulge in a cup of tea and a couple of chocolate digestives. My Dr Who loving son is currently watching older episodes of Dr Who (Christopher Eccleson) – thankfully it’s not that Fred movie again, hate that movie – and I am about to throw him off to watch another Grace & Frankie.

Looking forward to chatting with you again soon. Til next time!

Dawnxxx

 

 

It’s here… the new cover

Here it is! Dusting Down Alcudia’s new cover courtesy of Danish designer Mia Overgaard. I love it.  Next step: book launch, which I will be doing next week, so watch out for more news on that.

So, how are you all? I’ve had a busy week working on Dusting Down Alcudia and the young adult book I’ve been working on. My next launch will be of a book that concerns a tribute act of a well known British band… that should be out before Christmas. A sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia will follow in the New Year. Ooooh, it’s all go!

What else have I been up to? Well not very much. That cold I had last week just waylaid me a bit. It wasn’t until Sunday that I started feeling a little better, but I’ve had to miss my exercise classes this week because I just didn’t have the energy to do them. It did allow me to binge watch Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan and the superb The Bodyguard on ITV. Have you watched either of them? If not, get watching them.

Still reading a biography of Radcliffe Hall, although I’ve been that tired when I’ve been going to bed recently that I’ve barely read at all. Hopefully, now the cold is finally starting to lift I can get back into it. She had quite an interesting life.

Right, I am going to finish up here for the moment. It’s teatime and I have two hungry weans to feed. Tonight’s dinner is pasta bake which is basically penne pasta, Bolognese sauce and a layer of cheese. Yum.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Comicon here we come!

Hello everyone! How are you? Hope you are well. What have you been up to this week? We went down to Lomond Shores yesterday (Saturday) to attend Comicon. It was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. My kids enjoyed themselves, dressing up as their favourite characters, and having their photos taken with Chewbacca and some Stormtroopers. They spent some money on the stalls, I had a really nice vegan lentil thing in a flatbread from one of the vans (which was lovely) and it was good being there. We went with some friends and everyone had a lovely time. We weren’t there long – it wasn’t a big Comicon – but were there long enough. I loved seeing all the wee kids dressed as superheroes and characters from Star Wars. They were so cute!

This week has been pretty busy as usual. I don’t know where the time goes, I really don’t. I was back at Pilates and Zumba this week, which was great. We had some friends over on Friday night for dinner and wine…I had a lovely night. Today I was going to take the kids to the cinema to see the new Avengers movie, but as they didn’t clean their rooms (which are total pigsties) they didn’t get to go. It was annoying as I wanted to see the film…and have their rooms clean…but it wasn’t to be.

Still reading The Book Thief, which I am enjoying. I haven’t been reading as much lately as I’ve been exhausted at night time when I usually read. Tonight, I will get back into it.

Right am going to finish here as The Durrells is on and I love the series. Til next time.

Dawn xx

 

 

London, baking and no yeast

Me on the London Eye showing how bad I am at taking a selfie. No pouts here…oh no sirree!

I cannot believe that I wrote a whole post the other day and totally forgot to mention that me and the kids had been down to London the other weekend. We went down to celebrate two birthdays: my darling daughter’s and my lovely friend Raymond’s. It was a great weekend – exhausting, but worth it. We arrived on the Friday night and met Raymond and others at a restaurant in Greenwich for dinner. The next day me and the kids met another friend, Richard, for lunch in Ping Pong in Soho (after sitting for several hours atop a tourist bus…it was a good tour, but too long). Then the four of us went to Madame Tussaud’s (the girl’s choice, I wouldn’t have bothered). It was alright, the kids enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t go back.

Here’s me taking a break with Han…he’s not much of a conversationalist!

Anyway, after all that we got back to our hotel about 6pm exhausted. We had a hour to chill out and get ready before heading to a pub in Blackheath (gorgeous place btw) for Raymond’s party. It was an excellent party and I would like to thank Raymond and  George for inviting me and the kids and for buying us dinner and for the party. I had a ball. Drank way too much wine and was dancing and singing all night! Thank you both.

On the Sunday, we had a quick shot on the London Eye (well it wasn’t quick cos we had to queue for an hour before we got on it and it’s very slow), which was good in the sense it was a lovely day and you could see for miles across the city. It’s worth doing once. It didn’t open til 11am so after the ride, we got a taxi up to Euston station to get our train back.

Sigh. Apparently there had been a derailment on the west coast line somewhere near Carlisle so our train back to Glasgow wasn’t running properly. We were advised to go to King’s Cross where we would get a train back to Glasgow. This proved to be false and we ended up on a train to Edinburgh. Then it was a two hour trip back home. We were knackered, but so glad to see our dogs who were staying with a friend who is a dog walker. She very kindly dropped them off for us. I really missed them.

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but really good. Thoroughly enjoyed it…apart from the odd whinging from the kids that is!

Gratuitous shot of Casper with his doggy.

So I have decided to try and do a month of no buying things I don’t need. This will be horrendous for me because I have a bit of a book buying addiction (mainly with the help of Amazon). However, I have hundreds of books (literally) and I really don’t need any more. So, here’s my pledge to not buy anything I don’t need until April at the earliest. And I will not buy anything I don’t need by trying to persuade the sensible part of me that I really do need it…I don’t! That is what I will be asking myself: do you really need it? No, then put it back!

I will also try to stick tightly to a meal plan. I meal plan every week but you are lucky if I stick to half of what’s written. It’s just that I get to the day a certain meal is lined up for then decide I fancy something else. Not for this month. Nope, I will stick to it. Started tonight…made pizza for dinner. However, I didn’t have any yeast and I cannot find a shop in this area that has any yeast left. Every teensy bit of yeast has been snapped up by folk wanting to make bread because there was no bread in the shops over the last few days because of the snow. A small, annoyed part of me wonders how many of them actually made bread and how many of them just took the yeast just in case and have no intention of ever using it. I have a bread maker and I do make bread, so was a little put out (‘toys out the pram’ put out) when I was unable to buy yeast. Anyway, I made the pizza with a soda bread base…it doesn’t work that well as a base for pizza. Just letting you know. First cooking disaster of the year. Sigh.

Over the last few days I also made a massive pot of lentil soup (love it!) and banana muffin cake (I couldn’t find the muffin tins…the place is still in chaos as the extension is still not completely finished…so I made it as a cake), which the boy ate most of!

Right, I am going to end this here. I still have to iron school uniforms for tomorrow cos the kids are back at school! Yippee! Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

Birthdays, lunches, reading, making…but no tinsel

I am not doing it. Not yet. No sir. There will be no baubles, tinsel or elves on this blog this week. They might appear next week, but this week is strictly Christmas free. It’s not that I am being bah humbug about this, but I like to leave Christmas decorating until nearer the big day. So you’ll not be finding Christmas decs up at my house just now…that’s a job for this weekend or maybe next week.

So how are you? Hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve been really busy over the last couple of weeks with social events galore. I have barely been in. Last month, there were five family birthdays and four practically family (but not blood or marriage related) birthdays (ie close friends) to celebrate, including my own and the boy’s. Most recently me and the kids were at an 18th party at my friend’s house. Her daughter, who is just lovely and I wish I could adopt her, turned 18 and there was a big family bash. It was a great night. I thoroughly enjoyed it although I partook of too much wine and suffered for it the next day. Happy birthday E…have a great party weekend with your friends this weekend.

I’ve also been lunching and that’s thrown my diet right out of the window so have decided to ditch it until after Christmas when, I hope, my new kitchen may be usable. Talking of that, the extension has been going on good guns: the roof is on, the windows in and they are doing the insulation as I write. Am so excited. It’s already looking amazing.

Other big news and DarkIsle is now available in a special 10th anniversary edition. So go and buy it now. If you know me personally I will be happy to sign it for you.

Also want to give a wee mention to my Uncle Ian who sadly died this month. He was a lovely man, an ex Glasgow policeman who was full of good humour and a brilliant mimic. He will be missed.

What else have I been up to? I’ve been knitting away for my new Etsy shop called CosyCosy Studio (link is here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CosyCosyStudio?ref=shop_sugg). I’ve only got a few things on there just now, but will be adding to it. Would appreciate genuine and helpful feedback on my products if you have the time.  At the moment, there are some hand knitted lap blankets and hand-made cards, but I have some scarves to add this weekend. Am just about to add the lining to them and then they will be ready. The first is a hand knitted yellow Alpaca lap blanket, the second a hand knitted green basket weave pattern blanket and the hand stamped and hand painted Three Kings Christmas card.

Books I have been reading over the last couple of weeks include Ruth Goodman’s How to Be a Tudor (am right into the Tudor era at  the moment) and Alexander Langland’s Craeft. Both of them you may know from the Tudor Farm, Wartime Farm etc programmes (which I love). Ruth, in particular, is a lively and interesting writing and I’ve read books of hers before. This is the first time I’ve read anything of Alex’s and I’m enjoying it too. Hers is about – surprise surprise – ordinary folk in the Tudor era and his is about lost crafts. Loving reading both.

If you are wondering about the photos used in this blog today, they were taken before 9am on various mornings over the past week except for the last one, which was an afternoon pick a few weeks ago. I love the autumn colours and the blue skies. If you look carefully at the pics you’ll see three wee dogs running around having fun. The pics were taken on our daily walks around the River Clyde area where we live. They love it, I love it. Even when it’s freezing cold, it’s great to get out into the fresh air and enjoy the views of the river.

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

Dawn xxx

My favourite pic from the last couple of weeks:

 

 

Writing lists and getting things done!

It’s amazing what writing a check list does for how much I actually achieve in a day. If I don’t write a list, a few things get done. If I do write a list, I get oh so much more done. It’s like that list has sorted out my head and my memory and makes me do all the jobs I have to do around the house, with the kids and, equally importantly, with my writing. I wrote a long list yesterday and laid out times next to the tasks and do you know what? I managed to achieve it all. Today I am steadily making my way through a new list and I’m doing stuff…such as this blog and I wrote more than 1000 words today, plus did a bit of yoga and cut the grass in the front garden. So, it’s nearly 5pm and I’m feeling mightily chuffed with myself for actually achieving a number of things today instead of sprawling out in from the telly drinking copious amounts of tea!

Yesterday, my list included ironing (regular readers will know how much I hate ironing, but I stuck it out and completed it), walking the dogs (which I do daily anyway) and taking the kids to the school Gala Day. Regarding the Gala Day, it was really good. A lot of time and effort had been put in by the PTA and it was a huge success. The theme was on cowboys and cowgirls so there were a lot of kids and adults dressed up. A local line dancing club did a demo for the crowd. The club consisted of older men and women, dressed up in cowboy-ish clothes line dancing. There was also some ‘gunslingers’ having a ‘fight’ which also consisted of older men and women dressed in cowboy-ish clothes pretending to shoot each other. There were loads of stalls (I got a lovely Toffee the Heilan Coo brooch from my friend Sharon’s…aka Sew Silly Lily…stall

and lovely honey bread biscuits from my friend Zuzka’s…aka Honeybread Cottage…stall. I have such talented friends!).

There were bouncy castles and a dog competition and throw sponges at the teachers and a saloon and tonnes of things for everyone to do. I helped out at the cactus hoopla stall and bash the rat game….both of which were a big hit with parents and kids (see the simple things really are the best). I also had a good old chat to lots of other mums I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a great afternoon (had to drag the boy away from it cos he wanted to stay longer) and well done to the organisers for creating it.

What else have I been doing? Well my neighbours must be thinking I’m doing an online business because quite a number of parcels arrived over the last few days. Do not worry, dear friends, I am not doing an online business merely buying up presents for Father’s Day and some birthdays that are coming up in July and September. I like to be organised because if I’m not it’s always a mad panic to buy stuff in time. My memory is not good, it never was, but has been much worse over this last year, so if I buy up cards and presents now at least I have them in for the correct dates of the aforementioned birthdays and Father’s Day. Okay, so after promising myself I would stop buying books, I did indulge in a little book buying spree for myself and the kids too. What can I say? I am a book addict! It’s my only vice (she says with an innocent look on her face!).

Regarding books, following last week’s confession of being totally gripped by The Dog Whisperer’s programme I went out and ordered his book (Cesar’s Way by Cesar Milan) from Amazon. I started reading it a couple of days ago and it’s fab. I am also reading Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves and the Will to Swim by Alexandra Heminsley about her bid to do wild water swimming, something I’ve always wanted to (okay so I have swam in a loch and at the seaside when I was younger and more stupid cos I didn’t have a wetsuit, but I want to go out deeper and really swim in the wild). Anyway, am enjoying reading about her trials and tribulations as she overcomes her terror of swimming in the sea.

Right, I need to go. I have some hungry weans hovering whining about being hungry and ‘when’s dinner ready?’. Apparently they are both about to fade away through lack of food. The chilli is on, but it’s not yet ready. The house smells amazing thanks to the spices and it’s sending the kids crazy…a bit like the Bisto kids of the adverts of old! Til next time.

Dawn xx

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.

 

taboo

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwing Cartons of Orange Juice and Florence Foster Jenkins

Washing day - not my washing day, my washing day is every day and there's mountains of it!

Washing day – not my washing day, my washing day is every day and there’s mountains of it!

Things have quietened down lately and thank goodness. For a while there, myself and the kids were dining out rather a lot, which is good for seeing friends and family, but not great for the pocket.

However, while we’ve been going out less, the house has not been peaceful thanks to my kids fighting with each other. Sigh. They bicker over everything. A lot of the time it’s the girl’s fault because she just loves winding her wee brother up. However on Sunday she was definitely not to blame for the major temper tantrum the boy took because she was blocking they way into the fridge (see, you don’t get between a nine-year-old kid and his lunch!). He battered her, she battered him and then he took a carton of orange juice from the fridge and threw it at her. It missed and bounced off the wall, spraying sticky orange juice everywhere. I – to coin a Glasgow phrase – managed to ‘keep the heid’ and made him clean it up. I took his precious tablet off him, banned him from the PlayStation and told him to go to his room, which he did stomping as loudly as he could on the way up muttering how he hated his sister, it was all her fault, she made him do it (unless she can suddenly do magic, she didn’t) and claiming he hated his life. The bedroom door was slammed shut.

I left him there to stew for an hour whilst I ate a piece of (medicinal) cheesecake and drank tea in front of the telly with the dogs (who were recovering from the shock of seeing the boy in a rage – I think they were also relieved he wasn’t throwing orange juice at them!).

Victorian celebrity chef Alexis Soyer - more on him later.

Victorian celebrity chef Alexis Soyer – more on him later.

Talking of the dogs, Casper went in to get a wee op last week. I decided, after much deliberation, to get him castrated. The vet said it would be better for him as he wouldn’t get upset if he sensed a bitch was on heat. I hated taking him – just like I hated when I got Millie done – and felt a crumb when I left him in the capable hands of our vet (who is a very nice guy and great with animals). I can still feel the dog’s accusing little eyes boring into me as I left him. Anyway, he was there for the day and myself and the boy picked him up around 4pm. As we sat in the waiting area, Casper must have heard us talking because we could certainly hear him barking and whining for us. I was relieved to see him looking well, if a little comical in his plastic collar (the ‘collar of shame’). He needed to wear it until today when he got a check up with the vet (he’s doing well), but it didn’t seem to bother him that much.

Far from missing him during that day, Millie didn’t seem at all upset that her pal wasn’t with her. She played and ran about as usual. Totally different from when she went in to get hers when Casper was bereft (we’re talking lying about, ears down, whining occasionally and looking like he was about to burst into tears) until she came back to us. She was, however, much more jumpy and barky than usual, so deep down I think she was missing him.

Nora Ephron who's 'Heartburn' is excellent.

Nora Ephron whose ‘Heartburn’ is excellent.

On Saturday, I began the onerous task of cleaning out the boy’s room. I did a good clean of it about two months ago, but decided it really needed a deep clean especially as he’d really messed it up and it was really bad again. Put it this way, you couldn’t see any carpet because of the toys, dirty clothes and rubbish he had strewn all over the floors and under the bed. I did about two hours on Saturday and then all afternoon on Sunday. We took out around 12 bin bags full of rubbish and old toys that were too young for him. I took a bin bag full of old clothes and two bin bags full of books to the charity bins. I took down a huge amount of dirty washing and it’s currently lying on the floor at the washing machine waiting to be washed…sigh. It is amazing how much clothing I took out of that room…I had no idea how much he actually had. We also found two pairs of new jeans still in the wrappers (he claimed last week he had no jeans!), numerous dirty pants (ew) and a new coat scrunched up into a ball. He is a lazy little…(insert appropriate word here). He actually had the cheek to complain that he hated the smell of his room and was astounded when I said it was all his own fault for leaving dirty clothes and mouldy bits of food lying around.

Don’t worry, I made the boy help, although it’s debatable that he actually made a lot of impact on the clear up…he spent a good bit of his time ‘seeing how the dogs were’, reading things he’d found, finding old toys and looking for parts and generally wasting time going to the toilet and for glasses of water.

He has been warned that if he ever gets his room in that mess again, he will be punished…I just need to take his tablet off him and ban him from the PlayStation to punish him. Ah technology, so bad for kids in many ways, but great for parents in others.

Currently reading: am coming to the end of ‘Relish’, the biography of Alexis Soyer, the Jamie Oliver of the Victorian era and I’ve really enjoyed it. What a character that man was. I’m surprised no one has ever made a tv series or film about his life. He was so interesting and larger than life. This book gets ten out of ten for me.

I have also just finished  ‘Heartburn’ by Nora Ephron which is a novel loosely based on her divorce from her second husband after she caught him cheating on her. I loved it. Nora has such a fab way with words, everything has a comical slant on it despite the pain this period of her life obviously caused her…she is so witty and a talented observer of people.

Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins.

Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins.

 

And the real Florence Foster Jenkins.

And the real Florence Foster Jenkins.

Films: I haven’t watched any good films lately but have Suite Francaise and Florence Foster Jenkins to watch. Can’t wait.

Telly: like many others, I waited with baited breath for the return of Sherlock and was disappointed with the first one. I watched last week’s episode and I quite liked it. I know a lot of people didn’t and thought it was pretentious, but I found it interesting.

A scene from Suite Francaise.

A scene from Suite Francaise.

Writing: I’ve not been great at keeping up with the writing lately. I don’t know why because I was going great guns in the run up to Christmas. I think having the break has put me off going back to it plus I have been feeling really tired and fed up lately. I put that down to returning to work and coming off caffeine (which gave me a tremendous headache all last week). Anyway, I feel much better this week so really don’t have a good excuse not to get back behind the keyboard. I just have to start!

Okay, I am going to finish here for just now and go off an do some writing (and not procrastinate or find an excuse for not writing like doing the washing or the dishes or shouting at the kids for trying to kill each other). Til next time!

Dawn xx