A small death and some great books on writing


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. ūüėČ

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


A few inspirational quotes for you

Okay so this week I thought I’d share a few inspirational quotes with you…aka the ones that have amused me most recently.

Starting with good old Herr Einstein…

From the incorrigible Mae West…

And finally this one, which I agree wholeheartedly with (apart from the wrong spelling of ‘it’s’).

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

A better week…so far (not counting my chickens or anything!)


Hello, how’s things? Hope you’re all well. This week has been better thank goodness with no piggy deaths, no suspected broken bones and only one trip to the hospital (so far…not counting my chickens as it’s only Thursday) for hubby. Plus the weather’s been great, which is always a good thing.


The only¬† downside to this week is the dog’s love of pooing and peeing in places she shouldn’t. This week she has poohed in a pile of washing that was waiting to be washed on the floor of the kitchen next to the washing machine. Last week she also poohed on a plastic folder hubby had foolishly left on the floor. She has also peed in the girl’s bed and last night did it in ours. We were NOT amused. On the plus side she is now barking to get out in the garden when she needs (although didn’t last night – I didn’t think she needed cos she had been out in the garden only HALF AN HOUR before!). Ah the joys of being a doggy mummy!


So what else has been happening this week? We were off on Monday for the Bank Holiday, but didn’t do much. I just wanted a wee quiet day and it was great. Just what the doctor ordered. I’ve not been sleeping that well recently…keep waking up at 3am and 5am. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s summer and light or if something else is waking me. On Tuesday, it was the girl (for some reason she was up at 5am and bright and breezy – so not like her) and this morning it was two magpies sitting on our windowsill making huffing noises that sounded as if the dog had somehow gotten out of her crate and was upstairs in our room. I’ve invested in a sleeping mask to see if that helps – hubby says it’s like sleeping with Top Cat! Of course I couldn’t wear it last night because it got lost in the rush to pull all our bedclothes off our bed to prevent the dog pee reaching the mattress (it almost got there so I have a tonne of washing today)! I’ll have a good search of my bedroom tonight for it!


I’ve actually been writing again. I’ve given myself a target of writing 500 words a day and it’s been working.¬† 500 words isn’t a lot and I’ve been going over that every time. I wrote a short story for a competition (I never get placed in competitions so am wondering why I bother, but I enjoyed writing it and I like my story so it’s a win win already for me) and am working on a book for adults. I had started a young adult’s book last year, but kept stalling so decided to shelve it for this other one. Am loving writing the other one. I get totally lost in the process and daydream about the storyline during (rare) moments of quiet in my life. (happy sigh).


Am back knitting too. Currently working on a lap blanket. I’m emulating Jane Brocket’s blanket where you knit strips of different colours and then sew them altogether. I like making blankets. You don’t have to concentrate too hard on it and it’s relaxing.


Am doing yet another attempt to lose a bit of weight. I’ve put on a couple of stones over the last few years and I’d like to get some of it off and be a bit fitter generally. I’m taking part in a work related walking challenge and I’m cutting out rubbish which is hard cos I’m a comfort eater. Plus I enjoy cakes and wine. Sigh. Wish me luck!! I’m hoping to lose some weight along with a friend. We talked about it yesterday so am hoping he does it with me. We can support each other.

Right on that note, I’m away to do the housework and get the first of the washings out on the line (in the sunshine!!). Til next time,


Dawn xxx

















RIP Piggy

We are not amused!

It’s been a helluva week this week…and it’s not all down to hubby’s illness. Okay, so we did have a couple of trips to the hospital and hubby got some treatment and he seems a teensy bit better which is good.

And by Friday I was beginning to sigh a sigh of relief that we had got to the end of the week without any emergency races to hospital.

Twas not to be though. I shouldn’t have counted my chickens for not only did the girl fall on school Sports Day and had to be taken (by me) to hospital to see if she had broken her arm (she hasn’t, but she’s badly hurt the muscles so is all strapped up), but our darling Guinea Pig, Fitzwilliam Darcy (pictured) decided Friday was the day to die.

We shall miss our Darcy. He was a great pet and I was very fond of him. He hadn’t been well though and I was glad he went himself because I was considering taking him back to the vet’s to get him put down. But the wee soul had other ideas – went himself, in his own bed with his pal beside him.

The boy was distraught. He’s only eight and had never come across death before. He insisted we bury Darcy in the garden so we went out to the river shore and found a suitable stone for a gravestone. The boy wrote RIP Darcy on it with a black marker pen.

On Saturday afternoon, I dug his grave (putting my back out for my troubles) and we said a few words. I planted a scaredy cat plant over the grave so the dog or local cats wouldn’t dig him up. The girl laid some forget-me-nots. It was a quick, but nice ceremony. The boy had another wee cry and that was that.

The grave has now become a bit of a ‘thing to see’ by the boy’s pals. Sigh.

Anyway, that was our week this week. What can I say? Our lives are a bit mental just now and the near arm break and the piggy death just put the tin hat on it! And here was me complaining in my last post that my life is boring! All I can say is this – Thank God for wine!!

The good news for the week though was that both the boy and the girl were placed in the races. For the skipping race, the boy came second and the girl came first (seconds before she ‘timbered’!). Unfortunately, I had to take both of them out of school before the medal ceremony due to the urgent hospital visit, but hopefully they’ll pick up their medals on Tuesday when they go back to school.

So that was the tailend of my week. How was yours? Hopefully you’ve been enjoying the fab weather today (if you’re in the UK and in the sunny areas). It’s been roasting, which is lovely.

Right, am going to finish up now and make some tea. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

On an 80s vibe!

Hello there! How’s things? Hope you’re all well. I’ve not got much to report this week. Unfortunately, hubby has been in hospital again this week. I think this is the way it’s going to be from now on.

Anyway, I set this blog up to be¬†anti-depressing. This is my happy place and I’m going to chat about things I love the most (apart from hubby and the kids that is!! They are the things I love the very most in the whole wide world!) and not sad things except this one…


…¬†my beloved Darcy is getting elderly and has lost a fair bit of¬†weight. I took him to the vet’s yesterday and she says he doesn’t have any obvious ailments and it’s probably old age. She gave me some build up food for him and he’s been taking it. He still seems quite chipper, so am hoping he goes on for a bit longer. We’ve had him since Christmas 2011 and he was nearly fully grown then so I reckon he’s about four-and-a-half to five-years-old which makes him an old man. Just hope he regains weight and lives for a bit longer. I’m very fond of him, he’s a lovely animal.

Talking of animals, the dog has been keeping us all going. We reckon she’s started to go through puberty as she’s been quite naughty this week. She’s been in the bad books quite a lot especially when she decided to leave a smelly present in my daughter’s room…again. There was a lot of screaming and shouts of ‘Millie!!! You’re a naughty dog!!!”. I couldn’t help but laugh (am such a bad mother!!).

Just started a new book¬†F Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography by Jeffrey Meyers. Still have a fascination with the folks of the latter years of the Belle Epoch, so this is part of that. Only just started so can’t really tell you how it’s going yet, but so far so good. Here’s a pic of la Fitzgerald:

f_-scott-fitzgerald 1

And a gratuitous shot of the lovely Tom Hiddleston as Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris

tom hiddleston

…cos as you know I love Tom Hiddleston. It’s a middle-aged wummin crush and very sad, I know!

Am also still reading Literature of the 1920s and a couple of gardening books. In case you’re wondering, this is normal for me…to read more than one book at a time. Can’t help it. Am a book addict.

What else has been happening this week? I’ve been enjoying the good weather and got my tomatoes started in the potting shed. Am looking forward to eating the tomatoes at some point in the near future! Have also got my seed potatoes out there and am growing some chilli peppers. This weekend, I will weed the garden and get the herb seeds in their pots. Just need to sow some carrots and onions and that’s a good start for this year. I may not have the allotment any more – had to give it up as I realised pretty quickly on hubby’s diagnosis of the cancer’s return that¬†it would be too much work for me – but I can still grow things in the garden.

Talking of hubby, I’ve been on a bit of an 80s film vibe lately and insisted we watch Ruthless People the other night. I had forgotten how funny this film is.


It was excellent…recommend it!


Danny de Vito and Bette Midler are just fantastic! Not one for the kids though as there are a few fruity bits and bad language¬†in the film! Am thinking Mannequin might be next for the 80s film night! It’s another favourite of mine!



Ah the memories! Anyhoo, enough of my reminiscing about my teen years. I’m going to finish up here, go grab a cup of tea and take it to bed with a good book (I know, I’m such a party animal! Friday night and I’m reading in bed! The thing is: it’s one of my favourite things to do). Til next time!

Dawn xxx



Things I did this week




Hello. How’s things? Hope you’re all hail and hearty. What’s been happening in your world? Hope you’ve had a good week. This week I finished all my painting, but didn’t get round to cleaning the carpets…

...and yellow...

…and yellow…

I did manage to finally clean out my study. It took me a couple of days. Unfortunately it’s become a bit of a dumping ground for everything plus the Guinea Pigs are in there and they are little mess makers in their own right.

...and pink...

…and pink…

The dog is VERY interested in the Guinea Pigs and we have to make sure she is never on her own with them. Although they are almost as big as she is, I think there’s a good chance her terrier instincts will kick in and she might kill them.

...and green...

…and green…

The kids and I went a walk along the back of Helensburgh last week and it was fantastic. The walk takes you into the Duchess Woods and it was invigorating. The views were nice and the weather was dry, but blowy (the type of blowy that gives you sore ears and mussed up hair). Me and the boy searched for fairies in upturned tree stumps (the girl is just too old now for that) and the dog had a ball running into mud and feeling the wind pull her ears back like streamers. We then went to Helensburgh for some ice cream at Vanilla/I like Candy. We may have considered going to Dino’s, but the man was so nasty to my girl a couple of weeks ago (she was in there with her friend) that we are now boycotting the shop. In fact, we’ll never buy anything in there again. I hate it when adults think it’s okay to treat young kids badly. She asked him for a bag and he was really off with her.



I’m still reading The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell and loving it.

We didn’t much else this week. We have taken the dog for walks, I’ve drank a few bottles of wine (well, I am on my holidays!) and did a lot of cleaning and washing (I think our washing machine is on the blink…just testing it now). I also managed to spill an entire bucket of bleachy water all over the kitchen floor (including over my feet)…took me about ten minutes to get it cleaned up properly (after I’d shut the dog in the living room as she insisted on tap dancing across the wet floor!).

...and orange...

…and orange…

I’ve finally started writing again. I have this idea mulling about in my head and I started getting it down this afternoon. Felt good. Hope I can keep it up.

...and bloooooooo...

…and bloooooooo…

Saw a few folk this week too including family and friends.

I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too!

I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too!

But most of all I enjoyed having a wee bit of time to trawl the internet, read my books (I’m also reading Arianna Huffington’s Thrive) and potter about the garden a teensy bit (although the weather’s been a bit off this week…back to being bitterly cold).

Sigh. Back to work tomorrow. Oh well! Maybe some day I’ll be able to give up this working malarkey and be a lady of leisure (who reads a lot). Talking of reading, I also cleared out four bags worth of books which I donated to my local library.¬† This is good for me as I never get rid of books. My personal library was getting out of hand, though, so I had to do it.

Right on that note, am away to continue watching Rachel Khoo’s cookery programme Little Paris Kitchen. Til next time!


Hedgehogs, flowers and quiet times

Crowned Crane

Hello! How’s things? What’s been happening? Life has been trundling along nicely…can’t believe another week has passed so quickly! I have started my making for Christmas. I like to make the kids and some family members and friends little gifts for Christmas. I love doing it and I hope they like receiving them. Last year I made nearly everyone lap blankets for cosying up under during the winter. I also made some toys for the kids. This year, I have a few wee things in mind to make, but I’m keeping it under my hat and I’ll share with you at another time.

oct 16  flower 2

In case you’re wondering, the photos for this week’s blog have absolutely nothing to do with what I’m writing about. I just like them. They are pretty or cute or cheerful.

DCF 1.0

I love hedgehogs. We have a hedgehog who visits our garden. I haven’t seen her or him for a while, but he or she enjoyed the Guinea Pig nuggets that were left on the grass after the outdoor pen had been put away.

oct 16  rose

I’m sorry I don’t have a lot to tell this week. The kids have been off for the October holidays, but I’ve been working so I’ve not managed to get anywhere interesting of late. To be truthful, I’ve just wanted a quiet life lately. Sometimes it’s nice to have nothing planned.

oct 16  flower

Of course, the days when I’m not at work it has to rain. It’s been dry all week and sunny and lovely, but today – the day when I’m not working – I woke up to rain. It’s stopped now, so hopefully it’ll stay off. We have a friend’s daughter here this morning and I was hoping to take them out for a walk or something this morning. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, I’m going to go. I have the house to clean and some night’s out with friends to organise for November and December (I might like the quiet life, but I like to go out too!).

Til next time!

Dawn xxx



Ballet, Bunnies and Breaking Bad


The view near Rhu

The view near Rhu

Hello, how are you? What’s been happening? Well this week it’s been back to school for the kids and lots of celebrating for mum!! The kids went back midweek and for the first time in weeks I went home, switched on the telly and was able to hear a programme from start to finish. There was no one to interrupt, ask for stuff or generally make a lot of noise. It was bliss! Don’t get me wrong, I missed them, but it was good to get a bit of quiet in the house.

News from chez Nelson…the girl started ballet lessons today and loved it. She was twirling and skipping and pli√©-ing with the rest of them, a big smile on her face. Other headline news: our next door neighbour’s cat went missing, but now has been found. I amnot a major cat lover, but I have to say I do like young Maddie who is a little girl cat and is very cute. I was glad they got her back. And we say goodbye to two lady Guinea Pigs and two rabbits tomorrow when my friend comes to collect them. We’ve been looking after them whilst¬†my friend and her family¬†are on holiday and it’s been a hoot. One of the rabbits¬† – the very cute Albert – is a real character and kept us all chuckling. He’s a very affectionate animal and is always looking for a head rub or a bit of attention. We shall miss then, but I shan’t miss all the mess they brought with them. It’s perfect timing actually because the weather has been getting worse over the last week or so and I’m thinking of moving our Guineas from their external hutch to their indoor cage (which is currently in the greenhouse). I wanted to wait until September when it starts getting colder at night, but it’s been so wet recently that I may bring them in earlier.

Anyway, we’ve not been doing a lot except for getting ready for going back to school and work. I’ve started working on another children’s book – well it’s the one I was working on before, but still haven’t finished. I’ve also been knitting a wrap for myself, which is unusual because I don’t often knit for myself. I’ve been glued to Netflix watching White Collar (am addicted to this programme) and Breaking Bad. Was watching the latter this morning. We’re on series three and oh my goodness it’s great!!

In case you’re wondering what the pic is about at the beginning of this blog, it’s a view from Kidston Park in Helensburgh. Took the kids there last week for a walk along Helensburgh front and then lunch at the great wee caf√© (I forget its name) at Kidston Park. I took the pic of all the lovely boats that are moored nearby at Rhu harbour. It was one of those days which was really sunny to begin with but soon descended into a rain and wind. We managed to get home before it got really bad.

Anyway, I must go. Breaking Bad is calling…Hank’s just been shot! I need to find out what’s happened.

Til next time.

Dawn xxx

Darling Buds, a gumsy smile and the pigs enjoying their new ‘sty’

darling buds of mayDon’t you just love it? The Darling Buds of May was one of my favourite tv programmes back in the day and I don’t know why, but a few weeks ago I was suddenly reminded of the series. I think there may have been a few episodes running on one of the Sky channels. Anyway, I ordered the box set, saw the book and ordered that too. The books by H E Bates are just lovely and gentle and funny. The tv series is just as good as I remember it. Ah…perfick!

Anyway, how have you been? I’ve been basically watching an empty house all week as my kids have enjoyed the good weather and been out playing all week. They are both as brown as wee berries. Very healthy. I took them to see the second How to Train Your Dragon film, which I enjoyed but it was disturbed by the boy wanting to go home halfway through…he was bored. This week they are attending summer club round at the church hall…plenty of making a mess and having fun!

Talking of the boy, momentous news this week…one of his top front teeth came out and he’s walking about all gumsy and cute!

This week we also bought the guinea pigs a new outdoor hutch. They’ve grown too big for their normal cage and I wanted to give them more space to roam about…which is a laugh because if you’ve ever owned guinea pigs you’ll know you can buy them the biggest cage in the world and they’ll still sit in one position growing fat. They are not exactly the type to exert themselves.¬†The new hutch is two tier and it’s been funny watching them trying to get up and down the ramp. We had to alter the ramp so that it was less steep…neither Darcy nor Sam could haul their little fat bodies up the ramp as it was. It was all ‘scrabble scrabble scrabble, give up, slide back down with a disgruntled look on one’s face’!! Hee hee. They can do it now thanks to the ingenuity of hubby who sorted the ramp for them.

Anyway, enough of the pig tales! I must love you and leave you now. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Starry, starry night and do Guinea Pigs sleep with their eyes closed?

stars 1

Oh the Northern Lights have been making an appearance across Scotland yesterday and today. I missed yesterday, but me and the girl were out looking for them tonight. We didn’t see them, but we did get a fantastic view of the starry night. It was amazing. It’s a clear night, so you can see hundreds of stars. Orion really stands out. Fantastic! We loved it. If it hadn’t been so cold, we would have stayed out longer. Fantastic!! Can’t stop saying that.


Have made the imagery theme the Universe today. I like sci-fi so sci-fi-y type pics are right up my street. (pauses for a moment)

Anyway, you may be wondering what on Earth I was talking about regarding Guinea Pigs sleeping with their eyes closed? Well, it’s like this. You would think they would, right? But, despite having Guinea Pigs in our lives for the last three years, it’s only recently that I’ve actually seen them close their eyes when they sleep. Honestly, I could go up to their cage and peer in and both of them would have their eyes wide open, but be so still they look as if they’d died. There was not a flinch! It was weird, which made me wonder if they didn’t have eyelids. However, on Wednesday, as I was working at my laptop, I spotted them both asleep WITH THEIR EYES CLOSED. So that proves it to me. And also proves that sometimes I’ve not got enough going on in my life! Hee hee. I wonder what they were doing ‘sleeping’ with their eyes open…for that is what it appeared they were doing? Thinking DEEP THOUGHTS? The meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything? Answer = 42 (of course! Can’t be a sci-fi fan and not know that). Creating sweet Guinea Pig poetry in their heads? Doing quantum physics? Who knows? It certainly takes them several minutes to realise I am there…daft wee things that they are!


Anyway, how’s things with you? What’s been happening in your world? Hope it’s been a good week for you. Been a bit of a mixed bag for me, but today I met a couple of friends for lunch to celebrate Tracy’s birthday. Happy Birthday Tracy!! Was a good lunch. We had a laugh, ate nice food and generally had a lovely time. Need to do that more often!

Getting very excited about April 7 – series 4 of Game of Thrones is back on the box. Can’t wait!! I just LOVE that programme! Have also been watching The Great British Sewing Bee again. Excellent programme and absolutely compelling viewing. Am loving it again!! Roll on Tuesday!

Currently reading The Fellowship of the Ring, which is shocking really. I should have read it by now. I love fantasy, so it’s taken me a number of years to get round to this book. Most people I know read it as a child. I didn’t. Anyway, am reading it (and the other two books) now and loving it. Also currently reading Jack Monroe’s new cookery book. It’s a really nice book and I’m looking forward to trying out a number of recipes. Well done Jack!!

Right, am writing this at 8.45 pm on a Friday night. Got some Aurora Borealis to see before bed.
Til next time!

Dawn xxx