Orlando, the Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios

So, as promised a quick overview of the holiday. Above is me – still peely wally (ie very pale for my non Scottish readers) – at Disney’s Magic Kingdom with Cinderella’s Castle in the background. Yes I am wearing Minnie Mouse ears and a Micky Mouse t-shirt…it’s a prerequisite of going to Disney! There were tonnes of families in matching t-shirts and ears and hats and my family were no different…except my dad who refused point-blank to wear anything like that. So we just called him a ‘bah humbug’!! Hee hee.

Anyway, first impressions of the Magic Kingdom…We took a free shuttle bus from our hotel to the park early in the morning. We arrived at Epcot and took the monorail to a steamboat port and got the boat across the water to the Magic Kingdom. It was a nice way to arrive, but a bit drawn out. Anyway, I was shocked by the amount of security on the doors of the Magic Kingdom…shocked, but not surprised.  Disney, like most other big parks, is a potential target for terrorists, which is horrible. Anyway, we got through the security (it was like being in an airport it was that much) after standing in the first of many queues that day. We walked through the gates and into a lovely faux town with lots of shops selling hugely overpriced food, drink and gifts. Everywhere was the sickly sweet scent of sweets or cakes or something. There was no magic…not for me anyway.

We walked up towards the castle and into the area where the first ride we wanted to go on – Space Mountain was – unfortunately the queues were horrendous. We had bought a day ticket, but you can’t pre-buy day tickets for Disney, websites only allowed you to buy two days or more, so you can’t pre-book fast passes for a day either. We tried to book it on the machines in the park and we got help from a very nice Disney employee who was a whizz on them, but we couldn’t get a fast pass for Space Mountain for that day (the queue was over two hours long). We did, however, manage to get fast passes for the Haunted Mansion, Toy Story and Pirates of the Caribbean and a couple of other rides, so we took those. We also went on the train that goes around the park a couple of times.

I’d like to say I had a fantastic time at Disney, but after a whole day (and around nine miles of walking according to my Fitbit) traipsing around the park I came away with a kind of ‘meh’ kind of feeling. I was quite disappointed in it. I felt the rides we did get on were quite old-fashioned, there was nothing fantastic about them. Also, you had to wait ages to get your picture taken with a character. I didn’t come away feeling like I’d had an amazing day. I just felt I’d paid an awful lot of money for a non-descript kind of day.

Above the view from the train in the Magic Kingdom. Verdict on Disney’s Magic Kingdom – meh.

Now Universal Studios is so much better.

We did Universal Studios the following day and it was fantastic. As a huge Harry Potter fan I, of course, was desperate to do the Harry Potter bits of the parks. We bought tickets for the two Universal Studios parks (as well as the fast passes, although we still had to queue, but not as long as folk who didnt have the passes) just so we could really enjoy both Harry Potter sites and the train between the two, but we got so much more as well. The first bit we headed for was Hogsmeade (pictured above and below).

It was amazing. The place felt so real and the attention to detail was amazing. We went to Ollivanders to buy wands and I picked up a couple of book marks too. This area also houses Hogwarts itself which we also visited. Then we went to the station to get the Hogwart’s Express to Diagon Alley.

The train journey itself is amazing. It has old-fashioned carriages with individual wee rooms. On one side, you can see out the windows and watch the ‘journey’ to ‘London’, but on the other, you are looking at the frosted glass of the doors between the room and the walkway and you can see the shadows of Harry, Ron and Hermione and hear their conversation. The journey doesn’t last long and takes you to ‘King’s Cross Station’.’s

Diagon Alley was nearby, as was the Night Bus (see below).

Diagon Alley was packed and we didn’t do the ride at Gringott’s (although apparently it’s good, but I don’t like rollercoasters so I didn’t want to do it).

Once we’d had our fill of Harry Potter, we decided to explore the rest of this park. It was fantastic. There are lots of places to see and things to do and it’s here we did the Transformers ride (which is AMAZING – you really feel like you’re in the middle of a battle between the Decepticons and Optimus Prime and his ‘men’, it’s terrifying in places, but such a thrill – you are in a city trying to escape the Decepticons and you get shot at and you tumble off the top of a sky scraper and it’s all so real you squeal all the way through it, but are secretly loving every minute of it), the Despicable Me ride and the Shrek ride. The Despicable Me one was amazing too, although not on a par with Transformers, and the Shrek one was good, but tamer.

We also saw a parade. We missed out on the Disney parade in the afternoon because we were doing the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, so it was nice to catch this one. Here’s Gru et al dancing and singing in the streets…

And a view of this park across the water…

After we’d tired of this park we took the Hogwart’s Express back to the other park and did the Jurassic Park ride and a few others.

Some more views of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade from a bridge that led us to the Jurassic Park ride.

The Jurassic Park ride was really good. It’s a river ride. You get on your ‘boat’ and go into the enclosures, dodging animatronics dinosaurs along the way. It ends with a long tip and splash into the water and is really fun. We followed this by popping into the King Kong ride. None of us were that bothered about doing it – in fact my mum was going to sit out because she couldn’t be bothered waiting in yet another queue – but we were all so glad we did. It’s really REALLY good. Again you are in a ‘car’ driving about Kong’s island dodging dinosaurs and large spiders and other beasts. This is done mostly with SGI and it’s so lifelike. It was exciting and scary and thrilling and, well, if we had the time or energy we would have done the ride again and again and again. It’s great…almost as good as the Transformers ride.

If I remember rightly, King Kong was the last ride we did that day as we had to catch the bus back, but we also squeezed in a few others along the way. We would around 10 miles that day according to Fitbit and we could hardly put one foot in front of the other by the time we were finished, but we all had a really good day.

Verdict on Universal Studios: loved it, would definitely go back. It’s fantastic. Recommend it.

Oh nearly forgot, my thoughts on Orlando. It’s immaculate and very modern, but I felt it was soulless. There is no culture to the place. It’s pretty enough, but I prefer old cities and towns with hundreds of years of history and buildings to match. We stayed at the Days Inn Hotel, which when we first arrived we weren’t that impressed with, but it was immaculate, the rooms were comfortable, the staff were lovely and it had a really nice pool area that the kids loved.

Our last full day in Orlando was taken up by the Universal Studios trip. The following morning we got up early (aching from all the walking we had done over the previous two days, but it was worth it), took a taxi to Port Canaveral and caught our cruise ship, the Norwegian Epic. More about that in the next blog post…I just loved the ship and the places we visited.

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

Holidays and it’s a pug’s life

Okay so I sort of haven’t been around that much recently. Basically, me, the kids, my niece and my parents flew out to Orlando at the end of March, had three full days in Florida before joining a cruise ship at Port Canaveral for a trans Atlantic cruise back to Europe. It was a fantastic holiday, thoroughly enjoyed it and I would have told you all about it last week (we came back mid April) except I wasn’t well…I had a stinking cold for the entire holiday (not that it stopped me enjoying myself – see pic above of me on the upper deck enjoying my daily Bahama Mama cocktail!) and it got worse when we got back. Had to go on antibiotics to get shot of it. I don’t like taking tablets, but I had had this flamin’ cold on and off for five or six weeks. The antibiotics finally cleared the cold at the beginning of this week.

Anyway, regarding the holiday, I have lots to show you and talk about so I’m planning to do it over the next couple of weeks rather than doing a ginormous blog about it.

The other exciting news is that we’ve welcomed a new furry family member. Her name is Bonya (she was previously owned by a Russian lady) and she’s just adorable.

Unfortunately her previous owner had to rehome her, but I’m glad we’ve got her cos she’s a lovely wee dog. My other two dogs were a bit scared of her at first (although she’s the least scariest dog I’ve ever met), but are coming round now. She’s a terrible snorer, loves to give you big face licks (ew…I hate dogs licking me on the face and it’s a fight to keep her from doing it…she’s very determined!) and is very cuddly.

In other news, I took a major leap of faith and gave up my job this week. I feel that life is too short and I want to write for a living, so I’m going to give it a go. I made the decision months ago and it really feels right. I don’t really feel I’ve stopped work yet because I never work on Thursdays, but I think it will start to sink in next week when I don’t have to go. Just want to thank all my friends and colleagues at work for their generous gifts and see you all next week! People keep asking me what I’m going to do with my ‘retirement’, but I don’t view it as that…I am going to WRITE!! I am taking a couple of weeks off to get the house and garden in order and to chill out. Then I’ll start back writing again. Can’t wait.

Anyway, it’s getting late so I’m going to finish here. Til next time…and all the holiday tales to come!

Dawn xx

A weekend away at the stunning Cuil Bay

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Halloooo! How’s things? Hope you’re well. Well, we’ve been pretty busy this week. We – me, hubby, the kids and my stepdaughter – travelled up to Cuil Bay near Duror (one the west coast in the Highlands) for a long weekend last weekend.

And it was fantastic.

We had a lovely weekend and didn’t want to come back.

Sigh.

It was just so relaxing.

We didn’t do a lot, but here are a few pictures to show you what we did do.

Above is the boy travelling over the bridge to Eilean Donan Castle. I’ve always wanted to go there (being a big fan of Highlander and castles and Scottish castles in particular) and I loved it. It’s not a huge castle, so we were round it pretty quickly, but was really good to see.

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Apologies for the slightly blurry pics. It was a blowing a gale when we went. I couldn’t take any pics inside because you’re not allowed, but I bought a guide book and that’ll remind me of it. I love castles. I love the history, I love the design, I love the old furniture and equipment, I love the atmosphere. Eilean Donan doesn’t disappoint on any of those!

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We stayed in Cuil Bay Cottage (see above), a traditional wee cottage almost in the middle of nowhere. There are other houses in this area, but they are far apart enough that you really feel you are alone.

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This is an evening view from the front garden of the cottage. The scenery was breathtaking. Not the really high mountains of Glencoe to the north (we travelled through Glencoe – if you have never driven through it, do it. It’s amazing! I’ve never felt so overwhelmed by the beauty and majesty of mountains until I went there!), but gorgeous none-the-less. Anyway, we had a fab view of Cuil Bay. The night the last picture was taken was really clear, there was a crescent moon in the sky throwing light over the fields and mountains and there were literally millions of stars in the sky. It was amazing!

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During our stay we walked down to the beach which was no more than a quarter of a mile away.

The girl and I went first…

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…with the dog…

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…and jumped straight into the water! Sigh. We had to bath her when we got home.

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We all went on our last day there. The weather was fantastic and you could really feel the warmth of the sun. Lovely. We drove part of the way there because hubby isn’t strong enough to walk that distance, but he managed to walk a wee bit.

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We searched for beach treasure and generally had a lovely time.

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I took lots of pics and we made lots of lovely memories.

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Other things we did on holiday included…

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…crossing the Bridge over the Atlantic (above) to visit Seil Island. We had lunch there and then visited Oban.

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We also looked out for other castles. Above is a pic of Castle Stalker which is north of Oban. We couldn’t visit, but it’s a lovely castle.

We also had lunch at some really nice places. The food was great.

It was just a lovely weekend and one we’ll never forget!

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Dawn xxxx

Snow, rubbish Christmas telly and Terry Pratchett’s new book

Hellooooo! How’s things? Hope you are all well and enjoying the festive season. Have you had a nice time? I hope so. I am currently nursing an upper respiratory infection (a head cold and sore throat in other words) and am feeling a bit bleurgh! Luckily it’s only come on me the last couple of days. Apparently it’s making hubby’s life miserable because I am snoring worse than normal! Hope he doesn’t get this bug. It was the girl who brought it in, I’ve got it, the boy is sneezing and I’m hoping hubby doesn’t get it cos he has his last chemo this week. Hurrah!! If he has a cold it could delay it. The poor soul has been pretty unwell over the past few weeks with the build up of the chemo in his system. He’s been spending a lot of time in bed, it’s a real shame. One more to go plus two weeks of chemo tablets and that will be him. This year has been a bit shit, but I feel we’re coming to the end of it (I hope). Here’s to a better 2016!! Hubby deserves it. Am so thankful he’s still here with us because we nearly lost him a couple of times, but he pulled through. Yup, 2016 should be so much better!!

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In case you are wondering, I’m putting in ‘winter wonderland’ type pics because I feel we should always have snow at Christmas (thanks to Charles Dickens for this!! Apparently when he was a child, we went through a mini ice age and Christmas was always snowy so he wrote about snowy Christmases and now we all feel it should be snowy). Anyway, it’s not snowy here in Scotland. It’s been raining and very windy lately, although the last couple of days have been calm and dry. I am, however, still missing the snow (I feel a bit peeved we don’t have it – feels more Christmassy somehow)…hence the pics.

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Still trying to tot up our Christmas movies. We’ve not been watching a lot of Christmassy tv because basically the tv has been rubbish this year. As hubby quite correctly pointed out – Why are we paying our TV licence to the BBC when all they have mainly been showing is repeats of shows from when we were kids!?! And it’s not just been them! Other channels have been regurgitating tv shows from Christmas past too! And films. Yesterday we watched The Great Escape for instance…how many times has that been on British telly since the 70s??? The only thing new I’ve been watching is Dickensian, which I’ve only seen the first episode of. I love Dickens and this looks promising. I hope it’s good. Also watched the very last Downton Abbey…well I had to find out if Lady Edith got her happy ending. Seems like all the characters did. Hubby thinks Downton is rubbish and that it was all tied up too nicely, but I love a happy ending and I love Downton, so it was thumbs up from me. Even Daisy looks like she’ll finally get some romance. I know it was a cheesy finale, but it made me happy. I now feel all the characters will have a happy ending, which is the Disney-type ending they all needed!

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I’ve been taking it a bit easier these last few days so there’s not much to tell. My mother put on her usual massive spread for Christmas Day – it was great. She did the full thing and there was at least five courses. My favourite was the home-made soup – my mum makes the most amazing soup. I have tried to emulate her, but can’t quite get it right. It’s like ambrosia. I love it. When I was in my early 20s and still living at home, I lived on her soup for a whole winter. She would ask what I wanted for dinner and I always asked for her soup…it’s that good. Thanks mum!! It was a great spread…especially the soup!

Haven’t been doing too much over the last couple of days except try and bring down the mountain of dirty washing that suddenly appeared two days before Christmas (when the kids were told to tidy their rooms…ahem!). Nearly at the end of that. Plus am spending a lot of time reading. Hubby got me the new Terry Pratchett book The Shepherd’s Crown (I love Terry Pratchett), so will start that as soon as I have finished Eat my Globe by Simon Majumdar. He’s a lover of food (aren’t we all?) and decided to travel the world trying out different foods. It’s a great read. He comes a lot of dishes he loves and a few he thinks are disgusting and meets lots of really interesting people along the way. Am nearly at the end of it, but have really enjoyed it.

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We also have a few family board games to play…can’t wait to get into my Terry Pratchett The Witches boardgame!! (she says shivering with excitement!)

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Right, on that note, I’m off to make some lunch. Got a pork pie in the fridge that has my name on it. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

PS If someone was to ask me what the theme song for this Christmas was I would have to say the Dr Who theme tune. The boy is obsessed with Dr Who and got more Dr Who stuff for Christmas. If we don’t hear the theme tune from one of the many toys, he’s humming it or singing it or him and his friend from across the road are yelling it at the tops of their voices. Sigh. On that note, thought the Dr Who Christmas special this year was rather weak…the series is not as good as it used to be even with the excellent Peter Capaldi in the lead role. The storylines are often way to complicated for kids (the boy will now only watch a maximum of 15 minutes of an episode, but sits through hours of previous series – he’s a big fan of the Matt Smith storylines, but also loves the earlier seasons). However, I can’t say that for the Christmas Day version. I will continue watching, however, because I love Dr Who too!

Walking funny and getting ready for Christmas

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I’ve been walking about as if I’ve poohed my pants! Last Sunday, I bent over to push the button to put the dishwasher on and my back went into spasm. I’ve been in pain ever since and can’t walk totally upright nor do anything above the speed of ‘very elderly lady’. So I’m thinking if the back pain is still there at the weekend, I’ll have to treat it with chocolate and maybe some wine. There’s nothing else for it! It’s medicinal!

How have you been this week? Shout out to my friend Dawn who reads this! How are you Dawn?? When we get together we are Dawn-in-stereo. Anyway, hope you’ve had a good week. My week has been pretty much dictated by my bad back. I haven’t really been doing anything exciting. I could make something up like I went to a Christmas ball and wore a huge ballgown and everyone gasped when I entered the room (cos I was so stunning, natch!!)…but nothing even remotely as exciting happened this week. Sigh. I am just looking forward to next week when the kids stop school and I stop work and we can have a long lie and a jammies morning.

I did have a good day today. I met my friends Tracy and Jane for brunch and Riverhill Courtyard in Helensburgh (a very nice restaurant by the way!). We ate a lovely meal and chatted and wished Tracy well on her up-and-coming trip to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

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Good luck missus! Have a great trip when it comes and try not to fall off!!  Also take plenty of pics so I can live vicariously through your adventures! Feel I should also give Jane a shout out cos she’s not climbing Kilimanjaro, but is a lovely person too! Note to other friends who have not been mentioned, but are equally important to me: you are lovely too! Right, guilt trip now over…

Christmas films viewed since my last post:

  • Nativity! (currently on the telly…the boy’s fave Christmas film)
  • The Grinch (another favourite of the boy’s)
  • Home Alone 2 (this and the first one are major favourites in this house!!)
  • and the wonderful Elf

We also watched Into the Woods, which was just okay. I wouldn’t watch it again. I thought it was a bit…well long and just alright.

Books I’ve been reading since my last post:

  • just the one, the very lovely The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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I’ve never read this book before. I don’t know why,  it’s a beautiful book. I am loving it. Recommended reading even if you are, like me, a few years past childhood!

Right, am going to go and make myself a cuppa and eat some chocolate (what? it’s medicinal!!). Til next time!

Dawn xxxx

PS I will have an announcement to make very soon…it’s about this…

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Achoo!!

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I have the lurgy. The boy brought in the cold a few days ago and I’ve been sneezing and been snotty ever since. My throat hurts and I generally feel a bit off colour. I had a medicinal glass of wine the other night there, but that made me feel worse…the next morning! Anyway, I shall soldier on.

How are you? Hope you are well. What have you been up to? We put the Christmas tree and decorations up this week and the house is looking very festive. I bought a new, slimmer tree and new lights and they look great. I like to buy a new ornament for the house every Christmas and this year I chose this…

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The kids think I’m weird putting out figurines from The Nightmare Before Christmas, but I love them! Nothing like a bit of the macabre to really feel Christmassy!! Hee hee.

Another thing I’ve loved this week is this video. It’s so funny.

Other news and sadly we’ve lost another uncle to cancer. My thoughts go out to his daughters, my cousins, at this sad time. Feels like too many people are being affected by cancer this year.

Anyway…I am going to finish here because I have the house to clean and an ironing mountain (yes I have never managed to see through my intention of doing a bit a day…instead I leave it to pile up hoping that somehow it will go away. I hate ironing!) to do. So I will finish up here.

Yours sniffing and spluttering

Dawn xxx

 

 

Minions and Museums – doing family stuff this week

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The weather has been pretty good recently and there’s been some really nice skies. It’s been warm and the kids have been out playing and having a great time.

Because it’s the holidays (I have another week off work…yippee!) and we’re not going anywhere, we’re trying to take the kids on wee day trips here and there. Hubby still isn’t up to full strength, so it has to be somewhere near-ish and something he can do without walking too far. This week we went to see the new Minion movie at Clydebank. The kids loved it, we thought it was pretty average. In fact, it’s safe to say I doubt I’ll ever watch it again. Then we went to Frankie & Benny’s for lunch. Was nice to go out as a family again after months of poor hubby being so ill.

We had a few days at home and today we ventured into Glasgow to the Kelvingrove Art Galleries and Museum in the westend. I have loved this place since I was a kid and hope my kids love it too.

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I took the camera, so here’s a wee selection of what you can see inside the museum…

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I found it odd seeing this armour with guns as I thought armoured soldiers just had swords and spears, but apparently there were guns around in 1610 when the armour and the guns were made and folk were still wearing armour. You learn something new every day!

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You can’t go to a Glasgow museum without having some sort of Rennie Mackintosh influence!

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The heads (or heids as they say here in Glasgow). I love these.

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I just love the costumes. I wish there were more on display.  I wish there was a museum of costume in Glasgow – there was one in the Borders, I don’t know if  it’s still there – and I’d go all the time. The work on this dress is stunning.

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Couldn’t go by Robert Louis Stevenson without taking a quick pic.

Not sure where we’ll go next week. The boy wants to go back to Vikingar! in Largs – I’ve never been but I’d like to go. Ho hum! Decisions, decisions.

Right, am off. Dinner is nearly ready and I’ve got plans to do stuff tonight (yes including writing!). Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

 

Annie, the Moneyless Man, Gormenghast and Easter Cakes

 

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Aileen Quinn, the Annie of the original 1982 movie.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dawn xxxx

 

Escaping to Perthshire and enjoying the peace

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We escaped from the madhouse this weekend by taking a two night stayover at Crieff Hydro in Perthshire. We’ve been before – I’ve spoken about it before in this blog – but we’ve always taken the kids. This time round, however, hubby and I decided to leave the kids with their grandparents and go ourselves. It was great. We had a lovely relaxing time. We didn’t make use of the spa or the sporting opportunities the hotel offers, which are many and very good, but we just went with the flow about what we wanted to do.

We arrived late afternoon on Friday and after we’d settled in we had dinner, a few glasses of wine and went to see The Other Woman in the hotel’s small cinema. The film starred Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton. It’s a film where Cameron’s character Carly, a successful lawyer, discovers her boyfriend (played by the oh so handsome Nikokaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones) is actually married. Anyway, the wife (Kate King, played by Leslie Mann) finds out and in her despair befriends Carly. They then find out he’s also seeing a much younger and bustier Amber (played by Kate Upton). They tell her and together the three decide to get their own back. It’s quite an enjoyable film, but predictable. Good for a Friday night film watching stint (minus the kids). Don Johnston plays Carly’s dad and Nicki Minaj is Lydia Carly’s secretary. I’d give it a seven out of ten. Anyway, it was good going to the flicks.

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The next day, we decided to get out our cameras and go photo hunting up the Knock which is the hill behind the Hydro. We really knocked it off with the weather. It was one of those sunny, frosty, gorgeous winter mornings that you read about in novels. Added to that is the loveliness of the scenery and it literally was breathtaking.

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We had a lovely morning exploring and snapping and having a good  old laugh. We must have been out a good two hours traipsing about the hillside and returned just before lunchtime. We spent a little time in our room before venturing out. Hubby wanted to take shots of the Deil’s Cauldron, a waterfall at nearby Comrie. I didn’t go with him, but waited in the car (I was knackered from the walk earlier!!). We had a late lunch at a nice little café in Comrie before returning to the hotel.

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Chilling out time!! We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out and taking it easy. We had a few glasses of wine before dinner and then went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (can you tell we love going to the movies?). It was okay. It’s not my favourite type of film anyway (although I have seen the original film and tv series!). Good cast and excellent special effects. It too was predictable. It’s also quite violent. Six out of ten.

 

Anyone for golf? Don't fancy trying to hit a hole in one from here.

Anyone for golf? Don’t fancy trying to hit a hole in one from here.

Anyway, it’s top marks to Crieff Hydro for an excellent time. The room was lovely (and really big), the food was great, there was lots to do and the staff couldn’t be more helpful.

Minus 100 to the medical students who were holding their Midway Ball at the hotel and kept us up and awake a good bit of the night on Friday and Saturday night with their shouting and crying and carrying on somewhere below our third floor room (yes we were up that high and could hear them) . I don’t know where they were doing it from but we could hear every word, every expletive and every sob from them, the drunken bums. It honestly sounded like they were in the room next door to us, but they were outside. I am assuming it was them – it sounded like the group that invaded the piano bar the first night we were there. Anyway, whoever it was…I don’t appreciate being kept up til 2.30am listening to your childishness.

Phew that felt good!

Anyway, we still managed to enjoy ourselves. We feel all rested.  The kids also had a good time as my parents took them to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayr. They loved it and want to go back. We’ll take them in the summer I think. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Oh, and if you ever go there yourself, mind and pick up this book on Burns’ life…it was beautifully illustrated by my friend Mandy Sinclair.

burns%20tp

We picked the kids up at lunchtime today. I really missed them, but I think they had such a good time with their granny and grampa that they didn’t give us a thought!! We got lots of kisses and hugs from them though, which was lovely.

Can’t believe that’s us been and come back already. Sigh. Anyway, I must get on. Got a whole pile of washing to do (except the kids’ clothes – thanks Mum for doing that). Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picking up the needles, picking up the pen

rabbit 3

Hello again! How’s things? Did you have a nice time over the festive period? I hope you did. We did. Was great waking up naturally and pottering about the house for two weeks. Now we’re back to normal and are very quickly back into the swing of things.

This week has been a bit of a mixed bag. Of course we are all feeling horrified by what’s been going on in France and my heart goes out for the friends and the families of the people who died and were injured. Last night and the night before were really stormy…it was so bad in the wee small hours on Thursday night, it woke both myself and hubby up. It sounded like the wind was trying to rip the roof off our house. Luckily there was no damage to the house. Poor folk up north though…especially in the islands, for they got it far worse.

On the positive side, I’ve been catching up with friends and planning a new short knitting course with two of them. We taught knitting and crochet to P6 and P7 kids in our local primary before Christmas and we all enjoyed it so much that we are doing it again. The girls who took part last time – and unfortunately we couldn’t persuade any of the boys to take part – produced some lovely mini scarves as gifts for grans and mums. This next session we’re got plans for a new project…I will reveal that once we’ve told the participants of this one.

Okay, time for a quick look at some of the gifts I made my hubby and kids this Christmas…

minions

The Minions – one each for the kids

Munkee

Monkey for hubby (it’s an in joke)

rabbit 1

rabbit 2

Rabbits for the girl and boy respectively.

 

Christmas time was also great for giving me more time to read. I got through the three Hunger Games books in the run up to Christmas. I read Molly Keane’s Devoted Ladies and am now on Queen Lucia by E F Benson. I watched the BBC version of Mapp and Lucia and loved it. Talking of BBC telly and I’m pleased to see Father Brown is back on the box. I really enjoy it. It’s gentle murder mystery…just what I like. I’m not into really dark, scary murder mysteries. They give me nightmares…it’s that mad imagination of mine.

Regarding writing. I’ve been lazy on that front lately. I intend to get into it again this week. I’ve written up a schedule (if I write it down that I’m going to do it, I am more likely to do it), I’m going to go over what’s been written so far and I plan to finish it by the end of May. There I’ve said it, now I just have to do it!

Right, am off to do some reading. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and see you soon.

Dawn xxx