Shorn, vampires and Anne Lister

Hello my lovely followers. How are you all? Hope you are well. What have you been up to this week? Me? I’ve been really busy and there was a bit of sickness in the house – again! Brought in by one of the kids – again! But that’s what happens when you are a parent. They are little bug-meisters, kids are!

Anyway, over the last week, I have had my hair chopped into a bob. It was about time. Normally I wear my hair up and back away from my face because basically my hair annoys me. And I hate going to the hairdresser so a short do is out cos it would mean constant trips to the hair salon to get it cut. My hair grows like weeds. So, I keep it long so I can wear it up. However, as I am hurtling towards the age of 50 (next year), I wanted a softer hairstyle. Hence the bob. I quite like my new look. The pic below was taken a few days ago after I’d been out (on a wet and windy day) walking the dogs, so the style is not the best it could be.

What else have I been up to? Well, the girl was sent home last Wednesday after being sick. I had to go and get her and she was white as a sheet and green about the gills. Straight to bed for her. She was off the next day, but insisted on going to school on the Friday. By Friday, however, I was feeling exceptionally peaky and spent the day lying on the sofa catching up on television programmes and generally feeling sorry for myself. I should have been over at a friend’s house having lunch and drinking wine. Instead, I was feeling exceedingly sick. I was not a happy chappy that day I can tell you. Anyway, such is life!

Talking of telly, have any of you managed to watch What We Do in the Shadows? It’s a spoof documentary series following four vampire housemates in a city in America. It’s hilarious. Some of the things they get up to are incredibly silly, but silly in a way that’s really funny. Just watched the most recent episodes this morning as I was taking in my daughter’s dress (we’ve got a wedding coming up). I had to stop sewing to have a good old chuckle at it. Watched the original film (Australian vampires) last week and that was good too.

The cast from the original film What We Do in the Shadows.
Some of the cast from the tv version – it’s so funny.

I have also been hooked on the BBC’s new drama Gentleman Jack which is based on the life of Anne Lister. Suranne Jones takes the lead role as Anne with Sophie Rundle as her love interest, Ann Walker. It’s brilliant drama and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s also a fascinating story about Anne Lister – what a strong minded, independent woman she must have been to live the way she did at the time.

Suranne (right) and Sophie (left) as the lovers Anne Lister and Ann Walker.
The real Anne Lister.

Anyway, now I am going to have to buy a book about Anne Lister. I want to know more about this interesting woman who lived her life on her own terms.

What else? I have nothing else to report at the moment. I haven’t been writing recently. Been too busy with various social events, so I am getting back into it this week – I have scheduled it in! I’ve also been too tired to read anything when I go to bed at night. I have a growing bundle of excellent books by my bed, so I’ll be getting back into that. I know – my life is SO rock ‘n’ roll – not! I like it though.

Right, I am going to finish up here. I have a young man to pick up from school and another cup of tea to drink when I return. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

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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

Wham! A New Book, A Discovery of Witches and a Night Next Door

 

Hi! How are you all? Hope you’ve had a great week.  Mine has been extremely busy which has left me really tired this week and feeling under the weather. However, I did get a lot done.

Announcing my next book!!! My next book is called Everything She Wants (the book with the working title Ham) and I’m aiming to get it out before Christmas or in January at the latest. Depends how everything goes with the cover and other bits and pieces you have to do to get books released.  It’s about a very put upon housewife who runs away from her horrible family to join a Wham! tribute act. Here’s the blurb:

A new dark comedy from the author of Dusting Down Alcudia. This book is rude, full of swear words and definitely not for the faint-hearted!

When Susan decides there’s more to life than housework, her cheating husband puts his foot down.

Ignoring his protests and those of their selfish teen daughter, she runs away with a Wham! tribute act to find herself and, hopefully, fame and fortune.

Along the way, there’s the chance of happiness with a new man, but things go awry and he turns out not to be the knight in shining armour she had hoped.

Now Susan must decide whether to forge ahead with her new life or go home with her tail between her legs.

Will share the cover once it’s done. This is nothing like Dusting Down Alcudia, but I hope you enjoy it. While I’m waiting for the cover to be done, I’ll be working on the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia which is due out early next year. Yes, I have been a busy bee this year with the writing!!  Watch this space for more details!! Picture of the real Wham! below.

So what have you been up to this week? For me it’s been finalising Everything She Wants and typesetting it so that it’s ready to be formulated into a print book.  I’ve also been doing a lot sorting out cupboards and rooms around the house as when I am fully into writing, housework and such like kind of go by the wayside. Let’s face it, I am not one of those people who love housework. In fact, I hate it and look forward to the time when I can afford to pay someone else to do it for me! I wish! 🙂

I’ve also been attending my exercise classes. I don’t know what it was but I found my two Zumba classes really hard work this week. I thought the more you exercised the easier it’s supposed to be, but it was a struggle. I still went and still participated, but came out with a face the colour of a tomato streaming sweat in my wake. A lovely image for this time of night, I know!

This weekend I am having a quiet time, but last weekend I was really busy. Well, to be perfectly correct, I was really busy on the Friday. I was hardly home. I met some friends for tea and buns in the morning, another friend for lunch in the westend of Glasgow for lunch (we went to the famous University Café and I had my favourite: macaroni  and chips, yes I am a classy burd!). Then in the evening, I popped next door to my neighbour who is 90 soon for a wee glass of wine. My neighbour is lovely and a very interesting man.  We have always been friendly and he got on really well with my husband. Unfortunately, my neighbour’s wife died about a year after we moved into this house more than a decade ago, so I never got to know her. He is the man our Millie always escapes to. She loves him because he’s constantly feeding her meat. Anyway, I had a fab evening with him. We chatted about everything and had a good laugh. We are going to do it again because we get on so well. So, I had intended going round for a couple of hours… I was having such a good time, I ended up staying until midnight.  Was a great night.

I always find older people so interesting. When I was working as a journalist for a local newspaper in Paisley, I got to interview some residents of Erskine Hospital, which is a hospital for former military people. I was sent there to cover the visit of Princess Diana, but I found chatting to the residents (including my late grandfather who was a resident there at the time) so much more interesting. I met one of the first policewomen in Glasgow and men who had been fighter pilots and ground troops in the Second World War. They were fascinating people. I feel really lucky that I was able to do that. Seeing Princess Di was okay too, but she wasn’t as interesting… not to me anyway.

Finished reading the biog of Radclyffe Hall. I really enjoyed it. She was an interesting woman, but I hated the way she treated her long term partners. I must try and find a copy of one of her books to see what they are like. I can’t help but be curious now I’ve read her life story.

Matthew and Diana from A Discovery of Witches.

I am currently re-reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which I am loving all over again. I’ve been watching Sky One’s adaptation of the book (picture above), which is great. I am really enjoying it. However, the book is so much better.  Can’t wait to re-read the sequel Shadow of Night and then the third in the trilogy, The Book of Life. I cannot recommend these books enough. They are fantastic.

I’ve also been busy this week with my uni course. I signed up to so an English Lit degree with the Open University and I am loving it. It covers a lot of different areas of the arts and is really interesting. I am feeling so much more “cleverer” than I did when I started. 😀  I’ve just completed my first assignment about Cleopatra and Antony, and Cezanne. My next area of study is about Joseph Stalin.

Right, I need to go. I need to pick the boy up from his school’s Halloween Disco. He went as a zombie. I helped his costume come together by cutting up a pair of trousers and an old jacket and throwing flour over him so he looked pale and zombie-like, and his clothes looked old and dirty (as well as fraying). He looked great. Hope he’s had a good night.

Til next time!

Dawn xx

PS I am still looking to add people to my Advanced Reader Copy group. If you sign up, you’ll be given early copies of my books and all I’ll ask you to do (and this is not compulsory) is provide a genuine review of my books on sites I’ll give you the addresses for. If you’re interested, email me: dawn@danelsonauthor.com or sign up in the top righthand corner of this blog.

 

 

 

A small update because I have the Lurgy…again!

 

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This is me today: a grumpy old, sneezy old mama bear.

Ugh it’s been a snotty, sneezy end to the week. I woke up on Thursday morning with earache and a sore throat, and it’s all gone downhill from there. For the past two days I have been lying on the sofa feeling a bit sorry for myself because I have a nasty old cold. I’ve not slept very well over the last few days and am a bit grumpy, so I apologise if I am not my usual cheery self today.

I hadn’t written anything either until a wee bit earlier, when I began to feel a little bit better and so got 1000+ words down of my young adult book. That’s the thing about being a writer… because you feel compelled to write all the time, you have to do it even when you are ill. However, my (insert swear word here) laptop is running at a snail’s pace (I’ll need to defrag it again) and so is causing additional grumpiness…grrrrrr!

The only good bit about being ill was that I got to binge watch the new Jack Ryan series on Prime while the kids were at school. I should have been visiting a friend and doing the housework, but I had no energy. So, I did the only thing I could – I lay on the sofa with a cup of tea, some biscuits and a great new tv series on the telly. Jack Ryan is excellent, by the way, if you haven’t already seen it.

Book news and the new cover for Dusting Down Alcudia is close to being done, so I will show you it when it’s ready. The early drafts are fantastic. I am so pleased with them (thank you Mia, my wonderful designer). Watch this space for more news on the cover!

I have finally finished a great online course I was doing… Nick Stephenson‘s Your First 10K readers He’s a thriller writer, but also runs excellent online courses (many of which are free) for writers. Really recommend this course if you are going down the indie line like me. Pop over to his website and check it out. Also recommend The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn... another website full of great advice for writers.

Right, I am going to go. Time for a cuppa and some anti-cold drugs. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

Writing, Sookie Stackhouse and the Southern Vampires


I don’t know what’s happening to me today. It’s 7.35pm and I have been chasing my tail all day. I got up later than I normally would and I’ve been trying to catch up with myself ever since. It’s weird how being an hour later in your schedule can knock you off your stride. Sigh. Still, never mind.

How are you all? Hope you’re hail and hearty and enjoying the day. It’s been overcast here all day after about three weeks of non stop sunshine, so it’s been nice that it’s been a bit cooler. I am not a sun worshipper, I like variety in weather, so while it’s been nice to see the sun I am now bored with it. Plus I don’t like being too hot. It’s been too hot. I’m not moaning about it, I’m just explaining why I like today’s weather.

I have been really, really busy writing and researching over the last week or so. I have finished the rough draft of my sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. I hope it turns out to be good. It’s not good at the moment because, as I said, it’s very much the rough draft, it’s me getting the story down before I go back and edit it. I’ll edit it a few times before I send it to my editor to tidy up and then we’ll publish it. Anyway, it’s nowhere near that stage at the moment, but I’ll let you know when it is. I’ve also started to do my first edit of my murder mystery book. So far, so good.

I haven’t been up to much. My kids are at the stage where they don’t want to hang about with me and poo-pooh any suggestions I make for activities we could do. I wanted to go and see Patrick. They didn’t. We didn’t go. I think we are going to see The Incredibles 2 soon though. I loved the first film, it was so well done, and can’t wait to see the sequel.

Here’s a wee sneak peek…

Just finished the first in Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire series (it was known as True Blood on telly, loved that series). Dead Until Dark was great. Loved it and am looking forward to the next one in the series, which is Living Dead in Dallas. Can’t wait to go to bed tonight to start it! I know, I sound like a teenager, but I do love a good story. Other book news and I recently purchased a copy of Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton, a photographer who in 2010 decided to start taking pictures of 10,000 New Yorkers. His idea was to log them and he put their images online. I first came across him on Facebook. What he has also created is a fab book full of colourful and interesting human beings. There’s a little bit about their lives and where the pic was taken. Really interesting. I love things like that. People are so interesting. If you want to see some of the images pop along to the Humans of New York website.

Right, I am going to finish up here. I have dull housework stuff to do before I retire to the cosy warmth of my bed, snoring dogs beside me, to delve back into the life of waitress Sookie Stackhouse and the Southern Vampires! NB if you can’t be bothered reading the books (why that would be I can’t think because books are almost always better), try and watch the True Blood television series, it’s excellent.

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

 

A small death and some great books on writing

Sam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

Lego, Goldman and a Deep Deep Trench

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Millie – none the worse for her impromptu flight.

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

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

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.

yoga

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

 

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

 

 

 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…!

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We went to the winter fair in Glasgow’s George Square recently. It was kind of done by accident because what we were actually doing was meeting my step daughter for dinner, but we went to the fair afterwards. There was an old fashioned merry-go-round, which I love (excuse the pics, they were taken on my phone which has a rubbish camera) and the kids went on. There was a helter skelter, which they did not. There were stalls and, yes, we did peruse them. The boy got a hand crafted recorder (am regretting that purchase!) and a hand knitted SpongeBob Squarepants hat. The girl got lovely ethnic earrings and something else. They both badgered me to buy them bubblegum flavoured meringue which I did. It was the size of a small loaf so I broke it in two and they munched it going round. My step daughter didn’t want anything, I did ask! It was a good evening. My step daughter is lovely and the kids love seeing their big sister. Hopefully she’ll come down to see us over the festive period.

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What else has been happening in my world? Nothing much to be truthful. I spent the weekend clearing out cupboards and putting up the Christmas decorations.

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Here are a few of my favourite new decorations (all bought, none made this year)…

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This smiling mouse is from Marks & Spencer’s. They always have lovely decorations and I couldn’t resist him.

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Betty Boop as an angel. My boy doesn’t like her, but I’ve always been a bit of a fan.

 

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A pug and (in the background) a little blue tit. I used to have three of the blue tits, now I only have two…one of the dogs (Millie) ate the other one. Sigh.

Talking of Christmas (and getting into the Christmas spirit), I have picked up one of my favourite Christmas books to read again…The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. I thought I hadn’t read it, but I definitely have and I enjoyed the tv programme based on the book (so much so that I bought the DVD to watch again!). Once again, Mr Pratchett does not disappoint. The Hogfather is fab. I am loving it. It’s set in the Disc World where they celebrate Hogswatch instead of Christmas and the Hogfather’s sleigh is drawn by enormous pigs instead of reindeer. The Hogfather goes missing and Death takes over the role spreading joy whilst his granddaughter Susan investigates. It’s one of his best, definitely is.

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In other news…had to bath the dogs. They’d gone out for a walk earlier and got covered in mud. This would be fine if the pair of them liked getting a bath, but they don’t. Millie – white and the dirtiest looking- actually did quite well. She stayed still long enough for me to wash her, despite trying to escape earlier. Casper made a bolt for the door as soon as I put him in the bath and disappeared downstairs. I spent ten minutes chasing him around the living room before I finally caught him and took him upstairs. For a small dog he is surprisingly strong and I had to really hold him still whilst I washed him. He struggled. Water went everywhere. I got soaked. The bathroom was covered in muddy dog water. I finished. I dried him and let him go. He sped out of the bathroom like there was a firework tied to his tail and spent a good 15 minutes rubbing himself dry on the carpet downstairs whilst I tidied the mess of the bathroom. It took me  half an hour to dry out in front of a radiator. I think I may have to wrap them in cling film before I take them out again so they don’t get covered in mud!! Only joking!

Right, that’s really it for today. I have been writing, but been a bit naughty the past couple of days and done nothing. I will get back to it tonight! For the rest of the week, I’ve got a few wee things planned, but nothing of note. Til next time.

Dawn xx