Getting back to normal

I don’t know about you, but I was delighted to get my kids back to school this week. I love them dearly, I’d jump in front of a bus for them, but these last few summer holiday weeks they have been driving me nuts with their bickering and constant requirements. It’s so nice to get back to a peaceful house with non-demanding dogs and the ability to sit at the laptop all day long without someone asking me to do something for them. Bliss.

You see, I just can’t concentrate the same when they are at home all the time. Plus, being a mother and therefore guilt ridden that I am not doing enough mother/kid stuff, I’ve been taking them out and doing things with them. Not ever day, but I tried to do something every week. Apart from the expense (and it’s been expensive this year), it takes up a whole day.

And then there’s the mess. When they are at home, the house is so untidy. I can clean it and minutes later there’s mess. I do ask them to tidy up, but they take so long to do it (“Just a minute, mum.”) that I often end up doing it myself.

Yes, having them back at school is great.

So, how have you been this week? Hope you’ve had a good week so far. Mine has been relatively quiet. Truthfully, I’ve been binge watching Lucifer, first on Amazon and then on Netflix. Can’t believe how addictive that programme is!! Talking of programmes, I can’t wait until the new series of Peaky Blinders starts. Such a great series.

Book news – still editing the second Nina adventure and I’m about to launch the audiobook (finally I hear you all gasp) soon. Watch this space for more news.

Bookwise, having also been obsessed with the tv series of Agatha Raisin over the summer months (I just love it, it’s so easy to watch and gentle and humorous), I’ve started on the books. I love reading, as you know, and I will read anything. I will read big heavy books and I will read light and fun books. Agatha Raisin by M C Beaton is definitely in the latter category, but sometimes that’s just what I need. I’ve started at the beginning with The Quiche of Death and am going to work my way through. Still reading Anne Lister’s diary and still enjoying it, but I can read two books at once and that is what I’ve been doing.

I’ve started up another wee blog called The Canny Lass, which I hope will help me with my online shopping habit and encourage me to be more canny with money. Not that I’m a bad money manager, I could just do better. If anyone has any tips about living well for less, drop me a message below or email me: I collect a lot of old books, mainly from the Victorian and early 20th century, that are either cookbooks or household management type books. I love them for their illustrations and good advice. I’ll be sharing some treasures I find in them as well as more modern tips.

Right, that’s me for this week. I have a busy afternoon ahead, so I am going to finish up here. Til next time.



Hakuna Matata and Miss Anne Lister



Do you ever get days or weeks where you just feel a bit flat? I’ve been experiencing that over the last week. Thankfully it lifted by Sunday, but it meant I didn’t get a whole lot done last week.  In saying that, I did take the kids out for lunch and then we went to see The Lion King (more on that later). And I did a fair bit of work around the house. So, it wasn’t so bad. Plus I edited my next Nina Esposito book. Actually, last week wasn’t the wash out I thought it was!

So how are you this week? We’re all good at Nelson Towers. I am looking forward to seeing the kids back at school next week. I love my kids, I’d die for my kids, but I still feel the summer holidays are WAY TOO LONG! The pair of them have spent an awful lot of time in their rooms watching telly or playing games. I’ve had to drag them out to go and do stuff with me. It’s their age. The girl is 14 and the boy 11 – he starts high school next week – so, I suppose they don’t want to hang about with their old mum just now. Sigh. Still, I have my dogs. Bonya, our elderly pug, is lying on the floor at my feet happily snoring away. After seeing The Lion King last week, we have sort of renamed her Pumba on account of her deadly, but silent dog farts. You’d have to smell them to believe them. I had to open both my bedroom windows one night because I seriously felt afraid I was going to die from the gas that emanated from her little furry body! Thankfully, we all survived! 😉

The Lion King

Talking of The Lion King. If you loved the animated movie, do go and see this one. It’s ‘live action’ and beautifully done. All the favourite songs are there and it really sticks very close to the original. I would recommend it. I was relieved that I didn’t cry through this one as I did the first time I saw the animated version (you know the bit!). The kids enjoyed it too.

What else has been happening chez moi? I’ve been trying to do a bit of work around the house and garden. I tell you, owning a house is just constant work. Apart from my normal housework (including mountains of washing… my kids have too many clothes, that must be it!), I painted the living room, sorted out the attic, repaired bits and pieces around the home. And that’s only about a third of my to-do list: I’ve still got carpets to wash, some filler to put into a hole, finish clearing the study, cut my front hedge, sort out the back garden and more! Jings, I am going to be busy over the coming months. I’m not worried about it, it’ll get done when it gets done.

secret diaries of miss anne lister

Reading: I am currently reading The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister by Anne Lister and edited by Helena Whitbread. I really enjoyed the BBC series Gentleman Jack which is based on the diaries. It’s set in my favourite time period (well, one of them), the Georgian era and it’s about a woman, who happened to be a lesbian, running her own life, being her own person and not putting up with the societal norms of the day which dictated that women must be married, bear children and not manage their own money. I admire Anne Lister for her courage in pushing for an education for herself, for being a superb businesswoman and for loving the women she loved. The book is fascinating. You get a real glimpse of Georgian life for this extraordinary woman (who has to rely on her father, aunt and uncle for money), her thoughts on some of the issues of the day and her determination to live life as she wants. She’s a really strong personality and that sings out of this book.

Right, I am going to finish this post here and get back to editing my next book. Not sure when it’ll come out yet, but will let you know soon. Til next time,

Dawn xxx

A busy and hot week

Wild Scotland.

So this week has been a bit of a whirr again. In fact, the summer holidays are scudding by at a good rate of knots. Anyway, I am here today to update you on the latest goings on a Nelson Towers.

On Tuesday, my youngest nephew celebrated his eighth birthday. Happy birthday C! And I also took my son and his friend out to Glasgow. The aforementioned friend had stayed over the night before, but despite that we still didn’t get out the door until 11am… and it was already roasting hot. We got into Glasgow around lunchtime so went to have something to eat at a bar in Queen Street called Max’s. I used to go to that bar in my younger days when it was called The Rock Gardens, so it was a bit like going back in time for me especially as the place hadn’t changed.

The interior of the old Rock Gardens hasn’t changed much in 30 years.

Anyway, I enjoyed my food and after we had finished, the three of us went to George Square to hop on one of the tour buses that go around the city. I thought the boys might like to see the city from the bus, but they got bored really quickly so we got off at The People’s Palace at Glasgow Green in the city’s eastend.

People’s Palace is full of great things such as Billy Connolly’s famous banana boots.
Hand sewn cards.
Mock ups of shops and the local Steamie.
An Anderson shelter.
A gas mask.
Oor Wullie.
And other items from Glasgow’s fascinating past.
Then we jumped on the bus again and went to The Riverside Museum (our transport museum) and once the boys had run around the museum, we went out to the Tall Ship, The GlenLee.

I’ll tell you, I was shattered after that day. It was really hot all day – something we’re not used to in Scotland – and the heat was draining. Anyway, we got home about teatime.

On Thursday, I visited my father-in-law who turned 91 this week. Happy birthday Eddie. Then I popped back into Glasgow to have lunch at La Vita with my friend, Laurina. She’s a friend of mine from my last work and it was great to catch up with her. We had a good old gab before it was time to head home.

In between all these, I’ve been also attending my Pilates and Zumba classes in extremely hot halls. That’s fine though because I’m hoping I’ve sweated off at least two stones! 🙂

What I haven’t been doing this week: any writing or editing (hangs head in shame) or reading (although I have been listening to audio books as I lie on my bed wilting in the heat).

Thankfully, today is a bit cooler and the dogs aren’t suffering so much from being too hot. The two youngers ones are okay, but our elderly pug is really feeling it (wee soul).

Okay, so I am going to end this week’s blog here and wish you a great weekend. Although I’ve been moaning about the heat, it is nice to get a bit of good weather for a change. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

Cream Tea Day

Fantastic! Someone has actually started a day to celebrate the humble cream tea. For those of you who are not British, I’ll explain: the Cream Tea is a chance to indulge in some plain scones, cream (preferably clotted cream) and jam whilst drinking copious amounts of tea. It’s a heavenly pursuit and I would recommend it to anyone. So today, go out to a local café and order a cream tea or make one at home. Delicious!

Take Your Dog to Work Day

If you are lucky enough to work from home or for a boss who is lovely and will let you, why not celebrate Take Your Dog to Work Day by taking your dog to work? Dogs are wonderful creatures who are so loving and they really lighten up an office.

If you don’t have a dog, but want one, pop into your local pet charity and adopt a dog today. And then take it into work!

Another day, another pizza

How are you all this week? Hope you are well. This week for me has been pretty busy. Father’s Day was on Sunday, so I took both my parents out for lunch on Saturday to a local Italian restaurant called Padrone. It’s on Helensburgh seafront and makes the best mussels in white wine sauce I have ever tasted. I also had a Hawaiian pizza. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Me and the boy were on the seafront the following day to get ice cream after a disappointing visit to the Scottish Submarine Centre in the town. I had expected there to be more at the centre, but all it is is a small submarine hanging from the ceiling and a film about the said submarine which is projected on the wall. There weren’t any exhibits or anything else. Cost me a fiver, but it wasn’t a fiver well spent. I think you’d have to be a submarine fan to get any sort of enjoyment out of it. Sorry, but it’s a thumbs down from me. The ice cream, however, was sublime. We got it from Vanilla on the front and it was heavenly. Bang went the diet in favour of a three scoop tub for me (Scottish tablet, vanilla and raspberry ripple flavours) and a cone for the boy (can’t remember the flavours he choose, but it’ll be weird flavours like Irn Bru probably). Oh my God, Scottish tablet ice cream must have been made by the Gods because it is pure ambrosia. Happy sigh.

I’m still in the process of setting up my social media small business and have been out and about visiting local businesses with information about it. I have also sent out a mailing list, which went out last week, and this week have been concentrating on the second half of the mailing list. I will send that out tomorrow. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I’m continuing to keep up with social media trends through lots of reading and training. My latest training passion is learning to use my digital camera properly – at the moment I just put it on auto and hope for the best. I’m going to learn what all the buttons are for so I can hopefully take more arty pics!! That’s the plan anyway.

Currently reading: Aloha Wanderwell’s Call to Adventure which is the story of how 16-year-old Aloha became the first woman to drive across numerous countries, including India and Africa, in the 1920s. It’s a fascinating read. As you may know (what with me writing about the adventures of a female archaeologist), I love a good adventure story. What makes this great is that she’s a good writer and the book is easy to read. It’s full of adventures and mishaps and just a good read. Am so loving it. Here are a few pics from her adventures.

TV I’ve been watching:

  • What We Do in the Shadows – bat cod piece! Hilarious.
  • Gentleman Jack – love this series.
  • Years and Years – still to watch the last one, will do so after I finish this blog.
  • Killing Eve – I binge watched the entire series last week, which is why I didn’t get any writing done, but it was so worth it. NB I am in the process of editing one book and writing another, so I am doing some work this week!!

Right, I am going to finish hear and wish you all a very good and productive day. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

World Tapas Day

As a regular reader of this blog will tell you, I love food, so I am delighted that today is World Tapas Day because I love tapas. In fact, I love many of the Mediterranean foods we are so lucky to have access to today. Whether its chorizo sausage, beef, prawns, meatballs, rice or other foods, tapas is wonderful. Celebrate by eating tapas today.

German Chocolate Cake Day

Today is German Chocolate Cake Day. This cake was not invented by our good neighbours, the Germans. No, it was invented by an enterprising man called Samual German. Like the Black Forest Cake (which is German), German Chocolate Cake contains lots of chocolate, black cherries and coconut. Delicious. I am away to find a recipe now.

World Gin Day

As a late-comer to the wonders of gin, I am looking forward to celebrating today, World Gin Day, with a little gin and ginger ale. There are loads of great gins out there – some of which come from my own dear country, Scotland – so why not give them a bash?

There’s only one question I still need to ask though: when is World Vodka Day? I love vodka.