How’s your week been? Much like last week, I’ll bet. This virus stuff is getting tedious isn’t it? I know we have to stay away from other people as much as possible, but it’s hard. I daydream about going out as normal, meeting friends and family for lunch and having a laugh. However, in Scotland we’re not allowed anyone else in our houses. We can go out and meet them for lunch, but it’s just not the same. It’s not as relaxed. It’s always at the back of your mind that you could have Coronavirus and not know it and then pass it on to someone else, even though you do your best to stay two metres away. I see Donald Trump and his wife have now been diagnosed with it. I really hope this is a wake-up call to him. I don’t wish him or anyone to be seriously ill or killed by this disease, but he’s been so casual about it all in the past that it does feel a bit like karma that he has it. I hope he takes it more seriously now and starts listening to the experts about wearing a mask etc.
A wealth of lovely patterns and hand-knitted items at my shop.
Anyway, that is my moan for today. So, what have I been up to lately? Well, it’s much the same as always: I work on our script, I write my SOS book, I work on my social media business and my vintage knitting business, Vintage Knit Treasures (that’s got some items for sale in it now including scarves and hats, see here for more info). It’s been very much ‘Groundhog Day’ for us, as I’m sure it’s been for everyone else. I have been comforting myself with watching tv (yesterday I decided to start watching White Collar again cos I love it and Matt Bomer is just yummy). Watched Enola Holmesand really enjoyed it, although I thought the ending was a bit flat. Really hope they do another one. Millie Bobby Brown is really good in it and Henry Cavill (does that man ever smile?) and Sam Claflin play her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft beautifully. Plus they are both good to look at. 😉 What? A girl needs a bit of eye candy every now and again. Widowhood can be quite dull you know!
Millie Bobby Brown leads the cast in Enola Holmes.
That about sums up my week. It feels lately that we’re just sitting in limbo at the moment. We can’t look forward to Halloween or Guy Fawke’s because that’s been cancelled. I had to tell the kids they couldn’t go out guising this year (guising is the Scottish word for trick or treating) and they were disappointed. Our local Guy Fawke’s Night celebration at our scout hut has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Tell you a laugh, my American friend, the lovely Terry Wells Brown asked me why the British celebrate Guy Fawke’s Night and I told her about the bomb plot to blow up parliament and the king in 1605 and how it was stopped and ever since then we celebrated every November 5. Then it occured to me: do we celebrate because it was stopped or because he tried to blow up parliament?? I hadn’t really thought about it before. Obviously, the celebration must be about because the plot was stopped, but if you speak to people about him they talk about the Gunpowder Plot with glee and Guy Fawke’s almost like a hero. It’s almost like it’s a bit of a joke that it happened. 🤔 On Guy Fawke’s Night, we let off fireworks, have sparklers and have a party. There’s always a bonfire where an effigy of Guy Fawke’s is burned (the real Guy Fawke’s was tortured and hung for his part in the plot). Hmmm.
Guy Fawkes was also known as Guido Fawkes.
Moving on to Christmas and I fear we won’t be able to visit family on Christmas day. It will be rubbish, but if it has to be, it has to be. The worst case scenario will be that I will set up a Zoom call with them. Anyway, we have 12 weeks (?) til then. Hopefully something good will happen and the virus will die off (miraculously) and we will be able to get together after all.
Right, enough of my musings. I am away to do some work (I’m always working, keeps me out of mischief!). Til next time.
So, I’m feeling a bit flat today. I was alright until I started writing my SOS assassin novel. I was quite happy with my lot. I wasn’t thinking about anything other than what work I had today. And then I went and started writing the novel again. I haven’t been writing for a couple of weeks – I really needed a break from it and took it. So, I read over the previous chapter, which was fine, and then started on the new bit. And that’s when the sadness and the feeling flat began. You see, I’ve taken my characters from wonderful Italy to also wonderful Corfu, the island off the west coast of Greece. And when I started researching it, having never been but always wanted to, I began to feel a yearning to go. And when I looked at those amazing beaches and beautiful old towns and villages, that yearning grew. I WANNA GO TO CORFU RIGHT NOW!!! Wahhhhh! 😀 That’s one of the things I don’t like about writing: you’re often researching places you then find yourself desperate to go to. Maybe next year, for now I will have to be content with photos of Corfu, which I am rather kindly sharing with you so you’ll feel you really want to be there right now too!! You are welcome!
So how have you been? I hope you are all well. Hello to all my new followers and welcome to my blog. Thank you for joining us.
I’ve actually had a good week this week (and it’s only Wednesday). I started back writing (with mixed results as I explained earlier). Last week I started up a new business on Etsy called Vintage Knit Treasures selling downloads of vintage knitting patterns (go here if you want to have a look at it). I love vintage fashion, I love knitting and making, and I love old patterns, so this is the perfect small business for me. I plan to add knitted items (knitted from genuine vintage patterns) to it plus more patterns. Going to add more this week. I also got three new clients for my PR and Social Media business, which is great. It’s all happening this week and last.
Also, the kids went back to school full time on Monday, which is fabulous. I am loving the peace and quiet in the house. It’s so nice to have some time to myself. They went off in March due to Covid-19 and that’s them just returning now. I must admit, I had a few worries a couple of months ago when I thought they might go back, but Scotland seems to be dealing with Coronavirus really well and there are very few cases in the country at the moment (hopefully that continues), so I’m confident the kids will be perfectly safe at school. Plus, for my sanity, I needed them back!! Heeheehee.
Took part in my very first author takeover party. Basically, it’s where you are given permission to takeover another author’s Facebook page (or whatever) and you post lots of good things like games and giveaways and funny things. I did it last week on my friend Terry’s FB page and had a ball. It was a good laugh. I thought everyone would put up saucy memes and games, but it seems there was only two of us doing that and one of them was me!! Hahaha. It was fun. So, going to do it again. A quick congratulations to Cynthia, Debbe and Kristen who were all winners of my giveaways. Hope you’ve got your books girls.
Finished the book I was reading . The Mistress of Mayfair by Lyndsy Spence is about Doris Delevingne (who I think was a great aunt of Cara Delevingne) who was someone who came from a working class family to join the ranks of the aristocracy in the 1920s and 1930s. She was notorious for going with men, even when she was married, and basically seemed to have used people for her own gain. She is thought to have had an affair with Winston Churchill at one point. It was a fascinating insight into Doris’ life and the lives of the Bright Young Things of the 1920s. She had a sad end though, sorry for the spoiler. It was a really well written book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’ve been looking around for tv shows to watch. There’s not much on the box I want to watch right now. So, I re-watched A Discovery of Witches for the third time (LOVE the books and the tv series is great too… cannot wait for the second one) and have downloaded the pilots of a few box sets to see if I can get into them. So far, The Borgias and Banshee seem promising. I did not like Curfew. I found the first episode to be a bit boring (sorry scriptwriters). Please tell me if it gets any better, because I should like this one. The premise is good, but I just couldn’t take to it.
Right, I must fly. Am off to do some scriptwriting shortly. Til next time.
Another gratuitous pic of the dog…just to cheer you up.
Oh and here’s another…
Right enough of that. How are you all? Happy Mother’s Day. Hope all you mums out there are having a good one. I was given breakfast in bed this morning: toasted bagel, orange juice and tea. Plus lots of hugs, kisses, cards (home-made and bought) and some lovely vintage bags (bought by myself – well, I needed to ensure I would get what I wanted!!). Then I had a couple of hours to myself reading in bed…and looking on Facebook and on Pinterest. Fab.
Now it’s back to reality – there’s a pile of dishes needing done and my ironing is threatening to take over the world it’s that high. I hate ironing.
So how’s your week been? Ours has been a tiny bit quieter and it’s been good to get a bit of time to catch up with things. We’ve had fewer visitors and fewer trips to hospital which means I’ve been able to keep up with the house. It’s amazing how quickly things back up when you’ve not had the time to do them. It’s taken me all weekend to tackle the washing and there’s still a big pile slumped forlornly up against the washing machine waiting its turn.
Anyway, enough of me moaning. The boy was ill this week with a cold. He had a really sore throat at the start of the week which turned into nasty earache yesterday. He was up in the wee small hours this morning crying in pain. I had to administer more Calpol and kisses. Wee soul. He’s better now, I think the inflammation must be getting better. You might think that getting up at that time (I think it was around 3am or 5.10am, I can’t remember, it’s all a sleepy blur) is horrendous and normally it is, but it gave me the time to peek out the windows and gaze at the sky. I do this a lot at night. I always look out the back windows when it’s night-time to see what the stars are up to. Last night, the sky was stunning. There was not a cloud in sight and the stars were out in all their glory. It was as if someone had taken a handful of glittering diamonds and thrown them up into the air where they stuck to the black velvet of the sky. Gorgeous. I wish I had had a camera (and the talent) on hand to take a pic. The nice thing about it is that the image has stuck with me all day and it’s lovely.
Millie had her first walk on Thursday and had a mixed reaction to it. Once she had gotten used to the lead she walked quite well. However, I don’t know if it was a mixture of being cold (despite having her little coat on) and being a little scared, but she whined and wanted up for most of the walk. She’s not daft that dog – why walk through cold, squidgy mud when you have a giant to carry you! Anyway, the kids have been enjoying taking her out for walks around the estate and showing her off.
Just wanted to say a big thank you to my friend Ian and his brother Scott from Averton Landscapes who came and cut up the big branches that fell in the back garden. About half the tree fell down in the high winds a few weeks ago, but it was so big it was as if a tree had fallen!! Here is what it looked like:
So thanks guys for doing the work for us! We greatly appreciate it.
What else has been happening chez moi? Um…not a lot of exciting things, I’m afraid. We’re just trying to have a normal life at the moment. I’ve been getting a lot of paperwork and stuff sorted so that it frees me up to get back to writing.
Talking of writing…I watched Giles Coren’s programme My Failed Novel which was his (incredibly brave) look at why his book Winkler failed to sell in great quantities. It was an excellent programme in which he talked to many famous writers and readers about his book and what it takes to be a successful writer. The crux of the position is: few writers make enough money from writing to support themselves (which I knew), even fewer make the millions that everyone seems to think writers always earn (we don’t) and that it’s bloody hard work (this I also knew). I really admire Giles for letting other people critique his book and talk to him about why they think it wasn’t a success. Good on you Giles. It’s hard to hear criticism of your writing, particularly if you spent months working on it. I would recommend this programme to anyone who wants to write, not to put you off, but to give you an insight into what it actually takes to be a writer and what the reality of it is. It’s not all champagne quaffing and doing readings to an appreciative audience. On that note, am off to quaff some champers…only joking!!
Right, I am off to get the ironing board out and a good wummin’s film on the telly to take the sting out of the huge pile I have to do. Just limbering up the old arms in readyness for the horrendous amount of work I have to do with the iron.
The weather has been so horrible here lately (apart from yesterday which was lovely and sunny…for a change!) that I’m illustrating this blog with pics taken in spring or summer. Not only does it cheer me up, but it makes me feel like I’m blowing a raspberry to winter. So there winter take that…
Ah that feels better! So how’s your week been? Mine has been pretty good. My colleague and good friend Laurina turns 50 this weekend, so we had cake in the office on Tuesday and we went out for lunch at Rose & Grants. She’s having a party in a well known Glasgow pub this weekend, the theme is the 1950s so everyone is being encouraged to dress up. I ordered a lovely dress from Lindy Bop, but unfortunately it was too small…their size labelling is small, a lot smaller, but their dresses are heavenly. I’ve ordered a bigger size (it’s three sizes bigger than I would normally wear which doesn’t make me feel too good – that’s how different their sizing is from normal – but if it fits I’m planning to cut the label out so I don’t have to look at it and feel eugh. If you’re a woman reading this you’ll know what I mean!). Anyway I hope the dress arrives by Saturday otherwise I have a problem. Lindy Bop are in Yorkshire so it’s not that far to post to here in not-so-sunny Scotland. I just love their dresses – they are GORGEOUS.
I am currently reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette by American writer and frugal person, Amy Dacyczyn (apparently it’s pronounced decision). I love books and tv programmes on frugality (I am a fan of Channel 4’s Superscrimpers). I don’t understand why more people aren’t more frugal and by frugal I don’t mean being a tight-arse, I mean looking after your money and making it work better. I think part of my love of being frugal comes from my parents – neither had a rich upbringing in the 40s and 50s and it was definitely a case of watch every penny. That’s kind of rubbed off on me plus I am also quite green in my outlook (although I do drive a car! A necessity for work). I hate waste. When I was brought up, we had to eat everything on our plates because there were people in Biaffra (I’m not sure of its modern name, but it’s somewhere in Africa, I think) were starving and we should be grateful to have food. We didn’t get everything we wanted instantly. We were encouraged to save our pocket money to buy the things we wanted or have to wait til birthdays and Christmas. I think this is one of the best ways to teach kids about money management. We do it with our two. They don’t get everything they want. They are given a budget for presents for birthdays and Christmas. They are encouraged to save their pocket money.
My mother also cooked all meals from scratch. We did not grow up on fast food or supermarket shove-in-the-microwave meals. Apart from the fact these were unheard of for most of the 70s and the big supermarkets never really came into force until probably the 80s, none of us liked them. I still don’t like them. I much prefer home-cooked food…it’s delicious, good for you, packed full of nourishment and so much cheaper than a packet meal. So, thanks mum for all that great food (and the pancakes, cakes and other ‘yummies’ you made) you fed me when I was growing up and the great meals you still make for us all today!
Talking of those types of fast food rubbishy meals, my friend Tracy and I were talking about a programme on tv called Junk Food Kids. I’ve not seen it, but she was relating a tale of a father who fed his kids store bought pizza because he felt it was cheaper to buy food this way. I’m not sure how many children he had, but T reckoned they must have spent at least £30 on the one meal. For that amount of money, I can make probably six meals for my family. I don’t understand why some people insist on putting this forward as a reason why they don’t make their own food. I think it’s just an excuse. They either don’t know where to start (and this isn’t really a good excuse because the local library has lots of books on how to cook) or are too lazy to do it. I can make home-made pizza for us all with all the toppings we like for around £5 for the lot.
Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself – back to the book. The Complete Tightwad Gazette is full of tips for reusing, recycling, cutting bills and generally being frugal. Although aimed at the US market, it still has lots of good tips and great articles for us lot over the pond. A lot of stuff mentioned we already do, but there are a few things I may try and some of the recipes for cheaper meals look nice.
One of the things I’m definitely going to do when the better weather comes in is to walk more – ie walk the kids to school and back. I currently drive them, but only because the weather has been so foul that I don’t want them going to school soaked to the skin…it’s not pleasant having been there as a kid a few times! I’m also going to start making more of my own biscuits and cakes. Three reasons for this: they taste far better, I know what’s in them (ie none of those chemicals you get in shop bought) and according to Amy it’s cheaper to do. Plus my kids like them better. I made some fairy cakes for Laurina’s birthday lunch on Tuesday, but kept two back for my kids…they were scoffed in seconds!
I already cook from scratch, but hubby and I decided recently to stop buying in as many carry-out meals in a bid to lose weight. We would have an Indian or Chinese carry-out meal at least once a week. It was nice for me because I got a night off cooking, but not good for the old waistline! It’s amazing how much money we’ve saved as well. We now have a carry-out once a month as a treat for being good all month regards dieting. One member of the family gets to choose what we have. I’ve already chosen (Frankie and Benny’s) in January; hubby went for a curry in February; and it’s the girl’s choice at the end of this month. The boy will get to choose at the end of April. Not only have we saved money, but it also (weirdly) makes the carry-out more of a treat.
We also recycle and it’s not just household waste we recycle, but old toys, bicycles and anything else we can. I hate the thought of sending a perfectly good bicycle to the dump when I can ask around and see if anyone else can use it.
Right, that’s my rant for today. I will continue to read and enjoy this book and see if there’s anything else I can do to reduce, reuse, recycle and save!! Am loving the thought of it already!
Anyway, what’s been happening in your world? Have you done anything interesting or exciting this week? No? Me either (well apart from getting all passionate about the aforementioned book). Oh, there was a bit of excitement on Sunday when two fire appliances turned up at a neighbour’s door. Thankfully there was no fire, but unfortunately there was a flood.
Oh the other thing that happened was this: Tuesday morning as I was waving my husband off to work I happened to look up and there in the sky was about 30-40 large birds in V formation heading north. It was lovely to see them return. I’m not sure if they were geese or swans, but they were something that big. I couldn’t make them out clearly as they were too high up, but it means spring is coming! Woohoo!
Finally, yesterday, the boy and girl were taken down to our local beach (on the riverbank) by our local Afterschool. I met them down there and the boy was convinced he’d found real gold. The girl scoffed loudly – as she always does – but the boy is insisting we go back to the beach over the weekend with a shovel so we can dig it up! He’s dead cute when he thinks he’s found treasure! I think if we find it again he’s going to be disappointed!
Right, time to go…am off to do some housework-y things! Til next time!
I have a confession. I went to the Merchant City Festival on Sunday with the kids and my friend AJ and her daughter, and I didn’t take any pics. I think I was so busy keeping an eye on my kids that I didn’t even think about taking photos. Sigh.
Still, I have the memories.
Okay, the main reason why I wanted to go to the festival was that there was a huge vintage part to it organised by Wayne Hemmingway and his team. We met AJ and her daughter at Queen Street station and then trundled down to the Merchant City, which is a really nice area of Glasgow for shops and restaurants. Here’s what we saw:
– a girl in vintage bathing suit, goggles and flowery swimming cap doing some street art and pretending to dive
– lots of stalls selling foods from all over the world, the smell was incredible
– a vintage market with lots of goodies…my fave was the Dennis the Menace stall selling memorabilia from the Beano
– circus and other street artists
– live bands
– afternoon tea in china cups and cupcakes
– a dance area with a man demonstrating 70s disco (complete with silver platforms and sparkly jacket)…he got some folk up from the crowd and the only reason AJ and I didn’t join him was that our kids were bleating ‘No!’ and looking mortified
– an area where you could get a vintage makeover (was sorely tempted, but would have been difficult to sit for half an hour with my two wriggle chicks bouncing around…they never stop)
There were also lots of folk dressed up in vintage styles ranging from the 40s through to the 60s. Excellent!
Was a good afternoon and was great to catch up with AJ again. Was exhausted though when I got back home…we walked around for several hours, had tea at a teensy vintage style caravan that was a ‘travelling tearoom’, and trawled the stalls. Next time, I leave the kiddies at home. I think I was too anxious trying to keep a hold of them to truly enjoy the experience.
The day before, the immediate family (all 12 of us) went over to my mum and dad’s to celebrate my dad’s 68th birthday. I can’t believe he’s 68. My mum will be 69 in November. When did they get older? Anyway, we ate out in their garden, my mum put on a fantastic spread (as usual) and we had a right old laugh. My parents put out a paddling pool (shaped like a pirate ship) in the garden which my boy and my three-year-old niece were never out of. It was a good day and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Happy birthday dad! I should also mention my two-year-old nephew who celebrated his birthday last Tuesday. Happy birthday to you too wee man!