Back to normal…early mornings, early nights

Lovely pic by German photographer Andreas Krappweis. It's called Dandelions.

Lovely pic by German photographer Andreas Krappweis. It’s called Dandelions.

I am finding getting up for work difficult this week. On Monday, I got up at 6am, did the full day and was back in my bed sleeping by 9.30pm. On Tuesday, it was the same except the lights went out at 9pm. Last night, I managed to stay up til my normal time of 10pm. I was just exhausted earlier in the week. I think it was a combination of dark, early mornings, the horrible weather and the long, long drive to and from work. The kids didn’t fare any better, especially the boy who just loves his bed and hates getting out of it in the morning (unless it’s 4.30am on Christmas morning that is!). Anyway, I suppose it’s just a question of us all getting used to it again.

Anyway, how have you been? How’s your week been? Busy?? Today, the sun is splitting the sky and it’s a very welcome relief after the weeks of heavy rain, flooding and gale-force winds we’ve been experiencing in Scotland. Still, at least it’s not as bad as the poor Americans…can’t imagine what it’s like dealing with minus 50 temperatures!! Brrrrrr! We’ve been lucky here, we’ve not had bad flooding – just the back garden – but our neighbour’s parents had flooding under their house. The water didn’t rise, which meant none of their stuff was damaged, but it was touch and go there for a while.

Am looking forward to seeing the publication of the third DarkIsle book soon. Not got a publication date yet, but it’s all been set out and the artwork is being done, so we’re nearly there. As soon as I know when it’s due out, I’ll let you know!!

Also, watched a great film last night. It’s called The Heat and stars Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. This film is not for those who find swearing offensive, but as myself and my hubby do not we really enjoyed it. It’s funny, clever and…yes, I’d recommend it.

Anyway, I feel I am just wittering on here. I have lots to do. Set out a new workplan for myself in relation to writing, so am determined to start writing again. My other plan is to see if I can get Dusting Down Alcudia and Ham – Memoirs of a P****d off Mother published. Wish me luck!!

Right am off to practise piano as I have a piano lesson today with Diane, my lovely piano teacher.

Til next time.

Dawn xx

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Long lies, stunning views and ‘there’s been a murrrderrr’

Ah the wonders of a long lie and not having to get up early for work. I woke naturally this morning – well that’s not strictly true: my husband nearly gave me heart failure kissing me goodbye earlier on (I got a bit of a fright – then enjoyed the kiss!). However, once my heart stopped racing I went back to sleep and then I woke naturally about an hour later. So nice. The kids and I are off this week – their October break – so we’ve got a few wee things planned, but not a huge amount. I always book too many things in and then don’t get the break I need, so I’ve got a couple of things planned and the rest of the week will be spent chilling out.

This is just one of the lovely views I see on the walk.

This is just one of the lovely views I see on the walk.

So how are you all this week? I’ve surprised myself by going out walking again last week with the girls (some of the mums I know from school). I did it, enjoyed it and didn’t find some excuse to miss it! Result! The walk is at least four miles up in the hills overlooking the River Clyde and it’s stunning no matter what the weather. However, I managed to get a great pic on a lovely day (see above). Stunning.

I haven’t been writing much this week. I just can’t seem to get into it. I know I should, but I’m doing everything but. Sigh. Instead, the knitting needles are back out and the crochet hook and I’m sitting watching Miss Fisher Investigates, The Glades and reruns of Murdoch Mysteries clicking away on the sofa. Ooh let’s not forget Downton Abbey. What did you think of last week’s episode? Bit of a shocker, eh? Poor Anna. Can’t wait to see this Sunday’s episode! I just love a good period drama and if there’s a detective and a murder thrown in there (not Downton, but Miss Fisher, Murdoch et al) then I’m all the happier!! I think that’s why I attempted to write a wee romantic crime adventure through Dusting Down Alcudia. I’m thinking I may throw in a murder in the sequel…we shall see (she says mysteriously).

Currently reading Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber, the sequel to Outlander. Oh it’s good. Am totally hooked. Bang goes my plan to spend autumn reading Game of Thrones. So many books, too little time!!

Right, I’d best be off. The girl is twitchy. She’s going to spend tonight at a friend’s house and has already packed. She’s desperate for the girl’s mum to come and get her. It’ll be strange not having her in the house tonight…strange, but very quiet!!

Til next time

Dawn xx

New book available on Kindle and Kobo

My new e-book

My new e-book

My new book Dusting Down Alcudia will be available on Kindle tomorrow and on Kobo by Monday. Unfortunately it’s not going to be available on Nook and ITunes yet – there are a few technical issues I have to iron out with both before I can do that. But hopefully it’ll be available in these formats soon. Please note this is NOT a book for children, but is my first published book for adults.

Also, as a wee taster, here’s the first three chapters for you to read…

Taster Chapters Dusting Down Aldudia by D A Nelson

I hope you enjoy it.

One more thing, can you do me a favour? Can you tell your friends about it? Ta.

Til next time.

Dawn xx

PS mind and tell your friends!

Read the first three chapters of my new book

Hiya.
Exciting news. I’ve uploaded the first three chapters of my new book Dusting Down Alcudia on Authonomy (look under the title of the book). I’d be keen to hear your views on it via Authonomy or get in touch: d-a-nelson@tiscali.co.uk That’s not how the new cover will look and I’ll share that and when you can buy the complete e-book as soon as I can.

So, how’s your week been? Mine has been sunny – the weather has been sunny and some days have been hot, so it’s been a nice week to get out and about.

Last weekend, we bought the kids a trampoline and they’ve barely been off it. It’s great. Hubby finished putting it up on Sunday and we hardly saw our offspring all day, although we heard them. They only came off it to get fed. The wee fella was so tired on Sunday night that he could barely climb the stairs to bed. He went to bed and was still in the exact same position the next morning when I went to get him up. He was so cute.

Here’s a mad story for you. My workmate told us the tale yesterday of a moment of daftness in her life: she had gone to a local shop for some groceries. She wandered around the aisles, filled her basket with things for dinner that night and then made for the cash desk. She said she didn’t think anything of the weird look the cashier gave her until the woman said: “Um, do you know you have two pairs of glasses and a pair of sunglasses on your head?” My friend’s had flew to her head and sure enough, all three pairs of glasses were there. She was mortified, but it was a funny story to tell. What a woman!! That’s the kind of thing I would do!! Hee hee.

Right, on that note, am aff to do something else.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

PS Watched Monday’s Game of Thrones this morning. It was fab as usual. That Joffrey needs to be brought down, he’s an evil wee git. Was glad to see Tyrion was being a gentleman where Sansa was concerned, Shay certainly seemed to like it too. And dear old Dany seems to have a new beau. He was quite handsome. But, oh what an ending, I really am rooting for Samwell and his lady friend (I forget her name) and the little nameless baby. I hope they get beyond the wall and survive to live a happy and long life. Can’t wait til next week.

A pram, a snazzy bag and a bow

pram, bag and bow

I had to include this image as the inspiration of this post. I’ve not been blogging for the last two weeks for two reasons: I’ve been really really  busy and the main reason: I haven’t had a clue about what to write. So I was walking down the stairs about ten minutes ago and I came across the above ensemble. These do not, as you might think, belong to the girl. No, they are some of the boy’s most prized possessions and they make me smile. The pram he was given as a toddler along with a baby because my husband and I didn’t want him to feel left out when we bought our daughter a buggy and baby. He still plays with it although you are more likely to see Action Man or a toy car in there. The bow was given to him by his uncle. The snazzy evening bag was his gran’s. My mum lets the kids raid her jewellery box and dressing up bag. He came home with this about a year ago. He loves it. We just let him get on with it. We want him to have a happy childhood where he’s allowed to be himself so we just let him play with the stuff that makes him happy. He’s no less boyish and boisterous because he likes his evening bag. Also, this gives us great images to show his first girlfriend when he’s older or display at his 21st!!! Teee heeee…evil parent laugh!

Right, firstly I want to get something off my chest. To the person who sent me a message who said my blog was boring and that he could help make it more interesting…I thank you for being so blunt, but I don’t write my blog for you, I don’t want to be really clever with headlines and if I want to put film up on my blog I will. I suspect the message was from some company trying to get me to spend cash with them so that they can revamp my blog. I don’t need it. I like my blog the way it is. It may be boring to some, but I like it. I don’t live a pretentious, glamorous lifestyle. I’m a working mum who likes to craft and loves to write…that’s it.

Talking about crafting. Here are a couple of pics of the dresses I made my girl’s toys…firstly Elizabeth models a knitted dress I got from Ravelry. Thank you to the creator of this. This is the pink version. I also knitted a white one.

Elizabeth models a knitted dress in a lovely candy pink!

Elizabeth models a knitted dress in a lovely candy pink!

And Ruby…

Ruby, meanwhile, sports a lovely summer frock made from a free bag I got with a magazine. I like the material, but the bag was too wee to be really useful.

Ruby, meanwhile, sports a lovely summer frock made from a free bag I got with a magazine. I like the material, but the bag was too wee to be really useful.

Okay, apart from sewing and knitting, I’ve recently finished my fourth module of my Mindfulness course. It was great, I loved it. Mindfulness is great for just slowing you down, putting stuff into perspective and making you really appreciate life as it is. Am definitely going to keep my formal practise (meditation) and informal practise (being more mindful generally) up because I really feel the benefits: I am less stressed, happier, I sleep better and I appreciate things more. Totally win/win.

I’ve also been doing a lot of driving the kids around to parties. They had three parties this weekend alone! I dropped both off at a local soft play area on Friday morning (they were off school due to an in service day) and scarpered to my friend’s house for tea, cake and putting the world to rights! We like a lot of the same things so we spent a lot of time talking sewing, meditation and general life. The kids meanwhile had a great time at the party.

Yesterday, party number two, was my neice’s tenth birthday party. The whole family were there at my sister’s lovely 1930s bungalow. Her husband did the barbeque, the table was groaning with food and we had a great laugh catching up and playing with a £2.99 sheet that reminded me of the seaside boards where you put your head through the hole and have your picture taken. Much merriment was to be had.

Party number three was today at a local community centre. I took the boy, he was there five minutes and then refused to stay. It was the quickest kids party I had even been at. Normally I would have made him stay, but I couldn’t be bothered with the whining. We went to ASDA instead to buy milk. I’ve stopped shopping there as much because I find it quite expensive compared to Lidl and Aldi, but I sometimes drop in for the odd wee thing. As usual on a Sunday, it was packed. We left as soon as we could.

I’ve also been writing my books for adult. The first is now complete and with a couple of friends for comment. The second I’m still working on. They were both written several years ago, but I’ve gone back to revamp them with a view to selling them as e-books. We shall see if they are successful or not.

Right, I am away to sew up another dress for a dolly and three pairs of dolly knickers. I also have to cut a few patterns out for the boy’s doll Tom, including pants. I’m of a mind to make mini y-fronts for a laugh!

Until next time.

Dawn xxxx

PS Game of Thrones – Ouch…that was painful to watch Jaime Lannister lose a hand a couple of weeks ago, but what a wheeze when Cersei was told she would have to marry Loris last week. That certainly wiped the smile of her face. Saw the actress who plays Cersei – Lena Headey – as Mama in the new Judge Dredd pic. Wasn’t a bad movie and even with a huge scar running down her sneering face, Lena managed to look stunning.

PPS Currently reading: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell. It’s excellent, especially for anyone with socialist tendancies.

Spring has certainly not sprung!

tulip march 2013 1

Well it’s supposed to be spring, but the way the weather has been this week, you’d think it was mid winter. Thank goodness for central heating and warm clothes!! As I write this, it’s snowing outside. Brrrrrrr!

Not much has been going on this week chez moi. Still editing DarkIsle 3, but am hoping that it will be finished soon so that I can get on with my books for adults.  Hubby came home with a huge bouquet of tulips the other day. It was our wedding anniversary and, while we don’t really buy each other anything, he bought me those because he knows how much I love tulips. They were – and still are – gorgeous!!

Received a lovely message from young Erin Fitzsimmons from Houston, Texas whose grandfather Roy created the dragon on Irvine Beach which is the inspiration for DarkIsle. So, just wanted to say a big hello to Erin, her family and her friends across the Pond and thank you for your lovely words about the book!!

Talking of books, I have finally finished Little Dorrit! I must admit, it was a little bit of a slog at times and Little Dorrit was just a bit too compliant and meek for my liking, but I loved it anyway and am glad of the ending!! I’ll not say anything else in case you want to read it some day!

Right am going to leave you with a pretty picture of a crocus and go and tackle the list of things I have to do today. Til next time…hopefully I’ll have more to tell you!

Dawn xx

crocus march 2013 1

No gluing, peace and quiet, St Andrew’s and Sam

STA60043

There’s not been much crafting going on here lately. Been too busy being a mum, wife, worker, laundress, taxi driver, chef and all the other jobs I have to do. Not that I’m complaining. It keeps me busy, but I would like a little bit more time to stick stuff and paint stuff and knit stuff and sew stuff. Maybe me and the kids will do it at the weekend.

Last Sunday – Mother’s Day – my kids made me breakfast in bed (well, their dad made it). The girl made me four cards, the boy one and I also got a commercially made card from them each. My mother’s day pressies included a mini greenhouse (which I’m going to start using once the icy weather clears), a DVD and some Lindor chocs, which are my favourite. I had a lovely day. The kids were very excited about everything, especially as a friend of ours who has two children the same age invited them round in the afternoon for a play. They were away for three hours and it was blissfully quiet here. Hubby and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves! We could watch the telly without someone dancing in front of it or declaring loudly that they required a drink. We could sit and talk without someone butting in with their opinion on the matter. And we had a lovely time just being without having to run after our two.

We missed them though and were glad to get them back!

STA60044

There’s not much to report chez moi. The weather has been a bit hit and miss lately. Last weekend we had snow blizzards, this week it’s been a mixed bag of sunny weather (yay!) and overcast skies (booh!). Sunny weather always cheers me up, so I love it.

St Andrew's in the Square
Was at a really beautiful place for work the other day. St Andrew’s in the Square is an old church in the centre of St Andrew’s Square in Glasgow. It’s no longer used for worship, but has a cafe downstairs (Cafe Source) in the basement and the upper part (where folk used to worship) is a venue for events. The church/events part is really beautiful and if you ever get the chance to go to it, go and have a look and be prepared to be wowed. It’s lovely.

Sam (2)

Above – couldn’t help but take this photo of Sam, he’s so nosey. What a stare he has! He’s daring me to put my hand in his cage and get him. Of the two, Sam is the quickest and hardest to catch. I put this down to the fact that Darcy is fat and lazy and a bit more laid back. They are both lovely creatures though and very docile.

Anyway, enough of me wittering on about our pets. I have things to do, so I will sign off now. Til next time.

Dawn xx

PS Am still reading Little Dorrit…I am close to the end. It doesn’t usually take me this long to read a book, but LD is a long book and I’ve often been too tired to read it at night. I’m still enjoying it. I love Dickens’ books. He’s one of my writing heroes.

A walk into the past

Kilmahew 1

It was such a nice day last Sunday (apology about the picture quality), we made the decision to go for a family walk to a local ruin that myself and the kids had never been to before…that’s despite living here for more than a decade! Anyway, the boy wanted a picnic, so a picnic was duly created (it wasn’t anything fancy…just some sandwiches, cakes and bananas with some juice) and we set off for Kilmahew Castle near Cardross.

Kilmahew 2

The castle is a bit of a walk away from the village and you need to cut through the local golf course (via the right of way, of course…there was no scuttling across the green dodging golfballs for us!) and then you are in the woods. It’s not a difficult walk or climb and we reached the castle quite easily.

Kilmahew 5

I don’t know the history of the castle – I should have looked it up before writing this – but it’s a lovely ruin and a great place for a quick early spring picnic.

Kilmahew Castle

Kilmahew Castle

The kids loved exploring the old building and the tall tales their dad was telling them of how the castle only appeared to fair princesses and handsome princes (our kids). They totally believed it. They were all wide-eyed and full of questions as he spoke. It was lovely.

Kilmahew 7

We ate our picnic on some logs someone had cut up and left (I am assuming it was the someone who keeps the path to the castle clear) and we took some photos.

Kilmahew 8

It was a lovely, if cold, day and we had a great time. We left only when we started to feel the cold and the wee fella was getting tired and moany. Then he fell and the moaning increased tenfold! It didn’t put us off though.  I will definitely go back, it’s a lovely place. Very inspirational. Got the old creative juices flowing!

Other News

Not got a lot to tell this week. We started a wee diet club at work, so am hoping that I’ll be able to stick to cutting down and lose something (I love my food too much to be skinny!). If I can lose a stone I’ll be happy. Recieved my mini greenhouse and seeds. The kids are giving me the greenhouse for Mother’s Day, so am quite excited to get things started. I’ve begun chitting my potatoes, but it’s too cold to start seedlings outside. I may have to do it inside and leave them in my room downstairs, which is a nuisance as that’s where I sew and everything else is in there too (ie the laundry, the Guinea Pigs, anything anyone wants to dump in the house). Sigh. Still it’s not forever and will give the veg patch a wee start.

I’ve not done any writing so far this week, been too busy, but will get back on to that today. I’ve not been doing any sewing and knitting either, which is not like me. I have, however, printed off a pattern for wide-legged trousers that I have the perfect navy material for. Watch this space and I might just have them sewn by Christimas at the rate I’m going at!!

This morning I have to confess I had set aside to write, but because hubby has been watching the footie all week (which is fine with me cos I go upstairs and read) I had not managed to watch the recording of Mr Selfridge and I’m afraid that won this morning in the battle of ‘What should I do first?’. Then I had an appointment with my dental hygienist. I hate getting a scale and polish, but such is life. Learned an interesting fact recently, apparently there’s evidence that women who do not look after their teeth before and during pregnancy have a greater chance of having small babies who will go on to have problems with their teeth. Who would have thought your teeth would have such a big impact on life? In saying that, years ago I spoke to a senior dentist and he told me that your mouth and your teeth health is all linked to your overall health and problems you may be experiencing with another part of your body could stem from poor oral health. Mad or what?

Anyway, enough of my musings. I’m away to do something useful, but boring (clean the kitchen). Til  next time!

Dawn xxx

Glasgow in the sunshine

Templeton Carpet Factory, Glasgow Green by James Morrison

It’s amazing what a little bit of sunshine does to the residents of Glasgow. Myself and a colleague went for a walk at lunchtime around Glasgow Green (pic above is the old Templeton Carpet Factory which looks on to the Green – it’s based on the Doge’s Palace in Venice and is quite lovely) and the park was full of people enjoying the sunny weather. It was even a little warm despite the very cold start to the day (frost on everything). It was a lovely morning anyway…for the first time in weeks it was actually starting to get light when we left the house  and the birds were singing their little hearts out. Made me feel all spring-like…well until I had to scrape the car!

Anyway, I’ve not blogged much over the last couple of weeks because it’s been really busy Chez Nelson. I had a weekend of Mindfulness followed by an extremely busy week of work and people dropping in to see us. My stepson turned 21 last week – can’t believe he’s that old already, I’ve known him since he was seven – and my girl turned eight. We went out, had lunch to celebrate my stepson’s birthday. Next day we took our two, my neice and three of the girl’s friends to the pictures to see Wreck it Ralph (which is great – who wouldn’t want to explore Sugar Rush world?), followed by pizza at Frankie & Benny’s. We went for the early showing (10am) and didn’t get home til the back of 2. I was exhausted, but my girl had a good day and that’s what mattered.

Doulton_Fountain_-_Glasgow_Green by Michael Gallacher

Pictured: Doulton Fountain with the People’s Palace behind (at Glasgow Green)

Because of all the things going on last week I’ve not had any time to do anything…except continue reading my latest book. I noticed that the last book I spoke about was To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. I thought I liked it at the beginning, but as the story dragged on I found there wasn’t really much of a tale to enjoy. The book only seemed to be about time – ie the passage of: slow and languid at first and then zipping ahead – and loss, and the characters’ desire to get to the lighthouse. Am not sure what the lighthouse signifies – death? An ending? Nothing much else seemed to happen and I must admit I got bored towards the end. I doubt I’ll read it again despite it being so nicely written. My current book is different. Am loving Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. At least there’s a good storyline and there’s a good pace to the story. I don’t feel like I’m jumping all over the place to different viewpoints, although the book has many narrators. Next book in the queue is The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which I read a number of years ago and really enjoyed. Although, I need to ask the question – why do Scots in books always have to have red hair? It’s such a cliche. Not that there’s anything wrong with red hair, but there are more folk here with brown, blond or black (and sometimes other colours) than red. In my mind, Jamie Fraser is more dark-haired and brooding. More Mr Darcy in a kilt. Mmmm. Ahem…anyway, must go. It’s getting late, the kids need to be put to bed and I fancy another cup of tea (am such a Tea Jenny!).

Til next time!

Dawn x

Rain

rain

We seem to be having an over abundance of rain lately. Don’t get me wrong, Scotland is pretty wet and rainy for a good part of the year normally, but it’s been particularly soggy lately. I don’t mind the rain if I can stay indoors with a good book and a cup of tea. However, it’s been going on so long that I’m fed up being stuck indoors and desperate to get outside for a good walk. Added to that is how dark it is. The sky is grey, the wind is howling and it’s just the kind of weather to dampen one’s spirits. Not to worry!!

So how are you today? Me? I’m good (apart from the aforementioned need to get out into some nice weather!). I’m still reading Virginia and starting to like To the Lighthouse. I’m glad I stuck with her because two days ago I was so close to chucking it in. To explain – it takes a lot for me NOT to finish a novel, so I was determined to keep going for a while at least and am now glad I did. Will let you know how it goes. Am feeling the need for a Dickens to follow and have my eye on Little Dorrit purely because I like the name!

Life this week has been relatively uneventful. Nobody fell and hit their head, thank goodness, and we’ve just been getting on with life as usual. My brother-in-law welcomed a new life into his side of the family when his neice Sophie was born. We are all very happy for his brother and his wife. That was a really nice piece of news to hear.

Myself and a couple of workmates toddled along to the new Olympia (Bridgeton) Library yesterday lunchtime for a cup of tea and a blether. The library opened last December after a total refurbishment/rebuild. It’s been built within the old Olympia Theatre site and the facade of the theatre has been retained. It’s lovely stepping through the old fashioned entranceway into a completely modern library which has its own cafe. Why were we there? We work nearby and I had been there a couple of weeks before to visit my friend who works there. My colleague also had books to return and it’s also difficult to find a nice cafe to sit in in that area. We have the People’s Palace/Winter Gardens which has a cafe and I like it, but it’s an old old building and the Winter Gardens is housed in a large glasshouse that is full of leaks and draughts…not good for our recent weather! Myself and some others were in there the other day and it was freezing. So we opted for the Olympia. I love it for two reasons: my friend is closer to me and easier to pop in on; and I can sit there being surrounded by lovely lovely books. We had a good laugh there, my book-returning colleague was being really funny reading a passage out of a particularly juicy book she had borrowed. We were all hee-hawing as she hammed it up.

Anyway, on that note, I must get on. I have a load of things to do today and no real inclination to do any of them. Sigh. Until next time,

Dawn xxxx