We went to the Hillhouse today

Okay, so still being in the holiday mood, I decided we would spend a bit of time going to see the recently re-opened Hillhouse in Helensburgh. Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and built between 1902 and 1904, the house interiors and furniture were also designed by Mackintosh along with his wife, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. It was created following a commission by Glasgow publisher Walter Blackie and is a stunning example of Art Nouveau and Symbolism. It’s one of my favourite places, I am a big fan of this couple’s work, particularly Margaret’s panels and soft furnishings.

Anyway, the boy came with me and we had a lovely time returning to the house. You see, it’s been closed for some time now while the National Trust for Scotland, who look after the property, began their restoration work. They started by covering the entire house with a large steel frame covered with chainmail. The idea of this is to protect the house from the elements, If you have ever been in Helensburgh during the winter, you’ll know just how exposed to the bitter winds and rain the town is. Anyway, the walls have become saturated with water and the frame is protecting it from further damage. The frame, although covering the entire house which is a shame, also features a brand new entranceway, shop and cafĂ©. It also has a steel walkway inside which takes you alongside and above the house so you can see it from all sorts of perspectives from the outside. Me and the boy climbed it and the views from up there of the town and the River Clyde were impressive.

Anyway, I will finish up here and let you enjoy the house for yourself. Here are a few snaps I took. I didn’t manage to take pics of all the rooms (the living room alone is wonderful) because of the amount of people in it, but this gives you a flavour of some of the things you can see:

You can see the steel roof above the structure and the walkway.
Looking down from the walkway.
The entrance way to the house.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of the house. If you are ever in Helensburgh, I’d recommend you visit. It’s well worth it.

Dawn xxx

I don’t know where the time has gone!

Hello everyone. How are you? Hope you’re all well. Just spending today (Sunday) recovering from a night out with a couple of friends last night. We went to the Helensburgh Ale and Gin Festival. I had a fab night. Such a good laugh. Apart from the ale and gin, the festival was a great place for people watching…there were some right sights there I can tell you! We went in the evening, but there was a lot of people who had been there the whole day going by their zigzagging gait and glassy eyes. They also had a live band and we had a great time boogying the night away and enjoying the dancers especially a young man who was doing some interesting dance moves (think marionette and you’ll get the gist)and every time he ventured near a young lady, she would grab him, lock him in a passionate smooch and then release him back to his dancing. Hysterical! The event took place at Helensburgh Sailing Club which is right on the River Clyde so lovely views. It was a nice night – the weather wasn’t very sunny, but it wasn’t too cold and it didn’t rain (always a bonus in Scotland). Ten out of ten all round.

I am sorry I’ve not been writing this blog lately, I have been very busy reading books on writing and the writing business. When I tell people that they look at me as if I am daft because I am already published, but I think you can always learn more about your craft. Plus I have picked up some great tips on things like blogging etc.

I’ve also been writing a book for adults. The one I was writing before. I had left it aside for a while there following Ian’s death (the first year after I just couldn’t see myself every getting back to writing}, then I had the extension and all the uproar that brought with it. Now, I have the time, the energy and the inclination to write again and I’m back doing it. I’m also going to get back into building on my writing blog, which has really been neglected. I’m going to relaunch it soon so watch this space for more details!

Another distraction has been family and friends. I’ve been doing a lot of lunches lately with various of them and it’s been great catching up. I need to cool it a bit though as I could do without the extra calories being already too curvy! 🙂

Books I’ve been reading: just started Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. I was never a King fan (although I think his book on writing is excellent) but I’m giving this book a go. I’ve heard it’s really good and I watched the film adaptation of it recently (starring Idris Elba…be still my beating heart, love him) and enjoyed it. Will let you know how I get on. Also been studying Joanna  Penn’s How to Market a Book, which is a great resource. Really rate this book if you want to self publish.

Right I am going to leave you here as have a bit of planning to do with regards to my writing.  Til next time.


Dawn xx



Things I did this week




Hello. How’s things? Hope you’re all hail and hearty. What’s been happening in your world? Hope you’ve had a good week. This week I finished all my painting, but didn’t get round to cleaning the carpets…

...and yellow...

…and yellow…

I did manage to finally clean out my study. It took me a couple of days. Unfortunately it’s become a bit of a dumping ground for everything plus the Guinea Pigs are in there and they are little mess makers in their own right.

...and pink...

…and pink…

The dog is VERY interested in the Guinea Pigs and we have to make sure she is never on her own with them. Although they are almost as big as she is, I think there’s a good chance her terrier instincts will kick in and she might kill them.

...and green...

…and green…

The kids and I went a walk along the back of Helensburgh last week and it was fantastic. The walk takes you into the Duchess Woods and it was invigorating. The views were nice and the weather was dry, but blowy (the type of blowy that gives you sore ears and mussed up hair). Me and the boy searched for fairies in upturned tree stumps (the girl is just too old now for that) and the dog had a ball running into mud and feeling the wind pull her ears back like streamers. We then went to Helensburgh for some ice cream at Vanilla/I like Candy. We may have considered going to Dino’s, but the man was so nasty to my girl a couple of weeks ago (she was in there with her friend) that we are now boycotting the shop. In fact, we’ll never buy anything in there again. I hate it when adults think it’s okay to treat young kids badly. She asked him for a bag and he was really off with her.



I’m still reading The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell and loving it.

We didn’t much else this week. We have taken the dog for walks, I’ve drank a few bottles of wine (well, I am on my holidays!) and did a lot of cleaning and washing (I think our washing machine is on the blink…just testing it now). I also managed to spill an entire bucket of bleachy water all over the kitchen floor (including over my feet)…took me about ten minutes to get it cleaned up properly (after I’d shut the dog in the living room as she insisted on tap dancing across the wet floor!).

...and orange...

…and orange…

I’ve finally started writing again. I have this idea mulling about in my head and I started getting it down this afternoon. Felt good. Hope I can keep it up.

...and bloooooooo...

…and bloooooooo…

Saw a few folk this week too including family and friends.

I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too!

I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too!

But most of all I enjoyed having a wee bit of time to trawl the internet, read my books (I’m also reading Arianna Huffington’s Thrive) and potter about the garden a teensy bit (although the weather’s been a bit off this week…back to being bitterly cold).

Sigh. Back to work tomorrow. Oh well! Maybe some day I’ll be able to give up this working malarkey and be a lady of leisure (who reads a lot). Talking of reading, I also cleared out four bags worth of books which I donated to my local library.  This is good for me as I never get rid of books. My personal library was getting out of hand, though, so I had to do it.

Right on that note, am away to continue watching Rachel Khoo’s cookery programme Little Paris Kitchen. Til next time!


Ballet, Bunnies and Breaking Bad


The view near Rhu

The view near Rhu

Hello, how are you? What’s been happening? Well this week it’s been back to school for the kids and lots of celebrating for mum!! The kids went back midweek and for the first time in weeks I went home, switched on the telly and was able to hear a programme from start to finish. There was no one to interrupt, ask for stuff or generally make a lot of noise. It was bliss! Don’t get me wrong, I missed them, but it was good to get a bit of quiet in the house.

News from chez Nelson…the girl started ballet lessons today and loved it. She was twirling and skipping and pliĂ©-ing with the rest of them, a big smile on her face. Other headline news: our next door neighbour’s cat went missing, but now has been found. I amnot a major cat lover, but I have to say I do like young Maddie who is a little girl cat and is very cute. I was glad they got her back. And we say goodbye to two lady Guinea Pigs and two rabbits tomorrow when my friend comes to collect them. We’ve been looking after them whilst my friend and her family are on holiday and it’s been a hoot. One of the rabbits  – the very cute Albert – is a real character and kept us all chuckling. He’s a very affectionate animal and is always looking for a head rub or a bit of attention. We shall miss then, but I shan’t miss all the mess they brought with them. It’s perfect timing actually because the weather has been getting worse over the last week or so and I’m thinking of moving our Guineas from their external hutch to their indoor cage (which is currently in the greenhouse). I wanted to wait until September when it starts getting colder at night, but it’s been so wet recently that I may bring them in earlier.

Anyway, we’ve not been doing a lot except for getting ready for going back to school and work. I’ve started working on another children’s book – well it’s the one I was working on before, but still haven’t finished. I’ve also been knitting a wrap for myself, which is unusual because I don’t often knit for myself. I’ve been glued to Netflix watching White Collar (am addicted to this programme) and Breaking Bad. Was watching the latter this morning. We’re on series three and oh my goodness it’s great!!

In case you’re wondering what the pic is about at the beginning of this blog, it’s a view from Kidston Park in Helensburgh. Took the kids there last week for a walk along Helensburgh front and then lunch at the great wee cafĂ© (I forget its name) at Kidston Park. I took the pic of all the lovely boats that are moored nearby at Rhu harbour. It was one of those days which was really sunny to begin with but soon descended into a rain and wind. We managed to get home before it got really bad.

Anyway, I must go. Breaking Bad is calling…Hank’s just been shot! I need to find out what’s happened.

Til next time.

Dawn xxx