A better week…so far (not counting my chickens or anything!)

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Hello, how’s things? Hope you’re all well. This week has been better thank goodness with no piggy deaths, no suspected broken bones and only one trip to the hospital (so far…not counting my chickens as it’s only Thursday) for hubby. Plus the weather’s been great, which is always a good thing.

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The only  downside to this week is the dog’s love of pooing and peeing in places she shouldn’t. This week she has poohed in a pile of washing that was waiting to be washed on the floor of the kitchen next to the washing machine. Last week she also poohed on a plastic folder hubby had foolishly left on the floor. She has also peed in the girl’s bed and last night did it in ours. We were NOT amused. On the plus side she is now barking to get out in the garden when she needs (although didn’t last night – I didn’t think she needed cos she had been out in the garden only HALF AN HOUR before!). Ah the joys of being a doggy mummy!

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So what else has been happening this week? We were off on Monday for the Bank Holiday, but didn’t do much. I just wanted a wee quiet day and it was great. Just what the doctor ordered. I’ve not been sleeping that well recently…keep waking up at 3am and 5am. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s summer and light or if something else is waking me. On Tuesday, it was the girl (for some reason she was up at 5am and bright and breezy – so not like her) and this morning it was two magpies sitting on our windowsill making huffing noises that sounded as if the dog had somehow gotten out of her crate and was upstairs in our room. I’ve invested in a sleeping mask to see if that helps – hubby says it’s like sleeping with Top Cat! Of course I couldn’t wear it last night because it got lost in the rush to pull all our bedclothes off our bed to prevent the dog pee reaching the mattress (it almost got there so I have a tonne of washing today)! I’ll have a good search of my bedroom tonight for it!

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I’ve actually been writing again. I’ve given myself a target of writing 500 words a day and it’s been working.  500 words isn’t a lot and I’ve been going over that every time. I wrote a short story for a competition (I never get placed in competitions so am wondering why I bother, but I enjoyed writing it and I like my story so it’s a win win already for me) and am working on a book for adults. I had started a young adult’s book last year, but kept stalling so decided to shelve it for this other one. Am loving writing the other one. I get totally lost in the process and daydream about the storyline during (rare) moments of quiet in my life. (happy sigh).

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Am back knitting too. Currently working on a lap blanket. I’m emulating Jane Brocket’s blanket where you knit strips of different colours and then sew them altogether. I like making blankets. You don’t have to concentrate too hard on it and it’s relaxing.

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Am doing yet another attempt to lose a bit of weight. I’ve put on a couple of stones over the last few years and I’d like to get some of it off and be a bit fitter generally. I’m taking part in a work related walking challenge and I’m cutting out rubbish which is hard cos I’m a comfort eater. Plus I enjoy cakes and wine. Sigh. Wish me luck!! I’m hoping to lose some weight along with a friend. We talked about it yesterday so am hoping he does it with me. We can support each other.

Right on that note, I’m away to do the housework and get the first of the washings out on the line (in the sunshine!!). Til next time,

 

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dreaming of travelling

Lagoon Sunrise

Just dreaming of a calming holiday just now. Of course, we can’t actually go anywhere at the moment because of hubby’s illness, but I can still dream. So the theme of today’s images is going to be calm, relaxation and travelling the world.

So how are you all? Hope you’ve  had a good week. I went back to work this week and I’d forgotten how tiring it can be. Here was me  thinking it’ll be quiet what with it getting closer to the summer holidays, but no such luck. I’ve spent all week going to bed early I’ve been that tired! But my body needs the rest, so I just go with it.

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Just finished Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit which is inspiring tales of people who have gone out and pursued a quest of some sort, whether that’s travelling to every country in the world (as Chris did) or knitting 500 hats for charity. I read his Art of Non-Conformity book recently and I really enjoy how he writes. It’s a light easy-to-read style that makes you feel he’s talking to just you and that you and he are now friends. I also like his books because of the stories he tells of his own travels and the experiences of other people. It’s really, really interesting, often amusing and very refreshing to see that people are bucking the norm and just following their hearts. I kind of yearn to do something myself, go on my own quest, but I don’t yet know what that will be.

I haven’t yet finished Gormenghast, but I’ll get back to it soon.

I’m trying to think of something exciting to tell you that I’ve done this week, but as usual my life has been relatively quiet. We had to attend two appointments at two different hospitals on Wednesday for hubby. He’s doing well, which is a relief. He’s going to start chemo in about a month’s time. Things are looking good finally. Long may that last! We were both exhausted afterwards…it was a very long day. I’m afraid my plans to have a healthy diet went to pot on Wednesday because we were out of the house for so long, but we’re getting back into it.

Now I’m starting to feel a bit normal after the difficulties of the last couple of months, I’ve been thinking of getting back into writing. I had started writing another novel for children, so am planning to go back to that soon…probably tomorrow. I will get a plan started (I work when I have a plan) and then just write. I’ve got a couple of ideas mulling around my head for two other stories, so will get those ideas down too. My plan is to have my children’s novel finished by Christmas.

I’ve also started knitting again. I’m thinking of starting my Christmas knits now so that it’s not a mad rush in December. Will start browsing the web for ideas for gifts, although I have quite a few lovely knitting books that will also give me ideas.

My other plan is to get to grips with my camera. I got a lovely camera a few months ago and I’ve done nothing but take pics on auto. Maybe that’s my quest – something to do with photography? Who knows!

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Anyway, am away to start my planning for writing, knitting and general life. I’m such a list maker! I love it!

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

PS before I go just one thing to say about Game of Thrones (apart from this series being superb!) : Jon Snow….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Ballet debut, the mouths of babes and being on a roll

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So my girl made her debut as a ballet dancer last weekend and I couldn’t have been more proud. She was just lovely up there in her white ballet dress. Lovely and very graceful (unlike me!). I had that ‘mum moment’ when I felt I would just burst with pride watching her up there with her friends. She was gorgeous.

Anyway, enough of my boasting about my lovely daughter. How has your week been? I’ve been quite busy attending the ballet show (which was excellent) and gutting various bits of the house (my study mainly which was in desperate need of being cleaned out). I re-started the baby blanket I was knitting for prem babies. My husband and I also celebrated our nineth wedding anniversary this week (I made hubby home-made kebabs courtesy of the Hairy Bikers fab recipe…we all love it).

In the middle of it all was Mother’s Day. My hubby gave me tea and toast in bed. The kids gave me a lovely necklace and cards. I got lots of cuddles and kisses. Hubby also made lunch and bought in  a curry for dinner, so I didn’t have to cook at all that day, which was a nice treat. Of course, the shine was somewhat taken off the mum glow a few days later when my son, who is seven, was extoling the virtues of hubby as a good dad and then turned round and said to me: “Dad’s always doing stuff for us mum, but I don’t know what you do!” I couldn’t help but laugh. From the mouths of babes eh? My husband thought this was hysterical…he knows I basically run the whole household. Weans!!

Did a training course on social media on Tuesday at the Albany Centre in Glasgow and it was really good. I now know a lot more about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hootsuite and more. It was an intense course, but very good. Unfortunately, I’d had very little sleep the night before (I shouldn’t drink tea before going to bed…was up for the toilet) and yawned a fair bit during the day. Hope the lecturer didn’t think it was him! It wasn’t, he was very good.

Anyway, it’s now the Thursday of a very busy week and I’m just taking five minutes to do my blog. Have already done my housework AND (get this) the ironing!! I know – it’s not like me, I usually leave ironing to the very, very last. I’ve also worked out my meal menus for next week (and my shopping list), I’ve made bread in the bread maker and I’ve baked biscuits (admittedly they aren’t working out the way I’d hoped, but they’ll still taste nice…I hope). I am on a roll today! Later today I will probably drop from exhaustion, but just now I’m feeling good.

Right, I need to go now. Got all the ironing the put away. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Stripes and Burns

A couple of wee snowy pics from earlier in the week...

A couple of wee snowy pics from earlier in the week…

Had a really busy week this week. Firstly, I attended our local school’s Burns event…the kids (including my two) sang Burns songs or those written in Old Scots (loved the rendition of The Welly Boot Song…reminded me of my early childhood, we used to sing it at school on rainy days when everyone wore wellies), poems (again Burns or other poets’ work, well done P7 for their Address to a Haggis) and Scottish country dancing. Was a lovely event and we even got haggis, neeps and tatties at the interval (washed down with Irn Bru of course)…delicious! I love haggis. I don’t care what it’s made of, it’s sublime! Our school started the Burns event last year and invites parents, grandparents and carers. It’s a good way of getting the community together and I find it’s a chance to not only see my weans perform, but to catch up on folk I haven’t seen for ages. More importantly (because when I was growing up we celebrated everyone else’s culture except our own – my first Burns supper was in sixth year at high school!) I like the fact that they are celebrating the Bard and being Scottish…it’s important.

...These were taken about 3.30pm in the afternoon. Look how dark it looks.

…These were taken about 3.30pm in the afternoon. Look how dark it looks.

Also, apart from seeing friends, piano lessons and the kids’ stuff, I’ve been writing up the knitting patterns for our new project at Yarntastic (the knitting group we started at the school). I give to you little bags (for use for tablets or just to put your stuff in). Last time, we concentrated on casting on, casting off and garter (or knit) stitch. Now we are moving on to purl stitch and shaping. So the girls who returned again and are now fluent in garter stitch can move on. The newbies, including I was pleased to see, a young gentleman, can knit the same bags in garter stitch. Feels good to be passing on a skill such as knitting. I think it’s really important particularly when, having talked to the kids, I found out that if they could knit before it was their granny and not their mum that taught them. It seems that knitting missed out on a whole generation (mine). I was lucky, my mum knitted, my grannies knitted, it was normal in our family. It was my mum who taught me to knit and I took it from there. I don’t think I’ll ever be as lovely a knitter as my mum, but I try my best.

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Just finished reading Molly Keane’s Time after Time. Loved it. She’s such a vivid, perceptive writer. It is a lovely, humorous book about an elderly brother and three sisters whose staid lives are completely thrown into chaos by the arrival of their mischievous and equally decrepit cousin Leda. Really enjoyed it. Now I can’t decide whether or not to read another of hers or something else…does Terry Prachett call? Hmmm…maybe. Or what about another Claire and Jamie story courtesy of Diana Gabaldon? Decisions, decisions. Still reading Nora’s book…it’s one of those books you can pick up and put down. Still enjoying it. I think Terry wins out just now. Now…which one???

Right, I need to be off. Til next time.

Dawn xx

There’s a pheasant in my garden

pheaasant 2Walked out to fill the bird table earlier today and nearly had a heart attack when something relatively big and fast ran into the bushes. I was just in time to see the streak of brown and the long tail. It was a female pheasant. I don’t know what she was doing in our garden, but I threw down some seeds for her. She was really shy and flew off when I tried to take a pic so I’ve had to borrow a pic of what she looked like from the web.

We get quite a lot of different types of birds in our garden. Apart from the usual crows, rooks, the odd gull, blackbirds, tits, finches and robins, we also see the odd bird of prey, ducks (in the stream running down the back of the garden) and herons. More recently, what we think was a peregrine falcon used our back fence as a resting place.

falconIt’s really nice. We’ve also had hedgehogs, neighbours’ cats, our guinea pigs and the odd feral child in the garden too!!

Anyway, how’s your week been? Busy getting ready for the festive season no doubt!! I’ve been the same. I’ve been finishing a lot of projects up for work and also completing various home-made gifts. I haven’t taken pics of them yet (apart from the bears and the hat), but I’ll do that before I give them. So there’s been a fair bit of knitting and sewing going on. I’ve also been getting food etc in for Christmas. I don’t know about you, but I hate Christmas shopping…it’s always too busy, too hot and too full of very rude people. I do most of my shopping online and in October!

This week has been interesting weather wise. We were hit by what the press are calling the ‘weather bomb’ earlier on in the week. That meant we had everything the weather could throw at us: heavy rain, very strong winds, hail, sleet, thunder and lightening (a new one for me – I’ve never known it to do that in winter), low temperatures, ice and sun. Thankfully it’s died down and it’s just very cold and icy here. Makes me glad we’ve got a cosy warm house to go into. We’re lucky.

I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve been forgetting a lot of things. I think it’s because we all have a cold and it’s making my head a bit woolly.

Went to the boy’s nativity during the week. He was one of the singers being one of the older children. The actual nativity play was called Baubles and was a take on the Christmas story. It was enacted by the Primary 1 pupils who were all incredibly cute and very good. All of us parents, grandparents and carers really enjoyed it. Well done P1-3. You all did very well.

Next week the girl is doing a carol concert, so I’m looking forward to that. I like attending these, it really starts off Christmas for me.

Anyway, I’m off to have a little read of my book – Elizabeth Hunter’s  A Fall of Water – before I start dinner.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Confessions of a writer, Elizabeth Hunter and the Hedgehog Who Froze

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I cannot believe it’s only four weeks until Christmas! Where did this year go? My parents were right: life does speed up the older you get! Just goes to show you should enjoy every minute if you can.

Anyway, how are you all today? What’s been happening in your world?

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I’ve been busy getting things ready for Christmas. I am almost there with my preparations…just got Christmas cards to write and a couple of wee things to buy and that’s me. I hate Christmas shopping, there’s nothing pleasurable in it so I like to get food etc in well before the big day so that I only have to drop round to my local shop to pick up the necessities (bread, milk, veggies etc).

I have a confession: having signed up to Nanowrimo, I have been unable to keep up with it. I simply have too much on and am too tired at night when I have any free time. I’ve decided that I’ll just write on the days I’m not at work…it’s the best I can do I’m afraid. I feel a bit guilty, like I’ve let myself down, but I have to be realistic about what I can do. I’m not superwoman after all. I’ve written around 30,000 words, so that’s still an achievement.

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Does anyone know anything about the winter habits of blackbirds? We have a mating pair in the garden and normally I’d still see or hear them around at this time of year (especially as I’ve been putting seed out on the bird table), but I’ve not see a single feather of them. I am worried one of the cats that live around here have got them. They’ve been with us for years (well the family has, not sure how long they live for). I am hoping they turn up again. Maybe they’ve just moved to warmer climes. Hmmm.

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Talking of winter visitors, the squirrels and crows (can’t say that word without thinking of Ygrit in Game of Thrones!) still raid the bird table. I also saw a hedgehog taking an evening stroll down the middle of the road the other night. I was out walking with friends when I spotted the little creature frozen in the road. My friends thought it was dead, but I’ve seen them do this before…if threatened, hedgehogs seem to freeze and pretend they are not really there in the hope that you go away and leave them alone. It barely moved a muscle apart from the almost imperceptible twitch of its nose. We left it there worried it would be squished by a car, but we didn’t want to terrify it any more. Hopefully it got home safely.

I love hedgehogs.

What else have I been doing? Knitting socks as Christmas presents. Have also a started a new book called A Hidden Fire by Elzabeth Hunter. She’s a self published, this is the first of four books and is really good. It’s supernatural, mystery and romance all rolled into one book. I am really enjoying it. Recommend it if you like a well written romantic adventure with vampires. It was my mum who put me on to her (I’ve borrowed all four books from her), so thanks mum. This book comes hot on the heels of Bleak House by Charles Dickens, which I loved. In saying that, I have loved nearly all of the books of his I’ve read (I haven’t yet read them all): the Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Great Expectations. The ones I didn’t enjoy as much were Little Dorrit (I found Little Dorrit too insipid for my tastes) and Hard Times. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked the books, I just didn’t like them as much as the others. Still have a fair few to read, but I will.

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Right, I suppose I’d better be off and do my housework. I am procrastinating, hoping the housework fairies will come and do it for me. Sigh. Still, I’ll just put on some good tunes and have a dance and a singalong while I do it.

Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

Hedgehogs, flowers and quiet times

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Hello! How’s things? What’s been happening? Life has been trundling along nicely…can’t believe another week has passed so quickly! I have started my making for Christmas. I like to make the kids and some family members and friends little gifts for Christmas. I love doing it and I hope they like receiving them. Last year I made nearly everyone lap blankets for cosying up under during the winter. I also made some toys for the kids. This year, I have a few wee things in mind to make, but I’m keeping it under my hat and I’ll share with you at another time.

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In case you’re wondering, the photos for this week’s blog have absolutely nothing to do with what I’m writing about. I just like them. They are pretty or cute or cheerful.

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I love hedgehogs. We have a hedgehog who visits our garden. I haven’t seen her or him for a while, but he or she enjoyed the Guinea Pig nuggets that were left on the grass after the outdoor pen had been put away.

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I’m sorry I don’t have a lot to tell this week. The kids have been off for the October holidays, but I’ve been working so I’ve not managed to get anywhere interesting of late. To be truthful, I’ve just wanted a quiet life lately. Sometimes it’s nice to have nothing planned.

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Of course, the days when I’m not at work it has to rain. It’s been dry all week and sunny and lovely, but today – the day when I’m not working – I woke up to rain. It’s stopped now, so hopefully it’ll stay off. We have a friend’s daughter here this morning and I was hoping to take them out for a walk or something this morning. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, I’m going to go. I have the house to clean and some night’s out with friends to organise for November and December (I might like the quiet life, but I like to go out too!).

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

 

Dinosaurs, garter and rib

The one thing about writing a blog on a weekly basis is that often you don’t have much to tell. I could fill it with interesting photos of autumnal scenes, but I’ve been that busy lately I don’t know whether I’m coming or going and have had no time to get the camera out to take pics.

What have I been up to? Well, just general living really…working, taking the kids to school and their different clubs, generally running around! The boy had a class assembly on Friday which parents were invited. His class have been learning about dinosaurs so they did a presentation and a couple of songs about their learning. It was really cute. Afterwards – after we’d spoken to him and told him how great it all was – we left and went to the pictures in Clydebank. We went to see the new Dracula film. I was really looking forward to it, but was slightly disappointed. I can’t say I didn’t like it, it was okay, but it wasn’t something I’d go to the pictures to see again. It was beautifully shot and the acting was good. I just think it was let down by the story. I think a lot of film makers spend a lot of time and effort on the special effects and not enough on the script. The film was predictable. Anyway, we got a day out so that was good.

Garter Stitch Scarf

Garter Stitch Scarf

I’ve been getting things ready to help out at the school. Myself and a friend are going to teach some of the kids to knit and crochet. We decided that simple mini scarves would be a good start for the kids – most of whom won’t have knit or crocheted before. So I’ve been working on a couple of mini scarves for this…a garter stitch scarf for beginners and a rib scarf for any of the kids who can already knit. I’m using bulky yarn and big needles to make it easier for them and to let them be able to have something at the end of the eight week project. If they finish early, we’re going to get them to crochet flowers. I hope they enjoy it.

Rib Scarf

Rib Scarf

Anyway, moving on. I’ m gong to finish up here…still got a few things to do around the house, but for now I’m going to do a bit of writing. The only way I am going to be more successful with my writing is to write and hopefully get published again, so I’d better get doing it!!

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Why writing is good for you and Bette Davis is wonderful!

Inspiration

Inspiration

 

Writing is very good for your mental health apparently. I’ve been researching some information on writing for health for an article I’m doing for a work publication and came across some excellent facts. If you write about your problems for 15 minutes a day for three to four days, it can help. I suppose you could refer to it as your problem journal. But anyway, a professor in America (sorry, I don’t have details about him here) did some studies on it and it found that folk who write about a difficult situation they are dealing with were healthier than those who did not. That’s a simplistic way of putting his findings (I must get his name), but it was interesting to read. Researchers on this and other studies found that folk were not only mentally healthier, but physically healthier too plus experienced better sleep patterns, felt better and had a more positive outlook. You don’t have to write tonnes and you definitely don’t have to show anyone your writing. You can even destroy it as soon as you’ve done it.  So there you go. If you’re feeling crap about something, get it down in writing and hopefully you’ll be able to work through it.

Here are my other top tips for feeling better if you’re a little down:

1) get outside and go for a walk, even in crappy weather – ‘blowing the cobwebs away’ also blows negative thinking away

2) take up knitting…it’s wonderfully calming and great to do whilst you are watching an old movie on tv

3) bake some cakes and eat them with family and friends with a huge teapot of tea

4) read – that can be fiction or non fiction, I’ve found myself fascinated with books on writing recently (in saying that I find books fascinating generally)

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Talking of old movies, been listening to Bette Davis In Her Own Words in the car going to work this week. I love Bette Davis. She was a fantastic actress and one of my all time favourites. I just love her films – All About Eve, Now Voyager and Jezebel are just stunning.

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The CD is a collection of interviews she did with the BBC ranging from the late 50s to the 70s. She comes across as warm, witty and full of fun. I also think she as a lady you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of. Anyway, I love Bette Davis! Who could forget her in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Eugh Creepy!!

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Anyway, moving on. Got a box of books delivered to me on Monday…yes it was my copies of my new book DarkIsle: The Final Battle. Woohoo! So exciting!! It’s available now on Amazon and most good book shops.

Right am off to do some more writing. Til next time.

Dawn x

PS Bette Davis was also a knitter…see, told you it was a good thing to take up!!

New DarkIsle out April 11!!!!

Darkisle the final battle

Ta-daaaaaaaah!!! DarkIsle: The Final Battle is out on April 11!! Woohooo!! Am very excited. Pre-order yours now on Amazon and other outlets!

The Hairy  Bikers' bean burgers...a lot neater looking than mine!

The Hairy Bikers’ bean burgers…a lot neater looking than mine!

After all that excitement, let’s get back down to Earth with some normality (ie what my life is normally like!). Let me start first with my little success story from last night. I made the Hairy Bikers’ Eat for Life bean burgers for tea last night and they were lovely. There were three left over which I had in a pitta bread with salad for lunch. Delish!! I’ve got a few Hairy Bikers’ books and I love their recipes…they are down-to-earth, proper food for families, not the posh stuff you have to buy weird ingredients for. Unfortunately the kids weren’t as enamoured with the burgers as I was, but never mind. Hopefully, they’ll like them at some point in the future.

Yesterday afternoon I had some friends round for our craft club. Well, it was supposed to be craft club but it turned into ‘drink tea and eat cake and gab club’ instead and we got nothing done on our projects. We didn’t even have them out. That’s not the real point of craft club though…it’s really just an excuse to get together to gab and have a nice time. It was good. I’m still working on a top I was knitting for myself. It’s funny – when I’m knitting for other people I will knit and knit and knit. When I’m knitting for me…it takes ages. Still haven’t finished those socks I started over a year ago!!

Missed my walk last night as was feeling too tired and off colour. Went to bed early last night and woke up refreshed. This morning I watched the last episode of series 2 of Lilyhammer…that’s a funny series. I’m hoping there are further series…I’ll need to look it up. I also did a bit of yoga. I used to go to a class in a town near here, but it was on a night I worked and I was so stressed trying to get home, take my daughter to Rainbows, pick her up and then go to yoga, that I decided it wasn’t worth it. I have a few DVDs at home, so am trying to do a wee session every couple of days. Hopefully, I’ll eventually get back to a proper class…I really enjoyed the class when I was there, it was just getting there that was the problem!!

After this blog has been written, I am GETTING BACK INTO WRITING THE TWO BOOKS I WAS WORKING ON. I am shouting in text to give myself a metaphorical kick up the backside to get it done.

Anyway, I’m off to write. Til next time!

Dawn xxx