Drat! Foiled again…no romantic lunch for us!

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Hello. How are you? What’s been happening? What’s the gossip? Me? Truthfully, my life hasn’t been exciting lately. I could make something up. I could say I flew to Paris with hubby for a romantic moonlit dinner under the Eiffel Tower. I could say I’m just back from trekking to Machu Picchu and brought back a lhama, but none of those two fantasies are true. Sigh.

Hey ho! Instead, this morning, hubby and I attempted to go to Clydebank to do a bit of shopping and to pick up a bit of lunch. We got as far as Dalmuir, which is pretty much as close to Clydebank as you can get without actually being in Clydebank when we got a call from our local school. The girl was sick. We had to turn about to get her. I am telling you this story not because it’s particularly interesting – it’s not – but because every single time we try and go out for lunch over the last couple of years one of the kids have been ill and we’ve had to pick them up from school. It’s not like there was any sign of illness before we sent them to school – we’re not such bad parents. Honestly it’s like someone is trying to tell us we shouldn’t go out for lunch together. The kids don’t know our plans beforehand, but they must psychically be picking up on our plans to spend time together! Anyway, we had to return home and she’s now in bed, tucked up having been given the magical elixir that is Calpol.

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It’s been weird. For months I’ve been procrastinating with writing and haven’t been daydreaming up any new stories for, well, several months, years even. But the past few weeks, since hubby’s been getting better, my beloved daydreaming has returned and ideas have been popping up for stories and other crafty things all over the place. It’s like I’ve got my mojo back. I think it’s to do with the fact I’ve been doing yoga every day and meditating regularly. I feel mentally and physically good, so it makes sense my writing mojo is returning. Yoga has also been great for getting my old lady bones moving and not stiffening up. I was feeling I was getting really inflexible from all the driving and sitting around I was doing whilst hubby was in hospital. Now I can do a downward dog without even thinking about it!!

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Have you noticed the images I’ve put in this blog? There is a theme. If you want to, drop me a message and tell me what you think it is.

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So they’ve finally gone and done it. Castle and Beckett have married! Finally! I thought the episode was not up to it’s usual highly entertaining standard though. I mean – Castle going into another dimension?? A bit twee, but hey I still love the series. Hubby maintains I love anything on tv that features a writer and he’s not wrong. Some of my favourite films: You’ve Got Mail, Something’s Gotta Give, Julie & Julia…need I go on? TV programmes are the same, hence the love of Castle – although the murder mystery bit of it is a big part of my enjoyment of the show. Plus Nathan Fillion who plays Richard Castle was also Captain Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly. What’s not to love about a programme that has him, murder, Stana Katic as a kickass Kate Beckett and a writer in it?

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Am having Game of Thrones withdrawal at the moment. I’m trying to keep away from all the theories on Facebook about Jon Snow, it’s giving me too much hope the character will come back. The good thing is my favourite character Tyrion Lannister is still there…long may he continue!

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Right I must be off to do some planning (yes – writing planning) and other bits and pieces. Til next time!

Dawn xxxx

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At last! Some summer sunshine!

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buttercups

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Oh hasn’t the weather been gorgeous the past couple of days? It’s really made a difference to everyone. Life suddenly feels so much better when the sun is splitting the sky and you can go outside without a jacket and about three million layers!!  Can’t believe that less than a week ago we were experiencing gale-force winds and lashing rain. Hope the sun stays a bit longer.

Anyway, how are  you? Hope you are all good and enjoying the lovely weather.

Life here at Chez Nelson trundles on as before. Hubby is slowly getting better. Still no further forward with treatment, but I’m fattening him up with good nourishing food and he seems to be getting a little better each day. We had visitors today in the form of some old friends who were keen to see how hubby was. It was lovely to see both of them and it was a great afternoon. We had a bit of a laugh and I really enjoyed their company. Hope to catch up with them soon. They brought a cake and these lovely flowers…

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…so they can come back any time!! Hee hee. Actually they can come back anytime without cake and flowers – they are not a prerequisite for getting in!!

Been getting back into Mindful Meditation. I had kind of fallen away from it for a while, but it’s really been helping recently.  I started doing it more than a year ago for stress and it’s really great. Not only do I feel less stressed and anxious, but I sleep better…I can get to sleep. I was always terrible for getting to sleep, now I fall asleep really quickly and it feels like a better, more refreshing sleep. Anyway, I got back into it because I simply wasn’t sleeping. It’s been all the stress and worry over hubby’s illness. I couldn’t get to sleep and then found myself waking at 3.30am every morning and then not being able to get to sleep again. I was only getting a few hours a night, so I went back to Mindful Meditation and it’s really been helping.

I’m also trying to do a little bit of yoga every day to loosen up and stretch (I’ve hardly been exercising lately and my body was stiffening up). I missed today as I had a few things to do online…like buying Father’s Day gifts…and it took longer than I thought it would. It’s surprising how long it takes to get a really thoughtful (I hope) and nice gift for my dad, my father-in-law and hubby. Father’s Day has just suddenly come upon me this year, but thankfully I realised just in time to order some gifts. Thank goodness for Funky Pigeon.com and all their adverts on telly reminding me it was coming up!!

The other thing I need to get a grip of is my diet. It fell away when hubby was in hospital and I managed to get back on track with healthy eating when he came out about two weeks ago. However, he ended up going back into hospital again overnight last Sunday and me and the kids ended up going to the Linwood Farm restaurant for dinner. It was burger and chips all round. Nice enough, but not as healthy as I’d like. Anyway, am keen to get back to healthy eating so this week have written my menus for the week and bought the ingredients and hopefully we’ll eat well…no more rushing to hospital, I hope!!

Tonight we’re having tomato pasta which everyone likes and there should be no wrinkling of noses and saying ‘yeuch’ and pointing (faces screwed up in disgust) and asking: “Mum what is THAT?” and tentative tongues trying the meal and exaggerated gagging as if being poisoned. This generally is what I have to put up with from my kids when I offer them perfectly healthy meals…even meals without broccoli!

Anyway, I am off to serve up dinner before taking a well earned rest in front of the telly. I will lounge on the sofa patting my full and contented tummy whilst imbibing a nice cup of tea!

Til  next time!

Dawn xxx

 

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.

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.

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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

David Copperfield and the Muppets

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It’s amazing how quickly time flies between posts. However, it’s not surprising as I’ve been super busy over the past few weeks: there’s been birthdays to organise (mainly the boy’s); a Mindfulness course to do;  myself and the offspring had the stomach bug that’s been going around – it was bad; been out a lot doing stuff and have not had a lot of time indoors.

However, I have found time to read David Copperfield – I’m at the bit where Mr Spenlow dies and am finding Dora just a big wet blanket. Honestly, I can’t see what David sees in her. The book’s great which puts me in the notion to re-read A Christmas Carol before Christmas. However, if I don’t get the time I might have to twist my own arm to watch the Muppets’ Christmas Carol, which is probably my favourite version of the tale. I love the Muppets, been a big fan since childhood when I, my sister and cousins insisted my grandparents call their black and white cat Gonzo and Gonzo he became, much to his disgust! Cats have such expressive faces at times! Gonzo loved chocolate, lazing in front of the fire and cat food. Gonzo did not like me, my sister and cousins, especially when we tried to dress him up in dolls’ clothes…cue a flash of black and white as the cat ran out the door to hide!

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Later this week am also looking forward to watching a recording of It’s a Wonderful Life…sigh, life is good!

Ooh book news…it looks like DarkIsle 3 will be coming out next year. Will fill you in with the details once I know them myself!

Dawn xxx

My 100th post

From one of my first posts…she’s a Golden Eagle. What a beautiful bird!

I can’t believe I’ve written 99 posts already on this blog. It seems like yesterday that I decided to just go for it and write about stuff. You see I had a blog before and I thought because I am a writer that all I could write about was writing. I soon dried up because there’s only so many things you can say about writing before it all starts to get all very samey and boring. So I lost interest in the blog and I stopped writing it. Then I decided I wanted to change the look of the blog – it was grey and depressing (not my idea for the design) and I really didn’t like it. Unfortunately, I was unable to change the look and unable to get into the blog after a while. So that’s why when I decided to finally just write about anything that took my fancy I started up this blog.

This is him looking cute. I’ve chased him away from that patched hole about four times during the time I’ve been writing this. Wee besom!

Hold on…Sam the Guinnea Pig is chewing a hole in his playpen. That’s better. Have stopped him nibbling. He’s basically nibbling on the Duct tape I use to cover up the hole the bad rabbit Albert chewed in the playpen (which is one of those pop up ones) when he stayed here this year. The GPs have been doing  a bit of scrabbling under newspaper lately. They seem to love sitting under it and chewing on the pages. I use the newspaper on the bottom of their cage and the playpen…it makes cleaning up a bit easier. Often it looks like they have escaped as they have flattened themselves underneath a page.

Anyway, here I am on my hundredth blog with not much to tell you. I managed to finish the cardigan I was knitting and it actually fits and looks great on. I am really pleased with it, although I haven’t managed to take a pic of it  yet. Maybe I will wear it on Saturday on my first day on a mindfulness course I’m doing in Glasgow. Am really looking forward to it. I don’t really know what to expect, but I think I’ll enjoy it anyway. Am going with my friend Tracy so we’ll have a laugh if nothing else en route there and back! This is the first weekend of a four-weekend course.

Just finished Mark Boyle’s The Moneyless Man which I found really interesting. I agree with him on a lot of counts particularly when he talks about how  a lot of people are so caught up with being consumers and the dreadful waste there is in this world of things like food and clothing. Don’t get me wrong, we do buy new stuff, but only stuff we need. I have never been one to keep up with fashions, so buying the latest look never crosses my mind. I buy clothes I need and I keep them until I absolutely can’t wear them any more. Then they are cut up for toys or quilts or stuff for the kids, buttons are saved in my button jar or they are placed in the charity bins. It kills me to throw away clothes. It kills me to waste food and I do my utmost to not do this. Sometimes I have to chuck something out (like the soft cheese in my fridge today), but I do my absolute best not to. Anyway, while I don’t want to live without money, I think he has a point – as a race we need to stop being so wasteful and destructive…it’s unsustainable and we’re already ‘reaping the rewards’ of our total disregard for the Earth in the form of earthquakes, floods, drought and horrendous weather. And let’s not forget the mess the banking world has gotten us all into thanks to greed.

Anyway, I really hadn’t intended to use this 100th post as a rant and a rant it’s turned into. Sigh.

I also finished The Family Fang. I didn’t think it was hilarious and I kept waiting for it to become funny. There are some bits that are faintly amusing, but that’s all. I found it quite sad actually. I couldn’t believe parents could so totally disregard the feelings of their children in the way Camille and Caleb do. I feel about it the same as I do the book about Tracey Beaker…sad and disgusted about the neglect her mother  shows her. Am not sure I would read either again although I did find myself enjoying both books. Hmmm.

Am re-reading a biography of Charles Dickens again. Okay so he wasn’t perfect and he wasn’t always the jovial papa he’s made out to be, but he’s a fantastic writer and this book is really inspiring.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings about books…much as I love them…I will finish this with a quote Mark Boyle uses as inspiration (it’s from Ghandi) – Be the change you want to see.

Dawn xx

PS did anyone see Gary, Tank Commander the other night? Now that’s funny.

Winning Easter hat and DarkIsle 3 edit complete

It’s amazing what you can do with a glue gun (my new fave thing) and some things from Poundland. My boy came home a couple of weeks ago with a note from nursery asking for an Easter hat/bonnet for a competition they were running for the kids. Cue: mild panic. Cue: mad thoughts about what I could do and where I would get stuff to make a hat from. Cue: more panic. And then the dark clouds of ‘I’m-a-bad-mother-if-I-can’t-do-this’ dissipated when I remembered that every year Poundland (a shop I must admit I love cos I always get fab bargains in it) sells Easter stuff. So during one workday lunchtime I trotted along to the Argyll Street store and picked up: two cowboy style hats with silver sequin headband; a bag of plastic eggs; a box of Easter chicks; some Easter Bunny hair slides; some paper flowers. Added to that was a bag of crepe paper from Tesco and Easter bonnet heaven emerged. Armed with my beloved glue gun, I not only came up with this for the boy (which won, by the way…and how pleased was I at that?? I never win anything…well apart from a national competition a few years ago, but generally I don’t win stuff):

and this for the girl:

I was pretty pleased with myself. I had to laugh though (and I thought this was pretty clever), one of the boys in my boy’s class had a cap on covered with yellow Easter Chicks and the immortal title of Chick Magnet.

So what have I been up to and where have I been for the past couple of weeks? Well, I’ve been finishing off a further edit of DarkIsle 3. I like to take my time with the editing stage because I want the book to be the best it can be and I’m hopeful it won’t need any further editing. Althought it may still do.

I’ve been doing a few Easter type things including doing the National Trust for Scotland’s Easter Egg Hunt at Geilston Gardens on Sunday there. I’ve been catching up on telly – all my fave programmes are back (Game of Thrones, Castle and Murdoch Mysteries). Now I’ve finished editing, I’ve resumed attempting to learn the piano. Am still very much in love with our two guinea pigs and last week ran the Guinea Pig Hotel again (my friend’s two females came to stay whilst they were away on holiday – cue lots of squeaking and interest from the boys in their cage). I’ve done a bit of baking, a mountain of ironing, a tonne of washing and gutted the house. My intention this week is to pick up the knitting needles again and get my boy’s cardie finished. I also have two mini quilts, which I must admit are a bit wonky, to finish. I’ve been reading E Nesbitt’s The Phoenix and the Carpet (so old fashioned, but very enjoyable) and Jane Duncan’s My Friend Flora (I just love her books). I intend to start making my way through the pile of Dickens books soon – well once I’ve finished The Pickwick Papers. I like to read two or three books at once depending on my mood. I’ve also recenly read Goldie Hawn’s book on teaching children mindfulness and I can tell you there’s a lot of wisdom in mindfulness. Now instead of rushing them on, I try and point out things in their environment like birds and plants and interesting houses. It’s made me slow down a bit, which is definitely what I need to do.

I’ve been busy, but it’s been a manageable more relaxed kind of busy.

I also have another book in the offing. It’s one for adults and hope to have that complete by the summer. I’ll tell you more about that when I’m ready.

Anyway, talking of stuff to do, I’d best be off. Hubby’s home in a little while from work and I have meatballs and pasta to make. Yum.

Dawn xx