At last! Some summer sunshine!





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…


…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 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


Escaping to Perthshire and enjoying the peace


We escaped from the madhouse this weekend by taking a two night stayover at Crieff Hydro in Perthshire. We’ve been before – I’ve spoken about it before in this blog – but we’ve always taken the kids. This time round, however, hubby and I decided to leave the kids with their grandparents and go ourselves. It was great. We had a lovely relaxing time. We didn’t make use of the spa or the sporting opportunities the hotel offers, which are many and very good, but we just went with the flow about what we wanted to do.

We arrived late afternoon on Friday and after we’d settled in we had dinner, a few glasses of wine and went to see The Other Woman in the hotel’s small cinema. The film starred Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton. It’s a film where Cameron’s character Carly, a successful lawyer, discovers her boyfriend (played by the oh so handsome Nikokaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones) is actually married. Anyway, the wife (Kate King, played by Leslie Mann) finds out and in her despair befriends Carly. They then find out he’s also seeing a much younger and bustier Amber (played by Kate Upton). They tell her and together the three decide to get their own back. It’s quite an enjoyable film, but predictable. Good for a Friday night film watching stint (minus the kids). Don Johnston plays Carly’s dad and Nicki Minaj is Lydia Carly’s secretary. I’d give it a seven out of ten. Anyway, it was good going to the flicks.


The next day, we decided to get out our cameras and go photo hunting up the Knock which is the hill behind the Hydro. We really knocked it off with the weather. It was one of those sunny, frosty, gorgeous winter mornings that you read about in novels. Added to that is the loveliness of the scenery and it literally was breathtaking.


We had a lovely morning exploring and snapping and having a good  old laugh. We must have been out a good two hours traipsing about the hillside and returned just before lunchtime. We spent a little time in our room before venturing out. Hubby wanted to take shots of the Deil’s Cauldron, a waterfall at nearby Comrie. I didn’t go with him, but waited in the car (I was knackered from the walk earlier!!). We had a late lunch at a nice little café in Comrie before returning to the hotel.


Chilling out time!! We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out and taking it easy. We had a few glasses of wine before dinner and then went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (can you tell we love going to the movies?). It was okay. It’s not my favourite type of film anyway (although I have seen the original film and tv series!). Good cast and excellent special effects. It too was predictable. It’s also quite violent. Six out of ten.


Anyone for golf? Don't fancy trying to hit a hole in one from here.

Anyone for golf? Don’t fancy trying to hit a hole in one from here.

Anyway, it’s top marks to Crieff Hydro for an excellent time. The room was lovely (and really big), the food was great, there was lots to do and the staff couldn’t be more helpful.

Minus 100 to the medical students who were holding their Midway Ball at the hotel and kept us up and awake a good bit of the night on Friday and Saturday night with their shouting and crying and carrying on somewhere below our third floor room (yes we were up that high and could hear them) . I don’t know where they were doing it from but we could hear every word, every expletive and every sob from them, the drunken bums. It honestly sounded like they were in the room next door to us, but they were outside. I am assuming it was them – it sounded like the group that invaded the piano bar the first night we were there. Anyway, whoever it was…I don’t appreciate being kept up til 2.30am listening to your childishness.

Phew that felt good!

Anyway, we still managed to enjoy ourselves. We feel all rested.  The kids also had a good time as my parents took them to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayr. They loved it and want to go back. We’ll take them in the summer I think. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Oh, and if you ever go there yourself, mind and pick up this book on Burns’ life…it was beautifully illustrated by my friend Mandy Sinclair.


We picked the kids up at lunchtime today. I really missed them, but I think they had such a good time with their granny and grampa that they didn’t give us a thought!! We got lots of kisses and hugs from them though, which was lovely.

Can’t believe that’s us been and come back already. Sigh. Anyway, I must get on. Got a whole pile of washing to do (except the kids’ clothes – thanks Mum for doing that). Til next time!

Dawn xxx










The big fish was just one of the things we saw

Through the trees and shrubs there's a lovely house...Overtoun House in Dumbarton.

Through the trees and shrubs there’s a lovely house…Overtoun House near Dumbarton.

Okay, okay, so I’ve not blogged for a couple of weeks. I know! I’ve been remiss, but there’s been a lot happening chez moi lately…okay, mainly housework and work and that kind of stuff, but the boy’s had an ear infection and we’ve not been having a lot of sleep lately and blogging was the last thing I wanted to do.

But I’m back now! Yippee!! Had a lovely email from Fiona Remnant from New Zealand regarding my DarkIsle books and how much her children loved them. She made me laugh when she said the family are now blaming any unwelcome smells on Klapp demons! We do that in our house too!! Hee hee. Thank you for the email Fiona!

So, what else have I been up to?? Hmmm, what to tell. As I said the boy’s had an ear infection and I’ve gone through a fair few bottles of the Magic Calpol. Took him to the doctor’s on Monday and she gave him a prescription for Amoxicillin, the banana flavoured antibiotic which I loved as a kid, but which he grimaces at and shouts ‘ew’ every time I put it near his still gumsy mouth (he has two teeth missing at the mo’). I don’t get it. I loved the stuff! Anyway, he seems to be mending pretty well. I had to keep him off school for a couple of days (the girl mysteriously went down with a stomach illness on one of the days, but had a miraculous recovery within ten minutes of getting home…a little jealous of the boy being at home methinks! A wee bit of the green-eyed monster rearing its ugly head?). Hmmmm.

Despite the earache, we all still managed to get out and about over the weekend. We drove into Dumbarton (former capital of Strathclyde and home to the wonderful Dumbarton Castle which sits atop Dumbarton Rock, which I think is a volcanic plug…anyway, if you’re ever in Dumbarton, it’s well worth visiting), through into Milton and up to Overtoun House, which is a Victorian mansion up the back of the town. It has excellent walks. I’d never been there before, this was my first time and the kids and it was fun exploring. Below are some pics taken on our walk…

We started by the bridge and walked down the path close to the burn.

We started by the bridge and walked down the path close to the burn.

Hints of autumn…brambles anyone?

Big Fish...the title of a favourite film and this lovely specimen.

Big Fish…the title of a favourite film and this lovely specimen.

Fast flowing water.

Fast flowing water.

The local crags.

The local crags.

Mossy stones...dank and green.

Mossy stones…dank and green.

Overtoun House, Dumbarton

Back to the house again.

The lovely garden.

The lovely garden.

I think Overtoun House is currently being used as a Christian retreat, but the gardens are open to the public and there were loads of folk taking advantage of the dry weather that afternoon. The house has a café which unfortunately was closed the day we went, which was a shame because we could have done with a cup of tea! The house was once a family home for the Smith family and a few decades ago was a maternity hospital and my brother-in-law was born there. Was definitely worth the trip and the kids loved the freedom of running around, finding wee nooks and crannies and generally having fun!

If you’re wondering why I’ve not mentioned the Scottish Referendum in any recent post, it’s because it’s such a highly emotive subject here. We’ve got two weeks to go to the actual day and things are hotting up. Everywhere you go, there are Saltires flying all over the place…I must admit I’ve been impressed by the number of enormous flags flying from high rise flats all over the place. I’ve never seen so many Saltires flying…it’s not something we as a nation tend to do, which is a shame because we should. There are also many, many ‘yes’ posters and not so many ‘no’ posters. I don’t know if this is because the ‘yes’ voters are more open about their views and the ‘no’ voters are not or if it means that most of the population plans to vote ‘yes’. We shall see. Anyway, people on both sides are very emotional about their views…I have friends and family some of whom will vote yes and some no. I know how I am voting and I respect those who have a differing view. However, I’m not going to air my politics here. I want this blog to be apolitical. I will however mention the odd bit and piece about the Referendum, an event I find both exciting and a bit scary. Two weeks to go and counting!

Right on that note, I am off. As usual I have motherly/housewifey things to be getting on with. I think I will start with a little cup of tea.

Til next time.



We were like two drowned rats

Drowned Rat look from

My friend and I went for a walk along the country roads around our village and this ^ (image from is kind of what we ended up looking like. We should have known: it had been raining heavily earlier, but it was just a little drizzly when we dropped the kids off at school and set out. It takes about an hour-and-a-quarter to walk the route and about half an hour into it the rain came down in buckets. We walked on. It wasn’t cold, just wet, so it wasn’t that unpleasant to keep walking. We eventually made it back to the village…dripping wet. I went home and had a hot shower, a cup of tea and a little bit of pumpkin bread. Life was even better after that. I’m glad we did it cos I need the exercise and we blethered all the way round and it was nice.

This afternoon, I went to another friend’s house and we had tea and cake (oops! but it was nice!) and did a bit of crafting and chatted. It was a lovely afternoon and I’m looking forward to hosting the next crafting afternoon (crafternoon??) next month. I took a pair of socks I’ve been knitting for ages…this is the first time in more than a year that I’ve picked them up. I’ve knitted one-and-a-half. Maybe I’ll get round to finally finishing them.

Had a bit of a bread maker disaster this evening. I was doing the dishes when I smelled burning. I turned around and there was smoke coming out the bread maker. Turns out I had put too much yeast in it, it mooshed over the top of the tin on to the heated wire thingies (don’t know the technical term) and it started to burn. I turned it off immediately and cleaned it out. Tomorrow I’ll make another one. Ref bread…still haven’t got back to my sour dough making, been too busy lately. I need to start it again cos I love sour dough. Yum.

Right, am going to leave it here as I have demands from my daughter for tucking in duty. Until next time.
Dawn xxx