69371076 - it's friday

3 For Friday

It’s Friday! I bet you’re all glad about that. Here’s three posts for Friday.

This week there’s a quote which I just loved when I read it and wanted to share it. Next up a mystery with Hugo in which I encounter a frying pan. And lastly my ‘3 To Read‘ with the kids this February, which is all about the bears and includes a very humorous new book from Bloomsbury: ‘The Beginner’s Guide To Bear Spotting.’

Inspirational Instagram & Canva


I made this little meme on an app call Canva ,which, if you haven’t heard of it before, is easy to use and creates nice little graphics.

The Pancake Day Mystery

3 To Read


Have a great weekend!


Just Leaves Thursday: The One With The Scales

One, two, three and swirl it’s time for Just Leaves Thursday!

Tea used for reading: Orange Oolong

Here’s what I saw:

1) Dots/Face – Dots are positive symbols and tell of security and money. The face represents someone I know and are taken literally. This one is smiling.
2) Arrow– An arrow usually means a message. It can warn of severe financial difficulties but that would make it in direct opposition to the dots. However, if the arrow is pointing to another symbol in the cup then it is stressing its significance. This one is pointing to the scales.
3) Letter U –  There’s that U again; all about determination and having the courage to change.
4) Scales- (this symbol is upside down in the photo) This is clearly telling me to find a balance, which is no surprise. Scales also symbolise justice, or refer to the star sign Libra.  If it refers to Libra that can refer to many different aspects of the sign: time of year, characters of those individuals, a person with this star sign, the list goes on.


Last Weeks Reading: (you can read it here)

I’ve been careful this week not to get stuck on one thing and as I’ve had a wretched cold this has meant I’ve had to let go of the idea that I have to be busy working when in fact I need to rest. Perhaps the sinusitis is the outside force and the obstacle the leaves warned off. It’s certainly made keeping up with the schedule tricky!

There hasn’t been the huge change the cup has told me will come, however these things don’t always happen immediately and as I mentioned before they may actually be telling of an emotional change in the enquirer rather than a physical change in environs.

This week’s reading:

I found it hard to read this cup. There were symbols I’ve seen before like the U cropping up again, further up the cup suggesting the change is coming soon. It could be in relation to the dots and the smiling face which suggests a happy occurrence and perhaps this person offers security. The balance emphasised by the arrow is no surprise as I think creatives often find balance tricky. The urge to create coupled with burn out is often a problem for us all.

Perhaps I need to go and find a peaceful little Japanese tea garden somewhere and meditate.

I’ll let you all know how  the week goes next Thursday, so put a date in your diary and join us for Just Leaves Thursday again next week.

Toodle Pip!

I hope you’ve found this week’s tea leaves interesting and that you’ll join me in tasseomancy thursday. If you’d like to share then please leave your comments and links to posts, or photos below the blog.
(*Disclaimer: I am an amateur tea-leaf/ coffee ground reader, i do not own an ornate caravan or crystal ball and i am certainly not a professional psychic. There is a lot more to tea leaf reading than i have covered here and far more comprehensive readings where the symbols can be interpreted differently. my information comes from books and websites. i uses www.tasseography.com’s instructions for tea leaf reading and ‘Tea Leaf Reading For Beginners’ by Caroline Dow. 


5 South Coast Professionals To Book For Your Event

Have you got an event on the South Coast, you’re planning? Whether it’s a wedding, birthday, baby shower, anniversary or just for fun, we’ve got the help you need. Invitations, decorations, food and entertainment, here’s five Hampshire based businesses to help with your South Coast event.

Duckduckle Design 

Kerry, is the creative force behind Duckduckle Design. Whatever event you are planning she can offer you a range of stationery to fit your needs. In the planning stage, Kerry can help you with all your event’s stationery needs – invitations, save the date cards, or tickets and posters to advertise a public event. Original and colourful decorations, signs and paper bunting give your day that special touch. In addition a range of humourous ice-breaker badges for your guests to choose from, will mean everyone feels at ease and has fun.
For more information you can e-mail me via DuckDuckle Design, or find her on Facebook, Etsy and via her website.

Traditional Ice-Cream & Crêpe Britain

Julie serves award-winning locally made, Meadow Cottage, Jersey dairy ice creams and sorbets, from vintage Pashley Tricycles. The perfect addition to your wedding, party or corporate event.  Celebrate with bubbles and try POPS ice- lollies for the grown ups – in Champagne and Bellini flavours.  For more information you can find Julie via her website: Traditional Ice-cream.

Julie also runs Crêpe Britain, which specialises in freshly made sweet and savoury Crêpes.  Add that sweet treat to your wedding, party or corporate event and book today via: Crêpe Britain

DD Storyteller

Freelance writer and children’s storyteller, DD has been writing stories since the age of six. Her unique children’s stories are typically designed for 3- 8 year olds but can be adapted for older audiences. Interactive mini-mysteries captivate the imagination with stories they will want to tell again and again.

Come and solve the mystery with Hugo the detective dog, follow the trail of apples through the orchard, or come on an adventure to find the gold at the end of the rainbow, DD’s stories will entertain your little ones at parties, weddings and more.

You can book DD and find out more about her stories via DD Storyteller, Facebook & YouTube

Boozy Bakers

Michelle Wilding runs Boozy Bakers, a home based bakery on Anthill Common, Denmead.  Whilst known for their boozy cakes such as Gin & Tonic, Prosecco and Baileys & Malteser, what they actually offer is diverse and bespoke.

Bakes for private parties, corporate events, weddings and public events are available, from three-tiered cakes, multiple flavour cupcakes and giant cakes that can hardly fit through the door, the bakers do it all!  They can even make edible prints of photos and logos!

Whatever flavour you choose, Boozy Bakers ensure their cakes are fresh and excellent quality.  Customer service means everything they are always happy to chat through any ideas you may have!  They’d love to hear from you! You can get in touch via their website www.boozybakers.co.uk,  by phone 07411 030 630 or take a look at their Facebook page which is filled with five-star reviews!’

Natasha-Lea School Of Dance

If you’d like that special touch for your big day, then Natasha-Lea’s School of Dance can help. They offer private sessions to choreograph and coach you through that all important first dance.
Natasha and Naomi are life long dancers, who have had a love of dance from a young age. They have gained a wide range of experience dancing both professionally and in competitions or with companies.
Based in Hambledon and Soberton in Hampshire, private lessons are available on request for a variety of dance styles including  contemporary dance.
For more information and to book, you can find Naomi and Natasha via the website and Facebook.

 NB// This post is not a sponsored post, it is a collaboration between local businesses hoping they can help you with your special day. we very much look forward to hearing from you.

What’s On Your Shelf, Colin Garrow?

It’s that time again, it’s time for ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ and today, we have Colin Garrow, witty writer of ‘The Watson Letters,’ a blog parodying the work of Sherlock Holmes. Colin is also a prolific writer of novels and young adult fiction, all with a hint of murder and/or mystery. If you haven’t already, please do check out his blog here and his books here. Over to you Colin!

‘My favourite bookshelf stands next to my writing desk (or kitchen table, as it’s generally known), and consequently is the place for dumping hats, musical instruments, unpaid bills and the inevitable seashells.

I have to admit to doing a little solicitous tidying before taking the photo, but essentially this is how the shelves usually look.


So, starting at the top, you’ll see the first of several melodic devices – my ukulele. This doesn’t get played as much as it should, but sees more action than the didgeridoo (leaning against the left hand side of the bookcase). This shelf also hosts the remnants of my CD collection, though apart from Fats Waller, Wishbone Ash and Rick Wakeman, it’s mainly classical music. Taking up nearly a quarter of the shelf space is my most recent paperback purchase – Stephen King’s ‘Under the Dome’, which I might get around to reading by the time the summer arrives in this part of Scotland.

The next shelf is mostly stage plays, leftover from my Drama degree. There’s a huge variety here, including John Osborne, Sam Beckett, Dario Fo, Arnold Wesker and Snoo Wilson. (I do have plays by women too, but they’re on another bookshelf, along with my poetry collection). I used to have a huge collection of books about the theatre and stagecraft too, but running my own theatre company for a few years put me off creating theatre myself, so I’m afraid they went the way of all flesh (Amazon).

Next one down is a bit of a hotchpotch, with some of my Gavin Maxwell collection (most of which I haven’t read), a few of my own works and the handful of literary mags who were kind enough to publish some of my poems and stories. The plastic box on the left is where I stuff any paperwork I think I might need someday, and which I rarely look at again. The vampiric painted stone is from the nearest beach (Inverbervie) and hails from one of the arty projects I did with my son. Next to that, if you look closely, is a guitar capo and a set of pitch pipes for a mandolin. I haven’t used these for years, since I tend to tune my various instruments by ear.

The lowest shelf in the photo houses yet more musical items (tin whistle, guitar footstool), and a few novels, including a fascinating non-fiction book about the London underworld, which I’ve yet to finish reading due to the incredibly small type face. The reddish/greenish painted box in the middle is a remnant from my many papier mâché creations and is yet another repository for essential items I might one day need: candlesnuffer, hole-punch, paperclips.

The shelf you can’t see in the picture is stacked up with music books – a mix of guitar songbooks and classical notations. It’s also where I keep all the cookbooks I never look at, and the enormously heavy history of kings and queens of England which I know I’ll never read but can’t bear to get rid of. Such is the lure of books and ephemera.

Colin Garrow’

What an eclectic set of shelves, Colin. And you’ve reminded me that I have a guitar in the loft I really should get down and play. I love the little art projects dotted about, that give us an insight into family life in your house. Oh and I agree, candle snuffers are absolutely essential!

The stage plays sound interesting. I haven’t read many plays as I prefer to watch them but there are a few on my to be read list, I haven’t got round to yet. It’s good to see some of your own novels there too I spy. 

Thanks for showing us your bookshelf Colin. What do you guys think? Do you read a lot of plays?


Would you like to be a guest on ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ I’d love to hear from you so get in touch below or through my contact page on www.dsnelson.co.uk


Cutting Edge Craft: February

Welcome to February’s edition of  ‘Cutting Edge Craft’: what Beany and I really get up to. The truth behind the laminated learning games and bottle top wonders. There’s some cold winter nights in this month with no cloud cover so we can see the stars. It’s time for a space project.

There are many websites that demonstrate craft projects for the budding genius toddler, far better than I could ever hope to, so instead I try to bring you a tongue-in-cheek look at a simple seasonal craft project each month, to re-create with your little monster,  trouble monkey, creative whirlwind, pickle.

Play matters and these craft projects can be added to if your child is older or made simpler if they are younger. The important thing is to have fun!

3D Rocket

(Apprentice’s Age: 2 years old)

Here’s what you’ll need:


To Make

This is project has a few stages to it but each one is super simple. Depending on your child’s age you can make the rocket elements whilst they are sticking stars and drawing or you can make the whole project together.

First we need space so take a piece of black sugar paper and use the stars and crayons to make an out of this world mess wonderland.


While your little one’s doing this you could make the rocket elements. Take the two cardboard tubes and glue them together side by side. Take the white card (this can be any recycled cardboard), draw around the sticky tape reel and cut out. Next cover in foil, and cut a slit halfway to the middle of the circle. Apply sticky tape and stick cut edges together overlapping slightly to make a cone. If your little one’s a bit older and you  want to do this with your apprentice then be warned you may end up with part of your rocket attached to the table.

Next attach double sided sticky tape to the the back of the cardboard tubes and the rocket and then use sticky tape to attach the foil cone to the top of the rocket.

Get your creative genius to attach the rocket to the sugar paper in a place of their choosing. Now it’s time for the feathers. Place double sided sticky tape around the bottom of the rocket and on the bottom of the cardboard tubes. Attach red, yellow and white feathers for a flame affect.

Now we need some aliens/monsters. We had a cardboard cut out set but you can get plenty of clipart online you could draw some yourself. We’ve used tape and folded the bottoms so that ours stand up. We also added googgly eyes!



Because I just know you’re going to want to give this one pride of place in the living room on the fridge door, once the picture is hung up you could use some tape to stick the monsters down so you can see them, it’s up to you.



Have you tried this project with your little one? Let me know in the comments below.

69371076 - it's friday

Three For Friday

It’s Friday! I bet you’re all glad about that and so here’s three posts for Friday.

This week there’s history for the adults, a mystery for all and a maze for the kids. Something to read, something to watch and something to do:

Fairy Tale Friday

It’s fairy Tale Friday and today we’re looking at the history of Cinderella. Click here to read the post.


The Valentine’s Day Mystery

Hugo’s Maze

Hop on over to DD Storyteller for colouring and maze fun. Click Here.

Hugo's Maze

Have a great weekend!



Just Leaves Thursday: The One With The Pine Tree

One, two, three and swirl it’s time for Just Leaves Thursday!

Tea used for reading: Emperor’s Seven Treasures

Initial divination:


After last week’s unsettled reading I’ve returned to my favourite tea, Emperor’s Seven Treasures There are more leaves but nothing significant but can you see that big stout stick? That foretells of a visitation from a man.

Here’s what I saw:

I was quite surprised at the amount of lethal weapons I saw in this cup. It’s suggested that if you are reading your own leaves you may project your aspirations or worst fears into the cup and read them there. Perhaps this is what I am doing as it’s certainly a very mixed cup.
1) Letter U/C –  The U is all about determination and having the courage to change. The C is telling of a positive and creative change.

2) Train – This warns of a pre-occupation or obsession. It may be that the inquirer is about to be taken down a path not of their making or that they are seeking a change from the rut they are in.

3) Pine tree standing on a hill (Moth)– Trees in general stand for a dream that will come true and a positive change in the inquirer’s life. Pine trees represent strength and protection below this is what I thought might be a moth. This signifies ‘fatal attraction’ pure and simple.

4) Dots- Dots are positive symbols and tell of security and money.


Last Weeks Reading: (you can read it here)

On the subject of gossip, there has been a lot of talk this week, mainly concerned with house sales in our village and who’s moving where and when, but that’s fairly standard for our community and there’s nothing malicious in it.

The obstacles, well, there have been some, but nothing insurmountable, usually involving a cold, certainly not worthy of a boot. Although all these symbols were in the bottom of the cup, so perhaps they are more about how I feel than what is actually happening.

On an interesting side note, the dancer in last week’s cup, I’d originally seen as a dragon. A dragon can indicate a trip to Wales. Guess where my husband just booked us a holiday, without any prompting from me, it was all his idea! Perhaps it was a dragon after all? Or perhaps the dancer was telling of a joyous holiday!

This week’s reading:

Those leaves are piled high up the side of the cup again, warning of  misfortune from an outside force.

Some of the symbols could be two different things and I feel I’ve lost my mojo a little with these readings. I’m less definite about what the leaves are trying to tell me. This could be representative of me at this moment, there may be two paths of change that I can choose and these symbols may belong to either of those paths.

However I interpret it, this cup’s all about change though, so perhaps the misfortune is what causes the change? The tree is towards the bottom of the cup, suggesting that’s about emotions and what I want in my heart will come to pass. The train is further up the cup suggesting the change will happen in the not too distant future and perhaps warns me of railroading through ideas, to sit back and take a look at the bigger picture. Perhaps the moth in the background is also a warning against a one track mind.

I’ll let you all know how  the week goes next Thursday, so put a date in your diary and join us for Just Leaves Thursday again next week.

Toodle Pip!

I hope you’ve found this week’s tea leaves interesting and that you’ll join me in tasseomancy thursday. If you’d like to share then please leave your comments and links to posts, or photos below the blog.
(*Disclaimer: I am an amateur tea-leaf/ coffee ground reader, i do not own an ornate caravan or crystal ball and i am certainly not a professional psychic. There is a lot more to tea leaf reading than i have covered here and far more comprehensive readings where the symbols can be interpreted differently. my information comes from books and websites. i uses www.tasseography.com’s instructions for tea leaf reading and ‘Tea Leaf Reading For Beginners’ by Caroline Dow. 


Stories Inspired By Pins

What should a storyteller’s jacket look like? Bohemian, eclectic, colourful, inspiring? How about a tweed waistcoat covered in pin badges?
Well that’s what my storytelling jacket looks like. Perhaps a regression to my childhood and the denim jackets of the 90s covered in my old badge collection, either way I love my jacket.
Each pin has been chosen because it has inspired a little story in my head, or reminded me of another. I haven’t told any of these stories yet, I’m not sure they are fully formed but perhaps over the coming year, I will tell a little story for each one.
So what are these wonderful pins? Well, here they are:
A lot of them are from wonderful artists I’ve found on Instagram. On the left side the wonderful @bloomsandmoonlight’s Midday Hummingbird, a tale with two sides or the story of a hummingbird that was just too busy. The little wooden skunk is a 1950s brooch that caught my eye, a cheeky chap that had rather a big head perhaps. Next is @fawnlorn’s badger, the keeper of stories and a wise creature with many lessons to teach the world. The blue corn maiden from @shinyapplestudio already has a Native American story all of her own; a beautiful maid who is kidnapped by winter.
On the right hand side of the jacket, a George Méliès inspired man in the moon from @kategabrielle; I wonder what he sees and the stories he could tell? The flower strewn bunny from @tinydeerstudio tells a tale of the night and the dangers of dreaming too hard. The tea cup from @samanthaeynon is the storyteller’s story and the fairy in the jar is a far off land captured forever. A crystal ball tells of an endless night and the bottle is one that Alice left behind after her adventures in Wonderland.
Finally the Mandrake from @wormwoodandrue will shriek at you if you pull if from the ground and is a plant full of magic and mystery.

More pins will join these and more stories will be inspired. Once I have a story ready to tell I will post it on YouTube so make sure you’re following my channel over there. To find out more about my storytelling adventures please go to www.ddstoryteller.co.uk

What stories would you tell with these pins? I’d love to know …

What’s On Your Shelf, Rebecca Bradley?

It’s that time again, it’s  ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ and today, I am thrilled to be introducing, the best-selling author of the D I Hannah Robbins series, Rebecca Bradley. An ex police detective, Rebecca can be found blogging about books, writing, providing insightful information on police procedures and promoting other authors via  ‘Murder Down To A Tea’. If you haven’t already, please do check out her blog here and her highly rated series here. Take it away Rebecca!

‘Can I start by thanking Dawn for inviting me onto her blog for the ‘What’s On Your Shelf’ feature.

Below is a photograph of approximately a third of my downstairs bookcase. This is the left-hand side, there is another side out of shot as well as another two shelves below.


As you can see, I am running out of space and am having to pile books on top of others. As you can also see, my favourite genre is crime fiction. I have a slight addiction – to books and to crime. Though, I am now widening my reading experience more, but that tends to show itself on my kindle rather than in physical books. I love YA and have started to read thrillers with a sci-fi twist.

Two of my favourite authors are on show here. Karin Slaughter and David Jackson. One is a US author, the other a UK author. Both write fantastically brilliant character driven novels and I would buy them without having read the back cover.

One book on the bookcase that I maybe didn’t think I’d enjoy but loved? (I received it as an advance reader copy) was The Lie by Hesh Kestin. An Israeli set thriller. Slim but it really packed a punch.

Thanks again to Dawn. And I hope you enjoyed browsing my bookcase!’

Thanks Rebecca, a dark and gritty mix of crime fiction and thrillers there and it’s clear where the influences in your writing are from.

I too frequently pile books high despite having several bookshelves in the house and a mini cull at least twice a year. I think I have a book addiction.

The thriller from Hesh Kestin sounds interesting and I think I’ll be adding that to my TBR. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and show us your shelves Rebecca! Over to you guys, what will you be adding to your TBR?

Would you like to be a guest on ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ I’d love to hear from you so get in touch below or through my contact page on www.dsnelson.co.uk


10 Reasons I Love The ‘Grammars

I fell out of love with Facebook quite a long time ago and Twitter, well that just seems to be a melee of everyone shouting at once, I can’t hack it. I know these platforms work for others and Facebook has its place – it makes an excellent online address book – but they don’t always work for me. What does work for me is Instagram and this is why.


1. Creativity

First and foremost it has got to be the freedom of expression you find on Instagram. The very fact that you are putting out just a picture means people get creative with their message.

The pictures range from artists work, writer’s and their manuscripts, book lovers latest read, the beautiful outdoors or a creatives latest project. Anything goes! There’s still the pics of dinner, the kids in the park, the selfies and the memes but you can scroll past them if you’re not interested or remove them from your feed entirely without offending anyone. Simple.

The result: a reel of creative and inspiring photos.


2. A Friendly Community

I have yet to receive a negative comment on Instagram and if you do, blocking people is super simple and not a big issue. I’ve made some very good ‘virtual’ friends on Instagram, as many as I have blogging. You may think this is odd but I think of them as pen pals. You remember them, back in the days when you actually had to write to people!

In conclusion, you can create a relatively safe space  to be creative and converse with other creatives, which brings me to my next point.


3. Interaction

Up until very recently there was no way of liking someone’s comment, you had to reply if you wanted to acknowledge what they’d said. I like this, it creates a conversation. You can just like the picture if you want, but I’ve found that Instagrammars are in the main chatty folk and love to stop for a gossip. I hope that the ability to like comments doesn’t slow down this interaction. So far it hasn’t.


4. Inspiration

I am constantly inspired by the pictures I see on Instagram. Spurred on to try new things, new techniques with my very basic art or new ideas for stories sparked by someone’s adventures, it’s a wonderful place to be and soak up the artistry that Instagram is bursting with.

5. Freedom

As I mentioned earlier, anything goes. You can get arty with your photos or you can just let people know what you’re doing now with a simple image. You can add a comment below, some people even add a blog-worthy post with a lot of info. Some people just post a picture and let it speak for itself. A picture paints a thousand words, as they say.


6. Support

The support I have found on Instagram has sometimes taken me by surprise. I think the fact that people are looking at the images of what you are doing now and interacting with them is what inspires this support. It’s a place where people want you to succeed.

Again if you get any negativity, as you do with all social media on occasion, it’s easy to just remove this from your feed or block the person you don’t want to comment on your posts.

Now I’m not saying you should remove all criticism, that’s not healthy either and I’m not talking about the constructive criticism, I’m talking about the trolls. Yes they are on Instagram too, however they seem to be quite a rare species on this platform. Perhaps their aren’t enough bridges for them to lurk under?


7. Slower pace

For me Instagram moves at a much slower pace. Again it depends on who’s  in your feed but most people don’t take photos every minute of every day. The slower pace means you can stop to talk a lot more.


8. No Ads

So far, despite several attempts to do so, Instagram doesn’t seem to have added adverts to its feed. You do get other creatives promoting their products and creations, that may or may not be for sale but this is generally something you want to look at and you have chosen to have in your feed. Most ‘grammers are not ad heavy either, they know this puts people off. What’s even more important is they are very creative with their ads so often the ads are art in themselves.


9. No pressure to follow

There doesn’t seem to be the pressure to follow back like there is on other social media platforms. You either follow or you don’t, simple.

10. Link In profile

Finally, the ability to put a link in your profile means that if you want people to be able to look at your latest blog post, buy your latest book or just check out your website, they can do really easily. They can click on your gravatar which takes them to your profile and then click on the link or just scroll on by. The link does not automatically open and therefore does not interrupt their ‘gramming, unless they want it to of course.


I hope this has given an insight into why I love Instagram and how it could help you. Are you on Instagram? I’d love to know what you think and what social media you prefer. If you’d like to follow me on Instagram you can find me here. I’ll see you there!