• Blogging,  Favourites,  Lifestyle,  writing

    New Years Resolutions 2021

    One of the things I always forget to do, is make a New Years Resolutions and even when I do make them, I nearly always forget to fulfil it. So as a fresh start in 2021, I am going to write it down on this blog so I can’t wimp out. Here are all my goals for this year…


    I am the worst for not tidying up until I need to. Since watching MRS HINCH & STACEY SOLOMAN, I have discovered I love tidying and home comforts (which I wil be adding to this blog too) I always need to have a plan in mind first. I can never tidy aimlessly, I need a goal & use MRS HINCH LISTS!


    I’m hoping that when lockdowns or restrictions in my area have eased off I will be able to meet up with friends again and enjoy their company once more. If restrictions aren’t loosened or if either me or my friends are in lockdown, I still want to video chat more with them and keep up with their lives too… even if one of my besties lives in England, I’m from Wales, UK, by the way!


    I have a terrible habit of not keeping diaries updated after the first few months. This year I want to look in 2022 & see where I went right or wrong in the year and make resolutions based on the previous year. I think it is useful for organising your life and making plans, even if it is just ZOOM!

    • BLOG TWICE (or more) A MONTH

    I have been known for not blogging for over 6 months (especially with Covid around, I felt like I had nothing to blog about, which is lieees!). This year I vow to write more regularly on my blog!


    I’m known for ignoring COVID updates and I think this is a bad idea, as it has changed everyone’s lives. This year I’m going to start watching updates whenever I can to be more knowledgeablee!

    • WRITE OVER 15,000 WORDS ON “The Dark Man Novel” (this year).

    Last year like I said I had a down year, with my mental health playing up slightly due to the COVID restrictions and not being able to do things I would like. This effected my writing terribly as I felt slightly depressed and got “imposter syndrome” – this meant I felt like I couldn’t write anymore & what I had wasn’t my own as I wasn’t good enough to write. I want to change this in 2021

    I hope that list of resolutions work well for me this year and I get to achieve them all, but this now brings the list to a close, as I have run out of things to add. I hope you enjoy this new rebrand as much as I do, as it was a big decision to start a new name, with my old blog.


  • Blogging,  business,  writing

    Writing Wednesdays #2 // 2021 update

    I haven’t done an update post like this, in over a year.

    I decided in 2020 I would have a break from writing and put my novels on hiatus for a year, but now I have started to miss writing blog posts, as well missing writing my fiction work.

    I have got 4 potential novels that I am writing with very different themes from mental health fiction, to fiction crime. I am hoping to be under the young adult category and have published at least 1 novel, if not more, within 2 years. I don’t mind if I self-publish or traditional.
    In the world, 2020 has been a nightmare for everyone, especially areas and countries hit bad with Covid-19/Coronavirus. Where I live was hit at its worst right now, in December 2020. We thought we were out of the woods months ago but Covid hit back badly.

    Since Covid, I like many others, felt a slump in my writing and personal life too. When I should have made the most of free time, due to quitting the library shifts (due to a Covid scare and it having to close with temporary restrictions, earlier in the year!) & the various restrictions in and out of Lockdown for Wales, I actually became less attentive to my blog (You will notice not many posts were done this year) & stopped writing my fiction work completely.
    I felt drained and it is only now with the promise of a fresh start in the new year and a new 2021 diary, did I feel up to carrying on with my blog and writing. I am hoping for a fresh start for 2021. I am aiming to complete at least one of my novels by the end of the year 2021 and I also want to regularly post on my blog again.

    As I have fell out of love with books and want to explore other areas such as home care, food/drink, TV/film reviews, etc, I will be doing lots of new content next year. So look out for it.
    I know I change it up a lot on my blog, especially since 2019, but please stick with me as I like writing for my favourite hobby, but also because I love to read other people’s opinions about what I post!

  • Favourites,  writing

    Flash Fiction – “The Window”

    405 words. (trigger warning – mental health & incl. potential illness)

    By Danielle Mcdowall

    FEBRUARY: The night was dark, it was cold, and there was a fog outside. She sat calmly looking out the window again. It was the last night of the month and a man was walking down the road with a dog, a puppy perhaps, it was hard to tell from the distance that she was stood.

    LAST DECEMBER: It was 6 pm and dark. She looked once more and there was a figure on the floor, the person’s face wasn’t visible but whoever it was looked out of place. Who was it & why was he or she there? She fell asleep easily and looked once more when waking up, she looked at her watch it was quarter past 3 in the morning and there was another man, older & stockier stood there facing her window, hiding his face.

    The woman was living alone and started to question her sanity.

    “Am I imagining these figures?”
    “I am alone in this house and I have no one to call”
    “Should I confront them? Or deny they turned up?”
    “…and if they even exist, why are they here?”
    “Do I know you from somewhere?”

    LAST MARCH: she looked out the window once more and there was nothing but cars and concrete. Was it all in her mind? had she created these images? or was it too much vodka? she didn’t drink.

    LAST JULY: she looked out the window at a blank canvas. What that was once there, stood still. There no movement. Silence except for a black cat running silently across the road, looking for a mouse. The birds sat on the roof, ready for the morning. All that was there, had vanished.

    “Will they ever return?” she asked.

    “Did they ever exist?” she asked again.

    LAST SEPTEMBER: she was alone, the TV had broken and there was no-one to call.

    “Is there anybody out there?” she cried.

    There was no reply. There was a silence, in the deep dark room, she started to look outside,

    “Maybe I can find a friend from the outside of this house.”

    “No one knows me”

    LAST OCTOBER: She needed her meds. She had stopped taking them. She was not alone. She was where she belonged. Safe. The voices in her head didn’t exist, or the figures outside. The silence was deafening but she was finally at peace.

    “They don’t exist, I DO”

  • Favourites,  Languages,  Lifestyle

    My Journey with Languages, in 2019

    This post was written before: published & then deleted… Let’s try again!

    I started learning languages while I was in an English-speaking Welsh secondary school (USA: high school). There are two types of schools in Wales, one that teaches in Welsh, or in English. They are both very well established but it depends on the student & parent whether they want their child to speak Welsh well/fluently at home. My mother decided to choose an English speaking school as neither I nor my family can speak any Welsh. This worked out well for me, as I never liked the language anyway.


    My real journey with languages started when we had the option to learn German or French in the 3rd year of secondary school. Up until then I was learning French, took 1 German class and hated. I choose to take French as a GCSE class & loved it. In the 3rd year we travelled as a big group to France and being in the country I loved it but had a bad experience with the people I went with (don’t ask – arguments).

    After leaving school at 16, after GCSEs, with 7 decent results including a C in French, I decided not to carry on learning. This was a bad move, as after 10 years I have lost most of the grammar & words I learnt over 5 years. French is still a big part of me & I still want to learn the language 15 years on from my original GCSE choice.

    As of 2018/9 I have missed learning French & in 2020 I hope to go to classes & re-learn my French, then get back to the level I was at 10 years ago. If I had the chance with a close friend or family member I would love to travel to France again to see lots of tourist sites, speak the language & meet others. So far, I have bought reference books to practice at home & use Apps on my phone.


    Roll on to 2017,

    I decided 10 years after leaving school, I wanted to learn a language again. I didn’t want to re-learn French. I wanted to start from scratch. Many people recommended Welsh (which I never liked) or Spanish (the most common language in the world) but I choose a different path. I choose Italian – or should I say it choose me!

    Italian started as a hobby to learn a new language. Both the tutor and class I was in, were amazing. I took weekly classes in Italian for 2 years & enjoyed them. We all got on, helped each other, laughed, cried together & spurred each other to reach new goals every term. The tutor I could not praise enough, she was brilliant with us. A real Sicilian lady who promotes our progress constantly and tells us of real life and celebrations in Italy/Sicily & how the language works.

    I learnt Italian for just under 2 years and then choose to stop. On the European guidelines for languages, I would say our class were coming up to the A2 level (A1-2, B1-2, C1-2).

    I would love if I could one day get up to B2. The tutor said she was happy to have taught us for as long as we would like her to. But unexpectedly changed her mind and left mid 2019.

    Long term GOALS:
    My ultimate goal is to be multi lingual – English, French & Italian.

    I want to be able to talk, read, write & able to watch real foreign films & TV.

  • Favourites,  Lifestyle

    COVID-19 and ME (in the UK, 2020)

    A blog post about the hell of the last year (2020)

    The last year has been hell for everyone.because of COVID-19. The blight of the whole world. “The modern plague”, “the death flu”, etc..

    For those who are unaware of COVID-19 – it is a virus/infection that is airborne and can be transmitted by human to human connection in close contact. It started in China and 100s of thousands of people have got it, and over 50,000 have died from it. Many more have infected people with it. The official stats are still going up and it has spread worldwide. It is a deadly virus

    COVID-19 spread around the world and got eventually to the UK. As a UK citizen, I was worried anyway, but not until mid-year 2020, did my local area feel the worst of the pandemic.

    The UK had been on/off for over 4 months under “Lockdown” which meant we could not do every day things such as meeting friends and family, going to work, the pub or even meet in large groups in public.

    My area realised it got dangerous in the UK when we had to start wearing medical face masks in public – shopping, walking the dog, etc. It also affected other events such as Live TV, festivals and events being cancelled. Also filming for tv shows changed dramatically, with something called “social distancing” – This was a preventative measure to stop the spread of COVID-19.

    Recently, around September (roughly) “Lockdown” ended, things looked brighter and then BOOM. In October, again, Lockdown was reinforced in certain parts of the UK – the most highly infected areas. The number infected and dying were up for the first time in months.

    This time, the general public could still go about normal jobs but up-until this day (October 2020) we, the UK citizens, are still frightened of catching this deadly virus. It is the modern pandemic and we are not out of the woods yet.

    We, The UK (and the world) are hoping the worst of it is over and it will start to ease off by New Year or in the year of 2021. But WHO Knows? It may never go completely.

    Please give me your stories of COVID-19 in the comments.

    UPDATE: “The Covid death toll across the UK has surpassed 60,000 for the first time, hitting 61,116, according to analysis of official data. The total number of deaths registered by the three statistical agencies across England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland now stands at 59,927” (read on The Guardian.online)
  • Favourites,  REVIEWS

    [REVIEW] “His Dark Materials” – My Favourite show of 2019.

    As you can imagine by the title this is going to be a review of my favourite TV series this year. I can’t describe how good this show is from the scenery, the actors, and the script. It was perfect. BBC TV show details: view here.

    The actors were perfect in their roles,

    Not only did we see lyra’s spirit and determination shine through with the young actress playing her. Her speech sounded exactly as how I read it all those years ago when it was first released in paperback.

    Mrs Coulter’s actress showed her hardness being crushed, her under-lying meanness and how vulnerable she was underneath her hard exterior. I can’t explain enough how amazing her outfits were and how put-together they looked. Also top marks for making her the fashionista of the series. I hope the catwalk outfits carry on throughout the next series (if there is one?)

    I must admit that the rest of the cast were superb in their acting too.

    One that really stood out to me was Billy Costa’s Mum, You really felt for her right from the first episode, when he disappeared, right up until when he was might have been found. I don’t want to spoil what happens but it was very emotional viewing. I shed a few tears watching his mum show the agony of loosing a child.

    The next thing I want to gush about is the way in which the Daemons have been created for the scenes with them in. I would have thought it would be hard to create them, however the CGI effects, and puppets did well in showing how the spirit animals following their real-life actors. The voice actors used for the Daemon’s suited the characters and really came to life. They all looked so life-like to the point where I started to wonder whether they were using real animals (they weren’t).

    I would say how good the storyline and script is however as many are aware this series is actually based on a set of 3 books that were adapted for the TV. I read the books so long ago that I had forgotten most of the storyline, but watching His Dark Materials reminded me how I still love reading stories like that and also how incredible the books really were to read, let alone this spectacular tv series.

    To sum up my review,

    I must give the cast and others behind the whole series a 5-star rating. Although there are some parts which may possibly scare young children, I recommend it as a show for all ages over the age of 10. It is interesting, funny, slightly darker than you think but, is still inspiring to watch and follow Lyra on her journey throughout the series. I am hoping that His Dark Materials will be continued for a second series to continue on with the storyline and a final third part too.

    I hope you see this review and decide to try this series on BBC IPlayer before it disappears. It is a great series that will make you laugh, cry and make you want to spur the characters on to the next episode. I believe there are only 6 episodes, which are one hour long each, in the series… but they are totally worth binge-watching.

    *It is a brilliant show that kept me on the edge of my seat;
    with me not knowing what would happen next!*
  • Books,  Favourites

    Why I cancelled my readathon last year // Why it’s back!

    As you might have noticed by my pinned current tweet on my Twitter, I have advertised my month-long readathon, that I created September last year.

    I came up with the idea while trying to think of a book series I would like to read, along side a children’s series. “The Chronicles of Narnia” does both.

    I decided that over the space of a month it is plenty of time to read the short 7 book series and it will get people reading again as it is a simple level to start back up reading.

    Sadly no one was able to join in or promote my readathon, so I shelved it for the year. But as it’s been a whole year already, I thought I would try and bring it back this year. Hopefully a few if not a lot of people will be interested in trying it this year.

    Not only will it give my blog more publicity. It will also encourage new and old readers. 📚

    I hope you join me this year and I look forward to us all completing the NarnAThon challenge by 30th September.

    Here is my original post: NarnAThon #Readathon

    Happy Reading!

  • Blogging,  Favourites


    Well that second year came round quickly didn’t it. When I first signed up to WordPress two years ago, I thought this blog would just be a part time thing that I created for fun and to join in the conversation about books.

    One year on, I became self hosted (dot.com) thanks to my fabulous friend in IT. I started to take this blog very seriously. Towards the end of the half of the 1st year I was scheduling posts, months in advance. It went well & lots of people engaged with posts.

    Over the beginning over the beginning of this year I took a step back due to other commitments and not over working myself, I started a psychology course that took a lot of my time and also started my old hobby of fiction writing again, As well as continuing my italian lessons and volunteering at the library too, most of which which I have also explained already on other pages on my blog.

    Anyway back on topic, by January this year I thought of closing this blog but took another look at what I’d created and decided it was too good to throw in the bin.

    I realised I now know how to add widgets, website design, newsletters and menus – all thanks to learning; so I could make this site the best quality that it can be.

    I made the decision against my friends advice to change the theme of the website and looking back it was the best thing I’ve done. I know I don’t post as regularly as others and maybe I’m not cut out to be a book or lifestyle blogger, but I have put my heart and soul into designing and maintaining this small piece of the internet.

    Am I proud of this blog? Damn right, I am!


    Previous titles,
      (2017) Danielle’s Book Reviews.
      (2018) Welshie Books & Thoughts.
      (2019-…) W Books n Thoughts.