Sunday, 29 November 2009

The week ahead

After slacking a bit towards the end of last week I have a seriously packed two weeks ahead.

I'm in Rotherham, West Brom & Birmingham Monday & Tuesday and have so much work to get through I am not entirely sure where to start. Home on Wednesday then off to City Wednesday eve to see our boys get beat by the Arsenal kids in the cup. Thursday back to West Brom then down to Wantage to spend the evening with lovely KBW and see her littles. Then Friday I am going to Biscester Village - will blog much much more about that after I have been.

Back to City at the weekend to be beaten by Chelski (though maybe not you never know); three weeks worth of ironing and more work. Sunday night off to Bradford to see Paul Weller.

Monday in London for work at clients and Christmas lunch. Back to Yorkshire Tuesday early for work then that evening off to see Madness at the O2 in Leeds. Early Wednesday drop The Boy at the airport then driving down to London for the Mucky Monday (on a Wednesday) Lunch - much potential for messiness it has to be said. Working from London on Thursday and shopping with The Boy (also going to try to get to The Tate to see Pop Art) then supper with CP and her boy and hopefully my brothers. Friday another day of pootling around then off to the Theatre - not sure what we're seeing yet depends what we can get tickets for.

Then back to Yorkshire for a rest - actually more washing and ironing and more work....ah well.

So apologies if I am absent - or if my posts are short (and not that sweet) updates will follow when it all settles down again.

Up early to catch up with work so an early night me thinks.

No idea what I have (or haven't) achieved this week other than got another year older and created more mess.

Hmmmmm.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Thankful

It's Thanksgiving today (Happy Thanksgiving!) and whilst this is not something we celebrate in the UK with the breaking down of barriers through the internet we are becoming much more of a global society and as such traditions that are country specific become more widely known about and the edges of where they are celebrated become blurred.

I am thankful, we have a good life. We have a home, we have food, we have plenty. We have our health and our family and friends. We have room to breath and enjoy our life without to much worry. I know how lucky we are and I am thankful, truly.

Today is the day of the Royal Visit so I worked late last night and have a few things to do this morning but will be spending the next few hours cleaning and getting ready. I need to completely clean through downstairs, change the beds, go over the bathroom (The Boy cleaned it on Sunday but, whilst he tries and I'm not going to stop him it's not up the Lady L's exacting standards). I also need to wrap the Christmas gifts that I have for my parents already so that they can take them back to France with them. The Boy suggested that I write down what I have bought for them before wrapping otherwise I will forget and then end up buying more or even more of the same to take down with us when we go after Christmas....he's right I know he is.

Another cup of coffee then I best be off and get on with my chores. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Whoops a little bit of shopping...


I popped to Meadowhell on my way back from Rotherham to get Sushi (nom nom nom) and whilst there just popped into House of Fraser and ended up with these two from Whistles.





The black one has a Zip from top to bottom at the back and will look great with those shoes I bought (I appear to be building a wardrobe around them.....). The stripey one is jersey but I plan to smile when I wear it.

I also got this is grey and red from Phase 8 - £55 and very very comfy


The shoulders are nice and poofy and it sits a couple of inches about my knees. Perfect for working from a coffee shop and a nice alternative to my jeans.

Whoops - at least I got my Sushi.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Another day closer

To my Birthday that is, to 40 (only 37 this year but closer and closer it comes). Another year has passed and I am starting to reflect.....

It's a been a good work year. I have met some really lovely people and have broadened my experience and knowledge and been quite lucky to have worked all but 10 weeks.

It's be a good hair year. After stupidly cutting it short again last year it is back to lovely length and other than the increasing silver strands it's looking good - I have still only been to the hairdresser once this year and must get over that and go more regularly. I just don't like the hairdresser.

It's be a bad (ish) weight year. I have lost weight (1 stone a least now) but not enough. I have another 5 stone to loose but have a goal now so maybe this year.....

Its been a rubbish year for exercise. I have donated again to the gym and dare not even think about how much each visit has cost me but this year will have to be different. In May next year I am walking 26.2 miles for charity and my knees won't take this weight so weight loss and exercise Hello, welcome back into my life.

It's been a really good and really bad year for friendship. I have developed new friendships with people I have originally met on line and some of those are now real life, actual friends who I am so grateful to have. Unfortunately, it's been a year since I last spoke to a friend who I have now known for 18 years but she's not prepared to apologise and (this time) I'm not prepared be called a bully so here we are stalemate. It's a shame but we are where we are.

Relationships. I love the Boy more and more each year (10 years now) and whilst we have our ups and downs it's good, yep it's all good.

Happiness. Am I happy? Yes, I think on the whole I am. Would some things make me more happy? Yes, I would love to be a mother, to be fitter and thinner but on the whole things are good.

So I am quite optimistic about the year to come, no idea where I will be working but lots of opportunity to be the best I an be and to do the best I can do.

Onwards.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Spreadsheet Hell

I am in spreadsheet hell. I am at the point in this contract when it is all about the numbers.

How many employees, how much are they paid, how old are they, how long have they worked there, what is their redundancy entitlement, how much notice have they got, is the data correct, does the data take into account birthdays or service anniversaries...blah blah blah.

I love the parts of my job that involve working with people and talking to them, getting the best solution for everyone and ensuring it is all done fairly.

I hate the bloomin' data. I am rubbish at data for a start and have never been very good at engaging with something I am rubbish at.

Today I must complete two sets of redundancy calcs for two clients.

The first is almost there and only for about 60 staff.

The second is just data at the moment for about 300 - all on different T&Cs and submitted in different formats - as I said spreadsheet hell.

As usual I am procrastinating by faffing about on twitter, facebook and blogs when I really should just crack on. So onwards, in to the breach.......aggggggghhhhhhhhhh.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Sunday again

Blimey that went quickly.

Here I am again on Sunday and have no idea if I actually achieved anything last week. I didn't make it to fat club, didn't get the frames up in the office, didn't crack the evil spreadsheet (though think I may have broken the back of it).

I did, get 6 more boxes off to storage and sorted out the spare room so the Parents have somewhere to sleep.

I bought and had a new washing machine delivered (that now seems possessed by the devil it makes such a noise and bounces around so much when it spins - I have had to drop a note in to next door to apologise for the noise).

I did some great Christmas shopping for others and myself, including loads of lovely books for baking/sweet making.

I made some Rose creams - they taste great but look awful.

Today I am being a bit grumpy and snappy so am trying to bite my tongue but not being overly successful.

Going to slow cook a chilli now for supper (and a batch for the freezer) and may finally get round to making the gingerbread I have talked about since Friday. Onwards.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Weekend reading

Whilst waiting for my washing machine to be delivered I have been tweeting, watching football and browsing through the lovely books I ordered from Amazon that arrived on Friday.

These are the books I got:


Sweet Temptation Nikki Trench

Image from Sweet Temptation

Life is Sweet by Hope & Greenwood

The sweet that started it all - Rose & Violet creams from Life is Sweet

Afternoon Tea by Susannah Blake







As you can see it's a variation on a theme as I am not great at baking and want to improve. Expect to see my attempts over the next few weeks. Just browsing before starting New Moon (the 2nd book in the Twilight saga)this evening.

Oh, I said I would photograph my Nan's china before it went into storage here is it:






The Royal Visit

RTT (dad ) and Lady L (mum - this is them) arrive on Thursday next week for 5 days, ostensibly to celebrate my birthday but also to catch up, do a bit of Christmas shopping and get a perm (Lady L not RTT). Isn't that handy that she needs a perm just when she happens to be over........coincidence? I think not.

I'm really looking forward to their coming and after the tense time in the summer we have already put in place coping tactics so that we get to spend some time together but also get some space so we don't fall out.

RTT & I are like two peas in a pod, to look at us you would know in an instance that we are father and daughter - we have the same shape head and body, the same smile and the same irritability. I know how impatient I can be and RTT is the same. So when we get together for the first few hours it's great then it can get a bit fraught.

So this time we have plans. They arrive sometime on Thursday so I am working Thursday morning and then will cook a lovely supper Thursday eve (maybe go a bit Thanks Giving). Then Friday The Boy has taken the day off and we are (at the moment*) heading to York to have a bit of a birthday shop then go to the Picturehouse cinema to see the new Coen Brother's film A Serious Man and have chunky chips and aioli and a lovely glass of red in the bar before heading home to spend the evening with the parents. Saturday is my actual birthday so after being spoilt by Mum making breakfast and maybe a sneaky champagne or two we're off to Eastlands to see City play Hull then home to Strictly and Xfactor as it's my Birthday and I will have control of the remote (yipee).

Then Sunday we are off to The Star at Harome for Birthday lunch - I have talked about going here for a few years so am quite excited.

They're off to my Brothers on Monday (The Boy is off to Glasgow and I will more than likely be off to West Brom/Birmingham) and then that will be it. We will be glad to have our house back and then a day or so later I will realise how much I miss them now they live in the South of France and not 6 miles down the road. Then I'll start looking forward to our trip for New Year to see them - only 4 weeks later.

*this is at the moment as my MIL has just phoned - she has been asked to go back in to see the Doctor for the results of a test she had recently. There is a strong history of bowel cancer in her family and this is what they tested for - she thinks that it probably won't be good news. The Boy and his Mum have been on their own for most of his life - she had him when she was 40 and his Dad left when he was about 10. She's the last of her family alive, there are some cousins around but no one close. So he is being very stoical but I can tell he is worried. So I have decided that if she gets the news she is expecting on Wednesday we might just go to Scarborough on Friday instead to see her and give her a bit of a sounding board.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Waiting in again

I am working from home again today, which is great as I am having one of those days when I really shouldn't be allowed to leave the house. I have dropsy, which is not unusual for me but can't seem to hold anything in either hand for any longer than 30 seconds (no Mum it's not the twisted nerve thing just me being a clutz) I am also lacking spacial awareness and have walked into a door handle and a box already this morning (i've only been up just over 2 hours). Finally I spent ages looking at my wardrobe (well pile of clothes at the end of the bed in all honesty) and ended up in bog standard jean (fine normal work from home uniform) faded FDNY t-shirt, shortie Uggs and a wooly jumper - should be okay but I look a right state.

I am waiting in for my Birthday present to arrive - the lovely Boy has bought me a camera for by birthday its a .....now there is a bit of a pause here because I actually can't remember what it is. But it is the one I wanted and it's small enough to fit in a pocket for Gigs and a clutch for nights out, it's also very very light and has those clever features that practically take the photo for you - which trust me I need. I thought it was at the post office so merrily tripped along there early yesterday (though I arrived before they opened - seriously they dont open until 7.45am; the day is already half over (well a little bit over)) thinking that the little red card would deliver my lovely camera but no; it was a delivery from Niven & Joshua for The Boy - pah! After sulking a bit The Boy chased up the camera and got an email confirming it would be delivered by DHL today. This means that today I will be listening out for the door all day and forced (gratefully see above) to stay in.

This long and rambling pre-amble leads me to the point of this post. I love shopping in real life but also enjoy a bit of online retail therapy and the excitement of receiving a delivery and opening it up in your own home (not unlike thatgirl39 talks about here). But I dislike waiting in all day.

So here's a quick Good, Bad & Ugly:

The Good

Niven & Joshua - arrived the day after The Boy placed the order (he didn't pay for any special delivery) perfectly prettily packaged. One of the items they sent was not what he ordered, so he phoned them, spoke to a real person not a machine - didn't have to press any buttons to get to them either. They were brilliant, couldn't be more apologetic sent the right good immediately and when he asked if they wanted him to return the wrong one they said oh no that won't be necessary at all. In addition they are affiliated with Mr & Mrs Smith so got a fab discount too. Well done N&J 4/5 (would have been 5 if it wasn't for the packing error).

Isabella Oliver - the first order took some time to come as it was a pre-order. But when it arrive oh my - so very very pretty (see here) great packaging, good delivery note (I know how rubbish that sounds but it came in it's own envelop and was very clear). The second order came so quickly after it was placed - I also got some lovely emails from thegirls@isabellaoliver.com letting me know what was going on with my order at each stage. Haven't had to return anything so no idea if that works well but I expect it does based on their others customer service. Isabella Oliver - 5/5 (particularly as I am now using the boxes to store my materials).

Boots Kitchen Appliances - yes really. Our washing machine has died, it's not quite 7 years old so (apparently) this is about normal. So after a search on Which? late last night I tried to buy one today. Comet offered me a delivery date of 19th December - yep that's right 4 weeks away. John Lewis was better but couldn't deliver before 26th November and were much pricier than others. The I stumbled on Boots Kitchen Appliances - well who'd have thunk. Very competitively priced (£70 less than John Lewis) and deliver on a Saturday (for an extra charge), recycle your old machine and all the packaging and you get advantage points. But best of all - they give you a 4 hour delivery time slot. They call you (or say they do I am jumping the gun a bit here as I am mid order process) the evening before delivery to confirm your 4 hour slot - then the driver calls you again the morning of delivery to confirm again - blimey! I had to phone their call centre after placing my order as I forgot to opt for recycling, I had to go through a couple of press button menus but then didn't wait at all to speak with someone. The lady was extremely helpful (she noted that I was not the first to miss the recycling button as it wasn't easy to spot) and bish bash bosh sorted. So if it comes tomorrow as planned Boots Kitchen Appliances 5/5 (woot woot)

Wisteria Lane - after taking advantage of the fab offer from Domestic Sluts here I placed an order with Wisteria Lane, I opted for next day delivery and it did exactly what it said on the box and arrived this morning before 9am (I didn't opt for that). A couple of the items I ordered weren't in stock but they phoned me yesterday and left a message letting me know and refunded the difference to my credit card. The box was dull - just brown cardboard but inside was lovely. Lots of pink tissue paper & pink ribbons, everything individually wrapped with pretty labels as well and a great delivery note, in an envelope with a card. They spelt my name wrong but that's not unusual at all. Only downside is I have to unwrap everything to see what it is as there is no way of identifying - which is a shame as most of them are gifts and being already wrapped would have been a complete bonus. So Wisteria Lane - 4/5.

Good/Bad

Home Delivery Network- yep good and bad. So sometimes they are brilliant, leaving things round the back in the outside loo (I live in a old Victorian House - we do have a loo in side as well now, honest) or if it's not raining by the back door. So mostly they are great. But this week they have left a Bob The Builder toy out in the rain by our back door but clearly addressed to two doors down - no problem I dropped it in but they hadn't even put a card through the other house to let them know it was here. The I had to arrange a re-delivery and it was all automated and required me to put loads of numbers and hashes in and eventually I managed to get it - only to be told it could be delivered anytime between 8am and 10pm the next day; so prisoner in my own home. It arrived early afternoon in the end but......so sometimes they are good and sometimes they are not so good - Home Delivery Network 2.5/5

Bad

DHL - stop walking across my grass there is a very clear path and it is less than 5 ft longer that way. Also close the fracking gate - it was closed when you arrived so please close it on your way out. Yes I know you have a massive network and can deliver to pretty much any timescale anywhere but HEY it's my house please be a bit more respectful. DHL 2/5


City Link - please knock more than once and give a chance to get downstairs - you are in Bad not ugly because when I phoned to follow up a delivery I had been waiting for all day and it hadn't come and the chap said he had tried but I was out - strange how he didn't leave a card then - you (the manager) brought it yourself on the way home. Oh and the map on your card to show where you depot is - is rubbish. 2/5 CIty Link

Ugly

UPS - delivery chap - what makes you think it's okay to get out of your van and light up then stand by my front door smoking in my face? Seriously, and don't get when I ask you not to politely. I haven't complained to your manager have I? No - so just show some manners. As for your collections department - don't get me started on how badly you let me down. I will never use UPS again and will encourage others not to use UPS. UPS - 1/5 (yep you suck but get 1 point for actually turning up).

Hmm feel better for getting that of my chest. What do you think of my ratings? Who are your good, bad & ugly?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Procrastination my old friend

I am in bed typing this. The Boy has gone to Glasgow again, after waking me at 5.20am to ask me whether my watch was by the bed and then when I said it wasn't turned the light on to find out the time.....grrrrr. So after getting up and closing the garage after him I came back to bed with my lap top, phone and work blackberry and have spent the last 90 mins arsing about on twitter and reading blogs.

I should be packing up the stuff to take to storage - something useful and necessary. However, instead I am here not quite snuggled. The Boy has been messing with the heating thermostat again so the heating only comes on if it gets Arctic in here (git). But it's all the way down stairs and that would mean coming out from under the duvet so it's easier to pop a sweatshirt on and just have cold fingers.

CP is not now coming this weekend - something about emotional blackmail and someones 40th Birthday, I have no idea. I don't mind at all just sad not to spend some time with her. She has rebooked for February so I am going to post her gift to her as I am not in Fancy London for a while now and it's just gathering dust in the shit-tip that is my dinning room.

CPs cancellation means that I now have an extra 5 days before we have visitors which gives me the perfect excuse to put of the sorting out of out mountain of stuff into storage. I shouldn't out it off and should really try to get it all done this week as if she were coming then (oh joy of joys) I can spend the weekend cleaning before my parents arrive next Wednesday (or maybe Thursday I don't actually know).

Had to go to Meadowhell™ yesterday to buy a new power cable for my Mac as the other one died. Have to go back there today for the meeting that I thought was yesterday. May start my Christmas shopping whilst I am there - though suspect that this may not happen as I have no idea what to get anyone.

During my short trip there yesterday I managed to buy a dress and a coat in Monsoon. Here is the dress:



The beading is metallic and nice and heavy so it keeps the bottom of the dress in place. It's a little more fitted than I thought it was but looks great on and fab with the shoes I got in the sale recently.

As I said I also bought a coat but can't find it on their website so here is a pic of love Cat Deeley wearing it



It's 8.22am, I'm still in my nightdress (with a tshirt and sweatshirt on top) it really should be time to get up. Porridge and coffee will do the trick. There's no way I will be able to get to the storage place and then to my meeting on time so storage will have to wait until later - but IT WILL BE DONE. It has to be.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The day after the day after the night before....

It started so innocently, just a FB message from Utterly Butterly asking if I fancied meeting up for a drink on Friday night to get together before she moved (she's only moving 10 miles away but is 5 mins away at the moment). So I put a casserole on for The Boy and got my sequins on, smoked up my eyes and met her at the local pub. I wore this French Connection dress (it's called Lust):



and my new bargain sale shoes (the black ones):


It was so lovely to catch up, since we last had a big night out she has got engaged, sold her flat and cut all her hair off. So we caught up over a bottle of PG and then got a taxi into town. It was all downhill from there. We bumped into loads for her friends, a few of which I have got to know over the years and had quite a few drinks. One thing (well drink) led to another and we ended up out until very very late. Sensibly we went back to UB's for a cuppa and promptly fell asleep. The Boy wasn't too chuffed to come down in the morning and find me on the dead to the world on the sofa, still in my dress, when I finally got home closer to 6am.

As The Boy was in such a mood with me, I spent all day Saturday pretending not to feel too bad when in fact I was having trouble evening speaking. So when In The Thick of It finished last night I could have almost wept with joy at the thought of going to bed.

So here I am the day after the day after the night before, over 8 hours sleep and I feel bloomin' marvelous. I have some interesting war wounds (bruises that I can't explain but as I am clumsy enough sober it's not really that surprising) and (some) memories of a great night out but now with the added bouns that The Boy is talking to me again, I no longer look like death warmed up and feel ready to tackle anything the day throws at me.

It was a great, great messy night out - and I for one blame it all on those pesky sequins.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

What was that Martini Rule again?


My friend KBW swears by the martini rule:

1 - not quite enough

2- just right

3 - one too many

my problem is when I get to the end of 2 I believe that I can beat the third rule and that it's won't effect me that way. PAH!

The Boy is away tonight in Glasgow, I fancied a G&T but the only tonic I had was flat so went for what I had to hand - so Martini it was. Just finishing my second and my touch typing is worse than usual so may actually abide by the rules tonight.

Chin chin everyone chin chin.

Dresses & Stresses



Today is national stress awareness day - but I don't feel stressed at all today. It will hit me in a week or so when I realise that I have no work after Christmas and won't be able to pay the bills in February but until then life is good.

Only lost 1lb at fat club last night but that's okay I feel very focused today so next week will be better.

Today is a good day, lovely and sunny but chilly - perfect autumnal day to wear a fabulous coat and also the dress that I made at the weekend - yep that's right the dress that I made. I am wearing it to work - yes in public and everything.

Here is the not most flattering picture of me taken by The Boy wearing the dress before I adjusted the darts so that they were equal (which they are now):


Sunday, 1 November 2009

A gift for CP






I spent her Birthday weekend with her and we had a lovely time but didn't get her a gift. So instead I said I would maker her some PJs and here they are. As it is a gift I also made a small lavender bag and a bag for the Jama's to go in. Just need to buy a white vest now and job done

National Novel Writing Month

After being told about it by MandiLuk (find her on twitter she is very funny and worth a follow) I have signed up to National Novel Writing Month - I have a month to write 50,000 words starting today.

So far I have a title (In these shoes? I don't think so) and a genre (Chick Lit) but that's it - I worked out that it should be 1,666 words on average per day but that is not very likely that I will hit that today. I need some structure and an outline....oh and should probably put my profile details in.

For now though I will just go public - I'm writing a novel, in a month. I have never done anything like that before, but until a few months ago I had never written a blog so perhaps this is the year of firsts.

Don't expect a masterpiece but it'll be a challenge and possibly even a bit of fun.

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