Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sunday Night Mash Up

The week in words and pictures.

On Monday I had my blood test appointment.  I was stupidly over-excited at the prospect, sitting forward in my seat as though I was waiting for my name to be called to receive an Oscar rather than a needle in my arm.  Afterwards I became very deflated as it was all over, I am off to the doctors' on Friday and will hopefully get some answers and some help.

About 3 months ago I posted this video on facebook, I thought it was hilarious but none of the 

people on my 'friends' list seemed to agree, no likes or comments.  At the time I did not give it a second thought. However this week someone else posted it and it became an immediate hit.  But I'm not bitter.

Also, a couple of years ago I suggested we try this on our annual group holiday to Great

The Kidz Breakfast - Jester's Cafe, Great Yarmouth

Yarmouth (this is one of the two or three times a year that I can guarantee company).  It is a breakfast at Jester's Cafe that costs £15 but if you eat it all in a given time you get it free (you have to prebook if you want a go), again, no response.  Someone else has suggested it for this year and it has been much better received.  But I'm not bitter.

Nothing much else happened this week, I had my haircut yesterday and managed to dye it (and not the whole bathroom) today.

I have been listening to my Slimpod for a full week now, I have noticed that I have started craving foods that I have never craved before and all I want to do is eat, I have even had to go up a size in jeans, I don't know whether it is because my ever contrary brain is fighting against the subliminal messages or whether it is because of my depression.

I did watch Doctor Who last night, I say watched it, it was on but I was not paying much attention as it seemed like a rehash of a previous storyline (Silence In The Library) and, as I have said before, Matt Smith and his companions just do not grab me like David Tennant and his companions did.  I have read a few reviews today and I think I am going to have to watch it again before next week as it feels like, from the reviews, I must have been watching a different episode to everyone else.

It is Easter today and these are the chocolates I received.  I might go to the shops tomorrow to

see if I can find any reduced eggs to treat myself to.

Finally, today, I have just discovered that And & Dec, or PJ & Duncan if you prefer, have made it to number 1 on the Offfical Top 40!  My week is now complete.

Today I dyed my hair.

I was going to put a brief mention of my hair dye experience in my usual Sunday Mash Up, but I think it warrants its own entry.

A couple of months ago I won a box of hair dye (other people win holidays, cars and money, I win hair dye and inflatable strawberries) but I have waited until now to try it.

It is an Olia hair dye by Garnier, this isn't the colour I tried but unfortunately I did not take any photos as I had not intended to do a full review.

The box also contains black plastics gloves which for some reason made me feel really naughty!

Normally with a home hair dye, the developer is already in the applicator, you just need to add the colour gel or creme (depending on the brand).  With Olia the teardrop shaped bottle is empty and you have to add both the developer and the colour.  It is recommended that you push the bottle into the back of the empty box to steady it, there is a perforated circle which you push in.  It is quite hard to push through though and I had to take my gloves off to get any purchase, even then the box ripped completely ignoring the perforations.

And if you push the bottle too far in you can't get it back out again.

I had a dark brown dye and the colour creme was a peachy orange colour.  I added both tubes to the bottle, screwed the lid on and shook for the recommended minute by which time the mixture was almost white.  As soon as I snapped the end off the applicator nozzle, the mixture started oozing out and down the side of the bottle.  I quickly started to apply to my grey hair (the instructions suggest that if you have 'many greys' to cover them first), I wasn't having to squeeze the bottle as the mixture was still coming out by itself.

The mixture seemed very thin and wet but turned sticky as I massaged it into my hair to ensure it was all covered, I am notoriously bad at covering my hair completely, I generally end up with a very noticeable patch that hasn't been dyed.  Normally by the time I have applied all the mixture to my hair, my ears, the bath and the bathroom walls it has started to change colour, this dye was still the pale colour that it had been in the bottle.

The dye had to stay on my hair for 30 minutes.

When the time was up I went back to the bathroom.  The dye on my hair had turned a dark shade of brown.    The instructions said to rinse until the water runs clear, now this is something I have wanted to say ever since I started dyeing my hair - it should say clear and colourless.  As my science teacher used to say, a liquid does not need to be clear to be colourless, lager is clear but certainly not colourless.  But when I started to rinse the dye out of my hair I had a bit of a shock, instead of a coloured, but clear, fluid streaming off the ends of my hair it looked like milky coffee!  It did, however, wash out very quickly.

I applied the gorgeous smelling conditioner, waited and rinsed, it is a huge tube of conditioner so will last me for a while.

I did spot a small blob of the hair dye on the bathroom floor, it was still the very pale colour that it had been on application so obviously it is a reaction with something in your hair that causes the dye to change colour rather than the air.  After I had wiped up the blob of dye I discovered that the floor that I clean on a regular basis is not actually that clean, as there is a perfectly round area, about the size of a ten pence, where the chemical in the dye has left the wood 3 shades lighter than the surrounding floor!

I will use this dye again, but I can't say that it would be the first one I would go for in the shop, but is certainly not one that I would avoid.

Oh and the undyed patch this time is above my left ear.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Haircut Day!

Today I had the hair appointment that I thought I had booked for last Saturday.  I go to Enigma on Spon Street and they are wonderful.  The only complaint is that their lighting makes my grey hair light up like a halo, but I guess that that would be an issue anywhere.

As always I was really pleased with my haircut, but as always, within 2 minutes of leaving the salon the wind and the weather had whipped my hair back into its usual mess, so sorry, no photos.

For those who do not know, Spon Street is a gorgeous street full of listed Medieval buildings somewhat ruined by the abundance of takeaways, kebab shops and out of place modernisations. On the corner of the street is the 14th Century Church of St John the Baptist where Civil War prisoners were held, the phrase 'sent to Coventry' originated in the hostile reception the prisoners received, or at least that is the story.

The start of Spon Street

The Church of St John the Baptist

If you stand with your back to the church you have the delights of the first inner city Ikea, a huge New Look and the empty TJ Hughes shop.  

I don't like going into town and I don't like shopping so when I have to go I do like to make it count.  I went in armed with a long list, some general things and also the final bits for the first two fancy dress events, I also had to renew my ridiculously expensive bus pass.

I did eventually get everything on my list and also found time for cake and coffee in Costa Coffee, had I been in Birmingham or Leamington I would have gone to Druckers but the Coventry Druckers is so uninviting I am surprised it is still operating.

I was going to treat myself to something but once I tallied up the amount I had spent on stuff that I needed, there was nothing left for anything that I would have liked.

By the time I got home I was absolutely drained and have spent most of the afternoon asleep.  I was going to dye my hair tonight but that can wait till tomorrow now.

I have a bottle of wine and chocolate cake for tonight, Doctor Who is on the telly, although I can't get involved over Matt Smith the way I did with David Tennant and I would have to say that overall, today has been a good day. 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

It's a four day weekend.

It's Easter

It's a four day weekend, hurrah! Or, maybe, it's a four day weekend, boo!

I am firmly in the camp of the second statement.  Whilst many people will use these 4 days to get away, to spend time with friends, partners, children, getting out and about, or even just getting falling over drunk, the only people I will be seeing this weekend are Mum and Dad.

Now don't get me wrong, I love Mum and Dad, I love them, I am eternally grateful for the things they have done for me, I would be lost without them and if anyone hurt them I would kill them.  However, at the age of 42 I really should have more to show for my life.  

I should have a group of a few close friends with whom I can arrange regular nights out or weekends away in Barcelona.  Or I should have a partner, and we could spend the weekend in a cosy b&b somewhere, or decorating our child's, or even grandchild's, bedroom.

I am hoping that this year will be better and I will spend time with people outside of work hours sometimes throughout the year, after all, even Sheldon Cooper was found a girlfriend.

In other news, the snow is finally going and I received the results of my first interim assessment and I passed! Not even scraped by, a proper pass!

Enjoy your Easter everyone and don't eat too many eggs!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Sunday Night Mash Up

This has been a very exhausting week, not really that busy but I feel drained.

Tuesday evening I tried to email my first Interim Assessment to the training centre for marking, the cut off was 2pm Wednesday but I could not find the email address anywhere in the paperwork or even online.  I remembered that we had been told not to email it to our tutor but to email it to submissions so for the lack of anything else I tried to email to '', it bounced back undeliverable.

I then emailed it to my work address so that I could send it from there once I had phoned up to get the correct email address in the morning.

Wednesday morning I had my regular 12 weekly appointment with the nurse at my GP's surgery, I have the Depo-Provera injection, and not for either of the two main reasons it is given.  This time, however, I finally found the courage to talk to the nurse about how I have been feeling for the last 10 years or so.

For the last decade I have felt depressed,  I tried to get help when I first started feeling this way and to be fair, the first doctor I saw at the surgery was very helpful, she listened, but quite rightly sent me off for blood tests to rule out anything chemical.  On my return to the surgery I was not able to get an appointment with the same doctor and saw a locum who was not at all sympathetic and told me that my results were normal and that I needed to cut out the part of my life that was causing the issue.

Since then I have dealt with everything myself, bottling everything up and never feeling 100% right.

Things have deteriorated over the last couple of years but I have still tried to cope.  I have sometimes wanted to say something at one of my appointments but have always lost my bottle but this time I did not give myself time to think about it, I was feeling particularly bad and so it all just spewed out of me.  The result, more blood tests, I go tomorrow and I have an appointment with a doctor on the 5th April, I have been assured that she is lovely and will help me.  So we shall see.

I then got into work.  I tried to phone my training provider to get the correct email address to send my assessment to, they still had the 'out of hours' voicemail on telling me they were closed and to try after 8.30am (it was well after 9.30am at this point).  I emailed my tutor to ask the address, I knew that she was off on annual leave but I didn't know if anyone else was monitoring her emails, no reply.  I emailed another tutor, no reply.  I tried ringing again, still the out of hours message.

I then had to go to a meeting and so resigned myself to the fact that I would not be able to submit my assessment.  I got back to my desk 10 minutes before the deadline of 2pm, phoned again and success!  I was able to get the address and sent my email with minutes to spare.  Now I just have to wait for the results.

Thursday and Friday were pretty uneventful, apart from being really busy at work.

All week I had been looking forward to having my haircut on Saturday, Friday night I realised that I had got my dates wrong and my appointment isn't until next weekend.

Saturday, this is what I woke up to on Saturday

It snowed all day Saturday and all through the night too.

Today, Sunday, I had to attend a training session in Birmingham.  The buses were not running and the first train was going to get me where I needed to be about 10 minutes late, which I thought in this weather would be OK (I hate being late anywhere so I was going to have to grit my teeth and accept it).  However, Dad offered to take me, even though he hates driving in the snow.

The roads were not good, although they were all main A roads, because it was so early hardly anyone had been out so the roads were still covered.  We drove carefully and left massive gaps between us and the vehicle in front.  Everything was going well until we were about half a mile from our destination.  Dad tried to break for a roundabout, he wasn't going fast, and we just started going sideways and eventually ended up sideways across two lanes, Dad had started to turn into the skid and I think that stopped us doing a 360.  We were both a bit shaken and missed the next exit resulting in a bit of a detour.  But we got there.  

I was a bit worried about Dad driving back so texted Mum to ask her to let me know when he got home.  He did the journey back in less than half the time it taken to get to Birmingham, there was more traffic about and so the roads were a lot better to drive on.

I then sat through 7 hours of Audit training, not the most inspiring topic.  At lunchtime I stepped out to get some fresh air and nearly went straight on my bum on the sheet ice that had formed around the building.  But I guess I would not have been the first person to fall over on Broad Street.

I caught the train home and decided to splash out and go First Class, and this was my reward.

Luckily it is only a 4 day week this week, I think I need a long weekend to catch my breath!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

I am dieting. Again.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed I have a new widget.  It is just down there, on the right.  It is currently informing everyone that I have lost zero pounds.

A couple of years ago I lost 35lbs with the help of WeightWatchers Online, although I had tried, and failed, WeightWatchers several times previously this time it really clicked and just seemed so easy.  I then changed jobs and had access to vending machines and a cafe, we also used to order breakfasts in most mornings.  Very often we would go to the pub on a Friday lunchtime.  Needless to say I put 14lbs back on within weeks and since then have slowly put on another 7lbs, give or take.

I tried getting back into WeightWatchers but just couldn't do it, I tried attending meetings but being of a contrary nature these meetings just made me see how much I could eat without putting weight on, this wasn't done deliberately, but that is how my mind works.

I then tried Slimming World, wasn't entirely convinced about this as having followed WW for so long I couldn't get my head round eating potatoes and not having to count points.  I lost 4lbs in the first week, I think that was body just going into shock,  I could almost see the shock on my stomach's face as the first potato hit it!  I attended for 2 months and did not lose even half a stone.

I bought an exercise DVD (detailed in a previous post) that promised a decent loss with just 20 minutes per day.  I thought I would be able to do 20 minutes every day, but I got bored so the DVD is gathering dust under the telly along with the mat and weights I bought to go with it.

I have now invested in a SlimPod, mp3s of 10 minutes duration, which, I am assured, will make me change the way I feel about food and myself.  I have gone for a double pack, which gives better value for money, containing Drop 2 Jeans Sizes (there was another entitled Drop 2 Dress Sizes but as I don't wear dresses but live in jeans I felt I could relate to this one better) and Make Fitness Fun.  I will also receive daily motivational emails.

I will chart my weightloss in the aforementioned widget, and update as I go along in my blog. Maybe this time it will work.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Date? Me? No, I can't remove this darn Invisibility Cloak

A few years ago I decided it was time I started dating, I hadn't bothered before as I knew I was single because I knew I was fat and ugly.  Weirdly, knowing this gave me confidence, knowing that I could move amongst other people almost invisibly.  I enjoyed sitting in a pub by myself with a book, a newspaper or just people watching.  I would go for meal by myself.  I would happily go on days out, weekends away, weeks abroad thoroughly enjoying my own company.  I used to laugh at people who needed other people around them, or who couldn't go anywhere by themselves.

Then everything changed, I suddenly became aware that looks and body shape did not seem to be a hurdle to anyone else.  I then realised that there must be something more wrong with me than just looks and size but I didn't know what it was.  All I know is that thinking about it completely killed my confidence.  I went from a happy outgoing woman, who whilst spending at least 90% of her non-working hours alone, was never lonely to someone who was a virtual shut in, only leaving the house to go to work and college.  After all, why would I want to inflict my hideous being on anyone?

I realised too late that shutting myself away was not good for me but I didn't have the confidence to go out by myself, as I used to do, and speak to people so I decided to give internet dating a try.  I thought it might be easier to get to know someone online before we actually met.  I knew that I would have to be careful, I knew that I might not be talking to the person I thought I was but I went into it with my eyes wide open.

I tried all the genuinely free dating sites first, but no-one caught my eye, I was not looking for gorgeous but I needed something to catch my eye and make me want to know more, it could be something in the photo or something in their 'blurb'.  I did send a few tentative messages but had no replies.  The only men contacting me were, at the risk of sounding a complete snob, just not my sort.

I then moved on to the sites who claim to be free, but actually are fee charging if you want to make contact with anyone or reply to any messages.  Again, no-one really caught my eye, certainly not enough to pay for.

About this time, eHarmony were holding one of their 'free contact' weekends so I thought I would give it a go.  As they proclaim to scientifically match people I thought I would give it a go.

There is a very detailed questionnaire to complete, it is a mixture of multiple choice questions, some wit wordy answers, others with pictures.  I spent a good 30 minutes working my way through the questionnaire so that eHarmony could assess my personality.  A short while later I received a report or 'Personality Profile'.  As it was about 6 pages long I am posting below some of the bullet points they included..

You Are Best Described As:

Taking care of others and taking care of yourself
Sometimes curious, sometimes content

Words That Describe You:
Somewhat Disorganised
Unpredictable At Times

Not a bad mix as far as I could see, a good balance of positive and negative, after all we are not all perfect despite what some people seem to think.  I felt that this was a positive step for me in turning my life around and was looking forward to seeing who I would be matched with.

However this is the response I received....

"We're very sorry, but our matching system cannot predict good matches for you.

eHarmony's patented matching system was developed after extensive research into marital satisfaction. We use each person's responses to our Relationship Questionnaire to predict the pairings of individuals that are highly likely to result in satisfying long-term relationships, based on what we learned through our research.

Unfortunately, based on responses to our questionnaire, we occasionally find situations where our matching system cannot identify high quality compatible matches, and this has happened in your case. Please understand that it is a result of our matching process and in no way reflects on you as a person or your ability to be in a happy relationship.

We apologise and regret our inability to find good matches for you. The time you spent completing our questionnaire, however, has enabled us to provide you with a free Personality Profile.. This Personality Profile lets you learn more about yourself and should provide you with valuable insights.

We wish you all the best in your search for that special someone."

When you are told by a dating agency that you are unmatchable you really do know that there is no point worrying about dating and that I should just accept that I will always be single.  After all, I have spent the last 42 years as a single person, I am sure I can cope with a few more.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sunday Night Mash-Up

I wasn't going to post tonight, but I have so much running through my head I need to get it out otherwise I won't sleep.

There is no particular theme for tonight, it is just going to be a selection of ramblings.

This morning I played host to the snoriest dog ever, Bess, she spent half an hour dashing round the garden in all the rain, sleet, snow and all the other weather we have had today, trailing mud in and out of the kitchen, came back inside, had a cup of tea and then fell asleep.  I was sitting on the settee reading the paper when I became aware of a noise.  It was Bess snoring!

Bess on a warmer day than today!

This afternoon I have done some more study and have pretty much completed my assessment.  I decided to scan the current version as it needs to be emailed to my training provider Wednesday morning at the latest, I still have two evenings to tweak it but at least I have a version that is ready to go.  I am not expecting to pass this assessment, I am merely using it to ascertain the areas I need to focus on in the coming weeks.  We have another assessment nearer the exam date, that is the one that I need to make sure I can pass.

Scanning the document was not fun.  After my comment yesterday that the printer was behaving itself it made up for it today.  It is actually a printer/scanner/copier all-in-one unit but to get it to scan I had to un-install and re-install it as I kept getting pop-up warnings telling me that it was in use by another program.  But after much muttering to myself I got there.

Afterwards I had another trawl through eBay searching for more fancy dress outfits.  I now have almost a complete Roger Taylor schoolgirl outfit, I have currently got a bid in on a blouse and I need plimsolls, but otherwise I am sorted.  As for the 70s night, I found a white outfit very much like the one that Muriel wears when she does her Abba tribute in Muriel's Wedding (if you've not seen the film, you must), but as I am on the larger size I am a bit wary, that's beside the fact that I could get a white outfit dirty in a sealed clean room, let alone in a bar!  Plus it is a jumpsuit type affair so after a few pints the likelihood is I will get my hair off with having to get undressed every time I need to go to the toilet.

Muriel's Wedding - 1994

I have put a bid in on a pair of white platform boots just in case.

Whilst I was studying I had my ipod on random, I need a certain amount of noise around me, I can't even fall asleep if it is too quiet.  Annoyingly some noises make me fall asleep easier than others, I cannot get through a Grand Prix on the telly as engine noise makes me fall asleep, if I am a passenger in a car I can be asleep before I get to the end of the road.  But it was at this point the Rocky Horror Picture Show theme started playing.  Now a couple of years ago, the theme for an event I went to was Rocky Horror, so myself and my friend went as Riff-Raff and Magenta, this year, PING went the lightbulb - Brad and Janet!!

Brad & Janet - Rocky Horror Picture Show 1975

But we shall have to see.  Since then, I don't know whether it is because I am exercising my brain with all my studies, but 70s themed ideas keep popping into my head.  But with less than 5 weeks to go, I really am going to have to make a decision soon.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

BEWARE - Low Flying Laptops.

Today I decided that I really should do some homestudy.

To be honest, I had never planned to do any during the week, as I am having to work extra hours to make up for the time I am having off to follow this work pushed qualification by the time I get home I really can't face any study.  I am up at 5am, out the door at 6.40am which, this week, has meant that I have arrived at work between 7.45 and 8.25am, leaving work at 4.30 gets me home between 5.50 and 6.30pm.  If I had a car things would be so much easier as it would take me about 15-20 minutes each way.  But I digress.

My plan today was to get the housework and shopping done in the morning so that it was out of the way and not peering over my shoulder all afternoon.  My washing machine was to be the indicator of my breaks, a load takes about one and half to two hours which is a nice length for a study session, my break would then be to empty and refill the machine.

That was the plan.

Having put the first load into the washing machine, I took my flask of coffee (yes, I know) up to my study area aka the box room.

Now my laptop and printer are really on their way out, I coaxed them through 3 years of AAT but I am not sure how much longer they will last but unfortunately with the amount that I am having to put away each month to pay for the course I have no idea how I am going to afford replacements. But again, I digress.

I switched everything on and logged onto the website of my training provider.  This is where it all started going wrong.  Now, I don't know if it was the website or just that the laptop could not cope with the size of the website but my laptop froze.  The mouse would not work, the keys would not work so I couldn't shut down from the windows menu nor ALT-CTRL-DEL so had to hold down the power button.

I then rebooted, but as the laptop had not been shut down correctly I had to wait for it to go through all the checks.  This happened twice.  I had to do a complete back-up and then delete a load of files which I will need to upload again one day.

My study area

Eventually I made it through the website and found the download I needed for the interim assessment I needed to complete.  The next hurdle was printing it.

A year or so ago, my printer had a complete meltdown and would not do anything and eventually I had to uninstall it.  When I tried to reinstall it I could not find the installation disc so had to download the driver and installation software from the web.  Because my printer was a few years old, the download was for a later version of the model which evidently had a display screen on the control panel so everything I attempt to do now is accompanied by the pop-up message 'Please check display'. I can't check the display, I haven't got one.  Printing a single sheet of paper takes 3 sheets and about 15 minutes.  Plus for some reason the printer will not work if it has more than 4 sheets of paper in the feeder. I was not looking forward to printing off 16 sheets of paper.

But the printer worked without a hitch! (Now I have jinxed it). It may have heard me threatening the laptop that it was going out the nearest window on more than one occasion during the afternoon.

By this time I could hear the washing machine going into the throws of its final spin, so my first study session was coming to an end.  Ninety minutes plus and all I had done was print off the assessment.  

It is now 8pm and I am only half way through the assessment but I am done for the day.  I have a bottle of wine and some chocolate cake with my name on in the fridge so I will continue tomorrow. Hopefully with more luck than I have had today.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

An Interlude... but not in Constantinople.

I have four fancy dress events coming up in the next few months and I have no idea what to wear.  I am terrible with fancy dress outfits, I usually change my mind 5 or 6 times for each event and so have a plastic crate full of part completed costumes in the box room.

The first event is themed 'The Seventies', now in my opinion this is far too broad of a scope, especially for my indecisive brain.  I have managed to get hold of an original seventies skirt and top set, it is blue speckly stripes, if you lived through the seventies you will know exactly what I mean, a pair of cork wedges and some American Tan tights.  But I am not happy.  I don't know exactly what I want to wear I just know I am not happy with my current outfit.

The second event is themed 'Queen', that's Queen the band, not her Maj.  Again a very broad scope. First idea was to go as someone in the crowd at Knebworth or Wembley, (jeans & tshirt) but decided that I really should put more effort into it.  Second idea was to go as Brian May in the I Want To Break Free video (pink nightie, curlers, bunny slippers) but I couldn't find a nightie that looked just right so that was that idea out of the window (if I am going to do something I have to do it right).  So am now looking at Roger Taylor, and who wouldn't, in a schoolgirl outfit and so far have the skirt and boater.  But I still have time to change my mind.  Again.

The third event is unthemed. Nightmare!  It is also in Spain so whatever I decide to wear has to be practical and not take up too much space in a suitcase.  The pub where the party is being held is called Alcatraz so have settled, at least for now, on a prison themed outfit.  I have ordered three.  The first one arrived today.  It is a fluorescent orange zip up dress, with GUILTY printed on the back and a prison number on the front, it comes with a black belt and handcuffs.  It's a no-go.  Far too baggy on the top half and non-existent on the bottom half.  I knew it was going to be short, however I did expect it to cover my bottom..  Will work with leggings as a last resort.

This is not me, as much as I would like to say it is.

I also have on order two black and white striped outfits.  The first is a dress and hat, but I am guessing I will have the same issues with the length as the one that arrived today,  the second is a stripey tshirt and trousers and I have a feeling that this is the one I will end up in.  

Finally, I have a Ghostbusters themed party.  I did have an idea for this one,  a little bit out of the box and unlikely to be copied.  I was going to go as Columbia, from the film company logo, but then thought 'white dress', 'lots of alcohol' and decided against it.  So once again I am stumped.  And again it needs to be easy to transport as I have a 7 hour train journey to get to the party.

The first party is in 5 weeks, so I really need to make a decision.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Time for an update.

Well Dear Readers, it has been over a month since my last missive, but I have great news to impart!

But first, a small recap.  I started in my current position in February 2012, at the time I was studying for my AAT qualification and from day one was encouraged to continue with my studies once I had passed by moving onto either CIMA or ACCA.

In December I received confirmation that I had passed my final AAT exam and was therefore AAT qualified.  I informed my Department Manager who congratulated me and then told me to think about further studies over the Christmas break, this I did and decided that I would study CIMA.

As my employers were going to be part funding my studies I made enquiries with training providers to find out costs and dates and passed all the info on to my manager. And waited. And waited

And so on to my news.

I have finally received confirmation of my funding.  Unfortunately this was a month past the registration deadline for CIMA so I made the decision to switch to ACCA.  Again, training providers were contacted and costs and dates checked out and decisions about modules and training types made.  The training provider would invoice my employers directly, and they in turn, would deduct my contribution from my wages.

However, also in my office, I have a colleague who is a band higher than me and therefore earning more money than me who is still only part way through their AAT and our manager was able to negotiate a free course for them to complete it (approximately another 18 months worth of training and exams) so it will not cost them a penny! But I'm not bitter.

So I started my training last Sunday with a full day of F8 International Auditing.  Being in class on a Sunday did take a bit of getting used to, especially the bit about having to get out of bed at the time I would have been getting INTO bed 20 years ago or so.  I was then back in work for two days and then back training, this time F6 Tax, for three days.

As I have my AAT qualification, I only have to sit 11 of the 14 ACCA exams to obtain my qualification, I am exempted from the Foundation level exams, however I do have to pay for the privilege of NOT sitting them, this cost is not included in the work's funding, neither is the cost of my subscriptions nor any resits.

These are the materials for just one of the 11 exams that I am sitting.

As well as part funding my costs, my employers are giving me half the time I need for my studies too, in other words, for every day that I have to attend training, I only have to make half a day up in extra hours.  As I am studying partly in the week and partly at weekends, I only have to make up 3 days for these first two modules that I am studying, for future modules I may try and do more weekends, that way I won't have to do so many extra hours at work.

But having said all that, I am actually enjoying myself.  Scared at the amount of knowledge that I am going to have to absorb for my exams, but I just need to apply myself.  The exams are all 3 hours long (plus reading time) and I 'only' need to score 50% to pass each of them.

I am not back into training now until Sunday 24th March, so plenty of time to get through the mountains of homework, online tests and interim assessments that I have to do!