Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sunday Night Mash Up

This week at work we celebrated the 65th Birthday of the NHS, the actual anniversary date is the 5th July but Friday was our annual Health & Wellbeing Day so the celebration was brought forward a week so they could be run together.

I forgot to take my camera so this photo is courtesy of UNISON

I was hoping to be able to post more photos but this is the only one I can find so far. There were tea rooms set up and we were provided with a lunch equivalent to the rations of the day, so two sandwiches (two triangles cut from one slice of bread) and a cake.  We were also given an old penny which we were able to exchange for a penny's worth of sweets in a stripy white and pink bag.

If I can find more photos in the week, I may do a full post and review.

Last week's Silent Sunday post was a picture of a bright orange-yellow flower on my marrow plant, this week that flower has been replaced by a four inch marrow! Fingers crossed but I am already doing better with my first attempt at growing marrows than I did with my attempt at growing squash last year.  I also have more flowers growing so hopefully there will be further fruit.

Yesterday someone commented that it is strange how the world abandons you. Why is it always the people who are NEVER alone that come out with statements like this whenever they have to spend 5 minutes by themselves, I suppose it is because when you have nobody you can never be abandoned.

Silent Sunday - 30/06/13

Friday, 28 June 2013

It has taken over 3 years, but finally some honesty.

So after more than three years of denials, the former object of my desire, my former best friend and the taker of my virginity, (sorry, TMI), has finally admitted that he is in a relationship with the woman he has officially been sharing a one bedroom flat with for the last 18 months (before that he was living there but still had his own flat so it was unofficial).

They have been together for over four years now but he has been denying it for the last three.

I admit that I did feel a little bit of a jolt when I saw the facebook update even though it was not a surprise.  But, within 5 or 10 minutes I was over it.  Further proof, I think, that I have got him out of my system.

We haven't spoken for nearly 3 months, not since he told me he would not be coming on holiday with me the following week (blaming work, but even then I knew better), but up until that point we had spoken 3 times a week, and frankly, him disappearing out of my life hasn't left that much of a hole. Yes, I did still wonder every morning whether he was going to phone me that day (I was not allowed to phone him for obvious reasons, but there was never any danger of him interrupting me with anyone), but he doesn't and one day I suddenly realised that I was not that bothered, now I don't even wonder if he is going to phone.

I am definitely getting better.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Obviously I am a little naive.

Recently it has been suggested that I have a few guest posts on my blog as it could extend my readership.  Being still so new to blogging I had not considered this and actually had no idea how to go about it.

I tweeted for some advice and had a few helpful replies.  However I also received some replies asking how much I would be paying for guest posts.  Silly me did not realise that someone would want paying to promote their ideas, blog, product, website etc to a new audience.

I don't make any income from my blog, I don't even get asked to review things, I just use it to get my views and feelings out as I have no-one really to talk to so the blog, and its readers - thank you :) - have become my substitute friends so I refuse to pay someone to post on it.

Maybe this is an opportunity for someone to create a linky, in the same way we have Silent Sunday linkys and Blog Hop linkys, maybe we could have a linky for those willing to host or provide a guest post for free?

For now then, you are only going to be able to read my own ramblings.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Sunday Night Mash Up

This week I have been poorly again, I won't go into details suffice to say I have become very familiar with toilets that I would not have used had I had a choice.  They weren't quite as bad as the toilet in Trainspotting (Google it if you can't remember the scene) but not far off.  I am feeling better now and actually felt hungry this morning for the first time in over a week.  I am glad I am over it but I am happy with the nearly half stone weight loss, that is more than I ever lost in a week when I was dieting.

This week at work we had a rehearsal for our performance this Friday, it is 65 years of the NHS this year and the hospital is holding an event and some of us have 'volunteered' to help out.  We are dressing up in 1940s outfits and have also 'volunteered' to be backing singers/dancers for a colleague who is singing.  Unfortunately we are currently looking more like a Morecambe and Wise sketch so we should provide a laugh if nothing else.

I am still trying to get my hair to go into a Victory Roll, or Betty Page fringe or any sort of 40s hairdo with no success, I can't even get a headscarf to stay on, it keeps sliding off, so I am still not sure what I am going to do with it.

Yesterday I had my haircut (which is probably not assisting me in my hair styling efforts).  It looked fab when I left the hairdressers but by the time I got to the end of the road the wind had done its job and I looked like Waynetta Slob again.

Today I have been baking, I have made some Sweet Potato Muffins and Rhubarb Crumble Muffins to take into work tomorrow.  I think both recipes need work, but they are ok for a first attempt.

I really must get a proper cooling rack so that i don't have to keep using the rack out of the grill tray.

Silent Sunday - 22/06/13

Friday, 21 June 2013

A Rant.

I am going to have a bit of a rant about how people seem to treat relationships, family and friends, the names have been removed to protect the (not so) innocent.

A few years ago, an acquaintance of mine (we have never met, but are online friends) split from her boyfriend as he was cheating on her and she turned to me for advice, I have no idea why as I obviously have no experience of going through a break up.  She said she could not afford to leave the house they shared as she had no money, although she had a full time job all her wages went into her boyfriend's bank account.  She said that she would not be able to get her own account due to getting in debt previously, I pointed out to her that she could get one, probably with just an ATM card rather than a debit card but she would get one.  

I asked her if she had friends nearby that she could stay with, she said she had no friends locally, they were all her boyfriend's friends.  I spent weeks trying to help her as best as I could being so far away.

Then she got back with her boyfriend.

All of a sudden she was spending money like it was going out of fashion, buying expensive trinkets and cars; taking up expensive hobbies.  Referencing her 'good friends' and 'very good friends' that weeks before she said she didn't have.  Back to complaining that she hadn't had a holiday for so long (spending almost every weekend away in the caravan during the summer months apparently didn't count.  When this was pointed out to her, not by me I have to say, she got very huffy).

Now when she mentions how long they have been together, she tends to leave out the part where they split up.

I have another acquaintance who is always bemoaning how much their job takes them away from the children, which is fair enough.  However, at the weekend when they can spend time with the kids, they palm them off on family so that they can go out partying and drinking.  Strange how it is only when they are at work that they miss their kids.

Someone else has just split with their girlfriend of three years.  A few days later they had the cheek to complain that a bloke had come up to them in the pub and had a go at them for sleeping with their (the bloke in the pub) ex-girlfriend 11 months ago.  Would that be whilst you were still with your own girlfriend then sunshine?

A yet further person is always complaining that they never see anyone and are always alone, generally followed within minutes by a post about heading off to the pub for lunch with XXXX, or about someone coming round, or about meeting someone for a trip round the shops.  They have absolutely no idea what it is like to actually never see anyone.  I go to work, I go to college  and unless I go away I don't see anyone at any other times, I have in the past not spoken for an entire week simply because there was no-one to talk to.

I could go on, but I think I have said enough, gggrrrrrrrr.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Suddenly A Spender?

I've never been one to spend a lot of money on clothes and toiletries, just the essentials and that it is generally it.  Since I stopped leaving the house except to go to work and college I bought even less.

Christmas Day or New Year's Day (or both if there was nothing on the telly) I would have a clear out of my clothes and shoes, sorting them into 'keep', 'bin' and 'charity shop'.  Eventually I was left with work clothes, an interview outfit, a couple of pairs of jeans and a few t-shirts and jumpers. And that was enough. I am sure that the charity shops were pleased to receive items still with their tags on, having not been worn at all as I did occasionally buy things 'just in case' but never needed to wear them.

Now that the warmer weather has finally arrived I have been having a bit of a delayed Spring Clean and I have been amazed to discover how much I have bought in the last couple of months.

This is just some of it.

I have bought 6 pairs of jeans (2 dark blue, 2 a lighter distressed blue, 1 black and 1 violet), 1 dress, 3 pairs of trousers and countless tops and knitwear.  I have also bought several pairs of shoes.  I have also bought 'posh' toiletries, well posh compared to those I normally buy.

I am still not sure why I bought all of these clothes, I even bought some of them at the airport and in Barcelona, and I have no idea where I will wear them, a couple of items may be suitable for work, but as for the rest, I guess a lot will end up in the Charity Shop pile in my next festive season clear out.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Sunday Night Mash Up

This week I have been mostly feeling under the weather.

I felt fine when I left work Monday, by the time I got home some 90 minutes later my ears, nose and throat were feeling sore, my nose was both blocked and running and I had a pounding headache.  I didn't get much sleep as every time I laid down, my nose started running like a tap.

Tuesday was spent blowing my nose, Wednesday I started sneezing and I was starting to spend a lot of time in the loo.  Thursday was the same, less sneezing but more trips to the loo.  Friday, same again with sweating after eating.  I was not a happy bunny, there is D&V going around work so I was concerned that I had picked that up.

Yesterday (Saturday) I didn't get an awful lot done between blowing my nose, sneezing and running to the loo and today I have been having stomach cramps and feeling sick.  I have spent most of the day with a hot water bottle on my stomach.  I did not enjoy having to hang the washing out on the line, every time I bent down I wasn't sure I was going to get back up.

Thursday was Bowls night, playing was a bit of a risk with the way my stomach was playing up but I got through it and was actually feeling better for being out in the fresh air.

Today is Father's Day, so here is a groovy picture of my Dad (he is in the middle) along with my Uncle Pete and (late) Great Uncle Norman.  It was taken in Tenerife in 1972.

Happy Father's Day Dad!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Ice Cream Bread - My Recipe

I tweeted recently that I had baked some Ice Cream Bread and a few people have asked about it.

I can't remember where I originally came across this phenomenon, but Google it and you will get thousands of hits.

Most of the recipes I looked at suggested 2 cups of ice cream and 1.5 cups of self raising flour (I prefer recipes that don't use weights and liquid measure as I tend to use spoons to measure out my ingredients - 1 rounded tablespoon is 1 ounce, etc).  This was supposed to give a decent depth loaf in an 8 inch loaf tin, my tin is 8.5 inches and the loaf came out very thin.

So my recipe, after a bit of trial and error.

3 cups of ice cream - any flavour will do.
2 cups of self raising flour.
Dried fruit, chocolate chips if desired.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and line or oil & flour a loaf tin.

  • Allow the ice cream to soften, almost to melting point.  It will be much easier to mix in the flour.
  • Mix in the dried fruit, chocolate if using (or anything else you wish to add)
  • Sieve the flour in half a cup at a time and mix well, it will become quite stiff.
  • Scoop into the loaf tin and smooth out, no need to be too careful with this as it will even itself out
  • Bake for approx 40 minutes until a skewer, toothpick, or as I use, a knife, comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin.
And there we go.

This is the one I baked recently, served with plum jam.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Win a Paloma Maxi Dress with ChiChi Clothing.

I only own one maxi dress, being on the tall size I always think it must look to others like a lot of material heading towards them, but this I think is lovely, the colours and printing breaking up the silhouette.

I am trying to convince myself that I can afford to go on holiday later in the year and if I won this I think I would have to go abroad to wear it as going by the weather we have had recently in this country I would need to team it with a jumper and wellies!

This is the dress.

And this is the link to enter the competition.

Please note, I am not running, nor am I associated with, the competition, this post is an extra entry for me to win.

Good luck everyone!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Sunday Night Mash Up

This week I have been mostly sitting exams, well two anyway.

The plan was that I would get into town about an hour early, go for a coffee, go to the loo (they were 3 hour exams, plus reading time, plus be at your desk 15 minutes before the exam) and aim to be at the test centre 5 or 10 minutes before I had to be.

As with every plan I ever make, it didn't happen, at least for the first exam.  I got stuck trying to cross the main road to get to the bus stop, I got to the island in the middle of the road and became stranded!  The traffic was non-stop and I just watched as the bus arrived at the stop down the road and then got closer and closer until it just sailed past me.  The road immediately became clear and I was able to get the rest of the way across.

For the next exam I left a couple of minutes earlier and there was no traffic.  I got into town and treated myself to a Chai Latte (and a bacon muffin, hehe) at Costa Coffee.  

Saturday I decided I was going to have a drink.  I have been really careful since I started on my Sertraline tablets, to begin with I avoided all alcohol, then I started having a glass of wine with food and I was fine with that, and it was enough.  Saturday, though, I really, really wanted a 'proper' drink.  I had a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, the big bottle, 75ml.

What a mistake.

I didn't feel poorly, but I did revert back to the pre-antidepressant me.  I felt evil and was picking fault with everything.  Everything I watched or read was wrong and had to be told so.  I took myself to bed at 7.30pm so that I didn't start commenting on facebook posts and upsetting people.

But I am glad that I did it, at least I know now that I shouldn't do it.  And finding out that it is not good whilst I was alone (which to be fair for 99% of non-working hours I am) at least meant that I have not alienated the few people that I do still see.  I will still have the occasional drink with meals as I found that it worked for me.

Today I have been very good and prepared some of my lunches for the week.  I need to save money if I am ever going to be able to afford the photo shoot that I have promised myself.  As the photographers (link here) is 'oop north', as well as the cost of the shoot itself, I need to have train fare and money for a hotel, so all donations gratefully received.

I want to win this fab nail polish

As you know I enter a lot of competitions and lately I seem to be on a bit of a roll with wins having had 3 so far this month.  Now compared to some people who win 7 or 8 times A DAY every day, this is not a lot, but I am happy, and now that exams are over until December I have the time to enter a few more competitions.

As you will also know, I am starting to be myself again after several years of trying to be someone else, and 'myself' used to love painting my nails.  (I am of the age to still call it 'nail varnish' though the current term seems to be 'nail polish').

I came across this competition via a post on Twitter and I think this looks fab.  I have never been the best at applying polish with my 'other' hand but I think this would be quite a forgiving polish as it would not need to be applied perfectly.

The competition is being run by Jennifer on her Art Style Love blog and can be entered here.

If I don't win, these are definitely going to go on my shopping list for pay day!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Exam Week

This week I sat my first two ACCA exams - F6 Tax and F8 Audit.

I arrived at the test centre to find lots of nervous looking people sat in the sunshine with text book in one hand and a cigarette in the other.  I pushed through the pall of cigarette smoke into the building to find lots of nervous people with a textbook in one hand and a marker pen in the other. Really, what are you going to learn in the 20 minutes before the exam.

The desks were little, I mean really little.  There was not enough room to have the question booklet nor the answer booklet open, they had to be folded over.  Much of the exam time was spent corralling pens, pencils, rulers etc back onto the desk.

We weren't allowed to have sweets on our desk or about our person as these could have answers secreted in the wrapping.  All labels had to be cut off any drinks bottles, I am surprised that we were allowed tissues and hankies.  BUT, we were allowed to have our passports on the desk (we needed these as our ID), how much info could you store in a passport?  We could also have our registration paperwork on our desk, the reverse side of this was full of tiny, tightly packed text, an enterprising cheat could have quite easily made their own version with hints and tips included.

Going into the exams I was more confident about the Tax exam, but this seemed much harder than the questions that I had already studied and answered but I managed to answer every one.

The Audit exam I was not looking forward to, but this seemed much more straightforward and common sense, which means I have either done really well or I have missed something major on each question.

Both exams I finished well within the time allowed and then had to amuse myself as much as I could, or try and nap without snoring, dribbling or farting.  

Why can't we leave the exam room once we have finished the exam?  I really can't see that it would cause any disruption to those still writing, after all we have to cope with invigilators walking up and down; students walking in and out from the toilet (with an invigilator with them); rustling of papers; people sneezing and coughing.  And those are just the 'in room' disturbances.

I can't speak for other test centres, but mine is in the city centre.  Within a 5 minutes walk there are at least 3 bars, several takeaways and restaurants plus the main shopping area, several car parks and the dole office.  It's not a quiet area, there is even a cafe right below the exam room.

During my first exam, the next but one building had a fire drill, we could hear the alarm and all the evacuated staff tramping none-too-quietly past the building in which we were all trying to concentrate.

During my second exam there was a lorry blasting its air horn on and off for a good 15 minutes.  I am assuming by the crashes, rattles and bangs shortly after this that it was making a delivery.

So why would leaving an exam early interrupt people?  In previous exams we have not been allowed to leave in the first 15 minutes or the final 30 minutes, why can't the ACCA adopt this policy?

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Everyone is pregnant and I want to join that club!

OK, that may be a slight exaggeration but I have at least two friends who are currently pregnant.  I have had some time out of the office recently and everywhere I go there are pregnant women too.

When I was younger, relationships and children never featured in my 'life plan'.  As I've mentioned before dire warnings from my parents about pregnancy whilst still living at home made me make myself as unattractive to the opposite sex as I could as I had wound myself up until I was under the impression that even a male looking at me could make me pregnant.

So I shut off that part of the brain that encompasses motherhood and reproduction.

But as I have got older so my desire to have a child has increased to the point it has almost become a need.

I know I could go to a sperm bank, I assume that they are available to all I have never checked, I may have just been watching too many American tv shows, but I am old fashioned.  I believe that a child should have both parents living in the same house at least, even if they aren't married.  I cringe when I hear how casually some young people tell others that their child is at his or hers Dad's house for the weekend as though that is how it should be.

At the age of 42 I have to be realistic and accept that I am never going to be a Mum, I am never going to have something so small and helpless depending on me for everything.  I am never going to have someone to mould to the best of myself and his or her Dad.  No tiny knees to stick plasters on when they fall over.  No stick people drawings to display on the fridge.

I don't know whether I would make a good mother, but I am guessing I will never find out.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Sunday Night Mash Up

So this week has been Bank Holiday, college, college, work, work, weekend, weekend.

I didn't go anywhere or do anything Monday, having to rely on public transport on a Bank Holiday just means that everywhere takes twice as long to get to and from.  Plus everyone being out and about with friends and family just reminds me how lonely I am so I tend to just sit in front of the telly.

Mid afternoon I remembered that I had an assignment due in the next day!  So that was the rest of my day sorted.

Tuesday and Wednesday I was at college, they were both very long days in preparation for my exams this week (eeekkk!).  

Thursday and Friday I was at work, catching up on everything that I had missed whilst I was at college.

This weekend I knew that I needed to revise so I have tended the garden, started a delayed Spring Clean (discovering in the process how many clothes I have bought recently and also throwing out the contents of that drawer), baked some ice cream bread, backed up my laptop and iPad and updated my Kindle and iPod.  Not a single book has been opened.

It is now a week since I stripped all the artificial colour out of my hair, and not one person has noticed.  I think I have almost got rid of the rotten egg smell, no-one even mentioned that!

This week I have finally discovered how to schedule posts, up until now I have posted as I have thought of topics but I am now going to post on specific days.  Like a proper blogger.  I also need to start thinking about something special for when I hit 2000 views.