Thursday, 29 November 2007

It's enough to make your eyes water!

I nearly went to the cinema last night. I’d arranged to see ‘American Gangster’ with my friend Caron. But we met at Waterloo train station, and came to the executive decision that we would attend the cinema another night.
Instead, we watched celebrities parading around in the jungle, and one particular celebrity stick his head into a container of baby pythons. I’m not sure that I could do that, could you?! Even though it was all for a good cause - to collect stars for his fellow jungle companions dinner.
Lucky for me, my friend cooked a splendid spaghetti bolognese last night, so there was no need for me to collect stars from containers full of snakes, spiders and creepy crawlies.
Every year in the UK ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’ comes to our television screens.
I use the term ‘celebrity’ loosely, as there are always one or two contestants whose identity you are not quite sure of, or someone who is now famous for being famous, and you are wondering how the world can justify the fact he/she earns millions from being photographed and appearing on celebrity reality programmes.
Last night was no exception, I watched the programme for the first time, wondering who and why?!
I did recognise one face, Christopher Biggins, an ex television presenter who I met many years ago. “It’s enough to make your eyes water!” he said to me.
Mr Biggins was referring to the adult top shelf material which covered my desk and computer screen. No don’t worry, I’m not sexually obsessed, unfortunately I once worked for a publishing house who published pornographic magazines, as well as glossy, consumer, top titles. I loved working on the glossy, consumer, top titles, alas I hated the porn.
But that, dear Flying Pink Elephants readers, is another story.

Thanks for the food, wine and great company, Caron!

Picture of the day:

Fancy a swim?

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

The fantasy holiday

Ever have one of those days where your imagination runs completely wild? That was me yesterday.
My friend Caron (via email) mentioned the vital words ‘sunshine’ and ‘holiday’ and that was it. I had my suitcase packed, full to the brim with stylish summer clothes. These summer clothes were of course on the small size, for in my imagination I was a size 8. Exotic cocktails were being sipped on breathtakingly beautiful beaches, and stunning sceneries were being snapped on my digital camera, ready to be downloaded to my blog. Oh what a relaxing but adventurous time we were having!
And then two other vital words entered my in-box and my head, ‘work’ and ‘finances’.
Suddenly, the bubble burst, and I was back at my desk staring at George Michael's face on my vintage copy of Smash Hits, which is perched in my ‘pending’ tray.
It was good while it lasted.
At five thirty on the dot, trying not to feel too down trodden, my winter coat was on, and my exceedingly long scarf was wrapped around my neck. Off to the tube station I trudged, trying to pretend it wasn’t cold and it hadn’t started to rain.
Three train journeys later, with only one seat available on one of the three journeys, I arrived home - to the aroma of a roast dinner cooking and to the seductive sound of the saxophone, which my father was practising. Hey, life isn’t so bad after all.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love roast dinners? Other than cheese, chocolate and Indian food, I don’t think you can beat a roast.
After my delicious home cooked roast dinner (thanks Mum) I drove to my friend Ann’s to celebrate her birthday. I arrived with gifts and good wishes, and in return I had some of her birthday profita rolls, with Baileys cream inside. Candles were placed on the profita rolls and me, her hubby, and her two lovely children, sang an out of tune "Happy Birthday to you!"
We then all decided to see how many profita rolls we could stuff into our faces, without any cream or chocolate oozing out our mouths and down our clothes. We failed - I managed to leak cream and chocolate all over my hands and around my greedy mouth, and my friend managed to drip chocolate all over her clean, white shirt. But they tasted damn good.
Who needs a holiday?!

Picture of the day:

What time does the next boat leave?

Monday, 26 November 2007

Don't worry, it wasn't a bomb

News flash! This morning, a suspect package was discovered outside the office. The office manager asked all people sitting by the window, to move away from the window immediately!
I sit by the window, but for some unknown reason this message did not reach me, so I carried on regardless until I noticed people in the office staring at me. Have I got something hanging off the end of my nose? I thought to myself. Do I have a piece of toilet paper stuck to my head? Not being able to stand the paranoia any longer, I asked my colleagues what was wrong. It then became clear that the suspect package/move away from the window message had skipped me.
“Maybe you’re 100 per cent bomb proof?” Someone in the office said.
“Or maybe they think you are easily replaced?” Someone else in the office said.
Thanks for the last comment. I feel utterly appreciated and valued now.
Paranoia, and sarcastic comments pushed aside, the suspect package was a false alarm. Which was just as well really.

I hope you all had entertaining weekends, without any security alerts, or demeaning comments.
You can breathe a sigh of relief, as our boiler has been fixed, so this weekend, warmth and hot water has been restored to my home. Although my mother waited in a whole day for the plumber to arrive. He didn’t arrive so she called him the next day to ask when he would arrive. Apparently he forgot about us. Not a very good advertisement for your company Mr Plumber! Imagine if I had forgotten to come into work today. Mind you, as it has been pointed out, I could be easily replaced, so it’s probably a good job I did remember to come in.

Picture of the day:

Did you want something?

Thursday, 22 November 2007

It's cold outside

Dreams. Sometimes they seem to make perfect sense. For example, you may have been discussing a film or a book during the day, and then once you’ve retired to your bed, and the lights are switched off, you find the film or book incorporated into your dream. But sometimes you may find yourself waking up, scratching your head, and thinking: “What the heck was that all about?!”
That’s exactly how I felt this morning. I may have fallen asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow (which is a rare thing for me) but I’m still trying to fathom out what was going on in my head, whilst sleeping.
In my dream, I was a grand opera singer, living in an even grander manor house. In my arms, I carried a fake (yes, a fake) poodle dog. In my garden, the sky was covered in brightly coloured air balloons and luminous pink cars. One of my friends featured in this bizarre tale, and she had decided to change her nationality to South African. A Vicar also had a starring role, and he kept insisting on following me around with a champagne bottle. And not forgetting the outside bathroom which had been built onto my garden, and I was told not to enter it as Jesus Christ was inside.
Hmmm. Anyone else had a similar experience?!

Anyway, back to reality, and back to friends and food.
Last night, it was my turn to drive, and I collected my friend Helen for our monthly reunion. We'd decided to return to the charming countryside pub which we visited on our last rendezvous. Except I started driving to the wrong pub and didn’t realise this until my friend nervously asked, “Where are we going?” Whoops, time to do a 15 point turn in the road and head towards the correct destination.
Inside the correct pub, with the warm and cosy atmosphere, menus were scanned and drinks were ordered. The menu was pretty basic, but honest, good food. I ordered a panini with Mediterranean vegetables and mozzarella, with a side salad and skinny chips. It was yummy. And as always, it was fab to see my friend and have a good old-fashioned chinwag.
I took my friend home at the end of the night, and before we said our goodbyes, we both commented on the pleasant evening we'd had. I then continued the journey on to my house, where my mother’s mood and news brought me down a peg or two. Firstly, England are out of the European Championships Football, as they were beaten by Croatia. My mother is a huge football fan. Secondly, the boiler has packed up. Great, no heating or hot water for us until it’s fixed. And believe me when I tell you - it’s cold outside.

Picture of the day:

I wonder what this leaf tastes like?

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Wedding plans, lavender fields, and a welcome to the world

I was feeling a little off colour yesterday, but I’m back in blog land today and I’m ready to talk about the weekend’s activities.
A wedding (well, kind of), a funeral and a birth, were all rolled into one weekend.

My friend Annie invited me to her house for pasta and wine. We ate, drank and surfed the Internet. Annie is my friend who is getting married next year, and she excitedly showed me (via the Internet) the dress she has chosen. It’s stunning, and so is the venue that is now booked. I've had a nose at that too, thanks to the Internet. What would we do without it?!
I’m sure the day is going to be everything she has dreamt it to be, and I couldn’t help soaking up some of her happy vibes.
Which was why it was such a culture shock to then see my friend Claire. My friend Claire is still coming to terms with loosing one of her best friends, and I offered to attend the funeral with her, in the hope of providing some moral support.
I have met Vikki, who has now sadly passed away, on various occasions, although I won’t pretend to have been very close to her. But I wanted to pay my respects and be there for my friend Claire.
It was a beautiful ceremony, although obviously it was a very emotional day. And I have never seen so much lavender in a church. Lavender was worn by nearly everyone, as it is the colour for Lupas Trust (Lupas is the condition which took her life) and there are lavender fields surrounding the house she lived in. Even lavender coloured balloons were released into the sky, at the end of the beautiful, but sad, ceremony.

On a lighter note, my cousin has given birth to a healthy, gorgeous, baby boy. Welcome to the world! With flowers for my cousin, and a little outfit for her new son, I visited them at the weekend.
He was only 3 days old, and I held his tiny and perfect body in my arms. Her other two children kept coming over to him and kissing him on his forehead, although we had to tell them to be “gentle!" numerous times, as they were a little too enthusiastic towards their baby brother.
We then all settled down to watch Mary Poppins on DVD. Personally, I think you’re never too old for Mary Poppins.
Oh and my cousin commented on Mary's rather large bag bearing a resemblance to mine. Yes, but I bet hers doesn’t contain a can of soup?!

Picture of the day:

The colour of autumn.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

From the mind according to me

Tonight I am working things out and making lists.
So, what exactly are you working out and making lists for, I hear you ask. Or maybe you’re not. But just in case you’re a teeny weeny bit curious, I have worked out the following (all by myself, without any help from anyone):

It’s 43 days until Christmas. Yikes, how did that happen?

The remaining Christmas presents I have to buy are 7 and a half, and I still have 6 birthday presents to purchase. I realise to certain people these numbers will sound fairly high, but considering how long my birthday and Christmas list is, I think I have done pretty well so far.
However, I can’t sigh in relief yet. There’s bound to be last minute panics and dashes to the shops on various peoples birthdays, and on Christmas Eve.

When is it too soon to start wrapping presents? Once I have wrapped the presents sitting in my bedroom, I can concentrate on the presents still to purchase. Plus, if I start wrapping in batches, then I am not wrapping constantly for 38 hours.
38 hours of constant wrapping is not something I want to comprehend.

This year I want to make my Christmas cards. I have been collecting crafty bits and pieces for this project. But will I have the time and the material to make one for every single person I want to send a card to? And when is too soon to start making them?
Okay, I have worked out that I can’t make a card for every single person I am sending a card to, but I am going to make ten cards.
I think it’s best to to get cracking on them asap, when I have a spare hour or two.

I have found a place where you can make and decorate your own teapot. My mother collects teapots, along with jugs and teddy bears, so I thought it would be an ideal Christmas present idea. The only problem is, it’s quite a distance away, and my weekends are becoming rather booked up. It all sounds good in theory, but when exactly will I have the time to go there? Hmmm. I shall have to give this one some more thought.

It’s seven days until pay day. Can I stretch my funds for a girls night in, a girls night out, petrol in the car to visit the gym, and a baby present for a baby who is due any day now?
The answer for this one is - I will jolly well have to.

I have sneezed 8 times since I have written this. Oh dear, could this be the early stages of a rotten, stinking cold? But I’m too busy to be ill!

Another conclusion I have made is this - it’s all very well sitting here in the lounge sneezing, tapping, and rambling away, but I have presents to wrap and cards to make and fruit to dose myself up with, to keep those nasty germs at bay. An early night could be just the ticket too.
Therefore, it’s time for me to log off. I’m afraid spare time and spare evenings are limited for the world according to me!

Take care.

Until we meet again.

The Kalanchoe anniversary flower

Monday, 12 November 2007

A pamper night, a hospital visit, and a murder

Isn’t it funny how one tiny letter can change the whole meaning of a word/sentence/evening.
For example, on Friday, in the office, the editor politely enquired what my plans were for the weekend.
“Tonight I'm going to a pamper evening,“ said I.
“A pampers evening?” said he.
“You mean you are going to one of those places where you all sit around in (pampers) nappies?” he continued.
The worrying thing is, he seemed quite serious and unfazed, thinking this was how I wished to spend my Friday night.
Hastily, I removed any doubt from his mind that kinky fetish nights were my thing.

Friday evening, without a single nappy in sight, my friend Eve picked me up from the train station, and it was off for some pampering at my friend Helen’s kiddies school.
I saw a psychic (won’t go into too much detail for the sceptics but I was stumped at some poignant comments), I had a paraffin wax on my achy feet, and then a shoulder, back and neck massage, which nearly sent me to sleep. I was also handed various samples of facemasks, which are always appreciated.
It was nice to catch up with friends too, although we all got rather emotional towards the end of the night, and a few tears were shed for my friend Claire’s lost friend. I tried to be brave for Claire’s sake, but seeing someone I care about struggling with their emotions became too much for me I’m afraid.
But we had a toast to absent friends, and to loved ones who are gone but certainly never forgotten.

Saturday day time, I went to the hospital to visit my poorly Nan. She’s recently taken a tumble and broken her hip. She looked even frailer, tucked up in the hospital bed, and relying on strong painkillers to ease the pain. My mother and I fed her home made vegetable soup, in an attempt to help build her strength up, and chatted away to her, saying we would soon have her dancing around the ward. We also spoke about the hen night I was attending that night, and tried to make her laugh by describing the characters people were asked to come as. We said our goodbyes, when she began to drift off into (hopefully peaceful) sleep.

Saturday evening, I put my tracksuit and trainers on, and changed my name to Paula Ranoffacliff. My friend Claire joined me as the country and western singer, Dolly Pardon. We entered a local hotel and were soon in fits of laughter when we spied The Queen, Margaret Thatchedhouse and Davina McCallgirl, to name just a few. It was my friend Alison’s murder mystery themed hen night.
Pate and salad, roast beef with all the trimmings, and cheesecake were served. And it soon came to light that Alison’s groom to-be was a two timing, drug dealing, cross dressing, devious spy, who someone at the table had bumped off! Clues and accusations were flying around the room, and at the end of the night we all tried to guess the murderer.
I’m glad to report that I did not kill him - it was Mona Lewinsky. But don’t ask me how or why because I can’t remember. Think I was too busy tucking into my cheesecake at the crucial part of the night. Oh well. It was all good fun at the time.

Picture of the day:

Margaret Thatchedhouse.


Me in a wig.


Friend in a wig.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Bigs ones

Five advertisements to go (in reference to yesterdays post) and they absolutely, definitely, have to be here YESTERDAY. No more excuses thank you, and I’m clean out of deadline extensions.
I’m just breaking for lunch while I wait in eager, bordering on desperate, anticipation.
It’s another soup from the bag day, this one being ‘healthy choice, autumn vegetables with mild spices.’ How seasonal. And the best way to make up for the over usage of calories last night.
Last night, I dined out at a local restaurant with my dear friend Chamelle and her two lovely children. It was a kind of late-birthday-let’s-get-together meal (I know, I’m milking this birthday lark). They very generously bought me a box of chocolates and a beautiful sliver necklace. These were accompanied with birthday cards which actually bought tears to my eyes, whilst reading the kind words written inside. (Big softy, aren't I.)
For my dinner, I chose the Mediterranean vegetables and goats cheese tart, but apparently this was a popular choice as they had sold out. Instead, I ordered lasagna with garlic bread. Very tasty indeed.
Then - here comes the fattening part - we ordered a chocolate sundae. It was the biggest, packed full of goodies, chocolate sundae, I have ever seen in my life. Probably the reason why the menu suggests sharing it. So, three spoons came with our dessert (her eleven month old son is too young to appreciate these pleasures) and we all tucked into the ice cream, cream, melted chocolate, chocolate brownies, flakes, maltesers, and profita rolls. I don’t think there was anything else inside the glass?!
We could hardly move when we had finished making pigs of ourselves.
Hence the soup day today.

Pamper evening tonight, I can't wait! That's if I ever get out of here in one peice.

Picture of the day (apologies that's it's not the clearest pic, I had it on the wrong setting, but you get the general idea!):

The big chocolate sundae.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Record Breakers

It’s Guinness World Records Day today. To be precise, it’s Guinness World Records Day November 6th – November 12th. Therefore, all over the world, as you read this, fantastic feats are being attempted.
One attempted record which caught my eye, or should I say it caught my ear, has to be - one of Britain’s strongest men who pulled a double-decker bus five meters, using his ears. The bus was a 7.5 tonne Routemaster, but alas he did not break the record. I believe the record is ten metres.
Phew, what strong ears some people have.
Little old me has a record of my own to attempt - it will be an amazing achievement if the magazine I am working on will ever be sent to print on time. At present, I am still waiting for eleven advertisements from six different countries. That’s a record in my production controller world. A record I have to break!
Not that I will get the benefit of witnessing the magazine being circulated at the conference in Africa. Nope, I’ll be at my desk, no doubt sorting things out for the members of staff who are in Africa.
However, it does look like I am to be included in the conference in Barcelona next February.
But that's not until next February, and in the mean time, I have eleven advertisements to think about. So, gotta dash.
Wish me luck.

Picture of the day:

Try to relax and think about yellow coloured flowers.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Watch out for low flying tables

I’m a little behind. I don’t mean in the backwards mentality sense (or maybe that’s debatable) but what I mean to say is, I am a little behind with blogging, due to one thing and another.
So, I’m going to write about last Friday’s activities. I had a brilliant night, celebrating my birthday with friends. At 5pm, work colleague and friend, and I, left the office in search of the hotel my friend (all the way from Devon) was staying at. We took a slight detour in the wrong direction and to the wrong hotel. Usually my work colleague and friend is excellent at finding the correct destination, but as I have mentioned before, I am not top of the class when it comes to such matters, and my lack of direction seems to rub off on others.
We finally reached the correct meeting place, nodded in approval at the decor, and happily met my Devon pal. And how nice of her to travel many, many miles for my birthday drinks.
We then made our way to the chosen venue of the night, with reserved seating.
Friends from all areas and walks of life started trickling in, and each time I saw someone I became more excited. Wine, champagne, nibbles, and the lethal Tequila Slammers were ordered. High kicks and all sorts of strange shapes were made on the dance floor. And my leg is now covered in bruises due to an unfortunate incident with a table.
At roughly 1.30am, myself, my friend Caron, and my Devon friend, were the last people ‘standing’ so we flagged down a black cab to the hotel. Luckily, the staff didn’t seem to notice, or care, that three girls trotted off to a double room on the second floor.
The next thing I remember is waking up with half eaten cheese sandwiches next to me. Arr, one of my friends must have ordered room service.
Saturday was spent in a slightly vacant frame of mind. My Devon friend and I drifted aimlessly around the streets of London. Every now and then we stopped to admire something in a shop window, and every now and then I could be heard saying “I have no idea where we are,” and “my leg hurts.”
One thing I did notice in my vacant frame of mind, which was just as well really as they were rather conspicuous, were the enchanting Christmas decorations.

Pictures of the day:

Have an enchanted Christmas.


The busy life on the London streets.


Taxi!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Heaven sent and heaven stole

As a mark of respect, I am posting this separately from other such events and news.
One of my best friends has just lost one of her closet friends to a condition called Lupus. I hope she doesn’t mind me talking about this, but it doesn’t feel right not to mention it, and quite frankly, I am finding it very hard at the moment to think about anything else.
Such a tragic loss of life and two young, innocent, children no longer have a mummy.
It certainly makes you think how short, and sometimes how very unfair, life can be.
In these circumstances you can often feel helpless to the bereaved, but as I have said to my friend, I am always here if she needs to talk and if she needs a shoulder to cry on.
I hope my words and my friendship can offer some kind of comfort and support.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Thoughts

I'll be famous soon, this is the second time I have been tagged. This time, it's from the inspiring blog http://mminzes.blogspot.com/

It's called 'eight things about me and my thoughts' and after a little pondering, I have the following eight things for you to read at your leisure.

1. We can all make mistakes but it’s admitting them and learning from them that’s important.

I’ve made teeny tiny errors, and I’ve made some whoppers. Sometimes you just don’t know what to do for the best, you think you have made the right choice, but then you realise it was the wrong decision and the incorrect path. But life doesn’t come with a big neon sign saying ‘This way to the correct choice.’ You have to trust your judgement, and if that proves to be wrong, be a bigger person, admit it, think how you can put it right and store it in your brain under ‘I won’t do that again!’

2. Look beyond a pretty face, it’s the beauty inside that counts.

It sounds corny, but it’s true. Have you ever met a good looking person, but their personality makes them ugly? I think if you are a good, decent, kind person, it can show on your face and you can radiate warmth. Even if your face is full of pimples and your ears stick out too much!

3. Appreciating nature always makes me feel good, even when everything seems to be going wrong.

The vibrant colours of a flower, the chorus of song birds, the bright stars twinkling in the night sky.
How easy it is to get bogged down in life with the nitty gritty. But whenever I look at the wonder of nature, I can feel my spirits lift and I am smiling once again.

4. Remember to tell family members and friends how much they mean to you. Don’t take their love and friendship for granted.
How rewarding does it feel when someone says they love you, or how much they have enjoyed your company. But remember it works both ways. Tell someone close to you how much they mean to you, and don't take them or their love for granted.

5. I believe a little indulgence every now and then is good for the soul.

Whether it’s a cold beer or your favourite chocolate bar. You’ll probably know my favourite indulges from reading this blog! But in moderation, why deprive yourself of a little treat that can make you feel happy inside!

6. I think you can worry too much about tomorrow, and forget to enjoy today.

I can worry with the best of them, but sometimes I have to stop myself and realise I am worrying about something which could never happen and I’m letting the day, and precious time, slip by.

7. Never under estimate a good sense of humour.
Laughing is healthy. Laughing at yourself is even healthier! I love to laugh. It’s free and it can be contagious. And I'm even better at laughing at myself.

8. Please respect the fact that I like George Michael, and I’ll respect the fact that he is not your cup of tea!

It really winds me up when certain people point out that he is gay and insult his sexual preference. Okay, you might not appreciate his music and his voice, that's fair enough, although I do, for various reasons close to my heart.
The first time I went to see him in concert was with with a very special person who was sadly taken from this life. He's no longer with me in body, but he is certainly never absent from my heart.

Thank you and good night.

Now it's my turn to tag. I am tagging anyone who reads this, especially the following:

http://jyankee.blogspot.com/

http://www.ramblingrebecca.blogspot.com/

http://seagrapejelly.blogspot.com/

http://blurting.blogspot.com/

http://katediggins.blogspot.com/

http://luxuriouschoices.blogspot.com/

http://hle-patienceofasaint.blogspot.com/

Have fun!

Picture of the day:

The vibrant colours of the pink Lilly

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Happy Halloween

No more Mr Nice Guy. No more pretty flower pictures. Well, not for today’s post anyway, in honour of Halloween.
Last night, my work colleague and friend Sophie, and I, left the office and headed straight to the nearest pub (that’s the spirit). White wine and beer were requested, and we sat amongst the witches and wizards. (They weren’t real witches and wizards, this was Halloween night, remember).
After our beverages, we hurried along to HMV and ‘The Creep Show’ double dvd was bought. We then jumped on a couple of trains to my work colleague and friend’s house. Not forgetting the Chinese take away and the bottle of wine on the way.
Anybody out there viewed ‘The Creep Show’? If so, you will know it’s verging on the ridiculous. Okay, I realise it’s meant to be in a comic-book-style, and it was made back in the 80’s, but that didn’t stop us sniggering at the classic line, from the dead man emerging from the grave, demanding: “I want cake!” Mind you, if I were to be resurrected from the dead, I would probably ask for some cheese and chocolate. Maybe it’s not so out of the ordinary then?!
Tiredness took over in the end, and after delicious Kung-pu chicken, special fried rice and Jacobs Creek, we vowed to finish watching the double dvd another time.
Just when I thought it was all over, it was off to the spare room where the black panther was guarding the bed. But this time, I think I scared it more than it scared me, with my lack of make-up and my chocolate pictured pyjamas.

Pictures of the day:

Happy Halloween.



Help! There's a strange human in the spare room!