Thursday, 31 January 2008

Who's got the biggest heart? And the scary suit jacket

Just when I was thinking: "Can something nice happen please?" It did. In the form of an award from my friend Blur. Such a pretty picture and a very touching sentiment – Biggest Heart award.
I shall proudly parade it and pass it on. Thanks for putting a smile on my face Blur!

I would like to pass it on to:

I would also like to present this award to my non-blog-site friend Spangleystar, as she deserves it. And I'd like to put a smile on her face.

There are others I would have mentioned, but I can see Blur has already done so, hopefully you know who you are! (Jyankee, Seagrape, Nick, La Delirante, Mike, Amel.)

Now, is it stupid to be scared of a jacket?! My suit jacket to be precise. The only suit jacket that I own, which comes out to play once a year for the World Congress.
It’s not as if it’s suddenly turned evil and started chanting menacing words and curses at me. That would be scary! I’m scared of it in case when I finally pluck up the courage to try it on, I discover it’s too tight and restricting my blood supply. The blood supply thing could be potentially lethal, not to mention jolly uncomfortable.
Because my dangerously low funds do not stretch to a new suit jacket, this one is going to have to do. Can you see my predicament?
Despite the fact that recently my gym membership has never been used so much, I’m still concerned and putting off ‘the grand suit jacket try on'.
I haven’t visited the gym this much since I joined a few summers ago. And that was because us Brits actually had a summer, and the outdoor pool was the ideal place to laze around with my friend, chatting, reading our books, and scoffing the barbecue food. Until it dawned on us that those big machines inside the gym were meant to be used, otherwise we would never be fit and toned. Which was the whole point in joining a gym really.
So, I have been preparing myself for the jacket try on, the treadmill has played a large part in my preparation, and avoiding my fathers cheese has played another essential part.
Okay, by writing this post I can see that this suit jacket business is getting silly and out of hand. The sooner I try it on the sooner I can relax and stop getting in a tizwaz about it.
Deep breath, repeat after me: "Tonight's the night."
Fingers, arms, eyes and toes crossed that it actually fits me. Then the scary suit jacket can return to it's former innocent, less sinister self. Oh I do hope so.

Picture of the day:

I love sunflowers.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Weird things about me

We're all a tiny bit weird, aren't we?! Come on, hands up if you have done something recently which comes under the 'weird' category.
Life is full of bizarre moments, well I think so. And I think the below meme proves it. I stumbled across this while blog hopping the other day. It's from one of my favourite blogs: and it's titled 'more weird things about me'

Knowing that I have tendencies to be weird and do weird things, I thought I'd have a go at this meme.

1. I have an Aled Jones phobia. For anyone who isn't familiar with the name Aled Jones, let me explain he's a Welsh singer. He's probably a very nice chap, and some people might even say his voice is a joy to listen to. But I'm afraid ever since I heard him sing 'We're walking in the air' his voice has made me shudder. Every time I heard these words on the television or on the radio, my hands would cover my ears and I would have to flee the room. He had that affect on me.
Much to my relief, he disappeared for a few years. And then, much to my horror and dismay, he made a come back. I turned on the television one day and Songs of Praise was on the screen. "It can't be!" I said to myself. "It's him!" And there he was. A few years had passed but I could never forgot that face and that voice.
He's come back to haunt me.

2. I have been driving for seventeen years but I still have problems with parking. Anyone else struggle with this?! It's fine if it's a very large space down an empty road, but once I realise I have to maneuver my car into a tricky space, I panic. Too many times friends have noticed this panic in my eyes and asked if I would like them to park my car. "Yes please," I have often said.

3. I am terribly clumsy. In fact, I know I shouldn't say this and tempt fate, but very soon I'm probably due for another trip/bump/fall. My last major fall was onto a table of drinks on my last birthday night out, what a mess I made.
Somehow I manage to fall down stairs, fall up stairs, bump into tables and trip over thin air. I bruise so easily too. I'm often examining myself and my bruises, sometimes I can't even remember where the bruises came from. But they're there, to remind me how clumsy I am.

4. I have certain ways of eating certain foods. Now please tell me other people do this?! For example, a chocolate biscuit can never be just bitten into. Oh no, it has to be delicately nibbled around the edges, as if I were a mouse nibbling cheese. I turn the biscuit around and around and keep nibbling until there is nothing left to nibble.
Kit Kats must have the chocolate bitten off around the edges, and then the middle piece of chocolate sucked off, until I am left with the wafer to crunch. Do you get the picture? I could go on, but I'll leave it there.

5. Do not, under any circumstance, compare me to that horrid man in 'Sleeping with the enemy', for the benefit of those who haven't seen the film - he really is weird. But (sometimes) I have thought of this film when I've been straightening things. Particularly in cupboards. I'm not so bad now because I live with my parents again, I'm better at eating the contents of their cupboards, rather than straightening the contents.
At my previous home (flat) the soup tins had to all stand together, straight, with labels facing the correct way. And the same rule applied to the spaghetti tins and baked bean tins, etc. Whoa betide anyone who messed my tins up!
These days certain things on my desk in the office, or in my bedroom, have to be straight, otherwise I can not possibly concentrate.

6. Unusual songs often pop into my head and I will have no idea why or how. I can suddenly erupt into "Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns." Or "Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do like to be beside the sea."
See what I mean? The happier I am the more I will sing and the stranger the songs will become.
You should count your lucky stars that you don't sit next to me in the office.

7. I've watched so many horror films that I think I have slightly warped my mind.
I've spent many a Saturday evening or a school holiday sitting in the dark, with my best friend at the time, munching our way through bowls of various chocolate and watching a scary movie. They didn't seem to affect us at the time, we would laugh at them rather than let them get the better of us. Then gradually I found myself jumping at shadows and running up stairs, thinking an invisible monster was chasing me. I had what you would call 'an over active imagination.' I don't think all the Stephen King books have helped either.
I still watch the odd horror film, but nothing on the scale of my younger days. I will happily watch a romantic comedy, just to prove I can, and to keep those monsters away.

I think that's enough for now. I don't want to frighten away any readers that I still have left!

Anyone else fancy making a list regarding their own 'strange but true' ways?

Picture of the day:

The toy soldier.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Did you know?

Our office kitchen is full of interesting facts. I have a sneaky suspicion the office manager (he’s a George fan as well by the way, and often stops me at reception to discuss him) is responsible for trying to educate our minds with environmental issues.
For instance, the cupboards in the kitchen are now covered with the following information:

Lighting a typical office overnight wastes enough energy to heat 1,000 cups of tea.

A photocopier left on overnight uses enough energy to produce 1,500 copies.

Keeping lights on for 15 minutes uses 500 times more energy needed to switch lights on and off.

Turning the thermostat down 1% in winter can save up to 8 % of our energy consumption.

I have two questions – What is a typical office? Do I work in one of these typical offices?
Seriously though, everyone should be concerned with the environment and these facts are a crucial reminder that we can all do our bit and make this world a better, not to mention more economical, place to live in.

And while we are on the subject of waste, I need to stop wasting/spending money this month. To use a familiar phrase, I need to ‘tighten my purse strings.’ Christmas, the December birthdays and the odd night out have left my bank balance, visa card and store card dangerously short of funds.
So, I am now going to take full advantage of my gym membership and the television set in my bedroom, and stay away from the cash dispenser. For as long as possible. Probably until next pay day, or my trip to Barcelona.
I can also predict extra hours required in the office, for the World Congress preparation, which will keep me out of mischief for a while.
But one small consolation - these cheap non wastage nights ahead should allow me extra time for blogging, you lucky readers!

In the meantime, I've got to get back to my pile of work in my ‘typical’ office…

Bye for now.

Picture of the day:

Tulips from Amsterdam.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Never whistle with blancmange in your mouth

That was one of the top tips for the weekend. There were others, but I’d say ‘Never whistle with blancmange in your mouth’ was my favourite.
I left my familiar Essex surroundings at the weekend, and headed to Devon. For an unknown reason, our standard train tickets enabled my friend Caron and I to travel in the first class carriage. Comfortable leather chairs, maximum leg space and a table for our trashy celebrity magazines were unexpectedly enjoyed.
Two and a bit hours later we arrived. Unfortunately our mutual Devon friend was feeling below par with her glands and a hot head but we still managed to have a blast.
Her kitchen table was our first stop and the brandy and wine bottle were opened. “You’ll forget about your aches and pains,” was our excuse. Her other friends started trickling into her kitchen, and make-up and 'going out clothes' were piled on.
Next stop was a Mexican restaurant. Sweet potato with mixed vegetables, and chili con carnie with rice and fajitas were my choices for the evening. They tasted fab. A sparkling birthday cake and flaming sambucas topped the night off in the restaurant.
Our final stop for the evening was a lively near by bar, where champagne bottles were purchased. We certainly know how to do things in (expensive) style! Well, it was her birthday!
And then home we went, and sat around the kitchen table again. Actually it would be more accurate to say we danced around the kitchen table, and I went into great detail explaining what I would do if I was George Michael's’ P.A. I’ll blame that part of the evening on the wine.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. We didn’t really get to see much of Devon, but a catch up with our friend was over due and to help her celebrate her birthday was a must.
There’s always next time for the sight seeing!
And don't forget - whistling with blancmange in your mouth is never a good idea.

The first of many.

Spangleystar getting ready.

Devon friend.

I don't know what they put in those kidney beans?!

Sparkling birthday cake.


Where did you get that hat?

Thursday, 17 January 2008

18 days to go

In 18 days time I will be sitting in an aeroplane. Destination: Barcelona! This is not for a holiday, although I will have a little free time, but the purpose of the trip is to attend the Mobile World Congress conference.
I will be manning the departments exhibition stand, and ensuring all magazines are distributed correctly. Comfortable shoes and a suit jacket are the essential criteria.
Hang on a minute, did I just say comfortable shoes?! Yikes, I don’t possess any, apart from my trainers and somehow I don’t think the trainer look will be acceptable. I must remember to scan the shoe shops after pay day in search of flat, comfortable shoes. Wish me luck.
And the suit jacket, I do hope it’s not too tight after the Christmas food and the strawberry creams. I must remember to dig it out of my wardrobe and check all is well. All is well meaning that it actually still fits me.
It's official - my wardrobe and the office are now in World Congress preparation.
Issue sizes for the magazines are at an all time high, due to advertisers realising the coverage and impact their products will have. I’ve lost count how many times I have said to a supplier, “Yes the magazine will be circulated at the conference.”
As well as advertisements spilling out of the magazines, all sorts of weird and wonderful inserts and outserts are being booked. Specification sheets are on demand and a few times I’ve been caught scratching my head, trying to fathom out the latest weird and wonderful booking.
For the past goodness knows how many years, my company have produced daily newspapers for the show. The profit margin for these dailies was exceedingly high, but it also meant for fours days on the trot I had to get out of bed at 5am. I would then head to the conference for 6am, clutching my Starbucks coffee and barking daily newspaper orders at the distribution company (as well as distributing newspapers myself). A production controller’s life is far from glamorous.
This year we are no longer producing the daily newspapers, bad news for profit, but good news for my body clock. I can have a whole extra hour in bed each morning of the conference. But don’t worry; there will be plenty of other things for me to do and to rush around fretting about.
However, you can be sure that I’ll take some time out to photograph 'picture of the day' for Flying Pink Elephants.
Hey, that's the fun part!

Pictures of the day:

Last years World Congress

End of the show.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Strawberry cream dream and the 24 hour umbrella

Hello. I hope you all had a pleasant evening last night? I know I did.
I met my friend Caron at waterloo train station. After a slight delay on the train (nothing unusual there) and scurrying along the pavement, underneath umbrellas (even less unusual for it to be raining), we entered the nearest, suitable pub (and that was no surprise either!). Oh it was lovely to see her. The sofa with-the-window-view was sat on, and our 'life updates' were exchanged, while consuming a glass of white and a glass of red.
“Shall we have another one?” I enquired after the first glass. But I was informed that the boyfriend was roasting potatoes for our dinner, and a bottle of white was awaiting our arrival. What more could a girl ask for?
Off to her house we trekked, grateful that the rain had finally stopped, so there was no need for me to use my £2 umbrella. The bargain £2 umbrella which I had purchased that very morning. The bargain £2 umbrella which is now falling apart. That’s why it was so cheap. I knew there had to be a catch somewhere along the line - it only lasts for 24 hours.
At my friends house, the wine bottle was opened and a very tasty dinner was appreciated and enjoyed. Blogging and our forthcoming weekend to Devon was discussed. I am literally counting the days until the weekends adventure. Visiting our mutual Devon friend, and the sea and a Mexican restaurant are on the agenda for this weekend. Roll on Saturday.
And isn’t it great having a blog?! Otherwise my friend would not have known my passion for chocolate strawberry creams. For on her shelf, beautifully arranged, there was a display of chocolate strawberry creams. All for me! What a treat.
And how fast do you think I ate them? The answer is, fast enough thank you. They were a strawberry cream dream.

Pictures of the day:

Dinner time.

Chocolate time.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Walk like a zombie

I watched a film about zombies at the weekend, not thinking for one moment that I would be walking like one the next day. My eyes were not luminous green, and I was not dribbling unattractively or dripping with blood, but I was walking very strangely, with my head tilted to one side. The reason for my tilted head - I must have fallen asleep at a very peculiar angle.
Boy did my neck hurt when I awoke from my dream about a giant bear trying to eat me. (I might have to see a psychiatrist about these animals trying to eat me dreams, what’s it all about?!)
I spent the whole of Sunday walking like a zombie, pleading with my mum to massage my neck and moaning that I was in pain. It’s still tender now. Anyone else had the same experience recently? It’s not much fun, is it.
Apart from my weekend being a pain in the neck, one good thing came out of it – I have a mobile handset that works! As you know, during the awards evening on Thursday, I unwittingly smashed the inside of my mobile phone. So my friends would not think I was ignoring their texts and telephone calls, I sent a group email explaining the mishap and my lack of insurance and lack of money to replace it.
Like the trooper that she is, my friend Helen came to the rescue. This rescue was in the shape of a spare mobile handset. My Sim card is still intact, so I popped it in my friends spare handset, and yippee I am mobile once more. Phew, that was scary being without a mobile for a whole day.
Faced with life without 3g connection, dozens of thoughts flashed through my mind. Thoughts such as, what if a disaster strikes on the tube and I’m unable to inform my mother that I’m okay and will be late for my dinner? What if my car breaks down in the middle of no where and I need to call an emergency service to come to my aide? What if I miss a life changing, opportunity of a lifetime text or telephone call? I’m not quite sure what the life changing, opportunity of a lifetime text or telephone call would be, but you never know.
But thanks to my friend I no longer have to worry.
If I could just get rid of this dodgy neck, and my zombie like mannerism, life would be back to normal. Whatever normal is in this day and age.

Picture of the day:

Floating along.

Friday, 11 January 2008

An awarding time

Underneath a canopy of twinkling star light, an indigo-blue frozen lake surrounded by glistening snow-topped fir trees, created an enchanting atmosphere. 'The Winter Olympics’ came to Battersea Park last night, for the office awards evening. With a three course meal and plenty of wine.
There was also a roller skating rink, dodgem cars, circus performers and Olympic hoops. And the comedian Jimmie Carr presented the awards. Although many people were surprised to see him, because my work colleague and friend, and I, decided to start a rumour that the surprise celebrity guest would be the comedian Russell Brand. Rumours travel fast in our offices!
My department was nominated for three awards, commended for one, and we were the winners of 'the best sales team'. Not bad hey.
The food was good too – Canadian crab cakes with iced sweet chili sorbet and beetroot and herb salad. Followed by lime roasted breast of corn fed chicken, wrapped in pancetta and served on a spiced pumpkin and potato puree, with an aubergine and red pepper gateau and a roast tomato, mango and red wine sauce. Dessert was custard tart, scented with nutmeg and poached plums and armagnac to complement.
Ten out of ten to the organisers for keeping 2,000 people happy.
It was almost perfect. I had to loose or break something, didn’t I?! This time my mobile phone was the victim. I’ve managed to crack the screen so it’s now unusable. And to top things off, I stupidly cancelled the insurance policy at Christmas time to save myself some money.
Therefore I am now without a mobile, without mobile insurance, and without money to buy a new mobile until pay day. It's quite an annoying and isolating feeling.
One of these days I’ll stop breaking and loosing things. Surely that's not too much to ask?!
But at least I'd dressed appropriately this year.

Pictures of the day:

The bar.

The fire.

The trees (and the dress!).

The table.

The comedian.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

I carried a watermelon

Before I go any further, I would like to say a massive thank you to my friend Helen’s sister, Julie. Thanks Julie! Because of her, my friend Helen and I were able to see Dirty Dancing at the theatre last night. She very kindly passed on her theatre tickets (having already seen the musical) for our viewing pleasure.
And it was a pleasure! I felt as if I’d been transported back to the school girl who discovered Dirty Dancing in the Easter holidays! I’ve lost track how many times I've watched the film since, and how many times I've belted out the sound track to anyone who would listen. In my eyes, the film is a lovable classic and the musical met all high expectations.
Wyndeham theatre in London is the impressive building hosting Dirty Dancing. The theatre opened on the 16th November 1899 by the actor/manager Charles Wyndeham, in the presence of the Prince of Wales.
Last night Wyndeham theatre was packed full of eager and enthusiastic people, singing and clapping along to the 1960's hits. It was obvious that various people had a drink or two (especially when 'Johnny' was parading around in his white boxer shorts) and I very nearly asked the two ladies in front of me to calm down and stop talking, but I decided against it.
The dancing and music was spectacular. Oh how I envied the blond dancer ‘Penny’ with legs up to her eyeballs. And praise for Sarah Manton who played ‘Baby’ and perfected the part.
The biggest cheer of the evening had to be after the famous line, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!”
Personally one of my favourite lines has always been, “I carried a watermelon.”
I could talk about the play all day, but I won’t. I’ll stop now, thoroughly recommending Dirty Dancing the musical. And thanking Julie (and Helen) for giving me the opportunity to see it.

Picture of the day:

Where it all took place.

Friday, 4 January 2008

The perfect dress

'Sale' signs plastered over shop windows, detox plans being discussed at great lengths, avoiding envelopes which look suspiciously like bank statements, and dreary mornings which make you want to stay in bed - it must be January!
Wake me up when it's over! One good thing about it all, I bought a rather fetching dress with matching shoes and bag, for a fraction of its original price. I don't usually rush out in the January sales to see what bargains I can uncover. Normally by January the thought of more shopping makes me feel slightly nauseous.
But this time I had a mission. My mission was to find a suitable (cheap) outfit for the office awards bash, soon to be held at Battersea Park.
Last year I decided I was too poor to buy a glitzy outfit, and couldn't really justify buying a dress which I would probably only wear once, and then come across ten years later, while exclaiming "I forgot I had this! But I'm too fat to wear it now."
So last year I played it sensible and safe and wore my black trousers and black top, with gold shoes and gold bag to accessorise. Big mistake. Every other girl was dressed in a ball gown/stunning evening wear. As soon as I entered the venue, I felt as if I were wearing a flashing sign saying 'Under dressed and sticking out like a sore thumb!'
I can painfully remember standing next to my work colleague and friend (who was wearing a flattering, flowing dress) and another office bod coming over to us, to say how lovely my work colleague and friend looked. When it came to me she merely looked me up and down, silently. How rude. She could of least have pretended I looked nice!
Now you can understand why the suitable (cheap) outfit was essential for this years awards evening. This year I am determined to blend in and enjoy myself.
And who knows, now I have the perfect dress, offers for fancy-nights-out may come flocking in. I may get a million and one chances to wear the dress, and I might not find it discarded in my wardrobe in ten years time, wondering how on earth I managed to slip the item over my ever expanding hips.
I live in hope.
(Expect pictures soonish.)

Picture of the day:

Who would like an emptier life?

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New Years Day

So that's another year been and gone. Do you feel older and wiser? Are you full of hope and new years resolutions which you are determined not to break? Or maybe you're still full of Christmas food and a fuzzy head.
As for me, it's the usual new years thoughts - get down the gym (tomorrow morning, without fail), work harder in the office, complete training courses, be an asset to the company, and pray for a pay rise. Visit places I have never been to before and experience things I have never done before, while appreciating my family and friends and hoping for a happy and healthy year.
Oh and to meet George Michael and buy my own property would be nice.

All these thoughts and questions reminded me I was tagged a little while ago by my friend Blur Ting. It's an interview type tag, so I've done my homework and filled in my answers and here they are, you lucky readers:

Instructions - Remove 1 question from below, and add in your personal question, make it a total of 20 questions, then tag 8 people in your list, list them out at the end of this post. Notify them in their chat box that he/she has been tagged. Whoever does the tag will have blessings from all.

1. My question: If you were to write your life story what would the title be and why? 'I never promised you a rose garden' would be the title of my book. I think the title has a nice ring to it, but not only that, I think it sums up life - along with the sunshine there has to be a little rain sometimes.

2. If there is something you’d like to change about yourself (whether physically or emotionally), what will it be? Okay, where shall I start?! I would like to be taller and slimmer, with thicker hair and clearer skin and perfect eye sight. I would like to be less sensitive and more confident. But then again, that wouldn't really be me, would it?

3. If you were to be stranded on a desert island, who are the 3 blog buddies you would take with you? Why?
-Patience of a saint because we are good friends in real life, and I know we could talk for hours and reminisce about the old days.The time would fly by and there would be plenty of laughter.
-Blur Ting because I think she would be great company, with so many interesting tales to tell of places she has visited. Hopefully she would have her camera with her to show me her pictures. Plus I think we could knock up some tasty dishes to eat, and she could teach me a thing or two about cooking.
- Jyankee because she comes across as warm and easy going with a good sense of humour. And she may have her Coffee Bean with her who is adorable.

4. Where is the place that you want to go the most? There are many places I would like to visit - New Zealand, Lapland, Thailand... At the moment anywhere warmer than here would be nice!

5. If you can have 1 dream to come true, what would it be? Meeting George of course!

6. What's the best compliment you've ever received? When I was younger I hated looking younger than my age. I was always the one who was asked for I.D. The other day someone asked if I had passed my driving test yet! No they weren't commenting on my poor driving, it was a passing comment, as apparently they thought I was much younger than my correct age. I take that as a compliment these days!

7. What are you afraid to lose the most?
My loved ones. Everything else is replaceable. You can't replace the ones you love.

8. If you win $1 million, what would you do? I would take my family and friends on an all expenses paid holiday of a life time. I would buy myself property and set a business up, so I could be my own boss and do something creative and constructive.

9. If you meet someone that you love, would you confess to him/her? Or would you keep it to yourself and observe from afar? I don't believe in missed opportunities. I would get to know this person, and when the time was right I would confess my feelings. Hopefully by then the feeling would be mutual!

10. List out 3 good points of the person who tagged you. Blur appreciates her loved ones and life, she is full of energy, and seems a very loyal and caring person.

11. What are the requirements that you wish from your other half? Here's my list: Patient, loyal, caring, understanding, generous, sensitive, romantic, humorous, calm, fun to be with. Is that too much to ask?!

12. Which type of person do you hate the most? Evil, selfish people. The world would be a terrible place if everyone had these traits.

13. What is your ambition? To look back on life without any regrets. I may not always get it right but at least I tried!

14. What is the thing that will make you think he/she is bad? Someone who has no regard for other peoples feelings. They will do anything and knock anyone down to get what they want.

15. Christmas is coming, who do you like to celebrate with? My family and friends. Forget all the commercial side of Christmas, as long as you are with the people that you love, that's the true meaning.

16. What do you think is the most important thing in your life? People take their health for granted, if you are healthy you can enjoy life and be with the people who mean the most to you.

17. Are you a shopaholic or not? I like buying new outfits but I'm not a shopaholic. I'll avoid a shop if there are queues and I'm not in the mood. My mother has a 'born to shop' badge. But mine is a 'born to shop when I have the money and when it takes my fancy.'

18. Which actress or actors you would like to be? I think Bridget Bardot was stunning. I wouldn't mind looking like her in her prime!

19. It would be 2008 in a few days, do you have a new year’s resolution?
To respect my health more.

20. Do you have any plans for tomorrow? I'm off to the gym to loose a few pounds, and then off to the shops to loose a few pounds. Hopefully I'll purchase an outfit for an approaching awards evening. Posh frock here I come. (But I'm not a shopaholic!)

Now it's your turn. Anyone who reads this, feel free to answer the questions.

Picture of the day:

Flowers for New Years Day.