Monday, 27 July 2009

Come Dine With Me Part Two

A little while ago, I mentioned the fateful words Come Dine With Me Part Two. I also mentioned that for part two of the Come Dine With Me experience, it would be my turn to cook a fabulous themed mystery feast.
For those of you who have been scratching your head in bewilderment, with a big question mark above your head, with regards to my mystery themed feast, allow me to rescue you from your bewilderment.

Below, dear readers, is my themed menu. Which, in retrospect, is really not that surprising or mysterious!

The George Michael/Greek menu

Club Tropicano

Sip into paradise with a sea breeze cocktail.

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

Humus, taramasalata and pita bread to tantalise your taste buds.

Everything She Wants
Everything you could possibly want in stuffed peppers.

A Different Corner
Moussaka with a difference, accompanied with traditional Greek salad.

Edge of Heaven with a Careless Whisper
A trifle of heaven and a chocolate careless whisper.

Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Coffee and mints.

I couldn’t resist it. Personally I am a huge fan of Greek food and I’m an even bigger fan of George (who incidentally is Greek/Cypriot origin), so I thought I would tie the two together. Predicable? At the end of the day, I am a faithful creature of habit!
Cocktails were sipped, pita bread was dipped, mushrooms were chopped and trifle was topped. All to the dulcet sound of George’s voice.
It’s rather lucky that my friend is partial to George too and did not mind me taking over their kitchen with George CD’s, cooking ingredients and implements. I even brought Greek flags, Greek wine and sunflowers for the occasion, so we could fantasise that we were sitting in a Greek restaurant, over looking the sparkling Mediterranean sea, with lemon and olive trees for company. A little bit of make believe is healthy for the soul!
After dinner we pretended we were rock stars and attempted to write a number one hit using the word apple.

For your viewing pleasure, a few picture from the night. (In our enjoyment my friend forgot to mark my cooking efforts but has promised my marks on a DVD through my post box very soon...)

Tuck in!


The make believe Greek restaurant.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Sainsbury's special offer

I wish that some how, some where, in some place, you could buy extra time.
Could you imagine it? Whilst you were roaming around the supermarket, buying your fruit and veg, you paused at the time counter.
Perhaps the time counter would be next to the cheese counter. If it was me, I would greedily point at the blue cheese and order a hefty portion to feed my cheese obsession. I would then fathom out how much extra time was required for my week ahead (especially essential as I had lots of extra cheese to eat) and place my time order at the time counter.
I predict it would be a popular counter. There would probably be a long queue of impatient customers, tapping their feet and complaining they didn’t have the time to queue for their time!
Time. I’m sure it must be something we are all guilty of complaining about. For example, have you ever repeated one of the following statements:

I wish there were more hours in the day!
I wish there were more days in the week!
I just don’t seem to have the time these days!
Where has the time gone!

Can you see my point? I think we are all victims of time.
Time controls us.
Time lets us down.
Time can be our friend.
Time can be our enemy.
What a powerful thing time is. Needless to say, buying extra time at the supermarket could be the solution we are searching for. Maybe I should ask my local MP for his advice, suggest that local shops stock up on extra time. We would all benefit from this, I have everyones best interests at heart.
Okay, let’s be realistic here and face hard facts. If I was to discuss time counters with my local MP, he would likely suggest I visit my local doctor and stop scaring innocent residents with my wacky ideas. Or he’d accuse me of smoking the wacky backy.
You may well be wondering what’s brought all this time talk on. It’s simple - I wish there were more hours in the day!
I sneakily checked my blog this morning when I arrived at my not so new office, water cup in one hand and coffee cup in the other. I was a little tired from meeting my friend for a quick three drinks in a shabby chic decorated bar last night.
I miss writing my blog every day, I miss reading others blogs every day. I just don’t seem to have the time these days! I am hardly ever at home, and I’m not really suppose to use the internet at work.
Crikey, how come you're never at home, you could ask. Well, recently my time has been spent watching Oasis perform at Wembley (they rocked), participating in an evening of bowling with my not so new colleges, dining out with friends, dining in with friends, dancing to Michael Jackson (RIP Jacko) in a new bar in my local high street, dancing to George at a wedding reception, serenading strangers with Oasis songs at a house party, being stalked by an X factor reject, attending my photography club and photoshop evenings with other club members, travelling up and down the country in search of a new printer for our relaunch magazine, and barbecuing at a friend's house.
So now you know, if you were wondering.
Next, dear readers, it's time for something completely different - I would like to have more time for myself.
I need to sleep more.
I need to relax more.
I need to exercise more and drink less.
I need to stop spending money at an alarming rate.
I need to blog more.
I need more time.
Thanks for baring with me regarding my regular absences, I know you must all have busy lives too and I do appreciate you still stopping by to read and comment.
Crucial fact - it's been two years since I began this blog, and I missed FPE’s second birthday! Sorry for neglecting FPE's. I hope you forgive me and we’re still friends.
So you see my point with this post, I need more time! But I’m working on it. Perhaps I’ll stop by my local MP’s house on the way home from the office, for a friendly chat.
Or maybe I should go straight home, no stopping off at bars or shops, or friends houses. No distractions, no detours. Go to my house, do not go outside my house, eat my shepherds pie, and finally have some time for myself.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Impact for success

Have you ever taken an instant dislike to someone? Perhaps you were introduced to a stranger and you received ‘bad vibes’ from them. Maybe this person came across as arrogant, or dismissive, and so therefore you did not feel comfortable in their presence.
Whatever your reason for a poor first impression, did you know, statistically, it would take a further 21 successful meetings with this person for your first impression to disappear?
And how fast do you think it takes for someone to meet you and create an impression of you, based on your first meeting? It’s three seconds for the 20 – 30 age group, ten seconds for the 30 - 40 age group and fifteen seconds for the 40 – 50 age group.
Intrigued? Impressed? Not bothered at all about my pointless information?! Or perhaps you are questioning the source of my information?
Impact for success was the name of the training course I attended where I learnt about body language, creating my own personal brand, and what colours suit me. I must say, as training courses go, I found this one rather interesting.
There were ten of us sitting around a table in one of the company training rooms, eagerly listening to the trainer and nibbling on the selection of biscuits. The biscuits next to the company branded bottled water. My not so new work place love courses and company branding. I could probably draw the company logo in my sleep and recite the words Collective Inspiration over and over, or at least until my police raid alarm clock disturbed me from my drawing and reciting. And I could possibly attend one of their many training courses every day for the rest of my life.
But hey, let's get back to the impact for success course. What other fascination facts did I learn? Apart from distinguishing the difference in taste between the chocolate fingers and the vanilla swirls – the chocolate ones won, but it was a close call. Well, I learnt I am a dramatic dresser (hence the zebra print dress I was wearing on the day) and warm colours suit my skin tone.

I also learnt:
55 per cent of nonverbal communication relies on body language, while up to 38 per cent is down to vocal cues and the actual words used can in some cases count for only 7 per cent of the impact of the message.

Having a very clear personal brand will:
Positively manage my impact.
Clearly articulate who I am and what I am about.
Connect my abilities to the reputation I have/want.
Identify areas in which I may need to manage myself more effectively.
Identify areas in which I may need to develop.
Differentiate myself from others.

Other stuff I learnt:
Communication research indicates the approximate personal space zones are as follows for the Western world (varying slightly from person to person):
The public zone – 12 feet and over
The social zone – 4 to 12 feet
The personal zone – 1½ to 4 feet
The intimate zone – up to 1½ feet.

I learnt about lies too:
In synergology, studies have detected more than 100 signs possibly expressing an emotion that is masked or a lie, but none of these signals is sufficient in itself for you to be sure that someone is lying or masking the truth. It is necessary to see at least eight signs during a period of 10 seconds in order to be absolutely certain that a lie or an untruth is being told. Signs include:
The person will look at you more with their right eye than with their left eye.
The eyebrows will be raised rather high.
They will stop blinking their eyes with the usual regularity.
The two sides of the face may appear more asymmetrical than usual, particularly in the area of the upper lips.
They may start to cough a bit.
Their voice may become weaker.
If they are seated face to face with you, then they are likely to position themselves leaning more on the left elbow than the right elbow.
The positioning of their legs will be in the direction away from you or toward the door.

My next course is project management, but don’t hold your breathe for any exciting revelations. Unless you want me to discuss schedules and spreadsheets with you? Nah, I didn’t think so.
Expect pictures of food very soon though, Come Dine With Me part two is fast approaching and this time I am cooking up a themed, fabulous, fantastic feast! At least I hope so…