Saturday, 31 March 2012

Britain doing what it does best...


This past week has seen the British population doing what they have had so much practice at many a time before, panicing. Snow, swine flu, hose pipe ban, and now petrol.

Petrol is the touchy subject that has had the majority of people breaking out in sweats and rushing to their nearest BP quicker than you can say jerry can this week. With the prospect of a strike on the cards, everyone is worrying that their tank will magically run empty overnight and they'll be left broken down and battling the elements in the middle of nowhere.

But the most frustrating thing is that people don't seem to understand that if - and that's a MASSIVE if - the strike is to go ahead, the general public will be given 10 days notice, leaving us plenty of time to panic buy then. But instead, in true British fashion, we ignored the news and the advice not to panic, and have done the exact opposite.

Forecourts up and down the country have seen queues down the road, as people fill up their tanks and as many jerry cans as they can get away with, as if petrol is some sort of magic substance in short supply. Well, well done everyone - it is now. You have only gone and created your very own petrol shortage before a strike has even began!

Petrol sales shot up by 80% seemingly overnight, and now the price has gone up too. That's just what we need since it was announced we are now officially back in a recession.

Don't get me wrong, I filled my tank - which is extremely rare for me - to the tune of £53, just in case. But I shalln't be rushing out until there's only about a quarter left, which is usual practice for me anyway.

In a way I can see where people are coming from; at the minute it's the Easter break and I don't have uni or a job to rush off to everyday, nor do I really have that many social commitments - maybe that's why I'm feeling so chilled about the matter - but for those who do this can't have come as welcomed news.

I just wish, for once, that people would see the bigger picture. Trust what the newsreaders are telling you - don't panic, but equally don't let your tank run dry - instead of just choosing to hear what they want.

I doubt in a way that people have spared a thought for the government through all of this. Yes that very same government that we were all slagging off last week when the budget was announced! No, now we are quite happy to line their pockets with petrol money, permitting them to have an extra few pints - and maybe even a pack of pork scratchings - at the House of Commons bar.

This week we've already seen one case of a woman seriously injuring herself after storing fuel in her kitchen - yes, that would be the kitchen where naked flames are often found! - and all because as a country we seem to be unable to swallow that infamous 'chill pill'.

So please motorists, yes put some fuel in, but don't queue for hours blocking up the roads making it difficult for the calmer folk to get around. Oh, and newsreaders, in future please refrain from using the word 'crisis' unless absolutely necessary; you can see the adverse effect this has on the population!!

Update time..

Just a post to apologise for being a bit slack with the whole blogging lark this week, and a bit of an update as to what I've been up to..

So I came home from uni on Monday afternoon, seen as I only had about 2 lectures left and my partner in crime Aimee has gone away to America. Bit of a funny week really - done quite a lot but nothing much if that makes sense?!

Monday night Robbie's mum suggested I tackle her olympic size pile of ironing and clean the house this week to earn myself a bit of money. And with nothing planned but 3 essays and a dentist appointment, how could I say no? So I spent Tuesday wading through the ironing (I must've ironed around 100 shirts!) and Wednesday/Thursday cleaning the house from top to bottom.

Got paid yesterday and Rob took me to Chao Baby at Meadowhall as a treat. Devoured just about everything in site - including a summer berry smoothie and 4 cookies at the Millie's cookies stand on the way out: Needless to say yesterday was a write off diet-wise.

Despite going with the intention of just buying a couple of pairs of shorts, Rob spent in excess of two hundred quid, but managed to find a few bargains too.

Then last night as he hurried off to the gym, I went to a quiz night at Deli & Dine with his mum and friends. We didn't win but I surprised myself by how many answers I actually knew - and didn't!

Today has been pretty uneventful too. Slept in as Rob had been up at 4am every morning for work, before getting up and having a lazy breakfast - not as yummy as it sounds, fruit and yoghurt! Tidied up and headed to Morrisons to get some bits for tea. It was here where I discovered my new favourite yummy treat - YooMoo frozen yoghurt! Not cheap at £1.79 for a lickle pot - I didn't trust myself to buy the big one - but soo worth it! Bought a strawberry and a blueberry, and demolished one after my lunch.

Bit of a quiet week really, but I'm hoping next week may bring a little more excitement; kicking off on Monday with a trip to Meadowhall (and Chao Baby - again!!) with my lovely friend Rosie, who I have not seen since before Christmas. Looking forward to a well-needed catch up and shop! Then off to my Dad's on Thursday, but more about that next week..

Chao for now.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Loveliest day in ages

Despite snoozing my 8:30am alarm close to nine times this morning, this has been the most productive day I've had in ages. Woke up at Robbie's and got my stuff together, before heading off back to Lincoln to meet Aimee for a day of filming.

We trooped up Steep Hill with a hefty camera and tripod - obviously taking a few stops along the way - and made our way to the Castle. Today was the day of the 16th annual Lincoln 10k race, and the weather couldn't have been more perfect. That's easy to say as a shade-wearing, hydrated by-stander; I'm pretty sure the runners wouldn't have minded a cooler climate.

After a few rather rude exchanges with the race stewards, we set up the camera close to the finish line. After an hour or so - and plenty of tutting from the public around us (I swear people think all journalists are phone-hackers!) - we had the shots and interviews we came for.

We headed back down the hill, marvelling at the beauty of Lincoln in the sub-mediterranean temperature, before settling at Prezzo's on the waterfront. This was another one of those 'paradise' moments, where we could literally have been anywhere in the world.

The tropical sunshine-y music playing from Nando's next door truly made us feel like we were on holiday. The peaceful water, disturbed only by the occasional swan or boat, glistened in the suns beautiful rays.

The diet went out of the window (yet again!) today, in favour of a long, lazy 3-course Italian lunch, consisting of mozzarella in carrozza, spaghetti meatballs and a shared helping of both honeycomb cheesecake and milk chocolate fudge cake. Everything was exquisite, bar the tables around us blowing all their second hand smoke our way. Nevertheless, we relocated and continued to savour our meal. Two hours later, after a lovely session of people-watching and chatter, we headed back to Aimee's flat.

I spent an hour or so there before heading home to decipher what state the house would be in. After deciding not to tidy the mess I didn't make like I usually do, I began packing for home. Two whole precious weeks off uni, and some quality time with my Mum, Dad, sister, boyfriend and friends beckons. After a few hours and several loads of washing, I seem to have packed everything I need for the next few weeks, but no doubt I will arrive home tomorrow and discover I've forgotten some essential item or another.

Today reinforced just how much influence something as trivial as the weather has on one's mood. And I couldn't be in a better one to be honest. All in all, another lovely day in the gorgeous city of Lincoln, which I have the pleasure of calling my home. Even if it is a temporary one.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Take Me Out: To tune in, or tune out?

Having watched the legend that is Cilla Black on Blind Date for years, Take Me Out was naturally going to be right up my street. And it was, to begin with.I welcomed Paddy back onto my screen after his hilarious roles in Pheonix Nights and Max & Paddy's Road to Nowhere left my sides sore, but now - dare I say it?! - I just find him a bit annoying. Whether it's the increasingly tiring 'Let the X see the Y!' or the so clearly scripted cringe-worthy moments with the ladies - or potentially a combination of both! - Paddy is just not tickling my pickle anymore.
The girls are pretty much all the same: fake tan/hair/nails, figure-hugging Lycra numbers, and slutty white stilettos. Cleavage, legs, it's all on display - a 21st century mating call in all it's glory.

But despite the terrible outfits I can't help but feel the girls make a bit of a show of themselves when it comes to their behaviour too, and when the latest single lad comes hurtling down in the love lift they're like hungry dogs around a bit of scabby meat. Clawing, screaming, begging. "PICK MEE, PICK MEEEE... I'M THE MOST DESPERATE!!" Well, that's what their body language says anyway.
It gets worse when they actually get given the chance to speak, too. Christ almighty. Back in the day Cilla's Blind Date showcased cheese in the form of "If I was a fruit, I'd be an apple... because I'm golden and delicious!" whereas Paddy's Take Me Out offering is more along the lines of "Let me at him, I'm hungry for cock!!!"

It's also come to my attention how you have to have an utterly ridiculous name to get on the show too, as if a stupid name will grab the attention of any prospective dates. Tonight battling for a date are the likes of Nike (yes, like the sports brand), Merlisa, Sydney and Cony (?!). I can only assume the parents of girls on here burned the baby names book in favour of what they probably thought was exciting and 'exotic'.

Despite all these annoying little faux pas, I still find myself tuning in every Saturday night without fail. Maybe there's nothing wrong with a little bit of cringe... As Mr McGuiness himself would say "Let the cheddar, see the cheese!"

My Big Fat Change of View

This week I encountered a totally different perspective to a subject I thought I had already made my mind up on: as a very stubborn person, I thought my set-in-stone opinions were unchangeable. Of course, I am talking about gypsies.

Love it or hate it, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings is simply a work of genius. We may laugh and cringe at it in equal measures, but without a doubt it is one of the most eye-opening documentaries Channel 4 has ever aired.

I've been an avid fan since the show first aired as a one-off in February 2010. But past the dresses, fake tan and shire horses, it's the people that really draw me in. Travellers, gypos, pikies; whatever you want to call them, there's no doubt about it they're an extraordinary bunch of people. But now I've seen them in a totally different light. I'd poked fun and made jokes about them, like many others will have, but in this week's episode I actually saw them as real people. People that are no different to you or me.

It was the events of the Dale Farm evictions that made me rethink my perspective. The show followed various families at different stages in the run up to the eviction. It was real, honest, and rather humbling. The most sincere view was through the eyes of a young Irish traveller girl, named Mary. She wasn't aggressive or violent. She wasn't even that bitter. She just couldn't understand why someone in a big JCB wanted to bulldoze her whole community - and everything she'd ever known - to the ground.

The episode revealed the secrets that the news didn't care to cover, in the fear of being seen as anything less than impartial. The news portrayed the inhabitants of Dale Farm as evil criminals, Channel 4 showed them for the real human beings they are; distraught at the possibility of losing their homes and their livlihoods. Surprisingly, they surrended graciously. An older traveller woman proclaiming they didn't want any trouble; they wanted the eviction to be peaceful. And it completely was - on their part.
As a trainee journalist, I'm very aware of the content and agendas of news programs, but it doesn't mean that I am any less surprised at the angles they sometimes take. The coverage of Dale Farm, for example, ring true as showcasing a particular opinion of travellers and gypsies. Arguably the wrong one, but certainly not an impartial one.

In another part of the episode, a very elloquent young traveller described the situation in a way that we should all take note of. He told Channel 4 how gypsies are a community, and so they like to travel in groups, and as with all large groups of people there are going to be a few bad ones. "It's the bad ones people remember." I couldn't have put it better myself.

This has taught me that in future I shoudln't be as quick to judge, as there may be more than meets the eye.

Monday, 19 March 2012

My working life has taught me..

Customer service is EVERYTHING. (So much so that I even felt it appropriate to use bold, underline AND capital letters there!)

Yep, I have worked in the customer service industry since the young age of 13, where I began work at my godparent's farm shop. Various jobs later, I found myself spending 2 years at a large hotel, working my way from Waitress to Restaurant Supervisor.

The truth is, customer service can make or break someone's experience of your industry. Take the weekend for example. My Dad and I headed into town to see about getting my phone upgraded - I knew it was due in February, but kindly Vodafone hadn't bothered letting me know. Walking into the shop to see it packed with queues didn't fill us with much hope of being dealt with quickly. Nevertheless, a friendly 'Ashley' approached us pretty much upon crossing the threshold.

Greeted with a massive smile, and an informal but friendly "Are you alright there guys?" set the ball rolling. We told him what we wanted, and he promptly explained the options to me. After deciding upon the best plan, he directed us to one of the customer sales assistants towards the back of the shop. This is where the difference really was obvious.

A very chilled, cool Aziz invited us to take a seat, before getting our details up on the computer. Whilst tapping away he asked what we'd been up to, and what we had planned for the rest of the day. The conversation felt very natural and easy, like talking to an old friend.

That guy literally made our day. Probably unknowingly, but he did nonetheless.

Even after being on numerous training courses I still believe customer service is something that can't be taught. Sure, the company policy can be drilled into you, but no one can teach you how to conduct a friendly, free-flowing conversation with a customer. No one can teach you how to reassure someone and put them at ease. These are traits which come naturally. I mean, you can practice them, and as you grow with confidence they may improve, but ultimately it's something that comes from within.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

"You are here because you some Justin Beaver, Miley Cirus lookin' muthas."

Exclaimed Captain Dickson (the legendary Ice Cube) to his two newest Jump Street recruits. I howled with laughter.

After seeing the trailer for '21 Jump Street' at our last visit to the cinema (to see another Channing Tatum number, 'The Vow' may I add) we just knew we had to see it. I have to admit I was slightly skeptical that this could be one of those films where they show all the funny bits in the trailer - it seemed I was the only person in the cinema who deemed it appropriate to snort with laughter from the beginning to the end - but with two of my favourite actors with starring roles, I had to give it a go anyway.

Jonah Hill's roles in 'Superbad', 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' and 'Get Him To The Greek' to name just a few, have secured his position as one of our all-time favourite fat-boy funny men, and Channing Tatum has long-since been one of my most-loved Hollywood hunks, following his performance in the likes of 'Dear John' and 'Step Up'. In fact, it's not just me who holds a bit of a torch for him, after my boyfriend made a slightly worrying comment along the lines of "If I was gay..." Well, you can guess the rest - sorry Rob!

In a nutshell, these two slightly immature young-looking cops are given an undercover assignment to go back to high school and infiltrate a teenage drug ring. Now that may sound a bit serious, but believe me, there are plenty of laughs along the way.

Years ago at high school Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) couldn't be more opposite. Schmidt was a typical stuttering nerd, whilst Jenko was the stereotypical popular knobhead of the school. But upon graduating and joining the police force, they became best buds. However, the life of a cop was not quite all the car chases and firing-you-gun-whist-jumping-through-the-air action that the boys had hoped for. In fact, it was more riding geeky police bicycles through the park warning kids not to feed the ducks stylee.

Having never made an arrest before, the partners saw their opportunity when they spotted a group of thuggish motorcyclists smoking dope in the park. However, not knowing the miranda rights (You have the right to remain silent, etc) didn't do them any favours, and soon they were transferred to 21 Jump Street to take on an undercover assignment.

The pair were sent back to school with false identities posing as brothers. The roles were very much reversed as the assignment gave Schmidt to chance to have the high school experience he had always wanted; popularity and a prospective prom date. Whereas Jenko found he didn't fit in quite as well as he had hoped, hanging around the science labs with his geeky mates.

Anyway, to cut a long story short and avoid giving anything away, this movie is jam-packed full of awkward teenage moments, hilarious gags and laugh-out-loud comments.

I fully and whole-heartedly loved this movie, and it held my attention from the word go, whereas some action comedies tend to flesh it out with unnecessary plot points. I urge anyone who even remotely likes to laugh to go and see this while you can; don't do what I am so guilty of doing, by waiting for it to come out on DVD and then be reduced to about two quid in Morrisons.

All in all, 21 Jump Street is 109 minutes of side-splitting, snort-your-pop-down-your-nose moments.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


I absolutely love this photo.

I took it on Sunday, whilst out on a walk with my Dad. As we were walking to the lake, the chirping of this tiny little robin red breast caught our attention. Cue iPhone to capture this beautiful spring-like moment.

I love the contrast of the white against the perfect blue sky. Suffice to say, this picture has become my wallpaper on every device capable of setting a background image. It's so beautiful.

Just thought I'd share, that is all.

My knight in shining armour

So today I was (partly) rescued by a knight in shining armour. By knight I mean Halfords employee, and my armour I mean t shirt... but you get my drift.

My little car has been the cause of much unrest these last few years, due to the fact that it has a major oil leak. Ever since we bought it in October 2010, it's leaked. Leaked and leaked and leaked. So much so, that now I can't even park it on my mother's pristine driveway - not so pristine anymore may I add. Anyway, when my oil light flashed on today I decided to tackle this one by myself. Usually I'd rely on my boyfriend or my Mum to sort it out, but with neither of them present it was all down to me.

Again, I say tackle by myself, this independence did involve a quick text to my Dad:
Where can I get oil? Which oil do I need? How much does it cost? Where does it go?
He replied with all the answers I needed, so off to Halfords Aimee and I went. Despite many an hour spent wandering around this shop with my Dad as a child, I decided I wasn't quite ready to locate the necessary aisle just yet. I was quickly sprung upon by a fella working there (haha - he obviously worked there, I wasn't just approached by a random stranger!) who showed me to the oil section.

After answering all his questions "Yes it's a Corsa... Yes it's a 52 plate... Yes it's a 1.2... And yes it's an SXI..." He determined the type I needed, handing me a 5 litre bottle and setting me back twenty two quid. When asked if he could put it in for me, he laughed. Before replying that he could, but it'd cost me another two quid - may as well since I'm already giving my debit card a battering today, I thought.

He followed me out to my tired little motor, and without prompting him he flipped the bonnet and began fiddling away. He located my tremendous leak the second he set his eyes on the engine, explaining I needed a new oil pressure sensor and rocker gasket cover. At this point he may as well have been speaking Chinese. I noted these items down nonetheless.

He explained he was a trained mechanic, who had walked out of his job before Christmas, and took up the position at Halfords to support his wife and two kids. Although it was pain-stakingly obvious he didn't enjoy his work there as much as his previous job, and he'd rather be laying under a greasy motor fiddling around with spanners and allen keys, "a job is a job" he said. I really felt for the guy. After telling us he knew all about this common problem that my car and a wealth of other Corsas have, he mentioned that he was a fully trained Vauxhall specialist. Handy, I thought.

Cue desperate puppy dog eyes, and a sly "Will I be able to fit these parts myself sir?"comment, and he offered to do the work for me. I noted exactly what parts I needed, and where to get them from, before taking his name and number. Kristian, with a K. I left feeling pretty smug that I'd manage to go to a man-shop, buy oil, put it in and organise for the problem to be looked at too.

Wow, this was a very independent day.

So off we went to Allwood's, a parts shop near my house. Managed to get through telling the bloke what I needed and paying for it, without looking like too much of a clueless woman. However, walking out leaving my parts on the desk probably reaffirmed their initial view that this was well out of my comfort zone.

I called Kristian after 5pm as he asked, and arranged for him to come over on Friday to fit the parts.

Today really has felt like such an independent day for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm a very independent person, and the whole transition to uni - and having to do everything for myself - hasn't come as much of a shock to me. However, where my car is concerned I haven't previously had much to do with it's upkeep - apart from putting petrol in it and buying it a new air freshener every now and again - so today felt massive for me.

I also feel happy that instead of paying the usual garage a hefty fee for parts and labour, I have saved a few quid by going and getting the parts myself, and that I'll be putting a bit of extra cash in the pocket of a nice genuine bloke struggling to make end's meet for his family.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

This could well be paradise

Had such a lovely day today; welcoming spring and it's joys into our lives again. It was just glorious.

Been down at my Dad's in Milton Keynes this weekend, and despite getting my phone upgraded and having some Vans bought for me, I think our walk around Willen Lake was the highlight for me.

It was packed; the sun was beating down, not a cloud in the sky. Full of families, with bikes, toddlers, dogs. There were runners and cyclists, not to mention the more brave folk, wake boarding and jet skiing. We walked from the house and around the first lake, before stopping for lunch and a pint at the pub overlooking the beauty of the lake.

After we finished, we headed back out and walked the opposite way back round the lake, stopping off at the ice cream van on the way. First Flake 99 of the year, and it tasted perfectly of summer and anticipation.

As we set off again, ice cream dribbling down my hand, my Dad couldn't help but mention (again!) how much the setting reminded him of Hyde Park mid-summer. And the truth is, we could've been anywhere in the world; you never would've thought you were only a stone's throw away from the M1.

With the sun smiling down on us, and in perfect company, I thought to myself: this could well be paradise, and I'm looking forward to many more idyllic days like today.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

You won't get a beach body scoffing sausage and egg mcmuffins

Or will you?

A lovely, greasy McDonalds sausage, egg and cheese McMuffin (sometimes even a double!) has long been one of my favourite ways to start the day. Don't get me wrong, I don't eat them all the time - hardly ever in fact - but they are still one of my absolute favourite breakfasts. Along with a greasy hash brown and Tropicana, of course.

However, being on a diet in the hope of rediscovering my 'pre-uni body' for my holidays this summer, the dreaded McMuffin has not passed my lips in quite some time. Until now. Well, I say now, what I actually mean is I have attempted to recreate a healthy one, that wouldn't see me put on about half a stone upon eating it.

My very own sausage and cheese mcmuffin!
I'm not going to lie, it turned out to be a sausage and cheese muffin, as the egg went horribly wrong as I turned my back to stick the telly on. Serves me right I guess. Nevertheless, it was amazing!!

What you need: serves 1!
1 or 2 low fat sausages (I used 1 Skinny Lizzie sausage, as they are quite big!)
1 wholemeal muffin
1 slice low fat cheese
Ketchup (if you're not a red sauce lover, then brown sauce - the devil's condiment!!)

What to do:
1. Make a slit down the length of the sausage/s. Peel the skin off and bin
2. Roll the sausage meat up (it's a bit sticky) and shape into a burger shape
3. Cut the muffin in half and put on to toast
4. Get a frying pan nice and hot and spray with FryLite
5. Fry the sausage/burger, turning occasionally until cooked - about 4 or 5 minutes depending on thickness
6. Remover muffin from the toaster
7. Place the sausage/burger on one side of the muffin
8. Place the slice of cheese and a squirt of ketchup on the other side
9. Put the two halves together and DIG IN!!

But how healthy is it really??

  • Wholemeal muffin = 141 calories
  • Skinny Lizzie sausage = 87 calories
  • Kerry Low Low cheese slice = 36 calories
  • Ketchup = 20 calories

Just in case your maths isn't quite up to scratch that lot comes to a 284 calories saving you 146 calories, as the McDonald's version comes in at 430 calories. That may not sound like a lot, but trust me, when you're on a diet, EVERY CALORIE COUNTS! And that saving of 146 calories means I can have 6 squares of Galaxy Cookie Crumble whilst I'm watching telly later.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A motto to resonate with generations...

I'd happily put money on the fact that half of the population probably has some sort of 'Keep Calm and Carry On' decorative adorning their home or office. Yep, these posters have seemingly sprang up out of nowhere over the past 12 months. Posters, key-rings, mugs. You name it. You can't seem to avoid it recently.

But where did it come from? And whilst we're on the subject of putting bets on, I'd back the fact that most people wouldn't know the answer to that question either.

Truth is, it was initially produced by the Ministry of Information, at the beginning of the Second World War in 1939, with the aim of strengthening the public's morale in the event of a wartime disaster.

2.5m copies of the poster were printed, but unbeknown to many, it was the third in a series of three motivational posters issued by the British government. 800,000 copies of the first poster were printed, featuring the slogan 'Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us To Victory'. The second poster issued saw 400,000 copies circulate, and this one read 'Freedom Is In Peril. Defend With All Your Might'. The first 'Your Courage..' poster was  much more popular than the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' addition during the war, mainly because it was very large and the first to go up.

The posters were put up within 24 hours of the war breaking out, as the Ministry of Information assumed the events of the first few weeks of the war would demoralise the public. The writing was designed to be recognisable and associated with the MOI, and the crown at the head of each poster signified it was a message from the King.

The 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster was rediscovered in the year 2000, in a second-hand bookshop in Northumberland. Although the poster was created by the UK government and was copyrighted under Crown Copyright, this expired after 50 years, and so the image is now in the public domain.

Since it's rediscovery it's popularity has blown up, with many people feeling it relevant to the late-2000's recession. Other unlikely places that these posters have appeared include:

  • the prime minister's strategy unit at number 10 Downing Street
  • the Lord Chamberlain's office at Buckingham Palace
  • the United States embassy in Belgium
It's also been adopted by British nurses as their unofficial motto, appearing in staff rooms and wards up and down the country.

Endless amounts of parodies have been created since the original poster was rediscovered, and iPhone and iPad apps have even been created so you can spend hours designing your own.

So whilst most will have a 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster for purposes of jumping on a rather large, extremely popular bandwagon, but whenever I look at mine I'll be reminded of the stiff-upper-lip spirit of the population, and be truly proud to be British.

Monday, 5 March 2012

A 2000-calorie binge, a horrendous run and an epic camping trip...

So a pretty uneventful weekend on all counts. Mainly due to the fact that I'm pretty skint and my car tax is due at the end of this month. So it's all save, save, save!

Went to Rob's Thursday afternoon after uni, and we went out to eat. Well, I say we went out to eat, actually we got in the car, drove around for the best part of 15 minutes unable to decide where to eat, before opting for a night in instead. Ventured to Morrisons on the way back and filled our basket with pizza, garlic bread, cookies, sweets, milkshake and pop. Always embarrassing when you see people you know in the supermarket, and upon peering into your basket this is what they see. Mind you, suppose it wouldn't be as bad as a bottle of wine and a cucumber..

Stuffed our faces to the point of true gluttony, before totting up all the calories we had devoured on the My Fitness Pal app. God know why we did this but Jesus Christ almighty. Mine came to over 2000. That's more than I'm allowed in a whole day! Went to bed feeling slightly sick, but smug with our full bellies.

Up bright and early the next morning and off for an hour and a half's run. Again, I say run. Mine was more like a crawl, whilst my boyfriend bounded along like some sort of spring chicken on crack. One word; gruelling. After staggering up hills and through muddy puddles - much to the disgust of my new fluorescent pink Nike trainers - I had to be practically carried home to quickly devour a big slice of lasagne. Equilibrium was restored.

Spending the afternoon on the sofa resting my aching muscles seemed the best option after my morning from hell. Made a beaut chilli con carne for tea before going to my Mum's for a bit whilst Rob was at work.

Saturday we slept in before Rob fed me his signature scrambled egg. Another lazy day ensued before heading to the gym around 4pm. Spent a few hours there then went home to get tea on. Garlic chicken and vegetable rice. Nothing worth shouting about but was yum nonetheless.

Woke this morning to being mauled by the cat. Perfect. Spent a few hours with my Mum before heading back to Lincoln around 4pm. Out for a Chinese with Rob, Aimee and Adam; we definitely shouldn't be allowed near all-you-can-eat restaurants, the pigs that we are. Profits were sure to have taken a dip last night. Oops.

Attempted to plan our epic summer camping trip, but only managed to agree on a date, between Aimee and I snorting with laughter (much to the disgust of the other customers).

Overall a pretty good weekend, considering I didn't spend a penny!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Thin, rich AND clever?! Surely not.

I wish they sold willpower in bottles.

Think of all it's uses; it could make you rich, thin AND clever. It'd mean you could easily resist putting that gorgeous pair of Topshop heels on your card, maybe not making you rich, but making you SAVE. That craving for chocolate muffins and toast buttered on both sides would be a thing of the past, not even crossing your mind when your magical bottle of willpower is in tow. Revision and assignments would become a joy, when you'd usually be swapping them for the sticky carpet at Superbull.

Yes, willpower such an elusive trait as it is, seems to be in short supply at the minute. But is it really a trait? Something you're born with. Or is it more is a skill? Something which needs to be practiced and honed, much like your overarm serve or liquid eyeliner technique.

Nevertheless, whatever it is, I'm pretty sure bottling it and selling it on could make someone a small fortune. In fact, I could probably single-handedly keep that market afloat, as I'd be their number 1 customer, buying it in wheelbarrow loads.

So if anyone comes across any just lying around, please do get in touch. In the mean time, I shall overspend, overindulge and procrastinate to my hearts content.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Just another Hallmark holiday?

With Mother's Day fast approaching (Sunday 18th March for all those unaware!) it got me thinking about the so-called 'Hallmark holidays', and in particular Valentine's Day.

Now I know it's been and gone this year already, but I must say it annoys me more and more every year. Year after year you see angry tweets and Facebook statuses about it being "commercial," "a load of crap" and "a waste of money," to name a few. I have to say, the majority of these come from the bitter, single people out there, and can't help but think if they did actually have someone to spend it with, would they whine so much? The answer is no. 

What girl (or guy) could honestly say they wouldn't welcome a bouquet of red roses with open arms? Don't get me wrong, like many others I don't think it takes one day a year to tell your loved one how much they mean to you; you should do every day. But equally, I don't think there's anything wrong with a day to remind us that a little cuddle can mean more than you think.

I'm not saying me and my fella buy into it whole-heartedly, but we always get each other a card and organise some quality time together. Anything else is a bonus. I can't help but feel that all the negativity surrounding it is just down to jealousy. I know there are some terrible excuses for holidays out there - St Patrick's day for example, I mean, who wants to receive a 'Happy St Patrick's day card? A pint, maybe. A card, no.

Take Mother's Day. You could argue that this 'holiday' is as equally commercial, depressing and unnecessary as Valentine's Day, but who really wants to explain that's the reason why they haven't got their Mum a card? Exactly. 

Maybe we should be thankful to the likes of Clinton cards, for reminding us that sometimes expressing our gratitude and love to those closest to us isn't done often enough.

Pear Shaped

Browsing the book aisle at Tesco's on Tuesday, and one immediately caught my eye. Probably because it had the word 'dessert' on the front to be fair.
"Sophie Klein walks into a bar one Friday night and her life changes. She meets James Stephens: charismatic, elusive, and with a hosiery model ex who casts a long, thin shadow over their burgeoning relationship. He’s clever, funny and shares her greatest pleasure in life – to eat and drink slightly too much and then have a little lie down. Sophie’s instinct tells her James is too good to be true – and he is."
I was instantly drawn to this one, amongst the many other books competing for my attention. It's had some great reviews but one that particularly caught my eye was Heat magazine's:

 "If you are a girl with a passion for food, this modern city heartbreak is the book for you" 
That's me right there, in a nutshell.

Started this last night and was four chapters in before I even realised. Probably because I could draw so many similarities between myself and the main character. Literally felt like I was reading about myself. She loves to plan, hates leaving things to the last minute, but most of all, has the biggest passion for food, puddings in particular. In fact, she has what I could only describe as THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD, she is a pudding developer for a supermarket chain. That's right. She gets paid to EAT DESSERTS. Not jealous at all, I swear.

Anyway, pretty into it so far.. can see myself finishing it before the weekend is out to be fair.