Sunday, 28 November 2010

Did Somebody Mention Christmas?

Last we left things (see Lazy Saturday), I was bracing myself for a rather chilly foray into Kingston to run a couple of errands before heading over to A's for red wine (yes more), a home-cooked dinner and some girly telly. 

So I set out just after 4pm (you know, just after our 'sun' has gone down and it's, well...dark), crunching down the sporadically-gritted path to the bus stop, resolutely telling myself that a) it was not as cold as my nose was telling me it was, b) it was ok not to walk all they way into Kingston today because it was cold/it was dark/time didn't permit and c) that I would feel much better with these errands off the to-do list. 

And then I got into Kingston to find...

...the lights are up...
...the tree is out...
...and there's a gorgeous new old-fashioned sweet shop in Castle Street (where I spent about 20 minutes wondering around in child-like amazement).

Buoyed by all this festive cheer (and a reunion with my phone which seemed to go quite smoothly), I crunched on to A's who had promised an evening of home-cooked lasagne and mooching on the couch, curled up under blankets and just feeling all warm and toasty. 

I didn't think it could get any better, but it did... 

She was making lamingtons when I got there!

Eeeeeeeeeee (aka squeal of excitement)!
Delicious little chocolate-dipped, coconut-covered bundles of sponge-cake yumminess!

And not wanting to be rude, I had three...

I think Christmas may have come a little early (27 days actually) this year!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Lazy Saturday...

It's a been quiet Saturday so far, gratefully received after a 'big one' last weekend and a mid-week, impromptu 'red, red wine(s)' session which took me a good sleep on Thursday night to recover from but was hugely enlightening from a getting-to-know-my-workmates-more point of view.

My first on-line grocery shop arrived promptly and without any horrendous substitution errors. (Someone at work told me they ordered wine and got baguettes???  Now THAT would be disappointing!)  Sainsbury's Online may just become my new BFF.

So I'm tapping away here with some Kylie tunes in the background before I head out into the chilliness (yes, people, the snow coat is out!) to be reunited with my phone (it's been a looooong 3 weeks) and buy the Saturday edition of The Times. 

I love a lazy Saturday...

ps...only 28 days to go peeps...that's 4 weeks 'til we all talk turkey and dis' the fat man...the widget thingy never lies!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Fros 'n' Flares...

So Friday night saw me trekking cross-London to Borehamwood for a birthday-filled weekend.  Ostensibly it was all about my friend A's do on Saturday night but it all started a little earlier than I had thought it would with the news on Friday night that we would be popping in to a 1st birthday party on Saturday morning (said friend has a 10 month old boy and has been venturing into fields somewhat alien to a resolutely childless 41 year old). 

Many balloons, small people, and toys later, I emerged flushed with success at managing to have conversed amicably (with the adults) whilst riding complacently along the wave of ceaseless attention grabbing unique to the under-5s...and having quite enjoyed myself!

But really this weekend foray into the 'wilds' of North London was for my friend's 40th birthday bash on Saturday night, a 70s themed 'fros and flares' do at Ziloufs in Islington.  Now I'm not a huge fan of the whole fancy dress thing and funds being what they are (or aren't as the case may be!), I was forced to indulge in a great deal of frugal googling (70s fashion) and frantic imagining (what's in my wardrobe) to come up with 'the look':

Me 'n' the birthday girl...btw, I'm the one on the right...and that's actually someone's sequinned shirt in the background...

An hour in the mini-bus later, we found ourselves boogie-ing away to the funky sounds of Soulscape, enjoying some great cocktails and impressing the dining crowd with our general party spirit...needless to say it was a big night and a long mini-bus ride home with the remains of this on my lap...

So all that was left to do was remove the eyelashes and pour myself into my floor-level airbed (no falling out for this little black duck!).  And after a reasonably gentle recovery on Sunday morning, fuelled by flat diet Coke and a small bad-for-me snackette at the tube station (a chicken and mushroom pastry if you must know), I toddled my way back to South West London...

...wrapped myself in a blanket and finished the weekend off with cheese and tomato on toast!


ps...the widget thingy says there's 33 sleeps til Santa comes...that's less than 5 weeks now people so chop, chop!  On with the preparations I say!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Adding Up The Small Things...

In my weekly peruse of Dr Alan Zimmerman's Tuesday Tip, I found another little pearl of wisdom I had to share...

"Bigness comes from doing many small things well. Individually, they are not very dramatic transactions. Together though, they add up."  Edward S. Finkelstein
Sounds like my life at the moment!

And with the widget thingy telling me that there's only 41 sleeps to Christmas, I am suspecting that unless I get cracking on a few small things, I may be faced with a rather large 'transaction' (aka meltdown) in a few weeks time...

Methinks it's time to get some skates on!

Friday, 12 November 2010

A Game Of Tag...You're It!

I got this game from a fellow blogger Ladaisi, via Seeded Buzz. Seemed like a fun thing to try and she wrote out the rules so beautifully that I couldn't help but leap in and 'have a crack' at it.  So, these are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.  Yep
2. Paste these rules on your blog post.  Yep
3. Respond to the following prompts (in bold).  Yep
4. Add a prompt of your own and answer it.  Yep no. 8
5. Tag a few other bloggers at the bottom of the post. Yep
6. Leave "Tagged You" notices on their blog/Facebook. Soon
7. Let the person who tagged you know when you've written the post. Before soon
1) The best investment you ever made:
Travelling and books...both expand minds, possibilities and stomachs.

2) If you could’ve written any book, directed any movie, and composed any song, which three would you pick:
I would have written The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (such a gloriously unexpected surprise), directed The Devil Wears Prada (all those fab clothes...sigh), and written Born To Be Alive by Patrick Hernandez (showing my age a little here!)

3) Weirdest quirk:
My adoration of Alfie Bear...oh and a serious addiction to peanut butter...and cheese (although not together!)

4) One wish immediately granted:

5) Most expensive hobby:
Eating out...I just love great food (and wine) in great company! And it doesn't always come cheap...

6) An inexhaustible gift-card at which store:
Waitrose...there's that food thing again!

7) In another lifetime, you’d be:
A writer...although this life's not over yet...

8) The most famous/interesting member of your family tree:
Famous: Bernadette Devlin
Interesting: Bishop Ferdinand Hamer 

So I'm tagging:
Seen the Elephant, Marmite and Fluff, The Vegemite Wife, Clever Girl Goes Blog, Memoirs of a TSUNAMI Girl, Postcards From Across The Pond, Ham Life

So the game is afoot! And you are IT...

ps...If I haven't tagged you and you'd like to participate, don't be shy...jump on in! And if you are one of these annoyingly organised, OCD types and have done all your Christmas shopping, I could not think of a better way to while away the 43 days until the fat man in the red suit pops in...

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Motivation Is An Inside Job...

One of the things that drops into my inbox each week is a newletter from Dr Alan Zimmerman, a motivational keynote speaker whose Tuesday Tip brings his thoughts on attitude, motivation, teamwork, communications and work relationships right into my mid week commute.

I have often been fascinated by this whole idea that the 'universe provides', that there is an energy in the universe that means if you do the things that move you in the direction you want to go in, the path seems to open up before you, signposts and all.

Those who know me well know that the last few weeks have been difficult to say the least and while the path is yet to materialise (it's just one step at a time at the mo'), this week's Tuesday Tip, Motivation Is An Inside Job, seemed to be a great signpost for the weeks and months ahead.

Dr Zimmerman starts by saying that no-one is 100% motivated 100% of the time (no really?), that external sources of motivation can not really be counted on ad infinitum (no sh*t Sherlock!), that the best source of motivation lies within ourselves (obviously!) and then goes on to provide some hints and tips on being your own motivational generator (which you can read for yourself by clicking here if you really want to). 

But that's not what inspired me to get tap-tap-tapping here at my front window.  His thoughts actually reminded me of something I heard 8-9 years ago from a course leader with Landmark Education:

When you take responsibility for your own happiness, others show up as a gift.
Think about it: imagine being able to generate your own happiness in spite of your circumstances.  Then others don't have to bear the burden of delivering happiness to you, all gift-wrapped with a big shiny bow.

I don't necessarily mean we need to be happy all the time (personally, and particularly right now, I would find that exhausting) but consider taking responsibility for all the feelings we have and not that they are caused by someone else. 

Powerful....and scary...stuff.  Because then there would be no-one else to blame...

...but me.

Damn!  Poor-me-ness has been foiled again.  Quick, get back under that duvet before I start waxing on about the buck stops here and all that malarky...

...even though it really does.

ps..just to leave you with something else a little motivational (or otherwise depending on your point of view)...the widget thingy says there are only 48 days til Christmas...

Bah Humbug!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Warrior Inside...

In catching up on some weekend newspaper reading this week, I was delighted to discover that the Hamer name is fact much further reaching than I anticipated.

In The Times Magazine from two weeks ago, I came across this picture of a warrior from the Hamer tribe, one of the more successful tribes making their home in the Omo Valley in Ethiopia:

The men wear clay buns on their heads to signify that they have made a kill and a scar etched onto their chest for every life they've taken...this one's obviously new to the warrior game!

And not to be outdone the women of the Hamer tribe "dye their hair red with ochre and wear intricately beaded clothing"...

They also wear rings around their necks when married (step up from the finger perhaps?) with the number of rings denoting their ranking as first, second, third wife to their polygamous husbands. This woman is a Wife No 2.

Hmmm I thought.  Not sure about that...polygamy and all those layers and repressive 'signature' jewellery.  I would rather just imagine 'Mrs Hamer' tripping barefoot down a theatrically dusty catwalk during London's Fashion Week or maybe she could have a little sojourn Gok's Fashion Fix to bring her out from the shadows of her warrior husband and to get her to 'stop hiding under all those layers, girlfriend'.

Great hair though...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Inspired By...Me!

Exciting news peeps...expatriate focussed website, Expat Focus, has published a little exposé on yours truly! 

So if you want to be inspired, click here to read about my Expat Experience...

ps...ok so the picture is supposed to be 'inspiring' - not many words in a blog post looked really uninteresting...enjoy!