why the long face?

C'mon, gissa smile!

I met up with an old colleague (E) on the spur of the moment last night.  she is someone that I worked pretty closely with for many years, and someone who is very well known, liked and respected at my old workplace.

Her daughter (L) also used to work in the same department as me, and we too forged a pretty good friendship.

So, me and E were having a lovely catch-up in Camden – drinking, gossiping and she was giving me the lowdown on what was going on there.  and LOWdown seemed to be the right word for this, as everything seems such ‘bad news’ at the moment, and noone seems to be particularly motivated about anything.

Anyway, we’d had a few drinks, and this sleazy guy came over and started to try to chat me up.  Which I found cringey and E found hilarious.  she then wanted to go to the loo and I wouldn’t let her, as i was worried that the guy would come over and corner me while she went.  luckily, at this point, L called her and said she was in a bar in Charlotte Street and that we should go over and meet her.

So we did (E still busting for a wee).  When we got there, I was surprised as there were a few people from my old work there, and I hadn’t realised they would be.

And they all looked miserable.  All of them (apart from L who was a bit drunk by then, and is a very happy person anyway…and works from home a lot, which probably helps).

It made me feel so grateful that I left.  It was a hard decision at the time (after 17 years there), but whenever I speak to people still there, I love the fact that my life is so busy but stress-free at work.  the fact that I am appreciated, listened to and the fact that things get done without reams of red-tape, working parties, procedures for everything and the fact that my directors are inspirational, motivational and innovative.

Best move I ever made.

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where has the time gone?

The past week seems to have flown by in some kind of haze.  We’ve been working on a new ‘product’ at work for the past year or so which we were finally going live with at a conference in Manchester last week.  This has really been my baby, and so I have been absolutely kakking it.

It’s only a new website, which should hopefully go live next week, but we hadn’t spoken to anyone about it other than a current clients – so it was going to be interesting finding out what reception it got from potential clients that we had never spoken to before.

And I get a form of ‘travel anxiety’ – so adding that to the general performance anxiety of having to do demos, and also having to mix with people that I don’t know, which is always a problem for me.  So, Monday & Tuesday I got about 3 hours sleep a night before going to Manchester on Wednesday.  I had rather a lot to drink on Wednesday night, mixing with some really lovely clients (and non-clients even) and ended up getting about 4 hours sleep, so I have been absolutely knackered!

And the past 3 days seem to have flown by in a bit of a daze.  i have no idea what I have been doing – apart from long walk, picnic and housework, oh and catching up with TV.  And having hayfever.  i am sniffling even now, and I’ve already taken a ‘generic superdrug brand which isn’t Piriton but does the same thing’ pill.

Bleurgh!

Anyway – back on track now, and I’ll put my mind in order and start re-posting stuff in my head 🙂

the murder desk

You don't want to sit at the murder desk!

When we first got our office in Jan 2008, me and my boss bagsied our desks first.  This was the point that  I dubbed one of the desks ‘The Murder Desk’.  My boss loves it, and mentions it every time someone sits in it 🙂

In every office I have ever worked in, I have always known which desk is the murder desk.

As far as I am concerned, it is the desk closest to the main door, preferably facing away from  it.  That way, if an axe-wielding maniac comes into the office in a mad killing spree and charges through the front door, anyone sitting at that desk is about 80% likely to be the first to die – sacrificing themselves so that the rest of us may be able to make a dash for it!

I would like to point out that the desk I chose is the one farthest from the main entrance, nearest the door to the kitchen, where there are large windows to climb out of, with a stairway to get down to ground level quickly.  I’m sorted!

conversations with my daughter (pt 6)

I don't wear the Five Star headset though...

The picture is a bit of a laugh as I’m one of the least techie people I know!

However, I work for a very small software company and we have a lot of clients, so 4 of us take it in turns to spend a weekend ‘on call’.  we get a nice little bung for this from our lovely directors, and happily, our software is bloody good, so we get hardly any calls – and the ones we do get are always user problems.

However, it means that I need to be able to get an internet connection at a couple of seconds’ notice, so can’t really leave the house.

So, yesterday The Girl was all excited about Easter (or about Easter Eggs, I’m not sure, it was a close one) and I broke it to her that I’m actually on call this weekend.

TG:  Oh no!  That’s really boring!

Me:  Well, it’s not quite so boring if you look on it as an investment.

TG:  How’s that then?

Me:  Well, I get paid every month for my two on call days – but if I do any extra ones, or any Bank Holidays during the year, then I get paid for them just before Christmas, which means that you can have presents.

TG:  Ohhhhhhh.  (Thinks for a while).  can’t you ask to do EVERY Bank Holiday then?

I love the fact that she cares about me so much 😀

catching up (part 1)

Although busy, I'm happily juggling life 🙂

I haven’t made an entry for a while, but this hasn’t been down to nothing much going on.  I don’t FEEL like I’ve not had much time to myself, but I definitely haven’t been round online as much as usual – and I definitely haven’t had a chance to go on Twitter etc from work as everything’s stepped up a gear recently.

This is because a project I’ve been heading up and working on since August last year is finally going to be launched next month – so there’s a real flurry of stuff going on.  But it’s all good.  It’s busy, but I don’t feel stressed.

That’s very much unlike my old job where I was busy, under-appreciated, had huge expectations, seemed to spend all my time in meetings or working parties talking about all the work that should be done and never seeming to have the time to do it between meetings and working parties!  I felt so stressed by it, and hardly felt like anything I did was even noticed.  A total waste of a day most of the time.

But my old job, the reasons I left and the fact that I am so happy now is a totally different post!

So, I have a long list of things that I have been up to, or that have been on my mind since my last entry, and I will slowly be working my way through them over the next couple of posts – as I’ve mentioned before, I need to get these things down so that I can get them out of my head and feel more relaxed about everything 🙂

On Sunday, we had Mother’s Day as my mum was finally back from her annual month-long holiday.  so we took my parents to The Dick Turpin, which is a Miller & Carter steakhouse.  It was actually really nice.  i wouldn’t bother going there if I didn’t fancy a steak, but I have to say, their steaks are absolutely wonderful.  The Man was happy as he’d asked for his T-Bone rare, and that’s exactly how he got it – he’d be happy if you just wiped the cow’s arse and slapped it on a plate.  I’d gone for medium-rare, as a lot of places I’ve been to don’t seem to be able to do medium and it comes medium-well.  however, this time, my sirloin was a perfect medium-rare and at first I wished I’d asked for exactly what I’d wanted.  After the first few bites, I forgot my slight squeamishness and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Their fries are absolutely gorgeous – crisp, fluffy and yummy.  Their coleslaw is also great – my mum makes fantastic coleslaw, and I have a real issue with ‘bought’ slaws that don’t have enough carrot and are smothered in watery, vinegary white yuck.  this was the exact opposite – but there was nowhere near enough of it.

One of their ‘things’ is serving you a quarter of an iceberg lettuce with a choice of dressings.  I don’t really get this, but it was fine – the dressing was nice enough and the lettuce was fresh and crisp.  The Girl definitely liked it!

The Man had also made my mum’s favourite – preserved lemons in a couple of kilner jars.  So we’re definitely in the good books now.

I am now getting distracted as I am listening to the budget while I’m typing, and they’ve degenerated into a bunch of rowdy school kids!

who hit me? erm…ouch!!!

I can't even look at this - ewww!!

I am a massive wuss – and this is one of the reasons I never go to the doctors if I can help it.  It makes me feel sick, knowing what my body may or may not be doing!

I am currently stuck indoors, with my leg up in the air, in pretty agonising pain!

Last night, I was at Camden station, and running for the tube as usual (I’m a Londoner – I will always run for the tube rather than wait the whole two minutes for the next one!!) and as I was running down the stairs, there was a woman with a pram (a personal hate of mine – people taking prams/pushchairs/kids in general on tubes during rush hour!).  Anyway, I swerved round this woman and run across the platform.

As I was just about to get on the tube, it felt like someone had hit me in the back of the leg with a very hard rubber ball and there was an odd sensation like a twang…I looked back to see who had thrown something at me, but there was nothing there, and noone behind me, so I thought “That’s odd” and jumped on the tube.

That’s when the pain hit….OMG the pain!!  I thought I was going to be sick, I overheated, started sweating profusely and had to take my coat off.  And I couldn’t put my foot down flat.

When i got off at Euston to change onto the viccy line, I was wondering whether I should go and get a taxi home…but I’m poor and tight, and the thought of going up all the escalators, walking through the station to the taxi rank was making me cry, so I thought the best thing was to get to Walthamstow and get The Man to pick me up from the station.  Which he did.

I was so sick when I got home, and I just couldn’t work out what I’d done.  It hurt so much, and was confusing me.  The Man said maybe I should go to A&E but I did my usual “We’ll see how it is in the morning, it might be better then!”.

I went on Facebook, and moaned, and a friend asked what I’d done and so I described it, 5 minutes later one of my best mates rang up.  She was a nurse for years, and is now a fitness instructor, she said “Did you feel like you’d been hit in the calf with something?”  “YES!”, “Did it then feel like an elastic band twanging?” “YES! How do you know?” “You’ve popped your calf muscle – classic textbook sensations”.

She did then tell me a bit about it, and that I needed to do calf stretches and it would take a few weeks to get better – but i couldn’t even consider stretching it at the time!  And the internally bits, ewww…..sick!!

A little later I googled ‘popped calf muscle’ and this page was the first result back which again described the sensation exactly.  I read a bit of it, but then had to stop – even thinking about it now makes me want to puke!  The only words I remember are keep raised, pop, torn, internal bleeding….yuck.

Luckily I can work from home until middle of next week with no problems, so I can hobble around and make The Man run around after me.  Even though he’s moaning about me ‘doing myself in’ at the moment, LOL.  I want to go to the London Bloggers Meet on Wednesday though, so I’m hoping I’ll be hobbling a bit better by then!

Sympathy…gimme some sympathy!!!

ewww! they’re looking at me!

19 Wigmore Street, London

Last night we had our work’s Christmas ‘do’, and we actually did something that I’ve been wanting to do for ages!

I work for a very very small (but successful) company – we only have 15 people that work for us – and for our do, we went to the wonderful L’atelier des Chefs in Wigmore Street.

It’s a great concept.  You go along, and you are taught how to cook a dish – they do different price ranges, styles and number of courses – you’re taught by a professional chef (our one was pretty cute), in a professional kitchen, and then you sit down with your class and eat the results of your labours.

We did a three course meal, which was prawns with avocado, haloumi, chili etc followed by duck with green beans, flaked almonds and an orange sauce and then poached pears with sable biscuits and cinnamon cream.  It was fantastic.  As there were 15 of us, we were split into 3 teams of 5, and I slipped up really…I’m quite a good cook, and I’m an absolute foodie and watch food programmes constantly.  I ended up in the group with 4 blokes who never cook.  not only did I have to shout a lot, but I also ended up doing most of the work AND I kept getting really frustrated with them – especially as two of them managed to cut themselves (one I reckon did it on purpose to get out of doing anything!).  i even had to peel quite a few of the prawns, which I NEVER do as I can’t have my food looking at me!  Eyes should be gone before I think about eating something!

But surprisingly, even though I was in the crappest team, the food we produced was absolutely gorgeous!  And I loved having all the professional equipment – the knives were SO sharp – I’ve never been able to dice an onion so finely, LOL.

Also, it was great that while we were eating each course, all the kitchen was cleared and everything set out for us – we didn’t have to do any measuring, weighing, washing-up, searching for equipment etc etc – just get on with cookign what was a scrummy, perfect meal!

With a couple of glasses of champagne on arrival and copious bottles of wine during the meal, it was a brilliant evening, and lovely for us all to get together – there were people who have worked for the company for years who had never met (there are quite a few home-based).

And they have a fantastic cookware shop there too (as they would have) and after we’d finished eating, my chief exec had another surprise – we each had a tab of £25 to get whatever we wanted from the shop!!  Woohoo!!  All this on top of a Christmas bonus that had been unexpected.  AND then we had lots more booze bought for us at a bar round the corner.

I love my company.  I love food.  And I officially loved last night and recommend it to anyone.  I’d love to organise to do it with a group of friends.

The table where we ate, with the kitchen just behind.

back to life, back to reality

Jazzy B was gutted that he'd forgotten his briefcase for his Alistair Darling impression

The last few weeks have been really odd.  Not going into the office, not getting much work at all, The Girl not around, The Girl  not at school when she came back, and then all of us stuck indoors cos of the snow.  Add on to that seeing family, catching up with friends, presents, theatre, me and The Man getting colds, the whole Christmas and New Year thing and the lack of decent TV it’s been a very strange time.

So I’m actually really looking forward to going back into work tomorrow.  I DO so like a bit of routine.  Not TOO much routine, but enough to make me feel comfortable.  I miss having a decent amount of work to really get my teeth into.  This year is going to be a busy one and I’m looking forward to it!

The Girl is SO happy that she’ll be able to go to school tomorrow.  She’s only had half a day back, and there were only 7 of her class in (lazy buggers!).  The Girl loves school.  I have forced that into her by making her life such a misery at home that she’s just ecstatic to be away from me!  😀

I’ve actually got a busy week this week, not only have I got to get used to doing a full day’s work every day for a whole week (eek!!  the trauma!!) but I’ve also got my work’s christmas do (we decided to have it late – cheaper, so we can aford more booze!) AND I’ve decided to go to the London blog meet up that chopandcut suggested to me.  This is the first step in my determined effort to be more sociable this year that I mentioned last week.   I am dead dead nervous, and probably wont speak to anyone but hell, it’s a start!!

things i do when i should be working

Ellie Goulding - 'The one to watch' in 2010

Well, apparently Ellie Goulding is top of the BBC Sound of 2010 list which means she’s destined for big things this year!

This news has given me a new excuse to procrastinate today while I’m working from home.

I don’t know whether it’s just me, but when I’m working from home, I tend to get a lot more done, but feel a lot more guilty when I’m not actually doing any work.  In the office, me and my boss laugh and joke and show each other stuff on the internet – I’m quite happy to have Facebook open permanently (I CAN multi-task).  I also have a work Twitter account, which also throws up some interesting stuff.  Then I get phone calls and have meetings and there’s so many distractions.  Plus I have to travel there and back.

When I’m working from home, I tend to start looking at emails and stuff at about 8am and end up doing far more actual work, and yet when I’m not working, I keep feeling like I’m going to get found out!  I wonder why that is.

Anyway, Ellie Goulding – as of today she’s suddenly got her name all over the news and the internet, and so I spent the last 10 or 15 minutes looking through YouTube videos of her at the Union Chapel gig in November.  Mainly to see if I can see myself.  Ahem.

I wonder how many other people do that.  When they’ve been somewhere that they know has been recorded, they go and look at countless videos just to see if they can spot themselves a nd if they do, then moan OH MY GOD – do I look like THAT?!!?  Was I dancing like THAT??  I look SOOOOOOOOooooooooooo pissed/stoned/fat/slutty/mental/like my mum*!!”

*delete as applicable

I’m sure that’s not just me.

Anyway – it was a brilliant gig, but Ellie was WAY down my list of favourite acts that night.  Obviously I went for Florence & The Machine mainly (3rd time I saw her last year) who is perfect far the fantastic acoustics of Union Chapel (which is the most amazing venue), but close on her heels were the amazing Rodrigo y Gabriela – who I had never heard of at the time.  they just completely fired the crowd up – and again, they were perfect for the venue.

Ellie had a good voice, but it was nowhere near as powerful or controlled as Florence, and I think Under The Sheets especially sounds far better once it has been produced etc, as I quite like the single, but live it was definitely lacking something.  All of the Union Chapel gigs were acoustic and I don’t think that was really her strength.

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