For 20 odd years my mum worked as a Home Help/Carer, which meant she spent a lot of time with older ladies. These women had lived through World War II and were as resourceful as you were ever would be likely to meet. I once went to a “do” at my local workingmens club with them all, (which isn’t as sexist as it sounds, it’s basically just a social club) and my skirt seam split. I stood up in a panic, asking my friends what I should do, but I needn’t have worried. No less than 3 of the ladies approached me with safety pins they had salvaged from their Mary Poppins-esk handbags.
I was astonished that on a Saturday night in 1992, women were randomly carrying around with them a gamut of things to remedy seemingly ANY situation. After a quick survey, I found that the 5 things that qualified adults had about their persons were:
- A Safety Pin(s)
- A pen
So I was having a think about this today and it’s been 26 years since my skirt split and so I reckon in 2018, things have massively changed – or have they? I reckon first of all that there are WELL more than 5 things that are bag essentials now and I thought I would share with you my list:
Lactose free milk
OK so clearly some of these are very specific to me like the milk and the IBS meds, but honestly I have carried around the rest of the things in my bag as total standard for YEARS! I mean look:
How times have changed. So my question is this, does my bag look like yours? What do you carry day-to-day? Leave me a comment, I’d be dead interested if you think I have left anything out?
Ok, I am not going to lie, I am a straight up SUCKER for advertising and I have been know the make the odd impulse purchase. I think I get this from my dad, who, in earlier years, could not be let loose in Town on his own as previously he had come back with Sky TV and a fridge freezer when he was essentially gong for milk!
So it should come a no surprise to know that I bought this Stone Stream Shower from an INSTAGRAM ad whilst I was browsing one morning. I mean, I hadn’t even got out of bed! It promised that it would increase shower pressure by “up to 200%” and would basically change my showering life. SOLD to the gullible girl who had just got paid.
The purchase price was £19.99, but of course as I started to order it was an additional £5 for a shower head with 3 x settings (Rainfall, Jet and Combo), OK I thought, and then an additional £5 if I wanted it within 5-7 days. Well in for a penny, in for £30. It arrived this morning wrapped in a postal bag and even though it looked exactly as described, I was still skeptical. I have never seen the ad in Instagram since so in one way, I was just chuffed it showed up!
It was very easy to install as I literally just unscrewed the old shower head and screwed in the new one. I filmed the difference in the streams, before I took an actual shower:
As you can see from the video, it definitely does increase the water pressure, even though the shower head itself is smaller. The really noticeable thing when I took a shower was the very soft way the water hit my skin. Even the middle jet was still quite soft and had a much nicer flow. M has yet to use it, but for me it was a hit! The pressure is better and the Stone Stream gives a much more gentle and relaxing experience. It was easy to fit and basically, does what it says it should.
So as an impulse buy, I am giving this 9/10 and the only reason it loses a mark, is that I think at some point in the future, we might have buy replacement stones. Otherwise, me likey.
p.s. it’s worth noting that our shower is Electric and is on the top floor of a 3 storey house.
So I thought I would write a dead honest blog tonight. I try to remain positive and happy as a rule, but we all know sometimes it harder than others. I have to say, upfront, that I am definitely not sad, but I am very very tired.
As you might have seen in previous posts, I have been seconded into another role at work, which has seen me working away on and off since mid-October. I am now VERY familiar with the Travelodge and even the not so glorious Ibis in Leicester. I have also been working super hard on the new project and my 43 year old brain is a little fried. So the combination of the train journeys, many nights in hotels and the extra work, combined with my current commute to and from Manchester (anything from 40 minutes to 2 hours) I am ready for a good old rest.
I haven’t been able to get my ducks in a row to do VLOGMAS this year and I am sort of letting my YouTube channel stagnate. I have made arrangements to do things and see friends with genuine intentions, but after long days and things, I just can’t be bothered. Tonight was one of those nights, when I couldn’t muster the energy to go to the WI Christmas party. I REALLY wanted to go, but I just couldn’t drag my weary butt into the shower and I am not sure greasy hair and comfy pants is really all that Christmassy. 😫 Then of course there is the feeling again this year, that Christmas without mum, is just a little bit shitter.
BUT. I have just one week to go until M and I finish for Christmas. 7 short days until I can switch off the alarm and call “job done” for 2017. Then we have got a lovely mini-break to Harrogate before the hoopla of Christmas kicks in and even a night away in Chester in between Christmas and New Year. So 7 sleeps until I can just actually sleep past 7:30am. I can’t bloody wait!
How is it already the end of November? I re-joined Weight Watchers in May this year and as you can see my weight loss has been sort of steady since I did. This month wasn’t great as I was doing ok but had one week where it went horribly wrong and I put on 3.5 lbs 😔 But on a positive note, I did finish the month with a loss, so I ended up -1.5 lbs overall. I think it’s important for me to recognise that in certain circumstances it’s ok not to focus on the numbers, but more about feeling good, making healthy choices and recognising how far I have come.
I found the picture above of me in the black clothes on my camera as I was looking through a memory card this morning. I decided to take the same photos to see if I could see a difference and I was honestly shocked, because I really could!
I am so proud of how far I have come and even though I have got a way to go, I feel SO pleased that this has happened to me this year. It’s feels like it’s changing my life. So, this week is going to be a good one and even though I am off to Leicester for the week, I am more determined than ever to keep things going!
As you know I have been working away in London for the last 5 weeks trying to get my head around a new computer system in order to train hundreds of Prince’s Trust staff how to use it. Well this week, that training started in earnest when I trained some of our staff alongside the lovely Laura from Dundee. I had the first day jitters initially, but by the second day they settled down and we ended up having a really good couple of days.
I have been doing IT Training for about 15 years on and off, but this is the first time I have ever trained people on a system I didn’t know inside out. But the fact that it seemed to go ok and the feedback was good, has given me so much confident that I feel good about the sessions I am doing solo next week.
Actually, next week sees me going to Leicester for the week and as I have never been I am interested to see what it’s like. I am going on my own, which means 4 x nights in the Ibis Leicester, but I am back on Thursday night so it’s not too bad.
Also, this weekend is our last “free” weekend before the Christmas hoopla kicks in.. namely:
- My brother-in-law’s birthday breakfast (not Christmassy, but yanno.. still lovely)
- Family Christmas Fayre at Newton-le-Willows Family & Community Centre on the 2nd December
- Newton-le-Willows Christmas Markets on the 3rd December
- WI Christmas Party on the 8th December
- Phoenix Apparel Christmas Fayre at St Helens Town Hall on the 9th December
- Christmas Concert in Mesnes Park on Wednesday 13th December
- I finish work for 2017 on the 15th December!!
So lots to look forward to and I think that this weekend I might pick up my vlogging camera. I have really neglected my YouTube Channel over the last couple of months due to work things but as Christmas approaches and VLOGMAS tickles my creativity – I think it’s time to start filming.
That’s it then, I am done with London! This final week was an extension to the original 4 and it really marks the start of the next phase. I have been learning a new computer system whilst I have been down South and from next week, I have the enormous task of training all our NW staff – it’s going to be fine *blinks very fast whilst nodding*.
But seriously, we had a great last week, still learning lots and trying to wrap our heads around lots of technical information. On Wednesday, I suggested to everyone that we all go out for dinner on our final night together, so we all went to Pizza Express Finsbury Circus and had a really good laugh telling stories and blowing off some steam.
As a non drinker and after a fab few hours, I waved everyone off to the pub, whilst I actually went back to my hotel for a kip. The following day it was hilarious to hear that some of my colleagues had let off more steam than others…but we don’t need to talk about the photo that was taken in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night. My lips are sealed. 😜
It was bittersweet to leave as I am not a city girl at heart, but I’ve really enjoyed the experience and the challenge of travelling solo and staying in our capital city. The tube no longer daunts me at rush hour and I have 100% mastered how to take a wheelie case on and off escalators and trains without stopping or missing a step. I rule!
Over the next few months I am training staff in Salford, Leicester and Birmingham, so watch this space to see how I get on!
<< See week 4
It’s funny you know, I have tried to start this post a few times as I am worried that it’s going to sound like I’m bragging, which would, you know, be a bad thing. But I just really wanted to document how totally chuffed I am with our new wardrobes – I mean REALLY pleased.
I lived as a singleton for a long time when I left home at 21 and only ever really had the need for a single wardrobe. So when M and I moved in together we were desperately short of storage space and so we bought ourselves a couple of sets of matching draws and wardrobes.
They were from Ikea and we thought they were ace. We had them in the old house in Haydock and then they moved brilliantly with us to N-le-W. However, after we moved we quickly realised that we had more stuff than wardrobe space and had to invest in a garment rail too so that everything didn’t feel squashed.
But that made our bedroom start to feel untidy so finally about a month ago, we decided to invest in some new fixtures and fittings thought we would give Ikea another go. We firstly tried the PAX Planner thingy, which went horribly at first but after some perseverance we managed to get it working and came up with this design.
PAX is the self build wardrobe range from Ikea that has mix and match interiors which include everything from pull out shelves, shoe racks and soft close, glass fronted drawers. Wardrobe porn basically!!
Anyway, we went to Ikea in Warrington and even though they carry some lovely furniture, their customer service techniques are patchy at best. We went initially to get a quote and were served by a young girl who looked like she tolerated us rather than valued out custom. Then when we returned to actually order the wardrobes we had to search the windowless and cavernous shop for an assistant as the wardrobe section was empty of anyone. BUT once we located someone she dealt with us fairly efficiently. However, here is where we me the 1st of 2 stumbling blocks. Ikea advertise that they will deliver the wardrobes for £35 and install them for 20% of the purchase price. So even though we thought that was quite expensive, we agreed in lieu of an alternative.
However, it turns out that the £35 is paid to Ikea but the installation people are 3rd party, need paying in cash on the day and will only come a few days after the wardrobes (bits) are delivered. So that was a NO from us. Instead we just asked Ikea to deliver to us on a particular day and organised the ever BRILLIANT Handy Macky to come and install & build.
So on the prescribed day and without too much fuss the many, many, MANY boxes of wardrobe parts arrived… which made me think, you don’t actually buy a wardrobe so much as a wardrobe jigsaw.
It took Handy Macky 2 full days to put 1st the carcasses and then the sliding doors together and of course the girl in Ikea had ordered to wrong size doors which saw us hotfooting it back to the horrid store. To be fair to Ikea they refunded us £10 of the delivery charge and then picked the correct door sizes for us, despite them usually being self-serve and them being so busy, there were people queuing to get in!
But we did get the right doors without too much stress and honestly if you ever need a handyman around the Widnes/Warrington/St Helens ish area, then Handy Macky is your man. He worked SO hard to get things ready!
So whilst all this was going on, M and I had been to Ikea the week before and picked all our interiors, which of course came flat pack and we had to spend a good few hours putting together. This actually was quite fun and so when the carcasses were finally erect, we actually had everything else ready to go…..
It took us (well, M) another couple of days to get the runners and rails in place to accommodate the various draws and shoe racks, but finally they were ready!!
My particular favourite bits are the shoe shelves and M’s pull out tray for his little bits and bobs. But my ultimate favourite part and the thing I think set the whole arrangement off, are the lights. They come on when we slide the doors open and they are just BRILL!! They give off a lovely soft light and I feel like now I can really see my clothes properly!
We have also had a MASSIVE clothes clear out and both the old clothes and the old wardrobes and drawers were donated to The British Heart Foundation. They weren’t new, but they were well looked after.
Getting wardrobes from Ikea has pros and cons. The pros being that they were very interchangeable in that we could pick from a different colours, door styles, interiors, lighting and sizes. The cons being basically the complicated flat pack nature of the wardrobes and the hit and miss customer service of Ikea.
But overall, we are very pleased with the final product and the trade-off for the cons was the reasonable price. This post wasn’t paid for but I have to say, I am still a fan of Ikea furniture and the like. The shop is AWFUL, it’s the only place M and I come close to falling out and the staff can be invisible but their furniture is stylish and competitively priced. You are my guilty pleasure Ikea, a bad boyfriend. You give me a headache and cost me money, but I keep coming back!