Life In List Form | Holiday Packing

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Lover of lists that I am, it’s no surprise that when it comes to packing to go on holiday, I have a pre-prepared tick box list that I print off, to make the whole process a little simpler and avoid forgetting anything.  I’ve shared a version of this list on my blog once before, way back when, but it’s changed as the years have gone by, so I thought I’d show you the current version.

It’s in PDF format, so you have to click on the link below to view it.

holiday packing list

By the time this post goes live I shall just have arrived in Dubai, where I’m sure the sun will be shining and the cocktails will be plentiful.  See you in a couple of weeks!  Toodlepip!

 

Mrs M’s Favourite Things Giveaway

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I haven’t done a giveaway for aaaages, so I thought it would be fun to do a themed one, full of some of my favourite things.

The video below will give you more detail and tell you all about the big bundle of items that one lucky reader will receive. Details on how to enter are given below the video.

How To Enter

  1. Leave a ‘pick me’ type comment on this blog post.
  2. For an extra entry, pop over to the Mrs M’s Meanderings Facebook page, ‘like’ it, and leave a ‘pick me’ comment on the sticky Giveaway post at the top of the page.
  3. For another extra entry, click the ‘You Tube’ icon on the bottom right corner of the video above, which will take you through to my You Tube page, click ‘subscribe’ to follow my channel and leave a ‘pick me’ comment on the video.

The Small Print

  1. Entries will be open until after I come back from my hols on 3rd November.
  2. UK addresses only, please, because of the weight of the package – sorry to my overseas readers.

 

Right, I’m off on my travels again later on today. I’ve scheduled a couple of posts to go up in my absence, and I may possibly blog from Dubai if there’s decent wifi – but if not, I’ll ‘see’ you all soon!

The Power of Google

It’s not even 8 am, and I feel like I’ve lived through a whole soap opera already this morning.

I sold a vintage perfume set overnight on eBay, and when I logged on this morning, I had a nice message from the buyer, a chap in Australia, asking me to hold off posting it until next month as it’s a birthday present for his elderly mother who lives in a care home in Plymouth – apparently it was her favourite perfume and she hasn’t been able to get hold of it for years.

Obviously I sent a message back saying that was fine, and offered to giftwrap it for him and enclose a card if he’d like me to.

As I was filing away the various emails into my ‘action later’ file, I glanced at the address, as I was mildly interested to know whereabouts in Australia he lived. I noticed that although the Paypal address was for a Plymouth care home (as he’d mentioned in his email), the eBay account address was in a completely different name, followed by a prisoner number and a UK HMP prison address.

My interest was now thoroughly piqued. So I did some googling. Within less than 10 minutes, I’d discovered the following.

  • My buyer and the person named on the eBay account were two different people.
  • The person named on the eBay account was sent to prison in 2007 to serve 14 years for a string of armed robberies.
  • The prisoner was a talented artist, and I saw some examples of his paintings.
  • My buyer was born in 1969 in the UK, and given up for adoption by his single mother.
  • He used the internet in the mid 2000s to search for his birth mother, and found her! I read the message string and it brought tears to my eyes.
  • It took me a little longer to find the connection between my buyer and the prisoner – but I did it! They were at school together. I guess my buyer must use the eBay account to send things to him in prison.
  • Then, of course, I wanted to know whether the gift I’m sending to Plymouth is for the birth mother or the adoptive mother. It’s the adoptive mother.

Amazing what you can find on the internet in the space of a few minutes, isn’t it?

Life Last Week #4

Last week, thankfully, was somewhat quieter and calmer than the previous one, with nothing much very exciting to report at all.

But I do like weeks like that – it’s nice to be able to get little jobs done around the house that have been hanging about in the background, vaguely irritating me, for ages.  And to catch up a little bit with the Sky Plus.  To have some lazy evenings with a hot bath and a face mask, and paint my nails.  To spend a whole morning filming videos for my You Tube channel.  And just not to be rushing around like a headless chicken!

I have got one vaguely amusing story to tell you.  Friday morning, Will had an appointment at the Dr’s for an ECG at 8.45 am, and when we turned up, they had no record of an appointment that morning, and in fact their computer showed that the appointment had been the previous morning at 8.45 which, obviously, we’d missed.  I was really quite irritated, swore they were completely wrong and blamed the woman I’d spoken to on the phone, who’d been making two separate appointments for Will, one for a follow-up to the ECG, and who had got completely confused with dates and times and got us both tied up in knots trying to sort it out.  I heaved several large sighs, rolled my eyes a lot and was generally quite abrupt and made it very clear I wasn’t impressed.

Then I got home, and discovered that the appointment WAS in my diary for the previous day, not the Friday!  Large slice of humble pie for me, then.  I did phone the surgery, speak to the woman I’d dealt with, admit my mistake and apologise profusely.  But I felt quite embarrassed about the whole thing for the rest of the day!

The weekend was fairly quiet – Will went to stay with his cousins at MIL’s, which was nice for him, and we had friends over for a very raucous and entertaining evening on Saturday.  Other than that, we were quite lazy.

Here are a few pics from my week.

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Reg is very keen on his new cat bed, surprisingly.  Knowing how contrary my cats usually are, I fully expected him to take one look at it and refuse to go anywhere near it!

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This month’s Glossybox was a good one – lovely selection of products and a super-pretty box, too.

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Thursday became the new Friday, as I celebrated having booked next summer’s holiday with a nice glass of pinot grigio.

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My flavoured coffee habit reached new heights of ridiculous.

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Ashley ‘checking the structural integrity of our beams’ at about midnight on Saturday.  It seemed like a good idea at the time!

Journal Jar Q48: Write About Your Favourite Job | Part 2

So here is the second part of my two-part series on my working life. Part 1, if you missed it, is here.

 Business Development Co-ordinator

Another grand title for a not-so-grand job! It was a new business start-up within Plymouth University, government-funded, to support small food producers in the South West.   I had a lovely office with French doors out to a beautiful garden but the main thing I remember about that job is being incredibly lonely, as I was working alone, as my boss was always out and about. It was hellishly quiet and I was bored much of the time. I stayed less than a year.

Recruitment Consultant

Out of the frying pan into the fire – I took this job in Exeter city centre, which was quite a long commute, and horrendously long hours.   I loved the girls I worked with, and many parts of the job I really enjoyed, but I loathed the pressure to sell, and didn’t any have confidence in my sales ability. I had sleepless nights over the cold calling that we had to do.

It all started falling apart fairly rapidly towards the end of my 12 months there – my boss was losing the plot (he was having problems at home and becoming quite volatile in the office); I received a phone call at home at 4 in the morning from the company’s Night Service wanting information which had been faxed to them the day before, which I complained about, but my boss seemed to think a 4 am phone call was perfectly acceptable; and the final straw – my mum phoned me at work (a very rare occurrence), and left a message with my boss for me to call her back, as I was on another call. My boss didn’t give me the message, and my mum eventually phoned again. She had called to tell me my grandmother had died. The boss didn’t even apologise.

I left that day and never went back. My letter of resignation crossed in the post with their’s, firing me.

PA to Chairman

After licking my wounds for a month or so, I took this job, very close to home, with good hours and nice people, organizing the life and work of a very busy, and very nice, chap. It was just what I needed at the time – really interesting work, reasonable hours, good money and plenty of autonomy as far as organizing my own workload was concerned.  I stayed for a very happy two years until I went on maternity leave. I would happily have gone back, but they needed me to work full-time and I only wanted part-time after having Will.

Secretary

I started this job when Will was five months old, working in the Property Department at the local Council, two days a week on a job-share. Again, it was just what I needed at the time – getting out of the house a couple of days a week, work not too arduous, wearing something smart and not covered in baby sick, and mixing with other adults rather than just a baby!

I left after four years, when Will started school, as I wanted to be able to pick him up at the end of the school day, and I didn’t finish work until 5.30 pm, so the hours didn’t really work for me any more.

Clerk to Governors

I’ve been doing this job for the best part of 10 years now. It’s VERY part-time, mostly working from home, for a local Primary School. I started at one school, then took on another school and worked for both for some time, then dropped the first one, and am still at the second one.

I like the work, it’s really quite easy money, and the way it fits into my life suits me perfectly.

eBay Queen

My other current ‘job’, which I love 98% of the time and loathe the other 2%! I feel as though it’s my perfect niche, and I really wouldn’t change my working life now for anything. It suits me really well.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my career history as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it – it’s brought back all sorts of memories. I’d love to know what some of my readers have done work-wise – what was your favourite/worst job?

Bookmarks, TV In The Bedroom, Reading & Judgment

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Well, there’s a catchy post title. Not.

Y’know how, when you come across something interesting on t’internet, and you bookmark it to come back to it at a later date? That.

Last month I bookmarked this post over at Fat Mum Slim, because she asked for book recommendations and, like the proverbial moth to a flame when it comes to anything to do with books, I thought I’d revisit it and look at the comments to see if there were any recommendations that appealed to me.

And I’ve just got around to doing so. I’ll be honest – most of the book recommendations were either ones I’ve read already or ones that aren’t really my cup of tea. But what REALLY struck me about the comments was how people felt the need to justify themselves for having a TV in their bedroom!

I was really surprised in this day and age that there seems to be a bit of a guilty feeling about it and, apparently, a deep-seated NEED to make an excuse. Weird – particularly in this day and age.

I have a TV in my bedroom. Have done for years.  It works for us as a family on several levels:

  • Weekdays, I get up as soon as the alarm goes off, and get straight to my desk. The husband likes to sit in bed with a coffee for half an hour and watch the news before he gets up.
  • Evenings, I tend to retire to my bedroom early (oh Lord, I sound like a Downton Abbey character!), and sometimes I’ll watch TV or a DVD while I potter about taking off my make-up, doing a face mask or whatever. William sometimes comes and joins me on the bed for a chat and ends up watching something with me.
  • Weekend afternoons, Ashley and Will often like to watch the Grand Prix or some dreadful old film (westerns or sci fi = dreadful in my world!) in the lounge, so I will retire to the bedroom to watch something more suited to my taste.

Having a TV in the bedroom doesn’t stop me reading. Last year I read around 100 books, this year it’ll be less, but I’m already up to 65 ish. I love reading. I love TV.

Some people don’t enjoy reading. Some people don’t enjoy TV. One is not better or more worthy or more valid than the other.

But clearly, judging from the comment thread on FatMumSlim’s post, there is some sort of perception reading is a more ‘acceptable’ pastime than watching TV.

A healthy mix is good, I think.

Over to you, readers. What do you think? TV in the bedroom or not? Are you a reader AND a TV watcher, or do you come down on one side or the other? If you don’t read books, do you feel the need to justify yourself? Do let me know.

 

 

 

Recipe: Homemade ‘Heinz’ Tomato Soup

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This is one of my favourite soups to make and eat – healthy AND delicious – win!  I made a big pot of it last week and had it for lunch every day – really warming now the weather is feeling a bit colder.  It is a bit of faff with making the roux, but so worth the extra effort.  I usually cook this soup in the slow cooker, but it can be done just as easily on the hob.

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used rapeseed)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (14oz approx)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 handfuls of chopped basil
  • 1 parmesan crust (optional)
  • Chicken stock
  • Milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 25g butter

Method

1.   Finely dice the celery, carrots and onion and cook over a medium heat in the oil until slightly softened and turning golden, then add to slow cooker.

2.   Add tin of tomatoes and juice, herbs and bay leaf, and cheese rind (if using).  Add chicken stock.  I know I haven’t given an amount, I always do mine by eye/feel, so just use however much you feel is appropriate.

3.   Cook on low for six hours or high for four hours, then blend with a hand blender.

4.   Make a roux by melting the butter in a small pan, then add flour and mix well.  Add milk gradually (about half a pint – again, I didn’t measure – sorry) stirring all the time, to make a white sauce.  When thickened, add to soup and mix well.  Season to taste.

You can add a little parmesan to the mixture and stir in at this point, or serve it with the parmesan grated on top, which is my preference.

Eat and enjoy!