Sunday, 31 May 2009
Saturday, 30 May 2009
It'll be me. Undercover. Taking part in Operation Wheelie a.k.a Mission Don't-Piss-Me-Off-By-Putting-Your-Bin-Bags-In-My-Bin.
It's pretty much a solo operation, although I sometimes draft in the boyfriend as second in command.
Ok, ok, I know it's a relatively minor offence and I sound like some crazy Middle Englander who sits at the window with binoculars and a notebook, logging the comings and goings of their neighbours.
I have no problem with people putting the odd bin bag in my bin - I'm all cool with that baby. What I do have a problem with is when people don't bother putting their bins out to be emptied and then decide that it's ok to put all their bin liners in our bin so that you can't shut the lid.
Not ok people!
Especially when I've had the cats for 6 days and have cat litter and stinky cat poo in my bin, making the flat smell distinctly like a crazy old lady's maisonette.
Only one thing to do in that situation. Remove the offending articles so that I can put mine in.
Under cover of darkness, I crept out of the back door and scouted the area for enemy approach. All clear. I moved in to extract the foreign objects and neutralise the situation...
I hate myself for doing it and I would have died if anyone had come out and seen me (I'm not really one for confrontation. I'll sound off to my heart's content behind closed doors but my mouth will remainly fimly shut when confronted with a situation).
However there comes a time when a woman has to stand up for what she believes in and today that happens to be my right to keep my bin for my own bin bags.
I need to get out more.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
This could not have been easier to make. In fact it was made so quickly that I found myself reading through the instructions again and again, absolutely sure that I had missed something vital out along the way.
Monday, 25 May 2009
Friday, 22 May 2009
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Monday, 18 May 2009
9. Standing on stage on a bar down Mill Ave, singing YMCA with a stars and stripes hat on
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Originally started in 1956 as a way of bringing all European nations together under the auspices of a singing competition it has been dogged in recent years by accusations of bloc voting, especially amongst the Soviet satellites who tend to vote for either their neighbours or the mothership, Russia.
Adding in to this was the fact that everywhere in Europe, to put it plainly, didn't like the UK, so we went from placing in a consistently high position to consistently coming right down at the bottom, which is where poor Andy Abrahams found himself last year with a horrifying nul points.
There have been many reasons put forth as to why we were performing so poorly in the competition, I think it has been a combination of a few things...
a) Political voting - this has undoubtedly been a problem for a good few years now, you can predict that without fail Latvia is going to give their 12 points to Lithuania and that Finland, Norway and Sweden tend to award each other top points. The reason this is such an issue is that there are so bloody many of these countries - there are a billion little ex-Soviet Union countries so it stands to reason that it's more likely one of those are going to win.
b) Crap songs - Eurovision is famed for being a bit like spending an evening in a gay nightclub in Spain - trashy, catchy ditties with extra helpings of cheese on the side. It was where pop came to die. We in the UK have always seen Eurovision like this but failed to realise over the years that the crazy little tunes were being replaced by more ballads and, actually pretty reasonable (although you'd never admit it) songs. Yes there are still some countries that will appear on the stage and sing something so bizarre you sit with your mouth open but they're not as regular as they used to be. We kept entering complete dross however, Scooch being a particular low point *shudder*
c) The artist - This was overlooked for many many years. Most of the entrants the countries choose are well-known in, not only their countries, but in other European countries as well. People see an artist they know and like, they're more likely to vote for them. Simples. Instead we have sent novelty pop acts, barely known over here, and X-Factor rejects. We should have been sending Take That - we'd have wiped the floor with them all!!
d) Automatic placing - As one of the main financiers of the contest, we recieve an automatic place each year. Everyone-else has to battle it out in a series of semi-finals to win their place - there's a total of 42 potential entries, only 24 or so will make it. Because we automatically get a place there's less reason to try hard and this leads nicely on to the fifth and final point....
e) The Cardinal Sin - One of the most important reasons for our inability to score highly? We have not been taking the competition seriously. It's still seen as a bit naff and a bit silly. This is not the case in Europe. It's a big deal. A HUGE deal in fact. Why should people vote for us when we so arrogantly treat it with disdain and think it beneath us.
What could be done?! I hear you ask. (No really, I do.)
Point a) was solved by a re-arranging of the voting system. Instead of it being purely down to the public vote, there would a return to the old jury system of voting, where a panel of industry experts vote for their favourite song. Their votes would be combined with the public vote so give an overall score.
How to solve point b)? Enter Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Who better to write a song for us than the man behind Phantom of the Opera?! It wouldn't be difficult for him to do, (it apparently took him 2 days to write it) and it would go down well with the industry panels of other countries.
Point c) was sorted out by that most favourite of tv shows nowadays - reality talent contest. Fills up some space in the Saturday night schedule, make some money by getting people to vote for their favourite, come out with someone that can a) sing and b) the public like.
Point d)? Let's start taking it seriously people!! People were going mental last year saying "We're paying for the bloody thing" "Waste of licence money" "blah blah blah". Well then! Let's try and make it worth our while. We can't pull out altogether because that would be unsportsmanlike and we British pride ourselves on being jolly good losers. After all it's the taking part that counts. RUBBISH! WE MUST WIN! WE MUST TRY AND WIN!
And most importantly, point e). Sir Webber took his song and his winner and they went on a massive charm offensive around Europe, doing television appearances, getting the song out there and showing the rest of Europe that we were taking part in this competition properly too.
We came fifth.
You might not think this is good but believe me this is an amazing feat. We haven't done so well in years and years and years and years. We were never going to win (that accolade went to Norway with a stonking 387 points, the most points ever scored in Eurovision history) but we were up there in what was, for the first time since I can remember, a proper song competition.
The new voting system has worked like a dream. Yes there was still bloc voting but it didn't have as much of an effect on the overall scores and was just one of those funny things you can let slide when it isn't making a mockery of the competition.
This year was Eurovision's last chance with me. I remember having a temper tantrum last year, stomping about saying I wasn't watching it any. more. Then I thought I should be fair and give one more go. And I saw this, and you know what? I was a teeny bit proud. (But don't tell anyone). Listen to her voice man!
And I'm back in love.
Next year - Eurovision Party!!
You're all invited.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
Friday, 15 May 2009
My boyfriend and I moved in together 2 months ago.
And in those two months we haven't gone out together once.
How bad is that?!
Apart from going to various family things we haven't been out, on an evening, just the two of us.
Unless you count trips to Tescos as 'going out'. (You might do, I find supermarket shopping strangely exhilarating. I think it's because there's so many things you can get now. How can you not get excited when you can get strawberries, bleach, clothes and a teapot all under one roof?!)
So we are rectifying matters tonight and we are leaving the flat and venturing out in to the big wide world. Our destination?
A trip to the cinema to see Coraline (which I'm pretty sure is supposed to be a children's film).
Except it's been raining all day and I don't want to go to the cinema, I want to go home and put my pjs on and drink mugs of tea and eat cookies and do my cross stitch and read and watch Family Guy.
BUT I WILL GO! And be a good girlfriend.
Thursday, 14 May 2009
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Monday, 11 May 2009
So my weekend started with a trip to see Mum. She was made redundant a few weeks ago and although I think she has secretly enjoyed the break, she's hit the boredom threshold now and is finding it hard to fill her days I think. Her and I took a little trip to Matalan where I was looking for some bits for our bedroom.I picked up this cushion and vase for the princely total of £13. Unlucky for some I think not! We can't do an awful lot in terms of decorating because the flat's rented so to paint walls etc would be a waste of money. Luckily everything is magnolia-ed so it's just a case of adding 'accents' I believe they call them in the interior business.
I've decided on green for the bedroom - not a snotty green but a nice light green. Thought it would be nice and calming and spring-like and fresh. Bedding is all sorted so I'm on to the next stages. The cushion is so ace and squidgy, I absolutely love it and the vase was only a fiver so it's gone on the windowsill and I'm going to get some artificial flowers to stick in it.
After that I came back home to watch crappy DVDs and get a little bit crafty. I've got a load of pictures of our old cats that have been kicking around for ages. I've been wanting to put them in an album but wanted to do one that was a little bit different and do it scrapbook style. The trouble with me is that deep down inside me there is a creative person dying to get out but she never quite seems able to. I really want to be creative and I feel that there are ideas inside me somewhere but they never seem to be able to materalise. It's like they're small little eggs that don't seem to hatch into little chicklets.
Still I give it a go and although it's not turning out exactly how I thought it would do. I'm pretty pleased with the results so far. Only trouble is I'm running out of card to do it on - too many cats!! I've heard a saying that goes Every life should have nine cats. So far I'm on numbers 6 and 7 so I've got a fair few more pages to go.
I had a very lovely and relaxing bath complete with candles and rubber ducks. Only bad thing about this is that I used the last of my Lush products. Dum, dum, dummmmmm. I'm a huge Lush fan and seriously have difficulties in walking past the shop on Whitefriargate in Hull without going in and treating myself. I've managed to restrain myself recently but now that I've used them all up I have the perfect excuse to go in there!
Sunday was pretty boring. I had something to do that I've been putting off for far too long. The ironing. Somehow I've managed to avoid it since we moved in which I think is pretty impressive seeing as we've been in here for 2 months now! However it was threatening to topple over me and crush me every time I went in to the spare bedroom (where I've hidden the basket in the hope it will magically do itself) so I figured that whilst I undertook my weekly ritual of Sunday Hollyoaks-watching I would do it at the same time.
I didn't make it all the way through. I did stand there for 2 hours through Hollyoaks and the first part of Shipwrecked but I had to give it up in the end. It's not my fault there's so much of it though. I can place the blame squarely on my boyfriend's shoulders. That ironing is all his shirts!! I had no idea he had so many unless they have bred whilst they lay in the basket. I ironed 8 of the buggers and there's another 7 drying on the airer. Not to mention the god knows how many hanging up in his wardrobe. It's bizarre. Well not so much bizarre and more the result of him going through 1 shirt a day and then putting off the ironing for as long as possible.
And last but not least. One important event of the weekend was the discovery that my Swine Flue leaflet had arrived. Goodness knows how I coped without this font of wisdom. I would never have known that I should use a tissue when I sneeze if it wasn't for this.
Do not get me started on how much NHS money was spent on printing this and delivering it to every house in the UK.
But I thought it would be a funny addition to the other photos...
Friday, 8 May 2009
Or rather. The mice will clean. And clean. And clean.
It's quite sad really. All day at work I've been thinking about it. Everywhere needs dusting, everywhere needs hoovering, things need disinfecting. I should point out that we really don't live in a hovel and it probably isn't really dirty or messy but to me it is. I can see things. Out of the corner of my eye. Bits of dust and muck in places.
The boyfriend is being taken out to dinner by the partners tonight for being good greedy solicitors and making lots of money so I'm on my own. And how do I celebrate? By cleaning.
But am I? As I sit here now in my beautifully clean flat (not just clean, me clean), I feel calm and relaxed and very very happy. I really need to get up and draw the curtains and switch some lights on but I can't be bothered to move. I'll wait until Corrie's over when I'll get up and stick a DVD in.
And what's even better is that the flat will remain nice and clean because my boyfriend isn't going to be in it! (I remain convinced that it's him that makes it messy although I'm not entirely sure how) He's going away for the weekend early doors tomorrow so it will be mine aaaaaall mine. God knows what I'll be doing in here on my own, I'm guessing I'll be bored within a few hours and wish he was here...
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
I do however still stand by my previous view that there is no such thing as compromise - merely one person whose will is weaker than the other.
Case in point - this bank holiday weekend.
This holiday coincided with my boyfriend's Mum's 60th birthday. Unfortunately there is a tendency for his family to over-celebrate these happy occasions. They become 'events'.
So this was no ordinary 60th birthday. It became a 3-day 'event' to rival the Queen's Jubilee.
There was a black tie do at their house which was professionally catered. There was a picnic on the Saturday. And when I say picnic I do not mean soggy egg sandwiches. There was a baked cheesecake. There was goat's cheese. There was champagne. Then on the Sunday there was to be a lunch out at a fancy restaurant.
In short. There was too much.
My boyfriend's family are lovely, but there's a limit to what I can take. And all of these events combined would have pushed my way over my pain threshold.
But how to broach this with my boyfriend?
I remained silent on the subject for some time, praying that I wouldn't have to talk about it and mulling over whether or not there is a nice way to say you don't want to spend time with someone's family.
Fortunately for me my prayers were answered. There was divine intervention. Angels flew down and rescued me. Whatever. My salvation came in the form of a text message from a friend organising a girls night out for the Saturday night. Even better it was going to start at the some what riiculous time of 5pm. Perfectamundo - I wouldn't be able to attend the picnic because I would need time to get ready for the night out. (It doesn't matter that 'getting ready' for me consists of a half-hearted slapping on of make-up, the pulling on of some jeans and whatever top is closest to hand.)
I could have pushed my luck and tried the ol' "I'm too hungover to go to lunch on Sunday" but even I'm not that bad.
So not really a case of compromising - face intervened on my behalf. Good job really because I don't think there's any way to compromise over that particular situation, mainly because I know I wouldn't have been the weak-willed one...
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
My boyfriend took these when I was making the Vanilla Cupcakes for the Sweet and Simple bake - once you're in the kitchen they're never far away, just on the off-chance you're going to drop something they can eat. Lily is the naughtiest though and pushes the boundaries as far as possible, Fred's content to sit on top of the cookery books, but Lily will creep as close as possible, hence the hiding behind the kettle.
The most commonly used phrase when Fred and Lily are out of sight is "What are they up to?" This is usually preceded with a groan and usually ends with a 'now'
They also believe that 5.30am is an appropriate time to wake up and be fed. They will not sit quietly until wake up though. They will climb all over the bedside table, knock over everything on your dressing table, charge about chasing each other, pounce on you if you dare to move your feed under the quilt so much as an inch or just yowl in your ear. It got so bad that I gave up making them wait until I was rady to get up and feed them and just got up, fed them and went back to bed again. Luckily I find it pretty easy to fall asleep again after getting up.
I know you could just shut them out of the bedroom but they make so much noise if you do that and we're not supposed to have any animals in the flat so I don't want anyone hearing them crying.
Plus how can you refuse their little faces?!
The flat does feel much emptier without them now and it's no fun when there's no furry people coming to greet you at the front door but I'm not going to miss the extreme coating of fur which is lying over everything at the moment and it's going to be nice to be able to eat a bag of crisps without being harrassed and having sneaky paws come from nowhere to try and snatch them out of your mouth...
I absolutely love this last photo though. I took this the morning before we took them back to Mum's. They'd gone absolutely mental running about the place playing with their little mice and scratching post and then they just flaked out in the sun on the floor. How could you not love them?!