Monday, 30 November 2009
I've been tagged for an Honest Scrap award by the lovely Jeni, thankyou! I'm supposed to share “10 Honest Things” about myself and then nominate some people whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.
I'm always completely honest (too honest sometimes) on here anyway but there are a few things that have been bugging me recently, so what better opportunity than this to overshare once more...
10 Honest Things About Myself:
1) I have very strong emotional reactions to certain songs, tv shows and types of food, etc, that remind me of times gone by. For example, I can no longer listen to 'Kingdom of Rust' by Doves, drink Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc, eat halloumi or watch Black Books without falling into a pit of sadness.
2) I'm terrified that my Dad's cancer won't go away. He finishes his chemotherapy next week and then he'll have 'the scan' in January. It fills me with such abject horror that I just don't think about what comes next. I'm not sure I've ever actually admitted that before.
3) I spend a lot of money on shoes and jewellery. A LOT. I like pretty things on my feet, round my neck and wrists and on my fingers. I'm also incredibly fussy about the jewellery I wear and would only trust one or two people in my life to actually buy any for me.
4) I'm more self conscious of my appearance than ever before. Although I'm two stone lighter than I was three years ago I feel fatter than ever before. Conversely though, I'm far more confident than I have been in years. Probably because I dress better, accessorise better, wear nicer make up and have nice hair (fact, I always get compliments on it).
5) I don't go a day without wondering where he is, how he is and whether he ever thinks of me. I am plagued by thoughts of what could have been and it hurts. I'm not sure that I'll ever stop hoping.
6) I feel conflicted at the moment. One half of me wants to pack up and jet off for a year of travelling next year. The other half of me wants to buy a house and put down roots. My mind changes between the two daily and I have no idea what to do.
7) I use humour as a defence mechanism. I am variously crude, loud and sarcastic but, more often than not, that's just a front.
8) I believe that wishes can come true. Although I'm not sure that I believe in a God as such, I believe that there is something up there looking down on us. I believe in a higher power and the concept of fate. I believe that if you are a good person and do the best you can then good things will come to you.
9) One of my favourite snacks (when I wasn't on a diet) is melted cheese. In a bowl. On its own. Different types of cheese cut into chunks and melted (hence the need for the diet). I am a dirty pig.
10) I love my job. I geniunely enjoy going into work most mornings and, although I have my bad days (who doesn't) I feel really lucky to work where I do, and with the people I work with. A year ago I was unemployed and at the lowest part of, probably, my whole life. It's a very different story 12 months on.
So, there you go.
I nominate Miss Smidge, Lainey, Lis and LizSara. All of them super supportive and encouraging, always.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
I am in pain.
Mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and any other kind of 'ally' you can think of. It turns out that drinking your body weight in gluhwein will give you one hell of a rotten headache the next morning. In fact, I actually had a headache when I crawled into bed at about one o'clock this morning. Gluhwein is so potent that it actually gives you a hangover before you've even stopped being drunk. The hot, fruity swine.
The Manchester Christmas market is ace, as ever. However, I would not recommend Saturday afternoon as the best time to experience it. Because, by my reckoning, about 90% of the population of the ENTIRE WORLD was there. Trying to cross from the german sausage stall to the gluhwein stall was like playing Frogger: Christmas Market Extreme Edition (that joke is copyright me, 28th November 2009, ayethangyoo). I do not enjoy any place where people are touching me all the time. I'm British, we don't like to be touched. I think I was there for about two hours and during that time I swear I was violated inappropriately on at least 14 separate occasions.
Now I think I need to go back to bed and nurse my wine-ridden face.
Friday, 27 November 2009
10 things I hate about you, the edited version:
I hate the way you talk to me, and the fact I dyed my hair.
I hate the way you drum on things.
I hate it when you pretend that you don't care.
I hate the fact you work too hard, and the way you read my mind.
I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme.
I hate that you know me so well, why did you have to be that guy?
I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry.
I hate it when you lie, and the hurt and deceit and pain.
I hate the times we shared, the jokes, oh so inane.
I hate it when you're not around, and the fact that you didn't call.
I hate that we were happy once, and that I let myself fall.
But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you.
Not even close...
Not even a little bit...
Not even at all.
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Does anyone else get sent emails that clearly weren't meant for them?
I get a lot. A lot. Like, at least one a day. Variations of my (non blog) email address are obviously very common but it still irritates me. Even worse is when people have clearly entered their email address wrongly when signing up for something. IDIOTS.
Things I've been sent via email that weren't meant for me:
- The minutes of a Guide and Brownie meeting. It was truly fascinating reading about the 2010 summer camp, I can assure you.
- Wedding plans for a West Indian lady's wedding. Again, fascinating, but I really don't mind what colour you choose for the hibiscus in the bride's bouquet.
- Mortgage details for a Helen in Wales. Not so fascinating. I really don't care about property in Cardiff. I could have caused some mischief with the details but, thankfully for Helen, I'm not a giant thief.
- Mortgage details for some people in Ipswich. Again, yawn.
- Financial advice details for a couple in Scotland. Pin numbers and account numbers for a well known bank's online advice service. The tempation to cause mischief again eluded me. Lucky couple in Scotland. Stupid bank.
- And, my personal favourite.... A series of emails containing pictures of stool samples, including one of a bloody stool. Or poo, if we're being impolite. I replied and asked, with trepidation, why he was emailing me pictures of fecal matter. The response? "Sorry, I thought I was emailling my friend who's a nurse." Please, I beg of you, if you're ever going to send pictures of your 'produce' to your friend, CHECK THEIR EMAIL ADDRESS.
Monday, 23 November 2009
I blame Nigel Kennedy. He is the dark lord of the violin.
Today has been uncommonly rubbish.
These days I'm all about the positivity and try not to project negative thoughts into the blogosphere (HATE THAT WORD) but today I'm finding it difficult. I am filled with both woe and frustration.
Rubbish things that have happened today:
- My friend at work made me feel about a foot tall when we were talking about some classical concert or other that she went to on Friday. Apparently I'm an imbecile because I didn't know that Stradivarius violins were made by a man a long time ago and not by a company. A tiff over a 4 million pound violin? The most middle class tiff ever. Stringed instrument rage.
- My tuna sandwich had onions in it. ONIONS. Why would I expect them in a sandwich simply called 'tuna mayonnaise'. Where is the onion implication in those two words? NOWHERE. Sandwich making swines. If I there are to be onions present I want that to have been my choice. Food rage.
- I brought work home to do in order to get ahead and reach my target this month and the Excel on this computer isn't compatible with the one on my work computer, so I can't open the file I sent to myself. Techno rage.
- I've been waiting for a delivery of the most amazing Steve Madden silver peep toe shoes for the last three weeks. I emailed Cocosa to find out where they were. "We were unable to fulfil your order" came the emailed reply. THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW. Customer service rage.
Friday, 20 November 2009
Today I am off to glorious Edinburgh to see Smidge for a weekend of Scottish merriment. Well, provided the trains are actually running after the flooding in Cumbria this week.
It's been a funny old week. Full of stressful days at work, late nights pottering around until at least 1am and too many things buzzing around in my little head. One of my new favourite things, however, is tilt-shifting photographs. The premise is simple 1) Take a photograph. 2 ) Make it look like it's of a model town. I like.
More on my Flickr stream
Apart from playing with photographs and obsessively tagging all my old uploads on Flickr I've not really had much time to trawl the internet for amusing pictures, frustrating games and amusing vignettes. So this week my list of things I love is very very short...
M&S peppermint tea // wasabi peas // pig post-it notes // this Marc Jacobs necklace // this lovely collar from Loulou Loves You, WANT! // my new cowboy boots, yee hah! // Take That, always and forever // yo soy la chamuca - funniest blog ever. Seriously // Bejeweled 2 on the iPhone - it steals my mind // and.... my Samaritans training. It's seriously the most life changing thing I've ever done. Hurrah.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
I started to write an email to you yesterday. I got as far as one word... "Hello"
Then I realised that I didn't know what to say. That I didn't know how to say what I want to say. What I need to say. So I stopped. And I tried to close the email.
"Your message has not been sent. Discard your message?"
So I clicked OK.
As soon as I discarded it I wondered why I'd felt compelled to even try to write it. Why yesterday, of all the days in the last few months? And then I realised...
It would have been our two year anniversary. Two years since that first date. That lunchtime drink that turned into a mid-afternoon Italian meal that turned into gin and tonics that turned into me on the train, drunk on both happiness and Bombay Sapphire, tipsily texting my friend B to tell her all about the boy I'd just met, that turned into me getting home and writing an entry on Livejournal...
"I met a boy.
I kind of like him.
No, I really like him.
Let all hell break loose...."
Silly girl, I had no idea how true those words were!
Does one word even count as a message? Maybe I should have sent it. Maybe one word can say more than a thousand words. Maybe one word can be an olive branch.
Monday, 16 November 2009
Or, for moustache lovers everywhere (and let's face it, who doesn't love a good 'tache?), it's also been dubbed Movember. Lots of men growing lots of face fuzz to raise lots of lovely cash for the Prostate Cancer Charity (which is obviously a cause that's hugely close to my full-sized aortic pump) (name that quote for extra points). I can't grow a moustache (much to my chagrin, damn you hair follicles! I've always fancied a handlebar) (I love parenthesis today! LOVE!) so, at the weekend, I drew a cheeky moustachio on with a bit of eyeliner and a wobbly hand in honour of Movember.
If anyone has got a spare fiver or so then you can donate to Movember by clicking on the little button at the bottom of the page.
My Dad had his fifth chemotherapy session on Friday. Five down, one to go. He's finding it tough. Really tough. It hasn't been helped by him chipping one of the discs in his back by COUGHING. Yes, my Dad has such a supersonic cough that he actually injured himself. One MRI scan and one cortisone injection later and he's almost back to normal. Well, as normal as it gets at the moment. I asked him if he was looking forward to his course of chemotherapy treatment finishing. His reply? "I'm scared". Scared of what happens next. Scared of what the test results will show. Scared that it won't have worked. I've never seen my Dad scared before.
I'm scared that my Dad won't be the person that he was before the illness ever again.
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Guess the fruit! (No, it's not a game involving gays)
Please note the 50p included for scale. Ha.
First person to get it right wins.... something. Probably. Maybe.
The picture above and the two below illustrate perfectly why my Mum quakes in fear when I volunteer to do the weekly shop. I always come back with at least one strange fruit (again, not a gay, I know enough of them already), at least one exorbitantly priced smoothie (but they have hats on! Who could say no?!) and some form of chocolate joy to feed to my poorly Dad. Other miscellaneous items I bought today include a 2 litre bottle of vimto, three types of cabbage and 12 sausages. NONE OF WHICH WERE ON THE LIST.
I laugh in the face of reason and shopping lists.
Friday, 13 November 2009
Friday, lovely Friday!
It's been a while since I've done a 'stuff that makes my face happy list' and what better time to do it than on a Friday lunchtime, as the clock ticks ever closer to being released from employment prison!
- My training for the charity is going amazingly well. I'm really really enjoying it and although I know it's going to be extremely challenging and, at times, upsetting I can't wait to move on to the next stage and actually start taking some calls. Already I can feel that the way I interact with people has changed for the better and the topics we cover are opening my eyes to things I'd never even thought about before.
- My birthday was wonderful, in all respects. I got some amazing presents, had lots of wonderful meals out and got to spend time with virtually all of my favourite people. My waistline hasn't thanked me this week but nice cakes, pizza and burgers are what birthdays are made for! This week I'm all about the nettle tea, brown rice and lots and lots of fruit.
Where the wild things were...
- Linus in hats. Is there anything better than drawing hats onto photos of the best cat ever? No. No, there isn't. I now want an exotic shorthair kitten more than I want a teacup pig. But only just.
- Drench. A simple yet disgustingly addictive game that will steal your life.
- Learn Something Every Day. Full of entertaining and surprising nuggets of information, presented in cartoon neon technicolour, which is always the best way to make people learn things. My favourite is the following. Because I'm a bawdy little monkey.
- Miscellaneous other things include: 'The Men Who Stare At Goats', great film; grapefruit for breakfast; these boots, I like animal-themed clothing, whatevs; Neutrogena 6 hour protection lip balm, the only thing that keeps my smackers moisturised in this cold weather; taking photographs, 365 has completely invigorated my love!; Ben & Jerry's frozen yoghurt; edamame with wasabi; Vitamin B6; brightly coloured pens and nice notebooks; The Inbetweeners, as ever; spicy chilli peanuts and.... the Miike Snow album, particularly Black & Blue. It makes me cry slightly.
PS: Don't forget that my giveaway ends at 9pm tonight if you'd like to enter!
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them."
Remembrance Day always holds a special place in my heart. My Great Uncle fought in the First World War. Fought and lost his life. He fought at Ypres and, as his final resting place is unknown, his name is listed on the Menin Gate. I visited once, when I was 12 or 13. A school trip to Belgium and the Battlefields. Passchendaele, the Somme, Tyne Cot cemetery, the Last Post at the Menin Gate. It was one of the most moving and thought provoking experiences of my entire life.
So today I will be silent for two minutes for him. For him and all the other men. The Brothers, the Sons, the Fathers, the Uncles and the Grandfathers. Those who lost their lives to enable us to be here now. And for those men and women who are still fighting and who will continue to fight in the future.
Posted by Helen at 10:12 am
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
I've had a cold for 11 months and 9 days.
How do I remember the day it started? It was the first day of my job. 1st December last year to be utterly precise. 9am to be annoyingly utterly precise. I walked into the office (probably having fallen over on the way up the stairs, I have a habit of doing that) and BOOM! Bright lights, cold city. Almost a year of sniffles, sneezes, constant blocked nose, sore eyes and approximately 12 tubs of vaseline (for my chapped lips, filth monger) (the lips on my face, fyi) and I am so bored of it I could cry.
I take vitamins (multi and B6), I drink at least two litres of water every day, I eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, I (usually) get 7 hours of sleep a night. So what am I doing wrong?
Why has this affliction taken hold of my nose?
I've tried Sudafed, Vicks, Sinex, Olbas Oil, Paracetamol, Nurofen and honey & lemon and none of them have worked for more than a couple of hours. What else can I do to rid myself of this beastly virus?
Sniffly of Snotsville xx
Monday, 9 November 2009
I will eat your crusts before your sensuous cheese interior
Ways in which I am a freak:
- I get really annoyed when people refer to Disney World (in Florida) as Disney Land. REALLY ANNOYED. World and Land are not the same.
- If I'm eating food that is round (a pizza, a burger, a jaffa cake, a wheel of cheese) I have to eat all the way round the edge first. This may make me look like a big mental but it means I get all the good stuff at the end. No dry crusts for this little lady, nosirree, just pure unadulterated joy. NB: This does not extend to sprouts, cranberries, carrot slices or grapes.
- I am genuinely upset that Mark Owen has got married. I've basically been in love with him since I was 10 years old. I may wear a black veil for the next week or two and occasionally wail loudly to show my abject sorrow.
- I went to Marks & Spencer to grab a sandwich for lunch and actually applauded when I saw that the festive sandwiches are in! Santa's Turkey Feast? Yes please! And the festive looking 'Piglet Party' sweets were almost enough to render me paralysed through excitement.
Do you have any slightly odd habits that you'd like to entertain me with on this Monday afternoon?
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Yes, that is a Thunderbirds hat. No, I don't know why.
My birthday celebrations come to an end tonight with a nice dose of Manchester boozing. Five days of too much gin, sambuca, numerous cocktails, a bazillion meals out and too-late nights. Why have a day of celebrations when you can stretch it out to four, five, six or even seven days? More is always more in such circumstances I feel.
I've been in Nottingham for the last two days and it was wonderful, as ever. Champagne at 5pm, dancing till 4am, chips and cheese on the way to the taxi rank. Marvellous.
This has probably been one of the most fun birthdays I've ever had.
So why does it feel like
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Photo by the ever wonderful krisatomic
... spent 9 hours at Court with work. We lost our case.
... spent 2 hours sitting in traffic. I lost my mind.
... spent 3 hours being trained how to deal with suicidal callers. Everyone lost the will to live. That's irony for you, folks.
... bought 12 krispy kreme doughnuts for my work colleagues. I will not lose weight if I have one.
... opened 10 presents, with varying degrees of awesomeness. My Mum lost one of my presents. She'd forgotten where she'd hidden it.
... made 1 wish. I figured I had nothing to lose.
Happy Birthday to me :)
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
I may be getting old but I will always wear ridiculous jewellery
Tomorrow I turn 28.
I cannot lie to you, this year has been one of the worst of my entire life. However, these days I prefer to focus on the good, look to the future and learn lessons from the bad things.
Lessons I have learnt during my 27th year on this planet...
- The only person who can truly make you happy is yourself. You are responsible for your own life, your own wellbeing, your own decisions and choices. If you can be happy with who you are, or even just with who you know you want to be, then good things will come your way. You have to be happy with yourself before someone else can add to that happiness.
- Break ups suck. Truly, utterly, completely suck. But life goes on. Always. If things are meant to be then they will be. Whether days, weeks, months or years down the line. It's never too late to try again. Whether it's fate or something else, the things that are meant to happen will happen.
- Fresh fruit, vegetables, water, green tea and exercise are the key to my emotional and physical health. If I eat well and take care of my body then I feel fantastic. Happier, more in control, more capable and more enthusiastic.
- Cruel words are easily said but, sadly, not always easily taken back or forgotten. A moment of stupidity and a flash of anger can change things. If not forever, then for a good long while.
- Second chances (and third and fourth and fifth) are wonderful things and the capacity for forgiveness is one of the greatest assets a person can possess. I've never believed that a person should have only one or two chances at something. Who made that rule?
- I'm far more capable, and far stronger, than I ever realised. I've taken everything that the world has thrown at me this year and emerged brighter, more positive and, for the most part, happier than ever before.
- I actually like olives.
Despite all the things I've learnt and discovered about myself, I still really hope 28 is better than 27.
Here's to the next 365....
Monday, 2 November 2009
One of the nicest things about having a blog is that sometimes lovely people send you things and ask you to write a few words about them. Don't worry, this is going to turn into a blog filled with sponsored posts or anything like that but I decided to do this one because it seemed like fate. A couple of weeks ago I was about to purchase a pair of Ugg boots (yes, I know a lot of people I hate them but my feet need warmth and comfort) when I got an email asking if I'd like a pair of Emu boots. I said yes and a lovely pair of chocolate coloured boots winged their way to me. Hurrah.
I took them for a test drive around a local beauty spot and took some photos of my journey...
The boots are lovely. Really comfy, really warm and, at £80, they're about half the price of Ugg boots. The only downside? Initially they were a little too tight round the top and didn't fit my stupidly fat calves. But after a few days wear they're now absolutely perfect. So if you want a pair of boots to keep your tootsies warm this Winter, Emu come with the Helen seal of approval.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
I'm feeling rather fragile today.
Last night was my friend D's Bad Taste/Dead Famous Hallowe'en party. Many many drinks were consumed. Many many offensive outfits were worn. Lots of dancing was done till far too late/early this morning. Ergo today I have spent the entire day in bed, only leaving my pit for painkillers, orange squash and a fried egg sandwich. Which I couldn't even eat as the dry bread caught in my throat and nearly made me sick. Nice.
I have but one thing to say today: hangovers are no fun alone.