2 Dec 2012

Testing times

This last week has driven me to tears on more than one occasion. In the last seven days I have shed tears over the stress of work (under-staffed and under pressure); my husband has been moved to another site to try to avoid making him redundant and now the head gasket has gone on his car meaning that he's had to take mine and I'm now carless :(

Fortunately I have a priceless load of friends and family to help me out in these awkward times. My mam has even said I can borrow the car if I need to and people are listening out for jobs for the mr as we think the writing's on the wall for his current job. Keep your fingers crossed guys and gals!

21 Nov 2012

First time for everything!

Today we had a meeting at work and for the first time ever I said everything I wanted to say and fought my bosses on every criticism they had of our team. We all really stood our ground on matters and I feel like we really gave our boss something to think about.

Although I'm not sure things got resolved as much as they should have done, I feel better for getting it all off my chest, after all, you can't really get upset about things if you're not prepared to try and change it!

15 Nov 2012

How much is too much?

Recently work has been pretty testing. I'm sure everyone has been or might even be in this position now. This last week has really pushed me to my limits because it's not only the customers that have been unfair (and frankly abusive) and this is where the line has been crossed.

Being a team can get you through anything really and I refer to that in terms of relationships, friendships and working relationships. We have a great team and I love each and every one of those girls. We work SO hard and support each other if a difficult situation arises but today the boss must have had a bit more of a difficult day than usual and went crazy...on US. Our morale was pretty low anyways with the volume of work we had to cope with and staff already off sick.

We were all pretty upset with different pressures at work but this was the straw that broke the camels back and now I feel like we're rotting from the inside too. Fortunately there's an existing meeting set up so who knows what will be said then. The only thing I know is that there are a lot of unresolved issues to be dealt with. If they're not dealt with I think people are going to want to leave. Update soon

8 Nov 2012

Mindy The Micra

Mindy was the name of my first car. A Ribena coloured, N-Reg, Nissan Micra to be exact and I loved her. She came into my life as a surprise 18th Birthday present and was parked proudly on the grass verge outside of my parents house with a big bow on the aerial. My poor mother had got out of bed at the crack of dawn to go round to my Grandma's house where Mindy was hidden in the garage and driven her round to be hidden behind our hedge, out of sight. I opened my presents and the last two gifts were small jewellery boxes. One was a pretty necklace, the other, a car key!!! I'm not a particularly sporty person by reputation but I reckon I nearly broke the land-speed record that day running out of the house.

My friend had a white Micra called Mitch and our next few years were spent being willing designated drivers for anyone who needed a lift anywhere really. My love affair with Mindy ended in a fluke accident. Maybe accident is the wrong word but when your car breaks down as you're driving to a night out in darkest, coldest January 2004 and you're wearing a strappy top (and not a great deal more) you can fall out of love pretty quickly. In some strange and unlucky twist of fate, some debris from the road had flicked into my car somehow and the vibration of all the inner workings of the car had caused the debris to drill a crack into my radiator causing the fluid to leak out and for me to break down on the busy bend of a slip road in rush hour. After a traumatic hour road-side and a lovely AA man towing me back home, Mindy got repaired but our relationship had lost the most important factor in any relationship...TRUST. Mindy soon got exchanged for a Smart car (called Starsky) and I'm not entirely convinced she'll still be around today. RIP Mindy.

Despite the sad ending to our partnership, Mindy will always be my first love (in car terms anyway) and saw lots of good (and plenty of emotional) times that I'll treasure forever.

7 Nov 2012

Waste not, want not.

With the Mr back home and then away just as quickly as he appeared, there's often food open to feed two people that only needs to feed one. A lot of the time I'm left with a half loaf of bread and eating bread as much as is reasonably possible won't use it up in time before it dries out.

Only today have I realised I can use them (whatever the amount and freeze them in smallish amounts) to defrost whenever I fancy. Breadcrumbs is the latest mission and they can be used for sweet and savoury dishes alike. My plan is to blitz the bread once it gets a bit too dry for sandwiches and perhaps bag it in the required quantities for treacle tart or have a bag to coat chicken beasts in for some recipes I want to try. You can mix in herbs etc at a later date when you have a better idea about what you want them for!

So next time you're in a grump like me about the possibility of wasting bread, consider this as a suitable solution :)

6 Nov 2012

The Devil Makes Work For Idle Hands

...or so I've heard, so I thought I'd give it a go. Kitchen Devils is a brand lots of us have heard of and they've been around since the 1960's which proves the quality of their products. Lets face it, if all these big companies are collapsing due to the recession, Kitchen Devils must be doing something extraordinarily right!

As I've possibly mentioned before (numerous times) I'm a bit of a cooking fanatic and use cooking and baking as a way to wind down after a rubbish day at work or just as something nice to do on days off. Last week I got my hands on my very first Kitchen Devils knife. Why is this so exciting? I'm about to explain.

For as long as I can remember, my mam has always been into cooking which is probably where I get my enthusiasm from. People often remark how she can whip up a veritable feast from only a few store cupboard ingredients and she always receives lots of compliments. Anyway that's off the point slightly but she has always had a favourite knife which she got not long after she got married and she still has it to this day. It's one of those comfy knives where you can use it to peel or cut things. It's a great all-rounder and it was my favourite when I lived at home. She has had this knife over 30 years and it's still going strong. This to me is an amazing advert for them and I've always wanted one of my own! Although there's not one that is exactly the same these days, I've got the closest thing I could find to it which is this little beauty which I have used a few times already in the few days I've had it in my possession.


Picture taken from http://kitchendevils.net/lifestyle/


Everybody should have at least one Kitchen Devils knife. I hope I have mine in thirty years time too!

1 Nov 2012

Be careful what you wish for

I recently sold a Jaeger jacket on eBay and when the winning bidder came to pay they gave me a massive story about how the female in the equation had to go away for her nephews funeral and how there was a massive police investigation so she didn't know when she would be back to pay by PayPal and could he send a cheque. The cynical 50% of my brain thought it was an ingenious way of paying by cheque rather than PayPal but I went along with it and promised to send the item out when the cheque cleared. It did, and I did.

So imagine my surprise when I noticed on their profile that they were quick payers to other people during this period and even more surprised to find they had bought it to sell on anyway.

I'm no mug, I know people buy to sell but it was the unnecessary tragic lie thrown into the mix that was the astonishing thing. I've always been told to be careful what you wish for but obviously they haven't. I hope they make a loss to serve them right!

* at the time of writing, the jacket going for considerably less than they paid me. Updates will follow!*

18 Oct 2012

Who Fights The Monster Under Your Bed?

I was recently asked, "Who Fights The Monster Under Your Bed?" Even coming up thirty years old and with the hubby on nights from time-to-time, I'm still a bit on edge when it's time to turn off the lights at night time and about those 'house noises' you hear when everything is at its most silent. I'm not too embarrassed to admit this although I thought I might have grown out of it by now. That's why you always need what Warren Evans have dubbed a bedtime guardian.

Since I was little, I have had a teddy - Mammy Bear - which isn't a very original name but that's what I called her. She went everywhere with me (even the bath) and she has a bald spot on her head where I cut her hair once and then realised it didn't grow back. Even when I was frightened of what might be under my bed or in my cupboard, having a comforting presence there helped make me feel secure and have a good nights sleep and I still have Mammy Bear tucked away in my cupboard. OK, so that sounds like she was just a childhood guardian, but when I went away to uni she came too. My husband says he'll never forget me walking out of halls after a particularly traumatic day with a bag of belongings slung over my shoulder, car keys in one hand and her in the other. The nice thing is he didn't think it was lame, he actually said it's one of the cutest memories he has.

In the future, I might be able to pass her on to any children that I may have but I hope that everyone has their own version of Mammy Bear. Life is that bit less scary with her close by.
 

16 Oct 2012

Take a bow Julian Hakes

Julian Hakes has pushed shoe design a little further recently with his 'Mojito' shoe.

Picture taken from www.schuh.com


 
I am absolutely fascinated by the architecture of them proven by the fact I've been staring at this picture for the last ten minutes. It's the first pair of shoes I've been blown away by for quite some time and although it may not be the usual style I would expect myself to be drawn to, I kinda want to give them a go.

Each of these shoes are made from a single piece of fibre glass which supports each end of the foot whilst twisting around the middle. The insides are leather lined for finish, and presumably comfort.

If you try them or buy them, please do let me know what they're like. Until then, I will be hunting around in branches of Schuh to try and have a go myself!

9 Oct 2012

Don't waste your crusts!

There are few things I hate in life more than waste, and whilst I've been eating my breakfast (granary toast but the crust of the bread) I was thinking about what the crust can be used for.

Left to dry out a little and then fried in a bit of olive oil you could make croutons but my best suggestion would be to have some tomato puree and some cheese handy. Lightly toast your crust, Spread the purée onto it and grate some cheese on top. Grill until golden and you have a pizza style snack and a way of using crusts :) plus you can use whatever you have lying about as toppings!

25 Sep 2012

I'm having a love affair...

...with my new cupboards! Pax ikea cupboards are the way to go. Not only do they look a lot more expensive than they actually are, but they are allowing me to (finally) have a proper place to hang my beautiful things :)

We've just put a few rails in ours but you can make them as deluxe or as basic as you like. Theres plenty of add-ons including drawers, organisers, shelves and lighting! I would definitely recommend them!

Here's some we made earlier!

23 Sep 2012

Staithes

Today was Mama Randomchatter's birthday and we went to an arts festival in the very beautiful Staithes. There's more information about it at www.staithesfestival.com but in a nutshell it was the first time it had been done and visitors could go into the pop up galleries that were actually in the homes or rentable properties in the village :)

It was a really good idea especially because you got to meet and talk to the artists/creators. I hope they do it again next year!

22 Sep 2012

Our Wedding :)

So I'm now a Mrs! The day was pretty much perfect and turned out to be the best day of our lives so far.

So many of our friends and family made it over and we were overwhelmed by the effort everybody made in lots of different ways. This included a friend I have always considered to be a little sister doing a surprise journey from where she is currently working in South Korea :)

I just wish I could do it all again!

9 Jul 2012

Competition Winners!

Hey everyone and thanks so much for entering our blog competition. It's been a great response.

We've randomly picked the following people as winners so good luck....


@ejsmith
@magichappens - Kelly Martin
Mickey Ricketts@stresbringer
Julieb2001uk@yahoo.co.uk

@webkinny - Ellen Stafford
@mawhittaker - Mark Whittaker
Please email/DM me your contact details and we'll get your prizes out to you asap!
Finally thanks to the wonderful Christine for running this competition!

23 Jun 2012

COMPETITION TIME AGAIN! :)

To celebrate the new range of gorgeous jewellery that Planet Events Direct are selling we've arranged to give away some of this new range to you, my gorgeous readers :) On offer are THREE of the owl earrings and THREE of the ceramic owl necklaces, and prizes will be given as winners will be chosen - at random. Six winners (one prize each) will be picked from the entries that answer the following question correctly:
 
 
When do owls normally come out....is it..?
A. For Lunch
B. To go shopping
C. At night
 

 
 
The competition will run from today (23/06/2012) and finish Saturday 7th July at midnight.  Please either tweet your answer to @MissTRChatter AND @planet_style or comment under this blog post (remember to leave a twitter ID or a way of contacting you!). Winners will be announced both on the blog and on twitter.
 
Good luck everyone x
 
 
 
 
Terms and Conditions
 
UK entrants only please.
 
Winners will be chosen from those that have answered the prize draw question correctly within the aforementioned time period.
 
Selected winners must send their contact details to @MissTRChatter within ten days of the winning names being drawn. If that winner has not come forward after this time, another winner will be drawn in their place.
 
Prizes are as stipulated and there is no cash alternative.
 
 
 
 
 

So little spare time...

I've realised the power of multi-tasking recently due to athe time pressures of a full time job, keeping a home and organising a wedding. I've also re-visted the useful past-time of 'power-napping' mainly in a completely by accident type of way. Take for instance last night, I was thinking what the best route was to deliver my invites when all of a sudden I woke up to find I'd had a disco nap for 20 minutes. I felt tons better and actually had a really productive evening so I guess all is well that ends well.

I've also remembered what it's like to procrastinate. When I was at uni I would rather have cleaned every surface in our house than revised or met deadlines. This time round it's a wedding and I want to read a book I've just found myself immersed in. Fortunately I've found the willpower to stop to do important things like post invites, arrange flowers and hair appointments and clean the bathroom but it's been soooo tempting.

Everything is pretty much in place for the wedding now and I'm really excited. The only thing that I wish could be different is the fact that my best friend and I are probably no longer friends. But then, c'est la vie!? One thing I've learnt is you can't control what other people say or do and you can only be the best person you can be and treat people how you would want to be treat. The rest will look after itself.

19 Feb 2012

I told you it was going to get messy...

Since we last spoke, things have gone a bit mental. My best mate (one of my two bridesmaids) has withdrawn from the wedding. Shocking I know - I'm still hurt and disappointed and I don't think that's going to change any time soon. Basically, because we've got the no children rule (we don't have any children in the family and don't know many people with children), she feels that she can't come and that I'm making her choose between me and her family. That's in a nutshell but there was plenty more in the emails we've been exchanging. Her family and her follow Attachment Parenting and I've read up about it over the past two week to try and understand it a bit better and come to terms with why she feels she can't attend. Whilst I understand and respect any way she wants to raise her family, I just can't believe that her parenting style is so limiting that she can't leave a 6 year old and a 2 and a half year old for the day with someone familiar to them. During my research about this parenting style I've realised it's something that most mothers and fathers do with little ones but it's the extent to which they follow it which is the reason they can't and won't attend. Possibly a touch more hurtful that its her choice, not because she can't come. I've been made aware that she leaves the children for knitting groups and offers to let her mother take them overnight so I am struggling to understand how this stops her from going to share in my special day.

Frankly I'm just so broken hearted that I've asked her not to come at all as her compromise was her attending the ceremony whilst her children and husband waited somewhere nearby, and then going straight home and this wasn't what I envisaged for our special day. It would upset me so much to be looking for her in the congregation and knowing she was not by my side as I'd wanted her to be. After all ladies and gents, this is going to be one of the most special days of my life and after nearly 29 years of friendship I didn't think it was going to be such a big problem.

Pouty times in the Chatter household.

21 Jan 2012

I love Lighting

Ever since we moved into our lovely little home, I have loved choosing bits and bobs to give it character and put our stamp on it. One of my favourite bits to pick has been the lighting - lamps and lampshades and fairy lights (oh my).

Some of the things I've fancied have been bought and look amazing in their chosen places. Others have proven too expensive for me right now and some have not met with Mr Chatter's approval so I'm going to work on him whilst saving up the pennies.

Whilst I do so, here's some examples of my current favourites.


The Emily Saloon Chandelier

Image taken from www.furnish.co.uk


Jeeves and Wooster Pendant Lights

Image taken from www.furnish.co.uk


Tea Pot Lights


Image taken from www.design-milk.com

17 Jan 2012

Pantene Pro V - the collection.

Over the past few weeks I've been road-testing some products for Pantene in the form of their new collection. Rather than have a one-fits-all policy, Pantene have thought up a collection of three different types of products to suit the most common hair needs. After all, something that is good for coloured hair isn't necessarily going to work for someone with fine, never dyed hair etc etc.
I have quite dry, coarse hair that splits quite easily, especially because I use heated things on it quite a lot to tame it into a proper style. The Pantene formula I tested aims and claims to"smooth rough edges and prevent damage" so I was eager to see if it would in fact do those things.

A little known secret of mine (until now I guess) is that I haven't had my hair cut for about 4 months so the ends were starting to get a bit urgh. I was hoping that these Pantene products would help me limp along and keep my hair looking pretty until the next time I could afford a hair cut!



I loved the shampoo and conditioner from the first use. They smelt really nice and you didn't need a lot to give your hair a right good lathering and conditioning. As for the Split End Serum, I tried that on a separate hair wash so I could see the results of the shampoo and conditioner and the serum independent of one another. They all have their own genuine qualities and don't weigh down your hair. I found with these products I could go three days without having greasy, lank looking hair which other products have caused me to have in the past after just one day so I must say I was very pleased with that. I even got told at work the other day that my hair was extremely glossy and healthy looking and the lady was shocked when I mentioned how long it'd had been since my hair had been done. I already had a Pantene leave in conditioner and found that on those occasions where you don't have time to shampoo and condition your hair properly on a morning, their existing products went together really well with their new ones. So don't worry ladies and gents, your money hasn't been wasted on the others!


Do I have to find a negative? OK, the only negative I can scrape the barrel with is that when you share a house with two boys, they use far too much shampoo (and shower gel and face wash...) and the fact that the shampoo is quite thick means they use more than they should. In my experience, men will just squeeze a load of *insert bathroom product here* no matter how much you are actually meant to use.

In Conclusion: Thumbs up to Pantene for a collection of great products, thumbs down for me for being so lazy about getting my hair cut!

15 Jan 2012

Wedding decisions and awkward times

I've hit my first controversial point when planning my wedding. Do we or don't we invite children?

On paper it seems quite straightforward. Neither myself or Mr Chatter have children or young family members and only know a handful of couples that currently have kids so should it matter if we don't invite them? Well it kinda does it seems as there has already been some indication of pouty pet lips and they are belonging to the parents!

A couple of years ago I was at a wedding where the children cried all through the vows and had to be constantly entertained. Apart from the fact the parents looked run ragged, the children mere mindlessly bored and suddenly the couple getting married become caught up in trying to book balloon artists etc etc. It also irritated the other guests having screaming children legging it about all day. However, I have also been to weddings where the children have been very well behaved but all in all parents and young children alike seem relieved by a no kids rule. One couple we know actually looked forward to it as one day off to be just a twosome again before going back to their lovely family life before they missed their kiddies too much.

In all the excitement when I was telling people we'd set a date, I didn't think about telling people about our decision so I'm nervous for the response to the email I've sent the lucky couples only five minutes ago. Uh oh. I can feel a nervous nights sleep coming on...

8 Jan 2012

Appreciation of a very important job

For a majority of last year I worked as a Medical Receptionist. It was something I'd never done prior to then and despite taking the role as a 'bill payer' I actually came to absolutely love it. Before March last year, I was someone who was nervous on the phone and had no medical knowledge. By the time I left in October (to start a new career in Pharmacy would you believe) , I knew bag loads more than I ever thought I would. It's the same with everything though I guess...if you get chucked in at the deep end you sink or swim and thankfully I swam.

Medical testing, medication knowledge and major multi-tasking skills were the results of my 7 month stint and it was only due to an employee working from long-term sick that I ended up having to leave.The thing that surprised me most was how much was involved with the job. On a daily basis you needed to not only have a basic medical knowledge just to get you by but you also needed to be able to make decisions about urgency of patients wanting emergency appointments and how to deal with very unreasonable people. Of course I don't excuse the blatantly miserable people who I myself have had to deal with as a customer but no matter what the previous patient had been like, I never took it out on the next person at my window. These people are mostly vulnerable, sick people who probably want a smile and a bit of kindness when they're not feeling their best.
My most favourite part  of the job was the people. In some ways I maybe became harder just to cope with the sadness that the job involved. Of course there are time wasters as is true with anything but I was lucky enough to get to know some very lovely people. Some of these people still come and speak to me in the pharmacy and in the street now and I'm always gutted to hear of bad news or deaths of those people I've come to know.
I was really pleased to see an article by Dr Jenna Ward in the Daily Mail (Tues 3rd Jan 2012) painting a more accurate picture of life behind  the desk of a Medical Receptionist. It's definitely worth a read and might change your perspective a bit. I know the experience certainly changed mine.