Sunday, 26 September 2010

Sleeps To Go...Better Not Cry

I haven't seen any actual evidence of this whilst out and about myself but I have been reliably informed via email, facebook updates, blog posts and ads that Christmas has begun to cast its long shadow into the world again.

And as always, it just seemed too early to be right.  So I investigated further only to discover that there are in fact 90 days until the fat man in the red suit (or whatever your version is) comes to town.

My first thought was ugh!!!  Immediately followed by 'hmmmmm, how can I embrace this in a sustainable-til-Dec-25 yet ridiculously childish fashion?'

So the new look Gidday From The UK blog has a guest attempt to bring a little festive cheer to the shortening days and fallling temperatures and to chart that rollercoaster of feelings (eg. excitement, dismay and the somewhere in between) that relate to any impending time of Yule. 

I may even try a little earlybird planning to get on Santa's 'nice' list... should also know that the Lil Chicky Birthday Countdown is also underway...only 23 sleeps to go Chicky!!!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Amazon...Delivering The Ultimate Thrill

I mentioned in a previous post that I'd been wondering what to spend some of my birthday money on and that I'd decided to invest in The Midlife Manual (plus a fab cookbook, but more about that later) via that portal of all things useful and wonderful,

Before I came to the UK, I was oblivious to the behemoth that is Amazon and it was only when I got the way the whole Wish List thing worked (and saw some of the terrifyingly large numbers on postage stickers from Australia) that I started to fall for its charms. It is quite simply the place to find everything...and collect a few Nectar points along the way (when one remembers to use their card!) and the Wish List is definitely the way to manage the tyranny of long distance gifting.

So on Thursday, Reception called to let me know that an Amazon parcel had been delivered for me.  I could not wait to get downstairs and I gleefully tore the cardboard strip down the package to reveal two books that:

a) I'd ordered online 6 days earlier; and
b) knew were coming because I'd received an email to say they had been despatched the day before.

No surprises.  No special gifts.  Just exactly what I'd ordered.

The voice in my head (you know, the one in sensible shoes) tutted softly in the background at my impatient voracity in tearing the package open right there in Reception, while the other voice (the one in the ridiculously fabulous stilettos), purred contentedly as I entered the lift again, cradling The Midlife Manual and Fast, Fresh and Green possessively to my chest.

What is it about receiving an Amazon parcel that provokes such unadulterated joy and pleasure?

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Standing Room Only...

One of the things that really struck me in moving over here was the whole low cost travel thing - you know the pay £20 to fight the hoards to get to a(n unallocated) seat only to find no room in the overhead compartments and a simply foul cup of coffee costs you an arm and a leg.

Bloody bonkas, I remember thinking, who would actually do this?

It would seem quite a lot (including me on the odd occasion). 

But I've seen everything now...

Called The Skyrider, one literally 'saddles up' for the duration of their inflight tenancy and enjoys just 23 inches of legroom - 7 inches LESS legroom than the average aircraft seat offers. That's shorter than 2 normal-sized rulers!

And apparently there's storage space....baaahaahaaa!

But I laughed the loudest at the quote from the manufacturer, Avio Interiors Group:

The like a saddle.  Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle.

Yeah right! I usually leave my chaps and spurs at home and anyway, have you seen the way those cowboys walk?

Here's what some others had to say...

Never say never...but really, would you pay for this?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Have Your Two Cents Worth...

I've been thinking about updating my look for a while now so in honour of yesterday's 150th post, I've decided to give Gidday from the UK a bit of a makeover.

I really like the general look of this new template but have crashed and burned seriously on the getting the followers and networked blogs widgets happening and am not fond of the way that this template puts some things in CAPS so fingers crossed that I can get these sorted out!

I am also exploring some other interesting things to put in the margins.  (I have a feeling that margins is a distinctly un-blogg-y term so once you have stopped sniggering and being 'too cool for school' feel free to go right ahead and enlighten me as to what these side bits are called!)  So I am creating this unprecedented opportunity for my erstwhile Peanut Gallery to chuck their two cents worth in with:

  • Any good ideas you've seen?
  • Anything you'd particularly like to see?

Can't promise it'll turn up, blogger neophyte as I am, but I'll have a crack at it...promise!

Also, please be patient if things move around a bit while I play around and basically work out how to get things looking their best...


Saturday, 11 September 2010

A Blogger's Journey...

I've been blogging now for a couple of years (in fact this is post 150 - hurrah!)  It was a slow start as I wondered what on earth to write about and would anybody read it anyway.  But under the guise of sharing everyday thoughts and moments with my family and friends across the other side of the world, I set off...

Along the way, I've checked out a whole lot of blogs. I've followed some. Some remain on the list. Others have fallen by the wayside as I learnt what I loved to dip into each day (during my commute) or each week (when I have more time to ponder a post's particular point of view or wallow in it's sheer wit/wisdom).  As a result of my last post, I've even learned about The Archers (thanks to matthew_in_ham).

I've had 'were we separated at birth?' moments with fellow expats bloggers (Marmite and Fluff's Sarcasm for Sale produced one of these).  I think there's an unerring poignancy and recognition between people who've chosen a life away from family and childhood friends and as a result, I feel like I have a small but growing fellowship of like-minded souls.

I've even been interviewed on expat blog Seen The Elephant

Over the last little while, I've been been exploring this whole blogging community thing and have linked my blog to Networked Blogs on Facebook and a site called Expat Blogs.  It's opened up a whole world of other topics to have my say about.

My most recent discovery is a site called Seeded Buzz and I've just been dipping my first tentative toe into the water.  And I found a great post 'What has blogging taught you?' that inspired this one...

So what has blogging taught me?

...that the world is a big place...

...that there's something for everyone in it...

...that everyone loves an audience...

And that I love it!

So thanks to all of you who, through your fan-dom/ follower status/ comments/ secretly-reading-and-resisting-any-public-declaration-of-this, make up the Gidday from the UK peanut gallery and give me an audience. 

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Commuting Gems...The Midlife Manual...

Each weekend I buy the Saturday Times newspaper and each Monday I pack The Times Magazine into my handbag to while away my trip to work.  Reading is one of the true joys of commuting (vs driving) for me and I tend to move from magazines to books and back again (alongside my daily topup of free news and views in the Metro) as the week progresses.  Anyway, sometimes I find some gems...and it wasn't until last night's journey home that I dug out last weekend's magazine and read an extract from the book billed to be 'the funniest of the year', The Midlife Manual.

Having only just turned 41, I have not really considered myself to be mid-life (although in a purely literal and slightly morbid sense, 82 is not a bad innings).  And admittedly I didn't say 'Yes' to many of the statements in the opening questionnaire although 14. (Tired. Just really, really tired.) and 16. (And angry. Christ, where does that anger come from? Why did no one prepare you for it.) struck a bit of a chord.  But it was turning the page and reading the following list that had me nodding in vigorous agreement:

Things that pass for excitement these days

A double espresso
Amen to that - the ONLY way to end a great meal!

A new organic cafe opening on your high street
Is there really? I didn't hear about it. Oh no there's not? Well we definitely need one!

The arrival of the new Boden catalogue
And the discount vouchers contained therein.

Finishing Wolf Hall
I read the back cover of someone else's copy at work and I'm REALLY interested in reading this. Does this mean I am on the threshold rather than in the thick of mid-life?

A bountiful tomato harvest from your grow bag
Remember my 'news from the patch' exploits last year? Those tomatoes were so beautifully  sweet.

Ordering dessert
Another amen to that most holy of trios - cheesecake, pecan pie and tiramisu.

Successful erection of flat-pack furniture
Given that I have been doing this since my 20s, does this mean I was old before my time? Erk!

Being out in town after 11.30pm the middle of winter and marvelling at the hordes of 'young people' wandering around wearing 'not very much' makes me feel colder/older just looking at them.

Finding out someone famous has moved in across the street from you
Rick Astley lives in the next street - does he still count as famous?

The fact there's an Argos iPhone app
I hate Argos.  Hate them, hate them, hate them (see earlier reference to anger). It's a long story from more than 5 years ago.  And I'm still hanging on to it.

Losing 2lb
The only upside in morning after hangovers (when did these get so hard?) and illness.  Water retention is such a curse!

So sweet and pretty at first, like a 6 year old girl's birthday party. 
The cleanup afterwards though?  Not so great...lifetime on the hips and all that.

Beating a younger colleague at squash
I haven't done this - does that mean I am not yet mid-life (aka desparately clutching at straws)?

A racy storyline in the Archers
What is Archers please?

The first of the season's asparagus in your vegbox
Bless them - so tender and just perfect in a spring risotto.

Buggar me (in the Australian sense please!).  When did this happen?  And given I've ticked off most of these exciting things, I am now starting to wonder what's I'm off before stocks run out - you can buy The Midlife Manual on Amazon too if you want...but stand in line, ok?  I got here first!

Note to JF:  I think this will be the best use of birthday Amazon voucher!  Thanks mate x