Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Step In Time...

This absolute pearler was circulated at work today and I thought it might just be the perfect way to put a little fun in a commute...enjoy!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Lost In Translation

When I first moved to the UK, my direct approach (or if you prefer, my 'Australian bluntness') resulted in a quite a few hackles-on-the-rise, particularly at work.  Seven years on, I like to think I have learned to play a little more by the rules - or at the very least, understand the boundaries before pushing firmly, but ever so charmingly, against them.

I was going through my mail from the week yesterday and, noticing that British fashion brand Boden had sent their new Spring/Summer catalog in tabloid format, thought I'd have a quick flick through.  Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a full-page guide to navigating the 'English' language (I tried to scan it in for you but it was too big/my scanner is too small).  Let me just say that HOURS of angst and general hair-tearing could have been avoided if I had only known:

...that when the English say 'It was quite good'
     what they mean is 'I was mildly disappointed'.

...and when they say 'I was a bit disappointed that...'
     what they mean is 'I am most upset and cross.'

...also that when the English say 'I'll bear it in mind'
     what they mean is 'I will do nothing about it.'

...and when they say 'I'm sure it's my fault'
     what they mean is 'we both know it's your fault.'

...and very importantly, from a work standpoint,
    when they say 'Could we consider some other options?',
     they don't actually want more of your input,
     what they mean is 'I have a much better idea than yours.'

(I am reliably informed that this is actually the sound of a penny dropping). 

Do you realise that this list could transform English relationships with the rest of the world?  Seriously, it should be incorporated into some sort of Welcome Pack, guiding foreign dignitaries through the seething mass lying just beneath those polite English manners and helping we who are 'just-off-the'boat' to get the 'lay of the land'.

Now THAT would be 'the dog's bollocks'!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Commuting Gems...A Veritable Treasure Trove

Fave freebie commuting mag Stylist was a veritable treasure trove this week.

This cushion got my stamp of approval (sorry, couldn't resist!)...
I tore out this recipe...

(Skye just won the Qantas Australian Woman of the Year in the UK Award and is the Head Chef at Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries.)

I agreed (for the most part) with Lucy Mangan's 5 useful questions for the census...

(FYI: the response to Qs 1, 3 and 5 is Eeeeeewwwww!! Qs 2 and 4 are under advisement)

...but what I was really searching for was this:

And after perusing said list, what do you think my first thought was?  

'Hey I've only seen 22 of them! Best I take this list home for future reference.'

Just what is it about a 'Bucket List' that makes one feel unread / uncultured / unadventurous / unproductive?

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Off With My Head!

Every few years I seem to have some sort of personal epiphany about my appearance...I've been blonde, brunette and brassy, bespectacled, spectacle-less and then bespectacled again, and have since my teen years, had locks of a variety of lengths including a white blonde Annie-Lennox-style crop at the time of my sister's medieval-themed wedding! 

On my last trip to tresses-tamer extraordinaire A, I mentioned I'd been thinking about losing the locks but wasn't quite ready...so we've been anticipating yesterday's appointment with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. 

So why was I so nervous about my decision to go short again?

One of the things about your hairdresser is that if you go every 6-8 weeks like I do (I am a Leo and having fab hair is essential to a worthwhile life - so sue me!), you see them more often than many of your friends.  A has been doing my do now for about two years so we've been 'there' through many ups and downs in our respective lives - she's heard about new job, redundancy, the not quite right transitional job, death of partner's mother, friend's cancer scare, the death of my relationship and subsequent return to singledom, another new job and Christmas holidays in Melbourne - so when she mentioned that perhaps I wasn't ready last time because I was already dealing with too many changes, I thought she probably had a point. 

So I showed my pictures, pressed my sweaty palms together, tried desperately not to notice the great wads of brown (with silver-highlights!) scattered around the chair, on the floor and in my lap and breathed...deeply.

And then it was time to take my courage in my hands, come to the edge ...
Off with my head...of hair!
...and fly.

It feels exhilarating!!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Come To The Edge...

Many years ago, I went to a work conference. 

I'd been to a few before and I've been to many since but this one was held at Hepburn Springs (Victoria, Australia) on my 30th birthday thereby scuppering my fervent hope of Champagne Balloon Flight-ing my arrival at the Dirty Thirties (which I sulked about until birthday number 34, when I eventually got over myself and went).

But that wasn't actually what I started out to share with you so getting back to my point...

...today I came across that conference's theme, perfect then for a small to medium sized food and beverage company with aspirations to play with the big boys and today, a perfect pick-me-up from the doldrums I've seemed to find myself in of late...

Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them, and they flew...

Hope it gives you a little pick-me-up too...

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Great Bake-Off Sputters To Life...

It's been 6 months between 'bakes' but my second foray has been a resounding success.

After returning from Australia having spent 2 weeks over Christmas with family and food in abundance, I have been waiting for a chilly Sunday afternoon to cook this delicious fruit cake for myself (I've decided baking is best on afternoons when it's cold outside!)  And this last weekend was D-Day...

Check out The Great Bake-Off to see how I got on or to just snaffle the recipe for yourself.  Believe me, your guests/ friends/ hangers-on will be impressed...

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics...

They say that you can prove anything with statistics.

The Times reported yesterday that '$200 a barrel for oil [will] hurt and squeeze spending' for households (no sh*t Sherlock!) and earlier in the month, The Economist used The Shoethrower's Index to determine the potential for unrest in the Arab World - apparently Yemen is 'Top of the Pops' here, right ahead of Libya.  In other news, Michelle Williams wore the 'most loved Oscar outfit' according to Friday's Metro - with Aussies bastions of style Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett occupying the first and third rungs on the worst-dressed ladder respectively - and the National Trust informs us in the latest edition of their member magazine that a 'large-beach-towel-sized' area of coastline costs £52 a year to maintain (and there's room for 624,800 of said towels!)

But what do statistics really prove?

One of the cool features of having a Blogger account is that there is a stats area where you can check out things like daily and weekly visits to your blog, most popular posts and where your visitors are coming from.

It's quite addictive as you can click on all the 'Mores' and get more fascinating detail to pore over like the most popular post/s and where your audience is located.  But I am often mystified by how it all works.

For example, I am Australian with family and friends in places like the USA and the United Kingdom, and I have recently posted about an expat Russian accordionist who lives in South Korea so these nations being near the top this week makes sense to me...

...but I don't know anyone in Poland, Iran, Taiwan, Philippines or Moldova (where a few kind souls have visited from this week) and then today, some chaps from Vietnam, Ireland, Turkey and Belarus popped by - I don't know anyone from any of them either.

Is this what is meant by the Global Village?  Maybe they are just being neighbourly and are stopping by to borrow a cup of sugar...after all, my most popular post is about The Art of Latte!
Or maybe it's just people mispelling 'late' in their google search...

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Narcissism? Let Me Check My Blog Stats...

It would appear that I am not alone in pondering the navel-gazing nature of blogging... please give a huge Gidday From The UK welcome to my special guest, author Nancy Stewart, who's been giving narcissism a little thought herself!


I’ve been thinking lots about narcissism and blogging and attention to one’s web site. Is that the very definition of narcissism? Maybe.

Picture books are a passion of mine, and I’ve been writing them for five years. My first one in a series of three, One Pelican at a Time, was published by Guardian Angel Publishing last week. All three of them took much time, thought, critiquing from my writer’s group and self-doubt right up to the end.

Never, though, during that process, did I run to the computer after having been away for an hour to look for comments or pour over stats. This realization may say something to, or perhaps, about me. Oops. There goes that narcissism word again…

The shift from creative writing to blogging/web site production may carry with it the need to be more personal, more introspective, more in tune with one’s own psyche to convey who we are to our readers and, perhaps, to define our own worthiness to ourselves. And with that may come some narcissism by task default. I certainly hope that’s what it is.

In the meantime, I’ll continue writing picture books, consult with my publisher, meet with my writing group, revise, edit, use my Thesaurus endlessly and only occasionally be deeply introspective. That is, until it’s time to write another entry for my blog. Oh, yes.

And even when it’s posted, I’ll pour over it from every angle, perhaps move a photo a centimeter or two, recheck links to be sure they’re working, read my witty words for the zillionth time and be, well, narcissistic.

Please excuse me now. I have to check my stats.

If you like what Nancy had to say or you're basically just a bit of a stickybeak and want to find out more about her, visit her website, www.nancystewartbooks.com Or for more soulful navel-gazing (just kidding Nancy!), check out her blog!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Commuting Gems...Great Knokkers?

The latest in ideas from people who have far to much time on their hands...check out these Knokkers!

I reckon it'd taken some balls to sell this in to your local!

Ha ha...geddit? Balls?

Oh never mind!