Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I am delighted to announce that I am the VERY proud owner of a green Eglu - a combined Christmas and 30th birthday present from my friends and family - Thanks everyone!!!!

I'm sure there will be plenty of posts to follow on the trials and tribulations of chicken keeping!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

It's ccchhhhrrrrriiiiiisssstttttmmmmmmaaaassss! Part three

I LOVE Kirstie Allsop so her Christmas programme is almost too much for me to bear! What a wonderful way to spend last week's evenings. More fun to look forward to next week with Jamie Oliver!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

It's chhhrriiiissstttmmaaasss! Part two!

Phew - 50 mince pies made and cranberry and popcorn garlands for the tree. I'm getting in the swing of this Christmas business now!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

It's Chhhhrrriiiiiiisssstttmmmmaaaasssss!!!!

And how do I know?

I've just purchased the Christmas edition of the Radio where's my highlighter?

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

I've just returned from a hectic few days at Centre Parcs and starting my Postgrad marketing qualification and also an exercise class. Things are going to be hectic up until Christmas so I think blogging and reading will probably take a back seat for a while. You never know though..the more I have to do the more I seem to get done!! I think it must be all the pressure!!

Good news on the building works front. We have a man coming from EON this week to have a look at the electric cable (yes, it is STILL running through the middle of our new extension) and to make plans for when it can be moved. We've only been waiting since May so it can't come soon enough so we can finally finish the decorating and get some carpet!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Postcrossing - it's brilliant!

A while ago apieceofwood blogged about a website called postcrossing. I was fascinated by the concept of getting postcards from all around the world so I promptly joined a couple of weeks ago and two of my postcards have been received already!! One in Germany and one in the Netherlands!

I haven't received any cards myself yet but I'm hoping postie will have something for me very soon...

Thursday, 3 September 2009

What to do next - decision is made...

A couple of months ago I seriously considered what I should do next I had been scarred by three horrendous days of exams for my CIM Professional Diploma AND major building work to my house. I got my results last week and passed so I've decided to carry on and complete the CIM Postgraduate Diploma. I figured it is now or never and the decorating can wait....

I might regret it but the course starts next week.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Economy Gastronomy

Is it me or is this programme a bit of a con? I really enjoy watching Economy Gastronomy and love some of the recipes they do. But I think I could save a family who spend £1200 per month a bit of cash on their shopping! Have these people never heard of a shopping list or checking their cupboards?? The woman this week had 6 separate jars of mustard open! But then again she did have 5 children....

The REAL challenge would be for them to save money for people who have much more modest food budgets. I wonder what they would make of my rather stingy, but necessary £200 per month??

Exam results hurrah!

My exam results arrived when I was at work yesterday. There were loads of emails bouncing around during the day from people on my course who had already found out their grades. I was in a bit of a tizzy by the time I got home but I'm proud to say I passed all the modules and have now got my Professional Certificate in Marketing at the first attempt (no mean feat as the pass rate is about 50%). I'm going to spend the Bank Holiday deciding if I want to move onto the Postgraduate Diploma in September or postpone studying for a year and concentrate on the house.


Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Exam results due on Friday - eeeeek!

The results of my Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) are due on Friday. I've managed to forget all about them for the past few weeks but now I cant stop checking the website to see if they have released the results early!

Monday, 24 August 2009

The 14lb challenge - week 3

I well and truly fell off the wagon several times this week - a friend came over for dinner bringing a large cake and a bottle of wine, I went for a couple of drinks with another friend and then a cinema and dinner visit with work and that is before the little treats I had at work because I had to work on Saturday (boo!). I tried to stick to my healthy eating and portion control the rest of the week (what was left of it!) and managed to lose a pound!

Week 3/7 - 5/14

Saturday, 22 August 2009

ID'd at 29

Just purchased a bottle of wine at my local co-op and was asked for ID - winner!!

Friday, 21 August 2009


I haven't been to the cinema since January and then I went twice in one week - crazy! On Sunday I went with OH to see the new Harry Potter film. I had forgotten what had happened as I read the book such a long time ago. The film is quite dark but Luna Lovegood is excellent in it!

Then last night I did what I said I wouldn't....I went to see the Time Travel(l)er's Wife (the whole one 'L' or two is driving me crazy!). I loved the book and didn't want the film to ruin it. I went with a group of ladies from work and to be honest it was quite good. It wasn't too long and perfect for a girlie night out.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Beach hut festival!

I just LOVE a beach hut! Ever since I visited Wells-next-the Sea a few years ago and saw all their lovely huts I have been hooked! Imaging my delight when I found out about the Beach Hut Festival in Lincolnshire! Not too far away from us! I think we may combine with a picnic on the beach for OH birthday!

Let's hope all I take away from the festival is inspiration (and not a hut!).

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Time Warp Wives

I can't remember who blogged about this TV programme recently but thank you very much - I loved it! Although I think they are a bit out of touch with reality on some things!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

My boy is back!

After 10 days my naughty little boy, Hobbes, returned last night. OH was out posting lost notices and found him on a garage roof a couple of streets away! He doesn't look like a cat that has spent a week on the streets but he was mighty hungry and polished off a bowl of tuna and a bowl of cat meat. Looks like he has been lodging with someone else, I want to find out who it is and pop a note through the door to ask them not to feed him etc as he is being looked after. But I suppose that is the nature of a cat....

He did spend all night curled up on our bed. I didn't get much sleep but I don't care - I've got my boy back!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Has anyone seen my cat?

My oldest cat, Hobbes, has been missing for over a week now. We regularly don't seem him for a couple of days but a whole week is quite unusual for him. I am hoping he will come back soon and check the cat flap every time one of the other cats come in but I am trying to prepare myself for him not coming back....


The 14lb challenge - week 2

Well, this week has seen an ENORMOUS pub meal with a side order of onion rings and a work BBQ with a slice of cake. So I am chuffed to lose another pound! I have got two nights out planned this week and I am cooking for a friend tomorrow night so this week is going to be tough. I think I need to introduce some aerobic exercise to help me along a bit.

One thing I have found incredibly easy is to have one slice of toast for breakfast instead of the usual two and then have fruit when I get to work to stop the 10.30 hunger pangs. My water consumption is also up and my alcohol down (more to do with cash flow than diet though!).

Week 2/7 - 4/14

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The 14lb challenge - week 1

The first week was all about trying to establish good habits - drinking more water, not snacking on biscuits at work and having smaller portions for dinner.

I am pleased with the result and have lost 3lb! Although we went out for a meal last night with friends and am feeling fat and full as a result (this technically counts as week 2 so I'm not worried yet!).

Week 1/7 - 3/14

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Lilac is not a good bathroom look!

The bathroom is the first room we are tacking with the decorating. We tried several tester pots and decided on frosted steel from dulux. It looked like a quite funky colour which would go with the cream bathroom tiles and the duck egg blue towels.

Two hours later and the bathroom looks like a child's bedroom from the late 80s - not a good look! I hated it straight away but OH said it looked ok. Fast forward to the next morning an a phone call at work from OH saying he doesn't like it either!! The paint was a pricey £19 but I'll never be happy with it so we are going to paint it white for now. (the offending paint had been used up in the large computer cupboard). Photos to follow when the camera is charged up!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Random acts of kindness - part two!

I got a flat tyre at lunch time today and just managed to pull into a car park. My RAC cover ran out last week and my new cover that is free with my car insurance doesn't start until next week (grrrrr). There was nothing else for it, I had to change the tyre myself (with lots of whinging on the phone to OH). I just managed to get the spare tyre out (Ford KAs are veerrrryyyy complicated!) when a lovely elderly couple who had just had their lunch stopped to help me out. 20 minutes later I was on my way and they were late for the dentist.

Thank you whoever you were!

Monday, 3 August 2009

The 14lb challenge

I need to lose some weight. There, I've said it! It is part of my 101 in 1001 and it has always been my attention to 'sort it out' before I am 30 in January.

The plan is that OH and I both want to lose a stone before his birthday in exactly 7 weeks from today. I know it is going to be tough and if I'm exercising a lot I might be building muscle etc etc

So here goes:

Day 1/49 - 0/14
Exercise: 3 August- 15 minute ab workout (there are loads of free fitness videos on this site - it's fab!)

Sunday - progress report and the weekend round up!

I feel like I've had quite a productive weekend and have achieved quite a lot (not much resting or pampering was done...must factor that in next weekend!). Here is a run down of what has been going on (Blogger seems to have an aversion to bullet points this morning!).

Food shopping - Done
Washing - Done
Undercoat window ledges in two new bedrooms - Done (On Sunday!)
Sort out paperwork (the pile had been building since the work started 11 weeks ago - will probably find some horrendously overdue bill lurking somewhere!) - Done
Move my craft stuff out of my chest of drawers and into my Ikea shelving unit - Done
Work on mood boards if there is time - Done

Prime plaster in two new bedrooms - 1 bedroom done
Washing - Done
take spare lights and tile trims back to Wickes (just need to find that pesky receipt!)
Get another tin of primer, sandpaper and tester pots from B&Q (don't forget to use credit note!) - Done
Sort out old paint in the shed and see what we can use - Done
Work on mood boards

Sunday (definitely NOT a day of rest!)
Undercoat living room woodwork - Done
Take cardboard which wont fit in the recycling bin to the recycling point at the supermarket - Can't do cardboard recycling at Morrison's so I'm going to have to wait until Friday when our recycling bin is emptied
Ironing - - Done
Clean house up!! - Done

Not to much stuff left in red still to be done and we did do some stuff which wasn't on the list:
  • Bathroom ceiling painted
  • Moved dining table and welsh dresser into kitchen
  • Undercoated cupboard door in new bedroom 2

The builders have now finished until we get the electric cable moved so we can crack on with painting and decorating.

Just one small job for tonight - Give cupboard ceiling first coat of white paint

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Saturday - Progess report

Have had a fairly productive couple of days...let's hope it continues on Sunday!

  • Food shopping - Done

  • Washing - Done

  • Undercoat window ledges in two new bedrooms

  • Sort out paperwork (the pile had been building since the work started 11 weeks ago - will probably find some horrendously overdue bill lurking somewhere!) - Done

  • Move my craft stuff out of my chest of drawers and into my Ikea shelving unit - Done

  • Work on mood boards if there is time - Done


  • Prime plaster in two new bedrooms

  • Washing - Done

  • take spare lights and tile trims back to Wickes (just need to find that pesky receipt!)

  • Get another tin of primer, sandpaper and tester pots from B&Q (don't forget to use credit note!) - Done

  • Sort out old paint in the shed and see what we can use - Done

  • Work on mood boards

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Friday - progress report

A fairly productive Friday evening. Lots more to be cracking on with though...just off to undercoat my window ledges...

  • Food shopping - Done

  • Washing - Done

  • Undercoat window ledges in two new bedrooms - not done yet!!

  • Sort out paperwork (the pile had been building since the work started 11 weeks ago - will probably find some horrendously overdue bill lurking somewhere!) - Done

  • Move my craft stuff out of my chest of drawers and into my Ikea shelving unit - Done

  • Work on mood boards if there is time - Done and may have decided on the colour for the bathroom!!

Friday, 31 July 2009

To do this weekend

The house renovations are nearly done (still got a pesky electric cable to be moved and Eon are being painfully slow about the whole thing! grrr) so we can start to piece our house back together and stop living out of one room. To keep me motivated here is this weekends to do list...

  • Food shopping

  • Washing

  • Undercoat window ledges in two new bedrooms

  • Sort out paperwork (the pile had been building since the work started 11 weeks ago - will probably find some horrendously overdue bill lurking somewhere!)

  • Move my craft stuff out of my chest of drawers and into my Ikea shelving unit

  • Work on mood boards if there is time


  • Prime plaster in two new bedrooms

  • Washing

  • take spare lights and tile trims back to Wickes (just need to find that pesky receipt!)

  • Get another tin of primer, sandpaper and tester pots from B&Q (don't forget to use credit note!)

  • Sort out old paint in the shed and see what we can use

  • Work on mood boards

Sunday (definitely NOT a day of rest!)

  • Undercoat living room woodwork

  • Take cardboard which wont fit in the recycling bin to the recycling point at the supermarket

  • Ironing

  • Clean house up!!
If I get 75% of this done I'll be chuffed!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Supersizers go....

I'd like to thank the BBC for this wonderful little programme, Supersizers go..... It is funny yet educational and well worth the TV licence fee!

If you haven't had chance to see this series which has just finished you can catch up on iPlayer (another of the BBC's miracles!)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Time to move on

Made a decision to 'park' The Ressurectionist for a while and start The diving bell and the butterfly which I won from the June giveaway on the BookItList. This book is just the antidote I need. It is quick to read and is interesting and thought provoking. I should have it finished by the end of the week and I can move onto something else.

The Ressurectionist still sits on my bedside cabinet with my Harry Potter book mark stuck firmly about a third of the way though. I will finish day....

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Struggling with July's bookgroup book

After a promising start The Resurrectionist is proving to be hard going. I love the atmosphere but I am about 100 page in and nothing appears to be happening! I'm never going to finish it by the end of the month...can't decide if I should abandon it (I hate giving up on a book!) or stick with it and acknowledge that it will be hard going.

I have read the August book before (The Timetraveller's wife) so I don't have any pressure to read that.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The wrong colour grout

Just when I thought we were on the home straight with the (never ending) building works the builder hasn't listened to what I asked and used the wrong colour grout in the new bathroom. It is no problem to change it but it will put the work back another day and the toilet can't go in until Saturday. I am completely fed up with the whole thing now and told them to carry. I might regret it a few months down the line but I just want my house back!!!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

What to do next?

Now I have finished my CIM course my thoughts have turned what to do next. Do I continue to do the Postgraduate Diploma (another two years of study!!) or put all my efforts into doing up the house (extension due to be completed next weekend!). My bookgroup seems to have given up the ghost so I'm feeling at a bit of a loose end for extra curricular activities at the moment.

Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Thank you!

My giveaway prize from the BookIt list arrived today. I can't wait to get stuck into it. It looks like a book that will be pretty quick to read so I'm going to save it for a precious day when I haven't got anything to do...

Monday, 6 July 2009

What to read next - My Sisters Keeper? a copy of My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult from my friend. Not usually my kind of read but I have heard some really good stuff about it despite the fact I usually steer clear of any book that has been made into a film. Here goes....

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Pimp my house - update 5 July 09

What can I say? 6 weeks in and the house is still like a building site. No water, electricity or gas and so much rubble and mess on our driveway that it is getting hard to see the (now damaged) front door. I know it is going to look great when it is finished but the whole thing is a bit depressing at the moment.

I purchased some rather lovely duck egg blue towels for my lovely and soon to be upstairs bathroom. It is still and empty shell at the moment but the plaster is coming next week (we have been waiting for him to get back from his cruise - what credit crunch??) and then the tiles can go on - hurrah! Progress will be made.... (many) more house flavoured updates to follow...

Saturday, 4 July 2009

To piano or not to piano?

As the house renovations are drawing to a close my mind has turned to what to do with the extra space we are left with. By creating a larger kitchen we are going to move our dining table into it leaving quite a bit gap in our living room. I want to create a cosy reading/knitting/chilling area but then I got the idea of having an upright piano in this space.

I can't play a piano or know anyone who does but I really, really want one - crazy huh? To add to my pain there is one for sale on eBay and is only a couple of miles away from us. I keep checking the bidding but no one seems to want it except me. Oh what shall I do??

50 books to go!

I've been a bit slack on the 101 in 1001 list since I have been studying for my CIM exams (thankfully all exams are completed now and I am just waiting for the results at the end of August). I have tried to keep up with my reading during my studies and have managed about a book per month - largely due to my book group (who I think now have sadly disbanded due to lack of interest and new members) and also the monthly book from the BookitList blog.

I have now clocked up a healthy 14 books and just have 50 to go to reach my 101 target! Still tons I want to read and I keep buying more books from charity shops (they are sooo cheap, how can I resist?).

Also many thanks to the lovely people from the BookitList who have sent me The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (I was randomly selected for the June giveaway) which I have been wanting to read for ages.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Random act of kindness

I had to share this with someone as I was so touched by it - it restores your faith in humanity when something like this happens! We were doing a 'big' shop in Morrison's last night when a love lady with two little children joined the queue behind us. She kept looking at us and then at a bunch of papers in her hand. I didn't really take any notice and just thought she was a big odd.

She then produced a £5 off voucher and said - 'Do you want this - I've got a few spare'. We thanked her a lot and then she disappeared to another checkout. I can't believe how incredibly happy this made me all evening!
Mrs M

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Apprentice: Nick Vs Margaret - The Final!

We see precious little of the lovely two during the final two episodes so didn't think it would be fair to judge them. I am gutted, however, to hear that Margaret is leaving the show to pursue her PhD in ancient scrolls?! She will be a tough one to replace - how about Karen Brady? She is the queen of business but without Margaret's expressive eyebrows...

Anyway, down to business...

Episode 11 & 12
The trusty 2 are almost nowhere to be seem in the last 2 episodes (except for scoffing chocolates!). I don't feel I can pass judgement on this performance so the final winner is.....


Wednesday, 3 June 2009

The Apprentice: Nick vs Margaret - episode 10

I'm in the midst of my CIM exams this week and the laptop has been out of action so I'm a bit late on the Apprentice update! I didn't manage to hold out until Thursday night to find out who was fired (grrrr - Thank you very much - on their homepage!). I loved the shopping channel task last year and this years didn't disappoint! As much as I don't like Debra (I'll never forgive her for being rude to Nick!) she did do a cracking job of selling those ridiculous scarf-things!

Episode 10
Surallen didn't need his trusty aides this week as he watched it all for himself! However, for her appearance on 'Your Fired' the award goes to Margaret this week.
Winner - Margaret

Total: Nick 5: 4 Margaret

Can't wait for tonight - the interview episode is always great! Anyone remember the reverse pterodactyl??

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Bank holiday bliss!

What are Bank holidays for? Camping of course!

We stayed at a campsite in Derbyshire at the weekend with the most amazing pub on site. The meals we had were one of the best we had ever tasted. I had game pie and chips and MrM had beef and Stilton pie and chips. Well worth a visit for the food alone!

We also went for a looonnngggg walk around Lathkill Dale which had stunning views. There wasn't enough time to see everything so I hope to return again someday to do another walk here.

Mrs M

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Apprentice - normal service will resume shortly!

Pesky football on the TV tonight so wont be able to get my usual Apprentice fix until Thursday evening at the earliest. Hmmmppphhh. That means I will have to avoid all radios, TVs and news websites for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

The Apprentice: Nick vs Maragret - episode 9

I can't believe we have been watching The Apprentice for almost two months now and thoughts are inevitably turning to the final in whatever shape that will take this time. Although I began to loathe Ben towards the end (and even regretted picking him for my fantasy Apprentice team at work) I didn't think he was the right one to go this week. Debra is so slippery she would give an eel a run for his money. The rocking horse was clearly her decision but she wouldn't take any blame. She has definitely go to be the next one to go...

Down to the serious stuff.

Episode 9
Winner - Nick

Total: Nick 5: 3 Margaret

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

As for me, during my many years... abroad, I had been struck every time I had returned to London by how many of my childhood peers seemingly led such socially monochrome lives (segregated drinks with colleagues excluded), despite no Richard Curtis Notting Hill movie being complete without Hugh Grant having a gay, a black, a disabled and a working class friend.

Phew - I was tagged by the Book-It list to:
  • Grab the nearest book to you
  • Turn to page 56
  • Post the text of the 5th sentence as a post title and pass this meme on to who you like
This must be the longest sentence known to man! Feel free to play along with this meme if you are reading this post.

Mrs M

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Pimp my house - day zero

The Apprentice: Nick vs Margaret - episode 8

The classic 'great idea but they didn't quite execute it' episode. The leaflet was hilarious - 'intentionally' left blank for advertising?!

Episode 8

Winner - Margaret
Her face was a picture when Kate and Yasmina asked the models to take their tops off!

Total: Nick 4: 3 Margaret

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Too many plates spinning...

Exams first week in June. Builders start 18 May for 8 weeks.


Saturday, 9 May 2009

The Apprentice: Nick vs Margaret - episode 7

Wow - week 7 already! Doesn't time fly?? Once again the candidates seemed to completely miss the point of the task. They had pitches set up with some of the biggest retailers in the ares - candidates pick completely inappropriate products. Either it is very clever editing or they are just that stupid!

Episode 7
Winner - Nick
Nick in the boardroom to Philip - 'Do you remember Pants Man?' Surely the final nail in his coffin. Joke!

Total: Nick 4: 2 Margaret

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Literary Meme

I spotted this on my newest favourite blog The Book-It list. I think it is WAY too highbrow for my reading exploits but one day I want to say with confidence that I have a favourite poet! So here goes...

1. What author do you own the most books by?
The most prolific author on my book shelves is Daphne Du Maurier closely followed by Agatha Christie.

2. What book do you own the most copies of?
Erm, I only feel the need to own one copy of a book. Is that strange?

3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?

Nope - I'm not hung up on getting things grammatically perfect. Language is here to evolve I say! lol!

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

Ohh, good question! I'm quite partial to Lockhart from Harry Potter...

5. What book have you read the most times in your life?
As a rule I don't read books more than once - life is too short and there are so many great books out there to be read. As a child I read all of Roald Dahl books over and over again.

6. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Apart from anything by Roald Dahl, I loved The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Vivian French.

7. What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

Being a member of a book group makes this question simple! I am torn between Remember Me? By Sophie Kinsella and Elleander Morning by Jerry Yulsman (definitely the most bizarre book I have ever read!)

8. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
The one I have just finished 'Water for Elephants' by Sara Gruen. Again this is a book group book but sadly it was not my choice.

9. If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
The Shadow of the Wind - I loved that book!

10. Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
I don't think I'm the right person to ask about that!

11. What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
See question 9

12. What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
See question 9 also! Films are never as good as the book and as a rule I try to read the book BEFORE I see the film.

13. Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
None I remember

14. What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?
Plenty but the Shopaholic series must be up there!

15. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Difficult because of it's sheer length not because it was difficult to understand - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

16. What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?
Richard the third - only because I did it for English Literature A-level

17. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
I have no preference at all.

18. Roth or Updike?
Ekk - no idea! Should I stop right here?

19. David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
As above!

20. Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Shakespeare - he is the only one I have read.

21. Austen or Eliot?
Austen - definitely. And is this the right place to say that I loved the TV programme Lost in Austen??

22. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
A large proportion of the classics. I am more embarrassed and have bigger gaps now I have completed this!

23. Is it better to read broadly—a few books from a country and time period—or deeply?
Definitely broadly - you might just discover something new.

24. What is your favorite novel?
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

25. Play?

26. Poem?

Pass again - I really need to broaden my horizons!

27. Essay?

28. Short story?
Ahh, here is more comfortable territory. Daphne Du Maurier's short stories are cracking, especially The Birds volume (not at all like the film).

29. Work of nonfiction?
I really love reading gardening and eco books. My favourite recently is A life Stripped Bare by Leo Hickman.

30. Who is your favorite writer?
Daphne Du Maurier

31. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Hmmmmm. I would dare say that anyone is overrated. If they have the guts to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) then they have done something amazing - who are we to comment?

32. What is your desert island book?
Definitely the Lord of the Rings books. My husband is obsessed with them and keeps nagging me to read them. To be honest I don't know when I would ever find the time or the inclination to start such a lengthy book other than if I was on a desert island.

Friday, 1 May 2009

The Apprentice: Nick Vs Maragret - episode 6

This week saw the candidate valuing antiques - a disaster just waiting to happen! I would love to know if they are given the rules of the task to read. It occurred to me this week that if one of the teams didn't sell anything and just sat in the pub for the whole day then they would have ended up winning the task! What would Alan have said about that I wonder??

I think a new campaign needs to be started to get Debra out of the show. Did you see how she spoke to Nick?? Shocking - she has to go!

Episode 6
Winner - Margaret
For the Cassandra quote and also the 'never before has anyone done something so stupid for so long'

Total: Nick 3: 2 Margaret

Friday, 24 April 2009

The Apprentice: Nick Vs Margaret - episode 5

Great episode this week. Such a contrast between the two teams and the quality of their work. However, the clever editing kept us on the edge of our seats until the last minute! Noorul yet again escaped by the skin of his teeth - nice chap but surely he has got to go.

Episode 5

Winner - Nick
I can't remember the exact line Nick said but it was something along the line of 'they took an idea and murdered it'

We did get some very rare footage of Margaret smiling. Once I saw that I knew her team had won!

Total: Nick 3: 1 Margaret

Saturday, 18 April 2009

The Apprentice: Nick vs Maragret - episode 4

Wow - I can't believe it is week 4 already! A highly cringeworthy episode this week just like we love from The Apprentice. Sadly for me one of my picks for my fantasy Apprentice team, Paula, was fired this week. I still believe it was the wrong decision from S'rallen but she had the moral victory in the end because she is a nice person!

Episode 4
Winner - Nick
The dynamic duo are coming into their own now. Nick has to win this week for the way he delivered the devastating news of the price of sandalwood 'I'll leave you to get on with it'. Class.

Total: Nick 2: 1 Margaret

Friday, 17 April 2009

Kirstie's homemade home

I am officially in love with this programme. Despite the press slagging it off for being twee I loved every minute of it and cant wait to she the rest of the series. This has reignited my interest for interior design - as Kirstie says 'If you love it have it in your home'. My philosophy indeed. As much as I love Grand Designs and the like many of the interiors do end up looking open plan and essentially the same to me.

I'm just off to run up a quick cushion cover...

Sunday, 12 April 2009

BBC Dig in campaign

The lovely BBC are giving away free seeds as part of their new Dig in campaign. I've dabbled in growing my own veggies for a few years now and am following Gardeners' World avidly (well I have set it on 'series link' on my digibox). I love it when they feature veg growing especially the feature on allotments last series. I am loving the new Dig in campaign and will be planting my new seeds as soon as they arrive! Lets hope (if all goes well) that the builders are kind to my seedlings....

Send for your seeds now and join in!

Friday, 10 April 2009

A new bathroom - the saga begins

First we were going to move our bathroom upstairs but a hefty quote (£5k!) and digging up a concrete floor downstairs made up rethink the whole situation.

The house came with planning permission which expires in 2010 so we have taken the plunge and have got 2 plumbers coming round to give us quote not only to move the bathroom but to build a second floor extension too! Ekkk - this could be expensive!

Watch this space for updates!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Apprentice: Nick vs Margaret - episode 3

DISAPPOINTING!! Where were they this week? I feel there was so little coverage of N&M this week it would be unfair of me to pick a winner this week.

Boo - I should start a campaign for more Nick and Marge!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Apprentice: Nick vs. Margaret - episode 2

We are still getting to know the candidates. Some of them have hardly had any airtime at all making it difficult to gauge at this point who the winners are likely to be. This made my choosing of my fantasy apprentice team at work even harder! (in the end I chose Kate, Philip, Ben and Paula - Paula was a last minute addition because I liked her hair).

Anyway onto the important stuff:

Episode 2
Winner - Nick
Again we saw very little of Nick and Marge. Nick just managed to edge it for me this week with his comment about the boys with spotty backs in togas and his winning performance on The Apprentice: You're Fired. Although Margaret had a very strong performance especially the shot with her head in her hands!

Total: Nick 1: 1 Margaret

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The Apprentice: Nick Vs Margaret - episode 1

You know spring is here when the Apprentice is on the TV. I have been eagerly awaiting the new series, not to see 14 new candidates make fools of themselves or to see Srallen's cutting comments but to see the real stars of the show...Nick and Margaret.

They come up with the best lines, they don't have to pretend to like the candidates and best of all they can play a blinder in the boardroom by revealing a shortcoming of one of the condemned candidates just at the right moment.

Let's make things more interesting I thought. Why not see each week which of Srallen's aides is the best (most amusing comment, facial expression etc) and then tot them up at the end of the series to see who the REAL winner of the Apprentice 2009 is....

Episode 1
Winner - Margaret
We saw very little of Nick and Marge this week but Margaret's 'Never before have so few cars been washed by so many' just edged it for me.
Total: Nick 0: 1 Margaret

Monday, 30 March 2009

Earth hour 2009

We took part in the WWF's Earth hour on Saturday. It was a global campaign where everyone was invited to turn off their lights for one hour to signify the rising problem of climate change.

The picture is of our living room during the Earth hour - doesn't it look pretty?

It really made me stop and think about the energy we consume in our homes but did also think that it wasn't sustainable to have 5 candles burning all the time either.

We whiled away a very pleasant hour listening to our (wind up) radio! I can also cross another item off my 101 in 1001.

You can read more about Earth hour here.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Do you need planning permission to move your bathroom?

We have decided to move our bathroom from downstairs in the extension to upstairs into the box room. We have already started stripping woodwork, wallpaper and generally turning the place upside down only to hear a rumour that we might need planning permission!

It had never crossed my mind to be honest. I quickly popped an email to the planning department and have an agony of a 10 day wait before they reply to me IN WRITING! How old fashioned??

UPDATE 29/03/09 - Still no word from the council but have asked around at work and apparently I just need the work signing off by the council once it has been completed. No excuses now!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Let down by Cath...

I love Cath Kidston stuff sooo much. I read her catalogue over and over again. I even had 'to visit a Cath Kidston shop' as part of my 101 in 1001!

So imagine my delight when I had the opportunity to buy my (heavily pregnant) sister a nappy bag from Cath Kidston! She could share my love too and even pass it on to her unborn child.

The delight, alas, was short lived. Four failed payments (on their behalf, not mine!), three emails, two lost credit card details and I'm still not sure if the item has been dispatched. Whilst always polite I find the customer services somewhat inadequate. I wrote an email of complaint but stressed how much I loved the CK brand and was disappointed with the service.

Come on Cath, you can do better than this!

Mrs M

Sunday, 8 March 2009

eco caravanning

Just watched the latest episode of 'It's not easy being green' on iplayer. They had a feature on eco caravanning (Eco + caravans - two things close to my heart - although I don't have a caravan or have spent any time in one I just know it's my destiny - ok?!). The airstream is the daddy of all caravans - think big, American and shiny! I would assume it would be impossible to made this beast eco but I was wrong!

The programme showed the caravan with a wood burning stove and solar panels and all the recycled materials made the interior look pretty cool! Check it our here.

Oh how I want one! But surely with such luxury Lauren Laverne shouldn't need to wear her coat and gloves for the entire show? and what about the 4-wheel drive Jeep they needed just to pull the thing along?

Perhaps I should stick with my humble tent for now....

Mrs M

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Charity shops are the best!

Just look at these cute little pillows I got from our local charity shop for £3. They don't appear to be washable so I'll have to keep little muddy cat paws away...

Mrs M

Sunday, 1 March 2009

The great chicken debate

I'm consumed by all things chicken at the moment. I have wanted an eglu for ages but have been put off by the price and the fact that our garden is the size of a postage stamp. However, Mr M has treated himself to an xBox 360 (second hand of course) so the agreement is that I get something too (previously - new laptop = two cats).

I reaaallllllyyyy want some chickens but don't know if I can cope with the extra hassle at the moment. I'll keep doing the Internet research on them until I get bored (this has happened before) or I take the plunge. I wonder how long delivery would take.....?

Mrs M

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Woo Hoo - I've passed!

Hurrah - got home from work this evening to find a letter from CIM. I nervously opened it to find I had got a B in my Marketing Research module! Checking the CIM website all day did me absolutely no good at all!

Just another three to pass and I'm all done.

I'm off to have a celebratory cuppa...

Mrs M

Exam results - eeekk!

The exam results for the CIM exam I took in December should be out tomorrow. But our lecturer said last night they could appear online anytime now. I wont be able to concentrate and will be check the website every five minutes. I feel sick!

Mrs M

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Amazon - too much of a good thing?

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Amazon. They have made the last two Christmases soooo simple and their Wish List is a genius idea!

So why do they think they need to email me EVERY DAY with special offers? At first I would open the email and have a quick look and perhaps even click on a couple of items to have a better look. Then I moved on to quickly scanning the email before deleting. Now I just delete them without even looking at the title of the email. And recently I have started to become angry when I open my email in the morning and low and behold every day there is a fresh, new email from them!

I work in marketing and understand the theory behind building customer relationships, getting current customers to buy is easier than recruiting new ones etc, etc. But I still think daily emailing is too much and I am sorry Amazon, I am going to have to unsubscribe.

Mrs M