Friday, 17 July 2009

Hobbs on Holiday

It's that time of year when the cases get dragged out and the dog casually lolls around watching us rush about, packing his toys and treats. I'm now more convinced than ever that he thinks we are his 'staff'.

As we're holidaying here in the UK, the packing covers every conceivable weather change from a nuclear winter to a day in the driest, sun parched desert.

However, one thing never changes and that's the 'Holiday Uniform' that has accompanied me on my trips to Arran since I was about 4.

It comprises wellington boots (although I have progressed from Dunlop to Hunter these days), shorts, a long sleeve t-shirt and a waterproof jacket. It's a summer staple and once I've got Hobbs' packing finished, they'll be the first things getting loaded into my suitcase.

See you all in two weeks...

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Storm Clouds & Scooters

Just over two weeks ago, I watched from the window as my sickly little scooter was wheeled into a van to go for some much needed scooter surgery.

Much to Kevin's horror, I even waved to it and got a little emotional as it was driven away. But 24 hours and £120 later it was delivered back to my door, fully MOT-ed and looking as fresh as the day I first wobbled my way home on it.

So, for the last fortnight it's been farewell to the bus and a welcome return to free parking and pretending to be Italian, as I trundle to and from the office in my gilet and loafers.

Well, that would be the case if it would just stop bloody raining!

Alison is a friend I love dearly, but her horribly accurate prediction of 'Sunny at Seven, Raining by Eleven' has left me soaked almost every day and on the verge of doing her bodily harm with my brolly. Two days ago, it also left me with puddles in the soles of my favourite ballet flats and it's difficult to look cool under those circumstances.

But, no matter how dreadful the weather, there is always a little ray of sunshine and mine came bursting through the clouds when I paid a visit to the petrol pumps. As the dial hit the £3.85 mark, the pump stopped with its reassuring clunk that signals not another drop can be squeezed into the tank.

£3.85!! For just a few pennies more than my daily bus fare, I'd been whizzing around on two wheels for almost fourteen days.

I feel so pleased that I might even give the scooter a clean - twice in three years isn't too bad...

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Bargain Beauty or Costly Cutey

Anyone walking into our office with a bright pink bag bearing the statement ‘SHOPAHOLIC’ was bound to grab my attention…

Even more exciting though was that the carrier of said carrier was more than willing to share the secrets within and proceeded to show the rest of us what she’d just bought.

It was like watching a retail version of Mary Poppins as she pulled item after item from the Hessian tote - in actual fact there were only five items - but all added together they hadn’t even deprived her bank balance of £20. I couldn’t believe it! I can’t remember the last time I managed to buy one item for less than £20.

What does that make me? A conscientious buyer concerned about the origin of my garments and who’s made them, or just a snob? I’ve tried clothes on from the very same shop that she had just plundered and I looked like I’d raided my Grandmother’s wardrobe during a power cut.

When I thought back through many of this colleague’s outfits – trust me, I can do that; I have a near photographic memory when it comes to clothes – I realised that she never looks anything less than amazing. Then I realised why… she’s gorgeous!

A slim, toned and tanned figure that is clearly on very good terms with the gym (and hardly bosom buddies with the bakery), long blond hair, bright blue eyes and a dazzling smile are going to work well with any garment.

Some of us need a little more help and a lot more tailoring, so for now, I think I’ll just stick to my favourite stores and curb my consumerism until they have a sale on.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Vacancy: Professional Competition Entrant

I know they say there is no such thing as a free lunch, but sometimes - just sometimes - there really are freebies to be had and my chum, Susie, is proof that you can get your paws on them.

Susie, otherwise known as Killer Miller due to her black belt in Tae Kwon Do, has been doing her bit for her bank balance recently by trying to cut back, so you can imagine how excited she was when she spotted a month long beauty giveaway in Glamour magazine.

Like any girl, she is powerless to resist the lure of a free lipstick, so Susie set out her strategy. I’ll let her explain:

“As the prizes were things like mascara, fake eyelashes and eye creams, and they had 500 or 250 of each thing to give away, I figured that if I entered every day I would surely win something. I set my Outlook calendar to remind me to enter first thing every morning, then all I had to do was go to the Glamour website and answer an easy peasy question.

“By the end of the month I was flying through the entry form over my morning coffee and then promptly forgot all about it until a padded envelope arrived in the post last week with an Oil of Olay body lotion with sunless tanner, a night cream with tanner and the UV protection daily moisturising fluid!

“Then joy of joys another envelope arrived last Friday with a Collection 2000 lip gloss in it! Now I am eagerly awaiting the post every day in case I've been pulled out the hat for something else.”

Her postman has probably never felt so loved, but it goes to show that a little effort goes a long way in the quest for gratis goodies.