Sunday, 29 March 2015

A great feat of feet

So a little while ago I was given an assignment that chained me to a desk for a whole week.

  • Firstly this was good as it gave me an opportunity to show another skill, 
  • Secondly it was worrying because it was my only chance to show some senior management ability so no pressure, 
  • Thirdly this was frustrating as I'm not used to sitting still for that long, 
  • Fourthly... is fourthly a word? it doesn't sound right... ok then, fourthly it was a chance to gain a higher profile in the office space. I'm usually out of the office and just walk through a couple times a day to drop off and pick up things so this was probably my last chance to make an impact. 

Monday's shoes are bold and yellow

Monday morning I walked in as usual in my biker ankle boots and looked at the little pile of shoes that I had in the office. I ignored my sensible flats which, in fairness, are one of the best pairs of shoes I have given that I ordered them specially from Fifty Plus for my short fat feet. I also ignored the other pair of flats that I mistakenly brought in a couple of days earlier and then realised that they were great for jeans, bare feet and shopping, but are woefully inadequate at bed management in a skirt suit with tights. With the luxury of being off my feet and therefore able to wear heels I got over excited and also ignored my black Clarks and went for the yellow patent courts.

These are also from Fifty Plus. You wouldn't think it right?! But there is a surprisingly good selection there for wide fit feet! I was wearing a burgundy top and enjoy colour clashing so I thought why not?! So many people commented on the shoes and said hi. Find these shoes (kinda, different colour) here!

Tuesday's shoes are far from mellow

The next day I was feeling good about myself and reached for one of my all time favourite pairs of shoes. These are from Next and I have had them about 5 years now. They go with nearly nothing because what does go with grass green chunky t-bars?! But that didn't stop me today teaming them up with a specially bought green cardi. The same thing as yesterday, people were commenting and asking how the report was coming and stuff.

Wednesday's shoes brighten the mood

Rolling with the theme now I continued with these! These are not so much with the walking not because they hurt but because the bottoms are hard plastic, shiny and a little curved which makes them interesting to maintain altitude in. But if you were surprised by the Fifty Plus ones then you'll never guess where these came from: everything five pounds dot come! Now people are deliberately coming to my desk to see which shoes I am wearing today.

Thursday's shoes have meaning renewed

Not I've got an audience to entertain I went with these. I bought these again from Next (woo wide fit) after a tough week. I was promised a fancy date to take them out for their first trip but that went kerpluie before the date so for a while I didn't wear these. But look how pretty! I love the straps round the back. My only complaint is that while the wide fit is great, they haven't catered for wide ankles too! These were widely liked at work.

Friday's shoes are a blast from the past

Another blast from the past. I bought these shoes for my year 11 leavers party at school. So that makes them nearly 8 years old! Not nearly my oldest pair of shoes that I still wear by the way. Those are my year 7 sneakers my parent's bought me for p.e. so they are over 12 years old. Gosh they're old than I was when I got them! Ha ha ha. Anyway these blue lovelies are from Faith. My friend had a Saturday job there and helped me pick them out. I hadn't worn these in ages so it was nice to give them another outing.

Saturday's shoes are totally badassed 

So after my week of shoes they were clearly on my brain. I went into town and was having a very productive day and ended up with lots of heavy bags. Sadly nothing all that interesting, just things I needed. I was walking through the shopping center to avoid being out in the cold and walked past this little alternative shop called Pulp. I wasn't intending to buy shoes, to be honest I just wanted to put my bags down and sit for a bit. But these shoes caught my attention from outside the shop and I had to go in and try them on. They didn't have them in a 4 just a 5 so I was apprehensive that they wouldn't fit. But they were amazing and in the sale down from £65 to £28 so it was meant to be! I can't wait to take them out on the town sometime soon! You can find them here!

And the shoes that are worn on the Sabbath day aren't really shoes and are just comfy ok?

After all that my feet needed a break and these are my comfy slippers that come out when my feet need a bit of tlc. I hope you enjoyed my week of shoes - because I did!


Saturday, 28 March 2015


The view from our balcony
So I've been out and about again. This time I have been to Amsterdam! I've been before but only briefly, so this time I was going with 3 days and 3 friends to properly see the place. I went with the friend I went to Croatia with, her friend, and a girl I had many university adventures with. So none of us knew everyone which was a nice way to set out on a trip: both meeting new people and seeing new places.

We flew out on Friday morning which meant being awake at 4am to start the journey to Gatwick. I was starting from Cambridge.... maybe I should explain that first?


So I spent Thursday in Cambridge seeing a friend and having a job interview. Which meant I took the 4 hour train down on Wednesday afternoon. Yes that's right, 4 hours! How is Manchester so damn far away from everything?! Goodness knows what I've spent on trains in the last 18 months . So yes I went to work Wednesday morning therefore packed everything Tuesday night. So in effect I packed for my trip 3 days early. My life is ridiculous. Never intentionally. It just happens that way.

What is this?!
Where was I? Cambridge. So yes I spent a very random day on the busway (don't get me started on the busway. It is the strangest form of public transport ever, and I've taken a mule across the brazilian subtropical rainforest. Its a bus that runs on concrete mini roads only as wide as each tire with nothing between like a train, but they have tow paths next to them like a canal but they're cycle lanes, and its still a bus!). It was great to be back with my friend, isn't it strange how you can feel totally at home somewhere completely new just because of your company? I wasn't completely on leave yet, I had been writing a joint presentation with a colleague so I was working on that in the evening then off to bed early so that we were up and out in the very early morning.

How is this house so wonky?!

A very quick flight later we were out of Schiphol and on Dutch soil. We had directions to our
appartment and set out on the bus. It became quickly apparent that my sense of direction was the best and for anyone who knows me will realise that means we were doomed! After waiting for 5 mins for GPS to load I asked what number we were looking for:113 and realised we were standing next to 117. The flat was gorgeous with two bedrooms and a lovely lounge and balcony overlooking the canal and 5 mins away from leidseplein - perfect. Wandering round the little streets you can feel the history of the place that has been lived in and maintained for many years. The buildings seem to have grown organically as each one is a different width, height, and style even though they are physically joined.

You have to imagine I amsterd.... that comes before
Of course we found the I amsterdam sign and after realising that british style queueing wasnt going to work, we adopted a more european style of just standing there till people moved. We got some good shots even if there are other people in all of them! Next we went to the Rijks museum which defeated all of us. Three floors doesn't seem like much but it was vast! Some of the artworks were truly impressive and there were artifacts from war to fashion too. On later reflection we realised that we had only seen just over half of the museum but with flagging feet, rumbly tummys, and sleepy eyes we retired back to the flat.
You even got to sit in a window and see what it looks like!

A power nap later we were looking for somewhere to eat dinner and came across a well reviewed restaurant nearby called in de buurt which ticked us immensely in our sleep deprived groggy state. I was glad we went as the steak was great and 2 bottles of wine later we were all feeling much better.

We then set out to tour some of the famous (and less seloubrious) aspects of amsterdam. I've seen the red light district before so I was prepared for the unique shock that it brings. Some of the rest of our party were a little more shocked and it certainly was busy! We went to  red light secrets which is a perfect mini version of the area, it seems glamorous and exotic but in real life is actually seedy but a giggle if you don't think about it too much.


The next day feeling much more refreshed we decided to tick some more tourist boxes and see Anne Frank's House. The line was comically long and given the bitterness of the wind we nipped round the corner to see the house itself and then waited for a riverboat tour. The sign for the boat tour said we could buy tickets on the boat, so when the boat came we tried to buy them and were promptly turned off the boat and told to buy them in the shop. Disgruntled we went to the shop and then had a half hour to wait so found a hot chocolate out the wind.

Finally on a boat and enjoying the greenhouse of the windows I settled into a snooze and let the world literally pass me by! I seem to make a habit of falling asleep on boats having fallen asleep whale watching in Sydney!
La Garcon from the baclony

Later on we headed out onto the town. We uber-ed a taxi and after two failed attempts we gave up and walked towards the square to get a drink and try again. On the walk in we heard live music coming out from a bar and decided to pop in. It was actually great! The place was cafe cox and it was a guy called La Garcon playing. We got a spot on the balcony and stayed for the rest of his set. We were particularly impressed with the flower in the bucket hat of the keyboard player!

While milling about we were told about some good places to go afterwards that were nearby. So we headed to Melkweg which turned out to be just round the corner from where were were staying! A Mackies later we were all home in bed at goodness knows when.

Melkweg Encore

The next morning we were checking out at 11 which was easier said that done with a thick head. We headed out and found possibly the most appalling breakfast. Today we were headed for the tulips which we thought we could get to from central station. Our journey went like this:

12.00 - request taxi from square
12.15 - cancel absent taxi
12.16 - find cancelled taxi but cant get in it as its uber
12.30 - taxi leaves after several attempts to rebook the same taxi
12.32 - next taxi requested, cancelled, requested, waited
13.10 - get in taxi
13.40 - arrive at central station
14.00 - discover how to get to the tulips
14.05 - get on tram back to the square where we started
14.30 - get bus to airport
14.25 - store luggage at airport
15.00 - wander round trying to find and get different bus from airport
15.45 - arrive at tulips!!!!

So having spent a redundant 2.5 hours going in a rather large circle (I said my life was accidentally ridiculous) we arrived and happily bimbled round this lovely tulip park keukenhof. There were clogs, and a windmill, and waffles, and everything you associate with traditional Netherlands. It really was lovely! However at 5 we had to head back on the bus to catch our flight home.

All in all an excellent trip! Amsterdam seems to somehow balance being a fabulous mix of historic culture, rustic beauty and exciting nightlife. No idea how it manages to do it but I completely enjoyed it!


After a drive back to Cambridge, a sleep, and then three trains I was back in Manchester to rejoin my life of masterclass Tuesday, interview Wednesday, presentation day Thursday and final day at work Friday..... nothing like a quiet week!


Sunday, 8 March 2015


Remember my post on 10 reasons why living on your own is good/bad? Ok I tired to link to it and realised I never published it. Hang on.... Ok lets try that again.

Have you seen my last post on 10 Reasons why living on your own is good/bad ? Well I'm still in the same place behind the same red door. It's grown on me a lot on the last 18 months so much so that even though its impractical for me I haven't moved and when I do I will be sad to leave the place. It's been my little safety bubble and the place I come home to every night. Anyway one of the things I said was bad about living by yourself is there's no one to talk to or cuddle when you need to. This has now changed!

Presenting my new companion: Chloe!

She arrived yesterday afternoon from a rather upset previous owner who is moving into a place that doesn't allow pets. He has been trying to rehome Chloe for months and I heard about her in December but dismissed the thought of getting a cat as too big to impulse buy. However in February the cat was still looking for a new home. Simultaneously I have been looking for a new job since December with equal lack of success. Therefore in an attempt to stimulate cosmic balance I decided that if I gave the cat a home then someone might give me a job? Couldn't hurt right? Plus I miss the cat that lives at my parent's place so that was nearly reason enough on it's own. 

So now I have Chloe. She spent a few hours hiding behind my sofa (who knew there was enough space for a cat back there?!) but came out a couple of times to explore and was happy enough to be touched and petted. When I went to bed I could hear her come out a bit more and explore. She found me in bed and came for a quick cuddle before disappearing back behind the sofa. She has also worked out how to work my touch lamp on my bedside table which was funny the first time but got old pretty quickly. 

This morning she came back to say hi and has been exploring a bit more but goes back behind the sofa after a while. But I think that's what I would do if I was somewhere new, go out and see a bit then go back to a safe spot and process it. So I seem to have an introverted cat - how appropriate. 

I will keep you updated with how Chloe gets on and when my transformation into cliché single woman is complete. 

Mum don't worry at that - I'm joking! 


10 Reasons why living on your own is good/bad

Not my room but guess who's
So I live by myself at the moment. Primarily this was practical because I didn't know anyone looking for housemates and I didn't want the stress of a new city with a new job and new people to come home too as well. But having spent the last year (NB: this sat in my drafts for the last 6 months so I've now been here 18 months) living on my own I have come to realise it has both perks and pitfalls.

5 reasons why living on your own is bad
  1. There's no one to moan to or tell good news to
  2. Spontaneous nights out rarely happen
  3. There's no way you could eat a whole Sunday roast
  4. You have to clean everything yourself
  5. Watching scary tv by yourself is worse
5 reasons why living on your own is great!
  1. You can leave the place in a mess without annoying anyone
  2. You can wander round in your undies or less
  3. There's no one to judge that you're having toast and wine for dinner
  4. You can have loud music whenever you want! 
  5. You can shower whenever you want and take baths without feeling guilty for hogging the bathroom... which I am off to do now!