Friday, 29 January 2010

Make an Ickle Difference!

Just a quick one here!

You might have noticed the little 'Bloggers Unite for Haiti' badge on the right there. I just thought I'd bring your attention to a social networking group that I found that seems to try and do some good, rather than your average Facebook, Myspace, Bebo etc, it's called BloggersUnite. As the creators say on the site, it's an attempt to harness the power of the Blogosphere in order to spread awareness of certain issues around the globe. On a specific day of the year, bloggers get together and post about an issue, raising awareness, and possibly money, for good causes.

As I've grown up I've turned from a completely selfish little bitch-child into something approaching what I'd like to eventually end up as. No where near there yet, they say you spend your whole life growing up, I've got a way to go! But I've found myself with this desire to try and do some good. Some would use the cliché 'Make a Difference', others would call it 'Pissing in the Ocean', and therein lies the difference between those two types of people.

A little example, my sister Nicki decided she'd raise some money at work for the Haiti Earthquake Appeal. There were some people there loathe to actually just donate money, I guess January is a tough time of year, who knows what the reasons were, but Nicki persisted, using guerilla tactics known as the 'raffle' and the 'bake sale'.

She encouraged everyone to bring in unwanted christmas gifts and to bake something at home to bring in and sell. Between donations, raffle and bake sale, they managed to raise £266, which increased to £344 when Gift Aid was added. That's between 17 people...a few of which didn't seem to want to donate at all.

I know some people who would pooh pooh that, what's the point after all? What difference will it make? It makes all the difference, she had the determination to get of her backside and do something about what she saw happening on the other side of the world. In the grand scheme of things it's a drop in the ocean, but what is the ocean but a shitload of drops?

Actually, something I don't say often enough is how great my little sister is, she has a whole lot of love and she's not afraid to use it either. Proud of you Nicki :o)

Blogging for Haiti is still occuring over on BloggersUnite, so if you haven't already then sign up and blog away.

If you wanted to join another one I've set up my own event, 10:10 - Cut Carbon Emissions - Everyone's at it. Hundreds of individuals, companies and organisations have signed up to a mammoth task...trying to reduce Britains carbon emissions by 10% in the year 2010. It sounds impossible, but lets see what we can do if we all work together. Join in :o)

Check out the website HERE, and check out my blog on 15th March x

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Muffin Rage

First up, welcome to my new follower Lauren! Yes…I still have few enough followers to notice and yes, I’m still grateful that new people find my ramblings interesting enough to warrant subscribing to! Just you wait till I’m Diva Queen of the blogging, sup up the appreciation now people, sup it up :D

So....I’ve managed to drag my diseased arse into work today. I did a google search and found that viral laryngitis isn’t infectious, so…although I resemble a toddler with chicken pox and sound like a horny toad….if I feel well enough I can go into work without the fear of infecting everybody.

Whilst sitting mournfully at my computer, lamenting the fact that I wasn’t having tea made for me every few minutes, an email popped up from the Wiluf, entitled ‘coffee break’.

This could only be good news, coffee break alone is good news.


‘Coconut cupcakes with messy icing anybody?’

Ah, my day just got sunnier…unlike the weather outside that window over yonder. Unfortunately, he sent this email about an hour prior to coffee break, so I was left pining, Wilf is sadistic in this manner. These cupcakes qualify Wilfy for the Sugardoll (so masculine) award I gave him a month or so ago, well done Wilf, he doesn’t normally dabble in sweet baking.

Now, I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned Gregs violent ire towards home-baked goods. We first noticed it in relation to Bruces muffins.

Every now and again Bruce bakes some muffins at the weekend and brings what remains into work on a Monday (or Tuesday if he’s being particularly forgetful). They’re usually blueberry, although we’ve been treated to double chocolate chip muffins and pecan muffins in the past.

As soon as Greg spies the Tupperware box or telltale foil, the eyes start to roll, the upper lip curls and he begins making curious grunting sounds, it reminds me rather of an amorous elephant seal…..especially when he starts thrashing from side to side in his apopleptic rage.

Poor old Bruce on his lonesome, unaccompanied by Tupperware or tinfoil does not normally illicit such a response, it could only be the muffins. Was it muffins specifically? Muffin-oriented rage? We soon found out when Bruce branched out one weekend and brought in a gorgeous carrot cake he’d made.

Same response, and the same response again when Wilfred brought something or another in. It seems it’s not limited to sweet goods either, savoury is just as bad in Greg’s book, if it’s homemade, it’s vile.

One day we decided to ask him what he has against homemade goods, why the fight or flight response? The answer he gave was oh so telling.

‘I don’t know what you filthy bastards have put in them, you could have put anything in there!! Did you wash your hands? I bet you put pubes in it!! I bet you put your bell-end in it!’

(That last remark was directed at Wilf…I’m not hiding anything from you dear readers)

Anyone who knows even a modicum of psychology will recognise this for what it is. I don’t know the official term for it, but basically, he knows exactly what he’d do if be made something for us, and he’s accusing us of returning the favour.

The result being that we’re bringing in more and more homemade stuff purely to annoy him, and that we will NEVER EVER eat anything that Greg has made…..ever, especially if it was made in THAT saucepan…… know what I’m talking about Greg.

I’m not sure I understand the reasoning. He’s perfectly happy to chow down on all kinds of store bought goods, the making of which has been supervised by countless strangers…many of which are probably disenchanted with their jobs at the Heinz/Kipling/Birdseye factory and expressing it in….creative(?) ways. Yet he won’t touch treats lovingly crafted by hand from scratch by people who…for some reason…like him.

I hope he’s not eating anything being produced by Cadbury at the moment…totally against his ethos.

It’s his loss anywhoo as Wilfreds cupcakes were delicious! As I was nomming one, I found a surprise glace cherry lurking inside. Apparently the recipe had called for a glace cherry to be popped on top before the cupcakes went in the oven, but when Wilf pulled them out of the oven they had all sunk into the cakes. I think he should name them Coconut Cupcake Surprise!

There were quite a few…so I’m hoping for another helping this afternoon (I already had 2 this morning!!). I’ll be watching out for bell-end prints on my mug of tea though…..and people wonder why I drink my tea so scalding hot!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


I WISH I had found out about this myself, but I must confess that I heard about this last Wednesday from the compere at GLEE17, I can't resist writing about it though!

An atheist group in the US has set up a scheme called Eternal Earth-Bound Pets. For the meagre sum of $110, Christian pet owners can take out a policy to ensure that their pets will be adopted in the event that they (the owners) are raptured to heaven when Christ returns to earth. Extra pets cost $15 extra per animal.

Let me guess.......WTF??!! Allow me to explain.

Some Christian fundamentalists believe in the Rapture and in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The order of these happenings is contended somewhat, but here follows the basic sequence of events that are expected within the next few years, referred to as the 'end times'.

  • Christ will return to earth to the fanfare of heavenly trumpets and angelic chorus

  • True followers of Christianity will be 'raptured' to heaven and the Lord in order that they are protected from the proceeding events.

  • Tribulation will follow, God will pass judgement over all the unbelievers left on earth

  • Tribulation will culminate in the Battle Of Armageddon. Jesus Christ will return physically, leading heavenly armies which will then join all nations in attacking Israel.

  • Jesus and the Saints will then rule over the earth for 1000 years.

There's more, but I'll spare you.

You can see the niche that EEBP has exploited. I would assume that most fundamentalist Christians are firm in the belief that animals have no souls, and therefore their cherished pets will not be raptured with them to heaven, what will happen to them when they're gone?

Animal loving atheists are stepping in to help out. EEBP can assure its clientele that its operatives will be left behind on earth, they have all provided statements and documentation to the effect that they do not believe in a divine being and have blasphemed, thereby ensuring they will be denied entrance to heaven. Sorted!

I some states EEBP will even take in horses, camels, llamas and donkeys.

Well done these business-minded atheists....I wonder if anyone has set up the British branch yet?

Of course, some people will go to any lengths to try and fool Jesus

He'll never know........

Things You Take for Granted

#1 Your VOICE!!

A couple of weeks ago I was struck down (so dramatic) with a nasty throat infection. Today I was back at the doctors with a new complaint, I've had coldy/flu symptoms for the last few days and now I've completely lost my voice and have a nasty rash to boot.

Yes, I've done the tumbler test, no blood poisoning...phew!

Sitting in bed this morning, contemplating how I would go about organising the docs, it struck me that I was in a bit of a pickle.

I couldn't call them myself as I can't speak, and my phone is out of charge, so I couldn't text my sister to get her to call the Doc's for me. Eventually I had a brainwave and remembered that I can send webtexts from the T-mobile website, but up until then it was going to be a case of just rocking up at mum and dads house and writing notes at them to call the docs for me.

Which brings me onto the doctors.

I prepared before I left and presented the doctor with a note reading:

'I had a throat infection 2 weeks ago, doc gave me penicillin, 2 tabs a day 4 x a day for 10 days, it cleared up.

Cold/Flu Symptoms since Thursday.

Now I haz lost my voice completely and weird rash on my arms, chest and legs.

Am I going to live? I'm too young to die'

Doc had a sense of humour which is good, I think many of them have it beaten out of them pretty early on, examining old womens bunions all day etc.

She asked to see the rash on my legs, and in my sexy/infectious husky tones I warned her that I hadn't shaved in months and apologised in advance. I'm SINGLE man! I'll stay single if I don't start shaving more often too!! :D

Viral laryngitis FTW, the rash is associated with the virus...nom nom nom. I've never felt sexier..all virussed up!

Complete voice rest, the family love it. Especially when I forget and try to say something every now and again, it sounds like someone's trying to start up a rusty old chainsaw in the corner of the room.

So, today it's mostly Civ and Pirates of the Caribbean Marathon....*sigh*, tis a tough life to be sure.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Violet on the Hell Bus

I know I've mentioned the following blog before, but whether I've talked about it explicitly I have no idea, it definitely deserves a mention here though!!

As I've been sitting at home all weekend on my deathbed (yes...I know most people lie on their deathbeds, but I'm hardcore) I've been using the time to (belatedly) start going through some plans for my trip. One blog I keep finding myself referring back to again and again is 'Madness and Beauty', an absolutely fantastic travelblog by Violet Dear, a Vancouverite who has really only just come back from epic travels around Asia and the Pacific.

One of the things I've been humming and hawwing about is whether to travel from Laos to Hanoi by bus or by plane. A plane journey will cost between £110 and £170 which is a LOT of money in backpackers speak, that's £140 I could be spending on Lao Beer or Kampot crab. So I went back to a post I remembered seeing on Violets blog about the 'Hell Bus' she took from Pakse in Laos to Hue in Vietnam.

Her choice of name for the bus ride says it all really. If you have time then please read the post, it's long, but it's so worth it. At the very least scroll through to the picture of the little goat tethered precariously to the top of the bus...I can't wait to visit this country. If you don't have time to read the whole thing, it basically involves:
  • A Violet Dear with PMT
  • The booking of a relatively comfortable VIP bus which then turns out to be a local tin-can bus loaded to the rafters with bags of rice, clay pots and Red Bull, plus goat.
  • A 15 hour journey next to a lady with a bag of rotten snakes
  • The popping of unprescribed valium in order to deal with the shambles...useful to know you can get your hands on that!
  • Eventual dropping off in a random location in Vietnam....SOMEWHERE close to Hue...apparently.

It's awful, but I grinned all the way through the post, particularly at Violets description of her rant down the phone at the agent who sold them the tickets for the VIP tin can. I'm just glad that I can learn from experiences like these from the warmth and comfort of my own sofa. After a couple of exchanges back and forth...I think I'll take the plane, her memories of the journey haven't mellowed with time and taken on a comedic rose-tinted hue...nope.

'TAKE A PLANE!' are her precise words...who am I to argue!!??

Seriously, check out this blog, first and foremost she is an incredible writer and photographer, and she's bloody funny.

Secondly, it's a fantastic source of information for anyone planning to travel SE Asia, India, Oz, Fiji etc. Her posts are great and she also has lot's of links to genuinely useful travel sites.

I think my head is about to pop off so I'm off to consult google on where I should drill a hole in my skull to relieve the pressure.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Weekends In

Well, I've had to cancel all my plans this weekend because of a throat infection that's threatening to take over!!

What was going to be a hard weekends partying has turned into something of a sofa/food fest. I don't want to think about the sheer quantity of bread I've consumed today.

Last night I was almost convinced that the throat infection had made a comeback. I'd felt dodgy at work, but was going out with Oggers to a play that her mate was in, so I figured, couple of pints of medicinal Guinness (don't laugh) won't do any harm.

By the end of the evening my throat was on fire and all I wanted to do was sleep, this was 10pm.

By the by, the theatre was very good. I didn't know what to think given that it was fringe theatre, and youth fringe theatre at that. The actors were all much better than I expected, although I'm not sure what I expected, and Rachel was excellent in her roles, especially Esme the goth.

Anywhoo, I wrapped myself up last night, took 3 paracetamol (gasp) and dove into bed. When I woke up this morning I was incredibly grateful to find that my glands hadn't swollen up to give me something of the grumpy hamster look. Still, I'm playing it smart and not leaving the house unless I have to hunt (shop) for food.

Despite my self-imposed house arrest, I don't feel like a slovenly moo who's done nothing but eat all day. I had to finish cleaning my room for a viewing earlier today. I took some pics that I have to work into a post of some sort for you, it'll be the only time anyone ever sees it that tidy!! I have to show the world the proof! I've also done a little mindmap of SE Asia finances for my trip.

AND!!! I've finally completed Day 4 of the Barcelona Diaries over on Fly Away With Me. What a treat!

I know this post hasn't been much of a treat, but forgive me, I'm ill and brain haz a not working properly.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Walk Walk, Fashion Baby

I was a-browsing through the BBC news website yesterday and a little headline caught my eye:

Being a fan of Little Britain, and the strangely sexy (yes!! That's what I think) David Walliams, I clickerised the linky to read the story. It was a very short piece, basically just a press release, but it led me to search for some images of the lady who would steal one of my future potential husbands (I have quite a list).

Normally I'm not a celebrity gossip junkie at all, though you can at times find me flicking through my sisters old Heat magazines for the Circle of Shame's so reassuring to know that celebs suffer the same wardrobe/body malfunctions as I do...bless them.

The same goes for fashion. Anyone who has followed this blog for a while will be fully and painfully aware that I am not a follower of fashion, I barely know what the word means. My sister is much more up on it than I am, but even she follows it in her own way, not becoming a victim, but picking and choosing so that she always looks trendy/elegant.


Of models I know none, except the obvious, Lilly Cole, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, the lovely Kate Moss who has given Croydon such a wonderful name (yes...all Kate Moss's fault, not the Home Offices at all). I know not much of them, and know and care even less for fashion, but I tell you what....if I did, THIS is the stuff I'd be advocating! Check out David Walliams fiancé Lara Stone, I believe all of these were shoots for French Vogue barring one for Louis Vuitton:

I find myself simultaneously attracted and repulsed by these images, like my psyche is saying 'I LIKE them!! But I shouldn't'. They're like a challenge, can you appreciate something for the artistic content regardless of the fact that the literal content is something you'd likely not approve of in reality? Violence, violent sex...even murder?

This next set of images really caused an uproar in some quarters:

I don't believe that French Vogue ever apologised or explained why they decided to have Lara 'blacked up' rather than using a black model, but there must be some reasoning behind it. Some people seem to think that Vogue were trying to fool readers into thinking she was actually black, but given their reputation for intentionally provoking controversy and outrage, I very much doubt it.

My personal opinion is that images like these are designed to do the very thing they achieve, open up arguments and get people talking about these sensitive issues. There are doubtless other artistic messages behind them, but I believe that one of the points of art is that everyone interprets it in their own individual way.

I almost left the next one out because it made me quite uneasy...then I realised that's what I'm talking about, so how stupid would that have been?

It just goes to show that everyone reads what they like into things. I think this looks like a woman who has just been attacked and left for dead, I don't like it very much I must say. Yet, when I search the web for information about it, nothing except excitement/upset that Lara has replaced Madonna as the face of Louis Vuitton. Ho Hum.

This next one is my absolute favourite:

French Vogue again, Lara did a shoot dressed as a rather overtly sexy nun. I can imagine which subsection of society was outraged at this one, especially given that an estimated 83-90% of the French population are Catholic. The item was entitled 'La Tentation du Diamant', The Temptation of Diamonds, and is depicting the struggle of a nun trying to choose between a life of spirituality and the temptation of wealth and the flesh.

This is what art/fashion/fashion/art should be about. Making us challenge ourselves and our views of the world, stirring up controversy and making people talk about things, putting issues out there.

I think I actually quite like Lara Stone, and might even try and pick up a French Vogue every now and again.

I bet David spends hours leafing through her portfolio.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

I Haz Projekt Qualifikatiunz


Finally the news I've been waiting for...I passed my project management Practitioners Exam.

The news didn't come in quite the way I expected, I've been waiting for a (fat/thin/brown/white/large/small?) ominous looking envelope to fall through the letterbox, or to be staring across the room at me in a malevolent manner as I walked through the front door of an evening.

It came today, unexpected, without the fanfare of one hundred trumpets, not even a toot from a battered old pennywhistle, in the form of an email.

I didn't even have the chance to sit and procrastinate over whether or not to open it, pick my nose in wild anticipation (oh yes...I'm wild), the little '(P)' in the subject title told me all I needed to know.

....I'd like to note that this is assumption, I don't really know what '(P)' means, what I DO know is that, given my immediate conclusion, I'd have been REALLY pissed off if I'd opened the email to find I'd failed!....

That's all by the by, apparently Firebrand were delighted to inform me that I had passed my Prince 2 Practitioners exam, well done me and good luck in all my future projects. I'd stopped reading by this point, as the feeling of relief swept over me. Thank heavens I wouldn't have to go through that again!

Not too much later in the day, I noted that someone from Maginus Solutions had been checking out my blog, this name a-rang a bell and I realised it was the lovely Julian from my course. Obviously everyone had been sent the email at the same time, and so I set about contacting him, to which he responded that he'd gotten so worried about whether he'd passed that he'd been scouring my blog for news of whether I'd recieved my results or not.

It's a relief to know I wasn't the only one starting to get slightly tetchy.

It's also a relief to know that I wasn't a big fat fraud standing up in front of the Team Leaders to give a presentation on Prince2 methodology.

I Haz a Kredibility

I'll be back soon with something more amusing when I get a life and do something fun :D

Sunday, 17 January 2010

It's a Plague!!

Regular readers may recall that in my post-award euphoria a week or so ago, I promised to do some baking, in order that I feel worthy of the aforementioned award.

Ms Humble is a cookery blogger, and does these awesome science-themed cookies, so I thought I'd follow that theme. I run student practicals every year in which we play with for me, locusts sprang immediately to mind....after the shennanigans of today I really do wish they hadn't.

But I promised them, and here they are!

It's a plague!! A PLAGUE I tell thee!

Well, does six constitute a plague? It does when they're in your kitchen, I guess it depends on how much you like locusts.

Let me give you a little blow by blow account, and the recipe incase anyone should desire it.

Ok, so, first you make the dough (no pictures of this exciting bit I'm afraid). This is actually a weight watchers recipe, though I fail to see how considering how much butter and sugar goes in. In fact, they seem to have taken just about the lowest fat ingredient barring flour (eggs) and replaced them with semolina.

Well done weight watchers.

Here's the recipe:

225 g butter
125 g caster sugar
275 g flour, plain
50 g dried semolina, or ground rice
50 g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F.

Beat the butter until softened and gradually beat in the caster sugar. Add the flour and semolina, working it in with a wooden spoon. Gather the dough together with your hands, then knead for a few moments until smooth.

Roll out the dough thinly on a lightly floured surface.

Cut out shapes

Arrange on baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Mix the icing sugar with a little water to make a smooth glace icing, then use this to decorate the biscuits.

Now, the 'Cut out shapes' instruction is deceptively simple!! Normally one would use a cutter of some description...but funnily enough, try as I might, I couldn't find a locust-shaped cookie cutter. So I made my own template by tracing a picture off of google images!

When it comes to icing, I knew I needed more than the recipe says, so I used 250g of icing sugar and about 50ml of water, give or take (ish...please don't follow that to the letter, Ms Humble has a good guide on her blog). Then I split it and made some brown (by mixing equal amounts of red, yellow and green food colouring) and yellow icing.

So....after locusts had baked, I let them cool on wire racks, before I set about icing the outlines in brown. It took me a while to get into the flow, and I'm SURE that the icing was gloopier(scientific term) than it should have been, but hey! You can see what they're supposed to be right?


Then, once that icing had hardened (or not, I'm impatient and wanted a sit-down), I started filling in with yellow.

My back soon started screeching at me, and so I opted to finish at 6.

So here you have plague of 6. It's the first baking I've done in years, and I quite enjoyed it.

Now, please excuse me whilst I go and wash off these crusty bits of dough I keep finding all over my face!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Numbers Don't say Enough




Bodies collected

100,000 - 200,000

Suspected dead

2 million

Children affected

They're striking statistics, but they don't tell you anything about the shock and fear as the earthquake struck Port au Prince on Tuesday 12th January. They don't describe the ongoing situation with more bodies being turned up every day, people sleeping on the streets or in tents. People too afraid to leave incase their loved ones turn up.


Weeks until the wet season begins

Amongst the rest, this might seem like an unimportant fact. As soon as the wet season begins, the diseases endemic to the area, which have already been exacerbated by this disaster, have the capacity to spread out of control. Survivors, particularly the children, will have to run the gauntlet of malaria, hepatitis A and E, pneumonia, typhoid fever, japanese encephalitis..the list goes on. Bodies are being piled into mass graves or onto bonfires partly to try and cushion the almost unavoidable impact these diseases will have, particularly towards the epicentre which is proving hard to reach.


Aid pledged so far


UN Troops and police


US Troops


Tonnes of relief supplies


Lorry loads of bottled water from the Dominican Republic


UN food distribution points


International rescue teams

But these numbers don't reflect the logistical nightmare that the aid effort is facing in Haiti. Haiti is the 4th poorest nation in the world, and as such, 80% or the population of Port-au-Prince lives in poorly constructed shanty towns. Even in the city, none of the buildings were constructed to withstand an is illustrated by the destruction of the Presidential palace, and the UN Headquarters.

Roads are blocked, the port is badly damaged, and the airport is struggling to cope with the influx of international traffic, some aircraft filled with aid staff and supplies have already been turned away.

Getting aid to the country is a relatively easy job, but distributing it to the people who actually need it, despite every effort being made, is happening more slowly than we would like.


Prisoners unaccounted for


Arrests made


US troops earmarked for saving lives that might have to be seconded for security

As if death, injury, disease and malnutrition weren't enough, the survivors of the disaster are now suffering at the hands of armed gangs who are trying to loot those houses that remain standing, stealing money and property.

So those are just some of the numbers, that's the situation somewhat condensed down into little digestible factoids, but all you have to do is read the papers, surf the internet or watch the television to realise that this doesn't go even part way towards describing what those people are going through, and what their families here and across the world must be feeling.

One final number:


Text 'GIVE' to this number to donate £5 to the Haiti Earthquake appeal.

£5 plus normal SMS charge will be added to your bill

Thanks, and my heart goes out to everyone affected and involved.

Information care of BBC News

British Red Cross

Medecins Sans Frontieres

Friday, 15 January 2010

Crunchy or Smooth?

I've had two suggestions for what to put in the humane mousetrap.

Peanut butter and Nutella.

I can understand both, I think peanut butter has that irresistable aroma, and also, it might be stinky enough to cover up the unmistakable scent of HUMAN on the trap.

And Nutella, well, if Grant fills the trap with Nutella I think I'll have a hard time keeping away from it, let alone Mr Mouse. If Grant gets Nutella it gives me an excuse to sit with a spoon and consume the rest of the jar..

'Yes Grant, I've had a REALLY bad day today, I need this nutella, I need it'


'I'm on my period!! You'd BETTER leave me alone!!'

Even better :)

I told Grant I'd pick up some neenut butter on the way home, but when I got to the Co-Op they only had Sunpat and it cost like £2.80-something for a jar.

I'm buggered if I'm spending more than £2 on a jar of peanut butter for a mouse that we haven't seen in over a week!

Besides, I don't know if he prefers crunchy or smooth.

Thursday, 14 January 2010


Have I mentioned that we have a mouse?

Well....I think we still do, no one has seen him for roughly a week now, which, you may be surprised to hear....doesn't please my landlord Grant at all.

The reason it doesn't please him is because this suggests that Ralph (that's his name) has a hole that he's getting in and out of. We had been trying to convince ourselves that he'd just snuck in one day when we left the front door open a bit too long.

Ralph made his first appearance on the first REALLY cold night we had, when it started to snow. I looked up when I saw something move around in the kitchen out of the corner of my eye, and there he was, sniffing around the compost bin. He is quite cute actually, as mice go, VERY tiny!

Grant and I discussed whether we should leave a saucer of milk and some biscuits out for him, we decided against it on the basis that mice are PESTS!! and that we're clearly both idiots.

Being humane, we decided that a humane trap was the way to go, with my housemate Katrin protesting that only the killing ones will do, they're too clever for the humane ones....but you have to try....right?

We weren't, however, adverse to bringing one of the neighbouring whiskered killing machines round to have a sniff. After all, that's just nature right? And we'd convinced ourselves that we'd just rescue poor Ralph after he'd been 'stunned' by the kitty.

Stunned, yes, that's correct. Then we'd put him in a warm little bed, tuck him up, and feed him warm milk from a marigold glove with a hole in the end till he was nice and fat, and then let him frolick off in the snow.......

.......where he'd go and tell all his mates how stupid we are and return with an army of comrades to take over the house with their massive mouse brains.

Needless to say...the humane trap hasn't worked, and we've seen him again since it was put there. Grant put chocolate in the trap (we've been reliably informed this works best), and it STILL didn't work!!! Even Grant's little chocolate trail leading to the gaping maw of the plastic house that smells like human....didn't work. Maybe it's because he's called Ralph....not Hansel.

I HAVE tried the kitty approach. There's no point bringing Dizzy from next door in. If you remember Mornington from an earlier post, well, Mornington is a slender supermodel compared to fat Dizzy. Dizzy is also old and lazy! Plus, she's far too talkative, Ralph would hear her coming a mile off, as if the monstrous thudding wasn't giveaway enough.

FELIX is the one we need, young, lithe, a hunter, a mouse killing machine, well oiled, sexeh!! Apparently only in the cartoons, Felix promptly curled up under the radiator.

Killing machine my ARSE! Useless animals! Mornington or Lucy would have 'ad Mr. R. Mouse in seconds!

So.....we're conscious that Ralph should be apprehended before he decides to move in with his army/ an inhumane killing machine may be in order :(

If it works, we'll hold a small rodent funeral in the garden, it won't be the first time in my life, but that's a story for another day.

Please....please do feel free to post your thoughts and best wishes regarding Mr Mouse, I shall read them out at his burial. You could also post any foolproof humane mouse-trapping techniques if you'd like to avoid the funeral scenario altogether, I have some quiet weekends coming up now I'm zooless...I'll need something to keep me busy.

Just don't ask me to dress up as a lady-mouse, I know it's been a while, but I'm not that desperate yet!

When Will it be Over!!??

Can't read my, can't read my......yoo can't read my poooker face!!!


Argh, I think I've gone a little bit mental over the past few days, it all started with that 'orrible presentation and it's gone downhill from there, it hasn't stopped!

Plus I've been carrying that silly Prince2 textbook everywhere with me incase someone tries to 'consult' me......oh to be qualified AND experienced!

It would be REALLY lovely to know if I am in fact qualified. Twice this week I've walked in and spied an ominous-looking envelope on the table, but nay. One yesterday appeared to be from my ISA provider, telling me that someone was taking over the company and that as a shareholder I have the right to my say, and to attend the meeting. The meeting that's taking place in about 4 days time, at 12:10pm.

If they REALLY wanted you to attend this meeting, they'd make it 3pm on a Saturday. I think for fun....ALL the shareholders should turn doubt to a meeting room that can hold roughly 11.5 people.


Here's looking forward to Friday and a chilled weekend!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Never post in haste people!! This is what happens when people don't do their homework.

I've had quite a few responses to my post yesterday regarding the campaign to turn Chagos into a no-take marine reserve, I'd like to copy one out in full below:

"In answer to your question about whether or not to be ashamed about British colonialism, I'm afraid that it really is no laughing matter. The Chagos archipelago used to be home to over 1,000 indigenous people - the Chagossians - until they were illegally (and inhumanely) expelled from the islands in the 1960s and 1970s. They have been campaigning for the right to return ever since.

The Chagossians are committed to the conservation of the Chagos environment but, if a limited resettlement has any hope of succeeding, then the complete no-take fishing ban (which calls for) would be disastrous to their cause.

Leading conservationists like Dr David Bellamy have made it clear that environmental protection *can* go hand-in-hand with the Chagossians' right of resettlement. All that's required is the political will. So it's really, REALLY important that their cause is not forgotten - by politicians or the general public.

I'm not saying that the plan to protect Chagos is a bad thing; just that it should not come at the cost of harming the Chagossians.

If you wish to respond to the FCO's consultation, you can do so via the details posted on the UK Chagos Support Association blog. I'd really encourage you to remember the Chagossians when you do so.


And from 'ThatIsTheWhy':

"Wow. This is awful - how to make the correct choice and what cause to support? Since sparing a mere thought for the Chagossians may not be enough for appropriate action to be taken for them. But on the other hand it is so important that we protect our rare, unspoilt lands as there are not many left!"

Which says it all for me really

The history of British colonialism...or any colonialism in fact, has always triggered an unease within me. This just goes to show how little awareness there is of this situation, yet more indigenous people thrown out of their countries...within our lifetimes, and this is the first I've heard of it, I don't know about anyone else.

In light of the responses I've recieved I'd like to post up the following:

This is the full document if you'd like to browse through it, but the crux is this. If you would like to make your opinions on this issue heard, send an email to the FCO at this address:

And as Peter says, if and when you do, please bear in mind the Chagossians

Thanks everyone for your interest and for stopping by :)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Largest Coral Atoll in the world is British

No sillies, don't go looking for it on the coastline anywhere around Bognor, you'll be well and truely disappointed!!

Way out in the Indian Ocean there's a UK territory (not sure whether to be proud or ashamed that there's still some good ole British empiricism kicking about) called Chagos, and ZSL (who most of you will know I was volunteer with until very recently) is central to the current campaign to turn it into a protected marine reserve.

Chagos is one of the worlds most pristine coral reefs, and with global warming these are becoming few and far between. The discussion about the effect of global warming on coral reefs worldwide is a major part of the fight to lower carbon emissions. The marine reserve would encompass 544,000 sq km, an area larger than the great barrier reef.

The problem is that we have only until 12th February (the end of the official consultation period) to convince the UK Government that Chagos should become a protected no-take marine reserve. Not many people have heard of Chagos, or the campaign, so there's the risk that the application will be rejected due to simple lack of response.

So ladies and gents, if you can spare the time, please do me a favour and visit and support the campaign, ZSL need all the help they can get!!

If you'd like more info on the devastating effect that global warming and coral harvesting (for commercial purposes) are having on the reefs then all you really have to do is google it! But here are a couple of useful links :)

Monday, 11 January 2010

That Is The Why

No...I haven't come up with an unusually creative blog post title for once......when I started my blog it was all a bit accidental, I was trying to follow my friend and wound up signing up for my own. The though process was absent (not unusual in itself) and I found myself typing the only thing on my mind at the time.

Well done me and my vast, all encompassing intellect.

But enough about me! What I am in fact referring to, is the blog title of a brand new blogger, Donna Jamie Pang. I know Jamie from school and when I read in her status she had started blogging I was straight in there having a nose around.

Starting up a new blog and staring into that spacious vacuum is all a little bit daunting and I think encouragement is required! Though she doesn't seem to need any.

Judging by the first post this blog is going to be a very well written barrell of laughs, please visit ladies and gents, and enjoy :)

.....and Breathe

Boy am I glad that's over and done with!

I got there a few minutes early so that Bruce and I could set up the computer and make sure everything was going to work ok, sure enough it worked fine....DAMN!!

Then people started to arrive, one, two, three......fifteen...sixteen?


I was introduced and got up to start my speil, I was a bit shakey and nervous, but then the nerves REALLY hit about 30 seconds in.

There was a little bit of stuttering and 'Ummmmmmm'ing as I stared at the ceiling watching an internal movie that showed me breaking and bolting for the door. I could feel myself shaking, it was horrible.

But then I forced myself to settle down and concentrate, and once I was in my flow it seemed to go ok.

I'm not sure that I got across all the points that Laura really wanted me to get across in quite the way I was supposed to, but for my first attempt at an actual presentation of anything since my dissertation in 2005 I think I did ok.

I've already been asked to check over the plans for an upcoming project etc etc...I think I'd better get cramming that Prince2 textbook again. It'll be good to get my teeth into something though, this is definitely knowledge that needs to be used, or you'll lose it quicksmart!

*Massive sigh of relief*

Now....onto all those millions of other jobs that have been piling up that I haven't been able to think about!

Sunday, 10 January 2010


No, it's not spiders (though I don't like those either), it's not snakes, it's not ghosts or heights or.....buttons.

It's back, the fear of public speaking.

I have a presentation to give tomorrow. Though I must admit, I'm not (at this point) as worried as I was last time. However...there's every chance that at 10:30am tomorrow I will be kacking in my knickers, wondering why I didn't call in sick.

The presentation is on Prince2 project management, the course that I bored you all to death with for a week about a month ago, ten minutes. I think I'm about as prepared as I'm going to be. I've practiced twice on Jo, who said that it had improved markedly between the first and second inflictions, and once on Grant, who said it all made sense and then faffed around with one of my powerpoint slides before screaming 'Close it, close it!! Don't save it!!'

My darling sister Nicki produced the powerpoint for me, and very nicely she did too. It would have been functional, but horrendous had I done it myself.

*Mental note to attend powerpoint course*

So, I have my powerpoint, my notes, and my mindmap:

Good old trusty mindmap, when I find myself floundering, it'll be there for me.

Wish me luck ladies and gents, I may need it!

Updates to come :)

Saturday, 9 January 2010


A wee pre-amble....I just caught sight of the time on the bottom corner of my window and saw it was 10:45am. I almost leapt up and ran into the kitchen. This is tea time at work, it took me a couple of seconds to realise that I am in fact at home on the sofa, and I already have the biggest cup of tea in the world staring me in the face.

Just give me a moment whilst I put my world back to rights.

In my defence I'm quite ill, the cute Doctor yesterday has put me on 2 x tablets, 4 x a day, for ten days. I'm not sure quite how infected he thinks I am...but I'm sure there's an insult in there somewhere.

So if this is a bit haphazard, blame the burning fever!

Back to the point of the dare you distract me.

I'm a little bit excited because I've been given my first Blog Award by fellow blogger Ms Humble over at Not So Humble Pie. Please do feast your eyes upon the Fabulous Sugar Doll Blog Award:

*Tiny scream*

I wonder if Ms Humble is regretting this yet? Haw haw.

Ok, so, before I pass this award onto more excellent bloggers, I have to share ten things about myself, for your information and amusement:

1) Despite being one of the most gabby so-and-so's you ever would meet, I have an intense fear of public speaking. In fact, at this very moment I should be perfecting a presentation I have to give on Monday morning......ho hum

2) I once got a guinea pig stuck in a slinky, head sticking out one end, bum out of the other. My dad had to cut it off with wire cutters.

3) In 2005 I spent a month on a Vervet Monkey Sanctuary in South Africa, I was mummy to 11 baby orphans.

4) On 4th April this year I shall be jetting off to Bangkok to start a 3 month adventure around South East Asia, finishing up with a week in Sydney, Oz.

5) I'm a volunteererererer. I volunteered at London Zoo for 4 years and I'm still a member of St John Ambulance. I suspect it's an underlying uniform fetish.

6) I feel a strong sense of responsibility to start cooking more now that I've recieved this little award. I shall bake some locust cookies sometime over the next few weeks and post the disasterous results, purely for your entertainment. (They'll look like locusts, I hope....if they end up tasting like locusts I'll accept no direct responsibility).

7) My bessie mate is a stand-up comedian on the open-mike circuit. This means I get to go and watch a lot of comedy, whilst drinking a lot of lager. This plays havoc with my intention of losing weight before I go travelling....especially when we call Dominos upon arriving back home...

8) I work at a university and every morning I have a cup of Earl Grey from the student Café across the way from my office. I get VERY twitchy if I don't get my Earl Grey.

9) Once upon a time, for a little while, I was an Ann Summers party lady. Those of you who don't know what that is.....don't judge me when you google it. Ladies only, ladies only!

10) I've lived in 4 different places over the past 3ish years, every time I move I tell myself I'll chuck out a load of stuff for the next round.....I never do. I think my dad is ready to throw all my university textbooks out of the window, he has the pleasure of helping me every time I move.

Now to pass on the award. Everyone that I have chosen deserve the label 'fabulous' for one reason or another, and I know they can cook...hence.....

Seeing as this is a food (SUGAR!) related award, to keep the spirit of the Sugar Doll Blog Award alive, I challenge each of you to bake something yummy sometime over the next few weeks if/when you have time, and post the results :) If you don't have the time....just buy something from Marks and Spencers and eat it! We need to keep our strength up in this cold weather.

Violet Dear @

Wiluf @

Maureen @

Michelle @

Oggers @

Wendy @

accidentally, Kle @

Natalie @

Erm......Jo and Wilf, I'll be wanting to try your creations...and don't think you'll get away not trying my locusts :D


Thursday, 7 January 2010

If Looks Could Kill.....

......then this one is designed to kill slowly and painfully.

This is Vicky's cat Lillie, this is her angry face, she has two faces, angry and happy. Unfortunately, when she's happy she moves around too fast and I can't get a decent picture. So below is the closest I got to it:

She always looks like she's got a bit of a grump on, but you can see a definite difference right? That's the difference between 'I'm hungry' and 'Mmmm, full belleh'. When she's happy she chirrups at you when you call her name, it's exceptionally cute! Although you can't really tell in these pictures, she is a tiny little diminuitive kittie.

This next one here is Vicky's pride and joy, Mister Neelix.

Such a poser! Neelix is possibly one of the most malleable cats in the world, you can get away with squishing him into any weird position you like. Try doing that with the little monster giving you stinkeye (thanks #167 Dad) in the first you WANT to lose an eyeball? Cos you will!

Mister Neelix once went missing for 17 days during Autumn/Winter. Being a purebreed he has severe food allergies, and going missing for 17 days is bad enough without having that issue on top. I think most people had given up by the time Vicky put an ad in the Croydon Advertiser....but lo and behold it worked, and someone called her up a few days later. He's a miracle puss.

Mister Neelix hovering for warmth over the radiator.

You may have noticed the gorgeous curly coats this pair have. Part of the reason Vicky got these guys is because they don't shed, and the person she was living with had bad cat allergies.

Mister Neelix is a Cornish Rex, and Lillie is a Devon Rex. Cats normally have 2 types of fur, the undercoat which is to keep them warm and is all downy and soft, and the upper coat which is more waterproof and more tough and wiry.

Mister, the Cornish Rex, has only the undercoat, which means that his fur is gorgeously soft and downy, Lillie has only the upper coat and so her fur is quite rough. The curly coat is characteristic of both their breeds.

They're quite closely related to Siamese cats, hence the big bat ears and slanty eyes. Steve (who lived with Vicky before I moved in), said that Mister Neelix was the devil who had been sent to kill him. I can't say I blamed him after he told me this gem of a story:

( I'm on MSN with him right this second and asked him to reiterate the story so I have it in his own words. His response was 'VICIOUS EVIL BASTARD!!!!!!!')

"Right so i'm there in bed having nice dreams that didnt involve cats.

I subconciously hear a click and open my tired little eyes, I notice my bedroom door is slightly ajar and raise my head.

The door swings open to reveal a terrifying beast.

Neelix is stood there on his hind legs with his front paws held aloft in a deadly looking ninja stance, CRAZED LOOK IN HIS EYES!



Luckily I am trained in multiple unarmed combat techniques and I dove across the floor commando stylee.

Before he had the chance to pounce I slammed the door in his little mush and latched it behind me.

He clawed the door but luckily it was made with high grade ply wood, he issued a mournful cry and walked back to his lair.

I lived to fight another day."

Ok, ok, so, maybe I shouldn't ask men to tell stories, I think that part of that may have been slightly embellished, in order to make The Steve look like Steven Segal or Jean Claude Van Damme....or someone cooler......Spiderman?

A quick story of my own...I once left a pair of shoes at Vicky's house after a night out, a nice pair of diamante/black satin latin dance shoes (although they were already shagged out by that point). When I next saw Vicky, she gave them to me in a plastic bag with an apologetic look on her face.

" I found one of them in the cat litter box when I cleaned it out"

Mister Neelix clearly has excellent taste in latin dance shoes and had decided to drag one into the litter box to keep him company whilst he went about his business. Much like one year Vicky heard some strange noises coming from the other room, and found Neelix trying to pull a christmas ham through the cat flap. Who knows where that came from? He's also a bin raider.....allergies? What allergies? I don't care if all my hair falls out!

Ahhhh, cats, you gotta love them....especially these two!

My Lovely View at Work


It must be someone from the Slade School of Art...look at the detail

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Sproglets Festive Season - Summed Up!

Let it never be said that I am original and unpredictable!

Yes, after a day of rolling my eyes at the gasps of 'snow!' on Facebook, and the endless parade of pictures scrolling across the BBC news website...I have posted my own snow pictures.

Let's face it, we love snow in Britain, only, we love a reason to complain even more. Even in the summer, when the sun finally comes out, we love it for all of 5 minutes before we're all complaining how warm it is. Let's get used to it people, with the way global warming is going, we'll either be baked or frozen to death.

Either that or languishing somewhere under 50 metres of water, with nary the time to evolve gills....darn.

So, back at work after the Christmas holiday. I don't think I've ever had a holiday that seemed to go so fast! Here are some little snapshot of Sprogs Season:

The Sproglet family tend to go a bit nutso with presents at Christmas, and this year we toned it down!! Here is the family beaming with excitement at all the lovely gifts they recieved....and some tat too.

Daddy Sproglet

Mini Sprogs

Mummy Sproglet

Nicki will be exceptionally happy that I chose this little gem

How many hats can one person wear??
These pictures typify a Sproglet family Christmas meal. And look how we dress up all speshil.

Ok, ok, I confess, these pictures were actually taken last Sunday. It was decided that we 'needed' another Christmas meal in order to use up the excess Christmas crackers (some of which I believe may have been sitting around for roughly 3 years) and...ahem....Bucks Fizz.

Basically we needed an excuse to sit around, eat ourselves stupid, get a bit drunk and make lots of racket whilst wearing silly paper hats.

Bucks Fizz is a staple at Sproglet Christmas. Even mum has some (albeit roughly 2cm at the bottom of the glass topped up with lemonade), mother NEVER we all know who to blame MY drinking habits on don't we now....daddy Sproglet!!

So, Christmas over and done with, there were a few days grace. My last day at the zoo, complete with a compliment of 8 volunteers, including my good self. 4 of us hardcore vols went out for some drinkies afterwards, thankfully no pictures were taken!

It was soon time for Vicky's birthday. I went round to hers and took some pictures of her two kitties, Mister Neelix and Lillie. No pictures appear here because those little diamonds deserve a blog post to themselves once I get around to it.

We went out to Annas Thai Restaurant. Vicky and I make sure that we visit at least twice a year. For so many reasons it's one of my favourite places to eat EVER! I mean, even if there were nothing else excellent about the place, check this little beastie out:

The chef hand-carves little birdies out of carrots, and little roses out of carrots and radishes.

This you see here is a sharer starter platter, you have chicken satay, fishcakes, prawn sesame toast, spring rolls, some kind of deep fried fish, and a meaty thing (get me with the Thai lingo). It's delicious beyond words.

For mains I had fish (I believe it was salmon, though they didn't specify) fried in seasoned flour and topped with thai green curry sauce....and a carroty bird. It was delicious.

The food is amazing, but I'm also always amazed by the service in the place. I think I've only seen it packed out once, it always seems to be quite quiet, so this may explain it partially. This time round, our table of ten seemed to have our own personal waiter. Whilst we ate he just sat patiently (but not pressurisingly...word?) at a table behind us.

I was extra impressed this time because he took a cake someone had bought Vicky out the back and came out after the mains with it and loads of little candles, we all sang happy birthday and then he gave her a little gift of packaged wooden chopsticks in a woven case and a little elephant charm on them.

Gawd, I'll stop gushing...I love Annas! That was a lovely evening.
New Years came, I didn't take any pictures!! FOR SHAME!! Oggers provided a lovely 3 course meal at her house pre-drinkies. Red onion, beef tomato and mozzarella salad for starters, pasta filled with veg with roasted veg sauce on tops for mains, and chocolate cheesecake with double cream for dessert.......nom!!

Her comedy matey Rachel came to meet us and we headed off for a few bevvies at the local Rose and Crown where they had a swing night on.

We had a bit of trouble getting into the drinking after all the foods, but by the end of the night we'd had enough for a little bit of a boogie-woogie.

There was a little bit of drinks trickery at the end...but I shan't go into it for fear of getting them in to say it was a good evening....and CHIPS on the way home...always a good way to round it off.

And a few days to recover before back to work....where it's been dead because people still remember how they got away with the 'snowed in' excuse of Feb last year :D

On that note, I'll leave you with another picture of the gorgeous snowy garden in the Stow

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The New Year Cloud-Buster

I have a mate who has the New Year blues at the moment. So I thought I'd do a post with all her favourite things together and see if I can raise a smile

Rubi and Gabriel with mum Abi

And, the pièce de résistance....

Can anyone see? Is she smiling yet?......

More Guinness maybe!