My Annoying Traits

After my previous post about Pedro’s annoying traits, I decided to invite the difficult conversation about what my annoying traits are. ‘Oh no, I’m not falling for that’ said Pedro. Honestly, it’s like he thinks I’m trying to trap him or something…

So here is a list of my most annoying traits according to Pedro. I definitely WASN’T cuddling him at the time to try and influence his answers…

Having to Watch my Tablet at Night to go to Sleep
I can’t seem to fall asleep without watching something on my tablet. It is so tricky to find something suitable though! It has to be interesting enough for me to want to watch it, but not so interesting that it keeps me awake. A delicate balance! An example of an ideal programme is New Tricks. Sufficiently dull to help me sleep but entertaining enough to make me want to watch it. This annoys Pedro no end. He is one of those lucky types who can drift straight off. The light from my tablet I’m sure irritates him no end! He is a lucky lucky man.

Constantly Checking my Phone
I am addicted to my phone and social media. I have to check it several times an hour – maybe a million times a day (to the nearest million). I am so social on social media (social/nosy) that it makes me anti-social when with Pedro, a real life person more than worthy of my full attention. He must get annoyed!

Asking the Waiter/Waitress for Recommendations
Whenever I go out for a meal somewhere new (or indeed somewhere old) I manage to narrow the food choices down to two – then I tend to make an on-the-spot decision when it comes to ordering. Often I ask the waiter/waitress for their recommendation (I think I do this to start a conversation up with a stranger really). More often than not I choose the opposite of their recommendation which is always slightly awkward…I have to say my friend James is much worse than me at being irritating in restaurants by starting up conversations with the servers! But I’m still pretty annoying. Soz Pedro.

Sweary Parallel Parking
I am RUBBISH at parallel parking. So so bad. I can’t work out the angles. I get frustrated, a bit sweaty, and very sweary. I have to go in and out about a million times (to the nearest million). It is annoying and probs a bit scary for Pedro.

Chatty ALL The Time
I don’t really stop talking. Ever. Except when I’m asleep. Poor Pedro tries to get to sleep last thing at night and has to face me yapping on about nothing…I just love a chat! Annoying.

So there you have it. On balance I think my annoying traits are much worse than Pedro’s – but hopefully not so annoying I’ve put him off moving in with me?!

What’s your most annoying habit?

Pedro’s Annoying Traits

Now I know I have discussed Pedro’s annoying living habits before. Leaving the toilet seat up, taking ages in the shower etc. This is something different. This is a big reveal of his personal irritating habits. The things that over time could potentially not only annoy, but cause incandescent rage. It is up to you to decide whether or not this build up of anger is justified.

Old Man Noises
Whenever Pedro gets up, or sits down he makes a sort of ‘oof’ noise. Or a groan. Or an elaborate creaking noise. He does this every single time. Sometimes he does an exaggeratedly long set of noises to indicate that the effort has been proportionally larger. Mega annoying.

Car Noises
Whenever I drive us anywhere, Pedro insists on making noises like a formula one racing car. He does it to match my acceleration, as my car is very much a boy racer car (it was what they had in at my garage at a time of great need! And it was a good deal!) Pedro thinks this is hilarious. After about five minutes of me trying to calmly ignore it (this is a classic teacher trick) I do tend to flip.

Not Being Chatty Before Bed
This may come as a surprise to you – I love a good chat just before going to sleep (me? Chat? I know – shocker) I like to chat about the day, or about random topics of conversation, for example, whether or not when humans die out a current animal will evolve into another type of intelligent life form. I know I know – fascinating. Pedro does not. He becomes very quiet when sleepy and prefers to just go straight to sleep. This is maddening – leaving me seething and awake while he nods straight off. It is particularly annoying when we are apart (most of the week) and I want a little phone chat just to say goodnight and how was your day etc just before I go to sleep. Pedro is too tired to talk (personally I will never understand how anyone could be too tired to talk).

Bad Jokes
Now don’t get me wrong – I LOVE a terrible joke. I laugh for ages at appalling ones. But Pedro loves to tell incredibly bad ones. Ones where even I am silent after. Tumbleweed style ones. He favours a rubbish pun. You know the kind – a small child goes to the hospital after swallowing some coins – the nurse looks at him and says ‘no change yet’. Just awful.

So there you have it – some of Pedro’s most annoying traits. Do I have a right to get annoyed at him? Something to keep under consideration is that last night he made me a lovely dinner….

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Why We Should Make Our Own Adventures

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you made them feel.
Maya Angelou.

This is a difficult post to write, but one I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Last summer, my friend died. She was one of those people that knew everyone, would help anyone. She had a spark behind her eyes. She was always motivated and positive and strong. She had so much energy. She was always going on adventures all over the world, and her charity work was tireless. Outside of work we weren’t close in the sense that we didn’t spend a lot of time together, but in work she was always helping me, believing in me at times when few others did. She made me feel stronger. She was, quite simply, one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever known.

She died as a result of the most senseless accident. The most senseless chain of events that I don’t have the words for.

I know her death floored so many people – her wonderful family, who she lived for, her close friends who I know miss her every day. The students she taught. The children she was helping through her charity work. But I wonder if she realises how many other people were affected (I like to think she does).

After it happened, speaking to one of my best friends about it (also a colleague), we came to a conclusion that we must continue to be inspired by her, and have life adventures every day. Emma had just moved to Jersey, and I missed her madly. But she was on her own adventure with her gorgeous family, pioneering to craft a life for them all. Another friend of mine was also led to live life more adventurously – she has lived a fantastic life living all over the world, experiencing different cultures. It was the last ‘wish list’ post on her blog that inspired this post of mine – see it here.

So over the last few months I have tried to look forward. To be positive, and strong, and adventurous. To be thankful for the good things, and not let the bad days phase me. And I have noticed a real difference.

This year has been a big one for me with some significant life changes – I have started a new role at work, and fallen in love. But it’s more than that – this year I feel like I have finally grown up.

Ok, so in the sense that I like to pretend my animal socks are real animals and pretend to eat things with them, I enjoy singing in the car with vigorous arm movements, and sometimes I gallop down corridors pretending to be a horse, I am not at all grown up. But in the way that I deal with things, I do feel more mature. I try to portray a positive attitude when speaking to people (although we all need a whinge sometimes!) I have had some setbacks this year, and although upsetting and at times hurtful, I’ve realised that instead of dwelling on it and going over and over it in my mind, there is no use in worrying about it. I have learned that it’s important to make the most of everything, even if it’s sitting watching a box set with Pedro. (Especially if it’s sitting watching a box set with Pedro). I want to help make people feel good about themselves – whether it’s sending a text to an individual after a good rehearsal, or praising a student, or thanking someone who has really helped me. Yes I will have days when I will be in a bad mood and have a right old grump, but I know that I have lovely people around me who will cheer me up, and I know that no matter what Pedro is right behind me.

I know that my friend would love that I am moving in with Pedro. I know that she would be so pleased for me, and would love hearing all the juicy details. This isn’t charity work building a school in Gambia. This isn’t a crazy adventure halfway around the world. This isn’t inspiring others to do good. But moving in with Pedro is my own little life adventure – and I intend to make the most of it.

Who has inspired you to have life adventures?

My Happy List

I’ve been inspired by a personal blog inspiration – Cider with Rosie (see her blog here) – to create a ‘happy list’. This is where, quite simply, you list all the things that make you happy!

I’m (at times) considered a cheerful person, so to create a happy list of my entire life would take forever. Instead, in honour of having been blogging for two weeks and to celebrate achieving 1500 views (woohoo!) I’ve decided to create a happy list of just ten things from the last two weeks:

1. Starting this blog has made me really happy.

It’s a creative outlet for me that isn’t music related – so nice to have a change! I’ve enjoyed writing everyday and then facing the harrowing ordeal of clicking ‘Publish’. I check my blog stats around a million times a day (to the nearest million). I am overwhelmed that people (some of whom aren’t even my friends or family!) have read my blog. Unbelievable that anyone other than me could enjoy my ramblings! A downside of blogging is that I have become slightly obsessed, and now every time someone says something remotely interesting I have to stop them to write it down as a blog idea, and I think that Pedro could soon get very tired of me stopping him from eating his meals so I can take a photo of them first…

2. Getting my nails done –

such a simple thing but has made me so happy whenever I catch sight of them! (This is quite often as I continually put my hands in front of my face purposefully to gaze at the shiny perfection of my nails). When I paint my own nails it is a mess. Nail varnish goes everywhere except where it should. I once had to lie at work when some students asked me if a child had done my nails – I said yes, my four year old niece did them (I don’t have a niece…why did I make up a niece?!) It basically looks as if I’ve dipped them in varnish then unsuccessfully rubbed off the excess. They are never even or shiny or flawless and it makes me sad. One of my ambitions is to be able to do them myself beautifully – then I feel I will be a proper woman. (Another ‘proper woman’ ambition is to be able to walk in heels).

3. Watching some great TV series on Netflix –

I have to admit I did not enjoy the most recent series of Jonathan Creek on TV. It felt like a watered down, limp version of the original. The first two series were so smart, slick and sexy – beautifully written and for its time so clever. Series three and four were also good, just not quite as watchable as the first two. Pedro did not enjoy the most recent series on TV – because it was boring. So to convince myself I was right, that Jonathan Creek was amazing in its day, I of course had to re-watch all the old series. I was right. I also have watched the first series of Orange is the New Black – a Netflix original series. I am slightly obsessed with American prison culture – I like to think I would be bad-ass if I ever ended up in prison – whereas in truth I would probably cry forever. I would definitely recommend Orange is the New Black – great characters, skilfully shot and a compelling story.

4. Sorting out a first house viewing with Pedro –

this Saturday we have our first house viewing eek! I’m sure that it will be the first of many, but I am excited to see the house where we may be living together for the first time with Whiskeroo! I’ll shush now because I’ll jinx it.

5. Lovely meals out –

I’ve been lucky this week to have some delicious meals out, one at my favourite burger place in York (see my review here) with Pedro, and one at somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for ages just for the delicious sounding meat feast, Fazenda (see my review here). Tonight I’m hoping to go to Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK for those in the know!) in Leeds – check back later for a review!

6. HALF TERM –

the blessed relief for all teachers. A week where you can SLEEP. A week where you can catch up on personal grooming (getting your nails done, exfoliating, shaving your legs properly etc – things you don’t have time to do when you work a 13 hour day). A week where you can catch up with your marking and planning IN YOUR PYJAMAS. Just lovely.

7. Great rehearsals with LIDOS –

there are less than two weeks til opening night of our show – Seussical the Musical! Our rehearsals recently have been great. I’ve left rehearsals on such a high, feeling really buzzed and energised (in a tired way!) I’m conducting the show, and in recent rehearsals my arm muscles have been turning into right guns! (Ok not at all, but there’s a definite firming haha). You can buy tickets here it would be amazing to have as many people as possible there!

8. Seeing Pedro and feeling so lucky –

soppy bit alert, look away if you are easily nauseated –

due to rehearsals, and Pedro being away at the weekend we haven’t been able to see very much of each other recently. I find this really hard – the reason we want to move in together is because we love being together, and we want to see each other every single day. I am very lucky to have him – he is just so great, very funny, kind, loving, clever, loyal – and I really can’t wait to be able to come home to him after a long day. (Soppy bit over now!)

9. Reading New York travel guides –

I still have an obsession with New York – I’m determined to go one day! I’ve read them cover to cover, absorbing all the things to do, reading about great places to eat and things to do. Sigh.

10. Trying out some new outfits –

I rarely buy clothes (I don’t have the time!) but I pore over magazines each week and love new things. The last couple of weeks I’ve bought a few new things, and have been re-wearing some old things in my wardrobe, so it feels like I’ve bought loads of new clothes!

So there’s my happy list for the last two weeks – what would be on yours?

 

My Moving-In ‘Rider’

Rider: a supplementary clause in a performer’s contract specifying food, drink, etc., to be provided

A recent conversation about celebrities with Housemate (our level of knowledge of celebrity trivia is sometimes better than our knowledge of current events – we’re bad people) brought us to the subject of ‘riders’. This is where celebrities demand certain things to be available in their dressing rooms when appearing on a show or at a festival etc.

My Favourite Celebrity Riders

Mariah Carey – Cristal champagne drunk through bendy straws (brilliant – of course you should drink champagne through a straw). Mineral water to wash her dogs in (not a euphemism!) 20 white kittens and 100 white doves (which must make for a very messy room) and a request that all furniture be particular colours and have no busy patterns.  Classic Mariah.

Britney Spears – junk food – specifically MacDonald’s cheeseburgers without the bun. A framed photo of Princess Di (suitably bonkers), and a fine of $5000 if the phone ever rings in her dressing room (would this work on PPI automated calls?)

Lady Gaga – my all-time favourite. Posters of her rock idols – including Elton John. A very specific 56 bottles of water, half cold, half room temperature. Silver and black fabric drapes. And a mannequin with pink pubic hair. There are no words.

They all seem to have some common denominators: something to eat, something to drink, decor demands, necessary items (well, necessary if you’re a crazy multi-millionaire celebrity) and luxury items.

If I were a celeb, my dressing room rider would consist of:

  • My luxury/off the wall request: a box full of kittens: no less than 3, but certainly no more than 8. That would be carnage instead of cute.
  • My drink request: COLD water – I cannot stand water that isn’t refreshingly cold (it needs to make your teeth ache). I know it can’t be scientifically proven, but to me room temperature water just doesn’t taste as good.
  • My decor request: the sound of soothing waves lapping against a beach to be played in my dressing room. Plus an enormous sofa to nap on (I am a cat napper extraordinaire, much to poor Pedro’s boredom).
  • My food request: crisps and dip. Specifically plain tortilla chips with a selection of tex-mex style dips – ALL OF THE GUAC.
  • My necessary item: my phone charger to keep my phone constantly fully charged so I can pester Pedro with annoying texts, and continue on my never-ending cycle of checking facebook, twitter, and my blog stats ALL DAY.

With moving-in-with-a-boy on my mind, this made me consider what our ‘moving in’ riders would be: the list of ‘demands’ we would state as our living requirements:

Pedro’s Rider

Based on what I know of Pedro, I think that his ‘rider’ would include:

  • His drink request: Tea, tea, and more tea. A million cups (to the nearest million) a day.
  • His food request: Hmm tricky – maybe his steak and mushroom sandwiches with the red wine gravy he loves.
  • His decor demand: After a visit to one of my friend’s houses recently he expressed a man-envy of his large flat screen and surround sound set-up – so probably a cinematic style TV.
  • His necessary request: a lot of hot water – Pedro takes hour-long showers (HYPERBOLE ALERT)
  • His luxury request: a new computer chair with beer-cooler arm rests. Because he’s worth it.

My Rider

  • My drink request: diet coke. And lots of it. It gets me through tough days at work and through long rehearsals. It is a life saver.
  • My food request: PEPPERCORN SAUCE. I love it. On my birthday I shouted the phrase ‘PEPPERCORN SAUCE’ all night. ALL NIGHT. (I know, Pedro is a lucky man). And banana icecream (not together).
  • My decor demand: Tidy. I like minimal clutter, unless of course I have decreed it ok clutter. (Am I a control freak?!)
  • My necessary request: Power sockets for my phone charger – so I can check my blog stats all day long.
  • My luxury request: A Mulberry handbag. A beautiful, beautiful handbag of loveliness that will make me happy forever.

What would your ‘rider’ include?

 

Oscar’s in York – The Best Burger?

Oscar's front

http://www.oscarswinebar.com/

Today Pedro and I visited a favourite haunt of ours in York – Oscar’s. We hadn’t eaten breakfast, and on the pretext of going into town to buy Pedro some shoes we decided to take on the challenge of an enormous burger feast.

Well known for its vast array of burgers, Oscar’s was busy and bustling on this rainy Tuesday lunchtime. Warm and kooky inside, Oscar’s has beautiful patterned wall paper, and varying sizes of wooden tables with chairs, tucked into quiet corners or in windows looking out onto a cobbled street with independent boutique shops featuring unique window displays. My favourite window seat was taken – this is the one that looks out onto a Mulberry outlet (I like to sit and drool over the burger AND the gorgeous handbags!)

The waitress showed us straight to our seats, and we ordered some soft drinks. Pedro had to have his first of many cups of tea (he drinks a million a day, to the nearest million). I had an energy boosting diet coke, which made me really hyper and chatty through the meal (soz Pedro). The table decorations are pretty and in keeping with the rest of the decor:

Oscar's table decorations

The menu not only features the usual selection of classic burgers – cheese, cheese and bacon etc, but also some lovely grill options, lighter sandwiches and share/starter type affairs, and a surprisingly large amount of veggie options – from various types of burger to chilli. They also have a specials board, with a section called ‘Glamburgers’. These are posh burgers, and I decided to select one of these, finding it tough to pick between Camembert or pork and chorizo, eventually settling on the cajun blue cheese and bacon burger.

Cajun blue cheese and bacon glamburger

As you can see, the meals are EXTREMELY generous with salad, coleslaw, thick  cut chips and onion rings. The burger was juicy and well cooked, with a lot of blue cheese which worked well for a cheese fan like me! I couldn’t finish all the chips or all the bread bun but I appreciated both the sheer amount of the food and the quality for the price – around £9-12 for each burger meal. If I was being really picky I would say that I found the coleslaw slightly too mayonnaise-y, but that’s my personal taste. Pedro also went for an epic sized meal, the chicken stack sandwich:

Chicken stack sandwhich

This comprises of two spicy chicken breasts in a bun served with chips, onion rings, salad and coleslaw with the addition of guacamole and salsa. Naturally, I had to try this (for blogging purposes, obviously) and the chicken was nice and moist. Afterwards we had to sit for a while and digest, so we couldn’t manage any dessert, but they looked amazing too! If it hadn’t have been lunchtime I might have partaken in a lovely cocktail at the glamorous bar:

Oscar's bar

But as it was the middle of the day and I was driving I decided not to! It would have been nice if someone had come to check if we wanted another drink during our meal, but it was quite busy, and Pedro and I were engrossed in not only our conversation, but also our tasty meals! (I was pretending a little bit that I was in Man vs Food and talking Pedro’s ear off – it was the diet coke).

Overall I would definitely recommend Oscar’s in York – rustic, homely and kooky with delicious and generously portioned grub. Certainly the best burger in York!

The Phone Shop Saga

confused about mobile phones

Source

My mum gets confused about mobile phones.

To be fair – so do I.

You seem to be able to get any number of different handsets and contracts, for all sorts of different prices depending on where you look, who you talk to, and whether or not you look like you are a clueless woman.

My mum has always struggled at phone shops. They see her coming, and they must rub their hands together with glee. They use baffling terminology, they talk her into things she doesn’t need, let alone want, for a price she doesn’t want to pay. It makes me FURIOUS.

Today my mum and I went to a phone shop to get her a new phone. We had chatted beforehand so she was clear on exactly what she wanted – a shiny new iPhone. (As an aside – iPhone’s are Pedro’s nemesis. Well in truth, the whole Apple brand. As someone who completely understands computers and technology he cannot understand why people would pay more for technology that just ‘looks nice’. Well Pedro, you will now discover that I DO listen when you talk technically – I, along with millions of others around the world, know NOTHING about technology. We love the shiny, sleek curves of the Apple brand. But more than that – we love the INTUITIVE USER INTERFACE. *sits down to a round of applause, with a soundtrack of Chaka Khan* )

To give you some phone history – my mum had a very basic text and talk ‘Pay as you go’ (remember that everyone?! 10p a text!) phone for a few years, moving onto a contract on a basic (and unheard of) model of smartphone only two years ago. When she first got a phone, she would send texts at a rate of roughly one per day, taking around an hour to reply to a question with:

                                   YESP#

For various reasons, namely that in order to take out a phone contract you seem to need to jump through more hoops, sign more papers, and bring more proofs of identity then you do to pass a CRB check to work with children, my mum’s first contract phone had to be in my name. She hadn’t brought formal ID detailing her mum’s first pet’s hairdresser’s name or something ridiculous. So I took responsibility for it, with my mum paying me back through direct debit each month. When my mum started to become more phone proficient, and started to develop phone envy of smart phones, (‘ooh maybe I’d like to be able to check my facewatch a million times a day!’ ‘mum – it’s facebook’) we went to a phone shop together to sort it out, and to change the contract into her name.

‘We can’t change over your names on the contract in store’ explained the bored-looking sales assistant, barely disguising looking at his ‘designer’ watch, clearly wondering when he could go and attempt to pick up girls with sleazy chat-up lines (Clearly I’m not one to judge a book by its cover). ‘All we do here is sales.’ FOR GOODNESS SAKE. He then attempted to sell my mum a £40 a month contract. I flipped. We ended up walking out of the shop at the point when he was sarcastically explaining why we were stupid and he was a sales God. (He may have been saying something completely different, but some sort of red haze had descended and I was finding it difficult to hear anything other than a dull roar.)

We then made three calls over the course of a year to our service provider (CLUE: It rhymes with..oh wait, it doesn’t rhyme with anything) to try and change the name on the contract. Each time we got a different gobbledegook reason as to why they couldn’t do that over the phone, only in a store. GAH.

So when we went into the phone shop today to get my mum her shiny iPhone, you can understand why I was already on my guard. They seemed to treat tricking us as a game – I was ready to play hardball (ooh that makes me sound tough!) I was going to march in and tell the assistant exactly what we wanted in no uncertain terms. I heard ‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin as I stomped sassily in. (Yes I was channeling Bridget Jones).

He was so nice. He listened to us both as we explained what we wanted, and the issues we’d had in the past. He echoed that they couldn’t change over the contract in the store – but helpfully told me exactly what to say over the phone there and then. Standing in the shop, on the phone with Over-the-phone Sales Man I was being given grief over what we wanted – to cancel my mum’s existing contract to start a new one. I handed the phone over to our lovely sales assistant (In-the-shop Sales Man – our knight in shining armor) and he firmly told them that as the customers we must be given what we wanted. I took the phone back, and caught the end of their conversation – a horrible tone of voice from Over-the-phone Sales Man – and gently let him know that he was now speaking to me again. The change was remarkable, from hard and accusing his voice was now back on sales mode. I was shocked.

Anyway, after an hour in the shop, my mum is now the proud owner of a lovely new iPhone, which she is completely happy with having been talked through every detail in layman’s terms by our patient In-the-shop Sales Man.

This was the saga of the phone shop – and I would hope, a lesson in patience and perseverance in sales. And also why Apple is the best (sorry Pedro!)

Your thoughts – are phone sales assistants friend or foe?