Monday, December 26

Merry (Blurry) Christmas!
 

Hope your eyesight doesn't go like this picture after too many sherries. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 22

The Grossness of Tesco at Christmas
There's a running joke in the Meep household that whenever we're about to go somewhere guaranteed to be packed, I always say "Don't worry - there'll be no-one there."

Take Cardiff city centre on the day that Wales were about to take on Ireland to win the Grand Slam for the first time since 1978. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Let's pop into town - I need some veg from the market."
Mr Meep: "Are you bonkers? Not only is it Saturday, but there's a big rugby match on."
Me: "Nah, it'll be fine - everyone will either be in the stadium or watching it at home. There'll be no-one there."

Half an hour later, we were in town. So were about 60,000 other people - spilling out of pubs and watching the game on big screens set up outside the city hall. It was loud, it was packed, it was hideous - I'd only wanted a few carrots.

I was faced with a similar situation today. Having lunch with a friend, I said: "I'm going to pop to Tesco to get the Christmas food tonight - there's still a few days left, so I can't see it being very busy."

So at 7pm, I set of to the temple of consumerism that is one of the three gargantuan Tesco Extra stores in the city (one pound in every eight spent in the UK goes through their tills, fact fans!).

Expecting to breeze in and out, flicking through the magazines and having a browse at the clothes, I was shocked to find that every family in Wales - nay, Britain - had decided to descend upon the aisles at 7pm on the 22nd December.

There were trolleys piled so high, they couldn't be pushed straight. There were babies crying, toddlers tantruming, teenagers huffing and mums screeching in despair. There was panic buying of mince pies and sprouts, and quite a lot of 'trolley rage'.

Feeling full of Christmas inner karma, I refused to get stressed out by the situation. Instead I became a social observer, wandering up and down the aisles, soaking up the atmosphere and watching the behaviour of my fellow shoppers.

And my discovery? Simply that I wanted to get hold of the tanoy and make an important festive announcement: "THE SHOP IS CLOSING FOR ONE DAY! THAT'S ONE DAY! DO YOU REALLY NEED 10 PINTS OF MILK AND FIFTEEN LOVES OF BREAD? AND YOU, PEOPLE FIGHTING OVER THE TESCO VALUE TURKEYS - HAVE YOU NOT SEEN THOSE TV PROGRAMMES ABOUT DODGY CHEAP MEAT? WOMAN IN KAPPA TRACKSUIT SCREAMING AT YOUR CHILD - CHARDONNAY IS A WINE, NOT A BABY NAME. THE FOOTBALLERS' WIVES THING WAS A JOKE. FAMILY WITH 12 MULTIPACKS OF CRISPS AND A SQUILLION BOTTLES OF RED POP - YOU WONDER WHY YOUR KIDS ARE RUNNING UP THE AISLES THROWING POTATO SMILES AT EACH OTHER? AND A NATIONAL SHORTAGE OF FOSTERS IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY, SO ACCOSTING THE STAFF AS THEY BRING CRATES OF IT OUT OF THE STORES PROBABLY ISN'T REALLY NECESSARY."

And relax... My inner buddha has retuned and now all is calm again.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21

 


Happy me, hugging a tree
It was a Tuesday morning at about 11am. I'd usually be hunched over a desk, devoid of daylight. Instead, I was skipping through a forest, hugging the trees. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 20

 

Christmas cards
My friend Sara and I spent yesterday afternoon making Christmas cards. Here are the results. Good, eh? Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 16

The Friday list
I finish work today for Christmas - no more getting up at 6.30am and sitting in a horrid office for seventeen whole days - weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Here's a list of all the social, creative, wintery and outdoorsy things I have got planned.

  • A Christmas party at my friend's house
  • Going to see The Wizard of Oz at the fab Millennium Centre
  • Making cards and star-shaped cookies
  • Taking Le Blod on lots of walks in the countryside and on the coast
  • Cooking lots of lovely food
  • Getting to grips with my fab new camera
  • Meeting old friends for wine and chats
  • Skating at the outdoor rink
  • Watching Love Actually and It's a Wonderful Life

    Bring on the festive joy!

    Vibe of the day
    Mood: Festive
    Food: Mince Pies
    Tunes: Christmas compilation
  • Thursday, December 15

    Fulfilling an ambition
    Yesterday was our office Christmas lunch. Overpriced soggy food, copious amounts of cheap wine, forced frivolity, crackers full of plastic tat... you get the picture.

    Within the first hour, half of them were on their third round of drinks. By the time the dessert came round, they were throwing food across the room. Time for a sharp exit, I thought, so my colleague and I legged it back to the office to finish off some "urgent work".

    To get in the festive spirit, the four of us defectors sang Christmas songs and ate lots of Celebrations chocs. Someone said "I wonder if anyone's going to come back here pissed and photocopy their bum?". That got me thinking...

    I've always been a bit of a closet flasher and have always harboured a secret ambition to photocopy my boobs. So I went for it. While my colleague kept guard at the door, I whipped off my top and put the girls on the copier. Seconds later emerged an A4 reproduction of a fine pair of DDs.

    I'm still giggling about it now.

    Monday, December 12

    Beautiful soup
    One of my favourite things to cook is soup. It's wonderfully easy, fantastically warming, and usually quite good for you too.

    I used to have a handful of soups that I'd cook all the time: leek and potato, butternut squash, carrot and coriander...

    But since I've started to get my organic veg box, I've been making all kinds of yummy soup out of all kinds of veggies.

    There's often a random, slightly dubious veg left at the end of the week, when all the tasty things have been made into pastas and curries and casseroles and bakes.

    Take the evil sprout. No-one likes really likes sprouts, do they? And as it's Christmas, it is full-on sprout season. So last week, I stuck them in a pan with an onion, a head of broccoli, a handful of green beans and some stock. Whizzed it all up in the blender, a good few grinds of salt and pepper, and a naughty blob of melty blue cheese. Yumski.

    Same with parsnips. I'm not a huge fan of them, but I've currently got a pan of roasted parsnip and parmesan simmering away on the hob and it smells delicious. Pop over if you're hungry - there's plenty to go round.

    Vibe of the day
    Mood: Creative and happy
    Food: Soup, of course
    Tunes: Foo Fighters wig-out

    Thursday, December 8

    I am a domain owner
    As part of Project Get Me Out of This Bloody Office, I have bought two domain names.

    I am now the owner of emmashepherd.com for all things freelance writing-related. But best of all, I own nicecake.co.uk.

    Let the writing and cake-making empire commence.

    Er... once I have written some content and Mr Meep has designed the sites.
    Nice things and nasty things that have happened to me this week
    Nice
    1. I met a Buddhist man with a smiley face. I wanted to hug him and take him home.
    2. A ticket inspector at the train station said I had a nice smile. Perhaps he was a massive perve, but I was happy.
    3. It was my 2nd wedding anniversary and Mr Meep made me a fab card.
    4. I discovered the joys of TK Maxx (FCUK trainers for £16).
    5. My puppy learned to climb the stairs, so she now follows me absolutely everywhere. It's nice to be loved.

    Nasty
    1. I have a horrible cold.
    2. My train has been late every single day.
    3. I drank a Lemsip, then discovered it is about 90% aspartame
    4. I got a bag of sprouts in my organic veg box.
    5. My puppy learned to climb the stairs, so she now follows me absolutely everywhere. This is not good when you need a poo.

    Vibe of the day
    Mood: Sniffly
    Food: Soup
    Tunes: Muffled noises due to cold-related blockages
    Web: Filofax (thinking of investing to cut down on number of notebooks I carry - currently four)

    Tuesday, December 6

    I'm a thief
    I've stolen an idea from the blog of a friend-of-a-friend.

    From now on, the end of my posts will look like this...

    Vibe of the day
    Mood:
    Food:
    Tunes:

    Well, it's a postmodern world, innit? No-one really has original ideas anymore.

    Vibe of the day
    Mood: Twitchy
    Food: Posh porridge
    Tunes: 'Listen(ing) again' to Jonathan Ross

    Monday, December 5

    Time Management
    I have just been on 'Time Management' course. I didn't really need to go - I think I'm quite organised, especially as I write lists every single day about all aspects of my life.

    However, I was shocked to find that I spend 22% of my working day chatting and/or drinking tea. Yikes.

    It sounds like a lot of time spent not doing any work, but where would we be without a nice cup of tea and a chit chat?

    Friday, December 2

    Bruce Lee and his JCB
    This is my current favourite song, about a 5-year-old boy who gets bullied at school because he's dyslexic. His dad used to take him out of school for 'compassionate leave' and they'd spend the day in his yellow JCB. It makes me want to sing, it makes me want to cry. The website's fab too, and the video is just perfect. Ah, if only the world was full of mumpets like these.
    The Friday List
    Presents that The Blod has brought home.

    Every day when we go for our walk, Blod likes to find a little something at the start, carry it around in her mouth the whole way, then drop it on the doorstep before she goes back inside.

    She’s built up quite a collection:

  • A white woolly glove
  • A white rubber glove
  • A packet of pickled onion Monster Munch
  • A half-eaten apple
  • A dead firework
  • A manky old sock
  • An empty carton of strawberry Ribena
  • A packet of Marlboro Lights
  • A ladies handkerchief
  • Some bunting