Rain Doesn’t Stop Play…

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When a friend invites you out on a dull and decidedly wet Friday afternoon, you have two choices. You can, of course, decline the offer and stay in the dry with your feet up and a coffee, or you can accept the fact that it’s only water and if you get wet you’ll soon dry off. I chose the latter, and although we drove through a torrential downpour, by the time we reached our destination the rain had thankfully stopped.

Keen to find a hidden treasure we’d researched earlier online, we made our way down a rather overgrown dirt track and in less than five minutes we were just a few feet away from a unique, magnificent house which was a hundred times better in real life than either of us could ever have imagined. After spending time taking in all it’s splendour we wandered around the adjacent countryside admiring the views before popping into a quaint little community shop with a cafe for a much needed drink and a sit down. What a lovely way to spend a couple of hours, and it just goes to show that you don’t need a hot sunny day to enjoy the outdoors.

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What A Week!

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When your week has included a fabulous afternoon tea with close friends, followed by the offer of a brand new lucrative job, what better way to finish it off than to enjoy a belated birthday celebration with the people you love more than anything else in the world; your daughters.

I was presented with a large, shiny silver bag bearing unique gifts and a special card. They fully understand and accept my Steampunk lifestyle and I was thrilled to bits with a spectacular pressure-gauge candle holder and long stemmed candles to go with it. It was the perfect gift for anyone obsessed with the genre and I was touched that they’d taken such care to choose something they knew I’d love. The beautiful card was covered in butterflies, which I adored.

As always, we munched on chocolate biscuits and cake and talked til the cows come home. I brought down the old photo albums from upstairs and we went on a nostalgic trip to the 1990s, re-living birthdays, Christmases, day trips and holidays. I’m so proud that my girls have grown up to be such good people, and I count myself very lucky indeed to be their mum.

When One Door Closes…

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Apparently another two open! Although I’d initially felt I’d dodged a bullet by not being offered a position after my recent job interview, it’s never nice to be rejected for anything. However, my philosophy is that everything happens for a reason and the Human Resources Department, who I’d previously been interviewed by, had obviously chosen to pass my CV around to other departments because within 48 hours I’d received not one but two potential offers of temporary work. Clearly I must’ve made a positive impression on the day, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time.

Unfortunately, one of the jobs would’ve been unworkable around my current commitments so I politely declined, however the second one intrigued me and so I met with the manager for an ‘informal chat‘ the following afternoon. In reality this turned out to be another interview, which caught me slightly off-guard as I wasn’t prepared for it. Therefore, when an email arrived four days later offering me the position I couldn’t have been more surprised! Wow! This is a massive step up the career ladder for me, and even though the role is scheduled to end at Christmas, it’s put me firmly on a path which can only realistically lead to bigger and better things in the future. Pass the champers…!

My Bouche Was Amused…

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I’m extremely lucky to have such lovely friends, especially when I get treated to a pre-birthday afternoon tea at a local 4-star hotel. I was advised against having any lunch as this particular venue provides five courses; amuse bouche, scones with clotted cream and jam, a selection of cakes, finger sandwiches and a fruit trifle!

The place was empty when we arrived so we practically had our own staff, who were kept busy fetching fresh pots of hot water which we used for sampling a range of 6 speciality teas (the amaretto cherry tea was my favourite). The amuse bouche was a delightful shot glass of tiny, mouthwatering melon and pineapple chunks. This was followed by freshly cut sandwiches with the crusts off, and then the massive freshly-baked scones followed by cream cakes and tarts. Already bursting, it was a culinary challenge to complete this marathon eating session, but the mini-trifles were simply asking to be eaten. Not only did we fill our faces, we had plenty of laughs too. As well as being treated to afternoon tea I was also given lovely birthday cards and a birthday cake to bring home.

Tomorrow I shall be another year older, another year wiser, and another year blessed with genuinely wonderful people around me…

Charity Quiz…

mousseIt’d been a while since I last went to a Quiz Night, so when an opportunity arose to spend the evening with my mates helping to raise funds for an animal charity, while enjoying a decent quiz, I was more than ready to accept. The venue was a nice little village hall with plenty of tables and chairs to accommodate all the teams.

We’d been told to bring our own food and drink, although hot beverages were provided, so tea and posh cakes were the obvious choice. My sweet treat was a mixed berry mousse; fresh berries and whipped cream mousse on a vanilla sponge base, with a berry glaze, and was delicious. The questions were quite challenging, especially the anagrams, but we didn’t think we’d done too badly until the results were read out. It appears we came last, although we did get a ‘special‘ prize of a tube of smarties each so all was not lost.

The evening included a raffle, of course, and there were a decent amount of offerings on a table at the back of the room. Amazingly, I won and chose a lovely, ornate picture frame to go with my Steampunk theme at home. Well, what a fabulous night out. I spent the evening amongst friends having a great laugh, I won sweets and a prize and I was fed and watered like a queen. Not bad for a Tuesday!

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Better Luck Next Time…

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I’ve just received the predicted email rejection regarding the new job I recently applied for and to be perfectly honest I’m quite relieved. I’d bitten off far more than I could possibly chew by applying for something I was always going to struggle with and I’d actually been quite worried about how I was going to manage. It wasn’t just the work itself but how to juggle all of my other commitments around it; there’s only seven days in a week and I’d need a day off at some point!

For the time being I shall focus on the work that I already have, and although I’ll always be on the lookout for new opportunities, I’ll put a bit more thought into the logistics before applying for another new post. Despite the fact that the panel interview was a terrifying ordeal, I’ve learnt a lot about how I could prepare myself better next time, so at least I can take some positives away from this experience, which will clearly put me in a much better position in the future. Onwards and upwards.

Playing Hostess…

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My old school chum was kind enough to invite me to stay at her house over 200 miles away for a long weekend last year, so it was only a matter of time before I was in a position to be able to reciprocate. She arrived at Casa de Steampunk on Friday and we almost immediately decided to go back to visit our old school! Within the hour we’d turned up unannounced, but despite this the staff went out of their way to help and we were given a fabulous guided tour of the corridors and classrooms we last inhabited almost forty years ago. Back home much Pinot Grigio was polished off as we chatted into the wee small hours about PE lessons, lockers and, of course, boys.

The following morning the rain stopped long enough for us to take a leisurely stroll, ending up at a posh hotel when my mate was able to do some impromptu business. We then drove to a nearby village to sample the delights of all things boaty before filling up on pub grub, followed by a game of dodge-the-thunderstorm en route back to her Merc. Girly shopping was next on the list so it was off to an out-of-town complex where we spent several hours browsing amongst discounted curtains and duvet covers, frilly undies and home-wares. An encore of wine and gossip finished off our busy day perfectly.

I have no idea where the time went, as in the blink of an eye it was suddenly midday on Sunday and she was off back home again. It’s wonderful to be able to mull over happy memories but it’s even better when you can do so while creating brand new ones. This was my first attempt at hosting a guest at Chez Moi since becoming single, and judging by the success of this weekend it certainly won’t be the last, although I just need to give my liver a while to recover…