Long Time, No See…

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We’ve all done it; saying to an old friend ‘We must meet for a coffee soon’ and then it goes weeks, months or even years before you actually get around to it, but when you can both finally find a small gap in your hectic schedules it’s lovely to be able to finally catch up properly.

Texting, emailing and Facebook messaging are all well and good but there’s nothing quite like a face-to-face natter to help you to re-connect fully with old mates. Neither of us could actually recall how long it’d been since we last put the world to rights over a cuppa, but as the old saying goes it’s better late than never.

The venue was a local contemporary art gallery, so we combined our nattering with a look round the latest exhibition before heading off to the tea rooms for refreshments. Window seats ensured we had a lovely view of the garden as we discussed everything from holidays to hand gel, and before we knew it the afternoon had whizzed past in the blink of an eye.

In a busy world where we meet new people day in, day out, it’s very important to show how much you still value your old friendships.

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Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018…

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These past twelve months have been a little up and down. On the positive side I’ve enjoyed not one but two fabulous, luxury holidays in the Canary Islands but I’ve also said sad farewells to a couple of very dear friends. I finished a fixed-term contract for a Social Science department, where I would have loved to have stayed, but within weeks was offered a brand new position with a massive Computer Science department on the same campus. I’ve also seen a lot more of the NHS than I anticipated, however I’m hopeful that 2018 will see a significant decrease in medical appointments.

This year I enjoyed the company of an old mate who stayed with me during the summer. It was good being able to share some quality time with her and we spent many an evening putting the world to rights. My gorgeous daughters remain, as always, my raison d’être and I’m eternally grateful for the wonderful friends who are always there when I need them.

There’s been many highs, a few lows, but I’m extremely optimistic about the future and I’m already looking forward to whatever exciting new things the next twelve months will bring…

“And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.”

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.

Playing With My New Toy…

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After an busy week, which began with a Bank Holiday and included juggling shifts at two different workplaces and a quiz night, it’s nice to finally be able to chill out for a while. It’s even nicer when the sun is shining and you have a new toy to play with outdoors, which is why I’ve been for a lovely long walk, snapping pictures on my new mobile phone.

It takes a while to get used to new gadgets, even longer when you’re technically-challenged, but I’m gradually learning what I can get out of something with only 5 megapixels at my disposal. I’ll always use my faithful old Nikon for important photos like holidays or big events, but I have to say that this new alternative is quite useful, with it’s ability to take panoramic and night-time shots as well as a range of other options. Hmm… I have a feeling this could turn out to be rather a lot of fun…!

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining…

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Woo hoo! I was annoyed last year when HMRC put me on ‘emergency tax‘ and took a large chunk of my freelance corporate wages from me, but now they’ve finally given it back in the form of a tax rebate I can start trawling through the First Choice website looking at where to go for my winter hols this year (which will be predictably called ‘Feliz Navidad the Sequel’ – a.k.a. Tipsy and Topless Again!)

Will it be a return to Gran Canaria… but maybe Maspalomas this time? Or what about Lanzarote – Playa Blanca looks good? But Tenerife also looks very inviting…. Decisions, decisions…. what IS a girl to do?!!

Working Girl…

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When salaried jobs aren’t easy to come by and you don’t want to rely on friends, family, a spouse or the State to subsidise you, there is an option which often gets overlooked; self-employment.

While there are negative aspects, such as the fact that if you can’t work due to illness there’s no sick pay – no work means no money – being freelance allows you the kind of flexibility that you can’t usually get from doing a 9-5 job. Working for several different companies or organisations means you can very quickly build up your paid hours, which all helps towards a nice, healthy bank balance, and if you’re willing to take on a bit of extra training the opportunities can potentially be endless.

You can actually accumulate quite an impressive workload in a relatively short period of time, especially if you’re savvy enough to juggle things around to suit your needs. This means that you can easily save up enough cash to not only cover the bills but to be able to afford treats; my particular favourite is holidays. If you’re prepared to work hard, it enables you to play even harder!

What Was That Song By Madonna?

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Oh yes…. H-O-L-I-D-A-Y!

When the weather’s turned decidedly autumnal, and the cold & miserable winter is looming on the horizon, there’s only one thing for it – book a fabulous, all-inclusive holiday somewhere hot! Obviously, this won’t be a practical solution for everyone, but if you try to plan ahead and put aside whatever cash you can, it might not be beyond the realms of possibility that while everyone else has their central heating on full blast and are frozen solid simply walking to the car and back, you and your mates could be lounging around under a palm tree, sipping cocktails while letching at fit Spanish waiters! It’s certainly something nice to focus on to get you through the misery of dark, damp mornings and even darker, damper evenings.

Even if funds are a little too low to consider such a luxury right at this moment in time, if you enjoy foreign travel and feel in need of some RnR in the not too distant future, there’s nothing stopping you from creating a ‘holiday fund’ which you can stash any birthday and xmas money in, along with any unexpected windfalls. If you shop around you really can find some extremely affordable deals out there. The world is your oyster – so tuck in!