Saturday in Town

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 04:44 pm
tourmaline: (home-made bread)
I went into town today, as we have always said. In other words, I went into the city centre to do some Christmas shopping. I went on the bus, having originally planned this so I'd be out of the way while my road is closed for resurfacing. However, that's been delayed until Monday so I'll have to leave early for work.

I managed to get the things I wanted - Christmas cards, an advent calendar, a 2017 diary - plus a few other bargains from Wilko including blueberry shower gel and Vimto lipbalm. I also visited the art gallery for their Brick Wonders exhibition - basically lots of Lego recreations of famous world vistas and other things, such as our local cathedral, the International Space Station, and a massive Lego airport.

Am also wondering if I've got a cold coming or if this is just the effects of the weather getting colder but not cold enough to be into a regular routine with the central heating. I've been putting it on for about an hour most evenings, and I've had the fire on a few times also. It's the beginning of half term week here now and I'm determined that winter cannot be sighted until half term is well and truly behind us.

Also last night saw the first episode of QI's N series, the first edition with Sandi Toksvig in the chair instead of Stephen Fry. I do miss Stephen and I think I always will, but Sandi is awesome.
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Christmas)
Apparently many people of my acquaintance haven't started their Christmas shopping yet. As per usual, I've got lots of mine done.

More )
I found out very late last night that Dr. John is at my local Arts Centre tomorrow night. They have a few seats left (at the back or extreme sides) but I've no-one to go with. Not sure any of my friends have heard of Dr. John :(
tourmaline: (coffee)
I have accomplished many grown-up things over the past week or so. Such as (in an entirely random order):

  • Banished Norton from my laptop as it kept blocking stuff from the Internet and wouldn't let me fix it. Begone!

  • Last weekend I assisted Dad in fixing the light and the plug socket in the shed. Tonight I mowed the lawn (delayed from Wednesday) with the lawnmower plugged into the socket in the shed

  • I have bought furniture! The sofa will be delivered "within eight weeks", the chairs I bought home today and assembled myself

  • I've also bought a Spiderman cup, plate and dish for my niece to use when she's here. Sssh, she doesn't know yet :)

  • I bought More Fool Me on Monday and read it all on Monday night. Good to read the full stories of a few anecdotes I last heard many years ago, and there are several photos of Hugh Laurie's eldest son as an adorable tiny tot. And I was honestly not aware that (cut for spoiler) ). I did know about Stephen Fry's drug use, it's funny how the Daily Mail are frothing about it now, I think back when it was first revealed they were still too preoccupied trying to work out how he could be both gay and celibate

  • I have become a good and diligent(ish) Doctor Who viewer. Still cannot see Peter Capaldi's Doctor and not think of House. And worked out that Mr Squaddie-turned-Teacher was Fingers in Gavin & Stacey

  • I have bought, and used, Pledge spray to clean my wood so that it is nice and shiny and woody

  • I have also researched for, and bought, a microwave oven. Used it once properly so far

  • The third househunter in our team and his partner now have the keys to their house. I'm really pleased that there were several of us moving house in the same season, the conversations have been fun. Consequently there are long discussions in our office about decorating, furniture etc alongside the usual conversations about work, Doctor Who, and Peppa Pig.

    And hurrah for new QI! First ep lineup looks good, second ep less so.

So Far, So Good

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 08:15 pm
tourmaline: (home-made bread)
It's only Tuesday but I seem to have done quite well so far at spending money this week. It's stuff I need (really), and I've done OK in terms of bargain-hunting etc. The only negative in this was my trip to Hobbycraft and subsequent search online for card blanks for the cross-stitch cards I currently have in progress - I was hoping for red or green card blanks with large round apertures but have only been able to find white ones, and they're only just big enough. The tricky part will come when I have to wash & iron them without anyone noticing me taking over the kitchen for a big seekrit cunning plan.

So, the successes yesterday & today have been:

  • New trainers (even though they have pink trim), which means the old worn ones are now in the bin

  • A new watch strap

  • Pizza bases! Just scoffed the first home-made pizza, with rocket, mushrooms, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and two types of cheese. Way better than the ones they make up instore

  • Three pairs of little flower clips for my hair (black roses, cream roses, sunflowers) for an office-friendly trombone-less Elizabeth Lea look

  • Jellybeans, naturally

  • Hotel Chocolat selectors, including rose & lime creams

  • Marks & Spencer yummy food, including Macarons, which I've never had before

  • Two pairs of jeans - I have to go to M&S for jeans as only they & Next (sometimes) do them short & wide enough. Not a fan of the current trend towards lightweight denim & engineering though, when I first saw them in Sainsburys I thought they were just cheapo supermarket ones but it seems they're all like that now :(

Tomorrow we're picking Jessica up from nursery - she's now in the top age group, as it's the start of her final year at nursery. She now also goes to pre-school one morning a week at a nearby church hall - this is to give the kids more of an idea about what school will be like, and she's also there alongside other neighbourhood children, so when she starts school there will be children there she already knows. So I guess for now I'm making the most of these opportunities.

New Television

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 11:59 pm
tourmaline: (strawberry shake)
I bought a new TV today, a little LED HD-ready widescreen TV to replace the one I bought in 1998. This is a little cheap & cheerful one I picked up from Sainsburys. It's a really good picture, especially now I've figured out how I can change the aspect ratio settings on my DVD player, my combi and my cable box. I wish I'd known about the cable box settings before, I could've recorded stuff in widescreen but now I'm stuck with everything in 4:3 and everyone has a fat arse when I watch this stuff on my new TV.

The issue with the TV is that despite the instruction booklet insisting there's a Power On/Off switch, it's nowhere to be found and isn't even pointed out in the diagrams illustrating what all the buttons and slots are on. Trying to turn the TV off, I came downstairs to see if there was anything on the illustrated outer box about the switch, and when Dad asked what I was doing I told him, and of course he had to come and see for himself and fiddle with everything. Which meant the signal was lost and it took ages to figure out how to get it back, and even worse he blamed me for buying a cheap TV when it was him who was fiddling with switches and lost the signal. When it came back he carried on ranting about how no-one listens to him and why didn't I get one from the Co-Op, ie the place which is only open office hours and has no nearby parking, so you have to take a day off work to choose a TV and then another day off work to have it delivered.

Yes, I know it's my fault for telling him the truth rather than lying and saying I was looking for a barcode or something. He nearly broke my first Ladyshave because he was playing with it and pressed on the foil - ie the Ladyshave he & Mum had just bought me for my birthday. Perhaps this TV is like the cable box, in that there's still a little light on even when it's switched off, and perhaps it's not an issue to the same degree as my previous TV as it has power-saving things my old TV didn't have. If we hadn't got plans in place to upgrade our cable package - to a cheaper package that comes with HD channels - I wouldn't have been even considering a new television, the old one worked perfectly fine except for one of the latches on the remote control battery cover.

But so far I've watched Gavin & Stacey on TV, Last Shuttle on my combi, and an episode of House (Half-Wit) on my old DVD player, which took a bit of fiddling to get the aspect ratio set properly as the instructions for it are long filed away safely. However, I'm pleased with the picture, the episode of House in particular looked very good but then maybe that's Hugh and Jesse looking delish. The space shuttle looked amazing too, the picture quality is reminiscent of watching NASA TV HD online. This might be a cheap TV (£100) but I'm sticking with it for now. Even if I'd got a more expensive brand it's no guarantee Dad wouldn't find fault anyway.
tourmaline: (coffee)
I am on leave all week this week, and have had the good fortune to pick the week with incredibly unseasonal weather - high summer weather, cloudless blue skies.

The week so far )
Tomorrow is my birthday. There are two cakes waiting, a giant French Fancy cake for friends and family, and a large Madeira cake with Haribo sweeties on it to share at work next week. I will try and get pics to share before they are eaten.


Saturday, March 17th, 2012 04:42 pm
tourmaline: (hugh laurie)
My not-exciting visit to a very not-favourite supermarket )
Tumblr news is that I have 181 followers, as opposed to 152 blogs I am following. Lots of Oregon pics recently, I find the place looks so magical and enchanted. All the Oregon posts here, the rest of my Tumblr here.

Birmingham Blues

Friday, January 13th, 2012 05:19 pm
tourmaline: (Squeee Odyssey)
I visited Birmingham having high hopes of buying some DM boots, preferably not in black. Didn't see any so will be venturing online and hoping I choose the correct size. Bought a Gap T-shirt, some Jellybeans (they've replaced the lever things with little shovelly things, and removed the Ice Cream flavours, boo) and some sushi.

On the train towards Birmingham I was sat across the aisle from two middle-aged men on their way to a business meeting. One of the men was very upper-middle-class looking and sounding, the other was more a standard guy in a suit. UMC guy was talking about how he had no plans to see The Iron Lady, he was definitely not a Thatcher admirer, even though not seeing the film meant missing out on seeing Meryl Streep. Other Guy looked rather crestfallen at this anti-Thatcher revelation, and talked about how she did this or that and you can't argue it wasn't successful. UMC guy then started talking about watching TV news reporting of the Leveson Inquiry, and what a horrible man Richard Desmond was, I think Other Guy was a secret Daily Express reader cos he was not impressed by the direction of the conversation.

I must have been in a train carriage near the end, because when I got off at New Street I was near the signage for the exit to Victoria Square, so I thought that would be a good opportunity to visit the da Vinci exhibition at BMAG, which opened today. I'd only heard about it a couple of days ago so I wasn't sure if I'd be visiting, especially given the queues there'd been for the Staffordshire Hoard, but the queue this time was officially half an hour and actually more like 20 minutes at 11am. The pictures - mostly studies da Vinci made for paintings, anatomy drawings - are wonderful, very detailed, and accompanied in many cases by his famous mirror-writing. There's also lots of stuff alongside about the materials he used, and the papers. There's only ten items in a single room, but well worth a visit, to see with one's own eyes the works of one of the greatest creative minds of Western civilisation is too awesome to miss.

I bought some da Vinci postcards from the giftshop, and a three-colour pen, which seems to have vanished :( I came back into the main shopping area via New Street, I went in Shared Earth, which is undergoing a liquidation sale - sad, but I was surprised it had lasted this long. There were two women in there accompanied by a guide dog, a beautiful creature apparently called Rupert-No who had to sniff everything on display within nose height.

I stopped at the food court for lunch, but for a veggie taco bowl rather than my usual jacket potato, as I had a jacket potato for dinner last night. Waterstones had lots of children's Christmas books on sale, and I was tempted by a pop-up book about How Santa Works, which tells how the elves read letters from children and check on a computer to see if the children have been good, and how after the party Santa throws for his elves on Christmas Day, everyone sleeps until the spring. However, I managed to resist this, and a copy of That's Not My Puppy - if I start buying books for Bean every time I visit Waterstones, she's going to need a separate library as well as a warehouse to store all her toys.

As well as looking online for DMs I might also look for soaps. I found out that Lush have moved from Corporation Street to somewhere else I didn't see, and The Body Shop only had the same stuff they always have in. I prefer soaps to shower gels, will see what Lush have on their online store but am also interested in looking up some natural ingredients soaps, can't remember if it was Oxfam or Greenpeace or someone else but a while back one of the major charities used to sell a big box of assorted cubes of soap made with olive oil, sage, rosemary etc. Something seasonal, preferably.

Monday Mail

Monday, November 14th, 2011 09:44 pm
tourmaline: (strawberry shake)
Things are utterly mad at work, at the end of last week our new website launched (or most of it did), plus we also had a new database last week. Also, my ezine is now compiled and edited completely differently, and to top it all, my friend who is the admin lead for our awards scheme broke her ankle by falling off her new super-high-heeled shoes at the awards ceremony. So, one person laid up until Christmas and two of us super-busy, cos on top of all this there's everything that usually happens including covering for another colleague who's still on maternity leave.

So, I have been shopping online - and thinking how different our lives would be without Amazon. I've done some Christmas shopping, but also something for myself, which arrived today:

Sopranino & Descant

Plus copies of the tutoring book I had when I first started learning, and its sequel. The recorders are Yamaha, because they were nicer-looking than the Aulos and they come in a heavy cloth case (along with little tubs of "recorder cream"). The picture above is a quick snap from my iPhone, it doesn't really do the recorders justice, they are both quite wonderful to look at. I've never been near a sopranino recorder before, it has the same fingering as the treble, and it's really light and high-pitched. It makes the descant look bigger and more solid than I remember my school descant recorder ever being, I remember back then when I got my school treble recorder how it made the descant look small and like a little kid's toy.

I'd like to also get a treble and a tenor, there are keyless tenors available now but I really want one with a traditional key, I'm sure Yamaha will be able to supply both. I'd also like to find copies of the series of recorder books we used in junior school (book 1 - black cover, decant/tenor; book 2 - blue cover, descant/tenor; book 3 - red cover, treble/sopranino).

There's a national organisation which has regional groups, including some near me, and they play in stuff like Christmas concerts and community music festivals etc. If I stick with this and I'm good enough, it sounds like fun.

And now I am watching the House ep "The Dig" yet again. I think I like it not only for the storyline, but Hugh looks ravishing and I'd love him to take me on a road trip like the one House takes Thirteen on.

New Coat

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 07:22 pm
tourmaline: (house & wilson)
I finally found a new coat I like. I wanted something to replace a medium-weight jacket I bought about six years ago, which is still awesome except the lightly fluffy stuff inside is starting to come out - but this embroidery on the back is still cool:


I went to New Look first, and they had so much choice, including some really nice duffel coats. When I buy clothes I vary between sizes 14 & 16 depending on what it is, how it's supposed to fit, and where it's from, but I always look for size 16 in outerwear. So I tried on a couple of size 16 duffel coats in New Look and neither would fasten over my bust. One didn't even meet in the middle. Be warned, New Look are now officially a waste of space.

I looked in Marks & Spencers, thinking they'd at least have something that fitted, but they don't seem to have got going in terms of coats & jackets, unless it's a little furry jacket to wear over your Christmas party dress or you're a mad middle-aged aunt in cerise lipstick and clip-on fake pearl earrings. Thankfully I found something at Next - this blue Parka with furry trim - which fits, although it assumes my waist is a bit higher than it really is. It is a bit snug with the zip fully up, but nothing like the zip on the jacket it's replacing. And it's not too thickly padded - I have a big black quilted jacket with gold lining for the really cold weather, so it only needs to be something in-between.

After the clothes shopping I went to M&S food hall, their coleslaw is the yummiest ever and they're in full swing with Halloween goodies. Even their plainly-obvious-what-it-really-is stuff is good fun, for example they have big bags of cheesy puffs which they describe as Witches' Toes, and lots of fun chocolatey things too. I bought a bag of salt & vinegar flavour spider's webs, and a last-gasp-of-summer mango & prawn salad for tomorrow's lunch. It's such a shame the excellent Borders went out of business and was replaced with the pointless New Look, but I'm so pleased I've got access to this little row of shops near me, so cheering when I need to be cheered.
tourmaline: (coffee)
First thing changing is the date for the extremely stressful database-and-website project at work, which is now launching in November because there's so much work to do beforehand. This means I won't be on leave when it all happens, and it suits me more because other crucial things will have been completed by then. It was set to start early October because some lunatic had the idea that people only go away on holiday in July and August. Thankfully it's been put back so hopefully this means we can get it to work properly.

There was a HUGE spider on the wall at work today :( :( :( It was right at the top, on the little inner wall that separates off the photocopier room from the main office. And we don't have a spider-catcher. I hope it's gone by tomorrow and doesn't return.

Am not at Zumba again, because I like how my knee doesn't hurt at all when I don't go. Still no news, according to her website, of my former yoga teacher finding a regular venue to restart kettle classes, I'd be interested in going to them so I can develop my technique properly. Her website right now is full of stuff about the Christmas party, cos she always holds it the first weekend in December to make sure it doesn't clash with anything else like family or work or neighbourhood Christmas happenings people may have, which is a good idea but I'm trying not to think about Christmas just yet.

Not thinking about Christmas is easier to do when you don't go into Boots or Marks & Spencer. Yesterday I went into both, they have Christmas stuff edging onto shelves but thankfully no Christmas catalogues yet. I really needed some new boots cos mine are wearing out, unfortunately Next don't have anything suitable for work so I went to the cheapo little shoe shop inside the main building and bought some boots with good cleated soles for £15. Even if I find something else that I wear more, these will be good for the snowy weather - they're warm too, a bit too warm today with the summer temperatures we've had.

Tomorrow I have sushi to make. Have decided to just make the one batch, it usually yields about 50-60 pieces which should be fine as it's all towards lunch. And I might not include carrot, which might be a first.

A Week Off

Monday, August 1st, 2011 07:51 pm
tourmaline: (strawberry shake)
I would've posted last week, I'm sure, if LJ hadn't been hit by the DDoS. I had a week's leave last week, I wanted to get a bit of a break in before everyone else starts their summer holiday leave. I didn't really do much, got plenty of studying in (trigonometry, which is for me one of the easier branches of mathematics), went to Birmingham and bought lots of sweets as usual and also as usual had a jacket potato for lunch.

I also bought Bean's birthday present - she's a year old mid-month, and is growing up fast into a proper little girl. She's still a bit away from walking I think, but I think the main obstacle is that she's not interested and can get about quickly by crawling. She can now crawl down the step into the extension. The first time she crawled of the big step at the bottom of the stairs she overbalanced and ended up gamboling off the end - she was lying there on her back, there was a brief silence which I thought was one of those brief silences you get from little children just before they wail and howl the building down, but instead she started laughing and giggling and then got up.

The only downside to all this time spent with Bean recently is that picking her up on Saturday I twinged something in my back. It hadn't been great to start with, I must have been sleeping at an odd angle, and picking her up finished it off. It's much better than it was now (ie I can walk and I don't need painkillers during the day) but I think a return to Zumba classes will have to be postponed.

Spending Spree

Saturday, April 9th, 2011 08:13 pm
tourmaline: (hugh laurie)
I went into town today, a couple of specific purchases which I couldn't find elsewhere. I wanted to buy something nice to wear when I go to see Hugh Laurie, and I don't really have anything apart from work stuff. Given that A, my friend from work who's coming with me, is tall and thin and slinky and looks fantastic in absolutely anything, I need something a bit good. I went to Debenhams, spent my Christmas giftcard and another £75 on a Betty Jackson Black maxi-dress and a layered top. More than I'd usually think of spending, but better quality than the cheaper stuff I tried on. Now I need to find some black low-heeled sandals and a silver necklace to wear with the dress. I also went to M&S and bought a Paddington Bear for Bean for Easter, as no-one had any nice chicks or bunnies - only scruffy sad-looking bunnies or sinister-beaked chicks.

Mum & Dad are watching Mamma Mia right now, it's on ITV - Dad's quite enjoying it, given that last year he had a big rant about its existence, saying why don't people just listen to an ABBA CD instead. I think it helps that Julie Walters is in the film. Speaking of whom, I'm working through my new DVDs and have currently arrived at Wood & Walters, which is fun, a bit of a strange experience sometimes as it's thirty years old, so some of the references and styles require a bit of casting one's mind back.

Now I have a Cadburys Easter Egg shell. Sainsburys are selling milk chocolate Cadburys shells, just foil, no fancy boxes or additionals, for £1 each. Delish.
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Default)
I did dye my hair, with newly-bought hair dye. My current colour is terracotta red, and I've got some honey-chestnut to use as well, because it was two for £10 at Tesco. As expected, Dad's first reaction to my newly-coloured hair was to do a Janet Street-Porter impression.

I dyed my hair yesterday, and today I went into Birmingham. Going out early (8.30am) paid off, the bus/train ticket is more expensive but worth it, by 9.45am I was walking through New Street Station, if I'd waited for the off-peak I would've just got on the bus by that time and saved only around £1.20. The peak fare is worth it to me, so long as I can set out sufficiently early to notice the difference.

I bought most of my intended purchases - a new watch strap, Hotel Chocolat goodies (the chocolate marbles), JellyBelly Jellybeans - the assistant in Selfridges also gave me three 10g sample packs of Jellybeans, a new bag, and summer dress & cardigan set for Bean. I stopped at the Waterstones branch of Costa for breakfast of coffee and a scrambled egg & mushroom toastie-type thing (delicious), and ended the shopping spree with my usual lunch of jacket potato with tuna.

Couple of pictures )

Tomorrow I am visiting my friend for her birthday, which means I get out of visiting my cousin for her birthday and to meet her son's very pregnant girlfriend. I hope all goes well for them in that department, but I have to be honest and say I'm really not interested. I have Bean, I have the six of us, that's where my interests lie.

Hairdye Advice

Saturday, February 5th, 2011 03:30 pm
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Default)
Hello netfriends :) I am after some advice regarding semi-permanent hair dye:

Hair Colour

The above has been lurking in the bathroom cabinet for a few years (five by my estimation), I only re-discovered it after my mother said she'd seen it. Thing is, I'm wondering if it's still good to use. There's no use-by dates or manufacturing dates on it, but I don't know if they were required five years ago. If anyone has any advice about whether it's still good to use, please let me know, otherwise I'll hopefully find something in one of the bigger Boots stores next week.

Thank you :)

I Went Ahead...

Monday, January 10th, 2011 11:30 pm
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Default)
...and ordered a Kindle. The one with 3G + WiFi, and a blue cover with light. £200ish altogether! I ordered it to be delivered to work, then five minutes later thought it would be better to come direct to here, so I tried to change but got error messages, went back a few minutes later and got the message about the order being prepared for despatch so cannot be changed. Except it's being prepared for despatch in two day's time, so could it really not come here? Bah. Although it does mean that according to their estimates, by this time next week at the latest, I should be Kindling.


Sunday, January 9th, 2011 09:13 pm
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Default)
I'm thinking of treating myself to a Kindle. I know there are Kindle-lovers out there, any advice on what to do, recommended accessories etc, please leave a comment. I'm especially interested in how easy it is to find the books etc one is interested in, I think much of mine is likely to be classic fiction, has anyone ever encountered problems finding older publications?

Thanks in advance for your help :)

Venturing Out

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 05:51 pm
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Default)
Day 363 Have been to Sainsburys - it's very foggy out, this was the view from the car park:

Foggy Scene

No sleep until well past 4am again, my nose is still fdksjfkljflkasjf but not as much as it was, but am still coughing at night, which is what keeps me awake for so long. Have bought a few more items for sushi-making, which will happen tomorrow (I have shop-bought sushi for today), plus a few dips but DUH! I forgot breadsticks, will have to make do with plain tortilla chips :(
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Default)
Day 344 I went shopping after work again, same place, bought two pairs of jeans from Marks & Spencer:

New Jeans

I've never seen grey jeans before, but they fit excellently so I bought both, even though I only set out to buy one pair. I bought them because I went to put on my jeans this morning, and they were too shrunken to be comfortable, couldn't breathe properly. This, in despite of my recent waist-tightening courtesy of the Friday lunchtime yoga-pilates classes. The shrunken jeans in question are the lightweight denim-canvas-type material rather than full-on heavyweight denim. So, I now have two new pairs of jeans of a decent weight, and there's a bag of clothes - two pairs of lightweight shrunken jeans, one pair of trousers, and seven or eight T-shirts - waiting to go to the charity shop next week.

Christmas Lights

Thursday, December 9th, 2010 07:22 pm
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Default)
Day 343 Went shopping after work, the little collection of shops near me with the giant Tesco, plus M&S, Boots, Clintons etc. They have their Christmas decorations up, this is their tree:

Christmas Shopping Lights

I managed to get a replacement for Bean's lost tree ornament with her name on. Also bought some assorted food from M&S. Found out at work today that the guy I picked out for Secret Santa won't be there, which means I had to pick another name. I don't know if New Name is a tea drinker, if not that means I'll have to buy another gift.