Thursday, 30 May 2013

My Garden Project

At our house we have a little front garden. There is no grass which I'm quite happy about as I wouldn't want to have to get a lawnmower for such a small area. It's nice to have a little project, and the garden is small enough that it doesn't take too long to maintain. 

However, when we moved in to the house the front garden looked absolutely hideous! One plant had completely taken over the whole garden and people walking past had thrown loads of rubbish into the garden. The house is on a busy road and I'm not really surprised people treated the garden like a tip when it looked like rubbish anyway. 

I really wanted to get rid of the plant that was taking over but since we're just renting I don't know if we're allowed to, apparently you also have to burn it if you want it gone forever! I don't think people would be too happy if I started a small fire right next to a busy road, for all I know the smoke from the plant would be really thick as well, I'd rather not get arrested just for burning a plant. I cut the plant down as much as I could, I know it will grow back (it's only a week and a half since I did it and it's already grown 20cm!) and this way it will be easier to keep it under control when it does. 

About halfway...
I filled a whole shopping bag with the rubbish people had thrown into the garden! I'm hoping that now that the garden doesn't look like a tip anymore people won't thrown things in it. 

I've planted some bulbs and seeds so hopefully in a couple of weeks the garden will look nice and flowery. That's if the days of hail we had didn't kill it all off!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Kissing Frogs

I’ve been doing some online dating lately… Now don’t worry, I’m careful, the first few dates until I know them better will always be in public places! 
 Although online dating has become quite common there is still a fair bit of negativity about it. A lot of people still have quite strong opinions about it. And I admit, a couple of years ago when someone told me they were online dating I my first thought would be that whatever they started probably wouldn't last, and also that it was dangerous; all weird guys… Why would someone "normal" need to go online to find someone? Actually I still think that when I see the profile of a good-looking guy that seems normal, why would he need to go online to meet someone? I get suspicious straight away; does he only want sex? Is it a different person with a fake picture? … But then again I’m online so why not him?
 Then of course there is the whole discussion about going on a dating site you have to pay for versus one that's free. At first I was thinking that if you go on one that's free there is going to be even more weirdoes as they don't have to pay anything, so you're probably more likely to meet a "sane" person on a pay site, but then I heard about someone that had met their partner on a free site… I've tried both. Judging from the pay site I tried there seems to be less choice on the pay one as not that many people want to pay a small fortune a month to meet someone, and there are just as many crazies! So to be honest I don't think it makes much of a difference.
 I decided to try online dating once I moved back to the UK before I actually moved back here. The thing is I do have a few friends here but I already know that most of them don’t have anyone they might introduce me to that I might be interested in (although maybe one will suddenly surprise me?!), so I decided that I would try online dating as a way to meet people I probably wouldn’t meet otherwise. 
 One of my friends is in a serious relationship (as in planning to get married and having children etc.) with a guy she met online, which I admit did help me decide to actually go ahead with it.
 There are some real weirdoes out there! I won't pretend there isn't. But the good thing about online dating is that you're not sitting face-to-face with that weirdo (hopefully). You can just ignore them or send them a message saying you're not interested. Yes, you might "judge the book by its cover" on the profiles, but you don't have to worry too much about their feelings about it (as long as you don't write abuse to them) they do the same to you.
 One guy sent me a message saying "Would you like a much older guy to be your sugar daddy once a month?" Er, NO! At least he was honest about what he wanted though…. But I do shudder at the thought. Urgh!
 I never reply to messages saying; "you're gorgeous", thank you but I'd rather have someone that's interested in getting to know me than just focus on my looks! 
 I was talking to one guy, he seemed alright to start with, we even arranged a date, but in the days leading up to the date his messages just got really needy and clingy, it doesn't sound very nice but I could tell he would be a very needy boyfriend that would ask a thousand questions about where I was going and with who every time I went somewhere. When I cancelled on him, which I hate doing but sometimes you just have to, he basically tried to make me feel guilty about it… Dude! We've not even met! I have no obligations to you. He sounded very lonely but that's not my problem and I don't want it to be.
 I have only been on two dates so far, with two different guys. I would never date more than one guy at a time so these dates have obviously been a few weeks apart. It could have been 3 dates, but one stood me up(!), his loss. 
 The one that stood me up didn't send me a message to cancel and didn't send me a message with an explanation, but he did try to message me again the next day and most recently two weeks after he stood me up, still without an explanation but wanting a second chance. I don't think so. Why should I waste my time on him again?
 So, the two dates I've actually been on: 
 One was about a month ago, the guy was really nice, we'd been messaging and texting for a while and the messages was always long because we had so much in common and so many things we wanted to tell each other. We met up, the date went fine but unfortunately there was no romantic connection there at all on my part. It felt like I was just out for dinner with a friend, I didn't want anything other than friendship from him. 
 It was the same story with my second date. We got along but there just wasn't that romantic attraction on my part. There has to be something there to start a relationship! Both guys took it well when I said I didn't want to see them again (not in those words but they got the message). 
 I'd like to think I'm honest but nice when I tell them I don't want to see them. I know some people tell lies. One of my friends told me to tell the first guy that I had other plans when I cancelled the second date. I don't want to do that. 1. You're making that person think the date can still be had another day, and 2. It's lying! If someone cancelled on me I'd rather they just told they didn't want to see me than pretend they were busy, I'd be more hurt by the lie and at least I’d know where I was standing with them if they just told me the truth.
 No, it doesn't feel nice to have to say to someone "I don't want to see you again" but at least you're honest, and people take it better than you think they will. When you do cancel on someone just keep in mind that you don’t have to be rude, think about how you’d feel if you got the same message from someone and compose it accordingly. You/they might think "bastard/bitch" as soon as you/they see the message but it's not like you were in a serious relationship; you don't have any obligations to each other after ONE date. Just be honest, it's not that hard.
 Anyway, I digress. 
 I'm not sure if I'll actually meet anyone I will want a relationship with on any of these dates but I do hope to meet up with some more guys, just to see what happens, maybe I'll meet my prince charming, maybe not, but I won't know until I've tried. I just hope I don't have to kiss too many more *frogs before one of them turn out to be a prince! 
 What are your thoughts on online dating?

*When I say frogs I don't refer to their looks in any way at all! All it means is that they are just “plain” frogs that don’t turn into a prince for me, but they will be someone else's magic frog.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Credit Check

Whenever you want to get anything at all in the UK you have to go through a credit check, which is fair enough in one way, companies have to make sure you have the means to pay off whatever it is you want if you're not paying it all in one lump sum, but it does make it a bit difficult when you've only just arrived in the country.

They ask for an address, if you haven't lived there for at least 3 years they ask for the address before that. If you haven't lived at those two addresses for 3 years combined it's going to get difficult. I can't help thinking it's a bit discriminating to people that have just moved to the country since they usually want a UK address. With most things so far I have managed, but I did try to apply for a payment plan the other day and failed, and I'm sure it's because I haven't lived at only 2 addresses the last 3 years.

They also wanted a UK landline phone number. Why would I get a landline? (we are actually getting one in a couple of weeks but that's besides the point) I can manage just as fine with just my mobile. If it hadn't been for Joe I wouldn't be getting a landline at all, he's the one that wants it. I don't get why I need a landline number for a credit check anyway. I've never been asked for one before, they've been happy just getting proof of address and (luckily) my old Norwegian address. Oh well, I'm guessing that's why this credit check didn't get approved at that point, which seems silly since I've been approved on all the others so far.

Why can't they just take your bank details to make sure you have the funds or call your work to make sure you've got a job and is earning enough money? I don't really see the point in having to have had an address in the UK for three years or having to have a landline! It just seems a bit silly. And rather discriminating to people that have just arrived in the country. Are we not supposed to be able to pay things off monthly? Or rent a house/flat?

They also asked how long I'd been working in my current job. I'm sorry but what if someone has just changed jobs? Are they all going to fail the credit check because they've not worked in their current job for at least a year?

The credit check I didn't get approved for wasn't a big deal though, I was kind of thinking I wouldn't get approved anyway but it was worth a try as I could have gotten some expenses divided monthly instead of having to pay it all straight away. 

You don't find out why you've failed the credit check though, the company just get a yes or no answer. So at least there is some comfort in the fact that the company doesn't know why you've failed the credit check. Or is it a comfort? Wouldn't it just be better if the company knew that it was just because of not having stayed at one address long enough, or not having been in the current job long enough? That way maybe they could sort it out anyway? 

"I can see here that the only reason you didn't get approved is because you don't have a landline/a UK address for 3 years so we'll sort that payment plan out for you anyway as I can see you're able to pay it off"

Wouldn't that be better?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Posh beggars

I don't like the charity collectors on the streets. I will actually take a longer route than planned just to avoid them. The other day I knew where some of them were standing, so I walked through a store with two different entrances to avoid them. 

I get that they want to collect money for a charity, and it is usually a good cause, but if I want to donate to a charity I will do it online, or I will buy something where the proceeds go to charity. Like buying books at the Oxfam store or a birthday/Christmas present for someone at a charity store.

It wasn't so bad before I got a job, I would actually stop and chat with them for a sec and then tell then I couldn't donate as I didn't have a job (is that nicer as you actually talk to them or is it worse as you might be giving them false expectations?), some of them would keep saying "But it's only a couple of quid a month!" but most of them would understand and leave me alone. 

Now that I have a job though I feel slightly bad about saying no, but I think that's mostly about feeling bad for the people that actually have to do that job as a living. They are basically beggars. Yes, they're begging for someone else, you know the money you donate actually go to a good cause and not drugs, but still. They're beggars. I look at them as Posh Beggars.

Sure, if I get a different job, full time so I know how much I'm earning a month I might donate to a charity but I won't sign up to do it with one of the posh beggars, I'd do it online to a charity of my choice instead of feeling like I was being forced into donating to a charity I don't really want to donate to on the streets.

I get that they might have to go out on the streets to "promote" their charity as many might not know about it and it's a good way to make people think about donating to a specific charity, but there are so many ads on TV for charities now (not that I like those either) that they shouldn't really need to hit the streets, and also instead of trying to stop people and talk to them they could just hand out leaflets about the charities or something. That way people can read about the charity in their own home and decide whether to donate or not without feeling pressured. 

I wonder how those "beggars" feel. I couldn't do that job. Seeing people avoid me and pick up their pace to pretend they're in a hurry, pretend they don't see me. I could't do it. What must it feel like to them? They must be fairly confident people to be able to do that job!

The thing that's most annoying though is when you've said "no, thank you" or "no, sorry" and they keep pestering you. They even follow you and talk about the charity! I've said no, now back off! I get they have to be forward to try and get donations but no means no, no matter what the context. 

How do you feel about people collecting for charities on the street? Have you worked as one?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Smoothie week - day 7

For the last smoothie this week I decided to just throw together some leftover fruits.

The things I ended up throwing into the blender are: 1 mango, 1 banana, 3 kiwi, 3 tablespoons low fat natural yoghurt and a splash of orange juice.

Quite tropical so I decided to call it tropical goodness.

This brings an end to my smoothie week, for now anyway, maybe I will have another one later. Have you tried any of the smoothies?

Like I said at the start of this week I do usually make a smoothie every day but normally I just throw whatever I have into the blender without following a recipe. It has been fun to use some fruits I don't normally use in my smoothies this week, and there are still so many different smoothies to make like all vegetable smoothies, or dessert smoothies with ice cream, maybe I'll do that another week. I will probably go back to just throwing some frozen fruits and orange juice together now for my smoothies as it's cheaper and easier but at least I know a little more about what I like in smoothies and not.

What kind of smoothies do you like?

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Smoothie week - day 6

Today I made a booster smoothie.

For this smoothie you need 1 apple, 1 pear, 1 handful of frozen berries, a splash of orange juice and 2 tablespoons of low fat natural yogurt.

The smoothie was really nice but had a slightly weird consistency, I don't know if it's the apple or pear, maybe both, or the peel from them since I didn't peel them, I will have to try and remember to do that next time I use either of them and see how the consistency is then.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Smoothie week - day 5

Today I made a banana smoothie, very nice and easy to make, but the worst tasting smoothie so far! I will not be making it again! It was much worse than the banana and mango smoothie, at least I didn't want to pour the banana and mango smoothie out.

This is the ingredients you should not mix if you want to make a tasty smoothie for 2; 1 banana, 1 kiwi, 1 small apple, 1 pear and a splash of orange juice (approx 100millilitres).

I have drawn a big X across this recipe in my recipe book as I don't want to make the mistake of making it again!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Smoothie week - day 4

I decided to make my own recipe today, I had some strawberries that needed using.

I named it Smooth Citrus Kick, if you make it you'll understand why. This recipe is for two people. You need 150 grams fresh strawberries, 100 grams frozen raspberries, 1 banana, 1 kiwi and 300 millilitres orange juice. You could probably use less juice if you wanted to, 250 millilitres should be enough as it wasn't very thick.

I really enjoyed this smoothie, it was cold like I like it because of the frozen raspberries and very fresh.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Smoothie week - day 3

Today I made a Mango and Banana smoothie.

When I found the recipe it said it was for two people but I only got one glass out of it. You can use either mango or papaya for this smoothie, if you use papaya; discard the seeds. You need 1 mango, 1 medium banana, 1 tablespoon of tahini, tahini is sesame seed paste, I struggled finding it but apparently it lasts for ages and now I can try some more new recipes as I got a big jar! You also need 100 ml of orange or other fruit juice, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 small pot, approx 125 ml, of natural plain low fat yoghurt.

Not my favourite smoothie so far, the first few sips weren't very nice, I don't know if it was the tahini or what, it was drinkable though and I would like to maybe try it with papaya one time. I also think it would have been better if it had something frozen in it to make it colder. If you don't want to hunt down tahini you could probably substitute it with peanut butter.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Nuffield Health

There is no way I'll sign up for a membership with Nuffield Health at the moment, it's far too expensive, but I did get a free 1-day pass that I used yesterday.

I got the free pass off their website. When I signed up for the pass they said they'd call me to arrange a time for me to come in, which they did not, I had to call them in the end, good thing I noticed the pass has an expiration date!

It's been a while since I went to a gym so I decided to get someone to show me the equipment they have. I have been to the same gym before but that was 5-6 years ago and it was then called Cannons I think. The equipment has been updated since then but you can't log your exercise in any way other than writing it down yourselves, it's not one of those gyms that do "memory sticks" to put in the machine to register what you do.

The lady showing me the gym equipment didn't seem like she had done it before, she did occasionally say to remember to keep my back straight but other than that she didn't say anything about positioning myself or how it's best/safest to hold on to the equipment and stuff like that. She showed me how to adjust the seats and weight. I remember a different gym I went to made me use the equipment while they were watching just to make sure I knew how to use it safely, I think I prefer that as at least then you're sure you're using it correctly.

The gym itself was fine, I think the only thing I would actually use if I did sign up is the treadmill though, especially if I went there on my own. They do classes as well and they have a pool, if I signed up I would probably just go to the classes, that's what I did the short time I was signed up when they were Cannons.

But I don't think I will sign up. It's okay but for the price you have to pay I personally don't think it's worth it. There is another gym next door which I have also got a free pass for and will be trying out next week, this gym is much cheaper so if I like what I see on the free day pass I might actually sign up with it.

What do you like to do in a gym?

Smoothie week - day 2

Today I made a Raspberry Smoothie.

For one person you will need 125 grams raspberries, 150 grams low fat natural yoghurt, 2 drops vanilla essence and 1 teaspoon of honey. Because I used frozen raspberries, and I put those in before the yoghurt, not much happened when I turned the blender on, so I put a drop of milk and orange juice through the top hole of the blender until there was enough liquid to make it go round.

Joe thought this was the best smoothie I had made so far and I really enjoyed it as well, I couldn't really taste the vanilla but it was very fresh because of the raspberries, I wouldn't mind making this again maybe I'll try making it with fresh raspberries instead.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Smoothie week - day 1

I've decided that this week will be smoothie week. I usually make smoothies every day for breakfast or just for something to drink other than water during the day, normally I just put something random in it but this week I will actually use recipes and try some new ingredients.

This Banana and Strawberry smoothie recipe is for 1 person.

You need strawberries for this recipe, 50 grams. Do you know how little 50 grams of strawberries is?? 2 strawberries, it's nothing! You also need 1 small banana100 millilitres semi skimmed milk, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 4 tablespoons low fat natural yoghurt and 1 teaspoon of honey.

Put all the ingredients in the blender, blend until smooth, pour it into a glass and put the glass in the fridge for 10 minutes.

I thought it would be boring to have to wait 10 minutes before being able to drink it but I decided to sort out the rest of my breakfast and do the dishes while I waited.

The smoothie was ok. I wish I had frozen the banana or strawberries first as I've gotten used to proper cold smoothies but it was still nice. Very creamy. I'm not a big fan of natural yoghurt but I couldn't taste it at all in this smoothie. I think if I make it again I will put something frozen in it to make it colder but other than that it was very nice.

Saturday, 4 May 2013


I was at induction for my new job yesterday. There was myself and 9 other people there, 2 of whom are starting at the same co-op store as me. The 10 of us and the lady holding the induction all had a good time together.

It was interesting to learn more about the company I'm going to start working for and I am actually looking forward to starting on Wednesday.

One thing I learnt that I really like is that the only eggs the co-op sells are free-range, and proper free range, not 1000's of chickens cooped up in a barn pecking each other to death, they are actually outside. 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Woop woop!

Got a job!!

Got training tomorrow and first day on Wednesday. It's only part time so I will look for at least one more job as well but at least it's a start!

I really do need one more job as it's only 12 hours a week, they did say there is a fair bit of extra hours going but I still need one more job. I calculated it and the wage is only just enough to cover my rent, no bills or food or anything. But it's money, it's a little less I have to take out of my savings and hopefully I'll be able to mange on that until I get one more job.


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