Category Archives: Day-To-Day Stuff

Random musing about all the little things

Australia claims my Starbucks drinking buddy…

I got some really happy/sad news, in just over a week my lovely friend CB is emigrating to Australia. We’ve been friends for a relatively short period but every time we meet up at Starbucks, our chats literally go on for hours!

I admire her so much because she is brave enough to move thousands of miles away to start another chapter of her life. She is doing something I think I might want to do, but will probably never know if I have the guts to do it…

Lifestyle is a huge happiness factor; the sparkle in CB’s eyes when she talks about the last time she worked in Oz explains exactly why she’s going back. Of course it will be really difficult to move away from family and friends but with facebook, twitter, email and skype, it’s a long way from the days of keeping in touch with postcards and letters.

As a great fan of everything American, Other Half and I think we would like to move there and try out the work and lifestyle, at least for a year or two. It’s easy to think that now, knowing how difficult it is to actually get it (our chances are virtually nill) but in reality, could we really live so far away from the families we are so close to?

Back in the 60’s, my mam and dad both travelled to the bright lights of London from their homes in Sunderland and Devon, excited about who they would meet and what they would find. Their fearless nature led to a good few years of working hard and playing hard. Today’s version of London are places like America, Australia and even Dubai; you just need to work in the right kind of global company. There are opportunities out there, it’s often just a case of right time, right place… Maybe one day?

The power of Twitter to get a wiggle on…

Twitter iconWow, what a great day to be a customer! The power of Twitter shone through for me this week when I bought some bike shorts from Wiggle. I ordered them late on Tuesday night, chose free first class delivery, and the goods arrived Thursday morning. I tweeted Wiggle that day to convey my joy at their speedy delivery (because I always think you should tell someone if you are happy with their service!)

As I tried the shorts on that night, the padded liner was missing from one pair so, I packaged them up to send back the next day. I tweeted the following that night: 

@wigglebikeshop quick delivery but missing liner in shorts! 😦 testing out your customer services now – reserving judgement on first order!

At 8.45am the next day, I got a tweet from them:

@ThatCopyGirl Sorry to hear that, could you tweet me your order number and I will make sure this issue is dealt with ASAP! Have a nice day!

I retweeted this and added #impressivecustomerservice tag.

Two hours later, I also had an email from them apologising again and offering a £5 voucher for the inconvenience. Well done Wiggle for excellent customer service! 

Long gone are the days of writing letters or ringing customer services – this is the age of social media and instant responses. Tweeting = consumer power!

Service with a smile… American style!

I’ve been lucky enough to holiday in the wonderful USA and was reminded once again, that somethings are just done best American stylie! The Yanks are well-known for their friendly and welcoming attitude and, while we British may laugh at some of their OTT mannerisms, they have a lot to teach us about great customer service.

I was putting my credit card limit to the test in a Florida outlet shopping mall and wandered into a shop called ‘Dressbarn’. There were a myriad of dresses that I just had to try on and within 10 minutes, I had 6 different styles in my arms, and had only looked round half the shop. The Assistant came over and asked, “Can I set a dressing room up for you Ma’am?” She then unloaded the dresses from me and whisked them into a changing cubicle while I picked up another couple of styles.

As I entered my dressing room, the Assistant noticed my current t-shirt / shorts / trainer combo, and offered to bring me shoes to try on with the dresses. It was service like I have never experienced before and this wasn’t an isolated case. It seems to be the norm that Shop Assistants ask if anyone helped you while you shopped and, if you found everything you were looking for.

American Shop Assistants are on basic wage, the same as many of their British counterparts, yet their attitude is so different. They seem to care that you have a good shopping experience and are always offering to help. Shopping in Blighty often makes you feel like you are a ‘nusiance customer’ when you interrupt the staff in mid-conversation to ask for another size or, enquire about a particular style and get the blanket answer “If it’s not out, we haven’t got anymore”. 

As work takes up so much of our life, surely a friendly smile and a dose of American can-do attitude would make all of our lives just that little bit sunnier..?

My life in bite-sized pieces…

Got the January blues? I’m starting to feel them creep in (I’ve been back at work 4 days – there may be a connection!) so I thought the best way to counteract them is divide up my life into bite-sized pieces to see how things really are. Let’s sort the chocolate chip cookies (good stuff) from the coffee creams (bad stuff).

Family: I have a brilliant, loving, gorgeous boyfriend to live with, adore his parents, have the rest of my wonderful family ‘Up North’ who welcome me every time I turn up for the weekend – I’m chocolate chip cookie lucky! 😀

Home: We rent a lovely house, in a nice area, not too far from work, the gym and good shopping! – a definite big hunk of white tobelerone! 🙂

Friends: I’ve 2 extra special friends ‘Up North’ that I’ve known for 30 years, who never fail to entertain me with their lives and loves each time we meet. Since moving ‘Down South’ over 2 years ago, I’ve made some great friends and acquaintances during my various jobs, and a few have really made a positive impact on my life in different ways LO, JM, CS, CB, MD (I hope you recognise your initials!) – it’s a Hotel Chocolate moment! 😀 

Work: Is a constantly stressful place to be, whether in the office or at home; it buzzes around my head 24/7 so weekends offer little relief from the nagging reminders of what still needs to be started/finished/chased – coffee creams, coconut ice and turkish delight all round 😦

Future: Other Half and I both have birthdays coming up and after 18 long months, we have a holiday on the horizon – Vanilla bean cheesecake sums this up well! 😀 

So, putting these delightful treats into perspective, as the saying goes, it seems that my life is sweet, apart from the melted, dark chocolate coffee cream that is work…  do I carry on, nibbling around the edges in case it starts to taste better, or spit it out and take my chances with a completely new, mystery flavour?

Only time, (or a win on the lottery) will tell…

My resolution to beat the failure fairy…

I’ve pondered for a day about my non resolutions (because making actual resolutions just sets you up for failure!) and decided on a theme – holidays! We are off to sunny Florida at the end of March so I think even I have the stamina to keep up my good intentions for 3 months..! 

So, I pledge to myself and anyone else reading this, that I will:

  • Bodybrush my cellulite away (so the magazines tell me!) at least 3 times a week before I shower
  • Stop being so lazy when I get out of the shower and do a full body moisturise with my gorgeous Sanctuary Creme Souffle
  • Follow the online WeightWatchers eating plan to get rid of that final stone that every year, keeps me breathing in when wearing a bikini and hiding from the camera. I WANT A PROUD BIKINI PHOTO!

Ok, so it’s only 3 things for 3 months BUT SURELY, the best chance of success is to set yourself little challenges for a short amount of time? It will stop the failure fairy from visiting so soon…

Fancy joining me in my short ‘n’ sweet (non) resolutions? Let me know!

January resolutions – one year on…

How on earth can it be January 2011 already?!?

How have I managed to not write a single blog post in December?!?

Something has to change… and January is the month to do it! I had a sneaky look back at the resolutions I made (only to myself) last January, and am pleasantly surprised with what I found:

  • I’m going to get so fit I don’t have to breathe in when wearing a bikini on holiday – hmm, well I had a late surge in the last 10 weeks of the year when new job stress curbed my appetite and stripped off 10lbs…  this one is on the list every year for a reason I suppose…
  • I’m going to eat a more varied diet (we literally eat about the same 10 meals for the whole of last year) We did add some new meals to our diet and then ate those new same 10 meals for the whole of the year..!  
  • I’m only going to apply for jobs that really interest me so that I have a fulfilling career for the rest of my days Well, I did apply for that job in fashion that really interested me and now I’m in my-job-has-taken-over-my-life hell. Be careful what you wish for I guess!
  • I’m going to find a dentist and brave myself for the injections for my fillings in waiting I went to the dentist on numerous occasions last year and had many needles stuck in me with the aid of the stuff they rub on children’s gums – the Dentist said I was very brave 😮
  • I’m going toget ‘brave’ glasses (rimless is heading out, tortoise shell frames in!) Didn’t go the full tortoiseshell, but did choose lovely brown half frames that stand out and I love them!
  • See, this is why I only tell people about resolutions AFTER the event – you can just celebrate the victories and ignore the ones that didn’t work out so well! There is no point shouting your good intentions from the rooftops; everyone simply lies in wait, looking for the moment they can catch you out and any hard work you had put in, gets dismissed in an instant! 

    Time to get my thinking cap on for more (quiet) resolutions over the next 12 months…

    A night with Derren Brown…

    Other Half had given me an amazing surprise Christmas present of tickets to see Derren Brown, and it had been a long six months waiting to see the show. Derren has been touring with his Enigma show for two years and was near to the end of his run when he was playing Milton Keynes. We arrived an hour before doors opened and, were greeted by one of Derren’s assistants who asked to take a photo of each of us for involvement in the show later on. Nervously we both agreed and proceeded to let our imaginations run wild about what it might involve!

    We were in our seats just after seven and it never ceases to amaze me how many people turn up last-minute – personally, I like to soak in the pre-show atmosphere as it builds!

    Derren Brown's stage set

    Derren's stage set - it's designed that way for a special reason..!

    Just before Derren arrived, 60 members of the audience were invited to the side of the stage to list their 3 favourite things – I would have gladly joined in but we were in the upper circle so there was never a chance of beating the stampede below!

    An invitation to participate in Derren's show

    An invitation to participate...

    Derren came on stage at 7.35pm and proceeded to entertain and wow us all in equal measures – he has an amazing gift of interacting easily with the audience, making on stage volunteers feel at ease while sometimes making gentle fun at their expense. Frisbees were randomly thrown out to the audience throughout the night to pick volunteers (though Derren says that there is nothing truly random!)

    Our moment of fame arrived in the form of human ‘Guess Who’. Much like the children’s original board game, 30 of us had had a close up photo taken and we were paraded on the big screen on stage. Volunteers mentally picked a face and put one hand on Derren’s shoulder. He asked them questions which they answered in their head, and then used ‘the force’ to identify the face and name they were thinking of. The last volunteer chose a lady and all girls photographed had to stand up in the audience. Derren slowly swung his arm round and we each had to shout our name out when he pointed to the area we were standing in. Just from this, he was able to work out which one of us she had picked (sadly, not me!)

    There was a 20 minute interval and Derren came back to entertain until 10.30pm – it was a truly amazing show. As an avid follower on Twitter, I knew he regularly comes to the stage door for a meet ‘n’ greet after the show, so we went straight there after exiting the theatre. We waited for an hour and at last, with many apologies for keeping us so long, we got to meet Derren in the flesh.

    Me and Derren

    "Derren, you were brilliant tonight..."

    I hung around ’til most of the crowd had dispersed and he signed my ticket and programme. I reminded him I was in ‘Guess Who’ and also mentioned the telephone/sausage/monkey list (to anyone that doesn’t understand, read Derren’s brilliant book Tricks of the Mind). He said every time he manages to forget about that list, someone always reminds him! 

    Me and Derren hanging out!

    "No Charlotte, I thought you were brilliant in Guess Who..."

    With lots of photos under our belt, we left for home having had a thoroughly fantastic night!