Tag Archives: Tesco

The Wire

So new for 2013; I now live in a house situated behind a wire fence, does this make me a prisoner? Hmm not exactly but that depends on how you look at it. I can come and go as I please but to do so I must confirm my identity to anyone who questions my presence. I must tell a man I don’t know if Tesco is delivering my shopping, or if we order a pizza and curly fries on a Friday night. It’s all very surreal and will definitely take come getting used to.

I am once again ill and very worried that my long-awaited operation (scheduled for this Saturday) will be cancelled due to my ill-health. My gp thinks I may have coeliac disease which is why I have been so ill and spending the twilight hours either on the bathroom floor or upside down on the sofa (eases the slipped disc pain). Either way it’s going to go down to the wire on Friday night as to whether I’m well enough to under go the surgery. Bloody wire again!

I am more determined than ever to learn something this year. It’s not a resolution per se just an idea that’s been floating around for several months when I’ve waited to get the house move and Christmas and New Year out-of-the-way first. I’ve made a start and I’m now being hounded by the like of ICS and their £500 price tags for non certified courses, pah jog on!

Contortionist, posed in studio, ca. 1880.

Contortionist, posed in studio, ca. 1880.

The best thing I have to report on this very slow-moving, foggy second week of January is that I am a stone lighter than I was in December. Granted the only physical exertion I’ve done is driving the porcelain bus (vomiting into the toilet for those not familiar with the term) but hey, a loss is a loss. For the first time I have started the new year by losing weight, now I’ve just got all that other stuff to accomplish!

A late night blog post is quite rare for me, I thought I would set myself a challenge and it turns out that yes I can smash out 402 words, order my Tesco shop and enrol at The OU whilst lying upside down on the sofa. What’s your challenge for 2013 and more importantly how’s it going?

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Well Excuse Me

Barney's Best Manners; this was one of the Bar...

Barney’s Best Manners; this was one of the Barney & Friends videos to have never aired on TV. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whatever happened to manners?

I know I’m not alone in wondering this as it’s a frequent topic of conversation among my friends and the common factor between us all is that we have to use public transport on a daily basis, also known as a manners-free zone! In the last week I have traveled on three commuter trains with two small children for over an hour at a time when other passengers wouldn’t allow us to have the empty seat next to them, they must have been carrying diamonds or something because their luggage was precious enough to have a seat all of its own. You probably read that last sentence and thought if it was me I would have stood my ground and got someone to move, but here’s the clincher, I did stand my ground and all I got in return was every excuse under the sun and blank stares.

Does anyone say thank you anymore? You know like if you hold a door open for someone or if you stand to one side to allow them to get past? I’ve been stood waiting to get on a bus in the city, having stood there at the front of the queue for some time, only for a woman to barge in front of me when the bus actually arrived. When I tutted and loudly said ‘Oh I’m sorry was I going to sit in YOUR seat’ she turned around and replied ‘Go on you get on with the baby’ like she was doing me a favour?  Another frequent incident on the buses is kids swearing. I’ve had to ask school kids on tons of occasions to stop swearing loudly in front of my kids, although 9 times out of ten they ignore me and continue calling each other every name under the sun at megaphone level.

When I was a kid (don’t worry this isn’t going to be War and Peace) I remember my brother getting a badge at Cubs for helping a woman with her shopping. Imagine witnessing a young lad approach a woman in Tesco to ask if he could carry her shopping for her, it’s just so out of character today.

I suppose the knock on effect of bad manner’s is retaliation. My frustration bubbled over during the bus queue incident and I retaliated to the rude woman and let myself down by getting angry, however if you continue to allow people to take advantage then how do you get anywhere in life, literally? If you don’t ask you don’t get a seat on the bus or train, if you don’t hold a door open for someone then why would they do it for you? How does that saying go again…..treat others as you want to be treated, yeah right if Barney can’t even teach manner’s to kids then we’re all doomed.


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When The Ends Don’t Meet

What do you do when the ends won’t meet, money-wise I mean, when you work, you care for your family and have next to no social life yet the money is still never enough? Look for a better paid job, yep good luck with that in the current jobs market. So if there’s no prospect of more pay you have to tighten your belt on all the things that money has to cover right?

Every month Geordie and me sit down with the kitchen calendar and plan out what needs to be spent for the month. We’ve resorted to walking around Tesco using the calculator on my phone as we shop to make sure we don’t go over budget, it’s embarrassing as hell but it’s got to be done so our kids can have birthday presents and school uniforms etc. You might think well why don’t we both work? I’m still at home with our youngest who is 1 now and would have no trouble in going to nursery. When you do the maths I would be going to work for £1.26p an hour once childcare and travel costs are covered. Is it worth it to pay someone else to care for our daughter, not to us, no.

Recently we were a little short for our daughters birthdays which conveniently follow one after another in fairly quick succession. In the last few weeks we needed a small cash boost following our washing machine breaking, the girls snapping their bunk-beds into pieces by jumping on them to Jessie J and our car breaking down 150 miles away from home…September has not been kind to us.

Classic Tiffany inspired 6 claw setting design...

(Photo credit: Jewels Globe)

From past experiences I’m very wary of accumulating debt and friends have warned me against the dangers of the quick pay-day loans that are popping up with their 400% interest rates all over the place, so I decided that my engagement ring made for good collateral against a short buy back loan with a national retailer. Apparently this way of raising cash against items you own seems to be the way forward, there are no credit checks, small interest rates and basically if you don’t pay back the money as agreed in the contract, you lose your goods. I’m new to this whole thing so I thought I’d wander around a little and find out what the best deal was, five stores later I was starting to lose hope.

According to the bored looking staff in every store I wandered into, diamond solitaire rings are ten a penny! I hope Geordie won’t mind me telling you this but I know he paid almost three thousand pounds for my engagement ring which to me is a hell of a lot of money. It’s just 18 months old and has certification and paperwork etc. The best possible price I could get to either sell or secure a temporary loan was £200. My beautiful ring that means the world to me is worth £200 to Cash Converters! Gob smacked isn’t the word. Another retailer offered me £60 for the white gold band but said they would chuck the diamond! On hearing this I put the ring back on my finger and as I type it is shining proudly like it has done since the day Geordie asked me to marry him.

I am all for finding alternative ways to make money while I’m not physically working, I’ve used Ebay and Preloved to sell some items to make a little money but it’s back pocket change really and not a reliable source of income. I’ve done some pretty crappy jobs over the years and I’m far from work shy, it’s just increasingly difficult to find a job with a good salary and affordable childcare.

I suppose I’ll have to rush the little one into potty training to save money on nappies next?

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Birds of Paradise

If for some mad, mad reason you have read all 60+ of my articles you may have realised that in the last few weeks I’ve written a little more philosophically than normal. With lots going on and big decisions to be made I have begun to seek a kind of meaning to what I’m doing with my life and how I am to achieve my goals.

Like a lot of people I have struggled with the economic downturn in the last 12 months or so, and in true Geordies Girl tradition I have heaped it all on my plate at once and spent insane amounts of time worrying about how to deal with it all. I’m a bit of a pessimist, I used to believe that by thinking the worst all the time I’d be less likely to be let down, however I know now that this isn’t the case.

So after coming through pneumonia, voluntary bankruptcy, relationship breakdown, pregnancy and birth, marriage and a huge house move all in twelve months, I realise I’d made of stronger stuff than I thought.

When I came out of court after having my bankruptcy granted I wandered around the city centre trying to come to terms with my actions which had spanned ten years. I got a Top Shop card when I turned 18 and was still paying for it a decade later, talk about irresponsible. Needless to say I didn’t wander into a clothes shops but I did see an item that would give me a little bit of hope for a brighter, debt free future.

In Wilkinson’s discount store (I was there buying bleach of all things) I noticed a little bird ornament. It was a small black enamel bird, no markings, details or engravings at all, just its little plump body, head and beak. It sparked an idea about having your wings clipped, or being trapped in a situation. The ornament was only £2.50 but given what I had gone through that morning, the thought of spending money on anything that wasn’t completely necessary put the fear of god into me. Also, my pessimistic subconscious reared its head and as I stood turning this bit of hope over in my hands, I believed that if I bought it something else would go wrong. I put it back on the shelf and walked away, hope wasn’t for me.

I’ve seen the little bird a few times over the last 16 months, I’m not ashamed to say I buy my bleach and hair dye from Wilkinson’s (It’s cheaper than Tesco for Live XL hair colour!!) I even told Geordie all about the little bird and how I felt when I first saw it. He encouraged me to get it, maybe it would work in the same way The Secret does, find something to focus all your positive thoughts and energy on and it will breed positivity? But I couldn’t do it.

Not until last week anyway, I went into town specifically to get this little bird and I chose a colour that I associate with my two little girls because they both look beautiful in lilac. My little bird is looking to the sky, because that’s where we’re heading. I’ve finally begun to believe that the only thing stopping me being positive and pushing on to do the things I want to achieve is me. My little bird has helped me get some amazing contacts and meetings lined up to showcase my writing plus the continued interest in the blog gives me a little lift every day. I’ve been massively inspired by lots of friends and their life experiences, illness, weddings, births, family and of course Geordie and his outrageous opinions. I’m pushing on and feeling really good about it. I hope this post will resonate with those who feel stuck in a rut and in need of change. I know it’s not easy but when you get going the freedom you feel is exhilarating.  So here is to you, get yourself an object and make it your talisman for a bright future full of possibility. Don’t you know Bird is the word?


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Formally Yours

It was a whirlwind weekend for social events here in the north-west and whether you attended The Grand National at Aintree, or just placed a cheeky bet at your local William Hill, the chances are you will have seen the hundreds of photographs that have graced every newspaper and gossip site since it all began last Thursday. Unfortunately I was unable to go this year and I’m disappointed to miss out on the preparation frenzy.

Earlier in the week my husband and I were invited to a black tie event to celebrate St Georges Day at his workplace, the dress code is an age-old tradition for any formal event in the forces and strictly adhered to. To top off a week of dressing up we have my sister’s wedding on Saturday, so this morning I am happily slobbing out in joggers and hoody while I write, at least until I have to go out in public later on. I absolutely love dressing up but when I’m in the comfort of my home, dress code’s are null and void much to my husbands dismay.

With so many occasions happening in a short space of time, the main topic of conversation among my friends has been dressing up. The majority are all for it and go all out to complete their look, nails, hair, eyelashes etc. My friends who chose the more casual look are able to effortlessly rock jeans and a top to any occasion, something I have never perfected. Since broaching the subject many different opinions have surfaced focusing on whether a dress code is suggested or enforced. For The Grand National meeting at Aintree the dress code is as follows;

Although there is no official dress code, smart is preferable and is often adopted. Aintree is a spectacle of colour for all three days of the race meeting, with many using their trip as an opportunity to showcase their favourite race day outfits. Hats are optional too, but are frequently worn. Sports clothes and fancy dress are not permitted for the John Smith’s Grand National meeting.

Merely a suggestion and there have been many race goers who have pushed this to the limit, i.e.girls in bikini’s, heels and fascinators. With regards to the formal events at my husbands work, there is no way it would ever be acceptable to ignore the rules of traditional dress. Whilst I doubt that a woman would be asked to leave should her cocktail dress be an inch above the knee, it would certainly be noted and possibly have an impact on future social invitations. To make steps toward rolling with the times, the forces also organise a huge amount of informal events which are equally if not more popular. Lets face it, when you can spend more money on alcohol and less on hiring a tux it’s a no-brainer for most young guys.

But is at all about money? Do you have to spend a lot of money to be able to attend these events? That’s a difficult question to answer than I thought because people have their own opinion on money and what is ‘expensive’. The last time I was at the races (2010) my outfit cost a total of £130 and I spent around £50 getting my hair and make-up done. I think I did okay? Now that I have two kids and more financial restrictions but so many practical outfit options from cheaper stores, I think I could easily create a perfectly acceptable look for around £40. Honestly, have you seen the shift dresses at Florence & Fred, Tesco?

Thanks to some lovely friends I have showcased some races outfits that haven’t broken the bank, including some tailor-made garments and I think they look very glam indeed. Just a small note following all the nasty remarks by the haters in the newspapers and online .. I’ll bet that all of those women looked in the mirror on Friday morning rocking  their carefully chosen outfits with their hair coiffed and nails done and said ‘I look fab and I’m going to have a great time’ ….So don’t hate because you weren’t there.

I will finish with a tweet from Steve Timmins from Liverpool’s Juice FM who I think knocked the nail on the head….

The Ladies Day snidefest really pisses me off. They’re dressed up, having fun. Bore off with your ‘slags in hats’ remarks.

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