Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Misheard Song Lyrics

I love singing.   I always have and am fairly certain I always will.   I had the pleasure of singing in my school (for the Queen, no less) as well as playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, and various other scary performing challenges in my youth. 

These days, my singing is carefully restricted to the privacy of my car or house; generally when I’m completely alone.   On occasion, when cleaning at home, I will make Les suffer through my singing until he finally loses the will to live and retreats to his shed for a bit of peace and quiet.     And a break from listening to Miranda Lambert…again. 

Despite my love of music and my insistence on singing wherever I go, I am aware that there are many, many song lyrics I tend to bumble through during riotous versions of some country classics because I don’t actually know what the proper words are.   And these are not just songs that are new to me.   I can go for years not knowing the exact wording of a verse or chorus without ever finding time to work out what the person is really trying to say.  Until now.

Misheard Song Lyrics
How I think I look in my car.
During my recent Tuscany trip, I spent an evening sitting on the deck with Les, drinking wine and laughing maniacally as I Googled the words to some of the tunes I listen to on a regular basis; finally working out what I *should* have been chanting all this time.    Some of them were pretty close and others, well…not so much.  

There are many instances of where I’ve simply gotten a single word mixed up due to the accent of the artist (normally country musicians from the South of the States) and I can understand how I go wrong there without any issue.   

For example, Miranda Lambert sings, in Hurts to Think, about ‘looking for affection at the bottom of a bottle again’.     *I* thought she was singing about looking for affection at the bottom of a bottle of Gin and,  latterly, at the bottom of a bottle of Jim (as in Jim Beam).     Although I got the wording wrong, I was in the right ball park and the song, at least, still made perfect sense.   It makes no difference WHAT she was drinking; just that she was drinking SOMETHING. 

Misheard Song Lyrics
What I thought Miranda had been singing about all this time. 
In ‘State Lines’ by British country duo, The Shires, the line *I* sing is: ‘When you roll your eyes da da….cornucopia…da da Mason Dixon line’.   As it turns out, what *they* sing is:  ‘When you roll your eyes like a COOL NEW YORKER, driving across the Mason Dixon line’   And this makes SO much more sense in a song about different states and driving and stuff.      

The whole ‘cornucopia’ thing was, quite frankly, mental.    It is a vastly under utilised word in modern song writing, though. 
One of my favourite lyrics from when I was younger and tended to listen to Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and various others, was from the Hendrix classic, Purple Haze.    Where Jimi sings ‘excuse me while I kiss the sky’, me (and countless others) would sing ‘excuse me while I kiss this GUY’.    I was happy to live in a time where one of my heroes, who I assumed was straight, was kissing men and then recounting the experience in his songs.    More power to him, I thought, but alas, no.     I still think my line is better and so I’ve refused to change it. 

Misheard Song Lyrics
'excuse me while I kiss this guy...'  You know...or not.
My fondest recollection of a family member making a similar mistake was when my young cousin, Colin, would sing his favourite Christmas carol; ‘Away In A Manger’.  Instead of the line ‘no crib for his bed’, oor wee Colin would sing ‘no crisps for his bread’.    I thought it was extremely sweet that he was so concerned about Jesus’ dietary requirements.   I mean, who the Hell wants to live in a world without crisps?  Not me, that’s for sure.  

Leslie has a few unique misheard lyrics of his own, but his are not quite as tame as mine.   In the Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton duet ‘The Long Run’, the chorus starts; ‘we’re just  too selfish, I guess…’  It absolutely does NOT go: ‘We’re just two silver sha**ers’, which is what Les tends to sing.   

I now find it impossible to hear to the song without thinking of that line.   I’d always sung the right words before, but it is amazing how well the alternative line fits and how hard it is to listen to the song now without thinking of the couple as some sort of sex crazed oldies.  

Misheard Song Lyrics

Although I generally put my misheard song lyric ability down to the difference between my accent and the singer of the song, one of my longest running wrongly worded tracks is by Scottish band, Hue and Cry.    Basically, I have no excuse here as their accents are exactly the same as mine.    I’ve been listening to the band for the best part of 20 years and only rectified the song lyrics to one of their biggest hits a few weeks ago.   It’s amazing to finally know what Pat Kane’s been on about all these years.   The words in my own version of the song aren’t even actual words.    Not in English, anyway.   Klingon, maybe…

Actual Version:  You said, you recall about seven years ago now.  You said that you were so tough.   And I loved it, oooh.   Loved you for putting me down in a totally new way.   Down with the bad old, sad old days.   Get away now.  

Gonna withdraw my labour of love.   Gonna strike for the right to get into your heart.   Gonna withdraw my labour of love.  Gonna strike for the right to get into your cold heart.  Ain’t gonna work for you no more…’

Suz’s Version: ‘You said, da da da da da da da da da da.  You said that you were so tough.   Now loving, oooh, loving a putting you down in a (indecipherable word) new way.  Down West, that old, sad old days.   Get away now.

Hip Hop, my labour of love.  Gonna fight for the right to get into your heart.   Hip hop, my labour of love.   Gonna fight for the right to get into your cold heart.  Ain’t gonna work for you no more.

And this is why I don’t write songs.    It’s hard to believe it’s taken nearly two decades to research the correct words but, what can I say, I’ve been busy.  It really does make so much more sense now as I was always a touch confused about the whole hip hop reference in the song.    

Misheard Song Lyrics

One of my favourite albums at the moment is Pageant Material by American country star, Kacey Musgraves.   In her song ‘Dime Store Cowgirl’, she recounts a list of things she’s done and places she’s been, before telling us that, despite all her achievements, she’ll always be a country girl.    

In the first line, she sings ‘I had my picture made with Willie Nelson.  Stayed in a hotel with a Pope’.      The first few times I listened, I was so impressed.   I mean, getting your picture taken with a legend like Willie Nelson is one thing, but staying in a hotel with the Pope?   Well, that’s just another level.    

As it transpires, Kacey hasn’t spent the night with the Pope at all.    Well, not that she’s telling us about, anyway.   What she *has* done is stayed in a hotel with a POOL.    And that’s not nearly as exciting, is it?   However, at least Frances is unlikely to be stripped of his Pope clothes now (I’m sure those are a thing) or inundated with angry calls to the Vatican Hotline (also a thing) from mortified Catholics demanding to know why he’s been spending time with a young musician in some dodgy motel in Arkansas.     
I also often struggle with American artists (BeyoncĂ© springs instantly to mind) as there are words in some tracks that I honestly don’t know.  Twirling on them haters is not something I was previously familiar with; nor was anything do to with slaying that didn’t involve dragons  (I live in Wales).  I’m pleased to say I am now fully up to speed on these new terms and it’s been very educational.     I’m trying to include the new words in my every day speech.  

I listen to a LOT of country music, so most of my song lyrics include lines about getting drunk on Tequila or beer; having your heart broken or driving along dirt roads in big trucks.    Phrases such as ‘that’s all she wrote’ was alien to me as a way of saying someone was done with something, and the fact that ‘tick tock’ seems to be a popular country way to refer to the time, so I’ve gradually got to grips with these.    References to brands, such as PBR, Dos Equiis, and host of others, have had to be googled.   

Misheard Song Lyrics

I’m sure if I was a popular singer/songwriter, Americans would have some issue with my turns of phrases, such as ‘I’m off tae the pub’ (I am now departing for the public house); that glass o’ wine’s muckle’ (that’s a rather large glass of wine), or ‘lookit how peely wally I am’ (I don’t have much of a tan, do I?).    As the saying goes, we’re divided by the same language.    Also: how terrible would my songs be?  

Anyway, rather than pointing out how incredible stupid I am (which I believe I’ve achieved with some aplomb), I was more amused at how I manage to go for so many years not knowing what I’m singing and without my favourite tracks making any sense.     Now that I’ve started to remedy this, I’m enjoying my car singing so much more.   I am now singing the previously missing lines much louder than the other ones and frightening other drivers as they pull up next to me at traffic lights.

What are your favourite misheard lyrics?   

Suz x

*That’s a *touch* dramatic, but I do think about it every time I listen.  

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Things I Do Because I'm Socially Awkward: Home Edition

I recently wrote a post about how stressful I find going to the supermarket and the odd stuff I do when I’m there.   If you’re particularly bored, you can find it HERE.

After my mobile phone started to vibrate on my office desk this morning and I didn’t answer it, obviously; I realised that my anxiety really does creep into every aspect of my life.      In general, I do many, many odd things (well, not odd to me, but odd to other people) and still manage to get through my days largely unscathed.  Most of the time.
These are the things I do at home:

Don’t Answer The Door:
Now, I live on the outer reaches of a very rural village in Cardigan Bay in North Wales and, well, there are no cold callers here.  This makes me extremely happy.    When I lived back in residential areas in Scotland, I got them all the time and very rarely ever answered my front door.    I’m no more willing to answer it now, just in case it’s the guy from the Farmer’s Union coming round to grill me about where I buy my sausages and whether or not they’re local (they are).   I am not the kind of person who enjoys answering the door and finding people standing on the other side of it; waiting expectantly for me to be interested in whatever they’re selling.

Because of this, and the years spent actually opening the door when the bell went and then feeling compelled to sign up for something I neither wanted or needed, just so I wouldn’t offend anyone, I know that answering will only lead to more stress for me in the long run.    You have no idea of the charities I’ve signed up for that I still don’t really know the premise of.   

So, point of warning;  if you are selling anything, bringing me news of schools you’ve built in underdeveloped nations and/or bringing me the word of The Lord:  don’t bother.   I simply will not answer.      Bring along your cute dog, and I might well change my mind.     Actually, please don’t do that as it’s nothing short of emotional blackmail.

Don’t Answer The Phone:
In a similar vein that that of not answering the door, I also don’t answer the home phone.   This generally leads to the person ringing it (usually my sister) to send me a text message telling me to pick up.    The same has happened on a few occasions when Les has tried to call home to say he’d be late.    

As far as I’m concerned, if you need to get me, you can use text/Whatsapp/Snapchat/Fb messenger or a whole host of other methods of communication (I’m a fan of smoke signals) and I will almost definitely respond to you.     I might take a while, depending on how I’m feeling, but I will get there eventually.

I have, rather amusingly, taken to checking out missed calls on my mobile from random 0161 numbers or similar; waiting for them to ring off and then casually Googling the number to see who it was.   Clearly, I’d have found out who it was if I’d just answered in the first place, but this is a tiny step too far for me.    

I don’t much give out my number and certainly don’t encourage phone chats, so when I don’t recognise a number, I see no reason to pick up.    9 times out of 10, I am rewarded by comments on Who Called website which recount tales of annoying call centres asking about PPI or recorded messages saying you’re due compensation from a recently delayed flight.    I care not about any of this, so calling me is a complete waste of time. 

Put My Head Down When I Leave:
I met a very good friend of mine when I lived in Mid Calder in Scotland.  The lady in question happened to live next door to me with her hubby and three little girls.    

Now, I didn’t actually get involved in the friending process with my neighbour for a good few years until my ex husband got us together after realising we both went running.  He suggested we go out together and the rest is history.  

Before I became running partners and then friends with Gaynor, I lived in the house next door to her for YEARS.   I knew her name because we sometimes got mail and because my husband was quite a friendly type and often said hello to her and her family in passing.    I didn’t speak to anyone.    

Now, you might think this is truly anti social, and indeed it is, but it’s also quite a feat.   I lived in small cul de sac of 8 houses and successfully managed to avoid every single person that lived there.  

Anyway, despite the unrivalled success of my new friendship, I haven’t changed my ways in the years since.  I still dart between my car and my house, hurriedly fishing about in my bags for the keys and desperately try to unlock the back door before turning round and slamming it shut with my back against it; dripping sweat and thanking God that I made it home without seeing any people.    OK, so this is a touch dramatic, and I don’t move that quickly, but the general idea is the same.

Now, because of where I live and the fact that I don’t really have neighbours in the sense that we’re all in a residential street, this has ceased to be much of a problem.  

However, because the house closest to me is occupied by a former colleague and because small town Wales is full of friendly, chatty people, I have turned to worrying about my neighbour being out in her garden when I drive past and feeling like a complete bugger if I don’t stop.     It’s not that I don’t like her, because she’s fantastic.   It’s just that I don’t want to speak to her on my way home from work.  I don’t even want to speak to Idris Elba on my way home from work.  And I sincerely mean that.    

No Chatting:
I am aware of the names of some of the residents that live in and around where our cottage is, despite never having actually conversed with them.   I’m also aware that the know about Les and what he does for a living.   I can only assume they know very little about me and that’s the way I very much intend to keep it.

In 7 months, taking my former colleague out of the equation, I haven’t spoken to a single other person in my area.  I have waved several times to the farmer along the road when he trundles past my garden gate en route to collecting his rather mischievous livestock.   

I have also had to issue an apology to a rather startled work man who was installing windows at a local property and had left the front door open.    Jake, my little staffie, decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to see if the new person was interested in scratching his butt.    And, much to Jake’s complete delight, the new person was.    

Aside from this dog-joiner interaction, I have managed to avoid all human contact.  I am pleased to report that I have had numerous conversations with the local cows, sheep, the rabbit who lives in my garden, and the squirrel who keeps jumping on to the bird feeder and helping himself to all the food. They haven’t been speaking back to me, you understand, but this just makes me like them even more.

Take Time Out:
I have no kids and no animals, and pretty much have the freedom to do whatever I want when I want.   Well, if you discount the fact that I’m anxious about everything and that kind of restricts me.  Apart from that, I have complete control.    I live with my partner and his job means that he’s often on call or working late and he also leaves very early in the morning.   This means, despite living together, I spent a fair bit of time on my own at home.

You’d think this would mean that the time we DO spend together, say at the weekend, would be fine.    Unfortunately, I don’t operate like that.  Not seeing les for a whole day and feeling anxious or depressed in the evening means that I’d much rather be on my own.  Instead of being vocal about this, I find other ways to take time out.    This is no reflection on him and he’s one of the only people I can be with for ANY length of time without wanting to weep copiously and bury myself under the duvet to escape.   

I will often sneak off and do some blogging in my office upstairs, or work out on the bike in the spare room in order to have a little half hour to myself before re-engaging with the world.   He is fully aware of this and also operates in the same way after a hard days’ people-ing.    

When I need a time out from myself, which is more often than you’d expect, I go to bed with an audio book and my little knitted Welsh dragon (true story) and drift into some horrendous Nordic crime drama filled with dismembered bodies and dodgy old deserted warehouses.   Honestly, you’d be surprised how much it takes your mind off things.
And on that note, I’m off to research black out blinds for my entire house and, possibly, also my car.
Suz x

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Take Away Coffee Club

Take Away Coffee Club

I love my coffee.   It's literally what gets me out of bed in the morning...aside from my job.   Without it, I have none of my usual special powers; such as Chatting, Smiling and People-ing.   My sense of humour is also absent when there's no java available.   

I own a Nespresso machine, which replaced my Dolce Gusto machine, which replaced my cafietiere, which replaced three years' worth of instant Nescafe sachets I appropriated from every B&B, Hotel and Self Catering property I ever stayed in during my travels with VisitScotland.  In other words: my coffee game is strong.  Also: I'm a kleptomaniac. 

On occasion, I will drag Les out to a coffee shop to sit in but, as we're usually always on the way to and from our travels, more often than not I grab takeaway.  

I drink as much coffee at home and I seem to in cafes and motorway services and I have my firm favourites as well as other brands I tend to avoid.   Should you ever be confused about the options for takeway cheer inducing; alert making caffiene treats, then look no further:

Takeaway coffee from Subway is actually the whole inspiration for this post and how I wished I'd had an idea of how terrible it was before I spotted a franchise in the middle of Torquay a few weeks and excitedly declared an official Coffee Break.

The branded machine bore the letters WMF and the flat white I ordered was bitter and the colour of dishwater.   Despite my distinct lack of coffee that day, I actually couldn't drink it.  

I've been known to buy Aldi own brand decaf to drink at work and can confirm that it's 100% better than whatever I was served up at Subway.  I'm still not actually convinced it *was* coffee.    It was vile.   

Result;  had several sips and couldn't stomach any more.  
Price: £1.79.  
Value for money: lets not go there.

I love Costa.   I love the cups; I generally love the service and I ADORE the absolutely massive cups they serve my giant non takeaway cappuccino in.

The take away coffee can also found in many, many motorway service stations and I that familiar red branding makes me smile whenever I pass.   

Granted, it's just shy of £3 for a large cup but it's good stuff.   The only thing I don't like about Costa is the server in Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh who looked at me as I was mentally challenged when I asked for a size that wasn't known to her.

By this I mean I ordered a Starbucks size and, despite it being patently obvious what I was looking for, she stared blankly at me and didn't hesitate to inform me of the terrible, no, unforgivable, mistake I'd just made.    You'd think I'd admitted to murdering her puppy.   

She was obviously a bolshy Scot, as no one else has the balls to speak to me like this before I've actually *had* my first cup of the day.   I decided to let her live, but wished very bad things upon her.    Once I'd had some caffeine  I felt a bit bad about that, but not enough to take any of it back.    

Anyway, self service Costa rocks. Human service in Ocean Terminal:  no stars.    

Result - Love it.
Price - don't love it but I buy it, regardless.
Value for Money - Please see above

I occasionally visit Starbucks when I don't have access to anything else.   I'm not a fan of the coffee (any of it), but, now that I've tried Subway, it has gone up on my list.

I hate the way that, even in the smallest outlets, the servers INSIST on asking for your name and then misspelling it on the side of your cup.  Yes, I realise that has nothing to do with the quality of the coffee, but it does annoy the hell out of me while I'm waiting.   

What's the name thing all about, anyway?  What happens when two cranky little women called Suzanne order venti cappuccinos at the same time?  I know that's probably unlikely but, I reckon the chances of being in a Scottish Starbucks and ending up with several customers called Tam isn't that far fetched.   Same goes for customers called Daffyd from Brecon.    

Result: It'll do when there are no other options
Price: £2.95 for large 
Value for money: not great for the taste and the fact that there never actually seems to be much coffee in it.   It appears mostly to be milky foam.

I don't eat McDonald's food.   Well, I sometimes steal chips from Les but, apart from that, I don't eat McDonald's food.    However, take me to a motorway service station and offer me coffee and I'll make a beeline for the closest outlet.    Even if I have to look at chicken nuggets while I'm waiting.

McDonald's coffee is unexpectedly great.   Not only does it taste like real coffee and keeps you awake all the way from the Lake District to South Lanarkshire, but it is also available at a purse friendly price.

There's very little not to like about this from my point of view.   It has actual good amounts of coffee in; you can simply ask for a 'large' without some stuck up student trying to school you in Italian terms; it doesn't taste like instant Nescafe; and it's doesn't cost you £4 a cup, plus the distinct annoyance of someone writing 'Susan' on the side of your cup.    Basically, it's amazing.   AND they give you that little sticker thing on the side which you can peel off and stick to a bit of card so that you can buy 6 and get the next one free.

Free coffee!  Those are my favourite words after 'free wine'.

Result: fabulous
Price: £1.69
Value for money: can't knock it

What's your favourite take away coffee brand?

Suz x

Monday, 19 September 2016

The Case of the Dead Bolt

Les and I moved to our cottage in Dyffryn in early January 2016 and we've spent a LOT of time working on the house and gardens over the past few months.

I, personally, have spent much of my time by the driveway gate as I struggled to reverse my car in every night after work without taking down a section of my wall or mowing down some trees.

Anyway, I've pretty much mastered the old parking now, in case you were wondering, and I only hit the recycle bin once. And squished those daffodils a little bit. And had to pull forward a few times after parking so close to the wall that my Les couldn't get out the passenger door. Apart from THAT, it's in the bag.

While I've been spending my time working out angles and finally finding a use for those wing mirrors, I have become very familiar with the driveway gate.

The gate is a massive wooden affair that serves to keep out the local cows, who love to pop round to the garden and run around the lawn. A lone sheep has also dropped by, as well as a very cute little bunny whom I'm trying to capture and force to become my pet. He will be mine...

Anyway, the gate is helpfully held in place by a big metal lever type thing that prevents it from swinging around in the wind and annoys the life out of me when I have to drive up to it in the morning, jump out my car, open it, jump back in, drive through and then jump back out again to close it. However, it *does* mean I see all the time and I thought I'd have no trouble picking it out of a gate line up. You know, should it ever be accused of murder, or something.

I open and close the gate, largely without thinking, every morning before work and every evening after. I consider myself to be *fairly* intelligent and, having spent a few years working as an inspector, fairly perceptive and alert. As it turns out, neither of those statements is actually true.

On a recent day off, I toddled down the drive, singing with the birds and enjoying the early morning North Wales sunshine*, in order to attempt to retrieve any mail that had been delivered to the box that sits outside the gate.    As I approached the gate, I noticed it had a massive lock on it.  
I stood for a good few seconds, staring at it as if it might move and then wondering why Les had installed it without talking to me first.    It was highly unusual for work to have gone on in the house that I wasn’t aware of.   Or had to pay for.   

On his arrival home from work that evening, I marched him down the drive and asked him if he noticed anything different.  As first, the look of sheer panic in his eyes alerted me to the fact that he thought I meant about me.   Clearly, he thought he was in trouble for not noticing I’d had my hair cut or something.    Tbh, that would never happen as I very rarely ever get it cut.    But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.   He was confused. 

He then twigged that the gate had a rather large lock on it and told me he had also never seen it before.    This stumped me a little.   If *I* hadn’t seen it before and *he* hadn’t seen it before; where in the Hell had it come from?    Does North Wales  have some kind of special lock angel who floats round, securing people’s houses during the night?    It must have as that’s the only reasonable explanation, isn’t it?   It couldn’t possibly be that we’re both so stupid we’d completely failed to notice a large deadbolt on our gate for 6 WHOLE MONTHS.  Could it?   Hmmmm…

So, I still have the deadbolt on my gate, sitting there all shiny and completely unused.   I look at it often and ponder its origins in the way I expect archaeologists study early Egyptian artefacts that they’ve dug up in the scorching desert heat. 

I’ve considered, on a few occasions, asking my neighbour if she’s ever seen it before, but I don’t wish to look completely mad and I fear she already thinks that of me, anyway.   No reason to confirm her suspicions, is there?   Alternatively, I have thought about calling up the old owners and grilling them about it.   Again, I don’t want to look like a lunatic, so I haven’t. 

Anyway, I am utterly convinced (as it Les) that the deadbolt was NOT there before, but have no logical explanation to justify how it could possibly have just appeared.   I guess it will remain one of the great mysteries of Fach Gron.      It’s not the first time something odd has transpired since we moved into the cottage, so I fear it might be part of something much bigger….

I would ask if any of you ever found a deadbolt on your own garden gate, but I think I already know the answer, so I won’t.

Suz x

*None of that is true

Friday, 16 September 2016

Things That I Don't Understand

I often spend my days in a state of mild confusion but, unfortunately, that's just how I am.   However, there are a few things in life that I will *never * understand  and I decided that there are enough of them to write about.   What can I say, it's been a slow week:

Baby Weights:
Why do people insist on telling you how heavy their babies are?   Is there a reason for this or am I missing something?    I always nod my head and pretend that I’m at least a tiny bit interested, but I’m never fully aware of how I’m expected to act.  

Do I say ‘oooooh….we’ll he’s a chunky boy, isn’t he?’ or if the baby is premature and tiny, say ‘well, that was obviously an easy birth, then.  Bet you hardly even felt that!!'. 

I don’t have children, so I can’t give the generic response of ‘well, you know, my *insert most popular or weirdest name you can think of*  was 8lbs 10oz for the first five minutes of her life and then, would you believe it, she started to put on weight?!  She’s never been anywhere near 8lbs since!’.     

I *think* this is what people expect you to say, but I’m never entirely sure.   I’d quite like to respond by telling people how much my puppy weighed when he was born, but I believe new mothers can be a little bit touchy when you compare their children to a dog.   Personally,  I think they should be grateful because my dog’s a legend.

I understand that you would tell everyone the name of your baby, because that’s pretty important should you ever need to shout them in for dinner or, you know...talk to them.    I could even understand if parents told you, say, what colour their kid's hair or eyes were.   However, telling me your baby’s name and then following that up with how fat it is, is just downright weird.   

Things That I Don't Understand
Name, hair and eye colour are perfectly acceptable.   I don't care how fat they are.  

Why Women Insist On Telling You How Much Things Cost:
I had a conversation with a former colleague many years ago, which has always stuck with me.    He complimented me on something I was wearing and I instantly said something along the lines of ‘Thanks, it was a total bargain….it only cost me £20!’.   He instantly laughed and said he didn’t understand why women always did this.     

Obviously, I disagreed with this statement completely and then thought I’d best do some research.   And he was right.    The majority of the time, when I ask someone female; say my sisters, my mum, friends or colleagues, I am, first of all, thanked before being informed of how much said garment cost.     Now that I’m aware of it, it annoys me every single time I do it.   And I seem to do it a great deal.    

When Les notices (and he always does) that I have something on he’s never seen before, I always, always tell him how much it was.   However, I think I tend to do this because I've usually picked up some label for next to nothing  in my local charity shop and I’m quite proud of myself.  

What I’ve *never* done is worn a pair of Louboutins and, when told they were gorgeous (obvs), gone on to tell someone just how much I had to shell out on them.   This is probably because I’m worried that Les would overhear and start panicking that he might have to get me a pair for my next birthday.  

Things That I Don't Understand
'Yeah, I got the whole outfit for £15!...'

Why I Can’t Smile in Photographs:
I’m sure I can’t possibly be the only person in the world who detests getting my photo taken.    

When I'm forced into it, I tend to pull a stupid face, much to the continued annoyance of whoever was unlucky enough to be standing next to me at the time.   Les and I have lots of snaps together, which feature him looking all handsome and normal and me…well, it’s best not to try describing what I look like, but Stephen King would have a field day.  

It might be my inner introvert coming through, but I just do not want to have my photo taken.   On the odd occasion I do, I always hate how they turn out and I tend to avoid looking at them.   I love photos of scenery and I travel a lot, but I just don’t want to look at photos of myself looking like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards whilst the architecture of Madrid, say, looks fabulous in the background.  

A younger cousin of mine posted a pic of me on fb the other day and told me was the only one he had where I wasn’t pulling a face, so this is not a new thing I’ve taken up recently.  I’ve never liked having my photo taken, by all accounts.    I seem to be unable to pose normally.  

I often marvel at how good everyone else looks like in photos, but just can't seem to pull it off myself.   This is why I don't put my own photo on this blog.   I'm telling you, my selfies would keep you awake at night.   And not in a good way.

Things That I Don't Understand
Looks great on a duck.   Not so much on a human.
Trout Pouts:
On the subject of bad photographs, I am at a constant loss to understand the largely stupid faces that women seem to insist on pulling when they're having their photo taken.

I can only imagine that someone, at some point, said that a trout pout looked good.  Whoever this person is was very, very wrong.   I have no issues with selfies and I love seeing pics of friends and family on social media, but I just don't get the whole duck face thing.   It looks ridiculous.    

However, I'm clearly in the minority of people who think this as every time I see a photo, guaranteed at least one person, if not them all, are pulling a version of the same face.    

It doesn't make you look good - and it certainly doesn't make you look sexy; your own face is far better when your mouth isn't contorted into some awful shape.

I must try it one day, though.  Maybe it would be a slight improvement in the other faces I tend to pull in all my snaps.  Then again, probably not.     

What do you get confused by??

Suz x 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

5 Ways To Improve Your Mood This Week

Ever start off  life on a Monday morning with the single thought of just successfully making it through the day? Yes? Same.

However, although not committing murder on my first day back at work after the weekend is a real win for me, I need to have some pick me ups dotted throughout the rest of the week to keep me sane and save me wishing my days away.    

Sometimes, it takes something tiny to lift my mood (dogs are wildly successful in this respect) and, other times, it can take something  more (a pack of dogs, say).   Regardless, I have a few things I can always fall back on.   

5 Ways To Improve Your Mood This Week
This will almost certainly be you on Friday.  

I have a fb messenger group with my Mum and two sisters which makes me laugh every day, and I can look at photos of Doug the Pug dressed as a butterfly any time I’m feeling a bit down.    I understand that not everyone will be buoyed by speaking to my family (you definitely would as they’re all mad), or dogs in human clothes, so you have to find something that works for you.    

For what it’s worth, these are my tips on how you could improve your mood this week:

Put on Your Favourite Movie/Box Set:
I know, I know, you don't have time to watch movies during the week. Me either. I do have time to stick something on in the background while I'm cleaning up or cooking, though. I only do this with something I've already seen, though, as new things require concentration and, well, that’s a capacity I just don’t have

I've lost count of how many times I've watched Sherlock and Whitechapel and, yes, it really does cheer me up to watch people bring cuts into lots pieces and dumped on barren ground, only to be discovered by some random dog walker at an ungodly hour the following day.  *Nothing* brightens up a dull Tuesday like some blunt force trauma serial killing.  And the face of Rupert Penry-Jones. Obviously.

5 Ways To Improve Your Mood This Week
If nothing else, at least you're getting through the week without being murdered.    Score!
Random Acts of Kindness:
This is something that has a positive impact, not only mood, but also those moods of others. And that's a difficult thing to underestimate. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture; it can be as simple as holding a door open for someone; having a friendly convo with the checkout operator in the local supermarket (thanks for putting up with my random chat, Co-op workers of Dolgellau...); saying a few kind words to a colleague or friend, giving someone a lift home, or just saying a quick 'bore da' as you pass in the street.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone appreciates strange little Scottish women chatting to them in the town centre, but the vast majority of people do reciprocate and at least say hello.   There are very few that stare, wide eyed, before diving into the nearest shop doorway in a desperate attempt to escape.     If that makes their own day brighter, then I fully encourage them to go for it.

Social Media/Electronic Communication:
I’m quite introverted, so I tend not to use my phone to actually, well…phone people.   What I do use it for is to email, text, whatsapp, snapchat, etc.   

I find a thoroughly juvenile snapchat from me to a friend, or vice versa, will cheer me up no end.   It does not help in any way with my productivity and derails a lot of my blogging time, but if I’m happy then that’s the main thing, right?  If I then spend the next week worrying excessively that I have no blog posts or clean clothes, then that’s a problem for next week and I’ll then need more Snapchats to get me through that.    I feel I’m not explaining this as well as I should be...

What I’m trying to say is make contact with a friend, relative, or by all means, contact a complete stranger if  you want a restraining order and a visit from the local Heddlu.  Don't let pesky laws stop you.  I'm joking, of course.  Please stick to people you actually know. 

5 Ways To Improve Your Mood This Week

Something Old, Something New:
I am a huge fan of charity shopping (as detailed here) and can often be found rooting around my local stores in Dolgellau, finding bargains and smiling away to myself like a mentally unstable person (which I almost certainly am anyway...) before gleefully paying £2.50 for a fabulously patterned Oasis skirt which would have set me back at least 10 times that, had I picked it up in store. 

Although some stylish local resident has thoughtfully donated my eventual new skirt to charity; it's still new to me.   And this makes me happy.   Someone gets rid of something they no longer want; the charity makes money from the sale, and I get to go home to a rather disinterested Les and excitedly show him yet another item to add to  my ever expanding wardrobe.

I'm not advocating spending a fortune just to cheer yourself up a little, but my mood is undoubtedly boosted by getting myself a wee bargain on an otherwise miserable Wednesday afternoon.

5 Ways To Improve Your Mood This Week
What the inside of my wardrobe looks like.   

I know, I know; I almost hate myself for even suggesting it, but it does work.    It might be a seemingly impossible task just to move your carcass off your seat, but I promise it'll be worth it.

If you, like me, swing between doing All Of The Exercise and None Of The Exercise, this can be slightly challenging.    I'm either completely geared up for it or the mere thought of going out for a run makes me want to copiously weep.  I have no in between.

I know it'll make me feel better, though, and so I drag my lifeless bones into what passes as an upright position and decide what form of exercise will suffice to improve my mood in the shortest time frame.   This is usually cycling.   At home, I might add.   Not any of that sociable, out-on-the-roads-where-the-people-are kind of nonsense.  

I can cycle 5 miles a day, whilst blogging or reading or, sometimes, by glaring at the electronic display on the bike and practically begging it to count down quicker.    Do I enjoy it?  No.    Does it make me feel better?  Yes.    Do I then go downstairs and eat crisps so that I have completely wiped out any other benefit of my exercise?  Also yes.  

What do you do to improve your mood during the working week?

Suz x