Friday, February 20, 2009

Office beverage etiquette

British office etiquette requires you to ask your immediate colleagues if they would like a tea or coffee every time you head in the general direction of the kitchen. This annoys me.

Firstly, I have made five consecutive cups of tea for one of my colleagues, without even a hint of her getting off her butt to fetch her own. I think that she could be on the verge of unconsciousness due to dehydration and lack of caffeine, and she would still wait for me to go to the kitchen.

Secondly, I went to refill my glass of water just then and she asked me to make her a cup of tea. Sorry sweetie, but uh-uh, I draw the line there. I offered water, not tea. That’s like me offering you a tissue and you asking for one of my kidneys. Actually it is nothing like that, but all this tea drinking has got to be doing something to her kidneys, so she will probably want one of mine soon.

Thirdly, everyone likes their tea or coffee a certain way. I don’t really like requesting my “strong tea with one sugar and a dash of milk”. However, aforementioned colleague has no qualms in dictating her preferences to me: “a tea please, ooh and not too weak, no sugar thanks, just a teaspoon of milk – not too much, and if you could fill the mug to the top, that would be great thanks”.

From now on I am bringing a flask of java to the office with me; no more hot beverage runs people!

"One more cup of coffee for the road, one more cup of coffee 'fore I go"
One More Cup of Coffee, White Stripes

Friday, February 13, 2009

While we're on the subject of my name

Thank you Nathan for reminding me of the most hilarious website – The Advertising Slogan Generator.

Put in a word (i.e. your name), and it will create a slogan for you. Well, it doesn’t so much create a slogan for you, as uses existing slogans.

And the results are highly entertaining…

Tonight, let it be Amanda
Did somebody say Amanda?
Unzip an Amanda
Puts the Amanda in Britain
Now with 50% more Amanda!
Sweet as the moment when the Amanda went "pop"
Let the Amanda begin
Good Amanda has Danish written all over it
And all because the lady loves Amanda
The Amanda goes straight to your head

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What's in a name?

Now I would just like to point out that I never introduce myself or refer to myself as Mandy. In my head I am Amanda.

I love my name, I really do. Thanks mum and dad, you did a great job! I mean, I was two weeks old before you finally picked a name for me, but when you did you picked a great one. I like that I have three letter As in my name, because A is my favourite letter. I like that my initials rhyme – Ay Jay Bay. I like that it’s not an uncommon name, but at the same time there aren’t that many Amandas around. I really really like my name!

However, all of my close friends call me Mandy, which I take as a sign of affection.

“Well you came and you gave without taking, but I sent you away, oh Mandy, well you kissed me and stopped me from shaking, and I need you today, oh Mandy”
Mandy, Barry Manilow

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy birthday mum!

To my darling mother,

I hope you had a fabulous birthday!

Thank you for being so good to me, for helping me out when I needed it but didn’t want to ask, for all of your emails and phone calls, for loving me even when I am a little prat, and for being so supportive. I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without you.

Wish I could be there with you…


Saturday, February 7, 2009

I can’t believe I ate the whole Brussels

If you look on a map of Belgium and can’t find Brussels, it’s because I ate it last weekend.

Making the most of the credit crunch, Jodie and I booked some cheap Eurostar tickets and an even cheaper night at the Hilton in Brussels last weekend.

Brussels is a lovely city and I can definitely see Nathan living there, however a weekend was enough.

We did the obligatory bus tour, which I always love. Did you know that Belgium is split into two main regions – Flanders in the north where they speak Flemmish and Wallonia in the south where they speak French? And did you know that Flanders and Wallonia and Brussels each have their own Government and Parliament? Did you know that a traditional Brussels waffle has 15 divets? Did you know that the Atomium was built for the World Fair in 1958 and is a testament to the nation’s steel industry and is one of the coolest things that I have ever seen? Did you know that the Mannekin Pis apparently saved the city because the little boy wee’ed on the canons that were set to destroy it? Did you know that?

Apart from that, we walked around the streets and ate. Oh boy did we eat.

When we arrived in the town centre on Saturday the first thing we did was get some frites cones – paper cones filled with hot chips that have been fried in beef fat twice and topped off with a massive squirt of mayonnaise. Later in the afternoon we went to a little cafĂ© and had the Best. Waffles. Ever. They were awesome. I’m talking in the top 10 foods of all time awesome. Saturday night we went to a Belgium/French restaurant called ‘T Kelderke – oh boy, did the policeman laugh at me when I tried to pronounce that word when asking for directions. I had a traditional dish called stoemp (pronounced ‘stump’) which was mashed root vegetables with a beef stew. Clearly the diet was out the window on this trip! The evening was topped off with some chocolate coated strawberries for Josie as we stopped at one of the thousands of chocolate stores in the city.

Sunday started off with the Hilton buffet breakfast, where I was quite restrained and had some cured meats, cheese, fruit and croissant. Jodie however was carb loading with her plate of bread, croissant, waffles and pancakes. We decided that lunch didn’t necessarily have to be a savoury meal, so Jodie and I had waffles. While I was feeling rather full and not wanting to even look at chocolate for quite some time, Jodie went on a Belgian chocolate shopping spree and filled half of her backpack with sweet treats. After walking around in the freezing cold to try and burn off some of the calories, we bid farewell to Brussels and headed to the train station. Where we bought a couple of packets of waffles, so we could wean ourselves off our new-found addiction when we got home.

For the trip home I had upgraded us to Business Class for an extra £10 (special credit crunch deal), which was well worth it. The host kept trying to ply me with alcohol, but all I wanted to do was sleep. Then they brought out a light mid-afternoon meal of steamed chicken and vegetables, a side salad, and – oh, what is that? – a waffle.

Jodie and I waddled off the Eurostar at the other end, feeling rather satisfied with ourselves.

“23 minutes in Brussels, why can't they just leave us alone, are we gonna to get into a tussle, cannot take an airplane home”
23 minutes in Brussels, Luna

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Over it

Okay, I’m over the snow now.

It has slightly melted so that there is a thin layer of it on the footpaths; however the freezing temperatures at night have turned this into ice. Comically slippery ice.

While I was precariously tip toeing down my street last night I saw a man skid and run into a tree.

This morning, I slid into a parked car. After which I abandoned the footpath and opted to walk down the middle of the road.

Slip and fall and break my back, or get hit by a car. Six of one, half a dozen of the other really.

“Slip sliding away, slip sliding away, you know the nearer your destination the more you’re slip sliding away”
Slip Sliding Away, Paul Simon

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Good excuse

I'm sorry mum, but I don't think that I am going to get my present to you in time for your birthday next week. It's not my fault though, I have the present, it's just that the post office is closed today. Because it's SNOW DAY!

London is currently hidden under more than a foot of snow, and it is a completely different city - the dirt and grime is covered in pure white fairy floss-like snow flakes which crunch underfoot, people are having snow ball fights with strangers, there are icicles hanging from the eaves, most people have the day off work, half the shops are closed, and everyone is excited.

Photographic evidence...

Sunday night. "Gosh, look at the snow!"

Monday morning. "C-rap, look at the snow!"

"Oh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful, And since we've no place to go, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"
Let It Snow, Christmas carol