Days two to five

Day Two

I’m sorry, it’s going to be mostly about food again!

Spent a blissfully lazy morning coating one of my new canvasses with a couple of base coats, while keeping half an eye on the F1 (what a start to the race that was eh?!) and stuffing myself with the seashell chocolates that a colleague had kindly bought me for my birthday. I resisted the temptation to pop the cork on the fizzy wine that accompanied the chocolates though – sadly it seems to be only in France that you can get away with drinking before midday without being labelled a raging alcoholic!

On a side note, I think the French have a better standpoint on alcohol altogether! They don’t, as a whole, drink it to get drunk like we do over here. I went to so many festivals and events in France this summer, most of which had a good handful of beer tents set up in the streets with the regular bars also opening from the early hours, and did I see one drunk person rolling around in the streets making an idiot of themselves? No! *sigh* We English could definitely learn a thing or two from that! Every event we have now in Cornwall now, from the quaint little local festivals to pub gigs or larger events at the Eden Project, turns into a massive piss-up! It’s very intimidating if you’re there sober and I always feel really sorry for those who try to take their children along!

I digress. That was a shameful attempt to convince you all that drinking alcohol at 10am is actually a responsible thing to do, sorry!

The above happened next. Did I mention my mother-in-law is some kind of super chef?! Proud to confirm that I cleared the whole plate and washed it down with a bottle of red and a slab of that lovely pink cake you see in the background. And than sat and moaned a lot about how full/fat/lazy I was – a LOT!

It was a great afternoon though, lovely for Mr TwentyNine to spend some time with his Mum too. For reasons too long and complicated to mention, she’s only just recently come back into our lives but I’m so glad she’s there now. Life is too short for not talking!

And I think that officially marked the end of my lengthy birthday celebrations – from right back to 18th August when I had my un-birthday in France. I do know how to drag a good thing out for as long as possible! 😀

Days Three to Five

As much as I’d like to pretend that my job is SO enthralling that I have pages and pages to write about it every day – it’s not!! Hence why I have shoved days three, four and five together, to echo the way my days when I’m here chained to my desk merge into one anyway.

OK, it’s not that bad.

They unchain me for toilet breaks.

Actually, this week for me has been about making a new start in my current job. I think my inherent lack of knowing what I actually want to do for the rest of my life career-wise, coupled with my infrequent stabs of regret at not going to university and following my dream career path into a job in advertising, has made me feel what I thought was a real bitterness towards and dislike for my current job role. It’s taken me stepping back, swallowing my boulder of pride and admitting that actually, it’s a great job – the only problem is me! Ok, ok, I do have tonnes of work to get through, as I effectively do two roles which more often than not require my attention to be in 10 different places at the same time. And honestly, like any job I suppose, I do encounter some arsey people who make me sit here, chin resting on my hand, wishing my life away and daydreaming of retirement. But it’s actually a good job, with decent pay, a fantastic boss and some people who I now class as my closest friends.

So I’ve reminded myself of all of the above, and this week I have made every effort to turn things around. And it has worked!

SLEEPING PATTERNS

All my life I have been a total night owl. For the past ten years, I think I can count the number of times I’ve been asleep before midnight on one hand! I would have to stay up till I was shattered, go to bed, and then read a book until I literally couldn’t bear to keep my eyes open any longer before finally falling asleep. Even when I was little, if my parents insisted on turning out my bedroom light I’d endeavour to read my book in the slim slither of light coming through my door from the landing.

All that changed this week! I have been making a real effort to ensure I’m in bed by 10pm at the latest, and although I might still have a sneaky half an hour read on my beloved Kindle before drifting off I’m never awake past 11pm. As a consequence, I’m able to wake up so much earlier in the morning and give myself a decent amount of time to get ready, have breakfast, and spend some much-needed time with Mr TwentyNine (who has never understood my night owl tendencies and is thrilled about the earlier bedtimes!) It’s all obvious stuff, I know, but it’s been a difficult habit to change!

GLAD RAGS AND WAR PAINT

As a consequence of the above, I now have more time for both of these. For the past few mornings I’ve thought really carefully about what outfit to wear, tried a few different styles, worn some killer heels (admittedly mainly killer in the sense of what they do to my feet!), and I’ve made time to do my make-up carefully at home instead of trying to do it in the car while Mr TwentyNine drives me to work.

Seriously,eyeliner and eyebrow pencil applied while negotiating speed bumps  – NOT a good look.

The result? I’ve received so many compliments!

It has made such a difference to my day.

Working in an environment with fresh-faced bouncy teenagers around, it’s very easy to feel like a dreary old has-been. But not any more! On Tuesday I wore my lovely nautical blazer that Mr TwentyNine bought me for my birthday, and literally everyone I knew who I saw throughout the day commented on it. Even a particularly style-conscious male colleague of mine who I’m pretty sure spends more time on his hair every day than I do (I don’t know if he reads this, but if he does he’ll know it’s about him!) said I was looking ‘hot’.* As a result, I am walking round with my chin held high, maybe even a slight swing of the hips, feeling pretty damn good about myself and my day.

*N.B. Don’t worry Mr TwentyNine – his sexual preference means he’s more likely to hit on you than me!

BEING A SHINY HAPPY PERSON

I hold my hands up and admit I have been a bit of a miserable cow of late when it comes to work. But when you’re drowning under a million and one tasks, and your phone rings or email pings with yet another request from someone to do something boring and menial and ESPECIALLY when it’s something they could have done themselves in the time it took them to contact you, it’s often easier to be snappy than happy. And so I often am.

Not any more! What a difference a smile and a few kind words makes, not only to the person you’re talking to but to yourself! I am going out of my way to help people, suggest new ideas, and talk to people who I normally avoid because they have a) Verbal diarrhoea, b) B.O. or c) something they want me to do.*

It feels so good!

* I still keep a good distance between myself and the ones with B.O.

FOCUSSING ON THE POSITIVE, BANISHING THE NEGATIVE

This was Mr TwentyNine’s idea and, simple as it is, it works a treat. Now I’m quite aware he probably suggested it to try to put an end to my – by now – fairly predictable texts to him throughout the day.

Me: How’s it going?

Him: Pretty good thanks! How about you?

Me: Crap as usual. Need a new job. Hate it here.

Him: Awww we need to try to sort something out for you.

^ Unfortunately, as supportive as he always is, even I now know what that last line translates to:

THE REAL HIM: *bangs head on desk* *thinks to self “What does she want me to do about it?”* *looks at watch, thinks of all the things he needs to do and wonders if he really has to waste any more time on this pointless daily exchange?*

Bless him. He’s wonderful, he really is, I just whinge a LOT!

But whatever – his recent suggestion that actually maybe I was making things worse for myself by sitting here moping all day (surely not?!) and that if I tried embracing what I was doing I might enjoy it, actually bloody worked. Nice one hubby, gold star for you!

OVERALL then it has only taken a few pretty minor, pretty obvious changes to turn my job around in the space of three days to make it feel like something I really enjoy doing again. I feel so motivated and almost (almost) caught myself looking forward to coming in this morning. Despite the fact that it was blazing sunshine outside, and Mr TwentyNine was heading off for a ‘business networking golf competition’ *cough* day out in the sun occasionally dropping in the word ‘file’ and ‘computer *cough*.

Somehow, I felt that I was just as lucky. 🙂

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

On one last side note – FOOD! Always good to bookend a post with food I reckon!

I’m following a website that a friend recommended called Resourceful Cook, which gives you some great recipes and the shopping list needed to get them, with the idea being that you use lots of the same ingredient twice – hence the ‘resourceful’ bit. Now, Mr TwentyNine has always been the fussiest of fussy eaters. When I met him, he only ate meat and potatoes. I gradually managed to wean him onto rice and pasta, even with sauce if there were no ‘bits’ in it, but he has never ever been able to make himself eat fruit or veg. As a result, my own fruit and veg consumption dropped dramatically – when there’s only two of you in the household, it’s just too much hassle to cook two separate meals every night! So I shamefully admit that I got all too comfortable with shoving some kind of mass-produced breadcrumbed process meat substance in the oven, with accompanying additive-filled potato of some size/shape/texture.

Recently (after coming back from holiday and finding out we’d put on half a stone each!) Mr TwentyNine dug out a CD that he had asked his hypnotherapist to record a few years ago to encourage him to eat healthily, and so I leapt on this opportunity to say “Do it – because I’m going to start serving you healthy meals whether you like it or not!”

And it’s working, readers!!

Monday night I served up a pork, sweet potato and apple hash with mixed leaf salad – he ate it all.

Tuesday night was parmesan and oat crusted chicken breast, with asparagus tips and watercress – he ate it all.

Tonight I took a huge leap and served him up a salad (cue look of horror and a “What – no meat at all?!?” comment) of grilled aubergine, peppers, and courgette with rocket and feta cheese, in a mixed herb dressing – and to his credit he ate probably about half! Still a massive step forwards!

Baked chicken in a Parmesan and oat crust with low-carb grilled asparagus, watercress salad, and mustard dressing

Grilled vegetable salad tossed with rocket leaves and feta cheese in a mixed herb dressing

As a result I am completely rediscovering my love of cooking! This evening I found myself getting home, flinging down my keys and bag and going straight into preparing dinner without even getting changed or taking off my work ID lanyard!

Tomorrow night is pork loin marinated in lemon and herbs, with carrot, parsnip and fennel. *drool*

AND my new washing machine gets delivered at some point between 7am and 7pm tomorrow (with true courier style non-specific timings!) . Day 6 looks set to be awesome.

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One thought on “Days two to five

  1. I love this post, so much drooliscious food and I agree entirely on the French (& med) attitude to drinking socially rather than to get wasted, if only we could make a difference to that here. I love this blog hun, keep it going :):)

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