Since 2013…

- I have finished one temporary job and started another under circumstances of extreme stress

- We have been to Istanbul, Paris and the Netherlands. And Wales.

- I deactivated my Facebook page

- I have gained 10lbs [eugh]

- We have almost finished painting my mum’s hallway and bedroom

- I have read around 17 books

- I did an introductory machine sewing course and became addicted/obsessed

- I have started running and cycling again post-knee injury

“Mark all as read”

I went on Bloglovin’ this morning to find 556 unread posts.

Usually it’s in the 200s, and I’ll sit for a couple of hours and try to make a dent in it. However, I decided to cut my losses today and start from scratch – 556 was not going to happen unless I had a significantly unproductive life for the next 3 days!

Last night we got a bit obsessed with The Mentalist and caught up with 2 episodes at my mum’s, and then had to come home and watch the next 2 online because we couldn’t wait to find out who Red John was. Does anyone else watch The Mentalist?

It’s only 21 days until Christmas. I’m super excited. We’ve bought pretty much all our presents – still a couple of things to get but I’m feeling really zen about it all for the first time ever. Wahey!

I may do a “Surprise” post about Andrew’s birthday weekend (2 weeks before his actual birthday), as it was super fun, but you’ll have to excuse the complete lack of photographs as I was too stressed to remember to take my camera. D’uh.

What are you up to this week?

Lamest blogger evs

Hello everyone.

Computer problems, a bit of a dark place, and my new job are to blame for my recent hiatus.

Hard to believe it’s December already, this year has gone by so quickly… And then I can’t decide if I’m old for saying that?! But anyway, our Christmas shopping is almost done, and we’re looking forward to spending time in Northern Ireland for a week with our family over the holidays.

Today, I watched this video. It has made me deeply sad, and my prayers are with Connie’s family.

That’s all I’ve got for today.

Moaning

Right, brace yourself. This is a post purely dedicated to one ginormous MOAN.

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen/heard me wittering on about the stupid exam I had to sit today. You may also have seen in my “Other Goals” section of my previous post that I wanted to study for and sit my BTX (not BTW) exam this week.

Well, Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all ruined by me having to cram for this stupid exam. I stayed up late last night, cramming rules for the disposal of shares by partnerships and sole traders until the wee hours of the morning. I got up insanely early this morning and headed down to Cafe Nero, where I spent £5 on a mediocre hot chocolate and a fairly awful piece of lemon drizzle cake (serves me right for having chocolate and cake for breakfast, that wasn’t on my weekly goals list!).

I arrived at the exam for 9.20 am, where the receptionist told me my exam was last week. I was prepared for this – oh no, I said, it was definitely today – I rang up and rearranged it because I was starting a new job last week. Ahh, ok, she said. There was a blank space next to a BTX exam this morning, so that must be you. Sorry about that. Here’s your keycode for your exam.

So I took my keycode into my exam. I sat down at the laptop. I put in the keycode and confirmed that all of the information about me was correct (Menekse Stewart, 20/9/90, BTX, Student ID number). The assessment started. I broke out into a cold sweat. The next 2 hours were spent in anguish and toil as I made sure every figure was as correct as I could get it, calculating and recalculating the capital allowance on assets qualifying for a myriad of tax reliefs. Finding out how much assessable profit new partners earned in the first 4 years of business (not as straightforward as you might think – thanks HMRC).

I finished the assessment having used 1hr 58mins of the available 2 hours. I pressed the “Finish” button, and then confirmed that I definitely did want to “Finish”.

All of a sudden, something new popped into my life! A dialogue box telling me that I was not competent. Well, you can imagine the surprise – not only a dialogue box, but a dialogue box insulting me.

I left the examination room feeling somewhat confused, with my not-very-big-at-the-best-of-times ego deflated to say the least. What was this madness? I’m not supposed to get exam results for 6 weeks because 30% of it is marked by a human. How had this computer given me a result immediately? Was this some kind of new, fandangledy computer that I’d never heard of before?

I went to the reception, where the lovely lady who works on the reception desk gave me a breakdown of my failings. My confusion mounted – what is this? I don’t get results for 6 weeks normally. Off the lady trotted to speak to her esteemed colleagues about the matter.

Ten minutes later, the centre manager comes over. He points to the piece of paper (given to him by the now hysterical receptionist lady) apologetically. Due to an administrative error, I have in fact, spent the last 2 hours of my life sweating over a PRACTICE ASSESSMENT. I have spent the past 3 days of my life preparing for a practice assessment. I have taken the morning off my new job for a practice assessment. I have spent £5 in Cafe Nero on a mediocre hot chocolate and a fairly awful piece of lemon drizzle cake for a practice assessment. I have forfeited the gym this morning for a practice assessment. My weekly goals (that’s right, PLURAL goals) have been sabotaged by a practice assessment. Another weekend will be ruined because. of. a. practice. assessment.

Sitting the *actual* exam next Monday at 2.30pm.

P. S. Before any of my fellow optimists say “Well it’s good actually because you were “Not Competent” so at least you’ll get to revise some more: this is not a valid bright side. 30% of the result is marked manually. By the time the manual portion had been humanly marked, I would so totally have passed. THERE IS NO BRIGHT SIDE.

It’s been a weird old week.

I’m sat at “work” having downloaded lots of lovely and free fonts from dafont.com (with which to make PowerPoints pretty, I LOVE TYPOGRAPHY), and wondering if I’m ever going to feel not-tired again.

This is my 6th day working, and then we’re busy with church stuff tomorrow, and then back to 5 really long days again at work. I really enjoyed my first week, but getting used to new places is exhausting. I’m not particularly good with change, I get a bit of social anxiety and generally get stressed much more easily. However, all that aside, I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

Today we’re just sitting in on training so I’m catching up with e-mails and planning a blog post for later on today. I have an exam on Tuesday and I’ve done *no* work for it so far, so I’m probably going to read for that but I’m so tired I don’t think I’ll be able to take much in.

More later!

Bloglovin’

I had 353 new posts to read on Bloglovin’.

I’m slowly catching up,  but I keep finding amazing new blogs to follow and then my “new posts” count goes right back to where it was at the start.

If you’re a blogger and you’ve had 1,452,934 comments from me today, I’m really sorry. I’m going through unread posts blog-by-blog and effectively reading a month’s worth of posts in an afternoon.

Yay for Bloglovin’.

On Last Things

This week is my last week at my old job. This week is the last week of painting and decorating. This week is the last week of my sanity. Just kidding.

I was up until 1am last night sanding and painting the trim in the upstairs bedroom. Tonight it’s the turn of the downstairs front room. Both rooms are having carpet fitted at 5pm tomorrow. Enter ominous music.

We’re hoping to make a quick visit to Ikea over the weekend to get some storage units, I’m thinking Expedit all the way. We may also pop to the local furniture auction and see if we can bag any deals.

I. Cannot. Wait. For. This. To. Be. Over.

11 months of exhaustion and mess, and this weekend it will be OVER.

In the meantime, I’m going to leave you with this gem of a video – it’s 8 minutes long but totally worth it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0CWdYwd4vA

Budget DIY: Wall Art in 5 Minutes for £2.50

Last week’s trip to Scarborough brought forth this little piece for our chimney breast (lol) art collection. The collection is still a work in progress! But we add pieces now and then that are meaningful.

We found this gift tag in a lovely little shop called Rafferty’s, and the lady was selling them framed for £5.00. However, we had this frame at home and the gift tag itself was only £1.50. So we saved ourselves £3.50 in the shop, and just bought the gift tag. Andrew really likes Alice in Wonderland – I find it creepy and disturbing, but I can cope with the odd piece of Alice artwork!

You will need (in your own choice of colours, of course!):

  • Some black backing paper (which we already had), cut to size
  • A 6x4in. frame (originally £1.00 in Wilkinson’s – winning!)
  • A gift tag of your choice, complete with twine tie

IMG_1112Before I took this picture, I had already tied a neat little bow in the twine tie.

IMG_1115I then cut the twine to size so it didn’t dwarf the paper backing, and glued the tag to the paper. 

IMG_1119Then I popped it in the frame!

IMG_1125Final stage: I decided where it was going to go, tapped in a tack and balanced the frame. If there was ever an earthquake here, all our precariously balanced frames would immediately tumble from the walls.

Boomsies: job done.

Hate that you can see the scruffy paintwork here – apologies for the poor picture quality etc. There was a maHOOSIVE spider in our living room, and I took this from the hallway using zoom. I didn’t want to spoil the whole gallery just yet, as I’m hoping to finish it soon and do a feature post on it – our mantel area was my favourite part of our house until a big ass spider ruined it (the spider got away).

Do you struggle to find art you like at a decent price? Have you ever resorted to weird DIY stuff to make your house a home?

Birthday Camping Jollities

A couple of weekends ago, we headed to just outside Stratford-Upon-Avon to meet up with some dear friends and celebrate my birthday. I thought I’d share some pictures from the trip, as most people love a photo post, even though for me it feels like a cop-out because I hardly have to write anything: picture/thousand words etc.

So on with the slideshow. Or scrollshow.

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Camp on the first night. Note the fire pit. Major win.

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Very blessed with kind, thoughtful and creative friends!

We arrived on Friday evening, and the boys and Lucy got the tents put up while I watched and offered “helpful” comments. Normally I would get stuck in, but the tent we bought second hand smelled a bit mildewy and I was feeling pretty disgusted. Anyway, our other two friends arrived, the tents were up, the BBQ and campfire were roaring; we had a lovely cup of tea and some chats, I got given pressies which is always fun, and then we went to bed. Day 1 in the Big Brother Camp is oaerva.

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Yep, we’re brewing tea in a saucepan over a (legendary) camping hob. And it was the best. tea. ever.

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Andrew: best croquet method ever. We came second, but only because the third couple cheated on a massive scale.

This was disgusting and full of all kinds of bugs, but I took one for the team. Or something.

This was disgusting and full of all kinds of bugs, but I took one for the team. Or something.

Day 2: Breakfast always tastes so much better when you’re outside in a field. We had bacon butties and tea, and then headed off to Charlecote Park which was a mere two minute drive from our camp-site. We played croquet, had afternoon tea and then walked around the park itself before heading off to Stratford. Where we did some more walking, more drinking of tea, and more eating.

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There are very few summer photos of Andrew pulling anything other than this expression. The boy needs sunglasses or something!

This was somewhere near where Shakespeare lived or grew up, I can’t remember – I was too busy people watching.  There was a particularly hilarious group of American students in a Shakespeare gift shop, it was mesmerising.

Our tents overlooked the sunset. Except ours because we pitched it back to front by accident - d'uh.

Our tents overlooked the sunset. Except ours because we pitched it back to front by accident – d’uh.

You don't get much better than this.

You don’t get much better than this.

Day two finished with another BBQ/campfire mash-up, a game of Articulate, some terribly excellent yoga, some more cups of tea, and a game of Trivial Pursuit. We watched the sun set, and then had a fairly early night as we all had places to be the following day so we were up at 6.30am de-pitching tents and packing stuff into cars.

It felt like we had been away for much longer than 36 hours, and Andrew and I felt really refreshed by the time we got home, despite being a bit grubby (neither of us fancied a porta-potty shower). The first thing we did when we got home was have a wash, and then wash everything we had with us!

If we don’t do this on at least an annual basis, I may have to defriend our friends. JUST KIDDING.

Meneksh out.

Monday

The only titles I could think of for this post were either alliterative or cliche, both of which I am far too tired to cope with (they annoy me on a good day). So you’ve ended up with a one-word statement of fact. A statement of fact that is only a statement of fact for another 58 minutes, and which will probably be no longer so by the time you read this post.

We had a lovely weekend away in Scarborough – post to follow next week (this week’s will be a photo post on my birthday camping trip) – with lots of sea air and some time out together. It was a shame to come home really, to a house full of boxes and paint and half-finished rooms! But the end is in sight :)

Today was my last month-end at IVP, thankfully, I’m not going to lie. I find them pretty stressful, and had about 2 weeks’ worth of work to do in one day today which was particularly trying. I was in from 7am-5pm, followed by Street Pastors work from 5pm-10pm. This two jobs malarkey can’t end soon enough!

While we were out, Dougal (who, having been ill and on a forced fast for the past 24 hours, had decided enough was enough, and went on a forage) managed to find (out of a zipped-up rucksack no less), open and consume upwards of 20 hard-boiled lollipops (courtesy of Street Pastors), a bottle of hair conditioner and 2 plastic carrier backs. We got home to find him lying in a sugar-induced sleep-coma on a pile of shredded plastic bags, with a suspicious trail of sticky sticks (lol) and wrappers leading away from him in the general direction of the rucksack, from which the original sweets had been pilfered.

And so, on that note, I leave you – with a sincere apology for the amount of parentheses used in today’s post and 47 minutes for you to read it before it has a defunct name.

Warmest regards,

Exhausted, from Nottingham