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New blog!

Posted on 17th June 2012 in Blog/ family

One of the most frequently asked questions I hear in the office at work is “so what’s for dinner tonight then?” and as I’m utterly obsessed with food (just ask my ever expanding arse!) I’m starting a new blog which will be daily dinner tweets!

You can find it here.

And follow it on twitter here.

I hope you like it :)

K is for… Knicker Club

Posted on 7th September 2010 in Blog/ chain letter/ gullible/ knickers/ panties/ pyramid/ thong/ tweet

Something that @MrsTeepot tweeted earlier today “Now drowning in thongs!” made an old memory jump into my mind.

A few years ago I was sent a letter inviting me to join a ‘knicker club’ it was one of those ghastly chain-letter-pyramid style thingies where you posted a pair of knickers to the person at the top of the list…. then removed their name and added your own along with details of what size/style you like. The result was meant to be that you would receive 35 pairs of knickers in the post. (I didn’t sound this bad at the time honestly.)

I’m guessing that everyone put ‘Size 8, thong’.

Being a gullible sort I did duly post of a pair of panties (size 8 thong funnily enough) but sadly/fortunately received none in return!

Unless the first rule of Knicker Club is that you can’t talk about Knicker Club, then I have a question for you:

Q. Were any of you ever as gullible or was it just me?!

M is for… My Mistress

Posted on 14th July 2010 in Blog/ friendship/ Twitter/ writing workshop

Writing Workshop Badge

3. Who’s your boss? Who (or what!) is in charge of you and your life?

This is EASY.

Much as I try and deny it, Twitter Is My Mistress. For example, today is my day off work. At work I spend the day in front of an iMac and I beaver away at my desk for hours on end. So, today – on my day off – I have mostly sat at home, in front of an iMac and buggered around on twitter for hours on end.

I did just break momentarily to do the washing up. That would be the washing up that I would have done last night, had I not been on twitter. I did have to go for a blood test this morning which took approximately 1.5hrs (30 mins to walk there, 30 mins to wait, 30 mins to walk back) I spent most of the 1.5hrs wishing I had a phone from which I could tweet….

I blame @MinaCab for this as twas she who introduced me to my mistress. She came to my house, plied me with cake, pulled many things (except the obvious) from her bra and then insisted that I join Twitter. Being a meek, subservient, do-as-I’m-told type of a girl I immediately signed up. And was immediately disappointed. “I don’t get it” I said. @MinaCab then explained the virtues of twitter to me and told me that she went to senior school with Andy Parsons (and did a reasonable Andy Parsons impression it has to be said) yet still the appeal of Twitter eluded me.

Yet it nagged at me. Why didn’t I ‘get it’ I am not especially unintelligent, if other people could ‘get it’ then why couldn’t I?

Every now and then I would throw a tweet into the void. Not a lot happened – to be fair I was only following @MinaCab @PlanetJedward and @StephenFry so it was fairly obvious that my banal tweets weren’t about to set the world on fire.

Then one day I did a #hashtagtweet and got a reply, from a real person, a stranger…. Ooooh this was intriguing. So I looked at the strangers ‘followers’ and added a few of them, and they followed me back. Suddenly my banal tweets started getting responses.

This then trigged a ‘ray of light’ a moment where the earth moved, the stars aligned and the heavens collided (never sure what with) – suddenly I GOT TWITTER. I got it, I understood it, I loved it.

I started following @richardm56 I’m not a daytime TV person so although I knew who he was, I wasn’t a stalker fan, but people said he was Mr Twitter, so I followed. He was funny. He made me laugh, I replied to a couple of his tweets – and he replied! I told him some mad tale about Binky (Richard’s late mail sherpa, long story) asking via the medium of Derek Acorah for him to follow me back – and he did! LOL. Twitter rocks!

I am now ‘friends’ with some amazing people on Twitter. My ‘real life’ friends ‘don’t get it’ and they pull that face at me if I mention it, so I don’t anymore. My husband, tolerant man though he is, is dubious of my twitter relationships.

Without Twitter I would never have spoken to @jakubhlavacek a lovely (but rude) gay guy from the Czech republic. I would never have exchanged, time, cake and publishing with @thecakenest – I would never have started a blog if it were not for the likes of the lovely @porridgebrain @cosmicgirlie @JfB57 @Princess_L_88 @cafebebe @vegemitevix (and too many more to list, sorry). I would never have had extraordinarily bizarre conversations with @PowerFairy my life would not have been enhanced by knowing @DrewParky who to me is a little ray of sunshine. I wouldn’t have seen the smiley face of @Superrealpj I wouldn’t know that sock cats are awesome if it weren’t for @_pussygalore I wouldn’t have received lovely, supportive messages from @busyhobs or have ever known about the Tots100 or @The_MADs if it weren’t for @swhittle. Without twitter I wouldn’t have had a lovely chat with @MyDaddyCooks or have tasted his simnel cakes and brightened Archie’s day with Thomas goodies.

Without Twitter I would never have started coffeegate…

I have lovely conversations with lots of wonderful people, including: @LivingwithKids @kateab @PaulaMaher @MissMarch1130 @1chicmama @hooker1uk @Caroljs @MeTheManAndBaby @Jon_Stead @cassiemwilliams @becaboop @KayAndHerBoys @SheilaW10 @The_Moiderer @Nudieprincess @bumblingtweets @ocean_design @christinemosler @gillyjamjar @utterlyscrummy @lbyrne74 @himupnorth @Debbie_Ireland @Delakobic @PeterWanless @SingleMummyUK @mediocre_mum @thekidscoach @TheJellyMonster @peabee72 @Henrys_Mummy @Metajugglamum @realityrose @Barb1963 @teamvaughan @newdaynewlesson @salamicat @nicolalalalala @ShortyMcStompy @balloonbaboon @blottedcopybook @benspex @mummylimited @chrisandharvey @freyerj @justinheron @tradingnothing @Rosa_lingerie

I’ve dropped phones down toilets with @SweetPeaParties. I love the gentle humour of @PippaD and everytime I read her name the song by BabyD pops into my head! I respect @Andy_Golding, I experienced a military clean up from @RAFairman, laughed at the IT Crowd with @kookoocachu @daddacool and @tattooed_mummy. I’m grateful for techy advice from @spences10. I laugh every time I see the name @AhcomeonnowTed. Quite early on in my twitter life, I was inspired by @Angiebabes999. I got trust from @SingleDadsDiary I got to do a guest blog for @SmittnbyBritain and I read STOP ME by the brilliant @Bookwalter

I LOVE the secret postclub, thank you @notefromlapland

I enjoy the humour of @GPforhire and @5tevenw

I am quite honoured to get the occasional reply from the lovely, talented and fairly easy on the eye ;o) @DhruvBaker1

And although I expect none of you will have noticed, I am reasonably fond of a nice guy called Bob @OnlyDads

My thoughts have #hashtags in them, as do things I put in texts and on facebook.

If I haven’t named you, please please don’t be offended. I follow 693 people – and I follow you all for a reason – it just simply wasn’t possible to list all 693 of you here (I did try, but I am very lazy) so if I follow you, I twitter-love you ok? Actually – if I’ve inadvertently missed you off, tweet me and let me know and I will add you :o)

So in answer to prompt 3 of @porridgebrain’s writing workshop: 3. Who’s your boss? Who (or what!) is in charge of you and your life? My one and only answer is TWITTER!

Blog of Substance Award

Posted on 12th July 2010 in Blog/ meme/ Twitter

The lovely, kind and generous Garry @himupnorth has awarded me the Blog of Substance Award. Now he did create a new rugged, manly badge for the this meme however being as I am a girl, I am sticking with the girly one as above!

THE RULES:

1) Give groveling gratitude filled thanks to the blogger who awarded you

2) Share your five word blogging philosophy

3) Nominate further bloggers of substance

Until this moment I hadn’t really considered that I had a ‘blogging philosophy’ however I shall now attempt to come up with one in just 5 words. This is difficult for me, I tend to prefer to use as many words as possible, but here goes:

WORDS   FELL   OUT   MY   HEAD

RANDOM   THINGS   THAT   I   THINK

HONESTY   AND   INTEGRITY   RULE   OK

TELL   IT   LIKE   IT   IS

You may have noticed that was just a smidge over 5 words…..but if I had to pick a lone 5, then I would pick the last 5 – TELL  IT  LIKE  IT  IS.  Although to be fair I think the top one is probably more accurate ;o)

Now I need to pass the award onto others. I personally think that everyone who takes the time to sit write a blog deserves a Blog of Substance award, as such if I have ever visited and commented upon your blog, it’s fairly safe to say I think yours is a blog of substance. However, in order to play the game,  some people for me to pass The Blog of Substance Award onto:

First and foremost was going to be @Metajugglamum but I see that Garry already tagged her (damn you Garry) so instead I move to:

@SingleMummyUK

@becaboop

@NudiePrincess

@TheJellyMonster

and
@elainescott77

Ladies, I pass the Blog of Substance award on to you, well deserved in every case.

S is for… Sensory Overload

Posted on 9th June 2010 in Blog/ cats/ writing workshop

For prompt 4 of porridge’s writing workshop.

I shouldn’t be here

Would he find out?

I’d promised ‘never again’

Could he find out?

It was so beautiful to look at

I’m just looking, looking can’t hurt can it?

My heart contracted

I looked around, had anyone noticed?

My eyes widened

There was no one here to see

My fingers reached out

Could I? Should I?

I could feel my pulse

Was this love?

I wanted it

Was it lust?

I wanted to touch it

I shouldn’t

I needed it

I know it’s irrational, but I DO NEED IT

I needed to feel it

Just for minute

I needed to hold it

Oh how much I needed to hold it

I tentatively extended a hand

It looked up at me

My fingers brushed it

Oh so soft, so so soft

Our eyes connected

Such intense blue eyes

It blinked at me and I melted

Had anything ever looked so cute?

I guiltily snatched it up

Had anyone seen? I didn’t care

I held it close

Just for minute

I smelt it and buried my face in it’s soft fur

Now I know I love it

It purred

It loves me too!

The object(s) of my desire can be seen here
Any of them obviously, but from a pure ‘kitten porn’ point of view it would have to be the little black one on the left hand side near the bottom or the oh so beautiful little grey bundle about half way down! Forgive me, I have never hidden my love of cats!

I is for… It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time meme

Posted on 25th May 2010 in Blog/ car park/ Crushes/ gin/ it seemed like a good idea at the time/ meme/ SAS

I am honoured, emotional, surprised, unprepared and deeply grateful to be one of the very first recipients of the ‘It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time’ meme award.

This is a BRAND NEW meme created by Jon in his great blog.

First, and foremost, in order to abide by the rules, I need to thank Jon for the honour that he has bestowed upon me. “Thank YOU Jon”

Now for the rules, I have ‘cut & paste’ these from Jon’s blog and am a little alarmed at the absence of points 3 & 6 – Jon?

So here are the rules for this one:

1. you have to thank the person that tagged you by tagging them back!

2. Use the picture in your post.

4. Tell everyone 5 things you did in your life that seemed like a good idea at the time!

5. Nominate 7 other people to do the same and link to there blogs.

7. Let the people you have nominated know.

And so, my 5 things that Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time:

1. In a nightclub, guy comes up and asks me to dance. So I ask a friend to hold my drink and I say yes…. reason this was a mistake? See A is for…

2. At school, age 15, my boyfriend was 23 (should stop that one there really!) he used to drop me off at school in his white porsche and kiss me goodbye in the school car park. CRINGE.

3. I once let someone go that I probably shouldn’t have. Trouble with that is that they chose to go so I guess keeping them would have been kidnap?

4. In the car park where I park for work, the concrete posts are in a ridiculous position for anyone who is unfortunate enough to have to park a car in there…you have to swing round REALLY close to the post. Anyway, will let the picture below do the talking on this one – needless to say the car on the right is mine…

5. Hmmm, number 5. I’m really stuck on 5. Don’t get me wrong – have done loads of stupid things – maybe, no, what about, oh no, erm – ok, I once went out with a guy who was a trainee accountant, but, told me he was also in the SAS… and I believed him. Yes, yes, as it turns out he was married.

And so, to tag 7 others, groan 7? really? do you know how much gin I’ve drunk?

@SingleDadsDiary
@Spences10
@Jfb57
@himupnorth
@metajugglamum
@little__witch
@thecakenest

Go for it guys xx

H is for… Handbag meme

Posted on 30th April 2010 in Blog/ coffee/ Handbag meme/ health/ New York/ starbucks

H is for… Handbag meme

A long time ago, @linsay1978 tagged me in the Handbag meme, the rules of which are:

* Put the Logo on your sidebar, or within a post.

* Pass the award onto 12 Bloggers.

* Link the nominees within your post.

* Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

* Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

So, what’s in my handbag?

I warn you, my handbag is a bit of a bottomless pit…. Mary Poppins has got nothing on me!

The BAG:

Medicines and make-up, all essential of course

The spoils from Starbucks…

Purse (including new york subway tickets, obviously) passport, bank books, nspcc sticker, 2 x external hard drives, keys, diary, phone, 4 different colour pens, home banking device and an umbrella

And, erm, everything else! I did throw some of this away after taking this photo – for which  my bag is both grateful and lighter!

Now, to tag 12 other bloggers – ladies it is over to YOU!

1. @thecakenest

2. @fishwifemark2

3. @littleplanetsue

4. @Caroljs

5. @Sleepytot

6. @AngelHales

7. @Sleepless_Mum

8. @Prymface

9. @buriedwithkids

10. @notSupermum

11. @little__witch

12. @metajugglamum

M is for… MADs!

Posted on 25th April 2010 in adultery/ benefits/ Blog/ caffe nero/ cats/ Cattery/ child/ Christopher Biggins/ coffee/ cream/ Cry/ customer service/ debt/ divorce/ doctors/ eczema/ Elvis/ Feral/ guarantor/ health/ house/ Itchy & Scratchy/ James Blunt/ Kreativ Blogger/ MADs/ Rihanna/ self esteem/ skin/ son/ starbucks/ steroids/ Take That/ Titanic/ Twitter/ Vets/ writing workshop

Blimey O’reily my name has popped up in the MADs list!

I wonder if it was my rants about coffee and customer service?

My frustration over my son’s battle with eczema?

My honest account of my recovery after the breakdown of my marriage?

Maybe it was learning that Dermot O’leary used to lay on my desk?

My tale of a random act of kindness?

Maybe someone liked reading about my cats Elvis and Maisy?

I doubt it was my infinite playlist….

Whatever it was I am very grateful to Twitter and the blogging world because it is really fun to share experiences with people, I’ve been reduced to tears (both of sadness and laughter) from other peoples blogs and I know I don’t stand a hope of winning with my 7 posts, but it is still pretty cool to take part!

If you would like to vote for me – I’d be delighted! Just click here and then enter my blog name www.coffeecurls.wordpress.com into the areas where you’d like to nominate.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE

S is for… Starbucks

Posted on 24th April 2010 in Art/ Blog/ caffe nero/ coffee/ customer service/ review/ School Governor/ starbucks

Anyone who has kindly read C is for… Coffee, Cats and Caffe Nero will know that I have recently expressed my views about the differing levels of customer service that I have experienced in Caffe Nero and Starbucks.

A million years ago when I used to work in customer service I was taught to invite feedback, whether positive or negative as then you get the opportunity to: ‘turn every complaint into a compliment’

For this reason, I feel strongly about bad service and if I ever experience it, then I do like to the let the company in question know. Equally if I feel that I have received exceptionally good service I also like to let the company know – it does a person good to know that they are appreciated.

So I wrote C is for… Coffee, Cats and Caffe Nero as a way of acknowledging the great service I’d received at my local Caffe Nero. But then as I had made some less than complimentary comments about Starbucks I thought it only fair that I offer Starbucks the chance to see what I’d said.

I think it is true to say that I wasn’t really prepared for the events that followed!

After exchanging a couple of tweets, the Starbucks UK MD (nice American man called Darcy) rang me and said that he would arrange for the district manager to call me and arrange a meeting.

The meeting was set up for Tuesday 20th April and I duly went along to Starbucks, not really too sure what to expect.

OK – The Good Points

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how seriously they took my concerns.

I was in Starbucks for about an hour and a half, which means that the district manager and the branch manager both gave up an hour and a half of their time just to speak to me.

I asked them all the questions that I had been given by the good people of twitter, they listened, made notes and answered them all.

They gave me a coffee at the start of the meeting (latte – with an extra shot of course) and about half way through a barista delivered a caffetiere with some different coffee in for us to ‘taste’. What was nice about that was that the branch manager had specifically selected the blend of coffee as it was one of their ‘bolder’ coffees because he had noted from my blog that I prefer strong coffee.

They were both very knowledgeable about Starbucks. After listening to the DM at length, I am also now very knowledgeable about Starbucks! The branch manager, in particular, came across as being genuinely concerned that he had an unhappy customer, which was quite touching.

They have a display of ‘local art’ on the wall, they see this as being of benefit to the community. I thought that was quite a nice touch.

And – The Bad Points

On Sunday 18th April I did a ‘secret squirrel’ visit to Starbucks with my family as I suddenly felt conscious that I hadn’t been in for a while and maybe it was lovely now….  However, we were served cold coffee, we weren’t offered any cutlery with our food, there was a broken plate on the floor and the staff were quite unattentive even though the place was very quiet. Also the upstairs was roped off, leaving only the downstairs tables and just one toilet available to customers.

I’m left a little confused as I felt a real sense of Starbucks being a ‘corporate’ enterprise and I wonder if that is why they are lacking the personal touch.

My Questions

1. Myself and people from various different towns on twitter feel that Starbucks is lacking cleanliness, especially in it’s toilets. They made a note of that and said they would feed it back to HO.

2. Is there a problem with your wifi as people have mentioned that they’ve found it very frustrating to buy a coffee, then sit down with their laptop only to find they can’t connect. The district manager did admit that this was a problem that Starbucks were currently experiencing, he said they are currently changing their service provider which will hopefully alleviate the problem.

3. Why are your drinks sometimes cold? Apparently the ‘flat white’ is meant to be served at an immediately drinkable temperature – in one gulp.

4. I have had cold latte before – is that because your milk isn’t hot enough, if so, could there be a risk of bacteria? They said the only way that could happen would be if a barista had steamed some milk for one customer and then let it sit and used it again for a subsequent customer rather than steaming more milk. The branch manager said he would speak to his staff to make sure this wasn’t happening.

5. Why don’t you have a full range of merchandise in all stores.Apparently merchandise is only available in larger or newly renovated stores. The district manager told me that Starbucks merchandise is quite collectable.

6. Why don’t you offer a loyalty scheme – like the Caffe Nero buy 10 coffees get 1 free scheme. The DM said categorically that Starbucks would never do a scheme like that.I said I thought that was a little short sighted and that the reward card is very popular and I couldn’t believe that it didn’t lose them customers. He did say that it was potentially a problem for them in the London branches.I have to say I felt he spoke quite derisively of the Caffe Nero loyalty scheme which surprised me.

7. Will your ‘proudly brew’ concessions ever do frappuccinos? The DM said that Starbucks will very soon be bringing out a massively extended range of products across the board including ice creams, shots in a can and many take away items.

8. On behalf of @nudieprincess I asked why in the Brighton store they often serve a latte with half a cup of froth. The DM told me that a latte should have no more than a quarter inch of froth. The BM said that if you are served a latte with much more froth than that then you should return it to the counter as ask for a fresh one. They also said you need to ask for a ‘wet’ one if you want no froth.

My Conclusion

I massively appreciate how much effort they took to listen to me. I am after all just one disgruntled customer in a sea of happy ones. When I left they gave me a couple of coffee samples from the Via range and a preloaded starbucks card (which I haven’t decided yet whether or not to use – I’m not sure if it would be hypocritical of me to use it?). This was nice of them but certainly not what I went there for.

What meant more to me was that the BM wrote down both his email address and mobile number and asked me to keep in touch. The DM asked me to ‘work with the BM’ and feedback after future visits to say whether I felt there had been improvements in the branch.

I went there thinking they would tolerate me, that they would listen for 10 mins, give me a coffee and then send me on my way. But they didn’t, and whether I like their coffee or not, whether I feel their branches could be cleaner or not, I cannot fault Mike and Carl for the way they handled my complaint and the fact that they both made me feel that they valued my opinion and had all the time in the world to listen.

I can’t say right now that I’m ready to ditch Caffe Nero, but I can say that Starbucks have an impressive reaction to customer complaints which is clearly led from the top – and the branch manager of my local Starbucks is a real asset to their company.


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