End of an Era

23 07 2013


Team DramaToday was a bittersweet experience.

On one hand – after the year from hell I am delighted that it is finally over.

On the other hand – today I lost my beloved colleague Emily who is off to pastures new in Sept. We have been so close for the last three years it is hard to imagine life without her.

I am too sad to elaborate furthur on my relationship with this remarkable and talented woman and too exhausted to really process the fact that we will no longer be working together.

But for three amazing years we were: “Team Drama” – “just so you know”.


FNOMC…made me Oreo Cupcakes

3 07 2013


Tonight FFOMC and I are entertaining a good friend.

I have mentioned him before – built like a wrestler but a passion for baking. I have also refered to him as FNOMC but he seems less enamoured with this description.

As a thank to us for entertaining him he has brought us some homemade Oreo cupcakes.

I am informed that they have a biscuit base with crushed oreos in the sponge.

Frosted – not with buttercream – as oreos kept getting stuck in the nozzel of the piping bag. This was substituted with a cream cheese and oreo cookie frosting. All topped with a mini oreo cookie.

In case any of my single readers are wondering – unfortunately FNOMC is attached and his apearance in my flat tonight is to give his partner space while she completes some exam marking. Attractive, competent in the kitchen and thoughtful – his girlfriend is one lucky lady.


The future father of my children…co-founder of Hells Cupcakes

5 06 2013

hells cupcakes

Alcohol is responsible for some of the most awesome-tastic ideas ever. Hells Cupcakes is probably the most inspired and convoluted alcohol induced strokes of genius of all time.

My memory of how the idea took seed and grew in a wondrous life plan is a little hazy, but I think it started with a hoodie.

The hoodie in question is pictured below:

SOA Hoodie

FFOMC has had this item on his wish list for some time now. Our good friend already has one and it is the cause of many envious glances. Not only is our friend currently sporting shoulder length blond hair and a pretty full on beard but he is built like a wrestler. He just suits “the biker look” and as he will be learning to drive a motorcycle after the summer he is well on his way to becoming a biker.

In our alcohol induced stupor we decided that he and FFOMC (who is taking the somewhat “less bad boy” approach of learning to drive a car) should start their own club. Had the conversation ended there – no one would have ventured complaint.

But alcohol is a strange mistress and once the idea had taken seed it took on a life of its own.

However as our friend is the devoted keeper of two kitty-cats (not entirely in keeping with the bad boy biker image we were inventing for him) and as such he was covered in white cat hair. We decided that in order to maintain his street credentials it would be best to say they were from his pet wolf; FANG. As he already has a wolf tattoo – this seemed an entirely credible story – at the time.

FFOMC, as regular readers will know, has aspirations to leave work and become a house husband one day – a topic about which we are not entirely in agreement. Our good friend is currently unemployed and looking for work. As childcare is so expensive and FFOMC and I have no idea how we could ever cope financially should we ever become parents, I had the outstanding idea that our friend become the FNOMC – future nanny of my children.

FNOMC has protested that he does not believe himself suitable for the role. But having identified that he has a love of daytime television including shows during the day that would be appropriate for an infant audience and his talent for baking the most amazing cupcakes – I think I am on to something. Surely he would be satisfied to be in employment and should FFOMC absolutely insist on becoming a house husband – they could at least devote the time together to combining my child care needs with setting up their biker club.

The name of course is crucial. To say we agreed would be a gross misrepresentation (of any aspect of the conversation to be honest) but I think “Hells Cupcakes” was in the running. We even discussed the logo of a wolf eating a cupcake embossed on the back of heavy leather biker jackets.

Even in the dawn of sobriety I can see the benefits of coming to some sort of arrangement to ensure that we pursue Hell’s cupcakes – otherwise known as my own personal nanny service.

Friendship comes from the strangest places

19 05 2013


I am blessed with many great friends. But as I have gotten older I have realised that the value of the alliances I have made in my life have been variable.

The people I am most blessed to have as a presence in my life are also sometimes the most unlikely.

One of my best friends is – quite frankly – total fruit-loops with a healthy dose of nut-bar!

But I love her to pieces and cannot imagine what my life would look like without her.

She challenges me in ways I never imagined were possible. She picks up on every miniscule mistake I make and makes my life intollerably difficult on occassion; but she is also my rock, a shoulder to cry on, the voice of reason and I can be more honest with her than almost any other individual in my life.

Did I mention that she also drives me nuts?

Friendship is a strange thing. We rely on people in our lives to appreciate our successes, encourage our dreams, support us in our failures and offer guidance and support when we feel lost. Another thing we can rely on is their honesty.

My friend listens attentively to my problems and offers a shoulder to cry on. She celebrates my successes even when they conflict with her own desires. She has shared with me her vulnerablity despite being terrified of being perceived as weak.

In the grand scheme of things I have know her for a comparatively short period of time only 4 years or so. But I have shared my secrets with her and in turn she has trusted me to keep hers despite being a deeply private person.

I am thankful for her presence in my life and would do almost anything for her.

Here’s to friendship – whatever irrational, unpredictable form it may take. And to one of the best friends I have ever had – look after yourself, be strong and never forget how much I value you despite the fact that you drive me absolutely crazy!

Thank you Emmie Lawrence

25 02 2013

thank you

This post is actually inspired by something that happened about tis time last year. Back in 28th June 2012 Ryan Podger saved my holiday.

I had never met him and he had no reason to feel that he owed me anything. The give you some context; due to a miscommunication my holiday was cancelled and it looked like my husband and I were going to lose not only our original booking but the £700 we had already paid towards it. I cannot begin to describe how devastated and inconsolable I was. We could not afford to simply pay the full amount again, (who has an extra £700 just lying round) and may have meant that we would not have a holiday that year. But Ryan Podger came to the rescue and after a dozen phone calls and some excellent customer service our trip to Mexico was saved.

We were so impressed with Ryans efforts to help that my husband wrote a Blog post about his experience called “Thank you Ryan Podger”:


He sent a link to Ryan’s employers at Thomson Holidays and received an unprecedented increase on his stats page in the following days. Ryan himself saw the post and replied thanking us and saying only that he had done his job and hoped we had a good holiday. I hope he also got some sort of bonus and recognition in his work place.

The post my husband wrote about this is probably my favourite post ever. I loved the idea that Ryan received public recognition for his hard work and effort and that his employers were aware of how much we valued him. People are so quick to condemn bad service and complain but only rarely do they say thank you and acknowledge good work.

I would urge more people to recognise those who make their lives better.

With that in mind I would like to say a personal thanks to my colleague Emmie Lawrence.

Emmie is simply amazing. I am better at my job because of her. We present a united front in all work related matters, have a hugely successful collaborate relationship, laugh daily, cry together, share each other’s secrets and support each other through the good times as well as the bad. I cannot think of a better person to share my working life with. We spend more time together than we do with our partners and it is a relationship that I have come to really value over the last three years.

This woman quite simply makes my life better and for that I would like to thank her.

If you have someone who makes your life easier or better, personally, professionally or just a stranger who works in a call centre and helps you out by offering good customer service – let them know.

I'm part of Post A Day 2013

Heather and the flying wall Ducks

11 02 2013

Flying wall ducks

I wanted to share a piece of writing I did last Christmas as part of a gift.

Most Dads have nicknames for their children: Princess, sweetpea, monkey, sunshine etc.

But my Dad was thinking outside the box when he chose Daphne, Horatio and Muffin for his three girls. He had many nicknames for each of us and my youngest sister was also affectionately known as Duck. This sparked in my sister a lifelong love of the adorable animals. She is duck mad!

She has a collection of duck toys, ornaments and pictures but last year she realised that there was one thing that was missing from her collection. She discovered the existence of flying wall ducks – a common household adornment in the 1970’s. They are commonly associated with Hilda Ogden from Corrie and if I am honest I have never considered them to be particularly attractive ornaments.

However having discovered how much she wanted them I filed flying wall ducks in my mental notepad as a prospective Christmas present. A few months later I discovered some modern mirrored wall ducks that were very contemporary and suited to the home of a young woman in her 20’s so I ordered them immediately.

The day they arrived and I set about wrapping them my husband was away at a conference. In a moment of boredom I started writing a poem from the perspective of the ducks as an accompaniment to the gift. This project entertained and amused me for an entire weekend!

It was one of those great moments that I was as excited about her opening the gift as she was. It was the personal touch, time and effort that went into this that made it memorable for us both. The poem read as follows:

We came on a perilous flight

From the North Pole one dark stormy night

We have come one and all

To find peace on a wall

We we’ll all snuggle up warm and tight

For a duck is a web footed friend

Whose life could so tragically end

All mashed up in a stew

(from a chefs point of view

This conforms to a popular trend)

Now ducks don’t belong on a plate

But up on a wall they are great

Alan has some reserves

We might get on his nerves

But we really do need an escape

We’ve been told you’ve a beautiful hall

But nothing to hang on the wall

We bring laughter and cheer

That will last you all year

And your husband won’t mind us at all

(We’ve checked)!

My sister did suggest that I am “not too tightly wrapped” but Skipper, Peetre and Alan Junior have indeed taken up their post adorning the wall on the way up her staircase.

I'm part of Post A Day 2013

Next time you give someone a gift why not add a quirky poem or short story to make it more personal and extra special.

Toaster ovens and silverware

12 08 2012

Back in 2004 my wedding was fast approaching and my fiancé and I decided to register our gift list with Debenhams.
The process was very straightforward. After our initial registration my fiancé and I had to book a time to go to our local store and were provided with a scanner. This little piece of technology was enough to keep my husband happy as we then visited all the relevant departments and he was able to scan all the items I, I mean WE thought we would need to help us set up a home together.
As we the first couple in our friendship circle to get married this was a new and unfamiliar process and our best man was horrified by the idea that we would ask for the gifts we wanted instead of letting our guests chose something themselves that they thought we would like.
I made an extremely bad decision that day. I explained to him that this was now common practice and it avoided the embarrassing situation where you received 17 toasters. These words should never have left my mouth. If only I had said 4 toasters. My friend has a quick wit and is keen to jump on any opportunity for mischief. On the day we left to fly to my birthplace of Northern Ireland with the bridal party, he arrived at our flat with a glint in his eye clutching a wedding present – a toaster.
Every year close to our anniversary he arrives with the most up to date flashy toaster he can get his hands on to add to our growing collection – this year we have received our 9th toaster. If nothing else we feel obliged to remain together until we receive the 17 he initially promised us and then I suppose we should invite everyone we know round for breakfast.

If this has amused you you can read about it from his perspective as well.

Thanks a Latte

11 08 2012

Last night I spent the evening with my husband and 2 extremely good friends. They had us over at their place for a summer BBQ and a catch up before we fly to Mexico next week. It was a really great evening and the first time we have seen them since my birthday.

After a great meal my friend disappeared for a few minutes into the kitchen and returned with this:


Despite being built like a wrestler he has an unexpected passion for baking and despite some mocking from his friends he takes every opportunity to experiment in the kitchen. We often have theme evenings where he and I take turns to cook a meal for the four of us themed on the culinary styling’s of a particular Country so far we have covered Italian, Spanish, Mexican and even a British 70’s diner party inspired evening.

What makes Lawson’s baking so special is his efforts to personalise his meals to suit the people he is cooking/baking for. For example he made my husband a Red Bull cake for his birthday! When he brought out my cake last night his girlfriend and my husband both seemed a little put out at the seemingly romantic gesture of placing a red heart on the icing in red syrup.

This was until I squealed with excitement, remembering a trip the four of us took to Tunisia at Easter. Every day when they all enjoyed a beer mid afternoon in the hotel lobby I had a coffee. The barman made me what he lovingly referred to as his “Special Ali-Baba Coffee”, served in a beer glass with loads of frothy milk and a heart drawn in the foam in red syrup.

The cake was a coffee cake and absolutely delicious.

“Thanks a Latte, Lawson”