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The Wonder Years..how much of this life can we do? : February 2013

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Is it so wrong to take shampoo from a hotel?

A Tune a Day - blowing my own trumpet!

After being inspired to read 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron one of my tasks I've sent myself is to play my trumpet! It suddenly dawned on me that I've actually now not played my trumpet for longer than I played it. So yesterday out came the classic books, The best of the Beatles, along with the soundtrack to Aladdin and I was off in my element! It really was a thrill. Not sure my new neighbours agreed, but they'll learn to live with it. Who doesn't love a Disney theme tune.

I was chatting to a school friend the other day, who is still musical, about how it's such a shame I didn't take my music lessons more seriously at school. I took my Grade 8 whilst doing my A Levels and failed it as I'd not put in the hours to remember the zillions of scales. Also I had a teacher who wasn't stern enough with me, and didn't bully me into learning them. I do wish I'd kept it going, as I remember my Mum always saying 'If you play an intrument you'll always have a way to meet people'. I joined a concert band for a few weeks at Uni, but the temptation of the party lifestyle and having my trumpet stolen meant it was  a short lived experience!

So I'm gonna see how long I can keep up my enthusiasm as I have found a group in Northampton called 'Boobs and Brass', who I'd love to join. I'd say to you if you played something when you were at school, why not try it again. I admit, the harmonica I got for my birthday a year or so again, didn't last long with my practise, but that is only because I felt I was cheating on my trumpet. Did you watch Sue Perkins playing Piano in that Sky Arts series 'First Love' she was another factor to convince me to try it again. I always have been full of hot air!!

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Friday, 22 February 2013

Supermarket chic

What are you're views on supermarket clothes? Cause I LOVE them. I started years ago with George at Asda, I used to do a late night talk show on Heart in Nottingham, and finished at 1am. My best mate, who is in the Police, used to meet me after work if she was doing a night shift and we'd go shopping in the early hours, as it was 24 hours! Then I discovered Florence and Fred at Tesco and now Gok is in Sainsbury's, and I've got some brilliant bargains from him! Last summer I bought a gorgeous colourful 50's style dress from Gok's first range which I wore for my engagement party and everyone couldn't believe it was from Sainsbury's and only cost £40.

I like to call my slight obesssion 'Supermarket chic', the trick is to hold back from what I also call 'bargain tourrets'. This is when someone compliments an item I've bought for a cheap price, I can't help but tell them it was a supermarket purchase and how much it cost. Admit it you've done it.

So yesterday I needed to buy a few items on route to the gym and remembered the big Asda in Hatfield, and as i walked in I was met by a massive point of sale for Skyfall, it was like Daniel Craig was welcoming me into the George bit.. so I obliged and got these two for a total cost of £20.  

I always get compliments on the stuff I get, so in these difficult times, if you need a little something for your wardrobe don't overlook those clothing aisles.  N x

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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Need to make a cull on Facebook? #handytips

Monday, 18 February 2013

Men and DIY

I saw a new side to my hubby this weekend, after he AMAZED me by taking our front door off, to get a table through it, which we'd driven up the M1 to collect from my parents garage. We've just moved and needed a kitchen table and I'd been telling my other half that I'd been storing a table from my late Nanna and Papa for years and would love to have it in our home. He wasn't convinced by my description of it being French style (I've not seen it since I was about 15!) So finally my Dad dug it out from the corner of his garage and sent a picture.
It got the thumbs up from the hubby, as it was clear it is an art deco style - apparently my grandparents bought it from a Dutch couple in the 60's and they'd already had it 30 years. Anyway, this piece of dining room history was secured into the white van we'd hired and driven back to St Albans. All was going to plan, until we tried to get it through our front door. It wouldn't fit! We tried every which way how, and my husband then exclaimed - 'I'm going to have to take the door off' which he did! I didn't show quite how impressed I was with his determination, at the time.. I waited till it was a case of mission accomplished - over 1 hour later, the door was off, the table was in, the door was back on - AND POP went the bottle of champagne!!

I would so have given up and probably tweeted @MrHandyManSta, but it's clear I have my own HandyMan. Now I know not all men are good at DIY. My Dad is, so I assumed it was a given. He bought me a well stocked tool box and I'd like to state I'm more than capable of changing a plug, building flatpack furniture (OK I might not always read the leaflet in full). HOWEVER, now that I've seen the full extent of my husbands DIY abilities and his delight in accomplishing the mission at hand, I will gladly down tools and let that be his territory!

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Friday, 15 February 2013

A wedding @IKEA yes really!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Dilemma of taking your shoes off

So you have your carpets shampooed (albeit it's a rented flat), we've just moved in and having lived somewhere previously where we had wooden floors, we decided (well the hubby lead the decision) to take shoes off when in the flat. I'm fine with this, we have cream carpets - and so we have a little shoe rack outside the front door, in our quaint little hallway, where you can put your shoes when you come in. I do also have stolen slippers from various hotel stays, if you feel you need something to wear!

A visit from a plummer the other day, a big friendly chap called Steve, saw him stride into my flat with his shoes and I felt a bit precious saying anything about our shoes off policy, so I stayed quiet, and just hoped his size 11's weren't mucky! They weren't.

Then yesterday, Steve returned, with his young colleague, accompanied by the landlord's father and his wife (the landlord is overseas) and the four of them had come to fix some stuff, as well as have a look at a few things in the flat, won't bore you with the details but all four of them walked past our little shoe rack and strolled into the flat, wearing their shoes. Now I didn't have the heart to ask all four of them to take their shoes off, but it got me to thinking... is it wrong to ask people to do this? I've been to houses where it's made very clear that they have a shoes off policy. Often people are apologetic about it.. I've also been to houses where people say, 'It's up to you'.. which I find confusing.. sometimes I'm wearing an outfit that is finished off by the shoes so I don't want to take them off, but I don't want to do the wrong thing in your house.

My co-presenter Stuart, told me you can't ask people to take their shoes off when they come in your house, so now I'm confused have I raised my expectations too high? Am I turning into Hyacinth Bucket? Do we need to make it more obvious, it's not even my carpet, so like I said at the start I'm not that precious but we did have our carpets shampooed so it seems like a nice idea to try and keep them clean.. I can't help but feel like this is a #middleclassproblem!

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Friday, 8 February 2013

Learning to Ski and bending zee knees

If like me you are one of the few people that has never been Skiing - why not have some lessons! Finally i'm going on a Ski holiday with some pals.. My hubby @lifestyledeluxe is delighted as he's a 'seasonaire' and has been desperate to 'take me up a mountain' since we've been together. So in 1 month's time we're off to France, to La Tania for a week.

I didn't want to spend my whole time there in Ski school and only be good on the last day, as working in Milton Keynes it seems silly to not get some lessons at the Xscape in MK. So I've now completed Level 2! First up though I had to buy some gear, so the day before my first lesson, off I went to TK Max. I was slightly nervous as I know this all gets quite costly and I'd not really listened to my hubby telling me to do it sooner rather than later, as all the good stuff goes as early Jan. I'd seen salopetts galore on the rails at TK... not the case this time.. BUT I found these which I rather love..Nike Storm wear for £34

Then it came to the jacket. Now again, I didn't want to spend much, but knew i wanted to look the part and not like a marshmellow man. Annoyingly the cheaper jackets are less flattering and LONG in the body. But after a good trapse round the discount outdoor stores at the Galleria in Hatfield (which had a good selection I must say) I went for a pretty plain white Trespass jacket, some gloves, a hat and a snood thingy.. The lot incl my pants, cost me £106 not bad!

Next day at work a colleague started chatting about skiing to me,it's amusing how everyone has an opinion when you tell them it's your first time. This lady was telling me it was 'all about the brands' and whatever I wore I should definately not wear Trespass (oops) but then offered me here Merino wool base layers. I'll have them thanks a lot. Another of my pals has been skiing for years and always has amazing clothes anyway so I've tapped her up for more base layers. I want to make sure I still look the part for the Apres Ski - eh (get me with my jargon!)

So Ski lesson 1 - easy, learning the snow plough.. The boots, not the comfiest, the helmet - stunk! I think @SnozoneMK should invest in some new ones there.. luckily I wore a hat under it. A week later I was back doing my level 2 - a snow plough with a turn, whoop whoop - the instructor said I did well and I passed with flying colours. Apparently it's a good thing that I kept stopping initially, as it showed good control! BUT I forgot my hat, so my hair stunk from the helmet. TIP wear a beany under a borrowed helmet!

This Monday is Level 3. I think we learn to use the lift thing that you have to straddle. A bit nervous about the lifts / and the chair lifts! I must say though, I've very quickly got quite into this skiing lark. I knew I would be, but was worried I'd be rubbish. I admit i've not done much, but I think i've got the knack..

Let's see what happens over the next few weeks and then once i'm on the piste though.

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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

10 things I learnt from Sound Women

Last night was another event at Sound Women (www.soundwomen.co.uk)  - an amazing organisation for women in the Audio industry to have a sounding board for career matters, a meeting place for pals in the industry if like me you don't get to go to as many events as you'd like due to work hours. If you've already been to an event and hope to go to more, do join! Sound Women needs your membership to continue with it's brilliant work.

Last night was a session about 'Branding You' - a daunting task and something that I've now had confirmed is a constantly evolving process, phew - note to self to stop panicking!

The enticing Nataha Maw was introducing the panel, sporting her fab Audrey Tatou inspired bob - talking herself about the challenges she faces, with regards to branding herself. The speakers were Alison Hand from brand consultancy Quadrangle, Sue Llewelyn founder of @UltrasocialUK and the wonderfully entertaining Carole Stone from You GovStone Ltd

As an avid note taker at these things,I wanted to share some of the tips from these inspiring ladies:

1)Alison talked about making sure you can differentiate your brand, so people will really buy into YOU but never do this at the expense of your integrity or authenticity. So I'm off to figure out the brand values of Natalie B!

2)Be conscious of your story and inject personality into it

3)Be brave but not stupid

4)Sue used a rugby analogy of touch pause, engage - making sure there is a human face to your brand 

5)A great tip is to google yourself and if you don't like what you find, work to clean it up.. get yourself and make sure your social networking profile is in good shape -twitter /audioboo/soundcloud/linkedin/facebook/pintrest/instagram, which ever you are doing make them stand out as employers will be looking at them

6) On twitter, talk to influencers - become a trusted source and don't be afraid to get ideas from your competitors  - adopt, adapt and improve them

7)Suprise and Delight with your tweets

8)Carole Stone suggested holding weekly 'salons' as a great way of meeting people

9)Her motto is 'Always have a go'.. you'll never regret that one

10) From me @NatalieBonAir to you - shine bright and enjoy what you can see!!

Lovely to see @andrea_fox @posyb @catmcdonald
@MsMariaWilliams @carina_

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