Financial Recommendation for 2022 – Invest in Wood

The other evening I decided I wanted to pop down to the local shopping centre (mall) to do some creative thinking kinda stuffs.

Now here’s the thing, it was about 18:45 when I arrived and, knowing that the shopping centre closed at 20:00 I was fairly adamant I was NOT going to pay for coffee, knowing that thirty minutes down the line Sammy-stickler (not their real name) would be out with his broom trying to nudge me off the premises of their well-to-average-do establishment. I was not going to splash out £3.20 for a coffee.

So I head into the shopping centre. It was pretty chill atmosphere, I think they were playing an Eternal song over the speakers (in fairness, it does often feel like Swindon is stuck in the nineties).

Pumped full of the sweet nineties tuneage, I decided to pop into one shop. Just one. A single shop to stretch my legs a bit and get me into the zone.

Yeah…that didn’t happen. Two words – ex-display clearance.

Fifteen minutes later I’m now the proud owner of some new wooden coat hangers.

That’s my shadow on the floor, for anyone who’s never known the pain of taking photographs of inanimate objects at 22:00

It doesn’t end there! Because sure, I could have got ten for £2, I could have even walked on by (those were the only two options so we’re really talking an all or nothing opportunity here). And what is life without seizing the opportunities that come our way?

That’s right, I went and bought twenty ex-display, pink wooden coat hangers for £4. (And I didn’t even need to pay for the bag #Smooth #ThisGirlIsOnFire)

Remember how I said was determined to not spend £3.20 on coffee?

Right, so hear me out on this. That one coffee would have been finite, served, drunk and, well, let’s say “processed” in a couple of hours. These coat hangers will last me years and years and years and years. And yes, before you ask I do indeed already have a wardrobe full of the black plastic hangers I bought almost ten years ago and yes, they’re still in a decent state. But think of the bigger picture – right now it will set you back nearing £10 for just eight hangers. Eight!

SEE?! It makes complete financial sense!

So at the end of the day who’s really laughing? And please don’t say the Neon Sheep store that saw me coming, I’ve heard it already and it’s not getting any funnier.

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Scrum Retrospective for Diwali

Seeing as most members of our Agile Scrum team are based in India, and with Diwali coming up on 4th November, I wanted to facilitate a Retrospective that incorporated this significant religious festival.

Below is a simple board I put together for our team. It got an amazing response, arguably the best since the team was formed in April this year. For anyone else currently doing similar with their teams I hope it proves to be a useful kick-start.

Diwali: A Retro for Good Over Evil

Credit to The Virtual Agile Coach, who’s Diwali board inspired me to create my own – https://www.thevirtualagilecoach.co.uk/post/7d83be43

And, for anyone wishing to brush up their knowledge on the Festival of Light, check out this short video which brings to life the story in an easy to understand way:

There are lots of fascinating elements and unique celebrations to the Festival of Diwali, so why not take up the chance to learn something new!

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Deleted MHAM Posts From the Cutting Room Floor

Some of the photos and posts that I wanted to write for My Housemate’s a Mermaid, but didn’t quite have enough material (pictorial and verbal) to fill.

Deleted MHAM Posts From the Cutting Room Floor

  1. The time how, at the start of the pandemic, Mumma B spent hours cutting squares of old fabric to make laundry bags for NHS key workers

2. When I stayed up so late that I ended up watching a much younger Nicky Campbell presenting a Top of the Pops episode from 1990

Some people had more fun than others.

I continued to watch it, even when this was played from the UK top twenty for the week.

3. How very surreal my office was when I went back to empty my locker

4. My sister’s attempts with one of those packet face masks from South Korea

It ripped off a load of skin, but not a lot else.

5. Squeak, the cat, being rebellious

6. The time I saw my old/favourite History lecturer from University on the BBC and I absolutely lost my cool

I mean, WITH LUCY WORSLEY!!

7. The time I found this in a shop and it perked up my mood

(But not enough that I bought it.)

8. The generous gin measures down the local pub

9. The generous measures of lunch portions while living with family

10. The thinking behind this at the Travel Lodge Hotel in York

It was in the foyer for several days…

11. A post detailing the contents of my bookshelf

12. Everything about this account that started following me on Twitter

How did it take you to spot that’s a semi naked woman?

13. A post on me rekindling my creative mojo during the pandemic

14. The importance of good friends who call-out when you have really bad body odour

15. The ‘what the fudge-ness’ of this targeted advert

Yes, I did tap the link and yes, I am still getting adverts for werewolf fan-fiction as a result.

16. Lockdown birthdays

17. The large number of self-published books with Covid themes

18. The other strange things being self-published

Although I am still a bit in love with the title of this book.

19. My attempts to have a massive clear-out

…which were ultimately foiled by a mixture of procrastination / charity shops being closed / Bubble the cat.

So there you go, a snippet of how much gets filtered before making it onto this website. What can I say? You get what you pay for.

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Working From Home, Day 330: The Cat Hates Me

This one goes out to everyone powering through a seemingly unending home working setup, whilst having to share with others who are perhaps less understanding.

Yes, I’m talking about our pets.

It starts innocently enough, like this:

Discovering that the traditional ‘chair hop’ approach wasn’t getting perhaps the desired result, Squeak starts trying on some new moves. Well, I say new moves, it involves her sticking her bum in my face and using my torso as a multi-level way to easily climb down.

Then all hell breaks loose.

This continuously carries on until, weeks and weeks later, I’m tipped over the edge of breaking point.

She’s totally the only reason I’ve started taking to wearing a dressing gown around the house all day. Nope, sure as heck nothing to do with anything else, I’m as sane as a…drain?

(Oh, and before you ask, I have no idea what I say at the end either. Let’s just settle with ‘generic old woman grumblings’.)

So, to ensure any work gets done we’re had to reach an uneasy compromise. It looks something like this.

FYI if anyone is on the receiving end of a questionable email or ‘jdfsklfdivl’ (or similar); the cat made me do it.

That said, I am becoming increasingly aware of how much sensitive information my cat has access to.

She’s also taken to passing judgement it, too.

If looks could provide constructive feedback…

As home working is likely to be a major factor in working life both now and possibly into the longer term, Squeak and I are just going to have to work things out between us. Not that I’m comparing a family pet to that of a human child, but I’ve discovered this tactic of distraction (using a personal laptop) works surprisingly well.

(Just sayin’)

And if all else fails? Well, if you can’t beat them…

…Turn them into free blog/social media content.

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London Recalling: The Throwback-set

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there” – L.P. Hartley

Tower Bridge

A year ago today, I returned from a London city break and published my first post. I’d spent a year living in the UK capital, so for me it marked a refresh of the best bits of city-living, including art galleries, theatre performances and catching up with old friends.

Days after my return I was left encumbered, battling a mystery illness. Those following weeks I pressed on the best I could, putting it down as another one of those viruses which circulate in densely populated environments. A year later I’m no closer knowing what struck me down; we all have our theories.

Back then, my friends and I had whimsically noted the high-adoption of face coverings being worn by the predominantly Asian tourist base. We mused on the foreign illness that was gripping other continents, but to comprehend the possibility that our own country could already be rife with disease was a step too far. We were better than that, we were British. Instead, we continued to pack ourselves into dense sweats to watch live music, feasted in noisy restaurants and embraced fondly.

If only we’d known.

So, with perhaps a naively romanticised view of what were truly the last days of normality (late January 2020), here are all four parts of London Recalling.

London Recalling – the Mini-Series

Part One – Straight Lesbians, Like Us

Part Two – The Creative’s Curse

Part Three – Solo Sell-Outs

Part Four – Wapping Old Stairs

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New Ways to Support

Just a quick reminder that I’m still here, earning tumbleweed from my writing (well, actually, tumbleweed would at least be something…)

A big, big thank you to those who have donated so far (you lovely people know who you are). For those less aware, I have an active donation page called Buy Me A Coffee, a platform which helps creatives get money doing what they love and keep producing content for their fans.

If not for me and my coffee spilling antics, it’s worth checking out to discover some hidden gems from people across the world.

I’m always reviewing the page and just recently added two funky new extras you can buy as a one-off. Check out the website to find out more.

Thank you in advance!

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This isn’t a sponsored post. Support an unpaid writer like me by donating to my funding page: Buy Me A Coffee

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Career Stories: Bucking the Stereotype

My old Secondary (High) School wanted to do a feature on me for their website. After a series of email exchanges (and some editing support from the lovely Alicia), my post-Chipping Campden School career story is now live:

Alice E Bennett: Bucking the Stereotype

Check it out and discover more about how I went from being a reclusive History graduate to an extroverted Finance professional / creative writer.

Opportunity shout out! I’m currently offering mentorship opportunities for students enrolled at my old Secondary School. Please contact the Alumni Developmental team for more information.

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