Bowery Mural

Last Day of November

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

It's the last day of November. the 30th. St Andrew's Day, and yet I don't really know anyone that puts much effort into this Scottish day. Do you? Do you even know an Andrew? whose a saint...

It's also a day when most people at work seem to be on strike. Over pensions. And the Government. I don't really understand it. All I know is the I can't afford to take a day off work so i'm here. And it's my right to be here just as much as it is their right to be out there, striking on a picket line, or alternatively shopping. Because in my building alone there are about 85 people and there's only about 8 of those we've seen on the picket line... That's not to say others aren't elsewhere but really? i don't think so. Anyway this post wasn't going to be about that. But i shall say this. I've been thinking about cashing in my pension for ages. It's quite a big hit off my modest monthly administrator's wage. Plus, by the time i retire, the age will have jumped up to 85 or 90, the money won' be worth half as much and i figure i could actually use the money i have sitting there to out a deposit on a house, or something more practical like that. Couldn't I? I hate having to pay something into a pot of money that will probably go down and down and down until i retire. And prices will inevitably go up. Should I plan that far ahead, or should i just say to heck with this and live a life now? These are the decisions I think about. It's a big one. Do we need a pension? My mum retired after paying into a pension for years with the council. She gets a pittance back. Rubbish.

Anyway, like i said, this post wasn't to be about pensions. Oh, wait, I've got another thing to say. There are some posting things from high on their pulpits about public sector workers not thinking as much about the people they are serving as they are on strike. How about you walk in their shoes for a few hours on their wages and see if your opinion changes then. ok. Right, that was my last word on that subject.

So it's the last day of November. Only 32 days until 2011 ends and 2012 begins. I've done a lot of things this year that I'm proud of. But the list goes on and on of exciting things I want to do. And with you by my side I will do them. Do we have a deal? Well do we?!!

We have December to look forward to with all its glitter and tinsel and Christmas cheer (well some of us are cheery). We have January to look forward to. The nights start to get lighter (honest, they do. I timed it each night in January last year), the year is young and fresh and we start to plan for the summer. We have February, the month of fake love day. the day when couples feel obliged to do something together. If you're a couple you should be doing things like that anyway, or else where's the fun in that! March. Lovely, lovely spring green March. The month of my birthday (get it in your diaries), the month of breaking out your spring wardrobe (mine never changes!), the month of impromptu mini breaks (well in my head there is). The best month of the year in my opinion. Then we have April. A transitional month. When the nip in the air becomes slightly less nippy, you could even go out with out a jacket on if you're lucky. Then we fly ever faster into May. Generally nice weather. Day trips. Heck perhaps there's even a trip to a beach with a picnic, now wouldn't that be nice. June and we're rollerblading head on into summer mode. Pink skin a-plenty. New hair. Summer fun has well and truly started. July comes hot on June's heels. More summer fun, more hotter days (we can dream!) and more and more days out. Remember, we're all going to Alton Towers in July - get that in your diaries too. August bumbles it's way into your life and you're not nearly all summered out but your getting there. The street lights are noticeably on earlier, you can sit out the back and with your cardi thrown over your shoulders but goddammit it's still summer so you ain't putting a jacket on. Here comes September. All browns and yellows and drawing in nights. We like September too, don't we. There's a little bit of wind but still time for adventures, back to that beach maybe. Then we hit October. All blacks and inky blue skies but the stars never stop twinkling so we like that too. We can buy new winter coats and wrap up in them whilst walking through a duvet of crinkly freshly fallen leaves that are just waiting to be jumped in. And there we go, we're back to November again. All sparkling fireworks and wind blown hair. What a year we've had. What a year!

Let's make it a good one, shall we :)

Angela x

Fabulous December

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Occasionally I tweet a few #Angefact's on Twitter and the other day someone tweeted back to say they weren't sure my Ange Fact's were true. Well, they are true. Every single one of them. Perhaps it's because some of them are a little silly? Here's what it was, I said I'd never had a hot chocolate before. That's true. I haven't, but that got me thinking...

I decided that in December there are loads of things going on and loads of stuff to do but i always seem to just Christmas shop my way through it and then kick myself for missing out on the fun. I figured, like i usually do that I'd blog about all these things and turn then into AngeFact's that i have actually done! Good idea eh. And if i blog the list of things i want to do then they're sure to happen, right? So here goes...

1) well it has to be have a HOT CHOCOLATE! This may seem silly but I've never really liked the idea of hot chocolate. Mostly because I'd only ever seen that light brown powdery stuff in the purple tin tub (you know the one). My idea of a perfect hot chocolate would be something along the lines of nutella, but a little more runny. Not bitter stuff mind you. That would put me right off. Can you recommend anywhere that sells nice lovely tasty hot chocolate?

2) wander around the Christmas markets in Edinburgh. I've only ever had a flying visit. Passing through sort of thing on the way to somewhere else. It wasn't enough time to stop and browse and buy little goodies you can't find elsewhere. Want to come along?

3) following on from number 2 is have a go on the big wheel in Princes Street (or George Square). I'm not fussed. Note, if it's windy I'll probably pass up the opportunity.

4) take a long exposure photo. I've always wanted to learn how to take one of these photos. Winter seems like the perfect time to do it. With all the car lights, spinning big wheels, torch words! Let's do it!!

5) blog more. I've totally been slacking of late in the blogging. But I'm going to (try) blog every day in December. I'll try not to put too many photo only posts up.

6) make plans for January. January is a strange month. It's like limbo. Post Christmas blues set in and it seems like there's nothing to do except wait on the new series' of TV programmes to begin. So, I'm trying to add things to my diary to do during this limbo month. What are your January plans? Anything exciting?

7) not go and panic buy more presents on or around 21st December. I plan on having all my Christmas shopping done by mid December at the latest. I've got a few bits in already so that's good.

8) have a night out in my new dress! It's a gorgeous little black dress that I've never had before and i love it. I'd never have worn it a few months ago but now, yes, it's time to get the glad rags on and go out for a night out. Wahey!

I'll leave it at 8 for now. But i may add to this list. Are there little things that pass you by? Things that you might think nothing of doing but never seem to get around to it? Let's all do them!

Angela x

O2, Apple and The Continuing High Data Usage Scandal

Monday, 21 November 2011

Ok, I know you don't care that much and it's only a scandal to me, but still...

If you follow me on Twitter you'll notice that lately i've been less than happy with the amount of data my new iPhone 4S appears to be using. For the past 2 years I was on an unlimited data contract with O2 (who, by the way i've been with since the very early days - previously pay as you go). Mobile companies got wise to the fact that they'd missed a trick and could/should be charging for data or at least cap it. And so most introduced different rates or levels depending on what you needed. 100MB, 500MB or 1GB per month. Now i've read a few tech blogs and most say that an average person won't need more than 500MB per month so that's which option I went for this time. Only it didn't quite work out like that. I got my new phone on 14 October and by the 5 November I had used 80% of my data allowance. What?!! That can't be right surely. I called O2 and spoke to a girl with a distinctly northern accent, i can't quite place it though. She preceeded to tell me that the data usage was in fact correct(!) and that I could purchase more data if i wanted(!), that her friend had a new iPhone 4S too but she swapped it for a Samsung Galaxy thing because and i quote "the 4S updates every night and uses all your data. She was using too much data too so she swapped. I wouldn't have gotten a 4S if i were you" (!!!!!) I just hoped that O2 were indeed recording this call for training purposes as that wasn't a very professional thing to say, was it?

Anyway I let her ramble on. Asking me if i was streaming YouTube videos or tvprogrammes (WT actual F?!) Of course not. I have a laptop and a tv for that. Was I using it any more than normal? NO! Did I have location services turned on? YES. Turn them off then. What is the actual point of having a smart phone if you have to turn off most of the services you bought it for in the first place? It was a frustrating conversation and I left with no answer to my original question - why were my data usage stats to high? Surely I can't be in that top 2% (or whatever the latest infographic shows) who have a higher data usage. Surely?!! She suggested i go to an Apple store or...wait for this... go to an O2 shop to speak to a GURU! (as when i asked if there was a tehcnical helpline she said no, they just deal with billing enquiries etc on the phone). NOTE: later whilst browsing the O2 website buying an extra 100MB data bolt on i saw they also have a Bolt On for monthly technical help, it'll cost you £7.50 though! I mean WT actual F two??

Anyway not satisfied with that i went on the phone to Apple. The guy talked me through all my settings and suggested that i turn off Cellular Data Network. I do that at home now but what if i'm out and about? I won't get the internet if i'm walking down a high street. "No you won't" so again, what is the actual point of a smart phone if you cannot do this?! These people were missing the point... Anyway, the Apple guy emailed me a copy of the user guide and made sure my settings were all turned on / off in the right combination. I'd try this out to see if the data usage went down.

Three days later (yes, only 3 days after the original 80% data text from O2), I got one to say I'd run out and that i could follow a link to buy more. I was seathing at this point. I phoned them again and caused great hilarity in the office at the lack understanding at the question I was asking O2 (yes, I was on the phone to them again). We went around the houses. I was still using too much data, according to them. Yes, but there must be a reason for it? I don't get more than 15 emails per day MAX, I never use it for YouTube. I only downlaod songs or apps at home on a Wifi signal. All I really use it for is Twitter, Facebook and Words With Friends. That'll be it then, she said. WTF?! At this piont i am losing patience. That night i go home and check my bills for the past two years. Maybe i am a large volume user? Maybe i am in the top 2%? I'd never actually checked my data usage since it was always unlimited, have you?... I sat down, logged in and started going through my bills... Previous bill prior to getting 4S circa 175MB for the month. Next one - 380MB. One before that 250MB. I scrolled back and back and back and the only bill i found that had me anywhere close to 500MB was from April 2011, which coincided with my trip to London. I was out and about wandering without wifi so of course the data usage was higher but still not above 500MB. SURELY THERE IS SOMETHING NOT RIGHT HERE??

I made an appointmewnt with an Apple Genius. In the meantime i searched all the forums online and it seems this is a common problem. And the solutions appear to be the phone companies blaming Apple and Apple blaming the phone companies. I don't care who's fault it is i just want it sorted. I don't want to have to be buying extra data each month! Oh and also, Appled released the new version of iOS which was meant to help the battery life. Since my 3GS days i've always got a day's use out of my battery. Not a full day mind you but if i charge it at night use it all day, i don't need to charge until about 8pm. This was the same for my 4S, which is meant to have a better battery(!). Anyway i installed the new version and that night the phone was on standby and had only dropped about 2% during the night. Before it would've been about 15% drop. However it seems that this hasn't fixed the battery problem, which i'm not sure I have anyway. I'll await a next release. The high data usage is a much bigger concern to me.

So the Apple Genius was nice and again checked all my settings to make sure I had it set properly and he said that O2 must be charging me for using data that I'm not. I told him what the 3 different people on the phone have said and he said "yeah they would say that". He said to monitor it and if it was still overly high then i should go back. Frankly I'm fed up with the whole saga. My new allowance began yesterday and according to my bill i've used circa 800MB of data in the first month of having an iPhone 4S. It means i'll probably have to up my bolt on to the £10 (1GB) per month extra instead of £6 (500MB). Now you might think that this is a whole lot of palavar for just an extra £4 per month, but it's the principal of the thing. How come before I wasn't using anywhere near 500MB per month but now with the new phone I am? In my head there's a dodgy deal been done between the phone companies and Apple. We'll make it use data, you can start charging! or something like that *wink*.

Whatever it is, it's certainly not making for a good experience. More and more i'm hearing stories of high data usage being recorded, which weren't there before. I mean in theory i should be able to read half a million emails on 500MB.

Anyway... It's a shame as before this i'd never ever had a bad word to say about O2. And I absolutely love the phone. It keeps me connected. And the girl who quipped about how i should've got a Samsung Galaxy can run to the hills!! So that's it. My story. I had to get it out there. I can now put it to bed and succumb to the grip that O2 has on me and pay that extra £4 per month for data. You could say i'm playing right into their hands.

Angela x

The One About The Shoes

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

I want to blog more. I've slacked the past few weeks. I just don't know what to write about. So this is the post where I ramble about what I've been up to the past few weeks. Not much really except it seems shopping and cinema-ing.

Let's start with the shopping. A few weeks ago saw the most wondrous shoes on a website. They were so awesome I immediately wanted them. Pink suede Sam Edelman 'pumps' with spiky jewel encrusted heel area. Look... wouldn't you want them too?!!

Now these shoes aren't cheap a little shy of £200 but if figure that I don't buy 'going out' shoes that much. In fact the last pair of 'going out' expensive shoes i bought were from Topshop about 4 years ago. I was overdue new fancy schmancy shoes. I decided upon first viewing, that they were to be mine.

I scoured the web and realised that perhaps the closest place to sell them (that i could actually try them on) would be Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh. I'd get round to that eventually. I headed off to Glasgow one Sunday to the cinema with a customary scoot around the shops and allowed myself to be drawn to Fraser's on Buchanan Street. I'll just mosey to the shoes department to see if they have anything else in that would catch my eye. Lo and behold. There they were. They shoes. Sitting at a jaunty angle that enticed me ever more closer to them. I grabbed it from it's stand and checked the size 5/36. American sizing. I knew a 36 was a 3 1/2. Tried it on. Oooohhhh how lush was it. The sales assistant came over and asked if i need any help. I promptly asked her is there was a fresh pair. This one now adorning my right foot was a bit manky and i could see it'd been tried on a fair few times. "I'm not sure but you can try them on and we can order you a fresh pair". Deal.

A few minutes later. Come to think of it, it was a good five minutes later that she brought the box out. It wasn't a fresh pair but she handed me the left foot. Shite. The right foot had obviously faded from sitting on the shelf, understandably. I tried them on as a pair. I was in love. Official. I hoiked my jeans up so i could see them better. They were so awesome. Feminine with the perfect amount of rock chick. Perfect. Only thing was the heel was 4 and a half inches high. Higher than i am used to considering i spend most of my time in a beat up pair of Converse. Boys - this is a high heel! "how do they feel?" was the question from the sales assistant. "they're killing my feet but they're gorgeous" was my reply. It would take a lot of breaking in for me to get used to almost walking on my tippy toes in this new pair of shoes. I wanted them. I bought them. Right there on the spot. In my mind i had them already worn with three different outfits.

I took them off while the sales assistant went to order me a fresh pair from the computer. Two minutes later she was back "I'll just get you over at the till to pay for them". I handed over my card and felt a little guilty. Was this my gut telling me something? Should I be spending this much money on a pair of shoes, which, let's face it, would spend most of their time in a box on top of my wardrobe? Hhmmm.... The shoes should be here within the week and i could collect them whenever i wanted.

Two weeks later I headed back to Fraser's to collect my new shoes. My new sparkly, awesome shoes. Dis-a-pointed was an understatement. I headed into the busy shoe department, the designer section as my shoes were from there. Told an assistant i was here to collect shoes. She took my receipt and headed off. Five minutes later she was back. I noticed the box was a bit...bashed. Hhhmmm. She opened the box to reveal a pair of the shoes in a size 5/36 (3?). There was something not right immediately. The paper inside the box was ripped. The shoes weren't wrapped in their own piece of tissue paper. The plastic rod you get to keep shoes on shape was in the bottom of the box. Around the peep toe they were a bit dirty. There was a green mark on the side of the left shoe. The soles had clearly been used. Not used as in stepped outside but you know when you can tell they'd been stood on and walked in? that!! I was not happy with this. Spending nearly £200 on a 'fresh' pair I'd expect them never to have been out the box! Wouldn't you? I questioned the things i mentioned above and this sales assistant (note: a different one than who originally served me, she was lovely, this one not so much). "No, they've not been worn". Clearly they have I said, look at the soles. "Nope it's not possible". Look at the soles i said. There's a mark on one of them. They're a little bit faded. The box has obviously been opened and they've been worn. "no, they haven't. I can give you a refund". Well actually you know what. Just do that. Her customer service skills were lacking. Perhaps it's because she thought I'd taken her away from another customer who was just about to spend £5million pounds on a pair of Jimmy Choo's!!! A smile wouldn't have gone amiss either. The refund was back on my card within minutes and I was out that door quicker than you could say Sam Edelman. It's such a shame and a disappointment. Shame the shoes weren't a NEW pair and such disappointing service from a high end department store.

I couldn't stop thinking about the shoes. They were truly awesome. But as luck would have it I wondered up Buchanan Street and into New Look to find some clothes for my sister. I called her and she asked me to look for a pair of shoe boots for her. I wondered around and lo and behold (yes I've used this twice now) i saw a gorgeous little pair of red suede shoe boots. I was immediately drawn to them. Looksee below!!

New Look shoe boots
And at £25 they weren't going to break the bank like those spiky pink ones. Plus they are a much more manageable heel size. With the money i had left over i bought a pair of black skinny Levi jeans and a cool little black top. That's my outfit sorted. I now need somewhere to wear it to! *wink wink*

Now, i'm away to practice walking in them... could take a while.

Angela xx

No Words Wednesday

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Saturday evening sunset, raindrops

There's not...

Happy Halloween

The Duo of Wonderful Nephews


Another amazing sunset

Spinning Self

Saturday morning mist

Loch calmness



Angela xx

The Simple Things

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Last week was a week of polar opposites. It started brilliantly with meeting Miss Andi Kiss in Glasgow. She is fab. We walked, had dinner and lots and lots of chats. So fab. I'd say a 10 out of 10 day. Tuesday came and went. I needed a relaxing day. Saw a friend at lunch, had a wee catch up. Played with Connor at home. Nice. Wednesday was my Instagram walk. Great fun. Nice day too, weatherwise. Good. Thursday back to work. In itself fine. Friday last day of the working week (although i cheated with only actually two working days). As the day went on something came over me. Not sure what. A feeling.

I went to spin as usual. It was good. Hot bike boy was there. I mused how his tattoos do not seem to match his personality. He seems to be a bit quiet. Won't look you in the eye, that kind. Anyway, distracted there...

Got home from spin and that feeling was still hanging around. I had a little exchange, a talking to you could say, from a generous and lovely lady who is really very positive, even when things perhaps aren't going her way. An admirable quality that I like. I had a little cry. It's good to get it out sometimes don't you think.

Saturday I decided to just chill out. Relax. Try to get my mind of things. I did that. Sunday was a day out with my sister and the boys. She was going shopping for an outfit. I just wanted a day out. The boys only wanted something to eat. We passed a few toy shops but was on their minds. It was a nice day out if a bit stressful.

By this time I was feeling much better. A few thoughts were still swirling around in my head like autumn leaves blowing in the blustery winds. Round and around they went, these thoughts. They're still there now. Their swirling is not as severe as the other day, as you see, I've got a few things sorted. I thought let's strip everything right back to the bare bones and find out the simple pleasures in life again. Those little things that may not even be thought of until they are over with. And so that's what this post is about... the simple things. What do you like? Here's a few of mine.

  • Warm fluffy towel when getting out the shower.
  • Clean fresh bed linen.
  • A smile from a loved one.
  • A tweet from a friend.
  • A text from someone you cherish.
  • The first drink from a can of Irn Bru.
  • Home made macaroni cheese. It's a hug on a plate.
  • A line from a song.
  • Random acts of kindness, that really aren't random. More on this later. In fact I'm going to write a whole blog post about those.
  • Crafting. Making things with your own hands. 
  • Taking your shoes off at the end of the day and putting your feet up.
  • A memory that comes to you at the strangest of moments and gives you that warm fuzzy feeling and a smile on your face. That. 
Those are some of the simple things that I love.
What are yours?

Angela xx