Happy New Year!

Hey Hey Guys!

Very briefly, some best wishes from yours truly. No long winded, sappy crap about 2014 being the best/worst year of my life and how 2015 is going to be the best year yet, for everyone!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Just this:

  • Do the thing that scares you.
  • Whatever happened in the past is part of you and denying it is naive and will stop you learning valuable lessons.
  • You are what the world has made you, but that isn’t all bad.
  • Look to the future and look to the stars.
  • Set yourself goals, not resolutions. You are more likely to achieve the things you want to. Life is forever changing anyway, try to be flexible with it.

“We are all laying in the gutter; only some of us are looking at the stars”

– Oscar Wilde

Cheers!

SSDD

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Post Christmas – How Ya Feeling??

So how y’all doing?

The festive season is struggling to maintain purchase as the madness sinks in and people reaslise they have to stop being merry soon and return to their general humdrum lives. After the psychotic ravaging of stores that miraculously have re-filled their shelves with wares for the Boxing Day/that-odd-nameless-time-between-Christmas-and-New-Year sales, we are left bereft, despite our many fresh items.

We have less booze, less money, less yummy food, less presents, less visitors, less days off, less lie ins… Generally just less of all those rare goodies we allow ourselves to indulge in excessively at this time of year.

On the other hand we get more of a lot of things.

We get more work, more time out of the warm house and in the cold outdoors, more time spent travelling, more bitchy co-workers, more worries over money, more micro-meals, more stress coffee, more… General crap. And crap that is only crap because you experience it every day, not because it is particularly bad, just that we tolerate it so often that we come to not really care all that much about it. Like work. Most people can’t be bothered half the time. Uni/college. Too tiring when there are warm beds and XBOX in existence. Travelling. Instead of being a peaceful time of reflection it becomes a place of rampant road rage and body odour, if you are not fortunate enough to be part of a carpool. Reality bites back, soon.

We are alright til January. It is acceptable to pull the “aw, Ok, since it’s Christmas” excuse for being just that little bit decadent but only because we have that all important big part-ay coming up known as New Year (sure to be a messy one if you live in Scotland).

Now, while this started off on a bit of a bum note, I like to be a little unpredictable when I write these posts, so here’s me pulling the old switcheroo on you.

I don’t care that we are metaphorically going from a time of excess to a time of… normal? (because I live in the commercialised Western society so we are always living in a time of plenty and there are too many people who already live in excess) I don’t care that I am going to have less money, less free time and more stress. I don’t even mind the thought of my three hour round trips to Uni every day starting again – the bus may smell bad but I always like the journey and I like Uni. I can’t do anything on the journey so it’s a great place for a little downtime.

Sometimes the world of boundless bounty (not the chocolates… though I suppose sometimes the chocolates. At this time of year, certainly. Those little tiny ones. Who actually eats Bounty’s except at Christmas anyway? Who eats chocolates that size at any other time of year? Alas, tis a pondering for another day) is a little too much. Too much of a good thing, and all that. Then again…

I have just had a few of the best days of my life.

Those of you who have followed these interweb pages for a while will know that I used to  detest Christmas. Loath it. Hated it with a passion that would make hell piss itself with shame at its own feeble flame as it pales in comparison to the passion in my rage. But all that has changed this year. It was AWESOME!!

I know that is hardly the most eloquent of ways to phrase it but it is the truth and I am still young enough to get away with such pithy sayings.adored every second!

Last year I did not really have a Christmas. It was one of the worst days of my life and I will never forget it. However, I cannot regret, now, that it happened. Because, had I not, I may not have fully appreciated the marvelous affair that has been the Clark family Christmas, 2013. These shall forever be hallowed days to me.

And these feelings of peculiar warmth have nothing to do with the fact that I have spent a great deal of time in the last wee while drinking excessive, yet not altogether socially unacceptable volumes, of fermented, brewed and distilled liquid, all with the intent of slowly pickling my liver as well as warming the cockles of my heart. Oh no, it is all to do with my family. And the fact that we were all at home. Together. Having Christmas. For the first time ever. And I meant, ever.

I have never had a Christmas at home, just with my parents, and that is something I have always craved. As has my mum, which, means that since we were spending it at home, she has been in an infinitely better mood of late. Actually we all have. There has been an unfamiliar buzz of general merriment colouring my life in the run up to Christmas. I have been a busy little fritter and filled my time by whole-heartedly flinging myself into the spirit of the event. I’ve never really partaken so I wasn’t really sure what to do. But the fact that I was bouncing around like a workshop elf on crack seemed to help everything run smoothly. Go with the snow-flow,  I thought, see where you end up. Following my celebratory savvy, I reckon.

My life this December has been a blur of bows and bells, elves and electric lightstinsel, tassels and tell-tales signs the Great British weather is taking a turn for the terrible.

I won’t go into details, but will instead allow you to fill in the blanks of your own accord. I don’t mind how you envisage the three of us, but here is a guideline.

Image three people sitting down to a fantastic spread that we are all not quite sure how we managed to produce. Imagine us elated and confused at the fortune of our own situation. Listen to the sound of clinking glasses, popping crackers and belly laughing. Feel the warmth of the oven and the heating blowing a rosy glow onto your skin. Smell everything from booze to parsnips and turkey and perfume. Feel full, spiritually and physically and emotionally. Cover everything in soft lights and glitter. Now imagine a slight haze over the whole image as we have all had a little bit to drink

Merry Christmas.

Boyf opening prezzies on Christmas Eve

Boyf opening prezzies on Christmas Eve

Homemade table decoration

Homemade table decoration

homemade table decoration

homemade table decoration

homemade table decoration

homemade table decoration

me and Percy

me and Percy

Gizmo is drunk after his Christmas dinner and some wine... food baby??

Gizmo is drunk after his Christmas dinner and some wine… food baby??

pretty candles

pretty candles

Percy

Percy

SSDD

Quote

“The Perfect Ch…

“The Perfect Christmas Moment Cannot Be Created; It Happens When You Least Expect IT. Let It Happen…”

This is something I am taking to heart.

For the past, oh, I dunno, maybe 14 or 15 years, I have absolutely hated Christmas. Every year my disdain for the entire ordeal intensifies, with reason upon reason layering on top of each other until I got to the point where I would routinely say how much I wished I could go to sleep on the last day of November and wake-up in the New Year.

I don’t want to ruin anyone’s joyful spirit at this time of year… so I won’t!

Because this year is different!

This year I am all about the festive spirit! The holiday joys, the buzz of getting prepared, celebrating and spending time doing ridiculously family orientated things that you would never ordinarily do with people you normally can’t stand purely because it is that time of year.

For the first time in years I am actually so looking forward to Christmas Day. I have been making my own decorations, preparing the house with a plethora of homemade decorations and nick-nacks oozing glitter.

My tree is FABULOUS, a confectionery coloured contraption covered from fairy lit base to tinsel topped tip, in decorations that have to be about a decade old – and I wouldn’t change a thing. His name is Percy.

Every year we indulge in the one Christmas tradition I have always, always loved. Even at my deepest levels of BAH-HUMBUG, decorating the tree has always been my absolute favourite thing to do at Christmas and the only thing I actually participate in full-heartedly. Mum and I basically fling decorations at the poor plastic tree until there is very little of the trees actually colour visible, stringing swathes of tinsel, lines of lights and bundles of baubles at it in a dangerously haphazard manner. I then balance precariously on the arm of the couch and bestow that highest of honour on top – the sparkly purple star!

All this while dad sits despondently in the farthest away corner of the living room, sulking at how dis-organised we are making the tree and trying to give precise directions as to which individual bauble should go on which specific branch. Mum and I pointedly ignore him and wind him up by flinging things at the tree with renewed fervour. Usually the result is dad yelling things like a lion that’s been slapped in the arse with a burning branch, but mum and I find that hilarious and use it as an excuse to wrap him in tinsel. Poor man. He really deserves more organised little helpers. Maybe he can ask the real Santa for some for Christmas next year or trade is back in the post Christmas sales.

There is one key reason I’m so happy for a change this year. For th first time in living memory I am getting to have Christmas at home. I have never been able to spend it at home and I’ve always wanted to know what that was like. There are lots of other reasons, but honestly, I think I’ll keep those to myself. For now, I think I will just bask in the cold, freezing glory that is mulled wine fueled Christmas.

SSDD

Mid-Week Mayhem in Glasgow’s City Centre

Bottoms up!

“Three Pink Pussys, three Cock Sucking Cowboys, two Fanny Bombs, a Camel Toe, a Kermet the Frog and a Bushtucker Trail, please”.

Nope, that’s not the directors notes for a bad porno. That is an example of what your order might be at Tingle.

Tingle is a Shooter Bar and café located on 33 Mitchell Street in Glasgow. Fantastic pre-club venue – better as a place to find drinks with legendary names.

Don’t let its size put you off – it may be tiny on the inside – roughly equivalent to the cupboard Harry Potter spent his formative years living in – but the sheer entertainment value of their shot titles coupled with their student-friendly prices more than make up for it.

“Down in one!” is pretty much the only chant you will hear from this place. Forget your football teams; what matters in Glasgows hottest shooters bar is the colour of your poison.

And it is poison; their drinks menu is something to behold, if you have the nerve to try one of their more adventurous concoctions. Their signature drink is a Bushtucker Trial. A brutally punishing shot of pure Tequila, no lime or salt and complete with booze soaked Mezcal Algae Worm (and yes, you do have to drink the worm or be forever labelled a pussy by your mates).

But one of the best things about Tingle is wobbling up to the bar after your third Bubble Gum Drop (Banana liqueur and Midori) and asking in earnest for a Kermet the Frog (Midori and Peach Schnappes). Priceless. Or rather, cheap – all shots cost £1.50.

But that’s just taster, a warm up for the drinking muscles if you will (or a complete break down of them, depending on how literally you took the term “shots”). From there, it might be recommended that you take a trip down to Firewater, on Sauchiehall Street.

Just 15 minutes walk or £3.50 in a taxi when bribed with Haribo, Firewater is a stylish bar set underground in the centre of Glasgows’ busiest clubbing street.

Whether you start here or stumble in on your travels, one of the best features is not it’s chic, minimalist urban décor, with both booths and open floor space, nor the good looking bar staff. Not the cheap ass cocktail pitchers that come with questionable titles such as Tennessee Tea, which sounds ridiculous but taste delicious. It’s not even the hazy glow, that disguises how drunk everyone really is therefore making your own level of inebriation acceptable even to the most picky of punter.

Nope, what makes Firewater truely great as a mid-week, low budget hang out, is… 90p vodka mixers! That’s right, 90 pence! You can’t even buy water for that number of coppers!

So if you are looking for a laugh, try ­Tingle. If you can stagger out of there with some shred of dignity, Firewater is an acceptable location for a casual drink, pre-party venue, or stage for the main event. Ever filled with Glasgows best combination of girls in short skirts and guys in t-shirts, the dress code is “go with what you feel”, to a background of indie rock tunes.

Feel like moving on to some where a little livelier? Well, you are on Sauchiehall Street, so go explore!

So that was a brief run down on what i did on my 20th Birthday night out 🙂 follow as I have lead my lovelies! 😀

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SSDD

My Vintage Weekend

Lat Saturday I went on a mini-break with my parents – and by that I mean we literally traveled to the city nearest us – a place so close we call it “town” – and stayed for the night. We did make a good night of it though, like a snapshot of a longer holiday since we haven’t been able to get away abroad this year.

Me: salmon vintage style dress/black lace detail: Miss Selfridge. denim shirt: Primark. shoes: Dorothy Perkins

Me: salmon vintage style dress/black lace detail: Miss Selfridge. denim shirt: Primark. shoes: Dorothy Perkins

Mum and I

Mum and I

Me: salmon vintage style dress/black lace detail: Miss Selfridge. denim shirt: Primark. shoes: Dorothy Perkins

Me: salmon vintage style dress/black lace detail: Miss Selfridge. denim shirt: Primark. shoes: Dorothy Perkins

 

Mum and I

Mum and I

Me: salmon vintage style dress/black lace detail: Miss Selfridge. denim shirt: Primark. shoes: Dorothy Perkins

Me: salmon vintage style dress/black lace detail: Miss Selfridge. denim shirt: Primark. shoes: Dorothy Perkins

 

So to Glasgow!!

Anyway we visited a fantastic Vintage and Handcrafts Market, called the “Little Birds Market”.

The sun shone on the alley it was cuddled into. Held in Sloans bar on Buchanan Street, this monthly event gives creative type awesome people a chance to display their wears. It is a sugary sweet combo of stalls of hand crafted jewelry, cushions ( we found some adorable owl ones), and sweets, time warped in with stalls for beautiful vintage items.

Little Birds Market

Little Birds Market

There was a very traditional set-up outside the bar of  barber striped coverings for stalls selling mainly smaller items, such as hand made candles, jewelry, scarves and the like. One very delicious smelling stall displaying the most mouth watering display of home-made fudge, boasting enticing titles like “mocha cappuccino“, “mint and strawberry“, “banana, chocolate and vanilla“, and may more, whose names I honestly cannot remember… But basically, think of a combo that shouldn’t work but in an ideal world would be glorious, then imagine it working… Your reached utopia yet? 😉

Moving further in, the actual bar is adapted from an old ballroom, the bar occupying the lower floor only. The upper two floors were something almost other-worldly compared to the “old man pub” on the lower level.

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As soon as we stepped onto the curving staircase, with it’s worn carpet and polished wood banister, stained glass arch windows and dust motes floating in what pale light could filter through the slightly grimey window, we were transported. The musty smell made us imagine laced corsets, peticoats, sweeping trains and afternoon tea. We should be sporting powdered wigs and delicate white lace gloves, not t-shirts and jeans. It was a place from another time.

When we reached the first floor and saw that they were in fact serving afternoon tea, my hear soared. The vaulted ceilings and flaking forest green paint lent themselves to the entirely Vintage aura of the place.

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A thriving upper 2 floors were decked out with a myriad of items which had been both salvaged and hand-made, ranging from clothing to accessories, wall hangings and home wear.

I myself made a couple of little purchases from “You’re So Cool

Scarf and Lotus bracelet

Scarf and Lotus bracelet

A gorgeous chemise purple scarf of unknown origin and a 1930s Buddhist Lotus bracelet.

I particularly love the bracelet. Bought from a stall selling only genuine vintage items, I found this little charmer. The meaning is something special to me. When is saw it laying there, glittering on a lace covering, I was sold. Or rather, two minutes later, it was sold to me.

The Buddhist Lotus symbolises growth and enlightenment.

The roots of a lotus are in the mud. The stem grows up through the water, with the heavily scented flower laying pristinely above, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul. We all begin in the primeval mud of materialism, traverse through the turbulent waters of experience, and slowly expand into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.

It’s true what they say about the sun making everything better. And here, the peace and light is the reward for having survived the currents of our personal ponds. Every droplet is a moment in time, an experience gained. The large, elegant flower is proof that we might come to fruition from such difficulty more beautiful and majestic that we began.

Buddhist Lotus

Buddhist Lotus

I love it! 🙂

Glasgow is an ever-diverse, ever-up-cycling place with a rich architectural and fashionistic background. We’re a quirky bunch but we value tradition and like the simple things. Such as, scones and fresh jam and cream, with an optional pint if Tennants, homemade fudge following a juicy steak and ale pie and little blasts from your disco past.

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So if you’re in to mood for a perfect combination of old school classic, new school nerd and simple old mans pub comfort, head to the Little Birds Market on:

August 11th

September 8th

October 13th

November 10th

December 8th

Here are links to the stalls I collected cards from as well as some personal recommendations.

You’re So Cool Vintage – love this place!! The girl who owns it is very Dianna Vicars, boho chic and absolutely lovely

Strawberry Lush Vintage

Romster

Jodie Pope Jewellery Design

Lazylinepainterbelle  makes her own logo in nail art – so so so cool!!

Maze of Lace – Unique handcrafted jewelry by Evi. Everything is crocheted and absolutely beautiful

Circa 72 Jewellery – by Kary Purvis

Whimsical Heart uses salvaged, ancient dictionaries and prints their own designs over the top – so creative, so unique, never seen this before. Can be purchased framed or single sheet.

Complex Omlette – patisserie genius. Macaroons in every pastel shade, tarts and scones in designs to make your mouth water. I recommend the custard one. See for yourself…

"Complex Omlette" Patisserie

“Complex Omlette” Patisserie

Maze of Lace - Master of crochet... everything!!

Maze of Lace – Master of crochet… everything!!

"You're So Cool Vintage"

“You’re So Cool Vintage”

Circa 72

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Circa 72 Jewellery

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SSDD

Murray Mania: Enthusing a Nation

Those of you who follow TENNIS or are just captivated by the quintessential optimistic Englishness of strawberry’s and cream in the constant face of a potential storm, will know that Andy Murray is kind of a big deal.

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He’s THE NEW WIMBLEDON CHAMPION!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

GO ANDY!! :D

GO ANDY!! 😀

Andy’s perseverance to become so has inspired a nation for the years he’s fought to win on Centre Court.

He beat off Novak Djokovic in 3 straight sets, in blood boiling heat of almost 50 degrees, in a battle that will surely have it’s heart racing final game replayed on the golden reel of tennis forevermore.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Andy Murray broke a 77 year dry spell of Male British Winners of Wimbledon, the last British Male to win being Fred Perry in 1936. As the commentator said as the players walked onto the court, if he were to win (which he did) he would be the first player to do so in shorts – gentlemen played in long trousers back then!

There are so many reasons to be proud of Andy. For one thing, he’s been playing in Wimbledon for several years and done well, meaning that for the few weeks of summer left after the tournament ends, about 90% of British children and 20% of their over-involved parents *, become healthy, enthusiastic health freaks, and join a Tennis Club. A membership that gets shoved to the back of a drawer as soon as the Autumn winds appear. Around August. So he’s inspiring a healthier nation, if only for the short weeks of summer.

*(these statistics are totally made-up, btw)

But more than that, he does what few things can; he brings together a quartered nation under the shared support of one man.

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man or boy?? …

Great Britain, in spite of its’ name, is not a particularly “cuddly” places, regarding it’s relationship with its members. The ancient rivalry between Scotland and England has often served as a divide, much in the same way the USA views Canada. But for that fortnight in July, when the spell of Wimbledon sweeps over this island, we are united. Sure, we indulge in petty quibbles about “when he’s winning he’s BRITISH but when he’s losing, oooh, then he’s SCOTTISH!”, but that’s all part of the fun. Those little jibes that let us keep our national identities while still reveling in the shared bolstering of a 26 year old already held as a sporting treasure.

Until yesterday we had become accustomed to that perpetual let down come the semi finals. But all that has changed.

Yesterday, both my dad and I cried tears of pride in a man who has literally trained his entire life and who has now achieved his dream. To watch someone’s dream come true on live television, along with 17.5 MILLION other people was really quite a special experience and not something I’m ever likely to forget. That shared elation may only have been a tiny piece of the overwhelming ecstasy Andy Murray was feeling, but to be a rock in the waves of the young athlete’s joy was enough to give me a head rush – imagine the effect it had on his 6ft 3″ of tennis-star muscle!

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Another, lesser reason I am personally proud of him is the fact that he’s Scottish. As a Scot myself, whenever “we” win at something, it’s always a cause for national celebration. And, while I’m not exactly a patriot, I do feel a sense of pride when someone from up North beats someone, anyone, really. (… but yes, when we beat England…)

Prime Minister David Cameron went on record today as saying that he “can’t think of anyone more deserving of a Knighthood” in the New Years honours list for 2014.

the face of a new Knight of the Realm?? :D

the face of a new Knight of the Realm?? 😀

So, next Wimbledon, with our Pimm’s, ice and mint, strawberry’s and cream, white flannel shorts and button down polo shirts, we could be bounding onto center court in unified support of SIR ANDY MURRAY! Roll on the New Year and we’ll find out…

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Now, where’s my tennis racket???… I feel the need to thwack furry yellow balls…

LINK TO ALL THINGS BRITISH AND TENNIS!!

 

SSDD

I Brought My Own Coffee, Thanks

There is a major problem with office workers.

How the hell they expect someone to survive in an office environment with crap instant coffee is utterly beyond me.

This was the predicament I found myself in recently, when I had two days work experience at my local paper. Now this post is in no way to be considered poor reflection on those fine wordsmiths at the Greenock Telegraph – which, in case you hadn’t heard, is in fact the finest local newspaper in the West Coast of Scotland – no, in the whole of Scotland! (and if that isn’t a claim worthy of the Sun then I don’t know what is) It is merely meant to reflect my utter admiration for people who work under stressful conditions – without super quality caffeine on an IV.

When I began my two days I knew roughly what to expect since I had spent some time there before. I felt prepared.

So this time, when I walked through those double doors at 9:30, I did not feel such an amateur. I slid in front of my very own computer booth, tapped in my personal log-in and snapped on my secretary-come-secret agent headset. Reporters notepad on desk, pen in front pocket and handbag stocked with reporter-like things tucked at my side, ready to be grabbed at the click of my editors fingers.

Everything was going well as I spent the morning fashioning nibs from local ads (what we in the industry call those little fillers at the side of the page that tell you of local events and whatnot). It was only when my trust-me-I’m-a-journalist shirt began to feel just a little chilly, that I noticed the other warning signs. The thirst. The headache. The tightening around the eyes that seemed to spread to my jaw. Eventually using a slightly shaking hand to straighten my short-in-a-sexy-yet-sensible-way skirt I had to admit it – it was coffee time!

10:30am. Damn it. I had hoped to make it til at least 11 before I let the caffeine get the better of me but hey, strong coffee is a mark of a true journalist, right?

But when I get to the tea room, I was a little… disheartened. Not so much disappointed, that would be too much. But my heart swelled a little at the sight before me, and not in that joyful way it sometimes does, more in that way that tells you something awful has happened but that your too pumped with adrenaline to appreciate it.

There was coffee, sure. And it was instant, which is fine, more than fine, it’s great. But it was the second most intolerable instant coffee known to man. It was that dreaded fiend, Tescos own brand. Not even one of the decent ones that tasted just like the good stuff but a slightly more aerated colour in a different jar. It was that rubbish that takes two spoonfuls to have a taste, two more to just about bear some morose resemblance to coffee. And the worst part – it was decaf! I know, I felt it too; the horror. I mean for goodness sake, why even bother drinking something characterised by its potentially heart disease creating key ingredient in favour of a version which might boost you concentration a tiny bit more but has only been so far proven to do in mice!? I can think of other kinds of murky water that could well have the same effect and probably taste about the same!

This sad scene put something of a dampener on my morning, but I was not prepared to let it beat me; so I had three more before noon and by then, things began to look significantly brighter.

I have nothing against the humble instant coffee; I drink cups of the sweet brown nectar everyday (black, two sugars, if you’re interested), and I did feel so suave and journalisty sitting in front of my pile of half read dailys, shorthand notes and copy print-outs. The steaming mug to my right was the perfect addition to my completed look; keen young reporter at work, disturb and face her cutting wit. Even the glasses perched half way off the end of my nose since I wouldn’t see the computer screen from the ridiculous distance it was stationed away from me made me appear somehow like I fitted my situation. (whoever sat at that desk before me must have been the most long-sighted fellow ever to have lived, by the way, and I think they superglued that tower to the flippin’ desk because for all my efforts, it would not move closer)

But be serious. I am only 19 years old and while yes, I may have acquired an unhealthy addiction to strong coffee at a young age, the rest of the people in that office were there every dayDrinking that stuff.

I knew I would be flagging after two days of that. My means of remedying a potentially embarrassing situation?

I brought my coffee, thank-you very much.

That’s right, in a sandwich bag. I brought enough of my favourite from home to last me the day and low and behold, my two days ended marvelously. I had a couple of pieces submitted for the paper for the rest of the week and went on my merry way, even with the promise of future days work to come.

So, ladies and gentlemen of the press, I would like to take this opportunity to impart these words of simple wisdom to you: If you work in an environment where concentration is key, make sure you are well stocked in whatever you need. Be that cigarettes for the nicotine addicts out there; biscuits and bananas for the diabetics, as I can only assume Eric, who had the desk next to me must have been since for all the time I was there the man never stopped snacking yet was not fat; or in my case, decent coffee. Make sure you have what you need and it will give you the confidence and the focus to enjoy the experience more.

See you in the headlines!!

SSDD