Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Colour me impressed!

You know how life has a funny way, thank you Alanis, of chucking more and more stuff at you and the more you absorb the more it seems to throw at you?  Until the point at which you can take no more and hit the gin?  That.

And that feeling that you have maybe lost your way and don't know how to get back to the person you were. That too.

Lots of reasons, most way too boring for a blog post frankly, but all told I was feeling grey, dull, old and boring.

I have been incredibly busy so much so that I had hardly read a blog, let alone written a post and then one day recently I was bored and decided to have a look at some of my favourite blogs and found a really interesting, very well written, guest post on the lovely Grace's blogThe post is fascinating and it made me wonder if giving some thought to the colours I wear wouldn't be a bad idea.  Like many overweight women in their mid-forties my idea of a great outfit is something that enables me to blend into the background and hides the fact that I can't seem to shift my obsession with eating bagels for breakfast and think that salt on Dairy Milk is a sound snacking proposition. (it is, seriously, try it).  I loved the idea that Heather had filled her home and her life with the colours that instinctively she knew worked for her, but hadn't followed through and filled her wardrobe with those same colours.  I even jokingly suggested that maybe I had done something similar with my gorgeous turquoise/teal bath towels.

Yesterday evening I was at an all time low and tweeted that I needed "stuff" something to make me feel happy and maybe what I needed was "colour".  You know when you tweet and sort of hope that a couple of specific people will see your tweet and respond but don't want to be presumptious and tweet them direct and then they do and they reply and give you really incredibly good advice out of the goodness of their heartsIsn't that a joy and aren't those people just wonderful?  Queen of colour Helen responded to say she had some ideas and would be in touch and Grace also replied saying she had a feeling that I would be either a Bright or a Light Spring and sent me some useful links so that I could get some ideas what that actually means in real terms.  As soon as I looked at the links and the colour suggestions Bright Spring seemed to feel right to me.  The more I read the more I realised that much like Heather I had a lot of the colours I SHOULD have on me around me, but again hadn't made the leap of incorporating them into my wardrobe.  Helen sent me an incredibly helpful email referring to blog posts of mine over the last couple of years, pointing out what she felt worked for me and, very honestly, what she felt didn't do me as many favours - it was surprisingly obvious when I looked back through the posts Helen had highlighted that when I wore the right colours I looked completely different to when I wore the wrong ones!

I decided this morning that I'd go all out and implement some of the suggestions made, rather than easing into this transition I decided to go straight for purple eye shadow.  Weirdly I have never had a problem wearing the "right" colour lipstick, well apart from that brief moment when I decided that nude lips were fashionable and therefore I needed a nude lipstick.  So enough witter, pics.

 Purple eye shadow! And the bright beads that Helen had mentioned liking - trying to inject some life into a brand new grey top. Kicking myself about this as the same top was available in a lovely teal colour but I opted for nice "safe" grey!
 And then just because I can I draped myself in my bath towel and took photos. 

 Ignore the facial expression, I always look like a loon in pics. What do you think of the colour?  I have to say I'm rather loving it!

 I know the light and the camera position is different and both are more flattering in the towel draped pic but overall I think my skin looks more glowing in the 2nd pic and the colours of the lipstick and eye shadow are brighter.  I am off to the hairdressers tomorrow and I am going to have some low lights mixed in with my hightlights too, OH has agreed that I look younger with slightly darker hair.  

I have a real fancy now for a teal coat, cobalt blue handbag and a pair of fuschia leather gloves for the Winter and I am defnitely going to purchase some more eye and lip colours so watch this space!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Daktari - an update

If you are under the age of about 75 "Daktari" will mean nothing to you, to be honest I had to dredge it up from the darkest recesses of my mind - which could really do with a blat round with a duster.  Anyway, Google it if you care, it's tenuous at best but ever so slightly more interesting than "An update" as a title post.

If you read my last post you will know that Steve has embarked on the first of his 50th Birthday celebrations and left on Sunday to fly to Nairobi before flying onto Kili to eventually, after much driving around in jeeps with armed men looking for marauding wildlife in the name of "acclimatisation".

Unfortunately because Steve elected to book his flights with Carlton Leisure who will henceforth be referred to as "shonky bastards without a leg to stand on", most of the above failed to happen.

Steve had booked a 4pm flight from Manchester to Heathrow.  His next flight was at 9pm from Heathrow to Nairobi arriving at 8am on Monday.  He had a flight booked from Nairobi to Kili at 10am.  Steve arrived at Manchester airport to discover that the flights he had booked back in March had been removed from all flight schedules on the 29th May and Carlton Leisure had not bothered to contact him to let him know.  They didn't even think to mention this when I rang them last month to book him an aisle seat on the long haul flight, in fact Eric confirmed the row and seat number that he had booked for me and assured me there would be no charge, shonky bastards.

They tried to wriggle out of it but the man on the BA desk was having none of it and at this point BA were marvellous and a huge help to Steve.  They booked him onto the next flight to London - unfortunately that was at 8am on Monday morning and then the subsequent flight to Nairobi which was at 10.20am on Monday arriving in Nairobi at 9pm.  This was too late for Steve to take his next flight onto Kili so on Sunday evening he was sat in a hotel at Manchester airport contemplating a 14 hour overnight stop in Nairobi airport. I spent much of Sunday afternoon phoning people in Nairobi to let them know that Steve wasn't going to be arriving when they were expecting him and trying to organise accommodation in Nairobi, including reading a review of one hotel on TripAdvisor where apparently the doormen rather than being liveried had AK47's slung around their necks!

In another massive stroke of misfortune Steve booked the flight from Nairobi to Kili with Edreams.  They have a premium rate phone number that charges £1.53 a minute if you want to speak to anyone. You get put through immediately and then straight onto hold.  On the first phone call I spoke to someone after 10 mins, who put me on hold for another 8 mins and then just as I got through to the person who could change the flight I got cut off.  It took another 20 minute phone call to change his flight from Monday am to Tuesday am.  A grand total of £61.20 in phone calls alone.

Steve had booked everything after his arrival in Kili with a Company called Africa Travel Resource and throughout this entire debacle they have been absolutely fantastic.  I had emailed Steve's contact there on Sunday afternoon and the very first phone call I received on Monday morning was from him.  He did a run through of the things I had managed to change and instantly organised a driver to meet Steve at Nairobi and take him to a hotel in Nairobi so he wouldn't have to stay overnight in the hotel. I managed to catch Steve very quickly between flights to let him know he was to look for a man with a sign with his name on it at Nairobi and everything was in hand.

He was due to land in Nairobi at 7pm our time so I assumed I would hear from him by 8pm to say all was well and he was en route to the hotel.  Instead I rang him at 8.30pm only to find that whilst he was now in Nairobi his luggage wasn't, and it wouldn't be arriving until 9pm local time the following night.  You can imagine just how pissed off he was at this point and I did actually text him to say sod it, get your credit card out and book a flight home if you want the whole bloody thing had been a shambles.  Steve decided not to go with my complete over reaction and asked if I could do him one more favour - could I ring Edreams and change his flight from Tuesday am to Wednesday am!! I did and yet again another 20 minute phone call ensued and again at least 15 minutes of this was spent on hold.  I have since googled Edreams and it would seem that £90 in phone calls would be considered getting off lightly by the father of the young girl stranded in South America because she had booked her flights with Edreams and they hadn't actually booked her onto any flights, in spite of charging her card for her tickets and the many, many others with similar stories.

So just so you are all clear - Carlton Leisure and Edreams - don't touch them with a barge pole!

His luggage did turn up last night and was collected from the airport and delivered to him at the hotel by the driver organised by Africa Travel Resource - whilst he enjoyed a much deserved beer in the bar!

Steve rang me at lunch time today and he was sat eating a packed lunch with his driver enjoying views out across the Ngorongoro crater and the hassles and traumas of the last 3 days seemed like a life time ago.  He even said that the flight to Kili on the tiny plane that he had been so scared about was fantastic!! He spent the entire time taking photos of the snow capped top of Mount Kilimanjaro - let's hope a small plane flies over when he is on the summit so he can take the photo in reverse too!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Gari langu linaloangama limejaa na mikung

Steve leaves on Sunday for Africa - he is climbing Kilimanjaro and has been planning this trip for several months.  For some strange reason it had completely escaped my attention that whilst he is away for 17 days only 5 of those will be spent climbing the mountain.  It never crossed my mind to wonder what he might be doing in the twelve days prior.  It turns out he is pretty much going to be on safari.  He is staying here:
And will be enjoying this:
 If he can tear himself away from the spa or the elephant spotting walks!  And there was me worrying he might be roughing it.  Please be aware that this is only one of a raft of rather fabulous Tanzanian safari hotels he will be staying in and he will be driven to them all by his own armed driver.  An armed driver who will be aware that the soft English tourist is carrying a very very large amount of US dollars, in cash.  Lets hope armed driver is well paid.  Or he might just decide to relieve said English tourist of his cash and feed his body to a hippo.  

Steve has now started to stress about the trip, he had a mad five minutes this morning when he thought he needed a Visa for Kenya as he is landing in Nairobi before flying into Tanzania, a quick phone call sorted that one.  He has also started having stressy dreams, some of which are quite brilliant!  Last night he dreamt that he was leading a party of elderly ladies out of the toilets of a Paris railway station, on the first leg of a long journey.  The correct route was up a very steep hill but as the ladies were elderly and he was concerned for them he led them down a lower, less steep route, even though he knew it was the wrong way.  Which demonstrates that he is both stupid and considerate in equal measure.

Whilst Steve is off enjoying his Kilimanjaro moment, I will be enjoying 2 weeks peace and quiet, with a great big pile of books and a never ending supply of cake.  I wish.  I will be running the guest house and doing my day job and the only concession to Steve's absence will be that dinner will be red wine and crisps every night.  As you might imagine blogging is likely to be thin on the ground, but drunk tweeting may reach a new high!

In case you were wondering the title of this post is a phrase in Swahili that I thought Steve might find useful, should he ever find himself in the awkward situation of having a hovercraft that is full of eels.


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