December 26, 2005

Queues, queues, queues...

I decided to venture out of my flat today...I couldn't stand the thought of all those good deals not being had by me. Is there another time of year when I can save so much money...really! So I decided to hit Oxford Street...I didn't get there til 2:30 which was well planned I assure you...as the more time I spend in the shops, the more damage I do to my bank account. Let me just say, madness it was! I had to walk out of a few stores because I just couldn't be bothered. ALTHOUGH I didn't have to stand in any queues to get INTO stores like we do back home.

I made a few purchases...got some stuff from la Senza...a funky off shoulders sweatshirt from Bershka. Um ok it's more like a top in sweatshirt material. I liked it. Then I went into Top Shop...cruised the first floor, bypassed the second floor (below ground..really it's -1 Floor) because it was just nuts! The very bottom floor (-2 Floor) had some cool stuff...and I got the most beautiful top ever. It's brown and has embroidered flowers all over it made of lace, fabric and beads...the bust is princess style in chiffon and the bodice is kinda like a corset with a bit of boning. Lovely I say. :) Then I went into the Body Shop and picked up some honey shampoo and conditioner along with some other yummy smelling products.

My shopping actually commenced last Friday when I decided on a whim to treat myself to Mary Stuart and found that I had 3 hours to kill. What was there to do but shop! I picked up a couple of nice tops that night.

Mary Stuart was really good; it's about the two queens Elizabeth and Mary and takes place in the last three days before Mary's execution. It was my first time going to the theatre by myself and it wasn't so bad. Though I think I caught something that night, sitting in a confined space breathing in germs for three hours. Yesterday I had a headache most of the day and was sneezing and feeling a bit congested. I took three naps...hadn't slept so much in a long time. I feel much better today.

Yesterday Chris (my boyfriend) called me as soon as he woke up. It was really sweet. Sarah called from Halifax too! It was great catching up with her. Got a few texts which were nice. I spoke to my mom as well...apparently someone bought marshmallow a dress. Poor him!

December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

It's midnight here...so it's officially Christmas! Merry Christmas everyone. :)

It's odd to be spending Christmas by myself. Usually it's a big family affair with all my family and relatives, loads of food and presents under the tree. No presents for me this year *sniff* (although I didn't have to buy like 50 presents this year which is always a good thing) and Santa probably isnt' going to visit me. Sigh.

I spent the day organising my room. Ok just my desk and shelves. I threw out a bunch of stuff; my clutter has decreased insignificantly. I started a new project: creating a scrapbook! So far it's pretty fun and it's nice to put all my ticket stubs and brochures in a book instead of stuffing them into an envelope. I've also been catching up on some tv drama. I've finished the second season of the OC now and man are things dramatic!

Tomorrow I am most likely just going to stay home as everything will be closed and public transport won't be running so I won't be able to get anywhere even if I wanted to. I'm trying not to think about it and to not feel sorry for myself. I'm taking these few days to relax which I rarely get to do! If Christmas wasn't tomorrow - today - I wouldn't care at all. My friend Jo is flying in on Tues...we're going to drop her luggage off before checking out the sales. Then on Wed I have to pop into work....pack...and then we're probably going to take the last tube at midnight to Heathrow so we can make our flight. It's at 6:25 which means we'll have to check in 4ish. Can't wait for Egypt!

December 22, 2005

And then there was one...

On Monday, my team all six of us were at work. On Tuesday, there were 5. Yesterday there were 4. Today there were 2...and tomorrow there will only be me. Great. This is what I get for using up all my holidays. AND not only do I have to work right up until the weekend, I have to go in for a day next week! I'll make sure it's as short and painless as possible...I am very tempted to just sleep in...

So I'm the team leader now, of a team of 6! I think some of my colleagues are starting to see me as more of a team leader. I think I'm starting to feel more like a team leader too. I still need to work on my assertiveness and confidence but I think that'll come with time. Some members of my team will happily report to me what they're working on. But I have to ask some of the other members for quick summaries on statuses of their work. It's funny, people will tell me if they have to leave early or if they're taking a late/longer lunch. My usual answer is just 'ok'. I don't really have a problem with things like that if I feel like they are putting in adequate time and effort.

On Monday I ran the first team meeting with all six of us. People above us decided all of a sudden to throw two more resources at us, for which we're grateful but a little more warning and consideration would've been appreciated. I had to scramble around to get work for them. In a way it was good I suppose, because I feel like we have made quite a bit of progress and now that there is serious pressure to finish the project by end of March I am starting to feel like it's achievable.

It's funny I was thinking the other day, when I first joined the company just over a year ago I told my manager that I wanted to go into project management. He said usually you need to have experience in a technical role and to have moved around a bit before you can go into project management. A year later, I am managing a project! My colleague who is co-managing the project with me has been incredibly supportive. We have both gained a wealth of experiences and knowledge I think. I didn't get any additional training nor any reward...or even acknowledgement! But I am not complaining too much because I think the experience is worth it. Perhaps it's still new and fresh to me.

Like when I joined the project last year, my team leader gave me a lot of the really monotonous and tedious tasks. But I didn't mind doing them, because I felt like I was 'learning'. To my new members I have passed on some of the tasks which perhaps had been put on the back burner for a while because I didn't want to do them. I don't think they minded doing them because they were still 'learning'. I like delegating work...sometimes it still feels a bit weird because I'm so much younger than everyone else on my team but they can't really say 'no' I suppose.

I have a feeling people think I am older than I actually am. I don't think anyone knows or remembers that I only joined as a graduate last year. Half of my team are twice my age or older. I don't have a problem with it...but I am hesitant about revealing my age lol...for some reason 23 just sounds too young.

Still haven't heard back from my manager. I wrote him a really nice email yesterday, asking if he could chase up his management and updating him on the project since he's still my line manager. I really wish I could have a line manager who wasn't so busy. I understand that he has a lot of obligations and responsibilities...but we have had maybe 2 one to one meetings this year...and both times I called for them because I had specific things to discuss with him. So if my company isn't willing to help me get a new working visa, I will probably have to leave come May. :(

December 19, 2005

msn

The mac version of msn has finally been upgraded! Actually it came out a few months ago, I just haven't bothered to upgrade mine til now. I can see pictures again! How fun. I clicked on my mom and she has a picture of me and marshmallow up! Awwwwww....

December 16, 2005

gluhwein in blue boots

Last Friday, Chris and I along with his flatmate and friend went to see Stars. They're an emo band from Montreal and apparently they're pretty well known. It was fun times, the venue was small and the music was good. I decided to support them and bought a t-shirt.

The next morning, we caught an early flight to Germany. Upon arrival, we hopped on a train which we thought would take us to the main Koln train terminal. However we didn't get off at the stop we were supposed to and ended up going to Dusseldorf! Thank goodness it wasn't too far away, it was only about 20 minutes or so. We managed to figure out how to read the timetable and eventually found our way back. After checking into our hotel Wasserturm which was SO nice, and resting for a bit, we decided to grab food at a local restaurant. We had these gargantuan portions of ham hocks with sauerkraut and mash. It was really good, but I was only able to eat about a third of mine! We had Reissdorf kolsch beer which was brewed locally, possibly in the very place we ate! Afterwards we went for a stroll through the Christmas market by Dom, the famous Cologne Cathedral. We got these little blue mugs which were shaped like boots (so cute!) and had gluhwein. Yes there were lots of small beeswax candles and tree ornaments made of straws...but there were loads of other really cool things as well!

The next morning, we had breakfast which was really good but even this five star hotel could not compare with the buffet breakfast I had in Stockholm. Man, that place had fresh waffles, fresh OJ and about 20 different kinds of yogurt! Mmm...but I digress...So we walked through a small market on our way to Dom and had more gluhwein. We wanted to catch a tour but it was cancelled, so decided to hike up the Dom tower instead. After taking pictures and me almost losing my mobile sock, we headed to the Christmas market which was on a ship! We had some brotwurst, curry wurst, pomme frites and more gluhwein...the sausages were yum. I got these cookies called Spekulatius; they're only made around this time of year and they're delicious.

On the last day, we decided to head down to Bonn, the nearby town where Beethoven was born. We didn't have too much time to check out the market there but we had time to go on an old crickety ferris wheel. Me and my sweetie...


Then we visited the Beethoven haus, it was really interesting...there were instruments which he owned and played, his writing desk, horns made to aid his hearing after he started going deaf...there were even locks of his hair! Here's a pic of me in front of it!


I didn't want to come back to London, but we had to. Our flight was delayed because of weather conditions in London. There was a big explosion close to London on the weekend, we had no idea until we read the paper on the way back. Man I love Christmas markets...and gluhwein...sausages...roasted chestnuts...sigh. :) And Chris saying was ist das here and there lol.

On Tuesday after work we went to see the new Narnia movie, which was really good I thought. I read that book in grade 2...um I mean my teacher read it to the class...so I didn't remember too much of the story. On Wednesday we went to see A Christmas Carol starring Patrick Stewart. He adapted the novel for the stage himself and plays all the characters (about 40 some of them!) including Tiny Tim haha. It was really good, I did fall asleep for a bit but I tend to do that.

Too bad there aren't really big Christmas markets here, but I guess there are still lots of markets about. Tomorrow we're going to the Frost Fair down by Bankside...there's a tall ice slide which sounds uber fun. Then we plan on heading down to Kew Gardens and checking out the Chihuly exhibition.

December 06, 2005

Turner Prize

So Simon Starling won the prize this year. I thought he had a pretty good shot...he took apart this shed and used the wood to build a boat, paddled it down the Rhine, then he took the boat apart and turned it back into a shed. Darren Almond was ok; I liked Gillian Carnegie's Black Square paintings....didn't like Jim Lambie at all. It was between Simon Starling and Gillian Carnegie for me.

After checking out the Turner Prize entries at Tate Britain last Friday night, I went to see the Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition. Last week at my drawing class, we used pastels. So I was looking pretty closely at all the pieces that had been done using pastels. I bought some prints afterwards...two Degas and two Toulouse-Lautrec. I can't wait to put them up when I eventually have my own place! I also got a button that said 'future artist' which I'm going to wear to my class on Thurs...muahaha.

On Saturday, Karen and I took an early coach to Birmingham...and landed near the city centre where the Bullring was. We did a bit of shopping, then went to Clotheshow Live at the NEC. Did more shopping there...I got a Paul Frank t-shirt...the Cozy Molars...and some other stuff. Then we saw a fashion show which was kicked off by the Sugababes which is um a female pop group? The show was good, there was a lot of dancing which I enjoyed. It made me want to take dance again!