Frustrations of discontinued stock

I’ve just found out that ASDA are discontinuing a certain kind of Bavarian smoked cheese I regularly eat.

This is particularly annoying, but I know the reason why. The majority of people who frequent that shop don’t eat healthily, as they are plebs and have no idea of what healthy is, so therefore it isn’t profitable for this particular branch of ASDA to stock healthy food.

We have been shopping there for 19 years and as soon as we find something nice and healthy to buy and enjoy, ASDA stop stocking it (for the same reasons as above). We could travel across to the other side of Reading to a much larger store to buy this cheese, but why should I waste my petrol doing that?

And when I complain to the staff, they just look at me as if I’m mad. They have no sense of customer satisfaction, and why should they? It’s not their shop or business, is it? All they care about is their wages at the end of the week and a reasonable sense of job security.

The answer is obvious: I’m going to the wrong kind of supermarket, I live in the wrong area, and I’m getting more and more crabby and snobby in my old age. But that doesn’t solve my Bavarian smoked cheese problem.

Go to another supermarket? Waitrose and Sainsbury’s do stock it, but in much smaller portions and at elevated prices. Even more annoying!

The result of a Liebster Award

Liebster AwardCarrying on from the old fashioned chain letter that tormented me in my childhood, the concept has continued online. I’m actually flattered to be chosen for the Leibster Award, where bloggers nominate blogs (or their writers) they have taken a liking to, as it shows people do read my stuff! Actually it wasn’t this blog I was nominated for, so I’m selfishly using this blog as it fits in better with the following post!

Many thanks go to Proofed by Linds for nominating me. Actually I’m going spoil things by saying she was the second person to nominate my nature blog, and I’ve only just got around to fulfilling the requirements of the Liebster Award.

It works by the nominator giving me 11 questions to answer, I add on 11 random facts about myself, and then I select 11 more questions for another 11 bloggers to answer in their Liebster Award post. You can see where the chain letter concept fits in. It is a bit of fun, and has no real function, but you never know, people might like what I’ve written. (And I do feel a little guilty that it’s in this blog and not the nature one I was recommended for.)

1. What’s your favourite food and why?

I’m such a glutton I want to say all kinds of food, which has caused my downfall with weight most of my life. So my attitude towards food has changed over the years, depending on whether it’s good for me or not. Of course my favourite would be what I’m not allowed to have, like chocolate, taramasalata and cheese (not all together at the same time), though even these in strict moderation wouldn’t be that bad…?

2. Where do you go when you want to “get away from it all”?

If it’s a beautiful day a walk in the countryside with lots of wild flowers (hence the nature blog). If it’s the midst of winter, somewhere cosy with a log fire. In both cases a valuable distraction is necessary to make it feel worth while.

3. What three things would you take to your desert island and why?

I suppose these would be skills as well as material things. Knowing how to make a fire, catch your food and build suitable shelter would be invaluable. Having a practical, sharp knife would be vital. A book about the properties of plants and how they can help you might come in useful.

4. People blog for a variety of reasons… What are your reasons?

This is a very good question. I blog because I have an overwhelming desire to tell people stuff. Sometimes it’s to get things off my chest. Sometimes it’s to explore an idea or concept. But mostly it’s to pass on knowledge to others so they can benefit from it, or to gain pleasure from what I enjoy talking about too.

5. Give three qualities that you believe make up a good blog post

An excellent headline to attract attention to your post and generate a desire to read it. A conversational style that flows easily and guides the reader effortlessly down the page. A totally worth-while subject that is easily grasped, understood and valued for what it really is.

6. What really makes you laugh – right from the belly?

Clever humour. It has to be subtle as well as downright silly. It has to be delivered in a way that’s not meant to be funny. It has to surprise and catch me unawares.

7. What annoys you more than anything else?

Bad form. Inadequacy passed off as superior. Undue inappropriate criticism. Unnecessary stupidity being given a higher prominence than it deserves.

8. What’s number one on your bucket list?

To visit all the countries of the world I haven’t been to yet.

9. Who inspires you?

People who have been successful through their own merit, hard work and perseverance. This doesn’t have to be in the world of business, but in self-discovery, helping others and changing the world for the better.

10. What would you say to King Henry VIII if you could?

It depends how much I could say without getting my head cut off! I suppose I would tell him that one of the greatest monarchs England has ever had came from his loins, but not who he thinks it would be.

11. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

To put yourself in the other person’s situation, in order to see the world from their point of view. Many disputes and arguments would be solved (or never arise) if this was taken into consideration; we are nearly always too self-centered to stand back and view the situation as a whole. This also includes listening, learning and appreciating before you open your mouth, even if it appears to undermine yourself; the benefits should outweigh the inconvenience created.

11 random facts about me

  1. When I was 18 months old I burned my left hand so badly I was forced to become right handed.
  2. I was wrapped up in my own little world until the age of 13.
  3. I had a speech impediment and had speech therapy for 3 years. Also I find it difficult to read aloud due to dyslexia.
  4. I studied music for my degree. I was rubbish at playing instruments, so I composed instead. I was never any good at music, but I didn’t realise this properly until I arrived at university, which by then it was too late!
  5. When I worked at Sadler’s Wells, the administrative offices were situated in the house of my great, great, great, great uncle Charles Dibdin (Jnr) who was director of Sadler’s Wells in the early 19th century.
  6. I can trace three of my family trees back to at least 1720.
  7. I absolutely hate peanut butter. It is the most disgusting food ever!
  8. I believe I am a Norman, whereas my husband is a Viking.
  9. As a young girl I learned how to knit, sew, do cross-stitch and design samplers.
  10. It seems at the moment my wardrobe mostly consists of various shades of purple.
  11. I absolutely adore all kinds of fish, both to look at and to eat!

11 nominated bloggers
(who can participate only if they want to, no pressure…)

Birds on the Blog

Maria Hastings Personal Stylist

Success Network

Zest Lifestyle


Nikki Pilkington

Ace Inspire

Diksha Fix Me

Tom Evans

Doreen Gowing

Fiona Humberstone

11 questions for my 11 bloggers

  1. What was your favourite pet and what was its name?
  2. What was your school life like?
  3. Have you visited anywhere exotic?
  4. When you say the word ‘scone’, does it rhyme with ‘stone’ or ‘john’, and does this really matter?
  5. Which famous person would you have liked to have met, and why?
  6. What makes you get up enthusiastically in the mornings?
  7. What’s the colour you hate the most, and why?
  8. What’s your biggest phobia (if you have any)?
  9. Do you prefer winter, spring, summer or autumn?
  10. If you won a £million in the lottery, what would you spend it on?
  11. Who in your family do you mostly resemble, and in what way?

Phew, that was actually a very difficult post to write – I hope it was worth it!

Originally posted on Success Network Recipes:

2013 is going to be the year for those who love to write. And of course, as a blogger, I am one of them!

For years the search engines made it difficult for those who just love writing whatever comes into their heads. This is because of the horrific mathematical juxtapositions created to confuse us literary types, especially when it comes to writing for the internet.

Search engine optimisation has been the bugbear of creative writing. In fact, you can’t write creatively if you are doing SEO. There is nothing more soul destroying than trying to fit in a particular word or phrase into your post a certain number of times to fulfill an expectation that will (hopefully) satisfy the search criteria and lift your website or article out of the doldrums.

In fact I bought a particular plugin for my blog that said it would help me get more…

View original 394 more words

Originally posted on Success Network Recipes:

Yesterday I got very angry. Not sure if this is a result of a change in hormones, or as a result of turning into a crabby old woman, but I find I am not as tolerant as I used to be to inadequate instructions.

This is mainly due to frustration. If things are not immediately obvious, we inwardly panic, especially if we’re in an unfamiliar environment. I suppose it’s a reaction to increased adrenaline, fight or flight, and for me the fight comes to the fore.

One good think I learned from a past boss was never to assume anything. We have not developed clairvoyancy yet as part of our evolution, so nobody knows what the other is thinking, has thought or will think.

This means that every single detail needs to be laid out so that the other can understand. And shown in an obvious position so that it…

View original 301 more words

Moving to a new blog

Hi subscribers,

I’ve created a new blog called which is basically another version of this blog. This is because I believe I have more scope with a self-hosted WordPress blog, so I am concentrating on that for a while.

Meanwhile, if you subscribe to this blog, please renew your subscriptions with my new blog. It still has all the old posts which I have transferred over, and will have all my new posts from now on. I’ve even made it easy for you by changing the details in the sign up box in the sidebar.

So don’t miss out – transfer and subscribe now! And get all your friends and colleagues to do so too!

See you on the other side!


Perfection doesn’t work in business

A few concepts are starting to dawn on me since I’ve stopped my business.

One of them is perfection – it isn’t always possible and it certainly isn’t necessary. Believe it or not, if you constantly strive for perfection you will never get anywhere, and you will waste so much time trying to attain it.

And even if you did manage to get there, who would notice? The majority of your clients or followers wouldn’t know perfection even if it hit them in the face! The only thing that does get noticed is when something is rubbish, of poor quality and not worth its value. Then the public start to complain, and all attention is drawn towards the mediocrity of the service or product.

Perfection is something that only comes to the fore when promoted with somebody with the right callibre to do so. Even so, it is still dependent on personal choice: what some people think is perfect may not be what others think, and if perfection relies on the masses to make an impression, then sometimes you have to give in and go with the flow.

Another side of perfection comes with practice, and when analysed you find that the majority of your perfection is attained in the first 80% of completing the task. The final 20% only achieves what you think is improvement, when probably it makes very little difference at all. By learning to let go, you will create material that certainly gains the right level suitable for your public without impairing your performance.

Nevertheless, this isn’t an excuse to not strive for perfection. After all, you will always want to do the best for your clients, and offer the best solution to their problems. But remember there isn’t enough hours in the day to create total perfection in your business, so offering something that is really close is the next best thing.

Don’t work without project security

There is nothing worse than doing a load of work and not getting paid for it.

Over a year ago I was approached by a man who wanted me to market some books he had published. This project sounded too good to be true (and in fact this was the case, as you will read later).

So I redesigned his website (with the minimum of information), set up a shopping cart and autoresponder, plus a blog and other social networking accounts. I tried so hard to promote his terrible books (learning that you need to have a good product that people actually want to be able to succeed), tried to get them redesigned so that they actually looked nice both inside and out, fielding his awful adverts in expensive magazines that were so bad they were a complete waste of money (not designed by me of course), and coping with a torrent of emails and telephone calls from this persistent and annoying person.

Of course he never paid the invoices I sent him, always coming up with excuse after excuse. I stupidly carried on working for another month, amassing more money owed, until I’d had enough. I downed tools and refused to work any more until I was paid. More excuses, and no payment. Then silence…

The next thing I had was an email from his cousin saying my client had died and since his business was illegal and he had no money, it was highly unlikely I would get my invoices paid. I actually rang up the crematorium the day of his funeral to see if he really had died and had not done a runner. I also heard that all the bailiffs for his other debts had totally stripped his flat, so there was certainly nothing left for me.

The moral? There are several. Draw up a contract at the beginning carefully laying out exactly what you are supposed to do. Calculate a price for the amount of work decided upon, and get at least 50% deposit in advance. No deposit, no work: it shows good will and commitment. Form a strategy for work to be done, including when contact is to be made (don’t tolerate constant interruptions) and confirmation of drafts before the final product is published or produced. And above all, make sure the project you undertake has a possibility of success – go with your gut feeling about quality, consistency and – above all – get a credit check done first to learn the liability of this new project.

And don’t put up with this trash for 3 months, only to land up with nothing at the end. No wonder my business has gone to the dogs…