Sunday, 24 January 2010

What I spent my money on!

I used my voucher to buy the bracelet.. Douglas got me my first charm!!

The next two I want are two black and white cats with smiles (Just like the one Billy is wearing right now, curled up next to me). I didnt like the ones Swaroski had.. they didnt look like cats!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

A special Saturday

Some of you already know that for the last term (Since September 09) I have belonged to a choir called Body of Sound. (Choir consists of about 40 women)

Several times a year, the choir are invited to spend a weekend at the house of one of its members. Lesley and her husband live way out in the countryside, quite high up, in a converted/beautifully restored barn and cottage.

Last Saturday was my first visit up there. The group were quite worried that the snow would cancel the weekend, but luckily it had melted just enough to make the trip possible.

Douglas gave me a lift up there (so he could have the car and go shopping etc). I was a bit nervous at first.. although I've been with the choir for a term, they are a very close knit group and it is taking me a while to feel part of that group.

The house/barn was beautiful. I was one of the first to arrive, so I settled down by the log fire, and was joined by Lesleys fathers little dog, Tyler, who enjoyed some attention and the fire.

Bit by bit more women appeared. The dog wasnt phased at all by so many people turning up, and happily wandered round collecting new smells and getting lots of attention.

When everyone had arrived (I think about 20 of us were there) we sat in the barn and each shared a photo we had brought with us. There were some lovely photos and some fascinating stories told!

Everyone had brought something for either lunch or tea, so once lunch items had been set out, we ate. There were several types of soup, home baked bread, a few types of cheese, salads and dips on offer - not to mention the cakes and chocolates which I did my best to aviod!

After lunch, we used some art and craft materials brought by people to create bits to go in a "garden". The things we created had to in some way embody what we felt about the choir, so we all set to work, glueing, chopping and creating. Being a choir, as we worked various songs just popped out of conversations, and we all just began to sing. It was lovely!

After we had talked about, and admired the garden we made, we got down to some work

discussing the choir, giving our leader Helen some feedback on the year and saying what we would like to do in the future. Helen works very hard, finding songs, organising copies of words and teaching us. Although she enjoys doing this, she is self employed, and part of our "subs" for being in the choir go to pay her wages. Its good for her to get feedback from those who she works for!

Even the little dog got decorated!

Douglas picked me up after another marvellous meal at 9pm.. I had a really lovely day and feel very much part of the group now :-)

Blowing my own trumpet (again.. sorry)

Hello dear readers, apologies for the lack of blog recently, but I wait till something that I hope will be of interest to you happens, and now I have a fair few things I can tell you about!

Firstly, a couple of weeks ago I had some good news. My ex team leader nominated me for an award for the hard work I have put in recently.. Here is what she said!

For her involvement in setting up the renewal letter process for the Carrier and Broker team:

Anna was involved in mapping the current process to identify improvements that could be made
Suggested that we use an outside company to print off the application forms – they would look professional, release time taken to print them off ourselves, cut down on paper, free up the printers.

She suggested trying to cut down on the paper used which meant us using A4 envelopes at a cost of 56p each to post.

Was involved in writing a new letter which included Online registration as an option. This resulted in only 1 sheet of paper being used (down from 13 sheets per pack) which enabled us to use the stuffer in facilities (saving time) and using a normal envelope (reducing postage cost to 28p per item (halving the postage costs).

With nearly 19,000 letters going out since the beginning of Sept this is a saving of around £5500 in postage alone without including savings in paper and time.

These improvements have reduced our environmental footprint (less paper), costs (postage & paper), customer service (improved letter and more choices in registration methods).

Anna has continued to monitor the process, keeping detailed spreadsheets of what has been sent when and feeding this back to the Team Leader.

She has also assumed responsibility for the printing of the letters (around 1500 per week).

She has also suggested a project to monitor the impact of these letters and give us details of when customers actually register (is the 1 month letter more effective than the 6 month letter) -she is in the process of setting this up.

In summary Anna has put a lot of work into setting up and driving this process improvement which has been a huge benefit in terms of reducing cost, time spent sending out packs, more efficient process and a better service to our customer as well as the environmental impact of reducing our paper usage.


I got a £50 gift token for our local shopping mall (Meadowhell.. err I mean Meadowhall). Not sure what I will spend it on yet, but it might be spent on Saturday :-)

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Snow snow snow snow!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I went to work it was begining to snow.

Through the day I got really rather worried about getting home, and eventually (long after d's workplace had chucked him and his workmates out) I got chucked out an hour early. I wanted to leave quite a lot earlier, but as the trams were still running I got told to stay a bit longer.

I drove home, no problems until I got onto our home road, which was really very snowy still. I have abandoned the car not too far away and got home to two cats, howling for their tea. Poor babies.. they have to wait until 4pm for dinner :-) Its not as though we dont feed them enough! lol.

Before I settled in, I did a crazy thing. I went out and lay in the snow to make my very first ever snow angel!! Douglas said it looked more like an abomnible snow monster.. I dont care.. it was fun. I mainly made this snow angel for my friend Marchaline who is a blogging buddy! Its her turn now (hope you are reading this, M!)

So, here is proof. The photo is really not very good, but its going up anyway :-)

Ok.. if you look VERY carefully, you might see that this is my head. lol Top left hand corner has a head shaped space..

As a reward for looking at my snowy photo, here is one I took at lunch time, going up to the canteen for a bite to eat :-)

Its lovely looking out at the snow now.. not sure if I will get to work tomororw or not!

Friday, 1 January 2010

A lovely evening out

On the 30th, my mum sent me an email to work telling me she planned to see a film that evening, and would I like to go with her. This seemed like an excellent idea!

The film we planned to see was called "Morris, a life with bells on"

I quote from a website which tells you all about the film..

Morris: a Life with Bells on is a heartwarming feature-length comedy shot in documentary format that follows the fortunes of one of the leading Morris teams in the country, Milsham Morris, and in particular those of its leader, Derecq Twist. Morris is a gentle and affectionate look at an aspect of English culture which is, in the finest traditions of this country, unapologetically eccentric, and towards which there exists a huge amount of good will. The film's events take place in the summer months in and around Dorset, and specifically centre around an idyllic thatched country pub, the Traveller's Staff. The film is an unashamed celebration of not only the English countryside but also of what it means to be English.

I finished work at 5, and had to be in town for the movie at 6. Luckily, one of my colleagues was going to the same cinema (different film) and gave me a lift.

As we parked, I saw a tall gent in green trousers and a lovely red hat.. some of you will know I have sentimental memories of someone elses red hat, so I commented to him on how lovely his chapeau was!

When I got into the foyer, I met up with my mum and lo and behold.. rather a lot more chaps in green trousers (and the one with the lovely red hat) were gathering.. it was Sheffield City Morris come to dance and see the film!!

After a few dances, we all went in and watched the film! As an ex Morris dancer myself, and an ex folk dancer I found the film delightful.. and killingly funny - lots of "in" jokes as some folkies take their dancing very seriously indeed!!

After the film, my mum and I walked up into town, with broad grins on our faces, which somewhat offset the fact that it was terribly cold outside. We had hoped to eat at the little cafe linked to the cinema, but as that was closed we headed out to find something else.

We ended up at an extremely nice Italian, where we both had a pizza and defrosted before venturing out again, and making our way home.

Thinking about the film still makes me smile.. If you see it on anywhere near where you live, I strongly recommend you go see it!