It’s not profound, but…

…today I made a discovery:

Kellogg’s Raisin Wheats are vastly superior to the Sainsbury’s own brand version.

For quite some time Raisin Wheats have been quite categorically my favourite cereal option, but I only allow myself to buy them when do a Sainsbury’s shop (because they’re virtually the only supermarket to produce their own, cheaper version), or when the Kellogg’s version’s on offer somewhere. This hasn’t happened for a while, so all I’ve had recently is what I now know to be the inferior brand.

Why inferior? The own brand version gets soggier quicker and the raisin taste is rather overpowering, while the Kellogg’s version retains some crunch, tastes rather toasty and the raisins are just raisins. Is that a ridiculous review? Perhaps.

My second realisation, while writing this, is that I’ve clearly been strongly influenced by my parent’s shopping rules, if after over 10 years of buying my own food I won’t allow myself to buy my favourite cereal unless a generic brand is available or it’s cheaper than usual. At home, generic brands ruled the roost – unless it was Cornflakes, in which case only Kellogg’s was(is) acceptable. The things our parents do to us, without us even realising…

I should perhaps explain that I’m exhausted having spent the evening being grilled for two hours – so stressful that I absolutely had to go shopping afterwards. My only meal this evening was a bowl of the aforementioned cereal and my tiredness no doubt helped me form today’s realisations. Just in case you thought I was going a little nuts thinking so much about a breakfast cereal!

Postscript: Another morning, another ‘why did I write that??’ moment. Perhaps I should have a ‘no blogging when tired’ rule as well as my Sabbath one? 


In a little over an hour I’m going to head out and jump in some puddles wearing the fabulous wellies – I’m super excited. I’m just hoping that the very heavy rucksack I’ll be carrying won’t hinder my jumping ability.

Yes, I’m off camping again and this time the weather’s not playing ball. It’s raining in London and has been for days – with awesome vigour. However, my sister rang earlier (a lot earlier – it woke me up) to inform me that the sun’s shining in the shire and all will be well. But, the rain does at least mean I’ll look slightly less foolish wearing my wellies to travel in. [Golden rule of packing: wear your heaviest shoes to travel in.]

I’m not given to wearing practical clothing, as I think I’ve mentioned before. To be honest, I consider anoraks dorky clothing to wear in the city – best left to tourists and the middle aged – and prefer an umbrella to a hood. For some reason, manly men can pull off the ‘I’m just off on a hike’ look in an urban context, but women can’t. But in a field, amongst tents, I’m all for practicality – so the kag in a bag is packed, although as I write, I realise that its red hue clashes with my purple footwear. Ho hum…

It’s been practically autumnal the last couple of days, thanks to the rain and near gale-force winds – so much so that I resorted to tights and boots yesterday (in August!!). However, it made me happy because the tights in question are very special and provide me with a Friday Fun tip for you. (Though I realise that only certain readers will be interested in attractive, cosy tights, unless you’re of a male persuasion and find hosiery a little kinky…)

Aubin & Wills is a ridiculous store. It’s the upmarket brother of ‘university outfitters’ Jack Wills (beloved of teenagers in the Home Counties) and a place where I can ill-afford to shop, even in the sales. However, it’s one of C’s favourite places to window shop and there’s one near work, so I pop in sporadically to stroke cashmere sweaters.

On a recent trip I discovered something I could afford – tights, reduced from £29 to £7, a total bargain. [To explain to the men-folk: good tights are costly – though I draw the line at paying £29 for them.] I purchased one attractive purple pair which were worn yesterday and were so lovely that I went out at lunch to buy more. The good news is that there are still plenty of them online, should you not exist in the vicinity of a store. Colourful tights? What’s not to like?

Oh, you might be struggling to see the fun in this, well…colours are fun, autumn’s fun, shopping’s fun – see?

Being prepared

Guess what I bought on day one of our first heatwave of 2010?
Sun cream? Nope.
A delightful summer dress? No.
An ice cream? Nah – though I did have my first iced tea of the season.

I bought wellies – Wellingtons, gumboots, galoshes, rainboots – whatever it is you choose to call them.
Not just any wellies, a pair of Hunters (the company who make proper wellies for proper farmers) in purple…

Quite possibly the second most fabulous pair of wellies I have ever seen. In case you’re wondering what beats them into second place, it would be a pair of gold Hunters owned by my friend Becka. Truly gorgeous.

But my wellies are extra fabulous as they were also a bargain. Sadly, a shoe store’s gone into administration and doubly sadly this puts a friend out of a job, but it did mean that I got the beauties reduced, with a staff discount on top – awesome. While debating this shoe purchase with myself and interested others, my sister pointed out that buying Hunters would be an investment – wellies for life if you will – so this is it. Purple wellies forever. Wonderful!

I will now take a moment to bid farewell to my old wellies. Paisley ones, a £5 bargain in a New Look sale over five years ago. Worn at five Greenbelts, in several instances of severe winter weather (including around 2 weeks solid both this year and last), they have served me well. Goodbye…

Buying wellies at the start of summer may seem foolish, but hello – it’s festival season. These will get quite an airing, especially as their purchase is now prompting me to seriously consider a week-long festival next month that I’d previously dismissed on the basis that I didn’t fancy camping for that long. I’m a shallow, shallow person.

Historical Friday Fun

Good morning! Yes, it is finally Friday and I have triumphed over the usual end of the week lethargy by getting up as soon as my alarm went off and arriving at the office before any of my other colleagues. (In fact, as I was there until gone 6.30pm last night, it almost looks as though I’d never left…) I’m feeling immensely smug.

This week I’m going for a historical/literary theme for no other reason than it tenuously links two of my discoveries and are two of my favourite interests.

Quite frankly, nothing says historical English literature better than the Brontë sisters – Jane Eyre is probably in my top 10 reads (despite being a GCSE set-text) and I even have a “Reader, I married him…” mug at home. What my youth was clearly lacking though, was some literary action figures – but today’s feminists needn’t be concerned, as now you can have a trio of Brontës complete with ‘boomerang book throwing action’. Genius:

I’m not entirely sure how to segue from that to my second gem…in fact I may not even try. You know last month marked the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic? Did you also know that a regeneration project in Belfast has resulted in the creation of the city’s ‘Titanic Quarter’? I’m not sure if anyone has actually pointed out to Belfast’s residents that the ship their city constructed actually sank ignominously, but they are inordinately proud of the fact that it was built there. (My parents’ local Thai takeaway is called, puntastically, ThaiTanic – do you see what they did there?!)

You know what they probably drank a lot of on the Titanic? Gin.
Do you know what my favourite (low calorie) alcholic beverage is? Gin and Tonic.
Do you know what my favourite Celine Dion film theme song is? Titanic.
Can these things possibly be combined? Why yes – if you have a Gin & Titonic Iceberg tray! [And have My Heart Will Go On playing in the background…]

The shop where I spotted this utterly useless, yet hilarious item also happens to have the most amusing shop categories. How many shops do you know of with sections specifically marked as ‘gifts for exes’ or ‘gifts for geek friends’? Fabulous.

Sibling shopping

I’m looking for a new sibling…
I jest of course. How could I possibly want to replace my unique (and utterly irreplaceable) little sister?

Easter weekend has been spent back in the shire in the company of sibling and sibling-in-law. Picking me up from the station in ‘nam (that would be a nam of the Cheltenham variety) we went straight into town for lunch at its ‘similar to but legally distinct from’ Wagamamas and some shopping.

The ‘nam has excellent, if somewhat expensive, shopping and we were on a mission to buy a soon to be 13 year old boy’s birthday present. (How is he that old? Teenage boys are so hard to shop for.) In addition to presents, we also managed to purchase identical shirt dresses (on my recommendation, already owning the same dress in black) and I acquired a skirt in Fat Face that my sister had bought only the week before. It seems there is sororal telepathy and there is simply liking and recommending the same clothes…

Owning identical clothes is fine as most of the time we live miles away from each other and spend approximately 2 weeks (if that) a year together. However, I should have realised that her new dress was likely to appear yesterday morning – after all, isn’t Easter Sunday the traditional day for donning new outfits?

She left for choir practice whilst I was in the shower, so I hadn’t even glimpsed what she was wearing; it also wasn’t visible during the service owing to her cassock/surplice. Not until I met her after the service did I discover we matched, albeit in different colours. [I suppose I should be thankful that the identical dress I’d bought didn’t quite fit – despite being the same size as my original black one – such is the way with Primark…] We may have got away with though. My rather purple jacket seems to distract attention away from any other item of clothing, and it was too cold to be without layers. Plus, even her husband didn’t notice till late in the evening.

I’ve just put on the grey skirt we both now own. (How could I resist a £13.50 Fat Face bargain that’s perfect for work?) I suppose I’d better pop into the lounge and check what she’s wearing. Identical clothing two days running would be too, too much.

Before I do, I have one more issue to mention. Because of our similar taste, I’ve often had a habit of passing cast-off’s onto her – especially ones that no longer fitted. Now that I’m back down to her size again, there were one or two things I’d rather like back. Specifically, an Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt I bought years ago in Hong Kong. I’d bought her one too (different colour), so if I got mine back it’s not as though she’d be left with nothing. However, she is immovable. I ‘gave’ it to her and thus it is hers. Apparently it also fits better than her original. I find this grossly unfair, especially as she has a very full wardrobe and I’m struggling to rebuild mine.

Hmph. Maybe I should look for a new sibling after all.