Teaching an old dog new tricks?

About this time last year I was going through a fair amount of work-related turmoil. That turmoil didn’t really go away, as later in 2014 I was made redundant. I say “redundant” but really I was just shoved out. Shit happens.


Anyway, when said employer was still at least pretending to be a decent human being they paid for me to start a professional diploma.  I started this in April 2014 and boy, to say I did not know what I was letting myself in for is an understatement.

The professional diploma is a level 6 (degree level) course and having never done the whole uni thing, the highest level qualification I have undertaken to date is level 4. Regardless of this, I blindly entered into my digital marketing course with my eyes closed. Completely closed. Like fused shut.  I really thought I knew the basics and that returning to study after so long wouldn’t be so hard.

Turns out I was wrong.

Totally out of my depth, drowning not waving, up to my neck in it style.

By some stroke of luck I passed the first assignment but it was majorly disappointing as I literally scraped through, despite feeling like I had given it my absolute all. I wasn’t proud of my pass whatsoever. That was a major bummer and when the second assignment was released, I took one look at it and realised there was only one way that was going to end. In a big fat fail. Especially as I faced two 3hour handwritten exams after this as well.

I made the difficult decision to defer for a while and now I am at the point of starting my course again, only this time I am studying the level 4 award course alongside which I hope will give me more background with the things I was struggling to understand.  So yeah, I couldn’t cope with one course so my solution? Lets do two at the same time. Oh and whilst we’re at it, lets start working 5 days a week again for the first time in ten years. GO ME.


I don’t do anything by halves.

I still don’t feel capable at all and find the method of delivery and learning dull and rather uninspiring which doesn’t help whatsoever but I am conscious that moving forward in my career I am going to need these qualifications. Plus, you know, they were paid for by someone else so I can’t look that gift-horse in the mouth.

Part of me thinks, ah so what, you fail, no big deal. Then there’s the other part of me that has always felt like I could do anything that I wanted to and is pretty disappointed that I’ve found something I feel is going to defeat me.

I can do this can’t I?


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Five pocket-friendly spring spruce-up ideas for the home


It’s been a long cold winter, but thankfully spring is almost upon us and nothing warms our hearts like the first signs of sunshine. If, like many, the brighter lighter days have you itching to spruce up your house so, you’ll find these pocket-friendly ideas extremely handy.


Asides from freeing counter tops and surfaces from mess, de-cluttering the home will also help you to de-clutter your mind. Boxing up any unwanted toys, bags, books and clothes and taking them down to your local charity shop will not only make you feel good about yourself, but it will also prepare your home for any spring decorating ideas you have in mind.

Clean the windows

Your windows most likely haven’t been cleaned throughout the entire of winter – now is the time to change that. If you’re on a budget, instead of paying someone else to clean your windows – do it yourself.

A mixture consisting of one part distilled white vinegar and one part water makes a great homemade glass cleaner, simply pour the mixture into a reusable spray bottle and get to work. Cleaning your windows is an easy and effective way to brighten up your home.


Now that you have an abundance of clean, clutter-free surfaces at your disposable, it’s time to get creative with a few new accessories. The most simple and effective way to add colour to any room in the household is to invest in a beautiful bunch of colourful flowers. If you don’t have time to nip out to shops, have them delivered to your door with serenataflowers.com. You’ll find a huge selection of spring flowers online including everything from scented blue posies and daffodils to orange tinged tulips and lilies.

Bring the outdoors in

There’s nothing like a bright, sun drenched house to put you in the mood for spring. Whether you have a herb garden on the kitchen windowsill, a few potted plants here and there or an abundance of floral displays arranged in various vases, adding greenery to your home will instantly bring the outdoors inside.


Before spring is in full swing, try to reorganise closets, boot rooms, kid’s bedrooms and any drawers or wardrobes that appear to be overflowing with clutter. It’s likely you’ll collect just as much clutter over the next few months, which means you’ll need to make some extra room.

Now that you have a few spring spruce-up tips to hand, it’s time to combine these with decorating ideas of you own. Before you know it, your home will ready to embrace the warm weather.

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post

Pancakes, pancakes everywhere!

Abra-ca-Debora Pancake art Picasso

Yes, I know there is a glut of pancake blog posts floating around the blogosphere right now but c’mon, it’s Shrove Tuesday and you can’t really let it slip by. Especially if you’re a pancake fanatic like me!

To celebrate this lovely once-a-year event (who am I kidding, pancakes are a near-weekly treat in this house!) the lovely people at Abra-ca-Debora sent me a selection of their ready-made pancakes to try out.

Now I normally prefer to make my own pancakes from scratch but there are those times when I just can’t be bothered. My children have got into the habit of asking for dessert after dinner every night and having something like these in the fridge make this task so much easier as I can just chop up some fruit and whip out the syrup or sauce and they are happy.

Abra-ca-Debora sent me a selection of serving suggestions – I think the pancake faces above are loads of fun and a great way for children to get creative, and involved with food prep – let them do the chopping!  My personal favourite item in the range is the Diddy pancakes which are just perfect served with some warm chocolate sauce. Such a treat! Love these.


If you want to try out Abra-ca-Debora Pancakes for yourself, then you can find them in the chiller cabinets at Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, price from £1.50. The range consists of Sweet, Original and the fabulous new Diddy’s.

Let me know if you try them out and I’d love to know what you you top your pancakes with. Are you sweet or savoury?

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Garden Offices: work from home in style

When you have attained a certain level of success you will finally be able to do all the things you have always wanted to do. Some people aspire for the great office at the end of the hall; they believe that attaining the top of the corporate ladder is really the endgame. Still others believe that finally going into business for yourself and making your own rules is the best way to go. That latter may be true but if you are seeking some kind of a meaning to this existence you should at the very least have some kind of an office space for your business. If you rent out an office, that’s fine. But you can also go above and beyond and actually get yourself equipped with garden offices: work from home in style.

Offices from the Office: While you may really want to work in your garden office all of the time, there are several occasions which will only let you work from your garden offices once in a while. In this case the garden offices: work from home in style means a little bit less broadly. But just because you are not there all of the time, that doesn’t mean that your garden offices should be any less well cared for and impeccable.

Offices for Small Business: If you have finally stepped beyond the comfort zone of your employer and you are ready to launch your awesome new product, service or idea on the world then a garden office could be the perfect web to lure your prospective partners with. A garden office is exotic and certainly shows that you are thinking outside of the box. A garden office is just the kind of thing that can take your hair-brained idea and turn it into solid gold!

Offices for Self-Employment: Even if you are not really all that equipped for your business, you could still be self-employed. Working from home may sound like the easiest racket around but in order to avoid all of the trappings of the modern home you need to be able to have a space where work is what gets done. There may be no better opportunity than your garden office to shut the rest of the world out and really get things done.

Offices for Continued Study: Even if you are just a student, returning student or you are looking for a place for your kids to study, the garden office can be the perfect place to go. It’s tranquil, it’s removed, and it has got all of the right type of inspiration for high-quality work to be done.

Of course if you don’t ascribe to the credo garden offices: work from home in style than none of this really matters much at all. You could be the most successful person in the world but if you see no value in garden offices, then you had best find some other solution. However if garden offices: work from home in style makes perfect sense to you then you might want to consider getting yourself your very own garden office. York Timber Products has got everything  that you could possibly need to get your office set up and really let you stand tall with the slogan garden offices: work from home in style. Of course you need to be the master of your own domain and if this isn’t something that’s going to work for you then you had best keep on looking. But if a garden office makes you flutter with joy than York Timber Products can help you achieve your dreams!

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Meal Planning Monday (16th February 2015)

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Morning peeps!

How are you all today?

I could do ALL types of whinging and moaning today but I’m not going to. Instead I am just going to launch ahead with what’s on my meal plan this week!

This week we will be eating;

Spring Lamb Shepherds Pie
Spaghetti Tetrazzini
Fish Tikka Curry
Pancakes (obviously!)
Soup and homemade bread
Roast chicken and trimmings

I am dying for a roast and couldn’t be bothered to do it yesterday so given that it’s half-term I am going to make the most of it and make a nice big dinner one day this week. Soup will be a use-up of whatever is in the fridge I think!

Pancakes…do you do savoury? I can’t bring myself to have savoury pancakes, it’s sweet all the way. We’ll have a combo of toppings though. I’m a sugar and lemon girl, but we’ll also have chocolate sauce/Nutella with bananas and strawberries and Mr M likes jam. JAM? On a pancake? That’s nuts to me.

Okay then, it’s now your turn. If you want a recap of where to find #mealplanningmonday all over your internet, the details are on this post.

The all-important instructions… If you’re new to my blog or #mealplanningmonday all you have to do is this – write a blog post about your meal plan for the week and submit the URL of your post using the Linkytools below. If you’ve not got a blog but want to join in, that’s fine – just leave a comment below telling us what you’re planning this week.  Any questions, just holler at me via email (in the contact page) or on Twitter @madamding.

I am going to work harder at getting round to comment on everyone who joins in and if you use the #mealplanningmonday hashtag on Twitter, I will share a selection each week.

I’ve still working hard to get more joiners and would like to get some more people talking about #mealplanningmonday and joining in during 2015 – all RT’s and shares on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, the dreaded Google+ etc would be greatly appreciated! The more the merrier and more inspiration for us all! Use the #mealplanningmonday tag on Twitter and I’ll share a random selection each week.

Have a great week everyone!

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