Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Bratz - the movie

Took my daughter to see Bratz The Movie last night it was great and no I am not being sarcastic I loved it, we went to see Bratz Passion For Fashion on stage at the SECC last year and it too was great. I absolutely love singing and dancing and fashion be it at the movies or on the stage. As the cinema was very quiet my daughter took her seat in the middle of the isle, on the floor, near the screen. I looked over at one point and there she was in full dance routine, with her hands on either side of her head rolling her head from one corner of the room to the other, swinging her shoulder length blonde hair. I think she thought because it was dark nobody could see her, I smiled with joy, she was both enjoying and expressing herself.

I'll let you into a little secret, I love singing and dancing, I love the following movies as they contain, well, singing and dancing....High school musical 1 & 2, Cheetah Girls 1 & 2, Dirty Dancing, Grease and Jump. Why? I have a deep urge to be 'that person' the lead singer and dancer, it lifts me, motivates me, makes me feel good - cue for a song "I feel good.........." I would love to be centre stage with a whole audience fixed on me, impressed by my velvet voice and cool moves, captured in the moment and huge standing ovation as I finale. But the truth, I can't sing and I'm sure my dancing is below average, although always seems slightly better after a few vodka's. I once did Karaoke and my own mother said 'please don't get up and sing again!' So I live through these films and imagine.......I dream of having secret private singing and dancing lessons and then getting up at a party, when people least expect it and doing my thing. Another secret, Christina Aguilera's song Dirty - have you scene the video? - it has the same effect, I would love to do her dance routine, complete with handsome backing dancers, water, the lot.

To many secrets for today I think, back to reality. Attending job centre in an hour with the hubby.

Before I go I would like to clarify I am not glamorous either, I only do make up when I am going out of an evening. I work in jeans and a polo shirt everyday as working with material and threads can be very dusty. I wouldn't like anyone to leave this post thinking although I can't sing or dance that I am a glamorous fashion icon.

Yours Christina x

Monday, 27 August 2007

Just for a laugh.

I got this in an email and thought I would share it...

How to stop unwanted sales calls & junk mail

(1) Just three words.....

The three little words: "Hold On, Please..."

Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging-up immediately) would make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that sales would practically grind to a halt. Then when you eventually hear BT's "beep-beep-beep" tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset .... You have efficiently completed your task. These three little words could help eliminate telephone soliciting.

(2) Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end? This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone. This technique is then used to determine the best time of day for a "real" salesperson to call back and get someone at home. What you can do after answering: If you notice there is no one there, is to immediately start hitting your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 times, as quickly as possible. Apparently, the machine believes it has dialled a fax number and removes your number out of their system. Gosh, what a shame not to have your name in their system any longer!!!

(3) When you get those "pre-approved" letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope. Most of these come with postage-prepaid return envelopes, right? It costs them more than the regular postage "IF" and when they are returned. It costs them nothing if you throw them away! In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage-prepaid return envelopes? Send an advert for your local chimney sweeper to American Express ... They might need one! Send a pizza coupon to HSBC ... in case their canteen packs up. You get the idea. If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them back their blank application form ... After all, it is their form! If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you return. You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing! It still costs them, and it is their envelope after all .. You are just returning it!!!! The banks and credit card companies are currently getting a lot of their own junk back in the post, but folks .... we need to OVERWHELM them, in order to stop them. Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail and best of all they're paying for it ... Twice! Let's help keep Royal Mail busy. Since the Royal Mail are saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits, let's help them so they will not need to increase postage costs again. You get the idea!

If enough people follow these tips, it will work ---- maybe you'll get very little junk mail anymore.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

£150 poorer

It's Saturday, football morning, the night before football morning is always a bugger. 12 boys in the team which results in approx. 6 calls the night before to check on the arrangements, arrangements that have been confirmed to them on Thursday at training. The boys are 10 and 11, not 5, although 5 year olds might pay better attention.

It always rains on football Saturdays and as I'm at work today my poor daughter has to be at the sidelines, watched by any person who'll keep an eye on her as hubby is refereeing the game today. This morning she announced her wellies are too wee! so wet feet for her then as I'm not Mystic Meg.

I am not complaining at being at work today. I normally close on a Saturday as the weather gets colder as all business's I deal with work Monday to Friday and to save my poor daughter the boredom of watching football. I have so much embroidery to do that I am quite happy to be here when it's quieter and get on with it. I have had a steady stream of customers, repeat and new, if I can keep this up I am sure to really take off. Just coming into my 4th year it has often been hard but I am getting there slowly but surely. I have until now not advertised for fear of being unable to cope, however, I am ready! I have also learned I can say NO, I used to say Yes to everything, but now I'm a little more picky about what I do.

The hubby has just called to check how much I am charging the next door neighbour for the bouncy castle this afternoon. A bouncy castle in the drizzle, hopefully it will dry up or my poor children will be soaked...again! I asked how the boys got on - the response 'shite' so that was the end of that conversation.

Lost my trail of thought I was actually going to talk about the £150 I had to pay the ugly couple this morning. I nearly forgot, we were supposed to go and pay the garage directly this morning, but as I went into the local Co-op car park, they drove in in front of me, this reminded me! Luckily I had £150 (of business money) in my bag. So I parked and met them grining as if enjoying the moment of handing over £150! They accepted the money gratefully and went on their way. I am sorry my daughter damaged their car and I do accept the responsible thing to do was to pay for the damage and not pretend it hadn't happened, teaching my child we have to take responsibility for our actions, but I am sick £150! an unemployed husband, no pressure on me then. Heres hoping the insurance company pay out.

Friday, 24 August 2007

The poor relations

Today I feel like a incompetent begger!

First thing to go wrong this month was when 7 yr old was out playing on 10 yr olds bike, took a corner to fast and was saved by the neighbours car, daughter was badly scrapped and grazed but not as badly as the neighbours car which had a 12" score including 6" indentation on the drivers wing. She came through the front door pale, hurt but not crying, until the moment I said those words 'what's wrong' the floodgates opened and she announced she had scrapped a car. 'Is it bad?' I enquired 'Yes' she wailed, I took a deep breath and her hand and we went to look 'Oh!' we went straight to neighbours door, only because I thought someone might have seen her or her friend may have told her mother and so on, I would of course been furious if someone had done this to my car, it wasn't as if it was a small surface scrap after all. I do not know this neighbour very well, I say hello in the passing and god forgive me but they have to be the uglyest couple out. So with injured daughter by the hand, who I had chosen not to clean up - for effect - 'knock knock' we were greeted by beaming, smiley, ugly neighbour, I soon wiped the smile off his face 'Oh!' he too said on seeing his grazed wing. I offered to pay, through gritted teeth, what else could I do? His wife works in a garage and she would get a quote. She did, £375 including a full new set of wheel trims @ £35 as the wheel trim was scrapped! I said 'too expensive, try again!' He did, £150 at local garage, we agreed, he then mentioned the wheel trims again, he must've seen the daggers and said 'but they can wait' I agreed.

He came back to the door last night to confirm the car is in the garage and due to be collected on Saturday, in other words get your money ready, he also announced he would just leave the wheel trims, I think we were supposed to be grateful. After 11 years working in an insurance company I remembered public liability insurance through my house insurance, I called to claim, I will be called back and may have to pay £50 excess but it's still cheaper.

With husband in the unemployed bracket, he has an appointment at the job centre on Tuesday, I also called the tax credit people and explained the circumstances, they will send out an award letter and then I call to discuss. I also phoned the council tax office looking for a rebate she said she would send out a form and said - get this 'if you need assistance to fill it in, you can come in and we will help you.' I am a self employed, mother of 2, competent individual, it is the hubby who is unemployed not me! bloody cheek, did I sound incompetent, was I not clear and consise with my requirements?

People automatically assume because you are self employed that you have an abundance of money, let me just confirm, I'm not, I'm sure I will have some day, but right now no! I have the security of hubby who worked long hours, many days and brings home an abundance of money. Well blow me we have been hit by insecurity. Now with the amount of tax tht hubby has paid over the last 5 years I reckon it would be fair to claim for what we are entitled to, until employment is back on the cards....

Thursday, 23 August 2007

In between jobs

Four days on and still no work from the agency. Hubby is now using the terminology 'in between jobs at the moment' he has been proactive, he has called every relation he has (this is the man with 6 sisters, 2 brothers, 19 nieces and nephews, 2 great nieces and a great nephew) so there are a quite a few relatives to go round. He has been to the local water bottling factory for an application form and the neighbours who all seem to pick up casual jobs no problem. The only place he hasn't been is the job centre, but he is calling them today to go in for an 'unemployment interview'

I laugh (mildly) at the fact we are married, had children, have a bought house and 2 years ago the tax credit people stopped our £10 a week as they said we had earned too much money the previous year. This was at a time when I had gone self employed and the extra £10 a week would have been handy, but not to worry we will start getting it again next April! It seems to me if you do everything correctly you get nothing.

I am not panicking yet, he gets a wage this Friday, but then nothing next week, then I'll panic. But I am a great believer in what's for you won't go past you and I have been able to work full time this week and given that I'm so busy perhaps it was a blessing. Normally all the money I make goes right back into the business to build it a step bigger, but at least I've made enough to have a little bit extra to keep us, well for a few weeks anyway.

If anything this is perhaps the push a need to step it up a little. I have to confess I am slightly afraid of building a big business and this holds me back, I am afraid the tax man will come chapping at my door for lots of money and I've spent it all. But I can't let this stand in my way I must progress, I have the mind to do it, I have the ability to do it, I can plan for it, can I follow it through? no! And the reason ..... I am only one person, on my own, it's a vicious circle, if I take someone on I have to pay them, what if I can't pay them? But then I could be out and about bringing in business and then I could pay them. I could plan, delegate and it would be done.

Food for thought, I will go and mull it over......

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Clean up....

Still my machine trundles on embroidering school polo shirts and sweatshirts and fleeces and jackets. I am happy to say I have lots of work to do and can see a definite pattern in my return customers.

I thought I would have been all finished with the school wear but am happy that some customers, particularly the 'first time at school mums' realise they are a polo shirt or a sweatshirt short. Of course had they come to me initially instead of going to big stores like M&S or BHS I would have been able to recommend and advise and save them money into the bargain. A new P1 child does not require 5 pinafores or 5 pairs of trousers etc etc. It's all part of the service!

I have cleaned, well actually I am in the middle of cleaning the unit, but thought I'd stop for a bit of blogging! I like to shuffle everything about after the summer rush, this also allows a stock take and then I can update my neglected ebay site with the stock I have left. That's my next job, which was planned for Wednesday but due to embroidery requirements I will be back in the unit on my day off. There really is no day off when you are self employed. It's taken 3 and a half years to come to this realisation. God I'm quick! I could of course update ebay while I'm in the unit but I find my concentration wanders, I prefer my nice warm conservatory, near the kettle and the biscuit tin. Did I ever tell you how cold the unit is? it'll soon be time for the thermals, no joke, vest, long johns and socks. Every mans dream.......

Monday, 20 August 2007

Job anticipation

Another busy day at work, I'm still catching up on the school uniforms of the late comers.

The hubby was home today so I have been able to work until 5pm. Having left a job last October that he had been in for 12 years, due to the lack of work in Scotland, hubby went to work for another company through an agency, there was 3 months work promised with a view to being taken on permanently, however, the work has continued for 10 months with great wages, but has now ended, with no permanent contract. The agency, I'm sure, will get him something else. They did in fact offer him a job on Friday, a job in their office, doing what they do, matching suitable candidates with jobs. Impressive, without an interview, or ever meeting him. This made us laugh, he is not the office type shall we say and being from 'Glesga' he does not have the polite phone voice or manner that one would expect when phoning ones agency. Slang, that would be the terminology. Laughing aside he also has difficulty reading and writing, not that you would know from his quick whit, when I say reading and writing, he can read, he can write but he can't spell and has the inability to sound words out. He has a great knack of looking at the first letter of the word and making up what is says as he reads. He attended adult learning which was great, free of charge, on a one to one basis with a volunteer. Unfortunately the volunteer moved out of the area and he was no longer allowed to deal with hubby, he did suggest group learning, but this didn't fit in with shifts, the volunteer was so flexible and went right back to basics it was such a shame to lose him.

In this day and age, you wouldn't manage to get through school without somebody noticing that you are below average with this basic skill, there were 9 children in the family, a mother who is a very good speller, a father who was a drinker and wife and child beater and another 8 children, 7 of whom are older and 1 younger. All who are oblivious to this fact, we had to hide that fact the hubby went to 'school.' I wonder who's to blame, the school, the parents or both. I would like to think as a parent I would notice and if I hadn't that the school might bring it to my attention.

Anyway he has not heard anything back yet from the agency today, which means he will most likely be off tomorrow, the timing is great because I can stay at work longer and clear my feet. What's for you won't go past you!

Until the next time.......

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Lazy Sundays - aye right!

Worked until 7 last night and went home, collected by hubby and delinquents, armed with a McDonalds. I then, shattered thought I was, decided I would do some housework. Yes on a Saturday night! but after the all new X Factor. Is it only me or does the X Factor make everybody cry, I cry when they cry, tears of joy, of course. Especially last night when the last lady to get through had just lost her father 7 months ago and she was a beautiful singer.... sob ... sob!

Anyway I wiped my tears and carried on with the tidying up.... Watching the TV and crying with the children about is not easy and the moment is spoiled by having to explain to them that you are in fact ok and are just sharing the emotions of those on TV, then having to explain further that they are so happy that they're crying. I am far to emotional for my own good, I can be reduced to tears in seconds if there is something sad on TV and there is background music playing over the scenes. I regularly check in on the Madeleine McCann website for an update and as soon as the music starts ..... 'don't tell me, it's not worth fighting for' .......... I'm away and can't read the update for the tears. It was the same when Princess Diana died and at the funeral Elton John played Candle in the wind, they focused right in on the flowers saying 'mum.' 10 years on I can only now listen to that song without bursting into tears. I get to involved and imagine how I would feel if it was me or my children. I digress! I would make a great extra in film scenes at funerals or hospital bedsides.

Back to last night, bit of washing done, tidying up etc and went to my bed. I love my bed! I love it even more when I know I don't have to get up in the morning. I slept until child number one got up, they are not allowed to get up unless they confirm with me first, just in case it's some ungodly hour, then the thumping of the feet back up the stairs and at the top of his voice 'the TV's not working' the world has ended! this in turn wakes his sister who would have slept on til at least 9.30 if thumping feet and voices had not been heard. I opted for the easy option, perhaps other mothers would have bounded out of bed to go and fix said telly, I said 'go and play your play station' zzzzzzzz, then daughter comes bolting up the stairs 'the TV's not working' ....'go and play with your brother, I'm trying to have a long lie!' zzzzzzzz. After 10 minutes of bickering I decided it wasn't worth it and got up.

The hubby called at 12 noon to say he was finished his work. I made my lunch and here I am at work on a Sunday afternoon getting on with the items I thought I wouldn't get done until tomorrow. I should be getting organised making sure I'm set for the start of the week........I will, but later.

I have an important decision to make, should we have a kitten? We have a gold fish, a gold fish which was purchased for my son on his 5th birthday, he is now 10 and the fish is still going strong, she/he is called Jen, after the pink power ranger! The fish which requires no care at all, lives happily in its own s**t for months, usually when the water has evaporated to about 2 inches, the guilt makes me change the water. I believe this is why it has lasted so long. The children would like a dog, which is all very nice but they require care, which at the moment I do not feel I can provide. So, my next door neighbour, let me put you in the picture first of how other people live, in February there was tragedy when my next door neighbour died at the age of 39, leaving behind his wife and daughter of 10 - more tears. His wife has a son of 17 and a daughter of 23, who in turn has a daughter. The son's boyfriend...yes boyfriend (18) then comes to stay and brings his kitten. The family then decides to buy the 10 year old a kitten, since she has lost her dad! They get her a beautiful black and white cat, which they keep. But she really wanted a ginger cat, so on her dad's 40th birthday they get her a ginger cat. We now have 3 cats next door. The kitten that came with boyfriend is now nearly one and has been a dirty stop out and gone and got her own boyfriend who's obviously been having his wicked way because she has just had 2 kittens of her own. 2 little fluffy, jet black, cute kittens. The children - they want one, the hubby - he wants a dog, me - I'm undecided, about the cat, not the dog, I'm decided on the dog, it's a definite NO. We, well the children can wrap the hubby round their little finger when they want something, this comes of having a deprived childhood, they want, he didn't have so they get. Pros of getting a kitten - children have a pet, they are easy to look after, they go out themselves, stroking them is therapeutic, although hubby would suggest he has something equally as therapeutic to stroke! (I said that out loud, didn't I) Cons who looks after it when we go on holiday, answer - neighbour!

We have 6 weeks to work on hubby, I think I'm decided.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Schools are back!

60 days have passed since my last post, in that time we have had our fantastic holiday in Fuertaventura and returned to the madness that is being a self employed mother of 2 who sells school uniforms.

The madness is now over, our schools are back so I am back to being a mother and a house keeper (when I say house keeper I mean I will now after 6 weeks clean my house). I am more motivated than I have been for a while, I have done well, worked hard continously morning, noon and night over the summer months and I am proud of my achievements, each year I take another step and each time the step gets bigger. My delinquents have been spending time at their granny's, my mother-in-law, over the past few weeks and with that comes guilt, I should be there for them, to look after them whenever they are not at school, but this is a long term vision and the plan is next year I will have a shop assistant who can man the unit, I intent not to continue doing most of the embroidery myself and have my suppliers do this for me.

Just incase you are reading this for the first time, let me reintroduce my business;

NHP Embroidery Services. I supply and embroider school wear and corporate workwear, I have an industrial unit, 8 minutes from my home, as you read on you will understand how important minutes are to me, I open my unit Mon/Tues 10-2, Thurs-Sat 10-5 in the summer and drop the Saturday in the winter. I sell on ebay www.stores.ebay.co.uk/nhp-embroidery-services and hope to have my own website up and running ready for next summer http://www.nhpservices.co.uk/ I am a planner and not much of a doer, if that makes sense, each year I make plans and each year I plod along. However, this is the year, only because I am now into my fourth year of business and I have to start making decent money out of it or it no longer becomes viable and then what would I do, work for someone else! I think not.

I am now frantic again, I promised most people who did not get all of their uniforms for Thursday that I would have them done this weekend as I planned to work Saturday and Sunday to clear the backlog, but my husband is now working tomorrow and I am going to stay at home and look after my own children and hopefully do some housework blah, blah, blah. But of course I've got more to do than I first realised and flattered thought I am, I keep getting phone calls from friends and family to see if I managed the rush etc. etc. as they haven't seen or heard from me all summer. I become a recluse in the summer, well a recluse in the unit. For each minute they talk to me, that's a minute taken from my precious embroidery minutes as the machine makes too much noise to keep it on when people are talking on the phone.

Having stopped for tea and my rolls at 2.20pm I am taking stock, perhaps another late night at the machine..............