Thursday, July 26, 2012

Books and Cookies and Drinks...Oh My!

It has been a fun time around the Yellow House these past few days...fun because I've had a couple of packages delivered to my door. The first one came a few days ago and it held my reading material for my new school year that begins at the end of September. I have about thirty books to read along with any other textbooks that may arrive. It's a lot of reading, but I love reading and I'm up for the challenge!

As you might be able to see from the pic, there are some children's books included in the pile. That's because one of my courses is a course called Children's Literature. The subject can sound a bit deceiving and maybe conjure up thoughts of this being an easy course...but no way! I've heard that this course is just as challenging as any literature course and I think it takes a lot of skill to write for children and teens. So I'm really looking forward to this course. I've read some of the books years and years ago, but it will be interesting to read them from my adult perspective now. And some of the books are new to me, so it promises to be intriguing! I'll share my thoughts on the various books as the year progresses. Also, incorporated into the pile are my other books for my other course. It's a wide-ranging reading list and I'm trying to get a bit of a headstart on the reading so that when they come up during the year, I won't be so rushed. One more note, I know this box looks big even for this amount of books, but there was another bigger item in the box that took up lots of space. So no waste there :-)

My other package arrived today and I don't have a photo because I forgot. Lol. Anyway, it was a standard puffy envelope chocked full of home goodies from my niece. This was my favorite package of the two because it's a bit of home. My niece lives in California and even though she's my niece, she has always felt like more of a cousin. We are not that far removed in age and we have a lot of shared memories. Whenever I remember something from pop culture from back in the day, I just send her a quick message and we'll laugh because she knows 95% of mostly everything I remember. It's nice to hold memories with someone else that knew you when you were so young. She is a good friend :-) She sent me some cookies and drink mixes and I'm so grateful. She could have sent a pouch full of California dirt and I would still be happy...in the end it's the connection that matters!

So it's been a package-filled time around the Yellow House and the weather has greatly improved over the last few days. Instead of continuous rain for weeks on end, we finally have some sun! I can't believe that the opening ceremony of the Olympics is tomorrow. Time is going so fast! I'm gonna have to start thinking about what to pack for our trip to London next week. I'm getting really excited to take it all in and as I've mentioned before, I'll be sharing some photos.

Thanks for stopping by to visit me!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How to Avoid Parcel Delivery and Collection Delays During the Olympics

In a few days’ time, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh will officially open the Games of the XXX Olympiad. Approximately one month later, the Paralympics will also be hosted here. Mid-July to mid-September will be a busy and congested time for residents of London and for those who live near the numerous official Olympic venues. Although massive efforts have been made to limit traffic jams and commuting delays, the temporary influx of more than 550,000 athletes, officials, and visitors will not go unnoticed.

Parcelforce have been working for the past year on strategies which should limit the amount of disruption to its collections and delivery services. During the Olympics, only UPS, the official logistics partner for the Games, will have access to the Olympic Village and the other official venues.

You can also request that Parcelforce Worldwide transfers your order to UPS for last-mile delivery into these restricted areas. However, UPS has announced that it will charge a minimum £5 handling fee and £20 security fee per package for offering this service. Using local post offices as alternative addresses is a way to avoid these surcharges. A third option for customers is to use an alternative address that lies outside the restricted or congested areas.

Parcelforce Worldwide has made some adjustments to its routes during the peak-traffic weeks. It has revised some routes slightly to choose roads with less traffic congestion. In other situations, entirely new routes have been created.

The company are also providing some “on-foot” and “2-person” collections and deliveries as well as extra staffing, equipment, and vehicles to maintain the company’s next-day and 2-day service reputation. To avoid delays, customers are encouraged to check the daily service updates which will be posted online once the Games have begun. Web bulletins will carry any changes in scheduling or service. Parcelforce Worldwide hopes that, by working together, the company and its customers can keep service disruptions to a minimum during this busy time.



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hedgehog and Birds

Recently we've had a rush of nature in our backyard. A couple of weeks ago, we saw a hedgehog scurrying around on two different occasions. It was cool because I'd never seen a hedgehog in real life before. Here's a picture of a hedgehog that I found. I didn't take a picture because it happened so fast and I was so enthralled. He was very cute!
Photo courtesy of doeni.gov.uk

Our next visitor, well visitors were a family of birds that made their home in one of our trees. Over the past few weeks we'd noticed a bird building a nest in the tree. Then a while after the nest was finished, we noticed the mother flying back and forth continuously to feed her babies. The nest was perfectly positioned at a spot in the tree where it didn't move very much at all, even on windy days. Luckily for us, there was a small opening in the foliage, so we could see the nest from our window. Here's a picture of the view outside our window. I didn't want to get too close and scare away the mother, so I took this from inside. In the opening, you can just about see the nest.


So, we watched the mother go back and forth for several days and then one day the babies flew away. We didn't get to see them all leave though...we only saw one, but we were glad to see anything happen :-) We saw the very last one leave the nest and he/she made quite an impression. We were watching television when we all of a sudden we heard a tap on the window. We looked just in time to see the little bird smack into the window and fall to the ground. Don't worry...he was fine! He got back up and flew to another tree in the yard and then flew around a bit more. We lost sight of him for a while and then we noticed that he had perched on the tree across from nest where he was born. Here's a grainy photo of him having a rest.


He ended up sitting there into the night and he snuggled down into his feathers and went to sleep soon after I took this photo. By the next morning he had flown away and started his life! It was really cool to see him take his "first steps" out into the world!

Now the nest sits empty in our tree. Other birds have dropped by for a look as if they're sizing up an abandoned house. It's fun to watch. Things have quieted down lately, but hey, maybe the hedgehog will visit us again. I'll keep my eyes open...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review: The Beauty Chronicles

Since I've been on my summer break, I've been getting a chance to catch up on my reading...and that's reading something other than textbooks :-) I have a stack of books on my bedside table and one on my side table downstairs, so there's always a book close at hand. I'm reading a variety of books from self-help books to laid back fiction that I've picked up here and there when I'm out and about.

One book that I've finished recently is a book that I was sent to review and I really enjoyed it. It was a book called The Beauty Chronicles - Sensorial Secrets for Redefining Human Perfection by Tina Parsons.
Tina is the founder and principal of the award winning Burghley Academy training school in Peterborough, England. At the academy training school and salon, they teach practical beauty and holistic therapy training courses. So Ms. Parsons is a very experienced and knowledgeable professional in the field of beauty.
What I like about the book is that it gives you an interesting insight into what beauty is and takes you on a journey for the senses. The pages are packed with knowledge and yet you don't feel overwhelmed by all of the information. It's like a history lesson of beauty at some points as it highlights such beauty industry luminaries as Coco Chanel and Max Factor. It's fascinating to find out more about the people behind these iconic names that many of us know. This book is a complete approach to the science of beauty and not solely about beauty from a basic visual standpoint...it gives you more than that. The thing that I love most is that everything is explained very well and is presented in an easygoing style.
The book is broken down into sections: Perception, Sight, Touch, Smell, Taste, and Sound. And within each section there are headings such as: 'The Science of the Senses', 'What is Beauty?', 'Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk', 'The Emotional Eye', and 'The Tongue Tells the Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth', just to name a few. There are numerous tips provided throughout the book that not only can help with your appearance, but they are also good healthy tips!

Tina Parson's book is a good read and it's an interesting read for anyone interested in the subject of beauty or anyone who just enjoys a good book! It's one of those books that you can refer to over and over again.

If you'd like to purchase your own copy of the book, visit: amazon.co.uk or amazon.com

Other books by this publisher can be found at bookshaker.com

*Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions are mine.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Olympics Excitement

Hello! It's a rainy Monday morning, but I'm feeling pretty good! Just to follow up on the latest news around here...we finally got our washing machine fixed last week. Yay!! And so far it is working okay...fingers crossed.

As I'm sitting here writing this, I'm watching Serena Williams playing against Yaroslava Shvedova at Wimbledon. I'm not actually there, but I'm planted here in my comfy chair in Wiltshire as I glance at the television periodically. Thankfully it's not raining there :-)

This sporty talk goes along with another thing that I'm thinking about...and that is the Olympics! :-) I can't believe how close the Olympics are now. I'm so excited! Over the weekend, Brit Boy and I had a bit of a messy situation with our accommodations for our time in London though. We had a call from the people that we were supposed to be renting from during our Olympic trip and basically they had pushed us out of the way in favor of some bigger spenders...typical! They offered us some other place to stay, but we had a look at it online and it was a mess. We paid good money to these people five months ago and they have had the audacity to push us out after they were all too glad to take our money back then. I would say that we were surprised, but we're not sadly. I will spare you the long story and their response to us wanting what we paid for. Lousy, lousy, lousy customer service!!! I'll just say that we asked for a full refund/compensation and will not be using their pathetic service ever again! We found somewhere else to stay, and it wasn't easy because it's so close to time now, but I'm glad we have somewhere to stay again. I get so tired of people thinking that they can take your money and not provide the service that they are supposed to be offering. I know that this happens way too much these days, but I'm done with just accepting it! End of vent.... ;-)

On to more positive news, as I said at the beginning, I'm feeling pretty good, despite our accommodation speed bump. Brit Boy and I won't let all of that craziness get us down. We haven't been away for this many days for a long time, so we're really looking forward to the chance to have some fun! I was reading online this morning about the US Olympic Trials and I read what my friends were saying on Facebook yesterday. It looks like there is going to be a really good group representing the USA. I'm happy for all of the athletes from everywhere getting their chance to compete in the Olympics and it will be great to see everyone participate. However, I'm going to be cheering on the USA team since I'm a USA girl and I hope that they can do us proud! Brit Boy will of course be cheering on Team GB (Great Britain). We respect both teams in the Yellow House, as I mentioned in this post four years ago :-)  And in the event that "our own team" isn't playing, we gladly cheer on the other one and it works. It's always fun ;-) And if neither of our teams are playing, then we're just gonna cheer on everyone because we're happy to be there! What a blessing...

So we're counting down the days until our Olympic trip and I'll definitely be sharing some photos here...

See ya next time...