Friday, 31 May 2019

WHAT'S FOR LUNCH? DON'T ASK ME . . .

I work in the city centre of Glasgow, so when it comes to lunch times there’s an absolute plethora of eateries to choose from. Do you want a sandwich a bit fancier than a Tesco pre-packaged one? There’s a whole host of places to try and decide between, a veritable army of combinations from the simple to the more adventurous.

If you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, then don’t worry, the options are limitless. You could get a takeaway from a fish and chip shop, or a noodle bar, or choose a healthier salad bar type option. Or if all else fails, a cheeky Mickey Ds. People in my office are constantly coming back in to the office with fancy, droolworthy meals, and I’m almost always incredibly jealous. SO. MUCH. CHOICE.


The world should be my oyster, but in actuality, I’m overwhelmed and it seems like even ordering an oyster isn’t as simple as just saying – “can I have some oysters please?” I still need to make another twenty decisions about how my oysters are presented to me, and therein, I think lies one of my problems.

Is lunchtime anxiety a thing? I’m not sure, but it certainly feels that way to me. The actual idea of having to actually order even just a simple sandwich is something I find so stressful. Is that just me? I can only deal with the familiar, and even then I can barely deal with that.

For example, let’s take a simple Subway. Now, I always order exactly the same thing when I go to Subway. Every time without fail. I stand in the inevitable queue and I rehearse it in my head over and over. (If you’re ever with me when I go to Subway, you will find me strangely uncommunicative, and this is why.) “6 inch meatball marinara on Italian herbs and cheese. 6 inch meatball marinara on Italian herbs and cheese. 6 inch meatball mariana on . . .” There is no veering off that route. If I went in to Subway and they’d changed the names of the bread I’d probably turn around and leave. I then very much rely on them asking if I want it with cheese and toasted, because the initial part of the order is my limit and takes it out of me.  And then I always ask for red onion when it comes to the salad bit, purely because I feel like I’m judged if I don’t add anything at all. (Which I’m sure I’m not but you can’t really help how you feel.) I always feel like my meatball sub is very well deserved at the end of this “ordeal”.

I only really do well with ordering food when it’s really straight forward. So I can go to Da Vincis and order a mac and cheese with chips (drool) with a lot more ease than the aforementioned Subway because it’s so many less words to remember. (Although I will have anxious thoughts that they might have ran out, and then I will be irrationally humiliated). Or I can go to Greggs and order a steak bake, because I’m familiar with their products and it doesn’t require too much interaction with another person to request such a simple (yet tasty) product.

Put me in a place I don’t know with too many options and I feel completely out of my depth. Even worse, put me in a place where the sandwiches all have weird names that are in no way related to their contents and I feel like someone is actually having a joke with me, they’ve written down all these names especially to mess with my head, and once I say the weird name out loud Ashton Kutcher is going to pop out and tell me I’ve been Punk’d.

Is it really any wonder I tend to bring a packed lunch? It’s not for the sake of my bank balance (although that’s a consideration too, to be honest), it’s for the sake of my poor stressed-out brain...

Is it just me? Does anyone else also have this issue? Please tell me I'm not alone . . .

Saturday, 27 April 2019

THE ONE WHERE I TRY TO MAKE SOME EXTRA CASH . . .

I've been trying to make a bit of extra cash of late . . . all those trips away and dinners out I love don't come cheap after all, and I'm RUBBISH at saving so I figured I need to try and MAKE more money! So I figured I'd share some of my ideas with you guys, and was hoping maybe someone else might have an idea for making extra money that I haven't thought of yet. So here goes . . . here's how I'm making, or hoping to make, extra dosh. (Please note there are some referral links included below, and I would be super grateful if you wanted to use them as it helps me on my money-making journey even more!)


CASHBACK SITES (Verdict: these are ALWAYS worth signing up for!!!)
Cashback sites are probably the easiest by far way of making some money back, in my opinion, because you can make money back on things you were buying anyway. So those three Boohoo dresses you decided to buy last week? If you'd went on to Boohoo via a cashback website, you'd be getting a small percentage of the money you paid back. If you're thinking of booking a holiday you might want to check to see if the holiday company you are using is offering cashback through one of those sites because even a small percentage off an expensive holiday could be a lot of money back in your pocket. I've even used cashback sites to switch credit cards (£30 cashback on a balance transfer) so it's always worth having a check of these sites before purchasing!
Give Quidco or Topcashback a go!

MATCHED BETTING (Verdict: not for me! Maybe I'll return to it one day though)
Now I've read tons about matched betting lately, and I decided to give it a go because it seemed like one of those things that once I got my head around it, I would understand it, be really good at it, and make absolutely tons of money. In reality, I watched the how-to videos on it, thought I'd got a good idea of it, and then felt like I didn't really make much of a profit - I also didn't really understand the liability fee on the lay side of things and actually ended up feeling like I'd lost loads of money. Luckily, I then ended up with some free spins on the casino on that site which I ended up making most of my money back on, so that was lucky. Which leads me on to . . .

INTRODUCTORY OFFERS ON CASINO/BINGO WEBSITES (Verdict: Successful. For me.)
Turns out I quite enjoy a slot game! Even when I'm not necessarily winning. I discovered that there are quite a few online casino sites offering good introductory offers, such as a certain number of free spins on certain slots once you've deposited and wagered an initial bet (usually of a minimum of ten pounds). So I gave a couple of these sites a go and on most of them I've made a profit just by using the initial bet/wager and free spins. The good thing about some of these sites is that you play with your tenner first, but as soon as you have wagered your whole tenner (even if you have winnings from it), the free spins will appear and you can use them straight away. Often this means that you have maybe already won a good amount of money (if I still have close to a tenner that's definitely a good thing!) and the free spins are then likely to boost your winnings further and put you into a profit. It's not always the case, and I would definitely not recommend choosing anywhere with wagering requirements on bonus funds where you need to spend your deposit first, but there are a few good sites you can try where you can have a bit of fun playing some slots and as an added bonus maybe make a profit which I've shared below. I also made 25 pounds without depositing any money last week just because of a couple of wee offers, so also worth keeping an eye on any emails from them. Just remember it IS gambling and you're not guaranteed a win . . . however it is also fun!
Heart Bingo
Monopoly Casino
Jackpot Joy
Starspins
Virgin Games

SURVEYS (verdict: mostly a waste of time!)
You know those adverts that say things like "make 800 pounds a month doing surveys"? Well, even if that was genuine, I wouldn't want to. Surveys are DULL. And more often than not, you spend ages doing one only to be told you're not suitable, which is actually utterly rage-inducing. However, yougov seems decent enough and while you need to make 50 pounds to be able to withdraw, I'm halfway there despite doing surveys pretty infrequently! If anyone knows of any other decent ones, please let me know!

MUSIC MAGPIE (Verdict: the jury is still out, but I'll keep you updated!)
Now, I don't know about you but I have an absolute shedload of CDs and DVDs lying around that I haven't watched or listened to in ages. Let's be honest, in this day and age Spotify and Netflix are taking over a bit . . . and are so much easier! A few years ago, I made a good bit of money (I think it was about 120 quid) selling some stuff on music magpie, so I have been keen to try again . . . so last week I downloaded the app (which necessitated me getting rid of several other apps because the storage in my phone has been pish recently) and scanned over 70 items into my phone. Do you know how much it's offering me for this? 17 quid. I've got to admit, I'm tempted just to do it. I can't see myself getting most of them sold on my own, it seems like a good way to declutter, and I'd probably rather have that small bit of money for stuff I'm not using. In addition, I've found they're actually willing to take quite a few books off my hands too, albeit for not massive amounts either. It did, however, feel like they were mocking my music taste because nearly every CD I scanned resulted in the message along the lines of "oh sorry, we're not too keen on that one right now." Er, okay, music magpie, I get the hint - you hate my tunes!

ZIFFIT (Verdict: the jury is still out, but I'll keep you updated!)
I've got to admit, if my taste in music is debatable, my book taste probably isn't much better. But I discovered that Ziffit will take a few off my hands, and mainly for slightly better money than Music Magpie. However, I couldn't download the app for Ziffit due to the aforementioned lack of space on my phone, so had to type the ISBN info in manually, which made it a slightly more laborious process. And then I managed to lose the limited amount of books I had managed to type in so far. However, I have left those books in a pile, and intend to trawl around for some more. Once again, I'm probably not going to make a massive amount of money off this (possibly a fiver for ten books or so) but I still think it's worth it to get rid of some clutter and add to the moneypot, every little helps!

EBAY OR DEPOP? (Verdict: I don't have one yet - I need your help, guys!)
I have absolutely loads of clothes I can sell, including clothes I've had for years that I KNOW I'm never going to wear again . . . because there's no way I'll ever fit into them again.I just need to get off my arse and actually list them. But I can't decide whether I'm better to go with Ebay or Depop. Has anyone got any thoughts on these sites, and what one is better? I've sold many an item on ebay in the past but it was years ago and I'm not sure if Depop would be a better option. Any advice would be really appreciated! (For the record I HAVE started listing a couple of dresses on ebay, so feel free to pop by and check them out - my seller name is polly_poptart)

So that's my money making ideas for now. Have you tried any of these? Have you found any other ways of making extra money by selling, surveys, gambling or any other methods? I'd love to know so feel free to share in the comments! And wish me luck! :-)D

Saturday, 9 March 2019

WHY I COULDN'T BE ON "COACH TRIP" . . .

I like my routine in the morning. You know, struggle to get up for approximately an hour and a half, hitting snooze constantly, eventually dragging myself out of bed to sit in the living room, doing my make-up while watching "Charmed" re-runs on e4 . . . That's my idea of routine. Laugh all you want, but it works for me. Sort of.


But over the last year or so, e4 have been messing up my routine by giving up on "Charmed" (why e4, why???) and frequently showing repeats from the previous night of the most recent series of "Coach Trip". This does not please me one bit as I find it a bit shit, if I'm going to be brutally honest. And I can't ever imagine why someone would really want to go on it. Especially not me. Here's why . . .

1) Long coach trips are BORING
Look, I went on a couple of coach trips as a kid so I feel like I know my stuff on this. There was a school trip to EuroDisney when it first opened. A trip to Paris again a couple of years later with my family. And a few years after that another coach trip to Ostend in Belgium. Sitting in a coach for hours on end is not fun,. The most interesting thing that happened to us was being shown the red light district in Brussels, always appropriate for a coach consisting of mainly old people and two families with teenage kids . . .

2) I randomly get travel-sick
Long journeys also can make me feel sick. They might not but they might. There's no rhyme or reason to what makes me feel travel sick. Reading sometimes does, sometimes doesn't. I can feel sick or not regardless of what seat I'm sitting in. And I'm not fun when I'm feeling sick. An easy pick to be kicked off the coach, methinks!

3) I get really easily irritated
Being stuck in close proximity with a person, or people, who really annoy me with no way of escaping from them is my idea of a nightmare.I mean, what am I going to do, throw myself off the coach?  And from what I've reluctantly watched of the show, I feel I would be irritated with a lot of other contestants.

4) Having to act all enthusiastic about the organised activities
I just can't. I mean, if it turned out to be something I really wanted to do, then maybe I'd actually be enthusiastic. But if it was something sporty or ultra competitive, I'd just hate it. I'm not very athletic. I don't want people seeing just how not athletic I am on tv.

5) The nomination process is just so awkward
Having to stand face-to-face with the person you want off the bus and give your reasons for it, justified or not,  is just so awkward.  I cringe just watching it. Imagine having to take part in it. Eek!

6) I just don't get the point
So the prize for the winning couple after driving around the country in the sunshine for god knows how long is a . . . holiday? What have they just been doing for the last few weeks if not being on holiday?

Could YOU be on "Coach Trip"???

Thursday, 7 March 2019

LETS TALK HOTEL BREAKFASTS . . .

Let’s talk hotel breakfasts.



As you may well know about me, I am very partial to an overnight stay or twelve, and often, when you’re staying away for the night, breakfast is included as standard. Now, we will never pay extra for a breakfast if it is not included . . . and this is because we rarely make it to breakfast.

In 2017 when we did a six night tour of various places in Scotland, we had a breakfast included with every single stay. Out of those six nights, we made it to breakfast twice.

I’m not quite sure exactly what the issue is, but it’s probably mostly down to inherent laziness. I’m actually similar when I’m away with work, everyone else will arrange to meet for breakfast and I’ll say “I’ll meet you at the door after breakfast” – it gives me longer to get ready and more importantly, longer to hit snooze repeatedly and stay in bed.  Likewise when me and the fella are away – the breakfasts tend to be pretty early (and usually end about an hour before checkout) so I’m hit with a bit of a dilemma. Do I . . .

force myself out of bed early to make yourself look presentable for breakfast?

 or

get up at the last minute, go to breakfast looking like I've literally just rolled out of bed (which I have) with yesterday’s make-up Alice-coopering down my face and hope I'm recognised as a guest at the hotel and not thrown out?

or

stay in bed, get an hour or two extra beauty kip, and then skip breakfast entirely (then likely spend the rest of the day with a rumbling stomach, or succumb to the nearest McDonalds drive-thru)?

It truly is quite the conundrum.

In addition, I can be a bit picky about breakfast food.

One – I don’t really like bacon that much. (When I say that to people the majority look at me like I’m a martian.)

Two – I don’t really like sausages that much. A roll and sausage, yes. Sausage by itself, no.

Three – I don’t like a grilled tomato.

Trying to order a cooked breakfast can therefore be a bit of a minefield because really all I want is a plate that’s half mushrooms, half baked beans, with possibly a bit of egg (which I have to be in the mood for) and definitely some toast and butter (so I can create my own beans on toast, because why wouldn’t you?). And if you want to throw in a potato scone or two, I won’t say no. But I don’t like being a fussy orderer so I usually just go for the full caboodle and then the fella ends up with half of mine too. A buffet is probably ideal (despite me not being a fan of buffets in general) as I can just choose what I want . . . but then there’s still no guarantees they are going to actually have the food options I want.

(Something I do love about hotel breakfasts though? Orange juice. I will always drink as much orange juice as possible because it’s my favourite and I’m a bit addicted, and once I start drinking it I don’t want to stop so I therefore limit myself to having it only at hotel breakfasts rather than ever buying it. True story.)

When I started typing this, I never realised how much I would have to say about breakfast (it reminds me the bit of a time I wrote an entire blog post about cheese and couldn’t comprehend how much I would actually have to say on the subject) but apparently I can still go on… here’s another thing that stresses me out about breakfast. If it’s a place you’ve never been to before, you rarely know the seating system. Do you sit down wherever you like? Do you have an assigned table with your room number on it? Do you wait to be seated? Will you have to share a table with everyone else who was staying in the building the night before?  In some places you even have to choose a time slot for your breakfast. (Or put your order in the night before even!) It’s such a minefield.

There is a positive though – sometimes you are pleasantly surprised by the quality or variety of breakfast offered. I’ve stayed in a place where there was something like 12 different breakfast options (that was one of the order-the-night-before places) and I had a delightful breakfast featuring poached eggs and halloumi. Another place had different courses for breakfast if you so wished. And another offered such delicious varieties as buttermilk waffles or an actual breakfast burger! That was a very difficult decision...

Spoiler alert: I went for the waffles.

Do YOU enjoy hotel breakfasts??? What has your favourite been?

Friday, 4 January 2019

P'S FOUR (FAVES) ON FRIDAY . . .

As you might have noticed (or might not have) blogging was not really my friend last year. So I've been dithering with the idea of doing a weekly series highlighting some of my favourite things - whether or not I actually stick to it is another story but I'm hoping it will at least get me posting a bit more regularly.


So welcome to P's Four (Faves) on Friday . . . 

I'm currently reading this book, and loving it - while Laurie is sitting on a bus one day, she looks out of the window and spots a guy who she instantly feels a connection with. But will she ever actually meet him in real life? It turns out it's sooner than she thinks, and in unfortunate circumstances. Is he really the guy for her? I'm interested to find out anyway!

FASHION: This faux fur coat from Boohoo


Yep, I bought another one. I couldn't resist it in the sale. I now own four faux fur coats. How many faux fur coats are too many faux fur coats? Asking for myself. 

APPS: Q Live
I have been playing Q Live now for a good few months - it's an app you can download that hosts a twice daily quiz (at 1pm and 8pm) during the week, as well as a daily one (8pm) at the weekends. You are asked 12 questions, and if you manage to answer all of them correctly, you can win a share of the money pot. There are some bonus prizes too along the way - I haven't won yet (I have made it as far as the last question and then dropped the ball on that) but I live in hope. It's a free app and if you use my referral code pollypoptart I'll get a free life, so get right on that . . . I need all the help I can get!!!

TV: You
Have you watched it yet? You really must. Joe (played by Penn Badgeley) is a handsome bookstore manager who meets a girl in his store and feels a connection with her. And then proceeds to sort of stalk her in order to win her heart. Does he succeed? Do we want him to succeed? And do we put too much information about ourselves on social media, the way the (anti)-heroine Beck does? It's definitely up there with bingeworthy series. 

Happy Friday!!!