A Years Service

To think just over fourteen months ago I applied for one of the companies I wanted to work for and look at me now as I have come on in leaps and bounds.
I started off doing only but a few hours on the delicatessen until a full time post was available on the welcome desk, which was one of my most challenging posts to date, however the one that has had the most rewards and also where I have learnt the most.  I think that if I had not taken on the full time role on the welcome desk, then I may not know as much as I do today, if anything it has helped boost my career.
In my time on the welcome desk I have heard so many people and partners for that matter say how easy the job is, they comment ‘you just stand there’ and until we became the ‘Modern Waitrose’ and cross training was a compulsory element they clearly did not realise just how complexed the demanding the job could be.  I love roles like this and I guess it is for that reason why I have learnt so much, it was not just a role to me but so often a daily challenge that admittedly had its highs and lows.
I can never stand still in a job and I am a strong believer that 'knowledge is power’ and so with this I have demanded to learn more, even if it meant that I had to go out of my way to do so.
My career with Waitrose has unfolded to another stage and now as a CSA I am another run up the ladder.  This role is a supportive role for customer services and though many see it as a general dogs body for the section, when looking closely it is actually a role with great responsibility, being your own boss that requires you to make sometime quick concise decisions (sometimes out of the box) that benefit the whole section in getting the job done, there is a big element of customer care (more so in a supervisory role) and having welcome desk knowledge under my belt has helped this role massively.
I like that with my CSA role I get to not only be able to suggest ideas but also the think outside the box and implant them.  I have recently been worked along side both my Deputy manager and Branch manager to find a better way of dispensing expensive alcohol through check outs quicker.  In the past CSA’s have had to wait to be alerted by checkout operators for such items and then take the sometimes long walk across the shop floor out into the warehouse to collect the item and then back out onto the shop floor back to check outs, this to most might not seem to much but it can soon change a days step count from an average fortune thousand steps to a whopping twenty five thousand steps.  So with this in mind I took it upon myself to clear space in a stock cupboard for these such items and made it my goal to keep it stocked up for everyone.  It did not just stop there but I also took on extra work to bring stock over and unpack it before then putting the display boxes out on the shop floor.  This probably does not seem much to most but this simple thinking out of the box has not only cut down on theft, it has boosted productivity, cut down in man hours and ultimately has got the product quicker to the customer with little or no fuss.  Everyone at work knows I am very much into my tech and I have been using several apps over the Christmas period to estimate what stock I should be increasing in shelf capacity, not only along with special Waitrose discounts but also social trending of 'whats hot and whats not’ and I think I have achieved my goal as I have had so much praise from my senior partners, especially from my Deputy manager and Branch manager.  It was especially a nice touch that I was rewarded with what I can only describe as a connoisseur bottle of Gin, something I have been wanting to try, a bottle of Gin Mare. 


I am currently training for cash office and though I know shortly I will be fully trained I know that I will be looking for something else to further my career, I already have ideas of what I want to learn to increase the stings in my bow.
I guess it is now a case of watch this space.

Tick Tock

I have been looking at this particular bedside clock for some time and every time I passthrough the gift section in John Lewis I would be thinking to myself, should I buy it or not?  
Well, after opening all my Christmas presents this year Wayne surprised me with one last gift.
It was the clock I have been wanting.
It proudly sits on bedside with its pleasant tick tock sound.





One of my favourite Indian restaurants to eat in has a lovely friendly and family atmosphere, that is the Sakura Indian restaurant in Carshalton Beeches.  So I decided to use this venue for my 45th birthday meal. Wayne had bought me some birthday cupcakes and this year they were a little more tamer than in previous years.



We met up with Nik & Paul, Michele & Dean, Deb & Jim, Sam & Ian, Ali, Lizzie and finally Kim & Ricky. It was all so nice to see everyone and even for friends to meet my favourite work colleges out of work for a change.  What a great night had by all, even Sam who does not usually eat curry, the Sakura stepped up their game and made a special dish for Sam.
Thanks for all me prezzies even to those who could not make it and yet still treated me to something to open on my birthday.



JLP Fright Night

Something that I am lucky to be part of, is the extensive array of special trips and discounts that are available to both Waitrose and John Lewis partners.  They are available throughout the year and then there are some special events exclusively for its partners.  


Just before the close of the theme park season, JLP hired out the entire use of Thorpe Park for its annual ‘Fright Night' scare event.  In previous years it had been open to partners and guests of partners for only several hours exclusivity but this year it was a day long event from 10am to 10pm, ride all you like with little or no queues in day light and in the dead of night.

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My work bestie Ali had never been to Thorpe Park, not even with her kids and so I took advantage of this great deal and had a fab day out with her.
We had a few hours of rain but that did not stop us from jumping on all the rides and just meant in some cases donning on a plastic poncho to keep dry.

ali thorpe coffee 2016

ali foot long 2016

There was several scare mazes, some of which I had not been in, only heard about.  Ali entered them fearlessly telling screaming girls, ‘step aside, I’ve had kids’.
What a great day, roll on next years event and I will even do it in fancy dress.

ali nem 2 2016

ali stealth 1 2016

How Long?

It has been some time since I last posted and it has not been for want of trying but more the case of not having the time to post.
My time has been taken up with work, but then that is nothing new and any time that I have had free has been getting some energy back to potter about in the garden, visit friends, eat and sleep.

Garden 2016_10


I have been planning how I want my garden to look and though it is a work in progress, slowly but surely vegetables have been growing, herbs have been picked and flowers have grown from small cuttings to full blooms that have started to fill what was once empty spaces.

Garden 2016_7

I cannot believe that just over a year ago my garden was nothing more than a rubble site and now it has produced bright colours on even the most of darkest of days.
I have for the first time had cut flowers in the home, something I have never done before but with the success of a steady flow of well planted bulbs I have had many a vase filled with brightly colours flowers.

Garden 2016_16


Tomatoes this year have grown very well and I have gone from planting a small crop in tubs to a variety of different tomatoes planted at the back of the garden.

Garden 2016_12



I have one last project this year for my garden and that is some nice lighting round the edge of the second patio, I am going for a nice soft blue glow.
I am going to let what plants and shrubs I have in the garden take shape and bloom, then next year I will plant more in the gaps I have and each year my garden will grow until there will be no space except for that of a few boarder flowers.


Worn Again

Anyone who knows me will know of my quest for trying to find a pair dungarees, ideally the pinstripe ones I once owned way back in my teens.  As I was pottering around Brighton one day I came across a shop that sold retro and second hand clothes, eager to find my beloved clothes from yesteryear I had a wonder about the store and low and behold a came across an array of dungarees, some of which were American imports (the best) and some others that I had not seen before, so I set about heading to the changing rooms to try on and many pairs as I could lay my hands on in what I thought might be me size.  I came away with two very nice American imports for only £35 each and also I have now found a new shop to fulfil my love of retro and imported clothes.  Sticking yet another great shop on my Brighton map, the shop ‘To Be Worn Again’.

dungs mont

Brighton In The Rain

After and eventful day at Warner Bros Studio Tour what better way to end the week than with a trip to the coast.
Despite the good ole British weather, yes you guessed it, rain, it did not stop Harrison and I having a day out in Brighton.
After taking the back roads into Kemptown as I used to when visiting David.  One of the good things about knowing someone who lived in Brighton meant I knew all the cheap places to park and way into town that meant I was not forever stuck in traffic.
After finding the ideal parking spot we had a ten minute walk into town through the top of St James street but that was great as we could stop off for a bite to eat and a hot drink at one of the friendliest gay coffee shops in Brighton, Cafe Rococo. 


Every trip to Brighton I have visited this cafe and each and every time is has been consistently clean, friendly and value for money, overall a clear winner for a stop off for a snack and hot drink and with Harrison’s craving for a sausage sandwich and hot chocolate this was ideal, you can eat, drink and people watch and generally watch the world go by here.

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It was to be Harrison’s first trip to Brighton and no trip would not be complete without a trip down to the North lanes and into one of the treasure troves known as Snooper Paradise. This flea market has everything from taking you on a trip down memory lane, to stepping you back into something vintage and is really a trip to Brighton all of its very own. The vast array on offer covers more than just the ground floor, what many do not know is there is a attic filled with vintage goodies and a day trip just to this shop will have you looking for hours. I knew that a trip here Harrison would come across something to add to his collection and low and behold he found something.
After a few hours rummaging we worked up an appetite and we headed to the theatre district of Brighton for a bite to eat at Yo Sushi!


I was going to order some Yo Sushi deserts but it seemed to be the only thing that had not updated on their menus so what better way to let our dinner go down was to take a walk down to Brighton pier and have something sweet to eat there in the way of fresh hot doughnuts covered in sugar and cinnamon.
I warned Harrison that it would be best to eat the doughnuts before entering the pier as those flying rats, seagulls, would have no fear in swooping down and grabbing a doughnut right out of your hand, I’ve seen it happen before and heard many a kid burst into tears when it does happen, thankfully no kids today and also a warning meant we got to eat them and not the birds.

Haribo gru

We had not long finished eating those hot doughnuts when the heavens opened up and decided to give us another downpour so we headed to the arcades for some fun on the 2p machines, knowing full well we would spend, win and then lose it all again but in the process have some fun.
The rain did not last for long and a walk down to the end of the pier past the closed rides was a nice change and also burnt off the doughnuts we had scoffed. 
By the time we had walked to the far and of the pier and back again it started to get dark and so we thought it best we head back to the car and finish the night off with a drink and some sweet treats at Cafe Rouge down by the marina before finally heading home.

cafe rouge Haribo

Pottering About

It had been one from the bucket list, I wanted to have my photo taken on platform 9 ¾  so this trip out covered just that.  A trip to the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour with my friend Harrison.
Probably not one of the easiest of places to find when traveling through central London but we made it, well with the help of Harrison and his additional satnav skills, something amazing for someone who does not drive, what a true co-pilot.


So as not to spoil any wood-be visitors or Harry Potter fans I will try not to add any spoilers.
You enter the experience through the doors to the great hall which is breathtaking enough on it’s own, you will see why when you visit, then what lies behind is the start of your journey.
I was already giddy from sheer anticipation of what’s to come. And rightly so!
You can see Diagon Alley, Privet Drive, Harry’s house in Godric’s Hollow, the Knight Bus, Arthur’s flying car (which you can sit in), Hargrid’s hut, hundreds upon hundreds of wands stacked up and generally everything any Harry Potter fan could ever wish for. That’s not to say that the tour would not interest you if you are not a Harry Potter fan.



There is so much to see and learn about the ‘making of’ that it is enough to keep anybody entertained.
It is not like any other studio tour that give you a set time to take it all in and then ship in the next group, this is a tour that you can really take your time and I guess for most, get their value for money as without sounding like a damp squid, it is not a cheap day out by far, especially if you have a butterbeer, something to eat in any one of the snack areas and then on top of that want to have your photo or video taken in the interactive green screen sets, then you got the gift shop at the end.

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You get to see video clips from the directors, designs for the buildings and props, models and a whole host of larger than life sets and what made it more interesting was being able to hear it all on our audio guides, for and extra little fee but both me and Harrison thought it was worth it as it really enhanced the tour.



Yes we sat in the courtyard area to have some butterbeer and both before and after our visit we spent time in the fantastic gift shop that felt like a tour of its very own.  You can purchase all kinds of amazing items including chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott’s every flavoured beans, wands and much more besides, however the lack of wands of the female cast members I thought was a bit of a let down, if like me you liked characters such as Molly Weasley, Lily Potter, Madam Hooch, Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Estrange then you was in for a nasty shock, No Wands!


Apart from all that it was a great day out and on leaving the tour Harrison noticed that maybe, just maybe something was about to extend the Harry Potter Tour, could it be Hogwarts or gringotts?

All In A Week

I can see why some people really look forward to planned work leave, even if they don't go away to some tropical destination, just the few days off and the thought of not having to get up at the crack of dawn, that's a break in its self alone.
The last few days I've had time to shop at a leisurely pace, get the garden ready for growing this years fruit and vegetables, socialising with friends and family and eating in some new and old favourite places.
My week started with sitting back and watching a few film, eating some very tasty flavoured popcorn.


By recommendation I tried a new place to eat in Kingston, Cau. The food and service was great with a hip yet very rustic feel about it and for a change enjoyed the virgin side of drink, all the taste and buzzing flavours on the tongue but with no alcohol.



The garden got some much loved care that it had been lacking over the winter months and some nice bright primroses and pansies helped brighten up the boarders until my spring bulbs come up.


I have had a wonderful week of doing everything at random and not worrying about when I had to be in bed ready for when I had to be awake the next day.

W.....Wait For It.

It has been a fair few months since I have written anything on my blog but in hindsight, once I explain your see just why.
Work was not kind to me and with the demise of my hours something had to give. So instead of sitting about complaining I decided to do something about it. I put together a LinkedIn profile, then set about making a cracking CV. I had focus to who I wanted to work for, even if only part time and then started the ball rolling with application after application. It did not take long before one of my top picks, John Lewis Partnership to answer my plea.


I was called for an interview at Waitrose Epsom for a catering assistant in the staff canteen, but after careful consideration to the job role I decided it was not for me, I thought that it would be putting me in deep water, to deep for my liking and sadly had to decline their offer, but wait....They told me to hold on as the word was that some hours where becoming available as someone in branch was transferring. I was expecting to hear in a weeks time but it was only the next day that I had that phone call for those allusive words "would you like to come in for an interview?”
Needless to say I was offered a job at the end of my interview.
It has been serval months now and I have gone from strength to strength, I have survived my first Christmas in retail and coming on in leaps and bounds and going from one role to another within customer services. I am now working on the front line of customer service, call it the firing line if you will, but it is my most challenging and rewarding role yet, I am now the trendy face of Waitrose Epsom at its helm, The Welcome Desk.
I can only see this is my starting springboard to other goals and aspirations.