Monday, 12 January 2015

Office Life

Not my office (although v similar to an office from my past)

Like most people these days I work in an office.

An open-plan office at that. At last count my floor had 140 staff squirrelled away, covering 3 business outlets and 4 departments. All of us are part of the same umbrella multi-media corporation.

Doesn't that just make it sound like I'm Miss Fancy-pants.

However, reality and the perceived nature of my day-to-day working life don't always tally up. Hence, I don't really talk about it and spend a lot of my day in cloud cuckooland rather than deal with the office politics that are always simmering just below the waterline.

What does happen, is that your team become like a little family. I'm not saying that everyone will love each other, far from it in many cases, but you do learn how to get on with things and leave them to their own devices.

Many business leaders, including Richard Branson, believe that treating staff like a family is advantageous. There is something to be said when a manager can walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

Before falling into the job I have now, I previously worked as a professional temp. I ran myself as a business temping up and down the country. I worked in various industries for  five years until I worked out what I actually wanted to do with my life... I'm not fully there yet, but I rather like what I do at the minute.

I worked for companies who deemed I wasn't northern enough when I answered the phone - strangely I didn't stay there long. I've been the main bottle washer and pot collector as an office junior. Literally counting the washers in a jar. I've processed sex offender reports and logged police evidence. I have even turned my hand to bar work and making flash cocktails for an American restaurant chain. At some point in my working life I have done pretty much everything a person could in an office.

What has stuck out for me is how teams work. It's like a complicated jigsaw, balancing a team that can work well together is an operation in personality tweaking. Generally the more a team has the flexibility to make their own decisions and have fun while doing the work the more likely they are to gel, and when their backs are against the wall more likely to be able to turn things around with minimal fuss.

Sadly in an open plan office these ideals are hard to uphold. One person's light-hearted frivolity is another person's headache inducing nightmare. Or a phone call that might get a bit heated can be heard across the office. Hands up if that has ever happened to you.

It's not the most interesting life in the world, not that much happens there that is of interest to the outside world, but my word I wouldn't change it. I work with some berks and others that keep their true selves so far buried you'd fear they'd never come up for air. My team is a mixed bag of folk, and for the most part we are each as geeky as the next and pedants at their very worst. 

More office life posts will more than likely appear over the course of the next year here on What BeeBee Did... mainly as I do office life an awful lot right now. 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

What BeeBee Cooked: Slow Cooker Chicken Chow Mein

I have been relying quite heavily on ready meals and sandwiches since going back into the office. 

Instead of financing the local Tescos, I have taken to making my own meals on a weekend. Portioning them up and then storing them in the freezer. 

This is my Slow Cooker Chow Mein. I love it mainly as it is really simple to make. Also because it only really gives me one pot to wash up! God love the slow cooker. This makes 4 portions for me.


Skinned chicken portions
500ml Chicken stock
One bag of stir-fried vegetables (if you're being lazy like me) or a mixture of finely chopped veggies. 
Packet of dried egg noodles.
Garlic, grated - to taste I often use a tsp of garlic paste
Fresh ginger, grated - to taste or a sprinkling of ginger powder
1/3 cup Soy sauce (ish)


In your slow cooker (set to high) poach the chicken portions in the chicken stock, soy sauce, garlic and ginger for roughly 3 hours. 

When cooked through remove the chicken and set aside to cool slightly. Shred the meat and return to the pot. 

In the meantime, add the veggies to the stock for about 30 mins.

Add the dried noodles. 

Make sure the noodles are covered by the liquor. Leave until the noodles are cooked through, this should take between 15-30 minutes. All the stock should have be absorbed into the noodles. 

Return the chicken to the pot. 

Mix through. 

Serve and eat. 

Or cool and freeze.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Back to Work

Oh what a glorious break I've just had for Christmas. 

And oh what a glorious return to work, a lovely break from the children!

Things that come to mind for me in January is starting the year off right. 

This year my post-Christmas return to the office was on December 30th for phone cover, and then fully back on January 2nd. 

Part of my plan for going back into the office was preparation. 

What to wear, my plan for 2015 is to give myself a uniform of sorts. Mornings are much simpler when you don't have to get in a fight with your wardrobe. 

Personally I'm a fan of the shirt and trouser look, and then graduating to a skirt if the weather allows during Spring/Summer. Saying that my office and it's variable air conditioning does mean it can feel like Club Tropicana when you're living in an Ice Palace, or visa versa. 

In my office I keep an emergency cardigan for those I didn't bet on that moments. 

Another thing I like to plan in advance are meals. 

I am often in the office over at least two meal times, and on the odd occasion three. Not good, but often unavoidable. 

This is where a bit of forethought is advisable. Packed lunches are key for keeping costs down, although on treat Friday Featherstone's Butchers in Howden is simply the best! 

I tend to have a stash of meals in the freezer ranging from Dahls and curries to Chow Meins and Stews. I like to cook a batch of something on a weekend, portion it up and then freeze it for work. 

On an early shift more often than not I'll arrive at the office with a coffee in my hand and porridge in my food flask. I tend not to eat before leaving home on an early shift. Also, if I didn't bring breakfast with me the urge to go to McDonald's drive thru would be all consuming... Oh those Hot Mocha drinks!

Another bonus to eating well at work, is the not having to be so good when I'm home. I don't spend much time in the house during term time. Between Brownies, Scouting commitments (either ferrying or volunteering) and Avon bits and bobs, I'm a busy little bee. I'm lucky that most evenings there is a meal for me made by the husband. From a jar, but it's a meal nonetheless. For this I am grateful. 

Generally I get a 30 minute lunch break. This time I am planning to actually take them and leave the office so I can go for a walk. I am lucky enough to work in an amazingly beautiful town. Just a few minutes from my office is a wonderful park, a couple of historical landmarks too. I'm a lucky bean. Now to take full advantage of them. 

How do you prepare to go back to work?

Monday, 5 January 2015

Making New Routines

As we know, I am a creature of habit. 

I like things a certain way, at a certain time, on a certain day. 

I do like a little bit of disarray, but only on my terms. 

A routine is pinnacle to this. I have two diaries. One for life, shifts, appointments, kiddie stuff and another for blog posts. Scheduling, blog ideas, themes... I think you may be getting my drift. 

I also like to do different things in my house on different days. For example, Saturday is a day for deep cleaning the kitchen. If I miss it, I get flummoxed. And over the past six months I have spent an awful lot of time flustered as the pile of clothes in the corner of my bedroom grows ever taller. 

One of my challenges for this year is to have a fully organised home by the end of December 2015. Surely this is a possibility. 

The children are now seven and nine-years-old so are more than able to undertake some bits and bobs, and the husband - for the first time in a long time is home more than I am - so there are things he can do too (except the washing, he already does that).

With this in mind I need a plan of action. 

A daily to do list as it were. I also need to actually stick to the list. Funnily, having a list written doesn't magically make the jobs get done. Which I find is a huge shame. Inventors of the world take note. This would be a fantastic thing to invent and would make you rich!

This list need to cover the whole house. 

Starting with the extraordinary deep clean to get everything where it needs to be, so that the easier tasks of maintenance can be concentrated on. 

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I have managed to turn parts of my house into something that resembles a before picture on a hoarder's programme. I cannot put into words just how embarrassing that actually is. 

Now for the nitty gritty of it all. I work shifts. Alternate patterns from one week to the next, apart from weeks with a Bank Holiday in them, then that is a whole other ball game. 

A flexible plan, is needed, and a speedy one at that. 

In January I am going to be focusing primarily on the Kitchen. With backing vocals covering the rest of the house. 

Extraordinary Kitchen Clean List:

1. Clear sides. 
2. Load dishwasher. 
3. Wash up items that don't fit or go in the dishwasher. 
4. Put those things away. 
5. Clean the hob/oven.
6. Clean down the sides I've cleared. 
7. Clear kitchen table and dresser side. 
8. Empty floor. 
9. Wash the floor. 
10. Empty dishwasher.
11. Clean the fridge.
12. Sort the food from fridge. Put spoiled foods in the brown bin for recycling. 
13. Organise the cupboards - this one will be labour intensive, I need to reduce the amount of things I have in my kitchen. 

Daily Kitchen Clean List: 

1. Empty dishwasher. 
2. Put away. 
3. Wipe down sides, after clearing.
4. Clear kitchen table.
5. Sweep floor, quick blast with mop if needed. 

As for the rest of the house. The Extraordinary clean will come month by month with a special guest star task. 

The Daily Clean: 

1. Keep on top of the washing. Do at least one load a day. (this also mean dry, fold and put away too! A little is easier than a lot.)
2. Empty bins. No one wants to take an overly full to splitting bag out. 

Friday, 2 January 2015

Challenging Myself

Pinterest is full of them, any time of the year you can log in and find any sort of challenge. From monthly fitness ones, to finance goals, taking in a couple of housey bits and pieces on the side.

This year I've decided to see how I do, and try 4 challenges that have been doing the rounds.

First up is the 2015 Reading Challenge.

For someone who often reads books as part of their job, I have a habit of settling for the same genre when it comes to reading for fun. 
This year I would like to challenge myself a little. For this reason I'm going to tackle this list that has been put together by popsugar and see how many I can get ticked off by the end of the year. 

Another one I've seen is a 30-day Walking Challenge. 

Those of you who were reading this blog last year will know that I bought a Fitbit. This year I will be using it more often. Seeing as it is clipped onto my bra as a reminder to actually get up from my desk. 
I am going to endeavour to hit the magical 10,000 steps a day mark. This could take a while!

I found this tally chart on 

The joy of being a working parent leads to the equal joy of longing for some organisation at home. The chores definately got away from me by the end of last year. 

With this in mind I have signed up for this challenge. 

Each week I will be emailed a task to complete in my house. And by the end of the year, each single task should have become a regular habit and kaboom my house should pretty much run itself again. 

Now to get the others in the house to join in! Maybe that should be my main aim. Get them to do the housework and chores, so I don't have to!  

And finally, my last main challenge for this year is to crochet a small granny square, everyday, for a year. 

The only stipulation is that I will not plan the colours of the blankets, but choose what colour as per the mood I'm in at that moment. This one is exciting the most right now. 

A giant blanket by next winter will be a fab snuggly reward. 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year: Welcome to 2015

I'm going to write some targets for this year. 

I don't believe in resolutions but I can happily work towards a target. 

I did a few last year, but life got in the way. 

Targets for 2015

To get healthy. I have let my health slide over the last few months. Bad planning, dreadful scheduling and life has meant I'm not sleeping as much as I should, definitely exercising less than ever, and obviously eating some really tasty but not good for you foods. 

To build some savings. I need to adopt a more frugal outlook to life and live in a more streamlined world.  I have a slight ostrich approach to finances at times and that never ends well. 

Find a good work/life balance. This is a tricky one. I work a lot of hours. Often upto 57 hours a week, before blogging, volunteering and housekeeping. So yes, a balance needs to be found. Either by cutting down my hours in the office, blogging more effectively and on a schedule and outsourcing cleaning (I like this one most!). 

Try new things. Like many people I find it really easy to fall into a comfort zone, and I forget that there is a world out there full of new experiences just waiting for me to say yes to. I can be a bit of a homebody at times and often find it difficult to step out of my box. 

Develop a regular skin care routine. I'm really bad at this, and I'm also very lucky that at my age I'm not as wrinkled and lined as I could be. Considering I rarely moisturise. I have the odd swollen bump that hormones like to offer me, however that's about it.