Thursday, 31 December 2015

Tyrrells Crisps (or Chips, if you will)


Ages ago - around Father's Day - Tyrrells Chips (AU) ran a Facebook competition to win your father's height in crisps (sorry - I lived in England too long - small crispy things in bags are crisps, hot things are chips!). I entered on behalf of Master 5 and was chosen as winner.

You can never tell how long a prize will take to arrive but that just kind of makes it fun. If it's a big gap it's kind of like finding out you've won all over again!

Anyway, the crisps arrived just a couple of days ago. I'm not entirely sure it's my other half's height in crisps (no idea how you'd work that out anyway!) but no one here is complaining. We never buy crisps - partly because as far as we're all concerned they're an actual food group. A pint of beer and a packet of crisps IS a balanced meal - don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I'm really happy that we got a mix of flavours (in the competition entry I'd had to specify a favourite crisp flavour - which was roast chicken) because I only like ready salted (plain). Andy can eat all the other (the one bag of roast chicken has already been eaten!). I'm sure Master 5 will be happy to help out and at least one or two will get taken to BBQs.

It will sound odd but I love winning things like this. It's not a high value prize but it's something we'd never ever have bought ourselves so it is an actual treat.

Thanks to Tyrrells for running the competition and sending them through!

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Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas Nails

you may need to click through to the larger image!

I love nail polish and have a decent collection but I also have a mania for taking nail polish off the minute it is remotely chipped or scuffed. Be warned - this means that if you have chipped or scuffed nails I do indeed judge you!

With a small child and plenty of dishes and things like that (& I don't even do that much housework!) I find that my nails scuff really quickly so I either don't put polish on as often as I'd like or I put it on when I know I'm going to be out of the house for the day.

I'm lucky that my nails grow (and grow and grow) and stay strong and nicely shaped with stuff all effort. That's my dad's genes and I'm super grateful! This does mean I'm careful about the colours I wear - the longer my nails the more likely that dark colours will make them look like talons! Dark colours also scuff a lot more quickly on a long nail so what I wear is always mixed up.

While I rarely bother with manicures, I love pedicures but fit them in all too rarely. At the start of December I managed to treat myself to a pedicure at Joop on Sturt Road at Brighton. Although it's primarily a hairdressing salon (owned by one of the women in my baby group, of all things) it does offer a small range of beauty services. The pedicures are insanely cheap and it's lovely to kick back for an hour and have someone else attempt to scrub off all the dead skin on my feet!

Anyway, I chose CND's Midnight Swim. I'm not 100% sure which range but it might have been Vinylux (definitely not shellac). It has looked fab and lasted really really well - to the extent that the polish looks good but my toe nails have noticeably grown!

To pep up the pedicure I used an extra top coat of Nails Inc's Edinburgh Gate. Very sparkly and Christmassy!
On my finger nails, as they're super long at the moment, I went a bit more subtle. Base coat was Nails Inc's Chelsea Bridge, followed by one coat of Nails Inc's South Molton Street and then a coat of Nails Inc's Glamour Glitter. This last I got as a magazine freebie and it doesn't seem to be one of the regular colours. In a single colour, the closest looks to be Chelsea Embankment, but Bishops Road in the Winter Wonders pack also seems quite similar.

The great thing about this was that it lasted well (even without top coat) and after a couple of days when it did start to look battered, a quick lick of the glitter coat freshened it up flawlessly!

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Friday, 18 December 2015

Home grown strawberries and virtual machines

Our veggie patch is a bit of a state. I am too impatient to spend time improving the (extremely poor) soil but I'm then very sad that I invest time and water into plants which, if we put it kindly, under-perform.

However, I have found the odd thing that goes well and, strangely enough, it would appear I can add strawberries to that list. I am not a big strawberry eater but Master 5 loves them so I thought it would a fun thing for us to grow. I picked up a single (last of the big spenders!) Red Gauntlet strawberry. This was not based on research but rather on what was to hand at the time. It turns out that Red Gauntlet is a Scottish variety which performs really well in South Australia. It is hardy, fungus resistant, and high yielding. So that is something of a win.

It's transpiring it's also a win for the bloody ants, who are busy chomping their way through the fruit, almost faster than I can pick them. I have provided a pea straw bed but that's not really helping and I haven't found any particularly novel or effective ways of keeping the little blighters off. I am thinking that next year I might try the trick of planting in half pipes that are hung on a wall. How much is that going to deter the ants though?

Anyway, from one plant we're picking the odd fruit every now and then. They are delicious and the longer they can be left on the plant the sweeter and more intensely strawberry-flavoured they are. Something with which I'll persist!

In other news, my new laptop (bought for work purposes and so far used for surfing the web while I wait to wrap up one work project on the old laptop) caused a little bit of excitement when I installed Oracle's Virtual Box and was then only offered a choice of 32-bit flavours of Windows when creating a Windows VM. Fortunately, it turns out that this is a problem every man and his dog has had. It seems that often the issue is that Hyper-V is running and switching it off rectifies the problem. But because I am running one of the versions of Win10 that doesn't support Hyper-V I did have to mess around in the bios and turn on a couple of virtualisation options. Full details are at fixedbyvonnie.

I also got to make use of Python's select module during the week. I realised I had the problem that a recv call on a socket was blocking when actually, something had happened in a different thread that meant it should move on. select gives you the opportunity to, for want of a better word, take a peek at what's coming. It is blocking but, unlike recv, you get the option of specifying a timeout - exactly what I needed. Job done.

And finally, another day, another male tech entrepreneur in the media tell us that 'anecdotally, girls prefer design to coding'. FFS. If you want to encourage girls and women into STEM perhaps don't pigeon hole them. 'anecdotally' is such a bullshit word as well - it's great way to dress up what is nothing more than your opinion.

I code. I'm female. All the designers I've ever worked with were male. 'Anecdotally' men prefer design to coding.

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Sunday, 6 December 2015

Asterix and the Missing Scroll


I love entering competitions and I love winning them! I do try to restrict my entering to prizes for which I actually have some use - mainly because putting the effort in to sell anything unwanted is a bit of a pain.

However, after a bit of a quiet month on the winning front I was stoked to receive an email from Child magazine letting me know I'd won a copy of the new Asterix book, Asterix and the Missing Scroll. I was originally a Tintin girl but got into Asterix after I'd read my complete Tintin set about thirty times ...

If you don't know, the Asterix books were originally written by Goscinny and Uderzo and published in France in the great tradition of bandes dessinnées. Goscinny, the writer, died in the late 1970s and his illustrator, Uderzo, is still alive but no longer draws. So this 'new' Asterix tome is written by Jean-Yves Ferri and illustrated by Didier Conrad.

This book is centred around a missing scroll which is actually a rather-too-honest chapter of Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentary on the Gallic War). It's the one chapter where Caesar documents his failure to conquer all of Gaul. His publicist is none to keen on this chapter seeing the light of day but it's squirrelled out of Rome by an investigative reporter and makes its way to Armorica ...

That's enough spoiler detail. Obviously there is plenty of boar eating and Roman bashing along the way! :D

If you're an Asterix fan you'll enjoy this book though it is noticeable that there's a bit of a shift from the original books. I had plenty of giggles along the way and, as always, it is rooted in just enough historical accuracy to be almost credible.

A happy return to the Gaulish village!

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