Get your act(ing) into gear

There are 47 sleeps until Christmas.

I know. Sorry about that.

In my world once Lil Chicky‘s birthday is behind me, the leaves have fallen from the trees and the ice rink at The Natural History Museum has opened, it’s the only countdown left (unless you count the fact that this time next week I will be basking in the sun on a tropical island – but I digress).

Christmas lights at the Natural History Museum

Christmas lights adorn the trees around the ice rink at The Natural History Museum and yes, that is a Christmas tree you can see at the bottom right of the photo.

Normally I would not post about my countdown to festive cheer so early but this week, a number of retailers launched their 2015 Christmas ad campaigns. It’s a big deal over here with the national press casting a critical eye and then publishing their opinions on each (like they have some sort of expertise). Department store chain John Lewis has the reputation for the most memorable Christmas ads and indeed, The Telegraph has proclaimed this year’s The Man in the Moon a ‘hankie moment’.

With Guy Fawkes / Bonfire Night celebrations done and dusted last night and enjoying some easy Sunday morning telly curled up on the comfy couch this morning, I saw the first of this year’s Currys ads featuring actor Jeff Goldblum:

I laughed out loud.

I know we should all be grateful that others put time/effort/money into a gift but how many times have you opened something and responded with a “How lovely, thank you” or “It’s just what I wanted” while really thinking “Mmm, interesting” or “what am I going to do with this”.

Anyway, upon investigation, I have discovered that there are five of these ads to help us through those awkward Christmas moments. So there’s plenty of time to get your act(ing) into gear.

Although please note I would be genuinely excited to get a jigsaw puzzle for Christmas.

No really. I would.

Only 47 sleeps to go peeps…the countdown has begun.

On the shore

This month’s Calendar Challenge inspiration comes from waiting around for hours for something to happen – also known as fishing.

I went fishing once. I caught a small reef shark off Mission Beach in Queensland (Australia) when I was in my teens and having shrieked with fear and promptly dropped the fishing rod for someone else to deal with, I decided that perhaps the whole waiting patiently deal was not at all worth it.

I played golf once too. Surrounded by advice at the first tee, I wiggled and kept my eye on the ball and swung the club as instructed. And I smacked that little white ball right down the middle of the fairway to achieve a birdie (that’s one less than par for the uninitiated). Nothing to this I thought as I collected my ball from the hole. And things went downhill from there, with both my beginner’s luck and my patience running out by holes two and five respectively.

Apparently patience is a virtue and good things happen to those who wait.

I tried to apply these guiding principles to skiing in my mid-twenties. I’d been when I was twelve and after three days of valiant effort graduated to the next class, promptly hurt my ankle and spent quite some time sitting in the snow waiting for help and then sitting around the chalet waiting for everyone else to come back. I was twenty-five before the opportunity arose again (how’s that for patience!) and this time it only took an hour before it was ski-do to the rescue again.

So I’ve decided that there are times when it’s infinitely preferable to be the idiot standing on the shore.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – March 2014


Amsterdam, The Netherlands – October 2013

Cottage Lake, Washington USA – June 2013

Paris, France – May 2013

Frankston, Australia – January 2013


Langkawi, Malaysia – December 2012

And let me tell you, waiting on the shore is absolutely fine with me.

Calendar Challenge 2014 – Back Catalogue

Keep calm and carry on

Sour grapes

Water water everywhere

On Bored Shopping…

Over the past year I have broadened my travel horizons to include several domestic flights in the USA and thus have discovered the delights of SkyMall. SkyMall is a quarterly magazine that can be found in the seat pockets on the majority of US domestic flights and allows passengers to shop online for a wide variety of items.

Having spent some time in airline retail during my career, I decided to have a flick through to see how things worked on the other side of the pond. Not for American passengers the high notes of the latest fragrances, the glittering array of designer watches and jewellery and the select range of premium travel accessories that I am used to considering in flight. No, you can buy a whole lot of other stuff on SkyMall

Where do I start?  

There’s furniture, lots of furniture – lamps, shelves, couches, tables, collapsible beds, bedroom suites and even a bidet sprayer for your bathroom (although I am not sure that this qualifies so much as furniture). 

There are various brands of shape wear to help you hold your ‘bits’ in a more preferred position. There are items designed to remedy everything from bad breath and skin tags to plantar fasciitis and sleep apnea. And there’s even a whole swag of stuff for your pets – 291 items in fact.

I had a bit of time on my hands while they were de-icing the various planes I sat on a few weeks back so I got to know this chaotic catalogue quite well and thought I’d share a few of my favourites with you.

Mounted Squirrel Head – $24.95.

Yes I know. It’s a rather random choice to begin with. But it did remind me of all of us sitting around waiting, waiting, waiting for flights to arrive and depart. There were a few faces in the boarding queues that looked a lot like this.

Write On Travel Map – $149.95

I love this. It combines my two of my great passions – scribbling and dreaming. Dreaming about where I might like to go next in the world and scribbling stuff down so I don’t forget that I thought about it in the first place. However it does seem that the little people of this world may be consigned to exploring the Southern hemisphere only.

Talking Dog Collar – $29.95

You record a message on the dog collar and activate it remotely – and you can change the message as often as you like. A day at the park suddenly took on a whole new lustre and I had a little chortle at the prospect of unsettling passers-by with a little pooch chatter, a bit like the old Candid Camera shows. I could see myself enjoying this for hours and hours…if I had a dog.

Hawaiian JellysTM – $39.95

There were a few offerings throughout the catalogue that claimed to ease a range of foot ailments (a particular bug bear of mine) but the range of Hawaiian JellysTM got my vote for sheer inventiveness. You could start with the tropical – Papaya, Mango, Lychee, Dragon Fruit or Coconut – branch out into a little Mysore Raspberry or Chuo Ume Plum or even scale new heights with Kilauea Volcano or Aouli Sky. America, land of the free and home of the endless choice.

40″ Foldable Photo Studio – $199.95

We actually have something similar in the office and it saves a whole lot of bother when it comes to getting product shots done. Might be a little more difficult to do head shots though.

Speaking of head shots I just had to show you this one.

The Zombie of Montclaire Moors – $99.95

Why? Just why would anyone buy this?

Or this for that matter.

SPAM Costume – $70.76

(Although after a few more hours sitting on planes I may have done just about anything to relieve the boredom!)

And last but not least there was a myriad of t-shirts on offer – these were just a few that made me laugh out loud.

(Seattle-A please note the pink box top right, my new mantra for life.)

So this is how I spend my time travelling…marvelling at the weird and wonderful and generally just keeping myself amused. 

After all, there’s only so much ‘cultural exploration’ a girl can take.

Image Source: all images are taken directly from the website.

Sour grapes

It’s the 1st of February. Where did January go for heavens sake? It’s only just begun and the year is already whizzing by.

As promised, with the heralding of the new month comes the next instalment of the 2014 Calendar Challenge and February’s funny finds inspiration in the language of our childhood…

Image Source: Simon Drew’s Famous Phrases Calendar 2014

Now come on admit it. Your pre-school world was full of moo-cows and baa-lambs wasn’t it…

Anyway the sketch of these woolly warmers gassing over a vino or two reminds me that today is National Pisco Sour Day.

I know. Who knew?

Pisco is a powerful grape brandy created by both the Peruvians and the Chileans and forms the basis of the potent Pisco Sour cocktail. Each nation has a slightly different recipe but Peru pay homage to their national tipple on the first Saturday in February – today. And if you are in London, the kind folk at Londonist have published a list where you can sample the best/most authentic manifestations of this South American delight – just click here. If not, you’ll have to google your own list.

I first discovered the joys of pisco during a girls night out at the then newly opened Ceviche Peruvian Bar and Kitchen in London about 18 months ago but rather than sour grapes, it was passion that I found at the bar. Or rather Pasion de Ceviche: A delicious blend of ginger-infused pisco, passionfruit juice, prickly pear liqueur and honey that was so smooth and delicious I had four that night, firstly transferring from an early allegiance to Toro Mata (a cocktail combo of coffee, pisco and sugar syrup) and then duly convincing my three cocktail-ing compatriots to join me.

Unsurprisingly sour grapes were in short supply at our table that night.

Note to self: Must go back. Soon.

In other alcoholic news, just yesterday Lil Chicky posted this on Facebook…

It’s chocolate port…in a glass shoe-boot.

*Excited squealing*

What’s a girl to do? It’s just leading this ‘sweet’ Aussie lamb to alcoholic slaughter.

Baaa-mmer hey…


Keep calm and carry on

Gidday peeps and welcome to 2014. I hope you found something to celebrate and be inspired by as one year ended and another began.

In between getting out and about, I’ve been sorting stuff at Gidday HQ over a restorative nine days off before facing my first day back at work on January 2nd. And life’s bright shiny distractions meant that a further two days passed before my first 2014 post.

So here I am at last –  better late than never – four days in.

Today has been a bit of a personal maintenance day (the ladies out there will know exactly what I mean – looking good takes a little effort) but the other important thing on my to-do list was to find Gidday HQ’s 2014 calendar. I had ventured out a couple of times over the Christmas period in an effort to have something ready to go come January 1st but had not found anything sufficiently inspiring, heart-warming or engaging to take pride of place on my fridge…

…until today. 

This is part of the front cover of the Simon Drew‘s Famous Phrases calendar.  You can probably see why I was drawn to it…hic!

Anyway, each of his sketches is accompanied by a particularly witty twist on a well-known phrase. This one was also on the cover…

Core Jets / courgettes…geddit?

Anyway, it made me laugh in the shop so I bought it and brought it home, filled in all of the important dates and events I already know about and stuck it on the side of the fridge. And to celebrate its comic contribution here at Gidday HQ, I thought I’d take on the Calendar Challenge again, last seen in 2012 and featuring the irreverent bunch from Violent Veg.

The Calendar Challenge means publishing a post on the first day of each month using the corresponding calendar page from that month as my theme / inspiration. And look at this, it’s the 4th and I’m late already. But January has some good advice…

…although I’m not sure who ‘Ron’ is.

Anyway, I reckon there’s only one thing left to do – let’s get stuck in to 2014 and see what happens.

Hope you enjoy the ride.


Brand Santa…

There are 13 sleeps to go until Christmas Day (12 if you’ve just woken up Down Under)…

…and the Gidday HQ stash is looking good under the verdant boughs of my un-real – aka plastic – tree. 

Christmas is in full swing on this side of the planet with my first festive do under my belt and a super-busy week ahead as I do more of the necessary yuletide rounds – socialising, dancing and raising a glass or two (oh alright, five) to pay homage to this most wonderful time of the year.

And I’ve also been keeping my eye out for any clever Christmas chicanery to share.

This morning I was indulging in a quick browse through my Facebook feed before the tube went underground when I found this…


For those of you who don’t know, haven’t guessed, have never looked up my LinkedIn profile or simply don’t care, I work in Marketing. 

(Please note, this makes me a Marketer, not a Marketeer. I didn’t go off to some club, wave my arms around and wear black plastic ears to get myself a career.)

But I digress.

The folk at Quietroom have put together this brilliant Santa ‘brand book’, a fabulous tribute to the fat man in all his glory and a complete p*sstake of marketers everywhere. I chuckled at the brand promise, laughed at the brand house and guffawed at the brand assets being ‘geographilised’…and then thought about all the brand books I’ve worked with over the years.

Well, I guess there’s nothing like a little irreverent festive fun to put things in perspective.

13 sleeps to go peeps..time to Snap It Clap It Wrap It.

Sorry, I Spent It On Myself…

Today marks 20 sleeps to go until we all embark on our annual gift-giving frenzy.

(Although those of you in Oz will wake up to only 19 sleeps.)

I know this isn’t going to be very Christmas spirited of me but I laughed out loud in the office this morning at the latest in a long line of seasonal shopping plugs. This is from London ‘posh shop’ Harvey Nichols

I was always taught that it was better to give than to receive…

…but then we don’t have Harvey Nicks Down Under.

In other news, Lil Chicky wins the 2013 Christmas bonanza with the surprise arrival of an unmarked box at Gidday HQ yesterday…

…which I opened. And then had to apologise and duly promise to wrap said contents up, put under the tree and exclaim with surprise and delight on Christmas morning.

Oh the shame! 

(Note: There is no advance present opening in the Hamer Clan – one must always wait for ‘the big day’.)

Just as well there are only 20 sleeps until unrestrained receiving Christmas…

The World’s Coolest Bottle Opener…

So the big birthday bonanza is on and this year, first card past the post(box) is from Mum.

She’s gone for a very practical design this year. Knowing how much I like a vino or two, she’s come up with something I’ve actually been looking for all my life – the perfect bottle opener.

It’s a mix of ‘easy on the eye’ and getting the job done. Style meets pragmatism if you will. 

It’s not quite handbag-sized but I could see myself taking it everywhere.

(Although popping my cork on a whim may not be entirely appropriate in every situation.)

Oh what’s that?  You’d like to see it?

Well if you must…

Only 13 sleeps to go peeps…NOW I’m excited…

Tis The Season…Pass The Parcel

We are down to just 12 sleeps peeps and in the interests of providing you with a Gidday helping hand, I’ve come up with a few quirky and slightly questionable gift ideas for your nearest and dearest.

A subject close to my heart is reading so at the top of the shopping list is a little something for the bookworm in your life. Upon opening one of my daily Emerald Street e-newsletters this week, I found this fab booklight. It also holds your book open – you know, while you go a make a coffee or hang out the washing or go to the loo. You get the picture…

Available from Suck UK (yes really) for £40

Next it’s over to I Want One of Those. Popping in here always yields something unusual and it was a tough choice about which curiosity would inspire you most. But back in November, I lamented the wearing of socks with sandals so this has to be the perfect present for the saddo in your life…and let’s face it, everyone has one.

Available on I Want One Of Those for £7.99 (or 3 for £20 – you could knock off 3 saddos in one!)

I’ve done a fair bit of travelling this year (and it’s not over yet!) so my next inspired idea is for the traveller in your life. Cue The Scrubba, a lightweight portable bag which lets you wash on the go. Your clothes that is…

Visit and fork out 59.95 Aussie dollars to Do It (your washing that is) Yourself

Christmas presents of the participative kind are next on the agenda. Imagine, you’ve stuffed yourself silly with Christmas fare, squeezed in a spot of pud and are looking for something to stop the family snoozing on the sofa. Billed as a ‘no holds barred game which stimulates after dinner discussion on controversial subjects of our times amongst friends’, After Dinner Arguments could be just the thing to inspire a bit of spirited conversation around your festive table this year…

Available from, you can get hours of family feuding fun for just £7.99

And finally there is the ultimate in glam grooming: a ridiculous gift at an entirely ridiculous price…

Glam up those tootsies with a Swarovski crystal duck nail brush from Etsy for the bargain price of US$175.

Because couldn’t we all use a brush with a duck on it?

12 sleeps to go peeps…can you believe it? Best you get cracking or you’ll end up as a late addition on Santa’s Naughty List.