I try really hard to focus on all the good things in life. Right now I have so much to be happy about. The sun is shining, I will soon (soon is a relative concept) be in my own home, have my own kitchen, my own garden and my own craft room. Ok, so the home, kitchen and garden obviously are only half mine, but what I mean is that they are ours, but it's so annoying when people speak 'we' talk all the time. Anyhows. Today I just have to vent. I am so frustrated I seriously don't know whether to laugh or cry. I know from time to time you get bad customer service, and even the most recommended companies will have some dissatisfied customers. So usually when I get bad service I just try to get over it. But this just broke the camel's back. So the story goes like this...
We were supposed to pay our deposit (10%) of the house on Friday. I tried, but my online bank will only allow me to transfer a certain amount of money per day, which is a bit less than the deposit. So I transferred that on Friday, thinking I will transfer the remaining small sum on Saturday and be done with it. Now, on Monday evening, I still can't use my online bank as it claims I'm going over my daily allowed limit. I have made at least 5 phone calls to Natwest, and today I have been chatting to their advisor for over an hour. The result of all of this? I was told there is nothing they can do, and hopefully it would all clear for tomorrow. Which was the same I was told on Sunday, and it hadn't cleared this morning, so I'm not all too hopeful. But the worst thing? When I suggested to the online "customer service" person (more like customer non-service) that it's a bit frustrating that my online bank won't actually allow me to do any banking she hung up on me. Or whatever the chat equivalent to hanging up on someone is. Good thing we have an appointment with another bank later in the week, we were going over there to chat about opening a joint account, but seems like right now not only will there be a joint account, I will also move my business over there from CrapWest. I'm just so incredibly frustrated as this again sets back all the business with the house. The moral of the story? Never ever sign up with Natwest, they are useless.
But then onto nicer things. The sun is shining, and that is great (as long as you aren't in a train for many hours without air conditioning). We have finally got our little sliver of summer over here on the godforgotten island. I just hope this is how August will be, so that I get maximum benefit of my new garden. Assuming we have been able to pay the rest of the deposit and actually been able to move. Whoops, let my mind get all negative again, bad bad mind! I have certainly noticed that the hot weather has affected my appetite, I crave crisps and ice cold coke (as in coca-cola, just making a point...) and can't even think about eating proper hot food. Did you check out my recent tzatziki and potato salad hybrid? Well, this is another ridiculously simple salad which you could prepare as a side for a barbecue, which is exactly what I did.
Broccoli and tomato side salad (serves 3-4):
1/2 head of broccoli
2 large tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper
Steam the broccoli until slightly softened but still al dente (really, don't let it go soft, you want it to be nice and crisp and not soggy at all). Chop to desired consistency. Also chop the tomatoes, and finely chop the onion. Mix olive oil, balsamic and pepper, and toss with the salad. I'm pretty sure adding a herb like parsley or coriander would be really good, too!
Obviously, this is not the most original recipe out there. But it was a really nice side with all of the other things we had going. BBQd chicken, sweet corn and sweet potato. The salad was crunchy and refreshing. I made it a few hours ahead to give it some time to marinate, I think the onion is nicer that way when it has a bit of time to absorb the oil and vinegar. I also warmly recommend trying the mango-mayo salsa type sauce with you BBQ, it's really nice with chicken, and would probably go great with pork as well.
Card of the day:
This is yet another one from the archives as I'm still in crafting exile. I expect I will start dreaming about crafting any night now. I'm also worried because the only outlet to my crafting needs is buying more crafting stuff on ebay. Which I really can't afford... And I'm afraid soon I'll go crazy with the new Stampin' Up catalogue as well. But until then, maybe looking at this picture will sooth my soul a bit. Or not.
These are four cards I made using Tim Holtz distress inks and the Kanban butterflies stamp. I stamped using different coloured inks and markers: the top left stamped using Walnut stain and embossed using clear embossing powder, the top right one Vintage Photo for the text and markers Barn Door, Victorian Velvet and Spiced Marmelade for the butterflies, bottom left text using Antique Linen for the text and Broken China, Bundled Sage and Victorian Velvet markers for the butterflies, bottom right was stamped using Tim Holtz clear embossing ink and clear embossing powder. For the backgrounds, I used different distress inks and applied with blending foam and an applicator tool for the backgrounds as follows: top left: Worn Lipstick, Spiced Marmelade, Peeled Paint and Vintage Photo around the edges, top right Worn Lipstick and bottom right is the same as the top left with some Broken China thrown in there for good measure. The matting was done using papers from the Dovecraft Back To Basics III pack, some which I stamped on using the Hero Arts Flourish stamp. The brown paper on the bottom right one is from my stash. The sentiments are from my trusty Hobbycraft General Sentiments set, apart from the Big Day! which is from another set which I can't identify at the moment. I finished by adding some gems and ended up with quite a summery set of cards.