You bought what!? The wacky side of online shopping

I originally wrote a much softer version of this blog earlier in the week for a client but it ended up Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 19.47.52being unused – WASTE NOT WANT NOT THOUGH, I SAY.

You can buy almost anything online. For most of us, we stick to the more ‘normal’ side of things. Technology, online food shopping – or perhaps yet another jumper from eBay to add to your collection (if you’re my mother). However – as most of us know – the Internet knows no bounds and there is a lot of wacky, weird and frankly, creepy shit you can get sent straight to your door. Don’t even get me started on this.

From lucky bamboo trees to vibrators, I asked some people to tell me what the craziest thing they’ve bought online is.

N.B. All stories true, artistic license used in some. Some names are changed to protect the naughty.

“My boyfriend really loves bacon – like, really likes bacon. I thought it would be really funny to buy him bacon related stuff for his birthday because someone who loves bacon that much…right? You get my thinking,” says Lynette, “But it wasn’t funny. We’ve got a bacon t-shirt, soap, lip balm, plasters and even DRINKS. I can’t even bear to smell bacon any more.”

She’s not kidding, check out all of this bacon STUFF.

Maggie*, 26, decided to buy a ‘lucky bamboo plant’ – essentially a plant thought to bring good luck wherever it is grown. Apparently.

“I’d heard about the Feng Shui benefits of having a lucky bamboo plant in your home, so decided to search online for one. My friends think I’m mad but who is attracting the most auspicious chi energy now? Me.”

This. No ragrets.” said anonymous person on my Facebook.

Gemima, 25: “I haven’t bought it yet, but I really want that ballsack rucksack.”

Don’t we all?

And just to lower the tone, here’s one from Melissa*, 22:

“I was looking for vibrators online – no, come on, stay with me – I was looking for vibrators online but couldn’t make my mind up on which one to buy. I got frustrated, closed the window. Within the hour, I got a call from an agent from the website giving me a massive discount on the rubber shlong I was looking at. So now I’m realising it wasn’t from online. It was through a phonecall. I bought a dildo from a stranger over the phone.”

What’s the weirdest or funniest item you’ve ever bought online?

Winter Menu || Chicken Noodle Soup

I tried my hand at a fabulous Chicken Noodle Soup this weekend and thought I’d share the recipe and Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 22.42.31my method. It’s going to be a staple for the Winter months as it was so easy and tasty. In my other half’s own words: “I kind of wish I was ill as I know this would make it so much better!”

You will need:

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Vegetable or chicken stock (I used Knorr jelly pots)
Garlic cloves
Chilli powder
Sweetcorn
Mushrooms
Spring onions
Dried spaghetti
Salt and pepper

I used the above vegetables in this instance as it’s what I had to hand, but I’m sure it would work with others such as leeks and carrots for example. I also haven’t added any amounts as it really depends how much you’re making. I used two chicken breasts and about a two litres of stock which was enough for two large dinner portions, the next day’s lunch and then some!

  1. Make up your amount of stock in a large, deep pan and add the garlic (pressed or sliced, either or).
  2. Add the chicken breasts to the stock whole and leave on the heat for 20 minutes until the chicken is tender.
  3. Remove the chicken from the stock, place on a surface and shred between two forks into small pieces.
  4. Add chicken back to stock along with the vegetables, any spices and bring back to the boil.
  5. Take a handful of spaghetti and break into three, then break again if you want smaller noodles. Add these to the broth and leave to cook.
  6. Once the spaghetti is cooked you’re good to go – add some fresh spring onions and serve with garlic bread for a proper winter warmer!

Image: www.xiben.co.uk

 

Bargains 4 cheap – getting the most out of eBay

eBay is a staple for every experienced bargain-hunter – I’ve found many mega-deal on there. You know the saying: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 14.40.13

eBay has such a wide range of things for sale and such a huge audience. From train hobbyists to fashionistas, from your 14-year-old cousin to your mum. My mum has actually got about 16,000 jumpers she’s bid on and subsequently won.

“Why are you declaring bankruptcy, madam?”
“Jumpers.”

I’ve used eBay myself for years – for clothes, technology, (fake) MAC make-up (stay away) and more recently for *REAL* cosmetics from the US I can’t get in the UK. In the past, I used to just bid on a few items and hope for the best, which meant me missing out on items I’d have really liked.

I’m by no means a eBay guru, but here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.

Avoid a bidding war
Contact the seller straight away with a ‘Best Offer’ if you really want something. This way you can avoid an intense bidding war if they take your offer – the worst that can happen is that they say no.  Bidding wars are really stressful and have me coming over all flustered and unnecessarily outraged when I don’t win. Avoid.

Be realistic
Leading on from the above, it’s tempting to keep bidding higher and higher when you really want an item. However, this can be dangerous if you don’t set yourself a limit, leading to you perhaps paying a lot more than you intended. Be realistic – how much would you pay for the item in a shop?

Sum peeple cnt speel
eBay doesn’t spell check or refine listings and often, people aren’t very careful spell checking. When you’re looking for a specific item, change the spelling a bit to see if someone cannae spell and has accidentally listed it as something else. For example, when looking for Doc Martens, search for Doc Martins or Doc Martyns instead – you’ll be surprised what you find! I won some Top Shop shoes for £10 once because someone had missed the second ‘O’, listing them as ‘TopShp’. Serves ’em ‘write’. Haha – such a comedian.

Cheap doesn’t mean quality
If you find an item going cheap which seems too good to be true – it probably is. Make sure you trust the seller and check feedback scores to ensure what you’re buying is the real deal. No one wants to pay £100 for a 100% genuine iPad and be presented with a framed picture of one.

What bargains have you found on eBay? Do you enjoy using it, or not? Let me know.

In memory of Daisy

16th May 1999 – 21st August 2015

“What we have once enjoyed
we can never lose;
All that we love deeply,
becomes a part of us.”

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There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate

I’ve had lots of compliments on my chocolate mud pie cake this week (steady…), so I thought I’d share the wisdom.

Really simple, really delicious, really fun for making with your kids, partner, or even by yourself. It’s especially fun to flick melted chocolate at your cooking partner when they’re not expecting it (sorry Kurt).

You will need:

300g dark cooking chocolate (min. 70% solids)
200g unsalted butter
5 eggs
250g caster sugar
100g shortbread fingers (broken into bite-size pieces)

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees – I don’t know about gas marks or any of that rubbish, you should have a proper oven.
  2. Line / grease a nice sized cake tin.
  3. Break up the chocolate into smaller pieces and do not eat it.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a pan with the butter on a low heat and set to one side once done. Don’t eat that either.
  5. Crack the eggs ever so carefully and whisk with the sugar until it’s pale, thickened and around twice the original consistency.
  6. Gently fold the chocolate and butter into the eggs and sugar.
  7. Stir in the bite size shortbread fingers (pro tip: if you get the 200g pack from Sainsbury’s, you’ll still have half left to snack on whilst waiting for the cake to bake).
  8. Pour into your nicely greased / lined cake tin leaving a bit of space at the top (it will rise slightly).
  9. Put in the oven for 45 minutes.
  10. Whilst that’s baking, you can lick the chocolate / butter pan because you know you really want to.
  11. Get the cake out. Wait for a bit because you will burn your tongue (from experience).
  12. Dig in, or share it and bathe in the glory of everyone telling you how wonderful you are.

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