Thorpe Park MOS Virtual Reality Weekend Away!


Fresh fruit
Fresh Fruit Salad made especially for me by a beautiful Indian guy

F1 Car at DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel Woking.

F1 Car At Hilton Woking

Darren Brown Ghost Ride Mug

Derren Brown Ghost Train Mug

Thorpe Park Ghost Train Ride Mug
Derren Brown Thorpe Park Ride Mug.
F1 side view at Hilton Woking Hotel
F1 car side view at DoubleTree Hotel in Woking.

I spent last weekend away at Thorpe Park Ministry Of Sound (MOS) event. Which meant a special deal of a Park Ticket for Saturday with Sunday free, accesss to late night riding on Saturday night, and the Ministry of Sound event also on Saturday night from 11-3am. Plus, a one night stay at the DoubleTree for Hilton Woking Hotel, that has a formula one car and an awesome breakfast with comfortable rooms. All for £110, which was amazing value for money. I also had to pay for some of the car parking at Thorpe Park, that was £7 a day, and give the person I went with £50 in petrol money, and buy food and snacks. I still think it was great value – despite being told I am being made redundant from my day job, only the day before; the day before the trip. Told on a Thursday and trip was on Sat. I was super excited to be going and I went on 3 rides I had never been on before, including Saw, the Swarm, and Derren Brown’s ghost train – which was why I bought the mug and it was a fantastic virtual reality experience.

Sadly, I went with a guy I was dating for almost two whole months, and his behaviour was not that of a loving, caring and attentive individual who was into me, but the opposite. Without going into everthing on here. On Saturday day, I was the one who was mostly instigating the affection. I felt ignored in the club after he initially mentioned about a meeting point if we get split up, as soon as we arrived. So it became obvious from the onset that he was not thinking about dancing together. An hour and a half later of almost being ignored in the club and I spoke to him about it, he said to me he preffered to dance on his own. He treated me like just a mate who he happened to have gone with him, both then, and the day after in the park. But my friends treat me better, because they care about me, love me, want to talk to me, and hug me just as a friend. Something happened after the club that was potentially dangerous for me too (not anything sexual – he was respectful of my asexuality and boundaries), and he told me on Saturday day not to trust him. So I broke off seeing him completely the day we got back to Exeter. I realised there were no advantages or benefits to me seeing this guy at all. Yes, I cared for him deeply, but it would seem that in the end, it was a one way street, and I would have had a better time on my own or with a friend who would appreciate me and love spending time specifically with me. So yes, I am still a bit sad but I am also glad to have got away from a situation and person who is blatantly no good for me. He, on the other hand, probably does not care. But I am a caring person and can see some good in almost anyone, but thank goodness I have seen the light.

Always remember how precious you are and so is your life and time. Remember that I love you xx

As always, write soon and stay quirky.

Sandra xx

10 Reasons Why Self Belief is Good for You


Hi Everyone.

If you have been reading my Blog and website quirkybooks.net, you may think deciding to self publish my own book by starting up my own publishing company is either brave, stupid or just darn right crazy.  Either way, I value your opinion and appreciate your feedback.

The fact is, I will not let anything stop me, not in the long term. Sure there will be problems to overcome, obstacles to step over and lots of skills to learn but I will feel better for having done it and I am committed to believing in my own capabilities.

You see, there is a lot than can be said for believing in yourself.  The benefits can be immense and I would like to share some of those with you right now.

1)  Your confidence will increase.

2)  You will achieve more.

3)  You will be more accepting towards constructive critisism.

4)  You will become a stronger person.

5)  You will be able to disregard people who make malicious comments and put             you down.

6) You will have a stronger sense of purpose in your life by knowing who you are.

7)  You will be a happier person.

8)  You will have more structure to your life by defining your goals.

9)  When you believe in yourself, so will others.

10)  You will become a more positive person, which is good for both your                          physical and mental well being.

One final thought…….Believe in yourself, the only person who can make you truly happy, is you, for their is no one else who knows you better.

Good luck and B E L I E V E.

Write soon.

Sandra

quirkybooks.net

Twenty Reasons Why You Should Self Publish


Hi Everyone

Thank you for continuing to join me on my wonderful journey of the written word.  Your support is greatly appreciated.

As you can see from my previous blogs, I am a great believer in self publishing. But why?  I hear you ask.

Let me enlighten you with my twenty reasons why you should self publish.

1)  You have overall control over the layout of your book.

2)  You can choose your own illustrator.

3)  You can work with your illustrator to come up with designs you both feel are            suitable for your story.

4)  You have control over how you publicise your books.

5)  You choose how much you are going to sell your books for.

6)  You have control over your profit and loss.

7)  You will gain more contacts for your future business which could lead to                   other publishing opportunities.

8)  You can increase your design skills.

9)  You will achieve personal satisfaction.

10)  You will never be bored as you will always have projects on the go.

11)  It will give you a sense of purpose.

12)  You will produce a product which will bring happiness to others.

13)  You can give new talent a platform to work from.

14)  You can decide on the design of your book cover.

15)  You can produce a product which may help people.

16)  It will give you a sense of great achievement.

17)  You can offer insight to the reader.

18)  It will increase your self-confidence.

19)  It will increase your self belief.

20)  You can absorb yourself in your own imagination.

You will notice I didn’t say, to make money.  Publish your writing for the love of it and you won’t go far wrong.

Write soon.

Sandra

quirkybooks.net

How redundancy changed my life


Hello everyone.

It has been a busy few weeks.  I have finally received my commercial printer and now quirkybooks.net is on it’s way to something BIG.

For those of you who don’t know what quirkybooks.net is all about, let me enlighten you.

I founded quirkybooks.net in July 2010.  It was a project I had been working on since being made redundant in February 2009 but a concept which had been in my head for some time.  It was only because I was made redundant that the idea began to become a reality and what was once a traumatic time turned out to be the little gem needed to push me forward to believe in myself and my future business.

Many people see redundancy as an obstacle, I saw it as an opportunity.  A chance to discover, what I was born to do.  What my special gift was and what I could do with it.

Sure lots of other people have hidden talents too and I would encourage them to do the same.

That is, think about what you love to do, be it writing, art, pottery, drama, comedy.  Even if other people think it is impossible, if you know in your heart of hearts you can do it, then do just that.  Make it happen.  Find out what you need to do it and then just do it.

I know it is not going to be easy or simple, but if you want something so badly, something you are willing to fight for, to wait for, then it will be worth it.

It will make you feel empowered, alive, confident and give you the most precious thing, self belief.  Once you feel the power of self belief, nothing in your life will ever be the same.   Your glass will always be half full, your life will be enriched, your enthusiasm will pass on to others and the world will be a better place for having you in it.

Go for it.

If I have lost you and you don’t have a clue what I am talking about.  Let me explain.

I have founded quirkybooks.net through a love and passion for writing.  When I was made redundant I felt my world was coming to an end and then I realised it was just the beginning.  A time to reflect on my previous jobs, at my life to date and to consider if I had been doing was what I was born to do.  What would make me happy?  Was I really happy in the job I had been made redundant from?

I had been in the job for almost 3 years and I felt I was good at it and I enjoyed it. But and there was a but, it was long hours, I used to get shouted at by staff who thought they were superior to me and liked to throw their weight around.  I was slaving away, whilst wishing I could do more with my life.  I loved writing then, but I never had time to do much.  I love writing now and now I do a job where I work to write.  In other words, I do a job with less hours, for reasonable pay but I am able to have some time for my writing, not as much time as I would like but hey, I guess the best things come to those who wait.

At the moment quirkybooks.net is in it’s infancy, still at the beginning of it’s story but with each day a new page turns which will lead to an exciting middle and a fantastic basis for a whole series of stories.

If you look at my website quirkybooks.net you will see it is all about me and my writing.  If you take a closer look , it will explain my current projects and how you can get involved.

But that is not the best thing.  The best is yet to come.

quirkybooks.net will be becoming a publishing company in it’s own right.  It will be a platform for myself to share my work with you.  There will be books, written by me, that you will be able to buy.  They will not be imported from abroad, they will not be printed abroad, they will individually printed by me.  This means you will be able to put your own individual message in them.  Be it for a birthday, a christmas gift or just to tell someone how much you care.

This is what quirkybooks.net will be able to offer you.  A personalised touch.  You will be able to read the difference.

quirkybooks.net will also be giving new or unknown illustrators a platform from which to allow their imagination to spring into print.

A lot of work has to be done before quirkybooks.net can get off the ground running.

There is still more equipment to buy and designs of illustrations to try.

But it is an exciting time and I wanted to share it with you.

quirkybooks.net will predominantly begin concentrating on the picture book market for children aged 3 to 5 years.

It will also look to incorporate other quirky products.

This is not to say I will not work with other publishers to publish my own work because I would welcome any opportunity to write.  I think the market is big enough for everyone to help each other.

So the next time you log into quirkybooks.net, read my latest news and get involved.

Happy writing.

Write soon.

Sandra

quirkybooks.net

Sixteen Reasons Why Customer Service Is Dead!


Hi Everyone.

I have worked in retail for over fourteen years and although most companies are fighting to survive, many are not fighting to keep their customers.

Gone are the days when customers used to take the product to the till themselves and the assistant would merely put it through without much interaction.  Just as prices of goods have increased, so has their expectation.  If we as retailers and businesses, do not meet that expectation, it is likely that our customers will go elsewhere.

So why is customer service only great as an exception and not as the rule?  Why is customer service dying and in some places I have visited, it is already dead?

I racked my brain and this is what I came up with.

  1. Poorly qualified staff who have a lack of experience in their chosen field.
  2. A lack of training, this is an area companies often cut budgets for when times are tough.  If they had any sense they would make this a bigger focus to beat off their competition.
  3. The staff are poorly paid and so there is no incentive to improve.
  4. The Manager does not lead by example.  They do not approach customers so neither do their staff.
  5. Staff have pre-conceptions about who will buy and tend to focus on those particular customers rather than speak to everyone in turn.
  6. Staff do not know how to build a rapport with customers, to get to know their needs as an individual and the customer leaves feeling uncared for.
  7. Staff are disinterested in their job and therefore lack motivation.
  8. Staff have the wrong personality for the job, they don’t like engaging with strangers or approaching them.
  9. Some staff may be experiencing bullying from colleagues and it is stopping them from being confident in the job.
  10. Companies are unreliable.  Staff do not keep in contact with their customers by phoning them back when they say they will.  I have had this happen to me and it is very frustrating and rude.
  11. Customers are made to feel it is too much trouble for the business to help them get what they want.
  12. Staff don’t care.  They have a bad attitude.
  13. Staff are too task orientated and the customers are made to feel they are in the way.
  14. Owners of the business have lost touch with the reality of running it at local level and put too much pressure on staff to multi-task and hit deadlines, leaving less time for their customers.
  15. Staff are too engrossed in their own conversations and talk about things which are not of interest to the customer.
  16. Staff are miserable and take their personal problems to work with them, which customers can find uncomfortable, unwelcoming and it makes them want to leave.

I could go on.

It is good to see someone else has noticed these.  Queen of Shops, Mary Portas, has been running a series on TV examining a lack of customer services in various businesses.

If anyone has anything to add, feel free.

Write soon.

Sandra

Printers. A minefield!


Hi everyone.

If someone would have told me there were so many printer options, I would have explored more years ago.  Instead I am using every ounce of after work energy, trawling through website after website to find my perfect match. It’s tiring, frustrating and at the same time, absolutely fascinating.  Almost hypnotic.

Learning about the latest tech, has certainly filled these dark evenings a treat, but I feel so exhausted just keeping up with it all.  At least I now know what I want but can I find my perfect printing partner?  As they say, nothing is perfect.  And that is what I am finding.

I want a colour Laser printer, with duplex, (double-sided, see I have learnt something!) Which can print on a high gsm (thickness of paper, or should I say, card, I am getting good at this.) Has a print speed of around 30 ppm ( pages per minute, I feel so techy.)  And a high DPI (dots per inch, resolution.  I feel so proud.)

There is an added complication, I have a Mac and not all printers are compatible with them. Oh! I forgot to mention, as I will be working from home, it will need to be a desktop, with a narrow width of 40cm. I want to self publish my picture books, with the best possible quality of print.

Can you see the mountain I have to climb? Everest seems minute now.  There are A3 printers out there, with just the specs I need but apart from being too expensive, I cannot fit one in the space I have. Typical! I can feel my head getting very sore against that brick wall.

Dell printers are out, it would seem none are compatible with Mac. Xerox is a favourite, but cartridges are so expensive. Epson, seem to break down a fair bit. It’s good there is an Epson repair centre near where I live but it makes you wonder why they need a whole shop as a dedicated repair centre.  May be not such a good omen.  HP seem good but not the high spec I had hoped for.

Then I had a brain wave, as I am going to use the printer for the primary purpose of publishing children’s picture books, the cover will be a large factor in the consumers decision to purchase, so I need to have complete ownership of how it will look, by printing it myself on a quality weight of paper. After consulting my paper sample file, I decided 250gsm would be a good thickness for my cover and that’s when I googled printers which printed on  250gsm and stumbled upon OKI.  They print up to 250gsm on some of their A4 colour laser printers and have a model close to the specs I want.  Only one problem.  I have to travel miles to see one of these beauties in action.  Oh well!  Needs must.

I will let you know how I get on.

Write soon.

Sandra

quirkybooks.net

Beat Redundancy Blues


As 2011 is almost upon us, there will be those who are looking forward to a brand new year, with hope, optimism and positivity.  Whilst others will be facing uncertainty, bewilderment and worry.

Some people see the prospect of redundancy as a mountain they cannot begin to look at, let alone climb.

But I am here to tell you.  Redundancy may feel like the end, when in fact it is a new beginning.  One which can be filled with whatever it is that makes you happy and allow you to do things which you only ever dreamed of.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if out of blackness came light?  Wouldn’t it be the best thing that ever happened to you, if your life was to be turned upside down to live the dream you have always wanted.  I want to show you how.

Redundancy, for me, was a journey of personal discovery, one which was thrust upon me, as I am sure it would have been for many of you.  Although I hated it at the time, I now know, it was one of the best things to ever happen to me.

In my new book, I will show you how to motivate yourself throughout redundancy and get back into work.  I want to share my experiences with you, in the hope you will have good fortune because of your redundancy and that you will be happy because of it.

Believing in yourself is key and it wasn’t until I was made redundant, that I began to believe in myself and achieve more in my life because of it.

Turning negative into positive is essential.  Part of my motivating you, to motivate yourself, will show you how this can be achieved.

I love helping people.  I want to share my experiences with you and help you to beat redundancy blues.

Learn more at quirkybooks.net

Write soon.

Sandra

Continue reading “Beat Redundancy Blues”

Set your sales sizzling and survive


Hi Everyone

I have worked in retail for over fourteen years, of which, more than seven, have been in Management roles.

I want to use my skills and knowledge to help you and your business make more sales.

Throughout my training I have learnt the key ingredients to being a successful seller.

With the right ATTITUDE a lot of EFFORT and the will to SUCCEED.  You can and will, set your sales sizzling from the start.

If yours is a forward thinking company, then it may be you have sold this way for years.  Good for you.  Your business is more likely to survive the coming hardship of the next year.

You may have employed a company trainer, to think this way for you.  You are partly there.

Your company may have just had a lightbulb moment and decided to get switched on.

Or your company may think it can survive as it is.

Whichever way it is, sometimes having that reassurance or knowledge from someone who has had a variety of experiences through working for different employers, can help immensely.  I can teach you, how to turn more browsers in to buyers and forge the way for a brighter future.

Now doesn’t that sound great!

I am living proof of what can be achieved.

Join me and you will not be disappointed.

Write soon.

Sandra