Tag Archives: shopping

Unexpected Item In The Blogging Area…

I did it. I finally did it.

I have popped my internet grocery shopping cherry. What’s the big deal? Well, regular readers will know I have a love/hate relationship with supermarkets – they love me and I hate them.

A fellow blogger, Steve, possibly exasperated by my constant complaining, kindly offered to send me a £20 voucher offer for Ocado (for non-UK’ers – a very posh supermarket – far too posh for me to visit in my builder’s gear) and yesterday morning, I bit the bullet. And Scottish people never turn down twenty quid.

I got myself prepared. Large sheet of paper, pot of strong coffee and a Sharpie. Ok, jot down all the heavy stuff – cat food, squash, cat food, beans. Then the things I really need – toothbrushes, fish, yoghurt, mince. I was getting into the swing of it. It was time to sign up, log in and go wild in the virtual aisles.

My last attempt at supermarket shopping online was disastrous. I got lost. Then I lost my basket and finally I was off my trolley and I fled, demoralised, bruised and battered by the whole experience. This time round, it was a doddle. I got so carried away, my total had reached over £100 within ten minutes and I hadn’t even added the washing-up liquid.

I ruthlessly went through my trolley, chucking out the 3-for-2 ice cream, an expensive skin cream, coloured straws (no idea), 2kg of pasta and a new wok. Better. Before heading for the check-out, I had a little look through the half price offers and treated myself to some kitchen towel and baby sweetcorn.

Before you can even get to the check-out, they cleverly throw teasing offers at you, but I resisted and I was let through. All paid, delivery slot booked, done and dusted. It took twenty minutes and I was still in my dressing gown, jittery after my third cup of filter coffee.

I feel very grown up and smart. I will never set foot in a supermarket again. Whoever said MS makes you creative was right – there’s always a solution to every little niggle. I have now started a list on my fridge and was dashing back and forth all day, Sharpie in hand, adding things ready for my next shop.

I just hope that when the shopping arrives, there are no substitutes. My friend once ordered a punnet of peaches and found she had been given two tins of them in syrup instead. Not quite the same thing…

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Off My Trolley

Regular readers will know that me and supermarkets don’t have the best relationship. Since MS turned my brain to mush, supermarkets confuse me, trip me up and make me buy things I don’t want (travel toothbrush, pom-pom air freshener for the car).

I’ve successfully managed to avoid them for the last month or so, but the list of things I couldn’t buy locally got longer and longer and I finally had to take the plunge.

Yesterday was the big day. I made a cafetiere of coffee, strong and black, for courage. I gathered my shopping bags together, got my list, double-checked it. I could do this. I was ready. Drove off. Turned round. Forgot my wallet. Drove off. Got parked. Checked lippy in mirror and I was good to go.

Wrestled with trolley and yanked it into the store. Deeeep breath. Huh? They’ve changed the layout round again? Now I had to go up and down every single aisle. The Teenager needed ingredients for a baking lesson in school. He told me he needs a huge jar of Nutella (I was born yesterday) and the cat wanted to try a different brand of food.

I picked up the bin bags, the envelopes, the printer paper, the cat food, the garlic, the shoe polish. Excellent. Just about got everything on the list and avoided the end-of-aisle offers. Only the Nutella to go. The place was lovely and quiet and I glided around feeling serene and calm.

My final aisle. I swerve past a parked trolley when I hear, ‘What are YOU doing here? We thought you were ill, but you look so well?’. Oh god. It’s that mother from school. The one with the most intelligent child in the universe. I listened to her reel off the prodigy’s most recent accomplishments, made my excuses and left, zooming (wonkily) straight for the checkout.

Got to the car. Fabulous. The car next to me was parked so close, I couldn’t open the drivers door. I stomped around, then stomped around some more. With a dramatic sigh, I flung myself into the passenger seat then very inelegantly shifted myself over into the drivers seat with a lot of huffing and puffing. Drove home, chucked a meal in the microwave and sighed.

Then I got a pen and piece of paper and started my new list. Can’t wait for next month.

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Retail Therapy

Another day on the MS rollercoaster. To add to the long list of weird and wonderful symptoms MS has given me, I have just experienced vertigo for the first time. It started two days ago and I still have it, but I had to go Christmas shopping with my mum yesterday.

I finally decided against wearing black to the Christmas Day lunch (see December 13th post!), so I thought a cheery, berry red sparkly top would be perfect and we went to town to find one. First mistake was getting a bus. When you can’t move your head without it spinning, it’s hard to sit still on a packed bus as it bounced over every pothole, swung sharply round corners and took a roundabout at top speed. Second mistake was assuming that as it was Christmas, the shops would be filled with cheery, berry red sparkly tops.

There were lots and lots of black tops, black sparkly tops and black lacy tops. Lots of hideous prints. No velvet tops, which was odd. The only red tops I could find were either prim, buttoned-up cardigans or sheer, floaty ones. Nothing cheery and sparkling. We went in and out most of the shops on the high street and eventually I found a cream sparkly top. Result! I also treated myself to a necklace with a single silver star on it. Now I’m all ready for the big day, but the jury’s still out on whether I should accessorise with reindeer antlers or flashing Christmas tree earrings.

My mum bought me a Sarah Lund-ish  jumper for Christmas (yay!) and I cheered myself up with some goodies from Waitrose, then a stroke of luck as we were headed back to the bus stop, laden down with bags. My builder friend was working nearby and offered us a lift home. We must have looked a right pair, cramming my mum’s shopping trolley and four large carrier bags into the back of his van but we managed it.

Anyway, the vertigo is still here and it’s the oddest thing. Everything spins and I feel constantly dizzy and ill. The only way I can get any relief is to lie down, but that’s not really practical when I’ve still got work to do, but I’ve been bravely battling on. If I can just put in another few hours, I have a huge bag of chocolate toffees to chomp on later. And I can definitely eat them lying  down, with my eyes closed…


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Working from Home (Alone)

So, I get sacked from work for having MS and negotiate a two-month notice period working from home  to get my finances in order and find a new job. In theory (forget the unfair dismissal and discrimination), it’s great. A bit of breathing space, a chance to get my head together and move on.

In reality, it’s hard. I miss the buzz of getting up and out the house, feeling like a valuable member of society. I miss my work wardrobe, even though it had shrunk to only black clothes in the last few months, reflecting the depression I was sinking into at work. And I miss packing a little lunch into my work bag. Hell, I even miss making coffee for the others in the office.

To shake things up a little, I decided to go to the local mega-supermarket to check out the end-of-aisle bargains. Exciting! I left the house early, pretending to be a commuter to work. Parked up, picked up a basket and started having a nosy around, ending up in the towel and shower curtain aisle by mistake. Seems the mega-superstore had been given a major refurb without consulting me and half the aisles were now diagonal, not straight. How to confuse an idiot, eh?

So I pick up some mushrooms, 2-for-1 pasta, a pack of reduced turkey mince and a value pack of toothbrushes – well worth leaving the house for. I get home, have a cup of coffee with the cat and sit down at my desk again. Right. Work like a demon for a couple of hours, check on Twitter, then it’s lunch. Sit down with the Loose Women. Then back to work. It’s a pretty lonely day. All my friends are in their proper jobs, the mummies in the cafes won’t talk to me (where can I borrow a baby from?) and the postman hasn’t time to stop for a chat.

I can’t wait to work with other people again. I will fling myself gratefully upon them, greeting them like long-lost friends. I will bring a box of donuts in every Friday. In the meantime though, it’s amazing what you can make from office supplies, isn’t it? To cheer myself up, I string paperclips together (festive), cut sticky smiley faces from post-it notes (funny) and make little monsters from mini-clips (strangely sad). I think it’s time I found myself a proper job…


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Doing The Big Shop

In a bid to get my routine back on track, I got up early yesterday to go for the Big Shop. I can’t seem to plan a week ahead though, so I normally just buy some  meat, vegetables, pasta and rice and cobble meals together on a day-to-day basis, always having to buy extra ingredients each day.

One of my first symptoms of MS was being unable to plan anything at all. My brain just would not compute basic things and I got confused easily. Food shopping was a nightmare. I would stand and stare at the rows of food, unable to decide what I needed and end up grabbing random things and chucking them in my trolley. I couldn’t even follow simple recipes so we lived off baked potatoes and microwave meals for a long while.

But, I was upbeat and optimistic. If I stuck to the basics, I couldn’t go wrong. I parked up, glared at the builder’s van taking up two disabled spaces and marched into the store. I wandered up and down the aisles, panic rising. So many special offers, so many meal deals. Three things for a tenner, five things for a tenner, buy one, get one half price. And Christmas carols playing in the background.

I could feel my brain melting. As I circled the aisles again and again, I couldn’t choose anything. Deep breath. Get some salmon. Get a big bag of potatoes, some carrots, few tins of tuna. Stand for ages in front of the ten pound meal deal. Two starters, two mains, one dessert. Mathematical equation. Is it me or is it hot in here?

Finally, I make it to the till where the checkout woman chucks my food through so fast, I get nervous, drop things, can’t pack the bags. Hands don’t want to hold anything today, but mission is finally accomplished. When I get home, I stagger into the house, laden with bags, rain pouring down and trip over the cat.

It’s bizarre how the most simple, taken-for-granted tasks can become an assault course when you have MS. I was planning to make cottage pie for dinner, but the recipe is confusing the hell out of me and I forgot the Worcestershire sauce…

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