Monday, 9 October 2017

Ailsa Burns does a runner

September. What a month! She usually brings a feel of excitement - new school shoes, the prospect of cosy nights in as the dark nights approach faster, the fact that the sun will soon bugger off and I no longer have to worry about pasty bare legs and carting around a bottle of factor 60!

But September was quite an emotional time this year, one reason being that this lovely lady decided that the life of a Library Account Developer (LAD) was no longer for her and that working at IOP Publishing is just not relaxing enough, so she opted to pursue her dream of becoming a yoga teacher and will soon be setting up her own business after doing her teacher training at a beautiful retreat in Spain. So as sad as it was to lose such a kick-ass member of the team, it's also actually quite nice to watch a friend chase what she really wants and make it become a reality. Fair bloomin' play!

Ailsa Burns, a bubbly kinda' character

As her line manager it was my duty to carry out the traditional leaving speech (get a load of colleagues to stand around her desk, say embarrassing things about her, shower her with gifts and make her open them awkwardly in front of the group, that type of thing), so to commemorate her succumbing to the call of the yoga beast (yes, that's a real thing), I worked this little poem into her presentation:

There was once a wee lassy called Ailsa, who was IOP’s top LAD,
Who worked hard, and then handed in her notice, which made the team really sad.
She brought marketing prowess and glitter and threw them around in an effortless manner,
So much so that all her achievements couldn’t even fit on a flexi banner.

Bunch of LADs

She toured around parts of Europe and got into lots of hilarious capers,
Which mostly involved helping libraries promote their ebooks and journal papers.
She impressed customers across the continent, because she’s as bright as a button,
And could even cope with the terrible jokes when on tour with Ian Sutton.

She sampled pizza all over Italia during work adventures with Fran,
And frolicked with the stars in Milano, well… that Made in Chelsea man.
She spent a whole day feeding Bristol, building a pond with pure man power,
Dug up the mulch and planted the shrubs, and made James Dacey eat a flower.

Feed(ing) Bristol (and James)

Her marketing plans were exceptional, her infographics had real appeal,
And she even managed to get her head round the Austrian offsetting deal.
She rescued institution’s subscriptions when their downloads took a tumble,
And even being paired with Lukas Piasecki couldn’t make this warrior crumble.

At the sales and marketing Belbin day where we played the ‘would I lie to you’ game,
Ailsa opted to tell all the group, about her five minutes of fame,
Where she starred in a yoga video, and had to hold the most difficult pose,
But all Davide was interested to know about was if she was wearing any clothes.

But outside of her IOP Publishing life, a different Ailsa emerges,
A fashion model, a DJ queen, and a blogger with ethical urges.
Yes, there’s many a project or good cause that this fab woman wants to tackle,
And if you ever need to track her down, just simply follow her cackle.

You spin me right round baby!

She is the girl who invented disco, and at karaoke she was a real hoot,
But come down time she was often found playing The Sims or Crash Bandicoot,
She’s a friend of the birds and the mighty red panda, who has the furriest face,
And she’s a pretty big fan of humans too, especially on Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

All of the glamour

So now that the news has finally sunk in and we’re just about over the shock,
It’s time to say bye to our Ailsa, the pure, beautiful fairy on the fairy rock,
May we wish you all of the luck in the world as your new journey gets underway,
But please leave us a little of your sunshine, because we’ll miss you every day.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Hollie turns 30!

It's quite a rare thing to have such a close friend who you simply cannot fault. I mean, Hollie Steele is practically flawless! She has never irritated me (despite living together), we've never had a cross word (despite living together) and I feel nothing but joy and delight when in her company, be it just the two us, with her fabulous husband John or our wider 'Bristol ladies' crew (and I'm sure that will remain when mini Steele arrives at the end of this month!)

So when this lovely creature turned 30, I wrote her a little poem to let her know how awesome she is. And here it is:

I know a luscious Blondie who is just the real deal
Whenever I am with her it's always such a squeal
When it comes to getting jokes she can be a potato short of a meal
But she's always such a bloomin' delight is our gorgeous Hollie Steele.

Perverts on Sitges beach

She's travelled the world like a feather on a breeze
Yet her favourite meal is still soup with grated cheese
Her salsa moves and 'flashing' bring grown men down to their knees
And even her Charleston boogie would make Craig David wheeze.

The real 'flash' dance!

Her music taste is exquisite (remember the Artful Dodger show?!)
Her walking speed is more than enough to make Usain Bolt look slow
And it's truly been a frickin' delight watching this little beauty grow
While she's maintained her status as being one of the most wonderful folk I know.

Beauty and the bump


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Lbeej becomes a bit more grown (but not in the height department!)

Laurie Beth Jones is somewhat of a contradiction. She is small, sure. But she has the largest breasts of any individual I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Despite possessing these fabulous assets and it seeming like they're the biggest thing about her, she also has a rather sizeable brain and a whole lotta heart, which gives those bazoomas a good run for their money in size.

LBJ. With wine. Standard.

Here's some more information about her: 

I know a lovely lady, Miss L B Jones,
Who very rarely gripes and very seldom moans,
She has many interesting stories and fascinating tales,
Mainly about celebrities from her home land of Wales.

She has lots of pretty dresses and always looks neat,
Is feisty and fiery, but somewhat petite,
Her size is very similar to the people what borrow,
Yet oddly she’s a dead ringer for Benicio del Toro!

She’s often found in the pub and is always first at the bar,
Is a ‘strident feminist’ but has never burned a bra,
Which really is (for all concerned) probably for the best,
Cus she needs all the help she can get to support her humongous breasts!

Today it is her birthday so we’ll celebrate with flair,
And hope it doesn’t turn out to be a ‘Laurie’s chocolate nightmare’,
So happy birthday little’un, I hope your day’s the shizz,
Let’s crack out the cake and candles and raise a glass of fizz!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Ryder's 'Welcome to Earth' party

To welcome Lisa's little bundle of joy into the world officially, a naming ceremony was held in the garden of the Hassell residence with bunting, baking, booze, babies, birthday books and a bit of brooding from some of the Bristol bunch.

Man I luuuuurve the cake!

As one of Ryder's 'mentors', my duties included writing and reciting a verse (or seven) for the little man's special day, and here is how it went:

They say that having a baby is the greatest thing you’ll do, 
And nothing could be more important than recreating a part of you, 
A child is the greatest of all the gifts that life could ever bestow, 
And there is no greater pleasure than watching that new life grow.

But with the joy and happiness there comes a couple of snags, 
Not just the sick, the sleepless nights and endless nappy bags, 
But there’s a scary fact that to this day has been announced… well never, 
And it pains me to have to tell you my friends, that a baby is yours forever!  

Mentors, munchkin and mum

Now this might come as quite a shock and cause a bit of stress, 
But no baby that’s ever been brought by the stork came with a ‘return to’ address, 
So when your little bundle arrives, you’d better hope that it has some appeal, 
‘Cause once it arrives at your front door, it’s pretty much a done deal.

As daunting a fact as this may be, there is a saving grace,
The love that swells inside your heart when you look at your baby’s face,
Their beautiful eyes, their soft lipped smile and baby button nose,
Make all the hard work seem teenier than tiny baby toes.

When Lisa announced that her lady oven was busy baking a bun,
Excitement spread amongst all she knew about her forthcoming son,
The best thing Lisa would ever create was growing deep inside her,
The gorgeous baby we all adore, our precious little Ryder.

May you grow up to be a wonderful person with a beautiful heart and mind,
A courageous soul who’s not only strong, but sensitive, warm and kind,
The type of fella who everyone loves and wants to be their best chum,
And may you have just an ounce of the kindness from within your beautiful mum.

Let’s raise a glass to Ryder, the coolest kid on the block,
‘Cause I have the strangest feeling that this little boy will rock!
May the lights that guide you on your path be bright as a summer’s day,
But should you encounter any moments of dark, we’ll be here to guide the way.

Amazing Inky Goodness birthday book

© Holly Purcell 2012

Monday, 9 July 2012

Happy Birthday Helen Hockenhull

My Auntie Helen is one awesome lady, but her life has its challenges.

When she became an English teacher at my secondary school, a group of kids found her surname so unfathomable that they decided to call her 'Mrs Helicopter'. It's not as if you can blame them, I bet even the infamous 'Midland's Today' reporter Bob Hockenhull has had his fair share of problems booking restaurant tables!

Bob - a legend in the Midlands

Then there was her run of bad luck with John Lewis, who seemed unable to accept her existence and wouldn't deliver her new kitchen goods.

But luckily she always has me to give her a helping hand when it comes to clothes shopping...

There was a lovely lady, Mrs 'Helicopter' Hock,
Who of all the nifty Nanas, knew the greatest ways to rock!
The original 60's diva, a real hippy queen,
Who was partial to a Pinot and the 'my arse' star Sean Bean.

She had all the latest music and the best of all the books,
And as our lady got older, even better were her looks!
Her heart was big and open and her smile was always sunny,
But John Lewis could never deliver her goods, 'not even for ready money'!*

Her wardrobe grew as years went by along with her lust for life,
And when she went shopping with her lovely niece, she looked like a 'vicar's wife',

Retro photo

So Happy Birthday Auntie Helen from the one with hair of ginge,
May all your birthday wishes come true, and enjoy the Edinburgh Fringe!

*From The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

© Holly Purcell 2012

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Happy Birthday Nicol McClellend (The girl who has no nose)

Nicol is an interesting character.

Although she is a rather swell individual, Nicol has had to work pretty hard to overcome some serious challenges in her life.

Birthday bestie

Not only does her nose resemble a bit of morph’s foot stuck on as an afterthought, but she also thought the world was black and white before colour television. Then there was the concern that feeding a tuna sandwich to a seagull was forced cannibalism. She also didn’t know how to pronounce her own name until I pointed out the lack of an ‘e’ meant she shouldn’t be calling herself ‘Nicole’.

All this aside, she’s actually one of the smartest people I know, and today is her birthday. WOO!

Here’s a birthday poem for Nic (I’ve actually cheated a bit here as this is last year’s ditty, but I have changed my name to ‘Ginger Purcell’ on Facebook as part of her present today so she can’t complain):

There was once a young lady called Nic,
Whose face everyone wanted to lick,
Her eyes were bigger than the sun, she had a nice shapely bum,
But her nose was just merely a trick.

She loved lounging and ‘being all cute’,
Everyone thought she was ‘a hoot’,
But when you’d like to watch telly, she’d get right on your nelly,
And put the bloody thing onto mute.

Falafel was her most favourite snack,
Her best friend in the world was called Zack,


She was an advocate of karma, read works of the Dali Lama,
And an ambulance story she’d never lack!

She was patriotic like the St George’s flag,
Always sported a designer handbag,
In her clothes she looked yummy, stolen off a Gap dummy,
Or with ‘American Apparel’ on the tag.

Today marks the birth of this lass,
And the well wishes are coming en masse,
So have a smashing day, and I’d just like to say,
You might be older but you’re still a piece of ass!

© Holly Purcell 2012

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The arrival of Lilly Grace Garratt

Following their glorious wedding the year before, we were all very pleased to hear that Anna and Steve didn't hang about when it came to creating a new addition to their little family.

Lilly joined us in March last year, and her arrival was officially announced to the world whilst her Mum was still off her face on drugs (from the birth!) and couldn't spell her name properly on the mass text message. That aside, everything about her appearance on the planet was pretty darn perfect.

As the presents had already been dished out at the baby shower, I decided to take along the gift of a little poem when meeting Lilly for the first time, and here's how it went:

There was once a tiny lady, Miss Lilly Grace Garratt,
Who had a nose like a button and a squawk like a parrot,
She had little blue eyes and a wide mouthed yawn,
And made everyone happy the day she was born.

Lilly, photographed by Anna Stretton

Her mummy and her daddy really loved her very much,
So did her fake aunties, like ‘The Chief’ and ‘L Hutch’,
Her darling little happy face held the attention of all in the room,
And she made her auntie Nikki cry before she even left the womb!

She got presents by the bucket load (including offensive bibs!)

Don't know who this gift was aimed at

Her room and wardrobe were so pimped out she could have appeared on Cribs!
She had piles of toys coming out of her ears and many a pretty dress,
But luckily nobody had gone out and bought the latest album from JLS!

Most people guessed that she’d be huge in the ‘string and mummy’s bump’ game,

This wasn't meant to be insulting

And just as her Auntie Holly had hoped her hair was red as a flame,
She received lots of pretty pink baby gifts, which for a girl is just the ticket!
Unless her daddy gets his hands on her first and makes her a fan of the cricket.

May angels guard you on your path, and cherubs protect you from harm,
And may you take after your beautiful Mum with her super warmth and charm,
Let’s hope your days are full of fun, happiness and just being silly,
‘Cus nothing in the world could be too good for our gorgeous little Lilly.

Lilly, Lillykins, Fredlet

© Holly Purcell 2012