I’m doing a MOOC..yes a MOOC

I am allowing myself plenty of time to achieve my career change and one of the luxuries I am giving myself is the chance to do some courses.  Some are aimed at improving my skills and make me more employable, some will be an attempt to reignite my long-defunct creativity, but one is just for my own self-indulgent pleasure.
Next week I am taking part in a MOOC – a Massive Open Online Course.  The Introduction to Forensic Science course is being run by the University of Strathclyde and will be the first course to be run by Futurelearn, a private company owned by The Open University.  There is no formal qualification, the courses are purely for pleasure and for me this is simply an itch that I needed to scratch.  Continue Reading →

2013 – What did I learn?

I didn’t expect much from 2013, just another year grinding away in the same old job 11 hours a day, a bit of commuting and then all my ‘real life’ squeezed in to the periphery.  I knew I was fed up,  I even hoped that I would be made redundant to spur me into changing my life, but each round of redundancies left me untouched, sitting, staring at my wall of computer screens.

My back ached all day, every day, from being slumped in front of a screen for more than 20 years.  For 18 months I had physio for my knees, knees that simply didn’t work anymore as my legs had forgotten how to work properly.  My physio pointed out that I wasn’t alone, I am part of the first generation who have sat still for decades, we are the guinea pigs that prove that technology might save time and headcount, but when you reach the point of conducting your whole life from a screen then you are no longer living your life…or using your body parts.

Christmas Cake

OK, so it falls short of sky-diving or bungee-jumping, but as I am trying new things I decided it was high time I baked my first Christmas cake.  Considering I spend as much time shopping for food and preparing it as I do sleeping, it’s odd that I haven’t made one before.  My 5 year old son wanted to help and dragged his little step ladder over to the kitchen island to ‘help’.  As he is getting to grips with his maths these days, the digital scales could have been educational, except he decided that all measurements needed to be done to the gram, so the weighing took a while!  Chopping the glace cherries was a thankless task as he ate them as quickly as I could chop them, but we got there in the end.  He helped me mix it all up and best of all the three tablespoons of brandy in the recipe made him turn his nose up at the leftover cake mixture – a bit of a treat for me as I don’t normally get near the bowl.

Top tip I had been given was to tie brown paper folded four times around the outside of the cake tin to stop the cake burning.  Hadn’t heard of that before but it worked a treat!  Pretty pleased with the results.

Picture of Christmas Cake
If you fancy having a go, this is the recipe I used for a 9 inch cake:

Continue Reading →

Mince Pies…and Cardboard Boxes

      Enough procrastination, and on to the first phase of my career change project.  I quickly realised that voluntary work was going to be a way to sharpen up any ‘real world’ skills I might have, to have fun and to widen my network.  What I didn’t realise was that working for free is a very competitive marketplace and I would be the oldest intern in town!  My CV was so dull that I was forced to delete the phrase ‘transferable skills’ as it slowly dawned on me that these seemed a little sparse.  I knew it was important to feel inspired by the project or cause if I was going to be a useful volunteer, and after a few weeks of trawling through Escape The City, Enternships, and CharityJob I found the ideal project: The Mince Pie Project 2013. Continue Reading →