The Work and Family Show 2014 – Shouldn’t we be Balancing Everyone’s Work-Life?

Yesterday I spent the day at ExCel London visiting The Work and Family Show 2014.  I have never been before (the irony being that I never had time before of course), and decided to let fate decide if I should attend by entering a competition for tickets being run by Chiswick Mum on her blog.  Luckily I won and fate let me go (Thank you @Chiswick_mum!).

I was at the show all day and enjoyed some really interesting panel discussions including fine-tuning your job-applications, how to borrow money to start your own business, balancing your life and working flexibly.

Although some of the workshops covered Diversity and Gender issues, The Work and Family Show 2014 doesn’t specifically promote itself as a Women’s event, and a couple of the most interesting panel members were men, so where were all the menContinue Reading →

Girls Night 2 – Five Go Mad at The Rivington

Nothing like a tube strike to test your metal.  We had arranged our night weeks before the announcement that London would be paralysed, but it will take more than lack of transport to stop the Fabulous Five meeting up!  We don sturdy walking shoes and meet up regardless.

We are not the easiest table to sit next to as our topics are wide-reaching and our opinions strong and loud.  Last night we covered a particularly broad spectrum — other peoples marriages, the pros and cons of circumcision and (after eating) some in depth medical discussions about parts of our body that we didn’t know existed 20 years ago and pre-childbirth! Continue Reading →

Thinking of a Career Change in 2014?

 I certainly don’t have all the answers yet I’m afraid, but I can tell you that you are not alone.
       The Institute of Leadership and Management recently carried out a poll of 1000 employees.  19% expected to change jobs this year and of this 39% would like to change career and try something new.  Almost exactly one year ago I had started to come to the same decision.  Like anyone I had sometimes thought about changing jobs before, but this feeling was different. I knew it was time for a complete change.
       These are my first 3 steps for planning career change. You can take these steps now and it will help you start to feel it is at least possible. Continue Reading →

There are Courses…and there are MOOCs

Last week, I started two very different courses and they are worlds apart.

Firstly, I am doing a web design and WordPress course at a Local Authority College.  The ‘Digital Suite’  is a very small room with a very large radiator, belting out heat.  There are ten tiny workstations wedged into the room.  Fortunately, only seven people have signed up, otherwise we would struggle to squeeze in.  We will all be sitting in this tiny room for 3 hours every Monday afternoon, trying to get to grips with the heat from the radiator and building a website.  As with all group courses the pace of study is likely to be determined by the slowest person, and I am hoping it’s not me! Continue Reading →

New Year Hopes Not-Resolutions

I have never broken
a New Year’s Resolution…fact.  Truth is I have never made any to break.  Rather than give up drinking
in January, I did once pledge to drink every day for the whole month.  Something that I achieved way too easily.  However, since I am currently at what can only be described as a turning point in my life, I am allowing myself a few very simple ‘hopes’ for my new life in 2014. Continue Reading →

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.

‘Girls’ Night Out – The Cowshed & Les Trois Garcons

Cows eating grass

The Girls Night Out has meant a variety of things over the years.  Our lives have evolved, and what used to be long drawn out drinking sessions and a stagger to a club, have also evolved.  The Girls Night Out has become a small window of time where we get to be ourselves and unwind.  Yesterday was a real treat.  I have not been splashing out since I stopped work, so felt I had earned a little indulgence.  We kicked off at the Cowshed Shoreditch for a selection of manicures, facials and massages and a few bottles of Prosecco.  2013 is the year of me trying new things and so I came to have my first ever pedicure.
There are two reasons for me never having had a pedicure, firstly i am ticklish beyond belief, but secondly I have a foot phobia and the very thought of my feet being touched by someone else makes me feel a bit …eeeuw.  I don’t touch feet …ever and I try to avoid even looking at feet at all as they make me feel a little light headed and woozy – especially if they are sporting a flip flop. I decided to be brave. Continue Reading →

How Not to Take Your Family to Costa Rica

‘Have you got Esther?’  the lady at the Virgin check-in desk asked.
‘Who’s Esther?’ I asked
‘No…sorry… do you have an E-S-T-A?’ she tried again.
I guess the blank, confused look on my face answered the question.

It was 7.00am at Heathrow on a Good Friday morning.  The airport was relatively quiet and my family was excited to be starting our trip to Costa Rica, meticulously planned more than six months before.  We had a detailed itinerary, and I had made sure that every detail had been covered.  Except I didn’t know about ESTAs.  Our family travel usually takes us East and we hadn’t been to or through the US for a few years.  The check-in desk is not the place to find out that a special licence is needed to travel to the US these days.  The Virgin staff pointed me to the Internet Cafe upstairs and explained that it was possible to buy the ESTAs online and they were often quick to get approved, but that they can take up to 72 hours.  My heart sank. Continue Reading →