Borneo Family Adventure – Here we come….

Borneo Family Adventure Orangutan

Oh No…they’re coming

In the space of just a couple of days I have ticked off TWO of my New Year ‘Hopes’.  Feeling pretty pleased with myself as I have finally booked our Borneo family adventure during the summer.

Now, I accept that spending your redundancy pay on a long haul adventurous family holiday might not seem sensible (ok, it’s not even remotely logical), but here’s my reasoning:

‘You’re a long time dead’

I once worked with a funny, witty Irish guy who used this phrase regularly.  Whenever he was faced with a difficult decision, he chose the more exciting, less practical option, always justifying it by saying:

‘Ah well…. you’re a long time dead’

Before his 30th birthday he died in a helicopter crash and left me this legacy.  Whenever I am faced with a fork in the road I choose the less logical, less sensible option in honour of Sean.

Half Empty Nest

Son 1 will soon be 17.  He has a driving licence.  He shaves.  He is a man.  Pretty soon he will have left this nest and I want us to have one more family adventure before he goes.

We have had some amazing family trips and as I now have more time on my hands I will have plenty of time to check the details of this one, and avoid being left at Heathrow like last year!

I’m A Freelancer!

There are lots of websites out there offering sensible advice on how to become a freelancer.  This blog isn’t one of them!  But if you ever decide to throw all your cards up in the air and start again, then maybe my way will work for you.

Back in January I set myself a few ‘Hopes’ for the year.  Two months in to 2014 and I can check one off.  I have just signed my first freelance contract and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Continue Reading →

Being Five Years Old – Part One

Five Years Old CandleSon 3 is the magical age of 5, just on the verge of turning into a miniature person with his own preferences, ideas and friendships.

Being Five there is a simple rhythm to your life, your school days are all the same, no nasty exams or tests, you just turn up and see what has been laid on for the day.  You don’t need (and can’t use a watch), your days are punctuated by play times and lunch.  At the end of the day (well, 3.30pm), you have a play date or watch TV.  These rhythmic days roll up into school terms that ebb and flow with the seasons. Birthday parties, School fairs, Sports Day.  All come and go, year after year.  Being Five you will have forgotten what the last event was like, so all these events seem fresh and exciting when they come around.

Although I had my two older sons very close together, Son 3 didn’t pop along until more than 10 years later.  Being an older (and now unemployed!) Mum, and having such a large age gap, has made this age more enjoyable and yet more poignant for me.

Short of someone appearing on Dragon’s Den with a ‘Grow Your Own Baby’ kit, I know that Son 3 is my last child. After 30 years of potential motherhood it is over for me.  I can’t remember Continue Reading →

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 →

Who Needs Courses When There’s Networking?

multi coloured men and women networking culture

According to a number of research sources, 60- 70% of all jobs are not advertised and are found through networking or existing contacts.  I have discovered that I like meeting new people and over the last few months I have met many amazing and inspiring individuals.  For someone like me who has sat next to the same person 11 hours per day for the last 10 years, this new found pleasure has had the biggest impact on me.  You can call it networking, but that sounds very clinical.  As I have mentioned before, this is about getting to know people on a different level and sharing the journey. Continue 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 →

Five Job Applications, Five Rejections. Must Try Harder

       Since the start of the year I have been applying for a few jobs in the hope of a smooth transition into new employment.  I have only three parameters that are important.
  • I want to avoid working long hours, five days per week, unless it is for an internship . I have a lot of new experiences and course I want to fit in and I want time to myself and for my family.
  • I do not want to be a tiny cog in the enormous grinding machinery of large Bank or Corporate.  I want to have a voice and feel that what I am doing is important.
  • I want to enjoy the work I do and believe in the product/business. Continue Reading →

5 Positive Changes After Leaving My Job

Umbrellas in the Rain
       I have just come to the end of strange limbo period called Gardening Leave. As of last week I am now Unemployed For Real.  I had been pretty relaxed about things until now, but I woke up on my first day of Real Unemployment and felt different inside.
       I have been employed in some capacity or other since the age of 14, and this past week I have an edgy feeling that something is not right.  When my mind is empty for a few minutes I feel very uneasy, my stomach lurches and for a split second I feel panic.
So, this week I am focussing on the positive changes in my life over the last three months and how my life is slowly improving for the better.

Now I can… Continue Reading →

The Illusion of ‘Choice’..

Large planet, small planet
     This weekend the press produced yet another series of articles about women leaving it too late to have children.  Apparently the Chief Medical Officer is worried that women are postponing having children or choosing not to have any at all.  I feel qualified to comment as I had children at 31, 33 and 43.  I didn’t ‘choose’ when to have any of them, they arrived with very little input from me. I only know of two friends who formally announced that they were ‘trying’ and then got pregnant in less than a year.  ‘Choosing’ when to have children is an illusion – like choosing your preferred state school 4 years later.  Usually there is no choice as such, just a set of planets in erratic orbits suddenly synchronising and producing their very own Big Bang.
       In my Twenties I announced that I didn’t want children.. 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 →