Another Bad Good Friday!

‘Have you got everything? Revision? iPod? Swimming Trunks?’

‘Have you packed your chargers? Tennis racquets?’

As usual on the day we go away I am standing in the hall shouting at everyone to make sure that they don’t forget the one essential item that they cannot live without for a few days.

I have been mentally running through lists for three days, checked in to Ocado three times to make sure our food delivery includes Easter Eggs and a ton of carbohydrates for Son 1 and Son 2. A short Easter break, but I might as well be planning a trip to Madagascar. It will be my birthday while we are away and I have added a few little luxuries to my own bag – a nice bubble bath, a new top to wear on my birthday and a trashy magazine.

Last Easter, my Good Friday was spent running around Heathrow trying to get on a flight to Costa Rica as I had rendered myself unable to board the plane with the rest of my family. This Easter would be different. Continue Reading →

Motivation for Monday – 14th April

Nothing like a school holiday to slow down a Career Changer. The last week has been a bit of a struggle and at times I have questioned my decision to give up my old life and start again. Time for a bit of Monday Motivation to help remember why I am doing this!

So, the kids have two weeks off.  My older kids are fettered to their desks supposedly doing revision, but frankly how would I know if they are? A teenager’s bedroom has so many electronic gadgets and communication tools that it is perfectly feasible that they are spending 8 hours a day Snapchatting their mates or watching pointless You Tube videos. I have been de-friended from their Facebook profiles (nothing personal they tell me, just that now I won’t be able to see when they are online…oh that’s OK then). Son 3 is the opposite, needing constant entertainment and interaction with other kids. Any gaps in this entertainment-fest result in him repeatedly wailing ‘Who is going to plaaay with meeeee?!’

For a freelancer this is bad news all round. I managed a few blocks of time last week to do some work – Son 3 at a play date, cup of coffee on my desk, switch on my laptop only to have Son 1 appear for one of his meals or snacks (when he is not Snapchatting he is eating). Slamming around in my office (err kitchen) and trying to squeeze a whole roast chicken between two slices of bread.

BUT, the sun is shining, I still don’t use an alarm clock and here is my wrap up of all the good things that have been going on. Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

Back to School

       Today my 3 sons went back to school.  They all had very different Christmas breaks and all went back in very different moods.  It made me realise just how short childhood is these days.
       Son 3 is 5 years old and in Reception year at school.  I think that there is every chance that if you analysed it, being 5 is just about as good as it gets at Christmas.  He wholeheartedly, 100% KNOWS that Father Christmas is real, and more importantly, he KNOWS that Father Christmas lives at Bocketts Farm in the week before Christmas.  He has no doubts and always gets the thing he most wants for Christmas (this year’s random request was for a toy horse – simple!).  For him the last 3 weeks have been a constant stream of family visitors, special meals, chocolate treats, cinema visits and playdates.  As always the final day of the holidays is reserved for a visit to the Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.  His ‘dinosaur phase’ is now in its third year and doesn’t show any signs of fading. 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 →