Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Guess what...?

We have a new home!


Drop by and visit the fruits of my toil. It turns out, designing & building your own website when you have no previous experience in either...is tricky. But I did it! Just goes to show that anything is possible if you try (3 times, at least!) and have access to Google, Tech Support, an emergency credit card and unlimited amounts of tea & coffee.

Ponder on, People!

And don't forget you can still join the fun on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, InstagramGoogle+. And you can see what I'm up to on LinkedIn too.


Sunday, 25 January 2015

Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Cold - Us Against the Snot!

Unfortunately, it's snot-season again. And that sucks because no matter what you do, you'll probably catch a cold sooner or later.

To make matters worse, Yale University have just published research which is only going to encourage your mum to add a verse of "I told you so" to the usual refrain of "You'll catch a cold going out like that". Yes, apparently the common cold - rhinovirus - thrives in a cold nose. Quite how we are supposed to keep our noses warm without wrapping a scarf up to our eyeballs, I don't know!

What I do know is this. When you catch a cold, there are a few things you can do to make the whole sticky misery that little bit easier to handle:

  1. When you feel that first nasty scratch at the back of your throat, drink vinegar. The best option is usually to go for Cider Vinegar but I have resorted to Wine Vinegar when that was all I could find in the back of the cupboard. Don't go knocking it back, just one or two dessertspoons is plenty. The science behind it is the vinegar's virus-killing properties.
  2. Drink lots of fluids. And lots! Don't worry if your appetite dwindles - that's only natural. Eat whatever you fancy though, just to keep your energy levels up. But the most important thing is that you are drinking. The fluids seem to help flush out your system and also replace the fluids you are losing through the copious amounts of snot your nose is producing.
  3. Manuka honey sounds like some hippy remedy, about as useful as dancing round daisies. However, it is jam-packed with scientific goodies. The bees that make it gather pollen from the tea tree which makes the honey anti-septic, anaesthetic, anti-fungal...you name it. There are as many who discredit the evidence as produce it but I find it helps and that's enough for me. A good dollop in a mug with some slices of lemon and very hot water is like an enormous hug in a mug - anything else is a bonus.
  4. Pop some cold & flu tablets. They don't need to be expensive - you'll only be paying for the brand marketing - most of them have the same ingredients anyway. They work by drying up excess fluids in the body. However, they aren't great for everyone. Some people find they just make their heads feel like they are filled with glue instead of snot. For others, they work wonders. They are a big no-no if you happen to be a breastfeeding mother though - last thing you need is your milk supply drying up!
  5. Don't blow your nose. Wipe away anything that makes its own way to the exit, but blowing it will only block your sinuses. I'm not sure how - maybe it just messes with the internal pressure. Or perhaps it leaves the sinuses inflamed. Either way, be kind to your poor nose and treat it to the softest thing you have to hand. It sounds gross but you can't beat a proper hanky. The sort your granny used to give you for Christmas. Have a look at the back of the wardrobe - bound to be a packet loitering somewhere.
  6. Stay away from the doctor's surgery at all costs. They can't help you anyway - it's a virus, remember, antibiotics only kill bacteria. You'll simply leave yourself open to picking up everything else that's hanging around in the waiting room. If you need advice on treating your symptoms - other than this blog, of course - speak to a pharmacist.
  7. There is virtually nothing better than Olbas Oil, in my humble opinion. Anyone who knows me personally will be quite familiar with the little puff of menthol air emanating from my person when I have a cold. Go easy with it at first - it's strong. Just pop a couple of drops onto a tissue/hanky and keep that in your pocket. You can waft it around under your nose for a faster effect! If you want the absolute best treatment ever, get yourself in a steamy shower and splash the Olbas Oil around the walls/doors. Epic!
  8. Don't forget to give yourself a break. It's easy to be dismissive - "It's just a cold" - but try to remember that your body is using energy to fight a virus. Take things easier than usual to give your body a chance to recover.
  9. When your head is bunged up entirely, get up. Change rooms, floors or get outdoors. For some reason, it works. Change of air (or maybe altitude!) clears your head, at least temporarily!
  10. When you get to the last stage of your battle against the snot-monster, you're bound to pass through the coughing chapter. It sucks. Some of the above will help. And if it keeps you awake at night, spread a layer of Vicks Vapour Rub on the soles of your feet (and a pair of socks too). And sleeeeeeep.
So there you have it. What else works for you? What's the weirdest suggestion anyone's ever made - whether it worked or not?


Monday, 12 January 2015

Where to next...?

Sometimes...you hit a wall.

Maybe you can't decide if it's shorts weather. Perhaps there's a gift to be bought but you'll be buggered if you have any ideas. Did you make a New Year's resolution to blog every day and don't know what to say one week in?

Or maybe it's your life.

Maybe you're speeding towards that wall with no idea how to avoid it. You can't even be certain where it is. It's somewhere up ahead - you can definitely make it out - but there's no knowing how long you have before you go hurtling into it. That's where I am. And it's scary.

I had a baby - as you do - in June 2012. I took my maternity leave with the intention of returning to the job I thrived in, the people I loved working with and the clients I'd forged relationships with. Yes, I was looking forward to the break - I think I needed to step off the wheel for a while (and onto that of sharing life with a newborn again - hardly a rest!) ;) It was a tough thing to do in so many ways, especially in an environment where things changed so much and so quickly - Who would have gone by the time I came back? What new projects would have been created? Would there be a new position for me?

I will never forget the intense feeling of loss that lasted for many months when the company closed the office. It wasn't the fact that I found out on Facebook that hurt me the most. It wasn't the fact that my only chance of returning would be to accept a role at the head office and subject myself and my family to at least four hours travelling per day. It wasn't, therefore, the weeks of inevitable negotiation of my redundancy terms. It was gone. Our office - our team - the heartbeat of the whole company - the people - the silly traditions - gone. There was nothing that could be done to bring any of that back. Moving to another office - as some had done - wasn't going to be anywhere near the same. There was nothing I could do about it. The announcement was made on a Friday afternoon, effective Monday morning. Done.

It may seem melodramatic to assimilate an office closure with a death. But that's just what it felt like. There are seven stages of grief and that is what I went through. I didn't realise at the time, but it is so clear to me now.

I was in shock for such a long time. There was no Denial phase for me - it was definitely done and dusted and I knew that straight away. But it took months before I got angry. And once I did, it didn't last very long. Then there were tears. And eventually...it was over.

I went on to have another baby - at 35 there didn't seem much sense in finding a new job, settling in again, carving a career for myself, building a reputation, forging relationships and then putting it all on hold for maternity leave again. 

Truth be told - I just wasn't ready to look for another job. The idea of working somewhere else seemed entirely implausible. I knew nothing would measure up to what I'd had before. I still carried a torch that I wasn't yet ready to cast aside.

So here I am.

The baby is now nine months old and racing towards that point where he will rely far less on me for sustenance, care and comfort. In just a few months he will be supping cow's milk and my feeding will be no more than a comforting habit and little snack, no doubt. There will be far less holding me back.

What am I going to do then? Unfortunately being a stay-at-home mum doesn't pay well enough for my liking. As a household, we really could use another income. As an individual, I need something else to challenge me. Not that my three children aren't a challenge - far from it - but I'm just not good enough to face that same challenge every day!

I'm still not convinced I'm ready to extinguish that flame that still flickers inside me. Maybe I never will be. Perhaps I could start my own business instead. But what would I do? Yes, the possibilities are limitless but with that comes a total lack of direction. And that's assuming I can find the time and discipline I would need to try working for myself and looking after the children.

I don't know exactly where that wall is...but I know I'm heading for it. Will it break me in to a thousand pieces? Or will it me the making of me somehow?

I wish I knew.

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Thursday, 4 December 2014

Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall?

Well, are you?

Apparently, we are not.

Inevitably December's arrival has heralded the moment to dig out the six - yup, I said six - boxes of Christmas tat from the back of the garage. And today my 2 year old witnessed the rediscovery of many items; both the treasured and the tired!

The red and green baubles had been sifted, those missing their ties cast aside to make way for those managing to remain intact for the last 11 months whilst lying dormant in a cardboard box. How do they get in to such a pickle? I blame the fairy lights.

Eventually, he happened upon several handmade decorations given to us in recent years by a very clever crafting friend. A cupcake. A gkittery Christmas tree. And what he instantly declared, with a somewhat scrunched up nose, to be q "smelly sock".

That boy makes me chuckle.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

How early is too early?

I'm all for easing in gently - taking your time and getting prepared without all the hustle and bustle. Otherwise, the stress takes away from the fun that can be had.

But I have my limits!

I took this photo in ASDA on...wait for it...5th August!

That's the middle of the summer holidays - in fact, it was before we'd even been on our family summer holiday.

What's that all about?!

When do you start preparing for Chrimbo? Where is the line between getting a head start and ruining the whole season by making it last half the bloody year?

Don't be that guy, ASDA. #GetYourFestiveOn but not until your tan has faded!

#GetYourFestiveOn       #PondersNeverEnd

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Lights! Camera! CHRISTMAS!

It would seem that not everyone realises there are still some 23 days until Christmas. Take Rio de Janeiro for example. Not at all easing into the season - oh no - they just leapt in with both feet.

And it was spectacular!

If you can't see the embedded clip, click here http://youtu.be/F55mhaCYxXg

As you stand in the drizzle around a spindly fir, waiting for the mayor/minor local celeb/local newspaper competition winner to switch on the much-anticipated 27 fairy lights, try not to be jealous.

#GetYourFestiveOn however you can. We can't all be Rio!

#GetYourFestiveOn       #PondersNeverEnd

Monday, 1 December 2014

Wo! Ho! Ho!

I'm doing it. I'm going to attempt another month of daily posts and, as it's December, things are about to get festive.

Today I put together an afternoon snack to combat my incredible sleep deprivation. And it looked like this. All I needed was a sprig of holly on my tea and it'd be Christmas on a plate.


Join me for a ride on Santa's sleigh straight to Christmas Day and #GetYourFestiveOn
Easing you into the season, one mince pie at a time

#GetYourFestiveOn       #PondersNeverEnd