Life changes, but it still goes on

Like most people I do have a side of me that tends to worry about completely unnecessary things but I wouldn’t say that I would get overly anxious. I don’t think I suffer from crippling anxiety issues and can’t even begin to imagine how those who do suffer from this condition. But ever since my dad passed away if feel that my own confidence has taken a bit of a hit. It is entirely possible the way I react to some things is an emotional knock on effect and that over time it will pass but it’s a case of getting a handle on things now.

It’s not even like the things I over think are even that significant for example part of my guttering has decided it would become lose, it’s not dangerous and not likely to fall down. But of course with my over active imagination every time there is a gust of wind and I hear the guttering rattle in the stop it has become loose I think not only will it fall down but it will also rip the fascia off with it!

cartoon_car_01_vector_156346Then there is my car, in all likely hood it is possibly just the way I drove riding the clutch a bit too much. The few times the car has stopped in traffic I thought there was something wrong with the car, every other time the car has been fine with no problems. No warning lights flashed up on the dashboard, took it to the mechanic where it was hooked up to a computer and no warnings flagged Fuel cleanerup there either. Spark plugs have been changed but because no warning signs have been flagged up the mechanics are going in blind as when they drive it they can’t find anything wrong, these are mechanic I trust and have been going to them for years.  Not content I still think the car is just going to stop in the middle of the road, I have now put a cleaner into the petrol tank. For £5.00 it was worth a try, if nothing else it will clear out any gunk from that side of things.

Prior to the above non problem with the car I had to drive to Hertfordshire for a work event. I have driven many places with varying distance by myself and not every been that worried about it. But even my sister asked me what the matter is as I haven’t ever been like this.

I think it’s because my dad was a bit like a safety net, if anything happened or went wrong I would just call him. I know I have RAC breakdown cover but it’s not the same thing, if things broke down in the house I would phone my parents who would come help me figure out what to do. Now I feel like life, fate has thrown me a curve ball where I feel not all but some aspects of my life have been flipped upside down. A lot of things just carry on as normal but then there are the moments when you realise that no things are not normal, you just have to try and create a new version of normal that hopefully doesn’t involve  worrying about situations that realistically only exist in your own head!

Sometimes I think I need to go back to kickboxing, punch and kick out those anxious feelings. Kickboxing was always something I loved to do, if I did no other physical activity that would be the one constant activity I took part in, when dad became unwell that all stopped and even afterwards my heart wasn’t in it. Now I tend to do yoga at home, body balance class at the gym and the odd Zumba class. I have tried out a kickboxing for weight loss aerobic style workout YouTube video at home, it is only 20 minutes long but I had to lay down afterwards the first few times I did the video. Baking helps, that also stopped for a period of time. Gradually I’m getting back into making other people fat again, I mostly bake biscuits to help raise money for charities friends and colleagues are taking part in, recently I baked some biscuits raising money for the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research. I have my regular spot at a school fete next month, it’s worth the hard work and effort that goes in making the biscuits and decorating the table. The whole event from the PTA to the children and their parents is always a great experience, I even have a few regulars.

I do feel that physically I am getting better, eating habits have improved, the exercise though different from before is helping and as I don’t feel like my clothes are suffocating me! Mentally I have my good days and bad days. Sleeping can be an issue at times, one week I’ll go to sleep at a reasonable time other weeks I would could be wide awake until gone 1. I have found that a bedtime yoga YouTube video, I can either do the 7 minute or the 20 minute version that reduce me to mush, ideal when I am trying to wind down to sleep.

I’m don’t expect I’ll ever be the same person I was before dad passed away but I do hope that I’ll be able to take something positive out of this heart breaking life event and the changes I do make will make me a better person.


New trainers; the bouncy feeling

Last month I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy a new pair of trainers. This may not sound like a big deal but I have a habit of wear things until they can’t be worn anymore plus I like my old trainers and still use them (they are still wearable, just tired looking) But I had begun to notice the old trainers didn’t have that bouncy feeling you get with new trainers any more.

If you do any kind of exercise it is generally a good idea to invest in a good pair of trainers, not just because of the bouncy feeling but also the support a decent pair of trainers can provide for your feet and ankles. If your ankles are anything like mine they need all the support they can get!

20170505_202350One of the things that puts me off buying new trainers is the cost of them, they are always so expensive or maybe I’m just tight fisted with money that to me they’re expensive.  Nevertheless off I went to Sports Direct and bought these bad boys, they ticked all the boxes; my size, look nice and in my price range.

Going back to the bouncy feeling, for me personally these new trainers led me into a false sense of security them made me feeling invincible. At the gym I prefer not to focus on how many calories lost but like to set myself goals and see how much distance I can cover in a certain amount of time. Whilst on the treadmill the new trainers made me feel so light that I thought to myself  ‘this is feeling a bit easier than usual’. So of course I thought I’d go a bit faster, I did manage to run a bit further than normal but my heart and lungs didn’t feel like thanking me for it. Then there are my knees, they that suffered the most, dodgy ankles, dodgy knees what’s next? Could it just be a factor I’m getting older? Hmm I don’t think so at least I hope not, am hoping that over time and gradually increasing how much exercise at a steady pace will strengthen my knees or at least not feel like I’ve been crippled.

So when buying new trainers beware of the bouncy feeling. It could give you the feeling that you are an Olympic runner when you’re not quite there. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

How my views on #mentalhealth changed.

Not having suffered from a mental illness I can’t fully understand what someone who battles with such an illnesses goes through on a daily basis and the range of emotions they feel. However since working for a health trust provides both community and mental health services I have been fortunate enough to have met a range of people who live with their illnesses and have won the small battles to be able to live a normal life. I developed a better understanding of what mental health is, it isn’t just about the illnesses that you hear about on the television like schizophrenia, bi polar, depression etc it covers so much more; anxiety, postnatal depression can affect both parents not just the mum, eating disorders, autism also comes under mental health. We need to move away from defining people by their illness, not every person with the same illness will behave the same way. They are people with feeling and emotions first, their illness is secondary.

I have written about mental health from an employment point of view in the past since then mobile phones have evolved to mini personal computers, social media has expanded to the point that the people behind the social sites need to consider how to safe guard their users against bullying trolls, and gradually so have attitudes towards mental health.

I not saying that the entire world is now more open minded and educated but charities such as Time to Change, Mind and Heads Together that have been working endlessly to educate and encourage society to change the way it thinks and behaves towards those with a mental health illness.

Cultural boundaries

In my opinion mental health still has yet to cross over cultural boundaries with some cultures still not understanding or even accepting that mental health illness is real instead believing it can be treated by becoming more religious or is a form of possession. Thinking a person cannot ever lead a normal life but with the right treatment it can be possible. I’m not discounting that religion in some cases has helped bring calmness but it’s not to be used as a way to guilt trip the sufferer into thinking they are being punished by god.

A lot of work is still to be done the Asian community in the UK as it’s about breaking down age old barriers and changing the way older generations in particular think. Saying this credit has to be given as cracks are slowly starting to appear in those barriers, communities are learning and understanding that sometimes things in our heads get a bit jumbled up and that we need a bit of help to make things a bit less blurred.


When I mentioned treatment your mind may have automatically gone straight to medication but this isn’t always the case. Treatment could be a series of counselling sessions in a group or one to one bases in the way of Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Exercise not only to helps to improve both mental and physical health but encourage socialisation. Fitness in Mind in Brentwood run an series of inclusive exercise classes ‘…designed to promote, encourage and provide physical activity as an aid to mental wellbeing.’ The Mind website has a list of alternative options if counselling or exercise doesn’t interest you.

Despite all these efforts it is still difficult for many people to share the demons they are battling with others for fear of being labelled by their illness. Time to Change recently led the campaign #inyourcorner this campaign focused on being there for your friend when they need you the most and also touching on men’s mental health encouraging to let go of the idea that sharing with you have a mental illness is not a sign of weakness.

Mental health awareness week

Mental health awareness week is 8-14 May #MHAW17, there will be events taking place across the country to get people talking and breaking down those walls. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about mental health and how you could support someone whilst they go through a dark patch and to share your own experiences.

Whatever you think mental health illness is may not be true. Don’t be fooled into thinking it couldn’t happen to you, mental health illnesses can affect any one of us at any time. You don’t have to understand mental health sometimes all you need to do is listen, keep an open mind and be supportive because one day it could be you that needs the same in return.

Linked articles

Are employers missing out by not employing people with autism?

Mental Health and Employment



Baby showers; love or hate them?

Baby showers are like marmite, you either love them or you hate them, not sure if there is a middle ground. I attended such an event over the weekend to keep my sister company, though not as painful as I had expected it to be it still wasn’t enough to sway me into the ‘love’ camp.

After a bit of research, ok Wikipedia baby showers though under different names take place across the globe. In the case of the UK we have been influenced by America especially with the games, gender reveal cakes / events and lets not forget there is a baby gift lists where the expectant parent/s will have a list of things they would like bought for their unborn offspring. A list could be seen as being sensible approach so the prospective parent/s don’t get too many baby grows but then it’s also room to take advantage by adding items they would like but know they can’t afford.

Then there are the games;

  •  Pin the dummy on the baby
  •  Whilst blindfolded guess the flavour of the baby food
  • Charades with baby related words
  • Guests bring a picture of themselves as a baby and the pregnant woman has to guess who the adults are

All the while those attending and can / do drink get drunk as a skunk, must be their way of getting through these things.

These things can be expensive not only for the guests but also those organising the event.

  • Food & drink
  • Decorations
  • Things required for the games
  • Yes there are even gift bags to take home which can contain small bottles of bubbles (not alcohol) with blue and pink lids, sweets & popcorn, you get the idea.

I shouldn’t knock these things too much as I have been to some baby showers than have been somewhat bearable but they are not something I would miss. Plus when I was making cakes / cupcakes more regularly I have made baby shower themed ones.

If I am ever fortunate to be blessed with a child I have already told my sister I am not interested in a baby shower. I know, the social butterfly that I am (that was sarcasm) however I would much prefer something like a spa day and food that could be lunch, dinner though at the moment I swaying towards afternoon tea. The idea of being surrounded by hoards of people trying to guess the sex and weight of the baby whilst you are thinking I may need to pee again as this baby is crushing on my bladder. Then there are those who may feel compelled to come and rub my pregnant belly… personal space best to keep out of mine unless invited in.

Apologies to anyone I may have offended and you absolutely love these type of events but in my case if it’s possible I’ll decline the invite to the next baby shower, will just need a good excuse!

Being an adult is expensive

Shrinking Pound

Ever had one of those days, week’s months? It all started off with the car, something I already knew was on the cards and an expense that I was prepared for and had begun the search. Then there was one of the bedroom windows where the lock suddenly broke, the window itself is in good condition but considering it’s age there was the risk that I would have to replace the whole window including frame. Fortunately with a bit of thinking the problem was resolved, the window has a lock and is once again secure.

Could anything else happen? Daft question really when the answer is of course! I got bitten on the thumb by some a creature that resulted in my thumb doubling in size and feeling quite painful to touch, it was like my thumb had developed a parasitic twin! After four days of taking antihistamines and applying antiseptic treatments my thumb returned to normal size and once again functioning. You don’t realise just how important your thumbs are until you can’t use it.

You know the phrase; ‘things happen in three’s’, that isn’t the case here just when I thought I could breathe a sigh of relief and relax, the day I get my new car home the boiler decided it no longer wanted to work. No heating or hot water for 3 days, like my thumb you don’t realise how lucky we are to have basic things like hot water and heat until it is taken away.

I was hoping the boiler could be fixed but considering my recent track record that wasn’t going to happen. Repairs versus the cost of having a new boiler fitted, it made more sense in the long term to have a new one installed. The next topic of issue was how much it was going to cost me; you have to remember I have just bought a car and repaired a window. Not going to lie part of me did crumple and wanted to hide in bed but I wanted to be able to have a hot shower in my own home. I handed over the money that was necessary and it was installed relatively quickly. March has been an extremely expensive month for me, just glad I was fortunate enough to have had the money available for these emergencies.

There is silver lining among all of this, I have a new car that when I drive it doesn’t feel like I am going to lose part of the engine every time I drive over a bump in the road. The window is secure, my thumb has recovered and there is a new boiler that should last a few years. I had to wait until pay day to feel somewhat financially stable at least until next pay day.

Suffering from FOMO?

Who doesn’t like another acronym finding its way into the language as clearly there just aren’t enough? FOMO isn’t new it has been doing the rounds for a while, I just didn’t know what it meant. Though it may sound like it could be a swear word, it isn’t, FOMO is Fear Of Missing Out. So much so that people develop an even more so unhealthy relationship with social media that can lead to anxiety, overstretching yourself to try and go to every event going whether you want to or not just in case you miss out on something interesting. The constant updating of status’s; how babies are able to use the toilet from birth, holiday pictures, going to a high profile, exclusive events is creating a feeling of inadequacy in others the feeling that their lives aren’t exciting or as fulfilling, even though we know that logic dictates that just because those pictures may look great they don’t really tell the whole story.

With easier access to our online profiles through a range of media outlets, you don’t have to wait until you can get onto a computer to post a message, you can tell all your followers what you are doing in real time through an app on your phone. Trying to maintain that kind of image and keep up with others sounds exhausting, it’s no wonder that the constant checking and updating of is creating obsessed, burnt out individuals aka FOMO. Sounds dramatic but think about it, before technology if you felt the green eyed monster rearing its ugly head when a friend shared details of their excellent holiday to the Carribbean you could walk away and forget about it, avoid seeing their holiday snaps. Now it’s smack bang in your face all over your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. There is no escape.

It doesn’t stop with your social circle FOMO is infiltrating the workplace, with the fear of missing out on an important meeting or not being involved in a project even if it isn’t relevant to you. Let’s not forget LinkedIn, got to keep that profile up to date, have people endorse your skills, updating your status etc. Instead of encouraging, supporting, empowering each other indirectly we’re tapping into people insecurities and making them feel low.

I’m bashing FOMO a bit here but I wonder how much of this behaviour is age related with people establishing themselves and figuring out who they are. I’m nearly 40 and am still developing as a person with opinions, interests changing constantly but my relationship with Facebook and LinkedIn is no longer as consistent. Twitter is another story. Even with the social networks shares are going down its popularity slowly waning I am working on boosting my profile and have found myself updating daily and checking to see if my number of followers has increased / fallen. FOMO is like a disease it gets hold of you little by little until you are hooked, its ok I only have this problem with Twitter there is still hope I can wean myself back to a healthy relationship with the network without compromising my own sanity.

Amongst the sea of negativity surrounding FOMO there was a positive response to a question that was posted on Quora and shared on Huffington Post about dealing with FOMO. Don’t let it control you, you control it but taking the positives from other people’s interests and experiences that you wouldn’t have considered before. Take part in things that would have otherwise bypassed you and not just because others are doing it. Use FOMO to develop and create a happier, confident you.
With that outlook who wouldn’t want a bit of FOMO in their life?

Time for a new car

I love my car, I know some people choose not to humanise their vehicles, although my car doesn’t have a name I do think of it as a ‘she’. She has been through a lot with me over the years, the highs and the lows not once faltering, needing the general wear and tear repairs and replacements such exhaust, tyres, wheel bearing. Sadly now the time has come where she is struggling, the girl is a Peugeot 207 having done over 122,000 miles only needing a new clutch last year. At first I thought the suspension on the car was done in, but fortunately that wasn’t the case and she is still safe to drive. I would happily keep her longer but she will eventually need some new front engine mounts & possible suspension rods, all of which will be costly for my car, you learn a bit about cars over time, and a decent mechanic will always explain everything to you. So I have set about on the journey to find a new car, exciting in some ways but could also be compared to wanting to bang your head against a brick wall in frustration.

I have bought cars over the years and have not had any problem with the garages I have bought from but the some of the sales people I came across this weekend confirms all that is said about car sales men. One car didn’t even look like the picture, the engine was filthy and it would have needed four new tyres not forgetting and the worrying lack of paperwork considering the car only had one owner and some service history. It’s common sense to ask about the missing paperwork, the salesperson replied with ‘garages don’t supply paperwork these days when they do a service, they just stamp the book’. Don’t know what mechanic the previous owner used but the mechanics I go to always provides evidence of what work was done and which parts had been changed.

Onto the next viewing. The salesperson was just plain rude and arrogant, all the traits that puts off people dealing with car sales people, didn’t get a good vibe off him at all.

The third place was a breath of fresh air, salesperson was friendly, patient, not intimidating in any way. The car itself, you could tell the garage had taken the time to cleaning the car inside and out just a shame that after a test drive it wasn’t a car I was interested in buying but still a garage who’s website I will keep an eye on to see if anything I like turns up.

Summarising what I have learnt about car buying so far is;

  • Go with your gut instinct, if something feels wrong there probably is something to be concerned about.
  • Check for paperwork be that MOT, service, repairs done on the vehicle. This is the evidence to prove which parts have been changed and what is likely to need work in the future.
  • Do your research. If there is a vehicle you are going to view read reviews about the make, model and year of the vehicle. Everyone’s experience and opinion will be different but you always want to know a bit about the mechanics of the vehicle and if there are any common problems.
  • Stick to your budget. It’s easy to get carried away when looking at cars, try and stick to what you can afford it will save your bank balance in the long run.
  • Take someone with you. It doesn’t hurt to take someone else along with you, they may ask questions that you hadn’t thought of.

The search continues.



Light as a feather naan

Was having chicken kebabs for dinner this weekend and thought what would go nicely with it? Naan of course.

Breads are not my forte but I was feeling brave so with the aid of Google I found this straightforward and easy to follow recipe on I did double and change the recipe slightly; instead of just plain flour I used half plain and half bread flour with an extra tablespoon of yoghurt. The extra yoghurt did create stickier dough; I just kept adding extra flour during the kneading process until I got the consistency I wanted.

20170225_203735The dough need to be left for an hour to rise, I realised mid-way through this hour that I wasn’t going to be using the dough until the evening so put the dough in the fridge so slowly rise. By the time I came to getting the dough out of the fridge it was nearly at the top of the bowl. Knocked the dough back and let it sit on the counter for a bit before I made the individual naans.

20170225_205134I cooked the naans on a tawa but a normal frying pan would work, though I am thinking of cooking them under the grill next time as then I can make a few in one go. I have to admit these turned out20170225_210355 much better than I expected, soft, light and didn’t give you that bloated feeling. I did roll them out a lot thinner than your usual thick naans so they looked a bit more like puffed up roti’s but they tasted like a naan. As they were small and thin they cooked a lot quicker as you can tell I got distracted by something and this one nearly became charcoal.

My family are usually my harshest critics, my sister said they were a bit chewy, not as good as our mums but nice, my mum and brother liked them, can’t please everyone! It could be that the naans were a day old when they tried them but I think my sister was just being difficult.

If you have not ever made naans before then this recipe is one to start you off. Easy to follow and in my opinion they turned out tasting nice without leaving you with a bloated feeling afterwards.

Social personal branding; who am I?

It has been a while since I have written a post about personal branding, so why now? There could be some potential employment changes in the horizon for me which got me thinking about my own digital branding. A lot has changed in my world in the past few years so naturally has my attitude and outlook has as well changes which should be reflected in how I brand myself going forward. First I need to figure how I am going to do this and what type of person I want to show to the digital world?

How I used social media in the past compared to now has changed, I haven’t been as focused on the changes and developments happening in the social media world or how it still plays a significant role in people’s lives, in some cases consuming them. Love it or hate it social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, it has evolved into a world all of its own. I decide what to share and how much online, common sense should still be used even when promoting oneself.

In the past most of my Twitter post were related to the type of job I was in at the time i.e. jobs boards, job searching. Even with my blog I would alternate posts between those that were work related with ones that were linked to what was going on in my personal world.

I have drifted away from Facebook now mostly liking posts that appear in my newsfeed, If I do post something it is usually linked to my job or something I have been tagged in.

My LinkedIn profile hasn’t been touched for several months, only to update my profile with my current employment description and even then that addition doesn’t really provide enough information about the job I actually do. Shame on me, entirely my own fault. Some LinkedIn users would argue that over time LinkedIn has lost its way from what it was originally meant to be; a business networking online platform instead of now being viewed as Facebook for professionals with users commenting not always on the skill of a fellow user but on how they look when they update their profile picture or even the type of picture used. Despite this LinkedIn is still credible and a good way to network, share business experiences, look for a new job or to headhunt a potential future employee. I’ve hyped up LinkedIn a bit here however like other social networks one size does not fit all. In a blog post written by Things Career Related, the writer though an advocate of LinkedIn discusses the possibility that LinkedIn is not for everyone. It is possible that I am becoming one of those people, I haven’t made a firm decision yet about what I want to do with my LinkedIn profile time will tell.

As you can see, I have been working on reviving my blog trying to post something at least once a week. I think I stopped blogging partly due to time constraints but also because I thought I had nothing to write about. Looking back on old posts I realised I do have a lot to say, its the way that I choose to share it. I wrote about a variety of things from baking, to the job sector I was currently employed in, some of it was on serious topics others had a more dry sense of humour tone. It was just a matter of rediscovering the things I enjoyed, discovering new things, topics of discussion that I thought were relevant.

The plan going forward is to continue writing my blog, if nothing else I enjoy writing and blogging is a great way to get some of my thoughts down on digital paper. Surprisingly since spending a bit of time each day on Twitter and sharing articles that interest me I’ve seen an increase in followers, heading in the right direction even with my Twitter bio only being seven words long! Facebook I’ll leave it in the shadows for now visiting it for now. LinkedIn has potential but one step at a time.

So who am I? There are many different sides to me that keep evolving but for now I am another digital world wanderer intrigued by how technology and the virtual world has encompassed our lives, but lets not forget the baker in me without technology and social media I wouldn’t be able to link with other excellent bakers and find some amazing recipes.

Image from

Freedom from old mobile phone network to new one!

After all the dramas with trying leaving my old mobile phone network I have now registered with a new network provider! This calls for a celebration as not only will my monthly bill be lower I also got a new phone as part of the deal. It has been a long time since I have shown any interest in the changing smartphone technology. I use my phone email-1903444_1280for a lot more than just making calls but the quality of the camera, software used hasn’t ever really been something I considered when getting a new phone as long as it did what I wanted that is until I left my old network.

Many moons ago when Nokia phones were in fashion, they were smaller than the original brick mobile phones that weighed down your bags and possibly could have been used as a weapon, they were that bulky. Nokia phones were great for their time, they may not match up to today’s smartphones but one thing they were is durable. mobile-258712_1280You could drop those phones, the changeable phone cases would get chipped but the phone would still work, plus they also had the game snake. This game itself was simple, no fancy graphics, but completely addictive trying to keep that snake going without losing. Contracts were shorter, 12 months. When your contract was due to end either you or the network would be in contact to see what deal you could get and try to get the latest phone which might be smaller and that bit faster than its predecessor.

Calling the provider wasn’t ever a problem, you would find out what the latest deals were and what the provider could do for you. Can’t quite remember but think they would try and price match or do better than their competitors if it didn’t work for you then you left your current provider and move to the new one. All quite straightforward, not the gauntlet that it is today.

Outsourcing call centres / customer services may benefit companies financially but the pressure put on the staff to try and retain customers explains a bit why that are so relentless when you try to leave them that you almost offer to name your first born after them if they let you leave! From my own experience I am glad that I didn’t accept any of the deals on offer before doing my own research about the phones that were part of the package. These days I think most people are either in the Apple camp or the Samsung one, I’m a Samsung girl, I hadn’t even heard of the Samsung A or J series phones. With the aid of good ole trusty Google I set about doing a bit of research. I found that though good phones in their own right and did have many of the same features as the S series the mid / low range phones tended to use older software and the camera used less pixels. It all depends on what you want from your smartphone. Compared to my old S4 mini the S7 is so much faster and you can notice the difference in the camera quality, pictures taken with the S7 are much clearer and less grainy something to do with the extra pixels.

Knowing what I do now about the S , A and J series smartphones you can imagine why I was a bit confused when my old mobile phone network in their refusal to let me leave without a fight tried to tell me that the A5 smartphone was better than the S7. If you want a cost effective phone and monthly tariff and are happy with the features then this is the phone for you but I knew I wanted the S7 so wasn’t too impressed with the sales advisor whilst we went back and forth disputing which phone was better.

Though not without nearly selling my soul the outcome was I got my phone with the network and monthly tariff that suited my requirements I also learnt a bit more about mobile phones and the importance of trying to understand the pixel quality of camera if you want decent pictures. The new S8 and iPhone 8 are due out this year, both phones would be out of my price range but it would be interesting to see what new features both phones will be marketing, maybe they will be able to withstand being drop from an aeroplane or will be able to take pictures underwater!

Images used from