Tag Archives: secklowsounds

The experience of work

So on the show recently, we discussed business, and different aspects there in, and I wanted to look at unpaid work, and whether it is something you should seriously consider/does it actually help. We looked at volunteering on an earlier show, and I am no stranger to the concept of volunteering. I have done it in one form or another over most of my life.

But there is a difference between volunteering and interning – something which has been in the news for a while. In a job market where there are plenty of graduates and people with a lot more experience, it really does seem to be an employers market. But there is a difference between what is expected from a volunteer and an intern.

work2

Interning is more or less the same as the work experience weeks you will have done while at school and may have been part of your course at college or university. It is a chance for your to shadow people, to get an idea of what the job actually entails, experience the business environment. You gain valuable insight to the company, as well as training that can stand you in good stead for seeking a job. But internships should not be long term. They are an excellent way of getting your foot in the door, of giving the employer a chance to see if you would be a good fit for the company.

Now not to sound too negative, getting work experience is a great idea, it gives you a chance to learn new skills, a chance to network and figure out if the job is right for you. But you need to make sure that you are not being used. An internship should be a week, 2 at the most. It needs enough time for you and your potential employer to figure out if it is a good fit. However, having an internship does not imply there is a job at the end of tit, It is equally likely that the company has a busy time ahead and needs some extra hands.

work3

Remember you don’t have workers rights as an intern – this is why they are very short term arrangements. The moment there is a sign of a contract or agreement for full time hours and or responsibilities – you need to ensure that you are being paid, at the very least the minimum wage. No matter how much you want a job, don’t allow the employer to push you into a situation you can’t afford to be in.

But there is another angle you might want to think about – giving your time for free, because is something you love. It doesn’t need to be big, is a friend might be setting up a new business and you can help them with advice or an extra pair of hands. Or maybe you can help at an event, there are many different roles that need to be filled at fetes, runs, festivals. Could you run a stall, or a work shop, even be a steward? You can look at this as an opportunity to network, maybe get paid next time. If you don’t have strong enough skills or confidence to want to charge to your time, doing things for free can give you a boost and change to practise your skills.

work4

If you are starting, or running a small business, you will not have enough money to pay staff, don’t be afraid to ask your friends, put a shout out, discuss your business with people. You never know who might be able to give you a hand, often people will be able to give at least a little of their time for free. Just make sure you don’t push too hard or you might end up with people being resentful.But, and this will sound more like me, the self titled Social Media queen that I am (I love social media… its amazing!) – reach out. You never know what skills or connections people have. Often people forget as well and need a nudge.

What I would say, don’t jump into something feet first. You are going to need to have an income for at least the first 2 years, so take your time and gather skills and knowledge as well as the savings to help you on your way. If you are serious, make sure you are doing something you love, but not at the risk of ruining what you love. Don’t pick something you enjoy to unwind relax, or take a time out as a new career. Unless you have something else to do in the same situation, you will not only hating something you previously loved but potentially burnt out.

A signpost directing work life balance

Well to round up as I have covered a little ground here – if you are looking to change your career path, see if you can get a little work experience, shadowing. You can do this within the company you already work at. It is often encouraged and will help you make decisions about whether it is right for you. It will mean losing out on free time in the short term but will have long term benefits. Even if you realise it wasn’t for you, at least you know!

Next, offering your time for free – do you have a skill, a hobby, knowledge that you can pass on? There are so many places to do this, charities, local communities, schools, church groups often rely on the help of volunteers. It is important to make sure you are CRB/DRB checked if working with children. It is also worth making sure you know who is covering insurance, for example if you are going to help out at a local Family Fun Day by doing a workshop – are you already insured? Will the organisers cover you? Yes, it is boring but better safe than sorry! Even if you don’t feel you have a skill or knowledge to offer, ask around and see if there are any ways you can help out! It is a great way of getting to know new people, feel like you are part of the local community and do a little net working!

work7

Lastly starting a business – this is a biggie! It isn’t something i have every done, and therefore not the best person to ask. I have an earlier blog post covering help and advice from some very talented friends of mine. Remember, never be afraid to ask for help, you never know how might be able to help! Networking is fun, don’t overload people though. Make sure that you are making time for yourself and still have time outside your new business venture to unwind – starting your own business takes a lot of guts, it is ultimately rewarding though! Never be afraid to ask for help and advice though!

Have fun, remember, this is not the employers market, don’t let that attitude make you undervalue yourself! Don’t be afraid to try something new, it may not work out but equally you might find a new love! Have fun, enjoy yourself! 

Click Here to listen to the radio show on Mix Cloud 🙂

work6

 

Visible mental health

I know, what am I even talking about! Mental health isn’t visible… isn’t that the problem? Or when it is something you notice… do you understand what the symptoms are, what the ticks, clues are. How to help or react? Is is something you worry about in yourself or a family member.

mh6

I was tasked with looking at whether social media is good for mental health as my feature in this weeks radio show. I normally do a shout out for people’s comments or stories for the show amongst my friends .. but I stopped. This was one subject I just didn’t feel comfortable asking of people. And yet I am a campaigner for visibility in mental health. Why then would I not want to offer people a platform to discuss their own experiences.

Because often the reason I know that someone else even has a mental health condition who isn’t already pretty close to me, is because it is being discussed in a closed group, in a safe environment. I want to normalise mental health discussions and I want to help people talk about it. And being able to discuss it in a safe group is the first step. I have writen a blog with my own struggles, but I am also secure in the knowledge that many of you don’t know me. And that you won’t bring it up with me. Because frankly when someone tells you they suffer with a mental health condition you want to know how to treat them. Are they telling you because they need to share it with someone or because you have been treating them in a way that isn’t cohesive with their condition and they want to help you understand so you can change how your interact with them ? Do you know anything about the condition, are you going to research it. Do you ask questions?

mh2

One thing I do continuously find myself battling with personally, is what do you share with people, I mean at what point to you stop being a little ‘weird’ or ‘quirky’ and start becoming a liability. When do people start looking at you with other eyes, when do they stop mentioning things, inviting you to things, at what point to you drop to the bottom of the list because you have ‘issues’.

Social media is a wonderful thing in this respect, because it stops you feeling so isolated, you can join groups, you can find people who understand, who have been on similar paths, who have words of wisdom or advice, somewhere free of judgement, or at least if there is, it isn’t from someone you need to interact with again. It can even just be a place to vent away from prying ears. Social media is fantastic as it has broken barriers, it has opened doors, it has meant that geography is just numbers on a map, that you don’t have to go out to talk to someone, that you have potentially people to talk to at a moments notice, if needed.

mh3

I love social media for these reasons, but on the other hand, it is incredibly isolating, not only for you, but for those around you. While you are emotionally investing in your new friends, who may live thousands of miles away, you are increasing the distance with your friends and family, co workers, peers, who are in close proximity but feel as if they are in a different galaxy. And conversely, may be able to share some of those same fears, and hopes that you are pouring into your virtual friendships.

Now, I am the first to say that the internet is not evil, it is a great tool, and does good things, but it can’t and won’t replace being able to pick up a phone, and invite someone out for a coffee. There is nothing really that will replace that social interaction and sometimes you genuinely need that human contact. If you are feeling isolated, or have moved to a new area, friends have moved into different phases of their life and don’t have time to meet, social media can be a great tool to meet new people. There has long been jokes about it being a dating site. Have a search on local groups, activities, see if there is anything you can join, be it a hobby you already have, an exercise class, or new skills. Being on social media often means people involved can start communicating and then it feels a little less daunting when you actually go to the group. You make new friends and learn new skills, or pick something up you didn’t do before. 

mh7

So what I am trying to say, is that talking about mental illness is great, the only way to ‘normalise’ it in our society is to ensure that talking about it no no longer something we avoid, or find odd, difficult, or other. When we don’t talk about it, we never learn about it. Shutting it away makes it seem like a bad thing, something that should be covered up. And the internet is not only a powerful tool allowing you to seek advice, and find people who are empathise with you, to make connections. It is also a tool for people to educate themselves on mental health. We literally have all the information at our finger tips. We can and should educate ourselves. Be positive in all things.

Peace.

peace

Dispelling the myth – pregnancy

So in a recent show we discussed pregnancy, childbirth, children. I asked for stories from people who had gone through it as this was a topic non of the presenters on the show could really talk about with any personal experience. I wasn’t sure what sort of response there would be to the question, which I put quite bluntly but I was really impressed with how open people were on their experiences, both good and bad. One friend commented on how it felt therapeutic to open up about things that she had experienced. So this blog is really, sharing what was shared on FB with me, and hopefully will help people with their own experiences.

I want to say, thank you again to everyone who contributed, it really means a lot to me and it was really eye opening to hear what you went through x

baby9

J.B :

It took us two years for me to fall pregnant, with us trying pretty much every day. I was so excited that we were having a baby but hated being pregnant. 9.5 months is just way too long, not that I had a difficult pregnant it was fine, usual sickness and tiredness but I just didn’t enjoy it. Then felt guilty as a few people I knew lost their babies and I knew I was privileged to be able to carry to full term (plus a couple of weeks). Loved feeling the kicks that was the only positive I felt
Labour – worst pain I have ever felt! Was due to be induced st 8am on new years day, my contractions started naturally at 2am so had a bath, phoned the hospital and they advised I go in at 8am as planned. When I got there they examined me, I was only 1cm dilated but they stuck a hook in me to break my waters – found baby had a poo inside me so was rushed down to the delivery suite to be monitored. My contractions got 10 times worse and was on gas and air. At 2pm I threw it on the bed and said this ain’t f’ing working so they went to get the doctor, an hour later they gave me an epidural and I didn’t feel another contraction. But I got an infection due to the poo in me and was burning up even though I felt freezing so was put on antibiotics drip along with a hormone drip to speed up labour. Still going at midnight when they told me I could start pushing when I had a contraction – well I didn’t feel them as I had an epidural so had to rely on the midwife to tell me when I was having them (they could tell on the monitor I was hooked up to). It didn’t take away the pressure of the baby pushing down on my pelvis though, the only way I can describe it was someone shattering my pelvis with a baseball bat! After an hour I got cramp in my left leg which was worse than the pressure pain, and every time the head came out a bit I kept straightening my leg and he would go back in so made it tough for myself! They then got the doctor in and they put my legs in stirrups which helped, another hour of pushing and little man arrived! 10lb 1oz little chunk, got 2nd degree tears which took an hour to stitch up and the midwife felt faint after 45 mins and another lady had to finish stitching! But they put my baby on me and you really do forget it all as soon as you look at them – felt an overwhelming rush of love and was so relieved to have my baby in my arms!

J.B: Just thought of something….apparently breastfeed babies can go 5 or 6 days without a poo…I didn’t know this and Daniel went 12 hours without a dirty nappy so I phoned the health visitor who said when he does finally go there will be a massive poo explosion – an hour later I heard the loudest noise coming from his bum…… it was everywhere, all down his legs up his back – where the hell do you start to clean that up! I just dunked him in the bath! No one tells you the unglamorous stuff about motherhood beforehand!!

No one is ever really honest when you are pregnant and ask someone what it’s like to become a mother – everyone says oh my baby is perfect/doesn’t cry/sleeps through the night etc. Well no baby is perfect and it definitely is not easy, it’s the hardest thing I have ever done but also the best decision I have ever made is to have a child. I just love him so much, even when he’s screaming his little head off I just want to cuddle and kiss his pain away and I do, we sit for hours just cuddling on the sofa or when he’s sleeping I will just stare at him and hold his little hand thinking he’s just so bloody beautiful. People used to say sleep when he sleeps, or when he sleeps do the housework – well no thanks, i haven’t hovered for a month, i keep the kitchen clean and ive done washing but that’s about it, theres no way I’m missing a second of him being this little – savouring every moment. I love him so much it makes me want to cry and sometimes I do cry and it’s ok to cry (another thing I’ve learnt)!

R.B : All I can say is my pregnancy was horrible. I loved feeling my baby kicking and wriggling around but that’s it. I was sick everyday, I had SPD, I was poorly all of the time I had group b strep and cried for weeks over being told and the ad thing is they only tested me because I kept getting thrush and having high temps. When he was born I had to have a c section. I loved him but not as much as I expected and found I had post natal depression. I couldn’t handle it all. I have this constant struggle between being a loving mummy and not wanting to be a mummy it’s weird. I love my boy so much but I constantly thing I’m doing the wrong things. He’s a good kid but he’s been through his rough patches of being really naughty. He’s also been really poorly since he was born. I became a single parent when he was 1 and a half and that broke me. I know people always say they don’t understand how mothers can complain about having kids but some people just don’t tell the truth or they are living in denial because being a parent is the hardest and most selfless thing you will ever do. No child is the same. You are exhausted all of the time, you don’t have any guidelines to follow apart from feed and love your child lol. You are judged if you work and if you don’t. People will look at your child and what he/she is wearing a rend judge you on it. If you look young people judge you for being a rend young mum and the same if you lol older. It’s madness. I could go on forever. I’ve only put a snippet of it in here x

J.B :  Other mothers are rarely honest about their own experiences which I find weird as all I want to do is be honest and say it’s so bloody hard – my happy smiling pictures on instagram are just minutes out of our whole day!

K.R :  It’s true it’s the hardest thing to do

baby6

D.H : REFLUXREFLUX. 

Silent reflux or normal reflux.

No such thing as a fussy or needy or colicky baby which screams all the time for all the days… Nightmare.

And/or

Divarification of diastasis recti. When the tummy muscles don’t go back! Horrendous! Many people don’t know about it. I had to pay privately to get it repaired. A lot of money. It’s “cosmetic” apparently but I couldn’t even manage my son. Debilitating. Yet all the reasons you can get surgery to get it repaired are cosmetic!!!

D.H : Think acid burning your oesophagus, bringing it up, swallowing it down until your tubes burn. The milk is quite thin and watery which doesn’t help. The valves in the baby’s tummy aren’t strong enough to keep it down. Sometimes they feed for comfort (constantly) which caused more liquid and more burning. Some kids throw it up. Some then refuse to eat at all! Food aversions. Milk allergies are an issue too.

Can’t lie them flat for 30 mins after a feed. Or go in car seat. Can’t do tummy time. They hurt and can be delayed in progress. Can be underweight and can be overweight. There’s always sick and you can smell the acid. They say wean early (thickens the stomach content). Doesn’t always work. Then when They’re sitting upright (gravity). Doesn’t always work. Then when they are standing. Doesn’t always work. Then when they’re older and the muscles are stronger.. Awful. Sleep is non existent (hurts them lying down). They just want to be carried (soothing and upright…)

Can get meds if the GP listens… They can’t really help.

D.H : If I could summarise feelings. And others I know would say the same. It stole our lovely new baby time…

D.H : Still only feel numb when I look back at those photos…

baby5

Rhesus Negative in pregnancy

S.S : Anti-D injections…….I’m rhesus negative which means I don’t have something in my blood that rhesus positive people do……anyway because of this I require anti-d injections for my pregnancies to stop my body from treating the baby as an infection and attacking the baby…..with all 3 of my pregnancies I’ve had to have these injections….It also has caused my last pregnancy to end in the early stages because I am able to be pregnant and it not show on a pregnancy test for many months into the pregnancy that and endometriosis and a history of pelvic inflammatory disease

L.B : I am rhesus neg too!!

S.S :It’s horrible I lost 2 babies because I didn’t show positive on a test and my body basically did it’s job. Nearly lost avary because my midwife was being useless even though she was the same lady for my other two she just didn’t give a crap

S.S : I changed her she was also a midwife that refused to help me with breastfeeding and lied to me about being able to breast feed with piercings. Me I know now after finding groups by myself and I tried with my girls and when I thought I was doing well considering I had no clue the health visitors made me feel like utter crap

l.b : It’s what what led to my miscarriages too. I’ve had 14 pregnancies now that we’re confirmed

S.S :Yeah it’s frigging horrid and you’d think they would make it more known about the dangersThat’s why I went for the blood type thing hundreds as it’s hardly mentioned anywhere and it effects around 15% of women

K.R :  OMG anti D worse than labour. …exactly like larva being injected into you….and as I had a placenta bleed at 29 weeks with oliver I had to have a lot of anti D. ….. ..really really horrible.

V.G : I hope no ones minds me adding to this thread, there’s some amazing and heart breaking stories I’ve already read so would like to briefly add mine: never been pregnant although using no contraception. Got to the age of 36 went to NHS for help, NHS wrote me and my husband off as he had children from previous relationship (no free treatment for us) so we saved up. Ended up having 8 months of acupuncture, (I’m a reflexologist so treated myself for months) finally went for a course of IVF at Harley st and fell pregnant! Pregnancy was mostly fine, SPD at the end. Went 10 days over due. I desperately wanted a natural birth but my BP ended up at 199/100 so had to be induced. After 3 days of drugs midwifes unable to break my waters etc baby had to have copper coil inverted into her head (while still in womb) as she wouldn’t keep still for long. Eventually had failed induction and had emergency c section at 2am on fourth day (Thursday) was totally exhausted but hospital aftercare was crap. I bled badly and nurses were mostly uncaring very little support. Maybe because I was an old mum? I saw my baby as a screaming creature, in incredible pain and no idea what to do. Breast feed for 10 weeks then Lizzie (baby) lost ability to latch. After all that, I ended up with Post Natal Depression. Felt a total failure. Then one day whilst I was holding this screaming creature whilst silently crying to myself she looked up and me reached up to my face and smiled. I broke my heart that day but but I also began building myself and our bond back together again. Now, she’s 9 months and I’m fine – in fact I want to do it all again. She is my world my little munchie Lizzie xxx

C.L : Well as a Daddy I saw the full thing from the outside. The strangest thing is realising how much you have changed as a person. Suddenly its not just about you any more. Late nights and going to work like a zombie are suddenly normal. Georgia was an Ix baby ( a form of test tube baby) and we were lucky to fall pregnant first time. Georgia was one of five, she was the only one that made it. That plays on my mind, so much, But my little girl makes me smile at least a dozen times a day. I never thought I would be a good daddy, I still question myself day in day out. But we waited so long for her and we cherish every day. Then of course like a flippin bus James came along (you wait so long for one!) and he is so different. Scarily fast and growing like a weed! I love my little menaces and cant imagine my life without em, which is odd, five years ago I couldn’t imagine my life with them. Sorry for the ramble
This is an insanely long blog post, even for me, and I have another post as I couldn’t fit everything into one realistically. I hope that if you have read this, it helps, it might give you insight, or give you the encouragement to share your own experiences. I will be posting 2 blogs on this subject so I hope you have enjoyed reading this – if you want to share your experiences or talk to someone please feel free to drop me a line. I will be adding links to the second blog post.
Here is a link to the show : Oh Baby
And the FB Page : Lifestyle:MK

Make me younger

On last weeks show we discussed life hacks and cheats, I was challenged with putting together tips for looking younger… I cannot imagine why!

921243_1050935074928007_6633721461513850414_o

Tips on using makeup to look younger

  1. Don’t use heavy makeup. I know we have all been there, convinced that we need to layer on makeup to cover imagined blemishes. But I have found that the older I get, the less I wear. It is aging to wear a lot of makeup, it settles in lines, and pores, it high lights the areas we want to avoid. Use a light foundation, and if you are worried about things like dark circles, use a light weight cream concealer and blend in well.
  2. Switch to a tinted moisturiser and translucent powders to help make your skin look younger – I would suggest using something like a colour matching BB or CC cream. They contain iridescent particles that reflect the light. They are a light liquid which will hug the skin and not highlight any lines. The translucent powder applied with a brush will help set the foundation for the day and control any oil without settling anywhere you want to avoid.
  3. Open up your eyes – simple things, don’t go heavy on the liner, just line your upper lid to give the impression of longer lashes, use a black mascara to help bring out whites of your eyes (no, seriously), use lighter colours in eye shadow during the day and If you must use liner on both lids, pencil half way and blend to the inside corner.
  4. This may sound old fashioned but using blusher and a complimenting lip colour during the day, will help keep you looking fresh. It is the trick we all grew up with, suck in the cheeks and apply the blusher to the ball of the cheek. Use a rose colour for both lips and cheeks – the cheeks will help give you a glow, and the lips will just give a natural colour that can start going as we get older – and you have plenty of tinted lip balms through lip velvets to choose from. Keep it in the rose spectrum as this is the most natural looking colour and pick darker shades the darker your skin tone.
  5. Going back to lips – lips change as we get older, not only do they loose their colour, but the shape can change. Use a lighter liner to give a better shape, and using a light colour will help reflect light and give the illusion of a fuller lip without looking drawn on. Again when you aren’t wearing lipstick, having a good balm is going to be your friend.
  6. A personal tip – brows. Eye brows frame the face, so it is important to look after yours – go get them looked after professionally. It doesn’t need to be expensive, and you will reap the benefits – get your brows tinted ones a month – a good technician will match it to your hair colour to make them look as flattering and natural as possible. A nicely shaped brow will help you stay looking younger.

download (1)

This doesn’t mean that you can’t still have fun with makeup – play around with colours, try different eye shadows, high light your best features. This is just a basic walk through on how to many your skin glow and not over load. One thing that I would also suggest, go to makeup counters, and see which do makeovers – I know Benefit do great ones, but off hand I can’t recommend any! Sorry! But it is a great way of exploring new looks and products. Never feel obligated to buy anything, if they offer a discount don’t fall for it unless you can use it on another day – you need time to see how the make up lasts and how you feel about it. And let us all be realistic, you can find dupes for many products, if you really like something you can try a cheaper version to see if you still like it before committing! And who doesn’t like a little pampering!

Why we adopted…

A couple of weeks ago, on the show, I shared parts of a story that a friend, and listener shared with me. I edited my reading on the show because it is deeply personal, and I didn’t know if I would be able to do it justice. I am posting this now, because it is that time of year were people have either received a Christmas pet or have made promises to provide on. I really hope that you get out as much as I did – it gives you a lot to think about and some reflection at the end of this blog post is probably called for. I would love more people to adopt animals, and think twice when taking any animals on. I know it has been mentioned both by me, and on the show several times. But it is because we care so deeply that we keep mentioning it. Now, I will hand over to Chad;

12277997_10153588090960189_1505405240_n

When Killer, our 14-year-old pug, first developed mast cell tumors, I thought I would be ready for the grim eventuality. I wasn’t a stranger to death. My brother was killed in a car accident when I was in kindergarten. I lost my grandparents before I entered high school. My wife lost both her parents during our first two years of marriage. And my father died only earlier this year. I’m also a Buddhist. You know, like a lot of people, Westerns especially I think, wanting to confront death and wanting to die well when my time comes is part of what drew me to my religion. So, I had experienced death and I had thought about dying. A lot.

I was wrong.

There’s this place where intellectual knowledge and real life crash into each other that you cannot prepare for. When the vet put him to sleep in my lap, I knew it was the right choice, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. Losing our pug was probably one of the hardest things I’ve gone through. When the vet put him to sleep in my lap, I knew it was the right choice, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. If you’ve ever had a pet, you know firsthand what they give you: dedicated companionship and lasting affection without any judgment whatsoever. They don’t care how much money you have or what you look like or how cranky your day at work has made you, they just love you. If you allow it, this creates a deep and intense bond. I think that bond is even deeper when you have your first pet as an adult. A living thing is now your responsibility in a way it never was before, no matter how much your parents tried to prepare you for responsibility. And other than your spouse or significant other, your pet is also the one you will see more than anyone else.

I think though that bond is turned up another notch if you’ve had to go through rough times. And our pug was there through rough times. He was there when we were really poor. He was there when we lived in a bad neighborhood and the night was full of sirens. He was there when I walked to work every day. He was there when my wife was alone and constantly sick on high doses of immune-suppressants to combat the disease that is robbing her of her sight. And he was there beside me at night, when I sat awake in the dim and the quiet.

12202199_10153557544930189_781462557_n

When we were ready for another dog, there was never any question about adopting. And there shouldn’t be one for you. The simplest reason to adopt for anyone can be purely economic. The cost of getting a dog from a shelter or even a breed specific rescue is far less than buying a dog from a pet store or a breeder. And every bit of the money spent is going purely for the cost of the animal’s care. But for us, I think we both felt we owed Killer for the gift of his presence. The easiest way to acknowledge that, the best way to repay the debt was to adopt a rescue dog.

There are an estimated 140 million to 180 million pets in the United States. Each year, around 7.6 million animals are given over to shelters and rescues. 2.7 million animals that end up in shelters will be euthanized. Meanwhile, there are an estimated 10 million puppy mills in operation. Dogs in puppy mills are kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. And since they are bred purely for profit, there is no concern for potential health issues or serious hereditary conditions. What’s the easiest way for you to have a serious impact on all that suffering and unnecessary death? Simple. Adopt a shelter or rescue pet.

12355116_10153613228025189_256243639_n

I mean, think about that. Really, really think about that.

With very little effort, you are radically altering another living being’s life forever and contributing to ending future suffering for others. Puppy mills function on profit. Remove the profit, end the suffering.

That’s immense if you acknowledge it. Seriously. Don’t dismiss it as hippy-dippy, sappy whatever. You can completely change a life. And you’ll get something out of it besides a loving companion. We’re wired for kindness. Not only has kindness been proven to be contagious but it has also been scientifically documented to improve your own happiness, your heart health, positively impact your aging process, and improve your relationships.

Thank you for reading this – for more information on the rescue centre Chad and his wife adopted from, their facebook page is below.

Blue Grass Facebook Page

Office to Party

T’is the season – no way of getting away from it now – we are all having a lot more social commitments with people we work with, and often during the week. We don’t always have enough time to get home and back out again.

So with that in mind, I have put together a little cheat sheet to make sure you will be ready for that office party!

Let’s start with what you will need – it should all fit into a medium sized makeup bag – easily kept in your handbag for emergencies!

The first thing to pop in, is actually NOT makeup, but a funky pair of tights that will change up your outfit quickly and easily for example : Debenhams fashion tights.

tights

The next thing you will want to invest in, pre glued false lashes – I really love them, they cut down on the waiting around for the glue to prove. And they really are a godsend for those of us who are not confidence in using lashes in the first place!

For finger nails – press on or nail stickers will make them look freshly manicured. They are really simple to apply, and are available in most stores – Primark have a fab little collection of press on nails including seasonal ones.

AIL

Now for your eyes, you want to just top up your makeup from the day – I would make sure you already had a great eyeshadow primer like urban decay which will mean you already have a good base. You don’t need to do much with your eyes, I would just take a colour a couple of shades darker than your usual makeup, take it along your lash line and around the eye socket and blend in. You can use any colours and don’t have to stick to black to get a nice smokey eye – grey, green, blue, purple, browns are all good colours – makeup revolution do a night range of pallets that are a great price and size to suit your bag. It is worth having a little play. And you will want to invest in a couple of brushes, the sponge you get in most ‘drug store’ kits are not worth it – Makeup revolution do some cute mini brush kits. And it is also worth going over your eye liner and extending it out a little. This, combined with the darker eye shadow over the lash line has the added benefit of blending the false lashes in as well!

make up

Before you finish – and you are nearly there – grab a contouring pallet – this will be a blusher, highlighter and bronzer and won’t take up much room – this will help freshen up your face and will help really take you away from your daytime look. You want to have a stronger look, the lighting will be a lot lower, and camera flashes are notoriously unforgiving. I know a lot of people get really worried about this but it is simple – I prefer to use a powder as I apply the contour after my base. Which is exactly what you will be doing if doing it before going out! Check the picture below for hints as to where you want to place it. All it will need is a quick swipe of the brush and then you just blend it all in. Little is more here, as you don’t want to have visible streaks 🙂

highlighting-contouring-hacks-tips-tricks-how-to-guide-picturesw

Now another quick way of taking your outfit from day to evening is accessories – it doesn’t matter if you don’t really wear much at work, a necklace, earrings, or even a bangle will change up an outfit really simply.

There are really only a couple of other things you need in your bag – deodorant and dry shampoo. You can get both in travel size so you don’t have to worry about it taking too much room. Dry shampoo really can help transform your hair, especially if it is a little tired after a long day.

Now, all of this will take under 10 mins, doesn’t require much space (okay you may have a little impromptu yoga practise while changing tights) and won’t take up much room in your bag!

Please note the products and companies suggested are merely that, suggestions, they are far from alone in supplying products, I have merely provided links to items that I have personally used 🙂

Life in plastic… is fantastic?

So last week I touched on the difference between real and online friends – it was a topic on the radio show, and there was split opinion. I am firmly in the ‘internet friends are real friends’ while my co host feels that they are entirely separate creatures. Now, I use social media a lot, and there are a variety of friends, some are purely online, and I am unlikely to ever meet them. Others are people I have known for years, but am no longer geographically close to, others are work friends, current and old, there are networking friends, of course, there are people who actually realise I am not a cat, and see through my filtered photos on I.G.

12111998_10156090514695557_2583714434056517416_n

As touched on in a recent blog, social media can be a lifeline for many – there is someone you can speak to, you can let your hair down, be yourself without the same responsibilities that you have in your ‘real life’ there is a reason after call, the phrase ‘on the internet, nobody knows you are a cat’ was coined. I have moved around so much in my life, although I am finally (touch wood) settled, it has meant I don’t have the same support network that many of my peers seem to enjoy. It is nice to know that I can still keep in touch with people I have met and shared my life with. One thing that I have realised – Social Media can be a fantastic support tool. I really wish I had had this support network in my early twenties. Since a lot of us move around, and don’t have the friends and family close enough to lean on, I have realised what a great help it can be. Being in groups of people who may have similar interests but not necessarily same life experiences, or opinions. That can help, advise, offer opinions, or even just understand what you are going through. And often, being able to type out something in its entirely without interruption, worry that you are boring someone, and getting opinions of several people and not just one person. It can be great because you will not always just get the answer you are looking for.

143

 It is odd, I am actually more likely to have you as a FB contact than your phone number. Asking for someone’s number to me, feels very intrusive but FB … it is all there. You have a degree of control over what people see. And it requires as little or as much investment as you want. How many people do you add and never hear a peep from? And what about when you don’t hear back from people – it is that strange situation – ‘ghosting’ is the term I believe – where people are there … but not there. With people you see, or don’t see, it is easier to reconcile the situation, you grew apart, life got in the way, it wasn’t really a strong bond. When it is on line, the amount of investment, certainly in time and effort, is much less so to be ‘dumped’ by someone online… it feels worse? I mean what does the occasional like hurt? Just check in with a comment once in awhile?

377568_10151686365497224_1275863314_n

I love my on line community – I have had so many opportunities, and learnt so much – for example, if it wasn’t for the amazing RoxyLee (ROxyLee’s FB page) I would not have been so inspired by Special FX makeup. She took the time to not only share her amazing work, but talked me through a number of techniques, and was just so happy to help. But I do view facebook as a tool, as an opportunity to network. And it is important to remember it is nothing more than a tool and not a replacement for human contact.

RoxyLee as Harley shot by SuperHero Creations by Adam Jay

12118833_907692795991238_22116912401455100_n

But as much as I adore my on line friendships and community, it is important to stay connected in real terms – in a recent magazine article it looked at how social loneliness is one of the biggest issue facing society- so a couple of points to remember. It isn’t important how many people you have on your friends list if you never go and see them. Make sure you are making dates to go meet people, shopping, having a coffee etc. When you are alone, utilise it, pamper yourself, read that book you have been meaning to for ages, do some exercise, craft. Remember that if you feel lonely, it is because you need a social connection. Even if your friends are available (real life can be a complete bitch like that) maybe find something new to do. Local councils offer a wide range of short courses, you could sign up to a gym, join a class, pop into your local book shop and ask for advice on new reads, go to events organised by local businesses. Try old interests and new. And at this time of year, there are lots of opportunity to volunteer and help people, shelters, soup kitchens etc. So you will be helping people and meeting new people. Win/win situation 🙂

Thank you for reading, I hope this has made sense!

If you want to hear our previous shows, links are on our page, and we welcome comments, suggestions and music requests 🙂

Lifestyle:MK facebook page

Learning to be flexible

Life long learning

An ongoing, voluntary and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.
The concept of Lifelong learning was
 introduced in Denmark 1971 and which is, formal learning, informal learning and self directed learning.
A result of curiosity, good humour and self-motivation, leading to personal wellbeing.
learning
is intrinsic and we engage in learning from cradle to grave.
Does not necessarily link
 to attainment of formal qualifications.
Particularly those aged 45+, remain far below the target of 12.5%.
Implementation of adult learning remains weak and has not gained recognition it deserves.
It is essential to ensure that older people’s skills keep them active and meeting functional demands of life. Much more needs to be done and achieved in this area.

 download (1)

I guess this isn’t the article you are looking for 🙂 This week on the show we looked at lifelong learning and it is something that I have always been surrounded by from a young age. But it is also something that links in with the other aspects of getting older. Maintaining flexibility – both mentally and physically. I remember my elder relatives commenting on limitations when getting older and many doing what we would now call braining – crosswords and puzzles.

With that in mind, I have always made sure that I keep a degree of flexibility in my body and mind, even though for various reasons I am not at the healthy weight I would like – a gym buddy exclaimed ‘you are really flexible’ mid training session a couple of weeks ago. I was pretty pleased with this as I don’t think I am exceptionally flexible but we all have our strengths.

Anne Martlage agreed to share her experiences on lifelong learning with us, and here is some what she wrote for us on the matter.

 knowledge-is-power-higbie-415252362-thomas-higbie-flickr-ccbyncsa2

As a young adult I travelled , perhaps more than was usual in those days. This exposed me to direct contact with different cultures and languages.

Working in the Embassy of India in Stockholm, made me learn Hindi by distant learning. In the meantime I had also obtained qualifications in the Swedish language.Alongside, I assisted a journalist to translate the news Headlines into English, which in turn he sold to the various embassies in Stockholm. These contacts and influences accounted for a steep learning curve.
I started a university course in Stockholm, never finished as once again I was on the move.

After several more adventures, I landed in the UK and was offered a job at an educational agency. First priority was to learn all I could on the British Educational system and write a short handbook on the subject for the embassies and parents who were looking for schools and further/higher education for their children in the UK. My learning curve went straight up during those years. I also went to classes for a proficiency cert in English.

Lifelong-Learning

When I started working at a College of FE as European project co-ordinator and manager, I was on a constant learning curve, courses in the evening (Spanish, Italian, French conversation). I was the first at the college to complete an NVQ in business at the workplace, when this was first introduced. My work also made it possible for me to study the educational systems in the various EU countries I worked with, their cultures, languages.

The young people on the programmes I organised, taught me even more, understanding, staying young in spirit, looking at the world and history around us more closely. I attended other courses relating to the Hospitality industry and had the privilege to visit and learn about the workings of many prestigious establishments.

Since I retired, which was far too early at 65, but..,.I have taken up book restoration, volunteering ( a really good way to meet people and make friends and get immersed in history) and various other crafts and trying to update my knowledge of languages on a regular basis.
It is very easy to just remain at home, read a book, watch a film and ignore the rest of the world, when you don’t have to get up at 06.00hrs and be alert all day long.

keep-educating

I find it very important to get out, (some days I have to kick myself in to action) meet people ( I have membership at a gym, I try to go to 3 or 4 times a week), took up Nordic walking. The gym especially is a social hub and an incentive for many to leave their home. (Many of the day time regulars are middle to old age) It is important to find the motivation to undertake activities, meet people, especially when you reach a certain age.
I try to catch exhibitions in the local area, even after all these years in the area, I constantly find more to discover about the local history, geography, language etc I also try to visit at least one garden, historic house in easy reach of the town I live in, on a regular basis.

Travel has been part of my life so far, the best way to to keep mind and body active.

Trick …. or treat ?

It is that time of year, when the nights draw in, the fire goes on, we start getting in pumpkins… and put candles in the window to ward off… oh is that just me?

Now I know that many of you believe that Halloween is an American import, but originated with the Catholic Church and Soul Cake day when beggars could go and ask for food in exchange for prayers. This then became an excuse for young men to knock on doors and ask the same – if turned away, they would ‘trick’ the house with a prank.

halloween1

No I am well aware that not everyone does celebrate or appreciate people coming around for a number of reasons. In recent years there has been a drive to identify if a household is participating. This is one sign that you can print and display near your door :http://www.hampshire.police.uk/internet/asset/33b8e5ec-16a9-43cb-9ff2-81506de11feO/Infra%20794272%20-%20Halloween%20Posters%202012%20flyer%20print%20friendly.pdf

A lot of trick & treaters only stop at houses that have some form of decoration out, which is something to bear in mind as well.But again you can also pin up a sign as I realise that decorating for Halloween is not everyone’s cup of pumpkin juice:)

If you are going to get in some treats for people knocking on your door, what do you get in? It can feel like a minefield with allergies, and tastes, and how much to offer children.

h sweets

In recent years there has been an increase in themed sweets and treats on offer – things like gummy sweets, lolly pops and chocolates repackaged for Halloween. Always make sure that they are individually packaged. I noticed this year that there are also themed bags of crisps which is of course another option for children.

h crisp

However, it is important to remember that some people do have dietary restrictions, and this will limit what they will be able to accept, but that shouldn’t exclude them.

There are a few ways you can do this, for example there are a number of different ‘free from’ ranges available now, I personally keep a stash of Nakd bars at all time. For personal consumption. But I am willing to part with some in extenuating circumstances.

You can also offer fruit as well – believe it or not, some children actually prefer fruit to sweets 🙂

But something else I do, is pick up little trinkets – the sort of thing that would would put in as a party favour. I would make sure that they are safe for younger children before handing them out.

If you are feeling organised, you can also make up bags for the children with a little of everything, which you can then give out and it will be a nice surprise for them.

It is worth checking with the adult before handing out anything, in case there are allergies etc as it is always easier to not give the child something in the first place, than take it away!

And remember :

halloween

We will be discussing Halloween, what you can do to celebrate, things going on, and more on Secklow Sounds, 31st October, 12 – 14:00 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/livethemomentradio?fref=ts

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Pets, insurance ensured to confuse!

As I mentioned on a recent show, I feel strongly that it is important to insure your pet. While you will hopefully never need to make a claim, they are a member of the family and should be treated as such. It is something that I feel strongly about, as I would hate to find myself in a position, not able to look after my cat.

091

But it is a minefield to figure out what type of insurance is best for your particular pet, so it is certainly worth shopping around a little!

Which have produced a guide to help you through the minefield, with reviews of the top insurers : http://www.which.co.uk/money/insurance/reviews-ns/pet-insurance-reviews/

If you are rescuing a pet, most shelters will offer a month insurance to cover you while you get settled in, and this gives you room to shop around and see if it is the best insurance for you. When I bought Barbeque, we were given 2 months at his first checkup which was great. I didn’t really understand much about insurance in general, let alone insuring an animal at the time so I continued with the insurance company initially.

DSCF0206

It wasn’t until I was approached while shopping, and realised I was paying twice as much as I needed to pay, that i realised I should be shopping around. Barbeque is now 10 years old, and I have only switched 3 times, you can of course change much more often, and I certainly encourage you to look around, make sure that you are getting the best deal.

DSCF0172

There are things to consider when looking at pet insurance, like any really, check the excess on the claims. Sometimes premium can seem really low, however the excess on any claims might be higher so it isn’t cost effective if, touch wood, you do need to claim.

Another thing to look at is what is included in your insurance – do they pay directly to the vet or do you need to claim? Not everyone has the means to pay large vet bills – so this is another consideration when choosing.

What you need to think about as well, the level of insurance, do you just want a basic cover, would you like accidental damage (for example you new fur buddy getting into your neighbour’s house and redecorating their curtains), will you be going abroad with your pet?

1141

And now, what you really don’t want to have to think about, but what is important – the level of care when it comes to ongoing claims. This will affect the premium, but you should give it some thought before making a commitment. When it comes to claiming for an ongoing problem, say where medication and visits, possibly diagnostic testing, therapeutic treatments needed. You can either opt for a one off payment to help cover, or ongoing. You can opt for lifetime, or non lifetime cover – non lifetime will have a set amount that they will pay out. Once this has been reached, no further payments will be made. Lifetime cover is more expensive but will continue to pay out for the lifetime of the pet – your premiums will go up as well but you have to work out what you can afford to pay both short and long term.

002

There is something else to consider when looking at insurance – the length of the insurance, some will not cover over a certain age. I didn’t realise this when I was shopping around a couple of years ago, there are policies that will not pay out of your cat is considered ‘senior’ which is typically where insurance is concerned, 8 years old. So please make sure as your cat gets older, your insurance will continue to cover!

One really REALLY important piece of advice – READ the paper work when you do choose an insurance policy – there is a lot hidden in the small print. Make sure you keep up to date with boosters, chip your pet. You need to make sure you are doing everything you can to protect your animal.

But on a more positive note, because there is a lot of competition it is worth checking to see if you can get a like for like (or better) cheaper elsewhere, and your own company might match the premium, I would keep an eye because they can sneak up if you aren’t paying attention. But it also means that you can get added extras for free – for example, my insurance company offers a 24/7 telephone service so you can speak to a vet if there is anything you are concerned about.

And because I don’t want you to think I am bias, here are my hamsters, Pumpkin and Charlie – both of whom were adopted – remember it isn’t just larger animals that can be adopted 🙂

1256

1255

Please tune in to Lifestyle:MK on Secklow sounds, saturdays 12 – 14:00 – find us on FB : https://www.facebook.com/livethemomentradio?fref=ts