Friday, 30 November 2012

God I feel grown up

In October 2010, I left a job in Medical Communications as a senior project manager which I really loved.

The only reason I left was due to us moving 200 miles up the M1 back North again and they were not prepared for me to work from home, well they were but it was a pretty rubbish deal - I would have to go freelance, the hourly rate they were willing to pay was pretty much the hourly rate I was on as an employee but without the paid pension, healthcare and holidays and they wanted me fully at their disposal, so I turned the offer down.

I thought I had set something up, working as a freelancer for a virtual medical communications agency. This would mean I was self employed but signed a contract with this new company who we will call Company B (for bastards). The alarm bells should have rung. I had my CV out for months before the move with recruitment agencies, and then I got a call one day to my office at work, which came through my assistant. I was out at the time so had this strange message that someone I had never heard of was trying to contact me. I rang the number and it was a manager with Company B who said they had been sent a copy of my CV by a recruitment consultant but didn't want to pay the recruitment agencies fees - their reasons were they had been sent 2 previous candidates in quick succession who had not worked out, the first one had only lasted 1 month, the 2nd they replaced him within less that 3 months, so they felt the agency owed them money and not the other way round.

I met with the managing director in a service station on the M25 (as you do), had a telephone interview as well and got offered a freelancer position. I would be on a set monthly amount which was pretty similar to my then employed salary, and although I was freelance, I could have 20 days of holiday which they would pay me for but this was not in the contract. A virtual agency is basically one which has no office base and all staff are freelance. I was given a blackberry and email account and started the week we moved. It was hell on earth. I was surrounded by boxes, no Internet connection so running off a dongle.

The demand on me was like nothing I had ever experienced. I would get phone calls at 7.45am and ask if I could ring them back as we were trying to get out to school, same on a night. Work deadlines were very tight - it was a nightmare and after 3 weeks I knew I had to find something else. Problem is where we now live is 80 miles from the nearest Med Comms agency and there is only 1 scientific company in the town. There is also Leeds and York so I started looking. 3 days after making this decision, I got a phone call in the morning from Company B and was basically sacked - first time for everything but it was such a relief to be honest. Some of the reasons they cited for me not working out were 'not being flexible enough and available when needed', 'not having childcare in place as the kids were often there when I was needed' Huh yes, at 7 bloody 45am or 8 at night. Well rid of them.

This was followed by 2 months of nothing, I had a couple of interviews but having been out of laboratories for 6 years it was hard to get back into them at the level of pay I wanted/needed, and my PhD was a bit useless as I was very specialised to research taking place in London.

Things started to get a little desperate and I was being told that I was over qualified to stack shelves in the supermarket on a night - seriously 'because they knew I wouldn't stay and would want to move on or progress within the company' - No actually, all I want is some extra money and I am willing to do anything (within reason of course), and a job which requires little thought was actually very appealing.

So January 2011, New year, new start, the experience with Company B had left me battered and bruised and destroyed a lot of confidence, but pick myself I had to do, and did, found a list of Med Comms companies in the UK and literally sent my CV and some writing examples out to 100's. One paid off and after another service station meeting in Nottingham, I started as a freelancer for another Med Comms agency. 2 years on I still get the majority of my work for them and love it. I do all school runs unless away at a meeting, I go to all school events, I help out weekly in school for an hour and half, I don't worry about doctors or hospital appointments, yes, i often work in the evenings and have even done all nighters but it is worth it. In the last 2 years I have been to Paris, Vancouver (and got upgraded to first class!!), Rome, Milan, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Frankfurt and Madrid as well as numerous meetings in London which I always tie in with an overnight stop with friends. Most of the places I have travelled to I have also had time to do a bit of sightseeing in as well. I don't get paid holiday or sick pay but I don't mind, my hourly rate more than covers those days off. I also do freelance work for my old company who approached me and agreed to pay just under my going rate but a lot more than they originally offered when I left, and I have had the odd job through those original CVs going out - in fact I have just replied to a potential job today to tide me over Christmas which is great.

Last year, I did my own tax return and to be fair cocked it up. This year I have employed an accountant - oh my god, I have my own accountant! This has shocked me. I still often have to pinch myself that I work for myself and successfully so as well. But to suddenly have a meeting with 'my accountant' really slammed that point home. Today she has sent me through my tax assessment and all my paperwork - this is really me. I am not so impressed with the £8,000 tax bill I have to pay in January or the fact I then also have to pay an extra 50% of that towards next years tax, parting with 12K is going to hurt badly but at least I have been sensible enough to be putting my tax aside. That's another thing, I suddenly have ISA's and stuff like that to keep my tax in - after 38 years, it has only just dawned on me that I am really quite grown up!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful

Yeahhh 2 weeks in a row and I have found the time to take part in Reason's to be Cheerful!  Things are looking up!

So this week I am feeling very cheerful, suddenly things seemed to have turned a corner for me and my whole outlook on life is changing and for the better. I think there are a number of different reasons for this and each one is a reason to be cheerful in its own right so

  1. I admitted that I wasn't really on top of the world a while back and eventually saw the doctor who prescribed some mild antidepressants. I decided I should give them a go. I can look back now and realise just how unhappy and down I have been and didn't even realise it. But now I feel like a different person
  2. I also admitted I needed help with my marriage - this was more of a me problem and more than likely due to me feeling so low (although there was other stuff going on as well). So I rang Relate and set up some sessions. T'husband knew about these and even offered to come but I wanted to go alone. I finished the sessions last week. I didn't really like the woman I saw but I did like being able to 'talk' and just the whole mapping out my worries, my stresses and how I was feeling has really put things in perspective. Over the last 9 years t'husband and I have gone through hell (2 x premature births, child in Great Ormond St on life support, other child with heart condition and 3 threats of open heart surgery to come to terms with, strangulated hernias and emergency surgery, learning difficulties, behavioural problems, autism, ADHD, complicated 2nd pregnancy resulting in a 10 week hospital stay, emergency hysterectomy and 14 blood transfusions, ovarian cancer scare with them being whipped out and biopsied in the space of 2 weeks (my ovaries were left after the hysterectomy), father-in-law dying in a car accident, my own Dad having a cancer scare and surgery, moving house, new jobs, post natal depression, being mis-sold a car which had been clocked and led to a court case, not to mention the countless operations and hospital admissions both boys have had in the first few years of life and I have probably missed something off the list). Christ it is not surprising that t'husband and I have had some problems! Funny though that I couldn't see this before I talked to someone. Needless to say we are on the up, we have rediscovered the fun side to our relationship, we are taking time out for each other and appreciating each other and things are good and most importantly for the 1st time in years we are laughing together.
  3. I did my first boudoir photo shoot which was a fantastic experience. I did it as a birthday present for my husband and he LOVES it, but I also did it for me. My confidence in myself has zoomed through the roof, I am almost strutting! Not only did I feel more confident just going and having it done, having the nerve to strip off and be photographed, I am in awe of the actual images. I am sorry to sound big headed but bloody hell, I DO look good! I have been working hard to get back to my pre-pregnancy size 10, going to the gym, running and eating better, and although my tummy still needs toning, looking at the photos, I think I am nearly there - why don't you see those results when looking in a mirror?
  4. I have eventually started properly sorting my paperwork and office, and although I literally can only just see my keyboard, and cant see the floor at the moment, I am suddenly getting some order, my finances are now all logged on a spreadsheet, I have filed all my receipts by the month, numbered them and labelled them, and feel so much better for doing it
  5. This weekend I plan to crack on with decorating the hall (which has been underway for over a year now, but lets not worry about that too much) - once the hall is done, i can do the boys bedroom. Work is quiet so I will make the most of it, as if this new job comes off it will be full on again
  6. Christmas is approaching and although I don't like putting the decoration up too early, I can feel my excitement starting to rise. I love Christmas - 26 days until it arrives and 24 days until my baby is 9 - where has the time gone, he has grown into a little man to be proud of.
  7. Today the sky is a brilliant blue, it is cold and crisp and the boys arrived at school with rosy cheeks, that just makes me smile in itself
  8. The next reason may seem a bit morbid to some but something recently happened which really struck a cord with me and makes me simply so thankful to be here, to be alive that I think I want to include it. A friend of mine, a few weeks ago, lost her best friend. Her best friend died 2 hours after giving birth to her second child. Unbelievable in this day and age. She was a primary school teacher and in fact some of you may have seen it as it made national news and was in The Times. She suffered hemorrhaging after the birth and no-one acted quickly enough. It really slammed home for me, as it is exactly what happened to me, only I was being very carefully monitored as I was high risk - she wasn't so there is now an investigation going on, but it won't bring her back. She was 30, she has a toddler and brand new baby who will never know his mum. It has left a lot of devastation. Hearing stories like that sends a cold shiver down my spine and makes me thank whoever it is who it watching over me, up there.
Kiss your children goodnight, every night even when they are asleep and tell them you love them - I do but she can never do that again - not in person although I would like to think she is doing it spiritually

Pop over and share your Reasons to be Cheerful on Michelle's blog and see everyone elses x

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Smile for the camera and relax!

On Monday afternoon I did a boudoir shoot as a birthday present for my husband

It was nerve racking

The first hour I spent having my hair and make up done. I left the make up artist to do as she wanted (within reason) as my attitude was it wasn't the kind of situation I am use to being in, it was a whole new experience to do something different so if that meant different make up / hair style, then so be it.

I loved what she did though. My eyes were all smokey, with fab false eyelashes, the foundation was perfect and she did a bright pink lipstick which I would never have chosen myself but looks great on the pictures.

My hair has been cut a little shorter than I would have liked by my over enthusiastic hair dresser but the make up artist still managed to curl it all. The only thing I am not sure about which I didn't see at the time but is obvious on the photos is this kind of sheen that is on my hair, it just doesn't look right to me, but as my dear hubby said, he is not actually looking at my hair so doesn't care!

While the makeup was being done, the photographer was going through my bag of underwear and laying out a few outfits she thought would work.

I started in a blue underwear set with black suspenders and black suspender belt and she took some shots of me standing by these beaded curtains and coming through them, holding the beads back etc. I really don't like these photos but the 'ding dong' my husband gave them shows me I know nothing!

We then moved to the bed, and she had me in a number of positions on there and some of those photos I love. From here I felt relaxed enough to loose the bra, and by the end of it, everything was hanging out but she took the photos with me holding a lace cloth round me or a blanket slipping off me so most of them were more of a suggestion of being naked, although it is obvious but not in your face kind of thing.

My original plan was to pick 3 and have them printed to give to t'husband on his birthday, however seeing the 50 images she sent through, there was no way I could decide so I got them up and asked t'husband to come to the computer which he did with reluctance and a grumble as he was playing his PlayStation and had to pause it.

At first he looked at the first 3 and just said mmm very nice, yes very nice but why are you showing me these, so I flicked to the next one and again he asked what the relevance was, then he cottoned on he might know who was in the pictures so started cocking his head this way and that and was actually asking who it was. I then flicked to a 5th one, and heard this sudden intake of breathe and then he was like 'oh my god is that you, wow, oh god, move away, let me sit down and see'  It was a fab reaction and he has decided he wants to go for a CD of 7 images, rather than 3 printed and also wants 3 extra on the CD which are an extra £10.00 each so not too unreasonable.

I have to say if you have the money to be able to do a boudoir shoot it is the best money you will ever spend. For me, my confidence has gone through the roof, not only did I feel good doing them, I just kept having this recurring thought while doing it of 'I cant believe I am actually doing this', then afterwards, I kept thinking 'ha this afternoon I was being photographed naked' and it certainly makes you feel good. On top of that having now seen the photos and having been in a self hating mode for many years of my flabby body, the hard work  have been putting in with the running, gym and eating better has paid off. I cant believe the photos are of me, yes there was a large degree of tummy sucking in going on but my legs look toned, my arms do and I am amazed, why don't you see this when you look in the mirror? I must have a 'fat' mirror - god damn that mirror!!

Once we have the actual CD, I may even feel brave enough to post one of the photos although don't hold your breathe! And here is that one photo I was brave enough to post, even though I said it would only be up for 1 day only - it is still there

Monday, 26 November 2012

what will I wear for my boudoir shoot?

This afternoon I am going for a boudoir shoot which I am both nervous and excited about, infact while I am typing this email, I am running the bath and microwaving the wax to try and make myself a little more presentable! I have been very unsure what to wear for these photographs. I know some may think a boudoir shoot is the whole hog and have your photos taken completely in the buff, but I have also been told that many involve photos in underwear or something sexy or classic, or even brulesque style and I have a distinct lack of any of these items! Anyhow, a mouch round Sainsbury's of all places found me a really nice bra and knicker set in the sale for £6.00, I then also managed to get other sets from Primark, not somewhere I have looked at underwear before but I was pleasantly surprised with the selection and quality. To be fair the bra's are not quite as good a fit as my trusty M&S ones but they are comfy and that is what counts. I was also advised that frilly knickers are a good item to have for these types of photos as well, so 1 pair from Sainsburys and one from Primark again.
I then also had a rummage around through my drawers (not in the literal sense just incase I am confusing anyone with the old fashioned term for underwear), but I rummaged through my old belongings and managed to unearth a couple of things that I have bought in the past which havent seen the light of day for a LONG time (those romantic/lets do something naughty/sexy days seem a distant memory)and was surprised with just what I had tucked away.
I am going to take my high heeled black knee high boots (I have no idea if I will need these) and my strappy sandals, and some black high shoes as well - again in case I need them as no idea what to wear on my feet either. Luckily I have a really busy morning preparing my business accounts for the accountant, and with work to keep me busy. I am hoping I have enough time though to pop into town and get some lacy hold ups or something. I will probably end up wearing none of this and go completely with the flow and her ideas but I would prefer to be prepared if nothing else! Wish me luck, I am sure I will be very nervous later!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Am I the luckiest working mum?

Some days I really appreciate the opportunity I have to work for myself and work from home. I need it at times as to be honest working from home is not always all it is cracked up to be - why? To name a few: Aafter a while you can feel very isolated, after all the kids are at school, there are no toddler groups/coffee get togethers to attend, plus it is your working day so would not be a productive use of time. So when you are sat in the same room day after day with no-one but yourself it can become a little monotonous. You never really leave work, you feel guilty about turning the computer off and are constantly thinking you can just 'pop' and deal with an email or something. You also feel a sense of duty to deal with things at any point in time as it does provide a great deal of flexibility as well so when you are working for someone else, you like to show you can be super flexible as well, so they won't mind if they ring you and you ask to call them back as you are in school, or popped out or have a sick child at home because they will know any work not done during the day will be done that evening. There is no commaradeship associated with an office environment and no-one to sound out when you hit a problem in your work or ask advice from. A great deal of discipline is required as well. It is hard walking in from drop off at school and noticing something that needs doing like a pile of ironing or some dirt on the kitchen floor, instinct makes you want to deal with it there and then but you have to think, no I am in my office now, I will deal with that when I have finished work. There are a few negative as you can see I don't get paid holidays though, or sick pay, or a pension. But what about the positives? I get to do all the school runs, which gives me vital contact with the teachers espcially Little Man's incase they've not had a good day with him I can easily attend all appointments for Little Man without thinking and worrying about asking for yet another hour here and another hour there off work with promises of I will make the time up, I just go. If one of the boys is sick, again I don't have the same worries as being in an office and thinking about having to take time off, say I am sick myself, or have unpaid leave I can attend any/all school events I can (to some extent) be choosey about which work I do and how busy I am I can halve my hours in school holidays so childcare costs are minimal and I get time with the boys If I am having one of those days work-wise where nothing is going right, or I am getting frustrated, I can jjust down tools, get the dog and go for a quick run to relieve the frustration and I come back refreshed and clearer in the head. Don;t think a manager in an office would appreciate you doing that. My hourly rate means I earn a decent wage but can do less hours Best of all, I normally start my day at the crack of dawn when the rest of the house is still slumbering. I find I shift a lot of work very early in the morning. Most mornings, one of the boys will wonder into my office, climb on my knee for a cuddle and then crawl into the spare bed we have in there and lie there playing until it is time for the day to begin - I mean how many other people can be sat in their office, hear their child playing and glance across and see their child happy, snug and smiling next to their desk? That makes me realise I have the best deal in the world!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful

I want to do this weekly but keep missing it! But I have made it today so that in itself is a reason to be cheerful!

So my reasons this week are:

  1. I have started CBT for a little issue I have been having with anxiety and a fear of death and after 4 sessions have realised that infact considering the last 8 years, it might be quite normal
  2. I am nearly finished writing a 30 page meeting report that I have been putting off and putting off and I can;t wait to send it over
  3. The school's special needs co-ordinator is eventually back after being signed off since the beginning of the year and I am meeting with her about Little Man (see my last post if you are interested in what these concerns are)
  4. It's nearly the weekend and I would like to get the hallway a bit closer to being decorated
  5. I am picking up a secondhand freezer that someone at school is giving us so we are going to take a trip to the butchers around 4ish when they practically giving the meat away so we can stock up
  6. This horrid, wet weather does at least mean we get to snuggle up in front of the woodburner
  7. I am feeling much more confident about myself and my abilities
  8. The boy's school photos are really nice this year!
Think that is my lot this week, pop over to Michelle's blog to see everyone elses x

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Apparently this is nothing to worry about.....

I mentioned on my post about Reading Eggs that Little man is very behind with his learning and we would like to do more to support him and get him more up to a similar level to his peers.

He is 9 at Christmas and to be fair has only really started reading in the last year or so but spelling and Maths still elude him. I have mentioned it on numerous occasions but keep being told that he is not that behind and his work is very inconsistent.

Anyhow, I am seeing the SENCO tomorrow and am going to take in a sheet of paper just written by him tonight.

He is always, always hungry and generally has his tea (bigger portion than me now), a bath, then a sandwich and beaker of milk and then bed. Some nights though he is still awake and complaining of hunger pains at 9.30 like tonight (he is also stick thin despite eating me out of house and home).

I am in my office supposedly working and both boys were told by their Dad, if they managed to get into bed and not speak until the morning, they would get a treat when he came home from work tomorrow night.

Little Man just appeared, grabbed some paper from the printer and wrote:

Me: Hello, what's wrong? Are you not speaking to me? (spoken)

LM: Ica not becu I wont get a tret and I hungree (he wrote on paper)
translation - I cannot because I won't get a treat and I am hungry
Me: OK, you go down and get yourself something quickly (spoken)
LM: No, yoo go pliys, cwicliy pliys mumiy sum riyol foob ples (written)
translation: No, you go please, quickly please mummy, some real food please
Me: (writing now to humour him) Sandwich or biscuit?
LM considered both and ticked both but pointed to sandwich.
I then gave him some written options:
1. Honey
3. Jam
4. Butter
5. Mud
LM read these, ticked the chocolate and mud, then wrote 'harhar' - so there is nothing wrong with his reading!
LM: can iy saiy bad tues wot bus yoo sey
translation can I ?no idea? what do you say?
Actually writing it on here, doesn't make it look quite so bad, but the image of the actual writing and you will see that I have done well to be able to put all that down
But hey, LETS NOT WORRY, apparently it is OK for a nearly 9 year old to write like this 

Reading Eggs is FAB

I have seen a number of reviews for Reading Eggs recently and when I came across a promotional code on 'how to be a domestic disgrace's' blog and BareNakedMummy's, I decided to look it up for my boys and give it a try.

Little Man is very behind in his school work and classed as have learning difficulties, however, as ADHD (which affects his concentration and working memory) is not a recognised disability within the statementing process he does not get as much support as he necessarily needs. Please don't get me wrong, the school in fact go above and beyond what they should provide for him and he gets more support that he should but the sad fact is, it is not enough. He is about 2 years behind his peers, although his reading does seem to be clicking. He will be 9 at Christmas and still struggles with counting backwards from 20, can't get beyond 2x3 = 6 and still uses his fingers to do maths, so anything that takes him beyond 10, leaves him clueless. At times it feels like an uphill battle. It is so frustrating when you sit with him and spend day after day going through something and he then 'gets' it and you think 'yes we've done it'. Yet when he does the spelling or maths test, he gets very bad marks and ask him a few days later and it is gone, he simply does not remember it.

As for spelling, well, if I asked him to write 'Harry Potter flies on his broom, he is a wizard and my favourite character', he would write it 'Hari Potur fliis on his brome, hey is a wisd and miy favurit caractur'. I have not made this up, I copied it from his homework. Everything is very phonetic.

Mini man is now learning to read so he has been learning the basic phonics and basic blending of words i.e. d-o-g dog, l-oo-k look, r-ea-d read etc. It has become apparent that Little man still does not know his basic phonics, when I ask Mini man what sound 'ea' or 'ai' makes, Mini man can sometimes get it and sometimes doesn't but Little man sounds it out as 2 letters 'e' and 'a', there is no blending, no hearing the sounds, so without this it is no wonder he spells like he does. Although his writing can look impossible at times to read, if you take your time and sound each word out in your head, you can generally make out what he has written.

So getting back to the point, I registered Little Man on Reading Eggs, you can read a full description of it here but in brief it is an online reading resource for children to learn to read, but it is individual learning as the child completes the programme by themselves and progress at their own rate. It uses the phonics and sight words the kids are taught in school and I really like the fact it speaks to the kids as they can hear the sounds letters make in a fun way.

Both my boys love it, in fact they can't get enough of it, with both asking to go on it and needing no prompting, nor do they want to finish when their lessons have ended, instead they want to complete the next one.

Little Man seems to respond very well to the computer anyway and as Reading Eggs lets your child complete an assessment of 40 questions to determine the right level to start them on, it is exactly the right level. Little Man's reading age has come up as 5 and a half (as I said he is nearly 9), and although he is behind, I think this age is also reflective of him rushing the test and not concentrating in his eagerness to collect more eggs and move onto the next questions, rather than an inability to actually read.

The programme basically has the kids playing games, listening to songs and they collect eggs and pet critters (which Little Man loves). I think the biggest thing though is it is enjoyable, they don't realise just how much they are learning from doing it.

Although we haven't got to this stage yet, I believe that there are writing exercises and spellings as well, which will only serve to support Little Man further. I don't know if it was set up with special needs children in mind but it is exactly what my Little Man needs, as it takes the pressure off the traditional type of learning and keeps his attention and focus.

We love Reading Eggs and after our trial has ended, I think it would be stupid not to take out a subscription which is not a stupidly high price at £39.95 for a year and subsequent children get the subscription at 50%

Please note, this is not a sponsored post, I am simply blowing Reading Eggs trumpet of my own accord because I think they are brilliant and more children should be able to benefit from it.




Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Formula 1 birthday cake

It was recently my brother's 40th birthday so my sister-in-law asked me if I would like to make his birthday cake for a surprise party.

My brother has been car mad since being tiny and still sits glued to the Grand Prix on a sunday and takes mini man to watch grass track racing and things, so we decided he needed to have a racing car cake.

I have a bit of a passion for decorating cakes and wanted this one to be a good effort and I was really chuffed with the end product.

So how did I do it?
At first I thought it might be quite hard to do but I found that a square and round cake were enough. I used maderia cake as it is a more solid cake than say a chocolate sponge. I also put the cakes in the fridge for a couple of hours before carving them into the right shape so they didnt crumble as much.

I then cut the basic shape and covered it with butter cream and then red sugar paste.

Next job were the logos. I used a picture from the internet and edible pens, rolled out some white petal paste as this sets much harder than sugar paste and set to work drawing all the logos to go on the cake. It was hard work but worth the effort and my brother was really pleased with it.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Lego, Lego, Lego!

My boys are both Lego mad. They first got interested in it when my dad dug out a big box of Lego from the loft which had belonged to my brother & me. There's none of this fancy stuff in that box, just the standard red, yellow, blue and green bricks of various lengths, 2 or 3 green mats to use as a base and some windows but the boys didn't care, suddenly a whole new world of creating and imagination had been opened up to them and they'd spend many happy hours building garages and houses like we use to (my dad also unearthed my old tree house at the same time which also gave them hours of fun and when being over 30 years old got too much for the plastic and it finally broke, I wasn't the only one to shed a tear!).

Grandad started something though with that box of old Lego. The boys are now Lego mad. T'husband and I have lost days of our lives building star wars ships and ninja things, and always feel very proud of the finished article. Until a week or so later when the beautiful X wing enters into a battle with darth vadars ship and they 'blow up'. God it's enough to make an adult cry seeing them all in pieces!

They don't even ask for them to be rebuilt as they seem to gain more enjoyment from making countless numbers of their own models - the big proper models are just too delicate for a 6 & 8 year old.  Now that I'm wise with hindsight, that thought of their enjoyment and the models they make, helps stem those tears of frustration at the battles!

This was the norm until Mini Man got the Lego City Police Station for his birthday which he treasures. It got knocked off the toy cabinet (by me) & came to pieces much to his distress so I promised to rebuild it this weekend. Thing is Daddy told the boys to tidy their bedroom and they lobbed ALL the Lego into one box, so this is how I found myself yesterday sat on our landing, sitting among thousands of bits of Lego.

After 3 hours I was only half done so tidied it away, put the boys to bed & cracked open the wine to soothe the nerves.

Mini Man has now announced a burning need for the Lego City Airport and the Lego City Firestation - the thought makes me shudder (and I admit to be a little thankful that money is quite tight and as most Christmas presents have already been bought, we might have to wait for those!!)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Comfort zones and groovy mums

I need to do an update - it is a long time since I managed to blog, let alone take part in Grooving mums, and as one of the first groovy mum's, I am hanging my head in shame, especially when over the past year I have rediscovered a fair amount of my groove and managed to get myself out of a rut, with quite a lot of help from my fellow Groovy mum's.

I struggle with presents for t'husband as he has a massive love of gaming (X Box, PS III, PS Vita, iPad, you name it, we have it, Kinec things, PlayStation move etc, you get the idea) and to be honest there are only so many games, and gaming mouse/accessories you can buy before they become very predictable. His birthday is in December so it is doubly hard to come up with 2 decent ideas at the same time.

Anyhow, the other week Kate over at Kateonthinice, reviewed a boudoir shoot and being the amazing woman she is, actually posted some pictures - she has a lot of guts this woman and is made of strong stuff!  You can read about her experience here.

At a recent wedding, my friend sent one of us bridesmaids round to the groom's room with a special wedding day present from her, which was a boudoir shot, so then seeing Kate's blog really got me thinking.

So, the day I read Kate's post, I grabbed the bull by the horns, and got straight onto the oracle called Google, and found a local boudoir photography studio and booked myself in. Now it is costing me an arm and a leg to do it (I'm hoping she takes the arm and leg after the photographs so they will still at least look good!), more than I really can afford but I want to surprise him, I want to do something really different and I also want to do this for ME. I want to feel good, and see the photos and think, hell yes, that's me and I am confident enough to do it.

My original booking was last Friday - the 9th, however the photographer rang me to say she had a clash and could I do the afternoon instead which I couldn't due to school pick up, so we rescheduled to today. Today though, I got up coughing, hoarse, looking like I'd not slept for weeks and well felt pants, so I cancelled today. I was really disappointed.

I have spent all week deciding the type of photos I would like, Googling pictures and galleries and planning what I might wear - which I am still struggling with a little by the way as I can't afford to go out and buy anything new due to the cost of the actual shoot.

I want to do something that is more seductive than blatant, more teasing so maybe knickers and then one of his white work shirts hanging open so he gets a glimpse of my chest, or sitting and a picture taken from behind while I am slightly turned so again, there is a glimpse. Any ideas would be welcome though. I am sure Kim who will be taking the photos a week on Tuesday now will also have plenty of advice.

My googling took me to a place called Madame Boudoir Photography which is based in Pudsey, West Yorkshire. I rang to speak to the photographer who immediately put me at ease, explained the whole package, and when I said I was hoping to have some printed pictures (the package she offers is for 7 pictures on a CD), she said she could do 3 for me instead which will be perfect.

I initially quaked a little at the cost, I knew it would be expensive and was attracted to this studio as there seemed to be a facebook offer on which was offering a photo shoot for £50.00, however that offer had ended, however, she made me feel so at ease, I kind of threw caution to the wind and used my credit card - oops.  She has also been so understanding about me not being well today. I had to pay half as a deposit to secure my booking which is fine as it helps spread the cost.

So watch this space, I am now booked in for Monday 26th and completely unexpectedly, she has also indicated that she will be still be able to get my prints ready for the first weekend in December which is amazing, considering she originally said it would be 2 weeks. I had assumed that I wouldn't get them in time for t'husband's birthday and was resigned to having to hide them until Christmas, so I could'nt ask for a better service and I've not even set foot in the studio yet.

Although I am nervous and will be VERY out of my comfort zone, I am also VERY excited about it. I get my hair and makeup done by a professional and then my photos. I actually just have a sense of confidence just for booking it!

EEKK, just need to think of some good poses and outfits now!

PS don't expect me to be posting any photos though!!

Disclaimer: I am not receiving any incentive such as reduced cost/free shoot, this is something I have decided to do myself, found on the web. I simply want to blog about it and post about a positive experience which will hopefully do wonders for my self confidence.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Sleepless nights - will I be sent to prison!!

OK so November has turned into a disaster when it comes to my November challenge which is an arse but do you know what, I am not stressing - before I would have been really uptight and upset I had not had time to post, but now, I just think I can only do what I can do.

So far this month though I have had to deal with the following:

  • Major problem with a meeting for work which I had to deal with by myself
  • Attend a 3 day meeting in Italy which again I had to do the final leg work for as other 2 team members went away over half term
  • Start the writing up of the meeting - now been told they want it in 2 formats - very time consuming but hey, more money for me
  • A joint 6 year old birthday party and cake to prepare for
  • Packing husband off for a weekend away and spending some fab, quality time with my boys
  • Treasurers report for the PTA AGM meeting taking place next week*.

* To some that may not seem like a big issue however, this is something that has really piddled me off, Last year I offered to help the school PTA, first meeting I attend, I am trying to look all enthusiastic but my reaction to hearing my name being sworn in as the new treasurer was probably not the best. I was assured by many present it didn't matter I worked full time and often went away for meetings at very short notice. I wasn't actually formerly asked to do this. I said I would help which was translated into 'lets nominate her for treasurer and if we do it at the meeting in front of anyone she wont really have a choice'.

The last treasurer has not really handed over to me very well. She was an accountant so it was obvious to her but I have no idea what I am doing and now she is working full time again, I don't see her around and she ignores texts and emails, so I am floundering. Anyhow, 2 days ago I was sent a load of excel spreadsheets and told these needed to be up to date and I needed to present a treasurers report and also submit one to the school and have it properly checked by an accountant.

WHAT! Spreadsheets I had not been passed so I am now swimming in receipts, and paperwork. yes I have kept everything, noted all cheques and invoices paid but not on spreadsheets or the same way so I am now totally confused, and panicking which is making it worse. Honest to god, I couldn't sleep last night thinking it was not going to add up or something and I would be done for embezzlement and sent to prison (I'm not joking).

On that note I need to get on with it!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Failed before even leaving the starting blocks!!

So I challenged myself to a November Challwnge which was to do a daily post about ADHD and special needs and we are now on the 2nd of November and I have failed to write a single post this week, let alone 2 on ADHD.

It's all up there in my head but I want them to be useful and meaningful and not just a garbled, waffled, random mix of info/experiences.

This week turned into a nightmare, literally. Work has been very quiet, nice in some respects as it has meant I have been able to get on top of a couple of things but on the other hand I've been feeling very twitched that in the last 18 months I haven't had to worry about the next months work but I've been left wondering what mid November onwards holds for me :(

Anyhow I do have a meeting next week - the last if my definite work, and my 2 German doctors contacted me last Friday morning saying they needed their contract with the company they are speaking for for their healthcare bodies to approve and give them permission to actually attend the meeting. On investigating it seems the person who should have sorted this hadn't, & has now left the company and I have not stopped trying to get it sorted with constant phone calls to Swizterland, Germany, Italy (as our Italian doctor needed his as well), brazil and the US so my evenings have Been wiped out as well. I eventually got it sorted - today, meeting starts Tuesday and luckily, thanks to 2 very efficient German secretaries, they have managed to get the respective administration departments to approve the contracts without the required 2 weeks notice!

Needless to say any thought of spending longer at my computer was hideous, plus my poor boys have been on half term and barely seen me so any spare time was spent doing things with them. 

I will have to try and play catch up, on the plus side at least my invoice for October which was looking slightly scary, looks a little healthier and the last 2 days will have improved Novembers out look 

Please excuse this post as well, I'm say outside the Indian waiting for our takeaway so on my phone x