Paused for thought

Paused for thought

Saturday, 17 December 2016


I promised, many months ago now, to share with you all some of my early work. I carefully gathered it together and packed it in to the car during our house move this summer to ensure that it made it safely to our new home. The only question was, which piece to share. This week I set about going through it all. There is prose which is largely woolly and would take the length of a few cups of tea for me to wade through, let alone for you to read. Then there is a whole collection of poetry which I published online around 15 years ago when I was experiencing the disappointments that life can bring. That didn't seem suitable either. In fact, the only piece that I would have happily typed up is a poem that I wrote when I was 7 years old, entitled 'Waves' and written from the simplistic view of a child and, I now realise, also offers thoughtful reflections as an adult. A perfect piece to share as I wrap this blog up and send it in to hibernation. Unfortunately, although I am sure that it is surfing (pun absolutely intended) around my work files somewhere, typically that is the one piece which I cannot find.

 All of this deliberation led to an interesting conversation which reminded me of a piece that I published on this blog just over a year ago (here). When we rely so much on the Internet and computers and folders on 'the cloud', we don't write things down on paper. Letters are replaced by emails, postcards by photographs and captions on social media sites. Years ago of course that was the other way around. Now, I am certain that this poem is within my grasp, indeed it wouldn't surprise me to find it later this evening. The point of this post, though, is perhaps more of a reminder to me than to any of my readers, that whilst it is important to scan in those old photographs, writing, certificates or whatever you hold dear, you should not forget to reverse that too.

So, instead of spending time searching for the lost poem, I will instead spend time writing out by hand the aforementioned post on this blog, along with a couple of others, and will tie them with ribbon and put them in my writing box for me or my children to rediscover in a few decades.

On that note, I am taking a long break from this blog. The posts will remain and I will never say never, but with a young family I am diverting my writing energies to creative writing (Her Anonymous Face) and to a second blog which is in its infancy but I will share on social media soon. Thank you again to everyone who has supported me, shared my work and given me feedback, I am truly grateful to you all.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Birthday reflections

This time last year I was sitting in front of my shiny two week old laptop that my lovely husband had bought for me as a birthday present. I was excited to use it to start writing again. I was excited to share my thoughts through this blog (my first ever post can be found here ) and practise different writing styles.

I was delighted by the immediate response. It had been a number of years, far too many, since I had last published my writing on anything that resembled a blog of my own, or been writing regularly for pleasure. I was overwhelmed by the kindness of family and friends who supported and encouraged me then, and continue to give me lovely feedback now.

Since those beginnings I have had periods of time when I have been writing busily for this blog, and others when this page has been left standing quietly, unattended as my writing has taken me to new pastures and opened new doors of opportunity. I am still a long way from my ultimate goal, but I remain determined and focused. This approach is made all the more possible by the lovely support that I have received, so thank you, everyone.

There has been much discussion this week about the purpose of blogging and the value of blogs. Without embroiling myself in the comments, I continue to be enthusiastic about the medium. I enjoy reading the work and thoughts of others, and for myself I like to try different styles and (attempt to) appeal to different audiences.

For my birthday this year, my laptop came out again to start a new writing project which I hope to share with you all further on in the future, perhaps! I also bought a lovely addition to our family - a new guitar. I hope that this time next year, both writing projects will be going well and I’ll have remastered playing the guitar.

In the meantime, thank you for a year of support and reading – here’s to the next one!

If you missed my birthday musings last year, you can read it again here .

Pink Pear Bear

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

My husband bought me hand cream and other nuggets from the week.

People have asked me previously to write about my routine and what a regular week in our house looks like. I have thought over and over how I can do so in an interesting manner and come up short time and time again. So, whilst I ponder how to adequately put down in words the trials and tribulations of guiding three young boys through daily life, attempting some level of training with an enthusiastic Labrador puppy, and squaring up to a to-do list that dates back a few years, I thought I would present some momentous occasions from the past week.

This week my husband bought me hand cream. Industrial hand cream. Although he decided not to accessorise with the wall mounted dispenser too. As a little background to this my hands are dry. Barren, some might say. I have cotton gloves to sleep in, spare cotton gloves for when the primary pair are being washed, back ups for the back ups and so on. I have cocoa butter, oodles of it which I smother my hands in at every opportunity. I have tubes of hand cream popping out of every drawer in the house, falling out of cupboards and peeking out from behind the computer monitor. But my hands steadfastly refuse to absorb the moisture. I drink pint upon pint of water to no avail. The turning point came when last week, three cracks already etched in the ends of my fingers, my knuckle cracked when I turned on the shower. Something had to be done. So my beauty product shy husband hoiked out his trusty laptop and proceeded to research hand creams. He came up with these lovely tubes, which state simply that they are for extremely dry skin. They were delivered in an industrial sized box to match their advertised strength. So far, they seem to be working. I can keep any hand cream enthusiasts updated, but I am happy and my hands feel more comfortable already.

In other news, I continue to be delighted by the verbal offerings that my three year old presents daily. Yesterday he woke with a stretch and a smile, and said, “Mama, I love you all day”. I’m not sure if that meant that there are days when he thinks I’m a downright pain in the you-know-where but I thought it a sweet and kind way to express his feelings, and I confess that this is an expression I am very likely to steal on a regular basis.

My wellington boots have finally given in to 6 or 7 years of hard use and have cracked. At the bottom, on the side. I think I might be the only person who appears to ruin footwear directly before stepping out into a puddle / the snow / gravel / *insert some other uncomfortable walking surface*. I’m not actually sure what I do to my shoes but I should probably look to invest in Rocket Dog. On the plus side my birthday is fast approaching, so I can add wellington boots to the list along with new trainers. The jewel encrusted jewellery will have to wait for next year…

And finally, the height of my routine filled week was when our food loving puppy decided that eating the school lunch menu would be an interesting experiment. In just one action she inadvertently introduced me to a new level of organisation with a highlighter pen and just one menu that would cover both the pre-school and primary school options. Far from turning my eyes upwards or taking a deep breath she was (quietly) thanked as I delighted in finding an opportunity to air my highlighter flower.

So that’s me, this week. What have your highlights been?

Pink Pear Bear

Monday, 18 January 2016

Monday coffee break - 18th January

Tim Peake’s space walk last week caused great excitement in our household. The idea that you can become an astronaut and walk in space and live in space and still communicate with Earth is a source of fascination for our young children. Not only did it spark conversations about space, it also sparked a discussion around career choices. Vet to refuse collector, fisherman to accountant, gardener to administrator, we talked about them all.

I’m not sure if it stems from career advice at school, my HR background or my outlook on life, but I realise how lucky we are that we can have these conversations. That no profession is out of bounds and, perhaps more importantly, that it is entirely possible and sometimes necessary to change our career, which we can do with increasing ease. I think back to my parents’ generation. There were definitely some vocations now considered mainstream that were thought to be more unsuitable than others. In an interview with Jeremy Paxman conducted back in 1999, David Bowie discusses how he wanted to be a musician because it seemed “rebellious”, “subversive” and “a dead dodgy occupation to have”, whereas entering the world of pop or rock music is now a “career opportunity”. You don’t have to look far for courses to suit any budget to support your chosen occupation or career change either. Future Learn is a fantastic resource, as is the Open University, depending on what you are looking to study. Part time courses, full time courses for mature students, anything is possible.

Whilst I delight in this, I wonder if there might come a time though where the world of work becomes so accessible to so many that we might be in danger of becoming a nation, or several nations, of, to quote a famous saying ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’? That we will lose those essential skills necessary for any civilisation. Only last year there were reports that bricklayers were in short supply in the UK compared to the demand for new housing. I wonder if that will happen to a number of professions as others seem more attractive or as people change with ease between different occupations trying to find their perfect fit. I have no solution for this, except to add my thought that investing more in teachers and careers advisers to excite children and adolescents to follow their dreams and remain focussed and positive despite any setbacks that occur is surely a step in the right direction. Some people need change, some people want change, but there should be an element of celebration for those who decline major change too. For those who ride out the mistakes and wrong directions, for they will happen, and come through with increased determination.

For the meantime, I must return to my career change – once an HR professional, now a mother, housewife and occasional writer. The irony of my thoughts sitting on my shoulders as I ponder over them.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Monday morning coffee... 11th January

I don’t know if this is just my perspective, but as life passes time somehow seems to pick up speed. One moment it’s the summer, next we’re cantering into January. I’m not sure it felt that way when I was 8. There’s something about New Year that I love though. I used to be saddened by it, surrounded by celebrations I felt like I was waving goodbye to an old friend I hadn’t quite finished having a conversation with and I wouldn’t see again. Now towards the end of each year I start to look forward to it. The memories from the year are still there, not going anywhere and perfect building blocks for future endeavours, but the first day of January brings fresh opportunity every time and seems like the ideal moment to choose whether to let something go or make it work out. There have been some sad decisions along the way, but mostly I tend to be an optimist and believe that if things are meant to be then, with varying levels of time and attention, I can achieve them. New Year could be any given moment in time, but it is there, a recognised date in our calendar when we can wake up with a fresh face to our dilemmas, dreams and successes.

I’d wager that New Year also brings with it a raft of resolutions made across the globe. Now we’re a week in, I wonder how many are still standing. The new diet, exercise regime, fresh wardrobe? I make them all and stick to most with limited success. That said, every year as a family we make one resolution that does continue all year long. We choose a charity to support, whether it’s through a cake sale, regular donations of money or goods to sell in their shops, or small scale parties, and we all get involved. This year our children chose the charity (Blue Cross) and we are spending time finding out more about them, the work that they do and how we can help. Last year I was fascinated to follow the inspirational Caroline Jones and her Knickers Model’s Own campaign. What a wonderful way to inspire charity shop purchases whilst simultaneously raising money in memory of her late mother. Although I don’t profess to be as creative, her enthusiasm and determination to raise money in a fun and thoughtful manner has inspired me to think of ways to fundraise that we haven’t tried before. So thank you, Caroline.

It is with that thought I leave you to put my own brain into gear and think of ways my family might be able to have some fun whilst raising money this year, and progressing with the one resolution I know we will stick to.

I’d love to hear about your resolutions! Happy Monday.