About Me

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Hi, I'm Lyndsey. I'm a 36 year old Mum from Wales. I have a Masters Degree in Marketing Communications and Public Relations and put it to good use in my work as a freelance Marketing & PR consultant. I also work part time as a fundraising coordinator for a Welsh charity which I absolutely love!! With two jobs, two children, two cats and a handsome man, lets just say I'm a busy lady. 
From 2006-2008, I wrote a column for the Denbighshire Free Press. I was so proud of the feedback I got for this, even the one angry ‘You Suck’ letter to the editor cheered me up no end; it showed that people took notice of what little ol’ me had to say. It’s good to know that people give a rat’s ass either way! So, succumbing to requests from my former fan club (ok, overstating there – readers who had nothing better to do on a Thursday afternoon) under the March 2014 archive you will find a selection of my early Free Press articles. I’d love to hear what you think on any of the subjects raised…you know, rat’s ass either way feedback ;-)

Monday, 31 March 2014

The Evil That Is Hangovers

Has the night before ever been worth the torture you endure the next morning?  I am attempting to write this article coherently, however the weird floatie things bobbing in front of my eyeballs are just too distracting.  This morning I had feebly begged my husband to take the kids to Stagecoach for me.  My daughter in full theatrical hysteria was more than I could stand!  I literally crawled out of my bed then dragged myself across the floor like a wounded SAS solider to the bathroom.

The kids were in there brushing their teeth and started laughing, far too loudly, at the sight of a wincing, dribbling mum trying to climb up the towel rail before collapsing on the toilet. I ordered them out of the bathroom but my command appeared to be barely audible.  My guts were seriously cramping and the room was spinning so much that I could do nothing but drop my head onto the toilet roll holder.

Half an hour later the kids came to say goodbye.  They found me still in the bathroom, my cheek engraved with the bogroll holder motif.  Through watery eyes I watched my daughter dance around me holding her nose and my son, full of concern, attempting to shove her out of the door.  He patted me on the head and checked my temperature.  Off he toddled to the bathroom shelf and got down a pot of vapour rub.  His little fingers smeared the rub onto my chest and then, attempting reassurance, through my hair and in my eyes as he wiped my tears.  My eyes smarted as my son waved me goodbye and helpfully suggested that I shower as apparently I pong.

Six weeks ago, my husband bought me a present; a stunning sparkly skirt.  It was short, black and covered in sequins and I absolutely love it! With no prospect of a Christmas party this year and no opportunity forthcoming for wearing it in the near future, I committed to a last resort...a night in the local clubs.

Honestly, that's how desperate I was to wear that skirt!  At my age I know better than to think I can keep up with party people a decade younger than me.  Approximately every six months or so , unfortunately I attempt to recapture my party days and each time I end up with my face in bog roll.

Dolled up in my skirt and knee high socks (trendy and also blimmin warm), I looked great...if I was 19 years old.  At 30 however I was paranoid about whether I could pull it off.

In town, surrounded by singletons on the prowl, I felt old!  For starters I wore a coat.  Apparently these days, girls achieve warmth by crossing their arms across their chests and adopting a straight jacket stance.  Drinks are cheap as long as you suck sugary neon stuff through a straw.

Music is the same. Old school hits they call them except now they have this annoying relentless beat pounding through so that every tune sounds the same.  I consider myself to be an excellent dancer but as I attempted MC Hammer moves to modern 'music' the bouncers eyed me, assessing whether I was trollied enough to be removed.

After queuing for ages to get into the toilet, I finally managed to get a cubicle.  Typically it was one where the door lock does not work, so I had to prop the door shut with my head whilst trying to aim my pee.  My handbag was swinging from around my neck in order to keep it from dipping into whatever my shoes were swimming in; I suspected more than one lady had mis-aimed...urgh.  Aware that people were standing outside my cubicle, my usual stagefright kicked in.  Weird I know but I simply cannot pee if people can hear.  Soon enough though, the sound of vomiting could be heard from nextdoor and sobbing from my other neighbour so I was not stuck for long.  

Hubby and I stuck it out past 1am just to make a point, then surrendered ourselves to a kebab and taxi.  Back at home, I let my Hubby massage my blistered feet.  I was aware of the grin he was wearing, so I breathed on him; he reeled and then left me alone.  The room was spinning.  I tried counting the contents of my purse several times before I realised that it was empty.  Poor and poorly me.

So, is the night before ever worth the hangover?  Rarely in my case.  Don't get me wrong, I almost always have a good time but there is just something that I need to wrap my melon around.  What constitutes a rockin night out 10 years ago ain't working for me nowadays.  Or maybe I just need to avoid the sugary neon stuff?

The Poverty Trap

Latest figures from the homeless charity Shelter estimate that as many as 80,000 children will be homeless this Christmas.   Food banks in the UK are seeing a massive increase in demand. Is the aim to eradicate child poverty in Wales by 2020 an ideal but unrealistic dream?  Are we looking at the bigger picture?

With one in three Welsh children living in poverty, I for one think that the introduction of free breakfasts at school is an outstanding initiative.  Breakfast is the most essential meal of the day, yet one that a significant number of children have to do without.

As an immediate fix, the government can only do so much to improve financial prospects, and one can wonder and hope that the introduction of the Child Trust Fund will prove beneficial late in life to those children born 2004 onwards. But what can be done to ensure that when a child reaches the age to cash in their Trust fund that they will want to use the money for their long term benefit? 


I think the best way we can help our young grow into confident, aspirational adults  to be proud of, is to give them the tools to carve and create their futures for themselves, in a manner which works for them as individuals, rather than what has been historically forced upon them. I believe that if we surround children with positive images and encourage them with positive feedback on their achievements then it creates a hunger from an early age to aim higher.  Later in life, this accomplishment ethic will by its nature reap financial rewards.

I grew up on a very rough council estate where witnessing poverty and distress among the residents will be forever engraved on my mind.  There were two choices for the kids on that estate, to become one of the criminals or to use the harsh realities surrounding us as motivation to achieve and break away from that lifestyle.  Don’t get me wrong, most residents were genuinely good people and I am proud to call them my friends, but desperation and depression, especially of a financial kind, can lead many a good natured person to do unlawful things either to get by or to escape their lives, if only for a while.

I was lucky enough to have supportive parents.  They had many successive years of bad luck but never let that drag them down.  I learned from their example about resilience.  My Mother kept me grounded and encouraged me to learn practical skills as well as academia.  She also instilled in me a strong sense of morals and self respect.  My father played positive on all my dreams, he believed nothing was out of my reach and by consequence, so did I.

For those children that lived on the estate then, all I can say is that they are all grown up and some are still there, bringing their children up in the same manner which they were brought up.  Do we believe history repeats itself as it knows no better or do these people believe that their children deserve no better than they received themselves?

Without prospects or encouragement at home, ambition is difficult to muster.  We need to provide these role models elsewhere to ensure that all children have many positive influences for them to look to and it is up to schools, the government and most especially these days, the media, to provide role models of substance.  These days if you ask a child what he/she wants to be when they grow up they will respond “rich” when asked how they will achieve the status of bank account they expect, they shrug.   

Education of children not only benefits the individual, but in turn can influence the family, friends and associates of that individual who see the transformation and progression and think “maybe I could do that too”.  But education comes in many forms, not just academia, a statement which seems profoundly obvious, yet children who are struggling in book smarts are writing themselves off as failures and this low self esteem can for many, set a precedent for the rest of their lives. 

Knowledge is power, not money.  Knowledge is the currency of self sufficiency and self worth.  Money may be able to buy a man apparatus to build a house but they are worthless without the knowledge of how to assemble it.  I am pleased that the Assembly Government is striving to combat child poverty in Wales and while increasing benefits would seem the preferable option for those who are struggling right now, for their kids, real investment into practical skills, basic life skills followed by classes which seek to exploit and encourage each individual’s talents will undoubtedly pave the way for more lucrative prospects or at least ease financial hardships in the future.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Is Bravery Just Another Word For Reckless?

Have you ever wondered how you would react if someone threatened your life?  I used to watch Crimewatch and see the re-enactments and wonder 'How would I have handled that situation'?  Now, I don't have to imagine, I know!  I have been in several precarious situations and every one of them invoked the same gut instincts.

The most prominent example happened a few years back.  I was working for my local bank.  It had been a fairly busy day and I had finally managed to escape to grab a cup of tea.  I brought my drink behind the counter with me and could not believe that a queue had built up so quickly.  I called for the next person to approach and hoped that it was not going to be one of those customers that wanted to credit coppers to 12 different accounts before asking for a £3 withdrawal.

The next customer was really fidgety and could not seem to make up his mind whether to come forward.  He was wearing one of those SAS style balaclavas and I remember thinking what a pillock he looked. Eventually he stood before my till and handed me a note.  It was poorly and inarticulately scrawled on well used paper.  It read 'I have a gun; give me all the money in your till' (well, it would have said that if it was spelled correctly).  I looked up at his balaclava covered head and met his agitated eyes.  Those eyes spoke the words which he dared not say. He was afraid of what he was doing!

He lifted his jumper at the hip to reveal the gun nestled into his waistband.  My reaction was unexpected.  In such a situation I had always imagined that I would be terrified.  During training within the bank on raid procedures, I remember having had a discussion about how, for the sake of others safety, one should immediately hand over the money as it was not worth risking either yours or another's life.  That training went right out the window; I was Pissed Off!! How dare this bloody idiot try to frighten me! How dare he threaten me!!

I continued to look him in the eye and replied "You have got to be kidding me.  Take your pathetic letter and sling yer hook - Pratt"  I sat back on my stool, closed my till whilst secretly tripping the alarm and in an act of total defiance, picked up my cup of tea.  At that moment my manager approached me to ask why I had stopped working.  I gestured in a bored manner towards the potential robber and said "This idiot says he has a gun and wants me to give him money".  It was not until I registered the fear on her face that it occurred to me what a dangerous situation we were ALL in.  As she dashed out of the room the robber became frustrated, this was obviously not going as he had planned.  Then to my horror, he took a hostage.

A man who could only be described as average looking was at the next till.  The gunman dragged him across to face me and put the gun to his head.  I remember feeling a sharp, hot rush shoot up my spine.  I was still angry but now my anger was directed internally.  As the victim locked eyes with mine I could feel his silent plead "Help me".

Although I was not the bad guy in this scenario, I played a reluctant yet crucial part of putting that poor man in the position.  A 'have a go hero' tackled the gunman to the ground, threw the gun across the banking hall and pinned down the vile threat.  A short fight ensued before the gunman fled; his balaclava in the hero's hand was to enforce his punishment later.  My punishment is ongoing.  I had no right to let my anger endanger the lives of others.

My colleagues at the bank thought me brave.  I later heard them discussing how they were glad that the gunman had chosen my till as they believed that anyone else would have gone to pieces.  In some respects they were right.  Tears flowed freely from several cashiers that day and they found it difficult to return to work for a while.  I had no fear to contend with.  They say that people react to danger with either a fight or flight response and I guess, for me, the fight instinct is stronger.

I do not believe my actions were brave however, just irresponsible.  I probably cried more than all the others that night because of the guilt.  The hostage's silent plead still haunts me, and no doubt haunts him too.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Balancing Mind and Body

Last night I joined a body balance class.  This morning my body is in agony!

I have been going through a bit of a bum phase with the gym.  I was doing really great until  December when I managed to crack my ankle on a cross trainer machine.  I jumped off the machine and forgot to press stop so the foot bit flung itself backward and cracked my ankle so hard that an immediate egg formed.  Two lessons learned; always press stop and never retaliate at machines as the swearing and slapping of it only adds to your pain!

Four months on and my half-hearted attempts at being a gym bunny have failed miserably.  I managed to gain six pounds and an addiction to my evenings being spent on the sofa watching Dawson's Creek re-runs.  Next month I will be thirty and I am aware that I am on a fast-track to slippers and my Mother's hand-me-downs.

I enrolled a very reluctant Hubby's assistance in my fitness motivation test.  I asked him "OK, don't sugar coat it Dude, where are my six pounds sitting"?  He hid behind the sofa before replying "Your face"  AAARRRGGHHHHH...!!!!!

I flew down to my local leisure centre and skidded to a halt at the activities board.  Swimming...nah, too cold!  Bums & Tums....nah, I have facial issues!  Body Balance...a combination of Tae Kwan Doe, Pilates and Yoga; Perfect!

I turned up at the class ready to be bendy in yoga style sweat pants.  Although in my case they are simply yoga pants as I don't do sweating; which could explain a lack of results but hey ho.  The other women there looked on average fifteen years or so older than me so I deduced that this was going to be a rather tame class.  Damn, I figured I would have to hit the treadmill afterwards.

"Shoes off" I am told.  Typical on the day I am wearing odd socks.."Err.. and your socks"  Ohh.  The music begins and the instructor leads us through a series of tip-toed stretches.  I concentrate on my breathing; if I am here then I might as well do it properly.  "Deeply inhale...and exhale...and in....and out"  I started to feel a bit weird.  More stretching and more breathing and whoah, I was seriously light-headed.  I am usually a shallow in...hold till I remember to breathe out...splutter type of girl when exercising.

We are taken through a variety of one hand on the floor with the other pointing to the ceiling poses followed by downward dog moves, evil girlie push ups and salutations.  I struggled but managed to keep up with everyone.  I was surprised that my balance was so good considering I am the girl who cannot keep static on a gym ball; usually rolling off in a heap.

Next we got off our mats and lay on the floor.  The other women had V shaped poses looking like art and even appeared relaxed. Psychos!.  My tummy was trembling like a bouncy castle at a kids party.  I could not have straightened my legs if my life depended on it!  Knees up, down, outwards, inwards...how the hell did they manage it?  Twenty minutes of floor work and vast amounts of backache later we were allowed to sit in a lotus pose (think Buddah) before rising, saluting the sun and then clapping our efforts.

On the way out the other women were chatting about how peaceful and powerful they felt now.  I noticed many of them were getting onto their bikes for the journey home.  I on the other hand, hobbled to my car and sat sulking as I felt my muscles begin to set.

This morning, I was aching all over but despite this, I got down on the floor and attempted some V shapes.  I was not particularly successful but mentally I felt great.  I had broken the motivation barrier!  I am now looking forward to next weeks Body Balance class but tonight, I am dragging my face to Salsa. Ola'

Friday, 28 March 2014

Is there ever a 'well deserved' smack?

How do you discipline children without smacking them?  I realise there are two opposing camps on this subject, Pro and Against.  I am in the latter group.

I have to admit that sometimes the naughty step just does not cut it, especially when my daughter struts into the living room with a self-made sandwich, juice cup and a colouring book tucked under her arm. She annouced "I have just hit my brother with my shoe cos he is annoying me so now I'm going to sit on the naughty step" She totally stole my wind!  'Clever little minx' I thought as she settled herself down and casually called over her shoulder "Oh yeah, sorry by the way".  Fifteen minutes later I said she could get off the step to which the little madam had the cheek to reply "Not yet thanks, I haven't finished my picture".

When I was younger, my Mother worked to the three chance rule. 1. She asks politely to stop. 2. Demands firmly to stop. 3. "Right, that's it" Whack.  It never did me any harm, I did not grow up resentful and as far as we were both concerned, I probably deserved it.  But did I?

If now, as a grown up, I refused to co-operate with someone and then that person decides I deserve a slap, is that allowed? I would have the Police onto her and she would be punished. That is the rule of society for grown ups; people who can defend themselves or seek help. Why does this rule of protection not exist for the defenseless?

People argue that they do not hurt their kids when they smack them, its just to shock or warn the kid. Those same people are the ones who smack their kids for mimicking their own behaviour!  For example, two boys are in a playground. No:1 boy plays his own game while No:2 boy wants to play a different game, in frustration at not getting his way he hits the other child. No:2's mother then storms over to her son and yells at him that "It's naughty to hit" and then slaps him across the back of his legs.  Hmm.. lead by example Mrs!

So far, my firm voice and counting to three has the desired impact.  I am not exactly sure what happens after I get to three yet.  On a particular occasion, my son tried to push it so I adopted my Mother's "Right, that's it" and stalked menacingly towards him, he ran screaming to his room and slammed the door.  The handle was too high for him to reach so I left him in there for a time out.  When the time comes that this is no longer effective however, I am hopeful that I will have done a good enough job that my kid's own moral conscience will  prevent them from becoming undesirables.

My firm voice, I have to say, is pretty impressive.  After a few years of singing lessons, my vocal cords are quite powerful. My voice can boom without being raised and carries quite a distance (Not bad for an asthmatic!).  Because of this voice, I have the dubious 'honour' of being the scary one, compared to my husband.  Hubby has made the mistake of using threats to get the children to behave and then not carried them through, so now the kids know that tears and a snuffled apology will get them off the hook.

I am very much aware that a lack of discipline has been cited as the main cause of society's downward slide. This to a certain extent I agree with, but is the problem really that some parents don't wallop their children? Perhaps if explanations and conversations replaced threats and smacks from the outset, then the 'need' for a 'well deserved smack' would present itself less often and if we are really honest, how often is that 'need' more about the grown-ups frustration, lack of patience, tiredness and general pissed off'ness rather than a child behaving in a genuinely naughty way?  How can a child grow up with morals, socially acceptable conduct, patience, forgiveness and respect unless they are shown those same qualities at home?

Are some parents just lucky to have well mannered, sensitive and bright offspring? No. They work bloody hard at getting a child's attention from day one.  Their children learn the value of others needs as well as their own. They are taught the fundamentals of respect by being shown it themselves and not for being slapped for reasons which they often don't understand!

I believe parents hit, not because it is the only way to achieve discipline but because it is easier.  Threats and violence are the very tools which we despise in bullies, yet apply these very tactics at home on the people who love them most. Society always proclaims that violence is never the answer, that we abhor it!  Isn't it about time that society proved it?

Thirty-Itis

I have diagnosed myself as suffering from thirty-itis.  The symptoms first presented themselves the day immediately following my twenty ninth birthday and have been steadily increasing in severity ever since. 

This thirty-itis is a strange old feeling. So far, I am healthy, proportional with minimal wrinkle-age, swing-age and sag-age and have so far managed to maintain a sense of humour.  So why am I moaning?  Am I just a spoilt brat in decaying clothing?

I am determined that my looks will not go down without a fight!  Let’s start with my skin... now, where is my free pamper certificate that I got with last year’s Easter egg?

In the salon waiting area, I wander around the products for retail and put on my ‘serious client’ face, paranoid the therapists would announce me as the ‘cheapskate freebie one’.  I’m shown to the treatment room on the next floor where the walls are decorated in brown, stylish print and have these fabulous chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.  The therapist tells me to she is going to leave the room for a couple of minutes while I strip off to my knickers and then lay face down on the couch thing.  Eh? Knickers? I’m having a back massage, why do my kecks have to come off? Did I mention that I am a massage virgin?

So I get in the near naked and hop onto the couch.  Thank goodness I have a decent pair of full bum pants on!  Laying face down is a bit of a problem.  Squished boobs do not make for a comfortable position!  There is no hole in the couch to put my face through so I squish my nose as well.  I am sure the therapist will think me odd not to have turned my face to the side but I can never relax if I had to worry about the expression on my face....do I look like I am enjoying it?  Do I look like I am enjoying it too much? Nope, squished nose suits me better!

My therapist returns and as she enquires about my comfort she lowers my towel and tucks it into my undies.  It feels worryingly arousing.  I shut my eyes tight and make a mental note to self to use the other voucher on a facial, no way am I offering it to my husband now!  Soft floaty music is playing in the background.  After 10 minutes or so of wishing the birdies outside would quit tweeting I realise it is part of the mood symphony. 

The massage oil smells lovely and feels warm on my skin.  As the candles flicker in the dim lights, the stroking sensations feel good.  Despite all this though I can’t for the life of me relax. I start to get annoyed with myself for not relaxing so I concentrate.  Concentrating on relaxing is futile.  Achieving Zen seems nigh on impossible.

Around fifteen minutes into the treatment I am finally finding that relaxation is finally kicking in.  I try to focus to avoid it kicking out again.  The therapist’s hands are just above my butt massaging deeply towards my hips.  Ahh Nooo.   Body unused to combination of relaxation and bran flakes for breakfast!  Must squeeze bum cheeks!  IBS is unkind at the best of times but why now? ‘Don’t fart’ replaces my ‘must relax’ mantra which has been humming around my head since the start.

The therapist then begins the light tickling strokes before backing away.  She softly informs me that she is off to get me a glass of water; I am to remain as I am and stay relaxed.  Well I obviously fooled her but remaining so close to a candle is a bad idea.  


Next up....rock hard body.  Attainable at the gym I am told, so here I go...

I am quite happily doing my own thing on the various apparatus, not particularly working up a sweat in my six year old tracksuit and pre-child sports bra which has the ability of flattening my knockers to a six year olds proportion.  Then in she saunters, Miss Gym Bunny 2008.  Perfectly preened and toned she prances in front of the mirror doing stretches that would make my eyes water before hopping aboard the treadmill.  While I am doing a brisk walk she immediately increases her speed to jog, all light and springy, I fear she makes me look frumpy, lumpy and lazy.  I increase my speed to a jog to match, she increases to a sprint.  I adjust my settings to match and immediately am struck by a sudden and vicious stitch. I slam on the emergency stop for the first time ever.  The machine stops, I don’t.  I find myself in a sprawling heap wondering if anyone is noticing the blood spurting from my nostril.  She carries on running regardless.  Maybe I should try digging out my old workout DVDs (ok, I admit it, they are VHS from 1990s)

Tomorrow will be my thirtieth birthday.  After a few hectic days of battling the inevitable I stand before the mirror.  Am I the person I expected to be at thirty or have I at least managed to achieve the exterior shell of that person?  I have achieved the typical third decade milestones and feel I have made a success of them, as in husband, children, house, career and the usual material possessions.  Am I so shallow that I allow myself to wallow in self pity because time is about to leather my looks in the same way that it has transformed every other beauty into a boot since the beginning of time?


I believe I will be happy to leave my twenties behind along with all the self analysis and pressures of deciding who or what I want to be.  I am confident that life will be less heavy simply due to my being wise enough to keep most matters in proportion and also feeling too old to give monkeys about matters which used to devastate me.  I plan to just go with the flow and hope that the waters are calm with the occasional slip stream into excitingly murky waters. After all, I’ve heard us girlies get dirty at thirty, Wey hey!

Moving On

My brother has decided to take his biggest life step to date and move in with his girlfriend, which came as quite a shock to my Mum as it was not long ago that he had proclaimed that he would never leave a home complete with free slaves (aka mum & Dad).  Mum told me of his plans and I had difficulty trying to decipher her feelings about it.  On the one hand, her last child was flying the nest, on the other hand the thud, thud, boom, boom noise pounding from his stereo would no longer rattle the windows nor would the smell of his sports socks need to be battled back with a can of Oust before entering his bedroom.


I was flattered when my little bro (who has towered above me since he was 12) asked me to visit a potential new home with him and his girlfriend to assess it’s suitability and also make sure they were not about to be ripped off.  Having rented everything from a converted barn to a starter home in the posh end of Reading, I consider myself to be quite clued up on the subject of home hunting!

I moved in with my hubby when I was 17 and he was 20.  Fully fledged adults as far as we were concerned but looking back we were just whippersnappers with attitude.  We started out in a bed-sit in the west end of Rhyl, did our best to make it homely but basically it was just a dark and dingy stench cupboard.  We would pay the landlord 50p to heat the bath water for us, wait half an hour then lock ourselves in the communal bathroom, one would bathe in the tepid water while the other would sit on the throne saying things like “don’t listen” or “I've got stage fright” I admit though I would usual go back to Mum’s for a hot shower.

Next we rented a converted barn in Abergavenny.  It was beautiful in the summer and the landlords seemed lovely.  When the winter came however it became the sort of building that you would not let your dog sleep in.  The damp started at the floor and spread not just up to the ceiling but right across it.  We would be woken several times a night by water droplets raining down onto our pillows.  We can laugh now about how we could practically take a shower without ever entering the bathroom.  One particular day stands out, I had treated myself to a new dress, I hung it in the wardrobe ready for work the next day and when I got it out the following morning it was covered in MOLD.  Next I tried to get out the front door but it had expanded so much that it would not budge so I decided to climb out the window, but the landlord’s dogs came and tried to attack my dangling legs.  I never made it to work that day.  We were finally forced out of our ‘home’ when I caught pneumonia and the visiting Doctor said that if we continued to stay there I could quite literally die! Despite this however we never so much as got our deposit back.


Knowing the Pitfalls, Scams and Scumbags that are out there to take advantage of young new starters, I rolled up my sleeves and set out for a showdown.  The cottage bro had chosen turned out to be charming, as was the landlord.  The price was fine, no damp walls or dodgy wiring to be found and I could not see a single thing to beef about.  Bro and the Mrs however found plenty.  I got the feeling that my worldly words of wisdom whilst appreciated were not going to get in the way of their ‘perfect love nest’  what else can I say? With experience comes wisdom, if only whippersnappers did not insist on finding out the hard way! 

Its A Pain to Train

Last week I went to my local beauty salon to get ‘stinky brown’ as my daughter calls it, known as spray tanned to the rest of us.  The therapist who was to blast me with the stuff turned out to be a girl which I had trained a couple of years ago.  She was curious to know why I would pay fifteen pounds for someone else to apply it when I could so easily have done it at home.  Being only about seventeen years old, she did not seem to fully appreciate that I wanted to just get out the house as my kids were either hanging off mine or each other’s necks and I wanted to get a good result without kiddie or husband hand-prints on my backside.


Whilst I stood there in a variety of odd poses wearing nothing but a paper thong, she regaled me with tales of further training she has attended at college.  She seemed completely unfazed by my nakedness and chatted to me as unselfconsciously as if I were in full attire.  I was impressed that she was so professional in her work and attitude but also wishing she would hurry up.  She may have been comfortable but I was very aware that the blasts of air coming from the spray were encouraging my nipples to stick out and goose bumps to unflatteringly erm, bump.  Some of her stories took me back to my training days and the time when my big opportunity arose. 

It was a typically blah day in July 1996.  I dragged my friend Sarah to the local college where I was studying hairdressing and beauty therapy.  She was a little apprehensive because she was to be my guinea pig for the perming seminar.  Sarah didn't particularly want curly hair but had agreed, to her detriment, that she would make her melon available whenever I needed a model practice on, and I would give her free hairdos for life.  Sarah knew I was not that great at winding rollers and she also knew there was a good chance she could be going home on the bus listening to the kids on the back seats chanting ‘bog brush bonce’ at her.

Six months previously a couple called Phillip and Heather had given a tutorial on colouring techniques that I had attended.  They were well respected in the hairdressing field and owned a small salon in Abergavenny, South Wales.  Heather had complemented me on my foils and streaking creativity which had, according to her, transformed Sarah’s hair {Sarah had smiled weakly and said it would take some getting used to}, Heather then asked me if I wanted to go and work for her and assuming that she was taking the Mickey I laughed her off.  I was gutted when I found out that she had been serious in her offer and I had more than likely missed my chance in working not only in a good salon but on television shows, catwalk events and magazines.  My usual teachers told me that the couple had been very interested in me, and then when I told them about the job offer they sneered and said that it was only likely to have been offered because the husband likes blondes rather than it being about my talent.  I never bothered to put my teachers’ right back then but it made me determined to show the nasty hags that they were wrong at the next seminar and I hoped the couple would remember me.

As fate would have it, Phillip and Heather were giving the seminar that day and I was keen to make as good an impression on them this time as I had before.  I deliberately waited until all the other girls had settled down in the class and then made my entrance, marching straight up to Phillip I shook his hand, reintroduced myself and thanked him for all his advice on colouring techniques, which he had given last time.  Philip said he remembered me and that he was looking forward to seeing how well I could tackle perming.  Damn, Why couldn’t he have offered the job again right then, I figured that Sarah’s hair was probably going to be fried frizz within the next few hours and there was no way I’d get the job after that.  

An hour and a half into the practical session everything was looking good, the rollers were in nine perfect sections, not too tight or riding up on each other, I had chosen the correct formula for Sarah’s hair type and she was making regular thumbs up signs in the mirror to let me know when Heather or Phillip were watching over my shoulder.  Unfortunately I had forgotten to put barrier cream on Sarah’s neck before applying the lotion and only realised that something was wrong when her eyes started watering and she began rocking backwards and forwards.  

“Whass up” I whispered hoping that nobody was watching, “I’m sorry Lynz but burnie… burnie… burnie… neck…. fix it….owww” I grabbed some cotton wool and calmly went to the sink to drench it in cold water, I prayed as I returned that nobody would ask what it was for but no such luck, Phillip had seen and was now moving towards Sarah who had gone practically purple in the face.  “What was it that I told everyone about barrier cream before we even started the practical session Lyndsey”, I had a sinking feeling in my chest as I mentally waved goodbye to my potential job, my perming certificate and the skin on Sarah’s neck “A layer of barrier cream will protect sensitive skin from burns caused by the perming solution and therefore protect me from lawsuits” I mumbled as I tried desperately to soothe Sarah’s skin which was quickly starting to blister.  “I hope you won’t make that same mistake if you come to work for me”.  It took a few moments to register what he had said, surely he couldn't have meant it after this balls up but I figured I’d try my luck anyway, “Instead of saying if I come to work for you, how about we say when” If you don’t ask, you don’t get is my motto {one of many} and it paid off, I was told I could start the following month.  

The perm turned out beautifully and there was smiles all around that day, I smiled thinking of what I had achieved and of how much fun I’d have boasting about it to the nasty teachers, The teachers smiled because they could now finally be rid of me, Heather and Phillip smiled because they now had a new skivvy and Sarah smiled briefly about her new ‘do but she still seemed a little forlorn.  “You ok? sorry about your burn but your hair covers it so if it’s a permanent scar you can hide it….silver linings an all that” my feeble joke didn’t rate a response from her, she looked into the mirror through watery eyes and said to my reflection “So I guess this means you’re moving away”.  That part I hadn’t thought about, I felt a pang in my heart as I realised the magnitude of what I had just agreed to, My eyes began to water as well as I replied “Err, yeah, I guess I am”

The move turned out to be a good idea.  I worked at the salon for just over a year, learned a great deal not just about hairdressing but about independence and accountability before moving on to be self-employed as a hair and makeup artist.  I told my former student as she blotted off the excess tan, if you know which direction you want your career to take you and you are clear about your goals, then never let fear of the unknown stop you from progressing.  If things don’t work out, what is the worst that can happen? Is the worst case scenario more frightening than spending the rest of your days berating yourself with your shoulda, coulda, wouldas?  I wholeheartedly recommend taking advantage of every training or studying opportunity which is available to you.  If you put it off till tomorrow, the way that fate and sods law like to mess you around, you never know if tomorrow the opportunity will still be available do you?

Glory On The Dance Floor

Last night we attended my cousins wedding party.  Luckily we managed to skip all the mushy, lovey dovey bit and showed up at the drunken “I love you so much, what’s your name by the way?” bit. 


My kids were thrilled to be getting into party clothes at bedtime and I was thrilled that the caterers were dishing up just as we arrived.

It was Hubby’s turn to do the sober duties.  As the ‘credit crunch’ has kicked my purse right in the ‘cream crackers’, I had to go back to using my teenage tricks of buying a coke and then disappearing under the table to top up with extreme cheapo vodka which smelled like paint stripper.  When a pint of common label larger and three cokes costs over £7.50, I have to admit that pride and morals are too expensive to maintain.

The DJ was playing all my favourite tunes and I found myself every three minutes jumping up and down, clapping my hands exclaiming “Oh, I love this song”  the problem with that though was it did not give me much opportunity to go back to the table for a slurp of paint stripper.  Why is it that, no matter how much natural rhythm one has, it never translates when you are sober on a dance floor? 

Repeatedly, I had to grit my teeth through the pain of a stitch so as not to lose face in front of my fellow boppers.  I am the boogie woogie master!  It is a widely acknowledged fact.  Last night however, nobody was looking at me.  No crowds circled round me chanting my name, no attention whatsoever, Zip!  Instead I was elbowed to the side of the dance floor as the throng crowded round someone else.  A new talent who was grinning from ear to ear as she stole my glory.  The throng thief was my six year old daughter.

Twirling her dress and throwing some serious shapes she was bopping her little heart out. Silver sparkly shoes tapping and gliding so fantastically that she put my moonwalk to shame.  As I danced with her, I soon found myself wearing that expression, the one I can remember my mother wearing about a decade ago at another wedding party. 

Back then, Mum had enthusiastically jumped up to dance to her favourite tunes, then the Spice Girls song had mixed in and I joined her on the floor.  I showed her my moves and smiled smugly as I accepted all the “wow, you are a great dancer” complements.  Mum did her best to copy my routines before plonking herself down and hitting the whisky, too deflated to hold onto her smile.  History was now repeating itself.

When did I become uncool?  Our relatives were laughing openly as I showed my girl a bit of Mambo combined with a lot of hip hop to which she showed me a near perfect Elvis lip curl and single eyebrow lift (try it, you’ll get the idea).  I suddenly found myself feeling a bit foolish and sulkily retreated to our table and vodka so strong I feared hangover cystitis would kick in next morning so hastily sunk a pint of soda water.

On all the tables were helium balloons and by 10pm the helium was still inside the balloons and not inside the best man’s lungs so my son and I went and collected a bunch.  Those balloons were the highlight of my little boy’s night.  As we said goodnight to the groom he enquired as to where we thought we were going with them.  I said they were a present from the Bride and then we quickly scarpered.

As I tucked the kids into bed that night, I realised that this was the first, in what was inevitably going to be many occasions, which I felt like an old fart in front of my kids.  Pretty soon I will be ordered to stay out of sight at the school play or drop them off a few streets away from the cinema.  I will battle to receive half-hearted hugs and reluctant conversations about their day.  Screaming matches about skirt length and shaven heads will rage over the din of door slamming and blimmin awful ‘music’.

I tried to paint that picture for my husband so that he would understand the direction that I believed are lives was heading in.  His response was to give me a hug, patting me on the back in mock comfort.  “Don’t worry, I understand why you are feeling this way” he said.  I sighed and relaxed, ready to hear words of wisdom from him that would put the world to rights. “Next time we go to a party, I will offer our daughter a fiver to humour you” he laughed.  “Yes please” I replied gratefully.  

The G.U Clinic

Last week I visited the local Gentio Urinary Clinic.  For those of you who have never visited one, it is a sexual health unit.  It is run for the benefit of all non-virgins and also for women who need to have a check up, down there.

I was there for a smear test.  A very firm reminder from my doctors had arrived at my door a few days previously instructing me to undergo this test as soon as possible and also berating me for having ignored the initial two letters which they had sent.  
I am fully aware of how important it is to have these checks for abnormal cells and how early detection can profoundly improve one’s chances of survival should the worst be found.  However, I was determined that when I have these tests performed, I would need to be knocked out before hand.

As I sat in the waiting room clutching my queue number ticket, I could not resist having a scope round the room.  It was occupied mostly by men of various ages.  I have to say that I was really impressed by these guys!  I figured that either this was their first time and therefore did not have a clue what was about to happen to them or they were being very responsible and fixing any health issues rather than ignoring them and worse passing them on.  One bloke in particular was very good looking and as he took a ticket he threw me a flirtatious smile, Was He Kidding? I admit my evil feminist side could not resist an inner grin when he returned from his appointment with deathly pale skin and watery eyes.  

A nurse called me for my turn and can you believe it...she was a former pupil of mine.  Last thing I wanted was for someone to be asking me about their exam certificates while meandering my downstairs.  As I sat in the examination room being asked the usual routine questions I could feel my heart thudding, I felt sick and dizzy.  I asked in complete seriousness if there was any chance I could be sedated before hand and the doctor laughed.  Tears started to roll as I undressed behind the curtain.  I shakily climbed onto the couch and then that is when they returned... the flashbacks.

I was in the labour room again.

 I was induced on Monday, again on Tuesday, waters broken for me on Wednesday & then given an epidural Wednesday night. The next 12-hours in labour were fine, almost enjoyable, unfortunately assistance was needed - I'd been pushing for over 2 hours without sucess.  A doctor came in to the room with another woman, neither of them bothered to speak to me, not a single word.  The venthose failed and several more people came into the room but again no one spoke to me.  At one point there was 10 people in that room, for what purpose other than to be spectators I do not know. The doctor then informed the room, not me, that he would have to use forceps, I cried out “No, Please No” and looked to my Mum for help, the nurse snapped at me that I would feel nothing, so harshly, that Mum firmly told her that I was frightened,.Those three words were the only ones that I had spoken since the nurse had entered the room.  The horror of my body being paralysed when I was so desperate to defend myself.  Feeling my child ripped from me in such a brutal way.  To see all those eyes watching in fascination and ignoring my terror, not one attempting reassurance or comfort.  It is those people that haunt me!


Ten years on and I still feel pathetic, as I explain that I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stres Disorder) and that under any other circumstances, I'm hard as nails - seriously, nothing, except for waterslides, scares me! My second child was born via C-Section and it was a wonderful experience. Yes, I know, we are suppoosed to advocate natural birth but lets face it, how natural are those inducing tampon thingies, a 'hook a duck' stick popping your water, a spinal, a suction venthouse contraption & giant bloody salad forks shoved up your fuffer?? Why do some women self-proclaim themselves superior for having done it 'the natural way' as if its a pass or fail system?
 
Three women surrounded me on this occasion. Three women to witness my utter humiliation as I sobbed on the examination bed. I finally understand the expression ‘climbing the walls’ now as that is precisely what I attempted to do, I needed escape.  I apologised for my behaviour repeatedly throughout the procedure.  I assumed those women would find me ridiculous.  As it turns out, one of the nurses had a very similar experience 15 years ago.  As a result she only has one child. She says she will never give birth ever again and I felt angry for her!
 
I fully understand that childbirth is a painful business.  Things can go wrong and Doctors need to act quickly for the sake of both woman and child.  But is it really necessary to ignore a patient’s need for information, permission and civil manners?  I realise that dignity is hard to maintain during birthing but should women have to feel utterly powerless in the process?

I've heard many women say that their experiences were "easy" "enjoyable" "painful but quick" - bloody show offs!  At the end of the day, it was not the act of giving birth that haunted me, nor was I naive as to what to expect.  What I struggled to come to terms with, was the fact that my physical ordeal had become a free-for-all show and as I lay naked & paralysed from the neck down, nobody had the courtesy to so much as look at my face, let alone say “Hello Lyndsey, my name is …"

Anaphylactic Pizza Puker

Bored off our brains one Sunday evening, hubby and I decided to order a pizza. Turned out to be a grossly bad idea.  Within half an hour, we had our heads in the toilet, puking as much from the sight and smell of the others vomit as from that pizza.  Hubby felt better by the next morning; I however was still suffering from sickness and diarrhoea three days later. 

Despite feeling so ill, I still showed up for work, took care of the kids and even managed to clean out the rabbit’s cage.  By Wednesday however I had depleted our supply of paracetamol so, shaking and hallucinating, I stopped off at the local supermarket on the way to work.  In the pharmacy isle, the selection of drugs were sparse but Alka Seltzer caught my bleary eye, I had never taken it before but it promised to settle my stomach so I grabbed a box and crawled to the checkout.

Later that morning, I dissolved the recommended dosage in a cup of water and managed to scrape my head of the desk long enough to swallow the potion.  True to its written word, the tablets did the trick.  I got through the day in discomfort rather than pain and slept like a log that night.

I woke around six the next morning with the strangest burning sensation on my ears.  I went to use the bathroom and by the time I had flushed, my scalp had started burning.  In under a minute my neck was burning and I was scratching at my skin like a flea-infested animal.  I woke Hubby who looked a little alarmed at the blisters which were forming on my face.  Ten minutes later and the burning and itching had spread from my scalp to my thighs and one eye had swollen so much I was struggling to see out of it. 

I called NHS direct in a panic.  I figured that they would more than likely tell me to go to my GP as soon as the surgery opened, but I found that as I was explaining my symptoms, my voice had started to croak.  The nurse said she suspected a severe allergic reaction and was sending for an ambulance.

The paramedics arrived very quickly and helped me into the ambulance whilst I apologised profusely for the fuss, all I had was itchy skin and was more than capable of driving myself to the hospital.  Mainly though, ambulances have a habit of drawing a crowd of sightseers and I was blistered, swollen and wearing a Pink Panther nightie.

I was taken to a private room in A&E where I had my hands slathered in anal gel in an attempt to remove my rings from my very swollen fingers.  I thought by this time my humiliation was complete…. oh if only!  Mid-conversation with a nurse I found that I could not swallow, an extremely scary development, which saw me being trolley-dashed into the resuscitation room Holby City style with doctors jabbing needles into my arms and thighs whilst I was hooked up to some kind of monitor.  I was certainly scared by this point as a nurse explained to me that my airways were constricting.

I was thinking that the only way this could get any worse is if I popped my clogs, when can you believe it?…..my diarrhoea kicked in.  The nurses refused to let me go to the toilet but instead offered me a cardboard hat...Are You Shitting Me?? Absolutely No Chance, No Way!
Soon I was writhing in agony from the stomach cramps so the doctors injected me with some kind of concoction which had my head rolling within seconds.  A nurse dragged me off my trolley and sat me on a commode and after that, all I can say is “they asked for it!”. 

Revenge, however, was quickly administered.  Whilst a nurse opened a window, a young, much too pretty doctor could not suppress a sadistic grin as she informed me that my day was about to get worse.  She snapped on a pair of examination gloves.  Not knowing the cause of my poops etc, I needed one of those examinations.  Knees to my chin, eyes squeezed tightly shut, I visualised myself beating the pizza delivery boy to a pulp.

The following morning I awoke on a ward feeling completely recovered.  No symptoms of the reaction remained aside a little puffiness and a talking sphincter.  The doctors were unable to tell me exactly what caused the reaction.  Could have been a reaction to the aspirin in the Alka Seltzer.  Perhaps it could have been cleaning the rabbit cage (lower immune system heightened my hayfever) or maybe I had a reaction to the bugs which caused my sickness, who knows?.  What I do know is that, next time I am bored of an evening, I will just simply go to bed.

Anaphylaxis


Anaphylaxis, also known as anaphylactic shock, is a rare and severe type of allergic reaction that occurs in people who have developed an extreme sensitivity to a specific substance.  The reaction spreads through the body causing a sudden drop in blood pressure and narrowing of the airways and can be fatal unless immediate treatment is available.  Symptoms of Anaphylaxis are:
  • Sudden feeling of extreme anxiety.
  • Swollen lips, face and tongue.
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing.
  • In some cases, an itchy, red rash and flushing of the skin.
  • Light-headedness or, in some cases, loss of consciousness.

If either you or anyone you are with develops these symptoms, you should call an ambulance immediately.

Thoughts of Therapy

Counselling is often considered self indulgent attention seeking but I don’t agree.  We think nothing of seeking medical advice to heal our physical bodies; surely we should take as much care with our emotional well-being.  Admitting that I needed help is probably one of the best things I ever did and I feel no shame in telling others that I ‘indulged’ once a week for about six months.

After enduring a particularly harrowing birth experience, I struggled to get any sleep, not just because of the new baby but flashbacks to that labour room kept me in a state of terror, haunting me whether my eyes were open or closed.  Nine months later I became pregnant again and as much as I wanted the baby I knew that I would sooner have thrown myself off a bridge than go through anything close to that experience again.  Once I admitted that statement to myself I knew it was time to let someone help me.  Only one thing I feared me more than that labour room, and that was fear itself.

I thought that my experiences over the previous year would be the only topic of discussion once I entered the ‘therapy’ room and that forever afterward I would bear a mental issues label.  For this reason I held off on the doctor’s advice to speak to someone and waited until I found that I couldn't not talk to someone.  However, once that someone opened their ears to hear me, I found that gradually I opened my eyes to really see…me.  Luckily, I found a counsellor who could coax me through my painful past, difficult present and an uncertain future with an appropriate degree of sympathy and oddly enough, humour.

For confidentiality sake, let’s call the counsellor Patty.  One of the most prominent things I can recall her telling me was that in order to really learn about yourself, to move on from problems that seem to reoccur endlessly and personality traits that have prevented you from being the person that you want to be, you have to go through a crucifixion. We are born onto this earth to learn as much about life as is possible. We all know that hard lessons get dealt to us and we hope that we learn from our mistakes and move on.  In truth though only when that lesson has been particularly invasive in our lives do we attempt to wipe out any possibility of re-occurrence and right any wrongs that we are able.  Only when you have been forced to really confront yourself can you learn who you are, what you want from life, who matters and what doesn't.  If ever you have had your soul torn apart, then regardless of your religious beliefs and how you deal with the aftermath, talking to someone who will listen to you without prejudice, advice or intrusion can give you the opportunity to discover your true self in a way that you can, in your own time recognise, acknowledge and accept.

Seeking The X-Factor

The X-Factor will be back on our screens this August.  I can’t say I am as keen to watch it as I have been over the last five years or so.  Perhaps the entire concept of audition followed by phone vote has been too thoroughly overworked these days.  I enjoy watching the audition process but it is the successful candidates who make me smile.  The people who audition for no other reason than to make fools of themselves simply make me cringe but those who genuinely believe they have talent, only to have their aspirations viciously mocked, those are the moments when I feel ashamed to be watching the programme.  How cruel a nation are we to deem the tears of these dreamers entertainment?

Once this show starts I will no doubt have to answer the same question from countless friends and relatives, “Why didn’t you audition for the X-Factor?” My reply will be the same as last year and the years before that, “ The show is for people who want to be famous and I can’t imagine anything worse!” 

From the age of 19 through to age 22ish, I was represented by two agencies.  Their job was to get me into castings in the entertainment field.  To be fair it was not the easiest of tasks for them since I had not attended any stage schools and had received little relevant training for that sector.  Predictably for a blonde with big boobies, most of the work offered to me involved the removal of underwear.  Complaints from my agencies that I turned down all these offers fell on deaf ears.  As far as I was concerned, that kind of ‘work’ involved descending a slippery slope and was annoyed to be asked.  I find it sad that many of the girls on these TV ‘talent’shows usually end up accepting the thong work in an attempt to hang onto their 15 minutes of fame when it is likely they would have turned their noses up at such a suggestion previously. 

Thankfully, I had many more auditions for TV shows, pop groups and dancers ect which went pretty well.  One that definitely did not do well was an audition for a female singing group in West London.  When I arrived it was packed out with girls who looked like they belonged on a Baywatch shoot.  I was immediately suspicious since this was invitation only casting.  As I handed the main guy my portfolio, he informed me with a sleazy grin that I had already been pre-selected for the group, my costume had arrived and I should go change ready.  My suspicions were confirmed by that costume…Schoolgirl outfit complete with bra and panties so small that Christina Aguilera would have been too shy to wear them for her Dirty video!  I watched the other girls on stage auditioning with gusto (or should that be gusseto) and pitied them.  Did they really want to be famous that much? I walked out of the audition but I did pocket the panties.

I did guest appearances on one TV series.  The following morning after the first screening, I got a phone call from an ex-boyfriend whom I had not seen since I left High School.  He called to tell me he was still in love with me.  Creepy, ridiculous and totally untrue!  A few days later I got followed around Reading High Street by a couple of blokes who had not the nerve to approach me but would not leave me alone either.  To top it off, I had another couple of fellas standing outside the Body Shop pointing at me also until the Street Security man finally sent them packing.  Some of my other work had yet to be aired but I knew without a doubt that I wanted nothing more to do with fame, especially as my efforts had been very minor but I received this kind of attention.  How would I cope if my career really took off? Badly! I would become one of those psychotic paparazzi punchers with a shaven head and verbal vomit. 


I have lost count of the talent show contestants who have had their private lives dragged through the mud by ex-boyfriends and so-called ‘one time friend’.  Surely they must know that this behaviour is to be expected and hurtful for both themselves and their families, so why volunteer themselves, especially when there is no prospect of a profitable career at the end?  Magazines are filled with pictures of celebrities who cannot even put their bins out or pooper scoop their dogs without being photographed.  That kind of intrusion is my worst nightmare!  I would love the job of international performer but I could not be paid enough ever, to be spot lit the way the new X-Factor finalists are about to be.  If this is the kind of life they want then I wish them all the luck in the world.  As for me, I am happy to be Lyndsey the Columnist, Wife & Mother living in a paparazzi free zone.  

Working My Inner Granny

I have six different CVs.  This was always a source of great humour for my family and friends; career countdown was how they referred to my long list of work profiles.  I used to get really miffed with their jovial conversations about how I change my jobs as often as my socks, which made me question how often they changed their socks but gave me an answer as to why their feet pong and mine don’t. 

I refuse to continue to work in a place where I get no job satisfaction, and yes so far, in the words of Mick Jagger ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ so rather than depressing myself and everyone around me, I job hop to the next career choice and hope that this time I have found ‘the one’.  This month’s edition of Cosmopolitan magazine has coined a term for people like me and although it’s not the most flattering sounding name, I feel chuffed that it is not a negative issue.  I can now officially refer to myself as A CAREER TART, but I don’t plan on doing that too often; it’s the same as what I was called in high school only without the word career!

I specialise my CVs according to what type of job I am applying for, for example, there was no point listing my beauty qualifications when I was applying for secretarial work but it was worth mentioning when I was applying for my teaching job as it showed I could commit to training.  Likewise when my husband and I applied to buy our franchise of a petrol site there was absolutely no reason to mention my history as a singer/dancer/actress ect in London but it was definitely a positive to mention that I used to work as a business banking advisor and that I had attend many courses which are customer focused.  To me, cut and pasting your CV makes perfect sense, the only people who feel it looks bad are the people who are loyal to one job for 20 years and think that loyalty to a company is very important.  That it was, 20 years ago!
These days job promiscuity is seen as desirable as it shows that you have developed a varied skill set and that you are adaptable to different environments each coming with their own different sets of pressures.  Providing you explain your reasons for having such a varied CV in a positive way and put across your dynamic attitude towards achieving rather than settling, a prospective employer will be impressed.  Trust me I know, as I have seen more than 6 peoples share of them.

My motivation for trying out as many different vocations as I am able is to think of myself as a granny in a nursing home; weird I know but stick with me.  I imagine myself in a home surrounded by other old folk, we are all waiting on our relatives to come and visit whilst half-heartedly watching re-runs of Frost on the telly.  As I sit in my rocking chair I ponder the past or worse believe the past is current.  Do I have enough good memories to keep me amused until my children arrive for their once a week (hopefully) visit, or am I going to sit there with my shoulda, woulda, couldas and try to live through my children’s achievements instead?  No way!

I have tried too may career paths to mention but I have never faltered in my steps.  Every job has given me confidence that I can be whoever or whatever I want to be.  Although several jobs have not been a successful venture financially, on a personal development level I have managed to come out on top. I know when is the right time to get in and when is the right time to get out and that is almost always when there is no challenge or aspiration left in that job role.  Sometimes I move sideways, sometimes upwards and sometimes I move out but so far I have never been sacked.  I always commit to work hard for an employer and look forward to learning as much possible but I know that when my enthusiasm dries up, whether this after six months or six years, its time to move on or risk not only boredom but sub-standard work which is not acceptable to my employer or myself, we both deserve better!

Lets face it, we spend the most substantial portion of our lives in the work place so why allow ourselves to waste that time in stress, disappointment or misery?  When your bad work day stretches into months, and you find yourself staring into space daydreaming of what life should have been like for you, then that is fate saying “get off your bored butt and make me happen, I am what you choose, no excuses” You want to learn new skills but worried about not being able to get work after? Ask the boss for a career break and go back to college safe in the knowledge you have a job to go back to.  Don’t know what you want from your work life? See a careers councillor or even reread your high school year book, what did you want to be back then?  Can’t figure out life in general? Hug a tree (yes you read that right, divine inspiration has been evoked from many a wise old bit of bark).

Everyone should have a positive motto to hold onto, mine is ‘Never regret what you have done, only the things you have never done’ and as long as I ensure I have enough variety to keep my inner granny rocking, then life is working for me! 

What You Think Of Me Says More About You

They say that children can be cruel but I believe that a clique of women can be far crueler, after all children have no concept of the lasting damage their taunts can do.  I am sure that everyone has come up against ‘a coven’ before now and probably still have much witchery to endure yet, but how you handle it is far more important than what they are screeching.

Adults bullying is a lot more discreet than the days of the school playground when you would hear the kids chanting “Fight, Fight” and you would look around excitedly to see which direction the kids were heading for ringside seats; only to discover that they were heading for you!  Nope typical female tactics include rumour spreading (I once managed to be a man eating, pregnant lesbian all within 3 months) back stabbing (of course I am your dearest friend, but I am also bad mouthing you to your husband in the hopes he will leave you) cold shoulder (Lyndsey Who?), humiliation (I should have been more specific about how much of my eyebrow I wanted waxing off apparently) and classic kick you in the crotch snide comments (“I did not know you could read Lynz, I thought you were just a hairdresser”).

Seven years ago I was on the London audition circuit.  Casting calls for pop singers, dance promos, TV ads ect.  I am sure you can imagine what the atmosphere was like when you have between 50 & 100 girls in a room who are all pitted against each other for the prize of potential fame (although in my case, fame is a horrifying concept but that is another issue).  When I would enter the waiting rooms, at first I would get upset by the filthy looks and the ‘we are making it obvious we are saying nasty things about you’ digs, but I soon thought it through.  Those girls did not know me, never met me before so therefore they cannot be dissing my personality so it must be how I look.  If they are saying that I look naff or my clothes look crap and so on then it says far more about them than me.  They are shallow, judgemental bullies who are most likely that way because they are so insecure and like to ensure that people are occupied sneering at others so that nobody has time to look at them.  On the other hand of course they could be sneering out of jealousy cos I looked good which made me stronger competition in a looks based industry, therefore making them insecure.  Basically bullies are just insecure so pity them, when they show themselves to be worthy of any other emotion from you then give them a second thought.

On one occasion when I was in my teens I got on a different school bus to visit a friend.  A particularly nasty mouthed piece of work sat on the back seat and encouraged all most everyone on the bus to chant something unprintable relating to the fact that I lived on a council estate; an estate housing people who showed a lot more class and likeability than that bus load of bullies ever did.  I had a few options open to me.
1.      Cry and hope they would stop – not a chance, showing weakness would make me an easier victim in their eyes.
2.      Jump up & down screaming “I am not, stop being mean to me” – only encourage them further.
3.      Bide my time & fix the ringleader one on one – hhmm menacing, I went for this option and it worked.

Bullies are the biggest cowards of all.  They need their cronies to back them up as on their own they are too scared to say or do anything that may get them thumped.  So whether you are on a school bus or in the work place, don’t think about what bullies are saying, since when has the opinion of an insecure coward ever taken precedence over intelligence?  Their opinion is none of your business because it has been hatched in a very narrow mind. I am sure you do not share that opinion or credit non-bullies with so little perception as to believe in vicious people.   You know who is truly the strongest and by showing yourself, and all around you, that your judgement of yourself speaks louder to your heart and head, then people will quickly see bullies for what they are and that the most deserving person of respect is you!

Headteachers. Use or Ornament?

My daughter is one of those kids who does everything in her own sweet time.  Whether we are doing something for her or for someone else, she just dawdles along in her own little world.  It is unbelievably frustrating!

School day mornings are the worst!  I employed every tactic bar smacking and nothing is working; star charts, rewards, yelling, threats nothing works!  I can’t even say she is being naughty it is just simply a case that she is so easily distracted, or so I thought….

Yesterday morning was an extreme case and we were still in the hallway waiting for her to put her shoes on when we should have been at least half way to school.  I took a deep breath and asked her patiently “do you actually care about being late for school?” to which she grinned and replied “no, not even a little bit!”  Now I was at the root of the problem.

I sat down upon the bottom step of the stairs aka naughty step and smiled back at her.  “Ok sweetie, if you don’t care then I don’t care either” her faced beamed and she hugged me as though I were the bestest mummy in the world.  “So when we get to school, you can tell the headmaster exactly why we are late”, she recoiled in horror.  “But mum, we are late because I have been messing about” to which I patted her shoulder and replied “there you go then, you know what to tell him”

On the drive to school while my Son sat smugly in his car seat adopting his best behaviour to deliberately provoke my daughters seething temper, she sat arms crossed with eyes watering.  “Can you tell the Head teacher after I have gone into my class Mum?” she begged.  “No honey, this is your responsibility.  You decided what time we are going to school so it is up to you to tell him why” I answered.  I did feel a bit sorry for her but knew she must learn that there are consequences to creating her own rules, for her own sake.

We arrived at the school and as expected the playground was deserted, the doors locked.  My girl hung her head and gingerly pressed the intercom button to the school office.  As we were buzzed in I had to practically shove her through the door.  She waited patiently at the reception desk for the secretary to address her.

“We are late because I was messing about this morning” she mutters.  The Headmaster and two receptionists put their heads to one side and in unison sigh “aahhh, how cute” The Headmaster beams at her and responds affectionately “How honest of you.  I am so proud of you and for that I will let you off.   Honesty is a wonderful quality my dear.  We will blame your mother instead!” much laughter from the staff erupted.

My daughter smiled widely and waved happily to me as she bounded off to her class.  Her four year old brother and I looked at each other in disbelief before turning to the staff with evil eyes.  If either of us thought we could get away with it we would have vaulted the reception desk and slapped ‘Hello, I’m Stupid’ stickers across the foolish faculty’s faces.


She came home from school this afternoon with a couple of the usual letters informing us that there is a plague of nits, we need to donate food and drink for the Christmas fayre so that they can charge us to buy it back and  apparently too many children are arriving late to school which is causing disruption to classes.  Hhmmmm I ask again….Use or Ornament?