Getting a Job and Having Self Doubt

As I sit on my bed I can't help but to feel angry with myself.
I have the house to myself. I have a day off work. And at the moment, life feels pretty good.
There have been some major stumbling points the past couple of weeks. Lots of big changes and each of them I have coped with.
I have realised how strong I can be. And how putting myself first is important and not a selfish act.

I have a new job which I adore. A job that I look forward to. A job that, when it comes to 6 o clock, I feel sad to leave.
I work somewhere where everyone has made me feel so welcome and part of the team from the moment I walked in. People who make me laugh, who I feel like I have known for so long despite it only being 3 weeks.
People who I like spending time with and people who I look forward to seeing on a work day. People who can lift my mood when I'm feeling down, who can make me laugh until I cry, and people who I can have the most ridiculous and personal conversations with and feel totally comfortable about it.
I have a job I am proud of. I work with a team I am proud of. In a place I am proud of.
In fact, I have surprised myself with how passionate I am about it all so soon.
It just feels right.

And I've waited for this day, I knew it would be coming, just as it usually does.
That day when the self doubt crashes in and I question everything.
I question myself, I question others and I hate it.
I hate this.

The same things as always going through my mind.
"They probably find you really annoying"
"They probably don't like you"
"They probably look forward to the days you are not in"
"They probably regret giving you a job"
"They probably wish you weren't part of the team"

As much as I've quite liked who I am at the moment, in this time of "discovering who Lauren is" I now just feel totally overwhelmed. I wish so much that I could reign it in sometimes and be this quiet girl who sits back and and just gets on with life and isn't so "in your face".
But then at the same time, being like that isn't the real me right now, so do I just face up to the fact that maybe, at this moment in time, I am this annoying person who is a bit all over the place, and bouncy and a little bit hyper? Maybe right now I am a little over-excited at having something that I love and enjoy and the socialising side of not only my job but of my life at the moment.

I just wish I could stop these thoughts, and for once just be quite happy with the fact that MAYBE people actually like me and maybe people look forward to working with me and spending time with me, just as I do with them.

It's a waste of energy - it might not happen, and if you focus on a positive future, you're more likely to receive it.:


Ways for Gamers to Get Involved in Charity

Being a world-class gamer doesn't mean that you cannot get involved with helping out charities that do good work in the community. Across the UK, gamers have regular get-togethers, order in some Domino's Pizza, perhaps a tub of Ben and Jerry's, and then get busy with the wireless gaming controller battling it out. Is it possible to have this much fun and still help out charities struggling to get funding in the UK? You bet!
Here are few ways that gamers can combine their love of gaming with charitable involvement to add that community feel-good factor.

Sell and Donate

If you're like many console-loving gamers we know, then you'll probably have a number of old discarded gaming consoles and also hand-held consoles just lying around the flat or house unused. You think that you'll get around to playing that old version of a classic game, but the latest games on your newest console acquisition hold your attention pretty strongly. Believe us, we know the feeling!
What we suggest is that you look at what old consoles and console games you have that you no longer use. Consider selling them on eBay, Amazon Marketplace or through your local copy newspaper's classified section to raise some extra cash. This extra cash can then be donated to a worthy cause.

Gaming Marathons

As we alluded to in the introduction, we love the gaming marathons over the weekend where the boys can get together and geek out with their favourite games. Whether these are played against other online players or through a LAN connection with PCs/consoles networked together for the ultimate offline competition, it's possible to spend many hours in competition with friends and old enemies alike!
Why not include a charitable element to the marathon? Each player adds twenty quid into the gaming kitty and the winner gets to donate their winnings to a worthy charity of their own choosing.

She's Got Balls!

Ladbrokes Bingo have a promotion going that supports the Orchid charity which funds research into male cancer treatments. A worthy cause that gets less media attention (and funding) than other types of cancers. Orchid is certainly a good charity that gamers can get behind.

Enter Gaming Competitions

How good are you really? Do you think that you can enter a competition for your favourite game and beat out all the other entrants to win the cash prize? If you think that you're really that good, then why not plan to donate the winnings to charity? This can give you the extra motivation to fight back when you're behind on the scoreboard and you need that extra push not to give up against stiff competition.

Stream Live Games

Whether you are a YouTube gaming channel owner or you like to share live streams of games in other ways, it is possible to stream games live, generate ad click revenue, and then donate the money made to charity. It is not acceptable with most advertisers to encourage ad clicks purely for the purpose of raising advertising revenue for donation (this would hurt the advertisers), but any donation could be made public after-the-fact without breaking any rules.

There are many other ways that gamers can combine their love for gaming with charitable activity. What ones can you think up?


When you wake up...

When you wake up and you realise that rather than the smile you had become so used to has gone, and has been replaced by a mouth that turns down at the edges. When it feels heavy and a smile feels like the hardest thing to do, it feels like so much energy and hard work to get those raised.

When you wake up and realise that those eyes that have been so big with an extra sparkle recently are likely to be filled with tears, feel heavy and small...with a sparkle that has somehow disappeared.

When you wake up and find that somehow your happiness is drained a little. You don't want to jump out of bed and get on with the day. You lay there, for as long as you can, wanting to close your eyes and for the day to just go quickly so that maybe you can wake up tomorrow being you again.

I feel confused. I don't want to feel like this. I don't want to be that person.
I want to be the one who has been so excited about life and about new things that have happened recently. New people, new opportunities. Instead today, I woke up with those feelings far from my mind. Instead feeling as though I am incapable of taking on those opportunities and not good enough for those new people.

I want her back. I want me back.



What Business Should I Start?

With the current financial climate we are seeing a lot of people losing their jobs with little option or choice for where to go next.
Most vacancies at the moment have around 300 or more applicants, and with that kind of competition we either need to really stand out to be in with a chance or look at other options.
Setting up your own business is an option and this is something I have seen set up more and more with people who either don't want to look for work after maternity leave or simply because of the lack of jobs available at this time. The following interactive quiz was set up by www.helloprint.co.uk and helps to give an insight or suggestion into what business you should set up.



Good Days Ahead

I was always someone who used to be pretty negative and had the mindset of "think negatively because then you won't be let down".
My glass was always half empty.

I suppose at times I am still like that, but not in such a negative way. At least, I don't see it to be that way.
I get told off by my mum and my friends for questioning certain things. Especially when it comes to putting myself down.

I think I'm a nice person. I am kind and I try to be funny. I would like to think that I am a good friend and I do care about other people a lot.
I suppose I struggle to understand that other people would see me as a good person too. Or that they would see the positive side of me.

I went on some online dating sites and there are various different types of men who contact you. Some good looking, some not so good looking, various ages, sizes and so on. Some after dating, but most...at least in my experience, were only really interested in one thing. And no, I didn't take any of them up on their offers...in case you were wondering.

I guess at first I found it nice. Just having that attention. But after realising that some men would message even if you didn't have a profile photo and were just really after someone to sext with and to boost their ego.
That wasn't what I wanted. I didn't like that kind of attention. I didn't want to feel used and have someone pretend they were interested in me and then after 2 messages turn the conversation to something completely inappropriate. It wasn't a great feeling but I quickly got used to it and found the block button quite useful....or would burst their bubble.

There are the good ones though. Not many of them, but there are some. I certainly didn't think one of the good ones would ever message me though.

I can't even begin to accept that anyone would find me attractive. Especially a man who I would consider out of my league. Someone who I would look at and bypass because there is no way they would ever notice me let alone speak to me, want to meet me and then see me again.
But you know...I guess sometimes lucky things happen.

I feel positive at the moment. My glass isn't half full or half empty...I am just grateful that I have a glass at all.
I have these moments when I feel really good about myself. And I think that it's down to new people who have entered my life and whether or not they happen to be around for a short time or a long time, right now, they are good for me. Very good for me.
I smile more than I have for a while and I wake up looking forward to the day. Life feels nice. Really, really nice.

And even if I have to keep pinching myself, and keep questioning how I got so lucky, my new jumper says it all.
There are good days ahead.


Charles and the Monty Shirt #frugifamily

Charles is now at that age where he is super independent when it comes to getting himself dressed. I of course influence a lot of his wardrobe (as does my mum who does like to spoil them with lovely shirts). I can leave him to get himself ready and most of the time I know he will come out of his bedroom with a smart pair of jeans on, a tshirt, with a shirt over the top. He likes to "dress smart" for any occasion which I find really adorable.

As part of the Frugi Family we were given the opportunity again to choose something from their latest range to review.
Usually I would give the boys the choice but I knew straight away that Charles would go for the Frugi Monty Shirt.

He does seem to have a real "thing" for checked shirts, so this one made from soft organic cotton was guaranteed to please him.
The fact that he does like to wear shirts over a tshirt means that we do tend to prefer those with a few different colours in them, so we can match them with a variety of tshirts and not be so stuck and restricted.

As with all of Frugi's clothing the shirt is well made and washes perfectly. The sizing is perfect and although a tiny bit long on Charles' arms there are buttons which allow the sleeves to be rolled up and secured into place.
Charles told me that he particularly liked the colours and that the shirt is "a little bit thick so it is quite warm".
With poppers to do the shirt up it's perfect to encourage children to be a little more independent when getting dressed. This isn't so much the case with Charles as he is old enough to manage buttons, but for a child Harry's age or younger it is ideal.

Check out the outfit Jennie from Edspire chose for beautiful Bea



Is a Four Day Working Week the Answer for Teachers and Students?

The four-day working week is not a new concept, even for schools. In the mid-1930s South Dakota trialled a state wide experiment. This sort of trial has been replicated across the USA in the following 80 or so years and even as recently as 2008 in Utah. However, as in the 30s, the 2008 experiment did not last and the five-day working week was reinstated.
The concept is actually quite a simple one. If you can work a bit extra from Monday to Thursday, you can make up the time to account for Friday. There are two separate but interlinking causes at play here: money and performance. Supporters claim that by axing non-teaching costs (transportation, contract pay, administration, etc) for 20% of the time, you may be able to make some serious savings. Also, longer school days – meaning longer periods – gives pupils more continuous time in lessons.
The states that have tried the four-day week also said the approach had a massive positive effect on recruitment and retention, with teacher jobs being filled at a record rate. This was true even though teachers still had to work on Fridays. In this system, Fridays are allocated as CPD or PPA days; that is to say time where teachers can do all the things they need to do that aren’t actually teaching. This, in turn, allowed teachers, on Monday through Thursday, to concentrate almost solely on classroom teaching.
It is easy to see the benefits. Especially in the teaching environment we have now, where teachers are expected to submit mountains of paperwork, there is a shortage of teachers, and austerity is prevalent in all of public life.
So why didn’t it last?
The four-day working week, like many ideological miracle solutions, works far better in theory than in practice.
It turns out, when in place, that the system does not cut costs as much as people hoped.
The school building has to stay open on Fridays so all the utilities need to stay on. Furthermore, teachers’ salaries actually account for a huge chunk of a school budget. One-off expenses like school trips, equipment and resources, and administration costs all still need to be paid. Reports claim that the shift only saved 0.4 to 2.5% of the budget.
Giving children longer lessons also sounds good in practice, yet when the average attention span for children is said to equal their age, are longer lessons more effective? Though data is limited, there was no evidence of significant improvement in any subject. In fact, teachers often found that they would cover around the same amount of material in a slightly longer lesson – proving Parkinson’s Law true once again. The end result of this was teachers trying to squeeze five days’ worth of teaching in four and then having the frustration of being at school on the Friday with no students to teach.
What was apparently simply not considered, too, was the effect of giving children three days off out of every seven. Several companies reported a rise in productivity after switching to a four-day week, as they could use Friday as a research or wind-down day. They could then feel ready to come back to work by Monday, minus the morning blues.
Children though don’t need three days to wind-down and reset for another week. In fact, what was observed during the trial was that children failed to fill their extra day with anything meaningful or productive – some even showed up to school on Friday having had nothing else to do!
The four-day week is not a bad idea; actually for some industries and sectors it is a great idea. However for schools, the negatives seem to outweigh the benefits.

Attributes That Make The Perfect Friend

Provided by Mecca Bingo


The Great British Bake Off in Numbers

It's safe to say that there is a real craze when it comes to the Great British Bake Off.
Have you ever wondered about statistics and facts when it comes to constestants and ingredients?
BingoFind.Com have created an interesting infographic giving details of those facts and numbers. Do any of them surprise you?



Waking Up Smiling

You know when you wake up and you feel like you've had a full nights sleep?
I grabbed my phone to check the time, pretty sure that I must have missed the alarm (note to self, must plug in alarm clock again).
What the....?!

After closing Whatsapp at 22.57, to be precise, I fell straight asleep. A few weeks ago I was still awake at 1, 2 or 3am, trying to get comfy on what was becoming quite an uncomfortable sofa. The boys would wake and come downstairs at 5.30-6am and there was no way of getting them back to bed.
And now, here I am in a cosy bed, with bedding I chose that is totally to my taste and reminds me of my 90's bedroom (minus the posters of Hanson on the wall, maybe I can get some from eBay?). Fairy lights wrapped around the headboard...and yes, I do try to be romantic, even if it's only me who appreciates it.

Anyway, back to it being 3am.
Usually I would be frustrated and annoyed at being wide awake at such a ridiculous time. But this time I didn't mind, simply because I woke up happy.
I'm probably talking this up and tempting fate and soon enough I'll be back to sleepless nights and waking up feeling like I...well I don't know...feeling a bit down about myself I suppose.
But right now, this feeling is lovely. Waking up with a smile already on my face, with happy thoughts in my head and the occasional butterfly in my tummy.
I look in the mirror and don't recognise the person looking back at me. And for once this is a positive thing.
I don't point out the things I don't like about myself and those things I want to change. Instead I see the good points.
As I put my make up on I don't plaster it on, hiding those signs of sadness, lack of sleep and stress. Instead I try my best to show off the eyes that have never felt so open and big. Adding bronzer and blusher to try and accentuate a face that is slimmer than it has been for a while.
Foundation isn't even opened, instead relying simply on concealer because you know, at 30 there are lines and signs of age that I just can't avoid.

I want make a bit more effort with my hair, and choose clothes that I feel good in. Ones that show off parts of me that I feel are my best features, and covering up those areas that aren't so great. Instead of grabbing clothes that feel comfortable as I lay curled up on my bed feeling sorry for myself.

And at 3am, even though it's dark outside and the birds aren't even singing yet, I lay there ready for a good day.
I knew I had to get back to sleep so I thought over the happy memories that I'd gained the day before, the memories that were the reason for my smile.

And I drifted back off to sleep, confident and sure that when my alarm went off in a few hours time that the smile would still remain.

And it did.



Tackling cultural misconceptions in today’s children: do you dare?

The countries and cultures of the world today have the ability to connect and cooperate in ways that lay the groundwork to create worldwide business, with all the benefits that diversity brings. Encouraging your children to understand other cultures and overcome cultural misconceptions will prepare them for success in a multicultural future.
Teaching your children about other cultures
Approaching the topic of other cultures with your children has become essential with the growing levels of diversity. There is more exposure from an early age to other cultures, without travelling very far at all.
An educational and fun starting point is to buy maps and globes of the world to show your children where they live and how vast the world really is. Knowing where other countries are and understanding the different regions of the world can help your children to relate to other cultures.
The depth of knowledge about the countries can be scaled for age-appropriate learning to make it fun, no matter how old your children are. Even the youngest (and the oldest) among them can appreciate tasting delicious authentic cuisine or learning about celebrations and festivals in other cultures. Treating differences as natural and not making them taboo topics for your children, but instead discussing them in a respectful and open manner will help to impart the normalcy of diversity.
Literature about other cultures, or even directly from other countries can encourage curiosity, as books, especially biographies, create a connection with people from around the world. An even more personal method of connecting, and one that might inspire any child able to write, is to find a pen pal from another country with whom your child can exchange letters.
Learning understanding for a bright future
As the countries of the world become more and more interconnected, with advances in technology allowing unprecedented travel and communication, business conducted with people from a variety of countries will continue to increase.
From all over the world, ambitious and successful people are branching out and creating locations and connections in many different countries. Emerging economies in places such as the Middle East are contributing to the economic future of the UK as their businessmen reach out to expand their influence. Those who have an understanding and acceptance for other cultures will find themselves poised to take advantage of the wealth of opportunities available to someone who can look past cultural misconceptions.
Well-known businessmen like Fahad Al-Rajaan have taken the opportunities available to work internationally. Al-Rajaan found profit even when faced with economic difficulties, in part because of his willingness and ability to work with other countries in the world instead of remaining only within his small sphere.

Teaching your children about other cultures can seem like an overwhelming task – after all, there are so many and it is hard to know where to start. However, incorporating lessons about different countries and their people, and tackling misconceptions when they arise will not only create a brighter future for your children but will give them a more compassionate worldly perspective.

Online Dating: Ego Boosts and Insecurities

Online dating is...interesting. I think my opinions change on it every day really.
Sometimes it feels a bit...enclosed. It feels like there is you, in the middle, of this small crowd and they are bombarding you and trying to get at you and you don't know where to turn or how to kindly ask them to leave and not bother you.
Some take the hint at your silence, and just walk away. Others hang around and keep trying. You politely decline, or engage in small everyday chit chat (weather, work, why you are single) and let it fizzle out.

It can give you an ego boost, when people compliment you on your photos or just want to talk to you. Even if you're not interested in them. But it can also knock your confidence when you look at the people who are messaging you and you think "Surely I deserve a little better than that".

There are the ones you see and swoon over and then forget about because they are way out of your league.

Then there are times when those men, the ones you think are way out of your league, message you. You "play along", knowing that soon enough they'll realise and messages will stop. Or you accept that they don't care who they talk to, they just want to ego boost too and actually have no intentions of meeting you or taking anything further.

I guess one of the big rules when it comes to online dating is to not get your hopes up.
Being behind a computer screen or behind a phone gives us all the chance to be whoever we want.
We can have some added confidence, sass, humour.
We can be a bit more talkative, we can hide information, we can have time to think before we answer any questions. All of these are not so easy with a face to face meeting.

I've always been someone who gets their hopes up in a lot of aspects of life. I suppose because I trust people too easily, and I kind of want people to be as sincere as me.

I think when it comes to online dating I'm a bit different to others. If I am interested in someone I can't have conversations elsewhere.
Even if it comes to nothing and doesn't even get to the dating stage, I like to focus on that one person.

When a date is mentioned by someone you believe is out of your league you can't help but to think "Wait, what?! This is a joke right? Have they seen my photos? How can they like me or be interested enough in me to want to meet?"
For someone to want to meet you and go on a date, well, it's quite lovely really. But when that person is, to you, out of your league, you can't help but to wonder how you got so lucky.
At least this is how it is for me.
I obviously remind myself to not get my hopes up. And those self doubt thoughts come in strong.
I think about how it will most probably be a one off. Hell, he might even do a runner halfway into the date or even as soon as he see's me.

I remind myself that there could be a chance that someone could like me. Or be interested in me.
Even if it goes nowhere, the fact that someone see's my photos and wants to know more. The fact that someone actually puts in effort to have a conversation and to get to know me. And feels like I am worth their time. Well....it's really quite nice.

It's an ego boost and although I feel insecure and have those feelings of self doubt, I know that deep down, maybe I need to ignore those feelings and accept that one day, maybe, just maybe, someone might want me in their life again.

For me, to have someone accept that I have children and to accept that my situation isn't ideal at the moment in terms of getting a divorce, is a bit overwhelming. So often I've found that people back off when you say about having children because it's "not ideal for them" or get put off by the divorce because they believe that there is still a chance you could get back together (not the case with us at all).
For someone to see past that is lovely, despite the fact I then put pressure on myself to make sure that I'm worth a chance.

Because really, I am a nice girl, I have a kind heart, and despite my insecurities maybe, just maybe, others see the good in me anyway. Without me having to prove it.

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