Finally! I’m blogging for a living

Well sort of…

I’ve managed to convince my boss that an Intranet would be hugely beneficial for the Company because it would a) be informative b) be fun and c) would encourage improved communication. And, per the norm here, if you stick your neck out – you’re it. RESULT! It’s my baby and after weeks of chasing the developer, the structure is ready for population.

The ‘look and feel’ presently leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m not complaining. For the last 6 working days I have been like the proverbial pig, or if you prefer, the cheshire cat. Head down, iPod on, typing away. HR procedures, project processes and hours on end spent writing blogs about this and that. And even more hours trawling the internet for fun stuff to “enthuse” my colleagues and boost morale.

It takes me back to when I was a graduate trainee and my 3rd placement was with the IT Intranet department. I learned basic HTML and spent weeks ‘being creative’ buidling pages upon pages of Intranet info for our Graduate Team and jazzing them up with animated GIFs.

In reality, I was avoiding what I was supposed to be doing as this was far more fun.

And here I am, 10 years later, doing it all over again!

Not that I care. It is a good initiative and just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s not work. This must be what it’s like to do a job you love. (Actually, I already know what that’s like, thanks to my baby girl – yes, I’m a sap, I know).

I’m genuinely excited about this little venture… I just hope everyone else gets excited by it too. Because if it falls on it’s face I may just have to face the fact that I was not born to blog and I may even have to give up blogging for good!



As usual I’m a bit late to the party. Last week on Twitter #100factsaboutme was trending. I didn’t tweet them at the time (and I’m too embarrassed by my tardiness to tweet them now). So, I thought I’d list them here in my blog… They’re not very exciting, but neither am I. It’s OK, I’m cool with that!

#100factsaboutme (in no particular order)

1. I’ve been ‘online’ for 2 and 1/2 years and have never revealed my real name on twitter or my blog.
2. My first name is Jo.
3. I can take or leave marmite and vegemite but I hate bovril!
4. I’ve lived in Scotland, England and the US.
5. As a rule – I hate feet. Most feet are gross, even my own. If yours are the exception, you are blessed!
6. I have a weird obsession with bathrooms in pubs/clubs/restaurants – they have to be nice and if they’re quirky/cool/clever then even better.
7. I will turn the loo roll around in someone elses house if it’s facing the wrong way. (The loose end should hang over the top not down the back!)
8. I’d love to have 4 kids but I don’t think I have enough time left.
9. I wore braces on my teeth when I was 13. 6 months after they came off my teeth twisted right back again. They are still crooked.
10. My favourite (alcoholic) drink is an Apple Martini, which I first tasted in the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel, London.
11. I believe that good service is everything.
12. I would love to write for a living… But I’m not good enough to make money doing it 😦
13. I love old Black & White movies. The stars of the ’30s n ’40s were trully glamorous.
14. I’m a fan of Art Deco.
15. When I was 17 I was obsessed with going to Australia. I finally got there when I was 31.
16. I wanted a tattoo since I was 16. I almost got one in LA when I was 21 but bottled out.
17. I got my 1st tattoo when I was 27 in Amsterdam.
18. I got my 2nd tattoo in LA for my 33rd birthday.
19. I’m a massive Jet Li fan and have been since my Dad introduced me to one of his movies 7 years ago.
20. I have suffered from depression and I learned a lot about myself during my recovery, not all of which was nice.
22. The first car I ever bought was an old Suzuki Alto and cost £450 in 1995. It sounded like a hairdryer 🙂
23. I broke my collarbone when I was 6. It’s the only bone I’ve ever broken.
24. I wear glasses.
25. I am baptised Catholic but don’t practice any religion.
26. I am interested in all religions, faith systems and spirituality.
27. I failed my cycling proficiency test, when I was 10, on a technicality – I had an American bike with backpedal brakes.
28. I have never been in a physical fight – thankfully, as I’m a bit of a woos and would probably lose/run away.
29. I’m pretty competitive. It’s a family trait 🙂
30. I hate housework.
31. I think my brother looks like a young Paul Newman. Everyone else disagrees.
32. I think I have good taste.
33. I have the same birthday as Robbie Williams and I admit I was more than mildly obsessed with him in my early 20s!
34. I wish I was more creative.
35. I love to dance but haven’t done in a long long time.
36. The first time I visited LA I hated it. The second time I visited LA I loved it!
37. Is how old I am now.
38. I’ve driven the Pacific Coast Highway.
39. Ive been to Vegas, once, on a budget. When I go back, I’m going with money!
40. I have a bucket list… But it changes all the time.
41. If I won the lottery, I’d give some to my family, some to charity and spend the rest travelling the world for a few years with my Beloved and my baby girl.
42. I was a vegetarian for 1 year when I was 17. I failed. Mainly because I used to hate eating vegetables.
43. I was born in the year of the tiger and so was my daughter.
44. I was married and divorced before I reached 30.
45. When I was 17 I wanted to paint my bedroom black. My parents wouldn’t allow it.
46. I have an attic full of trophies and plaques won in dancing competitions when I was a kid. I think I even have a tiny sparkly costume!
47. I still have my wedding dress. It’s in my parents attic, not for sentimental reasons, just laziness.
48. But I sold my wedding band and engagement ring to a couple of poor students on eBay.
49. I’ve never been skiing but would love to. I had a 1 hour lesson once on Mt. Hood in Oregon. “Snow Plough!”
50. Growing up my sister was into Luke Skywalker. I was more of a Han Solo kinda gal… I still am.
51. I always thought I was like my Dad. But now I see I am pretty much a carbon copy of my Mum. Either is cool with me.
52. I aspire to be as good a parent to my daughter as my parents are to me. I am very blessed in that respect.
53. I have had my heart broken twice; once from a very unhealthy kind of love and once from infatuation. My Beloved is the only person I have truly loved. He is my soulmate.
54. I’m a marketeers dream!
55. I have no particular skillset or qualification. Jack of all trades, master of none.
56. My star sign is Aquarius.
57. I’m scared of heights.
58. I would rather be a stay at home mum than go back to work. But, like most mums, there are bills to pay 😦
59. I used to smoke cigarettes.
60. My favourite colour of the moment is white. But it changes all the time.
61. 95% of the clothes in my wardrobe are black.
62. I cried on a plane for a full hour after watching Marley & Me. Bit of a damp squib for the honeymooning couple to my right!
63. When I was 10, I used to write songs with the “bad” girl at school. I found out recently that she died a few years ago of an overdose. Life can be so cruel.
64. My sister & I were brought home in a police car on our first day of school after getting lost.
65. I love sunshine.
66. I used to have a really strong fear of dogs. I’d cross the street to avoid a Yorkshire Terrier. I’m better now but still wary…
67. I’m the oldest of 4 children.
68. I like to sit in silence in empty churches. I find it very comforting.
69. I’m good at keeping secrets.
70. I painted my hall yellow because I believe it’s a happy colour. That way whenever I leave or come home I’ll be smiling. (I learned this trick from my friends mum).
71. I love to sing, but I sound like a cats choir! Doesn’t stop me 🙂
72. I make quick decisions.
73. Im really not good at sticking with things, especially yoga (& other exercise), eating healthily and writing my blog!
74. I love Opera. Last time I went, though, was 3 years ago in Verona, Italy.
75. I am one of those annoying iPhone people who has to play with her phone every couple of minutes.
76. I have a couple of A levels and a degree. But I only got into Uni thanks to the clearing system.
77. I kind of “fell” onto my career path. I never really knew what I wanted to do, i just ended up doing the job that I do.
78. I have been scuba diving twice, both times on the Great Barrier Reef. It was amazing!
79. I would love to live in a warm sunny place by a beach.
80. I live in a cold rainy place by a beach.
81. I speak minimal tourist French and Spanish and feel I should really learn one of those fully.
82. I believe it’s rude to travel to another country and not attempt to speak the language or respect the local customs/culture.
83. My favourite flowers are sunflowers (for years it was Orchids).
84. I have absolutely no patience. Zero. Nada. Zilch!
85. A few years ago I went to a Gnaoua music festival in Essaouira (Morocco). That was pretty cool.
86. I’d love to go camping. I have a 5 person tent I’ve never used and nothing to go in it.
87. I’m pretty much always late. It drives my Beloved nuts.
88. I’m really really nosy, ha!
89. My favourite book of all time is The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexander Dumas). This has never changed.
90. I love my cat.
91. I’m a bit of a snob.
92. I believe that the top pillows on the bed (the really plump ones) are not to be slept on – it’ll make the bed look messy. My Beloved thinks this is ridiculous and refers to them as the “show pillows”.
93. I also keep a set of towels for guests only – another thing my Beloved finds ridiculous!
94. I can always squeeze in a bit of ice cream no matter how full I am 🙂
95. I have no regrets.
96. I am a comfort eater.
97. I try to always be a good person but don’t always achieve this goal.
98. My favourite “pick me up” movie, guaranteed to make me laugh and smile, is ‘Some Like It Hot’.
99. My baby girl is THE most precious thing I will ever have in my life.
100. It has taken me a week to write this list!

The Prodigal Blogger Returns

Today on twitter, I pledged to resurrect my commitment to positivity on account of Lent.

I haven’t practised a particular religion for 20 years (wow! didn’t realise it was that long until I counted it up just now). Not that I’m lazy. On the contrary. I’m extremely curious about religion, spirituality and things that are seemingly “other worldly”. What I didn’t want to do was go to church every Sunday and not really believe what I was saying or doing, or worse, not go to church at all but play the religion card when I need/want to get my child into a good school.

I actually take it very seriously. Least of all because I made a promise to my father (who is a strong believer) that I would make very conscious decisions about ‘God’ and ‘The Church’ and would not belittle his faith by being flippant about it.

And I believe that some of the things I was taught by my parents and religion have contributed to my being a “good person” today. One of those things is Lent. Well kind of.

I think that it is a great idea to take time out, whether it’s once per year or once each day, to be conscious about who we are and what we do for others. Whilst during Lent we are often encouraged to give something up for the duration (in support of what ‘Jesus’ gave up for all mankind) I believe that actually it makes more sense to give something back.

So, I’ve done this a few times over the years. I’ve participated in Lent in my own way. By doing something extra.

This year, I’m refocusing on positivity (see my previous attempts here and here). So, I’ll be looking for small ways each day in which I can help others (and from time to time myself) through the power of positivity. Harder than it sounds but then, it wouldn’t be worth it if it was easy!

I’ll keep you posted. Look out for updates on Twitter. Might even pen a blog or two about it… After all I did promise to write more this year.

New Years Resolutions

Once again there has been quite a gap between my blog posts! Oh well, quality not quantity eh? (here’s hoping I have the former “down”!)

“The first three months are a bloody hard slog!” says my BFF, yogaswerve, who’s also my oracle on all things baby related. Our baby girl had colic from weeks 2 to 14, but even without that I’d probably agree. Little time for personal hobbies like blogging or fitness. Though I still managed to find time to eat chocolate and a veritable mountain of cookies and assorted biscuits. I still do.

Week 15 was Christmas and then came the New Year and here we are a couple of weeks into 2011 and still chasing the Holy Grail that is “a routine”.

So, whilst my baby girl snoozes on my lap (I’m not molly coddling her – she still has a bit of reflux and has to stay upright for 20 minutes after feeding, she also happens to have fallen asleep), I thought I’d write down my resolutions… Some are a little more realistic than others but I’ll let you work out which is which for yourself.

1. Lose 2 stone
2. Attend a Zumba or a Dance class (something energetic to assist with #1)
3. Re-start Yoga (again)
4. Write retrospective “diary” of pregnancy and mummyhood
5. Save up for a mac (for documenting #4)
6. Try, really try, to post regular, meaningful, interesting and humorous ditty’s on my blog.
7. Spend as much time with my baby girl as possible (she’s growing so fast and she is so much fun to be around!)

Apart from winning the lottery, that’s all I got… But to be honest, I’d settle for winning at nappy roulette once in a while!

Today, I blog!

Today, I blog again…

My beautiful little girl is nearly 9 weeks old and the last 9 weeks have been the best and the worst of my life. People tell you it’s the hardest and the best job in the world (being a parent) and they’re right!

I once blogged about how overwhelmed with unconditional love I was for my little furball when he came into our lives. But my love for my baby girl is a gazillion times stronger than that. I could never have imagined it until the first time I looked at her.

Still now, every time I look at her, even when I’m at my lowest ebb; having had no sleep for days and she’s been screaming her little lungs out for what seems like hours (she has colic), all I can think of is that she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. How amazing she is and how lucky I am to have her. I miss her even when I’m just in the other room.

And my love, respect and admiration for my Beloved has grown too. Don’t get me wrong there have been times when the tiredness has presented, let’s call them, significant challenges. But I could not have delivered her without his fortitude. I would not have survived the baby blues or my battle with breastfeeding without his love and support. And I have grown as a person by learning to let him (and my friends and my family) help me.

She is definitely Daddy’s little girl! He brought her into this world with his own hands and she’s had him wrapped around her little finger ever since. But that is a good thing. He will love her and protect her forever, we both will.

Our family has grown and will hopefully continue to grow… although, I’m not sure where we’ll put them. This one tiny little girl has accumulated so much stuff in 9 weeks, we already need a bigger house. How is that possible?!


Is it good to share?

1 week to D-Day.

I still think it will be longer and I’m trying not to fixate on the date… but I can totally understand why women get to the home stretch and “just want it out!!!”. I feel really good today and managed to have a reasonably good night’s sleep last night but the 2 nights/days before that were pretty challenging. But I’m not here to complain about my pregnancy woes, nope. Today’s post is about how much information should I put online about our baby?

I know I said that this wouldn’t become a mummy blog… but what else can I write about, when my every waking thought is consumed by Strawbug?

I’ve been thinking about this blog subject for quite a while. Ever since I announced my happy news actually.

Putting details of your life online whether it be a blog, Facebook or Twitter can be risky for anyone. I myself, don’t even share my own name on this blog or my Twitter account and I try very hard to disguise anyone in my life that I write about (unless they have already set the precedent of “going public” with who they are online). Some might say that I’m copping out but I do it because whilst I enjoy the process and the experience of writing and sharing, I find it much easier to share feelings anonymously. I also do it out of respect for others in my life. I don’t feel I have the right to publish details of their lives online without their permission. After all, its possible that these details could be read by millions of people across the world (not that my readership is anywhere near that high, but it’s out there, it’s accessible and it is possible).

On the other hand, it is the acceptable convention of social networking to share personal information, photos etc. of yourself and others online. And the internet provides a useful tool to enable today’s distributed families to share these things in almost real-time. It provides support systems and information to many who feel isolated because of the fact that we no longer live in local family units. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s free.

The downside of the internet is that it can be accessed by anyone, and by that I mean unsavoury types. Parents spend many hours worrying about who their kids are chatting to online, putting security software in place to try to prevent them accessing the types of sites where they could be harmed and (hopefully) educating their children about the dangers of the internet and how to avoid them.

So then is it fair, or safe, to then post photos of those kids on Facebook? or a blog? and share details of who their kids are and what they did today with, potentially, the entire world?

I’ve googled (as is my want) and searched for any studies or theories that may answer my question (in whatever way). But all that I have been able to find is thoughts, research and advice about kids using the internet and online safety software or education.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging any proud parent who puts photos of their kids on Facebook. Heck, I’ve already done it here on my blog before my baby is born! I’m just generally struggling with the idea, and I’m not sure what the right thing to do is for Strawbug. I genuinely wouldn’t want her or him to come to any harm as a result of something I had done.

So, what do you think? Is it risky? Am I being over sensitive or should I employ the same rule as I do with others in my life and assume I don’t have the right to openly disclose such personal details?

Leave a comment… I’d love to know what you think.

All Change

So, today was my last day in work before Strawbug arrives. It was a strange day. I’ve been looking forward to it for so long but in the end it felt kind of weird. Kind of sad. It’s been a long long time since I haven’t worked and my job, my ‘career’, has been (for the best part of the last 15 years) a large part of the definition of ‘Me’.

Now, I know that I’m about to change that definition forever. And I have wanted nothing more than to have a family with my Beloved for quite some time now. But, it’s still a massive change for a very independent girl (OK I’m clutching at straws with ‘girl’!).

It’s ironic that my job is (was) all about the management of change. And I’ve never been change averse. In fact, I’m the complete opposite of change averse. I get bored easily and have spent large periods of my life changing jobs, cities and homes every six months. And because of this I find it very difficult to understand why (some) people are really quite terrified at the prospect of change. I’ve always (well mostly) seen it as an opportunity (the exception being when I’ve been dumped, and in which case I’m not sure it was the ‘change’ that was bothering me).

So anyway, back to me not working… I guess maybe the way to look at it is that I’m on secondment for personal development purposes. Because I’m fairly certain that once Strawbug arrives, daily life will return to good old hard graft, although I expect that job satisfaction will be off the scale in relation to what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years.

And although I’m excited, I still can’t really imagine what life will be like once the baby is here. But then, when you haven’t had kids before, can anyone?

For the next couple of weeks though, I’ll be taking the view that I’m on holiday. Which is fine, I can get my head around that. I’ve had staycations before. And just think of all the time I’ll have for blogging and Twitter!