A bunch of amateurs!

Well after an incredibly difficult week the weekend finally arrived with a bang! Bring it on…

Myself and friends went to watch my Wife Katie play the part of Jessica, an American teenager whose mainly absent Father is a fading star of the silver screen who has been given a chance to star as King Lear in Stratford…

The twist…it is NOT Stratford known for Shakespeare but rather another lesser known Stratford with as the title suggests a bunch of amateurs!

It was a great cast, great play and Katie was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. A great American accent, and she even managed to rock a pair of Converse!

Here’s to the next play…

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Memories

A Seventies child at heart

As I get older I seem to become more nostalgic, memories seem to constantly invade my consciousness, with a smell, sight or sound transporting me back to an earlier memory. Only this week I found myself recalling a memory of my 7 year old self when I stumbled across an article on the BBC about the Raleigh Chopper! The designer behind this phenomenon is now 91, and someone known as Tom Karen.

As a child I never thought anything more about the bike beyond how fast it was…and boy was it fast! Two speeds and yet it left all other racers standing. How I loved that bike, even though it wasn’t my first bike and the one I have now is far superior it will always have a special place in my heart.

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My first car

Same story with my first car, a red Vauxhall Nova 1.0 litre. It cost £2k and was the stuff of dreams, 0-60 took about a week, it was manual choke (who remembers those) and it had a cassette player that played the classic (in my opinion) Bad album by Michael Jackson. I remember pulling up in a car park in between two other Nova’s and there was a certain camaraderie among us all as though we belonged to some unknown club. I was never a boy racer, and the other two were extensively modified but that little red car certainly held it’s own.

As with all good things I eventually sold the car although it did stay in the family for a while, and even though my next car (a fiesta no less) was an upgrade as with every subsequent car I still look back on that red Nova with real affection. In my head that little car was akin to an Aston Martin, in real terms inferior in every way but in my head that car was incredibly special… I have managed to find a good likeness below, as I said in my head it was special…perhaps I was delusional!

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The Future

There are many other instances in life that I can refer back to, times that I look back on with real affection, simpler times. Yet, in every instance I was always looking forward to the future and the next thing, mobile phones are a classic example, we buy one and then 1-2 years later are looking for an upgrade, and yet that brick we once had or that now out of fashion flip phone all have a certain appeal that my current Samsung does not afford me.

Living in the present

As individuals we seem to constantly look back and reminisce, often through rose tinted glasses (that’s no bad thing occasionally) nor is it wrong to hark back to simpler times. As much as we look back we often look forward to the next new thing, and yet by spending so much time on the past and the future we often over look the here and now!!! Whilst I’m not advocating we forgo indulging ourselves with looking back or indeed dreaming about future possibilities, I do think it is important to spend more time in the here and now. With that said, it’s time I returned to the real world and spent some quality time with my family.

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#nostalgia #memories # family

 

Mindfulness

We all run around like busy fools…

Mindfulness and mental health are banded about frequently these days, but what does it all mean and why now! As a forty something (yes, despite many denials I cannot escape that fact) it is a phenomenon that early on in my life and career had little if any meaning.

As a parent and HR practitioner mindfulness and mental health is everywhere and quite rightly so. The world we live in is so fast paced, everything is 24/7 and as one week blurs in to the next it is no wonder that we can often be left breathless at the sheer relentless pace. Did I mention that Christmas is only around the corner…

Seeking help

There are many organisations out there that can help, from Mind to MHFA England as well as a plethora of self-help apps. Are they any good, well they vary from tracking your mood to putting you in touch with your peers as well as a variety of health professionals. The statistics are alarming, this year alone 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue, but what about those that don’t seek help simply because they don’t know where to turn or feel embarrassed to admit they need help.

As an HR practitioner I see people requiring help due to relationship troubles, bullying, financial trouble and bereavement to name a few. Personally, I have battled some dark moments as a result of a sudden and tragic loss. The effects on an individual can vary from the emotional to physical and can vary in recovery time from days, weeks, months and sometimes years. The key in my opinion is to start a dialogue, with a partner, friend, family member or one of the organisations listed in this blog. The first hurdle is finding the courage to say I need help

Listening is often all that is required…

If you are that special person that someone seeks out for help, remember you often do not need any special skills beyond the ability to listen, empathise, and of course the ability to make that old British faithful – a cup of tea!

https://www.mind.org.uk

https://mhfaengland.org

https://theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2017/oct/10/smartphone-apps-for-mental-health?CMP

 

STRICTLYFEVER!

Strictly Come Dancing is always popular in our house, every year without fail we tune in to watch new celebrities attempt to dance FAB…U…LOUS…LY and avoid a dancing DI…SAS…TER!

It used to be our guilty pleasure, kids in bed and a drink of something of the stronger variety, not so these days as the kids stay up late for a treat…

This weekend we were childless…it was almost like the old days, takeaway, drink, peace and quiet and yet the house was eerily quiet… I didn’t like it!!!  Coupled with the fact the night light on the landing was switched off I felt like a grown up… I didn’t like that either!

Although it is many years until the kids fly the nest (thankfully, as time goes fast enough as it is), Saturday was a small taster of things to come. The peace was well and truly shattered on Sunday when they returned home. It was like they had never been away…

Despite our child free night on Saturday, on Sunday we had a friend baby sit as we headed off to join a new dance class. There was no glitter or sequins (maybe next week) but a great evening was had as we embraced once more the Waltz and the Rhumba, the steps were basic (even I managed).

As we look forward to this Sunday and another lesson, I can’t help but look back to last Sunday evening with a smile. As we danced on Sunday I couldn’t help but smile as I looked in to my Wife’s eyes, she did keep asking why the smile…  Well, now for the soppy part, not only is she beautiful and a wonderful dancer (she smashed it as always) but I felt a connection with her on the dance floor this time round that last time I just didn’t get.  So whilst I will possibly never be a dancer I will always be proud of my beautiful Wife.

Keep dancing!

Am I a blogger yet?


This is my third post… Not sure I am getting the hang of this yet, putting my thoughts down on paper is strange and whilst I work on a PC everyday this seems weirdly personal, like I am divulging some hidden part of me.  Is anyone reading my blog, according to the stats no but perhaps that’s no bad thing at the moment.

My site is called thishrdad, why? Simply because that is what I am, I work in HR and I am a Dad. Of course there is much more to me but it is difficult to encapsulate that in a short snappy title. As an HR practitioner I do a lot of reading, ACAS, LinkedIn and People Management to name a few.

One particular article jumped out at me this week, apparently it is National Work Life Week. I am not sure who comes up with the idea of branding a day or week towards a particular theme but the idea is a sound one.  Essentially it is an opportunity for employees and employers to focus on well being in the work place as well as creating a happy work-life balance.

My working week has been less than balanced, with mass recruitment, weekly payroll and a multitude of other projects on the go. Work is busy and it is often difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel at the moment… However, personally I am looking forward to the life balance element!  My inspiration is Strictly Come Dancing, and this weekend after a 12 year hiatus I will be returning to the dance floor with my Wife!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Brendan Cole or Anton Du Beke and probably resemble something more akin to Scott Mills.  So it is with much excitement that we head to a local dance class and once more attempt a myriad of dances from a cha cha cha to a waltz and everything else in between… Wish me luck I think I will need it!

Dark morning’s and dark nights…

What a week… getting up in the morning is always harder when it’s dark.  Motivating my body out of bed has not been easy, and yet somehow it’s the weekend again!
This week we have had cubs, aquafit, choir, swimming (twice), sportscape and a high school open evening.  Despite such a hectic schedule the adults in the household managed a date night on Friday, yet after a curry and three pints (yes three) I feel exhausted today!  Talk about rock and roll…

Sat here on Saturday watching Strictly my thoughts are already looking to the week ahead, work is busy with lots on in the HR world, gender pay gap reporting, GDPR, and holiday pay are just some of the projects on the go.  With so many projects on getting out of the office is harder than ever!!!

Roll on another week!

So here goes…my first post!

Don’t laugh but I’ve always wondered what a blog is? I use various social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr etc. You get the idea, I’m happy to like, comment, retweet and participate but the thought of writing from my own perspective seems slightly indulgent.

What can I say that is worth you taking time out to read about my journey? Well my journey is like yours, it has highs and lows (hopefully more highs) and I often wonder where I will end up! Perhaps the problem is we are all striving to get somewhere rather than enjoying the journey!

This is my journey as a Dad, Husband, Son, Brother (#RIPsis) and HR Professional. So whether you are reading about my journey or sharing the ride – thank you.