Sunday, January 25, 2015

A different kind of work day

Last year I blogged about a team volunteering event at a local farm, where we spent the day doing manual labour clearing brambles and bushes and other horrible things!

Last week, our team volunteered again, this time in Birmingham, running something called Money Live. I genuinely feel lucky that I work for a company that actively encourages volunteering, and the day was certainly a very different kind of work day for me!

Money Live is a Financial Education experience for young people, where they visit different scenarios on the Safe Side 'street'. The volunteers (us!) run interactive sessions where they can learn about savings accounts and ATMs (in the mini Nationwide branch), budgeting and looking for best value offers (in the mini Co-op store), about online safety in the internet cafe, find about bankruptcy in the model court, look at bills and payments in the house and clamber on the double decker bus to learn about credits and debits.

How did they get the bus in there?

The team getting ready before the kids arrived!!

Kat was the judge in the court - complete with wig!

The kids have to decide on the verdict in the court... we may have practiced before they arrived!

Chris and his branch!

Vicky ran the Co-op for the day!

No idea why I'm on this bike!

I had no idea what to expect. I don't have kids, so I will admit that I was worried about even speaking to them! I ran the internet cafe, geek that I am, and talked about keeping your money safe. I showed them about ATM skimming devices and talked about identity theft and fraud. I learned a lot too!

The sessions are normally run for years 9 - 11, so secondary school pupils. To make it even tougher, we were told that we running a pilot session for primary school children! But we needn't have worried - they were so engaged, and pretty fascinated about everything. Willing to have a go and try and work out interest rates and percentages, and were pretty knowledgeable about internet shopping in my session!

It was an incredibly worthwhile way to spend a day, and all of our team are just lining up for another opportunity to do it again. Even if the kids take one thing away, hopefully we've done a good job. It was a genuinely fantastic resource - and they run sessions on lots of different topics, like safety and life skills, and I really enjoyed taking part.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New year, new resolutions

Working on my downward dog...

If I'm honest, 2014 has been a strange year. An emotional roller coaster of a year, with some pretty extreme highs and lows.

Now we're into 2015,  here are my new year resolutions. As normal, I imagine most people expect me to do this post, uphold them for two days and then not bother. Well, I'd be an idiot to make some sweeping statement about how I'll definitely keep them going this year, but hey! I'll give it a go! Like most things, these will all be successful if I CHOOSE to make them happen.

My 2015 new year resolutions...

1. Wear lipstick. 
I love makeup. My collection is ridiculous, I have stacks of the stuff. But I own two lipsticks and I can never be bothered to put it on, ever. I think it's because it comes off so quickly, but that's no excuse for 2015!

Yes, this is an easy resolution that I should be able to achieve.

2. Do Yoga More. 
I love yoga. Recently I tried hot yoga, which I also loved. So why can't I get off my arse to do it more often? I can do it in my lounge for crying out loud!

In 2015 - I WILL do more. I am making time for it.

(I write this post after I weighed myself - on Xmas Eve, idiot idea, just before i eat all the food - and was shocked by my weight. I know I'm lucky because I'm small but i've put on a solid 1.5 stone over the last 2 years, most of that in the wrong place and I am NOT happy. Time to change.).

3. Photography
Something else I love. And haven't made enough time for in 2014. The year started well with a trip to Oz where I took thousands of photos - but can I honestly say I've worked on my photography over the last year? No. So that's my mission for 2015 - not just to take more photos, but to take BETTER photos.

And then do something with them - I want MY photos on my walls, not some Ikea prints.

4. Blogging
I am just going to do more of this. It's a rubbish excuse but my last laptop was slowly failing - it would take 35 mins to just turn on, and trying to download images from my camera was a nightmare. I know have a shiny new laptop so no excuses any more!

So that's a quick summary of my plans for 2015. I'll keep you posted :)