Managing Your Life/Work Balance

Managing Your Life/Work Balance

If there’s one thing people who know me always comment on (aside from my ridiculous obsession with my pets and my terrible taste in music) it’s how busy I always am. For some reason, I struggle to just do nothing and if I ever find myself with a day where I don’t have anything planned, I have to find something to do – whether that be a walk around the local woods with Poppy, a wander along Southend seafront, or a quiet drink and a bite to eat in the pub.

 

I’m not really sure where this inability to be still came from, but I think I’ve always been the same.

 

Since I moved house, my balance of time has been a little off; I’ve been struggling to find a routine in which I can function fully in all sectors of my life – work, blogging, boyfriend, family, friends, never mind housework, dog training and all the other bits and pieces that make up everyday life. I think the fact I struggle to fit everything I need to do in to 24-hours is perhaps the reason I very rarely watch TV (unless I’m with Ben) – I just don’t have the time to fit programme viewing in!

 

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So, when I saw Simplyhealth had created a quiz focussed on the work/life balance, I was curious to see what it said about me. By answering 10 simple questions, it tells you if you’re a Separator, an Integrator or a Volleyer.

 

I normally find online quizzes are a little wide of the mark as they have to be fairly all encompassing in order for those taking them to feel they’ve been correctly measured, but I have to say, this quiz seems to have nailed my work/life balance pretty well – it tells me an an Integrator:

 

The boundaries between work and home are blurred for you. You integrate your work and personal life both physically
(you work when at home, and do personal things in the office), and psychologically (you feel the stresses of work even when you’re not there).
This is good because it means you’re skilled at juggling the competing demands of your professional and personal roles, giving you scope
for flexibility on both sides. However, be wary of the lines between home and work becoming too blurred, as it may affect either aspect
of your life negatively. Make an effort to give yourself time to fully switch off from work regularly, whether that’s for an evening out or a holiday.

 

Luckily, nowadays I’m in a job I really enjoy, so I don’t often get stressed nor have to bring work home with me (I mean, a puppy asleep on my desk – how could I not love it?!) but in my previous job I was forever blurring the lines between the two aspects of my life and it really took its toll on me.

 

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I think what I have taken from this is that with this being my style of living – all or nothing – I need to ensure I keep on top of my life admin and organisation, keeping the levels of chaos in my world to a minimum!

 

I’d be interested to know what the quiz describes you as and whether you think it’s got you sussed! Nip over to their website to take the quiz now and let me know how you get on!

 

 

Penny xx

 

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Taking A Leap – Finding Happiness

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I saw this quote online recently and instantly knew I had to share it with all of you.

 

If you’ve been following my adventures over the past 6-months or so you’ll know that back in February I took a leap of faith and walked away from the life I was living, embarking on a new life that was as yet unmoulded.

 

I found myself faced with a completely blank canvas, a position from which I could restart and repaint my life. Suddenly, my future was stretched out in front of me like a wide and open road disappearing over the horizon and it seemed full of possibility.

 

It was simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying.

 

But life has a funny way of guiding us in the right direction and here I am, nearly 5 months down the line and I can honestly say I have never been happier. I’m content. I feel grounded. I feel like I am right where I’m supposed to be.

 

My life now is full of happiness, opportunity and amazing experiences and the future that lies ahead now takes on a different shape, but, as I edge towards my 30th birthday next month, I feel like I’m walking along a path paved with gold.

 

I said at the very beginning of this year that I could feel magic in the air and I was right; I still can.

 

I guess this post serves no other purpose than just to say to anybody out there who finds themselves stuck where they don’t want to be; turning your back on the familiar can be utterly terrifying, but we should never, ever ‘settle’ just for the sake of routine and a fear of change. Take a leap, follow your heart, trust your instincts and be brave – you could find it’s the best decision you’ve ever made and you’re happier than you ever knew you could be.

 

 

Penny xx

 

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‘Tell A Friend They’re Fat Day’ – The Damaging Culture of Body Shaming

I’m a great believer that writing should always be done with passion, but that caution should be taken when writing with emotion (especially if those emotions are indignation or anger) which is why I have taken a few days to put these words down and to publish them on the internet. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t writing from within an emotion-filled fog and that my thoughts and arguments were coherent.

 

Earlier this week, a self-proclaimed ‘Weight Loss Master’ (who I don’t wish to name and give any further publicity) (also, if we’re going around giving ourselves titles now I’d like to be ‘Cat Cuddling Prosecco Drinking Master of Awesomeness’) held a highly publicised ‘Tell A Friend They’re Fat Day’.

 

The title is fairly self explanatory but the gist of it is thus: If you have a friend or loved one who is overweight, you should sit them down and tell them they’re going to die because they’re fat.

 

I wish I was joking but I’m not. This was an actual thing that happened this week and here are just a few of the delightful tweets this ‘Weight Loss Master’ put out into the public domain within those 24-hours:

 

“The dangerous new word for fat – ‘Curves’. Usually spouted by the fat acceptance rabble who seem happy for a woman to live in danger.”

“‘THIN’ acceptable and ok. ‘FAT’ creates an ouch factor. Good and so it should because we are dying too early because of being too ‘FAT’.”

“No woman should be encouraged to stay fat. ‘Tell a friend they are fat day’ = Save lives.”

 

 

After lifting my jaw from the floor, I tweeted the ‘Master’ saying I felt the campaign was poorly constructed and had the potential to do more harm than good. I thought that the denouncing of ‘curves’ was irresponsible and asked him what his definition of ‘fat’ was (as did others) but he declined to elaborate, although he did take the time to tweet me sarcastically without addressing any of the issues raised. Thanks for engaging there ‘Master’.

 

Although I think we can all appreciate and agree on the fact that if you’re not caring for yourself there will be health implications, myself and others made the point to him that the size of a person doesn’t necessarily reflect on their health – for example, I’m a UK size 8 but I know plus size women who go to the gym, run marathons and are a million times fitter than I am. In response to these, what I feel, were very valid statements, he simply tweeted the following:

 

“IGNORE the shockingly dangerous Fat Acceptance brigade. Their drive is to get you to eat your own grave. #FatIsNotFab”

“A day of listening to Size/Fat Acceptance evangelists is now completed. Ignore them. They want you to eat your grave.”

 

(Before I continue, can we all take another look at those two statements above and appreciate just how ridiculous they are. Because some of us realise that you can be plus size and healthy, we’re actually mass murderers who are lying because we want to see others die. Seriously, get a fucking grip ‘Master’ – can you hear yourself??)

 

While I understand certain individuals seek to cause controversy in order to increase their television ratings, readership, social media following or celebrity, I can’t help but feel that a campaign of this nature should have been thought through in more detail before being launched. To put out the message that curves are a bad thing and women (because that’s who he was targeting) should be stick thin is incredibly dangerous. Social media allows the minds of young impressionables to be accessed directly, and by telling them they should be shaped like a particularly thin ruler, straight up and down, with no curves is, quite frankly, irresponsible and utterly repugnant.

 

Certainly, if I had children I wouldn’t want them to be seeing the messages this ‘Master Of Weight Loss’ is promoting. It’s the perpetuation of the damaging culture of body shaming that I feel is gradually eating away at society.

 

Focus should not be on the measurements of our waist, the numbers on the scales or the size labelled within our clothes; it should be on health and well being. We should be promoting healthy eating, good levels of physical activity and wellness of the mind. We should be concentrating on self awareness and self care, encouraging happiness, goodwill and kindness. Dripping poisonous and, quite frankly, damaging comments into the ears of anyone who is unfortunate enough to hear them is not the way forward.

 

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts – let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Penny xx

 

 

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Feeling The Ins-and-Uns: Seeking Peace Of Mind

Feeling The Ins-and-Uns: Seeking Peace Of Mind

Just recently I’ve been suffering with a case of what I call “the ins-and-uns”.

 

I feel inadequate, insignificant, incapableunattractive, uninteresting, and unsuccessful (among other things).

 

It’s in my nature to overthink and I’ve always been ‘a worrier’ (as my parents used to say!) but just recently my anxious nature has raised it’s unwelcome head a little higher and I’ve been fretting an unbelievable amount, plus I’ve had a few panic attacks (something I thought I’d got under control years ago). Generally, this side of me is hidden in day to day life. If you meet me you’ll see Friendly Penny, a girl who has plenty to say for herself, a ready smile, and a calm persona, but underneath the facade, in my mind, I’m flitting around like a sparrow trapped in a classroom.

 

If you asked me to pinpoint my worries it would be nigh on impossible to do so. I worry about everything – my family, my friends, whether K will one day leave me, that my cats might have hurt themselves while I’m at work, that I haven’t locked the front door, and sometimes I even worry about going out places and have to psyche myself up for it.

 

Outside I’m a lioness, inside I’m a mouse.

 

When other people are in bad moods it affects me. I’m generally quite empathetic and other people’s moods are easily mirrored in my own feelings, so when they aren’t themselves or are angry or upset, it makes me edgy and nervous. I’ll ask people a thousand times if they’re ok and I’ll try everything I can to cheer them up – I go out of my way to let people know I care and once a person is in my heart, I hold them there without question. (Until they really hurt me that is – although I tend to forgive time and time again, there comes a point where my heart seems to say “I’ve had enough now, I can’t take the pain they provide any longer”).

 

Last year I was under a lot of pressure at work and, as a result, got signed off with stress by the doctor. I think, if I’m honest, since then I’ve never quite got myself back to the where I’d previously worked so hard to reach. Added to this I also have insecurities that stem from my first boyfriend (read about that douchebag here) which have had a lasting effect on my life. (Scars fade but never entirely heal).

 

But I’ve had enough. It’s time for me to get my shit together.

 

My life is so good right now, I’m happier than I’ve ever been before, and so to get rid of my anxiety would be the icing on the cake! And this part of me can be overcome. It can be tamed. I just need to get myself back into a place where I am strong enough to do so. A place where I won’t let things worry me, a place where I will stop focussing my care and attention on those who have proven time and time again that they don’t deserve it.

 

I’m going to try and conquer my anxiety, low self esteem and other associated worries. I’m going to start thinking, “Hey, you’re ok!” when I look in the mirror, I’m going to start looking after my body (already bought the vitamins and going to hit the gym hard again!), I’m going to count to 10 and allow my brain to catch up with my feelings, I’m going to live in the now – not the past or the future, and I’m going to make sure I’m surrounded only by those people who are good and kind.

 

Basically, I’m going to start being good to myself.

 

I know I’m not the only one that feels like this, it seems almost to be a product of the modern world that we are all so self critical, but I think we need to realise that it’s ok to like ourselves – we need to give ourselves permission to do so.

 

It’s my aim to stop being such a worry-butt, to stop fretting about what the future may bring, to stop expelling so much energy on areas of life that don’t need or deserve it. I hope that with these life changes I will see my stress levels reduce and I will begin to feel more chilled out about things, taking each day as it comes rather than preempting what may, or may not, happen in the future.

 

A fresh start with a happy and peaceful soul. Who’s with me?

 

 

 

Penny xx

 

 

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Save The Blow Dry Shower Cap {AD-GIFTED}

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I have what can only be described as ‘giant hair’. It’s really thick and gets ridiculously big in humidity. Add to this the fact it’s neither straight nor wavy, and I basically just have a huge crown of scarecrow-like material dangling off the top of my bonce.

 

As is always true of the human condition, we tend to want we we don’t/can’t have and so people are always telling me I’m lucky to have thick hair, but being a giant haired person isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – I’m forever sending hairbands to an early grave due to my mighty mane stretching them beyond their capabilities, any style I wear will drop out within approximately 41 minutes as my hair is too heavy to be tamed, and when I have a shower it grows and grows and grows until I’m sporting a ‘Monica-Geller-on-holiday’.

 

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You can only imagine how sexy this makes me look.

 

So, when Save The Blow Dry asked if I would like to review their shower cap I danced a little jig of joy and said, “Yes please!” I’d read quite a few reviews of the product and they were all excellent, so I had high hopes this could be the answer to my bouffant woes.

 

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I’ll happily admit that I have owned shower caps before, but none of them seemed to offer the moisture protection needed. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve decided to have a quick shower before a night out, popped on my cap, hopped in the shower, done the necessaries and been greeted with a voluminous (and not in a good way) mop upon looking back in the mirror.

 

Save The Blow Dry however, provides 100% moisture protection and my hair remains dry meaning I can quickly and easily style it without needing to dry it out and desperately tweaking it back into place.

 

The cap itself is reversible; the inner lining being material and the outer being plastic. This means that the moisture in the air cannot filter through whether you’re having a quick shower or a long lazy soak in the bath as a treat.

 

The real clincher in terms of me loving this is in it’s design; once you reverse it and the plastic lining becomes the inner part, it’s perfect for wearing when using a hair mask or treatment. Simply put your haircare product of choice on (I always use coconut oil), pop your Save The Blow Dry cap on and hey presto! Your hair is neatly tucked away so you can get on with your day or go to bed without worrying you might damage your bedding!

 

Priced at £14.95 it is more expensive than other shower caps you could buy, but I honestly think it’s worth it and would recommend it to anyone. Also, can we just talk about how bloomin’ cute it looks? It makes me feel like a 50s housewife cartoon when I’m wearing it!

 

save the blow dry

 

Penny xx

 

 

 * PR Sample *

 

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