2021 · bloggers · blogging101 · community · virtual coffee date · weekly · writing

Virtual Coffee Date #1

28.03.21

Good morning HQ-ers,

Kettle’s just boiled, so grab a brew!

I’m on the Nescafé 3 in 1’s, I know! It’s not good, I mean I like them, they are convenient yet they can’t be that good for you really especially at the amount I consume daily.

Actually I don’t like them… I’m not a fan since they fixed what wasn’t broke and their “fresher and richer” recipe tastes like pond water. I’m addicted to them. I have a box a day habit and I get rather antsy if I run out.

I did tweet Nestle once to ask if they contained crack however they never replied.

I’m digressing here, I’m aware it’s a problem and I have taken the first step by admitting my ‘fake-coffee’ addiction so let’s move on.

During the night, Daylight Savings Time kicked in here in the U.K. here’s to those warmer evenings, epic sunsets and hopefully a decent summer.

I’ve been very mindful to not say one word on this site, I want to avoid it as much as I can because it’s all we hear daily on the news. I was immensely disgusted at only very recently finding out the Sarah Everard story because the C-word dominates every news broadcast and after a year, I personally got sick of hearing the same reports over and over.

I will address the Sarah Everard story eventually. I’m still processing it and the aftershocks it has caused. Every time I try to finish my drafted thoughts on it, I just can’t finish it because you can’t finish a story like that. How do you just write ‘The End’ to such a tragic story? I’ll figure it out no doubt, just not right now. However, please do get in touch if you feel you’ve something to add or just want to vent your thoughts.

Its the Bahrain Grand Prix today, so we’ll be watching here. And we are on Easter Half Term too so I’m hoping the clocks going forward an hour will bring better weather to be able to get out more as restrictions lift.

I’d love to know your plans for the Easter break so please do comment below.

Do join me again the Sunday morning after Easter for another #VirtualCoffeeDate and if you’re bringing biscuits, tell me which ones you’re a fan of!

Have a great week.

2021 · blogging101 · community · consulting · daily · education · everyday inspiration · writing

Everyday Inspiration: Day 12

Critique a piece of work…

Hello HQ-ers,

At first, I was a little anxious about this prompt for a number of reasons that made a over-thinker come up with questions I now share with you:

  • Who the Hell am I to critique anything?
  • What difference would my critique make?
  • Where do I pick the right piece of work to start to critique?
  • When to critique anything as if it’s not timely, is that then not just another no-body’s opinion?
  • Why do I put myself through this?
  • How will I get readers to actually read a critique objectively especially if I pick a provocative piece?

Do I dare Disturb the universe?

T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland

Then, it happened!

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ‘lightbulb’ moment!

If you have to say or do something controversial, aim so that people will hate that they love it and not love that they hate it.

Criss Jami, Killosophy

So I decided to tackle this task as an ‘open letter’ of sorts to a young couple that we have all heard of. To a husband and wife that we have all had an opinion on. To two people in the limelight. To a mother and father that are no different to any other parent that wants to protect their families. To a man born into a way of life and the woman who worked to find her way of life.

My aim is to tackle this task with objectivity. I’m neither conformist or anarchist, I’m neither right or wrong. I merely write from what I have seen and heard from them via many sources. I merely write as I felt a resonance when they described how they felt.

There’s a sort of ‘mob mentality’ surrounding this couple. Anything in the mainstream and social media about them seems to create a knee-jerk reaction of anger and disdain. Anyone who tries to voice a fairer opinion on some channels, gets laughed at or shut down.

Now, that doesn’t phase me at all. I’m quite resilient to online trolls having dealt with real life ones for a long time. What does phase me is the hypocritical nature of this behaviour. I mean how can you post “be kind” today and then slate this couple tomorrow? It makes no sense, whatsoever.

You don’t just cherry pick who deserves kindness and compassion and who doesn’t just because you have a personal issue with their very existence which by the way, impacts your life in no way.

At this point, if you think you can guess which couple I’m talking about, share your answer in the comments below.

Continue reading “Everyday Inspiration: Day 12”
2021 · community · consulting

An interview with…

So today I welcome the first guest to appear on Beyond the CSHQ, as part of the Independent’s Project.

An honour to introduce to you, Winner of the 2019 Beauty Therapist of the Year award and all-round babe; Charlotte Gerrard, Owner and Beauty Therapist at Charlotte Gerrard Beauty.

Logo Reproduced with permission from Charlotte Gerrard

As the Pandemic is over a year old, I asked Charlotte to describe where she was at, career-wise when the Prime Minister announced the first National Lockdown.

She says, “I had been Assistant Manager at The Beauty Room in Ellesmere Port for nearly 6 years. I had decided to leave my position there as my boss (and friend) had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Brain Cancer. I was running the salon and working by myself whilst she was in hospital and I just couldn’t do it anymore. The business was running at a loss as I was the only member of staff working because we also had a therapist out on maternity leave. I didn’t want to leave the salon. I adored my job but I knew it wasn’t going to last the way it was going so I handed my resignation to my boss’s husband a month before lockdown was announced and arranged to start renting a room in another local salon to begin on April 1st but Lockdown started March 23rd.”

Charlotte really does adore her job so it must have been difficult to detach emotionally with everything going on. She is extremely passionate about the beauty industry and keeps up to date with career development at every opportunity. Yet evidently, she saw where she needed to take action as The Beauty Room couldn’t continue to operate.

I asked for her first thoughts when non-essential business had to cease operations, she replied,

“I was heartbroken! I was meant to start my own business on April 1st and obviously that didn’t happen. I had left my job and then the salon was sold so I wasn’t entitled to redundancy. I wasn’t entitled to furlough either because obviously the business no longer existed as it was. I wasn’t entitled to Universal Credit or JSA. My boss’s husband had figured out my final wage for March and I had used more holidays than I had accrued thanks to going on a 3 week holiday in January 2020; So I had holidays deducted from my final pay. I had no income for 5 months. ZERO. And I only got £800 as my final pay.”

Like many people, the financial implications of the Lockdowns affected Charlotte yet from those challenges she adds, “I learned that I’ll always be ok thanks to that time of no income.” 

Charlotte is one of many people who had to adjust income with expenditure so to come away with such a positive statement there is refreshing to hear. “My family and friends were gutted for me! Everyone’s lives were thrown up in the air though and all you can do is try to get through it.”

Charlotte goes on to say, “My marriage fared much better than I ever thought it would! When lockdown was announced, I honestly thought it would break us. It’s not normal to spend so much time together. Lee was off work too for the whole of the first lockdown. We got on unbelievably well. I realised he is actually my best mate and I love being around him. I think the weather helped too though! We weren’t locked in the house 24/7.”

Charlotte reflects on how she feels she has changed in a year, “I’m so much more chilled. I used to be very stressed all the time. It’s taught me that everything will always be ok and that my husband and I really are a good team. I’ve learned that I’ve wasted a lot of my life doing stupid things and not making the most of every day. My ex-boss absolutely LOVED life. If there was a party, she was at it. And if there was a karaoke machine there, then she was on it! She’ll never get the chance to do all the things she loved again so I’m going to do things for her. Life is so precious. It just took everything I’ve been through to realise it.”

When I asked her how has this experience impacted on the decisions she makes today, she answers, “I’m calmer. I’m a lot more rational. I try to be less judgmental. I think things through a bit more before I make a final decision.”

Charlotte’s advice to anyone in a similar situation: 

  • Everything will always be ok.
  • Friendships mean everything. 
  • Stay calm! And work your arse off every chance you get. 

You can connect with Charlotte on her Facebook Page and via Instagram.

Huge thank you to Charlotte Gerrard for her time with CSHQ today.

2021 · bloggers · blogging101 · community · daily · everyday inspiration · weekly · writing

Everyday Inspiration: Day 11

If we were having coffee right now

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know I’ve been ‘studying’ the BloggingU courses.

Day 14 of Learning the Fundamentals prompted me to create my own feature so at the beginning of March I started the ‘Friday Feels’ series which is a weekly reflection of the week I’ve had whilst working through BloggingU, my Consulting/Writing/Comedy work and my general day to day.

Now as Day 11 of Finding Everyday Inspiration suggests another way of regular blog posting, I’m thinking will my ‘Friday Feels’ series clash with a coffee share post?

So I decided to keep ‘Friday Feels’ going every Friday and that will be geared toward my business and then run a ‘Virtual Coffee Date’ once a week that will be more personal and social, less reflective and more spontaneous.

So I’ll get the kettle on and I look forward to a virtual coffee date with you all very soon!

2021 · bloggers · community · random stuff · writing

A-Z of Awards

As I’ve been wandering around the Bloggersphere, I’ve stumbled across ‘awards’ that have been created and distributed on WordPress.

There’s so many! So, I’ve looked at what appear to be the most popular ones and share them with you.

Firstly, I’d like to apologise that my research skills just couldn’t yield the creators of some awards in this list. Please don’t hesitate to alert me to the original creators so I can attribute correctly.

Secondly, each award comes with a set of rules however some rules read like a chain letter so don’t be afraid to change the rules up should you not be able to nominate over 3 bloggers for whatever reason. It’s no longer fun, if you’re stressing over 11 names or more which is counterproductive, isn’t it?

Thirdly, feel free to recommend any awards I’ve missed out in the comments below!

B is for…

Credit: Unknown

I is for…

Credit: Rising Star

Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award is a non-official Award to the bloggers as a reward of wonderful work on their blogs. Moreover, it is just as important because it really reflects the good impact we can have on other people’s lives. Awards are important for the inspiration, towards the success of our fellow bloggers and especially newbie’s to become future “Stars“.

Rising Star

L is for…

Continue reading “A-Z of Awards”
at home with lu · community · random stuff · writing

Forza Italia

Many years ago, when I first got into writing online I had a very short stint as a contributor here

As I’d just became a mum at the time I had to stop as I just couldn’t commit to the extra writing I needed to do, however I found the articles I’d written and while they appear to be more recent, I know they are over 12 years old!

It’s incredible to search up and still find my articles even though it was a little harder as they were published under the completely wrong pen name 🤦🏻‍♀️ 😂

I’m still incredibly grateful to site author Paolo Nascimbeni for the opportunity to write for a professional and thriving online magazine and for keeping my articles on the site after all this time.

If you’re heading to the Campania region of Italy check this post out for a beautiful historical landmark you can visit:

Castello Di Arechi

Superstitious? Check out this post:

Italian Superstitions

As always, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Thanks for reading!