Thursday, 8 July 2010


This one keeps doing the rounds, but actually there must still be a few of these valuable 2p coins still out there!
Check all your old money boxes, down the sides of the cushions on your 3-piece suite, in your old money jars, in the kids' piggy banks, the back of the junk draw (yes, I've got one too) in that old ash tray - check everywhere!
If you find a 1983 2p coin that actually says "NEW PENCE" on it instead of "TWO PENCE" - then you're quids in.
It has to be dated 1983 AND it has to say "NEW PENCE", because this is due to a mistake made that year. Back in 1981 it was decided that, as decimalisation had taken place some years before, new pence were no longer "new" - so the wording on the coin would from then on be changed to "TWO PENCE". Someone made a mistake somewhere and in 1983 some 2p pieces were made with the words "NEW PENCE" on them. It would be interesting to know how many were made!
More info HERE.


Advertising has the sole purpose of making us spend our money - and it usually works. Of course we have to be receptive to it, so if you feel worried, depressed, low, anxious or ugly - then those make-up and fashion adverts press all the right buttons! Then you go to the shops, max out your credit card, add to your debt and feel even more stressed, miserable, worried... I've just read a great article on how to train yourself to avoid this cycle - Knowing Your Triggers Can Prevent Emotional Spending and it really tells it like it is (but you knew that already). Furthermore, if you need proof that we can all look a little, well, plain, sometimes, then take a look HERE - these celebrities are definitely not immune to looking a little less than gorgeous and they have all the money and all the people it could possibly take to look glam!

Sunday, 4 July 2010


We've had lovely weather so far this summer, but in the event that it does rain in the school holidays, you can head to Britain's oldest museum, the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, for free. You can see a large part of the national collection of arms and armour, and displays of over 8,500 objects throughout its five themed galleries. There are also daily live re-enactments and falconry displays, and children’s have-a-go sword sessions every weekend.
More things to do in the school holidays HERE

Thursday, 1 July 2010


Well, it's getting tough in the world of work and probably set to get tougher. Unemployment numbers are forecast to be the highest ever in the coming year - oh dear, when will there be any good news I wonder?
But if you've lost your job or need a better one because your conditions, hours or pay are all being undermined by the recession, then you have to have a plan.
Start with your CV - is it up to date? Does it look good? Is it no more than 2 sides of A4? Does the language and tone reflect your abilities and success to date? Give yourself a few minutes to read How to Write a Successful CV (by the University of Kent). There are plenty of How to's out there - you only have to Google CV's, but I like this one because it will subtley upgrade the tone of your CV- looking at "action words", what to put in (and what to leave out), layout and spelling and grammar problems. Yes, it's aimed at graduates, but I can't see why it shouldn't be good advice for all of us.
Of course not all prospective employers will accept CV's, but that's not a good reason to forget yours! I keep mine up to date with details of courses taken, professional development and achievements. It acts as a record for me and is invaluable when filling in job application forms; I don't have to sit for hours trying to remember dates, past employers' names, addresses etc!
CV's are good for speculative job applications and you may be asked by employers that you contact by 'phone to just quickly send one in, so it's not good if it takes you days to hack it all together!
Next step is to plan where you will search for vacancies. Regularly check the websites of your target employers as well as looking in the newspapers and journals that you know they advertise in. Search the internet for your job in the area you would be happy to work in - you never know what it may bring up. Talk to all your friends, neighbours, relatives and ex colleagues - make sure they know you are available and hunting seriously for work.
Most importantly - clean up your online image! If you have a "I hate my boss/job" type of blog, then delete it! Check all your social networking site entries and clean up! It is quite common now for employers to Google their prospective employees - you need to be squeaky clean! If you get an interview, prepare properly and make sure you thoroughly research the company and have some intelligent questions to ask. Prepare answers and examples for any questions they may ask - have a look at Job Interview Questions About You it gives some "best answers" to all the tricky ones.
Have a plan B. Try to be realistic about your job prospects, but stay optimistic (difficult!). Go all out to apply for every job you'd like, but fill your time with interesting and useful tasks; read a book by an author you don't know, get to know your own area- walk, talk to people, go to your local library, start budgeting, try a new hobby, get fitter (cheaply), sell your junk on Ebay - but just keep busy.
Ask yourself "what if?" every now and then. What if I train for a new career? What if I try to start a small business? What if I call up the local Further Education College and get a prospectus of courses? What if my hobby could make me a living? What if I took a part-time job and learned a new skill at the same time? What if I could grow my own fruit and vegetables? What if I came up with a service that I could offer in my neighbourhood?
Keep thinking and exploring ideas and make your job search or possible new career direction your "new job".
Good Luck!