Thursday, 28 August 2014

Why I'm Not Doing The Ice Bucket Challenge

It seems like the whole world is doing it. The internet is full of clips of celebrities doing it. My Facebook timeline is full of videos of friends and family doing it. Over the weekend, I was nominated. And I haven't done it.

Does anyone really ever want to throw a bucket of ice cold water over their head? No, probably not. I understand that the reason for doing so is to replicate how ALS (or Motor Neurone Disease as it is known on these shores) sufferers might feel. And I applaud all those who have done it; it's a great idea that has really brought this disease to the attention of the world and raised a lot of money for a lesser known charity.

The thing is, over here in the UK the idea has been 'hijacked' by a very well known cancer charity. Now, I know we all know someone who has had their life touched by cancer, and we all know what a horrible, evil, cruel thing it is. But cancer charities get a lot of support - deserved, yes. But I don't think it's right to essentially steal the idea of another charity and use it for your own gain.

I'm not against raising awareness. I'm not against charity. I'm not against doing something a bit different. I just don't like the way that this cancer charity has gone about this, and as a result I'm not doing the challenge and I'm not paying the 'penalty' donation. I do support cancer charities, but I do so on my own terms. And if I'm going to make a donation for not taking part in this challenge, then I'm going to donate to a cause of my choosing; to a lesser known charity who I feel more of an affinity with.

Also, I'm not entirely comfortable with the amount of water that is just being carelessly thrown over people's heads for this challenge. In some parts of the world, people would be aghast that those who do take part in this challenge throw away perfectly clean water, when they don't even have access to that.

There's also the small issue that we don't possess a bucket...!

Have you done the ice bucket challenge? How do you feel about it?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Paris by Eurostar: Why I Love It

The last couple of times I've visited Paris, I've travelled from London by Eurostar. This has required us to firstly, travel to London (which is a 3 hour train journey from home), and to then stay overnight in London - because I worry about getting delayed en route and missing our booked Eurostar train. We live about an hour from an airport with flights to Paris, so why do I prefer to travel this way?

Please excuse the blurry picture - I was walking when I took it!
It's not that I don't like flying; I do. I would go as far as to say I love flying. What I don't love is having to check in 3 hours before my flight, or the way it takes ages to get through security, or the restrictions on things you can have in your hand luggage that mean you have to have some of your luggage in the hold - this often costs extra on budget airlines.

Eurostar is so simple and convenient. There are some restrictions on what you can take, but not as many as airlines. You don't have to turn up hours in advance to check in. We tend to arrive 45-60 minutes before departure, and even then we have plenty of time to check in, pass through security, and wait around until the train boards. Plus, you arrive right in the centre of Paris, which you don't when you fly. The journey time is longer than flying, but when you take into account the waiting around beforehand and the whole palaver of getting through customs and baggage claim at the other end, it's probably quicker. You get off the train at Gare du Nord, and Paris is at your immediate disposal!

The trains look a little, er, dated these days, but they're comfortable and spacious enough to sit on for a couple of hours without problem. We have noticed that the luggage storage area tends to get a bit overcrowded - but as we usually take holdalls rather than gigantic suitcases we put ours in the overhead racks, which avoids them being moved around and keeps them within our sight. Which then means we can get straight off the train and on our merry way!

Each time I've booked our trip, I've booked early and taken advantage of the £69 return fare. The Eurostar website is really easy to follow, and it's simple to find the trains with the lowest fares.

Have you ever travelled by Eurostar? What did you think of it?

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Monday, 25 August 2014

The Importance of Support at Work

Telling my boss was one of the most difficult things I had to do when we were preparing to start IVF. It's a difficult thing to tell anyone, even those nearest and dearest to you, and my relationship with my boss was absolutely professional only - definitely no straying into the realms of friendship or anything like that. We hadn't always had the best professional relationship either - which is an entirely different matter, but it left me feeling very uncertain about how he would react and how supportive he would be.

As it happened, my worries were completely unfounded. He was initially surprised and shocked, but immediately offered his unwavering support and told me anything I needed to do, to do it. If I had an appointment to go to, then I just needed to say the word and I could go. Any time off I needed, I could have without question. When it all went horribly wrong, I tried to get on with life and get back to work and he pretty much ordered me to go home and grieve.

Right now, I'm on the cusp of starting our frozen transfer cycle. The thing is, I now have a new boss, a new person to tell about this extremely private and personal journey we're going through. What makes it really difficult is tracking him down and finding the time to have a one-to-one chat with him. It's scary; I hope I will have the same support from him that I had from my previous boss, but until I have spoken with him I just won't know.

Feeling supported at work is so important. IVF is gruelling; it's tough physically, mentally and emotionally. I can't explain how much it means to know that you don't have to worry about work on top of everything else - some days, functioning at the bare minimum is only just manageable, and I can't imagine how it would be to have one of those days and have someone come along and pile a whole load of extra work on my desk. Or to have someone tell me I couldn't attend an appointment at the clinic and have the whole process thrown out of the window. Timing is everything in IVF; appointments can be very short notice, and if the window of opportunity is missed then it's basically game over.

So, here's hoping that when I do finally get the chance to speak to my new boss, that he's understanding and supportive too!

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Friday, 22 August 2014

Seven Days In Paris

As I mentioned recently, we were eagerly counting down the days to our summer trip to Paris. If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably noticed that that trip has now taken place! We had so much fun, but unfortunately it was slightly ruined by the fact that just two days in we both caught the lurgy and spent the rest of the week feeling various degrees of terrible.

Still, we battled through it as best we could - and we didn't do such a bad job of checking things off the list!
As you can see, we still managed to get round most of the places we wanted to. We often had to return to our apartment for a somewhat unscheduled lie down to recharge - but I think we did quite well!

I would hate to not do some of these amazing places justice by trying to cram everything into just one or two blog posts, so my intention is to dedicate a number of posts to our wonderful trip (you know, drag it out as long as humanly possible!) For now, here is one of my favourite photos, which I took on the evening we arrived.

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Click here to see who I'm linking up with!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Where Does Time Go?

Oh, hello there. I did that thing again where I just inexplicably vanished, didn't I? I wish I could promise I'm getting back into the blogging groove, but if I'm honest I think that would be a little ambitious. How on earth did I used to show up here 5 or 6 times a week?

Life is seriously getting in the way of me finding time to sit down and churn out some posts. It's not even a lack of things to write about - I've got so many ideas chugging around in my head right now, and I really want to get down to business, write, and share with you all - but there's just so much else going on and I'm really struggling to do it. Not to mention editing pictures and creating images to go alongside those post ideas... It's just not happening! (As you can tell by the lack of image in this post) I've got a ton of half written posts, a ton more ideas to write... When will I have a chance to just get on with it?!

So many exciting things have been happening lately. We spent a night in London, where we saw a movie on the biggest cinema screen in the country. Then we went to Paris, which is undoubtedly a beautiful city - but difficult to thoroughly enjoy when it curses you and your husband with the dreaded lurgy. And we booked our Christmas/New Year flights to the USA so that is really happening! I can't to share all of this, and more, with you all - plus I got nominated for an award by one of my favourite bloggers which is a first in this new home of mine, and I'm super excited about that too! Not to mention that we are now really close to getting back on the IVF train, which is exciting and terrifying in equal measure.

Do you ever struggle to find the time to blog? How do you get around it?

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