#144 Credit given where credit’s due

Something frustrating happened to me a while ago- I did something awesome at work, like, really awesome.  It was a really brilliant idea, a stroke of my own genius.  I was working with a colleague on a one off day-project, and when the boss congratulated us both, he accepted the congratulations for my idea, not only that, but continued to talk as though the idea had been mostly his.  And yes, it was one individual and it’s never happened to me before, but it set me to thinking.

Now I know we’re supposed to collaborate, work as a team and all of that – BUT, we should also celebrate when someone in that team does something awesome and recognise them for it.

It’s actually really hard (I learned) when someone’s taking the credit for your work and ideas to step forward and say ‘Actually, you didn’t do any of it, I DID!’ because let’s face it, it makes you sound a bit pedantic and petty.  But I think it’s important that we find a way to point it out. There are, I’m sure, many diplomatic ways of standing up for ourselves when someone else is basking in our glory.    Perhaps quietly to them after, because I’m sure any decent person would be mildly mortified if they realised they’d stolen somebody else’s credit, or at getting caught at doing it.

And equally as importantly, we could check what we’re taking the credit for, ensuring we don’t pinch the credit from others. It’s tempting when someone mis-congratulates you for something to want to revel in that good feeling, but it’s important to transfer those congratulations on to the right person.  Also – that we really give our friends and colleagues the recognition when they do something awesome, even if, deep down, we are wishing that it had have been our idea.

It all comes back to that old chestnut – there is plenty of success to be had by everyone – so we don’t need to build ourselves from other people’s.

#142 Pee before long phonecalls

Lottie, you may or may not have noticed, but I can be a chatter.  In fact, I’ve love chatting.  Lots of people think I talk too much.  I probably do.  I try to listen lots too.   Naturally, from time to time, I’ll ring someone up for a good old natter on the phone, I think it’s a great way to spend an evening.  But two minutes in, I’ll realise I need the loo.  Almost every time.  Now I could to a phone pee, but generally, I don’t think it’s very hygienic.  So, I’ll usually have to hang up and call back when I’m done.  Which is just frustrating.  If I could ever learn one life lesson myself, it would be to pee before I phone people.  I never seem to learn this life lesson.  Maybe you will…

#141 Always keep enough in your account for an airfare to Cambodia…

Or if not that, then a few hundred quid to pay for your laptop when it suddenly breaks, or for that winter electricity bill that you weren’t expecting to be so high,  or for when your friends suddenly announces they’re getting married in Turkey and you really want to go, or for when your car unexpectedly dies, or to go towards the unexpected costs on moving house (estate agents always add a hefty fee that you’re not quite prepared for), or for insurance (on various things), or to cover your sick leave if you get the flu and have to take two weeks off work (and don’t get sick pay.)  I suppose this blog is really just a warning of all the unexpected costs that have bitten me in the bum and royally screwed me over across the years.  I’m now pledging to try and find that extra to put aside, whether that means searching extra hard for work, giving up booze or shopping around more to get better deals.

I didn’t know whether or not to write about money, it feels like unsturdy ground and it’s different for everyone.  Some people are naturally really thrifty, for some people owing to income and situation, it’s just impossible, and so I’m writing this respecting that everyone has different experiences.  I could also take my own advice on this better.  But, if at any point in life you have the opportunity to save up that little pot and put it to the side, I’d recommend it.  You won’t regret it, it’ll make something that could be suddenly stressful, less stressful. I just used mine to pay off my tax.  So now I start saving again.  It may mean you’re a bit skint while you’re saving (or you may have a really good job and not live in London, so it might not be an issue at all.)  I can guarantee, when that big, annoying, expensive thing happens, you’ll be ready for it.

I sometimes sit and look out over Croydon, at night time I can see the planes as they line up, climbing up, up and away from Gatwick:  bright lights heading straight towards us until they curve off in whichever direction they’re heading.  I love my home.  The people here.  But each time I see those planes heading off to a million different places, a little part of me wishes I could go too.  Somewhere far away.  As much as I love my home and my jobs and my tribe, sometimes the going gets tough, and I figure, if it ever gets too tough, then having an airfare to Cambodia would not be a bad thing.*

Cambodia is always my plan D… if Plan A goes tits-up, then there’s usually a plan B.  And if plan B goes tits-up, then it’s wise to have a well thought through Plan C.  But if plan C goes tits up…then I’ll head off to Cambodia (as long as I’m not about to replace my laptop / insurance / phone bill…. gah).

Until then, you’ll find me in Croydon.  Probably filling in my tax return.

2015/01/img_4276.jpg*Not advocating running away from problems.  I’m a huge advocate for dreaming though.

#140 The Very First Christmas

So, here we are Lottie.  Sitting, at the end of this year, looking out to the rest of our lives.  Phewf.  That feels pretty huge, and exciting, and terrifying, doesn’t it?  So, here I must leave you.  One year’s worth of life advice from me to you.  It’s been as much for a journey for me, as i imagine it has for you.  You’ve learnt great wonderful things this year, and my have you grown!  Just yesterday we took a little walk together around the theatre – you can’t quite do it on your own yet, but you almost can.  In other news you’ve been holding on to an orange spoon for two days.  You won’t put it down.  I commend your determination, it’s good to stick to your guns over things.

Now, now, now – how to end a blog?  (And I can’t guarantee this is the end.  I’ve grown very fond of this space on the world wide web.  it’s where I’ve come over the past year to report my great life discoveries.  But for now, at least, it’s the end.)

I suppose we could go back to the very beginning, I was younger then, knew less, didn’t think about stuff as much, as thoroughly. This time last year I was 27 and you were about nine hours old, let’s revisit that very first Christmas.

23rd December 2013

It’s early in the morning, the usually manic activity preceding Christmas is taking place.  Running in to Marks to buy flowers for people.  Frantic PVA gluing my Christmas cards.  Making a dress for the Moira Stewart puppet I’m making for Uncle Simon.  You know what it’s like.  A text arrives.

Um, I don’t think I’m going to be there tomorrow after all.’  – A message from your ma.  We go to the theatre on Christmas eve you see, to watch the 11am show.  Excitement.  This can only mean one thing.  You are on the way.  At last, it feels like we’ve been waiting forever to meet you.

Are you in labour?’ (Just to be sure.)

Yes, something weird has been happening to me about every ten minutes since about 5am this morning.” YESSSSS!!!  You’re going to be here really soon.  For the rest of the 23rd I checked my phone every three minutes and sent copious irritating texts to your mum. The day rolled over, I went to bed, and still no you.

24th December 2013

Christmas eve morning.  Word has travelled like wild fire across Warwick.  Lottie is on the way.

She’ll definitely be born on Christmas eve.

No, I think she’ll be a Christmas day baby.

Perhaps she’ll be born before the show’s over and we can announce it at the end.

She’s got to come soon.  It’s been more than 24 hours.

Any word from Emilie? 

No, nothing.

And so it continued.  We all drank too much wine in the pub, and awaited your arrival.  Nothing.  I went to bed on Christmas eve. You had to be here soon. I drifted off.

25th December 2013 – 3am

I’m woken up by my phone ringing, I see it’s your mum.


She’s here.  She’s here.

I whoop and cheer and then…I’m speechless.  What do you say to someone who has literally just had a baby?

How are you feeling?

As it happened, your mum was quite high on the drugs, so (although I don’t know exactly how she was feeling) she sounded jubilant, joyful,  a bit squiffy, but most importantly over the moon that you had arrived.  A Christmas day miracle – because of course, we are all miracles.

Two days later I met you for the first time.  I had never held a person so tiny before, you were magical, and beautiful and perfect in every way.  What a wonderful Christmas gift to us all.  And in your house, Christmas is no longer Christmas – it’s your birthday.  We can do Christmas things on our special Christmas eve – see you there: half ten, at Playbox Theatre, every 24th of December, without fail.  And I look forward to celebrating many, many Christmas eves with you in years yet to come.

One year on from that very first Christmas, and although I’m leaving the blog, I’m looking forward to the many marvelous adventures that lay ahead of us . There’s baking to do, and games to play, things to learn, adventures to go on, places to get muddy, dens to build, things to glitter, puppets to make, chats to have, dinners to share, rivers to paddle in, stars to wish on, songs to sing, stories to tell, jumps to jump and hops to hop, hands to hold, dandelions to blow, fairies to find, plays to watch and one day, when we’re feeling especially brave, your mama and I will take you to the cave of Fenrir to see the Dragon.

But for now, Happy Birthday Lottie.  Have a wonderful day.

Love always,

Auntie Spudge.

Over and Out.

#139 Give to give

And not to receive.

Christmas is a funny old time Lottie.  It’s wonderful and brilliant, but it’s also become very expensive, and there are certain strands of Christmas etiquette which can put a lot of pressure on some people.

Something important to remember is that if you are giving, always give to give, without the expectation of receiving back.  And if you do, it’s a bonus! Give because you have found something perfect for the person you’re giving to, or because you wanted to show your love or appreciation to them.  Gifts don’t have to be big or grand.  Yesterday you and your mama gave me some homemade chutney, oatcakes, fudge and gingerbread (I don’t know where she finds the time!) It was a wonderful. Small, thoughtful and homemade gifts are just as valid (if not more) as big, expensive ones.

And if you don’t have time to make something, just go for a drink with those you love, or watch a movie.  The gift of your time is a precious one.  To spend an hour with you is a marvelous thing, and don’t underestimate that.

Try not to get too caught up in the worry and stress of giving big, expensive gifts to people.  And if someone has got something for you, and you haven’t for them, don’t panic or feel guilty.  Just express your gratitude.  It honestly is enough, and if it isn’t, then perhaps the person giving wasn’t giving for the right reasons.


#138 Sharing

Sharing is wonderful.

Share your toys with your friends and they may teach you a whole new game.

Share your dinner with your housemates, and they’re likely to tell you exciting stories.

Share your wine with your friends, and you’ll be less hungover the next day.

Share your thoughts and your stories with those close to you -it would be selfish to not give yourself as a gift to the world.

Share your time with those who need it, it costs nothing to give.

Share you help where you can. Share your kindness when it’s needed.

Share your ideas with those you trust, they may help you to build on them, to feed and grow them in to even bigger, better ideas.

Often, I’ve found, sharing leads to great good things, better things than those you had before – so give sharing a chance.

#137 There are no winners or losers in break ups


Break-ups are sad, but inevitable, and whether the relationship has been a good one, or a bad one – or a mix, each break up is an opportunity to learn and grow.

When you leave a relationship, particularly a difficult one, it sometimes becomes a game of winning or losing.  Who is doing better? Who looks healthier, who is having more holidays, more fun?  Whose friends are being the most supportive?  And now in the days of social media, this can become a dangerous game.

Of course you should have fun after a break up (and all the rest of the time too). But it doesn’t need to become this game. Nor is it healthy if it does. It’s not about winning, or losing – it’s about finding your new path and setting out on it boldly and bravely. Steer clear of it, focus only on yourself and your loved ones, and move on.