Copyright Lauren Woodward 2011-2015. Powered by Blogger.


I recently helped out with interviews at my workplace. My manager asked me to come up with some questions and I wanted to avoid the typical "easy, predictable answer" style questions.
I didn't want to do the strengths and weaknesses questions because they are predictable, and get the standard answers. However, I wanted to go along the lines of weaknesses. I wanted someone to sit there and be open about their down side. Interviews are all about impressing your potential employer but for me, I wanted to know what we might not like about them, or what we might find difficult to work with, or challenging.
So the question I asked was "what are your flaws?".

I thought it was better than "what are your weaknesses?" because to me the word 'flaws' was a little more personal and not just profession/career related.
Weaknesses could also result in answers such as "chocolate" or "men in uniform"...not quite what I wanted.

I've always found it a positive thing to be in touch with your flaws, to recognise them. There is that saying that I really like...

When writing my down I realised when writing these that I wrote "too much" at the end of each flaw...maybe that's a flaw in itself. So I took those off.

I tend to over-think. I over think situations, the way people treat me, look at me, what certain things mean even if it's something completely insignificant.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I'm not afraid to show my emotions and to talk about how I feel. Maybe I show this and share this too much and need to hold back and be a bit more cautious over who I share things with.

I try to impress others often forgetting that people should like me and love me for who I am, not for the person I am trying to be.

I give too much of myself. I'm really open and honest and although I see this as a good thing I think sometimes it can be interpreted in a different way.

Lack of self confidence and self worth. I don't value myself very much. I have been told a few times that I am too hard on myself. Maybe I am, but I don't really see it.

Easily distracted.......

Can be disorganised. This year is major proof of that. Not sure what I would have done without my mum in most cases.

Need to have a label on every relationship. "Are we friends or just work colleagues?" "Are we seeing each other, dating, or nothing?" I need to have a label on everything.

I worry about what others think of me. I have always felt like everyone around me is judging me or criticising me as a person, as a mother, what I look like and so on. It's something I've never been able to shake off and something that can hold me back from things.

I don't look after myself enough. I forget to take medication when I need to, I don't drink enough water, I don't eat well. Also....see the following two flaws for more examples.

I comfort eat. I generally tend to not realise I am doing it until it is too late.

I bite my nails....disgusting habit and every now and then I am able to stop but right now...I'm back as a biter and I hate it.

I daydream a lot...and get too caught up in it.

I take things to heart. I do have a habit of taking things to heart too much. Sometimes I can take a joke as something personal and see it as a criticism when it isn't meant that way. This is just a result/effect of me not having that self confidence and thinking everyone is judging me.

I let paranoia take over. Rolling over from over thinking. I do get paranoid...wondering why someone didn't reply to something, or why someone hasn't said hi to me at work or on the school run. I let things play over in my mind until I get a headache or until I beat myself up so much that I end up exhausted.

How Recycling Home Waste Has Changed in the Past Two Decades

Flashback to exactly two decades ago. How many people did you know that were recycling? How many places could you take recycled goods? Do you even remember recycling being a big thing back then? With the hindsight of retrospect we can see that the global environmental crisis really only started to catch steam at around the turn of the 21st century. Since that time, we've seen a huge increase in the number of recyclers and ways to recycle household waste. So what are some of the factors backing this noticeable change that has occurred over the past 2 decades?

Wider Availability of Waste Clearance Services

Back in the mid 90's, recycling took a lot more effort, as a percentage of recyclers had no choice but to independently deliver their own waste to a disposal facility. There were fewer companies offering waste clearance, and as a result, a large portion of the market was left un-serviced. Fortunately, an onslaught of political campaigns and an overall shift in public opinion has led to the appearance of much-needed waste clearance providers like Envirowaste in London.

Digitally Formatted Documents Have Drastically Reduced Paper Waste

The disposal of paper products peaked in the year 2000, and has since then been on a steady decline thanks to the presence of a more reasonable alternative – digital document storage. In addition to paper documents becoming practically archaic at home, more households and businesses are also ordering sustainable paper products that are designed to be recycled, which indicates that people who still use paper documents are becoming increasingly interested in recycling.

More People Are Composting and Recycling Than Ever Before

In case you haven't noticed, more people are blogging about gardening and composting than ever before. While industrialisation took us down a fast track to environmental destruction for most of the second half of the 20th century, it seems that the first half of this century is shaping up to be mostly eco-friendly in response. The younger generation is clearly accepting the burden of responsibility to ensure that the planet is not overburdened with harmful waste unnecessarily. Recycling has become particularly popular in the UK, due in part to the household bin service, where polls indicate that a vast majority of citizens agree that recycling is worthwhile.

The Battle is Not Yet Won

Unfortunately, although recycling has become the norm in places like the UK, in affluent neighbourhoods and in the corporate world, there are still many less privileged areas that aren't so keen to sort their rubbish with their free time. Impoverished communities and those in developing nations are not big recyclers, partly due to a lack of resources and fewer service providers that are willing or able to cater to those areas. Poverty-stricken families might not have the extra funds to pay for a recycling service. While there are still people in these communities who earn a side income by trading their recyclables for cash, the greatest challenge facing today's eco effort is accommodating these communities that simply have too much rubbish and not enough free time or resources to dispose of it.


Almost two weeks ago I got back from a weeks holiday to Tenerife with my boys and my mum. We booked the holiday at the beginning of the year and although I was looking forward to it I had so much other stuff going on that I didn't really get time to think about it too much.
What with the house sale, divorce, work commitments, trip to the Isle of Man, the boys birthdays, Britmums Live, I didn't sit and think about how much of a big deal this holiday would be to me.

I've done the whole airport thing without my ex husband twice. But I was flying solo, so I only had myself to worry about. This time, I had two boys, my mum, and four suitcases to think about too. 
I've never checked into a hotel abroad before, I was anxious in case we had any problems and I wouldn't be able to fix them. I would normally be the one in charge of the children leaving my ex husband to the check in process and so on. But this time it was my job. I had the information for checking in, and so on. But thankfully I had my mum to take over with the boys when needed, at other times it was joint "parenting".
It was amazing and really special to be able to have her by my side and to make these memories with her. And especially for the boys to be able to have this time with her.

We spent the first afternoon around the pool and I didn't think too much about the people who were around us. I stood in the water and looked around, almost not believing we were actually in Tenerife. Not quite being able to accept how warm it was and how the sun felt against my skin.

It was the next day that I noticed that this holiday would prove how much adjusting I've had to do. As we sat around the pool and played with the boys I noticed that we were the only family without a male figure. Without a dad or step dad. 
The boys didn't notice. It didn't affect them at all. It wasn't that they needed a male figure there with them.
But I was fully aware at that point how different our family structure is right now. 

My mum said something that has stuck with me. She said she knew that she had taken someone elses place on the holiday. And although it looks like it was a harsh thing to say, and at first I did take it offensively until I actually thought about it, I completely understand where she was coming from.
There would be no reason for my mum not going on that holiday if I was still married. However, her role would have been different. She wouldn't have been expected to have been so hands on, and wouldn't have been expected to share a room with us all. 

There were moments when I sat there, especially at night when I couldn't sleep, where I pictured what future family holidays could be like. 
Will there ever be another man who goes with us? Who I get to share a bed with whilst my sons share their own room?
Will I be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, cuddled up in the arms of a man whilst the boys explore the area? 
Will I be able to sit on a balcony with him and watch as the sun goes down whilst the boys sleep...or at least fight sleep?
Will there be a man who joins in with the water polo as we sit on the side and cheer him on? 
Will he have his own children who come along? Or will we have a child together who adds to the family? 
Will we always have to avoid the awkward "where's your dad then? Sunbathing or watching football somewhere?" questions asked by shop keepers and hotel staff? And added to that will I also be in a position where shop staff won't say "we'll keep our eyes out for any single dads for you" quite loud as I leave their shop?
Will I have an excuse to not wear dark sunglasses so I can look at local men and stop daydreaming about moving to Tenerife to be with them? 

As I said, our holiday was lovely. And in no way was it any less enjoyable because we didn't have an adult male with us.
But it made me more aware of who we are now. Who I am now. 
What my struggles are and what my strengths are.
And it's made me see what I want us to be, although I have no control over that as such, but I know that I need to be part of a unit (eventually).
The boys were totally unaware, but for me it was obvious.
And will just take lots of adjusting.

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