Monthly Archives: March 2011

April Fool’s day in the office

Researching this post led me to a myriad of websites full of tricks and tips to play on people in your workplace – ranging from the cute to devious, fun to potentially  leagally actionable and the sublime to the ridiculous.

Done thoughtfully, April Fools jokes can be a creative way to relieve tension, consolidate team working and reduce stress. Done badly they can cause injury or loss, hurt feelings and reflect very badly on you!

Whatever prank you decide to play here are a few tips to help you April Fools Day go smoothly:

1. For goodness sake, make sure that the person/ people you are going to play a prank on are going to appreciate it, or at least have a sense of humour. If you have any doubt at all about how someone will react then avoid singling them out for an April Fool’s prank.

2. Workplaces and individuals vary considerably in their tolerance of workplace pranks so make sure that your trick is in line with the culture of your workplace.

3. Avoid setting up a prank that is dangerous, goes against any company health and safety policies, IT policies or bullying and harrassment policies. If you aren’t sure, then err on the side of caution or check with someone else.

4. Don’t set up a prank that could cause your company to lose a client or lose money or otherwise publically embarrass your company.

5. Get other people involved in the prank you want to play. You could even get your boss involved / on board – especially if you want to double check your prank isn’t going to have any unintended bad consequences for you.

6. Plan your prank in your own time – not work time.

7. Be prepared to put right anything that breaks or gets lost as a result of your prank.

What pranks are you planning for tomorrow?

Increasing your productivity by ‘Day Sectioning’

As some of you know I am a student and teacher of Yoga – and where possible apply what I learn in Yoga to work and every day life. Here is one of the ways I apply what I do in Yoga to business life.

I know I can be more productive is by doing particular types of work at certain times of the day and I call this ‘day sectioning’. If you’d like to be more productive, please read on! If not please look at these pictures of cats.

In order to work out what to do when, you need to develop an awareness of your mind, the way you work and crucially what happens when you do work that ‘fits’ with your rhythm and work that doesn’t fit with your rhythm. Developing this awareness and working with the body / mind is a skill I’ve developed through Yoga but you should be able to follow the instructions below quite easy.

This sounds a bit airy fairy, but it works! Get your diary out and find a day where you can choose your schedule. On that day, rather than automatically doing what you think you should be doing, ask yourself what you feel like doing. Do it! Make a note of the time, and the type of work you are doing. When you feel your concentration wane or wander, move on to the job which most appeals to you next and again make a note of the work and the time. Carry on like this until the end of the work day.

Whether or not you take emails and phone calls while you do this will depend on your work circumstances and your need to be contactable.

After a few days you should begin to notice a general pattern and this will help you to plan your days in a way that takes advantage of your work focus flow.

Here is an example:

First thing: checking emails, answering questions (by email), asking questions (by email, organising meetings (dates, people, venues)

Morning: Creative work, work that requires concentration, report writing, bid writing, letter writing. Phone calls at around 11am.

Lunch break:

Early afternoon: Checking work, editing, writing short pieces.

Late afternoon: checking emails, answering questions (by email), asking questions (by email, organising meetings (dates, people, venues)

Tea time

How do you organise your days to be most productive?

Crohn’s Disease Walk of Fame!

Do you have Crohn’s Disease? You are in great company! Obviously there is me, top of the list, but check out all these other amazing people who have Crohn’s, work really hard and have/had a life!

Real People

  • D. Eisenhower (34th president of the United States)
  • Annastacia
  • Shannen Doherty
  • Carrie Grant (Fame Academy)
  • Mike McCready (Pearl Jam)
  • David Garrad (Jaguars Quarterback)
  • Chris Conley (Singer with Saves the day) bio
  • Beth Orton (UK singer songwriter) bio
  • Dynamo (UK Magician) bio
  • Jerry Sadowitz (Comedian) bio
  • Dan O Bannon (screenwriter for Alien) bio

Other notable characters

Walking with style – Tan flats

These gorgeous tan hand-sewn soft leather flats from NewbarK shoes have a reinforced leather sole, come in a matching leather pouch and simply slip on. Shown here in ‘Scotch’ they are a stylish alternative to ballet flats.

I think these would be particularly good if you suffer from cold feet, but still want a comfortable flat shoe for the summer.

You can buy these from Net A Porter for £350.

Restaurant review: The Good Life, Shrewsbury


Over at my Yogaspirit blog I occasionally write something that would be useful for WorkLifeSpirit.  In this case it is a review of a local restaurant that caters for vegetarians and vegans in Shrewsbury with staff who are exceptionally knowledgeable about allergies and what goes into their food. Enjoy! Here is the link:

The Good Life, 73c Wyle Cop (Barracks Passage), Shrewsbury SY1 1UX, England (01743350455)

Top ten tips – What to bring someone in hospital

Chronic illness, especially illness that has periods of fairly good health punctuated with flare ups or relapses often entails occasional or frequent trips to hospital. Here are my top ten tips – straight from the hospital bed – for what to take to someone in hospital to help make their stay a little easier:

  1. Food parcels – small portions / packets of favourite treats
  2. Good books – favourite authors, easy reading or page-turners
  3. Magazines – a selection of magazines, esepcially those which have a combination of short and long stories / articles
  4. Personal hygeine and grooming products – travel sized indulgent products help to make a complicated / painful bathing procedure more endurable
  5. A loaded MP3 player – music, radio shows, podcasts or videos
  6. Mobile phone and charger – for some, being able to contact  friends and family is a great source of comfort. NB, some hospitals do not allow use of phones on wards
  7. Home comforts – a decent mug, pillow or throw. NB these things might get lost or broken
  8. Flowers or essential oils – to brighten up and scent the bed area
  9. Lemons and Limes – to make the ubiquitous jug of tap water more palatable. NB this isn’t about being snobbish towards tap water. Many medications change your taste sensations and a slice of lemon or lime can take away an unpleasant taste.
  10. Sachets of salt, pepper, tomato sauce etc – to add flavour and interest to food available at the hospital

This list works equally as well as an aide memoire for the patient to help answer the question ‘what can we bring you?’.

What are your top tips for what to take to someone in hospital?

PS Fashion – cocktail dress

This tortoiseshell print dress in flattering eathy tones has an eye-catching design perfect for the spring and summer. The silk georgette fabric drapes beautifully with slight body and bounce.

There are a number of features I love about this dress. First of all it is a short and sassy dress which is not skin tight – great if, like me, you have a post op belly but nice legs. The full back coverage adds extra warmth to the torso and hides any back surgery scars.  I can imagine this dressed up with a white tuxedo, diamonds and killer heels,  dressed down with a vintage biker jacket and boots or somewhere in the middle with neutral heels, bag and jacket.

The designer is Camilla and Marc and the dress is exclusively available from net-a-porter for £565.

The notes suggest that it is not possible to wear a bra with this dress, no idea why that might be issue – do you know?

The Apricot Ditsy dress from New Look is completely different, different colours and style, nowhere near as fabulous, but has a similar feel to the Camilla and Marc dress. It would work equally well with the styling suggestions above and costs £26 (it looks like you can wear a bra with it!).

Swimsuit review: Diane von Furstenberg Carmen printed halterneck swimsuit

Diane von Furstenberg Carmen swimsuit

I think that it is really important to have a good quality swimsuit which gives you confidence and makes you feel amazing. Beaches and swimming pools are intimidating enough when you are healthy but they can be particularly soul-destroying when you have had surgery or you have a chronic health problem. Spending time in water as well as reclining on a beach is so restorative and relaxing, but for me, only if my swimwear keeps my health problems private. I want people to stare at how fabulous I am, not at my collection of abdominal scars!

This gorgeous black and white halterneck suit with a floral print by Diane von Furstenberg is bound to make most people feel wonderful.  This suit has a number of features that make it a very worthwhile investment – especially if it means you’ll get back on the beach or in the water with confidence:

  • The black and white pattern is flattering to most skin tones
  • The panelled ruching and black and white floral print can discreetly hide post abdominal surgery lumps and bumps and give good cover for those who feel the cold
  • The suit is very flattering to most breast sizes as the padded cups and sweetheart neckline  can give both support to those who are well endowed and body to those who are less well endowed. The ruching and good coverage is also useful for those who have had breast surgery
  • The self ties at the halterneck along with the ruching and elastine content means that this suit will be able to grow or shrink with you as your weight changes with your health
  • The low cut legs are great for those who can’t use bikini line hair removing products

I bless the day that 1950s style swimsuits like this came back into fashion. What other styles of swimsuit are good for you?  How does a great swimsuit make you feel?

Walking with style

These Christian Louboutin nude patent leather pumps have a very wearable 3 inch (7 cm) heel and almond toes – ideal for occasions where you need to balance style with comfort.

Workwise, these will look great with a black dress or black suit, white shirt and black, nude, white or brown accessories. Outside of work I can see these working with many of the spring floral and neutral dresses that are around at the moment.

£375 from Net-a-porter

For those on a budget, Dorothy Perkins has a similar pair but these are made or polyurethane and have a more pointed toe.


£25 from Dorothy Perkins