bluebells

Boys meet Bear....

The boys and I were so excited to finally meet up with Caroline and Ole on Saturday to visit the Wildnispark Langenberg! It was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon and spirits were high! M & P were so happy to play with Ole again - there was much negotiation needed as to who was holding him when.

Anyway... at the start of the park we met the mountain goats and the baby goats were just too bouncy and cute! The boys posed reluctantly wtih the bear mural...


We walk around the park, which was huge. Lots of stairs, slopes and running with dog! We did about 5K in total.


We ended up at the cafe for a break and were thrilled to meet the bear, who was getting his food lobbed in - carrots, apples, peppers!
I think Caroline and I were more excited than the boys, or the dog, was!


Back home with Caroline, Patrick found her Mummy / baby bear, and had to give them a cuddle!
The boys also learnt how to massage behind Ole's ears and to tickle his toes! There was also lots of squeaky toys, blanket pulling and nonsense - and that was just my boys.

to do list 2

The Big Blog To Do List!

Consolidated list based on:
this one 1.12.2018,
this one 01.11.2018,
this one 21.07.2018
this one 25.02.2018.
and this one 31.12.2019

The list to rule all lists and to help me fill in the gaps!
I did really well end of last year and finished updating 2017 and 2018, now i'm only a year behind :-)

2020
LT conference & Bristol
Ski holiday
My Birthday
GCP
Samarathon
Flumserberg
Uetliberg Walk
Lockdown March
Lockdown April
Lockdown May
Lockdown July
Easter at home
Walk with Caroline 20.06.2020
update GCP
update Samarathon
Boys, Bikes, Scooters

2019
- Ski holiday Malbun
- Skiing at Flumserberg
- Easter in Zürich
- Uetliberg May
- Lucerne Weekend
- Airport tour with M (ref 2018 trip of Patrick here)
- Patrick Birthday
- Patrick Birthday Party
- Markus Birthday
- Markus Birthday Party
- Summer holiday in uk
- Greifenseelauf with Sal
- Hallowe'en
- Wedding
- Wroclaw Week
- eLN conference
- London and Brussels visit
- Advent
- M & P Update for 2019

celebration

Happy Birthday Me!

I had a lovely birthday, even in lockdown and felt very loved. Happy Everything indeed!
I got emails and skype messages from friends at work, a video from Kate the boys, loads of fb messages, and email from friends all over the globe.

The day started wtih flowers, glitter and home drawn Birthday cards from the boys. Then a text from a friend in UK sent me over to the local florist, to pick up her beautiful flowers to me! On the way there i bumped into a work friend, who was on his way over to me, to give me a bottle of bubbly :-)



Presents from siblings included books and this fantastic DVD from my sister - can highly recommend "RGB" the documentary! Plus this gorgeous skyline print of Bristol from my brother & family.



My boss sent me an ice-cream cake from Sprüngli, which was delicious! It was well packed and insulated, and the boys found the dry ice! Added bonus :-)


My team and work friends surprised me with a presentation on me in the afternoon during a global call, a Zoom call in the evening, and an Ember mug to keep my tea perpetually warm :-)

bluebells

Still Grateful....Rediscovering my list of favourite things!

I was just browsing my blog and realized that the last time I had listed my favourite things was in 2018! So here we continue...

41. Rediscovering my list of favourite things on my blog!

42. A kindle full of books to read
43. Mini cards from Moo
45. Walking with the boys and discussing life, the universe and everything
46. Double rainbow against a dark grey sky in Kreis 5!
47. Singing along with Divine Comedy
48. First haircut after lockdown eases
49. Getting Flickr up to date
50. Learning a new stitch in knitting! popcorn, cable!




career

Reading, Mentoring and a new adventure in South Africa...

I have been accepted onto my organisation's "Global Citizen's Program" and i am absolutely thrilled about this! The Global Citizen's programs offers employees at management level that opportunity to apply for an assignment in one of their partner countries. The assignments are 1 -2 weeks. The participants work beforehand on the project, then get their flight paid and time paid, covering the rest of their travel expenses. This initiative allows the bank to support their partner organisations, by lending them skilled staff in order to offer them free consultancy and skills training. This is part of their employee engagement work, and one of the global skills-based volunteering programs. The GCP has been running since 2010 - more here.

Anyway, each year I look at the assignments available, but up til now it was never the right time for me personally or professionally and I never connected wtih any of the projects. This year thought there were several assignments around learning and development, and one jumped out at me! The assignment was to support Room to Read in South Africa by training staff on how to build and run a mentoring program. My passion for reading and books, my belief that all kids should be given access to books and my professional passion for mentoring all intersected - direct hit!

Of course, there was no guarantee I would get it. I spent a long time writing my application, getting a written recommendatino from line manager and also linking this project to my career goals and needs. I was thrilled to get an interview and really enjoyed talking with the interviews about why I would love to be accepted. The application process was so positive, that this was an excellent experience for me in and of itself.

Then just after Easter I got an email teeling me that not only had I been accepted, but I got my first choice - the mentoring project! Due to COVID-19, it's not clear when I will be able to travel, but the project will begin anyway. I have spent the last weeks talking to past assignments and starting a mind map of resources and ideas! And of course I've bought some books from Amazon - "Long Walk to Freedom" and 2 mentoring books! If in doubt, buy a book and read it!

I told my boys today and M particularly was very excited - I got an unsolicited high five from him and a "I'm proud of you!" Was also a good chance to start talking to them about these issues, education, poverty, sustainable projects.

I will be blogging about this adventure using the tag GCP and am so excited about what I will learn, experience and share! Watch this space :-)

Reading so far! Can highly recommend these books....
Creating Room to Read: John Wood
Purpose Inc, Turning Cause into your Competitive Advantage: John Wood - see except below about the Global Citizen's Program


Wood, John. Purpose, Incorporated: Turning Cause Into Your Competitive Advantage (pp. 113-115). Big Purpose Press. Kindle Edition.

Listening to this feedback, some companies are embracing the move toward skills-based volunteering programs. The idea is one that is simple and smart: rather than have a group of employees do unskilled labor for a day, a small number of them are given a more significant amount of time off (typically between two weeks and three months) to tackle a strategic problem in a way that takes advantage of their skills and talent.

I first learned about this when Credit Suisse asked Room to Read to be part of the launch of their Global Citizens Program. The program was piloted in 2010 and rolled out the following year with the goal of playing “matchmaker” between talented Credit Suisse employees and their international grant partners, including Accion, Plan International, Teach for All, and Women’s World Banking.

The partners identify a strategic project for which they do not have the required skill set or time internally, and the bank then identifies and recruits an employee with those skills. Like many great purpose-driven ideas, this one came from the front lines. Two employees managing the bank’s newly launched global initiatives (the Microfinance Capacity-Building Initiative and the Global Education Initiative), Dawn Emling and Eva Halper, realized that there was an opportunity to go “beyond the check” and to support their partners through volunteering by sharing their relevant skills and experience honed in the business world.

They pitched the idea to two senior executives, who quickly signed on to have their own teams involved in a low-cost and rapid-to-implement pilot. Before long, human-resource executives were in Bangladesh and Ghana teaching about performance management to a rural hospital system, an expert on Salesforce was in Nepal teaching an education NGO how to move terabytes of education project data into the cloud, and data geeks were in Tanzania and Zambia helping microfinance organizations to better quantify their social impact.

Soon, the bank found that those who volunteered reported significantly higher levels of motivation and were much more likely to stay engaged in their jobs. An internal 2016 survey of those who had taken part in the program quantified many of the benefits: All felt proud that Credit Suisse was offering the opportunity to employees. Most were more likely to tell others (including potential customers and prospective employees) about the bank because of their experience.

Almost all believed the program provided opportunities to develop and practice new skills in a way that wasn’t offered through any formal training programs. Seven in ten identified their skilled volunteering experience as contributing to their decision to remain with the bank. Eight in ten felt more prepared to take on roles of increased responsibility at work and believed the experience had helped to improve their problem-solving skills.

One program participant was Aniket Patel, a London-based IT director whose volunteer assignment was with Teach for Argentina (Enseñá por Argentina). He took on the challenge of designing and running a training program to help senior staff members to increase their project management skills and to develop systems to monitor and control project progress. He shared his experience with me: Taking part in the [program]…taught me so much about myself, the way in which I work, and the skills I have to offer, and these lessons continue to be relevant to me in my daily working life…It took me way outside my comfort zone and gave me the opportunity to apply my skills in an environment which is so different to daily life at Credit Suisse. It taught me more about how I work, what I know, what I have to offer to others, and how I can go about passing that knowledge on. It taught me not to underestimate myself, to be open, to take risks.

Credit Suisse executives I interviewed repeatedly talked about how it was not just the NGOs and volunteers who were benefitting but also the bank. It helped that volunteers learned about frontier markets, how NGOs manage to always “do more with less,” what life is like for the unbanked, and the growth of the informal credit and banking sectors in less developed nations. The program has become so popular that there is now a perpetual waiting list.

What is true at Credit Suisse has also been shown in other organizations with similar programs. Studies of skilled volunteering programs at companies including Microsoft, EY, GlaxoSmithKline, and others have found that 92 percent of participants recognized their experience had led to positive development in leadership skills and competencies.
flower

Resolutions May 2020

1. Log my food with the SHYE coach app - Yes! Have been doing this consistently and have been cooking from the "WTF should I eat?" book
2. No Drinking at home, option to have a drink if I am out with others - drinking has been increasing again, need to get a grip on this. I know that I sleep much better when i have been AF
3. Exercise each day - run / walk / yoga / physio exercises / 7min Workout - Have been doing yoga then a walk, or walk/run each day. In June I will do the virtual Frauenlauf 5K! 
4. Blog once a week at least - Nope, this has fallen behind. Need to start again from LT 2020 and Ski holiday and catching up with past ones....
5. Read 100 books -24 read, 23 behind schedule. Need to get reading!
6. Take the Neil Gaiman Masterclass - not yet
keepcalmandrun

Samarathon!



I am so happy to have made this decision to take part in the Samarathon challenge in July! My goal is 50 miles and GBP 260. I've already had 5 early sponsors support me, which is great.
My current fitness level is running walking (1:1) a 1.6 km lap each morning, this takes me between 15 and 22 mins, depending on how much I run.

During June I aim to increase my running segments, so that I will be doing 5: 1 (run/walk) by the end of the month.
In July I will run every morning, and then do longer runs at the weekend. My goal is to be able to run the whole 1.6km lap.

I'll report back in June. In the meantime, here's a photo of my running route :-)
family7

Normal life resumes?

Over the last few weeks, the lockdown measures have been easing in Switzerland. The first changes came end of April (hairdressers and massage therapists open, i made use of both!). Then from 11th May, all shops open (with certain conditions, plus restaurants). The boys have been at school part time now for 4 weeks. They go back full time on 8th June, but we will keep them out of childcare. I expect to be at work on a split basis from mid June. And then 5 weeks school holidays start 13th July :-)

This weekend we went out as a family for the first time since lockdown and had brunch at our favourite "Fork and Bottle" restaurant, at the base of the Uetliberg. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday, we all rode our bikes out there. After brunch, Markus and I rode out a bit further, almost to Adliswil.

On the one hand, it feels good that the restrictions are easing, but there is still some unease and anxiety underneath....
winter

Walk on the Wild Side for International Women's Day

It's been a really heavy couple of weeks, at work and home. Today; I fled for the hills with the wild blowing in my hair, to do some thinking, get some me time and generally escape. It was such a beautiful winter's day...There were lots of fellow walkers, but I still found my peace that i needed.

As is always the case, once I was up there walking, my head felt lighter, i could breathe and I drank in the amazing views. The mountains were so close, you could almost touch them!

This quote says it all!


Trees, views, my favourite tree - bliss!
All my photos here