Hello and a very warm welcome to my newly relaunched blog. I'm Paul a 40 year old family man from the UK. In this complex, information overload 21st century world, too often we lose sight of what's really important. Here I want to celebrate life, share inspirational stories, throw the spotlight on charities and causes close to my heart. Looking forward to sharing this journey with you all.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

June's donations

Once again apologies for the less frequent blogs these days -it's a tough balancing act at the moment with family and work commitments but I'm certainly not about to start walking away from what I've set out to do.

This is always my favourite part of the month where I get to share the details on my latest round of donations of my on-line earnings. This month, I've managed to collect in another £30 via payouts from surveys and quidco cashback, and I'm very close to reaching a couple of other thresholds.

I've decided to split the donations 2 ways between these 2 extremely good causes

1) British Heart Foundation

Another good friend from the dooyoo review sites Tim Webb has just followed in the footsteps of Ivor's epic journey from London to Brighton, this time using pedal power. 55 miles cycling in a single day is some going though ( I did a 40 mile ride for BHF a few years ago and even though the finish line was less than half a mile from my house I had to be taken home in a car!) so congratulations to all involved in the Stamford Lions group and I hope they can achieve the target of £5000

Please take a look at


About the charity:

The British Heart Foundation is the nation's heart charity.

Every day they save lives, through pioneering research, providing vital information to help people reduce their own heart health risks, campaigning for change and supporting and caring for heart patients.

Charity Registration No 225971

Monday, 7 June 2010

The Football World cup - making the most of a truly global gathering

As I'm sure many of you are well aware, the 2010 Football world cup starts this Friday in South Africa.

In these often troubled modern times, as all of our daily lives are in some way affected by the global economic turmoil, climate uncertainty and ongoing conflicts, for me the chance that only presents itself every 4 years to unite with football and sporting fans from across the planet is not to be missed.

Whatever your interest in the sport, so many people from totally different cultures and countries sharing a common interest - that is always special

Since as long as I can remember, it's been a part of my upbringing - from Argentina 1978 every 4 years to the present day, its provided some of the most memorable sporting moments I've witnessed. Each country has their own unique story to tell, and for England ever since that one iconic triumph at Wembley back in 1966, its largely been a tale of promise and hope along with plenty of heartbreak.

In line with the continuing theme of this blog, this year I want to look outside the pure sporting drama that will unfold and take a look ways in which we can make the most of this global coming together, and harness the true spirit of humanity and community at it's very best

Last night, I was priviledged to watch "Soccer Aid"

The brain child of UK pop superstar Robbie Williams, it features a charity match on behalf of UNICEF staged between England and the Rest of the World, with each team comprising of a number of celebrities, presenters, actors as well as a sprinkling of true footballing legends.

This year's match marked  the 3rd running of the event, (previous versions in 2006 and 2008) and featured international greats like Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Ryan Giggs as well as homegrown English legends such as Shearer, Sheringham and David Seaman.

The oh so predictable eventual result that England lost on penalties was let's face it utterly irrelevant - the value of the funds raised, to buy the likes of simple Malaria Nets - it's simply priceless

Please take a look at the website at
https://socceraid.unicef.org.uk/ and make a donation if you can.

No doubt during the tournament the British tabloid press in particular will be looking to ride the wave of popular support and then find any angle they can to rip into the England team the moment things start to go wrong. Over paid and priviledged players that underperform - it's a very easy line of attack.

I wonder how many people out there are aware of the http://www.teamenglandfootballerscharity.com/ - I strongly suggest you take a look.

Bobby Moore the captain of that victorious 1966 team embodies the very essence of bravery and skill, and having tragically lost his life to cancer, it's truly inspiring to read about the foundation that lives on in his memory.

One final site I'd encourage you to take a look at is http://www.homelessworldcup.org/. This extraordinary annual gathering has been running since 2003, and the next one will be in Rio De Janeiro in September 2010 where 64 nations will be taking part.

As described on the website it "is an annual, international football tournament, uniting teams of people who are homeless and excluded to take a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country and change their lives forever. It has triggered and supports grass roots football projects in over 70 nations working with over 30,000 homeless and excluded people throughout the year.

The impact is consistently significant year on year with 73% of players changing their lives for the better by coming off drugs and alcohol, moving into jobs, education, homes, training, reuniting with families and even going on to become players and coaches for pro or semi-pro football teams.

You can also link up with the Homeless World Cup with social networking sites on Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, and Youtube, so please take a look and show your support.

Whichever nation finally gets to lift that golden globe on July 11th, we can all be winners if we get involved and give what we can.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Making the most of your precious spare time -National Volunteers week!

First of all, it's great to be back and posting.

Apologies for what's become a fairly lengthy absence, but I was fortunate enough to spend the last 2 weeks in May on our family holiday on a Cruise trip around the Mediterranean - plenty of great experiences to share on that, and this week has been about catching up with my work commitments.

Heartened to see that my blog has continued to receive comments and even some new followers in my absence , that alone is more than enough motivation to keep me going.

One of the things that really struck me during the cruise trip and that made it so special , was that with a very limited TV service and so much to do on board and visiting the destinations, the holiday really seemed to last a long time. 

Made me re-evaluate how much time I still waste on a nightly basis flicking through the TV channels and all the popular culture dross that fills the air time, and how with 2 weeks completely away from all of that I don't seem to have missed anything.

With my full time work commitments, and my determination to continue to build on this blog, clearly something has to give, and as a British Kids TV show "Why don't you?" used to delight in telling us it really is time to "Turn off the television set and go out and do something less boring instead!!" 

Inspired by fellow bloggers and commenters here, 've been trying to find a way to fit in some volunteering time and over the last hour or two I've had a look through my company's website. 

As luck would have it, here in the UK it just happens to be National Volunteer week http://www.volunteersweek.org.uk/About+the+Week running between the 1st and 7th of June so for those of you in the UK I would encourage you to take a look

Another great discovery for me is that my company is partnered with the Princes Trust. For those of you unfamiliar with the charity, set up by Prince Charles here in the UK, it does some fantastic work particularly around supporting young people from across the social spectrum in community work and business opportunities. Back in 1994, as a  graduate struggling to find work, I took part in a 12 week volunteers programme that had a massive impact on my life in so many ways. I promise I will write up the full story here soon 

In the meantime , I've signed up via the following link  www.princes-trust.org.uk/beexceptional in the first instance as a workshop facilitator, and according to the website, it's just a case of finding out when there is an opportunity to help in my regional area and going from there.

So hopefully rather than just talking about my past volunteering experiences with the Trust, I can add to them here very soon. 

One of the most memorable and inspiring aspects of the Princes Trust programme for me was the week I spent working as a volunteer at the skylarks holiday centre, which provided holiday facilities and activities for disabled guests and restbite for their carershttp://www.vitalise.org.uk/getdoc/8f264128-ba58-4685-b14c-

I would strongly encourage anyone who can spare a week or so of their time to get in touch and get involved - it means such a lot to the carers and guests, and the benefits you get in terms of perspective and appreciation of life are immeasurable.

One of the most memorable and inspiring parts of our cruise which was with Royal Carribean's largest European ship the Independence of the Seas, was the fact that all of its facilities and activities had been built with accessibility in mind. 

It was fantastic to see such a large number of disabled guests on board using a variety of wheel chair and motability support systems able to enjoy their holiday time to the full. 

So I'm back, I'm refreshed and ready to go - please keep your ideas and suggestions coming in!!