Good evening my little bloggees!
And so, here I am, two weeks after my little gloat about having a fortnight off work... and having to mentally prepare myself for the 9 til 5 once again. It's done me the world of good to have such a long break, and has also given me time to mull over those aspects of my job that don't sit well with me - well, the ones that I can do something about anyway...
Upon reflection, many of the things that have been bugging me I can only address by asking for advice and support. So, on my "to do" list for Monday is to arrange a time to receive feedback on my latest unsuccessful interview and to arrange a supervision with my manager to discuss my career progression - something that he has hinted he can help with but I've never really taken him up on. And, having chatted to a friend about some of my other work-based gripes, I will be asking a few other questions of my management team about how we can make the demands put upon our service (and me!) more manageable - and will be offering a few solutions too.
I've been deploying this new problem-solving tactic out of the workplace too. Having realised that the diploma I want to study will cost me twice what I expected, I've asked for a loan. And, having had a situation play on my mind for a few months, I've asked the other person involved about it - and was relieved to hear that what I had perceived as a major difference of opinion was, in fact, not much more than a misunderstanding. Within the space of a day, by asking questions of people, I've had two loads lifted off my mind. Happy days.
So, my new motto for life? If you don't ask, you don't get - whether it be a promotion, some support, or clarification on a situation that has been getting your knickers in a twist. And, although it's a new mantra, it's one that I can already highly recommend.
Yes, I know that sounds selfish, but this weekend, it's just been me, myself and I. After a manic week at work and a busy out of hours schedule seeing friends and family, come Saturday morning I was more beat than I've felt in a long while and sent most of it (read: all) in bed. And whilst I did spend the rest of the weekend more productively, I decided to resist the temptation to fill up my diary and instead pottered around the flat getting on top of my chores and mooched around Walthamtow on me tod.
This afternoon I dedicated to some "me" time - as in, rather than doing stuff that was in some way useful or expected, I decided I should do something purely for my own enjoyment. I admit it's a craft I've not practiced in a while and it took we a while to figure out what I really wanted to do. After some soul searching I ended up in Walthamstow Village, where I checked out Gods Own Junkyard ( a.k.a. Europe's biggest neon sign junk shop!) and perused The Independent on Sunday over a pint. It really was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and one I intend to repeat very soon.
So whilst it might be a bit late for you to do so this weekend, I recommend that you block a day or two out soon to do your own thing, and practise getting that balance between doing what is beneficial and what is purely enjoyable. Okay, so next weekend is fully booked - and one I'm really looking forwards to - but I'll be spending a weekend going my own thing again soon.
I must apologise for not blogging to you all last weekend - after a 14 mile hike with my dad and his cronies I was a wee bit tired!
Yep, as always it's been all go. This weekend I compensated for my trek with a massage and facial followed by afternoon tea and shopping with my ma. I've also been keeping myself busy with my "hobbies"; swimming, writing, yoga-ing, sewing and painting.
Why? Well, I guess you could say I choose life.
Yes, I am quoting Renton's rant in Trainspotting, which I saw at the King's Head in Islington last week. It was a fantastic, brave production, which I strongly recommend you see if the company take it anywhere else.
But why choose life? What's the meaning of it all? Why bother with all these extra-curricular activities? Well, I admit, sometimes I wonder. But then I know that if I don't engage in the process, I'll never find out why I am really here.
And I guess I'd quite like to figure that out.
I hope you are all well? Had a nice weekend? In good health?
It’s nice when people ask after your well-being, isn’t it? Okay, so maybe we can’t have in-depth conversations with everyone we come into contact with about their ailments and gripes, but isn’t it nice when people show you a little bit of courtesy? Are polite? Talk to you like a human being?
I’ve come to accept that, in London especially, a lot of (but not all) people are often too busy getting on with their own lives in their own worlds to bother smiling on the tube, say excuse me when they push past you with their trolley case (and trip you over with it in the process) or to apologise if they step on the back of your heel as they rush to the office. But when it comes to one-to-one interactions, I am getting quite tired of people not showing a little courtesy. When I speak to a member of the public when I’m at work, I don’t except them to shout and swear before they hang up on me, even when I am saying no to their (often unrealistic, sometimes ridiculous) requests. And when I complain in a pub about the service that I receive, I expect the management to respond to that complaint, not to complain about my complaint (true story!).
And another thing – when did it become okay to email your colleagues without starting with the once-customary “Dear,” or even a “Hi” or “Hello?” I’m sorry but I don’t get it. And when you say you’re going to get back to someone by the end of the day about an interview they have just sat through, surely a phone call isn’t too much to ask – especially when an email is met with an “out of office” message?
Okay, so I don’t get the worst of it. At the Green Gym on Friday (which I have an article about in the latest edition of the Waltham Forest Echo J) I chatted to a chap about the pitfalls of working in a supermarket – something I have done before and he is about to start doing. My experience is that, just because you’re in an unskilled job, people think it’s okay to talk to you like you’re an idiot. I for one make an effort to say hello to the guys in my local Co-Op and ask them how they are - at the end of the day, if they weren’t here, where you I get my midnight pint of milk from? We all contribute to society (yes, even people who don’t work Mr Cameron), and all deserve to be treated with a bit of respect.
So this week, a plea; can we all start being a bit nicer to each other? I ain’t a religious person, but I’m a big fan of that “do unto others what you would have done unto you” stuff. Some people call it Karma. But whatever it is, can we have a bit more of it please?
I did say please.
Thank you J
Good evening folks!
Well the weekend is drawing to a close, and a new week will soon be upon us. I admit, I found the last one quite tedious - the 9-5 grind was getting to me and, coupled with a lull in the old social life, I was more than a little bit grumpy. Alas, I managed to pull myself out of my gloom. How? Well I decided to book a little holiday...
Yep, that's right - in September I will be spending 10 days in San Francisco - and I can't wait! Sad as it is, knowing I have this to look forwards to seems too have perked me up no end. Coupled with the good weather, this weekend I've been pretty chirpy, getting up early and getting on with a new writing project and a bit of spring cleaning. Today I bagged a bargainous four dining room chairs and a coffee table for 40 quid, which I can't wait to paint up along with my ten pound TV stand. In fact, by the time I have my official housewarming in May, I reckon I'll be pretty close to having my flat as I want it - with perhaps the exception of a posh new three-seater sofa bed..
My point? Well, I know I'm lucky to have the means to travel to the West Coast of the US and to play at being Kirsty Allsop, but I also know that I function a lot better when I know I have something to aim for; a reward to all my hard work. At the end of the day, it is that often-tedious job that has enabled me to book that flight and pay the mortgage on the flat that I am so faithfully - and frugally - doing up.
So, as I traipse into work tomorrow, I will do my best to the thankful for all the opportunities it gives me - from stability to adventure, with the odd bit of inspiration thrown in for good measure. And, whatever you do and however challenging it can be, I hope that you feel able to do the same. And, if you can't, book yourself in for a little reward sooner rather than later, whether it be the trip of a lifetime, a jolly to the seaside or an afternoon mooching around your favourite local haunt. I doesn't have to cost a lot, or be particularly flashy. But it does need to happen.
Because Shelly said so :-)
So... how was you week?
Mine was pretty cool.
I chilled out with the Artists Who...
... wrote the follow up to my debut at the Waltham Forest Echo...
... finished the first edit of novel number two on my way to meet the lovely Lexi - who just happened to be wearing the snood I made her for Christmas...
... and pottered about in my lovely flat, newly furnished with a few more bits from my favourite furniture shop in Walthamstow, the British Heart Foundation.
Want to read more? Well, check out my latest Overground Underground blog - and keep your eyes open for my latest newsletter which you can sign up to here...
So, anyone else enjoying an early evening glass of wine? I am... because Dry January is officially OVER! Woo hoo! So far I've raised £145 of my £200 target, and hope that a few last minute sponsors will get me there... if so inclined you can do so here - thank you!
I have to admit, today I am in my happy place - and not just because I'm allowed wine again (although it helps...) No, it's because I've spent the weekend up in York with some of my favourite people. Hanging out with my besties always does me good, and talking to them about our lives really helps me put things into perspective. It reminds me that, even though other people's lives often seem so much better than my own, they come with their own problems. Of course, me being me, when my friends share with me their woes, I try to give them reassurance and advice on how they can overcome the obstacles they face - or, more simply, come to accept them.
I'm happy to admit that, whilst advising my lovvies about how to deal with their daily niggles, I did reflect on my own - and considered if I listen to my own advice. I was pleased to see that, generally, I do. Whilst my job can frustrate the heck out of me, I think I've reached a level of acceptance, helped by the knowledge that, whilst I know I make a difference, I am taking action to move into a line of work that I enjoy more. And that when other elements of my existence upset my equilibrium, I confront the cause, weigh up my options - and take action to reset the balance. Okay, so I don't always get it right, but I feel like I'm headed in the right direction, and, without sounding too corny, I believe that you can find your happy place too.
And you don't need wine to get there...
So did you all survive the first full week of 2015? Amazingly I did - despite being back at work and staying "dry". Yep - I'm still off the booze and have set up my Just Giving page to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and have already raised thirty quid - woo hoo!
Despite having almost two weeks off work, my inbox was surprisingly manageable when I returned to the office on Monday, which means I've started the year leaving work at a reasonable time - something I hope to keep up over the next 12 months. This also means I've had more time in the evenings to get on with a bit of painting. Yep, the bathroom is done, and the stools I am upcycling have had their second coat - now I just need to track down some foam to top them with! I've also pulled out my oils and added another layer of "hair" to my latest picture - one that I WILL finish soon, I WILL...
In other news, on Friday I spent a good three hours printing out novel number 2 and spent my Saturday morning lie-in starting yet another round of editing. Oh, and the latest edition of Operation:Pizza is live too, this time reviewing high street chain Strada. You may be surprised by the results...
Anyway, I'm off to get myself a hot chocolate and put on my PJs - rock 'n' roll people!
No, no, I'm not talking about the whiskey and Jaegermeister I've consumed over the last week - I'm talking about that goodwill to all men, women, animals and anything in-between! I've been feeling pretty Christmassy all month, but the last week has seen my festive fever grow - and spread. Whilst I admit I've had some pretty fun nights out recently, it's been the things I've been able to do for other people that has really given me a glow. For example, on Tuesday I contributed some home-made German spiced biscuits to a bake-sale for Crisis - adding £19.50 to the £180 raised. Yesterday, I was thrilled to see my mate laugh out loud at the slogan wristband I made her for Christmas. And, the day before, I spread the love among my neighbours by delivering them all a Christmas card and gingerbread muffin - and was really touched to see the family who live below me followed by lead and everyone some chocolate on their doorstep the following day.
That's what I love about Christmas - making other people feel good, whether it's by giving them a present they love, helping them out when the stresses of the season start to get to them, or just making them smile on their commute to work. Today, after a rather frantic shopping trip, I was sat on the tube when the driver wished everyone a Happy Christmas. He probably didn't know anyone on the train, and it wasn't part of his job description, but he did - and it made me smile, despite my fatigue.
Some people of course believe in the religious origins of the holiday season. I personally don't, but embrace it whole-heartedly as an excuse to show people I love them and to spread a little cheer, whether it's by offering a complete stranger Season's Greetings, funding a bed space for a homeless person over the holidays or being there for a friend who is having a hard time. That, in my book, is the true Christmas spirit.
Yes, it's another late-night blog after a pretty hectic weekend. In case you didn't already guess, I've been to see Evita and today went to a seminar about - wait for it - dating. Yes, really. In my defense, my main reason for going was for research (still working on my podcast/article/youtube piece on the subject) but admit that there was some personal benefit. Okay, so a lot of it was about men, but the basis of the talk was how to get what you want from life, whether that be a new career or a new relationship.
Eva Peron was a woman who did what she had to do to get where she wanted to be, morally or otherwise. According to the musical, she essentially used men to get to the top and her working-class background to gain the adoration of a nation - with the added benefit of the riches that came with being the first lady of Argentina. Having read a few books on finding Mr Right (research people, honest!), I have to say that some tactics suggested seem a little bit manipulative. I mean, asking a guy if you can use his phone just to start a conversation? Persuading him to help you pick a birthday present for an imaginary brother? Sorry, but no - if I'm going to find Mr Right, I'm going to do it my way. And that means cutting the crap.
So, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to text that young man I met last week and remind him how fabulous I am. What I won't be telling him is that I've been singing Andrew Lloyd Webber songs all weekend...
Here you will find my latest news, including what I have been up to and what I have been writing (and making). Hopefully you'll like what I have to say - and perhaps I will motivate you to get creative too...