Thursday, 28 December 2017

Keep Organised At Work In 2018

Before starting a full time 9-5 job, I pretty much had no idea how to be organised. The first 6 months of working was a real shock and I made a lot of mistakes, many by not being organised. Realising that other people needed information in one place and that I couldn't keep things in my head was a struggle for me at first. The plan for 2018 is to be a lot more organised and completely boss it, but here are some tips if you're just starting out in full time work or want to feel a little more in control.

1. Lists, lists, lists

I have a notebook which I write daily lists. The first thing I do when I get in in the morning is check my list from the day before and add to it anything that comes in on e-mail from the evening before. This'll help me plan my day, but also allow me to add anything that comes in during the day to be added.

Then, every evening before I leave, I pick out all the things I didn't do and write them down for the next day.

2. Write everything down

If anyone mentions something in passing or asks me to do something for them, I'll write it down so I have all the information. In meetings, I make a lot of notes which are really useful to look back on.

3. Don't sit on tasks

Writing daily lists also makes sure I don't sit on tasks that I don't want to do. The more times I write it down under the next day, the more I realise that I haven't done it. It's better to get them over and done with as I have been caught a few times by not doing things and getting stressed every day I write it down.

4. Everyone loves a spreadsheet

When I'm doing research for things or writing plans, I use a spreadsheet document. This also links with writing everything down, especially when things easily could get lost. They are really easy to refer back to and depending on what kind of job you have, to plan or share with others so they can easily pick it up if you are away for example.

5. But don't underestimate paper

With the world going digital, it's sometimes hard to forget about good out paper and pen. Whilst I definitely don't print everything, some things are so much easier printed out so I can scribble all over them and make changes.

6. E-mail folders

I have a lot of different projects to work on at multiple times. It is my task for 2018 to make sure all e-mails go into a relevant folder, so I'm not having to search my inbox for a name I can't really remember.

I am now pretty happy with the way that I am working, and learning from other people who you work with is great, especially once you are starting out. Moving to my second job, I have drawn inspiration from those who I thought worked really efficiently in my old job and feeling a lot better for it.

Here's to making 2018 the most efficient and organised yet!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Easy Peasy Lemon Drizzle

There's something about Winter and cold whether that makes me want to have cake on the table at all times. We've done pretty well over the last few weeks with an endless supply of cake on the kitchen table made my either myself or my house mate. After my little disaster with trying to make a banana loaf with bananas that weren't really ripe enough, I thought I would just stick to what I know.

Lemon Drizzle is one of my favourite cakes - well, apart from a massive chocolate one but I can't be too picky when the only ingredient I had to pick up was a few lemons at 35p a pop.

This is also super simple to make. I simply measure the weight of two eggs (approx 125g) and then measure out the flour, sugar and butter with that same weight. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Then I grated the zest of two lemons and added that it and put it in the oven in a loaf tin at 180 degrees until it was golden and the skewer came out clean which was about 30 / 40 minutes.

To make the sugary crust, I squeezed the juice out both of the lemon and mixed it with a generous amount of sugar - perhaps too much, but I'm not complaining. I would suggest to use icing sugar instead of caster, but that's something for next time I make it.

Make a few holes in the cake and pour over whilst it is still warm.

Scrumptious weekend (or week day) cake.


Monday, 16 October 2017

In Defence of Not Moving To London

As a graduate, I always expected to finish University and move to London to find a swanky graduate job in the big city. My friends who have graduated this summer also had that view. However, that didn't really work out for me. And actually, I'm quite glad it didn't.

The industry I'm in calls for a job in London. Working in arts marketing, of course, some of the most creative people are expected to be in London. But for me, it was all a little overwhelming. I remember coming out of a job interview just down the road from Oxford Street and crying because it was all a bit too much. I then decided that London wasn't really for me, at least not now.

I lived for a year at home, and managed to find a dream year long internship. When that ended, I thought I would try London again. I thought I was ready, but once again, coming out of interviews, London seemed the scariest and most overwhelming place. Plus, looking at rooms on Spare room in preperation for if I got any of the jobs I had gone for was also a depressing sight.

But it's not all doom and gloom. I'm in an industry that I love. Granted, my current job isn't fantastic yet, but it has only been 5 weeks and I'm still finding my feet. I think my problem is that I feel that I am not confident enough or know enough to be able to slot into a big London company and live that life. So, at least for this job (which luckily doesn't have a leaving date in sight), I'll build up enough skills and confidence to one day go for that London job and not feel like a fraud.

I need to remember I am still young, I have a lot of time to try the London thing and it's okay if it doesn't work out. But for now, here's some things that I love about not living in London:

No tube or bus for me. A 25 minute walk is absolutely free!

And bigger rooms! Also, pretty much cheaper everything

I can easily drive home or to the supermarket. After finally feeling confident driving, the idea of giving up my little car didn't come easily!


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

TV Shows I Used To Love*

I was looking through my old DVD boxsets last weekend when I was home and remembered how I would watch them all the time, who even remembers life before Netflix? When Panasonic got in touch and asked me to write a TV themed post to celebrate the launch of their new Ultra HD 4K TV, I knew exactly what I would write about. So dust off those boxsets and rediscover an old gem this Autumn.

From the age of 12 I was asking for Friends box sets every Christmas and Birthday. I had no spoilers and so every episode was completely new. I also had the agonising wait between series if I didn't have the next DVD to move onto and my mum would take them away if I was getting through them too quickly! I still occasionally stick in a random disk and watch them when I can't get to sleep.

This progamme made my early teens. I was absolutely obsessed and I would get every series on DVD after watching them on TV. Every Friday night my Dad would let us stay up and we would watch it together. Not necessarily great family watching, but it was our tradition. Betty was easily my favourite TV character (and still is!). I think that's why I love Jane The Virgin so much as they have so many similarities!

Before Netflix, I watched Gossip Girl on DVD and would lend them out to my friends. I am actually re-watching them on Netflix (they make great morning viewing getting ready for work).

I was obsessed with Smash a few years ago - a TV show about making a Broadway musical? Of course I was hooked. The music was absolutely great, and Megan Hilty was an absolute star in it. I will be digging out the cast recording and belting Let Me Be Your Star in the shower tonight.

Whilst doing our A-Level History, my friend and I thought it would be a really good idea to watch BBC's The Tudors which our teacher had said was wildly inaccurate. I would watch it and pretend I was doing school work (it didn't fool my parents though!). It's also all on Netflix which is great because I would only re-watch the first series all the time.

I will definitely spend the upcoming cold nights re-watching some of my old DVD boxsets. My brother also got all of the Game Of Thrones DVDs for his birthday, and as the only person in the world who doesn't watch it, I should probably get in with the times and steal his DVDs.

- Gossip Girl
- The Good Place
- Gilmore Girls
- Pride And Prejudice
- The Great British Bake off (I actually really like it on Channel 4 *unpopular opinion*
- Strictly Come Dancing

*This is a sponsored post


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Things I Miss About University

With freshers starting again and people I know returning to University, I can't help but feel the urge to do it all again. I've been very lucky with finding jobs after uni, but there are some things I definitely miss.

Trying to cram in chores, food shopping and relaxing is a bit tough for a two day weekend. I loved the student lifestyle of having days off in the week. I could get all those bits and pieces done without the crowds. Plus, being able to make a doctors or hair dressers appointment in the middle of the day is something I could only dream of now. 

I often find myself at a bit of a loss of what to do and I often feel like I am wasting my weekends. During my studies, I would wish I could just sit and take a day or an evening to do nothing, but now sometimes I find myself wishing I had something productive to do. I am currently looking for online courses to fill up my time!

Finding people with things in common with you was super easy at university. I found myself having more opportunity to meet others, but apart from people at work, I am finding it very difficult.  

Paying full price for shopping, no thank you!

After moving out of halls, living in town with your closest friends was brilliant. I loved that everyone you were close to lived a 5 minute walk away and you could see them whenever you fancied, whether that was 8am or midnight. Living with friends meant lots of shared dinners, borrowing each others clothes, makeup, perfume and spontaneous trips out.

I guess I am feeling a little nostalgic. University was tough for me, but I also met some of the best people and got involved with loads of societies. Would I go back, potentially yes. If I could turn back the clock, I would have done a lot of things differently, including a different degree and hanging out with a few different people. But I've now got to build up my career and skills, which in itself is pretty damn exciting.


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Rented Room Wishlist

I have just moved out of my mum's house (check out this post!) and into to a new room in a rented house share - think University living, but with adults, and let's say, the room isn't exactly to my liking and a little miss matched as most rented places are. As it looks like I'll be living here for the foreseeable future, I have been scouring the internet for some new homeware and to make my room a little bit more cosy, especially as the nights are drawing in.


Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Graduate Diaries - So I Moved In With 5 Strangers

This week has been challenging to say the least. I left my job last Thursday (a job which I absolutely loved and all the people in it) after finishing a fixed term contract, and moved an hour away on the Sunday. Oh, and then I started my new job the Monday morning. Let's just say, it's been busy.

But, this week has actually been pretty good. Moving for work means that I am now walking to work and saving a lot of money on petrol and train fare, plus the extra exercise is much welcomed. I was worried about moving in with people I didn't know, and getting a room from Spare Room, but it has turned out great. The whole house is really nice, it isn't too messy or noisy. It's pretty much student living but with adults, which is quite nice.

My room is pretty big too, although I did wake up to a slug trail the other day. I now have lovely white salt lines around the edge of my room that look like I'm scaring away vampires until I figure out what to do about it. But, it could be a lot worse!

The job is also going okay. The first week is always a little weird, but I'm looking forward to getting more stuck in. It is a new role, so it is going to take a while for myself, and the team to get used to there being an extra person around but everyone is nice which is a bonus.

I have come home for the weekend just for a bit of familiarity, but next weekend I probably won't. I want to take myself out for lunch or coffee, do a bit of shopping and generally explore. Here's to the next 6 months at least whilst I am figuring out what I want to do with my life.


Saturday, 5 August 2017

DIY Alphabet Crochet Cushions

Whilst looking for potential wedding presents for my best friend's wedding (next weekend!) I stumbled across these adorable crocheted alphabet cushions. As I am a keen crocheter, I thought I would give it a go and make them myself as they would make the perfect personalised

I bought the patterns from this Etsy site. I am tempted to buy the whole book actually, but you can buy the patterns individually for a couple of pounds.

I then used this chunky wool, which I bought from LoveCrochet, to give them that comfy feel rather than using normal yarn I had. I found that I used almost two of the 100g balls, but it depends on the letter you are making. I also stocked up on toy stuffing, which I ordered from Amazon, and got to work.

If you don't know how to crochet, I would recommend Bella Coco's tutorials as they really helped me when I first started learning. The cushion patterns are really easy to follow and use just UK single crochets or US double crochets.

The idea is that you crochet the two letters, a front and a back, and long strip to make them 3D. You then crochet them together, stuffing as you connect the back to the middle strip. It took a while to get right, but I'm really happy how it came out. I then made one with her husband to be's initial, all ready for their new house!

These are a really lovely present, if you make them yourself, or buy them from Etsy, I can't wait to make more (I already have a lot of requests from friends and family!).


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Rejection, Rejection And More Rejection

The last three weeks have been crazy busy to the point when I was on the verge of crying almost every day, plus, my bank balance has been taking an almighty hit.

I'm back on the job hunt, with my traineeship finishing in about 6 weeks - cue crying and hatred of change. When I've finally felt like I have the hang of everything, poof, it's in finishing distance, and it sucks.

So I've been writing applications and was incredibly lucky to get interviews for them all. However, that's where the good luck ended. I didn't get any of them.

I was upset at the time, getting rejection e-mail after rejection e-mail, feeling tired from travelling almost every day to London and back, and feedback all along the lines of, "you have great experience and we didn't think you couldn't do the job, it's just that someone was better".

Someone was better. How can I get better?

A week later from my rejection heavy week, and things are starting to be put back into perspective, thankfully. I'm no longer crying, and worrying too much about the future. And goodness, I could be in a lot worse situation. A lot.

So, here's to rejection. It's only made me more determined to keep going and find the job that's right for me. And, that's it's also okay to have a little cry about life, because who really has their shit together?

Here's to great friends, collegues and family who have told me not to give up.


Sunday, 2 July 2017

Glastonbury 2017

I think I have finally recovered from Glastonbury, almost a week on. I came back on Monday tired, with a very sunburnt forehead and cut knees.

I had never camped before, and the idea of not showering or washing my hair for 5 days made me feel really nervous, but luckily the weather was on our side. Not too hot and no rain (!). The shower when we got home was glorious though!

It was an amazing experience and I would really encourage everyone to go at least once. The site is huge, and I love how much thought goes into each area, it definitely is an instagrammers paradise. The only downside was that there wasn't a huge amount of bands and acts that I really wanted to see, meaning I spent a lot of time following others around and wasting time. But that's the risk you take when you buy a ticket and don't know who is playing! The food was also amazing, whatever you fancied, you could buy it. I ate a lot of doughnuts, Thai green curry and noodles!

I did see some great bands, and Ed Sheeran was amazing. We went down an hour before he started to get a good spot and the atmosphere was incredible with everyone singing along.

Would I go again? Yes, probably, but not for a good few years. Check out the spotify playlist below with some of my favourite songs from the bands I managed to see.


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Serious Questions For Real Adults

I have been working full time for 9 months now, and I have some serious questions for real adults that I desperately need answers too...

1. Will I ever not feel tired?
2. How do you make friends as an adult?
3. How do you find time to work out or go to the gym?
4. When do dates not become awkward?
4. Will I always feel like I'm 'winging it'?
5. How do I get more self-confidence?
6. How do you make it look so easy?


Sunday, 7 May 2017

6 Tips For New Drivers

Having passed my driving test 4 years ago and then going to university, I didn't have the chance to practice driving as insurance prices were too high, and I definitely couldn't afford a car. Fast forward to job interviews where it was required to have a driving license, I just ticked the box. But now, I have my own little car (Pete the Peugeot) and slowly building my confidence driving. Here are some tips that really helped me get more confident behind the wheel. 

1. Consider Refresher Lessons
If you haven't driven for a while, look into some refresher lessons. I found a local driving instructor before I bought my car took some lessons. Yes, it was expensive, but it really helped my confidence and practice driving again. It was also a really good way to practice some local routes before I had to drive them for work. 

2. Start Small
When I first got my car, I had never driven alone without a driving instructor. So, the first time I went driving by myself, I drove around my town on a Sunday afternoon. I then moved to driving on the dual carriageway and practised my route to work with someone else in the car before trying it alone on a quiet weekend morning. Confidence isn't going to come all at once. 

3. Experience Different Weathers
Driving in different weathers and times of the day are crucial. Drive a route you know well, and again, in small steps, try driving in the rain, in the dark and when it is sunny. 

4. Going solo
As much as the temptation it is to pick up friends and family and show off your new car and driving skills, it's better to feel confident by yourself before - and to also feel confident if you have back seat drivers! 

5. Google street view
If I am going somewhere I don't know very well, I will find the route on google street view just to try and familiarise myself with some aspects. This is particularly helpful for small journey's and knowing which exit to go off on roundabouts! 

6. Remember: other drivers don't want to cause accidents
One of my fears was merging onto a dual carriageway from a slip road. But I soon realised that people don't want to actively cause an accident and they will slow down and they will see you. When you're driving, realise everyone is doing the same thing as you. If you would slow down, it's probable someone else will do the same for you. 

What are some of your tips for new drivers?


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Doing it alone

Yesterday I went to the theatre alone. 

I am very used to doing things alone. Going shopping by myself is one of my favourite things to do. I'll go in my lunch hour or a weekend and secretly dread if someone asks me to come with me. So being alone is something I do all the time. But never have I gone to the cinema or taken myself to a coffee shop.

I'm usually worried I will see someone I know and they'll ask who I'm with. When I'm shopping, I just say I needed to pop in last minute and get some things, but this seemed a little different.

Walking into the theatre, I tried to think of ways I could disguise that I was there by myself. Looking around to see if I could pretend to find the 'person I knew', walking into the auditorium behind a group of people. It wasn't until I got to my seat that I started to feel a bit uncomfortable.

I don't know if it was a good or bad thing that there were 4 empty seats next to me. I started thinking that others may think that the person I was coming with couldn't come - yes, that would be a good idea. I was ready with an answer if anyone threw the question at me. Of course, no one did. No one cared.

The interval was also the problem. The people around me went to get drinks, icecreams and talked about the act they had just seen. I took myself to the toilet, which thank goodness had a large line so it wasted lots of time. I made it back to my seat just as the lights went down. A possible awkward situation avoided. Once the show was over, I clapped, gave a standing ovation and rushed out to get my train. And that was it.

It's weird how I felt about doing it alone. Whilst I thought people could be looking at me, people weren't taking any notice, and why would they? Modern society means that people don't talk to strangers, they don't start conversations with random people you're sitting next to on the bus or in the theatre. I don't go into a theatre and try and work out who everyone is with. In fact, when I went to see the new Bridget Jones film, the tiny town cinema was packed, and the only seat left was one in front of us in between two couples. I watched as a lady came in and asked to sit in the spare seat. I smiled, and forgot all about it by the end.

I'm already planning my next solo theatre trip - I have a few days off at the end of the month and I have my eye on a £20 ticket to see Dreamgirls that has my name on it. Who knows, maybe I'll even take myself to lunch before, rather than eat home made ham sandwiches on the train.


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Pancakes for one

Waking up craving pancakes but have no one to make them with? No sweat, I got your back. 

Just put 4 dessert spoons of plain flour, 1 egg and 6 - 8 dessert spoons of milk (add more if it isn't runny enough) and whisk together. Viola, the perfect amount for 2 pretty hefty pancakes. Fry with butter, smother in Nutella and fruit if it tickles your fancy and enjoy your fuss free pancakes all by yourself. Winning.


Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Graduate Diaries - Chapter 6

I'm spending another weekend with absolutely no plans, and to be honest, that's quite the way I like it. Working full time is tiring, it's stressful and just plain annoying. But, it's easy to get into the rhythm. I am also trying to do at least something once a week after work, whether that's going to the cinema, going out for dinner or staying at work. Of course, sometimes this doesn't happen, but it makes me not feel so bad about not doing anything at the weekend.

In my last graduate diaries, I was talking about the London FOMO. I am definitely not feeling that right now. Spending most of my day commuting, no thank you! Yes, it would be great to have a few more friends closer, and the independence wouldn't go a miss, but I am enjoying my home comforts. 

But, not being in London has meant I have finally bought a car, and although I may have to sell it by summer (as I will have to change job after my traineeship is over), I am loving the freedom. I can stay out later, do more things. I can't wait until spring when I can whiz off somewhere after work and it still be daylight. 

Whilst life is going well, I am starting to feel like I was this time last year. The great thing about my job is that I finally have some real life experience for my CV, the bad thing is that I have no idea what I will be doing when my 12 month contract is up. I can't believe I am already nearly half way through. I have met some amazing people and done things I never thought I would do. Of course, work isn't always like that. There are days I want to cry, days when I don't know what I am doing, but also days when I feel like I am bossing it. It's a bit of a mixed bag. But, what I am going to do next is the question... 

I still think I am incredibly lucky to have gotten a job so quickly after leaving university in a place that I love and close to home. Life is comfortable, and it's just how I like it for now. 

(Plus how amazing do these nachos look)

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