Category: Life and Living

Knowing Me Knowing You

No, I haven’t gone all Alan Partridge and I’m not referring to the Abba song. I’m talking about interviews. I had my first job interview for 8 years today. I got to thinking about the whole process, and how we’re so keen to impress, but how it’s actually a two way street.

Hire me

A job interview is as much about the candidate finding out if the job role is right for them as it is about the interviewer finding the right person for the job. You may have seen a job description, or have a knowledge of the company, but a lot of it is about the feeling you get – from the people and the place. Is it a nice working environment? Can you envision yourself there? Are the interviewers your kind of people, can you see that your personalities will work together? A job is so much more than whether or not you’re capable of doing what’s required of you.

I’m very keen not to rush into anything even though I obviously need a job! Redundancy is a massive shock but also a massive opportunity (for me) to do something different. Not just to settle or panic, but to make a measured move that is going to give me job satisfaction. Redundancy pay gives me some financial freedom so that I don’t have to get another job immediately, although of course it would be nice if I could find employment and then bank that cash (or spend it on shoes).

So, how did my interview go? I’m not a very good judge of these things, so its hard to tell. But I answered all the questions competently, felt confident in what I was talking about and also allowed my personality to show through as well. And that’s enough for me.

Twit of the Day award…

…goes to me. Technically Twit of Yesterday award actually, for facing my redundancy head on, saying goodbyes to colleagues and friends, being incredibly nonchalant and exiting the building…only to get home and realise I’d left my purse at work.

D’oh.

Luckily I had someone’s number to ask them to find it (fallen under my “ex desk”) and take it to reception so I didn’t have to go back in to the office proper.

Leave and come back

But doing a journey I thought I wouldn’t have to do EVER again within an hour of leaving was pretty dumbass

Officially unemployed

Today, after 3 weeks of “consultation”, I’ve been officially made redundant. I feel relieved, resentful, angry, frustrated, elated, exhausted, mentally weak, mentally strong, excited, scared, hopeful. So many mixed emotions. Even though I’ve known it was coming since the end of last month, it’s still an odd sensation. Not that I was hoping the company would change their mind – indeed I’d have been disappointed if they had – but even when you’re content with a turn of events, its still an upheaval.

The sun is shining and I can see the rudiments of spring on my balcony. It feels like a sign.

Hyancinths ready to flower / a cute pansy face popping out from the undergrowth

2 year old snap dragon which keeps fighting back / spring berries

New shoots on my strawberry plants / pretty blossom tree

<<end of Spring watch!!>>

Persistent petals and seeing the sea

A couple of weeks ago I bought some pre-potted bulbs. I never think to plant bulbs; partly as I only have balcony pots to put them in but mainly because I always forget until it’s too late. With the job of potting some up already done by the shop, along with the fact they were starting to sprout, I invested in some red tulips, hoping for a sunny day to get them outside.

I carefully transferred them home in a carrier bag…and promptly forgot about them.

So, now that I have remembered them, they’re ready to be thrown away, right? No water or sunlight for more than 2 weeks, stifled in a plastic bag in a corner. They’re bound to have withered and given up.

Wrong! Look at my beautiful tulips!

Curved tulips 2

Not only have they miraculously continued to grow, but they have done so in the most peculiar way; obviously growing towards the air and trickle of light that was available. Searching out the life force to not only survive, but flourish. That’s pretty bloomin’ special.

Curved tulips

I’ve now popped them on my kitchen window sill, flooded them with water, and hopefully they’ll straighten out and grow upwards towards the sunlight; after which I’ll transfer them to my balcony.

I still have some snapdragons from a couple of years ago that refuse to throw in the towel; I thought I’d cleared them all out at the end of the summer but they sprouted back up in November and came into bloom.

Here’s a couple of pictures from the North Welsh coast from my weekend trip.

 

It all looks rather gloomy, but I quite like the power of a wild and windy seaside in cloudy weather. Not as much as I like a clear blue sky and white sandy beach, but the chances of that in Wales in March are slim to none.

And how quaint is this cottage?

Hafan y Mor chalet

Its one of the holiday park rentals; looks like something from a fairytale.

Travelling light? Not if I can help it!

I like stuff. And I like choice. I also like to be happy with my appearance, because not being happy with the way I look can affect my enjoyment of an experience. Sad but true.

So, when I go anywhere, I take as much stuff with me as is feasibly possible. So that I have choice when I get there. None of this capsule wardrobe/one colour palette/3 outfits for 3 days nonsense.

Luggage

Case in point was this weekend. Travel Thursday / travel back Sunday. Leaving only 2 full days to dress for, and 3 nights out. Here’s a summary of what I took:

  • 2 vest tops for layering
  • 4 jumpers
  • A hoodie
  • 2 70s style blouses (hate that word, but not sure how else to descibe them?!)
  • A t-shirt
  • 2 pairs of leather look leggings
  • 1 pair of standard leggings
  • 2 pairs of skinny jeans
  • 1 pair of coated skinnies
  • Pair of white skinnies (in March? What was I thinking????!!!!)
  • High waisted black denim shorts (to wear with tights, I’m not completely barking)
  • Leather look sleeveless top
  • Sleeveless oversized band tee
  • Sleeveless chiffon top
  • A dress
  • Long sleeve chiffon shirt
  • 70s style fluffy knit waistcoat
  • Pair of tartan trousers
  • 4 pairs of boots (1 for daytime/3 for evening)
  • 4 coats (leopard fur/leather bomber/heavy jersey military/lightweight leather biker)

Plus the t-shirt/boyfriend jeans/hi-tops I travelled up in on Thursday.

Ridiculous, no? That’s the trouble/bonus of travelling by car – no weight or space restrictions, so you can cram EVERYTHING in!

Overpack

A good point I think?

A mini break and lots of music

Today I’m off to North Wales for a 3 day mini break at a music festival called Hard Rock Hell. Which sounds very brutal and hardcore, but will actually be a lot of fun.

The organisers take over Hafan y Mor holiday park for the duration and there are lots of live bands playing in three different arenas. Because it’s out of season some of the holiday park facilities won’t be open, but there’s an on site shop, pub, etc. Accommodation is in a caravan, which I always turned my nose up at until a couple of years ago but now actually love due to the cosy home-from-homeness of it all. There are 5 of us sharing, which will be a new experience, so we’ll see how that turns out!

Hafan y Mor

I have very eclectic music tastes and like a whole lot of stuff (some of it cheesy and embarrassing, but I don’t care!) I didn’t go to my first live gig until I was about 24 so was quite a late starter, but since meeting my husband I’m really into live music and love being at gigs with friends. He’s introduced to me a lot of smaller bands I would never have heard of otherwise, and things like Hard Rock Hell which I would never have dreamed of going to.

Hopefully we’ll get out and about for a wander and some sea air as well.

Twit of the Day award…

…goes to the person in charge of ordering supplies at my local Asda supermarket ; for running out of both standard size carrier bags AND bags for life, meaning the only options for packing up my shopping were the teeny tiny ones the size of a postage stamp (ok, slight exaggeration, but they’re so small that I needed 7 of them for one hand basket full of shopping).

Think of the environment! And my poor sore hands!*

Bags

*Disclaimer – those are not my legs!

Old England and an orange face!

Today I had a meeting in Stratford upon Avon – the birthplace of William Shakespeare; steeped in culture and history. Half way there, I noticed that my face was an unfortunate shade of orange! I had used new bronzing pearls this morning and evidently they were too effective. Rather than a warm glow I had a look of an oompah loompah (with a pale neck); not ideal job candidate material. Cue frantically rubbing my face with a tissue while navigating country roads.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time for a wander round Stratford. I did, however, make an unexpected stop in Wootton Wawen.

My only prior knowledge of this place was going through it on a train, and laughing because I thought the pronunciation sounded a bit Jonathan Woss-esque (I’ve since found out it’s pronounced Warn, which isn’t nearly as much fun). But today I drove through, and was thrilled by it’s prettiness, even on a grey day.

The Bulls Head pub was built in the 17th century – those are original beams and real thatched roofs.

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St Peter’s church is one of the oldest structures in England’s Midlands. Its tower dates back to the 900s, if not earlier.

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The building in the distance is Wootton Hall, and the grounds are home to a residential caravan site, aimed at “mature residents”. I couldn’t see any of the homes from the road, but what a picturesque place to live.

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There’s also this weir waterfall, I think it’s connected to the lakes in Wootton Hall. I do love the sound of coarsing water; so powerful and nature-ish.

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 Oh,and I saw my first crocus of the year! And this sweet sign outside the village shop.

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Wootton Wawen is probably only about 30 minutes drive from home, but couldn’t be more different. I’m going to head back in summer when the trees are in bloom, and maybe have a cheeky vino and some lunch in that wonderful pub.

Giz-a-job

After a few days of letting the redundancy news sink in, I’ve started to get pro-active on the job front. So yesterday I made some calls to recruitment agencies, and today I had interviews with two of them.

I’ve only had very brief experience with agencies previously, and that was 8 years ago when my skill set was very limited and people like me were two-a-penny; hopefully my career currency has improved since then. What to wear was a slight quandary, as it’s not formal but also you want to project the right image. I took my nose ring out to show I mean business!

While trying to find the first office I came across a young lad with a nosebleed, who told me he’d just had his wallet stolen and was trying to get enough change for a bus. Then I realised I was in completely the wrong place (my geographic knowledge of my own city is poor at times), plus the waistband on my tights was loose so I was scuttling along trying desperately to hoist up my opaques without drawing attention to myself. All this in galeforce winds. At least it wasn’t raining; no-one needs a frizzy me on their hands asking for a job.

My second interview was in another part of the city. I took this photo when I came out; it was beautifully sunny, although cold.

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I thought I’d have a little sit down near the fountain before I left, but then the sun went in and my cape started blowing perilously close to the water (it’s a blanket wrap, I don’t think I’m a superhero). I did spot a lad walking round in a t-shirt, and a girl in sandals. Pretty daft when it’s only 7 degrees.

There goes her Madge

Poor old Madonna. So many people seem to find her Brits tumble hilarious – why is that? Why are we so keen to ridicule people when something bad happens to them?

Madonna

The trouble with being in the public eye is that negative moments like that can become defining. The pictures of Naomi Campbell falling on the catwalk still surface from time to time, even though that was in 1993 (yes I had to google it, and yes that makes me feel OLD!)

Naomi Campbell

I was in a nightclub once, with a new boyfriend* and some friends, when I perched on the edge of a table. Turns out the table top wasn’t attached to the table legs, and I went A over T, with the table top landing on top of me. The shame!

Stupidly, later in the evening, I did exactly the same thing again. Alcohol may have been involved.

*Said boyfriend later became husband, so no lasting harm was done, although we do still mention it from time to time!

Well done to Madge for styling it out, and being the consummate professional she is.