Tag Archives: work

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. Review 

Oh wow! My hearts still pounding in my chest. What a shocker of a novel! 

I first came across Clare Mackintosh when I read an interview with her in Writers Magazine. I liked the sound of her thriller genre novels and I’ve been waiting to read them for ages. My only regret being that I waited so long! 

I Let You Go is Clare’s debut novel and it focuses on a hit and run incident. There are several perspectives in the novel and I’m going to be a bit shady about the entire plot because there are a couple of massive twists that I do not want to spoil for anyone! 

I really enjoyed this novel, it was a page turner without a doubt. I couldn’t put it down, the storyline gripped me and changed my view of British thriller writing irrevocably. It seemed like everything I thought was true was wrong! There were so many twists and turns that it made my head spin but in a good way! 

I can’t wait to get stuck into Clare’s second novel I See You because if it’s anything as good as this one I’ll find myself literally thrilled! 

Making Friends 

Being an adult is hard. That’s a short sentence because it hardly needs any elaboration. There are many things that make it hard, things like getting a job and being able to afford a house and a car and to still have some semblance of a social life when all the bills have come out. The hardest thing for me personally though is the making and maintaining of friendships. 

I got to thinking about this last night. I’ve finally finished training at my new job so I’m in my new team and ostracised from my old team mates who I’ve been through training with since November. 
We went on a team night out last night and everyone including my manager were just great. They were easy to get on with, easy to talk to and easy to laugh with. I planned on eating my meal and having one drink but instead I ended up out until the last train because I was enjoying myself with my new friends. 

The thing is though as an adult these friendships do not remain. As proven by my training team. I had nights out with them which were just as good. We got drunk and laughed a lot and partied till the early hours. We promised to keep in touch and stay friends, continue having great nights out. But it’s not always possible. Some of them moved on to other jobs, the rest of us are on contrasting shifts and can’t seem to get a day off or even a lunchtime together. The group chat on Facebook has gone from a nightly occurrence to pretty much nothing. 

The same has happened in the past. Friendships I’ve made at companies I’ve worked at where we’ve promised to always stay in touch have dribbled away to nothing or just the odd message now and again promising we will meet up soon but never actually organising anything. 

It’s the same with existing friendships. We keep in touch via text and the odd phone call, occasionally stretch ourselves to a quick coffee and a ‘catch up’ but it’s hard to find the time. Moving away to a different town puts distance between us. Different working hours, study time and partners are all things which affect the time we can actually make for friends. 

So I wonder as I sit there with my brand new temporary friends. Is this what it is to be an adult? Small fleeting connections with many different friends who all bring something new to your life but never remain? 

The True Meaning of Christmas 

 It feels like it’s been months since I last posted on here. What with starting my new job, catching up on uni work and the busyness associated with Christmas I just haven’t had chance. So it only seems right that I begin now with a festive post to start off with. 

Christmas for me has always been both magical and disappointing. What even is the real meaning of Christmas anymore? For some people religion is at the forefront of their mind. The birth of Jesus Christ, a celebration for those who believe that our saviour; the son of God was born on this day.  

 For most people it’s about being with the people you love, be that family, friends or anyone else you might spend the Christmas period with. The exchanging of gifts and cards and a big dinner, alcohol and plenty of chocolate and sweets.  

 So why do I find it both magical AND disappointing? 

Both feelings run from the same thing really. I expect too much of it. I’m one of those people who puts my tree up on the 1st December, downloads Christmas music to my Spotify playlist and buys presents in August. I want to get up early on Christmas morning and run downstairs shouting ‘he’s been’, I like a good traditional dinner with all the trimmings and I even like sprouts! I like to give and receive cards before Christmas  Day and I like to spend the afternoon in a food coma watching sh*t tv and playing board games. 

Christmas disappoints me more as the years go by because these expectations rightly or wrongly aren’t met. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t work on Christmas Eve. Since moving out of my family home 3 years ago I always sleep over at my mums Christmas Eve which means I’m in a strange bed (this year a single bed with my partner which was understandably uncomfortable). Nobody wants to get up early, dinner is cooked later in the day and afternoon conversations are forced and stilted. 

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy Christmas or that I’m becoming a perpetual moaner but this year in particular just seemed really stressful. As me and my partner live in the next county to our families and neither of us drive we had to rely on a lift after work, the dog had to go to my dads while we went to my mums and there was so much family to visit on both sides it just became exhausting. Not to say that my mum didn’t do an amazing spread or that we didn’t enjoy seeing everyone and spending time with them. But there was nothing relaxing about it! 

In the end we decided to have New Year just the two of us at home. We had my family round for a buffet tea and that worked much better. What prompted this post though was my mum saying she wasn’t buying cards this year because of the amount of money she spends on them. For me I felt that in doing that it was taking away what Christmas is all about. A card to show you’re thinking of someone. Anyone can buy a gift but in not buying a card with a loving Christmas message you’re just turning it into the exact commercialisation of the festive period that everyone professes to loathe.  

I don’t know where we’ll be or what we’ll do next Christmas but I hope whatever we choose will bring that magic back for me. 

First Day

Today was my first day at my new job. As well as finding out that it seems like a great place to work, that there are a lot of benefits and incentives I also took one very important fact away with me at the end of the day. How much I have grown as a person. It’s all down to one thing 

  (Picture credit: Forbes.com) 

Two years ago I was in a pretty bad place. Having split up with my boyfriend the year before I couldn’t get over our relationship. I felt like something, if not him then definitely something was missing from my life. I hated not only first days at work but everyday at work. I couldn’t face people I thought the sound of my own voice was boring and was convinced others thought the same. I was on anti depressants, sleeping tablets and anti anxiety medication. I saw a counsellor once a week. All I did was go out and get drunk so that I could get the confidence to speak to people. 

But now it’s a different story. In June 2013 I decided to get a hold of my life and try and change it for the better. I thought about the person I was when I’d had a few drinks, the person who was confident and funny and engaging. The person people wanted to interact with because I had fun irregardless of what people may or may not think about me. So I became that person all the time. I read a great book called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers and I realised that what she says is right. What is the worst that could happen if we apply for that job/talk to the boy or girl/ ask for that pay rise. So I did it. I started off by signing up to do a degree with the Open University 

I got a job I actually enjoyed and I met my lovely partner. 

So today I started my new job and instead of sitting at the back and letting everyone speak and having so little self esteem as to presume people dislike me or are talking about me, I made the first move. I asked questions, I led debates, I introduced myself to my peers and built up a strong rapport. Two years ago I couldn’t have done that so I’m proud of where I am today. 

Writing challenge day 22 – your morning routine 

So I’ve ended up completely confused. I couldn’t remember if I posted my writing challenge on November 11th or not and it says 1 day ago but because it’s after midnight I’m unsure! So I’m posting day 22 now and then will probably post day 23 later today as well just in case! I’m home late tonight due to being at a gig (review to come tomorrow!) in Sheffield and having only just walked through my front door! 

So today’s (or possibly yesterday’s) challenge post is about my morning routine. It’s quite difficult now I’m not working because it’s so varied so I’m going to post both and say what my usual routine was when I was working and the one from this or rather yesterday morning as well. 

So when I was working here’s how it went: 

7:10am – alarm goes off and I snooze it for 10 minutes 

7:20am – get up and put my dressing gown on, go downstairs and make a cup of tea, get my lunch out of the fridge and text my boyfriend. 

7:25am drink tea while doing hair. Usual work day hair is a bun on the top of my head and just run the straighteners over my fringe. 

7:30am sometimes I’d put makeup on if I was up early enough. Just foundation, blusher, powder and eyeliner I don’t generally bother with mascara unless I’m going out. 

7:35am brush teeth etc. 

7:40am get dressed. General work wear usually involves a top with a shirt underneath and either trousers or a skirt with leggings. 

7:45am take the dog out for his morning wee 

7:55am pack bag with lunch, book etc and have a quick run round making sure I’ve turned everything off and tidy up a little bit. 

8:05am head downstairs and get my bike out of the shed 

8:10am set off cycling to work 

My routine now is a little bit more messy it completely depends on whether I have interviews that day and what time I need to get up or feel like getting up. Although, I am trying to get up early still in preparation of when I do get a new job. So the last morning I got up November 11th. 

7:20am decided I may as well get up as my boyfriend had disturbed me getting ready for work and I was wide awake. Laid in bed and replied to some emails and text my mum 

7:30am spoke to my mum who was in hospital and text my boyfriend a couple of times 

7:35am made a cup of tea and took the dog out 

7:40am came back and tidied up a little bit. 

7:50am I think I maybe wrote my blog post so I might actually be on track! I also spent some time looking for and applying for jobs and had some toast for breakfast 

8:30am went back to bed and slept until 10 

Why a lifestyle change is so important 

Someone told me once that a woman has a personality change every 7 years. I don’t know how true that is or what evidence there is to back it up, but I gave it some thought in terms of my own life and how much I’ve enjoyed it despite the changes I’ve made and the different lifestyle I live now compared to 7 years ago when I was 18. 

Life for me used to be very money orientated and in some ways it still is but for different reasons. It used to be all about going out and getting drunk and suffering from that feeling we often get; particularly as young people that if we don’t do something we’re missing out. I allowed myself to get into debt because I wanted to go on THAT holiday which ended in disaster when I fell out with my friends and had a traumatic journey back from Ibiza on my own in 2013. I went on a night out every weekend even if it meant paying for my skint friends drinks/taxis/club entry when I didn’t really have enough money myself. I wanted to be out there doing everything and living life to the fullest the only way I knew how. The results of this were a series of one night stands or relationships that lasted no longer than two weeks. A battle with depression and anxiety. Messing up several good jobs, losing a few friends and a lot of debt from loans (both from family and actual lenders) and a hell of a lot of regret. I was that girl who wants to stay out until 3am even if the night is downright sh*t just in case something happened. Even if all my friends had gone home I’d hit up some acquaintances, find out who was out and go party with them instead. I’d waste my Sunday’s lying in bed (not always my own)  feeling horrendous and eating copious amounts of pizza while watching Gossip Girl. Monday’s would often find me ringing in sick due to a two day hangover or struggling in and managing to do nothing resembling productivity. 

Things changed when I met my boyfriend in February of this year. Everything moved very fast due to him finishing uni and getting a job in Nottingham in May. The only option we could both see (due to agreeing that a long distance relationship wouldn’t work) was to move in together. There were doubts on both sides from each other to family and friends but we made it a success and we’re very happy. Money is still important to me but in a different way, it means keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table. I still like to go out but now I prefer a restaraunt we’ve never tried before or a trip to the cinema, a walk down the canal with our dog (previously my dog) and taking in places of natural beauty or history in our local area. I still enjoy seeing my friends, bingeing on pizza and Netflix but I do it now minus the headache and with someone warm and cuddly to snuggle up to. We have a great sex life that doesn’t run the risk of heartbreak or (even worse) STDs . I have a best friend who I get to share all my crazy thoughts with as well as sleeping together and being each other’s Rock. 

On Wednesday the people who read my blog regularly will already know I left my job. After the move and relocation I was struggling with the commute to my old job so I took an office job in my new town through an agency. I had my doubts at interview when the manager told me ‘I haven’t read your cv, I have no idea what to ask you or what to show you’ and asked me 6 or 7 times if I had any questions for her. To be honest it felt more like I was the one interviewing her! I took it though due to the desperation I was feeling about changing jobs and the promise of an improved salary (plus no travel costs) what I got though was a clicky office of nasty, b*tchy women who advised they couldn’t see the point in training me past the easiest most mundane tasks due to me being at uni so probably not wanting to stay at that job forever. When you bear in mind that I have 3 years left at uni, being a glorified office junior is not the career path I’m looking for. They stole from me, they were generally awful to me and when confronted denied it and I got no sick or holiday pay or any other rights due to being an agency temp. So I left. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Given time to regroup and decide what I want to do for a job and career has been great. It’s given me the power to only accept interviews with companies I actually want to work for and with. If I’ve had interviews that have given me the creeps or the feeling it’s not right for me I’ve been able to say thanks but no thanks. 

I think what I’m trying to say is that my outlook on life has changed significantly in the last year. Yes I’ve got into a relationship for the first time in many years but becoming part of a couple has enabled me to find out who I am as a person in my own right. I’ve gained independence, confidence and a drive to do well and be a success in my own right in a job I actually want to do. 

Taking control of my life 

Those who follow my blog (or know me personally) will know that I’ve been unhappy in my current job pretty much since starting. Well things have escalated a bit in recent times and I’ve been feeling the pressure. I’ve not been able to get any of my studying done or find any free time to spend with my boyfriend, my family or my friends. It’s been a really poor situation and I haven’t even been able to get the time off to go to interviews for other jobs! 

So this morning having interviewed yesterday for the first time and with no job offer yet in the pipeline I handed in my notice with immediate effect. I expected to feel worried and upset but for the first time in a long time I felt empowered. Yes it’s going to be hard for me with no income and hard for my partner to pay all the bills and support me BUT I am no longer stuck in a miserable jobs making a bad reference for myself because I’m having time off due to the way the job is making me feel. I’m not letting my uni work suffer or not doing things I enjoy because of it. I’m applying for jobs like a crazy woman and I’ve got some interviews lined up already so fingers crossed I’ll find something soon.

However until then, I’m going to enjoy life for a bit. I’m going to binge watch vampire diaries season 6, I’m going to visit my town museum and write a blog post about it. I’m going to explore some local beauty spots with my dog, I’m going to spend time with boyfriend and catch up on the bits of extensive housework that I don’t usually get done. I’m going to LIVE at least for a little while…