Black and white photo of a desk top with a laptop, pair of glasses, pen, mug of tea and Hello Kitty headphones

A year ago today I was made redundant.

I found out in October 2016 that I would be losing my job. With my redundancy officially taking effect at the end of February 2017.

The idea of redundancy excited me a bit. Although I wasn’t leaving a job I hated, I was leaving a job that had started out as a stop gap after uni. Eight and a half years later I was still there. I’d been applying for other jobs on and off for years but got nowhere. And to be honest, it was hardly surprising. I was applying for jobs in a completely different field, and not really in a position to take a pay cut. Redundancy was the push I needed to get myself on a different career path. And the opportunity to take a pay cut with the safety of a redundancy payout.

I started applying for jobs straight away, I applied for entry-level jobs. Jobs paying minimum wage. I applied to companies I really wanted to work for (Schuh I’m talking about you). I had many rejections. Many I didn’t hear back from. Redundancy very quickly sucked. For the best part of a year I was out of work, and at times I really struggled. Ten months out of work gives you a lot of time to think, and I learned some stuff about myself during this time.

I LEARNED I NEED TO WORK. I had about 10 months out of work. And honestly, I hated it. I’ve been working full time since I was 20. I actually enjoy working (so long as it’s Monday-Friday, sociable hours). I enjoy doing a good job. Helping people and problem-solving is something I like. Work is part of my identity, as it is with many people. For me, I’ve always thrived more in a work environment compared to, for example, studying. I like the instant results of work, like seeing something you’ve put time into coming together. And seeing your wages in the bank at the end of the month.

I LEARNED THAT I DIDN’T MISS BUYING NEW “STUFF”. I definitely had to curb my spending while having no regular income. And I didn’t enjoy that. I like buying new clothes and shoes. But what I really missed was experiences. I had to cancel plans with friends because I couldn’t justify spending the money on nights out. At points even putting fuel in my car was a struggle. Missed blogger events were also something that happened on occasion. Partly because I couldn’t really afford the train fare, and partly because I wasn’t feeling in the mood to “network” and make chat with people. When you already feel lonely this just makes the feeling of isolation a lot worse.

I LEARNED THAT I’M NOT AT A POINT TO WORK FOR MYSELF. The idea of working for yourself is great. Get to sit in your pj’s all day, awesome. Not have anyone tell you what to do, awesome. Having to generate your own work, not so awesome. I think I was a point where my confidence was at rock bottom. I didn’t feel I was good enough to approach people and ask them to hire me. You need to feel that you kill it at whatever you want to do to be able to do this. There is also the problem of no regular income, and having to chase invoices. I’m still chasing one from October!! And although it’s not a lot of money it’s the principle. I can’t live like that, not knowing if someone will actually pay me money I’m due.

I (RE)LEARNED I LOVE BLOGGING. One of the good things about unemployment was that I had time to blog more. It’s difficult to fit in everything in that you want to do if you work full time. Sometimes you don’t even have the capacity to think about more than making dinner and getting comfy on the sofa at night. Having the time to blog more reignited my love of it. I gave my blog a (much needed) revamp and feel a lot better about how it looks.

I LEARNED THAT I NEED TO BE BUSY TO KEEP BUSY AND BE PRODUCTIVE. This sounds weird I know. But I seriously lacked motivation when I was off. In between applying for jobs, studying a bit and going to the gym, I watched a lot of Netflix. I seem to get my get up and go later on in the day. But, if I feel like my time is a bit more precious I use it better.

I LEARNED WORKING 8-4 FOR YEARS KILLED ME. I’m the type of person that needs A LOT of sleep. A morning person I am not. For a lot of my years at HSBC I worked 8-4, I had to get up at 5:30 am once I moved over to Fife. It was exhausting. But it was my routine and it’s what I did. Once I stopped having to do that every morning I realised just how bad it was. It made me feel pretty certain I didn’t want to start another job that had such an early start. Now I have about the same commute as before but I start at 9 am and I’m nowhere near as tired!

I LEARNED NOT TO SETTLE AND TRUST MY GUT. I’ve spoken before about trusting my gut, you can read about it here. There is something about getting made redundant that makes you realise how unimportant and replaceable you really are. It also makes you question your loyalty to a company. To the people who make the decisions, you’re probably just a staff number. When I was getting close to leaving I remember worrying about getting another job and hating it. Someone pointed out to me that if you start a job you hate, you don’t have to stay.

 

I wouldn’t wish redundancy on anyone. In theory, it seems great. In reality, it’s extremely stressful, especially if you don’t get a new job quickly. But in every situation, there’s always some good to come out of it. Sometimes it’s the push people need to make that career change or take the plunge to start their own business. For me, it gave me the push I needed. I’ve been craving a change for years.

Have you ever been made redundant? What was your experience?

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photo by me

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Dress with Cheshire Cat print.

Life has been a bit busy recently.

I’ve gone from having more time than I knew what to do with to being super busy!

We took these photos last month. I’ve struggled to find the time to edit them and think about content for a post. I thought I would give a wee life update as a bit has changed recently, my time has got a load more precious for one thing! After almost a year of redundancy, I started a new job last month. Towards the end of last year, I was starting to feel really down about my lack of a job. It’s a funny thing. When you have a job there are days when you think “how amazing would be to not have to work?” Well, it’s not really that amazing in reality. The lack of money is the obvious thing, but the lack of human interaction is another one.

I had almost given up all hope of finding a marketing job. In December I had two interviews – one for a PA job and one for a marketing job in Stirling. I thought I had no chance of getting the marketing job and that maybe I would be offered the PA one. Amazingly I got offered the marketing one!

black leather handbag with silver studs magenta coloured tights and black boots

I had the first couple of weeks of January to enjoy my last wee while of unemployment. But in all honesty, I was just desperate to get started. So I’m back into the world of working. Back to commuting. Back to feeling tired. And I feckin’ love it! What I don’t love is being a newbie. I always seem to forget how tiring it is learning new stuff. I’ve been knackered for the last month! I’m travelling to Stirling every day which actually isn’t too bad. Mark and I travel together as I pass his work on the way to mine. So I don’t have to do the whole drive by myself!

My new job partly consists of social media updates, writing press releases and proofreading/editing. I can’t actually believe I’m getting paid to sit on social media every day! Quite often with something you’ve wanted so badly, it’s a disappointment. This isn’t one of those times. As well as social media being part of my job, the people are nice and I get a free gym membership. Win for me!

As well as a new job, plans are well underway for the next blogger event – Instagram. We had a rebrand at the start of the year too and we’ve changed from Edinburgh Blogger Conference to Braw Blogger Events. I haven’t managed to be as involved this time as I was with the other ones. With starting my job my brain capacity hasn’t been quite as much. And me and Taryn have some pretty exciting things planned for this year. Turns out maybe 2018 will be the year I hoped 2017 was going to be. It’s certainly starting better, and bagging my dream job is a massive part of this.

black coat and pink coloured tights

Dress – Lindybop // Coat – Dorthy Perkins // Boots – Carvela // Handbag – Rox and Ann (from TKMaxx) // Tights – Marks & Spencer

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photos by M Richardson

 

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White duvet cover with grey polka dots. Reverse of duvet also showing with grey and white floral pattern

Sometimes in life, the simple pleasures are the best ones.

When I was younger, I never imagined in a million years that home stuff would excite me.

But ever since I moved out and into a place of my own the idea of buying new things to put my stamp on my home has actually excited me. Oh, if only my 15-year-old self could see me now!

There is something so satisfying about new bed sheets. Although, living with a guy who measures in at over 6 feet means we have a super king size bed. Yup, it’s huge. So I’m always on the lookout for affordable, nice bedding. And of course, a bed set that goes with the current wall colour (orange!!) but will go just as well once we paint it a new colour. I’m pushing for purple.

Hardly surprising then that for me grey and whites are my go to. JD Williams has lots of choices and ones that suit all budgets. I’m also a fan of a reversible duvet. More bang for your buck is never a bad thing! This one is great – a nice floral pattern on one side, and polka dots on the reverse. I like a floral print, but the polka dots also give it a modern edge.

White duvet cover with grey polka dots

The other great thing about neutral colours is that you can go for a much brighter sheet. This means I get away with having bright pink ones. I’m fully aware they don’t go with our orange wall, but I’m hoping this will encourage us to decorate…

Photo of girl sitting under a purple blanket. View out the window of water.

While browsing bed sheets I also had a look at some of the throws JD Williams had to offer. I love a good fluffy blanket. As someone who is cold pretty much all the time, a good blanket is a necessity in my house. The fluffier the better! This purple one is so soft and warm. I opted for purple, thinking that it would go with the sheets, along with ones I already have. My thought was that it would go on the bottom of the bed. It hasn’t moved from my favourite spot since I got it (I’m writing this post snuggled under it!). Is there anything better than spending a chilled out Sunday, cosy with a cuppa either reading or just enjoying a great view?! I think not.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets excited about home stuff?

 

Check out the full collection of bedding at JD Williams.

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

 

First 2 photos taken by me, bottom photo taken by M Richardson

*items gifted to me by JD Williams
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Photo of phone showing the Badoo explore page, cup of coffee, a croissant and a book.

VALENTINE’S DAY HAS BEEN AND GONE.

A DAY THAT MADE COUPLES FEEL SMUG AND MUSHY AND MANY SINGLE PEOPLE FEELING BUMMED OUT. IF YOU’RE STILL ON THE LOOKOUT FOR A DATE AFTER THE BIG DAY FEAR NOT, THERE IS STILL TIME!

The world of dating is a scary one. Putting yourself out there can be daunting, what if you have a disastrous first date (we all heard the story about the girl getting stuck in the bathroom window, right?!)? What if you really like someone and they don’t feel the same?

But, as well as terrifying it can be great fun. Think about it. You get to meet new people, possibly try new places. You will have someone to go to the cinema with, or out for dinner. In the 21st century how do we meet potential new partners though? Times have changed, we no longer go to the dancing on a Saturday night and although we can meet people at work, who really wants to have to deal with that if things don’t work out.

It’s hardly surprising then that more and more people are finding love online. And no longer is it something that people are embarrassed to admit. There are dating apps for every type of person. Whether you want something that goes really in depth with what you’re looking for, or something a little bit less full on, and a little more fun. Badoo falls into both categories! While users can add details about whether they want kids, are a smoker etc it initially starts off with photos of potential matches. If you like how someone looks you can find out more. With over 370 million people using the app why wouldn’t you want to try to find love here?

So when it comes to finding love what are the things we look for? I’m just gonna go straight in there and say that looks matter. Some may find this shallow but they don’t call it love at first sight for nothing! First impressions count for a lot. Rightly or wrongly we make up our mind about someone within the first seven seconds. The difference between someone you’re friends with, and someone you’re in a relationship with is finding them hot.

Badoo presents you with photos of potential dates, (you can state whether you’re a girl looking for a guy or girl and vice versa) and you swipe yes or no based on how hot you think they are. Sometimes the decision process is super quick, either you’re digging them or not. But what about those people that make you pause for a moment, maybe they have a killer smile or the nicest eyes you’ve ever seen? Those are the people who draw you in and make you want to know more.

Queue the all-important bio! This is your opportunity to really catch someone’s attention and leave them desperate to meet you. As important as looks are, when you’re looking for a relationship there needs to be some common interests. A bio with very little information is not going to get as much interest as if you add a bit about yourself. With Badoo, you get 500 characters to give a little insight into what floats your boat in life and to share any interesting facts about yourself. You need to be confident, but not cocky. Think about how you would sell yourself on a CV, and translate that into dating. Grab their attention with your bio, and make them really want to meet you for that face to face interview, I mean date (a first date is a bit like an interview though!).

A few other things to consider:

  • Fun photos – no duck selfies, use photos of you having fun. It makes you seem a lot more approachable.
  • Share any funny quirks you have – everyone has at least one.
  • Show your personality and sense of humour in your writing – not everyone is a writer but don’t be too formal, you’re not writing an essay.
  • Don’t be afraid to use an emoji – emojis have made it into our daily life, and these can be a fun way of showing what your interests are.

Here’s mine just to give an example:

Photo of Badoo dating app profile

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Top photo courtesy of Badoo, bottom photo screenshot of my Badoo profile.

*post sponsored by Badoo

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Gin new town mojito cocktail and two bottles of Edinburgh Gin

New Town Mojito.

Ginuary has been fun. I’m not a big drinker so a dry January wouldn’t really have had any huge benefit to me. Plus, I always think as soon as you try to deny yourself something, you just want it more.

So today we have my last Ginuary post. I’ve enjoyed trying out new gin this month and for today’s post, I’ve given a gin cocktail a try. Most of the gin websites will give you suggestions on how to drink their products. Great if you’re new to a certain type of gin, or even just looking for some new ideas.

In all honesty, I’m not really one for cocktails unless I’m out for drinks. They can be a bit too much faff and generally include things I don’t have to hand in the house. But on my quest to try new gin at the start of this month I’d looked a few up. The Edinburgh Gin website has some really delicious sounding cocktails, and when I saw a gin-based mojito I was desperate to try it.

The first time I went to make it I was seriously disappointed. I’d convinced myself that I had a bottle of Elderflower gin liqueur in amongst my many bottles of gin. I did not. Never fear, Mark to the rescue. He surprised me with a bottle a couple of nights later!

Bottles of gin. One Edinburgh Gin and one Edinburgh Gin Elderflower liqueur.

The New Town Mojito is different from your traditional mojito. Not only because it’s made with gin rather than white rum. But it also misses out the mint and soda, and the lime is replaced with lemon. Basically, the only thing similar to a mojito is the name.

Thankfully the only faffy bit of this cocktail was juicing the lemon. I made the rest of it easily. And it was absolutely delicious. Really crisp and fresh tasting and would be an ideal summer cocktail. The elderflower and apple paired perfectly, lemon added a nice twist and a bit of zing to the flavour.

This is definitely one I will make again. Although I would maybe add a bit of soda water to make it go further and add a bit of fizz to the drink.

How do you drink the Elderflower gin? As always I would love your suggestions!

Fancy having a read at my other Ginuary posts? You can get them here.

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

 

Photographs by me

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