Sunday, 17 December 2017

I DIDN'T THINK I WOULD SURVIVE...

It's been a tough year. In one way, or another and, of course, with varying degrees of severity depending on one's circumstances, it has been flipping hard out here throughout 2017 for so many of us! Whether it was the end of a relationship, being let go from a job, poor health, financial strains, family feud's, the loss of a loved one, or, other grave experiences that we know to be occurring around the world, the last 12 months have been a tad dark at times to say the least.

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Although I have been quite good at staying optimistic, like every other human being, there are times when I have felt that having a "you've got this" and "you can do it" attitude just hasn't worked for me. My mood has been low, energy levels practically missing, my mind has been all over the place and I occasionally felt 'done with the world'. I just felt lost, literally...

I had moments of feeling total despair, especially during October and November. For me, they are my reflection months; when I begin to look back on the year and check myself as it were. The response towards my personal growth was [fairly] decent [there will always be room for improvement], but, it was almost a wrap when I started to think about my creative endeavours because, I felt a bit "meh". Yep, I'm talking about blogging and radio!!

Suffice to say, a solid perspective was restored once I re-read one of my favourite books, by Oprah, titled 'What I Know For Sure'. See, what I know for sure is that I will continue to pursue whatever I remain passionate about until I draw my last breath, regardless of how well I may, or may not be doing, but, I'll not be hard on myself should that passion fade! 

"The struggle is too real" is a phrase I heard a lot during 2017 and, for me, it definitely was in a number of ways, however, I stayed focused on the things and people who make me happy and encourage me to keep striving! This, my friends, is not easy, but, it is achievable and a great way to rise above any nonsense. I also made progress with a big part of my anxiety - I, to a degree, started to speak openly about the things I was finding difficult. I absolutely loathe the thought that I may be a burden to someone and I have also had a real battle with letting folks in because, I haven't wanted to get close to anyone so as to avoid potential drama which may [inevitably] lead to a fallout. I praise God that I am much better at sharing the absolute truth of my feelings now [where necessary] and with the relevant people, organically. 

I'm proud of myself - I've done well with my anxiety, I achieved the goal of publishing a blog post once a week [that might change to once a fortnight next year] and I've managed to live a fairly 'normal' life despite constantly being in pain. I took a course in Photography, saved and bought for myself my first DSLR camera [and started a photography project], kept up with my exercise, I was chosen to host a big corporate awards show, which champions and supports our youth [Business Launchpad], launched my own clothing range in partnership with a charity, was rated a Top UK Blogger by Feedspot and successfully ticked off the majority of my vision board. I did alright, mate!

This year, one of my main goals was to use the platforms available to me to support others and I did that. I have always done that. Next year the goal is to focus on my own pursuits both professionally and personally. I need to look after myself before trying to look out for others. 
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This is my last blog entry, for 2017, as I now look forward to spending Christmas with my immediate family and I cannot wait! For me, the festive season is all about the children and they're the ones I am most excited to see open presents, nom on delicious food and have lots of fun. Who would ever believe that I was once a Scrooge? LOL!!

Be good to yourself, folks. When it comes down to it, you're all you've got.

Thank you so, so much for supporting this blog [to date, it has received 47,000+ views worldwide], my radio journey and all of my other endeavours. I hope to have your continued support throughout 2018 as I take on a new and very different chapter of my life. Merry Christmas and God bless x

Thanks for reading.

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PS. I will try to include a random fact about myself with each post throughout 2018!! 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

DO THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS EVERY YEAR!

A few years ago I decided to make a conscious effort to get my friends together on the odd occasion throughout each year to ensure we didn't fall into the virtual realm so many have become comfortable with which often leads to less real life contact and communication. Initially I created a WhatsApp group, to which I added my handful of true friends, then I began organising an outing every few months purely for fun and to obviously cultivate the friendships. 

Being one who loves to organise events (I worked as an events planner for several years), I soon proposed that I plan a dining experience to include table friendly games, gifts and a moment of thanks, once a year, a few weeks before Christmas. I named it 'The Annual Gratitude Supper' and the aim is to share positive and encouraging reflections of the year gone by, to inspire and uplift each other. It also prepares us for the year ahead in the best possible way.
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This year we dined at Ping Pong, Southbank and we had such a fabulous time! We laughed from our arrival until we all said, "bye, be safe and send a message to the group when you're home" once we were done stuffing our faces, playing some games and exchanging gifts. If you've never dined at Ping Pong before, let me tell you, the food was super yummy, healthy and so affordable! I highly recommend you give them a try. After each having had a long day, we were desperately hungry and very excited for our evening together, so, I forgot to snap pictures of our food, table decor, the games and activities we played!!
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In true Christmas spirit we pulled crackers, opened presents, ate delicious vegan treats (courtesy of Lola's Cupcakes) and we, of course, took turns sharing what we are grateful for (this year). It really was a wonderful time and the restaurant staff were delightful. I literally went out of my way to make this be an entire experience - it wasn't just about sharing gratitude, it was about doing something to remind my friends how much I care about and love them.
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God willing, we will enjoy another amazing year of friendship. I'm very excited for 2018!

How do you and your friends celebrate at the end of each year?

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

14 TIPS: HOW TO NETWORK IN 2018

The word 'networking' is no longer as daunting for some as it once was. In fact, it isn't a word we hear used very often these days because, the way we network has changed; it has evolved, or rather; we now approach it very differently to how we use to.

That being said, for those who may still feel a tad on edge when they consider having to 'network', the tips below may be helpful.

Instead of walking around an event armed with business cards you shove at anyone who says "hello" to you, an unplanned opening line, no target individual in sight and the 'oh so desperate to be booked' vibe, these methods and tactics may have you feel more confident. Give them a try! 

Get clued up! - What is the aim of the event you're attending? Who is the founder/organiser? Who is involved (from talents to sponsors) and in what way could you perhaps be part of the team in the future? What do you have to offer, if anything?

Have an aim. Why are you there? What do you hope to gain?

Do you! Be true to who you are (from head to toe, literally) - if you're uncomfortable in what you are wearing it will show and may send the wrong message/signal.

Social media is your business card/CV (to a degree, sadly; in fact annoyingly) - folks aren't likely to look through your actual credentials unless they like who you 'appear' to be online. Tidy up your profiles, make sure your name is the same, or similar across all.

What is your conversation starter? Will it be in relation to the event you're attending, or the weather that day? Are you going to introduce yourself then invite the other person to talk about themselves first? Know what you intend to say before you approach.

REMEMBER: networking means to have a chat; to get to know someone! You can do that anywhere, anytime, with anybody. So, try to start a conversation with the person who serves you the next time you go into a shop. You may find yourself talking to a superstar in the making!

Attend solo - you don't need to have a friend tag along just so you don't feel 'silly', or alone. It shows confidence when you arrive to an event on your own and that you also want to be approached; you're there to openly meet new people.
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Eye contact is more important today than ever before. People are a lot better at reading one another nowadays and that starts with the locking of eyes during a chat. I mean, don't burn a hole in their pupils but, make sure you show them that you are keen to talk by paying attention with your eyes. Failure to do could have them lose interest and cut the convo short!

Your phone is your note pad - record all vital information in a draft email and send it to yourself (so, should your phone crash, you don't lose the notes you've made) and immediately (after leaving the event) follow those you connect with on social media so, you can start building a 'relationship' through content interaction.

However, do not be glued your phone and, if possible, don't keep it in your hand the entire time. You want to appear ready to mingle and will also need your hands free to greet with a handshake, take a drink (or nibbles) that may be on offer etc.

Make sure you carry chargers for any devices you use regularly that you plan to take with you to whichever events you choose to attend (just in case).

Document the experience (primarily for yourself) by taking pictures and video footage (yes, for Instagram, snapchat, and the rest, if that's your thing), but, also because, you never know how that content might benefit you going forward (in terms of creative projects you may embark on).

Be about getting to know the people not just collecting contacts. Folks can smell such an agenda a mile off and tend not to like it even if they know that's the reason for the actual event!

Finally, do not chase anyone. If you've made an attempt to speak with somebody and they (quite blatantly) show they're not interested, leave them be. There's plenty more people in the room/venue, I'm sure!

Do you have any networking tips of your own?

Thanks for reading.
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Sunday, 26 November 2017

YOU SHOULD DO THIS!

So many of us have daily struggles to contend with, be that personal, or professional and, in most cases, a breather from those circumstances can help us to feel better, gain a new perspective and give us the clarity and focus we need to tackle our problems. If you don't already, I suggest you set aside one day each week, or a few hours one day per week to give yourself a break from anything, or anyone that has you feel stressed.

I'd heard that Kew Gardens is "very relaxing", "visually stunning" and "one of those places" that so many believe is somewhere that everyone "needs to go and see". I visited the much loved and raved about gardens (which happens to be an Instagram hot spot - #kewgardens) where I had a really lovely time with my family. I, myself, did feel quite relaxed walking around. Well, for the most part - it was so cold, the temperature dropped more than we had expected it to, which left me with numb toes and the struggle to walk became too real!...
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With my brother and sister
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Japanese Landscape
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Exterior of the Palm House - home to a variety of tropical plants.
It's very warm inside! 
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There are café's in the gardens - some items are overpriced
and you may have to 'wrestle' with pigeons as you eat!
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View from the TREETOP WALKWAY! It's very high!!
While I believe the overall experience is a tad overpriced, it's one of those things you just have to see for yourself. We explored the gardens during the day, went for a satisfying lunch (and to thaw, real talk), then returned in the evening for a completely different experience in the same gardens named 'The Afterdark Festive Trail'. This included food huts (one serving big square sized flavoured marshmallows, which you can then roast yourself), lots of fairy lights, an outdoor Christmas performance with a purpose built set, a stunning air water show, which, in my opinion, is the best attraction in the gardens, plus more! Although I'm super chuffed I can now say, "I've been to Kew Gardens", I think it would be a more enjoyable experience during spring, or summer. 
It's a lovely place to go with anyone, of any age (especially children who seem to find it magical), for any occasion. If you haven't been to Kew Gardens, you can book via this link

Special thanks to my sister Lydia, who organised the whole trip, I really appreciate all of the effort you put into making it a fab day out for the whole family!! x

Thanks for reading.
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Sunday, 19 November 2017

DEAR UNDERCOVER ABUSER,

You were not born with the right to lead anyone into a false sense of security; to manipulate trust only to unleash a myriad of abuse.

You are a vile, insensitive, cruel and ignorant dictator. In fact, your personality traits match that of a narcissist; you operate with a 'what I want, when and how I want it and no other way' attitude. You are desperately controlling and therefore destructive. Interesting that you do to others as you would not want them to do to you, nor your family.

The way you keep and use so many around you is disgusting. Although some would argue that certain individuals are stupid for allowing themselves to be repeatedly abused, the fault is entirely with you! 

You're such a mess and I feel so sorry for you. There's an insecurity, or demon you're not dealing with that has you roll around town all Jekyll and Hyde! You go from being so lovely and ridiculously thoughtful to distant, rude, manic, aggressive and abusive so damn quickly. You become a brutal sexual predator thirsty for what isn't yours to take albeit violently taken as and when you like. Despite the cries, screams, frightened voices begging you to stop, you continue to abuse your power and position to do one of the most horrific and life changing, damaging, scarring things one human can do to another. You then discard your victims ready to prey on the new...
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Dear Undercover Abuser, 

You are the worst type of human because, you've successfully managed to have so many people believe you are "nice"; one who is "charming" and "really cares about everyone" when the truth is you only care about yourself, your needs, your wants, your perspective on things and your feelings (those despicable, unjustified urges you allow to drive you). Everything you do is about your own desires regardless of how wrong those impulses may be.

You have now been exposed and can no longer hide who and what you truly are. Despite the bars, you've been given an opportunity to reform. Take it! Get well, if that is even possible. 

Karma is a two way street and, whether or not you are one day rid of your nasty thoughts and soul destroying behaviour, it will pay you a visit. I just hope that when it's done with you it doesn't cause you the same pain, heartache, despair, fear, trust issue's, physical scars, deep emotional damage (and the rest) that you've caused others.

On behalf of an army of survivors,
Not Yours but, Sincerely,
Charley Jai.

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To The Survivors (women, men, children, anyone of any age who has had such an experience) - please be reminded that there is nothing you have done, or said, that can ever justify being violated in any way, shape, or form. You have been wonderfully made. You are beautiful and deserving of great things. Own who you are and then use that ownership to ensure you succeed, both personally and professionally. You can do it! 

Charley x

Sunday, 12 November 2017

A CANDID INTERVIEW WITH LINDA E

She is a self proclaimed ambassador of enjoyment and is one of the warmest voices on radio. Her love of all things entertainment has seen her interview American actress AJ Johnson, hair stylist Tokyo, music artists Lisa Maffia and Bonkaz, to name a few. Her likeable personality has also meant she is often chosen to host a variety of events including Live Lounge for City Connex, SWAFF (Streetwear and Athleisure Festival) and PITCH for O.N.E MovementI caught up with her for a well overdue catch up!
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How did you become a radio presenter? "Ha-ha long story short, friends of mine started a radio station a few years ago and I told them I wanted a show so, they gave me one".
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The creative/media industry is bursting with talent. What sets you apart from the rest? "My energy is unlike any I've seen before. I think my blood should be studied by a scientist. I also have a good mix of emotional intelligence, normal intelligence and confidence".
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Are you put off from pursuing your creative and artistic goals by the stories of misconduct and abuse within the entertainment industry? "Not at all. Unfortunately abuse and misconduct is part of many industries, so it has never put me off one bit".
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Do you feel social media is a help, or a hindrance to your profession/career? "Definitely a help, although you have to be savvy about the way you use it as well as filtering out the serious from the non serious people who may contact you".
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As well as radio, hosting events and handling press coverage for Pulse88 (the home of your radio show), you also have a regular job and you're very active on Instagram too! How do you manage everything?" Honestly, I don't know. God has just made me very good at juggling and when something is your passion you will always find a way to make it work!"
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You took took part in my 'Layers' photography project (I've included some of the images in this article) and we had so much fun! How important is it to you that your audience see different sides to Linda E? "It's extremely important, I am a human being and a multifaceted one at that which is a good thing. Different parts of me may appeal to different people, so I do want to show as many sides of me as possible".
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If given the opportunity to ask anyone in the world just ONE question, who would you choose and what would you ask them? "Oh, this is hard because I talk so much, but, I would ask Oprah to give me all of her contacts so I could start my own TV network!!"
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How do you intend to spend Christmas this year? "I'm not sure. Last year I was in Nigeria for Christmas, so, it will be hard to top that, lol... This year, I just want to have lots of fun!"
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DISCLAIMER: All information in this post was correct at the time it was published.

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - THE BEST PROTECTION

Sunday, 5 November 2017

THE BEST PROTECTION

This particular subject is one (I believe) everyone should speak about whether they have been directly affected or not. It's about raising a high level of awareness in the hope that we can bring about a long-term, effective change!

Sexual misconduct is not exclusive. It does not only occur amongst the elite, rich and famous. The difference between one with a public profile and the likes of Miss Nobody (aka me) is being in the spotlight. 

Sadly, one too many (males and females, of all ages, shapes, backgrounds and the rest) have been subjected to some form of inappropriate conduct by someone in/with a position of power (physically, or professionally) and the immediate emotional response varies. In a lot of cases that very response has been the extremely thin line between the incident taking a more sinister turn and the victim getting out alive...

There still remains the misconception that attire, or behavioural choices determine whether or not someone is more at risk of being subjected to a sexual, or violent offence and this is the most ridiculous thought, ever! A would-be perpetrator will likely target anyone they are convinced they can 'have their way with' and not get caught. 

A woman could be completely covered up except for her face, hands and ankles. A man could be dressed in jeans, with an oversized jumper, socks, boots and a hat. 'Monsters will do what monsters do'.

If one is physically unable to prevent an assault, should they survive their ordeal, one way to protect themselves (and others) going forward is to speak openly and unashamedly about the experience. EXPOSE the offender/attacker! Of course, such a thing is not at all easy and can take some time, but, it is so necessary. Now more than ever!! Speak out.
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Way too many powerful individuals exploit their privilege of power for the most horrid personal gains and I feel silence is their enabler. We all have freedom of speech and the choice to exercise that freedom.

ALWAYS say "no" firm and strong. ALWAYS fight back. ALWAYS expose anyone who has abused, or is abusing you. ALWAYS seek justice. You are not to blame, it will never be your fault, nor are you responsible. Take back control by reporting the perpetrator (giving as much detail and information as possible). Do not allow yourself to be held prisoner by your thoughts about your ordeal. Confront it (with the support of your loved and trusted ones, if possible) so you can move on.

The best form of defence and protection is your voice. Use it.

PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST POTENTIAL HARM
  • Keep a mini flashlight with you
  • Carry a whistle, or personal alarm
  • Use an alcohol based spray to stun
  • Do not drink yourself into an oblivion! 
  • Keep jewellery and expensive wear to a minimum
  • Leave distracting items out of sight (phone, music player)

This link will provide you with further information and tips relating to this subject.

You will help yourself massively and do a great service to others when you report a crime, so, please make sure that you do! We each have a duty of care to ourselves and those around us.

Be safety conscious.

Thanks for reading.
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Sunday, 29 October 2017

7 FACTS ABOUT HALLOWEEN!

Halloween has most definitely become a global sensation! Costumes have gone from the traditional witch, devil, ghosts, zombie and ghoul masks to sexy, trendy and fashionable. Forget frightening, it's all about being freakishly stylish! I'm not into the Halloween hoo-ha myself, but, I have wondered if those of you who are have any idea what Halloween is really all about! 
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1. It was a pagan holiday honuoring the dead.

2. Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats to placate spirits who roamed the streets.

3. Originally, you had to dance for your 'treat' - this was a European practice where people in costume would go door-to-door performing choreographed dances for treats.

4. Jack-o'-lantern comes from an old Irish tale about a man named Stingy Jack and was once made out of turnips, beets and potatoes not pumpkins!
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5. In a few American towns, Halloween was once referred to as "cabbage night". This came from a Scottish fortune-telling game, where the girls used cabbage stumps to predict information about their future husbands.

6. Some animal shelters will not allow the adoption of black cats during Halloween for fear they will be sacrificed.

7. Studies have shown that Halloween actually makes children more evil.
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Be safe if you plan to be involved with any Halloween shenanigans, folks! Enjoy!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED...

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In my opinion, it is so simple. We tweet our thoughts, we Facebook our upset, we Instagram a snippet of our reality, we blog about our feelings, we snap our random moments and we look to Google, or YouTube for answers to almost every question we have. 

Consider, for a few minutes, the following as being FACT.... Your thoughts are shared, any upset is understood, your reality is common, your feelings are mutual, your random moments have been experienced by others, Google and YouTube are not entirely reliable sources of information. 

For a growing majority, it would seem that genuine human contact has lost its appeal. Some would rather direct you to their social media profiles, or website, to see them, literally, or offer you a WhatsApp conversation, over some quality one on one time in the flesh!

Personally, especially when I need to de-stress (and get my Feng Shui back on point), I want face to face company. For me, that's the best way to seek reassurance, support, encouragement, nurturing, good conversation, laughter and love (which we all need) instead of whatever impersonal escape I can find on the internet.

CopyrightCharleyJaiI know, for whatever reasons, there are a lot of people who prefer to keep their relationships virtual. (I mean, can you even call it "a relationship" if there's no real life contact and communication?). However, it does absolute wonders for me when I spend time with my loved ones. During that time I can forget about any troubles I may have. Of course the problems we encounter need to be resolved, eventually, but, having a breather from anything stress related is a must!! You cannot resolve any issues without having a clear mind.

My closest friend and I try to meet as often as we can and it's all about making the most of the time we're blessed with to spend together. We recently met for an impromptu shoot (I need to continue working on my camera/photography skills) after which we enjoyed a ridiculously tasty 3 course meal at Prezzo inside Victoria Place in London. The staff were super kind, attentive, accommodating and complimentary. We absolutely loved it!! You can read my TripAdvisor review with pictures of the food here.

We only get one life, folks; one chance to make it count in as many ways as we can and for all of the right reasons. I've said this a number of times in the past, but, if presented with an opportunity to talk on the phone, or physically see someone you claim to care about (who also cares about you) take it!! Make the effort! In fact, message anyone you have not spoken to, replied to, or seen for the longest time right now and invite them to meet with you. Life is too short to keep saying, "life is too short" but not change the way and with whom you spend yours!

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Anytime you find yourself thinking of someone you've not seen, or spoken to in a while, get in touch with them and ask them to join you for lunch? You've nothing to lose and potentially so much to gain! Do it!!!!

Nothing but this very moment is guaranteed. Invest your time wisely.

DISCLAIMER: This post is in support of Prezzo (Victoria Place, London).

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

8 REASONS WHY THAT JOB ISN'T FOR YOU!

This should not apply to you if you're self-employed because, surely the work you're doing is by choice and therefore you love it. If it does apply, perhaps you ought to reassess the nature of your work, how you're working and look for ways in which you can improve productivity and progression. Alternatively, you may need to consider a new venture. What are you passionate about?

If you tend to moan and complain about your job more than you speak of it fondly chances are things are terrible and not likely to get any better, or you haven't yet found a positive and productive way to jump the hurdles that come with it. That said, it could be that it just isn't the job for you especially if you identify with the following (and other such factors):

1. Monday is more than the sort of struggle we meme about! You feel quite low, irritated, moody, have a headache and these feelings stay with you throughout the working week.

2. You care about the company/your job much less than you did when you first started and, not only are you no longer working to the best of your ability, you find yourself frequently checking the time to see how long you have left before your shift ends.

3. Although you get along with your colleagues, you've lost interest in them socially and actually find yourself easily annoyed by them from time to time for the smallest of things which is causing tension, conflict and an uncomfortable working environment.
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4. You're cutting corners instead of being thorough, you lack attention to detail and always avoid going the extra mile.

5. You've started smoking more, or have taken up smoking so as to have frequent breaks.

6. Eating has either become a comforter, or there's a loss of appetite. Sometimes we eat larger quantities/portions when we don't have much to do, are bored, or just cannot be bothered to get on with our work. If you have found yourself suddenly eating junk food, or more processed foods than usual, your stress levels may be higher than you feel. A change in your appetite might be a sign of something a tad more serious! Could be worth consulting your GP.
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7. Outside interests have taken a back seat due to minimal enthusiasm, or you find yourself wanting to participate in activities that are a bit outlandish to compensate for the boredom and frustration you feel when at work.

8. Despite the fact that unemployment is not the way forward, you have considered quitting your job without first securing other prospects.

A job is one aspect of your life, so it should not consume your entire being. If you feel strongly that, even though you may enjoy the work, your job isn't for you, start making plans to go after what it is you'd rather be doing (career wise) and begin taking the relevant steps so you can move on! While it can be a scary time (especially as we approach Halloween - cue ghost sound effects.... Okay, lame joke), it will most likely be one of the best times of your life, as you will undoubtedly learn a lot about yourself and will have opportunities to try new things, or maybe gain additional qualifications. So, get planning! Go and pursue the better that you deserve!! You were born to live not merely exist, especially not to serve someone else providing a service you don't even enjoy.

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - 5 TIPS: HOW TO LIVE BROKE

Sunday, 8 October 2017

5 TIPS: HOW TO LIVE BROKE!!

Sometimes, despite every effort to keep our heads above financial water, we can run into difficulties and go through stages where we have a lot less than we need to keep the roof over our head and ensure we're eating every day. Sadly, for too many, this can become an ongoing problem. If it's about low wages and your employer will not, or is not able to, give you a pay rise, keep looking for a job that pays better (without costing you more). If it's about expenses, revise your outgoings and cut, or cull anything you can minimise, or do without. 

Whenever you can foresee a month where you will have less money, it's a good idea to try to make sure you will still have everything you need (NOT want) because, the situation will be made a whole lot worse if you're unable to cover your costs and fuel your body, real talk!

1. Bills first, always! - This must be your number one priority!! Take a look at your expenditure and make sure, no matter what, you have your overheads covered. Having a clear yet detailed spreadsheet can help to keep you on top of things.
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2. Reduce monthly travel costs by cancelling any non urgent plans - you can see your friends next month, go on that weekend trip with your partner another time and that treat you wanted to give yourself can wait until whenever!

3. Groceries - purchase the cheapest of the best/healthiest range from quality supermarkets/stores. Asda's own range is decent and Lidl is really good too! 
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4. Toiletries - bulk buy cheaper alternatives of any products you're running low on. Especially deodorant, body lotion, etc. Not feeling good due to a lack of funds is one thing, but, you want to make sure your hygiene and appearance is on top form!

5. Increase your income - if you can, do (some) overtime and/or put your other skills to use by offering Freelance services to independent organisations (you may need to register as self employed to do this). Grab a pen and paper right now and list all of the things you're good at for which you have proven experience, put together proposals of your services, then seek out those who are looking for someone with your skills/expertise and contact them. You've nothing to lose!
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BONUS TIP
Take a look at the following apps (active at the time of publishing this post, however, they may not be available on all phones, or in every country) to help boost your bank balance by saving you a lot of money on your shopping! 

  • Receipt Hog - scan shopping receipts to earn rewards.
  • ClickSnap - cashback, discounts and more at selected retailers.
  • CheckoutSmart - tells you where you can find local bargains and exclusive offers.

You are not your circumstances and everything is temporary, so, remain hopeful, stay busy, pray, confide in your trusted loved ones (who may be able to assist you during your tough times) and where necessary seek professional advice and support. You are strong and you're a fighter. There is no setback that you cannot overcome. x


Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

HOW TO GET AHEAD THIS CHRISTMAS! 🎅

If you've been reading my blog posts for the last few years you will be very aware of the fact that I was so against the festive season. However, I'm now all about it from becoming an auntie for the second time! I love my niece and nephew to absolute pieces and it's lovely to see their faces light up during the celebrations...

I've always enjoyed buying gifts for others, especially when it comes to birthdays so, I tend to plan and prepare well in advance which allows for a decent amount of time to create, or buy presents I can put a lot of thought into. I actually start thinking about Christmas gifts as early as July!
Here are some tips on how you can get ahead without going broke this Christmas.

TIP 1
Charity Shops / Discount Stores - towards the end of September/beginning of October, many of them stock decorations (much cheaper than high street shops), as well as novelty and sample products, like those pictured below, (that haven't been used) which are good for stocking fillers, or they can be added to a box of assorted gifts.
These were 49p each from an East London charity shop!
TIP 2
Unwanted items - as long as they haven't been opened/used, you can give them as a beautifully wrapped present. Just make sure you're not giving the gift back to the person who bought it for you! LOL!!

TIP 3
Get creative - If you know a loved one is really into wall art, or home decor, for example, you can make a gift using bits and bobs you have at home, or inexpensive quality materials from your local craft shop. If you're not very good at D.I.Y, have a look on YouTube for 'How To' video's.
Home made wall quotes, total cost £3.99
TIP 4
Treatwell - this app/website is super useful for amazing bargains! Whether it's a back massage you're after, a personal trainer, a weekend away, or you want to book an experience for someone, there are many affordable treats and there really is something for everyone, literally! Do the relevant checks before making any purchases.

TIP 5 
Recycle - instead of buying new outfits, especially if you'll only be indoors with your family, why not customise an old festive jumper and hat, or team the jumper you wore last year with a different pair of trousers, skirt, dungarees, dress, or jeans with an alternative make-up look and hairstyle?
Yes, that is my 2017 Christmas jumper of choice!
BONUS TIP
Going forward, if you can, buy a few bits throughout the year, every month, so as not to spend all of your November/December wages (in one go) leaving you behind on bills and broke come the New Year!

It isn't necessary to spend thousands, or even hundreds, for the few hours in the one day on which we all celebrate Christmas. The most important aspect is being with your loved ones, chilling, having fun and munching some yummy food! See how much you can save this year in comparison to 2016. I challenge you to be, at least, £100/$130 better off!!

Thanks for reading.
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