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Posts Tagged ‘job hunting’

Still no job interviews, so what’s a girl to do? Well, best to get some great inspiration to keep away the out of work blues; first, one of my fabbest friends is a teacher so I told her about this fab offer from Lucky Voice – key workers get 2 free hours of singing like a cat’s chorus at this super glam karoaoke establishment – so we did and it was super fab…

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Take a look at this great cover – is he the new Elvis?

wonderland31

Brush aside those frumpy fash mags and get hold of this super inspirational title, Wonderland, my top favourite magazine

And have you seen this great ad? It’s such a feel good few seconds, I think I’m going to have to dig out my old shell toes

And last but not least, spring is nearly here and that means, cherry blossom everywhere and I got these today from Graham and Green, so pretty and fluffy, they can’t help but bring a smile to my face – and don’t worry, I didn’t spend a penny, I had a £50 voucher to splurge…

cherry_m11

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I always tell Miniminx that to get what you want, Rule Number One is to be nice and always smile – try it, it’s free and it works. And Rule Number Two; if you don’t ask, you don’t get. While I’ve since come to mildly regret passing on these wise learnings (I’ve been at the mercy of them on a daily basis ever since), I’d rather have a little charmer on my hands than a petulant pouter.

In this crazy world, it’s my firm belief that it still counts to live life by your own rule book and in times of trouble I tend to resort to what I call Freebie Alchemy. In the good old days, this would mean blagging my way into VIP areas, getting backstage passes and bagging designer clothes samples (when I was thin enought to squeeze into catwalk offcasts). Now, the parameters and priorites of my life have changed but, I still remain very committed to practising the Art of getting something for nothing.

So, here’s the thing. This week I’ve managed to get in a major haul of goodies without even going to the cash point. Not being much of an accountant, I’ve made my own little calculations and in my world, it all adds up to about £465!

It all started early this week. I’ve been awaiting the delivery of a mock crock leather drinks bar which I bought last July. I snapped it up at 30% off in the Summer sale. It’s something I’ve adored from the moment I set eyes on it a year ago, so the wait has seemed worth it as I know it will bring years of joy, admiration and tipsiness.

mock-croc-bar

I have diligently called the company weekly this year and kept my cool while the promised delivery date has continued to slip. I dutifully called the company on Monday to ask if it had been delivered to their warehouse yet but it was still ‘on it’s way’.

‘Hi, I’m calling about the delivery of my bar I bought in July’
‘Oh, let me just check’
‘Thanks’
‘It’s not in yet’
‘Hmmm, I was told it would be this week’ In despair, I gasped audibly ‘Can’t you offer me anything to say sorry? A voucher for the shop or something? It is nearly a year I’ve been waiting.’
‘Um, hang on a minute, let me check’. Ooh, I thought, there maybe a little gift on the way here.
‘Hi, are you still there?’
‘Yes I am, I’ll hold’
‘Let me just check something, thanks for your patience.’
‘Hello? Thanks for holding, I can offer you a £50 voucher – is that any good?’
‘Oh that’s so kind of you, thanks very much!’

And I got a call today to say the drinks bar is coming on Friday and even better the price has now gone up £300 since I bought it. (Value £350)

TodayI have a free luxury facial and massage which I won in Miniminx’s Christmas raffle. (Value £85)

I’m not counting the blow up sunbed session from the other day, it’s just too traumatic. (Value 0)

I am counting the free replacement gym card which they gave me without charging a fiver (I’m just too great a sideshow to not have around) (Value £5)

Now a girl’s gotta have shoes – especially with job interviews in the offing, so how about three pairs for free? Well, yesterday, after a gorgeous lunch at Dial, I wandered around Covent Garden, well that’s stretching the truth – I just made a beeline for Poste Mistress – the best shoe shop in the world – to buy my new ‘interview’ shoes.

dial

After a couple of hours of trying on the most magnificent shoes and boots, I left with 4 I-can’t-live-without-these pairs neatly packaged in very conspicuous bright pink bags; mock croc high heeled court shoes, knee length shiny black leather boots, green suede high heeled ankle boots and flat black suede mocassins.

The ladies in the shop were lovely, especially at the till.

‘So here they all are’
‘Oh great, thanks’ I beamed handing over my card
‘Well, the way I calculate it, with all the discounts, and I’ve given you an extra 10% off the non sale shoes’ Lucky me eh? ‘This whole lot is still £20 under the original full price of the knee length boots. So basically you’ve got three extra pairs of shoes for free!’
‘Wow’ I said, ‘That’s so clever!’
(Value £20 + three free pairs of shoes)

shoes

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As I sat down to enjoy my beautifully prepared lunch yesterday, things took a drastic about turn. My cosy domestic bubble burst in the manner of a very large party balloon being pricked by a very large, sharp pin.

My mobile phone trilled, !NUMBER WITHHELD! flashed on the screen – Ok, better put my professional/together voice on!

‘Hi, can you talk? It’s me, how are you?’
‘Yes, sure I can talk, fabulous thanks and you?’
‘I’ve got something for you’
‘Great, what it is it?’
‘It’s a blah-di-blah-di-blah at blah-di-blah? Yeah? Interested?’
‘Wow that sounds great!’
‘Read the spec, I need to send your CV to them today, they want someone to start immediately’
‘Sure (choke on flapjack silently) I’ll have to you within the hour – I need to change it. I’m not sure it’s working – I’ve had my CV appraised and was told it would cost £350 to put right’
‘Yeah, that social media thing on it, no one gets it.’
‘OK, I’ll dump it’
‘Good idea – get it over, be quick’

And then three job specs came through on email. Three job opportunities! What a bloody shock. I caught myself suddenly having to think. Life could change imminently. This little adventure of unemployment could soon be over. Shit.

As with all things work related, thought was quickly galvanised into action and I dragged my CV out of the document folder – grrrrrrrrrr. I gave myself an hour to rewrite it in a comprehensive and chatty fashion – yes, I’m a dyed in the wool deadline addict.

I began removing all links to my work on the worldwide wonder web which I’d lovingly searched out in my first jobsearch sojourn. Boo hoo – my social media CV was lame and had to be put out to pasture.

Then taking the advice of my CV appraiser, I dumbed down the font (apparently it was distracting and would mean my CV would be straight in the bin), I removed the bolded type (apparently incredibly distracting and annoying and would mean my CV would be straight in the bin) and I added some editorial around my work (apparently just listing it would be incredibly annoying and distracting etc. etc.). The finished work was much better and I spotted a most embarrassing typo – I’d spelt Communications as communciations – which I swiftly changed. Cringe – my usual faves are brest regards and daft copy which never go unnoticed, thankfully I’ve never committed the cardinal sin of typing pubic relations as many of my (former) colleagues have. I digress, as I pressed send message, I breathed a sigh of relief and waited ten minutes before calling the recruiter.

‘Hi – I’ve sent you my redraft, it’s much better’
‘Thanks, I’ll pop it across’

Ten minutes later, !NUMBER WITHHELD!, I knew it was her…

‘Darling, what was your last job title? I can’t see it on the CV…’

Oh god, in my panic I’d left it off.

‘Don’t worry I’ll change it and pop it over.’
‘Thanks (choke), speak to you soon!’

With that done it was time to pick up Miniminx – we did the weekly shop and went hideously over budget. By the time we got home I was feeling tired and irritable.

‘Sorry, Mummy is feeling a bit cruddy’
‘Don’t worry Mum.’
‘It’s just that there’s all these job thingies.’
‘Yeah great, you need a job.’
‘I don’t know if I want to work, I like being at home and doing my blog and writing.’
‘Well it’s tough Mum, I’d rather be at home all day but I have to go to school. Sorry but you have to go to work’

And so I heard a small version of myself deliver the bare naked truth…Mummy needs to get a job.

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I’ve been burying my head in the sand, and this week the snow, and it’s time to face facts. Staying at home with no income is a fool’s paradise.

I’m a bit lost without the social, intellectual and fiscal stimuli of working. Miniminx is bored of me being at home – she’s missing all the goodies I used to bring home from my travels and the general haphazard nature of our life which we’ve grown accustomed to.

Going to school is a bit of a grungefest these days, instead of arriving to drop her off in a cab with darkened windows and tottering in the playground fully made up, with glossy hair and crazy heels, it’s now a walk along the River clad in parka, jeans and biker boots (yes, of course I wear a top!) and lucky if I’ve managed to grab a shower yet.

She’s going to be in for a fright when she starts to notice that my purse strings are going to be much tighter, even though the heartstrings are still tuggable, Pester Power moments will be played out on deaf ears – you know the ones ‘But I really, REALLY need it, I reeeally do – it would make me so happy. You know you’re the best Mummy.’

Don’t get me wrong, there’s fun to be had in this downtime but being at home hasn’t made me tidy the house more or start knitting – I still spend most of my day, mainly out of ‘Im-not-working-but-I-know-I-should-be’ guilt, sat at my computer in search of the main chance! I think I’ve lost my gall these last few weeks and I’m wondering if I will ever work again, it’s a crisis of professional confidence and it’s eating away at me day by day.

It was easy to keep busy in January as it was all very novel – fabulous in fact. But February? It’s time to take stock and hit the refresh button on my reality check page, I’ve got to take a sharp look at our expenses and start making cutbacks;

Newspapers & magazines (now get them online)
Lovefilm subscription is gone (£10 per month)
Virgin Wines Discovery Club cancelled (£80 per quarter)
£8 per hour baby sitters no more (£80 per month)
cut back on the food bill (cut back to £60 per week – difficult when there’s no Aldi or Lidl in walking distance)
designer clothes can wait until I get working (thousands!)
taxis only when necessary (hundreds)
no more cinema (£50 per month)
or eating out (a lot)
no holiday (a massive amount)
personal trainer (£400 per ten sessions)
beautician (back to doing my own pedicures etc)
turn off the heating in the day when I’m home and wear scarf and gloves (well, I’m not really going to do that)

And that amounts to my lifestyle down the drain. My gym membership could go but that’s my sanity, and the cleaner, well it’s a minor expense and there’s nothing better than a loyal cleaner. I’ve also got Miniminx’s afterschool lessons to pay for; Stagecoach £315, guitar lesson £45 and all the school trips, plus it’s her birthday soon which will have to be downsized this year. At least there are no school fees to pay.

So how will I make any cash without a job in the credit crunch? Blogging – I wish I could but why pay a blogger when they do it for free?! Selling stuff online? I’ve signed up to Music Magpie to ditch my CDs, and while I buy on ebay, I don’t tend to sell on it. Carboot sales?

I’ve hit The Wall – like Simon Pegg in Run Fat Boy Run – and I’m wondering if now’s the time to find a different way to make a living…answers on a postcard please!

I’m going to grab my iPod and hit the treadmill in hope of inspiration…

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winter-wonderland

Oh my oh my – how much fun we’ve been having the last two days – no school, lots of fun and lots and lots of snow. And the best bit (among many) – I think I’ve finally fallen in love with this area!

I’ve been a complete urban minx for most of my life, so living in Zone 3 has never cut the mustard. We’ve lived here for 2.5 years now and my friends and family have always said ‘It’s great for kids, you did the right thing.’ But when they’ve asked me, ‘Are you happy?’ I’ve always said ‘Yes’ through clenched teeth.

It’s hard to uproot yourself, even if it’s for the better. I love 24hr living – but everywhere shuts early here. I’ve looked for the secret underground bars, but there are none and you can’t get a pint of milk after 10pm. To me, it’s all been a bit on the twee side. It’s very well-to-do, there are lots of 4x4s, boutiques aimed at the over 50s plus very noisy air traffic and even worse, nowhere to work locally. I’ve downplayed this with the upside of good schools and low crime, but it’s never really played out to anything like the way I’ve felt about where I’ve lived before.

I’m pleased, no, delighted, to say that all changed for the better yesterday. I’ll be honest, after an action packed weekend, we overslept and I was tempted to sleep in, but my half Catholic side got the better of me, it was time to get up and face the world.

It was so peaceful, so bright, so wonderful, so snowy. ‘Mummy! It’s Winter Magic!’ cried Miniminx as she looked outside, we both felt like we’d woken up in Narnia! Sitting down to breakfast and I put the news on – Radio 4, lots of snow, England’s gone to the dogs, yada, yada, parents are selfish (see Children’s Society story) and my phone rang ‘School’s closed!’ ‘Thanks heavenly Mum-babe! – School’s out honey, get your cosy stuff on, we’re out there’ – we headed out the door to one of life’s wonders…ankle deep snow everywhere and all our friends having a ball. It was like a perfect dream.

snow-lady

We went down the river (just at the end of our road) and who couldn’t help but squeal with delight and run around – all of Miniminx’s school friends were out frolicking and so were the parents. Lovely rosy cheeks, snowballs and smiles. It’s been such an unexpected delight, two days of freedom for the kids – building snowmen, toboganing, snowballing, crunchy stepping in the frozen snow – and everything pushed aside for once. It feels like a big, huge, belated Christmas present and it looks so beautiful round here, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else and I’m so happy that we’ve had these two days.

So, it’s time to put out the rubbish and the recycling, make sure we get up on time and find that lost homework, but I tell you, there’s a lot to be said for Winter magic, as cold as it is, just thinking about it makes me feel warm inside, and it’s not just the central heating on full blast!

And a big shout out here – thanks Jo for your lovely bloggers campfire – I’ve really enjoyed reading all the posts and what a great collection of people.

Ciao for now…more snow forecast

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Miniminx and I have both got cricked necks from too much Wii Fit and sleeping at funny angles – oh ha ha not. I’ve learned the true meaning of a pain in the neck. Oh yes, kids do say the funniest things don’t they. My reputation is in tatters thanks to Miniminx and her salacious gossip…

Taking full of advantage of my lack of gainful employment, Miniminx enjoyed a day at home on Monday with warmed neckpad, hot water bottle, Disney Channel, lots of moaning and wearing out the battery on her DS (oops sorry I darling, I forgot where I hid, I mean tidied away the charger…). She seemed fine yesterday, so off to school we went.

A few hours later, I get the call from school, ‘Your little darling is in the sick bay and wants her Mummy’. So off I pootle to school and pick her up and we have to cab it to my long awaited facial with her wearing my long-haul-flight-neck-cosy… I thought I’d take advantage of the Giraffe 2-4-1 dinner and stuff cooking so off we went afterwards for a nice quick supper and an arm wrestle over homework.

‘Mum, it’s lucky I can remember your mobile number off by heart now as the ladies in the school office didn’t have to go through all the files.’
‘Oh, you’re such a clever little darling aren’t you!’
‘Oh yeah, and they asked if you’d be at work but I told them you wouldn’t be ‘cos you’re UNEMPLOYED now and NOT WORKING.’
‘Thanks darling’

So it doesn’t end there, that was just the beginning….

I love Amy Winehouse and her scat cat antics, she’s one of my favourite singers and mostly, her lyrics are unintelligible to Miniminx (and me actually), but I think she’s going to have to be silenced for a while. Last night, Miniminx called down the stairs ‘MUUUUUUUUUUM?? WHAT’S REEE HABBB???

‘Oh, you know, it’s for drunks and druggies darling’
‘What does that mean?’
‘Um, well, if Mummy was drinking two bottles of vodka and having a glass of wine at breakfast, I’d probably need to go to rehab. But obviously I don’t need to because I don’t’ I said smugly…

My little angel’s face poked out of a mountain of bathtime bubbles and said what only an eight year old can…
‘Ha ha, I’m going to tell everyone at school you’re going to rehab…’

Well that will go down like a cold cup of sick with the school gate mums…I’m going to get a t-shirt printed and fast…I’M NO AMY.

Needless to say, she is in school today sporting a ThermaCare heatwrap with instructions to keep a lid on the gossip or all gadgets will be returned to Lapland pronto!

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In an effort to keep myself occupied I’ve decided I’m going to really work this blog world. Personal blogging is hugely different from professional blogging and I am finding it a challenge to keep going. It’s more to do with ego keepy-uppy than anything else – how do you stay a) motivated while unemployed b) able to write dazzling copy c) not sound like a moaner?

The truth is, things are just not hot on the job front. I’m going to have to reinvent myself and learn some pretty new tricks in order to stand out from the crowd. The social media CV just ain’t working. Every recruiter I speak to says it’s hugely competitive out there and there are hundreds of candidates, when only a year ago there were few and far between. When I apply for jobs on corporate web sites, I feel like I’m aiming a pea shooter at the moon. My CV disappears into the ether, I get an acknowledgement and then nothing. Boo hoo.

I’m used juggling career and family and social life and addicted to high octane living, travel, pressure, deadlines, excitement and now my wings are clipped. So while I can chill out and take stock, I really need to feel engrossed, entertained and/or that I’m gaining or learning something and this morning that is how I didn’t feel until I got a few calls and managed to have a bath and get my face on. So what else have I done to do (btw I never add in the 7-9am school run mania, maybe I’ll post on that another time…)

So what have I done today??

Meetings missed = 1
Sick children needing picking up from school= 1
Job opportunity = 1
Cigarettes = 8
Coffee = 2 extra strong
Tea = countless
Cooking = tom yum soup from scratch (may share the recipe one day…)
Social invitations = 2 (thankfully)
Bloggering about = 4 (hours!!!)
Quirky events = 1 (discovered foxes have excavated so much under the garden shed it’s about to fall in the hole)

And it’s only 3.30pm…

And let’s not forget today is one of the most important days of this century – yep, Obama inauguration. It’s unavoidable and fantastic!!! I hope this spells the end of the credit crunch but it’s going to be a hard one to pull off. I’ve said it more than once, 2009 is the last year of the naughty noughties and boy this is one hangover to end all hangovers…

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