Monday, 4 March 2013

The Small Things

  1. I got the train home in daylight tonight. 
  2. I took my first (full) mock theory test this evening and got ridiculously excited about passing it.
  3. On Saturday I went back to one of my favourite night clubs after a sabbatical from Manchester's night-life (post 11pm) for quite some time.
I think it's okay to say that the little things are really making a difference in life at the moment. The first step is acceptance. Subsequently, the highlight of my week at this point in time is my driving lesson.

About three weeks ago I was quite content to drive into Bolton via the usual route from my house. Nothing particularly dreadful happened and things were going well.

That was until my driving instructor asked me to pull over. He was smiling and, for some reason, that always makes me contemplate that I've forgotten to do something... It turned out that he was actually quite pleased with me, which is good right?

I thought so too. He pulled out a green piece of paper which looked rather official, more so than my usual white sheet full of pencilled marks and notes in the margins. That's when everything went wrong. I was to take a mock test, and he was going to sit in silence. 

I may be shy sometimes but I do like to talk... yes I know that's an oxymoron if I ever saw one. A figure of speech that contains contradictory terms. As soon as he stopped talking to me, I lost it, just a little.

I didn't crash, I didn't come particularly close. However, I did stall, a lot. Mini roundabouts were a major culprit. Hills. Other drivers. I didn't trust myself, never mind them! It was like the last 6 months of one lesson a week were for nothing. Of course they weren't, but that's what I felt like when I got home that afternoon. 

The next week was similar, if not slightly better. I learnt from my mistakes the previous week but still seemed to make one or two completely new ones! I took the opportunity to pinpoint where this was going down the pan. 
  • Mini - roundabouts
  • Getting going again after a stall/panic. 
These became the focus of the lesson on Saturday. I dealt with 4 mini-roundabouts at least and appeared to control the car enough not to come to a spluttering halt. This improved my mood greatly and gave me a smidgen of confidence to top up on what had diminished a few lessons before. 

Experiences like this recently gave me an idea. I took a look at the areas in life which perhaps could be improved with a couple of tweaks here and there. Then I took care to come up with solutions which may not be ground-breaking, but will help me to progress. A bit of courage was required to discuss a few things with family and friends which I had been keeping to myself but now I feel so much better knowing that I am surrounded by people who I can share things with. 

When you're striving to achieve something, sometimes it's easy to overlook what you have already done. I was guilty of that. I'm now taking a step back to appreciate what I do have. Driving will open some doors for me which have been real barriers recently but passing that mock test made me smile tonight. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Extraordinarily Routine

Routine is well and truly embedded within my life at the moment. Monday to Friday, leave the house at 8.15am and return at 6pm. It never seems long before 7.30pm comes around and usually we've already been shrouded in darkness since around 4pm. I notice these things every day even though it does seem that each one goes by faster and faster.

I am currently at home and my weekend is nearly over already. It's the 25th of November and with exactly one month to go before Christmas, I have already purchased the majority of the Christmas presents for my friends.

The great shopping trip started in Warrington one night after work and continued into Manchester, The Trafford Centre, Bolton, Bents Garden Centre, Wigan and even Tatton Park. I have enjoyed the hunt for presents, the search for something special, something personal which I just know my friends will love. The best bit is when you know you've discovered something extraordinary.

Only the parents have yet to be ticked off the mental list. Dad has got himself an iPad and treated Mum to a Kindle Fire. I was planning on getting Dad a case for his tablet but he got one combined in the price of his iPad. Back to square one. Mum's always difficult to buy for and so is Alex. The challenge is still on for family but I have longer to complete it.

The Randomers Christmas Do is next Saturday, this follows the work Christmas party on Friday, It's going to be one hectic weekend but luckily, pay day strikes too and it's the end of a 5 week wait for wages. Sounds good so far. The week ahead may also deliver a Kindle Fire HD but this time it's for me!

Work decided to give the operations section of the business an incentive to work hard. It was voted that a handful of people would receive a technology gift of their choice to the value of £100. I couldn't believe it when I actually managed to win one!

For some time I had been lamenting that my love of reading was falling by the wayside. It always seemed that there wasn't much time for it somehow. It was taking me months to read a book which at one time would have lasted me just one week. With my new Kindle, I hope to be able to dispel this habit because it will afford me the ability to read on the move without bent covers and dog-eared pages. I am especially pleased with the prize, not just because of the nature of it, because when my name was drawn and before it was voiced, the finance manager smiled and said 'she really deserves this'. Those words mean more to me than winning.

So, even though the everyday is nothing to shout about, it just goes to show that working hard pays off and your life is as good as you make it. It's been over a year since I finished uni and, even though it's been tough here and there, I feel that I am building something to be proud of by getting the experiences I need.

(and there are a few people I can thank for that!)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Still waiting for Summer

It may have been hot today but it's not good hot. It's that uncomfortable stickiness which means you can't get very far without feeling very icky indeed. It was so warm that we contemplated going for a bike ride for all of 2 minutes before deciding it probably wasn't a good idea. We resorted to sit ups instead.

Yes, I'm trying to be healthier. I can't see much of a difference but that doesn't surprise me, I've been the same weight for a few years and it doesn't appear to shift very easily. I would just like to tone up, I'm not interested in becoming a size ten or anything like that.

It's all part of a new lifestyle I now have. It's very much like a uni lifestyle but without the lingering thought of coursework deadlines that need to be completed. I say it's like being a student again only because I'm living at Tom's house during the week and returning home on the weekend to see my family. This is how my three years at uni went down. Except, I can happily say that I no longer need to dread Saturday mornings and the additional working day added on the end of my week. I now have a 2 day weekend like everyone else and this is for the first time in six years, it still feels strange but I like it.

I am employed on a full time basis. This is obviously a major milestone for me but I am already eyeing up my next one. Driving. It's something I never really needed before. Whilst at college and uni I could get everywhere I needed to be on public transport or on foot within a reasonable time frame. This is starting to change.

I am limited as to what I can do and where I can go during the week. It's easy to stay on the train into Manchester and spend the evening there but you have to stick around for a bit to make it worthwhile and
you need the money to entertain yourself. I have the option to go home from work when I need to because Stacey goes through Walkden every day but I don't like to take this for granted. It takes a while to get home on the bus.

My motivation for this summer is therefore to get as far with driving as I can and also try my best to stick on a healthy route. When Tom gets his student loan and can figure out his finances I may have a gym buddy, I sure hope we get to take it up! We'll just see where this summer takes us! The next time I post could be after I've been to Devon with the randomers so I should have plenty of stories if Newquay is anything to go by!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Kirsty 2012

I’m writing this using Microsoft Word because my connection to the internet has failed today. This means that I don’t know exactly when it was that I last posted, but I know that it was probably before Christmas.
We’re now in March and, once again, my situation has changed. I no longer work at Reed, it’s quite possible that I didn’t post whilst I was there either. I took on my first role with them as an Administrator back in October, the day before my 22nd birthday in fact. I did 5 days a week there from 10am-4pm. I was responsible for scanning candidate documentation and creating CVs using a bespoke system developed for the company; I also used to look for job leads so that the consultants could chase them up.

   Gradually, I gained more responsibilities which included chasing bounce back emails. They would be forwarded to me and I would ring the companies to try and establish why the details were wrong. This could be anything from a misspelt name to the recipient having left the company. It was always a challenge to try and establish who had taken their place; some people were unwilling to reveal that kind of information. Towards the end of my internship, I was given the chance to help choose my successor. It was interesting for me to analyse a CV, I was looking for the qualities I felt a person would need to undertake my work. During my time there I saw a large quantity of CV’s. It gave me an insight into how different people present them and it also helped me to realise what goes in to making a good one.

Back in the September, I had applied for quite a few positions. There were two which I really wanted. Reed was one of them and I also pursued an email from my university who were advertising on behalf of a company in Warrington; they wanted a Graduate Marketing Assistant.

Since the final careers talk we had at university (which will now be about a year ago!) I had wanted to go into PR or Marketing. I was disheartened to learn that many of these positions required me to have a degree in Business. I even lost faith that my English degree would find me a job in the field I wanted. This frustrated me because the ladies in the career talk specifically said that creative writing is a huge part of marketing itself, which I could see in the example job descriptions they gave us.

When I opened the email from Edge Hill about the Marketing Position, I was ecstatic to read a job specification which detailed my core strengths exactly. It involved copy writing and social media marketing which I just knew I’d love.

The first time I had contact from the company in Warrington, I was a couple of weeks into my internship with Reed. I was reading my emails on the bus home when I saw a message from the man I had contacted about the marketing position a few weeks earlier. He asked me if I was still interested in the position, I felt my heart sink as I had to inform him that I was occupied; though I hastened to add that I would be free in January; I knew that recruitment wasn’t for me from pretty early on.

When January came, I made it my first port of call to message him again. I was told that they would be in touch via email if they felt that I would be suitable to work with his team. I checked my Hotmail and Google Mail account daily on my phone in hope that I would see a message.

   One morning, Tom was at my house and we had planned to go to Manchester and meet Rachel. I checked my Gmail account whilst getting ready but, again, no emails showed. I was starting to get suspicious of my phone because I knew I had emails from the company on the account but even they weren't showing up. Something made me turn on my laptop. I found a message on Hotmail from the company asking if I had received an interview request! Panicking, I loaded Gmail where I found the request. I was thrilled until I realised that it was scheduled for that day, half an hour from the time at that moment, well, I have never freaked out quite so much in my life. 

  Luck was with me though; I raced to the top of the stairs and shouted Mum who was on a day off work.
We all jumped in the car and Tom directed Mum to Warrington. On the way, I phoned the company apologising and told them I was en route.

   When we got there I ran to what I thought was the front door, but it was just for show. A sign pointed me to the rear of the building. I had to run round the block and even jump a couple of knee-high walls to get to the main entrance. I tried to compose myself going up the stairs but I was shaking as I made it to reception. Fortuitously, they weren’t quite ready for me, despite the fact that I had arrived twenty minutes later than I should have done. I had ten minutes to calm down.
   I was taken into a meeting room to have my interview, it was with the man I had contacted and his assistant came too. I tried my best to demonstrate my experiences from Knives Forks and Spoons and tie them together with the office work I had completed at Reed.
   When I was back in the car returning home, I could think of nothing else. I kept thinking over what I had talked about and remembering things I felt I could have said which would have really put me in good light. This didn’t help the situation, I drove Tom doolally all the way home and again on the bus into Manchester. I had told Rachel that I had to make a dash to Warrington and that we would meet her ASAP afterwards. I enjoyed the day but my mind was elsewhere. All I can remember now is that we went to Wetherspoons in the Printworks and I spent a bit longer with Rachel after Tom went to work on the bus from town.
  Back at home I checked my emails again. I couldn’t contain my glee when I saw a message from the assistant asking me to start a week later!
  In that week, Tom and I visited his parents in Cumbria. It was my one and only week between jobs and his last of the Christmas break. Whilst we were there, his mum worked for two of the days. We took this as an opportunity to explore on our own using public transport. We went as far as Ulverston, Barrow and Kendal. We also participated in their weekly quiz which we very nearly won.

   So, I’m now an intern again. I am in my eighth week doing 9-5 in Warrington and I love it! Living in Cadishead with Tom during the week, I catch the train in Irlam which goes straight through to Central station. I still work at Tesco on a Saturday. It’s a bit knackering but I have got to keep hold of it, just in case I still need it in a few weeks’ time. Fingers crossed I won’t. It’s much too easy to get excited and I have to keep telling myself that I have no guarantee of a job. I know I am better off not getting my hopes up.

   There, I am in charge of three Business Twitter Accounts and I write and proofread content which the designers implement into their work. In the last couple of weeks I have also adopted Quality Control where I check through the websites to make sure they are up to scratch before they are released.

   I like to squeeze in blogs for each company in between and am enjoying learning on the job. I get to employ my language skills in copywriting and proofreading and I also enjoy learning new things. I am impressed with the open nature of the team; if we have ideas on how to improve the daily processes, they are always up for considering how to apply new concepts. I have seen this with the development of Quality Control; I used the system, identified any short comings and helped to suggest features which would aid the process.

   I love being able to see Tom for a few hours on a daily basis! I’m waiting for him at the moment and I’m looking forward to chilling out with him before bedtime. 

Monday, 12 December 2011


Once again there has been a considerable amount of time between posts on my blog. This can only mean one thing - I've been busy!

Doing what? 

I have resumed a packed lifestyle working in Manchester and spending 2hrs+ per day on buses. I love (and will miss) having that all important sense of purpose, a reason to get up in the morning. At uni I could sleep in til 10.30am and think I had done well to get up earlier than fellow house mates. Now, I can hardly make it to 9am. This is mainly due to the fact that (depending on where I am) I have to get a bus anywhere between 7.30am and 8.40. If I have spent the night at Toms', it generally means a bit of a slog on the Barton Stretch and we have to allow for that. From my house it's a bit easier. 

I still work at Tesco on the weekends. Fortnightly I do both days. This means a stretch of 13 days between one day off and the next. At first it was tough but I'm getting used to it. We try to make sure that we do something on that one day. We went to Botany Bay for the first time in years, since I was young enough to spend time in Puddletown Pirates, and enjoyed a 'mooch'. I love this activity. Set out in a similar style to Afflecks Palace, there are lots of separate shops full of bits and pieces to browse through and they are spread across quite a few floors!

We have also traveled to Blackburn - visiting Toms' Nan and wandering round the town with his 2 year old niece. I enjoy going to new places and just taking in fresh sights. Most shopping centre's house the same high street names but there's always something which sets them apart. Two weeks ago, at Golden Square in Warrington, there was a festive fair. It consisted of an enclosed marquee with lots of stalls. I found a brooch which encompassed three of my favourite components - a Silver Owl with Purple flecks.

I think I may have traits of a magpie.

Reed is flying by. Saturday night was the Christmas do. It really sprang out of nowhere. Like many events it was weeks away, then it was the following day.. I met Alice and Briony in Kro bar, I had a relatively nice surprise in there - I took a fiver to the bar thinking I may need to delve deeper into my purse but I came away with a bit of change. Oh, and an archers with lemonade. I always seem to stick with the safe option.

Not one for sitting round a table doing nothing, I decided to stick my neck out a bit. The intern from HR was sitting opposite me and we were comparing head gear (Alice bands with extended bobbly bits on the end) I joined her and found myself encouraging us to dance!

She introduced me to Amaretto and Coke and we wandered between our colleagues having a laugh. For some reason, Mark decided to challenge myself and the other intern to dance on a table. So determined was he that I would not do it, I decided to humor him. Albeit for one moment, I was up on the table, my mission was simply to surprise.

All in all it was a good night!

I got in a taxi with Briony to her flat, the plan was to catch the bus round the corner except, almost two hours after I left the party, I was still waiting at the stop. I stood with my hands buried in my pockets, only one layer beneath the winter jacket which still allowed biting wind to rub shoulders with me.

I saw one '67 go past to begin with and joked that I could have gotten on it to see Tom. An hour and a half later - no 39's - another '67. I felt terrible but I had to phone Tom at gone 2am to ask permission to divert to Cadishead.

In bed that night I shivered more than I ever have before and I don't think it helped my cold particularly but at the same time, I don't feel that it made it any worse. Hopefully I'll see the back of it in the next few days.

Events will take me back to Cadishead via the Trafford Centre on Wednesday and to a birthday celebration in town on Saturday night. So far, Sunday is undecided but I'm off work so it's all good!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

I'm no technophobic!

I can't be. Why? Because if I was, my Dad wouldn't have been able to update his iPhone. I am presently completing this task.

I have grown used to being introduced to new software and technology. We have to pick it up fast, before paper and ink go out of fashion. Some people even complain that they have become more accustomed to typing than writing.

It was a bit of a phase to send 'e-cards' a few years ago, now we get a funky pigeon to typeset birthday cards for us. So far, I have only received one card such as this, it scared me a little to open the envelope to be confronted by my own face. I still have the card.

Despite the influx of electronics, I discovered yesterday that traditional methods aren't quite dead. I will soon be the proud owner of a stitched picture, courtesy of Adele. She injected a little of her job at a craft shop to personalise a gift for me.

My own job prospects are changing at the moment. I have left Knives Forks and Spoons in pursuit of a new venture. It spouted from being encouraged by Alec to read 'Put Your Mindset To Work'. It's written by James Reed.The book introduced the concept of a mindset in a three dimensional way. It splits the mind into categories. Global Good and Grit. It helps you to assess the type of person/worker you are and helps you to improve in weak areas.

I used bits of what I learnt to help me write my CV. I signed up to Reed Recruitment job alerts and responded to their call for an intern. I was contacted by Charlene who had picked out my CV and forwarded it to the King St office in Manchester.

I recently got a new contract phone from work. This meant changing my number so that Mum could keep my old Sony Ericsson. This was the number which Reed had on my CV. They contacted me via that phone which lay dead in Mum's handbag on a day we chose to travel by bus to Manchester. Ironically, I was standing on King Street when they phoned.

Reed were interested in me! I was given an interview slot and found my way to the office within the week. It was my first interview situation since Tesco in 2006. I was nervous but able to communicate well as they sounded me out.

In 'Put Your Mindset To Work' they encourage you to take an online psychometric test. It gives you a very precise analysis of your character based on your combination of answers. I took this test when I read the book purely out of interest. Reed emailed me, on the day following my interview, to ask for the test results. I was given the option to take a fresh go at the test or, because I had previously logged in, send my existing profile. I chose to send the original test because I felt that, although I may not realise it, I could bias the results without intending to. This seemed to work.

Charlene called on Monday to give me the internship. It starts tomorrow!

In other news, it's my birthday this week. I held a party at my house last night which was deemed a college reunion =]. Between 15-20 friends came. This included Hayley and also Stef! Stef and I worked out that we hadn't seen each other in nearly a year. It was great to catch up with so many people in one night!

This week:

Internship starts
I turn 22
Tom and I go to see Peter Kay in Manchester.

It's looking like fun!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

I may not have posted a blog for a while, but I certainly haven't been out of touch with the internet. In fact, I probably spend a little too much time checking my emails. There is a good reason for this though. I have sent numerous emails to try and get some work experience after Knives Forks and Spoons.

I spent last week in charge. Alec deservedly felt that he was in need of a holiday. It's not as though he left the country, or even the house, but he did leave the garage. I tended to emails, typeset a few chapbooks and helped Michael Wilson. He came to take the poems he had written and place them on some constellations which Alec had edited to look like a compass. I soon got the hang of placing individual words on each point. We made two in the two days Michael spent with us and, I have to say, they look pretty good. We plan on having our friends at United Christian Marketing helping us to produce them.

I have spent a great deal of time emailing different PR companies for work experience. This is proving tough. I was getting little to no response from almost everyone. This was until I decided to chase up two companies which I would love to work with. One encouraged me to continue and I received a follow-up email asking for my CV for future reference, the other assured me that my details would be circulated to the right people if an opportunity was to arise.

I'm learning to put myself out there. It was suggested that perhaps I didn't have enough experience to take on a proper role. I took the opportunity to point out that nobody will have experience if it is unobtainable. I felt as though I may have overstepped the mark a bit, but it generated more of a positive outcome than I expected. After all, I stuck my neck out to ask Alec for advice and we know what happened there.

In other news, my room is receiving a much needed make-over. I worked out that it hadn't been done for seven years. The wallpaper was getting tatty with blu-tac marks, posters covering rips and my ceiling was starting to peel. I would even say it started to feel unclean, no matter how much we mopped and dusted. Time for a change.

I took the initiative to remove all my posters and asked Dad to fetch the steam stripper from the attic. Previously, he had been reluctant to do my bedroom. I wanted all the paper stripping right back to get rid of the rips and it seemed like a big job. However, within ten minutes, he was beside me scraping away at the main wall. I don't actually have a huge amount of wall space, due to fitted furniture, doors to the central heating cupboard and a large window. It still took us six hours to completely strip everything down. I was surprised to uncover a striking yellow wall, it looked as though someone had coloured it with a highlighter!

I picked out some paper for the main wall. It seemed as though I could have flowers, stripes or just plain colour. I struggled to find something which seemed to incorporate me.  

I found this paper online at O'Neills. It is covertly flowery. I didn't realise, until I saw it in the shop, that the silver is embossed and there are elements of glitter on the leaves. You certainly can't tell that there are droplets of silver on the background which glint in the light. Originally, we purchased the purple version to try and maintain my current bedding and curtains but they seemed mismatched, feature wall is back to blue!

I love it =] 

A few weeks ago, we made our first trip back to Manchester on a night out. It was a belated, rescheduled Graduation celebration. It was almost cancelled again. The riots in Manchester, London and elsewhere in the UK drew the cities to a standstill. The public had to regroup and work together to bring their hometowns back up to scratch. This threatened a meeting with Hayley and Abi in the city as well as the night out on the following day. Luckily, they only lasted one night in Manchester. It took a bit of convincing to reinstate the day out. Hayley was reluctant at first but it seemed as though danger had passed. 

On the day, the city was bustling as usual. There were a few boarded up windows with 'Open as Usual' scrawled across them. Abi, Hayley and I met in the Print Works in Old Orleans. I can't say I'd ever been in there before. We bought a sharing starter which was a little pricey and non-alcoholic cocktails. I discovered a liking for BBQ ribs whilst we caught up together. We spent the rest of the day wandering the shops on Market Street and the Arndale. Abi lead us to our customary hot chocolates in Waterstones and I introduced them to Pulp, where Abi bought a Newbreed t-shirt and signed up for a points card on her first visit! Mission accomplished. We also went into Afflecks Palace where Hayley bought some coloured hair pieces. We sat on Piccadilly Gardens so that Abi could put the pieces in for her. Moon Under The Water was where we met Tom and had tea. We turned to pitchers and shared two between us all, it was a great way to end the day. 

The following night began where the previous had left off... After work, I traveled back to town with Andy and Adele. Moon was only slightly quieter than usual and Venue lived up to our expectations. However, I am well out of practice! I was so tired! We are definitely going to have to maintain these nights out to make sure that we can keep staying out til gone 4. 

There isn't much opportunity to get out during the week. However, Tom had two consecutive Thursdays off. We spent them mooching back in Manchester and in Bolton. The latter was cut short a little when I (or my Tesco discount card) was required back in Walkden so that Alex could purchase a laptop for Uni. From the electronics desk we stepped over to the phone shop so that I could enter into a contract with a Samsung Galaxy S II. Good day. 

I can now check my emails even more often than I did before... I can send more than I have already... New week starts tomorrow and I'll be at it again!