Wayward Ramble: September 2016

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I have decided that September is a great month, for me it is leaving an toxic company and moving into a new vibrant one. Working out where to take my bestie to while they are in London, and also helping my friend work on their website to make it user friendly! Now can you see why September is becoming a favourite month?!

So let me get into my ramble: since June I have, visited two castles, moved into a new place that has an amazing view! and got a new job after countless interviews!?! Not to mention I went on a fabulous holiday to Paxos in Greece…What a way to say goodbye to summer!

Castle Addiction:

I luckily have kept my enthusiasm at a respectable level, it has always been a passion of mine (to visit as many castles as possible), I think I put it down to reading too many period novels and watching a large variety of period dramas. I am fortunate to have a partner in crime who has the same enthusiasm as me, or is at least happy to go visit castles with me. So being in England there is no excuse not to see a castle every once in a while, I am even contemplating signing up to National Trust so that I can get a discount when I visited #winning

Finally A New Job:

Wait for it…BAM! I have a new job!!! Office dance party can now commence. I confess it has been a long time coming, I spoke about my ordeals back in my first ramble with two bosses and there different style of managing. Things further digressed throughout the year, I ended up having another new boss due to a colleague getting promoted and also not getting a chance to be interviewed for a potential position within the company (which I happened to find out was illegal). It really pushed me over the edge mentally, I didn’t want to stay at a company that didn’t offer me fair opportunities.

So off job hunting I went and by chance (are 3 months of hard looking) I got an offer with a company I think will really float my boat. It is a not for profit and it is in an administration position, £5k pay rise and 1 week extra worth of holiday. A smaller company and after my first day everyone seem super nice!

I know it can be cliche but it is true, all good things come to though’s who wait. Yes, I had to wait 3 months but it was bloody worth it; remember that next time when you make a rash decision.

Oh the magic of finally getting something that your truly want…

Zoe

Image Credit: Chris Ensey

Bodiam Castle

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Another long weekend, another staycation. I know most of you would have used your long weekend to hope somewhere more tropical, or just another country in general; I know that is the beauty of living in Europe. However for me at the moment I am taking the chance to explore England, if you have seen my social media, you would definitely have picked up on the fact that I am a big castle fan. I get that some people find castles boring, after a while they all start to “look the same”; but for me it is pure enjoyment every time I visit one. I have fond memories from my late teens heading around Germany looking at some amazing castles and my poor uncle ending up being like “oh not another bloody castle”… Well my Waywards I hate to break it to you, but this post is going to be a “Castle” post. If this is not your cup of tea, click on one of my categories to your right and pick another post to read or better yet message me and let me know if there is something you want me to write about?!

So lets get down to the facts: Bodiam Castle “is a 14th-century moated castle near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, England. It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III, with the permission of Richard II, ostensibly to defend the area against French invasion during the Hundred Years’ War”.

Unlike other castles such as Windsor, Bodiam Castle is a ruin. So don’t expect much when you walk inside; the staff have signposted areas where you can imagine what the castle would have looked when it was in its prime. What I loved about this castle is that it was in a middle of a moat, with massive koi swimming around and ducks fighting with the koi for the bread, as the tourists were feeding them.

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While we were at the top of one of the towers, we happened to see a steam train! You never know what you are going to discover on top of a castle?! There was also a few traditional market stalls and a small stall where you could do archery, a lot of these stall were dedicated to families, but it was just as much fun browsing.

I really loved my little day adventure, I packed a small lunch and had an ice cream on the lawn outside the castle; not a typical day for anyone really. Even though autumn is descending upon us, I am excited to go see a few more castles before winter fully sets in! So don’t be surprised if my next few posts might be castle reviews…

To chasing castles,

Zoe

A small little island called Paxos

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In June I took a little vacation with my boyfriend’s family to Paxos (Paxi) a little island of the coast of Corfu, Greece. I confess I did not really know anything about the island, or let alone where it was geography…but nevertheless I packed my back Friday night and was on the plane Saturday afternoon.

It was a 4 hour plane ride, which I confess I was quite surprised by; for some reason I got it in my head that Greece was only a couple of hours away #needtogetagrip

We landed in Corfu quite late in the evening, and proceed to take taxis to our hotel; all I could tell about Corfu was that it looked really pretty at night. We ended up staying in the old town rather than the new one, I was told that there is a lot more history and quite accents that shows Corfu’s true personality.

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Corfu Township

The old town of Corfu is a UNESCO World Heritage site, “The three forts of the town, designed by renowned Venetian engineers, were used for four centuries to defend the maritime trading interests of the Republic of Venice against the Ottoman Empire. In the course of time, the forts were repaired and partly rebuilt several times, more recently under British rule in the 19th century.” 

I really loved the mixture of the architecture, there was a feeling of old meets new with a Mediterranean feel. The small side streets filled with stall, and the waiters trying to get you to dine at their restaurants, all added to the charm of the old town. What made the town for me was the food! Moussaka, Tzatziki and Village Sausage, were part of my daily meals. I do confess though the service in Greece was below par, we had one sever take our order (a full order of food and drinks), only for her manager to come back and say “Sorry, we don’t do coffee at the moment”…also some restaurants took over and hour just to get our food; each time we ask where it was, we got told that it was “being made fresh”. But really in the end the food was so good I got over the wait pretty quickly!

 20160620_230452~2Paxos Town and Cats

After an hour and a half ferry ride, we landed in Paxos! Our accommodation was just around the corner which was brilliant, it was just a quick stroll up to up lovely villa. The views were spectacular, and it had a pool!

The population of Paxos is roughly 2,500…very tiny in the scheme of things, I have to confess it did take me a while realise how small the island was. However that wasn’t a concern for me, the few people the better! The best thing I discovered on the island was that there was a lot of Cats, and I mean a LOT OF CATS…All different shapes and sizes, some quite fat an others very skinny, they sat and watched while you ate. The funny things is that people were allowed to feed them (to an extent of course), there was one point where I had about 10 cats sitting patiently around waiting for scraps; I know a sight like that could be overwhelming for some, but it was pure magic for me!

On the island there were a range of activities you could do, we took a boat out to Anti Paxos, an island about 10-15mins ride from the main island.  The beaches we went to were pebble, which wasn’t the greatest especially when you had to hop, skip and basically jump to the ocean. However the water was crystal clear, not too cold, plus it didn’t get too deep too quickly (which I think is essential for a good floating session).

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It was breath taking, clear blue water and such a lovely temperature that you could lie in it all day. The lounge chairs were for hire, but for 5 euros it really doesn’t matter as you have it all day!

My week really consisted of lying by the pool, going into the township and having amazing stuffed peppers and tzatziki; the shops I confess weren’t anything special. The clothing stores imported a lot of there stock from Italy, which kind of surprised me; what you really need to go for is the food stores.

Overall I had a wonderful time in Corfu and Paxos, I would recommend going there for a cheap holiday. Food is not expensive and you can get some really nice accommodation at a good price, what you really need cash for is the activities like hiring a boat and doing a tour; but that is really to be expected.

To summer holidays on small islands,

Zoe

Make the most of your Headphones

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There is always that one person; the person who sits at their desk with their headphones in for most of the day. Initially you think it is really rude, that they don’t want to socialise; but then as you settle into your role and you realise they are bang on the money. Constant interruptions are common in the workplace, we all know that! So what can we do to minimise unnecessary interruptions?

My lovely friend Sara wrote a piece on colleague interruptions a while back, but I thought I would delve a little further into the reasons as to why headphones might help. 

Open plan offices came into popularity in the 1950’s, the style was long large tables or rows of desks were typists, clerks or technicians did sedentary tasks. During the 80’s and 90’s companies start experimenting with the layout of open plan offices; incorporating  plants, accessories and seating arrangement. However every individual is different, not everyone functions efficiently in an open plan environment there are always trade offs from the design (good and bad).

So what can you do to make this environment work for you? It does seem too simple that headphones would be recommended, and this method is tried and true. Headphones are a subtle indicator to anyone that you DO NOT want to be disturbed, they also provide you with a pleasant background noise or if you want they can be great earmuffs if you want to work in silence. But how can we take this further?

Get bright: find headphones that standout, colourful or large or both. People can be really oblivious that you have headphone in, so don’t hide your fabulous accessory show it off. #Loud&Proud

Keep the volume sensible: don’t lose you hearing because you want to drown everyone out, invest in noise cancelling headphone; you can get them in earphone format as well. So be smart and get a great pair! don’t go deaf because you have your volume level at scream high…

Make an epic playlist/s: science has linked productivity and less stress, if you use Spotify there are some amazing playlists that people have made to help stay motivated at work.

I hope my little tips help, sometimes we can over look the obvious or dear I say it not think outside of the box!

To podcasts and playlists,

Zoe

Credit Image: Sai Kiran Anagani

 

 

Wayward Ramble: June 2016

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Look at me now! Another ramble is upon us and there has been plenty of stuff happening. It has been a great month for me in regards to my personal life, on the work front it has been a little more sedentary but otherwise pleasant; however my consumption of media has increased dramatically. Plus raise your hands for me as I managed to get out a post nearly every week #winning.

Getting Greece-d

Right first things first, my birthday! I was really lucky and that my boyfriend’s family took me away to Greece. We stayed two nights in Corfu and the rest of the time we were on an island called Paxos (roughly a two hour boat ride) of the coast of Corfu. All of us stayed in a villa on the island, which was about a 10 minute walk from the town centre. I really loved the island, especially since there were CATS everywhere!! Plus managed not to burn myself in the process, so I looked beautifully tanned when I went back to work. #winning

Evolution at its finest

Since my last ramble, I spoke about finding inspiration to write. Looking at my drafts, I have close to 10 incomplete posts! It is crazy that I have started all these ideas and none of them are finished. What can I do? Push myself? No, I cannot do that. It would be unnatural to create post that are full of fluff and no substance. You will definitely agree with me that there have been times when you have click on a post, because of the snappy title only to find that it is a rushed article that is an uninspiring listicle. However as of late and a few discussions with my peers, I think the reason for my writers block is my niche. Currently the internet is flooded with Fashion, Beauty and Blogging sites…I am not saying they are not great, but the market is so saturated that I stick to reading a few bloggers and that’s it.

However I digress, this blog start out as a personal diary and then evolved into a business blog; but now that I have written the meaty articles I wanted to, I feel like any business post I write is semi regurgitated. So what to do? I am now accepting and admitting that my blog needs to evolve into something new, but into what you say? The hardest thing for anyone in their life is to define oneself, and after much deliberation I have decided that I am evolving the wayward professional into a lifestyle blog. Now before you launch into how I just literally said the market is saturated with fashion and beauty, I would like to point out that the lifestyle sector is not just fashion and beauty; but more a variety of many outlooks. I want to be bring more elements of travel and health, which will also align with a business lifestyle, I want this website to be fun and informative, along with a bit of crazy (because really who wants to be normal?).

What do you think? I would love to hear your thought on my ramble about last month, remember you can always comment on my follow links which you can find below.

Zoe

Letters from Jane Austen Review

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I am one of those people that will sign up for free courses on-line, but I never really sign up for a paid one. Why? Because I find a lot of the course hardly value for money. However when Xandra from Herione Training released the letters from jane austen email course, I impulsively clicked BUY straight away. I confess I didn’t really read into what the email course was about, I have always been a big Jane Austen fan and over the years I always read/watched any Austen I could get my hands on. I also put it down to being an avid reader of Xandra’s site, she is possibly only of the only blogger I know who’s website site is a mixture of literature and lifestyle.

My favourite book still till this day is Pride and Prejudice followed closely by Emma, I know I am not a diligent fan like other people but I always come back to Austen in times of comfort and need.

Now I digress slightly, here is a little more about these letters, they come weekly into your mailbox on a Friday. I created a folder and a filter so there would be no missing my precious gems (if you are anything like me you already have 100 unread messages in your inbox).

Xandra’s course consists of an email every Friday covering the works by Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey, Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park and Persuasion. Each letter covers a certain amount of chapters, along with Xandra’s letter to you about what her thoughts were on these chapters.

I loved the personal touch, as it felt like I was sitting right in front of her debating the characters; also at the bottom of the letter you get a section called Regency to Reality Takeaway (which I think its the best part.) The takeaway is a small summary about certain words used in the book that are outdated in today’s society, there is a brief description on how you can use them in a sentence too!

My first letter was from the book Sense and Sensibility, Xandra covers a select amount of chapters per letter. You feel like you are having a conversation with her about the characters and scenarios, she also gives you an analytical overview of what the underlying themes are.

Getting these letters were a highlight of my work week, they inspired me to get back into reading the classics; it also made me smile and realise that even way back then there were still the same relationship happening today.

I definitely would recommend anyone who loves Jane Austen or classic literature to sign up for these letters, let’s clear out the spam and put something enlightening into our weekly emails.

#JaneAustenLove

Zoe

 

 

Wayward Interview with Caroline Gellatly

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Since moving to London, I have had the pleasure of meeting some fabulous people. On person in particularly is the lovely Caroline Gellatly, she  has been a game changer in me settling into London Life. She is a wonderful woman, who brings magic and charisma wherever she goes. She also has given me the chance to take a sneak peak into her world of Philanthropy and what an inspiring place to be! So I decided the best way to share her with you all, is to interview her of course!

Could you please tell everyone a little about yourself, what do you do and what sector you work in?

Hi, Wayward Professional readers! I’m Caroline, and I work in the charitable sector as a major gifts manager for a national cancer charity, fundraising large donations from individuals towards our research. Outside of work, I enjoy exploring London with my friends (I’m on a particular mission to discover the best bottomless boozy brunch in the city – recommendations always welcome!), but my heart belongs to Rome (and Gregory Peck).

Why did you decide to go into this sector?

I fell into philanthropy by accident: I was applying for any reasonably bearable job that would take me post-degree, and landed a role as ‘Alumni Assistant’ at one of my university’s colleges. The job description included fundraising, which I quickly realised I loved: chatting to people for a good cause? Brilliant! My boss  was an incredible mentor – her career path and success really inspired me – and I was lucky to join the office at a time when staff a little above me were leaving, so I put myself forward and was promoted quickly to take on more of the aspects of the work I really enjoyed.

Scoring £20,000 gifts towards scholarships for hard-up but seriously bright students, and running a telephone campaign managing eighteen students for an intensive fortnight of fundraising, made me realise just how much this sector suited me. I absolutely love chatting to new people and building good relationships, and I also enjoy the sense of achievement and satisfaction from hitting ambitious targets, so high-level fundraising was a good fit.

How did you come about getting your current position and did you face any obstacles along the way?

I can’t stress the importance of a great recruiter enough. With 100% certainty, I wouldn’t be in my current position without an experienced and enthusiastic recruiter, who knew the industry and the standard of candidate out there extremely well, fighting my corner.

My recruiter helped me to narrow my focus to major gifts fundraising as my dream role, and advised me on how to best present the experience on my CV to fit those job descriptions. There were definitely obstacles – I was applying for roles which were asking for many more years of experience in fundraising than I had at the time – but my recruiter’s belief in and backing of me, as well as their practical instruction, gave me the confidence to shoot for that dream role, which I’m still loving now!

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What advice would you give to potential candidate wanting to get into the industry?

Fundraising is, in many ways, like selling – except you’re peddling a lovely warm fuzzy feeling of altruism instead of an actual object or service! – so any experience in pitching, proposal writing, or presentation giving can be spun towards this. And it goes without saying that immersing yourself in how charities function is a big plus: volunteer, or even better, become a trustee (check out Young Charity Trustees).

When you’re ready to make the move, speak to a bunch of recruiters  (I approached seven or eight) – you’ll likely chat to a few before finding the one who’s really going to gun for you. Look for someone who takes the time to speak to you at length on the phone, teases out experience or aspects of your previous roles which you haven’t given enough limelight, and maintains really frequent contact about multiple positions they’ve put you forward for. An independent recruiter with some prior experience of fundraising themselves – rather than a big, generalised corporate agency – will tend to be much more engaged, too.

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Now to the fun stuff, what is your favourite thing to do to unwind?

I drink too much cheap cava, constantly plot my next holiday (usually to Rome!), watch Old Hollywood musicals, and corral my Galentines into frequent Nando’s trips and Mindy Project catch-up sessions.

How do you allocate your time to make sure you have a good work life balance?

I love my job but generally manage my time and productivity quite well, and can switch off from any work-related stresses when I’m out of the office; if anything, it’s my work-life-rest balance that’s a bit off! I love to make the most of the city and to spend plenty of time with my wonderful friends – but that often means my diary’s absolutely packed, and I don’t get alone time, head space or an early night for weeks on end! So I’m trying to get better at scheduling quiet evenings in every few weeks to stay sane.

Lastly what is your favourite comfort meal?

An entire baking tray of my mum’s roast potatoes. Also, the smashed avocado-feta-chilli-and-poached-eggs on toast at the London Bridge Grind.

 

To London Friendships!

Zoe