10 things you can do on a gloomy day

Photo by Gabriel Santiago

Is the weather crap? Are you being restricted by grey clouds and rain? Not to worry I wrote a list on what you can do on a gloomy day, these recommendations will make you forget what the weather doing and put a big smile on your face.

  1. Catch up on your writing/reading: you may not have a blog, but that doesn’t mean you cannot write in a journal or even make a list. Maybe you could write down your travel goals, where would you like to go on your next holiday? Do you want to take a paper at university this year? I like to write anything that comes into my head, you never know what brilliance might pour out!
  2. Pamper yourself: Do your nails need attention? Girl get down to business and treat yourself like a goddess! Boys you can do this to, maybe have a nice bath while reading your favourite magazine or as my boyfriend likes to do watch youtube videos.
  3. Organise something: be productive and sort out an area that has been bugging you. It doesn’t have to be a large space, maybe your side table or setting up your DVD’s in alphabetical order? Chuck on some music, light a candle and sing your heart our to your favourite tunes while you do this; you will be so satisfied once you have completed it.
  4. Go for a walk: come on! what is not to love about walking in the rain? grab you boots and umbrella, plug in your head phones and go out into the world! I like to walk to my local shops get a Starbucks and go for a walk around our common. Yep, I am only out for 30mins but I feel refreshed and relaxed once I get back in.
  5.  Have a friend over for a movie marathon: having an urge to watch all the classic star wars movies back to back? or do you want to start watching a Tv series that you heard about? Get your pal over, cook some snack and settle down for some Tv madness. I always like to do this late afternoon into the evening so it doesn’t feel like you have wasted the whole day away.
  6. Do online research: this could be anything from looking at gifts for friends or trying to find a dupe on a product that you really want. Scroll through those wishlists on ASOS and Amazon
  7. Try out at home yoga or meditation: Download some apps and give your body and soul some treatment, there are fabulous apps out there that can guide you step by step, trust me if you combine this with idea 2 you will have an amazing relaxed day.
  8. Visit a museum or art gallery: I fully believe these places should be visited on rainy days, not the mall! Museums are always beautifully lit and you get to experience history and culture in such an amazing environment.
  9. Go to a new restaurant or cafe: Been dying to try out that place around the corner but never seem to have a moment to go? Meet up with a friend, take a loved one or just go on your own and enjoy the surroundings. Maybe you could write a review on yelp?
  10. Create/Bake: Make a cake, or even try out a few new recipes that have been on the to try list. I like to go through a few blogs and food sites, then head down to the supermarket for any extra supply’s and lead the master chef soar.

Well I hope this list has inspired you to make the most of a gloomy day, if you like this sort of post check out my post on what to do when you are not feeling your fabulous self .

Much Love and Magic,

Zoe

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Use Your Calendar Like A Pro

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As of late I have been heavily relying on my calendars at work and when I mean calendars I mean technologically and physically. Years ago it was quite common to have your diary open on the day in which you would have made your notes, but since the technological revolution of the smartphone an computers I have seen people loss touch with the essentials of being organised. It still baffles me that even with the smart phones people are still managing to miss place information and run late for meetings.

What it is really down to is refining and deciding what medium will work for you, for example I use my outlook calendar to schedule in all important tasks that I need to do daily, weekly or monthly. I then use a physical diary to write notes and comments but which I can refer back to or look ahead. I do not sync my phone or use my phone’s calendar for work, I choose to do this because any extra work can be achieved in working hours.

Physical Calendars

So what mediums are there that you can use, well you have outlook calendar, Google (or similar) calendar, a physical diary, a desktop/wall calendar and lastly your mobile calendar. Whew that is just feels overwhelming talking about it! First things first you need to establish where you will be, does your job entail that you sit at a desk for most of the day? Or are you out and about, interacting with customers, making delivery or doing research?

When you have reviewed what your work routine is then you can start to decide on what medium will work for you, desk calendars are really good for quick referencing. Circling the date and put a small note this makes you consciously aware of something important is coming, however if you are not at your desk everyday it could be a hindrance and make you feel anxious rather than organised. If you are not at your desk everyday a small diary could be a better alternative than a desk calendar, you can circle the dates on the monthly overview and then add more detail to the day/weekly overview. Moving aware from the physical calendar we now have reached the technological calendar.

Technological Calendars

Whether its Gmail, outlook or your apple calendar they all roughly hold the same functions. If you need to be out and about as part of your job syncing your phone to your calendar is essential, I know each calendar has a different setup process but the setup wizard will guide you through it. Once this is done it opens some many possibilities to keep you organised, one feature I believe that is not used efficiently enough is the alarm setting. You need to understand that you can put multiple alarms for one note, if you know that you are a swipe and forget person put in alarms throughout the week so it can give you the kick up the butt that you need. I like have one the day before and one an hour out, this ensures that I do not arrive or complete the task in a rush!

There are plenty of list apps on the market today that are designed to help you be more “organsied”, but it is purely down to making the small efforts with your calendars. Sync your calendar to your phone, then apply the right alarms and I guarantee you will be away laughing at how these reminders are saving you time and embarrassment.

If this system doesn’t work in your job or life then play around with my recommendations and I can guarantee you with find a calendar method that will work for you.

Have I missed anything? Is there a way that you use your calendar that kills what I do? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Much love and work magic,

Zoe

Own that 9-5!

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A lot of us dream of becoming our own boss, but until that becomes a reality we all end up doing a 9 to 5 of sorts, so why not own that job until you break away like a beautiful hummingbird in flight. We work for well over half our lifetime, so why should we put ourselves in a job that we don’t like? Needing a job to live is understandable, however you can keep trying till you find that job is worth having a 9-5 for!

Fast forward to being in the job you wanted, how should you make the most of it?

Establishing an amazing morning routine is great way to get the most out of your 9 to 5, but what makes a great routine? Well sleep is always the first essential ingredient. For me 7-8 hours a night definitely gives me the spring in my step, to work out how many hours of sleep that will benefit you, try for one week 7 hours of sleep, then the next week 8 and so on. You should judge the result by assessing how you feel each morning, are you really groggy to for the first 10 minutes or are you tired the while way until you get to work?

Next is your breakfast routine, our bodies need to be refuelled so that we can run at optimal levels for the day. If you are not a big eater in the morning, invest in a blender and make breakfast smoothies. You can slowly drink them throughout the morning, the more fruit and nuts the better! Now if you are anything like me you like a hearty breakfast to set your day right, I added 10 extra minutes to my morning routine so that I can have 2 eggs on toast; this lasts me till late morning and I eat breakfast at 6am! Starting your morning off right makes going to work less of a hassle.

So you sorted your morning routine but that is just the first part. To love your 9 to 5 you need to have a consistent system that can adapt to your way of life.  When I arrive at work I sit down and sort out what I need to achieve today, I used my outlook calendar and notebook to write down my goals. I also have reminder in my calendar that pop up when I need to do a daily task. Using planners, notebooks and electronic calendars help me stay on top of my goals and tasks that I have at work. Knowing that I have these systems helps me be relaxed in the workplace, I feel a clear direction is needed to be good at what you are doing. It is different for other industries and it not always that straight forward, but I do recommend a form of note taking that works for you.

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Making friends with work colleagues is another method to help you enjoy your 9 to 5, they can be the people you go have a drink with after work or just simply the people you can have a small chit chat with throughout the day. An upbeat environment creates positives attitudes which I fully believe is a contributing factor to productivity. Colleague friendships are a benefit work wise, when you are struggling with a task or project they will be there to help you and make the process less stressful. I mean who doesn’t want that?!

Next thing to consider is your method of transport to work, do you take public transport? or do you drive/ride to work daily? It doesn’t matter which one it is you should always make your transport an enjoyable experience. For example I have a two playlists for work, one for the journey there and one for the journey back. My morning one is all upbeat tracks design to get me in the energetic mood, plus it also helps keep my optimism and for the journey home I have mellow beats to help me unwind, so when I get home I am fully relaxed and ready to enjoy my evening.

Music its a wonderful way to help enjoy your day, it is very common in workplaces to have music on in the background. If you are not a fan of listening to music in the morning, trying reading if you take public transport or for the drivers/rider talk out about what you want to achieve today. It is a very productive way to start your morning, plus you can feel more settled as you have set tasks for yourself to achieve.

This is only the tip of the ice berg of ways you can improve your 9 – 5! Head over to my twitter or facebook page I would love to hear about you do to make your 9-5 special.

To owning your 9 – 5.

Zoe

Image Credit: Wildfox Couture & Kate Spade

Free Your Inbox!

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Ever since I started blogging I have found that I am a hoarder of free courses. Recently I was looking through my email subscription and it became quite obvious that I had a problem, this addicted I realised also was creating other problems as well.

In a society that has instant access to information it can get a little bit overwhelming, sometimes many of us can stress out about what to do as we have read too many opinions and can’t decide on our own.

When I was scrolling through my subscription I noticed a pattern, I had signed up to quite a lot of business related subscriptions that would help me with my blog (surprised?). What also was interesting was that each subscription was so similar that it was a bit ridiculous. Who needs to have 4 email subscriptions on how to make you blog photos look professional?!

So after that I made a decision that enough is enough, it was my own personal email culling time. But where did I start you say? Well it was more that I needed to read all of the email subscriptions and this means reading every fricken email and seeing if it applies to your current situation of work or life. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT WAS?! I am pretty sure I almost threw my laptop out the apartment window, it was frustrating and time consuming where I could have been doing something else more fun or productive. But you know what, I was sick and tired of going into my email and seeing all these bloody subscriptions filling my inbox. After awhile it became depressing for me to even open email and that my friend is not healthy at all.

Allowing all the electronic clutter to ruin your mental state is not right, it like when you walk your room only to discover everything is dirty and/or broken and all you needed to do was to tidy up. So it was out with the unwanted and in with the organisation.

Free courses are addictive, why not sign up to a free course where you can learn how to make a paper plane? *only example I could think of that is irrelevant*. What we should be doing is using our noggins, having prompt questions like “am I really going to read this?” “will this actually be helping for my ___?”.

I have found that these prompts have helped stop impulsive signing up to pointless courses. By delaying the initial reaction to click sign up, asking helps you decide for yourself whether you need it or not. Worst comes to worst save the webpage and go back to it an hour later, ask the same prompt questions and see if you still feel the urge to click. If its still there then click my friend because obviously this is going to help you in some way, whether its for inspirational or practical purposes.

After reading all my email subscriptions, I unsubscribed to half of them. Yip you read that right HALF, blimey I complied a lot of useless crap. As there was over 15 subscriptions I wanted to cancel, I used Unroll.Me it is a really helpful with mass unsubscribe. Now I am happy to look back in my inbox and see the world again, or more like what I have brought…

Did I miss anything out? Do you know of some other helpful tips that might help other waywards? Make sure you comment below or head over to my twitter and use the #TWP.

Much love and magic,

Zoe

 

Image by Startup Stock Photos

A survival guide to setting up in London

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It is coming almost 3 months since I landed in London and I already feel like I have a wealth of knowledge, I confess I even have given advice to people visiting!

However I do find a common theme for and struggle for people like myself who have moved to a new country. Therefore I felt it was my duty to give a my tips and recommendations on how to make a smooth transition into the London life.

Below my list is complied of all the necessary requirements you need to be fully functional in the UK.

  • Bank Account – When you get here, get into a place as quickly as you can and then get your bank in your country to post your bank statement to your new address. Banks here in the in UK want proof of address, they will not accept anything that is photocopied or emailed. Tenancy agreements work, even your new job could possibly give you a formal letter stating that you are working for them. Otherwise this will be a painful process, believe me it took me 2 months (I do confess I didn’t want to rely on getting my bank to send my statement over)
  • NI Number (National Insurance Number) – apply for this straight away when you land, go to the government website find the phone number and call to apply. They will send you an application in the post, which you fill out and send back. Then they will call you once the information is processed and book you a meeting with them 3 weeks after the phone call. If you don’t have a NI number when you start working you can use a P46 form which will give you a temporary tax code. I would like to point out that the temporary tax code charges are higher than what you would have with your own. Don’t worry your job will reimburse you once you have your official NI number

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  • Oyster Card – Unless you want to pay for a horrendous amount of travel costs, this card will be your best friend. You can purchase it as the ticket machines for £5 and then you are away laughing. You can also get away with debit or credit cards that have the pay wave options, but I am old fashioned and I like to have a separate card for travel.
  • Sim Card – you can get a prepay card on arrival, though it is quite costly. Once you have a bank account get onto a contract, they have better deals and some will have good discounts on mobile phones as well.
  • Travel AppsTube Map, Bus Checker and City Mapper. Also if you run out of data like I do, I use the London A-Z map book that can be purchased from Newsagents or Tesco’s.
  • Supermarkets – Wherever you land up living, you need to know what supermarkets are. Unlike in New Zealand where we have 3 big chains, there are quite a few to select from here in the UK. A few examples are: Sainsbury’s, Tescos, Waitrose, Asda, Whole Foods and Lidl just to name a few. So if you hear of any of these place near where you live, woop woop! food time!
  • Club Cards – Whatever store you go into and find yourself coming back again and again, invest in their club/store cards! The deals sometimes only apply to members, so keep an eye out for them and sign up.

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  • Discover the Market Places and High Street Shops – if you are like me and land in the UK after travelling for a long period of time, then you are definitely not going to have any work clothes to do interviews in. For me I have looked in charity shops, market stalls and some high st stores. Research, ask around and you will quickly discover there is so many options that you will jump for joy. My greatest discovery was New Look their clothes are affordable and for me there are some really nice work tops that I quickly snapped up.
  • Attend Networking Events – Use sites like Eventbrite to find events on that are free or that you know you would meet like minded individuals. I recently went to my first one and it was amazing! meet so many wonderful and talented people that I can’t wait to do it all over again.

Well there you have it, my survival guide to setting up in London!

I hope this helps,

To living abroad!

Zoe

 

Images credit: Superdwayne, Maria Molinero and Shane Walsh

The most amazing interview ever!

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I know you might be reading this going what?! Are you serious? Yes, my name is Zoe and I cried in an interview, this open day/interview was probably the most amazing experiences of my life. Initially I was embarrassed for a little while but the people I had to be interviewed by were really lovely and made me feel more relaxed than I have even been in an interview.

It was a great reflection period that night, this company is a small company and they don’t like red tape bull-shit, can I get a Hallelujah please! They are driven by passion and people, it is like a candidates dream come true (well my dream at least). You are assessed by who you are as a person and not by your past, they barely even looked at your resume just to see what rough skills you had.

After writing my posts on the interview process and recruitment etc it made me smile to know that there are companies like the one I went to still out there. Still wanting their workplace to be fun and exciting, with people who are passionate about being there and wanting to be part of its success, a family life.

This post is my mini memoir about how there are always different sides of the business world, there are the large corporations who like to keep a cookie cutter consistency during interviews and then there are the small companies that love to just do things there own way. But I am generalising, there are large companies that also mimic small business mentality too and vice versa!

What I am trying to say is that when you get the opportunity to just be yourself in an interview or any formal situation, just do it!, it is very liberating and you are likely to find that people will generally like you for you (how astonishing). However don’t throw away your resume or not prep before interview, all you need to do is when in the interview engage whether it is an environment you can show more of yourself in.

I am really happy that I got to share this experience with you, I do hope you come away with some little nugget of realisation just like I did.

To crying in interviews!

Zoe

Photography by Giuseppe Circhetta

5 Ways To Overcome Negative Thinking

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Almost a month ago I landed in England to follow my dreams of living abroad. Since then I have visited family in Scotland and Germany, plus I caught up with my brother in London too. I still have a few more people to see and I feel so bad that I have not done it yet! But then I realise I have only been here a month and I just need to chill out, also I have been frustrated that I have not found a job yet and it feels like I am going backwards…

Then yesterday I just went STOP! this overthinking is ridiculous and I need to set myself straight. We are all guilty on putting unrealistic expectations on ourselves, when I reflected back I realised I had not been in the country enough to properly look for work. This also coincided with not seeing all the people I want to see in England, I just have not been around! However in the back of my mind there is that little person going “well you should get onto it, stop being lazy”. BUT I AM NOT BEING LAZY my conscious yells back, I have been travelling! please give me a break.

So that’s what I have started doing, getting rid of that little person in back of my head so I can have a break. I know many of you can relate to this, especially in the work place when all your deadlines are due or you feel delayed by other people.

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Therefore I am going to share with you my tips on how to realign you thinking (or other words dampening or getting rid of that negative thinking, that evil voice in the back of your head).

  • Simple Meditation: I am what you call an overactive imagination sort of gal, constantly thinking and analysing things. Plus I am a great sleep talker, which I have found out is one symptom of an overactive imagination. Therefore I find it difficult to meditate, but by recommendation I found Headspace an app that helps you with the baby steps of mediation and other situations. I also like it because it does not make you feel guilty if you missed a day etc. Plus the app is adorable so it brings me visual stimulation when I use it, also the results are great! I may not be a great meditator but I do notice changes. Like now, I am writing this post with much better focus and it is giving me great satisfaction! Winning!
  • Write a List: When you write a list you can then work towards completing it, this does not work for everyone as it might aggravate them feeling like you haven’t finished and it there staring you in the face. If that’s the case just use you phone calendar and allocate things each day, week or month and put a reminder message to it. Doing this means you can let it go and think about or things, I do both methods as this really helps my relax more. A written list for things at home, like washing, shopping or parties I am going to attend. Then my phone calendar for my blog posts, job appointments and future people I need to contact.
  • Talk it out with someone: It doesn’t matter is you don’t have a significant other, friends or family can be that bouncing board you need. I use my boyfriend and my parents to talk about my doubts and fairs about work life. For my more personal stuff that is what my girlfriends/guyfriends are for! Talking it out with someone can help you see the bigger picture and make you feel more centered with you choices.
  • Watch Tedx videos: Look no further for inspirational people and innovative ideas, I always find watching these videos to be extremely uplifting and educational.
  • Argue with yourself: Debate with your inner self, logically tell yourself why you should not think this way. Write metaphors and read motivational quote, tell yourself this is a better way and this is way I am going to think. It might sound silly but it can have an enormous impact long term.

Well I hope you find these points helpful, we all have days when we feel like we should be achieving more than what we have right now. Make the subtle changes and work towards your work or personal goal.

I believe in you!

Zoe

Photos from Gratisography