Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Thoughts of an Unemployed Graduate

Well this was fun for like a month, when I was busy with graduations, grad ball, visiting family in Ireland, but now I'm down to the nitty gritty of perfecting my CV and trying to find a job. So many of my friends seem to be on the up already with jobs, or jobs lined up, or starting their masters. Meanwhile I'm sat at home trying not to drive my family crazy by following them about the house.

So many jobs in my field require certain experience, or 1-2 years of experience working in a lab. They lie when they say it's a graduate job, what they really mean is 'has a degree, and at least two years of experience'. Where do I get this experience then?!

*Whispers* was uni even worth it? One of the jobs I'm applying for doesn't even require a degree and it's possibly the job I want the most! Maybe I have the edge over other applicants then... I don't really believe uni wasn't worth it, it's not for everyone, but it was deffo the right choice for me. Hopefully the knowledge and experience gained from my course will help me climb the career ladder faster than if I hadn't gone!

'What shall I do now?' is one of my daily thoughts. I'm not endlessly applying to jobs at the moment as I want to remember who I've applied to work for and come across as really on top of things (which I obviously am...). I'm easing myself back into blogging but I'm gonna do it myyyy waaayyy and try to stop reading so many 'How to Blog' and similar posts. Ya'll keep repeating the same shit and if I'm brutally honest I think all these blogging 'rules' and 'tips' have taken away a lot of the creativity and individuality of many blogs (mini-rant over #sorrynotsorry)

Can I afford to go for drinks or out for lunch (again)? My bank balance is dwindling and I don't even have student loans to fall back on anymore, or savings. Luckily I haven't been able to spend any money in my bank accounts 'cos I was, unluckily, a victim of fraud and the bank had to cancel my cards and block my accounts etc. Don't worry, it's all sorted now. I don't know why they bothered hacking into my bank accounts when there's next to nothing to steal! I have enough clothes and stuff, but I want money for experiences. Like holidays and travelling, even visiting places around the UK.

Hopefully this job search won't take too long. I'm giving myself to the start of October to find employment, if I don't I'll have to alter my game plan and what I'm applying to. I'm also keen to move out of my parents' house (again) and gain back the kind of independence I had while living somewhere else for uni. I'm eternally grateful for their support and the roof over my head during this time. I'm very fortunate to have such supportive parents, and that they have the space and can afford to house me until I find a job. I know not everyone has that privilege.

I'll leave you with a couple of decent graduation photos and a less-decent-slightlyvery-drunk selfie from grad ball!

Good luck to anyone else on the job hunt! If you have any advice for me and others in my position please let us know in the comments! Or just some words of good luck and motivation would suffice.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

What Vegans Eat In Portsmouth

Possibly because it's a student city, Portsmouth ain't too bad for eating vegan. The well known smile cafe in Portsmouth is entirely vegan, somewhere I've never actually been so someone go and try it for me!

Some places will offer a vegan menu (thank you Las Iguanas, even though I've never eaten at you either), some offer a few, and some offer only one (looking at you Beach Cafe with your sad Israeli cous cous salad and not even vegan chips cos they're cooked in fish fat. Not even your location directly on the beach makes up for this). I haven't eaten everywhere in P-town so I'll list my fave vegan options at places I have eaten!

Pie & Vinyl
An obvious choice for the top spot. Famous in Portsmouth and surrounding areas for its large choice of pies, including separate veggie and vegan options, it also functions as part vinyl shop. It's small and cosy, like eating in your grandma's kitchen if your grandma was a hipster, sipping earl grey tea or elder flower and apple cordial (or one of the other gazillion flavours of tea or cordial). As well as vegan pies they serve vegan cakes, which I've unfortunately never tried as one of their pies with the vegan mash, mushy peas, and onion gravy leaves me full to burst! They change their menu so what used to be my fave "not-dog pie" with vegan sausage and onion gravy inside is now a "not-dog BBQ pie" including a BBQ sauce and sweet corn with the vegan hot dog inside. I think I need to shut up about pie & vinyl now...

Spoons
Aka Wetherspoons. Wait, don't judge me! They have very limited vegan options, jacket potato or burrito, but oh my stars if you've never tried the burrito do it, DO IT NOW! I had it again recently and split it with my boyfriend 'cos it's a fuck load of food for a very empty stomach or two people. While you're there order yourself the Aspall Suffolk cider, it's vegan and delicious. 

All Bar One
Glad I can include one of the fancier places in Gunwharf Quays! I haven't been to many of the restaurants there, but I bet some will have vegan options. The ones I know will cater to vegans are Pizza Express, Las Iguanas, and All Bar One, where we went for a fancy(ish) dinner after my graduation. All Bar One has TWO, yes TWO vegan options! I tried the Miso rice bowl which is full of veg with a soy and sriracha sauce. There's also the superfood salad but most places seem to have that as their only vegan option so I'm a bit sick of "superfood" salads now.

Zen Chinese
Fancy ordering in? Zen Chinese is quite new and is straight up the best Chinese take away I've ever had. There are so many vegan options! From Thai green curry to many choices of tofu with various sauces with rice noodles or rice. I miss this take away already! Unforch there aren't any decent Chinese take-aways OR restaurants near where my parents live *wails*.

Do you have any recommendations for vegan places to eat? Or vegan options at "normal" places? Let us know in the comments!

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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Instamonth #July2016

Scrolling through everyone else's instas is making me well jeal. Everyone seems to be either on holiday somewhere scorching, or working on some awesome project! I'm pretty in awe of what ya'll can do, but also feeling slightly inadequate. But hey, maybe that's just 'cos my insta game isn't quite as good as others. I don't always know what to post. I still shun the idea of a theme and find insta feeds with similar photos kinda boring... #sorrynotsorry. I prefer colourful feeds, full of life! Which I guess is what I'm trying to do with mine. Embrace the vague lifestyle niche! Which means I can post graduation pics alongside photos of the sky and ugly toads.
sunset || posing for graduation photos || happy selfies
Topshop embroidered jeans & charity shop Fred Perry sneakers || peacock peacocking at Dublin zoo! || the fairytale cottage
Lough Key || homeward bound || toad (or frog?) friend and their baby

I was all over the place again in July. I had some time at home with my family, before heading back down to P-town for M's graduation, at which I basically destroyed my feet wearing chunky heels all freaking day! Worth it though. We had grad ball as well to which I had to wear my new Fred Perry sneakers (£6 from a charity shop, thank youuu very much) 'cos my swollen toe wouldn't fit into my new pretty sandals. Luckily the swelling went down for my graduation so I could wear the pretty shoooes (which you can see in the full photo on my insta). Then we came home and I packed M off on a train to Brum again so I could pack for Ireland. I swear I spend my life packing and living out of suitcases...

We weren't even in Ireland for a week but managed to fit loads in! We went to Termonbarry, and from there visited Lough Key for the first time! It's so beautiful, and more to do than you could fit into one day. We visited family staying at their friends' classic Irish country cottage for fairy treasure hunts, pond paddling, tea drinking, exploring, and stayed for lunch and dinner, eventually warming up by the little stove fire in the living room. It's the cutest cottage which is available to rent on TripAdvisor. We also fitted in Dublin zoo, a lot of Chinese food, and the best Thai food ever.

I'm finally settled back in at home, working on my CV and job hunting, and really not enjoying the weather. Classic British moaner I know but PLEASE GIVE US A WEEK OF SUN *cries*. The good thing about the rain is it draws out my little frog friend and her baby! Or is it a toad? Can anyone tell? Look how cute! I'm really enjoying living back in the countryside, or just outside a little town I guess, we're not quite out in the sticks. I can really tell the difference in the air though, it's fresh and you can smell the trees, unlike Portsmouth which either smelt of salty sea air or stank of shit. Here the air always smells fresh and clean. I'm looking forward to exploring more of the area and getting to know it again. 

What have you been up to this month?

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Quick Fix Anxiety Tips

Whether you suffer from an anxiety disorder, or PTSD like me, many of us feel that familiar knot in our stomachs as our thoughts chase each other round and round  in our heads. I'm not gonna say I can help totally fix that, if anyone does knows how hit me up 'cos I'd bloody well like to know! But I do have a few little techniques I've picked up over the years to deal with feeling anxious in the moment. The first being my fave go-to quick-fix...

Alternate nostril breathing
Pretty much speaks for itself! Using your thumb cover one nostril and breathe in deeply through the other. Swap over and use a finger to cover the nostril you just inhaled through, releasing your thumb from the other nostril through which you will now breathe out. Now you've got started, breathe in again through the nostril you just exhaled out of, cover it up, release the other nostril and breathe out. Repeat on this side and continue until you're breathing is steadier. This one is easy and can be used anywhere anytime! Unforch this doesn't exactly work if you have a blocked nose...

Sense meditation
I think that's what it's called...and this one also pretty much speaks for itself! You tune into your five senses, what can you see, hear, smell, touch? If its possible go outside to do this. I'm lucky living where I do, it's not hard to find peaceful green spaces. Keep focusing on what you can hear and feel. Do you feel connected to the earth? Do you feel grounded? Keep bringing yourself back to the basics with this technique.

Tense those muscles!
Damn I feel like these quick-fixes are so obvious but I always forget to utilise them, so maybe some of you are the same and need a wee reminder of how to cope in the moment. Wherever you are, you can do this one too! Tense each muscle group one at a time, maybe starting from your feet and legs. Push down and tense into your feet and calves, you could even try and tense all up your legs and your butt! Relax then tense your stomach muscles, then arms and fists, and so on. Once you've gone through each muscle group relax all of them and just mentally scan your body for any little tensions, notice where feels most relaxed. You don't have to try and change any of it in the moment, just notice.
Listen to new music
WAIT! Stay with me! Don't just listen to any music, but a song or piece you have never listened to before ever! Ok so you might not be able to do this one in a meeting, in which case refer back to alternate nostril breathing a nice subtle one, but if you have spotify it shouldn't be too hard to find a piece of music you've never listened to before. It won't trigger any memories, happy or sad, so will be perfect to tune out of the world and meditate with the music, simply listening to it intently and letting it wash over you. 

I hope one of these quick fixes is of use to even just one person. If I can help one of you a little bit this is all worth it!

Got any quick-fixes of your own? Let us in on your secret down in the comments! Peace xo