Saturday, 24 June 2017

Cocktail Crazy...


When my Departmental Manager announced she was leaving I actually felt quite sad; she was the person who gave me this job and therefore completely changed my life. However, all good things must come to an end, but we didn't want her to disappear into the sunset without having a decent send off, so an up-market restaurant was booked, taxis arranged and off we all went for some posh nosh and cocktails, all paid for by the Department.

I have to admit, being chauffeur driven into town to be wined and dined with all of my workmates is something I could get quite used to given half a chance, although maybe it wasn't such a good idea to schedule it for a weekday evening. Within the first few minutes round one of kicked off with cosmopolitans, white Russians and martinis, while numerous other alcoholic joys were being shaken, and stirred, by our amiable bartender. After three solid hours of knocking back gin and prosesso I, for one, was in no fit state to rock up to the office 9am the next morning, so humble apologies were shakily emailed and I spent the entire day with the hangover from hell. 

Despite the rather unfortunate after-effects, it was an exceedingly good night (from what I can remember), with tons of merriment and girlie chatter, and we'd certainly given our DM a night she won't forget in a hurry.
Cheers!


Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Boat That Rocked...


Fathers Day can be quite a sad affair when your dad is no longer alive, so I was extremely grateful that a friend suggested a trip to the coast to get me out of the house for a few hours. It was actually the hottest day of the year so far, so the slightly cooler breeze from the sea was extremely welcome.

We'd ended up in Harwich (Essex), and after a lovely walk along the promenade, admiring the dozens of ships and yachts of all shapes and sizes, I was treated to lunch and an ice-cold drink. Satiated by paninis and fruit juice we continued strolling along the seafront when we came across the actual vessel which featured in the Bill Nighy film The Boat That Rocked! 

It's a good job I'd taken my blood pressure tablets earlier because the excitement was almost too much for me to cope with; especially when we discovered it costs just £2 each to spend as much time as you want on it. Well, it just goes to show that you never can tell how your day will pan out, and sometimes something fabulous is just around the corner...literally!

Monday, 5 June 2017

Meerkat Monday...


When you work at a large University campus, there's always something new and exciting happening, and today was no exception. In order to give the students something else to focus on during the main exam period, the Student Union had arranged for one of the outdoor spaces to host a Petting Zoo. This proved to be extremely popular, not only with the students but with staff too.

Little did I know that when I left home early this morning I'd be spending my lunch-break surrounded by chickens, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, a tortoise, a dog and..... meerkats! I may be just an office administrator, working a regular 9 to 5 job, but life's certainly never dull - and it's only Monday. Goodness knows what Tuesday will bring...!


Sunday, 28 May 2017

We Reap What We Sow...


For the past fortnight I've been working 6 days a week, so the fact that this is a Bank Holiday weekend is very welcome indeed. It's been busy in the office, and also exciting with the arrival of my brand new computer with shiny new keyboard and mouse along with two great big monitors, but nice surprises aside it's actually a welcome relief to finally be able to spend a couple of days in my much-neglected garden.

In my absence, however, Mother Nature has decided to spoil me, and when I stepped outside this fine, sunny morning I was greeted by the sight of dozens of bright orange Californian poppies, stunning giant red ornamental poppies and delicate blue love-in-the-mist. It appears that many of last years plants have self-seeded, and the mixed wild-flower seeds I randomly scattered at the end of last summer are now flourishing.

The universe sometimes has unique ways of rewarding those who go the extra mile in order to improve their own circumstances, and while I've strived to undertake more responsibility in the workplace, despite also undergoing numerous medical tests for ongoing health issues, I'm now reaping a few of the benefits...


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Oops I Did It Again...


Since January, I've been feeling distinctly below par with a cough, and as yet none of the NHS bods who've seen me so far can tell me why; despite numerous tests, let alone come up with a cure. It hasn't stopped me from getting on with my new job and it certainly didn't prevent me from enjoying a week of Spanish sunshine back in March, but it's been quite draining nonetheless.

So, after weighing up various pros and cons, I've just booked another holiday (as you do) and I'm feeling better already! It won't be for a while, which will allow time for my medical woes to hopefully be fixed, but at least it's something nice to look forward to. This will be my very first proper 'adults only' holiday, so that's going to be quite a revelation I suspect, and as usual I've opted for all-inclusive in The Canaries. 

Ahhhh... I can picture it now... sun, sand and sangria... and absolutely no need to worry about acting 'inappropriately' around other people's offspring. I have a feeling this could get messy... how fabulous!

Friday, 28 April 2017

Famous Faces...

When you work for any organisation that's remotely Governmental, the minute something kicks off  in the world; let alone anything as 'exciting' as an unexpected General Election; you find yourself surrounded by people busy giving television interviews and having articles published here, there and just about everywhere. As the person responsible for the department's social media, amongst other things, it's certainly keeping me busy at the moment that's for sure.

It's a good job I don't get starstruck or I'd never get any work done these days as my office seems to be attracting all and sundry. However, if any of these academic 'celebrities' ever decides to get a bit above their station, I will simply remind them that we're all pretty much the same underneath... as I show them for the umpteenth time how to use the photocopier...

Monday, 17 April 2017

Making It My Own...


Well, it's been a couple of weeks since I moved into my own office and I've been busy settling into my new routine. It's certainly a steep learning curve, and there's plenty more things I'll need to get to grips with in the next few months, but so far so good.

Obviously, when I'm not at meetings or dealing with enquiries I'm attempting to replicate Kew Gardens in a very limited space, much the the bemusement of visitors and colleagues alike. I've so far managed to fill the windowsills and have been moving stuff around to create some brand new areas where I can pop a bit of foliage and a few blooms to create a beautiful and positive working environment.

It may just be a 'workplace' but in my opinion, whenever it's possible (and practical) it's important to make the space your own, and my 'own' very much involves flowers.


Friday, 31 March 2017

Back To Teguise...

I had two choices regarding my remaining annual leave; stay at home and generally potter around doing not very much, or return to the Canaries. Guess what I did... Yes, just three months after returning from Lanzarote I chose to return there for a cheeky, Spanish spring break.

I'd been to Costa Teguise before so it seemed a wise move to stick with familiar territory, albeit at a different complex this time. Just four minutes walk to a giant beach and literally surrounded by fabulous shops, bars and restaurants, the location was spot on. I was allocated a great apartment with sunset views and although the weather was bordering on insanely hot on a few occasions, there was always plenty of iced sangria to cool me down.

During my stay it was the annual triathlon and I've never seen so much lycra in all my life; wasn't sure where to put my eyes! I also managed a return visit to Puerto Del Carmen to see how it now looks eight and a half years after my last visit (quite different as it turns out!) I wonder where I'll be off to next?

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Special People...


It's wonderful when your grown-up children want to regularly pop round, but it's an even bigger compliment when their friends ask if they can come along and meet you too! The fact that I always provide a variety of delicious cakes and fancy biscuits might help, but they always seem to enjoy coming home and therefore I suspect it's potentially down to previous, complimentary post-visit reviews which led to me meeting their lovely chum. Not only was I treated to an additional guest, I was given a gift bag filled with chocolatey goodies by my lovely girlies which was very unexpected, but much appreciated. As usual, we chatted about anything and everything, and yet again time just flew by. 

I'm so grateful that I have my gorgeous daughters as I'm well aware that there are women out there who sadly haven't been blessed with offspring, and I can't imagine how unfulfilled they might feel. Bringing up children is a roller-coaster ride, often with as many downs as there are ups, but eventually, whether you like it or not, they'll fly the nest. However, if you love them enough they'll always find their way back home. As the saying goes, "Home is where the heart is..."

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Sick Pay...


When you're self-employed it's really simple; if you don't work you don't get any money. However, now that I've ditched self-employment to become a bona fide employee I'm discovering the benefit of 'sick pay'. What a truly marvellous phenomenon it is!

After suffering with persistent cough, instead of continuing to struggle in to work in order to ensure I could afford to pay my bills, I was able to take a couple of days off so that my poor old lungs could recover, without me getting stressed out over money. Being able to rest at home fully focussed on simply getting better was not only good for my physical health but also my mental well-being.

This is actually a win-win situation all round as not only was I able to return to work fighting fit within a relatively short period of time, my co-workers no longer had to listening to me hacking up my lungs all day. Result!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Good Friends...


Unlike some, I may not be able to list more than a hundred names in my circle of friends, but I'm hugely grateful to have the small, but perfectly formed, group of people in my life who are always there whenever I'm in need.

After several weeks of enduring a persistent cough, and assuming that there was no reason to trouble the NHS because "It's just a virus" and "There's a lot of it about"; not to mention the fact that it'd be easier to get a date with Johnny Depp than a GP appointment these days; I found myself two days ago hardly able to breathe and feeling extremely unwell.

Despite it being late in the evening, my selfless chum came to pick me up, took me to the hospital walk-in centre, and then waited two and a half hours with me until I was finally examined, before returning me safely back home. As it turns out I needed antibiotics, so it really was necessary for me to seek medical assistance asap to avoid things turning nasty.

I'm a very lucky lady indeed and I'll never take my mates for granted. I really do appreciate everything they do for me. Thank you...!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

As One Door Closes...


My temporary contract was due to end soon, and I was actively on the hunt for my next career move, when my manager called me in for a meeting. It turns out that I must've made a pretty good impression since I arrived six months ago as instead of finalising my paperwork and bidding farewell to co-workers I was offered a new role within the same department. Well, that was unexpected to say the least.

Brand new responsibilities means having to start at the beginning again, albeit in a familiar environment surrounded by people I've already been working with, but I did it before and I know full well I can do it again. There's a lot of loose ends to tie up before the big day and plenty of questions still to be answered, but as of April I'll be closing one door and literally opening a brand new one - the door to my very own office!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Livin' La Vida Loca...


As I've never held a proper salaried position before, and am therefore unfamiliar with the concept of annual leave, I genuinely thought I'd used up all of my hours when I spent half of December in The Canaries - but apparently not! After a quick check of the works HR website I discovered that I had over a week of paid leave to take on a use-it-or-lose-it basis. So after a hectic couple of hours trawling the holiday websites and a bit of maths, I've managed to nab myself a cheeky week in the Spanish sunshine in the spring. OMG I just love being an employee.

I've only just lost the tan from the previous holiday and here I am now planning yet another all-inclusive week of sun, sand and sangria. This time last year I was self-employed, and only bringing in enough cash to just about cover my bills. Never in a million years did I think that within twelve months I'd be enjoying all the perks of being paid to laze around under palm trees for the second time in under six months. It just goes to show that you never, ever know what's just around the corner... so you should make the most of any opportunities while you still can.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Embracing all Things Hygge...


In recent months I've discovered a new word (well, it's an ancient word but is new to me); hygge. Apparently, this interesting Danish word (pronounced 'hue gar' or thereabouts) has no English translation; the closest we get to it is 'cosiness'. With temperatures outside rather chilly, and no signs as yet that spring is on the horizon, it feels rather satisfying that something referring to contentment gained from simple pleasures such as snuggling beneath a blanket or embracing the warm glow of a candle is currently 'the in thing'.

Soothing acts of wearing fluffy socks and taking time out to mull over a cuppa are apparently all part and parcel of this phenomenon, which is a happy coincidence because they're things I already like doing. Who knew that my regular bowl of porridge, a spoonful of honey in a warm glass of brandy and even enjoying a slice of cake are all massively positive for my mental well-being. In an uncertain world it's good to know that little nuggets of joy can easily find their way into your life, gently calming the nerves and making you feel at peace... and it's got a name (hygge).


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Happy New Year...


It's been a busy start to 2017 and I can't believe that the first half of January is almost behind me. Having bid farewell to self-employment at the end of 2016, my salaried job role is taking up most of my time these days, which is really positive. There's a massive amount to learn, and at times I feel as if my brain will burst, but along with the challenges there are more than enough rewards to make up for it, and being part of a team is a dream come true.

My shifts are longer than I'm used to, but this became a lot easier once I settled back into my new routine after the Christmas break, and the bonus is that I'm getting fitter. I'm slowly getting used to the sheer volume of business meetings I'm now attending, along with various training days, and although my schedule is filling up with work it's also being filled with fun stuff such as the monthly team breakfasts, and will soon include an 'away day'!

Never in a million years did I ever imagine that my life could change so quickly and dramatically, which just goes to show that you never know what's just around the next corner. If you want to move upwards you have to move forwards...