Working 9-5

It doesn’t feel like all that long ago I wrote about how I ditched regular working hours in favour of 12 hour shifts, but time’s a-changing again folks! No, I didn’t get fed up of the hours – in fact, I really did love doing the whole 3 days a week thing – but your girl’s gone and got herself a new job!

I’m still working for the same company, in the same building, but I have finally clawed my way out of customer service and I’m pleased to announce that I will now be an accounts administrator in the finance department, and that means Monday-Friday, 9-5, and for the first time ever in my working life.. NO MORE WEEKENDS! The job comes with better pay, better hours and more opportunities, and I already love the work.

And while I did love my old shift pattern, I finally have total stability; no more working Monday-Wednesday one week, then Monday, Thursday and Friday the next, and then throw in a few random weekend days each month. I’ve also been given the gift of some flexibility – if I need to come in a little later one day, I can do that and stay a little later. I’m not having to be in for an exact time and take my breaks at the set time I was given, and better still, I don’t have to speak to customers anymore, yippee! (I have worked in customer service for over 5 years and while I somewhat enjoyed the work and like the majority of customers, some can be downright rude)

I normally hate change, but this change is going to be so good for me. I’m already so much happier to go to work every day, and excited to get back to a proper routine of eating meals at normal times, and not being totally exhausted when I get home. I’m excited to have time to go to the gym in the morning and still have time to do my makeup rather than just running out of the house with my eyebrows just barely filled in. I’ll have time to catch up with people on social media and promote my small businesses and just feel a little bit more like my life is together.

This is going to be good for me.

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I Can Be Body Positive While Still Wanting to Change Mine

2017 has been a huge year for body positivity. Its been at the forefront of a lot of brand campaigns, its been discussed a great deal more in the media and I’ve seen so many more people I know talking about it on social media and embracing it.

I think every girl knows what its like to hate their body. From a young age we’re faced with pressure to comply to certain body standards, and made to feel awful about ourselves if we don’t fit in. I actually remember lying about my weight when I was in primary school. That’s right, I was no older than 10 or 11 the first time I lied about my weight because I knew I weighed more than the other girls in my class and I didn’t want them to make fun of me.

I remember being nervous about going shopping with my friends when I started secondary school because I didn’t want them to see me picking up clothes that were sized larger than my age, and I remember one time, when I was finally passing my real chunky phase, feeling so happy that when my friends said I should try on a dress that I actually fit into my age/size. I wore t-shirts over bikinis at the beach when I was a teenager, especially if there were going to be boys around, and I’d always make sure I was behind the camera to ensure I was never caught in any photos.

Let’s just say, body positivity has never come easily for me, but I have never judged anyone else on their body. If I see any girl of any size doing her thing I’m like YASS GIRLLL OWN IT; I love seeing body positivity in others, and even if that person isn’t particularly body positive themselves, I’ll happily be their cheerleader.

Over the last few years, however, I have been learning to own my body. My confidence has been growing courtesy of going to the gym, getting fitter and eating better, and seeing the changes that has come from these actions. You see, I’m still trying to change my body to make it look how I’d like it to look, but that doesn’t make me any less positive. The changes that I’d like to see in my body are purely for me, because I want to feel healthier, but also because I want to love my body a little bit more, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be body positive now.

This year, for the first time ever, I posted a photo of myself in a bikini on social media. Hell, I even stood up in front of a whole bunch of people in said bikini for that photo to be taken. I’m wearing clothes I never thought I could wear because I’m more confident with my body. Yes, I’d like to be a little less squishy round the edges, but the fact is I’d be perfectly happy if my size didn’t change at all. I am body positive now, and I think you are all beautiful too.

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Things That Happen When You Start to Think About Moving Out

So I’ve hinted a lot recently about big changes coming up in my life, and undeniably the biggest of these changes is that very soon I will be flying the nest, and Matthew and I will be moving in together.

While this might not seem like a big deal to some, it will be the first time I’ve ever left home; I didn’t go to university, and places in my town are so expensive even to rent that I was much happier living at home and saving up for when this time came. With that in mind, now we are in the process of not only trying to find our own place, but also brace for all the adult stuff that comes along with it – mortgages, show home visits and what not – a few more things start to happen..

You sign up for an Ikea Family card, and any other loyalty schemes you can find

The B&Q Club, Tesco Clubcards, you name it – anything that could either get you some money off or earn a few reward points suddenly seems like the best idea in the world.

Pinterest boards appear

Rather than spending evenings scrolling for holiday destinations or beauty tips, suddenly its all about decor, furniture and kitchens, plus any home DIY pins you think you’ll actually be able to accomplish successfully.

You start to evaluate your DIY skills

Suddenly thoughts like ‘how do you even put up a shelf?’ and ‘can I be trusted with power tools?’ pop into your head at random times and you fear that everything might just have to be held together by duck tape..

Important discussions occur

If you’ve never permanently lived with your soon-to-be new housemate, you’ll end up having long conversations about whether you’ll be a ‘shoes off at the door’ kinda house, or if you keep ketchup in the fridge or in the cupboard.

You start to panic over hosting people

Having your own place means that inevitably people will visit from time to time, and in these times its always vital that tea and coffee is stocked and there’s milk in the fridge, and does this mean you should always have biscuits in too? Is it rude to not have biscuits?!

Cashback websites become everything

Now that you actually have to worry about your own bills, when weighing up which companies to go to for things like power, broadband and insurance, its all about who works out as the best deal when it comes to that all important cashback.

You realise how many things at home you take for granted

Sure, you’ve thought about what furniture you’re gonna need, and you’ve basically decided on your dream home’s decor in your head already, but did you think about the fact you’ll have to remember to buy an ironing board, a dustpan and brush, batteries and ziploc bags?

If you’ve recently moved out and have any tips, please drop me a comment!

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Things About Me That Bother Other People

Let’s face it, no one’s perfect, right? Fact is, you’re never gonna please everyone. You can be the nicest person, the best at your job, be a style icon and make the best cakes in the world, but there’s always going to be one person who doesn’t agree with something that you do.

Its ok to have different opinions – they’re opinions for a reason – and chances are you’re not gonna lose friends over liking or disliking something small, but you might be met with a few ‘what?!’s and ‘I can’t believe it’s. I’m no stranger to these reactions to certain things, and these are the ones I get the most ‘backlash’ from:

I don’t drink tea or coffee

Simply because I don’t actually like them. Coffee is something that most people don’t really seem to care about, but being British and not liking tea seems to be some kind of treason for some..

I haven’t seen that movie

There are a whole lot of movies I’ve never seen. I mean, no one’s seen every movie to have ever existed, but often when it comes to films that most consider to be ‘classics’, I haven’t the foggiest. To name a few, there’s Pulp Fiction, Slumdog Millionaire, any of the Bourne or Rocky movies and most films based on Nicholas Sparks novels..

I can’t do anything above lemon and herb at Nandos

I have such a low tolerance for spicy food and for some reason this really ticks people off. I’m a straight up lemon and herb or mango and lime, and when it comes to curry I won’t stray from a tikka masala or a korma, and even then I’ll probably drink a bucket of water.

I’m not really a drinker

I’m not tee-total, but I hardly drink anymore. When I do, I’m a total lightweight and I’m not even kidding when I say I feel the effects of one Koppaberg quite quickly, and to be honest that’s part of the reason that I do say no to that first drink. I’m totally ok with not drinking, but when I’m out with others there always seems to be at least one person that isn’t happy about it.

I can’t stand reality TV

With the exception of this year’s Love Island, I can’t cope with reality shows. Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity, even X-Factor, they all just drive me insane and the rest of the world’s evenings seem to revolve around them.

I’m not big on Halloween

While I like to carve a pumpkin, that’s pretty much the only thing about Halloween that I enjoy. I’m not a huge fan of Halloween films, I don’t much like spooky stuff and I definitely am not the sort of person who wishes away summer waiting for it.

I like the TV volume on 17

I do not feel the pressure of the whole ‘tv volume ending with a 0 or 5’ thing. On our tv at home, 17 is the perfect volume for daytime telly watching, or if its something that needs a little bit more then its 23-24. Soz.

Do any of these bother you at all?

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A Bloody Shame

Normally I would start a post like this apologising for the content. I’m not going to do that today because this is something that I don’t think I should be sorry for talking about. PS I will apologise for the awful pun of a title.

Two hours into my shift on Saturday, I realised that despite being fully prepared given the situation, I had bled through my pants and my trousers. I realised this while I was stood at the desk of one of my team leaders asking for advice on a situation with a customer, and I was mortified. I quickly adjusted how I was stood, rushed the conversation and dashed to the toilets, where I promptly burst into tears in a cubicle.

Two minutes of hormone and embarrassment fuelled sobbing later, I pulled myself together enough to attempt to think clearly. Despite all the team leaders in being women, which is a wonderfully rare occurrence, I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone what had happened. I wanted to go home, but there was no way I was going to admit the reason for needing to leave, so instead I cleaned myself up as best I could, and thanked my lucky stars that I was wearing loose trousers with a fairly jazzy pattern so the patch of red on my crotch wasn’t visible unless someone was paying close attention to it. I wrapped my big cardigan around myself and went on with the rest of my day.

As the day went on, and with every time I had to leave my desk for whatever reason, only to be very careful of how my cardigan was hanging and if I was walking quick enough that no one would be able to focus on me long enough to potentially spot my red spot, I couldn’t help feeling ashamed on more than one level.

Why could I not just admit to someone at work what was going on? I could have gone home, changed and been back within 15 minutes, but the fear of having someone that I work with know about my little ‘accident’ meant I sat and spent my day on edge. But on the other side I couldn’t stop thinking: why should I be ashamed?

Periods are a natural and normal part of life for women, yet for as long as I can remember, I’ve been made to feel embarrassed by them. It was embarrassing learning about them at school, and embarrassing when you had to miss swimming because of them, or when you had to ask around to see if anyone had a spare pad or tampon when you got caught out.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not really ever embarrassed to be on my period. I’ll tell my friends if I’m having really bad cramps, and have no issue asking for supplies from people in the office these days, but that’s not what this is about. Its not to do with how we see our own periods, but how other people do. While no one at work seemed to notice my stain today, I would have almost liked to see how different people reacted. Would I be met with pity and support, or would there be whispers when I walk away? I shouldn’t have to question this. I was too ashamed to share my problem with someone else, and that’s not ok.

No its not ideal having a patch of blood on your trousers but also why should it be a problem if you do? Its not your fault if Mother Nature calls early, or you’ve sat awkwardly and therefore a leak has occurred. Its not by choice, its just life and I’m so done with people being judgemental about it.

Let’s end this stigma.

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Car Insurance Renewal Myths Busted

I think we can all agree that there is nothing exciting or interesting about car insurance, right? Its a legal requirement, and considered by most to be a hassle or a chore, and what’s worse is that a number of people feel like they have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to it, which can really cause problems further down the line.

So while this might not be the most exciting topic to be blogging about, I thought I’d share some advice and information from my experience of working in the car insurance industry. I’m not sharing any industry secrets or naming/shaming any particular companies, I’m just hoping to clear up some of the myths or beliefs, and hopefully help a few people out! Here goes..

I’ve had another claim free year, why has my insurance gone up?

Its a common belief that every year you go without making a claim earns you a drop in your renewal price, and while this may often be the case, there are a number of factors that could mean you see an increase. This year especially, there have been a number of changes in industry factors that have been totally out of the companies control, namely the increase in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) and changes in legislation on personal injury compensation, both of which have hit car insurance hard.

On top of this, insurance rates are calculated based on a whole tonne of information and statistics, so while you might have another year of driving with no accidents, things like your car being another year older, or if there’s been an increase in the number of accidents or claims in your postal region, are all things that are factored in during the underwriting process.

What about my no claims discount?

No claims discount (NCD) can of course reduce the cost of your insurance substantially, and within your first few years of earning NCD, you should be seeing a general reduction in your insurance quotes, but the further up the years you get, the discount percentage increases by smaller increments, until you eventually hit your insurance companies maximum, which in most cases is 9+ years. At this point, while you may feel like your insurance should be dropping every year – which is may do! – you’re already benefiting from the highest discount you can get, so you may find a bit of a plateau.

My insurance company will give me a discount if I tell them I’m going to cancel

Sure, a lot of insurance companies will be able to offer you a discount if you express unhappiness at your renewal price, but I urge you to think about the amount of discount they give. If they can knock £100 off the price the moment you question the price, why is it they can do that without second thought? You may find you’re only offered £10-15 off, and while this may seem a little stingy, what it actually suggests is that you were sent out a pretty accurate price in the first place, rather than an over-inflated price designed to make you feel like a winner when they half the cost.

I shouldn’t have to shop around to get the best price

One of the biggest reasons that people see their insurance prices go up and up and up is because they allow their insurance company to renew the policy time and time again without comparing the market. Most insurance companies do have a preferred customer, be that based on age or any other factors, and while you may think that you’re being a lovely loyal customer staying year after year, it is possible that you can get a much better deal elsewhere. This has actually become such an epidemic that the insurance regulator has mandated that insurance companies must now put a statement on their renewal quotes encouraging their customers to shop around, so don’t be insulted if you notice this!

On the back of this, insurance companies can vary massively in how they assess your details, so one company can quote you £300 while another quotes you £600 for exactly the same cover!

Do I really need to review my insurance every year?

YES. I urge you to check through all of your documents every year, as well as being sure to update your insurance company to any changes throughout the year. Even small changes, such as a different job, becoming a homeowner, going from living at home to living with a partner or getting married; these are all factored into the calculation of your insurance premium, and its so easy to forget about informing your insurance of these changes, but they can make a difference!

What should I do if I’m uncertain about anything on my policy?

If you ever have any questions about your car insurance, the first thing you should do is speak to YOUR insurance company. While friends and family may be keen to give you advice, if they’re insured with a different company, there could be a big difference in what their insurance covers to what yours does, so bear this in mind when seeking a second opinion.

I’m sorry to bombard you with quite a lot of information, but I really hope that I’ve been able to help a few people out with this post! If you have found this helpful, please let me know as I’d love to know if you’d be interested in seeing more posts like this!

This post is primarily based on facts, but any of opinions stated in this post are my own personal views and do not reflect the views or opinions of any insurance companies.
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