23 May 2016

Working 9 to 5

I have a confession.  

I have an obsession about stationary; notepads in particular.  I must have around a dozen at home, all hardback and beautifully designed with thick, clean white paper within.  All unused of course, because I cannot bring myself to crack the spine or mar the paper with ink.  

When I want to actually write something down, I type it.  I am a freak, I know.

I think that it was the love for stationary and my penchant for typing everything that led me to have an office based career.  I am a 9 to 5 woman, but unlike Dolly Parton's song, I do actually love my job.

There are so many stereotypes about working in an office, some true, some not, but here are some of the tips and tricks for survival in an office environment that I have picked up over the years.

How To Get Along With Getting Along

There are so many different kinds personalities in a work place.  Some people may become your friends whilst others may drive you up the wall.  What is important to figure out is who you can trust and more importantly, who you cannot.

Stay away from the office gossip and stay out of any drama as best as you can.  There is no harm in keeping your ear to the ground, but indulging in office politics and disputes will not endear you to the management and is not conducive to a pleasant working environment.  

Get Comfortable

Most firms these days carry out Health & Safety checks in the work place, even at your desk.  Things like getting gel supports for your wrists whilst typing, having enough distance between yourself and your screen monitor and having a chair with good back support are essential.  Sedentary jobs can cause back issues later down the line so it is important to ensure that you are seated well and are fully supported.

Have Fun

Happy people make a happy office.  Arranging a social event with colleagues every few months can bolster work relationships and boost the office morale.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Working in an office environment can sometimes feel like living in a fish bowl.  Small day to day issues can be magnified and disputes can arise from the silliest of things.  The best tip I can give you for this is to keep your eyes on your own job.  If Brian from accounting is turning up late every day, that is his downfall not yours.

Do you have any tips for a office happiness?

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19 May 2016

Good Memories

Clothes, are not just clothes.  They hold memories.  Good ones, bad ones, great ones, momentous ones.  

A first kiss, a last kiss; a great night out with the girls, a New Years Eve to remember; the day that even a scathing laugh at your size could not kill the "I feel fabulous in this dress".  

Every night I go through my wardrobe (ok, two wardrobes) and choose what dress I want to wear to work the next day.  Tonight, I came across this dress.

This dress has wonderful memories for me.  It is the first dress I ever wore (in my adult years when I had a choice) that was patterned.  Had bright colours.  Was feminine and floaty and beautiful.  

Up until that point, my entire wardrobe was black.  I remember choosing to wear it for a party, terrified that everyone was going to be looking at me, the wrong way.  I took forever to get ready; changing accessories, changes cardigan; changing my hair,; changing my makeup.

I had decided to use the dress for a blog post, seen here, and you can see the joy on my face when I wore this dress.  The wonderment that I was even wearing it.  I went to the party and felt amazing.  After the initial shock of seeing me in something that was not all black, my friends loved it.

That was just over three years ago now.  Although years in time, it feels like decades.  I wish it wish.

I have changed into a different person in that time.  Someone who isn't afraid of wearing what I want.  Someone who wears a dress every day, so different from the black pants, black top girl that was invisible.  I am not invisible anymore, certainly not in the different pattern I wear every single day.

But is more than that, I no longer want to be invisible.  I want to be seen.  This is part of who I am.  I would not have it any other way.

Don't wait, like I did until you are 33 to wear the clothes you want.  To feel that you are allowed to.  To feel confident.  To say "to hell with what (some) others think".  

Clothes are not just clothes.  They are a physical manifestation of our personalities.  You have one.  Let it SHINE.

18 May 2016

Summer Sandals - The No Budget Edition

Whilst writing my Summer Sandals Essentials Guide last week, my eyes could not help be drawn to the more expensive shoes and sandals sections.

If you decide to treat yourself to a pair of designers shoes, my tip would always be to chose something classical and not to complex.  You don't after all want to spend hundreds of pounds on a pair of shoes, only to find that they only go with one outfit!

These are my favourites sandals that I have been looking at over the past week, all of which could fit into any wardrobe whilst still eluding a sense of style of glamour.

Michael Kors £55.00
I just adore these Michael Kors Sandals.  They would be perfect to show off your summer tan and add a touch of bling to your outfit. 

Southaven - £119.00

These sandals are a classic strappy style with a manageable heel, given a cool edge with the vibrant orange colour.  These will look fantastic with a black dress, or something clashing if you are feeling adventurous.

Swedish Hasbeens £149.00

I love these shoes so much I cannot even tell you.  They aren't particularly stylish or up to the minute fashionable, but anyone who has ever loved the Mary Jane combined with a 50s sense of style will love these shoes as much as I.

J Crew - £360.00

Now we are getting into the pricier end of the market.  I love the simple style of these sandals, jazzed up with the sequinned heels and strap.  You could wear these sandals with lots of different neutral tones.

Alaia £750.00

Last, but not least, the most expensive pair of sandals I am showing you today.  Classic, stylish, expensive yes, but absolutely beautiful.  These are the pair that you save for.  What is more, you could wear these shoes with any evening outfit for years to come. 

What are your favourite pair?

12 May 2016

Living & Sleeping with Arthritis

My mum was first diagnosed with osteo arthritis around 25 years ago.

I have seen her condition progress over the years and the various treatments that she has tried during that time; right through to having partial and full knee replacements.

Over the years, I have picked up on many tips and tricks to help you live with arthritis that I thought that I would share with you today.

Do not be afraid of trying out alternative therapies.  When my mum was first diagnosed, she suffered with pain in both hands and both knees.  After a course of acupuncture, the arthritis in both her hands disappeared, never to return.  You can read more about how acupuncture can help in this link

A Good Night's Sleep
Getting a good night's sleep is essential when you are suffering with pain every day.    Buying a bed that is best suited to your needs can help to alleviate pain whilst you are trying to sleep and will provide you with much needed rest to deal with the following day.  Try out an adjustable bed or one which provides massage support such as NHD Cylco Therapy which is designed to help with conditions such as arthritis.

Source: Heritage Bed

Do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  Some days will be good, some days will be bad; but having family/friends there to offer help and support when you need it is invaluable.  Be realistic about what you can accomplish and if you realise you need help with something, ask.  

Medical Options
Do not be afraid to go to the doctors and your specialists and ask what might alleviate symptoms. My mum for example used to get the fluid drained out of her knees in a short procedure at the hospital, arranged through her consultant and this reduced her pain for some months at a time.

When it comes to having surgery, such as a knee replacement, wait as long as you can.  Remember, a full knee replacement lasts around ten years, so the older you are when you have the surgery, the fewer operations you will have to undergo.

My  mum is now 75 and after having had arthritis for over 25 years, she now has two full knee replacements.  The horrendous pain she used to suffer is gone and she can do things now that she could not do for a decade.  She can even break into a little jog! 

You can find a e-book about Living & Sleeping with Arthritis here