Starting over after Redundancy

It was 2012 when I found myself unemployed after being made redundant. Odd feeling not having a job to go to every day and not knowing when I would have one again.

With all the free time I now had I was not only looking for a new job but also meeting up with friends and spending quality time with my boyfriend. For the first time I claimed benefits. Thought I would do it since I had been paying taxes for a while. Thankfully I had savings as £71 a week is not a lot of money.

I was keen on a job vacancy I had seen a few times online. After a few years working far from home I was tired of spending too long on my commute to work. Therefore I thought I could try to find something a little more local. In the meantime I sent CVs to other places too. Just in case I did not get that one.

Went to a couple of interviews. One was a complete joke and the other one I didn’t get the job (it was an hour away anyway).

For the job I really wanted I had already done some tests at the recruitment agency and was waiting for an update. Once I got the call to say I was getting a phone interview the next day I was super happy and quickly prepared for it. The phone interview went well and I was invited for another interview in two days. Again it went well and I got offered the job on the same day.

Not even a month after my notice period had finished I got a new job! I was over the moon with that.

It was a new start. I was excited. Even if it meant taking calls again I was invested in starting over. I had the choice between the telecoms customer service and energy. Since I was going back to zero anyway I decided to get into a new industry. It was a lot to take in but I was happy.

Yes, it might sound scary to start over after you have a few years of experience in the same industry but if it feels right just do it. I don’t regret my decision and still enjoy working close to home.

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Redundancy

Redundancy came into my life years ago. Not long after I moved to London I found out what it was all about. Redundancy was not a common thing back in Portugal so I was not familiar with it.

The first few times I went through the process it was stressful and slightly scary but I managed to keep my job a few times. It became almost a routine thing. Having “yes or no” meetings became the new “normal”. Adapting to new job roles was becoming second nature. Not a big deal at all but seeing people go was still tough.

After many lucky escapes it was my turn to GO. I remember the call. It was on a Tuesday morning and I was home. Even though I expected to be made redundant at some point the call took me by surprise. Thankfully that call was made by someone I respect a lot which made the situation that little bit easier.

It was effective immediately! Picking up my stuff with security walking me through the office was far from a nice experience.

Once that was done I initiated the appeal process along with my best friend as she had also been made redundant. Usually companies are very careful about the redundancy process as there are some legal guidelines to follow to ensure the process is fair and clear to everyone involved. This time things were not done the right way so we appealed. Didn’t take us far but after all we did what we thought was the right thing to do.

Finally experiencing being “let go” was hard but it made me stronger.
Therefore I am thankful for it.

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52 Week Photography Challenge

“I really don’t have any idea about photography, but I take pictures.” – Alex Majoli

This year I decided to shoot more. To keep me motivated/inspired I am doing a photography challenge created by Dogwood Photography. If you are into photography consider joining here.

I started shooting for this last weekend but I could not get myself to go far to shoot. Instead of going to some fancy location in London I picked my camera and walked around the neighbourhood. It pushed me to be creative and to see past the every day boring streets.

After shooting a bunch of random shots in the freezing cold I had to choose one for each week’s themes. All pictures were shot in RAW and edited in Lightroom.

WEEK 1 – Vision: Look Ahead
New year. New beginnings. New you. Look ahead. Interpret as you wish.

It was more looking up than looking ahead but the plane going into the clouds on a sunny day felt right for the new beginnings theme.

WEEK 2 – Composition: Color Harmony
Get out your color wheel. Do opposites attract? Can there be harmony with opposite colors? Does the Hulk wear purple pants? Mix warm and cool colors.

This one isolated the cold and warm colours so well that I had to pick it for this week. I love how well the red goes with the turquoise window glass.

Below are a few other pictures I shot but did not make it into the photography challenge.

Let me know… which one is your favourite?

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Amsterdam Visual Diary

Even though it was a little cold outside I carried my new camera around almost everywhere in Amsterdam. Silly of me to leave my gloves in London! Here is my Christmas in Amsterdam Visual Diary.

On the first day I didn’t take many pictures as I was super tired and still adjusting to the cold weather.

Just being tourists on Christmas Eve in Amsterdam.

Christmas day at the Zoo and night photography.

A little more of the hotel. Last images before flying back to London.

Hope you enjoyed my first visual diary. I will probably do more of these in the future.

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Disconnecting from Social Media

“Social media is like crack—immediately gratifying and hugely addictive.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Started 2018 trying to disconnect from social media. I am challenging myself to have barely any social media apps on my phone at least for the month of January.

Don’t get me wrong. I do love social media, especially Instagram. But I find myself spending so much time on it on a daily basis that I feel it takes away from time I could be creating or just being present in the moment. Instead I am “consuming” other people’s lives, senselessly scrolling through my feed.

Even if you try not to, you end up comparing yourself (your work) to what others are sharing. It might be stopping you from creating more. You might even think there’s no point as you will never be as good. Or you might try to recreate what others are doing and lose yourself in it. Your passion will be gone soon if you are creating just to please others. Makes no sense to be working on something you are not going to love (unless you are getting paid for it).

No more waking up and staying in bed for a while just scrolling through Instagram or the Facebook feed.

Deleted apps: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and LinkedIn.
Keeping: Facebook Pages and Messenger, EyeEm (stock photography), Bloglovin’ and YouTube.

I will get back to you at some point to let you know how life without social media is going.

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2017 Rewind

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
C.S. Lewis

Lets talk about 2017. This year just flew by as I was super busy for the most part of it.

I don’t recall travelling as much as I did this year. Planning was sometimes rushed but having little time between trips made it harder to plan everything properly.

When it comes to my travelling agenda, 2017 started in March with a 10 day visit to Lanzarote. It was my first time in the Canary Islands. I was a bit skeptical about this destination as I thought it would be too touristy but it was a pleasant surprise. There are plenty of things to do and to see in Lanzarote and the landscapes are something else.

For April I had booked my first trip without my boyfriend and went to the best city in the World with one of my best friends. It was amazing to be a tourist in such a special place. I was a little nervous about changing up my travel partner but I loved it. And I think she loved it too. Even though we drove through a long suspended bridge she never said she wanted to go back home early! She also put up with my late night burger cravings and got out of the room to go round the corner to the closest diner. We had fun.

June is a month for celebrations as it is both my birthday and our anniversary. As the dates are not too close we traveled twice this year. For my birthday we hopped on a flight to Copenhagen. I quite liked it there despite the very expensive food. Our Airbnb by the lake was unreal. Later in the month we chose our beloved Menorca to celebrate our anniversary. We have been there a few times and it already feels like a home away from home.

September was time to head back to Portugal. It was time to catch up with family and friends and to spend quality time together in one of our favourite places in Portugal (Milfontes). It was great exploring the beautiful beaches of Alentejo. Even though the weather was not amazing we made the best out of it and enjoyed spending time with our loved ones.

By the end of the year we were still craving Sun. So the destination in December was again in the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura. Not as amazing as Lanzarote but still quite pretty. We did catch some sun rays and a lot of wind too. The post holidays blues hit us hard after Fuerteventura so I booked a last-minute Christmas break in Amsterdam. It was a very special time (hot tubs included) spent in the best possible company, my boyfriend.

I can’t complain I didn’t travel enough this year.

In between travels other things went on in my life.

I finally decided to start blogging in English. Not hiding behind the language barrier anymore. It was a bit scary to get myself out there. To be exposed to the ones close to me “in real life” but so far it has been a very rewarding experience. The support I get almost on a daily basis is amazing and I am so grateful for all of it.

A special thank you goes to my boyfriend that pushed me to start getting serious about blogging. He set up all the technical bits for me. All in one weekend back in July! He also puts up with me stressing out about getting content out on time and allows me the time to do it. Even when we are away he doesn’t complain if I sit down for hours to write. This blog would not exist without his support. Thank you!

My love for photography was reignited this year. I have learned a lot and stepped out of my comfort zone a few times. A big thank you to Reo for the vote of confidence, she was my first customer and pushed me to believe in myself. Another thank you goes to the @uk.shooters for the amazing meet ups that allowed me to get great shots and to work with amazing people.

Also decided to give myself a little more credit for being able to keep up with the blog, for learning about photography almost daily and getting out there to shoot when possible. Still having a full-time job and planning all those holidays. It is not always easy but I am loving every little bit of it.

Hope 2018 will be even better! Please stick around with me for whatever is coming up next year. Thank you again for all the support.

Happy New Year to you all!
Lots of love,
Ana

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Amsterdam for Christmas

I feel alive when I allow myself to do things last-minute. The plan was to spend a quiet Christmas in London eating delicious food and watching movies. I don’t think I was 100% happy with that plan. Not this year. Which meant that we would end up in Amsterdam for Christmas.

Flights and hotel booked on the mobile apps. A vague idea about what to do after a couple of Google searches. No real planning involved. Everything done within 10 days of flying.

It was not our first time in Amsterdam but we had not stayed in the city last time. We thought it would be a slow one as shops and attractions might be closed on some days during our stay. We were wrong. Amsterdam didn’t stop for Christmas. Public transport worked really well and most things were open throughout the festive period. This was a very pleasant surprise.

Christmas Eve Eve

On the day we left London we woke up at 4am to get the 8am flight from Luton. Thankfully the airport is just an easy train ride away from home. Carrying just two backpacks made our journey easier than usual.

On arrival we got a train ticket to Amsterdam Centraal and once we got there we looked for a place to eat and warm up. 9 degrees Celsius in Amsterdam feels a lot colder than the same temperature in London. A couple of delicious pancakes after we were ready to go explore the city.

The first stop was the museum of prostitution. It gave us a good insight of the prostitution business in Amsterdam and the prostitutes’ life. It is worth the 10 Euros ticket.

Back at the train station we bought a 3 day travel pass and then headed to the hotel for the check in. Super tired as the day had started early we decided to go chill in the hot tubs on the hotel roof top. It was freezing outside but the water was really hot and felt amazing to get all wrinkly in there.

Showered and ready to head out we Googled places to eat. Budget ones as Amsterdam is not a cheap city. We ended up at Café-restaurant Kerkwijk. It was very busy but we decided to wait at the bar for a table. There was no menu available (we were told the menu) so we had no clue about the prices. The food was delicious, the service super friendly but the bill at 60 Euros did not really match my Google search!

Even though we were dead from all the travelling and waking up at 4am we had energy left for a stroll along the red light district.

Christmas Eve

After a night of over 8 hours’ sleep we were ready for a full day in Amsterdam.

Breakfast was at The Breakfast Club down the street from our hotel. Eggs benedict fueled our visit to Foam, the photography museum. There we found two of the exhibitions to be really good and worth the entry fee. Their apple crumble and coffee were really good too!

In the afternoon we strolled along the canals, bought a night cruise ticket and headed back to the hotel to rest for a little while.

We had sushi as an afternoon snack in our room before making our way to board the cruise. Over an hour watching the houses by the canals, pretty bridges and light installations along the way. It was a great way to spend our Christmas Eve.

It was freezing outside and we were not able to find a good place to eat in the city center so decided to try the hotel restaurant. Turned out to be the perfect choice as the food was delicious.

Christmas Day

Most attractions seemed to be open on this day so we had no trouble finding something to do. Also the public transports were working as in any other day. We were super pleased with this.

Our attraction of choice for this day was the Artis, the Amsterdam Zoo. It did not disappoint. With plenty of different animals to see and most of them in good enclosures or free roaming amongst the public we really enjoyed our visit. It did take longer than we expected and our feet were hurting by the time we left.

Still we decided to walk around the canals to take pictures with just a brief stop for pancakes. It was super cold outside so after a few hours we gave in and headed back to the hotel to rest and for me to start writing this post.

Dinner was at the hotel again.

Boxing Day

Our final day in Amsterdam. Sad times. Breakfast was at the usual spot.

We visited Vondelpark and were not impressed. Guess it is difficult to impress someone that lives in London when it comes to city parks.

The final meal in Amsterdam was at the same place we ate pancakes at when we arrived. After that we ran around in between train platforms until we found the right one to the airport. Luton welcomed us with heavy rain and no train service. Thankful for Uber (even though the ride was more expensive than usual).

Amsterdam Final Thoughts

Amsterdam is a very welcoming city and is super easy to get around (at least when you have Google maps on your phone). Surprisingly it did not stop for Christmas making it the ideal Christmas European city getaway.

If you missed my Instagram stories while I was away…

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