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.

Promotional codes just for you:
Booking.com £10 off
AirBnb travel credit
Free Uber ride up to £5 with code pxrzr
Deliveroo £2.50 off for new customers

If you have already used those you can support this blog  by using my Booking.com or my Amazon.co.uk link. At no extra cost for you. Thank you.

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.

Promotional codes just for you:
Booking.com £10 off
AirBnb travel credit
Free Uber ride up to £5 with code pxrzr
Deliveroo £2.50 off for new customers

If you have already used those you can support this blog  by using my Booking.com or my Amazon.co.uk link. At no extra cost for you. Thank you.

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

Promotional codes just for you:
Booking.com £10 off
AirBnb travel credit
Free Uber ride up to £5 with code pxrzr
Deliveroo £2.50 off for new customers

If you have already used those you can support this blog  by using my Booking.com or my Amazon.co.uk link. At no extra cost for you. Thank you.

Being Bilingual

Growing up I learned Portuguese as my native language (the usual when you are born in Portugal) but was exposed to English from a young age.

Thankfully in Portugal it is not very common to have voice-overs in Portuguese on everything showing on TV and subtitles are the norm. This means that all kids are exposed to English when they watch TV. It helps when learning the language later on as we are at least already familiar with the sound of it.

Personally I started having English lessons when I was in primary school (private ones) and I had VHS cassettes and books with the basics for kids. My mom was serious about me learning English. Even enrolled me at the British Council (private English school) where all the teachers had English as their native language. At one point I was already getting English lessons in public school but my mom was adamant I should still keep learning it “properly”. This led to some issues with my English teachers as unfortunately they were in general not the best.

Vague memories of tests marked incorrectly and small arguments during classes with the teachers come to my mind right now. It was challenging at times as I was being taught the same language in very different ways. On a more positive note I was happy I could help my friends pass the tests. I would usually finish mine quickly and could easily let them copy from me.

At one point I no longer wanted to bother with the private classes and wanted to stop going. My mum still insisted on them. I found most of my colleagues there to be a bit stuck up and I did not identify with them. Most of them were growing up in rich families and thought they were better than everyone else. That annoyed me at times and made me feel like I didn’t belong there.

Nowadays I appreciate my mum’s efforts and the financial investment.

Before I moved to London I had not spoken or written in English for years so when I got here it was back to basics. It took me a little while to get back into it.

At first it was exhausting to have to speak English all day. It would drain all my mental energy. I remember having a Portuguese co-worker on my first job and really cherished my lunch breaks as I was able to “rest” and have an effortless chat in Portuguese.

With time it got less tiring and more natural to speak in English. After a few years here I started to forget words in Portuguese and occasionally responded in English when speaking in Portuguese! Even though I practice my Portuguese every day.

I have not read anything about how our brains deal with being able to communicate in different languages but from my experience it gets a little confused at times. If I am tired or with a close friend I have the tendency to accidentally say words in Portuguese. This can also happen if you ask me something while I am in the middle of something else.

Sometimes I forget how lucky I am for being able to communicate so well in two different languages and also understand a few bits from other languages like Spanish, French and Italian.

Promotional codes just for you:
Booking.com £10 off
AirBnb travel credit
Free Uber ride up to £5 with code pxrzr
Deliveroo £2.50 off for new customers

If you have already used those you can support this blog  by using my Booking.com or my Amazon.co.uk link. At no extra cost for you. Thank you.

Why Not?

I have done a few different things in my life when it comes to work. Different jobs in different industries and different countries.

The most rewarding experiences happened when I was in a position where I managed people. Managing people is not easy. You have your ups and downs. It can be a struggle at times, it can be tiring but it is definitely not boring. Also it pays off for all the struggles every time you get a thank you or see people happy around you.

You cannot imagine how amazing it feels to have someone you recruited, trained and managed a few years ago ask for your address so they can send you a thank you postcard for being their first mentor.

Even though I love doing it I made a conscious decision of staying away from such positions when I changed to a different industry. I wanted to focus on learning. I wanted to be a little selfish and focus on myself. Five years in I have learned a lot about the industry and about myself. For a moment I thought about getting back to managing people. I got excited with the possibility of doing it again.

Why not? You might be asking. I gave up on the idea because I know I would be super focused on the new role, it would consume all of my head space and I would have no time or energy left for this blog or for photography. For those reasons I have decided that now is not the time to make that move.

To everyone that encouraged me to apply for a team leader role, a big thank you for the vote of confidence. I really appreciate it.

I am super passionate about blogging and photography at the moment and don’t want to lose that just yet. Maybe you are thinking that this is silly. That I should try to step up at work. Maybe it is silly! Honestly I think it makes sense and I am following my “heart” on this one.

Another big thank you goes to everyone that has been complimenting or just asking questions about my photography work or my blog. I really enjoy talking with you guys about it.

Promotional codes just for you:
Booking.com £10 off
AirBnb travel credit
Free Uber ride up to £5 with code pxrzr
Deliveroo £2.50 off for new customers

If you have already used those you can support this blog  by using my Booking.com or my Amazon.co.uk link. At no extra cost for you. Thank you.

Selfie Experiment

Last weekend I came across a blog post by Eric Kim that caught my attention. The title “5 simple Tips How to Take Better Pictures” made me click almost immediately. It is worth reading if you are into photography. On this post he “challenges” the reader to take a selfie a day for a week!

Eric says “The more comfortable you are photographing yourself, the more comfortable you will to photograph others. Why? You will overcome your own self-consciousness, feel more confidence in photographing yourself, and therefore transmit that confidence to your subjects. Once you honor your selfie, you will be able to honor your subjects.“.

It made sense to me so I gave it a try! Honestly I didn’t think it would be that much of a challenge. I was wrong. Even though it is suggested we can take the selfies with any camera I only used my new camera. As I didn’t want to take my camera out just to take selfies this meant that for most of the days I had no daylight. Damn the UK super short “Winter” days.

The good thing was that I had to get creative with light to try and keep the selfies a little interesting. In the process I found flash photography can be a lot of fun and deliver cool results.

Some days I did not want to pick up the camera. I did not want to bother thinking about it or felt “too ugly” to be in front of the camera after a long day at work. Still, I did it. Every day, for seven days.

Yesterday I took the last selfie of the week and edited a bunch of them. It was a lot of work but I am glad I did it. I am adding them here with a little description for each of them to proper share this experiment with you. Hope you enjoy it!

All the pictures taken were edited in Lightroom and finished in Photoshop. The camera used was the Canon EOS 200D with the kit lens. I have added my favourite day of selfies to my Portfolio here.

Promotional codes just for you:
Booking.com £10 off
AirBnb travel credit
Free Uber ride up to £5 with code pxrzr
Deliveroo £2.50 off for new customers

If you have already used those you can support this blog  by using my Booking.com or my Amazon.co.uk link. At no extra cost for you. Thank you.

About Last Friday

It has been years since going to the pub every Friday was a thing for me. I remember looking forward to Friday in a different way. Many Saturdays were spent at home a little hung over but I used to really enjoy the night before.

Now the hangovers last for a couple of days so going crazy on a Friday night means I will not be able to do much all weekend and will only start to feel OK on Monday. A bit of a waste of time really so I avoid doing it often. Also my best friend is now a mum which means she can’t be out a lot.

I still enjoy going out and I let myself go a little crazy every once in a while on special occasions.

Last Friday was a special occasion. It was my best friend’s birthday! There were no plans really as she is not great at making those. I was only told the day before that we were going to the pub after work. I could not miss it! Even though I had a dentist appointment next day at 9 am I was not going to miss out on spending time with her.

We headed to the pub after work. I dragged my boyfriend with me to join us in celebrating her birthday. It was a busy night in Chandos and a lot of people from work were there. It started a bit slow. Honestly the baby conversations got me a little bored. I was struggling to get into the “party” mood.

Two beers down the conversation was picking up. We were now discussing failed relationships at work and even talked about the blog for a brief moment. Kevin said he didn’t think he would ever be mentioned in it. He was probably right (not anymore) as we don’t really get to talk a lot now that I am not at the pub all the time.

The lights were dimmed and there was music now. Not the best music but it was better than no music at all. Most people were now at least a little drunk. Some were very drunk.

Once the DJ started to hit us with more “average” music we requested something different. That got the party started and we danced a lot. It had been so long since I enjoyed a night at the pub this much! Really made me miss the old times.

It was close to 1 o’clock when we reached home. Thankfully I drank sensibly so I was fine going to the dentist the next morning and was just a little dehydrated.

Promotional codes just for you:
Booking.com £10 off
AirBnb travel credit
Free Uber ride up to £5 with code pxrzr
Deliveroo £2.50 off for new customers

If you have already used those you can support this blog  by using my Booking.com or my Amazon.co.uk link. At no extra cost for you. Thank you.