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.

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Work Christmas Party

This year the work Christmas party came early as we were also celebrating a big anniversary. The venue was new and oh so fancy this time! The Roundhouse in Camden!

The theme was the 1920’s and it was really nice to see so many people putting in the effort to dress up accordingly. There were props available as well to spice up the outfits. The room looked stunning. Food was delicious and the entertainment could not be faulted. Dancers, a live band, a good DJ and David dancing on the table.

Even the transport to the venue was in style with old double-decker buses. I missed that though as I chose to come home to get ready before heading to the party.

Leaving work early, being able to relax a little and get ready at home with my best friend was super nice. We got Uber to take us to the Roundhouse so we didn’t have to walk too much in heels or freeze to death outside. Temperatures dip below 0 that night.

At arrival we walked around a little to find a table. The room was packed already even though we were not that late this time. We sat down just in time for the big speech! It is quite cool to be part of a company that is growing so fast. We were only about 300 when I joined and now we’re past a thousand.

Once the speech was over we went to find the bar and doubled up on drinks not to be queuing all the time. I stayed on clear drinks only and it was a smart choice as I did not suffer much the next day.

We barely had to queue for food which was great as I was quite hungry by the time we got to go get some. The food was delicious. Belly satisfied we headed to the bar again.

The dance floor was on fire with the music pretty much on point as no one seemed to be bored (unlike in previous years).

As in true work Christmas party style the night didn’t go without some incidents. First, I had red wine poured all over my arm, yuck. That wasn’t major really. One wet wipe after I was good. Accidents happen.

But the weirdest thing happened to me this year. This random guy started dancing with me, which is fine but suddenly he got really close to me and bit my face! Not just a nibble but a proper bite, it hurt! I was in shock and just got myself out of there! Apparently I was not the only person he bit. If you don’t know how to behave you should stay at home.

We were chased out of the venue once the party was over. Even though it was very cold I stayed outside just chatting for a while. It’s good to catch up with people you don’t see every day.

I got Uber again to get back home. Luckily it was a nice Mercedes this time and not another Prius. I will really miss it if they stop operating in London. #saveUber

Thank you to everyone who organised the party. I had a really good time 🙂

Note: In case you were wondering, I picked the black dress for the party.

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Money Can Ruin Your Life

This week was to say the least, different. There was so much happening that time just flew by.

When something “big” happens it gets everyone talking. Information spreads like wild-fire. Of course there are details that are likely to not be very accurate. People tend to spice it up a bit by adding a pinch of drama. That is just Human nature, I think.

Some people do stupid things for money. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for people to have an unhealthy “relationship” with money. growing up having people around me that dealt with money in a not so healthy way I cannot say I was truly shocked. It was more of a surprise than actual shock. It makes me sad that people allow money to rule (and sometimes ruin) their lives.

At the same time it makes me happy to be able to say I have learned from the bad examples around me growing up and as an adult I am not obsessed with money.

Let me know in the comments if you have had any bad experiences related to money. Either first hand or close to you.

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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.

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Shopping Basket

Shopping Basket Cost London vs Lisbon

Following up from my previous post on the cost of living in London and Lisbon I have now researched some common shopping items to compare the prices. This will give you a deeper insight on the cost of living in both cities.

Food items

Fresh Milk        £0.66 per litre     vs 0.79€
Oats                   £0.13 per 100g   vs 0,25€
Bread                £0.7 per 400g      vs 0.65€

Apples               £2 per per Kg      vs 1.59€
Bananas           £0.76 per Kg        vs 0.99€
Black Grapes   £4 per Kg              vs 3.49€

Chicken Breast £6 per Kg             vs 5.99€
Salmon               £16.35 per Kg     vs 9.99€
Minced Beef      £8 per Kg             vs 8.48€

Spaghetti            £1.70 per Kg       vs 0.85€
Basmati Rice     £1.43 per Kg       vs 1.79€

Broccoli               £1.30 per Kg       vs 2.59€
Sweet Potato     £1 per Kg             vs 0.99€

Lettuce                  £1.25                     vs 1.59€
Tomatoes             £2 per Kg             vs 1.29€
Cucumber            £0.5                        vs 0.59€

Olive Oil                 £4 per Litre         vs 5.59€
Sea Salt                  £2.14 per Kg       vs 0.19€

London Total £54 or 59€
Lisbon Total £43 or 48€

Household Items

Fairy Liquid                       £2.17 per litre                  vs 3.88€
Ariel Liquid                        £5.5 for 24 washes         vs 8.99€ for 27 washes
Cif Cream Lemon            £5 per litre                        vs 4.99€

London Total £13 or 14€
Lisbon Total £16 or 18€

Toiletries

Sensodyne Original Toothpaste         £4.5                               vs 4.79€
Garnier Shampoo                                     £6.30 per litre            vs 12.48€
Nivea Shower Gel                                      £4 per litre                 vs 7.99€
Nivea Soft Moisturiser                              £4                                  vs 4.69€
Tampax Tampons                                      £2.85                            vs 3.99€

London Total £22 or 24€
Lisbon Total £31 or 34€

Summary

London Total £89 or 98€
Lisbon Total   £90 or 99€

It looks like your basic needs when it comes to grocery shopping, household products and toiletries cost pretty much the same in both cities. Needless to mention again the difference when it comes to the minimum wages in both cities as you can check that here.

Hope you found this information useful!

Note: I have used the current exchange rate of £1 = 1.10€

The prices shown are for similar products and no items on offer were selected. Sainsbury’s and Continente were the chosen supermarkets for this research. 

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COST OF LIVING IN LONDON VS LISBON

Cost of Living in London vs Lisbon

I have lived in both cities so I have a rough idea about the living costs. For the purpose of providing you with more accurate information I have carried out a thorough research on the cost of living in London vs Lisbon. If you are considering living in one of these two cities this information should be helpful.

The minimum wage in the UK is roughly £1300 (1430€) and in Portugal it is 650€ (£591) per month. Please note that for the Portuguese minimum wage I have included the extra salaries you get in the Summer and in December. These amounts are both before taxes.

In Portugal it is very common to be given an extra daily allowance (not taxable up to a certain amount) usually in vouchers to help with the costs of any meals during working hours. This is currently set at a minimum of 4.52€/£4.11 per working day. As this is not mandatory I will not be taking it into consideration. If you want to do so just add roughly 100€/£90 per month to the available budget.

You need a place to sleep:

London: 1210€ or £1100 (to this amount you should add about £100 / 110€ of Council Tax)
Lisbon:   700€ or £636 per month

I have looked at 1 and 2 bedroom apartments with good transport links not more than half an hour away from the city center.

And you might have to pay bills:

Electricity:         39€/£36 in London and 45€/£41 in Lisbon
Gas:                     30€/£27 in London and 45€/£41 in Lisbon
Water:                 30€/£27 in London and 29€/£26 in Lisbon

Utilities’ Total:  98€/£89 in London and 118€/£107 in Lisbon

I have estimated the usage at 2200 kWh a year for electricity, 8000 kWh for gas (686 m3) and 125 m3 for water.

If you want to watch TV in the UK you need a TV license which will cost £12.25/11€ per month. In Portugal this is not optional and even if you don’t watch TV you have to pay 3€/ £2.7 per month (this will show up in your Electricity bill).

Also in the UK you have different options when it comes to cashback, you get a percentage of what you spend in certain places as a discount on your bill, at the moment this saves me about £20 a month. I have not taken this into consideration on the numbers shown here.

Can’t forget you need Social Media in your life

Phone and Broadband: 32€/£29 in London and 23€/£21 in Lisbon
Mobile Plans SIM only:   20€/£18 in London and 23€/£21 in Lisbon

So the basic bills (including 2 mobiles) will cost you around 1502€/£1365 in London and 887€/£806 in Lisbon.

Maybe public transports too. Unless you can afford a car

If you don’t want to be at home all the time and assuming you are commuting to work a monthly travel pass will cost you 164€/£149 in London and 60€/£55 in Lisbon.

These costs are for zone 1 to 3 travel card in London and zone 1 to 2 in Lisbon. This is because the zones in Lisbon cover a bigger area than in London.

So far (without food, clothing, toiletries and household items) these are the figures you will be looking at if you are a couple living in one of these two amazing cities and earning the minimum wage:

London: Take home 2546€/£2315, spend 1666€/£1514 and have 881€/£801 left
Lisbon:   Take home 1156€/£1051, spend  947€/£861 and have     209€/£190 left

In conclusion, things are looking pretty grim for Lisbon with not much money left after covering the basic living expenses. London does have the fame of being a very expensive city but in this comparison it doesn’t look too bad after all.

Food, toiletries and household items are covered in this post. Might even write a post on the health services for both cities. It will be interesting to give you (and myself) a good picture on how these two cities compare.

Note: I have used the current exchange rate of £1 = 1.10€

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London Eye Big Ben

Lets talk about Terrorism

I don’t really watch the news. Nowadays I believe that ignorance is the best way of going about your daily life without obsessing about all the evil that is out there. But of course I find out about any major news through people at work or by just quickly checking Facebook.

If something bad happens in London I usually find out through messages from my family and friends asking if I am OK.

When I lived in Portugal terrorism was a reality in places far far away. It was not on my mind at all. Even though I watched the news almost every day back then terrorism was not on my mind at all when I was out and about.

Terrorism news even if in London did not make me fear being out there either. Did not stop me from using the London transport system or going out to a live show. Or having my brother visit and taking him around to enjoy this beautiful city. Even though that was shortly after the London Bridge attack.

It did make me more vigilant and more cautious though. I have stepped out of the tube or train to wait for the next one when something didn’t seem quite right more than once. Even reported a bag left alone at the airport in Lisbon. Everyone else did not seem to care or notice that. I guess you get that from living in London.

Sadly these events are becoming more and more frequent and going about your life in the city without terrorism being in the back of your mind is almost impossible.

My love for London is undeniable and I have felt safe here for the most part of it. Unfortunately at the moment I don’t feel safe anymore. It makes me so sad that I am letting terrorism win by feeling afraid but I can’t keep pretending it will all be OK. It just doesn’t seem to be getting any better and I can’t accept terrorism acts around me every now and then as the new normal!

The last news of terrorism in London were watched while having breakfast in Portugal in a café near the beach. Strangely enough it seems that that was the turning point for me. The moment I realised I might struggle to go to central London in peace. The moment I lost hope in this city I love.

Fortunately we live further away from the city center and don’t have to commute to London on a daily basis but still I don’t know if that is good enough to be “safe”.

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