I Would Prefer Not To

My life motto.

I’m somewhat unavailable, it’s true.

I work 12 hour shifts which means getting up at 05:45am and getting home at 8pm sometimes two or three days in a row. It’s exhausting and on my much needed days off I’m sleeping, taking a bubble bath and catching up with chores.

I don’t like saying no to people but mentally I’m not capable of pleasing everyone and I’m done with feeling pressured and apologetic because I choose to spend my time in a certain way. In the past I wouldn’t dare to disappoint a friend and because of that mentality I wasn’t happy in myself. I started to feel hurt by the friends who didn’t realise the positions they were putting me in. I’m not sure when it happened but, at some point I decided enough was enough.

We’ve all dealt with uncomfortable situations where saying no hasn’t felt like an option I’m sure. Whether it’s agreeing to a work event that we weren’t really interested in attending or, agreeing to go out for dinner with your in-law, the feeling SUCKS but you continue saying yes to these sorts of things. You might have been tired after work but still decided to go to that shitty house party your friend invited you to when you really wanted to stay home. The FOMO is real and sometimes the thought can feel really unbearable yet, you probably regretted your decision the next day and realised that the hangover wasn’t worth it.

For a long time I would go to every party I was invited to, drink when I didn’t really want to, hang out with people I didn’t really care for and make extra effort for people who wouldn’t do the same for me. I don’t make the time for these sorts of things often any more and life is better as a result.

I’ll always try to be available for the close friends who respect how I manage my time and, who feel similarly to me in regard to personal time management. It’s not always easy to see each other often but, when we do find the time it’s all worth the wait.

When I do reach out and plan to meet a friend I always try to manage the time responsibly. I try to meet up with people around 11am or 12pm for brunch meaning that, I can have the lie in I want and take my time getting ready. It also means that when I get home in the early afternoon I still have time to do whatever chores need to get done and I’m still motivated instead of tired.

With certain friends, when I know I have a couple days off in a row we’ll meet at our favourite pub for dinner on my first day off, have a catch up for a couple hours and try to make sure I’m home at a reasonable hour. I’ll make sure that I don’t make plans for the following day, allowing myself a ‘me’ day to r e l a x.

I always try to remember that if I’m feeling overwhelmed on the day I have a plan that’s it’s fine to reschedule. I continue to feel guilty for saying no or canceling plans but sometimes it needs to be done. My brain often feels frazzled from work and the thought of being social can sometimes feel too stressful. I try to be honest about the reason I’m no longer available and that makes me feel a little better about things.

The thought of disappointing someone is awful I get it but, the thought of unnecessarily going out of your way to please someone else is much much worse.

If you don’t want to say yes to whatever is being asked of you that’s okay. Saying no doesn’t always have to be a negative thing, it’s just about addressing your wellbeing and respecting the needs of others too. The party will still go on, your friends will still have fun and you can do whatever it was you wanted to do with your time instead. Even if it means going home, getting into bed at 8pm and watching Netflix that’s fine too. It’s all about doing what makes you feel happy.

To help me feel better I try to remember the following…

  • Valuable friends and family won’t mind and will still support you.
  • If saying yes makes me feel stressed I’ve made a mistake.
  • Being available constantly isn’t always a good thing either.
  • It’s important to be honest and realistic about how I manage my time and it’s healthy to want some space.
  • Saying no doesn’t mean I won’t ever be available for that person/event in future.
  • I’m still growing. If I need time to recharge then that’s fine. It’s no one else’s business to decide how much time is too much.

The reality is, not everyone will want to or say yes to every invite you throw their way either, so it’s important to make the decisions that make you feel comfortable and fit in with your schedule.

Don’t forget, never ever put someone else before your own wellbeing. Do what’s right for you. Go or don’t go to that event, catch up with your friend or family member another time and enjoy whatever brings you peace.

Dirty Delicious Hubbox

Hubbox essentially is an American street food joint based in the South West.  At the moment you’ll only find them in St Ives, Truro, Pentewan, Plymouth, Exeter and most recently Bristol.

They take pride in their ingredients and have gone out of their way to ensure that their food is locally sourced. Their potatoes come from Cornish Potatoes, their meat Phillip Warren Butchers and their veg comes from West Country Fruit. All of their coffee and alcohol is locally produced too from various UK based companies including Cornish Orchards and Harbour Brewery.

I’ve eaten at Hubbox about a zillion times since they opened in Plymouth a couple of years ago and I have no complaints. Their staff are super friendly and I always look forward to going back. I just wish they were around when I was a uni student because I would have spent my entire student loan eating from their menu and felt so fat and happy doing so.

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Their current menu (which I hear is set to change soon) has lots of choice in terms of beef, chicken, fish and veggie burgers. They also serve hot dogs, nachos, mac n cheese and various types of chips. Honestly I think there’s a little too much choice because I never ever know what to order. Literally just because I know it’ll all be delicious and I don’t want to make a mistake.

So, what did we order you ask?

My boyfriend was a little hungover so he wanted to go all out whereas, my non hungover brain was just craving a big greasy burger. He ordered the BBQ tray which I would only recommend if you have a larger than life appetite. The tray includes beef brisket, pulled pork, fries, chicken wings, a frank (hot dog), pickles, slaw and onion rings (which I stole). I wanted something a little less complicated and I ordered the Kim Yum Chick BBQ chicken Korean burger with dirty fries.

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What are dirty fries you ask? Well, they are delicious I can tell you that much. You can ask for any type of fries from their menu and just ask to make them dirty, which means adding their Hub sauce mixed together with diced white onions and plenty of jalapeños. If spice is your thing you’ll love this sauce. It’s literally so mooreish and like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. I wish I knew how to explain the flavour better but I think it’s something you just need to experience yourself. If you’re unsure whether you’ll like it but want to give it a try, just ask to have some on the side and they’ll be happy to do so.

In terms of my burger, the best way I can describe it is like a really REALLY good KFC Zinger because it’s essentially a slightly tangy buttermilk chicken burger. Inside of their burger itself is a Korean BBQ sauce so you would expect a little kick of some Asian spices, which I didn’t really notice but that’s okay because it’s damn tasty regardless.

My boyfriend loved his meal but had to take a break because as you can imagine, it was really filling. I didn’t get to sample anything apart from the yummy buttermilk fried onion rings but he assured me that the tray was worth the £17.95 it cost.

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Overall, I just love the Hubbox ethos. I commend them for being able to make fantastic good quality food at a competitive price and, I appreciate the efforts they have gone to in order to support other local farmers and suppliers when creating their menu. They are a force to be reckoned with, a big competitor in the Plymouth burger industry. I think they are here to stay and us Plymouthians absolutely love having them.

If you’re ever visiting the South West I would highly recommend trying to track down a nearby Hubbox. Their food is seriously dirty and delicious in so many ways.

Check out their website and drool over their food at your leisure!

Supporting Local Cafe’s – Make

I enjoy venturing out and supporting independents whenever I can and, I’ve loved watching my hometown of Plymouth’s creative community grow in recent years.

With community spirit in mind, I visited Make recently to sample their homemade food thanks recommendations from my mum and sister. Make are based at  140 Vauxhall Street in Plymouth and their premise not only runs a cute cafe but, is used as a workshop for crafts including sewing and crochet. I’m not creative with fabric at all so I’m purely invested for the food but, their workshop space looked fantastic and if you’re interested in getting creative they have a calendar you can access on their website.

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Their cafe and workshop space is neatly organised to sit side by side and is completely void of clutter. The space feels so warm, inviting and well, really creative! From the minute I walked in the door I felt welcomed and couldn’t wait to try the food.

In an aim to show support I obviously had to sample a good variety from their menu including tea and coffee. I started off by drinking a lovely strong cappuccino whilst pondering their menu choices and changing my mind over and over again. Their menu is almost entirely vegetarian and vegan friendly you might be pleased to know, although they do have some meat options available too.

img_0050I almost ordered the brunch poached eggs on toast but at the counter was tempted by their savory muffins so instead, ended up ordering a cup of mushroom and thyme soup with a vegan olive and pesto muffin.

By God did I make the right choice! Their adorable mug of soup was delicious, not too heavy and the muffin was light yet filling as well. My sister ordered their cheese muffin too, which meant we could split them in half and sample each others with the soup. We both agreed that the olive muffin was the better choice but both were pretty tasty to say the least.

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After a much needed catch up I decided I wasn’t leaving until we had cake. They only had a few options available and I was hoping for a little bit more choice but honestly, I was pretty satisfied with my soup and any cake was going to be a bonus. I went for a yummy citrus orange polenta cake accompanied by lots of tea whereas, my sister chose their chocolate and salted caramel brownie.

My orange cake was really delicious but maybe a little too heavy after a big savory muffin (my poor choice not theirs) and the brownie looked pretty damn delicious too although, I didn’t sample it unfortunately.

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I used to work right around the corner from Make so I’m kind of gutted I didn’t ever visit sooner. Regardless, I’ll hopefully be going back in the near future and I might even bring my boyfriend if he’ll let me.

Their food in taste and presentation feels really special so if you’re looking to take a friend or relative out for a little something to eat I’d highly recommend Make. They’re more than just a cafe. They’re a real space to grow, get creative and enjoy good food.

Oh and, they’re also a dog friendly cafe! Which means, if you’re venturing out with your adorable doggo to the Barbican anytime soon you can stop for a little something to eat without a single worry.

If you love their food and their ethos they can also plan events including children’s parties, Hen Do’s and Baby Showers! You can find out more about all of their products, workshops and events by visiting their website https://www.makeat140.co.uk

Side note, it’s so incredibly important to support local retailers, cafe’s and other businesses alike whenever you can. Your support in buying their products and providing exposure through social media means an enormous amount. It’s particularly important when the weather is bad (e.g. recent snowfall) because businesses can really suffer more than you might realise.  They will see their profits change during good and bad weather and this impact can ultimately save or shut down your favourite.

So, I urge you to please still go out, visit your favourite independent or try somewhere new, making sure they stay afloat even when the weather is miserable. I promise it’s worth it if you want them to stick around.

Hello Happiness – Quitting 9-5

As I relax in my lounge on a Monday morning, I think about all of the wasted Mondays I’d spent panicking about the work week ahead. I think about how grateful I am to have taken the (not easy) decision to make a change in 2018, and how I’m now ready to share an update with you all.

At end of January I quit a job I loved and said farewell to lots of great friends I’d made whilst working in that office. I started a new job a week later and in February I wrote about feeling stressed and regretful about my decision to leave. However, you’ll be pleased to know that I feel totally differently about things now and I’m so much happier in myself.

If you love your career and 9-5 works for you then this post isn’t going to be your cup of tea but, for a lot of people it doesn’t whether they know it yet or not and, feeling overworked in an office environment is a very real concern.

I studied Business Management at University and after graduating convinced myself that as long as I was working in an office I was vaguely using my Degree but, that simply just wasn’t true. I’ve learnt so much more working in an office, as a receptionist and in a call centre than my Degree ever taught me honestly, and I’ve never had the opportunity to use my Degree at work.

Up until recently, I’d been working 08:30 – 17:30 everyday and although I loved the people I met and the client interaction, the job began to weigh me down. I was just tired and frustrated about the actual work itself and the long hours. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until my friend left on Maternity Leave that I started to miss her support a lot and that’s when I think I knew my time was nearly up. However, for some stupid reason I stayed for another 4 months before actually handing in my notice. I’d been thinking about it constantly but was too afraid. Then, I had some time off over Christmas to think about where I wanted to be and after speaking with my partner and mum I decided enough was enough.

It was December 28th when I sat down with my manager and discussed the reasons I wanted to leave. They were so considerate and the conversation was great. A weight had been lifted and they reassured me that I was making the right decision. We had agreed that my last day would be January 26th, which allowed me plenty of time to make plans, find a new job and wrap everything up with them. It also meant that they could find someone suitable to replace me and I could help train them.

So where am I now?

I work in Care. A Dementia home to be specific. It’s further away from my Degree than I’d imagined but I love working with people and I have the flexibility I’ve always wanted.  I’m working three days a week at the moment, giving me lots of time to blog, have a social life and feel happier in myself. I’m able to progress too by studying for various qualifications in Care after getting my Care Certificate, which I’m working on at the moment.

My now ex-colleagues were so supportive and had such kind comments to say when I’d informed them of my career move, so I knew deep down that I was doing the right thing. I’m so glad that my boyfriend was so supportive too because his opinion means so much to me and I doubt I would have left if he didn’t give me the green light.

Overall, I think making the change and saying goodbye to 9-5 has been the biggest decision I’ve ever made and probably the best. Working in an office isn’t for everyone and we all have our breaking points. I loved my old job and there were many aspects that I’ll forever miss but, certain things really started to swallow me up inside and coming home complaining to my boyfriend everyday wasn’t fair. I’m not saying I won’t ever come back to 9-5 office work because one day it might suit my lifestyle better or it’ll be in a role I really love and care about.

I’m now looking forward to progressing my blog, gaining new skills, learning to drive and having more ‘me’ days. I feel so much more confident and content in my personal life and can now be the best version of myself.

Would You Like to Make a Change?

If you’re considering a change in career but feel scared my advice is to talk to your family, speak with a close colleague or even your manager if they’re easy to approach. There are also things you can do in your free time to help you make the right decision. For me, I  found it helpful creating a pros and cons list about the job itself. I started looking into other careers I could possibly persue and the skills/qualifications I wanted to gain as well. I also looked at my existing skills and the aspects of work I didn’t enjoy (e.g. math related admin tasks), which made it easier to narrow down my job search.

It might also be time for you to evaluate your financial situation. You can do this by looking at your account and assessing how much of your total salary is spent on travel to work and lunches for example. You should also consider asking these questions if you’re serious about wanting to make a change…

How can you reduce spending if you choose to stay in your current job?

Do you value a higher salary to be more important than your personal happiness at work?

Is it possible for you to take a pay cut for your dream job?

And remember…

Your potential is endless!!

We all have good and bad working days and the only limits are the ones we put on ourselves. If you feel your mental health is suffering because of your job, it’s time to rethink. That doesn’t necessarily mean quitting though. It just means reaching out to your manager or someone in the organization with authority. They might be more understanding than you realise and be able to find ways to help you by introducing flexible working hours or allowing you to work from home for instance.

I’d love to hear your career stories and find out how you manage to find balance between work and your personal lives. Tell me why you do or don’t think 9-5 works and feel free to share your honest opinions.

 

 

 

Embracing ‘Me’ Time

Feeling snowed in?

On a freezing cold day in March, I’m able to reflect on my love for ‘me’ time.

When life gets busy and we feel stressed it’s easy to forget to look after ourselves. There are times in all of our lives when we won’t love ourselves as much as we should but, I’m learning to cope with my negative thoughts and enjoy alone time.

It’s important to let happiness and positivity in. Although, when things get really tough and happiness seems far away, we need to at least acknowledge our feelings and take time to heal in whatever way works for you.

For me, in order to function and feel good about everyday, I choose to spend one day a week at home or at least in my own company. I never feel guilty because the day is important to me. I need to recharge my batteries and I enjoy my solitude. It gives me time to process all of my racing thoughts and be calm. It’s particularly essential for me to keep my home and mind organised. Sometimes this slips but there are certain things I like to do to get life in order again…

I’ll wake up when I want and won’t set an alarm. I’ll take a relaxing bubble bath, put on a face mask and pamper myself. I’ll change into fresh pajamas and I’ll eat a nice breakfast, take my time and listen to the radio. I’ll tidy up, chill out on the sofa and catch up with my favourite Netflix show. In the afternoon, I might go for a walk or go out for lunch. I’ll rustle up a nice dinner and maybe try something new. I’ll get an early night, scroll on my phone and read a good book. Catch up with my boyfriend and fall asleep at peace.

I love these days.

I’m not being selfish or lazy, I’m just an introvert. I love the productivity I have when I’m all alone, seeing what I’m able to achieve when I’m in my quiet space. This blog for example!

“Introverts are collectors of thoughts, and solitude is where the collection is curated and rearranged to make sense of the present and future.” – Laurie Helgoe, Revenge of the Introvert

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I like to set time aside and stick to it yet, some weeks I might not need my day and on others I might need more than one. Sometimes, I cancel on friends because I’m not done recharging. It just takes as long as it takes and that’s why sometimes I flake out on plans but, reading Chloe Plumstead’s blog post about being the flaky friend reminded me that it’s okay to not be available all of the time. Good friends and family should understand and if they don’t then I just shrug it off these days.

Basically, lazy days are great, having the house to yourself is great and being your own best friend is great too.

It’s important to love ourselves inside and out, to understand what we need to feel good and to never ever forget that!!