The gal has returned!

I’ve managed to bring my laptop back from the dead tonight. It’s been in and out of consciousness for a few weeks now, well and truly circling the drain, to the point where I spent my lunch break today frantically Internet browsing for a new laptop.

But I’ve saved it. Me. Doing something techie. Dad would be so proud (and so very confused).

It’s annoying though, because in my blogging absence I’ve made so many big life decisions and completely shaken up my whole routine. I wanted to document it all! I wanted to write about everything as I did it.

Never mind. I’m here now and this is what I’ve been up to!

New job

In April, I went for a sneaky interview without telling anyone, and was initially rejected for the position. Two days after that rejection, and not before I’d blabbed to everyone that I’d been for this interview and no they hadn’t offered me the job and yes I was going to be at Nero for the foreseeable future, I got an unexpected email from the organisation offering me the job.

A lot of sheepish apologising and notice-handing-in later, I served my last ever coffee (probably) (it was a regular americano, drink in with hot milk. How boring) and transitioned into my shiny new graduate role as an Editorial Assistant.

Philosophy students everywhere: it’s happened. A Philosophy degree has come in useful. Brace yourselves; if I can do it, you can too.

New location

What made me taking this job a bit more of a song and dance than it probably should’ve been was the fact that I had to relocate to take it up.

If you’ve been to Malvern, you’ll know it’s not exactly a hub of graduate opportunities. If you haven’t been, you’re probably wondering ‘where the hell is that?’, which is sort of the same thing.

The new job is in Manchester. I’ve got a couple of friends who live here, and my dad’s close family live nearby too. I’m staying with his cousin and feeling very at home! In June I’ll be starting to look for somewhere to live in Manchester, which is exciting and terrifying in equal amounts.

New hair

A list isn’t a list until it’s got three points, right?

I spontaneously booked myself in for an overhaul appointment the day before I left home. Cut, colour, restyle – the lot.

I’ve now got something that isn’t really a thing, not quite, but my hairdresser and I have called it a ‘colour melt’ and it doesn’t look entirely horrible so I’m happy. It’s really nice actually. I couldn’t handle my roots coming through so quickly as they did with my all-over orange/’auburn’ colour, so I’ve got natural brown roots into red at the ends.

I’ve got the jazziest hair in my team now. Which is really worth the £82 spent, arguably on a whim, getting to that point.

Until next time – I’m so happy to be back!

Emma x

 

My Day, in Encounters

I.

Today, I served a man who had left his own shop unattended to nip over to us and pick up his daily take-away coffee. As I busied myself making his drink as efficiently as possible, I noticed he kept turning to look out the window at his shop. He frustratedly told me to ‘hurry up, hurry up, there are customers in my shop!’. He told me this a couple of times, raising his voice as he went on, and eventually threw his money across the bar *at* me barely sticking around for me to grab him his change. Essentially, I got a telling off from a customer because he left his own shop unattended.

II.

Later on in my shift, I was the only person working the bar and had a reasonably-sized queue of about 3 customers. A few minutes beforehand I’d popped a customer’s panini on the grill to toast and set a timer. When the timer eventually went off, I was midway through steaming the milk for another customer’s cappuccino, but I stopped what I was doing to quickly plate up the sandwich to stop it from burning. (I was going to take it out to the customer who’d ordered it as soon as I’d taken for the cappuccino I was making). However, about 30 seconds later, in front of this queue of people, the owner of the panini walks up AND ONTO the bar, taking her panini and saying ‘I suppose I’ll come and get this, shall I?’ while looking me right in the eye. I was the only person on the bar and my hands were full. Apparently my bar is a free-for-all for customers to come and go as they please.

III.

At about 3.30pm today, I was walking to the post office to send off a parcel for my brother. On my way home I walked past my old secondary school, more specifically past a group of six kids who I’d say were about 13 or 14 years old. I was sending a Facebook message as I walked. As they approached, one of the lads kept saying ‘hello!’ ‘helllooo’ ‘OI’ at me, amd he waved his hands about three inches away from my face as we passed each other. I just looked at him questioningly.  As soon as he was behind me, he called ‘no need to be so fucking rude! Rude. Ruuuude.’ His friends then shouted, ‘sorry about him!’ and they all laughed in the way bratty teenagers do to be somehow more annoying than they already are.

Presented without context. How was your Monday?

Until next time,

Emma x

Social Media Done Right

In 2016, it’s really important to have a good social media presence. When I flew to New York last year, I was able to send a tweet to the Delta Airlines customer services Twitter account (@DeltaAssist, by the way) with a query about my flight details. Minutes later, the issue was resolved and I was happy. Had I been flying just a few years ago, I’d have spent a panicky few days awaiting an email response, or paying over the odds to sit on hold over the phone. Social media is such a helpful tool. It’s instant and fairly simple to grasp, making brands more accesible than they’ve ever been.

With this in mind, I’ve been having a little think about the best brands on social media. This is what I’ve come up with.

1. Denny’s Diner (@dennysdiner on Twitter, dennys on Tumblr)

Okay. Had it not been for the Internet, I probably wouldn’t know what Denny’s is. Why would I? I’m a Brit living in Britain. Even if I visited every state in America it wouldn’t be a dead cert that I’d run into a Denny’s (don’t fact check me on this). However, their Twitter account sets Denny’s apart from all other American diners.

Why, you might ask? Because it’s a goldmine of shitposting and it’s hilarious.

It’s a little weird. I’m not going to pretend it’s normal. But by becoming such a meme in their own right, Denny’s are tapping into the younger generation and getting exposure in circles they might not have done normally (Brits living in Britain, for example.) You do you, Denny’s.

2. Kellogg’s (particularly their Krave Challenge series)

If you’re a follower of popular British YouTubers, as I am, and you were active on social media in 2013, you’ll remember the Krave Challenge. Kellogg’s teamed up with lots of content creators to basically plug their cereal and their Mates Go Free offer that was running at the time in association with Merlin Entertainment.

Obviously I’ve got no idea how #spon deals work behind-the-scenes, but it was a very savvy move of Kellogg’s to promote themselves this way: each challenge was tailored to the specific YouTuber, meaning at the end of the project there were all these different, unique, engaging adverts for Krave that weren’t just trotted out in between the soaps on TV. The knock-on effects were great, too: as a viewer of these videos, I discovered more YouTubers (a main feature of each challenge was to ‘tag’ another creator to do their own) and YouTube gained more views as the videos were shared around.

Here are some of my favourites:

3. Tesco (specifically Tesco Mobile – @tescomobile on Twitter)

Finally, I had to include Tesco Mobile on this list. Not often do you see an official social media account being slightly below the bar – but whoever runs the Tesco Mobile Twitter must be a real opportunist, and luckily it’s paid off every time. Who could forget these incredible clapbacks that went viral in an instant?

A bit of a risky move, but I’ll speak for myself and say it definitely got me and my friends talking about Tesco Mobile. I even set my heart on a phone contract from them before Carphone Warehouse lured me back, which I wouldn’t have even considered beforehand! The stunts have only positively impacted Tesco Mobile as a brand, making them the more ‘likeable’ option. Feels weird saying that about a phone network, but it’s definitely true, isn’t it?

Are there any particularly special ones I’ve missed out? Let me know (because this sort of thing really does interest me, honest.) Social media is a hub of greatness and I’m so glad we have it.

 

Emma x

Little Mood Lifters

face-like-a-cats-arse

Thanks to my friend Bee for creating this horrific but perfectly appropriate image to sum up how I’m feeling. 

I am not afraid to admit that, at nearly 22 years old, I am slowly and painfully wading through my quarter life crisis. Fresh out of uni, I’m working a part time job (which I do enjoy, don’t get me wrong) to get some savings behind me in order to move away from home and become an Adult with a Career. It’s a period of my life that I’ll always remember bittersweetly: being home has given me the opportunity to ask myself the plainly cruel questions of: will I ever fall in love? Will I have a successful, exciting career? What about money? Will my friends still be around forever? What if I move away and make no new friends and can’t find a job and run out of money and everything is shit and what if –

Cue the low moods, biting comments and 18 cups of coffee I stress-drink a day (not really. But I feel like I could, sometimes.)

As I’m putting the majority of my earnings in savings at the moment and I work 3-4 days a week, usually including weekends, I don’t really have the scope to Get Out and Do Things, that all the priviledged western world 20-somethings are touted as being free and completely able to do. However, that doesn’t stop me having some little, closer to home solutions to curing a low mood – and no, this list will *not* include the usual tripe, such as ‘join a gym!’ ‘cut out sugar!’ ‘go to sleep before 10pm each night!’ I’m optimistic, not crazy.

So. Here are my five Little Mood Lifters, tried and tested by yours truly:

1. Revisit the things you enjoyed when you were happier. From about the ages of 12/15, I was in the depths of a vaguely emo/scene phase. My fashion sense at the time could’ve been described as ’14 year old tries and fails miserably to become Vince Noir’, and my favourite bands were My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco. Despite all being things that got me and my friends teased relentlessly at school, I love the feeling of putting on one of their older albums and still being able to sing along to every word. It’s a bit like a comfort food.

2. Play Animal Crossing. Okay, bit of a dud if you don’t own Animal Crossing or just aren’t into games in general. When I’m feeling stressed, I love to check in with my townspeople and be soothed by AC’s lovely, delicate soundtrack. It’s nice to immerse myself in something that is so removed from my own situation so easily.

3. Clean! Sometimes the room I’m sat in can be enough to make me feel antsy. I’m not saying get the duster and polish out and go to town, but if there’s crap on your coffee table, throw away any rubbish and neatly pile the rest. It does help.

4. Leave the room. While I was revising for my finals at uni, the biggest piece of advice I could find on the Internet was to not revise in your bedroom. By using all your brainpower in your bedroom, you’re subconsciously creating this association that your bedroom = study study study oh GOD can you not cram any more in? Same goes for general stress. I spend a lot of time in my family home. If I spend enough time feeling stressed or sad in my lounge, I just pick up whatever I’m doing and move to the kitchen. (I’m writing this post from my kitchen table.)

5. Plan. I can’t literally pack up everything and leave, willy-nilly, for the aforementioned reasons. It would be nice to round up a group of friends and say ‘see ya later England we’re off to the Maldives!’ and then just go. But, as everyone with a head screwed on will agree with me, that’s just plain unrealistic. However, that doesn’t stop me looking into places I’d like to go in the future, jobs I may think about applying for and having a browse of the property market to see what apartments are on offer to give me some ideas for the future. Some may see it as a glaring reminder of all the things they *don’t* have, but for me it gives me something to aim towards and feel excited about when my current situation doesn’t quite offer me complete content.

So those are my little mood lifters, without a quinoa salad in sight!

Until tomorrow,

Emma x

(For the record I do actually enjoy quinoa and regularly go to the gym, and that’s a great feeling of its own! But it’s not an instant, everyday fix. Today I’ve eaten microwave chips and watched the second Harry Potter film in my dressing gown. It’s swings and roundabouts.)

A Day of Coffee (Lentmas, Day 6)

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Evening all! It’s been a very long Tuesday for me. I’ve been sat here, racking my brain for interesting post ideas, but I’m coming up short so here’s a little day-in-the-life. Specifically my life, on the 16th February 2016. Heh.

My day started at 5am, at which point I woke up sort-of hungover with a mouth like sandpaper. My brother, cousin and I went out for a drink last night, but ‘a drink’ quickly became 3 large glasses of wine and as I am a big fat lightweight it went straight to my head. So at 5am, I decided to start my day – by dozing until 5:45am when my alarm went off for work.

After walking to work because Mum had forgotten to put the car keys back where I could find them, I had a fun shift where time seemed to just fly by. My favourite thing about my job is definitely the bunch of people I work with; I’m always having a laugh whoever I’m on shift with and there’s nobody that I don’t get along with. I also like working a morning because it’s when all our regulars are in – it’s lovely just to see so many familiar faces and have easy small chat as opposed to dealing with huge families or stiff-upper-lip types who tend to show up in busy periods.

We have two branches of Caffé Nero in my town and I’d volunteered to do some sick cover at the other one for a few hours after my shift this morning, so I headed straight down in the car (after sitting at the main traffic lights on the way for 10 minutes – who thought doing road works and having 4-way light control in half term was a good idea?!) and had a relaxed, fairly quiet 3-hour shift there. Got an orange hot chocolate to go on the way home. If you’re anywhere near a Nero and love a Terry’s chocolate orange, seriously give our new drink a go. It’s so so good.

Now I’m back home and have eaten some delicious Covent Garden soup for dinner, their Goan Chicken and Spiced Lentils flavour from the skinny range. Will definitely be buying this again. I was meant to be heading out to Aqua Zumba tonight, but considering the class starts in 10 minutes and I’m still vegging out on my laptop in my work uniform I feel like it’s not gonna happen.

Hope you’ve all had a good Tuesday! Until tomorrow,

Emma x

 

Insight Into Publishing | A Day in the Life

A few weeks ago, an email reached my inbox containing a fantastic opportunity to attend Hachette’s Insight Into Publishing day at their offices in Carmelite House, overlooking London’s Victoria Embankment. I applied on a whim over the summer and had completely forgotten about it, so after a bit of hasty shift swapping and grovelling I got the day off work, packed my rucksack and booked myself onto the 06:03 train for a measly £58 (!!).

Being someone who is not used to starting their day at 4.15am and is still quite inept when it comes to navigating the Underground, it took a while to find my way but I did eventually make it to the lobby with about ten minutes to spare.

Carmelite House, for starters, is a beautiful home for Hachette. The interior is all very sleek and modern, with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves lining the walkways and spacious lifts with padded walls. We were greeted with tea, coffee and tote bags full of goodies, including the new John Grisham novel Gray Mountain (which I featured in my TBR, actually, here).

The first item on our agenda was a talk called ‘The Life Of A Book’, in which we heard from the whole range of departments involved in bringing a book to life – this included Editorial, Design, Production & Planning, Marketing, Publicity and Sales. I was fascinated to learn how interlinked all these different aspects were and how there’s so much more to publishing than just the editorial side! My favourite little nugget of advice from this talk came from Yasia, the Art Design Director, who assured us her first stints working on magazines such as Plumber’s Monthly (if such a thing exists) weren’t at all glamourous but that they helped her get to where she is today. Started from the bottom now we here, as Drake would say.

I also attended two seminars in Rights & Contracts and International Sales, which were both great. To the majority of us in the room, Rights & Contracts had seemed like a very dry, ‘serious’ department to work in, but after the talk I realised the required skills for working in Rights & Contracts almost perfectly match the skills I picked up studying my Philosophy degree. Who knew?

After a lovely buffet lunch, there were a few more talks to be given from some even more ‘obscure’ departments, such as Consumer Insight and Finance. The reason I use the word obscure is that the majority of us arrived at the day ready to hear how to secure a career in editorial. Who turns up to a publishing day expecting to be riveted by a talk on balancing the books? Certainly not me, and I’m still not sure the accounts would be my gig, but the speaker Jonathan did a fantastic job of actually making numbers seem appealing.

The final few activities of the day were more interactive. The first was a work experience talk, which was great. It really helped consolidate all the advice I’ve heard for years about securing work experience in my head to the most crucial pointers. Next was a CV workshop, where the lovely HR ladies took us into little focus groups and picked apart all our CVs to give us hints on how to look the most employable we possibly could. Brilliant to hear from someone who actually checks CVs in the publishing industry! I’ve heard so many different things from different influences so it was nice to set the record straight. After this we were all invited to a networking session in the rooftop bar (I know) with a free glass of wine each. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for long as I had to make the dash on the tubes back to Euston for my train home, but I picked up some really helpful tips for getting into the industry I so badly want to be in.

All in all, you did good Hachette! An insight is what you promised and it’s certainly what I received. It’s a priceless opportunity, so for any budding publishers out  there who might be reading this I would strongly recommend following @hachettecareers on Twitter and applying to attend their next one when the time comes back around!

Until next time,

Emma x

A Note from Past Me

(disclaimer: I wrote this on the 8th of September, 2015. This isn’t even the half of it wrt how long this blog has been in the pipeline! Old habits die hard. I’m also slightly less covered in milk these days.)

As I write this, I’m nine days away from heading off to New York and two days into my new life as a barista. I’m well aware that by the time this blog comes to fruition, and you’re actually reading this, all talk of America will leave me in a little puddle of post-holiday sadness and I’ll (hopefully) be a lot better at barista-ing. I just thought it’d be fun to talk to me-from-the-future while me-from-the-past dithers over launching her damn blog.

We’ll talk about New York once I’ve been (not that the time scale means much to you). For now, coffee!

Two days down and I’m between the stage of being a total newbie who knows absolutely nothing, and a proper employee who knows absolutely everything. I know a little about a lot. At 9am this morning, for instance, I successfully covered myself in milk after unsuccessfully attempting to steam it. We’re talking hair, arm, shirt, glasses coverage and even some in the eye for good measure. Still not sure how I wasn’t burnt in any way because the milk was at about 120 degrees, but let’s just call it beginner’s luck and move on. By the end of my shift I’d sort of got the nack for it. It’s early days though, so if you ever come across me at work and I’m covered in milk, don’t look concerned. Or surprised.

I thought it’d be fun to leave little updates on my struggle through the awkward teething phase of Learning How To Do My Job. For someone that’s never worked in food service before I can safely say it’s going haphazardly.

Until next time,

Emma