Navigating Rejection.

I believe there are two camps when it comes to rejection; those who say everything happens for a reason and it just wasn’t meant to be, versus those who simply state it is what it is. What is done is done.

Now, if you’re a strong believer of the first mindset, that’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s wonderful to keep positive and believe that you are going to end up where you’re meant to.

If you’re in the latter camp, like myself, then perhaps you’re a little more cynical, realistic and practical. By saying it it what it is, you’re accepting that you didn’t have the skills, qualities or ‘edge’ (the unexplainable, unattainable ‘edge’) that the potential employer was looking for. What I have found myself doing after many an interview and subsequent rejection, is making mental pro and con lists.

By listing what was good about the missed opportunity, you narrow down what you’re really looking for in a job; the ideal location, the perfect work colleagues, the best salary. Sure, that job that got away probably had a couple of aspects that could have been great — but surely there are reasons why you can do better. This also gives you the opportunity to better yourself. Notice a couple of things that went wrong? Perhaps you didn’t fully research their client list, didn’t brush up on relevant current affairs, or simply were too nervous to utter a clear sentence. Take note of that and endeavor to be more thorough the next time around. The good thing is the more interviews you have, the more relaxed you’ll be for them!

In reality, it’s all a matter of state of mind. Both attitudes can be regarded as positive ones, yet one of the sayings insinuates that it’s up to fate. (Flashback to learning all about determinism in 10th grade philosophy class). Keep in mind that 9 times out of 10, you weren’t rejected because a coin-flip didn’t go in your favour – you have to work for what you achieve.

Graduates on the job-hunt are faced with a lot of rejection. A lot. It’s easy to become discouraged and lacking in self-confidence. Everyone will tell you that the first job is the hardest to come by, and they’re not wrong! Keep this in mind when you’re getting down on yourself. In retrospect, I’m sure it’ll make the first job out of university that much more gratifying!

p.s. I suppose this could be relevant to rejection of all varieties. It’s all about perspective!
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Twenty Fifteen.

There’s no shame in hopping onto the 2015 fitness bandwagon.
I’m doing it. And happily so.

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut when looking for a job. Waking up at 9 and not getting dressed until about 3, if at all. Sitting at your laptop looking for jobs, grazing throughout the day and completely losing any routine or normalcy that may have kept you in line when you had a reason to wake up every morning.

That sounds depressing. It wasn’t meant to! I’m finding that routine suits me – I enjoy waking up with purpose and having somewhere to go and something to do. After a couple of months of what I now think of as lacklustre living, the buzz of the new year is going to whip me into shape. Both figuratively and literally.

New Year’s resolutions are funny things. You start the year with so much promise. So many goals. Yet what mostly happens is that they’re void after a couple of weeks. At least that’s the pattern I found myself following. Now I’m not exactly one to make any resolutions for myself, as I feel that can set you up for disappointment if you don’t follow through on your goals one day. I prefer to simply change my attitude. Be better. I’d prefer to look back at 2015 in 12 months time and think of all the things that have made me proud, rather than be faced with dissatisfaction.

So I’ve taken the plunge and signed up for a gym membership. That makes me proud. It motivates me. I’ve probably been more active in the past two days than I have been in the last couple of months. I suppose the health kick is so common for January, given that you’ve just spent days on end eating non-stop and, if you’re anything like my family, marathon-watching TV shows.

Making a change in one aspect of your life, making that aspect more positive and more fulfilling, will motivate you to do the same in others.

“New year, better (healthier, fitter, stronger, happier and prouder) you.”
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Navigating Winter Wonderland.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! To me, the build-up to Christmas is more magical than the day itself. Let’s be honest it takes a lot to reject the Christmas spirit when it’s practically slapping you in the face everywhere you go. Don’t take me for a Scrooge, though, I love it. I love the fairy lights, I love the smell of mulled wine, I love the Christmas music being played everywhere. London is especially dynamic with the holiday spirit, particularly with the iconic Winter Wonderland which sets itself up in Hyde Park every year. Market stalls, food and drink booths, ice skating, rides and entertainment occupy the space and attract tourists and locals alike. With so much to see and try, can be a little overwhelming, though, so see how I navigated below.IMG_3166.JPGDon’t go hungover. See this is where I went wrong. If you’re the kind of hungover person who can’t stand the smell of food,  the company of other people, or the motion of rides then you’re absolutely at the wrong place. If you want to get the most out of the experience, it’s probably best that you’re not threatening to be sick or cry every 15 minutes.

Don’t get intimidated by the queue at the entrance. it thins out once you get inside. A good sense of being able to weave and dodge will come in handy, though. Also don’t get intimidated at the queues for food – they move surprisingly quickly.

Bring pocket money – Entrance is free, so you can spend as much or as little as you like when you get there. Cash machines are hard to find, though, and it’s a pain to limit yourself. This one is more for your own convenience.

Wear something warm. Winter Wonderland – it’s all in the name! It gets cold. It gets especially cold at 4o’clock when the sun disappears. You won’t be having any fun when you can’t feel your fingers and toes. Also this will really affect  your mobility and agility if you’re one of those people who enjoy playing fairground games.

Wear comfortable shoes. Expect a lot of walking and standing around – this is no place for the ‘stand-up-sit-down’ beauties that you’re wanting to show off.

Go on an empty stomach – 75% of the importance of Wonderland is the many food stalls. I mean that’s my opinion, but I think many if not most would agree with me. Everyone will be satisfied because there is SO MUCH to choose from; you’ve got your sweets, meats and alcoholic treats (as well as everything in-between). My top tip? Get churros. The trip is incomplete without churros.
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Don’t overdo it. You’ll ruin the wonder of Wonderland if you force yourself to stay too long. It’s free – you can come and go as often as you please.

Keep in mind I did three of the above wrong, so I speak from experience! I think arguably the most important part of your Winter Wonderland experience is the people you bring with you (and trust me, I know the best people).
Bring good company.
Make good choices.
You’ll be fine.

Waste not, want not.

I’ve never really liked contributing to waste – especially when it comes to food. Full disclosure: I’m usually pretty good at finishing off a plate, but when my gut fails me I have a sneaky habit of trying to palm off whatever I have left to anyone closest or willing. I get a sense of abandonment when I realise that I’ve let something sit in the back of the fridge, lonely and dejected, edging closer and closer to its doom.

So what do I do when I come home to find 6 bananas teetering on the brink of rejection? Throw together banana bread, of course! Now I’m not going to turn around and give a tutorial to some long-standing family recipe (yet), because there’s really not much to be said for my banana bread at all. Or perhaps to be more accurate; banana-flat-and-soggy-bread. Apparently I don’t yet have that baker’s measuring intuition. I’m taking the fact that it still tasted of banana at the end as a win.

I do, however, encourage experimentation. Don’t think of your sad and wilting food as done in. Think of it instead as an opportunity to get crazy in the kitchen.  Make a soup, a cake, a sauce… anything. Sure, occasionally that’s easier said than done, as with my little malfunction above. Then again, sometimes it’s the action of making rather than the result which is therapeutic. Also think of the empty calories you’re saving yourself if the project fails!

There’s more to this post than an empty little story of a baking expedition gone wrong. In the build up to the new year, many graduates like myself will probably be having a pretty tough time when it comes to landing a job. I keep having to remind myself (rather, others keep reminding me) that this likely has very little to do with my qualifications and a whole lot to do with the time of year. Although more opportunities will absolutely present themselves in 2015, there’s still a month worth of days left to fill before we can bid 2014 farewell. You can get frustrated because of not having anything to do, or you could create your own opportunities – however small. It’s up to you.

Don’t allow yourself a wasted day.

p.s. if anybody actually has a decent recipe for some banana bread, I’m all ears.

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Yes. Oui. Ja. Aye. Si.

I like to believe that saying yes is good for you. Not only is this little word an affirmative exclamation, but it renders positivity to both those who give and receive it. It’s an especially useful and conductive word for graduates in a position such as mine. This is why I’ve made a resolution (who needs to wait until 2015?!) to dole out more of these little gems.

This limbo is a prime time to do some of the best exploring, if you just open yourself up to the opportunity. Go to that interview/party/workshop/gathering – you might just end up having a great time. That aside, you may network and make some great connections. Or you could end up stumbling upon the best G&T that London has to offer. Or you could find the love of your life and live happily ever after. The point is, there are a million different opportunities that you’re completely unaware of, just waiting for you. Worst thing that could happen is that whatever you signed up for is not that great… so you just go back home. At least you tried.

Think about the alternative; the job-hunt leaves you spending way too much time at home (probably in your p.j.’s, I won’t lie) staring at a screen. On your own. It’s easy to get sucked into that little bubble, completely unaware of what’s going on just outside your window. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself making all kinds of excuses as to why you can’t possibly go anywhere or do anything. Believe me – the lure of your bed can wait. It will be there when you get back!

Since I’ve started ignoring my inner sloth I’ve been subject to some amazing experiences ranging from fabulous (and boozy) catch-ups, mouth-watering meals, a sexy magazine launch and even an impressive 3 course Michelin starred lunch dangling 100ft up in the air.

Who knows what could be awaiting you if you use that magical three-lettered word a little bit more often.
Just say yes.
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Food, glorious food.

Have you ever woken up and questioned when exactly it was that you let yourself go?

I probably have. Then I remember that the daunting little question is moot because I’ve been in a constant state of eating since before I even had teeth. It seems old habits die hard. Here’s a little proof for you.
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I was raised in a family of foodies. I blame them entirely for my consumption patterns such as waking up ravenous every morning with breakfast on the mind. Or planning dinners about three nights in advance. Or generally grazing throughout the day. It came as no surprise while rummaging through old family albums that about 50% of all childhood pictures taken involved plump little fingers maneuvering some tasty morsel to a welcoming mouth.
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They say that once you find something you love doing, you’ll never work a day in your life. I don’t think I’d fare particularly well as a professional eater, I don’t have the gag reflex for it, but the industry draws me in. I was fortunate enough to be able to assist in a Restaurant & Bar PR and Marketing agency recently, which opened my eyes to some of the fantastic culinary delights that London has to offer, as well as my enthusiasm for the vocation. This is something I’d like to pursue and will hopefully get the chance to document here as I go along.

“What do you like to do in your free time?” people ask me. *
Well, I eat. **

* Genuine interview question.
** Genuine answer.
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Have a little wander.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is take a break. Remove yourself from the commotion. This is why I find myself at home with a cup of tea lovingly made by Moo after an afternoon hike with Daddy Vee.

My best advice for when everything is just getting a little bit much?
Turn off your computer, put your phone on silent, get up and leave the house.
(After reading this, that is).

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when you don’t actually have a source of income though, is finding what you can do in your free time that costs very little, if not anything at all.

This is where I’m lucky. No – this is where I’m fortunate to say I have two homes. One of which being the breathtakingly beautiful Zürich, Switzerland. There is a mountain quite conveniently right outside our doorstep; the Uetliberg. We live on it and it would be nothing if not wasteful not to have a little wander up it once in a while.

Make the time to go on your own mini adventure. Clear your head with a leisurely walk. Distract yourself with striking and fresh scenery.
I promise you that all the worries that now seem so big shrink with every step you take.

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