Friday, 23 June 2017

June Life Update: Applying For A Passport


Hi readers,

I've never had a passport. That might sound strange to some but actually a lot of people don't have one. I've not had the need for one because the last time I left my home country - Britain- was in 1999 when I went to New Zealand. I travelled on my mum's passport and my two brothers went under my dad's because back then that's how children could travel. Now though, they have to have their own passports but since we didn't go anyway else and just had holidays in the UK, I didn't have the need for one.

The first time I looked at getting a passport was in uni because it was a good form of ID in bars and clubs, but it was expensive and a learner driving licence was cheaper plus getting that also meant I could learn to drive! A few years later, my best friend suggested a trip to Ireland and said I'd need a passport. I looked at getting one again but even discounting all the costs of getting one, I was a poor student and couldn't really offered to be travelling. Plus, I had also been diagnosed with my long term health conditions and I just had too much going on.

From then to now, I've been battling illness, finding a job and figuring out what I wanted to do. The wanderlust wasn't in me. Friends and family went travelling the world but that didn't inspire me. I love England, I like the weather and enjoy the rich history and different cultures here. However, I do have dreams of going to America, Canada, Japan and New Zealand again.


So, why now have I decided to get a passport? It's not due to Brexit and other political unrest and changes, like I've read other people are now scrambling to get one. It's because out of the blue my boyfriend decided to invite me to Sweden where his dad has a second house. My boyfriend is aware that I've never had a passport because last year he invited me to Brussels and I said no due to the no passport, ill health and still not having the urge to travel. When he asked me this time, I said no again but when I spoke to my mum after, she persuaded me that I should give it a go. My boyfriend and his dad are going to pay for everything, so money isn't the real problem.

The problem is my main long term health problem. It's better controlled now but unpredictable and highly embarrassing. At it's worse, I can't be more then a minute or two away from a loo and it's like having a stomach bug but ten times worse. Attached to it is all the psychological problems, stress and anxiety that make me worse. I've had my condition for about 13 years now and it'll never be cured, (unless have insides removed and that's only a very final option when everything else has failed and I give up the fight.) Even just small afternoon/day trips out can be tough! One day, I will write a blog post about this.

I know I shouldn't let that stop me from doing what I want and I do try hard but sometimes its all just too much. However, I've decided that I want to overcome this now. If I want to see those other countries I need to make some kind of start. So yeah, I've decided to apply for a passport and give it ago. Though one big down side is that the holiday is booked for 7 weeks from yesterday and it takes 6 weeks for a passport to be delivered and there's no getting around that due to the fact I've never had one before.



So, I spent Wednesday researching how to apply, what I needed and what all my options where. I decided that due to the fact I'm doing it on my own as my parents are still in France this week, I would do 'check and send' with the post office. They make sure you've filled the form in have all the right documents then send it off for you. If changes are needed they tell you and you can come back as many times as needed. That seemed to suit me better then just doing it all online because you still have to print stuff and post everything special delivery. They do change more, but that includes the postage and checking meaning it's highly likely to be put straight through.

I went to the post office, got the form I needed and all the instructions about what to do. Which turned out to be real simple. I just needed my birth certificate, both my parents' birth certificates, their passport information for the form and two correct photos. I also needed someone to countersign the form and a photo which my supervisor has agreed to do today. Luckily for me, I have all that and with me and my parents being British and them having passports, it means I don't need other information.

However, it turned out that my birth certificate has gone missing! I've now spent about 8 hours searching my house for it and it's no where. So I've fast track ordered one and it should be here Monday. Then all being well I can send off my application.


My next hope is that they don't call me for interview! It's not compulsory but highly likely I might have to go due to never having a passport before. If they do send me a letter, I'm going to go for the next available appointment and I'll be able to take my mum as she'll be back home by then. I'm nervous about getting the questions wrong, especially if they ask me for my parents' birthdays and marriage date because I'm no good with remembering numbers.

I read that it's not like a test and many people get things wrong but they still get through. When I book my appointment I shall explain all my needs and see if my mum can come in with me. Hopefully, that'll go fine then in a few days after I should get my passport. Most of the chat room / message boards etc I've looked at to help better under what people have had to do and the timelines say that all together it takes 4-5 weeks. Though one person had said it took 4 months for them. But I'm hoping there's no issues and it'll be plain sailing.

Then I better get everything else sorted, pack and prepare myself! It's going to be so weird and my  
anxiety is going to go through the roof. I have no fear of planes and I do like travelling and seeing new things, but like I said my health is a stopping factor. Perhaps, though this what I need to do to prove to myself that I can't allow my health problems to hold me back. I'm actually excited too, this is going to be a great experience and it'll open the door to so much more.

 Stockholm, Sweden.

(All images from: https://pixabay.com and https://www.pexels.com)

Please check out my other blog: https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/

Monday, 29 May 2017

Book Review: Rosario + Vampire Season 1


Hi readers, 

Today I wanted to share with you this manga series that I've been reading. It was written a few years back and its still popular enough. It's a short series with only 10 books in the first season and like 14 in the second. 

The plot is that a high school boy finds himself at a high school for monsters! They are all pretending to be humans as they are practising to fight into the human world. He doesn't have any easy time fitting in though and in fact a group of girls ends up forming around him because they are all in love with him! 

He has a crush on the vampire in the title and she likes him too, however due to her giving him some blood to aid them in the battles with other monsters, he gains vampire powers. 

The plot feels very simple and it's not until a good few books in, once all the main characters have been introduced, that things get interesting. There is a lot of fights and action scene which help speed things along and creates good conflict. There is also conflicted between the girls but this made to come across as being cute. 

The art style is pretty good to, but there are lot of - what I call 'fanboy shots of the girls - lots of down the tops and up the skirts. Which if you don't mind is fine, but there's just too many placed in for my liking. I guess that it helps make this manga more appealing to the young male audience it's aimed at. 

The characters come across well, with each their own wants and problems. I'm hoping that that the second season of manga sees them all further develop. Of course, the vampire is my favourite! There's also the typical manga characters too but they did get little lost in the background, which I don't really mind. 

I really enjoyed reading this series because it's fun and simple. There's enough to keep you entertained too and it's really short which also helps! 

I can't wait to read the second season now and find out what happens. 




Monday, 15 May 2017

May Update Part 2 : Why are people so mean to each other?

Hi readers,

I'm slotting in another update post this month as something has been on my mind and I wanted to share it with you all.

Last week, I was walking quickly down the street to work and as I passed a queue of cars waiting at the traffic lights, a male passenger in one of the cars lend out of a window and shouted at me 'how you doing, Fatty?'

My feet slowed, I stared at him, my expression become a mixture of shock, upset and anger. I ran through everything I could respond to that in my head. I was on the edge of telling him to 'F off,' but then I walked past. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him laughing with his mates then the car drove off.

What he said stayed with me but I had to put it out of my mind to concentrate on working. Reception was tough that night as I'd had to switch my day shift to a night shift as the other receptionist had phoned in sick. It was a junior session too and they are always so much hard work! I got through it but those words still stuck with me.

I keep thinking of all the things I should have said and how I could've turned that conversion around. I could have shocked him by answering calmly back, by making a joke of it, laughing at him. You know? All those things you think about afterwards. Of course, if I'd gone the other way and turned aggressive towards him, he might have said more hurtful things. Maybe, even taking it further. So, maybe it was a good job I walked away.

There's no way I'm letting that get to me. I've been called worse things. Strangers judge you in a few seconds and act upon what they see. So, there's no way that man could've know that for the last 10 years I've been battling a long term health condition that some days affects me so badly that I can't leave my house. It's the main reason why I struggle to control my weight. Luckily, my new drug is controlling things enough that I've now started losing weight again and I do want to keep trying.

In contrasted to this, at work I don't let anyone disrespect me. If a young person is rude to me or says something I don't like, I address it fast. I follow the guide I got in my training and stick by the rules. The youth centre is like school in that respect, we don't take any misbehaving from anyone and we try to teach the young people why it's wrong and they can become more respectful.

I have a new motto; like water of a duck's back. To try help shrug it off. But it seems to have lingered still and it got me thinking, why is it easier to be bad then to being good?



I thought I'd look into it. I remember at some point hearing it was easier to be bad because it takes up less energy and thinking time whilst if you are good then it uses up more energy and more thinking. It's the same with smiling and frowning; you use more face muscles to smile and a lot less for frowning. 

In religion, it comes across as being easy to sin. Think of Eve eating the forbidden fruit, tempting Adam to try it too and God banishing them both out of Eden. It's harder to stay good and follow the book and church even though religious people know that's what they should be doing. However, getting rid of sins/badness comes across as being simple; pray for forgiveness. 

Having a negative mind goes along aside this. It's easy to be unmotivated and lazy. It takes a lot to do activities, even if they are hobbies we like. Staying positive can be really hard to do - I for one know that really well! Remember the last life update post? There are much more benefits to staying positive though, like achieving in life, love and career. 

There's so many scientific and religious theories/information out there too. So, far I've not found truth to my first thought; energy usage. I've concluded it would take too much time for this post if I did try to find it! What I can say though is that it is easier to be bad then good for many different reasons. Some people say it's because it feels better emotionally and mentally to be bad then it does to be good, even though it seems we get the same 'high' when we are nice and helpful to people. 

Getting back to what I opened this post with, to round things off and make it a positive ending, on a total opposite spin to being insulted, later that night my wonderful boyfriend texted me and told me I was beautiful. He really likes my body and understands all my issues which helps a lot. He often calls me beautiful, sexy and hot with a lot of meaning. It's a total boost to my confidence and reminds me that there are people out there who do find me attractive.   

So, in conclusion for this post just remember that no matter what 





Thanks for reading!


Research links:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beyond-good-and-evil/201405/why-is-it-easier-organize-evil-good

http://thoughtfulreading.com/psychology/good-people-vs-bad-people/

http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/four-ways-topple-negativity-bias-0114137/

Monday, 8 May 2017

Book Review: Sorted! The Good Psychopath's Guide to Bossing Your Life.

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Hi readers, 

I was actually going to write another life up date but I decided that this book was far more interesting and also on the topic I was going to write about. 

This is a non-fiction book, which is a rare thing in my bookcase. Not because I don't like reading no-fiction but because finding subject matters that interested me and make me want to finish the book is hard. I saw this guide by chance whilst buying a Christmas present for my mum. I thought it seemed like I good idea. 

It's a follow on book from the first book they did and though there are some references to that, you can easily read this by itself. It's aimed mostly at men, I would say 21-40 odd, which is why it has what I call 'lad dialogue.' It's causal and funny, like men talking in a pub. However, it does stick in your head because you aren't being bombarded with lots of facts and instructions.

So this guide, it's not like a 'how to live your life', it's more like how to improve your habits and behavior at work and social events. It's divided into 3 chapters which are then sub-divided into different sections making it easier and faster to read. There's also images; graphs, timetables and quizzes which allows you to visualize the information.

I've found it very useful because last week I had a bad week at work. A lot of things went wrong and I was really stressed out. Then when I thought I'd done the main task- sorting out a rota, it turned out I'd made two mistakes! This wasn't technically my fault as no one had told me that a certain person couldn't actually do daytime shifts but I took the blame for it and that made me feel more stressed. So, yeah I wanted to write a blog post about that; when your job stops being your best friend and becomes your worse enemy. Which sounds like a good title for a book anyway!

In turning to Sorted! I found a lot of answers and advice that I needed to hear. There is one part about emails and how we are constantly sending and answering emails which has a great effect on the brain and causes lots of tension. The suggestion of checking your emails less, maybe only three times a day, is something I've now started doing. I check in the morning, lunch time and an two hours before I leave. This means that I've stopped clicking on an email every time I hear a ping and it's just made things easier and I feel less demanded.

I also found the part about listening well interesting and I'm now determined to listen to people better and to give them more time to talk. There are other tips; learning how to say no, leaving work at work, mixing actives up at work to keep things fresh, learning to communicate better with people and persuade people correctly into doing things.

Overall, this is a good book for those needing advice about work and social events. I enjoyed reading it and I feel more prepared to change my behavior towards people and work tasks. Hopefully, that'll help improve my work output, social skills, listening skills and general attitude to work.

Thanks for reading and please check out the links below.  Next week is going to be a manga review.

https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/7287580

https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/

Monday, 1 May 2017

May Life Update: My First Car


Hi readers!

Well, Saturday marked a big life achievement for me as I brought my first car! I'm still a mix of feelings and thoughts right now, so much so that sometimes I'll just go to the front door and look out at my car. I still can't believe it belongs to me now. It's the most expensive thing I've ever owned but it's going to become one of the best!

I'm currently learning to drive all over again. It's been about a year and a half since I last drove. I got very ill and the medication I was on meant I couldn't drive. Now, though I'm much better and with more money in the bank, I thought it was time to plunged through all my fears and go ahead.

I saw this car online and it ticked all the boxes, so I thought why not go to see it? When I got there a weekend ago now and saw it for the first time I really liked it but I wasn't sure it was for me. Then the second car I want to see, made up my mind and I decided to just go with it! This fact as totally not sank in yet and it's going to take a few months I think.

Its an automatic which is far easier for me to drive. I learnt in a manual but struggled with the gears and clutch. That is the other reason I'm having to re-learn because it's a different feel and actions to do things. I'm really struggling with reversing right now because it's all done on the brake but sometimes that can actually stop the car if you move your foot too much off. Parking forward I can do but reverse parking is a total no. So, I need the practise real bad.

My parents and boyfriend have been super supportive and have come out with me a few times now. I need to go by myself, but I just don't feel ready yet. Driving to work is so easy though because it's 15 minutes up the road with only a few traffic lights and then a left and right turn into a supermarket car park. (Work doesn't have a car park!) I shall get there at my own pace and I'll do what's right for me.

I also need more motorway practise. I did have some after passing my test, but more is needed now. I'm only going to do that when I'm happy with my driving though. My mum thinks I'm doing great and I need to give myself ore credit then I have been doing. I've been telling myself off for small mistakes, like not indicating early enough, not slowing down gently enough, not looking in my mirrors enough and not being aware of coming cars on roundabouts. I know though, after more practise that these things will go.

So for now I've just got to keep going!



Also, I finally finished making my bear cushion! It's taken what feels like an age but it's been about 2-3 months to knit him. He's turned out great! My next knitting project is another bear cushion! It's going to be bigger and softer and meant to go with a blanket my mum made, but I don't think that's going to happened!



Thanks for reading and next week hopefully, it'll be a book review!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

April Life Update: Where have I been?



Hi readers,

So I didn't stick to my plan of blog posts. This is for a few reasons. I've been really busy with my other blog and work. I've three jobs now, just in case you didn't know! So, I'm working 6 days a week then juggling my family, friends, boyfriend and writing. Which means that things have been slipping.

I also have a back log of books to review, so I need get writing that up too! When I find the time.... Some of the books I'm going to group together though because it'll be easier. So, in the next two months I plan to have reviews about: JoJo's Bizarre Adventures, Vampire + Rosario, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, The Sookie Stackhouse/ True Blood series and Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman. Then I'l have caught up on book reviews!

I really wanted to get this post up this week, despite all my business because I wanted to share the good news that I've brought a car! My first car and it's so cool. I'm picking up in a few days time and then I want to do some posts about driving.

There's also a few other things I wanted to share, but they'll have to wait for next week now, because I didn't take any photos. I so need to do that soon.

Hopefully, I can now start finding the time to write more of this blog. I think my other blog has taken over with the A-Z Challenge! That's worth checking out, here's the link: https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/

That's it for now. Time to work on some reviews. Thanks for reading! 

Monday, 6 March 2017

March Life Update: The Many Faces Of a Receptionist




Hi readers,

Today I'm celebrating a month into my new full job. This means I now have four jobs! Luckily, they are all with the same company at the same place, but it's been keeping me very busy. So, briefly, last year, I started volunteering on reception at the youth centre. I just wanted to do more and gain some experience in the hope I could then get a second part-time just somewhere else. 

Then though, there was an opening for a zero-hours casual receptionist, just to cover the holidays and sickness of the four full and part-time receptionists. I totally aced the interview and started a few days later. The extra money was useful and I enjoyed actually getting paid for work I'd been doing for free before. 

In late December of last year, one of the part-time receptionists left. Her hours were Saturday evening; 6pm-10pm and I was asked to pick up her shifts, but now I'm contracted to work that shift permanently.  I felt a lot about this because it was steady money! And I didn't mind giving up my Saturdays because I don't do much anyway at the weekends now. 

Then a month ago, my new manager phoned me to say that the daytime receptionist had left and could I come in to do 9-3pm Monday to Friday? I agreed, but I only have a temp contract which finished at the end of this month. I'm hoping that this will turn permanent but nothing has been decided it.


Most people think that working on reception is like a 'cushy' job. All receptionists seem to do is sit behind a desk and answer phone calls, greet people, give directions, information and sit there looking pretty. Well, being a reception at a youth centre is different. I have what is the normal tasks of a receptionist and front of house, like the above, but I also do many admin tasks; signing in/out sheets, time sheet checking, register for visiting young people groups, date input, filing, money handling and the supplying of door key cards which we use throughout the building. 

To be honest, I don't mind taking on admin tasks because sometimes there are time periods were there's not much going on- mostly from 9-12. Plus, these are great skills and experience to have! I have a more to learn and add to my list though, but I enjoy learning new things, so it's fine. 

The other difference being front of house at the youth centre is that you have to deal with children, teenagers, disabled people and parents. Most receptionists just deal with adults and adult problems, but me I also have to deal with issues young people and parents might have which means my communication skills have to be top notch. I have to be able to handle anything; from an angry or upset parent making a compliant, to a child refusing to leave the building, or a teenager who has a disability and needs simple wordings. 

At this moment in time, I'm also training four volunteers to be receptionists! Even though it's hard to juggle that and my other tasks, I'm finding it fun. I love teaching and passing on my skills and knowledge. That's part of the reason I started volunteering at the youth centre in the first place. I'm training them how to deal with phone calls, greet visitors and use our database. 

Two of the volunteers are hair and beauty college students, who want some experience of reception as part of their course in case they need it. The third person is in uni and doing a health and social course, she has no real interested in reception or admin but is just here to get more hours for the completion of her uni placement. The fourth girl, reminds me of myself as she is claiming job seekers and looking for work. She wants a simple job to fit in around her daughter. She's taken to being a receptionist really well too.   


Being a receptionist isn't just all that though as I'm learning. You've also got to the flag of the ship. You are the first person people see and hear, you have to be professional and polite then friendly and chatty too - though not too chatty, no one wants to hear your personal issues or problems! Sticking with the normal topics helps; weather, traffic, lunch etc. I'm also a big representative of the youth centre, even though most people don't think about it when they are phoning to ask for information or coming in for a meeting, but I have to create the first impression with these people and get across my knowledge and passion for the company.

For my colleagues, it's a different face. I'm a listener, agony aunt, a reassurer and a bit of gossiper (which I probably shouldn't be!) I do enjoy a good chat, just not first thing in the morning as I'm still half asleep! I'm also getting use to people sounding off with me and just wanting someone to hear them out about a work or personal issues. Sometimes visitors do that too! Maybe it's my personality and nature, but I think other receptionists can relate to being these things too. 

For the people I train, I've to be teacher. I'm actually fine in this role and I'm not scare to admit to them that sometimes even I don't know what I'm doing! My teaching is very friendly, casual and hands on, which is how I like to learn myself really. However, this doesn't work for others, so one of my tasks is to write some clear instructions for how to use the phone and switchboard on Wednesday as a further aid. 

I also have to be learner myself as there's a lot more admin training I need. I'm currently learning how to check time sheets and find cover for staff. Tomorrow, I'm going to learn how to do the reception team route, which should be an easy task. I also need to learn how to do room bookings and such things. So, yeah it's a busy job! 

Anyway, I'm glad to be home tonight chilling and this Friday I'm off to my boyfriend's for a weekend at his as I'll get a small break then. I just need to survive the rest of the week!   

Thanks for reading and if you want to leave a comment please do, I'd love to hear from other receptionists! Also check out my other blog; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/ Have a good week! 


Images from: https://pixabay.com a free stock photos.