Things happen in three’s

Last week was an eventful one. You’ve heard the phrase ‘things happen in threes’ I didn’t know this was meant to happen every few months! I’ll start at the beginning of this downward spiral.

Tuesday; Light bulb shenanigans

  • The day was going well;
  • Work had been uneventful
  • Had a nice dinner
  • Housemate had shown me her engagement ring, yes there were a few of the obligatory high pitched girlie giggles that only dogs could hear.

So far so good right?

bulbI’m all settled in bed getting ready to jot down a few blog ideas until I get a text message from the housemate to see if I was still awake as she could smell something burning. Naturally I got worried with visions of the house burning down.
Checked all the electrics, the cooker etc and can’t find anything but there is a strong smell of burnt plastic. Turns out it was this light bulb in the uplighter in the living room that had burnt out. It took about three days for the small to completely fade.

Wednesday; Car, vroom, vroom, cough

My car. What happened in a way was my own fault and for being a bit tight on the purse strings but I thought I had a bit more time. The car exhaust had been growling a bit, ok a lot but I was hoping she would hang in there until pay day at least, of course that didn’t happen. Had a reasonably calm drive to work until I reached the company car park and the engine decided to intermittently cut out. Upon recommendation I took the car to a garage close to work who were excellent. Though busy they hooked the car up to a computer and fortunately no error codes flashed up so I could breath a small sigh of relief. Though it did mean the mechanics had to investigate a bit, here they discovered the growling exhaust. Not only was part of the exhaust rattling around but in another part there was a blockage co0ntributing to the engine cutting out. My car did spend a night at the garage but was back on the road the following day.

There is more yet to come.

Wednesday PM; QWERUIOP

Up until this point my laptop had been working had been working fine, installed some video editing software; a new skill I’m trying to learn. Windows runs and update as it does every so often. Hadn’t needed to use my laptop until Wednesday evening I discover that apart from the letters TY the rest of the keys in that row no longer work. At first I thought it was linked to the updates, maybe a software issue. Downloaded the correct keyboard driver and still no improvement. Final conclusion is there is a connectivity issue with the keyboard. I could pay to have it repaired but for now am using a USB keyboard. It does the job with no problems.

To complete the week the NHS network was hit by a Cyber Attack!

Not part of my three but still worth a mention. Everything went down Friday afternoon as our excellent IT team worked to get things back to normal as more reports about other NHS trusts IT networks had been attacked. Fortunately come Monday things are mostly up and running again, things could have been a lot worse.

Fingers crossed this week is a quite one.

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Social personal branding; who am I?

It has been a while since I have written a post about personal branding, so why now? There could be some potential employment changes in the horizon for me which got me thinking about my own digital branding. A lot has changed in my world in the past few years so naturally has my attitude and outlook has as well changes which should be reflected in how I brand myself going forward. First I need to figure how I am going to do this and what type of person I want to show to the digital world?

How I used social media in the past compared to now has changed, I haven’t been as focused on the changes and developments happening in the social media world or how it still plays a significant role in people’s lives, in some cases consuming them. Love it or hate it social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, it has evolved into a world all of its own. I decide what to share and how much online, common sense should still be used even when promoting oneself.

In the past most of my Twitter post were related to the type of job I was in at the time i.e. jobs boards, job searching. Even with my blog I would alternate posts between those that were work related with ones that were linked to what was going on in my personal world.

I have drifted away from Facebook now mostly liking posts that appear in my newsfeed, If I do post something it is usually linked to my job or something I have been tagged in.

My LinkedIn profile hasn’t been touched for several months, only to update my profile with my current employment description and even then that addition doesn’t really provide enough information about the job I actually do. Shame on me, entirely my own fault. Some LinkedIn users would argue that over time LinkedIn has lost its way from what it was originally meant to be; a business networking online platform instead of now being viewed as Facebook for professionals with users commenting not always on the skill of a fellow user but on how they look when they update their profile picture or even the type of picture used. Despite this LinkedIn is still credible and a good way to network, share business experiences, look for a new job or to headhunt a potential future employee. I’ve hyped up LinkedIn a bit here however like other social networks one size does not fit all. In a blog post written by Things Career Related, the writer though an advocate of LinkedIn discusses the possibility that LinkedIn is not for everyone. It is possible that I am becoming one of those people, I haven’t made a firm decision yet about what I want to do with my LinkedIn profile time will tell.

As you can see, I have been working on reviving my blog trying to post something at least once a week. I think I stopped blogging partly due to time constraints but also because I thought I had nothing to write about. Looking back on old posts I realised I do have a lot to say, its the way that I choose to share it. I wrote about a variety of things from baking, to the job sector I was currently employed in, some of it was on serious topics others had a more dry sense of humour tone. It was just a matter of rediscovering the things I enjoyed, discovering new things, topics of discussion that I thought were relevant.

The plan going forward is to continue writing my blog, if nothing else I enjoy writing and blogging is a great way to get some of my thoughts down on digital paper. Surprisingly since spending a bit of time each day on Twitter and sharing articles that interest me I’ve seen an increase in followers, heading in the right direction even with my Twitter bio only being seven words long! Facebook I’ll leave it in the shadows for now visiting it for now. LinkedIn has potential but one step at a time.

So who am I? There are many different sides to me that keep evolving but for now I am another digital world wanderer intrigued by how technology and the virtual world has encompassed our lives, but lets not forget the baker in me without technology and social media I wouldn’t be able to link with other excellent bakers and find some amazing recipes.

Image from www.pixabay.com

Being social without being sociable

Last week, myself and two work colleagues attending a social media conference organised by NHS Employers. Not sure how many of you know but I now work in the Communications team for an NHS health trust which involves working increasing the trusts profile through social media marketing.

Train journey

Some of you will know I’m not comfortable travelling, little thing called travel sickness does tend to rear its ugly head every so often. However this time I was a lot better than expected, especially when packed in a metal box with countless other commuters at rushpersonal-space hour on the underground. I am an amateur when it comes to travelling in London so it does surprises me the lack of common sense of some people, the line ‘how many people can you fit inside a train carriage?’ springs to mind. When you think no more people can fit into the carriage, there is always that one person who wants to squeeze in, and squeeze in they do, even if it means other passengers faces are glued up against the windows. I’m particular about who invades my personal, on a packed carriage there is no such thing and with my lack of height, it’s no picnic. That all aside the conference was worth the sardine packed, oxygen sucking train journey.

Conference

From start to finish the speakers were engaging, entertaining and very informative. Some conference can have a tendency to be stuffy, monotonous to the point you’re thinking how long is an acceptable time to remain at the conference before escaping. If anyone from NHS Employers is reading this then don’t worry none of this happened at this conference, to top it off the food for lunch was really nice. The veggie option was white cabbage with gnocchi in a cream sauce accompanied with roasted sweet potato with vegetables followed up with a lemon tart, you wouldn’t have thought it would taste good but it all did. I would have taken photos but my phone was charging and I was hungry.

During one of the breaks it had dawned on me that I had become one of those social media unsociable who was walking and tweeting at the same time, how did that happen without me noticing. There I am getting excited about using video, editing and taking somewhat professional pictures to post online. I blame my work colleague Amanda for signing me up for this conference, now I’m ruined. I think of ways outside of work to improve our trusts profile using social media and encourage staff to engage more. Ruined I tell you!

Networking

socially-unsociableThinking of the world we now live in where communication is more than just verbally speaking with someone, an emoji can convey various messages without a single word being uttered / written. I was in a room full of fellow NHS employers from different health trusts with a shared interest of social media, and was networking and connecting with these people mostly through Twitter. Some of you may say this isn’t networking but really it is, just in a different form. I think it was a great was to communicate & support each other who shared and liked what I tweeted and vice versa.

I’m not s social butterfly, being social can take effort & does depend on the situation and how confident I’m feeling at the time. This conference showed me ways to effectively communicate and promote the trust at the same time in a way I feel comfortable even if it means being social without being sociable.

 

Shed repair, creepy neighbours & beauty experiments!

As mentioned in one of my blogs posts, phase one of the evil shed repair began on Friday. Fortunately the two outer walls were strong enough to stand up on their own, measurements have been taken for the roof and the middle wall so with a bit of luck I could have a completed, functional shed by the end of the week-I’m trying to contain my excitement!

20140620_Garden[1]I’m thinking of building bridges with my neighbours as at the moment they have a habit of just staring that gives me the creeps. So instead of staring back I’m go down the nice, nice route and actually say ‘hello’, throw them off a bit and see what happens. I doubt the conversation will go much further as I don’t think they can speak English!

One of my housemates was home that day so we decided to tackle the jungle of a garden. We trimmed the trees, cleared the rubbish, bags were filled up and taken to the dump. It was an exhausting, back breaking experience but the garden looks a bit bigger and we easily use the washing line! We know my history with gardening, plants just do not survive for very long in my care, but for some reason the strawberry plant has been revived for another year and is back in bloom along with another plant that I definitely thought had given up the ghost and gone onto the big ol’ garden in the sky! With renewed confidence I’ve bought a chilli plant, what are its chances of survival is anyone’s guess! I feel like we should have a moment of prayer to wish this chilli plant a long and happy life..or at least until the end of the summer which isn’t very long in the UK!

20140621_MirchMasalStarter[1]20140621_MirchMasalaMain[1]Saturday I visited an Indian restaurant called Mirch Masala. I’m not a great fan of Indian food places as I always end up comparing it my mums cooking however, in this case I have to admit the food was surprisingly good. I would say if you can avoid using the toilets. I don’t know what the men’s was like but I definitely was not impressed with the ladies. I skipped dessert as there was no way I was going to manage anything sweet. With a full stomach and the warm weather I’m surprised I wasn’t practically comatose!

All my ingredients to make a few homemade beauty treatments arrived. Experiment #1 was the body lotion. At first it all looked like it was going well until the oils and wax had set, the final product looked like a candle. Using some cheap hand whisks I pumped those arm muscles until the block resembled a creamy texture. Overall I’m pleased with my first attempt, I’m reusing a Nutella jar for now.

20140622_LipBalm[1]Experiment #2 was the lip balm. This is so easy to make, bit of beeswax, bit of coconut oil few drops of peppermint, melt it all down, let it set and there we have lip balm.

The time seems to be zooming by, I’m looking into practicing making some fondant cupcake toppers, not sure of what yet, will let you know how they go. 🙂

My ‘get to the end of year’ plan.

DiaryPlannerWhilst speaking with a friend over the weekend we got onto the topic of careers and the future. We are both in our 30’s; she is married and was talking about her husband and his current employment. Her and her husband have very different outlooks and attitudes towards things yet complement each other, like ying and yang. My friend’s husband is very laid back and thinks he has all the time in the world whereas my friend is more proactive and wants things done there and then.

This discussion brought us on to the topic of having a five year plan. She has at least three, a backup plan for the backup plan, something her husband has not ever thought about and admittedly neither have I. My way of thinking and approach to things is nothing like my friends husbands though it did get me thinking whether it is something I should think about. I just about plan how I am going to get through the week let alone think about where I expect to be in five years’ time!

Is it necessary to have such a long term plan? In my view, circumstances change so quickly that the plan would need tweaking every so often, if you really wanted to go down this path wouldn’t it be more realistic to have a shorter plan, say three years?

In general I don’t long term plan, I find something I like then go with it for however long it lasts for or see if there is room for growth, if not then I move onto something else that piques my interest. No-one would have thought five years ago that this woman (me) who could barely cook a main meal has ended up baking and not doing a bad job of it either. I guess my next step would be thinking about seriously marketing myself and my cakes.

Where I want to be in five years’ time I honestly do not know.  Perhaps it would be an idea to start thinking about working towards some kind of goal? Upon reflection based on the different interests I have and the various things I enjoy I’m realistically working on a ‘get to the end of the year’ plan.

  • Register onto a cake decorating class
  • Get my blue belt in kickboxing (hopefully in December) without sustaining any injuries
  • Get my shed fixed (this has been on-going since I bought the house 4 years ago!)
  • Research the possibly of me and another friend having a ‘now and then’ cake stall, on top of our full time jobs.

No doubt there will be some amendments to this list as the year goes on, but at least it’s a start. 😀