Anglesey- A beautiful Welsh gem

 

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Last weekend I went to Anglesey, which is an island in the North of Wales. I went for three days, and it was lovely. I always had it in my head that Anglesey was a much smaller place than it actually is. I don’t think a lot of people realise that it’s kinda big. Rich’s family own a cottage in Treaddur Bay, right near the beach, and it’s so beautiful. The above picture is a sunset taken on the beach there. We drove down from Manchester on Thursday night after work. We were expecting it to take around two and a half hours, but it actually only took about one and a half, which was pretty good going.

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On our first day, we went up to Chemlyn bay which is on the north of the island. It’s absolutely breathtaking. There’s pebbled beaches, blue sea, and it feels like there’s nothing for miles around. We spent hours just wandering on the beach, taking pictures of the views, and just enjoying being somewhere so relaxing.

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On the second day, we went to Beaumaris, which on the east of the island, right near the Menai bridge. It was such a lovely little town. We spent a few hours going round the little independent shops. Rich bought me a gorgeous handbag for Christmas (I know it’s a while off but you can never start too early), and we also visited lots of galleries, a Chilli shop, and shops full of trinkets. After a few hours of shopping, we went to an amazing fish and chip shop and had a walk down the pier, and walked along the sea front which had views of the Snowdonia national park.

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On the last day we were there, we went to Newborough which is on the south of the island. If you’ve ever been to Formby Beach in Merseyside, it’s quite similar to that. There’s a massive pine forest which borders the beach, and there’s also an island called Llanddwyn Island which is stunning. It has a little lighthouse, a ruined church and lots of little coves. I wish it had been slightly sunnier on the day we went as it would have been perfect for a picnic. It’s quite a walk so you need to take your walking shoes, but it’s definitely worth it.

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It was a fabulous weekend, and I can’t wait to visit again. If you need somewhere relaxing to charge your batteries, then definitely check out Anglesey, as it’s full of hidden gems! How many of you have been to Anglesey before?

 

Where have I been?

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This summer is turning out to be a particularly busy one… and I’m loving it. I really feel as if I’m fulfilled, as if I’m getting something out of my life. I’m happy, I’m making the most of things, and yet I don’t stressed, I just feel excited for the future.

I’ve recently taken on a role as News Writer for Kettle magazine, which is an online magazine that promotes student journalism. I’ve been writing for them for the last year, tending to sway towards writing lifestyle pieces, but when an opportunity to write for their news team came up, I put myself forward, as I thought it would be a great opportunity to step away from the norm and to try something new. It’s actually really refreshing to write something different!

In terms of my personal life, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and Rich’s family. I’ve been catching up with my parents and my siblings, spending time exploring bits of Manchester and just generally having down time. I’ve also spent a few lovely days with friends, eating delicious foods and doing bits of holiday shopping.

Me and Rich have spent the last couple of weekends down in Birmingham which is where Rich’s parents live, and it’s been great to chill out and relax in the garden on sunny days. Not last weekend, but the weekend before, we went to see Mamma Mia the musical, which was absolutely brilliant. I’m not sure it was exactly Rich’s thing, but I loved it. Last night we went on a pub crawl and then clubbing in Birmingham with friends which was fun, though I feel like a bit of a grandma as I was craving my bed pretty early into the night!

In terms of my blog, I’m definitely going to have some new pieces up in the next two weeks. I’m off to Anglesey on Thursday night through till Sunday for some R and R, so I promise to document the trip and to hopefully take some pictures of the gorgeous scenery. For now, you can click here and check out my latest blog post which is a piece of prose poetry that I’ve been working on.

I hope that you’re all having a lovely summer, whatever it is that you’re doing. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments below 🙂

Love from Beth x

 

Any job is a real job: Social Media Servicing Advisor

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As many of you know, I recently decided I wanted to start a bit of a blogging series with the phrase ‘Any job is a real job’ in mind. I wanted to raise awareness of the different industries out there, and I asked for all of my readers help. I feel really lucky that some of you responded.If you missed my previous articles about this, then click here.

 First up is Cameron, from over at Cameron D Hamilton. He writes a great blog with an emphasis on poetry and self reflection, and I really love his work, so I was very pleased when he contacted me to tell me about his job as a Senior Social Media Servicing Advisor:

So, let’s begin with a few basic facts.  My name is Cameron, I’m 29 and I work in corporate Social Media for a major UK bank.  I’ve been in my current position for over a year.

Explain your job role (title, daily duties etc)

At this time I hold the title of Senior Social Media Servicing Advisor.  The job itself consists of moderating several social media and website channels for the bank.  My department moderates four Twitter handles, two Facebook accounts, the website ‘live webchat’ service and two customer enquiry email services.  I came into the department to handle Social Media so I tend to focus my attention on the Twitter and Facebook content.  It’s more a preference for me, it actually works out well with our team dynamic as some of my colleagues prefer the more formal nature of the email channels.

On a normal day I’ll spend my time responding to enquiries received and also post attention grabbing content, over the Twitter channel specifically, in order to grow the brand and attract attention.  As a team we’re also tasked with monitoring public relations through Social Media, logging and reporting positive and negative reports of the bank.  As a department we have little power to effect change the way the bank presents itself, essentially we’re information gathering.  It can get a bit frustrating when the same criticisms come up and nothing is done but I’m sure there must be a good reason, or at least I hope.  The vast majority of the time is spent moderating the channels making sure that all messages received are responded to, make sure we can avoid potential PR issues and make sure customers are protected.

(A funny story on making sure our customers as kept safe over social media.  I once had to deal with a customer of the bank who was a financial dominatrix and was posting her bank details over Twitter in order to get tributes from her admirers.  Her profile was certainly NSFW.  I got in touch with our information security team and they got a Fraud officer to get in touch.  We got told she was warned the following day but clearly didn’t listen as a few weeks later she done the exact same thing.  You can’t help everyone!)

More than any other department we liaise with several different areas of the business on a daily basis, sometimes it can be simply feeding back praise, looking for more in depth info or a certain subject (mortgages, urgh) or getting complaints handled.  This is quite common as you can imagine, everyone love to moan over Twitter and we try to help.  Often it’s really easy people are being lazy wont visit the bank or call in, ‘help us to help you’ doesn’t enter into their minds.  Sometimes it take a little more to handle but it’s our job monitoring Social Media to make sure that voice gets heard and helped.

As a senior advisor I also research and create reports for the leadership team of the bank.  The most frequent is a weekly feedback presentation that is made for the weekly leadership meeting.  Takes about three to four hours and I usually do it if I’m working on a Sunday, it’s monotonous but I quite like it.

Also due to the main office site being a contact centre the team has been lumbered with some irritating telephone lines.  These are low call volume, maybe four calls over a shift max.  In addition to this in order to keep product knowledge fresh there are weeks where I will take general customer service phone calls or work the Internet Banking Helpdesk while another member of the team assumes moderation duties on Social Media.  It’s you’re standard shift rotation deal.

How  did you got into your job? (e.g qualifications, experience etc)

I’m a Media graduate, I spent five years studying through various college courses and university.  I went from wanting to work in film production, with an eye to direct, but found that I enjoyed writing more.  I put a lot of that down to my social anxiety, being able to create a barrier means I can work more effectively.  Its why I like working in Social Media.

The academics didn’t get me exactly where I wanted to go and I drifted through mostly Customer Service positions while trying to write.  Before I took my current position I was working as a general Customer Service Rep in the same bank at the same centre.  Due to my qualifications, my vast experience from working in the bank for so long and my eccentric passion the job was mine.

At the time I applied I was leaving the company, I had reached my glass ceiling and had been applying for writing and Social Media vacancies so when one came up from my current employer it just made sense.  The company thought so too.

What do you like about your job?

I like the ability to write and be creative.  That’s what sold me on the job, to try and engage with customers differently than I had been over phone calls.

Using my experiences as a writer to give some personality to the Social Media accounts, show we care, we want to help but that we’re real.

I really like the people in my team, it’s a great group of personalities and you need that in Social Media.  Of course I win the award for most eccentric but I set a very high bar.

Honestly it’s an easy job.  With the knowledge I gained working telephone customer service the job of moderating is ridiculously easy.  That lack of stress makes my life a lot easier with all the other stresses I have

The Social Media team itself is very young, its only in its second year.  I love being able to shape the voice and make a mark on the landscape.  Not to denigrate my colleagues but you can tell the difference in language and passion when I’ve sent a message compared to someone else.  It’s a great feeling to see that your voice is the one that people like.

What do you hate about your job?

The pay (hahahaha!!!) Serious though, its horrific.

The politics of the office are very annoying, as a contact centre the focus is on phone calls so my team gets treated horribly as if it’s our fault that calls are queuing because we’re not on the phone.  My employer doesn’t know how to handle digital operations and doesn’t understand the job we do.  This means arguments with management figures trying to assert authority when they have none and acting like children when they don’t get their way.

I don’t drive so the commute is pretty bad at times.  I take three buses and as much as it gives me time to listen to my favourite podcasts it does give me a little less free time.

Due to working in the banking industry, it’s a secure paperless environment which is murder or a writer who likes to have a note pad if they’re inspired by something…or maybe just wants to colour in on a slow day.

To be honest the job is great.  It’s the office I hate.  If I could do the same job somewhere else I’d be a lot happier.  I think if there’s any lesson I could impart it’s don’t give up on something you want to do because the people you work for are idiots.

Where do you want to be in five years time?

There’s two answers to this.

Answer one is writing professionally, taking what I do on WordPress and making money off my words.  I want to write like a lot of people here so If I can I’d like to get published and make my living from literature

Answer two is Social Media Project Management.  I’m not keen on actually managing staff, its just not interesting, I want to create and run projects.  Move out of the moderation and more into  the marketing the brand growth.  I do a little of this right now but I really want to advance into building content to get people talking and make the best use of Social Media.  It won’t be with my current employer, I have way too many issues with them and their ineptitude in the digital world.  I find this hard to answer because I’ve never been one for planning ahead.  Probably why I’m so far behind.

I want to say a big thank you to Cameron for this, as I found it really interesting. I’m looking to go into a similar career myself, so it was great to get an in depth view of what to expect. Does anyone else work in this industry? What do you think? Or do any of you want to go into this industry too?

 

I’m feeling at peace

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For the first time in months, I finally feel at peace. I think that’s because the last six months or so have been a blur of coursework, exams, train journeys, job interviews and a tonne of stress. However this week, I’m finally feeling a bit more settled with my life and where things are going. It seems to help that I’m filling my life with as much positivity as possible whether that’s in terms of work, in terms of family, and in terms of my social life.  Me and Rich also renewed the tenancy on our flat for another year last month, so it’s nice to know that that’s all sorted out too.

I’ve settled into my new job and am finding myself enjoying the routine of it all. I’ve been training in the stock room and on the sales floor which has meant having to learn lots of new things, and also has had me pushing myself out of my comfort zone as I’ve been meeting lots of new people and getting used to a new environment. I was pretty worried about how often I would be working etc, but I’ve been lucky in that my contract means  I don’t have to work weekends, something which is really important to me, as Rich works full time in the week, and the weekend tends to be the time where we spend some time together whether that’s visiting a new place, visiting family, or just relaxing at home.

I’ve also had great news as I’ve passed my second year of uni! I don’t know what my overall grade for the year is yet, but I know I’ve managed to achieve a 1:1 in my Publishing module, and 2:1’s in my Poetry and Work Based Learning modules which I’m really proud of. Uni has had me feeling quite unsettled this year, as at the end of my first year I didn’t do as well as I hoped and even considered giving it up. Now I’ve reached the end of this year, I’m so glad that I didn’t. Commuting to uni has really helped me to focus on what’s important in terms of my studies and I’m grateful for that as I want to give myself the best start in life possible.

A couple of weeks ago you guys might have read my post on driving lessons. That post was written at a time when I was feeling really down about my lessons and was even considering giving them up altogether. After a lot of consideration, I decided that I needed to make a change, and in my case, that change was switching driving instructors… for the third time. Okay, so I know it seems ridiculous, but I just wasn’t gelling with my second instructor. I was feeling stressed and angry after every lesson as I felt that I wasn’t really making any progress, and it struck me as strange that as a learner with over forty hours of driving experience under my belt, I was still driving around quiet side streets. Therefore, I switched for the third (and hopefully final) time. This time I think I’ve struck lucky, as after only three hours of tuition with my new instructor, he’s advised me to book my driving test, which I have! It turns out I’m not a terrible driver after all. We’ve been working on roundabouts, driving on country roads, hill starts and manoeuvres, so hopefully by the end of this year I’ll finally have my own car…. hopefully.

So there you go. That’s why I’m finally starting to feel a bit more at peace with everything. How are you finding your peace?

Any job is a ‘real’ job

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One thing I hate more than anything is when people don’t refer to jobs in the retail and hospitality sector as ‘real jobs’. As I’ve said in my last few posts, I’ve recently started working part time at a clothing store. Since I’ve started working there, I’ve had quite a few people telling me that it’s not a ‘proper’ job. Now I understand that when they say that, they’re not intentionally being offensive. Maybe it’s because it’s not full time, or because it’s not a job that I’ve attained through my degree. But in my opinion, it IS offensive. Some of the people I work with are in their forties, their fifties, and to them their job is their ‘real’ job. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

A lot of the people who’ve said that my job is not a ‘proper’ job are people my own age. What they don’t seem to remember is that for their parents’ generation, getting a degree was not the norm. A lot of their parents work at places such as a clothing store, and they don’t get told that they don’t have ‘real’ jobs. So why do I? Even now, not everybody goes to university. I know lots of people who’ve gone through apprenticeship schemes, or have gone into a practical vocation, and sometimes I envy them. They’re the people with their own money, they’re buying their own houses, and they own their own car. Meanwhile, yes I’ve been studying at university, but I don’t have any of those things.

I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that any job is a ‘proper’ job. When I do have my degree, I probably will still be working at somewhere like a clothing store. The job market today is fierce, and I’m just grateful to have any job at all. Although I know personally that this job is not something I want to do for the rest of my life, I’m grateful for the income that it’s bringing to me, and that it’s enhancing my knowledge of what it is like in the working world. So try to keep in mind that any job is a job. And I’d rather be working hard then being the type of student who has to rely on their parent’s money. But that’s just my opinion. What’s yours?

9 things making me happy right now

7969e4032d478ff28fbfe7f1101e4fc3This post’s pretty self explanatory, but seeing as I’m pretty happy with my life at the moment, I thought I’d share the reasons why with you. 

My family– Last year when I lived in Chester, I didn’t get to see my family as much as I liked. This was due to the fact that the only living space I had was a tiny little bedroom which wasn’t great for my family to be able to pop round for a brew! Now I live in Manchester, it’s only a half an hour drive from Wigan, and I have a lot more living space for people to get cosy in.

My friends- I’m really lucky to have two great groups of friends. I have my uni friends who I met last year and whom I’m still really close with, and I have my friends from home who I still see regularly. I know that I could pick up the phone anytime I had a problem and they’d be there for me, so if any of them are reading this, thanks for being fab!

My boyfriend– As well as great friends, I also have a lovely boyfriend, Rich, who puts up with me on a daily basis which is pretty brave to be honest with you, as I can be an absolute nightmare to live with! Instead of getting annoyed with my angry outbursts, he tends to laugh and be constantly laidback which works well against my fiery personality. So if he’s reading this (which he probably will) then thank you!

Warm weather– Here in Manchester, it’s being surprisingly warm recently. Normally it’s always grey and raining, but for the last few weekends we’ve been blessed with sunshine. This has meant lots of fun days out and a tonne of sunbathing on the gardens outside my flat. It’s also been lovely to take a wander down the canal in the evening.

Reading- I’ve got so much reading done recently, it’s been great! When I lived at uni last year, I pretty much stopped reading for the first time in my life. But since moving to Manchester, I’ve started reading at least two books a week. I’m particularly loving crime thrillers at the moment, I’ve recently finished all of Simon Kernick’s novels. Check them out if you’re into that sort of thing!

Cooking- If you’ve read any of my previous posts, then you’ll know that I never used to be able to cook, but recently I’ve started getting quite into it. I’ve been researching lots of new recipes and trying new ingredients out which has been loads of fun. I’m now the main chef in our house too, which kinda makes me feel like I’m stepping into adulthood!

Eating healthier- Since Christmas, I’ve managed to lose around eight pounds which I’m really happy with. I’ve done this by doing lots of walking and by making a few healthier food choices. I’m determined to keep going and get my bikini body ready for my holidays!

Sorting out the flat- Also since Christmas, me and Rich have been trying to make our flat feel more like home. We’ve bought lots of new bits and pieces and done a lot of sorting out through our wardrobes and cupboards to try and make a bit more space. I’m really pleased with the result!

Coffee- This may seem like a silly thing, but coffee is the one thing that I’m always drinking. I know it’s not too good for me, but I tend to drink two cups before I even leave the house in the morning. We’ve just bought a new coffee machine which makes excellent coffee and means I don’t have to spend as much in Caffee Nero as I have all the coffee that I want at home.

What’s making you happy recently?

 

 

The struggles of learning to drive

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Today I wanted to write about something that’s really getting me down at the moment- learning to drive. I’m 19, and I still can’t do it. A lot of you may be thinking that’s still quite young, and that there’s no need to rush, but the thing is, I’ve been learning to drive since last September and still seem to be getting nowhere with it.

Before I started to learn, I was so excited about it. I’d managed to save up enough money after working long shifts at fast food restaurants and retail stores, and  I was determined that I was going to pass as soon as possible. I signed up with a driving instructor, paid for a block of ten lessons, and thought yay, this is it. I’m going to be driving soon.

The problem was, driving was not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I struggled with everything. It took me about fifteen lessons before I even got on the main road, I struggled with gear changes, roundabouts, EVERYTHING. I lended up having about thirty lessons, which brought me up until the end of April, before I decided it was time to make a change. I felt like my old driving instructor had been ripping me off. He spent hours making me drive around the same loop, not teaching me any manoeuvres and upping the price of my lessons. After discussing it with my family and my boyfriend, I found a new instructor.

Things are going slightly better. The problem is, it’s like learning to drive again from scratch. And I’m still struggling. All I want is to have a car so I can hop in whenever I like and just nip somewhere instead of having to walk miles or having to use public transport.Living in Manchester, it’s really easy to use a tram, but it would be so lovely to be able to visit my family and friends who don’t live here whenever I like.

For now, I’m going to keep persevering. It has crossed my mind to try taking a five day intensive course, or just to give up and start to learn automatic, but I feel like all this effort and money would have been a waste otherwise. I guess one day I’ll eventually pass and look back and be grateful that I did carry on, but for now it’s hard to not get upset that I don’t seem to be making much progress.

Is anyone else going through anything similar/ has been through something similar?