Thursday, 16 August 2012

Networking to build your career

Your CV is ready – but how do you go about finding that ever elusive job!   Networking is a very important aspect to looking for a new job and getting to know the right people.

Networking is having conversation with people who you know can help you with information about other people they know in order to seek the following:

  • Advice,
  • Ideas,
  • Connections,
  • Information,
  • Support.

Remember that old saying “its not what you know its’ who you know” that sums up networking perfectly.

There are 5 simple steps that will help produce positive networking results for you.

  1. Build your network - Know who you can talk too that will get you places.
  2. Prepare your story – i.e always use the truth and never lie.
  3. Prepare and practice to build confidence in talking to theirs.
  4. Make calls – make appointments
  5. Develop a tracking system.

Has anyone any particularly good or bad experiences around networking? Leave them in comment section of this blog.


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Weight Watcher Wednesday - A new meal for you to try

I am not going to diary my thoughts today about my weight loss. I completed a post on Monday regarding the organisation for me around my weight loss.  So I am going to give you a meal that you can try out. 

I have made this myself and it is wonderful - please try and let me know how you get on. 

1 large thin pita bread (150 calories) 
1/4 cup pizza sauce 
1/4 cup mushroom 1
/4 cup green pepper 
10 small black olives 
1/2 cup kraft fat free mozzarella cheese (other brands don't taste as good and don't melt as KRAFT cheese does) 
2 teaspoons parmesan cheese 
1 pinch pizza seasoning or 1 pinch oregano
( change around the vegetables to suit what you would like to have - I have used peppers, mushrooms and onions. )
1 Spread pizza sauce on pita. 
2 Lay on the vegetables first so it is held together by the cheese. Top with both mozzarella and parmesan cheese and seasoning. 
3 Spray cooking spray lightly over cheese. 
4 Set oven on broil and place in oven for 2 minutes or until cheese looks mostly melted.
Let me know how you get on and any tweaks to this amazing meal.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Bagging a Bargain - be alittle thrifty.

I know that you are all like me and you want to find a bargain. But did you ever get the feeling that some people are better at getting bargains than you are.    If so, than read through the few little tips that I have picked up recently which will hopefully help you bag that bargain.

Follow your favourite stores on twitter

These stores may tweet discounts codes or give you an insight as to when the sale may start either online or in store.  

Compare prices

Compare the prices of your most used products whether it is in store or online.   I especially do this when it comes to make up.  I  can save up to 5euro a pop on my regular make up product by comparing the prices in the store and online.

Seek out discounts special

Remember if you are a student you can get student discounts.  It doesn’t matter if you are a mature student – these discounts will still apply.  Teachers get discounts also and some companies can sign up for group schemes where discounts apply.   So get up and talk to your boss – you never know what discounts that you can get.

Know what you are looking for.

Just because something is discounted doesn’t mean that it is going to be a bargain.  You have to ask yourself some questions:

  • Does it fit ? i.e do you have spend more money on getting the item altered?
  • Do you have accessories to go with it?  Do you need to spend more money buying some more items to go with it?
  • Do you have shoes to go with it? Do you need to buy shoes to go with the dress or outfit that you are thinking of buying.
  • Do you already have something like this in your wardrobe.  Knowing what you already have in the wardrobe is half the battle.

If you any of the answers from the above cause you to spend more money than really it is not a  bargain is it.

Shop off season 

Some people may shudder when I say this.  But if you are looking for those classic items that will never go out of fashion i.e. good denims, plain t-shirt and winter coats – than shopping off season will work best for you. 

What tips do you have for a bagging a bargain?  Leave a comment below and let us all know. 


Monday, 13 August 2012

Organising My Weight Loss

You will remember last week I spoke about how I am struggling with my weight loss.  In fact right now I am going back to day one and starting all over again.  Not weight wise – weight wise I am still below goal (I hope!) but I know that I have gone above my own personal weight goal.  So I have decided to go right back and complete a cleansing and a reminder post of how I can get back on track.   I thought this might be useful for some of you out there also. 

Weight loss and organisation go hand in hand!

When you start any weight loss programme the first thing that you need to do is arm yourself with all the information that you require.  

Things you need are:

Your actual weight,
Pro points / tracking,
Renewed inspiration material,
Menu plans,
Exercise plan,

Your actual weight
This is one thing at this moment in time I do not know the answer too because I was too scared to go to my weight watchers meeting and get on the scales.  Yes I am a chicken!  There I said it!  Ok so as far as I know from my last weight watcher meeting I was 9 stone 10 pounds. I am hoping that I haven’t gone above it.  However in recent weeks I am eating – when I say eating it is more picking at food! I am annoyed at myself – in fact I am furious with myself.  Even when I am taking something out of the cupboard and actually eating it - I am beating myself up. Hence this getting back on track phase I am in right now.  So I need to know my actual weight – that will wait until my weight watchers meeting on Thursday – and if you don’t hear from me on twitter Thursday morning – give me a big shout out and telling off.

I weigh myself on my own weight watchers scales earlier in the week however I got conflicting results so I am wary on using it as an actual – first I was 9 stone 11 and then I was 9 stone 9 a few hours later.  So the actual weigh in is the one that counts for me.

Pro Points / Tracking
Knowing pro points in food that you regularly eat is half the battle – the other is having a pro points
(or points plus) calculator to hand.  How you want to record these points is entirely up to you but I use an app on my phone for both points and tracking.   I am in Ireland so weight watchers doesn’t have an Ireland app – so this works for me.
The Iwatchr app for the iphone is amazing.  You can calculate your points for both Europe and the US on it – there and then so you don’t need to bring the book with you.
You can also store in points of frequently used items so that you can reference them quickly and then add on to a daily log. Yes there is a daily log and you can also calculate the points that you have from exercise.
The phone app is great – as you can take it out in the supermarket and check the pro points of a product.  It is brilliant! When I first downloaded the app the next thing I did was go through the weight watchers book and added in the points of my frequently used foods.
Tracking is the best way to discover what you are eating and how many points you are taking each day.  So from today the point tracking starts –  I can no longer avoid it – it has to be done!  

Renewed inspiration material,
 I have spoken previously about my photograph that I use as inspiration – that needs to take front and centre in my mind.  My BFF also sent me a photo recently that really is worse than what I actually thought was my worst.  So I am off to print that now as inspiration and I am going to stick it on the inside of the biscuit cupboard also so that there is no avoiding it!  Never go back.
I also have some lovely pins over on Pinterest – why not follow me.  Take a look at them and take some that will help you get through as inspiration.

Menu plans
As I said at the start of this post – weight loss and organisation go hand in hand that is why planning your meals is very important.
Sit down at the start of the week or even the start of the day if you don’t have that much time and plan what you are going to eat for your dinner each week/day. I use dinner as my main - because for me that is the most pointful meal of the day.  From there I back track on my points for the day and divide out.
It is hard to plan out meals but if you can take some time today or this week do so – look at meals that you can have and look at the points.  Taking this little bit of time will mean the most to you in the long run!
Over the coming weeks I will add some of my favourite meals up here pointed out so that you can try them as well.

Exercise plan
Exercise is important – and it cannot be ignored when it comes to losing weight. I am still walking which is my exercise of choice.  But unfortunately my food choices are sabotaging my efforts with walking.  So hopefully getting back on track with my food will help me see a loss on the scales.  Remember that everyone can find time to fit exercise in to their day  - all it takes is twenty minutes a day –  remember this can even be fitted in to your lunch hour!  It really is that simple!

I promise that I will keep everyone updated on my weight loss over on twitter – please follow me to keep up to date and I will post another update here soon.  Hopefully all good news.

Do you have any tips or words of hope for me during this struggle with my weight loss!  Please leave them in the comment section on the blog or on twitter.

Stay strong

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Beauty Flash Balm Review

This is a must have in your beauty case! Ok so it is not on the cheap and cheerful front which I normally love but it is an amazing product that does three jobs.

It is a makeup primer, face mask and a skin glower ( will explain this one ) 

I use this for special occasions or when I want to give my skin that little perk up when it is looking grey and dull. 

Make up primer

Put on your normal moisturiser and give it time to settle in to your skin as always.    Next – take a little ... yes a little beauty flash balm – rub it between your hands so that it warms alittle and then rub on to your face.  I normally add this to certain spots rather than all over.  My little danger zones as I call them are under my eyes and the side of my nose.  I then put my make up on straight over it.    It gives my skin a wonderful glow and sheen and makes it look wonderful and dewy.  I find using it makes my make up stay fresh all day long.

Face Mask

Using this product as a face mask will make your skin feel wonderful, clean and fresh.  Take double what you would as a primer.     And rub this on to your clean skin.  Leave this on your skin for approximately five or ten minutes.  Like a normal face mask, you will feel it tighten and dry on to your skin.  After your time is up – wash it off.  Ensure that you take all traces off it from your face.  You will notice a wonderful sheen and cleanliness to your face.  It also helps clean out your pores of all the daily gunk as any other face mask would.  I would only recommend using this as a mask once a month at the most.

Skin Glower

Yes this is a new technical term that I have just created!  You know those days when you don’t wear any make up but your skin still looks dull and meh! Well take some beauty flash balm and place it in those areas that need alittle more attention and brightening up. For me I dab a little under my eyes and on my cheeks and voila I look healthier already.

Have you used beauty flash balm before? What do you think of it?  Any other tips and tricks for it or other products that I should try – leave a note in the comments as I would love to hear from you.


Friday, 10 August 2012

Style Icons - What makes and who is one?

Who is your style Icon? Whose fashion do you most admire and aspire to look like?
Magazines always talk about one person or another being a style icon and when I pondered this thought myself and I discovered that I don’t really have one particular person that I would call as a style icon.

What is a style icon for me? 

A style icon for me is someone who has poise, grace and this uncanny ability to look good and be in the exact right clothes for that exact occasion. 
For me at the moment that person is Princess Catherine.  This girl cannot put a single foot wrong in my books when it comes to fashion.  Just take a look at some of her styles that she has been wearing.

Even down to her attendance at the Olympic events she has nailed it each time. 

I think that she encompasses everything I believe a style Icon should be.

Being a style icon is also to do with confidence and how you wear something.   Many women believe it is to with the money that you spend on what you are wearing.  But it isn’t.  Being an icon is about how you wear something – no matter what the cost of it is.

Coco Chanel said it best – Fashion Fades – but style remains.

In terms of other celebrities I have not come across anyone who has the perfect style that fits like Princess Catherine.  However, out there in blogger land there are plenty of ladies who have the style that fits every occasion and looks fantastic.   These girls mix and play with style that suits their body and mixes in the trends that are out there in the fashion world.    These are ladies that I draw inspiration from -  they have taught me how to dress for my body and more importantly not to worry or focus too much on what is in trend right now. Take a look at some of these styles and fantastic ladies.

Check out their blogs for more fantastic style.   Who is your style Icon and what fashion blogs do you recommend.  Leave a comment below.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Weight Watchers - I'm Struggling!

At any given stage with weight loss, people struggle and at the moment I am struggling. I am currently at home and not working which means I am constantly walking to the cupboard and taking either a biscuit or a bar a chocolate. Anything that has sugar in it. This is not good. 

It is boredom pure and simple. 

I am constantly thinking of ways to keep myself busy.  This blog being one of them. I am not sure if any one really reads this page – I know I am getting hits each day but if anyone is reading I ain’t too sure.   But this is taking my time up each day and keeping me busy so for me its all good and if anyone out there is listening, well thank you and please take some time to connect with me on twitter or email.

Outside of my blog I can tell you that I have the cleanest house in Ireland.  In fact if I take out the vacuum cleaner another time I may not have any carpet on the floor. 
I am still walking – my exercise of choice – but I am finding it hard to stay about from the biscuit cupboard.  It is soooo all in my mind.  Boredom and hunger are easily confused.

When in work, I noticed that I had my scheduled break times – I always knew when it was 1030am as my tummy told so from hunger.  I always knew when lunch time was approaching – again my tummy told me so.
But when you are at home – your brain has more time to think and is not distracted by my usual work load – so I think my body is taking my mental slow down as being near that break time it is so used to having.  Hence getting hungry.  Outside of the above I am not doing much. All my friends and family are working so I am spending most of the day on my own.  This in itself is quite depressing which is why I am trying to fill my day as much as possible. 

I was last at a weight watchers meeting three weeks ago – I was up on the scales and while I wasn’t thrilled at that I wasn’t depressed from it and I thought hey I can get that down.  It has now been three  weeks since I stood on the scale and I am terrified.  Absolutely terrified. Actually beyond terrified. It is scary to be scared of a scales and in all fairness I know from my three years in weight watchers a scales is not that terrifying.  

We must accept what the scales said whether it is up or down – and we must treat each day as a new day and each weigh in as a new start.  So tomorrow is weigh in day and I am terrified. But stay in touch with me and we will see how we will overcome whatever the scales may say tomorrow.  I will post updates on twitter.

They say that the best thing that you can do is to drink water.  I am not a big water drinker – worse so since I am out of work.   But I am trying – ok well I have just taken out one bottle of water – but it is a start right. Water is not only good for your complexion but it is also good to make you feel full and not eat as much.  So the water drinking starts today! No more avoidance.  I am going to deal with this little podgy belly and this small thing called a weighing scales head on – and you know what ... I am gonna beat it. 

Do you have any tips and tricks to help ease this bad streak that I am going through at the moment –connect me with me on twitter or via email.


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Reading and Money Saving. Yes, two go hand in hand.

Did you ever think that the two can be simultaneously linked? Well they are.   Are you a person who buys and reads at least 5 books a month?  Are you a person who spends money on books and then fail to read to them for months on end.

If you recognise yourself in any one of these descriptions than you need to join the library! The what!!! Never heard of it!  Yes, the library.   My local library is a fountain of books, cds, reference material – you name it and it is there.     And you can access it all for 15euro per year.   ( discounted or free in some cases depending on your circumstances)  You can take a book out for three weeks at a time – you can extend your “rental” on the book.   You can take our CD’s and DVDs for one week.  

With online access to the library you can extend the length of time you have a book or CD etc.  And what is wonderful about this whole system is that you can reserve a book, and they will email you when it is ready to be collected.  You can check what books are in stock – reserve it !  I love this system for when I read a review or see a recommendation online for a book – I go straight to the website for my library and add this book to my list  ( books I want to read in the future ) or request the book to be reserved.    Book worms don’t you just love it.

Ok enough gushing over my local library.  In terms of money saving it really is simple. Imagine it – you spend 10euro on each book that you have bought and read – per month that is 50euro but yet for 15 euro you have access to more books.   Money saving instantly.     In terms of my annual time in the library – I have saved myself an absolute fortune.   I am the person who buys a book and fails to read it - yuck needlessly spending money.   

Another good reason to join the library is trying new stuff – read a new author, a new style.  It is definitely more freeing.  But why not even pick up one of those books how to ... for dummies.  Learn something!

Other items available at some libraries are:
·         Audio books,
·         Language books,
·         Books in different languages,
·         Internet access so much more.

Recently, I took out “The Great Gatsby” It is a wonderful book and so different from my usual style of reading – chick lit and true romance.  I have also taken out books on fashion and make up and reference books for work on tips and ideas and how too.

But other than the above, there is a whole social aspect to your local library.   My library has regular talks from noted speakers whether it is from food to yoga or whatever.  Guess what its free!   There is also regular book clubs in the library so that you can join up and discuss their latest book. 

This is all for 15euro per year.  I think you can all see how this is money saving.   Check out your local library.

Are you already a member?  Any good books you can recommend. Even leave a link in the comment section to your local library.


Monday, 6 August 2012

My Finances - Where the hell do I start?

This is something that everyone wants to do – but sometimes just doesn’t get quite around to sorting it out.  Read this article and take some time this week and look at it. It really is easy and not as stressful as you might think.  Trust me all your need is a spreadsheet and some envelopes! Yes it is that simple..... read on for more information.

Finances are hard thing to look at.   Sometimes we are all going from week to week in the hope that we get by.  Others we are determined to save and then we dip in to the savings.  It is so hard to try and start anywhere to organise your finances.  Whether you have a debt that needs to be paid off or you are just saving for that rainy day or upcoming events.
Over the years of trying to save my money I have come up with some ways which have been of use to me.   I am going to share these with you and I hope that you will find them beneficial.

Reviewing your monthly / weekly spend
Look at your weekly / monthly wage.  Review your money, where is it going, is it being wasted away on unnecessary items or is it going to worthy causes i.e food.    Perhaps you can make a budget spreadsheet.  Don’t reinvent the wheel take a look at Microsoft Word templates or I can send you mine if you are interested in it.

If at the end of the above task you are still unsure where the hell your money is going – download an app for your phone which will allow you to track each purchase in to a category as you buy it.  Don’t cheat it – you are only cheating yourself.

Where is your money going ?
Once you have established where your money is going – you can determine how much needs to go where.   Remember there are only a few items which are a necessity to your everyday life and these are:

Rent / Mortgage,
Child related expenses ( kids clubs, schools etc)
Loans / repayments
Car expenses, i.e petrol,

Then you have annual expenses,

Health Insurance
Car service,
School Fees,

If you can think of anything else add it to the above list as appropriate.    Next – put each of the above in a column of a spreadsheet and then mark the relevant month/weekly out.  So your spreadsheet will look like this. ( I get paid monthly )


Rent / Mortgage,

Cable TV



Child related expenses

Loans / repayments


Car expenses, i.e petrol,

Total Required Per Month

Remaining each month

Ok so now you have broken down your expenses every month as the required expenses.  You may have more or your may have less – but notice you put your wages amount in the top row, list all your expenses, and minus from your wages total, you will get the amount you absolutely require each month.   Some expenses may vary and leave you with month left over. I will discuss that later.

You will notice under the required amount, there is a small section which shows the money that is surplus to your own requirements – immediately set up a bank account and arrange for that amount to be taken from your wages each month directly in to your savings account.
If you don’t have a savings account, set up one.  Take a look around at what has the best rates and how you can access this money – make sure it is an instant access unless you really want to see a return on your money.   With instant access to your cash, this means that if it is needed urgently you can access it no problem at all.  Take a look at your bank options, and other banks – look at credit unions and post office – what ever will work best for you is the one to go for but definitely research.

Paying bills
Dependent on how you pay your bills, it may online or a post office.   Get that money out straight away – pay your cable tv bill early so you don’t have to worry about it – same goes for gas and electric.  Why wait until the due date as you may end up forgetting about it and getting charged a late payment.  Keep an eye on these bills regularly as you may find that you have over paid and be able to leave a payment go for one month – whoo hoo extra money.
For others such as groceries and car expenses – take the money out of the bank and divide it in to envelopes with the title of what it is required for clearly marked.  So you will have envelope for car expenses with 150 in it, you will have an envelope for groceries.  Now, the important thing to remember is that once this money is gone.... it is gone.  You can’t rob money from one and put it in the other.    If at the end of the month you discover that hey I didn’t spend 150 on groceries this month – take that money out and do one of two things with it.

Put it straight in to your savings account, so you are building a nice little nest egg for those annual expenses or take some of it and buy a bottle of wine as a treat or put it towards a new top or dress that you have been looking at.

Annual Expenses
With your annual expenses, I would recommend sitting down now and discovering how much money you actually need to pay these expenses.  My health Insurance is over 1200euro annually so I have to budget to ensure that I have this money ready and available to me by August each year.  With this in mind, in my own monthly spreadsheet I have a column specifically for that – so I know each month how much goes in to this savings fund for that.  Any extra cash that I have left over at the end of each month goes in to my holiday savings account so that I have cash to spend when on holiday, or even enough to pay for my holiday.    I love my holidays each year so I have a column whereby I put a small amount away each month to pay for a  holiday.

People have different methods of what works for them – and the above really is only the basics that will get you started and thinking about budgeting and financial planning.

Financial budgeting and planning doesn’t need to be hard or stressful but you just need to start it and set your goals.  Set out what your monthly expenditure actually is – set out your annual expenses.

What works best for you with your budgeting and saving – leave a comment and share with other readers.