Why Smartphones Get My Goat


PhoneSmartphones are everywhere these days and I’d like to start off by saying that perhaps I have titled this post somewhat misleadingly as I don’t have a problem with smartphones per se, more with the people reviewing them.

For most of my life, mobile phones have been a hot topic of discussion, right from when changing the cover on your Nokia was the coolest thing ever until now when the ability to make your phone do things without even touching it seems to be the thing to have. But what exactly are we discussing? Back in the day it was all about making the phone look good and whether you flipped it open, swivelled it open or had Snake 2 on it…not exactly crucial things when making a phone call or sending a text message.

Then we became obsessed with cameras and colour screens, it was all about how many megapixels we had and whether there was a flash. Mainly the cameras were so rubbish we continued to use actual cameras though and again, not so key to the process of making and receiving phone calls!

Nowadays phones really are portable computers and there are so many acronyms banded around that a normal human being can’t possibly know what on earth they are buying so we still often circle back to our original criteria of how it looks. So what have the manufacturers done… made them all look the same and all come in the same 2 boring colours. It’s like they want to force us to look beyond the casing and into the chip inside, except most of us don’t know how.

Even when people explain what the phones can do, most of us still have no idea how to actually do it. Some features sound plain annoying; do I really want my YouTube video to pause if I look away from the screen? Hell no! I look away because I’m bored of watching and only want to listen, the last thing I want is for it to wait for my gnat-like attention span to circle back to it! Do I want a pedometer or a sleep monitor or a screen that is so good it’s beyond what my eyes can see? No I bloody don’t! If I wanted those things then I’d shop for them in the form of a pedometer or a sleep monitor or a TV!!!

What I want is a phone that works and is easy to use and shows me what I want, when I want it, how I want it and makes my life easy. A phone that recognises that I use the word “awesome” all the time so it throws it up on the screen when I start typing “aw”. Yeah, some showy –offy gadgets are cool, like being able to fix my photos so my eyes are open instead of blinking in every shot but mainly, I just want something that I understand and that understands me.

You might think I’m mad but BB10, I’m looking at you kid! The Z10 is a good-looking phone and if you do understand all the acronyms and browsing speeds, etc. you’ll know that it outperforms many of its rivals (yes I mean the iPhone) in lots of ways. If however, you’re like me and just want a phone that’s easy to use and works then it’s ideal. It hides all the techy jargon and just makes life simple – everything you need in one place, with a swipe of the thumb. Perfect for lazy old me with the zero attention span! Oh, and I can have my blog as an app on my BB. And I can message, voice chat or video chat with my friends around the world for FREE. These are the things I want to know about when buying a phone!

In case you think this is written with bias, I will ‘fess up that I did work for BB briefly, not even for a year and I was in HR, nothing product related. Does that make me automatically love their products? No. Did they give me my first BB, a Bold 9900 on my first day which was the best phone I’d ever had, yes. So I love the Z10 because it’s a great phone, not because I used to work for them. I am in no way affiliated with the company, my previous role there just opened my eyes to a brand I’d never considered before.

Let me know what you think about the phones out there at the moment; I’m due an upgrade and I want to get it right! x

Things I Know: Work

“Work: (noun) Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result”


Somehow my post about relationships came more easily than my post about work, maybe because I’ve spent more days in relationships than I have at work or maybe because although I know some things about work, I don’t have it entirely sussed yet. Either way, I’ve had to do something which I almost never do… I’ve redrafted this post. Actually taken it back to the drawing board and changed the content type redrafted, not just tweaked the odd typo!

Work is a bizarre thing that seems to be sort of thrust upon us when we reach a certain age. Technically school is a form of work for children but it never really seems like that at the time, at least it didn’t for me because I preferred school to home and was always quite an able student. Work first appeared in my life when I was a teenager and my parents made it very clear that if I wanted more than £20 a month to spend on fun things, I’d have to earn it. Luckily, I was able to work for my parents before I was 16 to boost this meagre income and then secured myself a brilliant part time job with lots of fun people when I was legally old enough to have a “proper” job.

That introduction to work was great in that it allayed my fears about what it would be like to work in the big wide world but bad in that it didn’t prepare me for the fact that not everywhere would be that fun. Over the years I’ve had a multitude of jobs, a few include: retail assistant, party rep, data entry monkey, direct credit card sales rep, training administrator and sales operations lead. Some of these have been fun, most have been insanely, mind-numbingly boring.

Am I successful? Well that depends who you are and how you define success; from the outside I’m doing perfectly fine for someone my age, especially someone who’s jumped around so much and had 2 redundancies in their first 5 years of full time work. (I technically fled before 1 of the redundancies but I knew it was coming so it still counts!) So if you count success as being employed throughout the recession and earning more than the national average then yes, I am successful. If you count success as enjoying your work and gaining some sort of satisfaction from it then no, I’ve not quite made it there yet but I’m working on it.

One thing I have learned about work is that you do have to do as the definition says and put in effort otherwise you just won’t reap the rewards and that’s fine because I like a job that requires me to work hard. However, what I have also learned is that the effort is pointless if nobody notices. If your boss doesn’t like you or tries to claim your effort as theirs, look wider and shout louder until somebody else sees your effort. It took me far too long to realise this but it really does only take 1 person in the right place to sing your praises and suddenly doors start flying open left, right and centre.

Another thing I have learned is that being miserable at work isn’t worth it, if you genuinely hate your job, change it. If you know you won’t like working in an office or outside in the rain, stay away. I’ve made these mistakes so badly and for so long I’ve actually suffered depression because I hated my work so much and I’ve spent thousands of pounds I didn’t have because I thought my life would be better if I had more stuff. Not true! Now I am working in a sales role purely to pay off some of that debt… I still don’t like offices and I still don’t like technology, but I’ve finally found a dirt track to lead me to the shiny road that will take me out of this environment and into one I should have started off in several years ago.

Work is a huge part of your life so follow your passion, even if it means less money. You will make the money in the end because you’ll be prepared to put the effort in to be the best at what you do. Most of us in the western world are lucky enough to have choices so don’t waste yours picking something “just because”, choose something because you have a genuine reason for doing so and you’ll live with your choice much more easily.

Now I wholly stand by the points I’ve made above but the biggest point I am going to make here is that confidence is the key to a successful working life in my opinion. I’m not talking about being an arrogant whatsit who stomps around the office making enemies, I’m talking about the self-assured comfort that allows you to do what works best for you. Confidence will help you to stand up and make sure your hard work is noticed and that it pays off; confidence will give you the courage to take the lesser trodden path because you believe it’s right for you and confidence will help you move on from your mistakes and make positive changes to affect your future.

And that’s my advice about work; it’s very much in progress as I keep shuffling toward what I consider success to be but nonetheless, I have already learned some things and I wanted to share them. Don’t just do the job you think you should do, aim for the one you really want and the challenges along the way will become minor hurdles for you to leap over 🙂

Next stop on the Things I Know journey will be “Bodies”! x

Did anyone tell us where the jobs were?

This morning I came across an article in the FT which said that teenagers in the UK are aspiring to the wrong jobs. Apparently too many teenagers are aiming for glamorous jobs and too few are aiming for the drudgery of admin and care work. Well… what a shock!!!

Really??? Who decided we needed an article to tell us this? Of course too many teenagers are aspiring to have the “fun” jobs, I’m pretty sure this has always been the way and will continue to be so regardless of how many careers advisors we force them to sit in front of. Who even needs careers advisors? As I remember it, one of my so called ideal matches for a job came out as a florist. A friggin’ florist… I don’t even buy flowers for special occasions, never mind wanting to fondle the blasted things all day, every day!

Apologies for that little tangent I just went off on but realistically, will it make much difference if the careers advice is that young people should look at bog standard jobs and not get too excited about the future? I think not. For many generations, we have managed perfectly well living in our dream worlds as teenagers and then waking up when we realise the only job we can get is night-time secretary or some other such dream-shattering, life-sucking leech of a job. But then we work harder to change it and find something we like just a little bit more. This works!

If careers advice really must increase for these youngsters, stop beating around the bush and asking them what they like and what they are good at and start telling them which roles pay the most, which have flexible working, which allow you to wear jeans in the office, etc. They probably won’t listen but I’d wager the odds are higher than if you try and persuade them that their love of computer games means they’d be amazing at data entry. And that’s what I have to say about that!

Phew! Feeling much better for that rant!!! x


Is it possible to make dreams come true when you aren’t even sure what they are?

I don’t know about you but one thing I find myself doing for pretty much 23 out of every 24 hours per day is daydreaming; I’ve always done this. As a child I vividly remember standing in the playground at school wondering what my life would be like if I had this or had that, did this or did that. It’s just a thing I’ve always done.

What happens when I stop daydreaming? Honestly…90% of the time I’m not daydreaming I’m miserable as sin, only occasionally am I happy to live in the here and now without part of me wishing I was living in someone else’s here and now. But why is this and is this even normal? Seriously, does everyone else feel the same or am I just some weird dreamy freak who can’t quite relax enough to enjoy reality for fear of missing something better? (Answers on a postcard please.)

Anyway, the fact that I daydream my life away isn’t really the point of this post; the real focal point here is around making those dreams come true. If I made some of my dreams come true, would I spend less time daydreaming and more time just living or would my dreams simply change? Does it even matter? If it does though, how does one make dreams come true when they have so many dreams that they aren’t sure which the real ones are. By real ones, I mean the ones that are worthwhile bringing to fruition rather than the silly ones like dreaming about having an endless supply of Kellogg’s Frosties and ice cold semi-skimmed milk on tap…though I wouldn’t complain if that one came true!

So, this is a call out to anybody and everybody who reads this; what is your take on this? How much time do you spend daydreaming? Does it help if you make dreams a reality or do the dreams just change? I’m curious and I want to know if I’m doing something wrong or if I’m just like the rest of you, only I actually put it out there for the world to see and hear. Help me out guys, my dreams don’t have an answer for this one! x

Things I Know: Relationships

HeartsSat in the office on a dull, grey Wednesday musing about the life I could have had if I had taken any number of different paths, I decided to change tack and start thinking about the life I actually have had. Now I’m only 27 so I’m not exactly a wise old lady but at the same time, recently I have realised that a lot of things have started slotting into place and I’m finally learning some lessons and working out how I can turn my life into something I am proud of rather than just a series of events that somehow happen to me. So I thought why not share what I think I have learned with the rest of the world and maybe receive some “constructive criticism” to shape my views even further and really cement my thinking. For part one of “Things I Know”, I thought I’d start with relationships as they are something I have been thinking about a lot in the last few months.

Obviously relationships extend beyond just romantic encounters but I tend to find that it’s the romantic relationships that cause me the most trouble. Luckily I am blessed with a wonderful family so I always know that we will overcome any blips that appear in that camp and my friends are equally fabulous too. To put my chatter about relationships into context, I should start by saying that I have pretty much been a serial monogamist… when I say monogamist, I mean I have mainly jumped from one relationship to the next; take the word “monogamist” with a MASSIVE pinch of salt!

It all started when I was 14 and I dated a guy who was 18, at that point we definitely wanted different things so we split up and got back together a year later when I was 15 and he was 19. Still to this day I don’t know why I agreed to be his girlfriend. I thought he was a nice guy but I had no desire to be someone’s other half; some people blame it on what was at that time the recent passing of my mother but personally I think I just figured I may as well tag along for the ride because, well, he was cooler than I was. Three and a half years of on-again, off-again passed with a few infidelities (on both sides) along the way and much character abuse because we simply weren’t well matched; finally I found the balls to call it off once I realised a super hot guy I was working with also thought I was hot. Done! I vowed to be single and love it; that lasted about a month and then a messy situation turned up where I went to the Christmas party with one boyfriend and left with another and then suddenly I was in ANOTHER relationship. 18 months later I left him for a new guy I had just started seeing.

The new guy was great at first, though when I say “at first”, I really mean he was great from a distance and even from date number 1 I knew things weren’t right and that I found him immensely annoying. So I did the right thing, I dated him for over 3 years just to be sure that my concerns were real and we definitely didn’t have a future together. Oops! During that time there was more cheating, though this time on my side only.  At this point I had cheated on every guy I’d dated, mainly to prove to myself that I wasn’t stuck with them forever, that I could have other men if I wanted them. I still don’t fully understand why I didn’t just leave them, I think it was a fear that I’d have no friends even though I clearly did and most of them prefer the single version of me anyway.

Finally, when that relationship ended I really was single and happy to be single, determined to remain so even. Then I drunkenly slept with a good friend and he made it very clear that I had to choose between just being friends, now with a damaged friendship or a relationship. Given how well we got on as friends, I eventually opted for the relationship figuring it was better to try and fail than to give up before you’ve even started. That was my ex; he broke the pattern of cheating because I respected him and liked him as a person but he still fitted the mould in that I knew from the off we wouldn’t be forever. Regardless, I put my heart and soul into that relationship and was gutted when we split but a secret part of me was relieved that I could stop wondering “what if this really is my future?”.

Now I have rambled on for ages filling you in on the history and you’re probably wondering what 12 years of making the same mistakes over and over has actually taught me. Here it is: “If you know it’s not right, follow your instinct and get out sooner rather than later”. I firmly believe we all need some failed relationships to truly understand what we do and don’t want from a partner but once you know somebody isn’t the one, move on. It eats away at you wondering why they don’t understand you, why you argue so much and why you can’t seem to get through to them. You don’t need that; go ahead and be single instead, it’s far more fun and you get to spend your time doing things you like with people you like!

I appreciate that sounds simple, basic and obvious but how many of us really realise this? We labour at things thinking that if we love someone there must be a way but sometimes we need to admit defeat and realise that liking or loving someone doesn’t mean being with them is right. I wish I’d had the balls to end every single one of those past relationships sooner, at the point when I realised my gut instinct was right instead of being afraid of throwing something away that I’d later regret. Now I say follow your gut, every single step of the way, it knows you well and it’s telling you exactly what you need to hear; you won’t regret it no matter how hard it seems at the time.

Oh, and for the record if you are like me, not every beginning to a relationship will feel wrong and come with a ticking time bomb, I’ve recently met someone amazing and for the first time ever I don’t have that nagging feeling of knowing what our downfall will be so who knows what the future holds!?! x

Friday Lust

By the time you are reading this, & Other Stories, the latest installment from the company behind H&M will actually be open, how very exciting!!!

Having subscribed to their pre-shopping, I would describe the collection as COS with a quirky edge. Everything looks very well made and of beautiful quality and it comes with some extra artistic flair, almost what you’d get if you crossed H&M and COS. One item grabbed my eye so much that it just had to be my Friday Lust, here it is:

Leather Shoulder Bag in Mint, £95

Leather Shoulder Bag in Mint, £95

Just look at the detailing on that! Mint green is one of my favourite summer shades anyway, (currently rocking it on my finger nails) but this bag just takes it up a notch for me. I LOVE that gold stud detailing. I’ve been struggling to find good bags in the region of £100 recently so this may just be my saviour…now to find the £100 I’ve already spent!!!

Check out http://www.stories.com for the rest of the collection and let me know what you think 🙂 x

Review: Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel

Since October last year, my skin has been out of control following a break up and then a holiday and all the associated suncream and alcohol. I’ve had just millions of those little bumps under my skin all around my chin and cheeks and being me, I’ve picked at them to try and make them go away and ended up with actual spots… attractive!

After years of hearing people rave about Dermalogica products, I finally decided to get on board and give something a try following a visit to a pharmacist when I reacted badly to doctor-prescribed cream for my skin. She said that I’d be much better off trying Dermalogica and that the prescription creams are really only for severe acne, not the few lumps and bumps that I had! The product I decided to try was the Overnight Clearing Gel, it’s got great reviews online and now I’ve been using it for a month, I’m ready to review it myself.

DermalogicaAs with all Dermalogica products, it’s a bit pricey; prices vary between £25 and £40 ish depending on where you buy it but I’d definitely say it’s worth it. It’s quite gel like and goes on really easily, you hardly need to use any product for each application. I normally have quite dry skin and it’s been managing to handle the moisture needs I have just fine too so no need to use any additional products at the same time.

The reviews I read said it would probably cause a few breakouts before the skin cleared and I’d say this is true. I haven’t had anything truly terrible but I have had some extra blemishes appear in the last month. Now however, my skin is smoother, softer and clearer than it has been since last summer. It’s fab! I’ll keep going with this product and see if it gets any better but even if not, I’m really happy with where I have got to and I’m planning to gradually overhaul the rest of my skincare regime to swap to Dermalogica as other products run out.

So there you have it, before you go putting harsh prescription creams on your skin, give this a try, it really is a lovely product which does what it says it will do 🙂 If anyone can recommend any other Dermalogica products that they’ve particularly loved, I’d be glad to hear about it! x


Review: L’Oreal Super Liner Blackbuster

Yesterday I had a little time to kill in town so I popped into Boots to have a mooch and see what new toys I could find. Naturally the 3 for 2 offer on L’Oreal cosmetics caught my eye and I ended up coming out with 3 lovely new products to try. As far as relatively budget beauty goes, L’Oreal and Maybelline tend to be favourites of mine so I was expecting some good things.

The first of the products I have tried out is their Super Liner Blackbuster. This is essentially a black felt-tip pen type eyeliner which massively appealed because I seem to be completely and utterly inept at applying all other forms of eyeliner evenly.

L'Oreal Super Liner Blackbuster, £6.99

L’Oreal Super Liner Blackbuster, £6.99

As you can see, the tip is pretty chunky which led me to believe I could get a reasonably thick application in one go without too much hassle. Wrong! When you apply the product, it actually comes out in quite a thin line unless you try and use the side of the pen which then becomes a bit awkward. It also feels a bit like a felt-tip pen that is coming to the end of it’s life; not a lot of product comes out and it therefore has a tendency to drag the skin, meaning that you don’t get a smooth line as the skin is bunched up. This also means that you don’t get a strong black colour with one layer, you have to go over it a few times to get a really bold look which is a bit of a pain. Ignoring my eyebrow which needs urgent attention, here is a photo I took without mascara so you could see exactly what the liner is like:

EyeNot good, is it???

As for staying power…quite frankly, I don’t care. When the above photo has taken me 2 coats and still looks that bad, this is not the liner me. My usual liquid eyeliner works much better.

Having seen a review of the Cosmetics A La Carte version of this, I think I’ll save my pennies and give their liner a bash instead!

Anyone else tried any good eyeliners for those of us who are not artistically gifted??? x

Friday Lust

This week’s Friday Lust is literally as me as you can get, in fact it is something I have been dreaming of owning for a good 10 years now! Check this out:

Zara: Blazer £69.99, Trousers £35.99

Zara: Blazer £69.99, Trousers £35.99

I don’t know why but I have always wanted a fuchsia suit, ever since my 6th form prom when I was unable to get one and had to settle for a dress instead. For me it seems a bit much to spend over £100 on something that realistically I’ll only wear a very limited number of times but my justification is that actually you can totally wear the individual pieces with loads of other outfits too so really you could get tonnes of wear out of this little ensemble!

I’m going to put my order in right now… please do not judge me, hopefully you’ll agree that this is simply a must have for someone like me!

Happy post-pay-day Friday my little shopper friends! x