Liebster

I was very excited to be nominated for this by the lovely Hannah Leanne (find her blog here!)
I’m still a blogging newbie, and this sort of thing was a first for me, so thank you very much for including me!

The whole idea is to discover new blogs and spread the word about your favourite bloggers. Plus, you’ll get to learn a bit more about me in the process (you lucky things!)

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Thank the blogger for your nomination and include a link to their page.
  2. Answer the 11 questions that have been provided by the blogger that nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 of your own bloggers to take part.
  4. Ask them 11 of your own questions.

Here we go!

1. What is your most prized possession?

It’s so hard to choose, so I’ve listed a few:

  • A beautiful framed photo of my grandparents when they were young. They look like the stars of an old black and white movie, and I’ve loved that picture since I was a little girl. Now it sits proudly in my living room.
  • A heart necklace my grandmother made.
  • My engagement and wedding rings.
  • My laptop as it houses all of my photos.

I sort of cheated a bit there didn’t I?

2. Why did you start blogging?

I’ve always loved writing, and have blogged in various forms since I was a teenager, originally on Livejournal, followed by a brief but shameful foray into the emo world of Myspace blogs. Seriously, I’m truly embarrassed by the things I used to not only write, but publish for all the world to see. I have all the original blogs saved on an old hard drive, maybe one day I’ll dig back through the archives and do a little nostalgia post! Now though, blogging for me is less about dumping every ‘profound’ thought onto a page and hitting publish, and more about building my brand (pardon the slightly douchey turn of phrase!), and having my own little place on the internet. I want it to be fun, but I also want to talk about the things that are important to me, and hopefully meet interesting people along the way.

3. How long have you been blogging for?

I started Geek Magnifique in May 2015, but see above for a more detailed history of my blogging exploits!

4. What is your favourite film?

How can I even answer this? I’m obsessed with films, and I find it impossible to narrow it down to just one favourite. So you’re getting another list (sorry).

The Parent Trap (remake). Hands down my favourite movie as a kid, it still has a special place in my heart.

The Dark Knight. The day I told my husband this was in my top-five films of all time was probably the day he decided he was going to marry me. Not even joking. Christopher Nolan can basically do no wrong in my book, but this is, IMO, his best film. Visually it’s incredible, the sound design and Hans Zimmer’s score are perfect (something which can be said of all Nolan’s films), and while the acting all-round is amazing, Heath Ledger was nothing short of spectacular as the Joker. I could write an entire essay on this movie, but I won’t. I can practically hear your sigh of relief. 10/10 and all the gold stars for this one.

The Social Network. Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield. David Fincher. Aaron Sorkin’s razor-sharp screenplay. Jesse Eisenberg (so good in this movie he gets a second mention). Whether or not the film is entirely factually accurate, it adds real human drama and depth to arguably one of the most incredible success stories of our generation. Captivating, entertaining, and set to a fantastic soundtrack by Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. I obviously had to include a Star Trek film, and this one has always been my favourite.

– I had to include a girly film in this list, and it’s a real toss-up between Notting Hill, 13 Going On 30, and Morning Glory (an unfortunately named and sadly underrated Rachel McAdams film – definitely worth a watch!)

Once again I cheated terribly at this question, I apologise.

5. How old are you?

28, aka a reluctant member of the ‘late-twenties’ club. Genuinely had a little cry in Costa on my birthday. So that’s where I’m at with this adulting malarkey.

6. What is your most treasured memory?

My wedding day.

7. Is there something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?

Writing a book and visiting Scandinavia.

8. What was your last purchase?

Disclaimer by Renée Knight. I haven’t started reading it yet, but it has an intriguing premise.

9. Do you have any pets?

Sadly no, but I desperately want a kitten.

10. What is your favourite type of blog to read?

Lifestyle.

11. What is your favourite season?

SUMMER!

So now I have to pick my own questions…

  1. Which country would you most like to visit and why?
  2. What has been the biggest challenge for your blog so far?
  3. What are your blogging goals for 2016?
  4. If you could keep any animal as a pet, which would you choose?
  5. What is your favourite TV show?
  6. What is your dream job?
  7. Would you rather be covered in hair all over, or feathers?
  8. What’s the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?
  9. What’s your worst writing habit? (eg. overusing exclamation marks -guilty!)
  10. If you could speak another language fluently which would it be and why?
  11. If you could be exceptional at one other thing, what would be it?

I nominate:

Dollface Blogs
Being Heather
Ella Renee
Little Thoughts
The Creative Geek
Almost Chic
Emily’s Recipes and Reviews
Issy Belle Fox
Christopher George
Cate in the Kitchen
Jess and Josh Cook

I’m aware that the title of this post may cause controversy, so first off the bat I’d like to say that overall I really enjoyed this film. It was funny, outrageous, and had a great empowering, female message. Well, kind of.

Which brings me to my first gripe:

Not all women want children. And that’s OK.

So we have Meg. A successful doctor, who delivers babies for a living, but has no desire to have any of her own. YES! Finally, I thought to myself: a strong independent woman who has made the decision not to have children, and isn’t demonised for it. What a great opportunity for the writers to sensitively present this as a perfectly acceptable life choice. How refreshing to see a…oh hold on. She’s been left alone with a cute baby. She’s a woman, so obviously in about 3 seconds her womb will have taken hold of her faculties, and she’ll catch baby fever. That’s how these things work. Biology and all that.

‘You’re not going to win me over,’ she tells the baby. Baby and I both look at her sceptically.

Hollywood likes to perpetuate the outdated myth that women without children are somehow incomplete or shall live to be filled with regret. A sentiment Meg echoes when she tells her sister to make sure she doesn’t miss out on the ‘important things’ in life. Because having a great career, friends, financial stability and health are so unimportant, obviously. Without going on a feminist rant, I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out the double standard: career men are perfectly acceptable whereas career women are portrayed as shallow/selfish/unfulfilled etc.

eye roll

The only film I’ve seen that addressed this issue nicely was Sex and the City 2. When Carrie and Big announce they aren’t having children because it’s not for them, the general reaction is ‘fair enough.’ There’s only one couple that look at Carrie like she’s taken a shit on the floor, but they aren’t really given the time of day.

So anyway, 20 minutes on and Meg has found her dream sperm donor. 30 seconds later, she’s pregnant.
She ends up happy and settled with perfect Ken (Plop from The Office!), who promises to be a stay-at-home dad. Which is all very lovely, but I was just disappointed that the film wasted an opportunity to tell a different story of womanhood than the one we always see.

Main character with the charisma of a wet flannel

Now granted, the only other thing I’ve seen Dakota Johnson in is 50 Shades, and given that that was an insipid waste of 125 minutes, I thought it only fair to give her a second chance.

Enter Alice, every cliché of a 21 year old trying to ‘find herself.’ She boozes her way through her first week at her new job (and miraculously doesn’t get fired), bumbles her way through EVERY single interaction with the opposite sex, and needs a man’s help to reset her router. I mean…you just…I can’t even.

What

Later, her ex helps her get rid of the Spanish subtitles on her TV. ‘You’re so handy,’ she whispers breathlessly, setting women back 50 years.

I just didn’t like her. Instead of being relatable, her floundering her way through every scene was cringe-worthy, and made her character feel very two-dimensional. Someone please do Dakota a solid and write her an interesting character! Or at least one that can locate the power button on a router.

When she finally does get her life together, instead of feeling like you’ve seen her character grow and develop, you just want to roll your eyes at her. I just about resisted the slow hand clap during her moment of revelation because you know, public places and all that.

To her credit though, she does invent a machine that does your zip up for you. Sign me up for one of those bad boys.

“I’m not a surgeon”

OK, this one isn’t really an actual gripe (in fact, it was quite a funny part of the movie), but when one of the characters cites the above as his reason for NEVER washing his hands, every fibre of my being shuddered. Just. So. Horrifying.

gag

And now for the good parts

Like I said, I actually really did enjoy this movie. I just didn’t love it like I thought I would.
There are some truly laugh-out-loud moments, mostly courtesy of Rebel Wilson, who apparently hogged all the personality, charisma, and good-writing for herself. Selfish cow.

It’s definitely worth a watch with your girlfriends. And later, after a couple of glasses of wine you’ll all be declaring your love for each other while casually trying to cover up the fact you’re welling up. Because above all this film’s message is all about not letting life pass you by, and cherishing what really matters: your girlfriends that will be there for you no matter what.

leslie

In preparation for the midseason premiere next week, I thought I’d post this so we can all gird our loins for what’s about to come!

  1. Before it starts: Pour yourself a drink (alcohol optional, but advised); get comfy. Have chocolate ready (in case you need to eat your feelings)
  2. During the intro: Think to yourself, ‘Surely this won’t be as crazy as last week’
  3. Five minutes in: Laugh at your own naivety
  4. Yell the following at your TV: ‘No, don’t do it!’/‘How?’/‘Why?!’/Incoherent shouting/swearing (repeat as necessary)
    rant
  5. Take deep breaths
    breathe
  6. Wonder if you could pull off Annalise’s flawless smoky eye look. Decide with great sadness that your efforts would probably leave you looking less ‘fierce’, more ‘punched in the face’
  7. Hug your partner/friend/cushion/the cat
  8. This:
    scared
  9. Cry. Eat ALL the food
    eating
  10. Roll your eyes at Asher, but secretly find him strangely endearing. Amusement turns to panic as you begin to wonder if you’re the Doucheface of your friendship group
  11. Approx. halfway through: Replenish your drink. If you weren’t already drinking alcohol, start now
    drinking
  12. Think sexually confused thoughts about Frank
    fat amy
  13. Last ten minutes: Phew, you’re almost there. You can do this. Give yourself a pat on the back, then hug your cushion harder
  14. Last five minutes: Breathe into a paper bag, fear for your blood-pressure/general health. What have you done to deserve this?
    flop
  15. No but seriously though? You’re good people- why is this happening?!?!
  16. End credits: Let out the breath you’ve been holding for the last minute
  17. Afterwards: Sit alone in a dark room, question everything. Promise your poor, fragile heart you’ll never watch this show again
    second to last
  18. Next week: Repeat the above

 

Jobs

The path I took to get to where I am now wasn’t a particularly straightforward one.

It’s hard to know what to do with your life when you finish school/university, and it’s easy to feel lost.  I’m pretty sure I made every mistake possible along the way, but I don’t regret anything.  Now I’m doing a job I love, am self-employed, and I’ve never looked back.  But it took me a long time to get here, and I feel like I had very little guidance when making those big decisions.

So here are a few things I wish someone had said to me:

Do you need to go to university?

Using my own experience here, I know a lot of people are drawn to events management degrees.  Now I’m not going to say that they’re not useful, but to get into managing events within hotels, I found that employers were impressed by my experience, not my qualifications.  I started working in Conference and Banqueting, which is basically the team that sets up the big events, and does all the on-the-day running of the functions.

Chances are you’ll only get a casual contract (I worked weekends while also working a 9-5 job at first – hard, but worth it), and the shifts are long, physical and unsociable, but I can honestly say it was the best grounding for my events career.  It gave me hands-on, practical experience and a realistic understanding of how events are run.  So all I can say is have a really good think about what you want to do, then find out exactly what employers are looking for.  With university fees on the rise, more and more people are looking at alternative routes into the careers they want.

Work experience.  Work experience.  Work experience.

I cannot stress this enough.  Experience is so valuable.  If you do decide to go to uni, find out whether work experience is organised as part of the course, and if the university has strong industry links – this would definitely be a plus.    If not, try to organise a week or two over the summer.  Yes, it’s probably the last thing you’ll want to do once you’ve finished all your exams, but trust me, it’ll be worth it.  Be proactive, and push yourself.    Try new things.  Put yourself out there, and talk to people who are doing the jobs you want to be doing.  Find out what they did and do the same.

The same applies if you’re still at school.  If your teachers are organising work experience for you, make the most of it!  Aim high, now is not the time to stay in your comfort zone.  When I did my work experience at 16 I commuted to London every day and worked for an online magazine.  It was scary, exciting, and I’m so glad I did it.

When you’re doing your work experience, ask questions.  Find out the real ins-and-outs of the job, the good and the bad.

Be realistic about your career expectations

When you’re choosing a career have a good long think about what you want out of life, what sacrifices you’re willing to make for work, and some definite no-nos.

For example, are you willing to relocate for work?  Your location will be a big factor in the jobs that are available to you.

What are your salary expectations?  Do you want a six figure salary with a sixty hour working week?  Or do you cherish your free time more than money?

Work out what’s important to you, what you’re good at, and where you want to be in ten years, and try to find a job that best fits that.  Easier said than done, I know, but www.prospects.ac.uk is a great place to start if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed.  They have useful profiles for a huge range of careers, along with average salaries and necessary qualifications.

Say yes to training

If you’re in a job at the moment, make sure you get the most out of it.  I have always aimed to get as far as possible in every job I’ve done, even if I knew I didn’t want to do it forever.  For example, when I worked in retail I undertook management training.  Even though I knew I didn’t want to work in retail management, I knew it would look good on my CV.

Again, look at where you want to be, work out what gaps you have in your skill-set, and fill them in.  It sounds silly, but there is a lot you can teach yourself, and lot of valuable resources can be found online.

Get connected

Build good, strong relationships with your colleagues.  If you don’t have LinkedIn, get it.  It’s basically an online CV, and a fantastic way to connect with others in your industry.  Have a good, professional looking profile picture, and as you would with your CV, keep your page up-to-date and showcasing your strengths.  People can write testimonials about you, and ‘endorse’ your skills, which makes you all the more impressive looking to potential employers.

Again, talk to people.  Go to networking events, meet new people, and get yourself out there.  Social media is making it so easy to interact with employers.  Follow influential people in your chosen field on Twitter, and start getting noticed.

Apply for jobs the right way

It took me a long time to learn that you have to set yourself apart in the application process.

My top tip: don’t just fire off an email with your CV to HR, or the address listed on the website.  Add a personalised cover letter that shows you know about the company you’re applying to.  For extra points, (if appropriate), find out who your direct line manager would be, and email them too.  It really shows you’ve gone the extra mile, and I know that doing this has helped secure most of my interviews.

Always have a question to ask in interviews

I used to think it was OK to not bother with this, but it really is a good idea to have an interesting and insightful question.  A favourite of mine: “what do you like about working here?”  This one takes balls to ask, but it’s a definite winner.  It shows you’re really trying to imagine yourself working there, and the interviewer will enjoy sharing their own experiences with you.

Another top interview tip: relax!

Always take them up on a glass of water; there’s nothing worse than dry-mouth, plus you can take a sip if you want a second or two to think about your answer.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat the question if you need it.  You won’t lose any points!

It took me a lot of interviews before I felt confident and relaxed, but you’ll get there.  Look up some interview questions to practice with a friend the night before, give yourself plenty of time to look your best in the morning, and remember that the worst that can possibly happen is you won’t get this job.  But it will have been good interview experience, and you’ll be even more confident for the next one.

Send a follow up email

After an interview I find it’s not a bad idea to send an email thanking the interviewer for their time, and reiterating that you think the position sounds great (without being too over the top!).  I once sent a follow up after an interview and got a call two minutes later offering me the job.  I often joke that my job application style is ‘passion with a hint of desperation’ (so I was always careful to reign it in, for fear of coming off insincere!), but this one really does work.

Don’t be knocked back by rejection

The tweet at the start of this post pretty much sums it up doesn’t it?  Applying for jobs can be soul destroying.  You will almost definitely feel overqualified for most of the jobs that don’t even invite you for an interview.  You’ll know that you would be ace at a job, and wonder why nobody else can see that.  All I can say is: don’t lose heart.  While I was job-hunting I would wake up feeling optimistic, then as the day went on, stressed, frustrated, tired, sad, angry and hopeless.  Then I’d go to sleep, wake up the next morning, and start the whole lovely process again.  Hang in there, I promise, you’ll get there.  Tailor your application as closely as possible to the criteria they’re looking for.  Read all the supporting documents – job description, person spec etc.- and cover each point in your personal statement/cover letter/CV.  It will take a lot of work, but it will be worth it, I promise.  It’s very important to not take rejection personally, as competition for any job nowadays is fierce.  Take feedback when offered, to find out if there are any areas you can improve in.  If you’ve got some spare time while you’re looking, it’s definitely not a bad idea to do some voluntary work.  You’ll meet interesting people, gain valuable experience for your CV, and be doing something rewarding and fulfilling.  Win-win!

Don’t worry!

Ultimately, wherever you are on your career ladder, don’t stress!  It really is true what they say, your twenties are all about figuring yourself out.  I didn’t take the most direct route to where I am now, but I don’t regret a thing.  I met fantastic people, got great experience under my belt, and had a blast along the way.  You’ve got to trust that everything happens for a reason, and that things will fall into place if you have the right attitude.

I’m sorry if this post was a bit all over the place, I was trying to make sure it covered as much as possible.  I’d also like to say that I’m not a professional careers advisor, this is just based on my personal experience.  As always, if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments, and I will do my best to answer them.  Thanks for reading and good luck!

 

The cake is a lie.

  1. Portal.  What starts off as an intriguing puzzle game quickly becomes a compelling, and chilling adventure.  A unique premise, mind-bending physics and a villain with the sassiest one-liners ever.  I love this game so much I had Companion Cube bride and groom wedding cake toppers.
  2. Portal 2. Picks up where Portal 1 left off, and is every bit as awesome, shedding a lot of light on the events leading up to the first game.  It was a longer game than I was expecting (much to my delight), but kept me gripped and guessing until the very end.  The fantastic two-player mode was a great new development also.  Plus, I loved the hilarious new character Wheatley, voiced brilliantly by Stephen Merchant.
  3. Spyro the Dragon. I have such fond memories of playing this in the late 90’s on my super swanky PS1.  Charming, fun, and in my opinion a really well-made game considering its age.
  4. Little Big Adventure 1 & 2. A little-known series of games with somewhat of a cult following, these were THE games of my childhood.  Both excellent games, though the second is markedly improved in terms of graphics and game-play.  Fantastic story-lines and wonderful characters.  I feel sad on a daily basis that they never made a third.
  5. The Half-Life series (including all spin-offs: Opposing Force, Blue Shift). Before Portal there was Half-Life.  I have grouped them all together only because they’d take up half my list otherwise.  Phenomenal story-line (I don’t want to give anything away, just trust me), chilling soundtrack, BADASS antagonist, and great first person game-play (though amusingly in the first game the footstep sound effects make it sound like you have three legs).
  6. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Not my usual choice of game, but this one takes me back to my uni days, when I used to while away whole afternoons playing it with my boyfriend.  Thankfully he was better at the art of seduction than CJ (in that he didn’t buy me a giant dildo on our first date), and he’s now my husband.
  7. Call of Duty. I’m grouping the series together, as they’re all good in their own ways.  Again, I never expected this to be my cup of tea, but I basically adopted an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ philosophy when everyone was playing it at uni.  And I got scarily good.  My husband won’t even play against me anymore, but we do make a kick-ass team on the zombie levels (which are ridiculously addictive, just to warn you).
  8. Pacman.  THE best arcade game.  We recently hooked our computer up to a projector and had an epic giant tournament.  Best. Day. Ever.
    pacman
  9. Super Mario Bros. Yes, Mario 64 came along in 3d and blew everyone’s minds, and yes, Mario Galaxy is amazing, but in my opinion, you just can’t beat the old-school 2d, platform Mario.
  10. Mario Kart. Not only do I love this game, but I play to win.  No mercy.  To the point that no-one will play with me.  Competitive, me?
  11. Zelda: Majora’s Mask. I know this is somewhat of a controversial choice, but this is by far my favourite of the Zelda series.  It’s a beautifully dark, weird game, with a great story and interesting game-play (in particular, the swimming is the best I’ve ever experienced in a video game).

*I couldn’t narrow it down to 10!