Experience the bad to appreciate the good!

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In the last few weeks I have had a number of things happen to me (both good, bad and amazing) that have made this quote more prominent in my life. If we never experienced the bad things in life how would we recognise what is good?

In life we are faced with a number of ups and downs, twists and turns but these are the things that shape our lives. I was recently speaking to someone close to me who said he wouldn’t change anything that’s happened to him in the past the good or bad as they are the things that made him the person he is today! So true!

It is is so easy when the bad things are happening to let yourself lose sight of the good and forget about all the amazing things you have experienced. You feel like nothing will ever go right, you’ll never get that job, never meet the right person, will always be stuck in that rut.

I wholly believe that everything we experience eventually leads to new and exciting adventures. But, I also believe that although we can’t always stop life throwing us curve balls we can choose how we deal with them. Do we give up, lock ourselves away in our room, cry into our pillows, or do we stand up, dust ourselves off and give life another chance to surprise us?

So next time you’re feeling down or experiencing something horrendous, scary or daunting remember YOU’VE GOT THIS and something amazing that’ll take your breath away could be just around the corner.

Big Love
G x

Letter to my younger self!

So today is International Women’s Day and I thought that it might be nice for me to write a letter to my younger self:

Dear Gemma (or Little Gem as your friend still call you now),

You’re 34 years old and still single, but this is OK, no honestly it really is! You don’t have to be married with kids before you’re 30 like you think you should be due to the pressure society puts on women.

You have an amazing job, caring and loving family, a good group of fun friends and you’ve also had a crazy but fun time in your late 20’s / early 30’s.

You moved to London & Manchester by yourself, not knowing anyone when you were 27, had the time of your life experiencing so many different things and learning a lot about yourself along the way. You are a strong, independent woman!

You’re very trusting of people, maybe a little too trusting and yes, you’ll be disappointed by a number of people but each time you will pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again! You have drive and determination, are a loyal and caring friend, but also the life and soul of the party. Never change.

You will go through a stage of anxiety, loose your confidence a little, but you will come through this and it has made you the person you are today. A strong, beautiful, confident and happy woman!

So stick in there kid you’re doing great!

Love your older (and not that much wiser) self! xxx

THE LIST: Spiritual Self

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So since January I have been trying to tap into my more spiritual self. This can mean different things to different people but for me it means feeling content, relaxed and happy. Here’s a few things I have been trying over the last month:

Hot Yoga
One of the things I have been taking more of an interest in is yoga, I recently started attending hot yoga classes once a week, it’s really tough but I am told if I stick to it the easier it’ll get. It’s not just the for exercise I find that in the hot yoga classes it gives me time to relax and give myself some me time! I come out of the classes feeling light and refreshed with a clearer mind.

Angel Cards
I know for some people this might sound a bit hippy and it’s everyones cup of tea but I really do believe that we all have spirit guides who look out for us. I have used Angel Cards for a long time now, each morning I will shuffle the cards and ask for some advice for my day. After listening to Nourish and Flourish one of my favourite podcasts (www.nourishandflourish.us) where they discussed Tarot, Oracle and Angel cards I realised it is more of a belief for me and guidance. They’re not telling me my future, just giving my that guidance to help me think about certain situations.

Reki Healing
I am so excited about this one, something I have not tried before, I have my first ever reiki session this week! It’s something I have been looking into for a while and I am a big believer of chakras and energies so I am really looking forward to trying a reiki session. I have heard mixed reports so I thought the best way to see what it’s like is to do it myself!

Crystals
I have recently started to dabble in the world of crystals and their healing powers. After listening to the aforementioned podcast I do believe we’re drawn to the different crystals that we need at that particular moment in our lives.

Journaling 
So for Christmas my parents bought me an awesome mindfulness journal and I have been making a conscious effort to write in this every day. It helps me to list out my goals and then split those goals down into smaller ones to help me achieve them.

Meditation
So meditation is something I have been working on for a long time, I meditate in both the morning and the evening. Usually a chakra meditation in the evening and then a morning meditation when I wake up. I’ve devised a morning and evening routine and this is part of that routine. Headspace is an awesome app for a morning mindfulness/meditation session as they are quite short. For the evening I usually use a chakra meditation from Jason Stephenson on his YouTube channel as I have found his to be the best for me. I find meditation a great way for me to relax and to focus on myself before I sleep and to also get me ready for the day ahead when I do my morning one. Still very much a work in progress as it’s definitely easy for the mind to wonder but I’ll get there I’m sure.

So far I’m loving all the different things I am trying. What do you guys do to get in touch with your spiritual self? I’d love some recommendations!

Advice to graduates…..

Having attended the University of Manchester’s Computer Science Jobs Fair this year a number of students have asked for advice as an experienced Talent Acquisition Manager in a high-tech market on how to make their profiles and CV’s stand out in the sea of graduate applications. Throughout my years of working in recruitment I’ve worked with high calibre candidates of all levels from stand-out student and graduate placements to c-level executives, so I thought I’d write a quick blog that might be helpful to graduates applying or preparing to apply for their first roles.

The first thing I want to say is “Congratulations!”. You’ve successfully completed several years of intense education in a competitive market and have demonstrated the intelligence and tenacity needed to succeed. So, how do you stand out as a superstar in the making amongst your fellow graduates and career hunters?

Network, network, network: this is important on two fronts. Attending relevant events and getting to know people in your chosen industry will put you on their radar. Secondly when you add these events, seminars etc. onto your CV it shows you are a proactive networker and potential ambassador for your prospective employer. You don’t have to list all the events you attend, something like “always learning latest industry news and trends by attending tech-based networking events around Manchester” and maybe give a few examples. Websites like http://www.meetup.com are great for events in your local area.

Personal Projects / own websites / blogs: this is one of the most important things that I look out for on a graduate CV, especially on the technical / marketing side. This is your chance to show off your unique skills and what you can do to help convince me (or any Talent Manager) to pick up the phone and want to speak with you. This is even more important when you don’t have a wealth of work experience, so please, make sure you put your best work on display and be proud of it!

GitHub / Stack Overflow Accounts: this is a must for tech graduates, make sure you are active on these types of sites, have sample code on their, get involved with conversations. GitHub: https://github.com/ Stack Overflow: https://stackoverflow.com/

A picture speaks a thousand words: far too often to highly skilled graduates fail to clearly articulate their unique value because they use far too many words or dilute the impact with unnecessary buzz words / phrases. Keep your CV sharp and easy to read. Where possible, could you replace a list of bullet points with an eye pleasing timeline image, detailing your key achievements and skills learnt during your education. Or pie-charts showing how you split your time between tech-research, coding, and testing. It certainly makes it easier to read and stand out from the crowd.

LinkedIn: Your profile should always be up to date and be easily digestible, highlighting your key skills and biggest achievements. For completeness add a professional picture, and ensure there are references from respected people who have worked with you on projects, fellow students, tutors etc. Have links to your own websites, even add your CV and media to your account. Make connections to people you meet at the aforementioned networking events, connect with people at companies you’d like to work for and when you have researched what they do, contact them and reference what you have found and why you would like to find out more about life at their company.

Internships: a lot of companies are open to people interning at their companies. A number of years ago a junior android developer came to me for help, he was struggling to get his foot through the door when applying for developer roles, he had the intelligence but unfortunately no work experience. So, I put him in touch with one of my clients who saw his potential and one month after joining as an intern they offered a permanent full-time position. An internship might not lead to a job but it’s experience you can add to your CV and relationships you can build for the future.

To me, that is what makes a graduate CV stand out. Show you are passionate and proud of what you do, be proactive, and get yourself out there! Please do drop me an email if you’d like any advice around the above topic, always happy to help.

Mind, body and soul!

So in my previous post I spoke about the list of things I am working on to make me a healthier, happier Gemma.

I have nailed the new job part! The second part is my health, I am so naughty when it comes to going to the gym, or eating more healthy and being mindful! It’s so easy just to be lazy and eat rubbish food.

Here’s a list of things I promised myself I am going to stick to moving forward:

  • Going to classes at the gym & starting my running again. I hate the gym, think this is more due to the fact that I don’t know what I am doing in there, So thought classes are the way forward and running I can do outside of the gym.
  • Eating healthy, cutting out all of the snacks and bad stodgy food that I eat. Not going to deprive myself but I do need to start eating healthier.
  • Mindfulness each night, listening to inspiring Ted Talks, having time for me.

I have also started reading some really great magazines Breathe and Happinez they both have some fantastic articles in them around creating the life you want, being healthy and happy.

So here is the next step on my path to happiness!

G x

THE LIST: Looking after me!

Do you find that it’s so much easier to look after and love other people rather than look after and love yourself? Recently I have been trying to really take the time to look after me as I realised the only person who can make your life better is YOU! Nobody else will or can do it for you.

So in true Gemma style I wrote a list (love a list), a list of all the big things I wanted to change and make better to in turn make myself feel better and most positive. Then broke that list down into smaller things that I can do to reach my goals.

So I thought today I’d write about the thing that was top of the list: My Job.

For years I have worked in a number of jobs that I hated, I felt like I’d become slightly lost in the world of work and thought it was about time to take the bull by the horns and move into a role I enjoyed.

I started by updating my CV, going to networking events, meeting new people, writing my blog, putting some time into me and what I wanted from work. I applied for roles via job boards and spoke to a few recruiters really put myself out there to find something new and exciting, you know what……I did it!

I am now working in a role I LOVE, I don’t have “the dread” or that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach every morning when I wake up. It’s an amazing feeling.

Now I look back at the jobs I have had over the last four years, I actually learnt some amazing skills and met some fantastic people along the way.

So now I am grateful for those days because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. Also, without the things I have done to get here I wouldn’t be here today so I am also grateful for ME.

There are a lot more things on the list and I will make sure I post about the changes I am making in my life and how everything goes. I am sure there will be ups and downs, things will go right, things will go wrong but as long as I have my goals I’ll get there! 🙂

G x

P.S. Let me know in the comments if you have decided to make changes to you life and how you went about it!

 

Apple WWDC – The Big Reveal

On Monday night I attended the Apple WWDC event held by Dreamr at Rise Manchester. As a non-comital Apple  fan (I do own a MAC and an iPhone) I was interested to see what Apple would be releasing in terms of new  products etc, also as someone not massively technical in terms of coding I also find these events a good way to  learn and expand on my tech knowledge.

The event started with an awesome panel debate with some fantastic panelists, Jack Barmby, CEO  of GnattaRenate Kalnina, CEO & Founder of Gratuu, Adam Mitcheson CEO of My2Be, Kate Cocker, Presenter  & Coach and James Heggs, Co-Founder of Clos Consultancy. Hosted by Naomi Timperley

Questions were asked around what the panels relationship was with Apple products, some spoke about how they  had fallen out of love with Apple a bit recently and how they felt they needed to up their game. Others thought that Apple would release something around music in terms of speakers to compete with the likes of Amazon’s Alexa and Googles Home. There was also a lot of input from the audience on how they thought Apple would step it up in terms of their products and offerings. A really fun interactive section of the night!

Following on the debate, we were treated to beer and LOTS of pizza in which we could have a quick catch up following the debate and then it was onto business, the Apple WWDC streamed live from the US.

You can check out all of the announcements here, but here is a brief overview:

A new iPod pro that has a 10.5 inch screen, I’ve never owned an iPad, however this baby does look pretty cool and powerful! iOS 11 will be released providing new features to you iPhones and iPads. There will be a new (and pretty sexy looking) iMac Pro. macOS High Sierra will be released with enhanced features and quicker performance. watchOS 4 will be more intuitive and intelligent. There will also be a new AppStore which is more user friendly and tailored to you. Then came the biggy (drum roll please) the HomePod to rival all other speakers on the market, it will be released in December and of course has the wonderful Siri included.

As I said at the beginning of this blog I am not a developer, however do have a keen interest in digital and tech, so this event and many others I have attended in Manchester are fantastic for people who come from a development or tech background, but also for people like me who want to be up to date with the latest that is going on in the world of technology and in our city. It’s also a good opportunity to see and speak to inspiring people who are building fantastic companies and ideas in the digital and tech space.

Massive thank you to the guys who organised this (and are inspirations themselves) Mylo Kaye, Jack Mason and the team at Dreamr.

Make up bag of a 30 something!

So I thought I’d do a post about what’s in the make up bag of a 30 something. I always enjoy reading blogs, seeing Instagram pages of what other people use so I can try them out. I do have a lot more than this but these are my daily “go to” products.

So for primer I use Nivea Men Post Shave Balm, this product has been all over blog and beauty pages. At first I was a bit wary with it being a product for men BUT it is amazing and actually makes my skin feel nice and fresh as well as helping that foundation to stick.  You can get it from any drugstore and it’s not expensive at all.

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Next up for my foundation I have two products that I love. My friend Claudia recommended the FITme! foundation from Maybelline (in 105 Natural Ivory) as I have quite shiny, oily skin that’s prone to breakouts (yes ladies my skin is still like a teenage girls, not sure if that’s a good or bad thing). This foundation goes on matte and stays on! However I have found now that it’s coming up to summer it’s a little heavy so I have recently switched to Revlon Photoready Airbrush Effect (001 Ivory). It’s quite lightweight and application is really easy!

One of the best items in my beauty bag is the Maybelline Instant Anti-Age Eraser Eye (Light). It’s one of my best ever beauty finds, perfect for dark circle and line cover up. This is constantly in my beauty bag! I also use Revolution Focus & Fix Concealer for any blemishes as it gives a really nice cover up.

For powder I love Liz Earle in Sheer Ivory, helps with the matte look and isn’t heavy. Bronzer I use W7 Honolulu, this was really cheap and can go on a little heavy so I tend to use the brush it comes with and use it more to contour and then blend it in. To highlight I found this little bargain from technic, which highlights without looking to over done!

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Now for the Eyes, I do have the Naked Palette from Urban Decay but my go to eye products for every day are the Terry Ombre Blackstar Colour Fix Cream Eye-shadows. They are divine. I have them in 11 – Beyond Gold (my fave), 5 – Misty Rock, 1 – Bronze Moon and 1 – Black Pearl which I used as an eyeliner for a perfect smokey eye. I use a brush to apply them to get a more defined look. They’re not cheap, but so so worth the money! Mascara I use French Connection black mascara, I love it, one of my fave mascaras I have used, doesn’t clog and you can build it up with a couple of applications.

So there you have it, my day to day go to buys! Let me know if you have used any of these products, or if you have any other recommendations.

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G x

Gin, food and friends…oh my!

So this bank holiday was a very busy but fabulous one! My friend Claudia from London came to visit, we haven’t seen each other for around a year and a half so a catch up and a G&T were long overdue. I’ve really missed her as she is such a positive and encouraging person to be around!

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We got to explore Manchester (something I’ve not had much time to do) and found some awesome places I’d not been to before. I finally explored Beech Road in Chorlton and realised it’s not very far from my house at all, had a good girly shopping spree and then lovely dinner at Australasia and drinks at Cloud23 and to finish the weekend a lovely coffee and stroll in the park.

It’s made me realise that even on your doorstep there are new and exciting things to do, so I’ve decided I am going to try and make sure I experience at least one new “Manchester thing” a week (so any recommendations welcome).

I am terrible for wanting to stay in my PJ’s and catch up on my latest Netflix addiction (which is Riverdale at the moment), it’s fine now and then, but I need to get out and about, meet new people, catch up with old friends, visit places I’ve not been before etc. Life goes by so quickly and there is so much to do and see, I want to see it all (well as much as I physically can).

As someone who moved to London and then to Manchester on my own I find it can be difficult to make friends as an adult in a new city. It can be scary to go outside your comfort zone, but it is 100% worth it. I love meeting new and interesting people and in the famous words of Amelia Earhart “The most effective way to do it, is to do it”.

Have a fab week!

G x

This Is The Place

Due to the terrible and sad events in Manchester yesterday I wasn’t sure what to write in my blog today, everything seemed so trivial. My heart goes out to everyone affected. The vibe in the city was one of sadness, but also of coming together & supporting each other.

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I went to the vigil last night which was beautiful and so lovely to see everyone standing together, also saw Tony Walsh (@LongfellaPoet) read his poem which I think sums it up:

This Is The Place
by Tony Walsh

This is the place

In the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best

And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands

Set the whole planet shaking.

Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and so we make brilliant music

We make brilliant bands

We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands

And we make things from steel

And we make things from cotton

And we make people laugh, take the mick sommat rotten

And we make you at home

And we make you feel welcome and we make summat happen

And we can’t seem to help it

And if you’re looking from history, then yeah we’ve a wealth

But the Manchester way is to make it yourself.

And make us a record, a new number one

And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on

And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league

And make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world

And this is the place where a Manchester girl named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride

And this is the place with appliance of science, we’re on it, atomic, we struck with defiance, and in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall, Mancunians, in union, delievered it all

Such as housing and libraries and health, education and unions and co-ops and first railway stations

So we’re sorry, bear with us, we invented commuters. But we hope you forgive us, we invented computers.

And this is the place Henry Rice strolled with rolls, and we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own northern soul

And so this is the place to do business then dance, where go-getters and goal-setters know they’ve a chance

And this is the place where we first played as kids. And me mum, lived and died here, she loved it, she did.

And this is the place where our folks came to work, where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt and they built us a city, they built us these towns and they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound to the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves, they were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves.

And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe. The Mancunian way to survive and to thrive and to work and to build, to connect, and create and greater ― Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great.

And so this is the place now with kids of our own. Some are born here, some drawn here, but all call it home.

And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.

Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.

But we keep fighting back with greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, northern wit, and greater Manchester’s lyrics.

And these hard times again, in these streets of our city, but we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity.

Because this is a place where we stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever.

And we’ve got this place where a team with a dream can get funding and something to help with a scheme.

Because this is a place that understands your grand plans. We don’t do “no can do” we just stress “yes we can”

Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round here, you can fundraise, donate, you can be a volunteer. You can live local, give local, we can honestly say, we do charity different, that Mancunian way.

And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams. We support local dreamers to work for their dreams. We support local groups and the great work they do. So can you help us. help local people like you?

Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes, because this is the place that’s a part of our bones.

Because greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact that this is the place, we should give something back.

Always remember, never forget, forever Manchester.

G x