Hello November

Happy November!

Winter is almost here. Crispy cold in the morning, dark when I leave work. And Christmas is coming, I can feel it in the air.

New month, new beginnings again for me. And I could not be more grateful.

About this time last year I didn’t want to leave the house, I struggled to find any motivation to do anything, I didn’t feel like blogging or doing anything else for that matter.

A year later, it couldn’t be more different.

October was busy but exciting.

From trying Scandinavian food with one of my favourite friends, trying new cafes in town, dinner and drinks with my favourite work friends to meeting new people through social media and face to face such as the lovely Selina who is a freelance consultant for Arbonne, and the inspiring Beth and Mel, who just started their skincare company, Cherish.


I felt incredibly happy when, after my post about networking I received messages from people I didn’t expect and we are now arranging chats with coffee to get to know each other better. How great is that.

My post on how I survive work in a dead end job is now my most read post and the response I got caught me by surprise!

But it doesn’t end there.

I absolutely loved the Women Who Do Breakfast and Networking last week. And through this event I’ve met the incredible Bene, a hot power yoga teacher in Southampton and I’ll soon been trying her classes and tell you all about it.  I met with Benedita and Ian, her partner and also yoga teacher, yesterday and we chatted all about yoga and her story so far. You all know by now how much I love yoga and how it helped and helps me physically and mentally. It was one of the most interesting, inspiring conversations I had in a while.

Women Who Do
Women Who Do

I spent last Sunday at the University, volunteering for the Open Day, which I’d recommend it to any University staff, what a beautiful day that was.

The Pod
The Pod

I’ve also signed up for free six month Personal Training (thank you Solent Health!) with one of our BA Fitness and Personal Training students who I actually met today.

And I’m halfway through my Salsa Beginners classes which I really enjoy.

And I’m back at the workplace choir. I finally made it back. I missed everyone, especially Dan!

These are just some of the things I got up to. I’m exhausted but I loved every moment.

I can’t believe how much I learned over the last year and improved myself. There is still work to be done but I’m happy in my skin.

I’m now confident enough to apply for a job I’m really interested in but I have no extensive ‘relevant’ work experience because I’m not scared anymore. I believe in myself and even if I don’t get it, I’ll learn something from it.

I want to end this post with a big big thank you to everyone for all your comments and love for my blog. I really felt it this last couple of weeks. It melt my tiny, little heart. To receive so much love for something I do because I love and enjoy doing it is overwhelmingly beautiful.

I can’t wait to see what else November will bring!





Every day is World Mental Health Day

What a Monday it has been. Emergency dentist appointment, fever, at some point I couldn’t put a sentence together, Monday Blues but also lovely comments and messages for my recent post on how I cope at work.

I started composing this post last night so it could be ready first thing in the morning, but I was still in pain and confused, I still am, apologies if I go off track. I get more sensitive and emotional than usual when I’m not feeling well and the recent death of an amazing colleague from cancer and my godmother being in the hospital for the last week made Monday extremely tough to cope with, it reminded me of what happened two years ago about this time, it’s hard not to worry that it might happen again.

Mental Health is a subject close to my heart and it’ll always be. I studied Psychology, as most of you know, which helped me debunk the stigma and myths around it. But that’s not the reason I’m so passionate about mental health.

Many of my favourite people were diagnosed and still deal with depression, anxiety, autism and other mental illnesses. And I’ve been there myself.

I went through hypochondria 3-4 years ago when my relationship was falling apart and had no support from anyone because I was too scared and ashamed to tell anyone about how paranoid I got and how I panicked every time I felt any ache. The only person I talked to about it was my ex-boyfriend who was going through depression. He couldn’t help me, he needed help himself, but I managed to get through it on my own.

And about a year ago, depression knocked on my door. To begin with I didn’t know what it was and how it happened to me. I spent the year before trying to get over a horrible breakup that left me struggling with my confidence, and grief, the first time in my adult life I lost a loved one so close to me in the most horrible way, that night scarred me for life, cancer really sucks.

I was emotional and sensitive bursting into tears for no obvious reason and I went out all the time, avoiding being alone at any cost because I didn’t know how to deal with it, which was lots of fun but it didn’t get me anywhere and it all finally caught up with me last winter.

My most read post to this day is the one I’ve managed to put into words and let out in the open how depression really felt for me, the most honest post I’ve ever written.

Thank you to all my friends and family home and away who helped me get through this. I’m doing much better now, the best I’ve been in years. I know how to recover and drag myself out of that hole, but there are some days that are harder than others. And it’s OK. Depression never really goes away, you just learn how to cope better.

Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability across the whole world. Staggering statistic by the World Health Organisation.

But unfortunately, even on this day and age, mental health is not taken as seriously as it should be and so many of us are scared and ashamed to ask for help or tell anyone in case they think we are crazy or weak. There is still stigma around it and not enough support.

I’ve written about it before. Over and over.

If your chest hurts the first thing you do is go to the doctor. Why should it be different when your heart and soul hurt so much you can feel the pain in every inch of your body? Why should it be different when you can’t think clearly and your mind is so messed up to the point you can’t sleep for days?  Why should it be different when you can’t get out of bed in the morning and find it incredibly hard to stop crying and get out of the house?

I can go on and on but my message is: every day is mental health day. We should take care of our mental health the way we take care of our physical health.

Every day is mental health day because we fight our fights daily, whatever they are.

My warmest hug and love to all.





How I survive work in a dead end job.

Happy Sunday! I was going to post this tomorrow but I thought it’d be better to do it today, in case my survival techniques can make your Monday better, if you are in a similar situation.

I wanted to write about this for a while although I was advised not to, because it might cause problems at work. But it shouldn’t. I hope it won’t.

I love Solent, it has been my work family home for almost 6 years now (with a short 3 month break). I’ve learned a lot and I made friends for life. This is not about Solent. Although ideally I’d like to work somewhere else for a change, Solent is an awesome employer and I love the people I work with.

This is about being trapped in a dead end job, with no progression and is not even about progression, but the tasks, my day to day roles and responsibilities which are de-motivating. For me anyway. I’m sure for others, my job would be a perfect fit.  So this post is about how I deal with it and hopefully you who are reading this right now might benefit from it.

My job

Not many know exactly what I do when I tell them I’m a Senior Compliance Officer. Well first of all, is nothing to do with Compliance. I co-ordinate the fees process working with some of our Directors who I admire and I’m responsible for the course file, basically anything to do with the course set up on the system. I spend most of my day in front of my PC, staring at spreadsheets and Quercus (the course system). Which I find quite frankly soul-destroying. There is no skill variety or challenge. I’m a social person, I love chatting, meeting people, I love anything creative, anything out of the norm and I hate routine. Is obvious I’m not the best fit for an 8-hour a day desk based job.

I have great responsibilities which I honour day in and day out. Because as much as I don’t enjoy what I do, I always want to be the best at my job. I’ve been in this role for two years now and I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that I’ve already improved the processes and the system.

‘A job is just a job’

For many their work is just means to an end. They don’t care what they do and how they do it, it just pays the bills. And that’s great. But unfortunately for me is more than that. We spend most of our time at work. We spend more time at work rather than anywhere else. So for me, it has to be rewarding, challenging, interesting. It has to be more. I cannot numb my brain and switch off for 8 hours.

‘Why don’t you leave?

I’ve recently listened to a podcast of Bob Sutton, a Stanford professor and author of the ‘Asshole Survival Guide’ on how to deal with difficult people at work. His tips can easily apply to ‘Work Survival’ in general, His first advice was: If you can afford it, leave. If you can, quit!

I hear that a lot. Many have advised me to do so. Quit. Follow your dreams. Don’t be scared. Take risks!

Well it’s not that simple. I can’t just quit. I have no savings, I’m still paying off my debts and my family can’t support me financially. And I wouldn’t even ask them if they could. This is my fight. I love them to bits and I’d do anything to help them, not the other way around.

I could just move back home, live with my parents for a while until I get an average job, as there are not many great career opportunities on a gorgeous but small island. So that’s out of the question.

If I were to quit I’d have to move to another data analysis/staring at spreadsheets job to be able to cope financially, which is not what I want.

So what do I do??

Learn as much as you can on what you want to do.

I love digital marketing, Social Media, event planning, guest relations, anything to do with interacting with others, but I have no extensive ‘work experience’ in these areas. I would need to start from the bottom and to do so I need money. Money doesn’t bring happiness but it does help you reach the things that will make you happy.

But what I do at the moment is spend some of my free time learning more about the fields I’m interested in and improving my knowledge on them. Lynda.com is amazing when it comes to free resources (it is free for Solent employees) and I’ve already learned a lot in the last couple of months.

I also volunteer through work whenever I get the chance. I loved helping out with Graduation, conferences, getting out of the office and meeting new people.

So that’s my first tip. If you are in a similar situation use your free time to your benefit and try and get as much as you can through your current role. Learn more on what you want to go into.


It is vital to have a laugh at work, within reason of course. But short breaks to talk to my colleagues and have a laugh is one of the few things that keeps me going. I’m very lucky I’m surrounded by funny, witty colleagues who are always up for a chat and a laugh.  Humour is also recommended by Bob Sutton when dealing with difficult people at work.

Make your desk your own

I’ve decorated my desk with memorabilia from home, gifts from colleagues and friends, Kinder Egg prizes because I embrace my childish side and I set up a gorgeous photo of my favourite Cyprus beach I took a year ago as my PC wallpaper. Anything that makes my surroundings colourful and pretty and reminds me of who I am helps. You spend most of your time at your desk, might as well make it feel homely, even if you wish you were anywhere else.


Music is my saviour. It really is. I would simply not survive if I were not allowed to stick my headphones on and listen to music. I absolutely love Spotify and I’d pay more if I had to. Discover Weekly on Mondays, New Music Fridays and my personal long playlist with all my favourites for all moods which I go through several times a day depending on what I fancy to listen to at that moment. This is my playlist, which I add on every week if you want to listen to what I listen to, it has a little bit of everything, from indie to pop to rock to Greek music, not sure anyone else would like it, but even if it helps one person, then totally worth sharing it.

Regular breaks

If you sit at a desk all day, have short breaks every hour or so. It is recommended by Health and Safety! Get off your chair, go for a walk or just stand. And don’t spend your lunchtime at your desk. Make time to get out even if it’s in another room or a friend’s office or go for a wander at the nearest park. Lunch time is sacred, is you time, personal time, use it wisely.

Treat yourself

Every now and then I’ll treat myself to delicious coffee from my two favourite coffeeshops in town, Mettricks or Coffeelab or a nice lunch or an afternoon snack. Little treats go a long way!

Break the routine

There are many ways to do that, be creative. For me is essential to do something different every day, otherwise it feels like Groundhog day, over and over again. So I have lunch at different places through the week, I change my route to and from to work every couple of days, I try and do a couple of different tasks at work in a single day and not spend the whole day on just one thing, unless I have to.

Do what you love when you are not at work

Finally, what keeps me sane is what I do when I’m not at work. Find what makes you happy, what relaxes you, what you love and spend your evenings and weekends, however tired, drained or frustrated you might feel, doing these things.

For me is daily Yoga (Yoga with Adriene, which I’ve mentioned many a times here), my guitar, singing, blogging, drawing, reading, eating out, theatre, trying new things, photography, travelling and social media amongst others.

I love Instagram, I spend hours scrolling through travel photos, food (I love food), interior decoration, funny memes etc and I post a lot because I love taking photos. Twitter is my public journal. I follow and learn from inspirational people on LinkedIn and Facebook is for friends and family.

I spend a lot of time with my bestie (our daily chats is therapy for me) and other friends I love and since my family and best friends live in Cyprus, you’ll see me a lot of the time on my phone chatting to them.

Don’t forget how awesome you are

Yes, that’s right. You are awesome. When you are trapped in a dead-end job, the chances are you are scared to move on even when you can, because you lose your confidence, you forget all the skills and knowledge you proudly own. When I left Solent the first time, my then manager and now great friend Chris wrote on my leaving card not to forget how awesome I am at what I do and be confident on my abilities and I go back and read it whenever I go through a confidence crisis. I remind myself what Chris said and all the feedback I get from my current manager and my colleagues. I go through the messages and comments I get on my blog and Social Media posts and when I’m feeling low I remind myself that I’m better than I think.

This is how I manage. This is how I keep going until I can move on to a more exciting job.

Nobody will come out of nowhere and offer me my dream job, although that would be pretty awesome, so for now I’m exercising my patience and improving myself whilst keeping my eyes open for any opportunities I can go for.




Cherish Skincare-not just about your skin.

Whilst I was on my holiday in Italy I got a message on Twitter by a lovely lady called Mel, inviting me to the launch of a new, ethical, organic skincare company just starting in Southampton called Cherish skincare.

I’m not sure why I was invited. I’m not a professional or a fashion/beauty blogger and make no money off my blog, but I was really excited as I’m a big advocate of wellbeing, self care and loving oneself as well as local, independent companies,  and I love meeting new people and trying new things so the combination of the four grabbed my attention and I actually looked forward to it.

Unfortunately I could not make it on the day, it was on the week I was back from my holiday, it was crazy busy at work and I was extremely tired for the whole week. I went to bed at 9:30pm on a Friday! So I asked Mel and Beth, the awesome gals who invited me initially and the co-founders of Cherish if they’d like to meet for lunch and tell me all about it.

So yesterday we spent more than an hour at Mettricks telling me all about their business, how Cherish is not just about skincare but a holistic approach on caring and treating yourself, and ended up chatting about digital marketing, the 5Ps of copywriting and other useful tips and advice I discovered through my personal interest and reading on marketing and social media on how to promote their business.

Mel is a full-time mum of two and Beth is actually a recent hair and make-up graduate. I felt immensely proud when I found out she just graduated from Southampton Solent University, my work home for the last six years. I told her all about the support and advice she can get from our Employability (Solent Futures) department and offered any help I could. I posted about it on LinkedIn today and I have already been contacted by our PR and Comms team asking me how they can get in touch with Beth!

All their products are organic produced by Mel and Beth and the idea of Cherish is to offer a suite of products from night oils to spray on your pillow to help you sleep better to day creams, anything to improve your skin but also your health and quality of life.

I left from our meeting genuinely excited and grateful I got to meet these two inspiring ladies. I can’t wait to see their business flourish!

Cherish Skincare co-founders Mel and Beth

They have just set up their website so if you want to find out more go have a look here and if you like what you see, spread the word! You’ll be supporting an inspiring local business as well as promoting wellbeing and self-care, something so basic but essential more than ever in the busy, crazy world we live in.

I wish you all the best Mel and Beth!