Sunday Seven: Tips for a Good Work/Life Balance

Now, to start this post I’m not claiming I have a perfect balance in my life (does anyone) BUT in the past year, I’ve learned a lot about having boundaries between work and home. If you’ve followed my blog for a long time, you’ll know that this started a long time before I was working full-time, I’m terrible at switching off. That said, I do have a few tips to make things easier. So, really, this is for any self-confessed workaholic whether you’re a student, working full-time, volunteering or anything!

Work hard, play harder. 

It’s absolutely fine to work hard, it’s a great feeling to achieve, however, you need to play in your own way. That doesn’t mean going out on the town every weekend, it means finding something that you enjoy! For me, it’s a weekend bookathon!

Plan time with your friends and family. 

If you make plans, you have to stick to them. It’s very easy when you’re at home alone or have nothing planned to sit on your laptop and continue working late into the night. By making plans you need to step away and not think about it!

Working late is ok, but not every day. 

Sometimes you have to have a late night, you have things to do. That’s not a bad thing, deadlines happen or things might go wrong. There might even be a period of late nights (I’m looking at you dissertation writers) but you shouldn’t have to do that every single night.

Switch off your work phone/PC. 

Once the working day is done I switch off my work phone and PC. I’m lucky because I can do that, I’m not on call. If you can do that it’s a great way to switch off and have your own time.

Go to bed at a reasonable time! 

There’s nothing worse than trying to get things done with sleep deprivation. Nothing. Worse.

Make sure you take your allocated holiday! 

If you’re reading this from a working perspective most companies are good at telling you to take your holiday, because they recognise you need a break at times. If you’re a student reading this, I know the temptation to work every hour of the university holidays, you still need a break though, just like everyone else!

If you’re struggling, talk to someone.

I’m really lucky that where I work is incredibly open. If you do feel that things are getting a little too much and you’re working every hour of the day, talk to someone. Just one helping hand could make all the difference!

 

A Typical Night Out

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As I write this I’m not a big party person. I usually try to have one big night out with Abbie once a month, normally on a Friday, but what exactly happens on those nights? Which I’ll admit have been getting a little more frequent recently much to our amusement. So, here’s what a typical night out looks like for me.

4.30pm – Finish work 

It’s the start of the weekend, you’ll normally see me with the windows down (if it’s not raining, we are in England after all) party music blasting as I leave the car park, I’m pretty sure my colleagues always know it’s me. The weekend has begun.

5.00pm – Time to start getting ready 

I don’t take an age to get ready, if I can help it I like to be able to take my time and enjoy myself. A long shower is my go to, with my phone still blasting music. For every emotion music is my go to. Sometimes I get a little anxious about nights out, the amount of people, lots of drunk people etc. so my music helps me battle that anxiety.

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7.00pm – Meet up and get some food, Wetherspoons special

I love a good Wetherspoons, it’s cheap with a good atmosphere and you can order alcohol on an app. We usually meet at 7 and get some food, Chicken Strips are a go to for me. Then we start on some drinks.

9.00pm – Cocktails and selfies 

Around 9ish we’ll move on to somewhere for 2 for 1 cocktails, it’s also the prime time for selfie taking…

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10.30pm – On to the Bar 

Which leads us on to go to one of the few bars in Basingstoke. More cocktails, a bit of dancing and a lot of laughing. We like going somewhere where we can sit and chill as well as have fun rather than stand in crowded spaces.

12:30 am – We usually give up

We’re not the kind of people who go out until 3am, we never have been! I’m more than happy to go home, get in my PJs in a nice tipsy state and get some sleep.

Feminist Friday with… Jess Willby

Feminism is… Listening to other women

This is a guest post by Jess Wilby, a Manchester based lifestyle blogger who writes for philocalist.co.uk.

My only brief is write about what feminism means to you.” This was my only guidance from Chloe and it really got me thinking. The commute home isn’t one that usually inspires me. Believe me, the wet armpit of another commuter certainly isn’t my regular muse. But as I made my way, trapped on a hot & sticky Metrolink carriage, I thought about all the ways I’d been wronged as a woman. Being paid less, because I am a woman. Being cat called in the street, because I am a woman. Travelling in fear that someone might grope me during the commuter rush because I am a woman.

But really, that’s just me in my little bubble. Feminism is about that – but also, it’s about something much bigger. Feminism to me is actually more about knowing what it means to you.

We all live within our own parameters. Try as we might, we will never be able to truly understand what it’s like to live someone else’s life. Empathy is one thing, but I mean truly understanding. That’s why the modern day feminist will never quite have all the answers and actually, our greatest tool is listening to someone else and letting them tell their own story.

There is power in silence; in the ability to shut the fuck up for a moment and stop banging on about your own personal brand of girl power.

The task of achieving absolute gender equality is almost unfathomable but you’re not going to achieve anything if you only exclusively focus on your own goals. Self-care is dope but contrary to popular belief we’re not just out here spinning on a space rock for our own personal development, you know?

It’s time we stopped excusing our ignorance and instead actively seek out varying experiences of womanhood. The internet might be a big place, but it’s not hard to find and share stories from women living a life different to your own.

Whether it’s Grace Victory talking to you about the lack of diversity in blogging, Stephanie Yeboah telling you how black fat women matter too or Ali Catrin explaining what it’s like to live with Autism, we need to take their words on board and celebrate their voice. Devour every word and pass it on, champion them for speaking out.

By listening and sharing these stories, you are empowering the women who truly need to hear them. The girls who feel alone; who are in the same position, needing someone to look up to. I’ll say it again, there’s power in listening to these experiences. You don’t need to put your own spin on it, we only need to take these women at their word.

Believing, listening, sharing – it doesn’t matter if you haven’t experienced the issues yourself, you can still be part of the domino effect. Not only will your own mindset start to change by exposing yourself to new ideas, so will those around you. Suddenly women who previously may not have been willing to share their voice feel empowered to do so because they know there are people who will listen.

And so – if like me – you ever find yourself armpit-deep on a sweaty, commuter-packed Metrolink take a moment to think about how the other women around you are feeling in that moment. What story do they have to tell and would you be there to listen?

 

Thank you so much to Jessica for this post, I completely agree. If YOU want to get involved with Feminist Fridays email chloefmetzer@gmail.com with ‘Feminist Friday’ in the subject line.

Nine Years, New Adventures

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I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to put in this post. A long post about the love I have for my boyfriend, something funny and quirky, just a simple I love you and a few pictures? Nothing seemed right. Even as I write this, I’m not sure. If you’ve followed this blog go

If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, or any of my Social Media channels you’ll know that he’s a big part of my life. It’s too simplistic to say he’s my best friend and leave it there, because it’s more complicated. For the past nine years, Ali has brought out the best in me time and time again. Without him and his gentle nudging I probably wouldn’t have even considered University or been in a band or even been in the job I am today.

It’s not that he makes me who I am, we’re both our own individual selves, it’s more that he’s been a good part of the growing process. I mean he’s literally seen me as a slightly awkward teenager to a less awkward and more confident adult. He’s carried me to the bathroom when I couldn’t walk. He’s cleaned up after me, cooked for me. Most importantly he’s told me no at times and not just instantly agreed with everything I say (although that’s a whole blog post in itself).

Now we’re at the nine-year mark, we’re finding new challenges and adventures. In a few weeks he will be going on his first tour for work, all over the country. This means he’ll be away for two months. It’s a huge opportunity and I’m so proud I could burst, for our relationship though it’s going to be new. I think the most we’ve ever spent apart is two weeks. So it’s a bit of a jump.

With each year that passes we’re going to take on new things as a couple and by ourselves. This time last year we didn’t think we’d both be doing so well at work that he’d be going off touring and I’d be so happy working in design. In the next nine years we’ll probably get married, we might start a family or move. We might be thinking about getting a mortgage or we might be doing something completely different.

Either way, I didn’t know when I fell in love with him at thirteen years old how our lives would map out. I still don’t. I’m pretty sure if we’ve got each other though, we can make anything into an adventure.

Sunday Seven: Exciting 2017 Book Releases

There may only be 3 and a half months left of 2017 but the amazing releases aren’t slowing down (my poor bank account). I’m so excited for so many books that are going to be coming my way!

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the sun and her flowers – Rupi Kaur 

I was a big film of Milk and Honey (so were most people I know) so I’m really excited to see what Rupi has in her new collection.

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It only happens in the movies – Holly Bourne 

If you didn’t know, I’m a huge Holly Bourne fan. I love her books, her message and her style. She’s one of my absolute favourite YA authors.

 

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Lady Killer Vol 2  – Joelle Jones 

It’s been so, so long since I picked up the first volume of this and now the second is so close! To sum up 1950s, beautiful artwork, kick ass killer ladies.

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Turtles All The Way Down – John Green 

Does this really need explaining? It’s John Green. JOHN GREEN.

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Feel Good 101 – Emma Blackery

I’ve followed Emma Blackery since my first year at uni, Ali introduced me to her videos in her first year at uni when we would watch them together in his room. I still love Emma and I’ve seen her live. Feel Good 101 was my favourite set of videos and I’m SO PLEASED she’s finally releasing a book.

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Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions – Russell Brand 

Learning from our past is something I’m a firm believer in. Russell Brand is doing a great job, I think, I’m really excited to read his thoughts because I genuinely think he has something important to say.

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Harry Potter – A History of Magic: The Book of the Exhibition 

I’m loving all of the Harry Potter 20 books that are coming out at the moment. I’m really hoping to go to the exhibition and pick this up myself.

 

What books are you looking forward to in the final months of 2017? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Feminist Friday: Support a woman in STEM!

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To me, women supporting women is a huge part of feminism and today I’m enlisting your help. I met Chloe while we were both students at Kingston as a friend of a friend. She’s done amazingly well and now she’s in a competition to win a £5000 scholarship towards her Master’s degree. So, let’s get to know Chloe.

What is it that you study? 

Undergrad: Forensic Science

Masters: Will be doing Bioarchaeological and Forensic Anthropology

What do you love about studying?

I have found a subject that interests me and I truly enjoy learning about. I love studying it and finding more out about the subject because I am passionate about it and would like continue studying to specialise and hopefully work in the area of science that I love so much.

Did you always know you wanted to go into Forensic Science?

Forensic Science was definitely not something I always thought about. After finishing my GCSE’s I was actually a bit lost with what I wanted to do. I was stuck between going into Art or Science, but at the time was never really told enough about careers in science to really want to do anything. After a year of mixed AS levels, I found my college offered the Forensic Science BTEC. It sounded so interesting to me and I was still so unsure of what I wanted to do that I just decided to go for it. Since then I never looked back and have wanted to continue studying it after all that time.

Do you think we can do more to help get women into STEM?

As I said before, when I was in school trying to decide what to do as a career, I don’t feel I was ever really told about the different options and amount of jobs in STEM. Therefore the subjects didn’t really interest me because I didn’t know where they could take me. It was pretty much by accident that I ended up in a science subject. I think women need to be shown early on what they could do and the jobs out there in STEM. We also need to lose the idea that men do better than women in these areas and stop women feeling like computer sciences or engineering are men’s jobs. So I guess awareness is the main thing, to show more women there’s plenty of room for them in these fields. As for Forensic Science, I am happy to say, at least from my experience, there are plenty of women in this area, and at university level I have been encouraged by all my lecturers, both men and women, to go further with my studies.

So, how can you help? All you need to do is click here, click vote and that’s that!

Thanks so much for reading and don’t forget I’m looking for guest bloggers to write about what feminism means to them! To put yourself forward email me at chloefmetzger@gmail.com!

Book Review: You Can’t Touch My Hair And Other Things I Still Have To Explain – Phoebe Robinson

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I’ll be honest, prior to picking this as an audiobook I had no idea who Phoebe was. It just sounded like a funny book with an important message. What I ended up with was a great new comedian and writer to follow and a new appreciation of what it’s like to be a Woman of Colour.

It’s not a surprise to any of you who visit my blog or any of my social media that I’m a White British woman. I fully admit that I have no idea what it’s like to live as a Woman of Colour and I never will. Phoebe’s book isn’t just about race but she really gave me insight in a firm but approachable way and made me consider things I hadn’t before. I didn’t expect that from a book that marketed as being funny.

Don’t get me wrong, Phoebe is hilarious. It’s like listening to that awesome friend with all these crazy stories that you can’t believe are true. While doing this though, she talks about Feminism, about being put down creatively, about casual racism. The bottom line is that Phoebe is fiercely relatable, I think to the majority of women. I absolutely ADORE her.

One of my favourite parts of the book (which I can guarantee works best as an audiobook) is Phoebe’s letters to her niece. Of course, they’re funny a little inappropriate and meant for when she’s older but there’s just a wonderful sense of care. That Phoebe is talking about all of these issues, not for her, not for us, but for girls of the future so the world is a little bit easier for them to navigate.

I gave this four stars. This is a brilliant, well written and hilarious book. There’s just the right mix of humour and serious thought throughout. The only tiny reason I haven’t made it five stars, is because there are points I felt dragged on a bit too long for me. It definitely is a great read or listen though! Make sure you check it out!