Wednesday, 16 August 2017

KEEPING FIT OUTSIDE OF THE GYM


We all know that the best place to burn calories is at the gym, the space that you dedicate to keeping yourself fit and healthy. But what about after you leave the gym? What can you do to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your workouts? Here are some routines that you could begin implementing to make sure that your workout sessions are really making the difference.

Food, Glorious Food

Depending on the reason that you’re hitting the gym, you should look at your diet plan. Eating greasy food will not benefit you in any way, no matter how long you spend at the gym. If you’re looking to build up lots of muscle and strength, then make sure you’re eating a diet that is full of protein as it’s the best thing for building up muscle. If you’re looking to slim down and tone up, go for meals with less calories so that the exercise you’re doing will burn away the fat.

One good piece of advice if you’re trying to change your eating habits to match your goals at the gym is to eat little and often. With exercise, you’re boosting your metabolism for a short while, meaning that you will feel hungrier sooner. Eating small and nutritious meals every day will make all of the difference to how you feel after a workout.

Up the Supps

Taking supplements is something else you could be doing to ensure that your body is getting exactly what it needs to make the most of your workout. Whether that be vitamin supplements or anabolics, make sure that it’s the right addition to the goal you’re trying to achieve. There’s no point in pumping yourself full of a certain vitamin if you’re not going to be using it within your workout.

It's Great to Hydrate

Ensuring that you stay hydrated at all times is important to help your body maintain the water it’s lost through exercise. Try to aim for the recommended two litres of water per day. Another useful tip when it comes to water intake, is to look at the best times to drink the water. I mean before, during and after your workout. If you’re not keen on just water, try getting a water filter jug that will improve the taste of your water. Failing that, get an infuser to add fruit to your water for a super nutritious drink.

Rest is Best

Believe it or not, resting is an important part of making the most of your workout. Your body, mind and muscles need to rest between each visit to the gym. This is because they need time to regenerate before you begin another workout. It’s true that without pain, there is no gain but you do still need to relax. Try to get around 6-8 hours sleep a night, that should be plenty enough for your body to recover.

There we have it, ways that you can make your workout more effective outside of the gym. Applying all of these tips to your lifestyle will greatly increase the outcomes of your workouts; therefore getting you to where you want to be, and faster!



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HOW TO: INTERVIEW


I'd like to think that my role in HR and my blogging hobby means that I have a nice mish-mash of skills that I can share with you in the event that you are looking for advice.


One such topic is interviewing! I have interviewed and been the interviewee many times and my blogging past time means that I often attend events where I am forced out of my comfort zone and have to chat away to people who I have never met before, or speak to brands in a professional manner.


Now, I must stress that this isn't always natural for me to do. I am much better at it these days but please don't feel as though you are a helpless cause if you don't find interviews or networking easy!


Let's get into how you can make this easier on yourself - picture the scene, you've sent your application and receive the call or email that you've made it to the next stage, the interview.


Pre-Interview Prep

I do think this initial preparation can make the most difference in terms of how at ease you feel once you are face to face with your interviewer.


The one thing I think most important is to do your research which will seem obvious but really is massively important. I once turned up to an interview which granted was in amongst loads of other interviews I had and I was blasé and thought oh I will wing it. Spoiler Alert: You can hardly EVER wing something like that.


When the nerves kicked in and I was sat in their reception I was thinking to myself 'you are an idiot as you will not be able to answer what do you know about us' and luckily there was information in the reception area that meant I was able to quickly hash something together. Since then, I have never done that again.


The moral of that story is to do your home work. Ask your recruiter who is interviewing you and what format the interview is in? Informal chat/competency based/panel/technical, all of this will help you in your preparation.


I like to look up who is interviewing me on linked in, it gives you a flavour of their career in the company and elsewhere and potentially give you some common ground to talk about. It can also give you an insight into how likely the company is to promote from within.


I also (perhaps controversially!) think you can do too much preparation if you have stock answers or examples which you can feel pressure to spout off like a script rather than listening to the question and tailoring your answer.


Always be prepared however to answer the following questions as it is highly likely that you will be asked them;
1.What do you know about us?
2.Tell us a bit about yourself?
3.Why do you want to work here/in this role?
4.Where do you think your development areas are?


The Interview

First of all, try your hardest to not be late and if you are by some reason out of your hands going to be late then make sure you do your best to get in touch!


Be comfortable but smart. You can never really go wrong with assuming a smart dresscode - read my interview dress tips in collaboration with Reed here.


Relax! You have made it this far so you have interested the potential employer, have faith in your achievements and skills and remember that this is as much an opportunity for you to decide if you want to work there aswell.


In terms of telling your interviewer a bit about yourself, naturally they will have read your CV, it isn't an opportunity to trip you up but it gives you a window to sound enthusiastic about your previous role or career path in general. I'd also keep it concise, they don't need the ins and outs of your career history but I would start with your last/most recent role give a quick overview, mention the industries you have worked in and perhaps what you enjoy doing in your spare time.


If your recruiter has highlighted the type of interview you are having, this is where the preparation pays off. Most places will do competency based interviewing and all that is, is to assess your suitability against what they feel are integral parts of the role or the company values. You will often be given this in the job description so be sure to try and pick out those main themes and centre your answers around those key words.


Answering questions within a competency based interview can be centred around a project or activity you have been involved with and it can feel like there is loads of information you could share. STAR is your friend here, STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. They want to hear what YOU did aswell so blow your trumpet and talk about what you did specifically. I think one of the best tips I have also found is that you really shouldn't feel that every example you give is super positive and as though you are conquering the world. Answers can be that unfortunately things didn't go your way but that you changed your approach etc, there were budget constraints - you can still have done a fantastic job even if things didn't turn out as expected.


Scenario based or technical interviews can feel difficult as you do have to make certain assumptions about how things are carried out if they are dependent on policy/procedure rather than a specified way of doing things. But just try your best, sometimes the answer can be slightly off but if you understand how the person has reached the answer then it can still give you an idea of how they would perform.


The End of the Interview and Asking Questions

It always amazes me when people have no questions at the end of an interview - even if you say well the majority have been answered in your overview of the role/company etc, it is always worth understanding next steps and how quickly they are looking to appoint.


Also don't be afraid to ask any burning questions you have about the company, e.g. if there are development opportunities, what the priorities of the department/company over the next 5 years.


I'd hold off asking about money unless they ask you for your salary expectation specifically. It can feel awkward for the both of you and if you are dying to know the bracket if it hasn't been confirmed in the job advert then I would ask this before you interview via the recruiter.


And finally - be sure to end the interview by reiterating how much you want the job, you would be surprised how little people do this!


Good News :)

You got the job and the recruiter is calling to make you an offer - ensure you know all about what benefits are being offered as they form part of your package. A great salary can sometimes be accompanied with less than market rate benefits such as statutory holidays only. Not necessarily deal breakers but all worth considering.


This is also a time to negotiate - it is difficult to do, completely appreciate that but worth checking. It is much easier to do if you have a consultant to do this for you!


Bad News :(

Sometimes, despite a great interview, you just don't get the job. Try not to take it too personally and try and learn from it if you can. Always ask for feedback and if it's just a case of someone pipped you to the post then dust yourself off and try again!!
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Monday, 14 August 2017

SWEETIESAL SAMPLES: SPEED DATING



As a single girl about town I often wondered to myself, when would this chance meeting occur where I locked eyes with a tall, dark and handsome stranger, perhaps at the supermarket or the gym? You know, like it happens in the soaps and rom-coms?!


Truth is, that RARELY happens. So naturally I did what any modern girl does and looked to increase those odds of meeting someone of interest. I’ve tried internet dating, dating apps and the most recent was speed dating. The latter was the one I was probably the most dismissive of but actually the one I enjoyed the most!


App Mishaps

The whole dating websites and apps method was really just not for me. Too faceless and too cringey when you are stood outside somewhere waiting for BlueEyedBoy25 to arrive and he looks NOTHING like his profile pic, and a substantial amount shorter than his height details. NOT COOL.


The Need for Speed

So on a whim with my gal pals, we set about signing up for a speed dating event and waited excitedly/nervously for the night to arrive. An after work event, on a school night, meant that we could have a few drinks but had an excuse to leave if it was just too horrific. One thing I will say is that I do think we picked a too old age bracket but to be honest that just added to the general hilarity of the evening.


Armed with a rum and diet coke for dutch courage, we were all seated and given a number, and the host announced that we would have 3 minute dates with the men. We were all asked to mark down the number and name of our date on a scoring sheet and then populate the grid with whether we liked them or not.


The Nitty Gritty

It became apparent early on that ALL of the men were serial speed daters and most recognised each other. They had a very set idea of what they wanted to talk about and just got straight to it! Sadly, all of the men were too old for me (I’m 32 and we signed up for a 30-45 age bracket but most were between 45 and 50) but it really was a lot of fun and I think if we had been in the 21-35 age bracket we may have found some eligible bachelors more around our own age.


In Conclusion

What I liked about the evening was that it was genuinely hilarious and if you are a nervous dater like me, it was like immersion therapy as I effectively had 10 dates in one night(!) I also thought that it was a really interesting way to meet new people. Did I want to date any of them, no, but equally they were all charming in their own way and the debrief session with the girls afterwards was absolutely brilliant. Turns out two of us met a wedding DJ whereas the other two met an award winning radio DJ!! Same person, I must add(!)


All in all I have to say I do think it was a really fun night and something I would encourage all singles to do with their friends. I would happily go again to a younger group and it’s one of those things that will give you a laugh for months afterwards!


(This post was originally posted on the Simply Be Blog - written by me, but I wanted to post on my blog too!)

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Monday, 7 August 2017

GET SOCIAL // GET FIT


If like me, you are trying to increase the time you spend socialising then it can be hard to fit everything in. If you say yes to bingo, when can you squeeze in that walk or the visit to the gym? That is why you should consider combining the two and socialising while you exercise. It's pretty easy to do, in fact, many activities are set up for it. Read on to find out more.


The Gym


The gym is, of course, a great place to get fit, but let's be honest it can be a little intimidating going on your own. Especially when you are feeling a bit out of shape. So why not go with a friend instead? You can travel there together or meet at the gym if that's easier. Then you can support each other as you go around, even having a bit of a chat and some quality time out of the house. In this way you will feel that satisfaction of connecting with a friend, so much so you won't even noticing that you are working up a sweat!


A Running or Jogging Club


Another great fitness and social activity you can try is to join a running club. There are actually around 1400 of these clubs all over the country, so it shouldn't be too hard to find one near you. They offer different groups for runners of various levels. Something that means you will get you in with the beginners if you haven't done it before. This is great because you will instantly have something to bond with others over. As in this sort of situation, it can be pretty easy to make new friends and break the ice. Of course, over time you are likely to improve your running and fitness as well. Meaning it is a social and health double whammy activity.


Dance Classes


Dance classes are also a great way of getting fit and being social at the same time. They often have a fun party atmosphere conducive to meeting new people, and some styles such as ballroom and swing actually require you to dance with a partner. Something that literally forces you to meet new people in the process of the dance. Be aware here; that even if you go with someone, the classes often swap partners around regularly. So do expect to be partnered with other people. The great thing about many dance classes is that after the lessons are finished, there is also a party / free dance event. There people get together and practice what they have learned in class. This is a great way to meet new people, as you already have your love of dance in common, so you are guaranteed to have something to talk about.


Golf


Another fantastic fitness and social activity to consider, especially here in English here we have so many courses, is golf. Did you know you can burn up to 900 calories during a round of golf? As for the social side, you can play alone or with buddies, and there is always the 19th hole at the end. Something that you can definitely use a way of meeting like minded folks to socialise with.

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THE ONE


Firstly, let’s be honest: there is no definitive moment where music starts playing, your heart skips a beat, and you know without question that your boyfriend is “the one”. Nothing in life is ever that simple, and all the more when it comes to matter of the heart!

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t signs that your relationship is built to go the distance. While they are not necessarily true of every relationship - every couple is different after all - there are usually a few indicators that a couple has got a strong foundation which could see them through the rest of your lives.

If you and your boyfriend have been together for awhile and you’re wondering if this is the boyfriend who will become your husband, here are a few of the things that you should be looking out for.


You Think About The Marriage- Not The Wedding


It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of wanting to get engaged, plan a wedding, and get married. Who wouldn’t love it? You get to choose from the range of Verragio rings and wear a gorgeous piece of jewellery; all your family and friends will be excited; you get to plan and have a wedding. The whole process of getting married is exciting from start to finish, and any woman who has ever idly doodled her name with her boyfriend’s surname after it has thought about what their wedding day would be like.

However, if you think primarily about the wedding and not the marriage, then that’s not a good sign. Wanting to be with someone is about building a future together; not just the enjoyable furore that leads up to the nuptials. If you’re spending more time dreaming of being a bride on your special day than a wife on a normal day, then you might just more like the idea of being married to someone - not necessarily your boyfriend.

If, however, you see the wedding as part of the future rather than the definition of the future, then you’re onto a winner.


You’ve Survived Rough Patches


A couple can be perfectly happy together potentially for years, but if they’re not tested, then they will crumble at the first sign of trouble. To truly be sure that you and your boyfriend have the right stuff for marriage, it helps if you have survived testing times - such as job losses or ill health - and come through the other side the stronger for it.


You Trust Him


It is perhaps a little simplistic to say that relationships are nothing without trust, but there’s no doubt it is a huge foundation for a relationship that is going to stand the test of time. Do you still feel flickers of fear when you see him talking to a pretty woman? Do you ever feel the urge to check his texts?

It’s one thing to occasionally worry about these things, but it’s quite another to have it be a continual focus. Jealousy and paranoia will be the ruin of any marriage so, until you have settled those concerns, it’s perhaps best to leave marriage on the backburner for now.

If, however, you have nothing but fleeting thoughts that are soon soothed by the reality of your relationship, then you really might have just hit upon the one. It’s always going to be a judgement call, but if the above apply, then it sounds like your head and heart are going in the right direction.


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