As I’ve never held a proper salaried position before, and am therefore unfamiliar with the concept of annual leave, I genuinely thought I’d used up all of my hours when I spent half of December in The Canaries – but apparently not! After a quick check of the works HR website I discovered that I had over a week of paid leave to take on a use-it-or-lose-it basis. So after a hectic couple of hours trawling the holiday websites and a bit of maths, I’ve managed to nab myself a cheeky week in the Spanish sunshine in the spring. OMG I just love being an employee.
I’ve only just lost the tan from the previous holiday and here I am now planning yet another all-inclusive week of sun, sand and sangria. This time last year I was self-employed, and only bringing in enough cash to just about cover my bills. Never in a million years did I think that within twelve months I’d be enjoying all the perks of being paid to laze around under palm trees for the second time in under six months. It just goes to show that you never, ever know what’s just around the corner… so you should make the most of any opportunities while you still can.
In recent months I’ve discovered a new word (well, it’s an ancient word but is new to me); hygge. Apparently, this interesting Danish word (pronounced ‘hue gar’ or thereabouts) has no English translation; the closest we get to it is ‘cosiness‘. With temperatures outside rather chilly, and no signs as yet that spring is on the horizon, it feels rather satisfying that something referring to contentment gained from simple pleasures such as snuggling beneath a blanket or embracing the warm glow of a candle is currently ‘the in thing‘.
Soothing acts of wearing fluffy socks and taking time out to mull over a cuppa are apparently all part and parcel of this phenomenon, which is a happy coincidence because they’re things I already like doing. Who knew that my regular bowl of porridge, a spoonful of honey in a warm glass of brandy and even enjoying a slice of cake are all massively positive for my mental well-being. In an uncertain world it’s good to know that little nuggets of joy can easily find their way into your life, gently calming the nerves and making you feel at peace… and it’s got a name (hygge).
It’s been a busy start to 2017 and I can’t believe that the first half of January is almost behind me. Having bid farewell to self-employment at the end of 2016, my salaried job role is taking up most of my time these days, which is really positive. There’s a massive amount to learn, and at times I feel as if my brain will burst, but along with the challenges there are more than enough rewards to make up for it, and being part of a team is a dream come true.
My shifts are longer than I’m used to, but this became a lot easier once I settled back into my new routine after the Christmas break, and the bonus is that I’m getting fitter. I’m slowly getting used to the sheer volume of business meetings I’m now attending, along with various training days, and although my schedule is filling up with work it’s also being filled with fun stuff such as the monthly team breakfasts, and will soon include an ‘away day’!
Never in a million years did I ever imagine that my life could change so quickly and dramatically, which just goes to show that you never know what’s just around the next corner. If you want to move upwards you have to move forwards…
With a hectic pre-Christmas schedule it was impossible to find a mutually suitable time to visit my mother before the big day this year, therefore a compromise had to be found. After much thought I suggested we indulged in ‘afternoon tea’ at a posh hotel fairly close to where mum lives, so that we can enjoy a good old natter whilst indulging in a bit of luxury. Thankfully she agreed to this idea and so today I set off early, in sub-zero temperatures, to catch the bus.
Her little face lit up as I was dropped off, and we immediately began putting the world to rights. After an hour of thawing out at her place we hopped into a taxi which took us to the hotel, where I’d reserved us a table overlooking a pretty pond. Despite having walked past there literally hundreds of times, my mother had never stepped foot inside, so to be able to finally treat her to a little bit of luxury was wonderful.
Afternoon tea was sublime; delicious food and drink and excellent service, I really couldn’t have asked for more from them. Of course, mum was chuffed to bits and even though we didn’t manage to see each other before Christmas Day for the first time in my life, today has more than made up for it. When life gets busy it’s sometimes a little too easy to sideline people in order to fit everything in. However, family is very precious, and it’s vital to make sure that you somehow MAKE the time to be with those you love…
I’ve had such an amazing few months that I didn’t believe anything could top it, but I didn’t anticipate my gorgeous daughters would announce that they’d be coming back home to spend Christmas Day with me! Oh my goodness, I honestly couldn’t ask for a better present.
Of course, I did the typical mum thing of going overboard with daft gifts and bought way too many festive snacks, but nothing gives me more pleasure than being able to spoil my children at this special time of year.
Being able to eat, drink and be merry with the people I love most means everything to me, and today has been wonderful. Such joys are precious and I will never, ever take them for granted. We pulled crackers, wore paper hats, and consumed far too much junk food, but that’s what a traditional Christmas Day is all about and it was magical.
It’s mid-December and yet I have a fabulous sun tan. Yes, I’ve just returned from a magnificent all-inclusive holiday to Playa Blanca in Lanzarote, staying at a 4-star hotel overlooking the islands of Fuerteventura and Los Lobos! I have to admit it’s going to be something of a challenge adjusting back into ‘normal’ life after half a month of being treated like a princess, but I need to go back to work so I can earn enough money to go away again.
I’ve been waited on hand and foot by maids and guest services staff, visited a stunning marina full of expensive yachts, seen amazing sunsets, eaten in the very best a la carte restaurants, watched entertaining evening shows, got drenched on a catamaran bouncing across waves en route to Fuerteventura and even been in a motorised dinghy with two very fit, but mad, Spaniards!
The icing on the cake is the fact that while I was lounging beneath palm trees, sipping white wine from chilled glasses, I was still getting paid a salary. Oh my word, this new job really has opened up a totally new world for me and it’s changed my life completely. It seems that good things really do come to those who wait…
I just can’t believe how quickly my life is changing these days, and it’s all good. A few months ago, although things were going quite well, I was beginning to feel like I was in a bit of a rut. Same part-time, self-employed job I’d had for years, no firm plans for travelling, and nothing particularly thrilling on the horizon. However, within a few short months I’ve begun a brand new career, booked a fantastic overseas holiday and the icing on the cake is that I’ve just found out that I shall be spending Christmas with the people I love more than anything else in the whole, wide, world; my gorgeous daughters.
I’m not usually a festive person, and I normally treat Christmas Day itself with complete indifference, but this year it’s going to be amazing. I’m already excited about my ‘babies’ coming home and I just know I’ll go completely over the top and spoil them rotten. Although the new salaried position is terrific, and the vacation will be stunning, there’s nothing quite like the simple act of spending quality time with your children to make you feel special, and it’s something I will always cherish. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town…!”