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Healthy Living Lifestyle Wellness

How to Get Your Day Started On a Positive Note

We all want to start our day on the bright side and face everything with a positive mindset. However, this is no guarantee, especially if you don’t know the right things to do. Depending on the type of person, it’s more challenging to set your day right and make positive choices. Read these tips on how to get your day started on a positive note.

Perran Sands Front Entrance
Cornwall Family Travel Holiday Parks Holidays Travel

Haven Perran Sands Review 2021: The Stay & Play Experience

It’s been a tough year for the hospitality and the travel industry, with many trips in 2020 postponed or cancelled. It’s been a tough year for the hospitality and the travel industry, with many trips in 2020 postponed or cancelled. You can understand why holiday companies are airing on the side of caution in 2021. So, yes, we were a little apprehensive that after paying the extra for a stay and play break with Haven, we would be left disappointed like last year, especially after reading the recent reviews. However, we were pleasantly surprised by our trip. Here is our 2021 review of Havan Perran Sands the Stay & Play experience.

Family Guest Posts Lifestyle

Guest Post – Fun Activities To Get Children Enjoying Water

From learning to swim to water play in the garden, water can be a fun way to cool down on a hot summer’s day or enable leisure activities and hobbies such as sailing. A gentle boat ride is a lovely way to see the world from a different angle too. Here are some ideas for getting the kids involved in some water activities and family fun.

Lifestyle

5 Things ‘The Notebook’ can teach us about love

What can I say about The Notebook? Like so many movies before it, it was released when rom-coms, movies such as Love Actually were the talk of Myspace (RIP). So I rewatched it on Netflix, the mature woman in her late thirties with two kids and a better understanding of love and romance, but then I thought about 5 things The Notebook can teach us about love, and it inspired me.

Delighted black female barista serving coffee in cup in cafe
Careers Lifestyle

Do These 3 Things Before Re-Opening Your Small Business

It’s been a tough few months for anyone that runs a small business, with various lockdown rules meaning you’ve probably had to close your doors for some time. It’s even worse if you spent a lot of time making the drastic career move and leaving your job to start a business! You feel cheated by the last year, but you will soon get the green light to re-open your doors. When this happens, you need to do these three things before re-opening your small business

Lifestyle

Why We Should Picnic as a Family

One of my favourite times of the year is late Spring when the weather is a little warmer but not too hot, the flowers are blooming, and it feels like the months of typical English weather are behind us, if only for a few weeks. We finally get to enjoy the great outdoors and who doesn’t love a perfect picnic? You find some stuff in the fridge, throw it in a basket, cool bag or your handbag and search the house for a blanket. Picnics are a great excuse to catch up with friends or family.

Careers Family

Are Mum’s Being Forced into Minimum Wage Jobs?

You know how it is, you decide you want to be a stay at home mum, you want to work fewer hours, you want more flexible working within your working day, but there is just nothing suitable or flexible enough or your employer already feels the strain. It got me thinking, and after talking to other Mum’s, it made me ask the question Are Mum’s Being Forced into Minimum Wage Jobs? Or are we seeing a new way of working from home due to social media. Are Mum’s looking for alternatives?

Girl at laptop

I never thought much about it, when I decided to leave my 9 to 5 job back in 2012. At the time, I had a nearly two-year-old, Thomas wasn’t hitting his milestones and with more and more professionals suddenly taking an interest. I decided to find a job that was more ‘part-time’. Easier said than done.

Giving up the nine till five

At the time, I had ten years of office experience, two years of marketing and event expertise and various skills, including retail and hospitality. Still, I struggled to find a part-time position that was two or three days a week that paid more than minimum wage or any wage. I eventually took on a casual (zero-hour contract) position as it gave me the flexibility to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the hours I worked. For over seven years, I worked in the hospitality industry, at times working two casual jobs to meet my mortgage. But for seven years, I never earned the same amount each month. I would go from £150 to over £1000 depending on the required hours. I learnt that weekends or bank holidays were ‘busy’ times and no flexitime was allowed then. I got used to clock watching on a Saturday afternoon knowing I’d have to leave for work around 3 pm or getting in at 3 am on a Monday knowing you have to get up in three hours to get your kids to school! Those were the days! But it gave me the flexibility to pick my daughter up from school, take my son to his hearing appointments, study at college and university and I worked with some of the most professional and inspirational people I have ever met.

Books

Did I feel that I had a choice? I was frequently performing a juggling act. I tried the supermarket option during those seven years; it was great. Eight hours a week minimum, I earnt regular money, and I could have over time. Then my shifts started moving around throughout the day. ‘When did my hours suddenly become portable?’ apparently, it was written into my contract that I had ‘flexible’ hours meaning if they gave me 8 am starts, I couldn’t argue. Suddenly, it no longer worked, but I still had hospitality to keep me afloat.

Around this time, social media became a huge deal; not only did we have Facebook and Twitter, but we also had Instagram, Etsy, video apps and more recently Tiktok. Suddenly, a Bodyshop at Home Consultant (I dabbled) could reach a wider audience, or an Avon representative no longer has to crawl the streets, a digital version is available. Influencers are nothing new, but suddenly girls as young as 15 were popping up showing their make up tips, boys were filming themselves doing pranks and the younger generation wanted to be them. With a new career called ‘Youtubers’ suddenly being a career goal, creative arts was becoming a big deal.

But they weren’t the only ones; Mum’s wanted to spend more time at home with their children and somehow showing what your top ten baby finds became a thing we were all desperate to read, watch and interact with. A new thing was born, enter the Mumpreneurs!

Enter the Mumpreneurs

The Evening Standard published an article showcasing 4 inspiring mumpreneurs and how they started. According to the Office of National Statistics, there was an increase of 373,000 mumpreneurs and women registering as part-time and self-employed between 2001 and 2016; from 439,000 up to 812,000. This has now more likely doubled, due to growing childcare costs, lack of school holiday support and employers lack support when parents request to work flexibly. Unfortunately, businesses continue to be less than positive towards working parents.

Suddenly, Mum’s could do anything from their kitchen tables. They no longer had to worry about childcare, commuting, juggling the summer holidays, at their finger tips they could work at 6am or 2pm while their toddler slept. Mum’s didn’t have to worry about taking any old job. They were doing it for themselves.

Girl drawing in notebook while mother working remotely nearby
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

Let’s not be naive, some Mum’s just don’t want to spend 24/7 at home or for whatever reason their only option is a low paying or minimum wage job.

While trying to pay for childcare, working a minimum wage job can appear to counterproductive until they reach two or three years old. With a full-time nursery place costing over £1000, it’s in one hand and out the other. There are other options that some parents appreciate, the grandparents!

Thank God for Grandparents

I’m am one of the lucky ones; tax credits have supported my family over the years. I know its a controversial subject. I’ve heard it all. ‘If you can’t afford kids don’t have them…’ I know. But we aren’t living in the ’70s or ’80s anymore when houses were worth £30k or a Dad’s £15k wage would cover all the bills, food for a month and still have change! I knew what I was taking on; I knew that I was going to have to return to work full time in 2007. Thank god for Grandparents! I was lucky; I managed only to have to pay for a part-time nursery place (it still cost £800 a month). Had I not had the support of my Mum and tax credits, I wouldn’t have been able to return to work. Not all parents are able to get tax credits, childcare vouchers seem a thing of the past now and childcare choices a government website can help you understand what you are entitled to.

Childcard.jpg

Government Support

Love it all hate it, there is still a lot of backlash regarding tax credits, universal credit and benefits in general but with recent events, since March 2020 more than 3.6 million have had to apply for universal credit, with 51% of them being women. Those women have come from all walks of life, from many career backgrounds and yes, it will always feel degrading because society makes us feel that in asking for financial support we have somehow become lazy. This isn’t the case at all.

Government support has adjusted over the years, only one parent had to work full time, then it was both parents had to work – one over 24 hours a week and it continues to pinch the pennies. My 15 hours free a week was never enough, not when I was working 40 hours a week. I was pleased when the government increased the free childcare to up to 30 hours per week so parents like myself could return to work. It was too late to benefit me, but friends have been able to benefit from that little bit extra. However, you both have to be working and earning over £139 a week. Technically it’s spread across the whole year rather than 30 ‘actual’ hours. Which caused a great deal of confusion at it’s inception.

Child in White Long-sleeve Top and Dungaree Trousers Playing With Lego Blocks
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

If you imagine that a full-time wage is £1200 after tax etc., average childcare in my area is £50-£60 a day. A full-time childcare place would set you back £1000 a month for one child under three. This was pretty much my life! Tax credits paid up to 80% at the time, which took it down to about £800 a month for my two children once the 15 hours kicked in if you’ve done the maths that leaves a total of £400! You spend 40 hours a week earning £9 an hour to take home £400 eventually. Forgive me; I never saw the logic. I worked out at the time that I was better off, working part-time, saving on childcare and earning slightly less an hour.

It is very much about what works for you as a family.

The New Flexible

I have always been an advocate for flexible working, whether part-time, job sharing, shift patterns, flexitime, working from home and freelancing. My own experiences in the last 20 years have shaped my belief that the younger generation will embrace a more flexible approach. Employers will need to pay more; they will generally need to consider their employment packages and allow their employees a more flexible approach to their working lives.

I should be sharing the joys about having my children while juggling and holding down a career but I feel guarded continuously. I’m not young; I’m not in my early 20’s embarking on my career. I’m pretty solid in the belief that my children are why I work hard, why I want them to be proud of me.

As Mum’s and some Dad’s should we be forced to take on minimum wage jobs, our skills should be assets. But I wonder how many of us downplay our experience to get in the door (I know I have). Perhaps you feel pushed out of your job? Did you take on a minimum wage job to feed your family?

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Family

Guest Post: 7 Benefits of Spending Time with Family

The meaning of what a family is has changed considerably over the years. For this reason, we have listed seven benefits of spending time with family so that you can inspire yourself and embrace the gratitude and humility of having your family in your life. Be it going on a camping trip of playing board games, whatever you do will benefit your family tremendously.

Blogmas

Is the Traditional Nativity Play a Thing of the Past?

Is the traditional nativity play a thing of the past? As we near the end of another decade, it got me thinking about the traditions that seem to be fading. Nativity plays, carol singing, Christmas cards they all seem to be a thing of the past, with schools looking for alternatives, people donating to charities (I’m all for it) rather than giving Christmas cards but are we losing touch with our history?

Blogmas

The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a gift guide landing on the doormat or these days our inboxes. It got me thinking about the thousands if not millions of bloggers who every year write or update a gift guide. So I asked for some help and was in undated with gift guide ideas for cats, dogs, kids to the unusual, eco-friendly and everything in between. I am pleased to invite you to the ultimate Christmas gift guide.

Blogmas

20 Christmas Traditions to Start with your Family

We often spend time with our families during the holidays and during these times without realising we create traditions. Whether it be collecting a real tree with your Dad, playing chess with your Nan or going to church. These are all family traditions but perhaps you don’t even have any or realise that it is in fact a tradition. Here are 20 Christmas traditions to start with your family this year.

Careers

Finding A Career When English Isn’t Your First Language

Finding a job is hard for anybody, but it’s a much bigger challenge if English is not your native language. Even if you are able to speak, read and write English to a good standard and you can communicate with people day to day, you may still struggle. Writing job applications is more difficult and interviews can be tough, especially when trying to talk about specific parts of the job, which you may not know the words for.

Blogmas

10 Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids

If you look around our house at Christmas, you will often find a Christmas craft from years before. A battered snowman, a paper angel that has seen better days and homemade baubles with cotton wool snow and a cute photo. I could throw them out, but the sentimental value means more than the item. It’s a part of their childhood, and I’m not ready to say goodbye to that yet. Here are 10 Christmas craft ideas for kids.

Camping Guest Posts Holidays

Guest Post: 6 Tips for a Successful Family Camping Trip

Whether you are an armchair-loving, indoor kind of person or an outdoorsy adrenaline junkie, or you want to do so something other than a city break, or perhaps you enjoy camping trips with your family or friends. There is something about hiking through nature and sleeping under the night sky that makes camping universally appreciated and loved.

Parenting

Covid Is Affecting Kid’s Sleeping Patterns – How Should You React?

There are lots of side-effects of Coronavirus, but one that is going under the radar is the impact it’s having on their sleeping patterns. Kids are particularly at risk as 70% of under sixteens are going to bed later due to working later. Mums and dads have a lot to worry about, yet it’s essential to ensure young people get enough rest to avoid burnout during such a difficult period.

Travel Travel Tips

Ultimate Road Trip Essentials for Families

Road trips are one of the best ways to travel! Whether you pack up your car, RV, motorhome, caravan or campervan they are the best option for exploring at your own pace, but it can sometimes feel like packing everything including the kitchen sink! So how do travel with the right essentials? I have created the ultimate road trip essentials, including some of our best purchases.

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Finances

Coping With Large and Sudden Expenses

Financial health is a concern that we all have to keep in mind. We do our best to stabilize our incoming and outgoing money, taking care not to spend too much of our wages but allowing ourselves to indulge in entertainment and good food every now and then. It’s a good idea to be frugal since it’ll help you manage your finances, but what happens when something disrupts the balance you’ve created?

Finances

Making Savings On Everyday Things To Make Your Household Finances Brighter

We can all find ourselves in months where we are counting down the days until payday, where every penny counts. For some, this is only temporary. While for others, it can be a struggle that can go on for months. Sometimes, we have the answer right in front of us. If we need a little extra disposable income, then perhaps we need to look at our current outgoings and see where savings can be made.

Careers

Your Appearance Really Does Affect Your Career Prospects. Here’s How:

Most people would like to live in a world where their career progression depends on their ability to perform work to a high standard. But that’s not how it actually works in the real world. Partly, your success comes down to performance, but partly it comes down to appearance too. In other words, the way you look matters.

Lifestyle Wellness

Health & Fashion Tips to Help You Prepare for Summer

The summer is upon us, lockdown restrictions have been lifted, and the world is starting to return to some degree of normalcy. And this means it’s the perfect environment to plan and prepare for summer shenanigans and look at what you can do to get yourself prepared for the gorgeous weather. This is why you should have some sort of a plan to help you plan and prepare for this summer, by way of health and fashion.

Lifestyle

4 Ways to Encourage A Love for Learning

Every parent wants their child to do well at school and foster a love of learning that will carry them towards success in life. With the recent lockdown, parents all over the country have recognised just how difficult it can be for teachers to inspire kids and get them to concentrate on tasks, though and this has given them a new perspective on how to make learning fun for kids. If you want to continue this tradition once they make it back to school, here are four tips to encourage a love of learning.

Inspirational Travel Travel Tips

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Stay At Home Holiday

Not all of us will be jetting off to warmer climates this year. Unfortunately, most of us have seen our holidays cancelled, postponed and some of us indefinitely. Many of us are now looking for alternatives to our usual summer break because although the UK and Europe plan to allow holidays from July (rumoured) a lot of families have decided that a stay at home holiday could be just as enjoyable.

Inspirational Travel Travel Tips

How to Plan your Post Lockdown Family Holiday

Since the end of March, all non-essential travel has been postponed indefinitely with no date yet set to when these travel restrictions will ease. What will this mean for holidays already booked? Or for those wanting to book trips either abroad or in the UK? There will be so much more worth considering before you book your post lockdown holiday.

Family

Why We Should Be Supporting Charities like Challengers

Challengers provide inclusive play and leisure opportunities across the South East. It is a place where disabled children and young people can access fun activities in a safe and organised environment. Charities are struggling right now; no one could have foreseen the extent that Covid-19 could have on such vital services to many. So, I decided that I should write a blog post for why I feel we should be supporting charities like Challengers.

Disneyland Paris

Hand Luggage for a Trip to Disneyland Paris

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will know that we spent our summer holiday in Disneyland Paris last year, below is a link to all my previous posts should you want to check out Disneyland Paris Trip Report 2019. Originally, I had this idea of just doing a general packing post. However, I decided it made more sense to split it into different posts as there was far too much to cover in one post. This post is all about what I packed in my disabled son’s hand luggage and perhaps offering some ideas of what sort of things to buy and where.

Family

Have You Ever Heard of Strep B? This is Our Story

It’s hard to explain the feeling of being told that your baby is ill and not just your average cold but life-threatening, the closest I can describe it is numb. Everything stands still and for a brief moment it feels like your life is at a standstill, it’s not real. You are having a bad dream and any minute your alarm will sound and normality will resume. Have you ever heard of Strep B? This us our story.

Guest Posts Lifestyle

Guest Post: Why Do We Feel The Need For New Beginnings In January?

If your past year was rough and you felt like it simply could not get any worse, at least you had January to look forward to. The month of fresh starts and new beginnings, the month where you can finally get the gears turning in making things better and having them go your way – the right way but why do we feel the need for new beginnings in January?

Healthy Living Lifestyle Wellness

My Weight Loss Battle – What I’ve Learnt about Dieting!

Being overweight is nothing new to me. I’ve spent most of my adult life overweight. But two years ago I got into the obese territory and with a current BMI of 34.3, I have attempted to do something about it. Sadly it didn’t go so well so I thought I’d give you my story. My weight loss battle and what I’ve learnt about dieting.

Cornwall Family Travel Reviews Travel

Haven Perran Sands Holiday Park Review 2019

For those who don’t know, Perran Sands is a Holiday Park owned and managed by Haven Holidays (Bourne Leisure). Haven has a variety of holiday parks across the UK, with two in Cornwall. Perran Sands and Riviere Sands, in Hayle. Both are located near beautiful Cornish beaches and with easy reach of major family attractions. This is an independent review; I have not been gifted or paid in any way. We were given a voucher for our holiday from the Family Fund. We are a family of four, and this was our seventh year staying at Perran Sands, but the first time visiting in May Half-Term and the first time trying an adapted caravan. This is usually our annual summertime holiday in July, but we moved it forward. This is our Perran Sands Holiday Park Review. 

About Perran Sands

Perran Sands is an average-sized holiday park in North Cornwall, in a small seaside town named Perranporth, it’s pretty much the surfing capital of Cornwall! It has its own private sandy beach with access from the park, but please be advised due to the stairs it isn’t suitable for wheelchair users, pushchairs or those with mobility issues! Believe me after a day at the beach, its a killer!

One of the reasons we return to Perran Sands year after year is the amazing sea views. You really can’t fault the location to the local beaches, with Perranporth beach being just a short ride away. If you want more reviews the best place to check them out is Tripadvisor, overall it has a great score, and we’ve only ever had issues that were not a directly linked to Haven or the park.

Perran Sands park entrance taken in spring 2021
Haven (Perran Sands) Park Entrance – Photo by Gemma Cantan 2021

Check-In & Finding Our Way Around

Check is always smooth. Like last year, check-in was inside the Dune’s Bar. An enthusiastic and friendly team member greeted us. He confirmed our accommodation and pointed us in the right direction of where our caravan would be. The good thing about Perran Sands is that it’s straightforward to find your way around, the signposting is very obvious. If you find yourself lost, staff members are often on hand to point you in the right direction.

As a side note: This year, we booked an adapted caravan for the first time; however, our son, who has special needs was not impressed. This is not reflected against Haven and their standard of accommodation, it was neat, tidy and had direct access to the park but unfortunately, he likes his routine, and he didn’t settle. So I spoke to reception to see if there was any possibility we could move. Thankfully we were moved to a three-bedroom prestige caravan, with a partial sea view for four nights (we had to cut our trip short). Our caravan was located at the top of the park in an area called ‘Pentreath View’ and ironically right next door to the caravan we stayed in the year before. I have included a few photographs of the standard below.

Our caravan included: Microwave, dishwasher, hob, cooker and hood with fan, fridge with small freezer, digital TV with DVD player, Bluetooth sound system, ensuite toilet, TV in the bedroom, plenty of storage, radiators (believe me it was cold for May) and plenty of space for a large family to spread out.

Interior of Prestige Caravan
Interior of Prestige Caravan

Onsite Facilities at Perran Sands

Let’s talk about food: Like most holiday parks, there are some excellent facilities on site including The Surf Bay Restaurant, Cooks Fish & Chip Shop, Papa Johns Pizza, mini supermarket and laundrette. There is a large entertainment complex, including an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and an outside lazy river. Two bars ‘The Dunes bar’ which was closed during our recent trip and the ‘Live Lounge’ where the primary entertainment is and just the spot to unwind late into the evening.

We have eaten on previous visits at the Surf Bay, and it’s a cross between a Harvester and a Beefeater. Good quality food, with a bar located outside. You cannot pre-book so you can expect a wait during busy times, but if you are lucky, you get to eat in the ‘camper’. Great atmosphere but busy! Always busy.

Ready for a change of pace? Book your next break and enjoy the great outdoors, adrenaline-boosting activities, on-site restaurants, and epic evening entertainment. Sort your 2021 Haven Stay + Play holiday today.

There are two takeaways onsite ‘Cooks’ Fish & Chips and Papa Johns. Both can be busy at times, but convenient. Papa Johns, even deliver to your caravan! Both of which offer a decent meal, right-size portions and not hugely expensive compared to nearby Perranporth.

Keeping the little ones and big ones entertained: The advantage of a holiday park is that they offer an array of things for young and old to get involved with. Haven do offer activity bundle passes 12 activities for £50 and 24 activities for £100. We’ve personally never used them, so I can’t comment, but they appear popular with other visitors and include archery and aqua gliders.

*Notes* Update for 2020. I have it on excellent authority that Perran Sands no longer offer the activity bundles. It is now all booked on a first-come basis through their new app. 

The swimming pools are open to everyone from 9.30 am, and I would suggest arriving early as we queued for over 45 minutes to enter due to the sheer volume of people in the pools. There is one large indoor pool, a separate slide, a smaller toddler pool and a large outdoor pool with lazy river. It was too cold to venture outside this year, but the lazy river is extremely popular and worth investigating.

Aside from the central park, there are surf lessons, football pitches and plenty of parks dotted around and if you are more for arcades and pool tables, the Live Lounge area has that as well. During our visit, there were large extended families, with lots of younger children.

Perranporth

Sand dunes

If like us you prefer to venture further afield, Perran Sands places you at a great location as a base. You are an 8-minute drive away from Perranporth where you will find shops, bars, food outlets, ice cream and quaint gift shops. Newquay is only a 15 – 20-minute drive away where you can find a large town, restaurants, bars, supermarkets. Truro is by far the largest town at just 25 minutes away, with its beautiful cathedral, cobbled streets and Primark (sorry, I’m a sucker for a bit of shopping). There are also some excellent coastal drives with the most amazing beaches, Porth, Mawgan Porth, Watergate Bay and Crantock, to name a few.

Top Tips

As a family who like a home from home, Perran Sands offers us the option of eating in or eating out while not feeling obligated to eat on site. There are so many options from camping to beach houses, from glamping to chalets. Over our previous visits, we have stayed in various types of caravan class, so there is a budget for everyone from standard to platinum with decking.

  1. Booking early can save you ££££. We often book nine months in advance and save 25%. Sometimes up to 50% depending on the offers available.
  2. In peak season months (July/August) you will often queue into the Live Lounge to accessing the launderette. So it’s best to get there early to avoid disappointment as Summer 2017 we couldn’t even get into the main Live Lounge to get seats at 6.15 pm!
  3. If you are interested in activities, book in advance, you will be surprised how quick everything fills up.
  4. There is so much to see and do in the local area, from zoos and waterparks to railways and theme parks (Flambards is A…mazing!)
  5. Get up and out early, in peak summer you can imagine how busy places get. We’ve struggled to park in Newquay in August due to the people.

So there you have it, next time you are considering a ‘staycation’ maybe Perran Sands is worth a look. Perhaps, you’ve previously been? Perhaps you are staying this year? Let me know if you have your comments to add.


Haven Perran Sands Holiday Park, Perranporth, Cornwall, TR6 0AQ

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Careers

Top 10 Tips for Attending a Job Interview

So you’ve got the perfect CV, your covering letter is tailored and makes you sound like the ideal candidate, and within two or three days you have a phone call offering you that all-important interview but the thought of it ties your stomach in knots, never fear we’ve all been there. Whether it’s your first interview or your 25th, I’m going to offer you a few essential tips to help you (hopefully) sail through the interview and land that job! Here are my top 10 tips for attending a job interview!

1. Dress appropriately

A lot has changed since my first interview. From being at school, then college and beyond, I was told continuously that appearance was essential and wore a smart suit with smart shoes and felt uncomfortable for many years. That’s not to say not to but consider the position. I’ve seen interviewees at Tesco’s dressed in suits and ties, looking extremely uncomfortable. That’s not to say that Tesco won’t appreciate the effort you’ve made, but a smart pair of trousers and shirt would probably be okay.

We are now in a technological age where office attire is a little more relaxed. I used to embrace dress down Friday’s and enjoyed wearing jeans to the office, but more recently I worked in an office where they all wore jeans and converses, and there was me wearing smart casual. I’m not saying wear jeans and Converse (believe me, don’t) but consider a little of your personality.

2. Research

Don’t ever underestimate the power of research. I’m going, to be honest, I’ve been to interviews fully equipped with background information on companies and never been asked one question about what I know, and then I’ve been to interviews and been asked questions that I could never have answered. Look at their social media pages, what’s one of the last things they’ve posted, or shared? Do they have social media pages? I was recently at an interview and asked what I thought of the companies website! I wasn’t prepared, but I had researched the company and managed to draw on some of the things I remembered.

Man and Woman Near Table
Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Don’t go and research things that aren’t relevant to the position, so it if its technical look at technical stuff if it is marketing you know what I mean. I impressed an interviewer once because I commented on something I’d read in the media about the company, he nodded and was happy to chat about what it meant for the business and employees. I’m not saying go and write pages of notes on the company structure and their annual turnover but perhaps find something that can keep the interviewer interested.

3. Preparation

You’ve bagged the interview of your dreams, so interview preparation is critical. Check if the interview requires you to supply a passport, national insurance number or a list of references. Some do at the interview stage, so best check any emails you receive. Make sure you know where you have to be, how you will get there and what time you will arrive. Is it going to be a walk, a car journey or are you relying on public transport?

Keep a folder of relevant documents, including a copy of your recent CV. You’ll be surprised how many interviews I’ve been to, and the interviewer has a CV that was on my Linkedin profile six months earlier.

Make sure what you wear is ironed, clean and in a place that isn’t likely to get lost or dirty and don’t forget about the shoes! We all do it.

4. Arrive on time

I’m not going to lie. I’ve arrived at interviews, flustered, tired and puffing. It’s not exactly professional. If you know it is going to take an hour by car, allow for at least an hour and a half. If you are using public transport, allow longer. I made the mistake of allowing two hours door to door. Missed my train because the station screens were down and no one could find out which platform it was leaving from. I arrived for my interview with two minutes to spare, looking flustered and like I’d run a marathon. Allowing 10 to 15 minutes is typical. I like to look around, check out my surroundings (nearest Costa) and make sure that I feel calm and ready.

5. Prepare Questions

On more than one occasion I’ve been to an interview and failed to ask any questions, this was mainly due to being ill-prepared. I’ve learnt my lesson. I know to prepare at least three, and I use my research to help. I have included some examples:

Person Holding Silver Retractable Pen in White Ruled Book
Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

Ask about the future of the company, do they have any major plans? If you’ve seen something on their social media, something that takes your interest, don’t be afraid to ask about it! It will show that you have taken an interest. As someone keen to develop my career, I like to ask a question about employee development and opportunities available. It shows that you are thinking about the future. Not all employers do department tours, especially if you are one of 10 interviews that week so ask them about your working environment, it can help you get a feel for the role if you know that it’s an open-plan or a more enclosed office. You can always tie it in with a ‘day in the life’ question.

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6. Make a good impression!

I have been to some interviews where the HR manager couldn’t have been less interested, and either didn’t offer their hand or does an awful floppy shake. I would offer my hand anyway! Keep eye contact, looking from one to the other or the person who asked the question. Smile a lot! Watch what you do with your hands, moving them around too much can make you seem unprofessional. Don’t forget to show your enthusiasm!

7. Enthusiasm!

We’ve all been there! You get that all-important interview, and you can’t seem to shake the nerves, remember if you show your enthusiasm, you’d be surprised how your nerves subside. Try and say focused, upbeat and concise but show how much you love ‘cars’ or ‘children’.

8. It’s about you as much as it is them!

I had an interview with a great company with an excellent reputation. I arrived early was kept waiting for 15 minutes but loved the view and the surroundings. The interviewer was sick, and from the moment the interview began, she made me feel uncomfortable. She was brash, hard-faced and to the point and allowed no time for me to show her what I could do. She made me feel awkward and flustered and answered poorly. I wasn’t shocked to discover that they didn’t hire me! Employers forget sometimes that we are also interviewing them. If we feel uncomfortable or out of place during the interview, we are not inclined to say yes. I have declined a few opportunities in my time. Some okay, some pretty bad and some because it just didn’t feel right. I was made to feel like I couldn’t say no, that on accepting the interview that meant that I was obliged to take the job that just didn’t feel right. Go with your instincts. If it feels like the commute will be too hard, the job isn’t what you want, or you didn’t connect with your manager, then consider whether a week into the position you won’t want to run for the hills.

9. You become a salesperson…sell yourself!

I’m going to admit; it’s hard to sell yourself. You get asked the question ‘Tell me one thing that you do well?’ I often ramble off something that has nothing to do with the position. Try and make it relevant!

Person Holding Black Tablet Computer
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

As job seekers, CV’s are the first time prospective employers get to meet us. A proper and well-written CV stands between you and the paper shredder! Don’t shy away from mentioning an achievement. You raised £2k for charity doing a bike ride, say it! That’s a fantastic achievement. You’d be surprised to know that even the most qualified of an applicant can get turned down because the winning candidate was better at responding in interviews. They proved that they would be a great fit within the company.

10. Follow-Up

There is a lot of misconception concerning ‘after’ the interview. If you have an email address or social media contact send a quick note to thank the interviewer for their time, this gives them the opportunity to A) Remember you and B) That they can give you a response via email.

All too often, you travel to an interview, take time off work, and then you hear nothing! Not even a ‘thank you’ for attending. If you have contact details, give them a quiet call or email and ask.

I feel that we should all be given feedback, but it doesn’t always happen.


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My Personal Favourites:

A). You didn’t tick all the boxes (what am I meant to learn from that).

B). We went with someone who we felt suited the position more (And that helps me how)

C). We wanted someone who we could train and who had little experience (You wanted to pay £4.00 an hour)

D). We appreciate you attending the interview, we felt that you were a fantastic candidate and if anything should come up in the future we would certainly consider you; however, we felt we wanted someone with more experience (How exactly do I get experience?)

E). It was a pleasure to meet you the other day; your enthusiasm was refreshing! But after careful consideration, we will not be offering you the position; we just felt that the job required someone with more administration experience. (I have over ten years of administration experience!) Was by far, my favourite!

I am hoping that if more people ask for feedback, it will eventually become the norm. So whether you are looking for your first job since leaving school, an internship during your studies or a complete career change these tips are surely going to help you feel more confident. 

So there you have it! My top 10 tips when attending a job interview! Do you have stories to share? Want to add anything that you’ve learnt? 

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