Tag Archives: Work

Five More Years

I have every intention of writing a St Patrick’s Day piece today, given it’s the celebration of all things green, white and orange, but having logged into my website, poised to type, something way more important was brought to my attention.

It turns out that I started blogging 5 years ago today. I’m mega chuffed about this coincidence for a number of reasons. 1 – because I will never forget this anniversary ever again, given the date, 2 – I have another excuse to go for a drink, and 3 – its been FIVE years….wow! I’m absolutely chuffed to be able to confidently say that I love writing now even more than I did back in 2012.

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Yep…..it’s goosed!

Having launched myself into the passenger seat of my car, one sunny spring day back in 2012, I slipped and ruptured two discs in my lower back, and thus a writing career was born! Actually it was more like the following 9 months of daily agony that encouraged me to write as there was little else I could do while I waited for neurosurgery to fix it!

Who’d have thought that my humble, little Geordie’s Girl blog, and the comfort it gave me to get though months of insomnia, waiting around in hospitals, and the early days of recovery, would blossom into a year at college to gain my NCTJ qualification, a junior writers job, many freelance roles, radio broadcast opportunities, my first ever hosting gig and of course my beloved editorial position with The Guide Liverpool. All that from a slipped disc, not bad going huh?

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If I’ve learned one thing from this rollercoaster journey its that luck, Irish or otherwise can only get you so far. Hard work, determination and integrity are the real stepping stones to the top.

Here’s to St Patrick, and five more years!

x

 

 

 

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Sorry I’m Late…..

Slightly disgusted that it’s taken me until March 9th to post my first blog of 2017, but in all honesty, I’m late for most other things too.

Hello! Happy New Year, Happy Australia Day, Valentine’s Day and whatever else I’ve missed in the last few weeks. Assume you’ve all completely abandoned any New Years resolutions by now and are, like me, pretending to have a go at Lent instead? As well as being late for stuff I’m also incredibly undisciplined.

Moving swiftly on….

Global Scouse Day

2017 has been epic so far. I’m rushed off my feet with work as The Guide Liverpool goes from strength to strength. I’ve stepped in front of the camera on a number of occasions and (thanks to our ridiculously talented videographers) it looks like I did an okay job! Check out all the action from Global Scouse Day here. (Ps, scouse pizza is the bomb).

Lord Mayors Fashion Show

I’m (just about) still on course to show a capsule collection of military chic couture at The Lord Mayor of Liverpool’s Charity Fashion Show on March 30th at the Devonshire House Hotel. I’ve absolutely no idea how I’ve pulled this off because there really aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up!

Titanic

I did manage a little trip over to Belfast with my curly girl a couple of weekends ago. We had a ball exploring the city together and spending the best part of £50 on tacky gifts to bring back home. You can read our very serious review here.

Radio City Cash for Kids

Looking ahead, I’ve just become ‘Face 38’ in the Radio City Cash for Kids 1000 Faces Campaign. The charity are looking for 1000 local faces to sign up and raise just £100 each for local children and their families facing hardship. It’s an incredibly worthy cause, I’ve pledged my support and you can too here. Alternatively just give me some change or you know, like £100 the next time we meet up. That would be great thanks.

mathew street

Aside from work I’ve been back on the dating scene, which let me enlighten you, in your 30’s is an entirely different ball game to being 21 and full of confidence! Luckily Liverpool is an amazing city for a night out and any place you can dance your little heart out to an 80’s covers band until 2am on a Tuesday morning is alright with me….and him.Eric’s Mathew Street – You guys rock!

mcm comic con

I’m ridiculously excited to be reporting on MCM Comic Con Liverpool this weekend (March 11-12) and cant wait to be surrounded by passionate people (including my curly girl, mad RWBY fan) who nail their cosplay costumes every single time! How many Jokers do you reckon I can get a selfie with? Check out all the details of which TV stars are attending here.

mib awards dress

So lucky to be working with designer Alice James again after she ‘dressed’ me for last year’s Merseyside In Business Awards. This time I’m attending the James Bulger Memorial Trust Black Tie and Tiara Ball in support of my lovely friend, Jay Hynd as he hosts the star studded event, and Alice James has stepped in to help me update a vintage gown I fell in love with over a year ago…..all will be revealed on March 18th at the Crowne Plaza, Pier Head.

There’s tickets still available and if supporting the charity isn’t enough to make you snap up a ticket, boyband 5ive are headlining the entertainment! Tickets here.

Just don’t be late!

 

 

 

 

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I’m a Story-teller, whats your superpower?

It turns out I don’t have super powers in the traditional sense, I mean I can’t fly, nor can I become invisible, although I can turn into the HULK when my kids really try my patience!

I do have some super skills though, in the form of being able to turn my hand to a number of jobs which over the years have kept me afloat and helped me to turn situations into stories that engage with readers.

When I was studying to be the next Stella McCartney, I cleaned toilets at Broadgreen Hospital at the weekends to afford bolts of Calico for my first ever clothing collection. I’ve been a call centre operative, a kitchen assisant, a merchandiser, a sportswear sales assistant, a facilities manager, an administrator, a auditor, a receptionist and an exectuive PA.

Throughout all of these roles, I’ve stored the memories and drawn on them when looking for inspiration for characters and searching for examples to give to clients. Plus interviews no longer phase me.

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I’ve also juggled full-time parenting during these roles as my little brood expanded from 1 to 4 in just 10 years. Being a mlti-tasker comes as standard.

Being a Journalist is all I ever wanted to do. I worked hard during my NCTJ course, juggling classes, work experience and my children. Just a year since I started out I’ve picked up a tremendous amount of experience, some incredile contacts and ultimately my dream role.

What I love about freelance work is that its so unpredictable, the absolute opposite to how my home life works. Everything is regimented at home. From packed lunch boxes to bedtime routines, it’s all done to the letter……because it’s the only way I can get us all out of the house by 7:45am.

The other aspect of freelance work I like so much, is the relationship building. Some clients I work with on long projects that involve developing and implementing strategy over a number of months. Some I work with for just a day. No two days, nor clients are ever the same.

I absolutely love hearing people’s stories. How they came to be in business, what they sacrifice for the sake of providing a service or developing a product and being their own boss. The long hours, taking work home, never being able to switch off. It’s an exclusive gang that only those who are self-employed, or closesly related to those who are, really understand.

Helping people is second nature to some, and being able to support businesses with their admin, marketing, social media and advertising makes me happy. Whether its turning my hand to tax preparation or writing advertorial articles……or even hand writing 100 company Christmas cards, to know I’m relieveing a little of the workload gives me great job satisfaction.

Can I help you? Drop me a line katereillyjames@gmail.com

 

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Pen For Hire

I’m finding it really difficult to concentrate today what with minute by minute social media updates from all my favourite journo’s at London Fashion Week.

But in order to join them, I must develop my own empire….sleeves rolled up…

“No-one can be successful for you.”

The world of work is a fickle one, and how to go about securing employment has mutated into an unrecognisable beast since I was last looking for work.

I fondly remember leisurely activities such as leafing through the paper, circling the job ads I thought I had a good chance of getting and posting (yep people, actually going to the post office and posting) a CV and longhand covering letter……and waiting weeks for a reply.

Do you remember how the job centre used to be? Those wall-mounted boards with all the hand written job ads placed on them? You’d write down the reference number and talk at length with an advisor about your chances of getting the job and how a role in nuclear physics at Sellafield might not be the most suitable position. (Genuinely applied, must have been feeling particularly optimistic that day).

Fast-forward to 2016 and applying for jobs, contracts, gigs, whatever you want to call it, is most likely done from the comfort of your sofa, bed, kitchen table with a response likely within hours rather than weeks.

Turning recruitment on its head entirely, apps and sites such as LinkedIn encourages employers to find you! Interviews conducted via Skype and Face-Time are common place and ensuring your online presence is as squeaky clean as your interview outfit is paramount.

Networking has taken centre stage when it comes to self-promotion in the jobs market. Liverpool is more like a village than a city, as a population of incessant talkers (I was told I can talk for NATO earlier this week…adding that to my cv) just a friendly conversation can lead to all manner of connections as everyone seems linked somehow?!

I love nothing more than getting to know people and hearing about their work, which should stand me in good stead being a journalist, right? Well the time has come for me to test that theory as I step out of the ‘trainee’ shadows and make good on all the conversations and training I’ve had over the last few months.

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My first contract has been confirmed this week and I’m absolutely delighted to have been welcomed into the fold at The Guide, Liverpool. Joining a team that is dedicated to brining you the best ‘What’s Happening’ guide to our amazing city is a brilliant first step.

You can read my recent professional work in the Show Reel section of the site here.

 

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Eat Sleep WAHHHH Repeat

This weekend I suffered the ultimate shame. I had to listen to a stranger apologise for MY behaviour. I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life. This is how it came about.

I started the NCTJ course in early September and since then my feet have barely touched the ground! I’m on the go from 5am until 8pm most days, furiously scribbling shorthand exercises all over the Metro paper en route to college and consuming every possible headline on Twitter. Lessons involve British history, political debate, discussing media law cases and commentating on football matches, plus learning hieroglyphics……no wait sorry…I mean shorthand (which after four weeks I’m finally beginning to get my head around).

It’s hard work and I’m not ashamed to say some days I feel like I’m struggling to keep up. I come tearing out of college after hours of lessons to collect my three kids from nursery and school to go straight home and start dinner, feed them, clear up, tell them to quit bickering and pulling hair, start the bath and bedtime routine, throw the hoover around, while soaking up the tidal wave in the bathroom and wiping sticky finger marks off the TV and then pack bags for the following day and set out clean uniforms. Once they’re all in bed after four requests for a drink, a wee and yet another raucous rendition of Room on The Broom I can finally sit down to look over the days notes and try to retain least a little bit of the information I’ve learned. Sound familiar? It’s all go……well until it all stopped, on Saturday.

I was taken to The Royal Liverpool Hospital by paramedics Eddie and Rich, who after learning that I’m a trainee journalist, went on to tell me just how deeply the NHS cuts were being felt by staff and patients. It’s a sorry tale, and one I intend on writing up in detail in the coming weeks. (See Eddie, told you I’d give you a mention)

The medical staff in A&E worked out I was suffering from some kind of virus and left me with a dainty little cardboard pot in a busy triage while they prepped my paperwork. It was at this exact point that I lost control of my faculties. Feeling a wave of heat rising rapidly from my feet I tried in vain to get my Superdry hoody off over my head……only to faint forwards out of the chair and vomit all over the shoes of two ladies sat to my left. The last thing I remember is a nurse running towards me saying ‘Oh dear, I’m so sorry about that’

I came around a minute of so later laying on a bed feeling utterly horrendous and being glared at by two angry-looking ladies wiping their shoes with paper towels. Not my finest hour. It turns out I have a stomach ulcer and coughing up blood all weekend is a symptom of doing something wrong! I’d run myself into the ground, my diet was pretty disgusting and trying to be the best at everything clearly wasn’t working out.

Armed with a medicine haul Walter White would be proud of, I’m now back at home resting up. I’ve come up with a better strategy to still be awesome at everything but also to take better care of myself too. And the silver lining….easy weight loss!

Thank you so very much to everyone who looked after me. Paramedics Eddie and Rich, A&E staff Laura, Kayleigh and Rob and especially to the lovely catering lady who said she’s save me chicken curry and rice in case I got my appetite back. Legends!

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Educating Caroline

The beauty of having a blog is being able to write and share the things I’m passionate about and topping that list is family. Earlier this week my extended family got together at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral to celebrate my younger sister Caroline and her graduation from John Moore’s University….with an impressive 2:1 in Psychology. Although she switched degree from Journalism after year one, I’ve no doubt Caroline will utilise her junior hack skills and psychometric testing methods to become the North West’s answer to April O’Neill (She watched a lot of Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and Diagnosis Murder as a kid)

Caroline & Kate

          Congratulations Caroline!!

I wish I’d known what I wanted to do from a young age, I’m envious of those who transition from school or university on a career path they are dedicated to and focused on. It’s taken me turning 32 to really knuckle down and decide what I want to do and more importantly what I can do with my future. Ultimately I want my kids to grow up seeing me work hard to meet my goals and for them to be proud of me. The greatest gift my Mum has given me is my work ethic, she too is a grafter and I want my kids to have that attitude towards getting what they want through hard work and effort.

Caroline, the youngest of three is the only one to complete a degree, as my older brother and I left education at HND level to pursue very different paths in the Civil Service and overseas. Typically we’ve come full circle and found the only way to truly get the work/life balance right is through ongoing learning and development and not by chasing the elusive 6 figure salary. The cost of education is soaring, and bursaries and grants are almost none existent for our age bracket making it practically impossible to take a career break to retrain. With yet more changes to the welfare system scheduled for the next academic year, the time to learn is now.

After much soul-searching, a number of Open University short courses and hundreds of emails to The City of Liverpool College, I am officially a proper, 100% student again in September as I embark on the NCTJ accreditation course and the first step to becoming a fully fledged Journalist. I’ve not been this excited since my friend Graeme told me Tom Hardy was in Size? on Bold Street! I’m already learning Teeline Shorthand and trying to get my head around McNae’s Law in Journalism tome….and despite it being challenging, it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages. AND…..the icing on the cake? Caroline and I are classmates……cue ‘You can’t sit with us’ meme’s a plenty on our Facebook accounts.

I’m ridiculously proud to say my brother is also returning to college in September to show the world what a truly gifted artist he is…no really we’re not just being supportive in that way families do….if he was crap we’d have told him by now! His earlier work in super car design,  still life and wicked comic illustrations are effortless and we’re all sick and tired of harping on about how he should do something with his talent. Finally, after 14 years in London, the daily slog of the civil service has ground him down to appreciate his natural flair and he’s raring to go. Watch this space for updates on his work…also if you want a 9ft tall My Little Pony/Marvel mural painting on your bedroom wall….he’s your guy!

So here’s to Caroline, so proud of you and love you very much. You’ve inspired me and Andy to try again x

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Best Foot Forward

Over the last year I have suffered a brutal break up, I’ve kept a dignified silence on my social media accounts and even attempted reconciliation..but here’s the truth…I’ve broken up with shoes. I mean obviously I still wear them. I’m all for starting new trends but going barefoot in a big sprawling city is unlikely to catch on.

In my late teens I was swept off my feet. Finally freed from the school regulation low heel brogues and ballet flats, I fell in love with brands like Dune, Jones The Boot-maker and Ravel. l owned 130 pairs of shoes by my 17th birthday…..a constant source of drama between emerging fashionista and my practical shoe wearing, shift-working mum. Being taller than your average 17-year-old sixth-former (5ft 10′) I instantly loved wearing heels to further enhance my height and my passion for Mary-Jane’s showed no signs of slowing as I transitioned into my twenties and the world of office wear. I’d look down on those wearing kitten heels to work, thinking i was superior for being able to wear heels for the 9-5 day. I felt unstoppable.

The relationship grew intense with purchases of high-end, iconic footwear to mark the biggest events of my twenties. Dolce & Gabbana neon strappy heels, Vivienne Westwood pirate boots and a pair of the most stunning gold Gina courts among a sea of weekly high street purchases from River Island, Topshop and New Look…..I bought a designer pair for each of my children coming into the world (a Hallmark card clearly wouldn’t do)  I routinely take them from their dust covers now and admire them. (The shoes, not my kids)

So what changed, where did it all go wrong? In a nutshell I stopped making an effort for my shoes…and myself. I let myself get out of shape and stopped dressing up as much. I found solace in Nike and Converse, addicted to the comfort and less likely to break an ankle benefits of wearing flat shoes again. I also have a double Phil & Teds buggy to contend with on a daily basis and the 4 mile nursery/school round trip would take me twice as long in a pair of KG platforms. I felt resentful. Heels are a nuisance in my busy world of being a mum and championship multi-tasker. Elated to read about celebs breaking with tradition and rules at Cannes and rocking metallic, jeweled flats on the red carpet, I was convinced that it’s perfectly fine to live in flat shoes…

But oh the glamour of a svelte black platform court with a seductive red sole and those beautifully cursive letter spelling out Christian Louboutin…Carrie Bradshaw’s midnight blue jewel encrusted Manolo’s…..even Cinderella had it nailed back in 1950…… Oh heels I miss you!

Now that I’ve succumbed to practicality I realise just how much joy I gained from wearing impractical shoes. My confidence soared, my legs looked great and I felt young.

I’ve vowed to change, I’m only 32, we can get back to the good old times, I’m sure. By way of counselling I’ve booked myself and my favourite D&G neon’s into The V&A Shoes: Pleasure & Pain exhibition to rediscover my passion……and possibly my youth.

Wish me luck

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