The job hunt dilemma: something I could do vs something I love

Firstly, my apologies for my shoddiness of blogging over the past few days. I have two that have been written but they ideally need photos to go with them, and of course my camera is on the blink. But I shall tinker with it tonight and attempt to get them up there - this may be a very blog-tastic week.

Anyway, today's blog, which was inspired by this weekend's visit to London and a long gossipy afternoon with my best friend over lunch and cake. As I've mentioned previously, she recently got a job working in London - nothing fancy, just admin for a training company, but so far she seems to be really enjoying it and is good at it, to the extent she's in line for a promotion within the next few months (which I am chuffed to bits for her about) - and she has inspired me to get my bum into gear and start applying for jobs again, as I've been really terrible about that over the last few months. I could use the excuse that life got in the way, but to be honest it hasn't; I'd just rather spend my evenings watching trashy telly and relaxing. But no more!

So I've started seriously looking at job websites over the past couple of days, and there is plenty of decent stuff out there. I've spotted a couple of writing jobs for charities, plus an internship writing for a consumer website, which would be perfect for me as it would enable me to write for my living and boost my profile in that area. However, they're either paid too highly for a second job, or they're only short term contracts - anything from three months to a year - but that's still a foot in the door for future writing jobs. On the other hand, there are also a fair few admin jobs knocking around for good companies, but the pay is nowhere near as good as some of the writing jobs and I'd have to use leave to develop the writing side of it through internships and training courses. Then again, I'd be in London and I'd have a job to go to rather than temping, which to be honest is where I want to be - at the risk of sounding melodramatic, the closer actually moving gets the further away it seems. (I should also add that there's absolutely nothing wrong with temping, but I'd just feel more secure if I knew I had a job waiting.) I'll probably still apply, because I've got nothing to lose by doing that and getting an interview, but it's what happens after the interview. I think it's also tangled up with getting a job I realised I didn't actually want when I was in an 'I just want to be in London' mode previously and turning it down, and feeling like the next job in London I get I'll have to take, whatever it is.

So, is it better to take a job I could do, even though the pay might not be fantastic and it might not be my 'dream', whilst using leave to do internships and writing courses, or to hang on for something closer to what I'd like to do with my life and write for a living? I suspect that the decision will be made for me if I don't get something before I leave, as temp jobs for writers aren't exactly ten a penny, but I'd really like to know people's thoughts. In the meantime, I'm off to finish a job application...

Today I am mainly blogging about feet.

Not as horrible as it sounds, honest!

As many of you will know, I am a member of an internet forum which originated out of its members' love for the shop Lush and its products, so we like our beauty goodies. Whilst I wouldn't describe myself as a beauty junkie per se, I'm always up for trying new things to make myself look and feel better. So yesterday, I met up with a few people from said forum, and after steadying our nerves with caffeine we headed off to Appy Feet, which has recently opened up near where I lived. If you hadn't already guessed, it offers fish pedicures - basically, you put your bare feet in a tank of water filled with fish which nibble the dead skin off your feet. Now I appreciate that might be a bit, "Urgh no!" for some people, but I've got really dry skin on my heels and figured that you only live one, so I'd give it a bash.

When you arrive they take some information, mainly medical stuff but nothing too detailed, and then you wait until a space becomes available (they have the tanks of fish in sets of four, and three of each set). You're given a space to hang up your coat, and then asked to take your shoes and socks off and don a very fetching pair of Crocs - also a new experience for me - to walk to the foot washing area, wash your feet and walk back. Then you sit on a banquette next to the tank, take the Crocs off, swivel round and lower your feet into the warm tank of water.

It's a bt of an odd feeling to start with - almost like tickling but not quite, kind of bubbly. I have very ticklish feet and I didn't find it made me want to instantly jerk my feet out of the water, although at first it was a very odd sensation as they all rush to your feet but later on they spread out a bit more. I did keep twitching my feet though as they seemed to really like the gaps between my toes and I was a bit paranoid they'd get stuck! It helped that I was talking to the other people having it done as well as that kind of takes your mind off it - the thought occured to me whilst I was getting it done that it would be really good for something like a hen party, where you might not all know each other and it would be a great ice breaker, although when I was there people of all ages were having a go, including young couples and a mother with her daughter.

After our time was up (which was right when I was actually starting to get quite into it!) we were given towels to dry our feet with and then put our shoes and socks back on. I instantly noticed that my feet felt 'lighter', as airy-fairy as that sounds, and that there was an improvement - although the really dry bits on my heels aren't totally gone they are much better than they were this morning, and the bits I thought were OK but that the fish loved, like under my arch and around my toes, are really smooth. At £10 for 15 minutes I think it's an absolute bargain and I'll definitely be going back. Highly recommended.

So, to continue the theme of pampering my feet for today, I spent yesterday evening painting my toenails. I bought some polish from the Accessorize stand in Superdrug, in a lovely shade called Aztec - it's kind of like a glittery purple but goes all different colours like green and gold when the light hits it. As part of my plans to take care of myself better this year, I've developed a bit of a thing for nail polish. I was never a particularly girly girl when I was younger, and I'm still not really, but in the past six months or so I've started wearing dresses and skirts more and playing with make-up and generally being a bit more bothered about what I look like. Nail polish has been a big part of that - I love playing with different colours to get different looks, but weirdly I prefer painting my toes to my nails, partly because I always seem to wreck my fingernail polish and partly because, in an odd way, I like having something that no-one else knows about. Sadly my camera was on the blink so no pictures, but stay tuned and I'll see what I can come up with...

Film Review: WALL-E

One of my many goals for this year was to watch more movies - I'm ideally aiming for one a week but am prepared to let that drop to once every two weeks, depending what else is going on in my life. So to kick things off, the first movie I saw this year, on New Year's Day in fact, was WALL-E.

For those who've been living under a rock for the past couple of years, WALL-E is the story of the last robot on Earth who's been employed to do a clean-up job after the humans abandoned the trash-covered planet. He's oblivious to his fate and happy enough (if a little lonely) collecting mementoes and watching Hello Dolly. Then he finds a plant and is visited by another robot called EVE, which sends the two of them off on an adventure through space that will change the destiny of mankind...

First off, it looks absolutely stunning, as all Pixar movies do, even back in the early days of Toy Story which achieved that rare thing of a computer animation that didn't look like a computer. The devastated trash-covered Earth which WALL-E inhabits looks amazing, and the starkly beautiful rendering of outer space - all deep blues smattered with stars - contrasts wonderfully with the bright, flashy yet still somehow cold interior of the Axiom. Full credit to that art department for an absolutely sterling job.

Equally, it's a wonderful love story between our robotic Romeo and Juliet, WALL-E and EVE. Pixar hadn't previously told a love story - or at least not on such simple terms, though I suppose it's arguable that there are elements of that in the earlier movies but they've been more like marriages than pure romance - but this is possibly the best one they've ever done. Every moment between them is incredibly tender for two lumps of metal, from WALL-E's issues pronouncing EVE's name when they first meet, to his showing here around his home, right down to his unswerving loyalty when she goes back to the Axiom - something she later repays in kind. Even when she's angry with him, he persists in expressing his feelings for her in a way that would be stalkerish in a human but is oddly cute in a wide-eyed yellow robot. And their dance scene outside the Axiom is possibly one of the finest things Pixar have ever done.

I think that's also indicative of what WALL-E represents in the evolution of Pixar, as in that it began to make its heartstring-tugging overt rather than hiding it under the laughs. The themes of the movie - loss (granted this is fairly regular in Pixar, but I doubt it's been this explicit before), love, environmentalism and a slightly Terminator-esque note about letting machines take over - are pretty and even a little on the dark side for what's ostensibly a kids' movie, but at the same time there are some wonderful moments about friendship and working as a team, such as the fight back against Auto and the bots. It does sag a little about two-thirds of the way through, but is ultimately a gorgeous-looking and wonderfully fine romance.

The times they are a-changing

(When in doubt, always quote Bob Dylan.)

There's been a fair bit of upheaval in my life over the past couple of days. Firstly, my boyfriend chose to announce - on New Year's Eve, in front of all our friends, so no pressure! - that he hoped we'd all be celebrating it in our own flat, as in one that we'd bought. He's recently come into a fair bit of money from an inheritance, and whilst I knew he'd thought about buying property with it but it was always along the lines of buying somewhere to rent out and making a living off it that way. We've discussed it a little bit further and think we'll probably buy early next year, once we've lived together for a bit and the market has started to pick up so we wouldn't be in negative equity but would still be able to afford somewhere in the area where he lives now but a little bit nicer.

I am ridiculously excited about this - I've been wanting to live with my boyfriend for ages, and I admit that I have a serious inner decorator in me that's itching to get out (I'm currently in the process of moving back into my old bedroom and am loving sorting out the decor). Plus, in a very sad way, owning our own home feels like a 'proper' grown-up thing to do, especially considering how young we'll be if we buy when we plan to, at 24 and 25. However, I'm fully aware that owning your own home is a major responsibility, as well as all the legal stuff that goes with it as obviously my boyfriend will be putting in most if not all of the money to buy the place. But we'll see how it goes, and it's still an exciting step to be taking together.

The other big change is that my best friend has got a job in London and has moved down there, which is giving me some mixed emotions to wrestle with. I don't want this to become a 'woe is me' blog, but whilst I am absolutely over the moon for her as she's been desperate to move down there I still feel a bit like it should have been me first because I've been trying to get there for months. On the other hand, I know that's my own fault for not applying to enough stuff recently and the fact I'm picky about what I want to do and what I'd need to earn to have a reasonable quality of life in London. I think because - dare I say it? - I'm restless here, both in the job and my living situation, I want a chance to stretch myself and feel challenged again. And the way I'm going to get that is by continuing looking for work in London - after all, one hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in (to quote Wayne Gretzky). Whilst I do miss my best friend and dislike her not being around the corner, she's always at the end of the phone, and it's only a few more weeks before we'll be able to see each other all the time.
Oh, and the resolutions are fairly mixed so far - I've seen two films I hadn't watched before (Wall-E and Scott Pilgrim vs the World, reviews coming soon), bought a couple of new bits to further my outfit ideas and have fired off two more job applications, but the reading hasn't done so well and has mostly been trash. *blushes* Still, we're only four days in. There's plenty of time yet...