Monday, 2 September 2013

Girl Tips: Dressing for an Interview

Here is a list of tips I have compiled, designed to help in making an outfit decision for an interview. The idea is to look smart, whilst feeling comfortable, and not wearing something that will distract you.

  1. Wear an outfit you are used to. If you generally wear trousers and a blouse/shirt/nice top, do this. If you're comfortable in dresses or a skirt, and you have something suitable, wear it. What you don't want to do is find a new outfit the day before your interview, in a style you've never worn before. You'll be constantly worried about how you look, and it will detract from your performance.

  2. Think about the colours you will wear. I have a standard - I always wear black trousers for "smart occasions". I know they look sensible, and I don't have to worry too much about whether the colour makes me look an odd shape or if it highlights my butt/legs the wrong way. Also, you might not want to wear light colours as you may get something on them. Food, dirt, accidentally rub against your car or sit in something on the train... any way you look at it, it's generally safer to wear darker colours. On the other hand, you could wear a lighter coloured top, and wear a cardigan or jacket. Then when you are safely to the interview location you can take your jacket off and display your nicely picked (and hopefully not nicely creased) top selection.

  3. Think about things like whether you get very hot and clammy. The colour/material you choose makes a huge difference if you end up stressing out, ending up hot and bothered, or if it is just a stuffy day. This is where it does come in handy to wear a white blouse or shirt - it is less likely to show damp patches. Alternatively wearing a cardigan into the interview might be a good option if you don't end up actually overheating. 100% cotton is a nice material that allows your skin to breathe. However, if you are a clammy person, careful you don't pick an older white top with unattractive pit stains...

  4. Pick something in your size. It's very tempting to choose something in the lowest size you can fit into, sometimes because it makes you feel good, sometimes because it holds you in in all of the right places. But you must do a couple of tests before buying that outfit. Top on this list... can you sit in it? If you can't sit down without fear of ripping the outfit, if you are in pain or if you have unsightly bulges in the wrong places, you need to reconsider the size you are buying. In addition, usually the size that fits most comfortably is the one that looks the best on you, too. Who needs to know what the number says?

  5. Don't wear revealing clothing. You might have the nicest pair of boobs in the world, or maybe your legs DO go up to here (*indicates shoulders*) but you don't want to distract the interviewer, who may not appreciate you showing off your body in such a serious setting. Try to keep it modest, and remember, sexiness can be achieved without flashing. Sometimes it's what's hidden that makes for a sexier outfit!

  6. Pick sensible shoes. There are any number of reasons for this. It's lovely if you can walk well in heels in any given situation, be it over hot coals, a stroll on the beach, mountain climbing or the 100m dash, but for those of us without that "superpower", it's important to remember a few things:
    • Can you drive in those shoes? (You can keep a change of shoes in the car)
    • Can you stand/walk in those shoes all day if you had to?
    • You might be given a tour of the building. Can you climb stairs in those shoes or walk through offices without looking stupid or tripping up?
    • What is the interview for? Is there a chance you could be shown/asked about things such as inventory checks or warehousing? Those looking for these types of job will want to show they can make sensible shoe choices going in.
    A little heel wouldn't be the end of the world if you're wearing a nice dress or skirt and want to augment your legs. But just be aware that you never know what they are going to ask you to do.

  7. Accessorise smart. Wear enough jewellery that you feel you have done your carefully considered ensemble proud, especially if you have picked a lot of sober, sensible items and just want to glam it up a little, or even just to look a bit more feminine. Don't wear jewellery you are going to fiddle with, as it distracts you and it distracts the interviewer. Long necklaces are my weakness! Dangly earrings can be distracting in and of themselves. Bracelets can be noisy, or you may fiddle. If you're asked to do a typing task or any kind of interview tests, bracelets not only distract you with their scraping and tapping, but also other people in the room. This could be other interviewees, or it could be office staff trying to get on with their work, which might contribute to their decision to hire you!

  8. Don't wear too much make-up. Wear what you would usually wear out during the day. Smothering on your night time getup can come across as either overdressed/trying to hard, or just not well thought out. Looking fresh faced is great - and can be done with natural looking make-up or with minimal effort. Fake lashes, heaps of blusher and orange foundation don't give off the right impression if you're looking to be taken seriously in an office environment. 

  9. Try for a no-fuss hair style. You can take as long as you want actually getting it ready, but what you will probably want to do is be able to touch it up or straighten up as easily as possible once you get to the destination. Something you can quickly run your hairbrush/comb through, or something you can fix quickly with your hands, is the easiest situation. If you have frizzy hair and you straighten it, try to use products that make the style last longer like frizz-ease, straight serum, mousse or hair spray. If it's wet out, take an umbrella. Don't wind your windows down during the drive if it's going to blow your hair about. And if you're really worried about your hair staying tidy in a loose style, tie it back into a plait, a ponytail or some other up-do that keeps it out of your face and from messing up, whilst styling the front to look like you've made an effort rather than scraping it together.

  10. Finally, get a second opinion. If you're worried how you look, or what you're doing with your hair, or what shoes you should be wearing, ask a friend you trust to be honest with you to give you their opinion. But ask them with plenty of notice - if they give you constructive criticism you want to have the time to review your choices, even if it means shopping again!

Good luck landing that job!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Raan Masaledar

This is a recipe my mum and stepdad made one day. We were staying at their house and they said "there's some leftover meat in the fridge, help yourself" before going away for the night. We thought, ok, sounds good. We loved it SO much, we made it ourselves. Twice!

 The recipe can be found at ichef.com, but I'll transpose it here for ease of reference. The recipe is for a curried leg of lamb, marinated in spices for 24 hours and roasted for 2.5ish in the oven. I'd say it's not necessarily difficult, but it takes a while to do the preparatory work, and you may benefit from a bit of experience in working with meat, and in grinding spices.

I really think it is in your interests to read the whole thing before embarking on this "journey" so that you have an idea of preparation time.

If I have a picture on my home computer I'll upload it later.

Ingredients:
Leg of lamb 5 lbs
Blanched almonds 2 oz
Coarsely chopped onions 1/2 lb
Garlic cloves 8
root ginger, peeled, chopped 4 inches
Green chillies, chopped 4
Plain yoghurt 20 fl.oz.
Cumin seed, ground (grinding the seeds taste/smell stronger than "ground cumin". 2 tbsp
Coriander seed, ground (as above) 4 tsp
Cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp
Salt 3 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp
Vegetable Oil 6 tbsp
Whole cloves 1/2 tsp
Cardamom pods 16
2" cinnamon stick 1
Black peppercorns 10

Garnish:
Sultanas 4 tsp
Blanched almonds, slivered 1/2 oz

I hope you like messy cooking!

Before you start: if the lamb is vacuum packed, it smells less if you open it under water.

1.  Make sure that all the fat has been trimmed from the outside of the leg and that most of the fell (parchment-like white skin) has been pulled off.
 NB This took me an hour the first time, and almost 3 hours the second time! I think it really depends on the lamb itself, and on your own thoroughness.
Put the leg in a baking dish made, preferably, of pyrex or stainless steel.


2.  Put the 2 oz. almonds, onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies, and 3 tablespoons of the yoghurt into the container of a food processor or blender and blend until you have a paste. Put the remaining yoghurt into a bowl.
NB The first time I did this I didn't have access to a blender. Instead, I ground all of the spices with the end of a rolling pin in a dish and mixed them into the yoghurt. The onions, ginger and chilli were grated or chopped finely, and the garlic was pressed/minced.


3. Beat lightly with a fork or a whisk until it is smooth and creamy. Add the paste from the processor, the cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and garam masala.



4. Mix. Push some of the spice paste into all the openings in the lamb. Be quite generous. (I forgot to say, you need to ask the butcher to make a deep pocket to hold a "stuffing", in this case, some spice paste mixture, or make a pocket yourself).
NB I just cut some pretty deep slashes in the meat and fill them to the brim with this paste!There's also part of the meat that is generally "separate" to the rest, I tuck the paste behind this meat, too.
Spread the paste evenly on the underside of the leg (the side that originally had less fat.) Now, using a small, sharp, pointed knife make deep slashes in the meat, and push in the spice paste with your fingers.


5. Turn the leg over so its outer side (the side that was once covered with fat) is on the top. Spread a very thick layer of paste over it. Again, make deep slashes with the knife and push the spice paste into the slashes. Pour all the remaining spice paste over and around the meat. Cover with plastic cling film and refrigerate for 24 hours.

6. Take the baking dish with the meat out of the refrigerator and let the meat come to room temperature. Remove the cling film. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium flame. When hot, put in the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and peppercorns. When the cloves swell - this takes just a few seconds - pour the hot oil and spices over the leg of lamb. (The spices jump and spit in the oil quite a lot - make sure your arms and counter are well protected).

7. Preheat the oven gas mark 6, 400 F. Cover the baking dish tightly either with its own lid or with a large piece of aluminium foil. Bake, covered, for 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Baste 3-4 times with the sauce during this period.




8. Scatter, or arrange in a pattern, the sultanas and the 1/2 oz. almonds over the top of the leg and bake for another 5-6 minutes.

9. Remove the baking dish from the oven and let it sit in a warm place for 15 minutes. Take the leg out of the pan and set it on a warm platter. Spoon off all the fat from the top of the sauce. Use a slotted spoon and fish out all the whole spice in the sauce. Discard the spices. Pour the sauce around the leg.

This isn't my picture but it comes out looking something like this:



A fantastic meal for around 4 people, when you have a special occasion to celebrate. Serve as you like - we serve it with aromatic rice, but I think mashed potato would also work well.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Nu shues

I was asked if I would sell shoes on my website.

Wan nu sues? Top dora.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Sponsored Walk for Marie Curie Cancer Care

When: 10th August 2013             Where: Beaulieu

When a family member gets sick, we all want them to be looked after with the best care and attention possible.


Marie Curie cancer care looks after all of their needs, but obviously it costs money. £20 could pay for Marie Curie to nurse someone with a terminal illness in the comfort of their own home for one hour, giving them the hands-on care they so desperately need.


We will miss Bob Tilley and Fred Cardy greatly, but knowing that their lives were made more comfortable by a charity like Marie Curie helps us to feel like someone was looking out for them when they needed it most.



Please click the image below to help me to raise money for this charity so that they can provide care to others in need.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Vue Complaint (Wreck-It Ralph)

This rating is for the CINEMA, not the film. Film review to come shortly under the "Film Reviews" tab.

I've waited since this came out for a subtitled viewing to come up. The only subtitled viewing I have found so far within a 15 mile radius of Eastleigh is at Cineworld, Southampton, at 11:10 on a Sunday morning, meaning that not only do you have to get into town early to watch it (Cinema is still an evening treat for us) but you can't take advantage of Orange Wednesdays for a subtitled screening.

How is this acceptable? The release date for this film in the U.S. was (at the latest) 17 November 2012. Why hasn't the U.K. been sent the U.S. subtitles? I find it hard to believe that they are still without subtitles for this film. How hard is transposing a script to the screen? No way does it take 4 months.

In addition to this, from day one the latest viewing time (even on Orange Wednesdays, when they could take more bookings than other days of the week) was 6:30pm! Who has time to get home from work, change, eat, and go to the cinema for 6:30? Not to mention the 6:30 show being sold out on a Wednesday anyway.

Get your act together, Vue. Get hold of those subtitles when the film comes out. This is not exactly making your cinema "accessible" for the disabled, is it? And have more viewing times available for big releases!

We are regular customers but this will change in favour of other cinemas if you don't pull your socks up.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

War Horse: 7/10




Release Date: 13th January 2012
Length: 2 hours 26 minutes
Rating: 12A










Beginning on a farm in Devon in early 1900, a foal is born in front of a young boy who lives on the neighbouring farm with his parents. The foal grows up to become a beautiful thoroughbred, but is separated from its mother when it is sold at the weekly auction in town. The boy's father falls in love with it and buys it with all the money he has, despite the fact that he needs a plough horse, not a show horse. The landlord knows the family is now out of money, and threatens to take the farm from them if they do not plough the field. The young boy resolves to train the horse and save the family, and teaches it to come when it is whistled to. He names him Joey.

War strikes, and the horse is sold to the army to make money for the family and to meet the demands the war places on the population of England. The whole film from here is a tale of how the horse trades hands from one person to the next in its journey from Devon to Germany, through Italy and France. The horrors of war, and the strain placed on horses in particular, are shown through the eyes of the beautiful thoroughbred.

This film, whilst obviously a war film, is more about the journey of the horse and the interactions he has with each person he meets on the way. Whilst some scenes show destruction and pain caused by the war, there is little blood and no "guts and gore" in this film. Any direct killing is cleverly averted through tricks of the camera, and therefore is not so horrible to watch.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching War Horse, despite the lenth of the film. We watched it at the cinema yesterday (18th January) but I think this one will translate nicely to the family screen for a nice night in with a packet of popcorn.

However, Jeremy Irvine is a newcomer to the screen, and whilst Emily Watson and Peter Mullan play the parents well, Benedict Cumberpatch and Tom Hiddleston shine through in this film as the General and Officer in the army, and David Thewlis plays an excellent landlord, I feel there really was room for improvement where the actors/casting was concerned. Joey the War Horse really stole the show and whilst he is played by 11 different horses throughout the production, each scene really makes you feel for the horse.

I vote it a 7 out of 10. What did you think? Please vote below and leave a comment with your thoughts.