What came from the lockdowns

I was reading a post this week and it inspired me to write about what I got out of 2020 lockdowns.

As everyone knows 2020 was a rough year. We were all put through the ringers time and time again. Fear, the unknown, frustration and many more emotions coursing through all of us, made for an exhausting year.

Instead of holding onto all those negative emotions, I want to tell you about the positive things I got from that time.

Not many of you know that before lockdown last year, I was quite a crocheter (yes it’s not only for grannies 🤣🧶). When I was furloughed I had all this time on my hands and nowhere to go, so I decided to get my hobby really going. What a stress reliever it is. Something to focus your mind on and at the end you have a beautiful project to show. I learnt about ‘Amigurumi‘ (sounds weird I know), a Japanese technique of knitting or crocheting toys. I couldn’t believe how much fun it is to make toys from a ball of yarn and stuffing.

Some of my little creations 🥰

There’s nothing quite like making something special from scratch for someone special.

I hadn’t been happy in my job for a while by the time we went into lockdown and I needed to find something that better suited me. This is when I found Virtual assistant work. Can you believe being able to do what you enjoy on your own schedule and from wherever you are. I loved that thought. As you saw in my last post, I started my own Virtual assistant business 🙌 and love the freedom it provides.

This one will be a little confusing for many of you, but growing up in Zimbabwe where days consisted of 16-18hour power cuts. Being stuck at home all the time, I began to realize how grateful I was that I’m here in the UK where electricity and internet is never an issue. Still makes me laugh how a basic commodity can be so impactful when you know what it’s like to go without.

A friend and colleague in the virtual assistant mentoring course I did, encouraged me to start a blog. Boy was I scared to do that (hilarious) but I have realized that I really enjoy it and how could I not mention it when talking about what I got out of lockdown.

I got onto LinkedIn to build a network and have met some fantastic people from all over the world and all over our little island. The global village is getting smaller for us all with all the amazing technology we have now. Can you imagine being in lockdown in the 1800s 😳.

Just a few things I learnt and had a new appreciation for during such a tense, difficult year. I hope you can see some positive things from your time in lockdown.

Until next time…

Down the road

Five years down the line and it’s hard to believe how far I have come. I have worked in different sectors and different job styles. Some were fun and some not so much.

From working in a toy shop (basically playing with toys all day and using the excuse of ‘I’m showcasing them’ to my boss, who thought it was hilarious), to being a barista in 2 major coffee chains, to working in hospitality and office environments, I have ventured into the online world.

When Covid hit in 2020 (which was supposed to be a good year🤣), I realized the future of business was going to be online. After doing some research, I settled on a Virtual assistant diploma with Pitman training (Click here to check it out, really fantastic course).

When I lost my full time office job, it was the jolt I needed to start my VA business. My office job had become the source of all my misery and unhappiness and it was a relief to be free of it.

With mentorship from the wonderful Kellie Williams at At the drop of a Hat VA matching services (Click here to check out the services she provides), I have launched my business, Firebird VA, and am now in the process of building a network and honing my skills to find my ideal client and start this wonderful journey I have embarked on.

Always remember, a Phoenix has to burn before it can rise again. This is what I have based my business on. I had to walk through difficulties and unhappiness (the fire) to emerge on the other side as a phoenix ready to face this brave new world.

Christmas time 🎄

Well Christmas has come around again and 2020 Christmas has been an interesting one. The concept of a cold Christmas is still quite foreign for me. Growing up in the southern hemisphere, I’m used to Christmas falling right in the middle of summer.

My first Christmas in the UK was so bizarre. I couldn’t get my head around being cold but I made sure I had a Christmas jumper ready.

I love dressing up, it makes Christmas that much more fun.

I got to spend my first Christmas with my aunt and uncle. It was my chance to get to know my extended family and build a relationship with them that remains strong to this day.

This time of year, however we each celebrate it, reminds us that family is of the utmost importance. I am so grateful to have the family I have and the family I have had the chance to get to know and make such strong relationships with over my time here.

I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New year. Let’s enter 2021 with a new determination to face what is to come.

Bring on the peeps

Moving to a new city can be pretty scary. Especially when you don’t know a solitary soul. I started by going to a church that was recommended to me by a friend of my mum’s.

To the surprise of people who know me, I’m actually pretty shy and don’t like to be in a situation where I have no one to talk to, so this was a big thing for me to do.

I remember sitting in my seat after the service people watching, something I love doing, and a lady came up and introduced herself to me. Little did I know at that time this lady was going to become one of my best friends pretty quickly. We got chatting and met up for coffee and instantly clicked.

We set up a weekly series night where I introduced her to the joys of Downton Abbey. Our friendship really blossomed from these evenings. It then moved on to spontaneous days to Cheddar gorge, gearing up with goggles and masks to upscale furniture and days in the park or heading to the beach randomly.

A friendship better than most 💖

From there, I met more and more amazing people and got into my first job here in Bath and that’s when I started to settled into my new home ❤️

The best of the best

I’m going to go off topic a little today because it is a beautiful sister’s birthday and I wanted to share a bit about her with you all..

2 years and 2months older than me, Alana has always been my fiercest protector and loving sister, but also the bossiest of all (a teacher right from the word go) 🤣.

We were pretty cute hey?

My mother tells me that Alana wasn’t upset or worried when I arrived, apparently she was pretty chuft. A child born to be a big sister.

I praise her yes because she is amazing, but she did also relish in the fact that I basically hero worshipped her and believed everything she said. One time really sticks out in my mind where she was getting annoyed with having her little sister follow her around and we were at the house of some very close family friends. All us kids had sat down to watch a movie while the parents played canaster, and my wonderful sister told me the movie we were going to watch was a ‘No under 10 movie’ (I was 8). She instructed me to sit in the corridor. Boy was I gullible when it came her. Another one was ‘Pepper smells nice’ (Debbie take a huge sniff)🤦‍♀️.

All through school she was my fiercest protector. Whenever someone tried bullying me, she sorted them out. I was always known as Alana’s sister ☺️.

The first big change for us came when she moved out to go to university. That was so hard to face. The first night she spent in dorms I spent 2 hours solid crying in the car after we left her there and went to our hotel. She was going to be so far away and I hated that (She went to uni in a different country and it took 3 days to drive there).

Then came a big year in our family, 2010. I turned 18 in the January, mum turned 50 in the July and Alana turned 21 in the November. Big year.

Celebrating with our favourite shot, a Springbok (peppermint liquor and amarula)

What a blast that year was!! In amongst this all happening, Alana fell in love. Enter James into our lives. The big brother I never had.

The next big change in our lives ❤️

They have now been married for 8 years, living in the beautiful Australia. Both happy, both successful.

I can honestly say even with the fighting each other, we have also fought for each other. We are completely different in personalities, bit like chalk and cheese, but I couldn’t have asked for a better person to be my big sister❤️.

Experience the streets walked by a legend

I arrived in the beautiful city of Bath on the 1st February, so it was still in the throws of my first winter in the UK. Yet, I was still blown away by its absolute beauty. The history in this city is mesmerizing.

Arriving in a city where you know no one is quite a daunting task. However, I had escaped misery and was now pretty excited to see what my new life was going to be.

I spent my first few days walking around and experience my new home. My first stop was definitely the Jane Austin museum. As someone who did a project in the glorious writer there wasn’t much I didn’t know about her but the joyous visit I had at the museum was a wonderful reminder of why I love her books and her life.

Going through the museum and then walking the streets I know one of my absolute favourite writer was quite a dream. Funnily enough, I didn’t see the Roman Baths until I had been here for over a year 🤣.

The next step in my journey was to get out there and meet some people and make some friends.. Bring on Bath people!!!

She felt it in her ‘bones’

So, I spent 5 months in the cold and grey Glasgow with a family member. Work was really difficult to find and it rained all the time (something this African born child wasn’t very used to). Tried working as a direct sales person, you know the ones you avoid eye contact with in the streets because you don’t want to be sold to, and I can honestly say WOW!!! Never again.. My sympathies go to people who do that sort of work because people can be really mean to them (changed the way I thought about them for sure). I was miserable to say the least..

After spending Christmas with my Aunt and Uncle in Somerset and chatting with them about my work predicament, my Aunt suggested doing some work experience type work in the school she used to work for, probably one of the most prestigious schools in the South West of England. I met with the headmistress, who was absolutely lovely and after a couple of weeks she offered me a position in the matron’s team in one of the boarding houses. There was no pay for the work but I was offered accommodation and food free of charge… Not a bad offer but I was concerned about not earning…What did I do?

In one of my tearful phone calls to my mum, who was back home in Zimbabwe, she talked to me about looking for work and a place to live in Bath.. One of our ongoing jokes is that ‘She feels things in her bones’ and usually it’s bang on (when in actual fact it’s in her spirit). This was a bizarre discussion because I didn’t even know where Bath was. I only knew the city existed was because I’m a huge Jane Austin fan and the city features in most of her books. I trust my mum wholly and listened (lucky I did this time😂).

Just after New years I came down to the beautiful city of Bath for an interview at a private school. Can I just say how blown away I was by the beauty of this incredible city… WOW… If you haven’t been it’s worth it more than you know.. I was offered a position there and then.. After discussing the 2 job opportunities, I decided on the one I had gotten without any family help, but on my own merit. I went back to Glasgow packed my things and moved down south in 2 weeks. Best desicion I ever made.

I had to learn even in the depths of misery and unhappiness you can’t give up because there is always something absolutely perfect for you just around the corner. Bath was exactly the right place for me for where I was in my life’s journey.

Even when it’s hard… There always something you can lean from…

Leaving the known in search of the unknown

I was born and grew up in Zimbabwe and went to dance school in Cape Town, South Africa. When I was finished my studies, I decided it was time for a new adventure. Got my ancestry visa (the day before I was due to fly) and was ready to go.

Letting go of my home and the life I knew was terrifying and exciting all at the same time. I was sad to leave the known and my family behind. Moving to a completely different culture where the people don’t understand you isn’t an easy thing, trust me. But who wants to be in the know all the time, am I right? Where is the excitement in that?

So I jumped on a plane and flew half way across the world in search of a better life. What I found was cold and wet 😂. Originally, I wanted to live in London, but a city that size just scared the you know what out of me. I didn’t know anyone and couldn’t cope with the vastness of it all. Family is what I needed.

I went to stay with my aunt in Glasgow for a few months. Really wasn’t for me, I can tell you that now. After 5 very rough and testing months and some very special words, I moved to the beautiful Bath. And that is where my new life started…

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