Category Archives: Personal

Where have I been?

Hi everyone!

It has been a long while since I have posted on here, I have found some written blogs on my old hard drive and half written ones and notes on my phone which I have may post or try to finish. So, where have I been? Well, I had a baby!

I found out I was pregnant in Jan 2013, I was very ill and then I had a little boy at the end of August 2013. He is now 18 months old and running around telling me what’s what! It’s very exhausting. I took time out from uni due to my illness while pregnant and then because he was born so close to the beginning of term I deferred again – plus we had so much other stuff going on like trying to buy a house at speed. I made the decision to leave my full time job and return to Liverpool John Moores as a full time student on their LLB, I was able to transfer a couple of my subjects across from MMU, but essentially I have started again.

I love it though!

Recently we even added a puppy into our family – what are we thinking?!!!!

I’ve had a lot of time out and I’m hopefully going to try and blog again and as often as I can between uni, work (yes I still have a job!), and my family life!

AR

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Redundancy: How is the legal market doing in the recession?

Written 5th November 2012

On Friday, I was made redundant, alongside a lot of my colleagues. We were working within a new start up firm which had opened during the first quarter of the year. They had progressed and grown massively, starting with one employee when I went for my interview in March to having close to 30 by last week. There was a range of different departments from Clinical Negligence, Debt Recovery, Healthcare, Financial Irregularity, Family, Employment and Commercial Litigation. As the firm had grown so rapidly, and opened new departments it was hard to see how 2/3s of the staff now find themselves joining the back of the queue to sign on – surely there was room for us to be moved around to a different department? Accordingly not, the firm was bought by a different firm who came in, performed due diligence and essentially got rid of people based on their salary. If you earn over a certain amount you were not kept on, if you earn below it you were kept and would be transferred to the other firm accordingly. Seems unfair to me, I have gone out there and worked for the last 5 years, within the legal sector, whilst continuing to study part – time and yet because I earn more than someone who is less experience I will be top of the list for redundancy? Pffft maybe next time I should just take minimum wage and be exploited for the experience I have?

But how exactly IS the legal job market doing during this recession? I can see a lot of firms are growing and expanding, mainly within Personal Injury and Consumer Credit, being PPI and financial mis-selling and Commercial Dispute Resolution.

How to get in there? The market is clearly saturated with more candidates for the roles available. How can you ensure you get that job?

For me, my process is simple. The first 24 – 28 hours are crucial .If you don’t act immediately, you will find it will take you a while to get into the process.Within the first 24 hours of finding myself unemployed, I have updated my CV, scoured the internet for all relevant jobs on all job sites that I have the requisite experience for. Should this have happened on a Friday, as it did this time, this would be how I would spend my weekend. As a lot of companies use recruiters nowadays, you will find you have a slow response or that the same job is advertised numerous times but with different recruiters. I then find myself applying to the jobs I don’t want i.e. the customer service roles or general admin – these are the roles which I will do temporarily but not what I would stick with. So over the course of the first 24 – 48 hours I will have applied to at least 50 jobs. Should there not be that many roles out there, I will begin on speculative CV applications where I will write to companies nearby and see if they are hiring. I will usually send about 10 of these applications a day depending on how well the other search is doing. The next working day, usually a Monday, I will ring all the agencies I am already registered with and make aware that I am available for both temporary and permanent roles.

The way I work has not failed me yet, the longest I have spent unemployed and looking for work is 2 weeks, well once it was 6 weeks but that was by choice as I had accepted a role but waited until my exams were over to start as it was unfair both to the company and myself to start and be in for a week and then take time off for my exams.

The best advice I can give, is to not limit yourself, be available for temp work, be prepared to do a role you don’t really want to do and the agencies will work that little bit harder for you. If you don’t have them on your side, then believe me, finding a job will take you even longer. Be prepared to travel. I have a radius of 50 miles where I am willing to commute to for work. Yes it may make your day longer should you be successful, but would you rather be employed or still sat at home watching re-runs of Friends on E4?

People who have seen my CV and know how much I am in and out of work, may think of it as being detrimental. I don’t see it that 1, Yes I have gone from job to job, within a 18 months I think I worked for at least 10 companies, but these were temporary positions. I would be assigned to work somewhere for a few weeks, then move onto the next assignment. I found that temping increased my confidence, going into a new company on a weekly basis – you cant be shy as you will meeting new people constantly. I also gained a lot of experience across different disciplines of Law, which has made me more focused and determined knowing what it is I don’t want to do.


The Real Radio Renegade Revealed…

It was Friday 19th October 2012, a day that would be marked in history. It was the day where the Real Radio Renegade would finally unveil himself. After 4 years of being on the run, he was finally taking off the balaclava, wigs and other disguises and showing us who he was.

My God was I excited.

We arrived at the Radisson Edwardian Blu Hotel in Manchester just after 7:30pm, you could feel the buzz of excitement all ready. We queued for a moment to get in and were handed a further calling card, this one with a number on it, we were to keep hold of this for the prizes. I had number 190, and Jay 191. We were informed he would be revealing himself at 8:30pm. Just an hour to wait then, that wasn’t too bad.

The show started at around 8pm, with his voice booming out over the stereo system, and he introduced his “good friend” Taylor James” who was going to perform for us. Errr  – who is he again? A runner up from The Voice UK? Even listening to his songs I had no idea who he was, nor did I particularly want to know. Not my cup of tea, and even more not so as he came from one of those stupid reality tv programs like X Factor and the malarkey. Anyway, that’s a completely different rant.

We had a short break, were the presenters on stage and Sam & Lorna informed us the RRR was amongst us in the crowd. Now that sparked some interest, and off we went on a little spy and mingle through the crowd. There was one person who we thought it may be – I think we may have been wrong. Off we popped for a quick cigarette  where Sam was and we had only just started and she received a call from Lorna telling her that he was about to come on stage, so we ran back up to the room and maintained our positions.

Debbie Mac & Parksy, then took the stage and they began to the “raffle” for prizes, 1st prize being £500, 2nd prize being a sat nav and 3rd prize  (the one we all wanted!) being the renegades hat, signed by him.

The Real Radio Renegade Hat.

Sadly, I didn’t win. I never do, I never get to say those other magic words; “I’m a real winner”. One day….

That moment was coming, within the next few minutes the RRR would be on-stage and unmasked. I had chills.

Well, after all the suspense, I can say I was shocked at who the person standing before us upon the stage was. His name is Nick Camm, he is an actor (well that much we were suspicious of anyway) you may recognise him from roles in coronation street, hollyoaks, emmerdale. But most importantly, he played the taxi driver in that oh so famous fishermans friend advert.

He is a northener from Lancaster, single and was chosen because “he looked the most normal”. You can read more about him here or follow him on twitter @nickcamm1

After the grand unveiling, well I was a little disappointed, I half expected him to enter the safe wearing his balaclava and hat to then start taking it off full monty style.

After some chats with the presenters, the renegade himself and member of the team involved in the RRR it was time to head home.

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But that was it, it was all over. No more mystery or conspiracy as to who the renegade is, or any more research to carry out.

What are we to do now?

AR

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“He digs in the dirt for memories”

Following from my last post, I think I said that I wouldn’t be hunting any more due to being in work and not having the time through the day. Well my partner was off work for a week and we came to an agreement where he would drive me to work in Preston for 8am, take the car for the day to go hunting and then come to collect me at 4pm.

I think I hunted during every 4pm bounty period this week. Turning up at Middleton on Monday at 5pm or me to have a hunt round Tescos and be back in the car at 5:14pm driving home as the RRR had been found.

Tuesday we were in Burnley for 4:45 and hunted until the last minute at 6 as the RRR was not found. There was a brief moment when we thought the game was over, I for one asked a gentleman in Tesco who didn’t answer me. I decided to go upstairs to the clothing section and see if the RRR was hiding up there. I turned round on the escalator and looked towards the man I had jut asked, he had dumped his trolley in the middle of the aisle and was leaving the shop. How strange?!

I though I may have hit the jackpot  I had a quick spot upstairs still, then left Tescos, feeling a little happy with myself and waiting for a spotter to approach me. I made it to the town centre and no-one had approached me yet. I quickly found Jay who informed me that some woman had won and was on the phone to the station. We hovered around as the gentleman she was with was apparently the RRR and we wanted a sneaky picture for the future hunts this week. as we heard the story we thought something was amiss as the man whom she had asked had replied “yes” to the question….but we knew he wouldn’t say anything!  Hmm it was very odd. As it turned out the gentleman then admitted he wasn’t the RRR and apologised.

He then went into Costa – I quickly followed. I was heading in there anyway to look for a calling card amongst the “British chicken” sandwiches. I overheard the staff saying to this gentleman “you’ve just been in here taking pics of us and you didn’t ask us, they’re now on the internet” he replied saying “it was all good fun and what a strange day he was having”.

strange? why would he be taking pictures of the girls in costa?

I knew a similar picture had just been posted on the website of him being inside Costa. I quickly asked “are you the real radio renegade?” an he replied “no, what is this?” to which I explained and I was on my way. I did see him popping in and out of stores along the way which was strange in itself. I did, however, find a calling card. It was inside a royal family book inside the works the message in the back read “he digs in the dirt for memories”. Damn it – I had just missed him.

Oh contrare, at least I know had 2 tickets to the reveal party on the Friday night as confirmed by Glen when I called the show. I then decided to make tracks back to Tesco and check the Costa within there. I mooched around the bus station for a bit asking people and had a nice chat with a gentleman who asked me to split the money with him if I found him, I was most pleasant and said of course I would, if I saw him again. As I arrived at Tesco real radio called me for an update, I was on hold for a while as they did the news etc which quite frankly annoyed me as I had to stay outside Tesco due to no signal meaning I missed out on 10-15 minutes of hunting. I noticed a picture of the bus station revolving doors was posted too, I was hopeful he would come to Tesco  I positioned myself at the entrance and asked anyone entering or leaving. No joy. I knew as soon as I said live on air he wouldn’t come to Tesco – I should have lied!

Soon after a picture of a subway was posted, as I am not from Burnley (contrary to what Real Radio think ;)) I was told it came out by the train station which was up a hill or by the gala bingo hall, which was down the hill. I couldn’t decide which way to go so stayed put. Next a picture of a church was posted, I thought I could see it at the top of the hill beyond the train station so headed that way. I only had 10 minutes left until the bounty would end so had to be quick. Running uphill in the rain and a work skirt is not easy! I made it but another clue had been posted saying “I see stadia” I knew he was the other end of town and there was no way I would make it! As I was making my way back to Tesco the bounty period ended!

It was no good. I was never going to find him.

Over the next few days, jay found a further two calling cards thanks to my help! We went to the wrong location twice! The first being because the renegade messed up his clue about Chester so we were in Broughton, Salford despite thinking Chester from the off and forum posts suggesting the same.

The next day we went to Skelmersdale instead of Sale, we had no signal so didn’t know if the location was confirmed or not, I even rang up and said I was at an undisclosed location when asking for help – I’m an excellent negotiator only revealing I was in Skem at the end of the call. We went back to the car just after 5 only to learn the renegade had been found in Sale. This was my last hunt. I was devastated and sulked on the way home. At least I would meet this mystery man the next day!

The cheeky swine had also been back to the Wirral that afternoon to Wallasey about 5 mins from where I live! I’m pretty sure he was teasing me deliberately!

AR

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Are you the Real Radio Renegade?

6 magic words that have been poised on my lips for the last few weeks that could have won me thousands. if i’d found him – Man is this guy elusive!

Real Radio (North West) is pretty much the only station I listen to whilst in the car, which is a lot of time by the way – I travel nearly 500 miles a week and that’s just for uni and work and not counting any personal driving I may or my not do. So that is a lot of hours being tuned into 105.4fm

For the last few weeks they have held a competition called, The Real Radio Renegade, it’s been ongoing for some years but I’m a newbie as I only started listening to Real about a year ago. Now the competition, in a nutshell, compromises one man driving round the North West and placing himself in a town or city centre for 2 hours, known as a bounty period, three times a day. The first bounty period being 8am – 10am, the second 12pm – 2pm and the last 4pm – 6pm. He will usually do a weekend bounty on a Saturday and/or Sunday between 12 and 2pm. At the beginning of each bounty period he posts a picture clue to the Arnold Clark Website of the area he is in, believe me these are very hard to decipher and are generic. Today it was a picture of a brick wall – how am I meant to find where that is?! He will then call up the radio show and give a further clue such as “Deja vu – I think I’ll go for a run”, which again was today’s clue and he will state how much the bounty is on his head. Today it was £2,000. Then potential Real Radio Renegade Hunters have to work out where he is, then run around like lunatics asking everyone in sight, those six magic words, “Are you the real radio renegade?”. Now it has to be correct, and not, “are you the real radio renegade master?”. Or “Are you him, off the radio?” Seriously guys, it’s 6 words!

Anyway that’s the competition, there are various terms and conditions regulating the competition also.

Anyway, today he was in Liverpool (again). During the Liverpool Marathon and Wirral 10k – hence the “run” in the clue. He has already been to both the Wirral and Liverpool during this competition – hence the “deja vu”. Now, I live in Hamilton Sq, it is one stop to Liverpool for me which takes 6 mins. For the last two days, myself and my partner and other RRR hunters had discussed whether or not he would be in Liverpool or not as we knew it would be maximum publicity due to the amount of people. (remember that’s what it is essentially all about – publicity for Real Radio) we had come to the conclusion he wasn’t going to go because of the amount of road closures, the fact he never goes to the same place twice – as confirmed by Glen Hunt during the 4pm bounty period during the week.

So at 11:30am, my partner and I got in the car and headed towards Manchester, we were on the M56 when the clue arrived. We looked at each other and thought, noooo it can’t be. So carried on driving. It was around Warrington and the exit for Lymm services that we decided to pull over as callers were all saying Liverpool. We decided to head back, we had checked the pictures and it was confirmed he was in Liverpool. What idiots were we? We thought we had outwitted the RRR and were in a great location for motorway links to catch him anywhere. Apart from Liverpool. It was 1pm by the time we had parked up in Liverpool. We had an hour to catch him.

At one point people thought I was apart of the marathon as I ran alongside it and then across the other runners. I got a high five and cheers – seriously I am not trained nor look as though I have been training for a marathon.

Anyway, running all around the Albert Dock and Liverpool One area, headphones in listening to the radio, two calls to the show for more info and an update as to what I was doing, asking everyone I saw “are you the real radio renegade?” Returned with confused looks, or “yeah I am do you want your prize” to which I would shake my head, laugh and continue running. An hour later, he still hadn’t been found! I believe if we had been there an hour earlier we would have caught him…

We also have some conspiracy theories, I mean is it really possible for one man to be at one end of town then the next within minutes. Hmmm….

Well I will share the theories with you, but only after the competition ends next Friday as I don’t want to be messing it up for other hunters or be blacklisted, so to speak. Hell I’ve entered the competition to have dinner with him tomorrow night. I really hope I get picked as I have a few questions, plus my answer as to why I should be picked HAS to have been the best one! I’ve also applied for tickets for the reveal party next Friday night as the RRR is retiring! – does that give us a clue as to his age??

Who knows? But remember, he is out there, he can be caught and you will win! Go get him.

I won’t be out this week as I am in work, but after today’s session, I don’t think ill be able to walk for a week let alone run – I think I ran a marathon! :p

AR

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