Six Lessons I Learned About The Job Interview Process.

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After being unemployed for almost five months, I had my fair share of interviews and it was incredibly frustrating because I simply wanted a job, and I kept getting so close but just missing out on the opportunity or sometimes, it wasn’t the right fit. In today’s post, I’m going to share what I think are my best tips in order to come across the best in a job interview and throughout the looking-for-a-job process. 

Learn about the company. 

At first, I thought this was the most obvious advice but I have heard quite a few stories of interviewees going into job interviews with their possible employer, and when asked “What do you know about our organisation?” They have simply said, “Only what’s on your website.” As respect to not only yourself, but to your potential employer, you should do your research. They have probably filed through dozens, if not hundreds of people to offer you an interview, and for you not to do your research; that opportunity could have been given to someone else. Even if you don’t understand what the company does, you could say that you have looked online and conducted research, but you would like a better understanding of what they do. That shows that you are interested in learning more. 

Ask at least one question at the end. 

Asking a question at the end of the interview is advice I got constantly, from people in real-life to online resources and when you put it into practice, you can see why. Your interviewer hasn’t necessarily have a wall built up because there’s a change when you turn the tables on them. You don’t have to ask anything complicated nor should you make it completely personal but I think it’s important to ask something which is relevant to the company. I prefer to ask “What do you like about working here?”, “Where would you like to see the company in five years?” or “Is there anything on my CV you would like to ask me about?” This also gives you a little break towards the end, to take a breath and breathe, because interviews are nerve-wrecking and it’s nice to have that little moment of space while they’re answering YOUR questions. 

Dress appropriately. 

Dressing appropriately can be a tricky one sometimes because if it’s smart casual; it’s easier for men (I believe) than women. I’m not saying you have to go out and buy yourself a brand new wardrobe but dressing appropriately for the job you have applied for, will come across to the employer that you are taking an interest. I wouldn’t turn up in a pair of trainers and tracksuit bottoms but I’m not going to turn up in a pair of heels that I can’t walk in either, in order to seem professional because it might have the opposite effect. 

Bring your experience into your answers. 

You can Google as much as you like about a certain job role, but if you can’t describe on how you would either handle a certain situation or how you have tackled a similar situation before, it can be hard to persuade employers. They’re looking for experience and I know it’s tough if you don’t have any but you can usually think of something in your life where you have been in charge. For example, if you’re coming out of school and straight into a job, you can use your role in a team for coursework to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of being in a group and how you would handle it differently next time. If you volunteer, you can talk about some of the issues that can come up during this, or if you’re coming from another role, you can talk about taking on the responsibilities in that job and how you were able to take control. 

Show your personality. 

I remember some of my first interviews and while I don’t think I necessarily did a bad job at presenting myself, I know the reason why I wasn’t at the top of their list. I was too tense; I was too concentrated on the answers I was giving and I didn’t give myself time to think about the answers. I constantly had a dry throat and one time I was so nervous, I had the bottle of water poured into the cup before the interviewers even said “There is water there for you if you need it”. You can bet, I felt really embarrassed at that moment. I was starting to get through to the interview stage more and more so that enabled me to feel better about going in each time; it helped that I had a really nicely presented CV that was colourful but not too over the top, I wanted it to reflect my personality. In my interests, I wrote (amongst others things) “eating vegan pancakes” and “drinking all the tea”; now that might not be appropriate for certain jobs but I wasn’t applying to be a doctor or a lawyer so I felt that was suitable. You can be qualified for a role but companies most of the time are also looking for someone who is going to fit into their work environment and be a team player so by showing your personality in a really fun but professional way, I believe it helps in a big way. 

Have standards. 

Having standards for yourself is something that can be quite hard to balance out especially if you are unemployed and you simply want a job. A problem I had when I was going through this stage, and my boyfriend disagreed with me at the time, was my standards. Now, I’m not saying that I was looking for all the money in the world and thinking I deserved that, because that wasn’t the case. It came down to money and while you might think (and my boyfriend even said this) “I don’t think you’re in the position to be picky about a job when you don’t have one” Fair enough point absolutely but I’m not willing to work for less than what I know I’m worth. I’ll give you an example; there was a job interview I went to that wasn’t very close to where I live so it would require four buses a day so instantly, I was thinking about the commute time and knowing how the Northern Ireland public transport system works, sometimes it’s not on time so you have to factor that in. Another thing was that is was minimum wage; now let me say that I don’t think there is anything wrong with minimum wage but my previous job was higher than the minimum and I also had to think of how I would survive on that. I have my own house which is rented so I have to pay someone each month, I have bills to pay, I have a little kitty to feed as well as myself and I also have to take care of other things around the house. Minimum wage wasn’t going to cover me and at the time, my boyfriend said “it can be something until you get a permanent job” and yes, that’s a perfectly fine point but why would I waste my employers time and more importantly, my own time training up for a job that I wasn’t planning on staying at for less than I could afford and adding in transport costs to that too. It didn’t make sense to me, and Scott disagreed with me greatly on this, but now I’m glad I stood my ground with my point.  

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Would you agree with me? What would you advice others to do in a job interview? Let me know either on my Twitter, my Instagram or let me know down below! Thank you so much for reading, I really do appreciate it! 

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Four Mindset Changes To Help You Get Back On Track.

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Writing your first post after almost six weeks definitely feels strange but I’m glad to be back at it. If you have been following me on Instagram or even reading my previous posts, you’ll know that I had an incredible trip away to New York and Toronto but during this time, I chose not to blog and even when I came back, I took a scheduled break. Today’s post is Part One (of two) about how I’m changing my mindset to get back on track and while I took a break from the blog, this topic isn’t specific to that; this is more on a day-to-day life aspect. 

“Recognizing that you shouldn’t feel guilty.” 

Yes, you read that right; from the guilt queen herself, recognize that you shouldn’t feel guilty. For me, only up until recently, it was hard for me not to feel guilty about anything but it gets pretty exhausting carrying that around all the time. For the majority of the time, I try my best and sometimes it’s the right thing and sometimes it’s the wrong thing. I’ll give you an example; when we were away, I’d say our food was a really good balance of healthy and indulgent but not once on our trip did I think “I shouldn’t be eating this” which is a huge step for me, because it was important for me to enjoy every moment when I was there. I didn’t want to carry food guilt when I was trying to enjoy myself, and I think that’s understandable for a lot of people. There’s also so many activities that we didn’t get to do but I know that I have to understand that there was no way I was going to fit in everything I wanted to do, without feeling exhausted. I’m constantly reminding myself that I had an incredible trip that I never thought I would go on and I’m so grateful for that opportunity that I refuse to let myself feel annoyed about places or activities we didn’t get to see, because we did get to experience so much. 

“Choose what your priorities are after your break.” 

We all know that in order to progress in life or move forward day-to-day, we have priorities and everyone is different. Some have career focused goals that need more specific priorities than someone who is training for a gym competition. For me, I wanted to focus on two; getting my food back on track and exercising on a more consistent basis. The holiday was absolutely perfect for exercising because we were walking around 25,000 steps a day so we were constantly moving but it showed me that I hadn’t been on top of my game with exercise back home. It was the same with food; we treated ourselves when we were away but I wasn’t preparing food as well as I should have for my work lunches before that and I was using too many single use plastic options for those “lazy” days in work and I wanted to stop that. 

“Easing yourself back in step-by-step.” 

One of the biggest mistakes we all make is rushing into new things especially new habits and when we rush, we fail to give ourselves enough time to fit our new habit into our lives. We want it to be perfect right from the get-go no matter what habit we want to implement but unfortunately when we have that attitude and something goes wrong a day or even a week in, we’re discouraged instantly. That’s why we have to start slow and making sure consistency is key, rather than putting pressure on ourselves to live this perfect life change from the get-go. For example, as much as I would have loved back into a super focused gym routine six days a week and have every meal planned out; that wouldn’t have worked for a number of reasons. 1) That’s too much too fast and it’s much easier to commit to the gym or an exercise two or three times a week and build from there. 2) Planning out every meal sounds like an absolute dream but you have to remember that life happens, so planning out your breakfast and lunch still gives you that stability and having dinner be more spontaneous, still lets you let go of that control just enough. 3) Does taking on too much after a break not add extra pressure to your plate? Is it better to feel extra pressure or is it better to take your time and be able to navigate your lifestyle change easier? 

“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” 

I’m more aware than anyone when it comes to setting goals because I used to be a chronic goal-setter but that sometimes held me back but while I would set all these goals, I wouldn’t have a plan in place to go through with them. Failure is essentially my fear and I always felt I had failed if I didn’t do something I had planned out as a goal. With years of knowledge, I know that the goal isn’t the be-all-end-all, it’s more to do with the step-by-step plan that you put in place to get to the end. For meal prep, I know I need to have a specific shopping list of ingredients, I also know that I need to plan out at least two hours of cooking time (including chopping) and I know I need a container to put the bulk meal into. It’s little easy steps like that that can help or hind your progress.  

victoria-wilson-34(Photography by Jess Lowe Photography)

In order to explain more in-depth about what I’ve been doing since I got back, I’ll write more about that in my next post to give you an example or two because this is part of my two-month goals essentially. At the start of the year, I explained that I was changing from three month goals to two months, but I missed March completely because I didn’t want the pressure of having a “goal” while we were away and I knew that April was my “getting back on track” month and that’s why I thought this two-parter would be a fantastic way to reflect that.  

Do you have any tips for getting back on track that you think I should know about? Let me know! I’m over on Twitter and Instagram but if you love blog comments, you can find them down below too. Thank you so much for reading today’s blog post, I really do appreciate it! 

The New York and Toronto Series: Running Races, Routes and Clubs.

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It wouldn’t be a post from me if I didn’t talk about running, right? Well that’s what I’m focusing on for today’s post and what our plans are for this trip. 

We’re really determined to get quite a lot of exercise in this trip and that includes running, walking and depending on our hotels, possibly even a gym workout too. We’ll need the energy to explore but where will we get that energy from if we’re not giving it our best shot. Let me tell you about our running plans in these two wonderful cities: 

New York City 

spring flingNYC Runs 10k Spring Fling

Our first (of two) races is happening in New York quite close to where we are staying. It’s around Riverside Park, which from my research, is stunning so I can’t wait to run around it. 

We’re missing the New York Half Marathon because we’re in Toronto the day it is happening so we thought it would be quite nice to see if there were any other races on during that time instead. It might be a blessing in disguise because I don’t know if I could train for a half marathon in that amount of time, it would be very stressful. 

Central Park 

We would be severely missing out if we went to Central Park and didn’t run around it right? This is the one that I’m most excited about because until I started researching, I didn’t realise how big the park itself was but I would say we’ll be getting around the park more than once. 

Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges 

As a non-local, I’m slightly worried about running on the city streets because I won’t be able to gauge the traffic like I can do in Belfast so that’s why I’m looking for more pedestrian and greenway routes to run on instead. Going over both bridges totals up to almost four miles so I can see that as one of our very early morning runs where the city is a little quieter. 

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NYC Informal Running Club 

Neither Scott or I are part of a running club (yet) but we wanted to try and get involved in either a running tour or a running club at least once we are away and I think I found the perfect one. They meet up at 10am and run between 2-10 miles and there’s no pressure to do the 10. It’s about an hour walk away from our hotel but I’m sure we’ll be able to get there via public transport if we don’t fancy a long walk. 

Toronto 

Achilles St. Patricks

Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5K

While most people will be out on St. Patrick’s Day with a drink, the only drink I’ll be having is when I cross that finish line and guzzle my water down. I don’t really celebrate St Patrick’s Day; just with the way I grew up, it was something that we never focused on but considering we’re going to be in a different city with their own celebrations, I feel like it would be a shame to miss out on all the fun. There’s also a kids 1K and a 10K too but we decided to take part in the 5K this time around.

High Park
High Park 

Now, it’s a little further away from the hotel than we would like but it sounds (and looks) like such a beautiful park. Thankfully, we can jump on the train to get there in less time and with the park being around 3.2 miles, it’s the perfect distance for us if we want a new 5K to try out. 

Night Terrors.jpgNight Terrors Run Crew 

I found a running club in Toronto that mainly trains at night. As someone who finds that she runs much better at night than in the morning, I’m interested to look more into this and connect with the group to see if this is something I can take part in, even just once. 

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I don’t want to plan out too many runs because we have so many things we want to do and see but these are just a few locations where I would absolutely love to go.  

Have I missed out any must-do runs? Please let me know either over on Instagram or Twitter and again, thank you so much for reading! 

The New York and Toronto Series: Activities in Toronto.

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While this won’t be the last post in this series, this will be the last post about what sightseeing adventures and activities we would like to do in both cities. Today I’m talking about activities in Toronto. 

Okay, this post is technically a cheat because Whitney and I (but it was more Whitney because she is MUCH better at this) have planned out the majority of our trip but I wanted to write about what we have planned so far and possibly sneak an activity or two in, depending on the time. 

rainbow-Reef-Main-resized3-1024x555.jpgRipley’s Aquarium of Canada 

Who doesn’t love looking at fish? It was one of my big dreams when I was younger to own a large fish tank with lots of different coloured fish, and let’s face it, I have MANY years to conquer that dream still. I could spend hours looking at fish and watching them swim around, and I have heard such amazing things about Ripley’s so I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. (Photo Credit: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada)

226267_9da6783374eccf075ee99b1f22ac8daccc51b769.jpg_facebook.jpgEaton Centre 

I have heard amazing reviews about this shipping centre, and while you’re thinking, it’s just a shopping centre; I bet compared to ones in Northern Ireland, it’ll make them look like tiny stores. Whitney has told me that there is a Kernels Popcorn and she gets a big bag every time she is there, so naturally, I will be doing the same! (Photo Credit: Narcity)

hero_CFA_CANADA_S_0279.jpgCome from Away 

We’re going to see a theatre show at the Elgin Theatre and I am absolutely over the moon about it! We didn’t book tickets for Broadway in New York because it was just so expensive (if we’re lucky, we might get a cheap ticket on the day) so I’m happy that we’re getting to see a show in Toronto. This show has actually just finished up in Dublin (at the time of writing) so it’s a shame that I didn’t know that before, but regardless, it’ll be interesting to see an international show because the few that I have been to in Belfast with my best friend Leonie, have all been local actors. (Photo Credit: Mirvish Theatre)

whole-foods-market-toronto.jpgWhole Foods 

Okay, I admit that this shouldn’t really be an activity but I have never been to a Whole Foods so this will be an entirely new experience for me. We all know that I love healthy food so a massive store filled to the brim with it, I’m going to struggle only buying one or two things. (Photo Credit: Daily Hive)

ca_toronto_mztv_exhibition03.jpgMZTV Museum of Television and Archive 

You all know I absolutely love television and more importantly, I’m so focused on the behind the scenes production side so I found a museum quite like the one in New York that showcases television and archive pieces that are decades old. (Photo Credit: Radio Museum)

Kensington 1140 x 760.jpgKensington Market 

This was a suggestion from one of Whitney’s work colleagues I believe and a reader of the blog, so I had a quick search online and it’s a neighbourhood filled with little food places, quirky shops and an outdoor market. It’s right up my street; I think it’s really important to explore these types of places in a new country because you really get to know a place outside of the regular tourist attractions. (Photo Credit: University of Toronto)

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As always, if you can think of anything else that is an absolute must-see, please let me know either on Twitter or Instagram. Thank you so much for taking the time out to read my post, I appreciate it so much. 

Testing Out Six Tidying and Decluttering Methods.

Testing Out Six Tidying and Decluttering Methods

It’s been the talk of the town recently; today’s post is all about decluttering and general organisation. It’s something that I’ve made a goal around so I thought it would be the perfect time to test out different methods and find out what works for me. 

If you read my “New Year’s Resolutions: January and February Goals” you’ll know that one of my goals for the next two months is to develop a cleaning routine. This is something that is very important to me because while I have always been a messy person, I don’t want to be. (It’s got to the stage where my Mum has to come and help me with cleaning sometimes, which is really nice but I feel like I have failed because I asked for her help). I have learned that in order to have a clear mind, I need a clear space and the most important space to tackle first, is my bedroom. 

Before I start to create a cleaning routine, I need to work out what method works for me. Let me talk about the methods I have tried over the last few weeks and see how they worked: 

10 Minutes A Day

How it works: it’s what it says on the tin. You take ten minutes to organise and clean. It’s as simple as that; you can monitor your time either by an alarm or a podcast that you know is the ten minute mark. 

How did it go? A ten minute alarm comes by fast, I have learned and I also found it depends what you listen to. I found I was more focused with a podcast on in the background rather than music. I found this method much more useful in the kitchen, bedroom or the bathroom because my daily clean ups are usually in these spaces and I’m trying to focus my energy on cleaning daily in these spaces. 

Will I keep it up? 100%. It was amazingly helpful, much more helpful than I thought it ever would be and more of the time, I found that I tended to set another alarm after the first one went off and that can only be a good sign. 

Three MIT’s (Most Important Tasks)

How it works: Your three MIT’s are your most important tasks for that day. This can be used for any aspect of your day whether that’s appointments or work tasks but we’re going to use it for cleaning specifically. 

How did it go? I found this one quite difficult simply based on priortising how important each little mess was to me. I picked three areas to focus on each day but I’m not sure if they were the most important tasks. For daily or every other day tasks, this isn’t ideal but I would say if you’re doing a massive clean, then this is much better for you. 

Will I keep it up? I feel like this is an overall organisation technique for the house and not including your daily or every other day tasks, then I think it works perfectly. I will keep it up but I know that it will require a little more knowledge on each individual task and how often I need to keep up with it, then I can write this list out. 

Four Box

How it works: You set four boxes out in front of you; throw out, give away, relocate and sell. They can be any sized boxes that you have but preferably keep them all the same size as each other. 

How did it go? I used my IKEA boxes for this because I had different coloured ones so it’s easy to lay out what I was going to do with each one. I found this was a very effective method because of the visualisation; I was clearly able to see how much I had in each box and mentally, I felt like I was moving somewhere. 

Will I keep it up? Simply because of how easy it was to see what box was what based on the colours, I will definitely be using this method more often. It didn’t seem like a chore when I done it this way and that’s how I want cleaning to feel, not as a chore. 

Konmari

How it works: Marie Kondo has various different methods in her routine but we‘re going to concentrate on one for the mean time. We’ll use clothes as an example; you bring in every single item of clothing from everywhere in your house and place it in the same room. From there, you sort through what sparks joy (meaning you would like to keep it) and what doesn’t spark joy (which means you either donate it or throw it out). If you aren’t keeping it, you thank the item for giving you joy during a past time and then you let it go.   

How did it go? I didn’t get through this method at all, not even close because for me, it’s very overwhelming. I did try my best with it but even trying to find all my clothes seemed like an impossible task. 

Will I keep it up? I’m definitely going to try this again sometime but I don’t think I will start from the beginning like Marie suggests. If I choose a certain genre that appeals to me the most, I feel like I would be more connected to continuing with the method. 

12-12-12 Challenge

How it works: This method is simply finding 12 items to give away, 12 items to throw away and 12 items to relocate to another space in your home. 

How did it go? My favourite method by far! This is going to sound realy cliché but it’s like a game to try and get everything to 12 and it didn’t take too long after. I struggle with putting things away to tidy them up so I would say I didn’t like that part but this was the easiest method and the one I enjoyed the most. 

Will I keep it up? Absolutely! I found it to be the most effective method to use in my bedroom or the spare room but I wasn’t able to do it in the kitchen or the living room because I already have limited items in there. 

365 Less Things

How it works: This is another method that is quite self-explanatory; each day you either donate or throw away one thing. 

How did it go? Because it’s only one item per day, I feel like I didn’t get anywhere fast. It was nice to know that I could find another item each day but it wasn’t a very easy process for me. 

Will I keep it up? I think it is perfect for someone who already has a clean home and is looking to minimise but not do it all at once. For me, it was a very slow method and if I only did this, it would take me years to clean my home. 

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The reason I chose six methods is because I could test out a method out over a few days and I know they are all not in balance but that’s what I wanted to show. This challenge was for me but it’s also to demonstrate that there are so many other methods that aren’t all decluttering all at once. We don’t all live and breathe the same mess and it might be overwhelming to do Konmari just yet so the 12-12-12 might be a better fit. 

Have you any other recommendations of what I could do to help me develop my cleaning routine further? I would absolutely love to hear about any video, books or blog post recommendations that you have. Let me know either in the comments below, over on my Twitter or my Instagram. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a great day! 

The New York and Toronto Series: Sightseeing in Toronto.

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Welcome back to another post in the New York and Toronto Series! We’re still in Toronto in this series and today I’m researching sights in the city to visit. (If you have any recommendations, please let me know!) 

As I said in the previous Toronto post, because we’re not in the city for as long as we’re in Canada, these lists aren’t as bad and we don’t expect to go to every single place but it would be a nice treat if we did. 

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CN Tower 2.jpgCN Tower

Now, I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of heights, if anything, that’s quite a stretch of the imagination so you would think that the CN Tower would be absolutely terrifying and you would be right… I’m not sure why I want to venture to the top of this beauty; it’s the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and while it’s quite a popular tourist attraction, I still want to see it. I’m pretty sure that I’ll have a panic attack at the sheer height of it all, but aren’t you meant to do things that scare you? (Photo Credit: Cambridge Suites Toronto)

Yonge-Dundas_Square_-_2010_(HDR).jpgYonge Dundas Square 

Whitney has described this as the “Times Square of Toronto” and from my online research, it sounds about right. Crowds aren’t my best friend mind you but I’m hoping that this will be even slightly quieter than the actual Times Square. Plus, this just gives us a reason to pop into the shops, right? (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Waterfront Toronto.jpgWaterfront Toronto

This reminds me a lot of Belfast Waterfront, I’m a sucker for pretty views by the water and this sounds very similar so I can imagine the photographs I’m going to get and to see how similar it is to Belfast. (Photo Credit: Toronto Official Website)

ROM.Royal Ontario Museum

This was a spot Whitney recommended to us and I looked online about what we could see while we’re there and there’s a dinosaur exhibition! I love dinosaurs so it’s definitely somewhere I’m wanting to explore. (Photo Credit: The Star)

Niagara Falls.jpgNiagara Falls

This was actually on our original plan, we were going to stay the night but it was working out more expensive than we would have liked, so we decided not to go. Whitney however said that there was a direct train from various train stations around the city, it wasn’t too expensive and it was only a few hours away so we thought why not? I think it’ll be a really fun exploring day for us and I’ve heard that there’s not too much at Niagara Falls, apart from the waterfalls themselves but we don’t mind, we both think it’s a must-see regardless. (Photo Credit: Niagara Falls Live)

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I’ll be asking Whitney and her husband more for sight-seeing and activities in the city because they have been there more and they know what’s good and what’s not so good but if you have any suggestions, please let me know and most importantly, thanks for reading today’s post! I really do appreciate it. 

My Yoganuary: Unlimited Yoga in January.

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I have a special relationship with yoga. It’s a practice that I used to do every week for a year and a half, but since then, I have been off and on with it for various reasons. I decided I wanted to change that, so today’s post is focused on my month with trying different yoga practices.

As a Christmas present to Scott and I, I decided to buy us both an unlimited pass to one of the yoga studios near us, and because they had a fantastic offer on, it was a no-brainer. This particular yoga studio, Yoga Quarter, is based in Ballyhackamore in East Belfast. We had been twice for free classes and we loved everything about it. Neither Scott or I had really never practiced in a yoga studio before so it was certainly a nice change for us. As soon as I seen the offer pop up, I knew it would be the perfect place for us to try.

We wanted to try and squeeze in as many sessions as we could and try as many classes as we could so on average, we were able to attend three classes a week. While it might be close to home by car, it still takes about twenty minutes to get there so taking into consideration other activities we do, we knew that three times a week would be perfect for us.

Heated Yoga

Having never practiced yoga in the heat, I was nervous because I had no idea what to expect. I had visions of sweat dripping everywhere and slipping all over the place but thankfully the reality was nothing like that. It was still a very hard workout the first time we went and I lost some confidence in my yoga ability but I think I was being too hard on myself considering it was my first time. This was one of our free classes as a matter of fact and even though we found it difficult, we knew we needed to go back.

There are actually two different classes we decided to try; one was using 26&2 method and the other was heated vinyasa. 26&2 was the free class we had tried previously and it uses twenty-six yoga poses, hence the name. It’s a faster paced class and I found it hard to keep up at times, which stressed me out. However, especially when it comes to yoga, it’s so important to take it at your own pace because once you realise it’s not a competition to be the fastest to get into the next pose, you enjoy the experience a lot more.

The heated vinyasa was more my cup of tea simply because I felt like it was a much slower class and I know once I become more advanced, the first heated class will be a breeze at some point. This particular class however didn’t feel as warm and it was much more flowing; for me, I still struggle from flowing from one move to the other but I can see myself improving.

Vinyasa Yoga

This class is one that I feel like a lot of people will know and love. We wanted to try out a range of different classes but I knew that I still wanted to improve on the types of classes I had been to before.

Yin Yoga

If you told me there was a class that held the poses longer than usual, I probably would have told you that that’s really not for me but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Depending on what pose it is, I tend to have hard time with anything that has my knees on the floor. I don’t know why but my knees don’t like the pressure that is being put on them so I tend to struggle with that. I have found that with the long poses, I can see my strength lasting longer and while it might only be a few seconds longer, I can see that progression in just under a month.

Mellow Yoga

What better way to start a Sunday afternoon than heading to a mellow yoga class? It’s a very relaxing class focused on that rest day vibe that enough of us don’t take heed of. However, it wasn’t an easy class, it might be relaxed but it wasn’t easy. It focused a lot on stretching and because I don’t have the greatest balance, I have to concentrate more on those moves. I really enjoyed it though and it’s the perfect class to get your body starting to move for the day.

Pilates 

Now, while it’s not standard yoga, the form and postures are still there and pilates is something I have wanted to try for quite a long time now and I absolutely love it now. It’s tough and it’s definitely a workout but it’s such a great addition to my Friday mornings before starting the final work day of the week. I’m certainly still practicing the basic poses and forms but that’s still pushing me past my comfort zone so I know that I’m doing something right.

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So what have I taken away from this month of yoga?

I’ve learned that I need a consistent practice:  
When they say consistency is key, they really mean it. I have seen real improvement over the last month and I believe that between the difference in classes and making sure we schedule out time to go, has made such a huge impact.

I’ve learned that I need to try out other options: 
I’ve always been the type of person to try and do the same thing over and over again in order to get it perfect eventually. Doing different practices has made me realise that I don’t’ crave that same old routine and I actually don’t mind switching it up every once in a while. Overtime, I will be able to decide what do I want to take further and what do I want to pause on but I don’t think I’m there yet.

Take it at your own pace: 
As I said above, sometimes it’s hard not to look at the people in front of you or beside you and try to get to their level. Comparison is not necessarily something we should be doing but it’s a normal behaviour that most of us do without even realising it and I’ve found I do it more than I like when I’m in yoga class. It’s something that I will have to work on myself and it will take time but I start to use it as motivation to get better at certain poses. I don’t think all comparison is a bad thing, it just depends where your mindset is with it.

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What’s next?

We’re still planning on continuing with our yoga practice, just not three times a week. We’re hoping to keep it up twice a week but switch it up with a new class each week. It’s been really nice to do this along with Scott because we’ve been able to talk about it afterwards with what we’ve struggled with and we’ve been able to give each other advice too.

If you’re local in Belfast and fancy having a look at the Yoga Quarter, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram. As a disclaimer, this isn’t a sponsored post and I haven’t been asked to do this, I just wanted to spread the love to a local yoga studio who I have started the New Year with.