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Advice for your first bar job

Advice for your first bar job


Can you see me?



These days I might be a professional marketer, but during university and breaks in employment bar work was my calling. 

I honestly love it. I wouldn't do it as a career job as I am an introvert much more suited to the background desk job. But I love cocktails, it's an easy way to meet new people, and I could get into clubs without paying.

It's not for everyone. Like all jobs, there is a certain skill set that is required in order to do it properly and effectively. I have seen people being fired and I've seen people fail trial shifts. I've also known people to leave bar jobs after a few weeks having decided it just wasn't for them.

But saying that, it might just be for you (either just to help financially while at university or as a career). This post isn't intended to scare anyone, just a few pointers for your first few months on the job.

Finding a bar job
Almost every bar person I know started off in either of the following positions: a bar job in their local pub or in a very basic student nightclub who employ students who are freshly 18 and cheaper to employ.

It might be you're aim to work in a fancy cocktail bar, however these places are more hesitant to take someone with no experience. Just pop into your local and ask - that's exactly what I did. I started out in a local golf club and later I was shaking French Martinis in a recognisable Glasgow bar. Like all your local establishments on Facebook because if they're doing a recruitment drive that's where you'll hear about it (that's how I got my Glasgow job).

On a trial shift they usually look for the following things
No one expects you to come in and memorise the entire cocktail list on your first shift, so calm down. On a trial shift they'll be looking for someone who is friendly with the customers and other staff, isn't a total idiot, and already has some basic alcohol knowledge (on one of my trail shifts, there was a girl who thought there was such a thing as a half pint of prosecco...she wasn't kept on). Also eat plenty beforehand as this is a physical job, and always look busy. 

Quickly learn what the bar sells
This is one thing I recommend you swot up on quickly. The most common question you'll get from customers will be "what do you sell?" or "what pint would you recommend" or "how much does such and such cost?". When you're running orders through the till keep an eye on the prices of everything, and study the menus on the website.

You'll learn on the job...but learn quickly
While you won't be expected to identify what wine is the driest straight away, you'll need to learn this soon-ish. There's a lot to learn when working in a bar, from learning what the bar sells, to how to work the till, to where everything is kept, to how to make cocktails by heart and where the toilets are. Soaking up these things as quickly as you can shows your manager you're taking the job seriously and it will make your own life a lot easier if you quickly learn (you might even progress to supervisor).

Things to pack in your bag
A pen (and spares), some paracetamol or ibuprofen, spare make-up, and deodorant. A spare jumper is also handy to throw if you're involved in the clean-up at the end or to throw over yourself while on your break so customers won't bother you. 

You can tell customers it's your first shift
When I started at the golf club and a customer asked me a question I didn't know the answer to I turned into a bumbling mess and rushed off to ask someone else. At later jobs I confidently said "Oh, it's actually only my first/second/third shift, I'll just have a check for you".

The mandatory licensing exam
By law, all bartenders in Scotland have to read a booklet explaining the law to them, answer a quick multiple choice quiz and sign some papers saying they understand what is legally expected of them. It's easy, but it is an essential part of the job. It is, however, putting it into practice that can be difficult which leads me onto...

Being assertive
Tying into the point just above, there are laws regarding the sale of alcohol that will require you to be assertive with customers. People will try and get 'an extra little bit of wine' or ask you not to open the can (I have actually ended up in a tug of over an unopened can of Red Stripe). Or there will be times you'll question someone's age but don't want to risk embarrassment when you find out they're actually 27. Remember, it's the law and the fine is hefty on bar staff if they break it.

(On a side note: don't get pissy about getting ID'd, bar staff risk their jobs and bank balance if they don't check)

Some bars are better for your first bar job than others
While working in a fancy cocktail bar makes you sound like a more interesting person at a dinner party, I wouldn't recommend it as a starting place. I started in a golf club that consisted of old men ordering pints, women wanting pots of tea and lemonade for the junior golfers coming in with their pocket money. I hated it there, but it kitted me out with the bar basics before moving on somewhere that serves cocktails, every shot you could imagine and several wine options. Like all jobs, start easy and move up. 

(Saying that, if you nab yourself a bar job somewhere fancy, congrats and go get them!).

Setting work goals
Setting benchmarks in a bar job is a bit more complicated than some other lines of work, as a lot of what you do in one night is determined by what the customers order. However, there are a few goals you can still make for yourself. Some that I've made for myself have included: remembering to put the credit card charge on every card payment, getting quicker at the cleaning up, remembering to offer cashback, and carrying empty glasses properly. I also took a picture of the cocktail menu and cheat sheet on my phone so I could swot up at home!

Hints and tips on getting...tips
One of the major benefits to bar work is the extra money made through tips. The amount of tips you can expect will vary depending on where you work but there a few things I've learnt over the years:
- be friendly and smiley
- look your best and follow dress codes etc (it's a shame, but pretty privilege is a thing)
- customers who ask for complicated orders tend to tip better so if someone orders a mojito, two jagerbombs, a pint of Guinness, two bottles of Peroni, a cup of tea and three packet of crisps, wants to pay by card and asks for £30 cash back, it's time to strut your stuff and pretend like you're not secretly dying inside
- women tip better than men, and when men do tip it's usually when they're on a date with the missus

If you've worked in a bar before, what would you recommend to someone looking to get into it? 
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How to support colleagues and employees with dietary issues

How to support colleagues and employees with dietary issues




Some of you may have caught my Twitter rant a while ago about office cake culture (I originally wrote this blog back then). If you don't have any dietary restrictions you might be rolling your eyes right now. But think: how many times has a colleague walked around the office and placed a slice of cake on everyone's desk or someone has brought in exactly the right amount of donuts for every person? Or booked the Christmas night out and not asked if anyone has dietary restrictions? 

If you don't have a diet that is restricted, these things have probably went over your head. But in every single office I have ever worked (yes, every god damn one) I've either been made to feel awkward when I received birthday cake I couldn't eat, sat hungry in business conferences or been asked by a manager why I wasn't more enthusiastic about the office version of the Great British Bake Off.

It's not just as simple as speaking up and plainly stating why you won't eat cake (or whatever food people are dishing up). I prefer to keep my veganism (and all other political and moral opinions) out the office. It's not just veganism though. The list of reasons why someone might omit certain foods is endless: religion, diabetes, IBS, eating disorder recovery, allergies, celiac disease, high cholesterol, kidney disease, gout, and heart disease are just a few. Some of these reasons are understandably not something someone would like to discuss in the office, and shouldn't be forced to.

So that's why I've compiled a list of thing you can do to 1) consider that some people do have a restricted diet and 2) to do so in a way that respects their privacy and doesn't force them to have a conversation they'd rather not have with their colleagues. 

1. Take a head count before you pop out for donuts
Or cupcakes. Or bacon rolls. Don't come into the office and get butthurt when you realise you spent excess money because you put the "Ass Out of You and Me" into assume.

If you want to buy your colleagues a mid-day snack, make sure they actually want it. 

2. No means no
If someone politely declines food don't say "are you sure?", "oh, are you being good?" or - the worst - "well, I'm cutting you a slice anyway". Be polite and move onto the next person. 

No means no in literally every situation on the planet. No is a good word. 

3. Don't buy a birthday cake unless you know what you're doing
That birthday cake I mentioned earlier? It was my 26th birthday and my colleagues had bought me a cake that was labelled as vegetarian. They told me they weren't 100% sure I could eat it but they had seen me eat cake before so assumed it was okay (they had in fact seen me eat vegan cake). I ended up giving the cake to the guy I was seeing at the time, and I have no idea if he even ate it.  

I appreciate that they did try, but I would have preferred to get a non-food related gift with the money they collected. I think most other people with dietary restrictions would as well. Only buy someone a cake if you are certain you can get it right. 

4. Ask for dietary requirements when booking team dinners
The Christmas dinner in my first graduate job was originally going to be at a seafood restaurant. I decided I'd let other people have fun and I'd sit it out...until I found out the owners considered it mandatory to attend (that's another wtf all in itself). I then sheepishly said that I didn't eat meat. Thankfully they changed it because no one wanted to go to a seafood restaurant anyway. But if you thought that was the end of the drama, it wasn't. I had to repeat myself every goddamn year. 

Before booking anything, e-mail round asking if anyone has any dietary requirements or preferences. If someone does, goddamn respect it. I also live in Glasgow, where there are plenty of restaurants that cater to both meat-eaters and vegans, so there are no excuses. 

5. Realise that allergies can actually be deadly
There's a persistent rumour that an allergic reaction involves nothing more than a bad stomach and that a day in bed will fix it.

*head desk*

Allergies can be lethal. If someone in your team has a severe allergy that means it might potentially be life threatening. Actually understand that, and understand it some more. Allergies can kill.

I don't have an allergy, so can't give much more insight. But don't be that person who eats peanut butter sandwiches at their desk when they know the person right beside them is deathly allergic.  

6. Consider social events that don't centre around food
Why does it have to be a team dinner? There are some dietary restrictions that prevent people from ever going near a restaurant. If someone in your team falls into this category be a star and think of something that doesn't involve food. Paintballing? Football trip? Marathon? Day at the fun fayre? Seaside day trip? Picnic? Pub Quiz? Roller skating disco?

7. Don't assume an employee is disengaged if they don't partake
Sometimes a dietary requirement does prevent someone from partaking in work events, whether it's a conference, social event or trip away. Myself and others with dietary requirements do worry that we might get passed up for promotions or horizontal development because we're assumed to be disengaged. When in reality it's our dietary requirements not being respected (either by the company or wider society).

8. Don't pry
I prefer not to talk about my reasons for being vegan in an office. I would just rather everyone left it as "Morag is vegan and doesn't eat cheese". I don't want to end up in an argument with someone about the ethics of the dairy industry, or explain how I get my protein.

Usually these conversations involve me responding with three word answers and squirming in my chair. I'm clearly uncomfortable discussing this. Please use some emotional intelligence and recognise my desire to change the subject.

If someone always turns down cake, it's not your business why.

If you're someone with dietary issues, what's something you wish your colleagues understood? 
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morag | mo adore
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Make-up for small and close-together eyes

Make-up for small and close-together eyes



We all have that feature we dislike and try to cover-up or balance out with make-up. 

For me, one of these features is my close together and small eyes (which are slightly deep set to boot). Now, I know we shouldn't get hung up on these things and make-up should be fun and creative, but when you have something you're a bit insecure about make-up can create the illusion of smaller, bigger or more sculpted features (and it's cheaper than going under the knife!).

It took me years to work out how to create the illusion that my eyes are bigger and wider-set than they naturally are (the Avril Lavigne smokey eye I kept trying as a teenager really wasn't a good look) but these days I reckon I have it on point. 

Obviously, not all of these tips will work for everyone. Heck I don't even make use of all these tips myself. Even if you do have small eyes you might have another feature that these tips will clash with so play around and find out what works with your overall face. 

Conceal like a pro


I've always been big on the under-eye concealer because I have hereditary dark under-eye circles. Said circles also create the illusion that my already close-together eyes are wayyyy closer than they are naturally. Whether you have dark circles, or small eyes, spending a bit of extra time round the eye area with some concealer can create a more open look.

And by some concealer, I mean three (I told you my concealer game was strong and, oh yeah, remember a good eyehsadow primer before you start). My first concealer is a colour-correcting product - I personally prefer yellow to start off (my favourite is Barry M) but you might find peach or green works better for you. Then I go in with a thick concealer, such as Illamasqua (non-vegan but is good if you're just CF) or Hourglass. Then, I finished it off with some light-reflecting concealer (my favourite is the bargain Barry M liquid concealer). You can also finish is off with some setting power if you're going somewhere nice.

A note on a dark circles: a bad night's sleep makes mine worse, so get plenty of downtime. 

Retire the dark smokey eye


A wise person once said that you shouldn't blindly follow trends, and instead work out what suits you. That's exactly why you'll never see me wearing a smokey eye (despite my attempts to pull it off in the noughties). If you really want to wear a smokey, opt for a lighter grey shadow. 

Your eyelashes deserve some attention


Mascara is a considered a must by beauty lovers. For anyone with close together eyes they can help widen the peepers. Remember to concentrate on the outer corners and don't focus too much on the inner corners. Consider investing in a pair of heated eyelash curlers as well. Set them off with false eyelashes at night time, but don't buy the extra volume falsies - it's the lengthening once you want in your stash.


Consider a cat flick


I love liquid eyeliner and I really don't feel "made up" unless I have a cat flick drawn on. Just like the smokey eye, concentrate on the outer corners to help draw attention away from your small gap.

Step away from that waterline


Avril Lavigne was my fashion icon circa 2003 and I even dyed my hair to match hers in the My Happy Ending video.  I pulled that off, but something I couldn't pull off? Her eye-make up - especially lining my waterline with black liner. A cat flick looks great on small eyes, but anything on the bottom lash line just boxes them up.  

You're not Cara Delevingne


Thick eyebrows are in right now, and while I know a few small-eyed babes who can pull them off, generally speaking they're better left to those with naturally wide set peepers. Eyebrows and eyes should be well balanced. There's some debate as to where an eyebrow should start, and I'm in the camp that eyebrows should be plucked to be in line with the start of your eye - but if you have close together eyes plucking just a tiny little bit more will help create the illusion of wider set eyes.

I fill mine in gently to the point where they look almost natural. And I darken them after the natural arch. I use the HD Brow Powder (I've owned this pre-cruelty-free, and they never responded to my email) and darken the outer corners with Barry M It's a Brow Thing.

Lips, lips, lips


This tip might not work for everyone but I always wear a solid lip colour. It's a win-win for me as I quite like my lips, I suit most colours, and it pulls attention away from my eyes. Try a bold colour and see if it works for you. 

And some tricks that don't involve make-up 


Make-up isn't the only tool in the arsenal to create that wide awake look - you can also use your hair and jewellery. When it comes to hair my two main tips are: if your eyes are close set don't opt for a middle parting, and consider keeping your hair off your face. The first option is obviously to not drag the attention to the middle of your face, but the second is because it allows there to be more skin showing on the outside of your eyes, helping balance the small gap between the eyes. There's a lot of ways to get creative with your hair here: wear a simply ponytail, a topnot or get fancy with a headscarf.

As for jewellery: an eye-catching pair of earrings can transform many a facial feature. They can help balance out a close together eyes as well as a big nose and can feminise harsher features. If you're a fan of facial piercings, certain locations can balance out your face. Anything along the nose will drag attention to the small gap, but a lip piercing can pull attention away. Eyebrow piercing are not very trendy these days, but if they ever come back into fashion they'll help drag attention to the outer corners of the eyes.

Further Reading: 
Close-Set Eyes: The Makeup Tricks To Master If You Have Them
8 Eye Makeup Tips For Close Set Eyes
Beginner Eye Makeup For Close Set Eye
Fake It Until You Make It: Making Close Set Eyes Look Wider


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morag | mo adore
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Vegan options on Glasgow Deliveroo

Vegan options on Glasgow Deliveroo




For a long time I was totally anti-takeaways, for two reasons:-

1. They're damn expensive. You can get a weekly shop for the same price as a Pizza Hut meal deal. 
2. You rarely see a V sign beside any of the options. 

Then in the past year I found Deliveroo, which cancels out both these aversions. If you're new to the party (or this century) Deliveroo is a sort of AirBnb or Uber for local restaurants where said restaurants sign up but the Deliveroo branded drivers/bikeriders/motorcyclists are the ones who actually deliver the orders. Glasgow is known for it's eclectic dining scene so it's no surprise that the options on Glasgow's Deliveroo are awesome and have plenty of vegan options. 

Granted I would still rather go out to eat and there's has been controversy over how well paid the Deliveroo drivers actually are. But for nights where I have a friend visiting and they're too tired after their journey, or I'm cuddled up on an indoor date, Deliveroo is what I opt for. And the delivery charge is not that much (it might differ if you live further away from the city centre) so you're not paying much more than you would if you were heading out. 

Here is the selection of vegan delicacies on Glasgow Deliveroo (might depend on your address). 

Pizza Express


Pizza Express might be one of the earliest restaurants to offer a vegan pizza, but whenever I've ordered from them on Deliveroo the spinach always arrives soggy. I actually avoid it.  

Pizza Punks


I love Pizza Punks, and I enjoy creating new pizza options with their mix-and-match menu.

Bar Soba

I only ever order from the Merchant City branch though. The Mitchell Lane establishment delivered me chicken and weren't even that apologetic. 

ASK Italian


I tried their vegan pizza for the first time very recently, and I liked it. they also have a full vegan menu.

Zizzis

Also has a dedicated vegan menu on the app.

Doghouse

Their sieten burger is one of my favourite vegan burgers in Glasgow.

Prep Fitness Kitchen

So they mark their restaurant as vegan-friendly but leave you to guess what is actually vegan. There's a Power Bean Burger than looks promising (though I've never ordered it).

Handmade Burger Co

One of my favourite places for a vegan burger as there is six options!

Di Maggio's

I love their Lucca vegan pizza!

Wagamama

Who doesn't love some Wagamama? Their Deliveroo portion sizes are also really generous.

Taco Mazama

I love Taco Mazama generally. But I'm not paying the delivery free for a burrito.

The Squid and The Whale @ Nice N Easy

Same goes for this place. 

Do you love Deliveroo in Glasgow? Have I missed any vegan-friendly places?



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morag | mo adore
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