25 facts

In just under a month I will be what I describe as, ‘officially old’. Or in other words, 26.

To celebrate commiserate this, I thought I’d jump on the recent blogger bandwagon and share 25 facts about me:

1. I was named after tennis legend Steffi Graf, which has led to me being the awkward person who has to introduce herself as “Stefanie with an ‘f'”

2. Although Momma Keeling’s first knowledge of this spelling was thanks to 1970s page 3 girl, Stefanie Marrian… I don’t take after my initial namesake, but I’m not too shabby at tennis – swings and roundabouts

3. I don’t have a middle name, so to correct the matter, in primary school I gave myself two – Olivia Louisa

4. I rarely cry about anything to do with real life, but films, TV series and anything animal-related (dogs especially) can make me sob in a second

5. Because of 4. both Eight Below and Hachi: A Dog’s Tale made me cry so much that they had to be turned off for more than an hour until I had calmed down

6. My geography is appalling – I was convinced Carlisle was in Scotland purely on the basis that Robert Carlyle was Scottish, Durham was the capital of Newcastle, and may have even asked what county I was in at uni while wearing my Staffordshire University hoody

7. Because of 6. I taught myself all the states of America and am currently attempting to learn all of the counties in England

8. I’m an extremely nervous critter and suffer from mild anxiety, which led me to have a panic attack on a night out in Birmingham because there were too many people in the club

9. My food heaven would be either seafood or steak (or both together) and my absolute food hell is fruit – I will not and do not eat any of it. Ever

10. I once asked a worker in a Tesco in Weymouth where the oatcakes were and only then realised that they were a Stoke delicacy

11. Apparently I say ‘cookie’ in a very amusing, Stokie way

12. I am amazing at doing a scouse accent and have a tendency to go slightly Liverpudlian when angry

25 facts

13. My favourite tipple (apart from champagne) is the ever so classy Blue WKD. I’m now in my mid-twenties but still love it

14. I have only been drunk around five times (if that) and my first ever hangover was last summer. I was convinced I was going to die – how do people constantly do it?!

15. I met Jimmy Carr when I worked as a Christmas temp in HMV and have interviewed McBusted, Simon Webb, Ritchie Neville, Adam Rickett, Gareth Gates and Suzanne Shaw

16. I chose to study Journalism on a whim when filling out my UCAS form. I originally toyed with the idea of being a barrister or in the police

17. I had a gap year before university, but instead of going travelling and/or finding myself, I worked as an administrator for a drain company – Eat Love Pray your heart out

18. The day I left Phones 4u is still up there as one of the saddest, most shocking days of my life, but I believe everything happens for a reason and life goes on

19. My icon is Carrie Bradshaw – writing a column in a New York apartment surrounding by lots of shoes is the dream. But with a Miranda personality instead. And Berger

20. Although my other icons are Joey Potter and Ally McBeal – deep aren’t I…

21. My biggest fears are clowns and sharks. Or any situation involving both. I have been known to scream and run away from clowns, and I don’t go in the sea or get into empty swimming pools in case the hotel has a pet shark (you never know)

22. I am exceptionally foul-mouthed. Swearing is a very large part of my vocabulary, despite it not becoming of a lady – f*@k it

23. I’ve very particular about the order of things – everything has to be either categorised into rainbow, alphabetical or chronological orders. I think it’s an only child thing… or a psychopath thing

24. My temper is extremely short – I have been known to stomp my feet in a rather fraught argument with a lecturer, use a fork as a weapon, and bounce a ballpoint pen off somebody’s head. I am, however, much calmer nowadays. Ish

25. I am happiest when I’m in my pyjamas , watching horror films on Netflix with the boyf. and the dog, and pigging out on sweeties. In other words, I’m a simple things in life kinda gal tramp

And there you have it, 25 facts about me. Now, does that count as enough to stop me from turning 26?

– love Stef x

Redundancy: Being more than just a number

Phones 4u

On Sunday 14 September 2014, a business story broke on The Telegraph which sent 6,000 people in the UK into a whirlwind of panic, distress and disbelief.

Phones 4u had gone into administration and its employees were facing being out of a job.

Unfortunately, I was one of those 6,000. Based at the company’s head office in the marketing department, I had worked there for just under two years.

That Sunday night was a mass of phone calls, texts and unrest. Walking into the office on the Monday morning and being told that the stories were indeed true, before packing a box and leaving my work home in front of cameras and journalists was…surreal.

Realising I wouldn’t be going back was even more of a shock – delayed and hitting with the force of a sledgehammer.

But what compelled me to write this post was more to do with how everything was handled.

Did the journalist at The Telegraph know that the story they were being fed was leaked and that publishing it would be the first any of the Phones 4u employees would know about it? Probably.

And, as a trained journalist myself, I can only say that I understand why the profession is one that is treated by others with disdain. Yes, I understand the need to break a story, and yes I get it – being first with the news is every writers wet dream.

But honestly, for the most part, to that journalist all I have to say is a sentence filled with expletives.

Much like how I’d address the person at EE who leaked the story – aren’t you big and clever? I’m sure your bonus this year will be well worth it. Good luck when 6,000 former Phones 4u employees contracts run out and they switch from your network…

I know that in the words of The Godfather – ‘it’s not personal, it’s business.’ And yes, I understand that – part of me doesn’t blame them. But really, when you drill down past the corporate side, it is personal.

Stoke-on-Trent, the base for Phones 4u was an exception for that very reason – it’s head office wasn’t in London. It generated jobs for a town that has met a near demise since the fall of the pottery industry, and now we face the same thing again.

It was personal for the 6,000 people who had left work on a Friday thinking it was like any other working day, only to realise it would in fact be their last. Without prior knowledge, without warning.

It was personal for the employees who are husband and wife, couples, relatives – incomes instantly gone.

It was personal because EE and The Telegraph would’ve surely known that nobody other than Phones 4u’s CEO knew what had happened, and that the 6,000 would spend the next week not sleeping and unsure where the future lay as they were turfed out of their jobs without explanation.

Now, we will all come out of this situation better off – but it had to be said that the way in which things went down and how they were subsequently handled by the company, the networks, the competition and the media was pathetic and disrespectful to those who worked there.

We are more than just a number.

– love Stef x