Month: March 2017

Fun at work? It’s possible!

Hey there, Speak Up London folks. Today’s blog article is an article to help you spend your time in a better way. If you are curious, keep reading! As human beings we are used to always focusing on how much time we have. We know that there is a time to work and a time to relax. And, to tell the truth, anyone reading this who works can agree with me that it often seem that we spend more time working than having fun, but do not despair, dear friends. Why? Because spending a lot of hours at work is not such a bad thing. Why? Because work can be fun!


Let us put this in other words. Working is a responsibility that is very often necessary in our day to day lives, and give most people a choice and they would probably swap their job without hesitation for a vacation in the Canary Islands. However, this doesn’t mean that working has to be boring. Improving your working day is simple if you learn a few tips.


First of all, stop labeling your workplace as a place that isn’t fun. After having done so, it will be easier for you to be in the mood to have fun while doing your job.


The second step is to go to work feeling motivated, therefore, you should try to have a purpose or a specific goal you want to achieve in your role. Whatever your job is, it will improve your life in different ways and aspects, and maybe, thinking about this is a great starting point to help you learn how to enjoy your time at work.


So, yes having a sense of purpose in your job can really help you to experience a great level of improvement in your job, but would it make it a lot more fun? Well, these factors are good but what can really help is the company we keep, we’re talking about your colleagues. So, even though the previous elements will surely help you to be in the right mood to undertake this path, what you really need is to be able to bond with your workmates. Try to tell some jokes and spend some time with them. We’re sure you’ll realize that you have a lot of things in common, not just related to the hours spent in the same place. For example, you might find out that your issues, worries and also everyday joys are quite similar and through this you can relate to each other. Once you start to think about this, you’ll see how your working hours will appear shorter to you, due to the fact that the “office pressure” is released by a warmer and lighter atmosphere. In addition to this, think about trying to see your colleagues outside of the office when you are free. This will give you the chance to expand your group of friends, and make it easier to bond with people.



After having put these little tips into practice, you’ll see how your days at work will be a lot more fun! Remember, it is true that you choose your friends and you don’t choose your colleagues, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good time with them. Think about it, you don’t choose your family but we’re sure you still love being around them! So joke, laugh and try to have fun while you’re at your second home, your workplace.


Maria Chiara Strano



Your puppy is your treasure, celebrate them!

Hello, Speak Up London friends. If we asked you to tell us 3 things that everybody loves, what would you answer? Can we take a guess? Puppies are in the top three. Why? Because they are the cutest creatures that ever set foot in the world. Ok, sure, babies will also probably make the top 3, but today it’s all about puppies, since today is National Puppy Day!


Whether or not you have a little fluffy friend, we are pretty sure you know that that kind of bond is unique. Indeed, our little friends help us be happier in so many different ways they really deserve a day to celebrate their cathartic presence in our existence. Do you need some evidence? Keep reading!


Our little furry friends are always ready to comfort us, by bringing us a lot of warmth and happiness. Not only are they cute and keep us company, but they also improve our social life and our health.


First things first, do you remember the Disney movie “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”? Long story short, the Dalmatians’ owners met and fell in love thanks to their pets. Indeed it is proved that owning a pet is a great way to improve your social skills. To be more specific, according to several studies, caring for a pet has positive effects on one’s interaction with their surroundings, within the community they live.


The improvements puppies bring to our lives go further. In fact, the presence of these fun little creatures in our lives have been linked with an increase in the health of their owners. Indeed, having those little cuties around relieves stress and helps improve the heart’s health. This is both connected to the physical exercise that people who own puppies usually do (e.g. walking their dogs), and to the simple interaction between pets and humans.


In other words, it is clear that our little friends play a big role in our well being: they are always present, and being around them makes us healthier and happier. Also, as if the previous elements weren’t enough to state the beneficial effects of living with puppies, it has been proven that owning a pet might help improve one’s emotional health, boosting one’s self-confidence and making them more extroverted. They are cute, they make us better versions of ourselves and they keep us company even in our darkest moments. I think it is fair to say that they really deserve a day dedicated to them. Remember to say thank you to your little furry friends!


On a more serious note, we would like to speak to those who would like to enhance their family with some puppies. Be aware that behind the acquisition of these little creatures there might be the possibility of some circumstances which are of a more sombre nature. Numerous cases of unlicensed breeding facilities have been reported, where puppies are not treated with love and care and not kept in humane conditions. Due to this lack of good health in medical examinations they are taken away from their mothers too early and are considered as a commodity to be sold.  As pet lovers, and as human beings we have the duty to oppose this despicable practice. The best way to do this is by adopting our new friends. Consider adoption first, and rescue your new beloved friend! Happy National Puppy Day, Speak Up London friends.


Maria Chiara Strano


Have a laugh!

Hello, Speak Up London friends. It is pretty clear that one of our priorities is to help you maintain (or achieve) your physical and mental wellbeing. On this note, we are glad to inform you that today’s blog article stands between wellbeing and happiness. Today will be speaking about one of the most natural ways to achieve this sweet spot: Laughing.

Yeah, we know, that’s not a completely new statement. Of course, you already know that laughing is good, even if it just about the positive feeling it spreads in our bodies, but do you actually know how good it is? As always, we are happy to chip in!

Laughing is good for your health. Indeed, the effects of laughing on health are numerous:

  • It improves your health because it boosts your immune system.
  • It releases endorphins, therefore it works like a natural painkiller.
  • It helps decrease stress hormones.
  • It helps protect the heart by increasing the blood flow and improving the function of blood vessels.

Moreover, the good influence of laughing is visible also on other aspects of your life. In fact, a good laugh can improve your social life. Are you curious to know how?

  • Laughing with someone – notice the preposition: with someone, not at someone – improves your relationship with that person.
  • It can help solve conflicts among people.
  • Laughter is contagious, which is one of the reasons why it can easily enhance group work or group bonding.

Having displayed some of the most common benefits of laughter, we believe it’s time to remind you to do it, as often as possible. There are countless ways to laugh, you can hang out with fun people (our favourite), look for jokes on the Internet, or even simply remember funny experiences. Therefore, remember the importance that laughter has in your life and don’t miss a chance to have a laugh. It is good for your health, it is good for your social life, and it is definitely good for your spirit!

Super Mario…our favourite everyday hero

Do you remember the countless hours spent playing the game starring the most famous plumber in the world? We bet you do. Whatever your nationality, mother tongue, gender or age, you must have heard of Super Mario, a game loved by millions of people in the world. But why do people love Mario so much?


Mario is loved by millions because he represents the proof that everybody can be a hero. He is an everyday man, who is able to save a princess (let’s just forget for a moment the cliché of the actual saving of the princess), what is more uplifting than that? The inspiration brought to the world by Mario, who in his first appearance was called “jumpman”, grew in the hearts of the players, teaching them to work hard to reach their dreams, that the further we go, the more difficult our path becomes, and that at the end of our quests there is always a prize for our hard-work. Mario is a symbol of positivity and possibility, and this role has been in the minds of people since 1981, when he made his first appearance in Donkey Kong.


Having acknowledged the reason for Mario’s popularity, and on the occasion of Mario Day (March 10…or MAR.10) we would like to point out some interesting facts related to this amazing video game that you might not know:


  1. Mario was not originally a plumber but a carpenter.


  1. Mario played the role of the antagonist in Donkey Kong Jr.


  1. Mario has a nemesis – introduced to us in Super Mario Land 2 – whose name is Wario. Not only is the name visually catching (because of the switching of M and W in the names of the two characters), but also because that name comes from a Japanese word – warui – meaning evil (an additional element of entertainment for the Japanese speaking players!).


  1. Bowser, who is the main antagonist in the Super Mario series, has actually played the role of the good one in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.


  1. Mario has appeared in more than 200 video games!


In conclusion, whether you want to save royal princesses named after fruits, or just be the hero of a day, take an example from Mario, the man that taught us that everybody can be a hero. So, dear Speak Up London friends, if you spent your golden years playing this videogame – and especially if you didn’t – we recommend finding some time to play Super Mario, our favourite everyday hero!

Maria Chiara Strano


super mario blog post

The importance of compliments

Hello, Speak Up London friends. It’s time for our Thursday article, and today, on the occasion of World Compliment Day (1st March), we’re going to be talking about the importance of compliments in any kind of relationship.


Compliments are essential elements in healthy relationships, and can strengthen any bond. Just think about it for a moment, how do you feel when people pay you a compliment? Doesn’t it make you feel appreciated, special even? Well, that’s exactly why paying compliments is an important social practice. So not only can they strengthen relationships and show your interest towards someone else, but it also motivates the person to whom the compliment is paid. In fact, that person is likely to repeat the action and pass it on by complimenting someone else.

This practice is as useful in working relationship as in personal ones. As we’ve already mentioned, paying someone a compliment shows the receiver that they have been appreciated and that their merit has been acknowledged. In a working environment, this means that the receiver will be glad to know that their hard work and effort has been noticed and that this might work as an incentive to keep working hard, this time with a smile (or a bigger smile) on their face.


Another great effect of paying a compliment to someone is the ability of this simple action to bring people together, building trust. Especially when the atmosphere around you is not too warm, being able to make the right compliment might improve the situation, building a bridge between you and the person to whom the compliment is addressed.


It is important to remember that lying or saying things you actually don’t believe, won’t have the same effect. In fact, compliments need to be based on the truth in order to recreate that bonding experience which can lead to brighter outcomes. Even though this might be considered common sense, we’d like to highlight it, because being sincere is important, too.

In conclusion, our team would like to invite you to spend some time appreciating the people around you. It might seem like a small gesture, but the effect is way bigger. Complimenting the people around you is a sign of respect, appreciation and understanding. Celebrate the World Compliment Day every day: being kind, nice and complimentary is awesome.

Maria Chiara Strano