Sunday, 24 November 2013

Saying "screw you" to S.A.D. syndrome

Don't you just love Autumn/Winter? The golden colours, the sparkling frost in the mornings, ......the long nights, freezing cold, bad skin, too many layers on outdoors, the inevitable 10 minute strip indoors, and the general run-down effect it puts on you. 'Seasonal affective disorder' (when applied to winter) is a genuine thing.

Sluggishness, spots, dark circles and chill blains are a bad combo. So I say, SCREW YOU winter blues! Here is my How-To routine and guide to deal with it:

Gym or not to gym?
Ok, there's no denying that exercise is probably best. You stay healthy, keep your metabolism up, and also, a few of those endorphins circulating your system can't do much harm. However! welll....pfff, you know what? No one will blame you in using every excuse under the sun. It's too dark, it's too cold, I have a cold, my feet are too cold. F**k it. It's winter, winter is tough on your body, there is no shame in giving it a good old rest, or an extended rest in my case. Go home and stay cosy!

Get some wine, maybe mull it.
WINE, yes. If you're prone to a tipple, grab a bottle on your way home from tirelessly avoiding the gym, preferably red. If you have time, indulge yourself with some sugar, fruit and spices and make some mulled wine. This is by far another plus of the season and well worth your while. If you don't drink, here's a little family secret; try some 'Hot Tosh'. This, my friends, is heated up orange squash (squash, not juice). Take a seat by the fire/ plug in heater, lovely jubbly.

Face mask and skin care
So your face is looking a little tired, a few blemishes are coming through from the extreme temperature changes and multiple layers, like scarves and coats, gathering dirt and bacteria on the skin. I'm no expert, but I do work at LUSH, so I suppose I can suggest a few skin care faves.

One big suggestion for treating your skin right in winter is a nice face mask. It's all about giving yourself the me-time you deserve. Put on a mask for ten to fifteen minutes just before you run yourself a bath (seen below). Lush has a wonderful range of fresh, preservative-free face masks, hence why they are kept on ice. They have released a new one for xmas, called Rudolph, which I reckon is good for any skin type. I'm not just saying this cause I work there, I genuinely think it's great. It's packed full of everything to sort out winter skin. Cucumber and aloe vera for soothing, tea tree and witch hazel for sorting out the spots, tofu and oatmeal for moisturising and nourishing, also a bit of lavender in there.

Other products that I reckon you should look for is anything with Vitamin C in, apparently BodyShop have a great range. I also like the Eau Roma toner water, a wonderfully simple and gentle cleanser addition and alternative. Always, always use a moisturiser, but make sure it's right for your skin. Too heavy and it can cause spots, too light and it might dry it out. I have quite tolerant skin, but like a light cover, and absolutely love the brand Simple.

Oh, you're a shower person? WHAT. No. Make an exception, just this once. Light a candle, take the Hot Tosh in with you, a cheap magazine or put the radio on. You need to carry on with the me-time theme and nothing warms you up quicker than a tub full of hot, hot water.

Preferably add lots of bubbles! There are lots of smellies in Lush, but to keep it simple, I like the new Christmas Penguin. It's a warm bergamot/ olive oil smell, looks like a dude, and just break it up under the tap to make the bubbles! Combine this with a Lush Dreamtime bath melt to really help your body skin out. It's just a solid lump of cocoa butter mixed with relaxing essential oils such as lavender and sandalwood. This just melts in the water, and settles into your skin, keeping it moisturised.

Hot water bottle and fluffy slippers
It's cold, especially after your bath, get dressed quick. Bring out the wooly pyjamas, sort out a hottie-bottie and sneak under the covers. If you have to leave them, always, always have a pair of fluffy slippers at hand. I wouldn't say no to a pair of long-johns either. Laugh all you want, they really add a layer of cosy, and you can get a decent, cheap selection at somewhere like Matalan.

Pop a movie on!
A good, easy, silly one would be best, like Iron Man 3, or any Disney. Or, just because it's nearly Christmas, it's got to be Elf. Just got to be. You should be rested, happy, warm and relaxed, ready for the next day.

We recommend this routine to be repeated once a week, MINIMUM. Thanks.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Can we NOT call it a 'Date', please

Ahhh, the elusive Dating Game. So many rules, regulations, cautions, advisories, action plans, scripts and more. It's a wonder any romance is actually involved. God forbid you show a realistic side of yourself, christ. (Excuse the religious profanities).

You may have guessed that dating doesn't impress me much. It's more of a stress than an eye opener. And, sorry, this isn't classy, but I spend more time worrying about how much I'm spending than anything else! Think about it. If you arrange to meet someone minimum once a week, and you spend a minimum of £20 each time (which isn't much apparently), that's around £80 odd a month!!! on someone you don't really know and may not end up having a connection with!! - ok, yep, I'm taking all the romance out now for sure. Sorry.

Dating is not for broke people. Period.

Man.... I'm rambling about money now?

** DISCLAIMER ** I am most definitely NOT one to give dating advice (could you tell?)!

However there is an aspect to it that I, personally, find incredibly frustrating. You are given one, perhaps two dates, before you're socially expected to make a decision on someone. Sure, it shouldn't take too long to feel that 'special something', and see if you get along, but with every experience I've had, I've felt a certain pressure to label it, or even action it (if you know what I meeeeeaaaannn). Two dates in and we're Seeing each other?! Two dates in and I'm your Girlfriend? Two dates in and you're surprised I'm not available to watch a movie at yours which is inevitably going to 'last all night'?

Come on. You're essentially a stranger! I DON'T KNOW YOU YET.

And this is where I reckon that terming something as a 'Date' is dangerous. It implies interest, it implies a pre-existing situation of romance. Excluding existing friendships and other such circumstances, most cases of first dates come from improve, spur-of-the-moment encounters of brief attraction and confidence. Dates are supposed to be opportunities to 'test the water', figure the other person out, to ask whether we really feel that attraction after all. It just feels like sometimes, saying you're going a Date, is presuming that you're already committed in some way.

Why can't they be called "Meets"? What about that then, eh? Meets.

A Meet is a Meet. you're meeting someone. Just that. You meet someone twice, if you like each other, then Date. All presumptions are lost.

I know, I know. I'm clearly making a mountain out of a mole hill. It just gets on my wick sometimes. But I'm an anti-social so-and-so. I'm one of those folks that doesn't open up that easily, I over think everything, and I can't help thinking practically, with the optimism and hazy naivety of never having felt emotions take control.

I just don't see what all the rush is about sometimes. But that's me.

People are complex bastards. I think this, a friend of mine says she can 'go with the flow' and consider themselves a couple within a few times of seeing them. Who's to say? I can't read myself sometimes, let alone the person sitting opposite me.

And then, the headaches start...

Someone said that I probably just want something that happens 'organically", meaning, a situation that falls into itself. I find someone I like without realising it, and get to know them without realising it, then one thing leads to another...... A much more 'organic' approach than the stuffy label of Dating.

If it ever happens like this to you, don't think about it, don't call it a Date, just GO WITH IT.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

An ode to travellers

We've all probably considered travelling at some point, or have been productive and lucky enough to have gone already. The whole concept of travelling has evolved into more of an adjective than a verb. What does it mean to "go travelling"?  Why do people need to do it? Why don't they do it? Would you become a better person if you do? That's the hope of most people, I guess. At least it would be my way of looking at it.

It's all about gaining a solid concept of the planet you live on, and more importantly, who you share it with. Practically speaking, a way of learning to cope and handle yourself in potentially difficult or strange scenarios. To come out the other end......well, .....yep, a better person.

But I don't have enough money to travel atm so this isn't really a post about the endless possibilities of going beyond The Front Door.

I'm in love with travellers, the people who brave it, and especially the documentaries they keep. From the day to day mundane, to the thoughtful analysis of self contemplation.

I was recently lent a book, called "Jupiter's Travels", which is a biographical telling of a man's travels over EVERYWHERE, on nothing but his clunky Triumph (motorbike), during the late 70's. This man is Ted Simon (see above pic), who also worked as a journalist for the Sunday Telegraph, but whilst on his journey, kept it personal, and honest. His writing was comforting to read, but also self indulgent, as we all are inside our own minds. He questions and observes, and makes us feel a little less lonely, showing us that we all ponder on the same things deep down.

Apparently Ted has worked on campaigns focusing on encouraging fellow travellers to provide accurate and non politically inclined accounts of what they see and experience, much like what he achieved with his writing. It's this focus that feels inspiring, and right. It leads me onto other, more current said-travellers, and their chosen methods of documentation, which I enjoy.

For example, a daily vlogger, Louis Cole aka FunForLouis (above), who has been travelling with, and without, his family since being a youngun'. The most amazing part of it is, he is constantly working on new charitable projects, if his "draw my life" video is anything to go by. He is one of those free wheeling-slightly mad-loving-caring-take each moment as it comes-take nothing for granted type of people. One of those lifestyles that you wish you could emulate, but know you'd never have the balls to completely take on.

After only having watched his videos recently, I know I haven't got the whole picture. He currently hasn't done much travelling, and you're mostly just exposed to edits of his 'morning' coffee and 5am social hours. However, I love how open these are. It's simple, but every second is precious. He's not wasting anything, and each moment is worth recording. I find it a very brave thing to do to publicly display your life, right down to the minute details, much like how much Ted Simon displayed of his inner thought process.

I admire these people. And I enjoy travelling and living life through their eyes. This includes the tourists from far and wide, who come into my work, or my friends, recounting their experiences over wine. Fyi, the first picture is one my old uni house mate, Ben Manwaring, took whilst he was in Africa. Amazing isn't it. To be fair, he is a photographer, .....but still. This last picture is one my friend, Camilla Gilbey, took whilst in India, the colours man, the colours...

For some reason, and I have no idea why, I find it relaxing. Maybe it's because they've gone through the effort of braving the world, whilst you only have to sit back, listen, and appreciate what they've learnt, without the lesson. Maybe because it's something that's genuinely interesting, and all the more captivating because of the mouth it's coming from, as a first-hand rendition, alive and raw.

I only hope that I will get the opportunity to become a 'better person' some day.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Missed Opportunities, regrets.

You're sitting across the floor from someone taking centre stage in the conversation, most likely during Freshers Week or a mate's house party. They are drastically explaining about some moment or other in their lives where they had done something border-line risque, and border-line 'everyone else has done this'. They sum up by saying they have no regrets, and this is where I'd like to stop the conversation.

I'm sorry, but everyone has regrets. Big time. Everyone.

It's life. The complex monstrosity of emotional twists and turns, happenstance, fate or coincidence. If 'life' were an open book, then heck, things would be a lot less messy! But that's not the point, I suppose.

Small actions and moments that we come across, take us by surprise, whether they are good, or bad, and the ability to deal with these situations is probably reliant on this little thing called experience. Wisdom is age, people. But you don't gain wisdom without making mistakes, I don't think anyway. Some people never learn, but that feeling, 'regret', it's strong, and it's miserable, and it lasts. 

So whilst the person sitting across from you is proudly exclaiming otherwise, I really don't think you can get rid of regret so easily. This is natural though, it's necessary. It's what allows us to take the right path when that same conundrum presents itself to us later on in life. It's what sculpts us into the beings we are now, and will keep changing us as we go through new things. To feel proud of our mishaps is somewhat unnatural, you are only telling people they should make the same mistakes, therefore encouraging a cycle of actions that will struggle to end. 

That negative feeling is what helps us empathise and sympathise. We should be proud of THIS ability, not the cause and effect to get us there.

As oddly vague, benign and subtly depressing as this post is, please let me explain. I recently let myself miss out on an opportunity. Again, vague, but you don't need to know the details. Suffice to say, I probably said the wrong things, or didn't say enough, and am now left feeling like an idiot for not knowing a good thing if it slaps me in the face. Ergo, regret.

In this case, it's no biggy, just a shame. I'm left thinking of ways I could possibly rectify the situation, which is a frustrating past time, if any of you know the feeling.

But I have learnt. Next time will be better. Sort this out, if I can. If I can't, move on.

And that goes for all of you as well.

Photo from Buzzfeed

Saturday, 21 September 2013

3# What I Wore Today

Remember how I used to do these style posts? Yeh, me neither! Considering that this is only my third post of such, I guess I can talk! Anyhoo, moving along so this blog actually has worth-while and enjoyable content, here is one of my latest 'looks' I managed throw together!

This was back when I had money, and I could afford the occasional purchase from high-street shops. However, as you definitely get from my previous WIWT post, I always try to scrounge at some level. Whether it's with charity shop clothes, or purely sale items, I've never been accomplished at comfortably forking out above £30 for one item of clothing. "Price buys you quality" they say, weeeelll, not every time, or for everything, as I have learnt through hard-earned experience. "Price buys you longitude of wear", again, surely the existence of charity shops and 'vintage' assures this is NOT the case? Anything that can last one owner's use, be transformed, and last through another generation's use, has value wouldn't you say? As simple as the product may be...

Ok, so thinking on it some more, maybe I'm just trying to justify my slightly dilapidated sense of style. My friends are always telling me about one hole or another they've discovered in my jumpers...

And here is where the hypocrisy comes in. Everything in this featured ensemble is new, albeit sale or budget! Does that make things better? Back onto the case at hand, I love anything with a slight 90's grundge, an that's what I tried going for with this look. Hell, there's a lot about the 90's I love and thought I wouldn't, high ponytails being one of them! For this case, it's funky, interesting, edgy, and EASY. 

Don't be scared of the wet-looks, never be afraid of them. The key is to keep the rest of the outfit simple! Pair with a basic, or long, top. I love the unusual print and cutting in this particular top, being drawn to it immediately. When put with the plain black bottoms, it does all the accessorising for you, hence why I felt no need to do anything complicated with my hair or accessories. The only other extremity is my oh-so-grundgy creeper shoes, leopard print no less. Ignore the cat-face socks. I just like cats.... and 'kook'. Team up with chav-tastic gold chain bling of some sort, and you're done! The only thing I would say you could add, is maybe a dark red nail finish, instead of the pastels I used, and a darker, messier, smudgier form of eye makeup. Have fun!

Top | Dorothy Perkins | £10
Leggings | New Look | £11.99
Cat Socks | Topshop | £3
Creepers | New Look | Around £10?
Bracelet | New Look | Can't remember!

Friday, 13 September 2013

The Social Jam Jar syndrome

Suffice to say that this title, itself, holds all potential to be as awkward and nonsensical as the subject of this post. And yes. It has been a while. Welcome back and hello again.

I would like to coin the title to a certain condition. Basically, being eternally 'Ditsy.' It's one of those human inadequacies which everyone probably believes they have but with which you feel so very alone at the time, like any act inducing insecurity. It's the moment you double book, forget the glasses on your head, and, most commonly, completely miss a joke. It becomes frustrating when it's taken to the point that you feel unfairly delt with early dementia, and you start believing in your acts of stupidity, two university degrees promptly lost down the psychological drain.

What I'm trying to say is, why am I so gosh-darn socially awkward?!

Every act, every occurrence, every missed or over-played opportunity has resulted from the white noise of your brain cells, and can only be described as feeling like the behavioural equivalent of not being able to open that stupid jam jar. You try really hard, but in the end someone has to take the situation off you, whilst rolling their eyes. How's that for a metaphor?

At least you finally get that title now, no?

Whilst this is most assuredly a first world problem, what limitations am I, are we, left with within our societies? How are we supposed to join the click? How are we supposed to get favour or respect from that guy? If you promise someone you're not THAT dumb, will they believe you?

I guess it's down to playing your part. So you're a bit slow, what the hell. That, in itself, is your sense of humour, right? People who know you, or who like you, should take any miss giving with affection, not judgement. And anyone who chooses to judge without getting to know you is missing out on many other qualities that you undoubtedly have.

The tricky thing is to not overplay your stupidity or 'ditz'. Sometimes going with the flow of general consensus is easier than surprising people. This can be a big problem sometimes, you should never let it get to the point of being a big problem. I'm talking about when you let it affect your career or act of self preservation.

I'm still figuring this bit out, and I still get pissed off with myself, despite what I've written here. Worries about other peoples' opinions are usually grossly exaggerated, and people, in general, don't give a hoot. It's more myself I have to reprimand, I am the harshest judge after all. . .

Please leave your thoughts, if there are any to share.

Monday, 20 May 2013

London Poem

Land of concrete,
Red brick, patch work green,
Dim stars, bright lights, things obscene.
Constant sirens wale in the pale dawn, and dusk, of London's scenery.

Tutting mouth slurps
And bus driver bickering,
Foreign tongues and mini ganstas sniggering.
Swarms of colonies, red, White and blue,
Not one name for me or you.
Constant noise, constant spitting!
Its fitting.

Love thy neighbour like a stranger,
Turn the left cheek when you're in danger.
Heads look forward, straight,
Only the weird ones unabate.

No identities, and many,
It's a multifaceted paradise
From which, I promise,
You will sometimes miss.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Hey Y'aaaaallllllll....

What's that? Who am I? Ahhhh yes that's right, I haven't been on here for a long, ........long, ............. ...........long while and I admit, I've gone incognito, under the wire, A.W.A.L. (what does awal actually stand for?). But no need to fret, I have returned, for the most part, albeit with a positively rubbish post.

This will be rubbish because it's basically a bunch of random thoughts and updates that will have absolutely no relevance to you. At all. But hey-ho! In reference to your imaginary questions which are bursting forth:

Where have you been!

Nowhere....same place really. I've just been too busy in my new internship.

What have you been doing?!

My new internship, ah, mentioned above. Ok, more detail. I finally left that previous place which wasn't doing much for me other than improving my social life, onto something where I have no social life what-so-ever but is much better for me...oh. The short of it is I now write blog posts and schedule tweets for a small fashion dance wear company which has literally just launched. The subject of these posts are anything from dance, dance companies, fashion trends, theatre, beauty and lifestyle. Considering I have to schedule 17 tweets everyday, the subjects I tweet about vary immensely! Sometimes I'm not sure how I get away with the bollocks I put on there! To prove my point, I have previewed the content of one of my tweets below.

'Nuff said.

Why haven't you blogged....or tweeted...or whatever?

I find that when your job is in the field of something you used to consider a hobby, it's difficult to maintain the passion and drive for it in the same way. Not to mention that the rota is surprisingly full on, and I've been going back to the gym for a bit...and...well, arrr, I'm lazy. I still get inspiration to write stuff, I just need to learn to jump on that feeling more before it goes. Keep you guys entertained ya know!

So what now?

Weeeeelll, I've just got a part time job at LUSH!! Exciting times. I love the company and their ethical campaigns, and the products of course, and I GET PAID. Paaaaaaiiiiiiidddddd. Urgh finally. Unfortunately this now means that my rota is thus; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday at internship, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday with LUSH! ...... got it yet? NO DAYS OFF wooooooooo oohhhhhh......On the bright side, I get 50% off LUSH products (let me know if you need hooking up yo) and I'll be posting reviews on here to help you and to help me learn the products better.

Also, I've just changed my desktop background to this...


Sunday, 14 April 2013

The beauty of unexpected journeys

This isn't about those well planned, well organised (sometimes not) holidays or road trips you have with your fellows. This is the genius part of life which lives up to the phrase "it's all about the little things." This is also an encouragement to those of you who may be a little socially shy, like me, or feeling a little lazy, .....ok, like me, to say 'yes' to things, just a little bit more. You never know, it could be a fun night. Take mine for example...

I've just finished my placement at the internship, previously mentioned, and actually ended up making a few good friends there. On my last day, I wasn't planning to do anything, there was other stuff going on the following weeks, but, upon an uber last minute request from Claudia, one of the good ones ;-) I thought, why the heck not!?

We had an amusing journey to the first location, one of those situations where you end up making an inside joke and tell it for the rest of the night. She took me to a bar I've never been to before, the Covent Garden Cocktail Club. It's London, what else do you do!? This bar had some of the most amazing cocktails, music and bartenders of all time, even as the tiny little basement room it was. Danny, the main bartender, seemed to have the memory of an elephant. Each time one of us went up to get a drink, he'd remember our names, previous drinks, including where we were from. He also turned out to be an actor (of course), and as soon as I revealed that I haled from Stratford-Upon-Avon, and was an avid RSC goer, we nattered about all the Shakespeare plays we liked and why. I mean, when you think about general service 'stereotypes' in Britain, this was bloody lovely!

The rest of the night consisted of some classic dancing, changing the heels for flats, and another first, riding in one of those bicycle pedallo things which are all over London. The next day, after staying over at Claudia's, which has the most AMAZING view by the way, the journey home was a delicate one, to say the least. I took my time and wondered into an American Diner cafe. Enjoying scrambled eggs with potatoes, bacon, tea, the Beach Boys and a good book is something a lot of people don't have time for these days. Also, bearing witness to a 7 year old's birthday breakfast, and their nan dancing a jive with his sister, is oddly charming.

So this is about the little things. Whether it's taking the opportunity to people-watch, to gander down a different route for a change, or by saying 'yes' to more offers and invitations that come your way, do it! It's not going to work out every time but there is something more life-revealing about experiencing new things and seeing how the 'other half' live. Take the opportunity to grow a bit more, whatever stage of life you're in. People never stop learning, seriously. Sometimes you need to stop looking at your destination and start occasionally enjoying the road along the way! Cheesy but whatever.... See what you end up doing next time.

Monday, 1 April 2013

The brilliant 90s

Oh hello there! What's this? A post where I'm NOT moaning? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa.......

So yes, I have progressed somewhat onto the field of fashion again, this time with an ode to the inspiration of the 90s for women's fashion. This is finally a colourful, lighthearted piece I had to get out there after having two accidental doses of 90s TV sitcoms over this wonderfully long weekend. Never mind the fact that it is slightly depressing that an era that still seems pretty recent to me is now deemed 'retro'!

Firstly, F.R.E.I.N.D.S. What else can I say, other than reminding you that it was, and almost still is, the biggest series of the 90's through to 2000's. Till not long ago, it was constantly on TV. Nothing else was on really. I saw an episode quite randomly last night and got to thinking how I would quite happily wear most of the things Rachel, Pheobe and Monica were wearing, except for Monica's Marilyn waitress outfit, ....obvs.

Then came Sister Act 2. Again, just by accidentally walking into a room where the TV had been left on and there it was. This is the Sister Act film where the nuns, and Whoopi, help a bunch of rebellious school kids in a broken down, about-to-be-closed school. The kids are trained up, they solve all their social angst, as you do, and win their final show down at a massive singing contest, ultimately saving the school and proving to the world, and me, they have great style. Yep, guys, this just crunched the biscuit for me, and I had to explain, again, why the 90's style is purely great.

It's the baggy, boyfriend, yet high waisted jeans, worn with colourful crop tops and varsity jackets. Sound familiar? Dungarees, shorts or trousers, and heavy dot martin boots. Summer dresses with high socks and sandals. Sleeveless denim jackets over sweat shirts and big hoop earrings. Denim jackets tied round the waist with another crop top and low slung sweats or high waisted denim shorts. Long slit skirts or dresses with a loose fitting shirt over the top. To say the least! Have I missed anything? Probably, but all this is great, in my opinion.

Something about the 90's is so unashamedly colourful and, well, denim. With patch work, bright prints of floral or shapes, and those girly high pony tails or braids. I like the side of it that's also a liiiitle 'hooch', hence the hoop earrings and lip liner. It's fun and funky, just like the music, and can be seen through timeless classics such as these shows and many more. I mean, who can forget 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer" or "Clueless"!?

The last example I want to show you is the beautiful Ashley Banks, from my all time favourite, 'Prince of Bel Air'. When she got older, her style turned truly amaze. For all the reasons and examples mentioned above, just see below. Enjoy.

All images nicked from Google Image Search

Oh, and you can thank me later for this:

Thursday, 28 March 2013

If you ever, EVER, need a pick-me-up...

I'm sorry, welcome to my sense of humour. Hi humour.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Oh dear. Bad day at work?

Understatement of the year for me right now. Oh yeah, update, I got a job, of sorts, it's unpaid and classified as an internship. Figured I needed to do something with my time...

"So get on with it then, what's the problem?". Ah yes, sorry, it's in an establishment that calls itself PR and works like a call centre. For those who have had the pleasure of such an environment, need I say more?

First off, for the sake of my 'professional credibility' (god knows if I actually have one), this post is not about the job, the company, or a complaint on the system. I hugely appreciate any opportunity I am given (no one else was going to hire me!) and there is, beyond any doubt, a great amount of positives that are to be said for my situation, some will be clarified here so read on. It is, however, an honest recount of my experiences, from my perspective, aimed at an intended audience of sympathy rather than accountability.
So if you've worked in one, you know what I mean, if not, chances are you've had one of us call you and you know how you've acted down the phone. Come on, don't deny it, to be honest we've all done it. Cold calling is NOT appreciated. And every so often, it's not tolerated, at all. And those poor bastards on the other end have no choice but to be your punch bag. Hell, some genuinely are too persistent and don't get the 'no' you're telling them, but that just makes them even poorer bastards.

Ending my first week of work on an odd positive note, I thought it wasn't so bad, I can deal. Then whack! One heck of a bloody Monday. Started off by being told I don't "communicate myself effectively" to ending with "you lot are just hounding us, I mean, Jesus Christ!" The latter leaving me too paralysed to make any further calls, troubling, when the whole job consists of call making and there's still an hour to go. What makes it harder is that they are completely right. Part of what we are told to do is constant follow-ups until a clarified decision from the person, one way or another, is achieved. Being a classic Brit, this isn't considered polite and is therefore very uncomfortable when I know I'm doing it. Also, no, I'm not a great communicator. I can be, but it falters, along with my confidence. I also have a very slight lisp, so that's great.

A jobs a job though, what do you expect? The good outweighs the bad in terms of the qualifications I can say I'm gaining. Despite the knock backs, I'm possibly growing in confidence, I'm being shoved unceremoniously through the educational door of elocution and diction, and learning to speak to many different sorts of people. I reckon these skills are needed in any sort of job or situation in life, no matter how much you try to avoid public speaking at school.

But there is one thing I can say is a big consideration to something like this, and one that I think is justified, if a little selfish. You should only really tolerate a job that is suited to your personality and the way you work. I'm a part time artist type - believe it or not, and this is the one rule artists tend to abide by. We all have our unique styles and our unique way of working. People buy our work and appreciate us specifically because of these traits. The same goes for your day to day job. If you can hack that sort of environment, and revel in the successes you gain from it, then it suits you.

I've never been very 'corporate', and I have the self esteem of a pebble, so any hit I take throws me into a black hole of despair for a good few hours before I can see the light and feel that things aren't that bad really. I know, I'm pathetic. Long story short, I really don't think I would be too good at sticking with this for the long run, and I do say this with trepidation, because I always try hard to learn quickly and deliver well, what ever the job. The logic is to work to your specific skill set. Be an artist. Do something you know you're good at, and enjoy, don't submit to doing something because, technically, you just can.

It all depends of perspective I suppose. What do you reckon? Am I just acting spoilt? Please tell me, if you can, how you take the situation of a call centre, and turn it into something you can work on and improve at?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

The "Gentle Giant" syndrome

So what you may not know about me, if you don't know me, is that I'm tall. Very tall. Stupidly tall. Well, for a girl anyhow. A whole 5 foot 10 and half inches. Let me put it this way, if I put on a pair of standard three inch heels, I'll be over six foot. I'm not the most pillar-like out there, but us lengthy females are a little fewer and further between.

Aside from the fact that my height makes it very difficult for me to be included effectively in any photos, I wanted to raise awareness about the insecurities that are included with such a feature.

No people, it's not something to be jealous of, to me anyway. Don't say "but it's like being a model?!", because for those of us that don't end up models, how are we then supposed to justify being this way? Being really tall is the polar opposite of being small, same problems, different perspective.

The biggest issue I have grown up with, is struggling to be considered 'feminine'. Standard clothes don't really fit you, size eight shoes in the sale always end up being a selection of the best granny clogs around, and perhaps worst of all is being confused for a man a couple of times. When out with your girlfriends, men will consciously, and quite obviously, ignore you. I have had it openly explained to me that they are just plain intimidated. When you're trying to 'scout for talent', the line-up is sparse verging on non existant.  Already being this height from age fourteen onwards, understandably doubts form, teasing ensues, and everything about being a teenager kicks in, creating insecurities set for life.

As a result, I grew up quite tomboyish and pretty shy. When you're this big, who needs an 'expressive' personality? It's ironic that people are intimidated by size, I would say taller people are more introverted because of it. The 'gentle giant' syndrome is no myth.

Society constantly talks about the negatives of being short, and builds a picture of the 'average' person being of a shorter height. Quite often, in sitcoms or dramas, any women who are characterised as being tall are at the receiving end of the jealousy stick and are therefore portrayed as being arrogant, vacant, or shallow. The best examples are the many occasions during "Sex and the City" where Carrie is pitting herself against that 'tall, skinny, twenty something'. The only example where I'm proved wrong is in British comedy series "Miranda", but even then isn't Miranda considered quite masculine, which she deals with by being 'kooky' instead? A substitution which can seem quite frustrating at times, though admittedly hilar', bear with. It basically seems that, because people associate tall women with being like that of perfect models, they are immediately assumed to be at an advantage, when the reality is is that this height could come with a lot of emotional baggage.

The first thing people usually say when they see me is "you're tall aren't you?" I was Goal Keeper in my netball team at school (surprise), and whenever I blocked the ball the people around me would say, "She's so tall," as if that was explanation for my success, skill or talent having nothing to do with it. I've had men walk past in the street, literally point their finger at me, and say "GOD you're tall!" Please people, one request, don't state that absolute obvious. I get it is surprising, but, to me, my height is my biggest problem. It's taking your insecurity, and being reminded of it every time you meet someone new. This is probably quite childish of me to bring up, and I realise that some readers will be thinking I'm an absolute nuggin', but since when are insecurities not stupid from someone else's perspective? Each to their own.

But don't worry! This post isn't all me whining and complaining! I kind of grew out of it, pun (I guess) not intended. When you reach your twenties, you're more comfortable with your person, and all that stupid school day awkwardness leaves you, to an extent. I say f**k 'em. People are short (sorry), and guys are stupid. People warm to someone who seems confident in their own skin, so there is no use wearing baggy clothes that hides yourself and proves them right. I still take my flats with me on a night out, just in case I feel too tall in my heels at some point, but hey ho, small steps (again, pun not intended).

This post is rather negative and egotistic but I guess I just wanted to open a few people's eyes as to how I, as a tall person, see things. If you are tall, or short, let me know if you feel differently? Do you love your height? What do you do to tackle your insecurities?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

60's Chic! Statement make-up look

So I tried on some bright pink lipstick today (17, Lasting Fix, "Pink Power"), and you know me, I'm never one for a drastic choice, however, paired with the right eye get-up, this look is great fun!

The bold cat-eye flick and bright pink lippy has been sported by a couple of celebrities recently, including Leigh-Anne from Little Mix here (last picture), and our favourite, Zoella, in this video. I love it. It's so 60's and poppy bubble gum, it makes a change from your average nudes whilst still not feeling "over dressed." I would wear this on a night out - obvs, but also might strut into the office on a 'statement' day, one might say when I'm feeling like an "In-De-Pendant WO-MAN" *proceeds to click fingers.*

Having never been good at getting a bold flick going, let alone making each eye the same, I spotted a tutorial on YouTube for it. According to them, the trick is to start by drawing in the flick bit, aiming it up towards the end of your eyebrow to the outer corner of your eye, then just colour it in to create a thick, even line to your inner eye. Pop on a popping lippy and shaboosh - go get 'em!

Monday, 4 March 2013

To the Library!

One of man's many welcome refuges - the library. Now considered a thing of the past and an establishment fighting an ever losing battle against modernism and the abundant source of free information the Internet provides. But is it really? I'm not so sure.

I remember the worried news articles, ranting about the need to 'save our libraries', hitting a high around three or more years ago. And hurrah, libraries are still around. They have evolved. Councils have funded them, and you can now expect, on the most part, a modern, clean, comfortable world once you step through the doors of your local. Now libraries aren't just for books, they are about providing an in-house service. Provision of computers, Internet time, and classes aimed at teaching people, who just don't get computers, to 'get' them. Not to mention story and play time for children, and acting as a local hotspot and notice board for all community groups and activities. All this for minimal costs, if any, and without the risk of someone spilling their tea all over your keyboard like you would in a cafe.

One of my favourite things is the ability to rent pretty new DVDs for about £1 for a whole week! Sorry, but why someone would choose Blockbuster over that is beyond me!

The negative side, if you're lucky enough to consider it negative, is probably the 'eclectic' mix of people that do spend their time in a library. I say you'd be lucky because it is people who have no where else to go that go to the library. The homeless, the drug dependant, the lonely and probably slightly weird, and those who don't want to go home for whatever reason. This selection, who aren't as used to convening to society rules, often provide a few horror stories to people like my friend, who works in a library. This scales from rude to scary treatment, to finding a human poo amongst the isles....aahhh the 9 to 5, who'd have it!

All this considering, I'm happier knowing that there is a secondary support system in our society than just human kindness from change given in the street. This is a support system for everyone at the end of the day (sorry, that Jeremy Kyle phrase is just too useful). What inspired me to write this article is my recent need of a working space and environment. Fed up of my continued laziness and lack of discipline at home, I hibernated in my library and used the opportunity to concentrate on a mass application session. I am happy to say this has successfully led to me getting an internship in London, but more on that another time!

In conclusion, support your local! As it were. The library is a good place go. It's an extra study place, it gives you tech, classes, multimedia items and what d'ya know, some books as well.

Friday, 22 February 2013

2# What I Wore Today

Yep. This one's been on the back burner for a while now, so this isn't exactly a 'today' issue either! The whole phrase eludes to a far more proactive person than myself, but it highlights a genre of fashion posting anyhow!

This look is a lot more unconventional, for me anyway. Being a tall, very tall person, I tend to steer away from anything that exaggerates the length of my body, long coats, long skirts. However, with this, I have gone for a long skirt. I have so many posts on my Pintrest of winter layering, and the long skirt is one of my favourites. I love how you can team it with long cardi's, jumpers, socks, socks with stockings! So much potential for colours and texture. Of course the trend in these aspects is wollen and muted greys and pastels. It's just so cute. A variant between Russian country and japanese lolita. Unfortunately my wardrobe is lacking the exact items or colour scheme to pull off this look perfectly, but hey ho.

I think I have achieved a relatively 70's vibe this time. The jumper is quite tight fitting and is a multicoloured and patterned piece. I have border-line gone too far with the long skirt, which is also patterned and draped. The cut is simple though, and being a much darker colour than the jumper, I think I can get away with it. My favourite addition to this outfit is my layering of stockings and woolly grey socks (excuse the slight dirty picture, I'm just making it easy for all the pervs out there). It's a detail that most people won't see but you feel better for knowing it's there. I wore flat, black ankle boots to carry off the vintage vibe, and kept to one bracelet for accessories, which I think picks out the gold and greens in the overall outfit. Seeing as there is a lot of pattern going on, I kept my hair straight and brushed out, and opted for neutral make up, with nothing more than my favourite eye flick. I'm just not a heavy make up kinda gal!

Jumper | Made by my Granny | FREE
Skirt | Charity Shop | Roughly £3
Stockings | Primark | £1.50
Socks | H&M | Gift from friend
Shoes | Outfit | £15
Bracelet | Oliver Bonas | Gift from friend

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A Fairy Trap

I was given some potpourri from my mum at Christmas, yes, apparently I'm old enough for potpourri now, but instead of just putting it in a bowl, I decided to be a little more creative. Inspired by something I found off Pintrest, I decided to create a little fairy light installation. Here is my how-to for anyone who wants to make one of these for their rooms :-)
I first got a large vase that would work well with fairy lights inside it and also was a good colour scheme with the potpourri I had. In this case I found a lightbulb shaped vase from Matalan for £10. The glass was thick with a bubble effect worked into it, and was also slightly tinted, which I thought would help make the fairy lights more ambient.

I found a 10 meter roll of fairy lights, in warm white, from this ebay store, for £9.99 free postage. I thought 10 meters might be too much but it worked out perfectly.
When putting the lights in the vase, start with the tip end of the fairy light cord, rather than the plug end. Put a few in and then sprinkle some of the potpourri. Repeat process. This ensures the potpourri through the lights is properly mixed in. If there are any large statement bits on your potpourri, for example mine had a pine cone, leave it till last to put in otherwise it just gets lost. I learned that the hard way!

To finish off, get some small squares of fabric, I used green netting and floaty purple stuff for added texture, and place over the top of the vase like how it is on a jam jar. Secure it with some elastic bands round the top. To cover the elastic bands, get some string and wrap around the bands a few times and then double knot it and tie into a bow. I chose string instead of ribbon because I thought it would look more 'earthy' and 'rustic'.
This could be done with lots of different colours and not just potpourri. See what you can come up with...

Enjoy your 'Fairy Trap'!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Some obvious tips for Interviews

I had an interview recently, and although I wouldn't go so far as to say "I've got the job!" I received good feedback and commendations on my level of preparation. This confused me, in the sense that the employers seemed genuinely surprised and impressed that I came prepared! This has been exclaimed to me a couple of times before in previous interviews, and makes me wonder what exactly other people think is a good way to turn up for interviews. Surely they don't all just turn up with nothing!?

So, on the off chance anyone is reading this and thinking "yeh, why would I worry about things like that?" or "why do I never get a second interview?", I have put together a list of must-haves. Please don't assume that I think myself a perfect example, hey, I'm still jobless, but just in case it could better your chances, I hope someone might find it useful.

1) Write some questions
Do your research! Look at the company website. Find out what they do, get a feel for their brand and 'what they are about', think how this might affect what they are looking for in an employee etc. Write some questions down! Read the Job Description, make notes next to it, and ask questions, even really obvious ones. Chances are you'll get most of them answered in the interview, but having written them down shows that you are interested in finding out more about the job role and the company. It's just proactive. All qualities which employers tend to look for. Even if the job is a really simple, basic one, just write some questions. It helps. I got a temp job purely because I asked questions, and I had even turned up late to the interview - which I DON'T recommend by the way, I'm just trying to prove a point.

2) Print out stuff
Be prepared! Or at least LOOK prepared. Seriously if you turn up with a little folder pack, with a load of stuff printed out, even if you haven't really done much preparation, it makes a hell of a difference. Appearance is everything, in all aspects. Just print out anything relevant. For example, spare copies of your CV, the Job description, the email confirmation they sent you for interview, a map to the location...this all might sound a bit extreem but I'm telling you now, it makes all the difference.

3) Dress smart, be engaged
Ok, yes, this is a standard as well, but in my last interview, I got commended on my 'professional attitude'. So this covers all aspects. Dress smart. You don't have to get the power suit out, especially if you don't know the dress code of the company, but, by dressing in clean, smart clothing, you're off to a good start. For example, cigarette suit trousers, pretty shirt, clean shoes, cardigan - sorted. During the interview, SMILE. Be engaged in what they are telling you, be responsive. Don't panic if you don't know the answers to everything, just chill, and answer the best you can. After all, there is no point selling a false impression of yourself, they would find out sooner or later. Be polite. That's all it should take.

And there you are. My three step advice on job interviews. If anyone finds this useful, or perhaps disagrees with me, or has something to add, please comment. Now my problem I think I have is with my CV and cover letters, so if someone could do an advice post about those that would be great! Thanks!

Friday, 8 February 2013

RSC's "A Life of Galileo" by Bertolt Brecht

Let me just start by saying I love the RSC. I really do. Their theatre in Stratford Upon Avon is one of the best features of the place. Having lived near there all my life, I have really appreciated being able to grow up and enjoy what they have to offer. Not only that, but they have this amazing scheme called the 'RSC Key', where young people between the ages of 16 to 25 are able to get £5 tickets to shows. Considering normal tickets can cost up to, and way more than, £30/40 these days, this is amazing. I'm just gutted I'm in my last year of this age bracket.

You might expect Shakespeare to be a big tub of heavy lard in terms of how easy it is to consume as 'entertainment', but believe me, give it a go, seriously. The RSC somehow manages to re-interpret each play every time. The atmosphere is great, the stage and art direction is always impressive, and hopefully you get a good set of actors thrown in as well. Well, considering David Tennant is playing Shakespeare's "Richard ii" this season, lets not doubt that one eh!?

The RSC also provide a good selection of non-Shakespeare productions. Last years favourite of mine was the xmas show of "The Heart of Robin Hood," and it wasn't just because the lead was slightly yummy. Ahem. ANHYWAYS, onto my suposed "review" of the most recent play I've seen - "A Life of Galileo," originally written by Bertolt Brecht.

This, as you would guess, is about Galileo. About his lead to the discovery of the moons of Jupiter, proving without argument (you would think) that not everything moves round the Earth and, perchance, we all actually orbit around the Sun.

This play offered an insight into the development of his theories, the build up of unbreakable proof of Heliocentrism, and the preferred blindness of the Italian Catholic authorities at the time. It was not possible that we, humans made from God's own image, could be subservient to another force in the heavens! This then lead to Galileo's forced retraction of his findings, stating they "were false." The focus of the play's morals pinnacled at this point, the writer having obvious concerns for the well being of Science if all great scientists ever went back on their discoveries.

I am glad I saw this production. Considering I initially thought Galileo was part of Ancient Greece and not, in fact, born a few weeks before Shakespeare, this play proved most educational for me. It became border line shaming when, during a scene in the show, Galileo asks why ice floats, and I actually couldn't say off the top of my head. SOMEONE needs to go back to school.

The play had quite a relaxed feeling to it. It wasn't over acted, it wasn't written in deep Shakespearian language, and the acting was really good but not intimidating. The RSC still managed to fit in a little ambiguous danse sequence that they insist on doing in nearly all their shows... sometimes I like it, sometimes I just think "necessary?" This play was enjoyable but I would say that others have had more impacting effects on me, such as "The Taming of the Shrew" I saw last year - bloody great. 

One thing I would say stood out BY FAR was the incredible persona and performance of Ian McDiarmid, who played 'Galileo.' He is the reason why I would recommend this play to anyone. I've never seen such inclusive acting. It was so natural, like watching your most favourite, charismatic teacher at school. Genuinely. And we've all had at least one we can think of. HE was just brilliant.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

"One Gold Stride"

I would just like to jokingly introduce a new exhibit in my home, including a friend's artistic review. A gold, spangly thong my mum very kindly got my dad a few years ago...yeh, I won't go into THAT private joke. Anyways. enjoy.

"oh Hi.

I just wanted to compliment your choice of house decor. Your parents must be very proud that you managed to conjure such a poignant and forward thinking piece for the staircase. If you have guests it will be a convo starter; it's a statement think piece that's sure to impress. Bringing up issues of sexism, male sexuality, homosexuality and sexy all in one gold stride. Well done fabs." review by 'friend'

Friday, 1 February 2013

Time for feet!

Hello all you people with foot fetishes/phobias! It's time for beautiful toe nails, arts & crafts style. Get your glitter out, that's right, glitter!

So what I wanted to do was create an 'ombre' effect with the glitter from the top of the toe. It doesn't highlight it too well in the pictures, as I picked quite coordinating colours of varnish and glitter. Start off doing the necessary amount of coats of your nail polish to get a full colour. As it is drying, sprinkle the glitter, focusing it at the top of the nail, fading down. Finish with a layer of Top Coat to seal it all in and ensure a longer lasting look.

Just in case you were interested, the nail polish was from Avon, 'Khaki Flip', which is this great two-tone effect colour, from a bronzy green to purple. The top coat is Sally Hansen "Insta-Dri".

I saw an example of the effect I attempted in a style mag. They used nude colours and managed to achieve a better 'fade' effect, but hey, it takes practice, and at least glitter is ALWAYS pretty (says the magpie). This can be done in all sorts of colours and shades, and is really fun to play with, so let me know if any of you attempt it, and send in pictures!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Do you think I'll get a job at LUSH?

In my search for a job, one which I think will suit me and help me out in life, I have attempted to apply to LUSH. Without going into too much detail, in case they or other companies find this blog (hello by the way! Please hire me!), I love their products and their fun, enthused atmosphere, and thought I had nothing to lose by handing my CV in.

Having spoken to a really nice lady in one of their Peterborough branches, she advised that I make my CV stand out a bit, and make it more interesting. My CV itself might be a hunk-a-chunk of bore but I can certainly doodle. So here is my attempt in sprucing up my cover letter and envelope (the design is the same on the cover letter). I tried to use language which shows how keen - and border line desperate - I was about their company, whilst also attempting to reflect their youthful, funky vibe. I even went so far as to spray a little of their "Lust" atomiser on it. Classy, all Legally Blonde like.

Wish me luck guys! I'll either get a job.... or a restraining order.

1# What I Wore Today

As promised, here is my light hearted, fashion related, first edition of a 'what I wore today'. Well, a few days ago, but lets not worry about specifics!

I'm really liking the whole preppy, 60's vibe at the moment, with collared shirts under chunky knit jumpers or sweats. The featured collar has been in fashion for a while now, and is such a convenient look, considering it can be worn dressed up or down, depending on the shirt. Having recently watched a lot of Zoella's YouTube 'haul' videos, she is also a fan of the collar on the odd occasion, and never ceases to amaze me with all the lovely styles and variations you can purchase. I've also become a little obsessed with jumpers. I never seem to have enough of the right style, thickness or colour combos. Living in the UK, and it being cold here 90% of the time, jumpers are a must have for a statement piece.

With this look today, I kept it simple with a denim shirt under a patterned knit cream jumper. You can't see it in my pictures, but this jumper has buttons down the centre back as a feature, and also has multi coloured flecks in the wool. The 'teddy boy' vibe is maintained by the skinny red jeans, rolled up at the end to achieve the cigarette jean shape. Pumps were probably not the best choice for icy weather, but since I was trapcing round London city for the weekend, I thought I could get away with it. Being small and simple, they help accentuate the length of the jean. The necklace, in heavy gold and tacky love-heart style, was to just add a bit of fun to the whole look. The pale pink nail varnish seems to go with everything I wear at the moment, and the make up and hair were, again, an attempt to reflect the 60's vibe, with the eye liner flick and half up-do bouffant (though it had deflated throughout the day). 

Denim shirt | Matalan | SALE £9
Cream jumper | New Look 'inspire' range | £12
Red skinny jeans | New Look | SALE £9
Necklace | Outfit | SALE (can't remember how much though! around £2.50 I think)
Bracelet | Oliver Bonas | Gift from friend
Nail Varnish 'Natural Days' | Make Up Academy | £1.50