Art Style Love

A fashion & career blog written by Jennifer.


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

5 Work-related Skills You Don't Learn at Uni

H O W   T O   R E A D   &   U N D E R S T A N D  C O N T R AC T S

   One of the first things you need to do when starting a full time job out of uni is to sign an employment contract. So why aren't we taught what it all means and, more importantly, what is reasonable or negotiable?

   It is incredibly important to ensure that you are being given what was agreed at your interview, including your rights as an employee and also your employers duties during your time of work. For example, you should be certain that you're being paid at least minimum wage, and a pension must now be offered.

   An employment contract should also include the following:
  • employee and employer names
  • employment start date
  • job title
  • pay details
  • hours of work and place of work
  • holiday entitlement and holiday pay
  • sick pay
  • pension schemes
  • notice periods
  • grievance, dismissal and disciplinary procedures

   This mostly applies to your industry, for example in marketing you would negotiate with a sales team to, say, bring the price of your advertising down. However, in general you might find yourself negotiating important matters such as base wages and pay rises. For a lot of people, this is a nerve-wracking prospect; however, Forbes and Elle have some good advice on this matter.

H O W   T O   T A L K   O N   T H E   P H O N E

   When I first started working, I felt sick every time the phone rang. All these questions raced through my head: what do I answer with? What if it's a complaint? What am I not allowed to say? What if the line's dodgy and I can't understand what they're saying?

   If you find yourself feeling like this, it's not uncommon. However, there are simple ways to improve how you communicate verbally. For example, take fifteen minutes to go through with your manager a typical phone call situation; ask who will likely be calling you, what issues you'll be dealing with, and who you should direct the call to if you're unable to deal with it yourself.

   At the end of the day, the only way you'll be able to improve your confidence with phone calls is to practice!


   Small talk, exchanging cards, dressing smartly. No one tells you how to network at uni unless you actively attend student networking events, so it's something that can only be experienced by diving in headfirst.

   If it's your first time, I would persuade an colleague to come along and show you the ropes; this way, you'll understand how to introduce yourself, who to talk to and when it's time to leave.

    When you're attending a networking event, the first thing you should do is find the host and introduce yourself. Try not to mingle for too long with people you recognise - nobody ever made new contacts by staying in one place - and always remember that you're representing your business; you're not there to make besties.

H O W   T O   S T A N D   U P   F O R   Y O U R S E L F

   We're all treated very much the same whilst at university, but when it comes to office politics (or, God forbid, real politics in the office) there's little that you can take from your lectures and seminars. 

   Standing up for yourself, and your opinions, is crucial - as is knowing when to concede. If a work-related issue arises that you feel passionately about, prepare some points that back up your opinions so that people have more to consider in your favour. If it's a more personal issue, perhaps it should be discussed in private (I've seen people's personal issues provoke messy arguments, simply because they were not handled well in the first place).

   However, if you feel as if your opinions are not being given the respect that you feel they deserve, maybe it's time to think about a change in environment. Forbes (again) and Cosmopolitan have interesting points on this.


Sunday, 22 November 2015


   Okay, so I cheated; I told you I was going to make four cocktails (see my previous apple whiskey cocktail here), but I've bent the rules and made shots. Cranberry gin shots, to be exact.

   Now I know that I went back on my word, but I'm not entirely cheating - you can actually make your own cocktail with this recipe. Just use less gin (or the same amount - this is entirely acceptable) and pour the mixture into a a glass instead of shot glasses. Et voila, a cocktail you have.

(serves 4 shots)

- 25ml Lime Juice
- 25ml Lemon Juice
- Cranberry syrup (made with dried cranberries, 200ml water and 1tbsp caster sugar)
- Ice


1. Heat the dried cranberries in the water over the stove. Add in the caster sugar and stir until the water thickens and takes on a deep pink colour.

2. Strain the mixture into a cocktail shaker, add in the rest of the ingredients, shake for around 10 seconds, then strain again to get rid of the ice.

3. Pour into shot glasses.


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Does Instagram Rule Your Life?

   With more than 75 million daily users, and over 70 million photographs posted daily, it's no lie that Instagram is a success (stats from As soon as the app was published by Burbn, Inc back in 2010, we all fell in love with the idea of easy photo sharing, filters and infinite hashtags. Soon enough, our favourite celebrities registered and began posting shots from their own lives - and we became enthralled and obsessed with the glamour, luxury and beautiful people suddenly popping up on our newsfeeds. A-list celebrities and their once undisclosed lives were only a double tap away.

   It's fair to say that we've all Insta-stalked another person's profile at some point in our lives, whether it's a celebrity or the boy next door (I'm guilty of occasionally scrolling through my favourite bloggers' feeds, drinking up the gorgeous selfies, designer makeup and lavish hotel rooms during Fashion Month), but more often than not it makes us look at our own lives and wonder why it's not as cool or exciting as the lives we see on screen. This might lead to jealously, obsession and even depression; we may ask ourselves, 'will my life ever be as awesome as this?'

   Essena O'Neill summed it all up in her video detailing why she quit social media, after having accumulated over 500,000 followers. Some would go above and beyond to get this number of followers, spending hours putting on makeup and taking a hundred shots to get the perfect selfie; making their friends wait fifteen minutes whilst the perfect brunch shot is taken before tucking into cold food at a restaurant; spending their income on named clothes, shoes and bags just so that they can show the world how on-trend they are (or even receiving these products as gifts from brands at the deception of their followers) - all to obtain more likes, more followers and the perfect feed. However, Essena ended her relationship with social media after realising that it encouraged the ideology of unachievable standards; she got a tonne of stick for this, and some people might think it's a drastic move, but she's stated that it's helped her free up her time, enjoy the world around her and generally be present rather than glued to a phone screen for hours.

   Doesn't that sound appealing? To physically live, and experience events, people, culture, art, nature, music, real friends and love? I took this photo (below) on my DSLR at the J JS Lee fashion show in London earlier this year, and it was incredible just how many people were watching the show through their phones, waiting to get the perfect Instagram snap of each outfit as it came down the runway for the instant gratification of their followers. To see fashion, an art I love so much, be reduced to a tool to gain online popularity, was a little upsetting - but I'm not naive, and I understand how much the world has changed. What I wonder is, will it always be like this?

   If you're feeling the pressure of Instagram, I feel your pain; it can be hard to remove yourself from the rush of excitement when you check the app and see a little 'follow' notification - or, even more, when someone tags you in a photo (oh, the excitement!) - but it can be done. If Instagram is taking over your life and you want to get back to the real world, try one or two of the following things:

- If you usually post every day, limit how many photos you take in a week to three (it's the magic number, after all)
- Post at least one photograph a week of something a little different to your normal style; go into town and take some shots of crowds getting on with their weekly shop, snap a photograph of your dad's gardening wellies or take a candid photograph of your significant other
- If you have to take a selfie, take one shot and accept it
- Take a day off, or better yet, a week
- Unfollow the people whose feeds make you feel jealous 
- Follow people whose interests differ from yours

   On the other hand, if you love posting on Instagram and you feel no negativity towards it, then good for you! It's an endlessly useful tool for promoting your work as a creative or your brand as an entrepreneur, for communicating with others that you might not have been in contact with IRL, or even as an online scrapbook of all your favourite moments. What I'm saying is, there is nothing wrong with Instagram; the problem lies in the deception that we succumb to and allow to flourish on the platform, and its invasion into our physical lives.

I N S T A G R A M M E R S   W I T H   A   D I F F E R E N C E

@willwhipple - posts blurred images to reflect the way we see moments in our mind as memories

@gdax - all about his life as a Tibetan monk

@mortenordstrom - shooting Copenhagen's people and places

@emolabs - poetry and pretty pictures

@andrewknapp - plays Where's Wally with his beautiful border collie

@idafrosk - endlessly plays with her food (and makes art out of it)

@maya_on_the_move - a bubbly bulldog's adventures in NYC

@gopro - life from the perspective of GoPro users

Monday, 16 November 2015

*GIVEAWAY* Strong is the New Skinny

   Earlier this month, you may have seen me singing the praises of fit-skin brand Mio Skincare in a blog post and YouTube video. This brand promotes health and fitness with honest and effective products that really do work, and I've experienced great results including the near-disappearance of a scar through the use of 'The Activist' Firming Active Body Oil! I know, I couldn't quite believe it myself, but I'm still using the product and it's STILL fading.

   Because I love these products so much, I'm giving you lucky readers the chance to win the Strong Is The New Skinny kit. This contains all three products that I reviewed earlier this month (including the aforementioned miracle body oil) amounting in £26.50 worth of products - and hey, you might even love them so much that you'll continue using Mio in future. All you'll need to do is enter through the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Apple Whiskey Christmas Cocktail

   Who doesn't get excited at the thought of lighting up the fireplace, sitting down with your friends to watch Love Actually and drinking some warming festive cocktails? If that doesn't make you feel a little bit fuzzy inside, then stop reading.

   I'm joking. But I'm so excited about Christmas this year - and also to share with you some of my favourite beverages to try out over the next month and a half in the lead up to the big day. I'll be posting four different cocktail recipes starting with this: the Apple Whiskey Christmas Cocktail, a delicious spiced apple drink with the addition of some eight year old Highland Black Whiskey* available for the very tempting price of £12.99 at your local Aldi.

   This is best served straight off the stove, with a slice of apple and a sprinkle of cinnamon; it only takes five minutes to whip up and you can make as many as you need. Foodwise, try making some delicious pork or cheese nibbles, like Cranberry Sausage Rolls or Blue Cheese Straws with Cranberry Dipping Sauce - or why not make both? Go on. It's Christmas (nearly, anyway).

   Check out the recipe below for this easy-to-make cocktail!

I N G R E D I E N T S 
(serves 1)

30ml Highland Black Whiskey
400ml cloudy apple juice
4 teaspoons clear honey
4 teaspoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons lime juice
1 slice of apple
2 pinches of cinnamon
1 inch of fresh ginger



1. Heat all the ingredients (apart from the whiskey, half the cinnamon and the apple) in a small saucepan over a low heat

2. Once the flavours have been infused, pour the ingredients into a mug or sturdy jar with a handle, and top with the apple slice followed by the other half of the cinnamon

* This post was made in association with Aldi

Monday, 9 November 2015

Pearls of Wisdom


   Ever since I watched the Sex and the City movie, and saw Jennifer Hudson's character showing off a gorgeous 'borrowed' designer handbag to Carrie, I've been obsessed with the idea of loaned fashion. I mean, why buy into a trend that's so expensive when you're undoubtedly only going to wear it for one season before making way for something new (classics such as a black Chanel tote aside of course - I'm talking about a Moschino McDonald's jumper or Stella McCartney's hoofish platform loafers)?

   I love the thought of being able to rent an item for an event or two, before sending it back when I'm finished. This way, I can try out different looks before committing to a purchase, or simply never own an expensive item - just borrow them.

   The Folly Boutique is a website where you can do just this, with designer jewellery. The site stocks hundreds of stunning pieces by amazing names such as Orly Genger, Loren Hope and St. Erasmus, and offers rentals for the duration of three or six days from as little as £15; simply choose the piece you'd like to rent, wear it for your special occasion, then send it back to The Folly Boutique in a postage-paid envelope.

   Convenient, right? This could just be my favourite site of the year.

   In this post, I'm modelling the 'Peony Pearl Ring'* by Diana Broussard and the 'Double Pearl Hook Earrings'* from Folly Boutiques' own brand, The Folly Studio. I absolutely adore both pieces - pearl jewellery makes such a beautiful statement - and I would definitely recommend giving the site a go for your next occasion.

   Browse by designer, jewellery type or occasion such as Christmas Party or Business Meeting. If it's minimalism you're after, Myia Bonner makes beautifully simple pieces in silver, gold and a darker rhodium; however, if you like to make a statement, Tessa Metcalfe's jewellery is so effortlessly cool, you'll want to own it for yourself. Click here to have a browse, and let me know if you spot any pieces you love!

*Gifted for review

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Perfect Autumnal Drink

   If you've got a spare half an hour in the evening to prepare tomorrow's lunch, try saving a fiver (and a trip to Starbucks) by making yourself a delicious pumpkin spiced latte. You probably already have pumpkin flesh left over from Halloween (I always save the good bits for soups and pies), so you'll just need to raid your baking cupboard for the rest.

Ingredients (serves one flask-full):

1 tbsp pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi-skimmed milk
1 shot espresso
Whipped cream


1. Puree the pumpkin using a blender. I've got a Nutribullet which really does the job, but a high-powered blender will do.

2. Pour the pureed pumpkin into a non-stick saucepan and heat - but do not boil - along with the cinnamon and ginger.

3. Add the sugar and stir for two minutes until the sugar has melted.

4. Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract. Take off the heat ad pour the mixture back into the blender. Blend for a few seconds.

5. Pour the espresso into a cup, then pour in the pumpkin mixture and stir. Top with a nice swirl of whipped cream, and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

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