Monday, 22 February 2016

8 Ways to Make Moving in by Yourself Bearable


1. Get yourself a cheap Bluetooth radio and play your favourite music while you move in
Music really helps. It can take your mind off the gargantuan task at hand, and also provide a rhythm to work to. For some ‘I can do this by myself’ inspiration, I recommend Alanis Morrisette and Beyonc√©.

2. Buy one indulgent piece of furniture and get everything else on the cheap or second hand
You just don’t realise how quickly things add up - £10 on some cutlery here, £25 on some curtains there – before you know it, you’ll have maxed your budget on the basic essentials and you won’t be able to buy that one-off special piece that you always wanted. Maybe it’s a gorgeous wing-back armchair or a solid wood desk; regardless, that one indulgent purchase could be the difference between you feeling delighted or disappointed with your new home.

You can easily find furniture on Gumtree, through second hand shops or simply through asking around. I got a really good quality sofa from a friend who was about to sell her old one, and it saved me a huge amount of money. Some of your friends and family may even be lovely enough to purchase items for you as a ‘moving in’ present – I’m forever thankful for those who helped me out (to those of you reading this, you’re amazing. And I’m sorry about getting all emotional, but you don’t know how much you’ve helped me!)

3. Prepare yourself for the amount of nails you will break…
…Because I’m afraid you’ll just have to deal with it, as there’s no way you’re going to stop in the middle of your move to cardboard box diving for a nail file.

4. Get a friend to stay with you for your first night
The first night is always the hardest; you feel alone, you don’t really know what to do with yourself and you’ll probably get a teensy bit scared at the slightest noises during the night. It’s understandable. But unless you want to dive in at the deep end, grit your teeth and get through it by yourself, you could always ask a friend or family member to stay with you to put your mind at ease.

5. Eat all the things you shouldn’t eat but desperately want…
…Like triple chocolate cookies, pizza and ice cream. You can worry about the calories later, but right now you need the energy; I don’t even want to calculate how many calories I consumed during the time that I was moving in, but lugging furniture up a gazillion flights of stairs really takes it out of you. Plus, bad food generally makes you feel better.

6. Go through the Argos catalogue and make a list of all the things you might need…
…Like a towel rack. Nobody ever thinks of a towel rack, but it does come in handy. Even if it’s just one of those ones that slots over a radiator.

A friend told me that, to move in, you need a box of essentials which comprises a kettle, milk, teabags and toilet roll. I’m glad I took that advice.

7. Research and compare utilities beforehand
If you don’t research, you might end up making an impulsive decision and getting tied into a contract that doesn’t quite fit your needs, when you could have spent an hour comparing your utilities to get the best price and functionality.

Use www.broadband.co.uk to find the best deals. This isn't a sponsored link, by the way; it's just a really useful website.

8. Find out as much of the little details as you can before you move in

Don’t be afraid to grill the letting agent. They should know all the details of your property, or at least be able to ring someone who does, and pass that information onto you as quickly as possible. Find out if you have allocated parking (and if so, where it is), who supplies utilities, whether the flat/house has gas or electric heating, whether you have an active phone line, if you have a burglar alarm, etc. All of these questions will pop up at some point, so make a list of them now and ask them when you’re being shown around.
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Thursday, 18 February 2016

*GIVEAWAY* Win GANT's Nautical SS16 Fragrance


GANT's Nautical SS16 fragrance

   A fragrance inspired by the raw nature of the sea, GANT's brand new SS16 fragrance* blends characters of the ocean, tar and wood with crisp flowers and fruits such as lemon, coriander and lavender, resulting in a fresh and sophisticated masculine scent.

   Personally, I love wearing more masculine fragrances than the typically fruity and flowery notes that regularly appear in women's perfume. I just feel as if men's scents are fresher and more clean; plus, a little androgyny can take your look to a whole new level.

   If wearing men's fragrances isn't your thing, then this is the perfect gift for a loved one, whether it's a brother's birthday, son's graduation or a wedding gift.

   I'm able to give you lovely readers the chance to win one 50ml bottle of this stunning new scent. Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post. 

   *This post was made in collaboration with GANT. 
    One winner will be selected at random and contacted within 48 hours of the competition's end date. Open to UK entrants only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Hurrah for Instagram Account Toggling!


   If, like me, you manage your company's social media accounts, you may have become accustomed to the inconvenient process of signing out of your personal Instagram account and signing into your professional account to post photographs, manage notifications and increase engagement on your business's behalf.

   For me, this created two problems. One: I have to remember two usernames and passwords (and considering how many different social media accounts I have, this gets a bit confusing). And two: the whole process is time consuming, making me want to avoid switching accounts altogether and thus leaving the business account stagnant.

   However, Instagram have now - FINALLY - introduced the much-requested account toggling option, which allows users to switch between accounts at the click of a button. No remembering different passwords, no time-consuming faff.

   But how do you go about this magical new process? Hit the three vertical dots in the top right corner of your Instagram profile, scroll to the bottom of the list and click 'Add Account' - you'll find it beneath 'Clear Search History'. Simply type in the username and password, hit 'Log in' (okay, you'll have to remember it one last time), et voila! You're in.

   Your little 'person' icon in the bottom right corner will now appear as your profile image. To switch accounts, head to your profile page, click the drop down menu in the top left corner and select your chosen profile. You can add more than two accounts, but I'm not entirely sure what the limit is - if you want to test that for yourself, feel free!

   Just remember to switch accounts when uploading drunken selfies... in fact, if you're going to take a drunken selfie, why not upload it the next day instead?... in fact, just don't upload one at all.
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Thursday, 11 February 2016

Going Casual for LFW '16


   London Fashion Week is fast approaching, and pretty soon we'll start seeing stylish men and women pull out their hottest outfits in preparation.

   This season's schedule features, for the first time, A.F.Vandervorst and Charlotte Olympia, whilst Alexander McQueen returns for one season only. My favourite designer, Eudon Choi, will be showing his AW16 collection at the BFC Show Space at Brewer Street, where the stark white 'car park' will be transformed into a dynamic catwalk space for its second season as the home of LFW.

   Last season, I wore flat over-the-knee boots from Deichmann, a tan a-line mini skirt from New Look and a striped polo neck top from Missguided, attempting a weird genre-mix of the 60s and 70s. It was comfortable and casual - because there's no way I was going to traipse around London in uncomfortable heels and wait in line for hours to see shows, or trip and get stuck between the Tube and the platform. I love fashion, but I also appreciate practicality (perhaps that's the country girl coming out of me).

   I'm going for a similar vibe with this month's LFW outfit; but this time I'm going for standard black skinnies, a warm-ish poncho (because it's February and no one will give you sympathy if you haven't brought a coat) and obligatory over-the-knee boots.

   My designer picks from Farfetch are a tartan poncho from Chlo√©, a pair of black skinnies from MIH Jeans and black boots from Laurence Dacade - ideal for a quick getaway if you're flitting between shows and the office, as the boots only have a small heel and the poncho can easily be taken off and chucked into a tote if you get too hot.

   To find out more about Farfetch, visit their Google+ page or go to their website.
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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Your Workspace: Quiet Zen or Bustling Hub?

   For me, the perfect workspace is a place of zen, clarity and organisation; it's a place where I can be in the zone without any distractions, with lots of natural light and, of course, a comfy chair and a cup of tea.

   I've been known to get home from work and spend another six hours in my makeshift office at home (which consists of an Ikea desk that I also use as a dressing table, my laptop and a dining chair - it's not convenient, but it's home). Here, you can find me composing blog posts, making and editing videos and working on my social media platforms. I'm sometimes working well into the night if I've got something urgent that needs to go live first thing in the morning, so it's essential for me to have this time to myself, without interruption - this usually means me shutting the curtains, the bedroom door, and switching off any devices which might distract me. 

   A little extreme, you might think, but I find it so hard to concentrate with any noises messing up my rhythm. I'm one of those people that can't read a book when there's music playing or people talking. I guess this means I'm easily distracted. I'd go with that. I daydream far too much and my mind spins off on tangents at sporadic intervals throughout the day. Even when composing this blog post, I've browsed through my Twitter feed, scrolled through Facebook and researched electricians in my area when I should have been concentrating on one thing: writing.

   If I could have complete silence, that would be perfection. But that's not always the case. Living in a town centre with cars rushing by and people storming past, it's a bit hard to keep yourself from people-watching. I don't know how cityfolk do it. I'm fascinated by people.

   However, some of you may be of the type where you function better around noise and other busy bees. Your perfect workspace may consist of a bustling hub of activity, with a coffee shop in the same building - or even the same room - and lots of people working, chatting and generally getting on with life. If this is the case, there are plenty of places that you could go to get your fix, especially if you're London-based.


S P I T A L F I E L D S

On the edge of Shoreditch, this Spitalfields location is walking distance from food markets, cafes, bars, and transport hubs. Cozy communal lounges make it easy for you to build a community in this space. Meet for tea or coffee with colleagues and clients while taking in sweeping views of the East London skyline.


S O H O

Once a music publishing house, this inspiring Soho workspace is now a tight-knit entrepreneurial community. The historic building is centrally located and retains much of its original charm, like it large bay windows and exposed brick walls. It's the perfect spot for anyone in the creative industry.



D E V O N S H I R E   S Q U A R E

This open plan Devonshire Square location was once a warehouse for the East India Trading Company, and has been transformed into a beautifully designed home for a community of like-minded people. From designers to recruiters, fintech companies to app developers, Devonshire Square is a platform to some of London’s coolest creators.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

For When the Wanderlust is Too Real


   My wanderlust is sporadic; sometimes I'll be completely content with staying in my room, reading a good book in bed with a cup of tea, watching the world go by and just being alive. For example, after spending three weeks in the Philippines with no hot water and persistently itchy, red ant bites on my legs, I was perfectly happy to spend the next week or so back in the UK doing absolutely nothing apart from being thankful for all the comforts that we take for granted.

   Other times, I have this wild urge to get on the next plane out of the country and explore beaches, towns and countrysides that I couldn't even dream of. Usually, I get this kind of feeling after reading Suitcase or flicking through Gary Pepper Girl.

   Regardless of my day to day feelings, one of my life goals is to travel well. I want to die knowing that I've visited all the places that I wanted to visit, satisfied in the knowledge that I've seen all that I could have possibly seen in my lifetime, as not doing so is a very frightening prospect. It's this ambition that keeps my wanderlust topped up.

   I've visited three continents and 12 countries in my life, which is a lot more than some my age, and a lot less than others. By the time I'm 30, I want to increase that to five continents and, well, a lot more countries - and this year, I would love to explore the UK and Ireland some more because we have so much right here on our doorsteps, but for some reason we don't think it's very exciting. Think of all the amazing locations - Stonehenge, The Giant's Causeway, Tresco Abbey Gardens, Portmerion (need I say more?) - and tell me that this isn't a beautiful place to live?

   However, for those times that the UK isn't enough, this top from fivepoundtee.com* sums up how I feel quite nicely. A simple cropped vest, this can be dressed down with ripped jeans or dressed up with a midi skirt - and once you've worn it out, it's ideal for wearing whilst lounging round the house, reading a good book in bed with a cup of tea...

   Shop the look here.


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