Monday, 1 May 2017

Weekend in Valencia

I’ve been meaning to write a post about my short but eventful trip to Valencia for quite a while now, deadlines, work and other priorities just kept getting in the way but as I’m currently on a train I thought it would be a good opportunity to finally document my trip.

Myself and a friend visited the lovely Spanish city that is Valencia in late February. If you follow me on Instagram, then you will have already seen many of the photos I took whilst away, I can’t help but keep posting them now and again…yeah, sorry I’m that ’throwback post’ person.

With Valencia being less than a 2-hour cheap flight away and the slightly warmer temperature we couldn’t resist but book a short trip to get over the post-Christmas blues. I’ve just accepted now that January to March is the worst time of the year in the UK, I like to think of myself as a tropical plant that needs sun and water then dies in winter.

We chose Valencia mainly because it’s been dubbed the art capital of Spain, so we knew even if it rained there would still be lots of activities to do over the weekend! The first part of the trip is a bit of a sleepless blur. We intended to go for one overly priced cocktail in Manchester’s Spinningfield’s but accidentally ended up staying out till 3am. Our flight was at 7am, you get the picture. 

Finally arriving in Valencia just in time for brunch, the first thing we notice immediately is the beautiful terracotta and apricot colours that adorned the streets. Rustic and full of character. Our Airbnb is lovely and situated right in the centre, there seems to be a monologue written in Latin on one of the living room walls. We will never know what it means but we like to think it’s something inspiring at least.

By this time, we only had a few hours of golden hour light left so took to the streets to explore what Valencia had to offer. It is the most photogenic European city I have been to, everywhere you look there’s a new shot to capture. Orange and lemon trees line the streets and it has me thinking, why can’t we have apple trees lining the streets of Manchester? A dumb question in hind sight, but got to love an idealist. 

I've started taking a film camera out with me instead of digital sometimes, it's a bit risky (especially if you buy expired cheap film like I do) but I love how unpredictable the finished result is and it's less editing time, the grainy effects of film just speak for itself.

On the second day we headed to the IVAM (Institut ValenciĆ  d’Art Modern). Myself and Emily both love art but when it comes down to it, I let her decide on the best art galleries to visit. The IVAM did not disappoint, in fact it was the best art gallery for modern art I’d been to in a while, not just for its emotive exhibitions that all seemed to link in some way and were easy to understand and connect with but also for the size of the gallery. I know from the confused looks on family members faces when I show them artists work, modern art is typically one of those things that you either love or hate, either way I would highly recommend a trip to go there! 

As you walk around Valencia it's immediately clear that this is a city that prides itself on its street art as well as it's galleries. I took so many photos of the various murals, too many to put in this post but definitely check out my Instagram if you fancied seeing more. I particularly liked this Horse and snails found on Carrer de Saint Dionis.

Another striking wall was this one below, created by covering the wall with a wire mesh grid, and cross stitching the roses on top. 

Valencia is beautiful but isn't by any means pristine, as you can see in the photo's much of it features cracking walls and word graffiti, but I love it, it just adds character and I personally find perfect a little boring to photograph sometimes. Overall it was a wonderful weekend filled with plenty of culture and Sangria!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Reflecting on my Placement year

I can’t believe it’s already been a year on placement in London and soon I will be heading back to university for my final year! – Scary.

I thought by doing this post it would be a good time to reflect on my time at Ralph Lauren and any tips I can offer to other students interested in doing a long-term internship or placement as part of their University degree.

Firstly I’d like to start off by saying a work placement is an amazing opportunity that shouldn’t be dismissed without serious thought. Experience these days counts for a lot in the work place so it’s good to make yourself stand out more to future employers and also get to grips with the realities of the industry you hope to work in. My own experience taught me more about what it is I actually want to do with my life more than university ever did, because there are only so much PowerPoint presentations and essays can teach you about the ‘real world’.

Moving on to my own placement experience, most people will say (especially in London) its ups and downs and I have to agree with this. Placement types will vary, however, mine was full time and paid to do the exact same job as a permanent employee. My job role was Buyers Admin assistant and I supported the buying team on womenswear for 8 months and menswear for 4 months. At Ralph Lauren it was mainly an admin and sample management role and presenting to directors during meetings was expected and done almost weekly. A lot of responsibility is put on your shoulders at Ralph Lauren; you are treated like a permanent employee, which in the long term is a positive thing.

Below are my 4 tips to anyone considering a placement or internship in any job role.

Treat everyone, as you would like to be treated

Fortunately for me, Ralph Lauren was a very friendly place to work throughout. It was also a stressful environment at certain times of the season, which can bring out the snappy side in people. No matter how frustrated you get at a situation/someone and vice versa its important to stay calm, keep smiling and not take it personally. That person who just rudely snapped at you from another team and you retaliated could be the head of your department next month who will remember you as ‘that rude student placement’. – I can thankfully say this never happened to me!

Be Professional

In Uber corporate environments such as Ralph Lauren, it goes without saying. Professionalism at all times! You will gain a lot more respect from co workers and senior figures and be taken more seriously. I wouldn't consider myself 'corporate' at all, far from it, but professional I am.

Embrace criticism

I’m terrible at taking criticism. It’s hard when you try your best to then be told it wasn’t good enough. I take it personally and its something I’m working on. When receiving constructive criticism, instead of becoming overly defensive and getting upset try asking your manager ‘what exactly can I do next time to improve?’. Be specific. If you feel you’ve brought everything you can to the table under the circumstances, don’t be afraid to say so but also to ask for support.

Remember you are there to LEARN!

My final point is for you to remember that you are there to learn, so embrace the experience. Ask questions; learn all you can not only about your own department but also about other departments. In some placements such as mine it can be easy, when you have such a high workload to forget you are a student and end up getting caught in the ‘rat race’ doing the same thing every day. My biggest regret about my placement is that I have always been intrigued by Visual merchandising (even more so now) and I never pushed to shadow the Creative team. I doubt this would have been allowed, but I will never know because I didn’t push for it. 


Looking back on my experience with Ralph Lauren, I cannot describe how lucky I feel to have worked for such an iconic brand. I realised towards the end of my placement, however, that for the future I need to be doing a job role that is more creative and I dare say it more inspiring. I love product, I love talking about product, I love learning about product and getting everyone else loving it too. If I were to continue with the type of role I had at Ralph Lauren I don’t believe it would fulfil the creative side of me.

All this goes back to my original point about learning more about what you want to do after doing placement. Yes, I may have come out of my placement wanting to do something very different to when I started, but that in it self is amazing! I’ve discovered what I really want to do before I’m tied to anything; I actually have a plan for life now.

I hope this has helped or assured a few of you! Please share your experiences of internships below in the comments or any questions you'd like to ask, I’d love to know J

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Parker girl

It's been a while since I last posted so I guess a lot of catching up is needed. I, quite abruptly stopped writing a year ago during my second year of uni in Manchester. As much as I love writing and missed the blogging community, I was just juggling too much to really focus on the quality of my content which is really important to me. Hell, I was juggling too much to really focus on anything back then! 

Safe to say, life has settled now and a lot of exciting changes has happened in the past year. I'm currently (finally!) on the placement year of my course working at Ralph Lauren as a Buyers Admin assistant. I live in Greater London with my housemate and good friend but commute regularly back to Bristol on the weekends. Oh, I also turned 22 , 22 days ago.

On that birthday note I wanted to show a glimpse today my lovely gift of the Portere Parker from All Saints, I cant stop wearing it. If theres a style of coat that encompasses my own personal style, this is the one!

The Portere Parker is one of All Saints classic style coats, they do it all year round and for who knows how many years? Having worked there myself I'd never paid much attention to it, it was always undone and hidden away in the continuity section. I wasn't ever a big fan of parker coats, I felt they were too casual for me, it wasn't until I saw it on that I fell in love with it's draping features. 

It's completely effortless, contemporary with a very practical feel. I just don't recommend wearing it in the rain, yes it has a marvelous hood, but waterproof it is not.
It is however, great for throwing over any outfit for any occasion. You could wear bed clothes underneath and essentially as long as the parker was done up look pretty chic. It's also great for rolling up in a ball and shoving it in your bag on nights out, which my nan will tell me off for doing.  

Downside is that it is pretty expensive at £258, but it was a present and la boyfriend gets 50% off.

I think any long coat looks great with bare legs, and a dress. I've paired mine with my Kooples leopard print/ black shift dress (bought on sale back in summer) and Russell & Bromley Runway boots, also a birthday gift. I take great caution when buying clothes and accessories, scouring websites to find a cheaper dupe of what I want but with these 3 items I just couldn't find a better alternative. The boots are beyond the comfiest I've tried on, the upper fabric of the dress has a soft to touch brushed silk feel that I haven't seen since the old school All Saints days and the coat is just gorgeously draped in soft cotton and has what can only be described as a star wars-esque hood. 

These are my investment pieces and probably my favourite items in my wardrobe. I don't think they fit into any particular trend at the moment but they are true to my personal style, and something I would wear for years. :) 

Thank you for reading! 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Nars Christopher Kane: Outer limits

This month the new Nars Christopher Kane collection hit stores in the UK and after setting sights on the dazzling eyeshadow shade 'Outer limits' I couldn't resist.  After reading some great reviews and scanning YouTube for tutorials it was a clear case of 'She saw, she bought!'

 However, I was disappointed to see not many reviews had been posted due to the newness of the product. So this got me craving to write a blog post about my experience with the 'Outer limits' shade, I hope you find this helpful!

The colour of this shade was so stunning and unusual to see, it's an extremely sparkly, rose gold going on orange shade. It can look daunting and at first as much as the inner magpie in me loved it, I did only consider it to be an inner corner eye colour just to brighten the eyes.  

For an experiment the first time I used it I used a synthetic flat eyeshadow brush to dab it over the eyelid and inner corner of the eye. It seemed a little sheer in my bedroom light but later on in work two work colleagues commented on how sparkly and lovely my eyeshadow was. One of my work friends then took a trip after work to get the same shade, she wore it the next day and seeing it on someone else made me realise how beautiful and flattering the shade really is. As you can see from my swatch below, despite the bright orange look in the pan, it actually goes on the skin quite nude. 

The only downside to this eyeshadow from Nars is the fallout, even with primer. I only use a tiny bit of shadow on my eyelid but guaranteed it will transfer somehow into the crease and above it. This isn't really a problem for me as the shade is a good balance of 'intense enough to make an impression' but sheer enough that it looks great all over the eyelid and socket, however, this won't be ideal for those of you that want a very precise look. 

Shown below is the eyeshadow once it's been applied to the eye. For this look I just used the Urban decay Eden eyeshadow primer which covers the eye in a skin tone base getting rid of discolouration. Then with any nude eyeshadow using a big fluffy eyeshadow brush, I dust all over the eyelid. With the same brush using a slightly darker shade (such as 'Coffee Au Lait' from my Laura Mercier pallet) I blend this colour into the crease and towards the brow bone, I find this gives shape to my hooded eye. Using just my finger I dab 'Outer Limits' over the eyelid, no blending required as the shade tends to disperse itself towards the brow bone anyway. Finally to make my eyes pop even more using a small brush I dab a little of the shade into the inner corners of my eye, this always widens your eyes so makes them look more awake and bigger. I like this look to be quite natural, but to define the eye shape a little more I just use a brown pencil liner which I then smudge a little.  

Overall this is a fantastic eyeshadow that can be used for every day purpose, adding something different to a nude makeup look or can be used willy nilly wherever on the face for a great festival look. (maybe under some face gems or bright turquoise eyeliner in creative flicky swirls?)

I highly recommend you go check it out! If you're in the UK and a student you can also get 10% student discount on the House of Fraser website, also if you work in a city centre take advantage of click and collect for free delivery! 

Thanks for the read x